Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 25 - APRIL - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 25 - APRIL - 2016
Monday, 25 April 2016 03:54

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

25 - APRIL - 2016

 

WORLD BANK RELEASED 2015 MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT BRIEF

World Bank released 2015 Migration and Development Brief. According to it, remittances to developing countries grew only marginally in 2015.

The marginal growth in remittances was due to weak oil prices and other factors that strained the earnings of international migrants and their ability to send money home to their families.

It also highlights that the slowing in remittances growth, which began in 2012, was exacerbated in 2015 by low oil prices.

India remained the world's largest remittance recipient in 2015 despite experiencing a one billion US dollar drop from the previous year. India retained its top spot in 2015, attracting about 69 billion US dollars in remittances, down from 70 billion in 2014.

Main Highlights of the Migration and Development Brief

• Officially recorded remittances to developing countries amounted to 431.6 billion dollar in 2015, an increase of 0.4 percent over 430 billion dollar in 2014.

• The growth pace in 2015 was the slowest since the global financial crisis.

• It says that the global remittances, which include those to high-income countries, contracted by 1.7 percent to 581.6 billion dollar in 2015, from 592 billion dollar in 2014.

• Other large remittance recipients in 2015 were China, with 64 billion dollar, the Philippines (28 billion dollar), Mexico (25 billion dollar) and Nigeria (21 billion dollar).

• Egypt saw remittances contract in 2015, as flows from the GCC countries slowed considerably.

• Remittances contracted by 20 percent to countries in the Europe and Central Asia region, with the heaviest impacts on Tajikistan and Ukraine, as a struggling Russian economy, and depreciation of the Russian ruble against the dollar contributed to the decline in remittances to the region.

Forecast for Future

World Bank in its report said, remittance flows are expected to recover in 2016, after a bottoming out in 2015.

The growth will be helped with growth driven by continued economic recovery in the United States and the Euro Area, and a stabilization of US dollar exchange rates of remittance-source countries.

In addition to currency movements, oil prices are a key downside risk to this outlook. Should the price of oil suffer unexpected declines, remittances from Russia and the GCC would be further buffeted.

Regional Remittance Trends

• Among geographical regions, Latin America and the Caribbean saw the most rapid growth rate in remittances in 2015, of 4.8 percent, due to the recovery in labor markets in the United States. Growth is expected to continue in 2016, albeit at a slower pace, with remittances expected to reach 69.3 billion dollar in 2016, from 66.7 billion dollar in 2015.

• Remittances to East Asia and the Pacific rose by 4.2 percent in 2015, down from 7.4 percent in 2014. Nevertheless, the region remained the top remittance recipient amongst all geographical regions. Remittances are projected at 131 billion dollar in 2016, up from 127 billion dollar in 2015.

• Remittances to South Asia grew by 2 percent in 2015, down from 4.3 percent in 2014, due to a contraction in flows to India, the world’s largest remittance recipient, and Sri Lanka, despite a spike in remittances to Nepal in response to the earthquake. The region is expected to attract 123.3 billion dollar in remittances in year 2016, compared to 117.9 billion dollar in 2015.

• Sub-Saharan Africa saw a modest growth of 1 percent in remittances in 2015, compared to 0.2 percent in 2014. Remittances to the region are expected to increase further this year, by 3.4 percent, to 36 billion dollar, from 35.2 billion dollar in 2015.

• Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) contracted by 0.9 percent in 2015, from 4 percent growth in 2014, largely due to a decline in inflows to Egypt, the region’s largest remittance recipient. However, remittances to the region are expected to grow by 2.6 percent this year to 51.6 billion dollar, from 50.3 billion dollar in 2015.

• Remittance flows to Europe and Central Asia were severely affected in 2015, contracting by 20.3 percent, due to the depreciation of the Russian ruble against the dollar and the slowdown in economic activity in Russia, a major source of remittances for the region. The region should, however, see a robust recovery in 2016, with remittances expected to grow by 5.1 percent to 36.3 billion dollar, from 34.6 billion dollar in 2015.

