Current Affairs Daily Updates: 8th, 9th and 10th March 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 8th, 9th and 10th March 2017
D. Bala Venkatesh Varma concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to Andorra
  • IFS officer, D. Bala Venkatesh Varma has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of lndia to the Principality of Andorra, with residence in Madrid (Spain).
  • Venkatesh was presently working as the ambassador of lndia to the Kingdom of Spain.
Harm Ohlmeyer appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Adidas
  • Harm Ohlmeyer was appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Adidas with effect from May 2017. He will succeed Robin Stalker, who served the post for 16 years.
  • Presently, Ohlmeyer is serving as the Head of the global eCommerce business of Adidas.
  • Earlier, Herbert Hainer was replaced as Chief Executive Officer in October 2016 by Kaspar Rorsted, the Danish former Chief of consumer goods group Henkel.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Wins Best Actress for Sarbjit at IFFA Australia
  • Bollywood Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has won the best actress award at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA) for her movie Sarabjit.
  • Directed by Omung Kumar, Sarabjit was the biopic on Sarabjit Singh who was an Indian farmer who was convicted of terrorism and spying in Pakistan and was sentenced to death.
  • Aishwarya played the role of Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur.
Harvard honoured Viola Davis with 'Artist of the Year' award
  • Viola Davis, the actress who took home some of this year’s biggest awards, was honoured with the Harvard foundation 'Artist of the Year' 2017 award at Harvard's 32nd Cultural Rhythms Festival in Cambridge.
  • The actress not only won an Oscar recently but also won the Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress female for her performance as Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play ‘Fences’.
President Pranab Mukherjee presents Nari Shakti Puraskar 2016
  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2017 presented the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2016 at a ceremony in New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017.
  • This year, the Selection Committee, chaired by the Minister of Women & Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, unanimously agreed to increase the number of Awards to 31 as more nominees were found to be deserving and the age criteria was also relaxed.
  • Some of the awardees of this year are scientists Anatta Sonney, B Codanayaguy and Subhu Varier, entrepreneurs Reema Sathe and Zuboni Humtsoe, trailblazer Mumtaz Kazi and many more.
  • The Nari Shakti Puraskar carries a cash award of Rs 1 Lakh and a certificate for individuals and institutions.
Mohan Bhagwat conferred honorary degree of Doctor of Science
  • RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) by the Nagpur-based Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University.
  • He was conferred the degree for his contribution in the field of veterinary sciences and social work.
Konkani writer gets Saraswati Samman
  • Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honored with the Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel 'Hawthan'.
  • The 74-year-old’s novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh and a citation. Mr. Sail is a bilingual writer who has four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels to his credit. He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi.
IDFC launches Biometric Based Payment System Aadhaar Pay 
  • IDFC Bank became the first bank in the country to launch the biometric-based payment system Aadhaar Pay through its network.
  • Aadhaar Pay will enable merchants to receive payments from customers without any physical payment instrument.
  • Customer can use this service by first linking his bank account to the Aadhaar number.
  • To make a payment, customer just has to select the bank’s name and enter the Aadhaar number.
  • The fingerprint will serve as the password to authenticate the transaction.
SBI launces Work from Home facility
  • The State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a new “Work from Home” facility to enable its employees to work while at home using mobile devices.
  • This facility aims to address any urgent requirement employees may have, that prevents their travelling to work.
  • For this purpose, SBI will use mobile computing technologies and shall have continuous control over all the enabled devices.
  • It will centrally manage and secure the data and applications on the mobile devices.
Tech Mahindra acquires US healthcare provider CJS Solutions Group
  • Software services firm Tech Mahindra Ltd has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based healthcare information technology consulting company CJS Solutions Group that does business as The HCI Group.
  • The deal values CJS Solutions at an enterprise value of $110 million.
  • The HCI Group works with global tier-I healthcare service providers, primarily in US and UK and also has a presence in Europe, West Asia and Asia-Pacific.
  • It provides end-to-end implementation of electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) software, training and support services.
RBI to issue new Rs 10 notes soon with high-security features
  • The Reserve Bank of India notified that it is soon going to issue Rs 10 denomination notes with enhanced security features for circulation.
  • Besides, RBI also notified that all the banknotes in the denomination of Rs 10 issued in the past will also continue to be legal tender. The note will be in the Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 and carry inset letter ‘L’ on both number panels. 
