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Current Affairs Today – August 23 2016

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CAT August 23 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

On pioneering the internal security, Maharashtra Govt. has enacted Internal Security Act for the state
i. Maharashtra government has enacted a stringent law — Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act — to deal with the challenges of terrorism, insurgency, communalism and caste violence.
ii. MPISA -Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act, A new internal security Act, envisaged by the state’s police department, is expected to put this in black and white, thereby bridging the gap and plugging loopholes in the existing security arrangements. It is noted that Maharashtra is the first state in the country to have its own internal security Act.
iii. The draft covers various aspects including security of government and non-government establishments, coastal security, security audits, and target hardening.
iv. The department has already presented the 50-page draft before the state government. Also, the Home department is keen on successful implementation of this Act and has listed it under its ‘key result area‘.

Chhattisgarh & Gujarat Assembly Ratifies GST Bill
i. The Chhattisgarh and Gujarat state Assembly passed the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Constitution Amendment Bill, becoming the fifth and sixth state to pass the bill respectively. These states ratify GST bill after Himachal Pradesh.
ii. Chhattisgarh and Gujarat governments ratified the Constitution One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment Bill (GST) after Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh.
iii.The GST bill which was passed recently by the centre seen as single biggest tax reform in a long time, needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can report the GST council which meant to adopt the new tax rate.
Chhattisgarh 
♦ Capital: Raipur
♦ Governor: Balramji Das Tandon
♦  Chief Minister: Raman Singh

Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of Maharashtra and Airports Authority of India sign MOU on Regional Connectivity Scheme
i. The Maharashtra State government, Civil Aviation Ministry and Airports Authority of India signed a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 23-August-2016 at Mumbai.
ii. The MOU pave the way for collaborative process of these agencies together for successful launch of the Regional Connectivity Scheme.
iii. It was signed by Chairman, Airports Authority of India, Principal Secretary Civil Aviation (Maharashtra) and Joint Secretary (Ministry of Civil Aviation).
iv. The Civil Aviation Minister. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sh. Devendra Fadnavis had long discussions for early operationalization of several available airports and airstrips in the State (like Shirdi, Kolhapur, Nasik, Sholapur etc)

Air Force to build new Aerospace Museum in Delhi
i. The Indian Air Force is set to build new Aerospace Museum in New Delhi, focusing to showcase and to create awareness in general public about India’s rich Aerospace heritage.
ii. The 43 acres Museum will come up close to the international airport in the capital which will have extensive indoor and outdoor displays including huge aircraft parked and hanging in flying attitude with mural depicting the golden era of the Indian Air Force.
iii. The proposed for new Air Force Aerospace Museum will be constructed within 3-5 years, the Defence Ministry and final financial sanction on the Detailed Project Report is awaited.
iv. The museum would have dedicated children’s area where cockpits of the aircraft meant to see and get the feel of flying controls.

MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurates the BRICS meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction in Udaipur
i. Union minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju addressed that BRICS countries were striving to set up a joint task force on disaster management as a permanent forum for regular dialogue, mutual support among the member nations.BRICS meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction in Udaipur
ii. All the five BRICS countries are parties to the adoption of the Sendai Framework for DRR in March, 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. A number of SDGs have specific targets related to Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
iii.
Key government functionaries working in the area of Disaster Management, including senior officials and technical experts from member countries, are participating in the event. The meeting will focus on two distinct but inter-related themes of Flood Risk Management and Forecasting of Extreme Weather Events in the context of Changing Climate.
iv. Three technical sessions on areas of disaster risk management challenges, forecasting and early warning on flood and disaster risk in a changing climate will be held during the meet.
v. The Ufa Declaration signed by BRICS nations in July a year ago identified the need to promote cooperation in developing responses to emergency situations.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Narendra Modi joins with Afghan President to inaugurate the Stor Palace through Video Call
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani via video conferencing from New Delhi to inaugurate the renovated Stor Palace in Kabul.
ii. India and Afghanistan inaugurated the $300 million Friendship Dam in Herat. India also gifted Kabul a symbolic gift of democracy, its new parliament building in December last year.
iii. It is noted that India has poured more than $1 billion into Afghanistan reconstruction projects and humanitarian aid, making it one of the largest donors to the war-torn country.
iv. India had handed over to Afghanistan a new parliament building, the Salma dam and the restored Stor Palace.
v. The palace was built during the reign of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1880 and gradually developed later under Amir Habibullah Khan and Amir Amanullah Khan.
vi. In 1919, one of the rooms in the palace was the setting for the signing of the Rawalpindi Agreement, by which Afghanistan became an independent sovereign state.

