Friday, 27 May 2016 04:08

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26 - MAY - 2016



FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) Council named a Senegalese UN diplomat Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as its first female Secretary General (SG).

Samoura, 54-year-old, will assume the role of FIFA Secretary General before mid-June after undergoing an eligibility check administered by an independent review committee. This eligibility check will be conducted as per Article 37 of the FIFA Statutes.

The announcement was made by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City.

About Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura

• Samoura is a 21-year veteran of United Nations programmes who is currently the UN’s Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria.

• Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time.

• Since starting her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995, Samoura has served as country representative or director in six countries, namely Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Madagascar and Nigeria.

• She speaks French (her mother tongue), English, Spanish and Italian.

• Prior to joining the UN, Samoura spent eight years in the private sector, working in the fertiliser trading sector for Senchim, a subsidiary of Industries Chimiques du Senegal.


The Prime Minister along with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena released 'Simhastha Declaration' at Ninora village in Ujjain.

Both leaders addressed the concluding session of the 3 day International Vichar Mahakumbh for the month-long Simhastha Mela. Sri Lankan President Sirisena was on a two day visit to India from 13 May to 15 May 2016.

51 sacred points have been included in this declaration for betterment of mankind and these elixir points will start new discourse for India and the world.

Highlights of the Declaration

• The declaration is a prescription on how a duty-centered system that had been the origin of Indian philosophy of life is relevant in today’s India.

• Saints and seers, scholars and subject experts from the country and abroad discussed on various issues in the sessions of 'Vichar Mahakumbh'.

• Sessions on sanitation, sustainable development and climate change, values of life, peace, agriculture and cottage industry were organised.

Apart from this, PM Modi also appealed saints to hold Vichar Kumbh every year with devotees and discuss issues like the need to plant trees or educate the girl child. Calling the Kumbh as the biggest example of excellent management, he advised academic institutions to adopt Kumbh as a case study.


Parkash Singh committee constituted to inquire into the omission and commission on part of all officers and officials of police and civil administration during Jat Quota agitation submitted its report to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The report was submitted.

The panel submitted its report in two volumes which run into about 450 pages, of which the Main Report is in about 200 pages and another 200 pages is of Annexures. While the, second volume of only about 40 pages, deals with the role of Intelligence in the context of the riots.

After receiving the report, Chief Minister said that government would examine the report and would take appropriate action accordingly.

Findings of the committee

• There is a mention of about 90 officers who have been found guilty.

• Officers who were derelict in performing the duty or showed soft corner for the agitators have been identified and their names have been mentioned in the report.

• The report carried the names of officers who acted responsibly during the Jat quota agitation.

To finalsie the report, the committee visited 8 affected districts of the state and inspected the crime scene, gave patient hearing to the aggrieved and listened those who wanted to appear before the committee. It also collected video footage of the incident of arson from people.


• Haryana government on 25 February 2016 constituted a Committee headed by Prakash Singh, former Director General of Police (DGP) UP and Assam and Director General Border Security Force.

• The committee was supposed to inquire into the acts of omission and commission on part of all officers and officials of both police and civil administration during the period 7 to 2 February 2016 when the Jat reservation agitation resulted in blockades of roads including National Highways.

Other members of the committee were

• IPS officer KP Singh, presently posted as DGP (Haryana)

• IAS officer Vijai Vardhan, Additional Chief Secretary, Higher Education, Archives and Cultural Affairs Department


  • Lifting of international sanctions on Iran has opened up immense opportunities said PM Modi.
  • He also said that India is looking forward to expanding cooperation with the Persian Gulf nation in sectors such as trade, investment, infrastructure and energy.
  • Mr. Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Iran in the last 15 years, was received at the Mehrabad International Airport by Iran’s Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia, after which he left for a local gurudwara to meet people of Indian origin.
  • Stating that both public and private sector firms from India were keen on investing in Iran, he said the signing of the agreement on the development of Chabahar port will provide wider connectivity.
  • Besides signing a deal on the development of phase-1 of the port, India is looking at doubling oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation, which a few years back was its second-biggest oil supplier, as well as making progress on getting rights to develop the Farzad–B gas field.
  • Mr. Modi, who will hold formal talks with President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, said he had indicated possibilities of cooperation in ports, fertiliser and petrochemical sectors during their last meeting at Ufa last year.
  • ONGC is in talks to secure development rights for the gas field it had discovered in 2008. It has already invested about $100 million in the project


