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April 29, 2016

29th April 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (29th April) is International Dance Day / World Dance Day.
    • The day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute.
    • The date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, who was born in 1727, a French dancer and ballet master and a great reformer of dance. 
  • Today is the "Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare".
    • This day is officially recognised by the United Nations (UN) and has been celebrated since 2005.
  • Myanmar has banned all logging operations in the country's forests as part of its efforts to tackle deforestation. 
    • Myanmar had earlier banned the export of raw timber logs in 2014 to boost its own production and slow deforestation. 
    • Myanmar Forest Ministry data has revealed that the country's forest cover fell to 47% in 2010 from 58% in 1990.
  • Belgium's Health minister Maggie De Block has revealed plans to distribute anti-radiation iodine pills to 11 million Belgian citizens in case of nuclear accidents. 
    • Recently, Belgium's Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors resumed service after being shut following signs of metal degradation. 
  • The US Congress has formally invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of the Congress on June 8, during his visit to the country. 
  • India extended a Line of Credit (LoC) of 1 billion US dollars to Mongolia.
    • The LoC was extended after delegation-level bilateral talks between the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh and Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren in New Delhi.
    • The two countries also agreed to exchange sentenced persons.
    • Important Points to Note
      • Lundeg Purevsuren was on a three-day state visit to India from 27 April to 29 April 2016.
      • This visit was a part of the intensified bilateral exchanges following the upgrade of bilateral relations during Modi's visit.
  • India and Papua New Guinea sign 4 agreements including agriculture and health, today, the second and concluding day of President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to this Pacific island-nation.
    • The MOUs signed were :
      • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India's ministry of health and family welfare and Paua New Guinea's ministry of health and HIV/AIDS for a broad range of cooperation in the field of healthcare and medical science.
      • A MoU between the Papua New Guinea government and the Export Import Bank of India for a $100-million credit line for development of infrastructure in the island-nation.
      • The third MoU was between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, and PNG University of Technology, Lae, for cooperation in agricultural research.
      • The fourth MoU was signed between the governments of India and Papua New Guinea for establishing of India-Papua New Guinea Centre for Excellence in IT.
      • Important Points to Note :
        • Papua New Guinea is the largest of all the Pacific island-nations.
      • Mukherjee's visit is the first ever presidential visit from India to this country.

National Affairs
  • Nagaland’s capital Kohima was today declared ‘smoke-free’.
    • Important Points to Note : 
      • Nagaland is the fourth in India to be declared "smoke-free".
      • Chandigarh was declared the first smoke-free city in 2007.
      • It was followed by Kottayam in Kerala and Shimla.
      • In 2010, Sikkim was declared the first smoke-free state in India.
      • In 2014 Himachal Pradesh became the second.
  • Indian Railways today announced that the Railway passengers now can cancel their confirmed train tickets on phone.
    • The passenger has to dial 139 giving details of the confirmed ticket for canceling it and the sender will get a one-time password (OTP).
    • Passenger can claim refund from Passenger Reservation System counter upon revealing the OTP.
  • Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Mahesh Sharma today announced that a memorial for Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, depicting his life and freedom struggle, would be built in Delhi.
  • The Border Security Force (BSF) has announced plans to unveil a 350-feet-high national flag, the tallest in the country, near the Attari-Wagah border by January 2017. 
    • It can be seen both from Lahore as well as Amritsar. 
    • Note : The current record is held by the flag on top of a 293-feet-high mast in Jharkhand's Ranchi.
  • Gujarat Government is going to issue an ordinance on 1st May to provide 10% reservation in higher education and government jobs to economically backwards of higher caste (with annual income below 6 lakh).
    • This will be on top of the 49% reservation currently available for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes.

Business & Economy
  • The finance ministry has agreed to increase interest rate on provident fund deposits to 8.8 per cent from the 8.7 per cent decided by it earlier. 
  • In a first, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has made public direct tax-related data including the total number of taxpayers in India and income disclosed in tax returns by various categories of taxpayers from 2000-01 to 2014-15. 
    • The data further includes information on the number of PAN holders in the country and state-wise break-up of direct tax collection.
  • Maharashtra contributed the highest (₹2.77 lakh crore) among India’s states and union territories to the total national direct tax collection of ₹6.96 lakh crore in 2014-15. 
    • Maharashtra was followed by Delhi and Karnataka, with direct tax collections of ₹91,248 crore and ₹60,595 crore respectively.
  • Power shortage in India stood at 2.1% in 2015-16, the lowest ever in a single year.

New Appointments
  • Senior IPS officer Surender Kumar Bhagat was appointed as the Director General (DG) of Railways Protection Force (RPF).
  • South Sudan’s rebel Chief Riek Machar made as Vice president of the Country.

Awards & Honors
  • Pakistani activist Tabassum Adnan won the prestigious Nelson Mandela – Gra├ža Machel Innovation Award 2016.

Science & Technology
  • IT firm Infosys has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform called Mana
    • Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, at the Infosys Confluence conference, said that the platform will help clients drive automation for repetitive tasks and lower cost of maintenance. 
    • Mana involves three main tools, they are :
      • Infosys Information Platform, 
      • Infosys Automation Platform and 
      • Infosys Knowledge Platform.
  • China has successfully launched the Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket from a launch pad in Danzhou City in the southern Chinese Hainan Province.
    • The research rocket, which is due to take measurements in the upper atmosphere and help with high-speed flight and space tourism research, was launched by China’s National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
  • India's first and only individual Olympic gold-medallist, Celebrated shooter Abhinav Bindra has been roped in as Goodwill ambassador of India's Olympic contingent alongside Bollywood star Salman Khan. 
    • Earlier, the IOA appointed actor Salman Khan as the first goodwill ambassador. 
    • Note : The IOA is looking to appoint three more ambassadors, with Sachin Tendulkar and AR Rahman being under consideration.
  • Saina Nehwal enters semifinals of Asia Badminton Championships at Wuhan in China.
  • In a bid to promote Golf tourism, the Karnataka tourism department will now offer incentives to investors aiming to develop golf courses in the state. T
    • he long-term objective for this will be getting more visits from international golfers and being equipped to host major golf tournaments.
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