February 4 Current Affairs

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1. Indian-American group marches in . support of Trump’s immigration policy

  • At least 800 Indian-Americans participated in a march outside the White House raising slogans in support of U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to implement a “merit-based” immigration system in the country and demanding discontinuation of country quotas for Green Card approvals.
  • Indian applicants are at a disadvantage under the current approval system that limits the number of Green Cards issued to individual countries at 9,800, while more than 50,000 of them newly join the queue each year..The marchers were all Indian technology workers who had come from all over the U.S. — California, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Illinois and New York.

Takeaways

  1. Illegal immigration was a signature issue of U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and his proposed reforms and remarks about this issue generated much publicity.
  2. Trump has questioned official estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States (between 11 and 12 million), insisting the number is much higher (between 30 and 34 million).

2. 10 students to be sent to Australia for skill development

  • The valedictory function of The Hindu Group’s programme, ‘Gillette Vetri Nichayam,’ under which 30,000 engineering students in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were provided with skill development training, was held at Sri Sai Ram Engineering College, Tambaram.
  • Competitions were held and the 10 best students were given an opportunity to go to Australia for training for six months. Certificates were distributed to the students by T. Udhayachandran, Additional Secretary, School Education Department.

Takeaways

  1. Headquarters – Canberra
  2. Minister – Simon Birmingham

3. Navi Mumbai airport to be completed by end-2019: CIDCO

  • Work on the new airport at Navi Mumbai would be completed by the end of 2019, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) managing director Bhushan Gagrani said on Sunday.
  • CIDCO is the Special Planning Authority for the airport project. Mr. Gagrani was speaking at the annual meet of the Rotary District 3142.

Takeaways

  1. Navi Mumbai International Airport is an under construction greenfield international airport being built at Kopar-Panvel in Maharashtra, India.
  2. It is being developed as the second international airport for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

4. Union Budget silent on State’s plea on Dalit scholarship scheme

  • The Tamil Nadu government’s request for changing the cost-sharing pattern of the post-matric scholarship scheme for Dalit students has been ignored by the Union Budget.Tamil Nadu said to have been suffering a shortfall of 500 crore a year
  • The State government has been complaining that in the last three years, arrears in Central assistance under the scholarship scheme has accumulated to around ₹1,547 crore. It has argued that the Centre should follow the pattern of 60:40 cost-sharing, which is the norm adopted generally for Central schemes.

Takeaways

  1. The 2018 Union budget of India was the annual financial statement (AFS), demand for grants, appropriation bill and finance bill of India for the financial year 2018-19.
  2. The Union budget was presented to the Parliament on 1 February 2018 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

5. SEBI gets teeth to act against exchanges, new market outfits

  • As part of the proposed amendments in the Finance Bill 2018, the government has given more power to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to impose monetary penalties on important market intermediaries such as stock exchanges and clearing corporations and also act against newer categories of participants likes investment advisers, research analysts, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).
  • The proposed amendments to the SEBI Act and the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act now allow the capital markets regulator to impose a monetary penalty of at least ₹5 crore on stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories for non-compliance with regulatory norms.

Takeaways

  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India.
  2. It was established in the year 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.

6. Mumbai airport becomes world’s busiest single-runway airport

  • Mumbai airport created a new world record for single-runway operations by handling 980 arrivals and take-offs in 24 hours, or almost one flight every minute . While Gatwick, the U.K.’s second largest airport, remains the most efficient single-runway airport in the world
  • Officials said any increase in the number of flight movements using a single runway will be a major achievement for the airport operator, Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).“We are constantly aiming to better the record, while keeping the constrains in mind.”

Takeaways

  1. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a runway is a “defined rectangular area on a land aerodromeprepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft”.
  2. Runways may be a man-made surface (often asphalt, concrete, or a mixture of both) or a natural surface (grass, dirt, gravel, ice, or salt).

7. Easier norms may help Indian firms go global

  • The proposed Outward Direct Investment (ODI) policy may contain provisions to make it easy for many Indian firms, envisioning ambitious plans to transform themselves into multi-national companies (MNC), to go global and expand.
  • In his 2018-19 Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The government will review existing guidelines and processes and bring out a coherent and integrated ODI policy.” According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), “Indian firms invest in foreign shores primarily through mergers and acquisition (M&A) transactions.

Takeaways

  1. Global is a British media company formed in 2007, which owns a large number of radio stations across the country.
  2. Headquarters – London, England, UK

8. IISc researchers overthrow cancer metastasis dogma

  • Researchers at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have uncovered a novel molecular mechanism by which cancer cells survive during the time they are in circulation after detaching from the primary cancer site and before they could attach to the extracellular matrix at a different site and restart cell division, thus causing cancer metastasis
  • It was always thought that the AMPK protein suppresses tumour growth while Akt behaves as a promoter. “But what we saw in our study was a complete reverse, which was a surprise. We found AMPK getting activated in circulating cancer cells and, in turn, suppressing the Akt activity,” says Prof. Rangarajan.

Takeaways

  1. IISc is the premier institute for advanced scientific and technological research and education in India.
  2. Founder: Jamsetji Tata
  3. Founded: 27 May 1909

9. New Al System can train robots for armies 

  • Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence technique that will teach robots and computer programmes to interact with a human instructor and perform tasks for the army.Researchers at the US Army Research Laboratory and the University of Texas at Austin considered a specific case where a human provides real-time feedback in the form of critique.
  • First introduced by researchers as Training an Agent Manually via Evaluative Reinforcement (TAMER), the team developed a new algorithm called Deep TAMER.

Takeaways

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligenceMI) is intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals.

10. India Open: Sindhu trips on match-point

India Open is a badminton event held annually at the Siri Fort Sports Complex, New Delhi.

In women’s singles Defending champion P V Sindhu was defeated by American Beiwen Zhang to finish runner-up at the India Open Super 500 tournament.2018 India Open 

Takeaways

  1. Pusarla Venkata Sindhu  (born 5 July 1995) is an Indian professional badminton player, who is currently world no 3 in the BWF World Ranking.
  2. In 2017, became first Indian ever to win Korea Open Super Series.

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