Wednesday, 25 May 2016 05:42

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25 - MAY - 2016


President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Florence Nightingale Awards to 35 nurses from across the country on the occasion of International Nurses Day at the Rashrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

These awards are given by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as a mark of recognition for the meritorious services rendered by the nurses and nursing professionals in India.

The day is celebrated worldwide on May 12 every year to commemorate the birth day of Florence Nightingale and to mark the nurses’ contributions towards public health.

About Florence Nightingale awards

• These awards are given to the outstanding nursing personnel employed in Union, State/Union Territories.

• Nurses working in government, voluntary organizations, mission institutions and the private institutions can apply with the due recommendation of concerned State Government.

• The awards carry 50000 rupees cash prize, a certificate, a citation certificate and a Medal.

International Nurses Day

• Nurses Day was first proposed by the Dorothy Sutherland (an officer from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare) in the year 1953.

• It was proclaimed first by then President of US Dwight D. Eisenhower.

• It was first celebrated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in the year 1965.

• May 12 was declared to be celebrated as the birthday anniversary of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale in January in 1974.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a survey announced that New Delhi is no longer the worst polluted city in the world in terms of air quality.

However, India is home to four of the five cities in the world with the worst air pollution.

As per the report, in terms of PM2.5 measurement, New Delhi ranked as the 11th worst city in the survey. The national capital had an annual average PM2.5 measurement of 122.

Key highlights of the survey

The dirtiest air was recorded at Zabol in Iran, which suffers from months of dust storms in the summer. Zabol clocked PM2.5 measure of 217.

The next four cities in the list were Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur.

New Delhi was the survey's 11th worst city, measured by the amount of particulate matter under 2.5 micrograms found in every cubic metre of air. Delhi had an annual average PM2.5 measurement of 122.

Key highlights of WHO’s urban air quality database

More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.

Populations in low-income cities are the most impacted.

98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high-income countries, that percentage decreases to 56%.


The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved to sign the inter-governmental agreement between India and Mauritius. The agreement is on cooperation in cooperatives and related fields.

Salient features of the agreement

• The agreement between the two countries will be for duration of five years after which it will be automatically extended for another five years.

• It provides for promoting cooperation through short and medium term programmes within the framework of the joint activities mentioned in it.

• A work plan will be drawn up by mutual agreement between the two parties to give effect to the objectives of the agreement.

India and Mauritius also signed a protocol on taxation that amend the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains on 10 May 2016.


• Mauritius Government showed keen interest to develop Institutional Mechanism between Cooperative Development Fund (CDF) set up by it and National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) so as to benefit from NCUI's experience in Cooperative Development.

• A joint meeting was held in September 2012 in Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare followed by Ministerial level meeting after a year in September, 2013.

• It was discussed for the possibility of signing an MoU between the two countries for exchange of legislation governing cooperatives, exchange of information and technicalities pertaining to the cooperative sector, establishment of institutional linkages and deputation of experts under ITEC programme.

• A delegation of two senior officials from the Mauritius Government visited cooperative organisations of India to explore the possibilities of bilateral cooperation in the field of cooperatives.


The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 May 2016 gave its approval to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), Abu Dhabi.

Key features of the MoU

• The MoU is for mutual co-operation and technical assistance between the two financial regulators.

• It will promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two signatories

• It will help to create conditions for development of securities markets in the two countries.

• It would also contribute towards strengthening the information sharing framework between the two regulators.


Apart from Abu Dhabi, SEBI also signed bilateral agreements with a number of countries which include Mauritius, Bangladesh et

SEBI is signing MoUs with different country’s financial jurisdictions who are not a signatory to the multilateral MoU of International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

SEBI is a signatory to global market regulators' grouping IOSCO's MoU which encourages the exchange of information and assistance


The Kenyan Government announced that it will close Dadaab refugee camp. The camp, which is home to 330000 Somali refugees, is often referred to as the world's largest camp.

