Current Affairs Today – May 18 2017

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Current Affairs May 19 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

NITI Aayog holds the first Samavesh meeting
On May 17, 2017, first meeting of the National Steering Group and other knowledge partners was held in NITI Aayog. This meeting was co-chaired by Amitabh Kant – CEO of NITI Aayog and Ratan P Watal – Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog.
i. This meeting is the first ever initiative to bring the large number of institutions from diverse domain to deliberate together on the road map for inclusive development in India.
ii. Knowledge partners comprised 32 premier educational and policy research institutions. Representatives of four State Governments viz. Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh also attended the meeting.

Railway station survey – Andhra’s Visakhapatnam cleanest, Bihar’s Darbhanga dirtiest
As per the report of a survey carried out by the Quality Council of India, Visakhapatnam Railway station survey - Andhra's Visakhapatnam cleanest, Bihar's Darbhanga dirtiestrailway station in Andhra Pradesh has been adjudged as the cleanest, whereas Darbhanga railway station in Bihar is the dirtiest among busiest stations in India.
i. The report of the survey was released by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on May 17, 2017.
ii. This was the 3rd such survey aimed at ascertaining cleanliness at rail premises. The survey is a part of ‘Swachh Rail’ campaign.

Government’s decision to set up 10 atomic power plants to generate 33,400 jobs, Rs 70,000-crore opportunity
India will set up 7000 mw of indigenous nuclear power plants, power, coal, renewable and mines minister Piyush Goyal announced.
Key Notes:
i. The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme that will promote energy self-sufficiency, clean, carbon free sources of power and place India high among nuclear power countries.
ii. Once completed, the 10 reactors of 700 MW each will give much needed fillip to the domestic nuclear industry.
iii. The decision will lead to Rs 70,000 crore domestic orders for pressurized heat water reactors and create 33,400 direct and indirect jobs.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad to go 100 per cent LED-lit
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad has become South India’s first airport to go 100% LED-lit.
Key Notes:
i. The airport currently caters to more than 15 Million Passengers annually with close to 400 Rajiv Gandhi International Airportdaily air traffic movements.
ii. Out of the 26,000 conventional lamps, more than 19,500 have been converted into LED, saving 2.2 Million Units of electricity per annum.
iii. LED lights are close to seven times more energy efficient than the conventional incandescent lights and can even cut energy use by more than 80 per cent.
About Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is an international airport that serves Hyderabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Telangana.It is located in Shamshabad
♦ It was opened in March 2008 to replace Begumpet Airport as the primary commercial airport for Hyderabad.
♦ It is named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India.

CCEA approves mission for development of bio-pharmaceuticals
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a collaborative mission between industry and academia called Innovate in India empowering biotech entrepreneurs and accelerating inclusive innovation.
Key Notes:
i. It aimed at accelerating research for early development of bio-pharmaceuticals.
ii. The mission will concentrate on development of specific products such as vaccines, bio therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics etc.
iii. The mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector undertaking working under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
iv. Its objective is to attract an investment of Rs 1,500 crore from the central government over a period of five years.
v. World Bank will fund the mission for development of Bio-Pharmaceuticals.
vi. It will help in building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indian-American student wins National Geographic Bee contest
A 14-year-old Indian-American student,Pranay Varada has won the prestigious National Indian-American student wins National Geographic Bee contestGeographic Bee competition.
Key Notes:
i. He gets $50,000 in scholarship and other prizes.
ii. Veda Bhattaram another Indian-American from New Jersey finished third at the finals.
iii. Thomas Wright from Wisconsin was declared the runner up.
iv. Wrighthas received $25,000 and Bhattaram got $10,000 in scholarships.
v. This year, six of the 10 finalists were Indian-Americans.

BUSINESS

Tata Group is India’s most valuable brand – Brand Finance
As per a latest report, released by Brand Finance on May 17, 2017, Tata Group is India’s most valuable brand, carrying an estimated brand value of $13.1 billion.
i. Tata retained top position as India’s most valuable brand despite 4% reduction in its brand value as compared to 2016.
ii. The total brand value of India’s top 100 brands grew by 15% in 2017. This growth is higher than the global average of 11%.

BSNL Signs MoU with Facebook, MobiKwik, and Disney Land India
BSNL has inked agreements with Facebook, MobiKwik and Disney Land in order to popularize the internet and its value added services among its customers.
Key Notes:
i. BSNL has signed a MoU with Disney Land India to offer premium online gaming BSNLservices to its mobile customers.
ii. According to the agreement Facebook, BSNL will facilitate connectivity for Facebook’s `Express Wi-Fi Program’.
iii. The service of Express Wi-Fi is now available via 700 hotspots across four states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.
iv. BSNL and MobiKwik will work together to create a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for its products and services.
v. MobiKwik will also provide digital sale of BSNL SIM cards through its app and website.