BANKING & FINANCE

India ranks 7th among the Wealthiest Nations in the World
i. The W20: The 20 Wealthiest Countries in the World – report by Johannesburg-based The New World Wealth, India is ranked 7th among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of private wealth held by individuals.
ii. The New World Wealth is a research consultancy that tracks the global wealth sector. The value of total individual wealth in India – which includes property, cash, equities and business interests – is pegged at $3,492 billion in 2015.
iii.The Top 5 Counties are

Rank Country Wealth in Billion
1 US 48, 900
2 China 17, 400
3 Japan 15, 100
4 UK 9, 200
5 Germany 9, 100

JNPT signs pact with SBI, DBS for $400 million loan
i. India’s premier container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust has signed a pact with State Bank of India   and Singapore’s DBS for a loan of Rs 2,600 crore), to double its annual capacity.
ii. Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai, has signed an agreement with State Bank of India (SBI) and DBS for ECB to the tune of USD 400 million at a very competitive interest rate to improve the infrastructure required for doubling its existing capacity to 9.85 million TEUs annually.
iii. The funding by JNPT is the first of its kind for major port and it opens up a one more avenue to major and government ports to raise funds by accessing international markets for their requirements.
iv. The ministry of shipping has already granted its approval as required under the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 for the ECB.
v. JNPT is going to double its capacity in the next seven years. This evacuation corridor would help in supporting the EXIM trade besides providing economic opportunity to the local and region.
vi. The ECB comprising USD 300 million from SBI and USD 100 million from DBS will be primarily utilised by JNPT, which has US dollar denominated foreign currency earnings that can be leveraged for a low cost foreign currency borrowing, for expansion of its existing roads network connecting to port project.

BUSINESS

Airtel and Vodafone unveils e-KYC solution to use Aadhar number for SIM activation
Airtel and Vodafone unveils e-KYC solution to use Aadhar number for SIM activationi. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone has started rolling out Aadhaar based e-KYC solution following the notification by the Department of Telecom, Government of India.
ii. Telecom operator Vodafone will roll out e-KYC facility across 4,500 stores in India that will quickly activate SIMs of its customers with an Aadhaar number.
iii. While Airtel has rolled out the service at its stores in Delhi-NCR, Vodafone is launching the facility across India from August 24.
iv. It is noted that Airtel had 25.4 crore subscribers while Vodafone had a base of 19.8 crore users as on May 2016.
v. Mobile customers opting for electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) verification justneed to know their Aadhaar number, which along with their fingerprint, will be good enough for confirmation for both new pre-paid and post-paid connections.
vi. The use of e-KYC will drastically cut down delays in activating new connections because of infrastructure challenges like power cuts, transporting volumes of paper, lack of photocopying and photography facilities. It will also strengthen the verification process as there will be no room for any manual error.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for P.V. Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and Jitu Rai
The Sports Ministry announced that Rio Olympics medalists shuttler P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik will receive the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai on August 29th 2016(Sports Day)
He also announced the list of awardee for
i. Dronacharya Awards 2016
ii. Arjuna Awards 2016
iii. Dhyan Chand Award 2015

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Two Indo American Women qualified for the prestigious White House Fellow Program
i. Two IndianAmerican women – Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi from California and physician Tina R Shah from Chicago  have been selected for the prestigious White House Fellow programme.
ii. This program offers first hand experience of working at the highest levels of the US federal government and they are among the 16 White House Fellows appointed from across the nation for the year 2016-17
iii. Tripathi, an astrophysicist recently at Harvard University, focuses on the formation and evolution of planets. She has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and developed the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heating.
iv. Shah is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases. She recently completed her clinical fellowship at the University of Chicago (UC), where she redesigned the care cycle for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), dramatically reducing hospital readmissions.

