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Current Affairs Today November 30 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 held in Hyderabad, India
Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 was held in Hyderabad from 28th – 30th November 2017.GES 2017 (eighth edition of GES) was hosted by NITI Aayog in partnership with Government of the United States of America.
i. Theme of GES 2017 was “Women First, Prosperity for All”.The US delegation to GES 2017 was head by Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor of US President, Donald Trump.
ii. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, Mark Andrew Green announced several initiatives aimed to empower women entrepreneurs for attaining their full potential……………………………………Click here to Read more

Eastern Railways presses first Swarna Rajdhani rake
On November 28, 2017, Eastern Railways brought into service, the first rake of upgraded Sealdah – New Delhi ‘Swarna’ Rajdhani.Eastern Railways presses first Swarna Rajdhani rakeAbout Project ‘Swarna’ and the upgraded rake of Sealdah – New Delhi Rajdhani:
i. This rake has become India’s first Swarna Rajdhani rake under Project ‘Swarna’ of Indian Railways.
ii. Under Project ‘Swarna’, Indian Railways had given a free hand to Zonal Railways to develop and create aesthetic and passenger friendly coach interiors on running rakes of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
iii. The objective was to establish new standards in passengers comfort. Budget of Rs. 50 lakh per rake was allocated for this purpose.
iv. The first rake of Sealdah – New Delhi Rajdhani has been upgraded at an expenditure of about Rs. 35 lakh.
v. The new features in the coach are aesthetic International colour scheme and LED lighting to improve illumination, night signage for easy identifications of berth numbers, better hygiene by providing ‘auto janitor’ system in toilets, built-in ladders adjacent to berths for easy access to upper berth and CCTV cameras in doorway area and aisles to monitor any suspicious activity.

India, Singapore ink major pact on marine security
On November 29, 2017, India and Singapore inked a major pact on marine security in New Delhi.
India-Singapore Marine Security Pact:
i. The pact was signed during Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen’s visit to India.
ii. Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Singaporean Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen held wide-ranging talks, during which India and Singapore declared an intent to ensure freedom of navigation in critical sea lanes and to enhance overall military cooperation with a special focus on combating terrorism.
iii. Naval cooperation pact between India and Singapore  envisages increased engagement in the maritime security sphere, temporary deployments from each other’s naval facilities, joint exercises and logistics support.
iv. India and Singapore also signed the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement to strengthen the existing defence relationship between Indian military and Singapore Armed Forces.
Quick Facts about Singapore:
♦ Currency – Singapore dollar
♦ Current Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong

India-New Zealand Cyber Dialogue held in New Delhi
On 27th November 2017, the first India-New Zealand Cyber Dialogue was held in New Delhi.
India-New Zealand Cyber Dialogue:
i. The Indian Delegation was led by Mr. Sanjay Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. The New Zealand delegation was led by Mr. Paul Ash, Director of the National Cyber Policy Office, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
ii. Areas of discussion included domestic cyber policy landscape, cyber threats and mitigation, new technologies, mechanism on bilateral cooperation and possible cooperation at various international fora and regional fora. Both sides agreed to hold the next India-New Zealand Cyber dialogue in New Zealand in 2018.
About National Cyber Security Policy 2013:
♦ Policy framework by Department of Electronics and Information Technology
♦ Aim – protecting the public and private infrastructure from cyber attacks
♦ Vision – to build a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, business and government and also to protect anyone from intervening into your privacy

HEFA approves projects worth Rs. 2,067 cr in 6 institutions
2nd meeting of Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) Board was held on November 29, 2017.Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA)i. During this meeting, HEFA board approved projects worth Rs. 2066.73 Cr to improve the research infrastructure in six institutions – IITs Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur and NIT Suratkal.
ii. Out of the approved projects, 16 projects are for upgrading Research/academic facilities and 11 projects are for other supporting infrastructure.
iii. These projects will help the institutions to improve their standing at the global level.
iv. It is to be noted that funding under HEFA is in addition to the grants being given to these institutions.
About Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA):
♦ In September 2016, Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved setting up of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions.
♦ On May 31, 2017, HEFA was registered as a Section – 8 Company under the Companies Act.
♦ HEFA is jointly promoted by Canara Bank and Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

