Current Affairs: 27 June 2017

National Events

World Bank clears $250 million loans for Skill India mission

  • The World Bank has cleared a $250 million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling, in a move that is seen to aid the Skill India mission.
  • The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills. It said the support will help the youth contribute to India's economic growth and prosperity.
  • The $250 million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO), approved by the World Bank board of executive directors, will increase the market relevance of short-term skill development programmes (3-12 months or up to 600 hours) at the national and state level,
  • Under the programme, adults in 15-59 years of age, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training.
  • It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year.
  • The programme has a mandate to provide placement and entrepreneurship opportunities to women and increase their exposure to skill training.
  • The Washington-headquartered World Bank's SIMO is a six- year programme in support of the Indian government's National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2017-23).
  • SIMO will be implemented through the National Skill Development Mission and will specifically target labour market entrants.
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Delhi govt makes Aadhaar mandatory for granting subsidy on e-rickshaws

  • The Delhi government has made Aadhaar card mandatory for those seeking subsidy on e-rickshaws registered in the city.
  • A notice issued by the transport department this week said that the registered owners of e-rickshaws in Delhi will be considered for a subsidy of Rs30,000 only after they provide their Aadhaar card details.
  • It is not the first time that the Kejriwal government has made Aadhaar card mandatory for a facility. Prior to this, it had made Aadhaar compulsory for ration card holders to claim subsidised items at fair price shops. This is despite the Supreme Court’s orders against the move.
  • The move is aimed “to check the problem of duplication in grant of financial assistance”.

Indian Army rethinking on Sahayak system may induct civilians in peace stations

  • The Army is now actively considering recruiting civilian staff in peace stations to do away with the colonial-era Sahayak system, in the wake of rising cases of jawans coming out openly against it. 
  •  Sahayaks or buddy system – whereby a solider is attached to officers — will continue be deployed in key bases and field areas as they have defined military duties.
  • In March, the government had strongly defended the Sahayak system in the Army, saying it provides an "essential support" to officers in "fully" attending to their duties in times of peace and war.
  • At the same time, the government had said Sahayaks or orderlies are combatants and exhaustive instructions have been issued to not make them perform menial tasks which are not in conformity with the dignity of a soldier.

Maharashtra doctors become first Indians to finish Race Across America as solo riders

  • Nashik’s army doctor Srinivas Gokulnath and Nagpur’s doctor Amit Samarth made history o as they became first solo finishers from the country in the Race Across America (RAAM), one of the most esteemed ultra-endurance cycling events in the world.
  • In the solo 18-59 age category, the 36-year-old Gokulnath finished the distance of 3070 miles (4941kms) in 11 days and 18 hours. 
  • Samarth was slightly behind him and took 11 days and 21 hours to finish the race. The riders were expected to finish the distance in 288 hours. Gokulnath finished overall 7th while Samarth was placed 8th.
  • RAAM is about 30 per cent longer than the Tour de France. Moreover, racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time, with no rest days. Racers must cycle 3070 miles, across 12 states, and climb over 1,70,000 vertical feet. 
  • The route travels west to east, traversing three major mountain ranges (Sierra, Rocky and Appalachian), crosses four of America’s longest rivers (Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio) and the Great Plains. 
  • Also, passing through such iconic American landmarks as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Monument Valley, Great Plains and Gettysburg.
  • For India, only the Mahajan brothers, Mahendra and Hitendra have managed to be successful in the relay category in 2015. Whereas the solo category is considered, India has been represented by Samim Rizvi (3) and Sumit Patil (1) in the past

Andhra Pradesh State Government Employees retirement age raised

  • Andhra Pradesh State Government Employees will be working until they attain 60 years as their Retirement has been raised from 58 to 60 Years. Bill to this effect was passed by AP Assembly this week.
  • Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, informed after moving the Andhra Pradesh Public Employment (Regulation of age of superannuation) Amendment Bill, that the government had taken into account various factors, including the increased life expectancy, for raising the retirement age.
  • There was a significant improvement in the average life expectancy as compared to 1984. As per the World Health Organisation, the global average life expectancy in the year 2009 was 68 while it was 65 years in India.

International Events

China’s fastest bullet train ‘Fuxing’ debuts

  • China’s indigenous next-generation bullet train, with a maximum speed of 400 kmph, made its debut today on the country’s busiest Beijing-Shanghai line.
  • ‘Fuxing’, or rejuvenation, a CR400AF model, departed Beijing South Railway Station at 11:05 AM for Shanghai. At the same time, a CR400AF model left Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station for Beijing.
  • The train took about five hours and 45 minutes to reach Shanghai. On its way, it stopped at 10 stations, including Jinan, Shandong province and Tianjin.
  • The new bullet trains, also known as electric multiple units (EMU), boast a top speed of 400 kilometres per hour and a consistent speed of 350 kilometres an hour

Sports

Roger Federer wins 100th career title one week before Wimbledon

  • Roger Federer's 6-1 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev was nothing short of historic as records tumbled left, right and centre.
  • The Halle Open win was the hundredth title of his long and illustrious career, 92 of which are singles crowns while eight have come in doubles.
  • He is 10th to reach this landmark in the history of professional Tennis.
  • With the Grass season truly underway and Wimbledon just around the corner, the Swiss racked in his 16th grass title, nine of which have come at the Halle Open itself. He won the title in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012 are the years he won the Wimbledon Grand Slam.
  • Halle Open also tops the list of most titles for Federer at a single completion with Wimbledon, Cincinnati Masters, Basel and Dubai Opens (all at seven titles) coming in a close second.
  • He is also third on the list of most singles titles and quickly closing in on second placed Ivan Lendl (who has 94 titles) and the leader -- Jimmy Connors, who has 109 titles to his name.

