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Current Affairs Today – January 18 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet Approvals – January 18, 2017
i. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Serbia for promoting cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics
ii. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 11, 2016 at Tokyo, Japan for cooperation in the field of outer space.
iii. India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation.
iv. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between India and the United Arab Emirates for Institutional Cooperation in Maritime Transport for bilateral and multi-lateral benefit in sustainable trading activities.
v. Union Cabinet also approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency.
vi. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Vietnam in the field of Cyber Security on September 3, 2016 at Hanoi
vii. The MoU signed between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Youth Affairs
viii. The Union Cabinet has approved the 12th Plan Proposal of the DARE/ICAR Plan Scheme for the ‘Establishment of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI)- Jharkhand’.
ix. Gov gave its ex-post facto approval for the Augmentation of the Corpus of Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE), a package set up for supporting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).
x. PM Modi approved amendment in the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) to attract investment in electronics manufacturing.

Anandam Scheme Launched in Madhya Pradesh to Help Poor
i. Madhya Pradesh government lead by Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched Aanandam programme of the newly-formed Aanand Department.Shivraj Singh Chouhan
ii. Aim : To help the poor and the needed person.
iii. Aanandam scheme will help the poor people to get the daily needs like like jackets, sarees, blankets, utensils, school bags from the wealthy people. For this particular place is alloacted in each district to collect this items.
iv. The people who wishes to help others can visit website www.anandsansthanmp.in to become Anandak under Anandam Scheme. Non Government organisations, Government employees, cultural and business organisations can participate in this programe.
Madhya Pradesh Samman:
♦ The Kalidas Samman is a prestigious arts award presented annually for literature by the government of Madhya Pradesh
♦  The Tulsi Samman is a prestigious folk arts award presented annually by the government of Madhya Pradesh

Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong in Meghalaya becomes role model for cleanliness
i. Mawlynnong village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state has become a role model for cleanliness said by the Secretary of the village. Mawlynnong was awarded the prestigious tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia‘ in 2003.
ii. Every family in this village have constructed toilets in 1989 and 3 public toilets have been constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission.
iii. To maintain its cleanliness, all villagers carry cleanliness drive on every Saturday.Now it have created opportunities to become tourists’ prime destination in North East.
Meghalaya:
♦ Meghalaya is part of Seven sister states of North Eastern India.
♦ The capital city is Shilong which is also known as “Scotland of the East“.
♦ Meghalaya borders with Assam. It shares international boundary with Bangladesh.

Kangra first ever district to geo-tag all assets under MGNREGA
i. Kangra village in Himachal Pradesh achieved the geo-tag 100 per cent of the assets generated under the MGNREGA  said by Himachal Pradesh CM Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
ii. Kangra was the first district in India to achieved this target. It would help people in integrated development of all sectors like agriculture, irrigation, education, health etc.
Benefits of Geo-tag :
♦ Geo-tag will allows the workers to click photo of the asset and upload it to a ISRO-run web portal thus digitally recording its time and location.
♦ It allows the ease in tracking the assets.

IIMC Launches Full-Fledged Diploma Course in Urdu Journalism
i. The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has launched a full-fledged postgraduate diploma course in the Urdu language journalism on January 17, 2017 to promote Urdu Language in IIMC.
ii. The diploma course was launched by the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu. The institute offered a five-month journalism course in the Urdu language before launching the full-version.
iii. Besides, Naidu also re-launched a prestigious journal of the institute “The Communicator”. He also formally inaugurated the 67th diploma course in development journalism for 23 working journalists from 19 countries.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ukraine Gets its First Baby Girl Born Using New ‘Three-Person’ IVF Technique
i. A baby girl was born in Ukraine on January 5, 2017 using the new technique of three-person IVF called ‘pronuclear transfer’.
ii. The infant is being considered as the world’s second baby to be developed using three-person IVF technique. The world’s first baby was born Mexico in September 2016.
iii. Three-person IVF was legalised in the UK in 2015. The objective of three-person IVF is to create a child free of mitochondrial disease in cases where parents had one such disease.
Ukraine
♦ Capital: Kiev
♦ Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia
♦ President: Petro Poroshenko

‘One China’ policy is ‘non-negotiable’ is China’s response to Trump
i. The suggestion of the newly elected American President Donald Trump that the “One-China” policy is negotiable has been highly criticized by China. Spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry Lu Kang said that ‘One China’ policy is non-negotiable.
ii. One China Policy means that there exists only one “China” irrespective of the fact that two government claim to be the real China . The two are People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) and Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan).
iii. The mainland China considers Taiwan as apart of Chinese territory. And as per “One-China” policy Chinese government has made it clear that they will not have diplomatic relation with the countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
iv. The US accepted the “One-China” policy in 1979 when it established diplomatic ties with China. But still The US has unofficial ties with Taiwan. This has created a situation of tension between China and The US.

