Sunday, 03 July 2016 05:04



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03- JULY - 2016



China launched its first dark sky reserve in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet.

The purpose of the dark sky reserve is to limit light pollution and preserve sites for making astronomical observations.

Key facts related to the reserve

The reserve covers an area of 2500 square kilometres.

It was jointly launched by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation and the regional government of Tibet.

About Ngari Prefecture

Ngari Prefecture is a prefecture of China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Its capital is Gar County.

It includes part of the Aksai Chin area, a disputed region claimed by India but over which China exercises administrative control.

The town of Ngari lies 4500 metres above sea level in northwest Tibet.

It is best known for Mount Kailash, also called Sumeru, and Lake Manasarovar.

Ngari is considered to be among the best sites for astronomical observation on Earth.

What is a Dark Sky Reserve?

A Dark-Sky Reserve is an area that is kept free of artificial light pollution.

Its purpose is generally to promote astronomy.

In 1999, the first permanent reserve was established at Torrance Barrens in the Muskoka region of southern Ontario.

The Mont Mégantic Observatory in Quebec is the first site to be recognized as International Dark Sky Reserve.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has recognized Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah as the world's first International Dark Sky Park.

The lighting protocol for a dark sky reserve is based on the sensitivity of wildlife to Artificial Light At Night (ALAN).

The lighting protocol for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is based primarily on wildlife sensitivity.


Nokia announced the appointment of Sanjay Malik as the head of Indian market. The appointment of Malik will be effective from 1 August 2016.

Malik will lead customer operations, drive the business growth strategy and superior customer engagement services for the India market. He will be based in Gurgaon.

Malik will take over from Sandeep Girotra, who has been heading Indian market since 2011.

Who is Sanjay Malik?

At present, Malik serves as the Head of Network Implementation (NI) at Nokia Global Services.

He is credited with efficiently driving growth and delivering strong performance both in terms of revenue and operational efficiency.

He had joined Nokia in 2000.

Previously, he was heading Bharti GCBT, where he led the transformation of the business.

About Nokia

Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications and information technology company.

It was founded in 1865.

It is headquartered in Espoo, Uusimaa.

It is a public limited-liability company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

According to the Fortune Global 500, it is the world's 274th-largest company measured by 2013 revenues.

The company entered into a pact with Microsoft in 2011 to exclusively use its Windows Phone platform on future smartphones.

Its mobile phone business was bought by Microsoft in an overall deal totalling 7.17 billion US dollars.


India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This entry would be mutually beneficial to enhance global non-proliferation norms.

The instrument of accession to MTCR for India was signed in New Delhi by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. The entry also marks India's first entry into any multilateral export control regime.

The MTCR Point of Contact in Paris conveyed the decision regarding India's accession to the regime through the French Embassy in New Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Key Facts of India joining MTCR

• India's entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.

• It entered this multilateral export control regime with the support of all thirty-four MTCR Partners. In 2015, India’s membership to the group was blocked by Italy.

• MTCR membership will now enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia.

What is MTCR?

Set up in 1987 by G-7 countries, the aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

India's entry into MTCR comes days after it failed to get Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) membership due to stiff opposition from China and six other countries, namely Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. Turkey remained neutral. NSG is the 48-country cartel that controls nuclear exports.

Significantly, China, which stonewalled India's entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of MTCR.

India’s inclusion to the Missile Technology Control Regime means strengthening its own export controls, which will help it to justify transferring sensitive technology to India in front of other MTCR members.

Further, this may pave the way for India becoming the member of NSG, Wassenaar Agreement (conventional arms & dual-use goods and technologies) and Australia Group (chemical weapons).


Shooter Jitu Rai won silver in the 10 m Air Pistol event at the ISSF World Cup held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

It is the second medal in a World Cup this season for Rai, who had won the free pistol gold in the first World Cup in Bangkok.

Brazilian shooter Felipe Almeida Wu won the gold medal, while Korea’s Jin Jongoh bagged the bronze medal.

Who is Jitu Rai?

Jitu Rai is an Indian shooter of Nepalese origin.

He competes in the 10 metre air pistol and 50 metre pistol events.

In 2014, he won the silver medal in the 10 metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in Munich.

He won two medals, a silver in the 50 metre pistol event and a gold in the 10 metre air pistol event, in Maribor.