Renowned Scientist P D Gupta appointed as new NV of Homi Bhabha National Institute
i. Eminent scientist P D Gupta was appointed as Vice Chancellor of Mumbai-based Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI).He has been appointed to the post for five years by Department of Personnel and Training.
ii. The Homi Bhabha National Institute is an Indian deemed university, which unifies several constituent institutions.
iii. Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai is one of the institutions of excellence as per section 4(b) of (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 and it has been placed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) task force in Category ‘A’.
iv. HBNI and its Constituent Institutions (CIs) are among the very few institutions of excellence chosen by the Parliament of India to be kept out of the purview of reservations in the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006, which increases the reserved seats to 49.5 per cent in prestigious educational institutes like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
v. The institute is dedicated to encourage pursuit of excellence in sciences (including engineering sciences) and mathematics in a manner that has major significance for the progress of indigenous nuclear technological capability.

Anand Krishnamurthy, MD and chief executive of Catholic Syrian Bank has resigned
i. Anand Krishnamurthy, managing director and chief executive of Catholic Syrian Bank, has resigned within a year after taking over the posts.
ii. Before taking over in July 2015, Krishnamurthy had been associated with the bank for the past one year and was previously responsible for corporate banking, SME business, and integrated treasury operations as head of wholesale banking and treasuryAnand Krishnamurthy, .
iii. The Catholic Syrian Bank Limited (CSB) is an Indian private sector bank with its headquarters at Thrissur, Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest banks in India. The bank has a network of over 430 branches and more than 240 ATMs across India.
iv. In August 1969, the Bank was included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934. In 1975, the Bank attained the status of “A” Class Scheduled Bank when its total Deposits crossed Rs.25 crores. The necessity of imparting training to staff looked very important and a modest beginning was therefore, made in setting up a Training College in 1975. In the same year the Bank entered the field of foreign Exchange.
v. The decade of the seventies saw the evolution of a new culture in Indian Banking. Nationalization of banks imposed “Social Control” and imparted new ethos to commercial banking . What followed was a massive expansion of bank branches with a distinct thrust on remote rural belts. Special schemes were formulated to cater to the diverse credit needs of small scale industries, road transport operators, agriculturists and other self employed entrepreneurs.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Pfizer to acquire oncology specialist Medivation for $ 14 bn
i. The US based Pharmacy Major Pfizer is all set buy a San Francisco-based Medivation a cancer drug firm, which will will give a boost to Pfizer’s consolidation effort through a series of acquisitions.
ii. The Deal size valued about $14bn (£10.7bn), the purchase is likely to accelerate revenue growth and drive overall earnings growth potential.
iii. In the deal Pfizer will pay about $81.50 per share for
Medivation. The purchase will give a boost to Pfizer’s scale of operations and customer reach.
iv. US biopharmaceutical company Medivation was founded in 2004 which was  focused on rapid development of novel therapies to treat serious diseases.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

China’s unmanned submersible sets new national record
China's unmanned submersible sets new national recordi. China’s unmanned submersible(underwater drones-vehicles which can operate underwater without a human) has dived to a depth of 10,767 metres at the world’s deepest ocean point.
ii. This dive created a new record for China that also helps the country to enable it to explore ocean beds for minerals and other natural resources.
iii. The submersible named Haidou-1 set the record at the Mariana Trench in the West Pacific, the deepest area in the world, during a scientific expedition carried out between June 22 and August 12.
iv.This Development of China also marks the third nation after Japan and the US to boast with submersibles capable of reaching depths in excess of 10,000 metres.

