Current Affairs, News & Facts of 27 May 2016

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  • SC allow Italian Marine to go home 

    The Supreme Court has allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to return to Italy on humanitarian grounds.

    However he will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen in 2012.

    The apex court has laid down conditions for releasing Mr. Girone, including that he continue to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and report to the local police station in Italy once every month and not make any attempt to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence. 

    In September 2014, the court had allowed Massimiliano Latorre, the other Italian marine accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.

    Girone and Latorre, who were on board Enrica Lexie, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. 

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  • 40 million Indians at risk from rising sea levels: UN report

    Due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth, in future nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having the maximum exposure to coastal flooding says UN environment report.

    ‘Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments' says the worst impacts of climate change will be seen in the Pacific and South and South-East Asia and projects that seven of the 10 most vulnerable countries worldwide are in the Asia Pacific region.

    India tops the list with nearly 40 million people in the country projected to be at risk from rising sea levels, followed by more than 25 million in Bangladesh, over 20 million in China and nearly 15 million in the Philippines.

    Cities under threat : The report says Mumbai and Kolkata in India, Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Yangon in Myanmar, Bangkok in Thailand, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong in Vietnam are the cities that will be severely exposed to coastal flooding in 2070.

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  • Yes Bank gets nod for raising FDI limit to 74%

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved  Yes Bank’s request for an increase in the foreign investment limit to 74 per cent from the existing limit of 41.87 per cent without any sub-limits entailing FDI inflows of  USD1 billion (Rs 6,885 crore).

    Yes Bank co-founded by Rana Kapoor in 2004 is the fifth largest private sector Bank and only Greenfield Bank licence awarded by the RBI in the last two decades.The bank has 630 branches and 2000 ATMs across the country.

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  • Cabinet nod for expanding ST list, opening six IITs

    Cabinet nod for expanding ST list, opening six IITs The Union Cabinet  has cleared the bill for opening of six  new Indian Institutes of Technology(IITs) at Tirupati, Palakkad, Dharwad, Bhilai, Goa and Jammu. ISM Dhanbad will be converted into an IIT under the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961.

    The cabinet has also cleared a bill adding some communities to the list of the Scheduled Tribes for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Tripura. The communities that would be added in the list are :

     

    • Tamil Nadu: Malayali Gounder, Narikuravas and Kurivikkaran communities.
    • Puducherry: Irular communities.
    • Assam : Boro, Boro Kachari, Bodo, Bodo Kachari and Karbi communities.
    • Chhattisgarh: Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, Bhuyan, Kisan, Saunra, Saonra and Dhangad communities.
    • Jharkhand :  Bhogta, Deshwari, Ganjhu, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Patbandi, Raut, Maajhia, Khairi (Kheri) and Puran communities.
    • Tripura :  Darlong communities.
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  • Indian-American map experts sweep National Geographic Bee

    Rishi Nair, 12-year-old Indian American student, has won the prestigious USD 50,000 National Geographic Bee competition in which Indian-origin contestants maintained their dominance at the 28th annual National Geographic Bee by sweeping all the top three slots.

    Nair, a sixth grader from Florida, received a USD 50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. He also wins a trip to Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park.

    It should be noted that this is the fifth consecutive year that an Indian-American has won the prestigious national tournament. Last year Karan Menon had won the competition.

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  • ISRO to test rocket that takes its fuel from air

    ISRO to test rocket that takes its fuel from airAfter successfully testing India's first reusable space shuttle RLV-TD, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to test an air-breathing propulsion system, that will use oxygen oxygen present in the atmosphere up to 50 km from the earth’s surface to burn the fuel stored in the rocket fuel instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight.

    This system, when implemented, would help in reducing the lift-off mass of the vehicle since liquefied oxygen need not be carried on board the vehicle. This would also help increasing the efficiency of the rocket and also make it cost-effective.

