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Current Affairs Today – January 28 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Three-day long Brahmaputra Literary Festival Begins in Guwahati
i. The three-day long Brahmaputra Literary festival began in Guwahati, Assam on January 28, 2017. The festival has been by the State Government jointly with the National Book Trust.
ii. The event was inaugurated by the Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar in presence of Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and others.
iii. The main focus of the festival is in the languages, literature, culture, society, politics, performance traditions, music, identity, media of the northeastern region of the country including national and international elements packages.
iv. The festival would see the participation of about 150 authors from ten countries. Besides, prominent personalities and celebrities, thinkers, artists and other performers will also participate.
v. Seminars, discussions, film show, book fair, music concert will be held as a part of the festival. The HRD Minister will also inaugurate a colorful carnival to mark the festival.

29th Kerala Science Congress Inaugurated by CM Pinarayi Vijayan
i. The 29th Kerala Science Congress was inaugurated by the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on January 28, 2017 at the APJ Abdul Kalam hall in the Mar Thoma College in Thiruvalla.
ii. The three day annual science event has been jointly organized by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Kerala Forest Research Institute.
iii. The main theme of the congress is ‘Genomics in health and disease’.
iv. The aim of such congress is to provide a forum for young researchers, academicians, technologists and others from the State and elsewhere to exchange knowledge and share their research findings and development of technologies relevant to the State of Kerala.

Assam Ratifies Proposal to set up Bhutan’s Consulate General Office in Guwahati
i. The Government of Assam led by Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, on January 27, 2017 agreed to a proposal by the Royal Government of Bhutan for setting up of a Consulate General Office in Guwahati and also conveyed this decision to the Union Ministry of External Affairs.
ii. The proposal was ratified by the Assam government in a meeting held in Guwahati between top Assam government officials and a five-member delegation of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
iii. The meeting held discussions on a wide range of issues to give a boost to bilateral ties between Assam and Bhutan. The two sides agreed to share intelligence inputs on terrorist activities with each other.
iv. Besides, a vibrant entry-exit mechanism to give a boost to industry and commerce between Assam and Bhutan was also discussed.
v. In addition, the official also discussed about existing boundaries that Assam shares with Bhutan and exchanged inputs on missing boundary pillars and committed to take immediate steps to address the issue.

Central Water Signs Pact with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru
i. The Central Water Commission (CWC) under the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation signed two separate MoUs with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru on January 27, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. The MoU aims to help the institutes to procure specified equipment and software for enhancing their capability to support the World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) of CWC.
iii. DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 250 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress. Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of site conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts.
iv. Thus Government of India has decided to enhance the capability of select premier institutes in dam safety areas so that these institutes can carry out field investigations at dam sites and provide training and consulting services to assist the dam owners in their dam rehabilitation efforts.
v .Under the MoU would, government would assist in strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.

Telangana Government signs MoU to set up Aero Skill Academy
i. The Telangana government on January 27, 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French Aero campus Aquitaine to set up a world-class aero Telangana Government signs MoU to set up Aero Skill Academyskills academy in the city in collaboration with academia and industry of the state.
ii. The MoU was signed between Jerome Verschave, General Manager, Aerocampus and Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary IT, Telangana.
iii. This partnership aims to develope skills among youth as well as experienced professionals in line with the latest trends in the industry.
iv. The new academy will offer specialized aeronautical courses in engineering, manufacturing and maintenance.
v. The project deliverables include identifying skill gaps, designing courses and enabling EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) certifications for the academy and its courses

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indian Think Tank ORF Ranks Highest in Global Go To Think Tank Index in Asia category
i. According to the latest Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, released globally by the Lauder Institute, Pennsylvania University, US on January 27, 2017, the Delhi based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) has been ranked as the top think tank in the China, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea category.
ii. In the category of Asian region, ORF ranked 5th out of 90 think tanks, improving its position from 6th (out of 65) last year.
iii. The first position in this category was bagged by Korea Development Institute, Republic of Korea, Japan Institute of International Affairs came second while Korea Institute for International Economic Policy came in third.
iv. In world-wide (Non-US) category, ORF ranked 50th out of 150 think tanks, thus improving its position from last years 90th position (out of 137).

