Daily Current Affairs - 17th Jul 2017

A smart glove that can translate sign language

  • Scientists have created a low-cost smart glove that can wirelessly translate sign language into text and control objects in virtual reality games.
  • The device, called “The Language of Glove”, was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble.
  • The team built the device using a leather athletic glove and adhered nine stretchable sensors to the back at the knuckles — two on each finger and one on the thumb.
  • Stainless steel thread connects each of the sensors to a low power, custom-made printed circuit board that’s attached to the back of the wrist.
  • The sensors change their electrical resistance when stretched or bent. This allows them to code for different letters of the American Sign Language alphabet based on the positions of all nine knuckles.

China opposes Botswana visit of Dalai Lama

  • China is putting pressure on the government of Botswana to cancel a planned visit next month by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to the southern African country. Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who seeks greater autonomy for Tibet from China which opposes its independency.
  • The office of Botswana's government said that the Dalai Lama is being invited to a human rights conference in the capital in mid-August.
  • Botswana's economic ties with China are also deepening as Chinese companies are investing in the country's infrastructure, such as power plants.
  • Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, has a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta.
  • President: Ian Khama
  • Capital:Gaborone
  • Currency: Botswana pula

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix

  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory to tie the all-time record of five career wins in the British Grand Prix. He equalled the tally of Scot Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost with his fourth home win in a row to add to his first win for McLaren in 2008.
  • Hamilton's victory cut his deficit to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to just one point in the championship as the German suffered a front-left tyre failure when running third with two laps to go, dropping to seventh.

Former Sikkim CM Nar Bahadur dead

  • Nar Bahadur Bhandari, a former school teacher who rose to become one of the longest-serving Chief Ministers of Sikkim, died on Sunday. Mr. Bhandari, a three-time former Chief Minister, was 77.
  • He became the chief minister of the tiny state for the first time in 1979 on a Janata Parishad ticket and then again in 1984 and 1989 on a Sikkim Sangram Parishad ticket. Known as a pragmatic and resilient leader.

Harinder wins second straight title

  • India’s Harinder Pal Sandhu continued his fine run, to win a second title in two weeks by beating top-seed Rex Hedrick of Australia 12-14, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in a 77-minute final of the Victorian Open squash, a PSA Tour event.
  • Sandhu, who had reached the final without dropping a game, ran into an opponent who was ready for a long battle.

HPCL to invest Rs. 61,000 cr.

  • Government owned HPCL will invest Rs. 61,000 crore over the next four years in expanding and upgrading its existing refining capacity to meet higher quality fuel norms, the company said.
  • HPCL is upgrading both its Mumbai and Visakh refineries to produce fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norms. It will invest Rs. 20,928 crore in expanding its Visakh refinery in Andhra Pradesh from 8.33 million tonnes per annum to 15 million tonnes by July 2020.
  • The investment plans are independent of the proposal by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to buy out the government’s 51.11% stake in HPCL. The Cabinet may accord approval to ONGC’s proposal.

HSL to complete refit of INS Sindhuvir in 27 months

  • Hindustan Shipyard Limited, which kick-started the retrofitting of Russia-made INS Sindhuvir, one of the sophisticated EKM-class submarines of Indian Navy, will complete the Rs. 500 crore project in 27 months.
  • Hindustan Shipyard Limited has submarine repair facility developed at a cost of Rs. 50 crore. It has expertise in submarine repairs with plans to construct next generation submarines in future.
  • Earlier HSL was credited with successfully completing the retrofitting of INS Sindhukirti immediately after Cyclone Hudhud caused devastation in and around Visakhapatnam in 2014.

IBBI notifies rules for bankruptcy probe

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), which is implementing the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), has notified the regulations for inspection and investigation of service providers registered with it. It can investigate without intimation.
  • Insolvency professional agencies, professionals, entities and information utilities are considered as service providers under the Code.
  • The Code, which provides for a market-determined and time-bound resolution of insolvency proceedings, became operational in December 2016.
  • As per the regulations, the investigation authority has to serve a notice intimating the entity concerned about the probe at least ten days in advance.
  • However, the requirement could be done away with on grounds such as apprehensions that the records of the particular service provider might be destroyed before the probe starts.

India defeats New Zealand to reach semi-finals of Women's World Cup

  • India stormed into the semifinals of ICC Women's World Cup defeating New Zealand by 186 runs. Indian left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad's brilliant five wickets for just 15 runs and skipper Mithali Raj's magnificent 109 runs were the major contributions in India's win over the Kiwis.
  • The win ensured Indian eves to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since 2010.
  • Put into bat, India scored a challenging 265 for 7 in their final league match. Chasing 266 for a win, New Zealand crashed out for just 79 runs in 25.3 overs.
  • In the Semi-final, Indian eves will clash with Australia.

International Junior Shotgun Cup: Lakshay bags silver

  • Lakshay ended up with the silver in junior men’s trap in the ninth International junior shotgun cup. Nino Cuomo of Italy beat Lakshay 43-41 to bag the gold medal. The latter had qualified with the second best score of 115, two points behind the leaders.
  • Manavaditya Singh Rathore shot 110 and Vivaan Kapoor 103, as the Indian team took the bronze behind Italy and Finland.

