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Current Affairs Today – October 18 2016

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CAT OctoberINDIAN AFFAIRS

Modi inaugurates three hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh
i. Prime Minister Modi inaugurated three state-run mega hydro power of 1,752 MW capacity in Himachal Pradesh during his day-long maiden visit to the state
ii. After visiting Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana and he launched two schemes-National SC/ST Huband Zero Defect Zero Effect scheme with an initial outlay of Rs 490 crore
iii. He distributed 500 traditional wooden chark has to women spinners belonging to the five local Khadi institutions.
iv. Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh submitted a 13-point memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 18, 2016 at Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

16 countries participating in Pakistan military exercises 
i. Sixteen countries are slated to participate in the 5th Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System military exercises began on October 18, 2016 in Lahore
ii. The countries will take part in the six-day drills aimed at enhancing physical and military capabilities of troops.
iii. Sixteen Countries :
Nepal, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, China, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Maldives, Bahrain, Australia, USA, Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan.
Lahore :
♦ Lahore is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab.
♦  It is the 32nd most populous urban city in the world

BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreated 2016 Outcome – commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms
The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries have expressed commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
♦ In this regard, seven nations of BIMSTEC countries have issues Leaders Retreat Outcome Document emphasising that there can be no justification for acts of terror.
BIMSTEC :BIMSTEC
i. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is the sub-regional group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
ii. They are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka (from South Asia) and Myanmar, Thailand (from South East Asia).
iii. Established:6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
iv. Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh and Chairmanship: Nepal(Since 2014)

Emir of Kuwait dissolved parliament
i. Kuwait’s Emir Sabah bin Ahmed al-Sabah announced the dissolution of parliament and early elections on Nov. 26. This came hours after an appearance on Al-Rai Television by parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanim calling for such elections to take place
ii. The moves follow disputes between MPs and the government over fuel price increases in the oil-rich country.As oil prices around the world stay low, Kuwait’s government has cut some benefits including fuel subsidies, hiking the cost of petrol by up to 80%. This led to growing dissent.
iii. Three such changes prompted the emir’s decision to dissolve parliament and raise the stakes of the next election’s results. First, lowering fuel subsidies , regional tensions after the 2011 Arab Uprisings and an Islamic State attack on a mosque in Kuwait City last year and tribal groups that boycotted the 2013 elections remain unsatisfied.
iv. Kuwait’s parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf region, but the ruling al-Sabah family has the final word over all key decisions and has dissolved the legislature repeatedly in the past.
Kuwait:
♦ Capital: Kuwait City
♦  Currency: Kuwaiti dinar

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI launches survey to seek information on order books in manufacturing companies
i. RBI has launched the survey to seek quantitative information on order books, inventories and capacity utilisation of companies in the manufacturing sector, a key input for monetary policy formulation.
ii. The survey seeks quantitative information on order books, inventories and capacity utilisation, such as, pending order books, backlog order books, total inventories, finished goods inventories, work in progress inventories and installed capacity from companies in the manufacturing activities.
iii. The information on installed capacity, quantity produced, value of production, etc, is used for calculating the capacity utilisation at industry as well as at national level.
iv. The survey provides a significant input to the Reserve Bank in monetary policy formulation.

SEBI appoints 3-member panel to look into NSEL cases
i. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has appointed a three-member panel to look into National Spot Exchange (NSEL) scam. The initial probe in the case had revealed that some brokers involved in the NSEL’s Rs 5,574 crore payments crisis had mis-sold products.
ii. The investigations have concluded last month and the case has been referred to a bench under Section 11 (B) of SEBI, which protects the interest of the market.
iiii. The audits are for books of 2011-12 and 2012-13 to investigate allegations of mis-selling of NSEL products as investment opportunities misleading the investors.
iv. The five brokers include Anand Rathi Financial Services, India Infoline Commodities, Geofin Comtrade, Motilal Oswal Commodities and Philip Commodities

BUSINESS

Cipla signed deals to set up first biosimilars units in South Africa 
i. Indian pharmaceutical major Cipla has signed a memorandum of agreement for South Africa’s first biosimilars manufacturing facility to be set up at a cost of nearly $91 million.
ii. The facility would be South Africa’s first biotech manufacturing unit for the production of biosimilars. It is set to produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.
iii. The agreement with KwaZulu-Natal Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone for Cipla BIOTEC’s new facility was concluded on the margins of BRICS Summit in Goa.
iv. Cipla Limited is an Indian multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company,headquartered in Mumbai, India.It was founded by Dr. Khwaja Abdul Hamied as ‘The Chemical, Industrial & Pharmaceutical Laboratories’ in 1935 in Mumbai.

