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Current Affairs Today – October 8 2016

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cat-october-8-2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong visit to India – An Overview
i. Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong arrived in India for a five day visit(October 3 to October 7) aimed at deepening bilateral ties in a range of areas including trade and investment.
ii. During the visit, he was hosted for lunch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two leaders hold bilateral talks to explore ways to bolster ties between the two countries.
iii. India and Singapore signed three agreements, including two in the area of skill development, following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong.

EC barred parties from using public space for propagating symbol
i. The Election Commission issued directions barring political parties from using or allowing the use of public funds, public space or government machinery for carrying out activities that amount to advertisement for the parties or propagating their election symbols.Election Commission
ii. EC ordered that It was clarified that any violation of the above directions would be treated as violation of a lawful direction of the Commission within the meaning of paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order.
iii. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw’s “request” to the EC came as he disposed of an NGO’s plea seeking derecognition of the party symbol of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for allegedly using public money, while in power, to set up statues of ‘elephants’ across the state.
iv.The Delhi High Court in July 2016 had issued an order in Common Cause vs Bahujan Samaj Party case requesting ECI to issue appropriate directions or guidelines for preventing the recognised political party in power from using public resources for propagating the party’s election symbol.
v. Delhi HC had mentioned that utilising public resources for promoting any political party or its election symbol is contradiction to the concept of free and fair election and the principle of level playing field for all stakeholders.

Women could also be prosecuted under domestic violence law: SC
i. Not only men, but women can also be prosecuted under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (DV) Act. The Supreme Court had struck down the words adult male” from the pertinent provision in the DV Act to lay down that a woman could also file a complaint against another woman, accusing her of domestic violence.
ii. Under Section 2(q) of the 2005 Act, a complaint could be made only against an “adult male person”, thereby insulating women from being accused of offences mentioned under the law.
iii .But a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman ruled that this provision frustrated the objective of the legislation since “perpetrators and abettors of domestic violence” could be women too.
iv. It underlined that the classification of “adult male person” subverted the doctrine of equality by restricting the reach of a social beneficial statute meant to protect women against all forms of domestic violence.

Maharashtra Government allocates land to LIGO India Project  
i. Maharashtra government has allocated 40.68 hectare land in Hingloi to Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) for LIGO India Project.
ii. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project that was given the in-principle approval by the Cabinet planned to construct in Hingoli district, Maharashtra
iii. It is third LIGO laboratory in the world and first laboratory outside the United States. The existing labarotaries are located in Hanford, Washington, and in Livingston, Louisiana.

Pradhan Launches LPG Scheme PMUY In Maharashtra
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the presence of CM Devendra Fadnavis launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Maharashtra to provide free LPG connections
♦ He said a target of 10 lakh connections has been set under PMUY for Maharashtra in 2016-17 out of which one lakh connections are to be provided in Mumbai.
Maharashtra PMUYPradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) :
i. PMUY was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016.
ii. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in his Budget for 2016-17 provided Rs 2,000 crore to provide deposit free LPG connections to 1.5 crore women belonging to BPL families.
iii. LPG subsidy is transfered to beneficiaries directly in their bank accounts.

India to host Asian ministerial conference for disaster risk reduction
i. PM Modi will inaugurate the conference that will be held in New Delhi on November 3-5 in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
ii. India will host the Asian ministerial conference for disaster risk reduction next month which will focus on partnership with governments and stakeholders to imbibe the practices in the region’s development narrative.
iii. This is the first AMCDRR after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRRR), adopted at the third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
iv. It will set the direction of Sendai Framework implementation in the region.

Assam CM inaugurated the first Model Skill Development Centre in Guwahati
i. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated first Model Skill Development Centre “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra” at Panjabari, Guwahati.
ii. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and  National Skill Development Corporation.
iii.The Centre will give training to the unemployed youths in 13 job roles.

Indo-Pak. border would be sealed by 2018: Home Minister
i. The government would “completely seal” the India-Pakistan border by December 2018, was announced by Union home minister Rajnath Singh as part of an extensive plan to monitor the country’s frontier security.
ii. The Home Minister was on a two-day visit to the border areas of Rajasthan, where he interacted with the Border Security Force (BSF) officers and civil administration to review defence preparedness following the attack in the Army camp in Uri on September 18 and the subsequent surgical strikes on terror launch pads
iii. Mr. Singh stated that the  security grid would also be formed, with guidelines to be framed with suggestions from all stakeholders in the border areas. The concept would be developed and a notification issued for it after getting suggestions from the Chief Ministers, Home Secretaries and Directors-General of Police.
iv. Around 1,000 km from India’s border with Pakistan is in the Thar desert and it is not easy to monitor. Infiltration, spying and smuggling of arms is a major concern.Tension between India and Pakistan had increased, countrymen should trust security forces and stand by them


