Current Affairs Today – July 31 2017

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Current Affairs July 31 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Swachh Survekshan-2018 launched to assess sanitation in all 4,041 cities and towns of the country
Central Government has launched ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ to rank all the 4,041 cities and towns of the country on 31st of July 2017. It is based on certain parameters like infrastructure development for improved sanitation services and their sustainability, outcomes, citizen connect and visible impact on ground.
i. Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has launched the survey, the third in the series and released a comprehensive Survey Tool Kit which explain the methodology, weightages and new features and plunge areas .
ii. To inspire the people to participate in the Swachhata Jan Andolan and connect themselves with the ‘Swachhata Survekshan-2018’ launched on 31st July 2017.

Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launches “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2” in Mumbai
On July 29th 2017, Union Minister of state for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched “JIYO PARSI PUBLICITY PHASE – 2” function in Mumbai.
i. In the year of 2013 “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-1” was initiated to increase the small minority population of  parsi community.Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launches “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2” in Mumbai
ii. The main objective of the “Jiyo Parsi” scheme is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions, stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India
iii. The scheme implemented two components:
1.Medical Assistance and 2.Advocacy/Counselling.
Due to this effort, it became success with the birth of 101 babies.
Some important talented people from Parsi community :-
Parsi community has showed their talent in many fields like industry, military service, legal service, architecture or civil services
i. Jamshetji Tata had played a key role in industrial development of India.
ii. Dadabhai Naoroji and Madam Bhikaji Cama played an important role in India’s freedom struggle.
iii. Homi J Bhabha is the” father of the Indian nuclear program”.
ivField Marshall Sam Manekshaw’s service to the nation will be remembered one.
Parzor Foundation was an important link between the Parsi community and the government in success of “Jiyo Parsi” scheme. And the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai; the Bombay Parsi Panchayet (BPP) and Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India have also played a key role in this regard. 

‘Rajaswa Gyansangam’ scheduled to be held in New Delhi
‘Rajaswa Gyansangam’ is going to be held on 1st and 2nd September, 2017 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
i. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate this two day Conclave on the 1st day of September, 2017.
ii. The main reason of this inauguration will be on GST as well as on unearthing black money.
iii. The Tax Officers of the State Governments will also be invited for discussion for the first time on the GST related issues during the 1st day of the two day Conclave.

7 Projects worth Rs 425 crore approved by NMCG
The Executive Committee of National Mission for Clean Ganga in its 4th meeting has approved seven projects worth Rs 425 crore in the sector of sewage infrastructure, Ghat development and research.
Key Notes:
i. In sewage sector it includes three projects each in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been approved.
ii. For Uttar Pradesh, interception, diversion and STP projects for Unnao, Shuklaganj and Ramnagar have been approved.
iii. These three projects are aimed at creation of sewage treatment capacity of 29 MLD (Unnao- 13 MLD, Shuklaganj- six MLD and Ramnagar- ten MLD) with a total cost of Rs 238.64 crore.
iv. In Bihar, three projects at Sultanganj, Naugachia and Mokama with total estimated cost of Rs 175 crore have been approved.
v. These three projects will create additional sewage treatment capacity of 27 MLD Ganga Swachhta Sankalp Divas celebrated on May 02, 2017(Sultanganj- ten MLD, Mokama- eight MLD and Naugachia- nine MLD).
vi. All the projects will be provided with Operation and Maintenance cost for 15 years by Central government and 100% central assistance.
vii .Unnao and Sultanganj projects will be taken up under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model. In which 60% of the capital cost will be paid to the contractor who has constructed the STP, over a period of 15 years.
viii .It is also important to mention that, on the basis of his work performance on the achievement of desired norms of treated waste water.
ix. The study will be an extension of a research carried out by National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to identify the special properties of river’s waters.
x. This research would focus on finding out the science behind these special properties in order to formulate a strategy to keep these characteristics.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge’ the Europabrücke (Europe Bridge)’ opens in Switzerland
The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge the Europabrücke or Europaweg (Europe Bridge) on 29th July 2017, a ribbon-thin span nearly a third of a mile long at in Randa, Switzerland.
i. It measures 1,620 feet long and rises as high as 278 feet above the Grabengufer ravine.
ii .The span is also impossibly narrow, at just 25.6 inches wide.Hikers can now cross the Europaweg (Europe Bridge) which connects Grächen and Zermatt and measures nearly 500m.
iii. Zermatt Tourist Board says it is the longest in the world, hanging at a heady 85m above the Grabengufer ravine, although a 405m bridge in Reutte, Austria hangs 110m higher.World's longest pedestrian suspension bridge’ the Europabrücke (Europe Bridge)’ opens in Switzerland
iv. The Europaweg replaces an older bridge which was closed in 2010 after it was damaged by falling rocks.
Switzerland:
♦ Currency: Swiss franc
♦ Capital: Bern

