UN Elects Israel as Committee Chair For First Time
The United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2016 elected Israel to chair its Legal Committee, which is also known as the Sixth Committee. It is for the first time ever that Israel has been chosen to head one of its six permanent committees.In the secret ballot election, Israel received 109 Yes votes. No votes were cast against Israel. However, there were 23 abstentions, 14 invalid ballots and 43 votes for other countries in the Western European.
Norway Becomes The First Country To Ban Deforestation
Norway has become the first country in the world to prohibit deforestation. On 26 May 2016, the Norwegian Parliament had pledged to make government’s public procurement policy deforestation-free. The step was taken by Norwegian Government based on official recommendations of Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and Environment as part of the Action Plan on Nature Diversity.
World Day (17 June) to Combat Desertification 2016 observed
World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) 2016 was observed across the world on 17 June 2016. Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality was the theme for the 2016 WDCD.
The slogan for the day was Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.
The theme focuses on making Land Degradation Neutrality, which is a fundamental solution for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On the other hand, the slogan addresses the importance of comprehensive participation and cooperation in working towards achieving Land Degradation Neutrality.
Obama Becomes First U.S. President to Visit Hiroshima Bomb Site
Barack Obama became the first incumbent US president to visit Hiroshima memorial, site of the world’s first atomic bombing drop-ped on August 6, 1945. Barack Obama on 27 May paid tribute to the 140,000 people killed by the world’s first atomic bomb attack and laid wreath at Hiroshima nuclear memorial. The official trip of US President Barack Obama comes more than seven decades after an American plane, dropped its payload (nuclear bomb), dubbed ‘Little Boy’ over the western Japanese city. The bombing had claimed lives of about 140,000 people and affected many from radiation-related illnesses. Three days later (On 9 August 1945) US dropped a second bomb dubbed as ‘Fat Man’ on the city of Nagasaki in which 70,000 more people were killed.The twin bombings by US were dealt as the final blows to Japan which led to its unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, bringing an end to World War.
NATO launches biggest ever Joint Military Exercise Anaconda-16 in Poland
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members and partners on 6 June 2016 launched Anaconda-16 Exercise, the biggest ever joint military exercise in Poland.
The drill is part of NATO’s exercise program and is being held just weeks before NATO’s summit in Warsaw that is expected to decide that significant numbers of NATO troops and equipment will be based in Poland and in the Baltic states.
Asia’s largest annual security forum Shangri-La Dialogue inaugurates in Singapore
Asia’s largest annual security forum Shangri-La Dialogue was inaugurated in Singapore on 3 June 2016. It is the 15th Asia Security Summit to openly discuss and debate security matters in the Asia-Pacific region.
he Singaporean government alomg with British think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies launched the Summit in 2002.
- The forum is organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
- The annual three-day summit became an unofficial conclave for regional defense ministers, along with European and US military officials.
- The 2016 dialogue got its name from the location of the meeting, the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.
- The forum serves for military officials as a venue to meet behind closed doors.
- The event will be attended by at least 20 Defence Ministers from Asia-Pacific countries which India’s Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. It will be led by Pentagon chief Ashton Carter.
- It provides opportunities to defence ministers, military chiefs and high-ranking defence officials to hold bilateral meetings on its sidelines.
- The primary interest to delegates attending 2016 is China’s assertive activities in the South China Sea as it continues to gobble up islets and challenge the passage of US Navy ships and aircraft through the area.
- The Legislators, academic experts, journalists and business delegates from around the globe will attend the dialogue.
- The previous editions of the conference were marked by heated public exchanges between US and Chinese officials.
German Parliament passes Resolution recognising Massacre of Armenians as Genocide
German Parliament, Bundestag, on 2 June 2016 passed a resolution recognising the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces during First World War (1915) as genocide.
The motion was put forward for voting by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition of right and left and the opposition Greens.
China Signs Agreements with Sudan To Build Nuclear Reactor
China signed agreements with Sudan to build 600-megawatt atomic reactor. It was the first of its kind in the African 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. State-owned China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) signed two agreements with Sudan on nuclear power development which includes building a 600-megawatt atomic reactor. 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.
Baciro Dja named Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz on 26 May issued a presidential decree naming Baciro Dja as Prime Minister of the country.Dja succeeds Carlos Correia, who was sacked earlier in May 2016. His removal threatened to deepen political turmoil in the tiny West African nation. Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It covers 36125 square kilometres (13948 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1704000.
