Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 30 - MAY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 30 - MAY - 2016
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Monday, 30 May 2016 08:11

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

30 - MAY - 2016

 

IIT STUDENT NANDINI BHANDARU WINS YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD OF EUROPEAN MATERIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH SOCIETY

Nandini Bhandaru, a doctoral researcher at IIT-Kharagpur, bagged the European Materials Research Society’s (EMRS’s) Young Scientist Award at the EMRS 2016 Spring Meeting Lille France.

She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to material science and nano technology, particularly nano patterning of soft films and surfaces.

She is working at Instability and Soft Patterning laboratory of IIT-Kharagpur. Her area of doctoral research is on nanofabrication including soft-Lithography, thin film dewetting, polymer blend films and self-assembly.

Innovation proposed by Nandini on nanofabrication

• She proposed an innovation through which possibility of fabricating nano scale patterned surfaces can be done at an extremely low cost and using an inherently simple methodology

• With this technique, the fabrication costs of these surfaces can be reduced to one tenth of the current Photolithography or Electron Beam Lithography based methods which require high end expensive instrumentation.

• Part of the work has already been patented and published. One more paper and a patent are under preparation based on this work.

• The technique developed has been fully stabilized and patented and can be commercialized with minimal capital investment.

Nanofabrication and its application

Nanofabrication is the design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometers. It is the driver technology in fields such as information technology, computers, the Internet, and bio-medical technology.

It acts as the “mother board” for many of the devices and applications listed below:

• Organic electronics organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs)

• Optoelectronic devices, thin film transistors (TFTs)

• Plastic solar cells

• Biological sensors microfluidics

• Smart and super adhesives

• Data storage media

• Lab-on-a-chip devices

• Surfaces for nano-biotechnology applications such as patterned substrates for probing of cell behavior, including stem cell scaffolds for tissue engineering, DNA stretching, and so on.

HEADS TOGETHER: A CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY BRITISH ROYALS TO TACKLE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH.

British Royals Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry launched the Heads Together campaign at Queen Elizabeth Park in East London.

The campaign aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing.

About Heads Together campaign

• It will be executed the Royal Foundation in partnership with eight charities that have decades of experience in tackling stigma and raising awareness.

• It is the single biggest project the three British Royals have undertaken together so far.

• Funds for the campaign will be raised through the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.

• Each of the three royals will focus on a different component of mental well-being.

• Prince William will target young men at risk for suicide and Kate will focus on childhood mental health.

• Prince Harry will focus on military members and veterans and help them cope with the mental health challenges.

2016 WORLD TELECOMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION SOCIETY DAY OBSERVED WITH THEME ICT ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR SOCIAL IMPACT

May 17: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

The 2016 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was observed on 17 May 2016.

This year, WTISD focused on the theme ICT entrepreneurship for social impact. The theme was in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council 2015.

The theme for WTISD-16 was in line with ITU’s work in unlocking the potential of ICTs for young innovators and entrepreneurs, SMEs, and others.

Background

The purpose of WTISD is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies.

17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

• World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day will be celebrated every year on 17 May.

In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

NEW FUND EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT TO BE LAUNCHED AT UN WORLD HUMANITARIAN SUMMIT

A new fund “Education Cannot Wait” will be launched at UN World Humanitarian Summit. It aims at assisting millions of children whose education has been disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters.

The two-day World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

The programme will see participation of more than 100 of the world’s leading countries, companies and philanthropists. The plan of launch of Education Cannot Wait was announced by UN envoy for education on 6 May 2016.

Key highlights of Education Cannot Wait fund

• The fund is the global first and seeks to raise 3.85 billion dollars in next five years from governments and business.

• It is designed to cater the needs of 30 million displaced girls and boys, of which 20 million have no choice at the moment and are unable to go to school.

• This is the largest population of girls and boys uprooted since 1945.

• This fund will seek to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and development aid first.

• The fund can be used to save a generation lost to war, child marriage, forced labour and the recruiters for violent extremism.

What the fund will offer?

As per the records of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), education aid receives less than two percent of emergency funding. The new fund is expected to:

• Offer up to five years of educational emergency, recognizing that the average time a refugee is out of his or her country is more than 10 years.

• Have private sector, foundation and philanthropic windows and will be the first comprehensive education public partnership in humanitarian aid.

