The Daily Brief – 20th October, 2016


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  • The GST Council’s third round of deliberations ended without a decision on the rates structure after most States objected to a proposal to levy an additional cess on demerit goods. The proposal from the Centre that triggered objections was for the imposition of a cess over and above the Goods and Services Tax on ultra luxury and demerit goods such as big cars, aerated beverages and tobacco products.
The Alley Cat
  • Nayan Khanolkar has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in the Urban Wildlife category, in a contest organised by the Natural History Museum, London and BBC Wildlife, regarded as the most prestigious in the world. Mr. Khanolkar’s photograph, ‘The Alley Cat’, was taken in the Aarey Milk Colony, on the fringe of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi noted that the idea of compulsory voting has not been found so practical in India, but comparative benefits of compulsory voting and education-led mobilisation of voters will be worth examining again. In response to a private member’s Bill on compulsory voting, introduced in the Lok Sabha, the government had also said it would not be possible to bring in such a law that punishes those who do not vote.
  • To promote the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy, the Centre brought out a logo for the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM). CIPAM is the body set up to take forward the implementation of the National IPR Policy. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said India’s intellectual property-related activities needed great traction. The logo has been designed keeping in mind the slogan of the National IPR Policy: ‘Creative India, Innovative India’.
  • Delhi now has a first-of-its-kind ‘Election Museum‘ to boast about. The museum promises to showcase India’s historical electoral journey through artefacts, rare photographs, documents and archival film footage.
  • Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) has unveiled a vaccine to fight against tapeworms in pigs. CYSVAX, the vaccine, is the world’s first such. THE IIL is a Hyderabad-headquartered wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board.
  • Bengaluru FC beat Johor Darul Ta’zim at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore to become the first Indian club ever to enter the final of the AFC Cup. A brace from the outstanding Sunil Chhettri and a goal from Spaniard Juan Gonzalez completed the win, which is certain to rank among the very best the club has had in its three-year-long existence. It will meet Iraq’s Air Force Club in the final on November 5 in Doha, Qatar.
  • Kochi was confirmed as a venue for next year’s under-17 football World Cup with the delegation from the sport’s world body FIFA making the announcement at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
  • The World Bank has pledged 2 billion US dollars aid package to Bangladesh to tackle climate change over the next three years. The aid package is part of the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This is the second large investment announcement made by the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim during his 2-day visit to Bangladesh. Earlier he had announced to provide US $1 billion aid to Bangladesh over the next three years to fight child malnutrition.
  • A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has questioned whether the practice of using the mass religious appeal by leaders to canvas votes for candidates amounts to a corrupt electoral practice. The SC bench led by the Chief Justice is re-considering its 1995 verdict which had held that canvassing votes in name of ‘Hindutva/Hinduism’ wasn’t a corrupt electoral practice, as Hinduism was not a religion but a way of life in India.
  • The Election Commission of India hosted the first ever International Conference on Voter Education in New Delhi.
  • India has signed an agreement with Russia to lease the second Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN). The deal is believed to be worth about $2 billion. It will transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy, and was signed in Goa on the sidelines of 8th BRICS Summit.
  • India and China have conducted their second joint military exerciseSino India Cooperation 2016” in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II (KWDT-II) headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, has decided to maintain status quo on the allocation of Krishna River water among all four riparian states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) is a tribunal set up by the Central Government in 1969 under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 to resolve the disputes between the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and then undivided Andhra Pradesh over sharing of Krishna river water.
  • The Union Ministry of Railways has declared the Okha-Kanalus and the Porbandar-Wansjaliya railway sections of Gujarat as Green Train Corridors. 
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is going to declare the Kashmiri Red Stag (also known as Hangul) as a Critically Endangered species. The critically endangered status to the Kashmiri Red Stag will help it to get more protection and enhance the conservation efforts to increase its rapidly declining population.
  • Noted British statistician Sir David Cox (92) was awarded the inaugural International Prize in Statistics. The International Prize in Statistics Foundation has bestowed this award upon him in recognition of the Survival Analysis Model (or Cox Model) applied in medicine, science, and engineering.
  • Ecuador’s government acknowledged that it cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet access at its embassy in London after the whistleblowing site published a trove of damaging e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The foreign ministry said that while it stands by its 2012 decision to grant Mr. Assange asylum based on legitimate concerns that he faces political persecution, it respects other nations’ sovereignty and doesn’t interfere or support any candidate in foreign elections.
  • Google announced that commuters would now be able to book cabs from Ola and Uber, straight from the Google Search application or the mobile search browser. When a user requests specific information like ‘Taxi to Airport’ or ‘Ola/Uber to airport’, the Google Search app or browser will direct the user to select a service and automatically opens the app to book the ride.
  • South African struggle icon and Gandhian activist Mewa Ramgobin has died at the age of 83 after a prolonged illness. Ramgobin was the former president of the Natal Indian Congress which fought discrimination against Indians in South Africa. He was also an African National Congress member of Parliament until 2009, and was among the first supporters of the Release Mandela campaign. He established a Gandhi museum and library, and educated people of different races on Gandhian thought and philosophy. He is the author of Waiting to Live and Prisms of Light.
  • Australian archaeologists have announced plans to recreate Laos’ mysterious Plain of Jars as a three-dimensional virtual reality experience, that could one day see museum visitors walk through remote dig sites. The Plain of Jars, in Laos’ central Xieng Khouang province, is scattered with thousands of stone vessels but scientists have yet to discover their original purpose.

Today’s Quiz

  1. Who has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in the Urban Wildlife category this year?

2. Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) has unveiled a vaccine to fight against _____.

3. Where was the Election Museum recently inaugurated?

4. _____ became the first Indian club ever to enter the final of the AFC Cup.

5. _____ was confirmed as a venue for next year’s under-17 football World Cup.

6. The World Bank has pledged 2 billion US dollars aid package to ____ to tackle climate change over the next three years.

7. Which of the following states is not a subject of the Krishna Water Dispute?

8. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is going to declare the ____ as a Critically Endangered species.



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