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Current Affairs Today – September 12 2016

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CAT Sep 12 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Union Cabinet Approvals – September 12 2016
i. The Union Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an extradition treaty between India and Afghanistan.
ii. The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of the Technical Arrangement between India and Switzerland on the identification and return of Swiss and Indian Nationals and its implementation.
iii. The Union Cabinet approved extension of a contract between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the International Seabed Authority for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules upto 2022.
iv. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management (NHPDM).
v. India and South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies.
vi. The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the MoU signed on July 07, 2016 between India and Mozambique on cooperation in the field of Youth Affairs and Sports during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Mozambique.
vii. The Union Cabinet allowed the government to offer deeper concessions on tariffs while trading with APTA countries comprising Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.

Agriculture museum inaugurated at Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV)
i. An agriculture museum inaugurated at Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV).
ii. Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Das Tandon, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Chief Minister Raman Singh and state agriculture minister Brijmohan Agrawal have participated at the inauguration ceremony.
iii. This Set up at a cost of Rs 4.92 crore. It aims to provide information about special agricultural techniques, agriculture-related problems and their solution.
iv. At least 12 touch screens have been installed in the museum which provides information on subjects like climatic conditions, soil quality, rainfall variations.
v. A mobile application ‘Crop Doctor’, designed by the university for the farmers launched in this occasion.The new Agriculture Science Centre for Raipur district also inaugurated.

DoP launches toll free helpline number ‘1924’ for postal complaints 
i. The Department of Post (DoP) has launched a toll free helpline number ‘1924’ that will allow users across the country to register their grievances.
ii. The helpline will be operational from 8 AM to 8 PM on working days (excluding holidays and Sundays) and can be extended 24*7.<
iii. The helpline number would be available for customers of all telecom operators across India.
iv. The service has been started initially in three languages – Hindi, English, Malayalam and gradually it will be available in all scheduled languages.
v. DoP has set up a toll free centre at Dak Bhawan, New Delhi and also all the postal circles will have a control room with 2-3 people for monitoring and redressal of complaints.

Cabinet approves establishment of Higher Education Financing Agency for creating capital assets in higher educational institutions. 
i. Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM Narendra Modi, has approved the creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) 
ii. Aim: To give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions
iii. The HEFA would be jointly promoted by the identified Promoter and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) with an authorised capital of Rs.2,000 crore and the Government equity would be Rs.1,000 crore.
iv. This fund would be formed as a SPV within a PSU Bank/ Government-owned-NBFC (Promoter) and would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs. 20,000 crore for funding projects for infrastructure and development of world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other institutions.
v. It would also mobilise CSR funds from PSUs/Corporates, which would in turn be released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on grant basis.

Coast Guard sets up air enclave in Mangaluru
Coast Guard sets up air enclave in Mangalurui. The Coast Guard was prepared an air enclave to step up aerial surveillance of Karnataka coast for helping in search and rescue operations and also to check maritime crimes.
ii. District Coast Guard’s Executive Officer Commandant Rajender Singh Sapal declared  at a press meet held in the Coast Guard office that the agency was confident of a new Air Enclave being sanctioned for Mangalore.
iii. The two state-of-the-art surveillance radars were being installed on the light houses in Bhartkal and Suratkal. The Indian Coast Guard through the Defence Estate Officer has paid Rs.1.88 crore for the 15.21 acres of land.
iv. Any movement of foreign vessels on the high seas in western coast could be detected by the radars and the information would be relayed to the receiving hub being set up near the Coast Guard office in Mangalore.
v. The radar sensured that it is not easy for any intruder to slip in without being detected. The Coast Guard is also equipped with Automatic Identification system (AIS) which could reveal entire information about a vessel.
vi. These aircrafts are also equipped with arms and can shoot at enemy boats .At present, Coast Guard is using fixed wing Dorniers from its other air enclaves to carry out surveillance sorties over Karnataka’s 320-km long coastline.
vi. The Coast Guard Air Enclave (CGAE), which would operate from the old terminal building of the airport at Bajpe was launched.

