Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Daily Update On Current Affairs - August 01, 2017

current affairs
Here's your daily summary of Current Affairs.

Rajya Sabha passes the 123rd Amendment Bill

On the 31st July 2017, Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill, 2017 with amendments. The bill seeks to create a new commission with constitutional status for the OBCs at par with the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Supreme Court bans use of five metals in firecrackers

The Supreme Court today imposed a ban on the use of five harmful metals including lead and mercury in firecrackers as they cause enormous air pollution. A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur prohibited use of lithium, mercury, arsenic, antimony, lead metals which are used in the manufacturing of firecrackers. 

National Mission for Clean Ganga approves 7 projects   

The Executive Committee of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 4th meeting has approved seven projects in the sector of sewage infrastructure, ghat development and research. Three projects each were approved in sewage sector in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Central Government will provide operation and maintenance cost for 15 years to all these six projects along with 100% central assistance. Besides, a research study to understand the non-putrefying properties of river Ganga in both water and sediment was also approved. 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.

Qatar files legal complaint at WTO challenging trade boycott by Arab countries

Qatar has filed a legal complaint at the World Trade Organisation to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE. The director of Qatar's WTO office Ali Alwaleed al-Thani said Qatar has always called for dialogue, for negotiations, and the filing of complaint is part of its strategy to talk to the members concerned and to find a solution to resolve the dispute. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with Qatar, a major global gas supplier and host to the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East in June, accusing it of financing militant groups in Syria, and allying with Iran.
India-Bhutan New Trade and Transit agreement come into force

The new bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan came into force from July 2017. The new agreement aims to further strengthen the bilateral trade relations between both countries. The new agreement signed in November 2016 provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. It also provides for duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.

RBI asks banks to work towards account number portability  

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor S S Mundra has asked banks to work towards account number portability, as it will be a far-reaching step towards enhancing competition and improving customer service. Speaking at the annual conference of banking ombudsmen in Mumbai, he said banks should look forward to providing more choices to the new generation of customers who are more technology savvy. Mundra said this will be further accentuated with the possibility of portability of accounts and urged the banks to work towards account number portability. 

State Bank of India cuts interest rate on savings account by 0.5%

The State Bank of India has slashed interest on savings account deposits by half a percent to three and a half percent on balance up to 1 crore rupees. The bank said, for saving deposits balance above 1 crore, the rate of interest has been retained at 4 percent per annum. The bank is introducing two-tier saving bank interest rate with effect from 31st July itself. The largest public sector bank of the country said, revision of saving bank rate will enable the bank to maintain marginal cost of fund based lending rate at existing rates.

Max India pulls out of HDFC Life merger deal

Max India has withdrawn the proposed merger agreement between Max Life and Max Financial Services with HDFC Standard Life Insurance. “The confidentiality, exclusivity and standstill agreement dated June 17, 2016, entered among the parties is not being extended further. The proposed scheme and the applications filed in this regard with stock exchanges should be kindly treated as withdrawn,” Max India said in a BSE filing today. Earlier this month, HDFC Standard Life Insurance had decided to come out with an IPO, but put on hold its proposed merger with Max Life in absence of regulatory approval. 

Manufacturing PMI drops to its lowest in more than eight years at 47.9 in July

Amidst calls for a rate cut to boost investment and demand, manufacturing production contracted for the first time this year in July, according to a private survey. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index was at its lowest mark since February 2009 at 47.9 percent in July. It was much higher at 50.9 percent in June. A reading above 50 on the index indicates expansion and a number less than 50 denotes contraction.

Breakthrough Starshot successfully launch world’s smallest spacecrafts  

Scientists have announced that the world’s smallest spacecrafts dubbed as Sprites ever launched are successfully travelling in low Earth orbit and communicating with systems on Earth.  The six prototypes of Sprites were launched in June 2017 as part of the Breakthrough Starshot project designed to test technologies that would eventually be used for interstellar missions. They are smallest spacecraft that have managed to establish contact with ground stations. Sprites have been developed by researchers at Cornell University. Each of the mini Sprite spacecrafts are built on a single 3.5*3.5 centimeter circuit board. They weigh just four grams each. They are equipped with tiny solar panels and two antennas, plus a tiny radio, computer, magnetometer (to orient to Earth’s magnetic field) and gyroscope (to move and stabilize the craft).
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 inspired by adhesive material secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues. Slugs naturally secrete a special kind of mucus when threatened, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.

Dhrupad maestro Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away

Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, one of the foremost exponents and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music passed away in a Pune. He was 78. Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar was born on April 29, 1939 in Alwar, Rajasthan. He was member of the illustrious Dagar family of musicians and was the youngest of the famous seven ‘Dagar Bandhus (Brothers)’, all exponents of the ancient, complex and elaborate Dhrupad tradition. 
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