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Current Affairs Today – November 19 2016

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International Conference on Brucellosis held in New Delhi
iInternational Conference on Brucellosis 2016 and the 69th meeting of the International Society on Brucellosis was inaugurated in New Delhi from November 17 to 19, 2016.
ii. The three day conference was organized by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in collaboration with Indian Council for agriculture Research (ICAR).
iii. The conference is organized as a part of DBT’s network programme on Brucellosis launched in 2012 to address the epidemiology and development of new generation of vaccines and diagnostic kits.
ivBrucellosis is a deadly disease caused by the genus of bacteria known as Brucella. It infects various species of cows, buffalos, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs and other animals and also humans.
v. The conference provided a technical platform to scientists and experts from all over the world including participants from 26 countries, who exchanged views and ideas to help the endemic countries in designing effective control and eradication strategies against the Disease.
vi. A pilot program ‘Brucella Free Villages’ was also will be implemented in 50 villages of 10 states.

PM Inaugurates Rail Vikas Shivir via Video Conferencing
i. The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund (Faridabad, Haryana ) through video conferencing on November 18, 2016.
ii. The conference laid emphasis on the importance of innovation in todays technology driven century, and the need of two aspects, namely, ‘Gati’ (speed) and ‘Pragati’ (progress) in our Railway system.
iii. The Prime Minister emphasized that Indian Railways has to develop and be financially strong especially for the benefit of India and particularly those working for the Railways.
iv. The Prime Minister said that the focus of his Government’s Rail Budgets is to bring fundamental transformation in the system of Railway.

India and UK Sign three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements
i. India and the UK have signed 3 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) on November 18, 2016, to have a smooth taxation system between the two and reduce differences arising between the two due to transfer pricing issues.
ii. The Agreements was signed as a result of mutual understanding between the Competent Authority of United Kingdom (UK) earlier. The Competent Authorities of India and UK India and UK Sign three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreementsexchanged mutual agreements amongst them under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) Article of the India-UK Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
iii. The three pacts are related to international transactions in the nature of payment of intra-group service charges and related to the telecom industry. The agreement also has a roll-back provision.
iv. With these 3 agreements, India and the UK have signed five bilateral APAs till date and some more would be concluded in the near future.
v. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed the three pacts that makes the total APAs signed (both- bilateral and unilateral) so far to 111.
vi. The APAs are meant to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.

Revised Tax Regime signed between India-Cyprus
i. A revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion (DTAA) with respect to taxes on income, along with its protocol, was signed between India and Cyprus on November 18, 2016 in Nicosia (Cyprus)
ii. It was signed by High Commissioner of India to Cyprus, Ravi Bangar and Cyprus’ Finance Minister Harris Georgiades.
iii. The revised agreement will replace the existing agreement that was signed in June 1994 with Cyprus.
iv. The new DTAA will enter into force after the completion of necessary procedures in both countries and is expected to come into effect in India in connection to the income derived in fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2017.
The new DTAA
1.Presents source based taxation of capital gains arising from transfer of shares, instead of residence based taxation provided under the existing DTAA.
2.Expands the scope of ‘permanent establishment’ and reduces tax rate on royalty from 15% to 10% to cooperate with India’s domestic tax rate. Provides assistance in collection of taxes and effective exchange of information on tax matters including bank information
Cyprus :
♦  Capital: Nicosia
♦  Currency: Euro

Global Citizen Festival Organised in Mumbai
iThe Global Citizen Festival has been organized on November 19, 2016, at the MMRDA grounds in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.
ii. Global Citizen Festival, which is a charitable event, is one of the biggest international music events to be held in the India. Voot, the digital platform of Network 18 Media, will live telecast the event online.Global Citizen Festival Organised in Mumbai
iii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai via video conferencing. More than 80 percent of the tickets were given away free to those who took part in social activities in support of Global Citizen India across the country.
iv. More than 80,000 fans from across the country were seen attending the event.  The festival experienced performances by international as well as Indian celebrities.
v. International celebrities such as Coldplay, Jay-Z, Demi Lovato and The Vamps from abroad and Indian celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, A.R. Rahman, Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif and much more from the Indian film industry performed in the event.
vi Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival established in 2012. The Festival is focused on creating an impact in areas of education, equality, and clean water and sanitation.Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, is the current creative director of the event

