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Current Affairs Today – September 26 2016

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CAT Sept 26 2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

CSIR’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations kicked off by PM Narendra Modi
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the platinum jubilee celebration of India’s largest civilian research and development agency Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR with an aim to push the institution to work more vigorously for bringing the result of its research, new technology and discoveries from lab to people and industries.
ii. The year-long platinum jubilee celebration will culminate after completing 75 year of the CSIR in September, 2017. In the meantime, the institution’s various labs will organise many people-friendly events with an idea to promote science among youth and bring their works in public domain through industry-academia interactive sessions.
iii. During the event, Prime Minister Modi released seven new plant varieties developed at CSIR laboratories and also interacted with farmers of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.  through video conferencing.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh inaugurates Krishi Unnati Mela in Mathura
i. The Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, ShriRadha Mohan Singh inaugurated the four day Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Krishi Unnati Mela – 2016, in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
ii. The Agriculture Minister laid foundation stone of first Gokul Gram Project in Mathura. On this occasion he said that government has prepared a plan to establish 14 Gokul Gram in the country under Gokul Mission. The first Gokul Gram is going to be established in Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s birth place, Mathura.
Krishi Puraskar Awards :
♦ The National Award for the year 2016 has been won by Smt. Krishna Yadav, an enterprising lady farmer from, Dinpur, Najafgarh for her outstanding achievements in the processing and value addition of food especially fruits and vegetables.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabh inaugurated 6 major Railway projects
i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated six major Railway projects in Kerala including the dedication of the newly-built 9.6-km long Tiruvalla-Chengannur double line which would ease the heavy rail traffic congestion in the Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section.
ii. Prabhu announced that the Ministry of Railways had chalked out comprehensive plan for the development of Railway through PPP and joint venture with state governments.
iii. Prabhu also inaugurated infrastructure facilities at Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram railways stations through video conferencing from Kozhikode.
iv .While a new platform was launched at Palakkad station, high-speed public WiFi service was made available at Thrissur station.
v .The minister also launched an escalator each in Thrissur and Thriruvananthapurtam stations besides laying foundation stone for the extension of Foot Overbridge at Kozhikode railway station.The service was launched earlier in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kozhikode stations.

Tripura Legislative Assembly ratifies GST Bill
i. Manik Sarkar lead Tripura  become 23rd state to ratifies the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) on September 26, 2016 while Punjab assembly ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Service Tax (GST) on 12 September 2016.
ii. State Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha moved a resolution to ratify the Constitution (122 Amendment) Bill, 2014 which was passed without any opposition.
GST Council activities – September 
♦ Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved setting up of GST Council on September 12 , 2016
♦ GST council held its first meeting in New Delhi and it will hold its second meeting on September 30
♦ GST Council came out with three draft rules and their formats relating to registration, invoice and payments which would be finalised by this week-end.
♦ The government aims to implement the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1, 2017.

Kerala Tourism organised Spice Route Culinary Festival
The Spice Route Culinary Festival held in Kochi from September 23 to 26, 2016 .This festival was organised by the Tourism Department in association with the UNESCO and the the Union Tourism Ministry
Aim: To honour and rekindle the shared legacy of cosmopolitanism, commerce, connectivity and cultural exchange between the countries on the ancient and enduring sea link
Spice Route Culinary Festivali. On the first day of this festival prominent chefs from 31 countries sample the cultural and culinary offerings of Kerala ,’ take in a demonstration on traditional Kerala cooking, and participate in an interactive session.
ii. On the second day, they visited and procure local ingredients from the market, before tabling the choicest cuisines from their homelands for the festival’s  centrepiece – the international cooking competition. The winning entrant and two runners-up felicitated during the culinary festivals valedictory session.
iii. Ambassador of the Netherlands to India H E Alphonsus Stoelinga; Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCOS-New Delhi director, and representative to Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives; various Consul Generals and other high-ranking officials attended this festival
Kerala:
♦ Minister for Tourism: A C Moideen.
♦ Formed on 1 November 1956.
♦ Kerala is also known as “God’s Own Country”
♦ Kerala is the only state in the country which has three functional international airports.

