Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 08 - MAY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 08 - MAY - 2016
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08 - MAY - 2016

 

UN AGENCIES RELEASED GLOBAL REPORT ON URBAN HEALTH 2016

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) jointly released a report titled Global report on urban health: equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development, 2016.

The report updates the 2010 joint WHO/UN-Habitat global report -Hidden Cities: Unmasking and Overcoming Urban Health Inequities- with the latest evidence on urban health inequity patterns and their social, economic and environmental determinants.

The report further documents opportunities for joint action to realize the goals enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 by achieving universal urban health coverage.

UNGA adopted Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Highlights of Global Report on Urban Health 2016

• National level wealth does not always determine conditions for health at the city level.

• Megacities in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) have worse conditions for health than smaller cities.

• Conditions for health vary widely even between cities within the same geographic region.

• The capital cities of countries most affected by the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak had some of the poorest conditions for health.

• Achieving meaningful progress in health in cities everywhere depends on reducing health inequity.

• Greater attention to the health needs of the urban poor is essential to move towards universal health coverage.

• Cities must play a leadership role in the fight to against communicable disease.

• Non communicable diseases present not only a threat to human health, but also have significant economic implications for cities.

• Cities increasingly face the unprecedented dual challenge of under nutrition and over nutrition.

• Despite significant global progress, lack of access to safe and sustainable water and sanitation continues to pose an urgent challenge for cities.

• Cities can be designed and managed in ways that enable healthier behaviour and achieve better health outcomes.

• Urban transport can be transformed to be healthier, safer and more sustainable.

• Targeted housing interventions, greater use of clean energy and improved affordability can help tackle the global challenge of healthy and sustainable urban housing.

• Poor safety and urban violence come at a significant cost to the health of urban residents and the societies where they live.

• In order to bring out a renewed focus on urban governance, the report suggested steps for the empowerment of citizen through information sharing and promoting public private partnerships for delivery of health facilities.

Report with respect to India

• India’s urban population is projected to increase from 380 million (33 percent) in 2014 to 600 million (about 40 percent) by 2031.

• 15–19-year-old migrant girls in both rural and urban areas are less likely to deliver in a medical institution than non-migrants of the same age.

• In a country the size of India, the role of civil society and NGOs will be equally important, along with the government agencies, in alleviating critical health issues in slums and disadvantaged areas of cities.

• In India, home to the highest absolute burden of TB in the world, the city of Mumbai has been experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of MDR-TB. In 2014, Mumbai registered 2951 MDR-TB cases, over 12 percent of the cases in the entire country.

• In India, urbanization and its associated lifestyle changes have triggered a health transition in favour of non communicable diseases (NCDs). Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are now the top two leading causes of death in urban areas.

• Between 2014 and 2050, India is expected to add an additional 404 million to its cities. The cost of CVD,

• Diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health conditions was estimated at 6.2 trillion US dollars for between 2012 and 2030.

• CVD and mental health conditions present the greatest economic threats, followed by respiratory diseases and cancer.

• By 2050, there are expected to be 2.1 billion cars, light trucks and other motor vehicles in the world. Most of the increase will be in Asian countries, especially China and India.

• Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for at least 44 percent of road traffic fatalities, but ranged as high as 60 percent in Mumbai.

• Chennai stood at the 2nd place in world in terms of reported traffic fatalities per 1 lakh inhabitants. While Fortaleza (Brazil) stood at the top with 27.2 fatalities, death toll in Chennai was pegged at 26.6.

• Other Indian cities with high traffic fatalities were – Jaipur (25.5), Indore (13.0), Kolkata (9.4), Delhi (9.4), Bengaluru (8.9), Pune (5.2), Surat (5.0), Ahmedabad (4.8) and Mumbai (3.2).

• Rates of physical and sexual violence against women in cities in India, both inside and outside their homes, are commonly twice as high in slums than in wealthier areas.

• Public service provision is inadequate to meet the demands of its populations. The key barrier in upgrading and maintaining cities in India is political.

ICC RELEASED TEST, ODI, AND T20I RANKINGS

The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the official ICC men’s and women’s Team Rankings from Test, One Day International (ODI) and T20I cricket.

India retained its number one position in the T20 team rankings that it achieved on 26 January 2016 for the first time after August 2011. India retained its position with 126 rating points and is followed by West Indies (125 points) and New Zealand (120 points).