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  • Banned Maria Sharapova named in Russia's Olympic team

    Russia has included Maria Sharapova  in its Olympic tennis team  despite the star player being suspended over a positive test for the banned drug meldonium. Questions regarding her participation at the Olympic would be resolved by the end of the first week.

    The International Tennis Federation (ITF) provisionally suspended Sharapova the five-time Grand Slam champion on 12 March but World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) admitted in April that scientists were unsure how long meldonium stayed in the system so athletes who tested positive for the substance before 1 March could avoid bans.

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  • UK grants asylum to Maldives' ex-President Mohamed Nasheed

    United Kingdom has granted political refugee status to ousted former president of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. He was allowed to travel to London to seek medical treatment by President Abdulla Yameen in January this year.

    In March 2015, Nasheed was convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act of Maldives for arresting Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed while president and sentenced to 13 years at Maafushi Prison. However the conviction was described as politically motivated.

    He was supposed to return to Maldives after the treatment, but remained in London, where his wife and daughters have been living since he was jailed.

    Mohamed Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives and one of the founders of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

    He served as the President of Maldives for 4 years from 2008-2012 before he was toppled in what he called a coup backed by the military and police.

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  • Beijing to adopt world’s strictest vehicle emission standards

    China's capital Beijing is all set to implement the world’s new strictest vehicle emission standards by next year  to reduce hazardous hydrocarbon emissions by 5 per cent.

    By next year  Beijing will implement newest standard, Beijing VI that will reduce vehicle hydrocarbon emissions by 5 percent. It is predicted that by 2022, overall vehicle emissions pollution in Beijing will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent.

    Beijing took the lead in China in using unleaded gasoline 2007 and worked out Beijing II gasoline standard in 2004. Later, in 2005, 2008 and 2012, Beijing issued and implemented Beijing III, Beijing IV and Beijing V gasoline standards.

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  • US biochemical engineer Frances Arnold wins Millennium Technology Prize

    US biochemical engineer Frances Arnold has won a million-euro technology prize in Finland for her work on "directed evolution" a  method of rewriting DNA to improve medicines and develop green fuels. Prof Arnold is the first female winner in its 12-year history.

    Arnold, 59,  is a professor of chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology. Her method of creating new proteins with desired properties is being used to convert renewable resources like sugar cane into biofuels and to improve everyday products such as laundry and dishwashing detergents to enhance their performance in cold temperatures.

    Millennium Technology Prize 

    The Millennium Technology Prize is one of the world's largest technology prizes. It is awarded once every two years by Technology Academy Finland, an independent fund established by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership. 

    The Prize is Finland's tribute to innovations for a better life and aims to promote technological research and Finland as a high-tech Nordic welfare state. The Prize was awarded for the first time in 2004.

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  • Govt renames disability dept; ‘divyang’ replaces ‘viklang’

    Now, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (‘Viklangjan’ Sashaktikaran Vibhag) will be known as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (‘Divyangjan’ Sashaktikaran Vibhag), according to an order issued by Cabinet Secretariat.

    The move nearly five months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ had said physically challenged people have a “divine ability” and the term “divyang” should be used in place of “viklang” for them.

    The Centre had proposed the change in name of the department by amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. As per the 2011 census, the differently abled constitute 2.21 per cent of the total population of the country.

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  • Pink Panther star, Burt Kwouk passes away

    Burt Kwouk, who was best known for playing Inspector Clouseau's manservant Cato in the Pink Panther films, has died aged 85. He was a stalwart of several 1960s ITC television series, such as Danger Man, The Saint and Man of the World and also played a number of different characters in a trio of Bond films as Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and the 1968 spoof Casino Royale.

    Facts about Burt Kwouk : 

    • Born in Warrington, Cheshire in 1930, Kwouk was raised in Shanghai until he was 17. He started acting when he returned to England in 1954 after 1949 revolution when his family fortune was lost.
    • Kwouk made his film debut in the 1957 film Windom's Way. His big break came 10 years later when director Blake Edwards offered him the part of Cato Fong, opposite Peter Sellers's Inspector Clouseau.
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