Current Affairs, News & Facts of 18 Jan 2016

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  • Dinesh Sharma elected to board of directors of China-backed AIIB 


    Dinesh Sharma elected to board of directors of China-backed AIIB

    India, one of the founding members of the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been elected to it's 12-member board of directors. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Finance has been elected to the 12-member board for which a secret ballot was held.

    The inaugural meeting of the board of the governors of the bank which approved by-laws, rules and codes of conduct for the bank was held in Beijing. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the designated governor of the AIIB from India. Dinesh Sharma who headed the Indian delegation represented Jaitley at the meeting.

    Comment : The election of India to board of directors of the AIIB is expected to provide significant role for it as it is the forum that approves the loans for projects. 

    Facts to know :

    • The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is designed to provide financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia. 
    • AIIB which has authorised capital of USD 100 billion and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare. 
    • China is the largest shareholder of AIIB with 26.06 per cent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent. 
    • India, whose total capital subscription amounts to USD 8.37 billion has paid first installment of USD 334.70 million to the paid-in capital stock of the bank. Twenty per cent of the subscription is to be paid in five equal installments. 
  • EU and US lifts nuclear sanctions on Iran


    EU and US lifts nuclear sanctions on Iran

    Western sanctions against Iran have been lifted  after the UN nuclear watchdog  the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has met its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Vienna agreement with P5+1 countries signed in July 2015.

    The JCPOA, known as Iran’s nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six world powers (the so-called P5+1 group comprised of China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany) on July 14, 2015 as per the deal Iran had  agreed to shrink its atomic program, with the US, EU and UN promising to lift sanctions in return.

    The sanctions lifted by the US included a ban on commodities trade for non-Americans, non-US citizens will now be permitted to trade with Iranian government institutions, as well as sell goods and services, such as steel, gold, coal, vehicles and insurance to the country.

    Note : The US has so far lifted only “secondary sanctions” against Iran, i.e,  American citizens are still banned from trading with Iran, although around 400 Iranian companies and individuals are to be removed from the US sanction list but 200 others remain blacklisted.

    Advantage for India

    • With Lifting of ban now India can import crude oil from iran which is it's traditional supplier and it will also boost up trade opportunities. The ambitious India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) gas pipline project will speed up and make India energy efficient.
    • It will also catalyse the development of Chabbar port whill will act as India's gateway to energy rich central Asia and eastern Europe through proposed International North South Trade Corridor (INSTC).
  • Anuradha Roy wins 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature


    Anuradha Roy wins 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

    Renowned indian author Anuradha Roy has bagged the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 for her novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, which deals with the subject of violence against women at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe awarded her a cash prize of USD 50,000 and a trophy.

    Facts to know about Anuradha Roy :

    • Anuradha Roy is an award-winning Indian novelist, journalist and editor. Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing has been translated into fifteen languages across the world.
    • Till date she has authored three novels viz. An Atlas of Impossible Longing (2008), The Folded Earth (2011), Sleeping on Jupiter (2015)

    DSC Prize for South Asian Literature :

    • The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is awarded annually to writers of any nationality or ethnicity writing about South Asia on themes such as culture, history, politics or people.
    • The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was instituted in 2010 by its founder, Surina Narula. The award is run by DSC Limited, an Indian infrastructure and construction company.
  • Former Sikkim Governor V Rama Rao Passes Away


    Former Sikkim Governor V Rama Rao Passes Away

    Veteran leader of BJP and former governor of Sikkim Ventrapragada Rama Rao (81) passed away in Hyderabad after prolonged illnes.

    Political career of  V Rama Rao :

    • V Rama Rao born on 12 December 1935,  in Machilipatnam in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, was a lawyer by profession and practised at the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
    • He joined Jana Sangh in 1956 as a member and went on to serve as a Member of the National Executive of Bharatiya Jana Sangh for a number of years. 
    • Bharatiya Jana Sangh later became BJP, in which he went on to serve as State Unit President for Andhra Pradesh for two consecutive terms (1993-2001) and as Party National Vice President (2002 - 2007).
    • Rama Rao was elected for a record four times in a row to the AP Legislative Council during 1966 to 1984 from the Hyderabad Graduates Constituency.
    • In October 2002, he was appointed by President of India as the Governor of Sikkim. He served as Governor of Sikkim from 2002 to 2007. He also served as a senate member of Osmania University.
  • Vicktor Troicki wins 2016 WTA Apia International title


    Vicktor Troicki wins 2016 WTA Apia International title

    Viktor Troicki from Serbia has won the 2016 WTA Apia International title of Tennis in the men’s single category by defeating Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria with a score of 2–6, 6–1, 7–6, (9–7) in the final match that was played at Sydney, Australia. It should be noted that this victory was his third ATP’s single career title after 2010 Kremlin Cup and 2015 Apia International Sydney title.

    Winner of Men’s Doubles :

    Jamie Murray of United Kingdom and Bruno Soares of Brazil won the 2016 WTA Apia International title in the men’s double category by defeating the pair of Rohan Bopanna from India and Florin Mergea from Romania with a score of  6–3, 7–6(8–6).

  • Chinese scientists develops bioartificial liver


    Chinese scientists develops bioartificial liver

    Chinese scientists have developed a new bioartificial liver that can help liver failure patients survive long enough for an organ transplant. This milestone in Science and Technology was achieved by team of researchers from the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences and doctors from Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital.

    Bioartificial liver : A blessing for humanity:

    The bioartificial liver has been designed to be attached outside the patient’s body,  the device makes use of human liver cells. The new device is based on cells taken from human skin, fat and other tissue and reprogrammed into liver cells.

    Bioartificial livers can help in the recovery of organ function and prolong people’s lives while they are waiting for a donor.The artificial liver could be a blessing for China, which is home to 100 million people with hepatitis B and has a high incidence of liver cancer.

    Clinical test : In its first clinical test it  saved 61-year-old woman who was dying from acute liver failure.

    Tests on laboratory animals : Tests on laboratory animals found that pigs with acute liver failure had an average 80 percent survival rate after they were fitted with the new device, while untreated pigs died in about three days


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