Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 22-23, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 22-23, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Russian Railways to help Indian trains to travel at 200 Kmph

Indian Railways is taking help of Russian Railways to increase the speed of its passenger trains up to 200 km per hour from present 120 kmph. In this regard, Russian Railways will undertake a feasibility study aimed at upgrading train speeds on the 575 kilometre long Nagpur-Secunderabad route. The study will be conducted by RZD International, a special purpose engineering company established within the Russian Railways. To reach the desired speed limit, Russian Railways has proposed several technical and technological solutions, including reconstruction of railway alignment as well as treating the earth bed where there are speed restrictions. At present, the fastest train in India is Gatimaan Express with top speed of 160 Kmph.

Government shifts disinvestment advising role to Department of Economic Affairs

The Union Government has transferred the advising role of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on utilisation of the proceeds from disinvestment to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). This announcement comes after the Union Cabinet approved an alternative mechanism to decide the modalities to do with stake sales in PSUs. Read more

Government to launch prevention, screening and control programme for 5 non-communicable diseases

The Union Health Ministry will soon launch population based prevention, screening and control programme for five common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the occasion of World Cancer Day (4th February). They are Hypertension, Diabetes, and Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix. This programme will be launched as part of the National Health Mission. Read more

Draft steel policy anticipates Rs. 10 lakh crore investments

The Steel Ministry has released new draft National Steel Policy of 2017, envisaging to double India’s domestic steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31. The draft policy anticipates a requirement of Rs. 10 lakh crore of fresh investments to meet production goal and expects creation of at least 11 lakh new jobs in the process. Read more

Committee constituted to set rules for implementation of Disabilities Act, 2016

The Union Government has constituted committee (Working Group) to frame uniform rules for the states to avoid delay in proper implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 across the country. The Committee will be headed by Secretary from Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). It will submit its report within three months. Read more

Himachal Pradesh overtakes Kerala in learning outcomes: ASER

According to Status of Education Report (ASER) 2016, students of Himachal Pradesh stand ahead of Kerala and all other states in terms of learning outcomes.  The 2016 ASER was the largest annual household survey of the children in India in the field of education. It focused on status of schooling and basic learning. Read more

International Current Affairs

Nepal launches 10-year-plan to cut reliance on vegetable imports from India

Nepal Government has launched a 10-year-plan (scheme) to cut reliance on vegetable imports from India and boost domestic production. The scheme starting this fiscal envisions adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity and making the landlocked Himalayan country self-reliant in food. In recent times, Nepal is witnessing a continuous rise in the imports of vegetables from India. Nepal imports around 25,000 metric tonnes of vegetables worth Rs. 55 billion every year from India, but exports the same in negligible volume.

Turkish Parliament approves amendments for Presidential system

The Turkish Parliament has passed constitutional reform bill to adopt Presidential system and strengthen the powers of the President. The adaptation of bill paves the way for a referendum on the issue. Once accepted by people, the reform will enable the President to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve Parliament. It will also allow incumbent President Tayyip Erdogan to stay in office until 2029. At present the presidential post in Turkey is largely ceremonial position.

US President Donald Trump signs first executive order on Obamacare

US President Donald Trump has singed first executive order which targets his predecessor’s health care reforms, Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The executive order directed agencies to ease the economic burden of the laws and to stop issuing regulations that would expand the law’s reach. It also directed the agencies to grant exemptions, waivers and delays of provisions in the Act that would impose costs on states or individuals, potentially including the law’s penalties on people who remain uninsured. The order allows the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies to delay implementing any provision of the law that might impose a fiscal burden on states, health care providers, families or individuals.

Environment, Science and Technology Current Affairs

Scientists develop new technique for faster diagnosis of HIV

Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US, have developed a new method for medical testing that may lead to faster diagnosis of HIV, Lyme disease, syphilis and rotavirus infections. In this method, they have combined cutting-edge nanoscience with a magnetic phenomenon. It was developed by coating nanoparticles with the antibody and iron core to BSA (bovine serum albumin) which is commonly used as the basis of a variety of diagnostic tests. When magnetic field is applied to the solution, it causes the particles to align in a particular formation. Depending upon pattern, diseases can be tested faster.

Massive Antarctic ice shelf ready to break

According to scientists, a gigantic block of ice is breaking away from Larsen C ice shelf in West Antarctica. Now the block is attached to its parent ice shelf just by a thread. It is covering an area of 5,000 sq km and is nearly 100 storeys-deep. The breakaway will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it will lift the global water mark by about 10 cm. The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B broke up in 2002.

