Daily Current Affairs - 21st Feb 2017

Los Angeles is world’s most clogged city

  • Los Angeles had the worst traffic in the world among 1,064 cities, according to a study by traffic analytics firm INRIX.
  • On average, Los Angeles motorists spent about 104 hours stuck in traffic during the peak commuting hours of 2016.
  • Top 10 cities in the list are Los Angeles, Moscow ,New York, San Francisco, Bogota, Colombia, Sao Paulo, London, Atlanta, Paris and Miami.

Google, Microsoft agree to crack down on internet piracy

  • Google and Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, have signed up to a voluntary code of practice and will ensure offending websites are demoted in their search results.
  • The code is brokered by Britain's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and aims to stop search engines from driving traffic to illegal websites.Under the code, Google and Bing must demote websites that have repeatedly been served with copyright infringement notices so that they do not appear on the first page for common searches.

Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia As World's Top Crude Producer

  • Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world's largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers.
  • Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, while Saudi Arabia's output is 10.46 million barrels a day, according to data published on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh. That was the first time Russia beat Saudi Arabia since March.
  • The U.S. was the third-largest producer, at 8.8 million barrels a day,Iraq came in fourth at 4.5 million barrels a day, followed by China at 3.98 million barrels a day, the data show.

Russia To Start Deliveries Of KA-226T Helicopters To India In 2019

  • India and Russia signed an agreement to jointly manufacture 200 of the KA-226T helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Russia will start initial deliveries of military helicopters to India in 2019, with assembly and manufacturing to follow in India.
  • Some 60 helicopters will be delivered to India and the remaining 140 will be assembled or manufactured in India.

February 20 : World Day of Social Justice

  • The World Day of Social Justice is observed every year on February 20 to recognize the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.
  • To mark this occasion, UN and International Labour Office had organised several organisations to spread importance of social justice for people.
  • 2017 Theme: "Preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work".

IPL Auction : 2017

  • Ben Stokes became the most expensive overseas player at an IPL auction when he was signed for a Rs. 14.5 crore.The English all-rounder was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants.
  • Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan Arman became the first players from Afghanistan in the IPL, after their services were acquired by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
  • Karn Sharma emerged the most expensive Indian player of the tenth IPL auction, heading to Mumbai Indians for Rs.3.2 crore.

Flipkart to use Microsoft Azure for its cloud infrastructure

  • Flipkart has partnered with Microsoft to use the Windows Azure technology platform to scale up its e-commerce business.
  • Flipkart will use Microsoft’s public cloud computing service. Public cloud is an industry term for using technology on a subscription basis through the internet.
  • Flipkart plans to leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities in Azure, such as Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI, to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.

TCS announces Rs. 16,000 crore share buyback, India’s biggest

  • Tata Consultancy Services announced a plan to buy back up to 5.61 crore equity shares for an aggregate price not exceeding Rs. 16,000 crore.
  • This is biggest buyback in the history of India’s capital markets, surpassing Reliance Industries’ share repurchase of Rs. 10,400 crore in 2012.
  • The buyback is proposed to be made from the shareholders of the company on a proportionate basis under the tender offer route.

Bharat QR code launched to push less-cash economy

  • BharatQR’, the world’s first smart phone-based standardized, inter operable Quick Response (QR) code payments solution was launched as part of efforts to move towards less-cash economy at an insignificant cost.
  • It is developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), MasterCard, and Visa. It will make payments seamless for buyers as they just have to "scan to pay" for transactions instead of swiping their credit/debit cards.
  • A QR or quick response code is a type of two-dimensional bar code that is used to provide easy access to information through a smart phone.

EDII wins International Mercury Award 2016-17

  • The Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), has received the prestigious International Mercury Awards for the year 2016-17 for the best overall presentation of its 2015-2016 annual report.
  • EDII is an acknowledged national resource institute for entrepreneurship education, research, training and institution-building
  • Instituted by MerComm, Inc the world’s only independent awards organization, the International Mercury Awards, honor outstanding achievement in professional communications in around 80 countries.

Union Government seeks expression of interest for IRCON International IPO

  • The Union Government has commenced the process of disinvestment in public sector enterprises of Indian Railways — IRCON International, IRFC and IRCTC — with the announcement for expression of interest to appoint merchant bankers for the initial public offer (IPO) of IRCON International.
  • The move follows the Budget announcement by Finance Minister, who in his budget speech said, “The shares of Railway PSEs, such as IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON, will be listed in stock exchanges. This is a part of the disinvestment process of which the government has budgeted a total realization of Rs. 72,500 crore for fiscal FY18.
  • IRCON International is a wholly-owned government company in the business of executing projects in the areas of Railways, railway electrification, signal and telecommunication.

European Union asks India to extend by 6 months trade pact with EU nations

  • The European Union (EU) has urged India to extend the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), which it has with the member countries, by at least six months beyond March 31 in order to sustain the steady flow of investments from that region into the country.
  • In the absence of a BIT, fresh investments coming from European nations will not have legal protection. The EU has been engaging with India on this issue for several months now as it intends to negotiate a single comprehensive BIT with India instead of separate ones with each member countries.
  • India felt the necessity to revise all the BITs as it was being dragged to courts by a number of international firms.

TransferWise launches international money transfers via Facebook

  • Money transfer company TransferWise has launched a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc.’s chat application.
  • It had developed a Facebook Messenger “chatbot”, or an automated programme that can help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases.
  • Chatbot enables customers to send money to friends and family to and from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe from Facebook Messenger. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts.

1.4 million children could die from famine this year - UNICEF

  • Almost 1.4 million children suffering from severe malnutrition could die this year from famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen,as reported by UNICEF .
  • In Yemen, where war has been raging for nearly two years, 462,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition while 450,000 children are severely malnourished in northeast Nigeria.
  • Fews Net, the famine early warning system, reported some remote areas of Nigeria’s Borno state are already affected by famine.

India, Rwanda Sign Three Agreements To Boost Bilateral Relations

  • India and Rwanda have signed three agreements during the visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari to boost bilateral relations that include establishment of an entrepreneurship developement centre in Kigali.
  • According to the Memorandum of Understandings signed between Rwanda and India, Rwanda Air will soon begin services to India, and the two countries will mutually exempt visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders.