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Current Affairs Today – October 12 2016

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First BRICS Trade Fair & Exhibition began in New Delhi
i. The first BRICS Trade Fair and Exhibition began in New Delhi, ahead of the BRICS political summit in Goa.
ii. The three-day fair was held at Pragati Maidan. According to organisers, the fair has attracted more than 600 exhibitors
iii. Intra-BRICS trade grew to 297 billion US dollar in 2014, from 281 billion US dollar in 2012. The BRICS Business Forum, will be held tomorrow and over one thousand business delegates will participate from from all BRICS countries.

India donated Rs. 9.3 million to Mandela Foundation
i. India donated Rs.9.3 million (ZAR 2 million) to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to help it in its welfare work for the people of South Africa.
ii. At the offices of the Foundation in Johannesburg, Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam announced that  the donation was a direct result of the recent visit by Prime Minister Nar endra Modi.
iii. The Nelson Mandela Foundation was established in 1999 after the President Nelson Mandela retired as the President of South Africa. The Government of India helped in the building of the Foundation’s premises. The Foundation has duly acknowledged this contribution on the plaque at the entrance.
iv. India is supportive of the charitable work of the foundation covering a wide range of endeavours: from building schools to HIV/AIDS work, from research to peace and reconciliation interventions.

CERC panel suggests overhaul in transmission planning
Mata Prasad committee appointed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has suggested an overhaul in transmission planning to facilitate transfer of power on economic principles.
Committee Suggestions:
i. The transmission planning be aligned to meet customer aspirations as opposed to the existing system where transmission is associated with long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
ii. Transmission planning can be done on the basis of projected load of the states and anticipated generation scenario based on economic principles of merit order operation.
iii. In case of renewable energy sources, the transmission system may be planned by the central transmission utility (CTU) based on estimated capacity additions in perspective plan and renewable purchase obligations of each state.
iv. This is crucial as the Centre has already launched renewable energy capacity addition of 175 Gw by 2032. 

Union Government to commemorate birth centenary of Nanaji Deshmukh
i. The Union Government is going to commemorate the birth centenary of social activist and former RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh from October 11, 2016 to October 11, 2017. It was announced by the Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma during inaugural programmeorganised on the eve of the birth centenary celebrations.Nanaji
ii. Nanaji Deshmukh was born in Kadoli in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district on October 11, 1916 and passed away on February 27, 2010.
iii. Speaking at an inaugural programmeorganised on the eve of the birth centenary celebrations here, Sharma announced that various programmes would be organised during this period including Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2016 from October 15 to 23 in the premises of IGNCA, Janpath, New Delhi
iv .This would showcase Indian culture, traditions and food through various stalls besides art and culture shows by all seven zonal cultural centres (ZCCs) under the Ministry of Culture.
v. Kaptan Singh Solanki and Uma Bharti highlighted various aspects related to NanajiDeshmukh’s life and shared their memories and association with Nanaji


India ranks 97/118 in global hunger index
i. India ranked 97th out of 118 countries on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2016.
ii. Overall, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia fared the worst while Argentina fared the best among the countries included in the study.
iii. It is noted that Pakistan fares even worse and was placed 107 in the GHI list.
iv. The country had only the fifth highest rank in the whole of Asia, better than only North Korea (98), Pakistan (107), Timor-Leste (110) and Afghanistan (111).
v. Nepal (72), Sri Lanka (84), and Bangladesh (90) had higher ranks among 96 countries than India’s. Also, India had the lowest rank among BRICS nations, with Brazil in the top 16, Russia at 24, China at 29 and South Africa at 51

China rapped US interventions in Asia at regional forum
iBeijing rapped Washington  for its interventions in Asia, as tensions grow between the two powers over territorial disputes in the South China Sea and to handle increasingly erratic North Korea.
ii. Speaking at the 7th annual Xiangshan regional defence forum in Beijing, Chang Wanguan, China’s defence minister, levied thinly veiled criticism at recent US involvement in Asia’s trouble spots.
iii. Washington had conducted freedom of navigation operations close to artificial islands Beijing has built in the South China Sea, and had agreed to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea following repeated nuclear and missile tests by Beijing’s ally Pyongyang.
iv. The meeting – themed on “building a new type of international relations” –
followed a year of growing tension in the region, primarily centred on Beijing’s actions in the strategically vital South China Sea, where it has built islands capable of supporting military facilities.


