Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 30 - APRIL - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 30 - APRIL - 2016
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Saturday, 30 April 2016 02:53

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

30 - APRIL - 2016

 

TIME MAGAZINE RELEASED LIST OF 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD

Time Magazine released a list of 100 Most Influential People in the World.

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, tennis player Sania Mirza, actress Priyanka Chopra, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and founders of Flipkart, Binny Bansal andSachin Bansal have been named by Time magazine in its list.

The TIME 100 is not a ranking, but a combination of public figures from various different fields. The list includes the public figures who have had some kind of significant impact on the world.

The most notable pioneers on the list are:

• Aziz Ansari: He is an American actor and comedian widely known for his roles as Tom Haverford on the NBC series Parks and Recreation and as Dev Shah on the Netflix series Master of None.

• Caitlyn Jenner: Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn is an American television personality and retired Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete. She revealed her identity as a trans woman in April 2015 and publicly announced her name change from Bruce to Caitlyn in a July 2015 Vanity Fair cover story.

• Sunita Narain: She is an Indian environmentalist and political activist as well as a major proponent of the Green concept of sustainable development.

The most notable titans on the list are:

• Tim Cook: He is an American business executive and the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc.

• Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal: They started Flipkart in 2007 as an online bookstore.

• Pope Francis: He is the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City.

• Sundar Pichai: He is an Indian American business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Google Inc.

• Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg: Chan is a pediatrician and Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Facebook. Through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, they have led efforts to improve education, cure disease, and build stronger and more connected communities.

The most notable artists on the list are:

• Kendrick Lamar: He is an American rapper from Compton, California.

• Ariana Grande: She is an American singer and actress. She began her career in the Broadway musical 13.

• Charlize Theron: She is a South African and American actress, producer and fashion model.

• Priyanka Chopra: She is an Indian actress, singer, producer and philanthropist, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 2000.

The most notable leaders on the list are:

• Kim Jong-un: He is the supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea.

• Lori J. Robinson: She is a United States Air Force general who is Commander of Pacific Air Forces, Air Component Commander for United States Pacific Command, and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

• Raghuram Rajan: He is currently serving as the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank of India.

• Hillary Clinton: She is an American politician. She is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

• Justin Trudeau: He is a Canadian politician who is the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, and the leader of the Liberal Party.

• Barack Obama: He is an American politician serving as the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office.

• Donald Trump: He is an American businessman, politician, television personality, author, and candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

The most notable icons on the list are:

• Nicki Minaj: She is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer and songwriter.

• Sania Mirza: She is an Indian professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in the women's doubles rankings.

• Adele: She is an English singer and songwriter.

• Leonardo DiCaprio: He is an American actor and film producer.

WADA SUSPENDED ACCREDITATION OF NATIONAL ANTI-DOPING LABORATORY OF BEIJING

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended the accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory of Beijing. It prohibits the Chinese laboratory from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples.

The suspension was for up to four months with immediate effect, although the laboratory has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

During the suspension period, samples are required to be transported securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory.

WADA suspended the accreditation of the laboratory as it does not meet International Standard for Laboratories requirements.

Background

On 16 April 2016, WADA revoked the accreditation of the Moscow Antidoping Center, which was suspended on 10 November 2015 after an independent investigation found that laboratory director Grigori Rodchenkov had ordered nearly 1500 samples to be destroyed.

Rodchenkov quickly resigned amid the doping scandal that led to banning of Russian athletes from international competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations. This ban could sideline the Russian track and field stars from the Rio Olympics in August 2016.

ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVIST HARRIET TUBMAN TO BECOME FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO APPEAR ON US PAPER CURRENCY

The U.S. Treasury Department announced that the image of an American abolitionist and anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will appear on a new series of US $20 bills.

With this, Tubman will become the first African-American and the first woman in more than a century to appear on U.S. paper currency.

Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, to appear as the portrait gracing the US $20 bill.

Who was Harriet Tubman?

Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War.

She was born as a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. In 1849, she escaped to Philadelphia, then immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family.

She made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends. She used the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad to rescue the families.

She also helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry.

When the Civil War began, she worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy.

The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves.

She died on 10 March 1913.

INDIA RATIFIED TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT OF WTO

India ratified the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of World trade Organisation (WTO). WTO ambassador of India, Anjali Prasad, handed over the country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO’s Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

The ratification of the TFA will help India further boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and supporting its integration into the global economy.

Special Provisions & features of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

• The agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit which was concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference.

• It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.

• It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

• It will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the agreement. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA.

• India submitted its Category A notification to the WTO on 18 March 2016, with an indication of which provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement.

