Daily Current Affairs - 18th Jul 2017

Britannia Industries eyes more exports, plans greenfield units

  • Britannia Industries Ltd. (BIL) will be setting up two greenfield projects, including one at the Mundra Special Economic Zone, to cater to its export requirements. It will also start a local manufacturing unit in Nepal.
  • Its other two projects include a greenfield plant in Guwahati and an integrated food park in Maharashtra. Sales revenues were Rs. 8,581.6 crore in 2016-17, of which rural revenues were Rs. 1,556 crore.

Centre seeks debate in SC on J&K special status

  • The Centre asked the Supreme Court to debate on the special status granted to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was both a sensitive and constitutional matter.
  • Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was responding to a PIL plea filed by a Delhi-based NGO contending that the J&K government, given the State’s special autonomous status under Articles 35A and 370, was discriminatory against non-residents as far as government jobs and real estate purchases were concerned.
  • The hearing comes in the backdrop of an earlier Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which ruled that Article 370 assumed a place of permanence in the Constitution and the feature was beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation.

Egypt imposes preliminary visas on Qataris on humanitarian concerns

  • Egypt today imposed mandatory preliminary visas for Qatari citizens, except for humanitarian cases. Egypt made this decision stressing that Qatar continued to stick to its position on supporting terrorist extremist groups.
  • Qatari citizens would be banned from entering Egypt without a visa from Thursday amid the ongoing diplomatic row between four Arab States and Doha.
  • Exceptions will reportedly be made for spouses and children of the Egyptian nationals, as well as those Qatari citizens studying at Egyptian universities.

GST Council okays higher cess rates for cigarettes

  • The Goods and Services Tax Council decided to increase the cess applied on cigarettes by as much as 31% in certain categories, effective from Tuesday. The cess on these items is over and above the 28% GST rate applied to them.
  • In addition, Compensation Cess may be levied on cigarettes at rates equal to 1.05 times the specific excise duty rates (net of NCCD).

HDFC Life gets board nod for IPO

  • HDFC Life has decided to revive plans for an initial public offering (IPO), with its board approving a proposal. HDFC Life is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd. and Standard Life. The total equity dilution in the IPO would be up to 20%.

I H Manudev wins 1st National Masters snooker tournament title

  • I H Manudev has won the first National Masters snooker tournament title in Chennai. Manudev, capitalised on the chances he got and kept scoring heavily and won the game by four impressive frames. He dominated the first two frames and seized control.
  • Manudev beat Alok Kumar 68-42, 60-22, 65-59, 17-66, 63-33.

Indonesia renames part of South China Sea

  • Indonesia has named waters in its exclusive economic zone that overlap with China’s expansive claim to the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea, an assertion of sovereignty that has angered Beijing.
  • China claims most of the South China Sea, putting it in dispute with many southeast Asian nations, and has carried out extensive land reclamation and construction on reefs and atolls to bolster its claims.
  • The Indonesian government stated that it has clear coordinates, dates and data, and it would not negotiate with other nations that make unconventional claims.
  • Philipppines also has claims to the South China Sea.

Industrial policy, clusters for manufacturing on anvil

  • Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the process for formulation of a new industrial policy has been initiated and consultations are being held with stakeholders which include industry bodies, academia, think-tanks, state governments and concerned ministries and departments of the central government.
  • The government is also preparing a national plan for manufacturing clusters with an aim to bring about convergence in development of industrial areas by central and state governments.
  • Inputs from central ministries and departments and states have been taken for development of an industrial information system.

NDA picks Venkaiah Naidu as Vice Presidential candidate

  • Senior BJP leader and union minister M Venkaiah Naidu was picked as NDA's vice presidential nominee. The decision was taken at BJP's parliamentary board meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Besides Naidu, names of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and O Rajagopal were doing the rounds as probables for the coveted post.
  • A BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, Naidu is a Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, and Information and Broadcasting.
  • He will be contesting against former West Bengal Governor, diplomat and scholar Gopalkrishna Gandhi whose name has been finalised by an alliance of 18 opposition parties.