Bengaluru Ranked Most Dynamic City in the World in WEF Report
i. India’s IT Hub, Bengaluru has been ranked at the top position in the 2017 City Bengaluru Ranked Most Dynamic City in the World in WEF ReportMomentum Index released by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting being held in Davos. The index identifies the most dynamic cities of the world.
ii .From India six cities have find place in top 30 most dynamic cities. Besides Bengaluru other Indian cities in the list includes Hyderabad (5), Pune (13), Chennai (17), Delhi (23) and Mumbai (25).
iii. The rankings are based on parameters such as population, technology and R&D, connectivity, output and corporate activity, education, and real estate investment.
Top 5 cities in 2017 City Momentum Index

1 Bangalore (India)
2 Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
3 Silicon Valley (USA)
4 Shanghai (China)
5 Hyderabad (India)

India Ranks 78th in the Passport Index 2017
i. India has been placed at 78th position in the Passport Index 2017 with a visa-free score of 46 that was released on January 12, 2017.
ii. The Index that was launched by the global financial advisory firm Arton Capital assigns a “visa-free score” to countries based on the number of nations their citizens can visit without a visa or on arrival. It was released by passportindex.org.
iiiGermany was placed at the top with a visa-free score of 157, Singapore and Sweden both stood second with a visa-free score of 156. Singapore overtook South Korea to become the highest ranked Asian passport.
iv. India’s Counterparts China ranked at 58th while Pakistan ranked 94th in the index. Afghanistan’s had the least powerful passport with a visa-free score of just 23.
v. For the first time the index also added a new World Openness Score which tracks the progression of freedom of mobility across the globe. It showed that the world openness score rose to 17,948 in the first few days of 2017 from 17,925 in 2016.

BANKING & FINANCE

Karang Island in Manipur Becomes India’s First Cashless Island
i. Contributing to the Government’s Digital India Campaign, a small lake island Karang in Manipur has been declared as the country’s first cashless island by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on January 13, 2017.
ii. The island fulfilled the Centre’s necessary criteria to be named as the cashless island. A campaign was organized from January 9 to 12 by the Karang Island Boat Association and Panthoibi Khoyol Standard Association in the island to promote cashless transactions.
iii. As many as 400 beneficiaries, 16 merchants, including six motor boat service providers registered themselves under the cashless capmaign. The island would also install a card swipe machine so that the island families can become 100% cashless society.
iv. Earlier, Akodara village in Gujarat became India’s first digital village in 2015.

30 More Countries to Join Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank
♦ The Foreign Ministry spokesperson of China, Hua Chunying on January 17, 2017 informed that thirty more countries have applied for joining the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) besides 57 founding members.
About Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
i. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
ii. It was officially established with 57 founding members and authorized capital of USD 100 billion.
iii. China is the largest shareholder of the bank having 26.6 percent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 percent followed by Russia 5.93 percent and Germany with 4.5 percent.
iv. In June 2016 the bank approved its first four loans, totalling USD 509 million to fund power, housing and transportation projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
♦ President: Jin Liqun
♦ Headquarters: Beijing, China
♦ Founded: December 25, 2015

UN Report Estimates India’s GDP to grow by 7.7% in 2017
i. Based on the United Nations report on World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 released on January 17, 2017, India’s economy is projected to grow by 7.7 percent in the fiscal 2017 because of being the fastest growing large developing economy.
ii. The UN report projected that India is going to be benefitted due to its strong private consumption and gradual introduction of significant domestic reforms.
iii. Besides, the growth estimate for 2018 has been projected at 7.6 percent. However, it also stated that low capacity utilization and stressed balance sheets of banks and businesses will have negative effect on strong investment revival in the short term.
iv. The report estimated the growth prospect of China to remain stable at 6.5 percent for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 due to favourable domestic demand and accommodative fiscal measures.
v. Earlier the International Monetary Fund cut India’s growth rate for the current fiscal year to 6.6 percent from its previous estimate of 7.6 percent while the World Bank too lowered India’s GDP growth for 2016-17 fiscal to 7 percent from its previous estimate of 7.6 percent.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

2016 National Bravery Awards Conferred upon 25 Children including 12 Girls
The National Bravery Awards 2016 has been conferred upon 25 children that include 13 boys and 12 girls. Among the 25 awards, four awards have been given posthumously.
1.Bharat Award Winners: Late Km. Tarh Peeju
2.Geeta Chopra Award Winners: Tejasweeta Pradhan and Shivani Gond
3.Sanjay Chopra Award Winners: Master Sumit Mamgain
4.Bapu Gaidhani Award Winners: Late Km. Roluahpuii, Late Km. H Lalhriatpuii, Master Tushar Verma

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Antonio Tajani Elected New President of European Parliament
i. Italian Political Leader Antonio Tajani has been elected as the new president of the Antonio TajaniEuropean Parliament on January 17, 2017 in Strasbourg, France. He will replace Germany’s Martin Schulz.
ii. 63-year-old, member of the European People’s Party, Tajani won 351 votes to defeat his Italian counterpart Gianni Pitella against 282 votes in four rounds of voting.
iii. The European Parliament has the control over the EU laws and has the power to amend or block EU laws. It will also has the final say on whether to approve a Brexit deal with the UK.

