Current Affairs: 31 July 2017

Important Days

World Day against Trafficking in Persons: 30 July

  • In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. 
  • The Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. 
  • This resolution declared that such a day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
  • This year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has chosen ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons’ as the focus of the World Day. 
  • This topic highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time -- the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants. 
  • The theme puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face. 
  • It addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses: that most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided.

International Tiger Day: 29 July

  • The tiger is the largest of the world’s big cats and this magnificent creature, with its distinctive orange and black stripes and beautifully marked face, has a day that is dedicated to it. 
  • This was first celebrated in 2010 and was founded at an international summit that had been called in response to the shocking news that 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared in the last century, with only around 3,000 left alive.

National Events

Punjab govt launches 'Care Companion Programme'

  • To improve patient care through better family engagement and education, the Punjab government launched a flagship health scheme — Care Companion Programme (CCP).
  • Under the innovative program, the hospital hallways or wards will turn into classrooms and taps into the most compassionate and willing resource available for care, that is the patient's own family, by teaching the family high-impact medical skills to take care of their loved ones in the hospital and at home,
  • CCP will initially be implemented in Maternal and Child Health wings of six district hospitals at Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, SBS Nagar, Sangrur, Tarn Taran.
  • The aim is to reduce the number of baby deaths and complications like infections in the first 30 days’ post-discharge, and ensure adoption of long-term health pro motive behaviours. 

Ministry of Health releases Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care (FPC) for improving newborn health. 
  • The guidelines will serve as a guiding document for those intending to introduce FPC in their facility as an integral part of facility based newborn care. 
  • The document also provides details of infrastructure, training, role of health care providers and steps in the operationalization of FPC in the newborn care unit. 
  • The operational guidelines of FPC are for all stakeholders involved in the process of planning and delivering newborn care. 
  • The guidelines also addresses various aspects of attitudes, infrastructural modifications and practice that will help in establishing FPC at Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU)
  • Under FPC, the capacities of parents-attendants are built in newborn care through a structured training programme (audio -visual module and a training guide). 
  • The staff at newborn care unit will provide continuous supervision and support. Provisions for infrastructure and logistics strengthening required for implementing FPC are ensured in the annual state Program Implementation Plan (PIP). 
  • The guidelines will be shared with the States for implementation and it is expected that these guidelines when implemented by States would further improve the quality of care being provided in the SNCUs across the country. 

Delhi Metro becomes the first 100 percent 'green' Metro system in the world

  • Delhi Metro has become the only completely 'green' Metro system in the world for adhering to green building norms for its residential colonies, officials said on Friday.
  • Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). 
  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier received the green certificates for its Phase-3 stations,


DRDO develops India's first unmanned tank, Muntra

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed India's first unmanned tank, which has three variants – surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats. 
  • It is called Muntra (Mission UNmanned TRAcked) and has been rolled out of the Chennai lab.
  • Though the tank has been developed and tested for the army by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) in Avadi, paramilitary has expressed interest to use them in Naxal-hit areas.
  • The tanks will facilitate Indian Armed forces in conducting unmanned surveillance missions. Muntra-S has been developed for unmanned surveillance missions, whereas Muntra-M is built for detecting mines. Muntra-N will be deployed in areas where nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk is high
  • Two of these tanks were put on display at an exhibition organised by DRDO as a tribute to former president APJ Abdul Kalam.

International Events

BRICS tax authorities ink key pact to enhance cooperation

  • Tax authorities of the five BRICS countries signed a landmark document to establish a mechanism for taxation cooperation
  • The BRICS Taxation Cooperation Memorandum, signed at the fifth meeting of BRICS Heads of Tax Authorities, is the blocs first document that elevates taxation cooperation to the institutional level, Xinhua news agency reported.
  • The authorities also agreed to cooperate on taxation information exchange, improve consultation procedures efficiency, boost taxation capacities and plan paths for coordination of taxation policies and tax collection.
  • The meeting comes ahead of the 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Fujian provinces Xiamen city from September 3 to 5.
  • The BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are home to 42 per cent of the worlds population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12 per cent to 23 per cent in the past decade, while contributing more than half of global growth.


'India among top nations with potential for digital payments': Digital Evolution Index 2017

  • The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard today unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017. 
  • This comprehensive research tracks the progress countries have made in developing their digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions.
  • The research identifies Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel as digital elites characterized by high levels of digital development and a fast rate of digital evolution. With momentum and innovation on their side, these ‘stand out’ markets exemplify the sweet spot of advancement and future growth.
  • Combining the pace and state of digital advancement, the research puts markets into four distinct categories:
  • Stand Out –Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth.
  • Stall Out – Many developed countries such as in Western Europe, the Nordics, Australia and South Korea have a history of strong groth, but their momentum is slowing. Without further innovation, they are at risk of falling behind.
  • Break Out – Though still at relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, these countries demonstrate the fastest momentum, are poised for growth and are attractive to investors. China, Kenya, Russia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico exhibit this breakout potential.
  • Watch Out – Countries such as South Africa, Peru, Egypt, Greece and Pakistan face significant challenges, constrained both by low levels of digital advancement and a slow pace of growth.