The government cited reasons of pressing national security for the decision. The government also stated that the camp has become safe haven for terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist group.

About Dadaab Refugee Camps

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the camp was established in 1991 to receive Somalis fleeing civil war.

The Dadaab camps Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo were constructed in 1992.

The more recent Ifo II and Kambioos camps were opened in 2011 after 130000 new refugees, who fled Somalia due to severe drought, arrived.

As of August 2015, Hagadera was the largest of the camps, containing just over 100000 individuals and 25000 households. On the other hand, Kambioos is the smallest camp with fewer than 20000 refugees.

As the population of the Dadaab camps expanded, UNHCR contacted German architect Werner Shellenberg who drew the original design for Dagahaley Camp and Swedish architect Per Iwansson who designed and initiated the creation of Hagadera camp.


Several Singaporean and Hong Kong English terms, including wah, shiok and yum cha, are now officially recognised as acceptable English.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added 19 Singaporean terms and 13 Hong Kong terms in its March quarterly update.

The dictionary included formations of English that are mostly used in Singapore or Hong Kong. The OED records the meaning and development of the English language.

Some words from Hong Kong and their meaning

• Yum cha – Type of Chinese brunch

• Compensated dating - The practice of teenage students providing companionship or sex in exchange for money or gifts

• Dai pai dong - It means an open-air food stall

• Kai fong - Neighbourhood association, traditional mutual aid organisations

Guanxi - The system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings

• Lucky money - Red envelopes containing money typically handed out by elders and adults at Lunar New Year

• Sandwich class - An informal term used to refer to the middle class

• Milk tea - A drink made from black tea and milk, usually evaporated or condensed

• Shroff - A cashier, especially at a car park

Sitting - out area - Small recreational spaces provided in urban areas

Siu mei - Generic name given to roasted meats

Yum cha - A type of Chinese-style brunch tea

• Wet market - A market selling fresh meat and produce

Some words from Singapore and their meaning

HDB - it is used for a public housing estate

• Chilli crab - It is a dish consisting of crab cooked in a sweet and spicy gravy containing red chillies and tomato

Killer - This is used for objects thrown or falling from high-rise buildings, endangering people

Lepak (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) – It means to loiter aimlessly or idly; to loaf, relax, hang out

• Teh tarik (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) – It means sweet tea with milk, prepared by pouring the liquid back and forth repeatedly between two containers so as to produce a thick foam on top; a drink of this.

• Blur– It means confused or ignorant

• Chinese helicopter – It is a derogatory term and refers to a Singaporean whose schooling was conducted in Mandarin Chinese and has limited knowledge of English.

• Char siu (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) – It means roast pork marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce

• Shiok (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) – It means cool, great, delicious, superb

• Sabo (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) – It means to harm or play a prank on. The action of intentionally causing inconvenience, trouble, or harm to others, esp. to gain a personal advantage.

• Wah (Indian English and Singaporean term) – It is a expression of delight or surprise

• Sotong (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) - Squid or cuttlefish

• Wet market (a South Asian term) - It is a market for the sale of fresh meat, fish, and produce

• Ang moh (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) - It is used for a light-skinned person, especially of Western origin or descent; a Caucasian

• Hawker centre (a Singaporean and Malaysian term) - It is used for a food market at which individual vendors sell cooked food from small stalls, with a shared seating area for customers

Oxford adds words into the English dictionary after it qualified certain criteria’s like several independent examples of use of the word, evidence the word has been in use for a reasonable amount of time and more.


  • Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed sensitive issues relating to cybersecurity, data encryption, the possibility of manufacturing in the country and tapping India’s young talent.
  • The Apple CEO appreciated the breadth of young talent in India with significant skills that Apple would like to tap.He highlighted the immense potential for ‘app-development’ in the country, according to the statement.
  • During his maiden visit to India, Mr. Cook announced the setting up of an app development centre in Bengaluru and another one in Hyderabad for maps.
  • The PMO said Mr. Cook appreciated Mr. Modi’s initiatives on “ease of doing business” and renewable energy. Apple runs on 93 per cent renewable energy and plans to move its entire supply chain to renewable energy.
  • Mr. Cook unveiled an updated version of the PM’s mobile app that includes a new volunteering network.


