Current Affairs: 12 August 2017

Important Days

International Youth Day: 12 August

  • On 17 December 1999 the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
  • It reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.
  • Theme 2017: "Youth Building Peace"
  • In 1985, the UN celebrated the first International Year of Youth. 

National Events

PF account to be automatically transferred on job switch

  • From next month, your PF account will be transferred automatically when you change your job, chief provident fund commissioner V P Joy has said.
  • The EPFO has also stepped up efforts to expand coverage, and initial results have been positive. 
  • PF money should be withdrawn only for major purposes like housing, education of children, or serious hospitalisation. 

Nabin Tan Mon Bikash Yojana launched

  • Heritage Conservation Society has launched a scheme – ‘Nabin Tan Mon Bikash Yojana’ – in memory of Nabin Sharma. The scheme is especially for school children. After August 15 the members will visit schools in the entire region to promote the scheme. Dr Navanil Baruah, Dhirendra Nath Choudhury, Nirupama Borgahain were present at the launch of the scheme. 
  • To promote health habits among children like correct standing and sitting posture, songs and rhymes for different musical drill of Sisu Prami Nabin Sharma are now preserved by Adviser Gayatri Goswami in Digital form

Joint Statement of the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting

  • The Fifteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting was convened in Kathmandu, Nepal on 10-11 August 2017.
  • The Fifteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting was attended by His Excellency Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali,M.P., Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh; His Excellency Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Royal Government of Bhutan; Her Excellency Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of the Government of the Republic of India
  • The Meeting considered and approved the Reports of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Sessions of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meetings held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 07 February 2017 and 10 August 2017 respectively.

Parliament passes Banking Regulation Bill for non-performing assets

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which will enable the government to empower the RBI to direct lender banks to act against big loan defaulters.
  • The bill, which amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, will replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
  • Once it becomes a law, the central government may authorise the RBI to issue directions to the banks to initiate proceedings in case of loan repayment default. These proceedings would be under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • The RBI may, from time to time, issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets and may specify authorities or committees to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets.
  • Stressed assets are loans where the borrower has defaulted in repayment or where the loan has been restructured (such as by changing the repayment schedule).
  • The bill inserts a provision to state that it will also be applicable to the State Bank of India, its subsidiaries, and Regional Rural Banks.

Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY) To be launched

  • The Government of India has decided to launch a new sub-scheme named “Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)” as part of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
  •  The Self Help Groups under DAY-NRLM will operate road transport service in backward areas. This will help to provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services to connect remote villages with key services and amenities for the overall economic development of backward rural areas. 
  • This will also provide an additional avenue of livelihood for SHGs. The basic outline of AGEY was discussed in a meeting of State Transport Ministers of 13 States held in June 2016 at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh and all the Transport Ministers had expressed their appreciation of this initiative.
  • AGEY will be initially implemented in 250 Blocks in the country on pilot basis with each Block provided upto 6 vehicles to operate the transport services. 
  • During the current year implementation of the scheme has been so far approved for 52 Blocks in 8 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal with a total provision of Rs.16.06 Crore of which the Government of India share would be Rs.10.16 Crore. The balance funding would be provided by the respective States.
  • The Blocks will be selected by States from among the Blocks where NRLM is being implemented intensively and where mature CBOs are already functioning. Backwardness, lack of transportation links and sustainability of service would be the guiding factors in the selection of Blocks and routes.

International Events

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017

  • The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) is the biggest Indian film festival outside of the Indian soil, and is an official film festival supposed by the Victoria Government in Australia. This year IFFM will enter its eighth year 
  • The Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu starrer 'Pink' was named the Best Film at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017. Sushant Singh Rajput was named the Best Actor for 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story' and the Best Actress award was given to Konkona Sen Sharma for 'Lipstick Under My Burkha'. Meanwhile, Nitesh Tiwari was named Best Director for 'Dangal'.

Sports

Afghanistan hosts its 1st official recognised cricket match

  • Afghanistan hosted its first-ever officially recognised cricket match in the form of a One Day between Band-e-Amir and Speenghar, which commenced the Ghazi Amanullah Khan Regional One Day Cup. 
  • It was the first match to be played since Afghanistan received the first-class and List A status in February 2017. 
  • Notably, Afghanistan was granted Test status in June.

Anand beats Nepomniachtchi to jump to joint lead at Sinquefield Cup

  • Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in the seventh round to jump to the joint top position in the Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess tour.
  • The second straight victory with white pieces took Anand to 4.5 points from seven rounds and with just two rounds remaining in the super tournament, the Indian ace now shares the lead with overnight leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Banking & Business

MCX gets Sebi approval for launching options contract in gold

  • The Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX) has received markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi) approval to launch country's first gold options contract soon.
  • In June this year, Sebi allowed options trading in commodities to deepen the market but permitted each exchange to launch options on futures of only one commodity initially.
  • Putting in place strict eligibility criteria, Sebi said options could be launched on futures contract of only those commodities that are among the top five in terms of total trading turnover value of previous 12 months.
  • Besides, the average daily turnover of underlying futures contracts of such a commodity in past one year should be at least Rs 200 crore for agricultural and agri-processed commodities, and Rs 1,000 crore for other commodities.
  • Exchanges have been demanding for long that options trading in commodities be allowed. While Sebi had agreed to permit options trading last year itself, some legal requirements were holding back the move.
  • Sebi had also stipulated necessary guidelines with regard to the product design and risk management framework to be adopted for trading in options on commodity futures. 

