Daily Current Affairs - 17th Mar 2018

Hyundai to make 1 million cars in India

  • Hyundai Motor India Ltd., (HMIL), India’s second largest car manufacturer, would cross the one-million mark in car production after 2020. This year, the company will produce and sell seven lakh units of which 25% will be for export markets and this would be followed by 7.50 lakh units next year.
  • In the last 20 years, Hyundai had invested about Rs. 21,000 crore in its two plants at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. Currently, the firm had an annual installed capacity of seven lakh units. HMIL contributed to about 15% of Hyundai’s global volume and is expected to maintain the momentum.
  • The company was also planning to unveil an electric vehicle by 2019. Currently, it was carrying out a study in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to find out whether to roll out EV-sedan or EV-SUV.

All England Open Badminton tournament: PV Sindhu storms into semi-finals

  • PV Sindhu stormed into the semi-finals of the All England Open Badminton tournament in Birmingham. She came back from a game behind to beat Japan's seventh-placed Nozomi Okuhara, 20-22, 21-18, 21-18.
  • Sindhu will play another Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinal. Sindhu leads the head-to-head record against Yamaguchi, 6-3.
  • Sindhu is the only Indian shuttler left in the tournament as HS Prannoy lost his quarterfinal match against China's Yuxiang Huang, 22-20, 16-21, 21-23, to bow out.

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka in T20 match, face India in final

  • Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by 2 wickets to set up a summit clash against India. Put in to bat, Sri Lanka had posted 159 for 7, courtesy half-centuries by wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and captain Thisara Perera. In reply, Bangladesh overhauled the target with just 1 ball to spare, riding on an end-of-innings cameo by Mahmudullah. He scored an unbeaten 43 helping Bangladesh to secure a place in the Final.
  • The Final will be played at the same venue tomorrow.

China develops artificial heart with rocket technology

  • China has developed an artificial heart using rocket technology, which is expected to benefit domestic patients by reducing their costs. The heart was developed jointly by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and the Teda International Cardiovascular Hospital in North China's Tianjin.
  • The artificial heart uses magnetic and fluid levitation from a rocket system. This technology can reduce the friction in the device to increase the working efficiency and extend the life span of the power generator. The technology used can reduce damage to the blood and enable the blood pump to work longer.
  • The artificial heart has been sent for testing and inspection after thorough experiments on animals. An imported artificial heart could cost 100,000 euros ($152,800) in China.

Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel promise EU reform roadmap by June

  • French President Emmanuel Macron called for a clear, ambitious roadmap for EU reforms by June as he sought crucial support for his shake-up of the bloc from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Macron has called for a major reform drive to strengthen the EU, including a common eurozone finance minister and budget. Angela Merkel backed the deadline to achieve results by June.

Four nations recommended for graduation from UN's least developed country

  • The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) announced that the four countries Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands will be recommended for graduation from the least developed country (LDC) category.
  • These four nations set to move up from the ranks of poorest nations due to their increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education.
  • Two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are scheduled for graduation in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

India first neutrino observatory gets green nod from Centre

  • The Centre gave its nod for building nation’s first India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) at Bodi West Hills in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. The clearance was given by the Union environment ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), which laid down conditions the project proponent has to fulfil. The project will now be sent for an approval from Tamil Nadu government and National Board of Wildlife (NBWL).
  • The country’s biggest basic science facility, to be built at Rs1,500 crore, will study atmospheric neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the earth’s atmosphere. Neutrinos are key to understanding the evolution of the universe and energy production in the sun and other stars.

India ranks 78th in WEF Energy Transition Index, Sweden tops list

  • India has been ranked at the 78th position in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) report on Energy Transition Index (ETI). According to the report India has taken bold measures to improve energy access, energy efficiency, and to improve the deployment of renewable sources of energy.
  • The report, titled 'Fostering Effective Energy Transition', benchmarks historic and current performance of energy systems of 126 countries on 18 indicators, covering the three core dimensions of energy- access and security, sustainability and contribution to economic growth, and development.
  • Sweden topped the list, followed by Norway at the second position, and Switzerland finishing in third.
  • Other countries on the top 10 include Finland (4th), Denmark (5th), the Netherlands (6th), the UK (7th), Austria (8th), France (9th) and Iceland (10th)
  • Among its emerging market peers Brazil stood at the 38th place, Russia at 70th and China at 76th place.

India, Madagascar sign umbrella agreement in defence sector

  • India and Madagascar have signed an umbrella agreement in the field of defence. Under the agreement, both the countries will explore various ways of co-operation in the field of defence. An amended air service agreement was also signed to support efforts towards improving connectivity between the two countries.
  • India has offered a Line of Credit worth 80.7 million dollars for agriculture development and farm mechanization.
  • It had also announced a donation of 1000 tonnes of rice and a cash grant of 2 million dollars towards multiple calamities relief in Madagascar.
  • Umbrella agreements are used to try and cover future possibilities that the negotiating business parties presume will occur. Umbrella agreements are basically a contract framework with terms and conditions that take in potential possibilities within a contract’s lifetime and beyond.
  • Madagascar:
  • President: Hery Rajaonarimampianina
  • Prime minister: Olivier Solonandrasana
  • Capital: Antananarivo
  • Currency: Malagasy ariary

India’s first cloned Assamese buffalo born

  • The Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) claimed that a cloned Assamese buffalo male calf named Sach-Gaurav has been born for the first time. The calf was born to a Murrah buffalo. It was also the first to be born in the field, 100 km from the cloning laboratory. The genotype of the calf was confirmed by microsatellite analysis (parentage verification) and chromosome analysis.
  • Animal cloning can be an excellent reproductive tool for conservation and multiplication of selected superior animals of buffalo breeds.
  • The Assamese buffaloes were found only in the north-eastern part of the country and they were used mainly for agricultural work.
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research-CIRB is a central institute and it has a mandate to conserve superior animals of all buffalo breeds.
  • Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, is a publicly funded, institute for water buffalo research. It is located 170 kilometres from Delhi, at Hisar in the north Indian state of Haryana.

India’s steel imports from S. Korea, Japan may rise

  • According to rating agency ICRA, India is likely to witness an increase in steel imports from South Korea and Japan in the near term due to global readjustment of trade patterns after the U.S. imposed a 25% import tariff on the commodity.
  • Both South Korea and Japan, which have free trade agreements (FTA) with India, are expected to raise their exports to countries with which they have such pacts, following the move by the U.S.
  • Chinese steel exports had been declining in the last two years, reaching 75 mt in 2017 from a peak of 112 mt in 2015, providing an opportunity to other countries to fill this gap left by China, by diverting volumes away from the U.S

Indigenous module for submarines undergoing trials

  • The indigenous Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) module, which enhances the ability of submarines to stay under water, is in an advanced stage of trials. All Scorpène submarines will be equipped with it in due course. It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The Indian Navy planned to install the AIP module on the fifth and sixth submarines. The first Scorpene submarine Kulvari has joined the Navy. It will go for a normal refit in 2023. The next two submarines are in various stages of sea trials.
  • Six Scorpene submarines are being made at Mazagon Dock Limited under technology transfer from France.

Indonesian President asks Australia to become full member of ASEAN

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asked Australia to become a full member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN. Widodo said that his country is keen on Australia playing a bigger regional role in defence, trade and security matters.
  • Widodo's comments comes in the backdrop of China increasingly flexing its muscle and the threat of violent extremism grows.
  • Australia has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, since 1974.
  • In the South China Sea, Indonesia clash with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands and expansion of chinese military presence in the area.
  • Meanwhile, Indonesia and Australia signed an action plan on maritime cooperation that includes strengthening maritime security, combatting transnational organized crimes and illegal fishing as well as addressing maritime pollution
  • Indonesia
  • Capital:Jakarta
  • Currency:Indonesian rupiah

L&T arm gets Rs. 2,864-crore corridor deal

  • L & T. subsidiary company L&T Construction’s Transportation Infrastructure Business, has landed a contract worth Rs. 2,864 crore from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. The EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) order involves construction of 222 km of a single-track corridor from Khurja to Pilkhani in Uttar Pradesh (DFCCIL)

LaQshya program to benefit every pregnant woman and newborn delivering in public health institutions

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently announced the launch of program ‘LaQshya’, aimed at improving quality of care in labour room and maternity Operation Theatre (OT). The Program will improve quality of care for pregnant women in labour room, maternity Operation Theatre and Obstetrics Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and High Dependency Units (HDUs).
  • The LaQshya program is being implemented at all Medical College Hospitals, District Hospitals and First Referral Unit (FRU), and Community Health Center (CHCs) and will benefit every pregnant woman and new-born delivering in public health institutions.
  • ‘LaQshya’ will reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, improve quality of care during delivery and immediate post-partum period and enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending public health facilities.
  • To strengthen critical care in Obstetrics, dedicated Obstetric ICUs at Medical College Hospital level and Obstetric HDUs at District Hospital are operationalized under LaQshya program.

Muthoot Finance ties up with global IME bank for money transfer service to Nepal

  • Muthoot Finance Ltd., the flagship company of Muthoot Group tied up with Global IME Bank to expand its money remittance services between Indo Nepal Corridor. Muthoot Finance is the only Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) to extend the money transfer services from India to Nepal.
  • This facility is expected to benefit five million migrants, which are prominent in business cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru and also in the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Muthoot Finance had earlier collaborated with Nepal based Prabhu Bank for money transfer business wherein the company completed 2.2 lakh transactions worth Rs. 469 crore.
  • Global IME Bank through its 193 branches and more than 7,000 pay out centers in Nepal will facilitate the smooth process of money transfer instantly.
  • RBL Bank, India and Global IME Bank Ltd., Nepal are the banking partners to facilitate Indo-Nepal remittance service.
  • In 2017, approximately Rs. 7000 crore was remitted by the migrants to their families back home from India.

SEBI raises currency derivative trade limit to $100 mn

  • Capital markets regulator Sebi raised the exposure limit under exchange-traded currency derivatives trading for residents and FPIs to USD 100 million across all currency pairs involving the Indian rupee.
  • The move will help entities engaged in forex transactions to maintain their currency risks in a better manner.
  • The regulator further said that the onus of complying with the provisions of this decision rests with the participant in the exposure limit under exchange traded (ETCD) market.
  • The decision comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in February raised these limits, beyond which market participants would be required to establish proof of underlying exposure in the currency derivatives segment.
  • These limits shall be monitored by stock exchanges and clearing corporations and breaches, if any, would need to be reported to the RBI.
  • SEBi Chairman: Ajay Tyagi

Tommy Haas announces his retirement from tennis

  • Former world number two tennis player Tommy Haas who won 15 singles titles throughout his career, announced his retirement from the ATP Tour ending a career that spanned more than two decades. The German won 15 titles on the ATP Tour. He reached a career-high ranking of number 2 in 2002 and made a total of 28 final appearances.
  • Haas, who turned professional in 1996, reached the Australian Open semi -finals three times - in 1999, 2002 and 2007 - as well as the last-four at Wimbledon in 2009.
  • Haas who won the silver medal for Germany at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, finishes his career with 569 wins.

Veteran actress Simi Garewal wins UK film festival award

  • Veteran actress and talk show host Simi Garewal has been felicitated with a "UK Golden Flame Award" for her contribution to Indian cinema. Garewal, best known for her roles in films like 'Mera Naam Joker' and 'Karz' and as the host of Bollywood talk show 'Rendezvous with Simi Garewal'.
  • She received the award at the opening ceremony of the annual Tongues of Fire UK Asian Film Festival here.

World Sleep Day: 32% Indians can't sleep because of technology, says survey

  • World Sleep Day is observed every year on March 16. It is an annual event aimed at raising awareness of how important sleep is and issues related to getting a good night’s kip. It is the 11th annual World Sleep Day, and is hosted by the World Sleep Society, and founded by World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and World Sleep Federation (WSF).
  • The survey, led by Philips India, showed that 32 per cent said that technology is a major sleep distractor, 19 per cent of Indian adults account overlapping work hours with normal sleep time (shift work sleep disorder) as a key barrier to sleep.
  • Sleep disorder has direct correlation with other serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke etc.