- Today (22nd May) is International Day for Biological Diversity.
- Themes :
- 2016 - Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods
- 2015 - Biodiversity for Sustainable Development
- 2014 - Island Biodiversity
- 2013 - Water and Biodiversity
- 2012 - Marine Biodiversity
- 2011 - Forest Biodiversity
- US President Barrack Obama announced the lifting of a 50-year-old ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam in a joint news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang today.
- The US House of Representatives has passed amendments to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017 to enhance the country’s defence cooperation with India.
MOUs & Agreements
- India and Oman today signed four agreements in the defence sector with a focus on enhancing military cooperation.
- The agreements were signed on,
- Defence cooperation,
- Marine crime prevention,
- Maritime issues
- Flight safety information exchange.
- Note : The agreements followed the maiden visit of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Oman.
- India has signed a pact to grant assistance worth $1 million over the next 10 years to a school in Afghanistan.
- The funds will be used for modernisation, civil repairs and annual maintenance as well as teachers' training.
- Note : The renovated building of the same school was inaugurated in 2005 by former PM Manmohan Singh and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
- Gujarat Government has launched Smart Village program to improve public facilities in the villages.
- It was launched by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on the occasion of completion of two years of her Government.
- Nitish Kumar led Bihar Government has announced that now onwards there will be no sale of Gutka, Pan Masala in the State.
- Reportedly the ban will be for one year, starting from Saturday (May 21).
- Note : Last month the state government announced complete ban on the sale of any types of liquor in the state.
- The Punjab government is going to set up a committee to regulate school fees and other school charges.
- The committee will check the issue of increasing fees in schools across the state, among other things.
- Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah today invited Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to form the government after she apprised him of her election as leader of AIADMK Legislature Party.
- She will be sworn in Chief Minister along with 28 others, including her trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister in the outgoing Cabinet O Panneerselvam, on May 23 in a function at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.
Awards & Honors
- Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was conferred with the Yug Kavi Siddhicharan Award (one of the Nepal’s prestigious literary award).
- The award was bestowed upon him by Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli for his commendable contributions in promoting Nepali literature in India.
- The film 'I, Daniel Blake' by British director Ken Loach won the 'Palme d'Or' at the Cannes International Film Festival 2016.
- This was the second Palme d'Or award for Loach after his 2006 film 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley'. Meanwhile, Cristian Mungiu for 'Graduation' and Olivier Assayas for 'Personal Shopper' tied for the best director award.
Business & Economy
- Greek legislators today passed a bill to increase taxes, set up a new privatisation fund and free up the sale of banks' bad loans, among other initiatives.
- The measures are reportedly expected to help Greece unlock fresh funds it needs to repay IMF loans and bonds of the European Central Bank maturing in July and curtail rising state deficit.
- Pakistan has missed its growth target for the current year, registering a GDP growth of 4.7% against the target of 5.5%.
- Infrastructure conglomerate GMR Group is in the process of setting up a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at Andhra Pradesh's Kakinada port with an investment of Rs. 471 crore.
- Andhra Bank will launch Bharat Bill Payment Service soon to enable customers make all utility bill payments.
- The Bank was focusing on delivery of services using technology under the JAM (Jandhan-Aadhar- Mobile) initiative.
- Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has been killed in an American airstrike.
- The Afghanistan government confirmed the airstrike, which American officials claimed targeted Mansoor in a Pakistani town near the Afghanistan border.
- Mansoor was appointed the leader of the Taliban last year, after the death of Mullah Omar was reported.
- Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim will become the new Prime Minister after he was elected leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party today.
- Rakesh Kumar Mishra, a noted expert in the study of function of genes, has been appointed as the new Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected as the new President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
- Thakur, formerly the Secretary of BCCI, has replaced Shashank Manohar after the latter quit the position to be elected as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chairman on May 12.
- Thakur is also a member of the Lok Sabha.
- Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin retained his second spot in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
- England fast bowler Stuart Broad currently leads the list and his compatriot James Anderson is placed third.
- Meanwhile, Ashwin continues to top the Test all-rounders’ ranking.
- Note : No Indian featured in the top 10 batsmen list, which is lead by Australian Captain Steven Smith.
- Former Chelsea and Real Madrid head José Mourinho is set to take over Louis Van Gaal as Manchester United's new manager.
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