National Institute of Sowa Rigpa to be established at Leh
i. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik announced that The Government has approved the establishment of National Institute of Sowa Rigpa at Leh (Jammu & Kashmir)
ii. Sowa Rigpa (Amchi) is commonly known as The Tibetan system of Medicine
iii. The System of Sowa Rigpa is practiced in many parts of India, including Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir); Sikkim; Darjeeling, Kalimpong (West Bengal); Mon Tawang and West Kameng regions of Arunachal Pradesh; Lahaul, Spiti, Kangra and Kinnaur regions of Himachal Pradesh.
iv. Sowa Rigpa has been recognised by Government of India by amending the Indian Medicine Central Council  (IMCC) Act, 2010.
Ministry of AYUSH
♦ The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), is a governmental body in India purposed with developing, education and research in ayurveda, yoga,  naturopathy, unani, siddha, and homoeopathy, Sowa-rigpa (Traditional Tibetan medicine), and other Indigenous Medicine systems
♦ Headquarters: Ayush Bhawan,New Delhi
♦ Minister of state independent charge: Shripad Yasso Naik
♦ Founded: November 9, 2014

Justice Kailash Gambhir committee formed to verify the availability of night shelters
i. The Supreme Court constitute the committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir to verify the availability of night shelters
ii. The committee formed to inquire about non-utilisation and/or diversion/ misutilisation of funds allocated for the scheme for providing shelters to the urban homeless
iii. The committee shall issue suitable recommendations to the States to ensure that at least temporary shelters are provided for the homeless in urban areas to protect them during winter season.
iv. Four month has given to this committee to submit its report regarding night shelters.


Marrakesh Action Proclamation Adopted by 200 nations
i. The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  (UNFCC), the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) were held in Bab Ighli, Marrakesh, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016.
ii. About 200 nations attended the conference and adopted the Marrakesh Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development on November 17, 2016.
iii. Britain on November 17, 2016, ratified the Paris agreement on climate change. Foreign Secretary of Paris, Boris Johnson signed the Paris Agreement at the UN Summit, in Morocco.

Zika Virus outbreak no more public health emergency of international concern: WHO
i. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in an online press conference on November 19, 2016, that the Zika Virus occurrence will no longer poses a world public health emergency.
ii. According to Dr David Heymann, The world health body’s emergency committee chairman, Zika virus causes only mild symptoms in most people, pregnant women with the virus risk giving birth to babies with microcephaly — a deformation that leads to abnormally small brains and heads, but it is not any more a public heath emergency of international concern.
iii. It can also cause rare adult-onset neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which can result in paralysis and even death.
iv. In the outbreak that began in mid-2015, more than 1.5 million people have been infected with Zika, mainly in Brazil, and more than 1,600 babies have been born with microcephaly since last year, according to the WHO.
v. However, Brazil that has been affected the most by the outbreak, has refused to downgrade the risk, while experts also criticized the world health body’s decision.
♦ The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Founded: April 7, 1948
♦ Head: Margaret Chan


Union Bank loan scheme for start-ups
i. Union Bank of India has launched a New loan scheme to support and promote start-ups at its 98th Foundation Day celebrations.
ii. Under this new scheme, the bank will provide the  finance up to Rs.5 crore with no processing fee
iii. Union Bank honoured  five personalities with lifetime achievement awards.They are Missionaries of Charity (St Teresa) in the field of social work, Devi Prasad Shetty in the field of medicine, Mary Kom in the field of sports and Anil Kakodkar in the field of science.
Union Bank of India :
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦  CEO: Arun Tiwari

