Daily Current Affairs 23rd May, 2017
First draft of nuclear ban treaty released by UN
- A United Nations-backed panel has publicly released a draft treaty banning the possession and use of all nuclear weapons.
- The draft treaty is the culmination of a sustained campaign, supported by more than 130 non-nuclear states, to prohibit nuclear weapons and persuade nuclear-armed states to disarm.
- Nine countries that are known to possess nuclear weapons are- the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel has not supported the draft plan.
AFSPA gets six-month extension in Manipur
- The Manipur Cabinet has decided to extend the Disturbed Areas Act for another period of six months to facilitate the imposition of the AFSPA except in seven Assembly segments in Imphal.
- The government had lifted the AFSPA from these segments on August 12, 2004.
Madhya Pradesh Signs MoU with IIT-Kharagpur for Developing Happiness Index
- IIT Kharagpur’s Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness and Madhya Pradesh government’s ‘Rajya Anandam Sansthan’ (Department of Happiness) has signed an MoU to collaborate on the development of a Happiness Index for measuring the well-being of the residents of the state.
- The MoU was signed in the presence of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and IIT-KGP Director Prof P P Chakrabarti at Bhopal.
Harsh Malhotra Committee on Scouts and Guides Submits Report to the Sports Ministry
- A seven-member High-Level Committee on Scouts and Guides has submitted its Final Report to Minister for State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Vijay Goel with various recommendations.
- The committee has suggested for the constitution of an Enquiry Committee to take stock of complaints and grievances and submit its report.
ECONOMY,BANKING AND FINANCE
PM launches various projects of Kandla Port Trust, Gujarat
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has launched various projects of Kandla Port Trust at Gandhidham in Gujarat.
- He unveiled plaques to mark the laying of Foundation Stone for the construction of the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Convention Centre and the development of the 14th and 16th General Cargo Berth.
- He handed over Letters of Award for Construction of Interchange-cum-ROB (Railway Bridge) at Kutch Salt Junction, Deployment of two Mobile Harbour Cranes and Mechanization for the handling of fertilizers at Kandla Port.
India is no. 2 stainless steel producer in the world:
- India has emerged as the second largest stainless steel producer in the world after China.
- India toppled Japan in the year 2016 according to the figures disclosed by International Stainless Steel Forum at a conference held in Tokyo, Japan,
HDFC Life launches AI-based insurance email bot ‘SPOK’
- HDFC Life announced the launch of an artificial intelligence-based application ‘SPOK’ that can automatically read, understand, categorize, prioritize and respond to customer emails sent to the private insurer.
- ‘SPOK’, an insurance email bot, can read customer queries within milliseconds and respond to them.
- The deployment of SPOK will improve customer experience, while providing the support staff with the bandwidth to focus on customer satisfaction.
Paytm Launches Payments Bank
- Paytm has rolled out its Payments Bank operations by launching its first physical branch in Noida.
- With this launch, there are three payments bank operational in the country, the other two being Airtel Payments Bank Ltd and India Post Payments Bank Ltd.
- The Paytm Payments Bank will be the first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on deposits.
RBI to Reconstitute Oversight Committee to Tackle Bad Loans
- The Reserve Bank of India is set to reconstitute Oversight Committee to operationalise the banking ordinance, which was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet to amend the Banking Regulation Act for the sake of giving more powers to Reserve Bank of India for effectively dealing with non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector.
- The existing Oversight Committee was constituted by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
- The move is aimed at containing the bad loans which have reached to over Rs 8 lakh crore.
A women-only tour package unveiled:
- In what is being touted as the first of its kind by a State-run tourism corporation in the country, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) has decided to offer a ‘women’s special’ tour package.
- The package, a three-day, two-night tour of Mysuru and Kodagu, promises to be a unique experience for women travellers.
Annual Meeting of African Development Bank
- The 52nd Annual Meetings of the African Development bank are being held in Gandhinagar. This is the first time that the Annual Meetings of AfDB are being held in India. These Meetings are the Bank’s largest annual event and serve to raise the profile of the institution on the global stage.
- In addition to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, these Meetings will bring together about 3000 delegates and participants, and will feature a number of official, knowledge, and side events. The Governors of the Bank are from the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries (including India).
- The Annual Meetings provide a unique forum for representatives of government, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia and the media – from Africa and beyond – to debate key issues on Africa’s development, and to discuss the Bank’s performance in delivering on its mandate.
- Reflecting the significance of agriculture in Africa and in the Bank’s development work, the 2017 Annual Meetings will be held on the theme: “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.”
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
After 84 years, cobra lily blooms again
- The incredibly rare Arisaema translucens, more commonly remembered as the cobra lily, was recently rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after 84 years. It was last collected in 1932.
- Barely a few hundred cobra lily plants are left in the wild and they can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
- This is probably the only member of the Arisaema family to have a translucent spathe.
- The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it.
Smallest nation joins solar alliance
- The world’s smallest republic, the tiny island nation of Nauru — has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework pact initiated by the Indian and French Governments at the climate change summit held at Paris in 2015.
- Five more nations, from Africa, — Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti — have committed to sign the pact during the ongoing meeting of the African Development bank in India.
May 23: World Turtle Day
- Every year May 23 is celebrated as the World Turtle Day as an annual observance aimed at protecting turtles and tortoises and their rapidly disappearing habitats across the world. The celebrations was started in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR).
PERSONS IN NEWS
Indian-born woman elected to City of London Corporation
- A 43-year-old UK entrepreneur has become the first India-born woman to be elected as a councillor to a ward in the UK.
- Rehana Ameer, who was born and raised in Chennai, contested from Vintry ward in the City of London county as an independent candidate.
Mathunny Mathews, the Real-life Hero of ‘Airlift’ passes away
- Indian businessman Mathunny Mathews died aged 81 in Kuwait after being part of the tiny emirate’s fortunes and trials for over six decades.
- He was known as one of the heroes who made possible the largest civilian evacuation in known history and the main inspiration behind the 2016 Bollywood historical drama Airlift.
World’s First Philosophical Novel on God Unveiled
- IAS officer Haulianlal Guite has recently published a philosophical novel for God titled “Confessions of a dying mind: the blind faith of atheism“.
- The book was unveiled by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju at august gathering of Civil Services Officers’ Institute in New Delhi.
- The book is touted as “the world’s first philosophical novel for God“. Haulianlal Guite is hailed as the first civil servant to write on Philosophy after John Stuart Mill’s work titled “On Liberty” published in 1858.
India’s Vaishali wins gold in Asian Blitz Chess Championship
- India’s R Vaishali won the women’s title with eight points from nine rounds in the Asian Continental Blitz Chess Championship in Chengdu, China.