The Daily Brief – 19th October, 2016

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Richard Verma
  • US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, has said that the U.S. supports cross-LoC strikes by India. He also noted that Washington has drastically cut assistance to Pakistan in the past five years over concerns on terror.
  • The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has given its approval for setting up four urban development authorities in the State. The Cabinet also approved a draft ordinance to constitute the AP Tourism Culture and Heritage Board 2016 for speedy implementation of tourism projects, and approved the constitution of a corporation for development of small and medium entreprises.
  • The newly floated Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti, headed by RTI activist Bhimappa Gadad, has launched a signature campaign to elicit public opinion on carving out a new State of North Karnataka, citing continued negligence of the region by successive governments. Already, over two lakh people have signed in favour of the new State, while 39,000 had opposed it.
  • Kakkathuruthu, a tiny island in Kerala’s backwaters, has been listed in National Geographic‘s ‘Around the World in 24 Hours’, a photographic tour of travel-worthy spots in the world. The quiet island, surrounded by Vembanad Lake, offers a haven for birdwatchers.
  • India has offered to help in Myanmar’s national reconciliation effort. The announcement was made shortly after State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi began her first state visit to India, with a meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Virendra Kumar Malhotra, professor of economics at Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut, is set to be the next member-secretary of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). 
  • Beginning her political journey, rights activist Irom Sharmila announced a new political party named the Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA). The party will contest Assembly polls in Manipur in 2017. Announcing this at the Manipur Press Club, Ms. Sharmila said that she will be contesting from two constituencies in the State, Thoubal and Khurai. While Khurai is her home constituency, Thoubal is the constituency of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. She will be the co-convenor of the party, which includes a number of activists and entrepreneurs.
  • According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), national capital New Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category. The major reasons for the poor air quality may due to the favourable cold weather conditions coupled with very light wind, vehicular pollution and farm fires in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana. SAFAR was introduced by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National SC/ST hub and the Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at Ludhiana in Punjab.
  • The Union Government has proposed a four-slab rate structure for the new indirect tax regime i.e. Goods & Services Tax (GST) ranging from 0 to 26 per cent. It was proposed at the meeting of the GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and included representatives from all states in New Delhi. The GST is proposed to be levied at 6% (lower rate), 12% (Standard 1 rate), 18% (Standard 2 rate) and 26% (Higher rates) on the goods and services.
  • A 40-year-old man wanted in connection with the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat was sent back to India from the U.K., in the first such case since the two countries signed an extradition treaty in 1992. Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel was arrested by Scotland Yard in west London in August on a Red Corner Notice issued by India. His extradition order was signed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd on September 22 and the “surrender arrangements” were finalised.
  • Data XGen Technologies, a Jaipur-based start-up, has introduced an email address service under ‘DATAMAIL’ that allows people to create email IDs in eight Indian languages. The languages include Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu and Bengali. The service is also available in English, Chinese, Russian and Arabic. The company said this service is the world’s first linguistic email and is available for free. Email IDs in regional languages can be created on @datamail.bharat by individuals in India and abroad.
  • The Indian Navy has commissioned INS Tihayu, a Car Nicobar Class water jet fast attack craft. It was commissioned by the Flag-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral H.C.S. Bisht in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has made it mandatory for all automobile manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle they produce by April 2017. 
  • Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. The IOC Athletes’ Commission is a body of sportspersons maintained by the IOC for the purpose of representing athletes.
  • Sri Lanka has imposed daily power cuts nationwide following breakdown at a China-built power plant in Norocholai, a coastal town 140 km north of Colombo. The coal power plant, which came up at an investment of $1.4 billion, is Sri Lanka’s largest and has a capacity of 900 MW.
  • Australian researchers have discovered that mother’s milk from the marsupials known as Tasmanian devils could help the global fight against increasingly deadly “superbugs” which resist antibiotics. Superbugs are bacteria which cannot be treated by current antibiotics and other drugs, with a recent British study saying they could kill up to 10 million people globally by 2050. Scientists at the University of Sydney found that peptides in the marsupial’s milk killed resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant golden staph bacteria and enterococcus that is resistant to the powerful antibiotic vancomycin.

Today’s Quiz

  1. What is the highest rate of tax imposed under the new GST regime?





2. Who is currently serving as the US Ambassador to India?





3. The Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti is seeking statehood for which of the following regions?





4. Where is Kakkathuruthu situated?





5. India has recently offered to help the national reconciliation effort in which country?





6. When did the Godhra riots occur in Gujarat?





7. Who has been appointed as a member of theInternational Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission?





8. Data XGen Technologies is a start-up based in ____.









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