Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - JUNE - 2016
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016 03:43

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

14 - JUNE - 2016

 

GOTTHARD BASE TUNNEL, WORLD'S LONGEST AND DEEPEST RAIL TUNNEL, INAUGURATED IN SWITZERLAND

Switzerland inaugurated Gotthard Base Tunnel, world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel. The tunnel is also the first flat low-level route through the Alps.

It took 17 years and 12.2 billion Swiss francs to construct the tunnel.

About Gotthard Base Tunnel

The Gotthard Base Tunnel has route length of 57.09 km and a total of 151.84 km of tunnels, shafts and passages.

It is a part of the AlpTransit project, also known as the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA).

It is situated 2.3km deep under the Alps.

It is the third tunnel connecting the cantons of Uri and Ticino after the Gotthard Tunnel and the Gotthard Road Tunnel.

The main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight.

The construction of the tunnel began in 1996 after 64 percent of Swiss voters accepted the AlpTransit project in a 1992 referendum.

Drilling operations in the eastern tunnel were completed on 15 October 2010 in a ceremony broadcast live on Swiss TV.

INDEX OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION OF EIGHT CORE INDUSTRIES FOR APRIL 2016 RELEASED

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of eight Core Industries for April 2016 was released. These eight industries comprise nearly 38 percent of the weight of items included in the Index.

The total of Indices of Eight Core Industries stands at 176.4 in April 2016 which is 8.5 percent more than that of April 2015. Its cumulative growth during April to March 2015-16 was 2.7 percent.

Production & Cumulative Index of Eight Core Industries

Coal: The production with a weight of 4.38 percent was decreased by 0.9 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index increased by 4.6 percent.

Crude Oil: The production with a weight of 5.22 percent was decreased by 2.3 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index decreased by 1.4 percent.

Natural Gas: The production with a weight of 1.71 percent was decreased by 6.8 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index was declined by 4.2 percent.

Refinery Products (93 percent of Crude Throughput): The production with a weight of 5.94 percent was increased by 17.9 percent in April 2016 over April, 2015. Its cumulative index increased by 3.8 percent.

Fertilizers: The production with a weight of 1.25 percent was increased by 7.8 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index increased by 11.3 percent.

Steel (Alloy + Non-Alloy): The production with a weight of 6.68 percent was increased by 6.1 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index was declined by 1.4 percent.

Cement: The production with a weight of 2.41 percent was increased by 4.4 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index was increased by 4.7 percent.

Electricity: The generation of Electricity with a weight of 10.32 percent was increased by 14.7 percent in April 2016 over April 2015. Its cumulative index increased by 5.2 percent.

ASIA’S LARGEST TECHNOLOGY TRADE SHOW COMPUTEX STARTED IN TAIPEI

Asia’s largest technology trade show COMPUTEX was started in Taipei. It is attracting more than 1600 companies from 30 countries to showcase their latest products.

This became the biggest trade show with the highest number of nations participating in last five years.

COMPUTEX will end on 4 June 2016 and organisers expect the event to attract more than 130000 visitors.

Highlights of the COMPUTEX

• Taiwan’s HTC drew the most media attention for its Virtual Reality (VR) headset Vive that debuted in February 2016.

• HTC showed its first in-house VR game called Front Defense, which allows players to fight enemies using a variety of weapons, from pistols and rifles to rocket launchers.

• It also featured the world’s first VR fitness experience called Holodia.

• MSI came up with its first backpack-sized PC for VR gaming. It allows players to carry the computer around without tripping over wires while playing with VR headsets.

• It is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2016.

• ASUS unveiled its first robot called Zenbo which was mainly designed as a personal assistant for senior citizens and children at home.

PRIME MINISTER RELEASES NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT PLAN TO MAKE INDIA DISASTER RESILIENT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). The plan aims to make India disaster resilient and reduce loss of lives.

It is the first of its kind of national plan prepared in India. It emphasizes on a greater need for Information, Education and Communication activities to prepare communities to cope with disasters.

The plan is based on the four priority themes of the Sendai Framework namely:

i. Understanding disaster risk,

ii. Improving disaster risk governance,

iii. Investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural measures),

iv. Disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.

Key Features of the Plan

• It covers all phases of disaster management: prevention, mitigation, response and recovery.

• It provides for horizontal and vertical integration among all the agencies and departments of the government.

• The plan also spells out the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government right up to Panchayat and Urban Local Body level in a matrix format.

• The plan has a regional approach that will be beneficial for disaster management along with development planning.

• It is designed in such a way that it can be implemented in a scalable manner in all phases of disaster management.

• It also identifies major activities such as early warning, information dissemination, medical care, fuel, transportation, search and rescue, evacuation, etc. to serve as a checklist for agencies responding to a disaster.

