Daily Current Affairs - 02nd Nov 2017

Ajay Bisaria is new ambassador to Pakistan

  • Ajay Bisaria, currently the Indian ambassador to Poland, has been appointed the country’s top envoy to Pakistan. This was announced by the external affairs ministry. The 1987-batch IFS officer will succeed Gautam Bambawale, who was last month posted to China.

Bharti plans to invest Rs. 25,000 cr. in capital expenditure

  • Telecom major Bharti Airtel said that it would invest Rs. 25,000 crore in expanding and strengthening its 4G network during the ongoing fiscal year instead of the Rs. 20,000 crore announced earlier. The company also said that it was likely to shut down its 3G network in 3-4 years and re-form the spectrum linked with it for 4G services.
  • MD and CEO, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel: Gopal Vittal

Cabinet clears stake sale in Dredging Corp.

  • The government has approved the sale of its entire 73.47% stake in Dredging Corporation of India Ltd. (DCI). The deal could fetch about Rs. 1,400 crore for the exchequer. The dredging company is under the administrative control of the shipping ministry.
  • Dredging Corporation of India is involved in maintenance dredging, capital dredging, beach nourishment, land reclamation, shallow-water dredging, project management consultancy and marine construction.
  • The government think tank NITI Aayog too had favoured disinvestment.

Centre clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Navy

  • The Union Defence Ministry has approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of Rs.21,738 crore. The long-pending proposal was cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The government will now start the process to identify a foreign helicopter maker and an Indian defence firm for a joint venture for the project. The procurement of the helicopters will be the first major acquisition project under the new model.
  • 16 helicopters will be procured at a fly away condition while 95 will be manufactured in India. As the acquisition of the helicopters will be made under the strategic partnership model.

Cognizant revenues rise 9.1%

  • IT services firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation has reported a net income of $495 million for the third quarter ended September, up from $444 million in the same period last year. Revenue rose 9.1% to $3.77 billion for the quarter under review.
  • Revenue from financial sector business which accounts for over a third of the company’s total revenue rose 3.8% and that from the healthcare sector 9.3% during the quarter under review.
  • The firm added seven new strategic customers during the quarter, bringing the total to 350.

Commonwealth shooting championship: Shahzar shoots air pistol gold

  • Shahzar Rizvi beat the much accomplished Omkar Singh and Jitu Rai to the men’s air pistol gold in the Commonwealth shooting championship. Shahzar topped qualification with 581 points, five ahead of Omkar, while Jitu continued to struggle

Core sector growth hits 6-month high of 5.2% in September

  • Eight core sectors grew to a six-month high of 5.2 per cent in September, helped by a robust performance in coal, natural gas and refinery segments. The expansion in September is highest since April, when the core sectors' growth stood at 2.6 per cent.
  • The production of coal, natural gas and refinery products rose by 10.6 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively on annual basis.
  • Growth rate of steel and cement production was slower in September this year as against the same month previous fiscal. Electricity generation recorded almost flat growth.
  • The eight infrastructure sectors include -- coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of theses eight segments account for about 41 per cent to the total factory output.

Draft UN resolution condemns North Korea on rights abuses

  • The European Union and Japan have circulated a draft UN resolution that condemns North Korea for diverting resources to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of helping its people, more than half in need of food and medical care.
  • The draft condemns the longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in North Korea.
  • The UN General Assembly's human rights committee is expected to vote on the draft later this month. If approved, a final vote would take place in the Assembly next month.

EC for life ban on the convicted

  • The Election Commission (EC) took a definitive stand in the Supreme Court that convicted persons should be banned from contesting elections for life. The Commission reiterated its stand before a Supreme court Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that such a move would be a firm step against criminalisation of politics.
  • Earlier it has endorsed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court seeking life-long bar on convicted legislators from contesting polls.
  • As of now, a person, on conviction, is debarred from contesting any elections for the period of his or her prison sentence and six years thereafter.
  • The Commission had submitted a proposal for poll reforms, which include decriminalisation of politics, making bribery a cognizable offence and prohibition on advertisements 48 hours before elections and a ban on paid news as recommended by the Law Commission in its reports.

