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Evening News Digest: 17 June 2018 (Including PDF)

Foundation Stone of ‘Auxiliary Production Unit & Artificial Limbs Fitting Centre’ Laid at Faridabad

  • The foundation stone of Auxiliary Production Unit and State of the Art Artificial Limbs Fitting Centre was laid in Faridabad, Haryana on June 16.
  • Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) comes under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • There has been an ever increasing demand from the Divyangjan about the difficulty being faced by them in visiting Kanpur to avail facilities of evaluation, measurements and fitment of assistive devices from ALIMCO Hqrs, Kanpur.
  • Establishment of the state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre at Faridabad would substantially reduce botheration of long travel for Divyangjans from J&K, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and to some extent MP and Chhattisgarh.

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Maharashtra govt exploring hyperloop technology

  • Maharashtra govt is exploring the hyperloop technology to drastically cut the travel time between Mumbai and Pune, located around 200km away from each other.
  • It has approached a US-based firm, Virgin HyperloopOne, for the modern train project.
  • The travel time between Mumbai and Pune, which now is around four hours, will get reduced to just 25 minutes if hyperloop train service is started.

Seychelles President announces cancellation of Assumption Island deal with India

  • Seychelles has cancelled the agreement with India to build a military facility on Assumption Island.
  • Seychelles President Danny Faure is scheduled to visit India on June 25. He clarified that he won’t talk about the military deal.
  • It is a setback for India as it Assumption Island has a strategic significance in the Indian Ocean and understood as crucial to maintain power equation with China.
  • The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It's home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises.
  • Assumption Island is a small island in the Outer Islands of Seychelles north of Madagascar, with a distance of 1,135 km (705 mi) southwest of the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island. 

U.K. excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

  • The UK government has excluded Indian students from a new list of countries considered low risk in order to facilitate an easier visa application process to UK universities.
  • On a list already covering countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Home Office has added on the likes of China, Bahrain and Serbia as countries from where students would face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at British universities.
  • It is disappointing for India as it gives a confusing signal and there can be a difficulty in Britain having Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit.

RBI eases norms for FPIs to invest in debt

  • The Reserve Bank of India has eased investment norms for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in debt especially into individual large corporates.
  • The move will help attract more overseas flows and thereby help arrest the recent fall in the rupee on one hand and also lift the recent fall in demand for corporate bonds. 
  • FPIs are allowed to invest in various debt market instruments such as government bonds, treasury bills, state development loans and corporate bonds, but with certain limits and restrictions. 
  • RBI has increased the FPI cap on investment in government security to 30% from previously 20%.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Fourth player to score in four World Cups

  • Cristiano Ronaldo made history by becoming the first player to score in eight consecutive major internationals tournaments as Portugal won against Spain at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 15.
  • Ronaldo also became the fourth player to score in four World Cups, following in the footsteps of Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose.
  • The prolific front man has also become the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments – including World Cups, Euros and Copa Americas.

IRDAI constitutes panel to vet insurance marketing firm norms

  • The insurance regulator IRDAI on Friday has formed a 10-member high-level panel under the chairmanship of Suresh Mathur, excecutive director, IRDAI, to review the three –year old regulations on the Insurance Marketing Firm (IMF), one of the new distribution channels launched in 2015.
  • The panel will recommend guidelines by July 31on the areas on which the existing regulations are silent and ways to further strengthen the channel by taking up the products which fall under the jurisdiction of other financial sector regulators.

106th Indian Science Congress to be held in Jalandhar

  • 106th Indian Science Congress will be held in Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar from Jan 3 to 7 Jan 2019.
  • The theme 106th Science Congress will be Future India; Science & Technology.
  • 5,000 delegates, including 300 top scientists and Nobel Laureates from across world are expected to attend the congress.

Severe uranium contamination in India’s groundwater: Study

  • Scientists have found widespread uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers across 16 states in India, much above the WHO provisional standard for the country.
  • The researchers from Duke University in the US unveiled new data showing that the occurrence of uranium in Indian groundwater — a primary source of drinking water and irrigation — is an emerging and widespread phenomenon.
  • They compiled data on groundwater uranium from 16 Indian states and new data from 324 wells in Rajasthan and Gujarat that shows a high prevalence of uranium concentrations above the WHO provisional guideline value across India.
  • The WHO has set a provisional safe drinking water standard of 30 micrograms of uranium per litre for India, a level that is consistent with US Environmental Protection Agency standards.
  • The study suggests that contribution of human factors such as groundwater depletion and nitrate pollution may be aggravating the already present natural uranium contamination to dangerous levels.
  • Several studies have linked exposure to uranium in drinking water to chronic kidney disease.

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Indian PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet

  • Scientists from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad have discovered for first time distant planet revolving around Sun-like star.
  • Both the planet and the star have been named EPIC. With this discovery India joins handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars.
  • The new planet has a mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii. The exoplanet was found around a Sun-like star and goes around the star in about 19.5 days.
  • The host star is about 600 light years away from the Earth.
  • According to the Indian scientists who found this new planet, the surface temperature of the planet is around 600 degrees Celsius given the fact that it is very close to the host star, which is to say that the new planet is 7 times nearer than the host star.
  • The discovery of the new planet was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph.

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