ICICI Bank Executes India’s First Transaction On Blockchain
i. ICICI Bank has successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittances using blockchain technology in partnership with Emirates NBD.
ii. ICICI Bank is the first bank in the country and among the first few globally to exchange and authenticate remittance transaction messages as well as original international trade documents related to purchase order, invoice, shipping and insurance, among others, electronically on blockchain in real time.
iii. ICICI Bank executed these pilot transactions via its blockchain network with Emirates NBD on a custom-made blockchain application, co-created with EdgeVerve Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infosys.
iv. The pilot transaction was executed to showcase confirmation of import of shredded steel melting scrap by a Mumbai-based export-import firm from a Dubai-based supplier.

GST lent more weight to India’s 8% growth projection: S&P 
i. The most important structural reform by the Modi government, S&P Global Ratings released the report that the passage of the indirect tax law gives it additional conviction of India clocking 8 per cent growth in the next few years.
GST lent more weight to India’s 8% growth projectionii. Global Ratings agency S&P today announced that the India’s new Goods and Services Tax bill would provide impulse to the country’s target of growth.
iii. S&P termed GST the most important structural reform till date by the Narendra Modi-led government, reporting only improve efficiency, cross-state trade and tax buoyancy in the economy.
iv. The rating agency had last month projected India to clock a “steroid-free” growth of 8 percent in coming years.China has been nudged up as it raised the GDP growth forecast by about a quarter percentage point in 2016 and 2017 to 6.6 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, and has kept its 2018 forecast roughly unchanged at 6.1 percent.

Bank Of Maharashtra Renews Tie-Up With United India Insurance
i. Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) has renewed its corporate agency tie-up with United India Insurance Company (UIIC).
ii. Customers can buy the entire gamut of UIIC products at any of the 1,896 branches of the bank across the country.
iii.T hey can buy insurance products related to motor, fire, health, marine, overseas travel policy and personal accident from the bank’s branches.
About Bank Of Maharashtra:
♦ Bank of Maharashtra is a major public sector bank in India. Government of India holds 81.61% of the total shares.
♦ Headquarters: Pune
♦ Tagline: One Family One Bank

Standard Chartered Bank forms tie-up with Uber
i. Foreign lender Standard Chartered Bank announced a tie-up with Uber under which its credit cardholders, across six countries, will get a cash-back of up to 25 per cent for hailing cabs from the app.
ii. This is the first multi market partnership for the two companies.The partnership also activated in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
iii. The cardholders from India will get a 20 per cent cash-back on all Uber rides, subject to a cash—back cap of Rs.600 per month and first-time Uber users will get a discount of Rs.50 for the first three rides .
♦ Standard Chartered retail banking head :Shyamal Saxena
♦  UBER CEO :Travis Kalanick


IOC to lay India’s longest LPG pipeline
iIndian Oil Corp (IOC) planned to construct the nation’s longest LPG pipeline from Gujarat coast to Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh to supply to growing demand for cooking gas in the country.
ii. The Plan is to import LPG at Kandla in Gujarat and move it through the 1,987 kilometer pipeline to Gorakhpur via Ahmedabad (in Gujarat), Ujjain, Bhopal (in Madhya Pradesh), Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh)
iii.The pipeline would carry 3.75 million tonne per annum of LPG, IOC reported in an application to the sector regulator PNGRB seeking approval for the pipeline project.
iv. LPG would be fed into the pipeline at Kandla port as well as IOC’s Koyali refinery in Gujarat. This would be the biggest LPG pipeline in the country. GAIL currently operates a 1,415-km line from Jamnagar in Gujarat to Loni near New Delhi
v. The proposed pipeline would connect eight of IOC’s LPG bottling plants in Central and Northern India.The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had sought ‘expression of interest’ from companies wishing to take capacity in the pipeline.

Punjab Agricultural University signs MoU with FieldFresh to promote crop research
i. Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and FieldFresh Foods, a joint venture Punjab Univ & Field freshbetween Bharti Enterprises & Del Monte Pacific Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out a corn productivity research programme.
ii. The MoU follows the agreement signed recently between Cambridge University and Bharti Foundation to fund the research Programme.
iii. The three-year programme, to be funded by FieldFresh, will look at enhancing corn crop yield and minimising greenhouse gas emissions. 
iv. FieldFresh will also fund a post-doctoral fellowship to conduct field trials the company’s Agri Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Ludhiana, Punjab.


