Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 21 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 21 - JUNE - 2016
Tuesday, 21 June 2016 05:56

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

21- JUNE - 2016

 


UN CHIEF BAN KI-MOON HONOURED WITH RUSSIA’S ORDER OF FRIENDSHIP

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree awarding the Order of Friendship to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The officially published decree said that the decoration was awarded to Ban for special merits in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between peoples.

Among those awarded are Prince Michael of Kent, Oscar Niemeyer, the architect of the Brazilian capital, and former President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.

The order, set up in 1994, is meant to reward Russian citizens and foreign nationals for outstanding accomplishments in strengthening peace and cooperation with Russia, as well as for charity activities.

Ban Ki-moon

• He took office and became the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations on 1 January 2007

• In June 2011, he was re-elected and will continue to serve as the UN chief until 31 December 2016.

• Before becoming Secretary-General, he was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations.

• He entered diplomatic service the year he graduated from university, accepting his first post in New Delhi, India.

• Ban was the foreign minister of South Korea from January 2004 to November 2006.

RIDLEY SCOTT TO RECEIVE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE AWARD

English Director Ridley Scott will be honoured with the 30th American Cinematheque Award on 14 October 2016 at the Beverly Hilton. The news was announced by the American Cinematheque on 7 June 2016.

Scott was the unanimous choice of the Cinematheque Board of Directors selection committee.

Who is Ridley Scott?

Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer.

His best known works are the neo-noir dystopian science fiction filmBlade Runner, crime drama Thelma & Louise, historical dramaGladiator, war film Black Hawk Down, crime thriller Hannibal, biographical film American Gangster, and science fiction filmsPrometheus and The Martian.

In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.

In 2003, he was knighted for his services to the British film industry.

In 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in London.

About American Cinematheque Award

The American Cinematheque Award annually honours an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures.

Reese Witherspoon was the winner of the 2015 American Cinematheque Award.

Previous American Cinematheque Award honorees include Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, George Clooney Julia Roberts, Robert Downey Jr.

SCIENTISTS DISCOVERED A GIGANTIC EXOPLANET, HATS-18B

International team of astronomers found an alien world named HATS-18b. It is a giant hot Jupiter exoplanet tidally spinning up its parent star.

The team led by Kaloyan Penev of Princeton University carried out the observation campaign between April 2011 and July 2013. The new findings were published online on arXiv.org.

About Exoplanet, HATS-18b

• The newly discovered planetary system could be a great laboratory for to test the theories of planet–star interactions.

• The research team used the Hungarian-made Automated Telescope Network-South (HATSouth) to obtain over 10000 images of this sun-like star while finding the exoplanets orbiting HATS-18.

• The astronomers also conducted a series of follow-up spectroscopic observations in 2015 using the 2.3 m telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia and the 2.2 m MPG/ESO telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.

• The radial velocity signals collected by the researchers allowed them to distinguish a sinusoidal variation in phase with the transit ephemeris, confirming the presence of a massive planet around HATS-18.

• The research also reveled that the newly found exoplanet have the characteristics similar to that of Jupiter.

• It have radius that accounts of about 1.34 times and mass is of 2 times of Jupiter. Jupiter is the biggest planet of our solar system.

• The orbital period of HATS-18b equals 0.84 days which accounts to be very short.

• It was also found that the Planet HATS-18b with high mass and short orbital period implies the strong tidal coupling between the planetary orbit and the star which shows evidence of significant tidal spin up.

JOINT STATEMENT ON INDIA-US ENDURANCE AS GLOBAL PARTNERS IN 21ST CENTURY RELEASED

India and the United States of America (USA) released a Joint Statement to endure as global partners in the 21st Century. The Joint statement was released in White House marking third major bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and POTUS Barak Obama.

The United States recognized India as a Major Defense Partner which strengthens the defense cooperation between these two Nations. This will allow India to purchase more advanced and sensitive technologies from the US.

Other highlights of the Joint statement

• India and the United States recognize the urgency of climate change and share the goal of enabling entry into force of the Paris Agreement as early as possible in 2016.

• Both the nations welcomed the signing of an MOU for Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative which is also known as the Global Entry Program.

• India’s ambitious national goal to install 175 GW of renewable power which includes 100 GW from solar power was supported by The United States.

• India and The United States also remain committed to the goals ofMission Innovation to double their respective clean energy research and development (R&D) investment in five years.

• India and The United States will work together to combat the threat of terrorists accessing and using chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological materials.

• Both the countries welcomed the finalization of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

• Both these countries issued two Joint statements earlier on the January 2015 US-India Joint Statement to make a counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century and in September 2015 US-India Joint Declaration on Combatting Terrorism.

G KALYANAKRISHNAN TOOK OVER AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF NUCLEAR FUEL COMPLEX

Distinguished scientist G Kalyanakrishnan took over as Chief Executive of Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), Hyderabad.

Kalyanakrishnan succeeds N Saibaba, who has retired on completion of two years of extended period of service.

Kalyanakrishnan will also be the Chairman of the NFC Board.

Who is G Kalyanakrishnan?

