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Current Affairs Today – September 23 2016

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CAT Sep 23 2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

3 Guinness World Records Created in Samajik Adhikarita Shivir, Gujarat
Three Guinness World Records were created at Samajik Adhikarita Shivir and Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fittings of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) Camp in Navsari, Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 66th birthday was marked by these three world records set at events held at Navsari.
Navsari holds three Guinness world records namely,
i. “Highest number of Oil lamps lit simultaneously at single location” was set on the eve of the Mega camp.  An incredible 989 Divyangs (Person with Disabilities) came together to set an all-new record- almost doubling the minimum of 500 participants they needed in order to achieve the title. The challenge was for each person to light the lamp exactly at the same time after a given signal within 30 seconds.
ii. ‘Biggest Wheelchair Logo’ was also broken on 17th September, 2016 in Navsari, Gujarat. The 1,000 participants in wheelchairs depicted a message saying ‘Happy Birthday PM’ in Tri-colour. It bettered the previous record of 346 participants that was achieved by Hope Inc. in Moorhead, Minnesota, USA.
iii.  ‘Most people fitted with Hearing Aid in 8 hours – Single location (600 Hearing Aid) was also set on the same day. Free assistive devices kits were handed out to thousands of Divyangs throughout the weekend, in addition to the hearing aids distributed during the record attempt

First International Sikh Conclave started in Bihar, ahead of 350th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Gobind Singh 
i. Nearly 150 Sikh luminaries from India and abroad were participated in the first three-day international Sikh conclave in Patna.Guru Gobind Singh
ii. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that the state government was organised this conclave ahead of the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, in Patna Sahib.
iii. Scholars, artists, businessmen, politicians from India and countries like Canada, UK, USA, Myanmar and New Zealand were participated in the conclave.
iv. Nitish Kumar also announced a three-day state holiday during the festival, known as ‘Prakash-Parv’, and which was celebrated at Takht Sri Harmandir Patna Sahib, the birthplace of the 10th Guru.
v. Guru Gobind Singh’s message of tolerance and respect to all religions is relevant and important .He was born in Patna in 1666 to Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru and Mata Gujri.
vi. Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, widely known as Patna Sahib, was built in remembrance of the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh,–by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the late 1830

Government announced enhanced support under MEIS of the Foreign Trade Policy
.In the backdrop of the continued challenging global environment being faced by Indian exporters, Department of Commerce had extended support to certain new products and enhanced the rate of incentives for certain other specified products under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).
ii. 2901 additional products falling under different product categories had been added. Many items of traditional medicines like Ashwagandha herbs and its extracts, other herbs, extracts of different items were added under this scheme.
iii. With this the total number of items covered under the scheme has been increased from 5012 to 7103. The total support extended by Government of India under the scheme had been enhanced from the present Rs 22,000 crore to Rs 23,500 crore per annum.
iv. MEIS was launched under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP) 2015-20. It is one of the two schemes introduced in FP 2015, as a part of Exports from India Scheme. The other scheme is Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS).

5th BIRAC Innovator’s Meet kick started with the theme – ‘Biotech Innovation Ecosystem – Strategizing the Next Leap’
i. BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council)is a non-profit Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India.It organized the 5th Innovators Meet in New Delhi. The theme of the meet would be ‘Biotech Innovation Ecosystem – Strategizing the Next Leap’.
ii. The event was attended by Chief Guest Hon’ble Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhanand Guest of Honour, Hon’ble Minister of State (MoS), Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri YS Chowdary.
iii. There were over 350 participants, including Mr. YigalErlich, The Yozma Group and Dr. SarvajnaDwivedi, Global TiE from Silicon Valley and many other senior policy makers, industrialists, startups and entrepreneurs.
iv. The discussions aimed at chalking the action plans required to scale up the innovations pertaining to the biosciences sector that affected the lives of a 1.3 billion in India and has potential to make positive impact on the masses across the globe.
V . 5 BIRAC Innovators would be awarded for their outstanding contributions and Innovative products / technologies.

