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Current Affairs Today – August 18 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

NMCG and IOC inks pact for the establishment and betterment of STP in Mathura
i. An MoU was signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
ii. This MoU helps in the establishment of STP in Mathura which will provide treated water for industrial use. Laying the foundation of 20 MLD STP in Vrindavan, which is estimated at a cost of Rs. 40 crore and a nine kilometer pipeline from Laxmi nagar to Gokul barrage will carry the treated water to Mathura refinery.
iii. The Mathura refinery will clean the sewage treated water and bring to use by recycling it. Every effort is made to stop the flow of polluted water of Yamuna from Delhi to Mathura Vrindavan by the central government.
iv. It is noted that Minister for Water Resources, and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti laid the foundation of 20 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in Vrindavan on August 17.
v. The proposed project is expected to change “the complexion of Yamuna” completely in Mathura-Vrindavan by the year 2018.

Gujurat Govt, Railways Ink Pact To Develop Surat Station
i.The Union Railways Ministry, Gujarat state government and Surat Municipal Corporation went into tri-party agreement to develop Surat station under the Public Private Partnership model.
ii.The agreement was inked by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Surat mayor Asmita Siroya.
iii.This move comes from the state government to make Surat as best tourist destination also Railway Ministry also developing ways to generate income other than the operating income.
iv.The PPP model was chosen by the government to reduce the financial burden. Upon completion it will be India’s first and distinctive railway station which will have a multi-layer park having a slew of facilities.

Gujarat govt to implement 7th Pay Commission recommendations from 1st Jan
i.Gujarat state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has approved to implement the 7th pay commission recommendations at a meeting in Gandhinagar.
ii.The move will benefit over 4.65 lakh Gujarat government employees and more than 4.12 lakh pensioners, in a move that would cost Rs 8,513 crore annually to the exchequer.
iii.The pay scale’s actual implementation for the employees would start from August 1 and pensioners would commence from October 1, it will come into effect from January 1.
iv.Besides the State to address the issues pertaining with the disbursement of arrears from January to August by forming a committee of senior bureaucrats under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary J N Singh. The Committee will submit its recommendations and the final call be taken by the cabinet.

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar adopted Donja Village of Maharashtra under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna
i. Cricket icon and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar has selected Donja village in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra for development under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.
Sachin-Tendulkar_24ii. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is a rural development programme broadly focusing upon the development in the villages which includes social development, cultural development and spread motivation among the people on social mobilization of the village community.
iii. The programme was launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, on 11 October 2014.
iv. The distinct feature of this Yojana is that it is demand driven and inspired by society based on people’s participation.
v. This scheme aims at the development of model villages, called Adarsh Grams, through the implementation of existing schemes, and certain new initiatives to be designed for the local context, which may vary from village to village.
vi. This scheme also aims at creating models of local development which can be replicated in other villages.
vii. It gets funds from existing schemes, such as the Indira Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and Backward Regions Grant Fund and also from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

IIT-Kanpur adopts villages under Namami Gange
i. IIT-Kanpur has adopted five villages to restrict the flow of sewage into the river under the Namami Gange programme .
ii. It will be done by the institute’s civil engineering department
iii. Five villages:  L Ramel Nagar, Khoyra Katree, Pratapur, Hari Hindpur, and Katri Ladhva Khera.
Namami Gange Project :
♦ Namami Gange Project  is Union Government Project  which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.
Outlay: Rs. 2037 Crore

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indian Parliamentary Delegation attended SAARC YPC at Islamabad
i. A three-member Parliamentary delegation attended the first SAARC Young Parliamentarians Conference (YPC) on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ which held from August 16 to 18 in Islamabad, Pakisthan.
ii. It will be attended by no less than 50 Members of Parliament from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri lanka.
iii. The Conference is an initiative by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, which will offer region’s young parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the 19th SAARC Summit that Pakistan is going to host in November this year.
iv. MNA Malik Uzair Khan, one of the youngest Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, has worked tirelessly as the Conference’s convener to plan the important conference that will offer Young Parliamentarians an opportunity to deliberate their perspectives regarding regional peace and harmony.

The Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking awards Melbourne city as the Most Liveable City in world for the 6th consecutive year
he Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking awards Melbourne city as the Most Liveable City in world for the 6th consecutive yeari. The Global Liveability Ranking, released by The Economist declared Australia’s Melbourne city as the world’s most liveable city for the sixth consecutive year.
ii. This ranking scored 140 cities on health care, infrastructure, culture, environment and stability and awarded Melbourne a total of 97.5 out of a possible 100 points.
iii. It is noted that Adelaide and Perth ranked fifth and seventh respectively.
iv. Other top 10 cities include Vienna ranked No 2 and Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Auckland, Helsinki and Hamburg.
v. Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The name “Melbourne” refers to the area of urban agglomeration spanning 9,900 km2  which comprises the broader metropolitan area, as well as being the common name forits city centre.
vi. The metropolis is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillipand expands into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon mountain ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. Melbourne consists of 31 municipalities. It has a population of 4,529,500 as of 2015, and its inhabitants are called Melburnians.

China agrees with 10 ASEAN nations to solve the dispute over South China Sea
i. China and ten members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] have agreed to form a framework for a code of conduct to ease tension in the disputed South China Sea.
ii. It is noted that China and a grouping of Southeast Asian nations aim to finish by the middle of next year a framework for a code of conduct to ease tension in the disputed South China Sea.
iii. Meeting in northeastern China, the two sides agreed to get the framework for the code of conduct done by mid-2017, and also approved guidelines for a China-ASEAN hotline for use during maritime emergencies and they also agreed that a pact on unplanned maritime encounters, signed in 2014 by countries in the region, applied to the South China Sea.
iv. The two sides also agreed to get the framework for the code of conduct done by mid-2017. They also approved guidelines for a China-ASEAN hotline for use during maritime emergencies. They also agreed that a pact on unplanned maritime encounters signed by countries in the region in 2014 is applied to the SCS.
v. It is noted that hotline and unplanned encounters would be presented for final approval to leaders in Laos next month at a meeting between China and ASEAN members.

BANKING & FINANCE

Federal Bank ties up with Chillr for cashless transactions
i. Federal Bank announced its partnership with Chillr, a mobile banking application, to provide cashless transactions.
ii. Chillr, India’s first and only multi-bank mobile application, allows users to connect seamlessly with multiple bank accounts and manage all their banking needs on a single platform, making money transfer between bank accounts easier, faster and safer than sending a text message.
iii. The facility is already available to all customers of Federal Bank and the bank always believed that digital services will herald a paradigm shift in banking services. The bank has always striven to be ahead of the curve by launching a bouquet of on line services.
iv. All transactions on Chillr are initiated directly from the users’ bank accounts and authenticated by a secure PIN provided by their banks. The mobile banking app integrates with banks directly and provides total security for all transactions. The easy to use app is available on Android, Windows and iOS operating systems. 

India Post Payments Bank Incorporated Sets to begin in 2017.
i. India Post Payments Bank has come into existence after it received certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies, setting the stage for the new bank to begin operations in 2017.
ii. The India Post Payments Bank has received the Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs yesterday under the Companies Act 2013.
iii. With the incorporation, the Board of the India Post Payments Bank Limited is likely to be constituted soon. The incorporation of the IPPB Ltd is a significant step forward as this also paves the way for the bank to begin hiring of banking professionals to set up the bank and begin its operations in 2017. 
iv. The India Post Payments Bank aims to become the most accessible bank in the world, riding on advanced banking and payments technology. Coupled with physical presence across 1.55 lakh post offices and the reach of the postman, the India Post Payments Bank plans to become a powerful and effective vehicle of real financial inclusion in the country.
v. The stakeholders of the India Post Payments Bank within the Government and outside are looking at this new entity as a catalyst to social and financial inclusion.