India is a long way away from Jaish chief Azhar being designated a ‘terrorist’
i. India protested against the blocking of its latest bid to have Jaish-i-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar put on a United Nations terror blacklist following a deadly attack on an Indian air force base.
ii. New Delhi wanted to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Mohamad Masood Azhar Alvi designated a terrorist under the United Nations Sanctions Committee but has a long path of persuasion ahead to get the support of veto-wielding Beijing, Pakistan’s all-weather ally.India is a long way away from Jaish chief Azhar being designated a 'terrorist'
iii. Azhar — whose arrest had still not been confirmed by either the Indian or Pakistan establishment — and his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar had been named as the chief designers of the stunning Pathankot airbase strike which resulted in the deaths ofseven Indian military personnel and six terrorists.
iv. Azhar’sswift rise and courting of international notoriety began almost at the same time when the Vajpayee government was forced to free him in 1999 in exchange for 155 kidnapped Air India passengers.
v. Over the years, he had planned and presided over some of the most audacious attacks on Indian soil, including one on the Parliament which brought the two neighbouring nations to the brink of war.

US lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar
i. President Barack Obama had lifted US economic sanctions on Myanmar, terminating an emergency order that deemed the policies of the former military government a threat to US national security.
ii. The official declaration followed the announcement made after US President Barack Obama met the former isolated country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyiduringher visit to Washington. Restrictions on Myanmar’s military visas continue to remain in force as Washington is still suspicious of the military junta’s involvement in politics.
iii. Obama reported that he had determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency had been significantly altered by Burma‘s [Myanmar‘s] substantial advances to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015. The new development freed Myanmar from sanctions that were renewed by US presidents for the past two decades, as well as curbs on the import of jadeite and rubies from Myanmar
iv. Human rights groups had argued that lifting sanctions was premature as the US would lose leverage over Myanmar’s powerful military.Despite the election victory by the Suu Kyi party last year, the military still wielded major political and economic influence.
v. Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi had also been accused of doing very little to address the atrocities against the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority in the country.


RBI issued guidelines for small and payments banks
i. The Reserve Bank of India issued separate operating guidelines for payments banks and small finance banks in view of their differentiated nature of business and focus on financial inclusion. The RBI had granted in-principle approvals to 11 payments banks (August 2015) and 10 small finance bank (September 2015).
RBIii .As per the guidelines, PBs could accept deposit only up to Rs.1 lakh. Small Finance Banks would have to follow norms relating to minimum balance, inoperative accounts, nominations, and cheques/drafts.
iii. PBs would have to maintain a minimum investment to the extent of not less than 75 per cent of ‘demand deposit balances’ as on three working days prior to that day, in Government securities/Treasury Bills with maturity up to one year that were recognised by RBI as eligible securities for maintenance of Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).
iv. The RBI announced that small finance banks would be allowed exemption from the existing regulatory ceiling on inter-bank borrowings till the existing loans mature or up to three years, whichever was earlier. Afterwards, it would be on par with scheduled commercial banks.


IOC announces Rs.30 crore start-up scheme
i. Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) has announced a start-up scheme with a corpus amount of Rs.30 crore 
ii. Start-up scheme will promote collaborative research, develop an innovative ecosystem, nurture entrepreneurship, boost start-ups with rural orientation and open up avenues for young employees of IOC to launch start-up projects
iii. This scheme will be administered through a dedicated online portal and shall facilitate the community of innovators and entrepreneurs.
iv. It will cover environment-friendly disposal of insulation material like ceramic blankets and glass wool, LPG cylinder safety aspects and waste-to-energy projects.


IGIA’s T3 becomes first Platinum rated green airport terminal building in India
i. According to the Delhi International Airport Limited, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport’s (IGIA) Terminal 3 (T3) has achieved “Platinum” rating from Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
ii. The recognition has made IGIA’s T3 as the first “Platinum” rated green airport terminal building in India under “Green Existing Building O&M Rating System” by IGBC.
iii. The announcement was made during the 14th Green Building Congress, 2016 organised by IGBC in Mumbai.
iv. IGIA’s T3 was also the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) “Gold” certified terminal building in India under “New Construction” category.

Sprinter Srabani Nanda wins Ekalabya Award
Sprinter Srabani Nanda has bagged the 24th Ekalabya Award for the year 2016 in recognition of her sporting excellence.
Other Awardee :
Hockey players Deep Grace Ekka and Dipsan Tirkey will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000.
Ekalabya Award :
i. This award is instituted by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust (IMPaCT).
ii. The award will carry a cash award of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation at the Ekalabya Award.
iii. It is given every year to young sports persons of Odisha in recognition of their outstanding performance in the preceding two years.
iv. Athlete Dutee Chand won the 2015 Ekalabya award


P V Sindhu New Brand Ambassador Of Vizag Steel
i. Indian professional badminton player P V Sindhu was roped as brand ambassador of Vizag Steel .It was announced by R Ramakrishnan, Director and Co-founder Baseline Ventures.Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title bagged by P V Sindhu
ii. Sindhu is the top 10 ranked players in the world and she is the first Indian
woman to win an Olympic silver medal at Rio 2016
iii. She is also the first athlete to win back-to-back medals at the World Badminton Championships.

Xi Jinping appoints Luo Zhaohui as new China envoy to India
i. China’s envoy to Canada, Luo Zhaohui(54) is appointed as China’s new ambassador to India by the President of China Xi Jinping on October 8, 2016. He will replace Le Yucheng .
ii. Luo had served as Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and China’s envoy to Canada from 2014 to 2016.
iii. He  also worked as third and later Second Secretary in Chinese Embassy in India from 1989 to 1993.


Supreme Court stays commercial release of GM mustard
i. The Supreme Court  stayed the commercial release of the genetically modified (GM) variety of mustard till October 17 following a petition as this could have severe consequences on the environment and human health
ii. The filed petition had sought a moratorium on open-field trials and commercial release of all herbicide-tolerant crops such as the Dhara Mustard Hybrid DMH 11 seed, earlier certified as safe for human consumption and the environment by a technical committee under the environment ministry and the court will now hear the case on October 17.
iii. It is noted that the technical committee, under the environment ministry’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, regulator for GM crops, had approved the environmental release of the hybrid DMH-11.
iv. GM Mustard had 759 public comments on the decision of the committee, after protests by several environmental and farmer bodies.

New termite species spotted in Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary
New termite species spotted in Malabar Wildlife Sanctuaryi. A new termite species, Glyptotermes Chiraharitae, has been discovered at Kakkayam in the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary.
ii. The species are named ‘Chiraharitae’, after the tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, where the termite was spotted.
iii. The flying adults of this species are approximately 10 mm long, while the soldiers are around 9.5 mm long.

Hurricane Matthew hit Florida
i. Floridians along the Atlantic coast were coping with rising water as Hurricane Matthew drenched the state with rain and as strong winds pushed waves over beaches.
ii. South Carolina was bracing for the storm’s potential landfall and even residents in North Carolina faced a considerable threat. The National Hurricane Center announced  that the storm’s center had been “hugging the coast” in Florida as it continued toward Georgia and South Carolina and warned of a surge of up to nine feet that could cause dangerous flooding.
iii. At Cape Canaveral, strong winds lashed NASA’s rocket launch facility, forcing power outages and damaging roofs, the US space agency. Rockets, spaceships and crucial equipment for the US space programme and private companies like SpaceX are all stored in the area, which is home to the Kennedy Space Centre.
iv. President Barack Obama urged residents in the path to heed emergency officials’ warnings, adding that although there has already been “significant damage”, storm surge and flooding are still a major concern.


World’s first-ever “Bionic Olympics” held in Switzerland
i. The First Bionic Olympics began on October 8, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. More than 70 competitors from 25 countries participated in this event.
ii. It was organised by ETH Zurich collaboration with the Swiss National Center of Competence in Robotics Research.
iii. The Cybathlon Events are Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bicycle race, a Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, a Powered Wheelchair Race, a Powered Exoskeleton Race, a Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, and a computerised race for competitors with paralysis using brain-computer interfaces to compete in a computer game (BCI Race).


Air Force Day – 8 October 2016
i. 84th Air Force Day is celebrated at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. on October 8 2016. It was officially established on October 8, 1932.
ii. The Indian Air Force is the world’s fourth largest air force, it has prime responsibility of securing the Indian airspace as well as to carry out the aerial warfare during any clash.Indian Air Force(IAF)
iii. The India Air Force has been engaged in the four wars with the Pakistan and one with People’s Republic of China after its independence.
Indian Air Force(IAF) :
♦ Chief of Air Staff (CAS) :Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha
♦ HQ : New Delhi