Health Ministry to launch “Mission Parivar Vikas” in 145 High Focus districts for improved family planning services
Shri J P Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare going to launch “Mission Parivar Vikas” in 145 districts for intensive and improved family planning services.
Aim: To reach the replacement level fertility goals of 2.1 by 2025
i. This mission will focus on high TFR(Total Fertlity Rates) states to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-based framework.
ii. 7 states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam
iii. These 145 districts have been identified based on total fertility rate and service delivery (PPIUCD and Sterilization performance) for immediate, special and accelerated efforts to reach the replacement level fertility goals of 2.1 by 2025.

Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit 2016 – New Delhi
i. The three-day Investment Summit (IITIS) 2016 is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in association with Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Incredible India Summitii. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the summit in New Delhi.
ii. It focuses on issues like invest in India, MSME in tourism sector, core infrastructure for tourism, start-ups, digital India etc.
iii. Highlights of this summit:
State Presentations encompassing all investible Properties, Session on Why Invest in India, MSME in tourism sector, Panel discussions on core infrastructure for tourism, Session on Start-ups, digital India, Investing into Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD, MICE and Niche Tourism Products, B2B meetings  and Signing of MoUs.
vi. Many states has exchanged 86 MoUs during the session and many more are in the pipeline, aggregating close to Rs 15,000 crores.
v. Gujarat exchanged MoUs close to 9000 crores, Karnataka with 2600 crores, Rajasthan with 1000 crores ,Uttarakhand with 500 crores and Chhattisgarh with 12 crores. Also, B. R. Shetty Group is keen to invest 450 crores and Costa Cruise 750 crores and Triveni Singapore close to 800 crores in the country.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Afghanistan Signs Peace Deal With Hard-Line Militant Group Hezb-e-Islami
i. Afghanistan and second-biggest militant group Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e Islami Gulbuddin signed the peace deal agreement to seek a peaceful resolution through political dialogue and negotiation at a press conference in Kabul
ii. The agreement will come into force after it is formally signed by Ghani and Hekmatyar.
iii. The deal with Hizb-e Islami marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani, who has struggled to revive peace talks with the more powerful Taliban.
Hezb-e-Islami :
♦ Hezbi Islami is also known as  Hezb-e Islami, Hezb-i-Islami,
♦ Established in Afghanistan in 1975
♦ It is an Islamist organization that was commonly known for fighting the Communist Government of Afghanistan
♦ Founded and led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

India, US, Afghanistan reaffirm shared interest in combating terrorism 
iIndia, the US and Afghanistan have reaffirmed their shared interests in combating terrorism and advancing peace and security in the region.
ii. Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra, Afghan  Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson participated in the 71st UN General Assembly for a round of trilateral consultations.
iii. They exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and on “regional issues of mutual interest”.
Afghanistan :
♦ Capital: Kabul
♦ Currency: Afghan afghani
♦ President: Ashraf Ghani

8th edition of India-Russia Joint Military Exercise Indra-2016 Begins in Vladivostok, Russia
Eleven days India-Russia Joint Military Exercise ‘INDRA-2016’ began in the Ussiriysk District in Vladivostok, Russia  on September 23, 2016.
Objective: Counter-Terrorism Operations in semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations MandateIndia & Russia Military Excercise
i. Both Contingents marched in unison, past the saluting dais, exhibiting their resolve to further the Indo-Russian friendship.
ii. 250 soldiers of the KUMAON Regiment are representing the Indian Contingent and the Russian army is being represented by 250 soldiers from the 59th Motorized Infantry Brigade.
Military Exercise Indra-2016 :
♦ Indra is a joint, bi-annual military exercise organised by India and Russia since 2003
♦ Indra-2015 has conducted in Bikaner district of Rajasthan.