Anti-dumping duty imposed on Chinese chemical, aluminium foil
The Finance Ministry has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on ‘clear float glass’ imports from Iran.
Key Notes:
i. Clear float glass is a superior quality of glass which is used in the construction, refrigeration, mirror and solar energy industries.
ii. The definitive anti-dumping duty imposed by the Revenue Department will be valid for five year

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Assam’s Purnima Barman & Karnataka’s Sanjay Gubbi Win The Prestigious ‘Green Oscars’ Award
Two wildlife conservationists from India, Sanjay Gubbi of Karnataka and Purnima Barman of Assam are among the six winners of this year’s prestigious Whitley Awards, which are popularly referred to as ‘Green Oscars’.
i. The winners of Whitley Awards were felicitated at a special ceremony at the Royal Geographic Society in London. They received the award from Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth II), The Princess Royal.
ii. The award honors outstanding contribution towards wildlife conservation outside the developed world.

Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni wins Dan David Prize
Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the prestigious Dan David prize for his contribution in the field of astronomy.
i. Shrinivas Kulkarni is a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
ii. He is a pioneer in the field of time-domain astrophysics.He has been credited for building and conducting the Palomar Transient Factory, which is a large-area survey of the night sky that has turned up with thousands of stellar explosions.

David Letterman wins Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humour
David Letterman has won Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humour on 17th May.
Key Points:
i. David became the 20th humorist to receive the prize.
David Letterman wins Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humourii. He is also a past recipient of Kennedy Centre Honours for his influence on American culture.
iii. He won 10 Emmy Awards while hosting NBC’s “Late Night” and then “The Late Show” on CBS.
iv. He has hosted over 6000 late-night shows in 33 years.
About Mark Twain Prize
♦ Mark Twain Prize established in 1998.
♦ It is granted annually by the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts.
♦ It has given annually to a humorist whose impact on American society is reminiscent of Mark Twain), the 19th-Century novelist, satirist and social commentator.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Harsh Vardhan Gets Additional Charge Of Environment Ministry
The Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has been given additional charge of the Environment Ministry.
i. Dr Harsh Vardhan, a senior minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, holds the charge of the ministries of earth sciences and science and technology.
ii. For a brief period in 2014, Harsh Vardhan was the Health Minister in the Modi cabinet.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Indian Army gets its first modern artillery gun almost 30 years after Bofors
Indian army has received two M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer artillery guns from Indian Army gets its first modern artillery gun almost 30 years after BoforsBAE Systems, US. These two guns have been procured under Indian Government’s deal with US Government for total 145 M777 guns.
i. The deal for M777 guns was initiated US Govt. in 2010.Indian Govt. announced the deal to buy 145 M777 guns in June 2016.
ii. This government-to-government deal under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route was completed in November 2016

ENVIRONMENT

Proxima B likely to have Water and Support Alien Life
An Earth-Like Planet called Proxima B orbiting the closest neighbouring Star, Proxima Centauri.
Key Points:
i. Scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK have undertaken new research to explore the potential climate of the planet.
ii. It is about 4.2 light years (25 trillion miles) away from Earth likely to have liquid water and also support alien life.
iii. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

WMO initiates “”Year of Polar Prediction”” project”
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)on May 15th 2017 officially launched the “Year of Polar Prediction”, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Key Highlights:
i. The project concerns a two-year international effort, aiming to close gaps in polar forecasting capacity.
ii. It aims to lead to better forecasts of weather and sea-ice conditions to improve future environmental safety at both poles.
iii. From mid-2017 to mid-2019, scientists and operational forecasting centers from various different countries will work together to observe, model, and improve forecasts of the Arctic and Antarctic weather and climate systems.
iv. All of the data collected will be gathered at the WMO’s Information System, making it available for operational forecasting centres to feed into their forecasting systems in real-time.WMO initiates ""Year of Polar Prediction"" project"
v. A growing number of international projects, networks, and organisations are involved in the Year of Polar Prediction’s activities.
vi. It will include the EU Horizon 2020 projects Blue-Action and APPLICATE, as well as the EU-funded project SALIENSEAS.
WMO :
♦Headquarters‎: ‎Geneva‎, Switzerland
♦ Head‎: ‎Petteri Taalas‎

SPORTS

Harikrishna posts first win in Moscow FIDE Grand Prix
Indian Grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna registered his first win at the Moscow FIDE Grand Prix.
Key Points:
i. With this win, the World No. 16 Indian has now maintained his unbeaten run against Adams this year.
ii. He recorded his second successive victory against him.
iii. Harikrishna has accumulated a total of 2.5 points and is placed 13th on the leaderboard.
About FIDE Grand Prix
The FIDE Grand Prix 2017 will be a series of four chess tournaments that form part of the qualification cycle for the World Chess Championship 2018

OBITUARY

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave Passes Away
Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has passed away.
Key Points:
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave Passes Awayi. He was born in Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh. He was 60.
ii. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August 2009.
iii. He was sworn in as a minister with independent charge of environment, forest and climate change.
iv. Dave took charge as Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in July 2016.

Veteran actress Reema Lagoo passes away
Veteran actress Reema Lagoo has passed on 18thMay 2017 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai.
Key Notes:
i. She had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. She was 59.
ii. She had appeared in several Hindi and Marathi films also acted in numerous television shows like TuTu Main Main and Shrimaan Shrimati.
iii. She was born in 1958. She has had a presence on Marathi stage for nearly four decades

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Hypertension Day 2017 – May 17, 2017
Every year, 17 May is observed as World Hypertension Day (WHD) since 2005 to World Hypertension Daypromote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.
i. 2017 theme for the Day is Know Your Numbers with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world.
ii. The day is intended to increase awareness of the condition and issues surrounding it.

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