13 August 2017 Current Affairs

Govt launches video of National Anthem in sign language

Union Minister of State for HRD Mahendra Nath Pandey has launched an Indian National Anthem video in sign language, featuring differently-abled and partially differently-abled children. The 3.35-minute video, directed by Govind Nihalani, stars Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, along with physically challenged children performing the anthem in sign language, with the Red Fort in the background. The video was also launched in Goa, Bhopal, Chandigarh and Kolhapur.

Jharkhand Assembly passes Religious Freedom Bill

Jharkhand Assembly has passed Religious Freedom Bill 2017. It aims to stop the forced conversions in the state. The bill will now be sent to the governor, following whose approval it would go to the President for assent. The Bill has provision for the imprisonment of three years and fine of 50,000 rupees or both, and four-year imprisonment and 1 lakh rupee fine, or both, if the person converted is a minor, woman or a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. It also says, that a person converting willingly will have to inform the Deputy Commissioner about details such as time, place and the person who administers the conversion proceedings.

Aishwarya becomes first woman to raise Indian flag at IFFM 2017

Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has become the first female actor ever to hoist the Indian National Flag at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), Australia’s annual celebration of film from India and the subcontinent. The official handle of IFFM posted a picture on Twitter with a caption that read, “Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hoists the Indian national flag at @FedSquare celebrating the 70th yr of Indian independence”.

India one of the most Open Economies Globally for FDI

According to the Economic Survey, India has now emerged as one of the most open economies in the world for receiving foreign direct investments (FDI), on the back of a host of liberalisation measures. It pointed out that measures taken by the government have resulted in FDI equity inflow of $43.4 billion in 2016-17, which is not only an increase of 8% over the previous year but also the highest ever. Mauritius, Singapore and Japan have been top three source countries of FDI inflows to India contributing 36.2%, 20% and 10.8%, respectively, during 2016-17, according to the survey.

N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Obelisk Gate’ wins Best Novel 2017

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. The fantasy novel tells a story about the life on a planet where the inhabitants would undergo a “Fifth Season” of catastrophic climate change every a few centuries.

David Rasquinha Appointed as Exim Bank MD

David Rasquinha, who is currently Deputy Managing Director of Exim Bank of India, has been appointed as Managing Director of the bank. This appointment will be valid for a period of three years. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has given its nod for the elevation of Rasquinha to the post of Managing Director, official sources said. A formal order in this regard is expected from the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry in the next few days.

Flipkart is the world’s 3rd most funded private company

With the $2.4 billion it just received from Japanese technology and telecom giant SoftBank, Flipkart has become the third most funded private company globally. The homegrown e-commerce company has to date raised almost $7 billion in capital, higher than that raised by global behemoths like online house rental aggregator Airbnb ($3.3 billion) and mobile phone maker Xiaomi ($1.4 billion). The top two are both ride hailing platforms – Chinabased Didi Chuxing and USbased Uber. In April, Didi Chuxing raised $5 billion and increased its total fund raise to $15 billion, overtaking Uber that has raised $12.9 billion. In the top 10, four are ride-hailing platforms, the other two being Silicon Valley-based Lyft and India’s Ola. Flipkart is the only e-commerce company in the top 10. The Flipkart funding reaffirms the faith of global players like SoftBank, Tiger Global, eBay, and Microsoft in Indian companies.

Gujarat govt to give ‘Namo’ tablets to 3.5 lakh college students

Around 3.5 lakh college students in Gujarat will get tablets at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,000 each under a state government scheme launched by chief minister Vijay Rupani in Ahmedabad. Under this scheme, the first year college students in the state will get 7-inch ‘NAMO E-Tab’ tablets, which have a market value of Rs 8,000 each, by just paying Rs 1,000. Several students, who had already registered for the scheme, received the tablets from the chief minister at the launch ceremony in Ahmedabad. NAMO E-Tab is the acronym for ‘New Avenues of Modern Education through Tablets’. The state government has allocated Rs 200 crore for this scheme.

2016 warmest on record for the planet as a whole

An annual report compiled by scientists around the globe has stated that the year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. The year 2016 even surpassed the temperature records that date back 137 years. For global temperatures, last year also surpassed the previous record-holder, i.e. the year 2015.

Indian Oil Corps buys First Shale Oil from United States

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has bought the country’s first shale oil from the US and is looking to step up imports from America as part of its crude diversification strategy. IOC bought 1.9 million barrels of US crude in its second import tender seeking oil from the America. India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, joins Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China to buy US crude after production cuts by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.

Hike Messenger acquires hardware Startup Creo

Homegrown messaging and social media technology company Hike Messenger has acquired Bengaluru-based tech start-up Creo for an undisclosed amount. The Creo team constitutes over 50 members and was founded in December 2013 by Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubham Malhotra. In the past, Creo has launched hardware products that include streaming media dongles and smartphones.

Gehlot inaugurates Inclusive Independence Day Celebrations

Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot has inaugurated Inclusive Independence Day celebrations organized by the National Trust. Around 2500 people from all walks of life participated in the event along with 500 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On the occasion, Mr Gehlot administered New India Pledge “Sankalp se Siddhi” to participants. The Initiative aims to provide equal access to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, by means of Inclusive Education, Inclusive Employment and Inclusive Community Life.

Maheshwari strikes Memorable Bronze at Asian Shotgun Championship

Shooter Maheshwari Chauhan bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Shotgun Championship to earn India’s first women’s skeet individual medal at a top international competition in Astana, Kazakhstan. Maheshwari also led India to the team silver alongside compatriots Rashmmi Rathore and Saniya Sheikh.

I V Subba Rao appointed secretary to Venkaiah Naidu

Retired IAS officer I V Subba Rao has appointed the secretary to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. The Prime Minister’s Office cleared the appointment a day on which Naidu assumed charge as the 13th vice president of the country. N Yuvaraj, Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer of 2006 batch, will be the private secretary to Naidu. Rao, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, retired from service as special chief secretary last year. He held several important posts in Andhra Pradesh and later served the UNESCO.

Central Govt offices to retrofit energy efficient appliances

The Union Finance Ministry has issued guidelines for mandatory installation of energy efficient appliances in all Central Government buildings across India. It has directed that usage of LED based lightings and energy efficient cooling equipment such as fans and air conditioners in government buildings will lead to savings in the long run through reduction in energy consumption. Under the programme, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) intends to bring in investment of around Rs. 1000 crore covering more than 10,000 large government/private buildings by 2020.

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