• It also provides a generalized framework for recovery and offers flexibility to assess a situation and build back better.

RAHUL JOHRI ASSUMES CHARGE AS FIRST EVER CEO OF BCCI

Rahul Johri assumed charge as first ever chief executive officer (CEO) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai.  He was appointed on the recommendation of the Justice Lodha Committee.

About Rahul Johri

• He will be report to the BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke and will be based at headquarters of BCCI in Mumbai.

• He will be responsible for “smooth functioning of operations, stakeholder management and building robust strategies for promoting of sport.

• Before joining BCCI, he served as Asia Pacific's Executive Vice-President for Discovery Networks and General Manager for South Asia.

•He had an experience in the media industry over 20 plus years.

• He is widely respected in the broadcasting industry for converting Discovery to a 11-channel bouquet.

• He was associated with Discovery Networks for the last 15 years and was leading South Asia operations for the past eight years.

UNION CABINET APPROVES SETTING UP OF INDIA POST PAYMENTS BANK

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) as a Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts, with 100% Government of India (GOI) equity.

These banks will be established at an expense of 800 crore rupees and rolled out in the entire country in a phased manner.

The IPPB will obtain banking licence from RBI by March 2017 and by September 2017.

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)

• It will allow all citizens of India, especially the 40% of the country's population that is outside the ambit of formal banking in the country will benefit from this project.

• Its services will be available across the country through 650 payments bank branches, linked post offices and alternative channels riding on modern technology including mobiles, ATMs, PoS/m-PoS devices etc and simple digital payments.

• It will help is furthering the cause of financial inclusion

• It will generate new employment opportunities for skilled banking professionals and will generate opportunities for propagating financial literacy across the country.

• It will create the largest bank in the world in terms of accessibility and in time, will encourage the move towards a less cash economy.

Background
Setting-up of the IPPB to further financial inclusion was one of the budgetary announcements during 2015-16. The Department of Posts had obtained the "in-principle approval" of the RBI in September 2015 to set up the India Post Payments Bank.

The India Post Payments Bank will leverage the Department’s network, reach, and resources to make simple, low-cost, quality financial services easily accessible to customers all over the country.

UNION CABINET APPROVES MOU BETWEEN DGCA AND FRENCH CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY

The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA) and the French Civil Aviation Authority.

The MoU was signed to implement Technical Cooperation Programme for promotion and implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Highlights of the MoU

• The Technical Cooperation programme will be beneficial for enhancement of skills and expertise of DGCA’s officers.

• This MoU is also beneficial for implementation of the cooperation between the two parties for imparting training of engineers, technicians, managers etc.

• It will also include any other subject that is relevant to the common DGAC and DGCA areas of interest.

• The specific activities to be performed by DGCA of India and French Civil Aviation Authority under this MOU will be carried out by mutual consent.

• The MoU would be for a term of four years.

Actions agreed upon by both sides for implementation of MoU

• By exchanging information concerning the various techniques used to reach the objectives;

• By sending French experts or instructors to India for training missions; and

• By receiving experts, or instructors of India, in France for training missions.

INDIA, QATAR MOU ON TOURISM APPROVED BY UNION CABINET

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Qatar for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

The main objectives of the MoU are:

• It will create favourable conditions for long-term co-operation in the field of tourism for the mutual benefits.

• It will help in exchange of expertise, publications, information/data and statistics related to tourism.

• It will encourage cooperation through the exchange of programmes, propaganda and advertising materials, publications, films, promotion and marketing of their tourism products via media etc.

• It will help in exchange visits of tour operators/media/opinion makers for promotion of two way tourism.

• It will help in encouraging the co-operation between tourism sectors, tour operators, travel agents and other tourism private sector's firms and bureaus in the two countries.

• It will also help in encouraging public and the private sectors to invest in tourism.

Other Cabinet approvals related to MoU with Qatar

• Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of qualifications: It will facilitate workforce mobility, skill development and placement of youth in overseas jobs in Qatar.

• Signing and ratification of Agreement on Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters: It aims at entering into a bilateral Agreement on co-operation Customs matters. It will help in availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences. It will also facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the countries.

HIGH COURT OF KERALA STAYED THE DIRECTIVE OF NGT

  • Providing a respite to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, (KSRTC), private bus operators and owners of diesel vehicles of 2,000 cc and above, the Kerala High Court stayed the directive of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
  • Kochi Special Circuit Bench of the NGT banned diesel vehicles older than 10 years in six cities in the State.
  • Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar had earlier stayed the tribunal’s directive restraining the State government from registering new diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above except that of the public or local authorities.
  • In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India and others case had prohibited use of diesel vehicles of more than 15 years in Delhi after granting the bus operators reasonable time to replace their vehicles.
  • The court observed that a perusal of the apex court judgment would indicate that the decision was rendered having regard to the air pollution level in the national capital region of Delhi.
  • The court also referred to the arguments of the counsel that the air quality level in the State was far superior to that in Delhi.
  • That apart, no data was available with the tribunal regarding the air quality level prevailing in the six cites.

