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Current Affairs Today – September 18 2016

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CAT Sep 18 2016


Sixth meeting of BRICS High Representatives held at New Delhi
i. The sixth meeting of BRICS High Representatives responsible for security held at New Delhi. Shri Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser, Government of the Republic of India presided over the meeting.
ii. The delegation from Brazil was led by H.E. General Sergio Westphalen Etchegoyen, Minister of State, Head of the Cabinet for Institutional Security of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, Russia by H.E. Mr. Nikolai P. Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, China by H.E. Mr. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor, People’s Republic of China, and South Africa by H.E. Mr. Mbangiseni David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security.
iii. BRICS High Representatives also agreed to pool BRICS’ efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism emanating from the region.

Railways launched ‘Cleanliness Week’
i. Indian Railways marked the ‘Swachh Paryavaran  Diwas’ (Clean Environment Day) by launching the SwachhtaSaptah (Cleanliness Week).
ii. The special 9 day (from 17 to 25 September 2016) long public cleanliness outreach programme was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi.
iii. It would include Swachh Stations (Clean Stations), SwachhNeer (Clean Water), Swachh Rail Gaadi (Clean Train), Swachh Sahyog (Cleanliness Participation), Swachh Parisar (Clean Complex), Swachh Samvad (Cleanliness Dialogue), Swachh Samarpan (Dedication for ensuring Cleanliness), Swachh Aahar (Clean Food).
iv. These were all conducted under the initiative of Swach Bharat Abhiyan programme.
About Swach Bharat Mission:
♦ Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), abbreviated as SBA or SBM, is a national campaign by the Government of India, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns, to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country.
♦ The campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive and 3 million government employees and school and college students of India participated.

“Selfie With My Shauchalya” Campaign Launched In Ludhiana
i. The Ludhiana District Administration has started the “Selfie with my Shauchalya” campaign to make the Swachh Bharat Mission successful and encourage people to use clean toilets.
ii. Under the initiative, beneficiaries of toilets provided by the Punjab government and Bharti Foundation had been urged to click a selfie with their toilets.
iii. The owner of the cleanest toilet, having all facilities, would be specially honored on October 2,.The campaign had been started for encouraging masses on the benefits of clean toilets.
iv. The Beneficiaries have  to click and send their selfie via email or Whatsapp by September 30.
v. The Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department would construct 8,000 toilets while the Bharti Foundation would construct 18,000 toilets.
♦ Capital:Chandigarh.
♦ Chief Minister:Prakash SinghBadal.
♦ Governor:V. P. Singh Badnore.

Kiran Bedi Launches Coastal Clean Up Drive In Puducherry
i. Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi launched Coastal Clean Up as part of the ‘31nd International Coastal Clean Up Day’. The drive was being carried out in all coastal pockets in Puducherry
ii. The programme was organised by the Indian Coast Guard in association with the Local Kiran BediAdministration Department.
iii. Earlier, Bedi and Local Administration Minister A Namassivayam administered a pledge for ‘garbage free beaches’ to volunteers of NSS, NCC, NGOs, members of Indian Coast Guard and others.
Kiran Bedi :  
♦ Punjab hailed Kiran Bedi is an Indian politician belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She is currently the Lieutenant Governor of the union territory of Puducherry
♦ She has been appointed Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry on May 23,2016
♦ She was the first Woman to Join Officer Ranks of The Indian Police Service

Govt appointed panel recommends for MSP of gram to Rs 4,000 a quintal
i. The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA)-led panel asked the Centre to immediately announce higher minimum support price (MSP) of gram (chana) to for Rs.4,000 a quintal rabi 2016 and Rs.6,000 a quintal for both urad and tur for kharif season 2017.
ii. CEA Arvind Subramanian on Friday submitted the report titled ‘Incentivising Pulses Production Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Related Policies’ to the Union Finance Minister ArunJaitley. The panel was set up in the wake of a recent surge in retail prices of pulses
iii. In this Report the followings were asked : Announce MSP of Rs 40/kg for gram for rabi 2016 and MSP of Rs 60/kg for both urad and tur for kharif 2017 (adjusted for inflation between 2016-17).
iv. For the kharif 2016, the government recently announced MSP for arhar (tur) at Rs 5,500 a quintal and Rs 5,050 for urad dal. In the case of gram, MSP for rabi 2015 was Rs 3,500, including a bonus of Rs 75 per quintal.
v. The CEA report pitched for encouraging development of GM technologies to boost pulse productivity and production. It also said expeditious approval should be given to indigenously develop new varieties of pulses.

Govt to expand DBT to 147 schemes by next March
i. Government planned to double the number of schemes under DBT to 147 by March and had launched pilots for paying subsidy on food, kerosene and fertiliser directly via bank accounts of beneficiaries.
ii. Benefits and subsidies in as many as 74 schemes of 17 government departments and ministries were paid directly to beneficiaries under DBT. Government planned to extend DBT to 147 schemes by March 2017.
iii. Government hoped to achieve accurate targeting of beneficiaries, weed out duplication, curb leakages and bring efficiency in delivery process to help control expenditure and bring greater accountability and transparency.
iv. DBT makes use of Aadhaar or the unique identification number to identify beneficiaries and benefits are transfered directly to their bank accounts, thus preventing any diversion and misuse of funds.
v. Government saved Rs.14,872 crore by offering subsidy on cooking gas (LPG) directly to consumers and DBT is now being extended to kerosene in over two dozen districts on pilot basis to save a part of the Rs.24,000 crore subsidy outgo.

