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Current Affairs Today – August 21 2016

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CAT August 21 2016


Two days BRICS Women’s Parliamentarian Forum held in Jaipur
i. The two-day meeting of the BRICS Women’s Parliamentarian Forum was begun in Jaipur on August 20, in which 42 delegates from member countries participated.
ii. A total of 42 delegates from the BRICS countries are attending the meeting which will have different plenary sessions on August 20 and 21.
iii. There will be five women parliamentarians from Brazil, three from Russia, 28 from India, two from China and four from South Africa.
iv. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the BRICS Women’s Parliamentarian Forum.This forum helped to have one voice as women Parliamentarians to organise, mobilise, motivate and advance women.
v. The BRICS nations’ women parliamentarian forum adopted the Jaipur declaration calling upon international financial institutions to “support and facilitate financing for development on favorable terms” to developing and least developed countries.

Uma Bharti launches various projects under Namami Gange
i. Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti launched various Projects on the Bank of Ganga worth Rs. 560 crore under Namami Gange programme at Ganga Barrage in Kanpur.
The Projects launched includes:Uma Bharti launches various projects under Namami Gange
1.Interception and diversion plan of Sisamau drain—worth Rs. 63 crore.
2.Networking schemes at Bithoor–Worth Rs. 397 crore
3.River front development scheme at Bithoor–worth Rs. 100 crore.
4.Ghats and five crematoria will be constructed at Bithoor.
ii.The Ministry also mulling to develop market for treated water based on hybrid annuity mode through PPP Model.
iii.Earlier in July this year 231 projects were launched at various places in the states of Uttrakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West-Bengal, Delhi and Haryana and construction of 11 Ghats and two crematoria launched in Kanpur under Namami Gange programme.

DTC passengers will be able to pay bus fares using metro smart card
i. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is set launch a service in which commuters will be able to pay bus fares using their metro smart card from October. The Service will run on a trial mode on this ambitious project.
ii. With this service commuters will be required to swipe their metro smart card at the time of boarding buses through E-Ticketing Machines (ETM) to be installed inside the DTC buses.
iii. The Corporation also mulling to come up with a common mobility card with that passengers can use to travel on both the Metro and DTC buses.

Andhra Pradesh police launches pilot project on DNA profiling
i. Andhra Pradesh Police launched DNA Index System (DIS) that allows generation of DNA profiles from live samples like saliva and blood stains to establish a proactive policing model in the country. This is the first-of-its-kind initiative by the state.
ii. The model was launched on pilot basis to test the efficacy of the DIS, to generate DNA profiles of a batch of convicts and suspects involved in various crimes.
iii. The DIS system works with the help of DNA technology tool called RapidHIT developed by IntegenX of USA.
iv. It allows generation of DNA profiles using buccal swabs, blood stains, saliva and other live samples in less than two hours.
DNA Profiling
It is a forensic technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA which has a small set of DNA variations that is different in all unrelated individuals. In Current Scenario generation of a DNA profile takes two or more days.

Guruvayur to be covered under the PRASAD scheme, the only south Indian city to be covered in this scheme
i. The famous Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur has been included in the Union Tourism Ministry’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).
ii. Under this PRASAD scheme Development of roads, new streetlights and improvement of drinking water supply will also be taken up. Protection of the monument, toilet facilities, rest rooms, watchtower, open-air theatres, rain shelters and primary health centers are other priorities.
iii. Modern communication facilities, including Wi-Fi, will be set up at Guruvayur and this scheme would also result in increase in tourists to State.
iv. The ultimate objective of this scheme is overall development of the temple town, new
job creation, world-class infrastructure facilities
, promotion of local arts, cuisine and handicrafts form part of the approved project.
v. It is noted that Guruvayur is one of the eight centers shortlisted by the Centre for inclusion in the PRASAD scheme this year and the only city from south India to be presented in this scheme.

