The Daily Brief – 10th March, 2017

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  • Singapore’s Lattice80, considered one of the largest FinTech (financial technology) hubs in the world, has signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to set up an incubator in Visakhapatnam.
  • Scientists of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam have found three new canyons forming a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district. The finding has been evading them since the last 50 years, and for the first time they have clearly mapped the ocean floor between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam by sending over 32 high density beams to the depths of the sea. The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast were discovered in 1963 by American geologist E.C. LaFond of U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory, who was carrying out marine studies at Andhra University.
  • Based on a DNA analysis of a fossilised eggshell fragment of ostrich, Indian researchers have for the first time found molecular evidence to confirm the presence of these birds in India more than 25,000 years ago. Scientists found 92% genetic similarity between the fossil eggshell samples and Struthio camelus, an ostrich species found in Africa.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir State Archaeology Department has discovered over 800 coins dating back to the 11th, 12th Century in Budgam district.
  • The Parliament has given a nod to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women. The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people, and the entitlement applies only up to the first two children. This takes India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave, after Canada and Norway, where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.
  • India and Belgium have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries. The Protocol was signed by Sushil Chandra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India.
  • Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail (74) was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan. His novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages. He will receive a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

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  • Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana has claimed developing the country’s first genetically-modified (GM) varieties of cotton – PAU Bt 1 and F1861. Cotton is the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has also identified three Bt cotton varieties –F1861, PAU Bt 1 and RS2013 for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
  • Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TATA Power-DDL) has become the first Indian power utility to deploy tele-protection services over its entire network following a deal with Nokia. The enhanced system will allow Tata Power-DDL to receive nearly instant updates of any fault in its infrastructure and reroute power through alternative lines to minimise the disruption to the end consumer.
  • European Union president Donald Tusk won a second term despite opposition from Poland. Twenty-seven European Union leaders voted at a summit in Brussels to give Mr. Tusk a new two-and-a-half-year mandate with only Poland voting against.
  • Sri Lanka is to scale back a profitable but controversial deal to sell a deep-sea port to a Chinese company after widespread protests.

Today’s Quiz

  1. Which is the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India?





2. Eminent Konkani writer _____ was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016.





3. India and ____ have signed a Protocol to amend the existing DTAA between the two countries.





4. Which of the following countries has the highest paid maternity leave?





5. Where is the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography situated?









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