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Current Affairs Today – September 16 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

BRICS Environmental Ministers Meet held at Goa
i. The Environment Ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries meeting held on September 16, in Goa to strengthen mutual cooperation.
ii. The BRICS Ministers are discussed thematic areas of mutual interest and priorities actions for cooperation in critical areas like air and water pollution, liquid and solid waste management, climate change and conservation of biodiversity.
iii. The Environment Ministers of BRICS countries agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding and announced setting up of a Joint Working Group, institutionalizing their mutual cooperation on environment-related issues.
iv. The three-day conference of BRICS on ‘Urban Transition’ ended in the port city here this evening with the member countries stressing on the need to ensure an “urban renaissance” to stimulate economic growth and enable decent living for all.

UIDAI bans sharing of Aadhaar details
i. The possession of Aadhaar number of an individual by Agencies should not be allowed to publish or display the information publicly and would have to ensure security and confidentiality of the 12-digit resident identification number under the Aadhaar Act.
ii. As per the rules, the biometric information could not be shared with anyone for any reason.Any violation of the Aadhaar Act would constitute an offence and is punishable under the Act.Aadhar Bill 2016
iii. Penalty had been prescribed for offences such as impersonation of the Aadhaar holder at the time of enrollment, altering secretly with data in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) and disclosing identity information.
iv. Based on the offence, the penalty could go up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or both. The Act specified a severe penalty of at least Rs.10 lakh for unauthorized access to CIDR.
v. The agencies that collect the Aadhaar number would also have to specify whether submission of the number or proof of Aadhaar was mandatory or voluntary. In case it is voluntary, the agencies will then have to specify “alternatives” to the Aadhaar document.

SAHAYATA-2016 – annual joint disaster relief exercise held in Gujarat
i. Disaster Relief Exercise ‘Ex SAHAYATA’ was inaugurated by Air Marshal RK Dhir AVSM VM ADC Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command at IAF headquarters in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on September 14, 2016.
ii. This is the first such exercise bringing together Central and State Government agencies, Armed Forces, private companies, prime educational & research institutes media.
Aim : To identify weaknesses in existing procedures and enhance synergy amongst various agencies, to improve disaster prevention, mitigation and response.
Participation :
NDMA, GSDMA, NDRF, Gujarat Police, State Fire Department, R&B, AAI, IIT, Media, State Medical Department, Adani Infra Institute besides Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guard, NCC
iii. The three day exercise started with a table top discussion and followed by a mock drill simulating an earthquake in the Bhuj region on next two days.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar launches re-designed website of Department of Defence Production (DDP)
i. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has launched a re-designed website of Department of Defence Production (DDP) which is more user friendly, universally accessible and less vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
ii. The website has also been optimised for viewing by different browsers and operating systems.
iii. It provides news updates, policies, procedures, publications, directory of officials and media contents etc.,
iv. A link for online service of the Department – ‘Application for NoC for Export of Military Stores’ has been provided.

Tourism Ministry approves projects of Rs 500 crore for Jammu and Kashmir
i. The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) chaired by Union Tourism Secretary Shri Vinod Zutshi for the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ has approved projects of worth Rs. 500 Crore for Jammu and Kashmir.
ii. Approved Projects:
♦ Mantalai – Sudhmahadev – Patnitop Circuit – Rs.99.99 Crore,
♦ Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit – Rs.99.98 Crore,
♦ Rajouri – Bafliyaz – Shopian – Pulwama Circuit – Rs.99.99 Crore
♦ Anantnag-Kishtwar- Pahalgam – Daksum – Ranjit Sagar Dam Circuit – Rs.99.75 Crore.
iii. In addition, Rs. 99.99 Crore has been approved for integrated development of tourist facilities in lieu of damaged assets in the floods.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India ranked 112th in World Economic Freedom Index
i. India has slipped by 10 positions to 112th, as it “fared badly” across categories including legal system and regulation, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report
ii. Hong Kong and Singapore, once again, occupy the top two positions. Next comes New Zealand and Switzerland, two countries almost always in the top five.
iii. Five countries—Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Mauritius, and United Arab Emirates— are tied for fifth place. Australia and United Kingdom conclude the top ten with a tie.
iv. The rankings of some other major countries are the United States (16th), Germany (30th), Japan (tied for 40th), South Korea (tied for 42nd), France (tied for 57th), Italy (69th), Mexico (tied for 88th), Russia (tied for 102nd), India (112th), China (tied for 113th), and Brazil (124th).

