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June 30, 2016

29th June 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has elected Ethiopia, Bolivia, Sweden and Kazakhstan as the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
    • These newly-elected countries will replace Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.
    • These countries have two-year term starting from 1 January 2016 till 31 December 2018. 
  • The annual 11-day-long 'Summerfest' music festival begins today in Milwaukee, the United States.
    • Recognised as 'The World's Largest Music Festival' by the Guinness World Records, it attracts between 8-9 lakh people. 
    • Over 800 bands perform at Summerfest, which will feature performances by Selena Gomez, Pitbull and Paul McCartney this year. 
    • Note : The inaugural Summerfest was held in 1968.

National Affairs
  • Today (29th June) is National Statistics Day.
    • This day is organised by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
    • This day commemorates the birth anniversary of Indian Bengali scientist and applied statistician, Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis.
      • He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure.
    • Theme of the year 2016 : “Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare”
  • Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced that the government will connect all major cities and towns of the state with 4-6 lane roads by 2017
    • Note : This initiative will make Punjab the second state in India to have a road network of such broad scale.
  • The government today announced that the average days of employment generated per household under MNREGA in the financial year 2015-16, at 49, was highest in eight years
    • Around 235 crore person days' work was generated last year, the government reported. 
    • Note : 55% of the beneficiaries were women, a large number of them from vulnerable sections like SCs.
  • All India Services (IAS, IFoS, and IPS) officers' foreign posting can now be extended to seven years at a stretch after completing the existing five-year limit, with the concerned minister's permission. 
    • Note : The Department of Personnel and Training has also relaxed the rules to further extend the tenure beyond seven years, provided "recruitment rules for such deputation post" are amended.

Places in News
  • The Great Barrier Reef situated off the coast of Queensland, Australia, has been named the world’s best place to visit in 2016 by the US News & World Report. 
    • The world’s largest collection of coral reefs, the 2,000 kilometre-long site is visible even from space. 
    • French capital Paris and island Bora Bora were ranked second and third respectively.

New Appointments
  • For the first time in the history of the judiciary of the Muslim-majority country, Two women, Noor Huda Roslan and Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin, have been appointed as Judges of Malaysia’s Islamic Shariah High Court.
  • AC Milan have appointed Vincenzo Montella as their new manager on a two-year contract.
    • He is going to replace Cristian Brocchi, who took charge on an interim basis after Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked in April.

Science & Technology
  • NASA today successfully tested the booster designed for its Mars-bound rocket 'Space Launch System', which is the most powerful rocket in the world. 
    • The 47-metre booster provided 3.6 million pounds of thrust – almost equivalent to the thrust of 14 Boeing 747-400s at take off. 
    • The rocket will take off for its first uncrewed test flight in late 2018.
  • South Korea has retained the top spot in internet speed globally with an average speed of 29 Mbps in the first quarter of 2016, according to an Akamai report. 
    • Norway and Sweden were ranked second and third respectively. 
    • Further, the United Kingdom led the average mobile connection speeds worldwide at 27.9 Mbps.

Awards & Honors
  • Indian-origin Google CEO Sunder Pichai and three other Indian-Americans are among the 42 US nationals honoured with this years prestigious “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America” award.
    • The other three Indian-Americans are,
      • Hari Sreenivasan : anchor and senior correspondent, PBS NewsHour
      • Vikram Malhotra : Chairman of the Americas, McKinsey & Company 
      • Bharati Mukherjee : National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author.
  • The HRD Ministry will confer National-level awards to 100 schools which have taken significant steps towards fulfilling the mandate of the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign
    • All government schools in rural and urban areas are eligible for the 'Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar' 2016
    • Schools will be rated and judged on the basis of availability of water, and clean toilets, among other criteria.
  • Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand was conferred the “Honoris Causa” Doctor of Science by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) during its 49th convocation ceremony in Kanpur today.
    • The 46-year-old Anand was bestowed with the degree by NITI aayog chairman Arvind Panagariya in Kanpur.

Business & Economy
  • In the latest World Bank ranking of the global logistics performance, India is now ranked 35th as against the 54th spot it occupied in the previous 2014 report. 
    • India ranked ahead of other economies like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. 
    • Germany topped the rankings, and was followed by Luxembourg and Sweden​.
    • Syria ranked lowest in the list.
  • The Cabinet today cleared the Model Shops and Establishments Act, which will permit movie theatres, malls, and other such business to remain open 24x7. 
    • The Act will cover all public amusement establishments that have at least 10 employees and are not covered under the Factories Act 1948. 
    • Currently, only larger manufacturing units and service-sector firms can operate 24x7.
  • The Union Cabinet today approved the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission which had proposed an average 23.55% increment in the salaries, allowances and pension of central government employees. 
    • This is likely to benefit 48 lakh employees and 55 lakh pensioners. 
    • Further, its implementation is estimated to put an additional burden of ₹1.02 lakh crore on the exchequer annually.

  • The CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with coal supplying companies and power utilities for quality analysis of coal supplied. 
    • The MoU was signed in presence of Uniin Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal at a function in New Delhi.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Tanzania for bilateral cooperation in water resources management and development. 
    • Under this MoU, the areas of enhanced cooperation include techniques in water harvesting, groundwater and surface management and development and aquifer recharge.

  • The 2016 Rio games will be the first Olympics after 112 years to host a Golf event
    • Note : Golf was discontinued in Olympics after being played in 1900 and 1904 but has been reintroduced for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. 
  • Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid was the only Indian to feature in former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara's all-time Dream XI
    • The squad also included Sri Lankans Muttiah Muralitharan, Aravinda de Silva, and Chaminda Vaas alongside Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Jacques​ Kallis, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. 
    • Shane Warne and Wasim Akram completed the bowling attack of the squad.
  • The Argentina women’s Hockey team has claimed a record 7th Champions Trophy title with a 2-1 win over reigning World and Olympic champions, The Netherlands.
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