Daily Current Affairs - 17th May 2018

Asian Champions Trophy: India beat China 3-1

  • Indian Women's Hockey team defeated China, 3-1 in their second round-robin match of the Asian Champions Trophy at Donghae in South Korea. For India Vandana and Gurjit are the scorers, Wen Dan netted China's only goal.
  • With the win defending champions India have risen to the top spot in the 5-nation table.

BSE is first Indian exchange to get US SEC recognition

  • BSE has become the first Indian exchange to be recognized as a designated offshore securities market (DOSM) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The DOSM status allows sale of securities to U.S. investors through the trading venue of BSE without registration of such securities with the U.S. It thus eases the trades by U.S. investors in India.
  • BSE is Asia's oldest stock exchange.

Cabinet approves new policy for biofuels

  • The Union Cabinet approved a national policy on bio-fuels that seeks to not only help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner but also reduce India’s oil-import dependence.
  • The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes that are unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • The policy also provides for a viability gap funding scheme of Rs. 5,000 crore in six years for second generation (more advanced) ethanol bio-refineries in addition to tax incentives and a higher purchase price as compared to first generation biofuels.

Centre clears coal linkage methodology for power producers

  • The union government has finalised the methodology for rationalization of coal linkages for independent power producers (IPP).Under the new methodology, dry fuel can be supplied to IPP plants by a coal company other than the one with which they have signed the pact.
  • The methodology was approved on the basis of the recommendations of a an inter-ministerial task force to optimise transportation cost, among other benefits.
  • It said the reduced landed price of coal will lead to savings in the cost of power generated as well as coal transportation. The savings will be passed on to the Discom/ consumers of power.

Centre may soon adopt ‘shell’ firm definition

  • A government committee has drafted the definition of ‘shell-company’ to plug a loophole in existing laws that empower enforcement agencies to initiate legal proceedings against such entities.
  • The issue had come up after a large number of entities, against which action had been taken, contested their classification as shell companies.
  • The committee also examined the definition provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and encountered some issues with the OECD definition, and hence explored other definitions.
  • After determining that the definition is wide enough to cover all aspects of such entities, the Centre may soon adopt it for inclusion and implementation for legal purposes.

Fasting month of Ramadan begins

  • The fasting month of Ramazan has begun across the country. The worshippers thronged mosques last night, as soon as the sighting of moon was announced, to offer special night prayers called "Traweeh", which will continue throughout the month.
  • Ramazan is the ninth month of Islamic calendar and Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated at the culmination of this month.

Guatemala inaugurates its Israel embassy in Jerusalem

  • Guatemala inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the first country to follow in the footsteps of the United States' deeply controversial move that was accompanied by deadly violence on the Gaza border.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales were among officials who attended a ceremony inaugurating the new embassy at an office park in the disputed city, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • The Israeli premier spoke of Guatemala's early recognition of the state of Israel after its creation in 1948.
  • Paraguay's embassy is expected to relocate before the end of the month.
  • Guatemala
  • Capital:Guatemala City
  • Currency: Guatemalan quetzal

Guwahati now has India's first solar powered railway station

  • Guwahati is now India's first railway station run by solar power. Around 2352 solar modules with a capacity of generating 700 kwp has been set up over the roof of the Guwahati railway station. The solar-powered station is aimed at reducing carbon-footprint as well as cut down power costs drastically.
  • Around 6.3 lakh kg carbon dioxide emissions have been cut off between April 12 last year to May 10 this year.
  • The project of installing solar panels was commissioned last year in April 2017.

Infosys sets up blockchain-based trade network in India with 7 banks

  • Infosys has set up India Trade Connect, a blockchain-based trade network in India, in partnership with seven lenders, including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, RBL Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, South Indian Bank and Yes Bank.
  • The network is being used by the banks to run a successful pilot of Finacle Trade Connect, a blockchain technology based solution developed specifically to address the trade finance process requirements of banks.
  • The range of functions include Bill Collection, Letters of Credit, Open Account for Trade, Customer to Customer, Transactions for Trade, Business to Customer transactions for Trade, PO financing and Invoice financing.
  • Finacle Trade Connect will enable increased automation and transparency, while helping efficiently manage risks in trade and supply chain financing operations.