Himachal government issues guidelines for scientific mining
i. Himachal Pradesh government had notified the guidelines for transparent auction and scientificmining and hiked the penalty for offences under mining act.
ii. The government had decided that the mining lease would be granted through open auction. In order to curb illegal mining the state government has notified Himachal Pradesh Minor Minerals (Concession) and Minerals (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2015 providing for stringent punishment for illegal mining.
iii. Imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs.25,000 orboth has been made for those involved in illegal mining of minerals, their transportation and holding.
iv. The compounding of offence for illegal mining has been linked with quantity of illegally extracted material and in addition to the minimum compounding fee of Rs.10,000,compounding fee of Rs.400 per metric tonne is being charged from the offender
v. The minimum compounding fee for illegal transportation would be Rs.4500 for tractor, Rs.7,000 for medium truck/tipper, Rs.10,000 for truck of 10 MT and Rs.15,000 fortruck with capacity of more than 10 MT.
vi. Nomining lease would be granted up to 100 m from the edge of a national highway/expressway, 25 m from the edge of a state highway and 10 m from the edge of other roads. No mining lease would be granted up to 200 m above and below any water supply/irrigation scheme and 200 m above bridges and 200 to 500 m below any bridge.
vii. Preservation of precious mineral wealth of the state and checking illegal mining was the main objective behind the policy. Also for the safety and security reasons, ban imposed on the transportation of minerals in border areas from 8 pm to 6 am.

Cabinet approves creation of GST Council
i. The Cabinet approved setting up of the GST Council, which would decide on the rate of tax under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime likely to start  from April 1, 2017.
ii. The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had approved setting up of GST Council and setting up its Secretariat as per the following details:
1.Creation of the GST Council as per Article 279A of the amended Constitution
2.Creation of the GST Council Secretariat, with office at New Delhi
3.Appointment of the Secretary (Revenue) as the Ex-officio Secretary to the GST Council
4.Inclusion of the Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), as a permanent invitee (non-voting) to all proceedings of the GST Council.
5.Create one post of Additional Secretary (at the level of Additional Secretary to the Government of India), and four posts of Commissioner(at the level of Joint Secretary to the Government of India).
iii. GST aimed to economically unify the country. A destination-based tax, GST would subsume most of the indirect taxes levied by the centre and the states like excise duty, service tax, value added tax, entertainment tax and luxury tax.
iv. As per Article 279A of the amended Constitution, the GST Council which should form a joint forum of the Centre and the States
The Joint forum should  consist of the following members:
♦ Union Finance Minister  – Chairperson
♦ The Union Minister of State,in-charge of Revenue of finance – Member
♦ The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government  – Members

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Yogalates among 1200 new words in Oxford dictionary
Yogalates is one of the 1,200 new words added in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). OED is one of the largest and longest-running language research projects in the world said by chief editor of the OED, Michael ProffittOxford Dicitionary
Some New words with it’s meaning :
Yogalates  – The trend of combining Pilates exercises with the postures and breathing techniques of Yoga
Fomo– Fear of missing out
Deffo – Definitely
Moobs – To describe unusually prominent breasts on a man
Gender-fluid – A person who doesn’t identify with a single fixed gender.
YOLO – An acronym meaning ‘you only live once’.
Chefdom – A noun meaning the overall fact, state, or positioning of becoming a chef

India, Canada agree to combat climate change according to Paris pact
i. India and Canada have agreed to combat climate change through innovation and deployment of low-carbon solutions according to provisions of the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to recognise the significant scope and wide-ranging potential for cooperation in the field of energy cooperation between governments, the private sector, research organisations and regulators, both nations also agreed to explore ways to further strengthen the institutional framework for this cooperation.
ii. Objective : To enhance understanding of policies, programs and regulatory practices in both countries to promote and facilitate greater two-way trade and investment in the oil and gas sectors, including clean technology applied to the sector, for mutual economic benefit.
iii. Both nations agreed to encourage consideration of investment opportunities in their respective energy sectors, including the Indian upstream sector under the Discovered Small Fields bid round and the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy.
Canada:
♦ Capital: Ottawa
♦ Currency: Canadian dollar
♦ Prime minister: Justin Trudeau

BANKING & FINANCE

Freecharge partners with Axis Bank, launches UPI payment
i. FreeCharge partnership with Axis Bank on September 12,2016 launched Unified Payments Interface (UPI) that allows instant transactions from a smartphone using a virtual payment address (VPA)
ii. Customers will be able to create a virtual address on the Freecharge Android app and link it to their bank account to register on the UPI platform
iii. The partnership allows Freecharge users to pay for transactions from their bank accounts and they don’t have Axis Bank account.
Advantages of UPI:
♦ UPI eliminates the need for merchants to be PCI-DSS certified to store customers’ payment credentials as the VPA can be stored against the customer’s login.
Keys:
CEO of Freecharge: Govind Rajan
CEO of Axis Bank : Shikha Sharma