Canara Bank unveils two new digital services

  • State-run Canara Bank unveiled two new digital services for online payments.
  • Bharat QR (Quick Response) is for payment settlement at merchant locations and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system for net banking customers
  • The first service is a mobile application, which enables a merchant to accept payments as settlement for sale of goods or services.
  • Merchants enrolled by our bank will be allotted a QR code in line with the Bharat QR code standards. As the solution is interoperable, customers of any bank can make the payment using the mobile banking facility of their bank
  • The second product (BBPS), an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and managed by the National Payments Corp of India (NPCI), offers bill payment services to the bank's net banking customers with network of agents.

Sebi ties up with Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO) of Iran for technical assistance

  • Markets regulator Sebi entered into a pact with its counterpart in Iran to promote technical assistance and facilitate cross-border co-operation in the area of securities regulations.
  • It will facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions, and enable effective enforcement of laws and regulations governing the securities markets.
  • The MoU was signed by Sebi chief Ajay Tyagi and SEO Iran chairman Shapour Mohammadi here.
  • Sebi has signed nearly two dozen bilateral MoUs with the regulators of various jurisdictions. The markets regulator is also a signatory to the multilateral MoU of International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
  • In order to encourage the exchange of information and assistance, Sebi has been signing pacts with the jurisdictions who are yet to become a signatory to the multilateral MoU of IOSCO.

IOC buys more US crude; first to purchase Eagle Ford shale oil

  • Indian state-refiner IOCBSE 0.41 % bought 1.9 million barrels of US crude in its second import tender seeking oil from the Americas, making it the first Indian refiner to purchase Eagle Ford shale oil 
  • IOC bought 950,000 barrels of light sweet Eagle Ford shale oil and 950,000 barrels of heavy sour Mars crude for end-October delivery from trading firm Trafigura 
  • The latest purchase comes after a previous import tender where IOC bought 1.6 million barrels of Mars crude and 400,000 barrels of Western Canadian Select. 
  • Indian refiners have turned their sights to crude from the Americas as they are keen to diversify their crude import sources as arbitrage opens due to global oil supply cuts. 

BitBay launches trading platform for digital currency

  • BitBay, one of the top ten cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world, has launched a dedicated platform for trade and exchange of digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, ether, Lisk, monero, dash and gamecredits.
  • The company will also work towards creating awareness about digital currencies and also removing misconceptions related to these currencies in a market like India.
  • BitBay claims to be the only exchange in India that provides trade and exchange of multiple cryptocurrencies, high level security standards, including a "cold wallets" policy and two-factor authentication solutions. 
  • It will be offering six digital currencies to keep and trade with local currency and will carry out demo trading from August 10 till August 24. 
  • This would be done without real money to make users understand aspects of trading

Facebook launches YouTube competitor called Watch

  • In an apparent bid to take on Google-owned YouTube, Facebook has rolled out ‘Watch’ — a redesigned video platform for creators and publishers.
  • The social media giant last year launched ‘Video’ tab in the US which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook.
  • Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline.
  • Facebook has also signed a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game per week.

Awards & Honours

NALCO bags Appreciation Award in large mines category

  • Panchpatmalli bauxite mine of National Aluminium Company (NALCO) has been awarded for its initiative in areas like environment, safety and health.
  • The Navaratna PSU has bagged the Appreciation Award in large mines category at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Eastern Region Safety Health & Environment Excellence Awards 2016-17
  • On behalf of NALCO, S Chaudhuri, General Manager (Mines) and Sanjaya Kumar Patnaik, AGM (Environment), received the award at the 11th Symposium on Safety and award ceremony organised by CII Eastern Region 

Gemfield’s ‘Retail Jeweler India Award’ given to Malabar Gold & Diamonds

  • MALABAR Gold & Diamonds, one of the Big 5 jewelry retailers received the ‘Retail Jeweler India Award’ for the special contributions to the gem and jewellery industry.
  • The panel of jury has selected from a list of over thousands of nominees from the industry for the coveted prize.
  •  Malabar Gold & Diamonds has also awarded the best television campaign award for the current year.
  • Retail Jeweler India Awards was established in 2005 by Soma Bhatta, editor & director, The Retail Jeweler India magazine, and Samit Bhatta, associate publisher, The Retail Jeweler India magazine, with the mission to take the $30 billion Retail Jewelery industry forward by creating a platform for recognizing the best work of the industry in fields of design, retail and marketing.
  • It is also known as India’s Oscars for the Retail jewelry industry and the only business awards specifically for retail jewelers in the country of 300,000 retail jewelers.
  • Malabar Gold & Diamonds is among the few companies which are vertically integrated comprising of bullion desk, design centers, manufacturing, distribution, retail and after sale services. This enables the retailer to offer its customers products and services that unique and offer unmatched value and quality.

