Current Affairs : 01 Jun 2016 to 14 May 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 01 Jun 2016 Jun 2016

  • Dashar Maha Kumbh to be held in Kashmir after 75 years

    ‘Dashar Maha Kumbh’ is being organised on the confluence of sacred rivers Sindhu and Vitasta in Ganderbal district of Kashmir on June 14, after a period of 75 years. 

    The kumbh is being organised in Waskoora tehsil of Ganderbal district, Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits are expected to participate on this sacred event.

    What happens in ‘Dashar Maha Kumbh’ ?

    At the confluence of Vitasta (Jhelum), Krishen Ganga and Sindh (Indus) rivers, there is a Chinar tree known as Prayag Chinar standing on a small island in the middle of the confluence spot surrounded by water on all sides.

    One has to come to this Chinar tree in a boat and go up some steps to have a commanding view of the confluence. There is a Shiva Lingam and some religious places like Shadipora Ghats and Narayan Bagh on the small island.

    The Shiva Lingam kept under the shade of this tree's trunk is also worshipped. This tree is considered mystical and sacred by Kashmiri Pandits and it is believed that even if the river flooding, the tree never sinks. 

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  • Former Delhi Police chief B S Bassi appointed UPSC member

    Former Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi has been appointed as a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), a Constitutional post, with a five year tenure.

    B S Bassi a 1977-batch IPS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, will hold the new post till February, 2021.

    Under the Constitution, a member of the UPSC can have a maximum tenure of six years or till he attains the age of 65 years.

    The members of the commission are mainly experts drawn from various streams which include the IAS, IPS and other all India services. 

    Other members of the UPSC :

    Alka Sirohi, David R Syiemlieh, Manbir Singh, former Navy Vice Chief D K Dewan, Vinay Mittal, Chhatar Singh, Prof Hem Chandra, Arvind Saxena and Prof Pradeep Kumar Joshi are other members of the UPSC, which is headed by Deepak Gupta as its chairman. 

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  • PM Modi approves retirement age of 65 years for doctors of central services

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the retirement age of 65 years for doctors of central services, with effect from today.

    The move will enable the government to retain experienced doctors for a longer period, and to provide better services in its public health facilities, particularly to the poorest, who are entirely dependent on public facilities. The decision will benefit about 4,000 doctors.

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  • India, Morocco launch Chamber of Commerce

    India, Morocco launch Chamber of CommerceIndia and Morocco launched the India-Morocco Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMCCI)  to accelerate the pace of economic development between the two countries.

    The chamber was jointly launched by visiting Vice President Hamid Ansari and Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.

    It should be noted that the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at USD 1.26 billion (nearly Rs 8382.46 crore) in 2015 with Indian exports forming roughly 25 Per-cent of the trade volume. In recent years Morocco has emerged as a favoured destination for investments by Indian firms.

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  • Switzerland Opens World's Longest, Deepest Rail Tunnel

    The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, measuring 57 km in length, situated 2.3km deep under the Alps was inaugurated in Switzerland.

    The 57-kilometer-long Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) will connect northern and southern Europe and shorten travel time for many rail routes.

    It overtakes Japan's Seikan tunnel, which measures 53.9 kilometers, as the longest rail tunnel in the world.

    The tunnel runs between Erstfeld in central Switzerland's Uri canton and Bodio in the southern Ticino region.

    Railway trains traveling at speeds up to 200 kilometers per hour will cut the journey between Zurich and Milan will cut the travel time.

    The construction of the tunnel began in 1996 was  built in 17 years by 2,400 workers, at a cost of over USD 12 billion.

    The massive rig that was used to bore through the mountains, measured at 410 meters long, removed 28 million tons of rock.

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  • 2,234 get HIV after blood transfusion

    As per the data released by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) 2,234 persons across India have been infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) while getting blood transfusions in the last 17 months alone.

    Uttar Pradesh with 361 cases, tops the list of unsafe blood transfusion practices in hospitals. Gujarat, Maharashtra and New Delhi are the other leading states with 292, 276 and 264 cases respectively.

    Cases of HIV/AIDS in India  :

    According to NACO’s 2015 annual report, the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs) in India was estimated at around 20.9 lakh in 2011. Nearly 86 per cent of these patients are in the 15-49 age-group.

    Children less than 15 years of age accounted for 7 per cent or 1.45 lakh of all infections in 2011 while 39 per cent (8.16 lakh) were among women.

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  • Asia's largest tech trade show COMPUTEX kicks off in Taipei  

    Asia's largest tech trade show COMPUTEX kicks off in TaipeiAsia’s largest technology trade show COMPUTEX kicked off in Taipei, Taiwan.  attracting more than 1,600 companies from 30 countries to showcase their latest products. This year marks the highest turnout in terms of the number of nations in five years.

    The Computex fair comes as Taiwan looks to tech innovation as a way out of economic stagnation and seeks to diversify its reputation as a hardware hub best-known for manufacturing chips.

    The highlight of this year’s show is virtual reality (VR). Taiwan’s HTC is drawing the most media attention, as it has got great reviews for its VR headset Vive since its debut in February. 

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  • Indian author Aditi Krishnakumar wins Asian Book Award

    Indian author Aditi Krishnakumar wins Asian Book AwardAditi Krishnakumar, an Indian woman author in Singapore, has won the prestigious 2016 Scholastic Asian Book Award for her manuscript "Codex: The Lost Treasure Of The Indus" that carried contemporary feel and roots deep into history of India. The manuscript will be published by Scholastic Asia.

    Presently Aditi Krishnakumar is working with Agent Lila Raman to decipher the mysterious script of the Indus Valley civilization.

    Her first book, A Whole Summer Long, was published in 2012. It was also shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014.

    Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA) :

    The Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA) is the joint initiative of the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and Scholastic Asia. It is a biennial award that seeks to promote reading and literature and champions literary works of Asians. It carries cash prize of 10,000 Singaporean dollars.

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  • Discus thrower Seema Punia qualifies for Rio Olympics

    Asian Games discus throw gold medal winner Seema Punia has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2016. She is the 19th Indian track and field athlete to have qualified for Rio Olympics.

    She qualified for the Rio Olympics  after throwing discus at 62.62 meters at the Pat Young’s Throwers Classic 2016 event held at Salinas (California) in the United States. 

    She crossed the Rio Games qualification standard of 61meters with her season’s best effort of 62.62 meters and winning gold medal in the event. 

    This will be Seema’s third Olympic Games appearance having taken part in 2004 and 2012 where she failed to get past the qualification round on both the occasions. 

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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Sports

Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min


Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min


Current Affairs 31 May 2016 May 2016

  • Bleaching kills off 'third of Great Barrier Reef coral'

    Bleaching kills off 'third of Great Barrier Reef coral'Scientists says that mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

    Australian researchers at Cook University, in Queensland have found that around 35 percent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef is dead or dying. 

    The finding are based on  months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300km reef off the country's east coast.

    This year is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming.

    The incident is a major blow to the World Heritage Site that attracts about A$5bn ($3.6bn) in tourism each year.

    Global warming a cause of bleaching :

    Bleaching occurs when the water is too warm, forcing coral to expel living algae and causing it to calcify and turn white. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops, otherwise it may die.

    Other reefs have suffered even more severely from the recent bleaching; Some Pacific islands, for example, have reported over 80 per cent coral death rates.

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  • Alastair Cook becomes youngest to score 10,000 Test runs

    Alastair Cook becomes youngest to score 10,000 Test runsEngland captain Alastair Cook aged 31, five months and five days become the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs thus breaking a record held earlier by India's cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar for more than a decade.