INDIA HOPES TO GET THE SUPPORT OF CHINA FOR NSG MEMBERSHIP

  • As the two-day extraordinary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group discussing membership applications came to a close, Indian negotiators are sensing a chance at working with China to convince it of New Delhi’s qualifications to enter the group.
  • The final decision is expected at the NSG annual plenary in Seoul on June 24-25, when the 48 members must decide by consensus on applications by India and Pakistan.
  • Sources said the two-day session saw several questions raised by diplomats that indicated which way the countries will stand, giving India a sense of whom they should target in the next two weeks.
  • Among the other unconvinced countries are Turkey, Kazakhstan and Ireland, while Mexico and Switzerland have switched over to support India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to these countries.

CHINESE PRESIDENT MIGHT VISIT NEPAL THIS YEAR

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to visit Nepal in October following his participation in the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit in Panaji, the South China Morning Post reported.
  • The presidential visit will cap growing ties between Kathmandu and Beijing, which acquired a high profile after China became an energy supplier to Nepal, breaking India’s monopoly in fuel exports, in the midst of a violent agitation over the adoption of Nepal’s new Constitution.
  • apart from an “assessment” of the possibility of Mr. Xi’s visit, two other topics were prominently discussed during Admiral Sun’s talks with Nepal’s Defence Minister.
  • First, the visiting Admiral discussed the extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway to Kathmandu and further to Lumbini, close to the border with India.
  • Last month an international freight train left for Nepal from Lanzhou in China’s Gansu province, to cover a distance of 2,431 km to Xigaze in Tibet, the last railhead.
  • The goods were then to be transported by road to the Geelong land port in Nepal, and further to Kathmandu, 160 km away.
  • Second, the two sides discussed Nepal’s integration in China’s One Belt One Road, Eurasian connectivity project. China-Nepal ties acquired fresh momentum during the visit to China by Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in March.
  • Nepal’s Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun left for a week long visit to Kunming, which is hosting a China-South Asia expo, apart from a meeting of the China-South Asia think tank forum.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR WANTS BRITAIN TO STAY IN EU

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed she hoped that Britain would vote to remain in the European Union in a June 23 referendum that her Finance Minister labelled a “wakeup call.”
  • Britain and Germany have traditionally been allies in the EU on matters such as free trade.
  • She added that “we have very close cooperation on many questions with Great Britain, and would of course like to continue this within the framework of the European Union.”
  • Germany has the biggest economy in the 28-nation bloc, and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told Der Spiegel magazine that a British exit, known as Brexit, would bad for both Britain and the EU. “
  • Mr. Schäuble said if it comes to a British exit, that the possibility of other countries following Britain’s lead “cannot be ruled out.”
  • Even if Britain’s voters choose to remain in the European Union, the referendum itself shows a dissatisfaction that EU leaders can’t ignore, the Finance Minister added in his remarks.

U.S. HAS ASKED PAK TO ENSURE THAT ITS TERRITORY IS NOT USED FOR PLANNING ATTACKS IN INDIA

  • The U.S. has asked Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used for planning attacks in India, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said terrorism is being “incubated in India’s neighbourhood.”
  • “We believe that Pakistan and India stand to benefit from practical cooperation and encourage direct dialogue aimed at increasing cooperation and reducing tensions,” State Department Deputy Spokesman said.
  • “And that includes steps by Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to plan attacks in India and that Pakistan takes steps to address or to go after, I think, all the terrorist groups that are currently using its territory.
  • That continues to be an area of collaboration and cooperation that we pursue with Pakistan is its counterterrorism operations,” Mr. Toner said.

