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August 31, 2016

31st August 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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National Affairs
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to create a Project Development Fund (PDF) for catalysing Indian economic presence in the CLMV countries viz. Cambodia, Laos Myanmar and Vietnam. 
    • The PDF will have corpus of Rs 500 Crore and shall be housed in Department of Commerce. 
    • It will be operated through the EXIM Bank.
  • Amid protests by the opposition, the Kerala government has prohibited Onam festivities in state-run offices and institutions during working hours. 
  • The Telangana Assembly today ratified the Constitutional Amendment Bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), becoming the 12th state or union territory to do so. 
    • The Centre seeks to roll out the nation-wide uniform indirect tax regime by April 1, 2017. 
    • The bill requires at least 15 states' assent before the President can notify it as a law.
  • PM Narendra Modi today inaugurated the first phase of the ₹12,000-crore Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran for Irrigation (SAUNI) project in Gujarat’s Jamnagar. 
    • Under the project, nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi, would be filled with the water of Narmada River. 
    • The four-phased project is expected to be completed before 2019, said Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani.
  • Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa has announced 500 Amma gymnasiums and parks for as many as 1,000 villages in the state. 
    • The cost of setting up of the parks has been estimated to be ₹100 crore and that of the gymnasiums to be ₹50 crore. 
    • She also announced the construction of anganwadis, toilets and roads across the state.
  • Gujarat has become the first state in the country to distribute two crore LED bulbs under the Centre’s UJALA scheme
    • The state has reached the milestone in just 96 days and over 42 lakh households have already benefited from the scheme. 
    • UJALA Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All
MOUs & Agreements
  • The Goa government today signed a memorandum of understanding with Google India to promote digital literacy and drive digital transformation in the state. 
    • In the first phase, Goa government will launch internet safety education for students from classes 9th to 12th in government schools. 
  • The Union Cabinet has apprised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and CERT-UK
    • The MoU was signed between CERT-In and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK (United Kingdom) represented by CERT-UK, a unit of the Cabinet Office on Cyber Security in May 2016.
Places in News
  • Thailand’s tallest building, the 'MahaNakhon' was officially inaugurated today.
    • The 77-storey building measures 314 metres tall and features a sky observation deck, an outdoor bar, a restaurant, a public plaza for staging cultural events and a luxury hotel. 
    • Built by 'PACE Development', the project cost an amount of 18 billion baht (approximately ₹3,482 crore).
Science & Technology
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a record 68 satellites in one mission by early next year.
    • The satellites will be "nano in nature". 
    • Important Note : Earlier in June, ISRO had set a record in its space programme by successfully launching 20 satellites in a single mission.
  • Iran has launched the first phase of the country's own national internet network to provide high speed and quality connections at low costs. 
    • The government said that the network will be used to promote Islamic content and raise digital awareness among the public. 
    • Note : Iran already blocks access to overseas social media services including Twitter and Facebook.
  • The 300 residents of the Australian village of Tyalgum have backed a plan to switch off the national power lines and set up their own solar power supply.
    • If successful, the village will become the country's first community to have 24/7 electricity powered by 100% renewable energy
    • The installation of the solar-powered systems is expected to begin in October.
Business & Economy
  • Qatar National Bank (QNB) has obtained an approval from the Indian regulatory authorities to open a branch in India to offer banking services. 
    • This would help in achieving the goal of strategic global expansion.
    • Note : The bank currently has its presence in over 30 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
  • The Cabinet has approved a proposal to offer Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors meeting minimum investment and employment generation criteria. 
    • PRS status entails multiple entries into the country for 10 years without any stay stipulation, right to purchase one residential property for dwelling purposes among others. 
    • Important Note : The scheme is not applicable for Pakistani or Chinese citizens.
  • The Cabinet today approved the amendments in the FDI policy announced by the Modi government on June 20. 
    • The amendments are meant for liberalising and simplifying the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in India. 
    • Furthermore, it will lead to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, incomes and employment.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India today announced that it has launched the pilot project for Bharat Bill Payment System with 26 operating units.
    • It will allow payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone, and DTH in its first phase. 
    • The BBPS is an RBI-mandated system to provide interoperable bill payment services, both online and offline.
