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Current Affairs Today – September 14 2016

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Onam 2016 Celebration in Kerala i. Keralites all over the world celebrated the auspicious 10-day-long harvest festival of the state. It was being celebrated by people of all religions in the Malayalam month of Chingam every year. ii. The State festival of Kerala marked the home-coming of the mythical King Mahabali, who was believed to have ruled Kerala years ago. iii. According to the popular myth, as many were jealous of his popularity, Lord Vishnu sent the Asura king to Paathalam (an imaginary place below the earth) by taking the avatar of Vamana. However, he was granted the permission to visit his subjects from netherworld once in every year iv. The celebration of the 10-day festival begins with the royal parade, known as Atthachamayam, in Thripunithara, Kochi. v. Vallamkali was the ritual of Snake boat race called ‘chundans’ that is a grand event in Kerala nowadays. Huge snake shaped boats rowed by hundreds of oarsmen compete with each other. Huge amounts of cash rewards were distributed as prizes for the winners vi. This 10 day long festival brought in the best of festive spirit among the local people there and was celebrated with much splendor. People burned fire crackers. Andhra Pradesh became the   second state to achieve 100% electrification i. Andhra Pradesh became the second state in the country after Gujarat to achieve 100 per cent electrification of households by the latest report. JM Financials published the report based on a national-level survey on electrification in various states. ii. Discussing this through a tele-conference with top officials of the Energy Department Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu reported that they  would  achieve 100 per cent electrification by June-end. iii. He claimed about 35 per cent rural households in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Assam still lacked access to power supply. iv. Principal Secretary (Energy and Infrastructure)Ajay Jain informed Naidu they were preparing a strategy plan to reduce overall transmission and distribution losses, which currently stood at 10.3 per cent, to single digit by the end of the current financial year. v. An investment of Rs.20,000 crore had been proposed over the next five years to strengthen the transmission and distribution systems and extend power supply connection on demand Exercise YUDH ABHYAS-2016′ began in Uttarakhand – Sep 14 i. Indo-US defence co-operation, a joint military training exercise, ‘YudhAbhyas 2016’  was prepared  to be conducted in Uttarakhand from September 14 to 27.The exercise in Chaubattia was being conducted by the headquarter Central Command.Exercise YUDH ABHYAS-2016 ii. This training was a series of one of the longest  running joint military training and a major ongoing bilateral defence cooperation endeavours between India and the US. It was the 12th edition of the joint military exercise hosted alternately by the two countries. iii. The exercise was aimed at stimulating a scenario where both nations were working together to counter insurgency and terrorism in mountainous terrain under UN charter. iv. The two week exercise witnessed participation of about 225 personnel of the US Army and similar strength of Congo Brigade of the Indian Army. v. The training culminated with a final validation exercise in which troops of both countries would jointly carry out an operation against terrorists in a fictitious but realistic setting.

Indo-US Economic Summit begins i. Two days India – US economic summit began in New Delhi on September 14 to  provide a valuable opportunity to assess developments across India-US trade relationship, economy and society ii. The summit is hosted by the chamber’s of North India council iii. The leaders augmenting the existing two-way trade to $ 500 billion and will focus on sectors that foster growth. iv. It  was inaugurated by US Ambassador to India Richard Verma and addressed by Union Ministers, including Information & Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal along with global CEO’s and top executives.


India took US renewable energy dispute to WTO  i. India had complained to the World Trade Organization about support given to the renewable energy industry in eight U.S. states. ii. The race to build national solar capacity and grab a chunk of a new global market had become a major new cause of trade friction between big trading powers. iii. India lost a case at the WTO earlier this year after the United States complained about New Delhi’s national solar programme. iv. The complaint alleged the states of Washington, California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota support their renewables sector with illegal subsidies and domestic content requirements – an obligation to buy local goods rather than imports. v. The WTO statement did not give details of the complaint and there was no immediate comment from India’s trade ministry. vi. But India had voiced concerns in the past about U.S. support for its solar power industry by filing the complaint. India had triggered a 60-day window for the United States to settle the dispute, after which India could ask the WTO to adjudicate. India Declares itself Free from Avian Influenza (H5N1) India Declares itself Free from Avian Influenza (H5N1)i. The Indian government declared that the country wasfree from the contagious avian influenza (H5N1), also known as bird flu. ii. The Department of Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture Ministry reported to the World Organization for Animal Health. However, the ministry stressed the need for continued surveillance. iii. India had notified outbreak of avian influenza on 9 May 2016 at Humnabad, Bidar district, Karnataka.After the surveillance, the state has shown no evidence of presence of the disease iv. Bird flu affected mainly the domestic poultry. The disease spreaded from infected birds to other winged creatures through contact with nasal and respiratory secretions and also due to contamination of feed and water. v. The Center had emphasized to State Chief Secretaries the need for continued surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds. UN Approved Colombia Peace Mission i. The deployment of a U.N. political mission to monitor a cease-fire between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC was approved by the Security Council. ii. The resolution approved authorizes a mission made up of 450 observers and a number of civilians to be deployed in 40 widely dispersed locations to oversee the establishment of arms by the FARC. iii. Mission should be in place when the two parties signed a formal peace agreement on Sept. 26 in Cartagena and when the deal goes to a national referendum on Oct. 2. iv. Colombians would open the doors to a better future, with a stable and lasting peace which had been able to construct with the support of the Security Council and the United Nations. v. British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft congratulated the Colombian government on reaching an agreement with FARC.Colombia’s Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia thanked Britain for sponsoring the resolution authorizing the political mission vi. Decades of fighting between guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and the armed forces had left more than 220,000 Colombians dead, some 40,000 missing, and over 5 million driven from their homes.