Donald Trump Holds First Summit With British Prime Minister Theresa May
i. After being sworn in as the President of United States on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump held his first summit with a foreign leader, British Prime Minister Theresa May on January 27, 2017 in his Oval Office.
ii. During the conference, Trump reiterated his support for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union saying that Brexit is a wonderful thing.
iii. Both leaders committed to work to strengthen US and the UK’s commercial ties and establish trade negotiation agreements, saying that it was in National interest of both the countries. Besides, the two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to NATO alliance.
iv. US President accepted Britain’s PM invitation of visiting UK later this year.

BANKING & FINANCE

CASHe integrates Paytm Wallet for direct cash transfers
i. India’s fastest loan giving app for young salaried professionals, CASHe has partnered with Paytm on January 27, 2017 to allow its users to deposit cash transfers from CASHe to their Paytm wallets.
ii. With this integration, users of CASHe will have an option to transfer their loan amounts into their Paytm Wallets in part or in full and credit the rest of the amount into their bank accounts. This is an industry-first innovation from CASHe.
iii. CASHe offers multiple loan options ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 payable over 15, 30 and 90 days.
iv. The average time taken for a loan to be disbursed by CASHe is about eight minutes, subject to proper submission of all documents.CASHe integrates Paytm Wallet for direct cash transfers
About Paytm:
♦ Paytm is India’s largest mobile payments and commerce firm. It is owned by One97 Communications.
♦ Founded: 2010
♦ Headquarters: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
♦ CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Dr G N Rao inducted to Ophthalmology Hall of Fame
i. Dr.Gullapalli N Rao, Founder and Chairman, L V Prasad Eye Institute, has been selected as one of two inductees for the prestigious 2017 Ophthalmology Hall of Fame instituted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).
ii. He would be honored at the induction ceremony in Los Angeles on May six at the ASCRS annual meeting.
iii. Since its inception in 1999, 55 scientists and physicians of all generations have been recognized by the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame.

BUSINESS

PSU Oil Companies Signs Pact with Andhra Pradesh Govt to Invest 1.65 Lakh Crore
i. The Public Sector Oil Companies including HPCL, ONGC and the GAIL have signed MoUs on January 27, 2017 with the Andhra Pradesh Government to invest 1.65 lakh crore in several projects of the state especially the Krishna-Godavari basin.
ii. The MoU was signed between the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan with the state government during a session on Sunrise Andhra Pradesh at the partnership summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Andhra Pradesh government.
iii. So far a sum of $20 billion had been invested in the basin by the Ministry.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Governors Banwarilal Purohit, PB Acharya to take additional charge of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh
i. With the governor’s post in two states – Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh – falling vacant due to the resignation of Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan.
ii. The Centre has asked Assam and Nagaland governors to take additional charge of the two states respectively.
iii. Assam governor Banwarilal Purohit was given additional charge of Meghalaya and Nagaland governor PB Acharya was asked to take additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh
iv. Arunachal Pradesh would have the third governor in less than one year after JP Rajkhowa was removed on September 13

Founder of Indian supercomputing Dr. Bhatkar appointed new VC Nalanda University
i. Vijay Pandurang Bhatkar, a technocrat who is considered the father of the Indian Supercomputer, has been appointed the new Vice-Chancellor of Nalanda University, Rajgir, in Bihar.
ii. President Pranab Mukherjee named Bhatkar for the post with effect from January 25.
iii. He will hold the office for a three-year period from the date of his appointment as per the Nalanda University Act, Sec 11(3).
iv. He has also been honored with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Whatsapp helpline Luanched by Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat launches to Address grievances of Army personnel
i. The Chief of Army staff Gen Bipin Rawat launched a Whatsapp helpline number on January 27, 2017 to receive grievances of army personnel.
ii. Several soldiers posted their grievances on social media about the food that was being served to them and the conditions that they were put in as a result the army chief took the decision of launching the watsapp service.
iii. The Whatsapp number where soldiers can post their complaints is +91 9643300008. The number will be shared with all soldiers and the number will remain at Rawat’s office.
iv. The initiative will enable the soldiers to share their grievance directly with the Chief of Army Staff.

