Daily Update On Current Affairs – May 31, 2017

Current affairs

Goa To Ban Plastic From July 2017

current affairsThe Goa State government has decided to ban buying and selling of plastic bags below 50 microns. Goa has already banned the use of plastic bags below 40 microns. The ban will come to effect July onwards. Initially, violators of the ban will be asked to pay a fine of Rs.500 and subsequently the fine amount would be raised to Rs 5000 depending upon the initiative’s success. The move of the government is aimed at tackling the menace of garbage and litter in public places. Thin plastic bags tends to cause floods by choking the drains and are easily carried by wind and water in flood planes thus increasing the flooding of public places during rains. The state government also plans to simultaneously collect garbage dumped on highways to increase cleanliness in the tourist state.

India and Fiji Sign MOU

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India and Fiji has signed an MoU on defence cooperation after delegation level talks between the Minister of Defence, Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley and the Minister of Defence and National Security of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in New Delhi. The MoU envisaged cooperation in defence industry, military training, humanitarian assistance & disaster management. In particular, Defence partnership as well as the maritime security and naval cooperation were identified as an area of promise. The MoU provides for stepping up of defence and security ties in defence production and military training.

Southwest monsoon hits Kerala, North East

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The Indian Meteorological Department said that conditions are ‘favourable’ for the onset of South-West monsoon in Kerala by today.  IMD Thiruvananthapuram, Director S Sudevan said, while south Kerala has been receiving widespread rains since yesterday, only few places have received rains in the northern parts. However, it is likely to improve by today. Rain and thundershowers are most likely to occur in most places in Kerala in the next five days. Strong winds from the westerly direction with speed occasionally exceeding 45-55 kmph, are likely off the coast of Kerala over Lakshadweep.

India and Germany sign several agreements including Cyber security

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, terrorism and radicalization need to be contained firmly. Addressing the media along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, he said, terrorism has been a challenge at the global level, therefore countries need to unite to counter this menace. Mr Modi said, India and Germany are moving forward and complement each other in economic development. Earlier, the two sides signed several MoUs and agreements including cyber security and development cooperation for sustainable Urban Development. The Prime Minister said, the fast track mechanism implemented by the Government and specifically for Germany has brought about a quantum jump in economic relations between the two countries. He appreciated the German Chancellor’s vision at global level and also at the EU front. Mr Modi also opined that intelligence sharing was the need of the hour and cyber security was to be addressed by real time technology.

RBI to introduce new Rs 1 notes

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The Reserve Bank of India has announced that new one rupee note have been printed by the government and will be soon put into circulation. The one rupee note was discontinued in 1994 because it was more expensive to produce such notes when compared to the one-rupee coins. In the following year, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 notes were also discontinued to free up printing facilities for higher denomination notes. However, these old notes continue to remain in circulation and continue to remain as legal tenders. The new Re.1 one will be predominantly pink-green on the obverse and reverse in combination with other colours. The new one rupee note will bear the rupee symbol. It will be 9.7 by 8.3 cm in dimension. The new note will feature ‘Bharat Sarkar’ on its masthead, and ‘Government of India’ printed below that. In contrast all the other currencies in India has ‘Bharatiya Reserve Bank’ and ‘Reserve Bank of India’ printed on them. This is because the one-rupee note has always been issued by the central government.  The watermarks of the Re 1 note will include the Ashoka Pillar, the hidden numeral “1” and the hidden word “Bharat” in Hindi. The note will also feature an image of the ‘Sagar Samrat’ (the oil exploration rig). 

Scope for rationalization of GST rates: Revenue Secretary Adhia

current affairs
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has said, there is scope for rationalization of tax rates fixed for Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. He was speaking at a townhall meeting with the industry in Bengaluru. Mr Adhia said, the intention of the government is not to increase the taxes but to increase the revenue by implementing GST.  He said, it would bring transparency, simplification and efficiency in tax administration and help in curbing tax evasion and thereby leading to tax buoyancy. The Revenue Secretary said, GST is a major customer-friendly indirect tax reform. The GST Council, headed by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising of his state counterparts, had earlier this month fitted over 1,200 goods and 500 services in the tax slab of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. GST, which will unify 16 different levies, will come into effect from the 1st of July.

National Federation of the Blind opposes GST

current affairs
The National Federation of the Blind has objected to the proposed GST rates on assistive devices, special equipment and Braille papers.  Federation’s General Secretary SK Rungta submitted a memorandum to Finance Minister Arun Jataily demanding that these items should continue in the list of zero GST items. The federation representatives also met Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot over the issue.

