Current Affairs: 31 March 2017

Axis Bank ties up with Wells Fargo for US remittances

  • Axis Bankhas tied up with Wells Fargo, the third largest American bank by assets, to offer real time remittances from the Indian diaspora to their relatives back home. 
  • Under the arrangement between the two banks, any member of the Indian diaspora with an account with the Wells Fargo will be able to transfer money to their relatives back home and there will be no transaction fee applicable to the money transfers from USA. 
  • But the relative or the beneficiary in India will need to have an account with Axis Bank. 
  • The beneficiary will get a competitive price for a real time transfer. From April 8, we will be waiving transaction fees for Axis Bank customers
  • The tie-up is the first of its kind with a US banking entity and will offer multiple channels of remittance to our customers
  • Wells Fargo has similar tie-ups with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank

Wells Fargo

  • Wells Fargo & Company is an American international banking and financial services holding company headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • In July 2015, Wells Fargo became the world's largest bank by market capitalization
  • In 1852, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo (Mayor of Buffalo, NY from 1862 to 1863 and again from 1864 to 1865), the two founders of American Express, formed Wells Fargo & Company to provide express and banking services to California.

SBI Card launched a unique credit card ‘SBI Card Unnati’

  • SBI Card launched a unique credit card ‘SBI Card Unnati’ targeted at all SBI customers, including Jan Dhan account-holders across the country.
  • Tailored for new users of credit cards — those who do not have a credit history — ‘Unnati' would have no annual fees for the initial four years and will be offered through the 20,000-plus SBI branches.
  • Any SBI customer with a balance of at least ₹25,000 in his/her savings account with the bank would be eligible for the Unnati credit card without the need for any credit score or credit history
  • The idea is to spread credit inclusion among the masses. This would enable those who do not have a credit history to build one so that they could avail themselves of other loan products in the future
  • SBI Card Unnati has option like Flexipay, wherein users can convert their transactions into easy monthly installments. 
  • Make any purchase for Rs 2,500 or more using their SBI Card Unnati, and log in with your username and password to sbicard.com within 30 days of purchase to convert it into Flexipay

Montenegro set to become NATO's newest member after US Senate vote

  • Montenegro is set to become Nato's newest member after the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to ratify the tiny Balkan nation's entry.
  • Despite its size, Montenegro bears strategic importance. A former ally of Russia, the country is in the middle of a clash between the West and Moscow over influence in the Balkans.
  • Montenegro's membership gives Nato a contiguous border along the Adriatic coast.
  • US secretary of state Rex Tillerson earlier this month pressed the Senate to act quickly on Montenegro's admission.
  • Montenegro will become the 29th member of the alliance. Nato invited the nation to start entry talks in December 2015, about nine years after the nation of 620,000 people split from Serbia in a 2006 referendum.
  • Russia strongly opposes the expansion of the Western military alliance in a region it considers part of its strategic sphere of interest. Wary of Russian influence in the still-volatile region, Nato wanted Montenegro to join the alliance.

NATO

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an 
  • intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. 
  • NATO's headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons.

Kanha Tiger Reserve gets mascot 'Bhoorsingh the Barasingha'

  • The Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, which has been named Bhoorsingh the Barasingha. 
  • The Barasingha or swamp deer is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. Bhoorsingh was chosen among four variations by the Madhya Pradesh forest department.
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve, also called Kanha National Park, is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh, state in the heart of India.It was established in 1955.

SC bans sale, registration of BS-III vehicles from April 1

  • Drawing a strong line on environmental issues, the Supreme Court banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage III (BS-III) vehicles from April 1, when BS-IV emission norms will come into force across the country.
  • In a major setback to automobile manufacturers+ , a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta decided to take the "drastic" step, saying that BS-III vehicles could aggravate the already deteriorating air quality in the country and such a step was needed to handle the menace of pollution.
  • The apex court refused to grant relief to the companies. 
  • It said the manufacturers were fully aware way back in 2010 that BS-IV norms would be enforced from April 1 but they chose to sit back and not take sufficient pro-active steps.

BS Standards

  • Bharat stage emission standards are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. 
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
  • The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000
  • In order to comply with the BSIV norms, 2- and 3-wheeler manufacturers will have to fit an evaporative emission control unit, which should lower the amount of fuel that is evaporated when the motorcycle is parked.

