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September 23, 2016

23rd September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • UK PM Theresa May is going to introduce the 'Alan Turing' Law, which will give posthumous pardons for gay men convicted under historic indecency crimes. 
    • The law will decriminalise around 49,000 people convicted under outdated laws, even though the UK had decriminalised homosexuality by 1967. 
    • The law is named after gay mathematician Alan Turing, who built a machine to decrypt Nazi messages.
  • The world's shortest international flight between Switzerland's St Gallen and Germany's Friedrichshafen, taking around 8 minutes of travel time, will start operating in November.
    • The flight will operate twice daily with tickets costing about $44 (₹3,000). 
    • It currently takes about an hour to travel the 77.2 km distance by car.

National Affairs
  • The Karnataka Legislative Council today unanimously decided not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, saying the water was needed for drinking purposes in the state.
  • The National Society for Change for Childhood Cancer in India is going to organise a first-of-its-kind exhibition on childhood cancer awareness at the Taj Mahal in Agra from September 25-27. 
    • The exhibition will include a 'Chalo Chalein Taj' programme under which around 1,500 cancer-affected children will visit the monument. Childhood cancer survivors will also perform a street play at the event.
  • Former Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani-led Kerala Congress (M) was recognised as a separate bloc in the Kerala Assembly by the Speaker. 

Business & Economy
  • Chairing the GST Council meeting for the second day today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that, 
    • The exemption threshold for GST has been fixed at ₹20 lakh. 
      • However, exemption threshold in North-East states would be ₹10 lakh. 
      • A trader, whose annual turnover is less than the threshold limit, would not be covered under the indirect tax regime.
      • The Council will meet on October 17-19 to decide the GST rate and slabs. 
      • All cesses will be subsumed in GST. 
    • The council further stated that the exemption list will be cut down to 90 items from the current 300 items.
  • Marriott International today completed its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, creating the world’s largest hotel chain.
  • At a public Banking Committee hearing, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was asked to resign over a bogus accounts fraud that cost the US bank $190 million in penalties. 
  • World's top three steel producersChina, Japan and India, collectively produced 134.1 million tonnes of steel, about 64% of the world's steel production in August.
    • China accounted for about 51.15% of the world's steel, while Japan produced 6.63% and India, 6.04%. 
    • The fourth largest steel producer, US, registered a fall of 3.4% in its production.

New Appointments
  • The Union Government has appointed Navtej Sarna as the Ambassador to the United States
    • He is going to replace Arun Kumar Singh, who has retired from the service. 
  • Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar was sworn in as Chief Justice of Kerala High Court as per Article 219 of the Constitution. 
    • Prior to this appointment he was serving as the acting chief justice of the Kerala High Court.

General Knowledge
  • The Sargasso Sea, a patch of water within the Atlantic Ocean, is the only sea without a land boundary
    • The boundaries are defined by ocean currents, which keep shifting. 
    • Note : The sea, named after the brown seaweeds floating on its surface, has a distinctive deep blue colour and underwater visibility of up to 200 feet.

Books & Authors
  • President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched Vice President Hamid Ansari's book titled 'Citizen and Society' at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. 
    • The volume is a collection of memorial or anniversary lectures, convocation addresses and speeches on specific themes and occasions. 
    • These cover polity, identity, empowerment, security, and global affairs.

People in News
  • Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director and primary stakeholder Acharya Balkrishna has debuted on the Forbes' 'India's 100 Richest People' list, with a net worth of $2.5 billion.
  • Actors of American sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory' have occupied the top four spots on Forbes' list of World's Highest Paid TV Actors with Jim Parsons leading. 
    • Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, earned $25.5 million in 12 months till June 1, 2016. 
    • He was followed by co-stars Johnny Galecki ($24 million), Simon Helberg ($22.5 million) and Kunal Nayyar ($22 million).
  • Gujaratis dominated the Forbes list of 'India's 100 Richest People' in 2016 with Mukesh Ambani topping the list for the ninth year in a row. 
    • Sun Pharma's Dilip Shanghvi, another Gujarati, was placed second on the list, while Wipro's Azim Premji came in fourth. 
    • Uday Kotak and Gautam Adani from Gujarat were placed 11th and 13th on the list respectively.

Awards & Honors
  • Syrian civil defence group White Helmets has won the Right Livelihood Award, also referred to as the 'Alternative Nobel'.
    • The White Helmets also known as the Syria Civil Defence is a Syrian civil organisation of emergency responders in rebel-held areas. 
    • They were honored with this award for their outstanding bravery... and humanitarian engagement. 
    • They will share the $3,50,000 (over ₹2.33 crore) award with activists from Egypt and Russia and a Turkish newspaper.
  • Bangkok has overtaken London as the most popular travel destination for the year 2016 in the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities index.
    • Top 5 in the List :
      • Bangkok
      • London 
      • Paris
      • Dubai 
      • New York
  • UK-based University of Oxford was ranked the best university in the world in Times Higher Education university Rankings, pushing US-based California Institute of Technology, the five-time topper of the list, to the second spot. 
    • Top 5 in the List :
      • University of Oxford
      • California Institute of Technology
      • Stanford University
      • University of Cambridge, 
      • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Two Indian forest officials have been selected for the 2016 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards
    • They are Assistant Conservator Ritesh Sarothiya of Madhya Pradesh State Forest Service and Range officer Sanjay Dutta of Belakoba Forest Range Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. 
    • They will be presented with this award 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 in October 2016.

  • Former India's men's and women's cricket teams captains were felicitated at India's 500th Test, which began yesterday in Kanpur. 
    • Those honoured included Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sunil Gavaskar, and MS Dhoni, while the women were represented by Anjum Chopra and Mithali Raj. 
    • The ceremony was attended by BCCI President Anurag Thakur and UPCA Director Rajeev Shukla.
  • The European football governing body, UEFA's president Aleksander Ceferin unveiled the logo for the Euro 2020, which will be held across 13 countries in Europe with London being the tournament's official host city. 
    • Outside of London, matches will also be hosted in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Scotland and Spain.
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