Daily Current Affairs - 04th Mar 2017

BASF sets up €50 million innovation campus

  • BASF Group inaugurated its new innovation campus in Mumbai with a total expected investment of up to €50 million from BASF Group, and marks the Group’s largest research and development (R&D) investment in South Asia.
  • The Innovation Campus significantly expands BASF’s research capacities in India, established in 2005 and expanded in 2014 to cover agricultural research, organic synthesis, molecular modelling and advanced process research.
  • BASF is one of the largest producer of chemicals in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

BSE sets up new corporate announcement filing system

  • Leading stock exchange BSE has set up a new corporate announcement filing system to provide speedy, timely and accurate information on listed companies to investors as well as news agencies.
  • The new system, which has been made operational since March 1, will give out information round-the-clock and provide a firm’s filing time and BSE’s dissemination time for users to verify the delay between reporting and discourse.
  • The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai.
  • Established in 1875, the BSE is Asia’s first stock exchange.
  • It claims to be the world's fastest stock exchange, with a median trade speed of 6 microseconds.
  • Ashish Chauhan is the CEO of BSE.

Centre dithers on Western Ghats issue

  • The Union Environment Ministry has dithered, for the second time in three years, from bringing into force a law that will make about 56,825 sqkm of the ecologically-rich Western Ghats out of bounds for industrial development.
  • The law would have allowed the Centre to create an Ecological Sensitive Area (ESA) in the Western Ghats (WG), a 1,500 km, ecologically-rich strip along the west coast spanning Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Regions declared as the ESA will not be allowed to host mining and quarrying projects and building thermal power plants.
  • Ever since a committee headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil recommended in 2011 that all of the Western Ghats be declared as the ESA — with only limited development allowed in graded zones— States have forced the Centre to consistently delay imposing the ESA restrictions.
  • A committee headed by K. Kasturirangan, former ISRO chairman, recommended that only about 60,000 sq km — or about 37% of the WG and a significant reduction from that of the Gadgil committee — be declared as ESA.

Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal irks China

  • The China-India border dispute came into sharp focus after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector.
  • India sees China as illegally holding 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin, while China claims 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Aksai Chin is one of the two large disputed border areas between India and China, the other being a part of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • India claims Aksai Chin as the easternmost part of the Jammu and Kashmir state.
  • China claims that Aksai Chin is part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
  • The line that separates Indian-administered areas of J&K from Aksai Chin is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and is concurrent with the Chinese Aksai Chin claim line.
  • As part of the border talks between India and China, China agreed to swap territories if India agreed to concede a portion of the eastern sector, possibly Tawang (in Arunachal Pradesh).
  • China considers Tawang as an "inalienable" part of Tibet region of China.
  • The current Dalai Lama is the 14th Daalai Lama.
  • Dalai Lamas are important monks in the school of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after People's Republic of China invaded Tibet to assert control over the territory. He currently lives in Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh) which acts as the Tibetan government in exile.

India to train Myanmar Navy

  • Indian Navy will set up meteorological facilities and impart training for the Myanmar Navy.
  • This fits into India’s overall effort to boost strategic cooperation under the ‘Act East’ policy and will help offset increasing Chinese presence in its neighbourhood.
  • India's Act East Policy focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The policy which was originally conceived as an economic initiative, has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
  • India has upgraded its relations to strategic partnership with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, Singapore and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • Further, apart from ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS), India has also been actively engaged in regional fora such as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • Myanmar Capital: Naypyidaw.
  • Myanmar Currency: Burmese kyat.

Lamborghini unveils Aventador S

  • Automobili Lamborghini India has introduced Lamborghini Aventador S in India at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 5.01 crore.
  • Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. is an Italian brand and manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs.
  • Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy.
  • The company is owned by the Volkswagen Group through its subsidiary Audi.
  • Volkswagen Group is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany.
  • Italy Capital: Rome.
  • Germany Capital: Berlin.
  • Currency of Italy and Germany: Euro.

NGT bans camping activities within 100 m of Ganga in Uttarakhand

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered a ban on camping activities within 100 metres of the Ganga.
  • A Bench headed by chairperson Swatanter Kumar said the ban will be imposed from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.
  • People who had camped along the river disposed of waste in the river and also left behind glass and plastic bottles on the banks.
  • The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand.

Rs.70,000 crore black money detected so far

  • Vice Chairman of the Supreme Court- appointed SIT on black money, Justice Arijit Pasayat, has said that Rs. 70,000 crore of black money has been unearthed so far.
  • It includes over Rs. 16,000 crore stashed abroad by Indians.
  • The Supreme Court on 4 July 2011, ordered the appointment of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by former SC judge BP Jeevan Reddy to act as a watch dog and monitor investigations dealing with the black money.
  • This body would report to the SC directly and no other agency will be involved in this.
  • Former Judge of the SC Justice MB Shah is the Chairman, SIT on Black Money.
  • Former Judge of the SC Justice Arijit Pasayat is the Vice Chairman, SIT on Black Money.
  • Based on their recommendations, the government has already declared that cash transaction beyond Rs. 3 lakh is to be treated as illegal and punishable under law.

