Daily Current Affairs - 30th Jul 2017

Astronomers discover first exomoon 4,000 light-years away from Earth

  • Astronomers have potentially discovered the first known moon beyond our solar system, orbiting a giant planet around a star about 4,000 light-years away.
  • Researchers from Columbia University in the US analysed the dips in light from exoplanets passing in front of their stars in data from the Kepler space telescope. A second, smaller dip that appears ahead of or behind the planet could reveal a moon.

Athletics-London 2017 set to break world championships attendance records

  • The world athletics championships in London next month are expected to have the highest attendance figures in the event's history after organisers announced that more than 650,000 tickets have been sold.
  • The championships, which began in 1983, have completely sold out for the opening night at the London Stadium when Britain's Mo Farah will bid for his third successive gold in the 10,000 metres.

Building block of life found on Saturn’s moon Titan

  • An important building block of life has been discovered in the hazy upper atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Using data from the Cassini mission, scientists identified negatively charged molecules called ‘carbon chain anions’ in the atmosphere of Titan.
  • These linear molecules are understood to be building blocks towards more complex molecules, and may have acted as the basis for the earliest forms of life on Earth.

CAG finds deficiencies in defence pension system

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found glaring deficiencies in the defence pension system, including incomplete accounting of expenditure, and flaws in the authorisation process.
  • In a report tabled in the Lok Sabha, the CAG said an amount of 6,831 crore rupees was lying in banks at the end of March last year, due to procedural lapses.
  • The report said, substantial amount of expenditure was not booked to the pension head and was lying under RBI suspense head because of the inability of the banks to furnish the pension payment scrolls.

Govt collected more than Rs.2.35 lakh crore as cesses in 2016-17

  • The government collected a total Rs 2,35,307.75 crore last fiscal by way of a host of cesses, including those of education, Swachh Bharat, Krishi Kalyan and other surcharges .
  • The amount generated from the cesses and surcharges under the indirect tax category stood at around 1,88,000 crore rupees in 2016-17.
  • In the 2015-16 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed to levy a Swachh Bharat cess of up to 2 per cent on all or certain services, if need arises.

India among top nations with potential for digital payments: Digital Evolution Index

  • India has emerged strong, exhibiting a high potential in terms of digital payments and has been categorised under the "break out" segment among 60 countries, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017.
  • The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard, unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017.
  • The Index measures four key drivers - supply, consumer demand, institutional environment, and innovation.

India is world's third-biggest beef exporter: FAO report

  • India is the world's third-biggest exporter of beef and is projected to hold on to that position over the next decade, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD).
  • OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 report said that India exported 1.56 million tonnes of beef last year.
  • The Outlook report ranked Brazil as the world's top beef exporter, followed by Australia.

India to meet Kazakhstan in division B Asia Cup final

  • India will take on Kazakhstan in the Division B Final of the International Basketball Federation, FIBA, Women's Asia Cup in Bengaluru. In Division A the title clash will be between fancied Australia and Japan.
  • In the semifinal held in Bengaluru Kanteerava Stadium India continued its winning vein and despite an early attack from Lebanon and trailing by five points (33-38) at the halfway mark, India prevailed by a clear ten point margin at 79-69.

India's Foreign Exchange Reserves touch record high of USD 391.33 bn

  • Country’s Foreign Exchange Reserves touched a new record high of USD 391 point 33 billion aided by increase in foreign Currency Assets (FCAs).
  • According to Reserve Bank of India data released FCAs, a key component of overall reserves, surged by USD 2 point 24 billion to USD 367.15 billion, according to RBI data. RBI data also showed that Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 20.35 billion.

International Tiger Day: July 29

  • International Tiger Day which is celebrated to raise awareness for tiger conservation.
  • 29th July was decided to be celebrated as Tiger day during the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010.
  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said, only 3,890 tigers are left in the world. Of them, India has the highest number. Till July last year, there were 2,500 tigers in the country.

Irda directs ICICI Prudential Life to takeover Sahara Life

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has directed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to take over the life insurance business portfolio of Sahara India Life Insurance from 31st July 2017.
  • Irda had asked Sahara life to stop issuing policies on June 23. Insurance regulator had raised concerns over the management of Sahara India Life Insurance Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group.
  • ICICI Prudential Life has expressed its interest to take over the policyholders’ assets and liabilities of Sahara Life.

Muntra, country's first unmanned tank, rolls out from the Chennai lab

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an unmanned, remotely operated tank which has three variants - surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats. It is called Muntra.
  • Muntra-S is the country's first tracked unmanned ground vehicle developed for unmanned surveillance missions while Muntra-M is for detecting mines and Muntra-N is for operation in areas where there is a nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk.

North Korea says second ballistic missile test puts much of U.S. in range

  • North Korea test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew longer and higher than the first.
  • The Korean Central News Agency said that the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan.
  • The agency said that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”

NPCI gets RBI nod to operate Bharat Bill Payment System

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in the country, has received the final nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
  • As per the framework, a customer will be able to pay several bills such as electricity, telephone, water, gas, and direct-to-home television at a single location—physical or electronic—and receive instant confirmation once the payment is made.

ONGC wins government nod for Rs 7,738 crore GSPC stake buy

  • State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGCBSE 0.76 %) has won government approval for acquisition of Gujarat State Petroleum Corp's entire 80 per cent holding in a KG basin gas block for Rs 7,738 crore.
  • The company will also pay part consideration of USD 200 million (Rs 1,295 crore) to GSPC towards acquisition rights for discoveries other than DDW field in the block.

Sri Lanka, China sign long-delayed $1.5-billion port deal that had triggered row

  • Sri Lanka's government signed a long-delayed agreement to sell a 70% stake in a $1.5-billion port to China in a bid to recover from the heavy burden of repaying a Chinese loan obtained to build the facility.
  • The agreement comes after a nearly six-month delay since the signing of the framework deal, which immediately drew public criticism and protests.
  • According to the agreement, the Chinese company will invest $1.12 billion in the port, which sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes. Under the original framework agreement, an 80% stake would have been sold to China.