Daily Current Affairs - 22nd May 2017
1,800 IAS officers fail to disclose asset details
- As per Department of Personnel and Training data, over 1,800 IAS officers have not submitted details of their immovable assets to the government within the stipulated time-frame this year.
- Of them, the highest of 255 such officers are from Uttar Pradesh cadre, 153 from Rajasthan, 118 from Madhya Pradesh, 109 from West Bengal and 104 from Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre.
- All officers of the Indian Administrative Service are mandated to submit Immovable Property Returns of a year by January-end of the following year, failing which their promotion and empanelment can be denied.
- As per norms, civil services officers are also supposed to give details of their assets and liabilities to the government. Besides, the officers need to take prior permission from the Central government before accepting gifts worth more than Rs. 5,000. They also need to inform government if they accept gifts of over Rs. 25,000 from their relatives or friends.
- The total sanctioned strength of IAS is 6,500, including 1,450 promotion posts.
A breath analyser to spot diseases
- Scientists have developed a low-cost, disposable sensor that can detect disease markers in one’s breath, giving patients an early warning sign to call the doctor. The device is made of a thin square of an organic plastic.
- For example, monitoring the change in ammonia concentration in the breath could give patients a warning sign to go for a kidney function test.
Alexander Zverev masters Djokovic in Rome Masters final
- Alexander Zverev won his first ever ATP 1000 title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over second seed Novak Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters.
- The German 20-year-old becomes the youngest Masters 1000 title list since Djokovic won the 2007 Miami Masters as a 19-year-old.
- Elina Svitolina won the women’s title with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Simona Halep.
Algorithms help create fake videos
- Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new artificial intelligence system that can create fake videos of a person by using their still images and an audio clip.
- The system works by first identifying facial features using face-recognition algorithms. As the audio clip plays, the system then manipulates the mouth of the person in the still image to make it seem as if he or she is speaking.
- In the future, the audio from news clips could be automatically translated into another language and the images updated to seem natural.
Bengaluru FC wins Fed Cup
- Bengaluru FC edged out Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the summit clash and claiming its second Federation Cup crown at the Barabati Stadium. In the tightly contested tussle befitting a final, BFC overcame a bit of hard luck to ride on C.K. Vineeth’s extra-time brace and bag the prestigious title.
Brazilians stage demonstrations to call for their president to step down
- Brazilians around the country staged demonstrations to call for their president to step down after the supreme court opened an investigation into allegations he endorsed the payment of hush money to a jailed former lawmaker.
- The accusations against President Michel Temer have plunged Latin America's largest nation into crisis yet again, sending its currency and stocks plummeting.The accusations have also stalled a series of reforms designed to pull the economy out of a protracted recession.
- It's been just a year since Temer took over as president following the impeachment and removal of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.
- Capital: Brasilia
- Currency: Real
Cool off with self-ventilating gym wear
- Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S., have designed a breathable workout suit with ventilating flaps that open and close in response to an athlete’s body heat and sweat.
- These flaps are lined with live microbial cells that shrink and expand in response to changes in humidity. The cells act as tiny sensors and actuators, driving the flaps open when an athlete works up a sweat, and pulling them closed when the body has cooled off.
- The researchers engineered moisture-sensitive cells to not only pull flaps open but also light up in response to humid conditions.
- The researchers have also fashioned running shoes with an inner layer of similar cell-lined flaps to air out and wick away moisture.
Defence deals await private firms
- The Union government will soon unveil mega defence deals estimated at over Rs. 1.5 lakh crore involving the private sector under the strategic partnership model to build a domestic defence manufacturing base in key areas such as submarines and fighter aircraft.
- The Defence Acquisition Council approved the framework of the model. The policy will now go to the Finance Ministry and then to the Cabinet Committee on Security for final approval.
- The new model has four segments —submarines, single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — and specifically intends to open up defence manufacturing to the private sector.
- Some of the Indian private players vying for the defence projects include Larsen & Toubro (L&T),Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, Mahindra and Tata Motors.
