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CURRENT AFFAIRS 07 JULY 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Formalise Election Commissioner’s appointment through law – Supreme Court tells Centre
On July 5, 2017, Supreme Court told Central Government that there is a need for Parliament to make law to ensure fair and transparent appointments of Election Commissioners (EC).
i. Supreme Court raised this matter in backdrop of public interest litigation (PIL) by Anoop Paranwal through lawyer Prashant Bhushan asking for a fair and transparent procedure for EC appointments.
ii. The PIL expressed concern that as the appointments of Election Commissioners was made by the President solely on the basis of the advice given by the political-executive at the Centre, there exists an ample room for the ruling party to choose someone whose loyalty is ensured and renders the selection process vulnerable to manipulations and partisanship.

J&K assembly passes GST resolution for implementation
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly has become the last state to adopt theGoods and Services Tax (GST) resolution during a special session on 5th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. The resolution moved by state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu and was adopted through a presidential order. With this, all the states have implemented the Goods and Services Tax.
ii. The amendment to the Constitution last year enabled the Centre to roll out the new tax regime across the country.
iii. State BJP chief Sat Sharma said that the revenues of Jammu and Kashmir would go up by Rs 10,000 crore annually after the implementation of GST.
iv. It would also safeguard the special taxation powers enjoyed by the state under Article 370 of the Constitution.
About Jammu & Kashmir
♦ Capital: Srinagar (summer)&  Jammu (winter)
♦ Governor: Narinder Nath Vohra
♦ Chief Minister: Mehbooba Mufti

India declares itself free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1 and H5N8)
According to the Ministry of Agriculture India has declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 and H5N8) and notified the same to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Key Points:
i. The country had reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza at various epicenters in Delhi, Gwalior (MP), Rajpura (Punjab), Hissar (Haryana), and many other states during October, 2016 to February, 2017.
ii. All the outbreaks of Avian Influenza (HPAI) mentioned above were notified to OIE.
iii. The control and containment operations were carried out as per the Action Plan on Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza.
iv. Since the completion of the operation (including culling, disinfection and clean-up) Surveillance was carried out throughout the country.
v. According to the ministry surveillance in the states showed no evidence of presence of Avian Influenza Virus.

Odisha govt signs EOI with IAAF & AFI to establish High Performance Academy
Odisha government has signed an Expression of Intent (EOI) with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on 6th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. An academy for athletes will be built in the Kalinga Stadium.
ii. The EOI was signed by Sports Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev on behalf of the Odisha government, AFI president Adille Sumariwala and IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe.
iii. It is for establishing an ‘Odisha-AFI-IAAF High Performance Academy’, to provide coaching, integrated support services and education to athletes and junior potential elite athletes of the state.
iv. The state government would provide infrastructure and support services including outdoor stadium, medicine and physio therapy facilities and specialists, international sports hostel for the athletes and coaches and visiting foreign specialists.
v. The academy will provide professional environment and approach to athletes in track and field events in which the athletes with potential can grow and develop into champion performer.
vi. The state Sports and Youth Services Department will provide funds and make available infrastructure and support services.
vii. It would provide excellent coaching and integrated support services and educational experience for the athletes.
viii. The state government would also provide all equipments required for proper training and development of athletes.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel – Overview
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on an official visit to Israel from 4th to 6th July 2017. was the first ever visit of an incumbent Indian prime minister. 
i. Commemorating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, Danziger Flower Farm named the flower Crysanthumun as ‘Modi’, on the name of Prime Minister.Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu replicas of two sets of relics from Kerala, regarded as key artefacts of the long Jewish history in India.
ii. Mahindra Telephonics and Israeli firm Shachaf Engineering signed a MoU to collaborate on design, development and manufacture of strategic electronics for military use.
iii. India, Israel sign seven agreements, to cooperate in fight against terror
iv. Narendra Modi announced to start a new flight service connecting Delhi, Mumbai and Tel Aviv and invited youth of Israel to visit India.
v. PM Narendra Modi has announced the setting up of an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel.

