Daily Current Affairs - 01st Jul 2017

An innovative firewall to protect smartphones

  • Scientists have developed an innovative firewall programme that can protect smartphones from malicious codes and security threats.
  • Earlier this year, researchers from the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Israel discovered a security vulnerability in the internal communications between Android cellphone components and a phone’s central processing unit. They alerted Android developer Google and helped the company address the problem.

Anti-online hate speech law passed

  • German lawmakers approved a bill aimed at cracking down on hate speech on social networks, which critics say could have drastic consequences for free speech online.
  • The measure approved is designed to enforce the country’s existing limits on speech, including the long-standing ban on Holocaust denial. Among other things, it would fine social networking sites up to €50 million if they persistently fail to remove illegal content within a week, including defamatory “fake news.”

Djokovic in final

  • Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 to storm into the final of ATP & WTA Eastbourne International, while Gael Monfils pipped Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-7(7), 7-6(4).
  • Rohan Bopanna and Andre Sa beat Robin Haase and Dominic Inglot 7-6(4), 3-6, [11-9] in the doubles semifinals, and will meet Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the final.

India offers help to Sri Lanka’s Northern Province

  • India has expressed willingness to further partner Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial administration in development initiatives, emphasising the need for a clear economic programme identifying specific areas.
  • India has been involved in key infrastructure projects in the north in the post-war years. These are part of India’s $2.6 billion commitment for development assistance to Sri Lanka, including $390 million as grants, for projects all over the island.
  • Currently, the Indian side appears keen on working with the Northern Provincial Council, on economic development, skills training and job creation.

Indian-origin boy in U.K. gets top score in IQ test

  • An 11-year-old Indian origin boy in the U.K. has secured the top possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, two points higher than that of geniuses Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, making him one of the brainiest children in the country.
  • Arnav Sharma, from Reading town in southern England, passed the infamously difficult test a few weeks back with zero preparation and had never seen what a typical paper looked like before taking it.

Infrastructure output grows 3.6% in May

  • Infrastructure output grew 3.6% in May, higher than the 2.8% growth recorded in April on a year-on-year basis, official data said.
  • The growth in output of core industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity — was lower than 5.2% registered in May last year. Five of the eight industries, except coal, fertilizers and steel, witnessed a sequential improvement in growth.
  • The output of coal and fertilizers contracted by 3.3% and 6.5% in May respectively compared to the same month last year.

Mohun Bagan Ratna award for Subrata Bhattacharya

  • Former India defender Subrata Bhattacharya will get this year’s Mohun Bagan Ratna award.
  • The club chose Bhattacharya for the honour at a meeting. A well-known defender Bhattachrya, 64, played for Bagan from 1974 to 1990.
  • Under his captaincy, Bagan became the first club to win the triple crown — the Durand Cup, the Rovers Cup and the IFA Shield — in 1977.

Pachnanda is new ITBP chief

  • Amid ongoing tensions with the Chinese Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the main force deployed along the China border, got a new chief on Friday.
  • R.K. Pachnanda, a 1983-batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre, took over as the 29th ITBP chief. Prior to the new posting, he was Director-General, National Disaster Response Force. He took charge from Krishna Chaudhary, who retired.
  • The ITBP is a 90,000-strong force that primarily guards the 3,488-km India-China border located at freezing heights of up to 18,700 ft in the upper Himalayas.

President, PM Modi launched historic tax reform, GST, last night

  • The country witnessed the biggest ever tax reforms in the history with the launch of the Goods and Services Tax, GST at a gala event last midnight.
  • The new tax regime replacing more than a dozen state and central levies came into effect the moment President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed the launch button in the Central hall of the Parliament. President Pranab Mukherjee in his speech before the launch said it is a momentous occasion for all in the country.
  • The Prime Minister said GST is the first of its kind system in the country when both centre and states will be putting consolidated efforts in the same direction.

Putin signs decree to extend ban on Western food imports

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to extend a ban on Western food imports for another 18 months after the European Union extended economic sanctions against Russia.
  • Putin’s office published a decree that keeps the food ban in place until December 31, 2018
  • Russia Capital : Moscow
  • Currency : Russian Ruble

RBI says bank funding can’t be substituted

  • With banks increasingly ‘retrenching’ credit, mutual funds, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and capital markets have partly offset the corporate sector’s debt requirement but such alternative sources of funding cannot replace bank loans, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its biannual Financial Stability Report (FSR).
  • According to latest data, banks’ share in the flow of credit, which was about 50% in 2015-16, declined sharply to 38% in 2016-17.
  • RBI said the aggregate flow of resources to the commercial sector was not affected owing to a sharp increase in private placements of debt by non-financial entities and net issuance of commercial papers (Cps).

Small savings rate cut by 10 bps

  • The union government has lowered the interest rate on small saving schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi by 0.1 percentage point for the July—September quarter, a move that will prompt banks to lower deposit rates.
  • The rates have been lowered by 0.1 percentage point across the board compared to the April-June quarter. A Finance Ministry notification said investments in the public provident fund (PPF) scheme will fetch a lower annual rate of 7.8%. Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.5% and mature in 115 months. Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme will offer 8.3%. annually.

Tiruchi fifth best among non-metro airports: Survey

  • The Tiruchi airport has been ranked fifth best among non-metro airports in the country in a nation-wide customer satisfaction survey conducted this year. It has emerged on top among non-metro airports managed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the southern region this time.
  • The survey was carried out by engaging an agency selected by AAI from January to June. Tiruchi airport’s rating was 4.70 out of 5 in the survey conducted twice a year (January to June and July to December). Raipur airport emerged on top followed by Udaipur, Amritsar and Dehradun. Tiruchi, which was in the sixth position last year, had improved to fifth place this time.

U.S. arms sale to Taiwan angers China

  • Relations between China and the United States soured as Beijing fumed over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and U.S. sanctions against a Chinese bank linked to North Korea.
  • The sudden U.S. actions and China’s angry response mark a break from the friendlier tone that had emerged after U.S. President Donald Trump hosted Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his Florida resort in April.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the U.S. moves “go against the important spirit” of the meeting at Mar-a-Lago and are “inconsistent with the general direction of U.S.-China relations”.

UAE Exchange applies for universal bank licence

  • Reserve Bank of India said it has received an application from UAE Exchange and Financial Services Ltd to start a universal bank. The non-banking finance company is the first entity to apply for a licence under the guidelines for ‘on-tap’ licensing of universal banks in the private sector.
  • UAE Exchange is registered as an AD II category non-banking financial company in the country and has been operating from 1999 with its registered office in Bengaluru. Shetty, a Gulf-based non-resident Indian, is the founder of UAE Exchange India and also the founding partner and CEO of NMC Healthcare, Abu Dhabi.