  • The year of printing (2017) will be on the reverse of the note.  Numerals on both the panels will be in ascending size from left to right. The first three alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
Bengali singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee passes away
  • Famed Bengali singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee passed away in a car accident on 7 March 2017 in Hooghly district's Gurap town. He was 56.
  • He was best known for popularising folk songs of rural Bengal among the present generation in the albums of his band 'Dohar'.
Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan dies
  • Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan passed away on 8 March 2017 of cardiac arrest.  He was 49.
  • Arvind worked as an Executive Editor at IANS.
Former Puducherry Minister M Chandrakasu passes away
  • Former Puducherry Minister M Chandrakasu passed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He was 67.
  • He had represented Nedungad constituency in the outlying enclave of Karaikal for six terms.
  • He had served as Agriculture Minister in the All India N R Congress (AINRC) government formed by N Rangasamy in 2011.
Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise ‘Surya Kiran-Xi’ begins in Uttarakhand
  • The two-week long India-Nepal joint military exercise ‘Surya Kiran-Xi‘ begins  in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand on March 7, 2017
  • To train both the troops in the area of various counter insurgency operations over a prolonged period.
  • It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation.
  • The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted biannually, alternatively in India and Nepal. Surya Kiran-X was held in Nepal in December 2016.
China overtakes Eurozone as world’s biggest bank system
  • According to the Financial Times shows latest analysis, China’s banking system has overtaken the b to become the world’s biggest by assets.
  • China’s GDP surpassed the EU’s in 2011 at market exchange rates, but its banking system did not take over the top spot until 2016.
  • The value of China’s banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of the country’s annual economic output, compared with 2.8 times for the eurozone and its banks.
IORA Leaders Summit held in Jakarta
  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit was recently held in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia from May 5 to 7, 2017.
  • The theme of the summit was ‘Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean’. 
  • It was attended by leaders from 21 member states of IORA. From India, Vice President Hamid Ansari attended the two-day summit.
  • It drew attention on issues of regional interest such as maritime security, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, fisheries management, people-to-people exchanges, trade and investment and tourism. 21 member states issued a strategic vision document known as the Jakarta Concord. 
13th Economic Co-operation Organisation summit held in Islamabad
  • The 13th edition of Economic Co-operation Organisation (ECO) summit was held in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • The purpose of the summit is to increase cooperation in areas such as trade, tourism, energy, economic growth and productivity.
  • The ECO is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization formed in 1985 by Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.
  • It now also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
  • Halil Ibrahim Akca from Turkey is its current Secretary General.
India, Belgium signed Protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol
  • India and Belgium signed a protocol that amends the existing agreement and protocol between the two countries for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income in New Delhi.
  • The signed protocol will help the Union Government in its fight against the black money that is stashed in the offshore accounts.
  • Fight against the black money has been a key priority area of the Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • India, Kazakhstan signed protocol to amend Double Taxation Avoidance Convention
Union Cabinet approves oil storage pact with UAE’s ADNOC
  • The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Definitive Agreement on Oil Storage and Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd (ISPRL) and UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
  • Government’s this move aims at boosting India’s energy security by ensuring a strategic storage flow in for crude oil, from a government firm in Abu Dhabi for meeting unexpected future exigencies.
  • ADNOC will fill up 0.81 MMT or 5,860,000 million barrels of crude oil at ISPRL storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka.
  • The investment by ADNOC is a major investment from UAE under the High Level Task Force on Investment (HLTFI). It is also first investment by UAE in India in the energy sector.
CCEA approves development of 50 un-served and under-served air strips
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved proposal for revival of 50 under-served/un-served airports or airstrips of the State Governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil enclaves.
  • The announcement for making adequate provisions for revival of under-served/un-served airports was made by the Union Finance Minister in Union Budget 2016-17.
  • The total cost of the revival project is estimated to be Rs. 4500 crore and will be undertaken in three financial years starting from 2017-18.
  • 15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each. During 2019-20, 20 airports/airstrips will be revived. The airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability.
PM Narendra Modi releases commemorative postage stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special commemorative postage stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math.
  • The Yogoda Satsang Math are the headquarters of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS).
  • Its major aim is to reveal the complete harmony, basic oneness and common foundations of all true religions.
