Daily Current Affairs - 30th Apr 2017

1.3 lakh post offices in rural areas to be connected through broadband

  • Over 1.3 lakh post offices in rural areas and 25 thousand sub-post offices are to be connected through broadband for high speed Internet connectivity in rural masses.
  • A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Bharat broadband network limited, Department of Posts and BSNL for providing BharatNet broadband connectivity to Post Offices in rural areas.
  • The first phase of connecting about one lakh Gram Panchayats is nearing its completion and in the remaining one and a half lakh Gram Panchayats, 100 mbps broadband connectivity will be completed by December next year.

15 Lakh VVPAT machines to be purchased by Sep 2018

  • Chief Election Commissioner of India has said that 15 lakh VVPAT machines will be purchased by September 2018. With the purchase of VVPAT machines, India will become the first country of the world where 100 percent voters would get the confirmation about their polled votes.
  • He said that stress will be given on more election reforms and measures will be taken to check the use of drugs, liquor, money and gifts in elections.
  • Chief Election Commissioner of India: Naseem Ahmed Zaid

8-9 lakh registered firms not filing returns: Revenue Secretary

  • According to the Revenue Secretary of India, as many as 8-9 lakh registered companies are not filing annual returns with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and are a potential source of money laundering.
  • There are 15 lakh registered companies in which as many as 8 —9 lakh are not filing annual returns with the concerned ministry. They have become a potential threat for money laundering.
  • According to the sources, trade based money laundering is also getting prominent these days as was witnessed in the Rs 6,000-crore Bank of Baroda case.
  • In a major crackdown on domestic shell companies, the Indian government had decided to take harsh punitive action, including freezing of their bank accounts used to launder money or evade taxes.

Brazil: Violence erupts in Rio after general strike

  • Violence has erupted in Brazil at the end the country's first general strike in more than 20 years. Buses and cars have been set on fire in Rio de Janeiro's city centre. Road blocks set up by activists were also ablaze and shops were vandalised.
  • Unions called the strike in protest at proposed pension reforms.
  • President: Michel Temer
  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Currency: Brazilian real

Centre launches Test & Treat policy for HIV patients

  • The Union Health Ministry has launched the Test and Treat policy for providing treatment to patients suffering from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Under it, the union government will provide Anti- Retroviral Therapy (ART) treatment to the patients free of cost. A person detected HIV positive will be provided ART treatment.
  • Moreover, it is a centrally sponsored scheme and people suffering from HIV will benefit from it.
  • The government will soon launch a national strategic plan to fight against HIV-AIDS.
  • Union Health Minister: JP Nadda

Chhattisgarh passes State GST Bill

  • Chhattisgarh legislative assembly passed the state Goods and Service Tax Bill 2017 by a voice vote after a three hour long debate. It became the fifth state in the country to pass the bill.
  • The state government would organise camps at different places to address the quires and concerns of traders and businessmen about GST for its smooth implementation.
  • Earlier, Bihar, Telangana, Jharkhand and Rajasthan have already passed the state GST Bill 2017 after both houses of parliament adopted the GST Bill during the budget session this year.
  • Chief Minister: Raman Singh
  • Capital: Raipur

Himachal: 23,700 street lights replaced by LED lights under SLNP

  • In Himachal Pradesh, under the government of India’s Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), Urban Local Bodies have replaced 23,700 conventional street lights by LED lights.
  • The Union government aims to replace 1.34 crore conventional street lights with LED lights and over 21 lakh conventional street lights have been replaced so far across the country.
  • In this hill state, the Street Lighting National Programme has led to an annual saving of 33.36 lakh kilo Watt power while reducing CO2 emissions by 2,600 tonnes.

India to face Great Britain in opening match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men's hockey tournament

  • India will face Great Britain in the opening match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men's Hockey tournament in Ipoh – Malaysia. Six nations - India, Malaysia, Australia, Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand - are taking part in the 8-day tournament which will be held in a round-robin format.
  • Australia are the defending champions, while India had finished runners up last year.

India's 1st book village to come up in Maharashtra

  • A hamlet in Satara district of Maharashtra is all set to embrace the tag of India's first 'village of books'. This village of books, located in Bhilar, stretches over 2 kilometres. Famous for its strawberries, it is siutauted 8 kilometres away from Panchgani, is getting a new identity die to this initiative.
  • It will have exclusive Marathi books to promote Marathi reading and literature.
  • Bhilar is likely to have the highest per capita availability of books for any village in the country, as 10,000 books will be made available for reading for a population of 10,000 people. As of now, all the books provided by the Maharashtra government are in Marathi. Books written in Hindi and English will be added to this collection.
  • This project involves 25 artistically decorated locations around the village, which will be turned into reader hot spots with display of books on wide-ranging subjects.

