Daily Current Affairs - 27th Apr 2017

A data glove for the speech-disabled

  • A data glove, which measures the individual joint angles of all the five fingers to understand the activity of daily living, developed by Nayan Bhatt, Research Scholar from the Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, recently won the Budding Innovators Award given by the Delhi-based National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).
  • The data glove has 15 sensors (plus an additional reference sensor) that help in gathering information about kinematics or hand motion. The sensors are placed on the segments of a finger — each finger has three segments and the junction between two segments forms a joint. Each sensor is connected to a microcontroller board using a flexible wire to collect data.
  • The development may find application in animation and other industries.

Artificial womb experiment delivers hopes

  • According to researchers study, an artificial womb filled with clear liquid, successfully tested on pre-natal lambs, could help extremely premature babies avoid death or life-long disability.
  • For the study, the researchers tested six preterm lambs transferred from their mothers’ wombs to the device at 105 to 112 days of gestation — the equivalent of 23 to 24 weeks in a human. They remained in the artificial wombs for up to 28 days.
  • Today, infants brought into the world after only 22 or 23 weeks of gestation rather than the full 40 have a 50/50 chance of living, and — for those that survive — a 90% change of severe and lasting health problems.
  • The new system mimics life in the uterus and could, if approved for human use, dramatically improve those odds. The researchers are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prepare human trials, which could start within three years.
  • Extremely premature infants who survive often have chronic lung infections and other crippling health problems.

Axis Bank Q4 profit slumps 43%

  • Axis Bank reported a 43% decline in fourth-quarter net profit to Rs. 1,225 crore due to slower loan growth, despite a healthy increase in trading income. Net interest income in the quarter ended March 31 grew by 4% to Rs. 4,729 crore while trading profit soared 350% to Rs. 428 crore.
  • Overall loan growth was 10% to Rs. 3.73,069 lakh crore while retail advances grew 21% and accounted for 45% of the net advances.

BCCI outvoted in ICC, end of the Big Three

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board received a thumping mandate from its full member directors to implement the changes to its constitution (governance) and financial (revenue) structure.
  • At the Board meeting in Dubai eight directors, excluding representatives from BCCI and Cricket Sri Lanka, voted in favour of the change in governance structure.
  • Protesting at the ICC’s decision to abandon the 2014 resolution that vested powers with the Cricket Boards of India, Australia and England and guaranteed 20.3% of the ICC’s gross revenue for an eight-year cycle (2016-2023).
  • The BCCI’s share now will be $293 million (from $289 million). England will receive $143 million. Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka will receive $132 million each. Zimbabwe will get $94 million.
  • Earlier, the BCCI rejected the ICC offer of $100 million raise, as it was demanding $610 million (20.3 % of $ 2.7 billion — gross revenue for eight years — plus an additional $62 million allocated to all members).

Belgium opens honorary consulate in GIFT City

  • Belgium has become the first country to open an honorary consulate office in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Belgium already has two Consulates-General in Mumbai and Chennai, and an honorary consulate in Kolkata.
  • Gujarat International Finance Tec-City or GIFT is an under-construction central business district (CBD) located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in the state of Gujarat.
  • It will be built on 886 acres of land to provide high-quality physical infrastructure with facilities like electricity, water, gas, district cooling, roads, telecoms and broadband services to woo finance and tech firms.
  • GIFT will include a special economic zone (SEZ), international education zone, integrated townships, an entertainment zone, hotels, a convention center, an international techno park, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) units, shopping malls, stock exchanges and other service units.
  • The likely cost of the GIFT City project is Rs 70,000 crore.

Centre appoints CRPF, ITBP chiefs

  • IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar has been appointed as the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). His appointment comes in the wake of the Sukma attack, where 25 jawans were killed. The CRPF was functioning without a head for the past two months after the retirement of K. Durga Prasad on February 28, 2017.
  • Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar is a 1983 batch IPS officer belonging to the Uttar Pradesh cadre. He is the Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
  • IPS officer R.K. Pachnanda has been named the director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). R.K. Pachnanda is a 1983 batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre.

China boosts naval power with new aircraft carrier

  • China has launched its second aircraft carrier, marking an incremental rise in its capacity to project power in the West Pacific. The new carrier, which is likely to be christened Shandong, will supplement the Liaoning-China’s first aircraft carrier that was purchased from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012.
  • The Type 001-A is expected to enter service of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), or PLAN, by 2020.
  • The new carrier will have a displacement of 50,000 tonnes, which means that the Type 001-A will be a mid-sized carrier, significantly smaller than the super-carriers operated by the U.S., which are above 70,000 tonnes.