    He achieved the landmark by reaching five on the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street. Before start of this series Cook, who turned 31 this year had scored 9,964 Test runs, including 28 centuries and 47 fifties. Sachin was 31 years and 10-months-old when he achieved this landmark against Pakistan in Kolkata in March 2005.

    Youngest players to 10,000 Test runs

    Player   Age      Date achieved
    Alastair Cook (England) 31 years, 5 months, 5 days 30 May 2016
    Sachin Tendulkar (India) 31 years, 10 months, 20 days 16 March 2005
    Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 33 years, 4 months, 11 days 27 Feb 2009
    Ricky Ponting (Australia) 33 years, 5 months, 11 days 30 May 2008
    Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) 34 years, 6 months, 29 days 26 Dec 2011
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  • Rahman to get top Japanese culture prize

    Music maestro A R Rahman has been announced as the recipient of Grand Fukuoka Prize 2016 for his outstanding contribution to Asian culture through his music.

    A R Rahman has been chosen for the honour alongside Philippines historian Ameth R Ocampo (Academic Prize) and Yasmeen Lari from Pakistan (Arts and Culture Prize) by the secretariat of Fukuoka prize committee.

    Grand Fukuoka Prize 2016 :

    Grand Fukuoka Prize, was established by Fukuoka City, Japan, in 1990 with an aim to honour the outstanding work of individuals, groups and organizations working to preserve and promote the unique and diverse culture of Asia.

    Previous winners of the Grand Fukuoka Prize from India include distinguished names such as sitar player Ravi Shankar, dancer Padma Subrahmanyam, historian Romila Thapar, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, Ashish Nandy, Partha Chatterjee, Vandana Shiva, Nalini Malini and historian Ramachandra Guha.

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  • Sunil Lanba takes charge as Navy chief

    Sunil Lanba takes charge as Navy chiefVice Admiral Sunil Lanba, took over as the new Chief of the Naval Staff  today as the current CNS Admiral R.K.Dhowan retired after four decade of service.

    Key things to know about Admiral Sunil Lanba :

    Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba born on 17 July 1957 is an alumnus of the National Defense Academy (NDA), Defense Services Staff College, Royal College of Defense Studies and also has a PG in Defense and Management studies. He was commissioned in 1978 into the Executive Branch of the Navy. 

    In a service spanning nearly 38 years, Vice-Admiral Lanba has served in a variety of Command, operational and staff appointments. He served as Vice-Chief, headed the Southern Naval command and the National Defence College. 

    He has commanded four frontline warships  INS Kakinada (minesweeper), INS Himgiri (frigate) and destroyers INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai. Vice Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service of an exceptionally high order.

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  • May 31 : World No-Tobacco Day 2016

    World No Tobacco Day is observed across the globe on May 31 every year. It is aimed at encouraging people to abstain from consuming tobacco for 24 hours and raising awareness about the hazardous effects of tobacco consumption on a person's health and well-being.

    World No Tobacco Day 2016 theme : "Get ready for plain packaging" 

    On the eve of World No Tobacco Day 2016 the World Health Organization has urged the member nations for plain packaging of tobacco products as it will reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, restrict the use of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising, limits misleading packaging and labelling and increases the effectivness of health warnings. 

    New Zealand and various other countries have introduced the plain packaging on tobacco products despite the threat of legal action from the industry. Plain packaging means cigarettes must be sold in boxes plastered with health warnings and gruesome pictures of smoking-related diseas

    Hazardous effects of tobacco consumption

    • The average age of initiation of tobacco use in India is 19 years and three months. According to the recently-released Global Adult Tobacco Survey, about 35 per cent of the adults in India consume tobacco in some form or the other.
    • The estimated number of tobacco users in India is 27.5 crore, with 16.37 crore users of smokeless tobacco, 6.9 crore only smokers and 4.23 crore users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.
    • Tobacco use is responsible for nearly 6 million deaths each year worldwide, 600,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
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  • Vice Admiral AR Karve takes charge of Southern Naval Command

    Vice-Admiral AR Karve took charge as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) from Vice Admiral Girish Luthra who has been appointed as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. Prior to this appointment, he was serving as the Chief of Personnel at IHQ MoD (Navy), at Delhi.

    Vice-Admiral A R Karve

    • Vice Admiral AR Karve who joined the Indian Navy on 01 Jul 80 is the alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune. He is an anti-submarine warfare specialist with rich experience of 35 years. 
    • In his distinguished service he has held several important operational and staff appointments both at sea as well as ashore.
    • He commanded the aircraft carrier INS Viraat as well as the guided missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, the frigate INS Dunagiri and the ASW patrol vessel INS Ajay.

    Awards and Honours: He has been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2013 for his distinguished service. 

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  • NASA successfully deploys space station’s inflatable room

    US space agency NASA has successfully deployed the first experimental inflatable room attached to the International Space Station (ISS).  

    The experimental inflatable room which has been named as BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) was deployed after it was successfully tested for it's expansion and pressure.

    About Bigelow Expandable Activity Module ( BEAM ) 

    The 1,400 kg Bigelow Expandable Activity Module ( BEAM ) was built by Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace under a USD 17 million NASA contract.  It will be attached to the ISS for a two-year test and is the first such habitat to hold humans in orbit. 

    It is made up of aluminium and soft fabric which expands in space. It is light weight and also takes minimal space. It is 4 metres long and 3.2 metres in diameter with 16 cubic metres of interior volume when fully expanded.  It creates place for astronauts to live and work.

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  • Railways Conduct Trials For High Speed Spanish Talgo Coaches

    Indian Railways (IR)  has conducted the trial run of a nine-coach semi-high-speed train, imported from Spain and manufactured by Madrid-based Talgo on the 90-km Bareilly-to-Moradabad stretch in Uttar Pradesh. 

    The speed of the trial done was 115 kmph by a joint team of the Railway Design Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Spanish train manufacturer Talgo. The train covered 90-km distance in 1 hour 10 minutes.

    However the speed will be increased to 200 kmph on the Mathura-Palwal section and more than 200 kmph during trials on the Delhi-Mumbai route.

    If the trial run gets successful, it would put India into a select club of nations with operational semi-high speed capacity of 160-200 km per hour. As of now, the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express runs at an average speed of 85 km per hour.

    Key features of Talgo train 

    Talgo trains are light-weight, fast and known for some design features that include articulated bogies  one bogey is shared by two coaches  and independent rotation of wheels that allow smooth negotiation of curves. 

    The 9 coach Talgo train consists of 2 Executive Class cars, 4 Chair Cars, 1 cafeteria, 1 power car and tail-end coach for staff and equipment. Besides reducing travel time, Talgo's lighter trains consume 30 per cent less energy.

     

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  • Real Madrid FC wins 2016 UEFA Champions League

    Real Madrid FC won the 2016 UEFA Champions League for the record 11th time by defeating Atletico Madrid FC by 5-3 goals in penalty shootout. Earlier Real Madrid FC had won UEFA Champions League in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2014.

    In the final match both the teams had scored 1–1 goals in regulation period leading to draw but in tie-breaker penalty shootout Real Madrid FC scored 5 goals against Atletico Madrid which scored only 3 goals. 

    About UEFA Champions League

    The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs.

    It is also most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champion and for some nations of each UEFA national association. 

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  • Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh wins 2016 India Biodiversity Award

    Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh has received the 'India Biodiversity Award 2016'  in the conservation of threatened species category for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.

    Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme

    The Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme has been a major step towards conservation of four hornbill species that are found in the adjoining areas of Pakke Tiger Reserve.

    The Programme is a collaboration of Ghora-Aabhe Society, Nature Conservation Foundation and the Forest Department. Under this programme, urban citizens contribute money to protect hornbill nests around Pakke Tiger Reserve.

