Daily Current Affairs – 8th June, 2016, Wednesday

1. Astrophysicists discover Canarias Einstein Ring in space

a) An international team of astrophysicists discovered a new optical Einstein ring called Canarias Einstein Ring (two perfectly aligned galaxy, namely source galaxy and lens galaxy). Einstein Ring is a distorted image of a galaxy, the source galaxy is 10,000 million light years away and lens galaxy is 6,000 million light years away from earth.

b) The research findings were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on 16 May 2016. The discovery was done by doctoral student Margherita Bettinelli from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) of Spain.

c) The chance discovery was made when Bettinelli was examining data taken through the “Dark Energy Camera” (DECam) of the 4m Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Observatory in Chile.

2. Draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016 released

a) Central government has recently released the draft National Water Framework bill, 2016 to invite comments and suggestions from public.

b) The bill is aimed at establishing a national legal framework for protection, conservation, management and regulation of water in the country. Though the draft law is prepared by the Union Water resources ministry, ‘Water’ is a part of the State list of the constitution. So the act will be applicable only after getting approval from state legislature.

c) The bill strives for Right to water for life means a right of every citizen to have a sufficient quantity of safe water for life within his/her easy reach. The Bill recognises Water as a common heritage and resource which should be held in Public Trust.

d) The bill demands governments to work towards rejuvenation of river system with community participation

3. Rajiv Gauba Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi submitted report

a) An inter-ministerial committee on ‘Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi’ under the chairmanship of Rajiv Gauba has submitted its report to the union Ministry of Urban Development.

b) The committee has recommended a 4-pronged strategy with the components of

i) Improving Public Transport and Disincentivising use of private vehicles;

ii)Promoting Road Safety and efficient Traffic Management;

iii)Setting up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and enhancing institutional capacity; and

iv)Promotion of Transit Oriented Development through integrated land use and transportation planning.

c) The committee recommended moving people more efficiently than moving cars. The committee suggested to create infrastructure to promote walking and cycling in Delhi.

d) The committee has raised concerns over mushrooming of gated communities which are compelling a local traffic to come on main roads by preventing short cuts for movement of people. As per the recommendations of the committee, A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority should be set up for better coordination, quick decision making and execution.

4. India becomes co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness under CGPCS

a) India was recently chosen to co-chair the working group on Improving Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) in the Region through consensus. This decision was taken at Mahe, Seychelles during the 19th Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).

b) The CGPCS was set up as a group of interested and affected nations, industry associations and multilateral agencies to take pro-active steps for checking piracy in the Indian Ocean region through a UN Security Council resolution.

c) It is dealing with the piracy off the coast of Somalia through Working Groups putting their efforts towards Capacity Building on legal, judicial framework and processes, and poverty alleviation in Somalia, Improving Maritime Situational Awareness in Indian Ocean Region and coordinating efforts for Disrupting Piracy Networks. Seychelles is the current Chairman of the CGPCS for the biennium 2016-17.

5. Scientists identified a process to remove DNA molecules from X-Files

a) As per the research findings in the Journal titled Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, scientists from University of Sheffield have decoded the process of removal of branched DNA molecules from the iconic double-helical structure.

b) In reality, far from being alien in origin, branched DNA are formed in the blood. These branches are essential intermediates formed during the process of copying our DNA. The discovery shows how Flap EndoNuclease (FENs) trim branched DNA molecules after the cells divided.

c) The scientists found the FEN threads the free end of the branch through a hole in the enzyme before sliding along to the trunk where it acts like a pair of molecular clippers, trimming the branch and restoring the iconic double-helix.

d) Understanding the working mechanism of FENs will help to engineer better and more reliable tests and tools for laboratory research and hospital diagnostics labs or pave the way for discovery of new drugs.

6. Himachal Pradesh becomes first state to launch green-concept based State Data Centre

a) Himachal Pradesh becomes the first state in the country to have a State Data Centre (SDC). Developed using green data centre concept, it will 101 people-oriented service online through an integrated data base.

b) With a view to promote online and paperless governance, the SDC would integrate the websites of various departments and all services could be accessible through the integrated data base, saving time and money spent on creation of infrastructure.

c) SDC would further help the departments to roll out more government-to-citizen-services and people can avail them from anywhere and anytime.

7. RBI has announced Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement

a) Reserve Bank of India has chosen to maintain the status quo on it’s policy rate in it’s second bi-monthly monetary policy review. So , the repo rate will be unchanged at 6.50%. RBI had reduced the repo rate from 6.75% to 6.50% during it’s first bi-monthly monetary policy review in April, 2016.

b) RBI has also kept the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Reserve (SLR) unchanged. This decision of wait and watch is till the assessment of performance of monsoon this year and it’s affect on food prices.

c) The policy has kept the inflation target unchanged at 5% for January 2017 with upward bias. It pegged the growth forecast at 7.6% for the current fiscal. The policy recommended to keep a watch on impact of firming crude oil prices, implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations. To aid credit flow it stressed on timely capital infusion in PSU banks.