India to provide financial aid to a Nepali Sanskrit School Development
i. India has pledged financial aid worth Nepali Rs 39.97 million for the construction of a new building and a hostel facility at a Sanskrit school in eastern Nepal
ii. Indian Embassy, the local development officer, Ilam District, and principal of Shree Saptmai Gurukul Sanskrit Vidhyashram Secondary School was signed a tripartite agreement in this regard.
iii. Shree Saptamai Gurukul Sanskrit Vidhyashram, established in 2009 as a primary school, was subsequently upgraded as a secondary-level school in 2014.
iv. The school has been providing quality education and is the only school in Ilam where Sanskrit, Vedic rituals, English language are part of the curriculum.
v. This project is being implemented through the Indian government’s grant assistance under the small development programme scheme as part of India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme.


National Award winning film Sankhachil selected for Montreal Film Festival
i. Director Goutam Ghosh’s National award-winning film “Sankhachil”, an Indo-Bangla joint production, has been selected for the renowned 40th Montreal World Film Festival.
ii. This movie narrates the pain and anguish of people living on both sides of the border following the partition of
Bengal and this starring Prosenjit Chatterjee.
iii. It is noted that Sankhachil is an Indo-Bangla production.
Other movies to be presented in this film festival are:-National Award winning film Sankhachil selected for Montreal Film Festival
♦ Dani Kouyate’s “While We Live” (Sweden),
♦ Alberto Morais “The Mother” (Spain- France- Romania),
♦ Mohammad Rahmanian’s “Bench Cinema” (Iran),
♦ Marco Segato’s – ‘The Bear Skin’ (Italy)
♦ Dai Ssijie’s “The Night Peacock” (Chine – France).
♦ Rajko Grlic’s “The Constitution” (Croatia – Czech Republic)


Forex reserve at record high of USD 365.82 billion
i. India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by USD 73.2 million to touch a life-time high of USD 365.82 billion in the week ended. It was surged by USD 253.6 million to touch USD 365.75 billion last week.
ii. The Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 21.58 billion in the week. While special drawing rights held by India with the IMF gone down by USD 3.2 million to USD 1.49 billion, while the country’s reserve position plunged by USD 5.2 million to USD 2.39 billion.
India’s Forex Reeserves:
♦ Forex-Reserves are generally maintained for meeting their international payment obligations be it short or long terms, including sovereign and commercial debts, financing of imports, for intervention in the foreign currency markets during periods of volatility.
♦ India’s Forex are held and managed by the RBI which comprises foreign currency assets, gold and special drawing rights allocated to it by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)in addition to the reserves it has parked with the fund.


India world’s third biggest tech startup hub: ASSOCHAM Study
i. According to a report made by ASSOCHAM, India is home to the third largest number of technology-driven start-ups in the world, following the US and the UK occupying the top two positions.
ii. This report made by Assocham in association with Thought Arbitrage Research Institute revealed that Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology start-ups in the country, followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai, while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular among budding tech entrepreneurs.
iii. In terms of total number of start-ups, comprising both tech and non-tech areas, India again figured among the five largest hosts in the world, along with China (10,000 each).
iv. The US occupies the top slot with 83,000 start-ups. IT hub Bengaluru is host to 26% of domestic tech start-ups, followed by Delhi NCR (23%) and Mumbai (17%).

CRRC joint venture plant with Pioneer Electric has started its operations
i. China’s largest high speed train maker has its first $63.4 million joint venture plant in India to repair and manufacture railway locomotive engines has started operations.
ii. The joint venture, named CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) Pioneer (India) Electric Co Ltd, is housed in Bavo Industrial District of Haryana between New Delhi and Bombay.
iii. China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is the first foreign company to set up assembly line of rail transportation equipment in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled his ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign in 2014.
iv. The India plant will repair and manufacture railway locomotive engines and also provide technology support to India’s rail system and supply electric transmission systems to oil drilling, wind power generation and mining equipment making in India.
v. China is also conducting feasibility study to build a high speed railway line between Chennai and New Delhi. Besides the high speed train, India and China have agreed to cooperate to identify the technical inputs required to increase speed on the existing railway line from Chennai to Mysore via Bangalore.
vi. It is noted that out of the total investment is USD 63.4 million and the Chinese side holds 51 per cent of the share.