INDIA & WORLD
India-UAE To Form Joint Parliamentary Panel
India and the UAE will set up a joint parliamentary panel to enhance relations and facilitate their visits to promote cooperation to tackle security issues and challenges facing the region. A decision was taken in this regard during a meeting between first woman speaker of UAEs Federal National Council (FNC) Amal Abdullah Al-Qubaisi and the Indian ambassador TP Seetharam.
US Senate Approves Enhanced Military Cooperation with India
The United States (US) Senate (Upper House) has unanimously approved amendment to enhance military co-operation with India as part of National Defence Authorisation Act -2017 Under it, military co-operation with India will be for developing military doctrine, threat analysis, force planning, logistical support and intelligence collection and analysis. The bill was moved by Senator John Sullivan and the amendment was co-sponsored by Senator John Corny and Mark Warner, the two co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus along with Senator Mark Kirk.
Indian Cabinet Approves Air Services Agreement with Taiwan
The Union Cabinet on 15 June gave its ex-post facto approval to the MoU for the cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sector. Besides, the cabinet also gave its nod to the signing of Air Services Agreement between both the countries.
India Ranks 141 In Global Peace Index 2016
India was on 8 June ranked 141 on a Global Peace Index (GPI) for year 2016 out of 163 countries, making it less peaceful country. The GPI ranking of 163 countries was compiled by global think Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). India has moved up two positions from 143rd rank in 2015 GPI.In a ranking of 163 countries, compiled by global think tank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), Syria has been named the least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. On the other hand, Iceland was ranked as the world’s most peaceful Denmark and Austria.
United States Names India As ‘Major Defence Partner’
The United States has recognised India as a major defence partner which will pave way to bring it closest US allies for defence related trade and technology transfer. Announcement in this regard was made in the joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with US President Barack Obama in Washington on 6 June 2016. Under the recognition US will work towards facilitating defence related trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. India will receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use defence technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives.
IAF creates History by Inducting 3 Women Fighter Pilots For First Time
The Indian Air Force (IAF) created history by inducting 3 women fighter pilots for first time. These three women fighter pilots are Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chatuvedi and Mohana Singh. They were commissioned in the Indian Air Force (IAF) after passing out from the Air Force Academy near Hyderabad on 18 June 2016. Each of the three has cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. After getting their wings as flying officers, they will now train for six months on the Advanced Jet Fighter (AJT), the British-built Hawk.In October 2015, the Union Government had decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years.
Cabinet Approves Raising Retirement Age of CHS Doctors
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for enhancement of the age of superannuation of non-teaching and public health specialists of CHS from 62 years to 65 years and doctors of General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) sub-cadre of CHS to 65 years.
Cabinet approves India’s Membership of the ICDP
The Union Cabinet on 15 June gave its approval for Indian membership of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) consortium.The approval clears the path for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the GFZ – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (German Research Centre for geosciences). The GFZ is a government-funded, Public Law Foundation of the State of Brandenburg, Germany.
Indian Railways Launches Janani Sewa
The Union Ministry of Railways launched three passenger service initiatives viz. a Janani Sewa for mothers, optional catering in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains on a pilot basis and a children’s menu on trains. These services were launched by Union Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on 8 June in New Delhi.Under this scheme hot milk, hot water and baby food will be available at railway stations. Initially on pilot basis this scheme will be available at 25 railway stations including New Delhi, Howrah, Mumbai, Chennai, Surat and Lucknow.
PMO website Launched In Six Regional Languages
The official website of Prime Minister’s Office is now available in six major regional languages — including Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali — as part efforts to reach out to people across the country. The initiative is part of Prime Minister’s efforts to reach out to people and communicate with them in their own languages. The initiative would further enhance the interaction between people from all parts of the country and the Prime Minister on various issues concerning their welfare and development.
Haryana To Have India’s First AYUSH University
Haryana to have the country’s first-of-its-kind AYUSH University as the State cabinet has approved a proposal to upgrade Shri Krishna Government Ayurvedic College, Kurukshetra, as a university.The Shri Krishna AYUSH University would have courses of all the systems of AYUSH.
Guwahati Declares Gangetic River Dolphin as its ‘City Animal’
Guwahati, the Assam state capital became first city in the country to have its own ‘city animal’ with Kamrup metropolitan district administration declaring Gangetic River Dolphin as its mascot.Gangetic River Dolphin is locally known as ‘Sihu’ and fewer than 2000 such animals remain in the River Brahmaputra along Guwahati. The district administration had organised online and off-line voting among three protected creatures, which are on the verge of extinction, to decide the mascot.
Lakshadweep Becomes First UT To Sign 24×7 ‘Power for All’ Document
Lakshadweep became first Union Territory (UT) in the counry to sign 24×7 Power for All document.The document was signed by representative of Union Government and administration of Lakshadweep. At present, 10 inhabited islands of Lakshadweep are mostly fed by diesel.
