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India among five countries responsible for 50% newborn deaths
As per a report titled “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017”, India along with Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia is responsible for half of all new-born deaths in the world.
i. This report has been authored by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank Group and United Nations.
ii. Estimates of under-five, infant and neonatal mortality have been presented in this report. Besides, progress at the country, regional and global levels has also been assessed………………….Click here to view more detail
Dharmendra Pradhan launches Odisha’s first PNG supply in Bhubaneswar
On October 19, 2017, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Odisha’s first PNG (Piped Natural Gas) project in Bhubaneswar.About Odisha’s first PNG Project:
i. This PNG supply project is a part of ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’ pipeline project.
ii. It has been inaugurated almost six months ahead of its deadline of March 2018.
iii. Post this inauguration, PNG supply to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar of Bhubaneswar has been commenced under the first phase of this project.
iv. The target of the project is to provide one crore PNG connections in the state by 2020, of which, Ministry expects to cover a major portion of the city by the end of year 2019.
Gujarati New Year 2017
On 20th October 2017, the Gujarati New Year was celebrated by the Gujaratis.
Gujarati New Year:
i. The Gujarat is celebrate their New Year a day after Diwali. The Gujarati New year is also called Bestu Varas. It is celebrated on the first day of the Kartik month in the Shukla Paksha.
ii. The Gujarati New Year or Bestu Varas is also called Varsha-pratipada or Padwa. People cleaned their houses, prepared rangolis and wore new clothes and offered pujas at the temples. The most important work of the day was the beginning of the new accounting books for businesspersons.
iii. They prayed to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and Lord Ganesha (God of prosperity and well-being) for divine blessings. This puja is called Chopda Puja. Chopda in Gujarati means accounting books.
♦ Capital – Gandhinagar
♦ Governor – Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Chief Minister – Vijay Rupani
Government to organise Global Ayurveda meet in Kochi
Health Minister KK Shailaja told that, The State government will organise a four days international seminar and Global Ayurveda meet in Kochi on February 2018 .
i. The organisers of this seminar are B G Abhilash, Jabir Uralloor, N P Rajiv, K Pushavelli and Manoj Kaloor.
iii. This meet includes seminars, road shows, awareness campaigns, free health camps for women and children.
iv. The main fous of this seminar will be showcasing Kerala’s achievements in health tourism, healthcare and ayurveda, she said after inaugurating the Ayurveda Day celebrations the other day.
v. The Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF) is being organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action in association with the State government, Department of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH), Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organisations of India, Ayurveda Drug Manufactures Association and Kerala State Indian Systems of Medicine of Medicine Self Financing Management Association, State Department of AYUSH, Department of Tourism and Department of Industry.
♦ Chief Minister – Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Nick Name – GOD’s own country
♦ Capital – Thiruvanandapuram
NRCB signs agreement with Andhra Pradesh government
National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Andhra Pradesh State Government to develop technologies relating to banana production.Memorandum of Cooperation between Andhra Pradesh and NRCB:
i. The MoC was signed between Andhra Pradesh’s Industries and Commerce Department Secretary M.Girija Shankar and NRCB Director S. Uma in presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
ii. As per the terms of MoC, NRCB will serve as a ‘knowledge partner’ to Andhra Pradesh State Government in developing technologies towards value chain management, supporting banana export, organic production and waste utilisation.
iii. NRCB will also provide necessary training and will support growers and entrepreneurs in initial phase to promote indigenous and commercial varieties of banana for domestic and export markets.
Quick Facts about National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB):
♦ Established in – 1993
♦ Established by – Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
♦ Location – Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
♦ Current Director – S. Uma
Activists in Mumbai launched Chipko movement to protect Aarey Colony trees
On October 14, 2017, environmental activists in Mumbai launched Chipko movement to protect over 3,000 trees from being axed in Aarey Colony where Mumbai Metro Corporation is planning to construct a car shed.
i. Activists of Aarey Conservation Group, people in the locality and school children, protested by embracing the trees and appealed to the government to reconsider its decision to build a car shed in Aarey Colony.
ii. Aarey Milk Colony, also referred to as Aarey Colony is situated in Goregaon (East), Mumbai. On account of numerous trees in the colony, the Aarey Colony area serves as a green lung of Mumbai.
iii. Activists have argued that there are several other plots in the city on which the car shed for Mumbai Metro can be constructed without cutting down the trees and disturbing the ecological balance.
iv. This movement has also been supported by noted lyricist Piyush Mishra, who has compiled a video song to create awareness among people and the government to protect the trees.