E-Commerce Site AskMe shuts down
i. Gurugram-based company’s e-commerce website AskMe has shutdown and is in the process of which resulted its 4000 odd staff in jobless.
ii. The reason behind closure of the Internet giant is as severe cash crunch. While the portal still active but accepting none of the orders placed.
iii. Askme’s exit also comes after the unplanned exit of one of its principal investor Astro Entertainment Networks, which held a 97 percent stake in AskMe exited after making its last cash investment of Rs 150 crore.
iv. Askme Groups was established in 2010 and it launched its online shopping site called AskMe Bazaar in 2012 with small and medium enterprises.


Deepika Padukone – Vistara’s New Brand Ambassador
i. Vistara announced the appointment of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone as its brand ambassador.
ii. Vistara, whose 51 per cent stake in owned by Tata Sons and the rest 49 per cent by Singapore Airlines, did not disclose other details such as the contract period and fee that it would pay to the actress.
Deepika Padukone - Vistara’s New Brand Ambassadoriii. Tata SIA Airlines Limited, operating as Vistara, is an Indian domestic airline based in Gurgaon with its hub at Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport.
iv. The carrier, a joint venture between Tata Sonsand Singapore Airlines, commenced operations on 9 January 2015 with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai.
v. The airline had carried more than two million passengers by June 2016 and as of April 2016, has a 2.3% share of the domestic carrier market. The airline operates to seventeen destinations with a fleet of Airbus A320-200aircraft. Vistara was the first airline to introduce premium economy seats on domestic routes in India.

Amul MD, RS Sodhi appointed on board of India Post Payment Banks
i. Board of India Post Payment Banks (IPPB) has appointed RS Sodhi, MD, Amul as its new independent director. IPPB is the payment arm of the postal department.
ii. IPPB came into existence after it received certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies on August 17.Payments bank allows mobile firms, supermarket chains, and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses.
iii. Mr. R. S. Sodhi has been the Managing Director at Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation since January 4, 2011.
iv. He also served as its Chief General Manager. He serves as a Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation.
v. He has been a Non-Executive Director at Kaira Can Company Limited since February 2011 to December 20,2014
vi. With this development, Sodhi becomes the fifth independent member to join the team of IPPB which is gearing up start its operations by March 2017. Apart from these independent members, board will also include four in-house representatives. 

Indo-Candian Sikh MP Bardish Chagger Becomes Canada’s 1st Woman House Leader
i. As a first woman to hold the post in the Canada’s history, Indo-Canadian Sikh MP Bardish Chagger has been named as the new leader of the government in Canada’s House of Commons.
ii. Ms. Chagger, the 36-year-old Waterloo MP and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, was among 19 Indian-origin candidates who won in last year’s general election.
iii. Chagger, who was born and raised in the Waterloo region, attended the University of Waterloo where she was the president of the Young Liberals. She will retain her title as the minister along with the new role.
iv. It is noted that she will retain her title as the Minister along with the new role. It is also noted that she is one of the four Sikh Canadians inducted into Trudeau’s Cabinet besides Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan — a combat veteran who did three tours in Afghanistan as a Indo-Candian Sikh MP Bardish Chagger Becomes Canada's 1st Woman House Leadermember of the Canadian Armed Forces, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Innovation Minister Navdeep Singh Bains.
About CANADA :
♦ Capital – Ottawa
♦ Currency – Canadian Dollar,
♦  PM – Justin Trudeau


Scientists predict brain activity patterns
i. For the first time researchers were able to decode and predict the brain activity patterns of word meanings within sentences  which will help brain injury and stroke patients communicate better.
ii. According the study carried out it used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) to measure human brain instigation where researchers predicted the brain patterns.
iii. The FMRI data helps researchers to predict brain activity patterns on average 70 per cent close to the actual meaning.
iv. The research study pave the way for key improvements in understanding how information is represented throughout the brain. The study was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

Chinese scientists discover molecule to repair organs
i. Chinese scientists have discovered a small molecule, XMU-MP-1 that can regenerate tissue.
ii. It can promote repair and regeneration in the liver, intestines and skin.
iii. In the future it could potentially eliminate transplants of some organs.


