Thursday, 02 June 2016 03:22


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02 - JUNE - 2016




The UN-Habitat released the new global flagship report on sustainable urban development titled World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures.

The report states that a New Urban Agenda is needed to unlock the transformative power of cities.

Highlights of the World Cities Report 2016

• The top 600 cities, with 1/5th of the world’s population, produce 60 percent of global GDP.

• Since the last UN conference on cities Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996, the center of gravity for megacities has shifted to developing regions.

• In 1995, there were 22 large cities, and 14 megacities globally; by 2015, both categories of cities had doubled with 79 percent of the megacities, that are located in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

• Large South-Asian countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan feature massive, expanding urban populations in mega- cities such as Dhaka, Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi and Lahore.

• The fastest growing urban centres are the medium and small cities with less than one million inhabitants, which account for 59 percent of the world’s urban population.

• Over the last 20 years, housing has not been central to national and international development agendas.

• The slum challenge continues to be one of the faces of poverty in cities in developing countries.

• Today the world is more unequal that it was twenty years ago: 75 percent of the world’s cities have higher levels of income inequalities than two decades ago.

• Planning as an ongoing, sustainable, inclusive process has been central to the reinvention of urban planning, yet many countries still rely on outdated conceptions of planning.

• Mega cities and metropolitan regions have benefited more from globalization than secondary cities with more than 80 percent of global GDP being generated in cities.

• Less dense cities brought higher infrastructure costs, worsen mobility and destroyed agricultural land.

Persistent and emerging challenges

• Urban areas around the world are facing greater challenges than they did 20 years ago.

• The persistent urban issues include the growing number of urban residents living in informal settlements and the challenge of providing urban services.

• The emerging urban issues include climate change; exclusion and rising inequality; rising insecurity; and upsurge in international migration.

• Between 1950 and 2005, the level of urbanisation increased from 29 percent to 49 percent, while global carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning increased by almost 500 percent.

• Cities account for between 60 and 80 percent of energy consumption, and generate as much as 70 percent of the human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

• The war in Syria has given rise to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. In 2015, more than 1.5 million forced migrants and refugees arrived in Europe compared to 280000 in 2014.

• The fear of crime and violence continues to be pervasive in cities. New and pervasive risks affecting cities include terrorism, urban warfare, heightened securitization and pandemics.

The New Urban Agenda

• When well-managed, urbanization fosters social and economic advancement and improved quality of life for all.

• A new agenda is required to effectively address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by urbanization.

• The new urban agenda should promote cities and human settlements that are environmentally sustainable, resilient, socially inclusive, safe and violence-free, economically productive.

• This New Urban Agenda shall be adopted at the upcoming UN conference Habitat III to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

India in World Cities Report 2016

• India is projected to add 300 million new urban residents by 2050 and it will need to build climate-friendly cities to address the challenge of accommodating the needs of the growing population.

• India should plan to build 100 smart cities in response to the country's growing population and pressure on urban infrastructure.


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Patricia Espinosa Cantellano of Mexico as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The appointment was made after consultation with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau.

Espinosa Cantellano will succeed Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica.

Who is Patricia Espinosa Cantellano?

At present, Espinosa Cantellano is serving as Ambassador of Mexico to Germany.

She joined the Foreign Service on 16 September 1981. She then served at the Mexican delegation to the United Nations in Geneva.

From 1992 to 1997, she worked at the Mexican delegation to the United Nations at New York City and served as general director of the Ibero-American Summit and the Summit of the Americas.

She was Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2006 to 2012.

She holds more than 30 years of experience at the highest levels in international relations, with a specialization in climate change, global governance, sustainable development, gender equality and protection of human rights.

Born in 1958, she holds postgraduate degree in International Law from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales in Geneva. She also obtained a degree in international relations from El Colegio de Mexico.

About United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992.

The UNFCCC was adopted on 9 May 1992, and opened for signature on 4 June 1992.

It entered into force on 21 March 1994.

The UNFCCC objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The framework set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms.

Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties may be negotiated to set binding limits on greenhouse gases.


Apple Inc. opened a new Development Office in Hyderabad, Telangana. The office was formally opened by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

The facility will focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4000 jobs.

Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps, including 3D views, the Flyover feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas.

With iOS 9 Apple added Transit, offering a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world.

The new facility, located on the Waverock campus, will provide a world-class, LEED-certified home for the expanding Maps team.

This facility is in addition to a new iOS App Design and Development Accelerator that would come up in Bengaluru in early 2017.

About Apple Inc.

• Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984.

• At present, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

• Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and provide various services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.

• Across India, Apple supports over 640000 iOS app developer jobs and other positions related to the iOS ecosystem.


The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) conducted the trial run of India's first ever Metro train equipped to run in the driverless mode. The train was ceremonially flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The six-coach train was ferried to India from South Korea by sea and was brought by road to Delhi on special trailers. DMRC has already assembled 14 such trains and will add 3-4 trains every month to take the total count to 86.

