Current Affairs Update – 25-28 August, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 25 to 28 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.

Banking & Financial
News
Sitharaman sets up Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for Economic
Transformation

  • The Union Government on 25 August
    2017 constituted a task force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the country’s
    Economic Transformation. The 18-member panel, headed by Dr V. Kamakoti of IIT
    Madras, will comprise of experts, academics, researchers and industry leaders.
  • The panel has been asked to
    explore the possibilities to leverage Artificial Intelligence for development
    across various fields. The task force will submit concrete and implementable
    recommendations for government, industry and research institutions.
In addition to regular members,
official participation from the following organizations shall also be
requested:
1. NITI Aayog
2. Department of Science &
Technology
3. Ministry of Electronics and
Information Technology
4. DRDO
5. UIDAI

  • Commerce and Industry Minister
    Nirmala Sitharaman who constituted the task force on Artificial Intelligence
    said that with rapid development in the fields of information technology and hardware,
    the world is about to witness a fourth industrial revolution.
  • She said driven by the power of
    big data, high computing capacity, artificial intelligence and analytics,
    Industry 4.0 aims to digitise the manufacturing sector.
Union Government restricts import of gold, silver items from South
Korea

  • The Union government on 25 August
    2017 restricted gold and silver imports from South Korea.
  • The decision was formally
    announced by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in the Union
    Commerce Ministry through a notification, which read, “Imports from South Korea
    of articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad
    with precious metal, articles of goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares and parts
    thereof and coins are restricted.”
  • The move was made in a bid to
    check a sudden increase in inbound shipments of precious metals from the
    country. The importers will now have to obtain a license from the DGFT for
    importing gold and silver from South Korea.
  • India is the world’s biggest gold
    consumer after China and it imposes a 10 percent import duty on gold and
    silver.
  • The customs duty does not apply
    to countries with which India has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), like South
    Korea.  India had signed a free trade agreement
    with the nation in January 2010.
  • To avoid duty-free imports from
    the countries it has signed FTAs with, the Indian government previously imposed
    a 12.5 percent excise duty, which was replaced along with other local taxes
    when the goods and services tax (GST) was introduced on 1 July 2017.
  • The imports now attract only 3
    percent integrated GST. The imported gold and silver items mainly take care of
    the demand by the jewellery industry.
  • The collections from customs duty
    and Integrated-GST (IGST) from imports post implementation of GST almost
    doubled to Rs 30000 Cr in July. Gold imports contributed significantly to this
    increased collection.
  • Some trading houses also started
    importing gold from South Korea without paying the import tax.
  • Between 1 July and 3 August 2017
    alone, gold imports from South Korea jumped to USD 338.6 million. The import in
    2016-17 stood at USD 70.46 million.
Microsoft India to develop ‘farm price forecasting model’ for Karnataka
farmers

  • The Agriculture Department of
    Karnataka has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with software giant
    Microsoft India to develop a unique ‘farm price forecasting model’.
  • The first-of-its-kind initiative
    will use the latest IT tools to aid farmers, administrators and other
    stakeholders to understand the market behaviour in advance. The move will
    enable the farmers of Karnataka, who struggle with the market’s
    unpredictability, to be more prepared.
  • The project is being supervised
    by the Karnataka Agriculture Prices Commission (KAPC).
  • The initiative will be a
    “multi-variate” platform that will take into consideration various factors
    beyond conventional supply-demand equation while forecasting prices of crops.
  • It will examine a number of
    related factors including weather, rainfall and external factors, which impact
    market behaviour.
  • It would also provide real-time
    market data and help analyse its implications on the farm sector.
  • The main aim behind the project
    is to achieve a sense of predictability as well as stability in farm incomes.
  • Knowing the market situation in
    advance would help farmers, policy makers and industry make informed decisions.
  • It would also help the government
    be prepared for market intervention if there is any indication of price crash.
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Australian Trade Minister to lead ‘Business Week’ in India

