Daily Current Affairs - 31st Jul 2017

Lagos International Challenge badminton: Rahul wins title, Manu & Sumeeth clinch doubles crown

  • C. Rahul Yadav of India won the men’s singles title while Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy clinched the men’s doubles title at the Lagos International Challenge badminton tournament. Fourth-seeded Rahul emerged a 21-15, 21-13 winner over seventh-seeded Karan Rajan Rajarajan.
  • In the doubles final, top-seeded Manu and Sumeeth, defeated the local pair of Godwin Olofua and Anouluwapo Juwon Opeyori, 21-13, 21-15.

Researchers creating warning system for toxic algae in lakes

  • US Researchers are working on creating an early warning system that can spot when algae begins showing up on lakes across the U.S. The project sets out to use real-time data from satellites that already monitor harmful algae hotspots.

Centre collects above Rs 2lakh crore as cesses in 2016-17

  • The Union government has collected more than 2 lakh 35,000 crore rupees last fiscal by way of a host of cesses, including those on education, Swachh Bharat and Krishi Kalyan. The total revenue generated from cesses and surcharges under direct tax was around 47,000 crores.
  • The amount generated from the cesses and surcharges under the indirect tax category stood at around one lakh 88,000 crore rupees in 2016-17.
  • The Union government levies Swachh Bharat cess of up to 2 per cent on all or certain services.
  • A cess imposed by the central government is a tax on tax, levied by the government for a specific purpose. Generally, cess is expected to be levied till the time the government gets enough money for that purpose. It is imposed as an additional tax besides the existing tax (tax on tax).
  • A surcharge is a fee or other charge that is added to the cost of a good or service. A surcharge is typically added to an existing tax, and may not be included in the stated price of a good or service.

Chinese President puts rivals on notice

  • Amid the standoff with India in the remote Doklam plateau, and rising tensions in North Korea, China held a military parade, which has demonstrated the country’s military modernization under President Xi Jinping’s leadership.
  • The military showcased its new weapons, of which nearly half were on public display for the first time, J-20 stealth fighters, widely seen as China’s answer to the F-35 and F-22 fifth generation fighters of the United States, which flew in formation for the first time.

Delhi Metro becomes world’s first completely green Metro system

  • The Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) has become the world’s first completely ‘green’ Metro system for adhering to green building norms for its residential colonies. Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
  • Delhi Metro is serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad in National Capital Region (NCR). It is the world’s 12th longest metro system in length and 16th largest in ridership.

Dressel ties Phelps' record with 7th gold

  • Caeleb Dressel won his seventh gold medal of the world championships, putting the U.S. team ahead to stay with another dominating swim in the 4x100-meter medley relay. Michael Phelps is the only swimmer to win seven golds at a world championships, which he did at Melbourne in 2007.
  • The 20-year-old Dressel established himself as America's newest star of the pool, becoming the first swimmer to win three gold medals on a single day at either the worlds or the Olympics.

Four Arab States express readiness to start dialogue with Qatar with conditions

  • The four Arab countries that are boycotting Qatar have expressed their readiness to start a dialogue with Qatar on the condition that Doha declares its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorists. This was stated in the joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Egypt in Manama.
  • The joint statement also reiterated the importance of the six guiding principles representing international consensus toward combating terrorism and extremism, uprooting its funding, and rejecting interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

India bags 24 medals at Jordan Open TT

  • India have bagged a rich haul of 24 medals at the Jordan Junior and Cadet Open table tennis tournament. The tally includes seven Gold, seven Silver and 10 Bronze medals. India ended as the second best finishers.
  • The team title was denied to India in the cadet section when Payas, Yashansh Malik and Chinmaya Somaiya found the going tough against Hsu Po-Hsuan, Lin Yen-Cun and Peng Chih who claimed the gold.
  • Payas overcame Iran’s Mohammad Amin Samadi to win the boys singles title with a 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 triumph. Anargya Manjunath grabbed the singles crown when she scored a 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10 victory over Taipei’s Cheng Pu-Syuan.

India beat Kazakhstan to win Division B of FIBA Women's Asia Cup

  • The Indian women's basketball team defeated Kazakhstan 75-73 in a thrilling contest of the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 held in Bengaluru. In the Division B Final between two undefeated league teams, India and Kazakhstan, it was the home team that came out victorious.
  • India are now promoted to Division A for the next edition of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup. In Division A Final, Japan won 74-73 against fancied Australia.

India cuts down on U.S. lobbying to lowest in 7 yrs

  • The Indian government has slashed its expenses towards lobbying in the U.S. with a total payment of $1,20,000 to its registered lobbyist firm in the second quarter of 2017, down from the regular $1,80,000, in the first cut in nearly seven years.
  • The disclosure has been made by BGR Government Affairs, which lobbied on behalf of India.

India to field biggest contingent at World Badminton Championship

  • India will be fielding the biggest contingent at the World Badminton Championship to be held from August 21 to 27 at Glasgow, Scotland, with four shuttlers qualifying in both men's and women's singles competition.
  • In the men's singles competition, Sameer Verma will be competing along with K Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth and Ajay Jayaram.
  • In women's section, Rituparna Das and Tanvi Lad have also qualified behind Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu.

