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September 22, 2016

22nd September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • India, at the United Nations platform, called Pakistan a “terrorist state” while accusing it of carrying out “war crimes” against Indians through its “long-standing policy” of sponsoring terrorism. 
    • India also provided Pakistan evidence of the latter's involvement in the Uri attacks which claimed 18 jawans' lives. 
    • Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and showed him the content of GPS recovered from the terrorists' bodies, Pakistan-made food and medicines, and grenades with Pakistani markings to prove the neighbouring country's role.
  • Two US lawmakers have introduced a Bill in the United States House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • The Cabinet today approved a ₹1,102 crore-project to lay an undersea cable link to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Chennai.
    • Currently, telecom services on the islands are dependent on satellite connectivity with a limited bandwidth and this project will reportedly boost telecom services. 
    • The project is likely to be completed by December 2018.
  • The US has labelled the Syrian jihadist rebel group Jund al-Aqsa as a terrorist organisation.
    • This comes after the officials held them responsible for massacring 40 civilians in 2014, and two suicide bombings in 2015. 
    • This move will block all assets of al-Aqsa in the US and prevent Americans from engaging with the organisation.

National Affairs
  • The Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit (IITIS) 2016 has begun in New Delhi.
    • This summit was inaugurated by Union Finance Minster Arun Jaitley
    • The three day summit has been organized by the Union Ministry of Tourism in association with Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • The Indian Navy was today put on high alert in Mumbai after school children in Maharashtra's Uran claimed seeing a group of 5-6 men carrying weapons near the naval base. 
    • The children further claimed that the suspicious persons were dressed in black coloured clothes. 
    • As per reports, this is the highest level of alert the Navy has ever issued.
  • The Odisha government today reduced the stamp duty on the purchase of land and houses in the name of women to 4% from 5%. 
    • The decision was taken on the basis of the provisions under the state government’s Policy for Girls and Women, 2014. 
    • Note : The rate of stamp duty in the state is generally 7% of the land cost.
  • Adani Enterprises today commissioned a 648 MW solar power plant in Tamil Nadu, which it claims is the world's largest solar plant at a single location, with an investment of ₹4,550 crore. 
    • This is a part of the company's plans to achieve a solar power generating capacity of 3,500 MW by March 2017.
  • The Race Course Road, where the Prime Minister's residence is situated, has been renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg
    • This means that PM Narendra Modi's address would now read 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, instead of 7, Race Course Road.
People in News
  • A 24-year-old transgender British soldier, Chloe Allen has become the first woman to serve on the front line with the army
    • Allen joined the Scots Guards as a man in 2012 but started hormone therapy in the last month and officially changed her name. 
    • Note : This comes after former Prime Minister David Cameron allowed women to serve in frontline combat roles.

Awards & Honors
  • Tamil film 'Visaaranai' is India's official entry to Academy Awards 2017 in the Foreign Language Film category. 
    • Featuring Dinesh, Anandhi and Aadukalam Murugadoss in the lead roles, the film focuses on corruption and police brutality. 
    • Directed by Vetrimaaran and produced by Dhanush, 'Visaaranai' won three National Awards this year, including the best Tamil film award.
  • The first Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award will be posthumously awarded to Muhammad Ali
    • The Owens Award, awarded to recognise people serving as an inspiration in society, started this year, the 80th anniversary of Owens' four-gold-medal performance at the Berlin Olympics.
  • Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani has topped Forbes' annual list of India's 100 richest tycoons for 2016
    • With a net worth of $22.7 billion (₹1.52 lakh crore), Ambani has retained the number one spot for the ninth consecutive year. 
    • Sun Pharmaceuticals MD Dilip Shanghvi ($16.9 billion) and Hinduja brothers ($15.2 billion) ranked second and third respectively on the list.
  • HDFC Bank has emerged as India’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year, ranking first on the BrandZ Top 50 list released by WPP Group
    • Valued at $14.4 billion, it was the only Indian brand in the BrandZ Top 100 most valuable global brands list released earlier. 
    • Note : HDFC Bank was followed by Airtel and SBI in the list.
  • Myanmar's State Counsellor and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been named Humanitarian of the Year by students and faculty at the Harvard Foundation.
  • Indian photographer Ronny Sen has won the second Getty Images Instagram grant for his work on Jharkhand's coal town Jharia, where underground fires have burned for over 100 years.
Recent Committees in News
  • The government today appointed three members to the Monetary Policy Committee, completing the appointment process for the body.
    • This committee will decide the policy rates of the RBI. 
    • The members appointed are :
      • Chetan Ghate, 
      • Pami Dua, 
      • Ravindra Dholakia
    • Note : The other three members will be from RBI, including Governor Urjit Patel.
New Appointments
  • Justice G C Gupta has sworn-in as Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court
    • He will have a short tenure as Chief Justice of the High Court as he is due to retire in December 2016. 
    • Prior to this appointment he was judge at the Calcutta High Court. 
    • With this appointment for the first time sitting judge was made Chief Justice after almost 30 years when Justice Chittotosh Mukherjee became the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Business & Economy
  • The Centre today cleared the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, which is likely to cost India nearly €7.8 billion (over ₹58,000 crore)
    • This deal is set to be finalised on Friday. 
    • Last year, the original plan to buy 126 planes was scaled down to 36 due to the Air Force's urgent requirement.
  • The Centre today approved a ₹5,176 crore grant to state-run GAIL for funding the Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Gas Pipeline project, which will connect India's eastern part with the national grid. 
    • The project's implementation will encourage supply of eco-friendly fuel at affordable tariffs to industries in five states namely, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to raise a total of ₹31,300 crore as Extra Budgetary Resource in the current financial year to augment infrastructure spending. 
    • Of the ₹31,300 crore, ₹16,300 crore would be raised by state-owned units and agencies like Power Finance Corporation, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, and Inland Waterways Authority of India, among others.
  • The Cabinet has cleared subsidy support of ₹1,250 crore for public sector telecom operator BSNL for rural landline connections installed before April 1, 2002. 
    • The compensation for deficit incurred by BSNL will be given from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). 
    • Further, the above compensation would be the last and final payment to BSNL from USOF on this account.
  • US Federal Reserve today left the key interest rate unchanged at 0.25-0.50% for the sixth straight time. 
    • The central bank's policy-setting committee said the case for a federal rate change has strengthened, but it would wait for "further evidence of continued progress" to change the rates. 
    • Note : Banks lend money to other institutions based on the Federal Reserve rates.

MOUs & Agreements
  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has signed a contract with German company DST to design vessels suited to navigate the 1620 km stretch of National Waterway (NW-1). 
    • Under the contract, DST will has been initially tasked to develop low draft vessels for transportation of cars that can carry upto 150-200 vehicles.

  • Filmmaker Curtis Hanson (71), who won an Oscar for the 1997 film 'L.A. Confidential', has passed away.
    • Hanson, known for films like '8 Mile;' and 'Wonder Boys', retired from films as he was reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • Jagdish Gagneja (65), Vice President of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) Punjab unit, died today.
  • India began its historic 500th Test match in Kanpur today, after winning the toss against New Zealand and electing to bat. 
    • India is the fourth nation to achieve the feat of playing 500 Tests
    • Note : Out of the 499 completed Tests since becoming a Test-playing nation in 1932, India has won 129 matches, lost 157, drawn 212 and tied one.
  • Former Indian women's hockey captain Ritu Rani has retired from international hockey following her axing from the Indian Rio Olympics-bound squad. 
    • The 24-year-old midfielder had captained the Indian side which qualified for the Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years. 
    • She also led the national team to 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medal and 2013 Asian Champions Trophy silver.
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