Prior to being appointed as Chief Executive of NFC, Kalyanakrishnan served as the Deputy Chief Executive.

He has vast experience in erection and commissioning as well as operation of Heavy Water Plants.

He has also contributed in the successful commissioning of Zirconium Complex (ZC – a Unit of NFC) at Pazhayakayal, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu and in achieving its nameplate capacity of 250 MT in the shortest time.

He obtained his degree in chemical engineering from the Regional Engineering College, Warangal in 1980.

He had joined the 24th batch of 1980-1981 Training School of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai.

About Nuclear Fuel Complex

The Nuclear Fuel Complex was established in 1971.

It was established as a major industrial unit of India's Department of Atomic Energy for the supply of nuclear fuel bundles and reactor core components.

It is a unique facility where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof.

NFC supplies zircaloy clad uranium oxide fuel assemblies and zirconium alloy structural components for all 14 operating atomic power reactors in India.

The Hyderabad plant has a capacity to produce 250 tons of UO2 per year and is expected to expanded to a 600 tons per year capacity.

NFC products are supplied to the Department of Atomic Energy, the Indian Navy, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and other defence organisations.

MAJOR GENERAL PER LODIN APPOINTED TO HEAD UN MILITARY OBSERVER GROUP IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

Per Lodin, Major General of Sweden, was appointed as the Head of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Lodin's appointment was approved by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Major General Lodin succeeds Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who will complete his two-year assignment as Chief Military Observer and Head of UNMOGIP on 2 July 2016.

About Major General Per Lodin

• Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish Defence Ministry’s procurement and logistics arm.

• He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007.

• He began his military career in the Swedish Army in 1978.

About UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)

• According to the Security Council mandate, UNMOGIP reports on ceasefire violations along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

• It also observes and reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

• It has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff.

• UNMOGIP began the operations in 1949.

Background
• India has always been against the UNMOGIP. It has maintained that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue.

• While on the other hand, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP and his country continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations.

• In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission.

FAMILY LIFE BY AKHIL SHARMA WINS 2016 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

American author Akhil Sharma won the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award for his novel Family Life.

Family Life was chosen from a total of 160 titles, nominated by libraries in 118 cities in 43 countries. It was first published in the USA by W.W. Norton and in the UK by Faber & Faber.

Sharma is the third American author to win the prize in its 21 year history.

The book Family Life tells the story of eight-year-old Ajay, whose family move from Delhi to America in 1978.

Who is Akhil Sharma?

Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi on 22 July 1971.

He immigrated to the United States when he was eight, and grew up in Edison, New Jersey.

He graduated from J.P. Stevens High School.

He studied at Princeton University, where he earned his B.A. in public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School.

He won a Stegner Fellowship to the writing program at Stanford, where he won several O. Henry Prizes.

His first novel is An Obedient Father.

In 2001, he won PEN/Hemingway Award for An Obedient Father.

About International DUBLIN Literary Award

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is an international literary award.

The award was established in 1994 as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

It is awarded each year for a novel written in English or translated into English.

It aims to promote excellence in world literature and is solely sponsored by the City of Dublin, Ireland.

At 100000 euro, the award is one of the richest literary prizes in the world.

If the winning book is a translation, the prize is divided between the writer and the translator with the writer receiving 75000 euro and the translator 25000 euro.

Jim Crace won the 2015 International DUBLIN Literary Award for his novel Harvest.

BASIC TRAINER AIRCRAFT HTT-40 SUCCESSFULLY FLIES

  • It was a thumbs-up for local design and make of military aircraft as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar watched HTT-40, the basic trainer aircraft for Air Force pilots, ceremonially touch the skies.
  • It has to be certified over the next two years.
  • It was victory for the design team of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., as its baby soared and turned.
  • Mr. Parikkar had a special word of praise for Project Manager Prashant Singh Bhadoria for seeing it through its hurdles.
  • The IAF, which will follow a two-aircraft, three-phase training, may need about 210 trainers against the earlier 181.
  • It may top up its June 2015 plan to buy 70 HTT-40s with another 30 or 40, Mr. Parrikar said.
  • The trainer could be up to 25 per cent cheaper than the imported trainer and may also generate business of Rs. 3,000-4,000 crore for vendors from Bengaluru and Hyderabad in future.
  • The final decision on acquiring Rafale medium multi-role fighter aircraft for the IAF could be taken after six weeks, Mr. Parrikar said.

IIT-B MOVED FROM 46 TO 35 IN THE QUACQUARELLI SYMONDS UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) has moved up in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) University Rankings: Asia, from last year’s rank of 46 to 35 this year.
  • The results were released by QS, a British company which is a leading global provider of specialist higher education and career information and solutions.
  • IIT-B’s overall score is 76 out of 100. The institute has a score of 87.8 in academic reputation, 98.8 in employer reputation, and 100 in staff with PhD.
  • IITB ranks second in India, below the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, which is at 33.

