Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 12 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 12 - JUNE - 2016
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Monday, 13 June 2016 06:15

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

12 - JUNE - 2016

 

NASA SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOYS BIGELOW EXPANDABLE ACTIVITY MODULE

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Bigelow Aerospace successfully deployed the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the International Space Station. It is the first experimental inflatable room attached to the space station.

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM)

• It is an expandable habitat technology demonstration for the International Space Station.

• Expandable habitats greatly decrease the amount of transport volume for future space missions.

• These expandables are lightweight and require minimal payload volume on a rocket, but expand after being deployed in space to potentially provide a comfortable area for astronauts to live and work.

• They also provide a varying degree of protection from solar and cosmic radiation, space debris, atomic oxygen, ultraviolet radiation and other elements of the space environment.

Mission Highlights

• BEAM is scheduled to launch on the eighth SpaceX Commercial Resupply Service mission.

• After being attached to the Tranquility Node using the station’s robotic Canadarm2, it will be filled with air to expand it for a two-year test period in which astronauts aboard the space station will conduct a series of tests to validate overall performance and capability of expandable habitats.

• After two-year test and validation period, BEAM will be robotically jettisoned from the space station, leaving orbit to burn during its descent through Earth’s atmosphere much like many cargo spacecraft do.

• It could lead to future development of expandable habitation structures for future crews traveling in deep space.

• The BEAM project is co-sponsored by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

• It pioneers innovative approaches to rapidly and affordably develop prototype systems for future human exploration missions.

• The BEAM demonstration supports an AES objective to develop a deep space habitat for human missions beyond Earth orbit.

LEWIS HAMILTON WINS 2016 MONACO F1 GRAND PRIX

Lewis Hamilton won the 2016 Monaco F1 Grand Prix. He emerged victorious in a close battle with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

The Formula One motor race was held at the Circuit de Monaco, a street circuit that runs through the Principality of Monaco. It was the sixth round of the 2016 season.

About Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is a British Formula One racing driver from England.

He currently races for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team.

He is the 2008, 2014 and 2015 Formula One World Champion.

In his first season in Formula One, he set numerous records while finishing second in the 2007 Formula One Championship.

He won the World Championship the following season, becoming the then-youngest Formula One world champion in history before Sebastian Vettel broke the record two years later.

Following his second world title in 2014, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In 2015, he became the first British driver in history to win consecutive F1 titles.

He is the only driver in the history of the sport to have won at least one race in each season he has competed to date.

About Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One motor race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco.

It is run since 1929.

It is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world.

The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One.

It is the only Grand Prix that does not adhere to the FIA's mandated 305-kilometre minimum race distance.

Nico Rosberg was the winner of the 2015 Monaco F1 Grand Prix.

ALASTAIR COOK BECOMES YOUNGEST CRICKETER TO SCORE 10000 TEST RUNS

England cricket captain Alastair Cook became youngest Cricketer to score 10000 test runs.

Cook, who is 31 years, 5 months, 5 days old, achieved the fete on the fourth day of the second test against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street by flicking Nuwan Pradeep to the deep mid wicket fence for a boundary. It was his 128th Test.

Cook went on to make 47 not out as England won the Test by nine wickets.

The previous record was held by Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar who reached the landmark score against Pakistan at Eden Gardens in 2005. He achieved the same at the age of 31 years, 10 months and 20 days.

Youngest Players to achieve fete of 10000 Test runs include

• Alastair Cook (England): He achieved the fete on 20 May 2016 at the age of 31 years, 5 months and 5 days

• Sachin Tendulkar (India): He achieved the fete on 16 March 2005 at the age of 31 years, 10 months and 20 days

• Jacques Kallis (South Africa): He achieved the fete on 27 February 2009 at the age of 33 years, 4 months and 11 days

• Ricky Ponting (Australia): He achieved the fete on 30 May 2008 at the age of    33 years, 5 months and 11 days

• Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka): He achieved the fete on 26 December 2011 at the age of 34 years, 6 months and 29 days

Cook, the leading Test run-scorer of England, is the 12th player in the history to score 10000 Test runs and only the second opener. The first was Sachin Tendulkar.

The other ten players include Allan Border, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, Sunil Gavaskar, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Steve Waugh.

