Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 04 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 04 - JUNE - 2016
Saturday, 04 June 2016 02:31

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

04 - JUNE - 2016

 

TSAI ING-WEN SWORN-IN AS FIRST WOMEN PRESIDENT OF TAIWAN

Tsai Ing-wen was sworn-in as the President of Taiwan. With this, she became the first woman to hold the post in Taiwan.

Before being presented the official seal, 59-year-old, Tsai swore the presidential oath in front of national flag. She succeeded outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou.

Tsai has said she will preserve the status quo in relations with China, but that Beijing must respect Taiwan's democracy.

Earlier in January 2016, Tsai led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide win in parliamentary and presidential elections.

This is the only second time that DPP has won an election in Taiwan. The Kuomintang (KMT) has been in power for most of the past 70 years.

The DPP has traditionally leaned towards independence from China, and its victory has led to a cooling of cross-straits relations. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, which it has threatened to take back by force if necessary.

INDIA AND SLOVENIA SIGN PROTOCOL AMENDING INDIA-SLOVENIA DOUBLE TAXATION AVOIDANCE CONVENTION

India and Central European country Slovenia signed a protocol to amend an existing double taxation avoidance treaty in Ljubljana. This new agreement will curb tax avoidance and tax evasion.

The protocol was signed by Indian ambassador to Slovenia Sarvajit Chakravarti, and Slovenian Finance Minister Dusan Mramor on behalf of Slovenia.

About India and Slovenia Protocol

• This agreement will widen the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information.

• The framework is likely to help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries.

• It will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.

India - Slovenia Relations

• Slovenia, formerly a part of erstwhile Yugoslavia, attained Independence in 1991. India recognized Slovenia on 11 May 1992.

• Soon after recognition, the then Foreign Minister of Slovenia Dimitrij Rupel visited India on 18 May 1992.

• Slovenia sought Indian support for membership at the United Nations and for guest membership of the Non-Aligned Movement. Slovenia was admitted into the UN on 23 May 1992.

• Slovenia opened its resident mission in New Delhi on 1 August 2002. While, India opened its resident Mission in Ljubljana in February 2007.

27TH INDIA-INDONESIA CORPAT CONCLUDES IN BELAWAN

The 27th edition of the India-Indonesian CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol) concluded in Belawan, Indonesia.

The closing ceremony Belawan saw the two navies conducting interactive session on measures to enhance inter-operability.

The 27th CORPAT was conducted from 29 April to 19 May 2016.

Key highlights of closing ceremony of 27th CORPAT

The closing ceremony was held from 16 May to 19 May 2016.

Indian Naval Ship Karmuk entered Belawan harbour on 16 May 2016 with the Senior Officer Commodore Girish Kumar Garg.

The ship was escorted by Indonesia Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol into the harbour.

The first woman IFS officer from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dr Shalia Shah, Counsul General of India in Medan (Indonesia), was present to receive the Port Blair based ship.

About Coordinated Patrolling (CORPAT)

The Indian and Indonesian navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002.

It is being carried out to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

The CORPAT has strengthened understanding and interoperability between the two navies.

It has also instituted measures to prosecute vessels engaged in unlawful activities and conducting search and rescue as well as pollution control.

INDIA LAUDED FOR MEDICINES WITH THE RED LINE CAMPAIGN ON ANTIBIOTICS

Medicines with the Red Line: A public awareness campaign launched by the Union Government to curb irrational use of antibiotics.

The term Medicines with the Red Line was in news as the campaign was appreciated by the Global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

The review was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014 and chaired by economist Jim O’Neil.

As per the review, India led the way so far with its idea of a ‘Red Line Campaign’ for antibiotics packaging.

What is Medicines with the Red Line campaign?

• It has several key messages - learn how to identify prescription drugs; curb self medication; and become more aware of the dangers of misusing antibiotics.

• The campaign was named so as it was mandated that all prescription only drugs should be marked with a vertical red line on the pack.

• The packs with red lines should be consumed only on doctor’s advice and the patients need to full course as prescribed by the doctor.

• The campaign was launched by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in February 2016.

• The launch of the campaign became inevitable due to growing misuse of antibiotics across the country.

• As per a report published in the Lancet journal in August 2014, India consumed 13 billion units of antibiotics in 2010, the highest in the world. Between 2005 and 2009, consumption shot up by 40 per cent.

HIFIRE HYPERSONIC SUPERJET TECHNOLOGY SUCCESSFULLY TESTED IN AUSTRALIA

A team of scientists successfully tested hypersonic superjet technology as part of the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program.

As part of the test, scramjet attached to a rocket booster was successfully sent to an altitude of 278 km at Mach 7.5 (seven times the speed of sound).

The test was conducted in the world's largest land-based testing range in Woomera, South Australia.

