- Today (17th May) is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
- This day was proclaimed to be on 17 May by a United Nations General Assembly resolution, following the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis.
- Theme of the year 2016 : ICT entrepreneurship for social impact
- India and the US today held their first Maritime Security Dialogue in Delhi which focused on strategic maritime security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
- According to a US Embassy statement, issues discussed included naval cooperation and multilateral engagement.
- This comes in the light of the US rebalancing its military assets and assigning higher security resources to the Asia-Pacific.
- The US government has released a breakdown on Saudi Arabia's holdings of US debt for the first time since 1974, in response to a Freedom-of-Information request submitted by Bloomberg News.
- The stockpile of US debt with Saudi Arabia stood at $116.8 billion as of March, the data revealed.
- Note : In comparison, China holds the highest US debt at $1.3 trillion.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Iran for two days on May 22 and 23 this year.
- The PM is visiting the nation on the invitation of Iran President Dr Hassan Rouhani.
- The duo is likely to discuss issues like developing energy partnership, boosting bilateral trade, facilitating people-to-people interaction and promoting peace in the region.
- According to the World Bank, 1.3 billion people and assets worth $158 trillion will be at risk by 2050 because of the lack of preparedness to deal with climate change.
- It warned that densely populated coastal regions are sinking and that the sea level is rising.
- The World Bank also urged for better planning of the fast-growing and overcrowded cities.
- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi today announced that Egypt is willing to play a mediating role in the Israel-Palestine peace talks.
- As per Ministry of Home Affairs data, Punjab has been under President's rule for a total of 3,510 days, the most for any state.
- Further, Uttar Pradesh has come under President's rule 10 times, the maximum amongst all states.
- Notably, 27 of the 29 states in India have been under President's rule at least once since 1950.
- Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh today issued guidelines directing all universities in the state to have a Tricolour on campus.
- The Governor further asked the universities to come up with their own anthems, to be called “Kul Geet”.
- He also directed universities to set up research chairs named after great personalities to promote research on them.
Business & Economy
- UK-based Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) today announced that it will shut down its corporate, institutional and retail banking operations in India, following the announcement of the plan last year.
- RBS currently operates 10 retail branches in India employing 400 people.
- This is part of the bank's plan to reduce its international operations to 13 countries from the current 38.
- State-owned power generating firm NTPC has signed a joint venture agreement with state-run Coal India to revive plants run by the Fertilizer Corporation of India (FCIL).
- The Goa government has reduced VAT on petrol from 22% to 20% to keep its promise of not allowing prices to exceed Rs. 60 per litre.
- The Income Tax department has launched 'e-nivaran' (electronic solution), a special grievance redressal system to fast-track grievances and ensure early resolution of taxpayers' complaints.
- It comes under the Income Tax Business Application, the new smart electronic platform for the operations of the department.
- The system tracks a complaint from its origin, till it reaches its final resolution.
- The World Bank’s Board has approved 625 million dollars loan to support India’s grid connected rooftop solar programme to generate clean energy.
- The loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), lending arm of World Bank and has a maturity of 20 years and a 19.5 year grace period.
Science & Technology
- Indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, Ashwin was successfully test fired.
- The test was the twelfth test of interceptor missiles fired from a warship in the Bay of Bengal.
- Note : Of the 11 tests held earlier, 9 were successful.
- In a first, US-based researchers have genetically engineered a clone of the Zika virus strain, an advance that may aid the development of vaccine and therapies against the infection.
- Furthermore, they also engineered a luciferase reporter Zika virus which can be used to track the infection in mosquitoes.
- Note : Luciferase is the chemical that causes the signature glow in fireflies.
Books & Authors
- India’s President Pranab Mukherjee received the first copies of books "Tagore’s Vision of the Contemporary World” and ‘Tagore and Russia” at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
- Both books were published by Delhi based Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) .
- These also contains papers presented at international conferences organized by ICCR in New Delhi and Moscow in 2011 as part of the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Rabindra Nath Tagore.
- Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei of the Gauhati High Court was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of the High Court in Tripura.
- He is going to replace Justice Deepak Kumar Gupta, who was transferred to the Chhattisgarh High Court.
- In Assam, Prof Dilip Chandra Nath assumed office as the sixth vice-chancellor of Assam University, Silchar.
Awards & Honors
- South Korean author Han Kang has won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for her novel 'The Vegetarian'.
- She is the first South Korean to win the award.
- She will share the prize money of £50,000 (around $72,000) equally with her 28-year-old British translator Deborah Smith.
- The international literary award was introduced in 2004 to complement the Man Booker Prize.
- Nandini Bhandaru, a PhD student at IIT-Kharagpur has won the Young Scientist Award of the European Materials Research Society’s (E-MRS) for contribution to materials science.
- She had won the award for her outstanding contribution to materials science and nanotechnology, particularly nano-patterning of soft films and surfaces.
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