Daily Current Affairs - 28th Jun 2017

Bihar plans 3,000 MW nuclear plant

  • The Bihar government has planned to set up a nuclear plant of around 3,000 MW capacity at Rajauli in Nawada district. Bihar wants to become power surplus and increase the share of renewable energy. And the state want to be self-reliant in the power sector.

Centre tells power producers to reduce imports of coal

  • The Centre has directed NTPC, BHEL and private power producers to explore technological solutions to ease India’s dependence on imported coal, which currently costs Rs. 1 lakh crore a year, especially as the country has ample stocks of the fuel.
  • India has one of the largest coal reserves in the world with reserves of 52 million tonnes of the fossil fuel.
  • Union Coal Minister: Piyush Goyal

Chinese Taipei GP Gold badminton tournament: Sourabh dethroned

  • Defending champion Sourabh Verma suffered a narrow 22-20, 21-19 loss against Malaysia’s Lee ii Jia to crash out in the opening round of Chinese Taipei GP Gold badminton tournament. Siril Verma, Harsheel Dani and Abhishek Yelegar notched up contrasting wins to enter the next round.

Colombia’s FARC rebels seal historic disarmament

  • Colombia’s leftist FARC rebel force declared its disarmament complete after half a century of war against the state, bringing Latin America’s oldest civil conflict close to an end. The move is a key part of efforts to end the long territorial and ideological conflict under a 2016 peace accord.
  • The accord was at first narrowly rejected by Colombians in a referendum last year before it was redrafted and pushed through Congress.
  • President: Juan Manuel Santos
  • Capital: Bogota
  • Currency: Colombian peso

EU slaps a record €2.4 bn fine on Google

  • Google lost its biggest regulatory battle yet, getting a record €2.4bn (R35bn) fine from European Union enforcers who say the search-engine giant skewed results in its favour to thwart smaller shopping search services.
  • Google has 90 days to stop its illegal conduct and give equal treatment to rival price-comparison services, according to a binding order from the European Commission. The company risks fines of up to 5% of its daily revenue, If it doesn’t comply.
  • The order marks the end of a lengthy seven-year probe fuelled by complaints from small shopping websites as well as bigger names, including News Corp, Axel Springer and Microsoft.

Extinction event wiped out marine life

  • Scientists have discovered a major extinction event that wiped out around a third of marine species and reduced their diversity by 55% between two to three million years ago.
  • The disappearance of a large part of the terrestrial megafauna such as the sabre-toothed cat and the mammoth during the Ice Age is well known. As many as 43% of sea turtle species were lost, along with 35% of sea birds and 9% of sharks.
  • The team investigated fossils of marine megafauna from the Pliocene and the Pleisto-cene epochs — 5.3 million to around 9,700 years B.C.
  • Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the Naturkunde Museum in Berlin have shown that a similar extinction event had taken place earlier in the oceans.

Farah calls time on track career

  • British distance running legend Mo Farah said he had no regrets about calling time on his glittering track career to focus on road racing. The four-time Olympic gold medallist will race his last 10,000m on the IAAF circuit at the Golden Spike meet in the northeastern czech city of Ostrava.
  • Since winning silver over 10k at the 2011 World championships, he has enjoyed an unbroken streak of nine global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, and the double at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and the 2013 and 2015 worlds).

Faster entry to US for Indians

  • Low-risk Indian travellers to the U.S. from now on would experience speedy entry into the country after landing, with India making a formal entry into an American initiative.
  • President Donald Trump welcomed India’s entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry Program), saying it would facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the U.S.

Global wave of cyberattacks affects MNCs

  • A global wave of cyberattacks that began in Russia and Ukraine wrought havoc on government and corporate computer systems as it spread to Western Europe and across the Atlantic. Several multinational companies were targeted.
  • IT experts identified the virus as Petrwrap, a modified version of the Petya ransomware which hit last year and demanded money from victims in exchange for the return of their data.

Government may tweak airport tariff rules

  • In a bid to make the upcoming greenfield airport projects attractive for global players, the Civil Aviation Ministry may amend its regulatory law to fix airport charges in advance, ensuring assured returns to investors at time of participating in the bidding process.
  • In addition to land, service standards and airport design, the bidding document for greenfield airport projects will specify the airport tariff which will be indexed appropriately to factor in inflation, foreign exchange and interest rates.
  • The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) is a statutory body established in 2009 to determine tariff in respect of airport services provided at major airports across the country. The charges allow operators to get adequate rate of return on the investments incurred.

GST software testing done, says GSTN

  • GST Network, providing technology backbone for the new tax regime, said it has completed all software trials and testings necessary to successfully rollout GST from July 1. Over 66 lakh taxpayers have enrolled on the GSTN portal.
  • GST IT system has undergone all mandatory tests and has been opened for new registrations and enrolments on June 25.
  • Chairman: Navin Kumar

ICC T20 rankings: Indian pacer Bumrah moves up

  • India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has risen to second in the latest ICC Twenty20 rankings while skipper Virat Kohli has retained the top spot in the batsmen’s list. Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh occupied top slot on allrounders table. Imad Wasim of Pakistan has become the No. 1-ranked T20 bowler.
  • In the batting table, Kohli, Aaron Finch of Australia and Kane Williamson of New Zealand have retained the top three positions.