Rajasthan Government launches Mobile App RajVayu on Air Quality Index
Rajasthan Government on 5 June 2016 launched mobile application RajVayu for sharing information about Air Quality Index of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. The app was launched by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on the eve of World Environment Day.
With this, Rajasthan became first state in country to launch such app for sharing information about air quality index of cities.
RajVayu App will help in the following ways :
• Information provided on RajVayu app is based on the data collected by sophisticated air quality monitoring equipment and weather sensors.
• The app has been designed by Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) jointly with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
• It will share details about the air quality, such as levels of pollutants likes SOx, NOx, CO, Ozone particles and Particulate Matter (PM) with the city residents and tourists.
• It will also share temperature, wind speed, humidity, weather forecast and advisories.
• This app is based on the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR-India) which is presently connected in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
• By 2017, the services of this application would be expanded in other cities in the state including in Ajmer, Alwar, Bhiwadi, Kota and Pali.
Asia’s First Vulture Re-introduction Programme Launched In Haryana
The Haryana government on 3 June launched Asia’s First ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore.It was launched by state Chief Minister Manohar Lal by releasing 2 captive bred Himalayan Griffons vultures in the pre-release aviaries close to the breeding centre at Pinjore. The vultures were released as part of the soft release or reintroduction programme, in a pre-release aviary where they would have an unobstructive view of the surrounding. This would help them in getting used to the habitat in which they would be released in the wild in future. These birds have been wing-tagged and were leg-ringed for identification.
Himachal Pradesh Becomes First State To Launch Green-Concept Based SDC
Himachal Pradesh on 5 June 2016 became the first Indian state to have a State Data Centre (SDC). The centre was launched by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Shimla.The SDC is designed using green data centre concept. The centre will offer 101 people-oriented service online through an integrated data base. CM Virbhadra Singh directed all government departments to make use of SDC for hosting e-Governance applications instead of creating their own infrastructure. Now, departmental applications can be hosted centrally in SDC free of cost and HIMSWAN connectivity could be provided in field offices to access departmental applications.
42nd G7 Summit Held In Japan
The 42nd G7 Summit was held at Ise-Shima in Japan for 2-days from 26 May to 27 May 2016. During the summit, the member countries discussed a wide range of major global economic and political challenges and approved the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration. The summit assumed significance as it was the first one to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda by the United Nations in September 2015.During the summit, global economy and trade, climate change and energy, development, health and quality infrastructure investment were discussed by the leaders.The Summit was attended by all the seven members’ viz., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the European Commission (EC). EC is a permanently welcome participant in all meetings and decision-making since 1981.
World Humanitarian Summit Held In Istanbul
The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit was held from 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.The summit was organised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). More than 50 heads of state and government attended the summit, which commenced on 23 May 2016. However, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced his disappointment at the absence of world leaders from G7 countries. The World Humani-tarian Summit’s main achievement was the Grand Bargain, which is the name for a set of 51 commitments to reform humanitarian financing to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective. In the summit, a New charter for Persons With Disabilities was also endorsed. The charter aims at improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies.
First World Conference on Tourism for Development
The First World Conference on Tourism for Development (WCTD) was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China from 18-21 May 2016. It was held under the theme ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’ to advance the contribution of tourism to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).The event will be jointly organized by the Government of China and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Its focus was on discussion to align national development strategies of countries with the SDGs and the role of public and private partnerships (PPP) in the 2030 SDGs. It also analyzed how to advance the contribution of tourism to the 17 SDGs including the sector’s ability to promote local culture, create jobs and be an agent of change towards more sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices.
AWARDS & HONOURS
President Pranab Mukherjee Receives Highest Civilian Award of Ivory Coast
President Pranab Mukherjee was accorded with Grand Cross National Order of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoirie in a simple ceremony at the President’s Palace in Abidjan. It is the highest civilian award of Ivory Coast.
UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon Honoured with Russia’s Order of Friendship
Russian President Vladimir Putin on 8 June signed a decree awarding the Order of Friendship to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He was bestowed with this award for his special merits in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between peoples.Among those awarded are Prince Michael of Kent, Oscar Niemeyer, the architect of the Brazilian capital, and former President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge. The Order of Friendship established in 1994 is a state decoration of the Russian Federation. It is awarded to Russian citizens and foreign nationals for their outstanding work, deeds and efforts for betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.
