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Current Affairs Today – January 18 2016

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Current Affairs Today 18 January 2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

900+ girls in sex ratio at birth recorded in Haryana

For the first time in 10 years, sex ratio in Haryana has shown a mounting crossing the 900 mark with 903 girls per 1,000 boys as compared to earlier 879 females per 1,000 males.
(Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar)

  • 12 districts have recorded sex ratio above the 900 mark in which district Sirsa tops the list with sex ratio of 999 girls per 1,000 boys.
  • Sirsa district, sex ratio at birth increased from 948 in October 2015 to 978 in November and to 999 in December.

NITI Aayog collaborated with IDFC for Enterprise Survey of Manufacturing Firms

As part of ease of doing business enabler, NITI Aayog and IDFC Institute will jointly conduct a survey of manufacturing companies, including startups, across India.

  • The objective of the survey is to assess the business regulatory environment in each state and union territory (UT).

The NITI Aayog-IDFC Institute Enterprise survey will complement the government’s “Make in India” initiative by taking stock of issues faced and providing impetus for state-level reforms that will make it easier to do business in India.

  • It will suggest measures needed to foster competitive and cooperative federalism.

BHEL commissions 660 MW supercritical thermal unit in UP

BHEL has commissioned the second 660 MW supercritical unit of Lalitpur Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) in Uttar Pradesh.

About Lalitpur STPP :

  • Lalitpur STPP is being developed by Lalitpur Power Generation Company Limited (LPGCL)-promoted by the Bajaj Hindustan group.
  • Besides, the balance 660 MW super-critical Units, two each at Lalitpur and Bara, BHEL is also executing a 500 MW units at Anpara ‘D’ TPS of Uttar Pradesh Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (UPRVUNL) in Uttar Pradesh.

Last month BHEL has successfully commissioned the first unit of 3×660 MW Prayagraj Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) at Bara in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

About BHEL :
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), owned by the Government of India, is a power plant equipment manufacturer and operates as an engineering  and manufacturing  company based in New Delhi, India. Established in 1964.

  • BHEL CEO: Atul Sobti

Exim Bank, Andhra Pradesh sign MoU to promote exports

Exim Bank of India and the Andhra Pradesh government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) singed by Exim Bank chairman and managing director Yaduvendra Mathur and Andhra Pradesh’s industries secretary Shamsher Singh Rawat for promoting exports in the state.

Benefits of MoU:

  • Exim Bank would support the exporters having operations in Andhra Pradesh in achieving higher exports by facilitation of market linkages through its market advisory services, which include identification of suitable partners.
  • It would help develop skills through capacity building workshops, help the exporters’ participation in select trade fairs and exhibitions among other things.

Exim Bank would also use its strong institutional linkages with institutions in advanced markets like the US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, EU etc and facilitate technology transfer to the technology-seeking enterprises in Andhra Pradesh

About Exim Bank : Export-Import Bank of India is the premier export finance institution in India, established in 1982 under the Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981.

  • HQ: Mumbai
  • Chairman & MD : Yaduvendra Mathur

Kalraj Mishra releases Laghu Udyog Samachar Magazine on Startup India theme in 13th Meeting of the NBMSME

The Start-up issue of Laghu Udyog Samachar (January 2016) was released by Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister of MSME at the 13th Meeting of the National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Shri Giriraj Singh, MoS of Ministry of MSME was also present to address the gathering.

About Laghu Udyog Samachar Magazine :

  • Different schemes and campaigns of Government of India namely, Start-up India, Stand-up India, Make in India, Digital India will be focused in Laghu Udyog Samachar.
  • The next issue of Laghu Udyog Samachar February 2016 is based on Make in India theme.
  • The Board deliberated upon various aspects of the Micro, Small and Medium (MSME) sector with special focus on popularization of Udyog Adhar, creation of a framework for Start ups, evolving a system of easy credit availability, promotion of Marketing linkage, and publicity of new efforts like ASPIRE and revamped SFURTI.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India marked as 2nd largest fruit producer in Global List

According to the handbook, published by the Oxford University, the upswing in fruit production makes India the second largest global producer behind China. Though horticulture has seen fruit production grow faster than vegetables but still latter constitute the largest segment of this sector of agriculture.

  • Grapes occupy the premier position in exports with 107.3 thousand tonnes valued at Rs 1,086 crore in 2014-15. Other fruits which attained significant position in exports are banana and mango.
  • During the period of 2001-02 to 2014.15, area under horticulture crops globally ↑ from 16.5 mn hectares to 4 mn hectares.

US lift nuclear sanctions on Iran

The United States removed a wide range of sanctions against Iran after International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Tehran has met its commitments to roll back its nuclear programme, under an agreement with China, France, Russia, UK, U.S and Germany on July 14, 2015.