Mexico’s lower house approves medical use of marijuana

  • Mexico’s lower house overwhelmingly passed a bill approving the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The Bill passed by a 374-7 vote with 11 abstentions allows growing marijuana for medicinal or scientific purposes. The legislation now goes to President to be signed into law.
  • The Bill would also authorize cultivation of marijuana plants for medical and scientific purposes and establish that industrial products with concentrations of 1 percent THC or less would be legal to buy, sell, import and export.
  • President: Enrique Pena Nieto
  • Capital: Mexico city
  • Currency: Mexican peso

Montenegro parliament ratifies country's accession to NATO

  • The parliament of Montenegro has ratified the country's accession to NATO, despite strong domestic opposition and Russian disapproval. The vote in favour - by 46 out of 81 MPs - paves the way for Montenegro to join NATO late next month. Russia long regarded Montenegro and neighbouring Serbia as its allies.
  • Montenegro's Prime Minister: Dusko Markovic
  • Capital: Podgorica
  • Currencies: Euro, Euro sign
  • NATO: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental millitary alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
  • NATO Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

North Korea test-fires ballistic missile, fails within seconds

  • North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile, which failed within seconds after lift-off. The missile was fired from a site in South Pyeongan province north of Pyongyang. North Korea has made repeated attempts to miniaturise nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles said to be capable of reaching the US.
  • US President Donald Trump said that North Korea disrespected the wishes of China when it launched the missile.

Pankaj Advani loses summit clash of Asian Snooker Championship

  • India's top cueist Pankaj Advani lost to China's Lv Haotian in the summit clash of Asian Snooker Championship in Doha. Advani lost 3-6 in the final to his Chinese opponent. With this defeat he could not become the first player to win both Asian titles in Billiards and Snooker in same calendar year.
  • Having won all the major events - Nationals, Asian and World Championships in both Billiards and Snooker and in both the long and short formats, this is the one title (15-red Asian Snooker) that has eluded Advani.
  • A victory will make Advani only player in history to win all Majors in two sports at all levels and across all formats.

Pichai received nearly $200 mln compensation last year

  • Google’s 44-year-old India-born CEO Sundar Pichai received nearly $200 million in compensation last year, double the amount he got in 2015. Mr. Pichai received a salary of $650,000 last year, slightly less than the $652,500 he earned in 2015.
  • He received a stock award of $198.7 million in 2016, roughly double his 2015 stock award of $99.8 million.
  • The company’s compensation committee attributed the lavish pay to Mr. Pichai’s promotion to CEO and numerous successful product launches.
  • Under Mr. Pichai, Google has boosted sales from its core advertising and YouTube business, while also investing in machine learning, hardware and cloud computing.
  • Google’s other revenues, a category that includes hardware and cloud services, hit nearly $3.1 billion in the most recent quarter, a gain of about 50 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier.
  • Alphabet’s stock has soared this year, pushing it above a $600 billion market cap this week for the first time.
  • Alphabet Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate founded on October 2, 2015, by the two founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with Page serving as CEO and Brin as President.
  • It is the parent company of Google and several other companies previously owned by them.

RBI says, banks cannot refuse to accept faded or scribbled notes

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified that banks cannot refuse to accept faded notes or those with scribbles. In a circular to banks, the RBI said such banknotes have to be treated as "soiled notes" and dealt with according to the RBI's "clean note policy"
  • The circular was issued after it received complaints that many branches were not accepting banknotes, specifically of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations, with anything written on them or those either smudged with colour or faded due to washing.
  • The central bank clarified that its instructions on scribbling on notes was a directive for staffers not to write on banknotes. Bank branches have been rejecting such notes following rumors in social media that such notes were not acceptable.

SC offers to set the stage for peace talks in Kashmir

  • For peace to return to Kashmir, students should first stop throwing stones at security forces on the streets and return to colleges and schools, the Supreme Court said. A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, asked the stakeholders in Kashmir to take two steps back as a resolution could be initiated only if there are no stones hurled and pellets fired on the streets of Kashmir.
  • The court said it was ready to set the stage for talks between stakeholders and influential public voices in Kashmir and the Centre.