Sweden could be first with national digital currency
i. World’s oldest central bank, Central Bank of Sweden is taking step to launch a national digital currency e-krona to solve the problem of a dramatic drop in the domestic use of cash. The digital currency may be introduced within two years.Sweden
ii. Sweden become the first major country to give consumers direct access to virtual money issued by a central bank.
Sweden :
♦ Capital: Stockholm
♦ Currency: Swedish krona
♦ Central Bank of Sweden issued first  paper banknotes in the 1660s.


Ministry of steel to set up of Industry Driven SRTMI
Ministry of Steel is planning to set up Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI), to enable joint collaborative research projects in the iron & steel sector in India.
Aim: To enhance the R&D investments in the iron and steel industry to the international levels.
Key Features of SRTMI
i. SRTMI is an industry driven initiative which has been setup as a Registered Society, and will be assisted by the Ministry of Steel.
ii. SRTMI will be governed and administered by a Governing Body comprising of the CEOs of steel, Domain Experts and a representative of Ministry of Steel.
iii. The executive functions of SRTMI will be carried out by the Director of SRTMI, who will be assisted by a suitable/appropriate supporting structure.
iv. Initial corpus for setting up of SRTMI is Rs. 200 crore out of which 50% is to be provided by Ministry of Steel and the remaining amount will be provided by the participating steel companies.
v. After that, the centre will run on yearly contributions from the steel companies based on their turnover of the previous year.

Iran exceeds Saudi Arabia, becomes India’s top crude oil supplier
i. Iran has exceeded Saudi Arabia to become India’s top crude oil supplier.Till 2010-11 Saudi Arabia, was the largest supplier of crude oil in India while Iran was the India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil.
ii. However, crude oil exports by Iran to India increased in 2016, by selling 759,700 barrels of oil per day to India in October. This was 56 per cent more than 2015.
iii. While india’s top crude oil supplier Saudi Arabia sold 717,000 bpd of oil.
iv. An important reason for the Iran to shift to the No.1 position is partly due to less availablility of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran offered price discounts as part of a larger deal.
v. Last month, India imported about 2 million barrels of Iranian crude for its strategic petroleum reserve stocks. The country is also planning to import twice that volume to stock up its emergency oil reserves.
Iran :
♦ Capital:       Tehran
♦ Currency:    Iranian rial
♦ President:   Hassan Rouhani


Dr Sonam Wangchuk of Ladakh won Rolex Global Enterprise Award
i. Dr Sonam Wangchuk, a famous Educationist and Social Scientist from Secmol (Ladakh) has been awarded the 40th Rolex Global Enterprise Award at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 17, 2016.
ii. Sonam Wangchuk has been chosen for the Rolex Awards along with five other persons by an international Jury of 12 eminent experts who selected them after meeting with the finalists, who was shortlisted from among 2,322 applicants representing 144 nationalities.Dr Sonam Wangchuk of Ladakh won Rolex Global Enterprise Award
iii. Rolex Global Enterprise Award are given to individuals in recognition of their ongoing project, in order to support it further.
iv. Wangchuk was chosen for his work on building artificial glaciers that supply irrigation water during the times of drought.
v. The other four laureates include an eye specialist who has devised a smart-phone based portable eye examination system, a conservation biologist of Peru, another biologist who works in Patagonia and a bio-medical engineer who is developing soft robotic suits to help stroke victims walk again.
vi. Each Laureate received 100,000 Swiss francs (US$104,000) and each Young Laureate 50,000 Swiss francs (US$52,000) to advance their projects and a Rolex chronometer watch.


