Current Affairs, News & Facts of 10 May 2016

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  • India ranks ninth in crony-capitalism index 

    India ranks ninth in crony-capitalism index India is ranked at ninth position in crony-capitalism with crony sector wealth accounting for 3.4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

    The global ranking was  based on new study by The Economist which had used data from a list of the world’s billionaires and their worth published by Forbes. 

    In this study each individual is labelled as crony or not based on the source of their wealth. In India, the non-crony sector wealth amounts to 8.3 per cent of the GDP. In 2014 ranking also, India stood at the ninth place. 

    Crony capitalism  :  It is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It is believed to arise friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government that influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

    Top countries in the list: Russia (1st), Malaysia (2nd), Philippines (3rd) and Singapore (4th). 

    It should be noted that top ranking  in the list indicates countries are engaged more in crony capitalism. Russia fares worst in the index, wealth from the country's crony sectors amounts to 18 per cent of its GDP while Germany is cleanest, where just few of the country's billionaires derives their wealth from crony sectors. 

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  • Indian-origin Murali Pillai elected to Singapore Parliament

    Indian-origin Murali Pillai elected to Singapore ParliamentMurali Pillai- an Indian-origin lawyer from Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has been elected member of the parliament following his victory in the by-election held at suburban Bukit Batok constituency.

    Murali Pillai garnered 61.21% of the votes, while his opponent from Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan got 38.79% of votes.

    With this victory, Mr Murali became the first PAP candidate to win a by-election in a single member constituency in more than three decades.

    Murali Pillai :

    Murali Pillai  is a Singaporean lawyer and politician, as well as a former police officer. He worked in the Singapore Police Force before his admission to practice law in 1996. In his legal career, Pillai is currently the head for commercial litigation in Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

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  • Novak Djokovic wins 2016 Mutua Madrid Open  

    Novak Djokovic wins 2016 Mutua Madrid OpenProfessional tennis player from Serbia- Novac Djokovic (World no. 1) won the Mutua Madrid Open title for the year 2016 in men’s single category by defeating Andy Murray from Great Britain with a score of (6-2, 3-6, 6-3) in the final match palyed in Madrid, Spain.

    After this victory Djokovic moves ahead of Spain’s Rafael Nadal with a record 29 ATP Masters 1000 titles. It was also Djokovic’s fifth win in the last 6 ATP 1000 competitions.

    Women’s Single Category  : 

    Simona Halep (World No. 6) - Professional tennis player from Romania has won the women singles title of the Madrid Open by defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia with a score of ( 6-2, 6-4 ) in the final match palyed at Madrid (Spain). This was her third Madrid title and first title of 2016 season. Overall this was her 12th career title.

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  •  US actor William Schallert passes away

     US actor William Schallert passes awayVeteran American character actor - William Schallert-  who parlayed an everyman face into hundreds of television and film roles, most notably as the father in the 1960s TV situation comedy The Patty Duke Show has died. 

    Schallert born on July 6, 1922  began his career with film roles in the 1940s and worked fairly consistently through 2014, most recent shows including "2 Broke Girls," "Desperate Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," and "My Name is Earl." 

    Schallert is best remembered for his role as Martin Lane, the father in The Patty Duke Show, which aired from 1963 to 1966.

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  • There are 390,900 plants known to science: Kew report

    There are 390,900 plants known to scienceScientists have estimated that there are 390,900 plants known to science of which approximately 369,400 are flowering . The new tally is part of a report carried out by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    It should be noted that it is its first global assessment of the world's flora. The study also found that 2,034 new plant species were discovered in 2015.

    The report warns that 21% of plants are at risk of extinction, with threats including climate change, habitat loss, disease and invasive species.

    The report also found that more than 10% of the parts of the Earth that are covered with vegetation are highly sensitive to climate change. Kew's global assessment will now be carried out annually, allowing scientists to monitor how plants are changing over time.

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  • Kim Jong-Un becomes North Korea ruling party chairman 

    Kim Jong-Un becomes North Korea ruling party chairman North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been named chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at a rare party of congress held in Pyongyang.

    This was after 36 years that congress was held as last congress was held, in 1980, before Kim was born.

    Kim the third generation of the dynasty that has ruled the country since its founding in 1948 had already been head of the party, but with the title of first secretary.

    His grandfather and the country’s founding leader, Kim Il-Sung, remains eternal president of the nation despite having died in 1994. 

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  • Gilead gets patent for Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi

    Gilead gets patent for Hepatitis C drug SovaldiThe Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademark has granted American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences the patent rights for the remarkable Hepatitis C drug Sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) in India. 

    The company charges USD 1,000 Per pill in the US and has charged similarly high prices across developed countries and now the patent rights will give the company legal monoploy in the market which will impact the patients who can not afford expensive medicines.

    Background : Various patient groups and generic companies had opposed the Gilead's application to obtain a patent in the country, arguing that sofosbuvir was "old science", not novel and did not meet the standard needed for patenting in India so Gilead's patent application was first rejected but this time the patent office dismissed all pre-grant oppositions and stated that it found, “claimed compounds are novel, inventive and patentable under Patents Act.”

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  • Five Pacific reef islands swallowed by rising sea levels

    Five Pacific reef islands swallowed by rising sea levelsAccording to new research five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have disappeared due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion and a further six islands have been severely damaged. 

    The study marks the first time that provides concrete scientific evidence that proves the loss of Solomon Island shoreline in the context of global warming.

    The islands that have been lost were from one to five hectares in size and supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. 

    Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, between 2011 and 2014.  The families that have left have moved to the nearby large island of Choiseul.

    The study emphasized that it was of critical importance to understand the relationship between rising sea levels, other global climate changes such as waves, and local tectonics if we have to minimize the social impacts.

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  • Fossils of first plant-eating marine reptile found  

    Fossils of first plant-eating marine reptile foundScientists have discovered the Fossil remains of  bizarre crocodile-sized "hammerhead" creature, that lived 242 million years ago in today's southern China. The creature is the earliest known example of a plant-eating marine reptile.

    The reptile which has been named as "Atopodentatus unicus". It's fossil was discovered in 2014. It seems to have a flamingo-like beak.

    Scientists said that the "beak" is actually part of a hammerhead-shaped jaw apparatus, which it used to feed on plants on the ocean floor.

    It is for the first time that scientists have seen  reptile like this as it has hammerhead which makes it very different from othe marine reptiles. It has bunches of needle-like teeth in it's mouth.

    It used the peg-like front teeth to scrape plants off of rocks on the sea floor, and then it opened its mouth and sucked in the bits of plant material. Then, it used its needle-like teeth as a sieve, trapping the plants and letting the water back out.

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  • IIT-M incubated firm gets USD 18 million funding

    IIT-M incubated firm gets USD 18 million fundingInnoNano Research (INR), a clean water technology company  incubated at IIT Madras, has received funding of USD 18 million from Nano Holdings, a US-based energy and water investment specialist firm.

    With this funding INR plans to set up a manufacturing unit, a laboratory and technology delivery offices across North America, Asia and Africa.

    The funding would come over a five-year window. Of the entire funding USD 6 million would be spent over the next three years.

    INR, with the help of technology, provides drinking water, free of arsenic, fluoride and micro organisms to rural India.

    This technology has been implemented across 700 villages in India including Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka. By 2017, more than 1,500 villages will be covered.

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