Features of HIFiRE program

• It is one of the largest collaborative research programs between Australia and the USA.

• It aims to explore the fundamental science of hypersonics and the potential for next generation aeronautical systems.

• Hypersonic flight is a flight through the atmosphere at speeds above Mach 5.5, or more than five times the speed of sound.

• The program has already achieved some significant milestones such as the design, assembly and pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems.

• It is considered as one of the most advanced hypersonics programs in the world.

• The HIFiRE team plans to complete 10 separate tests between 2009 and 2018.

• NASA, DST Group of Australia, Air Force Research Laboratory of the USA, the University of Queensland and Boeing Research & Technology in the USA are the partners in the program.

What is scramjet technology?

• It is a supersonic combustion technology that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel.

• It is lighter and faster than fuel-carrying rockets and is suitable for flying at hypersonic speed.

• A scramjet engine is devoid of moving parts. It has rotating compressor and turbine in a jet engine.

• In the engine, air is compressed and expanded by complex systems of shockwaves located in front of the aircraft.

Significance of HIFiRE program

• The current speed record for a manned, powered aircraft is Mach 6.72. The record was set way back in the 1960s by the US X-15 experimental aircraft.

• Against this backdrop, HIFiRE is considered as a game-changing technology that would revolutionise global air travel.

• Once operational, it will also provide cost-effective access to space as it can be used to send satellites into space.

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES GAVE NOD TO BOLSTER DEFENCE TIES WITH INDIA ON PAR WITH NATO

The US House of Representatives gave its nod to a bipartisan legislation to improve defence ties with India.

In this regard, an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) was approved by the House. The amendment is dubbed as ‘Enhancing Defence and Security Co-operation with India’.

Outcomes of the legislation

• The legislation, once approved by the Senate and the President, will bring the country’s bilateral relations with India on par with its NATO allies and Israel.

• It seeks to promote greater defence trade and encourage additional military cooperation between the United States and India.

• The legislation is primarily aimed at easing restrictions on sale of defence equipment and technology transfer to India.

• It encourages the executive branch to designate an official to focus on US-India defence cooperation.

• It will facilitate the transfer of defence technology and maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Comment

• The up gradation of the US-India relations can be seen in the context of the Pivot to Asia Doctrine of the Obama administration that aims at building new relationships in the Asia Pacific region.

• On the bilateral front, the legislative approval is an important milestone in the US-India relations as it addresses one of the tricky issues of defence technology transfer and sale.

• The legislation will give enough leverage to the executive branch of the US Government in dealing with India. For India, it encourages the government to authorize enhanced military planning with the USA.

• The future missions of mutual interest will be such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter piracy, and maritime domain awareness.

RATAN P WATAL APPOINTED AS PRINCIPAL ADVISER FOR SOCIAL SECTOR IN NITI AAYOG

Former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal was appointed as Principal Adviser (Social Sector) in NITI Aayog for 3-years.

His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prior to this appointment, Watal was the Union Finance Secretary between September 2015 and April 2016.

Watal, 60, is a 1978-batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer and holds masters degree in economics.

About NITI Aayog

• The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015.

• It replaced the decades old Planning Commission of India.

• NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.

• At the core of NITI Aayog’s creation are two hubs – Team India Hub and the Knowledge and Innovation Hub that reflect the two key tasks of the Aayog.

• The Team India Hub leads the engagement of states with the Central government, while the Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds NITI’s think-tank capabilities.

• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arvind Panagariya are the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of the institution respectively.

• Amitabh Kant is the Chief Executive Officer of the NITI Aayog.

SIXTEEN MEN WERE KILLED IN A MASSIVE FIRE AT THE ARMY’S CENTRAL AMMUNITION DEPOT

  • Sixteen men, including two Army officers, were killed in a massive fire at the Army’s Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) in Pulgaon town of Maharashtra’s Wardha district.
  • CAD is the most crucial ammunition depot of the Army and among the largest in the world.
  • Mr. Parrikar did not rule out sabotage. “But according to the Army officers and the experts, the possibility of sabotage seems less,” he said.
  • Residents of villages such as Agargaon, Pipary and Nagjhari, situated within 5 km of the depot, moved to safer locations. Some houses were damaged when the ammunition exploded but no one was injured.

PM INCREASED THE RETIREMENT AGE FOR DOCTORS OF CENTRAL SERVICES TO 65 YEARS

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the retirement age of 65 years for doctors of central services, in an aim to strengthen the healthcare sector in the country.
  • It said the move would enable the government to retain experienced doctors for a longer period, and to provide better services in its public health facilities, particularly to the poorest, who are entirely dependent on public facilities.
  • The decision comes after Prime Minister Modi’s announcement at his Saharanpur rally recently that the retirement age of government doctors would be raised to 65 years.

