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Current Affairs Today – October 20 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Aung San Suu Kyi to embark on three day-visit to India
i. In her first visit after becoming State Counsellor, Myanmarese leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in India on October 16 on a four-day trip during which she attended BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Goa and held talks with Prime Minister Narendra on key bilateral and regional issues.
ii. India and Myanmar have agreed for close security coordination in border areas keeping in view the sensitivity of each other’s strategic interests.
iii. As a part of efforts to improve ties between India and Myanmar, the two countries signed 3 MoUs in the presence of Narendra Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi.
iv. India and Myanmar signed three MoUs for cooperation in insurance, power and banking sectors

Three day conference of Indian Air Force held in New Delhi
i. The three-day Air Force Commanders’ Conference held at Air force Headquarters, New Delhi. The Air Force Commanders briefed the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on various issues relating to operational capability, maintenance and HR. Future plans for enhancing IAF’s capability were also discussed.
ii. The Air Chief expressed satisfaction with the operational preparedness of the IAF to meet any challenge to National security.
iii. The Commanders the Government’s appreciation of the professionalism displayed by the IAF in execution of airlift of Indians from Yemen.
iv. On the last day,the OFB, BDL and HAL teams put on table the constraints on their side and both parties agreed to take the programmes forward through discussions and by working out mutually acceptable solutions.

Railways & Urban Development Ministries signs MoU to redevelop stations under smart city plans
i. Railways  and Urban Development Ministries signed an MoU for five years to redevelop railway stations and adjoining areas on smart city lines for enhancing passenger amenities, easy access to stations, enabling optimal utilisation of land at railway stations.
ii. According to this MoU , initially 10 cities could be taken up for the proposed redevelopment with the involvement of public sector construction company NBCC (India) Ltd.
iii. These cities are Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao(Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry.
iv. The MoU proposes two joint venture options for speedy redevelopment of railway station centred areas
1. First Phase : Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for execution of Smart City Plans, with equal share in equity.
2.Second Phase : NBCC can be roped in with equal share among the three and design, develop and execute the redevelopment plans on self-financing basis.

President of India Inaugurates the 28th Accountants General Conference 
i. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 28th Accountants General Conference in New Delhi.The founding drafters of our Constitution had envisaged a prominent role for public audit in our country’s governance and accountability framework.
President of India Inaugurates the 28th Accountants General Conferenceii. Public expenditure has increased manifold and the scope and range of governmental activities have multiplied exponentially. At the time of independence, in 1946-47, the receipts of Government of India amounted only to Rs.3,706crore and its expenditure to Rs.3,443 crore. Nearly seven decades later, in 2014-15, government receipts and expenditure had both increased to about Rs. 17 lakh crore
iii. Increased use of technology platforms would help to ensure that benefits of Government schemes and programmes effectively reach the disadvantaged and financially excluded sections of society.
iv. Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker, Lok Sabha, Shri KV Thomas, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee and Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

SC’s poser on misuse of religion in elections
i. The practice of using the mass appeal of religious leaders to canvas votes for candidates is questioned by  the Supreme Court asked whether it amounts to a corrupt electoral practice to rope in clerics or priests to flex their religious sway over their flock to swing votes
ii. SC hearing on the practice of using the mass appeal of religious leaders to canvas votes for candidates. Case is being heard by a seven-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice T.S. ThakurThe Bench is re-considering its 1995 verdict which held that canvassing votes in the name of ‘Hindutva/Hinduism’ did not prejudicially affect any candidate as Hindutva is a way of life of the people in the sub-continent and ‘a state of mind’.
iii. The 1995 judgment, delivered by Justice J.S. Verma, found that the statement by Joshi that the ‘first Hindu State would be established in Maharashtra’ did not amount to appeal on ground of religion
iv. Mr. Datar, at one point, referred to two speeches made in 1990 by the late Shiv Senasupremo Balasaheb Thackeray and another by the late Pramod Mahajan in which reference to ‘Hindutva’ was made to garner votes for the Shiv Sena and BJP candidates.

