September 28, 2019

National

  1. KVIC Distributes 1000 Bee Boxes, 100 Pottery Wheels and Leather Kits in Agartala
  • To commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and to support the weaker section of the society in Agartala,Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) organized a distribution of 1000 Bee Boxes, 100 Pottery Wheels and 100 Advanced Leather Tool kits 100 Farmers, 100 Potters and 100 Leather Artisans.
  • Chief Minister of Tripura ShriBiplab Kumar Deb was Chief Guest, in presence of Chairman, KVIC Shri VK Saxena.
  • Tripura has a lot of potential of Bee Keeping and Pottery because of large scale cultivation of rubber plants and use of traditional terracotta products in their households.
  • The event witnessed a huge turnout of artisans from nearby districts of Agartala. Nearly 20% of the beneficiaries of the equipment distribution were women, and around 80% of the total beneficiaries belonged to the marginalized communities
  1. VP Venkaiah Naidu to inaugurate an LPG bottling plant of BPCL in Bolangir, Odisha
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to visit Balangir district of Odisha to inaugurate an LPG bottling plant of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and to attend the platinum jubilee function of Rajendra College in Balangir.
  • The bottling plant has been established at an expenditure of 103 crore rupees and has capacity of manufacturing 42 lakh cylinders annually.
  • The bottling plant will benefit residents of 14 western Odisha districts. BPCL has 21 lakh, 59 thousand customers, in Odisha who consume approximately 78 lakh cylinders in a year. It stated that the consumption is expected to increase to 105 lakh cylinders by the end of 2020.
  • The State will soon have seven LPG bottling plants with two more plants coming up at Bhubaneswar and Rayagada. While the current bottling capacity of the existing four plants is 2 crore 80 lakh cylinders per annum, the bottling capacity will increase to 4 crore 6 lakh cylinders annually once all seven plants start production.
  1. HRD Minister launches five documents developed by UGC
  • Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank launched the five documents developed by University Grants Commission, UGC covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate in New Delhi .
  • These five documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity.
  • Speaking on the occasion Mr.Nishankstated to improve the quality in Higher Educational Institutions, UGC has adopted the Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate.
  • The quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.

State

  1. Tsunami victims remembered on 15th anniversary in Tamil Nadu
  • The victims of the deadly 2004 Tsunami that struck the Tamil Nadu coast were remembered , with a slew of memorial events marking the 15th anniversary of the natural disaster.
  • On December 26, 2004, a masssive tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake in Indonesia struck the south Indian coast on a Sunday morning.
  • Giant waves swallowed many, with Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts bearing the brunt, even as nearly 7,000 people were killed in Tamil Nadu.
  • People of over 64 fishing hamlets in Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts observed the anniversary by taking out candle processions and paying floral tributes at memorials.
  • In different places, as part of the memorials, flowers were strewn on the sea while milk was poured, even as people were seen getting emotional remembering the deceased ones.
  • Fishermen stayed off the sea in many places.
  1. Massive locust invasion threatens Gujarat farmers
  • Sharing borders with neighbouringPakistan, Gujarat is under attack from hoppers — new-born locusts — that have flown in across the international border.
  • As the swarms mature, they have ravaged farms in North Gujarat, devastating farmers in the three border districts Banaskantha, Patanand
  • The locusts, known as tiddislocally, have wreaked havoc on standing crops of castor, cumin, jatropha, cotton, and potato, and fodder grass in around 20 talukas.
  • Gujarat has not witnessed such an invasion of locusts since 1993-94.
  • Among the four districts, Banaskantha is the worst affected. The insects fly in during the day and settle on the farms at night making it difficult to ward off the swarms. The farmers under seige are hiring workers and using age old techniques like beating drums and vessels to scare the locusts away without much success
  1. Delhi restaurants will now have menus in Braille
  • The Delhi State Commissioner of Person with Disabilities (PWD) has recently passed an order to almost 400 hotel and restaurants stating that they should print menus in Braille for the benefit of the visually impaired.
  • “All the members which are part of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) have been instructed to implement the order given by the court. Many PwD people who visit hotels maybe alone and Braille would be very helpful.
  • As per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016access to public services is mandatory,”
  • The booklet should be uploaded in the website of Ministry of Tourism, FHRAI and each hotel and restaurant and appropriate directives should be issued to every hotel and restaurant owner to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act

International

  1. Italy Approves 3% Digital Tax On Large Tech Companies From Next Year
  • Italy has recently decided to implement a new tax on technology giants that will put a three per centdigital tax on companies like Google and Amazon.
  • According to global figures, technology companies make over $831 million in global revenue and approximately $6million from transactions and operation in Italy alone.
  • This recent move comes after France had passed a similar tax earlier this year.
  • The Italian Parliament passed the law this week and is scheduled to come into force from January 1, the tax that Italy is planning to implement from January 1 is very similar to the one that France implemented earlier this year and similar to France is expected to undergo severe criticism from the United States.

