1. World No Tobacco Day 2016 observed across the world

a) World No Tobacco Day is annually observed on 31st May to highlight health risks associated with tobacco use, which currently claims lives of 6 million people every year on a global scale.

b) WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control invited countries for plain packaging of tobacco products, thereby promoting the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day “Get ready for plain packaging”.

c) Plain packaging of tobacco products reduces their attractiveness by restricting the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information other than brand and product names shown in standard colour and font style.

d) In 2012, Australia became the first country to implement plain packaging followed by UK and France in 2016.

2. No tax deduction for PF withdrawals of up to Rs.50,000 from June 1

a) The government recently notified raising of the threshold limit of PF withdrawals for deduction of tax (TDS) from the existing Rs.30,000 to Rs.50,000 due to Finance Act, 2016 amendment in section 192A of Income Tax Act, 1961.

b) Initially, the government had proposed to deduct TDS on PF withdrawals in order to discourage premature withdrawals and encourage long-term savings. With this rule, TDS will be deducted at the rate of 10% provided PAN is submitted. The current changes will be effective from June 1, 2016.

c) However, in case Form 15G or 15H is submitted at the time of withdrawal, TDS will not be deducted.

3. India and US to sign 2 key pacts during Homeland Security Dialogue

a) In July, the two countries are expected to ink two key agreements that would exempt well-known Indian citizens from immigration checks in America and create opportunities for information exchange on terrorists on a real-time basis.

b) The two pacts on Global Entry are: a US Customs and Border Protection programme which will enable speedy clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in America and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6), which will allow access to information on terrorists. These are to be signed during the Homeland Security Dialogue.

c) The US has been insisting for India’s inclusion in the Global Entry so that dignitaries like former Presidents, former Prime Ministers, former Union Ministers, film stars, industrialists, etc. could have a hassle-free journey.

d) The HSPD-6 proposes exchange of terrorist screening information between Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the US and an Indian agency.

4. NBCC to launch Ganga cleaning project in Bihar

a) Government-run NBCC is set to launch a Ganga cleaning project in Bihar.

b) NBCC will carry out cleaning of debris, construction of new ghats and modernisation of existing ones, cleaning of the river surface, construction of crematoriums, toilets, etc. It will also set up a village drainage system in order to curb waste discharges into the river.

c) It will carry out projects in 19 towns in Bihar with a budget of Rs.600 crore.

5. Surajit Kar Purkayastha appointed Director General of West Bengal Police

a) Surajit Kar Purkayastha has been appointed as the Director General of West Bengal Police. His appointment will be effective from June 1, 2016.

b) A 1985 IPS officer, Purkayastha will replace G.M.P Reddy.

c) IPS officer Raj Kanojia, DGP (intelligence), will be the new Commandant General and DG of Home Guards in place of D P Tarenia.

6. Ashok Lavasa is the new Finance Secretary

a) Expenditure secretary Ashok Lavasa, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, has been appointed as the new Finance Secretary.

b) He has replaced Ratan Watal, who retired in April 2016 and has been appointed as principal advisor, social sector, in the NITI Aayog.

c) Prior to this appointment, Lavasa served as the Civil Aviation Secretary and Environment Secretary.

7. Kannada writer D Javare Gowda passes away

a) Noted Kannada writer D. Javare Gowda, popularly known as “De Ja Gow,” has passed away at the age of 101.

b) He was a disciple of Kannada doyen and poet K V Puttappa. He was also awarded with the Pampa Prashasti in 1998, Padma Shri in 2003, and the Guru Award in 2003.

c) For his contributions to literature and the Kannada language, the Karnataka government honoured him with the Karnataka Ratna (2008) and the Nadoja title (2003).

d) Some of his famous works include Lakshmisha Jaimini Bharata (1957), Kanakadasara Nalacharitre (1959), Andayyana Kabbigara Kavya (1965), Chikkupadyayana Rukmangada Charitre (1964), etc.

8. Former Lok Sabha MP Rudra Madhab Ray dies

a) Senior BJP leader and former MP Rudra Madhab Ray has passed away at the age of 79.

b) Ray represented the Kandhamal Lok Sabha on a BJD ticket from 2009-2014. He was an influential leader and good organiser, was associated with a number of activities in social, educational and cultural field.

