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September 12, 2016

12th September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (12th September) is United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation.
  • China and Russia have started naval drills in the disputed South China Sea today. 
    • China claimed that the "routine" drills, which are expected to last eight days, are only aimed at strengthening cooperation. 
    • This comes amid tensions in the contested waters after a UN court ruled that China does not have "historic rights" over the region.
National Affairs
  • The government today approved the Human Resource Development Ministry's proposal to set up a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) that will pro vide funds for research-oriented infrastructure in premier institutions like IITs and IIMs. 
    • HEFA is expected to raise up to ₹20,000 crore for funding world-class labs and mobilise CSR funds for promoting research in these institutions on a grant basis.
  • After introducing 'Twitter Sewa' for redressal of telecom and postal grievances, the government today launched a toll-free number 1924 to register postal complaints. 
    • It will initially be operational for 12 hours on working days and has been started in Hindi, Malayalam, and English. 
    • Note : Department of Posts (DoP) is the 8th largest department in terms of number of complaints.
  • To ensure its involvement at every stage of defence manufacturing, the Indian Army has set up the Army Design Bureau (ADB)
    • It will be an interface between the Army and the DRDO, academia, defence PSUs, and the private industry. 
    • This aims to achieve the Army's modernisation and indigenisation programme, in line with the Centre's ‘Make in India’ plan.
Awards & Honors
  • HBO's TV series 'Game of Thrones' has won nine Creative Arts Emmy Awards including 'Outstanding Casting', 'Outstanding Costumes' and 'Outstanding Production Design'.
Science & Technology
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is going to launch a satellite developed by the students of IIT Bombay. 
    • Called ‘Pratham’, the satellite will measure the total electron count of the ionosphere. 
    • The satellite was conceptualised by two students of the Aerospace Engineering department - Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay and Shashank Tamaskar - in July 2007.
  • The world’s first daily driverless bus service has started in Lyon, France which will run in the city’s Confluence area. 
    • The driverless bus service includes two electric shuttles that will transport passengers on a ten-minute route hosting five stops. 
Places in News
  • According to a survey conducted by Virtuoso, an international luxury travel network, Iceland is the best adventure destination for luxury travel
    • Galapagos in Ecuador was ranked second while Costa Rica and Chile's Patagonia tied for the third spot. 
  • China's Beipanjiang Bridge, which is expected to be the world's highest bridge upon completion, is nearing the end of its construction. Measuring 565 metres (about 1,850 feet) above the Beipan river.
    • It will span a distance of over 1,000 metres to connect the Guizhou and Yunnan provinces. 
    • Note : The bridge is scheduled to open to public by the end of 2016.
  • The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States has been named the busiest passenger airport in the world for the 18th year in a row, according to the 2015 World Airport Traffic Report
    • The airport, which saw over 101 million passengers last year, was followed by the Beijing Airport (89.9 million passengers) and the Dubai Airport (78 million passengers).
Business & Economy
  • The Union Cabinet today approved the process, formation and functioning of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.
    • The council will consist of the Finance Minister and State Finance Ministers
    • It will make recommendations on important issues related to GST, including items and rates.
    • Note : The GST is a single indirect tax, which will subsume most of the central and state taxes such as VAT, excise duty, service tax and central sales tax.
  • The Union Finance Ministry has issued fresh flexi-fund guidelines for the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). 
    • These flexi-fund guidelines will give states more freedom in spending money under the CSS  to meet local developmental requirements. These guidelines were based on the instructions issued by NITI Aayog for rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes. 
    • Note : These recommendations were based on instructions of the sub-group of Chief Ministers of states and consultations with stakeholders
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has launched ’e-nivaran’ (electronic resolution)  facility for online redressal of taxpayers’ grievances. 
  • The Cabinet today approved the Consumer Affairs Department's proposal on enhancing the buffer stock for pulses up to 20 lakh tonnes
    • The buffer stock will be built through domestic procurement and imports of 10 lakh tonnes each. T
    • he specific variety of pulses and their quantities and procurement will be based on their price and availability positions, both domestically and globally.
  • Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital today announced it has received shareholders’ approval for the transfer of its commercial finance unit with a loan portfolio of about ₹16,500 crore to a separate company
    • Post the transfer, Reliance Capital would be applying to the RBI for registering itself as a Core Investment Company, which would also facilitate the application of a banking licence.
  • Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka defeated world number one and the defending champion Novak Djokovic to win his maiden US Open title and third Grand Slam overall.
    • Complete Winners List of US Open 2016
      • Men's Singles : Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland)
      • Women's Singles : Angelique Kerber (Germany)
      • Men's Doubles : Bruno Soares (Brazil) / Jamie Murray (United Kingdom)
      • Women's Doubles : Bethanie Mattek-Sands (United States) / Lucie Šafářová (Czech Republic)
    • Mixed Doubles : Laura Siegemund (Germany) / Mate Pavić (Croatia)
  • India's Test squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand has been announced. 
    • The batting unit consists of Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. 
    • Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets, while Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yaadav form the bowling attack.
  • BCCI (Board Of Control For Cricket In India) has put an age limit of 60 years for the post of National Selectors and has also set September 14 as the deadline for applying for the posts. 
    • As per the new rules, a senior national selector should have represented India in a Test or an ODI, or played over 50 first-class matches in India in a BCCI-selected team.
  • India won 4 Golds, 1 Silver and 5 Bronze medals in the recently-concluded International Table Tennis Federation Junior and Cadet Open Championships, to finish second to Taipei in the medals tally. 
    • Important Points to Note : 
      • India’s four golds included wins in the junior boys, girls and cadet girls singles, besides the junior boys doubles title.
      • India’s Manav Thakkar won himself two golds.
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