Top 10 teams in ICC Test Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

Australia

43

4823

112

2

India

32

3535

110

3

South Africa

34

3703

109

4

Pakistan

28

2977

106

5

England

45

4610

102

6

New Zealand

39

3755

96

7

Sri Lanka

35

3123

89

8

West Indies

33

2504

76

9

Bangladesh

22

1026

47

10

Zimbabwe

10

53

5

Top five teams in ICC ODI Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

Australia

52

6570

126

2

New Zealand

57

6474

114

3

India

61

6871

113

4

South Africa

62

6921

112

5

Sri Lanka

67

6956

104

Top five teams in ICC T20I Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

India

30

3766

126

2

West Indies

25

3114

125

3

New Zealand

29

3484

120

4

England

28

3228

115

5

South Africa

34

3908

115

Top five teams in ICC Women’s Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

Australia Women

59

7524

128

2

England Women

50

6161

123

3

New Zealand Women

56

6424

115

4

India Women

45

4827

107

5

West Indies Women

60

6263

104

On the other hand, India's Virat Kohli maintained his number one position in the ICC T20 batsmen rankings after the conclusion of the World T20. Kohli, who was adjudged player of the tournament, leads Australia’s second-ranked Aaron Finch by 86 points.

AON HEWITT RELEASED LIST OF INDIA’S BEST EMPLOYER 2016

The global human resource firm Aon Hewitt released its list of India's Best Employer 2016.

A total of 113 organisations representing 12 key industries, cumulatively employing approximately 950000 employees, participated in the 2016 Aon Best Employers India study.

In the list released by Aon, Reliance Capital Asset Management is the only asset management company to be named as one of the best employers in India in the Aon list for 2016.

The companies included in the Aon list for India’s Best Employers 2016 are:

AAPC India Hotel Management (Accor Hotels)

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Bajaj Finance

Becton Dickinson India

Bharti Infratel

Blue Dart Express

DHL Express India

Godrej Consumer Products

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Global Soft

InterGlobe Aviation(IndiGo)

Lupin

Metro Cash and Carry India

Reliance Capital Asset Management (subsidiary of Reliance Capital)

Saint-Gobain India - Gyproc Business

Starwood Hotels & Resorts India

Tata AIA Life Insurance Company

Tata Autocomp Systems

Tata Chemicals

Tata Communications

The Oberoi Group

Whirlpool of India

WNS Global Service

The AGS Health, the SKS Microfinance and the Yash Technologieswere named in the Emerging Best Employers of India for the years 2016.

About Aon Hewitt

Aon Hewitt (formerly known as Hewitt Associates) is a provider of human capital and management consulting services headquartered in the United States in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

The firm provides consulting, outsourcing, and reinsurance brokerage services.

The company was founded in 1940 and ceased to exist as an independent entity at the completion of its purchase by Aon in October 2010.

Hewitt's operations were merged at that time with some elements of Aon's consulting arm to become a new subsidiary of the Aon Group called Aon Hewitt.

BHUBANESWAR SMART CITY LIMITED, INDIA’S FIRST SPV ON SMART CITY, STARTED OPERATIONS

India’s first special purpose vehicle (SPV) on smart city - Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited - commenced operations on 1 April 2016.

The SPV was set up as per the Smart City Mission Guidelines to enable faster execution of projects by delegating to them powers of various concerned departments and agencies.

Incidentally, Bhubaneswar also topped the 1st batch of 20 smart cities list that was released by the Union Ministry of Urban Development on 28 January 2016.

About Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited

• It consists of a 16-member Board of Directors with representatives of various departments and agencies of the Odisha Government, one representative of Government of India and 5 Independent Directors of which at least one will be woman.

• It will have an authorised capital of 500 crore rupees, divided in to 5 crore shares of 100 rupees each.

• Of this, the Government of Odisha and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation will have a share of 112.50 crore rupees each while Bhubaneswar Development Authority will contribute share capital of 250 crore rupees.

• It was registered under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.

• Project management will be undertaken through engagement of Project Management Consultancy.

• The chief executive officer (CEO) is authorized to finalize the terms and conditions and manner of recruitment and also engage agency for providing various services.

