Current Affairs Today – December, 31st, 2017 | Latest News and Updates

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Current Affairs Today – December, 31st, 2017 | Latest News and Updates

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Triple Talaq Bill Passed in Lok Sabha

Triple Talaq Bill Passed in Lok Sabha

  1. The Lok Sabha on Thursday has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 in that there wil be the criminal in the triple talaq. The bill that has been passed there has been the criminal provisions, including a jail term of upto three years and a fine.
  2. “I have urged the Prime Minister through a letter that a jail term of 10 years to those indulging in triple talaq and lodging a criminal case against them,” said Wasim Rizvi, President of the Shia Waqf Board.
  3. The AIMPLB expressed unhappiness over the draft bill, and promised to take steps through democratic means to “amend, improve or scrap” it. They accused the Centre of introducing the bill “in a haste”.
  4. The party’s communications department in charge Surjewala, who has Rahul’s ear, said instead that “the Congress has always believed that the issue of instant triple talaq is about gender justice and gender equity. The Congress will support any and every law abolishing instant triple talaq.”

 

India Ranks 5th in List of Countries with Highest NPA Levels

India Ranks 5th in List of Countries with Highest NPA Levels

  1. At the rate of 9.9 per cent ratio, India has been ranked fifth on the list of countries with highest Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), and that is on thetop of the the BRICS nations, a recent report by CARE Ratings revealed.
  2. The country is reeling under a huge NPA burden of over Rs 7.33 lakh crore as of June 2017. To address the crisis, the government has announced the recapitalisation of these public sector banks by infusing around Rs 2.11 lakh crore, besides pumping in Rs 1.35 lakh crore through recapitalisation bonds.
  3. “Reform agenda is the highest priority which has to be implemented along with capitalisation. A whole lot of reforms will come so that genuine borrowers don’t suffer and get hassle-free, need based credit,” Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said told PTI.
  4. “Ever since the RBI spoke of asset quality recognition (AQR) in 2015, there was an increase in the pace of recognizing these assets. It is not clear whether all have been recognized as yet, though judging from the trends, it does appear that the cleaning up operation on this score would be completed by March 2018,” the credit rating agency said.
  5. Countries that have ranked higher than India on the list are Greece (36.37 percent NPA ratio), Italy (16.35 percent NPA ratio), Portugal (15.52 percent NPA ratio ), and Ireland (11.85 percent NPA ratio).

 

Indo-Maldives Joint Exercise ‘Ekuverin’ Concludes

Indo-Maldives Joint Exercise ‘Ekuverin’ Concludes

  1. There has been the agreement between the India and Maldives are under strain over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by the archipelago nation and China, the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) that has been the carried by the joint military exercise in Belgaum. This excercise will be continued till the two week and that counter-terrorism operations conducted by small teams in a semi-urban setting, is set to conclude on Thursday.
  2. “Along with routine joint sessions, such as those on battle strategies, explosive device handling and firing practice there were dedicated sessions on ‘Small Team Concept’. Small teams of highly trained soldiers have proved to be very effective in CI and CT operations. With small teams, the surprise element is very high, command and control is easy, and the possibility of casualties is significantly reduced. The Maldivian contingent was also taken on a visit to Bijapur and introduced to our culture and history,” said an Army officer.
  3. The officer added, “The exercise has benefited in a great manner because of the presence of the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre and Commando Wing of the Indian Army in Belgaum. With adequate terrain and jungle area in the region, Belgaum can prove to be a good destination for international military exercises, along with Pune, in the future.”
  4. In the recent Maldives signed an FTA with China, becoming only the second country after Pakistan in South Asia to do so. New Delhi responded to the development by saying “it had expected the Maldives to be more sensitive about India’s concerns”.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

US and Turkey open gates for visa services

US and Turkey open gates for visa services

  1. The US embassy in Turkey has given the announcement that it has been going to release the visa services for Turkish citizens, saying Turkish authorities fulfilled assurances no local staff would be detained or arrested for performing their duties.
  2. The United States has suspended visa services at its missions in Turkey in October and Turkey reciprocated. In the month of November, Washington said it was resuming limited services upon getting assurances on the safety of its local staff.
  3. “Based on adherence to these assurances, the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey,” the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said on Thursday. It said the United States continued to have concerns about the two employees detained.
  4. “We do not find it right for the United States to claim it had received assurances from Turkey and misinform the U.S. and Turkish publics,” the Turkish Embassy in Washington said in a statement.

 

China successfully tested its first Photovoltaic road

China successfully tested its first Photovoltaic road

  1. China has successfully tested its first photovoltaic highway that is based on home-grown technology in the country’s eastern Shandong province on Thursday, according to reports from Xinhua. The road has the facility of the wireless charging systems for electric vehicles.
  2. The full road is constructed using solar panels which have a thin sheet of clear concrete on top of them, protecting the surface. The panels were built to transfer energy to electric vehicles passing on top of them.
  3. The one-kilometre segment of solar-powered highway covers a surface area of 5,875 sq.m. The stretch has three layers. At the bottom is an insulator to prevent moisture from getting to the photovoltaic devices in the middle layer, and on top is the layer of transparent concrete.
  4. The tested segment of highway can generate 817.2 KW of power and is expected to generate 1 million KW hours of electricity each year. The electricity generated will be connected to China’s national power grid.

