Current Affairs: Top Headlines for September 3, 2013

Moortidevi award to Haraprasad Das

Noted poet, Haraprasad Das has been honored with the Moortidevi Award for 2012 for ‘Vamsha’, a poetic recreation of the Mahabharata in contemporary dialect, which has been heralded as a post-modern masterwork.

Food Security Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha passed the ambitious Food Security Bill which aims to provide foodgrains at highly subsidized prices to the 2/3rd of country’s population. The bill will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at Rs 3, 2, 1, respectively. The programme would cost government Rs 1,30,000 crore government which will be the largest such programme in the world. It would require 62 million tonnes of foodgrains.

Washington moves USS Nimitz towards Red Sea

In what could be seen as a surge in tension in the West Asia region, the Washington has moved the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz towards the Red Sea, though the warship had not yet received orders to support a strike on Syria. US President Obama and his team are lobbying hard to seek US Congress approval for a military strike against the Syrian regime over the use of chemical weapons in the country. Russia has warned that any US military aggression in Syria would derail the Geneva peace plan and has suggested US Congress to take a balanced view of the situation in Syria.

IAF inducts C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft

The Indian Air Force inducted three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, heavy-lift transport aircraft into the newly-formed 81 ‘Skylord’ Squadron at the Hindan Air Base, Delhi. C-17 has the potential to carry 75 tonnes of load which is almost double the capacity of Russian IL-76 in the IAF inventory which can carry only around 40 tonnes. It will boost up IAF’s flexibility in terms of operational response and with the heavy lift capability it could easily move troops and heavy tanks to required locations.

PM unveils Gandhi Heritage Portal

Prime Minister Dr. Mamohan Singh launched the Gandhi Heritage Portal. The portal has been designed to review the message of non-violence to the world as well as to the Indian youth, besides highlighting significant aspects of the freedom struggle and Gandhiji’s message and humanism. The portal is conceived around The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. It makes available the critical works in three languages: English (100 volumes), Hindi (97 volumes) and Gujarati (82 volumes). These volumes are interlinked to provide easy navigation from one text and language to the other.

India, Japan to restart talks on civil nuclear agreement

After a hiatus of nearly 3 years, India and Japan will resume talks on the civil nuclear pact in Tokyo today.  The nuclear-energy negotiations were initiated in 2010 but have been on hold since the Fukushima nuclear disaster March 2011. This will be the fourth round of talks which comes  following a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in May, 2013 when they resolved to direct to expedite the negotiations of an Agreement for Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy towards an early conclusion.

Himachal Pradesh imposes ban on sand transport to other states to curb illegal mining

In a bid to check illegal mining of sand the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to take stringent measures and impose a temporary blanket ban on the transportation of construction material like sand and grit to other states for 3 months. The government has also decided to create a task force in each district to check not only the illegal mining but also to suggest ways to curb these actives in future.

RBI asks banks to consider e-KYC a valid process

In a notification issued by the Reserve Bank of India, banks have been asked to avail the electronic Know Your Customer, e-KYC service, launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India, UIDAI. The notification directed banks to revise their KYC policy by accepting the e-KYC as a valid process for KYC verification under the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005. As per the notification, the information containing demographic details and photographs made available from UIDAI as a result of e-KYC process may be treated as an ‘Officially Valid Document’ under PML Rules.
The e-KYC service was launched by the UIDAI to help people link their existing records, like ration cards, pension accounts, license and certificates, to their Aadhaar numbers in a safe and easy manner.

Process of opening bank accounts for foreign students simplified: RBI

Simplifying bank account opening procedure for foreign students, RBI issued a notification asking banks to open a Non-Resident Ordinary bank account of a foreign student on the basis of his/her passport along with appropriate visa and immigration endorsement. As per the notification foreign students who intend to open a bank account will have to submit a valid address proof giving local address, in the form of a rent agreement or a letter from the educational institution in case of hostel facility within 30 days of opening the account.  Banks have been asked not to insist on the landlord visiting the branch for verification of rent documents and to take up alternative means of verification of local address.

Diana Nyad becomes first person to swim from Cuba to US without shark cage

American long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad (64) became the first person to swim across 166-km long Florida Strait from Cuba to the United States without a shark cage. It took her about 53 hours after beginning from Havana. It was her 5th attempt when set a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers.

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