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May 25, 2016

25th May 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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National Affairs
  • Union Cabinet today approved 6 new IITs at Goa, Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwad (Karnataka), and Bhilai (Chhattisgarh)
    • Note : It also approved the conversion of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad to an IIT. 
  • The Centre has issued Standard Operating Procedures for government offices under 'Swachh Bharat Mission', stating that penalty will be imposed for littering and spitting inside office premises
    • Further, open urination and non-collection of construction or demolition waste by the contractor will be penalised. 
    • The order also makes it mandatory to form a sanitation committee for every department.
  • Aiming to create 21 million new jobs by 2025, the Union Cabinet today approved India's first-ever National Capital Goods Policy
    • This policy aims to create an ecosystem for a globally competitive capital goods sector and increase production to over ₹7.5 lakh crore from the current ₹2.3 lakh crore by 2025. 
    • Note : Capital goods are those used in manufacturing other goods.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of two Bills in the Parliament for certain amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950
    • These bills seek to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of five States, namely, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Tripura
    • They also seek identification of new communities in the Union Territory of Puducherry. 
    • The Bills add the following communities to the list of Scheduled Castes : 
      • Assam : Inclusion of Boro, Boro Kachari, Bodo, Bodo Kachari and Karbi (Mikir) communities in the list. 
      • Chhattisgarh : Inclusion of Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, Bhuyan, Dhanuhar/Dhanuwar,Kisan, Saunra, Saonra and Dhangad communities in the list. 
      • Jharkhand : Inclusion of Bhogta, Deshwari, Ganjhu, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Patbandi, Raut, Maajhia, Khairi (Kheri) and Puran communities in the list. 
      • Tamil Nadu : Inclusion of Malayali Gounder, Narikoravan and  Kurivikkaran communities in the list. 
      • Tripura : Inclusion of Darlong community in the list. Puducherry: Identification (First Order) of Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran).
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today announced that waitlisted and RAC (reservation against cancellation) ticket holders can now cancel their tickets by dialing 139
    • Earlier, this facility was available only for confirmed ticket holders. 
    • Online cancellation through 139, however, will be permitted only till 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of the train for RAC and waitlisted tickets.
  • The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD)  has decided to launch ASMITA, a student tracking system programme under Shala Asmita Yojana (SAY).
    • This programme will track the educational journey of 25 crore school students across 15 lakh schools, both private and government. 
    • The programme uses students' Aadhaar numbers to create a database regarding student attendance, enrolment, mid-day meal services, learning outcomes and infrastructural facilities.
    • ASMITA - All School Monitoring Individual Tracing Analysis

Business & Economy
  • The World Bank has launched Pandemic Emergency Finance Facility (FEP) to help countries and health agencies fight deadly disease outbreaks. 
    • FEP is a financing mechanism designed to quickly mobilize funds to tackle global disease outbreaks and create a new insurance market for pandemic risk. 
    • It was unveiled at the G-7 Finance Ministers Summit held in Ise-Shima, Japan. 
    • Japanese Government has committed to donate $50 million dollars to it, becoming the first donor.
  • Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to give Greece access to bailout loans of €10.3 billion ($11.5 billion) and short-term debt relief measures, such as locking in lower interest rates and easing repayment schedules. 
    • This is the second instalment of Greece’s third bailout package, worth €86 billion, agreed last August. 
    • Note : Greece’s debt stands at €321 billion, 180% of its GDP.
  • India today signed a $100 million loan deal with the World Bank to develop the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernisation Project that will provide piped water to different cities in the state. 
    • It will be implemented over the course of six years. 
    • Further, Hubbali-Dharwad twin cities have been chosen to start off the project.
  • Kaduna state in Nigeria has declared an emergency after moths destroyed 80% of the tomato produce
    • The wholesale price of a basket of tomatoes has risen to $212 from $1.50-$7.50.
  • Twitter today announced changes to its 140-character limit and names in replies and media attachments like photos, GIFs, videos and polls will no longer count as characters within a tweet in the coming months. 
    • The micro-blogging site will also let users Retweet their own tweets. 
    • Further, new tweets beginning with a username will reach all the followers.

Science & Technology
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to test an Air-breathing Propulsion System after successful test of Reusable launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD)
    • The testing of air-breathing propulsion system aims to capitalize on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight. 
    • ISRO is evolving and testing various technologies to bring down the cost of launch vehicles and the air-breathing propulsion system is part of its new space endeavor.
  • Food regulator FSSAI has decided to remove Potassium Bromate from the list of permitted food additives. 
    • This comes after a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) claimed that potassium bromate – banned in several countries – is a cancer-causing agent
    • Note : Nearly 84% of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads contain potassium bromate.
    • FSSAI - Food Safety and Standards Authority of India 

  • Afghan officials today confirmed the death of senior Taliban leader Mullah Muzamel, identified as the shadow governor of Helmand province.  
    • The report comes days after Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed by an American airstrike in Pakistan.
  • Renowned Pink Panther star Burt Kwouk (85) passed away.
    • He was best known for playing Inspector Clouseau's manservant Cato in the Pink Panther films.

New Appointments
  • Pinarayi Vijayan took oath as the 22nd Chief Minister of Kerala today. 
    • He is a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and currently a member of its Politburo. 
    • He will be leading a 19-member cabinet of the LDF which includes alliance partners CPI and NCP.
    • Further, Vijayan will also handle the portfolios of Home and Vigilance.
  • Taliban named Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada as their new Chief after confirming the death of former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
  • Snapdeal-owned digital payments platform FreeCharge today appointed Govind Rajan as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and elevated Co-Founder and former CEO Kunal Shah as the company's Chairman.

  • Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has remained as number one ranked player for 200 weeks, thereby becoming the fifth player in the history of the sport to achieve this feat. 
    • He is also one week shy of 100-straightweeks at the top rank. 
    • The other four players are,
      •  Jimmy Connors (268), 
      • Ivan Lendl (270), 
      • Pete Sampras (286)
      • Roger Federer (302)
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