Yashaswini Singh Deswal wins Gold in 10m Air Pistol

  • Pistol shooter Yashaswini Singh Deswal put up a bright performance to bag a gold in the 10m Air Pistol Women in Germany. 
  • Deswal bagged the gold in the ISSF Junior World Championship which is being held in Germany. She fired 235.9 points to clinch the gold. 
  • This was a world record in itself. 
  • Behind her was Woori Kim of Korea who hit 231.8 to come second. At third spot was Giulia Campostrini with 212.1 points.
  • Anish Bhanwala also won gold in the Junior Men’s 25m Standard Pistol competition, with a world record score of 579, which helped India also bag the Team Silver in the event and prop it to second in the overall standings.


Science & Technology

NASA's Opportunity Rover Spots Evidence of Ancient Lake on Mars

  • NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is examining the edge of a crater on the red planet that may once have been a lake of liquid water.
  • The Opportunity rover found rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater that were either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.
  • The features were seen just outside the crater rim's crest above Perseverance Valley, which is carved into the inner slope of the rim. Researchers plan to drive Opportunity down Perseverance Valley after completing a "walkabout" survey of the area above it.
  • The Opportunity mission has been investigating sites on and near the western rim of Endeavour Crater since 2011.
  •  The crater is about 22 kilometres across.
  • A portion of the crest at the top of Perseverance Valley has a broad notch. Just west of that, elongated patches of rocks line the sides of a slightly depressed, east-west swath of ground, which might have been a drainage channel billions of years ago.

Appointments

Priyanka Chopra appointed as ambassador for Government's Skill India campaign

  • Actress Priyanka Chopra will soon be seen endorsing government's flagship Skill India campaign, with the National Skill Development Corporation roping in the Bollywood celebrity as an ambassador for the initiative.
  • Earlier, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actors Sidharth Malhotra and Shabana Azmi and singer Mohit Chauhan had also become goodwill envoys for Skill India.
  • The Skill India campaign was launched by Prime Minister Modi in July 2015. The government aims to train 40 crore people by 2022 through its skilling initiatives.

J-K Governor NN Vohra is new IIC president

  • Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra became the president of the India International Centre (IIC) — a prestigious cultural hub in the national capital — replacing eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee, who stepped down after an intense power struggle.
  • The India International Centre (IIC) is a well known non-official organisation situated in New Delhi, India. Its foundation stone was laid in 1960 by Japanese prince Akihito, future Emperor, who had come for his honeymoon, and it was inaugurated in 1962. 
  • It is a unique establishment in that it serves as a meeting place for the various cultural and intellectual offerings the city has to offer, while maintaining its non-official character, non-aligned motivations and remains uncommitted to any particular form of governmental, political, economic or religious affiliation.

K. Kasturirangan to head panel on National Education Policy

  • Eminent scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee K. Kasturirangan has been appointed the Chairman of the committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy.
  • The Chairperson apart, the committee has eight members.
  • These include the Vice-Chancellor of SNDP University, Mumbai, and educationist Vasudha Kamat; retired bureaucrat K.J. Alphonse; Princeton University Mathematics professor Manjul Bhargava; Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhau, Vice-Chancellor Ram Shankar Kureel who has written on inclusion of the marginal in mainstream education; Vice-Chancelllor of Tribal University, Amarkantak, TV Kattamani; KM Tripathy from Uttar Pradesh; Gauhati University Persian language professor Mahzar Asif, and CABE member M.K. Shridhar.
  • Dr. Bhargava was awarded the field medal in mathematics for his contribution to Gauss number theory.

Awards & Honours

Bhumika Sharma is Miss World From India

  • The 21-year-old Doon girl wins the Miss World Bodybuilding title
  • Dehradun girl Bhumika Sharma is a girl with muscle power who ruled at the World Bodybuilding Championship in Venice. 
  • She made India proud after acing all the important rounds. She gained the maximum number of points in body posing, individual posing and fall category. 
  • She bagged the Miss World Bodybuilding title and the gold medal at the world championship which was held in Venice last week. Bhumika Sharma is only 21-years-old and defeated 50 contestants from around the world. 
  • She was one of the 27 Indians who participated in the tournament but she was the lone woman bodybuilder.

Index & Ranking

Chrissy Teigen, Donald Trump and the man behind Pepe the Frog top list of the 25 most influential people on the internet

  • Time magazine has released it's third-annual list of the 25 most influential people on the internet.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump has made the list, as has John Legend's Twitter-happy wife Chrissy Teigen and the maker of Pepe the Frog, one of the most widely used memes online. 

The people in the list are 

  • Chrissy Teigen, Matt Drudge, J.K. Rowling, Carter Wilkerson, Carter Wilkerson, Brian Reed, BTS , Alexei Nalany, Matt Furie , Steven Pruit, Bana Alabed, Gigi Gorgeous, Jonathan Sun, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, Branden Miller, Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg, Angel Padilla, Sara Dohl and Matt Traldi , Rihanna , Chance the Rapper, Ariel Martin , Cassey Ho, Huda Kattan, Mark Fischback, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin 
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