International News Affairs
- Sweden is going to hold its ‘first and biggest’ military exercise in over 20 years, involving all of its military branches as well as troops from several NATO countries.
- The drills are aimed at strengthening Sweden’s defence capabilities and creating a “credible and visible” deterrent to warn potential enemies against the risks of attacking Sweden.
- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt today blacklisted 9 charity groups and 9 individuals with ties to Yemen, Qatar and Libya, labelling them “terrorist” over suspected ties to Islamist extremism.
- This comes amid the ongoing Qatar crisis in which the Arab states suspended diplomatic ties with Qatar last month, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
- Ram Nath Kovind was today sworn-in as India’s 14th President.
- He was administered the oath of the office by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.
- Kovind, who defeated Opposition candidate Meira Kumar after securing over 65% votes, is India’s second Dalit President after KR Narayanan.
National News Affairs
- Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari today announced that the driverless cars and any technology that takes away jobs will not be allowed in India.
- Note: Currently, driverless car technology is being tested in several countries such as the US and the UK.
- Madras High Court directed that National Song Vande Mataram should be sung in all Tamil Nadu educational institutions at least once a week.
- It further mandated all government and private offices sing or play it at least once a month.
- Parliament has passed The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016.
- The Bill seeks to upgrade existing laws related to civil matters of admiralty jurisdiction of courts, maritime claims, arrest and detention of ships.
- Admiralty laws deal with cases of accidents in navigable waters or involve contracts related to commerce on such waters.
- According to the government data, out of India’s population of 132 crore people, only 6.8 crore or 5.15%, have a valid passport.
- Note : India is now third in terms of issuing passports, after China and US.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of stapler pins in tea bags from January 2018.
- The Union Ministry of Rural Development launched Aarambh mobile appfor performance based maintenance contracting and community contracting for maintenance of rural roads.
- Renowned scientist Professor Yash Pa (90) passed away.
- He was known for his contribution to the study of cosmic rays at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1976 and Padma Vibhushan in 2013.
- He also featured in a famous science series, ‘Turning Point’, on Doordarshan.
Banking, Business & Economic News
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today introduced the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha.
- This bill empowers RBI to ask any bank to initiate insolvency proceedings and give directions for resolution of stressed assets.
- Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has declared “total independence” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)and World Bank.
- Note : Last year, Bolivia has announced that it will no longer respond to their demands.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved sale of government’s 11% stakealong with management control in HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum) to ONGC.
Science & Technology
- “Hywind“, the world’s first full scale floating wind farm is being built off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea.
- Note : The floating wind farm technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters that are too deep for the existing bottom—standing turbines particularly installed in shallow waters.