BANKING & FINANCE

GDP growth in June quarter to be around 6.6% in India – Nomura
India’s GDP growth is to be higher at 6.6% in the June quarter from the previous three months this year.
i. According to Nomura it is expected average GDP growth in Q2 (April-June) to be modestly higher at 6.6% from 6.1% in Q1 (January-March).In the second half (H2) of 2017, growth recovery is expected to accelerate to 7.4%
ii. The pick-up growth numbers in the second half is likely to be led by a recommencement of production after GST, ongoing remonetisation, normal monsoons, stronger rural consumption and easier financial conditions (lower lending rates, liquidity).

RBI slaps Rs. 3 cr penalty on Union Bank for KYC non-compliance
RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs 3 crore on Union Bank of India for “non-compliance” on Know Your Customer (KYC) norms announced on 31st of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. Rs.2 crore was imposed for “huge cash withdrawals in certain accounts” maintained with Union Bank of India and Rs. 1 crore was imposed for fraud in a bank. The penalty was imposed on 26th of July.
ii. The central bank had examined the documents regarding the complaint and notice was issued to the state-owned lender.
iii. The action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.
iv. The bank was asked to show cause “as to why penalty should not be imposed” for non-compliance with directions issued by the RBI.
Union Bankv. The RBI has further added after considering the bank’s reply, oral submissions, additional information and documents, it concluded that the charge was substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty.
About Union Bank of India
♦ 
HQ :Mumbai
♦ MD & CEO :Rajkiran Rai G.
♦ 
Tagline: Good People to Bank with

SBI cuts saving account rate by 0.5% on balance up to Rs 1 cr
On July 31,2017 State Bank of India has cut interest on savings account deposits by 50 basis points to 3.5 per cent on balance up to Rs 1 crore.
i. The bank decides to continue 4 per cent interest on savings account balance of Rs 1 crore and above.
Revision of saving bank rate will enable the bank to maintain marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) at existing rates.

BUSINESS

1st time India becomes net exporter country in Steel: Birender Singh
Minister for Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh said that first time India has become a net export country in Steel. It has been announced on 31st of July 2017.
Key Facts:
i. The steel imports in the country have gone down by 39% and exports have gone up by 102% last year.
ii. Crude steel production has registered 3.5% during April-June 2017-18.

Amazon signs deal with Salman Khan, movies to premiere first on Prime Video before TV
Amazon Prime Video has signed deal with Bollywood star Salman Khan to premiere his all future films first exclusively on Amazon Prime Video right after the theatrical release.Amazon signs deal with Salman Khan, movies to premiere first on Prime Video before TV
i. Nitesh Kripalani, Director and Country Head, Amazon Video India and James Farrell, Head of Content, Prime Video, Asia Pacific, also participated in signing deal. It will start with his film “Tubelight”, which released in June.
ii. All future movies from Salman Khan Ventures released after “Tubelight” will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video first after their release in theatres and two months before television broadcast or anyother distribution.