US calls for firm action against North Korea by UN
On July 5, 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that the United States is prepared to use military means to defend against the threat posed by North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
♦ But she said it would be best to try to resolve the crisis through diplomatic and economic measures.
North Korean Missile Tests and US Reaction:
i. Taking a major step in its missile programme, North Korea on July 4, 2017 test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
ii. North Korea also mentioned that the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.
iii. Haley said the United States would propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea, which could include cutting off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime, restricting the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs and increase air and maritime restrictions.

Italy passes law making torture a crime, critics say full of holes
Italian lawmakers on 5th of July,2017 finally passed a bill making torture a crime under national law, after years of parliamentary haggling.
i. Rome signed the UN Convention against Torture in 1984 and it sanctioned in 1988 but had never transferred it into national legislation.
ii. Lawmakers on 5th July 2017 passed a bill that makes torture punishable by four to 10 years in prison.
iii. Torture is defined under the law as “intense physical suffering or psychological trauma verifiably caused by violence, grave threats or cruel actions”.
iv. But according to the critics the law’s definition of torture is too narrow, for example that violent conduct must be repeated and continuous and cause a “verifiable psychological trauma,” meaning many acts of cruelty may fall outside.
Italy:
♦ President – Sergio Mattarella
♦ Prime minister – Paolo Gentiloni
♦ Currency – Euro
♦ Capital – Rome





BANKING & FINANCE

Srei, Russian development bank to create $200 mn innovation fund
Kolkata-headquartered Srei Infrastructure Finance has signed an MoU with Russia’s Vnesheconombank on  to create a $200 million IT and Innovation Fund.
i. The MoU was signed last month at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in the presence of Prime-Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
ii. This MoU provides for a credit line of $500 million to Srei.
iii. The fund will promote Indo-Russian cooperation in IT technologies and innovation in both countries.
Facts about Srei
A Russian Kanoria Brothers enterprise, Srei started in 2005.
♦ Their key business activities are capital markets, including merger and amalgamation deals, venture investments, and project funding.
♦ Chairman and Managing Director of Srei –    Hemant Kanoria.
About Russia
♦ Capital –  Moscow
♦ Currency – Russian Ruble

Indus OS, YES Bank to launch OS-integrated UPI payment platform
Indus OS has announced a partnership with YES BANK to launch the first OS integrated UPI payment platform on 6th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. Both the companies intend to launch the first of its kind framework for the UPI platform, which does not require users to download any additional applications.
ii. Their main aim is to further drive up the existing growth rate of UPI-based transactions.
iii. The OS-integrated UPI payment platform built by allowing more deep and contextual integration with the smartphone experience.
iv. The UPI payment platform is integrated with the SMS and dialer interfaces of the device.
v. Third party applications can also use the framework to make payments through UPI.
vi. Users can use theINR symbol to transfer money through SMS, or third party instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp.
vii. The framework allows users to transfer money conveniently through a chat interface.
viii. Integrating UPI into the mobile OS will help in creating multiple use cases for payments and spur the adoption of UPI in our country.
ix. The AI in the OS will smartly suggest making payments through UPI based on the context of conversations.
x. Users will also be able to transfer money through the contacts application on any Indus OS phone.
Key People: 
♦ Co-founder and CEO of Indus OS is Rakesh Deshmukh
♦ Chief Digital Officer of YES BANK is Ritesh Pai

EPFO ties up with 5 banks to collect PF dues
EPFO a retirement fund body  has inked pacts with five banks for collections of provident dues and to make retirement payments.
Key Points:
i. Employers having bank account with these banks can now deposit PF dues directly in EPFO’s account using internet banking in real time basis.
ii. The tie-ups with Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bankand Kotak Mahindra Bank will help EPFO save around Rs 125 crore a year and expedite its investments as well as payment of benefits to its members.
iii. After inking agreements with five more banks these charges would be reduced to around Rs 50 crore a year.
iv. In the absence of this arrangement, the EPFO has to collect dues and make payments through aggregator mode, each transaction costing around Rs 12.
v. The transaction charges for making payments to members in their accounts in different banks used to cost us Rs 350 crore a year.
vi. The SBI was the sole banker of the EPFO since 1952 when the body came into existence.
vii. Later, the EPFO allowed employers to deposit provident fund contribution to its SBI account through their bank account in over 50 banks.
viii. The EPFO had reduced the administrative charges to 0.65% of wages on which PF contributions are paid from earlier levels of 0.85% and 1.1%. 
ix. The EPFO manages a corpus of around Rs 12 lakh crore and has 4.5 crore contributing members. It received around Rs 75,000 crore as remittances every year