    India Biodiversity Award

    • India Biodiversity Awards recognise the contribution of a range of stakeholders towards the conservation of biodiversity. It is given in four categories viz. Conservation of Threatened Species, Sustainable use of biological resources, Successful models for access and benefit sharing and Biodiversity Management Committees.
    • It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, National Biodiversity Authority and United Nations Development programme. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of 1 lakh rupees while the runners up receive 50,000 rupees.
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Current Affairs 28 May 2016 May 2016

  • China signs deals with Sudan to build nuclear reactor

    China signs deals with Sudan to build nuclear reactorChina National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has signed two framework deals with Sudan, its close ally in Africa to build 600-megawatt (MW) atomic reactor the first of its kind in the country.

    The agreements were signed during a three-day visit to Sudan by a Chinese delegation led by Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration and deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

    Facts about the agreements :

    The agreements may involve a blueprint for nuclear power development in the next ten years for Sudan and building the first nuclear power station in Sudan.The contract value or the type of nuclear technology to be used for the reactor was not disclosed.

    With the world’s largest number of reactors under construction, China is looking to popularise nuclear technology at home and abroad and plans to develop the experience into nuclear exports.

    Chinese nuclear companies are making huge inroads in global nuclear markets, including Britain and Argentina. Earlier CNNC had clinched deals with Argentina to build two nuclear reactors. CGN, another domestic energy giant, has partnered with Electricite de France to build 3 reactors in Britain. 

    China already is having a long standing nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as it has built several nuclear power reactors and is currently building two 1100 mw reactors in Karachi.

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  • Sex ratio improves in Haryana for 1st time in 10 years

    For the first time in 10 years, sex ratio in Haryana has shown an upward trend, crossing the 900-mark with 903 girls per 1,000 boys.

    The chief minister credited the improvement of the sex ratio to the state's multi-pronged strategy implemented under the "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Earlier Haryana has had the dubious record of being the worst among states in sex ratio with just 879 females per 1,000 males. 

    While 12 districts have recorded sex ratio above the 900 mark in December 2015, district Sirsa tops the list with sex ratio of 999 girls per 1,000 boys.

    A big nexus of quacks, health workers, touts and registered medical practitioners, were busted by Sirsa police with the help of the health department. Out of the 100 worst districts in India for sex ratio, Haryana accounts for 12 districts.

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  • HC stays quota for Jats, five other communities

    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the reservation for Jats and five other communities— Jat Sikhs, Muslim Jats, Bishnois, Rors and Tyagis —  provided by the Haryana government under a newly carved Backward Classes (C) category as per provisions of Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016. 

    Facts to know :

    The High Court passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Murari Lal Gupta of Bhiwani, challenging the constitutional validity of The Haryana Backward Classes (reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Act 2016 that was passed unanimously by the State Assembly on March 29.

    Earlier the Supreme Court also had ruled that Jats could not be treated as backward, the state assembly had no right to pass the law. The Supreme Court, in the case of Ram Singh and others versus the Union of India, had held that Jats were not backward socially, educationally and politically.

    Constitutional background : The act provided 10 per cent quota in government jobs and educational institutions, and 6 per cent in Class I and II posts, was provided in exclusion to the already notified 27 per cent quota for Backward Classes (Block ­A and B) and 10 per cent to Economically Backward Persons. Thus, it had violated the reservation ceiling of 50 per cent imposed by the Supreme Court.

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  • Indian-American scientist wins Springer Theses Award

    Arnab De - an  Indian-American scientist has received the prestigious Springer Theses Award in recognition for his outstanding research in which he developed transgenic mice to study a critical tumor-suppressor called A20.

    His thesis was nominated by New York's Columbia University. Prior to this he has also developed peptide-based prodrugs as therapeutics for diabetes and received the Young Investigator Award at the American Peptide Symposium.

    Thesis prize :

    The thesis prize is awarded by Springer, a leading global publisher of renowned scientific journals and books, to recognize outstanding PhD research.

    Internationally top-ranked research institutes select their best thesis annually for publication in the book series: "Springer Theses: Recognizing Outstanding PhD research". The winners also get a cash prize of 500 euros.

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  • IAF test-fires land-attack version of BrahMos

    The Indian Air Force successfully test fired a land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, against a land-based target from a defence base in the western sector. It destroyed the designated target with accuracy.

    The flight-trial met its mission parameters as the missile and has proved its mettle once again as the best supersonic cruise missile system in the world.

    It should be noted that its accuracy in mountain warfare mode was re-established during a campaign by the Army in the eastern sector last year.

    All ground tests have been completed and now the IAF is preparing to fire the air version of BrahMos from its Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft in the coming weeks.

    The IAF had deployed the missile in the border areas to attack enemy’s communication towers, runways, and radar in case of a conflict.

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  • Barack Obama becomes first US president to visit Hiroshima bomb site

    Barack Obama becomes first US president to visit Hiroshima bomb siteBarack Obama became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the site of the world's first atomic bomb attack, which demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.

    The United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom as laid down in the Quebec Agreement, dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 killing around  140,000 people including a dozen captured American airmen and thousands of forced laborers from Korea.

    In the guest book of the memorial President Obama wrote “We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons.”

    However Mr. Obama offered no apology for the bombings, which is viewed by many in the US as having hastened the end of World War II; others have called it a war crime that targeted civilians.

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  • Bharti Enterprises founder Sunil Mittal receives Harvard Alumni award

    Enterprises founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal (58) has received this year's Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award. 

    Facts about Sunil Mittal : 

    Sunil Bharti Mittal born 23 October 1957 in  Punjabi Aggarwal Family started his first business in April 1976 at the age of 18, with a capital investment of Rs. 20000 borrowed from his father.

    In 1984, he started assembling push-button phones in India later Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) was incorporated and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of Germany for manufacture of electronic push button phones. He named his first push-button phones as 'Mitbrau'.

    Today Bharti Airtel which operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa has customer base of over 275 million. It is India’s largest telecom company and world’s third largest mobile operator. 

    Sunil Bharti Mittal is listed as the eight richest person in India by Forbes with a Net worth of 7 billion dollars. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.

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  • Noted Marathi literary critic R G Jadhav passes away

    Noted Marathi literary critic R G Jadhav passes awayNoted Marathi critic and litterateur R G Jadhav  passed away at his residence in Pune, Maharashtra following prolonged illness.

    He was 83. He presided over Marathi Sahitya Sammelan held at Aurangabad in 2004 and worked as chief editor of Marathi Vishwakosha between 2000 and 2002.

    Facts about R G Jadhav :

    Recipient of many awards, Jadhav penned more than 45 books, including Anandacha Doh (a study of saint Tukaram), Nilee Pahat (a critique of Dalit literature) and Bapu (a collection of 91 reflective poems on Mahatma Gandhi).

    Born on August 24, 1932, at Vadodara in Gujarat, Jadhav served as a professor of Marathi literature in various colleges, including one in Amravati, Elphinstone College in Mumbai, and also at Milind College in Aurangabad.

    He was also associated with Sadhana Trust and worked with rationalist and anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar who was killed in August 2013. 

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  • Centre's nod for NIMZ in Odisha

    Centre's nod for NIMZ in OdishaThe central government has given its final approval for the proposed National Investment Manufacturing Zone ( NIMZ) to be developed at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore at Kalinganagar, Odisha. 

    It will come up on a massive area of 163 square kilometres will an allocated budget of Rs 4000 crore.

    Idco (Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation), the state's agency for land acquisition and infrastructure development, is the nodal agency for implementation of the project.

    The NIMZ is expected to attract investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore and generate an employment for 450,000 people after its completion.