9. AR Rahman conferred with Japan’s Fukuoka Prize 2016

a) Oscar-winning Indian music composer AR Rahman has been conferred with the top Japanese honour Fukuoka prize 2016 for his remarkable contributions toward creating, preserving and showcasing South Asian traditional fusion music.

b) The Fukuoka Prize is an award founded by the city of Fukuoka and the Yokatopia Foundation to honour individuals/organisations for promoting the Asian culture.

c) The prize is given across three categories namely Grand Prize, Academic Prize, and Arts and Culture Prize. Last year, noted Indian historian Ramachandra Guha was conferred with the Fukuoka Academic Prize.

10. Kohli named T20 Player of Year in Ceat Award event

a) CEAT Cricket Awards 2016 were recently conferred on players. Ace Indian batsman Virat Kohli earned the title ‘Ceat T20 Player of the Year’, while former Indian team captain Dilip Vengsarkar was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

b) The list of award winners is as follows:

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dilip Vengsarkar

International Cricketer of the Year – Joe Root

International Batsman of the Year – Joe Root

International Bowler of the Year – R Ashwin

Test Cricketer of the Year – Kane Williamson

ODI Cricketer of the Year – Martin Guptill

T20 Player of the Year – Virat Kohli

Indian Cricketer of the Year – Rohit Sharma

Domestic Cricketer of the Year – Shreyas Iyer

Young Player of the Year – Rishabh Pant

Special Award – Ajinkya Rahane

11. 42nd G7 Summit concluded in Japan

a) The 42nd G7 Summit recently concluded in Japan from May 26 to May 27. Besides discussing several issues of global significance, the countries also approved the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration.

b) Issues pertaining to climate change, renewable energy, health, global economy and trade, development, and quality infrastructure investment were discussed by the leaders.

c) The summit was the first one to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda by the UN in September 2015 and assumed greater importance.

12. Snapdeal opens data sciences centre in California

a) Online marketplace Snapdeal has set up a data sciences centre in San Carlos, California to attract top global talent and create high-value solutions.

b) The centre will focus on big-data and advanced analytics to add clarity to Snapdeal’s consumer-centric initiatives, help mould business strategy and optimise the operational efficiencies using data.

c) Headed by Nitin Sharma, the centre houses experienced data scientists from leading global brands like Groupon, Google, Yahoo and Amazon.

13. JICA to provide Rs. 1,548 cr for TN urban healthcare

a) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has made an agreement with Indian government to provide a loan of Rs.1,548 crore to enhance the quality of urban healthcare services in Tamil Nadu.

b) The Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan will be provided at an interest rate of 0.3% for 40 years (including a 10-year grace period). It will be used to increase the capacity of key hospitals, upgrading facilities, equipment and human resources. The aim is to reduce cases of non-communicable diseases.

14. ONGC Videsh signs pact with SOCAR Trading

a) The overseas arm of ONGC, ONGC Videsh Ltd. has recently signed a pact with Azerbaijan’s state-owned energy company SOCAR to enter oil trade.

b) The pact is aimed at exploring the possibility of joint marketing of OVL’s crude oil portfolio by leveraging SOCAR experience in oil trading.

c) OVL had earlier bought a 2.7% stake in Azerbaijan’s Azeri-Chirag-Guneshlithe (ACG) field from US-based Hess for $1 billion.

d) SOCAR Trading is the marketing and development arm of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). It was established in December 2007 with a mandate to market Azeri barrels produced from the ACG field and other surrounding fields in the country.

15. Alastair Cook becomes youngest cricketer to score 10000 Test runs

a) England’s cricket team captain Alastair Cook has become the youngest cricketer to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket. He achieved this feat while playing the second Test match in Sri Lanka.

b) He replaced former captain Andrew Strauss in 2011 and became the permanent Test captain in 2012.

c) Cook scored his 23rd century against India in 2012 to become the highest Test century-maker for England, and became the youngest player to pass the 7,000-run mark.

c) He surpassed Graham Gooch’s 8,900-run mark against New Zealand in 2015 to become England’s leading Test-run scorer.

d) He is the 12th player from any country to score 10,000 runs in Test matches.

16. Indian Railways, PEC sign MoU to set up Kalpana Chawla Chair on Geospatial Technology

a) The Union Ministry of Railways and PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up Kalpana Chawla Chair on Geospatial Technology for Indian Railways at the University.

b) The objective is to promote research in geospatial technology and to strengthen Indian Railways, especially railway projects.

c) It is named after late Kalpana Chawla, who was an Indo-American Astronaut and student of PEC during 1978-82.

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