  • President Pranab Mukherjee has sought legal advice on the Ordinance to keep State boards out of the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test for this year.
  • The President is seeking clarification on the Ordinance, he is consulting inhouse legal experts on certain questions.
  • The Ordinance, cleared by the Union Cabinet, is aimed at “partially” overturning a Supreme Court verdict which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.
  • Clarifying that the exemption is only for the State government seats, government sources had said State seats earmarked in the private medical colleges have also been exempted.
  • Different States earmark anywhere between 12 and 15 per cent seats in various private medical colleges for State quota so that students from one State can get seat in another State.
  • The remaining seats in such colleges are reserved for domicile students. Now with this Ordinance, the remaining seats meant for domicile students will come under NEET.


  • A proposal to create an artificial waterfall in the ecologically sensitive Jog Falls area has raised concerns over its possible impact on not just the environment and biodiversity, but also existing power projects around it.
  • A Government Order (GO) has been issued approving the water recirculation project at Jog Falls even before receiving necessary clearances.
  • The Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, and the Energy Department, have expressed their reservations and concerns about the proposed project, which aims at keeping the waterfall gushing right through the year at the popular tourist attraction.
  • To be set up under the PPP model, the project intends to pump water at the rate of 400 cusecs during the summer months from a storage pond at the foot of the waterfall to the weir/anicut, which will be constructed upstream of the Sitakatte bridge.
  • During monsoon, the project proposes to generate power using the same pipeline.
  • But the Forest, Environment and Ecology Department is concerned about the impact the construction might have on the biodiversity of the forests and the effect the impounding of water during non-monsoon months may have on the hydrology of the area.
  • The Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary and Aghanashini Lion-tailed Macaque Conservation Reserve are both situated between a 5 and 10-km radius of the proposed project.
  • In addition, the Energy Department has said no water from the Linganamakki reservoir will be released for the scheme.
  • It has also said the construction of the power house and pump house should not affect availability/discharge of water in the Mahatma Gandhi Hydro Electricity Power House.


  • China is keen that India join the Tibetan rail network, a senior adviser to the Chinese government on Tibetan affairs told a group of visiting journalists at the end of a tour deep into Tibetan territories spread across three provinces.
  • The modern high-altitude rail network in Tibet that snakes through tunnels and rises to thousands of metres, is not just an engineering marvel, but a determined showpiece of China’s ambitious financial intervention in regions where Tibetans live.
  • Tibetans are a majority in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and have large settlements in a few other provinces such as Sichuan and Yunnan.
  • Despite the slowdown in Chinese economy in recent times, the TAR continues to record two-digit growth, thanks significantly to the massive financial intervention from Beijing.
  • According to the Chinese vision, by 2020 no region or ethnic group should be left behind in achieving a per capita of $12,000. “Infrastructure growth will keep progressing.
  • Farmers and herdsmen will get development, not just cities,” Chinese side said, justifying the broad roads and flyovers that link up even remote Tibetan villages.
  • As part of its aggressive investments in Tibetan regions, China is developing rail networks, roads and airports across the region at high altitudes.
  • The world’s highest railway station (Tanggula), the highest civilian airport (DaochengYading Airport) and some of the finest roads at a few thousand metres altitude are already built across provinces where Tibetans live.
  • China has a two-front strategy for rail networks to Tibet and within TAR. One is to build a new rail line from TAR to the mainland, which would link Sichuan’s capital Chengdu with Lhasa. This is in addition to the existing Qinghai-Tibet rail link.