2nd SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism held in New Delhi
i. The Second meeting of High Level Group of Eminent Experts from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries held on September 22-23, 2016 in New Delhi. 
ii. Aim:To strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terror Mechanism. The first meeting was held in New Delhi in February, 2012.
iii. The agenda of the meeting includes functioning of SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) & the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD), countering terrorism & strengthening anti-terrorism mechanisms in SAARC, intelligence sharing & police cooperation, human resource development & relationship building, combating corruption and cyber crimes, among others.
SAARC:
♦ The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.
♦ SAARC Countries:  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Rajasthan first state to adopt LED street lights under all urban local bodies
Rajasthan first state to adopt LED street lights under all urban local bodiesi. Rajasthan became the first state to adopt centre’s Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) in all its urban local bodies (ULB). Almost 5 lakh conventional street lights were replaced with LED street lights across the sta te.
ii. The entire street light project had been funded by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) at no cost to the state. EESL, a Public Energy Services Company under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI), is the implementing agency for SLNP.
iii. EESL has retrofitted Energy Efficient LED street lamps across the state of Rajasthan. Through implementation of this project energy savings achieved so far have been 152 million units, and cost saving to the municipality of Rs.60 lakh daily.
iv. This has also resulted in reduction of 225 tonnes of CO2 per day. EESL procurements conform to BIS specification & carry a 7 year warranty against technical defect
♦  State : Rajasthan
♦ Capital: Jaipur.
♦ Chief Minister: Vasundhara Rajee.
♦ Governor: Kalyan Singh.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar have India’s youngest population
i. Uttar Pradesh and Bihars populations have the lowest median ages — or youngest populations — in India while Kerala and Tamil Nadu have the highest median ages, according to Census 2011 data, compiled by Bengaluru-based think tank Takshashila Institution.
ii. The median age is the age which divides the population into two equal halves, i.e., there are as many people older than the median age as there are people younger than it. A low median age would suggest that a country’s population has more young people than older people.
iii. The median age in India rose from 22.51 years in 2001 to 24 years in 2011, according to Census data. The median age of India’s population would be 37 years in 2050 — lower than that of China, which would have a median age of 46 years, but higher than Pakistan, which would have a median age of 30.9 — according to data from the United Nations.
iv. The median age is broadly correlated with the level of development within the state in India. Southern states with a higher per capita income such as Andhra Pradesh (27), Tamil Nadu (29), Karnataka (26) and Kerala (31) and the western states of Maharashtra (26) and Gujarat (25) have higher median ages.
v. Less developed states in the north including Uttar Pradesh (20), Bihar (20), Jharkhand (22), Madhya Pradesh (23) and Rajasthan (22) have lower median ages

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Colombian Marxist rebels FARC sign peace deal ending 52-year war
i. Colombia’s center-right governmentand the Marxist FARC rebel group signed a peace deal on Monday to end a half-century warthat killed a quarter of a million people
ii. The end of Latin America’s longest-running war will turn the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas into a political party fighting at the ballot box instead of the battlefield they have occupied since 1964.
iii. Guests at the ceremony in the Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena were asked to wear white and included United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

China deployed robot for security at Shenzhen airport
i. China for the first time had deployed a robot to maintain security at one of its busiest airports in Guangdong Province The Anbot, a security robot hired for its first job at the Shenzhen airport where it was making round-the-clock patrols through the departure hall in Terminal 3, state-run.China robot
ii. The robot’s face has a digital display and a high-definition camera to take pictures of travelers at one of the country’s busiest airports for analysis. The primary function would be facial recognition.
iii. “AnBot”, or “Shenzhen Xiaoan” in Chinese, can work around-the-clock and react to emergencies with an electric riot fork. The intelligent guard is 1.5 meters tall and weighs about 75 kg.With four digital cameras; the security robot is capable of autonomous patrols, intelligent monitoring and auto recharging.
iv. It could answer passenger’s questions about flight information and communicate with people in different contexts.The use of intelligent security robots will ease pressure on airport police in their daily patrols and save human resources
v. AnBot was developed by Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, the National University of Defense Technology and a domestic technology company.

BANKING & FINANCE

DCB Bank launches its own UPI app  
i. Maharashtra based DCB Bank launched its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) application. The UPI interface was billed as a revolutionary of sorts in digital banking by the NCPI.
ii. DCB UPI app provides a convenient payment method for customers to send and receive funds anytime, anywhere, from their smart phones with their registered mobile numbers.
DCB Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Maharashtra
♦ CEO: Murali M. Natrajan
♦ Founded : 1930

Govt hired ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund to manage new CPSE ETF
iICICI Prudential Mutual Fund was appointed by the government to manage the second CPSE exchange traded fund (ETF) comprising stocks of PSUs in the current fiscal with an estimated corpus of Rs.6,000 crore. The appointment criteria and evaluation process comprises both technical and financial parameters. The competitors were Reliance, HDFC SBI, UTI, Kotak and Birla Sunlife.
ICICIii.The new ETF would comprise of shares of listed CPSEs and other corporates. ICICI Prudential AMC is India’s largest asset manager having assets under management of Rs.2,17,030 crore.
iii. The proposed new ETF would serve as an additional mechanism for the government to monetise its share holdings in those CPSEs that eventually are part of the ETF basket
iv. It was estimated to have a corpus of Rs.6,000 crore in the first year, which might go up in coming years. The mandate for managing the fund is being given for three years. The ETF could be launched as a New Fund Offer (NFO) followed by Further Fund Offer (FFO)/tap mechanism/tranche or in other additional offering which the government may deem fit to launch.
v. The government might provide appropriate discount for different investors, in the form of a suitable mix of upfront and back-end loyalty discount, the finance announced. Sebi-registered mutual funds with at least 5 years of experience of fund management were eligible to place their bids.

