Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 15 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 15 - JUNE - 2016
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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

15- JUNE - 2016

 

INDIA-US MOU ON ENHANCING COOPERATION IN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION APPROVED

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United States (US) and India to enhance cooperation in the field of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking.

The MoU seeks cooperation in the following areas:

• Wildlife Forensics and Conservation Genetics: Useful in species conservation efforts and better scientific evidence collection in wild life crimes leading to better enforcement.

• Natural World Heritage Conservation: Facilitating the institutional capacity of the existing UNESCO Category -2 - centre at Wildlife Institute of India.

• Nature Interpretation and Conservation Awareness: Use of information technology in strengthening interface of forest managers with the people for sensitising people, especially the youth and children in understanding complex issues of conservation of biological diversity.

Benefits of the approval

It will help India to benefit from the expertise of the US Institutions in the field of wildlife conservation and management of wildlife areas.

It will help in combating illegal trade of wildlife and their derivatives.

Comment

With this MoU, India and the US, can share their professional expertise to address priority wildlife conservation concerns. It would also provide a convenient platform for collaboration.

Moreover, the two nations are endowed with rich biodiversity and natural heritage. They also have established a network of Protected Areas in their respective territories.

SACHIN TENDULKAR'S NAME TO BE USED IN KERALA GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN

This was announced by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He said that the cricket icon has given his consent to use his name to strengthen the campaign against liquor and drug abuse in the state.

This agreement was reached when Tendulkar along with three other co-owners of the Kerala Blasters Football Club (KBFC) met Vijayan at the state secretariat. The other co-owners of KBFC are actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi, actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and Prasad.

Besides, KBFC also agreed to set up a residential Football Academy to train young talents in the state.

INDIA, US SIGNED MOU TO ENHANCE COOPERATION ON ENERGY SECURITY, CLEAN ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE

India and the United States (US) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change.

The MoU will provide framework to work more closely not only for betterment of people but also for creating a positive environment for US companies working in India.

It will also provide momentum for cooperative work which needs to be done in fields of energy security, clean energy and climate change.

Objective of the MoU

• To enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change through increased bilateral engagement and further joint initiatives for promoting sustainable growth.

• These activities are intended to increase incentives for innovation including research and development, and voluntary and mutually-agreed technology transfer, as well as the deployment of clean energy technologies.

• Contribute to a global effort to curb the rise in greenhouse gas emissions

• To enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change

The Priority initiatives under the MoU would be:

• US-India Energy smart Cities Partnership

• Greening the Grid

• Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) expansion

• Energy Efficiency including space cooling

• Renewable energy

• Energy security

• Clean energy finance

• US-India partnership for Climate Resilience

• Air quality

• Forestry, Landscapes and REDD+

• Fellowships

• Accelerating innovation on clean energy and climate change

Apart from this, the two nations also inked a pact or exchange of terrorist screening information. As per this Arrangement

• Both sides shall provide each other access to terrorism screening information through the designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations.

• It would also enhance the counter terrorism cooperation between India and USA.

INDIAN BANKER RAGHAVAN SEETHARAMAN AWARDED GREEN ECONOMY VISIONARY AWARD

Raghavan Seetharaman, Qatar-based Indian banker, was awarded the Green Economy Visionary award.

Seetharaman was honoured for his contribution in environment-friendly activities and for promoting green economy for nearly two decades.

The banker was presented with the award at the 2016 Union of Arab Banks International Banking Summit held in Rome. Mohammed Jarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of Union of Arab Banks, presented the award to Seetharaman.

Who is Raghavan Seetharaman?

Raghavan Seetharaman is the Group CEO of Doha Bank, which is one of the largest commercial banks in Qatar.

In 2015, business magazine Forbes ranked Seetharaman 6th in theForbes’ Top Indian Leaders in the Arab World 2015 list.

He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the four largest professional services networks.

In 2002, he became Deputy CEO for Doha Bank.

He was named CEO in September 2007.

He graduated with a degree in commerce from the University of Madras and then became a chartered accountant.

He also earned a double doctorate, first in Global Governance from the European University in 2013 and the second in Green Banking and Sustainability from Sri Sri University in 2015.

He also received an honorary degree (Doctorate of Laws) from the Washington College.

INDIA JOINS HAGUE CODE OF CONDUCT AGAINST BALLISTIC MISSILE PROLIFERATION

India joined the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation as its 138th subscribing state. India joined it by notifying HCoC Central Contact, Vienna, through diplomatic channels.

India’s joining the Code signals its readiness to further strengthen global non-proliferation objectives. Its subscription reinforces its support for international missile non-proliferation.

This will also help to increase transparency and strengthen security.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)

• The HCOC is a voluntary mechanism that has built a broad international predisposition against ballistic missile proliferation.