New gold bond scheme may draw more investors

  • The Centre has announced a few changes in its Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme recently. The primary change was the increase in the limit to 4 kg (from 0.5kg) for individuals, HUF and 20 kg for Trusts. This was probably done to encourage high net-worth individuals, rich farmers as well as trusts to invest in these bonds.
  • The government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports, the move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
  • Annual consumption of gold in India is in the range of 700-800 tonnes, almost all of which is imported. Of this, approximately 500-600 tonnes is bought by consumers as jewellery for cultural reasons (mainly for weddings). The balance is in the form of gold bars and coins for savings or investment purposes,.
  • The sovereign gold bond initially introduced by the Government in 2015 has achieved only limited success. As bullion prices are highly sensitive to international geopolitical tensions, U.S. Federal rates and dollar upswings.

NTPC Q1 profit up 12 pc to Rs 2,618 cr

  • The government owned NTPC posted a 12 percent rise in standalone profit after tax at 2,618 crore rupees for the first quarter on higher revenues. NTPC's total revenue increased to 20,542 crore rupees, over 19,221 crore rupees in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.
  • Chairman & MD: Gurdeep Singh

Pakistan Assembly to elect new PM tomorrow

  • The Pakistan National Assembly issued nomination papers for the election of the new leader of the House. For the election, interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be competing against the Opposition’s candidate Sheikh Rashid. Both are expected to submit their nomination papers by Monday afternoon.
  • Mr. Sharif has chosen his brother Shahbaz, the current Chief Minister of Punjab, as his successor.

Pioneering researcher on the brain’s plasticity dies

  • Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein’s brain and was the first to show that the brain’s anatomy can change with experience, has died. She was 90.
  • Diamond became famous in 1984 when she examined preserved slices of Einstein’s brain and found it had more support cells than the average person’s brain.
  • Her research demonstrated the impact of enrichment on brain development a simple but powerful new understanding that has literally changed the world.

Regulator turns up heat on erring CAs

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has said 4,445 complaints have been registered against CAs as on June 30 this year, and punishment has been awarded in 402 cases until March 2017.
  • The CA regulator said it was pushing for amendments to the norms to help expedite action against wrongdoers in the profession.
  • This development comes within a few weeks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicating stringent measures against those involved in money laundering — including through shell companies — following demonetisation, and asking the ICAI to hasten action against CAs helping tax evaders.
  • The ICAI is under the Corporate Affairs Ministry’s administrative control.
  • ICAI president: Nilesh S. Vikamse

Russia asks 755 US diplomats to leave country following American sanctions

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked 755 US diplomats to leave the country under new sanctions. Putin's statement follows US Senate's approval of a bill to toughen sanctions on Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The Russian President also said that an upturn in Moscow's relations with Washington could not be expected any time soon.

SEBI asks exchanges to keep constant vigil on cyber threats

  • Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will undertake a comprehensive review of technology and systems at all market institutions, including stock exchanges, to safeguard the marketplace from cyber threats and technical glitches.
  • The market regulator has also asked exchanges and other institutions to keep a constant vigil on cyber threats globally and take lessons to put in place necessary safeguards.
  • It said, there should be a prompt and diligent reporting of any technical issues, including cyber attacks, to relevant agencies including Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) and Sebi.
  • Sebi Chief: Ajay Tyagi

Shiva, Manoj ,3 other strike Gold at Czech Boxing Tournament

  • Indian boxers have clinched five gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the 48th Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem, in the Czech Republic. World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva Thapa in 60 kg, former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar in 69 kg, Amit Phangal in 52 kg, Gaurav Bidhuri in 56 kg and Satish Kumar in +91 kg category claimed gold medals
  • Kavinder Bisht in 52 kg and Manish Panwar in 81 kg settled for silver medals. Earlier, Sumit Sangwan had claimed a bronze in 91 kg category after going down in the semifinals.

Smartphone based device to transmit ECG in US

  • A U.S.-based company has created a medical device that can monitor heart rhythm of cardiovascular patients and transmit electrocardiogram (ECG) to doctors through their smartphone. The wireless ‘Kardia Mobile’ device links to patient’s smartphones through a mobile app.

Union Ministry of Earth Science's launches Sagar Vani

  • The Union Ministry of Earth Science has launched Sagar Vani, an integrated information dissemination system. It is an integrated information dissemination system that will serve the coastal community, especially the fishermen community with the advisories and alerts towards their livelihood as well as their safety at Sea.
  • Sagar Vani has been developed by ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) through the Industry M/s. Gaian Solutions Pvt. Ltd. It is a software platform where various dissemination modes will be integrated on a single central server.

Venezuela votes on controversial new assembly

  • On Sunday, Venezuela held a ballot over a controversial measure of rewriting a new constitution. The winners among the 5,500 candidates running for 545 seats in the new Assembly will be tasked with rewriting the country's constitution. They will have powers above and beyond other state institutions, including the opposition-controlled Congress.
  • Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Panama and the United States said they would not recognize Sunday's vote. Canada and Mexico have also issued statements of not recognizing the election.
  • The US administration has imposed successive rounds of sanctions on high-ranking members of Maduro's administration, with the support of countries including Mexico, Colombia and Panama.