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Current Affairs: 23 May 2017

Published on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

National Events

Suresh Prabhu to flag off Tejas Express

  • The much-awaited 'Tejas Express' with ultra-modern amenities on board like LED TV, wi-fi, CCTV will be flagged off from Mumbai to Goa by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
  • Tejas Express boasts of ultra-modern amenities like on-board infotainment, wi-fi, CCTV, fire and smoke detection facilities, tea/coffee vending machine etc.
  • It is a super fast train, which will run at a speed of 130 kph.
  • Tejas Express's executive class fare is Rs 2,680 (with food) and Rs 2,525 (without food), and for AC chair car the fare has been fixed at Rs 1,280 (with food) and Rs 1,155 (without food).
  • Ticket booking for the inaugural run started on Sunday and in the first four hours, 207 passengers booked tickets for the AC chair car and 10 for executive AC chair car.

Bengaluru airport gets green certificate for reducing carbon emissions

  • The Airports Council International has accredited Kempegowda International Airport with the `Level 3 Plus Neutrality' certification under Airport Carbon Accreditation.
  • The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has upgraded the airport to this level, which is the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports, and becomes the fourth such green airport in Asia Pacificregion, reducing carbon emissions by 57% since 2008.
  • The Level 3 + certification was received in recognition of a series of green initiatives adopted by BIAL
  • BIAL continues to work in collaboration with its partners within the eco-system to improve and reduce energy, constantly working towards carbon neutrality."

Madhya Pradesh government announces indefinite ban on sand mining in Narmada river

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a blanket ban on sand mining in river Narmada – considered the lifeline of the central Indian state.
  • The committee which will recommend the state government measures for scientific mining will be headed by MP’s minister for mineral resources, commerce and industry Rajendra Shukla.
  • It will work along with experts from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) in developing a blueprint for scientific mining in river Narmada.
  • Till the time the committee submits its report, sand mining will be banned in the river,
  • Chouhan also announced that the government has decided a crackdown against illegal mining in all other rivers in the state and also ban on use of machines for mining in rivers in the state

International Events

52nd Annual Meeting of African Development Bank-2017

  • The 52nd Annual Meetings of the African Development bank are being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 22 to 26 May 2017.
  • This is the first time that the Annual Meetings of AfDB are being held in India.
  • These Meetings are the Bank’s largest annual event and serve to raise the profile of the institution on the global stage.
  • In addition to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, these Meetings will bring together about 3000 delegates and participants, and will feature a number of official, knowledge, and side events.
  • The Governors of the Bank are from the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries (including India).
  • The Annual Meetings provide a unique forum for representatives of government, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia and the media – from Africa and beyond – to debate key issues on Africa’s development, and to discuss the Bank’s performance in delivering on its mandate.
  • India joined the African Development Fund in 1982, and became a member of the Bank in 1983. India is a non-regional member of the Bank.
  • India and Africa share a great relationship, and have great degree of commonalities in terms of a shared history, and current challenges. In the recent past, we have taken a number of initiatives to further deepen our association.

Saudi King presents Trump with top civilian honour

  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud presented Donald Trump with the kingdom’s top civilian honour on Saturday, as the US President began a trip to Riyadh aimed at strengthening security and economic ties.
  • King Salman decorated Trump with the gold King Abdulaziz medal during a meeting at the royal court in the Saudi capital. He declared Trump was being honoured for “his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world”.
  • The medal has also been bestowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Drake bagged 13 Awards at 2017 Billboard Music Awards

  • Drake was the big winner at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
  • In fact, the rapper took home 13 awards, making him the artist with the most in a single year -- beating Adele's record of 12.