BANKING AND FINANCE

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for UP Tourism Project

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for UP Tourism Project

  1. India on Thursday has signed a loan agreement worth $40 million with the World Bank for “UP Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project” aimed at increasing tourism-related benefits for local communities in Uttar Pradesh.
  2. “The total project cost is around $57.14 million, out of which $40 million will be financed by the World Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of the state budget,” a union Finance Ministry statement said.
  3. The programme duration is five years. “The project objective is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations.”
  4. “The project is expected to have far-reaching social, economic and environmental benefits by targeting local communities and entrepreneurs near some of the main tourist and pilgrimage attractions in Uttar Pradesh, namely, Agra as well as Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Govardhan in the Braj region,” the statement said.

KEYS:

  1. The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital programs
  2. President: Jim Yong Kim
  3. CEO: Kristalina Georgieva (2 Jan 2017–)
  4. Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
  5. Subsidiaries: International Finance Corporation, MORE
  6. VPs: Antonella Bassani (Budget, Performance Review, Strategic Planning), MORE
  7. Parent organization: United Nations

 

Small Savings Schemes’ Interest Rates Cut by 20 bps

Small Savings Schemes’ Interest Rates Cut by 20 bps

  1. Bank’s has not been going to fallow the some of the rate of interest rate on small savings scheme, as the liquidity conditions are not conducive according to ratings firm IcraBSE 1.35 %.
  2. “Despite the recent reduction in small savings rates, we do not expect banks to follow suit and reduce deposit rates, given the recent re-emergence of the liquidity deficit,” Icra said in a report. “Moreover, systemic liquidity is expected to remain relatively tight in Q4 FY2018, based on the anticipated pickup in credit offtake on an absolute basis”
  3. “For instance, the G-Sec yields on 2-year, 5-year and 10-year bonds have increased on average by around 3 bps, 10 bps and 24 bps, respectively, in September-November 2017 relative to the previous three month period. This deviation from the announced linkage with G-sec rates, will add to uncertainty regarding the future trajectory of interest rates on small savings schemes,” Icra said.
  4. Small saving schemes are categorised under three broad heads (i) postal deposits, comprising savings account, recurring deposits, time deposits of varying maturities and monthly income scheme (MIS); (ii) savings certificates, including National Small Savings Certificate (NSC) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP); and (iii) social security schemes such as public provident fund (PPF) and Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS).
  5. “On the basis of the decision of the government, interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on a quarterly basis,” the ministry said, while notifying the rates for fourth quarter of financial year 2017-18.

 

Bank of Baroda Enters into MoU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd

Bank of Baroda Enters into MoU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd

  1. Bank of Baroda, has been developed the one of the atmoshphere in that there will be the benifit of the farmers by the MOU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to enable the farmers to purchase agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, seeds etc. provided by POORTI. This is a Platform for Online Ordering & Rural Transformation of India known as “POORTI”, whichis a well-established company providing multi-party mobile commerce platform for easy ordering of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds by farmers with loans given by banks. It provides a source of earning to educated rural youth who can act as delivery agents.
  2. Mr G.B.Bhuyan, Head- Rural & Agri Banking and CSR presided over the function and exchanged MOU with Mr. N. Balasubramanian, Founder Director, Poorti Agri Services Pvt. Limited
  3. On this occasion Mr. G.B.Bhuyan, Head- Rural & Agri Banking and CSR said “We have entered into memorandum of understanding with Poorti Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to work jointly and it will provide farmers digital platform for farmers to buy agri inputs online through payment gateway of Bank. This relationship of Bank of Baroda, one of the premier banks of our country, with POORTI Agri Services Pvt Ltd will immensely benefit the farmers in increasing their productivity.”

KEYS:

  1. Bank of Baroda is an Indian state-owned International banking and financial services company headquartered in Vadodara in Gujarat, India
  2. It has a corporate office in Mumbai. Based on 2017 data, it is ranked 1145 on Forbes Global 2000 list
  3. Customer service: 1800 102 4455
  4. Headquarters: Vadodara
  5. CEO: P. S. Jayakumar (13 Oct 2015–)
  6. Subsidiaries: Nainital Bank, Bobcard

 

SEBI Caps Cross-Shareholding in Rating Agencies at 10%

  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has given the straight of the credit rating agencies (CRAs) and mutual funds (MFs) to decrease the instances of conflict of interest while allowing complete integration of stock and commodity exchanges so as to allow both asset classes to be available for trading on a single platform.
  2. “CRAs shall segregate their activities, other than the rating of financial instruments and economic/ financial research, to a separate legal entity.”
  3. While the SEBI statement said that “any existing non-conformity with the aforesaid requirements may be aligned within a reasonable time”, SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi said such entities would be given a year to resolve shareholding issues.
  4. The integration, however, would come into effect from October 1, 2018. “… to permit trading of commodity derivatives and other segments of securities market on single exchange, the board approved the proposal to remove the restrictions by making suitable amendments to Securities Contracts (Regulation) (Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporation) Regulations, 2012. The amendments to the SECC Regulations would be effective from October 1, 2018,” said the statement.
  5. “BSE believes this decision will help participants in various markets a highly regulated, safer, more transparent trading, clearing and settlement framework when implemented fully. BSE has geared up itself for long to provide these facilities,” said Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD and CEO, BSE.

