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June 18, 2016

17th June 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (17th June) is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
    • The purpose of this day is to highlight ways to prevent desertification and recover from drought.
    • 2016 Theme : “Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality”.
  • Recently released report of World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that hot drinks (beverages) consumed at temperatures above 65 Celsius can cause esophageal cancer
    • The report was based on the study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO.
  • Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility under the revised Inland Water Transit and Trade Protocol between India and Bangladesh became operational. 
    • The transit facility was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June 2015.
  • Namibian President Hage Geingob, during President Pranab Mukherjee's ongoing visit, assured India of exploring "legal ways" to supply uranium for peaceful nuclear use
    • Important Points to Note :
    • The two countries had inked a pact in 2009 for Namibia to supply uranium to India but the deal has since been on hold. 
    • Both India and Namibia are seeking membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • The European Union today extended its sanctions on the Russia-annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea for another year, till 23 June 2017
    • The sanctions include prohibition of imports from Crimea and any investment in the peninsula.
    • Note : Crimea was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014, following which armed rebels in eastern Ukraine started opposing Ukraine's government.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that India and Thailand will increase their cooperation in tackling terrorism, human trafficking, transnational economic offences, and narcotics. 
    • He made this announcement after a meeting with Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in New Delhi today.

National Affairs
  • Odisha is holding a 4 day festival named 'Raja' to celebrate menstruation, the monthly biological cycle of women. 
    • During the festival, ploughing is forbidden as it is believed that planet Earth, also perceived as a woman, is menstruating. 
    • The festival witnesses celebrations and girls are given rest, hence, they give up cooking to take turns on swings hanging from tree branches.
  • Considering staff shortage in government schools, the HRD Ministry today launched the 'Vidyanjali' initiative to encourage youngsters to volunteer in schools. 
    • The schools will pick the volunteers to promote activities like reading, creative writing, public speaking and play acting for classes 1 to 8.
  • The Union Government has approved Ramayana and Krishna Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Ministry of Tourism. 
    • Note : These two tourism circuits were approved in the first meeting of National Committee on Ramayan Circuit and National Committee on Krishna Circuit chaired by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today approved Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s proposal to set up a Central Marine Police Force to protect the national coastline. 
    • The Centre is preparing to take the coastal security to the third phase and more reforms will be executed in the next five years, Singh said after chairing coastal security meet in Mumbai.
  • The Centre has cleared ₹300 crore for the makeover of Ramayana and Krishna circuits of Uttar Pradesh under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, aiming to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country. 
    • Under the Ramayana circuit, 11 destinations spread across six states, including Ayodhya, and under the Krishna circuit, 12 destinations spread across five states, comprising Dwarka, were proposed.

Science & Technology
  • Russia has launched the new Project 22220 nuclear powered icebreaker named ‘Arktika’. 
    • It is the world’s largest and most powerful vessel of its kind. 
    • It was launched from the Baltic Shipyard located in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
  • India’s indigenous basic trainer aircraft, Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40), made its inaugural flight in Bengaluru today. 
    • Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the aircraft will be used for first-stage training of all flying cadets. 
    • Note : The Indian Air Force has committed to purchasing 70 of these aircraft.

Business & Economy
  • The State Bank of India (SBI) today launched a ₹200-crore 'IT Innovation Start-up Fund’ to invest in startups operating in the financial technology space. 
  • To increase domestic supply and check the rising prices of sugar, the Indian government today imposed a 20% customs duty on the export of raw, white, or refined sugar
    • This comes amid rising prices of various commodities including tomato, wheat, and pulses. 
    • Note : India is the world's second-largest sugar producer and has exported 1.6 million tonnes sugar since October 2015.
  • International Finance Corporation, the private-sector lending arm of the World Bank, has announced it's plans to invest up to $75 million (₹500 crore) in Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals
    • The funds will be used by Glenmark to reduce debt, expand operations, and invest in R&D.

Awards & Honors
  • Cambodia has been named the World’s Best Tourism Destination for 2016 by the 'European Council on Tourism and Trade' (ECTT), an international non-profit organization.
  • Actress Priyanka Chopra has been named "the hottest woman in the world" by the magazine 'Maxim India' as part of its 'Maxim Hot 100' list. 
    • Note : The actress topped the list for the third time as she had earlier taken the number one spot in 2011 and 2013.

Places in News
  • China opened its first Disneyland in Shanghai to the public with a grand ceremony today. 
    • Disney CEO Bob Iger present at the event announced that the Disneyland was a product of $5.5 billion investment and a two-decade courtship of the Communist Party’s top leaders. 
    • The theme park is expected to attract 15-50 million visitors every year.

  • India and Namibia have signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during the final leg of President Pranab Mukherjee’s three-nation African visit.
    • The two signed MoUs signed were,
      • MoU on Capacity building for civil servants of Namibia
      • Mou on setting up of centre of excellence in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)   

New Appointments
  • Congress councillor Soram Sunil was sworn in as the first mayor of Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. 
  • Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway has been appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador for promotion of gender equality by the United Nations
    • Note : She joins fellow Hollywood actors Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson as ambassadors. 
  • US President Barack Obama has nominated an Indian-origin diplomat Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir as the next US ambassador to Malaysia.
    • She would replace Joseph Y Yun as the next US ambassador to Malaysia.
  • Navy officer Ashutosh Pednekar has become the first Indian to win an International Racketlon Tournament
    • Pednekar was named 'King of Rackets’ at the recently-concluded Nordic Racket Games in Denmark, after defeating participants from 24 countries in the veterans category. 
    • Note : Racketlon comprises four sets of 21 points each, with tennis, badminton, table tennis and squash being played in succession.
  • Indian Shuttler Saina Nehwal is third on the list of top women earners in badminton in 2016, after winning the Australian Open earlier this month. 
    • Saina has received ₹51.8 lakh in prize money this year, from her outings at the Super Series in Australia, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and England. 
    • The list is topped by Taiwanese Tzu-Ying, who has won ₹68.9 lakh.
  • The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has ruled that Russian athletes will remain banned from international competitions. 
    • Note : Russia was banned in November 2015, after the World Anti-Doping Agency accused it of state-sponsored doping. 
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