• R Balakrishnan and R Vineel Krishna are the Managing Director and the CEO of the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited respectively.

WORLD’S FIRST MASS DENGUE VACCINATION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED IN PHILIPPINES

The Philippines launched world’s first public immunization programme for dengue fever.

The programme seeks to administer the world's first licensed vaccine against a mosquito-borne disease to a million school children.

The fourth-grade students at a public school in metropolitan Manila's Marikina city were given the first of three shots of Dengvaxia.

The Philippines had the highest dengue incidence in the WHO's Western Pacific region from 2013 to 2015, recording 200415 cases in 2015.

Background

The use of the first-ever vaccine, Dengvaxia, against dengue fever was approved by Mexico on 9 December 2015.

However, the Philippines on 22 December 2015 became the first Asian country to approve the sale of Dengvaxia.

About Dengue

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus.

Overall, the disease is a potential threat to almost half of the world’s population.

Of the estimated 100 million people infected annually, 500000, mostly children, develop dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a severe form of the disease.

DHF is a leading cause of hospitalization, placing tremendous pressure on strained medical resources and having a heavy economic and societal impact.

INDIAN AIR FORCE TO PARTICIPATE IN RED FLAG EXERCISE

Indian Air Force (IAF) will participate in Red Flag air exercise along with US, NATO and allied forces that are scheduled to be conducted in Alaska.

The exercise will see participation of 12 IAF aircraft including the Russian origin Su30 MKI, deep penetration Jaguars, two C17 transport plans and two mid air refuellers IL 78. Before reaching Alaska, the AIF aircrafts will travel through Bahrain, Egypt, France, Portugal and Canada.

It will also see over 150 IAF personnel in action, who will undergo some training before being sent to Alaska. According to an estimate, it will cost India over 100 crore rupees.

This is the second time that India is participating in such an exercise after 2008. Due to high cost of participation, IAF decided to take part in the exercise once in every five year. Earlier, the participation in the exercise was scheduled in 2013 but the plan was cancelled by the US following budget cuts.

Red Flag Air Exercises

The Red Flag exercises, held periodically at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975, is advanced aerial combat training exercise. Red Flag – Alaska is a successor to the previous COPE THUNDER exercise series in the Western Pacific and Alaska.

Since 1975, air crews from the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army (USA) and numerous NATO or other allied nations' air forces take part in one of several Red Flag exercises held during the year, each of which is two weeks in duration.

The exercise provides an opportunity to practice and refine their skills for real combat situations to the pilots from the US, NATO and other allied. This includes the use of enemy hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the Nellis complex.

SC REFUSED TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF PICTORIAL WARNINGS ON CIGARETTE

  • The Supreme Court has refused to shrink the size of pictorial health warnings on cigarette and tobacco packets.
  • SC asked manufacturers to abide by a Health Ministry notification on increasing the size of the warning messages to 85 per cent from the present 20 per cent of the principal display area on packets.
  • A Bench of Justices said manufacturers should endeavour to comply with the ministry notification issued under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2008 (COTPA) until the Karnataka High Court takes a final decision on the challenges against certain amendments in the law.
  • The Karnataka High Court, to which petitions from various high courts on the issue were transferred, had refused to stay the operation of the rules.
  • During the hearing, the court observed that in public interest, tobacco companies should act responsibly and said the awareness created on the issue would help curb the ill-effects of tobacco usage.

GRADING OF HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY IS SET TO BE TWEAKED

  • The official grading of higher educational institutions in the country is set to get a lot sharper, with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) tweaking its grading system.
  • This is to ensure that top institutions do not share the same grade as ones that are ‘below’ them in quality.
  • Instead of a four-point system, where an institutional CGPA of 3.01 to 4 out of 4 (A grade) means “very good”, it will shift to a seven-point grading system in which 3.76 out of 4 will be A++, 3.51 to 3.75 will be A+ and 3.01 to 3.50 will be A.
  • The NAAC is an autonomous organisation under the University Grants Commission that assesses quality of higher educational institutions in the country and offers them accreditation.
  • The A grade — technically the highest one till now — is enjoyed by a number of institutions that are not perceived to have the same quality.
  • Very few institutions will make it to the A++ bracket as per the new system Govt is implementing. This will distinguish the quality of the institutions in a much sharper way.
  • The move has another thought, too, behind it. Universities coming anywhere in the top grade of A tend to become complacent, thinking there is no improvement to be made.
  • The new system, however, would ensure that most institutions with a CGPA of above 3.01 feel motivated to strive for further improvement.
  • As per the new system, grade B++ will fall between CGPA 2.76 and 3, B+ between 2.51 and 2.75, B between 2.01 and 2.5 and C between 1.51 and 2.
  • Grade D, meaning a CGPA below 1.5, will mean “not accredited.”

