Daily Current Affairs - 29th Nov 2017

Amazon partners with HAX and Kickstarter to launch Startup C-Cube challenge for startups

  • Amazon India announces its collaboration with the world’s biggest hardware accelerator, HAX and the largest crowdfunding community, Kickstarter to help create a conducive environment for early-stage product startups in the country.
  • The three major enablers have come together in a global-first partnership to announce Startup C-Cube, a multi-level challenge for Indian start-ups that flags off in Bangalore on December 5th 2017.
  • The winning start-up will be supported by the trio through the entire “concept-to-customer” journey and the joint program will also provide resources to the winner for launch - both in India and in Europe/US, depending on the scalability of the idea.
  • The partnership will help Indian startup communities connect with like minds, showcase their ideas and grow them into real business opportunities.

Asian Archery championship: Indian duo settles for silver

  • India’s compound mixed team Vennam Jyothi Surekha and Abhishek Verma settled for a silver medal losing out to Korean duo Kim Jon Gho and So Chae Won 153-157 in the final of the 20th Asian Archery championship.
  • In the compound women’s category Jyothi Surekha reached the last-eight stage.

Asian Development Bank to provide $20 billion loan to India over five years

  • Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will raise annual funding to India up to $4 billion from existing $2.7 billion, from next year. India is the largest recipient of ADB and will get about $20 billion over a period of 5 years.
  • To accelerate inclusive economic transformation of India, the bank has decided to provide loans up to $4 billion on annual basis including non-sovereign debt during 2018-22. As part of the country strategy 2018-22, annual sovereign funding will increase from $2 billion to $3 billion while private sector funding would be doubled to $1 billion.
  • It forecasted that India is expected to grow at 7% in the current fiscal and will accelerate to 7.4% next fiscal
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)ADB
  • Formation: 19 December 1966
  • Headquarters: Philippines; President: Takehiko Nakao

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Freedom of Oxford award

  • Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford award over her inaction in handling the raging Rohingya refugee crisis and turning a blind eye to violence in the country that forced over 600,000 people to flee to Bangladesh.
  • Oxford City Council in London voted unanimously last night to permanently remove the honour given to 72-year-old Suu Kyi in 1997.

Centre appoints Pradeep Singh Kharola as Air India CMD

  • The Union government announced the appointment of Pradeep Singh Kharola, a 1985 batch IAS officer from the Karnataka cadre, as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India. Kharola will replace Rajiv Bansal, an additional secretary in the petroleum ministry, who was holding additional charge of CMD of AI.
  • Kharola will be joining AI at a time, when the government is in the process of selling Air India and exiting from airline business completely. The government plans to start the bidding process of AI in the next nine months.
  • Air India was without a full-time CMD after Ashwani Lohani left it in September to become the chairman of Railway Board.

First ATR simulator in country commissioned

  • Country’s first ATR full flight simulator (ATR 72-600-212) was commissioned at the Air India’s Central Training Establishment (CTE) in Hyderabad.The CTE, which already houses two A320 flight simulators for training pilots, has also sought sanction for another similar Airbus simulator in the category. The new simulator sourced from Canada, but of French make, at a cost of Rs. 65 crore has been installed in a ‘record’ time of less than six months.
  • The simulator with a state-of-the-art all-electric motion system provides more accurate and authentic cues for pilot training reflecting real-time scenarios. It will help train 10 pilots a day with a full fledged pilot course extending up to 46 hours on the simulator or 16 hours for yearly renewals, besides there will also be short-term courses for special operations like low-visibility take off and likes.

ICICI Prudential Life implements e-NACH service of NPCI

  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company has implemented the Electronic - National Automated Clearing House (e-NACH) service of the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • It is the first life insurance company in India to offer this service to its customers. At the time of purchasing a life insurance policy, customers can register for this mandate by sharing their bank details and Aadhaar number.

IFFI: 120 BPM wins Golden Peacock

  • Morocco-born French director Robin Campillo’s drama 120 BPM won the coveted Golden Peacock Award at the 48th International Film Festival in Goa. The Golden Peacock carries a cash prize of Rs. 40 lakh, to be shared equally between the producer and the director.
  • The Best Actor (Male) Award went to Nahuel Perez Biscaryat for his portrayal of AIDS activist Sean Dalmazo in 120 BPM .
  • Chinese Vivian Qu won the Best Director Award for her 2017 film Angels Wear White.

India becomes biggest consumer of Ukraine agriculture exports

  • India was the biggest market for Ukrainian agriculture products in the first 10 month of 2017, importing 11.3 percent of exports in cash terms. Ukrainian agriculture exports were worth USD 14.7 billion in the 10 months to October, about 23 percent more than in the same period last year.
  • Egypt was the second-largest importer, with a 7.5 percent share, and the Netherlands was the third, with 6.9 percent.
  • India is a key market for Ukrainian sunflower oil, taking about a third of exports. The EU takes about 29 percent, while 10 percent goes to China. Ukraine is among the world's biggest exporters of sunflower oil, maize and wheat.

