Current Affairs: 5 August 2017

National Events

Bengaluru will soon have India’s first helicopter-taxi service

  • Bengaluru will become the first city in the country to provide a helicopter taxi service
  • The service will be operated by Thumby Aviation Private Limited who have partnered with the Bangalore International Airport Limited to start the Heli Taxi service. 
  • The helicopter service will initially be operated between Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport and the Electronics City area.
  •  The travel time will be cut down to 15 minutes instead of the two hours taken by road.

Government announces new PSU ETF called Bharat-22 with diversified portfolio

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced creation of new Exchange Trade Fund called Bharat 2022, comprising of 22 companies, or investments from central public sector undertakings, public sector banks and some other strategic holdings.
  • Compared to energy heavy CPSE ETF, Bharat 22 is a well diversified portfolio of companies from six sectors (basic materials, energy, finance, FMCG, industrials & utilities) with a 20% cap on each sector and a 15% cap on each stock. 
  • It will feature four banking stocks -- SBI, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda and Indian Bank -- other than CPSEs such as Nalco, ONGC, IOC, BPCL and Coal India.
  • Besides, there will be nine other PSUs as well as REC and PFC. 
  • The first central public sector enterprises (CPSE) ETF, which was set up in 2014, comprised of 10 companies — Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), Coal India, Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), GAIL (India), Oil India, Power Finance Corp. (PFC), Bharat Electronics, Rural Electrification Corp. (REC), Engineers India Ltd and Container Corporation of India.
  • Government had raised Rs 8500 crore by divesting through CPSE ETF in FY'16-17.

‘All ASI-protected monuments declared polythene-free zones

  • All monuments and archaeological sites protected by the ASI have been declared as polythene free zones
  • A total of 3,686 historical monuments and archaeological sites have been declared protected as that of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

International Events

USISPF set up to deepen Indo-US ties


  • A new representative body -- US- India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) -- is being set up to further enhance business relations between the two countries.
  • The non-profit corporation aims to promote bilateral trade and work on creating "meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens"
  • The body will work closely together with businesses and government leaders to achieve its goals of driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship, it added.
  • USISPFs board of directors will include Chairman John Chambers (Executive Chairman, Cisco), Vice-Chairs Punit Renjen (Global CEO, Deloitte LLP) and Edward Monser (President, Emerson Electric), and board members Indra Nooyi (Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo), and Ajay Banga (President and CEO, MasterCard)Others on the board include Susan Esserman (Partner, Steptoe and Johnson), William Cohen (Chairman and CEO, The Cohen Group), Purna Saggurti (Chairman of Global Corporate and Investment Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch), and Frank Wisner (International Affairs Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs), it added.
  • Mukesh Aghi will lead USISPF as president while Gaurav Verma will serve as chief operating officer.



Awards & Achievements

Forbs World's Highest-Paid Authors 2017: J.K. Rowling Leads With $95 Million


  • Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has been named the world's most highly-paid author with earnings of £72.2m ($95m) this year.
  • The Edinburgh-based writer beat Dan Brown, Stephen King and John Grisham to top Forbes' list of the 10 highest earners in the global industry for the first time in almost 10 years.
  • Her books have been turned into eight blockbuster feature films, and last year she made her screenwriting debut with a prequel movie, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Top Five

1. JK Rowling (Harry Potter) - $95m (£72,183,000)
2. James Patterson (Women's Murder Club) - $87m (£66,316,000)
3. Jeff Kinney (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid) - $21m (£16,000,000)
4. Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) - $20m (£15,250,000)
5. Stephen King (The Dark Tower) - $15m (£11,434,000)

Prem Nazir Award for actor Sharada


  • Veteran actor and national award winner Sharada has been selected for this year's Prem Nazir Award.
  • Sharada had won three national awards with the first being for her performance in 1968 tragedy film 'Thulabharam'. She also won the award for Swayamvaram (1972, Malayalam) and Nimajjanam (1978, Telugu).
  • Prem Nazir won his only Kerala State Film Award in 1981; he won a Special Jury Award for the supporting role he played in the film Vida Parayum Munbe. 
  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1983 by the President of India in recognition of distinguished services of a high order to the nation in his field (acting). 
  • The Prem Nazir Award was initiated in his memory, in 1992, for excellence in contributions to the Malayalam cinema Industry. He has also held the position of National Film Award jury in 1985.

Appointments

Air Marshal Hemant Narayan Bhagwat Appointed Air Officer-In-Charge Administration Of Indian Air Force

  • Air Marshal Hemant Narayan Bhagwat took over as Air Officer-in-Charge Administration (AOA) of Indian Air Force at Air Headquarters in New Delhi on 1 August 2017.
  • Air Marshal Bhagwat, the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vayu Sena Medal (VM) awardee, was commissioned in Administrative branch of the Indian Air Force in June 1981.
  • After serving for seven years as an Air Traffic control Officer in three different operational bases of the IAF, he qualified as Parachute Jump Instructor and served in instructional capacity for 15 years.
  • During his paratrooping career, he undertook over 2400 live parachute jumps in combat as well as sport profile from twenty different types of aircraft.
  • He has also served as Chief Instructor of Paratroopers’ Training School, Agra for five years and was leader of prestigious IAF Skydiving Team, Akashganga for several years.

Prabhat Kumar as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Kazakhstan

  • Shri Prabhat Kumar, (IFS: 1991), presently Ambassador of India to Colombia has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • He is expected to take up the assignment shortly

Mohammad Mustafa appointed CMD of SIDBI

  • Senior bureaucrat Mohammad Mustafa was appointed as Chairman and Manging Director in Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). 
  • Mustafa, a 1995 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, is at present Joint Secretary in Department of Financial Services. 
  • The Appointments Committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for three years

Science & Technology

India’s first private missile production facility unveiled

  • India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad
  • To begin with, the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike and the production is expected to begin in a few weeks, Kalyani Group chairman Baba N. Kalyani said. Besides supplying to the Indian Army, the plan is to export to South East Asian countries
  • Formed in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre and the policy to encourage private sector participation in defence production, the 51:49 joint venture will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities.
  • These include command control and guidance, electro-optics, remote weapon systems, precision guided munitions and system engineering for system integration. The plant would employ more than 300 engineers and provide indirect employment to 1,000 people.

Microsoft ties up with Telangana to provide AI-based eye care solutions

Microsoft is going to help the government of Telangana use artificial intelligence to provide eye care screening for children in the State.
As part of the agreement, Microsoft’s cloud based machine learning eye care screening Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE) will align with the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram programme under the National Health Mission.
MINE is a global consortium of eye care providers, research and academic institutions that will apply artificial intelligence to help in eye care delivery.
Microsoft system can predict whether a lasik, cataract or other surgery is going to be successful for a given patient or not. It is now also able to predict how a patient’s refractive error is going to progress over time.
For the new partnership with Telangana, the idea is that Insights derived from MINE will help make early interventions and prevention through treatment of refractive errors in children. This partnership will also offer access to Microsoft’s cloud based analytics to derive insights from all the health screening programmes being run for infants to 18-year-old students.
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