ISRO to launch record 103 satellites on a single rocket

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to set a new world record in space history by launching 103 satellites in one go on a single rocket in the first week of February, 2017. These satellites will be launched on board of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV (C37) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The mission will carry three satellites from India and rest from other countries. Read more

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

Punjab National Bank Launches Contactless Credit Card

India’s second-largest state owned bank Punjab National Bank (PNB) launched a Contactless Credit Card dubbed as PNB Wave N Pay. It was launched by PNB’s Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Usha Ananthasubramanian in New Delhi. This contactless credit card was launched on Visa Platinum platform. It can be used for making transaction by just waving across the terminal without entering any PIN. The contactless transactions through this card will be up to Rs. 2,000.

Kerala Gramin Bank launches [email protected] programme to promote financial literacy

The Kerala Gramin Bank (KGB) launched a novel programme “[email protected]” to propagate financial literacy among school children. Under this programme, financial literacy clubs will be formed at every school. It is implemented jointly with NABARD and Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), Amsterdam. Total 602 branches of the bank will identify and enter into a virtual tie up with a school in its locality. It will organise various programmes such as account opening camps at schools, junior debit card distribution, financial literacy related classes, distribution of financial literacy booklets, competition on financial literacy, etc.

Apple named most innovative company in 2016

Technology giant Apple was named as the most innovative company in the year 2016 in the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG’s) annual list of corporate innovators. It was for the 11th straight year Apple, world’s most valuable company has topped the list. Google was ranked second, followed by electric carmaker Tesla, ranked third. Further, home rental platform Airbnb and ride-hailing service Uber were among the firms included in the list for the first time.

Defence Current Affairs

China commissions 31st stealth warship

China (People’s Liberation Army Navy) has commissioned its 31st Type—056 class corvette stealth warship named CNS Ezhou. It features good manoeuvrability, a high-level of automation and stealth capability. It is capable of hitting aircraft, ships and submarines. It will be based in China’s East Sea Fleet in a naval base in Fujian province. It will perform coastal patrol, fishery escort, anti-submarine and anti-ship operations. At present, Russia has the world’s largest corvette group that consists of about 80 vessels, but most of them were built in the 1980s and 1990s. Russian fleet cannot compete with the China’s Type—056 in terms of technology and equipment. Thus, China’s fleet is now claimed to be the biggest force of modern corvettes of all navies.

2017 Combined Commanders Conference held in Uttarakhand

The 2017 Combined Commanders Conference (CCC) was held at Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It focused on the surgical strikes across the Line of Control, the prevailing situation on the LoC, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the emerging security situation. The conference was addressed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was attended by Union Ddefence minister Manohar Parrikar, the chiefs of Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, besides the national security advisor (NSA) and other experts in the field of security and defence. It was the first CCC for the three military chiefs since taking over as head of their services in 2016.

Sports Current Affairs

Anurag Thakur elected as head of HPOA

Ousted BCCI President Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected head of the Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association (HPOA). He was elected at the HPOA’s Annual General Meeting held at Dharamsala for a four-year term. Anurag Thakur was removed from the post of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) President by the Supreme Court for not complying with its orders for implementation of Lodha Committee reforms. Besides, Virender Kanwar was elected Senior Vice-President, while Rajesh Bhandari was elected General Secretary of the HPOA.

Saina Nehwal wins 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal won the 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title in the women’s singles category. It was her overall 23rd title.  In the final match held at the Sibu Indoor Stadium in Sarawak, Malaysia she defeated Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong by 22-20, 22-20 score.

Other category winners

  • Men’s Singles title: Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong.
  • Men’s Doubles title: Berry Angriawan and Hardianto.
  • Women’s Doubles title: Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
  • Mixed Doubles: Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing.

Obituary

Renowned Urdu poet and lyricist Naqsh Lyallpuri passes away

Renowned Urdu poet and lyricist Naqsh Lyallpuri passed away. He was aged 88. He was born as Jaswant Rai Sharmaon 24 February 1928 in Layallpur Punjab (now in Pakistan). Since his childhood, he was inclined towards Urdu literature. He got his first ever break as a lyricist in the 1952 film ‘Jaggu’ where he had given lyrics to the song ‘Agar Teri Aakhon Se Aakhein Mila Doon’. Since then, he went on to be the lyricist for films like ‘Chetna’,’Tumhare Liye’, ‘Aahista Aahista’ and ‘Gharonda’ amongest many others. In 2005, he had written lyrics for the ‘Taj Mahal- An eternal love story’ and also for ‘Yaatra’ in 2006.

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