26 Aug, 2016
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1) In an important step towards cashless future in India, National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI’s) Unified Payments Interface (UPI) went live on 25 August 2016 that will enable customers to make everyday payments with just a few taps on their smartphones. Of the participating 21 banks, which four banks launched their UPI-enabled apps on 25 August? – Axis Bank, Union Bank, Federal Bank and Bank of Maharashtra
Explanation: India moved closer to a cashless future on 25 August 2015 as four banks – Axis Bank, Union Bank, Federal Bank and Bank of Maharashtra – launched their Unified Payments Interface-based (UPI-based) apps. These 4 banks launched their UPI-enabled android apps on Google Play Store.
– The UPI system will allow customers to safely and instantaneously transfer funds almost as easily as they send a text message.
– The system uses a single identifier that eliminates the need to exchange sensitive information such as bank account numbers or credit card details during a financial transaction.
– The UPI system will be available only for bank customers with Android smartphones initially. Union Bank’s UPI app, Federal Bank’s Lotza, Axis Bank’s Axis Pay and Bank of Maharashtra’s MahaUPI apps are now UPI-enabled. However other participating banks will also launched their UPI-enabled apps very shortly.
2) The world’s first self-driving taxis made its debut in which country on 25 August 2016? – Singapore
Explanation: nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup, on 25 August 2016 started world’s first self-driving taxis. Under this service, members of the public can hail a free ride through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy.
– It is worth mentioning that nuTonomy’s launch thus beat Uber, which has plans to offer such rides in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.
– nuTonomy has initially started its service with small six cars, which it plans to grow to a dozen by the end of the year. The ultimate goal is to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018, to help cut the number of cars on Singapore’s congested roads.
3) According to media reports appearing on 25 August 2016, a government panel has recently cleared commercial use of genetically modified (GM) mustard seed that would be India’s first food crop. Which institution has developed this GM seed? – Delhi University
Explanation: The GM mustard developed by Delhi University scientists makes use of three genes already incorporated in rapeseed hybrids in Canada, the United States and Australia.
– Media reports claimed that technical clearance for indigenously developed GM mustard seeds was given on 11 August 2016 by the panel of government and independent experts following multiple reviews of crop trial data generated over almost a decade.
– Permitting GM food crops is a big call for India, which spends tens of billions of dollars importing edible oils and other food items every year.
– But the road to final approvals for GM mustard seed will not be smooth due to wide-spread public opposition to the technology.
4) Which European country was hit by a massive earthquake on 24 August 2016, resulting in the death of around 250 persons? – Italy
Explanation: A powerful earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale hit Central Italy in the early hours of 24 August 2016. The region affected by the quake is among the seismically most active in Italy, being affected by the meeting of the African and Eurasian tectonic plate.
– Scores of buildings were reduced to dusty piles of rubble in communities close to the epicenter of the quake. The most hit towns were Amatrice, near the epicentere, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto. Around 250 persons were killed while around 400 persons were injured.
– In Amatrice, the facade and rose window of the church of Sant’ Agostino were destroyed. The quake also created cracks in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
5) What is the name given to the online library initiative launched on 24 August 2016 for persons with visual and print disabilities by the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities, (DEPwD)? – ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’
Explanation: ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’ is the name of the online library launched for persons with visual and print disabilities. It will include online books in various accessible formats.
– This online library will focus on collection of all accessible materials from all over the country in single online library system.
– The initiative has been created in collaboration with National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), member organizations of Daisy Forum of India (DFI), Bookshare and powered by TCS Access.
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