Daily current Affairs – 17th June, 2016, Friday

1. India, Taiwan MoU/Agreements on bilateral relations approved

a) Union cabinet has recently approved two major pacts with Taiwan in agricultural and aviation sector. An Air services agreement was signed between India-Taipei Association in Taipei (India’s representative office in Taiwan) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (Taiwan’s representative office in India). This agreement is considered to bring greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two parties.

b) A MoU between Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India and India Taipei Association in Taipei also recieved nod from Union Cabinet, Taiwan for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sector.

c) This MoU will facilitate mutual cooperation between India & Taiwan in the fields of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Food Processing, Genetic Resources as well as Environmental Sustainability.

d) To identify the priority areas of mutual interest a joint working committee will also be formed under this MoU.

2. India’s membership of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program approved

a) Union Cabinet has given a green signal for India’s membership in the International Continental Science Drilling Programme consortium. With this approval, the signing of a MoU with the GFZ – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (German Research Centre for geosciences) is possible.

b) The MoU will in force for next 5 years and it will enable India in engaging internationally renowned experts with profound expertise in different aspects of scientific drilling.The drilling investigations will be conducted in Koyna region in Maharashtra.

c) After becoming the member, India will get a seat Executive Committee (EC) and Assembly of Governors (AOG). ICDP will provide technical and operational support for capacity building. ICDP will also support workshops for the Koyn scientific deep drilling project.

d) Being a member of ICDP, India can access all data results from ICDP projects which will help in understanding the process of earthquake.

3. India, ISA contract for exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides in Indian Ocean Region approved

a) Union cabinet has recently approved for the signing of a 15 year contract by the the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for undertaking exploration and other developmental activities related to Polymetallic Sulphides in Indian ocean.

b) It will be done in parts of Central and Southwest Indian Ridges (SWIR), located in the Indian Ocean.

c) The contract confirms India’s exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides in the region.

d) Deep seabed Polymetallic Sulphides (PMS) containing iron, copper, zinc, silver, gold, platinum in variable constitutions are precipitates of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from deep interior of the oceanic crust discharged through mineralized chimneys.

4. Bramble Cay melomys is first mammal declared extinct from human-caused climate change

a) As per the Australian researchers, Bramble Cay melomys from the great barrier reef islands is first mammal declared extinct from human-caused climate change.

b) As per the report compiled by researchers from the University of Queensland, sea-level rise caused by human-induced climate change destroyed the habitat on the island and possibly drowned the melomys.

c) The Bramble Cay melomys, or Bramble Cay mosaic-tailed rat was a species of rodent in the family Muridae.

5. Railways flags off 1st time-tabled freight train

a) Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has flagged off an inaugural time tabled freight train named ‘Cargo Express’.

b) The train ran from Domestic Container Terminal (Okhla) to Bengaluru.

c) To allow allowing differently-abled persons to avail concessions while traveling alone and liberalised a new policy called ‘Comprehensive Parcel Leasing Policy’ (CLIP) is also launched by Railway ministry.

6. Russia launches most powerful nuclear icebreaker Arktika

a) the world’s biggest and most powerful icebreaker Arktika was recently launched by Russia at St. Petersburg.

b) The Arktika is 568 feet long and 34 meters wide. It can break through ice 13 feet deep. It has dual-draft design which makes it possible to use it in Arctic waters and in estuaries of polar rivers.

c) Arktika is powered by two next generation RITM-200 nuclear-reactors. These reactors will be supplied with nuclear be produced by the TVEL fuel company.

7. Union Government launches Vidyanjali Mobile App for volunteer work at government schools

a) Union HRD minister Smriti Irani launched Vidyanjali Scheme to boost community participation by inviting volunteers to hold public speaking, storytelling, play acting sessions and participate in other co-scholastic activities.

b) 21 states and 2,200 schools will be participating in the pilot launch of the programme. The activities would include reading to children, helping them with creative writing, public speaking, play acting and preparing story books with children. Under the scheme, schools will be able to through an app contact people who are willing to volunteer for their services to children.

c) Vidyanjali will also cover initiatives under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

8. Anne Hathaway appointed as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

a) Anne Hathaway, appointed as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, will now promote gender equality and empowerment of women.

b) American actress and singer, Hathaway has previously served as an advocate for Nike Foundation. She travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia to raise awareness on child marriage.

c) Hathaway will join Nicole Kidman, Emma Watson and Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand as fellow women’s goodwill ambassadors.

9. 3,049 people perform largest Karma dance in Madhya Pradesh enters Guinness world records

a) To celebrate the culture and history of Gond tribes, an amazing 3,049 people took part in the Largest Karma Naach dance ever at a recent event in Madhya Pradesh in India.

b) Organised by District Administration Mandla, the participants formed 61 large circles of 50 people and performed the traditional tribal dance in spectacular synchronicity.

c) The choreographed Karma Naach dance sequence continued for a minimum of five minutes in accordance with the Guinness World Records guidelines. All the participants were dressed in traditional clothing to complete the attempt, and the folk dance was accompanied by live music.

10. Kiran Bedi launches a mobile app to help senior citizens in distress

a) HelpAge India has launched a security app named “HelpAge SOS App for elders to mark the celebration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which was celebrated on 15th June every year.

b) The app provides an SOS-Save our Seniors button to immediately reach to the counsellor desk of Help Age for rendering emergency help and assistance, apart from health related information. It has 24×7 functionality and aims at helping elders in distress at any given time.

c) The app is intended to provide primary one-click emergency service to the elders. It can be downloaded from www.helpageindia.org or from the Google Play Store.

