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Nitin Gadkari inaugurates India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit 2017 in New Delhi
On May 4, 2017, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Mr. Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the first ever India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit (IITLS) in New Delhi. This three-day summit has been organised by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
i. Objective of IITLS is to serve as a platform for bringing together stakeholders in transport and logistics sector, so that they can collaborate and explore mutually beneficial opportunities in logistic parks, freight corridors and IT solutions.
ii. The summit will enable various ministries viz. Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Commerce, Railways, Consumer Affairs, Urban Development, Finance, Food and Public Distribution, Civil Aviation, Skill Development and other state governments to jointly deliberate upon measures required to develop multimodal infrastructure in India.
Sushma inaugurates 8th conference of head of missions in Delhi
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has inaugurated the eighth conference of head of missions in Delhi.
i. It is a four-day annual conference which aims to discuss major developments globally and how India should mould its policy to deal with them.
ii. India’s ties with the African continent as well as with the Gulf countries and the situation in the Middle East are also expected to be discussed during the meet.
iii. The major keys that was discussed in the meeting India’s engagement with major powers as well as strain in ties with Pakistan and China.
Punjab govt makes Aadhar cards mandatory for all financial assistance schemes
Punjab State Government under Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has made Aadhaar Cards mandatory in place of Ration Cards for all Financial Assistance Schemes. It has also introduced new forms to get the benefit of old age pensions.
i. This decision has been taken to ensure that only genuine people get the benefits of financial assistance schemes and pension scheme.
ii. Punjab State’s Department of Social Security and Women & Child Development has been directed by Chief Minister to undertake a survey of the existing beneficiaries of various schemes and to weed out the ineligible beneficiaries.
iii. The state government will take action against officers who are responsible for including ineligible beneficiaries. Moreover, double pension amount will be recovered from applicants who furnished wrong details to gain benefits.
Haryana govt to offer meals at subsidised rates for workers
The Haryana government has decided to open canteens that offer meals at subsidized rates for workers.
i. It offers meals to registered construction workers under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, at 23 locations in the state.
ii. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) is a Government of India sponsored scheme to provide highly subsidized food to millions of the poorest families.
iii. Mobile food vans would also be started at 23 convenient sites with large number of workers.
iv. Meals would be served in these canteens between 8 am and 2 pm.
v. The main aim of the department would be to pay special attention to quality of food served.
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ CM: Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki
Centre declares entire Assam as disturbed area under AFSPA for three more months
In a gazette notification, the Union Home Ministry said the entire Assam along with bordering areas of Meghalaya, have been declared “disturbed” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – AFSPA for three months with effect from May 3, 2017.
i. 75 incidents of violence took place in Assam during 2016 which killed 33 people including 4 security personnel. These violent acts have been perpetrated by insurgent groups like ULFA and NDFB.
ii. Special Powers to Armed Forces under AFSPA:
Under AFSPA, armed forces have the authority to open fire and use force against any person acting against the law. Moreover any person can be arrested without a warrant. Armed forces also have authority to enter and search any premise. Over and above, officers of armed forces have legal immunity for their actions.
Maharashtra Govt Ties Up With WHO for Eradication of Rubella
Maharashtra Health Minister Deepak Sawant has announced that the state has tied up with World Health Organisation (WHO) for eradication of Rubella measles. The vaccination drive for the same will start from March 2018 under which, children in Maharashtra aged between 9 months to 15 years, will be vaccinated for Rubella.
♦ Rubella is an infection among humans which is caused by the rubella virus. Rash followed by fever, sore throat, fatigue and joint pain are the symptoms of Rubella.
♦ It is an air borne infection which spreads via coughs of people who are infected.
Quick Facts about World Health Organisation:
♦ Formation Year: 1948
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Director General: Margaret Chan
15th edition of WFH International Musculoskeletal Congress (IMC) held in Seoul
The 15th edition of WFH International Musculoskeletal Congress (IMC) held in Seoul. It is a 3 day event started from 5th of May to 7th of May, 2017
i. The IMC program will feature presentations, posters, and exhibit displays with a focus on surgical and non–surgical approaches to the prevention and management of hemophilic arthropathy.
ii. Key developments in the field would be addressed, and made the event relevant to orthopedists and physical therapists around the world.
iii. The 15th International Musculoskeletal Congress will cover many topics, including the following:
1.Benefits, approaches, concerns, and developments in skill acquisition techniques.
2.Effects, assessments and surgical considerations related to the kinetic chain.
3.Pathology and prevention of synovitis.
4.Lessons learned by experienced treaters.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI announces rate of interest on Floating Rate Bonds, 2024
On May 5, 2017, Reserve Bank of India announced that rate of interest on the Floating Rate Bonds, 2024 (FRB 2024) for the half year May 7, 2017 to November 6, 2017 has been fixed at 6.30% per annum.
i. This rate is the average rate of the implicit yields (computed by considering 365 days in a year) at the cut-off prices of the last three auctions of Government of India 182 day Treasury Bills held up to May 7, 2017.
ii. The Reserve Bank of India has released a notification through which it has introduced substantial changes in norms for dealing with stressed loans.
Forex reserves touch life time high of $372.73 billion
India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have increased to touch a lifetime high of $372.73 according to RBI , the Cental Bank of India.
i. The foreign exchange reserves of India have increased because of the increase in Foreign Currency Assets.
ii. The reserves had gone up by $1.250 billion to $371.14 billion in the previous week.
iii. The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund were up by $8.5 million to $1.460 billion.
iv. Gold reserves remained unchanged at $19.869 billion.
v. The components of India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves includes Gold, Foreign currency assets (FCAs) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).