Neel Joshi, Ananya Dabke win Dutch Open

  • Neel Joshi and Ananya Dabke bagged the under-15 boys and girls titles respectively in the Dutch Open Junior Squash Championship in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Joshi beat 5/8 seed Khalil Alhassan of England 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 in the boys final, while Dabke, scripted a shock 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 win over second seed Serena Daniel of the US in the corresponding girls title round.

Oscar-winning performer Martin Landau is no more

  • Veteran actor Martin Landau, whose versatile screen career stretched from the 1960s TV series Mission: Impossible to his Oscar-winning turn as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood , has died at 89.
  • Landau’s film roles ranged from the grand to the quirky, from Cleopatra , to The Greatest Story Ever Told and Nevada Smith .
  • He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing declining horror film star Lugosi in his poor, elder years as a morphine addict in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood .

Park Sung-hyun wins US Open

  • Park Sung-hyun of South Korea broke a three-way tie with two late birdies to win the US Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club.
  • Park, who won seven times on the Korean LPGA Tour in 2016 and had four top-10s on the LPGA Tour this season, saved par at the par-five last with a superb chip from behind the green to post a five-under 67 for an 11-under 277 total.

Reliance Industries market cap crosses Rs. 5 lakh crore

  • Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) attained a market valuation of more than Rs. 5 lakh crore, becoming the second firm after TCS to achieve this milestone. The market capitalization of the company stood at Rs. 5,04,458.09 crore, making it the most valued company in the country. Shares of RIL have surged over 43% so far this year.

SBI Life files prospectus for IPO

  • SBI Life Insurance has filed a draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for an initial public offering (IPO) for issuing 12 crore equity shares.
  • SBI Life is joint venture between State Bank of India (SBI) and BNP Paribas Cardif. SBI holds 70.1% stake in the life insurer with Cardif holding 26%.
  • According to the draft prospectus, SBI will sell 8% stake and BNP Paribas Cardif 4%.
  • It will be the second life insurance company after ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to go for an IPO.
  • In September 2016, ICICI Pru raised more than Rs. 6,000 crore from the offering.
  • SBI Life’s net worth increased to Rs. 5,552 crores from Rs. 4,733 crores in the previous fiscal.

South Africa defeats England to level Test series

  • South Africa hammered England by 340 runs to win the second Test at Trent Bridge and level the four-match series 1-1. England, set a mammoth 474 runs for victory, collapsed to 133 all out in its second innings.
  • Man-of-the-match Vernon Philander led South Africa's attack with three wickets for 24 runs in 10 overs, while left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took three for 42 in 12.

Tri-Nation Malabar Naval Exercise Concludes

  • The US, Japanese and Indian navies concluded the 'Malabar Naval Exercise' aimed at achieving deeper military ties between the three nations. The navies of the three countries undertook the exercise in rough seas and under challenging weather conditions.
  • The naval exercise featured 95 aircraft, 16 ships and 2 submarines. Various maneuveres were undertaken in rough seas in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The exercise comprised both on shore and offshore activities which included cross deck flying operations, refuelling across ships and crew handling procedures.

U.K. raises issue of overstaying Indians

  • Britain claims a thousand Indians overstay their visa in Britain every year, and the two countries are working together to improve the process for returning those who remain in Britain illegally.
  • Britain repeatedly raising the issue of overstaying Indians, and India pointing to the process and cost of obtaining visa for its citizens.
  • Some of the most sensitive issues relating to British-India relations, including counter-terrorism, visas and extradition were also discussed during the visit of India’s Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrish.

US threatens sanctions if Venezuela creates Constituent Assembly

  • The US has said, it will take strong economic action if the government of Nicolas Maduro imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30. The statement reiterated the US call for free and fair elections, vowing to stand with the people of Venezuela in their quest to restore democracy in their country.
  • The opposition organized a popular referendum in which over 98 percent of 7.2 million voters said they opposed Maduro’s proposal to call the Constituent Assembly.

World Boxing Championships: Bidhuri qualifies for World meet

  • Gaurav Bidhuri became the eighth Indian boxer to qualify for this year’s World Championships in Hamburg after getting a quota place from the Asian Boxing Confederation.
  • Bidhuri, who lost in the box-off for quota places during the Asian Championships in Tashkent, got lucky after Bhutan declined a slot offered to them by the (ASBC).