    The manufacturing zone is expected to attract investment from varied sectors like metal and mines, automotive, steel and downstream industries.

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  • Anurag Thakur unanimously elected BCCI President

    Anurag Thakur (41) was unanimously elected as BCCI President in the board's Special General Meeting (SGM) held in Mumbai.

    He will be replacing Shashank Manohar who stepped down from the position to get elected as ICC’s first independent chairman. 

    He is 34th BCCI President and shall have tenure till September 2017. Thakur is the second youngest BCCI President after Fateh Singh Gaekwad who was the youngest BCCI President to get elected at the age of 33 in 1963.

    The Maharashtra Cricket Association chief and business magnate Shirke was named as successor of Thakur as BCCI Secretary. Shrike will represent BCCI at the chief executives committee meetings of the ICC.

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  • President appoints Kiran Bedi as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry 

    President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed  BJP leader and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi as the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Puducherry, a post that has been vacant for the past two years after the Union Government had sacked Virendra Kataria from the post in July 2014.

    Facts about Kiran Bedi

    Kiran Bedi born 9 June 1949 in Amritsar, Punjab was the first woman to join the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972. She remained in service for 35 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2007 as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development.

    She started her career as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in Chanakyapuri area of Delhi, and won the President's Police Medal in 1979.In her service she also had served in Delhi, Goa, Chandigarh and Mizoram.

    As DCP of North Delhi, she launched a campaign against drug abuse, which evolved into the Navjyoti Delhi Police Foundation (renamed to Navjyoti India Foundation in 2007).

    In May 1993, she was posted to the Delhi Prisons as Inspector General (IG). She introduced several reforms at Tihar Jail, which gained worldwide acclaim and won her the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994.

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  • Ratan P Watal, appointed as Niti Aayog's Principal Adviser

    Former Finance Secretary, Ratan P Watal has been appointed as the Principle Adviser for social sector in Niti Aayog. He has been appointed to the post for three years.

    His appointment omes a fortnight after his two-month extended tenure ended in April. He was to retire in February. However, Watal later got a two-month extension as the Finance Secretary. 

    Watal is a retired IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, had been Finance Secretary between August last year and April this year.

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Current Affairs 27 May 2016 May 2016

  • 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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Current Affairs 25 May 2016 May 2016

  • In historic move, U.S. lifts embargo on arms sales to Vietnam

    In historic move, U.S. lifts embargo on arms sales to VietnamUnited States has fully lifted its decades-long ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam, its one-time enemy. 

    US Arms embargo on Vietnam has been in place since 1984 over the human rights issue.

    In recent times Vietnam had been arguing for an end to this embargo, which was partially lifted in 2014.

    Mr Obama's visit comes 41 years after the end of the Vietnam War in which the US sought to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam.

    Several million Vietnamese civilians, communist fighters and South Vietnamese soldiers were killed, as well as more than 58,000 US soldiers.

    Obama is the third US President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Other two Presidents were Bill Clinton (visited in 2000) and George W. Bush (2006). 

    Diplomatic Cause : The move comes as  US is trying to bolster its relationship with its Pacific allies, as China asserts territorial claims. It should be noted that Vietnam is one of several countries in the Pacific  region involved in maritime disputes with China.

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  • Pankaj Advani wins Asian 6-Red Snooker title

    India's ace cueist Pankaj Advani created history in Abu Dhabi by clinching the Asian 6-Red Snooker title.

    With this victory, Advani  became the first in the world to hold both world and continental titles in 6-red snooker at the same time.

    In the Asian 6-Red Snooker title that was held in Abu Dhabi, Advani defeated top seeded Malaysian cueist Keen Hoh Moh with a score of [7-5].

    Pankaj Advani : He is 14-time World Billiards and Snooker Champion and the only player in the world to win world titles in all formats of both, Billiards and Snooker. 

    He is the first cueist in the world to win the Grand double three times in 2005 and 2008 respectively.

    In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded Arjuna Award in 2004, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2006, and Padma Shri in 2009.

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  • Union HRD Ministry to launch ASMITA, student tracking system

    The HRD Ministry is all set to launch a programme christened -ASMITA- that would probably be the world’s largest student tracking system.

    ASMITA is acronym for All School Monitoring Individual Tracing Analysis and shall be launched under Shala Asmita Yojana (SAY).

    Shala Asmita Yojana (SAY) aims to track the educational journey of close to 25 crore school students from Class I to Class XII across 15 lakh schools in the country. 

    Students will be tracked through their Aadhaar numbers and incase those not having unique number will be provided with it.

    ASMITA will be an online database which will carry information about student attendance and enrolment, mid-day meal service, learning outcomes and infrastructural facilities, among other things, on one platform for both private and government schools. 

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  • Odisha promulgates ordinance promoting Odia  

    Odisha government has promulgated the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Ordinance 2016, to ensure use of Odia in all government systems.

    The Ordinance empowers the state government to make rules, review and monitor the implementation of Odisha Official Language Act, 1954.

    The Ordinance makes mandatory use of Odia in all official communication. The Ordinance makes mandatory use of Odia in all official communication.

    Legal provision for Official Language : Article 345 of the Indian constitution empowers state legislature to adopt ‘any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes’ of the concerned State.

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  • Lucknow, Warangal among 13 smart cities announced by govt

    Lucknow, Warangal among 13 smart cities announced by govtThe Union government announced the names of 13 more cities that will be developed under the Centre’s “Smart City Mission.”

    These cities have been selected from 23 cities which took part in a fast-track competition. 

    This list was topped by Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and was followed by Warangal in Telangana and Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh.

    This takes the number of cities selected in the first phase of the Smart Cities Mission to 33 and the total proposed investment through Union and state governments as well as private funding, comes to Rs 80,789 crore. 

    13 shortlisted smart cities are : Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Warangal (Telanagana), Dharmashala (Himachal Pradesh), Chandigarh (UT of Chandigarh), Raipur (Chattisgarh), New Town Kolkata (West Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura), Faridabad (Haryana).

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  • Renowned scientist S K Sharma appointed CMD of NPCIL

    Renowned scientist S K Sharma appointed CMD of NPCILRenowned scientist S K Sharma has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for a period of five years.

    In his new role, he will be responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power reactors. He is presently working as Distinguished Scientist and Director (Operations) in NPCIL. 

    Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) : 

    NPCIL administered by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is a government-owned corporation responsible for the generation of nuclear power for electricity.

    Established: September 1987 under the Companies Act 1956. 

    Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra. 

    NPCIL was the sole body responsible for constructing and operating India's commercial nuclear power plants till setting up of BHAVINI ( Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam ) in October 2003.

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  • NALCO signs MoU with Iran govt to set up smelter plant in Chabahar

    National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) has signed a MoU with Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) to jointly explore the possibility of setting up an aluminium smelter in Iran. The signing of the MoU coincides with the visit of prime minister Narendra Modi to Iran. 

    For the proposed smelter plant NALCO will supply alumina from its refinery in India. For the proposed smelter plant NALCO will supply alumina from its refinery in India.

    The MoU also envisages tolling arrangement with existing smelters in Iran for producing aluminium from alumina supplied by Nalco and also proposes to look into other businesses. 

    National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) : NALCO is the public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Mines.  It is Asia’s largest, and the sixth largest, integrated aluminium complex in the world. Its business encompasses alumina refining, bauxite mining, aluminium smelting and casting, power generation, rail and port operations

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  • India signs USD 100 mn loan agreement with World Bank 

    An agreement for an IBRD loan of  USD100 million was signed between the Government of India and the World Bank  for the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernization project.

    Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernization project is aimed at providing city-wide access to a continuous piped water supply and strengthening the service delivery arrangements at the city level.

    Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) is the implementing agency for the project. The project will be implemented over a period of 6 years in the cities of Hubballi and Dharwad.

    The project would have four broad components: (i) Capital Investment Program; (ii) Institution Building; (iii) Technical Assistance for Sector Development; and (iv) Project Management

    About the project : Under the project Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation has hired a professional water supply operating company for improving the water supply system. The municipality will retain its ownership over the water supply assets and shall also control of the service delivery set up.

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Current Affairs 21 May 2016 May 2016

  • Government approves ordinance to keep state boards out of NEET ambit for one year

    The government has approved the promulgation of an ordinance to keep state boards out of the ambit of the uniform medical entrance examination, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), for one academic year (2016-2017).

    Background :

    The ordinance, cleared by the Union Cabinet  is aimed at "partially" overturning a Supreme Court verdict which makes NEET mandatory for admission to undergraduate medical courses across the country for one year.

    The apex court order had implied that all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.

    It also had scrapped all those examinations which had already taken place or were slated to be conducted separately. 

    Imapct :

    Nearly 6.5 lakh students have already sat for the first phase of NEET held on 1 May. Once the ordinance is issued, students of state government boards will not have to sit for NEET on 24 July.

    They, however, will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from next academic session. The exam will be applicable for those applying for Central government and private medical colleges.

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  • Cyclonic storm ROANU hits eastern coast of India

    Cyclonic storm ROANU hits eastern coast of IndiaCyclonic Storm Roanu,  an active tropical cyclone has hit the northwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal.  It is the first tropical cyclone of the annual cyclone season.

    Roanu originated from a low pressure area that formed south of Sri Lanka. It gradually drifted north and intensified into a cyclonic storm.

    The cyclone is moving at a fast pace of 25 kmph, along and off the North Andhra and Odisha Coast. It is presently centered at Latitude 20.3°N and Longitude 88.2°E, around 160 km east of Paradip in Odisha and 440 km southwest of Chittagong, Bangladesh. 

    It is forecast to make a landfall on the coast of Bangladesh in the next 24 hours, while maintaining cyclonic storm intensity. Damaging high velocity winds of 80 kmph -90 kmph gusting up to 100 kmph will be blowing over region. 

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  • Tsai Ing-wen sworn-in as first women President of Taiwan

    Tsai Ing-wen has been sworn in as the 14th president of Taiwan, becoming the country's first female leader to become president.

    She succeeds outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou. She is the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which favours independence from China.

    Her party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had won the Parliamentary and Presidential elections by a landslide in January, 2016. It is only the second-ever victory for the DPP since Taiwan split with China in 1949.

    China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province (island) which will one day be reunited with the mainland. China also has threatened to take back by force, if necessary.

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  • First World Conference on Tourism for Development held in Beijing

     


    The First World Conference on Tourism for Development was held in Beijing, China from 18-21 May 2016 with a specific view to advancing the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

    On this occasion, China, as chair of the G20, also hosted the 7th G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting under the theme “Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development”.

    The conference complemented two high level sessions focusing on (i) Tourism for Poverty Reduction (ii) Tourism for Peace.

    Several heads of state and government as well as tourism ministers and senior officials from over 100 countries participated in this significant gathering of the international tourism community in 2016. 

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  • Government launches Centre for Environmental Health to assess environmental impact on health  

    Union Minister  of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda launched the Centre for Environmental Health in New Delhi to assess the impact of environment-related problems on health.Its mandate is capacity-building, advocacy, outreach and remedial issues.

    The centre will assess the impact of environment-related problems like climate change, air pollution, pesticide use and sanitation on health. It is a joint initiative of the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

    The centre will also establish a policy engagement platform with regular meetings with the government, civil society, academia and the private sector to develop pathways for better implementation of the eco-friendly policies.

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  • Emmy award winning actor Alan Young dies aged 96

    Renowned English-Canadian-American actor, Alan Young best known for his role as Wilbur Post in the television comedy series Mister Ed and as the voice of Scrooge McDuck in Disney films, TV series and video games has died at age 96 in Los Angeles. 

    During his carrier, he also appeared in a number of feature films, including The Time Machine. In 1951, he won a Primetime Emmy award as best actor in The Alan Young Show.

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Current Affairs 20 May 2016 May 2016

  • Kerala Assembly Election 2016 Results

    CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) regained power in Kerala by securing absolute majority  by winning 91 seats (44.94% votes) of the total 140 seats while United Democratic Front (UDF) led by outgoing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy settled for 47 seats. 

    The Left Democratic Front (LDF) won 85 seats on its own while  another six by independents fielded by the opposition front. 93-year-old V S Achutanandan, the face of the LDF campaign and CPI(M) polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan, are among prominent winners in the LDF.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the first time has managed to open an account in Kerala by winning single seat from the Nemom constituency.

    Former Union minister O. Rajagopal of the BJP has won from from Nemom constituency defeating V. Sivankutty of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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  • Indian journalist Philip Abraham elected Deputy Mayor in UK

    Indian journalist Philip Abraham elected Deputy Mayor in UKPhilip Abraham - an Indian journalist has been unanimously elected the Deputy Mayor of Loughton town in the UK. Councillor Carol Davis, the newly-elected mayor presented the Deputy Mayor's Badge to Philip Abraham. The deputy mayor normally goes on to become the mayor for the following year.

    Philip Abraham : Abraham, a journalist from Kerala, had in 2012 won the election to the Loughton Town Council. Loughton is a vibrant town in the Epping forest district of Essex.

    Comment: V K Krishna Menon the former defence minister was the first person from Kerala to become a Councillor in Britain. He was a Labour Councillor for the Borough of St Pancras from 1934 to 1939.

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  • Apple to set up app centre in Bengaluru

    Apple to set up app centre in BengaluruTim Cook the CEO of the USD 233 billion Apple Inc., who is on his maiden India trip announced that an iOS mobile app design centre will be established in Mumbai to support and accelerate the growth of Apple’s developer community.

    He met ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar. ICICI Bank was among the first to introduce a banking application on the Apple Watch, even before it was introduced in India.

    Maps development office in Hyderabad

    Apple Inc has announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad, Telangana that will focus on development of Maps for its products including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

    Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps including 3D views, the Flyover feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas.

    With iOS 9 Apple offers a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world. The new facility, located on the Waverock campus, will provide a world-class, LEED-certified home for the expanding Maps team.

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  • Veteran Gujarati folk singer Diwaliben Bhil passes away

    Veteran Gujarati folk singer and Padma Shri awardee Diwaliben Bhil passed away in Junagadh, Gujarat following age-related ailments.

    She was 80. She had given her voice to various Gujarati folk songs, film songs and Garba. A primary school dropout, Diwaliben was a self-taught singer, she never took a formal education in music and singing. 

    Diwaliben, who began her singing career from a local Garbi, has become the voice of hundreds of Gujarati folk songs and garbas, including the famous "Marey todle betho mor", "Sona Vatkdi Re Kesar Gholya" and "Vage che re" and Ram Na Ban Vagya, Hari Na Ban Vagya Re.

    Diwaliben Bhil 

    • Born in a tribal family at Dalkhaniya village in Dhari taluka of Amreli in 1941, she worked at a primary school as part of the government's literacy programme, before her talent was recognised.
    • She received fame after Akashwani team found out her singing talent and recorded her song when she was signing Garba in Vanzari chowk area of Junagadh. Later she was invited to sing in Akashwani and recorded her first song, ‘Ful utarya fulwadi ae re lol’.
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  • Worlds first Zika virus clone developed

    Worlds first Zika virus clone developedScientists have for the first time have developed world’s first genetically engineered clone of the Zika virus strain. The researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) have named the clone as the infectious complementary DNA (cDNA) clone.

