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CURRENT AFFAIRS 13 AUGUST 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

1.Govt launches Indian National Anthem video in sign language
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has launched a new video of the National Anthem in sign language, featuring disabled and partially disabled children announced on 10th of August 2017.
Key Points:
i.It is directed by veteran filmmaker GovindNihalani. The 3-minute video features film star Amitabh Bachchan along with physically challenged children performing the anthem in sign language with the Red Fort in the background.
ii.Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the physically challenged “divyang” and not “viklang” to ensure there was no distinction. 
iii
.The Minister also mentioned that we should create an environment where such persons are able to “earn a livelihood and live an independent life like any other citizen”.
iv.The government’s decision is to increase reservation in government vacancies from 3% to 4% for persons with benchmark disability.

2.Bill to fix minimum wage for unorganized sector introduced in Lok Sabha
Code on Wages 2017 Bill that seeks to fix a national minimum wage was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 10, 2017. Introducing the Bill, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said, Code on Wages Bill will consolidate and amend the laws relating to wages and bonus.

  • The Code offers for the government to determine the minimum wages every five years using factors like skills required for the job, arduousness of work, geographical location of work place and other aspects.
  • The Bill seeks to unite four laws — the Payment of Wages Act 1936, the Minimum Wages Act 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act 1976.
  • The Code stipulates that the wages are to be paid in coin or currency notes or by cheque or through digital or electronic mode or by crediting the wages in the bank account of the employee.
  • The government may specify industrial or other establishment where the salary will be paid only through cheque or digital mode. 

The Bill will help 40 crore unorganised sector workers to avail the universal minimum wage.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ Dr Ruth pfau dies
Dr Ruth Pfau, a German doctor popularly known as Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ for dedicating her life to eradicate leprosy in the country passed away on August 10, 2017 in Karachi.
Dr Ruth Pfau’s efforts in eradicating Leprosy from Pakistan:
i.She was born in 1929 in Germany and lived through the horrors of the World War II.
ii.Dr. Pfau first visited Pakistan in 1960 and was so touched by the plight of leprosy victims that she decided to stay forever in the country to treat them.
iii.She founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi in 1962 and later set up its branches in all provinces of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan, and treated over 50,000 families.
iv.Due to her tireless efforts, the World Health Organisation in 1996 declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to be free of leprosy.
v.She was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz — Pakistan’s second highest civilian award — in 1979, the Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989.

2.Indian-American appointed to chair US energy commission
US President Donald Trump had appointed Indian-American Neil Chatterjeeas chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Key Points:
i.Previously, Chatterjee had been an energy policy advisor to US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
ii. The Indian American Neil was last week confirmed as a member of the FERC.

BANKING & FINANCE

1.Canara Bank launches two new digital services
On August 10, 2017, Canara Bank unveiled two new digital services for online payments. Bharat QR (Quick Response) for payment settlement at merchant locations and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), an integrated bill payment system for net banking customers.

i.Bharat QR (Quick Response): It is a mobile application, which enables a merchant to accept payments as settlement for sale of goods or services. The service product rides on VISA/MasterCard/RuPay cards and holders need not divulge card information to merchants.
ii.Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS): It is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is managed by the National Payments Corp of India (NPCI). It offers bill payment services to the bank’s net banking customers with network of agents.
Quick Facts about Canara Bank:
Founded in: 1906
Headquarters: Bengaluru

BUSINESS

Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints and BhartiAirtel – Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies
Three Indian firms namely Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints and BhartiAirtel are among Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies.

Key Points:
i.Salesforce.com has replaced Tesla Motors on the top position. BhartiAirtel has entered the ranking at 78th position.
ii.HUL and Asian Paints have moved up in their ranks to 7thand 8threspectively (from 31st and 18th last year).
iii.HUL recorded an innovation premium of 68.59%;Asian Paints (68.28%) and BhartiAirtel (41.4%).
iv.Among others in the top 10 are — Amazon.com (3rd position), Shanghai RAAS Blood Products (4th), Netflix (5th), Incyte (6th), Naver (9th) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (10th).
v.The annual ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ are the ones that investors expect to be innovative now and in the future.
vi.To be included in the listfirms need seven years of public financial data and USD 10 billion in market cap.
vii.According to Forbes, companies are ranked by their innovation premium. The difference between their market capitalisation and the net present value of cash flows from existing businesses.
viii.Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Sun Pharma and Larsen & Toubro were also on the 2016 list.
ix.This year these companies failed to make the cut this year, bringing down the total number of Indian firms from five to three.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

GerishKhemani and Akshat Nigam awarded “Hindu playwright Award 2017” 
The Hindu Playwright Award 2017 is awarded to GerishKhemani and Akshat Nigam for their play ‘In Search of DariyaSagar’.                   
Key Points:
i.The playwriting awards was organized by the newspaper The Hindu in Chennai.
ii.The 2 lakh award was presented to the two playwrights at the 13th edition of The Hindu Theatre festival.
iii.The jury comprised:

  • ArshiaSattar who is a well-known author and translator.
  • KevalArora who teaches English Literature and drama at Kirorimal College.
  • Delhi University; and theatre director and documentary filmmaker Sunil Shanbag.

