Current Affairs Daily Updates: 1st and 3rd April 2017

Mentor for Bank Exams
Current Affairs Daily Updates: 1st and 3rd April 2017
Vanaja N. Sarna as New Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)
  • Ms. Vanaja N. Sarna has been appointed as Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). She is taking over on superannuation of Shri Najib Shah.
  • Ms. Vanaja N. Sarna has served Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in several capacities over the last 36 years. These include postings in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax formations in Kochi, Delhi, Chennai, Meerut, Chandigarh and Bangalore.
  • She has also worked as Additional Director General, National Academy of Customs, Excise & Narcotics (NACEN), in Chennai. She was also Additional Director General in Directorate General of Revenue Intelligence, New Delhi.
  • She also served on deputation as Under Secretary, Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and as Director/ Joint Secretary in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
  • Prior to becoming Member, Central Board of Excise and Customs, she held the charge of Director General of Vigilance and Chief Vigilance Officer of the Department.
Sunaina Singh new Vice Chancellor of Nalanda University
  • President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as the Visitor of Nalanda University (NU)-Rajgir, appointed Professor Sunaina Singh as the new Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of the University.
  • Singh, who is currently serving in the same capacity at The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, has been appointed for a period of five years from the date on which she assumes charge of the office.
Vipul took up the charge as the new Consul General of Dubai
  • Diplomat Vipul, a 1998 batch Indian Foreign Service officer took up the charge as the new Consul General of Dubai.
  • Mr. Vipul has succeeded Anurag Bhushan. Before joining the Consulate at Dubai, he was working in the office of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He had earlier served at India’s diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Bob Dylan to Finally Receive Nobel Literature Prize
  • The 75-year-old Dylan, who was awarded the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” declined an invitation last year to the traditional Nobel Prize banquet and ceremony on Dec. 10 - the date of Alfred Nobel’s death - pleading other commitments.
  • Bob Dylan will finally accept his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm this weekend, the academy has announced.
  • In October, Bob Dylan became the first songwriter to win the prestigious award, and the first American since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.
San Francisco International Film Fest to Honor Shah Rukh Khan
  • Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan will be honored at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFILM) on April 14 at the Castro Theater.
  • “King” Khan as he is known to his millions of fans will participate in a conversation onstage with Brett Ratner following a screening of his 2010 hit “My Name Is Khan.”
  • On the film front, he is known for movies like "Darr", "Baazigar", "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", "Devdas", "Kal Ho Naa Ho", "Chak De! India" and "Chennai Express". His latest film was "Raees".
'Karnataka Bank' and 'SBI Card' launches co-branded credit cards
  • Karnataka Bank, a leading private sector Bank of the country,  has entered into collaboration with SBI Card, India's second largest credit card issuer, to launch co-branded credit cards for Karnataka Bank customers.
  • Through this alliance Karnataka Bank and SBI Card have launched two variants of the co-branded credit card - 'Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card' and 'Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card'.
  • Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card:-  'Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card' has been designed keeping in mind the premium customers and offers features in line with their lifestyle and spending patterns.
  • Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card:-  'Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card' is aimed at value conscious consumers and offers rewards and features that enable customers to maximize their savings on their regular spends.
SBI merged with its 4 associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank - So create one of the top 50 banks in the world
  • SBI (State Bank of India) has merged its operations five its four associate banks - State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Mysore, and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur. It has also merged its operations with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
  • With this merger, the bank will join the league of top 50 banks globally in terms of assets.
  • The merged behemoth will have an asset base of about Rs 37 lakh crore, 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs, and 50 crore customers.
Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched the '811 banking app' to double its customer
  • Indian financial services conglomerate, Kotak Mahindra Bank announced the launch of 811, a full-service digital banking ecosystem on mobile.
  • 811 offers a completely digital and paperless account opening experience across nearly 700 locations in India. It can be opened anywhere, anytime, within five minutes, using Kotak's mobile banking app - the top rated banking app (as per Google Play Store) in India.
  • The new digitally operated account will offer a 'zero balance savings account with zero charges for all digital transactions, where customers can earn up to 6% p.a. on their savings account.
  • One only needed an Aadhar card and a PAN card to open and operate the account.
  • Kotak Bank will become the first bank to integrate Aadhaar offering OTP-based financial services.
Apple opens new App Accelerator in Bengaluru for Indian developers
  • Apple has announced the opening of its new App Accelerator in Bengaluru, India as part of an effort to support engineering talent and boost growth in India's iOS developer community.