Government enters into nine Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 9 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers on 31st of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. The APA Scheme will provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing.
ii. It will specify the methods of pricing and determining the Arm’s Length Price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years.
iii. The taxpayer has the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years, it makes a total of nine years of tax certainty is provided.
iv. The international transactions covered in these nine APAs include provision of software development services; provision of IT enabled services, provision of engineering design services, distribution, contract manufacturing, etc.
v. CBDT has signed its first APA with a taxpayer engaged in supplying rigs used in Oil & Gas exploration.
vi. Other than the Oil & Gas Sector, the APAs pertain to Education, Banking, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing and Information Technology sectors of the economy.
vii. The number of UAPAs signed in the current financial year is 18 and the number of BAPAs signed in the current financial year is one.
viii .With this, the total number of APAs signed till date stands at 171 (Unilateral-159 and Bilateral-12).
ix. The APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s commitment to encourage a non-adversarial tax regime.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Trump to Award First Medal of Honor to Vietnam Army Medic
An Army medic from Michigan is becoming the first person to receive the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump in Wahington.
Trump to Award First Medal of Honor to Vietnam Army Medici. He risked his life nine times to rescue comrades in Vietnam.Trump is set to present America’s highest military honor to 71-year-old James McCloughan (mih-KLOO’-uhn) at the White House.
ii. While McCloughan was a 23-year-old, he  was drafted into the Army and sent to Southeast Asia. He repeatedly entered the “kill zone” to rescue wounded comrades during the Battle of Hui Yon Hill in 1969.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scooping out oil spills made easy by IISER
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) in Thiruvananthapuram have developed a hydrophobic sorbent that can suck up oil and congeal it.
Key Points:
i.A hydrophobic material automatically takes up oil when it comes in contact with it.
ii. It has now become possible for more efficient and quick absorption of crude oil from the sea following marine spill. The gelator can be easily applied over oil-water mixture and no solvent is needed for spraying it thus making it environment friendly.
iii. A two-member research team led by Prof. Kana M. Sureshan from the School of Chemistry at IISERdeveloped the hydrophobic sorbent by using a cheap raw material (mannitol) and cellulose pulp as a matrix.
iv. Mannitol was converted into a hydrophobicgelator through a one-step process and a solution was made using this compound.
v. Cellulose balls the size of marbles were then dipped in the solution and dried.
vi. The gelator gets adsorbed on the cellulose fibre through hydrogen bonding.
vii. This process of adsorption of gelator on the cellulose fibre matrix changes the cellulose matrix from being very hydrophilic (water-loving) to hydrophobic (water repelling).
viii. Once the sorbent sucks the oil, the gelator slowly gets released from the cellulose fibre and congealing of oil takes place.
ix. Gelation essentially turns the liquid oil phase into a semi-solid one and this allows the fibre balls with the congealed oil to be simply scooped out or removed using a scoop or a sieve.
x. The team tested the ability of their sorbent to congeal oil using six different crude oils, including the one from Bombay High.
xi. Studies have found that the sorbent was able to absorb and congeal 16 times its own weight of oil.
xii. The absorbed oil can be recovered by applying pressure or fractionated by a simple distillation process.

Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healing
Scientists have developed a super strong, flexible bio-glue for wound healing without causing toxicity. It has been developed by the erudite researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).
Key Points:
i. It is secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues – even when wet. Slugs secrete a special kind of mucus when threatened that glue it in place, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.
ii. The key feature of the material is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healingthe ability to transfer and dissipate stress, which have historically not been integrated into a single adhesive.
iii. The“tough adhesive” is biocompatible and binds to tissues with strength comparable to the body’s own resilient cartilage.
iv. The adhesive is able to dissipate energy through its matrix layer, which enables it to deform much more before it breaks.
v. The team’s design for the matrix layer includes calcium ions that are bound to the alginate hydrogel via ionic bonds.
vi. When stress is applied to the adhesive, those ionic bonds break first, allowing the matrix to absorb a large amount of energy before its structure becomes compromised.
vii. In experimental tests, more than three times the energy was needed to disrupt the tough adhesives bonding compared with other medical-grade adhesives.
viii. The researchers tested their adhesive on a variety of both dry and wet pig tissues including skin, cartilage, heart, artery, and liver.
ix. It has been found that it bound to all of them with significantly greater strength than other medical adhesives.
x. The adhesive also maintained its stability and bonding when implanted into rats for two weeks, or when used to seal a hole in a pig heart that was mechanically inflated and deflated and then subjected to tens of thousands of cycles of stretching.
xi. The glue did not cause any tissue damage or adhesions to surrounding tissues when applied to a liver haemorrhage in mice.
xii .The research was published in the journal Science.

