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Current Affairs Today – November 18 2016

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SC refuses to remove ban on Jallikattu
i. The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition filed by Tamil Nadu government to review the judgment of the Apex Court that banned Jallikattu in 2014.
ii. Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations i.e. harvest festival.
iii. However, Tamil Nadu defines the event as an act of “taming” of bulls that comes under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act of 2009 and did not had anything to do with cruelty.
iv. A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman rejected the State Governments plea saying that jallikattu violated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, that is designed to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering caused to animals.
v. The court further said that such an event had nothing to do with the fundamental right of religious freedom.

Conference of Corporate Heads on ‘Giving Back to Society’ at BSE
i. About 500 corporate heads gathered at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on November 17, 2016, for a conference to discuss on topic ‘business with a purpose’ in order to inculcate the sense of “giving back to society”.
ii. Aim: To focus on how business entities can give back to the society by empowering others.
iii. The conference was organised by Artha Forum. Artha Forum is an independent not-for-profit initiative founded by Rajeev Srivastava, CEO and managing partner of Basil Partners and late Dr Narendra Desai, chairman of Apar Industries.
iv. The event included launch of the book “Business with a Purpose” that focused on ‘Earning with Integrity’, and ‘Spending with Compassion’ which is a philosophy of Artha Forum.
v. The key speakers in the conference were ISKCON Spiritual Guru Radhanath Swami Maharaj, chairman of Piramal Group Ajay Piramal, and CEO of BSE Ashish Chauhan.
♦ The Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India and Asia’s first stock exchange.
♦ CEO: Ashish Chauhan
♦ Founded: July 9, 1875
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai

Hindu widow’s adopted kid can claim only to her assets: SC
i. The Supreme Court on, November 17, 2016, regulated  that a child who is adopted by a Hindu widow would not have any rights on the property of the woman’s expired husband and could only lay claim over the property inherited by his mother.
ii. A bench of Justices A R Dave and L Nageswara Rao, held that with the adoption of a child, the rights and interests of other members of the family would not be harmed.
iii. As per the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, the court said that family members must get their share in the ancestral property to which they were entitled to before the child was adopted.

MEA Forms Committee To Look Into Queries Of NRI’s
i. The government has formed an inter-ministerial committee on November 17, 2016, to solve the queries of NRIs, tourists from abroad and foreign missions over demonetization issue.
ii. According to the Ministry, some NRIs, money exchange associations, and foreign tourists abroad have expressed concern about the difficulties being faced by them regarding the demonetization move.
iii. Key issues include:
1.NRI’s wanted to know  whether consular and visa fees be collected in old notes and if it did then  how will those be exchanged
2.NRIs having Indian currency abroad, and could not travel to India   immediately, what will happen
3.The money changer associations abroad wanted to know that what they would do with the stacks they have. How do they convert those?
iv. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has thus formed a committee that will be headed by an Additional Secretary while a senior joint secretary from the ministry of external affairs is also a member of that committee.
v. After the guidance, advice and recommendation of the committee the decision would be shared with the NRI’s who approached MEA.
Ministry of External Affairs
♦ The Ministry of External Affairs of India is responsible for the conduct of foreign relations of India.
♦ Headquarters:  New Delhi
♦ Cabinet minister: Sushma Swaraj
♦ Founded: September 2, 1946

Ennore Thermal Power Station Deceased
i. TANGEDCO has decided that the 45-year-old Ennore Thermal Power Station in Tamil Nadu will shut down forever when the coal stock is exhausted on November 16, 2016.
ii. Ennore thermal plant comprises two 60 mw units and three 110 mw units, which were commissioned between 1970 and 1975.Tamil Nadu Power Plant
iii. The Ennore TPS units are of lower capacity and of very old design and have served for more than 40 years and has utilized its capacity to the fullest.
iv. The decommissioning of the plant will enable taking up the 660 mw supercritical ETPS Replacement Project for which the paper work has already began. The supercritical unit could produce more energy and will emit less pollution.
v. However, the decommissioning of the plant has created chaos among the officers and the staff working in the plant over their future.
vi. However, the Tamilnadu Generation And Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) board directed that the existing officers and the staff should be “beneficially utilised elsewhere without affecting their seniority and other benefits as being available to them now.”