Parsons, fellow ‘Big Bang’ actors topped Forbes’ best-paid list’
i. The CBS comedy claimed TV’s four best-paid actors, according to the annual list released by Forbes Magazine.
ii. Jim Parsons, star of American humorous drama The Big
Bang Theory
, had been named the highest-paid TV actor of 2016 by Forbes magazine for the second year running.
iii. The 43-year-old, who has played Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory since 2007, reportedly earned $25.5 million (£19.6 million).
iv. Jim Parsons led with a $25.5 million take between June 2015 and this June, followed by cast-mates Johnny Galecki($24 million), Simon Helberg ($22.5 million) and KunalNayyar($22 million).
v. In fifth place Mark Harmon, star of CBS’ drama “NCIS,” was paid $20 million (as with all these actors, before management fees and taxes).
vi. Forbes’ list of TV actresses, released last week, reaffirmed the generous salaries for “Big
Bang” stars: Leading lady, Kaley Cuocoplaced second on that list, with $24.5 million.The Big Bang Theory had won eight Emmy awards and a Golden Globe.

BANKING & FINANCE

Andhra Bank tied up with Cigna TTK, Reliance General Insurance
i. Public sector lender Andhra Bank  announced that it had entered into agreements with private insurers Cigna TTK and Reliance General Insurance to provide health and general insurance services to its customers.
ii. The tie-up with both the insurance companies would immensely benefit the customers by providing alternatives in choosing products.
iii. These partnerships would provide mutual benefit to the bank and insurance companies in tapping the potential in the market and also help in increasing the insurance coverage..
iv. The agreement was signed by Andhra Bank Executive Director S K Kalra, MD and CEO of Cigna TTK Health Insurance Sandeep Patel and CEO of Reliance General Insurance Rakesh Jain.Andhra Bank shares closed at Rs.60.95 apiece, down 0.08 percent from their previous close.
v. There are 24 life insurance companies and 29 general insurance companies in India. The biggest life insurer is state-run Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) while public sector players in the general insurance space include National Insurance, New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance Company Ltd.
Andhra Bank:
♦ Head Office: Hyderabad.
♦ CEO and MD: Suresh N Patel
♦ Tagline: Where India Banks.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Syrian aid group White Helmets wins Right Livelihood Award 2016
A voluntary Syrian aid group called White Helmets that assists civilian victims of the country’s civil war has been named as winner of the Right Livelihood Award often called as “Alternative Nobel Prize Award”
Other winners :
1.Russian activist Svetlana Gannushkina
2.Egypt’s feminist leader Mozn Hassan
3.Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet

Indian American scientists Prakash and Subhash Khot to get MacArthur Fellowship
Two Indian-American scientists are among 23 scientists who have won this year’s prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for showing exceptional creativity in their respective fields. The Indian-Americans — Manu Prakash and Subhash Khot are alumunus of Indian Institiute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur and Bombay respectively.
Other Notable Persons
i. Prakash works as an Assistant Professor in Department of Bioengineering at the Stanford University, while Khot is a theoretical computer scientist at the New York University.
ii. Khot is a theoretical computer scientist whose work is provides critical insight into unresolved problems in the field of computational complexity.
iii. Sri Lankan-American Ahilan Arulanantham is the third South Asian to bag this prestigious award. He is an attorney working to secure the right to due process for individuals facing deportation.

2 Indians selected for 2016 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards  
i.Two Indian forest officials had selected for the 2016 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards which honours individuals engaging in exemplary law enforcement actions to protect wildlife..
ii.They were Assistant Conservator RiteshSarothiya of Madhya Pradesh State Forest Service and Range officer Sanjay Dutta of Belakoba Forest Range Jalpaiguri in West Bengal
iii.The ceremony would be held at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
iv.Thehonour was named in memory of Bavin, who was the late Chief of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Law Enforcement.
Lark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards:  :
♦ The US based Species Survival Network, in cooperation with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) coordinates the presentation of the awards. The award has been named in memory of Clark R. Bavin, who was the Chief of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Law Enforcement.