PM Narendra Modi Conferred Afghanistan’s Highest Civilian Honour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on 4 June conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan. The award was bestowed upon him at the inaugural function of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam) by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The award is named after Afghan national hero Amanullah Khan who championed the cause of Afghanistan’s freedom.
AR Rahman Conferred with Japan’s Fukuoka Prize 2016
Renowned Indian music com-poser AR Rahman was awarded with the Japan’s Fukuoka prize 2016 for his outstanding contribution towards creating, pre-serving and showcasing South Asian traditional fusion music. He will receive the award alongside Philippines’ historian Ameth R Ocampo and Pakistan’s Yasmeen Lari. For the year 2015, noted Indian Historian Ramchandra Guha was conferred with Fukuoka Prize in academic category.
Arunachal’s Pakke Tiger Reserve Won 2016 India Biodiversity Award
Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh has received the ‘India Biodiversity Award 2016’ for their initiative to save the endangered species of Northeast. The Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme of the Pakke Tiger Reserve was awarded the prize under the category,’conservation of threatened species.
SPORTS & GAMES
Rio 2016 unveils official slogan for Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Rio 2016 organising committee on 14 June 2016 revealed the official slogan, A New World, for the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America.
The slogan was unveiled by Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at a special ceremony held at Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil.
Besides, the organising committee also unveiled the designs for the 2488 gold, silver and bronze medals that ten thousand athletes will soon be competing for.
What the slogan is all about?
- A new world will be the front and center message that will be transmitted around the world in the lead-up to and during the 2016 Games.
- The slogan was chosen to show the desire of Rio 2016 for a better world.
Forbes Releases 2016 World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes List
Forbes released the list of 2016 World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes. The list has been topped by soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo with earnings of 88 million US dollars. Over the last 12 months, they banked a cumulative 3.15 billion US diollars out of which 29 percent of which came from endorsements and appearances. Serena Williams (No. 40) and Maria Sharapova (No. 88) are the only two women to make the cut in the list for the second straight year.
Lewis Hamilton Won F1 Canadian Grand Prix
Mercedes racing driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain on 12 June 2016 won the Formula 1 Canada Grand Prix title.To win the title, he overcame Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in the final race held in Montreal, Canada.
Saina Nehwal Won Australian Open Super Series Badminton Trophy”
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has won the 2016 Australian Open Super Series Badminton tournament title in women’s singles category. In the final match on 12 June played at Sydney, Saina defeated Chinese Sun Yu. It was Saina’s first title of year 2016 season and overall second Australian Open title of her career. She won her first Australian Open title in 2014. On the other hand, Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus won the men’s Australian Open Badminton Super series titles. Vittinghus defeated South Korean Super series title.
French Open 2016 Winners
Men’s Singles :- Novak Djokovic from Serbia has won the 2016 French Open title in the men’s singles category on 5 June. In the final match, Djokovic defeated Britain’s Andy Murray. It was Djokovic’s first French Open title and 12th major title of his career. Other 11 titles include six Grand Slam titles from the Australian Open, three from Wimbledon and two from the US Open. Among men, only Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14) and Pete Sampras (14) own more.With this win, he also became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams at once. The 29-year-old also becomes the third man ever to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, joining American Don Budge and Australian Rod Laver in a quite remarkable feat.
Women’s Singles :- Garbine Muguruza of Spain won the French Open Women’s Singles tennis title at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. In the final she defeated Serena Williams (United States). This was her first Grand Slam title. With this win, she also became the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam title since Sanchez-Vicario in Paris in 1998.
Men’s Doubles :- Spanish pair of Feliciano López and Marc Lopez won the Men’s doubles title of 2016 French Open. In the final, they defeated Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan pair from US.
Women’s Doubles :- French pair of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic won the Women’s doubles title of 2016 French Open. In the final, they defeated Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Mixed Doubles :- Leander Paes (India) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland) pair won the Mixed doubles title of 2016 French Open. In the final, they defeated Sania Mirza (India) and Ivan Dodig (Croatia) pair.
Lucknow To Host Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on 7 June announced that men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 will be played in the Indian city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 will be played between 8 December and 18 December 2016. The teams which have qualified for the tournament are – Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, England, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Spain. The women’s Hockey Junior World Cup will take place in Santiago, Chile between 24 November 2016 and 4 December 2016.
RBI introduces Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 13 June issued the guidelines on the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets(S4A). The main aim of these guidelines is to (i) Strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets and (ii) Put real assets back on track of entities facing genuine difficulties by providing an avenue for reworking financial structure.
RBI to study Blockchain technology to curtail paper currency
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 24 June 2016 announced that it will soon set up a committee to study the use of Blockchain technology.
The technology will be used to reduce the use of paper currency.