South Indian Bank ties up with PFG Forex
South Indian Bank has tied up with PFG Forex for remittance facility for the benefit of Indian expatriates from Australia on 6th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. Under this arrangement, NRIs can enjoy cost-effective and fast remittance services using SIB’s Express facility. 
ii. NRIs can visit the PFG Forex outlets across Australia for remittances to India.
iii. SIB is already having correspondent banking arrangement with National Australia Bank and Fly World Money Exchange for remittances to India.
iv. The new facility will leverage the bank to reach the Indian diaspora.
v. Recently SIB’s international banking division has been awarded the ISO 9001: 2015 certification for Quality Management Systems.
vi. The certification was awarded for implementing systems and procedures as per the standards laid down by the International Organization for Standardisation.
About South Indian Bank
♦ Headquarter of South Indian Bank is in Thrissur, Kerala.
♦ Current MD and CEO of South Indian Bank is Mr. V.G Mathew.





BUSINESS

Siemens opens its first digital factory in India
Siemens has opened its first digital factory in India on 5th of July 2017. It is also the third globally after one each in Germany and China. 
Key Points:
i. It is as the industrial conglomerate pitches smart facilities to small and medium scale enterprises in the country.
ii. Digital factory is one of the nine divisions at Siemens.
iii. It aims to provide a comprehensive portfolio of hard ware and software products which enable comprehensive integration of data from development, production and suppliers. 
iv .The German company hopes to use Mumbai’s digital factory as a showcase to sell a range of plant automation equipment and software to Indian manufacturing units.
v. This kind of data flow is possible because digitisation is speeding up the whole process and improving overall value chain.
vi. The factory, situated on the outskirts of Mumbai, is capable of producing more than 180 variants of low-voltage switchgear at the rate of one product every nine seconds.
vii. The plant can manufacture over five million devices annually.
viii. The machines rely on the Internet of Things technology, where sensors are fitted on machines and the resulting data is used to improve and track their performance.
ixSiemens is training its employees to work in digitised factories.
x. It has set up training centres in Gujarat, Jharkhand and Karnataka to skill people in association with state governments.





APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Kewal Handa appointed as Non-executive chairman of Union Bank 
Kewal Handa on 5th of July 2017 was appointed as non-executive chairman of Union Bank of India.
i. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Handa’s appointment as non-official director/non-executive chairman of the bank.
ii. An order was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and Handa will hold the post for a period of three years.
iii. Managing Director & CEO of Union Bank of India Shri Rajkiran Rai G. 
Union Bank of India  
♦ Headquarters-Mumbai
♦ Tagline- Good people to bank with


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

SpaceX launches Super-Heavy Intelsat 35e Satellite
On July 5, 2017, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered super-heavy Intelsat 35e, a commercial communications satellite, to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
i. Intelsat 35e was launched from Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, US. After a half-hour trek across the Atlantic, the Falcon 9 deployed Intelsat 35e around 32 minutes into the flight.
ii. Intelsat 35e will replace the aging Intelsat 903 satellite with a mass of 6,761kg, the Intelsat 35e communications satellite is the heaviest payload SpaceX has ever launched toward geostationary orbit, about 36,000km above the Earth’s surface

Pakistan successfully test fires short-range ballistic missile Nasr
Pakistan has successfully undertaken a series of training launches and tests  during the current week for validation of new technical parameters of ‘Nasr’ which is a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile system . The launch took place in Rawalpindi on July 5, 2017.
i. This missile system ranges from 60 km to 70 km .
ii. ‘NASR is a high precision weapon system with the ability to be deployed quickly.
iii. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa witnessed the launch.He said it has put “cold water” on Indian military’s “Cold Start” doctrine.
COLD START :
Cold Start is a military system developed by the Indian Armed Forces for use in a likely war with Pakistan.It will allow the Army to quickly seize Pakistani territory or can damage Pakistani defence posts.
Pakistan
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency- Rupee