Bharti AXA General appoints Sanjeev Srinivasan as CEO, MD
i. Sanjeev Srinivasan has been appointed as CEO and Managing Director of Bharti AXA General Insurance on January 17, 2017.
ii. Srinivasan was currently working as Chief Commercial and Principal Officer of General Insurance from August 2016
iii. He will focus to create a balanced portfolio, driving new distribution tie—ups and creating a customer centric brand to drive profitable growth.
Bharti AXA General:
♦ Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd. is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and AXA business Group
♦ Headquarters‎: ‎Bangalore
♦ Chairman: Rakesh Bharti Mittal

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

ICICI Pru acquires 8.41% stake in Fino Paytech for Rs 100 crore
i. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has acquired 8.41 per cent stake in Fino Paytech Ltd (FPL) for a total consideration of Rs 100 crore
ii. FPL provides technology-based solutions and services related to financial inclusion. Earlier this month, FPL was granted payment bank licence by the RBI.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Robot Journalist Xiao Nan Writes Its First News Article
Robot Journalist Xiao Nan Writes Its First News Articlei. A first of its kind robot journalist named Xiao Nan on January 18, 2017 made debut in the world of journalism by writing a 300-character-long article in just a second.
ii. The article written on the Spring Festival travel rush was published in the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily.
iii. Wan Xiaojun, a professor at Peking University, leading the team studying and developing such robots informed that the robot is able to write both short stories and longer reports.

NASA Set to Explore Iron-Rich Asteroid “16 Psyche”
i. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has given its approval to explore an iron-rich asteroid “16 Psyche” as a part of its mission to learn more about the history and composition of the celestial body.
ii. Scientists believe that 16 Psyche is one of the most mysterious objects in the solar system at a distance of about 230 million miles (370 million km) away from Earth and located in the large asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
iii. The space agency will explore the asteroid to understand how planets separated into layers in their early histories. The mission is targeted to be launched in October 2023 and reaching the asteroid in 2030 through Mars in 2025.
iv. Psyche is an asteroid which is entirely composed of iron and nickel and the NASA scientist has calculated that the iron content alone in Psyche would be worth over 100-thousand times ($10,000 quadrillion) the value of the entire world economy.
v. This value is large enough to destroy commodity prices and finally collapse the world’s economy that is worth $73.7 trillion (£59.5 trillion).
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
♦ Formed: July 29, 1958
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
♦ Administrator: Charles Bolden

ENVIRONMENT

West Bengal Set to Give Legal Protection to Hilsa Fish
i. The West Bengal State Department of Fisheries has announced to protect the endangered Hisla Fish from getting extinct and thus has proposed to introduce law to arrest anyone found in illegal catching, buying or selling of Hilsa fish weighing less than 500 grams.fISH
ii. With the introduction of the proposed provision, Hilsa Fish would become the first fish to get legal protection.
iii .The West Bengal’s famous Hilsa Fish, known as the kings of fishes, is on the verge of getting extinct because of over-fishing, pollution and migration barrier. Thus to protect these fish the fisheries department will put stringent measures in places under CrPC and IPC.
iv. The Central Inland Fisheries research Institute (CIFRI) did an assessment of the production trends of Hilsa from 1961 to 2013, which showed a significant decline in the annual production from 36 tonnes to 0.9 tonnes.

SPORTS

Kapil Dev inducted into Legends Club Hall of Fame
i. Cricket icon Kapil Dev was inducted into Legends Club ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Cricket Club of India on January 17, 2017.Former India player and Legends Club president Madhav Apte presented Kapil with a citation.
ii. He was already inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame on July 11, 2013.
About Kapil Dev :
♦ Kapil is considered as the country’s greatest all-rounder. He led India to the emphatic World Cup victory in 1983
♦ He was the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, was also presented a citation by Wadekar.

OBITUARY

National award-winning filmmaker Deepak Roy dead at 67 
i. Veteran film director Deepak Roy has passed away in New Delhi. He was 67.
ii. He started his career as a film critic in 1974 and ventured into direction in 1982. Roy directed more than 90 documentary films.
iii. He won a National award in 1996 for  “Limit to Freedom” under the category of best investigative film and in 1997 for  “Dhanna” under social issues’ category.

C.V. Vishveshwara, Pioneer of Black Hole Discovery Dies at 78
C.V. Vishveshwarai. Veteran Indian Scientist CV Vishveshwara and pioneer in the discovery of black hole in India died on January 16, 2017 in Bengaluru following prolonged illness. He was 78.
ii. Known as the Black Hole Man of India, CV Vishveshwara contributed in the physics of black hole even before the word black hole was coined.
iii. He had published three ground-breaking single-author papers in the late 1960s for better understanding of black holes.