India’s second eco-friendly airport in Vadodara is all set to open its doors to passengers.
i. A new terminal is equipped with facilities of international standard IN Vadodara.The facility has also been rated by Green Ratings of International Habitat Assessment, the highest national rating for green buildings considered by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
ii. This terminal building boasts of several features of a green building. Energy efficient glass has been used. A sheet measuring 164.4 mts has been used on roof top, which is a world record. As a green initiative, sugarcane pulp has been used for decoration at the VIP and CIP lounge. Several other features of a green building have been incorporated in the building.
iii. The new integrated modular terminal building at Vadodara is part of the central government’s ongoing project to modernize existing airports and develop them on part with international airports.
iv. Constructed for a whopping Rs.160 crores, the new facility is spread over an area of 17,500 square metres. With 18 check-in counters, it has a capacity to manage as many as 700 passengers, including 200 international passengers, during peak hours.

Maharashtra government launches ‘Kaushalya Setu’ skill-development programme
i. Maharashtra government launched ‘Kaushalya Setu’, its skill development programme for students.
ii. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) Rajiv Pratap Rudy and state Education Minister Vinod Tawde were present on the occasion.
iii. Under the Kaushalya Setu initiative, students of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, who fail to clear Class X or SSC exam, would be accommodated in the skill development courses.
iv. The state will play a leading role in fulfilling PM Narendra Modi’s Skill India Mission-2020.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Vice President Hamid Ansari five-day visit to Hungary, Algeria
i. Vice President Hamid Ansari was on a five-day visit to Hungary and Algeria, where he raised the matter of cross-border terrorism and a host of other bilateral issues.The Vice-President had wide-ranging interaction sessions with government leaders and others in both Budapest and Algiers.
ii. India and Hungary signed two MoUs, including one on water management, during the three-day trip to the central European country.
iii. Ansari also met President of Algerian National People’s Assembly Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa and President of Council of Nations Abdelkader Bensalah and discussed with them various issues concerning both the countries.
iv. India is keen to join hands with Algeria to explore the possibility of setting up a multi-billion dollar fertiliser project

Saudi Prince executed for murdering a compatriot
i. A Saudi Arabian Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir was executed in October 2016 for shooting a man, Adel al-Mohaimeed, dead. He Prince shot the man during a noisy fight three years ago in the capital Riyadh.Saudi Prince executed for murdering a compatriot
ii. As per a report, he became the 134th person to be put to death in 2016. This incident is a rare example where a royal family member was executed after being subjected to the death penalty
iii. The victim’s family refused offers of “blood money” by which they would receive financial compensation in return for not demanding the death sentence.
iv. Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are convicted for murder and drug trafficking, although nearly 50 people convicted of terrorism offences were put to death on a single day in January, among them the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Second Joint tactical Exercise held by Indian and Chinese army in Ladakh 
i. The Indian and Chinese armies held Second Joint Exercise “Sino India Cooperation 2016” , as a sequel to the first Joint Exercise held in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrisonunder the provisions of Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, 2013.
ii. During the day-long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR), a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian border village was painted.Thereafter the joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance, a statement said here today
iii. The Indian Team for the exercise was led by Brigadier RS Raman and that of the Chinese was led by Sr. Col Fan Jun. The exercise was a great success and has not only refined the drills to provide succor to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
iv. The joint exercise, compliments the Hand in Hand series of the India -China joint exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along the border areas of India and China.

BANKING & FINANCE

SEBI re-constitutes panel on disclosure, accounting standards.
i. Capital Markets Regulator, SEBI has re-constituted its committee which advises the regulator on issues related to disclosure requirements and accounting practices for various entities in the securities market.
ii. The 17-member Committee on Disclosures and Accounting Standards will continue to be chaired by Tata Sons Director (Finance) Ishaat Hussain.
iii. Other members on the panel include Wipro CFO and Executive Director Suresh Senapaty, NSE Managing Director and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Director General AB K P Sasidharan and ICAIs P Vijay Kumar.
iv. The expert panel also includes representatives from Sebi, Finance Ministry and Corporate Affairs Ministry.
v. The committee was set up in 2006, under the chairmanship of chartered accountant YH Malegam. It is mandated to suggest ways to the Sebi to improve disclosure framework for listed companies and accounting practices of various market entities.

