Daily Current Affairs - 23rd Jun 2017

Afghanistan, Ireland awarded test status in cricket

  • Ireland and Afghanistan were awarded Test match status by the international cricketing body ICC taking the number of countries playing at the pinnacle of cricket from 10 to 12.
  • Both countries were confirmed as full members after a unanimous vote at an Interntaional Cricket Council (ICC) meeting during its annual conference in London.
  • Now Ireland and Afghanistan's men's teams will be eligible to play five-day Test cricket, widely regarded as the sport's supreme format.
  • Bangladesh were previously the last country to be granted Test status in 2000.

EU agrees to roll over Russia economic sanctions

  • The European Union agreed to roll over economic sanctions against Russia for another six months because the former Soviet has failed to meet its Ukraine ceasefire commitments. The Union will extend economic sanctions against Russia for their lack of implementing the Minsk agreement.
  • The decision will become effective on July 31, when the current measures are to expire.
  • The EU imposed the economic sanctions against Russia after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014 with heavy loss of life, blamed by the EU on pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Facebook offers new privacy tools for Indian users

  • Facebook has started rolling out two new features in India, its second-largest market, that will help prevent copying or downloading users’ profile pictures from the social networking site. The India-first product seeks to prevent misuse of pictures as well as address the risks related to identity theft.
  • The two new features — profile picture guard and profile picture design will give people in India more control over their images. The profile picture guard, when applied, will display a blue border and shield around the profile picture.
  • With the addition of these new features people will not be able to download and share the profile picture. They won’t be able to send it as a message. They won’t be able to share it on an external platform.

India likely to surpass China's population by 2024

  • According to the World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision released by the Population Division of the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is likely to surpass China's population in 2024.
  • According to the report, China with 1.41 billion and India with 1.34 billion people, accounting for 19 per cent and 18 per cent of the global population, remain two most populous countries.
  • Nigeria will surpass the US to become the world's third most populous country in the world shortly before 2050.
  • Currently Nigeria is growing most rapidly among the ten largest countries and is currently the world's seventh largest.

India lose 2-3 against Malaysia, crash out of HWL

  • India crashed out of the Hockey World League after suffering a shocking 2-3 defeat at the hands of Malaysia in the quarterfinals in London. While the Indians played attacking hockey, the Malaysians preferred to sit back and defend and bank on counter-attacks. With this win, Malaysia have qualified for next year's World Cup to be held in India.
  • Malaysia will face reigning Olympic champions and world number one Argentina in the semifinal tomorrow.

Indian anti hunger activist to be honoured by Queen Elizabeth II

  • Anti-hunger activist Ankit Kawatra, who has been committed to solving problems of hunger and malnutrition in India, is all set to receive the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award with 60 others from all 53 Commonwealth countries. Queen Elizabeth II will honour him on June 29.
  • Kawatra founded a not for profit organisation called Feeding India, that works towards solving problems of hunger, malnutrition and food wastage, mainly by redistributing extra food from restaurants, canteens, households, corporates etc. to help people in need.
  • Starting from a team of five, the NGO today works in 43 cities with 4,500 volunteers and has served more than 8.5 million meals to vulnerable individuals such as children, women, old age citizens, disabled people.
  • According to reports, India wastes 67 million tonnes food every year which is more than the national output of Britain.

Indian shooters for Junior Worlds

  • India will field a 31-member contingent, the biggest among the 65 nations, scheduled to compete in the Junior World Championship to be held in Suhl, Germany. Russia (26), China (24), Germany (22), Czech Republic (21), Poland (19), France (17), Hungary (16) and Ukraine (15) will be some of the other leading countries, in terms of numbers.
  • There will be 543 shooters in all from 65 countries, having 978 starts in the various pistol and rifle events, in the competition spread over five days.

India’s cricket revenue share increased to $405 million

  • The BCCI will get $405 million as per the new ICC revenue-sharing model, which was agreed upon during the apex body’s annual conference in London. Originally, the ICC had agreed to give $293 million but, after hectic negotiations, the ICC agreed to increase it by $100 million. Finally, it was decided that $112 million more will be given to BCCI from the previously agreed amount.
  • The revenue-sharing model has been a bone of contention for BCCI as the world’s most influential cricket board had demanded $570 million.
  • England will take home $139 million, while Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will get $128 million each. Zimbabwe gets $94 million.

Ist T20: England routs SA

  • England thrashed South Africa by nine wickets in the first T20 match. A.B. de Villiers (65 n.o) and Farhaan Behardien (64 n.o.) took South Africa to 142 for three, but England chased it down with more than five overs to spare, thanks to Alex Hales 47 (n.o.) and Jonny Bairstow (60 n.o.).

NASSCOM: Software export growth set to slow

  • According to industry body NASSCOM, the country’s software export growth is set to slow to 7-8% this fiscal year, down from 8.6% a year earlier. The body expects software export revenue to be between $124-125 billion in the current fiscal year to March 2018.
  • Software exports during the last year ended March 2017 were $116 billion and domestic market revenue, excluding that of hardware, was $24 billion.
  • The domestic market was projected to grow faster than the export market during this fiscal. Revenue from the domestic market may increase 10-11% and touch $26-26.5 billion.
  • The slow down is attributed in the form of increased rhetoric on protectionism, elections, Brexit and visa issues. Other macroeconomic uncertainties also led to delay in the decision-making process of customers.
  • Nasscom: National Association of Software & Services Companies
  • Nasscom President: R.Chandrashekhar

NATGRID can soon access PAN, I-T records

  • The Centre has empowered the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), the integrated mechanism to keep track of security-related data, to access the Income Tax department’s records on individual taxpayers as well as PAN card holders.
  • NATGRID and the I-T department could sign a pact soon to operationalise the data sharing arrangement.