11. Uber enters into pact with Tata group

a) Uber Technologies Inc and the Tata Group recently announced a partnership in which Tata will provide a comprehensive vehicle and ownership solution to Uber’s drivers.

b) As a part of the agreement, Uber’s drivers can buy Indica and Indigo cars from Tata Motors at discounted rates, with loans offered by Tata Capital Financial Services and Tata Motors Finance at attractive terms, and affordable insurance provided by Tata AIG.

c) This is a pan-India initiative, which has been rolled out first in Hyderabad. Over the next one year, the initiative aims to fuel micro-entrepreneurship across India by enabling over 20,000 drivers to start their own business on the Uber platform.

12. Indian Diabetes specialist Shashank S Shah wins Vivian Fonseca Scholar Award 2016

a) Top diabetes specialist Shashank S Shah has been honoured with the American Diabetes Association’s Vivian Fonseca Scholar Award 2016 for his pioneering research on the disease in South Asia.

b) He was selected for his research titled gastric bypass vs medical/lifestyle care for type 2 diabetes in South Asia with BMI 25_40 kg/m2 __The COSMID randomised.

c) One of the pioneering bariatric surgeons in India and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in Asia, the Solapur, Maharashtra, born medico is currently Director of Laparo_-Obeso Centre in Pune.

d) The ADA’s meeting is the world’s largest conference which provides participants with an access to more than 2,500 original research presentations, interactions with leading diabetes experts and other joint academic sessions.

13. Assam Pradesh Congress President Anjan Dutta passes away

a) Assam Congress Chief, Anjan Dutta passed away at the age of 64 following a cardiac failure .

b) He was three times MLA from the Amguri Constituency. He had also served as the president of the Assam Pradesh Youth Congress Committee and chairman of the North East Youth Congress Co-ordination Committee.

14. ‘A new world’ is the Official slogan for Rio Olympics

a) The Rio Olympics organizing committee has revealed the official slogan for the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America: “A New World”.

b) The motto and manifesto for Rio Olympics 2016 was revealed in a ceremony at Barra Olympic Park.

c) For Rio 2016, the core values of the slogan and the manifesto are unity, respect for diversity and the will for change.

15. Famous TV actress Ann Morgan Guilbert dies

a) Th4 Nanny star, Ann Morgan Guilbert passes away at the age of 87 following complications from cancer.

b) Best known for her five season sitcom, she began her TV career in the 1960s, appearing on popular programmes such as I Dream of Jeannie, My Three Sons, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Partridge Family, Love, American Style, and The New Andy Griffith Show.

c) Guilbert had an active TV presence even recently, her last performance having come this year on CBS’s Life in Pieces.

16. Senior IAS officer Supriya Sahu appointed as Director General of Doordarshan

a) Indian administrative service (IAS) officer Supriya Sahu has been appointed as the full-time director general of the state broadcaster Doordarshan.

b) Doordarshan has been under acting heads for almost two years due to a delay in the regular appointments. Former director at Film and Television Institute of India, Tripurari Sharan was the last full-time director general at Doordarshan who stepped down in July 2014.

c) Currently, Doordarshan is being headed by Aparna Vaish. She was earlier the senior-most additional director general (ADG) at Doordarshan.

d) She was also associated with the Say no to plastics campaign to protect the ecosystem of the hill station, Ooty, during her tenure as District Collector of the Nilgiris district.

17. Veteran Odia actress Manimala Devi passes away

a) Renowned Odia actress Manimala Devi passed away at the age of 90 following age related complications.

b) Manimala was amongst the first generation artistes in the state. She worked in over 40 films of which 14 bagged the national award. Her film career began in 1960 with the classic Odia film- Sri Loknath.

c) For her outstanding contribution in the field of art and culture, she was honoured with many prestigious awards such as the state’s highest cine award ‘Jayadev Purashkar’ in the year 2000 and the national award ‘Sri Loknath’ among others.

18. North America to have its first sanctuary for dolphins

a) First ever sanctuary for marine mammals will be built in North America. Baltimore’s National Aquarium announced its plan to create an Oceanside dolphin sanctuary.

b) After years of research on dolphin behavior and under pressure from animal rights groups, the National Aquarium in Baltimore has decided to move the marine mammals to a sanctuary.

c) The aquarium will move its colony of eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to an outdoor facility with natural seawater by 2020. The venue will lie in a tropical or subtropical location will also contain natural stimuli for the dolphins, such as fish and sea plants.

19. Indian-origin Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir nominated as US Ambassador to Malaysia

a) US President Barack Obama has nominated Kamala Shirin as US Ambassador to Malaysia.

b) Indian origin diplomat Lakhdhir will replace Joseph Y Yun.

c) Graduate From Harvard college, Lakhdhir served as a Political Officer at the US Embassy in Beijing, China from 2001 to 2005.

20. World Day to Combat Desertification 2016 observed

a) The United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on June 17 every year to highlight the urgent need to curb the desertification process. It also aims to strengthen the visibility of the drylands issue on the international environmental agenda.

b) The global observance event for this year was held in Beijing, China, hosted by the State Forestry Administration of China (SFA).

c) Inclusive cooperation among all actors is key for making Land Degradation Neutrality a fundamental solution for achieving SDGs. The slogan, “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” addresses the importance of comprehensive participation and cooperation in working towards achieving Land Degradation Neutrality.

d) The day was first observed in 1994 by United Nations General Assembly. The theme for the 2015 WDCD was Attainment of food security for all through sustainable food systems.