BUSINESS

Sun Pharma signs deal with ICGEB to develop India’s first dengue vaccine  
i. The pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma has signed a deal with the Delhi unit of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) to develop a dengue vaccine
ii. It would be the first vaccine developed entirely in India for a vector-borne disease.
Health condition in India :
♦ Union Health Ministry noting 99,913 dengue cases and 220 deaths in 2015 and 33,310 cases and 20 deaths this year as of September 11.
♦ Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and can be caused by any of four closely-related viruses.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Lopamudra Raut wins second runner-up in Miss United Continents
Lopamudra Rauti. Lopamudra Raut has bagged the second runner-up spot at Miss United Continents, which was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
ii. Jeslyn Santosfrom Philippines won the title of Miss United Continents.
iii. Lopamudra received a cash prize of USD 15,000. She also won
the Best National Costume sub-contest which was designed by Melvyn Noronha.
iv. Previously, India’s Gail Nicole D’Silva won first runner-up at Miss United Continents 2014 and Sushrii Shreya Mishraa was crowned third runner-up at Miss United Continents 2015.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Vinod Sivappa elected new president of UPASI
i. The United Planters’ Association of Southern India’s (UPASI’s) members elected Vinod Sivappa as the new president of the association for 2016-17. He would succeed N Dharmaraj.
ii. Sivappa’s family had been in the coffee growing business for more than 160 years. He was on the Committees of Codagu Planters’ Association and was also the chairman of the Karnataka Planters’ Association.
iii. He was involved in many sporting activities and is a director of many organisations/ institutions and companies.Further, T Jayaram was elected as vice-president of UPASI for the year 2016-17.
iv. Jayaram, an agricultural graduate, runs a family business of cultivation and manufacturing of tea with an experience of 37 years. He was the third generation of the family to be involved in tea plantations.
v. He has occupied various positions, such as chairman of the Nilgiri Planters’ Association and Planters’ Association of Tamilnadu. He has served on the UPASI Executive Committee for the past 20 years
vi. UPASI is an apex body of planters of tea, coffee, rubber, pepper and cardamom in the Southern states of India – Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka – and has been in existence since 1893.
vii. There are three state planters’ associations and 13 district planters’ associations affiliated to UPASI. It is the premier representative body of buyers, sellers, processors, exporters, co-operatives and all other market intermediaries of tea, coffee, rubber and spices.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

PSLV Rockets successfully launches 8 satellites into two different orbits
i. The PSLV C35 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, carrying three satellites from India, three from Algeria, and one each from Canada and the US, lifted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and the launch was “100 per cent successful”.
ii. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty-seventh flight (PSLV-C35), launches the 371 kg SCATSAT-1 for weather related studies and seven co-passenger satellites into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
iii. Co-passenger satellites are ALSAT-1B, ALSAT-2B, ALSAT-1N from Algeria, NLS-19 from Canada and Pathfinder-1 from USA as well as two satellites PRATHAM from IIT Bombay and PISAT from PES University, Bengaluru.
iv. SCATSAT-1 was placed into a 720 km Polar SSO whereas; the two Universities / Academic Institute Satellites and the five foreign satellites will be placed into a 670 km polar orbit. This is the first mission of PSLV in which payloads were launched into two different orbits.

ENVIRONMENT

National waterways project threatens Gangetic dolphins
i. Scientists and wildlife conservationists were seeing red over the threat posed to Gangetic river dolphins by the National Waterways project. The animal was protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and was a declared endangered species
ii. The development of the Ganga for shipping was seen by wildlife conservationists as the single-largest threat to the survival of the species, whose numbers were declining in most parts of their natural habitat, according to Rashid Raza, project scientist, Wildlife Institute of India. This was mainly due to construction of dams and barrages on the river.
iii. India has a huge untapped potential of inland waterways and the Centre plans to develop a 1600-km waterway between Allahabad and Haldia for inland transportation under a Rs. 4200-crore World Bank-aided project as the National Waterway 1.
iv. The first phase of the project spanning 1300 km, now under implementation, is from Varanasi to Haldia. It envisaged improving the navigability of the river as it passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
v .Apart from losing habitat, the dolphins also suffered due to depletion of prey base, accidental mortality in fishing nets and accidents with vessel propellers.The species are practically blind and rely on bio-sonar method to move around. The ships noise-levels would disrupt the ability to navigate and find prey.

