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May 20, 2016

20th May 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The Spanish authorities today ruled that the Bull-lancing festival 'Toro de la Vega' will take place as usual in September but participants will no longer be allowed to kill the bull. 
    • During the festival, hunters with lances (spears) chase a bull through the streets of a town before killing it.  
    • The festival dates back to 1534 and is held every year.
  • For the first time since its opening in 1889, Paris' Eiffel Tower will be used as an apartment for a night during June's UEFA Euro-2016 football tournament
    • As a part of a contest conducted by the US-based rental company, HomeAway, four contestants will be chosen as the first persons in history to stay at the Eiffel Tower.
  • India has sent two Naval ships, with relief materials to Sri Lanka, which is hit by cyclone Roanu. 
    • The Naval ships, INS Sunayna and INS Sutlej, have been sent to the Colombo coast from the Southern Naval Command Kochi. 
    • At least 18 people have reportedly been killed and 200 families missing in the rains and landslides caused by the cyclone.
  • According to Amnesty International, China is the most welcoming country when it comes to refugees. I
    • t has been followed by Germany and Britain, in a survey conducted across 27 countries. 
    • The survey found Russia to be the least welcoming country.  
  • The first World Conference on Tourism for Development (WCTD) is being held in Beijing, China from May 18 to 21, 2016.  
    • It was held under the theme ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’ to advance the contribution of tourism to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  
  • A two-day international Buddhist conference to mark the 2,560th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha began in Khatmandu today with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, advocating Buddhism as a means to avoid extremism in all forms. 
    • Over 1,200 delegates and observers from 28 countries around the world will attend the conference.
    • Theme of the conference :  "Lumbini, Nepal: the birth place of Lord Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism and world peace". 
MOUs & Agreements
  • India and Slovenia have signed a protocol to amend the bilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
    • The protocol was signed by Ambassador of India to Slovenia Sarvajit Chakravarti and the Slovenian Minister of Finance Dusan Mramor in Ljubljana.  
National Affairs
  • India witnessed its highest recorded temperature today after Rajasthan's Phalodi city touched 51°C, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). 
    • Note : Previous record was of 50.6°C, which was registered in Rajasthan's Alwar in 1956.  
  • The government is going to increase maternity leave for private sector employees to 26 weeks from the current 12. 
    • The pro-labour reform will be implemented through an executive order – a legally binding order given by the Cabinet, Prime Minister or President, which does not require the Parliament's approval.
  • Cyclonic Storm Roanu, an active tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal has hit the eastern coast of India. 
    • It is the first tropical cyclone of the annual cyclone season
    • Roanu originated from a deep depression (low pressure) area that formed south of Sri Lanka and later gradually drifted north and intensified into a cyclonic storm.  
  • The Union Government has launched the Centre for Environmental Health in New Delhi to assess the impact of environment-related problems on health. 
    • The centre was launched by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda. I 
New Appointments
  • Tsai Ing-wen (59) today sworn-in as the 14th President of Taiwan.
    • With this, she became the first female President of Taiwan.
    • She is also the first Taiwanese president to be unmarried, and not have held an elected post prior to presidency.
    • She is the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which favours independence from China. 
  • The government is planning to appoint International Finance Corporation official Sujoy Bose as the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.
  • IFS officer A V S Ramesh Chandra, Presently High Commissioner of India to Uganda, has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to Romania.
  • Turkey’s governing party formally tapped Binali Yildirim as its candidate to lead the party and become the country’s next premier.
Awards & Honors
  • An Indian-American biotechnologist Rupa Iyer has been awarded Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award, University of Houston’s highest teaching award. 
    • She was bestowed with this award for her sustained and significant contributions in the field of education. 
    • Presently, she is Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Houston’s College of Technology.  
People in News
  • Lhakpa Sherpa, a 42-year-old US-based Nepali climber, today, climbed the Mount Everest for the seventh time, breaking her own record for the most ascents to the world's highest mountain by a woman. 
    • Note : Two Sherpa climbers, with 21 ascents of the Everest, share the record for scaling the mountain for the ​most number of times overall.
  • Kerala CM Oommen Chandy today resigned from the post following the Congress-led UDF's defeat in the Assembly election. 
Business & Economy
  • Capital markets regulator SEBI has tightened the norms for participatory notes (P-notes) in order to check misuse of these instruments in round-tripping and money laundering. 
    • The decision comes following the recommendations of a Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team on black money. 
    • Note : P-notes enable foreign investors to invest in Indian markets through registered FIIs.
  • SBI’s subsidiary Nepal SBI Bank has launched payment gateway to facilitate online trade and non-trade transactions between the Himalayan nation and India.
    • Under this payment gateway customer of Nepal SBI Bank can utilise various features of mobile banking and other value added services. 
Science & Technology
  • President Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated an Intelligent Operations Centre, developed by the technology giant IBM, which will help in managing Rashtrapati Bhavan's energy, water, waste and security. 
    • An application called 'Monitor', developed by IBM, was also launched, enabling over 5,000 people residing in the 330-acre estate to report issues through mobile and the web.
  • Indian mountaineer Rajib Bhattacharya (43) died while descending from Mount Dhaulagiri in Nepal, the seventh highest mountain peak in the world. 
    • Bhattacharya had complained of snow blindness (temporary eye damage caused by snow reflecting UV light) before collapsing. 
    • Note : He had earlier climbed Mount Everest in 2011 and Mount Kanchenjunga in 2013.
  • The government today cleared the ordinance to postpone the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) by a year to give students enough time to prepare. 
    • The decision came after Union Health minister JP Nadda met state health ministers on the issue earlier this week. 
    • Note : The Supreme Court on May 9 had ordered to make NEET mandatory to get into medical colleges.
  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will declare the Class 12 results for all regions tomorrow (May 21) at 12 noon.  
  • Ella Mae Colbert, a 100-year-old retired South Carolina teacher set a new world record for the fastest 100-meter sprint by a 100-year-old
    • Colbert, who completed the 100-meter sprint in 46.79 seconds, broke the 1 minute, 17.33 seconds record previously held by Ida Keeling.   
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