THE INDIAN NAVY GETS NEW CHIEF AND VICE-CHIEF

  • The Indian Navy saw a major change of guard in its top leadership when it got a new Chief and Vice-Chief.
  • Admiral Sunil Lanba assumed command as the 23rd Chief of the Naval Staff. Later in the day Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh assumed charge as Vice-Chief of Naval Staff.
  • A Navigation and Direction specialist, Admiral Lanba has served as the Navigation and Operations Officer on board numerous ships in both the Eastern and Western Fleets in his nearly four decades-long career.
  • Admiral Lanba served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern and Western Naval Commands, when he provided impetus to skill development, synergising combat operations, coastal security and safety and infrastructure development.

AROUND 53% FAIL IN 10TH EXAM IN BIHAR

  • The results of lass 10 Bihar Board exams , showed only 46. 66% students passed, a dip of 28% compared to last year when 75.17 % had cleared the exam.
  • Out of 15.47 lakh students, as many as 8.21 lakh (53%) have failed and 7.8 lakh have failed in mathematics alone.
  • The pass percentage of boys at 54.44% was almost 17% more than that of girls at 37.61%. Only 10.86 per cent students were able to attain first division as compared to 21.45 per cent students of last year.
  • Significantly, all top 10 students are from a government residential school, Simultala Awasia Vidyalaya of Jamui district, which was opened a few years back on the pattern of Jharkhand’s famous Netarhat School.
  • Last year, when the photograph went viral, the then Education Minister said: “Over 14 lakh students are taking the examination, what can the government do to prevent copying if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate?"
  • But this year, Govt had CCTV cameras installed and 70,000 officials and policemen deployed at the exam centres. The government also decided to slap a fine of up to Rs. 10,000 on those caught using unfair means.

ABOUT $13 MILLION IN BITCOINS WILL BE AUCTIONED IN AUSTRALIA

  • About $13 million in bitcoins will be auctioned in Sydney in June after Australian police confiscated the digital currency as proceeds of crime.
  • Ernst & Young was running the process, which is only the second such bitcoin auction in the world after the U.S. Marshals Service sold 1,44,000 bitcoins over a two-year period that had been confiscated from Ross Ulbricht.
  • Based on current bitcoin price of $533.80, the cryptocurrency is valued at almost $13.1 million.
  • The Victoria State government has confirmed that is had seized about 24,500 bitcoins in late 2013 from a Melbourne drug dealer.
  • Richard Pollard, 32, was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court in October to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking on the Silk Road website
  • Like the U.S. auction, the Australian bitcoins will be mostly sold in lots of 2,000. One lot will contain 2,518.
  • Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows people to purchase goods and services and exchange money without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties.

DALAI LAMA SAYS REFUGEES IN EUROPE SHOULD EVENTUALLY RETURN TO HOME COUNTRIES

  • The Dalai Lama said in an interview that Europe has accepted “too many” refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.
  • “A human being who is a bit more fortunate has the duty to help them. On the other hand, there are too many now,” he said.
  • He added that “from a moral point of view too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily”.

US SAYS EURO 2016 SOCCER TOURNAMENT WILL PRESENT “POTENTIAL TARGETS FOR TERRORISTS”

  • The United States warned its citizens that this summer’s Euro 2016 soccer tournament and related events across France and Europe will present “potential targets for terrorists”.
  • The month-long European Championship finals start in Paris on June 10, drawing the best international teams from the continent and hundreds of thousands of fans.
  • The French government has ruled out cancelling the prestigious tournament, which is expected to draw two million fans to cities across the country.
  • To strengthen security at Euro 2016, France has extended a state of emergency put in place after attacks last November on a concert hall, cafes, police and a football crowd.
  • The State Department travel warning also noted that huge crowds and extra security should be expected in Krakow, Poland, during the Catholic Church’S World Youth Day event between July 26 and 31.