KEYS:

  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India is the regulator for the securities market in India
  2. It was established in the year 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992
  3. Founded: 12 April 1992
  4. Sector: Securities market
  5. Jurisdiction: India
  6. Headquarters: Mumbai
  7. Agency executive: Ajay Tyagi (Chairman)
  8. Type: Statutory corporation

 

Pluto Exchange Launches India’s First Bitcoin Trading App

  1. The time when the bitcoins are in focus for the wrong reasons, cryptocurrency dealer Pluto Exchange on Thursday announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.
  2. At a press conference here, Pluto Exchange founder and Chief Executive Bharat Verma said his company is all set to launch the country’s first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
  3. “The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks,” Verma said. “All other apps already in the market do transactions using bitcoin addresses, which are long and prone to error while copying. Pluto Exchange will change this scenario by enabling transactions using mobile numbers only, which are just 10 digits,” he said.
  4. “By using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number,” Verma added.

Science and Technology

ISRO to launch 31 satellites in single mission on Jan 10

ISRO to launch 31 satellites in single mission on Jan 10

  1. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday has announced that it has been going to launch the 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation spacecraft, in a single mission on January 10.
  2. This mission will be the first ‘Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’ (PSLV) mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August this year. “The launch is tentatively scheduled for January 10,” a senior ISRO official said.
  3. The mission’s main payload would be India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation satellite. The high-profile Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board is scheduled to meet soon to take the final call.
  4. “The mission include the 28 nano satellites from abroad, including Finland and the U.S., one micro and one nano satellite from India along with one Cartosat satellite,” the official said.

 

SPORTS

Viswanathan Anand Wins World Rapid Chess Championship

Viswanathan Anand Wins World Rapid Chess Championship

  1. There has been in the tournament of the Leuven Grand Chess Tour in July, at which he ended the eighth in a 10-man grid and a score of 8/18, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand sighed: “There’s no point playing chess like this. I think I was playing just mental.”
  2. “I’m not harbouring such negative thoughts. I’m motivated as ever before,” he crunched his angst through his Twitter handle.“I have never seen anyone so obsessed with game. These days, even a lot of youngsters quit the game in five to 10 years. Vishy has been playing for four decades, non-stop and with unbelievable consistency at the highest level,” says Grand Master RB Ramesh, who is 41, but already half a decade into retired life and coaching.
  3. “It drains you, both mentally and physically. With physical reflexes, you lose the speed of your brain and sometimes you judgement too. Your game eventually slows down, but Anand has taken immense care of his body and it has ensured that his mental reflexes and responses have remained sharp as ever,” he observes.
  4. “Being fit gives you the nice, fresh feeling throughout the day and eases your tension. You also sleep profoundly. To compete with the younger opponents, you have to be quite fit too,” he had once said.
  5. “Grandmasters decline with age. That’s a given. There is nothing special about the age of 40, but age eventually takes its toll. That much is clear. Beyond that it’s about how long you can put off the effects and compensate for them. Mistakes will crop in but you try to compensate for them with experience and hard work.”
  6. “The energy and intuition he showed were like a youngster, a 20-something. He must be 48, but seems to have the mind of a 28 year-old, and in chess it’s the age of your mind that determines your success,” observes Ramesh.
  7. “I just visualise one move. But it’s always the right move,” he says. It’s a reproduction of the Cuban chess king Raul Casablanca’s quote, he says. But it’s the gist of Anand’s thinking pattern, too. What Anand could add to the line is that “the right move at the best time.”
  8. “The last two rapid events were nothing short of disastrous. I came here in a pessimistic frame of mind. But it has just been the most wonderful surprise,” he says. A surprise that make him feel like floating, his head repeatedly playing Queen’s classic, “We Are the Champions”.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Prince Harry Named President of African Conservation Group

Prince Harry Named President of African Conservation Group

  1. Prince Harry has been given the named the president of African Parks, a conservation group that manages a dozen wildlife areas across the continent.
  2. The environmentalist organisation said that the “influential role” played by Prince Harry will contribute to its effort to protect Africa’s natural heritage and support both wildlife and communities, who live in and around conservation areas, reported Sputnik.
  3. The African Parks announced this on Wednesday, and said it appreciated Prince Harry’s previous work with its teams in the relocation of elephants in Malawi and the installation of GPS collars on lions in an effort to keep them out of harm’s way.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS

31st December 1999: Negotiations for the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 concluded

  1. When Indian Airlines Flight 814 has took off from the Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on December 24, in the year 1999, this was the starting of the all of the people and the families in India and elsewhere as well.
  2. After it entered Indian airspace at around 5.30 p.m., gunmen hijacked the aircraft — and the Indian government faced a crisis situation as a shocked nation watched the dramatic events unfold.

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