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Current Affairs Today December 2 2017

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22nd Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium held in New Delhi
On November 30, 2017, 22nd meeting of Board of Mangement (BOM) of Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) was held in New Delhi.
i. This meeting was chaired by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh.
ii. During this meeting, Mr. Singh was briefed about ongoing activities of SFAC.
iii. Mr. Singh was also brief about SFAC’s new initiatives such as Advance Training Programme for Board of Directors and CEOs of Farmer Producer Company (FPC), Fertilizer Dealership for the FPCs and Promotion of Fish Farmers Producer Organizations (FFPO).
About Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC):
♦ Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) was established by Government of India in 1994.
♦ It is an exclusive society that facilitates agri-business ventures by aggregating private investment through Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme. It coordinates with various financial institutions across India for this purpose.
♦ SFAC also acts as a lead promoter of National Agriculture Market (NAM).

Techno-commercial agreement signed with Spain for three RRTS corridors
On November 30, 2017, India signed a technical cooperation agreement with ADIF (Spanish state-owned company) for construction of the three Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridors.Techno-commercial agreement signed with Spain for three RRTS corridorsAbout Technical Cooperation Agreement with ADIF for three RRTS corridors:
i. The three RRTS corridors for which the technical cooperation agreement has been signed are Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Panipat and Delhi-Alwar.
ii. This agreement was signed between Miguel Nieto Menor, Director General of ADIF and Vinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).
iii. Under this agreement, NCRTC will receive specific technical advice on track, signalling, station design, rolling stock safety and other related for construction of the above stated three RRTS corridors.
iv. NCRTC is a joint venture between the government of India and state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. It has been entrusted with the responsibility to design, build, operate and maintain rail based Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) in New Delhi.
v.RRTS is first of its kind project in India with design speed of 180 kmph.

Panel set up by government for GST tweaks set to recommend several changes
A six-member panel set up by government (comprising industry representatives) will recommend several changes in the existing Goods and Services Tax (GST) law for smoother implementation.
Probable Recommendations for smoother implementation of GST:
i. The panel has completed its evaluation and has identified more than ten areas where changes are required for smoother implementation.
ii. These areas include simplification of filing forms  and recommendation to make quarterly filing of returns as a permanent norm.
iii. The panel will also seek to extend composition scheme to services, which is currently available only to small traders, manufacturers and restaurants. Entities eligible for composition scheme have lower tax liability and enjoy a comparatively lower compliance burden.
iv .The panel has also recommended to postpone the rollout of E-way bills till the businesses get accustomed to GST regime. The panel is of the opinion that rolling out E-way bills at this time will create more confusion.

Chhattisgarh bans crackers in six cities during winter
On December 1 2017, Chhattisgarh government has passed an order regarding a ban on the use of firecrackers during winter in six major cities Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Bhilai, Raigarh and Korba.Supreme Court Bans Sale of Crackers In New Delhii. State Environment Ministry and the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board had passed the order and it will be came to effect from December 1 to January 31.
ii. This ban will be planned in force during this period every year.
Important facts about Chhatisgarh
♦ BSP-Bhilai Steel Plant – 10 times winner of Prime Minister’s Trophy for best integrated steel plants in India.
♦ Main production – Tendu Leaves & also called as’ Rice Bowl of India’
♦ Chitrakoot Falls in Bastar district – One of the biggest waterful
♦ Chhattisgarh is the only tin producing State in India.

Annual Konark festival begins in style in Odisha
On December 1 2017, five-day dance festival has started near the world famous Sun Temple of Konark in Bhubaneswar,Odisha.
i. It started with Odissi recital by the dancers of Nupur Dance Academy of Bhubaneswar under the tutelage of Niranjan Rout and group.
ii. Coinciding with the dance extravaganza, an International Sand Art Festival also opened at Chandrabhaga beach in Konark. Eight globally acclaimed sand sculptors and 62 national artists are exhibiting their works in the festival.
iii. Konark Dance Festival is a five day dance festival in the month of December 1 to 5 held every year in backdrop of the Sun temple in Konark, Odisha in India. It is one of the biggest dance festivals held in India

Shared Value Summit in New Delhi
On December 2 2017, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Industry and Commerce, will be the chief guest for the Shared Value Summit 2017 on the theme “Equity and Empowerment”.
i. This summit was organized by Shared Value Initiative India, Institute for Competitiveness (India), and SoulAce & India Council on Competitiveness in association with BusinessLine.
ii. Inclusive Business List and Emerging Social Enterprise List for the year 2017 was unveiled by Minister of Industry and Commerce.
iii. It will feature deliberations amongst a varied cross-section of practitioners, thought leaders, government leadership and corporate honchos.


