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Current Affairs Today – April 23 2017

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Current Affairs April 23 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

UP government to set up  40 Yoga wellness centers in 40 districts
Uttar Pradesh has decided to set up 40 Yoga wellness centers in 40 districts across the state in this current year. The International Yoga Day (IYD) is celebrated across the world on 21 June.
Key Points:
i. Total out of 40 centres, 23 will be set up at Ayurvedic hospitals 12 at homeopathic and 7 at Unani hospitals and colleges.
ii. The Centre is implementing National AYUSH Mission as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
iii. The date 21st June was selected because it is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere which has special significance in many parts of the world.yoga
iv. The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014.
v. The state government has also planned to start post graduate courses at Government Ayurvedic College and hospital Varanasi, Unani College Allahabad, Government Homeopathy College Allahabad and TT College Lucknow.
vi. A first herbal garden of the state would be set up soon near the Government national Homeopathic college and hospital, Lucknow to encourage the farmers to cultivate herbal plants across the state.
vii. The government is working towards ensuring a more geographically balanced promotion of yoga across the country and brings non-south states at par with the southern states.
viii. In December 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had formally inscribed Yoga in its representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Five Madhesi parties unite ahead of local polls in Nepal
Five prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal have united to form a new united party named the Rastriya Janata Party,It is the fifth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament.
Key Highlights:
i. It has been announced that leaders of the five parties will lead the Rastriya Janata Party by rotation.Madhesis account for 50% of Population of Nepal.
ii. The five parties that have united are Mahantha Thakur‘s Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, RajendraMahato‘s Sadbhawana Party, Sharat Singh Bhandari‘s Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Mahendra Yadav‘s Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party and Rajkishor Yadav‘s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Ganatantrik.
iii. The new party will aim to addressing the demands and grievances of Madhesis including amendment of the Constitution.
iv. Madhesi parties’ demand that the Constitution promulgated in 2015 should be revised and the provisions with respect to citizenship should be amended.
v. The Madhesis demanded that the constitution should ensure their representation as per their “population” size.
vi. The Madhesi parties are claiming to represent the interests of the people of the southern Terai region.
vii. Their background is mostly Indians.The government of Nepal has rejected this demand and mentioned that if population were to be sole criteria for inclusion, some minority groups such as Dolpa would never get represented.

Britain achieves its first ever coal-free day
As mentioned by officials of National Grid, April 21, 2017 was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution. All coal-fired power plants went offline from April 20, 2017.
i. On this day, around half of energy came from natural gas, with about a quarter coming Britain achieves its first ever coal-free dayfrom nuclear plants. Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used.
ii. In Britain, coal accounted for 9% of electricity generation in 2016, marking a significant decline from 23% in 2015.
iii. Britain’s last coal power station will be forced to close in 2025, as part of a government plan to phase out the fossil fuel to meet its climate change commitments.

Cuba and Morocco re-establish diplomatic ties after 37 years
Cuba and Morocco has signed an agreement to re-establish diplomatic ties after a time period of 37 years. The two governments have also agreed to forge political, economic and cultural cooperation.
Key Points:
i. The agreement was signed at the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.
ii. The decision to re-establish diplomatic ties has been made couple of weeks after King Mohammed’s private visit to Cuba.
iii. King Mohamed VI of Morocco has ordered the opening of a Moroccan embassy in Havana.
iv. The visit of King Mohammed VI is the first ever made by a Moroccan king to Cuba.
v. Morocco severed its ties with Cuba in 1980 after Fidel Castro officially recognized Western Sahara as the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
vi. The Cuba and Morocco relationship suffered several strains since 1960s due to Cuba’s decision to side with Algeria during the Morocco-Algerian military conflict of 1963 known as the Sand War.
vii. In 1970s, Cuba again decided to side with Algeria in its support for the independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco.
About Cuba and Morocco:
♦ Cuba Capital: Havana
♦ Cuba Currency: Cuban Peso
♦ Morocco Capital: Rabat
♦ Morocco Currency: Moroccan Dirham

India wins elections to two UN subsidiary bodies
India with 12 other members was elected to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Key points:
i. India has won elections to two subsidiary bodies of a UN organ focused on social and United Nationeconomic issues. 
ii. The CPC is the main subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly for planning, programming and coordination.
iii. India tops Asian group again in UN elections 49 of 50 members of Economic & Social Council vote India to Committee for Program & Coordination.
iv. India, along with 19 other nations, was also elected by acclamation to the International Narcotics Control Board.