India, Italy sign MoU for upgrading medical infrastructure
On November 29, 2017, India and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for enhancing bilateral cooperation in the health sector.
India – Italy MoU for upgrading medical infrastructure:
i. This MoU was signed between Union Health Minister J P Nadda and the visiting Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin.
ii. The MoU envisages cooperation in health sector by pooling in technical, financial and human resources for accomplishing the ultimate objective to upgrade infrastructural resources, medical education and research in both countries.
iii. Activities to be carried out under the scope of this MoU include exchange and training of doctors, setting up of health care facilities and promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals.
Quick Facts about Italy:
♦ Capital – Rome
♦ Currency – Euro
♦ Current Prime Minister – Paolo Gentiloni

Army, Rajasthan govt sign MoU to improve infrastructure near border
Indian Army has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rajasthan State Government to improve infrastructure for their posts near the India-Pakistan border.
Information about Indian Army-Rajasthan State Government MoU:
i. As per the terms of the MoU, Indian Army will be able to use an airstrip in Lalgarh-Jatan area in Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan for 10 years.
ii. Rajasthan State Government has sanctioned funds for this airstrip, which is near the India-Pakistan border.
iii. Besides, Indian Army can undertake temporary construction work as per their requirement in the border areas of the state.
Quick Facts about Rajasthan:
♦ Capital – Jaipur
♦ Current Chief Minister – Vasundhara Raje
♦ Current Governor – Kalyan Singh
♦ Important National Park – Ranthambore National Park

Defence Ministry approves procurement of 260 naval communication sets
On 29th November 2017, the Defence Ministry approved procurement of 260 naval communication sets at a cost of Rs 490 crore to improvise surveillance on the high seas.
Procurement of 260 naval communication sets:
i. The decision of procuring these 260 naval communication sets was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
ii. It will be the first batch of indigenously designed and developed “software defined” radio sets. The gadgets will improve information sharing through secure voice communications and data transfer on board the naval ships.
iii. These naval communication sets will replace the old sets. The DAC, the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, has also reviewed various acquisition programmes.
About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):
♦ Objective – to ensure procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources
♦ Chairman – Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India loses billions to air pollution and has highest share of welfare costs
According to a report by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), India had the highest share of welfare costs (loss of income from labour), of about $220 billion in South and South-East Asia from mortality due to air pollution.
i. UNEP’s report, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’, was launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention in September 2017.
ii. As per the report, if more stringent measures are not adopted, global mortality costs from outdoor air pollution could rise to about $25 trillion by 2060…………………………………………….Click here to Read more

Russia to create ‘independent internet’ for BRICS nations
The Russian government has revealed plans to develop an ‘independent internet’ that operates separately from the Domain Name System used worldwide.Independent internet for BRICS nations:
i. The Russian Security Council has asked the Russian government to develop a separate infrastructure for BRICS countries’ internet needs while still being linked to the World Wide Web, which would continue services in the event of a global internet infrastructure collapse.
ii. The initiative plans to create a separate ‘backup’ system of Domain Name Servers (DNS) that would be totally independent of international bodies and international infrastructure, yet still remaining linked to the global internet.
iii. This service would be used by BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This would make BRICS countries totally independent from the DNS system and exempt from many international controls, instead giving control to individual governments.
Recent BRICS Summits:
♦ 7th BRICS Summit – 8–9 July 2015 in Russia
♦ 8th BRICS Summit – 15–16 October 2016 in India
♦ 9th BRICS Summit – 3–5 September 2017 in China

Inter-Governmental Meeting of Asia and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities held in China
High Level Inter-Governmental Mid-point Review Meeting of Asia and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022 is being held in Beijing, China from 27th November to 1st December, 2017.
Highlights of the meeting:
i. This meeting has been organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in cooperation with Government of China.
ii. Primary objective of this meeting is to review the progress made by the member countries during the decade at the mid-point in 2017 with regard to Incheon Strategy (that was adopted at Incheon, South Korea in 2012) to achieve the goals mentioned in UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  
iii. Besides, future policy action for building disabilities-inclusive societies in the region will also be discussed at this meeting.
iv. Indian delegation to this meeting is headed by Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI asks cooperative societies not to use word ‘Bank’ in names
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked co-operative societies not use the word ‘Bank’ in their names as it violates the Banking Regulation Act.Banks to share all transactions Details in Standard Formati. RBI has specified that using ‘bank’ in the name of cooperative societies violates Section 7 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. 
ii. RBI has also issued a statement that some co-operative societies are accepting deposits from public just like banks do. This activity is also a violation of the provisions of the Act.
iii. As per the statement of RBI, such societies have neither been issued any licence under the Banking Regulation Act nor are they authorised to conduct banking business.
iv. General public has advised to exercise caution and carry out due diligence before dealing with such cooperative societies as deposits placed with these societies are note covered by Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC). 