INFOSYS CO-FOUNDER S GOPALAKRISHNAN LAUNCHED APP ‘ITIHAASA’ CHRONICLING INDIAN IT JOURNEY

Infosys co-founder launched a new app named ‘Itihaasa’ that chronicles Indian IT journey since the 1950s.

The app 'itihaasa' is one of the largest chronicles of its kind with 600 videos featuring 44 technology stalwarts.

Main highlights of app Itihaasa

•    It contains over 37 hours of footage, 350 archived photographs and articles and easy browsing with 12000 tags.

•    It follows the installation of the country's first modern computer in 1955 to crystal gazing on Indian IT in 2040.

•    Through the app users can also hear veterans like F C Kohli, Prof Rajaraman, Prof Mahabala, Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, S Ramadorai, Nandan Nilekani, N Vittal and others.

•    Users can personalise stories on six dimensions - Time, People, Organisation, Policy, Technical Terms and Place.

•    The app, took about eight months to develop and will be maintained by a team sitting at IIIT-Bengaluru.

•    It has been conceptualised by Kris, as Gopalakrishnan is popularly known, and will be available for free on Apple and Android phones or tablets.

WORLD BANK GROUP TO INVEST 2.5 BILLION US DOLLARS IN EDUCATION PROJECTS BENEFITING ADOLESCENT GIRLS

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced that the World Bank Group will invest 2.5 billion US dollars over 5 years in education projects that directly benefit adolescent girls.

The announcement was followed by a call to action from the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, urging key policymakers and influencers from around the world to commit to urgent action in support of adolescent girls.

The announcement was made at the Let Girls Learn event during the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings.

Highlights of the Investment

• By 2020, the World Bank Group expects to invest at least 2.5 billion US dollars in education projects targeting adolescent girl.

• About 75 percent of these investments are expected to be from International Development Association (IDA), the Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

• The investments are largely estimated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which have the highest number of out-of-school girls.

• Programs to be supported will include a range of efforts to provide adolescent girls with access to quality education at the secondary level, provision of scholarships, conditional cash transfers, and schools with basic facilities like clean drinking water and toilets that promote enrolment.

Background
Today, 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and half of them are adolescents. As per the World Bank study, every year of secondary school education is correlated with an 18 percent increase in a girl’s future earning power.

Educating adolescent girls and promoting gender equality is part of a broader effort by the Bank Group. This includes financing and analytical work in support of removing financial barriers that keep girls out of school, delaying child marriage, strengthening skills and job opportunities for adolescent girls.

This multidimensional approach is outlined in the Bank Group’s new global strategy for gender equality.

LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS 2016: DJOKOVIC AND SERENA WON SPORTSMAN & SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Laureus World Sports Awards 2016 were given in Berlin, Germany. The award ceremony was held in Germany for the first time.

World No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award, whereas US tennis player Serene Williams won the Sportswoman of the Year Award.

For Djokovic it was back-to-back second Laureus Awards, whereas for Serena it was her fourth Laureus Awards.

List of Awardees

•    Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic, Serbia (Tennis)

•    Team of the Year: New Zealand national rugby union team

•    Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams, the US (Tennis)

•    Comeback of the Year: Dan Carter, New Zealand (Rugby)

•    Breakthrough of the Year: Jordan Spieth, the US (Golf)

•    Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Daniel Dias, Brazil (Paralympic swimmer)

•    Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jan Frodeno, Germany (Triathelete)

•    Sport for Good Award: Moving the Goalposts

•    Laureus World Sports Lifetime Achievement Award: Niki Lauda, Australia (former Formula 1 racer)

•    Spirit of Sport Award: Johan Cruyff, the Netherlands (Football)

About Laureus World Sports Award

•    It is annual award given by Laureus World Sports Academy since 2000

•    It celebrates the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with the greatest achievements fans have admired throughout the year.