Ashok Leyland rolled out first India-made electric bus 
i. The Hinduja flagship Ashok Leyland has launched its first locally designed, engineered and produced battery electric bus series Circuit.
ii. A zero-emission, non-polluting vehicle created specifically for Indian road and passenger conditions, the bus has a seating capacity ranging from 35 to 65.
First Electric Bus in Indiaiii. These buses were unveiled in lines with National Electric Mobility Plan which aims at a 20% penetration of electric/hybrid (eco-friendly) vehicles by 2020. They enjoy a subsidy under the Central government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.
iv. It could be used in heritage sites, metro stations, tarmacs, rural areas, hill stations and by IT firms and educational institutions. Already, State Transport Undertakings in Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have shown interest.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

IRCTCs Maharajas Express gets Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Award
i. The Maharajas’ Express, the world’s most luxurious train owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), received the 2016 Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards at Marbella in Spain.
ii. The award for the highly decorated train was received by IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director Dr A K Manocha in the ‘Seven Star Experience Sector’.
iii. As part of the award, Maharajas’ Express was presented the “Signum Virtutis“, the seal of Excellence, from the Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards at an impressive function held at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella.
iv. The 23-coach Maharajas’ Express currently runs on five routes with choices of 7 Nights/8 Days and 3 Nights/4 Days itineraries. The itineraries cover destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Balasinor, Ajanta, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Lucknow.

Robert De Niro To Receive 2017 Chaplin Award
i. Robert De Niro to award with 44th annual Chaplin Award at the annual Chaplin Award Robert De Niro To Receive 2017 Chaplin Awardgala announced by The Film Society of Lincoln Center .
ii. He is selected for for a four-decade acting career that stretches from early work including “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull” and “The Godfather Part II” to more recent projects such as “Silver Linings Playbook“.
iii. He joins a list of previous Chaplin recipients that includes Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep, Billy Wilder and last year’s honoree, Morgan Freeman.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa: World’s tallest tower is now the world’s tallest Lego structure.
i. An amusement park in Dubai claims to have the world’s tallest lego building structure, a model based on Burj Khalifa skyscraper.
ii. It is designed and built using 4,39,000 lego bricks with a height of 17 metres.
iii. It will feature six themed lands – Lego City, Adventure, Kingdoms, Imagination, Factory and Miniland – each unique in their design, entertainment and playful learning experience.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Visa CEO Charles Scharf to resign, ex-AmEx president to take over
i. The San Francisco-based payments network Visa’s CEO Charles Scharf is resigned from his post on October 17, 2016.He will be replaced by Alfred Kelly.It is effective from December 1, 2016.
ii. Alfred is a member of Visa’s board and a former president at American Express Co.
iii. Scharf(51) joined Visa in November 2012 after spending most of his career in the banking industry, including a seven-year stint running the enormous retail-banking division of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Visa:
♦ It is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States
♦ It facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit cards and debit cards

Jayasuriya named as brand ambassador of the Stairs School Football League (SSFL)
i. Former Sri Lankan cricket skipper Sanath Jayasuriya was named as brand ambassador of the third edition of the STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) which will begin from October 19, 2016.
ii. STAIRS (Society For Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports) is a not-for-profit organisation working towards sports, education, health and skill development of children across India.
iii. STAIRS founder and secretary general : Siddhartha Upadhyay
Sanath Jayasuriya :
♦ Jayasuriya is considered as one of the greatest One Day International players of all time, due to powerful striking and match winning all-round performances.
♦ He is the only player to score over 12,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in One Day International cricket.
♦ He was named the Most Valuable Player of 1996 Cricket World Cup

Saina Nehwal appointed member of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission 
i. Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal received a rare honour for an Indian sport sperson today with her appointment as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.Saina Nehwal
ii. Saina has received a letter to the effect from the IOC President informing her of the appointment.The Commission is chaired by Angela Ruggiero and comprises nine vice presidents and 10 other members.
iii. Though the player was not present to comment on the honour, Saina’s father Harvir Singh spoke about his jubilation over her appointment to the Olympic panel.
iv. Indian shuttler SainaNehwal received an honorary doctorate in literature from SRM University in Chennai. Saina, in her acceptance stated that her father would be very proud of her. Notably, Nehwal is the third sports person to be conferred a doctorate by the university.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India set to complete N-triad with Arihant commissioning
i. India is finally close to operationalising its long-awaited nuclear weapons triad — the capability to launch nukes from land, air and sea.
ii. INS Arihant’s 750km and 3,500km missiles may be somewhat dwarfed by SLBMs with ranges of well over 5,000km with the US, Russia and China, but the completion of the nuclear-triad is critical for a country like India, which has a clearly declared policy of “no first-use” of nuclear weapons.
iii. INS Arihant has undergone a whole host of surface and “dived” sorties during its trials to prove its sea-worthiness. But the full weapons integration with the “K” (named after former president APJ Abdul Kalam) series of SLBMs will take some more time. While the K-15SLBM has a 750-km range, the K-4 can go up to 3,500-km.
iv. INS Arihant is the first of three such SSBNs being constructed under the secretive ATV programme launched decades ago. The construction of the second one, INS Aridhaman, is also almost complete now, with its delivery slated for 2018.