India re-elected to International Maritime Organisation Council
On December 1, 2017, India was re-elected to Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) under category B. In Council of IMO, Category B represents developing countries and those member countries with the largest interests in international sea borne trade.
i. Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Y K Sinha represented India at the election which was conducted at IMO headquarters in London.
ii. Other countries who have been elected to the council post this election are Australia (143 votes), France (140 votes), Canada (138 votes), Spain (137 votes), Brazil (131 votes), Sweden (129 votes), The Netherlands (124 votes) and the United Arab Emirates (115 votes)……………………………………………….Click here to Read more

Philippines suspends world-first dengue vaccine
On December 1, 2017, Philippines Government suspended its dengue vaccination programme, after Dengvaxia vaccine’s producer, French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur revealed that the vaccine could prove harmful in certain cases.Philippines instigated World's maiden Public Immunization Program for Denguei. Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccine. On November 29, 2017, Sanofi announced that Dengvaxia could lead to more severe symptoms in those who had not previously been infected.
ii. In 2016, Philippines became the first country to start using Dengvaxia on a mass scale. So far, it has already vaccinated more than 700000 children.
iii. However, Philippine government has yet not received reports of any problems from those vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
iv. Dengvaxia was developed by Sanofi over a period of 20 years which involved 25 clinical studies in 15 countries. Usage of Dengvaxia was also backed by World Health Organisation (WHO).
Quick Facts about Philippines:
♦ Capital – Manila
♦ Currency – Philippine peso
♦ Current President – Rodrigo Duterte

Indian engineers launch major road project in South Sudan
Indian engineers have launched a major road project in South Sudan to improve connectivity between two major cities of South Sudan.
Information about Major Road Project in South Sudan:
i. The project is to repair and rehabilitate the Malakal-Melut road. On completion, it will not only improve accessibility for local motorists but will also facilitate UN humanitarian operations for helping vulnerable people.
ii. It will also provide a boost to trade and business activities between these two important towns of South Sudan.
iii. The project is being implemented by Indian engineers serving with the United Nations Mission (UNMISS).
iv. With nearly 2400 Indian personnel currently deployed, India is the second largest contributor of peacekeepers to UNMISS.
Quick Facts about South Sudan:
♦ Capital – Juba
♦ Currency – South Sudanese Pound
♦ Current President – Salva Kiir Mayardit


Core sectors log 4.7% growth in October
Combined index of eight core industries rose 4.7 per cent in October 2017.
Core Sector Growth – October 2017:
i. The growth was primarily on the back of higher refinery and coal production. Coal production increased by 3.9 per cent while crude oil refinery production grew by 7.5 per cent in October 2017.
ii. Coal, Curde Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity are the eight core industries of Indian economy.
iii. Natural gas production increased by 2.8 per cent, steel production was up 8.4 per cent, fertilizer production was up 3 per cent and electricity generation was up by 2.1 per cent during the period under consideration.
iv. Industries that witnessed dip in growth during October 2017 are Crude Oil Production (-0.4 per cent) and Cement (-2.7%).


India wins award for putting high effort to combat Illegal Wildlife Trade
India’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been awarded the Certificate of Commendation for its effort to combat illegal wildlife trade.India wins award for putting high effort to combat Illegal Wildlife Tradei.The award was given on November 30, 2017, by the Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora at Geneva, Switzerland.
ii.Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, a statutory multi-disciplinary body under Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has been entrusted with the responsibility to combat organized wildlife crime in India.
iii. WCCB has been specifically praised for ‘Operation Save Kurma’ to combat illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from India to abroad.
iv. ’Operation Save Kurma’ was conducted from December 15, 2016, to January 30, 2017, during which nearly 16000 live turtles were seized and released back into the wild. Besides, 55 suspects involved in its illegal trade were also arrested.
Quick Facts about Wildlife Crime Control Bureau:
♦ Constituted in – 2007
♦ Parent Ministry – Union Ministry of Environment and Forests
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


Raj Shah becomes first Indian-American to hold press briefing aboard Air Force One
Raj Shah, 33 who holds a key position in the White House, has briefed reporters on board presidential Air Force One, becoming the first Indian-American to enjoy the privilege.Raj Shah becomes first Indian-American to hold press briefing aboard Air Force Onei. Mr. Shah was accompanying Mr. Trump as he flew to Missouri to deliver a major speech on middle-class tax relief and business tax relief.
ii. Gaggle is the term used for informal briefing by the White House Press Secretary, which is on the record but bars reporters from videographing.