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY OF TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE DEVELOPED

  • Scientists have turned carbon dioxide into stone in a matter of months by pumping it deep underground, offering a revolutionary new way of storing the greenhouse gas to tackle climate change.
  • The pioneering experiment in Iceland mixed CO{-2}emissions with water and pumped it hundreds of metres underground into volcanic basalt rock — where it rapidly turned into a solid.
  • Previous attempts to inject CO{-2}into sandstone soils or deep saline aquifers have struggled, as they relied on capping rocks to hold the gas down — triggering fears it could eventually leak.
  • In contrast, the Carbfix project at Iceland’s Hellisheidi plant — the world’s largest geothermal facility, which powers Reykjavik — sought to solidify the CO2.
  • The plant produces 40,000 tons of CO{-2}a year — just five percent of the emissions of a similarly sized coal plant, but still significant. In 2012, they began pumping 250 tons of CO{-2}mixed with water underground.
  • Encouraged by the success, the company has scaled up the project and from this summer will be burying some 10,000 tonnes of CO{-2}each year.
  • A 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that without carbon sequestration technology, adequately limiting global warming could prove impossible.
  • Basalt makes up most of the world’s seafloors and approximately 10 per cent of continental rocks, according to the study’s researchers.
  • A porous, blackish rock, basalt is rich in calcium, iron and magnesium, minerals researchers said are needed to solidify carbon for storage.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NAMED INDO-US TIES AS “MODI DOCTRINE”

  • Describing the visit of PM Modi as “historic”, the Obama Administration has named his vision of Indo-U.S. ties as “Modi Doctrine” that has overcome the “hesitations of history” and working for the betterment of the global good.
  • “The most important outcome in my mind of the visit this week and of the years of effort that preceded it is the clear and compelling vision that was laid out by Prime Minister Modi before joint session of the U.S. Congress,”.
  • Mr. Modi in his speech furthered his bold vision of India-U.S. partnership that could anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa, from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and help ensure the security of the sea lanes of commerce.

INDIA, JAPAN AND US STARTED MALABAR EXERCISE

  • The navies of India, Japan and the U.S. started the annual Malabar naval exercises in Japan, close to islands contested by China.
  • This also comes just after PM Modi’s visit to the U.S. during which India was declared a major defence partner of the U.S.
  • The location of the war games, which will be conducted over hundreds of miles, is of particular interest as they are not very far from the Air Defence Identification Zone imposed by China over the East China Sea in November 2013.
  • It includes the Senkaku Islands, controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing, and the nine dash line.
  • The exercise also comes at a time of increased sighting of Chinese submarines in India’s own backyard, close to Sri Lanka.
  • The harbour phase is conducted from June 10 to 13 at Sasebo, and the sea phase will take place from June 14 to 17 off the Okinawa prefecture in the Philippine Sea.
  • The major emphasis will be on anti-submarine drills and protecting aircraft carriers from hostile assets lurking under water. Additionally, the special forces of the three navies will interact during the exercise.

RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR HAS FOR THE FIRST TIME SURPASSED HYDRO POWER GENERATION

  • Helped by policy initiatives and early stage private investments in solar and wind power, the renewable energy sector has for the first time surpassed hydro power generation.
  • According to the Central Electricity Authority data, the total capacity of renewable energy sector increased to 42,849.38 MW, surpassing the total capacity of hydro power sector at 42,783.42 MW.
  • The total capacity of the thermal sector stood at 2,11,420.40 MW, the data showed.
  • The renewable energy investments in solar and wind have benefited from a strong central policy and several years of early-stage private sector investment, respectively.
  • In contrast, hydro power suffered from multiple challenges, including non-availability of long-term financing; the cost imposed by royalty power to be offered free to the state government; and limited opportunities for the private sector.
  • The government has ambitious plans for deployment of 175 GW renewable power capacities by 2022, including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind, which may require investment of around $150 billion in the next seven years.

MANUFACTURING CONTRACTED 3.1 PERCENT

  • A contraction in manufacturing output dragged industrial production growth back in to the negative zone in April, rekindling concerns if a turnaround has indeed taken place and also raising fresh worries over the quality of the data.
  • Factory output shrank 0.8 per cent in April, its first decline in three months, official data showed. It had expanded three per cent in April last year.
  • Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over three-fourths of the IIP, contracted 3.1 per cent in April compared to a growth of 3.9 per cent in same month last year.
  • Capital goods output declined nearly 25 per cent in April, indicating that the investment climate continues to remain subdued. It had grown 5.5 per cent during the same month last year.
  • The contraction in the consumer non-durable segment’s output, of 9.7 per cent, pulled down the overall consumer goods sector. It dipped 1.2 per cent against growth of 2.8 per cent in April 2015.
  • Consumer durables production, however, continued to do well. It grew 11.8 per cent, faster than 1.3 per cent a year ago, showing a revival in demand.
  • The sectoral break-up shows that electricity generation growth quickened to a one year high of 14.6 per cent against the marginal decline of 0.5 per cent a year ago.
  • The mining sector improved with its output growing 1.4 per cent against the contraction of 0.6 per cent a year ago.
  • IIP data has been inconsistent with GDP data: While the CSO data put real manufacturing growth at 9.3 per cent in the January-March period, it was at odds with the IIP data for the same quarter, which showed a mere increase of 0.2 per cent.

 

 

 


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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2016 08:58
 

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