Current Affairs, News & Facts of 06 Jun 2016

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  • P Sreeramakrishnan elected Kerala Assembly Speaker

    P Sreeramakrishnan elected Kerala Assembly SpeakerP Sreeramakrishnan of the CPM  was elected the Speaker of the 14th legislative Assembly of Kerala.

    Mr Sreeramakrishnan, Ponnani MLA,  secured 92 votes against opposition United Democratic Front’s (UDF) V.P. Sajeendran who got 46 votes.

    48-year-old Sreeramakrishnan, known for his pleasant personality and soft-spoken nature, is two-time legislator from Ponnani constituency.

    He was elected for the first time in 2011 and again in 2016. He is state committee member of CPI(M) and the Ex- President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).

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  • Odisha becomes first state to give welfare benefits to transgender community

    Odisha becomes first state to give welfare benefits to transgender communityOdisha became the first state in the country to give transgender people social welfare benefits such as a pension, housing and food grains which is usually allocated for only the most impoverished.

    The move to give the transgender community the same benefits as those living below the poverty line was aimed at improving their overall social and economic status.

    The beneficiaries will enjoy free housing, 100 days of paid work annually, pensions and loans to start their own businesses.  They would also be entitled 5 kg of food grains every month under National Food Security Act.

    Issues faced by transgender community

    The social exclusion, ostracism and sexual  abuses faced by this community almost each day do not let them get employed smoothly. They also lack of access to education and employment opportunities, ending up into organised groups, forced begging or demanding money.

    Legal third gender :

    • In a landmark judgment in April 2014, India's Supreme Court recognised transgender as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure their equal treatment.
    • The court recognised the community as a marginalised group and directed authorities to implement policies to improve their socio-economic status.
    • Identity documents such as birth certificates, driving licenses and passports must now recognise the third gender, and a certain number of public sector jobs, seats in schools and colleges must be allocated to third-gender applicants.
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  • Scientists Discovered Rare 'Einstein Ring'

    Scientists Discovered Rare 'Einstein Ring'An international team of astrophysicists from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) in Canary Islands an unusual astronomical object - an Einstein ring-  created by a galaxy located 10,000 million light years away that is hidden behind a more massive galaxy.

    Einstein rings, predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity, are quite rare but scientifically interesting. The unusual astronomical object has been named as "The Canarias Einstein ring".

    What is Einstein ring? 

    In his General Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein predicted that gravity would distort the fabric of spacetime, and that light would follow curved paths as a result.

    In observational astronomy, an Einstein ring is the deformation (distortion) of the light from very far source such as (star or galaxy) into a ring through gravitational lensing of the source’s light by an object with an extremely large mass (such as a black hole or another galaxy). 

    The light from distant galaxies is bent by black holes and massive galaxies that lie between them and our planet. The intervening objects act as lenses, creating cosmic arcs and rings.

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  • Navin Agarwal appointed as DG of NADA

    Senior IPS officer Navin Agarwal has been appointed as the Director General (DG)/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Anti-Doping Agency ( NADA ).

    His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    He has been appointed to the post for five years. Navin Agarwal is a 1986 batch IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre. Prior to this appointment he was working in his cadre state J&K.

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  • Nita Ambani nominated for International Olympic Committee

    Nita Ambani nominated for International Olympic CommitteeNita Ambani, founder-chairperson of Reliance Foundation,  has been nominated as a candidate to be a new member, pending election, of the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ), headquartered at Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Nita Ambani, 52, has become the first Indian woman to be nominated as a member of the International Olympic Committee. She will formally become an IOC member in elections slated for 2-4 August just before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    It should be noted that Sir Dorabji Tata was the first Indian representative in the IOC while Raja Randhir Singh was a member from 2000-2014 and is currently a honorary member of the IOC. 

    Nita Ambani who is married to Mukesh Ambani, the country's richest man is the founder and chairperson at the Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of conglomerate Reliance Industries.  She is also the principal owner of the Mumbai Indians franchise in the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

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  • Two Indian Origin Women Feature in Forbes ‘Richest Self-Made Women’ List

    Two Indian Origin Women Feature in Forbes ‘Richest Self-Made Women’ ListTwo Indian-origin women have featured on the Forbes' annual list of America's 60 wealthiest and most successful self-made women entrepreneurs.

    The list released by renowned financial and business magazine Forbes, includes 60 achievers as measured by their net worth.

    According to Forbes, the richest self-made woman in America is Diane Hendricks , the owner of ABC Supply, the largest wholesale distributor of roofing and siding in the country.

    Her new worth is USD 4.9 billion, USD 1.2 billion more than last year when she was ranked second.

    Two Indian-origin women are : 

    Neerja Sethi :  India-born Neerja Sethi, who co-founded IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel with her husband Bharat Desai, is ranked 16th on 'America's Richest Self-made Women' list. Her assets account for a net worth of US 1.1 billion dollars. She is vice president of Syntel’s corporate affairs. Her company employs more than 25000 people.

    Jayshree Ullal: She is the President and CEO of Arista Networks, a cloud networking company responsible for the deployment of 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet networking in the data center. She has been placed at 30th position in the list.

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  • Asia's first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme' launched in Haryana

    Asia's first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme' launched in HaryanaThe Haryana Government has launched Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.