  • It was announced after the meeting of Secretary of State John Kerry with Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.
  • The removal of restrictions on Iran’s oil, petrochemicals, banking, natural gas and port sectors will hugely benefit it and allow it to reenter the global market.

Now Iran has joined the UK, United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and the EU in “the field of peaceful users” of nuclear energy.

BANKING & FINANCE

Somnath Temple to invest in Gold Monetisation Scheme

The Somnath Temple is all set to become Gujarat’s first temple to deposit its idle gold in the Gold Monetisation Scheme as its trustees

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have given their nod to invest the yellow metal reserves in the scheme.
  • The trust has around 35 kg of gold and will deposit the gold which is not in day-to-day use of the temple.

The management will segregate the pure gold from the whole lot to finalise the quantum of gold which can be deposited.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

National Bravery Awards 2015 to be conferred upon 25 “Lion Hearts”

25 children (3 girls and 22 boys) have been selected for the National Bravery Awards 2015, which give due recognition to the children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service. They receive a medal, certificate and cash.

  • This year, two of the Awards have been given posthumously.
  • The Awards will be presented by PM Narendra Modi on 24 January, 2016.

APPOINTMENTS

India’s Dinesh Sharma elected to board of directors of china backed AIIB

Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Finance has been elected to the 12-member board of directors of AIIB

  • India is one of the founding members of the AIIB has been elected to the board of directors of the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which is expected to begin loan approvals before the end of this year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the designated governor of the AIIB from India.
  • This will be the first board of directors for the new bank in which 57 members joined a founding members.

Earlier former Chinese Finance Minister Jin Liqun was elected to head the bank based in Beijing after Russia withdrew its candidate.

Tata Motors appoints Guenter Butschek as CEO & MD

Tata Motors appoints Guenter Butschek as CEO & MD

Homegrown auto major Tata Motors announced appointment of ex-Airbus COO Guenter Butschek as its Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director for two years after the death of its former MD Karl Slym.

  • Jaguar Land Roverwould continue to be managed by its Chief Executive Officer and Director, Ralf Speth, who is also on the Board of Tata Motors.Butschek is expected to join the company by February, 15, 2016.

About Guenter Butschek :

  • Prior to Airbus, Butschek had worked atDaimler AG for more than 25 years in international automotive management, leading functions like production, industrialisation and procurement.
  • The last role he held in the firm was President and Chief Executive Officer of Beijing Benz Automotive Co.

About Tata Motors :

Tata Motors Limited is an Indian multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and a subsidiary of the Tata Group. It is the world’s 17th-largest motor vehicle manufacturing company, fourth-largest truck manufacturer, and second-largest bus manufacturer by volume.

  • Tata Motors Brand Ambassadors : Lionel Messi

Ola appoints Raghuvesh Sarup as Chief Marketing Officer

Taxi aggregator Ola has appointed Raghuvesh Sarup as its chief marketing officer from February. At Ola, Raghuvesh will lead marketing across the brand and P&L for all categories

  • Prior to this, Sarup was marketing director at Microsoft India.
  • Sarup, who has experience in marketing, sales and brand management, has also worked with Nokia, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut) and Procter & Gamble.

About Ola :

OlaCabs commonly known as Ola, is an Indian transportation network company. Ola started as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai, now based out in Bangalore and is among the fastest growing businesses in India.

Ola CEO : Bhavish Aggarwal

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

10K start up Prog & Telangana Govt launched start-up warehouse at T-Hub

The NASSCOM (The National Association of Software and Services Companies) 10K Start-up Program in partnership with the Telangana government inaugurated the T-Hub NASSCOM Start-up Warehouse in Hyderabad.

Zinnia: The first ever flower grown in space

Zinnia- The first ever flower grown in spaceZinnia became the first flower that has finally bloomed in outer space. The flower was grown as part of an experiment astronauts are conducting on how plants grow in microgravity.

  • The flowers were grown inside the Veggie lab aboard International Space Station (ISS) which was installed in early May 2014.
  • With the success of this experiment, Zinnia has become the first flowering plant grown outside Earth’s atmosphere.

The flowers appear similar to those grown on Earth, except for the curled edges of the petals, which could be due to the zero-gravity conditions. This has also paved the way for flowering crops such as tomatoes to be grown in space.

  • The system, according to scientists, uses red, blue and green LED lights to simulate sunlight, making the successful growth of the flower.

SPACEX Launching NASA Jason-3 Ocean Surveillance Satellite

SPACEX Launching NASA Jason-3 Ocean Surveillance SatelliteA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the planet’s newest oceanographic satellite, NASA/NOAA/European Jason-3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California into a polar orbit around the Earth.