Axis Bank, BHU team up for banking courses i. Private sector Bank, Axis has tied up with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) to offer specialised banking courses. ii. The bank along with the Faculty of Commerce at BHU will develop the design and curriculum of courses, besides deciding on e-learning modules, structure and courseware. iii. The partnership will offer courses like Masters in Commerce (MCom), Master of Financial Management (MFM), Master of Financial Management (Risk & Insurance) MFM – RI, Master of Foreign Trade (MFT).


Gionee Signs MoU With Haryana Govt For Investment Of Rs 500 Cr i. Gionee mobile phones signed an MoU(Memorandum Of Understanding) with the Haryana state government to set up its phone manufacturing hub in Haryana with an initial investment of Rs 500 crore.    ii. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Chief Minister HaryanaManohar Lal Khattar, State Industries Minister Vipul Goel and Chairman of Gionee Mobiles, Liu Lirong GiONEE : ♦ GiONEE is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer based in Shenzhen, Guangdong. ♦ Founded in 2002 ♦ It is one of China’s largest mobile phone manufacturers


Three Indian Women Bankers entered in the Fortune 50 Most Powerful Women List based outside the US i. State Bank of India (SBI) chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma entered the list of 50 most powerful women based outside the United States by Fortune magazine. ii. Banco Santander group executive chairman Ana Botín repeats as No. 1, in a time of economic and political volatility for all. The 2016 list spans 19 countries and is comprised of 16% new names. The top 5 posotions belongs to,

1 Ana Botin
2 Arundhathi Bhattacharya
3 Isabelle Kocher
4 Chua Sock Koong
5 Chanda Kochhar

An Indian born scientist Ramesh Raskar has bagged the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Prize worth $500,000 i. An Indian born scientist Ramesh Raskar has bagged the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Prize worth $500,000 for his groundbreaking inventions to create solutions to improve lives globally. ii. Nasik-born Ramesh Raskar, 46, is founder of the Camera Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab and an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences. iii. Ramesh Raskar is the winner of the 2016 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for his groundbreaking inventions, commitment to youth mentorship, and dedication to improving our world with practical yet innovative solutions. iv. The annual Lemelson-MIT Prize honors outstanding mid-career inventors improving the world through technological invention and demonstrating a commitment to mentorship in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Ewan McGregor to Receive Humanitarian Award at 2016 British Academy Britannia Awards i. Actor Ewan McGregor will receive the Britannia Humanitarian Award at the British Academy Britannia Awards in California next month. ii. McGregor, the scottish star is a UK ambassador for United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). iii. Previous recipients of the Britannia Humanitarian Award include Idris Elba, Richard Curtis, Don Cheadle, Colin Firth, Mark Ruffalo, and Orlando Bloom. 105-yr-old Kunwar Bai made ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ mascot i. Kunwar Bai, a 105-year-old woman who was felicitated by PM Narendra Modi for building toilet by selling off her goats, has been chosen as the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ mascot. ii. PM will felicitate Kunwar Bai in New Delhi to mark ‘Swachhta Diwas’ on September 17. iii. She had sold-off her 8-10 goats to build two toilets at her home. Subsequently, she started showing other villagers the toilets at her home while informing them about its importance Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to be awarded by Jewish rights group i. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would be honoured with a humanitarian award by a Jewish human rights organisation for promoting human dignity, interfaith relations and tolerance among people Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ii. The Art of Living founder would   be conferred with Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s highest honour ‘the Simon Wiesenthal Humanitarian Laureate’ at a ceremony in New Delhi. iii. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aimed to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence. iv. In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values.[ v. For his service, he had received some of the highest awards of several countries including India, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay. In January 2016, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushanby the Government of India.


