Daily Current Affairs - 15th Jul 2017

Trade deficit widens to $13 bn

  • With goods imports outpacing exports in June, trade deficit for the month widened to $12.95 billion, according to data released by the commerce ministry. In June 2016, the goods trade deficit was only $8.1 billion.
  • Continuing with growth indicated since September 2016, goods exports in June 2017 rose 4.39% year-on-year to $23.56 billion.
  • However, imports in June jumped 19% to $36.5 billion. Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in June were petroleum, crude & products (12.04%), electronic goods (24.22%), pearls, precious & semi-precious stones (86.31%), machinery, electrical & non-electrical (7.02%) and gold(102.99%).

Centre to grant NIIF Rs. 20,000 cr.

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reviewed the performance of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) during the third meeting of its governing council where he was informed that the Department of Economic Affairs had signed an agreement with the NIIF for a Rs. 20,000 crore contribution to the Fund.
  • NIIF a sort of sovereign fund, for development of infrastructure projects, including the stalled ones.

Cook Islands creates Pacific Ocean reserve

  • The Cook Islands has created one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries, protecting a vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean more than three times the size of France.
  • The Cook Islands has a population of just 10,000 and its 15 islands have a combined landmass of 236 sq km., barely the size of Washington, D.C.
  • The marine reserve, known as Marae Moana, would give the environment a chance to heal.
  • Cook Islands capital : Avarua

EU, India set up fund for investments

  • The European Union (EU) and India announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India.
  • The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.
  • The IFM has been established with the key objectives of paving the way for identifying and solving problems faced by EU companies and investors with regard to their operations in India. IFM will cover new investors as well as those already established in India.

ICICI Lombard to dilute 19%

  • ICICI Lombard, a joint venture between ICICI Bank and Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, will be the first private general insurer to go public with an IPO.
  • ICICI Lombard filed a draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with capital market regulator SEBI. The IPO involves dilution of up to 86,247,187 equity shares of face value of Rs. 10 each of ICICI Lombard General Insurance, representing around 19% of its equity share capital.

India overtakes US as Facebook s No. 1 user

  • India has overtaken the U.S. to become Facebook’s largest country audience with a total 241 million active users, compared to 240 million in the U.S.
  • This comes days after Facebook announced it has over two billion monthly users around the world.

Kharif Crop sowing crosses 563 lakh hectare area

  • Kharif crops have been sown in over 563 lakh hectare till date as against 521 lakh hectare last year. It is nearly 42 lakh hectare more than last year figure.
  • Crop sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry, reveals that the rice has been sown in over 125 lakh hectare which is about five lakh hectare more than the last year. Over 74 lakh hectare area has been covered under the cultivation of pulses which is more than 14 lakh hectare of the sown area under the crop last year.
  • The coarse cereals have been sown in over 113 lakh hectare, oilseeds in nearly 104 lakh hectare and cotton in over 90 lakh hectare.

Mukesh Kumar Jain is Oriental Bank’s new MD & CEO

  • The Centre has appointed Mukesh Kumar Jain as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oriental Bank of Commerce, a public sector bank.
  • His appointment is for a period of three years. Prior to this appointment, Jain was an Executive Director at Punjab & Sind Bank. At OBC, Jain comes in the place of Animesh Chauhan, who has superannuated.
  • In FY17, OBC reported a net loss of Rs. 1,094 crore.

Roger Federer marches into 11th Wimbledon final

  • Roger Federer has entered the Final of the Wimbledon Championships for a record 11th time.
  • In the semi-finals the third seeded Federer defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4, to set up a title clash with seventh seeded Croatian Marin Cilic.

Saraswati, a supercluster of galaxies

  • A group of Indian astronomers have discovered a massive supercluster of galaxies, and have named it Saraswati. The supercluster is about 4 billion light years away and spreads over a “great wall” about 600 million light years across. This makes it one of the largest superclusters to be discovered and also the furthest.
  • The first supercluster of galaxies, the Shapley Supercluster, was discovered in 1989, and the second, the Sloan Great Wall in 2003. The Milky Way galaxy is part of the Laniakea Supercluster, which was discovered in 2014.

Suresh Prabhu flags off India's first solar-powered 1,600 HP train coach

  • India's first solar-powered Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) coach was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu from the Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi.
  • The country's first 1,600-horsepower DEMU coach is equipped with solar-powered hotel load system installed and commissioned by Jakson Engineers Limited.
  • The installed solar rooftop system will generate 7,200 kilowatts (KW) of energy per year that will be used for powering internal lights, fans and other electrical systems of the coach.

Tata Steel appoints `Steve’ Coppell as head coach for Jamshedpur Football Club

  • Tata Steel has appointed Stephen James `Steve’ Coppell as the head coach of its Jamshedpur-based franchise, Jamshedpur Football Club, for the upcoming season of Indian Super League (ISL).
  • Additionally,Tata Steel also announced the signing of former India football player Ishfaq Ahmed as the assistant coach of the franchise.

Tour de France: Warren Barguil delivers home win on Bastille Day

  • Frenchman Warren Barguil took an emotional stage 13 victory on Bastille Day at the Tour de France.
  • Colombia’s Nairo Quintana was second and Spaniard Alberto Contador third to take back almost two minutes on Italian Fabio Aru, who maintained the race lead at the end of the short 101km Pyrenean stage from Saint Girons to Foix.

WPI inflation slows to 11-month low of 0.9%

  • Wholesale price inflation slowed to a 11-month low of 0.9% in June due to subdued food inflation and weak manufacturing prices, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce.
  • This comes at a time when retail inflation for June slowed to 1.54%, below the lower tolerance level set by the Reserve Bank of India. Growth in the Wholesale Price Index slowed for the fourth consecutive month in June from the 5.51% registered in February. The last time it was below 1% was in July 2016, when it was at 0.63%.
  • While growth in the primary articles category in the WPI shrunk 3.86% in June, the food articles segment within this contracted 3.47%.

YES Bank ties up with US-based OPIC, Wells Fargo

  • YES Bank has teamed up with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Wells Fargo on an agreement to lend up to $150 million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India.
  • Under the agreement, OPIC will provide $75 million in financing and up to $75 million in syndicated financing jointly with Wells Fargo to YES Bank.
  • Specifically, $50 million of the financing will be used to expand support to women-owned businesses, while another $50 million will be used for financing SME businesses in low-income States.