    The clone comprises of five fragments of complete zika viral genome which were individually cloned and assembled into the full-length Zika virus clone.

    The cloning of Zika virus may aid the development of vaccine and therapies against the infection and explore whether or how the Zika virus has evolved to spread more quickly and linked to serious birth defects.

    Furthermore, scientists also engineered a luciferase reporter Zika virus. Luciferase is the chemical in fireflies that gives them their signature glow.The "glowing" reporter virus could be used for antiviral drug screening and to track Zika virus infection in mosquitoes and small animal models.

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  • HDFC Bank launches SmartUp for startups

    HDFC Bank launches SmartUp for startupsHDFC Bank has launched SmartUp, a dedicated solution for startups to fulfil all their banking needs. It has been launched in association with Zone Startups India (ZSI), a Mumbai-based start-up accelerator.

    SmartUp is a complete banking solution meant for startups. It not only provides basic banking transactions, but also valuable services like advisory services, forex and payment solutions.

    Benefits of SmartUp current account :

    • The benefits of SmartUp current account include waiver of AMB (average monthly balance) for the first six months and extendable to 12 months.
    • It will also include salary account for employees by waiving the minimum number of employees criteria. 
    • 'PayZapp' for business - a payment and collection solution and a dedicated relationship manager.
    • Accountholders will also get recommendations of a chartered accountant for tax, regulatory and compliance issues.

    Zone Startups India (ZSI): It is a joint venture of Canada based Ryerson University and Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI). It has been operational for over two years and has helped over 70 startups.

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  • SBI Seeks To Take Over 5 Associate Banks, Bhartiya Mahila Bank

    SBI Seeks To Take Over 5 Associate Banks, Bhartiya Mahila BankThe country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI)  may merge its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with itself to emerge as a financial behemoth, with assets worth Rs 37 lakh crore (USD550 billion).

    Its five associates are State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT).

    In this regard, SBI has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that it is seeking in-principle approval for acquisition from the Union Government.

    Besides, the boards of the subsidiary banks and the SBI also met individually in Mumbai to begin merger talks to acquire the businesses including assets and liabilities.

    Key facts :

    The merged entity will increase SBI’s balancesheet size from Rs 28 lakh crore currently to  Rs 37 lakh crore. It will have one-fourth of the deposit and loan market in the country and SBI’s staff strength will increase by 35-49 per cent.The merged entity will also increase branch network from 15,000 branches currently to 21,000. 

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  • Nuclear Capable Prithvi-II missile test fired from Odisha

    India's indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile was successfully test-fired from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha.

    The test was carried out by Strategic Force Command (SFC) from a mobile launcher at launch complex-3 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. 

    A similar twin trial was conducted on October 12, 2009 from the same base where both were successful.

    Different Variants

    Prithvi-I for the Indian Army
    Prithvi-II for the Indian Air Force
    Dhanush for the Indian Navy

    Prithvi-II Missile  : With a strike range of 350 km, the Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target. The missile was inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003.

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Current Affairs 19 May 2016 May 2016

  • Delhi Metro conducts trial run of country’s first driverless train

    Delhi Metro conducts trial run of country’s first driverless trainThe Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) conducted the trial run of  India’s first driver-less metro train.

    The trial run was flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

    The driverless trains will run on the over 58 km-long Majlish Park-Shiv Vihar (Line 7) and the over 38 km-long Janakpuri (West)- Botanical Garden (Line 8) corridors of the Phase-III.

    The average speed of the new train would be 37-38 km per hour, compared to 30-32 km per hour now. 

    Facts to know :

    The new trains, with extremely high levels of automation, is equipped with advanced features. The Operations Control Centres (OCC) of the Delhi Metro system will directly regulate the movement of the trains and train operators will not be required to operate these trains.

    Initially, train operators will run these trains but gradually driver-less operations, on the Unattended Train Operation (UTO) mode, will be possible and later on,  new signalling technology, Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) will be  implemented.

    In addition, a green Receiving Sub Station (RSS) for the power requirements of the Majlis Park – Shiv Vihar corridor was also inaugurated at Mukundpur. The RSS has been entirely designed as a green structure with features such as solar power plant, rain water harvesting and sewage water treatment facilities.

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  • Indian-American Syamantak Payra wins Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award

    Indian-American Syamantak Payra wins Intel Foundation Young Scientist AwardSyamantak Payra - a 15-year-old Indian-American boy has won the USD 50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award  for developing a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace that allows a person with a weakened leg to walk more naturally.

    Mr Payra tested his prototype with two individuals partially disabled by polio, it almost immediately restored a more natural gait and increased mobility.

    This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 419 affiliate fairs held in 77 countries. Five Indian Americans also figured in the 22 "Best of Category" winners and each received a USD 5,000 prize.

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  • UR Rao becomes first Indian to be awarded IAF’s ‘Hall of Fame’ Award

    UR Rao becomes first Indian to be awarded IAF’s ‘Hall of Fame’ AwardFormer  ISRO Chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as U. R. Rao became the first Indian to be given the 'Hall of Fame' award by the International Astronautical Federation ( IAF ).

    He will receive the award at the 67th International Astronautical Congress to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico in September 2016.

    The award has been given for his outstanding contribution to the progress of astronautics within the framework of the IAF activities.

    The IAF award is intended to reward personalities for their contributions to the progress of astronautics and the Federation.

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao

    Renowned  space scientist U. R. Rao  had served as Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1984 to 1994. He is the also the first Indian to be inducted  into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1976.

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  • N.K. Singh to head panel to review FRBM Act

    N.K. Singh to head panel to review FRBM ActThe government has constituted  a panel under Former Revenue Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP N.K. Singh to review the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act of 2003 and prepare  roadmap for the future. 

    Ambit of the committee

    The committee will review the working of the FRBM Act over last 12 years and suggest the way forward, keeping in view the broad objective of fiscal consolidation and prudence and the changes required in the context of the uncertainty and volatility in the global economy

    Examine the need and feasibility of aligning the fiscal expansion or contraction with credit contraction or expansion respectively in the economy.

    The committee  will also examine the feasibility of having a ‘fiscal deficit range’ as the target instead of the existing fixed numbers.

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  • Andy Murray wins Italian Open title, 2016

    Andy Murray wins Italian Open title, 2016Scottish professional tennis player- Andy Murray (World No.3) for the first time bagged Italian Open title, 2016 by defeating Novak Djokovic (World No.1) in the final match played in Rome on  the clay court by 6-3, 6-3 score.

    With this victory Andy Murray became the second British male tennis player to win Italian Open title after George Patrick Hughes who had won it in 1931 and the  first British singles champion in Italy since Virginia Wade who had won the title in 1971.

    Winners in other categories

    • Women’s Single Title : Serena Williams bagged  Italian Open title, 2016 in women’s singles category by defeating Madison Keys in the final match by 7-6, 6-3 score. Earlier she has won the title in 2002, 2013 and 2014. 
    • Women’s Doubles Title :  India’s Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis (World No. 1 pair) bagged Italian Open title, 2016 in Women’s Doubles category by defeating 7th seeded Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina by 6-1, 6-7, 10-3 score. 
    • Men’s doubles Title : United States pair of  Title Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan has won the the2016 Italian Open title in the men’s Doubles category by defeating the pair of Vasek Pospisil (Canada) and Jack Sock (United States) by 2–6, 6–3, [10–7] score.
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  • India, WHO sign pact for global promotion of traditional medicine

    The ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have signed a historic Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine.

    The PCA is aimed at supporting WHO in the development and implementation of the ‘WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy.

    Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) 

    The PCA for the period 2016-2020 will deliver for the first time WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga and WHO benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma. 

