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Current Affairs Today – August 2 2017

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Current Affairs August 2 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Justice B.N Srikrishna headed committee to study issues related to data protection
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has appointed an expert panel committee that would study various issues relating to data protection in the country and will suggest a draft data protection Bill.
Key Points:
i. It is a 10 member panel and it is headed by Supreme court Judge (retired) Justice B N Srikrishna.
ii. The panel includes the members from government, academia and industry will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods to address them.
iii. The committee will design a broader framework which will cover all other kinds of data and ensure that the deliberations on the issue start as soon as possible.
iv. The panel includes the following members:
(a)Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Raipur, is a key member in the panel.
(b)Ajay Bhushan Pandey is CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India, (UIDAI). UIDAI is the nodal agency for implementing Aadhaar.
(c)Aruna Sundararajan is Secretary, Department of Telecom.
(d)Rama Vedashree is CEO of Data Security Council of India.
(e)Arghya Sengupta is Research Director of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
(f)Rajat Moona, Director of IIT Raipur.
(g)Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, IT Ministry.
(h)Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator.

India – Somali signed an agreement on transfer of sentenced persons
India and Somalia has signed an agreement on1st of August 2017. The agreement has been signed for transfer of sentenced persons.
Key Points:
i. The agreement was signed between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf Garaad Omar.
ii. It will deepen the humanitarian cooperation between the two nations.
iii. The Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf-Garaad Omar arrived in New Delhi on 31 July 2017 on a five-day visit.
iv. He also held talks on regional issues pertaining to developments in the Gulf region.
v. Both the ministers discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
vi. The agreement will help Indian inmates imprisoned in Somalia or vice versa and also India - Somali signed an agreement on transfer of sentenced personsfacilitate their social rehabilitation.
About Somalia
♦ Capital:Mogadishu
♦ Currency: Somali shilling (SOS)
♦ President: Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
♦ Prime Minister:Hassan Ali Khayre

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India permitted to construct Kishanganga and Rattle Projects – World Bank
World Bank has said that India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). World Bank’s comments came as officials from India and Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks over the IWT.
i. This week World Bank said the IWT designates Jhelum, Chenab and Indus as the “Western Rivers” to which Pakistan has unrestricted use, however India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in annexure to the treaty.
ii. World Bank added that India and Pakistan have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September 2017 in Washington DC.

BRICS trade ministers meeting held in Shanghai
On 1st and 2nd August 2017, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended BRICS Trade Ministers meeting in Shanghai, China. On the sidelines of this meeting BRICS trade ministers meeting held in Shanghaishe also held meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.
i.Measures to expand e-commerce cooperation among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) were discussed at this meeting.
ii. Economic and technological cooperation was included in the agenda for the first time in the trade ministers’ meeting’s history to improve the bloc’s capabilities in service trade, e-commerce and other fields.

BANKING & FINANCE

Reserve Bank announces its third bi-monthly policy review of current fiscal
On August 2, 2017, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced Third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement for financial year 2017-18. This time, RBI has cut the policy repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 6 percent.
Post the Third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement announcement, the policy rates and reserve ratios are as follows:

Policy Repo Rate 6.00% Reduced by 25 basis points. Earlier it was 6.25%
Reverse Repo Rate 5.75% Reduced by 25 basis points. Earlier it was 6.00%
Marginal Standing Facility Rate 6.25% Reduced by 25 basis points. Earlier it was 6.50%
Bank Rate 6.25% Reduced by 25 basis points. Earlier it was 6.50%
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) 4.00% Unchanged – since 9th February 2013
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) 20.00% Unchanged – since 7th June 2017

India on track to meet 3.2% fiscal deficit target – UBS Report
As per a report by global financial services major UBS, Indian government is on track to achieving the fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the current fiscal year.
i. Indian Government’s fiscal deficit narrowed from a peak of 6.5 per cent of GDP in 2009-10 (after the global financial meltdown) to 5 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 and is estimated to fall further to 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18. 
ii. However, the states’ fiscal position remains stretched, with the fiscal deficit rising from a low of 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 3 per cent of GDP in 2016-17.

SEBI forms committee headed by T K Viswanathan on fair market conduct
SEBI has set up a committee on fair market conduct on 2nd of August 2017. It will suggest measures for improving surveillance of the markets and strengthen rules for algo trades, among other norms.
Key Points:
i. The panel is headed by former law secretary T K Viswanathan.
ii. The committee will suggest short term and medium term measures for improved surveillance of the markets.SEBI forms committee headed by T K Viswanathan
iii. It would suggest measures for improvement in PIT (Prohibition of Insider Trading) norms, PFTUP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations.
iv. It is mainly related to trading plans and handling of unpublished price sensitive information during takeovers.
v. The committee will also suggest evidentiary issues in anti-fraud enforcement.
vi. It would be responsible for recommending steps to align insider trading regulations with Companies Act provisions.
About SEBI
♦ The Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) is the regulator for the securitiesmarket in India.
♦ Formed: 12 April 1988
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra

SBI, Samsung collaborate to advance Digital India initiative
The State Bank of India (SBI) and Samsung India has announced the availability of Samsung Pay for higher variants of SBI debit card to advance Digital India initiativeon 1st of August 2017.
Key Points:
i. Samsung Pay is currently available on Samsung smartphones. It enables consumers to make offline payments without the need for a physical Card.
ii. Samsung Pay works on 2.5 million Point of Sale (PoS) Card machines across the country through its Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology.
iii. The Bank aimed to be the Banker to Digital India and has been at the fore-front of all digital initiatives in the banking space.
iv. Samsung Pay consumers holding eligible SBI Debit Cards can avail a flat Rs. 100 cashback on minimum transaction amount of Rs. 500.
v. The cardholder can avail maximum cashback of Rs. 500 per card, during the offer period from 1st August to 31st August.
vi. With this collaboration, 130 million SBI debit cardholders will be able to tap and pay using a Samsung smartphones at merchant outlets having card acceptance machines.
About SBI:
State Bank of India (SBI) is an Indian multinational, public sector banking and financial services company.
♦ Headquarters :Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
♦ Chairman: Arundhati Bhattacharya
♦ Tagline of SBI:With you all the way Pure banking nothing else,The nation’s bank on us

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Bharat Gaurav Award by East Bengal Football Club :Dhanraj Pillay
Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay was honoured with the ‘Bharat Gaurav’ by East Bengal Football Club on its foundation day on 1st August 2017.
Key Points:
i. Bharat Gaurav is the highest award of the club.
iiGurwinder Singh bagged the Footballer of the Year award while Boddupalli Amit was awarded as the Cricketer of the Year.
iii. Former India international Subhash Bhowmick, a member of the 1970 Asian Games bronze medal-winning national football team, and former national team coach Syed Naeemuddin were honoured with lifetime achievement awards.
About DhanrajPillay
Former Indian hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay to get Bharat Gaurav♦ Dhanraj played a total of 339 matches for India, scoring 170 goals.
♦ He made his international hockey debut in 1989 in Allwyn Asia Cup.
♦ He was awarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1999-2000 and Padma Shri in 2000.
♦ He represented India in four internationally in Olympics, World Cups, Champions Trophy and Asian Games.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

SEBI approves appointment of Dhirendra Swarup as BSE chairman
SEBI has approved the appointment of Dhirendra Swarup as the chairman of the board of directors of the BSE with effect from July 31, 2017
Key Notes:
i. Swarup, who was a public interest director at the BSE, had replaced incumbent SudhakarRao.
ii. He was the chairman of the Cash and Debt Management Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 2000 to 2003.
iii. He was the former Chairman of Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
iv. He has over four decades of experience across finance, budgeting, public debt management, public policy and pension Reforms.
v. He was the government nominee director on the board of SEBI for three years and on a public sector bank for five years.
About BSE
♦ The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai Maharashtra, India
♦ Founded on 9thJuly 1875
♦ MD & CEO: Ashishkumar Chauhan

US Senate confirms Christopher Wray to lead FBI
The US Senate has confirmed Christopher Wray to lead the FBI announced on 2nd of August 2017.
Key Points:
i. Christopher had replaced James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump.
ii. The Senate voted 92-5 with five Democrats voting against his nomination.
iii. Christopher Wray was also the former high-ranking official in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department who oversaw investigations into corporate fraud.US Senate confirms Christopher Wray to lead FBI
iv. Wray won complete support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
v. He was born into a family of New York lawyer and graduated from Yale Law School and was a Justice Department prosecutor for years.
vi. From May 2001 to May 2005, he held various high-ranking positions in the Justice Department, rising to the head of the criminal division in September 2003.
vii. He also served as principal associate deputy attorney general.

Sanjay Baru appointed as Secretary General of FICCI
Sanjaya Baru has appointed as the Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on 2nd of August 2017.
Key Points:
i. Sanjay will assume the charge from 1stSeptember 2017.
ii. He succeeds A Didar Singh, who served as Secretary General for 5 years.
iii. Didar Singh will continue to serve as a strategic advisor to Pankaj Patel, President of the FICCI.
About Sanjaya Baru
♦  Baru had earlier served as the media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from May 2004 until August 2008.
♦  He was appointed as the Editor of Business Standard, from January 2010 to October 2011.
♦ In April 2014, he released his book The Accidental Prime Minister, a detailed chronicle of his experience of serving the Prime Ministerthat was published by Penguin India.
About FICCI
♦  The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is an association of business organizations in India.
♦ Formation: 1927
♦ President: Pankaj Patel
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi, India

Peter O’Neill : Re-Elected Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Peter O’Neill has been reappointed as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea announced on 2nd of August 2017.
Key Points:
i. Peter O’Neill won the parliamentary vote 60 to 46.
ii. The election has been widely criticised because thousands of voters were excluded and Peter O’Neill : Re-Elected Prime Minister of Papua New Guineathere were blazing abuses of the electoral process.
iii. He is the leader of the People’s National Congress and represents the constituency of Ialibu-Pangia.
Papua New Guinea :
♦ Capital: Port Moresby
♦ Currency: Papua New Guinean kina

