Daily Current Affairs - 03rd Aug 2017

Centre planning ‘One Nation, One Licence’ in new telecom policy

  • The Centre will consider including a ‘one-nation one-licence’ regime in the new telecom policy that is set to come out next year. The move, if implemented, is likely to remove the distinction between local and STD calls, as service providers will not need separate licences for operations in various parts of the country. A single licence would be enough.
  • Creation of ‘one-nation one-licence’ policy across services and service areas, was also the one of the objectives of the National Telecom Policy 2012. The draft of the new policy is likely to be out by December, while the final policy is expected to be ready by March 2018.

Coconut palm declared State tree of Goa

  • More than a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree, the BJP-led coalition cabinet in Goa has passed an amendment to include the coconut palm in the tree list and declared it as a state tree.
  • The state government has decided to include coconut palm as a tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, to regulate felling of coconut trees under the act.

Global warming cuts protein in key crops

  • Rising carbon dioxide levels from global warming will drastically reduce the amount of protein in staple crops like rice and wheat, leaving vulnerable populations at risk of growth stunting and early death, experts warned. An additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050 because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • The study, led by Harvard University researchers, is the first to quantify the impacts of global warming on the protein levels of crops.
  • A leading hypothesis was that CO2 might increase the amount of starch in plants, thereby decreasing protein and other nutrients.

H S Prannoy, P Kashyap reach pre-quarterfinals of New Zealand Open

  • H S Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap continued their good run, reaching the pre-quarterfinals with straight-game wins in men's singles competition of the New Zealand Grand Prix Gold Auckland.
  • Prannoy staved off a challenge from Indonesia's Firman Abdul Kholik 23-21, 21-18. Kashyap notched up a crushing win over New Zealand's Oscar Guo 21-9, 21-8. Prannoy will meet 10th seed Hong Kong's Wei Nan, while 15th seeded Kashyap will face compatriot and seventh seed Sourabh Verma.

Human embryos edited to stop disease

  • Scientists have, for the first time, successfully freed embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease to run in families.This potentially opens the door to preventing 10,000 disorders that are passed down the generations.
  • The US and South Korean team allowed the embryos to develop for five days before stopping the experiment.

India biggest production hub: Honda

  • Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI), the Indian subsidiary of Japanese automotive major Honda, said India had become the company’s biggest production hub for its two-wheelers worldwide with an annual production capacity of 64 lakh units from its four plants.
  • The Karnataka plant as Honda’s biggest manufacturing plant worldwide with 24 lakhs units annual production capacity.
  • Presently, HMSI has four manufacturing plants in India including Vithalpur in Gujarat and Narsapura in Karnataka.

Indian Army develops app for soldiers to track promotions, postings

  • The Indian Army has developed a mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions. The app named 'Humraaz', soldiers can also view their monthly salary slips and the Form 16 and also download them. The mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army and will be launched in the second week of August.
  • For security reasons, the installation of the application has been linked to verification of Aadhar details.

Insolvency plea against Essar Steel admitted

  • The Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted an insolvency petition against Gujarat-based Essar Steel India Ltd., which has a total debt of more than Rs. 45,000 crore, out of which more than Rs. 32,000 crore had turned into Non Performing Assets (NPA).
  • The bench rejecting Essar’s plea to dismiss the proceedings sought by the lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) and global lender Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
  • The NCLT’s order paves the way for initiating insolvency proceedings against one of the largest defaulters under the newly-enacted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.

Joshna-Dipika advance to quarterfinals in World Doubles Squash C'ship

  • The formidable Indian pair of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal advanced to the women's doubles quarterfinals at the WSF World Doubles Squash Championship at Manchester. The number two seeds went on to top the three-team Group B by beating Tesni Evans and Deon Saffery of Wales quite comfortably.
  • In the quarterfinal, Joshna and Dipika are scheduled to take on the Group A runner up Samantha Cornett and Nikole Todd of Canada.
  • Indian mixed pairs Saurav Ghosal and Dipika began their Group B league with a win over Malaysian pair of Mohammed Syafiq Kamal and Rachel Arnold in straight games.
  • Similarly Joshna and Vikram Malhotra, the sixth seeds, are currently topping Group C after winning both their matches.

L&T bags Rs. 3,375 crore Mauritius metro order

  • Engineering and Construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won a Rs. 3,375-crore order from the Mauritius government-led Metro Express Limited to design and build an Integrated Light Rail-based Urban Transit System in the African island nation.
  • The new light rail system will significantly transform the way Mauritius will commute in the future and will also bring in economic benefits along the route. The project will be fully funded through a Government of India grant and Line of Credit.
  • CEO and MD, L&T: S.N. Subrahmanyan

Neymar wants out, confirms Barcelona

  • Barcelona football club has confirmed Neymar’s wish to leave the Catalan giant, but insisted the Brazilian’s €222 million buyout clause must be paid as his potential world record move to Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer.
  • Such a fee would smash the current record £89.3 million Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last year.

