Daily Current Affairs - 22nd Sep 2017

50 nations ink UN nuclear ban treaty

  • Fifty countries have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact that the world’s nuclear powers spurned, but supporters hailed as a historic agreement nonetheless.
  • 50 states as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty; others can sign later if they like. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican also have already ratified the treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to take effect among the nations that back it.
  • The US, Britain and France said the prohibition wouldn’t work and would end up disarming their nations.

Businesses deregistering brands for availing GST must file affidavit: Govt

  • Government says, businesses that want to deregister their brands for availing the benefit of lower GST will have to file an affidavit before the tax commissioner about forgoing the rights.
  • The businesses will also have to print in indelible ink on containers in which they are selling cereals, pulses, flours that they have voluntarily foregone actionable claim or enforceable right on brands.
  • Under the Goods and Services Tax regime rolled out from July 1, unpacked food grains like cereals and pulses are exempt. However, packed foodgrains put up in unit container bearing a brand name attracts 5 per cent levy.

Google buys HTC talent teams for $1.1 billion

  • Google agreed to buy part of HTC’s engineering and design teams for $1.1 billion, taking on a cadre of veterans that worked on the Pixel phone and could bolster its nascent hardware business.
  • The deal also comes with a non-exclusive licensing agreement for HTC intellectual property.
  • Google now gains tighter control over the design and production of the Pixel and other devices, potentially helping sales.

Himachal Pradesh govt starts electric bus service for tourist spot

  • Himachal Pradesh government has started electric bus service for the tourist spot Rohtang Pass.
  • With this initiative Himachal becomes first in the world to ply electric buses at an altitude of 13 thousand feet. These buses will ply on 51km eco fragile stretch between Manali and Rohtang.
  • Each electric bus has a capacity to carry 30 passengers and can cover 200 km with the fully charged batteries.

India beat Australia in second ODI at Kolkata by 50 runs

  • In Cricket, a terrific hat-trick from spinner Kuldeep Yadav helped India beat Australia by 50 runs in the second One-Day International at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
  • Chasing India's total of 252 for all out, the visitors were bundled out for 202 in 43.1 overs. Virat Kohli struck a magnificent 92 while Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav became the only Indian spinner to take a hat-trick in ODIs.

ITI bags Rs. 7,000-crore defence deal

  • Public sector firm ITI Ltd. won a Rs. 7,000-crore deal from the Defence Ministry to deploy and maintain phase four of the Army’s modern communication network across India.
  • The project will provide telecom solution and infrastructure with a warranty period of two years and maintenance support of the network for eight years after the warranty.
  • The ASCON (Army Static Switched Communication Network) was established by ITI 25 years ago.

Mazagon Dock Ltd delivered 1st scorpion class submarines to Indian Navy

  • The state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai delivered the first of six scorpion class submarines to the Indian Navy. The submarine, INS Kalvari will be commissioned soon.
  • The six submarines designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, will replace the Indian Navy's aging Sindhughosh and Shishumar class of submarines.
  • The second of the Scorpenes, Khanderi is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials.

NITI Aayog, International Road Federation ink SoI for Intelligent Transportation Systems

  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva have signed Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in field of Intelligent Transportation Systems.
  • The objective of SoI is to create National Platform, involving all relevant Union Government stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in sector. It will also create platform for relevant technical experts for developing National ITS Policy.

OECD cuts India's FY18 growth outlook

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has trimmed India’s growth forecast for the current financial year, citing the temporary impact of the rollout of the goods and services tax and demonetisation, expecting the economy to expand at a slower pace than China.
  • OECD said India’s economy will likely grow 6.7% in FY18, lower than its estimate of 7.3% in June. The Paris-based group of 35 advanced and emerging countries cut its forecast for India’s growth to 7.2% in FY19 from 7.7% estimated earlier. China is predicted to grow 6.6% in 2018.

Private banks’ market share in loans likely to rise to 40% by FY20: ICRA

  • Private sector banks (PVBs) will increasingly eat into PSBs’ market-share on the advances front, going by credit rating agency ICRA’s assessment.
  • The agency has assessed that the market share of PVBs in banking sector advances is expected to increase to about 40 per cent by FY 2020 from 27.5 per cent as on March 31, 2017.
  • According to ICRA, this increase in PVBs’ market-share is after considering the capital constraints of PSBs, and assuming an incremental market-share of 80 per cent for PVBs and a credit growth of 7-9 per cent for the banking sector during FY 2018-2020.

Saudi lifting Skype, WhatsApp ban but will censor calls

  • The Saudi government is lifting a ban on calls made through online apps on Thursday but will monitor and censor them.
  • All online voice and video call services — like Microsoft’s Skype, Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, and Rakuten’s Viber — which satisfy regulatory requirements were set to become accessible.
  • Saudi Arabia, which introduced blocks to internet communications from 2013, along with its Gulf Arab neighbours have been wary that such services could be used by activists and militants.

SEBI allows unified licence for stock and commodity broking

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has allowed brokers of stock and commodity exchanges to do both businesses under one entity.
  • The change was notified in July, by amending the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules and SEBI(Stock Brokers and Sub-Brokers) (Amendment) Regulations.
  • A one-time certificate of registration as stock broker/clearing member shall be granted by SEBI.

Srikanth, enter quarterfinals

  • World Championship medallists P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the $325,000 Japan Open Super Series after suffering straight-game defeats in second round.
  • However, K. Srikanth advanced to the quarterfinals in the men’s singles event.

Trump signs new order to enforce sanctions against North Korea

  • US President Donald Trump has signed a new order that boosts sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme. The US treasury has been authorised to target firms and financial institutions conducting business with the North.
  • Mr. Trump also said China's Central Bank had instructed other Chinese banks to stop doing business with Pyongyang. It comes less than two weeks after the UN approved new sanctions against the country over its latest nuclear test.
  • Tensions have risen in recent weeks over the North's continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests, despite pressure from world powers to stop.

UNSC warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

  • UN Security Council has warned that a referendum on independence by Iraq's Kurdistan region was potentially destabilizing, adding its weight to international opposition to the vote.
  • The move heightened pressure on Iraqi Kurd leaders to call off the vote after Turkey, Iran and Iraq urged them to abandon the plan that is also opposed by the United States.
  • Iraqi Kurds will vote on September 25 in the non-binding referendum on whether to declare independence in a region that has already been autonomous since the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.

World's first 'molecular robot' may help build new drugs

  • Scientists have created the world's first 'molecular robot' - millionth of a millimetre in size - that can be used to build molecules and may help discover novel drugs.
  • The tiny robots developed by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a tiny robotic arm.