Apart from India, the other countries which ratified the TFA include: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia and Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates and Samoa.

Background

The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.

A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.

Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to 1 trillion US dollar per annum, according to the WTO’s flagship World Trade Report released on 26 October 2015.

MAHINDRA BECAME FIRST INDIAN COMPANY TO JOIN EP100 CAMPAIGN

Mahindra & Mahindra became the first Indian company to join a global energy campaign, EP100, led by an international non-profit group, The Climate Group. It will work with the world's most influential businesses in setting commitments to double their energy productivity.

Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra represented the corporate world at the high-level signing ceremony of the historic Paris climate change agreement at the United Nations on 22 April 2016.

By signing to this campaign, the company committed to double its energy productivity by 2030 which is a core requirement for any business signing on to the campaign.

The concept of energy productivity aligns energy efficiency more directly with business growth and development objectives. If more companies were to adopt energy productivity within their business models, the global fossil fuel bill could be reduced by an estimated 2 trillion Euros (INR 1 crore 52 lakhs crores) and create more than six million jobs globally by 2020.

Mahindra will be among the dignitaries, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President François Hollande, President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft and UN Messenger of Peace Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

Key outputs of the EP100 program will include:

• A strong business case for doubling energy productivity, documenting cost savings for participants.

• A high profile media campaign showcasing why the world’s most influential businesses have committed to doubling energy productivity and how they’re achieving it.

• A dedicated online hub featuring profiles and case studies of the companies that have made the EP100 commitments, along with trends in the wider sector.

• Presentations at global conferences and events to highlight the business case for companies to double energy productivity.

• Technical briefings – developed with leading experts – dedicated to providing the most up to date information on how companies can achieve energy productivity improvements.

• Knowledge sharing across the partner network through peer-to-peer networking events.

• An annual report to highlight corporate progress toward doubling energy productivity and demonstrate business leadership.

• Simultaneous endorsement of companion calls-to-action, including the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity goal to double energy productivity by 2030 and the Sustainable Energy for All objective to double the rate of energy efficiency improvement.

PAKISTAN, CHINA SIGNED AGREEMENT TO LAUNCH A SPECIAL SATELLITE TO MONITOR CPEC

Pakistan and China signed an agreement for the launch of a special satellite to monitor the development of the 46 billion US dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Pakistan Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal on behalf of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) President Yin Limping signed the agreement in Islamabad, Pakistan.

This bilateral cooperation between the two nations in space domain would open new arena of socio-economic and scientific cooperation. It would give boost to the historic bilateral cordial relations in other fields.

Features of the Project CPEC agreement

• The two sides agreed for the development and launch of the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) System and in this regard launch a satellite in June 2018.

• Space technology is fundamental in socio-economic development, infrastructure upgradation, agriculture production, urban planning in new era.

• The agreement would also transfer space technology to Pakistan and the PRSS-1 is yet another flagship project between China-Pakistan relations after CPEC.

• The new project would also help Pakistan in national security arena by strengthening border security and surveillance apparatus.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The CPEC is a 46 billion US dollar project launched with the help of China to connect western China to southern Pakistans port city of Gawadar. It would give access to Beijing into the Arabian Sea.

Indian Context on the Project

India has been protesting the corridors passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir ever since the project was kicked off by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Islamabad in 2015.

India is concerned as this corridor would impact the security of the Nation.

SC BACKED THE RESOLVE OF THE BANKS TO GO AFTER VIJAY MALLYA

  • The Supreme Court backed the resolve of the banks to “go after” chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, by handing over details of his overseas assets to them despite his plea to keep them a secret.
  • Mr Mallya accused the banks – who have said he is a “fugitive fleeing from justice” of trying to lure him back with appeals of a “negotiated settlement” of his debts, when in fact they just wanted to send him “straight to Tihar Jail”.
  • Mr Mallya, whose passport has been revoked by the government, and who has all but lost his status as a Rajya Sabha member, called the wrecked Kingfisher Airlines a “bonafide business failure”.
  • He said he had never misused his bank loans, and though a “defaulter,” he had never been a “wilful defaulter” as the government and the banks made him out to be.
  • The Bench ordered the Supreme Court’s Registry to hand over to the banks a sealed envelope submitted by Mr Mallya, containing details of foreign assets owned by him, his estranged wife and children.