New Trump Executive Order May Increase US Visa Wait Times

  • The wait for visitor visas to the United States could get a little longer. A new executive order revoking an Obama-era guideline on processing times at consulates was made in the interest of its national security.
  • The brief order deletes a subsection of a 2012 order that sought to expedite the processing time for non-immigrant visas, including those needed by students and tourists.
  • The original order issued by then-President Barack Obama called on the State Department to ensure that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application.

Presidential Election 2017: Meira Kumar to take on Ram Nath Kovind

  • Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar of the Congress has been selected as the opposition candidate against NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind for the presidential election slated for 17 July. India’s electoral college will vote for a new President on 17 July, results of which will be announced on 20 July.
  • The announcement of Kumar’s name was made after a crucial meeting of 17 opposition parties led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

PSLV will lock heavy weight Cartosat-2 into orbit

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite, along with 30 co-passenger satellites. It will be the 17th flight of the four-stage PSLV in the XL (extended) version with strap-on motors.
  • The Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite, weighing 712 kg, is the primary payload aboard PSLV-C38 and will be the first to be injected into orbit. Cartosat-2 is designed for a lifespan of five years.
  • The rocket weighing 320 tonnes at lift-off uses solid propellant for the first and third stage and the strap-ons, while the second and fourth stage use liquid propellant.
  • The 31 satellites, together weighing 955 kg, will be lifted into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit. This will be the second highest number of satellites to be launched by ISRO using a single rocket.
  • In February this year, the PSLV-C37 mission launched 104 satellites into orbit, in a milestone achievement.
  • The rest of the payload comprises 29 nano satellites from 14 countries — Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the U.S.

PVR Cinemas to open more than 200 screens in three years

  • Multiplex chain operator PVR Cinemas is planning to open between 210 and 220 screens across the country over the next three years. Presently, PVR Cinemas operates 584 screens in 127 properties in 50 cities. With its proposed plan, it would have at least 850 screens operating in 60-65 cities.
  • The investment would be met through internal accruals and debt.
  • Chief Executive Officer, PVR Cinemas: Gautam Dutta

RBI expands Oversight Committee

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded the size of its Oversight Committee formed to advice banks on stressed assets resolution to five, by adding three more members. S. Raman and M.B.N. Rao, both former Canara Bank chiefs, and former L&T Finance Holdings chairman Y. M. Deosthalee, are the new members.
  • Former SBI managing director, Janki Ballabh, is the fourth member. The committee is headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar.
  • The RBI said a circular giving details of the process to be followed by banks for resolution of identified stressed assets within six months would be issued separately.

Resolve 55 accounts in six months or face IBC: RBI

  • The RBI has asked banks to resolve 55 high value cases of bad loans within six months or face the prospect of being directed to go in for the new insolvency resolution mechanism as part of the strategy to rein in unacceptable level of non-performing assets (NPAs).
  • RBI has asked banks to find solution for 55 identified NPA accounts within 6 months otherwise the central bank would examine those cases and refer for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
  • The banking sector is burdened with NPAs of over Rs. 8 lakh crore, of which Rs. 6 lakh crore is with public sector banks (PSBs). The 12 identified cases account for 25% or about Rs. 2 lakh crore of NPAs.
  • Earlier this month, Reserve Bank of India identified 12 accounts for insolvency proceedings with each of them having over Rs. 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, accounting for 25% of total NPAs of banks.

Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth, Praneeth enter quarters in Australia

  • In Australian Open Super Series Badminton tournament Kidambi Srikanth will clash with B. Sai Praneeth in an all Indian quarterfinal to find a place in the Semi-finals.
  • Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and defending champion Saina Nehwal also advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's singles competition.
  • In women's quaterfinals P.V. Sindhu will take on Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan while ace shuttler Saina Nehwal will clash with Sun Yu of China.

Tripathi takes oath as Bihar Governor

  • West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi took oath as Bihar Governor as additional charge. The Chief Justice of the Patna High Court has administered the oath to Mr. Tripathi at a function in the Raj Bhavan. The post of Bihar Governor fell vacant after Ram Nath Kovind resigned.

U.S. drones for India

  • The U.S. has cleared the sale of 22 drones to India and the deal is estimated at about $3 billion. According to sources the deal being termed as a game changer ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to US for his meeting with President Donald Trump.

Ulaanbaatar Cup: Boxer Devendro enters semis to confirm medal

  • India's Devendro Singh entered the semi-finals of the Ulaanbaatar Cup boxing tournament. He defeated Russia's Dimitrii Yusopov to make the last four stage of the tournament. K Shyam Kumar, Ankush Dahiya and Duryodhan Singh will take on their rivals in different weight categories.
  • Among women, Priyanka Chaudhary and Kalawanti will take on their opponents today. Both the Indians won their respective quarterfinal bouts.
  • M C Mary Kom will open her campaign in the 51 kilogram category after getting a bye into the quarterfinals.