    These will contribute significantly to the strengthening of national capacities in ensuring the quality, safety and effectiveness of traditional medicine including in establishing regulatory frameworks for traditional medicine.

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  • NTPC partners with Coal India Limited to foray into fertilizer sector

    State-run power producer NTPC  has signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) with state-run miner Coal India Limited (CIL) o revive plants of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).

    The JVA was signed by NTPC's general manager (BD) Arun Kumar Gupta and Coal India's general manager (Coal Videsh) T. Bandopadhyay.

    The joint venture company will take up the revival of FCIL plants at Sindri in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh by setting up an ammonia urea plant at each location.

    The JV company would initially be incorporated with 50:50 equity participation from both but also contains provisions of inducting strategic partners at a later date depending upon business requirement of JV company.

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  • IIT Kgp student bags European Materials Research Society award

    IIT Kgp student bags European Materials Research Society awardNandini Bhandaru, a PhD student at IIT-Kharagpur, has bagged the European Materials Research Society’s (E-MRS’) Young Scientist Award for her contribution to materials science.

    She had won the award for her outstanding contribution to materials science and nanotechnology, particularly nano-patterning of soft films and surfaces.

    Currently she works at the Instability and Soft Patterning Laboratory of IIT-Kharagpur. Her area of doctoral research is nano-fabrication, including soft-lithography, thin film dewetting, polymer blend films and self-assembly.

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  • India and US conclude exercise  Red Flag Alaska 16-1

    The Indian Air Force (IAF), the US Air Force (USAF) and the US Navy (USN) have successfully completed an advanced aerial combat training exercise, Red Flag Alaska 16-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, in the US state of Alaska.

    This was the second time India had participated in such an exercise after 2008.The four-week exercise witnessed participation from a mix of combat and support elements from the IAF, USAF and USN.

    IAF deployed SU-30 MKI aircraft, Jaguars DARIN II and 2 IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers and a team of over 170 personnel as a part of the exercise.

    RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for US forces to provide joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment.

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  • 5 Indians posthumously honoured with UN’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal

    Four Indian peacekeepers and a civilian are among the 126 military, police and civilian personnel who will be posthumously awarded United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal for their courage and sacrifice while serving in the world body’s peacekeeping operations last year. 

    Five Indians are

    Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav: He died in April 2015 while serving in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). 

    Rifleman Manish Malik: He died in August 2015 while serving in the UN-MONUSCO. 

    Havildar Amal Deka: He died in June 2015 while serving in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). 

    Naik Rakesh Kumar: He died in January 2015 while serving in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 

    Gagan Punjabi: He died in January 2015 while serving in the MONUSCO in a civilian capacity under the UN Volunteers programme.

    Dag Hammarskjold Medal

    Established in December 2000, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal is a posthumous award given by the United Nations (UN) to military personnel, police, or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a United Nations peacekeeping operation. 

    It was named after second UN Secretary General and Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold who died in a mysterious plane crash in 1961. He was posthumously awarded Nobel Peace Prize the year he died which is rare.

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Current Affairs 18 May 2016 May 2016

  • Max Verstappen becomes youngest Formula 1 winner

    Max Verstappen becomes youngest Formula 1 winnerRed Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen became Formula One’s youngest race winner at age of 18 with a victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, which was his debut race. 

    He able  to win after Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed into each other in the 1st lap of race.

    Max Verstappen 

    Born as Max Emilian Verstappen on 30 September 1997 in Hasselt, Belgium. He is the son of Jos Verstappen a Dutch former Formula One driver.

    Max Verstappen competed in Formula One for more than half a season before obtaining a road driver's licence on his 18th birthday.

    Aged 17 years, 166 days, he became the youngest driver to compete in Formula 1 at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso.

    He is also the youngest driver to lead a lap during a Formula One Grand Prix, youngest driver to secure a podium and youngest Formula One Grand Prix winner.

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  • South Korea's Han Kang wins Booker International prize

     

    South Korea's Han Kang wins Booker International prizeSouth Korean author Han Kang has won  Man Booker International Prize, 2016 for her novel ‘The Vegetarian’. She is the first South Korean to win the prize.

    The writer and her British translator will split the award's 50,000 Pound prize money. The book was translated by Deborah Smith, who only started teaching herself Korean in 2010.

    About the novel :

    Han’s novel ‘The Vegetarian’ tells a story of a woman who decides to stop eating meat and wants to become a tree. Her decision has devastating consequences and raises concerns among family members that she is mentally ill.

    The decision provokes cruelty from her husband, and from her father, and obsession from her sister’s husband, as the woman, she dreams obsessively about becoming a tree.

    Man Booker International Prize

    It is an international literary award hosted in Britain. The is given for a single work of fiction, translated into English and published in the UK. The Man Booker International Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

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  • China launches Yaogan-30 remote sensing satellite

    China's Yaogan-30 remote sensing satellite was successfully launched  into sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) using the Long March-2D rocket  from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwestern China's gobi desert. 

    It was  227th flight of the Long March rocket series and the second orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite launch Center in 2016. 

    China launched the first “Yaogan” series satellite, Yaogan-1, in 2006. The satellite will be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief.

    Yaogan-30 remote sensing satellite

    The Yaogan-30 satellite was built by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is part of second generation of the Yaogan series inaugurated in 2008. The first Yaogan satellite was launched in 2006. 

    The satellite has two deployable solar arrays along with batteries and  uses the CAST-2000 platform, which has a dry mass of about one metric ton.

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  • India, US hold first Maritime Security Dialogue

    India and the US launched their first maritime security dialogue in New Delhi aimed at  deepening the evolving partnership in the maritime domain between both countries. 

    The first round of discussions under the recently-constituted maritime security dialogue was held between officials of Defence and External Affairs ministries and their U.S. counterparts. 

    The discussion focused on strategic maritime security issues like Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement. Both sides also undertook Navy-to-Navy discussion on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare.

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  • Justice Deepak Gupta sworn-in as Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court

    Justice Deepak Gupta sworn-in as Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High CourtJustice Deepak Gupta has been  sworn-in as the new Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. He was administered the oath of office  as per by Chhattisgarh Governor Balram Das Tandon at Raj Bhawan in Raipur.

    Background : Gupta was earlier the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court but was transferred from Tripura High Court by President Pranab Mukherjee following recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur. Prior to the transfer, Justice Naveen Sinha was Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court since 2013.

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  • IT dept launches ‘e-nivaran’ for speedy grievance redressal

    IT dept launches ‘e-nivaran’ for speedy grievance redressalThe Income Tax department has launched a special electronic grievance redressal system called 'e-nivaran' in order to fast track taxpayer grievances and ensure early resolution of their complaints. 

    In this regard, a separate and dedicated window for grievance redressal has been launched in the Income Tax Business Application (ITBA).

    The facility called 'e-nivaran' portal  integrates all online and physical complaints gathered by the department, which will be monitored by the Assessing Officer of the case upto the supervisory officers in a paperless environment.

    The e-portal will also ensure that grievances related to any section or domain of the tax department is transferred quickly to the department concerned.

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  • Odisha launches Green Passage Scheme for orphan students

    The Odisha government has decided to launch Green Passage scheme for orphan students to ensure that they get free of cost higher education in the state.

    A proposal of the higher education department in this regard, was approved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik .

    As per the scheme, orphan students pursuing higher education from Plus-II level to post-graduation level, will no longer have to bear the education expenses. 

    As many as 16,382 orphan students lodged in 272 institutions across the state, will be exempted of admission fee, tuition fees and laboratory fees for higher studies and even  they will be provided free hostel facilities and food.