BANKING & FINANCE

India tops global remittances at $62.7 billion in 2016 – World Bank
As per ‘Migration and Development Brief’ released by World Bank, India is world’s largest remittance recipient for the year 2016. Remittance inflows to India amounted to $62.7 billion in 2016. However, there has been a drop of 8.9% as compared to $68.9 billion received in 2015.
i. In 2016, remittances accounted for 9% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
ii. State wise, remittances to Kerala accounted for 36.3% of the net state domestic product.

Govt extends date for filing tax declarations under PMGKY till May 10
Filing of declarations about tax payment and deposits under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY ) has been extended up to May 10 for black money holders.
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended to May 10,2017 about filing of declaration where tax, surcharge and penalty under PMGKY has been paid on or before the 31st March and deposit under the Deposit Scheme has been made on or before April 30.PMKGY
ii. The deposits can be made in the form of cash or in an account with bank or post office or specified entity, with a tax, surcharge and penalty totaling up to 49.90 per cent.
iii. Mandatory deposit of 25 per cent of the undisclosed income will be made in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). The deposits are interest free and have a lock-in period of four years.
iv. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) was introduced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament of India on November 28, 2016. The central government was introduced this scheme to discover and get hold of black money. The seized amount will be invested into the welfare schemes for poor.

First digital village inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh
Nirjuli village-1 in Papum Pare district was declared as the first digital village of Arunachal Pradesh. 
Key Points:
i. It aims to improve connectivity to speed up socio-economic development of the masses.
ii. To benefit the masses and reduce their dependence on banks.
iii. It aims to give financial support to the villagers to improve their income level.
iv. Awareness programmes has been done and provide computers to schools and promote digitalization.
v. Digital village aims at cashless transactions even in ‘sabjimandis’ to make payment through mobile.
vi. The state government assured support to promote V-set linked customer service point (CSP) and urged the GoAP to offer incentives like Assam Government.
About Arunachal Pradesh
♦ Capital: Itanagar
♦ CM: Pema Khandu Thungan
♦ Governor: Padmanabha Acharya

BUSINESS

Paying service charge in restaurants not mandatory, say govt guidelines
The government has approved guidelines on service charge. It is not mandatory for customers to pay service charges in hotels and restaurant bills according to the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Key Points:
i. As per the guidelines, the column of service charge in a bill will be left blank to customers to fill up before making the final payment.
ii. Huge fines and strict action against violation cannot be taken at present as the current Consumer Protection Law.
iii. If there is mandatory levy of service charge customers can file a complaint in the Consumer Court.
iv. Hotels and restaurants should not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left on the customer.

“Quality Mark” Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDB 
“Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives has been initiated to promote and encourage enhancement of safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives.
i. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has been supported by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under the White Revolution “Quality Mark” Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDBumbrella Schemes.
ii. National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is in the process of registering the quality mark logo under Trademarks Act, 1998. Those who meet the criteria for an award of quality mark will be allowed to use the logo on the package containing milk and milk products.
iii. The logo/symbol of quality mark indicates that the dairy unit has executed all the processes required as per the food safety and quality management system for manufacture of milk and milk products as per the set quality parameters.
iv. The award of Quality is valid for three years refers to maintenance of quality, food safety standards and compliance with terms and conditions of the agreement.
v. There are two-step process involving pre-assessment and a final assessment. The dairy units that score over 70% in the preliminary assessment are considered for final assessment.
vi. The final assessment evaluates 45 critical and 97 major parameters that influence the quality of the processed milk and milk products.
vii. An eleven member Management Committee has take care the activities of the Quality Mark. The Management Committee has members including the representatives of DADF, FSSAI and Managing Directors of four State Msilk Federations representing the regions and two Experts in Dairying.
viii. The first meeting of the Management Committee of the Quality Mark was held at Anand on March 15, 2017. 

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura chosen for Krishi Karman Award
Madhya Pradesh (MP) has been selected for Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for highest production of wheat. MP has been selected for this award fifth time in a row.
i. Tamil Nadu has been chosen for Krishi Karman award 2015-16 in Category I – where food grains production is higher than 10 million tonnes
ii. Himachal Pradesh has been chosen for Krishi Karman award 2015-16 in Category II – where food grains production is between 1 – 10 million tonnes
iii. Tripura has been chosen for Krishi Karman award 2015-16 in Category III – where food grains production is lesser 1 million tonnes.
iv. Meghalaya has been selected for commendation award for total food grains production.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for President
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose diatribes against the United States and Israel made him a polarizing figure, was banned from running for president.
Key Points:
i. Ahmadinejad, who served two terms from 2005-13, was among 1,600 applicants evenIran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for President though the clerical body usually selects only six candidates.
ii. Ahmadinejad, a defendant is several pending cases, surprised the nation by submitting his name because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told him not to run.
iii. Hamid Baghaie a close ally of Ahmadinejad, who faces embezzlement charges, also was disqualified.