D K Sarraf appointed as PNGRB Chairman
On December 2 2017, D K Sarraf has been appointed as Chairperson in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
i. He was a former Chairman and Managing Director of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
ii. Former Director (Operations), Oil India Ltd, S Rath, has also been appointed as a Member in the board, after replacing K K Jha. Ex-Member, Cyber Appellate Tribunal. S S Chahar too has been appointed as Member (Legal) in the board.
iii. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) was constituted under The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006 (NO. 19 OF 2006).

Infosys appoints Salil S. Parekh as CEO and Managing Director
Infosys Salil Parekh as Chief Executive Officer effective from January 2, 2018 .
i. Mr. U B Pravin Rao will step down as the interim CEO and Managing Director effective January 2, 2018 and will continue as Chief Operating Officer and a whole-time Director of the Company.
ii. Parekh was a member of the Group Executive Board at French IT services company Capgemini. He has Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Surya Prakash reappointed Prasar Bharati Chairman
A Former journalist and author Surya Prakash has been appointed as the Chairman of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati Board for a second consecutive term till February 2020.Surya Prakash reappointed Prasar Bharati Chairman.jpgi. He has previously worked as the editor of Zee News, executive editor of The Pioneer newspaper, India editor of Asia Times (a business and political daily published from Bangkok and Singapore), political editor of the Eenadu Group of newspapers and chief of bureau at The Indian Express in New Delhi.
ii. Prasar Bharati is India’s largest public broadcasting agency.It is an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and comprises Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Anshu Prakash appointed as Delhi chief secretary
Anshu Prakash, a senior bureaucrat has been appointed as Delhi’s new chief secretary.
Positions held by Anshu Prakash’s:
i. Anshu Prakash is a 1986 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre.
ii. Before moving to the centre, Mr. Prakash served as Principal Secretary (Health) and the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) during Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as Delhi Chief Minister.
iii. He has also been secretary of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD’s) additional commissioner (engineering) and also the registrar of cooperative societies.
iv. Mr. Prakash has now replaced MM Kutty as Delhi’s new Chief Secretary. MM Kutty has been transferred to Union Finance Ministry as an additional secretary.


NASA fires up Voyager after 37 years
US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has stated that a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft have been successfully fired up after 37 years without use.NASA fires up Voyager after 37 yearsi. The need for firing these backup thrusters arose as  attitude control thrusters that turn the spacecraft by firing tiny puffs had degraded and antenna which allows spacecraft to continue sending communications were not appropriately pointed towards Earth.
ii. With successful firing up of these thrusters, NASA will now be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years
iii. NASA will most likely conduct similar test on the backup thrusters for Voyager 2 also.
iv. Voyager 2 is twin spacecraft of Voyager 1. Just like Voyager 1, Voyager 2 will also enter interstellar space within next few years.
About Voyager 1:
♦ Launch in – 1977
♦ Operated by – NASA
♦ Purpose – To study the outer Solar System
♦ Distinction – farthest spacecraft from Earth as well as only human-made object in interstellar space


Shiva Keshavan wins gold in Asian Luge Championships
On December 2 2017, India’s veteran Winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan won a gold medal at the Asian Luge Championships with a time of 55.60 seconds at Altenberg, Germany.
i. Lien Te-An of Taiwan (56.12 seconds) and Kim Dong Kyu of Korea (56.50 seconds) bagged the silver and bronze medals respectively.
ii. Asian Luge Cup is annual luge competition for Asian countries, which held since 1998. There are men’s and women’s single events and men’s double event.
iii. All editions of Asian Luge Cup held by Spiral bobsleigh luge, and skeleton track at Nagano, Japan. But due to technical reasons, the Asian Luge Championships took place at Altenberg in Germany.

