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September 13, 2016

13th September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) today announced that India has complained to the international trade regulator regarding the support given to the renewable energy industry in eight US states. 
    • In this regard, India told the WTO that the US’ subsidies and domestic content requirements are inconsistent with WTO norms as they favour domestic products over imported goods.
  • India, and 21 other countries have been designated as ‘Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries’ by US President Barack Obama
    • Other countries in the list include Pakistan, Bahamas, Afghanistan, and Mexico, among others. 
  • Following an agreement between the US and Russia, a nationwide ceasefire went into effect in Syria today's evening. 
    • This is the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the five-year-old civil war. 
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature today agreed at an international summit to ban domestic ivory trade
    • Note : International trade for ivory is already banned but domestic trade is still allowed in some countries including China, US and UK.
  • India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today met her Nepali counterpart, Prakash Sharan Mahat, and held wide-ranging talks which included areas of security, energy and water resources. 
    • The meeting was held in New Delhi, ahead of Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda's India visit from September 15. 
    • Note : This will be Prachanda's first foreign trip after assuming office last month.
National Affairs
  • Eid al-Adha (Bakr-Eid), observed in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim who sacrificed his son at God's command, is being celebrated in India today.
  • The Kolkata police have banned selfies with goddess' idol during Durga Puja festival this year in Kolkata, West Bengal. 
    • The police claimed that selfie-enthusiasts have become a major menace during the festival, obstructing free movement of people and making management work of the annual congregation of visitors difficult. 
  • The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions. 
    • This HEFA will be jointly promoted by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and identified Promoter.
  • According to a new IRCTC directive, Aadhaar cards would soon become mandatory for booking rail tickets
    • Aadhaar cards would be compulsory for both reserved and unreserved categories, for online as well as counter tickets. 
    • The directive would reportedly be effective starting December 2016. 
    • Note : 96% Indians already have an Aadhaar Card.
  • The Union Government has issued model guidelines for states to regulate direct selling and multi-level marketing businesses to protect consumers from Ponzi frauds
    • These model guidelines titled the Direct Selling Guidelines 2016 framework was released by Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi. 
Awards & Honors
  • SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya (2nd), ICICI Bank head Chanda Kochhar (5th), and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma (19th) have been featured in Fortune's 2016 '50 Most Powerful Women' based outside the US list. 
    • Note : Ana Botín, the chief of Eurozone's largest bank by valuation Banco Santander, topped the list.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been ranked the best museum in the world in a TripAdvisor survey. 
    • Top 5 in the List :  
      • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
      • Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago city)
      • State Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg)
      • Musee d'Orsay (Paris)
      • National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico)
Business & Economy
  • Acharya Balkrishna, the CEO of Patanjali, has become a billionaire with a net worth of ₹25,600 crore (around $3.8 billion), according to the Hurun India Rich List 2016
    • This gain is primarily due to the increasing popularity of Patanjali products. 
    • Note : While Baba Ramdev is the face of Patanjali, around 94% of Patanjali is owned by the 44-year-old Balkrishna.
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked the chiefs of defence forces that they should implement the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission
    • Note : The defence services had last week decided not to implement the recommendations as their four core issues had not been resolved. 
    • Parrikar reportedly assured the service chiefs that their grievances would be looked into.
People in News
  • Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa was today directed by President Pranab Mukherjee to cease the hold of his office. 
    • Mukherjee has appointed Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan to take charge of the post in addition to his own duties, "until regular arrangements are made". 
    • Earlier, Rajkhowa was asked to step down by the Centre, but he denied to do so.
MOUs & Agreements
  • The Union Cabinet has apprised of the MoU between India and South Africa for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
    • The MoU was signed between both countries in July 2016 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 5 African nations in July 2016.
  • State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Reliance Jio today signed an intra-circle roaming agreement for 2G and 4G services
    • This will allow the subscribers of the two companies to utilise their networks across India and offer a better quality of services for both voice calls and data. 
    • Earlier, Vodafone had signed a similar pact with BSNL.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Bilateral Technical Arrangement (BTA) between India and Switzerland on the identification and return of Indian and Swiss Nationals and its implementation
    • The conclusion of the BTA has been linked to the Visa Free Agreement for holders of Diplomatic passports as a package deal.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management (NHPDM). 
    • The MoU was signed between both countries in July 2016 at Nairobi during the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 5 African nations.
Books & Authors
  • One of the most popular Indian writers of the present times, Chetan Bhagat, who is often credited to have introduced the genre of campus novels in India, recently announced the title of his next book, One Indian Girl.
    • Note :Contrary to all his previous books, this has been written from the viewpoint of a woman.
  • Deepa Malik became India's first female Paralympic medallist after winning the Silver in the F-53 shot put​ event at Rio Paralympics today.
  • Thangavelu Mariyappan, who became only the third Indian ever to clinch a gold medal in the Paralympics, will be the country’s flag-bearer at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games on September 18. 
    • Mariyappan, who was five-years-old when his right leg was crushed by a speeding bus, won the Gold in the T-42 High Jump event.
  • US Open champion Angelique Kerber officially became the oldest woman to debut at number one in the WTA rankings, ending Serena Williams’ record-tying run of 186 consecutive weeks in the top spot.
    • The 28-year-old is also the first woman from Germany to be ranked number one since Steffi Graf, who has been a mentor for Kerber.
  • India's bronze medal winner at the Rio Olympics, Sakshi Malik entered the top 5 of the 58 kg women's wrestling world rankings at the fourth place today. 
    • She is now the only Indian wrestler​ to be ranked in the top 10 of the United World Wrestling rankings, after becoming the country's first female Olympic medallist in the sport.
  • Indian kickboxer Sushmita Rai won the bronze medal at the World Martial Arts Masterships 2016, held at Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do of South Korea. 
    • The competition, which is considered by many as the equivalent of Olympics for the martial arts, was attended by 2,073 participants from 87 countries. 
    • Rai was a part of the 12-member Indian contingent participating in the week-long event.

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