French Open hikes prize money

  • Prize money at Roland Garros, which starts next month, will be up 12 per cent on last year, tournament director said. The total amount is up from €32 to 36 million. But the sum handed out to the winner will rise by only five per cent from €2.0 to 2.1 million.

India to host 18th World Road Meeting

  • The International Road federation (IRF) has named India to be the host of the 18th World Road Meeting (WRM 2017). WRM 2017 will be held on November 13, 2017. The theme of this year’s WRM is ‘Safe Roads and Smart Mobility: The Engines of Economic Growth’.
  • India has been chosen to hold this event to reflect the growing importance of the country as a market for transport infrastructure and services.
  • The WRM will provide an important platform for potential investors to partner and participate in the immense opportunities that are made available by the country.
  • The conference is expected to be attended by over 4,000 delegates across the world and will include plenary sessions with eminent and well-known speakers discussing important issues.
  • The World Road Meeting is the biggest global platform for road engineers, safety and transport experts and companies engaged in road safety products to discuss issues pertaining to road infrastructure and mobility as well as to exhibit and showcase their products.
  • WRM is held once in every four years.

Japan PM to visit Russia, Britain

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to visit Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and pursue talks on joint economic projects aimed at a possible breakthrough in their decades-old island dispute. He will also visit Britain next for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • Resolving the conflict over the islands occupied by the Soviet Union in the final days of World War II should be part of setting the stage for the long-term development of relations with Japan.
  • The former Soviet Union invaded the islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu at the end of the war, expelling all 17,000 Japanese residents.
  • Japan’s official position is that the islands are an inherent part of its territory and are under illegal occupation.

Joint operational doctrine for India army, navy, air force unveiled

  • A "joint doctrine" providing for deeper operational synergies among the army, navy and air force was unveiled today with an aim to coherently deal with all possible security threats facing India including conventional and proxy wars.
  • The doctrine proposes joint training of personnel, unified command and control structure. In addition, it supports tri-service approach to modernise the tri-services.
  • The doctrine emphasizes Higher Defence Organisation which will facilitate inter-Service coordination in planning, execution of operations and force planning.
  • It has called for coordination of agencies like RAW, Intelligence Bureau and Intelligence organisations of the para-military forces as part of the Joint Intelligence Committee under the National Security Adviser.
  • Navy Chief: Admiral Sunil Lamba
  • Army Chief: General Bipin Rawat
  • Air Force Chief: Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa

Manpreet Kaur wins shot put gold at Asian Grand Prix

  • Shot putter Manpreet Kaur broke her own 2015 national record at the Asian Grand Prix in Jinhua, China. Her performance in the event has helped her to earn a gold medal and qualify for the World Championships to be held in London in August 2017.She claimed No 1 spot in the world rankings.
  • Her gold medal winning performance of 18.86m turned out to be a world leading throw. She pushed Olympic champion Michelle Carter of USA to second spot, whose best throw this season was 18.54m recorded.
  • Overall, India managed to bag seven medals including one gold, four silver and two bronze at the event.
  • Two silver medals were secured by Tintu Lukka and Jinson Johnson. Shot putter Om Prakash managed to claim bronze with a distance of 18.41m.
  • India’s world junior champion in javelin, Neeraj Chopra managed to win silver.
  • Long jumper Neena Varakil has claimed silver and the national record holder in 100m sprint, Dutee Chand bagged bronze for the team.

Nita Ambani made member of IOC’s important Commissions

  • Nita Ambani has been made member of two important commissions of IOC’s governing body. She has been made as a member of the prestigious Olympic channel and Olympic education Commission. Nita Ambani already holds the distinction of being India’s first woman International Olympic Committee member. She was elected as an individual member of International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year. She will serve the IOC till she turns 70.
  • Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal continues to be on the IOC Athletes Commission after her appointment in October last year.

Saudis to fund 560 mosques in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh has approved a project to build hundreds of mosques with almost $1 billion from Saudi Arabia. The government plans to construct 560 mosques-one in every town in Bangladesh-as the secular administration woos Islamist groups before elections.
  • Bangladesh has sought the funds from Saudi Arabia, which will provide the lion’s share of the $1.07 billion cost.
  • Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
  • Capital: Dhaka
  • Currency:Bangladeshi taka

SC seeks law to regulate NGO funds

  • The Supreme Court suggested that the government ought to frame a statutory law to regulate the flow of public money to the NGOs. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar suggested introducing a law after studying the guidelines handed over by the government to the court, appointing NITI Aayog as the nodal agency for NGO registration.
  • The Union Rural Development Ministry had framed the accreditation guidelines to regulate the manner in which the VOs/NGOs, which are recipient of grants, would maintain their account, the procedure for audit of the account, including procedure to initiate action for recovering of the grants in case of misappropriation and criminal action.
  • The Centre on April 4 handed over to the Supreme Court the new guidelines framed for accreditation of nearly 30 lakh NGOs and voluntary organisations in the country.

