Daily Current Affairs - 07th Sep 2018

Aurobindo to buy Sandoz’s dermatology business for $1 billion

  • Pharma major Novartis announced that it had agreed to sell selected portions of its Sandoz US portfolio, specifically the dermatology business and generic oral solids portfolio, to Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., for $900 million of cash plus $0.1 billion of potential earn-outs.
  • The Sandoz US portfolios to be sold to Aurobindo include approximately 300 products, as well as additional development projects.
  • Aurobindo Pharma managing director, N. Govindarajan

BEL bags contract to supply 7 long range surface-to-air missile systems to Indian Navy

  • The government owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has bagged order worth Rs. 9,200 crore for supply of seven Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) systems to Indian Navy. For this, it has entered into a contract with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
  • The LRSAM will be fitted onboard seven ships to be built by these two shipbuilders. This was highest-ever single value order bagged by BEL.

Centre grants ‘trust’ status to ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ initiative

  • The union government has granted the status of a trust to ‘Bharat Ke Veer’, a private initiative promoted by actor Akshay Kumar, which aids families of paramilitary personnel killed in action. Contributions to Bharat Ke Veer have been exempted from Income Tax.
  • Akshay Kumar and former national badminton champion Pullela Gopichand have been included as trustees.
  • Now the initiative had now been formalised into a registered trust for providing a platform for all citizens to contribute and provide assistance to the families of martyred personnel.
  • The Union Home Ministry had taken up the Bharat Ke Veer initiative in April last year.

EVs, CNG vehicles don’t need permits: Nitin Gadkari

  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that no permits would be required for vehicles running on alternative fuel, including CNG, ethanol and EVs, a move that is expected to boost the demand for such vehicles in the country.
  • The Ministry have decided to exempt electric vehicles as well as vehicles, including auto-rickshaws, buses, taxis, that run on alternative fuel like ethanol, bio-diesel, CNG, methanol and bio-fuel, from permit requirement.
  • However, added that this would not extend to mild hybrids or hybrid vehicles.

Google Announces New AI Technology to Fight Online Child Sexual Abuse

  • US tech giant Google announced that it is employing a new artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to combat online spreading of contents involving child sexual abuse. Its cutting-edge AI technology uses deep neural networks for image processing to help discover and detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.
  • The new tool will be made available for free to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other industry partners, including other technology companies, via a new Content Safety API service that could be offered upon request.
  • The new AI technology will significantly help service providers, NGOs and other tech firms to improve the efficiency of CSAM detection and reduce human reviewers' exposure to the content.

IAF carries out first ever mid-air refuelling of Tejas combat jet

  • The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the first ever mid air refuelling of the indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft, a major milestone in its development cycle. The mid-air refueling of Tejas came three months after it successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 version and a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to HAL by the IAF in December for procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of around Rs 50,000 crore.

India And France To Collaborate On Human Space Mission 'Gaganyaan'

  • India and France have announced a working group for Gaganyaan, ISRO's first manned mission announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day. India plans to send three humans to space before 2022.
  • ISRO and CNES, the French space agency, will be combining their expertise in fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene system. The two also have plans to work on Mars, Venus and asteroids.
  • This mission is significant as it would make India one of the four countries in the world after Russia, US and China to launch a manned space flight.

India ranks 19 in ‘Theft Ranking’ for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials

  • India has been ranked at the 19th position, one position above since the last rankings by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)- Nuclear Security Index that published a report on theft rankings of ‘weapon-usable’ nuclear materials. The NTI index is basically used to assess the state of nuclear security in countries that possess nuclear materials.
  • The report lists Australia and Switzerland on the first position with a score of 94 each, followed by Canada with 89, Germany and Japan with 88 out of a total of 100.
  • Neighboring Pakistan ranks 20th in the Theft Ranking for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials.