  • iOS is the world’s most powerful mobile operating system and the foundation for iPhone and iPad, and the App Accelerator Bengaluru will provide specialised support for developers, including tools and best practices to hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.
India signs First Loan Agreement for US$ 350 million with BRICS New Development Bank
  • The Loan Agreement for New Development Bank (NDB) financing of US$ 350 Million for Development and Upgradation of Major District Roads Project in Madhya Pradesh was signed between Government of India and the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • This is the First Loan Agreement for NDB assisted project in India.
  • The Loan Agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Xian Zhu, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer on behalf of the New Development Bank.
  • The objective of the Project is upgradation of major district roads (Approx. 1,500 km) in Madhya Pradesh to improve connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks.
  • The project implementation is 5 years. Government of Madhya Pradesh and the MPRDC are the implementing agencies.
Union Minister of Railways releases Book Titled “Indian Railway- The weaving of a National Tapestry”
  • Union Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu released the book titled “Indian Railway- The weaving of a National Tapestry” jointly authored by Shri Bibek Debroy (Member, NITI Aayog) Shri Sanjay Chadha (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce) & Ms. Vidya Krishnamurthi.
  • In addition, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu also launched Hi-speed free Wi-Fi services for the visitors at National Rail Museum.
  • About the book "Indian Railway- The weaving of a National Tapestry":- This book by Shri Bibek Debroy is a great contribution for Indian Railways. We can shape the future of Indian Railways by linking the past through this book.
  • This book traverses the timeline from 1830-1947. The book is written in a storytelling manner. The book narrates some anecdotes of Indian Railways History.
Gilbert Baker, inventor of gay rights rainbow flag, dies at 65
  • Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco-based activist and artist best known for creating the rainbow flag representing gay rights, has died at the age of 65.
  • Gilbert Baker came up with the eight-coloured banner for San Francisco’s 1978 gay freedom day, which later became the Pride festival.
Israel approves first West Bank settlement in 20 years
  • Israel has approved the establishment of its first new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank in two decades.
  • The security cabinet voted unanimously to begin construction on a hilltop known as "Geulat Zion", near the Palestinian city of Nablus. It will be used to house some 40 families whose homes were cleared from an unauthorised settlement outpost.
  • It comes despite US President Donald Trump asking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month to "hold back" on settlement construction.
  • The Israeli authorities approved thousands of new homes in existing settlements after Mr Trump took office in January.
Indian film 'Bank Chor' - World's first feature film to release in 16D
  • Riteish Deshmukh's Comedy Thriller 'Bank Chor' will worldwide release in 16D on June 16.
  • The film also stars Vivek Oberoi and Rhea Chakraborty. The actors feature as bank robbers in the film.
Japan commits 371 billion Yen assistance for infra projs in India
  • Japan has committed an “official development assistance” (ODA) of 371.345 billion yen (about Rs. 21,590 crore) under 2016-2017 for various infrastructure projects, including the dedicated freight corridor, in India.
  • The notes in this regard were exchanged in New Delhi between S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; and Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India.
Man Sets Guinness World Record by eating most hamburgers in one minute
  • A new Guinness World Record has been set in Philippines where a 24-year-old Filipino Ricardo won the title for the most hamburgers eaten in one minute after gobbling down five 107-gram patties in 60 seconds.
  • The hamburger eating contest was held at Zark's burgers in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Japan Officially Recognises Bitcoin as Currency
  • A new Japanese law that defines digital currencies as a legal payment method goes into effect on April 1, 2017.
  • That law applies the country’s know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, requires exchanges to meet capital and cybersecurity requirements, and will subject those exchanges to annual audits.
  • Virtual currencies are enjoying growing population in Japan, where domestic circulation of bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and others amounted to 185 billion yen ($1.67 billion) in the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year.
  • By 2020, the amount of bitcoin in circulation in Japan is expected to reach 1 trillion yen ($9 billion), the Nikkei Asian Review reports.
Germany '1st NATO member' to launch cyber command
  • Germany is the first NATO state to launch a “self-contained” cyber command unit designed to shield IT and weapons systems from growing attacks. The Bundeswehr’s Cyber and Information Space (CIR) boasts a status equal to that of the army, navy, and air force.
  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced the creation of the cyber command two years ago in a bid to protect the military from mounting online attacks.
US President Trump proclaims April as 'National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month'
  • US President Donald Trump proclaimed April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, following in the footsteps of his presidential predecessor President Barack Obama.
  • First Lady Melania Trump also gave a speech calling for “the international community to stand up against violence toward women and children and declared the need for promoting women’s empowerment” at the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award ceremony.