The Blockchain database consists of blocks that hold time-stamped batches of valid transactions.
Then, digital records are put together into blocks and then leaped together cryptographically and chronologically into a chain using complex mathematical algorithms. The encryption process is termed as ‘hashing’.The linked blocks form a chain, with each additional block reinforcing those before it, thus giving the technology its name.
Hashing is carried out by different computers. If they all agree on the answer, each block receives a unique digital signature.Once updated, the ledger cannot be altered or tampered with.
The Blockchain is seen as the main technical innovation of bitcoin.
How blockchain database can help in reducing the use of paper currency?
The distributed nature of a blockchain database makes it harder for hackers to attack it. The linked blocks make hacking tricky as the hackers would have to get access to every copy of the database simultaneously.
As the hash cannot be converted back into the original data, the blockchain database keeps data secure and private.
Therefore, if the original document or transaction were subsequently altered, it will produce a different digital signature. The network is highly vigilant towards a mismatch. Thus, the blockchain method makes fraudulent activities less likely and easier to spot.
India Ranked 2nd On GRD Index On Ease of Doing Business
India has been ranked second position as per 2016 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) released by London-based business consultancy A T Kearney. India has jumped 13 positions from last year (2015) to rank second among 30 developing countries on ease of doing business.
India Fifth Largest Producer of E-waste
India emerged as the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, but the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers as per the ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study that was published on 25 May 2016.The study has highlighted the concern of rising levels of e-waste generation in India in recent years.India discards roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 percent of the e-waste. Over 100 million handsets have been manufactured last year. The unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 percent of the e-waste produced in the country. In the last 15 months alone, operators have invested over 30 percent of the cumulative investment made in 20 years prior.
State Bank of India floats IT Innovation Start-up Fund to assist start-ups in fintech space
State Bank of India (SBI) on 16 June 2016 floated 200 crore rupees IT Innovation Start-up Fund to assist start-ups in the fintech space.
The fund will consider assistance of up to 3 crore rupees to a firm registered in India for promoting their business innovations using technology in financial services.
The traditional banks around the world are opening up to work with fintech firms which are disrupting business models by using technology to deliver services at lower cost.
India Signs $100 million Loan Agreement with World Bank
The Loan and Project Agreements for World Bank (IBRD) assistance of US$ 100 million for the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernization project were signed between Government of India/Government of Karnataka and the World Bank. Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) is the implementing agency of the project.The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 24 years.It aims at providing city-wide access to a continuous piped water supply in the eligible cities in Karnataka . It also seeks to strengthen the water service delivery arrangements at the city level.
World Bank Group Launched PEF Facility
World Bank Group on 21 May 2016 launched the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) to protect poorest countries against deadly pandemics. The PEF is an innovative and fast-disbursing global financing mechanism. It will accelerate both global and national responses to future outbreaks with pandemic potential. It was built and designed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the private sector, introducing a new level and the response.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Living Bone Grown In Lab For First Time
Scientists for the first time in modern medical history have grown a living bone in the lab to repair large defects in the head and face of patient. This medical breakthrough was achieved by a new technique developed by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, professor at Columbia University.The new technique uses autologous stem cells derived from a small sample of the recipient’s fat and precisely replicates the original anatomical structure of the bone.
Jupiter-like Planet Orbiting Two Suns Discovered
Scientists have discovered a Jupiter-like planet, Kepler-1647b, orbiting a system of two stars, making it the largest such cosmic body ever found.The planet Kepler-1647b, located in the constellation Cygnus, was discovered by astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre and San Diego State University (SDSU) in the US. Researchers said that the Kepler-1647 is 3700 light-years away and about 4.4 billion years old, roughly the same age as the Earth.
Scientists announces Human Genome Project-Write to synthesize entire genome
A team of 25 Scientists on 2 June 2016 published their proposal to synthesize entire human genome from scratch under the project called the Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-Write) in Science Magazine.
The aim of the project is to reduce the cost of engineering DNA segments in the laboratory.
Its proponents envision a project on the same scale as the Human Genome Project-Read (HGP-Read) under which human genome was sequenced in 2003.
Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-Write)
- The Project was named Human Genome Project-write because synthesizing would amount to writing rather than reading the genetic code.
- HGP-write will be implemented through a new, independent nonprofit organization, the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology.
- The proposal could make it possible to grow human organs for transplant and speed up the development of vaccines.
- The initiative could take 10 years and a minimum of 100 million dollar just to get started.