New sensor could detect vitamin B12 deficiency within minutes
i. Scientists have developed a new world-first optical sensor that could quickly detect vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B12ii. The device would enable the tracking of vitamin B12 levels in high-risk patients and early intervention – to top up vitamin B12 levels when low – and help overcome the limitations of current testing methods which are time-consuming and costly.
iii. Vitamin B12 deficiency cause potential modifiable risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s.The sensor is still at proof-of-concept stage but, with development, has wide-reaching potential applications.
iv. Currently,This device could not aid in diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency in a general practice setting.This is the first time a rapid technique based on optical spectroscopy has been shown to be able to detect vitamin B12 in human blood serum.

ENVIRONMENT

September 2016 was the hottest month on record: NASA
i. According to data provided by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), under the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), the month of September 2016 was the hottest September on record.
ii. September 2016’s temperature was a razor-thin 0.004 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest September in 2014.
iii. The record-warm September means 11 of the past 12 consecutive months dating back to October 2015 have set new monthly high-temperature records.
iv. The new findings follow record-breaking monthly anomalies throughout this year, leading the agency to believe that because of the highs reported so far, 2016 will take the crown as warmest in the 136 years of modern data-keeping.

SPORTS

Indian Wrestlers bagged four medals at 2016 TAFISA World Games
i. Indian wrestlers in October 2016 clinched four medals, including a gold medal, at the  sixth edition of the TAFISA World Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.TAFSIA _ Jakarta 2016
ii. Dalmiya outplayed Muhammad Sahan of Azerbaijan 4-1 in the summit clash to clinch the yellow medal. Experienced Luv Singh defeated Muhammad Kashif of Iran 5-3 in the 80 kg category to advance and then made it to the finals by beating Belarus Jordan 8-6.
iii. Naveen Kumar clinched bronze medal in 90 Kg category. He defeated Oleg of Lit huania 5-2 to claim the bronze medal.Josil clinched bronze medal in the in the super heavyweight section. He defeated Mustafa Sultani of Afghanistan 3-1 to win the bronze medal for the country.
iv. Three gold medals were won by three women martial arts players from Thane. Aarti Chaudhari (29), Vishruti Waghmare (16) and Siddhi Jadhav (10) won the gold medals in JeetKune-do, a form of martial arts.

Novak Djokovic retained top spot in ATP rankings
i. Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic retained the top spot with 12.900 points in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings released recently.
ii .Djokovic lost 640 points after he was defeated by Spain’s Roberto Bautista in the Shanghai Masters’ semi-final clash.Scotish player Andy Murray garnered 640 points after winning Shanghai Masters to be at second spot with 10.485 points.
iii. Canadian Milos Raonic jumped to the fourth spot with 4.690 points, leaving Japanese Kei Nishikori in the fifth place with 4.650 points.
ATP rankings list and points:

Rank Player
1 Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 12.900 points
2 Andy Murray (Scotland) 10.485
3 Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 5.820
4 Milos Raonic (Canada) 4.690
5 Kei Nishikori (Japan) 4.650
6 Rafael Nadal (Spain) 4.380
7 Gael Monfils (France) 3.815
8 Roger Federer (Switzerland) 3.720
9 Tomas Berdych (Czech) 3.300
10 Dominic Thiem (Austria) 3.250.

Amit Mishra fastest Indian spinner to take 50 ODI wickets
i. Indian spinner Amit Mishra has completed his 50 ODI wickets in India’s 900th One Day International match(India vs New Zealand – 1st ODI) and it was his 32nd ODI match.
Amit Mishraii. With this India became the first country to play 900 ODIs.
iii. The previous fastest Indian spinner to complete 50 ODI wickets was the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in 34 ODIs.
iv. Also, Amit Mishra became the fourth fastest Indian bowler to complete 50 ODI wickets. The top three fastest Indian bowlers to achieve this feat are Ajit Agarkar (23 ODIs), Mohammed Shami (29 ODIs) and Irfan Pathan (31 ODIs).

OBITUARY

Octogenarian Freedom Fighter Jhanwar Lal Harsh Dies
i. An octogenarian freedom fighter Jhanwar Lal Harsh died due to age-related illness at Bikaner in Rajasthan.He was 88.
ii. Octogenarian – a person who is between 80 and 89 years old.