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CAT May 10 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Parliament approved anti-hijacking bill providing for death penalty
The parliament approved the Anti-Hijacking Bill that award death penalty to the criminals in case of death of hostages or security personnel
About the Bill:
Initially Life imprisonment or confiscation of Movable and immovable property as punishment to the Accused
Features of New Law:
i. Central government award powers of investigation, arrest and prosecution on any officer of the central government or the National Investigation Agency
ii. Offenders cannot be released on bail or bond unless among other things
iii. In case the investigation is carried out by the National Investigation Agency, the designated court shall be a court set up under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008

Gujarat Government announced its “Agri Business Policy 2016”
The State Government of Gujarat announced officially its “Agri Business Policy” in order promotes food processing and agriculture waste management during the festival of 2016 Krishi Mahotsav
Announced by: Chief Minister Chief Minister Anandiben Patel
Venue: Anand Town, Kheda District
Emphasis of Policy:
i. Promoting Food Processing Industry
ii. Applying new technique to convert agriculture waste into valuable products
iii. Developing the entire value of chain of exporting locally grown farm produces

Centre sets up panel to frame policy for taxi operators
i. Union government has set up a three-member committee to frame a policy framework for taxi aggregators and other transport operators.
ii. Road Transport ministry panel will be headed by Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and have the Joint Secretary of the dept and the Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members.
iii. Transport operators and Taxi players had met Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari imparting him of the situation that has occurred following the Supreme Court’s order banning diesel taxis in the NCR.

Infosys Foundation signs pact with IISER
i. Bengaluru based IT major’s arm Infosys Foundation has signed a pact with Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER., Pune) to pursue ‘high quality’ education for economically weaker section students.
ii. The MoU aims to provide high quality science education and research through scholarships, fellowships and travel awards also creating equal opportunities for students from poorer background and advancing the quality of research done at Indian institutions.
iii. The foundation set aside a corpus fund of Rs 5 crore named as The Infosys Foundation Endowment Fund that will continue in perpetuity to benefit a minimum of 50 students annually as part of the MoU.
Infosys:
♦ Founded: 1981
♦ Headquarters: Bangalore
♦ CEO: Vishal Sikka 

Ayush to ink pact with WHO to spread significance of Ayurveda
i. The Ayush ministry will sign a pact with the World Health Organization (WHO) to spread the importance of Ayurveda and Ayush across the world. This agreement will take place in the US in the presence of Prime Minister Modi.
ii. The preparations for the second World Yoga Day is on the track. Ayurveda needed to promote and spread the ancient practise of medicine the ministry says.
iii. On behalf of this India and the US will sign an agreement in the next two months to carry out a research on cancer.
The Department of AYUSH
♦ The ministry was formed with effect from November 2014 by NDA government.
♦ The Ayurveda Department which is Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, abbreviated as AYUSH.
♦ World Yoga Day was celebrated on 21 June.

Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu adopts AP village
Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu adopts AP villagei. Telugu film actor Mahesh Babu has adopted a village in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district village Burripalem under the Smart Village-Smart Ward programme. The actor also launched several development works worth about Rs 2.14 crore.
ii. The financial grant of Rs 2.14 crore used for the construction of an Anganwadi building, a community hall, additional classrooms in the local school, laying of water pipelines, development of roads and drains in the village.
Smart Village-Smart Ward:
♦ Smart Village-Smart Ward iniative of Andhra Pradesh aims for inclusive growth of villages with mutual cooperation between villagers and corporate.
♦ Kuchipudi is the Andhra Pradesh best-known classical dance form.

Indian Army conducts ‘Chakravyuh-II’ training exercise in Rajasthan
i. Indian Army is conducting a major military training exercise ‘Chakravyuh-II’ to validate battle readiness and operational effectiveness of the Pivot Formation and Rapid Division, in Suratgarh Rajasthan.
ii. This is Army’s follow up mission with the Air Force to its recently-concluded month-long Exercise Shatrujeet by the Strike Corps (Strike One)
iii. The exercise envisions mechanised manoeuvres of new generation weapons, platforms and systems are employed in areas where rapid development and urbanisation along the border is predominant.
iv. In the course of the exercise, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication systems were put to test in a network-centric battlefield environment supported by required operational logistics.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Obama signs into law new restrictions on Syrian antiquities
i. The United States President Barack Obama signed into law new import restrictions on Syrian cultural artifacts in a move to stop the Islamic State’s trade in looted antiquities.
ii. The bill passed the House and Senate last month noted that prevent cultural artifacts removed from Syria from being sold or imported into the U.S.
iii. Islamic State and other militants have made millions of dollars by selling unique artifacts on the black market, reaping profits to fund violence.
United States of America:
The USA is the largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its second largest importer. Also the world’s largest consumer of petroleum.