World’s First 3D-Printed Plane Unveiled By Airbus
The world’s first 3D-printed aircraft THOR was on 1 June unveiled by European aerospace company, Airbus at the Inter-national Aerospace Exhibition held in Schoenefeld, Germany. The THOR is short for Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality. It resembles a large, white model airplane but is windowless.THOR has just 3 parts. It is lighter, faster and cheaper. It is windowless small pilotless propeller aircraft. It weighs 21 kilo grams and less than 4 metres long. All it parts (except the electrical elements) are 3D printed from a substance called polyamide.
India-Israel co-developed Barak-8 missile successfully test-fired
India on 30 June 2016 successfully test-fired a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) from a mobile launcher in the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Odisha coast.
The Barak-8 missile, as it is called, was co-developed by the Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) of DRDO in partnership with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Features of Barak-8
- Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile.
- The missile, along with MF—STAR, will provide the users with the capability to neutralise any aerial threats.
- These missiles will be produced at the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad.
- Along with the long range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM), it would be inducted in all the three Services once the user’s trials are completed.
- The LR-SAM was successfully test-fired in Israel and India in November and December 2015 respectively.
LISA Pathfinder mission demonstrates ways to detect gravitational waves
LISA Pathfinder Mission successfully tested a key technology needed to build a space-based observatory for detecting gravitational waves. The Mission was led by the European Space Agency (ESA) scientists with the contribution of NASA.
This research was ublished in Physical Review Letters on 7 June 2016.
Key finding of the Research
- The Mission demonstrated that two test masses can be put in free fall with a relative acceleration sufficiently free of noise to meet the requirements needed for space-based gravitational-wave detection.
- These tiny ripples in the fabric of space were first seen in 2015 by the ground-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).
- These ripples were predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago.
- The frequency of the Seismic, thermal and other noise sources limit LIGO to higher-frequency gravitational waves was around 100 cycles per second (hertz).
- But finding signals from mergers of supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies requires the ability to see frequencies at 1 hertz or less.
- A space-based observatory would work by tracking test masses that move only under the influence of gravity.
NASA Successfully Deploys Space Station’s Inflatable Room
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully deployed the first experimental inflatable room attached to the International Space Station (ISS). The experimental inflatable room dubbed as BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) was deployed after it was successfully expanded and pressurized. The inflatable room BEAM has been built by Nevada Company Bigelow Aerospace. 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.
IAF successfully Test Fires Brahmos From Pokaran
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 27 May successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos at the Pokaran field firing range in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia. It is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service and is capable of carrying a conventional and nuclear warhead of 300 kilogram. It can be launched from land, Sea, Sub-seas and air. It operates on Fire and Forget Principle by adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.
Books in News
Book Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up Released
Book titled Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up authored by Rana Ayyub was released. The book is an account of an eight-month long undercover investigation by journalist Rana Ayyub, who posed herself as Maithili Tyagi, a filmmaker from the American Film Institute Conservatory to investigate the Gujarat riots. She was in Gujarat in 2010, when she was working for Tehelka magazine.The book narrates the story of fake encounters and the murder of state Home Minister Haren Pandya.Rana in form of Maithili met bureaucrats and top cops in Gujarat who held pivotal positions in the state between 2001 and 2010.
Rajiv Gauba Committee On Decongestion of Traffic In Delhi
The Rajiv Gauba Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi on 5 June 2016 submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Urban Development. To ensure a safe, sustainable, affordable, equitable, comfortable, accessible and environmental friendly public transport system in the city, the Committee recommended a 4 pronged strategy with the components of –
* Improving Public Transport and Disincentivising use of private vehicles
* Promoting Road Safety and efficient Traffic Management
* Setting up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and enhancing institutional capacity
* Promotion of Transit Oriented Development through integrated land use and transportation planning.
Committee To Boost Cashless Transaction In The Country
The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have been working on how to reduce cash transactions in the economy. In this regard, they formed a committee last month, of seven members, chaired by a ministry official, Neeraj Kumar Gupta. It aims to increase card acceptance infrastructure, fix interchange fee for credit cards. RBI data at end-March shows 24.5 million credit cards and 661.8 million debit cards in the country, compared to 1.3 million PoS terminals.
TSR Subramanian Committee Submits Report On New Education Policy
The Committee for the evolution of a National Education Policy on 27 May submitted the report containing its recommendations to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). The Committee examined the large body of outcome documents, recommendations and suggestions received from the various consultations.The Committee also had several meetings with various stakeholders and held regional consultations as well as undertaken field visits to educational institutions.
