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June 23, 2016

23rd June 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (23rd June) is the World Public Service Day.
    • This day is dedicated by the United Nations to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”.
    • Since 2003, this day is marked with UN Public Service Awards Ceremony wherein works of public servants are recognised and they are awarded for their contributions in the field.
  • Today (23rd June) is International Widows Day.
    • This day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the "poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries".
    • This day was established by The Loomba Foundation to raise awareness of the issue of widowhood.
    • The significance of 23 June is that it was on that day in 1954 that Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, mother of the foundation's founder, Lord Loomba, became a widow.
    • Theme of the year 2016 : Never Alone
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Uzbekistan
    • Note : He is currently in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
  • Modi, today met Chinese President Xi Jinping and urged China to support India's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid on merit. 
  • Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry today announced that China assured Pakistan of its support for Pakistan's membership bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) today. 
    • Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly met Pakistan's President on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 
    • Note : China has also expressed opposition to India's NSG bid.
  • The United Kingdom began voting today in a historic referendum to decide whether the nation will remain part of the European Union or exit the organisation (Brexit)
    • Most opinion polls before the voting reportedly termed the vote too close to call. 
    • Note : The Pound Sterling rose to its highest in 2016 against the US Dollar today.
  • India and Switzerland today signed an agreement to establish formal cooperation in the fields of skills development and vocational and professional education and training.
    • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Winterthur between State Secretary Mauro Dell' Ambrogio and Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy. 

National Affairs
  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has approved a Niti Aayog proposal of making available online the scores and rankings of candidates taking competitive examinations for central government jobs
    • The National Informatics Centre will develop an integrated website for the same that will have links to various recruiting agencies. 
    • The candidates can also opt out of the disclosure scheme.
  • The Ambubachi Mela, an annual festival that celebrates fertility,​ at the Kamakhya Temple in Assam's Guwahati began today.
  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and MoS for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan today launched a pilot project in Delhi to run 50 two-wheelers on CNG
    • The performance of these two-wheelers will be closely monitored for efficiency and emissions during the pilot phase.
    • The CNG-fuelled two-wheelers are expected to emit 75% lesser hydrocarbons.
    • CNG Compressed Natural Gas
  • Health Minister JP Nadda on today launched several campaigns to create awareness among people regarding Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) or 'lifestyle diseases'. T
    • The minister launched a media campaign and an 'M-Diabetes' initiative, where information on diabetes will be provided through a missed call. 
  • Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today said that the Centre will plant trees along 1,500 kilometres of highways on July 1, as part of a green initiative. 
    • He added that ₹5,000 crore has been earmarked for plantation and transplantation.
Places in News
  • India's first sunken museum is set to come up at Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi
    • With a built-up area of 9,000 square metres, the underground site museum, whose roof was laid down recently, will open to the public in early 2018. 
    • Note : The construction work for the same began in April 2015 and 30% work has been completed so far.
Science & Technology
  • Ariane Passenger PayLoad Experiment (APPLE) was India’s first communication satellite successfully launched in 1981. 
    • Incidentally, the satellite was carried on a non-metallic bullock cart to avoid reflections off the metal plates, affecting the satellite’s antenna. 
    • It was dedicated to the nation by the then PM Indira Gandhi who said that it marked the ‘Dawn of India’s satellite communication era.’
  • Two Indian student-made satellites were launched by ISRO in the record-breaking 20-satellite launch yesterday. 
    • The Sathyabamasat, made by students of Sathyabama University in Chennai, weighs less than 1.5 kg and monitors greenhouse gas emissions. 
    • The Swayam, made by students from the College of Engineering, Pune, weighs less than 1 kg, and is meant to provide point-to-point messaging services.
  • A US panel has approved the first ever human trials of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique, proposed by University of Pennsylvania researchers. 
    • The team aims to modify the immune system "T cells" in patients, helping them better fight off several cancer types. 
    • Note : CRISPR-Cas9 is currently one of the fastest, simplest and cheapest tools that help geneticists edit parts of a genome.

Business & Economy
  • The 8th India-China financial dialogue at the level of Secretaries which is scheduled for June 27 was postponed to July. 
    • The meeting was deferred due to the inability of Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das to travel to Beijing as he was asked to stay back in India in view of the 'Brexit' referendum today.
  • The Cabinet today approved the signing of a protocol amending an agreement with Belgium on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion
    • The amendment will broaden the scope of tax-related information exchange between the two countries. 
    • Earlier in May, India had amended the double taxation avoidance agreement with Mauritius.
  • The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of ₹10,000 crore 'Fund of Funds for Startups', as a part of ‘Startup India Action Plan’ unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January. 
    • The fund is expected to provide a stable and predictable source of funding for startup enterprises and facilitate large-scale job creation.
Awards & Honors
  • Actress Freida Pinto is set to receive the 'International Icon Award' at the 17th edition of the IIFA awards ceremony, beginning in Madrid today. 
    • The actress has starred in films including 'Slumdog Millionnaire', 'Immortals' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'. 
  • Russian hockey winger Artemi Panarin, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, has won the 2015-2016 Calder Memorial Trophy.
    • This trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.
Books & Authors
  • Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly will write a book titled 'A Century is Not Enough' based on his life and cricketing career. 
    • While the book won't be an autobiography, its contents will be drawn from the highs and lows of Ganguly's career, talking about the challenges a sportsman faces. 
    • The book will be available in bookstores from early next year.
New Appointments
  • Former captain Anil Kumble was named the head coach of the Indian team for a one-year period. 
    • Kumble, who is the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history, played for India from 1990 to 2008.
  • World’s leading payments platform PayPal today announced the appointment of Anupam Pahuja as the Managing Director (MD) and Country Manager for its India operations. 

  • Boxers Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan have qualified for the Rio Olympics, after beating Rakhimov Shakvakatdzhon and Lee Dongyun, respectively, in the AIBA World Olympic qualification event in Azerbaijan. 
    • Before them, Shiva Thapa was the only Indian boxer with an Olympic berth. 
    • Two other boxers, Devendro Singh and Sumit Sangwan, are still in the running for an Olympic quota.
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