PIONEER CURRENT AFFAIRS
- China launches World’s first Quantum Communication Satellite.
China on 16 August 2016 launched the world’s first quantum satellite named Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite. The satellite was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu.
The satellite will help establish hack-proof communications between space and the ground.
Highlights of the Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite
- It is nicknamed Micius, after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist who has been credited as the first one in human history conducting optical experiments.
- It is designed to establish hack-proof quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.
- It will enable secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi, the capital of China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang.
- It will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.
- Hindustan Copper Limited inaugurated nickel production facility in Ghatsila.
Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) on 10 August 2016 inaugurated the Nickel, Copper and Acid Recovery Plant of Hindustan Copper Limited at Indian Copper Complex, Ghatsila in Jharkhand.
This is the first facility in India to produce Nickel metal of LME grade from primary resource.
Key features of the facility
- This project will utilize an eco-friendly technology and will check pollution by eliminating the use of lead.
- It will have reduced liquid effluent, generate 75 percent less solid waste, utilize less energy, provide safe working environment and utilize and conserve natural resources.
- At present the capacity of the plant is 50 MT per annum, considering the current production rate from the Surda mines.
- The Nickel output is expected to increase by eight times after the completion of mine expansion projects located at Ghatsila.
- The annual demand for pure Nickel in India is around 45000 MT and its market in the country is totally dependent on import.
- Currently, Copper is recovered from bleed electrolyte as liberator cathode having only 50-90 percent Copper content, and liberator sludge with 50-60 percent Copper content.
- Interestingly, the process consumes around 30 MT LME-A grade Copper starter sheet per annum.
- The proposed project will replace the age-old process of liberator cell operation with EMEW & APU technology in the Refinery.
- UBI launched USSD based *99# Mobile Application for basic banking needs.
The Union Bank of India (UBI) on 12 August 2016 launched an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based *99# Mobile Application for their customers for basic banking needs.
It was launched in partnership with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in the country.
Highlights of the *99# mobile application
- It can be downloaded in an android smartphone from the Google Play Store by the bank customers.
- It can be used even without any internet connection as it does not require any data and is available in 10 languages.
- It provides basic banking facilities like checking account balance, sending money, Mobile PIN (MPIN) management.
- Besides, it provides value added services like checking Aadhaar linked overdraft status and PMJDY account overdraft status.
About Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
- USSD is a GSM based technology used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program in the network.
- It is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider’s computers.
- Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a USSD session. So they are more responsive than services that use SMS.
- It can be used for prepaid callback service, WAP browsing, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services etc.
- Andy Murray of Great Britain won gold in Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Andy Murray of Great Britain on 14 August 2016 won the gold medal in men’s singles tennis category in Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
To win the title, he defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5 4-6 6-2 7-5 in the final match held at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
With the win, he retained the medal and became the first player to win two men’s singles tennis gold medals in Olympics.
For him, it was also the 18th straight victory following his second Wimbledon title in July 2016.
For Del Potro, the silver medal winner, it was his second Olympic medal after a bronze at the 2012 London Games.
- Union Government constituted National Committee on Trade Facilitation
The Union Government on 12 August 2016 constituted the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).
The committee seeks to develop the pan-India road map for trade facilitation as per the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Earlier, on 22 April 2016, India ratified the TFA which is an outcome of the Bali Package 2013 or Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO.
Features of NCTF
- It is an inter-ministerial body on trade facilitation.
- It will act as a national level body that will facilitate domestic co-ordination and implementation of TFA provisions.
- It will play lead role in developing the pan-India road map for trade facilitation.
- It will synergise the various trade facilitation perspectives across the country.
- The focus will be on outreach programmes for sensitization of stakeholders about it.
- The committee will also be responsible for identifying the nature of required legislative changes and spearheading the diagnostic tools needed for assessing compliance to TFA.
- It will have a 3-tier structure with main national committee for monitoring implementation of TFA.
- At the apex level, it will be headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha.
- Anita Wlodarczyk breaks world record to win gold in Hammer Throw.
Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk on 15 August 2016 broke her own women’s hammer world record to win the gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Wlodarczyk’s winning mark was 82.29m.
China’s Wenxiu Zhang won the silver medal with a mark of 76.75m. Sophie Hitchon of Great Britain earned the bronze medal.
About Anita Wlodarczyk
- Anita Wlodarczyk is a Polish hammer thrower.
- She is first woman in history to throw the hammer over 80 m.
- She currently holds the women’s world record of 82.29 m.
- She is considered the greatest women’s hammer thrower of all time.
August CA eBook
- She won her first national U23 championships in 2007.
- She finished sixth in the hammer throw competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.
- She took part in the 2009 European Team Championships winning her first gold medal at a major international competition.
- On 1 August 2015, she set a new world record with a throw of 81.08 metres and became the first woman to throw the hammer over 80 metres.