Tamil Nadu CM announces funds for renovation of churches and mosques
i. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced funds for renovation of churches and mosques under the Waqf board. She has ordered release of Rs. 3 crore for the corpus fund.
ii. State presently disbursed Rs 60 lakh per annum for renovation of mosques and darghas under Waqf
iii. She has also unveiled welfare measures for members of SC and ST communities, including ‘quick electricity connections’ to 1000 SC community farmers.Sunrise’, Parched’ scripts archived at Oscar library
i. The scripts of Adil Hussain-starrers “Sunrise” and “Parched” have been archived at the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
ii. He shared a copy of the letter from Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Twitter
iii. The Margaret Herrick Library is a non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture as an art form and an industry.


17th NAM summit held at Venezuela
i. 17th NAM summit held in Venezuela. Vice President Hamid Ansari held talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on a host of issues of mutual interest.
ii. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro touted the latest meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a large Cold War-era bloc, as one that would be remembered for centuries to come.
iii. The cash-strapped state reportedly spent more than $120 million in preparation for the summit, despite much of the country suffering from major food shortages and inflation soaring into the triple digits.
iv. One notable absentee was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is only the second time in 55 years that the country’s head of state has missed the summit.

World’s largest shiplift begins trial run in China
i. World’s largest permanent shiplift designed by Chinese and German engineers on China’s Three Gorges Dam began its trial on September 18, 2016. It  is the largest and most sophisticated shiplift in the world.
ii. The world’s biggest water project is located in central China’s Hubei province .
iii. The maximum displacement of dam about 3,000 tonnes to traverse the dam and the water-level behind the dam is up to 113 meters higher than the downstream river.
worlds-largest-shiplift=chinaiv. Construction of the shiplift began in 1994. Due to technical difficulties, the project was put on hold in 1995. Construction resumed in 2008.
♦ World Highest bridge – The Beipanjiang Bridge
♦ World’s longest bullet train Network – China

US to be partner country at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017
i. The US government had decided to become a partner country for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, which was prepared to be held in January 2017.
ii. Biswal hosted a meeting with a delegation from the Gujarat, led by Resident Commissioner Bharat Lal and accompanied by Indian Charged Affaires Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu on September 15.
iii. The Assistant Secretary praised Resident Commissioner Lal for his efforts to make the State of Gujarat a model of innovation and sustainable economic growth and reform for India.
iv. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani welcomed the announcement of US partnership. It would add to the prestige of Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
v. So far countries including Canada, UK and Poland had confirmed their participation for the summit this year as partner countries. The biennial aimed to draw investments and create a business friendly environment in the state is a brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of the state.
About Vibrant Gujarat:
♦ Vibrant Gujarat is the name given to a biennial investors’ summit held by the government of Gujarat in Gujarat, India. The event is aimed at bringing together business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion makers.
♦ The summit is advertised as a platform to understand and explore business opportunities in the State of Gujarat. 


Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to get humanitarian award
i. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (ahngsahnsoochee) of Myanmar would be honored as the 2016 humanitarian of the year by students and faculty at the Harvard Foundation.Aung San Suu
ii. Suu Kyi gained international prominence as the General Secretary of the newly formed National League for Democracy in Myanmar in 1990. She became one of the world’s most well-known political prisoners during her 15 years of house arrest for participating in protests against the government.
iii. Later, she was supported by her country and was appointed to the newly created role of State Counselor, a title equivalent to Prime Minister.
iv. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Committee praised her for her “non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”She would receive the Harvard Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award during a ceremony.
v. Aung San Suu Kyi was born 19 June 1945.She is a Burmese  states person, politician, diplomat and author who serves as the First and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. She is also the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar

Sunrise’, Parched’ scripts archived at Oscar library
i. The scripts of Adil Hussain-starrers “Sunrise” and “Parched” have been archived at the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
ii. He shared a copy of the letter from Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Twitter.
iii. The Margaret Herrick Library is a non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture as an art form and an industry.

Indian-Origin Narendra Babubhai Patel Wins ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ In UK
i. Member of the UK Parliament Lord Narendra Babubhai Patel(78) honoured with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Asian Achievers Awards in Britain by a leading publishing group for his work in the medical profession and being incredible role model for social justice, equality and those less fortunate.
ii. The Asian Achievers Awards are organised by Asian Business Publications Limited (ABPL) every year to honour British Asian achievements across different fields
iii. This is a celebration of the enormous contribution British Asian make to our country
Other winners :
Selva Pankaj, CEO of Regent Group – a London-based education skills and training development group
Manjit Gill, CEO of Binti, a social enterprise that works for women’s causes in India and Africa
Paralympian Ryan Raghoo, a long jumper who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Abhishek Bachchan broke Will Smith’s world record
Abhishek Bachchan broke Will Smith's world recordi. Bollywood Fame Abhishek Bachan had become a Guinness World Record Holder for ‘Most Public Appearances Made By A Film Star In 12 Hours.’
ii. He travelled 1,800 kms in total through his private jet and car on Feb 22, 2009, to make this possible. He beated actor Will Smith who made three public appearances in two hours in the year 2004 for his film ‘I, Robot’.
iii. Abhishek, covering 7 venues in a span of 12 hours during the promotions of ‘Delhi 6’, broke Smith’s record.
About Guinness World Records:
Guinness World Records, known from its inception in 1955 until 1998 as The Guinness Book of Records and in previous U.S.editions as The Guinness Book of World Records, is a reference book published annually, listing world records and national records, both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world