Nod for proxy voting for NRIs

  • The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws. For overseas Indians, the Representation of the People Act needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes.
  • While non-resident Indians and overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies where they are registered, according to the proposal, they would also be allowed to use the option of proxy, which as of now is only available to service personnel.

PayPal unveils two innovation labs

  • PayPal, one of the world's largest Internet payment company has unveiled its newest Innovation Labs at the Chennai and Bengaluru Tech centres. The lab is the first by PayPal in India and third after the U.S. and Singapore. The firm said the lab will serve as a platform to promote innovation which is a core value for PayPal globally.
  • These labs will actively support innovation across diverse fields including machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science and Internet of Things. The other areas include software defined radios and wireless communication and augmented reality and virtual reality.
  • PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders.

Prices of orthopaedic implants to be capped

  • After capping the price of cardiac stents, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has started work on a similar exercise for orthopaedic implants. The implants can have huge margins, ranging from 200% to 500%, making them very expensive for patients and insurers.
  • Some people choose to live in pain or with heavy medication rather than opt for expensive implants for surgery. Imported implants are way more expensive than indigenous ones.

Privacy protection is a losing battle in modern era, says Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court of India voiced apprehension over the possible misuse of personal data in public domain, saying the race to maintain privacy against the advent of technology was a losing battle.
  • A nine-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, heard arguments for six days over a period of three weeks. The bench has reserved its verdict on the issue whether right to privacy can be held as a fundamental right under the Constitution.
  • The bench favoured overarching guidelines to protect private information in public domain. It said there is a need to maintain the core of privacy as the notion of privacy is fast becoming irrelevant in an all-pervading technological era. The judgment will be delivered on or before 27th of August.

RBI Cuts Repo Rate To 7-Year Low Of 6%

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its 3rd bi-monthly monetary policy decision of FY 2017-18 reduced the Repo Rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility by 25 basis points from 6.25 percent to 6.0 percent. The lowest since November 2010, which means banks could lower lending rates further, making loans cheaper.
  • The RBI reiterated its projection of April-September inflation at 2-3.5 per cent, rising to 3.5-4.5 per cent over the next six months. It also retained its forecast of economic growth at 7.3 per cent in the year through March.
  • The MPC (monetary policy committee) remains focused on its commitment to keeping headline inflation close to 4 percent on a durable basis. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled on October 3 and 4, 2017.
  • Reverse Repo rate: 5.75%
  • Cash reserve Ratio: 4%
  • SLR: 20%
  • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate & the Bank Rate: 6.25 %
  • Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.

SEBI acts against former directors of MCX, FTIL

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has ordered the freezing of assets of some of the former directors of Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) and 63 Moons Technologies — formerly known as Financial Technologies India Ltd. (FTIL) — for alleged trading in the shares of these companies on the basis on unpublished price sensitive information at a time when the National Spot Exchange Ltd. (NSEL) was facing regulatory probes.
  • SEBI to impose a sum of Rs. 126.04 crore from a total of 13 persons.

UNSC adopts resolution urging all countries to eliminate supply of weapons to terrorists

  • The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution urging all countries to eliminate the supply of weapons to the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. The resolution, sponsored by Egypt, strongly condemns the continuing flow of weapons, military equipment, drones and improvised explosive devices to IS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates.
  • The resolution reaffirms the commitment of all states to preventing weapons from reaching terrorists and urged the UN's 193 member states to prevent and disrupt procurement networks for such weapons.
  • This is one of the first resolutions aiming to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons.
  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of six main parts of the United Nations. The Security Council deals with maintaining peace and security between nations.
  • Current Security Council President: Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta

US urges Americans to leave N Korea before ban kicks in on Sept 1

  • The US administration has urged Americans in North Korea to get out before a travel ban goes into effect on September 1. The ban was announced last month and was published in the Federal Register. The warning says exceptions to the travel ban need special permission that will only be granted under very limited circumstances.

WCO to unveil norms for e-commerce trade

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) will soon bring out guidelines on cross-border e-commerce which will focus on preventing illegal trade as well as addressing the challenges stemming from the digital divide.
  • It looks to address issues related to digital divide by looking into what is blocking e-commerce trade, and what kind of enabling environment is needed to support developing countries so that they benefit more from e-commerce.
  • The WCO has a Working Group on e-Commerce and four sub-groups. To develop guidelines on cross-border e-commerce, the work packages identified are: trade facilitation and simplification of procedures, ‘safety and security’, ‘revenue collection’, and ‘measurement and analysis’.
  • According to the UN body UNCTAD, the value of online trade jumped from $16 trillion to $22 trillion between 2013 and 2015.
  • WCO Secretary General: Kunio Mikuriya