Catholic Syrian Bank appoint C.V.R. Rajendran as MD & CEO
i. C.V.R. Rajendran has appointed as the Managing Director & CEO of Catholic Syrian Bank for a period of three years. His appointment was approved by Reserve Bank of India(RBI) on November 18, 2016
ii. Rajendran is currently working as the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Mutual Funds of India.
iii. Prior to this, he has held other key positions like Chairman and Managing Director of Andhra Bank and Executive Director at Bank of Maharashtra.
Catholic Syrian Bank :
♦ Headquarters: Thrissur
♦ CEO: Anand Krishnamurthy

Jagdish Singh Khehar appointed as Executive Chairman of NALSA 
A judge of the Supreme Court , Jagdish Singh Khehar is appointed as the new Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on November 19, 2016. He will replace Anil R. Dave.Jagdish Singh Khehar appointed as Executive Chairman of NALSA
About NALSA :
i. NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society.
ii. Aim: To ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
iii. It identifies specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes

Michael Flynn appointed NSA by Donald Trump 
i. Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was appointed by the US President-Elect Donald Trump as National Security Adviser (NSA) on November 18, 2016.
ii. Michael Flynn, served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and is known for his long and distinguished military career, his sudden exit from the DIA, and for his controversial views on Islam, torture, and Russia.
iii. 57 year old Flynn, was a top adviser and high-profile agent to Trump during his campaign, introducing the President-elect at rallies and served as a top cheerleader on his Twitter feed.
iv. As National Security Adviser (NSA), he will have to work in the White House to frame foreign and military policy and have frequent access to a president who has no national security experience.


Salt Tolerant Plant Garden Inaugurated In TN By Mauritius President
i. The President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib Fakim, inaugurated a Genetic Garden of naturally occurring Salt-Tolerant Plants called halophytes at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu on November 18, 2016 through video-conference.
Salt Tolerant Plant Garden Inaugurated In TN By Mauritius Presidentii. The garden set up by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)
iii. According to MSSRF, these types of plants are important in the area where salinisation (salt content in soil and water) of land is high.
iv. Halophytes tolerate salinity and could grow in saline affected regions also.
v. The seeds of these plants contain high oil (30 per cent) and protein (35 per cent) like that in soyabeans and other oilseed crops and the salt content is less than 3 per cent.
vi. Eminent agriculture scientist and MSSRF founder, Prof M S Swaminathan said that the salt-tolerant plant garden is the first such garden in the world and could be called a global garden, and will help in various anticipatory research.


Famous cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley died
i. Dr. Denton Cooley, a Texas cardiovascular surgeon, who had performed some of the earliest heart transplants and implanted the world’s first artificial heart, has died on November 18, 2016. He was 96.
ii. Cooley performed the first successful human heart and artificial heart transplants in the United States in the late 1960s. Cooley and his teams also performed more than 118,000 open heart operations.
iii. Cooley has contributed a lot to the development of techniques to repair and replace diseased heart valves and was famous for surgery for congenital heart problems in infants and children.


Quami Ekta Week 2016 Begins from November 19 2016
i. Quami Ekta Week or National Integration Week is observed every year across India from November 19 to the November 25, to promote the unity in the country of diversity with around 66 languages, 22 religions, 28 states and numerous tribes
ii. Aim : To encourage and reinforce the strength of public harmony and national integration.
iii. The schedule of Quami Ekta Week
1.November 19: National Integration Day
2.November 20: Welfare of Minorities Day
3.November 21: Linguistic Harmony Day
4.November 22: Weaker Sections Day
5.November 23: Cultural Unity Day
6.November 24: Women’s Day
7.November 25: Conservation Day

World Toilet Day – November 19 2016
i. World Toilet Day is observed every year on 19th November 2016 to motivate and mobilize millions around the world on issues of sanitation.World Toilet Day
ii. 2016 Theme : ‘Toilets and Jobs’
iii. This year theme is about taking action to reach the 2.4 billion people living without a toilet and include a target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030.
Highlights :
♦ 2.4 billion People live without improved sanitation
♦ One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open