Daily Current Affairs - 08th Apr 2017

4 NGOs get Google’s $8.4 million grant

  • Google.org announced a grant of $8.4 million to four Indian NGOs working to improve education in the country. They are Pratham Books StoryWeaver, Pratham Education Foundation, Million Sparks Foundation and Learning Equality will receive the grants over the next two years to expand the work they have been doing.
  • The Million Sparks Foundations, with its digital content platform and social community ‘ChalkLit’, provides teachers with lessons plans, learning modules and videos.
  • Pratham Education’s hybrid learning program provides students with “self-driven” tablet-based solutions, Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver is an open-source online platform, which allows teachers and parents to create and translate stories in over 67 languages.

64thNational Film Awards: Akshay Kumar bags Best Actor, ‘Neerja’ wins Best Hindi Movie

  • Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar won his first national award for the Best Actor for his movie ‘Rustom’ and Sonam Kapoor’s ‘Neerja’ won the Best Hindi feature film that has been directed by Ram Madhvani.
  • Best actor: Akshay Kumar for “Rustom”.
  • Best feature film: Marathi film “Kaasav”
  • Best actress: C.M. Surabhi for her role in Malayalam film “Minnaminungu-The Firefly”.
  • Best director: Rajesh Mapuska for his Marathi film “Ventilator”.
  • Best film on social issues: Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Pink”
  • Best supporting actress: Zaira Wasim for "Dangal"
  • Best Children’s Film – Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak
  • Best Environmental film – The tiger who crossed the line

70% say Hollande is a ‘bad President’

  • According to a new poll published, seventy per cent of French people believe outgoing Socialist leader Francois Hollande was a “bad President”.
  • His five-year term has been marked by a series of terror attacks, stubbornly high unemployment and revelations about his private life. France goes to the polls on April 23 for the first round of a two-stage election to choose a new leader.
  • Hollande decided not to seek re-election in December, as ratings showed just four percent of the population approved of him at one point.
  • Capital: Paris
  • Currencies: Euro, CFP franc

Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b

  • Scientists have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time. They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4 times the size of earth and lies 39 light years away.
  • As it is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both and it has a surface temperature of 370 Celsius.
  • The discovery of planet GJ 1132b was first announced in 2015. It lies in the Vela constellation in the southern hemisphere.
  • It is a similar size to Earth, the star it orbits is much smaller, cooler and dimmer than our Sun.

Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to support Belmont Forum Secretariat

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France.
  • The MoU will be signed for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of 40,000 Euros.
  • Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It was established in 2009.
  • It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources.
  • France is hosting the Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017.
  • Members include: India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and US etc

Israel signs air defense contracts with India worth almost $2 billion

  • Israel Aerospace Industries announced the signing of contracts worth almost $2 billion for supply of medium range surface to air missiles (MRSAM) and missile defense systems to the Indian Army.
  • It is considered to be the largest defense contract in Israel defense industries' history, IAI will provide an advanced MRSAM air and missile defense systems to the Indian Army.
  • It will also supply additional long-range air and missile defense systems (LRSAM) for the first locally produced Indian aircraft carrier.
  • The MRSAM was developed jointly for the Indian Army by IAI and India's Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with RAFAEL and IAI/Elta, which worked with various Indian companies including BEL, L&T, BDL and other private vendors.
  • Israel PM: Benjamin Netanyahu;
  • President: Reuven Rivilin
  • Capital: Jerusalem
  • Currency:Israeli new shekel

Japanese govt decides to extend unilateral sanctions against North Korea

  • The Japanese government has decided to extend unilateral sanctions against North Korea by two years. It will continue its prohibition of all trade between Japan and North Korea and ban on all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports.
  • This decision was made in protest against North Korea for conducting a ballistic missile test off its east coast.

North India to get wildlife DNA bank

  • North India will soon get its first DNA bank for wildlife. Scientists at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly are in the process of collecting the DNA samples of all kinds of wildlife to set up the bank. The DNA bank is expected to start from this year end.
  • It is expected to help in wildlife research and also bring down poaching. Scientists have been so far been able to collect about 140 samples of 25 wild animals.

Rajya Sabha clears 4 GST Bills

  • The Rajya Sabha passed four Bills essential for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax, the deadline for which is July 1. The Lok Sabha had passed these Bills on March 29.
  • The passage of the Central GST Bill, Integrated GST Bill, GST Compensation Bill, and the Union Territory GST Bills followed a two-day debate in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The State GST Bill, will have to be passed by the legislative assemblies of States and Union Territories with legislature.

SC seeks reply from 6 states on plea to ban cow vigilantes

  • The Supreme Court has sought response from six states-Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, on a plea seeking a ban on cow vigilante groups there. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar issued notices to these states and asked them to file their reply within three weeks.
  • The Supreme Court had on October 21, last year agreed to examine the plea which sought action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

Tax evasion of more than ` 1.37 lakh crore detected in last three years

  • The Revenue Department has detected evasion of more than ` 1.37 lakh crore in both direct and indirect taxes and identified over 1,000 shell companies which indulged in bogus transactions worth `13,300 crore in the last three financial years.
  • Tax evasion has been detected during the last three fiscals (2013-14 to 2015-16). This includes evasion worth ` 69,434 crore in income tax, ` 11,405 crore in customs, ` 13,952 crore in Central Excise and
  • ` 42,727 crore in Service Tax.
  • More than 245 benami transactions have been identified and provisional attachments of properties worth ` 55 crore have already been made in 124 cases as per the amended benami transactions prohibition law which came into effect from November, 2016.

Thailand International Boxing: Shyam Kumar enters final

  • India's K Shyam Kumar advanced to the final of the Thailand International Boxing Tournament in Bangkok in the 49kg category. Shyam Kumar defeated Mongolia's Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene in the last-four stage to make the summit clash.
  • The national silver-medalist, who had won a gold medal in the 2015 edition of the event, will now be up against Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan.
  • India had sent a seven-strong team for the event, of which four boxers lost in the opening round.

Trade deficit with China at $46.7 billion in April-February

  • India's trade deficit with China was recorded at 46.7 billion US dollars during the April-February period of the last fiscal. The overall trade with China during the 11-month period decreased marginally by 0.87 per cent to 64.57 billion US dollars.
  • India's exports to China grew by 8.69 per cent to 8.94 billion US dollars while imports from the neighboring nation declined by 2.26 per cent to 55.63 billion US dollars, resulting in a shrinkage of 4.1 per cent in India's trade deficit with China.

U.S. launches military strike in Syria after chemical weapons attack

  • The US has carried out a missile attack against targets in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province, which killed at least 70 people, including 10 children in which banned sarin nerve gas was used.
  • About 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean at a Syrian air base.
  • The missile attack on Syria opens a new dimension into the U.S. involvement in the region, which had so far focused on air strikes against ISIS targets.

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia in field of Health and Medicine

  • The Union Cabinet has approved an MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The MoU will involve cooperation through joint initiatives in the Health Sector and strengthen bilateral ties between both countries.
  1. Communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  2. Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health.
  3. Anti-Microbial Resistance and responding to public health emergencies.
  4. Regulation of vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
  5. Digital Health.
  6. Tobacco Control.
  7. Any other area of cooperation decided mutually by both countries.

World Health Day is being observed with theme 'Depression:let's talk

  • World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
  • The theme of our 2017 World Health Day campaign is Depression: let's talk. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world both seek and get help.
  • Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.
  • WHO Head: Margaret Chan
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland