Daily Current Affairs - 17th Apr 2018

Bengaluru is highest paying city for talent: Randstad study

  • According to Randstad Insights, Bengaluru continues to lead the pack as the highest paying city in the country, with an average annual cost to company (CTC) for talent across all levels and functions standing at about Rs 11 lakh.
  • Pune stands second at around Rs 10 lakh, followed by NCR and Mumbai with an average annual CTC figure of a little under Rs 10 lakh and around Rs 9 lakh, respectively. Chennai (Rs 8 lakh), Hyderabad (a little under Rs 8 lakh) and Kolkata (around Rs 7 lakh) are the other three names in the list of Indian cities paying the highest average salaries for professionals.

Daniel Ricciardo wins Chinese GP

  • Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took a sensational victory in the Chinese Grand Prix as a chaotic final 20 laps threw the championship wide open. Ricciardo drove beautifully to pass five cars. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished second.

Fino Payments Bank sees steady growth in March

  • Fino Payments Bank which started operations in June 2017, continued to see steady growth in its remittance business. It has intial recording remittances of Rs. 350 crore a month, which further went up to Rs. 700 crore in January and Rs. 1,010 crore in February. In March it recorded 3.5 million transactions worth Rs. 1,150 crore.
  • Fino Payments Bank is one of seven entities to be granted the final licence by RBI to start a payments bank. The main objective of a payments bank is to facilitate remittances, where lending is not allowed.
  • RBI has so far issued licences to 55 non-bank mobile wallets.

France announces 50 million euro humanitarian aid for Syria

  • France will contribute 61.9 million dollars toward urgent humanitarian aid for Syria. This was announced by the French President Emmanuel Macron at a meeting with a group of non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Paris.
  • The funds will be allocated to NGOs and U.N. agencies working on the ground in Syria, including the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs.
  • According to United Nations estimates, some 13 million people including six million children are in need of humanitarian aid in Syria, ravaged by a seven-year war that has displaced millions.

Govt to distribute millets like bajra via PDS

  • The Union government has decided to distribute millets through the public distribution system (PDS) in an effort to achieve nutrition security of the poor.
  • A committee constituted by the central government for examination of inclusion of millets in the PDS for improving nutritional support has recommended for inclusion of millets in PDS across the country and the same has been accepted by the central government.
  • These millets include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi/Mandua), Minor Millets such as Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/ Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki) and two Pseudo Millets (Black-wheat (Kuttu) and Ameranthus (Chaulai).
  • The recent research findings also show that millets contain anti-diabetic properties and millet-based food have low Glycemic index (GI) and reduces the postprandial blood glucose level and glycosylated haemoglobin.

India to set up natural gas trading hub by October

  • The Union Government plans to set up a Gas Trading Hub / Exchange (GTHE) by October 2018, thus creating an Indian gas benchmark that will spark an increase in the consumption of the cleaner-burning fuel. The hub would be used for the trade and supply of natural gas through a market-based mechanism instead of multiple formula driven prices.
  • Currently, the government fixes the price of the bulk of domestically produced natural gas using the price prevalent in gas-surplus nations such as US, Canada, UK, and Russia.
  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the Indian oil regulatory board

Indian economy has recovered from impact of demonetisation, GST: World Bank Report

  • The World Bank has stated that the Indian economy has recovered from the adverse impacts of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax and is projected to grow by 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019. It further said that India needs to create 8.1 million jobs a year to maintain its employment rate.
  • Indian recovery will lift South Asia as a region and make it the world’s fastest growing again, possibly even widening the lead over East Asia and the Pacific. This will drive South Asia growth to 6.9% in 2018 and 7.1% in 2019.
  • India grew by an estimated 6.7% in 2017 as per the World Bank’s estimates.

Indian mosquitoes can transmit Zika virus infection: NIV study

  • Scientists of Pune’s National Institute of Virology and National Jalma Institute of Leprosy, have demonstrated in their study of how Indian mosquitoes, when infected with African strain of the zika virus (ZIKV), can easily transmit the infection to suckling mice. The study shows how the Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses is easily susceptible to the zika virus.
  • The mosquitoes were experimentally infected with zika virus (African Strain MR-766) through the oral-feeding route. Infected mosquitoes were allowed to bite on infant and suckling mice. The results showed clinical symptoms such as trembling, solitary behaviour, nervous signs, no movement, and lethargy appeared in mice after 4-5 days of being bitten by the infected mosquitoes.

Indian-led scientists’ team develops electronic device that mimics human brain

  • A team of scientists at Northwestern University, USA, led by an Indian scientist Dr Vinod Kumar Sangwan, have developed an electronic device that can mimic the human brain
  • This device named "memtransistor" combines the functions of a memristor and a "transistor".The memtransistor has tremendous potential in Artificial Intelligence (AI), which requires unprecedented analytical and computational capabilities. The devicehas futuristic applications even in healthcare industry.

Monsoon will be normal, says IMD

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that India will get a normal monsoon this year, with rainfall expected at 97% of the average, auguring well for agricultural output and brightening market sentiment.
  • Rainfall in the June-September season, which delivers 73% of the country’s total precipitation, is expected to be normal in the absence of the rain-busting El Niño phenomenon, which is associated with warm temperatures over parts of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The monsoon is considered normal if rainfall is between 96% and 104% of the long period average
  • (LPA) of 89 cm, which is the average between 1951 and 2000. Last year, rainfall was 95% of the LPA during the monsoon season
  • Director general of the India Meteorological Department: KJ Ramesh

Myntra acquires Witworks

  • Online fashion retailer Myntra had acquired tech start-up Witworks for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition will enable Myntra to develop and launch cutting-edge wearable products like smart shoes, connected smart watches and interactive and intelligent clothing with biosensors.
  • Witworks, a Bengaluru-based firm is focussed on producing smart wearable devices and their underlying software.
  • Myntra
  • CEO: Ananth Narayanan
  • Parent Company: Flipkart(In May 2014, Myntra.com was acquired by Flipkart)
  • Subsidiaries: Jabong.com

NASA to launch washing machine-sized spacecraft

  • NASA is to launch a washing machine-sized spacecraft that aims to vastly expand mankind's search for planets beyond solar system, particularly closer, Earth-sized ones that might sustain life.
  • TESS(The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its main goal over the next two years is to scan more than 200,000 of the brightest stars for signs of planets circling them and causing a dip in brightness known as a transit.
  • TESS is designed as a follow-on to the US space agency's Kepler spacecraft, which was the first of its kind and launched in 2009.

New express highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai will be built at cost of Rs one lakh crore

  • Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping Nitin Gadkari said a new express highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai will be built at a cost of Rs one lakh crore. He also disclosed plans for a Chambal Expressway which would be connected to this Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, and is likely to benefit states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • A total of ten projects are underway costing 35,600 crore rupees. About forty thousand commercial vehicles enter Delhi on a daily basis, which cause increased pollution and congestion in the city state.

Ola to introduce 10,000 EVs

  • App-based cab aggregator Ola plans to introduce 10,000 e-rickshaws and electric autorickshaws in India in the next 12 months. It is in talks with state governments, OEM partners and electronic vehicle innovators to speed up the introduction of EVs in India. Ola aims to bring one million electric vehicles on the road by 2021.
  • The project included electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments.
  • Ola will work with driver-partners, cities, vehicle manufacturers, and battery companies to make sustainable technologies cost-effective and viable in daily mobility.
  • Ola introduced its first electric vehicle project in Nagpur on May 26, 2017.
  • Co-founder and CEO of Ola: Bhavish Aggarwal

PM Modi arrives Sweden on the first leg of his two-nation European tour

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the Swedish capital Stockholm on the first leg of his two-nation European tour. Mr. Modi will hold bilateral talks with heads of a number of countries when he takes part in the first ever India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm. He will also interact with the CEOs and address the Indian Diaspora.
  • The focus will be on trade and investment, innovation, science and technology, skill development, smart cities, clean energy, digitization and health.
  • Sweden:
  • Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Currency: Swedish krona
  • The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. They include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, including Greenland and Faroe Islands(which are both constituent countries within the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands)

TRAI unveils portal on telcos’ tariffs

  • Telecom regulator TRAI unveiled a beta version of a portal that aims to bring on one platform the telecom tariffs offered by different operators and in different service areas.The move is expected to provide more transparency and information on multiple tariff offerings by telcos, helping telecom consumers at large.

Trudeau defends EU-Canada trade deal benefits

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron have discussed a renewed economic partnership to boost growth, jobs and investments in their two countries.
  • Trudeau praised the benefits of a new trade deal called the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act (CETA) that came largely into effect last September, 2017.
  • Canadian imports from France have increased 4 percent last year and Canadian investments in France have jumped 23 per cent.
  • Canada
  • Capital: Ottawa
  • Currency: Canadian dollar

WPI inflation eases to 2.47 % in March as food articles turn cheaper

  • According to the Commerce Ministry data, wholesale Inflation eased marginally to 2.47 per cent in March on cheaper food articles, especially pulses and vegetables. It was 2.48 per cent in the previous month. Food articles showed deflation at 0.29 per cent in March as against 0.88 per cent in the preceding month. The WPI inflation in March last year was at 5.11 per cent.
  • Retail inflation, as per data released last week, slipped to a five-month low of 4.28 per cent in March on account of decline in food prices.