Daily Current Affairs – 26th May, 2016, Thursday

1. UNEP releases report titled Actions on Air Quality

a) Report titled as ‘Actions on Air Quality’ was released during the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).

b) UNEP noted a global air quality decline threatening to add to the seven million people air pollution deaths each year.

c) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global urban air pollution levels increased by eight percent between 2008 and 2013. More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution were exposed to air quality levels that exceeded WHO limits, threatening lives, productivity and economies.

d) On the positive side, 97 countries showed increased percentage of households that have switched to cleaner burning fuels which is a key move to tackle indoor air pollution, which claims over half of the seven million lives. While at least 82 countries out of 193 analysed had incentives that promoted investment in renewable energy production, cleaner production, energy efficiency and/or pollution control equipment.

e) Also it found improvements in some areas such as access to cleaner cooking fuels and stoves, renewables, fuel sulphur content and public transport – pointing to a growing momentum for change.

2. Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to MoU between India and Maldives for cooperation in field of tourism

a) The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Maldives for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism.

b) This MoU will be influential in increasing arrival from this important source market since in recent years, Maldives has emerged as an important tourism generating market for India.

c) The main objectives of the MoU include:

i) To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector

ii) To exchange information and data related to tourism

iii) To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators

iv) To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resources Development

v) To invest in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors

vi) To exchange visits of Tour Operators/Media/Opinion Makers for promotion of two-way tourism

vii) To exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management

viii) To participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country and

ix) To promote safe honourable and sustainable tourism

3. India, Japan MoU on sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development approved

a) The union cabinet granted ex post facto approval to an agreement between India and Japan for promoting sustainable and low-carbon thermal power development.

b) The agreement supports Clean Coal Technology (CCT) for thermal power plants such as Ultra Super Critical (USC) and other environmental technologies. It will help India to design policies and technologies that suit our needs in terms of producing sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power.

c) The pact will enable the countries to identify barriers that could be addressed through mutual collaboration by the Central Electricity Authority and Japan Coal Energy Centre. An annual workshop will be held for bilateral knowledge and technology exchanges.

4. Pinarayi Vijayan sworn-in as Chief Minister of Kerala

a) Veteran CPI-M leader, Pinarayi Vijayan, was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Kerala. The oath was administered by the Governor P Sathasivam.

b) He served as the Secretary of the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) from 1998 to 2015 and was the longest serving secretary in the party’s history.

5. Union Road Transport Minister Gadkari launches safety feature-rich Nirbhaya buses

a) The pilot project of 20 20 Nirbhaya buses of Rajasthan State Transport Corporation with multiple safety features to protect female passengers will be soon launched.

b) The buses will be enabled with a Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) and CCTV cameras along with panic buttons on every seat.

c) In case of emergency, the VTS and panic button will give assistance to the police to know the exact location of the bus.

d) Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that he ministry will issue a notification on june 2, 2016 mandating public vehicles with a seating capacity of more than 23 seats to fix closed-circuit television, VTS and panic buttons. Vehicles below 23 seats will be asked to install VTS and emergency buttons.

6. Cabinet approves National Capital Goods Policy 2016

a) National Capital Goods Policy aimed at increasing capital goods production from the current value of Rs.2,30,000 crore to Rs.7,50,000 crore by 2025 got an approval by the Cabinet.

b) The policy will work towards encouraging exports of capital goods and promoting manufacturing activities in the Indian economy, while strengthening government’s Make in India initiative. Also the National Capital Goods Policy envisages to raise direct and indirect employment from 8.4 to 30 million.

7. United Nations World Humanitarian Summit concluded in Istanbul

a) The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit was concluded on 24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey in presence of more than 50 heads of the state. The summit was organised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

b) Summit’s main achievement was the Grand Bargain, which is a set of 51 commitments to reform humanitarian financing to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective.

c) During the meet, a New charter for Persons With Disabilities was also introduced which aims at improving the living conditions of people with disabilities during emergencies.

d) The UN chief emphasized on five core areas which needed commitment form every country namely: Prevent and end conflict, Respect rules of wars, Leave no one behind, Work differently to end need, Invest in Humanity.

8. Ahmedabad, Gujarat soon to launch its first branch of Islamic Development Bank

a) The first branch of Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank will be soon inaugurated in Ahmedabad Gujarat.

b) It is a part of MoU for a $100 million line-of-credit to facilitate exports to IDB’s member countries which was signed between India’s EXIM Bank and IDB during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2016

c) The state will also receive 30 medical vans as part of IDB’s social sector initiatives. The bank has 56 Islamic countries as its members.

d) IDBs primary objective is to promote the economic and social development of the member countries as well as the muslim community in lines with the Islamic law.

9. UNODC launches inaugural World Wildlife Crime Report

a) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently launched its inaugural World Wildlife Crime Report highlighting the poaching and illegal trade of thousands of different species across the globe present real environmental dangers.

b) The report also emphasizes to take responsibility in tackling such crimes given how products made from illicit flora and fauna such as fashion items, furniture, food, and pets, may be hidden in plain sight.

c) The report is a part of UNODC’s ongoing Global Programme on Wildlife and Forest Crime and was developed by UNODC with data provided by partner organizations under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

d) The seven specific areas, according to the report that demonstrate the scale of wildlife crime are seafood; pets, zoos and breeding; food, medicine and tonics; art, décor and jewellery; cosmetics and perfume; fashion; and furniture.

10. Veteran CPI (M) leader K Anirudhan passes away

a) CPI(M) veteran and former MLA and MP K Anirudhan passed away at the age of 92 due to age related ailments in Kerala.

b) Anirudhan, active trade union leader, was well known for his contributions in building the Communist party movements in southern part of the state.

c) Anirudhan was also elected to the state assembly in 1963, 1965, 1979 and 1980.

11. A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve: Mother Teresa

a) A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve to be launched in August 2016, which is a compilation of unpublished writings of Mother Teresa.

b) Compiled by the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, who has led the case for Mother Teresa’s sainthood, the book offers Mother Teresa’s profound yet accessible wisdom on how we can show mercy and compassion in our day-to-day lives.

c) The book will be released in August 2016, weeks before the late Nobel Peace Prize winner is to be canonised.