NGT QUASHED ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCES AROUND BELLANDUR-AGARA LAKES

  • In what might be good news for those looking to protect the Bellandur-Agara wetlands, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) quashed the environmental clearances and sanctioned plans for the projects of Mantri around Bellandur-Agara lakes.
  • It stayed further construction till the builders obtain fresh/amended clearances.
  • The State Environmental Impact Assessment Agency (SEIAA) was directed to amend the environmental clearance of both projects and also monitor further construction.
  • The Tribunal also directed that no further construction be allowed in a buffer zone of 75 metres around the lake and 50 metres from the edge of primary storm water drains. All existing structures in the zones have to be demolished.

NTPC ASKS BSES TO PAY 1300 CRORE DUES BY MAY 9

  • Delhi may be staring at a major blackout in the sweltering heat as the NTPC has threatened BSES discoms of snapping power supply if they fail to pay about Rs.1,300 crore dues by May 9.
  • In separate notices issued to the two Reliance Infra-Backed Delhi discoms – BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna (BYPL) – the NTPC has warned of curtailing power supply by up to 100 per cent from May 10 if they do not pay up.
  • The two discoms, which supply power to 70 per cent households in the Capital, draw 2,027 MW (BRPL 1,349 MW and BYPL 678 MW) from the Centre’s power generating major.
  • The warning assumes significance as Delhi is reeling under a heat wave and power demand has surged to 5,149 MW. In case the discoms defy the notice, major power cuts are likely owing to a supply deficit.

FIERCE FIGHTING RAGED IN THE WAR-RAVAGED SYRIAN CITY OF ALEPPO

  • Fierce fighting raged in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo and air strikes pounded rebels east of the capital Damascus as top diplomats scrambled to salvage a collapsing truce.
  • Intense international efforts to bring a halt to the latest surge in Syrian fighting continued, with talks expected in Berlin and the UN Security Council set for an urgent meeting.
  • The renewed violence has threatened the complete breakdown of a landmark ceasefire between President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and non-jihadist rebels brokered by Moscow and Washington in late February.
  • Fighting has been especially intense in and around Syria’s devastated second city of Aleppo, with more than 280 civilians killed since April 22.
  • Some of the heaviest clashes in Aleppo in months continued on Wednesday as rebel forces pressed an offensive against regime troops on the city’s western outskirts.
  • There was no immediate word on any casualties from the renewed fighting. Moscow and Washington reached a deal last week on a temporary “freeze” in fighting in Eastern Ghouta and in the Mediterranean coastal province of Latakia.
  • The so-called “regime of silence” is meant to reinforce a broader truce brokered by the two world powers in February.
  • The halt in fighting was initially set for 24 hours in Eastern Ghouta but was extended twice, according to Syria’s armed forces, and finally expired on 3rd may night.
  • Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) gave conditional backing to visa-free travel for Turks and unveiled an overhaul of its asylum system under which member states that refuse to take a quota of refugees will be fined.
  • In its latest bid to tackle the biggest migration crisis since World War II, the European Commission proposed making countries pay a “solidarity contribution” of €250,000 ($290,000) for every refugee that they decline to take.

BRAZIL’S EMBATTLED PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF IGNITED THE OLYMPIC FLAME

  • Brazil’s embattled President Dilma Rousseff ignited the Olympic flame, as a nationwide torch relay got under way with protests highlighting the country’s deep political and economic crisis.
  • Ms. Rousseff presided over the flame ceremony in Brasilia, even though she faces impeachment and is unlikely to be in office when South America’s first Olympics open in less than three months.
  • Ms. Rousseff is expected to be suspended from office next week as the country’s Senate hears an impeachment case against her, which means Vice- President Michel Temer is likely to be President during the games.
  • “Brazil is completely ready to offer protection to the athletes, the technical staffs, heads of delegations, tourists, and journalists to all our visitors,” she said.