Telangana govt inks pact with Microsoft 
i. Telangana IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan and Microsoft India (R&D) Managing Director Anil Bhansali signed an MoU with Microsoft Corporation India to explore cloud, machine learning and mobile-based solutions in the state.
ii. Aim : To promote the states effort to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) .
iii. According to the agreement, Microsoft India will work with Telangana government to support the development of cloud and mobile-based solutions and support the use of machine learning and advanced visualisation to help solve challenges in the fields of education, agriculture and healthcare.
Telangana :
♦ It is the Youngest state in India, which was formed on June 2, 2014
♦ It is situated on the Deccan Plateau
♦ Capital: Hyderabad

Govt Cancels Gitanjali Gems’ SEZ Project In Maharashtra
Government approved the cancellation of Gitanjali Gems’ special economic zone (SEZ) project in Maharashtra on November 18 2016.The decision was taken by the Board of Approval (BoA), headed by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia.
Reason behind Cancellation :
i. The company’s gems and jewellery SEZ was notified on June 9, 2008 and the approval of the company was expired on October 24, 2011.
ii. The developer could not get green zone converted to industrial zone even after lapse of eight years from notification.


56-Year-Old NASA Astronaut Becomes Oldest Woman in Space
i. 56 years old NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson became the oldest female astronaut to travel to space at 3:20 pm on November 17, 2016.This will be the third ISS mission for Whitson.
iii. Whitson will travel to the International Space Station with two other crew members, including 45-year-old experienced Russian cosmonaut and the French astronaut, where she 56-Year-Old NASA Astronaut Becomes Oldest Woman in Spacewill turn 57 on February 9, 2017
iv. They will join an American and two Russians at the orbiting lab who have worked at the station
since October.
NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) :
♦ Headquater: Washinton,D.C
♦ Established in 1958

Third World Internet Conference Held in Wuzhen
i. The 3rd World Internet Conference began in China’s Wuzhen on November 16, 2016 and the event will continue till November 18, 2016.
ii. The three-day conference will be attended by about 16 thousand participants to discuss the future of the digital economy.
iii. The theme of this year’s conference is “Innovation-driven Internet Development for the Benefit of All – Building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace”.
iv. 16 sessions on 20 topics will be discussed, covering the Internet economy, innovation and international cooperation.
v. The conference will be attended by leaders of some of the world’s top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu while foreign firms such as LinkedIn, Microsoft and Nokia will also take part
China :
♦ Capital:      Beijing
♦ Currency:   Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping

India is non-committal on market economy status for China
i. India is not inclined to automatically grant the coveted ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China under World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms in December 2016.
ii. Under WTO norms, once a country gets MES status, exports from it are to be accepted at the production costs and selling price as the benchmark. Prior to this status, country is considered as a Non Market Economy (NME).
iii. The main reason India is reluctant to grant MES to China is that it will severely curb India’s ability to impose anti-dumping duties on “unfairly priced” Chinese imports.
iv. It will have negative impact on India’s manufacturers in chemicals, steel, electrical and electronics sectors as they will be severely hurt by unfairly low-priced imports from China.


‘Smile Campaign’ Organised by Bank of Baroda
i. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (KAT) Zone of Bank of Baroda (BoB) organised an online Light up a Smile Campaign at the SOS Children Village at Bengaluru to bring smiles on the faces of more than 150 children residing in the village.
ii. Bank staff along with their family members and General Manager – Kakkera Venkateswarlu spent and shared time, effort, skills, and household articles along with food items to help the children and their mothers in the village.
iii. Bank of Baroda KAT Zone celebrated this day as the festival of philanthropy with the theme of ‘Joy of Giving’ and ‘Light up a Smile’.
Bank of Baroda :
♦ Headquarters:   Vadodara
♦ CEO: P. S. Jayakumar
♦ Slogan: India’s International Bank