CBDT launches e-nivaran to resolve Income Tax grievances
-e-nivarani. e-nivaran(electronic resolution) for online redressal of taxpayers’ grievances launched by CBDT(Central Board of Direct Taxes)
ii. Taxpayers can register complaints related to delay in refunds, filing of e-returns, Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), PAN issues, and those pertaining to their Assessing Officer (AO).
iii. A special space has also been provided for ‘grievance description’ along with furnishing of details like mention of the Assessment Year (in case of individual) or the Financial Year (in case of deductor).
iv. It’s link has recently been activated on the e-filing portal of the department–http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in–where taxpayers can register their complaints through their PC and receive a special PIN number on their registered mobile and email, as their unique number to keep track of the issue.

BUSINESS

BankBazaar.com launches multi-brand paperless platform for instant loans
i. BankBazaar.com, India’s leading financial marketplace, had launched the world’s first multi-brand, paperless e-KYC platform for instant loan approval
ii. This eliminated the need for physical document submission for loan approvals through the company’s online platform.Currently, the service is available for personal loans and car loans, a release issued by BankBazaar.com.
iii. BankBazaar was the only platform that provides customers with instant approval from multiple brands at the fastest speed. This was the first step in moving away from paper-based documentation to a more inclusive, convenient digital setup.
iv. This pioneering stepped promises to increase customer satisfaction and decrease operational costs for the banks. BankBazaar had the widest range of financial products under its umbrella from over 50+ of the biggest public and private sector banks and NBFCs in India. It had an average of 7,000,000 visitors per month.
v. The company raised USD 80M through its funding from investors like Amazon, Fidelity Growth Partners, Mousse Partners, Sequoia India and Walden International.

Indian, Australian scientists partner to develop salt-tolerant rice
i. A team of Australian researchers has partnered with an Indian research foundation to develop a variety of salt-tolerant rice, conducted a broader project to address the issue of food security.
ii. An agreement was signed between the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai for a USD 2 million project supported by the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
iii. Rice was one of the most important staple foods in the world, with 92 per cent of all rice produced in Asia, stated by Holger Meinke, head of the university’s School of Land and Food head.
iv. Production in this region was increasingly impairedby seawater intrusion or saline water tables rendering vastareas of land unproductive and threatening the livelihood of many rice farmers
v. Researchers from University of Tasmania, supported by Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, was trying a varietyof wild rice that is capable of growing in highly saline coastal areas to identify and transfer traits that conferred its remarkable salinity-stress tolerance.
vi. The capabilities and technologies developed through this project had the potential to ultimately enhance the agricultural productivity for other major crops such as barley and wheat.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival
i. A nearly four-hour long movie about a woman’s thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize.
ii. Director Lav Diaz had described “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (“The Woman Who Left”) as a testimony to the struggles of the Philippines after centuries of colonial rule.Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival
iii. Daiz, who was at the Berlin Film Festival had premiered a film that ran over eight hours. He hoped the latest recognition would create more appreciation for longer movies.
iv. In “The Woman Who Left”, a story about the absurdity of human existence, a wrongly convicted schoolteacher plots retribution against the ex-boyfriend who framed her, disguising herself in a bid to get close to her prey.
v. Best actor went to Argentina’s Oscar Martinez for his portrayal of a cynical Nobel Prize-winning author who had returned to his village for the first time in 40 years in the comedy on art and fame, “The Distinguished Citizen”.
vi. The best actress went to the US actress Emma Stone for her depiction of a struggling thespian who fell head over heels in love with a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling in US musical “La La Land”

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Anoop K Sharma new CMD of Shipping Corporation
Anoop Kumar Sharma appointed as the Chairman & Managing Director of Shipping Corporation of India for three years.
Shipping Corporation of India:
i.The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI)  is a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise with its headquarters in Mumbai that operates and manages vessels that services both national and international lines.
ii. SCI was established on 2 October 1961

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

HP to Acquire Samsung Printer Business for $1.05 Billion
i. HP Inc. agreed to buy Samsung Electronics Company’s printer business for $1.05 billion
ii. This transaction is expected to close within 12 months.
iii. After this deal, Samsung has agreed to make an equity investment of $100 million to $300 million in HP through open-market stock purchases.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