Tyrannosaurus rex fossil with complete skull discovered
i. In a major finding, scientists have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, including a
very complete skull, vertebrae, ribs, hips and jaw bones, which they estimate to be about 20 per cent
of the dinosaur.
ii. There’s a new Tyrannosaurus rexfossil on the block, with a cute nickname and about 20 percent of its former body intact, including a well-preserved skull.
iii. According to a previous report from Nature World News, the discovery, which includes a complete skull, vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones, was made after the researchers discovered pieces of fossilized bone protruding from a rocky hillside. Researchers estimated the size of Tuft-Love Rex to be 85 percent of the largest T-Rex fossil ever discovered.
iv. Named after its discoverer, Jason Love and Luke Tufts, Love-Tuft Rex is believed to be 15 years old when it died and lived at the very end of the Cretaceous Period right before the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction about 66 million years ago.
v. Dinosaur enthusiasts could see the plaster-covered Tuft-Love Rex skull, along with other T-Rex fossil in a lobby display at the Burke Museum from Aug. 20 to Oct. 2. The paleontologists will then try to remove the rock surrounding the skull after being removed in display and will feature the fully-exposed T-Rex skull in the New Burke Museum when it opens in 2019.
vi. The skull is currently encased in a plaster jacket, the whole package weighing about 2,500 pounds. The plaster cover kept the Tufts-Love Rex intact during a move from its longtime home on a Montana hillside to its new digs at the Burke Museum in Seattle. There it will go on display, still in the plaster casing, for a quick look by the public before going into long-term study by scientists beginning in October.

New species of eel found in Bay of Bengal
New species of eel found in Bay of Bengali. Scientists from have discovered Gymnothorax indicus, a new species of eel (a snake-like fish) in the northern Bay of Bengal region along the West Bengal coast. It was discovered after it was collected in a trawl net by fishermen in northern Bay of Bengal, about 70 km off the coast.
ii. Eels are found mostly at the bottom of rivers and seas. This species was found at a depth of 35 metres in the sea.
iii. Globally, about 1,000 species of eels have been identified and, in India, the number is around 125. Though considered a delicacy in many countries like Japan, the consumption of eels in India is limited to coastal areas.
iv. The coastal region of West Bengal adjoining areas of Bay of Bengal are the rich marine biodiversity. Over the past few years, it has yielded two new species of fish. In 2015, Gymnothorax mishrai, a short brown unpatented moray eel was discovered. Scientists also had discovered another new species of Haplogenys bengalensis, an edible marine fish from the same area.
v. It is noted that the ell species Gymnothorax indicus is slender-bodied. It was found at a depth of 35 metres in the sea. It is about one feet-long and edible. It has 194 vertebrae. Its dorsal fin has a black margin. 


Mexican writer Ignacio Padilla killed in car accident
i. Eminent Mexican writer Ignacio Padilla has died in a car accident in the central state of Queretaro. He was 47 years old.
ii. Padilla is a leading member of the crack movement that sought to help the country’s at hors find a voice beyond magical realism.
iii. He worked as an editorial director for Playboy magazine’s Latin American publication while also writing his column, in Mexican literary magazine Sábado the early 1990s.
iv. Padilla received the Alfonso Reyes literary award for his work Subterráneos in 1989, later he also won the Juan Rulfo award for a first novel for “The Cathedral of the Drowned in 1994.

Prize Winning Poet Joyce Carol Thomas passes away
i. Joyce Carol Thomas, a prize-winning children’s author and champion of multiculturalism, has died at the age of 78.
ii. Joyce Carol Thomas was anAfrican-American poet, playwright, motivational speaker, and author of more than 30 children’s books.
iii. Thomas was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the fifth of nine children in a family of cotton pickers. In 1948 they moved to Tracy, California, to pick vegetables.
iv. She learned Spanish from Mexican migrant workers and earned a B.A. in Spanish from San Jose State University. She took night classes in education at Stanford University, while raising four children, and received the master’s degree in 1967.[1]
v. For her 1982 novel Marked by Fire, Thomas won a National Book Award in category Children’s Fiction (paperback) and an American Book Award. Thomas has been one of three to five finalists for the Coretta Scott King Awardthrice, in 1984 for Bright Shadow, in 1994 for Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, and in 2009 for The Blacker the Berry in 2009.
vi. Part of the American Library Association program, the King Award annually recognizes the “most distinguished portrayal of African American experience in literature for children or teens”.She also received a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year Award and an Outstanding Woman of the 20th Century Award