Current Affairs Daily Updates: 18th May 2017

Mentor for Bank Exams
Current Affairs Daily Updates: 18th May 2017
Former FBI director named special counsel for Russia Probe
  • Robert Mueller, former Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was appointed as a special prosecutor to oversee the Russian interference in 2016 United States Elections.
  • The appointment was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
Raj Kumar joins LIC-MF as whole time director
  • LIC Mutual Fund has said that Raj Kumar has joined the fund house as a whole time director effective from April 28.
  • The position was created after Sarojini Dikhale was transferred to LIC as executive director, marketing and product development some time back.
David Letterman wins Mark Twain Prize, the top U.S. prize for Humor
  • David Letterman will receive the 2017 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the award granted annually by the John F Kennedy Center in Washington.
  • He is the longest running host of late night TV shows.
  • He is the 20th performer to receive the prize.
  • The Mark Twain Prize is one of the two highest profile awards handed out by the Kennedy Center each year, along with the Kennedy Center Honors.
Tata Group Named Country’s Most Valuable Brand in Brand Finance List
  • According to Brand Finance, a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm Tata Group is the most valuable brand in India.
  • Tata Group topped the list despite its brand value declining 4% from $13.7 billion in 2016.
  • Telecom operator Airtel at an estimated valuation of $7.7 billion ranked second in the list followed by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) ranked third with $6.8 billion.
  • IT firm Infosys and State Bank of India ranked fourth and fifth in the list with an estimated value of $6.2 billion and $5.5 billion respectively.
Indian Scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni Wins Prestigious Dan David Prize
  • Indian scientist and astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the prestigious Dan David prize for his work in the field of astronomy.
  • Shrinivas Kulkarni, a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
  • Kulkarni would share the award with Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA for their discoveries on time-domain astrophysics in the “Future” category of the prize.
  • The Dan David Foundation was established in 2000 by the late Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist.
  • Three Dan David prizes of $1 million awarded each year in the categories of Past, Present and Future to people who have made exemplary contributions to humanity in the field of sciences, humanities, or for their work in civil society.
India Ratings downgrades IDBI Bank
  • India Ratings and Research downgraded State-run IDBI Bank to AA from AA+ and gave a negative outlook due to challenges arising out of stressed assets and weak capital position.
  • The rating agency also downgraded various debt instruments of the bank.
  • The Reserve Bank had recently initiated ‘prompt corrective action’ for the bank on account of higher NPAs and negative return on assets.
BSNL Signs MoU with Facebook and MobiKwik
  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) signed the agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik in order to popularise the internet and its value added services among its customers.
  • BSNL has also signed a third Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Disney Land India to offer premium online gaming services to its mobile customers.
  • As per the terms of the agreement signed with Facebook, BSNL will facilitate connectivity for Facebook’s "Express Wi-Fi Program".
AP ropes in Singapore firms to develop start-up area in Amaravati
  • Singapore-based Ascendas-Singbridge Pvt Ltd and Sembcorp Development Ltd were awarded a contract by the Andhra Pradesh government to act as the master developer for a start-up area, spanning 1,691 acres, to be built in the upcoming capital city of Amaravati.
  • The Rs528 crore project will be completed in three phases over a span of 15 years.
  • Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp will form the Amaravati Development Partner (ADP) along with the Amaravati Development Corporation (ADC).
  • ADP will undertake the master development of the start-up area, which will be built along with the development of the 900-acre Government Core area in Amaravati.
  • For speedy implementation of the project, a high-level joint implementation steering committee (JISC) will also be formed.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave Passes Away
  • Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has passed away.
  • He was 60. He was born in Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Last year, he was sworn in as a minister with independent charge of environment, forest and climate change.
Actor Reema Lagoo passes away
  • Veteran actor Reema Lagoo, known for her performance in movies like Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Kal Ho Na Ho, died due to a cardiac arrest. She was 59.
  • Lagoo appeared in Marathi and Hindi films, besides doing a number of TV shows.
  • Lagoo has worked in superhit films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Saajan, Vaastav, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and, Hum Saath-Saath Hain among others, while her popular television serials included Tu Tu Main Main and Shrimaan Shrimati.
Amnesty International launches new global campaign Brave
  • Amnesty International (AI) launched 'Brave' to fight against a growing wave of attacks against those defending human rights.
  • The new Brave campaign calls on states to recognise their dignity and equal rights of all people and to ensure their freedom and safety under the United Nations declaration adopted in 1998.
  • According to the report of Front Line Defenders, Last year 281 people were killed globally for defending human rights from 156 in 2015.