  • Australia’s Minister for Trade,
    Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo will lead a major mission named to India –
    the second Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) – to India. The mission
    scheduled to be held from 28 August to 1 September 2017 will aim at deepening
    the collaboration between the two nations in different fields.
  • Fields that will be covered
    during the visit include agri-business and food, higher education and research
    and smart cities and infrastructure, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism
    and Investment.
  • According to a statement, 2nd
    ABWI arranged by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission will attract
    many business leaders. The statement says that over 50 business events and
    activities with Indian business and government, will take place across the six
    cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
  • Leonie Muldoon, Senior Trade and
    Investment Commissioner – South Asia, said at the Australian Trade and
    Investment Commission that the ABWI is a significant platform which can be
    leveraged by Australian businesses to take a closer look at what India has to
    offer and to engage with potential partners and customers in specific areas of
    mutual business opportunity.
News related to India & States
PM Narendra Modi announces ‘Cleanliness is Service’ campaign

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
    27 August 2017 announced the launching of 15-days ‘Cleanliness is Service’
    campaign ahead of the 2 October 2017 (Gandhi Jayanti). The announcement was
    made during the radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
  • PM Modi asked people to undertake
    the ‘Cleanliness is Service’ or ‘Swachchta Hi Seva’ campaign to promote the
    creation of an environment of cleanliness while marking the third anniversary
    ‘Swachch Bharat’ programme that was launched on 2 October 2014.
  • The campaign shall be on the
    lines of ‘Jal Seva, Yahi Prabhu Seva’ (Service of water is the Service to God).
    The campaign can be undertaken utilising the festivals like Diwali, Navratra
    and Durga Puja.
  • The campaign will be promoted
    through social media in the form of essay competitions in any language, short
    film competitions and painting competitions.
  • Apart from this, PM Modi also
    announced that this year, Gandhi Jayanti will be celebrated as ‘Swachch Do
    Aktoobar, Clean 2nd October’.
  • More than 230000 villages have
    been declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ till date and about 67 per cent population
    has toilets now.
Union Government inaugurates production of Light Combat Helicopter at
HAL

  • Union Defence Minister Arun
    Jaitley on 26 August 2017 launched the production of 5.8-tonne category Light
    Combat Helicopter (LCH), designed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
    (HAL).
  • Earlier in November 2016, the
    Defence Ministry had cleared a Rs 2911 crore procurement of 15 LCHs as a
    Limited Series Production (LSP) order, with estimated cost of Rs 200 crore per
    helicopter. However, the final cost comes out to Rs 231 crore per LCH at
    2017-18 prices.
  • HAL is responsible for the
    design, development and manufacture of these LCHs.
Kerala Government has launched E-waste disposal in state schools

  • Kerala government has begun
    e-waste disposal in its state schools with about 12500 kg being disposed state
    wide on a single day under a programme aimed at clearing the accumulated junk.
  • The programme is a joint
    initiative of Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE),
    formerly [email protected] project and Clean Kerala Company.
  • The initiative mainly aims to
    dispose e-waste such as desktop computers, CRT monitors, laptops, disk drives,
    printers, UPS, camera, speaker system, television, network components and
    generators from 10,000 odd schools and educational offices in the state.
  • The accumulated junk is reported
    to be over 1 Cr kg.
  • The first vehicle carrying the e-waste
    from a school was flagged off on 24 August.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches rooftop solar programme

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen
    Patnaik launched a grid-connected rooftop solar programme through a
    net-metering system at the State Secretariat in the capital city of Bhubaneswar
    on 23 August 2017.
  • The solar programme will be
    implemented by Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA). It mainly
    aims at harnessing renewable solar capacity through people’s participation to
    further strengthen the grid and reduce power losses in the state, benefiting
    the public. It also aims to help the state in addressing the climate change
    action plan.
  • Under the programme, consumers
    would be able to install small subsidised solar plants on their rooftops and consume
    the generated solar power during the day time.
  • Consumers would also be able to
    export excess power to the grid through their service cables.
  • The additional solar power
    generated could be exported through net-meter, a special type of meter that will
    be provided by the respective power distribution companies.
  • The difference between buying
    from the grid and selling to it will be billed to the consumer.
  • The Net-Metre will enable the
    consumer to reduce consumption of electricity by using solar power and
    simultaneously get a reduced bill on account of selling solar power to the
    grid.
  • A consumer would require an
    investment of about Rs 70,000 per kW for a rooftop solar system.
  • The investment on a rooftop solar
    system is about Rs 70,000 per kW.
Appointments
Dara Khosrowshahi appointed as CEO of Uber Technologies Inc