Top Artist
Top New Artist
Billboard Chart Achievement Award Presented by Xfinity
Twenty One Pilots
Top Male Artist
Top Female Artist
Top Duo/Group
Twenty One Pilots
Top Billboard 200 Artist
Top Hot 100 Artist
Top Song Sales Artist

 List of Awards & Honour


India win all 10 gold in South Asian Junior TT

  • India added six more gold on the concluding day to win all 10 gold medals on offer in the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships at Mount Lavinia
  • In addition, they also claimed four silver medals for a total of 14 medals from the regional championships.
  • After winning four gold medals in team events on the first two days of the three-day championships, the Indian paddlers continued their domination in two doubles events and followed them up with gold in all singles
  • In junior boys final, top-seed Manav Thakkar defeated Parth Virmani 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9 for the gold.
  • Umesh Tennakon and KDV Madhushan, who lost their semi-final matches to Manav and Parth, respectively.
  • In junior girls final, top seed Archana Girish Kamath accounted for second seed Priyanka Pareek 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 to share the gold and silver medals.

Zverev Beats Djokovic to Clinch Italian Open Title

  • German youngster Alexander Zverev pulled off the biggest win of his career when he beat world number two Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 to win the Italian Open
  • Zverev broke again in the third game of the second set and clinched the match with another break in the ninth game.
  • Djokovic, who has wrestled with injuries and lack of confidence since winning the French Open last June, had looked his old dominant self when he beat Dominic Thiem in Saturday's semi-final but was unable to recapture that form

Bengaluru FC wins Federation Cup

  • AFC Cup finalist Bengaluru FC redeemed some pride by edging out Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the summit clash and claiming its second Federation Cup crown at the Barabati Stadium
  • FC overcame a bit of hard luck to ride on C.K. Vineeth’s extra-time brace and bag the prestigious title despite the unavailability of two of key players, Sunil Chhetri and Cameron Watson.
  • BFC showed a big heart and fought bravely even as Bagan had the ball in control for most part of the goalless first half. 
  • Most importantly, the Blues stuck to their well-planned defensive structure, led by John Johnson, Juanan Fernandez and Sandesh Jhingan, to close the gaps and force Bagan have a go at the goal through corners, free-kicks and long balls.

India clinch women’s quadrangular series

  • India capped their brilliant run to clinch the women’s quadrangular cricket series by defeating hosts South Africa by eight wickets in the final played at Potchefstroom.
  • India warmed up in great fashion ahead of next month’s World Cup, to be played in England, finishing the tournament with a 7-1 win-loss record, the only reverse having come against the hosts at the fag end of the league phase.
  • In the final, India dismissed South Africa for 156 and then chased down the target in 33 overs, reaching 160 for two. Poonam Raut was unbeaten on 70 and skipper Mithali Raj was 62 not out.
  • Pacer Jhulan Goswami, who holds the record for most ODI wickets, claimed three for 22 and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav took 3/32 to wrap up South Africa’s innings in 40.2 overs.

Bhuvneshwar 1st to win Purple Cap in 2 straight IPL seasons

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar became the first bowler to win the Purple Cap in two successive IPL seasons, ending the 2017 edition as the highest wicket-taker. 
  • Bhuvneshwar finished IPL 2017 with 26 wickets from 14 matches, while he had picked up 23 wickets in 17 matches last season. 
  • He claimed his first T20 five-wicket haul in this IPL season.

Sweden beat Canada to win ice hockey world title

  • Sweden has won the ice hockey world championship, beating favourites Canada in a dramatic penalty shootout.
  • The teams were tied at 1-1 after three periods in Cologne, Germany, with Victor Hedman scoring for the Swedes and Canada's Ryan O'Reilly equalising.
  • The overtime brought no goals, but the Scandinavians then were twice on target in the shootout, while the North Americans again failed to score.
  • By winning their 10th world title, Sweden dethroned last year's champions

Jinder Mahal beats Randy Orton to win WWE Championship at Backlash

  • Indian-origin wrestler Jinder Mahal clinched the WWE Championship after beating Randy Orton at pay-per-view event Backlash.
  • In the process, Mahal, who is a Canadian national, has become the second wrestler of Indian descent to win a world heavyweight championship in the promotion.
  • The Great Khali had won the now-defunct World Heavyweight Championship in 2007.