Details of Panama Papers released online by Journalists consortium
i. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published online detailed data that covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015 from the Panama Papers trove on more than 200,000 secret offshore companies.
ii. The database built on just a portion of a total cache of 11.5 million documents, leaked from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca reveals more than 360,000 names of individuals and companies behind the anonymous shell firms.
iii. In the aftermath of this data release Supreme Court had sought a response from the government on a plea seeking CBI inquiry against Indian offshore bank account holders named in the data.
iv. In the data thousands of documents related to India linking close to 2,000 individuals, entities and addresses from the country.

Airport Show opens in Dubai
i. The 16th edition of the Airport Show with participation of more than 300 companies from 55 countries including India is on the go in Dubai from May 9 to 11 at the Dubai Airport Show opens in DubaiInternational Convention and Exhibition Centre.
ii. Germany will be the biggest in terms of exhibitors with largest participation with more than 40 exhibitors in the showcase also the show with 30 per cent growth in participants for the Business Connect programme with an all-time high participation of 154 buyers
iii. This edition will see buyers from – Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the host country, UAE.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI releases draft norms for universal bank licences on tap
i. Allowing individuals with 10 years of experience in banking and finance to apply for a licence successful track record for at least 10 years are eligible to apply for a licence.
ii. The initial minimum paid-up voting equity capital required is Rs.500 crore, and thereafter the bank should maintain a minimum net worth of Rs.500 crore at all times.
iii. Applications will be screened by the RBI to assess the eligibility of applicants with regard to the criteria laid down in the guidelines.
iv. RBI may apply additional criteria to determine the suitability of applications, in addition to the ‘fit and proper’ criteria.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

MP Tourism wins ‘Best Indian Destination for Wildlife’ award
i. Madhya Pradesh Tourism has received the Best Indian Destination for Wildlife award by the Lonely Planet Group. It is to be noted that Madhya Pradesh has 25 wild life sanctuaries including nine National Parks.
ii. The award was handed over to MPT Special Duty Officer Vinod Kumar Amar by actress Amy Jackson.
iii. The state government launched number of programmes for the conservation of flora and fauna because of which Kanha and Pench were regarded as the most beautiful national parks in Asia.
Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Governor: Ram Naresh Yadav
♦ Chief Minister: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Gorakhpur scientist bags SGD 3mn grant from Singapore’s NRF
Gorakhpur scientist bags SGD 3mn grant from Singapore’s NRFi. An Indian scientist from Gorakhpur has been awarded a grant of SGD 3 million by National Research Foundation to research in congenital and adult cardiovascular diseases.
ii. Manvendra K Singh, among the seven young scientists from across the world to be endowed with the Singapore NRF fellowship to carry out cutting-edge research this year in the field of congenital and adult cardiovascular diseases.
iii. Singh is working as an assistant professor in the cardiovascular and metabolic disorders programme at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.
Cardiovascular disease:
♦ Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, stroke.
♦ Conditions such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

ICICI Prudential appoints Sankaran Naren as executive director
i. ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company has appointed Sankaran Naren as a Director on the Board of ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company, with effect from April 2016.
ii. Prior to the new appointment currently his role as the CIO who oversees the investment functions across the mutual fund and international advisory business.
Sankaran Naren:
Naren holds B.Tech from IIT, Madras and PGDM from IIM, Kolkata. All the other provisions of the SAI of the schemes remain unchanged.

Mrugank Paranjape takes charge as MCX MD & CEO
i. Mumbai based Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX. finally has named Mrugank Paranjape as the new Managing Director and CEO.
ii. The Exchange has been headless for the past two years. P K Singhal was handling the affairs of the exchange as joint MD.
iii. With this appointment of MD, Singhal has been re-designated as the President and Whole Time Director with effect from April this year.
iv. Earlier Mrugank worked with Deutsche Bank for 14 years. Later, he headed DB Center of the bank. Paranjape has joined as MD and CEO of the MCX with the term of 3 years.

