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Current Affairs Today – August 8 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Odisha Govt. launches Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana for aiding Weavers
Odisha State Government has launched a new scheme for elderly weavers in the state to mark the National Handlooms Day. Named as “Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana”, the scheme is aimed at providing financial assistance to the elderly weavers in the state.
i. Under this scheme the state government would provide Rs 500 pension to the weavers, on the occasion of National Handloom Day.
ii. Under the Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana, the weavers above the age of 60 years will get an allowance of Rs. 500 per month while weavers above 80 years of age will get Rs. 700 per month
Odisha Cabinet accords in-principle approval to implementation of Kalinga Siksha Sathi Yojna
♦ Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has accorded in-principal approval to a new education loan scheme for poor meritorious students in the state. Named as “Kalinga Sikshya Sathi Yojana” the state government will provide education loans at interest of just 1 percent per annum to the poor students.
♦ The state government has earmarked Rs. 500 crores for Kalinga Sikshya Sathi Yojana from its own resources. The state government has dedicated this scheme to former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik on his birth centenary.

Haryana Government Approved NCR TAXI SCHEME for its 13 Districts
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has approved a proposal of the State Transport department to implement a new “NCR Taxi Scheme 2016” in 13 districts of the state falling in the National Capital Region.
Beneficiary Districts:-
This scheme would be implemented in the Districts of
Gurgaon, Faridabad,Jhajjar,Rohtak,Bhiwani,Sonepat,Panipat,Karnal,Mewa,Palwal,Rewari,Jind andMahendragarh.
Licensing Liability :-
i. The licenses to operate this NCR Taxi would be granted under sections 74 and 76 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
ii. The license would be granted to an individual or firm or society or company including IT based aggregator registered under Haryana Societies Registration Act 2012 in case of firms and societies and the Companies Act 2013 in case of a company formed to provide public transport services.
iii. The licensee would ensure adequate parking facility for the vehicle and the GPS or GPRS device is fitted in the vehicle.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj going to Address UNGA on September 26
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26 in New York.
i. This year’s general debate will open on 20 September and will run through to 26 September. Sushma Swaraj will speak at the annual high-level debate.
ii. It is noted that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 21.
iii. For the first time in his reign, Mr. Narendra Modi will miss this General Assembly Session.
About UNGA :
♦ Name – United Nations General Assembly
♦ HQ – New York
♦ Establishment – 1945.

Centre forms panel to study enhanced allowance for retired employees
i. Centre has constituted a high-level committee to examine enhancement of `Constant Daily Allowance’ that benefits retired employees with 100 per cent disability. The Committee would also look into the fitment formula on revision of pension.
ii. The move will enhance day allowance for day-to-day functions, from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 6750 per month and fixed medical allowance to retired employees from Rs. 500 per month. The pension shall be 2.57 times the earlier as per the pay committee recommendations to arrive at an alternate value for the revised pension.
iii. The move comes as a follow up of recommendations of the 7th– Pay Commission which among other issues had examined the principles which should govern the structure of pension and other retirement benefits.
iv. The Committee chaired by Finance Secretary and Secretary (Expenditure) , and will have members from Secretaries of Home Affairs, Defence, Posts, Health & Family Welfare, Personnel & Training and Chairman, Railway Board.

Centre forms panel for electric car tech
i. Union government has formed a committee to monitor and coordinate the development of technology for indigenous manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicles.
ii. The 30­member committee was set up under the Department of Heavy Industry and Ministry comprising automobile industry executives, experts and government officials and academicians and technical experts from Indian auto firms.
iii. The committee will monitor the work of the Technology Platform for Electric Mobility (TPEM), which to develop an indigenous technology.
iv. The move comes in line with the Make in India’ programme upon that to boost green vehicles also making more Auto players to involve in Electrical segment vehicles. Presently only Reva by Mahindra is the only product is made in India.

HRD Minister inaugurates IIT Raipur
si. Union Minister of Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) Prakash Javadekar inaugurated Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Raipur at the campus of Chhattisgarh -Government Engineering College.
ii. The IIT Bhilai is the first IIT in Chhattisgarh and 23rd in India. It is being mentored’ by IIT Hyderabad.
iii. The institute  enrolled 118 students in various streams like Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering classes from this academic year and Mine Engineering course will also be launched from 2018-2019 at IIT Bhilai.
iv. The Campus will be ready in 4 years and it  was Steel Authority of India Limited that has provided 325 acres of land from its Bhilai Steel Plant.

