Daily Current Affairs 17th March, 2017
Gilgit-Baltistan to be declared a Province
- Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth Province, a move that may raise concerns in India as it borders the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister. It is believed that China’s concerns about its unsettled status prompted the move, which could signal a historic shift in the country’s position on the future of the wider Kashmir region.
- Gilgit-Baltistan shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as a separate from PoK. The USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches EchoStar 23
- Satellite SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched EchoStar 23 communications satellite into a high-altitude orbit.
- It was the 29th successful Falcon 9 flight out of 31 attempted missions since the rocket’s debut in June 2010.
- The EchoStar 23 satellite has been manufactured by SSL. It will provide broadcast satellite services alongside EchoStar’s 25 other satellites
Trivendra Rawat elected as Uttarakhand CM
- Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak elected as Uttarakhand’s 9th Chief Minister after replacing of Harish Rawat.
- He is currently the convener of the Modi government’s flagship program for Ganga cleanup, the ‘Namami Gange’ program and also the party in charge in Jharkhand.
India ranks 148 in 2017 UN Women in Politics Map
- The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women launched the ‘Women in Politics 2017 Map’ in New York.
- The Women in Politics 2017 Map is the visual representation of women’s political empowerment in executive government and parliament as on January 1, 2017.
- As per the Map, India ranked 148 out of 193 UN member nations in representing women in the executive government.
- The theme for 2017 is ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment In The Changing World Of Work’.
- Top 5 countries with highest women in parliament: Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba, Iceland and Nicaragua
GST Council Approves SGST & UTGST Draft Bills
- The Goods and Service Tax (GST) council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cleared the remaining State GST (SGST) and Union Territory GST (UTGST) draft bills during its 12 Council meeting.
- Now with this Council has approved all five draft bills for GST which is likely to be rollout by July 1, 2017.
- The UTGST draft law is for the Union Territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which do not have legislative assemblies.
RBI to print Rs 10 plastic notes
- RBI has been authorized by Government of India (GOI) to conduct field trials of plastic notes of Rs 10 in five cities across the country viz Kochi, Mysore, Jaipur, Shimla and Bhubaneswar.
- The main purpose of introducing plastic note is to extend the life cycle of banknotes. Moreover, Plastic notes are cleaner, lasts longer and are difficult to counterfeit.
International Buddhist conference held in Bihar
- Three day International Buddhist conference was held at Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar.
- Over one thousand delegates from 35 countries including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore and Indonesia participated in it.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
U.K. grants doctors first licence to create 3-parent babies
- Britain’s fertility regulator has granted doctors the first U.K. licence to create babies using a three-parent IVF technique designed to prevent inherited genetic diseases.
- The licence means the first child created in Britain using the mitochondrial pronuclear transfer technique could be born before the end of this year.
- Britain’s Parliament voted last year to change the law to allow the treatments if and when they were ready for licensing. But the regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), still had to approve each clinic and each patient on an individual basis before the treatment can be carried out.
- The world’s first and so-far only known mitochondrial transfer baby was born in 2016 after U.S. doctors working at a clinic in Mexico helped a Jordanian couple conceive using the treatment.
About the technique:
- The treatment is known as “three-parent” IVF because the babies, born from genetically modified embryos, would have DNA from a mother, a father and from a woman donor.
- The technique involves intervening in the fertilisation process to remove mitochondria, which act as tiny energy-generating batteries inside cells, and which — if faulty — can cause fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.
- It is designed to help families with mitochondrial diseases — incurable conditions passed down the maternal line that affect around one in 6,500 children worldwide.
Scientists develop first blood test for autism
- Scientists from US for first time have developed a blood test to accurately predict whether a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The first of its kind of physiological test for analysing a blood sample opens the door to earlier diagnosis and potential future development of therapeutics.
India hosts world’s oldest algae fossil:
- Scientists in India have uncovered a pair of 1.6 billion-year-old fossils that appear to contain red algae, which may be the oldest plant-like life discovered on Earth. Until now, the oldest known red algae was 1.2 billion years old.
- The fossils were discovered in sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot in central India.
New Zealand river granted legal status as a person
- New Zealand Parliament by passing legislation has recognised Whanganui River revered by the Maori Tribe as a “legal person” status.
- It is believed to be first of its kind move in the world.
- In practical terms, this recognition means the river now has its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.
- The river is known as Te Awa Tupua by Maori tribe. It is the third longest in New Zealand. Maori tribe was fighting to assert their rights over the river since the 1870s. It was New Zealand’s longest-running legal dispute.
PERSONS IN NEWS
Indrani Das wins top prize in Regeneron Science Talent Search competition
- Indian-American teenager Indrani Das (17) has won the top prize of $2,50,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition in the United States (US).
- She has won the award for her research on treating brain injury and disease. Her research showed a way for increasing the survival rate of neurons affected by brain injury or neurodegenerative disease.
Michael Clarke’s launches his autobiography ‘My Story’
- Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has launched his autobiography named ‘My Story’ in Kolkata.
- This book was triggered by how he was affected by Phil Hughes’ death when India was touring Australia in 2014-15.
Jwala Gutta appointed as member of SAI governing body member
- India’s most successful Badminton Doubles specialist Jwala Gutta was appointed as a member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI). Jwala Gutta is 14-time national champion. She had won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships.
- She is also a 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games champion and had won silver medal at the 2014 Glasgow Games in women’s doubles.