Madras High Court stays ban on sale of cattle for slaughter

current affairs
The Madras High Court today stayed by four weeks the enforcement of the Centre’s contentious notification banning sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. The interim order of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court came following protests in some states including Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the measure. Under relentless opposition attack, the government, meanwhile, said it was examining “issues” raised by some state governments and trade organisations. A defiant West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday called the new rules “undemocratic and unconstitutional” and declared it would be challenged legally. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed the ban “anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular”, and shot off letters to his counterparts in other states asking them to “stand together” and oppose it. He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the new regulations. A division bench of the high court comprising Justices M V Muralidharan and C V Karthikeyan today ordered a stay on the execution of the notification on two PILs for four weeks by when it directed the Centre to file its counter-affidavit on the petitions.

Short-term outlook remains bullish for gold

current affairs
Gold prices remained steady last week. Lack of fresh triggers kept the prices broadly range-bound for most part of the week. Though the global spot, gold prices fell initially from around 1,263 per ounce, they found strong support at 1,248 and managed to bounce back in the later part of the week. The spot prices had closed in the green for the second consecutive week at 1,266 per ounce, up by about 1 per cent, for the week. On the domestic front, the future contract of gold on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) moved in tandem with global spot prices and had closed the week higher by 1 per cent at Rs 28,888 per 10 gm. Silver, on the other hand, outperformed gold by surging about 3 per cent last week. The global spot silver prices rose above the psychological resistance level of 17 per ounce and closed the week on a strong note at 17.31 per ounce. The MCX-Silver futures contract also surged 3 per cent last week and closed at Rs 40,091 per kg.

Pentagon successfully tests ICBM defense system for first time

current affairs
The United States of America has for the first time successfully tested its defence system against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Missile Defense Agency said that a ground-based interceptor was launched at a California air base and shot down a mock ballistic missile.  The Pentagon said the test was long-planned but it comes amid increased tensions with North Korea. The test comes after Pyongyang fired its ninth missile this year. Yesterday MDA Director Vice Adm Jim Syring called the test a critical milestone. It was the first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-Based Missile Defense.

May 31- World No Tobacco Day

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‘World No Tobacco Day’ is observed around the world every year on May 31. This year World No Tobacco Day, WNTD, is focusing on the theme tobacco as a threat to development. This theme has been set by the World Health Organization, WHO.  The campaign aims to demonstrate the threats that the tobacco industry poses to sustainable development, including the health and economic well-being of citizens in all countries. It is intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe.  The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to nearly 6 million deaths each year worldwide, including 600,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. The member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day in 1987. In the past twenty nine years, the day has been met with both enthusiasm and resistance around the globe from governments, public health organizations, smokers, growers, and the tobacco industry.

Dasari Narayana Rao passes away, aged 75

current affairs
Former union minister and renowned film director Dasari Narayana Rao passed away in Hyderabad yesterday. He was 75. Mr Dasari has been suffering from various health complications for the past few months and he breathed his last while undergoing treatment in a private hospital last night. Dasari Narayana Rao’s final rites will be held in Hyderabad today with state honours. Born in 1942 in Palakollu in Andhra Pradesh, Dasari directed 151 pictures in Telugu and other languages and had several super hit films to his credit. He entered into Guiness book of Records for directing highest number of films. 

‘Super-Earth’ found 21 light years away may host alien life

current affairs
Scientists have discovered a potentially habitable Earth-like planet, located just 21 light years away, that may host liquid water on its surface. US Scientists found that the planet, with a mass between two and three times the Earth, resides at the edge of the habitable zone of its host star Gliese 625. They said, the discovered planet is a relatively cool star, the planet is situated at the edge of its habitability zone, in which liquid water can exist on its surface. Researchers said, this is the sixth super-Earth closest to our solar system in the habitability zone or in goldilocks zone of its star. Goldilocks zone refers to the distance of a planet from a star means the planet is neither too hot, nor too cold to support liquid water, which is a key ingredient for life.

US Researchers find new ways to slow down the growth of cancer cells

current affairsIn US, researchers from the University of Rochester has identified a new way to slow down the growth of cancer cells. The new method, reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, involves a certain protein called Tudor-SN and the gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. The findings were made in kidney and cervical cancer cells in the laboratory and are a long way from being applied to people.

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