Daily Current Affairs - 06th Mar 2017

Asia Men's Rugby Sevens Trophy: India defeat Pakistan to secure 7th rank

  • The Indian men's Rugby team defeated Pakistan 14-12 to secure the 7th rank at the Asia Men's Rugby Sevens Trophy. The two-day championship was held at Aspire Rugby Field in Doha, Qatar.
  • Philippines won the Asia Men's Rugby Sevens Trophy and secured a place in the Asia Rugby Sevens Series
  • A total of 11 countries from across Asia vied for top honours in the championship

Bangladesh bans extremist group Ansar Al-Islam

  • Bangladesh banned extremist group Ansar Al-Islam blamed for the brutal murders of several secular activists and atheist bloggers in the Muslim-majority country. Home Ministry issued an order banning the militant outfit as the group is involved in anti-state activities.
  • The radical group has claimed responsibility for a spate of gruesome murders of secular activists and atheist bloggers in the Bangladesh that sparked a security crackdown on extremists.
  • The Ansar Al-Islam has also claimed links to Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

Centre gives nod to sell three SAIL plants

  • The Union government has approved the outright sale of state-owned SAIL’s three special steel units, including the Salem Steel plant, Alloy Steel plants and Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant.
  • SAIL has now sought advisers, including legal and merchant bankers, to carry out the strategic sale along with transfer of management control in the three steel plants
  • The strategic sale of these three units is likely to happen only in the next financial year, beginning April.The Centre currently holds 75% stake in SAIL, which is the largest steel producer in India.
  • The government has budgeted to raise Rs. 15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment in 2017-18.

Centre launches first ever survey in Ganga to determine population of aquatic life

  • The Central government has launched the first ever across-the-river survey in Ganga to determine the population of aquatic life, including that of the endangered Gangetic doplhin.
  • The study is crucial as the animal population in a river indicates the quality of its water.
  • The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the government to take suitable measures to improve quality of the river water.
  • The first leg of the census was launched on March 1 from Narora to Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh.

Chandigarh to host Destination North East 2017

  • Chandigarh will host a three-day long 'Destination North East' 2017 event showcasing North East as a potential destination for investment.
  • The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region and an industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry are organising the event.
  • It will see round table discussions and exhibition stalls showcasing various features of the North East Region in order to attract investments in tourism, food processing, handlooms and handicrafts, horticulture and floriculture, medicinal & aromatic plants, organic farming and bamboo development.

Dubai Tennis Championship: Bopanna, Matkowski lose men's doubles final

  • India's Rohan Bopanna and his Polish partner Marcin Matkowski have lost their men's doubles final match in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
  • The Indo-Polish pair lost to fourth seeded duo of Romanian Tecau Horia and Dutchman Rojer Jean-Julien in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 3-10
  • Bopanna and Matkowski had made it to the final after beating Leander Paes and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Former Haiti President Rene Preval dead at age 74

  • Rene Preval, a two-time president of Haiti, died at the age of 74. Preval was President of the Caribbean nation from 1996 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2011. He was the nation's leader when a major earthquake killed more than 200,000 people in 2010.
  • Current President of Haiti: Jovenel Moïse

India to attend Lahore meet on Indus Waters Treaty

  • India has accepted an invitation to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), to be held in Lahore in March 2017.
  • The last round of the PIC was held in July 2016. This development came after two months of diplomatic negotiations, with World Bank officials playing mediator in encouraging Pakistan to extend the invitation and for India to accept.
  • IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan. It was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). It deals with sharing of water of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.
  • It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960.
  • As per treaty, the control over three eastern rivers —Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan.

Indigenously developed weapon-locating radar SWATHI handed to Army

  • The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has formally handed over an indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system dubbed as ‘SWATHI’ to the Indian Army.
  • Developed by DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE). SWATHI has a range of 50 km which brings all artillery guns presently in service worldwide under its coverage.
  • Performs two roles i.e. Weapon Location Mode for enemy Artillery and Direction of Own artillery Fire (DOOAF) Mode for Artillery.
  • The DRDO also handed over a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) recce vehicle Mk-I and NBC treatment drugs to the Indian Army.

IT firms will be hit: Nasscom

  • Industry body Nasscom said that the U.S. decision to temporarily suspend the expedited premium processing of H-1B visas will lead to process delays for Indian IT firms too.
  • The U.S. has announced that from April 3, it would temporarily suspend the ‘premium processing’ of H-1B visas that allowed some companies to jump the queue, as part of overall efforts to clear the backlog.
  • The current issue of the temporary suspension of premium H-1B processing will create some process delays for the companies— Indian and American.
  • According to Nasscom, India has more than $110-billion outsourcing industry.