Highlights of the Driverless Metro train

• The driverless trains will run on the over 58 km-long Majlish Park-Shiv Vihar (Line 7) and the over 38 km-long Janakpuri (West)- Botanical Garden (Line 8) corridors of the Phase-III.

• This new-generation driverless metro train is equipped to travel on Unattended Train Operations (UTO) mode with advanced features.

• It is suitable to eventually run on UTO mode as the train has extremely high levels of automation. Thus, train operators will not be required to operate these trains.

• The Operations Control Centres (OCC) of the Delhi Metro system will directly regulate the movement of these trains.

• The On-board CCTV cameras will provide the inside and outside view of the train.

• The images from CCTV will be directly accessed by the control centre in driverless mode.

• This high-tech train will increase the Delhi metro’s frequency to 90 seconds instead of the current average of two minutes.

• The train boasts Wi-Fi, USB ports, charging points, LED and LCD screens and backrest near the wheel-chair area.

Other Launches

• In addition, a green Receiving Sub Station (RSS) was also inaugurated at Mukundpur. It will help to meet the power requirements of the Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar corridor.

• The RSS was designed as a green structure with features such as solar power plant, rain water harvesting and sewage water treatment facilities.


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal released the draft of State of Delhi Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to establish the State of Delhi as the 30th State in the country.

The proposed State will comprise the territories of the existing National Capital Territory of Delhi. At present, NCT Delhi is one of the seven Union Territories of the country.

Highlights of Delhi Statehood Bill, 2016 draft

• It seeks to repeal the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 that formed the National Capital Territory of Delhi by replacing Union Territory of Delhi.

• Areas demarcated under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Cantonment Board would remain beyond the legislative and administrative control of the proposed Delhi State.

• Delhi Development Authority and Municipal Corporations of Delhi will be accountable to the State administration.

• The bill seeks to replace the term Lieutenant Governor with Governor. He would act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers as provided in Article 163 of the Constitution.

• Delhi Police will be made accountable to the elected Government of Delhi.

• The New Delhi area which is under the control of the NDMC will be under the Union Government for matters of law, order and land while the remaining areas will be under the Delhi State.

Related Constitutional Provisions

Article 2: Admission or establishment of new States: Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions, as it thinks fit

Articles 239AA and 239BB

• These two articles were inserted through the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991.

• The Article 239AA confers special status to the NCT Delhi. Unlike a normal Union Territory, it is provided with a Legislative Assembly and a council of ministers responsible to such Assembly. Apart from Delhi, Puducherry is the only other union territory that has a legislative assembly and council of ministers.

• It provides for National Capital a special status among the Union territories. Except law and order and land, the Assembly has the powers to legislate on all the major subjects.

• The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Minister.

• The ministers shall hold office during   the pleasure of the President.


Barco announced the appointment of Rajiv Bhalla as Managing Director for India.

Rajiv will also be the legal representative of Barco India, fulfilling all legal, regulatory and statutory obligations. He will also ensure that all the obligations are complaint with local legal, safety, environmental regulations as well as company directives and guidelines.

Who is Rajiv Bhalla?

Rajiv holds a BE (Electronics) degree and MBA.

He holds more than 22 years of senior leadership experience in technology organizations like Thomson Consumer Electronics, Microsoft, NEC and Intel.

About Barco

Barco is a display hardware and software manufacturer specializing in laser projectors, digital cinema projection, video projectors, and more.

Barco is an acronym that originally stood for Belgian American Radio Corporation.

It is headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium.

It is active in more than 90 countries and employs 3300 employees worldwide.

It posted sales of 1.029 billion euro in 2015.


  • India’s diplomatic downturn with Africa intensified as the Ministry of External Affairs sent mixed signals on responding to the series of attacks on African nationals.
  • Though the Delhi police arrested five men for the series of attacks on African nationals, the African Students Association in India announced that it would take out a ‘March for Justice’ rally in the national capital.
  • Responding to the announcement, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, “I have asked Gen V.K. Singh MoS and Secretary (ER) Amar Sinha to meet African students who have announced demonstration at Jantar Mantar.”
  • “Had detailed discussion with Delhi Police and media is blowing out of proportion minor scuffle as attack on African nationals in Rajpur Khurd,” Mr Singh said in a tweet.
  • Gen. Singh’s tweets prompted sharp criticism with opposition parties and the Broadcast Editors Association calling it “absurd” and “irresponsible”, while African students said they disagreed with his comments.


  • The annual Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon, which began in 2003, is meant to mark the anniversary of the first summit of the peak by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953.
  • About 130 foreign runners, including from Britain, United States, China and Australia, joined another 30 from Nepal.
  • The air at base camp contains only half as much oxygen as at sea-level, leaving many runners gasping for breath on even the slightest incline along the narrow, rocky mountain paths.
  • The event organisers hailed the large number of participants as a further sign of the recovery of Nepal’s mountaineering industry after two years of tragedy on the 8,848-metre peak.
  • Only 55 took part last year and it was postponed until October after a massive earthquake hit the Himalayan nation in April, killing nearly 9,000 people and triggering a deadly avalanche on Everest base camp.
  • An avalanche on Everest in 2014 also claimed the lives of 16 Nepali guides and forced a shutdown of the mountain.