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  • NASA launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New Zealand

    NASA launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New ZealandThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched  a super pressure balloon from New Zealand’s South Island Wanaka Airport  to conduct near-space scientific investigations.

    The launch marks the fifth attempt to get the massive balloon airborne as earlier four attempts to get the massive balloon airborne were thwarted by bad weather.

    The 532,000 cubic metres  balloon is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere. The aim is for it remain airborne for more than 100 days.

    Note :  Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.

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  • World Bank approves $625-million loan for India's solar programme

    World Bank approves $625-million loan for India's solar programmeThe World Bank's Board has approved $625 million loan to support India's grid connected rooftop solar programme to generate clean energy.

    The Board also approved a co-financing loan of $120 million on concessional terms and a $5 million grant from Climate Investment Fund's (CIF) Clean Technology Fund. 

    The loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), lending arm of World Bank and has a maturity of 20 years and a 19.5 year grace period.

    The project will finance the installation of at least 400 MW of grid connected rooftop solar photovoltaic ( GRPV ) across India.

    These solar PV installations will provide clean, renewable energy, and reduce GHG emissions by displacing thermal generation. 

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Current Affairs 14 May 2016 May 2016

  • Vijender Singh beats Andrzej Soldra to win sixth pro fight

    Vijender Singh beats Andrzej Soldra to win sixth pro fightIndian boxing star Vijender Singh registered his sixth straight professional boxing victory with a Technical Knockout over Poland's Andrzej Soldra in a Super Middleweight contest at Boltan in UK.

    Vijender Singh will now contest for the World Boxing Organisation's (WBO) Asia title  on his home turf in Delhi.

    Soldra is the most experienced opponent Vijender has faced so far with 12 wins out of the 17 bouts he has fought so far. Five of those wins have come by knockout.

    Vijender Singh had previously won all his five fights by technical knockouts in only 14 rounds of action.

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  • Nirankari spiritual leader Baba Hardev Singh dies in road accident in Canada

    Nirankari spiritual leader Baba Hardev Singh dies in road accident in CanadaIndian spiritual leader Baba Hardev Singh, current leader of the Sant Nirankari Mission, died in a road accident in Montreal, Canada. He was 62.

    Hardev Singh  was in Canada to attend spiritual meetings as Nirankari International Samagam (NIS) was scheduled to be held in June in Toronto in Canada.

    About Baba Hardev Singh : 

    Baba Hardev Singh also known as Nirankari Baba was born on 23 February 1954 to Gurbachan Singh and Kulwant Kaur in Delhi.

    He completed his schooling from Yadavindra Public School, Patiala, a boarding school, in 1963 and than graduated from Delhi University.

    In 1971, he joined the Nirankari Sewa Dal as its primary member but after the assassination of his father Gurbachan Singh, who was then head of the Sant Nirankari Mission in 1980, Hardev Singh succeeded as the ‘Satguru’ of the organisation.

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  • Goa's Aguada Jail To Be Transformed Into A Tourist Attraction

    Goa's Aguada Jail To Be Transformed Into A Tourist AttractionThe Aguada Central Jail, Goa’s erstwhile prison, which no longer houses prisoners since May 30, 2015, will now be transformed into a museum.

    The Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) will convert the jail into a historical and heritage centre in a Rs. 25.8 crore project.

    GTDC will join hands with Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG), a group of heritage enthusiasts and freedom fighters to execute the project.

    The museum will  include light and sound shows depicting Goa’s freedom struggle. Historical landmarks will be marked out for tourists to observe.

    The four-hundred-year-old Aguada fort dates back to the Portuguese rule in parts of India. The cells of the Aguada Central Jail stand on the site that once formed the citadel of the hilltop Fort Aguada.

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  • Fatma Samoura named first female secretary general of FIFA

    Fatma Samoura named first female secretary general of FIFAFIFA president Gianni Infantino, has appointed 54-year-old Fatma Samoura - a Senegalese UN diplomat with no experience in soccer administration the first female secretary general of FIFA.

    The appointment is part of changes made by the sport’s ruling body to move on from a major corruption scandal and restore its battered reputation.  

    Samoura would replace Jerome Valcke who was banned for 12 years earlier this year due to corruption allegations.

    Ms Samoura, began her United Nations career with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has served as country representative or director in six African countries.

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  • World's oldest person dies in New York City, aged 116

    World's oldest person dies in New York City, aged 116Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest living person, has died in New York at age 116 following brief illness. At the time of her death she had more than 100 nieces and nephews.

    Jones' death makes Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, a 116-year-old woman in Italy, the oldest living person on earth. 

    Ms. Jones was the last living American who was verified to have been born before 1900. In July 2015, Jones became the record holder for the Guinness World Records title of oldest living female. She was given the record on her 116th birthday.

    Ms. Jones was born on July 6, 1899, in Lowndes County, Alabama at that time William McKinley was the president of USA.  She lived through two world wars and saw the Great Depression. 

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  • ICICI Bank launches business credit card with Jet Airways

    ICICI Bank launches business credit card with Jet AirwaysICICI Bank, India largest private sector bank, launched the country’s first contactless business credit card in association with Jet Airways for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their employees. The card has been christened ‘Jet Airways ICICI Bank Business Advantage Card’.

    Jet Airways ICICI Bank Business Advantage Card :

    This card is powered by the ‘VISA payWave’ contactless technology that enables the cardholder to make payments by simply tapping the card at contactless enabled terminals in more than 48 countries, including India. The card can also be used by dipping or swiping at non-contactless merchants.

    The card offers reward on  both spends as well as repayments on a list of business expense categories including travel, dining, office stationery, online advertising and vendor payments among others.

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  • Key US administration post for ndian origin Manjit Singh 

    Key US administration post for ndian origin Manjit Singh US President Barack Obama has appointed an Indian-American engineer Manjit Singh as the member of President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (PACFBNF). 

    About Manjit Singh 

    Manjit Singh an engineering graduate of Bombay University is the President of Agilious, a software technology consulting firm he founded in 2013.

    He  is also the co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Singh had received a Master of Science (MSc) degree from the State University of New York at Albany. 

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  • Singaporean, Hong Kong terms added to Oxford Dictionary  

    Singaporean, Hong Kong terms added to Oxford DictionarySeveral Singaporean and Hong Kong English terms,  including "wah", "shiok" and "yum cha", are now officially recognised as acceptable English.

    The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added 19 Singaporean terms and 13 Hong Kong terms in its latest update. The dictionary included formations of English that are mostly used in Singapore or Hong Kong.

    Some of the words added are :

    Wah: It is an expression of delight or surprise. 

    Shiok: It means cool, great, delicious, superb. 

    Yum cha: It is a type of Chinese brunch.

    Wet market: It is a market selling fresh meat and produce. 

    Blur: It means confused or ignorant. 

    Sabo: It means to harm or play a prank on.

    Sandwich class: It is an informal term used to refer to the middle class 

    Milk tea: It is a drink made from black tea and milk, usually evaporated or condensed. 

    Shroff: It is a cashier, especially at a car park.

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  • Belgium to begin air strikes against Islamic State

    Belgium to begin air strikes against Islamic StateBelgium will rejoin US-led military effort against Islamic State jihadists in Syria by extending  its F-16 fighter jets  for the first time.

    In accordance with UN Resolution 2249, the engagement will be limited to those areas of Syria under the control of IS and other terrorist groups.

    The objective will be to destroy these groups’ refuges. The air strikes by Belgium would begin on July 1.

    Belgium launched its first attacks against IS in Iraq in late 2014 as part of the U.S.-led coalition but didn't joined strikes against Syria due to public fears over getting dragged into a wider conflict but the November 13 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead changed it's sentiment sharply.

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