Scientists Discover 100-million-year-old Alien like Bug Preserved in Amber
i. Scientists from US-based Oregon State University (OSU) has recently discovered Scientists Discover 100-million-year-old Alien like Bug Preserved in Amberinsect preserved in amber that is believed to have been existed 100 million years ago and is entirely different from the existing groups.
ii. Referred to as Aethiocarenus burmanicus by the scientists, these insects have been assigned to the new Aethiocarenodea order as they do not fit with any of the existing 30 or so orders to which all the millions of insects of the world belong.
iii. The unusual creature with its own specific order is a small and wingless insect having E.T.-like (alien) features, due to its strange eyes.
iv. It has a triangular head, with the vertex of the right triangle located at the base of the neck. It is believed that the species have the ability to see almost 180 degrees by turning its head sideways.

SPORTS

Tokyo Olympics unveils Goku from Dragonball Z as a brand ambassador
i. The Tokyo Olympic Committee has now announced that Son Goku, a cult anime character from Dragonball Z, will serve as one of its brand ambassadors.
ii. Goku will have Naruto, Shin Chan, Sailor Moon, Petty Cure, Luffy and Astroboy for company in the ambassadorial role with their faces plastered over the official merchandises.
iii. Tokyo was announced as the host in 2013 and the Games are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 2020.

Sports Ministry Reconstitutes Committee to Identify Athletes under TOP Scheme
i. The TOP Committee has been reconstituted by the Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel to identify and support potential medal prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games under the “Target Olympic Podium” scheme.
ii. Under the scheme the selected athletes are provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary support in order to improve their performances and chances of higher position in medals tally for the country.
iii. The aim of the committee will be to select the elite athletes to be provided with this financial assistance.
iv. The Committee will be indAbhinav Bindra becomes Rio olympics goodwill ambassadorependent to decide on its own procedures and invite subject experts as and when required. The Initial tenure of the committee will be one year from the date of notification.
Members of the reconstituted committee

1 Shri Abhinav Bindra, Olympic Gold Medalist Chairman
2 Shri Anil Khanna, Sports Administrator Member
3 Shri Prakash Padukone, Ex Badminton Player and Coach Member
4 Ms. Karnam Malleshwari, Olympic Medalist (Bronze/ Weightlifting) Member
5 Ms. P. T. Usha Renowned Olympian Member
6 Shri Murlidhar Raja, President, Sports Administrator Member
7 Ms. Anjali Bhagwat, Renowned Shooter Member
8 Ms. Rekha Yadav, Secretary Railway Sports Promotion Board Member
9 Dr. S.S. Roy, ED (Teams) SAI Member
10 Shri Inder Dhamija, Joint Secretary (Sports) Member Secretary

IMPORTANT DAYS

Two Day Farmer’s Martyrs Day Organised by Assam Government
i. The state government of Assam under Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, for the first time organised Farmer’s Martyrs Day on January 27, 2017 at Patharughat in Darrang district to pay homage to 140 persons who lost their life in 1894 peasants’ uprising at Patharughat.
ii. During the two day event, the state Chief Minister presented awards to 22 progressive farmers.
iii. On January 28, 1894 140 innocent farmers were massacred and 150 others injured by British Government of that time.  The farmers had collectively protested against the British decision to increase the land revenue by 70-80 percent. As a result Assam emerged as one of the pioneers of India’s independence struggle.