• Engage philanthropic companies in innovative solutions to deliver education, including bold experiments in online education to help refugees in camps and those holed up in hovels, huts and tents.

• The UN has stressed that the ultimate aim for Education Cannot Wait is to transform humanitarian aid for the future.

Where the new fund will be used?

• The new fund will build on the recent Syrian initiative promising one million Syrian refugees schooling in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan

• It will be used in Nepal where 900000 children are out of school because of the earthquake emergency

• It will be used in South Sudan where one third of children are denied schooling and in Nigeria where Boko Haram have closed 5000 schools.

NTPC TIED-UP WITH COAL INDIA LIMITED TO FORAY INTO FERTILIZER SECTOR

State-run power producer NTPC Limited signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with state-run miner Coal India limited to foray into the Fertilizer Sector and revive plants of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).

The JVA was signed by NTPC's General Manager (BD) Arun Kumar Gupta and Coal India's General Manager (Coal Videsh) T Bandopadhyay.

Highlights of the Joint Venture between NTPC and Coal India Limited

• The JV company would initially be incorporated with 50:50 equity participation from both.

• It will also contain the provision of inducting strategic partners at a later date depending upon business requirement of JV company.

• The joint venture company will take up the revival of FCIL plants at Sindri in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

• It will set up an ammonia urea plant at each location.

CHINA LAUNCHES YAOGAN-30 REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE

China launched the Yagoan-30 remote sensing satellite. It was placed in the sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) by using the Long March 2-D rocket.

The satellite was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located in Gobi desert in northwest China’s Gansu Province.

Features of Yaogan-30 satellite

• It will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment and disaster monitoring.

• It has high resolution optical sensors that have a resolution of between one to three meters.

• The satellite was placed in the SSO so that it provides favorable illumination for the imaging missions.

• It has two deployable solar arrays along with batteries. It uses the CAST-2000 platform, which has a dry mass of about one metric ton.

• The first satellite in the Yaogan series, Yaogan-1, was launched in 2006.

Features of Long March 2-D rocket

• It was the 227th mission for the Long March rocket family.

• Long March 2-D is a two-stage rocket developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

• The rocket is mainly used for launching satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and SSO. It can launch up to 1300 kg cargo in a 645 km SSO.

• It is characterized by high reliability, wide application and mature technology.

UNICEF, EU LAUNCH #EMERGENCYLESSONS CAMPAIGN ON EDUCATION IN CRISIS ZONES

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union (EU) announced the launch of #EmergencyLessons campaign on education in crisis zones.

The campaign is a social media-driven public awareness campaign. It is aimed at reaching 20 million Europeans and highlighting the importance of education for children affected by emergencies.

Key highlights of #EmergencyLessons campaign

• The campaign specifically targets people 25 year old and younger peoples.

• For the next seven months, the stories of the children affected by emergencies will be shared on social media.

• It covers countries like Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

• It seeks to inspire these nations to raise their voices on behalf of millions of children and adolescents whose education has been interrupted by emergencies.

• It draws on the real-life experiences of children living through emergencies in countries such as Guinea, Iraq, Nepal and Ukraine.

• The campaign celebrates the other benefits of going to school like the friends made, the teachers who support children through trauma, and the stability found in the routine of attending classes.

A number of celebrities are lending their support to the campaign. These include Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian European Space Agency astronaut; Bostjan Nachbar, Slovenian basketball player; Kriszta D. Toth, Hungarian news presenter and media personality; and Jaro Bekr, Slovakian dancer.

Comment
Nearly one in four of the world's school-age children – 462 million – now live in 35 countries affected by crises, including an estimated 75 million children who are in desperate need of educational support.

Apart from missing out on education, and the benefits it yields for them and for their societies, out-of-school children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and recruitment by armed forces, the agency said.

KERALA EXCHEQUER TO LOOSE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT DUE TO NGT ORDERS

  • The State exchequer is to loose more than Rs.135 crore annually owing to curbs imposed by the National Green Tribunal’s Kochi Circuit bench on registration of diesel vehicles above 2000-cc in six cities in the State.
  • Besides, the State will have to mobilise over Rs.270 crore for part repayment of motor vehicle tax to owners of 94,000 non-transport vehicles and 91,000 transport vehicles.
  • More than 1.85 lakh motor vehicles powered by HSD and older than 10 years are to be phased out in the next five years, according to the NGT order.
  • Rs.270 crore, the amount to be repaid, was worked out on the basis of 40 per cent depreciation to vehicles.
  • The State collects one-time motor vehicle tax for a 15-year period. As diesel vehicles have to be phased out, the report said, the tax collected for the remaining five years would have to be repaid.