    It was launched by state Chief Minister Manohar Lal by releasing 2 captive bred Himalayan Griffons vultures in the pre-release aviaries close to the breeding centre at Pinjore.

    The Centre has become prominent vulture breeding and conservation centre in the country-after successfully breeding Himalayan Griffon Vultures-an old world vulture in the family of Accipitridae-in captivity.

    Breeding and conservation of vultures is a significant step in the direction of saving the species. It is a matter of concern that some vulture species have become endangered.

    Decline in vulture population:  

    • The main reason for rapid decline in population of vulture is due to Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is given to cattle in inflammation and pain. 
    • Though vultures have robust digestive system, they are not able to break down Diclofenac and die of renal failure or kidney failure after eating carcasses of cattle administered with the drug.

    Preventive steps taken by Government :

    The government banned the veterinary use of the drug in 2006 and multi-vial usage of the drug for human consumption in 2015 to bring down prevalence of the drug in cattle carcasses and make the environment safe for vultures.

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  • BRICS bank to issue first Yuan-denominated bonds

    BRICS bank to issue first Yuan-denominated bondsThe New Development Bank of the BRICS countries is set to issue its first yuan-denominated bonds to finance sustainable development projects.

    The bank's first five-year yuan-denominated bonds, also referred as green bonds, will be issued after receiving a rating from international ratings agencies as well as getting authorities' approval.

    Further, more bonds denominated in local currencies of the BRICS countries, including the rupees in India, will be issued if the bank's board and local authorities endorse the project plans.

    The Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) has been founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

    It is headed by eminent Indian banker K V Kamath. The bank plans to finance sustainable development projects in the emerging markets and developing countries.  

    It announced its first batch of loans on April 2016, providing USD 300 million to Brazil, USD 81 million to China, USD 250 million to India and USD 180 million to South Africa.

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  • P Dhanapal re-elected as Speaker of Tamil Nadu Assembly

    P Dhanapal re-elected as Speaker of Tamil Nadu AssemblyRuling AIADMK nominee, P Dhanapal was  unanimously elected Speaker of the 15th Tamil Nadu Assembly, the first to be elected for a consecutive second term in the state's legislative history.

    Pollachi V Jayaraman of ruling AIADMK was unanimously re-elected as the Deputy Speaker of the legislative assembly. 

    Chief Minister Jayalalithaa proposed the names of Dhanapal and Pollachi V Jayaraman as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam ad seconded the proposal when the Assembly met.  

    Both of them earlier had served as Speaker and Deputy Speaker during the 2011-16 AIADMK regime.

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  • Shangri-La Dialogue Opens in Singapore

    The 15th edition of Asia Security Summit "Shangri-La Dialogue" was inaugurated in Singapore to talk about security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The three day event will be attended by at least 20 Defence Ministers from Asia-Pacific countries including India represented by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

    The Shangri-La Dialogue is an annual summit organized by the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) that welcomes defense officials from countries across the Asia-Pacific region and the world to discuss strategic issues, resolve differences, and seek potential cooperation.

    The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002. The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defence and security community in the region.

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  • NASA scientists finds 39 unreported sources of SO2 pollution

    NASA scientists finds 39 unreported sources of SO2 pollutionUsing a new satellite-based method, NASA scientists have located 39 unreported and major human-made sources of toxic sulphur dioxide emissions.

    The unreported emission sources were found in the analysis of satellite data from 2005 to 2014. 

    These sources are clusters of coal-burning power plants, smelters, oil and gas operations – found notably in West Asia, but also in Mexico and parts of Russia.

    Sulphur dioxide is a known health hazard and cause of acid rain. Currently, sulphur dioxide-monitoring activities include the use of emission inventories that are derived from ground-based measurements and factors, such as fuel usage.

    Facts to know

    Altogether, unreported and under-reported sources account for about 12 per cent of all human-made emissions of sulphur dioxide. This discrepancy can have a large impact on regional air quality.

    Researchers using a new satellite also have located 75 natural sources of SO2 in the form of non-erupting volcanoes that are slowly leaking the toxic gas.

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  • Scientists create Bionic leaf that turns sunlight into liquid fuel

    Scientists create Bionic leaf that turns sunlight into liquid fuelScientists at Harvard University  have created a “bionic leaf” which uses the sun’s energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels from CO2.

    This artificial photosynthesis device which has been dubbed as “bionic leaf 2.0” can now convert solar energy to biomass with 10 percent efficiency. Its efficiency is much higher than the 1% seen in the fastest growing plants.

    Scientists had used a new cobalt-phosphorous alloy catalyst for this experiment which lowered the voltage and increased the efficiency dramatically.

    The catalyst chemical design allows the system to self-heal i.e. doesn’t allow material to leech into solution.

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  • India, Singapore agree to enhance scale of military interaction 

    India, Singapore agree to enhance scale of military interaction India and Singapore held the first dialogue between their defence ministers and have agreed to enhance the scale of existing bilateral military interaction and complexity of existing bilateral exercises between the militaries. 

    The agreement comes at a time when freedom of navigation in international waterways has emerged as a major concern.

    The Dialogue was co-chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Singapore counterpart Dr. Ng Eng Hen.

    Both countries also agreed cooperation between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Singapore research agency on research-oriented projects. 

    Both ministers strongly condemned terrorism, and renewed their commitment to cooperation in counter terrorism efforts besides emphasising the importance of safeguarding maritime security in international waterway.

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