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August 12, 2016

11th August 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (11th August) is Daughters' Day.
National Affairs
  • The Rajya Sabha today passed the Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill, 2016, that seeks to raise paid maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks
    • The Bill also provides 12 weeks of maternity leave to 'adopting' mothers and a mandatory crèche in organisations with over 50 employees. 
    • The Bill will now be tabled in the Lok Sabha.
  • An expert panel set up by the Indian government in 2013 has found that forests in the country are worth ₹115 lakh crore
    • This reportedly is higher than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries like Russia and Canada
    • Note : The panel was formed to evaluate the compensation to be paid by private companies for setting up projects on forest land.
  • The government today announced that it has notified the national 'Early Childhood Care and Education' (ECCE) policy
    • The policy aims to achieve holistic development and active learning capacity of children below six years of age by promoting free, universal and equitable opportunities. 
    • Important Note : The ECCE is one of the six free services provided under the Integrated Child Development Services scheme.
  • The Home Ministry is drafting a proposal for raising the salaries of the President, Vice President, and governors
    • This follows the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission's awards which leaves their salaries less than that of the country's top-most bureaucrat. 
    • Note : At present, the President gets ₹1.5 lakh per month, while the Cabinet Secretary gets ₹2.5 lakh per month.
Recent Committees in News
  • The Union Government has set up a Committee to look at easing the policy regime for e-commerce players, including the rules for foreign direct investment (FDI).  
    • This committee will be headed by : Amitabh Kant (CEO of NITI Aayog). 
    • The other members in the panel will include officials from Union Commerce Ministry and Industry and Department of electronics and IT among others. 
    • Representatives from four states including Maharashtra and Karnataka will also be the members of the committee.

Business & Economy
  • Forbes today announced the '100 Richest Tech Billionaires in the World in 2016', with two Indians making it to the list. 
    • Wipro Chairman Azim Premji is ranked 13th on the list with a net worth of $16.1 billion, while HCL Chairman Shiv Nadar is featured at number 17 with a net worth of $11.7 billion.
    • Microsoft founder Bill Gates has topped  this list. 
    • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ranked second and third with an estimated worth of $66.2 billion and $54 billion respectively.
  • Jack Ma, Founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, is the richest Asian in the '100 Richest Tech Billionaires in the World in 2016' list.
  • The Lok Sabha today approved a Bill to provide tax incentives to the garments sector amid attempts to make the industry more competitive, enabling it to contribute to job creation.
    • Further, it seeks to raise customs duty on marble and granite to 40% in a bid to protect the domestic industry against import surge.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved liberalization of foreign investment norms for the Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) to improve the ease of doing business. 
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CEEA) has given its approval for the development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) technology for thermal power plants. 
    • In this regard, CCEA has approved a one-time grant of 900 crore rupees spread over three years for an R&D project for the development of AUSC technology for thermal power plants. 
    • The project was proposed by a consortium of three government entities to reduce coal consumption as well as Carbon di-oxide (CO2) emission. 
      • They are,
        • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), 
        • Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research (IGCAR) and
        • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

MOUs & Agreements
  • The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism
    • This MoU was signed in July 2016.
  • Policy think tank Niti Aayog today inked a pact with the US Energy Information Administration to set up a portal which​ will constitute all data related to the energy sector. 
    • Further, Niti Aayog has also inked an SOP with the US Agency for International Development and the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change for collaboration in energy research.
  • The Union Cabinet today approved the signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation
    • The two countries had earlier signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation in 1994 to promote bilateral trade and economic relations, that expired in 2009. 
    • India's bilateral trade with Croatia during 2014-15 was $205.04 million.

Science & Technology
  • China has successfully launched a new high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) dubbed as Gaofen-3.
    • It was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province on the back of a Long March 4C rocket. 
    • This satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), under guidance of China Aerospace Sc
General Knowledge
  • The 'Tsar Bomba' was tested on October 30, 1961 and is the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated. 
    • Developed by the Soviet Union as RDS-220, the 50-megaton hydrogen bomb was detonated in an island of the Arctic Sea. 
    • Visible from 600 miles away and capable of destroying everything within a 15-mile radius, it could deliver third-degree burns within a 64-mile radius.
  • Ima Keithel (Mother's Market) is a market in Imphal, Manipur where only women can own stalls and work, while men can enter as buyers. 
    • It is believed to date back to the 16th Century, when men were often fighting wars and women began supporting their families​. 
    • The market is believed to be the only one of its kind in Asia.
  • Former Pakistani cricket legend Hanif Mohammad (81) Passed away.
    • Born in Junagadh, Hanif was widely regarded in cricket as the original 'Little Master'. 
    • Hanif's 337-run innings in 1958, lasting 970 minutes, was the then highest Test score and is still ​the longest-ever innings in Test cricket's history.
New Appointments
  • K M Hanumantharayappa has assumed charge as the new Chairman of Central Silk Board (CSB).
    • He is the 25th Chairman of the Central Silk Board.
    • He will be in this position for a period of three years. 
    • He is going to replace N S Bissegowda. 

  • Spanish swimmer Mireia Belmonte became the first woman from her country to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, after she won the 200-metre women's butterfly event today. 
    • Her Rio win marks the first Olympic swimming victory for Spain in 24 years.
  • Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura became the first man in 44 years to retain his Olympic gold medal in men's all-around gymnastics, when he won the Rio event today. 
    • Uchimura, who won silver in Beijing 2008, is only the fourth man worldwide to achieve the feat, and the first since compatriot Sawao Kato, who did it in 1972.
  • Indian badminton player PV Sindhu defeated Laura Sarosi of Hungary 21-8, 21-9 to win her first pool match in the women's singles badminton event at the Rio Olympics today. 
    • Playing in her first Olympic Games, the 12th-seeded shuttler will next face Canadian shuttler Michelle Li on August 14.
  • Indian boxer Manoj Kumar defeated Olympic bronze-medallist Evaldas Petrauskas, in his opening bout in the men’s light welter 64 kg category at Rio today. 
    • Kumar has now qualified for the pre-quarterfinals, in which he will face fifth-seed Uzbek Fazliddin Gaibnazarov on Sunday.
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