The Daily Brief – 20th September, 2016


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  • The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the super computer PARAM ISHAN at the IIT Guwahati campus. PARAM ISHAN is the fastest and most powerful computer in North East, Eastern and Southern region of India outside Bangalore (Karnataka).
  • An invasive species of Giant African Land Snail (GALS) was sighted near the Goa University campus at the Taleigao plateau. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources (IUCN) has listed GALS (Achatina fulica) as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species. An invasive species is a non-native organism that causes ecological harm after being introduced to a new environment.
  • The Supreme Court has moved away from the death penalty after it commuted the death sentence of a youth for raping and killing a minor girl with the ‘Special Category of Punishment’. In this type of punishment, capital punishment is replaced with life imprisonment without the benefit of release on remission for prolonged periods ranging from 25 to 30 years, if not more. It was formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in December 2015.
  • Anandi Ramalingam has been appointed as the first woman director of the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). She has assumed charge as the director for marketing. Bharat Electronics Limited is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company with about nine factories in India. It is one of the nine PSUs under the Ministry of Defence of India, and has been accorded Navaratna status.
  • An Indian-origin South African, Ravi Reddy, has been appointed as the head of the International Society for Blood Transfusion (ISBT), headquartered in Amsterdam. With this, Reddy became the first person from the African continent to head ISBT, a global organisation of medicine professionals working for the safety of blood transfusion worldwide. The ISBT, now with 100 member countries, was established in 1935 as a platform for exchanging knowledge and advancing the blood-transfusion practice.
  • Indian test skipper Virat Kohli has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB). 
  • Hearing-impaired Indian shooter Priyesha Deshmukh won the bronze medal in her first-ever international competition at the first World Deaf Shooting Championships. The Championship was held in Kazan, Russia from 7 September to 15 September 2016.
  • The latest Lancet series on maternal health reveals that nearly one quarter of babies worldwide are still delivered in the absence of a skilled birth attendant. Further, one-third of the total maternal deaths in 2015 happened in India, where 45,000 mothers died during pregnancy or childbirth while Nigeria shouldered the maximum burden of 58,000 maternal deaths.
  • India is set to raise the Uri attack — in which 18 Army soldiers were killed — at the 71st United Nations General Assembly and highlight Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the terror strike. However, Pakistan has flatly refused New Delhi’s claims of Islamabad’s involvement in the Uri terror attack.
  • A technical body, empowered by the Supreme Court, has slashed by three fourths the quantum of Cauvery water that Karnataka is required to release downstream between September 21 and September 30 but has failed to get Karnataka and Tamil Nadu closer to a lasting solution over the water-sharing dispute. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are expected to approach the Supreme Court this week to seek fresh directions.
Image result for brahamdagh bugti
Brahamdagh Bugti (Source: BBC)
  • Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti, presently in Switzerland, has initiated the move to seek political asylum in India. Mr. Bugti’s decision follows a meeting of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) that condemned the Uri attack and cleared his decision to shift to India. He has been campaigning for the liberation of Balochistan from Pakistan.
  • The Centre has notified the Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standards for two-wheelers and four-wheelers from April 2020 throughout the country.
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has launched a fan engagement initiative ‘Dream Team’ to mark the 500th Test of Team India.
  • The world’s largest Viking ship docked in New York, the latest destination in a voyage that began in Norway and has included port stops in Iceland, Greenland, Canada and U.S. cities of the Great Lakes region.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats suffered a loss at the Berlin state elections in the context of growing discontent over her liberal refugee policy.
  • Researchers from New Zealand and Germany have found that pigeons can visually process letter combinations to identify real words from non-words in English.
  • Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a novel spectroscopic technique to find signs of present or former extraterrestrial life on Mars. The technique incorporated on instrument dubbed as SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) may help NASA’s new Mars rover to be launched in 2020 to find signs of life on Mars.
  • President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won the Russian parliamentary election by securing 343 seats of the total 450 in Duma, the lower house of Parliament. This win paves the way for Putin to run for a fourth term as President.
  • The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced at the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, U.S. The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Fantasy epic Game of Thrones made television history and picked up 12 Emmys.

Today’s Quiz

  1. Where was the super computer PARAM ISHAN recently inaugurated?

2. Which of the following is a non-native organism that causes ecological harm after being introduced to a new environment?

3. Who has been appointed as the first woman director of the Bharat Electronics Limited?

4. Who has been appointed as the head of the International Society for Blood Transfusion?

5. Who has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of state-owned Punjab National Bank?

6. Who won the bronze medal in her first-ever international competition at the first World Deaf Shooting Championships?

7. Name the Baloch leader who has initiated the move to seek political asylum in India.

8. Where did the world's largest Viking ship recently dock?


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