Sri Lanka signs deal on Hambantota port with China

  • Sri Lanka has signed a $1.1bn (£837m) deal with China for the control and development of the southern deep-sea port of Hambantota.
  • The deal had been delayed by several months over concerns that the port could be used by the Chinese military.
  • The government has given assurances that China will run only commercial operations from the port, on the main shipping route between Asia and Europe.
  • Sri Lanka's government says money from the deal will help repay foreign loans.
  • Under the proposal, a state-run Chinese company will have a 99-year lease on the port and about 15,000 acres nearby for an industrial zone.

World’s longest suspension footbridge opens in Switzerland

  • The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world was officially opened in Switzerland today, measuring in at just under half-a-kilometre long.
  • The steel bridge, which connects two sections of a walking trail between Grächen and Zermatt in the south of the country, was unveiled after a construction period of just ten weeks.
  • At 494 metres long, it overtakes the “Titan-RT” bridge in Germany as the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge.
  •  And at a narrow 65cm wide, the bridge stretches like a thin wire across the sheer valley floor.

Sports

Shiva, Manoj strike gold at Czech boxing tournament

  • Indian boxers packed quite a heavy punch at the 48th Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem, clinching five gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the event in the Czech Republic.
  • World Championships bronze-medalist Shiva Thapa (60kg), former Commonwealth Games gold-medalist Manoj Kumar(69kg), Amit Phangal (52kg), Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) claimed gold medals after winning their respective summit clashes
  • Kavinder Bisht (52kg) and Manish Panwar (81kg), on the other hand, settled for silver medals. 

Sebastian Vettel wins Hungarian Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton let his heart rule his head in a remarkable moment of sportsmanship at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix that could ultimately cost him the Formula One championship.
  • As Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag at the Hungaroring to claim his fourth victory of the season, his chief title rival was selflessly surrendering the final spot on the podium to his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
  • Bottas had earlier been ordered aside by Mercedes so Hamilton could take the challenge to Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonenat a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult

Banking & Finance

Canara Bank launches “CANDI”-its first digital branch in Bengaluru

  • Public sector lender Canara Bank has launched its first ‘Digital Banking Branch’ at Spencer Towers in MG Road, Bengaluru.
  • The branch is reportedly titled “CANDI” and it will aim to provide an end-to-end digital experience to customers.
  • As a part of its digital campaign, the bank has unveiled several customer friendly mobile apps. These innovations will enable customers to get most of the information related to their accounts without visiting the branch.
  • The most eye catching feature of the digital bank is the infusion of artificial intelligence. A humanoid has been introduced in the branch to addresses basic queries of customers on banking products and services.With this, the bank becomes the first in the public sector category to initiate artificial intelligence in banking.
  • This is a first-of-its kind initiative by a public sector bank in the country.

Awards & Achievements

Big Zee Entertainment Awards 2017: List Of Winners

  • The sixth edition of Big Zee Entertainment Awards 2017 was held in Mumbai
  • Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor won the Best Actor, Actress Award for their brilliant performance in Udta Punjab. 
  • Amitabh Bachchanbagged the award for Most Entertaining Actor in Drama - Male for his performance in Pink. Abhishek Bachchan won the award for Most Entertaining Actor in Comedy - Male for Housefull 3 while Aishwarya bagged the award for Most Entertaining Actor in Drama - Female for her role in Sarbjit.
  • Tiger Shroff won two awards - Best Action Hero for Baaghi and Most Entertaining Dancer (Beat Pe Booty) for A Flying Jatt. 
  • Anupam Kher won an award for a category called 'Hit The, Hit Rahenge.'
  • Swara Bhaskar won the award for Best Actress in a Comedy Film for Nil Battey Sannata.

Appointments

Ravi Mittal appointed part-time member on Irdai board

  • Ravi Mittal, who has joined as additional secretary in the Finance Ministry in place of Anil Khachi, is now a part-time member on the board of Irdai, a ministry source said.
  • Mittal has replaced N S Rao at Irdai, who is a joint secretary level officer.
  • Former finance secretary Sushma Nath is another part-time member on the Irdai board
  • Mamta Suri, who has been working as chief general manager (CGM) at Irdai, has now been promoted as executive director and appointed in the same position at the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India,

Science & Technology'

Breakthrough Starshot successfully launch world's smallest spacecraft

  • The smallest spacecraft ever launched are successfully travelling in low Earth orbit and communicating with systems on Earth
  • Known as “Sprites”, the miniature satellites are just 3.5cm x 3.5cm and carry radios, sensors and computers, with each device powered by sunlight and weighing just four grams.
  • While nanosatellites known as CubeSats have previously been sent into space, such systems have a mass thousands of times that of the Sprites, weighing more than 1kg.
  • U.S. conducts "successful" test of THAAD anti-missile system
  • The U.S. successfully conducted a missile defense test Sunday using a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in Alaska,
  • The THAAD test follows North Korea's second test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
  • The THAAD weapons system is strictly for defensive measures and uses "hit-to-kill technology

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