ENVIRONMENT

Bengaluru man spots rare ‘pale’ tiger in the Nilgiris
rare ‘white tiger’ with a pale skin color has been spotted for the first time in the Nilgiris by a wildlife photographer on 5th of July 2017.
Key Points: 
i. Photographer Nilanjan Ray from Bengaluru spotted the cat at an undisclosed location on a recent trip to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. 
ii. A keen wildlife photographer who has covered several national parks said the tiger did not seem to be an albino, and was whitish with golden brown patches.
iii. White tigers have been reported predominantly from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.
iv. His pictures, reviewed by Parvesh Pandya, a zoologist with Sanctuary Asia and Belinda Wright, a conservationist and film-maker, point to a condition known as color morphism.





SPORTS

India beat SL to win ICC Women’s World Cup 2017
India (232/8) beat Sri Lanka (216/7) to register their fourth straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup on 5th of July 2017. 
Key Points:
i. Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma scored 53 and 78 respectively as India scored 232/8 in 50 overs.
ii. Sri Lanka could manage only 216/7 in 50 overs.
iii. Jhulan Goswami and Poonam Yadav picking up two wickets each.
iv. ICC women world cup held in England.

India 96th in FIFA World ranking, its best in 21 years
India has moved four places up to the 96th position in the FIFA World ranking released on 6th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. This is the country’s second best ranking and its previous best was the 94th position in February 1996.
ii. India, which had been ranked 100th in the previous list released on 1st June, has won two matches since the last list was published.
iii. India has moved 77 positions up from the 173rd rank on March 2015.
iv. The Indian football team had beaten Nepal 2-0 in an international friendly on 6th June at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai.
v. Sunil Chettri, had scored a 1-0 victory against Kyrgyz Republic at their home ground in Bangalore in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
vi. India has been averaging at the 134th rank since the creation of the world ranking system.
vii. Among Asian nations, Iran leads at No. 23, one ahead of Africa’s best, Egypt.
About FIFA
♦  HQ: zurich Switzerland
♦ President:Gianni Infantino

Pankaj Advani-led Indian team beat Pakistan to clinch Asian Snooker Championship
India’s leading Pankaj Advani teamed up with Laxman Rawat to beat Pakistan in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship.
Key Points:
i. Asian Snooker Championship is to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 
ii. Advani pieced together a brilliant break of 83 to seal the first tie of the best-of-five final.
iii. He is the only player not to lose a single individual match in the team event.
iv. This title brings up Advani’s second Asian title this season and 8th overall while it was a first major first international title for Rawat.
v. This title brings up Advani’s second Asian title this season and 8th overall (6 Billiards, 1 6-red and 1 Team Snooker) while it is a first for Rawat and Singh.
About Kyrgyzstan
♦ Kyrgyzstan Currency is Kyrgyzstani som.
♦ Kyrgyzstan Capital is Bishkek
♦ President of Kyrgyzstan is Almazbek Atambayev





IMPORTANT DAYS

World Zoonoses Day – July 6 2017
The World Zoonoses Day is observed every year on 6th of July to create awareness on zoonotic diseases, how to prevent them and what actions to take when exposed.
Key Points:
i. It is all about spread of infectious disease between species, sometimes done by a vector from animals to humans and from humans to other animals.
ii. People can get infected by zoonotic diseases from contact with infected live poultry, reptiles, rodents, insects, amphibians and other domestic and wild animals.
iii. Prominent zoonotic diseases are tuberculosis, cat scratch fever, tick paralysis, roundworms, hookworms, scabies and rabies.
About Zoonoses
1.The word zoonoses has been derived from the Greek words zoon (animal) and nosos (ailment). As per the veterinary doctors, there are about 150 known zoonotic diseases.
2.World Zoonosis Day is also particularly important to us as it commemorates 6th July 1885, when Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against, a zoonotic disease, to Joseph Meister after he had been mauled by a rabid dog.
What are Zoonoses?
♦ Zoonoses are viral diseases like rabies and influenza, bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease and brucellosis, or parasitic diseases such as tapeworms.
♦ All of these are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans