Daily GK Update & Current Affairs: 2nd September 2017
1. World’s Highest Sandcastle Built in German City:
- The world’s highest sandcastle is now standing 16.68 meters tall in the German city of Duisburg. A German travel operator organized the construction of the mammoth sandcastle, bringing in 3,500 tons of sand over the past three and a half weeks to the site at a former steelworks in the inland city.
- It takes the title from a 14.84-metre sandcastle built early this year in India by sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik.
2. Ahmedabad Formally Accorded Status of India’s First World Heritage City by UNESCO:
- The 600-year-old Walled city in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad was formally accorded the status of India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova handed over the certificate declaring Ahmedabad as a ‘World Heritage City’ to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar.
- In July, the UN agency had inscribed Ahmedabad as India’s first World Heritage City at a meeting held in Poland.
- UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
3. Anita Karwal Replaces RK Chaturvedi as CBSE Chairperson:
- IAS officer Anita Karwal was appointed as the new Chairperson of Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE. The 1988-batch officer from Gujarat cadre is currently serving as additional secretary in HRD Ministry.
- She would be replacing Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi, who has been appointed as Director General of the National Skill Development Agency.
4. ‘Yalla Kerala’ launched to attract Arab travelers:
- The Kerala Tourism department has launched a campaign called ‘Yalla Kerala’ (Yalla means let’s go). It has been launched to target tourists from Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
- It aimed at Arab travellers by showcasing the state’s backwaters and waterfalls on their city taxis.
- As part of the campaign, airports in Dubai and Saudi Arabia will have displays of rich greenery, beautiful landscapes, natural attractions like backwaters and hill stations and art forms in Kerala.
5. Assam for the first time extends AFSPA orders on its own:
- Assam Government has extended term of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 and declared entire state a Disturbed Area for six more months under Section 3 of AFSP Act.
- This is for first time state government has extended AFSPA and Disturbed Area provision on its own. In the past, AFSPA provisions in state were always extended by the Centre.
- Assam has remained “disturbed area” under provisions of AFSPA for nearly 27 years, after it was invoked by Centre for first time in November 1990, after ethnic insurgencies broke out in end of 1980s and following incidents of violence by ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom).
- The AFSPA was enacted in 1958 to bring ‘disturbed’ areas declared under it under control. It empowers both state and central government to declare areas as ‘disturbed’ due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
6. Kenneth I. Juster named U.S ambassador to India:
- Kenneth I. Juster, until recently deputy director of the National Economic Council at the White House, has been nominated as the next U.S ambassador to India. The appointment will take effect once the U.S Senate confirms him. The post is vacant since January 20.
- Mr. Juster has been a strong supporter of India-U.S ties and played a key role in the civil nuclear deal and in the advancement of defence ties between the two countries when he was under secretary of Commerce under former president George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.
7. Joint Proposal by India & China in WTO on Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS):
- Recently on 18 July 2017 India and China jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination of farm subsidies by developed countries.
- In WTO context, this trade distorting farm subsidies is called Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) or ‘Amber Box’. It is a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
- This is an important proposal by India and China in view of ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
8. SAAB Ties up With Adani Group to Build Gripen E fighter jets in India:
- Swedish defence major SAAB announced its tie-up with Adani Group to manufacture the Gripen E fighter jets in India under the Defence Ministry’s $10 billion single-engine fighter jet procurement programme.
- The announcement comes within months of US’ Lockheed Martin announcing its joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems for producing the latest version of F-16 in India.
9. Google’s Alphabet to form new company XXVI Holdings:
- Google’s parent company Alphabet is set to form a new company called XXVI Holdings.
- The new entity will own the equity of each Alphabet company, including Google and encompass projects like Google’s self-driving car spinoff company Waymo.
- The move is a part of corporate reorganisation which will allow Alphabet and Google to operate in an efficient manner.
10. SEBI bans Orion Capital, Orion Broking from Markets for 10 years:
- Markets regulator SEBI barred Orion Capital as well as Orion Broking and their partners from the securities markets for 10 years for failing to redress several investor grievances pertaining to non- settlement of funds due to the clients.
- The nature of investor complaints received against both the firms are predominantly on non-settlement of the funds and securities and balances due to their clients. The claim amount is more than Rs 6 crore against Orion Capital and over Rs 4 crore against Orion Broking.
11. Hockey India removes chief coach Oltmans:
- Hockey India today sacked the head coach of the national men’s hockey team, Roelant Oltmans.
- Under the 63-year-old Dutchman, India won its maiden silver medal in the Champions Trophy and reached the knock-out stages of the Olympics after a 36-year-gap.
- Oltmans, who took charge in 2015, will be replaced by current High-Performance Director David John as interim coach.