Punjab CM restores special family pension for widows of govt employees killed by terrorists
On October 19, 2017, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh restored the Special Family Pension for widows of government employees killed by extremists.
i. The scheme was revoked in 2016 by the erstwhile Shiromani Akali Dal Government.
ii. Restoring this scheme was one of the pre-poll promises made by Captain Amarinder Singh before the February 2017 State elections.
iii. Captain Amrinder has not only restored the scheme but has also announced that pension under the scheme would be made available to the widow till her death. As per earlier provision of the scheme, widow was to be provided the pension only until her remarriage.
iv. Another noteworthy decision of Punjab Government has been to extend the Red Card scheme to families of police personnel killed during the militancy period. Till now, Red Cards were issued only to civilian victims of terrorism.
Section 247 of the Companies Act 2013, related to Valuation by Registered Valuers comes into force
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has issued a notification on commencement of Section 247 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Valuation by Registered Valuers) with effect from 18th October, 2017.Section 247 of the Companies Act 2013:
i. The Rules, provide regulations for Registration of Valuers, and to conduct valuation, under the Companies Act, 2013.
ii. Individuals, partnership entities and companies can act as valuers under the Companies Act after getting registered with an authority specified by the government.
iii.The Registered Valuers are also required to be members of the Registered Valuers Organisations (RVOs). The eligibility norms for RVOs have also been provided in the Rules.
iv. The Rules specify the mechanism to prescribe valuation standards, syllabus for conduct of valuation education courses and requirements related to the contents of the valuation report.
v. Entities that are already carrying out valuation activities, have time till 31st March, 2018 to get registered with the specified authority.
vi. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has been proposed to be the authority with respect to registration, recognition and other matters related to valuers.
About Ministry of Corporate Affairs:
♦ Minister of Corporate Affairs – Arun Jaitley
♦ Minister of State for Corporate Affairs – PP Choudhary
Kerala govt prohibits using ‘Dalit’, ‘Harijan’ in official communications
As per an internal circular of Kerala Information and Public Relations Department, words ‘Dalit’ and ‘Harijan’ will not be used in its official communications.
i. This circular is based on the directive from Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) Chairman Justice PN Vijayakumar.
ii. This directive has been issued to curb the growing influence of casteism in the state.
iii. It is believed that usage of words ‘Dalit’ and ‘Harijan’ promotes discrimination for the lower castes.
iv. Usage of word ‘Keezhalar’ has also been banned. ‘Keezhalar’ refers to scheduled communities.
v. During british rule, prior to 1935, the term Dalit was used as a translation for depressed classes in Census classification.
Lebanon’s parliament approves country’s first budget since 2005
On October 19, 2017, Lebanon’s parliament approved country’s first budget in 12 years.More Details about Lebanon’s First Budget since 2005:
i. This budget is aimed towards reforming the fragile economy and preventing rising debt from becoming a crisis-like situation.Political crisis gripped Lebanon since assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005, thereby preventing successive government from passing the budget.
ii. Politicians had blocked the current budget as well as previous budgets as they wanted to carry out an audit of extra-budgetary spending from previous years.
iii. However, Lebanese Parliament approved a law allowing the budget to be passed before such an audit is completed. The law also gave one year time to Finance Minister to carry out the audit.
iv .This year’s budget was considered a necessity to bring the Lebanese economy on track which has been negatively affected by inaction of previous Governments and also by six years of war in neighbouring Syria.
Quick Facts about Lebanon:
♦ Capital – Beirut
♦ Currency – Lebanese pound
♦ Current Prime Minister – Saad Hariri
World’s first floating wind farm in Scotland starts generating electricity
World’s first floating wind farm located over 15 miles off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in Scotland has started generating electricity.