SBI declares Silchar as its 5th zone in North East
i. SBI has declared Silchar as its 5th zone in North East after Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh and Jorhat, which will cater to the banking needs of the people of Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur along with the Barak Valley.
ii. The bank has 736 branches across North East together with 3,000 ATMs and 3,000 customer service points for customer facilitation
iii. SBI also opened its administrative office at Silchar. A donation of Rs 11 lakh was handed over to Dr Ravi Kannan, Director Cachar Cancer Hospital Silchar by the Chief General Manager for setting up an oxygen unit at the hospital as a part of the bank’s CSR activity.

World Bank to loan $2 billion to Bangladesh to fight climate changeWorld Bank to support Swachh Bharat Missioni. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim announced USD 2 billion loans for Bangladesh to help Bangladesh to fight climate change.
ii. The USD 2 billion for climate change is in addition to USD 1 billion pledged by world Bank to end childhood stunted growth.
iii. Bangladesh is one of the worst victims of global warming, with thousands of people being killed by cyclones in recent years .
World Bank :
♦ It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA).
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Founded: December 27, 1945

BUSINESS

India To Lease Second Russian Akula-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine
i. In a deal reportedly worth close to $2 billion, India is set to acquire a second Akula2 nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia.
ii. The lease deal for the second nuclear submarine was finalised at a summit-level meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
iii. The attack submarine would arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21. The 6,000-tonne indigenous nuclear submarine that could fire nuclear ballistic missiles up to a range of 3,500- km was commissioned in secret even as Pakistan Defence Minister Khwaja Asif was invoking in public the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons against India.
iv. The Indian Navy already operates an Akula 2 class nuclear submarine, INS Chakra (formerly known as K-152 Nerpa), which was leased from Russia and commissioned on April 4, 2012 after India paid for its completion and sea-trials.
v. The lease of the 8,140 ton submarine was signed for a period of 10 years and with the lease set to expire in a few years, the Indian Navy has been keen acquire a second Russian nuclear submarine.

Azure Power becomes 1st Indian solar company to trade on NYSE
i. Azure Power Global Limited  become the first Indian solar company to be listed on NYSE after it announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 3,409,091 equity shares at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Azure Powerii. The IPO offering includes 2,242,424 equity shares to be sold by Azure Power and 1,166,667 shares to be sold by certain selling shareholders.
iii. Azure Power will also receive gross proceeds of $75 million from the sale of equity shares in connection with a concurrent private placement transaction at a price per share equal to $18.00 per equity share.
Azure Power Global Limited
Azure Power Global Limited produces and distributes solar power. It offers solar installation services.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Mumbai photographer Nayan Khanolkar wins wildlife award
i. Mumbai based Nayan Khanolkar got the one shot that would go on to win him the prestigious Wildlife Photographer Award, 2016 by the BBC and Natural History Museum in London
ii. Nayan was awarded the ‘Urban Wildlife category’ award in London. His picture shows a leopard staring directly into the lens as it walks underneath a tiny yellow bulb between two mud-splattered homes of tribals in Aarey Colony. This was the 52nd installment of the award, in which Khanolkar won from 50,000 entries across 90 countries.
iii. With his infrared cameras, he would place them at a strategic points, ensuring the camera settings were best to capture the light, and hoping that the leopard would pass in front of it.
iv. Khanolkar lives with his wife and parents in Dombivli. Every day, he would travel to Goregaon to check his cameras.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