First Jesse Owens Award would go  posthumously to Muhammad Ali
i. The first Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award would recognize the late Muhammad Ali.The Owens Award was started this year, the 80th anniversary of Owens’ four-gold-medal performance at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and is to be presented annually to recognize people who have served as an inspiration in society.
Muhammad Aliii. Owens’ granddaughter, Marlene Dortch, would present the award at Best of the Games awards ceremony to Ali’s widow, Lonnie.
iii. Ali won the gold medal at the Rome 1960 Olympics, then took three world heavyweight championships — in 1964, 1974 and 1978.
iv. The Jesse Owens Award is an annual track and field award that is the highest accolade given out by USA Track and Field (USATF). As the country’s highest award for the sport, it bears Jesse Owens’ name.
 v. It was created to recognize the season’s top American performer in track and field competitions. In 1996, the award was divided into two categories, with both a male and female winner.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Madhusudan Sahoo is bankruptcy board chief
i. Appointments Committee of Cabinet appointed Madhusudan Sahoo as chairperson of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India for a period of five years
ii. Currently he is a member at anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India and before thathe was member at Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Bankruptcy Code, 2016 :
♦ The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 was enacted this year by Parliament of India, to ensure time-bound settlement of insolvency, enable faster turnaround of businesses and create a database of serial defaulters.
 It amend laws including the Companies Act to become the overarching legislation to deal with corporate insolvency.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Pune team produced carbon from sugarcane waste for use in batteries
i. Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) had used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon material for use in Li-ion batteries
ii. These batteries could be best used in electronic gadgets like cell phones, radios, laptops and cameras.
iii. In this unique mechanism involving the use of microwave oven, more commonly used for baking cakes and breads, scientists from city-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) have been able to extract fine conducting carbon suiting battery requirements from agriculture waste.
iv. The quality of carbon used for electrodes depends on the choice of precursors and the process used for converting the precursors into carbon. Anode-grade carbon is generally produced through decomposition at nearly 1000 degree Celsius.
v. By using a simple kitchen microwave oven they achieved local heating and combustion to realise high quality factory-grade carbon materials within a few minutes wasdescribed by Prof. Satishchandra Ogale, the corresponding author from the Centre for Energy Science at IISER, Pune and formerly Chief Scientist, NCL, Pune.
vi. The process time to get anode-grade carbon is cut down dramatically. The electrical energy input is also reduced substantially.

SPORTS

ISSF Junior World Cup 2016 – India shooters finish second
Indian Shooters Lakshaya, Kismat Chopra and Manavaditya Singh Rathore bagged the team bronze in the men’s trap event as India ended their campaign at the ISSF Junior World Cupwith a total of 24 medals to grab the second place in the overall standings.
Venue : Gabala, Azerbaijan
The latest medal tally of ISSF 2016 as follows,


Country
Gold Silver Bronze Total
RUSSIA 12 9 4 25
INDIA 9 5 10 24
NORWAY 4 1 5
CHINA 3 4 1 8

Ritu Rani retires from international hockey
i. Former Indian women’s hockey captain Ritu Rani has retired from international hockey.
ii. Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the Rio Olympics after a gap of 36 years under Ritu’s captaincy.
iii. It was also under her captaincy that the national team had won a bronze medal  at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and a silver medal at the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy.

OBITUARY

Hindi and Urdu writer Reoti Saran Sharma passes away in New Delhi
i. Eminent Hindi and Urdu writer Reoti Saran Sharma died in New Delhi today. He was 92 .
ii. He penned memorable television serials like Phir Wahi Talaash and The Great Maratha.
iii. He was a Pioneer in radio plays in All India Radio . It broadcast more than 150 radio plays written by him, some of which were translated into regional languages.
iv. Noted plays written by Sharma include ‘Na Dharam Na Iman’, ‘Deepshika’ and ‘Andehere ke Beta’. He authored the script of television serials like ‘Aur Bhi Gam Hain Zamane Mein’, ‘Lena-Dena’, ‘Phir Wahi Talaash’, ‘Adhikaar’ and ‘Great
v.He was conferred with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2007 and Sahitya Kala Parishad and Ghalib Award.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

President of India to release book ‘Citizen and Society’ written by Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari
Mohd Hamid Ansarii.
The book ‘Citizen and Society’ written by Vice President Shri Mohd Hamid Ansari released by President Pranab Mukherjee  at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on September 23, 2016.
ii. This is collection of lectures on diverse themes such as polity, security and empowerment.
Mohammad Hamid Ansari :
♦ Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the 12th Vice President of India
♦ He is the only person to get re-elected for the post of Vice President of India after Dr. Radhakrishnan