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June 12, 2016

8th June 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (8th June) is World Oceans Day.
    • This day is observed to raise awareness of the challenges humanity faces to protect the world's oceans.
    • Theme of 2016 : Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet
  • World Brain Tumor Day is being observed today.
    • This day was initiated by German Brain tumor Association in the year 2000 with the aim to spread awareness about this lethal disease.
  • The US tosday returned over 200 cultural artefacts worth an estimated $100 million to India during PM Narendra Modi's ongoing visit. 
    • The artefacts include a poet's statue from the Chola period which was stolen from a Chennai temple and valued at $1.5 million. 
    • The majority of the artefacts were reportedly seized during a US-led investigation 'Operation Hidden Idol'.
  • China has for the first time openly acknowledged the role of Pakistan in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks wherein over 164 people were killed and hundreds were wounded. 
    • In a recently aired documentary, Chinese State Television 'CCTV9' highlighted the role of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its sponsors from Pakistan in the terror attacks.
  • The United States underlined its support for India's bid to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  • The Hungarian Parliament today decided to give the government rights to have extra powers temporarily, to combat possible terrorist attacks
    • Under this, if the government were to invoke the "terror threat situation", existing laws could be suspended and extra powers, like state surveillance and use of the army within national borders, could be assumed for up to 15 days.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) today in Poland began its largest war games, Anaconda-2016, in eastern Europe since the end of the cold war. 
    • The 10-day-long exercise involves 31,000 troops from 24 countries and numerous vehicles and has been welcomed by the region's NATO allies. 
    • Note : Defence analysts have warned of a reaction to the exercise from Russia.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that Thailand has become the first country in Asia to eliminate mother-to-baby transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
    • Further, Belarus and Armenia were also declared free of mother-to-baby HIV transmissions. 
    • Important Note : In July 2015, Cuba became the world's first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV under WHO’s criteria.
  • India has become the co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness (WG-MSA) under Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS)
    • Decision in this regard, was taken through a consensus during the 19th Plenary Session of the CGPCS held in Mahe, Seychelles from 31st May to 3th June 2016. 
    • India was selected as co-chair in recognition of its pro-active role in combating the problem of piracy off the Somalian Coast and in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). 
    • Note : Seychelles is the current chairman of the CGPCS for the biennium 2016-17.

National Affairs
  • The Government today launched a campaign 'Swachh Yug' aimed at bringing about a behavioural change in people to make the villages along river Ganga open defecation-free.
    • It is a collaborative effort between the Swachh Bharat Mission, youth leaders and the Namami Gange project. 
    • The campaign also focusses on ‘Swachhta’ at the village through proper solid and liquid waste management.
  • The Uttarakhand government has decided to reduce land circle rates in urban and peri-urban areas by around 50%
    • Note : Circle rate is the minimum value fixed for the sale of land, houses and other real estate entities. 
  • The Kerala government has reaffirmed its target to declare the state as open defecation-free by November 1, this year. 
    • The government aims to achieve this through the state-run Suchitwa mission on sanitation, cleanliness, and public hygiene. Officials, however, observed that mobilising resources to attain the target may be a challenge in the tribal, hilly and coastal areas of the state.
  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has passed new regulations that enable male students to file complaints against sexual harassment
    • Calling sexual harassment gender-neutral, the regulation also notifies the provision of victims’ friends or relatives filing complaints on their behalf. 
    • Students will have to file their complaints within three months of the offence, the regulation said.
  • Union Home Ministry has decided to form new reserve battalion will be raised and it will be named after Maharana Pratap
    • It will be called Maharana India Reserve Battalion
    • It was announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the occasion of 475th birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap in Gogunda in Udaipur district. 

Awards & Honors
  • 4 Indians have featured in Forbes' 13th ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ list announced today. 
    • They include SBI Chair-MD Arundhati Bhattacharya (ranked 25), ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar (40), Biocon Founder-Chair Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (77), and HT Media Chair Shobhana Bhartia (93)
    • Note : German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list for the sixth consecutive year and 11 times in total.
  • Singer BeyoncĂ© has won the Fashion Icon Award at this year's Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards in New York.
  • Queen Elizabeth II has awarded the Regius Professorship (royal patronage) in Manufacturing to the department founded by Indian professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in the University of Warwick. 
    • IIT-Kharagpur alumnus Lord Bhattacharyya's Warwick Manufacturing Group is reportedly the largest centre for manufacturing in the world. 
    • The UK has granted 14 such recognitions since Queen Victoria's rule.

Business & Ecnomy
  • The World Bank has slashed the Global Growth Forecast to 2.4% from the 2.9% estimated in January due to stubbornly low commodity prices, sluggish demand in advanced economies, weak trade and diminishing capital flows. 
    • It further held the growth forecast of India steady at 7.6%, ahead of China's 6.7%, while Brazil and Russia are projected to remain in deeper recessions.
  • A Joint Venture (JV) between infrastructure firm L&T and a Qatar-based company has been chosen to build the Al Rayyan stadium in Qatar, for a deal worth $135 million (₹900 crore). 
    • The 40,000-seater venue will host games up to the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA world cup in Qatar. 
    • The stadium is slated to be completed by 2019.
  • Twitter’s official mascot, the bird which features in the company’s logo, is named ‘Larry’. 
    • According to a tweet by co-founder Biz Stone, it is called Larry the Bird as a tribute to NBA player Larry Bird, who played for the Boston Celtics, Stone’s home-state team.
  • China's foreign exchange reserves fell by $27.9 billion in May to $3.19 trillion, its lowest level since December 2011, the country's central bank data suggested. 
  • India and the US today jointly announced clean energy initiatives worth $60 million
    • This includes a $40 million Catalytic Solar Finance Programme which focusses on off-grid power and can mobilise up to $1 billion in investment. 
    • A $20 million finance initiative was also announced, which aims at mobilising further $400 million private investment to provide clean electricity.

Science & Technology
  • Microsoft today launched 'Planner', a new project management and team collaboration tool for Office 365 users. 
    • With this, the company will enter into a competitive space that includes Trello, Asana and Atlassian's JIRA Core.
    •  Planner features a board-based interface where users can plan projects for their teams, assign tasks, share files and get a visual overview of the progress.
  • For the fifth consecutive year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been named the most powerful woman in technology on the Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list
    • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and HP CEO Meg Whitman were ranked second and third respectively. 
    • The list also includes Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
  • The members of the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an international anti-proliferation group, have agreed to admit India
    • The deadline for MTCR members to object to India's admission had expired yesterday without any objections. 
    • This would allow India to buy high-end missile technology and surveillance drones.

New Appointments
  • Karnataka based Nandini Singla has became new Ambassador to Portugal:
  • Fashion designer and AIDS activist Kenneth Cole was named an international goodwill ambassador to the U.N.’s AIDS-fighting organization.
  • Shahid Rasool took charge as the Director of the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA).

  • Viktor Korchnoi (85), regarded as one the greatest chess players, passed away in Wohlen, Switzerland. 
  • Father of modern Nepali music Amber Gurung (79) passed away.
    • Note : He had composed Nepal’s National Anthem Sayaun Thunga Fulka Hami (written by Byakul Maila).

  • The Indian government and multilateral lending agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed a $120 million loan agreement to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in Odisha
    • The loan is the second tranche​ of a $157.5 million financing facility and will result in improved irrigation facilities in 1,00,000 hectares. 
    • The projects are due for completion by September 2018.
  • India and the US have finalised the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
    • LEMOA, when signed, will allow India and the US to share each other's military facilities. 
    • Earlier, in April, during the US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter's visit to India, both the countries had given​ 'in-principle' approval to the LEMOA.

  • American tennis player Serena Williams displaced Russia's Maria Sharapova to top Forbes' list of world's highest-paid female athletes in the past year. 
    • Sharapova had been the highest-paid​ female athlete for the previous eleven years. 
    • Williams earned $28.9 million in the past year, $7 million more than Sharapova.
  • Kolkata's Eden Gardens is set to host India's first-ever pink ball cricket match in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Super League final starting June 17. 
    • The three-day match, which will be played under lights, will feature pink Kookaburra balls
  • The Lucknow city of Uttar Pradesh is going to host the 2016 Junior Men’s hockey World Cup
    • Announcement in this regard was made by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The Junior hockey World Cup would be held from 8th to 18th December 2016. 
    • The eleven-day long event will feature 16 teams.
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