Daily Current Affairs - 06th May 2017

South Asian leaders thank Modi for gifting satellite

  • Taking both space diplomacy and India’s outreach to the neighbours into a “new orbit”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a unique joint videoconference of the leaders of all SAARC countries, apart from Pakistan who had declined to join the South Asia satellite programme, shortly after the successful launch of the GSLV GSAT 9.
  • Ambassadors of all six nations were also invited to witness the lift-off at ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.The leaders congratulated India for its technological success as well as Mr. Modi for turning his “vision to reality” by seeing the Rs. 450-crore launch through.
  • Mr. Modi had proposed the plan for the shared satellite during the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in 2014.

Algeria ruling coalition wins parliamentary elections

  • The party of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and its coalition ally have won a clear majority in parliamentary elections, according to the interior ministry.
  • Bouteflika's National Liberation Front (FLN) won 164 of the national assembly's 462 seats in a poll overshadowed by low turnout, public disillusionment over a tepid economy and allegations of political corruption.
  • Algeria Capital : Algiers
  • Algeria Currency : Algerian Dinar

Bad loans ordinance empowers RBI to instruct banks for resolution of stressed assets

  • The ordinance promulgated by the government on bad loans has now empowered the Reserve Bank Of India to issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
  • The ordinance authorises Reserve Bank to issue directions to any banking company or banking companies to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of a default under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • As per the latest government data, public sector banks’ gross bad loans rose by over Rs 1 lakh crore in the first nine months of last fiscal year to Rs 6.07 lakh crore by end December, from Rs 5.02 lakh crore at the end of March 2016.

Bezbaruah named Tea Board chairman

  • P. K. Bezbaruah will take over as the chairman of the Tea Board of India, filling up a post lying vacant since M.G.V.K. Bhanu left three years ago.
  • His appointment would mark the first such instance of an industry representative being appointed to the top-post of the regulatory body. He is presently the chairman of the Tea Research Association

Cabinet committee clears appointments of new chiefs

  • The appointment committee of the cabinet cleared the posting of Sunil Mehta, executive director of Corporation Bank as MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank.
  • PNB CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian will now head to Kolkata-based Allahabad Bank. Allahabad Bank’s top post fell vacant last month after Rakesh Sethi retired.
  • Dinabandhu Mohapatra, executive director of Canara Bank will take over as MD and CEO of Bank of India and serve till June 30, 2019, BoI’s existing CEO M.O. Rego will take charge of Syndicate Bank.
  • Rajkiran Rai G, now executive director of Oriental Bank of Commerce, will take over as the MD and CEO of Union Bank of India for a period of three years. R.A. Sankara Narayanan, executive director of Bank of India, will assume the post of MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank.

Centre moots 3 levels of ban for unruly flyers

  • The Centre proposed guidelines allowing domestic airlines to ban unruly passengers for a period ranging from three months to a lifetime.
  • According to the draft Civil Aviation Requirements on “Handling of unruly or disruptive passengers,” airlines can impose three levels of ban on unruly passengers — three months for disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures; six months for physically abusive behaviour such as pushing, kicking and sexual harassment; and two years or more for life threatening behaviour, including damage to aircraft systems.
  • The passenger will not face a blanket ban by all airlines; however, the Centre has proposed empowering other airlines to also impose a similar ban on the passenger imposed by one airline.

CM Khandu flags off Mt. Kangto expedition

  • Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu flagged off the Mt Kangto Exploration Arunachal Team 2017. The team is headed by Everester Tapi Mra.
  • Mt. Kangto, with an altitude of 7,042 metres, is the highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh and is yet to be scaled.

Forex reserves hit all time high of $373 bn

  • The country’s foreign exchange reserves touched an all-time high of $372.7 billion, according to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on the back of sustained inflows.
  • According to RBI, total reserves increased by $1.59 billion during the week ended April 28 mainly due to rise in foreign currency assets which rose by $1.57 billion. According to economists, this level of reserves can cover 11-12 months of imports.
  • Foreign investors have pumped in $7.7 billion in debt and $6.3 billion in equities since the beginning of the year.

India’s stance on forum irks China

  • India risks being “isolated” if it decides not to attend the Chinese Belt and Road Forum on May 14-15, a senior Chinese official said.
  • The official said “mainstream” and trade ties between India and China remained strong, but admitted that issues like India’s NSG membership and push for the U.N. to designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist, both of which are blocked by China, as well as the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh had put a strain on their political relationship.
  • The official also pointed out that despite the strain in ties, India and China will see several high-level meetings this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kazakhstan.

Lionel Messi Ban Lifted In Major Boost To Argentina's World Cup Hopes

  • Argentina's hopes of reaching next year's World Cup were given a huge boost after FIFA overturned Lionel Messi's four-game ban for swearing at an assistant referee.
  • FIFA said there was not enough evidence to support the stiff punishment. The ruling also means Messi will be spared the 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000, 9,200 euros) fine.

Made-in-China jet takes off

  • China’s home-grown narrow bodied passenger plane took to the skies. The C-919, built in Shanghai, took off from the city’s Pudong airport.
  • The 158-seat jet is part of a family of six planes that are to undergo stringent flight tests till 2019, before the C-919 can enter the market. Once commercial sales begin, the plane is expected to compete for market share with the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

Novel molecule to treat cancer

  • A novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers, has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
  • The molecule (Disarib) works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2. While BCL2 protein is produced in excess in cancer cells, its expression is almost undetectable in normal cells. Hence, Disarib targets and kills only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.
  • The team has already carried out toxicity studies. The next step will be to test the toxicity and efficacy of the molecule in cancer cells taken from patients, and also test it in combination with known cancer drugs.

Researchers develop synthetic soft retina

  • Scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a synthetic, soft tissue retina that closely mimics the natural retinal process.
  • The researchers believe that their efforts could lead to the development of less invasive products that closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Until now, artificial retinal research has used mostly rigid, hard materials.The synthetic, double-layered retina replica consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and biological cell membrane proteins.

Royalty-on-rails, now in South India

  • The Maharaja Express runs between Mumbai and Delhi, with 23 coaches carrying just 88 guests.
  • Now, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is introducing two new routes in September, bringing the regal train rides to the south.
  • The Southern Sojourn will cover Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Ernakulum, Kumarakom and Thiruvananthapuram.
  • And the Southern Jewel will cover Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore Hampi and Goa.

Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt.

  • The Supreme Court passed a slew of directions, including setting up of a database of children living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.
  • A Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed the Centre, States and union territories (UTs) to complete the registration of all child care institutions by year-end.
  • The court said the registration process should also include a database of all children in need of care and protection and update it every month.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2017: India Lose To Malaysia, Fail To Enter Final

  • India lost 0-1 to Malaysia in their last Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament league match in Ipoh.
  • With seven points from five matches, India will take on the Kiwis in the bronze-medal play-off match. The final will be played between defending champions Australia and Great Britain.
  • This was India's second loss in the league stage, having lost to Australia earlier in the week. They had drawn with Great Britain in the opener and had beaten New Zealand and Japan.

UN slams Nepal's 'politically motivated' move to impeach judge

  • The UN human rights chief harshly criticised Nepal’s efforts to impeach the country’s first female chief justice, warning the move appeared to be aimed at undermining judicial independence.
  • Nepal’s government filed a motion to impeach Sushila Karki after the two main parties in the coalition accused her of interference following a Supreme Court ruling last month overturning Kathmandu’s choice for chief of police.
  • Nepal Capital : Khatmandu
  • Prime Minister : Pushpa Kamal Dahal