48 YOUTHS HAD BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGIANCE TO IS AND FOR PLANNING ATTACK

  • 48 youths had so far been arrested nationwide for their allegiance to the IS and for planning attacks on behalf of the outfit.
  • During a countrywide raid in January-February this year, the National Investigation Agency arrested 25 men for allegedly trying to establish an Islamic State-backed caliphate in India.
  • The Islamic State is definitely a threat to India and the State intelligence officials were asked to improve intelligence-gathering techniques. The group may be losing steam internationally, but India remained vulnerable to it.
  • As per an estimate, there are 70-80 active terrorists in the Valley, and all of them are identified in police records.
  • They belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) among others.

ADVANCED NEW SHIP SHOOR COMMISSIONED

  • Coastal security, particularly in the State, has received a shot in the arm as an advanced new ship, Shoor, of the Indian Coast Guard, commissioned about two weeks ago, arrived at its base in Mangaluru.
  • The 105-m-long Shoor, an offshore patrol vessel, is the fifth ship of the Coast Guard based in Mangaluru at the New Mangalore Port.
  • The Coast Guard already has four ships which are fast patrol vessels based at New Mangalore Port.
  • They are Savtiribai Phule, Kasturba Gandhi, Amartya and Rajdoot. In addition, the Coast Guard has two hovercrafts based in Mangaluru.
  • Designed and built by Goa Shipyard Ltd., Shoor can carry a helicopter. The ship can carry a single engine Chetak helicopter or a double engine advanced light helicopter.
  • The ship is also capable of carrying pollution response equipment to combat oil spill contamination at sea.
  • It carries five high speed boats, including for fast boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol.

AFTER INDIA DENY VISA TO UIGHUR LEADER, CHINA SAYS ESTABLISH DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH PAK

  • China nudged India and Pakistan to establish direct communication to resolve differences on listing JeM chief Masood Azhar on the UN terror roll, close on the heels of New Delhi’s decision to deny visa to an Uighur leader wanted by Beijing.
  • In a written response Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said: “We encourage all parties related to the listing matter of Masood Azhar to have direct communication and work out a solution through serious consultations.”
  • She added: “China is willing to continue with its communication with all the relevant parties,” signalling Beijing’s intent to stay diplomatically engaged on this subject, and achieve results based on consensus.
  • Provision of international law could help Beijing steer clear of a possible controversy in the future, for adopting a “condescending approach” towards a subject that embroiled India and Pakistan.
  • Sustained diplomatic interaction between the two South Asian neighbours could yield a “suitable language”, which could be included in a new draft acceptable to both sides.
  • The officials, however, were non-committal on whether a closure to the controversy had now been achieved, pointing out that official communication from New Delhi on this subject was yet to be received.

BRITISH COURT SAYS HILLSBOROUGH TRAGEDY WAS GROSS NEGLIGENCE BY POLICE

  • The 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster were unlawfully killed, a jury found, blaming police for the worst tragedy in the history of British sport.
  • Following the longest-running inquest in English legal history, jurors concluded that policing decisions at the ill-fated match in 1989 “caused or contributed” to the deaths, and amounted to “gross negligence”.
  • Relatives of the victims have fought a 27-year campaign to get to the heart of what happened during the disaster, and were angry at an initial inquest ruling the deaths were accidental.
  • They emerged from the courtroom hugging and in tears, holding pictures of their loved ones and a scarf reading “JUSTICE”.
  • They linked hands above their heads and sang the Liverpool Football Club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and chanted “Justice for the 96”.
  • Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to their “extraordinary courage” in their “long search for the truth”.
  • The disaster occurred on April 15, 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final between the teams of Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium in northern England.

PLANT BREEDERS FOCUSSING ON DISEASE-RESISTANT FRUITS

  • To promote organic cultivation of fruits, plant breeders are now focussing on developing disease-resistant fruit varieties which can be grown without using pesticides.
  • Even as efforts are on to develop various cultivation practices to reduce pest attack, scientists now feel that developing varieties which are resistant to major diseases will go a long way in promoting organic cultivation.
  • About 120 plant breeders and horticulturalists from across the country are deliberating on issues related to development of disease-resistant varieties of fruits, among other things.
  • A symposium on ‘Fruit breeding in tropics and sub-tropics: an Indian perspective’ being jointly organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR).
  • organic fruits are not just healthier, but would also fetch additional income to farmers, especially in the export market. The symposium would look at conservation of indigenous fruit varieties.

INDIA AND PAKISTAN FOREIGN SECRETARY MEET FIRST TIME AFTER PATHANKOT ATTACK

  • The much-anticipated talks between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries on Tuesday failed to make headway on the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, with both sides trading allegations.
  • Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar conveyed that Pakistan cannot be in denial on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity
  • The Pakistan delegation, led by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, alleged that Indian intelligence agencies were responsible for the unrest in Balochistan, and Mr. Jaishankar “firmly rebutted” the charge.
  • The meeting between Mr. Chaudhry and Mr. Jaishankar was the first after the January 2 Pathankot attack.