  • India's economy is likely to grow 7.8% in 2016-17 on the back of good monsoons, a survey by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry has said. 
    • The industry body owed the improvement in the growth estimate to the better performance of the agriculture and industry sectors. 
    • Meanwhile, the RBI has pegged the growth rate at 7.6% this fiscal.
  • The government today approved 16 highway projects budgeted at ₹7,456.88 crore in 11 states.
    • Two projects will be for widening of stretches on NH-58 for connectivity in Uttarakhand's Char Dham Yatra. 
  • Asia's largest industrial aluminium manufacturer China Zhongwang today agreed to buy the US-based Aleris for $2.3 billion, making it the biggest ever overseas purchase of a metals processor by a Chinese company
    • The deal marks China’s shift to higher value-added products and will give Zhongwang access to the technological know-how and to more demanding customers.
People in News
  • A 145-year-old man from Indonesia, Mbah Gotho, could be the world's oldest person, based on his official records that state he was born on December 31,1870.
    • Note : 122-year-old Jeanne Calment from France is currently recognised by Guinness as the world's oldest person ever.
Awards & Honors
  • Rio Olympic silver medal-winning Indian shuttler, PV Sindhu has been appointed as an honorary Commandant of the CRPF, the nation's largest paramilitary force. 
    • Sindhu, who will also be made the brand ambassador of the force, will be presented the rank badges and camouflage combat fatigues of the CRPF at a ceremonial event.
  • Ecologist Bibhuti Lahkar has become the first Asian to be nominated for International Union for Conservation of Nature's ‘Heritage Heroes Award’. 
    • The award recognises the outstanding efforts of conservationists who help conserve World Heritage sites. 
    • Lahkar has been working at the Manas National Park in Assam for around 20 years, where he trained local youth in wildlife monitoring and ecotourism.
  • Gene Wilder (83), known for portraying​ the role of 'Willy Wonka' in the 1971 film 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' passed away.
    • Some of his other films include the 1974 'Young Frankenstein' and the 1980 'Stir Crazy'. 
    • Wilder also received an Academy Award nomination for the 1967 film 'The Producers'.
General Knowledge
  • Women from Burma's 'Kayan' tribe wear brass coils around their necks to make their necks appear longer, as an elongated neck is considered a sign of beauty in Kayan culture. 
    • In reality, the weight of the rings pushes down the muscles around the collarbone and compresses the rib cage. Some women start wearing the rings from the age of five.
  • 'Ochsenrennen' or ox racing is an event hosted in Bavaria, Germany every four years. 
    • The competition is a local tradition in which jockeys ride on oxen without a saddle, competing for a golden ox trophy. 
    • They have to race on a course measuring 100 metres long. The race is followed by a feast of roasted oxen to celebrate the event.
New Appointments
  • Ashok Kumar Pradhan has taken over as the Chief General Manager of State Bank of Travancore (SBT)
    • He is going to replace S Adikesavan, whose transfer to Hyderabad had kicked up a controversy recently. 
  • US President Barack Obama has been appointed the guest editor for technology magazine Wired's November issue, making him the first ever sitting US President to be a magazine's guest editor
    • The theme of the issue will be 'Frontiers', which will include stories of pioneers in various fields including technology and medicine. 
    • Note : Obama has previously written about feminism in Glamour magazine.
  • World number one Novak Djokovic was elected as the ATP Player Council President, ahead of the US Open.
    • South Africa's world number 35 Kevin Anderson was elected as the Vice President of the council, which is a representative body for the tennis players participating on the tour. 
    • Other members of the council include Andy Murray, Jamie Murray and Gilles Simon.
  • England captain Wayne Rooney has confirmed his international retirement after the 2018 football World Cup in Russia. 
  • Man Kaur, a 100-year-old sprinter from Chandigarh, finished a 100-metre sprint in one minute and 21 seconds, to win Gold at the American Masters Games in Vancouver. 
    • Kaur was the only competitor in her age category at the international event, which is held for athletes aged over 30. 
    • Besides her sprint, Kaur also won gold in javelin and shot put.
Daily Current Affairs of August 2016

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