  • In a first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors in the U.S. have successfully transplanted a “composite” skull and scalp flap, along with kidney and pancreas — all from the same donor.
  • The patient was suffering from a non-healing scalp defect and declining organ kidney and pancreas function, researchers said.
  • The experience may open the way to further procedures combining “vascularised composite allotransplantation” (VCA) with organ transplants, in patients who have already accepted the need for lifelong immunosuppressive therapy.
  • VCA refers to transplant procedures combining different types of tissues, such as skin, muscle, blood vessels, nerves, and bone.
  • However, they also have a major drawback — the need for immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the recipient’s immune system from rejecting the transplant.
  • Patients who also need or have already undergone organ transplantation have already accepted the risks of lifelong immunosuppressive therapy


  • A week of shipwrecks and death in the Mediterranean culminated with harrowing testimony from migrant survivors who said another 500 people including 40 children had drowned, bringing the number of feared dead to 700.
  • Brought to safety in the Italian ports of Taranto and Pozzallo, survivors told the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and Save the Children how their boat sank.
  • With some 100 people missing after a boat sank earler, and 45 bodies recovered from a wreck that happened, the UNHCR said it feared up to 700 people had drowned in the Mediterranean this week.
  • The first boat, carrying some 500 people, was reportedly towing the second, which was carrying another 500. But the second boat began to sink. Some people tried to swim to the first boat, others held onto the rope linking the vessels.
  • Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said that Europe needed “a quick agreement with Libya and African countries” to halt the crisis.
  • The chaos in the North African country since Muammar Qadhafi’s fall in 2011 has been exploited by people traffickers.
  • European Parliament President said in an interview that Italy’s “migration compact” idea was “the best proposal so far” for stopping the boat crossings and preventing deaths.


  • A breakaway Taliban faction is willing to hold peace talks with the Afghan government but will demand the imposition of Islamic law and the departure of all foreign forces.
  • Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi told a group of around 200 followers in eastern Afghanistan that his faction had no faith in the government but was willing to negotiate without preconditions.
  • Niazi is deputy to Mullah Mohammad Rasool, who split from the Taliban last summer after Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was chosen to succeed the group’s late founder, Mullah Omar.
  • Mansoor was killed earlier this month in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan.


  • Online education start-up Emeritus Institute of Management is betting on a feedback and outcome-based paid executive learning model to achieve the desired completion rates.
  • The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has suffered from poor completion rates of 5-7 per cent.
  • The diplomas will have accreditation of the founding schools unlike the usual MOOCs model which does not have any accreditation to any institute.
  • The foundation for the model emerged when Mr. Damera first identified the gap in executive training while evaluating training options for 350 global employees at his maiden startup Travelguru.


  • To encourage solar power generators and equipment manufacturers, the New and Renewable Energy Ministry will unveil a policy on solar zones.
  • Govt has been working on a new policy for solar zones, which would be spread over one or even more districts of a State to encourage generators as well as equipment manufactures.
  • The work on the policy is almost complete and it will be launched next month. Under the policy, the developer will be provided with inputs like land availability and power evacuation locations for planning his project.


  • Around 25 news and entertainment channels are beaming region-specific ads.
  • With the trend of geo-targeted advertising catching on, more companies are making use of technology to beam adverts to only areas where their products have strong presence.
  • Advertisements tailored to the location or browsing pattern of a person is common on websites.
  • What is common on websites is coming to television. Airing of region-specific content is determined by triggers as varied as the user’s GPS location or watermarks on the video stream.
  • On television, it happens differently. Normally, local cable operators have decoder boxes for each channel that receive and relay the programmes to households.
  • To enable geo-targeted advertising these boxes are replaced with smart boxes that not only store data but also intelligently identify the spot where the location-specific ad has to replace the nationally telecast one.
  • The trigger for the geo-targeted ad comes from a unique watermark inserted on the video, which gives the cue to the smart box to run the local ad. Watermark is an invisible and inaudible identifier, like a product barcode.
  • There are at least two companies that have the technology for geo-targeted advertising. While Amagi was founded by three technologists in 2008, Star TV came out with AdSharp in 2014.
  • The KPMG-FICCI Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2016 speaks of considerable scope for geo-targeting, considering that the Indian market is underpenetrated and India is a heterogeneous market.
  • The traditional mode of television broadcast, which involves use of satellites, too is changing.
  • Internet is providing a way out and it involves a reversal of the traditional sequence of broadcast.
  • Normally, what should go on air is decided first, and the playout is delivered using satellite to local operators.
  • In the Internet-based method, all contents are stored in the cloud, and delivered to playout servers at different locations: they could be anywhere in the world.
  • The platform then does everything from managing the contents to graphics, subtitling, scheduling, editing, quality checks and the like.
  • B4U is another channel that uses the technology. The scheduling of the 12 channels is done in Mumbai, the contents are pushed from London, and they are viewed across all time zones.
  • The technology can be used to even set up a TV channel without taking recourse to satellite.



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Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2016 05:05