FCAs consist of US dollar and other major non-US global currencies.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Srinagar-based freelancer bags Wisden-MCC Cricket ‘Photo of the Year’ award
Saqib Majeed, a Srinagar-based freelance photographer has won the prestigious 2016 Wisden-MCC (Melbourne Cricket Council) Cricket Photograph of the Year. He won this award for a stunning image, which captured boys playing cricket in the Nishat Gardens in Srinagar.
i. Saqib Majeed, an engineer by profession has become second Asian after Atul Kamble to receive this prestigious award. His award winning image will be displayed at Lords Cricket Ground in England for a year.
ii. Majeed’s picture has been included in this year’s edition of MCC’s book titled ‘Wisden Cricketer Almanack’.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Govt appoints heads of 7 PSU banks; MDs of PNB, BoI shifted
In a major restructuring in the PSU banking space, the government appointed heads of various public sector banks.
|Indian Overseas Bank||R Subramania Kumar||R Koteswaran|
|Bank of India||DinabandhuMohapatra||M O Rego|
|Union Bank of India||RajkiranRai G||ArunTiwari|
|Punjab National Bank||Sunil Mehta||UshaAnanthasubramanian|
|Vijaya Bank||R K SankaraNarayana||Kishore Kumar Sansi|
|Syndicate Bank||M O Rego||ArunSrivastava|
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Researchers develop synthetic soft retina
Researchers from Oxford University have developed a synthetic, soft tissue retina which closely mimics the natural human retinal process. This breakthrough could lead to development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues and will help in treating degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.
About the new Synthetic Retina:
i. The new synthetic, double layeredretina replica consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and biological cell membrane proteins.
ii. Unlike existing artificial retinal implants, the cell-cultures are created from natural, biodegradable materials and do not contain foreign bodies or living entities. Thus they are friendlier to the human eye.
iii. It has been designed like a camera, wherein the cells act as pixels, detecting and reacting to light to create a grey scale image.
iv. As of now, synthetic retina has only been tested in laboratory conditions. Before clinical trials in humans, it will be first tested with living tissues, followed by animal trials.
Strike-delayed European Rocket launches In French Guiana
An Ariane 5 rocket that carries two telecommunications satellites for South Korea and Brazil blasted off on 5th May. It was delayed since March 20 due to a incapacitate strike in French Guiana.
i. The rocket launched at 6:51 pm (2151 GMT) from Europe’s space port in Kourou, Guiana, and Arianespace.
ii. It helps to provide internet access to remote and underserved communities.
iii. The first satellite, SGDC, separated from the rocket just over 28 minutes after lift-off.
iv. The second, KOREASAT-7, was placed in orbit a little more than 36 minutes from launch.
v. SGDC will provide strategic communications for the Brazilian government and military.
vi. The other satellite, KOREASAT-7 owned by South Korea’s KTsat, will provide a range of video and data services over Korea, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, India and Indonesia.
THAAD missile defense system now operational in South Korea
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system is now operational in South Korea. The system has attained initial intercept capability which will be augmented by end of 2017 on arrival of new components.
About THAAD Missile Defense System in South Korea:
i. THAAD is United States Army anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles.
ii. South Korean military has sought US army’s help in deploying THAAD to counter missile threats from North Korea.
Reaction of China to THAAD deployment in South Korea:
♦ Deployment of THAAD in South Korea has infuriated China.
♦ Chinese Govt. believes that THAAD will undermine its own ballistic missile capabilities and indirect presence of US will upset the regional security balance.
♦ It has retaliated by creating indirect barriers for South Korean companies operating in China.
NETRA inducts India’s first high temperature drop tube reactor
India’s first of its kind, indigenously developed high temperature drop tube reactor (DTR) system has been installed by NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance (NETRA).
♦ The DTR system is used for designing advanced ultra super critical technology, combustion characterisation of coal/biomass, and reducing carbon footprint from the fossil fuel plants.
Basic Information about NETRA:
i. NETRA (NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance) was set up in 2009.
ii. Climate change, waste management, carbon capture and utilization, new & renewable energy, efficiency improvement and cost reduction are its core areas of research.
iii. It also provides scientific support to NTPC and external utilities for improving availability, reliability and efficiency.
Former Mauritanian junta Chief Ely Ould Mohamed Vall dies of heart attack
Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, former military junta leader of Mauritania (West African Country) died off a heart attack on May 5, 2017. Following the death of Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, Mauritania’s president has declared 3 days of national mourning.
About Ely Ould Mohamed Vall:
i. He was born in 1953 in Nouakchott.
ii. Mohamed Vall led a junta that ruled the country between 2005 and 2007.
iii. In August 2005, a coup forced President Maaouya Ould Taya out of power and Vall became the leader of the ruling Military Council for Justice and Democracy.
iv. Vall and the council introduced constitutional reforms and conducted parliamentary and local elections.
v. Vall served as the head of a transition government that handed over power to Mauritania’s first democratically elected President Sidi Ould Chiekh Abdallahi.
Leila Seth, first woman judge of Delhi High Court, dies
The first woman chief justice of a Delhi high court Justice (retd)Leila Seth has died.
i. Leila was 86 and died of cardiac seizure.She was a mother of Vikram Seth a famous writer of “A Suitable Boy”.
ii. She was the first woman to have topped the London Bar exam.
iii. She was also the first woman chief justice of a state high court (Himachal Pradesh).
iv. She was also one of the three members of the Justice Verma Committee which was constituted in 2012 to recommend amendments to the Criminal Lawfor criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.
v. She was herself an author and her autobiography ’On Balance’ was a bestseller.
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