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Govt unveils no-fly list and rules to handle unruly air passengers
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released draft rules for a “national no-fly list” of unruly passengers for all domestic carriers. Government has come up with this initiative in wake of a recent incident in which Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, repeatedly hit Air India staff with a slipper as he was not allotted a business class seat on an all economy flight. This incident took place at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in March 2017.
i. This draft is an amendment to the existing Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), a set of rules on unruly and disruptive passengers.
ii. The ‘National No-Fly List will comprise passengers who have been identified as unruly after an inquiry by a committee formed by that particular airline.
IBBI constitutes Technical Committee to lay down Technical Standards for performance of core services
Under IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations, 2017 the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) constitutes Technical Committee to lay down Technical Standards for the performance of core services and other services.
♦ The Committee shall give its recommendation for laying down Technical Standards for the performance of core services and other services under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Information Utilities) Regulations.
|Name and Position||Position in committee|
|Dr. R. B. Barman (Chairman, National Statistical Commission)||Chairperson|
|Dr. NandLal Sarda (Emeritus Fellow, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay)||Member|
|Dr. Pulak Ghosh (Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore)||Member|
|Sh. V. G. Kannan (Chief Executive, Indian Banks Association)||Member|
International Permaculture conference to be held in Hyderabad
The 13th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) experts will be held on November 27 to December 2, 2017 in Hyderabad
i. The theme of IPC is ‘Towards healthy societies’.
ii. It is being organized by Hyderabad-based environmental and developmental NGO Aranya Agricultural Alternatives.
iii. The IPC team will host a crowd funding activity on milaap.org from May 3 till July 1, 2017.
iv. Meeting of IPC will be attended by 1200 delegates.
v. The objective of IPC 2017 is to provide Indian farmers an opportunity and to learn how their current challenges can be solved using permaculture principles.
vi. These events will serve a platform to discuss strategy, education standard, research, and regional and global permaculture developments.
The first IPC was hosted in Australia in 1984.
Centre sanctions Rs 200 crore for Jammu and Kashmir primary teachers
For paying pending salaries of primary teachers in Jammu and Kashmir Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has sanctioned Rs 200 crore.
i. Prakash Javadekar has sanctioned Rs 25 crore and Rs 52 crore for two engineering colleges in the state.
ii. Scholarships will be available to polytechnic students.
iii. These engineering colleges will be at Sapakora in the Kashmir valley and at Kathua in Jammu.
iv. Construction of the buildings will be completed in two years.
v. The recurring grant of Rs 34 crore to secondary education will also be sanctioned.
vi. Seven hostels cost Rs 50 crore for girl students at Bemina, Paloda, Thatri, Rajouri, Kupwada, Pulwama and Kargil.
eVIN Project of Health Ministry becomes global best practise in immunisation
eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) project of Union Health Ministry has become global best practise in immunisation. Representatives from Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand are on a visit to India to study the project.
♦ This five-country international delegation interacted with Health Secretary Mr. C K Mishra to learn more about the global best practice of eVIN (electronic vaccine intelligence network) project.
About eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network):
i. It is an indigenously developed technology system that digitizes vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smart phone application.
ii. Currently it is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 12 states of India.
iii. It aims to support the Government of India’s Universal Immunization Programme.
Biggest combing operation in Kashmir since 90s
A massive ”cordon and combing’‘ operation had been launched by the security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district by seeing the growing attacks on policemen and incidents of bank robberies.
i. The massive door-to-door joint search operation launched by the Army, paramilitary and J&K Police.
ii. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat mentioned operation was being carried out to bring the situation in the Valley under control.
iii. The operation was launched after a vehicle carrying soldiers of 62 Rashtriya Rifles, who were involved in the operation, were attacked by militants near the Imam Sahib area.
iv. It leads to the death of a civilian driver and injuries to four jawans.
v. J&K police announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on the head of Umer Majid.
vi. He is a suspected Hizb militant responsible for killing seven people including five cops at Kulgam.
India opens small arms manufacturing unit in MP in a joint venture with Israel
Punj Lloyd Ltd and JV partner Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) has inaugurated the country’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant at Malanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
i. It aims to manufacture small arms in the plant for the Indian defence forces and also for exports.
ii. It is the first time to get its own ‘Made in India’ small arms.
iii. Total cost of this programme is Rs 200 crore for fabrication and assembly facility for defence systems, primarily for small arms.
iv. IWI designs and develops the technologically advanced systems for military, homeland security and commercial agencies worldwide.
v. Israel’s Ministry of Defence completely and wholeheartedly supports this cooperation.
vi. It will help in continue to support the transfer of technology and information also in the future, for the betterment of improved advanced tools.
vii. IWI product ranges are deployed with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) seeking technological innovation, manufacturing excellence and outstanding performance.