Lt Gen Surinder Singh Takes Charge Of Western Command
i. Lt Gen Surinder Singh took over as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command at Chandimandir on September 17, 2016. He is the successor of Lt Gen KJ Singh who retired on July 31,2016.
ii. Prior to this, he was on attachment to the Deputy Chief of Army Staff’s Branch at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi after having completed his tenure as the GOC, 33 Corps at Siliguri in August.
Indian Army :
♦ The army operates 6 operational commands and 1 training command
♦ Central Command – Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
♦ Eastern Command – Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Northern Command – Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir
♦ Southern Command – Pune, Maharashtra
♦ South Western Command – Jaipur, Rajasthan
♦ Western Command – Chandimandir, Haryana

Alka Sirohi Appointed as UPSC Chairman
i. A Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Alka Sirohi has been appointed as UPSC Chairman by President Pranab Mukherjee. It will be effective from September 2016.
Alka Sirohiii. He will be replaced by Deepak Gupta
♦ The Commission consists of a chairman and ten members.
♦ The Chairman and other members of the UPSC are appointed by the President of India.
♦ Formation – 1 October 1926
♦ Headquarters – New Dellhi

Monika Kapil Mohta appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Sweden
i. Indian Foreign Services officer Monika Kapil Mohta was appointed as the next envoy of India to Sweden.
ii. Currently he is working as the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. Before this she has served as the ambassador of India to Poland and Lithuania.
♦ Capital: Stockholm
♦ Currency: Swedish krona

Punjab National Bank ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador
i. State-owned Punjab National Bank has roped in Indian test skipper Virat Kohli as brand ambassador
ii. Aim: To improve its image which has taken a hit due to rising bad loansVirat Kohli
iii. Kohli has been an account holder of the bank since the age of 16 years.
About PNB:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founder: Lala Lajpat Rai
Founded: 1894, Lahore, Pakistan
MD & CEO : Usha Anantha Subramanian
PNB has had the privilege of maintaining accounts of national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, as well as the account of the famous Jalianwala Bagh Committee


NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to make final observations of Saturn 
i. After studying Saturn, its rings and moons for more than 12 years, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft had entered the final year of its epic voyage during which it would make the closest-ever observations of the planet.
ii. The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey was planned for September next year, but not before the spacecraft completes a daring two-part endgame.
iii. Beginning on November 30, Cassini’s orbit would send the spacecraft just past the outer edge of the main rings. These orbits, a series of 20, are called the F-ring orbits.
iv. Cassini would approach to within 7,800 kilometres of the centre of the narrow F ring, with its peculiar kinked and braided structure..
v. Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. It is a flagship-class NASA–ESA–ASI robotic spacecraft. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2016.
vi. It had studied the planet and its many natural satellites since arriving there in 2004.[ The two spacecraft were named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.


Rio Paralympics 2016 – Overview
15th  Summer Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  from September 7 to 18, 2016
i. 4359 athletes from 163 countries participated in the Summer Paralympic Games 2016.
ii. The opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Paralympics took place on the evening of 7 September 2016 at the Maracana Stadium. With the theme “Todo Mundo tem um Coracao” (“Everybody Has a Heart”).
iii. 19 competitors (16 Men & 3 Women) participated in Rio 2016 paralympic games for India in 5 sports.
2016 Summer Paralympics medal tally :

 Rank CountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 China1058151237
2 Great Britain643944147
3 Ukraine413739117
4 United States404230112
5 Australia21292979


Malaysian envoy releases translated book on Sai Baba
i. The Consul General of Malaysia in India EldeenHusaini Muhammad Hashim released the translated version of ‘Sai CharitraGranth‘, a book on the life of Sai Baba.
ii. The envoy expressed confidence that the relations between India and Malaysia can be developed further.The book is translated into Malay by a social outfit called ‘I love Sai’.
iiiSri Sai Gurucharitra is a biography on the life of Sai Baba of Shirdi, written by his devotee Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasra-buddhe, better known as Das Ganu Maharaj.
About Shirdi Sai Babha:
♦ Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian spiritual master who was regarded by his devotees as a saint,fakir, and satguru, according to their individual proclivities and beliefs.
♦ He was revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees, and during, as well as after, his life it remained uncertain if he was a Hindu or a Muslim. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba.
♦ He stressed the importance of surrender to the true Satguru or Murshid, who, having trod the path to divine consciousness, would lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training