  • The U.S. House of Representatives has passed amendments to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017, seeking to enhance the country’s defence cooperation with India.
  • A similar bill is under the consideration at the Senate as well. The bipartisan move of Congress seeks to bring India at par with NATO allies for technology and equipment sale.
  • Once signed into law by the President, these provisions will liberalise the sale of a wide range of technologies to India, bypassing legislative approvals.
  • The move also seeks to open a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the U.S.-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative.
  • The Senate is likely to pass the bill before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to a joint session of Congress on June 8.
  • The U.S.-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act in the Senate was introduced by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus. Senator Marco Rubio has also joined as a sponsor.
  • In further amendments, the House has tightened the flow of aid to Pakistan. The Secretary of Defence must now certify to Congress that Pakistan is not using funds or equipment provided to persecute minority groups.
  • The amendments also put new conditions to be met before Pakistan can access $450 million next year in Coalition Support Fund, which is for reimbursing costs incurred in Afghanistan.


  • China threatened to suspend talks with Taiwan if the newly sworn-in Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen does not acknowledge the “1992 consensus”, which refers to a purported understanding that they belong to a single sovereign nation.
  • Only by confirming the adherence to the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus that embodies the ‘one China’ principle can cross-Strait affairs authorities continue with their regular communication.


  • India will raise its concerns over Canada’s restrictions on temporary work visas for skilled professionals, as these curbs put in place two years ago have been hurting the domestic Information Technology (IT) sector.
  • The matter would be taken up by India in a meeting with Canadian authorities early June. The issue may also figure in bilateral talks during the likely visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November.
  • The ‘coalition’ will in turn forward them to a Canadian Parliamentary panel that will comprehensively review the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
  • As per Nasscom estimates, Canada is among the top five markets for Indian IT companies, the others being the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Switzerland. Annual revenue of Indian IT firms from the Canadian market is around $2-3 billion.
  • India has already taken up with the U.S. and U.K. the issue of curbs imposed by them on temporary work visas for skilled professionals. India has even dragged the US to the World Trade Organisation on the issue.
  • Until 2013, Canada had, according to sources in the Indian IT industry, a liberal policy for foreign skilled workers (including for intra-corporate transfers).
  • However, reports in 2013 of several Canadian employees at the nation’s largest bank — Royal Bank of Canada — being allegedly replaced by temporary foreign workers, including Indian employees, due to an outsourcing arrangement, had led to a huge controversy.
  • There were also reports of alleged displacement of Canadian workers by temporary foreign workers at McDonald’s restaurants.
  • These incidents put pressure on the Canadian government, which then announced an overhaul of its TFWP in June 2014.
  • The new rules, besides being more complicated due to elaborate questionnaires, have also increased the costs (in terms of fees etc) of employers bringing in temporary foreign workers.
  • The Indian IT industry, according to Nasscom, expects the presence of Indian-origin ministers in the Canadian government and Indian-Canadians in the Canadian Parliament to help push their case to relax the TFWP.


  • Pitching for a better business environment for start-ups, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said India has done away with the licence raj, but ’inspector raj’ continues to some extent.
  • He also said that regulations should be for betterment of the industry and not to discourage entrepreneurs and suggested a system of self-certification for the industries with some checks on the part of the authorities to prevent any misuse.
  • Advocating an easier set of regulations for small and medium enterprises in India, Rajan gave examples of the UK and Italy saying, “We have seen that while regulations are liberal in United Kingdom, it is very heavy in Italy.
  • Calling for a need to focus on the development of small and medium enterprises that require ‘hand-holding’ by the state governments and other agencies, Rajan said,
  • “Indian economy is in the midst of recovery. However, some areas are still under stress and need to be focused in order to get them better.”
  • A good monsoon will be helpful for the growth of the economy, he added.
  • Small and medium enterprise require focused attention, the governor said and mooted setting up new institutions to finance SMEs to ensure easy access to funds.
  • Rajan said public sector banks have increased their credit to small and medium enterprises after RBI identified medium enterprises as priority sector and that he was optimistic about growth of start ups if provided required facilities to grow.

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Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2016 04:06