Himachal to plant 1 Cr saplings to increase green cover
i. State government of Himachal Pradesh has come up with a target of planting over one crore saplings this year to increase green cover in the state. It is the first state to earn carbon credit.
ii. The state has received from the centre Rs 1.93 crore as the first installment for this purpose, which was distributed to self-help groups.
iii. HP is set raise new plantations over 15,000 hectare area at a cost of Rs 150 crore this year. It set a target of planting one crore saplings on 15,000 hectares of forest land by spending Rs 150 crore.
iv. The state devised a policy for plantation of one lakh saplings of shahtoot (mulberry), jamun (Jambolan), saru (Cypress), sheesham, spheda (Ceruse), piple, deodar and neemhad been planted through MGNREGS this year.
Himachal Pradesh
♦ Capital: Shimla
♦ Governor: Acharya Dev Vrat
♦ Chief Minister: Virbhadra Singh

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Singapore is second happiest country in the world: Bloomberg Misery Index
According to the latest Bloomberg Misery Index which combines the inflation and unemployment rates in 74 countries, Singapore is the second happiest place in the world.
♦ The Misery Index, computed by adding inflation to the unemployment rate, givesThailand a score of 1.11 percent, which is the best – or least miserable – for all 74 economies surveyed by Bloombe
Some important Rankings:-
China – 23rd   UK – 21st
The following table shows the raging of least miserable to highly miserable countries:-

S. No Country Miserable Index Percent
1 Thailand 1.11
2 Singapore 1.4
3 Japan 2.7
4 Switzerland 3
5 Iceland 3.5

BANKING & FINANCE 

Japan records biggest current account surplus since 2007
i. Japan has recorded the largest current account surplus in the first half of 2016 that quantify the international trade of goods, services and investments in and out marked a surplus of 10.63 trillion yen ($104 billion) in the duration which is up 31.3 per cent from a year earlier.
ii. Japan has been showing good result in tourism also in Goods trade, a key component of the current account balance, registered a surplus of 2.35 trillion yen compared with a deficit of 375.4 billion last year same duration.
iii. In the period of January to June Japan’s travel balance posted a surplus of 775.8 billion yen, the largest since comparable data became available in 1996.
Japan
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime minister: Shinzō Abe

BUSINESS

First-ever ‘Pizza ATM’ opens in US
First-ever 'Pizza ATM' opens in USi. The first-ever pizza vending Machine has been installed on the campus of Xavier University (XU) in Ohio that can hold seventy 12-inch pizzas and dispense in just three minutes.
ii. With the machine customers opt for the types of Pizzas in 24-hour machine’s touchscreen. The Pizza ATM, to come up on August 10.
iii. The machine vents each pizza that cost around $10, with the ATM accepting credit and debit cards, as well as a student card.
iv. The Pizza ATM has been made by French-based Company Paline, which offers full remote communication also comes with several features like tracking, real-time email and text alerts, webcam monitoring, remote error and shutdown detection.

IRCTC teams with Manipur Government to foster Hospitality and Tourism Services to the Customers
Indian Railway Catering andTourismCorporation (IRCTC) and the Manipur government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). By making joint use of their capabilities and facilities, IRCTC mulls to provide improved hospitality and tourism services to their customers.
i. According to the MoU, both the parties will identify areas of cooperation and draw up detailed plans for development of joint tourism products.
ii. This MoU mainly emphasizes for development of joint tourism products and opening and managing various catering and hospitality outlets, budget hotels and handicrafts shops at railway as well as non-railway locations.
iii. The MoU also covers
1.Setting up of water vending machines,
2.Use of Rail Neer and development of lounges and
3.Greeting services for tourists.
iv. Apart from this, IRCTC and Manipur government will strive to market each other’s products and services through physical outlets and websites.
v. It is noted that IRCTC is a mini Ratna Public Sector Unit of the Ministry of Railways, handles catering and tourism activities over Indian Railway through its network of offices and associates/licensees.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

‘People vs OJ Simpson’ wins big at 2016 TCA Awards
'People vs OJ Simpson' wins big at 2016 TCA Awardsi. American Crime Story the People vs OJ Simpson has topped in the Television Critics Association Awards 2016.  The Crime Story’s Sarah Paulson received Individual Achievement in Drama.
ii. The FX story of the OJ Simpson is based on the true story of three nods that includes the coveted Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials.
iii. In the total count FX has comes as the winner with four. In addition the People vs OJ Simpson triple victory, the network added another gong with The Americans’ which won Outstanding Achievement in Drama.
iv. USA’s Robot has been named Outstanding New Program and ABC’s ‘Black-ish’ was recognised as Outstanding Achievement in Comedy.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

KK Khurana took charge as the Head the Head of BHEL Corporate R&D
With effect from August 4, 2016 KK Khurana, General Manager in-charge has taok charge as the Head of BHEL Corporate R&D.
i. The Corporate R&D division leads BHEL’s research efforts in a number of areas of importance to BHEL’s product range. Research & Product Development (RPD) Groups for each product group at the manufacturing divisions play a complementary role.
ii.  The R&D efforts of the company are aimed not only at improving the performance and efficiency of existing products, but also developing new products using state-of-the-art technologies and processes, relevant to the needs of the country to remain current both in terms of technology and features vis-à-vis global benchmarks.
iii. With its innovation-led growth strategy, BHEL continues to rank among the highest R&D spenders in India in the engineering and manufacturing segment.
iv. It is noted that KK Khurana was earlier involved in Project Engineering Management (PEM), Technical service among other areas in the company. He has wide experience in thermal power plant projects. 

