12 July 2017 Current Affairs

Syrian Observatory says ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has died. Observatory sources in Syria’s eastern town of Deir al-Zor had been told by IS sources that Baghdadi had died but they did not specify when. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s original name is Ibrahim Awad al-Samarrai born in Tobchi in a poor area near Samarra, north of the capital Baghdad. Baghdadi is the leader of the Sunni Salafi-Jihadist militant, a jihadist organisation known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

German Caves with world’s oldest known art to UNESCO heritage list

Six caves in south-western Germany’s Swabia Jura region, home to some of the world’s oldest art were added to the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre. The caves were occupied some 43000 to 33000 years ago. They are among the earliest known dwelling places of modern humans in Europe. These archaelogical sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development.

NGT orders complete ban on nylon & glass-coated manjha

The National Green Tribunal banned the use of ‘Chinese’ kite strings, made of nylon or any synthetic material on the grounds that it poses threat to life and environment. The Tribunal directed all state governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of synthetic manjha or nylon threads and all other synthetic strings used for flying kites with immediate effect. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered the authorities to ban import of any synthetic manjha. The judgement came on a plea filed by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others, contending that ‘manjha’ poses a grave threat to humans and animals as every year a number of deaths are caused by it. Earlier in December 2016, the NGT had imposed an interim nationwide ban on the use of glass-coated ‘manjha’ for flying kites as the sharp string poses a danger. In January 2017, the Supreme Court declined lifting the ban imposed by the NGT.

Prez Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates ‘Ashiana Annexe’ in Dehradun

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the ‘Ashiana Annexe’ in Dehradun, Uttarakhand which comprises of twelve low cost dwelling units constructed to accommodate officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan during Presidential visits to the Retreat at ‘Ashiana’. These dwelling units have been constructed using the Habitech-NivaraTantra – Onsite Sanitation Integrated Community Housing Technology Innovations developed at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The Technology innovations comprise unique blocks known as “compacted intermeshing” blocks which are made from local soil. The production of these blocks is on site and is an entirely green process. The Ashiana retreat was built originally as a bungalow of the commandant of the President’s Bodyguard and was revived by Mukherjee after long years of disuse. K R Narayanan, in March 1998, was the last president to stay here.

HAL signs MoU with Ministry of Defence

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed an MoU for the financial year 2017-18 with the Ministry of Defence. The annual MoU was signed between Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary, Department of Defence Production and T Suvarna Raju, CMD-HAL. The MoU has outlined targets on various performance parameters of the company during the year 2017-18. The revenue from operations has been targeted at Rs. 17,900 crore, the highest ever. HAL has also laid specific emphasis on capacity building, modernization, solar power plants, aiming to achieve capital expenditure of Rs. 1,300 crore. According to the Defence Ministry, HAL would focus more on production of Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) during the fiscal.

Axis Bank, IIC pact to boost trade with Latin America

Axis Bank has entered into a collaboration with Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) to facilitate trade with Latin America and the Caribbean. Axis Bank becomes the first Indian bank to participate in the Trade Finance Facilitation Programme as a confirming bank. IIC, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to supporting the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) will be acting on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Maharashtra launches free injectable contraceptive for women

Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to provide women an injectable contraceptive for free. The state’s public health department launched a program called Antara to offer women an injection of Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a birth-control hormone. According to state health officials, the injection, a safe means of birth control, is effective for three months. The injection will be given intramuscularly to women in the age bracket of 18-45 years. Currently, the injections are available for free at public health facilities in Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Nandurbar, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri and Beed.

Rajasthan fixes min education qualification for cooperative body poll

Rajasthan has laid down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies. With this, Rajasthan became India’s first state to fix minimum educational qualification for cooperative body poll. In this regard, the Rajasthan Gvernment amended State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003. The new rules would benefit about 10000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies. Moreover, the benefit of education will accrue to the societies as their management will go to expert hands.

Delhi becomes second state to accept online RTI applications

Filing an RTI application with the Delhi government is now just a click away. Delhi became the second state to launch e-RTI portal that will enable citizens to file online Right to Information (RTI). Maharashtra is the first state to launch the online RTI platform. The portal launched recently will enable citizens to file RTI and seek information related to 172 departments of the Delhi government including the office of the CM and his ministers. The e-RTI portal, which has been designed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), includes filling of application, payment of fees and getting replies online. An applicant will also be able to track the status of RTI application. The e-RTI application fee will have to be paid through net banking. Citizens can file the e-RTIs by logging at www.rtionline.delhi.gov.in. You can also call at 011-23392726 and 011-23392421 for any queries related to the process of filing the RTI.

NABARD celebrates 36th Foundation Day

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the 36th National Bank For Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) Foundation Day and Silver Jubilee of SHG Bank Linkage Programme, in New Delhi. Self Help Group Bank Linkage Programme (SHG BLP) is a pioneering initiative of Financial Inclusion by NABARD. The pilot stage of this programme was started in year 1992.

Debi Prasad Dash takes over as DRI DG

Debi Prasad Dash, a 1985-batch Indian Revenue Service (Customs) officer, has taken over as Director General of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DG-DRI), the premier agency that tackles smuggling and black money. Mr. Dash was the acting DRI chief for the past five months. He has earlier worked in the UN Security Council, Commonwealth Secretariat, and the CBI. He is a recipient of the President’s award for specially distinguished record of service and Merit award from the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

Naidu launches revamped NHB RESIDEX

Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu has released the new version of NHB RESIDEX on the occasion of the annual day of National Housing Bank, entering its 30th year in New Delhi. The NHB RESIDEX captures movements in the prices of residential real estate prices. NHB RESIDEX for January-March, 2017 revealed that price indices for residential properties based on actual market prices for ongoing construction prices have increased over the previous quarter in 24 of the 47 cities covered in the Index.

Mithali Raj Creates Women’s Cricket History

Mithali Raj has been India’s premier player ever since she made her debut in 1999. Her exploits in the international stage in both Tests and ODIs have made her India’s premier player. She created a world record by smashing seven consecutive fifty-plus scores, making her the first woman player to achieve the feat. In the crucial game against Australia, Mithali became the woman cricketer who has scored most runs in ODIs. Mithali Raj became the first women’s player to reach 6000 ODI runs. England’s Charlotte Edwards was the previous leading run-getter in ODIs with 5992 runs. 164 – Number of innings that has taken Mithali to achieve this feat. She has 48 not-outs to her name, which is the most in women’s cricket.

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