LMA Award for Chennaiyin FC's head coach Gregory

  • Chennaiyin FC's head coach John Gregory has been honoured with a special achievement award by England's League Managers Association (LMA) 26th Annual Awards function in London for becoming the first Englishman to win the Indian Super League.
  • Chennaiyin FC had beaten Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) final in March to claim the trophy. This victory also ensured Chennaiyin FC a place in the 2019 AFC Cup.
  • The LMA is a body in England for English coaches and all managers in English football.

New method to solve PSU disputes

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a mechanism to strengthen commercial dispute resolution between central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) through an institutionalised framework.
  • A new two-tier mechanism will be put in place of the existing permanent machinery of arbitration (PMA) mechanism to resolve commercial disputes (excluding disputes concerning railways, I-T, custom and excise departments) between CPSEs inter se and CPSEs and government departments, outside the courts of law.

PM Modi to lay foundation stone for construction of 14.2 km long Zojila Tunnel in J&K

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for construction of 14.2 kilometre long Zojila Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir. The main objective of this project tunnel is to provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions.
  • The tunnel will be the Asia's longest bi-directional road tunnel.

States and Union Territories participate in State Startup Ranking Framework 2018

  • States and UTs have participated enthusiastically in this first ever State Startup Ranking exercise. A total of 30 States and UTs have participated in this exercise whose last date for submission of documents was 30th April. The States Startup Ranking Framework was launched by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on 6th February 2018.
  • This intiative was targeted at facilitating States/UTs to identify, learn and replicate good practices from each other and for bringing to fore, their own progress in the regard.
  • The participating States and UTs shall now be evaluated on a score of 100, against 38 action points categorized into 7 areas of intervention such as Startup Policy and implementation, Incubation support, Seed Funding, Angel and Venture Funding, Simplification of Regulations, Easing Public Procurement and Awareness & Outreach.
  • DIPP has appointed seven dedicated evaluation committees involving members from all relevant departments and reputed players in the ecosystem, for evaluating States’ responses in each area of intervention. The overall exercise is expected to be complete with announcement in ranking in June, 2018.

Swachh rankings: Indore gets cleanest city tag

  • According to the government swachhta survey 2018, Indore emerged as the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh in the government’s cleanliness survey.
  • Jharkhand was adjudged the best performing State followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh in the category of ‘best-performing States’ in the ‘Swachh Survekshan 2018’.
  • The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) got the tag of India’s ‘cleanest small city’ (urban local body) with population between 1 lakh and 3 lakh in the 2018 survey.
  • In the ‘cantonment’ category, the Delhi Cantonment has emerged as the cleanest, followed by Almora, Ranikhet and Nainital (all three in Uttarakhand).
  • Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad was adjudged the “fastest mover big city” in this survey.
  • Mysuru has been ranked the cleanest medium-sized city in the country. Mysuru has been ranked the cleanest among cities with a population of between 3 lakh and one million.
  • Mangaluru has been ranked the best city in solid waste management.
  • This year, the survey has covered 4,203 cities while in 2017 only 434 cities were surveyed.

Tiny NASA satellite maps global ice clouds

  • An experimental small satellite has captured the first global picture of the small frozen particles inside clouds, normally called ice clouds. The tiny satellite IceCube, that has been deployed from the space station in May 2017, is testing instruments for their ability to make space-based measurements of the small, frozen crystals that make up ice clouds.
  • Ice clouds start as tiny particles high in the atmosphere. Absorbing moisture, the ice crystals grow and become heavier, causing them to fall to lower altitudes. Eventually, the particles get so heavy, they fall and melt to form rain drops. The ice crystals may also just stay in the air.
  • Like other clouds, ice clouds affect Earth's energy budget by either reflecting or absorbing the Sun's energy and by affecting the emission of heat from Earth into space.

Tom Wolfe, Star Journalist and Author of ‘The Right Stuff,’ Dies

  • Tom Wolfe, the author and journalist known for pioneering New Journalism, has died. He was 88. His notable works include “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Last American Hero,” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” the last three of which were adapted into movies.
  • Wolfe worked at The Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, where he developed “New Journalism,” a style marked by interior monologues and eccentric language

World Health Organisation publishes its first essential diagnostics list

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first 'essential diagnostics list', a catalogue of tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases.
  • The step was taken to address the problem of people's inability to access diagnostic services, thus failing to receive the correct treatment.
  • The essential diagnostics list concentrates on in-vitro tests like tests of blood and urine. Apart from this, 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, thus providing an essential package that can form the basis for screening and management of patients.
  • The remaining 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of 'priority' diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis
  • WHO Director-General: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus