Current Affairs: 22 June 2017

Important Days

World Music Day: 21 June 2017

  • World Music Day 2017 (not to be confused with International Music Day) is being celebrated today, June 21, marking the beginning of summer solstice, i.e., the longest day of the year. 
  • Initiated by France in 1982, World Music day has been adopted by over 120 nations across the world, including India. 
  • Musicians from all genres and all ages, amateurs and experienced performers, gather together to perform at various public places.

National Events

Bengaluru firm 1st in India to deliver diesel at home

  • The 'dieselwallah' is here. 
  • Bengaluru has become the country's first city where one can have fuel delivered at one's doorstep, just like milk and newspapers, only weeks after oil ministry announced that the Centre was thinking of rolling out such a system.
  • On June 15, Mypetrolpump, a one-year-old startup, conducted a soft launch with three delivery vehicles -each with a capacity of 950 litres. 
  • It has already delivered more than 5,000 litres of diesel. Diesel is delivered at the day's running price with a fixed delivery charge.
  • For up to 100 litres, the one-time delivery charge is `99. 
  • Above 100 litres, one needs to pay the diesel price plus one additional rupee per litre. The startup has got 20odd customers, including 16 schools (which have 250-300 buses) and a few apartments.One can place orders online, through a phone call or by downloading the free app.

First unit of 100 MW Sainj hydropower project commissioned


  • The first 50 MW unit of 100 MW Sainj Hydro Power project of Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) commissioned and synchronised with northern grid through Parvati-Kol Dam transmission line.
  • The impounding of water in the reservoir was started on February 2 this year and mechanical testing was done successfully on April 25.
  • The second unit of 50 MW would also be commissioned soon and the project would produce 322 million units of electricity every year accruing an income of Rs 100 crore to the state government.
  • Sainj Hydro Power Project has been constructed on Sainj River, a tributary of Beas river and its barrage has been constructed near village Niharini while the underground power house was located on the right bank of Sainj at Siund village.

Axis Bank and Kochi Metro Join Hands to Launch India’s First Single-Wallet Contactless, Open Loop Metro Card


  • Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank in association with Kochi Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL) has launched KMRL Axis Bank ‘Kochi1’ Card, India’s first open loop EMV contactless metro card that would make travel a convenient and hassle free experience for commuters in Kochi. Axis Bank has partnered with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in developing this transit EMV contactless specification on interoperable open standards.
  • The prepaid card has integrated benefits and offers a plethora of services to commuters such as:
  • Shopping experience at merchant outlets: No hassle of carrying multiple cards. 
  • Instant issuance of Personalized Cards: The commuter will receive a completely personalized (with name) KMRL Axis Bank ‘Kochi1’ Card across the counter in a matter of minutes.
  • Convenience of recharge: The commuter can easily top up the card through cash or debit or credit card.

Mumbai continues to be most expensive city for expatriates in India

  • Mumbai is the most expensive city for expatriates in India and is ranked higher than major global cities such as Paris, Canberra, Seattle and Vienna, says a report.
  • According to Mercer's 23rd annual Cost of Living Survey, Mumbai is placed 57th on the list while New Delhi was placed at 99. Chennai (135), Bangalore (166) and Kolkata (184) were the other Indian cities on the list.
  • Luanda, the capital of Angola, was the costliest city, driven by cost of goods and security, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo at the second and third places, respectively.

International Events

UN says world population will reach 9.8 billion in 2050

  • India's population is expected to surpass China's in about seven years and Nigeria is projected to overtake the United States and become the third most populous country in the world shortly before 2050, according to a U.N. report 
  • The report by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division forecasts that the current world population of nearly 7.6 billion will increase to 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. 
  • The UN agency forecasts that from now through 2050 half the world's population growth will be concentrated in just 10 countries _ India, Nigeria, Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, United States, Uganda and Indonesia. 

Pakistan tightens business, work visas for Chinese nationals

  • Pakistan has announced new rules to tighten visa issuance - especially business and work visas - for Chinese nationals
  • The tightening comes in the form of extra layers of security, through requirements like endorsed letters from chambers of commerce, as well as through clearances required even from Chinese authorities, in some cases.
  • Chinese nationals seeking business visas for Pakistan would have to show an invitation from a body recognized by Pakistani missions in China
  • That invitation has to then be certified and endorsed by a recognised chambers of commerce and industry. 
  • Further, Chinese nationals will need a letter from commercial attaches and other designated officers of Pakistan who are posted abroad for the promotion of business activities
  • In addition, Pakistani embassies and missions in China would be authorised to issue only one-year multiple-entry work visas for Chinese nationals coming to Pakistan to work on projects. 
  • Even those will be issued only after the Pakistani mission receives security clearance from Chinese authorities.

China unveils train that runs on virtual tracks

  • China has unveiled a track-less train that runs on virtual rails in a bid to speed up public transportation in major cities. 
  • The new trains were announced on June 2 in Zhuzhou, China's Hunan province and are said to be non-polluting
  • The transit system uses rubber wheels on a plastic core and has new technology copyrighted by the Chinese rail corporation. 
  • It means that the trains can be automatically guided without rails. 
  • It is set to be launched in the city of Zhuzhou in a bid to help traffic numbers in the area. 
  • According to reports, the new train is set to cost around the fifth of the price of a traditional subway system which usually costs around 400 million yuan to 700 yuan (£45.6 - £79 million). 
  • The track-less train is also said to have a life-span of around 25 years. 

Uganda and UN to convene 'solidarity summit' amid fast-growing refugee emergency

  • Facing a fast-growing refugee crisis, Uganda is set to host in its capital, Kampala, a 'Solidarity Summit' with the support of the United Nations, to rally international support for refugees and host communities in the form of donations, investments and innovative programmes.
  • The two-day Summit, which opens Thursday, 22 June, comes as the UN estimates that in just one year, largely due to an influx of people fleeing violence and instability in South Sudan, the refugee population in Uganda has more than doubled – from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million – making the country host to the world's fastest growing refugee emergency.
  • Hosted by President Yoweri Museveni and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the event, which is expecting 30 Heads of State and international donors, looks to raise $2 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees and to support the hosting communities over the next four years.

BIO International Convention 2017

  • San Diego Convention Center will host the 2017 BIO International Convention featuring the latest trends, technology, companies, and breakthrough ideas in biotech and pharma.
  • The BIO International Convention is scheduled to have 16,000+ attendees from 5,000+ companies which include leading biotech and pharma companies and more than 300 academic institutions including the major research labs and government agencies of the world.

Sports

Luke Ronchi announces international retirement

  • New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi has announced his retirement from international cricket. 
  • The 36-year-old started his career at the highest stage with Australia in 2008, featuring in four ODIs and three T20Is, before moving backing to the country of his birth - New Zealand in 2012. 
  • In a year, he earned a spot in the national side there and ended up featuring in four Tests, 81 ODIs and 29 T20Is for them.
  • Ronchi's last outing in New Zealand colours came in the recently-concluded Champions Trophy.

Banking & Business

Govt wants banks to deposit banned Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes at RBI by July 20

  • The government has permitted banks and post offices to deposit junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with the Reserve Bank by July 20.
  • This is the second window the government has provided to banks, post offices and cooperative banks for depositing the junked notes with RBI.
  • RBI will accept deposits collected by any bank or post office by December 30, 2016 or by any District Central Cooperative Bank from November 10-14, 2016 should be deposited within 30 day
  • India is the second-largest producer and consumer of currency notes. Circulation of banknotes has increased to 90.27 billion pieces from 64.58 billion over the last five years.

Science & Technology

MOM completes 1000 Earth days

  • India's Mars orbiter, launched in 2013, was expected to last six months or 180 days after reaching its destination. 
  • But having completed four years and 1,000 Earth days in orbit, the spacecraft shows no signs of fatigue, continuing to relay back a mass of images and data, each contributing to better understanding of the red planet. 
  • After its launch on November 5, 2013 by the PSLV-C25 rocket, the spacecraft travelled to the red planet for nine months and entered the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its very first attempt. 
  • 1,000 Earth days correspond to 973.24 Mars Sols (Martian Solar day) and the MOM completed 388 orbits. 
  • The long life of the spacecraft indicates two things: first, there was no fuel leakage and second, the orbiter withstood all the rigours of the difficult journey, 

Awards & Honours

Francis Spufford wins 2017 Desmond Elliot prize

  • Francis Spufford has been awarded the 2017 Desmond Elliott Prize for his "miraculously constructed" debut fiction, Golden Hill .
  • Set in New York in 1746, when the Big Apple was just a small town on the island of Manhattan, Golden Hill follows the story of Mr Smith, a mysterious young man who steps off a boat from England with an order for a huge sum of money.
  • The book was chosen as the best debut novel of 2017 from a shortlist which also included acclaimed books such as, My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal, and Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
  • The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for the best debut novel written in English and published in the UK.
  • The winning novel can be from any genre of fiction and must exhibit depth and breadth with a compelling narrative.
  • The winner receives £10,000. The prize is named in honour of the distinguished late publisher and literary agent, Desmond Elliott.

Ferrari clinches 2017 International Engine of the Year award

  • Ferrari's 3.9-litre V8 from the 488 GTB has won the 2017 International Engine of the Year award for the second consecutive year. 
  • The twin-turbo V8 fended off close competition from Porsche's 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo powering the 911 Carrera. 
  • Apart from the overall prize, the 3.9-litre V8 won top honours in the 'Performance Engine' and the '3.0 to 4.0-litre' categories.
  • With its win, Ferrari's V8 joins four other powertrains such as BMW M's V10, BMW's 3.0-litre twin-turbo six, Volkswagen's 1.4-litre 'Twincharged' TSI and Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost that have won the award at least twice.

Indian agri microbiologist given environment award in Japan

  • Indian agricultural microbiologist Shrihari Chandraghatgi has been conferred the Ministry of Environment Award for 2017 in Japan for developing cutting edge technologies to address burning environmental problems.
  • Chandraghatgi, who is President and CEO of EcoCycle Corporation, is the first foreigner to be given the Ministry of Environment Award, the highest award in environmental sector in Japan
  • Chandraghatgi, hailing from Siddapura in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, has been residing in Tokyo for almost two decades. 
  • He has over a dozen patents against his name. These patented technologies have been applied over 400 sites in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India, China and the US

Indian Anti-Hunger Activist To Be Honoured by Queen Elizabeth II

  • Anti-hunger activist Ankit Kawatra, who has been committed to solving hunger and malnutrition in India, is all set to receive the prestigious Queen's Young Leaders Award with 60 others from all 53 Commonwealth countries.
  • Ankit Kawatra, 25, will be honoured by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony to be held in the Buckingham Palace on June 29.
  • In 2014, Mr Kawatra quit his corporate business job and founded a not for profit organisation Feeding India that works towards solving problems of hunger, malnutrition and food wastage, mainly by redistributing extra food from restaurants, canteens, households, corporates etc. to help people in need.
  • He started working for the cause after witnessing massive amount of extra food being thrown away in a wedding and feels that his mission is to end hunger in his lifetime.