SEBI to grant one licence to brokers, clearing members

  • Market regulator SEBI decided to grant a unified licence to brokers and clearing members to operate in commodity derivative as well as equity markets. SEBi's board approved a proposal for integration of stock brokers in equity and commodity derivative space. To enable the integration, SEBI will amend norms pertaining to stock broker and securities contract regulations.
  • With this, a broker or clearing member dealing in the securities markets will be allowed to buy, sell or deal in commodity derivatives without setting up a separate entity and vice-versa.
  • SEBI also decided to bar resident as well as non-resident Indians from making investments through participatory notes.
  • The decision is part of efforts to strengthen the regulatory framework for offshore derivative instruments (ODIs), commonly known as participatory notes (P-Notes), which have been long seen as being possibly misused for routing of black money from abroad.

Sensex scales historic peak

  • The 30-share Sensex closed above the 30,000-mark for the first time in history as a worldwide stock rally rippled through global markets.The BSE’s benchmark index climbed 190.11 points, or 0.63%, to 30,133.35, with ITC, M&M, HDFC being some of the major gainers. As Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have pumped in more than $3.4 billion in equities in April.
  • The rupee also continued its climb against the dollar, appreciating to 64.11 a dollar — a level last seen in August 2015. Strong foreign inflows into local equities helped the rupee strengthen to a 20-month high against the dollar.
  • Foreign Institutional Investor (FII) means an institution established or incorporated outside India which proposes to make investment in securities in India. FIIs are allowed to subscribe to new securities or trade in already issued securities.
  • Institutional investors most notably include hedge funds, insurance companies, pension funds and mutual funds.

Somnath Temple, Charminar among new places chosen for Swachh iconic places initiative

  • The Union government has announced the names of ten new Iconic places under the Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative. Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • The ten new iconic places that will be undertaken in Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative are: Gangotri, Yamunotri. Mahakaleshwar Temple (Ujjain), Char Minar (Hyderabad), Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi (Goa), Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi in Ernakulam, Gomateshwar in Shravanbelgola, Baijnath Dham (Devghar), Gaya Tirth (Bihar) and Somnath temple in Gujarat.
  • The aim of this initiative is to make these places intensely clean and transform them as model ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’, that will enhance the experience of visitors from India and abroad.
  • Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, a special clean-up initiative will be carried out on 100 iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.

Srishti Kaur wins Miss Teen Universe pageant

  • Srishti Kaur from India was crowned Miss Teen Universe 2017, beating out 25 other contestants from around the world in the annual beauty pageant. Samantha Pierre from Canada and Ary Trava from Mexico were the runners-up in the event held at the Ruben Dario National Theatre in Nicaragua’s capital Managua.
  • Kaur, a resident of Noida, also won the prize for best national costume.

Supreme Court to give Lokpal verdict

  • The Supreme Court will pronounce judgment on the government’s inability to implement the four-year-old Lokpal law for appointing an ombudsman against corruption in government and politics.
  • A Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi will declare its verdict on a set of PIL petitions led by NGO Common Cause, which had questioned the government's delay to appoint a Lokpal and comply with the law since it was enacted way back in 2014.
  • The amendments to the Lokpal law concerning the substitution of the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) with the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha on the high-powered Lokpal selection committee were still pending with Parliament.
  • The committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge as per the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013. But the the 16th Lok Sabha has not recognised LoP.
  • Attorney-General of India: Mukul Rohatgi

Tata Motors saddled with 15,000 unsold BS-III vehicles

  • Tata Motors has been left with 15,000 BS-III vehicles which could not be sold before the March 31 deadline for switching over to BS-IV emission norms. Most of the unsold vehicles will be exported and the rest will be converted to comply with BS-IV and some will be dismantled for spare parts.
  • Including the dealers’ unsold stock, a total of 15,000 BS-III vehicles, including 4,000 medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV), remain unsold.
  • The company will export these unsold vehicles to Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and markets in East Africa and South East Asia.

Uttar Pradesh cancels 15 government holidays

  • The Uttar Pradesh state government has cancelled 15 public holidays marking the birth or death anniversaries of eminent personalities. Alternatively, on these days, the school and college students would be taught about these public figures through various programmes.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, there are 42 public holidays of which at least 17 are related to the birth anniversaries of eminent personalities.
  • The move was taken at the backdrop of increasing concern over the shrinking academic session due to increased holidays. It is held that in the state 220-day academic session has been reduced to only 120 days due to the celebration of such holidays.
  • Uttar Pradesh CM: Yogi Adityanath