SC takes government to task over farmer suicides

  • The Supreme Court has expressed grave concern over farmers’ suicide due to indebtedness and crop failure.
  • It said that paying compensation to the families of such victims “post-facto” was not the real solution.
  • Chief Justice of India: Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar.
  • Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are often referred to as the 'Big Four' or ‘Suicide SEZ’ States since two-thirds of the total farm suicides in India occur in these four states.
  • Farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India.
  • Activists and scholars have offered a number of conflicting reasons for farmer suicides, such as monsoon failure, high debt burdens due to increased cost of production, government policies, mental health, personal issues and family problems.

Services PMI in first expansion since Oct.

  • According to a private survey, the services sector expanded in February recovering from demonetisation-related disruption.
  • The Nikkei India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.7 in February from 49.4 in January.
  • A reading above 50 denotes an expansion in business activity while one below 50 implies a contraction.
  • There are three sectors in the Indian Economy. They are Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
  • Primary sector includes Agriculture and Allied activities.
  • Secondary sector includes Industry.
  • Tertiary sector includes Services.
  • The service sector consists of activities where people offer their knowledge and time to improve productivity, performance, potential, and sustainability, which is termed as affective labour.
  • The basic characteristic of services sector is the production of services instead of end products.
  • The Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the services sector.
  • The Nikkei India Services PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in around 350 private service sector companies. The index tracks variables such as sales, employment, inventories and prices.

Shooting World Cup

  • Angad Vir Singh Bajwa helped India wind up the shooting World Cup on a bright note as he won the mixed skeet bronze medal with Haley Dunn of the USA, at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, New Delhi.
  • Six-time Olympic medallist and former World champion Kimberly Rhode won the gold with Hayden Stewart.
  • After India had won the air pistol mixed event gold through Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu in another test event, it was a memorable finish for the Indian team which had placed fifth in the medals table in the World Cup with a gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

U.S. nixed India’s plea on reforms in medicine

  • A month after the 140th World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Executive Board meeting, it has been revealed that the United States government had opposed including agenda items proposed by India, which aimed at reforming medical innovation that currently pump up drug prices to unaffordable levels.
  • The U.S. government is not just a member-state of WHO but also a big donor.
  • The U.N. Access to Medicines report had recommended that “governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities.”
  • Roberto Azevêdo: Director-general of the World Trade Organization.
  • WTO HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WHO HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Dr. Margaret Chan is the Director-General of WHO.
  • The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the WTO. It sets down minimum standards for the regulation by national governments of many forms of intellectual property (IP) as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations.

UN body slams Sri Lanka

  • United Nations Human Rights Council has said that reports of abuses including torture remain widespread in Sri Lanka eight years after the end of a decades-long civil war, criticising the government’s slow progress in addressing wartime crimes.
  • Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena swept to power two years ago promising justice for the minority Tamil community and a full investigation into alleged atrocities committed under the leadership of his predecessor.
  • Zeid bin Ra'ad is the High commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • United Nations Human Rights Council is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Sri Lanka Official Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.
  • Sri Lanka Commercial Capital: Colombo.
  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee.

‘City noise linked to hearing loss’

  • World Hearing Day was observed on March 03.
  • According to a report released as part of this, it was found that urban noise pollution and hearing loss are closely linked.
  • High-decibel urban areas — such as Guangzhou, New Delhi, Cairo and Istanbul — topped the list of cities where hearing was most degraded.
  • Likewise, cities least afflicted by noise pollution — including Zurich, Vienna, Oslo and Munich — registered the lowest levels of decline in hearing.
  • Decibel is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound.

‘Indian spy’ will be booked, says Pakistan

  • Pakistan said a case was being registered against former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Yadav, arrested in the Balochistan province in March last year, and he would be prosecuted.
  • Mr. Yadav may face death penalty, if convicted.
  • Pakistan had also shared a dossier with the U.N. Secretary-General on the alleged Indian involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan and in subversive and terrorist activities.
  • Pakistani officials claimed that Mr. Yadav was working for the Indian spy agency RAW and involved in planning terror activities in the Balochistan province.
  • The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW or RAW) is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India.
  • Anil Kumar Dhasmana is the Special Director of the Research and Analysis Wing.
  • Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is the intelligence of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan Capital: Islamabad.
  • Currency: Pakistani rupee.