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May 19, 2016

18th May 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs

  • Today (18th May) is International Museum Day.
    • Theme of the year 2016 : Museums and Cultural Landscapes
  • The Republic of Panama has officially signed a deal to comply with standards in exchanging tax information as prescribed by global body Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    • Note : This comes a month after the 'Panama Papers' data leak which revealed records of over 200,000 offshore companies. 
    • However, the new membership does not take effect until 2018.
  • The United States has eased sanctions on Myanmar to support political reforms while expressing concern over its alleged human rights violations. 
    • Myanmar's state-owned banks were removed from the US blacklist and sanctions against state-owned timber and mining companies were lifted. 
    • The USA also indefinitely extended a sanctions exemption that allows financing shipments coming from Myanmar.
  • The US Senate has passed a bill that will allow the families of 9/11 victims to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia
    • This comes after Saudi reportedly threatened to withdraw its investments worth $750 billion in the US if the bill became a law.
National Affairs

  • The World's largest solar power plant on a Single rooftop with a capacity of 11.5 megawatts was inaugurated by Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh near Amritsar today. 
    • The project is also India's largest rooftop solar power plant installed over multiple roofs in a single campus with a capacity of 19.5 megawatts.
  • Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today unveiled the draft 'National Policy for Women, 2016' focusing on protecting women from cyber crime and recognising the rights of single women.  
  • The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has launched its Nagaland unit in Dimapur in the presence of National Executive Committee member Habung Payeng.  
    • The party also elected a 13 membered executive body for the state.  
  • To counter the "menace" of coaching, HRD Minister Smriti Irani today announced that the government will launch an IIT-Pal portal and mobile app to help students prepare for IIT-JEE. 
    • The portal would include free lectures from IIT faculty and previous 50 years' question papers.
  • Odisha Government has decided to launch Green Passage scheme for orphan students to ensure that they get free of cost higher education in the state. 
    • As per the scheme Orphan students pursuing higher education (from Plus-II level) to post-graduation level, will be exempted of tuition fees, admission fee and laboratory fees for higher studies. 
Recent Committees in News

  • The Union Government constituted a 5 Member committee to comprehensively review and give recommendations on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) roadmap for the future.
    • It has been asked to submit its report by 31 October 2016.
    • The committee will be headed by : NK Singh (former Revenue and Expenditure Secretary).  
    • Other members of the Committee are, 
      • Sumit Bose (former Finance and Revenue Secretary), 
      • Dr. Arvind Subramanian (Chief Economic Adviser), 
      • Urijit Patel (Deputy Governor, RBI),
      • Rathin Roy (Director, National Institute Public Finance and Policy, NIPFP).
People in News

  • Baba Ramdev and Amit Agarwal (Amazon India Head), have been named in the list of ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ by American magazine Fast Company. 
    • Agarwal has been ranked 10th for "extending Amazon's reach, one vendor at a time". 
    • Further, Ramdev has been ranked 27th for "disrupting India's $49 billion consumer packaged goods market". 

  • Andre Brahic (73), one of the discoverers of Neptune's rings, passed away.
    • In 1984, Brahic with US astronomer William Hubbard launched a program that led to the discovery of the rings around the gaseous planet Neptune.
Science & Technology

  • The trial run of India's first driverless train was today flagged off by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi
    • Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had acquired the trains from a Korea-based manufacturer last year. 
    • The trains will, however, be run by operators till next year to allow DMRC to identify and fix shortcomings.
  • The 'Valravn' roller coaster, claimed to be the tallest, fastest and longest “dive coaster” in the world, has opened at 'Cedar Point', an amusement park in Ohio, USA
    • The ride features a drop of 214 feet and speed of upto 121 km/h.  
Awards & Honors

  • Eminent Harry Potter Series Author JK Rowling has been honored with the highest French civilian honour French Legion of Honour. 
  • Indian American teenager from Texas Syamantak Payra (15) has won the $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award
    • He won this prestigious award along with Kathy Lu (17). 
    • He won the award for his work in making a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace device which allows people with weakened legs to be able to walk better. 
Business & Economy

  • India's biggest lender State Bank of India today announced that it is seeking the government's in-principle sanction to acquire its five associate banks including the State Bank of Mysore as well as state-owned Bharatiya Mahila Bank.  
  • State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) today posted a loss of ₹5,367 crore for the quarter ended March.
    • Important Note : This is the highest ever quarterly loss by an Indian bank.   
New Appointments

  • Uttar Pradesh government has appointed Manzil Saini as the new Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of state capital Lucknow.
    • With this, she became first-ever woman district police chief in the state capital.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appointed Tala Marandi as the party’s Jharkhand unit President
    • He replaces Ravindra Kumar Rai, who is a Member of Parliament from Koderma, Jharkhand.  

  • The Indian 4x100m women’s relay team comprising Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, HM Jyoti and Merlin Joseph broke the 18-year-old national record to finish 4th position at the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing today. 
    • The team clocked a time of 44.03 seconds, breaking the 44.43-second record set by a PT Usha-led team in July 1998 in Japan.
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