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May 05, 2016

5th May 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The German government has decided to relax rules on cannabis use by seriously ill persons if no other treatment options are available. 
    • Dried cannabis flowers and cannabis extracts will be available in pharmacies on prescription and the cost will be covered by the government. 
    • The draft bill in this regard is expected to come into force in 2017.
  • Colombian President Juan Santos has announced that the US will provide intelligence support to help fight the country's crime gangs
    • Santos added that military resources will be available to fight the gangs once a peace deal is signed with the FARC rebels. 
  • China has started combat drills involving advanced warships and "special warfare" soldiers in the disputed South China sea and parts of the Indian ocean. 
    • Chinese navy said the drill is aimed at enhancing combat readiness and coordination between ships and aircraft. 
    • Note : The US has been conducting 'Freedom of Navigation' patrols in the South China sea despite China's territorial claims.

National Affairs
  • 7th President of India Giani Zail Singh's (5 May 1916 – 25 December 1994) 100th birth anniversary today.
    • He served as the president of India from 1982 to 1987.
    • His presidency was marked by Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
  • Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia announced today  that the Delhi government is set to come up with a "sports school" initiative for students who wish to pursue a career in sports rather than academics. 
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the renewed Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation with European Union (EU) for another period of 5 years. 
    • The agreement will be retrospectively effective from 17 May 2015 until 2020.

Business & Economy
  • The government today approved ₹4,428 crore worth of highway projects in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh under its highways building programme National Highways Development Project
    • The projects were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. 
    • The total length of the road in Uttar Pradesh will be around 128 km while that in Himachal Pradesh will be 28 km.
  • Mumbai based Kotak Mahindra Bank today opened IFSC Banking unit at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) City.
  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Finance Bill 2016 after the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reportedly moved 55 amendments to the bill. 
    • Note : The Finance Bill is introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha every year to give effect to the proposals in the Union Budget, for effect in the following financial year.
  • 'Lesedi la Rona', the largest gem-quality rough diamond in existence today, will be auctioned in London on June 29th.
    • Believed to be around 2.5 to three billion years old, the tennis-ball sized 1,190-carat diamond is expected to sell for $70 million. 
    • Note : The precious gem was excavated in Botswana in November 2015.
  • State-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is going to be converted to a Green bank to enable it to access funds from overseas banks. 
    • Note : Green banks provide low-cost financial support to low-carbon projects. 
  • The Union Cabinet today liberalised the coal supply procedure for central, state and independent power generating firms. 
    • As per the decision, all long-term coal linkages of state power plants will be assigned to individual states or agencies nominated by it. 
    • In case of central government-owned plants, the parent organisation will be granted the allocation.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Central Bank of United Arab Emirates (UAE) on co-operation concerning currency swap agreement. 
    • The Agreement was signed in February, 2016 during the official state visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India. 
  • The Union Cabinet has apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT)

People in News
  • Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu today announced his resignation, saying he would formally step down on May 22. 
    • His resignation comes amid rumours of growing tensions between Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and clears the way for Erdogan to appoint a party leader who would become PM.
New Appointments
  • Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba has been appointed the new Chief of Naval Staff and will assume charge on May 31st. 
    • Lanba, presently Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command, will succeed Admiral RK Dhowan.
  • Facebook-owned VR company Oculus has hired Fitbit's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Hans Hartmann as the company's new COO
  • Kumbakonam based City Union Bank has appointed S. Mahalingam as a non-executive chairman of the Bank.
  • Renowned statistician Dr Radha Binod Barman took over as the part-time Chairperson in the National Statistical Commission (NSC). 
    • Besides, Professor Rahul Mukherjee, Professor S. Mahendra Dev, Dr Rajiv Mehta and Dr Manoj Panda also took over as other part-time members of the commission.

Awards & Honors
  • Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Project  has won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2016 prize in the e-Agriculture category. 
    • Harita-Priya (Harmonized Information of Agriculture, Revenue and Irrigation for a Transformation Agenda – Precision Technology for Agriculture) Project is meant to collect very specific climate data from farms and give farmers personalised information through SMS.
  • A bronze statue of director Yash Chopra was unveiled by the Swiss government in the town of Interlaken today to honour the late filmmaker. 
    • Note : Earlier in 2011, Chopra was awarded the honorary title of 'Ambassador of Interlaken'. Many of Chopra's iconic films have been shot in Switzerland.
  • A new species of wasp (a type of insect) discovered in South Africa by an international research team has been named after the actor Brad Pitt
    • Dr. Buntika A Butcher from Thailand named the wasp 'Conobregma bradpitti' after recalling her long hours of studying in her laboratory under the poster of her favourite actor. 
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