Daily Current Affairs 16th August, 2017
U.K. to seek ‘temporary customs union’
- As UK leaves the EU and therefore the customs union, it has sought a new customs arrangement that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods between the U.K. and the EU, and allows to forge new trade relationships with India and other partners in Europe and around the world.
- The UK has said it is leaving the EU’s customs union because as a member it is unable to strike trade deals with other countries.
- Countries in the customs union don’t impose tariffs – taxes on imports – on each other’s goods. Every country inside the union levies the same tariffs on imports from abroad.
- The UK could ask Brussels to establish a “temporary customs union” after it leaves the EU in March 2019. But during this period, it would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals – something it cannot do as an EU customs union member.
- The use of interim arrangements would mean businesses would only have to adjust once to the new arrangements. Once this period expires, the UK will look to agree either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU, or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all.
Swaraj approves all pending Pakistani medical visas.
- External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has approved all pending medical visas by the people of Pakistan looking for treatment in India.
- She also mention that decision was taken to mark the occasion of I-day.
Qatar launches new direct sea route to Pakistan.
- Amid gulf country’s transportation blockades against Qatar, it has launched a new direct sea route between its Hamad Port and Pakistan’s port of Karachi.
- The move is intended to increase the trade between the two countries by providing more options to customers, exporters and importers.
S Korea to prevent war at all cost: Moon.
- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has warned the US against carrying out any unilateral military action on North Korea.
- He said that any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime requires his nation’s approval and vowed to prevent war on Korean peninsula at all costs.
Odisha: Special Programme to Prevent Spread of Malaria
- Odisha Government will soon launch “Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran” (DAMON), a special program to prevent the spread of malaria in remote areas of Ganjam district.
- Under this program, camps will be held in remote areas for mass test for malaria. As many as 103 camps will be held in the next three months. Around 15,000 people would be covered under the program.
Cabinet Approves MoU Between India and Sweden on IPRs
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the MoU between India and Sweden on cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property (IPRs).
- The MoU establishes a wide ranging and flexible mechanism through which both countries can exchange best practices and work together on training programs and technical exchanges to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect intellectual property rights.
ECONOMY,BANKING AND FINANCE
MasterCard mulls using blockchain tech
- Mastercard is working on a network that can incorporate the benefits of blockchain technology while meeting the requirements of a globally distributed financial network. In this regard, it has asked for a clear regulatory framework in India that lays down what blockchain can be used for.
- This platform will support a wide range of use cases, including but not exclusive to B2B inter-bank payments, tracking trade finance obligations along the value chain, exchanging KYC (Know Your Customer) or AML (Anti Money Laundering) data between trusted parties, and more.
- In India, an inter-ministerial committee is currently looking at how best to regulate blockchain technology, if it is allowed at all. One of the proposals is to bring it under market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- Another option is bringing blockchain regulation under the proposed Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India. The Board is to have three members each from the central bank and the Centre.
Karnataka launches Indira canteen with meals priced at Rs.5, Rs.10.
- ‘Indira Canteen’, aimed at serving the poor at subsidised rates, was inaugurated in Bengaluru by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
- The canteen will serve vegetarian meals daily with breakfast priced at RS.5 and lunch and dinner at Rs.10.
India to Host Next Steering Committee Meeting of TAPI Gas Pipeline
- India (New Delhi) will host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline senior officials on both sides confirmed. The decision came during the sixth joint Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.
- The meeting was followed by a meeting between visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
Aeroplanes may be affecting ozone, monsoon
- According to a study by researchers, Aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon (BC) and this may be depleting the ozone layer. Researchers now have evidence of these particles existing up to 18 km into the stratosphere and there are about 10,000 of them in every cubic centimetre.
- Given the shape and location of these particles, Black Carbon could only derive from emissions from aviation fuel and they pose a problem because these black carbon particles can linger long enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer.
- The stratosphere is a stable region of the atmosphere and because BC particles absorb heat, they warm the surrounding air, become lighter and rise to greater heights by a process called ‘self lift’ and persist in the air. The sheer volume of air travel means that the black carbon count only continues to increase.
- Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass, and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.
- Black carbon (BC) is a pollutant known to aggravate breathing disorders. Because BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can upset the monsoon system. If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
KVGB Bags Best Performer Award
- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has conferred the ‘best performance award’ for 2015-16 and 2016-17 to Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) for its work in the field of credit-linking joint liability groups (JLGs).
- 1,194 JLGs(Joint Liability Group) were credit-linked by disbursing Rs 19.38 crore during 2016-17. The outstanding accounts under JLGs stood at 6,329 involving an amount of Rs 63.83 crore.
PERSONS IN NEWS
PLACES IN NEWS
Melbourne named world’s most livable city for 7th year.
- Australian city Melbourne has been named the world’s most livable city for the 7th year in a row by The Economist.
- Damascus ranked the least livable city. The annual survey assesses 140 cities and ranks them according to their stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
India Opens First Partition Museum in Amritsar
- India’s first museum on Partition of the Indian subcontinent will open this week in Amritsar Punjab, as India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years as independent nations.
- The museum will include photographs, newspaper clippings, donated personal items, and screens showing video interviews with survivors.
- It will also have ‘The Gallery of Hope’, where visitors can scribble messages of love and peace. Tickets are priced low at Rs10 for Indians and Rs150 for foreigners.
MS Dhoni to set up Cricket academy in Dubai.
- Former Indian captain MS Dhoni is set to open a cricket academy in the Dubai Pacific Sports Club(PSC) in Dubai.
- The academy will be called the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy(MSDCA).