Current Affairs: 20 February 2017

Bangalore to host India's next Davis Cup tie in April

  • India will host Uzbekistan on the hard courts of Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) in Bangalore when the two sides clash in an Asia Oceania Zone group I Davis Cup tie in April, the AITA announced
  • India outplayed New Zealand 4-1 at home while Uzbekistan beat Korea 3-1 in the away first round tie early this month. 
  • The last time India played in Bangalore was in September 2014 when the hosts lost 2-3 to formidable Serbia in a World Group Play off tie. 
  • India and Uzbekistan are locked 2-2 in Head-to-Head record and the last time two teams clashed against each other was in April 2012 when Uzbekistan emerged 3-2 winners in a home tie. 
  • It will be the first tie for veteran Mahesh Bhupathi as the non-playing captain of India and the team for the second round rubber will be picked in the first week of March. 
  • The winner of the tie will advance to the World Group Play-offs, to be held in September.

India Vetiver Network (INVN) has been launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

  • About 250 delegates are participating in this conference. India Vetiver Network (INVN) a non-profit scientific network to promote vetiver in India, was launched as part of the conference. Vetiver (Indian grass with fragrant root) has worldwide application to tackle many environmental issues like soil erosion, mitigation of soil and water pollution.
  • Emeritus professor of Banaras Hindu University, G P Dubey today emphasised the need for validation of traditional knowledge to keep pace with the growth of world market for medicinal plants. Speaking at the two-day National Conference on Agrotechnology and Profitable marketing of Tropical Medicinal and Aromatic Plants here, Dubey pointed out that a few medicinal plants grown in Tamil Nadu were proven to be efficacious for the management of type 2 diabetes.

Indian films 'Newton' and 'Aaba' bag top honours at Berlin Film Festival

  • Two Indian films bagged top honours at the annual Berlin International Film Festival
  • Rajkummar Rao-starrer Newton, directed by Amit V Masurkar, won the CICAE Art Cinema Award presented by the independent jury of the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas. Amar Kaushik's short film, Aaba, won the Special Prize of Generation KPlus International Jury for Best Short Film. Aaba was produced by No One Killed Jessica (2011) director Rajkumar Gupta.
  • Newton, co-written by Mayank Tiwari, was selected in the international forum of new cinema and had its premiere on February 10. It was attended by Rajkummar with co-stars Anjali Patil and Pankaj Tripathi, director Masurkar and producer Manish Mundra
  • The CICAE forms two juries for every Berlinale, one of them for the forum programme in which Newton was nominated along with 42 films. The jury comprised Spanish film composer, Pedro Barbadillo; Croatian director Tanja Milicic, and French producer Rainer Wothe.

'Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl' launched

  • Dream Girl Hema Malini's incredible journey from an actor, a danseuse and filmmaker to a politician is being chronicled in a new book which will hit stores on her 69th birthday this October. Billed as an authorised biography, 'Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl' is penned by author-columnist Ram Kamal Mukherjee.
  • The book will be published on her birthday on October 16.
  • A truly multi-faceted personality, Hema Malini has been a filmmaker and producer, directing films and television serials, a Member of Parliament from Mathura, and has also performed the classical dance ballets Draupadi, Radha Krishna and Durga

Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar turn professional boxers

  • Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medalist boxer Akhil Kumar and Olympian Jitender Kumar today confirmed turning professional after signing a multi-year deal with IOS Boxing, the company which has been managing Vijender Singh's pro-boxing career. 
  • Both the boxers are expected to make their pro debut when Vijender will take on China's WBO Oriental Super Middleweight champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali in Mumbai on April 1.
  • 28-year-old Olympian Jitender Kumar won bronze medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games

NASA to create Space Technology Research Institutes for Deep Space Exploration

  • In order to focus on deep space missions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has proposed to set up of two multi-disciplinary, university-led research institutes that will work to develop technologies having potential to extend human presence deeper into the solar system.
  • The Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) will be created in the two institutes namely Centre for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) and Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) with expected outcome within 5 years.
  • The new STRIs created under the proposals will bring together researchers from various disciplines and organizations to collaborate on the advancement of cutting-edge technologies in bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure.
  • Through the new institutes NASA aims to shift the focus from low-earth orbit to deep space missions by way of developing technologies that will allow long-duration mission crews to manufacture the products they need rather than relying on the current practice of resupply missions from Earth.
  • The technological advancement will meet their goal of creating Earth-independent, self-sustaining exploration mission capabilities.
  • Each STRI will receive up to $15 million over the five-year period of performance.

