Daily Current Affairs 21st November, 2016

Daily Current Affairs 21st November, 2016

INTERNATIONAL

India elected as new vice chair of Kimberly Process for 2018

  • India has been elected as the vice chair for 2018 and chair for 2019 of the Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme (KPCS).
  • The decision in the regard was taken at the recently held KP Plenary meeting in Dubai.
  • KPCS is a joint initiative of the governments, industry and civil societies to prevent the entry of conflict diamonds from the mainstream rough diamond market.
  • It was established in 2003 through a United Nations General Assembly Resolution.
  • Conflict diamonds or blood diamonds are the rough diamonds used by rebel movements in the third world countries especially in Africa to finance (civil) wars with an aim to topple legitimate governments.
  • The KPCS completely bans import and export of rough diamonds without certification.


NATIONAL

Quami Ekta Week (National Integration Week) 2016

  • The Qaumi Ekta Week (National Integration Week) will be observed all over the country from 19th to 25th November, 2016.
  • The week long programmes under it with a view to foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood.
  • On the concluding day, National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) will organise Communal Harmony Campaign and Communal Harmony Flag Day.

47th International Film Festival of India begins in Goa

  • The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), considered to be Asia’s oldest film festival, began in Goa on Nov 20, 2016.
  • The Republic of Korea is the focus country of IFFI 2016.
  • Legendary singer S P bala subrahmanyam was honoured with ‘Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the year’ at the opening ceremony of the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

ECONOMY

RBI proposes ‘Islamic window’ in banks

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed the opening of “Islamic window” in conventional banks for “gradual” introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country.
  • In recent times both the Union Government and the RBI have been exploring the possibility of introduction of Islamic banking for a while to ensure financial inclusion of those sections of society that have remain excluded due to religious reasons.

About Islamic Banking or Sharia Banking

  • Islamic banking is a banking system that is based on the principles of Islamic law, also referred to as Shariah law, and guided by Islamic economics.
  • The principles of Islamic Banking follow Shariah law, which is based on the Quran and the Hadith, the recorded sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad
  • Two basic principles behind Islamic banking are the sharing of profit and loss and, significantly, the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors.
  • Collecting interest or “riga” is not permitted under Islamic law.
  • That financial transactions within Islamic banking are a culturally distinct form of ethical investing. For example, investments involving alcohol, gambling, pork, etc. are prohibited.

16 of 22 PSBs skip paying dividends to Government due to mounting NPAs

  • As many as 16 of 22 public sector banks skipped paying dividends to Government in fiscal 2015-16 due to issue of mounting bad loans.
  • PSBs which skipped dividend payments included Allahabad Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Punjab National Bank, Dena Bank and Syndicate Bank.
  • During 2015-16, the highest dividend was paid by State Bank of India (SBI) to the government at Rs. 1,214.6 crore, 22{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} lower than in the previous fiscal.

GOVT SCHEME

Union Government launches Pehchan identity cards for artisans

  • Union textile Minister Smriti Irani launched a scheme of ‘Pehchan’ identity cards to artisans in Ahmedabad. She also inaugurated thematic handicrafts exhibition.
  • The upgraded ‘pehchan’ cards were distributed to artisans from five clusters of Gujarat namely Jamnagar, Naroda, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kalol.
  • ID card for artisans that will be linked with their Aadhar numbers and bank accounts so that they can receive direct cash transfer benefit.

SCIENCE AND TECH

Scientists develop Zika replicon system to develop vaccines

  • Scientists have developed Zika replicon system, a novel tool to replicate the Zika virus by stripping it of the genes that make the virus infectious.
  • The Zika replicon system is considered as an advance novel tool that may pave the way for development vaccine to fight Zika virus.
  • Replicons are segments of viral genome that can replicate on their own, independent of the cellular chromosome.
  • The new Zika replicon system has deleted some of the genes that give the virus its structure.
  • Because of this, the altered Zika virus is no longer infectious, lowering the safety risk involved in working with it.

NASA Weather Satellite Promises ‘Huge Leap’ in Forecasts

  • NASA has successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of highly advanced geostationary weather satellites.
  • The satellite is known as Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R).
  • The new satellite will become operational within a year, after undergoing a checkout and validation of its six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit.
  • GOES-R will strengthen NOAA’s ability to issue life-saving forecasts and warnings and is aimed at make the United States an even stronger, more resilient weather-ready nation.

China launches world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line

  • China has launched world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line connecting Hefei, capital of Anhui province to Shanghai, the country’s financial hub.
  • The super-secure quantum communication line is 712-km in length.
  • It boasts of ultra-high security making it impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them.

About Quantum Communication

  • Quantum communication uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points.
  • These subatomic particles are mainly quantum entanglement of photons.
  • Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated.
  • It has the ability to inform the two communicating users of the presence of any third party trying to eavesdrop.
  • At the same time, the information being intercepted will self-destruct.
  • Quantum communication is the art of transferring a quantum state from one place to another.
  • It is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them.

Twin trial of Prithvi-II missile successfully conducted

  • The twin trial of surface-to-surface nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile was successfully conducted by the India Army from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha
  • During the test, two Prithvi-II missiles in salvo mode were successfully test-fired in quick succession from mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

About Prithvi-II

  • Inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003, the nine-metre-tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled Prithvi-II is the first missile to be developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  • The two surface-to-surface missiles which have a strike range of 350 km and are capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads.
  • The missile is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
  • It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.

Manohar Parrikar commissions destroyer ‘INS Chennai’

  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 21st November commissioned ‘INS Chennai’, the third indigenously designed guided missile destroyer in the Kolkata class.
  • With an overall length of 164 metres and displacement of over 7,500 tonnes, ‘INS Chennai’ is one of the largest destroyers in the Indian Navy’s fleet and is armed with supersonic surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles and Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missiles.

AWARDS

Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn conferred with first World Sanskrit Award

  • Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was presented with the first ‘World Sanskrit Award’ for her exemplary contribution for the promotion of the language for the year 2015.
  • She is noted educator and scholar of Sanskrit and Pali.
  • She also won Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development Award from the Union Government in 2004; and Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1991.
  • About World Sanskrit Award
  • The award was instituted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
  • It was announced by the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her inaugural address in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok in June 2015.
  • It is presented to eminent Sanskrit scholars to recognise their outstanding contribution to the study/research/ teaching in Sanskrit language and literature.

Al Nahyan conferred with prestigious Mother Teresa International Award

  • Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was awarded the prestigious Mother Teresa International Award by the Mumbai-based NGO Harmony Foundation,an organization created by Abraham Mathai in Mumbai.
  • Shaikh Abdullah, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was conferred with the award for his contribution in promoting peace and stability in the West Asia.
  • Shaikh Abdullah is being honoured for his work in establishing institutions that protect youth from being radicalised and indoctrination from terrorist groups and persons looking to propagate violence against innocent people.

About the awards

  • The Mother Teresa Awards are awards to honour individuals and organizations that promote peace, equality and social justice, and aim to encourage the cause of justice and peaceful coexistence, while providing a impetus for society to imbibe these values.
  • The award is given in honour of Mother Teresa.

 APPOINTMENT

Siby Sebastian appointed as CEO of SBM Bank (Mauritius), India
  •  The State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) Group has appointed Siby Sebastian as Chief Executive for its India operations.
  • The SBM Group operates four branches in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ramachandrapuram.

 

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