Daily Current Affairs - 06th Oct 2017

Cabinet approves rail sector MoU between India and Switzerland

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Switzerland on rail cooperation. The MoU has been signed between India's Ministry of Railways and Switzerland's Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.
  • The identified areas of cooperation include high-speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world-class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc.
  • The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

Centre launches ‘Paryatan Parv to boost Tourism

  • The Union Ministry of Tourism has kick-started ‘Paryatan Parv’ a 20-day programme organized with the aim of drawing attention on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.
  • The programme is being organized by the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and stakeholders.
  • The programme will focus on encouraging Indians to explore their own country. Tourism events such as interactive sessions and workshops on skill development and innovation in the sector would be conducted across all states.
  • “Adopt a Heritage” project, which was launched by the President on World Tourism Day, will be implemented at key sites during this period.
  • Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge): Mahesh Sharma

Centre to hold talks with Nagas

  • The decision to create seven new districts in Manipur had led to massive protests and blockade of national highways linking the State, will be reviewed at a tripartite meeting called by the Union Home Ministry. The representatives of the United Naga Council (UNC) and the Central and State governments will attend the meeting. The UNC, the apex political body of the Nagas residing in the hill districts of Manipur, staged protests after the districts were created, alleging that the measure would bifurcate the ancestral land of the Nagas.
  • In 2016, the organisation imposed an economic blockade for 139 days on National Highway-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and National Highway-37 (Imphal-Jiribam), the lifelines of the landlocked Manipur.

China Open: Sania Mirza-Peng Shuai to clash with Strycova-Siniakova in quarter-final of women's doubles

  • In ATP China Open, the third seeded pair of Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai will clash with the Czech duo B Strycova and K Siniakova in the quarter-final of women's doubles in Beijing. In the Men's Doubles quarter-final, India's Rohan Bopanna and Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas lost to Australian-Finish pair of J. Peers and H. Kontinen 7-5,7-6.

Defence Minister reviews Army reforms

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took stock of the progress in implementing the ambitious reform process in the Army under which nearly 57,000 officers and other ranks were being redeployed to enhance the combat capability of the force.
  • The Union government in August had unveiled the ambitious reform initiative based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Lt. Gen. (retd) D. B. Shekatkar.
  • Ms. Sitharaman also discussed ways to implement some of the 34 recommendations whose implementation would impact the three services.
  • One of the major recommendations of the Shekatkar committee was appointing a tri-service chief and the government was yet to take a call on it.
  • Army Chief Genenral: Bipin Rawat
  • Chief of Air Staff: Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa
  • Chief of the Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba

EIB to lend 300 million Euro for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II

  • India and European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a contract for lending of 300 million Euro for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II. Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II is to be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
  • The project envisages extension of East-West and North-South lines for Bangalore Metro Rail which includes a total length of 72 km. The project implementation period is five years.

FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 kicks off today

  • FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 kicks off today with four opening day matches to be played in Delhi and Mumbai. Two Matches between Colombia and Ghana at 5 p.m.and Hosts India and the USA at 8 p.m. will be played at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
  • This is the first time that India will be participating in a FIFA World Cup. In all 24 teams are participating, and 52 matches will be held in six city venues across the country upto 28th October. The event will be watched by a global audience of 200 million.
  • India are placed in a tough Group A along with United States, Colombia and two-time champions Ghana. USA are the clear favourites in the Group.
  • Indian Foot ball coach: De Matos

First ASEAN India Music Festival to be held in New Delhi

  • The first ever ASEAN-India Music Festival will be held in New Delhi. The 3 day festival is being organized by External Affairs Ministry in collaboration with Culture Ministry to celebrate the 25th year anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations.
  • The Festival aims to boost cultural influences among the peoples of the ASEAN member states and India. It will witness eclectic performances by musicians from ASEAN countries' bands such as The Ugly Band, Cherpen, Tim De Cotta, Red Bamboo among others.
  • Famous Indian bands like the Raghu Dixit Project, Avial, Papon LIVE, Bipul Chettri and the Travelling Band, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will also participate in the festival.

India, Djibouti sign pact on bilateral consultations

  • India and Djibouti agreed to establish regular Foreign Office-level bilateral consultations with an accord signed in this regard during President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit. Kovind also urged for an early ratification of Djibouti’s membership of the International Solar Alliance and mentioned its solar energy potential. President Ram Nath Kovind is the first Indian leader to visit Djibouti.
  • Capital: Djibouti
  • Currency: Djiboutian franc

Jayant, Ayush, Varun enter quarters of Asia Junior Championship

  • Indian shuttlers Jayant Rana, Ayush Raj Gupta and Varun Kapur reached the quarterfinals of under-15 men's singles competition of the Asia Junior Championship in Yangon, Myanmar. Jayant prevailed over Malaysia's Anson Cheong, eighth seed, 21-15, 17-21, 21-12, Ayush beat Malaysia's Zhen Yi Ong 21 -17, 17-21, 21-11, while Varun thrashed Thailand's Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul 21-13, 21-12.
  • Third seed Samiya Imad Farooqui and Aashi Rawat also entered the final eight in under 15 women’s singles.

Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Prize in literature

  • The Swedish Academy announced that Japanese born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the literary world’s highest honor. He is best known for his novel The Remains of The Day and Never Let Me Go. Ishiguro’s win marks the Nobel’s return to a more traditional literary author. Last year, the prize was awarded to American musician Bob Dylan.
  • Ishiguro has been a finalist for the Man Booker Prize four times. He won the Booker in 1989 for “The Remains of the Day,”.

Modi, Ivanka Trump to inaugurate World entrepreneurship summit in Hyderabad

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump, adviser to US President Donald Trump, will inaugurate the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad starting 28 November.
  • The prestigious summit to be held jointly by India and the USA will be focusing on women entrepreneurs.
  • The summit will focus on healthcare, digital economy, technology, energy, infrastructure, media and entertainment. He said, many events will be held in various cities as part of the GES.
  • Nearly 1,200 entrepreneurs will participate, a third each from the US, India and the rest of the world.

Services sector revival after 2 months

  • The services sector expanded in September, recovering from two months of Goods and Services Tax-related contraction, according to a private sector survey. The Nikkei India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index registered a reading of 50.7, indicating slight expansion.
  • The sector recovered from the GST-related contractions registered in the previous two months, as signaled by renewed increases in new business and output. Companies indicated that the combination of marketing campaigns and strengthening demand conditions led to new business growth in September.

Spain Apex Court orders suspension of Catalan session

  • Spain’s Constitutional Court ordered the suspension of a planned session in Catalonia’s Parliament which separatist leaders have called for the region to declare independence. The court confirmed the decision in a written ruling and warned that any session carried out in defiance of its ban would be declared null.
  • The national government could suspend Catalonia’s existing autonomous status if it declares independence.
  • Catalonia is the country's richest region, accounting for a fifth of Spain's economy and home to thousands of domestic and foreign companies employing millions of people.

UN ending 13-year military peacekeeping mission in Haiti

  • A U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has helped maintain order through 13 years of political turmoil and catastrophe is coming to an end as the last of the blue-helmeted soldiers from around the world leave despite concerns that the police and justice system are still not adequate to ensure security in the country.
  • The U.N. mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH(French acronym "The United Nations is not leaving). MINUSTAH began operations in Haiti in 2004, when a violent rebellion swept the country and forced then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of power and into exile. Its goals included restoring security and rebuilding the shattered political institutions.
  • President of Haiti: Jovenel Moise
  • Capital: Port-au-Prince
  • Currency: Haitian gourde