APEX COURT ALLOWED SALVAGERS GIRONE TO GO TO ITALY

  • With the Centre endorsing his plea to return to Italy on ‘humanitarian grounds’, the Supreme Court allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go home.
  • He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen in 2012.
  • In September 2014, the court had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot and co-accused in the case, MassimilianoLatorre, to leave for Italy after he suffered a stroke.
  • The decision to let Mr. Girone go was taken after the Supreme Court was informed that the tribunal may give its verdict only by December 2018.
  • A Vacation Bench laid down conditions for releasing Mr. Girone, including that he continue to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and report to the local police station in Italy once every month.
  • Also, the Italian authorities will keep the Indian embassy informed.

PM APPEAL TO EVERY SECTION FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

  • Marking two years of NDA rule at a well-attended farmers’ rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on women's issues, showcasing the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme to improve the sex ratio and educate the girl child.
  • “If India’s girl child is not empowered, how can the nation be empowered?” Mr. Modi asked.
  • He suggested that doctors in the country treat poor women for free on the ninth day of every month.
  • He also announced that the Union Cabinet would raise the retirement age of doctors working with the State as well as Central governments to 65.
  • While Mr. Modi steered clear of criticising the Akhilesh Yadav government in the State that goes to polls next year, he said that as a former Chief Minister, he believed in putting money in the hands of States.
  • Speaking before Mr. Modi, however, Home Minister Rajnath Singh was clear in his appeal, invoking Lord Ram to exhort the people to vote the BJP back to power.

APEX COURT ASKS CENTRE TO FRAME UNIFORM POLICY FOR FINANCIAL COMPENSATION OF RAPE VICTIMS

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre to frame a uniform national policy to financially compensate rape victims, while terming the Nirbhaya Fund a mere “lip service”.
  • A Vacation Bench led by Justice P.C. Pant said there was too much dichotomy and contradiction among States regarding compensation schemes for rape survivors.
  • The Bench issued notice to the Centre, States and Union Territories on the question of effective implementation of Section 357 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • This provision mandates States to co-ordinate with the Centre to prepare a scheme for providing funds to compensate and rehabilitate victims or dependents.
  • “Setting up of the Nirbhaya Fund is not enough and it is just paying lip service. The Union of India must ensure that adequate relief is being provided to the victims of sexual offences,” the Bench observed orally.
  • Senior advocate and amicus curiae Indira Jaising said the victim compensation scheme has been notified only in 25 States.

CLEAR DISCUSSIONS ON BOUNDARY NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

  • Cordial and clear discussions on sensitive issues marked India-China talks during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Beijing but no significant change in divergent positions was realised.
  • Meetings with President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and National Peoples’ Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang marked a busy third day of a four-day visit by Mr. Mukherjee to China.
  • Mr. Mukherjee’s delegation apprised its Chinese counterparts about India’s aims to rapidly expand its civilian nuclear programme in line with the country’s energy needs. He also asked Mr. Xi to give this matter “personal attention”.
  • Director-General of Asian region in China’s ministry of foreign affairs, briefing the press following the meeting also said that the two leaders “agreed to strengthen cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy”.
  • Mr. Mukherjee led a delegation to meet Mr. Xi after receiving a grand welcome in a ceremony held at the Great Hall of Peace in Beijing.
  • The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in “investment, trade and tourism”.
  • Specifically, China has also agreed to accommodate more Indian tourists (seven batches or around 400 people this year) to visit Kailash Mansarovar via the Nathu La pass into Tibet.
  • The two leaders also agreed to advance the ongoing boundary negotiations under the ‘Special Representatives’ mechanism, and at the same time resolved to take actions to maintain peace and tranquillity in the boundary regions.
  • Mr. Jaishankar said that the Indian delegation had conveyed to the Chinese the need to eliminate cross-border terrorism.