MIT And Georgia Tech Develop System To Read Closed Book
i. Researchers from MIT and Georgia Tech had built a device that could see through paper and distinguish ink from blank paper to determine what is written on the sheets.
ii. The prototype successfully identified letters printed on the top nine sheets of a stack of paper, and eventually the researchers hoped to develop a system that can read closed books that have actual covers.
iii. The imaging system works by using terahertz radiation, a frequency of light on the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light
iv. Terahertz radiation– also known as submillimeter radiationterahertz wavestremendously high frequencyT-raysT-wavesT-lightT-lux or THz – consists of electromagnetic waves within the ITU-designated band of frequencies from 0.3 to 3 terahertz (THz; 1 THz = 1012 Hz)
v. Terahertz radiation is widely used in security screening, and it has a few advantages over other imaging techniques such as X-rays.
vi. Different chemicals absorb different amounts of terahertz radiation, creating a unique frequency signature for each material when the waves bounce back to a sensor, allowing the system to differentiate between ink and blank paper.
vii. Advances in terahertz radiation technologies, a relatively new field, could see new devices built in the near future that would be capable of reading pages much deeper in a stack of paper.

SPORTS

US OPEN 2016 – Overview
The 2016 US Open was a tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It was the 136th edition of the US Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year. It took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The winners and runners list

Men’s Singles

Winner – Stan Wawrinka, Runner – Novak Djokovic

Women’s Singles

Winner – Angelique Kerber Runner – Karolina Pliskova

Men’s Doubles

Winner – Jamie Murray, Bruno Soares Runner – Garreno busta, Garcia-lopez

Women’s Doubles

Winner – Mattek-sands, Lucia Safarova Runner – Caroline Garcia, Kristina Madenovic

Mixed Doubles

Winner  –Laura Siegemund Croatia Mate Pavić Runner – Coco Vandeweghe United States Rajeev Ram

Army Green beat Neroca FC 6-5 to lift Durand Cup
i. Army Green won the Durand Cup Football Title. In the final of Asia‘s oldest football tournament in New Delhi, Army Green defeated Neroca FC 6-5 via penalty shoot outs.
ii. In the semi-final, Army Green had prevailed over Aizawal FC by a 4-2 margin, to become the first Army team since 2005 to reach the title clash.
iii. Manipur team Neroca FC defeated DSK  Shivajians 3-nil to become the first team from the North East to reach the summit-clash of the Durand football tournament.
iv. Durand Cup is a football competition in India and was first held in 1888. It is co-hosted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS) and Osians.
v. The Tournament was named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary in charge of India from 1884 to 1894.

Wasim Bari appointed as manager of Pakistan team
Wasim Bari i. Pakistan had appointed the former wicketkeeper-batsman Wasim Bari team manager for their upcoming series against West Indies in the UAE. Bari will replace Intikhab Alam, whose contract with the PCB is set to expire this month.
ii. Intikhab Alam’s contract with PCB as team manager is concluding this month .PCB expressed its thanks and appreciation to Mr. Alam for his contribution to the Pakistan cricket team.
iii. The team had received a lot of plaudits for their conduct on the recent tour of England and was appreciated as positive ambassadors of their country.
iv. Alam allowed the family of bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed to reside in the middle-order batsman Ifthikhar Ahmed’s room during the Test series, forcing the player to share a room with Mohammad Rizwan.
v. The incident was a direct violation of the code of conduct, with Alam found to be lenient in enforcing the code. The tour otherwise was a success unlike some previous tours of England
vi. He made his Test debut in 1959 against Australia in Karachi, and played 47 Tests in all in a career that stretched until1977. He captained Pakistan in 17 Test matches, and after his playing career served as manager, selector, coach – helping Pakistan to a World Cup title in 1992 and a World T20 triumph in 2009.

IMPORTANT DAYS

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation – 12 September
i. South-South cooperation is an important element of international cooperation for development that offers viable opportunities for developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
ii. The observance of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation would be changed from 19 December to 12 September
iii. To mark the importance of South-South Cooperation, the General Assembly decided to observe this Day on 12 September every year, commemorating the adoption in 1978 of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.
iv. Developing countries have the primary responsibility for promoting and implementing South-South cooperation.