BUSINESS

Carbon Clean 200 List – 7 Indian Companies among the 200 companies throughout the World
i. A special institution named Corporate Knights created the Carbon Clean 200 (Clean 200 TM) – a list of the 200 largest companies worldwide ranked by their total clean energy revenues as an invitation to a larger discussion of how we can invest in a clean energy future.
ii. Indian companies among Carbon Clean 200 List
1.Among Indian companies are Suzlon Energy at 68 rank for its wind farms,
2.Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd at 106 for its wind electric generators and solar cells,
3.Tata Chemicals at 114 for chemicals for biodiesel, solar energy, and fuel cells.
4.Thermax Ltd is at 139
5.Exide Indus at 153 for electric storage batteries.
6.IDFC Ltd at 155 for its green infrastructure financing
7.Havells India at 166 for energy meters.
iii. The list is topped by Japan’s Toyota Motor followed by Germany’s Siemens AG. The top 5 list as follows

1 TOYOTA MOTOR
2 SIEMENS AG-REG
3 JOHNSON CONTROLS
4 SCHNEIDER ELECTR
5 PANASONIC CORP

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Renowned Hindi Writer Sunita Jain bags the 25th Vyas Sammam award 2015
i. Well-known Hindi scholar and writer Sunita Jain’s poetry collection Kshama has been selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman 2015 for her poetry collection “Kshama”.
ii. Sunita Jain is an Indian scholar, novelist, short-story writer and poet of English and Hindi literature.
iii. Kshama poetry collection by Sunita Jain, a well-known Hindi scholar and writer, has been selected for the 25th Vyas Samman 2015.
iv. This book was published in 2008. The selection has been made by the Chayan Samiti presided over by eminent litterateur Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, the Foundation said in a statement.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Edgar Lungu re-elected as President of Zambia
i. Zambian and Patriotic Front’s (PF) Presidental Candidate  Edgar Lungu has won the re-election in a common voting against his main National development Party Rival.
ii. Lungu faced a tough challenge from Hakainde Hichilema’s of United Party for National Development (UPND) in a voting campaign.
iii. The electoral commission announced that  Lungu had secured 50.35%, just over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round elections upon the rule.Zambia's President Edgar Lungu attends a signing ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris
iv. Last year Lungu defeated Hichilema in a vote to replace late president Michael Sata, won 50.35 percent of the vote against 47.63 for his opponent.
Zambia
Capital: Lusaka
Currency: Zambian kwacha
President: Edgar Lungu

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

BARC develops cost effective kit for onsite determination of Cr (VI)
i. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has developed a simple, user friendly, quick and cost effective kit for onsite determination of Cr (VI), which meets IS10500 as well as EPA criterion.
ii. It provides the much needed solution to measure the level of Chromium contamination in drinking water and tap water, lakes, rivers as well as ground water. The procedure involves adding a specified amount of specific reagents to the water sample and identifying the developed color
iii. As per Indian standard IS10500 for drinking water, the maximum permissible concentration of Cr (VI) in drinking water is 50 microgram per liter. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a still lower permissible concentration of 10 microgram per liter.
iv. Detection of Cr(VI) at such low levels is not only technically challenging but also expensive and time consuming since it involves collection of water samples from affected areas, transport to laboratory, storage and finally analysis. The method can be used for limited water samples with errors due to conversion of Cr (III) to Cr (VI) and vice versa during transport and storage..

Airlander 10: World’s largest aircraft embarks on its maiden flight
Airlander 10i.The world’s largest aircraft Airlander 10 has embarked on its maiden flight to the skies and applause from crowds gathered at an airfield in Cardington England.
ii.The Aircraft was developed by United Kingdom maker Hybrid Air Vehicles. Its successful flight comes 85 years after another airship the ill-fated R101 took off in October 1930 from the same airfield before crashing in France.
iii.The Arcraft measures 92-metre-long and 43.5m wide can fly at an altitude of 4,880 metres and reach speeds of 148 Kmph.
iv.The aircraft filled with helium, it can stay airborne for more than two weeks unmanned and in the case of manned it can stay up to five days.

