Current Affairs Update -18 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 18 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, BOB Manipal, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 18 May, 2017

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will
    inaugurate the Annual Meetings of the
    African Development Bank (AfDB)
    on May 23. This is the first time in the
    history of AfDB Group that India would be hosting the Annual Meetings of the
    bank.
  2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs on 17 May 2017 gave its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative
    Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for
    biopharmaceuticals – “Innovate in
    India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive
    innovation
    .”
  3. The Union Cabinet, presided by
    the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave a green signal for the
    construction of 10 units of India’s
    indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR).
     
  4. Brand Finance report of 2017 has
    listed Tata Group as the most valuable
    brand in India with India at an estimated brand value of $13.1 billion
    .
    Brand Finance is a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm and it
    released its Brand Finance India 100 2017 report on 17 May 2017.
  5. The Union Cabinet, presided by
    the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave ex-post facto approval to
    Pan-India implementation of Maternity
    Benefit Program.
  6. The International Court of
    Justice (ICJ) on 18 May 2017 stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav till
    its final decision. Ruling in favour of India, the Court asked Pakistan to keep
    it informed about the measures, including on consular access, taken by it in
    this connection.
  7. Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Union
    Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the 15th National meeting of the State
    Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities (PwD)
    on 17 May 2017.
  8. Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious Dan David prize 2017 for his contribution in the field of
    astronomy. He was awarded in the ‘Future’ category which is dedicated to
    astronomy this year.
  9. Two Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman on 18 May 2017 won the annual
    Whitley Awards, popularly known as the ‘Green
    Oscars’, for their works in the
    field of animal and bird conservation in India.
  10. Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan was today given additional charge of Environment Ministry,
    due to sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.
  11. Robert Mueller, former
    Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was appointed a special
    prosecutor to oversee the Russian interference in the 2016 United States
    elections.
  12. Veteran actress Reema Lagoo died on 18 May 2017 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. She
    reportedly suffered a massive cardiac arrest.
  13. Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passed away
    on 18 May 2017 following a brief illness at AIIMS Hospital, Delhi.

Financial and Banking News
PM to inaugurate Annual Meetings of African Development Bank

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will
    inaugurate the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on May
    23.
  • This is the first time in the
    history of AfDB Group that India would be hosting the Annual Meetings of the
    bank. The meetings are to be held from May 22 to 26 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
    The core theme of the event is “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation
    in Africa”.
  • About 3,000 delegates from 81
    member countries are expected to gather at the sprawling Mahatma Mandir
    Convention Centre, an official release said.
  • India would seek to leverage this
    occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries,
    the release added. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on
    the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative.
CCEA approves Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs on 17 May 2017 gave its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative
    Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for
    biopharmaceuticals – “Innovate in India (13) empowering biotech
    entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation.”
  • The Mission will be funded by the
    Government of India. It will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research
    Assistance Council (BIRAC), which is a Public Sector Undertaking of Department
    of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • The Industry-Academia Collaborative
    Mission would be a Pan-India program.
  • Its key focus areas is preparing
    India’s technological and product development capabilities in the
    biopharmaceutical sector to a level that it is globally competitive over the
    next 10-15 years.
  • It also aims at transforming the
    health standards of India’s population through affordable product development.
CCEA approves electrified doubling line between Phephana-Indara and
Mau-Shahganj in UP

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs (CCEA) on 17 May 2017 approved the construction of double line with
    electrification between Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj (excluding Indara-Mau)
    in Uttar Pradesh (UP). This electrified doubling line will spread across 150 km
    approximately.
  • The respective length of the
    Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj lines will be 50.53 km and 99.75 km
    respectively.
  • The estimated cost of the Project
    will be Rs 1028.95 crore with expected completion cost of Rs 1190.98 crore. The
    project is likely to be completed in next five years.
  • The doubling of these lines will
    remove the pressure over the congested North Central Railway route by providing
    an alternative route. It will lead to economic prosperity and development of
    the areas.
CCEA approves restructuring plan for Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017
    approved a restructuring plan for Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd (HOCL).
  • This came following the
    observation that Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd became a more of a loss making
    and sick Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of
    Chemicals & Petrochemicals.
  • The company has been making
    continuous cash losses since 2011-12 resulting in acute shortage of working
    capital. It had not been paying regular salary and statutory dues to the
    employees since February 2015. Most of its plants have remained shut down
    during the last few years.
  • The company have its units at
    Rasayani (Maharashtra) and Kochi (Kerala).
Union Cabinet approves construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous
Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors

  • The Union Cabinet, presided by
    the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave a green signal for the
    construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors
    (PHWR). 
  • The move aims to fast-track
    India’s domestic nuclear power programme and give a push to country’s nuclear
    industry.
  • The 10 PHWR project will result
    in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity. The total
    installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW.
  • In a first of its kind project
    for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in fleet mode
    as a fully homegrown initiative. It would be one of the flagship “Make in
    India” projects in this sector.
  • At present, the installed nuclear
    power capacity of Indian is 6780 MW from 22 operational plants.

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Reports
Tata Group is India’s most valuable brand: Brand Finance

  • Brand Finance report of 2017 has
    listed Tata Group as the most valuable brand in India with India at an
    estimated brand value of $13.1 billion. Brand Finance is a global brand
    valuation and strategy consultancy firm and it released its Brand Finance India
    100 2017 report on 17 May 2017.
  • The Tata group topped the list of
    India’s 100 most valuable brands once again even after its value declined by 4
    per cent to $ 13.1 billion in 2017 from $ 13.7 billion in 2016. It says, the
    decline of the brand value by 4 per cent is lesser than the decline of 11 per
    cent which was seen between 2015 and 2016.
  • Tata Group that was ranked at the
    top position in the list is followed by Telecom operator Airtel (2nd) with an
    estimated valuation of $7.7 billion, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)
    (3rd) with $6.8 billion, IT firm Infosys (4th) with value of $6.2 billion and
    State Bank of India (SBI) (5th) value of $5.5 billion respectively.
Key facts about the India’s 100 most valuable brands

  • In 2017, the total brand value of
    India’s top 100 brands increased by 15 per cent, while the global average is 11
    per cent.
  • According to Brand Finance, 68 of
    India’s 100 most valuable brands have grown in value in 2017.
  • Air carrier Indigo Airlines,
    which gained the most, has jumped from No. 95 in 2016 to No. 62 in 2017 in the
    Brand Finance list. It happened after the airline added 35 new routes and
    increased frequency on existing routes.
  • The report says that
    Kolkata-based cigarette-to-noodles maker ITC that was is India’s only AAA rated
    brand with a Brand Strength Index score of 86. The report has ranked ITC as the
    most powerful brand in India.
News related to India and states
Union Cabinet approves pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit
Program

  • The Union Cabinet, presided by
    the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave ex-post facto approval to
    Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program.
  • The Program has been extended to
    all districts of the country with effect from 1 January 2017.
  • The Maternity Benefit Program
    will grant compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that
    the women can take adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived
    of proper nutrition.
  • The total cost of the proposal
    for the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2020 including Union and State
    Governments share is Rs. 12661 crore. The Government of India’s share during
    the period is around Rs. 7932 crore.
  • The Pregnant Women and Lactating
    Mother will be given the benefit of Rs. 5000 in three instalments for the birth
    of the first live child by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development
    and the remaining cash incentive as per approved norms towards Maternity
    Benefit under existing programmes after institutional delivery so that on an
    average, a woman will get Rs. 6000.
ICJ stays Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution till final order

  • The International Court of
    Justice (ICJ) on 18 May 2017 stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav till its
    final decision. Ruling in favour of India, the Court asked Pakistan to keep it
    informed about the measures, including on consular access, taken by it in this
    connection.
  • Reading out the verdict at The
    Hague, Netherlands, ICJ President Ronny Abraham said that India has the right
    to consular access to Jadhav under Vienna convention. He said the court
    considers that it has prima facie jurisdiction in the matter as there is a
    dispute between the parties.
  • He said acts alleged by India
    fall in the Vienna convention which guarantees state to be given access to its
    citizen. He added the rights invoked by India under the Vienna Convention are
    plausible.
  • After the order, the External
    Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the ICJ order has come as a great relief to
    the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India. She also said that the
    union government is grateful to Harish Salve for presenting India’s case so
    effectively before ICJ.
Cabinet Minister Inaugurated 15th National Meeting for Persons with
Disabilities

  • Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Union
    Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the 15th National
    meeting of the State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) on 17
    May 2017.
  • The two-days meet aims to review
    the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection
    of rights and Full Participation) Act-1995 and formulate a strategy for its
    more effective implementation.
  • It has been organised by the
    Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under the Department
    of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, which is under the Ministry of
    Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The meet saw in attendance
    Kamlesh Pande, the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and N.S.
    Kang, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
Awards & Honors
Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni wins Dan David Prize 2017

  • Indian scientist Shrinivas
    Kulkarni on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious Dan David prize 2017 for his
    contribution in the field of astronomy. He was awarded in the ‘Future’ category
    which is dedicated to astronomy this year.
  • He will share the award with
    Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA for their
    discoveries on time-domain astrophysics.
  • Kulkarni is a professor of
    astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in
    Pasadena.
  • He is a pioneer and leading
    figure in time-domain astrophysics across the electromagnetic spectrum who
    built and conducted the Palomar Transient Factory, a large-area survey of the
    night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena.
  • This survey has turned up
    thousands of stellar explosions and has transformed the knowledge about the
    transient sky.
Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman win Whitley Awards
2017

  • Two Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi
    and Purnima Barman on 18 May 2017 won the annual Whitley Awards, popularly
    known as the ‘Green Oscars’, for their works in the field of animal and bird
    conservation in India.
  • These two Indians are among six
    global winners of the award shortlisted from 166 entries.
The other winners of this year’s
awards include

  • Indira Lacerna-Widmann from the
    Philippines
  • Ian Little from South Africa
  • Alexander Blanco from Venezuela
  • Ximena Velez-Liendo from Bolivia
Each winner will receive 35000
pounds prize money in project funding over one year. The Whitley Awards or
Green Oscars are organised by UK-based 
Whitley Fund for Nature to highlight grassroots leaders in nature conservation
across the developing world.
Appointments
Harsh Vardhan gets additional charge of Environment Ministry

  • Science and Technology Minister
    Harsh Vardhan was today given additional charge of Environment Ministry, due to
    sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee, as
    advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has directed that Harsh Vardhan,
    Cabinet Minister shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Environment,
    Forest and Climate Change, in addition to his exiting portfolios, a press
    release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
  • Harsh Vardhan is also the
    Minister of Earth Sciences.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller named Special Counsel for Russia
Probe

  • Robert Mueller, former Director
    of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was appointed a special prosecutor
    to oversee the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
  • The appointment was announced by
    Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on 17 May 2017.
Obituaries
Veteran actress Reema Lagoo passes away

  • Veteran actress Reema Lagoo died
    on 18 May 2017 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. She reportedly suffered a
    massive cardiac arrest. She was 59.
  • Lagoo who appeared in several
    Hindi and Marathi films also acted in numerous television shows like Tu Tu Main
    Main and Shrimaan Shrimati.
  • She played the role of a mother
    in several Bollywood films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Aashiqui, Saajan, Hum Aapke
    Hain Kaun, Vaastav, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Aruna Raje’s
    Rihaee, Gumrah, Jai Kishen, Gumrah and Hum Saath-Saath Hain.
  • Her mother Mandakini Bhadbhade
    was also an actor and a well-known name in the Marathi theatre.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passes away

  • Union Environment Minister Anil
    Madhav Dave passed away on 18 May 2017 following a brief illness at AIIMS
    Hospital, Delhi. He was 60.
  • The minister was last seen in
    meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 May 2017 itself.
  • Dave took charge as Union
    Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in July 2016.
  • He was elected to the Rajya Sabha
    in August 2009. Before being appointed as a member of Rajya Sabha, he was
    appointed as a Member of Committee on Water Resources.

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