Sunil Mittal Elected Chief of International Chamber of Commerce
Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder chairman of Bharti Enterprises, has been elected as the head of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), based in Paris, France.Mittal is the third Indian business leader to head ICC in its near-hundred year history of being the world’s oldest and most respected global business organisation.He takes over from Terry McGraw, Chairman Emeritus of S&P Global, who will now become ICC’s honorary chairman. He is currently the Chair of the World Economic Forums (WEF) Telecommunications Steering Committee. He is also a member of the India-US, India- UK and India-Japan CEO Forums.
S K Sharma Appointed CMD Of Nuclear Power Corporation Of India
Famous scientist S K Sharma was appointed the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Sharma will be responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power reactors. He has been appointed to the new post for a period of five years.He is presently working as Distinguished Scientist and Director (Operations) in NPCIL.
Satya Pal Jain appointed as Law Commission member
Additional Solicitor General of India and former Parliamentarian Satya Pal Jain was on 10 June 2016 appointed as a part-time member of the 21st Law Commission of India.
The appointment will be in addition to his charge as an Additional Solicitor General of India.
Anurag Thakur Unanimously Elected BCCI President
Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected as 34th BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) President at the board’s special general meeting (SGM) in Mumbai. He will serve as President until September 2017. He succeeds Shashank Manohar who stepped down to take get elected as ICC’s first independent chairman. 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.Before getting elected as President, Thakur had resigned as BCCI Secretary. He is a BJP MP in Lok Sabha from Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Kiran Bedi Appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was appointed Lieutenant Governor (LG) to Puducherry by President Pranab Mukherjee, a post which was under the additional charge of Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island for nearly two years.She will take over charge from Lt Gen (retd) Ajay Kumar Singh who has held the post since July 2014. Bedi will be the 24th Lt Governor of the Union Territory.
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 on 20 May 2016. He has been appointed to the post for three years.
Deutsche Bank’s Asia-Pacific CEO Gunit Chadha Resigned
Gunit Chadha on 14 June 2016 resigned as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asia Pacific region of Deutsche Bank AG. He left the office on 17 July 2016. Chadha joined Deutsche Bank in 2003 as the CEO for the global lender’s India business.
Cairn India MD and CEO Mayank Ashar Resigns
The petroleum exploration arm of London-listed Vedanta Resources Cairn India’s managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) Mayank Ashar has resigned from his post. He will be replaced by the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sudhir Mathur as the interim CEO.
Veteran Journalist Inder Malhotra Died
Veteran journalist and Indian Express columnist Inder Malhotra passed away in Delhi on 11 June 2016. He was 86. Malhotra worked as the resident editor of The Statesman in New Delhi from 1965 to 1971. He held the position of editor at The Times of India from 1978 to 1986.Since 1986, he had been a syndicated columnist for numerous dailies and periodicals in India and abroad. In 1991, he authored a political and personal biography of Indira Gandhi. He received the Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
India’s First Mr Universe Manohar Aich Died
India’s first Mr Universe and Celebrated body-builder Manohar Aich passed away on 5 June in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 104. Manohar Aich had won the Mr. Universe title in 1952 and was nicknamed ‘Pocket Hercules’ due to his 4-feet, 11-inch frame. He was also nicknamed “Bahubali”.He was first Indian to win the title post-independence. He had won the 1952 NABBA Universe Championships. In 1950, he had won Mr. Hercules contest at the age of 36. In 1991, he unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate. He had finished third, collecting over 1.63 lakh votes.
Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Died
All-time boxing icon Muhammad Ali died on 3 June 2016 in the Phoenix, Arizona, after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on 17 January 1942. He was considered as one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years.He also wrote several best-selling books about his career, including The Greatest: My Own Story and The Soul of a Butterfly. He won the world heavyweight championship in 1964 at the age of 22. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975 and changed his name to Muhammad Ali and 30 years later He began adhering to Sufism. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978.
President Pranab Mukherjee Visited Ivory Coast
President Pranab Mukherjee visited Ivory Coast. During the visit, He was accorded with Grand Cross National Order of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoirie in a simple ceremony at the President’s Palace in Abidjan. It is the highest civilian award of Ivory Coast. He received many honorary degrees but, it is the first such honour accorded to him by a country. It was the first visit of any Indian President to Ivory Coast. Both the countries signed headquarters agreement for re-establishment of Exim bank regional head quarters in the Ivory Coast.In fact, it is the first ever high level visit from India to Ivory Coast.
Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Visited India
Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited India. During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held bilateral talks with his Thai counterpart Gen Prayut Chan-o-Cha. The meeting focused on deeper relations between the two countries. trade and investment, defence, security and tourism will be on the top agenda. The two leaders also held discussion to explore ways to expand maritime security cooperation, deal with threat of terrorism and boost trade. After the bilateral talks, Thailand and India signed two agreements on cultural exchange, academic cooperation.The academic cooperation agreement was made between Chiang Mai University and Nagaland University.