Hugo Award for Best Novel 2017 given to N.K. Jemisin

  • The Hugo Award for Best Novel 2017 was given to Nora K. Jemisin, an American speculative fiction writer for her work “The Obelisk Gate”.
  • The award was presented at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki.
  • The awarded book was the second in the trilogy that started with “The Fifth Season”, which was New York Times Notable Book of 2015 and won Jemisin the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016
  • Ada Palmer was awarded the Best New Writer, Seanan McGuire’s “Every Heart a Doorway” was the Best Novella, “The Tomato Thief” by Ursula Vernon was the Best Novelette, and “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar the Best Short Story.
  • “The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, was awarded the Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form. It won over the best seller Game of Thrones, a series that had two books in the six-finalist shortlist.
  • First presented in 1953, the Hugo Award is considered the highest honour for sci-fi works along with the Nebula Awards. It has been confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records to be the oldest sci-fi award in the world.

Hindustan Unilever wins 'Green Marketer' Award at Marquee Awards 2017

  • Hindustan Unilever (HUL) won the 'Green Marketer' award at the debut edition of Marquee Awards 2017. 
  • The Special Award for 'Conquering an impregnable fortress' was won by Bira 91. Pro Kabaddi League was recognized as the brand that 'Traversed unchartered waters' and Paytm was recognized for 'Riding on an emerging wave'. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter was awarded for 'Breathing new life into a category', Indian Accent was recognized for 'Creating a Global Impact' while Oppo was recognized for 'Carving out a Niche' for themselves in a highly competitive category.

Roda Mehta to be conferred AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award 2017

  • The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) honoured Roda Mehta with this year’s AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award. This Award is the highest honour given to an individual in India for his/her outstanding contribution to the Advertising Industry. 
  • Roda Mehta is a pioneer in more ways than one. This Award is well-deserved recognition for the stellar leadership she provided our industry and our eco-system for over two decades, during which time she also nurtured a whole generation of professional talent

Appointments

Prasoon Joshi to replace Pahlaj Nihalani as censor board chief

  • The government has replaced Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Pehlaj 
  • Joshi was appointed with immediate effect for a period of three years or until further orders
  • PAYBACK India Appoints Gautam Kaushik as CEO
  • PAYBACK India has appointed Gautam Kaushik as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to further its journey as a growth-oriented and consumer-centric coalition loyalty program in India.
  • In his capacity as the new CEO, Kaushik will be spearheading the India operations and will be leading all the critical business areas including Strategic Business Planning and Development, Partner Management & Acquisitions and Customer Engagement. 
  • Prior to joining PAYBACK, Gautam was working with American Express (AMEX) as Vice President (VP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), wherein he drove several potential acquisitions and strategic partnerships impacting critical business growth for AMEX in India.

Govt announces Indian envoys to European Union, Italy, Denmark

  • India has announced a number of new diplomatic appointments in its missions abroad, including envoys to the European Union, Italy and Denmark.
  • Gaitri Issar Kumar, joint secretary in the President’s Secretariat and a 1986 batch IFS officer, was on Tuesday named as India’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union which has its headquarters in the Belgian capital of Brussels.
  • The appointment assumes significance given India’s ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement with the EU which has been hanging fire after 16 rounds of negotiations.
  • Reenat Sandhu was on Tuesday named as India’s new Ambassador to Italy. The 1989 batch IFS officer replaces Anil Wadhwa, who retired this year.
  • Ajit Vinayak Gupte, joint secretary in the external affairs ministry, has been named India’s Ambassador to Denmark. The 1991 batch IFS officer will take over from Rajeev Shahare.
  • Earlier this month, Ruchira Kamboj, who served as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, was named India’s new High Commissioner to South Africa.
  • Pram Jit Mann, who was India’s envoy to the Slovak Republic, was earlier named the Ambassador to Slovenia.

Milkha Singh appointed WHO's goodwill ambassador

  • Legendary athlete Milkha Singh was appointed the World Health Organisation's goodwill ambassador for physical activity in the South-East Asia Region (SEAR)
  • As goodwill ambassador, Milkha Singh will promote WHO SEAR’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and control action plan, which aims to reduce the level of insufficient physical activity by 10% and NCDs by 25% by 2025.

Delhi High Court appoints SY Quraishi as administrator of Archery Association of India

  • The Delhi High Court has appointed SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, as administrator of Archery Association of India (AAI) and ensure that its elections are held as per its constitution and the National Sports Code (NSC).
  • The court came down heavily on AAI, de-recognized by the central government on December 07, 2012, and its Executive Committee, for failing to amend its constitution to bring it in conformity with the National Sports Code.
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