Shashank Manohar Resigns as BCCI President
shashank-manohari. Nagpur-based lawyer Shashank Manohar has resigned as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI. and chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
ii. Manohar has left the office as he believes recommendations made by RM Lodha panel are impossible to implement.
iii. He won’t be BCCI representative at Asian Cricket Council (ACC. too. By election new president will have to be nominated by at least one of the six full members.
iv. The election process will be overseen by the ICC’s independent Audit Committee Chairman and all present and past ICC directors will be eligible to contest the election.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Quikr acquires beauty services provider Salosa
i. Mumbai-basedonline classifieds portal Quikr India has acquired on-demand beauty service provider Salosa, owned by Beawel Tech Pvt.
ii. However the deal size is undisclosed in a move that will help to strengthen the home services segment.
iii. The beauty services market is close to $5 billion in India and growing, which is evident from the increasing number of requests we see from Tier I and Tier II cities on our platform.
iv. Quikr had earlier dedicated an investment of 250 crore to strengthen its home services vertical. The company has 250,000 service providers who offer more than 80 services for consumers and has about 100,000 daily customers.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO sets up nozzle testing labs
i. The Nozzle Testing laboratories (NTL) that were inaugurated by ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
ii. This is the first of its kind also intended towards carrying out advanced R&D in the area of rocket nozzle to cater to a wide range of studies related to nozzles such as contour optimisation for large AR (Area Ratio) nozzles, flow separation, techniques for flow separation control, nozzle wall heat transfer.
Nozzle testing laboratories:
♦ The system consists of a Nitrogen gas generation and storage system, a graphite cored induction heater, a test chamber, a diffuser system and heat exchanger, coolant system and power supply systems.
♦ To attain nozzle performance evaluation, heated nitrogen gas is allowed to expand in nozzles kept in the test chamber having simulated altitude pressure.

World’s first holographic flexible smartphone developed
World’s first holographic flexible smartphone developedScientists claim to have developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone called the HoloFlex that lets users interact with 3D videos and images without any headgear or glasses
HoloFlex Display:
i. This can be used for holographic gaming. Allows users to bend the side of the display to pull the elastic rubber band.
ii. It features with  a 1920×1080 HD Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display.
iii. Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint.

ENVIRONMENT

Royal Botanic Garden, Kew Report makes new tally for number of World’s Plants
Researchers have counted how many plant species are known to science and estimated that 390,900 plants are known.
Director of Science: Prof Kathy Willis
i. First Global assessment of the world’s flora and carried out by the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.
ii. Botanists from China, Australia and Brazil were involved.
iii. 2,034 new species of plant were discovered in the year 2015

Fossils of first plant-eating marine reptile found
i. World’s first plant-eating marine reptile named Atopodentatus found which is unique strangely toothed and had a bizarre hammerhead-shaped body.
ii. The reptile that lived 242 million years ago in what is found in southern China, The fossil, discovered in 2014, has a poorly preserved head, but it seemed to have a flamingo-like beak.
iii. Scientists observed that beak is actually part of a hammerhead-shaped jaw apparatus, which it used to feed on plants on the ocean.
Apocalypse:
♦ Atopodentatus helps us to unveil a bigger story about the world’s largest mass extinction 252 million years ago.
♦ The existence of animals displays us that life recovered and diversified more quickly than previously thought.

OBITUARY

US actor William Schallert passes away
US actor William Schallert passes awayi. Former SAG president William Schallert, best known as TV dad Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show has died at the age of 93 at his home in Los Angeles.
ii. Schallert was born in Los Angeles in 1922 and began acting while a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and, in 1946.
iii. His role as patriarch Martin Lane on the popular 1960s show was among his most memorable, He began his career with film roles in the 1940s and worked fairly consistently through 2014.
iv. Hee also served as President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Migratory Bird Day
i. The 11 th World Migratory Bird Day is a two-day event held every year on the second weekend of May to mark the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats.
ii. This year’s theme aims to stop the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory
birds
to highlight how wildlife crime affects numerous species of migratory birds.
iii. Since the first World Migratory Bird Day in 2006, events have been held in more than 130 countries.
iv. The Day is co-organized by CMS and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), international treaties administered by UNEP.
African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement:
♦ The Agreement on the AEWA is an intergovernmental treaty devoted to the conservation of migratory water birds that migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyway.
♦ The Treaty covers 254 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle.

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