Prime Minster Narendra Visited US
Prime Minster Narendra Modi visited United States (US) on 6-8 June 2016. This was PM Modi’s fourth visit to the US since he assumed office in May 2014. During the visit, India and the United States (US) have signed six agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields. These agreements were signed after wide range of bilateral talks between Prime Minster Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the joint session of the US Congress. He addressed the congress during his second official bilateral visit to the US after his trip in September, 2014. With this PM Narendra Modi became the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005.
President Pranab Mukherjee Visited China
President of India, Pranab Mukherjee visited China. During the visit, Pranab Mukherjee addressed a meeting of the India-China Business Forum in Guangzhou, where India sought from China greater market for its products like drugs and pharmaceuticals, IT and IT–related services and agroproducts. In the visit, Pranab Mukherjee held delegation level talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in a bid to bolster bilateral ties between both nations. Apart from bilateral, regional and international issues, borders problems and China’s role in blocking India’s bid in the United Nations body to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar are likely to be discussed between the two leaders.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visited Afghanistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Afghanistan on 4 June 2016. During the visit, In Herat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani dedicated Afghan-India friendship dam, earlier known as Salma dam to the people. The project built by India at a cost 1700 crore rupees will irrigate 75 thousand hectares of land, generate 42 megawatt power and also supply drinking water in 620 villages. Afghanistan President conferred the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award on Narendra Modi.
Nita Ambani Becomes First Indian Women To Be Nominated For IOC
The founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani was on 3 June nominated as a candidate to be a new member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquartered at Lausanne, Switzerland.The election will be held at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro between 2 and 4 August 2016. The independent selection process follows a new procedure for recruitment of IOC members based on the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.
Two young Indian-Americans Won US Spelling Bee In Historic Tie
The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie for the third consecutive year, with Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga declared co-champions after a roller-coaster finish. Thirteen-year-old Jairam is the younger brother of the 2014 co-champion, Sriram Hathwar. Nihar, at age 11, is the youngest winner of the bee on record. Each will receive a trophy and $45,000 in cash and prizes.
Rishi Nair Won National Geographic Bee Competition
Indian American student Rishi Nair won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition 2016. As National Geographic Bee champion, Nair received a 50000 US dollars college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. He also won a trip to Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park. This is the fifth consecutive year that an Indian-American has won the prestigious national tournament. Last year Karan Menon had won the competition.
Lhakpa Becomes First Woman To Climb Everest Seventh Time
Lhakpa Sherpa, US-based Nepali climbed Mount Everest for the seventh time, breaking her own record for the most summits of the world’s highest mountain by any woman. She works in a 7-Eleven shop in Connecticut in the US. Two Sherpa climbers share between them the record of 21 ascents of Everest, the most number of climbs by men.
Family Life by Akhil Sharma wins 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award
American author Akhil Sharma on 9 June 2016 won the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award for his novel Family Life.
Family Life was chosen from a total of 160 titles, nominated by libraries in 118 cities in 43 countries. It was first published in the USA by W.W. Norton and in the UK by Faber & Faber.
Sharma is the third American author to win the prize in its 21 year history.
The book Family Life tells the story of eight-year-old Ajay, whose family move from Delhi to America in 1978.
PLACES IN NEWS
World’s Longest, Deepest Rail Tunnel Inaugurated In Switzerland
Switzerland on 1 June inaugurated Gotthard Base Tunnel, world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel. The tunnel is also the first flat low-level route through the Alps. It took 17 years and 12.2 billion Swiss francs to construct the tunnel.The Gotthard Base Tunnel has route length of 57.09 km and a total of 151.84 km of tunnels, shafts and passages. It is a part of the AlpTransit project, also known as the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA). It is situated 2.3km deep under the Alps. It is the third tunnel connecting the cantons of Uri and Ticino after the Gotthard Tunnel and the Gotthard Road Tunnel.
MTCR – Missile Technology Control Regime
NSG – Nuclear Suppliers Group
NPT – Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
NADA – National Anti-Doping Agency
NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization
IRCTC – Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation
NIDC – National Industrial Development Corporation
NSSO – National Sample Survey Organisation
VSNL – Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited
AMFL – Association of Mutual Funds in India
BCSBI – Banking Codes and Standards Board of India
EXIM – Export Import Bank of India
IMPORTANT DAYS & DATES
June 5 – World Environment Day
June 8 – World Oceans day
June 12 – World Day Against Child Labour
June 14 – World Blood Donor day
June 15 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day