Daily Current Affairs - 20th Sep 2017

25 new judges for two High Courts

  • In a move towards reducing the large number of vacancies in the higher judiciary, President of India cleared the appointment of 25 judges in two High Courts. The Law Ministry notified the appointment of 19 additional judges in the Allahabad High Court and 6 in the Calcutta High Court.
  • These are the first set of fresh appointments to the High Court after Justice Dipak Misra took over as Chief justice of India last month.

Centre to launch mobile app for retiring govt staff

  • The Union Government will launch a mobile application for central government employees to help them to monitor the progress of their pension settlement cases. Retired employees will also be able to assess their superannuation funds and record complaints through the pension calculator.
  • The Ministry would also launch the Pension Adalats with the objective of bringing the aggrieved pensioner, the concerned department, the bank on a common table so that such cases can be settled within the framework of extant rules.
  • Minister of State for Public grievances and Pensions: Dr Jitendra Singh

Daimler offers Euro-V ready medium trucks

  • Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) announced the roll-out of Euro-V emission norms compliant medium duty trucks (MDT). The trucks are priced at the same level as that of BS-IV vehicles but the new vehicles emit 40% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) than BS-IV vehicles. As these medium-duty trucks are targeted for intra-city transportation use. The company has exported more than 10,000 trucks since 2013 and it will serve 40 markets by the end 2017.
  • MD and CEO, Daimler India: Nesselhauf

England beat West Indies by seven wickets in first ODI

  • England clinched a 7-wicket win over West Indies in Manchester to go 1-0 up in five-match series. Riding on Jonny Bairstow’s maiden ODI century, England beat West Indies in the rain-hit first ODI in Manchester.
  • Earlier, England restricted West Indies to 204/9 in 42 overs in a rain-affected match after Ben Stokes scalped 3 wickets.

India calls for a representative UN

  • India has extended support to efforts of the U.S. President Donald Trump to reform the UN, saying it should include the expansion of the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the world body to keep pace with the changed times.
  • Mr. Trump insisted that he had always seen the great potential of the UN organisation, but warned that bureaucracy was stopping it from realizing its potential.
  • Mr. Trump supported the reform agenda of UN Secretary-General and was pleased to join nearly 130 countries to support a big, bold reform to eliminate inefficiency.

India seeks probe into North Korea nuclear ties

  • Indian government sought a probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages, and demanded that those responsible for it should be held accountable. The External Affairs Ministry deplored North Korea’s recent action of firing another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable.
  • Though there was no direct reference to Pakistan in the Ministry remarks, but it had reports that North Korea had clandestinely received nuclear enrichment technology from Pakistan when AQ Khan was at the helm of Islamabad’s nuclear programme.

IPO of ICICI Lombard subscribed three times

  • The initial public offer (IPO) of ICICI Lombard General Insurance was subscribed 2.97 times on the last day. Bids were received for 18.31 crore equity shares as against 6.17 crore equity shares on offer in the price band of Rs. 651 to Rs. 661. The institutional portion was subscribed 8.17 times while that reserved for retail and high net worth individuals was subscribed 1.2 times and 0.82 times.
  • Close on the heels of ICICI Lombard, SBI Life Insurance Company will enter the capital market with its Rs. 8,400 crore public issue which opens for subscription.

IT Dept proposes voluntary reporting of estimated current Income, advance tax liability

  • Income Tax Department has proposed a mechanism for self-reporting of estimates of current income, tax payments and advance tax liability by certain taxpayers on voluntary compliance basis. It is being done to address the concerns of income tax payers who have to bear additional burden of interest for default of advance tax, in case total advance tax paid for the year falls short of the assessed tax by ten percent or more.
  • The proposed reporting mechanism is sought to be created by way of inserting a new Rule 39A and Form No. 28AA in the Income-tax Rules, 1962.

Japan Open Badminton Championship: India to play 11 matches in all format

  • In Japan Open Badminton Championship which began in Tokyo, India will play eleven matches in all format of the game. P V Sindhu will take on Minatsu Mitani while Saina Nehwal will clash with Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong. In Men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth will face China's Tian Houwei H S Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth and Verma brothers- Sameer and Sourabh are other Indian players competing in the Men's singles.
  • Mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwani Ponnappa will meet Tinn Isriyanet and Chochuwong of Thailand in the opening round.

Music piracy on increase worldwide

  • The global recorded music industry group IFPI reported that music piracy is on the increase worldwide, with 40 percent of users are accessing unlicensed music, up from 35 percent last year. Internet search engines are making piracy easier.
  • Based on a survey of consumers in 13 countries, the report found that most unlicensed music listeners were using “stream ripping” to access pirate content. Stream ripping sites allow users to turn a file being played on a streaming platform, such as Spotify or YouTube, into one that can be downloaded permanently.

Powerful Earthquake Strikes Mexico, Killing Over 100

  • A strong earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing at least 139 people and toppling dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City. The epicentre of the quake was next to Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km.
  • President of Mexico urged people to avoid the streets so emergency services could easily reach the most affected areas. Phone lines were down in parts of the capital, and 3.8 million people were without power in affected areas.
  • President: Enrique Pena Nieto
  • Capital: Mexico City
  • Currency: Mexican peso

Rajnath reviews steps for cybersecurity

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the preparedness of agencies to check financial cybercrimes. In view of the growing number of financial frauds using cards and e-wallets, Mr. Singh asked agencies to strengthen surveillance and legal frameworks to check the menace.
  • Representatives from various agencies made presentations and apprised the Home Minister of the current trends in financial cybercrimes in the country, and the steps being taken by their agencies to address this challenge.
  • As many as 1,44,496 cybersecurity attacks were observed in the country in the past three years. The types of cybersecurity incidents included phishing, scanning/probing, website intrusions and defacements, virus/malicious code and denial of service attacks.

Soviet military officer, credited with averting a nuclear war, dead

  • Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer who is widely credited with helping prevent a nuclear war with the U.S., has died aged 77. In September 1983, Mr. Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command centre south of Moscow when an alarm went off signalling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • The officer had only a few minutes to make a decision and was not sure about the incoming data dismissed the warning as a false alarm thus averted nuclear war between the Soviet and USA.
  • He received several international awards and was honoured at the United Nations.
  • Mr. Petrov's extraordinary story was told in a documentary titled The Man Who Saved the World.

TRAI cuts mobile termination charges 57%

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has cut mobile termination charges (MTC) by 57% to 6 paise per minute with effect from October 1, in a move that is likely to lead to a reduction in call rates. The regulator added that these charges would be completely done away with January 1, 2020 onwards.
  • The development comes on the back of a prolonged battle between the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio and the top three telcos — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, over the issue. While the top operators had pitched for doubling the MTC to recover their cost, the newer rival had suggested zero charges under which operators bill their own subscribers for outgoing calls and retain revenue received.

U.S. resumes processing of H-1B visas

  • The U.S. has resumed fast processing of H-1B work visas in all categories subject to Congress-mandated limit, five months after it was suspended temporarily. Premium processing of H-1B visa was suspended in April to handle the huge rush of new petitions.
  • The FY2018 cap has been set at 65,000. Premium processing has also been resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. higher educational degree.

With Tez, Google joins post-note ban mobile payments race

  • Internet search giant Google has launched its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payment service by the name ‘Tez’. With this launch, Google has become the latest international company to enter the fast-growing digital payments industry in India. Google Tez is available both on iOS and Android platforms, supports several local languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
  • The app is powered by UPI, a payments protocol built by the government-backed National Payments Corporation of India.
  • The launch will put Google on a collision course with SoftBank- and Alibaba-backed mobile wallet provider Paytm.