India Signs MoU With Sri Lanka To Support Fishermen And Farmers
i. India and Sri Lanka Signed MoU to support livelihood of the fishing and farming communities by providing them equipment worth USD 2 million in the country’s southern Hambantota district.
ii. The agreement was signed by Y K Sinha, High Commissioner of India and W M M R Adikari, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development in the presence of Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development.
iii. The project will provide equipment and tools such as grub hoes, bicycles, life jackets India and Sri Lnaka signed MoUand sewing machines
Sri Lanka :
♦ Capitals: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena
♦ Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe

Barack Obama designated first US Marine National Monument in Atlantic Ocean
i. US President Obama designated the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Oceanprotecting fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
ii. President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 442,781 square miles, creating the world’s largest marine reserve.
iii. This designation protected 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems with unique geological features that had been the subject of scientific exploration and discovery since the 1970s.
iv. President Obama had protected more land and water than any other U.S. president in history.
v. The protected area is roughly the size of Connecticut and lies 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It houses underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and is home to an ecosystem with endangered whales and sea turtles and deep-sea coral reefs.
vi. The new national monument – which encompasses pristine underwater mountains and canyons – would provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles.

BUSINESS

Telangana unveils four IT sectoral policies & Telangana government, Cisco ink pact for tech initiativesi.
i.Telangana has unveiled four sectoral policies in the Information Technology space in order to create more employment opportunities.
ii. The policies are Data Analytics, Data Centres, Open Data and Cyber Security.
iii. Seven MoUs and Letters of Intent were signed between the Telangana Government and Cisco to cooperate on a host of initiatives, including Smart Cities, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, education and digitisation of monuments
iv. Cisco will set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the T-Hub premises, the largest building in India to be entirely dedicated to entrepreneurship.
v. Cisco will take up a 2.2 km area near Hi-Tech City in Hyderabad, and convert it into a smart city

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Dinesh Bharadia won Marconi Society honour
Dinesh Bharadia won Marconi Society honouri. Indian-born researcher Dinesh Bharadia at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had won the prestigious Young Scholar award of the US-based Marconi Society for his contribution to radio waves.
ii. Bharadia had been chosen for the 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for his contribution to send and receive radio (wireless) signals, including mobile telephony and data on the same channel (wave).
iii. He is a doctorate from Stanford University and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. MrBharadia hailed from Ichalkarnji in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra.
iv. The Result stated that it was not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the interference.
v. An equivalent of the Nobel Prize in science and technology domain, the Marconi young scholar award includes $4,000 (Rs. 2,67,870) prize and expenses to attend its annual awards event.
vi. Mr.Bharadia would receive the award at a ceremony in Mountain View, California, on November 2.

Karnataka VikasGrameena Bank won awards from Skoch Group
i. S Ravindran, chairman of Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank, received the award from Sameer Kochhar, chairman of Skoch Group, in Hyderabad.
ii. The bank, which operates in nine districts ofKarnataka covering 57 taluks, had brought 28 lakh people under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan JyotiBimaYojna, PM Suraksha BimaYojna and PM Jan DhanYojna.
iii. The Karnataka VikasGrameena Bank is a Regional Rural Bank and it was constituted on 12 September 2005 after amalgamation of four Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) namelyMalaprabha Grameena Bank, Bijapur Grameena Bank, Varada Grameena Bank and Netravathi Grameena Banks as per recommendations of the Narasimhan Committee under Government of India Notification dated 12 September 2005.
iv. All four amalgamated RRBs were sponsored by Syndicate Bank and were located in Karnataka. The bank, thus formed, currently had 448 branches in rural areas of Karnataka, around Dharwad.
v. After amalgamation, the bank’s business was around 3263.73 Crores. After the merger, the RRB is called Karnataka VikasGrameena Bank with its head office at Dharwad under the sponsorship of Syndicate Bank

7 women get M.S. Subbulakshmi Award
i. The Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi Centenary Awards were presented to seven of India’s most-respected women artistes  in Mumbai
ii. M.S. Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary celebrations, which began last year at the Sri Shanmukhananda hall, is concluding with a week-long festival that began on September 12.
Award winners :

Vocalists Girija Devi, Kishori Amonkar, Aruna Sairam and Vishaka Hari
Dancers Yamini Krishnamurthy, Vyjayantimala Bali
Pandavani exponent Teejan Bai


iii. Each of the awardees was given a shawl, a cut-out of Ms Subbulakshmi, a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh and a CD with a collection of her songs.
Points to Remember :
♦ M S Subbulakshmi was honoured at the United Nations on India’s 70th Independence Day by a performance by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Narayana Murthy appointed director of Research Centre Imarat
i. Scientist Narayana Murthy appointed as the director of DRDO(Defence Research and Development Organisation) laboratory Research Centre Imarat (RCI),Hyderabad. He is succeeded by G. Satheesh Reddy.RIM Chairman
ii. He was an alumni of REC Warangal, made significant contributions towards design, development and delivery of on-board computers, missile launch processors, real-time mission software.
iii. He is the winner of various awards including DRDO Scientist of the Year, including Astronautical Society of India Rocket and Related Technologies Award, AGNI Award for Excellence in Self Reliance as a team Leader and Path Breaking Research/ Outstanding Technology Development Award.
Research Centre Imarat :
♦ RCI is a premier DRDO laboratory of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex
♦ The lab is responsible for Research and Development of Missile Systems, Guided Weapons and advanced Avionics for Indian Armed Forces.

Chidambaram to head Parliamentary panel on home affairs
♦ Former Home Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was appointed as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs. He will be succeeding P Bhattacharya.
Other Appointments :
i. Mukul Roy has succeeded Kanwar Deep Singh as Chairperson of the Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
ii. Sudip Bandyopadhyay has replaced Dinesh Trivedi as Chairperson of the Committee on Railways.
iii. Committee on Energy will be headed by the Virender Kumar while Somaiya will chair the Committee on Labour.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Bayer to acquire Monsanto for $ 66 billion
i. German based chemical company Bayer announced to acquire the U.S based Monsanto for $66 billion including debt.
Aim: To create a one-stop shop for seeds, crop chemicals and computer-aided services to farmers.
ii. Bayer expects the deal to close by the end of 2017.
iii. The deal will be the largest ever involving a German buyer, beating Daimler’s tie-up with Chrysler in 1998

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

AIR would launch multimedia website & mobile app of its Baluchi services
i. Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharati would launch a website and mobile app for All India Radio’s Balochi service to reach out to the people who speak the language across the globe.
ii. The Balochi website and mobile app would be launched by PrasarBharati Chairperson A Surya Prakash.
iii. As part of its efforts to find additional platforms to supplement its existing shortwave transmissions for various language services, External Services Division of All India Radio (AIR) was launching a multimedia website and mobile app for the Balochi language service being broadcast since May, 1974.
iv. This technological upgradation would only provide improved reception quality to the listeners in Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the original target of the service, and would also expand the reach of the service to Baloch Diaspora spread in different countries.
v. The move to start an AIR web service came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech in which he had brought up the issue of Pakistani atrocities on people of Balochistan and PoK.
vi. The External Services Division (ESD) of AIR, at present, broadcasts daily in 57 radio transmissions covering over 108 countries in 27 languages. Out of these, 15 are foreign languages, including Balochi.

