Daily Current Affairs - 13th Dec 2017

Apple buys music-recognition app Shazam

  • Apple Inc has acquired Shazam Entertainment Ltd., giving it ownership of one of the popular song-recognition apps at a time the iPhone maker is looking to boost its music-subscription service.
  • The acquisition gives Apple ownership of an app that helps users identify unfamiliar songs.
  • Users are often directed to listen to those songs at Apple Music or Spotify, helping those services possibly reach new subscribers.
  • Such referrals could help Apple boost the number of subscribers to its streaming-music service from its current 30 million. Spotify AB says its service has 60 million paid subscribers.

Centre issues bid guidelines for procuring wind power

  • The union government has issued guidelines for the procurement of wind power through a bidding process, which included the standardization of the process and a definition of the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.
  • The guidelines are applicable for procurement of wind power from grid-connected wind power projects (WPP) having- (a) individual size of 5 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 25 MW for intra-state projects.
  • (b) individual size of 50 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 50 MW for inter-state projects
  • The guidelines include provisions for compensation in case of grid unavailability, put out a payment security mechanism, standardize the bidding process, and spell out the risk-sharing framework among stakeholders.

Centre sets aside Rs 10000 cr service tax demand notices on IT firms

  • In a major relief to IT companies, the union government has set aside a 10,000 crore rupee service tax demand notices on IT companies. The centre's move came a day after IT companies raised the issue of tax demand with Finance Minister during the pre-budget consultations.
  • Earlier, the tax department had slapped service tax demand notices on about 200 information technology and IT-enabled services companies. It had asked them to return export benefits claimed between 2012 and 2016 on softwares provided to clients outside India.

Centre to give Rs. 500 to TB patients every month

  • About 35 lakh identified Tuberculosis patients across the country will soon get Rs. 500 every month from the Centre as social support. The earlier proposal was to provide the benefit only to tribal and BPL patients, all the 35 lakh patients would be covered now.
  • The centre will start providing the cash benefit for social support that will cover loss of wages, travel and mainly nutrition soon.
  • TB is linked to determinants of health such as malnutrition and low immunity due to social deprivation and marginalization. Poor nutrition is increasing the risk by three-fold

Dhammapiya Elected New Secretary General of Intl Buddhist Confederation

  • Buddhist monk Dhammapiya from Tripura has been elected as the new secretary general of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC).He was elected on the post at the second general assembly of the IBC held in New Delhi.
  • The IBC is a global Buddhist forum for preservation and development of heritage sites of the religion in India and other parts of the world.
  • More than 150 international participants, including around 80 from India, met for the election of the new general secretary and members of the governing councils of the organisation.
  • A governing board was also elected with representatives from Mongolia, Australia, Mexico, Bhutan, Uganda and other countries.

India men's hockey team ends year on 6th, women 10th

  • In the latest rankings released by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the Indian men's and women's hockey teams remained static at 6th and 10th positions. The Indian men's team was at the sixth spot since the beginning of this year and maintained its position throughout 2017.
  • Meanwhile, the Indian women's team, who started the year at the 12th spot, jumped up two places to 10th.

India ranks 109th in mobile net speed, 76th in Broadband

  • According to data from Ookla's November Speedtest Global Index, India is ranked 109th in the mobile Internet speed and 76th for fixed broadband speed, globally. While its neighboring countries - Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka - have registered better speed. India slipped by one position to 109th in November compared to the average speed telecom networks registered in the previous month.
  • At the start of 2017, the average mobile download speed in India was 7.65 Mbps (megabit per second). Heading to the end of the year, average mobile download speed is 8.80 Mbps as of November. That's a 15% increase.
  • Norway topped the list of countries offering highest average mobile Internet download speed with 62.66 Mbp and Singapore takes the top spot for fixed broadband with a 153.85 Mbps average download.

India to host Afghanistan for their first ever Test

  • The Indian team will host Afghanistan for their first ever Test. The decision was made during BCCI's SGM that was held on December 11. Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but considering the historic relationship between India and Afghanistan, India decided to host their first Test.
  • Afghanistan and Ireland joined the ranks of other full-Test playing nations after the ICC had backed them in June this year, permitting them to join the elite list that plays five-day Tests.

India's first EMC is coming to Andhra Pradesh

  • India's first Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) will be coming to Andhra Pradesh. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Sri Venkateswara Mobiles and Electronics Manufacturing Hub Private Limited was formed. The new EMC is being developed at the cost of Rs 104 crore. Around 50,000 jobs will be created every year in the cluster.
  • An EMC is designed and developed for providing facilities and amenities for manufacturing mobiles and allied products. Three major Indian mobile manufacturers - Celkon, Karbonn and Lava have come forward to establish their units in the EMC.
  • The Government of India, through the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MeiTY), had announced in 2012 about setting up an EMC in India, with grant-in-aid for establishing such clusters.

India's Lakshmi Puri Among 6 Diplomats To Receive 'Power Of One' Award At UN

  • Six top diplomats, including an Indian woman, have been felicitated with the inaugural Diwali "Power of One" award at the UN headquarters for their contribution to help form a more perfect, peaceful and secure world.
  • The awardees included outgoing British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft; Lebanese Ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam who was elected to the International Court of Justice last month and Indian head of the UN Women Lakshmi Puri.
  • The other awardees were Maged Abdelaziz, the former Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN; Ion Botnaru, the former Permanent Representative of Moldova to the UN and Yuriy Sergeyev, the former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations.
  • The inaugural 'Power of One' award is bestowed upon exceptional people who have toiled selflessly to help form a more perfect peaceful and secure world for all of us.

India, Australia call for ‘open’ Asia-Pacific zone

  • Australia and India discussed the need to maintain the Asia-Pacific region as a free and open zone under the “2+2” dialogue model which includes the foreign and defence secretaries of both sides.
  • The discussion was the first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in the quadrilateral discussion for a new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The “2+2” dialogue was held between Foreign Secretaries of both countries. The dialogue indicated that the focus remains on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where China has been reclaiming land for infrastructure, boosting its maritime influence.
  • Both sides agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.

Industrial output growth hits to 3-mth low of 2.2% in October

  • According to data released by the Central Statistics Office, growth in the country's industrial production hit a 3-month low of 2.2 per cent in October this year.
  • Factory output had increased 4.2 percent in October last year, and 4.14 percent in September this year
  • Growth in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for almost 78 per cent of the index, slowed to 2.5 per cent in October, mining output rose 0.2 per cent, and consumer durable goods output contracted 6.9 per cent.
  • Consumer non-durables output increased 7.7 per cent, and capital goods output rose 6.8 per cent in October.

Nakul Chopra is BARC India head

  • Nakul Chopra, currently President of AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India)and Senior Advisor at Publicis Communications, has been elected as the next Chairman of BARC India. Chopra, the third chairman of BARC India, succeeds Viacom18 Group CEO Sudhanshu Vats, who has completed his one-year tenure.
  • BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India is an industry body set up to design, commission and supervise an accurate television audience measurement system for India.

PNB raises Rs. 5,000 crore via QIP

  • Punjab National Bank has raised Rs. 5,000 crore through qualified institutional placement to boost its capital. Funds will be used to meet provisions and growth requirements. PNB sold shares at Rs. 168, a discount of 2.9% to the closing price on December 11.
  • The bank exercised the green shoe option of Rs. 2,000 crore following ‘good’ demand.
  • Qualified Institutional Placement is largely a fund raising tool for the listed companies. It means a listed company can issue equity shares, fully and partly convertible debentures, or any securities other than warrants which are convertible to equity shares to a Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB).
  • Punjab National Bank:
  • Established in 1894
  • Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer: Sunil Mehta
  • Headquarters: New Delhi

Priyanka Chopra honoured with Mother Teresa Memorial award

  • Actor Priyanka Chopra has been honoured with this year's Mother Teresa Memorial award for social justice. Priyanka received the award for her contribution towards lending her support to social causes, such as her recent visit to Syria, where she met and interacted with refugee children.
  • The actor is also UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador and is known for supporting various philanthropic activities.
  • In the past famous personalities such as Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare, Oscar Fernandes, Sudha Murty, Malala Yousafzai, Sushmita Sen and Bilquis Bano Edhi have been honoured with the award.

Retail inflation rises to 4.88 per cent in November

  • According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, retail inflation has risen to 4.88 per cent in November this year on account of costlier fuel, vegetables and eggs. The inflation which is based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), was at 3.58 per cent in October. It was 3.63 per cent in November last year.
  • Inflation in eggs shot to 7.95 per cent in November on annual basis, as against 0.69 per cent in the previous month. In the fuel and light segment, it was 7.92 per cent, as against 6.36 in October.

RIL plans listing of Jio by end-2018

  • Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) aims to list its telecommunications arm Reliance Jio on the stock exchanges if the telecom firm’s plans to turn profitable by the end of this fiscal year bear fruit. The IPO is being planned for the end of 2018 or early 2019.
  • Reliance Jio had posted a net loss of Rs. 270.59 crore on revenue of Rs. 6,147 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2017.
  • RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani has directed investments of more than Rs. 2 lakh crore into Jio, which disrupted the Indian mobile telephony market.
  • Coal India had raised more than Rs. 15,000 crore in 2010 diluting 10% stake in the company, making it India’s largest public offering at the time.

Special courts to try politicians

  • The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it will set up at least 12 special courts to try exclusively criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs. The government, in an affidavit, said it had allotted Rs. 7.8 crore and framed a scheme to set up the special courts.
  • A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha had ordered the government to place the scheme before it on December 13, the next date of hearing.
  • The Bench said the Supreme Court would directly interact with the State governments on issues like the appointment of judicial officers, public prosecutors, court staff and other requirements of manpower and infrastructure for the special courts.

US President signs USD 692 billion defence budget

  • US President Donald Trump has signed a 692 billion dollar defence budget. This gives funding to provide legislative authority to implement his South Asia strategy and authorizes critical missile capabilities to confront threats posed by North Korea.
  • Mr Trump had sought a major role for India in bringing peace in Afghanistan and ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops from the war-torn nation while announcing his new Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August.