  • BJP leader and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was, on Sunday, appointed Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, a post that has been vacant for the past two years.
  • Puducherry was under the additional charge of Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lt. Gen. Ajay Singh, since then.
  • A Rashtrapati Bhawan communiqué said: “The President has been pleased to appoint Ms Kiran Bedi to be the Lt. Governor of Puducherry with effect from the date she assumes charges of her office.”
  • The appointment comes three days after the Congress-DMK alliance won 17 seats in the 30-member State Assembly.
  • The post of Lieutenant Governor in the Union territory had been lying vacant after the Narendra Modi Government sacked UPA nominee Virendra Kataria on July 2014, barely a year after he had been appointed.
  • Ms Bedi, India’s first woman IPS officer, said she looked “forward to giving every bit of myself to the responsibility. I am there for the benefit of the country…. I am grateful for the government's decision. They trusted me.”


  • Lanterns are an integral part of the Vesak Poya festival (Full Moon in May), which is celebrated to mark three important events in the life of Buddha — birth, enlightenment and death.
  • This time, in Colombo, a Vesak lantern kept near the Gangaramaya temple is an additional attraction as it has been modelled on the “stupa” at the Mahabodhi temple in Gaya, Bihar.
  • This has been arranged by the Indian government at the invitation of the Sri Lankan government..
  • The lantern will be on display till Wednesday as part of the Buddha Rashmi Vesak celebrations organised by the Presidential Secretariat and the Gangaramaya temple.
  • The Mahabodhi temple, one of the oldest brick structures in eastern India, was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in June 2002.
  • According to the UNESCO, this was the first temple built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC. However, the present temple is of the 5th-6th century CE, belonging to the late Gupta period.
  • Another special feature is that the temple is believed to have had a significant influence on the development of brick architecture over the centuries.


  • To help farmers recover from successive crop losses in drought-affected Bundelkhand, the Uttar Pradesh government is encouraging them to increase the cultivation of oilseeds, especially sesame (til), in the coming Kharif season.
  • The State has increased subsidy on oilseeds. The government will now provide farmers a grant of Rs. 1,500 per quintal in the Kharif season (sesame, groundnut and soyabean) and Rs. 800 per quintal in the Rabi season (rye, mustard, rapeseed and linseed).
  • The grant will be applicable to all species of oilseeds ageing 15 years. Relaxing the norms in Bundelkhand, a government spokesperson said the grant payable on oilseeds would not be limited to 50 per cent.
  • In all seven districts of Bundelkhand, officials are holding ‘ghostis’ (small meetings) to educate farmers about the benefits of cultivating sesame.
  • As farmers feared that increase in production will bring down the price, last season the government introduced an additional Rs. 80 per kg as subsidy on the crop.
  • It becomes even more viable for farmers to grow sesame in view of the menace of “Annapratha” prevalent in the region.
  • Annapratha is an age-old tradition in Bundelkhand where farmers let loose their cattle, especially the unproductive and pregnant cows, to graze freely.
  • Regular droughts over the years have worsened the “Annapratha” as distressed Bundelkhand farmers are even more inclined to let loose their unproductive animals.
  • The situation has aggravated due to the drying up of waterbodies, depletion of forest covergrazing areas.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Mann Ki Baat address on radio, where he made a strong pitch for a mass movement to save forests and conserve “every drop” of water during the monsoons.
  • “Most parts of the country are experiencing an intense heatwave. Be it humans, birds or animals, all are troubled. It is only because of environment that such problems continue to increase.”
  • “Depletion of forests has been going on, trees continue to be cut. In a way, humankind itself destroyed the environment and put has set itself on the path of destruction,” the Prime Minister said.
  • The Prime Minsiter said he had departed from past traditions of holding a common meeting with the Chief Ministers and decided to meet them separately to give individual attention to each of them.
  • The Prime Minister praised States such as Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat for innovative efforts to save waters and water bodies.
  • Referring to the results of the CBSE board examinations declared recently, he urged parents to not pressurise their children to get more and more marks.
  • “Dissatisfaction is a reflection of negative mindset, dissatisfaction can lead to failures. Accept whatever result has come, welcome it and move forward. Life does not stop because of bad marks. The most important thing is not to lose confidence,”.


  • When Bill Clinton landed in this lake-studded capital 16 years ago, the first U.S. President to visit since the end of the Vietnam War, his mission was to put that conflict behind him, and the trip was among the most remarkable of his presidency.
  • When President Barack Obama arrives, his task may be a bit less dramatic, but is in many ways far more ambitious.
  • These two countries, bedevilled by decades of misunderstandings, violence and wariness, now have the chance to create a partnership that seemed unlikely even three years ago.
  • Since then, China’s expansion in the South China Sea has deeply shaken a new Vietnamese government.
  • While the leadership here has not let up on its repression of its people it now appears more interested in playing one superpower off against the other, perhaps even giving the Pentagon some rotating access to key Vietnamese ports.
  • It would not be an alliance; neither side seems ready for that. But it could throw Beijing off balance in the daily shadow boxing over who will dominate one of the world’s most strategically vital waterways.
  • In many parts of Asia, Mr. Obama’s strategy of focusing on the region is still more of a slogan than an operational plan.
  • However, in this part of Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, he seems on the verge of the kind of progress Mr. Clinton could only imagine during that first visit, only 10 months before the Sept. 11 attacks changed America’s priorities.
  • The Chinese, who hindered U.S. efforts during the Vietnam War, are making things easier for the United States.
  • For years, the Communist Party leadership in Vietnam, headed by Nguyen PhuTrong, ignored Chinese activity off the country’s coast.
  • But in 2014, China placed a deep-sea drilling rig to explore for oil and gas right off Vietnam, and Mr. Trong, the party’s general secretary, could not even get his phone calls to Beijing returned.
  • Ahead of Mr. Obama’s visit, a parade of U.S. officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Daniel Russel, the State Department’s most senior Asia hand, have been showing up in Hanoi.
  • Their goal has been to get enough human rights guarantees from the Vietnamese to allow for the lifting of sanctions on arms sales to Vietnam and perhaps the return of U.S. military units to its shores for the first time since the chaotic helicopter evacuation from Saigon that is seared in American memory.


  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Israel to advance his country’s plan to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in the face of opposition from his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Mr. Valls is to meet Mr. Netanyahu on Monday before holding talks in Ramallah on Tuesday with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
  • Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has welcomed the French initiative to hold a meeting of Foreign Ministers from a range of countries on June 3, without the Israelis and Palestinians present.
  • Another conference would then be held in the autumn, with the Israelis and Palestinians in attendance. The goal is to eventually restart negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state.
  • Mr. Netanyahu has criticised the initiative and called for direct negotiations between the two sides.


  • In a breakthrough, scientists have discovered a new form of light, which will impact our understanding of the fundamental nature of light.
  • One of the measurable characteristics of a beam of light is known as angular momentum.
  • Until now, however, it was thought that in all forms of light the angular momentum would be a multiple of Planck’s constant — the physical constant that sets the scale of quantum effects.
  • Now, researchers from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics and CRANN Institute have demonstrated a new form of light where the angular momentum of each photon (a particle of visible light) takes only half of this value.
  • In the 1830s, mathematician William Rowan Hamilton and physicist Humphrey Lloyd found that, upon passing through certain crystals, a ray of light became a hollow cylinder.
  • The team used this phenomenon to generate beams of light with a screw-like structure.
  • Analysing these beams within the theory of quantum mechanics they predicted that the angular momentum of the photon would be half-integer, and devised an experiment to test their prediction.
  • Using a specially constructed device they were able to measure the flow of angular momentum in a beam of light. They were also able, for the first time, to measure the variations in this flow caused by quantum effects.
  • The experiments showed a tiny shift, one-half of Planck’s constant, in the angular momentum of each photon.
  • Theoretical physicists since the 1980s have speculated how quantum mechanics works for particles that are free to move in only two of the three dimensions of space.