  • According to the Department of Justice, on average there are more than 300,000 instances of rape or other sexual assault that afflict our neighbors and loved ones every year.
  • The United States has recognized April as National Sexual Assault and Prevention Month since 2001, and in 2009 Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to formally proclaim it as such.
India's largest river festival 'Namami Brahmaputra' - President inaugurated
  • The biggest river festival of India, Namami Brahmaputra, begins in 21 districts of Assam.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the festival on the banks of the river, which is considered the country's only male river.
  • The Prime Minister of Bhutan, the Governor of Assam and Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh also attended the inaugural ceremony. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama and several Union ministers also attended the five day festival.
  • The main purpose of the 5 day festival (31st March to 4th April) is to give a boost to the investment and tourism prospect in the state.
Government launch e-challan and m-parivahan apps to report traffic violations
  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has launched two mobile applications - e-challan and m-parivahan to provide a comprehensive digital solution for enforcement of traffic rules.
  • These applications will provide access to various services and information, and enable citizens to report any traffic violation or road accident.
  • m-parivahan:-
    • It is a citizen-centric app that will facilitate access to various transport-related services. It will bring convenience to citizen and transparency in the system
    • It is an empowering app for the citizen which provides access to various services, information and utilities related to the transport sector.
    • It will provide a virtual driving licence and registration certificates through back-end connection to the transport national register.
    • It will give full details of the car and the owner, including his driving licence and registration certificate if a vehicle number is entered into the app.
    • This will help check the genuineness of a vehicle’s ownership and driver. It will also help in passenger safety when hiring a driver or when buying a second-hand vehicle.
  • e-challan:-
    • eChallan is an integrated enforcement solution to manage traffic violations through mobile app and back-end web application, for use by the Traffic Police and Transport Enforcement Wing.
    • It will help in improving transparency by connecting all stakeholders through a common system and ensuring data integrity.
    • It will also help in easing operations and efficient monitoring through digitization of records and will enhance the visibility of offenders, leading to better traffic management.
First 800 MW supercritical thermal power plant - BHEL commissions in Karnataka
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has successfully commissioned yet another coal-based supercritical thermal unit of 800 MW in Karnataka.
  • This is the second unit of the 2x800 MW Yeramarus Thermal Power Station located in Raichur district of Karnataka.
  • The first unit of this power plant was commissioned earlier by BHEL in March, 2016.
  • The Yeramarus project has been developed by Raichur Power Corporation Limited (RPCL), a Joint Venture (JV) with equity participation from Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) and BHEL.
  • The key equipment for the project has been manufactured by BHEL at its Haridwar, Trichy, Bhopal, Ranipet, Hyderabad, Jhansi and Bengaluru plants, while the construction of the plant has been undertaken by the company's Power Sector - Southern Region.
Under UDAN Scheme, Govt Awards 128 Regional Routes to Air India, Air Deccan, SpiceJet Among Others
  • The civil aviation ministry awarded first-ever regional flights based on a new subsidy model to five airlines that will expand flights to many new airports in the country.
  • Air India, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha have got rights to fly 128 routes which will require them to cap half the seats at about 50% of the fare.
  • Many of these airports will be served for the first time. These include airports like Shimla, Kandla, Puducherry, Bhatinda, Cooch Behar and Bilaspur among others.
  • Aviation secretary R.N. Choubey said Rs. 205 crore of subsidy will be provided to these airlines. Routes will be exclusive for three years.
'Poorna' Film on youngest girl to climb Everest made tax-free in Maharashtra, Bangalore, Hyderabad
  • After getting tax exemption from Telangana, Karnataka and Delhi, Rahul Bose’s directorial venture Poorna got tax exemption from Maharashtra.
  • The film is based on a true story of Poorna Malavath, the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest.
  • Featuring Aditi Inamdar, Rahul and Heeba Shah, Poorna hit the screens.
  • About Malavath Purna:- Poorna Malavath, is an Indian mountaineer from Nizamabad district, Telangana. On 25 May 2014, Poorna scaled the highest peak of Mount Everest and, aged 13 years and 11 months, became the youngest girl to have reached the summit of Everest.
2nd Annual meeting of New development bank held in New Delhi
  • The three day Annual Meeting of NDB will be held from 31st March to 2nd April, 2017 in Delhi.
  • Main Events:- The Opening Ceremony of the NDB Second Annual Meeting will be held at Taj Palace Hotel on 1 April 2017. It will be followed by the Singing Ceremony, the Second Annual Meeting of the NDB Board of Governors and Press Conference. The Finance Minister of India and NDB Governor for India, Mr. Arun Jaitley will deliver the Key Note Address.