Former CM of Uttarakhand Nishank awarded by Ugandan govt for his literary work
i. Former Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank conferred with a prestigious award by the Ugandan government for promoting human values through his literature in Uganda on October 12 2016.
Former CM of Uttarakhand Nishankii. The award was presented by the Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. He published number of poems, novels and stories. Some of his literacy work translated into other languages like Tamil, Telungu, German and English.
iii. He was Chief Minister of Uttarakhand from 2009 to 2011. He is a Member of Parliament in 16th Lok Sabha. He represents the Haridwar Parliamentary Constituency of Uttarakhand in Lok Sabha


Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa’s portfolios allocated to FM O. Panneerselvam
i. Chief Minister portfolios held by ailing Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa have been allocated to Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam.The portfolios re-allocated include the Home and Public Departments and General Administration among others.
ii. The decision was taken by Governor Vidyasagar Rao has been taken on the advice of Ms Jayalalithaa who is undergoing treatment at a Chennai hospital since the 22nd of last month.
iii. Panneerselvam is empowered to chair state cabinet meetings also until the chief minister resumes her duties.
iv. He is viewed as a trusted aide of Ms Jayalalithaa and has also donned the role briefly as chief minister in September 2001 and September 2014, when Ms Jayalalithaa had to step down from her position as chief minister due to court rulings.

NBA Player Yao Ming Appointed as Chinese Ambassador to Mars
i. China appointed former NBA player Yao Ming was appointed as the Chinese Ambassador to China’s Mars mission by 2020.
ii. Yao Ming is the first to be appointed as an ambassador to a planet other than the Earth.
iii. China plans to land on Mars by 2020, two years behind SpaceX unmanned mission to the red planet in 2018
iv. China plans to send a 200-kilogram rover to the red planet to observe the composition ofYao MIng Martian regolith and the atmosphere on the planet in 2020
Mars :
♦ Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
♦ It is second-smallest planet in the Solar System
♦ It is also known as “Red Planet”
♦ The moons of Mars are Phobos and Deimos.

RBI ED G Mahalingam appointed Whole-Time Member at SEBI
i. Government has appointed Reserve Bank’s Executive Director G Mahalingam as a Whole-Time Member of markets regulator SEBI. 
ii.The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) can have three Whole-Time Members (WTMs). Mahalingam’s appointment follows the retirement of Prashant Saran as WTM in June this year.
iii. Gurumoorthy Mahalingam has been appointed as WTM for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
iv. He would be getting a consolidated monthly salary of Rs 3.75 lakh
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India.SEBI is managed by its members, which consists of following:
1.The chairman who is nominated by Union Government of India.
2.Two members, i.e., Officers from Union Finance Ministry.
3.One member from the Reserve Bank of India.
4.The remaining five members are nominated by Union Government of India, out of them at least three shall be whole-time members.

Raghunathan Elected National President Of AIMO
i. Former Regional Chairman of All India Manufacturers’ Association, K E Raghunathan has been elected as the National President of All India Manufacturer’s Association(AIMO) at the 75th Annual General Body Meeting held recently in Mumbai.
ii. Suresh Deora was elected as National General Secretary and Harish L Metha as the Honorary National Treasurer of AIMO
♦ The All India Management Association (AIMA) was created in 1957.
♦ AIMA is a federation of Local Management Associations (LMAs).
♦ The body has 14 regional units and has 140 sub-committees across the country.


NASA develops electroactive bandage to speed up wound healing  
i. A new high-tech material named  polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) or electroactive bandage developed by NASA that uses electricity to promote healing of injured wounds.
ii. It is proven that wounds tend to heal much more quickly if small amounts of electricity are applied to the surrounding tissue. However, the gauze pattern is also essential to the healing process.
iii. If the PVDF fibres are aligned correctly, cells on a wound use it as a scaffold, helping the wound to heal faster.
iv. The device can also be used by military personnel wounded in the field, patients who have undergone surgery and even those who have suffered a serious wound.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States.
It was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958


Virat Kohli presented with ICC Test Championship mace 
i. Virat Kohli was presented with the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace, following India’s win over New Zealand in the third Test at Indore, for leading his team to the top of the ICC Test Team Rankings.
Virat Kohli presented with ICC Test Championship maceii. India beat New Zealand by 321 runs in the third Test to clean sweep the series 3-0.India was guaranteed number-one spot on the ICC Test Team Rankings after they took a 2-0 lead in Kolkata.
iii. Since the Test team rankings are only updated at the end of the series, India formally replaced Pakistan at the top of the table at the end of the Indore Test.
iv. Kohli had become only the second India captain after Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 10th overall to receive the mace, even though it is for the third time since Kohli took over as captain that India has led the rankings table. India’s longest stint at the number-one position was from November 2009 to August 2011 under Dhoni.
v. The other captains to have received the mace are Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (all Australia), Andrew Strauss (England), Graeme Smith, HashimAmla (both South Africa) and Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan).