Union Minister unveils e-portal for e-auction of power transmission projects
i. Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal launched the process of tariff-based reverse auction in the transmission sector and also inaugurated a portal for electronic bidding for transmission projects.
ii. Union Minister launched “Tarang” mobile App, “e-Trans” and “DEEP” (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-bidding web portals developed by Rural Electrification Corp which reverse auction is being introduced in transmission sector on the lines of coal sector in order to facilitate better price discovery in such projects.
iii. The Tarang (Transmission App for Real Time Monitoring and Growth) mobile app will also give information on delayed transmission projects and issues halting them and the DEEP e-Bidding portal allows for medium term (1-5 years) purchase of power.
iv. In order to enhance transparency in transmission sector, the Power Ministry launched a portal for electronic bidding and e-reverse auction of tariff-based electricity transmission projects.
v. The portal will provide a common e-bidding platform with e-reverse auction facility to facilitate nation-wide power procurement through a wider network so as to bring uniformity and transparency in the process of power procurement.
vi. The ministry and state-run auctioneer MSTC launched the web portal to mark a shift from present manual auction process to electronic mode for determining the lowest bidder for the projects.

ICHR plans to create encyclopedia of village-level folklore across the country
i. The Indian Council of Historical Research will document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia.
ii. ICHR is planning a mammoth encyclopedia of Indian villages complete with its heroes, myth, ballads and history as well as histories of princely states. This initiative aims to connect people better with the oral and folk traditions.
iii. The ultimate of the study of the princely States of modern India and studies to fill the gaps between the Harappan civilization and the 6 century BC.
iv. The idea behind doing the history of princely states is to showcase their contribution and how Indian culture was protected by them.
v. The students of history will be taken as apprentices, as barefoot historians, and will be encouraged to collect information of the villages around them. For these projects, the ICHR would seek part funding by corporate houses.
vi. The Indian Council for Historical Research(ICHR) is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education and Social Welfare. It was registered as a society with the Delhi Government.

ENVIRONMENT

Queen of the forest: Machli, Ranthambore’s iconic tigress, dies
i. Machli tigress known popularly as the Queen of Ranthambore perhaps India’s most iconic big cat and the face of the country’s tiger conservation programme, died at Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.
ii. The tigress 19 years old which is considered as the world’s oldest-surviving tigress in the wild, it was not keeping well for the past four days and was lying semi-conscious in the park.
iii. Actually average life-span of a tiger is 12-13 years which is equal to 110-120 years old in the case of human. Machli was born in 1997 and named after a fish-shaped mark on her face.

SPORTS

Sehwag becomes MCC’s honorary life member
SEHWAGi. Indian Batting Great Virender Sehwag has been honored with the honorary life membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club.
ii. The honorary membership is extended by MCC Committee to acknowledge the contributions of made by Sehwag to the game of Cricket.
iii. The MCC has 18,000 full members and 300 honorary life time members, in that Sehwag becomes the 23rd member to be awarded honorary life membership.
iv. The Delhi cricketer also led MCC’s team in the 2014 Champion County match against Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi where he scored 109 making the success the match.
Marylebone Cricket Club:
It was founded in London, founded in 1787. The MCC is based in the Home of Cricket i.e. Lords Cricket Ground in London.

Purav Raja and Divij Sharan win Los Cabos Open Men’s Doubles title
i. Indian tennis Men’s doubles pair Divij Sharan and Purav Raja clinched ATP title at the Abierto Mexicano Mifel in Los Cabos, Mexico. This is the second title for the Duo.
ii. The unseeded pair has defeated Israeli-British pair of Jonathan Erlich and Ken Skupski 7-6(4), 7-6(3) in the summit clash of this hard-court event.
iii. On the other hand Men’s Singles in the Croatian man Ivo Karlović defeated Spain’s Feliciano López, by 7–6(7–5), 6–2.
Los Cabos Open:
♦ The Los Cabos Open is a professional men’s tennis outdoor tournament is played on outdoor hard courts which is a part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour.

OBITUARY

Oscar-nominated director Arthur Hiller dies
i. Canadian-American director and former Academy president Arthur Hiller has passed away in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 92 years old.
ii. In His five decades career the first film he directed was the The Careless Years (1957), which included 1964 comedy The Americanization of Emily, ratings smash Love Story.Notably the movie Love Story (1970), which was nominated for seven Oscars.
iii. He was hailed from Edmonton, Alberta, Hiller served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
iv. He was a president of the Directors Guild of America and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1993 to 1997. The man was bestowed with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2002.