Awards & Appointments

Jacqueline Fernandez wins humanitarian award for her philanthropic work in India

  • Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez has been awarded the International Humanitarian Award for her work in India and worldwide at the second annual Asian Voice Charity Awards.
  •  The 31-year-old actress-model dedicated her award to Habitat for Humanity, an international charity fighting poverty
  • The event, which recognises charities making a difference across the world, presented awards across different categories, including charity of the year to mental health charity Anxiety UK and most enterprising charity to South Asian dance charity Akademi

Cochin Port Trust bags two awards

  • Cochin Port Trust has received two Best Performance Awards from Ministry of Shipping for the highest growth in operating surplus and also for achieving third highest growth in cargo traffic among the major ports in the year 2016-17.
  • The awards were received from Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari by P Raveendran, Chairman and A V Ramana, Dy Chairman, Cochin Port Trust at a function held at Goa yesterday, Port Trust officials said.
  • Cochin Port Trust has registered an operating profit of Rs 127.72 crore during 2016-17 as against Rs 70.89 crore during 2015-16 recording a growth of 80 per cent.
  • Operating profit during 2014-15 was Rs 19.55 crore.
  • The Port handled 25.01 MMT cargo during 2016-17 with a growth of 13.2 per cent over 22.10 MMT handled in 2015-16.
  • The containers handled during 2016-17 is 4.91 lakh TEUs with a growth of 17.0 per cent over 4.20 lakh TEUs in 2015-16.

Indian-born woman elected to City of London Corporation

  • A 43-year-old UK entrepreneur has become the first India-born woman to be elected as a councillor to a ward in the UK.
  • Rehana Ameer, who was born and raised in Chennai, contested from Vintry ward in the City of London county as an independent candidate
  • She was elected as a councillor to the Court of Common Council, becoming the first India-born woman to be elected to the City of London Corporation.
  • She aims to promote the city's businesses in international markets and develop the city's presence overseas.
  • The City corporation is the richest local authority in the country which controls the 1.3 billion pounds city cash fund. The City of London is divided into 25 wards and elected councillors represent each ward.

Tata Sons hires Saurabh Agrawal as group CFO

  • Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced a key recruitment at holding company Tata Sons on Monday — of veteran investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as group chief financial officer.
  • Agrawal, who will join from July, is currently the head of the strategy with the Aditya Birla Group. 
  • As group CFO at Tata Sons, he will have to focus on bringing back some of the loss-making businesses on track. Agrawal was instrumental in handling the Idea-Vodafone merger deal, as well as the Grasim-Aditya Birla Nuvo merger for the Birla entity. 
  • It will be the second big appointment by Chandrasekaran, after that of Ankur Verma, former managing director of investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who joined Tata Group in March.

Banking & Finance

HDFC Life brings India's first AI-based insurance email bot SPOK

  • HDFC Life, one of India's top private life insurance companies today announced the launch its first life insurance email bot. 
  • The AI based email bot, named SPOK is claimed to be first in India that automatically read, understand, categorise, prioritise and respond to customer emails that are sent to HDFC Life, within milliseconds.
  • This automation initiative will enable HDFC Life to respond to user queries faster and more efficiently and consistently. 
  • It will also help generate deeper insight on customer needs by identifying patterns in customer interactions and facilitating HDFC Life to progressively anticipate and address all customer issues and needs.
  •  The deployment of SPOK will improve customer experience, while providing the support staff with the bandwidth to focus on customer satisfaction and delight.
  • HDFC Life has embarked on this initiative in collaboration with Senseforth, a startup that offers a wide range of enterprise bots built on its AI platform.
  • Artificial intelligence special purpose bots learn and evolve based on guided learning principles and are proficient with customer emotion. This will help HDFC Life constantly enhance customer experience going forward.

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