  • Dara Khosrowshahi was on 27
    August 2017 appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the  Uber Technologies Inc. His appointment was
    approved by the Uber Board.
  • Prior to this appointment,
    Khosrowshahi was serving as the Chief Executive Officer of travel company
    Expedia Inc.
  • Khosrowshahi will be responsible
    for improving Uber’s image by fixing tussles among investors, rebuilding
    employee morale and creating a profitable business after seven years of losses.
  • He succeeds Travis Kalanick,
    Uber’s co-founder who was expelled as CEO in June 2017 after shareholders
    representing about 40 per cent of the company’s voting power signed a letter
    asking him to resign amid growing concern over his behaviour.
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Nandan Nilekani appointed as Chairman of Infosys Board

  • Nandan Nilekani was on 24 August
    2017 appointed as the Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys Board, returning to the
    company ten years after he stepped down as its Chief Executive Officer.
  • The decision in this regard was
    taken at the meeting of the Board of Directors of Infosys. Meanwhile, UB Pravin
    Rao will continue to serve as the interim CEO and MD at Infosys.
  • Nilekani’s appointment came amid
    high-level exits from the company as CEO Vishal Sikka, Chairman of the board R
    Seshasayee and Co-Chair Ravi Venkatesan resigned from the Infosys board.
    Moreover, Directors Jeffery S Lehman and John Etchemendy also resigned with
    immediate effect.
  • The reconstituted board also signed
    a separation and mutual release agreement with Vishal Sikka, which includes a
    Non-Disparagement Obligation that bonds him not to defame the company as well
    as defend the company against any disparaging remarks made by a third party
    during his tenure.
  • The board has been tangled in a
    dispute for months as the company’s founders, led by former chairman Narayana
    Murthy, have accused the Directors of lapse in governance.
Awards & Honors
Nitasha Biswas crowned first Miss TransQueen India

  • Nitasha Biswas, a transwoman from
    Kolkata, on 27 August 2017 was crowned the first Miss TransQueen India. The
    competition was held in Gurugram, Haryana.
  • Biswas is currently pursuing
    Masters in Business Management in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Miss Transsexual Australia 2017
    Laeticia Phylliscia Raveena had crowned the first Miss TransQueen India.
  • On the other hand, Manipur’s
    Loiloi was crowned the first runner-up while Ragasiya.k from Chennai bagged the
    second runner-up position.
  • Biswas will now go to Thailand for
    Miss International Queen, while Loiloi will compete at Miss Transsexual
    Australia.
World News
NASA’s WINDY Mission to create white artificial clouds that glow in
night

  • A NASA rocket mission named
    ‘WINDY’ will form night-time white artificial clouds visible by residents of
    the Republic of the Marshall Islands during two rocket flights between 29
    August 2017 and 9 September 2017. This was announced by NASA on 23 August 2017.
  • The Waves and Instabilities from
    a Neutral Dynamo (WINDY) Mission will study a phenomenon that occurs in the
    Ionosphere, a layer of charged particles in the upper atmosphere.
  • The mission consists of two NASA
    suborbital sounding rockets.
  • This mission aims to study
    disturbances in the upper atmosphere that interfere with communication and
    technology systems.
  • Known as Equatorial Spread F
    (ESF), these disturbances occur after sunset at latitudes near the equator in
    part of the ionosphere known as the F region. 
  • These disturbances obstruct radio
    communication, navigation and imaging systems and pose a hazard to technology.
  • The Kwajalein Atoll in the
    Marshall Islands is near the magnetic equator, where post-sunset ionosphere
    storms are more intense, making the site an ideal location for these studies.
Microsoft launches Project Brainwave for real-time artificial
intelligence