About World’s first floating wind farm in Scotland:
i. Work of setting up this wind farm started in July 2017. The turbines used in this wind farm have been towed all the way from Norway by Norwegian multinational company named Statoil which has developed this wind farm.
ii. The farm consists five 6MW turbines. It is expected that this floating wind farm will generate 135GWh of electricity each year.
iii. In floating wind farms, turbines are installed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore wind farms.
iv .This is done by mounting the turbines on top of a ballasted steel cylinder that is anchored to the sea floor using three anchored mooring lines.
Nasscom to set up centres of excellence to better learn AI
Software industry association National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is setting up centres of excellence on artificial intelligence (AI) and data sciences for a better understanding on the emerging technologies.More Details:
i. These centres of excellence are being set up in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
ii. Work related to mapping the resources available in India for developing AI will be carried out at these centres.
iii. These centres will also promote AI-based start-ups and will enlist global best practices including regulatory aspects.
iv. In the current scenario, where the stalwarts of the technology industry are divided between whether or not to regulate AI, NASSCOM’s President R Chandrasekhar has stated that technologies should first be allowed to mature freely before any regulations are imposed.
Quick Facts about NASSCOM:
♦ Founded in – 1988
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – Raman Roy
US starts antidumping probe against PTFE resin from India
The US has initiated an antidumping duty investigations against the import of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from India and China, according to the US Department of Commerce.
i. These investigations were started based on petitions filed by the Chemours Company on September 28.
ii. The U.S. Department of Commerce said had done the investigation into whether imports of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from India and China were being dumped on the U.S. market.
iii. The department said it was also initiating a countervailing duty (CVD) investigation to determine whether producers of PTFE resin in India are receiving unfair subsidies.
iv. The department has stated that the estimated dumping margins alleged by the petitioner ranges from 23.4 per cent- 408.9 per cent for China and 15.8 per cent to 128.1 per cent for India.
v. In the antidumping investigations, it said the department would determine whether imports of the resin from China and India are being dumped in the American market at less than fair value.
vi. Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.
♦ The PTFE is mostly used as a non-stick coating for utensils.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Adesina Receives 2017 World Food Prize Laureate Award
DR. AKINWUMI AYODEJI ADESINA,the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), will be recognized as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.i. He was Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and rural development
ii. Through his roles over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria, Dr. Adesina has been at the forefront of galvanizing political will to transform African agriculture through initiatives to: expand agricultural production, thwart corruption in the Nigerian fertilizer industry and exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent.
iii. The award event had participants from 50 countries in the world’s agriculture community.
iv. Kim Reynolds, Governor, State of Iowa speaking on Adesina’s feat said “The honour is being bestowed on Adesina for inspiring young people and promoting food security.”
♦ Capital – Abuja
♦ Motto – Unity and Peace, Faith and Progress
♦ President – Muhhamadu Bhuhari
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Ranjit Kumar resigns as Solicitor General of India
On 20th October 2017, Ranjit Kumar resigned as the Solicitor General of India.
Ranjit Kumar’s resignation:
i. Ranjit Kumar submitted his resignation to the law ministry. He has mentioned “personal reasons” as the factor behind his resignation. He stated that, he has resigned from his post to give more time to family members.
ii. He is considered as an expert on constitutional laws. He was appointed as Solicitor General of India in 2014. He has represented the Central government in many high-profile cases in the Supreme Court.
iii. Ranjit Kumar’s second term as the Solicitor General of India was renewed in June 2017. Prior to his appointment as Solicitor General of India, he had been a counsel for the Gujarat government.
About Solicitor General of India:
♦ Purpose – Indian government’s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India
♦ Term length – 3 years
Jacinda Ardern to become New Zealand Prime Minister
New Zealand Labour Party’s leader Jacinda Ardern is set to become youngest-ever female Prime Minister of New Zealand.More Details:
i. September 2017 elections in New Zealand returned a hung Parliament and uncertainty prevailed as to who shall be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand.
ii. However, Winston Peters, the leader of NZ First party has announced his party’s support to Ardern in a coalition government.
iii. A coalition government comprising New Zealand Labour Party, NZ First and Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand will now come to power under the leadership of Jecinda Ardern.
iv. 37 year old Jecinda Ardern will become New Zealand’s third female prime minister (after Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark). She will also be the second-youngest Prime Minister of New Zealand after Edward Stafford.