Kurukh gets official language status in West Bengal

  • The West Bengal government has given official language status to endangered tribal language Kurukh, mother tongue belonging to the Dravidian family.
  • In West Bengal, it is spoken by the Oraon tribal community who live in Dooars (alluvial floodplains in northeastern India that lie south of outer foothills of Himalayas and north of Brahmaputra River basin).
  • Kurukh language belongs to subfamily of Dravidian languages, spoken by some 17 lakh people (2001 census report) of the Oraon tribes of Chota Nagpur plateau of east-central India.
  • It is closely related to Kumarbhag Paharia and Sauria Paharia languages, which are together referred to as Malto. Its script is called Tolong Siki.
  • The language has been listed “vulnerable”state in UNESCO’s list of endangered languages.

Malaysia expels North Korean Ambassador

  • Malaysia has expelled North Korea’s Ambassador Kong Chol to leave the country in a major break in diplomatic relations over the airport assassination of the Kim Jong-nam half-brother of Pyongyang’s leader.
  • North Korea has not acknowledged the dead man’s identity but has repeatedly deflated the murder investigation, accusing Malaysia of conniving with its enemies.

North Korea fires banned ballistic missiles into ocean near South Korea

  • North Korea fired several banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers into waters off its east coast. These launches were made from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province.
  • These launches occurred amid the joint drills between South Korean and US militaries, indicating an "apparent" protest from Pyongyang.
  • The United States has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against a potential aggression from the North Korea.

Odisha achieves highest decline in IMR

  • For the first time in 16 years, Odisha has achieved highest decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).
  • According to the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Odisha’s IMR has come down by 29% between 2005 and 2015 which is highest trend in the country.
  • It was 96 per 1000 births in 2000 has been reduced to 40 in 2015-16.
  • Institutional delivery in Odisha was recorded at 85.4% in NFHS-4 as against the national average of 78.9%. Similarly, 78.6% children (aged 12 and 23 months) were fully immunised as against national average of 62%
  • The State also has achieved increase in institutional deliveries, family planning and antenatal care of mothers.

Pak forces apprehend 94 Indian fishermen, seize 17 boats

  • Pakistani forces have apprehended 94 Indian fishermen and seized 17 boats off the Gujarat coast. According to an official of the National Fishworkers' Forum, around 70 fishermen on board 13 boats were captured by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency.
  • They were apprehended in the high seas near the International Maritime Boundary Line off Jakhau coast.

Sam Querrey wins ATP Mexico Open

  • Unseeded American Sam Querrey has won the ATP Mexico Open hard court tennis tournament. In the final at Acapulco in Mexico, Querrey stunned second-seeded Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.
  • Querrey, ranked 40th in the world, fired 19 aces, backed up by powerful, precise groundstrokes, en route to his first career victory over Nadal in five meetings.
  • For Querrey, it is his ninth ATP title.

Sri Lanka not to allow foreign judges

  • Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has rejected a fresh appeal from the United Nations to allow international judges to investigate alleged war-era atrocities, vowing to not prosecute soldiers.
  • The UN has criticised Sri Lanka's worryingly slow progress in addressing its wartime past, urging the government to adopt laws allowing for special hybrid courts to try war criminals.

Thomas Starzl, man who performed world's first liver transplant, dies at 90

  • US citizen Thomas Starzl, the man who performed the world's first liver transplant died, days short of his 91st birthday. He has often been referred to as "the father of modern transplantation. The American surgeon pioneered the procedure in 1963, but his first patient did not survive.
  • After creating a new blend of anti-rejection drugs, he carried out the first successful transplant in 1967. Since then, thousands of lives have been saved by the procedure.

WCCB’s Operation Thunderbird and Operation Save Kurma for fight against wildlife crime

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has successfully coordinated Operation Thunder Bird from January 30 to February 19, 2017 in its fight to end poaching of India’s wildlife animals.
  • It also had convened Operation Save Kurma, a species specific operation on turtles between 15 December 2016 and 30 January 2017.
  • Operation Thunderbird: It is code-name of INTERPOL’s (International Criminal Police Organization) multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation for wildlife protection.
  • Operation Save Kurma: It was species specific operation on turtles. Under it total of 15,739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects, having inter-state linkages.

West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017 passed

  • The State Legislative Assembly has passed the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017, by a voice vote. It repeals the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.
  • It aims to overhaul private healthcare in state and take stringent measures against health institutions accused of medical negligence and corrupt practices.
  • The legislation seeks to bring transparency, end harassment of patients and check medical negligence in private hospitals and nursing homes. It brings clinics, dispensaries and polyclinics under its ambit.
  • It makes mandatory for private hospitals to pay compensations in case of medical negligence. Hospitals violating this law will be liable to pay fine of Rs. 10 lakh or more.
  • Establishes 13 member West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission to monitor activities of private hospitals.

Xi’s ‘core leader’ status is affirmed

  • China’s legislature focussed on President Xi Jinping’s standing as the “core” leader, to steer the country’s political and economic reforms, which are expected to yield a 6.5% growth in 2017.
  • In his annual work report, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang signalled the consolidation of power under Mr. Xi as a strategic undertaking.
  • Excluding Mr. Xi and Mr. Li, the remaining five members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, representing the top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), are expected to be changed.