  • Software giant Microsoft in
    August 2017 launched its Project Brainwave, which is deep learning acceleration
    platform for real-time artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Microsoft has launched the
    project during the time when real-time artificial intelligence is becoming
    increasingly important as cloud infrastructures process live data streams,
    whether they be search queries, videos, sensor streams, or interactions with
    users.
  • The Project Brainwave uses the
    massive Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) infrastructure that Microsoft has
    been deploying over the past few years.
  • By attaching high-performance
    FPGAs directly to the data centre network, DNNs can be served as hardware microservices,
    where a DNN can be mapped to a pool of remote FPGAs and called by a server with
    no software in the loop.
Canada to allow gender-neutral passports to promote equality

  • The Canadian government announced
    on 24 August 2017 that citizens, who do not identify with a particular gender,
    whether male or female, would soon be able to obtain gender neutral passports.
  • The citizens would be able to
    mark “X” in space of gender on their passports and other identity
    documents. The decision would be effective starting 31 August 2017.
  • According to the government’s
    statement, from 31 August, citizens will be able to add an
    “observation” to their passports stating their sex should be
    “identified as ‘X’, indicating it is unspecified.
  • These interim measures will be in
    force until authorities are able to print an “X” on passports and
    other documents.
  • The move is aimed to help
    Canadians to have documents that reflect their gender identity better.
Sports News
Nozomi Okuhara wins World Badminton Championship; PV Sindhu settles for
silver

  • Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on 27
    August 2017 defeated PV Sindhu 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 to claim the 2017 BWF World
    Championships.
  • The final match was held at
    Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • It was Sindhu’s first final
    appearance in the World Championship and also her best performance ever. This
    was a third medal for the Rio Olympics silver-medallist at Worlds, having won
    bronze twice in 2013 and 2014 after losing at the semifinal stage in both the
    editions.
India wins South Asian Football Federation Under-15 Championship

  • The India football team on 27
    August 2017 defeated Nepal 2-1 to win the South Asian Football Federation
    (SAFF) Under-15 Championship at the ANFA Complex, Satdobato in Nepal.
  • Bangladesh and Bhutan captured
    third and fourth place in the tournament, respectively.
  • Bangladesh’s Foysal Ahmed (6
    goals) was declared the top scorer of the tournament while India’s Vikram
    Pratap Singh was chosen as the Best Player of the tournament. Bangladesh was
    bestowed with the Fair Play Award.
Cristiano Ronaldo wins UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award

  • Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo
    in August 2017 was named the 2016-17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
  • Ronaldo surpassed Lionel Messi
    and Gianluigi Buffon to win the prestigious award.
  • Ronaldo picked up the trophy for
    the second consecutive season and third time in total, having also received the
    accolade in 2013-14.
  • On the other hand, Lieke Martens
    was named the 2016-17 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
Other Awards:

  • Best Goalkeeper of the 2016-17
    UEFA Champions League season: Gianluigi Buffon
  • Best Defender of the 2016-17 UEFA
    Champions League season: Sergio Ramos
  • Best Midfielder of the 2016-17
    UEFA Champions League season: Luka Modrić
  • Best Forward of the 2016/17 UEFA
    Champions League season: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • UEFA President’s Award: Francesco
    Totti
England to host 2018 International Table Tennis Federation Team World
Cup

  • The International Table Tennis
    Federation (ITTF) on 24 August 2017 awarded hosting rights for the 2018 Team
    World Cup to England.
  • The Team World Cup is ITTF’s
    second most prestigious tournament after the World Championships.
  • The 2018 Team World Cup will be
    staged at the iconic Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
    from 22 February to 25 February 2018.
  • The Team World Cup comprises 12
    men’s and 12 women’s teams, which include the host team, Continental Champions
    and the other top finishers at the World Team Table Tennis Championships.
  • The Team World Cup was last held
    in Dubai in 2015.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu launches ‘National Sports Talent Search
Portal’

  • Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu
    officially launched the Sports Ministry’s much-awaited ‘National Sports Talent
    Search Portal’ on 28 August 2017 at a function in the Indira Gandhi Indoor
    Stadium in New Delhi.
  • Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel
    was also present at the occasion among other ministers.
  • The sports talent search portal
    mainly aims to ensure that the grassroot population in India also gets an
    opportunity to contribute their share in sports.

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