BUSINESS

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India upholds net neutrality
On November 28, 2017, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) upheld the basic principles of Net neutrality, disallowing telecom operators from prioritising or blocking content on their networks.
i. According to TRAI, internet is the basic infrastructure for the development of other markets, and placing restrictions on its access could hamper growth and innovation.
ii. TRAI reiterated that internet use should be facilitated in a manner which advances the free speech rights of citizens.
iii. TRAI has also proposed to amend the existing licences to incorporate Net neutrality principles so that the telecommunications service provider (TSP) do not engage in discriminatory treatment of content.
Quick Facts about Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):
♦ Founded in – 1997
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – R S Sharma

India-Lesotho Bilateral Ties: India donates 500 metric tonnes of rice to Lesotho
On 29th November 2017, India donated 500 metric tonnes of rice to the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, which is facing acute food shortage due to famine.India-Lesotho Bilateral Ties India donates 500 metric tonnes of rice to LesothoIndia-Lesotho Bilateral Ties:
i. High Commissioner of India to South Africa and LesothoRuchira Kamboj handed over the donation to the government of Lesotho, after she presented her credentials to King Letsie III in Lesotho’s capital, Maseru.
ii. Ruchira Kamboj also inaugurated the India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Information Technology, a project fully-funded by the Government of India, at the Lerotholi Polytechnic in Maseru. The construction of the new building to house the Centre was completed recently.
iii. The third meeting of the India-Lesotho Joint Bilateral Cooperation Commission will be held in New Delhi on December 1, 2017.
Ambassadors of India to various countries:
♦ Saudi Arabia – Ahmad Javed
♦ Pakistan – Ajaey Bisaria
♦ Venezuela – Rahul Shrivastava
♦ Ivory Coast – R. Ravindra

India’s Jet, Air France-KLM announce tie-up on routes
On November 29, 2017, India’s airline operator, Jet Airways and Air France-KLM announced a tie-up to boost flights from the Indian subcontinent to Europe and then onwards to the United States.
More Information about Jet Airways, Air France-KLM Tie-up:
i. This tie-up could give Jet Airways, unrestricted access to Europe and North America and could reduce the scope of its existing partnership with Etihad Airways.
ii. As per the terms of this tie-up, Jet Airways and Air France-KLM will align their inventory and networks and will be selling one another’s tickets and frequent flyer programmes.
iii. Both the airlines will also work together on cargo operations. In future, both the entities may also look at synergies on maintenance and joint fuel purchases
iv. This tie-up which has been formed after a year-long talks is expected to lead to a 40% rise in India-Europe passenger traffic for both the carriers.
Key Facts about Jet Airways and Air France-KLM:

Jet Airways Air France – KLM
Founded in 1992 2004
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra Tremblay-en-France, France
Current Chairman Naresh Goyal Jean-Marc Janaillac

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Sibi George appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Holy See
On 20th November 2017, Sibi George was appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Holy See.Sibi George appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Holy SeeSibi George – Ambassador of India to the Holy See:
i. Sibi George is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 1993 batch. He is presently Ambassador of India to Switzerland.
ii. He has been concurrently appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Holy See, with residence in Berne. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
About Holy See:
♦ Also known as – See of Rome
♦ Official language – Latin
♦ Jurisdiction – Vatican City

Rathna Prabha appointed as Chief Secretary of Karnataka
On 28th November 2017, the Karnataka government appointed senior woman IAS officer K Ratna Prabha as the new chief secretary of Karnataka.
Rathna Prabha – Chief Secretary of Karnataka:
i. Rathna Prabha will be the third woman civil servant to hold the top bureaucratic post in Karnataka after Teresa Bhattacharya (2000) and Malati Das (2006) and the second woman to concurrently hold the top post in Karnataka with Neelamani N Raju, who is the Director General & Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP).
ii. Ratna Prabha is a 1981 batch IAS officer. She will succeed Subhash Chandra Khuntia, whose term ends on November 30, 2017. Ratna Prabha retires in March 2018.
Some dams of Karnataka:
♦ Almatti Dam – Krishna River
♦ Bhadra Dam – Bhadra River
♦ Krishna Raja Sagara Dam – Kaveri River
♦ Tungabhadra Dam – Tungabhadra River