•    It is given in 7 categories with the potential for additional discretionary Awards given.

•    Each winner receives the Laureus Statuette, crafted by Cartier, with its representation of the striving human form against an engraved representation of the continents.

•    Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

INDIA AND MAURITIUS SIGNED MOU TO COOPERATE IN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE AND HOMOEOPATHY

India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mauritius on cooperation in the field of traditional system of medicine and Homoeopathy.

The MoU was signed during the Union Minster of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge) and Health and Family Welfare, Shripad Yesso Naik’s visit to Mauritius.

Salient Features of the MoU

• The MoU envisages exchange of experts, supply of traditional medicinal substances, joint research and development and recognition of the traditional systems of health and medicine in both countries.

• It also aims at promotion and popularization of the various Indian traditional systems which fall under AYUSH.

• The MoU with Mauritius is part of the Ministry AYUSH’s mandate to propagate Indian systems of medicine globally. It has entered into similar MoUs with China, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Hungary, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Background

India and Mauritius share several cultural, historical, linguistic and literary similarities, traditional medicine including medicinal plants are promising areas which need to be further explored and can prove to be mutually beneficial to the people of the two countries.

The government of Mauritius also has a long history of traditional medicine in common with India and both countries share a common culture with respect to the ayurvedic system of medicine.

Moreover, there are a large number of medicinal plants, particularly those found in the tropical region and are common to the two countries given similar geo-climatic factors.

INDIAN-AMERICAN GEETA PASI NOMINATED AS US ENVOY TO CHAD BY OBAMA

US President Barack Obama nominated Indian-American Geeta Pasi as the country's next envoy to Chad, a landlocked country in northern Central Africa.

At present, Pasi is the Director of the Office of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.

Pasi, who served as the United States Ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014, is a career member of the Foreign Service. Earlier, she has been the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Dhaka, from 2006 to 2009, and Deputy Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany from 2003 to 2006.

Since joining the Foreign Service in 1988, Pasi also served at a number of diplomatic positions in Cameroon, Ghana, India and Romania.

Pasi, an American diplomat, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in 1984 and completed a Master of Arts at New York University in 1986.

UNION MINISTER AGAIN ADVOCATES RIVER LINKING ACROSS STATES

  • Union Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar has favoured river linking to address drought and water scarcity.
  • The BJP leader said that linking rivers across the State would create a water grid that would end droughts and ensure constant supply of abundant water to all regions.
  • Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has successfully linked the Krishna and the Godavari to transfer 80 tmcft of water from the Krishna Basin to the Godavari Basin.
  • This has brought water to dry areas in that State. Such models should be replicated in Karnataka too, he said.
  • He observed that 136 taluks were affected by drought. BJP MPs and legislators were ready to contribute their one-month salary towards drought relief, he said.
  • He urged the government to supply water through tankers in 337 villages hit by water scarcity in Bidar district.
  • He said that such emergencies demanded that all leaders worked for the welfare of the people, setting aside their political affiliations.

NAINITAL HIGH COURT QUASHED UNION GOVERNMENT’S PRESIDENT’S RULE

  • The Uttarakhand High Court quashed the Union government’s order imposing President’s Rule on the State, holding that the situation must be viewed “on a larger canvas of democracy, federalism and the rule of law.”
  • Deciding that the Congress shall return to power, a Division Bench ordered a floor test of Harish Rawat’s claim of majority in the Assembly on April 29.
  • The decision is a setback to the Modi government, which had approached the President to prove that there was a breakdown of the constitutional machinery.
  • Uttarakhand Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said the “effective strength” of the House has now come down to 62 as the High Court has upheld the disqualification of the nine rebel Congress MLAs.
  • The Central government will challenge the ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court revoking President’s Rule in the State.
  • Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said this after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and leaders of the BJP, including party president Amit Shah, went into a huddle on how to proceed following the legal setback.