42nd G7 SUMMIT CONCLUDED IN JAPAN

The 42nd G7 Summit was held at Ise-Shima in Japan for 2-days. During the summit, the member countries discussed a wide range of major global economic and political challenges and approved the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration.

The summit assumed significance as it was the first one to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda by the United Nations in September 2015.

During the summit, global economy and trade, climate change and energy, development, health and quality infrastructure investment were discussed by the leaders.
The Summit was attended by all the seven members’ viz., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the European Commission (EC). EC is a permanently welcome participant in all meetings and decision-making since 1981.

ADMIRAL SUNIL LANBA TAKES CHARGE AS 21ST NAVY CHIEF

Admiral Sunil Lanba took over as Chief of Naval Staff. 58-year-old Lanba, a specialist in Navigation and Direction, will have the full three-year tenure as the Navy Chief.

Lanba succeeded Admiral RK Dhowan.

An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Lanba is the 21st Indian to be the Navy Chief. The first two were British.

Admiral Lanba

• Born on 17 July 1957, Lanba is a recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) and Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) for distinguished service of an exceptionally high order.

• His operational and staff experience in a career spanning more than three decades include

a) He served as Navigating Officer of corvette INS Sindhudurg and frigate INS Dunagiri.

b) He has commanded four frontline warships namely INS Kakinada (minesweeper), INS Himgiri (frigate) and INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai, both destroyers.

• He is also an alumnus of the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, where he has served as a faculty.

• Lanba held key staff assignments such as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet and the Chief of Staff, Southern and Eastern Naval Commands.

• He was also the Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area and Commandant, National Defence College.

• He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi, prior to being appointed to head the Western Naval Command. He took over as the Vice Chief on 2 June 2014.

REAL MADRID WINS 2016 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Real Madrid won the 2016 European champions title. In the titled clash, Real Madrid defeated their city rivals Atletico Madrid via a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw.

This was Madrid’s 11th European Champion title.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning penalty in a 5-3 shootout victory against Atletico Madrid. Atletico earlier lost in their two previous finals appearances.

Apart from this, this win also helped Real Madrid’s former player Zinedine Zidane to celebrate as with this, he also became the seventh man to claim the trophy as both a player and a manager. Zidane was appointed as manager of Real Madrid in January 2016.

PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI ADDRESSED JOINT SESSION OF THE U.S. CONGRESS

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi combined poetry, humour and rhetoric to outline his vision for India’s partnership with the U.S in the 21st century, addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
  • This was Mr. Modi’s first address and he became the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the Congress.
  • Mr Modi called for deepening U.S.- India security cooperation to tackle global terrorism, based on a policy that “delinks religion from terrorism.”
  • Effusive in his enthusiasm for India’s partnership with the U.S “in every sector of India’s forward march, I see the U.S as an indispensable partner”.
  • “As we deepen our partnership, there would be times when we would have differing perspectives. But since our interests and concerns converge, the autonomy in decision-making and diversity in our perspectives can only add value to our partnership,” Mr. Modi said even as a section in the U.S. capital.
  • With Pakistan in mind, PM Modi said that terrorism was being "incubated in India’s neighbourhood”, and pressed for action without against groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba who share the “same philosophy of hate, murder and killings".
  • Mr. Modi said terrorism has to be fought with “one voice” as he commended the American lawmakers for sending out a clear message in refusing to “reward” those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains.
  • Mr. Modi said India and the U.S. had overcome “the hesitations of history”, and called for ever-stronger economic and defence ties between the two countries.

INDIA HAS FURTHER LIBERALISED THE VISA REGIME FOR CHINESE CITIZENS

  • In line with the decision taken last year, India has further liberalised the visa regime for Chinese citizens.
  • India has already rolled out electronic tourist visa-on-arrival facility for Chinese and more recently, removed the need for prior approval for conference visas.
  • Conference visas are issued for seminars, workshops and conferences organised by government departments, Union ministries, public sector undertakings, central educational institutions or public funded universities.
  • Earlier, China was bracketed with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, foreigners of Pakistani origin and stateless persons under the restricted category, requiring prior security clearance from the intelligence agencies for obtaining a visa.
  • However, Beijing is yet to reciprocate to New Delhi demand for a similar arrangement for its citizens.
  • The timing of the move is being seen as an attempt to soften the atmosphere in the run-up to the meetings of the NSG in Vienna.

