Daily Current Affairs - 04th Jun 2017

Centre to auction 71 mineral blocks

  • The Union government has identified 71 major mineral blocks in seven states that will be auctioned during current financial year. These include 6 blocks in in Andhra Pradesh, 11 in Chhattisgarh, 12 blocks in Gujarat, 9 in Jharkhand. Besides, 18 blocks are in Maharashtra, 7 in Odisha and 8 blocks in Rajasthan.
  • The auctions to be conducted will fetch Rs. 85,250 crore to States. Out of this, the additional contribution due to auction is Rs. 67,501 crore over the licence period of 50 years. Just four States constitute 90 per cent of this takeaway.

Champions Trophy: South Africa beat Sri Lanka

  • South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by 96 runs in their Champions Trophy opener at The Oval. Batting first South Africa were restricted to 299-6with Hashim Amla top scoring 103, followed by Du Plessis with 75 runs.
  • Chasing the target, Sri Lankans were bundled out for 203 (41.3 overs).

Facebook seeks India payment system patent

  • Facebook has sought an Indian patent for its electronic payment system enabled through messaging. The firm has already filed for the patent at the Chennai Patent Office.
  • The present disclosure relates to systems methods and devices that provide a transactional payment system. In particular, the transactional payment system allows users of messaging systems to send and receive electronic payments to and from other users of the messaging system.
  • Facebook-owned mobile messaging app WhatsApp aparently is preparing to enter India’s booming digital payments industry. The patent application envisages peer-to-peer payment between users of a messaging application such as WhatsApp.

Federal Bank eyes slice of digital pie

  • Federal Bank plans to reach out to more than one lakh merchants for Unified Payments Interface-based transactions this financial year from the current 20,000. The merchants will use UPI point-of-sale machines, mobile app or web app for transactions.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing and merchant payments into one.
  • The bank had 1,250 branches now and 650 of these were opened in the last couple of years.The bank’s capital adequacy ratio was at 12.39%.
  • The Federal Bank Limited is a major private sector commercial bank headquartered at Aluva, Kochi, Kerala.
  • CEO: Shyam Srinivasan

India is third in best-value fares

  • India dropped to a third position from its top slot on offers for the best-valued air ticket prices on its domestic and international routes worldwide, according to a recent study by Kiwi.com.
  • The survey said India’s average flight cost for travel of 100 km rose from $3.25 in 2016 to $4.96 in 2017. However, India’s full-service carriers offered the cheapest airfares at $4.25 (2.67 per 100 km travel).
  • Malaysia, with airfares at $4.18 for 100 km travel and Bulgaria ($4.65) preceded India.

India, France to join hands on Paris pact

  • India and France vowed to work together for the implementation of the landmark Paris climate agreement and fight the challenge posed by terrorism. Mr. Modi said India was committed to go above and beyond the Paris deal to protect climate for future generations as he termed the U.N.-brokered agreement a shared legacy of the world. Leaders of the two countries also vow to unite to boost maritime security and fight against terrorism.

Indian-origin Leo Varadkar to be next Ireland PM

  • Ireland's governing Fine Gael party elected Leo Varadkar as its new leader, he will succeed Enda Kenny as prime minister in a striking sign of the country's rapid social change, which was once a staunchly Catholic country.
  • Mr Varadkar defeated his rival Simon Coveney by garnering 60% of the votes to lead Fine Gael.
  • Varadkar is the 38-year-old son of an Indian immigrant and will be the country's first openly gay premier.
  • Capital: Dublin
  • Currency: Euro

Malta votes in snap election amid corruption scandal

  • Maltese voters cast ballots in a snap election called by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who has sought to fend off corruption allegations levelled at his wife and associates.
  • Muscat, leader of the Labour party whose five-year term was due to end next year, is running for a second term against opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who is leading the Nationalist Party into parliamentary elections for the first time.
  • Malta is a group of islands in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast.
  • Capital: Valleta
  • Currency: Euro

Narine shines in West Indies six wicket win

  • Sunil Narine took three wickets and mesmerised Afghanistan to set up a six-wicket win for the West Indies in the first fixture of a three-match T20 International series at Warner Park in St Kitts.
  • The off-spinner was at his unplayable best in taking three for 11 off his four-over allotment as the visitors were dismissed for 110 batting first.

NASA to launch Sounding Rocket to release Radiant Artificial Clouds

  • NASA is set to launch a sounding rocket which will release blue-green and red artificial clouds. The launch of the Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket testing a new deployment system to support space studies was originally scheduled for May 31, but it was delayed due to poor weather conditions.
  • Clear skies are required at one of the ground stations to view blue-green and red artificial clouds that will be produced as part of the test
  • The rocket will eject vapour canisters between 10 to 20 km from the rocket’s main payload. These canisters will release the vapour after launch. Ground cameras will be stationed to view the vapour tracers. The vapour tracers will be formed due to the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide.

New GST rate of 3% for gold, diamonds

  • The Goods and Services Tax Council finalised the rates on all the remaining products, including gold, footwear, textiles, agricultural implements, biscuits, and beedis. The Council also cleared the rules regarding return filing, and transitional provisions.
  • Gold, silver, and diamonds would be placed in a new rate category of 3% while rough diamonds would attract a nominal rate of 0.25%.
  • Biscuits, currently taxed at a combined State and central tax rate of 20-23%, have been placed in the 18% GST rate category.

Pakistan cracks down on terror funding

  • Pakistan has frozen the accounts of 5,000 suspected terrorists, taking about $3 million out of their pockets. But Islamabad could still come under scrutiny at a crucial June meeting of an international watchdog that tracks terror financing.
  • According to analysts and government officials, political foot-dragging and sympathetic supporters throughout Pakistan makes it difficult to cut off the money supply to banned terrorist groups.
  • The Financial Action Task Force, the 35-nation intergovernmental organization was formed in 1989 to combat money laundering.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal Bows Out, Sai Praneeth Enters Final

  • India's B Sai Praneeth sailed into the final with a straight-game win but Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal's campaign ended in the semifinal of the USD 120000 Thailand Grand Prix Gold badminton.
  • The third seeded Praneeth comfortably beat Pannawit Thongnuam of Thailand 21-11 21-15 in their men's singles semifinal that lasted 36 minutes. He will take on fourth seeded 19-year-old Indonesian Jonatan Christie in the final.
  • London Olympic bronze medallist Saina lost in straight games to Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan 19-21 18-21 in 53 minutes.

UN Security Council expands sanctions against North Korea

  • The UN security council unanimously passed a resolution with new sanctions against North Korea after the regime launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year.
  • The resolution slapped even more UN sanctions which include travel ban and asset freeze on high-level North Korean officials and state entities that deal with the program, according to the resolution.
  • The new asset and travel freeze by this resolution target senior officials and its core military apparatus that are directly responsible for the regime's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The list of expanded sanctions also included state officials and banks.

World Table Tennis Championship: Sharath Kamal loses to Lin Gaoyuan as India's challenge ends

  • Sharath Kamal lost to Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the preliminary round, India's challenge came to an end at the World Table Tennis Championship in Dusseldorf. Gaoyuan won 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4 in a late round of 32 match.