16 June 2017 Current Affairs

China’s First X-Ray Space Telescope To Study Black Holes

China successfully launched its first X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts. The 2.5-tonne Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), named ‘Insight,’ was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi desert. It was delivered into orbit, 550km (341 miles) above the Earth, by the Long March-4B rocket. Beijing aims to send a probe to the dark side of the moon by 2018 and to put astronauts on the moon by 2036. The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), named Insight, will allow Chinese scientists to observe magnetic fields and the interiors of pulsars and better understand the evolution of black holes.

Govt appoints Ramanathan Ramanan to head Atal Innovation Mission

The government of India has appointed a senior executive of Tata Consultancy Services Ramanathan Ramanan to head Atal Innovation Mission, its initiative to promote entrepreneurship in the country. Ramanathan Ramanan, senior vice president at TCS, has been appointed as mission director of Atal Innovation Mission, under the government’s premier think tank NITI Aayog, in the rank of additional secretary on secondment basis from the IT bellwether for two years initially. According to the notification, Ramanan’s appointment will be without pay and allowances. The Atal Innovation Mission is the Centre’s endeavour to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Israeli author David Grossman wins Man Booker Prize

Israeli author David Grossman has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017 for his novel ‘A Horse Walks Into a Bar’. Grossman beat out five other finalists, including fellow Israeli author Amos Oz for the counterpart to Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize. Grossman’s novel is about a failing standup comic and his final performance. The award has a prize of 50,000 pounds ($64,000) that is split evenly between Grossman and translator Jessica Cohen.

AIIB grants USD 150 mn loan for India Infrastructure Fund

China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved USD 150 million equity investment loan to the India Infrastructure Fund. It is the bank’s first such loan to fund private projects. The Board of Directors of the AIIB, who met in Jeju in South Korea has approved USD 150 million equity investment to the India Infrastructure Fund. The bank, in which India is a lead partner, has approved two loans and one equity investment totalling USD 324 million to support infrastructure projects in India, Georgia and Tajikistan. This initiative will benefit local infrastructure development by enhancing private capital inflows from global long-term investors, such as public pension funds, endowments and insurance companies.

TerraPay partners with Yes Bank to enable instant cross-border money transfer service in India

Private sector lender Yes Bank has partnered with mobile payments switch TerraPay to enable real-time money transfer to bank accounts in India. Powered by TerraPay’s global clearing and settlement service, the partnership will make it faster and convenient for consumers to send money to any bank account. TerraPay has partnered with Yes Bank in a Rupee Drawing Arrangement which enables TerraPay’s network partners to make instant cross-border money transfer to bank accounts in India. This means that Indian migrants worldwide can walk into TerraPay’s partner outlet anytime and send money to their family and friends back home, instantly in their bank account. For bank accounts other than Yes Bank accounts, Yes Bank will disburse funds using the immediate payment service, popularly known as IMPS. The service is available 24X7.

RBI announces Prompt Corrective Action against Central Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed Central Bank of India under prompt corrective action (PCA) which puts restricts on banking activities such as from lending, hiring and expanding branches. According to the RBI, the PCA has been triggered in view of negative return on assets and high ratio of bad loans. So far, RBI has triggered PCAs for four banks – IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Dena Bank and Indian Overseas Bank. The PCA was initiated on Central Bank of India since it reported losses for two consecutive years, had negative return on assets and its share of bad loans has crossed 6%. Central Bank has reported loss of Rs 2439 crore for fiscal year 2016-17 against losses of Rs 1418 crore ayear ago.

India 60th most-innovative globally: GII rankings

India continued to rise in the Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings for the second year in succession, after four consecutive years of decline. In 2017 rankings released in Geneva (Switzerland), India improved its position from 66 to 60. It highlighted the continual improvement of India in terms of investment, tertiary education, quality of its publications and universities, its ICT services exports and innovation clusters. Its improvement is part of a trend both in the middle-income countries and Asian countries, many of which have improved their innovation capacities in recent years. The GII was first developed 10 years ago by the business school INSEAD in Paris.

Health Ministry launches IDCF to reduce child deaths due to diarrhoea

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight (IDCF) in order to intensify efforts to reduce child deaths due to diarrhoea. The Ministry has made it a national priority to bring health outcomes among children to a level equitable with the rest of the world. Through this initiative, the Ministry will mobilize health personnel, State Governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of diarrhea, one of the most common childhood illnesses. It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost diarrhoea treatment, a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and Zinc tablets. Nearly 12 crores under 5-children will be covered during the program across the country. ASHA worker would undertake distribution of ORS packets to households with under-five children in her village. ORS-Zinc Corners will be set-up at health care facilities and non-health facilities such as Schools and Anganwadi centres.

Neeru Chadha becomes 1st Indian woman as member of ITLOS

Indian nominee Neeru Chadha became the first Indian Woman to be elected as the Member of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Chadha, the international law expert, got 120 votes with the highest in the Asia-Pacific group. She will have a nine-year term as the Judge at ITLOS from 2017 to 2026. Currently, an eminent jurist from India P Chandrasekhara Rao is a judge at the tribunal. He was elected as the member of the tribunal in 1996 and his term will expire in September 2017. Neeru Chandha is an eminent lawyer and the first Indian woman to become the Chief Legal Adviser in the Union Ministry of External Affairs and has advised the government on diverse issues relating to the law of the sea involving interpretation of various provisions of the UNCLOS. With an extensive international arbitrattion and ligitation experience, she had served as an agent for the Indian government in its maritime delimitation case with Bangladesh.

Bhupen Hazarika Award conferred to Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi

The Fifth Bhupen Hazarika National Award, 2017 has been conferred to an eminent writer from Arunachal Pradesh Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi. This is the fifth edition of the award which was first conferred in 2012. The prestigious Award, instituted by Sarhad, a Maharashtra-based organization, is honoring a person every year since 2012, who has rendered an outstanding literary work at national and international level. The award consists of 51,000 rupees, a memento and a certificate. His most important novel is Mauna Onth Mukhar Hriday (Silent lips, murmuring hearts) which won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2005.

India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report

India has claimed the top spot among the remittance-receiving nations, surpassing China. The United Nations, in its report, stated that Indians working across the globe sent home 62.7 billion US dollars in 2016. According to the ‘One Family at a Time’ study by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, about 200 million migrants globally sent more than 445 billion dollars as remittances in 2016 to their families. Remittance flows have grown over the last decade from 296 billion in 2007 to 445 billion dollars in 2016. It said 80 percent of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by India, China, the Philippines, Mexico, and Pakistan. India, while retaining its top spot as the world’s largest remittance recipient, led the decline with remittance inflows amounting to $62.7 billion last year, a decrease of 8.9 per cent over $68.9 billion in 2015.

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