MONSOON ARRIVES IN WESTERN COAST

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared that the monsoon had arrived over Kerala, a day later than its forecast date of June 7.
  • Though it has been raining heavily in Kerala for well over a week — prompting private weather forecasters such as Skymet, to declare that the monsoon set in on May 30 — these rains have only qualified as ‘pre monsoon’ showers.
  • The meteorological department has an elaborate set of criteria to be fulfilled before it declares the onset of the monsoon over Kerala.
  • After May 10, at least eight of 14 stations across Kerala and Karnataka have to register at least 2.5 mm of rain, and monsoon-bearing winds have to be at least of 30-40 kmph velocity and below 600 hPa (approximately upto 4.5km) over the south Arabian Sea.
  • Another key parameter, the Outgoing Longwave Radiation — an indicator of convection — has to be below 200 W/m2.

ON DEFENCE AND COOPERATION US AND INDIA HAVE MADE GREAT STRIDES

  • India and the U.S. have different interpretations of what they agreed upon at the talks on the Paris Agreement on climate change when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama met.
  • But on defence and cooperation in Asia-Pacific, both sides agree that they made great strides.
  • The U.S. has recognised India as ‘major defence partner,’ a classification that will allow India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from the U.S.
  • This move will be complemented by India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime, an exclusive club that restricts trade in sensitive defence technologies.
  • The U.S. has also declared that it will be its “strong objective to have India voted as a member “of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), another export control regime, later this month.
  • The joint statement said, “The leaders reached an understanding under which India would receive licence-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies...”
  • While India is enthusiastic about the prospects of technology cooperation, the U.S is more focussed on the progress on climate change.
  • U.S officials, speaking before and after the release of the joint statement, said India has agreed to complete the ratification process within the year 2016.
  • In a curious addition to the set of shared objectives, the joint statement called for the promotion of yoga.

INDIA IS LIKELY TO ASK AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO RELAX COMMITMENT TO THE PELINDABA TREATY

  • On the sidelines of its campaign for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India is likely to ask African countries to relax commitment to the Pelindaba Treaty which controls supply of uranium from key mineral hubs of Africa to the rest of the world.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee would begin the process by trying to convince Namibia next week, during his June 15-18 trip, to implement a bilateral treaty with India and supply uranium to Indian nuclear energy projects.
  • The Pelindaba Treaty signed in 1996, also known as the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, aims at preventing nuclear proliferation and preventing strategic minerals of Africa from being exported freely.
  • India and Namibia signed two MoUs on Cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources and Cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy during the visit of President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba to India in 2009.
  • The visit by Mr. Mukherjee will give India a chance to persuade Namibia to ratify the MoUs of 2009.
  • A major focus of Mr. Mukherjee’s three-nation visit will be on energising India’s existing business ties with Ghana, Namibia and Cote d’Ivoire.

CHINESE MEDIA DOWNPLAYS BEIJING-WASHINGTON STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

  • Chinese state media has called the Beijing-Washington strategic dialogue that concluded as being marginally helpful in easing tensions, which had spiralled on account of the growing discord between the two countries over South China Sea.
  • The China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) dialogue took place following weeks of tensions that peaked when U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, responded harshly to a poser from the Chinese side that Beijing could impose an Air Defence Identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea (SCS).
  • The remarks had followed an article in South China Morning Post (SCMP), which, quoting sources close to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said that China is preparing an ADIZ in the SCS.
  • The possibility that China may enforce an ADIZ, in turn, was fuelled by the U.S. conduct of “freedom of navigation” patrols in the SCS — moves which evoked a robust response from China.
  • In May, the U.S. had launched its third “freedom of navigation” operation in the disputed Spratly Islands, followed by the flight of a U.S. EP-3 Aries surveillance aircraft, which was challenged by two Chinese fighter jets.
  • The back and forth between the U.S. and China mirrored China’s vocal response in the SCS to President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” doctrine.