Ashwin regained number one spot in Test rankings
i. Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reclaimed the number one spot in Test rankings for bowlers/
ii. Ashwin, who was named man of the series after he finished with 27 wickets in a 3-0 sweep by India, now has 220 wickets, the most by any bowler after 39 Tests.
iii. Ashwin, who finished the 2015 year-end rankings as the number-one bowler and was also at the top briefly in July this year, has joined a select band to have touched a rating of 900 points since 2000, the others being Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock.
iv. In the rankings for Test batsmen, India’s middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane has attained a career-best sixth rank with scores of 188 and 23 not out.Rahane, whose previous best was eighth in August this year, has gained five slots after starting the match at 11th position.

Goa launched ‘Duck Boats’ to boost tourist football
i. Goa Tourism department added another attraction for tourists in the coastal state with the launch of a vessel, that could run on both land and water.
ii. Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar launched the vessels popularly known as ‘Duck Boats’ which is a first of its kind facility being used for civilian purpose (joy rides) in India.
iii. The operations of the joy rides would begin in November 2016. The vessels had been assembled in collaboration with Advanced Amphibious Design Inc Honolulu USA using a methodology and design which is cost effective, safe, durable and enjoyable.
iv. The maximum capacity for each vehicle is 32 seats. The circuit tours would operate from Panjim to Old Goa and Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary to showcase the natural and cultural treasures of Goa.

Aditi Ashok becomes first female Indian golfer to record 3 consecutive top 10 European Tour finishes
i. Aditi Ashok(18) from India recorded her third top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour at the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters held at the Golf Club Hubblerath, Germany. She tied at ninth position in the final.Aditi Ashok becomes first female Indian golfer to record 3 consecutive top 10 European Tour finishes
ii. She played her fourth successive one-under 69 round for her third straight top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.
iii. She was the only Indian female golfer in the Rio Olympics 2016.
iv. At the top, 34-year-old Beth Allen of the USA overturned a four-stroke deficit with nine holes remaining to claim a decisive victory. The American moved two ahead after Luna three-putted the 14th and she then soared three clear after making a short eagle putt on the long 15th.

Italy’s Olympic Committee officially withdrew  Rome bid to stage 2024 Games
i. Italy’s Olympic Committee had officially withdrawn its bid to stage the 2024 Games in Rome after the city council voted to oppose the candidacy.committee chief Giovanni Malago.
ii. Malago expressed that the Italy had not only been made to look stupid by backing out at this late stage, but had also missed out on a golden opportunity to attract badly needed foreign investment.
iii. A letter was sent  to the International Olympic Committee in which we have broken off our candidature for the Olympic Games in 2024 was announced by  Malago.
iv. Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi announced last month that she would not back Malago’s drive to put on the sporting extravaganza, saying that staging the Games would bury the Italian capital under piles of debt and tonnes of cement.
v. Raggi’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which took control of Rome in June following a landslide victory in local elections, had repeatedly flagged its opposition to hosting the Games, arguing that the city had more pressing concerns.


Former NC MP Mohammad Shafi Bhat dead
i. Senior National Conference leader and former MP Mohammad Shafi Bhat died at his residence after prolonged illness.Bhat was 71 and had been suffering from illness for the past few years.
ii. He breathed his last at his Tulsibagh official residence and he was later laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Rajbagh locality of uptown Srinagar.
iii. A law graduate, Bhat joined National Conference decades ago and got elected to the Lok Sabha on the party ticket from Srinagar parliamentary constituency in 1989.Bhat represented Amirakadal Assembly constituency of Srinagar on National Conference ticket in 1996.
iv. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, Working President Omar Abdullah and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had expressed profound grief and sorrow over the demise of Bhat and extended their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.