India beat New Zealand by 53 runs in 1st T20 match

  • India won the first Twenty-20 of the three-match series against New Zealand by 53 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in New Delhi. It was India's first-ever win over the Kiwis in T-20 Internationals.
  • Put into bat, the hosts posted 202 for 3, riding on a 158-run first-wicket stand between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. It was the highest opening partnership for India in T-20 Internationals.
  • The Black Caps lost the match by 53 runs after they managed to make just 149 for 8 in the stipulated 20 overs.
  • Veteran pacer Ashish Nehra who was playing the final international match of his career that started in 1999.

Mass bathing in Ganga aggravates anti-microbial resistance woes

  • Mass-bathing in the Ganga during pilgrimages may be contributing to anti-microbial resistance (AMR), says a government-commissioned report on the threat from AMR. Such resistance which is widespread in India is said to be the reason for certain key antibiotics becoming ineffective against diseases, including tuberculosis.
  • The report was commissioned by the Department of Biotechnology and the UK Research Council and prepared by the Centre for Disease Dynamics and Economic Policy.
  • India has some of the highest antibiotic resistance rates among bacteria that commonly cause infections in the community and healthcare facilities.
  • In 2014, India was the highest consumer of antibiotics, followed by China and the United States.
  • The drivers of AMR also included excessive use of antibiotics in the livestock industry and unchecked discharge of effluents by the pharmaceutical industry.

Nadal seals year-end No. 1 ranking

  • Rafael Nadal secured the year-end World No. 1 ranking with a 7-5, 6-3 second-round victory over South Korean Hyeon Chung at the Paris Masters. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest man to finish a season at the top of the rankings at the age of 31, having previously achieved the feat in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

Putin in Tehran for talks on Syria

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran as the two allies push for a Syria peace plan and offers its backing for a landmark nuclear deal facing U.S. opposition. Mr. Putin will also take part in a three-way summit with Mr. Rouhani and the leader of ex-Soviet Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev aimed at bolstering economic ties between their energy-rich nations.
  • Syria will be a focus of Mr. Putin’s visit, which comes after Russia, Iran and Turkey pledged to bring the Syrian regime and its opponents together for a meeting to push peace efforts.

SBI cuts benchmark lending rate by 0.05 pc across maturities

  • State Bank of India (SBI) slashed benchmark lending rate by 0.05 per cent across maturities. The reduction in marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) came after a gap of almost 10 months.
  • The move by the SBI will trigger rate cut by other lenders. SBI said that the MCLR for one year has come down to 7.95 per cent from 8 per cent.
  • The MCLR on overnight borrowings has been reduced to 7.70 per cent from 7.75 per cent, while the lending rate for three-year tenure has been cut from 8.15 per cent to 8.10 per cent.
  • Marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank.
  • Based upon this MCLR, interest rate for different types of customers should be fixed in accordance with their riskiness

Women's Hockey Asia Cup: India to take on Kazakhstan in Qfs

  • In Women's Hockey, India will take on Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals of the Asia Cup at Kakamigahara in Japan. The Indian eves had finished the group stage at the top of 4-team Pool-A, with 3 wins from 3 games.
  • In the other quarterfinals, China will play Thailand, South Korea will meet Singapore and Japan will face Malaysia.

World Vegan Day observed on November 1

  • On 1st November 2017, World Vegan Day was observed all over the world. Veganism is practiced both as a diet (to abstain from all food items using animal products) as well as a philosophy (which rejects the commodity status of animals).
  • One who practises either of the two is said to be a vegan. Some countries and societies even celebrate World Vegan Month, all November.
  • In 1994, Chairperson of the Vegan Society, Louise Wallis decided to set November 1 as World Vegan Day.