ENVIRONMENT

Toxic gas leak at Bangladesh fertilizer unit sickens 250
i. About 250 people, including children, have fallen sick and hundreds of residents have been evacuated from their homes after a toxic gas leak from a fertilizer unit in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong.
ii. Di-ammonium phosphate (DPA) leaked from the DAP Fertilizer Company Limited on the bank of Karnaphuli river last night and firefighters battled until late morning to plug the leakage.
iii. DPA is one of a series of water-soluble ammonium phosphate salts that can be produced when ammonia reacts with phosphoric acid.
iv. The gas quickly spread across large parts of the city. Strong winds blew the gas across a 10-kilometre radius and reports suggested that people felt breathing problems at the southern city’s international airport.
v. Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), which runs the unit, formed a 10-member committee to investigate the incident, while the district administration has formed a three-member panel to probe the leak.
vi. At the time of the incident, the amount of ammonia in the air was recorded at 600ppm (parts per million) whilst workers at the factory can tolerate conditions with ammonia gas up to 25ppm. 

SPORTS

2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics – Overview
The 31st Rio Olympics held with 306 events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5th to August 21st 2016. These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Thomas.
Rio Medal Tally-2016

Country G S B Total
United States(1) 46 37 38 121
Great Britain(2) 27 23 17 67
China (3) 26 18 26 70
Russia (4) 19 18 19 56
Germany (5) 17 10 15 42
India (67) 0 1 1 2

OBITUARY

Singapore’s Indian-origin former President Sellapan Ramanathan passes away
i. Singapore’s Indian-origin president Sellapan Ramanathan at a hospital after suffering a stroke passed away on 22 August 2016. He was 92 Year old.
ii. Nathan served as President of the nation from 1999 to 2011, He was close ally of Singapore’s Political king Lee Kuan Yew.Singapore's Indian-origin former President passes away
iii. He was the country’s sixth and longest-serving president who served two terms, also the only person who has served two terms as President
iv. Nathan started his service from civil Service also held positions in the civil service and was appointed high commissioner to Malaysia in 1988. He also served as Singapore’s ambassador to the United States.
v. Indian Government bestowed with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman to Nathan in recognition of his contribution in building closer links between both the countries in 2012

Malayalam daily “Mathrubhumi” former Editor K K Sreedharan Nair passed away
i. Veteran journalist and former editor of Malayalam daily “Mathrubhumi” K K Sreedharan Nair died at a private hospital in Kochi following a brief illness.
ii. He started his carrer in Journalism as a sub-editor in Mathrubhumi in 1953, Nair had an illustrious career in various capacities including Chief Sub-Editor,NewsEditor and Deputy Editor.
iii. Nair, who was appointed Editor of the daily in 1990, continued in the post for 10
years.

iv. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has expressed his condolences and remembered him as a journalist who had his own style and identity.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

The Ocean of Churn: How the Indian Ocean Shaped Human History authored by Sanjeev Sanyal
i. A book titled The Ocean of Churn: How the Indian Ocean Shaped Human History has hit the news as it is released on 10 August 2016. It is a first-of-its-kind attempt by the author.
ii. The Book authored by Sanjeev Sanyal has recounted the history of The Indian Ocean, which stretches across East Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to South East Asia and Australia
iii. The author in his inimitable style explores remote archaeological sites, ancient inscriptions, maritime trading networks and half-forgotten oral histories, to make exciting revelations.
iv. The Kolkata hailed Sanjeev Sanyal is as one of Asia’s leading economists, bestselling writer, environmentalist and urban theorist.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition – August 23
August 23 2016i. International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition,August 23 of each year, the day designated byUNESCO to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade.
ii. That date was chosen by the adoption of resolution 29 C/40 by the Organization’s General Conference at its 29th session. Circular CL/3494 of July 29, 1998, from the Director-General invited Ministers of Culture to promote the day.
iii. The date is significant because, during the night of August 22 to August 23, 1791, on the island of Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), an uprising began which set forth events which were a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
iv. UNESCO Member States organize events every year on that date, inviting participation from young people, educators, artists and intellectuals. As part of the goals of the intercultural UNESCO project, “The Slave Route“, it is an opportunity for collective recognition and focus on the “historic causes, the methods and the consequences” of slavery.
v. Additionally, it sets the stage for analysis and dialogue of the interactions which gave rise to the transatlantic trade inhuman beings between AfricaEuropethe Americas and the Caribbean.