Daily Current Affairs - 25th Jul 2017

Admiralty Bill gets passed in Rajya Sabha

  • The Rajya Sabha passed two Bills on jurisdiction and settlement of maritime claims and the Footwear Design and Development Institute.
  • The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), Bill, 2017, which was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha in March, seeks to consolidate the laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction, legal proceedings in connection with vessels, their arrest, detention, sale and other related matters.
  • While earlier only the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras could take up maritime cases, the Bill extends the power to the High Courts of Karnataka, Kerala, Hyderabad, Orissa and Gujarat, besides any other High Courts as notified by the Centre.
  • The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017, seeks to establish it as an institution of national importance.

SC for more data on GM mustard

  • The Supreme Court asked the Union government to stop itself from embarking on any project on, or commercial release of, genetically modified (GM) mustard.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said an injunction order would be passed if it was found that GM mustard affected health and lives for generations.
  • The court agreed with Additional Solicitor-General suggestion to get more scientific information on GM mustard by July 28 to address the apprehensions raised by the court and petitioner.

Ancient rock inscription discovered

  • An ancient rock inscription and stone monument dating back 900 years have been discovered on a mountain in China’s Hebei province. The inscription, made of over 130 Chinese characters, was carved on a piece of smooth stone.
  • The stone monument was underneath the inscription, on which about 300 Chinese characters were carved. Both the inscription and the monument recorded the renovation of the Chouchan Temple during the Song Dynasty.
  • The new discovery offers valuable materials to study the history of Chouchan Temple and other famous temples.

Asian cadet wrestling championships: India strikes it rich

  • India ended its campaign at the Asian cadet wrestling championships in Bangkok with a rich haul of 23 medals, including five golds. Four of the golds were won by men while Tina was the lone woman gold medallist, winning in the 65 kg category.

BCCI plans grand felicitation for women’s team

  • The BCCI is planning a grand felicitation for the Indian women’s cricket team which won a billion hearts despite a heartbreaking loss in the World Cup final at Lord’s. The players will be presented with cheques for Rs. 50 lakh each while the support staff will receive Rs. 25 lakh each.
  • Efforts are also on for an interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has praised the team.

BillionAbles app tracks disabled-friendly spaces

  • A Delhi-based start-up has launched a smartphone app that can assist people with special needs to find disabled-friendly restaurants, tourist locations and other public places across India.
  • The app, called BillionAbles, is India’s first lifestyle app for persons with disabilities and special needs. Users can filter the search results on the basis of features such as step-free access, Braille and sign language availability or gluten-free food availability.
  • Founder: Sameer Garg

Centre launches Aarambh mobile app for road maintenance

  • The Union Ministry of Rural Development launched Aarambh mobile app for performance based maintenance contracting and community contracting for maintenance of rural roads.
  • Aarambh mobile app aims at use of Geographic Information System (GIS) based mapping for making road inventories, condition surveys and producing cost estimates and other relevant data for preparation and monitoring of annual road maintenance plans.
  • Its usage will help to enhance the service delivery of the state level institutions in planning and implementing performance based rural roads maintenance contracts.
  • Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation: Narendra Singh Tomar

Centre seeks more time on cattle slaughter rules

  • The Centre asked the Supreme Court for more time to report back on the progress in modifying the controversial cattle slaughter ban rules. The rules ban the sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets. Earlier, the Madras High Court passed a stay on the implementation of the cattle slaughter rules which was applicable across the country.
  • Additional Solicitor General said the Centre would revisit the rules in the light of the public furore it had caused and fresh rules may be notified possibly in August 2017.

Gauri for US Kids Teen World Championship

  • The 15-year-old Gauri Karhade will take part in The US Kids golf Teen World championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA, from 27 to 29. She qualified through her impressive performance in The 10th annual US kids golf European Championship at Edinburgh in May where she finished second.

Golf: Spieth sets sights on a career Slam

  • Jordan Spieth will go into the US PGA Championship next month looking to join an elite club and complete the career Grand Slam after his memorable British Open triumph. He emulated the great Jack Nicklaus in winning three different majors before the age of 24

HDFC Bank first-quarter net profit increases 20%

  • India’s second- largest private sector lender HDFC Bank’s net profit rose 20% to Rs. 3,893.8 crore during the first quarter of the financial year FY18 in spite of reporting higher non-performing assets (NPAs) mainly from its agricultural portfolio as farm loan waivers impacted.
  • Its gross non-performing loans, as a percentage of gross advances, increased to 1.24% in June 2017, compared with 1.04% as of June 2016.
  • Net interest income rose 20.4% to Rs. 9,370.7 crore driven by average loan growth of 20.7% and a core net interest margin of 4.4%