Euro zone, IMF to seek compromise on Greek debt deal
- Euro zone Finance Ministers and the International Monetary Fund will seek a deal on Greek debt relief. Without the deal, no new loans can be disbursed to Athens, even though the bailout is now handled only by euro zone governments.
- Greece needs new credit to repay some 7.3 billion euros worth of maturing loans in July. Greece has agreed after months of negotiations, with the euro zone lenders and the IMF on pensions and tax reforms.
- Preisdent: Prokopios Pavlopoulos
- Prime Minister: Alexis Tsipras
- Greece Capital: Athens
- Currency: Euro
France's Macron hosts Italy's Gentiloni ahead of G7 meeting
- French President Emmanuel Macron has held talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Paris ahead of next week's G-7 meeting. Both leaders discussed the further integration of the European Union and the migrant crisis.
- Both the nattions share much common ground and the challenges Italy has faced with the arrival of large numbers of migrants.
- The two-day G-7 summit is scheduled for next weekend in Taormina, Italy.
Google woos start-ups to heat up its cloud
- Google is wooing some of the world’s hottest start-ups to sell its cloud computing technology. These include ventures that send satellites into the space to study the changing earth, firms that convert traditional manufacturing plants into smart factories and start-ups that are simulating entire cities.
- It is offering cloud technology that combines a large amount of storage and computing. It then sells it to customers who may want to enhance or set up new data centres.
Gurindervir, Abhishek strike gold
- Gurindervir Singh and Abhishek Mathew won gold medals for India at the Asian youth athletics championship in Bangkok. Gurindervir clocked 10.77s for the 100m gold while Abhishek pipped Sri Lankan Harsha Dissanayaka in a photo-finish to win the 800m in 1:54.99s.
- India also won two bronze medals through Akshay Nain (boys’ 400m) and Seema (girls’ 3,000m).
India wins all gold medals on offer
- India added six more golds on the concluding day to take home all the 10 gold medals on offer in the South Asian junior table tennis championships at Mount Lavinia, near Colombo. India also claimed four silvers.
- India and Sri Lanka booked their berths in the Asian junior championships at Ansan, Korea, from June 29 to July 4.
Jamsenpa scripts history, scales Everest twice in 5 days
- Climber Anshu Jamsenpa scripted history by scaling Mount Everest twice within five days. She set the world record for becoming the first woman climber to reach the top of Mount Everest twice within five days.
- She is also the first Indian woman to reach the top of the mountain for the fifth time.
Jerusalem will always be capital of Jewish state: Israel PM
- Israeli Prime Minister said that Jerusalem will always be the capital of the Jewish state. He said, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.
- The Western Wall is the last remnant of the supporting wall of the second Jewish temple, built by King Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
- It is the holiest site where Jews can pray and it is in the Old City of east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967.
- It is situated below the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount. The legal and diplomatic status of Jerusalem is one of the key points in the Middle East conflict.
- Israel considers the entire Jerusalem city to be its eternal and indivisible capital, but the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
- President: Reuven Rivilin
- Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu
- Capital: Jerusalem; Currency: Israeli new shekel
Mapping the universe with quasar positions
- Astronomers have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the universe based entirely on the positions of quasars. To make their map, scientists used the Sloan Foundation Telescope to observe an unprecedented number of quasars.
- During the first two years of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s survey, astronomers measured three-dimensional positions for more than 1,47,000 quasars.
- Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by super-massive black holes. The amazing brightness of quasars is due to the supermassive black holes found at their centres.
Mumbai Indians claim third IPL title with stunning last-ball finish
- Mumbai Indians won their third Indian Premier League title, defeating Rising Pune Supergiant by just one run in a dramatic final which went to the last ball.
- Supergiant lost three wickets in the last over - bowled by Mitchell Johnson (3-26) - to be restricted to 128-6 after Mumbai Indians scored 129-8.