  • MOUs were signed between NDB and European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and International Investment Bank (IIB).
  • India has sought USD 2 billion loans for various projects from the NDB. India has also signed a 350 million dollar loan agreement with NDB for financing Development and Upgradation of Major District Roads in Madhya Pradesh.
  • This is the First Loan Agreement for NDB assisted project in India. In the event, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that India has successfully implemented a number of reforms and Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.2 percent in 2017 and at the rate of 7.7 percent in 2018.
Govt launched 'PowerTex India' - a scheme for powerloom sector development
  • The Government has launched PowerTex India, a comprehensive scheme for powerloom sector development, simultaneously at over 45 locations in the country.
  • Launching the scheme in Bhiwandi, Thane district, Maharashtra, the Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani said that Bhiwandi will be known for resurgence in Powerloom sector.
  • Recalling that the powerloom sector alone employs over 44 lakh people, the Minister said that the scheme will especially benefit small powerloom weavers.
  • Components of the 'PowerTex India' scheme:-
    • In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms
    • Group Workshed Scheme (GWS)
    • Yarn Bank Scheme
    • Common Facility Centre (CFC)
    • Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for Powerloom Weavers
    • Solar Energy Scheme for Powerlooms
    • Facilitation, IT, Awareness, Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes
    • Tex Venture Capital Fund
    • Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres (PSCs)
Karnataka is getting its first-ever surfing festival
  • Karnataka Tourism will host its first-ever surfing festival between May 27-29.
  • The festival will be held at the Sasithithlu Beach in Mangalore.
  • Along with this, the state's tourism ministry is also planning to introduce a set of recreational activities which will include skydiving and motorcycle tourism.
  • In 2016, this festival was held in Ramchandi Beach, Odisha.
1st-ever civilian nuclear-powered submarine designed in Russia
  • Russian scientists are developing first ever civilian nuclear-powered submarine to conduct seismological surveys and search for natural resources under ice in the Arctic, the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects (RFARP) said.
  • About civilian nuclear-powered submarine:-
    • It will be equipped with robotic complexes, autonomous unmanned submersibles which will secure seismic reconnaissance as well.
    • There are no such submarines in the world. These are unique perspective technological solutions, which would allow the next generation to be ready for settlement of serious tasks on exploration of the shelf.
    • Length of the vessel will make up 135.5m, width - 14.4m. The speed will be of 12.6 knots, while maximum submersion depth - 400m. The submarine will be able to operate autonomously for as long as 90 days. The size of crew is 40 people.
Sindhu lifts India Open badminton title 2017
  • Olympic silver-medallist P.V. Sindhu defeated Carolina Marin in straight sets 21-19, 21-16 in 47 minutes at the India Open badminton championship in New Delhi.
  •  21-year-old Ace Indian Shuttler PV Sindhu will take on Olympic champion Carolina Marin at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.
  • Winners of  India Open badminton championship 2017:- 
    • Women's singles:  P. V. Sindhu (India)
    • Women's doubles: Shiho Tanaka, Koharu Yonemoto (Both from Japan)
    • Men's singles: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
    • Men's doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Both from Indonesia)
    • Mixed doubles: China Lu Kai, China Huang Yaqiong
Miami Open: Roger Federer defeats Rafael Nadal to clinch his 3rd title of 2017 season
  • Roger Federer (Swiss professional tennis player) clinched his 91st career title when he beat rival Rafa Nadal (Spanish professional tennis player) 6-3 6-4 in the Miami Open final.
  • Federer, now a three-time Miami winner, leads 10-9 on hardcourt.
  • The Swiss champion Roger Federer pocketed $1,175,505 in prize money while Nadal received $573,680.
Kenya's Jepkosgei smashes three world records at Prague Half Marathon
  • Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei has broken the world half marathon record as well as the 10km and 15km marks at the Prague Half Marathon on the way to winning the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in one hour, four minutes and 52 seconds.
  • The 23-year-old, who was competing in just her fifth half marathon to date, also smashed the world records for 10km and 15km en route to her victory.
Indian Women’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur adjudged the Women's Player of the Year
  • Indian Women’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur has been given Sydney Thunder’s Women’s Player of the Year award for the second season of the Women’s Big Bash League.
  • Harmanpreet earlier had become the first Indian cricketer to play in Australia’s Big Bash League, when she was picked by the team last year.