Over 3.30 lakh people killed in Syrian conflict

  • The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that more than 3, 30,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, in which around a third of them civilians. The conflict erupted in mid-March 2011 with anti-government protests.
  • It also said that in addition, more than 58 thousand militants, mainly from the Islamic State group and Al Qaeda's former Syria affiliate were killed, the figure also includes foreign extremists.

Protests in Poland condemn controversial judicial reforms

  • Several thousand people have rallied in Poland's capital to protest against controversial new court reforms they see as a threat to judicial independence. Polish Parliament recently passed a legislation which gives the ruling Law and Justice party power over the courts.
  • Under the proposed bill, the current Supreme Court justices will be forced to retire, with the exception of those named by the justice minister, who would also be responsible for selecting candidates to succeed the retired judges.
  • President: Andrzej Sebastian Duda
  • Prime Minister: Beata Maria Szydlo
  • Capital: Warsaw; Currency: Polish zloty

RBI push to resolve Rs. 8 lakh cr. bad loans

  • With the coming of the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to push for resolution of bad loans worth about Rs. 8 lakh crore by March 2019. A move that could bring down the non-performing assets and improve the financial health of banks.
  • NPAs are a big drain on the financial health of banks especially public sector banks (PSBs).
  • The government gave wide-ranging legislative powers to the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings for the recovery of bad loans that have reached unacceptably high level.

Roger Federer lifts Wimbledon title for the 8th time beating Marin Cilic

  • Roger Federer won a record eighth Wimbledon title and became the tournament's oldest champion today with a straight-sets victory over Marin Cilic. Federer claimed his 19th Grand Slam title beating Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
  • It was his 11th Wimbledon final and 29th title at the majors. With this victory, Federer also became the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win Wimbledon without dropping a set in the entire tournament.
  • Federer is also Wimbledon's oldest men's winner of the modern era, succeeding Arthur Ashe, who was almost 32 when he won in 1976.

Scientists develop 3D-printed soft silicone heart

  • Scientists have developed a 3D-printed soft silicone heart that closely resembles and functions like the human organ, and could help save lives of people who suffer from cardiac failure.
  • The soft artificial heart weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cubic centimetres. It has a silicone monoblock with complex inner structure.
  • The artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is inflated and deflated by pressurised air and is required to pump fluid from the blood chambers.
  • About 26 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure.

South Korea invites military talks with North Korea

  • South Korea proposed military talks with North Korea, the first since 2015, and a halt to hostile activities near the inter-Korean border.
  • The proposal came after President Moon Jae-in said the need for dialogue with North Korea was more pressing than ever to curb Nort Korea's's nuclear and missile programmes.
  • In the recent weeks North korea has tested a series of missile tests.

Super-flexible and strong artificial silk developed

  • Scientists from the University of Cambridge have developed super-stretchy and strong artificial silk, composed almost entirely of water, which may be used to make eco-friendly textiles and sensors.
  • The fibres, which resemble miniature bungee cords as they can absorb large amounts of energy, are sustainable, non-toxic and can be made at room temperature.
  • The fibres are spun from a soupy material called a hydrogel, which is 98% water and the remaining 2% of the hydrogel is made of silica and cellulose. Both are held together in a network by barrel-shaped molecular handcuffs known as cucurbiturils.
  • The fibres are capable of self-assembly at room temperature, and are held together by supramolecular host, where atoms share electrons.

Udta Punjab wins big at IIFA awards

  • The 18th edition of the International Indian Film Academy awards ended on a high with Udta Punjab winning four awards. Neerja and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil won three awards each.
  • Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt walked away with the Best Actor awards for their film Udta Punjab . The Best Direction award went to Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury for Pink and Neerja won the award for Best Film.
  • In a special category, Taapsee Pannu won the Woman of the Year award for Pink
  • The Best Performance in a Negative Role title went to Jim Sarbh for Neerja.
  • Shakun Batra and Ayesha DeVitre won the award for the Best Story for Kapoor & Sons.
  • Ae Dil Hai Mushkil dominated the music categories. Pritam took home the Best Music Director honour, the Best Playback Singer (Male) award was taken by Amit Mishra and Amitabh Bhattacharya won the Best Lyricist prize

Wimbledon 2017: Garbine Muguruza beats Venus Williams to win first title

  • Spain's Garbine Muguruza won her first Wimbledon title with a straight-set win over five-time champion Venus Williams. The 23-year-old saved two set points and won the last nine games in a 7-5 6-0 victory under the Centre Court roof.
  • It is 14th seed Muguruza's second Grand Slam title after her French Open triumph over Serena Williams in 2016.

World Swimming Championships: Russian duo denies China gold in 3m synchro

  • Russia’s Evgenii Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov denied China gold in the 3 metre synchro springboard for only the second time in history at the world swimming championships in Budapest. The disappointed young Chinese pair Cao Yuan and Xie Siyi came second with 443.40 points.