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Facebook acquires AI startup to make Messenger smarter
To build out a more elaborate personal assistant for the Messenger users, Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup Ozlo that specialises in understanding text-based conversations. However, there are no details so far about the financial terms of the deal.
About Ozlo:
i. Ozlo claims that its virtual assistants can understand and provide answers to questions which do not have simple “yes” or “no” answers.
ii. It has 30 employees, majority of which will be joining Messenger in Facebook’s offices.
iii. Ozlo has raised $14 million from a number of investors, including Greylock.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Curcumin: Chemical from turmeric treats cancer in children
Scientists in the U.S. have found a method to use curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, to treat cancer in children.
Treatment Method using Curcumin:
i. Researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells. Children aged five or less are most commonly affected.
ii. In their study, the researchers attached curcumin to cerium oxide nanoparticles and tested the nano-curcumin formulation in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma.
iii. This formulation induced substantial cell death in neuroblastoma cells while producing no or only minor toxicity in healthy cells.
iv. The study demonstrates a treatment method without the toxicity of agressive therapy and shows that nanoparticles can be an effective delivery vehicle for cancer drugs.

Government launches e-RaKAM portal
The Union Government has launched a portal, e-Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi(e-RaKAM) on 1st of August 2017.
Key Points:
i. e-RaKAM will provide a platform to sell agricultural produce and strengthen the agriculture-oriented Indian economy.
ii. It is a digital initiative that aims to bring together the PSUs, civil supplies, farmers and buyers on a single platform so that the selling and buying process of agricultural products become smooth.Government launches e-RaKAM portal
iii. The e-RaKAM is a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages technology to connect farmers of the smallest villages to the biggest markets of the world through internet and e-RaKAMcentres.
iv. In the first phase the Union Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan stated that the effort should be to auction 20 lakh tonnes of pulses through the platform.
v. With the help of the platform, various crops whose price increases due to rainfall or bad weather conditions will be managed and get in the market.

SPORTS

ISL : FC Goa signs Moroccan International Ahmed Jahouh
Indian Super League Club FC Goa has confirmed the signing of Moroccan International Ahmed Jahouh on a one year loan deal from FUS Rabat of Morocco.
Key Notes:
i. Jahouh won the national championship with Moghreb Tetouan in the 2011-12 season.
ii. He has also previously worked with FC Goa’s head coach Sergio Lobera at Moghreb.

OBITUARY

Former union minister Santosh Mohan Dev passes away
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Santosh Mohan Dev has passed away in Silchar, Assam on 2nd of August 2017. He was 83.
Key Points:
i. Santosh served as the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises under the UPA-1 government led by Manmohan Singh.
Former union minister Santosh Mohan Dev passes awayii. He was the son of freedom fighter Satindra Mohan Dev.
iii. He was a seven-time parliamentarian and was believed to be one of the most trusted ministers of Rajiv Gandhi.
iv. Out of these seven, he has represented Silchar, Assam five times and he was elected from Tripura twice.
v. He was the Minister of State for Communications from 1986-1988 and Minister of State for Home from 1988 to 1989.

Sam Shepard, Actor and Pulitzer-Winning Playwright, is Dead at 73
Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor passed away on 27th July 2017. He was 73.
Key Points:
i. Shepard was from Fort Sheridan, Illinois U.S.
ii. He authored more than 40 plays and he also won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child.
iii. The Broadway production of the drama was nominated for five Tony Awards in 1996 to Shepard.
iv. He also received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 astronaut drama “The Right Stuff.”

Veteran Molecular biologist Pushpa Mittra Bhargava passed away at 89
Dr P M Bhargava, an eminent scientist and founder-director for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) passed away on 1st of August 2017. He was 89.
Key Points:
i. Bhargava hold a position of the vice-chairman of the national knowledge commission during 2005-07.
ii
. He is a recipient of over 100 national and international honours and awards including the Padma Bhushan in 1986.
iii. He was also honoured with the Legion d’honneur in 1998.
iv. He was born in Rajasthan’s Ajmer.Bhargava studied at Theosophical College, Lucknow and Queen’s College, Varanasi and completed his BSc in 1944 in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
v. He obtained his MSc in organic chemistry in 1946. He received his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from the Lucknow University at the age of 21.
vi. In 1997, his pioneering vision and efforts led to the founding of CCMB as an institution for research in basic biology.Veteran Molecular biologist Pushpa Mittra Bhargava passed away at 89
vii. He was an internationally recognised molecular biologist, thinker, and institution builder.
viii. Bhargava was chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill 2013.
ix. He played an active part in the discovery of 5-fluorouracil, an anticancer drug. He worked at different research institutions in the UK and France.

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