  • Yogoda Satsanga Society of India is a non-profit religious organization. It was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917.
  • The society is known as the Self-Realization Fellowship in countries outside the Indian subcontinent. Mrinalini Mata is the current President of the YSS.
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and UAE in field of Energy Efficiency Services
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.
  • The MoU was signed between the National Productivity Council (NPC), an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE.
  • Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services:
    • (i) Energy Assessment Services
    • (ii) Training & Certification of Energy Auditors
    • (iii) Demand Side Management.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Asia’s largest petrochemicals plant in Dahej
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Petro auditions Limited (OPal) in the industrial town of Dahej in Gujarat.
  • The plant, which is claimed to be the largest petrochemicals plant in Asia with occupation over 1700 metres of land.
  • It is the single largest petrochemical plant in India and at full capacity will annually produce 14 lakh metric tonnes of polymers.
  • OPaL is a joint venture company promoted by ONGC, GAIL and GSPC.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah launches ‘Pratibimba” to project achievements
  • Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched a comprehensive web-based platform Pratibimba to showcasing the government’s performance and achievements to the citizens on March 7, 2017.
  • This dash board will serve as a tool to improve efficiency in governance and allow citizens to track government’s progress. It is available both in English and Kannada.
  • After Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka has such dash board  which will help to report, track and measure departmental performance on programmes, projects and promises made.
India’s longest cable-stayed bridge inaugrated in Gujarat
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s longest cable-stayed bridge in Bharuch, Gujarat. It is 1.4-kilometer long four-lanes bridge over the river Narmada. It has 216 cables of 25-40 metres length.
  • It is 21 meters wide, having a 17.4-metre wide four-lane road, a three-metre wide footpath. The bridge was built by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) as a part of 6 laning project of the
  • NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) and was completed well ahead of its schedule. It will ease the traffic flow on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai National Highway which is considered to be one of the busiest in India.
Odisha Government launches 181 helpline for distressed women
  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched a helpline number 181 for women in distress on the occasion of International Women's Day 2017.
  • This toll free helpline number will be available for 24 hours in all the 30 districts of the state.
  • The helpline will extend prompt response to women affected by violence.
  • It will provide information about women-related government schemes and programmes and a range of other services.
India launches Stage II of HCFC Phase Out Management Plan
  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched Stage II of HCFCs Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP) for the 2017-23 period.
  • It aims to phase out use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), harmful ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by switching over to non-ozone depleting and low global warming potential technologies.
  • Under HPMP-II India has secured $44.1 million from Multilateral Fund for implementation of Montreal Protocol for phasing out 8,190 MT of HCFC consumption between 2017 to 2023 to meet targets under the protocol for 2020.
10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV)
  • The 10th edition of the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV 2017) was held in New Delhi from March 7-9, 2017.
  • The theme is 'Building Knowledge Societies-From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment'.
  • The Objective of ICEGOV 2017 is focused on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses & civil society.
  • It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.
EU launched fifth satellite of Copernicus observation program
  • The European Union (EU) on 7 March 2017 launched the fifth satellite of the Copernicus observation program from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. The Sentinel-2B satellite is a part of Sentinel Earth observation satellites, a system of satellites that monitors Earth.
  • This fifth Sentinel satellite will cut the time of imaging the earth by half and will ensure speedy provision of images of land, oceans and waterways. This will improve services for farmers, fishermen and other users of land and sea maps.
  • Now, the globe’s image will take only five days. The acceleration of the building up of the globe’s image will positively affect the activities of fishermen by allowing them to monitor the emergence of toxic algal blooms in sea.
INS Tillanchang commissioned to Indian Navy
  • The Vice Admiral Girish Luthra has commissioned INS Tillanchang to the Indian Navy in Karwar, Karnataka. INS Tillanchang is a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) and will add to the firepower of the Indian Navy.
  • This announcement has come just one day after INS Viraat was decommissioned which the Indian Navy called an end to a glorious era of over 30 years. It was decommissioned in a grand ceremony at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.
Cuevas wins third straight Brazil Open title
  • Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas has won his third straight Brazil Open tennis title by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 6-4 in a rain-affected final.
  • It was Cuevas' sixth ATP singles title, all of which have been on clay.The Brasil Open is a tennis tournament held annually in São Paulo, Brazil.