Vishvas Vidu Sapkal accredited as the High Commissioner of India to the Kingdom of Tong i. Vishvas Vidu Sapkal was appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Kingdom of Tonga on September 14, 2016. ii. Currently he was working as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Fiji. Kingdom of Tong: ♦ Capital: Nukuʻalofa ♦ Currency: Tongan paʻanga ♦ King: Tupou VI


PayU acquires India’s Citrus Pay for $130 million i. Online payments service provider, PayU owned by South Africa’s Naspers Group has agreed to buy Mumbai based rival Citrus Pay for $130 million (Rs 865 crore). ii. The combined entity will compete with players like Paytm and Snapdeal-owned Freecharge. iii. Amrish Rau, MD of Citrus Pay will become CEO of PayU in India. iv. Citrus Pay, one of the fastest growing Indian fintech companies was founded in 2011 by Jitendra Gupta.


FM launches the Web Responsive Pensioner’s Service portal i. The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Shri Arun Jaitley launched a Web Responsive Pensioner’s Service to help in speedy redressal of pensioner’s grievances on September 14, 2016 in New Delhi. ii. The portal was developed by the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO) iii. It provides a one-stop solution for pensioners to access information relating to status of pension cases, and pension payments processed by Central Ministries/Departments and Banks. Other Events: ♦ The O/o Controller General of Accounts (CGA) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) to strengthening the Internal Audit function in line Ministries and Departments of the Government of India. Official website for PM Ujjwala Yojana  launched i. The official website of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana  launched to curb a number of fake websites which have connection with the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) ii. The website contains downloadable forms both in English and Hindi iii. PMUY Toll free number is 18002666696  PMUY: ♦ The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched on 1st May 2016 from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh to provide free LPG connections to 5 crore families across the country in the next 3 years. Himachal TCP dept launches Hindi website i. Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning department’s Hindi website was launched by Himachal Pradesh TCP Minister Sudhir Sharma. ii. Himachal Pradesh become India’s first state to provide all TCP department services online iii. Anyone can access the e-service through the online portal .Certificates, registration certificates and digital map of buildings are being provided through e-mail. Himachal Pradesh : ♦ Khajjiar is a hill station in Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. It is also known as mini Switzerland of India.


Indian Railways Men Hockey Team won MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament i. Indian Railways Team  broke the unwritten rule with an impressive performance, barring the defeat to Punjab & Sind Bank in its group (Pool-B). ii. At the final of the 90thAll-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament, Railways defeated defending champion Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) 2-1 to win the Trophy. iii. Suresh Babu, chief coach of the Railways, credited the success of the team to its superior fitness. iv. IOC was definitely handicapped without its star forward Deepak Thakur, who was injured in the semifinals.Without such an opportunistic and senior pro, IOC lacked the sting in the forward-line. v. Railways received Rs.5 lakhs and IOC received Rs.2.5 lakhs. A. Vellayan, Chairman, Murugappa Group, issued the prizes.Indian Railways Men Hockey Team won MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament ♦ Man of the match: Malak Singh. ♦ Best forward: AffanYousuf (Indian Railways); ♦ Best midfielder:AmitRohidas (Indian Railways); ♦ Best goalkeeper: Jagraj Singh (Indian Railways); ♦ Most promising player: Joshua (Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu).


Uttarakhand Governor Releases Book By Author Nagrath i. A book titled ‘Shanti ki Talaash mein Zindagi‘ written by author and journalist Radhika Nagrath released by Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul on September 14,2016 in Dehradun. ii. ‘Shanti ki Talaash mein Zindagi’ was written in Hindi language. iii. It is a philosophical treatise written in simple language incorporating interesting examples and anecdotes from day-to-day life Books authored by Radhika Nagrath : ♦ The Carnival of Peac ♦ The Carnival of Peace: Kumbh Teertham Haridwaram ♦ Swami Vivekananda: The Known Philosopher, The Unknown Poet


September 14 – India Celebrates Hindi Diwas Day Hindi Diwas is celebrated across the country on 14th of September to remember the historic occasion of the Hindi. It was started celebrating as a Hindi Diwas as Hindi written in Devnagari script was approved as an official language by the Constituent Assembly at 14th of September in the year 1949. Rajbhasha Awards:- i. President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Rajbhasha awards at Rashtrapati Bhawan on the occasion of Hindi Diwas. ii. Rajbhasha awards are given to the Departments, Ministries, PSUs and Nationalized Banks.