India, Netherlands sign three MoU's

  • India, Netherlands signed three MoUs in social security, water cooperation and cultural cooperation sectors. Describing the Netherlands as India’s natural partner in its economic development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Dutch companies to invest in the country, which, he said, is the land of opportunities.
  • Focusing on trade, technology and investment, Mr. Modi interacted with the CEOs of major Dutch companies.
  • With 20 per cent of India’s exports to Europe entering through the Netherlands, they discussed the role of the Netherlands as India’s Gateway to Europe.

Indian Industry borrowed $1 bn in May

  • As per the RBI data, the Indian industry borrowed $1.05 billion from foreign markets last month, including through rupee denominated bonds (RDBs). In contrast, the borrowings were $1.32 billion in May last year.
  • Of the total in May this year, external commercial borrowings (ECB) and RDBs contributed almost equally at $523.95 million and $525.76 million respectively.
  • The RDB route has become a popular source of fund raising

Junior World Shooting Championship: Anish strikes it rich

  • Anish Bhanwala clinched the sports pistol silver along with the team gold in the Junior World Shooting Championship. He had shot a world record 579, lost the gold by one point to Pavlo Korostylov of Ukraine, who shot a world-record equalling score of 590.
  • The trio of Muskan (578), Chinki Yadav (571) and Gauri Sheoran (562) clinched the junior women’s sports pistol bronze with a total of 1711, two points behind Thailand while China topped with 1734.
  • With three gold, two silver and four bronze medals in its kitty, India shot back to the second place in the medals table behind China.

Netherlands backs UNSC, NSG bids for India

  • The Netherlands backed India’s early entry into the NSG and other multilateral export control regimes, and supported the country’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat. The Netherlands’ support came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte.
  • Modi thanked the Netherlands for its role in India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2016. Both leaders agreed that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group would benefit from India’s membership. Mr. Modi invited the Netherlands to join the International Solar Alliance.

Shiksha Financial to lend Rs. 100 crore to kids, schools

  • Shiksha Financial Services India, a non-banking finance company, is planning to triple its education loan portfolio this fiscal. The fintech start-up is also planning to raise Rs. 65 crore over the next 9-12 months to meet its capital requirements.
  • Shiksha provides unsecured education loans of Rs. 15,000-20,000 each to parents to prevent children from dropping out of schools. It also offers collateral loans of Rs. 8-9 lakh to institutions.
  • This year, it is eyeing 7,000 students and 750 schools for providing loans. In the next 6-12 months, the company plans to enter Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra.
  • Founder-director and CEO, Shiksha Financial Services: V.L. Ramakrishnan.

Suspended one-year ban for Malinga

  • Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga was suspended by Sri Lanka’s cricket board for one year after he pleaded guilty to a breach of contract by speaking to the media without permission. The sanction is suspended for six months.
  • Malinga will also be fined 50% of the match fee from his next ODI, after a disciplinary inquiry found him guilty of breaching his contract.

Tennis: Ramkumar pulls off stunning win over Thiem

  • Ramkumar Ramanathan scored one of his biggest wins of his career by knocking out French Open semifinalist World No. 8 Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Antalya Open. Ramkumar posted a memorable victory over the World No. 8 Belgian in a match that lasted 16 seconds less than an hour.

Uranus’ magnetic field flips on and off

  • Scientists have found that Uranus’ magnetic field gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as the planet rotates.
  • Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. made the discovery based on data from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft.
  • The magnetosphere is open in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.
  • This is quite different from Earth’s magnetosphere, which typically only switches between open and closed in response to changes in the solar wind. Since the alignment of Earth’s magnetosphere is always toward the sun

Uttarakhand challenges human status to rivers

  • The Uttarakhand government has moved the Supreme Court challenging an Uttarakhand High Court order granting the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and their tributaries the status of living human entities.
  • Challenging the order which bestows on these rivers, their tributaries and water bodies fed by them the same legal rights as enjoyed by a person and declares the State chief secretary as their local guardian (loco parentis), the State government contends that the order was legally untenable.
  • The petition questions whether in case of human casualties in a flood, the affected people can file suit for damages against the chief secretary of the State and whether the State government would be liable to bear such financial burden.

WHO for use of devices to test multiple diseases

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) released new device to countries, recommending the use of multi-disease testing devices for Tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis. The device called the GeneXpert can be used to diagnose TB and HIV infections, and quantitatively measure HIV and hepatitis C viral loads.
  • The WHO is recommending use of these state-of-the-art portable machines the size of a microwave oven, which can run molecular tests. However, most countries do not use them for multi-disease testing.
  • India recently procured 600 GeneXpert machines for the National Tuberculosis programme.