Dia Mirza appointed as UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India
Actor-activist Dia Mirza has been appointed UN (United Nations) Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India.Dia Mirza appointed as UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for IndiaDia Mirza – UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India:
i. Dia Mirza is 35 years old. She has been recognised by the United Nations for her contribution to environment conservation.
ii. As a Goodwill Ambassador, she will work with the UN to further spread the message on priority areas including clean air, clean seas, wildlife protection and climate change.
iii. UN Environment head, Erik Solheim congratulated Dia Mirza to the programme. Dia Mirza has joined the prestigious list of UN Environment Goodwill Ambassadors, which includes Hollywood stars such as Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry and Emma Watson.
Some of the regional ambassadors of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):
♦ South Asia – India Aamir Khan (2014), Sachin Tendulkar (2013)
♦ Middle East and North Africa – Mahmoud Kabil (2004), Nancy Ajram (2009)
♦ Latin America – Diego Torres (2006), Ricardo Montaner (2007)

Ajay Kumar appointed secretary in Department of Defence Production
Ajay Kumar has been appointed as secretary in Department of Defence Production as part of a top-level minor bureaucratic reshuffle effected on 28thNovember 2017.
Ajay Kumar – secretary in Department of Defence Production:
i. Ajay Kumar is a 1985-batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre. He is at present additional secretary in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. He has been appointed secretary in Department of Defence Production with effect from December 1, 2017.
ii. Raghvendra Singh, director general, National Archives has been made culture secretaryPritam Singh, additional secretary in Corporate Affairs Ministry, will be director general, National Archives.
iii. Apurva Chandra will be additional secretary and director general (acquisition) in defence ministryG C Murmu, additional secretary in Department of Financial Services, has been moved to the revenue department in the same capacity.
About National Archives of India (NAI):
♦ Purpose – repository of the non-current records of the Government of India
♦ Functions as – an Attached Office of the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Culture
♦ Location – Delhi

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Planet Labs to launch 4 satellites on board PSLV-C40
On 29th November 2017, Planet Labs Inc, a US-based integrated aerospace and data analytics company, said four of its Dove satellites will be launched aboard India’s PSLV-C40 mission, scheduled to fly in January 2018.
Planet Labs to launch 4 satellites on board PSLV-C40:
i. The primary payload for PSLV-C40 mission is Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Cartosat-2 Series satellite, and Planet Lab’s four satellites will ride as secondary payloads.
ii. In February 2017, Planet Lab’s 88 Dove satellites travelled on the PSLV-C37 as part of ISROs record-breaking launch of 104 satellites.
iii. The four Dove satellites on the upcoming launch are tech demos responsible for testing improvements to several of the satellite subsystems, including camera technology, thermal control, and altitude determination & control system.
About Planet Labs:
♦ Founded – 2010
♦ Headquarters – San Francisco, U.S
♦ CEO – Will Marshall

North Korea tests “Hwasong-15” most powerful ICBM
North Korea has claimed that “Hwasong-15” test-fired on 29th November 2017 is a new type of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that can strike anywhere on the US mainland.North Korea tests Hwasong-15 most powerful ICBMHwasong-15:
i. North Korea’s Hwasong series represents the most successful and formidable part of its ballistic missile arsenal. “Hwasong-15” was North Korea’s 20th launch of a ballistic missile in 2017.
ii. The missile was reported to have flown for 50 minutes on a very high trajectory, reaching 2,796 miles (4,500km) above the earth (more than 10 times higher than the orbit of the International Space Station) before coming down nearly 621 miles from the launch site off the west coast of Japan. This would make it the most powerful of the three ICBMs North Korea has tested so far.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) of India:
♦ Agni-V – 5,500 – 8,000 km
♦ Agni-VI – 10,000 – 12,000 km
♦ Surya missile – 12,000 – 16,000 km