SPORTS

India made a historic win in the 500th test match against New Zealand
i. India made a historic win in the 500th test match against New Zealand at Green Park, Kanpur to take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. India’s match against New Zealand was be the country’s 500th, a feat achieved only by England, Australia and the West Indies.
ii. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the 30-year-old surpassed legends Waqar Younis and Dennis Lillee to become the second fastest bowler to claim 200 Test wickets.
iii. Ashwin achieved the milestone in his 37th Test match, bettering Waqar and Lillee, who both took 38 Tests.

St Petersburg Open 2016 – Overview
i. The 2016 St. Petersburg Open was a tennis tournament played on indoor hard courts. It was the 21st edition of the St. Petersburg Open. The part of the ATP World Tour 250 Series of the 2016 ATP World Tour took place at the Sibur Arena in Saint Petersburg,Russia.
ii. Promising German 19-year-old Alexander Zverev won his first tour title, beating U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka in a tight battle in the St. Petersburg Open final.
st-petersburg-open-2016iii. Zverev took the first set before Wawrinka responded to draw level. The German was a break down in the decider, but fought back to win 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
iv. Zverev becomes the first man to beat Wawrinka in a tour final since 2013, snapping an 11-match win streak in finals for the Swiss star, who had been trying to win back-to-back titles in his first tournament since the U.S. Open.
v .The loss also ends a 10-match unbeaten runfor Wawrinka.Earlier, Britain’s Dominic Inglot and Finland’s Henri Kontinen won the doubles title.
vi. St. Petersburg was known for its thousands of beautifully preserved historic buildings of a rich architectural mix. Against this backdrop, the St. Petersburg Open began in 1995 when Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov lifted the trophy. Marat Safin won back-to-back titles in 2000-’01 and Andy Murray became the only other winner of consecutive titles in 2007-’08.
Winner list :

Title Winner Runner
Men’s Single  A. Zverev  S. Wawrinka
Mens’s Double  D. Inglot / H. Kontinen  A. Begemann / L. Paes

Vijay Goel unveils BRICS football tournament logo at Goa
i. Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Vijay Goel unveiled BRICS football tournament logo at the Bambolim Stadium, Goa on September 26, 2016
ii. The first BRICS Under-17 football tournament will be begin in Goa on October 5, 2016
iii. This tournament will be played among the five BRICS  nations- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
iv. The dates of the tournament have been fixed in coordination with the major event, the 8th Annual BRICS Summit, which is scheduled take place in Goa on October 15 and 16.

OBITUARY

US golf legend Arnold Palmer died at 87
i. Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers ever to pick up a club and the object of a massive fan base that called itself “Arnie’s Army” as he recorded seven major victories, died Sunday at 87 in Pittsburgh, according to the United States Golf Association.
ii. Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises reported the Associated Press that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems
US golf legend Arnold Palmer died at 87iii. He earned his the nickname “The King,” during a career whose beginning coincided with the birth of television sports. Along the way, he became one of the wealthiest celebrity endorsers, a philanthropist, golf course designer and pilot.
iv. Palmer’s long string of victories on the PGA tour began in 1955, and he became one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities, along with Jack Nicklaus. Palmer’s charismatic personality also made him a sought after pitchman, for several products, perhaps most famously Quaker State motor oil.
v. Nicklaus stated that the Arnold Palmer was the everyday man’s hero. From the modest upbringing, Arnold embodied the hard-working strength of America.The golf legend won his last major championship in 1964 and his last PGA Tour event in 1973, but in the 43 years since then his status as an international icon has only grown.
vi. He created a vicarious thrill as no player before him and none since. When his golf skills faded and his hair turned silver and then white, he exuded grandfatherly warmth that was also unmatched, possibly in any sport. For these and other reasons he was not only the most beloved figure ever to play golf but the rare golfer who was able to transcend a niche sport and become a genuine celebrity

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Environmental Health Day – September 26 , 2016
i. World Environmental Health Day is observed every year on September 26 across the world, which was inaugurated in 2011 in Indonesia.
ii. It was launched by the IFEH Council (International Federation of Environmental Health).
iii. This day helps to disseminates knowledge about environmental health among people and promotes cooperation between countries to improve the environmental situation of our planet.
iv. 2016 theme : “Tobacco Control… a response to the global tobacco pandemic”

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
i. International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed every year on 26 September 2016.First observed in 2014.
ii. The Day provides provides an opportunity to highlight the need to eliminate nuclear weapons and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.
iii. The UN commemorates this Day by providing an opportunity for governments and some civil society to discuss progress and priorities for nuclear disarmament