Mumbai-based gynaecologist appointed ISAR president
Mumbai- based gynaecologist Dr Duru Shah has been appointed as the president of the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR).
i. Dr Duru Shah was appointed to the post during ISARs annual function held at Gurugram, Haryana.
ii. He mentioned that insurance sector needs to be motivated to cover costs related to infertility treatments for women in urban areas who need to take a break from jobs in order to undergo treatment.

Himanta Biswa Sarma becomes interim BAI president
BJP leader and Assam Badminton Association President Himanta Biswa Sarma has been appointed Badminton Association of India‘s interim President during its executive council Himanta Biswa Sarma becomes interim BAI presidentmeeting.
i. Himanta Biswa Sarma has been unanimously given the charge to become the acting president till the next elections in 2018.
ii. The post of president was left vacant after the sudden demise of former president Akhilesh Das Gupta.
iii. During the executive council meeting of Badminton Association of India, it was also decided that the Indian Open Super Series, which was extended for another four years, will be called the Akilesh Das Gupta World Super Series tournament.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

INS Darshak conducting joint survey of Sri Lankan bay
INS Darshak, the Indian Navy’s hydrographic survey ship is on a two-month deployment in the Sri Lankan waters since March 3, 2017.
i. Along with Sri Lankan Navy, it is jointly undertaking a hydrographic survey of Weligama Bay which was last studied in 1901. Weligama Bay is located in Southern Province of Sri Lanka, about 130 km south-east of the capital city Colombo.
ii. INS Darshak was commissioned on April 28, 2001 at Visakhapatnam under Eastern Naval Command of Indian Navy.

New types of blood cells “Dendritic cells” discovered
Team of scientists, including Indian origin researchers Rahul Satija from New York University and Karthik Shekhar from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the US, have New types of blood cells Dendritic cells discoveredidentified new types of blood cells in the human immune system.
i. The cells are new types of white blood cells called dendritic cells and monocytes. They have also discovered a new dendritic cell progenitor.
ii. Dendritic cells display molecules called antigens on their surfaces. These molecules are recognised by T cells which then mount an immune response. Monocytes are the largest type of white blood cell and can develop into macrophages that digest debris in our cells.
iii. In this study, researchers used a technique called single-cell genomics to analyse gene expression patterns in individual human blood cells.

SPORTS

Former Ranji cricketer Tushar Arothe appointed India women coach
Former Ranji cricketer Tushar Arothe has been appointed as the coach of the Indian women’s cricket team.
Key Points:
i. Arothe has been appointed till the World Cup in June-July.
ii. Women’s World Cup of 2017 will be held in England and Wales.
iii. Arothe was appointed head coach of the Baroda men’s team for the 2016-17 seasons.
iv. He had to resign due to conflict of interest following the selection of his son Rishi.
v. He has also served as head coach of Chhattisgarh and Baroda Under-16s.

OBITUARY

NC leader Ali Mohammad Naik passes away
Ali Mohammad Naika Senior National Conference (NC) leader and former speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly passed away.
i. He had served as general secretary of Plebiscite Front under NC founder and former chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
ii. Naik, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, was suffering from chest disease. He was 87.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Book and Copyright Day – April 23 2017
The World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated on 23 April 2017 across the globe. Special events were organized to promote reading, publishing and copyright across the world including India.
2017 Theme is Quotes Wishes Slogans Greetings.
Key Points:
i. This day is focused on to motivate the children and people.
ii. To mark the World Book and Copyright Day 2017, the UNESCO released three books – Reshaping Cultural Policies, Rethinking Education in a Changing World and Reading in a Mobile Era.
iii. This day is aimed to inspire the children to explore the books and to generate a sense of learning
iv. The World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote UNESCO’s vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens.
v. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Ogranisation (UNESCO) created the day in 1995 at its Geneal Conference, which was attended by India.
vi. The World Book and Copyright Day pay tribute to books and authors by encouraging everyone to discover the pleasure of reading.Athens has been named World Book Capital 2018.