Daily Current Affairs - 22nd Jun 2017

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis announces retirement

  • Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the most acclaimed performers of his generation, has announced that he is retiring. He is a master of method acting and known for being extremely selective about his roles, is the only performer to have ever won three Oscars for best actor for films My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2008) and Lincoln (2013).
  • He also earned Oscar nominations for Gangs of New York and In the Name of the Father.
  • His last film is slated to hit theatres in December.

AEGON Championships: Rohan Bopanna-Ivan Dodig enter semi-finals

  • Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian team-mate Ivan Dodig have stormed into the semi-finals of AEGON Championships in London, while in the Aegon Ilkley Trophy, Leander Paes and his Canadian partner Adil Shamasdin have entered the last-4.

China unveils World’s First Train that runs on Virtual Tracks

  • China has unveiled world’s first train that runs on a virtual track making use of sensor technology instead of metal rails. The train is capable of reaching a top speed of 70 kmph and can travel a distance of 25 km by just charging for 10 minutes. The new trains are non-polluting as they are battery powered.
  • The new trains are fitted with sensors which are capable of detecting the dimensions of the road permitting it to follow the routes without the need for metal rails. The new trains will make use of rubber wheels on a plastic core and can be automatically guided without rails.
  • The train will be rolled out for public use in 2018. It will be launched in the Chinese city of Zhuzhou in a bid to help to deal with traffic in the area.

EESL mulls Rs. 200 crore share sale this fiscal

  • Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a company under the Ministry of Power, facilitating implementation of energy efficiency projects, is considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise Rs. 200 crore in the current fiscal.
  • The IPO, by diluting the stake by 20%, forms part of the company’s plans to mobilise funds for the Rs. 6,000-crore capital expenditure it is proposing in the financial year.
  • Managing Director: Saurabh Kumar

Indian bowlers advance at Macau Open

  • R. Kishan and Shoumick Datta have qualified for the youth category masters round at the Macau International open bowling championship. Kishan scored a total pinfall of 1270 (649 and 621) while Shoumick Datta had 1,251 (647 and 604) in the qualifying rounds to made the cut.

Kenneth I Juster set to become America's new ambassador to India

  • Kenneth I Juster, a top aide of US President Donald Trump, is set to become America's new ambassador to India. Currently, the 62-year old Mr Juster is the Deputy Assistant to the US President for International Economic Affairs.
  • He will replace Mr Richard Verma after confirmation from the Senate. Mr Richard Verma, the first Indian-American to head this position, put in his papers when Mr Trump replaced Barack Obama as the President of the United States.

King of Saudi Arabia declares son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince

  • The King of Saudi Arabia declared his son Mohammed bin Salman as the Crown Prince, replacing his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef through a royal decree, which was approved by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council.
  • The newly appointed 31 year old Crown Prince will become the Deputy Prime Minister while retaining his position as the Defence Minister.
  • The young Prince already wielded huge power before he was named heir, spearheading a sweeping economic and social reform programme for the ultraconservative kingdom.
  • His rise comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia as it is locked in a battle for regional influence with archrival Iran, bogged down in a controversial military intervention in neighbouring Yemen and at loggerheads with Qatar.

Mahindra Aero, Israeli firm ink MoU

  • Elbit Systems–Cyclone of Israel and Mahindra Aerostructures have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the production of aerostructures parts and assemblies.
  • Under the arrangement, Cyclone will source content for its existing work packages from Mahindra.
  • Mahindra’s aerostructures manufacturing facility near Bengaluru exports primary structural assemblies for the Mahindra Airvan 8 aircraft.
  • Cyclone, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems, serves as the parent’s design and manufacturing centre for composite and metal structural aircraft assemblies and parts.

MeitY launches Web Portal for smooth GST implementation

  • In order to ensure smooth GST implementation from 1st July, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has launched a dedicated Webpage for facilitating taxpayers with regard to addressing issues related to Information Technology Services and Electronics goods.
  • Individuals, Companies and Entrepreneurs in IT and Electronics sector can visit the webpage for sector-specific information. It also enables filing of grievances in relation to implementation of GST.

NASA tests flexible solar array on space station

  • NASA is testing for the first time the effectiveness of a flexible solar array on space station that could one day power satellites and spacecraft.
  • The Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA, an advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure can be easily adapted to different sizes, including very large arrays, to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft.
  • It also has the potential to make solar arrays more compact and lighter weight for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on the Earth.
  • In addition, the technology conceivably could be adapted to provide solar power in remote locations.
  • NASA tested the ROSA technology in vacuum chambers on the Earth several years ago, but this is its first test in space.

PM leads yoga day amid rain

  • On the eve of the third International Day of Yoga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a crowd of 50,000 yoga enthusiasts and performed multiple asanas or yogic postures in Lucknow even as the weather conditions threatened to spoil the show.
  • Praising the impact of the International Day of Yoga in the last three years, Mr. Modi said a large number of yoga institutes had developed, the demand for yoga teachers had increased in India as well as globally, and a large number of youth were choosing to be trained as yoga professionals.
  • June 21st is annually celebrated as International Yoga Day since the year 2015. This year, the 3rd International Day of Yoga is being observed.
  • The purpose of the yoga day is to promote yoga and make it as a part of people’s daily routine.

Price Waterhouse may face SEBI action in Satyam case

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which has time till July to pass an order against Price Waterhouse in the matter related to Satyam Computer Services, could bar the auditor from dealing with listed companies for a certain period of time on charges related to alleged negligence and professional lapses while being the auditors of erstwhile IT major.
  • The regulator is of the view that the auditing firm — along with its partners — can be barred from the securities market by making its opinion or services inadmissible in the case of entities that are regulated by SEBI.

Rajiv Gauba to be Union Home Secretary

  • The central government carried out a major reshuffle in the top bureaucracy, appointing Rajiv Gauba, as Home Secretary, and Subhash Garg as Secretary, Economic Affairs, in the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
  • In all, 17 officials were appointed to fill vacancies in important positions like Economic Affairs, Telecommunications, Power, Personnel and Shipping.

SEBI eases entry norms for overseas investors, simplifies requirements for FPIs

  • Markets regulator SEBI decided to ease the entry norms for overseas investors by permitting a direct access to Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) from eligible jurisdictions. The regulator has rationalised ''fit and proper" criteria for FPIs as well as simplified broad based requirements for such investors.
  • It has decided to expand the eligible jurisdictions for grant of FPI registration to category I FPIs by including countries having diplomatic tie-ups with India.
  • It also permitted FPIs, operating under the Multiple Investment Managers (MIM) structure and holding foreign venture capital investors (FVCI) registration, to appoint multiple custodians.
  • SEBi sought to curb the use of participatory notes (P-Notes) by levying a fee of 1,000 US dollars each transaction and barred their issuance for non-hedging or speculative purposes.
  • SEBI Chairman: Ajay Tyagi

SEBI eases norms to buy stressed assets

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed norms for investors acquiring assets in companies with stressed assets and facing bankruptcy proceedings. This is part of the larger attempts of the central government to resolve the massive bad debt issue.
  • SEBI has decided to exempt the acquirers from making open offers after buying stakes from lenders while including checks such as a three-year lock-in for new investors and mandating that such relaxation would have to be approved by a special resolution.
  • This would come as a big relief to both lenders and acquirers concerned about a possible open offer since sizeable stakes could change hands.

TB patients will need Aadhaar for benefits

  • Tuberculosis patients, hospitals and healthcare workers availing cash assistance from the government will need to register with the Aadhaar database by August 31, according to the Union Health Ministry.
  • However, Ministry sources claimed that no patient will be denied treatment on grounds that they do not have an Aadhaar card. The scheme refers to the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).
  • Currently, the government provides cash assistance to patients who are tribals, a transport allowance for patients with Multi Drug Resistant TB. There is a proposal to extend cash assistance to all patients.

Train accidents due to driver age, negligence: study

  • According to a study on train accidents, majority of train accidents in India is caused by Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) was attributed to the age and negligence of crew (loco pilots or engine drivers). Indian Railways reported 51 cases of SPAD in 2016-17, of which nine cases resulted in collisions or derailments.

Uber CEO Kalanick resigns

  • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from the ride-sharing company in the face of intense pressure from some of its investors. According to reports, five large investors, including venture capital firm Benchmark demanded immediate resignation of Travis Kalanick as the company needed a change in leadership.
  • The U.S.-based company had come under fire after allegations of widespread mismanagement and harassment at workplace. Troubles started for Uber after a former employee wrote a blog post alleging sexual harassment and sexism at the firm.

Ulaanbaatar Cup: MC Mary Kom enters quarterfinals

  • Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom got a bye into the quarterfinals of the Ulaanbaatar Cup in Mongolia as India were off to a good start with two wins on the opening day. Mohamed Hussamuddin and Rohit Tokas were the winners.
  • In Softball, the Indian women's team settled for a silver medal at the Asia Pacific Middle East Little League Championship in Singapore after losing to Philippines in the Final.

Union government sells 2.5%stake in Larsen & Toubro , raises Rs 4,200 cr

  • The union government sold its 2.5 per cent stake in Larsen & Toubro to state-run entities, including SBI and LIC, for about Rs 4,200 crore. The transaction was done through the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India.
  • State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation, New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation bought over 2.37 crore shares in L&T at an average price of 1,764.2 rupees apiece.
  • The government held 6.55 per cent stake in engineering firm L&T and the shareholding after the sale has come down to a little over 4 per cent.
  • The Union budget this year had estimated to collect Rs 72,500 crore through minority sale and strategic stake sale of CPSEs