Japan world leader in life expectancy: WHO
  • Australia is one of the "world leaders" for life expectancy, ranked only behind Japan, Singapore and Switzerland, according to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) latest world health check.
  • The data was taken from 194 WHO members, Xinhua news agency reported.
Cabinet approves setting up of lARI in Assam
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the setting up of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI) in Assam.
  • The proposal of Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) / Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) under the scheme, the establishment of the "Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI)-Assam" seeks to set up the Institute on 587 acre of land provided by the Govt. of Assam.
  • lARI-Assam would be a Post-Graduate Institution of higher learning in Agricultural Education.  
Union Cabinet Approves Proposal to Build 10 Atomic Reactors
  • The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal allowing for the construction of 10 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR).
  • The reactors will have a capacity of 700 Mega Watt.
  • India’s first PHWR was constructed at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan in technical cooperation with the Atomic Energy Canada Ltd (AECL).
BSF begins operation 'Garam Hawa' along international border in Rajasthan
  • The BSF has started operation 'Garam Hawa' in the western sector in Rajasthan, under which vigil along the international border with Pakistan has been stepped up.
  • The operation will continue till May 23.
  • The operation is being conducted as chances of infiltration across the border increase during intense heatwave conditions.
  • Main aim is to reinforce and strengthen the BSF's vigil along the border during the summer.
NITI Aayog holds the first Samavesh meeting
  • In pursuance of the Prime Minister’s call for a New India 2022, the first meeting of the National Steering Group and other knowledge partners was held in NITI Aayog on 17th May 2017 under the co-chairmanship of Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO and Shri Ratan P Watal, Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog.
  • The meeting was aimed at bringing together 32 premier educational and policy research institutions to catalyse the development process, enhance institutional capacity development and a field level interface with the community for New India 2022.
  • The meeting witnessed signing of Memoranda of Understands (MoUs) between NITI Aayog and major think tanks across the country to create an ecosphere of evidence based policy research.
Cabinet approves agreement between India and Tajikistan
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for signing and ratifying, an Agreement between India and Tajikistan.
  • The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between theCustoms authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs law.
  • The Cabinet also gave its approval for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.
India to set up 7000 mw indigenous nuclear plants
  • India will set up 7000 mw of indigenous nuclear power plants, power, coal, renewable and mines minister Piyush Goyal said.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme that will promote energy self sufficiency, clean, carbon free sources of power and place India high among nuclear power countries, he said.
  • He said the decision will lead to Rs 70,000 crore domestic orders for pressurised heat water reactors and create 33,400 direct and indirect jobs.
  • Once completed, the 10 reactors of 700 MW each will give much needed fillip to the domestic nuclear industry.
Cabinet approves Faculty Exchange between NDC, New Delhi and NDC, Dhaka
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Faculty Exchange Agreement signed between the National Defence College, New Delhi and National Defence College, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The objective of the Agreement is to institutionalize regular exchange programs and establish sustainable mechanisms between the two National Defence Colleges with an aim to enhancing mutual cooperation in the field of national security, development and strategic studies.
India's first ornamental fish park to come up at Chennai
  • India's first Aquatic Rainbow Technology Park, an ultra modern exclusive facility for ornamental fish and live feed culture units, will become started at Chennai within coming three months.
  • This facility was developed by Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), Ponneri in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu is the second largest exporter of ornamental fish after West Bengal.
IIEST creates India's first smart Grid project
  • The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) has successfully created the country's first smart grid project, which will generate power from renewable sources of energy.
  • The project will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
  • Depending on the weather conditions and availability of waste products the smart grid will be synchronised to generate power from solar, wind and vegetable waste resources.
Jammu & Kashmir to host 14th GST Council meet in Srinagar
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government is hosting the 14th Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council meeting in the capital Srinagar.
  • The meeting of the GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • The State General Administration Department has appointed 69 Kashmir Administrative Service officers (KAS) as liaison officers for the meeting.
  • The GST is a value added tax and is proposed to be an indirect tax levied on the manufacture, sale, and consumption of goods as well as services by the Central and State Government.
Indian Army gets its First Artillery Gun in 30 Years
  • Indian Army will get its first artillery guns called M777 from British Aerospace Systems (BAE).
  • Swedish Bofors guns were inducted in late1980 after which Army has not inducted any modern artillery guns.
  • The two M777 howitzers guns will be used for compilation of firing tables.
  • The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers have been bought to increase the army’s capabilities in high altitude.
  • Indian Army has a plan to use 3503 guns by 2020.