World Weightlifting Championships – Mirabai Chanu wins India’s first gold in 22 years
On November 30, 2017, Indian female weightlifter, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu became the first Indian in over two decades to win a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA.Mirabai Chanu wins India’s first gold in 22 yearsSaikhom Mirabai Chanu’s Accomplishment:
i. At the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA, Chanu competed in women’s 48kg.
ii. She won the gold medal by lifting 85kg in snatch and 109kg in clean and jerk to total 194kg. This has also become a new national record.
iii. With her lift of 85kg, Chani came second in snatch. However, she came first in clean & jerk and in overall total. She competed against 20 other lifters.
iv. Chanu hails from Manipur State and is currently employed with the Indian Railways.
v. With a total lift of 193kg, Sukcharoen Thunya of Thailand won the silver medal and Segura Ana Iris of Colombia won bronze medal with 182kg total lift.

Hockey World League final kicks off in Bhubaneswar
The third edition of the men’s Hockey World League Final kicked off in style at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
i. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the event. Eight teams Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and hosts India — nations all inside the top 10 of the FIH rankings- are participating in the tournament.
ii. The tournament will continue till December 10.
iii. Winning the event will guarantee qualification for the Men’s Champions Trophy 2018 taking place in the Netherlands in June/July followed by the men’s Hockey World Cup next year in November/December in Bhubaneswar.

India win 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze at Asian Archery Championships
On December 1 2017, Indian archers bagged three gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the Asian Championships.
i. Abhishek Verma  hold three medals .He grabbed gold beating Korean Jongho Kim 147-147 in the final. He was also part of the men’s team and mixed team which secured silver medals.
ii. Indian women’s compound team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Trisha Deb and Parveena beat So Chaewon, Choi Bomin and Song Yun Soo 230-227 to win the gold medal. Surekha also bagged the individual women’s bronze medal.


Former Chief Justice of India Adarsh Sein Anand passes away at 81
Former Chief Justice of India (CJI), Adarsh Sein Anand passed away on December 1, 2017 after prolonged illness. He was 81 years old.Former Chief Justice of India Adarsh Sein Anand passes away at 81About Adarsh Sein Anand:
i. He was the 29th Chief Justice of India and served from October 10, 1998 to October 31, 2001.
ii. Born in 1936, Adarsh Sein Anand had done his education from Jammu and Kashmir.
iii. In 1976, he became a permanent judge of the Jammu and Kashmir high court. Before his elevation as the judge, he had also practised as a lawyer at Chandigarh.
iv. He had also served in the Madras high court before his elevation to Supreme Court.


Gulzar pens debut novel in English on the Partition – ‘Two’
Veteran lyricist Gulzar has written English novel ‘Two’ which examines the status of refugees after the Partition.’Two’ published by HarperCollins India, was originally written in Urdu, Gulzar’s medium of writing.
i. It included many words and phrases in Punjabi, Saraiki and other dialects spoken in that area of Punjab which became Pakistan after Partition.


International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – December 2
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is celebrated across the world on 2nd December every year.International Day for the Abolition of SlaveryMore Information about International Day for the Abolition of Slavery:
i.This day is celebrated on 2nd December as it was on December 2, 1949, that United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.
ii. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was first celebrated in 1986.
iii. Celebration of this day focuses on eradicating modern forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, child labour, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced recruitment of children to fight in armed conflicts.
iv .According to International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery.

World Computer Literacy Day – December 2, 2017
The 2nd of December is observed as World Computer Literacy Day. The first World Computer Literacy Day was held in the year 2001.
i.This day aims to increase awareness of this ‘divide’ and increase access to information technology for disadvantaged communities. 

Defence Ministry launches Armed Forces Week
Defence Ministry launched the Armed Forces Week from 1st to 7th of this month. She also initiated contribute towards welfare of war-widows, children of martyrs and ex-servicemen by visiting Mrs Sitharaman .
i. Defence Ministry launch a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces.The main objective of the campaign is to get people to make financial contributions to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFD) which is used for the welfare of disabled ex-servicemen, war widows, and children of martyrs.
ii. In support of the country’s Armed Forces and their families, Ola, the transportation app, launched an awareness campaign to raise funds on the occasion of Armed Forces Flag Day, observed on December 7 every year.