Maldives Opposition says government locked down Parliament

  • The Maldivian Opposition party Maldivian Democratic Party said that the military locked down Parliament on the orders of the country’s President in a bid to prevent lawmakers from taking part in a vote to impeach the parliamentary Speaker.
  • A no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed was scheduled to be taken up. The Opposition says the motion has gained the support of 45 lawmakers in the 85-member house.
  • President: Yameen Abdul Gayoom
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Michael Phelps loses by 2 seconds to simulated shark

  • Olympic champion Michael Phelps has finally met his match in the water, a great white shark. Phelps wearing a wetsuit and a monofin, competed in the ocean against a computer-simulated fish based on data on the swimming speed of sharks. He lost the 100 metre race by two seconds.

Olympics 2020: Japan begins three-year countdown

  • Japan began the three-year countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with celebrations and fanfare, even as organizers struggle to contain soaring costs and restore credibility. Japanese celebrities and athletes dressed in bright kimonos gathered for the launch of a remake of a popular 1964 Tokyo Olympics song.
  • The International Olympic Committee, fearful that ballooning budgets could see future Olympic bids dry up, last month praised local organisers for slashing costs.
  • The 2020 Games are set to begin on July 24. The Olympians will compete in 33 categories through Aug. 9, while the Paralympians will compete in 22 categories from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

Ram Nath Kovind to take over as country's 14th President

  • Ramnath Kovind will take over as the 14th President of India. He will be administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India Justice JS Khehar at a special function in the Central hall of Parliament. The dais at the central hall will be shared by President and President-elect, Speaker, Vice President and Chief Justice of India.
  • After the oath the new President will be honored with a 21-gun salute followed by the acceptance speech of Mr Kovind.

Russia’s Chelyabinsk woos Indian pharma

  • Russia’s Chelyabinsk region is seeking proposals from Indian pharmaceutical companies looking to set up manufacturing units there with a local partner. While some manufacturers are eyeing the prospect of a local production facility as it would translate into easier and greater access to Russia — the largest market in the Central and Eastern Europe region.
  • Indian manufacturers were keen to know more about tax benefits that the Russian region would offer and the availability of infrastructure facilities for joint venture units.
  • The Russian government is pursuing a Vision 2020 Document with a focus on building self reliance in drugs. The Indian Commerce Ministry official said negotiations for a free trade agreement with Russia were also going on.

Sri Lanka dengue toll nears 300

  • Sri Lankan government announced that it was intensifying its war on dengue fever, with schools to shut across the island to help curb the unprecedented outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus that has claimed nearly 300 lives.
  • The figure is nearly double the previous year, with doctors warning hospitals were beyond capacity as medics struggled to treat a new strain of the disease.
  • The Red Cross also announced it was scaling up its emergency response to the country’s worst—ever outbreak of the disease as the number of dengue cases topped 100,000.

UR Rao, ex-Isro chief and renowned space scientist, passes away

  • Internationally-renowned space scientist Ur Rao passed away. He served as the chairman of ISRO for about 10 years between 1984-1994. The former ISRO chief was serving as the chairman of the governing council of the physical research laboratory and the chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram.
  • From Aryabhatta to the Mars Orbiter Mission, Rao has continued to work with the space agency on several of its projects.
  • He is the only Indian to be included in the Satellite Hall of Fame of the Society of Satellite Professionals International, Washington. The hall of fame has the likes of Arthur Clarke and Van Allen.
  • In January this year, he was conferred the Padma Vibhushan.

US to conduct another test of missile-intercept system

  • The US military is preparing to conduct another test of a missile-intercept system in Alaska, amid continued tensions with North Korea over its ballistic missile program. A routine test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system had been scheduled to go ahead soon.
  • THAAD is designed to intercept and destroy short-medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

World’s first wind farm is being built on Scotland coast

  • The world's first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland in North Sea. The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind where five turbines will be installed, which together are expected to provide 30 megawatts of energy -enough to power 20,000 homes.
  • Each turbine is 175m high and weighs 11,500 tonnes, using a large buoy to keep upright. The turbines also make use of new blade technology, which sees the blades twist in order to lessen the impact of wind and currents.
  • The park will be around four square kilometers in size, with each turbine floating at a depth of between 95 and 120 metres.
  • The turbines in the floating wind farm can operate in water up to a kilometre deep. The power output is also larger than power generation from current stationary turbines.