SYRIA’S PRESIDENT PLANS TO TAKE AWAY EVERY PART FROM IS

  • Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad promised to retake “every inch” of the country from his foes in a defiant speech.
  • The speech by Mr. Assad was his first major address since the effort to mediate an end to the civil war broke down in Geneva in April.
  • It reflected his sense that Russian intervention in the war has bolstered his position — and his ability to remain in power for the foreseeable future — as the war enters its sixth year.
  • The defiance was notable partly because of efforts in recent months by Secretary of State John Kerry and other leaders of a 17-nation collaboration, known as the International Syria Support Group, to set a series of deadlines and limits that Syria could not violate.
  • Every one of the directives has been broken. A ceasefire devised in Munich in February collapsed.
  • Mr. Kerry’s demand at that time — that humanitarian access had to begin within weeks — was briefly observed in a few towns before access was again largely blocked.
  • Mr. Assad was clearthat he had no intention of compromising with his adversaries, and seemed to reject the next deadline: an Aug. 1 target for developing a “transition plan” that President Barack Obama and Mr. Kerry have said must ultimately result in someone else running what is left of Syria.

INDIA HAS SURPASSED JAPAN IN OIL-CONSUMPTION

  • India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer, with its oil demand galloping 8.1 per cent in 2015, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy released.
  • With demand of 4.1 million barrels a day, India is the third-largest consumer behind the U.S. (19.39 million bpd) and China (11.96 million bpd). India accounted for 4.5 per cent of world oil consumption in 2015.
  • India’s demand growth surpassed China’s 6.3 per cent expansion. The U.S. oil consumption grew 1.6 per cent, which accounts for 19.7 per cent of the total world pie of 95 million bpd in 2015.
  • Japan slipped to the fourth spot after its oil usage contracted 3.9 per cent to 4.15 million bpd in 2015. In 2014, it used 4.3 million bpd, ahead of India’s 3.84 million bpd.
  • The review shows that global demand for primary energy grew only 1 per cent in 2015, which is significantly slower than the 10-year average.
  • Oil remained the world’s leading fuel, accounting for 32.9 per cent of global energy consumption and is gaining market share for the first time since 1999. Coal came in as the second-largest fuel by market share (29.2 per cent).
  • Natural gas’ market share of primary energy consumption stood at 23.8 per cent.

INFLATION TO AVERAGE 5 % IN 2016-17

  • A normal monsoon this year will help reign in food inflation and offset rising pressures from crude oil prices and ‘sticky services inflation,’ according to rating agency Crisil.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.5 per cent due to a “sharper-than-anticipated upsurge in inflationary pressures emanating from a number of food items (beyond seasonal effects), as well as a reversal in commodity prices.”
  • A large part of the country is witnessing drought, declining ground-water levels, and shortage in reservoirs, following two consecutive sub-normal monsoons.
  • Rainfall deficiency in 2014 and 2015 stood at 12 per cent and 14 per cent of normal, respectively.
  • In 2015 rainfall received by Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab and West Uttar Pradesh was more than 50 per cent below normal.
  • As per the third advance estimates for 2015, rice output was down two per cent, coarse cereals fell 12 per cent, pulses declined by 0.5 per cent along with sugarcane (0.5 per cent) and oilseeds, (six per cent) exacerbating rural distress.
  • Agriculture GDP growth averaged 0.4 per cent in the last two fiscals, much below the long-term trend of 3 per cent.
  • An above-normal monsoon this year will augment groundwater and reservoir levels and in turn increase crop production, according to the report.
  • The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reiterated its April forecast of a good south-west monsoon — at 106 per cent of the long period average (LPA).
  • However, the report said that the sensitivity of crops to rainfall signals the need for improvement in irrigation facilities, change in cropping patterns, harnessing of rainwater, adoption of water conservation techniques and availability of stable electricity.
  • Also, efficiency of water usage needs to improve. India currently uses 2,800 cubic metre of water to produce 1 tonne of rice, compared with half that – or 1,321 cubic metre – in China.
  • An important source of irrigation in India is groundwater, which accounts for as much as 60 per cent of water used for irrigation. 
    Also, irrigation accounts for close to 90 per cent of the total groundwater consumed in the country — the proportion is 98 per cent and 94 per cent for in Punjab and Haryana, respectively.
  • During the green revolution, the report said, with excessive use of inputs to pump up farm output, farmers increasingly moved towards using groundwater compared with surface water for irrigation.
  • This was supported by government subsidies for electricity supply and irrigation equipment.
  • Excessive use of groundwater has led to depletion of the water table.
  • Between 1993-94 and 2014-15, the share of wells with groundwater less than 10 metre has fallen by 6 percentage points, while that of wells with groundwater more than 60 metre has risen to 6 per cent from 4 per cent, making it increasingly difficult to access ground water.


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