♦ Capital: Jerusalem
♦ Currency: Israeli new shekel
♦ President: Reuven Rivlin
MoAs signed for first wind auction Scheme
The Memorandum of Agreements (MoAs) for purchase of 1000 MW wind power under MNRE’s first wind auction Scheme was signed between PTC India.
i. According to MoAs for meeting their non-solar RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligations) UP to buy 449.9 MW, Bihar-200 MW, Jharkhand-200 MW, Delhi-100 MW, Assam-50 MW and Odisha-50MW of wind power.
ii. The Letter of Award (LoA) to the successful wind power developers under the first wind auction scheme have been issued by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
iii. The projects are to be commissioned within 18 months from the date of issue of LoA.
iv. With the success of first wind auction scheme, MNRE launched a scheme for another round of wind auction for 1000 MW capacity wind power projects.
v. It is open for all obligated entities purchasing wind power for compliance of their non-solar RPO.
vi. The SECI will sign Power Purchase Agreements with selected wind developers and back-to-back Power Sale Agreements with buying utilities.
vii. This was the first time such auction process was done in the country for wind power through e-reverse auction and its success can be seen from the record low tariffs of Rs. 3.46 per kWh.
27th Session of Universal Periodic Review Working Group being held in UNHRC in Geneva
The 27th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group is being held from 1st to 12th of May 2017 at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
i. India’s National Report for the UPR-III was reviewed on the May 4, 2017. India was represented by Mukul Rohatgi – the Attorney General of India.
ii. Mr. P.S. Patwalia – Additional Solicitor General of India and Ms. Ruchi Ghanashyam – Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs were a part of 18-member Indian delegation that accompanied Mr. Rohatgi.
Turkey, Russia and Iran sign ‘safe zones’ deal for Syria
Turkey, Russia and Iran has signed ‘safe zones’ deal for Syria to encourage an agreement between the Syrian government and the rebel forces.
i. The deal was signed by the heads of the delegations that represents the three ally countries during peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital city, Astana.
ii. The representative delegations reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the termination of hostilities during the two-day talk in Astana.
iii. The main objective of the deal is to put an immediate end to the violence.
iv. To enable immediate delivery of relief supplies and medical aid.
v. To provide safe conditions for the voluntary return of refugees.
vi. For the creation of safe zones in rebel-held territories including the north-western province of Idlib, parts of Homs province in the centre, in the south and in the opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.
♦ Capital: Damascus
♦ Currency: Syrian pound
♦ President: Bashar al-Assad
BANKING & FINANCE
President promulgates ordinance on empowering RBI on bad loans resolution
To initiate insolvency proceedings for the recovery of bad loans the government gave wide-ranging legislative powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to lenders.
i. Non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans of public sector banks (PSBs) have reached at a very high level over Rs 6 lakh crore in sectors such as power, steel, road infrastructure and textiles.
ii. The RBI has made an oversight committee to look into the process of cases referred to it by the different banks.
iii. The much-awaited ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act was announced by President Pranab Mukherjee.
iv. Under this Reserve Bank to issue directions to any banking companies to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of a default under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016.
v. It has also directed RBI to issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
vi. The ordinance will ensure effective use of IBC 2016 for resolution of stressed assets.
vii. It will give a big boost to the government’s efforts to cut down NPAs in the banking sector.
Facebook launches Express WiFi in India
Facebook has launched its “Express Wi-Fi” in India. This WiFi service is available through 700 hotspots in 4 states.
i. Express Wi-Fi is a program of Facebook’s global initiative to enlarge internet connectivity.
ii. Express Wi-Fi services are currently active in Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Tanzania.
iii. It will include the states of Gujarat,Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Meghalaya.
iv. Facebook has also mentioned a partnership with Bharti Airtel.
v. To setting up an additional 20,000 hotspots that covers millions of Indians over the next few months.
About “Express Wi-Fi”
♦ Express Wi-Fi will offer a low-cost and high bandwidth service at the same time.
♦ By signing up the Express Wi-Fi with an Express Wi-Fi retailer and purchasing a daily, weekly or monthly data pack anybody can take an advantage of it.