- Supergiant needed 11 runs off the last over but Johnson dismissed Manoj Tiway and top-scorer Steve Smith (51) off successive deliveries after conceding a boundary off the first ball.
North Korea fires mid-range missile
- North Korea fired a medium-range missile, the latest ballistics test by a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
- The rocket was fired from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang, in South Phyongan Province, and flew eastward about 500 km.
- Currency: North Korean won
Poonam, Mithali guide India to win
- Poonam Raut and Mithali Raj shared an unbeaten 127-run stand as India defeated South Africa by eight wickets in the final of the Women’s Quadrangular Series
- Earlier India had restricted South Africa for a paltry 156 in 40.2 overs. Raut (70 off 92 ) and Raj (62 off 79) then delivered with the bat, taking India to a comfortable win in 33 overs.
Railways mulling track cleanliness survey
- Widening its sanitation drive, the Indian Railways will now carry out a cleanliness survey of tracks on busy routes and rank its 16 zones based on performance.
- Railway tracks at many stretches resemble garbage dump with leftover food, plastic bottles and paper boxes strewn all over. Discharge of human waste from trains is also a cause for concern. Accumulation of garbage and human waste from open-discharge toilets were damaging the tracks.
- All-out efforts will be made to keep the tracks clean as part of the government’s ongoing cleanliness campaign.
- The railways has also made operational a ‘Swachh Rail’ portal to showcase cleanliness rankings of various stations.
- The Indian Railways is the third largest rail network in the world, covering 66,000 km and having more than 8,000 stations.
Softbank-Saudi tech fund raises $93 billion
- The world’s largest private equity fund, backed by Japan’s Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund had raised over $93 billion to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
- SoftBank said its areas of focus include internet-of-things, AI, robotics, infrastructure, telecoms, bio tech, fintech, mobile apps and more.
- In addition to Softbank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the new fund’s investors include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment( committed $15 billion) Apple Inc, Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp Corp.
- Softbank:Softbank is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation.
- Chairman of Softbank: Masayoshi Son
Swiss vote against use of nuclear power
- Swiss voters are supporting a referendum to withdraw the country from nuclear power in favour of renewable energy. The result from the referendum shows a majority of cantons (States) voted for the plan. The projection showed 58% of voters in favour and 42% against the proposal.
- Under Switzerland’s direct democracy system, initiatives need a majority of both cantons and votes to pass.
- The government wants to ban the construction of new nuclear power plants and decommission the country’s five existing ones at the end of their technically safe operating lives.
- President: Doris Leuthard
- Capital: Bern
- Currency: Swiss franc
TPP trade deal will continue without U.S.A
- Asia-Pacific Trade Ministers have agreed to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite abandoning it by the US President Donald Trump. Trade Ministers from the 11 remaining countries met in Vietnam to get the deal back on track.
- Mr Trump had said in January that he would block the passage of the 12-nation pact in order to protect American jobs.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) designed to liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries: New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Turkey's ruling party elects President Erdogan as leader
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has returned as leader of the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party, pushing back against criticism that his tenure has curtailed freedoms and polarised the country as he vowed to serve the nation and combat terror.
- Mr. Erdogan was the only candidate for the post of party chairman. He will return to lead the party that he co-founded with Abdullah Gül.
- Turkey Prime Minister: Binali yildlrim
- Capital: Ankara
- Currency: Turkish lira
UN urges Libya to release all refugees, asylum seekers
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has urged Libyan authorities to free all asylum seekers and refugees from its detention centres.
- Thousands of refugees are being held in dozens of detention centres in Libya, after being stopped or rescued from rickety boats as they attempted the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees: Filippo Grandi
US President calls for international isolation of Iran
- US President Donald Trump urged Muslim countries to deny sanctuary to extremists and called for international isolation of Iran, which he accused of fuelling sectarian conflict and terror.
- He said that from Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.
- He appealed to Muslim nations to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil and announced an agreement with Gulf countries to fight financing for extremists.