Italian tennis player Schiavone retires

  • Francesca Schiavone, who became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title when she captured the 2010 French Open and the biggest title of her career has announced her retirement from professional tennis. Schiavone also had a great deal of variety in her game, hitting both heavy topspin and slice with her elegant one-handed backhand and also displaying skill at the net

Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

  • A Japanese team has developed a “space elevator” and will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology. The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will have a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
  • The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in - a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high. The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.

KCR dissolves Telangana State Assembly

  • Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao decided to dissolve the Assembly and seek a fresh mandate earlier than the scheduled polls in April 2019. Rao wants elections to be held along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram in December this year. Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao met Governor ESL Narasimhan and submitted a resolution adopted in the Cabinet meeting.
  • Accepting the resolution, the government asked KCR and his council of ministers to continue in office as “caretaker government” till elections.

Monetary limit for filing cases in DRT doubled to Rs 20 lakh

  • The Union government doubled the monetary limit to Rs. 20 lakh for filing loan recovery application in the Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) by banks and financial institutions, to help reduce pendency of such cases. As a result, any bank or financial institution or a consortium of banks or financial institutions cannot approach DRTs if the amount due is less than Rs. 20 lakh

Plantation sector may have suffered Rs. 5,000-cr. loss due to floods : UPASI

  • The plantation sector in the south, including tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and pepper, is estimated to have suffered a Rs. 5,000-crore crop loss due to the recent floods in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • The coffee-producing regions of Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur in Karnataka, accounting for 70 % of the country’s crop, were ravaged by rains causing berry dropping.
  • The Coffee Board had estimated a crop loss of about 82,000 tonne (annual output of 6.9 lakh tonne in 2017-18). The loss is the highest in Karnataka followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • The crop loss in respect of rubber is estimated at about 1.25 lakh tonne (out of an annual average output of 9 lakh tonne).

Rupee breached 72 level

  • The fall in rupee continued for the seventh straight session as it breached the 72 a dollar mark for the first time amid growing demand for aggressive intervention from the Reserve Bank of India. The rupee has now depreciated 13% in 2018.
  • The RBI intervened at various levels but was not very effective to contain the movement

Saurabh bags air pistol gold

  • Saurabh Chaudhary shot a junior world record 245.5 to win the junior men’s gold in air pistol in the 52nd World shooting championship Arjun Singh Cheema added the air pistol individual bronze to his collection.
  • Team Standings in the tournament:
  • 1. South Korea 1747
  • 2. India 1738;
  • 3. Russia 1736.

SC decriminalises Section 377, makes gay sex legal

  • In a landmark judgment, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality. The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously held that criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was clearly unconstitutional.
  • The court, however, held that the Section would apply to “unnatural” sexual acts like bestiality. Sexual act without consent continues to be a crime under Section 377.
  • With this judgement, India joins 125 other countries where homosexuality is legal. 72 countries and territories worldwide still continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, including 45 in which such relationships between women are outlawed.

Seven new IIMs to have permanent campuses by 2021

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment and operationalisation of permanent campuses of Seven new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). These IIMs are in Amritsar, Bodhgaya, Nagpur, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Vishakhapatnam and Jammu. Currently, these institutes are working from transit campuses. These seven new IIMs were set up in the years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
  • The total cost assessed is ?3775.42 crore, out of which ?2804.09 crore will be spent for the construction of permanent campuses of these institutes.
  • The construction of permanent campus of these institutes shall be completed by June, 2021. With this, all the 20 IIMs will have their own permanent campuses.

Temasek inks pact to invest $400 mn in NIIF

  • Singapore-based global investment firm Temasek has signed an agreement to invest up to $400 million in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India with an option for co-investment with NIIF in the future.
  • As part of the agreement, Temasek will join the Government of India, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), HDFC Group, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance and Axis Bank as an investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and as a shareholder in National Investment and Infrastructure Limited.
  • With this investment, NIIF Master Fund is now one of the largest infrastructure funds in India. The fund invests in core infrastructure sectors in India with a focus on transportation, energy and urban infrastructure.
  • MD & CEO of NIIF: Sujoy Bose