• It also promotes transparency and confidence building, including through the Subscribing States’ commitment to submit pre-launch notifications and annual declarations of their relevant policies.

• It consists of a set of general principles, modest commitments, and limited confidence-building measures.

• It is intended to supplement, not supplant, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and is administered collectively by all subscribing states.

• It was formally brought into effect on 25 November 2002, at a launching conference hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague. The number of signatories has increased from 96 to 138.

• Formerly, it was known as the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

• The non-subscribing states include countries like China, Pakistan, Israel and Iran.

INDIA ANNOUNCES TO DOUBLE INVESTMENT IN CLEAN ENERGY RESEARCH IN NEXT FIVE YEARS

India announced its plan to double the investment in Clean Energy Research in next five years. At present, India is investing 72 million US dollars in Clean Energy Research and it seeks to double it to 145 million dollars.

This announcement was made by the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan who led the Indian delegation at the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) and the inaugural Mission Innovation (MI) Meet.

The CEM7 and MI meet was held at San Francisco, the US from 1 and 2 June 2016.

The announcement was made along with other MI partner countries who also released plans to double the clean energy research and development funding over the next five years.

New joint collaborations with MI Countries

With the UK, India announced to expand India’s collaboration by setting up a Joint Virtual Clean Energy Centre to address the challenges in solar energy.

With the US, Minister announced to launch a new Research Track on Smart Energy Grids and Energy Storage under the Indo-US Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R).

Global Cooling Challenge launched

It was launched by Dr. Harsh Vardhan at CEM7. The challenge will accelerate the introduction of super-efficient air conditioners which can reduce the energy demand from 60 GW of energy to 40 GW, a saving of over 30%.

In terms of cost saving, it will lead to saving of 2.8 billion dollars in consumer energy bills and and GHG reductions of 20 million tons of CO2 equivalent.

Mission Innovation (MI)

  • Mission Innovation (MI) was launched on 30 November 2015 by 20 participating countries, including India, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris-Le Bourget, France.
  • Mission seeks to accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation ushering in an era of Clean Energy Revolution.
  • India is a Founding Member of the Steering Committee of the Mission Innovation and also a Member of the two sub-groups: Joint Research and Capacity Building and Private Sector Engagement.
  • Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology is coordinating the national efforts towards the Mission.

India’s achievements in the field of Clean Energy

India has successfully implemented the world’s largest LED lighting programme. This programme has seen India lead the way by driving 12% of global LED demand at present, up from 0.1% a couple of years ago.

COMMONWEALTH BOXING COUNCIL GRANTS AFFILIATION TO INDIAN BOXING COUNCIL

The Indian Boxing Council (IBC) was granted affiliation by theCommonwealth Boxing Council (CBC). The affiliation was unanimously endorsed by CBC.

IBC is a licensing body for professional boxers in India which has Vijender Singh among others on its roster.

The IBC so far conducted two fight cards and will hold its biggest event on 16 July 2016 in which Vijender Singh competes for the WBO Asia title.

The CBC will formally register Raja as a Director in its Annual General Meeting scheduled in December 2016.

Indian Boxing Council (IBC)

•It is a National Boxing Governing body that sanctions professional boxing matches and awards national and subordinate championship titles.

• It is the first time in India where there is an opportunity for the Boxers to be professional.

• It also aims to promote and serve the sport of boxing, to implement fair, scientific and objective computerised systems.

• And also to establish uniform safety measures and uniform procedures for the protection of professional boxers as well as the conduct of championship match.

• The organization aspires to encourage and support amateur boxing as being a foundation for professional boxing.

• It also wants to showcase boxing as an activity that improves health, physical fitness, sportsmanship and also encourages a positive lifestyle for young people around the country.

INDIA, TUNISIA SIGN MOUS FOR CO-OPERATION IN IT, HANDICRAFTS SECTOR

India and Tunisia signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation in Information Technology and promotion of traditional handicrafts.

The MoUs were signed after the delegation level talks between the two countries in the presence of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid in Tunis. After the meet, the two nations also released a joint press statement saying that the entire gamut of bilateral as well global issues was discussed. The two sides had discussion on bilateral ties focused on economic partnership and adding new areas of collaboration in IT and education.

The two sides also decided to enhance co-operation in counter terrorism.

Apart from this, Ansari also appreciated Tunisia's support to India's candidature to the expanded United Nations Security Council. He also invited 350 Tunisian citizens to India for training in different institutes over the next five years.

He said that the meeting of the India-Tunisia Joint Committee will be held later in 2016 and focus of the meeting will be promotion of tourism.