Quick Facts about New Zealand:
♦ Capital – Wellington
♦ Currency – New Zelaand dollar
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
WhatsApp introduces live location sharing
On 18th October 2017, WhatsApp rolled out the option to share “live location” for its users.
Live location sharing through WhatsApp:
i. The “live location” sharing feature of WhatsApp enables a user to let a contact or a group trace his/her location or movement on a map in real time for a defined window of time.
ii. This is different from the current “share location” feature which shares a static location. Like the static location, live location also will be visible only to the contacts or groups the user chooses to share it with.
iii. Other apps like Uber and Snapchat also offer location sharing feature. With Uber, the user can share trip status with a contact, which lets them track the cab’s movement in real time. Snapchat has a location-sharing feature called Snap Map.
About WhatsApp Inc:
♦ Headquarters – Mountain View, California, United States
♦ CEO – Jan Koum
World’s oldest warship “USS Constitution” sailing again
The refurbished “USS Constitution” which is world’s oldest commissioned warship sailed again on October 20, 2017.i .USS Constitution’s ride from Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, US to Fort Independence on Castle Island marks 220th anniversary of its launch as well as U.S. Navy’s 242nd birthday.
ii. This will be its first sail since October 2014.
iii. ‘USS Constitution’ was named by the first President of United States, George Washington.
iv. USS Constitution’s nickname is “Old Ironsides”. It got this nickname during the War of 1812 with Britain in which it captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships.
World’s Deepest Lake “Baikal” is in Deep Trouble
Experts have said that, the world’s deepest lake, Siberia’s Lake Baikal, containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water, is in deep trouble.
i. One-fifth of all non-frozen fresh water in the world is located in a single Russian lake, Baikal. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
ii. It is home to more than 3,600 species of plants and animals. It is the only source of the omul fish, a type of salmon fish.
iii. UNESCO has said that the ecosystem of the lake is under significant stress. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the preservation of Baikal as a “government priority” in August 2017.
v. Over the past 15 years, the count of omul fish in Lake Baikal has reduced to half. Also, Baikal is struggling to absorb human pollution and sewage.
About Lake Baikal:
♦ Location – Siberia, Russia
♦ Highlight – largest freshwater lake by volume in the world
New species of large gecko discovered from Eastern Ghats
According to a paper published in the taxonomic journal Comptes Rendus Biologies, a team of scientists have discovered a new species of gecko (lizard) from the Eastern Ghats. More information about new species of Gecko:
i. This new species of gecko is being referred to as Kanger valley rock gecko. Its scientific name is Hemidactylus kangerensis.
ii. It was discovered at Chhattisgarh’s Kanger Ghati National Park by a team led by Zeeshan Mirza of the National Centre for Biological Sciences.
iii. Besides Kanger Ghati National Park, this species is also found in Jagdalpur and Sukma in Chhattisgarh and Khamman in Telangana. All these places are part of Eastern Ghats.
iv. The Kanger Valley rock gecko grows over eight inches long and has a distinct black-bordered beige bands right from its neck to the tip of the tail.
South Africa displaces India from top of ODI rankings
On 19th October 2017, India lost its number 1 status in ICC ODI rankings to South Africa, following South Africa’s win over Bangladesh in an ODI match.
South Africa tops ODI ranking:
i. According to the updated ICC ODI rankings, after South Africa’s 104-run win over Bangladesh in the second ODI in Paarl, South Africa has occupied the number 1 rank in ODI. It has pushed India to the second place.
ii. India and South Africa have identical 120 points. India has been placed second on the basis of decimal points.
iii. India had secured the 1st rank in the ICC rankings following its 4-1 win over Australia recently.
iv. India has a chance to regain its top rank, as it is scheduled to play a three-match ODI series against New Zealand beginning on 22nd October 2017, in Mumbai.
About South African National Cricket Team:
♦ Nickname – Proteas
♦ Captain – Faf du Plessis
Playboy features first transgender model as its playmate
Men’s magazine Playboy has featured its first ever transgender model as ‘playmate’ centerfold in its November 2017 issue.