INDIA’S AIRLINE INDUSTRY SAYS CAPING AIR FARES DURING PERIODS OF CRISIS IMPRACTICAL

  • India’s airline industry has termed the government’s proposal to cap air fares during periods of crisis such as natural calamities or agitations as an impractical and misinformed idea.
  • The civil aviation ministry is expected to issue a draft concept note on containing airfares during crises in the public domain within a month.
  • Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the government will hold discussions with stakeholders, including airlines, to “contain” fares on affected routes in times of distress.
  • The Minister had pointed out that fares were capped at Rs. 2,000 on a few sectors during the Chennai floods
  • Airline pricing is dynamic and highly complex as it varies with many factors, including availability of seats, booked cabin class, etc.
  • Airlines said they are inherently committed to do whatever is possible to help communities.

GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING FOR INDEPENDENT REGULATORS FOR SERVICES SUCH AS MEDICINE, LAW ETC

  • The government is planning to appoint independent regulators for services such as medicine, law, chartered accountancy, cost accountancy and company secretaryship.
  • The existing structure of a regulator-cum-professional body for these services has resulted in several alleged instances of conflict of interest.
  • Thishurt the credibility and reputation of these bodies and hampered India’s attempts to secure Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other countries to enable easier temporary movement of skilled workers across borders.
  • The independent regulators will maintain distance from the professional bodies similar to the situation in developed countries.
  • MRAs are pacts where two or more nations recognise each other’s compliance assessments to ensure that services, products and processes meet relevant technical norms.
  • The bodies being referred to include Medical Council of India (MCI), Bar Council of India (BCI), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
  • All these are statutory bodies under an Act of Parliament.
  • The ministry was initially considering preparing a comprehensive plan for appointing independent regulators for all these service segments and then coming out with a Cabinet note for inputs from other ministries. However, the “wholesale approach” has been junked.
  • The current plan is to initiate discussions with each of the ministries concerned. Then,separate Cabinet notes can be put up by the ministries on the need for independent regulators for these services.
  • The move comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court recently citing a Parliamentary panel report to state that the MCI “was repeatedly found short of fulfilling its mandated responsibilities” and that the “quality of medical education was at its lowest ebb”.
  • The apex court, noting the instances of corruption in MCI, had set up an Oversight Committee to supervise the council’s functions and scrutinise its policy decisions.
  • Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra dismissed allegations of conflict of interest regarding the council and objected to the proposal of appointing a super-regulator for the body.
  • The BCI involves former Supreme Court judges, chief justices of high courts and top academicians in its legal education and disciplinary committees.

CIVIL AVIATION POLICY PLANS TO AUCTION INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC RIGHTS

  • The government's plan to auction international traffic rights to foreign airlines may find its place in the final version of the civil aviation policy that will be submitted to the Cabinet soon, despite opposition from domestic airlines.
  • The draft civil aviation policy, released in October last year, was sent for inter-ministerial comments last month before being sent for the Union Cabinet’s approval.
  • “We have received most of the comments (from ministries). The civil aviation policy will be sent for the Cabinet’s approval within next 10 days,” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey.
  • If the Cabinet approves the proposal, India will become the first country to bid out traffic rights to foreign players.
  • In a first, the government has proposed bidding out traffic rights to foreign carriers flying on short-haul routes (within a 5,000 km radius from India).
  • As per the proposal, the auctioning would, however, be done only in cases where the foreign carrier or country has utilised the existing bilateral rights but the Indian counterpart has not.
  • The seats will be auctioned for flying into metro airports in India for a period of three years.
  • At present, countries sign air service agreements, which decide the equal number of flights or seats per week that can fly into each other's country depending on their requirements.
  • Then, the government distributes the allocated seats to the respective airlines.
  • However, some foreign carriers have asked the Indian government to increase the seat entitlement as they exhaust the limit.
  • But since domestic carriers are unable to utilise their quota, the government does not opt to increase the seat entitlement or sign fresh bilateral agreements.
  • According to official estimates, while Indian carriers utilised 32 per cent of the allotted capacity in 2014 on international routes, foreign carriers utilised, on average, 62 per cent of the seats allocated to them.
  • Domestic airlines and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have both strongly opposed the idea.

 

 

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