International Dublin Literary Award goes to José Eduardo Agualusa

  • This year's International Dublin Literary Award has been awarded to the Angolan writer Jose Eduardo Agualusa for his 14th novel, A General Theory of Oblivion , translated into English by Daniel Hahn. The 100,000 prize is divided between author and translator, with Agualusa receiving 75,000 and Hahn 25,000.
  • A General Theory of Obliviontells the story of a traumatised woman Luanda, who retreats from the world and history and stays in an apartment while Angola endures a civil war and a sequence of horrors. 
  • Her isolation is shared with an albino dog Phantom, whose spirit continues to sustain her after he dies.
  • The Dublin Literary Award is the world's largest prize for a single novel published in English

Awards for Bengal in rural development

  • Bengal has received five state-level and two district-level excellence awards for implementation of flagship programmes of the ministry of rural development during 2016-17.
  • In the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Bengal has received a gold memento and a certificate for outstanding performance in convergence and livelihood augmentation. 
  • Among districts, Nadia was awarded for the progress made in strengthening river dam as well as building greenhouse for cultivation of flowers and vegetables. Cooch Behar was also awarded for implementation of Geo-MGNREGA, which comprises the geo-tagging of assets.

Indian-origin doctor appointed honorary VP of UK medical body

  • A veteran Indian-origin doctor in the UK has been appointed as honorary vice-president of the country's prominent medical body, becoming the first professional from the community to be appointed to the post. 
  • Kailash Chand, a general practitioner (GP), has been associated with the British Medical Association (BMA), for nearly 25 years.
  • Chand has been regularly named as being among one of Britain's top 50 most influential GPs in the annual 'National Pulse Power' list. 

World’s top 10 airlines of 2017

  • The Skytrax World Airline Awards are generally considered to be the ‘Oscars of the aviation industry
  • The award winners have been ranked based on traveller-voting across the world as part of Skytrax’s annual passenger survey. 
  • Indigo and Jet Airways were on 57th and 73rd positions respectively.
  • Qatar Airways, the national airline of Gulf nation Qatar, has been rated the Best Airline of 2017 by aviation website Skytrax. 
  • The airline, which topped the list for the fourth time in 10 years, was followed by Singapore Airlines. 

Appointments

Rajiv Gauba to be next Union home secretary

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a major reshuffle of top bureaucrats, with the Urban Development Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, being named as the next home secretary.

Other Major Shuffles

  • Durga Shanker Mishra will be the next urban development secretary.
  • Mehrishi is likely to be appointed the next chief election commissioner 
  • NK Sinha will be the I&B secretary.
  • Ajay Mittal will take over as the secretary, Department of Personnel & Training.
  • Aruna Sundararajan, secretary will take over as secretary, Department of Telecommunications in the existing vacancy.
  • Yudhvir Singh Malik will take over as secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. 
  • Deepak Kumar will take over as Chairman, National Highways Authority of India.
  • Avinash K Srivastava has been appointed as the secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs,
  • Jagdish Prasad Meena has been moved to Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
  • Subash C Garg has been appointed as secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, 
  • Rajeev Kapoor will be the secretary of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.
  • Sanjeevanee Kutty will be Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
  • Arun Kumar Panda will take over as secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Ravi Kan will take over as secretary, Ministry of Shipping.
  • Anand Kumar will take over as secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energ
  • Ajay Prakash Sawhney will take over as secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
  • Ajay Kumar Bhalla director general, Foreign Trade, will be the next power secretary.

Manappuram Home Finance announces appointments of MD, CEO

  • Manappuram Finance announced the appointment of Jeevandas Narayan as the Managing Director and Subhash Samant as CEO of its fully-owned home loans subsidiary, Manappuram Home Finance.
  • Prior to this Narayan, who has more than 37 years of experience in the financial services industry, was Managing Director of State Bank of Travancore
  • Kenneth Juster to be new US ambassador to India
  • Kenneth I Juster, a top aide of US President Donald Trump, is set to be America’s new ambassador to India
  • Juster, 62, who is the deputy assistant to the US president for International Economic Affairs and deputy director of his National Economic Council, would replace Richard Verma if nominated and confirmed by the Senate.
  • The move has been welcomed by widely respected Ashley Telis, the top India expert in the US.

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