ENVIRONMENT

Typhoon Haitang strikes China, two lakh people evacuated
Typhoon Haitang struck China’s eastern Fujian Province with continual rain blows on different parts of the region. Over 2 lakh people have been evacuated from Typhoon.
Key Points:
i. According to the provincial meteorological observatory wind hit with a maximum speed of 18 meters per second, the tropical cyclone followed Typhoon Nesat which landed in the same city at 6 am on 30th of July 2017.
ii. As per Xinhua news agency Typhoon Haitang the 10th typhoon this year made landfall at 4.40 pm in Pingtung on the island of Taiwan.
iii. The two typhoons brought heavy rainstorms to the province, with rainfall exceeding 50 mm in 64 counties, cities or districts over the past 24 hours.
iv. Maximum rainfall reached 172.4 mm at Yunshan Village of Yongtai County.
v. According to the report So far 2.16 lakh people had been evacuated across the province.
About China
♦ Capital: Bejing
♦ Currency :Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping

SPORTS

Rahul, Manu-Sumeeth clinch titles at Lagos Open
Indian shuttler C Rahul Yadav and Men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy has won the Men’s singles and Men’s doubles title at Lagos International challenge.
Key Points:
i. The Lagos International challenge was held in Nigeria.
iiRahul surpassed another Indian player Karan Rajan Rajarajan by 21-15 21-13 in the final clash to the title at the MoladeOkoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
iii. The fourth seed Rahul stupefy top-seed and World No. 55 Misha Zilberman in the Rahul, Manu-Sumeeth clinch titles at Lagos Opensemifinals.
iv. Rahul had recently won the bronze medal in the Russain Open Grand Prix.
v. In women’s singles, India’s Mugdho Agrey finished as runners-up after losing 12-21 14-21 to Sri Lanka’s Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa in the finals.
vi. In the doubles pair, Manu and Sumeeth, who played at the Rio Olympics, defeated local pair of Godwin Olofua and Anouluwapo Ju won Opeyori by 21-13 21-15.
Nigeria :
♦ Capital: Abuja
♦ Currency: Nigerian naira

India bags 24 medals at Jordan Open TT
India has bagged total 24 medals at the Jordan Junior and Cadet Open table tennis tournament.The event held in Amman the capital of Jordan.
Key Points:
i. The tally includes 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 10 Bronze medals. In the event India was the second best finishers.
iiPayas Jain had won silver after defeated by Hsu p-Hsuan(Taipei boy) 4-11, 6-11, 6-11.
iiiPayas, Yashansh Malik and Chinmaya Somaiya have lost against Hsu Po-Hsuan, Lin Yen-Cun and Pen gChih who claimed the gold.
ivPayas overcame Iran’s Mohammad Amin Samadi to win the boys singles title with a 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 triumph.
vAnargya Manjunath grabbed the singles crown when she scored a 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10 victory over Taipei’s Cheng Pu-Syuan in a needle final contest.
vi. Earlier India ‘A’ beat Thailand3-1 in the quarterfinals and then Qatar 3-0 in the semi-final.
Jordan :
♦ Capital: Amman
♦ Currency: Jordanian dinar
♦ King: Abdullah II of Jordan

Sebastian Vettel wins Hungarian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel won a Hungarian Grand Prix.He took the checkered flag 0.9 seconds ahead of Raikkonen on 30th July 2017. This is his fourth win of the season and 46th of his Formula One career.
i. The last Ferrari driver to win from pole position in Hungary was Vettel’s compatriot Michael Schumacher, who was dominant in 2004 and went on to win his seventh.
ii. The top 5 Race resultsSebastian Vettel wins Hungarian Grand Prix
1 .Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2.Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
3.Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4.Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
5.Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
About Hungarian Grand Prix:-
The Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungarian: Magyar Nagydíj) is a motor race held annually in Hungary. Since 1986, the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
♦ The first Hungarian Grand Prix was held on 21 June 1936 over a 3.1-mile (5.0 km) track laid out in Népliget, a park in Budapest.
♦ Most wins (drivers) – Lewis Hamilton (5) from United Kingdom
♦ Most wins (constructors) – McLaren (11) from United Kingdom

Isner downs Harrison for fourth ATP Atlanta title
John Isner(From USA) won his fourth ATP Atlanta title on 30th of July 2017. He had defeated Ryan Harrison by 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (9/7).
Key Points:
i. Isner, who has reached the final in seven of eight editions of the tournament, added a fourth title to those he won in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
ii. American Isner marked his second ATP title in as many weeks after lifting the trophy in Newport last week.
iii .In Men’s doubles Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won the titles. They defeated Wesley Koolhof and ArtemSitak by 6-3, 6-4.
About ATP Atlanta Title
♦ The Atlanta Open (known for sponsorship reasons as the BB&T Atlanta Open), is a professional men’s tennis tournament.
♦ It has been played in the Atlantaarea in the United States since 2010, usually during July or August.

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