Emerging Artist award for Odia artist Sitaram Swain

  • Odisha-based installation artist Sitaram Swain has been chosen as the Glenfiddichs Emerging Artist of the Year 2017.
  • The sixth recipient of the honour, Swain will represent India at the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence (AiR) programme where he will spend three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland with seven artists from around the world.
  • It is Swains out of the box concepts and his way with domestic objects to exemplify social issues through his art, that make him stand out.
  • The artist believes that there is a sublime quality of social relevance in day to day objects.
  • The artist will be also awarded Rs 10 lakh, which includes an international allowance of Rs 1,20,000 per month and a work allowance of Rs 500,000, besides being given a solo show at Bestcollegeart.com Gallery

General Bipin Rawat made honorary General of Nepal Army

  • Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat was on Wednesday conferred the rank of honorary General of the Nepal Army by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at a special ceremony at the President's official residence Sheetal Niwas.
  • It has been a tradition between the Indian and Nepali armies to confer the honorary top rank on each other's chiefs to signify their close and special military ties. General Chhetri received a similar honorary rank from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in February last year.
  • The Indian Army chief will be visiting the Nepal Army High Altitude Warfare School at Jomsom, Mustang, close to the Nepal-China border and Pension Paying Office Pokhara on Thursday, followed by calling on Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.

Nomura names Prabhat Awasthi as head of India

  • Japan-based Nomura’s India head of equities business Prabhat Awasthi is taking over as country head with effect from 1 April 2017
  • Vikas Sharma, who is currently head of India, has been elevated as head of Asia – excluding Japan, also from April 1. Sharma relocated to Mumbai from Japan in 2007 to build the firm’s India business after starting with Nomura in 1999 as a telecom analyst in Hong Kong.
  • Awasthi has around two decades of experience in the Indian equity markets, and assumed his current role at Nomura in 2011. He joined Nomura in October 2008 as head of equity research, India, from Lehman Brothers, where he held the same position.

Nomura

  • Nomura Holdings, Inc. is a Japanese financial holding company, and a principal member of the Nomura Group. 
  • The history of Nomura begins on December 25, 1925, when the Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. (NSC) was established in Osaka, as a spin-off from Securities Dept. of Osaka Nomura Bank Co., Ltd 

Indian Navy gets new weather monitoring system

  • Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba unveiled an integrated aviation meteorological system which is expected to bring accuracy in weather monitoring mechanism in the Indian Navy. 
  • The Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological System (IAAMS) was launched at Rajali Air Station in Tamil Nadu.
  • The aim of IAAMS is to modernise the meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations (NAS). 
  • Equipped with the state-of-the-art meteorological sensors, IAAMS undertakes automatic and continuous recording of relevant weather parameters that are vital for accurate weather forecasting
  • It has a special alarm feature that alerts the duty staff during abnormal change of weather parameters that may affect safe flying operations. 
  • The system can also provide automatic dissemination of routine weather reports as per standards followed by the World Meteorological Organisation to other air stations and Air Traffic Controller towers without human intervention.

Virat Kohli, Sharad Pawar, Anuradha Paudwal Receive Padma Shri

  • Political stalwarts Sharad Pawar, Murli Manohar Joshi and the late Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, cricketer Virat Kohli and Bollywood singer Anuradha Paudwal were among the 39 people who were conferred this year's Padma awards

Padam Bhuhan Awardee

  • Yoga guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
  • Father of laparoscopic surgery in India Tehemton Erach Udwadia
  • Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn 
  • Padma Shri Awardee
  • Former Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Vishwanathan, 
  • Well-known endocrinologist M M Godbole,
  • French historian Michel Danino, 
  • Former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Anant Agarwal, 
  • Vice-president of Kanyakumari's Vivekananda Rock Memorial Nivedita Raghunath Bhide 

Padma Shri Awardee

  • Folk singer Basanti Bisht, 
  • Entrepreneur Mohan Reddy Venkat Rama Bodanapu,
  •  Madhubani artist Baoa Devi, 
  • Folk artist of Halakki tribe in Karnataka, 
  • Sukri Bommu Gouda, 
  • 'Bike ambulance dada' of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal Karimul Hak  
  • Writer Narendra Kohli, 
  • Para-athlete Deepa Malik, 
  • Theatre artist Wareppa Naba, 
  • Kathakali exponent Chemancheri Kunhairaman Nair, 
  • Malayalam poet Akkitham Achyuthan Nambudiri, 
  • Tribal artist from Kharkhan Mukund Nayak, 
  • Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and 
  • Well-known gynaecologist Bhakti Yadav.
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