LS Speaker accepts PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra’s resignation
i. Tariq Hameed Karra, founder member of PDP, today formally resigned from the Lok Sabha protesting against the “failure” of Parliament to make “any tangible moves” to end violence in Kashmir.
LS Speaker accepts PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra’s resignationii. Tariq Hameed Karra, an elected member of Lok Sabhafrom Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency of Jammu and Kashmir has resigned his seat in Lok Sabha and his resignation has been accepted by the Speaker.
iii. The reason why  Tariq Hamid Karra decided to quit the party has to do with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s handling of the situation in Kashmir.
iv. The MP who had decided to resign in September itself had commented that the ruling party in Jammu and Kashmir’s handling of the situation in the valley went against his ideals.
v. He also blamed the Centre for adding “fuel to fire” in the Valley with its arm-twisting attitude and imperialistic methods.The situation in the Kashmir valley after the death of the Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, was too much for the MP to witness. Explaining the condition of father’s who had to carry their young son’s coffins.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Milk from Tasmanian devils could fight superbugs: Study 
i. Mother’s milk from the marsupials known as Tasmanian devils could help the global fight against increasingly deadly “superbugs” which resist antibiotics was identified by Australian researchers.
ii. Superbugs are bacteria which cannot be treated by current antibiotics and other drugs, with a recent British study saying they could kill up to 10 million people globally by 2050.
iii. The marsupial’s milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, say the Sydney University team.
iv. They have scanned the devil’s genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.PhD student Emma Peel, who worked on the research which is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

SPORTS

Indian Railways wins World Railway Shooting Championship Cup
i. First time Western Railways Team won the 15th USIC- International Shooting World Championship with 10 medals(5 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze) held at Saint Mandrier, France.
ii. The team won Gold in 50 Meter Rifle Event, defeating Germany and France and Swapnil Kusale and Tejaswini Muley won Gold and Silver medal respectively.
iii. In Air Rifle Ayonika Paul won Gold by defeating France and Norway while Suma Shirur won silver and Western Railwayswon Bronze.
iv. In Air Pistol, all three Indian shooters Jitendra Vibhute, Sumedh Devlaliwala and Vipin Rana won Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively.
France :
♦ Capital: Paris
♦ Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
♦ President: François Hollande
♦ Prime minister: Manuel Valls

India Rise To Best FIFA Rankings In 6 Years
i. The Indian football team ranked 137th from 148 in the latest FIFA ranking in over six years after India defeated Puerto Rico in an International Friendly in Mumbai lat month.
ii. India were ranked 137th in 2010 which stayed India’s best ever FIFA Ranking
iii. Next year, India will host the Under-17 FIFA World Cup
FIFA Ranking – Top 5 countries :

Rank Country
1 Argentina
2 Germany
3 Brazil
4 Belgium
5 Colombia

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Book on Virat Kohli titled ‘Driven: The Virat Kohli Story’ launched in New Delhi 
Book on Virat Kohli' Driven: The Virat Kohli Story' launchedi. The book on Cricket Player Virat Kohli titled ‘Driven: The Virat Kohli Story’ was published in the presence of  Coach Raj Kumar Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri, Ashish Nehra, Ajay Jadeja, Karthik Murali, Hari Gidwani and Anjum Chopra in New Delhi
ii. The book was authored by senior journalist Vijay Lokapally and published by Bloomsbury India.
iii. The book celebrates the career of Virat Kohli and introduces readers to the man not known to many.

IMPORTANT DAYS

2016 World Statistics Day and International Prize
i. Renowned British statistician Sir David Cox has been awarded with the inaugural recipient of the International Prize in Statistics.
ii. The International Prize in Statistics recognizes a major achievement of an individual or team in the field of statistics and promotes understanding of the growing importance and diverse ways statistics, data analysis, probability and the understanding of uncertainty advance society, science, technology and human welfare.
iii. With a monetary award of $75,000, it is given every other year by the International Prize in Statistics Foundation
iv. International Statistics Day – The theme for this year is “Better Data, Better Lives”. This theme emphasizes the critical role of high-quality official statistical information in analysis and informed policy decision-making in support of sustainable development.

World Osteoporosis Day – October 20 2016
i. World Osteoporosis Day is observed on October 20 every year since 1997 to raising World Osteoporosis Day - October 20 2016global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.
ii. It was organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), World Osteoporosis Day involves campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world.
iii. 2016 Theme : Love Your Bones – Protect your Future