Haryana's Sandeep Kumar breaks own national record in 50km Race Walking Championship

  • Sandeep Kumar of Haryana smashed his own national record en route to winning the gold medal in the gruelling men's 50km event of the National Race WalkingChampionships 
  • Sandeep clocked three hours 55 minutes and 59.05 seconds in a brilliant performance to win the race and qualify for the London World Championships in August. The earlier national record which stood in his name was 3:56:22 which he clocked in the IAAF World Race Walking Cup at Taicang, China in May 2014.
  • Services athletes Jitender Singh (4:02:11.58) and Chandan Singh (4:04:18.41) won the silver and bronze respectively in the energy-sapping race. Both Jitender and Chandan also booked their berths for the August 4-13 World Championships.
  • The entry standard for the men's 50km race walk event for the World Championships is 4:06:00.

Ranganathan, Mehta appointed Non-Official Director in IOB, PNB

  • T C A Ranganathan and Sunil Mehta were tappointed as Non-Official Directors in Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab National Bank respectively. 
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has cleared their appointment as Non-Official Director/Non-Executive Chairman in the respective banks for a period of three years
  • Mehta's appointment is subject to a condition that he needs to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the new post.

India’s only volcano active again

  • India's only live volcano+ in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has started spewing smoke and lava again.
  • After lying dormant for 150 years, Barren Island volcano erupted in 1991 and has been showing sporadic activity since then, scientists of Goabased National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) said.
  • Researchers from Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and NIO have sampled sediments and water in the vicinity and recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material representing proximal volcanic ejecta.
  • These samples will help in deciphering the nature of present and past volcanic activity in the region.
  • The volcanic island is uninhabited and its northern part is, as the name suggests, barren and devoid of vegetation. Indian citizens can visit the island by chartered boats after obtaining permission from the forest department in Port Blair.

First foreign airline AirAsia lands at Srinagar airport 

  • AirAsia became the first foreign airline ever to start its operations from Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti waved the flag to clear the landing for the AirAsia flight at Srinagar airport on Sunday morning. 
  • Srinagar airport is christened 'The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport' for the last five years, but no foreign airlines has operated services from there so far. 
  • The flight operation by AirAsia is expected to give a fillip to tourism in the valley. 
  • To begin with, AirAsia, a Malaysian low-cost airline, will operate one flight daily between Delhi and Srinagar. 

Oriental Bank launches mobile wallet ‘Batuaa’

  • On the occasion of its 75th Foundation Day, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has come up with several digital offerings including launch of mobile wallet ‘Oriental Batuaa’.
  • Besides introducing a new version of mobile banking, OBC has also launched two new cards
  • While the Oriental Premium card is a RuPay based Platinum international debit card with airport lounge access, the other card-Oriental Prepaid Card is a RuPay card for individuals and corporates.
  • The two MSME schemes that have been launched are ‘Oriental Sanjeevani’ and ‘Oriental Budget Hotels and Restaurants’.
  • Oriental Sanjeevani is a specialised scheme for doctors for setting up new hospitals and clinics. The other scheme is for individuals, proprietors, companies etc for setting up new hotels, restaurants, lodges, motels etc.

ICAI’s Accounting Research Foundation signs pact with Railways

  • After a long wait, the decks have been cleared for the national rollout of accrual accounting in Railways. The CA Institute’s Accounting Research Foundation (ARF) has signed an agreement with Railways for this purpose.
  • The agreement signed by ARF with Railways will seek to introduce accrual accounting at 17 Railway zones and 8 production units across the country, sources said. The agreement will be valid for 18 months.
  • The agreement was signed by V. Sagar, Director, ICAI ARF and Secretary, ICAI and Sanjeev Sharma, Deputy Chief Project Manager (Accounting Reforms), Northern Railway in the presence of Shahzad Shah, Financial Commissioner, Indian Railways and Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey, Chairman, ICAI ARF and President, ICAI.
  • The interesting aspect is that accrual based financial statements will serve as an additional set of accounts to existing cash based accounting.
  • Accrual based financial statement will support Indian Railways in better utilisation of available resources, estimation of future liabilities and prioritisation of spending. It will also pave way for best financial management practices to be introduced in Indian Railways.
  • This agreement follows implementation of the pilot project for introduction of the Accrual based Financial Statement as an additional set of Accounts at North Western Railway at Jaipur and Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala by ICAI ARF.
  • The CA Institute’s ARF will not be implementing this on a pro-bono basis

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