DONALD TRUMP GETS REQUIRED DELEGATES FOR NOMINATIONS

  • Donald Trump secured the support of enough delegates to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, after unbound delegates pledged to back the billionaire, according to U.S. media counts.
  • Mr. Trump now has the backing of 1,238 delegates, one more than the 1,237 needed, according to the U.S. news agencies.
  • It said the real estate tycoon’s delegate count rose when a small number of unbound Republican delegates, including Oklahoma party chairwoman Pam Pollard, said they would support him at the convention.
  • The Republican Party will not make the results official until its national convention in July.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama said that global leaders are “rattled” by some of Mr. Trump’s statements, blasting the ideas as demonstrating “ignorance” of how the world works.
  • “They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit. “But they’re rattled by them, and for good reason,” he added.

INDIA TO WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BODY FOR ADJUDICATING ITS DISPUTE WITH THE U.S.

  • India will soon ask the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel of experts to adjudicate its dispute with the U.S. over the increase in visa fees, government sources said.
  • This follows the failure of India and the U.S. to arrive at an amicable solution during the consultations held on May 11 and 12 under the auspices of the WTO, they said.
  • India’s decision to seek the setting up of the panel is likely to be announced after Prime Minister’s June 7-8 visit to the U.S.
  • According to WTO norms, if consultations fail, the complaining country can ask the settlement body to appoint a panel.
  • India notified the WTO Secretariat that it has “initiated a WTO dispute proceeding against the U.S. regarding measures imposing increased fees on certain applicants for two categories (H-1B and L-1) of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the U.S., as well as measures relating to numerical commitments for some visas.”
  • According to India, the measures appear to be inconsistent with the U.S. commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
  • India said the visa fee increase is “discriminatory” against Indian firms as these (H-1B and L-1) are the same categories that are most extensively used by Indian service suppliers, especially in the information technology sector.
  • India warned that the U.S.’s decision to continue with the implementation of the visa fee increase could result in other nations deliberately raising customs duties on goods to increase revenue for their domestic programmes.
  • During the talks, the U.S. denied that there was anything in its legislation specifying that the visa fee hike is applicable only to Indian companies.
  • The U.S. said there was nothing discriminatory in the legislation against Indian information technology companies, adding that since the visa fee increase is general in nature, it was not violative of any WTO rule.
  • Washington also informed that the visa fee hike was part of a legislation (the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016), and therefore it would not be possible to make any changes without addressing the legislation as a whole.
  • Indian IT industry body Nasscom said the financial implications of the visa fee increase for the technology sector would be around $400 million a year.

FOOD PROCESSING SECTOR TO ATTRACT MORE FDI

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing sector is expected to cross $1 billion in the next two years, helped by reforms in FDI space and streamlining of FSSAI regulations, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said.
  • The government has announced 100 per cent FDI in marketing of food products produced and processed in India in this year’s Budget.
  • Besides food parks, she said the rules and regulations of the food regulator FSSAI had been streamlined to boost food processing sector.
  • The food processing sector has attracted $463 million worth of FDI during April-February of the last fiscal, she added.
  • According to Ms. Badal, growth of the food processing sector will help farmers get better price for their produce as well as lead to reduction in wastage and lower prices of fruits and vegetables.
  • To achieve this, the government has taken various steps to create infrastructure at the farm gate level. The ministry had allocated 17 food parks and about Rs.50 crore per food park will be given as grant.
  • “In the last two years, seven food parks have become operational while during the UPA’s 10-year tenure, only two parks were operationalised,” Ms. Badal averred, adding that the target is to operationalise all 42 mega food parks by 2019.
  • The minister said once the processing level reaches 20 per cent, consumers would have the option of processed fruits and vegetables and that too, at affordable prices.

RBI GOVERNOR SAYS CHINA MAY FACE SHARP SLOWDOWN

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan cautioned about a “sharp” slowdown in Chinese economy which, he said, remained a “significant risk” for the global economy.
  • A sharp contraction in China’s imports over the past year, for instance, had already led to spill-overs through the trade, confidence, tourism and remittance channels and SAARC nations had not been able to avert its impact, Mr. Rajan said.
  • The RBI Governor also lauded the efforts taken by the government in implementing structural reforms to revive growth.
  • “Leaving aside the Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform, a number of other significant reforms have also taken place, including the recent passage of the new Bankruptcy bill, which is likely to speed up the resolution of distress tremendously,” Mr. Rajan said.

 

 

 


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 04:01
 

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