Current Affairs: 29 April 2017

Published on Saturday, April 29, 2017

Important Days

International Dance Day: 29 April

  • International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO, and is celebrated yearly, on April 29. 
  • The date is not linked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, although it's also the day when the French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre was born. 
  • The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance. 

National Events

E-taxi trial run to begin in Nagpur from May

  • The first electric taxi trial in the country is going to be launched in Nagpur from May 24 
  • Mahindra and Mahindra will be providing 200 taxis for the project 
  • Electric car taxi is one of the ambitious projects of the NDA government as it is part its of UNDP millennium goals and also to tackle increasing pollution in the country. 
  • The road ministry for last one year has been trying to work on pollution reduction technologies for vehicles. 
  • An electric bus for Members of Parliament is also being run by the ministry. 

All-woman battalion to take on Kashmir women pelters of stones

  • In a bid to counter the women who throw stones at security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union government plans to raise an all-woman India Reserve Battalion (IRB) in the State
  • The Centre has also given directions to the State government to not use Special Police Officers as “chowkidaars (guards)” at the houses of politicians and government officials and to use them in active policing instead.
  • The Centre asked the State government to build as many football fields and sports facilities as possible in rural Kashmir to engage the youth
  • The decision to raise an all-women battalion comes after it was observed that girl students were throwing stones at security forces in Srinagar.
  • The all-women contingent will be among the five IRBs sanctioned by the Centre for the State last year.

Kerala hosts country’s first-ever athletics meet for transgender persons

  • At least 132 people participated in the first-ever athletics meet for transgender persons organised by the Kerala government at Trivandrum’s Central Stadium. 
  • The first-of-its-kind tournament saw them taking part in popular track and field events such as sprint, relay race, shot put and long jump.
  • Each district council in Kerala appointed a coach and allotted a ground for the participants to train for three days before the tournament

Kazakhstan opens consulate in Chennai

  • This week the Government of Kazakhstan opened its consulate in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The consular district will include the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and will be headed by well-known businessman and Chairman of Kirtilals Mr. Suraj Shantakumar.
  • the establishment of the consulate in Tamil Nadu, which is known for its developed IT industry, engineering, tourism and transport infrastructure, as well as agricultural production, will promote cooperation in these areas.
  • A consulate is a small official office of a country in another country. The main office is called an Embassy, and is in the capital city.
  • Consulates are in other large towns and cities and usually do not do all of the jobs of the embassy.

International Events

El Salvador bans metal mining in world first

  • El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection.
  • The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador
  • The new law entered into force after being signed by President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.
  • El Salvador says it will protect poor rural communities threatened by proposed mining projects.

India, Cyprus ink four agreements

  • India and Cyprus signed four agreements, including on air services and merchant shipping, following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades 
  • The two sides signed an executive programme on culture, education and scientific cooperation for the years 2017 to 2020.
  • Both sides signed a work plan under a programme of cooperation in agriculture for the period 2017-2018.
  • Another agreement was signed on cooperation in the area of merchant shipping.
  • A fourth agreement was signed to boost air services between the two countries.
  • Ansastasiades confered Cyprus’s highest civilian honour, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, on President Pranab Mukherjee

US places India yet again on IPR ‘priority watch’ list

  • Expressing its disappointment with India for not making adequate changes in its IP laws and regulations despite announcing its National IPR policy last year, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed the country in the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s edition of the Special 301 report.
  • Being placed in the ‘priority watch’ list means that India continues to figure among countries that the USTR feels have “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” and do not give adequate protection to American companies.
  • While the US does not threaten action against countries on the ‘priority watch list’, US laws say that retaliatory measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country — which is the worst categorisation.
  • The US 301 report further said that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including “uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernise copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.”

Shah Rukh Khan becomes first Indian actor to speak at TED Talks in Canada

  • Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan addressed the audience in a conference at TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment and Design talks) in Canada.
  • The actor has become the first Bollywood actor to grace the stage delivering TED talks to a large audience base.
  • The 50-year old, who is known for his articulate speech, attended 'Ted 2017 - The Future You' conference
  • TED talks is a prestigious platform which has been earlier graced by the likes of remarkable people namely former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, astronaut Mae Jemison, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to name a few.

Poland backs India's bid for NSG membership, UNSC seat

  • Poland assured India of its support to New Delhi's bid for membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council.
  • This was conveyed by Polish Prime Minister Beata Syzdlo to Vice President Hamid Ansari when the two leaders met here to discuss issues of bilateral and mutual interests.
  • The two countries signed an agreement in the agriculture sector and agreed that there was much scope to increase cooperation in railway and defence sectors as well as in areas like food processing, solar energy, clean coal, treatment of solid waste.
  • Poland is a member of the 48-nation NSG, a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  • India has close economic ties with Poland. Indian investments in Poland amount to around USD 3 billion and Polish investments in India are of about 600 million USD.

Business & Finance

Paytm launches digital gold with MMTC-PAMP

  • Mobile payment and commerce platform Paytm announced that it has collaborated with MMTC-PAMP to launch digital gold, which will enable its customers to buy gold online and store it in MMTC-PAMPs secure vaults free of charge.
  • The customers can also request for their gold to be delivered home in the form of minted coins or sell it back online instantly,
  • As per World Gold Council estimates. Indians currently hold more than 24,000 tons of gold worth $ 900 billion and Indian households bought more gold in 2016 than any other financial asset. The digital gold service will also allow users to sell purchased gold online anytime.

Science & Technology

Infosys unveils new artificial intelligence platform Nia

  • IT major Infosys has launched its new artificial intelligence platform ‘Nia’, which can help businesses forecast revenues, understand customer behaviour as well as deep dive into content of contracts and deal with compliance and fraud. 
  • The new platform builds on Mana, the first AI platform introduced by Infosys last year.
  • It also includes the end-to-end robotic process automation capabilities of AssistEdge (another Infosys solution) to enable a wide set of industry and function- specific solutions. 
  • Infosys Nia tackles break-through business problems such as forecasting revenues, forecasting what products need to be built, understanding customer behaviour, deeply understanding the content of contracts and legal documents, understanding compliance, and fraud

Awards & Honours

President of India presents CII presidents Award for Lifetime Achievement

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented CII Presidents Award for Lifetime Achievement to Mr. Rahul Bajaj and CII foundation Woman Exemplar Award
  • The CII Foundation was set up by CII in 2011 to undertake a wide range of developmental and charitable activities and initiatives pan India by enabling Industry for infusing inclusive development. 
  • CII Foundation works towards inclusive development by providing a meaningful bridge between marginalised communities and donors, specially corporates by providing strategic guidance on CSR and developing and managing high impact programmes. 

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