He became the first person to have won two medals at a single world cup for India.

He was ranked number 1 in the world, in 10 metre air pistol and number 4, in 50 metre pistol, in July 2014.

In the 2014 Asian Games held at Incheon in South Korea, he won the gold medal in the 50 m pistol category. He also won a bronze in the men's 10 m air pistol team event.

About ISSF World Cup

The ISSF World Cup was introduced by the International Shooting Sport Federation in 1986.

It was introduced to provide a homogeneous system for qualification to the Olympic shooting competitions.

It is still carried out in the Olympic shooting events, with four competitions per year in each event.


  • Govt announced an overall increase of 23.5 per cent for over one crore government employees and pensioners in line with the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations.
  • The hikes will come with the August paychecks and be paid with effect from January 1, 2016. The arrears for the six months will be disbursed during the current financial year (2016-17) itself.
  • In November 2015, within the overall hike of 23.55-per cent, the pay panel had recommended increases of 16% in pay and 24 per cent in pensions.
  • The starting salary for new recruits at the lowest level has been raised to Rs. 18,000 from Rs. 7,000 per month.
  • Freshly recruited Class I officers will receive Rs. 56,100. This reflects a compression ratio of 1:3.12 signifying that the pay of a Class I officer on direct recruitment will be three times the pay of an entrant at the lowest level.
  • The approved maximum pay, drawn by the Cabinet Secretary, is Rs. 2.5 lakh per month (against the current Rs. 90,000), higher than the salaries drawn by MPs.
  • To examine the concerns employees have raised, the Union Cabinet decided to set up four committees: The first will look into the implementation issues anticipated and the second one will go into the likely anomalies.
  • Another one will further examine the recommendations on allowances, which have largely been kept on hold. The fourth will suggest measures for streamlining the National Pension System.
  • In a rationalisation exercise, the Commission suggested abolishing 51 and subsuming of 37 of the existing 196 allowances.


  • World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim visited an anganwadi centre to weigh India’s intervention aimed at childhood stunting.
  • Dr. Kim will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to get a stronger commitment for scaling up investments to fight child malnutrition.
  • “In just about every developing country, there is not enough appreciation of investing in health, education, social security and economic growth.”
  • “Most of the FDI is coming into India on the assumption that there will be a workforce able to take them into the next generation.”
  • The latest data from the fourth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS), released earlier this year, showed that 37 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted.
  • The data was released for 15 States and points to a slow reduction in malnourishment, with a fall of just five percentage points in a decade.
  • While Delhi – one of the better performing States — has nearly 30% stunted children, States like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are the worst off, with 48 and 42 per cent respectively of children stunted. “
  • The World Bank is recommending that stunting figures from all countries be shared annually at the World Economic Forum, to keep Finance Ministers committed to ensuring that economic progress translated to countries achieving health targets.


  • Warning that China’s motives to secure the South China Sea are “madness” and intended towards the Indian Ocean.
  • He also said that the U.S. will work to ensure India remains the “natural power” in the Indian Ocean, even as he expressed the U.S.’s commitment to help India attain membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • The remarks, made during a question and answer session, are the strongest statements made against China by the U.S. in the recent past, and uncommon for a visiting diplomat to make in a third country.
  • They also come amid rising tensions between India and China over the NSG meeting in Seoul which failed to induct India.To a specific question on whether India would be able to join the NSG by the year-end, so it could fulfil it’s commitment to ratify the Paris climate change agreement, Mr. Shannon said, “We have to see, this is our hope.”
  • He called for closer cooperation between Indian and American diplomats.


  • Turkey pointed the finger at Islamic State jihadists on after suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s main international airport, killing 41 people, including foreigners, and injuring 239.
  • Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic as the attackers began shooting indiscriminately and then blew themselves up at the entrance to Ataturk airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs.
  • The assault , which comes at the start of Turkey’s crucial tourist season, was the latest in a wave of attacks in Istanbul and the capital Ankara blamed either on IS jihadists or Kurdish rebels.
  • The carnage sparked global condemnation, with U.S. President Barack Obama calling up his counterpart RecepTayyip Erdogan to express condolences, according to Turkish sources.


