The Daily Brief – 27th February, 2017

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  • According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, pests eat away about 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India. Among such pests, nematodes (microscopic worms many of which are parasites) have emerged as a major threat to crops in the country. They have caused losses of 60 million tonnes of crops annually.
  • India and the Asian Development Bank have signed a $375 million pact for loans and grants to develop the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor. It is the first phase of a planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor. Earlier in September 2016, the Asian Development Bank had approved of $631 million in loans and grants for the industrial corridor.
  • The Haryana government has set up an online system called the ‘sex ratio monitoring dashboard’ as part of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Scheme to monitor the sex ratio in the Panipat district. The system will have the data of child sex ratios collected from all villages every month in the district by the State Health, Women and Child Welfare Departments.
  • According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India attracted $46 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016. India’s FDI grew by 18% in 2016 as compared to $39.32 billion FDI inflows in 2015.
  • India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sustainable development of Sylhet, a metropolitan city in northeastern Bangladesh with financial aid from India.
  • Two new critically endangered balsam (impatiens) plant species were spotted on the peripheries of the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala. It is a major breakthrough in eco-conservation. Impatiens plants are also called jewel weeds. They are seen in pristine forests where moisture content and relative humidity are high.
  • The Supreme Court Collegium is engaged in exhaustive consultations to finalise the long-pending Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges and draft clauses which once created an impasse between the highest judiciary and the government. The MoP draft was handed over to the Collegium by the government in August 2016. But no progress was made in resolving the differences.
  • The architectural history and the heritage of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340-room official residence of the President of India, has been documented in a series of books, which will soon be available in an online series. Concise web-based modules are set to bring to life the architectural and cultural grandeur of the iconic building, designed and constructed by legendary British architect Edwin Lutyens.
  • India’s financial capital Mumbai, which is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires, is the richest Indian city with a total wealth of $820 billion, according to New World Wealth, followed by Delhi and Bengaluru in the second and third place respectively.
  • The world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal may set up a solar farm on land allotted to it for the proposed 6 MT Karnataka project in view of excess global steel capacity and delays in securing raw materials. It had entered into a pact with Karnataka government for setting up a 6 million tonne steel plant with a captive 750 MW power plant at an investment of Rs. 6.5 billion.
  • Markets regulator SEBI is in favour of a major overhaul of the way boards of listed firms discharge their duties, including for appointment and removal of directors, and also wants their audit committees to be empowered to identify future risks. Corporate governance has been a key focus area, with a huge emphasis on safeguarding the interests of minority shareholders in listed companies, during the six—year tenure of current chairman U.K. Sinha. The proposed moves will also take into account the suggestions made in this regard by the regulator’s International Advisory Board, which was set up during Mr. Sinha’s tenure at SEBI to advise it on best global regulatory practices and evolution of various policies.
  • Iran’s Navy began an annual drill on Sunday near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, its first major exercise since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Nearly a third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait and it has been the scene of confrontations between the U.S. and Iran.
  • The world’s first robot table tennis tutor in Japan has set a new Guinness World Record for its uncanny ability of being able to play the game better than most humans. FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) has officially been given the Guinness title for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities.
  • Benevolent bots’ or software robots designed to improve articles on Wikipedia sometimes have online ‘fights’ over content that can continue for years, say scientists who warn that artificial intelligence systems may behave more like humans than expected. Editing bots on Wikipedia undo vandalism, enforce bans, check spelling, create links and import content automatically, whereas other bots (which are non-editing) can mine data, identify data or identify copyright infringements. Although bots do not have the capacity for emotions, bot to bot interactions are unpredictable.
Image result for mahershala ali oscar
Mahershala Ali
  • The 89th Academy Awards commonly referred to as Oscars was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Musical drama La La Land won the most number of awards totaling to six at the ceremony after it was nominated into 14 categories. It was followed by Moonlight and Arrival with each being nominated in eight categories. Moonlight won the Best Picture Award, while Emma Stone and Casey Affleck won Best Actress and Best Actor respectively. The Best Director award was given to Damien Chazelle of La La Land. At 32, he became the youngest to win this award. Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress award, while Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to win an Oscar, with the award for Best Supporting Actor.

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