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TNPSC Current Affairs and GK Today - 08-10, March 2017

International Affairs

King of Swaziland calls on the President Pranab Mukherjee

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee March 10, 2017) received His Majesty King Mswati-III of Swaziland at Rashtrapati Bhavan and hosted a lunch in his honour. India values its friendship with Swaziland. India appreciates the support that Swaziland has consistently extended to India in multilateral forums. India has been happy to partner Swaziland in its development through scholarships and capacity-building.

India and Belgium Signs Agreement on "Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol" 

India and Belgium sign Protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol March 10, 2017No comments India and Belgium have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries. The Protocol was signed by Sushil Chandra, Chairman Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India. 

Pakistan National Assembly passes Hindu Marriage Bill 2016

Pakistan National Assembly has passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, after amendments made by the Senate, to regulate marriages of Hindus in Pakistan. Minister of Human Rights, Kamran Michael said there was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters in Pakistan. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage in addition to protecting the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community. 

Defense

INS Tillanchang Commissioned at Karwar, Karnataka

India Navy has commissioned INS Tillanchang at Karwar, Karnataka. INS Tillanchang is a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC). It is the third ship of four follow-on WJFAC built by the Kolkata based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). The first two ships INS Tarmugli and INS Tihayu which were commissioned in 2016. These ships will play a vital role in light of India’s security environment. They are designed to take on both conventional and asymmetric threats.

Indo-Oman Joint Army Exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh

Second edition of the joint exercise between the Indian and Oman Armies commenced today with the Opening Ceremony at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh. The training contingents comprised of platoon strength from both the Armies, which will be validated over 2-3 days by senior military observers of both the countries. The previous edition of the Exercise was held at Muscat, Oman in 2015. The aim of this exercise is to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures, improve the interoperability in conducting joint operations in the backdrop of counter insurgency/ counter terrorism environment as also to enhance the existing military relationship between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman. 

Science and Technology

European Union launched 5th satellite of Copernicus observation program

European Union launched the fifth satellite of the Copernicus observation program yesterday, which will cut the time of imaging the earth by half. The Copernicus earth observation program, created by the European Union, is served by a set of satellites. The program is aimed at improving the life of EU communities by providing near-real-time global environment data. The European Commission said in a statement that latest Copernicus satellite launch will improve services for farmers, fishermen and other users of land and sea maps. 

NTPC installs India’s largest Floating Solar PV Plant in Kerala 

NTPC started  (09.03.2017) power generation from India’s largest Floating Solar Power Plant at Kayamkulam in Kerala. The 100 kWp floating solar generation plant, largest of its kind in India, was indigenously developed as a part of ‘Make In India’ initiative, at Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) in Kerala’s Kayamkulam district, the company said in a statement. Solar panels mounted on floating boards that hold them in place saves land usage and has been found to be efficient than the ones installed on land. The system was installed by Swelect Energy Systems Ltd, Chennai with support from NETRA & NTPC Kayamkulam station in a short span of 22 days. These floating platform were indigenously developed by NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance, the R&D arm of NTPC LtdBSE -0.76 %, in collaboration with Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Chennai and a patent has been applied for. 

MEITY Issues Draft Rules on E-Wallet Payments

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued draft Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017 for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) company or E-Wallet  firms. The draft rules seek to ensure integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic payments made through PPIs. It covers an entire spectrum for protecting consumer information, especially financial data.

New Canyon System Discovered in Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh

New canyon system found near Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh March 10, 2017No comments Scientists for the first time have discovered three new canyons close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. This discovery was made by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam. These three canyons together form a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal.

India's 1st lunar probe Chandrayaan 1 Spacecraft Still Orbiting Moon

India's first lunar probe - the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft - which was considered lost, is still orbiting the Moon. NASA scientists have found the satellite, using a new ground-based radar technique. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with Chandrayaan-1 in August 2009, almost a year after it was launched in October, 2008. Now, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California have successfully located the spacecraft still circling some 200 kilometers above the lunar surface.

Inventions

Chinese Scientists Creates 04 Synthetic Yeast Chromosomes

In China, scientists have assembled four synthetic yeast chromosomes, making it the second country after the US capable of designing and building eukaryotic genomes.The findings were published in today's edition of journal Science, marking a step closer to building synthetic life. Xinhua news agency reported that researchers with Tianjin University,Tsinghua University and BGI-Shenzhen have constructed the synthetic active chromosomes through exactly matching the synthetic genome with the designed sequence for the first time. In 2010, the US scientists succeeded in implanting a synthetic genome in a prokaryotic bacterium, marking the first step in chemical synthesis of living organisms.

Conference and Summits



The 11th edition of North-East Business Summit (NEBS) Started in New Delhi 

The 11th edition of North-East Business Summit (NEBS) has started in New Delhi on March 9, 2017. The two-day summit is an initiative to facilitate investment, highlight strengths of the North-East Region (NER) and business opportunities which North-East has to offer. The summit will also showcase the untapped business potential of North-East to investors worldwide.