  • Why has the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean? A new NASA-led study has found the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is responsible.
  • The researchers used satellite radar, sea surface temperature, land form and bathymetry (ocean depth) data to study the physical processes and properties affecting Antarctic sea ice.
  • They found that two persistent geological factors — the topography of Antarctica and the depth of the ocean surrounding it — are influencing winds and ocean currents, respectively, to drive the formation and evolution of Antarctica’s sea ice cover and help sustain it.
  • The researchers analysed radar data from NASA’s QuikScat satellite from 1999 to 2009 to trace the paths of Antarctic sea ice movements and map its different types.
  • They focused on the 2008 growth season, a year of exceptional seasonal variability in Antarctic sea ice coverage.
  • Their analyses revealed that as sea ice forms and builds up early in the sea ice growth season, it gets pushed offshore and northward by winds, forming a protective shield of older, thicker ice that circulates around the continent.
  • The persistent winds, which flow down slope off the continent and are shaped by Antarctica’s topography, pile ice up against the massive ice shield, enhancing its thickness.
  • This band of ice, which varies in width from roughly 100 to 1,000 km, encapsulates and protects younger, thinner ice in the ice pack behind it from being reduced by winds and waves.
  • Older, thicker sea ice returns a stronger radar signal than younger, thinner ice does. They found the sea ice within the protective shield was older and rougher (due to longer exposure to wind and waves), and thicker (due to more snow accumulation).
  • As the sea ice cover expands and ice drifts away from the continent, areas of open water form behind it on the sea surface, creating “ice factories” conducive to rapid sea ice growth, the researchers said.


  • The benefits of lower prices accrued through the e-bidding of power procurement will be extended to the medium- and long-term procurement as well, according to the government.
  • The details of short-term procurement through the Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price (DEEP) e-bidding portal were unveiled.
  • The process has resulted in substantial savings as the prices discovered through e-bidding are significantly lower than the prices at which power was procured during the similar period in the last year.
  • According to a statement issued by the Power Ministry, “the scope of this portal shall be further expanded soon to cover medium-term and long-term procurement of power.”
  • Four entities participated in the e-bid—the state governments of Kerala, Uttarakhand, and Bihar, and private sector company Torrent Power.
  • For Kerala, the lowest power price for May in slot of the day was Rs.3.14 per unit compared with the Rs.4.7 per unit price at which the state procured short-term power last year, according to the statement.
  • Uttarakhand saw a price of Rs.2.59 per unit for power for July on a round-the-clock basis through a reverse auction in the e-bidding process.
  • Last year, the lowest price at which the state’s distribution companies (discoms) purchased power in July was Rs.3.41 per unit.
  • Bihar got the lowest price of Rs.3.08 per unit for slot of the day for July. The state’s discoms did not buy any power during the last two years.
  • The e-bidding process of Torrent Power saw a lowest price of Rs.2.95 per unit in slot of the day for May-June.
  • The e-bidding portal was inaugurated by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal in April.


  • It is ‘politically difficult’ to speed up structural reforms in India, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said, even as he stressed on the need for cleansing the banks and checking inflation to ensure faster growth.
  • Mr. Rajan also said labour market reforms can boost growth, but the process may draw opposition.
  • He also called for the emerging markets like India to “speak up and raise their voice louder” to have a say in setting the global agenda.
  • The Governor said India is fairly safe from volatile global economy and it has posted 7.5 per cent growth despite two droughts and weak international market.
  • “Despite two droughts and weak international market scenario, we are registering about 7.5 per cent growth because of macro-level stability,” he said.
  • While there is a need to ensure macro level stabilisation, the country would have to keep inflation under control and cleanse the banks, he said. “This can strengthen macro level stability,” he said.
  • In addition to that, maintaining reforms would attract both international and domestic investors and spur activities, Mr. Rajan said.
  • Stating that structural reforms are important for elevating the potential of economy, the RBI Governor said degree of competition and level of participation of different segments of society should be raised in order to bring more and more people into the workforce.
  • However, it may be difficult politically to speed up structural reforms and while labour market reforms can boost growth, the process may draw opposition, the Governor told delegates attending the lecture.


  • It took less than five minutes for Anurag Thakur to be formally elevated to the post of president from being the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
  • Thakur’s promotion, forced by the untimely resignation of Shashank Manohar on May 10, was confirmed a day before 22nd May’s special general meeting (SGM) since his was the only nomination filed for the post.
  • As a result, the SGM, chaired by Delhi’s C.K. Khanna, one of the five vice-presidents, unanimously elected Thakur as the president. That was followed by the BJP’s member of Parliament from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, resigning as secretary.
  • Thakur, thus, became the sixth BCCI official to have been a secretary and president. The others are Anthony S. D’Mello, A.N. Ghose, S. Sriraman, Ranbir Singh Mahendra and N. Srinivasan.



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Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2016 04:55