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September 17, 2016

17th September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • National Security Advisors of the BRICS Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have decided to launch joint efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism in West Asia and North Africa, during a meeting in New Delhi. 
    • The NSAs, who also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, vowed to enhance cyber security by sharing information.
  • India today lost its World Trade Organization appeal against a US complaint on discrimination against importers in the solar power sector
    • The WTO upheld that India violated rules by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-made products. 
    • Note : This comes after India complained to WTO against subsidies given to the solar industry in eight US states.
  • Japan is going to conduct joint training patrols with the US in the disputed South China Sea, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said today. 
    • This comes after China and Russia started joint naval drills in the South China Sea this week.

National Affairs
  • Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa today announced the set up of 'Amma Marriage Halls' to help the poor people conduct weddings by paying a reasonable rent
    • Initially, 11 such marriage halls would be established at 11 places at a cost of ₹83 crore. 
    • These halls would have air-conditioned make-up rooms, and separate rooms for the bride, the groom, and the guests.
  • Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi today joined the Coast Guard and other volunteers in cleaning garbage from a beach as part of the 31st International Coastal Cleanup Day. She administered a pledge for 'garbage-free beaches' to the members of NGOs, the NCC, the Coast Guard and others. She urged the citizens to respect nature and not make the beaches dirty.
  • The Indian Navy today launched the country's latest missile destroyer, the Mormugao, at Mumbai's Mazagon Docks. 
    • The indigenous content of the ship is 68%.
    • The Mormugao is the second of a class of Project 15B destroyers, slated to be the most advanced Indian destroyer. 
    • The ship will be inducted into the Navy two years later.
    •  Navy Chief : Sunil Lanba
  • The Shipping Ministry has prepared a draft Major Port Authorities Bill to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963
    • The proposed bill aims to provide more autonomy and flexibility to the major ports and bring in professional approach in their governance for faster and transparent decision making. 
    • The bill has been put online for receiving comments from various stakeholders.
  • The Union Ministry of Tourism has approved projects worth 500 crore rupees for integrated development of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir under Swadesh Darshan scheme
    • The projects were approved by Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee for the scheme as part of Development Package of Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan.
  • Maharashtra's Education Minister Vinod Tawde today announced the state is considering an Education policy under which Maths and English would be optional for tenth standard students in the state. 
    • Adding that the option would be available to students who are proven academically weak in the subjects, he said the maximum number of failures are in Maths and English.
  • According to reports, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council which will decide on the tax rates and the threshold of the new taxation regime, has formally been notified. 
    • This comes after the GST Bill was approved by President Pranab Mukherjee last week. 
    • The first meeting of the GST Council is scheduled to be held on September 22-23.

MOUs & Agreements
  • India and Sri Lanka have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support livelihood of the fishing and farming project to communities in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota district.
    • Under this project, India will provide fishing and farming communities equipment worth USD two million.

General Knowledge
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was born 66 years ago on this day (17th September) in the year 1950, is the first Prime Minister to be born after India's Independence in 1947. 
    • On May 26, 2014, Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India. 
    • He has also served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and is the Member of Parliament from Varanasi.

People in News
  • Japan's biggest opposition Democratic Party has chosen Renho Murata as its first ever woman leader
    • The 48-year-old has worked as a journalist before being elected to Parliament for three terms since 2004.
    • Murata's father was Taiwanese, which also makes her first person with​ dual nationality to head a major political party in Japan.

New Appointments
  • S S Mallikarjuna Rao has assumed charge as Executive Director of Syndicate Bank.
    • Prior to joining the bank, Rao was General Manager and CFO of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), looking after alternate delivery channels, marketing and publicity.
  • Avionics scientist BHVS Narayana Murthy was appointed as Director of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a premiere laboratory of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). 
    • He is expert in avionics has made contributions in design, development and delivery of Missile launch processors, onboard computers, real-time mission software etc. of DRDO.

Awards & Honors
  • Indian-born researcher Dinesh Bharadia (28) has won the prestigious 2016 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for his contribution to radio waves. 
    • He was chosen for the award for his contribution to send and receive radio (wireless) signals, including mobile telephony and data on the same channel (wave).
  • Cricketers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma were today conferred with the coveted Arjuna Award for this year and the previous year respectively by Sports Minister Vijay Goel. 
    • They were given a statuette, a certificate, ceremonial dress and prize money of ₹5 lakh. 
    • They could not earlier receive the awards from the President, as they were participating in international tournaments.

Science & Technology
  • China has successfully launched Tiangong-2 space lab to develop expertise for a future space station and conduct science experiments. 
    • The space lab was launched on board of Long March-2F T2 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert.

Business & Economy
  • India’s largest lender SBI has cut deposit rates by 25 basis points in some maturities, thereby indicating excess liquidity in the banking system. 
    • SBI has cut rates for deposits less than ₹1 crore with a maturity period of 455 days to 3 years, starting this month.
    • Note : SBI’s deposit rate cut will push other PSU banks to cut rates.
  • India's foreign exchange reserves gained $3.513 billion in the week ended September 9 to hit a new life-time high of $371.279 billion, as per RBI data. 
    • Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, rose by $3.509 billion to $345.747 billion during this period, the central bank added. 
    • However, gold reserves were unchanged at $21.64 billion.
  • China's holdings of US treasuries fell in July to their lowest since January 2013 as official ownership of US government debt declined for a fourth straight month, as per US Treasury Department data. 
    • China, the biggest foreign holder of US government debt, had $1.22 trillion in bonds, notes, and bills in July, down by $22 billion from the previous month.
  • India is now the world's third-biggest importer for Scotch whisky, after France and the US.
  • India slipped 10 positions to the 112th spot, out of 159 countries and territories on the 'Economic Freedom of the World' rankings which measures the extent to which countries' policies and institutions are supportive of economic freedom. 
    • India fared badly in all categories including credit, labour, and business regulations. Hong Kong topped the list, followed by Singapore and New Zealand.
  • India’s daily oil imports from Iran in August surged to their highest level in at least 15 years as the OPEC member boosted its shipments, according to data. 
    • In April-August of this fiscal, Iran’s share in India's overall imports surged to 10.7%, its highest since 2010-11. 
    • This comes after economic sanctions against Iran were lifted in January.
  • In a step to benefit over 5 lakh coal mine workers across the country, Aadhaar number would now be linked to their provident fund accounts and treated as the PF number
    • This would benefit contractual workers and those in the unorganised sector.
    • This is to be implemented from December 25, which is observed as 'Good Governance Day'.

  • Kolkata’s Eden Gardens stadium will host a photo exhibition to celebrate the 500th Test of the Indian team, starting September 22 in Kanpur against New Zealand. 
    • Cricket Association of Bengal President Sourav Ganguly said that a special show featuring Anil Kumble and Sunil Gavaskar will also be held during the 501st Test, which starts on September 30 at Eden Gardens.
  • India finished 2nd in the medals tally at the Track Asia Cup 2016 which concluded today in New Delhi. 
    • India won a total of 16 medals, two behind table toppers Hong Kong who finished with 18. 
    • India’s medals included five golds, four silvers and seven bronze, with 21-year-old Indian Deborah Herold winning three gold medals and one silver.
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