♦ It will provide downloading contents, accessing Apps at affordable cost.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah 1st Non-IAS to head tea board
Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah is a renowned tea planter from Assam has appointed the Chairman of the Tea Board of India.
i. Bezboruah became the first Non-IAS and the first industry insider to head the Kolkata-headquartered Tea Board.He will serve till Novermber 2018.
ii. The Renowned coffee grower M S Boje Gowda was appointed chairman of the Coffee Board of India.
iii. M S Boje Gowda will serve till December 2018.
About Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah
♦ Currently, he is serving as the Head of the Tea Research Association (TRA).
♦ Bezboruah is also the owner of at least 6-7 top-rung tea gardens (Bokahola, Saotali, Longbari, etc) in Assam.
♦ He had also served two to three terms as the Chairman of Assam Tea Planters’ Association.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Quikr acquires home services start-up Zimmber in a $10 million all-stock deal
Online classifieds company Quikr India Pvt. Ltd has acquired home services start-up Zimmber (Rejuvenate Solutions Pvt. Ltd). It is about $10 million in an all-stock deal.
i. It aim is to strengthen its position in the segment.
ii. In the last 12 months Mumbai-based Zimmber is Quikr’s fourth acquisition in the home services vertical.
iii. Zimmber, founded by Gaurav Shrivastava, Anubhab Goel and raised at least $7.4 million from venture capital (VC) firms.
iv. The company, currently operating in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune.
v. The company is pushing into five new business segments—automobiles, real estate, jobs, services and customer-to-customer sales.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Indian GSLV Rocket lifts off successfully with South Asia Communications Satellite
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Gift’ to south Asian nations, the South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) was successfully launched on May 5, 2017, by ISRO from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. GSAT-9 was launched using ISRO’s GSLV-F09 rocket.
i. South Asia Satellite will improve disaster and telecommunication links between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives
ii. The idea of launching a satellite which specifically caters to communication needs of SAARC nations was first proposed by PM Narendra Modi while addressing ISRO scientists in June 2014.
World’s biggest X-ray laser generates first light
The world’s biggest X-ray laser has generated its first beam of light. It will allow scientists to get a glimpse of new materials, drugs and chemical reactions at the atomic level.
i. The 3.4-kilometre-long European XFEL, that is located in underground tunnels in Germany, will help in new era of European research.
ii. The X-ray light has a wavelength of 0.8 nanometre.
iii. It is 500 times shorter than that of visible light.
iv. The laser had a repetition rate of one pulse per second, which will later increase to 27,000 per second.
v. The X-rays can be used to make pictures and films of the nanocosmos at atomic resolution -such as of biomolecules.
vi. It helps in better understanding of the basis of illnesses or the development of new therapies could be developed.
ISRO unveils solar hybrid electric car made of desi resources
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently demonstrated a solar hybrid electric car, which has been designed and developed using in-house resources, at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvanathanapuram.
i. The demonstration was held in last week of March 2017, which included a successful uphill drive. The car is run using high-energy lithium ion batteries, which can be recharged using sunlight. ISRO is now researching ways to cut down the car’s cost.
ii. The objective is to create an environment friendly vehicle which does not use fossil fuels and thereby results in zero emission.
Large Hadron Collider restarts for 2017 run, says CERN
The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has restarted circulating beams of protons for the first time in 2017.
♦ The operations were stopped in December 2016 for scheduled maintenance work which is undertaken every year.
♦ This time, along with the scheduled maintenance, certain parts were replaced and specific settings were also changed in order to upgrade the overall functioning.
About Large Hadron Collider:
i. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008.
ii. LHC was built to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories ofparticle physics.
iii. It lies in a 27 km long tunnel beneath the France-Switzerland border.
Sweden created World’s Fastest Camera, Shoots 5 Trillion Frames Per Second
Researchers at a university in Sweden have developed world’s fastest camera called FRAME (Frequency Recognition Algorithm for Multiple Exposures). This camera can capture five trillion frames per second.
i. Researchers will use it to film rapid processes in chemistry, biology, and physics such as explosions, plasma flashes, turbulent combustion, brain activity in animals, and chemical reactions.
ii. Functioning of FRAME Camera:
The FRAME camera works differently as compared to conventional high-speed cameras. Most conventional models capture images one by one, in a rapid sequence. But the FRAME uses a computer algorithm that captures several coded images in one picture which are later sorted into a video sequence.
♦ Capital: Stockholm
♦ Currency: Swedish krona
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