Banking & Finance

  1. NPCI offers recharge option for FASTag through BHIM UPI
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) stated that customers can recharge NETC FASTags through BHIM UPI.
  • Any BHIM UPI-enabled mobile app would now give vehicle owners the opportunity to recharge their FASTags on the go and avoid queues at toll plazas.
  • The National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) is a programme designed to meet the electronic tolling needs of the Indian market.
  • It offers an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution including clearinghouse services for settlement and dispute management.
  • FASTaghas been made mandatory on national highways throughout the country from December 15, 2019.
  • It is a simple to use, reloadable tag fixed on the windscreen of a vehicle, which enables automatic deduction of toll charges from the prepaid or savings to account linked to it while the vehicle is in motion.
  1. Pine Labs partners with Kotak Mahindra Bank to enable EMIs on Kotak debit cards
  • Pine Labs, one of India’s largest merchant-focused companies and Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) announced a tie-up to enable EMI payments via Kotak Debit Cards. This arrangement enables over 10 million eligible Kotak debit card customers to pay for their purchases in easy instalments via the Pine Labs POS terminals.
  • Pine Labs has a network of over 150,000 merchants across India. It will be a win-win proposition for both consumers and merchants as EMIs extend the power of affordability to consumers.
  • The minimum purchase value to avail EMIs on Kotak Debit Cards facility is 8,000 and customers have the flexibility to repay the loanover a tenure of 3 months to 12 months. To begin with, EMIs on Kotak Debit Cards is available on consumer electronic and mobile phone categories and will later be extended to fashion as well as medical cosmetology products.
  • Its aim is to provide affordable, flexible and easy EMI options on a range of products so that bank’s customers can break their high-value purchases into affordable instalments at no extra cost.

Sports

  1. James Anderson becomes first fast bowler to play 150 Tests
  • England’s leading pacer James Andersonbecame the first fast bowler in the history of Test cricket to make 150 appearances. He achieved the rare feat while making a return from injury during the first Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park.
  • The 37-year-old made a terrific comeback as he scalped Dean Elgar with the very first ball he bowled.
  • After Anderson, his compatriot Stuart Broad is second on the list with 135 Test appearances. Former West Indies pacer Courtney Walsh comes next with 132 Tests appearances.
  • Anderson also became the ninth cricketer to reach the 150-Test milestone — joining the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh and Jacques Kallis.
  • Anderson, who made his Test debut at the age of 20, is the leading wicket-taker for England in Test cricket.
  • Former captain Alastair Cook holds the distinction of being the most capped Test player for England. Cook played 161 Tests in which he scored 12,472 runs, including 33 centuries.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to step down
  • Boeing’s CEO is resigning amid ongoing problems at the company over the troubled Max 737 aircraft.
  • The board of directors stated that Dennis Muilenburg is stepping down immediately.
  • The board’s current chairman, David Calhoun, will become president and CEO on Jan. 13.

Books

  1. “Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games” written by BoriaMajumdar with Nalin Mehta
  • “Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games” written by BoriaMajumdar with Nalin Mehta will be brought out by HarperCollins India in January 2020.
  • The book provides an inside view of what goes on backstage in the Indian Olympics world alongside a quick history of how India has fared at the Olympics over the past century and a look at how the Indian Olympics world has changed in the last decade.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. IIT-Hyderabad researchers unravel protein that repairs DNA
  • In the evolution of life forms, what determines the formation of a bacteria? It’s the Deoxyribonucleaci Acid (DNA), which is the blueprint of the life form.
  • It also encodes the directions that the life form must take.
  • Any damage to the DNA causes a range of diseases and problems.
  • Nature has evolved techniques to not only protect the DNA but also repair it to an extent. In humans, one such repair mechanism involves activation of a special class of proteins called ‘DNA repair proteins’.
  • In a significant development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) have unravelled the mechanism of action of a protein ( alkB homolog 3, or ALKBH3) that repairs damaged DNA.
  1. Healthcare start-up Qure.ai develops software to provide fast and accurate diagnosis of Tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis kills around 5 million people every year in India and one of the reasons behind this is a late diagnosis of the infectious disease, reports reveal. To deal with this scenario, healthcare start-up Qure.ai has developed software qXR using a database of 2.5 million X-rays, which provides fast and accurate diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB).
  • ai’sqXR is designed to screen and prioritise abnormal chest X-rays and individuals suspected of TB, says Prashant Warier, CEO and co-founder, Qure.ai, which was one of the recipients of the India Health Fund TB Quest Awards given for innovations in the area of TB elimination.
  • The algorithm automatically identifies 19 most common chest X-ray abnormalities. A subset of these abnormalities, which can diagnose typical and atypical pulmonary TB, is combined to generate a ‘Tuberculosis screening’ algorithm within the product.
  • Meanwhile, Qure.ai has collaborated with PATH, a non-profit global health organisation. TheqXR TB solution was deployed at primary healthcare centres and it showcased a successful model for rapid and accurate TB screening.
January 25, 2020

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