  • Britain got its first taste of a future outside the EU as Europe’s leaders met without Prime Minister David Cameron and warned London must accept EU migrants to win access to the bloc's free trade zone.
  • European leaders gathering without a British representative for the first time in 40 years poured cold water on the chance of Britain gaining no-strings-attached access to the huge EU single market of 500 million people.
  • The statement was a blow to “Brexit” campaigners, who promised to restrict large-scale EU migration to Britain while assuring British companies would still be able to easily sell goods and services to the continent.
  • “If Britain wants to have common market access, like Norway for example, then the U.K. will have to respect the free movement of goods, capital, people and services,” he said.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also warned that London cannot not “cherry-pick” the terms of the exit negotiations.
  • Mr. Cameron has resisted pressure to immediately activate the Article 50 mechanism to leave the EU, saying he is leaving it to his successor, who will not be named until September 9.
  • EU leaders say that until this notification is made, no talks can begin—formally or informally—on resetting Britain’s ties with the EU, a process meant to last two years.


  • Over a third of South Sudanese face starvation as the war-torn nation runs the risk of a full-blown famine, the UN and government said.
  • Despite a peace deal to end civil war, nearly five million people — more than ever before in the world’s youngest nation — need food aid to survive.
  • Civil war erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 but rebel chief RiekMachar returned to the capital in April as part of a peace deal which saw him become vice president, forging a unity government with President SalvaKiir.
  • Aid workers have been able to access some of the hardest hit areas since then, but violence continues between multiple militia forces.


  • The Centre is planning a special package, incorporating labour reforms, subsidies and duty incentives, for the leather sector to boost investment, jobs and exports.
  • The move comes after a similar package was unveiled for the textile industry on June 23 to enable it to compete globally. About 2.5 million people are employed in the $12 billion leather industry.
  • The sector, like textiles, predominantly employs women. To increase productivity, the leather sector package may include labour reforms similar to those introduced in the textiles package.
  • India accounts for about 10 per cent of the world’s leather production, and is the world’s second largest producer of leather garments and footwear.
  • The current ILDP scheme would be in place till March-end 2017 and any changes to ILDP or a new package is likely to be implemented only in the next fiscal.
  • The ILDP, introduced in January 2014, was aimed at “augmenting raw material base through modernisation and technology upgradation of leather units, addressing environmental concerns, human resource development, supporting traditional leather artisans, addressing infrastructure constraints and establishing institutional facilities.”
  • The leather industry package may include higher incentives under the Duty Free Import Scheme (DFIS).
  • Under DFIS, a manufacturer-exporter or a merchant exporter having a tie-up with a supporting manufacturer is currently allowed duty-free import of inputs up to three per cent of the value of exports realised in the previous year.
  • The package may also include greater sops under the ILDP. Currently, ILDP provides up to 30 per cent subsidy on the cost of plant and machinery for micro and small enterprises and 20 per cent subsidy to other units.
  • The subsidy has a ceiling of Rs.2 crore for each product line. In the new package, this ceiling could either be done away with or enhanced.
  • The package may include higher subsidy for setting up of mega leather clusters to create world-class infrastructure, and for upgradation or installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants.


  • The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), meant for revival of debt-ridden discoms, is unlikely to have a destabilising effect on fiscal consolidation at an aggregate level, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
  • Ind-Ra’s estimate shows that the aggregate fiscal deficit of states at 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 is expected to be marginally better than the 3.4 per cent in FY16 (revised estimates), the credit rating agency said in a release.
  • According to a study, the aggregate impact of UDAY on fiscal deficit of 13 States, that have joined UDAY till date, will be 0.47 per cent of the GDP in 2016-17.
  • Five States incurring high distribution losses that have not yet joined the UDAY scheme are Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, it said.
  • Ind-Ra’s analysis shows that once they go ahead, State finances of even Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will be under strain.
  • The agency predicted that despite marginally better fiscal performance, states at the aggregate level are likely to miss the fiscal deficit target of 2.8 per cent in 2016-17 by a wide margin.
  • Only 12 out of 23 States will be able to take advantage of the window for additional borrowings in 2016-17 provided by the 14th Finance Commission.
  • Among these 12 States, 2 fulfilled the criterion of interest or revenue being below 10 per cent in the preceding year while 4 met the debt/GSDP metrics less than 25 per cent in the preceding year and six complied with both in the preceding year itself.



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Last Updated on Monday, 04 July 2016 05:03