MOODY’S WARNS AGAINST RISK OF SOVEREIGN DEBT LEVELS

  • India faces the risk of sovereign debt levels climbing higher if economic growth isn’t robust enough and could ultimately put pressure on the government’s ability to fund itself, Moody’s Investors Service has warned.
  • India’s government debt to GDP ratio, which we forecast to fall to 65.7 per cent in 2016 from 67.5 per cent in 2015, is well above the median for Baa-rated sovereigns but in a gradual declining trend.
  • “Debt interest payments as a proportion of revenues are more than double the median for similarly rated peers, at over 20 per cent. This reflects the government's narrow revenue base.”
  • However, robust private savings, capital controls and bank liquidity requirements allow India to sustain debt that is higher than its peers, the credit ratings agency said.
  • While policy moves are likely to enhance India’s medium-term economic strength, the constrained fiscal space available with the government puts India at risk in the event of slower-than-expected growth, the report notes.
  • “In the absence of robust growth, India’s debt could start to climb, and ultimately put pressure on the government’s ability to fund itself.” Regarding India’s corporate sector
  • Moody’s observed that although the growth of private debt was modest, the level of non-performing assets was leading to increased stress on state-owned bank balance sheets.
  • The main threat to the sovereign credit profile would be via a significant and prolonged worsening in asset quality at state-owned banks, beyond the recognition of bad loans currently underway, that causes contingent liabilities to crystallise on the government's balance sheet.

EU LOOKING TO GRADUALLY SOLVE INDIA’S CONTENTION TO BTIA

  • The European Union has said that it offered India the possibility of asymmetric and gradual elimination of tariffs in the car and car parts and wines and spirits sectors as part of the negotiations on the bilateral free trade agreement known as the BTIA.
  • A continuing absence of agreement in these sectors has contributed to the lack of progress on the trade deal despite last month’s summit level talks between India and the EU.
  • “In terms of the car sector, in some cases, EU exporters face Indian import duties of up to 100 per cent on car and car parts,” a European Commission spokesperson for trade said.
  • “We suggested or agreed on long transitional periods for their elimination or even going as far as accepting an asymmetric elimination of these duties in favour of India.”
  • “The same goes for wines and spirits where our exporters face duties of up to 150 per cent and the proposal made in 2013 was for a gradual if not complete elimination of these duties, again taking into account Indian sensitivities,” Mr. Rosario said.
  • High on India’s priority list has been access to European markets for Indian service professionals (such as from the IT sector). This however does not seem imminent.
  • India has also been keen to obtain ‘data secure’ nation status from the EU, a classification that is crucial for the development of its IT and ITES sectors in Europe.

APEX COURT WANTS GOVT TO EXPLAIN RECOVERY MECHANISM FOR BAD LOANS

  • The Supreme Court asked the government to explain threadbare the mechanism followed to recover bad loans while making a preliminary remark that the present system for recovery does not seem perfect.
  • “Tell us about mechanism for recovering the dues. There may be some mechanism to deal with it. There is also a need of amendments. Suggest the ways and means by which these things can be prevented,” a bench said.
  • Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, said the government was in the process of amending laws to safeguard banks against write-offs and non-performing assets. The matter was fixed for further hearing on July 19.

FINANCE MINISTER EXPECTS GOOD RAIN WILL TAKE COUNTRY TOWARDS 8.5 % GROWTH RATE

  • The economy is expected to grow over eight per cent this fiscal with the forecast of an above-normal monsoon raising hopes of the agriculture sector’s revival after two successive drought years, said Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya.
  • He said the economic growth in the current fiscal could be even higher in view of policy and monetary interventions by the government and the Reserve Bank, which would ultimately push the sluggish industrial growth.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also expressed hope that good rains would propel India’s economic growth to 8.5 per cent during the current fiscal, higher than the Central Statistics Office advance estimates of 7.6 per cent for 2015-16.
  • According to IMD, there are 94 per cent chances of country receiving “normal to above normal” rainfall, while there is only 1 per cent probability of “deficient” rainfall.
  • Agriculture, which contributes 15 per cent to India’s GDP and employs about 60 per cent of the country’s population, is heavily dependent on monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
  • The interest regime is also conducive to economic growth now, as the Reserve Bank has cut the key interest rate by 0.25 per cent and introduced a host of measures to smoothen liquidity supply.
  • The repo rate, at which RBI lends to the financial system, has come down to 6.5 per cent. This will also push economic activities.

 

 

 

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