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Global Healthcare Provider Zydus group acquired Melgain from Issar Pharma
The Zydus Group, an innovation-led global healthcare provider, has acquired Melgain from Hyderabad based Issar Pharma. In India, Melgain will be marketed by Liva Healthcare, a specialty division of the group catering to the dermatological segment. Zydus also has an option to launch this product in other global markets where it is not available.
i. Zydus group firm Cadila Healthcare Ltd has acquired Melgain lotion used for treatment of skin depigmentation from Issar Pharma to strengthen its dermatological portfolio.
ii. Melgain is used for the treatment of Vitiligo, a chronic skin condition characterized by portions of the skin losing their pigment. It occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function. Though the reason for the onset of the condition is not known, the most widely accepted view is that the depigmentation occurs because Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease – a disease in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s own organs or tissues.
iii. Nearly 15-20 million people in India are estimated to be suffering this condition. Half of those affected show the disorder before age 20, though most develop it before age 40.  The patches can appear randomly on their face, hands, feet or their hairline due to which the hair within the patch may sometimes turn white.
iv. With a strong presence in the hyperpigmentation, acne, hair care and anti-fungal segments, the expansion into the re-pigmentation segment gives Zydus an edge in the fast-growing dermatology market which is currently growing at 14% and valued at over Rs.6,000 crore.

Mahindra Inter trade and MSTC sign a Joint Venture to set up auto shredding centre
Mahindra Inter trade Ltd., a part of the Mahindra Partners Division of the $17.8 billion Mahindra Group, and MSTC Ltd. (a Government of India enterprise) signed a formal joint venture agreement to set-up India’s first-of-its-kind Greenfield auto shredding and recycling capability.
i. Gujarat and Maharastra have been short listed for setting up the facility, which will commence operations by early 2018.
ii. The proposed facility will be equipped with fully automated end-of-life vehicle recycling equipment. This will go a long way towards the efficient recycling of scrapped automobiles.
iii. This first-of-its-kind in India auto shredding facility will establish an Integrated Automotive Recycling capability for end of life vehicles – from collection, compaction, transportation, de pollution, dismantling, shredding, recycling, and disposal.
iv. This Joint Venture is a significant first-step towards ensuring that end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are recycled in a sustainably responsible manner, with the aim of 100% recycling of all materials.

SPORTS

Four South African cricketers banned for attempting to fix matches
i. Four South African cricketers have been banned for allegedly involving in fixing the matches. The Ban varies form 7 years to 12 years.
ii. The banned Proteas players include former Test wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile,received a 12-year ban for contriving to fix a match or matches” in the 2015 Twenty20 domestic competition.
iii. The other players are Pumelela Matshikwe, Ethy Mbhalati and Jean Symes who were banned for accepting money from ex-international Goolam Bodi for attempting to fix matches in the Twenty20 tournament.
iv. The ban term for Matshikwe and Mbhalati was 10 years for receiving payments, while Symes received a seven-year ban for also receiving a payment.

OBITUARY

Australian surfing champion Bernard Farrelly dies
sssi. Australia’s first surfing champion Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly has passed away following a stomach cancer. He was 71 years old.
ii. He is the first Australian to clinch a world championships in Makaha, Hawaii in 1963.
iii. In addition he is also the first president of Australia’s oldest surfboard riders club, Dee Why Surfing Fraternity.
iv. Farrelly was honored by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and in Surfing Walk of Fame at California’s Huntington Beach in 2007.

IMPORTANT DAYS

74th Quit India Movement Commemorated on August 8, 2016
74th Quit India Movement commemoration is followed throughout the country on August 8, 2016. It is noted that the Quit India or August Kranthi Movement was launched at the Bombay Session of All India Congress Committee on August 8, 1942.
Celebrations:-
On marking this day, Maharashtra Govt. launched Quit India II from Swaraj to Suraj Movement which would emphasize on freedom in literacy, water, Addiction among youth and corruption and also the honorable CM presents awards to several prize winners in these celebrations.
PM Narendra Modi Unveils Yaad Karo Kurbani on the Quit India Day
i. In order to mark the 70 years of Independence and 74 years of Quit India Movement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘Yaad Karo Kurbani’ celebrations at Alirajpur, birthplace of freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad in Madhya Pradesh on August 8.
ii. BJP leader and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu addressed that all the Union Ministers will visit 150 places all over the country associated with Indian freedom movement.