China launched second experimental space lab module
i. China launched Tiangong-2 — its space lab, which is part of an ambitious plan, stretched along several phases, to establish a manned space station around 2022.
ii.A Long March-2F T2 rocket lifted from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert. After a flight of 580 seconds, it entered its targettedorbit 380 kilometresabove Earth. Initial tests would be conducted at this stage
iii. Tiangong 2 (meaning ‘heavenly palace’) carries a number of scientific experiments, including an astrophysics detector that was the first space-science experiment built jointly by China with European countries.
iv. The station, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” is considered a stepping stone to a mission to Mars by the end of the decade.
v. China planned to land a rover on Mars by 2020, attempting to recreate the success of the US Viking 1 mission that landed a rover on the planet four decades ago.

ENVIRONMENT

Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
i. Zurich is the most sustainable city in the world and had unbeatable environmental credentials, according to new research.
ii. The Swiss city drove away strong competition to take first place in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, announced Monday, which ranked 100 major cities on 32 indicators across three aspects of sustainability: people, planet and profit.
iii .The survey was carried out by Arcadis, a global consultancy firm focusing on sustainability, in partnership with the Centre forEconomic and Business Research (Cebr).
iv. Zurich came top overall, ahead of Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna and London in the top five. European cities took 16 of the top 20 places.
v. The 100 cities in the ranking were selected to provide an overview of the planet’s cities, providing wide-ranging geographical coverage, but also a variety of levels of economic development, expectations of future growth and an assortment of sustainability challenges.

SPORTS

Track Asia Cup 2016 – Overview
29-member Indian team participated in the third edition of Track Asia Cup 2016 from September 14 to 16 at the Indoor Cycling Velodrome at IG Sports Complex.
Medal Tally :
India ended their campaign in the Track Asia Cup at second position

Hong Kong  (18) 11 Gold  4 Silver and 3 bronze.
India 16 medals) 5 gold  4 Silver and 7 bronze

India jump four spots to enter top 150 of FIFA men’s rankings
i. The Indian football team placed at 148th spot from 152nd in the latest FIFA rankings released on 15th September 2016.
ii. Now India’s position in top-150 for the first time since April 2015 after India had beaten Puerto Rico 4-1 in an international friendly in Mumbai earlier this month.
iii. India is ranked 26th among Asian Football Confederation countries with Iran at at 37th, Australia at 45th and Korea Republic at 47th.
Top 5 Rank :

1 Argentina
2 Belgium
3 Germany
4 Colombia
5 Brazil


FIFA :
♦ Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland
♦ President: Gianni Infantino

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister and  War Hero of 1965 ,CaptAyub Khan Died
i. Former Union Minister and Captain Ayub Khan, died at Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan following a massive cardiac arrest. He is a war hero of 1965.He was 85.
ii. He was admitted   to B.D.K. Government Hospital in Jhunjhunu when he complained of uneasiness, but was declared brought dead.
iii. Capt. Ayub Khan was elected twice to the Lok Sabha first in 1984 and later in 1991. He served as the Union Minister of State for Ag
riculture
in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government.
iv. In the 1965 war, Capt. Ayub Khan along with his men destroyed four Pakistani Patton tanks and captured one tank in the Sialkot sector of J&K.
v. Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot condoled the death of Capt. Ayub Khan — first as a brave soldier and later as an elected.
vi. After Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri remarked at the investiture ceremony that India was proud of its own Ayub Khan, the soldier was called “Indian Ayub” by the media.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2016
i. The 2016 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was observed across the world on 16 September 2016. The theme for the year 2016 is “Ozone and climate: Restored by a world united”
international-ozone-dayii. In 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
iii. Countries were invited to devote the Day to promote activities in accordance with the objectives of the Protocol and its amendments. The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.
iv. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) was an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 26 August 1987, and entered into force on 26 August 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki,May 1989.
v. The Environment Ministry launched a major research and development initiative to develop long-term technology to mitigate the impact of refrigerant gases on the ozone layer.India reaffirms its commitment to working with all other countries to safeguard the Earth’s natural ecosystem.
vi. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences were some of the key players of the initiatives.