Veteran journalist T J S George bags first-ever Kesari Media Award
Veteran journalist T J S George has bagged for the first Kesari Media Awardannounced on 11th of August 2017.
Key Points:
i.It is instituted by the Kesari Memorial Journalist Trust.
ii.The award would be given away at a function to be held on 13th August.
iii.The award comprises a purse of Rs 50,000, citation and a statuette designed by renowned artist Bhatathiri.
iv.A jury, comprising filmmaker AdoorGopalakrishnan and Asianet editor M G Radhakrishnan, Media Academy chairman R S Babu and Kesari Memorial Journalist Trust chairman C Rahim as members, selected the award winner.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO lines up 21 rockets, to launch 70 satellites in 5 years
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lined up over 21 rocket launchesand will be putting over 70 satellites in space over the next five years.
More Details about ISRO’s upcoming Rocket/Satellite Launches:

  • ISRO’s plan to launch 21 rockets in coming years is a part of the Rs 8,658.74 croresanctioned by the Indian Government to build and launch about 31 rockets, including 15 PSLVs, 13 GSLV’s and three GSLV MK-III.
  • Currently, ISRO’s launch vehicles are being used for launching national satellites towards meeting the earth observation, communication, navigation and scientific needs of the country and the excess capacity is being used to launch satellites of other countries.
  • India currently uses the Ariane 5 rocket, of Arianespace, the European Space Agency to launch its heavier communication satellites into space.

US scientists develop micropropulsion system based on liquid water
Engineers at Purdue University in the US have designed and tested a micropropulsion system. It is used liquid water as the propellant for orbital maneuvering of tiny satellites called CubeSats.
Key Points:
i.CubeSats are miniature satellites that weigh about 2 kilograms.
ii.In future they are capable to carry out tasks like imaging and remote-sensing.
iii.Currentlythey are performed by heavier satellites which are expensive to build and launch.
iv.CubeSats cannot totally replace their larger counterparts as they are incapable of changing orbit or performing complex manoeuvres.
v.CubeSats are usually made up of several units, each unit measuring 10 centimetres on a side.
vi.In the Purdue research, a single unit CubeSat prototype — integrated with four FEMTA thrusters.
vii.It is called a “Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array”, or FEMTA thruster, it uses capillaries thinner than human hair through which the propellant water can flow. 
viii
.Small heaters located near the ends of the capillaries turn the water into vapor, which, on escape from these tiny tubes, provides the thrust.
ix.Theminuscule capillaries act like valves that can be turned on and off by activating the heaters.
x.The technology is said to be similar to the inkjet printer, which uses heaters that fire dots of ink at the paper.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Prasoon Joshi appointed as Chairperson of CBFC
Bollywood lyricist-screenwriter and ad guru Prasoon Joshihas replaced PahlajNihalani as CBFC chairperson on 11th of August 2017.
Key Points:
i.He will be served for a period of 3 yearsor until further orders, whichever is earlier.
ii.Prasoon Joshi, who was conferred with the Padma Shri in 2015, has written lyrics for songs in Bollywood films such as Lajja, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, TaareZameen Par and many more.
iii.Prasoonalso wrote the dialogues of the 2006 film Rang De Basanti and made his debut as a screenwriter with 2014 film BhaagMilkhaBhaag.
iv.Prasoon Joshi is also the CEO of McCann World group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific).
v.He is the winner of two National Awards and three Film fare Awards.
About CBFC :-
CBFC: Central Board of Film censor
Formation: 1952
Headquarters:Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
CEO: AnuragSrivastava.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta re-elected
Kenya’s President President Uhuru Kenyatta has won a second and final five-yearterm as president.
Key Points:
i.Kenyatta, who has been in office since 2013, took 54.3% of the vote, and opposition leader RailaOdinga took 44.7%.
ii.According to election commission figures nearly 80% of the 19 million registered voters cast their ballots. 
iii.
The opposition rejected the results even before they were declared, calling the process a charade.
iv.A72-year-old former political prisoner Odinga, who has campaigned for the presidency four times, is refusing to accept the results, claiming the vote was hacked.

Gaitri Issar Kumar accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Grand Duchy Luxembourg
GaitriIssar Kumar an IFS: 1986 presently Ambassador of India to Belgium. She has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Grand Duchy Luxembourg, with residence in Brussels.
Key Notes:
i.She is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
About Luxembourg
Capital :Luxembourg City
Prime Minister :Xavier Bettel
Deputy Prime Minister: Etienne Schneider
Currency : Euro .

Jet Airways appoints Vinay Dube as CEO
Vinay Dube has joined as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jet Airways. Jet Airways has been without a full-time CEO since Cramer Ball quit in February 2016.
i.Since the exit of Ball last year, there have been two acting CEOs — Gaurang Shetty and Amit Agarwal. 
ii.Vinay Dube is an Indian American. His appointment was approved by the Jet Airways’ board of directors on May 30, 2017.
iii.Dube has served in various roles at Delta Airlines, Sabre Inc and American Airlinesin the USA, Europe and Asia.