National Convention of Women Sarpanch in Gandhinagar On International Women's Day

The Prime Minister will address the National Convention of Women Sarpanch in Gandhinagar (08.03.2017) on the occasion of International Women's Day. Women Sarpanch from different parts of the country will attend the event. Mr Modi said he is Looking forward to addressing a conclave of women Sarpanchs and honouring trailblazers who have worked towards a Swachh Bharat. He said he is glad that the Swachh Bharat Mission is a mass movement, with over 100 districts now Open Defecation Free. the programme has been jointly organised by the Centre and the Gujarat government. As many as 6000 women Sarpanchs will be participating in the programme. As part of the event, over 4000 Women Sarpanchs who have come from different states were taken on tours to villages in 8 districts of the state including Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Kutch. 

"International Vision Zero Conference" on Occupational, Safety and Health 

The international conference on the VISION ZERO and its relevance to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), is being organized from 15th to 17th, March 2017 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The conference will be inaugurated by the Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent) for Labour and Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya. The conference aims to focus on the Occupational Safety and Health issues and challenges in the Manufacturing, Construction and Mining sector. The conference will provide a forum for promoting safety and health at work by exchanging knowledge, practices and experience. 

Appointments

Narendra Kumar takes over as Chairman Central Water Commission 

Narendra Kumar, an officer of Central Water Engineering Service (1979 batch) has assumed the charge of Chairman, Central Water Commission (CWC). Born on October 11, 1957, Shri Kumar obtained his BE degree in Civil Engineering from IIT Roorkee and M Tech from IIT Delhi in Structural Engineering. He has served in various capacities in CWC as Assistant Director in Design Organisation, Deputy Director in Project Appraisal Directorate and Director in Dam Safety Organisation and Project Monitoring Directorate. He has also served as Senior Joint Commissioner in Command Area Development wing of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation from 2002 to 2005. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Chief Engineer, Brahmaputra and Barak Basin, Shillong. He has also worked as Commissioner of B&B wing of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation during 2011 to 2014.

Bills, Acts & Amendments

Parliament Passes  Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 

Parliament has passed the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to raise maternity leave for working women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children. It was passed in the Lok Sabha and already has been passed in the Rajya Sabha. India will be in third position in terms of the number of weeks allowed for maternity leave in the world after Norway (44 weeks) and Canada (50).

Rajya Sabha passes the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill,2016

The Rajya Sabha today passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill,2016 with some amendments moved by the government. The Bill moved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh will replace the ordinance promulgated by the government.It guards against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after wars. 

Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill,2016: The Bill amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the Custodian. It also declares transfer of enemy property by the enemy, conducted under the Act, to be void. This applies retrospectively to transfers that have occurred before or after 1968. The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and do not revert to the enemy subject or enemy firm.

Awards



Mahabaleshwar Sail selected for Saraswati Samman Award 2016

Mahabaleshwar Sail (74), an eminent Konkani writer was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan. His novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages. He will receive cash prize of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

Mahabaleshwar Sail: He is bilingual writer based in Goa. He has written four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels. He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi. He is best known for his work, ‘Paltadcho Munis’, which inspired a film by the same name. Most of his short stories and novels are translated into English and Hindi, ‘Hawtha’, his work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa was published in 2009,

Saraswati Samman Award: Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of Constitution and published during last 10 years.

Economy

India set to Reap Record Rabi Crops: NCAER

India is expected to replicate the record Rabi crop production following record Kharif crop production output following a good monsoon in 2016. This was stated in a study conducted by economic think-tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). As per the NCAER report on the short-term agricultural outlook for the 2017 Rabi season, Gross Value Added (GVA) in agriculture and allied sector registered a significant 3.3 per cent year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2016-17 as compared to 1.8 per cent growth in the previous quarter. Overall growth of 4.1 per cent is estimated for the agriculture sector in 2016-17 as against the previous year's drought-impacted growth rate of 1.2 per cent.

Indian economy to grow 7.1% this fiscal: Global rating agency Fitch

Global rating agency Fitch today said, Indian economy will grow by 7 (point) 1 per cent in the current fiscal before stepping up to 7 (point) 7 per cent in the next two financial years. The US-based agency has termed the 7 per cent GDP growth for the October-December quarter as surprising and a tad lower than 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter. 

Important Days

International Women's Day (IWD) - March 08, 2017

2017 Theme: Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the struggle for women's rights.The earliest Women's Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. A Women's Day demonstration on March 8, 1917 in Petrograd sparked the Russian Revolution. Declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917, it was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

Sports

ICC Test Cricket Rankings (07 March 2017)

Team Rankings 
  1. India
  2. Australia
  3. South Africa
  4. England
  5. New Zealand
  6. Pakistan
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. West Indies
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Zimbabwe
Bowling Rankings
  1. Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
  2. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
  3. Josh Hazlewood (Australia)
  4. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)  
  5. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)  
  6. Dale Steyn (South Africa)
  7. James Anderson (England)
  8. Stuart Broad (England)
  9. Vernon Philander (South Africa)
  10. Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Batsman Rankings
  1. Steve Smith (Australia)
  2. Joe Root (England)
  3. Virat Kohli (India)
  4. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
  5. David Warner (Australia)
  6. Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
  7. Hashim Amla (South Africa)
  8. Azhar Ali (Pakistan)
  9. Younus Khan (Pakistan)
  10. Quinton de Kock (South Africa)
All-Rounder Rankings
  1. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
  2. Ravichandran Ashwin (India)  
  3. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
  4. Mitchell Starc (Australia)
  5. Ben Stokes (England) ENG
  6. Moeen Ali (England)
  7. Vernon Philander (South Africa)
  8. Stuart Broad (England)
  9. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
  10. Chris Woakes (England)

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