- Today (21st September) is International Day of Peace / World Peace Day.
- This day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples.
- In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.
- Note : To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). This bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".
- Themes of the year 2016 : Sustainable Development Goal: Building Blocks for Peace
- UK PM Theresa May today announced that their intelligence agencies will form part of a new taskforce to "Stamp out" Modern Slavery.
- This is part of UK's move to eradicate modern slavery with government figures estimating 10,000-13,000 people living as slaves in Britain.
- Note : Modern slavery is a term to describe human trafficking, forced labor, and other slave-like exploitations.
- Trade body ASSOCHAM has today said that India, with the current rate of growth in the education sector, will take six generations or around 126 years to match the education standards of developed nations.
- It added that India spends a mere 3.83% of its GDP on education, while the US spends 5.22%.
- ASSOCHAM cited shortage of quality teachers as another major challenge.
- World leaders have adopted New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
- The declaration expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.
- Today is World Alzheimer's Day.
- This is a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning.
- Note : September 2016 will mark the 5th global World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma.
- Theme for World Alzheimer's Month 2016 : Remember Me
- India (112) has slipped 10 positions and ranks behind Bhutan (78), Nepal (108) and Sri Lanka (111) but stood higher than China (113), Bangladesh (121) and Pakistan (133) in the World Economic Freedom Index 2016.
- Hong Kong topped the index, followed by Singapore and New Zealand among 159 countries.
- Check complete Highlights of World Economic Freedom Index 2016 from here
- Sikkim is the best workplace for women in India while Delhi is the worst workplace, claimed a report prepared jointly by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank, and Nathan Associates.
- Note : Delhi came last due to formal restrictions on women working at night, low justice, workforce participation scores, and lack of incentives for female entrepreneurs.
Business & Economy
- The Cabinet today approved the scrapping of the 92-year old practice of presenting a separate Railway Budget and merged it with the Union Budget.
- Further, the Cabinet also approved the advancing of the date of presentation of the Union Budget, which is currently presented on the last working day of February.
- The Centre today approved 9 highway projects in five states, to be developed at a cost of ₹2,600 crore.
- The projects involve building or upgradation of highways measuring a combined total length of 414 km in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Nagaland, and Uttar Pradesh.
- All these projects will be constructed through the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) mode.
- The Bank of Japan today kept the interest rates on the current accounts held by financial institutions at the central bank unchanged at (-)0.1%.
- Further, the BoJ said it would continue to buy long-term government bonds at a pace so that its holdings increase by 80 trillion yen (over $780 billion) per year.
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved $631 million assistance for India's first coastal industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
- This assistance would help in developing the 800-km section of the planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor.
- The total cost of the project is $846 million and the remaining amount would be funded by the Andhra Pradesh government.
- Indian e-commerce company Flipkart has crossed the 100-million registered users mark, becoming the first e-commerce company in the country to hit the milestone.
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, which was established in 1847 as Thomason College of Civil Engineering, is the oldest engineering college in the country.
- The college was converted from Thomason College of Civil Engineering to University of Roorkee in 1948.
- It later became an IIT through an ordinance issued by Government of India, 15 years ago on September 21, 2001.
Science & Technology
- Google today launched its smart messaging app Allo which is the first product to have the 'Google Assistant' which will rival Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana.
- Assistant can be used within Allo to look up movie times and local restaurants among other things.
- Google Allo, available for Android and iOS, also 'learns' from users' conversations and suggests 'smart' replies.
- US space agency NASA is building the world's largest and most powerful rocket at its Michoud Assembly Facility, US.
- The rocket's 212-foot-long core will carry around 2.3 million pounds of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to fuel the engines.
- It is being prepared for moon missions in 2018, and other Mars and deep space explorations in the 2030s.
- Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad has been made BCCI's new chief selector.
- Prasad, who replaces Sandeep Patil in the role, will head the selection panel consisting of five members.
- Devang Gandhi, Gagan Khoda, Sarandeep Singh and Jatin Paranjape are the other members of the committee.
- Meanwhile, Ajay Shirke was reappointed unopposed as the BCCI Secretary.
- Marking India's 500th Test that will start on Thursday, Cricket Australia has revealed India’s greatest Test XI based on a poll of over 50,000 votes.
- MS Dhoni got 93% votes to be featured as wicketkeeper, with former players like Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar making the cut.
- Note : The team did not feature any of the current Test players.
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