GOVT IMPOSED REGULATIONS ON SURCHARGE IN A CAB

  • The next time you pay a surcharge for travelling in a cab booked through an aggregator, look at the bill carefully.
  • If you’re being charged more than Rs. 19.5 per km after the basic fare, you will soon be able to alert the Transport Department via a designated helpline or through social media.
  • In an attempt to take action against aggregators who are getting customers to shell out over-the-top surcharges, the department will launch a helpline that will take note of customer complaints.
  • At worst, this could include suspension of the aggregator’s licence.
  • Such strong action against private app-based operators has become possible after services like Ola and Uber came forward this week to register with the department.
  • However, the only complaints that will be taken up will be those in which the customer has been charged more than the maximum rate fixed by the government. This is currently fixed at Rs. 80 for 4 km and Rs. 19.5 per km after.

ENVIRONMENTALIST R.K. PACHAURI STEPPED DOWN AS A MEMBER OF GOVERNING COUNCIL OF TERI

  • Environmentalist R.K. Pachauri, accused of sexual harassment by his former women colleagues in the recent past, has stepped down as a member of the governing council of TERI.
  • The announcement came on the heels of a media report which said the green body has decided to “sever” its association with Mr. Pachauri even though his employment contract with TERI expires in 2017.
  • It said the governing council had also decided to pay all the dues for the remainder of his tenure and bring an immediate end to it.
  • Mr. Pachauri, however, maintained that his term as a member of The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) governing council ended on March 31, 2016.
  • Mr. Pachauri said he was issuing the statement “to provide the media with information” about his “stepping down” from TERI’s Governing Council, suggesting the decision to call time on his association with the organisation was voluntary.

MILITARY RESTRUCTURING IN CHINA CONTINUES

  • The ongoing military restructuring in China appears to have peaked, with President Xi Jinping assuming the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Battle Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • The move showed that President Xi had built up a level of personal authority over troops on par with late leaders such as Mao Zedong and DengXiaoping.
  • President Xi insisted that the new formation should be “absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding, and courageous and capable of winning wars.
  • The new title adds to the other three that President Xi holds— general secretary of the Communist Party of China, President, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
  • The CMC is responsible for the PLA’s management and defence building, while the joint battle command centre focuses on combat and relevant strategies.

ISLAMIC STATE KILLED MORE THAN 250 GIRLS IN NORTHERN IRAQ

  • The Islamic State (IS), notorious for its brutality, has reportedly executed 250 girls in northern Iraq for refusing to become sex slaves, according to a media report.
  • The girls had been ordered to accept temporary marriages to the terrorists and were murdered, sometimes alongside their families, for their refusal to be sex slaves in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.
  • The IS began selecting women of Mosul and forced them into marrying its militants, calling it temporary marriage since it has taken control over Mosul, and the women who refused to submit to this practice would be executed.
  • Human rights were being widely violated in all IS-held territories, particularly the women’s rights as they’re seen as commodities and have no choice in choosing their spouses.
  • The executions follows a spate of similar killings that took place last August in which 19 Mosul women were slaughtered for refusing to have sex with IS fighters.
  • Up to 500 Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped and sexually abused by the dreaded militants in August 2014.
  • In October, more than 500 Yazidi women and young girls were reportedly abducted by the IS when they stormed the Sinjar region in northern Iraq.
  • The IS took control of Mosul in June 2014 after the fall of Iraqi army in the city and since then has been slaughtering its residents for various charges to spread fear.

COMMONWEALTH MINISTERIAL ACTION GROUP EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER MISUSE OF ANTI-TERROR LAW

  • The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has expressed concern over the “continued misuse” of anti-terrorism legislation in the Maldives.
  • They also said there is “little or no evidence of substantive progress” in promoting freedom and space for civil society.
  • The CMAG also raised concerns over the recent introduction of a “broad-ranging” Defamation Bill seeking to criminalise defamation and statements against national security, an official release said.
  • Reacting to the CMAG’s decisions, the Maldives government, contended that the Group decided “not to place the Maldives on its agenda”.
  • The government also welcomed the CMAG’s call to all political parties to participate constructively on a political agenda dialogue.