India loses billions to air pollution: UN

  • According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), India had the highest share of welfare costs (or a loss of income from labour), of about $220 billion (about Rs. 1.4 trillion), in South and South-East Asia — of a combined total of $380 billion from mortality due to air pollution.
  • The global mortality costs from outdoor air pollution are projected to rise to about $25 trillion by 2060 in the absence of more stringent measures.
  • At regional and national scale, China’s welfare costs from mortality were the highest at nearly $1 trillion followed by the Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) countries with a combined total of $730 billion.
  • Approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption, it notes.
  • To curb pollution in various forms, the UNEP called for strong high-level political commitment and engagement of the local government, civil society and other stakeholders.

India supports creation of a Palestinian state: PM

  • India reiterated the need for an early resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • In a statement on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented his government’s position and said that India will continue to support nation building activities by the Palestinians, and urged for the creation of a Palestinian state that will co-exist peacefully with Israel.
  • The special day marks Resolution 181 of the United Nations which called for creation of independent Israeli and Palestinian states and was adopted on this day in 1947. The two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is based on this resolution.

India, Russia update pact on security

  • India and Russia have concluded a comprehensive agreement on security and reviewed the implementation of the Agreement on Information Security signed in October 2016 during the just-concluded visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He also signed deals on disaster management and narcotics smuggling.

IndiaFirst Life Insurance introduces the first ever Micro-Insurance Plan – ‘Insurance Khata’

  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance introduces the first ever Micro-Insurance Plan – ‘Insurance Khata’
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and Legal and General (UK), launched first-ever bespoke micro insurance product – IndiaFirst Life CSC “Insurance Khata” Plan.
  • This product is designed for long term savings along with the life insurance benefit, making it a win-win proposition for the customers. Insurance Khata is conceived as an instrument designed especially for the under-served social sections.
  • The plan considers the probability of seasonal income and provides individuals with the flexibility to pay premium in parts, as and when possible.
  • The new insurance will be leveraging network of 200,000 Common Service Centres (CSC), across the country.

Invest in India, PM tells entrepreneurs

  • Inaugurating the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, in the presence of US President's Adviser Ivanka Trump, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi calling upon entrepreneurs from across the globe to “come make in India, invest in India, for India and for the world.''
  • The three-day GES, co-hosted by the US and Indian governments is the first in the annual series to be travelling to South Asia, has ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’ as the theme. More than 50% delegates are women.

Kenyatta sworn in as Kenya's president

  • Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn in for his second term as Kenya's president, after elections boycotted by the opposition. Mr Kenyatta had won 98 percent of the vote with a turnout of just under 39 percent and his opponents described the election result as illegitimate.
  • The political crisis in Kenya began after the Supreme Court threw out the results of an August election - won by Kenyatta - over irregularities.
  • A re-run election was held on October 26, but was boycotted by main opposition leader Raila Odinga who called it a sham.

Meredith Corp. acquires Time Inc. in $2.8 billion Koch-backed deal

  • Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. the publisher of People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines,in a deal totaling $2.8 billion.
  • The all-cash deal backed by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch had been approved by both firms’ boards of directors and is expected to close in the first quarter in 2018. Meredith will pay $18.50 per share of the publicly traded Time Inc.
  • It will give news, business and sports brands to the Des Moines, Iowa-based publisher and broadcaster, which owns lifestyle magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle.
  • When combined, the Meredith and Time brands will have a readership of 135 million people and paid circulation of nearly 60 million.
  • The Koch brothers are two of the world’s richest men through their ownership of Koch Industries, a sprawling industrial empire that manufactures such products as Brawny paper towels, Dixie Cups and Lycra.

Shaktikanta Das named India’s G20 Sherpa

  • The Ministry of Finance has appointed former economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das as India’s G20 Sherpa till December 31, 2018 for the Development Track of the grouping. There are two tracks in G-20 — Finance Track and Development Track. Finance Track is managed by the secretary (economic affairs) as India’s Deputy to G-20 and the Development Track is coordinated by the Sherpa.
  • Sherpa is a personal representative of the leaders participating at the G-20 and are responsible for thrashing out the details before the meeting of the leaders. The Department of Economic Affairs will provide necessary support to the Sherpa.

Tata Power Solar commissions rooftop solar carport

  • Tata Power Solar has commissioned India's first solar carport on the rooftop of the sprawling 70,000 sq mt Unity One mall in Rohini national capital. the unique rooftop carport is estimated to set off 438 tonne of carbon emission annually.
  • The project has been envisaged under net-metering scheme enabling self-reliance in the energy consumption and production cycle.
  • It enables the mall to receive real value of the energy produced by earning on the unused and excess solar electricity produced. It also cuts down the need to install a second meter or an expensive battery storage system as it is directly connected to the local power grid.

Trai backs net neutrality, Reliance Jio, Airtel stand to gain

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has backed the basic principles of an open and free internet in its recommendations on net neutrality released. The guidelines issued by it state that no internet access service provider shall resort to any form of discrimination, restriction or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds.
  • Net neutrality implies that telecom service providers must treat all internet traffic equally, without any regard to the type, origin or destination of the content or the means of its transmission. Violations of the net neutrality principle will be punishable by penalties that apply to breach of licensing conditions.
  • The proposed regulations are likely to give an edge to integrated operators like Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd over pure play connectivity providers.
  • Trai chairman: R.S. Sharma.