Canara Bank introduced Mobile ATM’s
i. Canara Bank has introduced mobile ATM to lower the burden of the people due to the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notesThe banl also planned to dedicated mobile POS, Canara Vahini Van for serving citizens of Bengalur on its 111th Foundation Day .
ii. Due to the shortage of the cash at the bank counters and ATMs within minutes, Canara Bank has introduced the mobile ATM that will provide monetary help at doorstep.
iii. The mobile ATM van has started its services at Kolar district and in Bangalore rural district.
iv. The bank has planned to add few more vans by next week to cover wider geographies in the state where there are no ATMs.Canara Bank
v. Due to increased number of transactions, the cash is reloaded in the mobile ATM once or twice a day and an average number of 700 to 800 transactions takes place within a day and it is operational till 8.30pm or till the cash gets exhausted.
Canara  Bank
♦ Headquarters:Karnataka
♦ CEO:Rakesh Sharma
♦ Slogan:It’s easy to change for those who you love, Together we Can

Petrol pumps to allow cash withdrawal of Rs2,000 using debit cards
i. Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan announced that people can get cash at select petrol pumps with SBI machines by swiping their debit cards from November 18 2016.
ii. The facility will be available at 2,500 petrol pumps run by public sector oil companies.
iii. The withdraw limit is limited to Rs 2000 per day per person


Vodafone ties up with Google Cloud to brings G Suite to Indian enterprises
i. Vodafone India’s enterprise arm, Vodafone Business Services (VBS) has joined hands with Google Cloud to offer G Suite to corporate customers. The new tie-up follows a partnership with technology major Microsoft for enterprise-grade productivity and collaboration services.
ii. VSB is offering its corporate customers a choice of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual payments which can be made online or by cheque.
iii. It is also providing multi-channel support for onboarding, migration and in-life queries.

Reliance Global Call launches international calling app 
Reliance Global Call launches international calling appi. Reliance Communication’s international calling service Reliance Global Call launched an app RGC India.
ii. It will allows international calling at Rs 1.4 a minute. This app will enables direct-dialing of international contacts, without the need to enter toll-free number or PIN numbers.
iii. This service is available to all mobile phone and land-line users including prepaid and post-paid subscribers across all telecom networks.


Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia conferred with 2016 Sumitra Charat Ram Award for lifetime achievement
i. Noted flutist Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia was awarded the 2016 Sumitra Charat Ram Award for lifetime achievement in the field of Indian classical music at Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra in the presence of Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Shekhar Sen on November 17, 2016.
ii. Pt Hari Prasad Chourasia was presented the prestigious award by Najeeb Jung, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. 
iii. The award carries a purse, citation, shawl and a silver plaque.The award presentation was followed by a classical flute recital by 78-year-old artist.

Winner of the 17th annual Latin Grammy Awards
i. The  Premiere Ceremony took place on November 17, 2016, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.The three-hour celebration of Latin music and its top performers was hosted by actors Roselyn Sánchez and Sebastián Rulli.
ii. The function was marked by unforgettable performances from Jennifer LopezMarc Anthony  (who won Person of the Year), J BalvinPharrellJuanes and many more.
iii. A Latin Grammy Award is an award by The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences to recognize outstanding achievement in the Latin music industry.

Livingstone school bags National Science Project Award
i. Livingstone Foundation Hr. Sec. School (LFHSS) has won the Best Science Project Award  for their Eco-friendly usage of Bio-Degradable Plastic at the first ever National Science Concours of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT).
ii. The two day event was organized to mark the UNESCO initiative of observing the World Science Day for Peace & Development 2016.
iii. 72 teams from 58 schools from all over India participated  in  a Quiz Contest and a Science Project Exhibition
iv. Bishal Paul of Grade-XII and Nishad Chettri of Grade-XI were the Champion Team members of Science Exhibition as well as the 1st Runners-Up Team members for the Quiz Contest.