CHINA WILL LAUNCH CORE MODULE IN 2018

  • China will launch a “core module” for its first space station some time around 2018,, part of a plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.
  • Advancing Chinas space programme is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power, and apart from its civilian ambitions Beijing has tested anti-satellite missiles.
  • China insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defence Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.
  • The “core module” for the space station would be called the “Tianhe-1”, the Chinese word for galaxy or Milky Way, Wang Zhongyang,
  • If the International Space Station, which has extended its service, is retired by 2024, China's new space station will be the only operational one in outer space.

INDIA BECAME TOP DESTINATION FOR FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

  • India has replaced China as top destination for foreign direct investment by attracting $63 billion worth FDI projects in 2015, says a report.
  • “India was the highest ranked country by capital investment in 2015, with $63 billion-worth of FDI projects announced,” according to fDi Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times Ltd.
  • Also there was an 8 per cent increase in project numbers to 697.
  • Major companies such as Foxconn and SunEdison have agreed to invest in projects valued at $5 billion and $4 billion, respectively, in India in 2015, it said.
  • Report said the biggest change in greenfield FDI in 2015 was the near tripling of greenfield FDI into India, with an estimated $63 billion.
  • “In 2015, India was for the first time the leading country in the world for FDI, overtaking the US (which had USD 59.6 billion of greenfield FDI) and China (USD 56.6 billion),” the report noted.
  • Of the top 10 destination states for FDI in 2015, India claims five places.

NON-SOFTWARE SERVICES SECTOR EXPORTS DROP SHARPLY

  • India’s trade surplus in services has been contracting, mainly due to a sharp drop in non-software services exports which shows that the global economic slowdown is finally beginning to affect India’s services sector.
  • In addition, though the overall trade deficit has been decreasing due to low commodity prices, India’s trade deficit with China is worsening which is a worrying trend.
  • On a 12-month rolling sum basis, the services trade balance has fallen to 3.4 per cent of GDP in February 2016 from 3.9 per cent in February 2014.
  • Although a drop in software services exports was a driver of the decline, receipts from transportation, financial services and other business services were also much lower, and together these non-software categories comprised 73 per cent of the moderation in services exports between Q4 2013 and Q4 2015.
  • A research paper by Crisil found that India’s trade deficit with China has been worsening at an alarming rate.
  • Between fiscals 2006 and 2016, it compounded at an annual 30 per cent, or thrice as fast as India’s overall trade deficit.
  • The reason behind thisis that China’s ongoing economic slowdown has meant that it requires lower quantities of the raw materials that it imports from India.
  • On the other hand, India’s imports from China have not been affected to any large degree,
  • However, there is a possibility that this trend could be short-lived, especially if the rupee appreciates in the near term and medium-term.

THE MUMBAI CRICKET ASSOCIATION MOVED SUPREME COURT AGAINST BOMBAY HC ORDER

  • The Mumbai Cricket Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association in a joint Special Leave Petition have moved the SC against the Bombay HC’s decision to move the Indian Premier League matches scheduled in Maharashtra out of the state.
  • Last week’s verdict had forced the IPL authorities to find alternative venues for 13 of the 20 matches, which were scheduled to be staged in Maharashtra, due to severe drought in the state.
  • The petition is understood to have strongly objected to the maintainability of the order issued by the Bombay HC.
  • The BCCI had not only decided to challenge the High Court directive but also in consultation with the affected home franchises — Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants.
  • During the hearing of the PIL both state associations had promised to use sewage water for maintaining the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium at Gahunje, on the outskirts of Pune.

 

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 03:14
 

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