FIRST OFFICIAL TRANSIT TO INDIA’S NORTH-EAST VIA THE INLAND WATERWAYS OF BANGLADESH

  • The India-Bangladesh waterways transit, carrying goods from Kolkata, was inaugurated in Dhaka.
  • In a first for New Delhi-Dhaka relations, the vessel carrying Indian goods consigned for Tripura marked the official transit to India’s north-east via the inland waterways of Bangladesh.
  • The vessel from Kolkata, carrying a thousand tonnes of iron rods, was received at Ashuganj port in Bangladesh by Shahjahan Khan, the Bangladeshi Shipping Minister, and Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
  • India will be investing in creating infrastructure (Port, Road and Rail) in Ashuganj and Akhaura, Bangladesh, to facilitate the smooth movement of goods. The projects would also create jobs for the local people of Bangladesh.
  • The opening is part of the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade signed by the Prime Ministers of the two nations last year.
  • The transit would reduce the transportation cost substantially to carry goods from rest of India to country’s north-east as the distance reduces from about 1,700 km via Siliguri in north Bengal to about 500 km via Bangladesh.

STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT FALLUJAH TAKEN BACK FROM IS

  • After weeks of fighting, Iraqi forces entered central areas of Fallujah, facing little resistance by the Islamic State (IS), as thousands of civilians fled in a new wave of displacement that has overwhelmed the ability of aid agencies to care for them.
  • Counterterrorism forces raised the Iraqi flag over the main government building in central Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, which was the first target of U.S. forces when they invaded the city in 2004.
  • The rapid, and unexpected, gains suggested a shift in tactics by the Sunni extremists, or perhaps a sign of their weakness, as they abandoned their dug-in positions and regrouped in western neighbourhoods.
  • That allowed thousands of civilians, which aid groups had said were being held as human shields, to flee across two bridges over the Euphrates river beginning.
  • The U.S., which has led a coalition targeting the IS with airstrikes for almost two years in Iraq, has supported the battle for Fallujah with air power, even as it has raised concerns about the role of Shia militias backed by Iran in the fight.
  • Fallujah has been in the hands of the IS since the end of 2013.
  • Tthe UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said she was receiving reports that perhaps 10,000 families, or 60,000 people, were on the move toward government-held areas of western Anbar province, where camps for the displaced are already overwhelmed and lack basic supplies.

U.S. DIPLOMATS DEMAND ACTION AGAINST ASSAD

  • Dozens of U.S. State Department employees have endorsed an internal document that advocates U.S. military action to pressure Syria’s government into accepting a cease-fire and engaging in peace talks.
  • The “dissent channel cable” was signed by about 50 mostly mid-level department officials who deal with U.S. policy in Syria, according to officials who have seen the document.
  • It expresses clear frustration with America’s inability to halt a civil war that has killed perhaps a half-million people and contributed to a worldwide refugee crisis, and goes to the heart of U.S. President Barack Obama’s reluctance to enter the fray.
  • Mr. Obama called for regime change early on in the conflict and threatened military strikes against Syrian forces after blaming President Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons in 2013.
  • But he only has authorised strikes against the Islamic State and other U.S.-designated terror groups in Syria.
  • While Washington has provided military assistance to some anti-Assad rebels, it has favoured diplomacy over armed intervention as a means of ushering Syria’s leader out of power.

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS AND REITS TO BE MADE MORE ATTRACTIVE

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) plans to relax norms for portfolio managers to enable more offshore fund managers to relocate to India.
  • The regulator is also looking to change the norms for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to attract more real estate companies in the sector.
  • The board of SEBI decided to release consultation papers on regulations for portfolio managers and REITs so that the current norms could be amended based on public feedback.
  • Earlier, there have been issues related to the manner in which such entities would be taxed. In the Union Budget 2015-16, the Income Tax Act, 1961 was amended by inserting Section 9A - popularly known as ‘Safe Harbour Norms.”
  • The clause laid down that such fund management activities would not constitute as business in India subject to certain criteria, including the Eligible Fund Manager getting registered with SEBI.
  • The capital market regulator intends to review the procedure for registration of overseas fund managers who want to relocate to India and also there obligations and responsibilities.
  • Such fund managers would not be required to comply with certain provisions related to audit of overseas fund, minimum investment requirement of Rs.25 lakh and reporting requirements with respect to the overseas fund.
  • For REITs, the regulator is of the view that restriction on special purpose vehicles (SPVs) on investing in other SPVs should be removed and REITs should be allowed to invest up to 20 per cent in under-construction assets.
  • The regulator will also review the norms related to the number of sponsors in each REITs and align the minimum public holding requirement with SCRR - (Securities Contract (Regulation) Rules. SEBI will also clarify on the roles and responsibilities of trustee and its associates of REITs.

INDIA AND SOUTH KOREA WILL LOOK TO BOOST TRADE AND INVESTMENT TIES

  • India and South Korea will jointly review their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to boost trade and investment ties.
  • The FTA, officially called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), had come into effect in 2010.
  • The FTA review will involve, among other things, fresh negotiations on elimination/reduction of duties on various products.
  • Indian steel makers want steel products to be excluded from the scope of FTA as a surge in cheaper steel imports was hurting them.

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 03:58