INDIA MAINTAINS ITS POSITION OF FASTEST GROWING MAJOR ECONOMY

  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015-16, increasing overall growth for the entire year to 7.6 per cent and help maintain its position as the fastest-growing major economy.
  • India’s gross value added (GVA) for the year grew by 7.2 per cent in what economists termed a consumption-led recovery.
  • Any movement in investment is due to the public sector. This is being reflected in higher private consumption which is a good thing up to a point.
  • But it does pose a danger of the re-emergence of inflation unless the monsoon is spot on this time.
  • The agriculture sector grew 1.2 per cent compared to the advance estimate of 1.1 per cent. The sector contracted 0.2 per cent in the previous year.
  • Manufacturing grew 9.3 per cent, slower than the 9.5 per cent forecast in the advance estimates. But this is much higher than the 5.5 per cent seen in 2014-15.
  • The consolidated services sector grew 8.8 per cent in 2015-16 compared to 9.05 per cent mentioned in the advance estimates.
  • Private final consumption expenditure, a proxy for private demand, grew at 7.4 per cent in 2015-16 compared to 6.4 per cent in the previous year.
  • Growth in gross fixed capital formation, a measure of private sector investment, slowed down to 3.9 per cent from 4.9 per cent in 2014-15.
  • Construction sector grew 3.9 per cent in 2015-16 compared to 4.4 per cent in the year-earlier period. However, the sector grew at 4.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY16 compared to 2.6 per cent in the year earlier period.
  • Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for the year 2015-16 is now estimated at Rs.113.50 lakh crore, showing a growth rate of 7.6 per cent over the First Revised Estimates of GDP for the year 2014-15 of Rs.105.52 lakh crore
  • The statistics office also revised downwards the GDP growth rate for the previous quarters of 2015-16. The first quarter grew at 7.5 per cent, slightly lower than the 7.6 per cent as per the advance estimates.
  • The second quarter witnessed a growth rate of 7.6 per cent compared to the 7.7 per cent in the advance estimates. The third quarter grew at 7.2 per cent compared to the previous estimate of 7.3 per cent.

CORE SECTOR GROWTH REMAINED POSITIVE FOR THE FIFTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

  • Core sector output remained in the positive territory for the fifth consecutive month with an 8.5 per cent year-on-year growth in April due better performance by petroleum refinery, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity sectors.
  • This is the highest since the 8.54 per cent growth recorded in November 2014.
  • The eight core industries comprise nearly 38 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The core sector growth had contracted 0.2 per cent in April 2015.
  • A number of core sector industries such as petroleum refinery products and cement have shown excellent growth (in April) due to extremely low base.
  • However, growth in electricity output remains the bright spot. Even growth in cement output is encouraging and appears to be benefiting from the revival of road sector.
  • Petroleum refinery production rose 17.9 per cent in April 2016 (as against -2.9 per cent in April 2015) while fertiliser output increased by 7.8 per cent (-0.04 per cent in April 2015) and steel production jumped 6.1 per cent (0.01 per cent in April 2015).
  • Cement output went up by 4.4 per cent (-1.4 per cent in April 2015) while electricity generation increased by 14.7 per cent (-0.5 per cent in April 2015).
  • The areas of concern included coal production that shrank 0.9 per cent (8.1 per cent in April 2015) and crude oil production that contracted by 2.3 per cent ( -2.5 per cent in April 2015).
  • Natural gas production also decreased by 6.8 per cent (-3.6 per cent in April 2015).
  • The core sector output had slipped into the negative territory in November 2015 when it shrunk by 1.3 per cent.

CREDIT RATING AGENCY FITCH SAYS PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS CREDIT PROFILE WORRISOME

  • The credit profiles of state-run banks are under pressure following huge losses in the past two consecutive quarters, which have weakened their core capital adequacy, says international ratings agency Fitch.
  • Following the asset quality review by the RBI, the banks, have reported close to Rs.2 trillion worth of fresh NPAs in the last two quarters taking the total stressed accounts to Rs.8 trillion or over 13 per cent of the system.
  • The 45 listed banks have identified as much as Rs.5.81 trillion worth of loans as NPAs alone as of March 2016.
  • “State-run banks’ inability to strengthen their capital in a timely manner could have a potentially negative impact on their ability to achieve balance-sheet stability, pursue credit growth and defend market share in the long-term.
  • Noting that core capital ratios for many public sector banks are close to or below the Basel-III 2019 minimum regulatory requirement of 8 per cent.
  • It said the domestic banking sector was unlikely to build capital through internal capital generation in the light of the dim earnings outlook, at least for the next two years due to provisioning pressure.
  • Fitch ratings said cumulative losses at Indian public-sector banks in second half of the past fiscal year were more than double the government’s capital injection in the financial year 2015-16.
  • They had eroded nearly 15 per cent of capital as of financial year 2014-15. This has heightened the sector’s need for additional external capital.
  • Though the recent RBI steps to allow part of the revaluation reserves into core equity has helped counter some of the pressure, but it is not enough, keeping in mind the higher capital requirements.
  • The report also notes that there are few options for the private sector capital to flow in now and their ability to approach the capital markets is likely to remain weak.
  • The state-run banks face higher capital risks with their average net NPL to equity ratio at around 70 per cent against 8 per cent for private banks.
  • The note said the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code may significantly improve resolution timeframe in a timely and effective manner.
  • So is the recent RBI move to cap banks’ exposure to large corporate borrowers, as it can further reduce systemic risk by limiting concentration risk to large corporates.

 


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Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2016 06:36
 

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