TCS And Vedanta Conferred With ACES Awards
i. TCS and Vedanta, leading Indian Companies, have been awarded care at the 3rd annual Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability Awards (ACES) for their leadership in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, eco consciousness and community.
ii. TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) was named Industry Champions in the Leadership category.
iii. TCS was also named “Most Socially Responsible Company of the Year” for its deep commitment to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) responsibility role.
iv. India’s Vedanta Limited was named “Top Companies to Work For in Asia.”
v. TCS aims to help customers achieve their business objectives by providing innovative, best-in-class consulting, IT solutions and services.
vi. While Vedanta aims to provide freedom for the staff to learn, to lead, explore, experiment, innovate and evolve as both a professional and as a person.Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability Awards
vii. Eleven Indian companies were nominated among 185 Asian businesses for ACES 2016 awards.
Points to know :
♦ TCS CEO: Natarajan Chandrasekaran
♦ Headquater: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Vedanta CEO: Tom Albanese
♦ Headquarters: London, United Kingdom


Airtel announces merger with Axiata in Bangladesh
i. India based Bharti Airtel Ltd (Airtel) has completed the merger with Bangladesh based Robi Axiata Ltd (Robi Axiata) of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata).Now it will operate under the Robi Axiata brand in Bangladesh. The proposed merger agreement was signed between Aritel and Robi in January, 2016.
ii. Axiata will hold 68.7 per cent stake and Airtel Bangladesh will hold 25 per cent. The remaining 6.3 per cent stake will be held by NTT DoCoMo, Airtel.
iii. After Merger , it will be the second largest mobile operator in Bangladesh with around 32.2 million customers.


Google launches PhotoScan App to scan physical photographs
i. Google launched a new app called ‘PhotoScan‘ which has been designed to scan and digitise old printed photos.
ii. The app detects edges, straightens the image, rotates it to the correct orientation, and PhotoScan Appremoves glare.Then the final image is stored at a specified location.
iii. The app is available for Android and iOSas well.
Google :
♦ CEO: Sundar Pichai
♦ Headquarters: California, United States

Scientists genetically modifies photosynthesis process, increase crop yield by 15%
Scientists have made genetic modifications in one of the most important biological process on the planet – The Photosynthesis.
Aim: Towards increasing crop production to feed a growing global population.
i. According to researches conducted by lead researcher Prof. Stephen Long, of the University of Illinois and the University of Lancaster, the photosynthesis by which plants convert sunlight energy into food had revealed specific “inefficiencies in crops“.
ii. One major inefficiency is plant’s natural Sun-protection mechanism.  While plants are responsible to produce food using sunlight energy, they also need to protect themselves from Sun damage, this slows down the process.
iii. In order to speed up the process by which that heat loss switches off, the team inserted extra copies of the genes responsible for this heat-loss switch.
iv. After that when the plants grew their genetically modified crop, it grew 15% larger than normal.
v. The researchers will now make this change in rice, soy bean and wheat as these are the most used crops globally


Dharambir Singh sentenced 8-year ban By NADA
i. Dharambir Singh, a Haryana sprinter, who was recently barred from representing the Dharambir Singhcountry in the Rio Olympics at the last minute for failing a dope test, has been sentenced a ban of eight years by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
ii. A test was conducted by the NADA during the Indian Grand Prix Meet in Bengaluru on July 11 in which the 200-metre runner report was positive for an anabolic steroid.
iii. Since this was his second dope-related offence, the NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has handed him a lengthier ban of eight years.

IOC Disqualifies 10 Athelets after Doping Retest 
i. The International Olympic Committee has disqualified 10 athletes of medals achieved from the 2008 Olympics after banned substances were found during retests of samples from the games.
ii. Although no Gold medalists were among the 10 but there were 3 silver medalists from weightlifting and wrestling whose report were positive.
iii. 2 Bronze medalist atheletes from Track and field event comprising of Greek triple jumper Chrysopigi Devetzi and Ukrainian pole vaulter Denys Yurchenko.
iv. Six more athletes who did not win medals in 2008 were also disqualified, including Russia’s Elena Slesarenko, who was the women’s high jump gold medalist in 2004 but placed fourth in 2008.