  • The satellite will provide oceanographic data for everything from tide forecast to continue monitoring decadal variability in ocean heights.
  • The subsequent forecasts are essential for public safety, provide key data for ocean shipping, and will help improve models for hurricane intensity forecasts and El Nino predictions.

The satellite is going into a near-polar orbit to enable global coverage every ten days. The orbit is prograde and not sun-synchronous, which will help it avoid picking up a bias from tides.

Chinese scientists develop new bio-artificial liver

Scientists in China have developed a new bio artificial liver that can help recover patient’s liver functions and prolong their lives so they can wait for suitable donor livers for a transplant.

  • Based on human liver cells, the bio artificial liver has been designed to be attached outside a patient’s body.
  • The research was published in the new issue of international science magazine, Cell Research.

Bioartificial liver is based on cells taken from human skin, fat or other tissues and reprogrammed into the liver cells. The device using human cells is safer and less likely to cause a rejection reaction.

  • Earlier, scientists and researchers in China have been using such devices based on liver cells from pigs.
  • The first bioartificial liver device was developed by a US doctor, Kenneth Matsumara and was named an invention of the year by Time magazine in 2001.

SPORTS

2016 Apia international title of tennis

The 2016 Apia International Sydney was a joint 2016 ATP World Tour and 2016 WTA Tour tennis tournament, played on outdoor hard courts in Sydney, Australia. It was the 123rd edition of the tournament.

  • Men’s Singles – Viktor Troicki of Serbia defeated Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria by 2–6, 6–1, 7–6.
  • Women’s Singles – Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated Monica Puig of Puerto Rico by 6–0, 6–2.
  • Men’s Doubles – Jamie Murray of UK/Bruno Soares of Brazil defeated Rohan Bopanna of India/Florin Mergea of Romania by 6–3, 7–6.
  • Women’s Doubles – Martina Hingis of Switzerland/Sania Mirza of India defeated Caroline Garcia of France/Kristina Mladenovic of France by 1–6, 7–5, 10–5.

India Regain Top Spot after Nearly Five Years

 The Indian Test team led by Virat Kohli climbed to the top of the ICC Test Rankings after South Africa crashed to a 0-2 series defeat against England in Johannesburg.

  • India now has 110 ranking points which followed by Australia with 109 points in their kitty. South Africa is now third in the rankings.

As per the latest ranking chart, Pakistan listed at 4th place while New Zealand dropped down to 6th place. Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe maintained their seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th place in the table respectively.

Popov claims 14th Delhi International Open chess title

Popov claims 14th Delhi International Open chess titleRussia’s Ivan Popov has bagged the title 14th Parsvnath Delhi International Chess Festival with prize money of Rs. three lakh. The event was held in New Delhi.

  • Hungarian Attila Czebe stood as runner up (2 lakh) and Ukraine’s Valeriy Neverov (Rs. 1 lakh) placed at third position.

M.R. Lalith Babu justified his presence in the event as the highest-rated Indian and defeated Ukraine’s Yuri Solodovnichenko in 68 moves to be at the fourth spot with 7.5 points.

OBITUARY

Former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passes away

Former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passes awayFormer Sikkim Governor and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ventrapragada Rama Rao died at a private hospital at the age of  81.

About Ventrapragada Rama Rao:

  • Rama Rao was born in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh in 1935.
  • Rao was a lawyer and practised at the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  • He was elected as MLC on four occasions in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Legislature. While he served for three full terms in 1966, 1972 and 1978, the Legislative Council was abolished during his fourth term after his election from Graduates Constituency in 1984. During his last term, he served as party floor leader in the Council. He was also imprisoned during Emergency.
  • Rao, who joined the Jan Sangh in 1956, was BJP national vice-president. He was twice State unit chief in united Andhra Pradesh from 1992-96. He also was a member of the BJP national executive and more recently a member of the core committee of the Telangana BJP.
  • He served as Sikkim Governor from October 25, 2002 to October 25, 2007.

Key points:

  • Sikkim Capital: Gangtok
  • Sikkim CM: Pawan Chamling
  • Sikkim Governor: Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil

Punjabi singer Manpreet Akhtar dies

Punjabi singer Manpreet Akhtar diesNoted Punjabi folk singer Manpreet Akhtar passed away due to brain hemorrhage at a local hospital in Patiala. She was 55.

About  Manpreet Akhtar :

  • Manpreet was the sister of famous Punjabi singer Dilshad Akhtar.
  • Manpreet was known for her classical style of singing and she sang songs in Punjabi and Hindi movies.
  • Some of her famous Punjabi songs were “Beriye Ni”, “Nikdi sui” and “Bas Ek Gera Gidhe Vich”. She also sang “Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aye” in Bollywood movie “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”.