Daily Current Affairs - 01st Aug 2017

Abhijeet Gupta finishes second in Czech Open chess tournament

  • Commonwealth Champion Abhijeet Gupta came up with a spirited effort to beat Florian Kaczur of Hungary and finish second in the Czech International Open Chess tournament at Pardubidze in Czech Republic.
  • After squandering his sole lead at 5.5/6, Gupta scored 1.5 points in the last three rounds to end with a tally of seven points out of a possible nine.

Core sector growth slows to 0.4% in June

  • The country's eight core sectors grew 0.4 per cent in June this year. Growth in the eight infrastructure sectors had stood at 7 per cent in June last year, and 4.1 per cent in May this year.
  • The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). Its cumulative growth during April to June, 2017-18, was 2.4%, according to data released by the government.
  • Coal production declined 6.7% in June, 2017, while the output of crude oil increased 0.6%. Natural gas production increased 6.4%, while that of petroleum refinery declined by 0.2% and fertilizer declined by 3.6%.

Dhrupad maestro Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar dies

  • Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, maestro and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music and a member of the eminent Dagar family, passed away in Pune late on Sunday night after a brief illness.

Discovery buys Scripps for $11.9 bn

  • Discovery Communications agreed to buy Scripps Networks Interactive for $11.9 billion in a bet that uniting the ownership of cable channels like Animal Planet and HGTV will help the company adapt to the changing television landscape.
  • The cash and stock deal values Scripps at $90 per share or $11.9bn worth of equity, a 34 per cent premium to where the stock was trading.
  • After closing, Scripps shareholders will own about 20 per cent of the company, with existing Discovery shareholders holding the rest.

Falcons beat Shaze Challengers to emerge inaugural Ultimate Table Tennis champions

  • Falcons TTC emerged champions of the inaugural Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, after beating Shaze Challengers 14-9 in the final at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai.
  • According to tournament rules, in the knockout stages, the team that secures 14 points first is declared the winner.

HDFC Life, Max call off merger

  • The Max group and HDFC Life have decided to withdraw the merger proposal of Max Life and HDFC Life — mooted a year ago — following the insurance regulator’s discomfort with the proposed structure of the deal.
  • Under the complex deal, Max India was first supposed to amalgamate Max Life Insurance with Max Financial Services and then the insurance business of the merged entity was to be demerged so that it could be transferred to HDFC Life. However, current insurance laws do not permit merger of an insurance business with a non-insurance entity.

IndiGo posts 37% rise in first quarter net

  • IndiGo registered its highest-ever quarterly profit of Rs. 811.1 crore in the first quarter of 2017-18 — a 37% rise compared with the year-earlier period — on higher revenues. This is also the highest-ever quarterly profit registered by any Indian airline till date.
  • Profit rose on a 25% increase in revenues for the March-April 2017 period to Rs. 5,955.5 crore. Also, the airline’s non-fuel cost, measured in terms of cost per available seat kilometre (CASK) excluding fuel, dipped by 2.5%.

Login glitch: I-T returns date extended

  • The Centre extended the deadline for filing income tax (I-T) returns from July 31 to August 5, citing the last-minute rush coupled with widespread difficulties in linking PAN and Aadhaar.
  • Moreover, the government has granted temporary relief to taxpayers without Aadhaar numbers by allowing them to file their I-T returns without linking the PAN to Aadhaar. However, the returns will not be processed until the link between Aadhaar and PAN has been established. The last date for this is August 31.

LPG prices to be hiked by Rs. 4 every month

  • The government has ordered State-run oil companies to raise the price of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) by Rs. 4 a cylinder every month to eliminate all subsidies by March next year.
  • The government had previously asked Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum to raise rates of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs. 2 a 14.2-kg cylinder per month.

RBI asks banks to work towards account number portability

  • Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor S S Mundra has asked banks to work towards account number portability, as it will be a far-reaching step towards enhancing competition and improving customer service.
  • Mundra also referred to issue of the rising trend of loss of cheques from drop boxes and the lack of alacrity shown by banks in redressing such complaints.
  • He asked the banks to look at the possibility of setting up a common account and compensate the customers immediately from the pool, without waiting for recovery of the amount from insurance.

RBI slaps Rs. 3-cr penalty on Union Bank for non-compliance with KYC norms

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a monetary penalty aggregating Rs. 3 crore on Union Bank of India for non-compliance with the regulatory direction on ‘know-your-customer’ (KYC) norms.
  • KYC is a process by which banks obtain information about the identity and address of customers.
  • The central bank said these actions are based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and are not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

SBI cuts savings deposit rate by 50 bps to 3.5%

  • For the first time since savings account interest rates were deregulated in 2011, State Bank of India has decided to revise the rate downward by 50 basis points to 3.5%, for deposits of less than Rs. 1 crore. Deposits of Rs. 1 crore and above will continue to earn 4%.
  • About 90% of SBI’s savings account holders will be impacted due to the move. SBI has a savings account base of Rs. 9 lakh crore.

Snapdeal wants no deal with Flipkart

  • Snapdeal’s two co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal said a lot of time and effort has gone into the process from all participants, leading to intense speculations and uncertainty for the team, partners and shareholders.
  • The company will now pursue a new direction — Snapdeal 2.0. The company’s largest investor Softbank, which was pushing for the deal with Flipkart, said in a statement that they respect the decision and “look forward to the results of the Snapdeal 2.0 strategy, and to remaining invested in the vibrant Indian e-commerce space”.

Summer Olympics: Los Angeles agrees to host 2028 Games; Paris gets 2024

  • Los Angeles formally announced its bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics today after agreeing on a deal that paves the way for Paris to host in 2024.
  • The Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic bid committee in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), announced it. The LA bid committee said in a statement that Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2028.

US sanctions Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro, calls him dictator

  • The US government has branded Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro a dictator and frozen his US assets. The move came after he held a controversial poll to elect a constituent assembly.
  • The election was marred by violence, with widespread protests and at least 10 people killed. President Maduro hailed the poll as a vote for the revolution. Venezuela's new constituent assembly will have the power to rewrite the constitution and disband the opposition-controlled National Assembly.