11 July 2017 Current Affairs

Japan’s men only island gets UNESCO Heritage tag

Japan’s Okinoshima island, an ancient religious site where women are banned, has been declared a World Heritage site by the UN’s cultural body Unesco. Okinoshima is home to the Okitsu shrine, built in the 17th century to pray for the safety of sailors. Before setting foot on the island, men must take off their clothes and undergo a cleansing ritual. When they leave they are not allowed to take away any souvenirs, or disclose details of their visit. Okinoshima, which is a part of the city of Munakata, Fukuoka, Japan, is located in south-west Japan between the main island of kyushu and the Korean Peninsula. Referred as the men only island, the island is permanently manned by a Shinto priest who prays to the island’s goddess, in a tradition that has been kept up for centuries.

Kerala Govt proposes Stray Dog Zoos

The Kerala government is planning “stray dog zoos” to keep them off the streets in the State. The State government informed a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra that it had asked all district panchayats to keep aside two to three acres and notify them as ‘stray dog zoos’. The State government, represented by senior advocate V. Giri, was responding to a question from the Supreme Court on the construction of shelter homes for the stray dog population, which has increased aggressively over the years and become a dangerous presence on the streets, especially after dark. However, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and activists refused to be convinced by the solution Kerala has arrived at concerning stray dogs.

11 July: World Population Day

World Population Day is being observed globally on 11th July. The objective of the day is to increase the awareness of the people towards the worldwide population issues. The theme of this year is ‘Family Planning- Empowering People, Developing Nations’. This year’s celebrations coincide with the Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative, which aims to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020. The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries.

Ministry of Health signs MoU with WB Govt

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed an MoU with the Government of West Bengal to formalize its support to set up a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine at Kolkata. The initiative helps in strengthening the blood transfusion services in the State and the surrounding region. The government of India has approved this important initiative with an outlay of approximately Rs.200 Crores towards equipment, manpower and running costs. The land for this initiative will be provided free of cost by the State government. According to the recently concluded assessment of licensed Blood Bank of India revealed that the average blood donation rate in India is 0.8, which is lower than many high-income countries.

Khaltmaa Battulga wins Mongolian Presidency

Populist former martial arts star and businessman Khaltmaa Battulga was sworn in as president, vowing to revive the flagging economy and pursue relations with countries outside its giant neighbors Russia and China. Battulga replaces Tsakhia Elbegdorj after the outgoing president served the maximum four-year terms for two times. Battulga inherits a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout intended to stabilize the economy of the debt-laden country and lessen its dependence on China, which purchases 80 percent of Mongolia’s exports. The poll was seen as a referendum on the government’s economic recovery plans and the role of southern neighbor China in the landlocked but resource-rich country known as the birthplace of Mongol emperor Genghis Khan.

Union Govt launches new tax payer service module Aaykar Setu

The Union Finance Ministry has launched Aaykar Setu, a new tax payer service module. The new e-initiative literally means taxpayer’s bridge and will be available in android phones. It compiles various tax tools, dynamic updates, live chat facility and important links to various processes within the Income Tax Department (ITD) in a single module. Aaykar Setu has been launched in mobile responsive android application and also in desktop version to enhance mobile access as well as desktop access. This e-initiative aims provide better taxpayer services and also help in reducing the direct physical interface between assesses and tax assessing authorities.

Govt to organise global food fair in Nov to boost food sector

The government of India will organize a global food fair in November 2017 to provide a platform to Indian farmers and manufacturers to showcase their products and explore partnerships with foreign companies. The three-day international level fair ‘World Food India 2017’ is being organized on November 3-5 by the Food Processing Ministry, where industry body CII will be an event partner. The World Food India is a step aimed at creating India a ‘Global Food Factory’ and ‘Global Food Retail Market’. The food processing sector received USD 5.76 billion in FDI equity inflows from 2010-11 to 2015-16. In 2016-17 (April-December), the food processing sector in the country has received USD 663.23 million worth of FDI.

RBI amends order on bankruptcy action on 12 large NPAs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended its earlier order asking banks to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against 12 companies which have outstanding loans amounting to over Rs 5,000 crore as on March 2016. The amendment, made through a notification, comes after the Gujarat High Court asked the RBI to remove the stipulation on its order last month that the 12 non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, would be granted priority at the National Company Law Tribunal. Essar Steel, one of the 12 large NPAs identified by the RBI, had approached the Gujarat High Court for the RBI proceedings. The NPAs of state-run banks at the end of last September rose to Rs 6.3 lakh crore (almost $100 billion), as compared to Rs 5.5 lakh crore at the end of June 2016.

Finance Ministry launches next gold bond tranche

The next tranche of sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme was launched by the Government. This time, provided a 2.5 percent annual interest to investors. The bonds will be available in banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognized stock exchanges namely National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Finance Ministry has announced the sixth tranche of gold bonds applications for which will be accepted from July 10 to July 14, 2017. The bonds will be issued to eligible applicants on July 28. The investors will get the interest payable semi-annually on the nominal value of the investment. The minimum investment will be 1 gram of gold. The maximum limit can be subscribed up to 500 grams per person per fiscal year. A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained. Payment options available are cash payment (up to a maximum of Rs 20,000) or demand draft or cheque or electronic banking.

Gelati Monastery removed from UNESCO’s Danger List

The World Heritage Committee decided to remove Gelati Monastery of Georgia from the List of World Heritage in Danger. This decision has introduced a major reduction in the boundaries of the Georgian site of Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, that were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994 and on the List in Danger in 2010. The new boundaries bar Bagrati Cathedral, which underwent major reconstruction that was unsafe to its integrity and authenticity.

Sindhu bags ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ award

Rio Olympics silver medallist P V Sindhu was bestowed with the ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ award during the ‘Maruti Suzuki Sportsperson of the Year’ Charity Gala Awards. Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand received the Coach of the Year award while the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh was given the Living Legend of the Year award. Young India cricketer K L Rahul, who made a mark in the last Test series against Australia, was awarded Gamechanger of the Year award. The 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist and the country’s sole gold medal winner in individual events at Olympics, Abhinav Bindra was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Para athletes Devendra Jhajaria, Mariappan Thangavelu, Varun Bharti and Deepa Malik also received awards.

Saint Teresa’s Blue-bordered sari declared an Intellectual Property

The famous blue-bordered sari of Mother Teresa, who has been canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta by the Vatican, has been recognized as an Intellectual Property of the Missionaries of Charity. After a series of strict legal proceedings, it was granted. This is the first time that a uniform has been made intellectual property. It has obtained “distinctive symbolic identity” of the Missionaries of Charity. The diminutive nun of Albanian descent went around the streets of Kolkata since 1948 to be with the poor and the destitutes wearing a white sari with three blue borders, the outer border being wider than the two inner ones.

IROAF wins Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation 2017

Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) won the Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017 for introducing eco friendly and cost saving Dual Fuel 1400 HP Diesel engines on DEMU trains. With this, Indian Railways achieved a major milestone in the field of eco-friendly fuel technologies. IROAF substituted fossil fuels (Diesel) by environment friendly CNG in DEMU passenger train services. The use of CNG in Train sets for passenger transportation was done for the first time in the world.

Electrified Droplets Create Mini Saturn Planets

Scientists have created miniature versions of the ringed planet Saturn. The miniature version was created by electrifying tiny drops of fluid. This creation of the ringed saturn would help scientists to create new ways of generating microscopic and uniform particles and capsules often used in products such as drugs, inks, cosmetics, paints and ceramics. The created planet has more than aesthetic value.

Urban Development & Housing Ministry is now MoHUA

The government has merged the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation ministries. Now this will be known as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). This is third time the ministries have been merged. Venkaiah Naidu heads the ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation.

Vistara appoints Leslie Thng as the new CEO

The board of TATA SIA Airlines Ltd, which owns and operates the full-service airline Vistara, has appointed former SilkAir head Leslie Thng as Vistara’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective from October 2017. Singapore-based regional air carrier SilkAir is a wholly- owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines (SIA), which owns a 49 percent stake in TATA SIA Airlines Ltd. In a statement the airline said Phee Teik Yeoh, currently the Chief Executive Officer of Vistara, will be returning to Singapore Airlines to take up a senior appointment. Phee Teik has been involved with Vistara since it launched its first commercial flight in January 2015.

Ravi Shastri named new India coach

Former skipper Ravi Shastri has been named as the new coach of the Indian cricket team. The appointment was confirmed by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Shastri will take charge from India’s upcoming three-Test series against Sri Lanka, starting July 26. Shastri, was chosen by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that included former captains Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and veteran batting star VVS Laxman. Shastri, who has represented India in 80 Tests and 150 One-Day Internationals between 1981 and 1992, he had initially not applied for the post but when the BCCI extended the deadline for acceptance of applications till July 9, the former skipper jumped into the fray and suddenly became the hot favourite.

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