First transgender model in Playboy centerfold:
i. Playboy has featured its first ever transgender ‘playmate’ centerfold in its November 2017 issue. This has been done in a move to create way for all women including transgenders in fashion and other sectors.
ii .Ines Rau, a French fashion model has become the first transgender model to appear as a centerfold in the Playboy magazine’s 64-year history.
iii .In March 2017, the French edition of Vogue magazine featured a transgender model for the first time on its cover. Rights groups celebrated the feature as a positive step.
About Playboy magazine:
♦ CEO – Ben Kohn
♦ Founded in – 1 October, 1953
Park Ji-Sung to be first South Korean to carry Olympic Games flame
On 19th October 2017, the Greek Olympic committee announced that, Champions League winner Park Ji-sung will be the first South Korean to carry the flame for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.1st South Korean to carry Olympic Games flame:
i. Park Ji-sung is 36 years old. He has won several titles with Manchester United and Eindhoven before retiring.
ii. He will be the second torchbearer in Olympia, after Greece’s Nordic skier Apostolos Aggelis at the start of the Greek relay.The ceremony is on 24th October 2017.
iii. At the ceremony, a torch will be lit by the sun’s rays using a parabolic mirror. It will start the countdown to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
iv. South Korean organisers will receive the flame in a handover ceremony in Athens on 31st October 2017. The flame will then travel to South Korea for the Games torch relay run across the country.
About 2018 Winter Olympics:
♦ Host city – Pyeongchang, South Korea
♦ Motto – Passion. Connected.
♦ Date – 9th – 25th February 2018
Mohit Dudeja, Kiran bag medals at World skills competition
Indians Mohit Dudeja and Kiran bagged a silver and a bronze medal respectively at the World skills competition 2017 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Indians win medals at Worldskills competition:
i. World skills competition 2017 was held in Abu Dhabi. Over 1,300 candidates from 59 countries participated. Competitions were conducted in 51 skill categories.
ii. The results were announced in a closing ceremony on 18th October 2017. The Indian team consisting of 28 competitors won 2 medals and nine Medallions of Excellence in key skills.
iii. Mohit Dudeja won a silver for Patisserie and Confectionery and Kiran won a bronze for Prototype Modelling.Nine Medallions for Excellence were won in skills like mechatronics, brick-laying, restaurant service, automobile technology, jewellery, graphic design technology, mobile robotics, beauty therapy and car painting.
About Worldskills competition 2017:
♦ Date – 15 – 18 October 2017
♦ Location – Abu Dhabi, UAE
French film legend Danielle Darrieux dies aged 100
On 19th October 2017, Danielle Darrieux, one of France’s long time and glamourous film stars died, at the age of 100, at her home near Paris.
Death of Danielle Darrieux:
i. Danielle Darrieux became unwell recently, after she had fell down. She died at her home in Bois-le-Roi, near Paris in France.
ii. Danielle Darrieux was born in Bordeaux in 1917. Her first movie was “Le Bal”. She was only 14 years old at that time.
iii. She won a National Board of Review Best Actress prize for the movie Mayerling by Anatole Litvak in 1936. She became a huge international star in the 1930s, through the Hollywood romance “The Rage of Paris” in 1938.
iv. She has acted more than 140 movies and television dramas throughout her career. Darrieux was still working at 99 years.
About Danielle Darrieux:
♦ Occupation – Actress and Singer
♦ Language – French
World Statistics Day – October 20
On 20th October 2017, World Statistics Day was observed all over the world.
World Statistics Day:
i. World Statistics Day was celebrated for the first time on 20th October 2010 throughout the world. The United Nations Statistical Commission declared 20th October as World Statistics Day.ii. Around 103 countries celebrate a National Statistics Day, including 51 African countries that jointly celebrate African Statistics Day annually on 18 November.
iii. UN urged all Member States to organize related activities not only in cooperation with all institutes of the national statistical systems, but also with researchers, academia, media and other users of statistics on World Statistics Day.
iv. World Statistics Day highlights the importance of reliable and timely data for informed decision-making by governments and individuals.
♦ Statistics – branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, presentation, and organization of data
♦ Applications – machine learning, data mining, computing etc.