Manohar Parrikar launches farmer engagement app ‘Jai Kisaan’
On 29th November 2017, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar launched the Jai Kisaan App, a farmer engagement app containing features and functions to fulfill the needs of the farmer community in India.
Jai Kisaan app:
i. The Jai Kisan app is a one-stop solution on agricultural information and cultivation, covering crop nutrition, protection, seeds, and diagnostic services.
ii. Its services include soil testing and customized information wherein farmers will have access to fertilizer recommendations on the basis of crop and target yields.
iii. Other benefits of the application include access to commodity market prices and a five day weather forecast, to assist the farmer in making critical decisions related to his farm income.
iv. The Jai Kisaan app has set a target of 10,000 user base by the end of March 2018. The Jai Kisaan App is a mobile solution from Adventz Group.
About Adventz Group:
♦ Indian conglomerate that contributes to India’s economic growth and prosperity through transformational change
♦ Founder Chairman – Late Dr. K. K. Birla

SPORTS

France beat Belgium to claim its 10th Davis Cup (tennis)
On 26th November 2017, France won its 10th Davis Cup title when France’s Lucas Pouille beat Belgium’s Steve Darcis by 6-3 6-1 6-0 to give France a 3-2 victory in the final against Belgium.France beat Belgium to claim its 10th Davis CupFrance won its 10th Davis Cup:
i. This is France’s first title since they beat Australia in 2001 before three defeats in the final in 2002, 2010 and 2014. Belgium, on the other hand has yet to win the title, having now lost three finals after defeats in 1904 and 2015.
ii. Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win a grand slam title, celebrated his third title as captain after leading France to victory in 1991 and 1996.
iii. France took the lead when the pair of Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, beat Belgian’s Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore in four sets.
About 2017 Davis Cup:
♦ Tournament between national teams in men’s tennis
♦ Edition – 106th
♦ Sponsored by – BNP Paribas
♦ Duration – 3 February – 26 November 2017

Competition Commission imposes Rs. 52.24 crore penalty on BCCI
On 29th November 2017, the Competition Commission (CCI) imposed a fine of Rs 52.24 crore on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for anti-competitive practices with respect to the Indian Premier League.
Rs. 52.24 crore penalty on BCCI:
i. The Competition Commission had penalised the BCCI for the same amount in February 2013 as well, but that penalty was set aside by the appellate tribunal after an appeal by the BCCI.
ii. In its 44-page order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had said the penalty of Rs 52.24 crore comes to nearly 4.48 % of the average of the BCCI’s relevant turnover during the last three financial years.
iii. Although at present, the average of BCCI’s turnover is slightly higher than the one which was considered by the CCI while passing the order in February 2013, CCI said it prefers to maintain the penalty amount.
About Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI):
♦ Founded – 1926
♦ Affiliation – International Cricket Council
♦ President – Vinod Rai

Odisha Chief Minister unveils logo & mascot of Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018
On 29th November 2017, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik unveiled the logo and mascot for the Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.Logo & mascot of Hockey World Cup 2018:
i. Naveen Patnaik launched the countdown timer for the Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 scheduled to be held in Odisha from November 28 to December 16, 2018.
ii. 16 countries, including India, will participate in the 14th edition of the Hockey World Cup. Patnaik also gave away cash awards worth Rs 76.75 lakh to 59 sportspersons from Odisha for their outstanding contributions in their respective sports.
iii. Hockey players Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidas, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo and Rashmita Minz were given cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakheach. Para athletes Jayanti Behera, Pramod Bhagat, Mohit Tandi were also present in the list.
Some of the stadiums in India:
♦ Salt Lake Stadium – Kolkata
♦ Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium – Hyderabad
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – Kochi

OBITUARY

Egyptian actress and singer Shadia passed away
On 28th November 2017, Shadia, an Egyptian actress and singer who captivated Arab audiences for decades died.
Death of Shadia:
i. Shadia’s death was announced on Egypt’s State Information Service website, which did not say where she died. A stroke had left her in a coma at a Cairo military hospital recently.
ii. Shadia played roles in more than 100 films in a career that began in the late 1940s. Shadia was named Fatimah Shaker by her parents. But she was known throughout her career as Shadia. She was married three times but had no children.
iii. In honour of the artistic career of Shadia, Cairo International Film Festival dedicated its 39th edition to Shadia to celebrate her iconic contribution to the Egyptian cinema.
About Cairo International Film Festival:
♦ Location – Cairo, Egypt
♦ Founded – 1976
♦ Awards – Golden Pyramid Award