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September 16, 2016

16th September 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • US President Barack Obama today established the first national marine monument in the Atlantic, permanently protecting nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains. 
    • The White House had said the designation would lead to a commercial fishing ban, although recreational fishing would be permitted. 
    • Note : This is the 27th time Obama has acted to create or expand a national monument.
  • Britain has approved construction of the $24-billion nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C, amid national security concerns over Chinese state companies being involved in "critical" British infrastructure. 
    • The reactor is Britain's first in decades and is being built by French utility firm EDF with financial backing worth $8 billion from China.
  • Barack Obama agreed to lift economic sanctions against Myanmar, during a meeting with the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi today. 
    • The US also agreed to exempt Myanmar from paying duties to sell its goods. 
    • This comes after Myanmar appointed democratically-elected President Htin Kyaw recently, ending decades of military rule.

National Affairs
  • The Naropa festival, which is held every 12 years, began today at the 17th century Hemis Monastery in Ladakh
    • The main events at the week-long Naropa festival, a celebration of the 1,000th birth anniversary of Saint Naropa, are the display of six bone ornaments and the unfurling of the ancient silk Thangka (Tibetan Buddhist painting) of Buddha Amitabha.
  • The government has barred the agencies in possession of an individual's Aadhaar number from sharing the information publicly
    • Under the Aadhaar Act, the agencies will have to maintain the confidentiality of the 12-digit number. 
    • The agencies will also have to specify whether the submission of Aadhaar number is mandatory or voluntary. 
    • Any violation will be punishable​ under the Act.
  • Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu, along with 42 Congress MLAs, has left the grand-old party and joined the regional People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA)
    • Note : In July the Supreme Court had reinstated the Congress government in the state after a political crisis.
  • The government has aimed to set Guinness World Records on PM Narendra Modi’s 66th birthday tomorrow at Navasari, Gujarat. 
    • The government has planned to light up 1,000 oil lamps by specially-abled, a formation by 1,000 wheelchair-bound people, and distribution of hearing aids to 1,000 people. 
    • The event will be monitored by officials from the Guinness World Records.

New Appointments
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim effectively won a second five-year term after nominations to lead the 189-nation global development bank closed with no other candidates proposed. 
    • The Korean-American doctor, who focused on ways to reduce poverty, was nominated by the Obama administration last month. 
    • Note : Kim's current five-year term ends on June 30, 2017.

General Knowledge
  • Indian diplomat and politician Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was elected as the President of the eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly 63 years ago on this day in the year 1953, making her the first female to hold the post
    • Sister of the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, she also served as India's ambassador to Moscow and Washington.
  • The British became the first to use tanks in the battlefield after they deployed 32 of the armoured vehicles against Germany 100 years ago in the year 1916, during the first World War
    • Named so due to their resemblance to water tanks, the initial 'landships' were of little success in the battle due to mechanical errors, but prompted mass manufacture.

Awards & Honors
  • Katrina Kaif is set to receive the 'Smita Patil Memorial Award' at the Global Awards ceremony to be held in Mumbai on September 19. 
    • The award was instituted by Priyadarshni​ Academy. 
    • Actresses including Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Priyanka Chopra have earlier received the award, which​ is given in recognition of an individual's contribution to the film industry.
  • India-born scientist Ramesh Raskar was awarded $500,000 (₹3.35 crore) for his work on ultra-fast imaging camera that can see around corners and a camera that can read closed books. 
    • The award, Lemelson-MIT prize, is claimed to be one of the world’s largest single cash awards for inventions
  • UK's Royal Mail has released a set of Agatha Christie stamps having hidden clues, to commemorate the crime novelist's 126th birth anniversary
    • Designed using microtext, UV ink and thermochromic ink, the stamps have hidden clues to famous mysteries penned by the author. 
    • The clues can be revealed using magnifying glasses, body heat and UV light.
  • Priyanka Chopra has become the highest paid actress of India, having earned $11 million in 12 months till June this year according to Forbes
    • She has overtaken Deepika Padukone, who according to Forbes, earned $10 million during the same period. 
    • Note : Priyanka stands eighth on Forbes' list of highest paid TV actresses in the world.
  • Indian-American physician-author, Abraham Verghese (61) has been selected for the prestigious National Humanities Medal for the year 2015
    • President Barack Obama will bestow the honour upon Verghese along with 11 others recipient’s at a ceremony to be held in Washington on 21st September 2016. 
    • He has been selected for the prestigious award for reminding us that the patient is the centre of the medical enterprise.

Business & Economy
  • Deutsche Bank has been asked to pay a fine of $14 billion (approx ₹93,611 crores) by the US Department of Justice to settle an investigation into mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities. 
    • The malpractices by several leading banks are cited as the primary reason for the 2008 financial crisis. 
    • The verdict comes on the eighth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers.
  • China has permitted setting up of a New Trade Body to promote and coordinate Chinese investments and businesses with India, a first such official initiative by the world's biggest trader
    • The China-India Business Council will be set up over two years. 
    • This comes amid a rise in Chinese investments in India which amounted to $4.07 billion till last year.
  • The European Union today published a list of 81 countries and jurisdictions that have a higher chance of facilitating tax avoidance and may be subject to further screening. 
    • The list features countries like Panama and major economies like the US, China, and Canada.
    • The "scoreboard" is the first step toward formulating the EU's first blacklist of tax havens.
  • The Bank of England has kept its interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25%, amid expectations of a future rate cut. 
    • In August, the central bank had cut the benchmark rate to the lowest in its 322-year history from 0.5% to 0.25%. T
    • he central bank is due to publish its 'Inflation Report' on November 3.
  • India is going to sign a $8.8 billion deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets with France on September 23rd.
    • This comes amid concerns over the deal following the Scorpene submarine data leak, which were later dismissed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. 
    • The cost, offsets and service details have been finalised and the inter-governmental agreement is now being finalised.

Books & Authors
  • A book with a collection of all of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the thickest book published
    • More than a foot thick, the 4,032-pages book weighs 8.04kg, and has 12 novels and 20 short stories. 
    • Important Note : Agatha Christie, the best-selling novelist of all time, was born 126 years ago on 15th September 1890.

People in News
  • Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos has once again overtaken Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett to become the world's third-richest​ person with a net worth of $66.5 billion.

  • Indian wrestler Manisha won a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling 38 kg event at the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia today. 
  • Iran’s Morteza Mehrzadselakjani has become the tallest athlete to compete in the history of the Paralympics, standing at 8ft 1in tall. 
    • The 28-year-old, known by the team as ‘Mehrzad’, is a part of Iran's volleyball team. 
  • The Indian football team jumped four places to be ranked 148th as per the latest Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings today. 
    • This is the first time since April 2015 that the team has entered the top-150 international rankings.
  • Indian pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji announced his retirement from First-class cricket.
    • The 34-year-old pacer played 106 matches in First-class cricket, picking up 330 wickets, alongside picking up 27 wickets in his 8-match-long Test career. 
    • Balaji also led the Tamil Nadu side in the 2011-12 Ranji season, who ended as the tournament's runner-ups.
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