UNION TO FORM COMMITTEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL FALLOUT OF VEHICULAR POLLUTION

  • The Union government has agreed to form committees to suggest measures to mitigate the environmental fallout of vehicular pollution in the country.
  • The committees will help the States and the Centre strike a balance between their transport and environmental requirements.
  • The National Green Tribunal had banned diesal vehicles over 10 years from Kerala.
  • The Tribunal had also banned the State from registering diesel powered vehicles having more than 2-litre engine capacity in Kerala. The Kerala High Court has since stayed the orders.
  • As per the motor vehicles rules, the government had collected advance tax for 15 years on all diesel vehicles registered in the State since 2007.
  • The implementation of the NGT order to ban those over 10 years would entail repaying the owners an estimated Rs. 300 crore.
  • Moreover, the order would cripple the State’s transport sector. More than 4,000 KSRTC buses and lakhs of private vehicles would go off the roads. Movement of people and goods would be negatively impacted.
  • Travel would prove to be costlier for the common man. So would transport of goods.
  • The Centre required Kerala to shift more to CNG, biofuel and electric hybrid powered motor vehicles in the long run.

ELECTION FOR 27 SEATS OF UPPER HOUSE CONCLUDED

  • For Rajya Sabha polls the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) help the Congress win two seats — one in Madhya Pradesh and another in Uttarakhand.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, where elections were held for 11 seats, the BJP won just one seat.
  • The victors in U.P. included party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s one time alter ego Amar Singh and Beni Prasad Verma, both of whom returned to the party recently, and senior leader Reoti Raman Singh.
  • The Congress’s Kapil Sibal also trounced the BJP-backed independent socialite Preeti Mahapatra with the help of the BSP.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP’s M.J. Akbar and Anil Dave sailed through.
  • Earlier, 30 of the total 57 seats in the current round of biennial elections to the Upper House were decided without a contest.
  • In Karnataka, the Congress won three seats. The fourth seat in the State was won by Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • Rajasthan saw the BJP’s Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, party Vice President Om Prakash Mathur, former RBI official Ram Kumar Sharma and Harsh Vardhan Singh emerge victorious.

RAW FOOTAGE OF JNU FOUND AUTHENTIC

  • The raw footage of the February 9 JNU event, on which a sedition case was registered against JNUSU president and two others, has been found to be authentic by the CBI forensic lab.
  • The raw footage , obtained from a Hindi news channel, was sent to the CBI forensic lab here for examination along with camera, memory card, a CD containing the clip, wires and other equipment.
  • Earlier, Delhi police had sent four clips to the Gandhinagar-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory which in its report, in May, had said that they were genuine.
  • Police maintained that the FIR was registered on the basis of the raw video footage, obtained from a news channel on a CD, and not on the clippings that were aired on TV channels.

STUDY SUGGESTS FRANCE FLOOD ARE RELATED TO GLOBAL WARNING

  • Torrential rains which caused flooding in France recently bore the unmistakable fingerprint of climate change.
  • Global warming, especially in the last 50 years, had almost doubled the likelihood of the kind of three-day downpour that burst the banks of the Seine and Loire rivers, they calculated.
  • At the very least, the probability of such an extreme rainfall event had increased by more than 40 percent.
  • The Seine hit its highest water mark in three decades, while overflowing tributaries forced evacuations and left tens of thousands of people without power in nearby towns.
  • In southern Germany, heavy rains also caused flash flooding that swept away houses and cars. At least 18 people were killed in four European countries.
  • Unlike for France, the evidence was not strong enough to establish a direct link between warming and the destructive rainfall in Germany, the researchers said.
  • This does not mean that climate change did not play a key role, only that observations failed to line up with the models well enough to draw similarly robust conclusions.
  • Part of the explanation lies in basic physics. A warmer atmosphere can hold — and discharge — more water. So far, man-made warming has increased Earth’s average surface temperature by about one degree Celsius.
  • On current trends, that temperature is set to rise by another 2.0 degree Celsius, even taking into account national pledges made by virtually all the world’s nations last year to slash carbon pollution.

BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT STARTED NATIONWIDE CRACKDOWN ON ULTRA'S

  • Bangladesh police have arrested more than 3,000 people in a sweeping nationwide crackdown following a spate of gruesome murders, as the Prime Minister vowed to catch “each and every killer”.
  • Those detained include 37 suspected Islamist militants and hundreds of potential criminals who previously had warrants out against them, as well as several hundred ordinary arrests, police said.
  • Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of brutal killings that have spiked in recent weeks, with religious minorities, secular thinkers and liberal activists the chief targets.
  • The Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is one of the main domestic militant outfits blamed by the government, which rejects claims from Islamic State group that they are behind the killings.
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a meeting of her ruling Awami League party on Saturday that police would stamp out the violence.
  • However, Bangladesh opposition parties immediately accused the police of using the crackdown to suppress political dissent.
  • Police detained some 350 people in the country’s second-largest city of Chittagong and its surrounding areas.
  • In recent days an elderly Hindu priest was found nearly decapitated in a rice field, while a Christian grocer was hacked to death near a church, with Islamic State group claiming responsibility for the killings.
  • A Hindu monastery worker was found hacked to death on Friday in the northwestern district of Pabna.

THIRTEEN TOP BRITAIN SCIENTISTS AGAINST BREXIT

  • Thirteen of Britain’s top scientists signed a letter backing the campaign to remain in the EU after a dramatic new poll boosted the momentum behind the Brexit campaign less than two weeks before the June 23 referendum.
  • Nobel Prize winners including Peter Higgs — after whom the Higgs Boson is named — and geneticist Paul Nurse said the loss of research funding would be one consequence of leaving the bloc.
  • “Science thrives on permeability of ideas and people, and flourishes in environments that pool intelligence, minimise barriers, and are open to free exchange and collaboration.
  • “The EU provides such an environment and scientists value it highly.”
  • An online ORB poll for The Independent newspaper sent sterling falling after indicating that 55 per cent of Britons want to leave the EU, compared to 45 per cent who want to stay.
  • An average of the last six opinion polls by academics at the What U.K. Thinks project indicates the race is tied, with each side on 50 per cent.
  • Elsewhere on Saturday, Germany’s top selling weekly magazine Der Spiegel urged British voters: “Please don't go!” in a special pre-referendum issue.

REMITTANCES TAKE A HIT DUE TO FALLING OIL PRICES

  • Remittances by non-resident Indians (NRIs) fell 87 per cent in April due to a slide in oil prices, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed.
  • Total NRI deposits fell to $302 million in April this year. The deposits stood at $2,406 million in the year-ago period, according to the data.
  • The biggest fall was registered in the Non-Resident (External) Rupee Account (NR(E)RA) category, which saw inflows decreasing to $203 million in April. It was $2,200 million in the year-ago period.
  • Introduced in 1970, NR(E)RA is a rupee account and the NRIs can remit money to India from their funds abroad.
  • For 2015-16, NRI deposits had recorded a growth of 13.5 per cent to $15,977 million, the data showed.
  • Sixty per cent of the India’s remittances come from Gulf countries, which suffered the most due to decline in crude oil prices.
  • Crude oil prices in April were about $48 per barrel compared with $67 per barrel in the same period of the previous year. While crude oil prices have hardened to $50 recently, on a year-on-year basis it is still lower.
  • The country’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed to 1.3 per cent of GDP in the third quarter of the current financial year as against 1.5 per cent in the same period last year, mainly due to lower trade deficit.
  • The CAD was at $7.1 billion in the third quarter of 2015-16 compared with $7.7 billion in the third quarter of 2014-15 and $8.7 billion in the second quarter.

THE GOVERNMENT IS SIGNING LONG TERM CRUDE DEALS AT DISCOUNTED PRICES

  • The government is leveraging its position as world’s fastest growing economy and one of the world’s biggest energy consumers to secure sweetened energy deals globally by renegotiating gas contracts, signing long term crude deals at discounted prices and buying oil equity.
  • Petronet LNG Limited, India’s largest gas importer would have at least saved $8 billion or Rs 50,000 crore over the life of the contract at current oil prices by re-negotiating a gas deal with Qatar’s RasGas.
  • “Our Prime Minister visited Qatar recently, and we all know that we have to honour long-term contracts and it’s very difficult to renegotiate such contracts."
  • "We were buying gas $14 per mmBtu from Qatar, after negotiations we are now getting gas at $6 per mmBtu. India’s energy security is now considered with prime importance in the international markets,” said petroleum minister.
  • India’s growing geopolitical influence globally and tumbling oil prices and a global gas glut are compelling exporters to offer better deals to retain their share in the global energy trade, benefiting Indian energy firms.

AMONG THE 12 MAJOR PORTS, MORMUGAO PORT OCCUPIED THE TOP SLOT

  • Mormugao Port Trust, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust have been labelled as best performers for 2015-16 by the Shipping Ministry for achieving the Results Framework Document targets for 2015-16.
  • Among the 12 Major Ports, Mormugao Port occupied the top slot after posting 41.23 per cent growth in cargo volume for 2015-16 over the corresponding year-ago period.
  • V.O. Chidambaranar Port recorded 13.68 per cent higher growth compared to last year, while Kolkata Port Trust showed a variation of 8.43 per cent.
  • They were ranked second and third respectively in handling consignments, according to a Shipping Ministry statement.
  • Paradip Port Trust scored over others in efficiency parameters. It reduced the vessel turnaround time by 36 per cent from 7.01 days in 2014-15 to 4.50 days during 2015-16.


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