8. Rajasthan Government launches Mobile App RajVayu on Air Quality Index

a) A mobile application called RajVayu was recently launched by Rajasthan Government for sharing information about Air Quality Index of Jaipur, Udaipur & Jodhpur.

b) The information on this app will be based on the data collected by sophisticated air quality monitoring equipment and weather sensors. It will provide the details about the air quality and the level of pollutants like SOx, NOx, CO & Ozone in the air. It will also provide detailed information about temperature, wind speed, humidity, weather forecast and advisories.

c) This app is designed by Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) jointly with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). It is based on the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR-India) which is presently connected in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

9. Facebook Appoints Former Adobe Executive Umang Bedi As India MD

a)Social networking giant Facebook appointed Umang Bedi as Managing Director for its India operations.

b) Bedi will lead in building and maintaining strategic relationships with top clients and regional agencies in the country. His appointment will be effective from july, 2016.

c) He will be replacing Kirthiga Reddy who will return to United States to take on a new role at the company’s headquarters.

10. Walmart tops the Fortune 500 list

a) Retail giant Walmart has topped the Fortune 500 list for the fourth time consecutively.

b) Fortune’s annual list features 500 US companies based on their revenue.

c) Walmart is followed by oil and gas company Exxon Mobil and Apple, the top tech company on the list. While Amazon has been ranked 18th, Facebook has jumped 85 spots to be ranked 157th.

11. Serena tops Sharapova as world’s top paid sportswoman

a) Forbes magazine has recently reported that Serena Williams has overtaken Maria Sharapova as the world’s highest paid sportswoman.

b) Russian Tennis star Sharapova topped the list for the past 11 years. But this time, Williams topped the list by earning $28.9 million over the past 12 months.

12. World Oceans Day observed across the world

a) World Oceans day is observed globally on 8th June every year. The theme for 2016 celebration is Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet.

b) The theme focuses on curbing plastic pollution since plastic degrades slowly polluting the waterways for a longer time thus negatively affecting the marine flora.

c) World Ocean day is celebrated with an aim to create an awareness regarding the importance of oceans and the impact of human activities on it.

13. Amber Gurung, composer of Nepali National Anthem, passes away

a) Nepal’s national anthem composer and father of modern Nepali music Amber Gurung passed away at the age of 79.

b) Born in Darjeeling, Gurung composed more than 1000 songs in his career. He also authored three books of lyrics and memoirs – Samaalera Raakha (1969), Akcharkaa Awajharu (2003), and an anthology of essays and memoirs, Kahaa Gaye Ti Dinharu (2006).

c) He was felicitated with many awards like Kantipur FM Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), Jagadamba Shree, Kathmandu (1998), Hon. Colonel of Nepal Army for composing “Rato ra chandra Surya” (2011).

14. Chess Grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi dies

a) Chess Legend Korchnoi passed away at the age of 85.

b) Korchnoi played in three matches that produced the World Champion, but in each case lost to Anatoly Karpov. He was a four-time USSR champion and ranked number one in the world in 1965.

c) He was the oldest active chess grandmaster on the international tournament circuit for many years and won the World Senior Chess Championship in 2006.

15. India, ADB sign $120 mn loan pact for irrigation in Odisha

a) A $120 million agreement was recently signed between Indian government and the Asian Development bank (ADB) to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in the state of Odisha.

b) The loan will be provided to the Orissa Integrated Irrigated Agriculture and Water Management Investment Program.It will be used for modernising seven irrigation subprojects resulting in improved irrigation in over 1,00,000 hectares and strengthening of Water User Associations (WUAs) and the institutional capacity of Odisha’s Department of Water Resources.

c) The project aims to improve existing irrigation infrastructure, operation and maintenance and water use efficiency that will lead to higher agricultural productivity.

16. Shahid Rasool takes charge as Director of Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia as it’s director.

b) He will further guide CEMCA in effective utilization of educational and media resources for distance education.

c) Previously, he was the director the Educational Multimedia Research Centre, University of Kashmir.

17. No detention for Illegal Migrants under 2008 Return Directive: EU Court

a) As per the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice, non-EU (European Union) migrants who illegally entered an EU member state should not face detention. Under the Europe’s 2008 Return Directive, the migrants staying illegally should return back to their country of origin.

b) This ruling applicable to the migrants crossing borders within the Schengen passport-free zone and on leaving the zone.

c) Under the 2008 return Directive policy, the migrant is asked to voluntarily leave the Union within 30 days. After which, the removal should not involve excessive force or place the person’s life in danger.

18. Union Government launched Surya Mitra Mobile App

a) A mobile app called Surya Mira was recently launched by Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal at National Workshop on Rooftop Solar Power in New Delhi.

b) The app will help customers by providing quality installation, repair, and Observations and Measurements (O&M) services. This app was developed by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) which is an autonomous institution of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).

c) The app will be used for maintenance of off grid Solar PV system to keep it in good condition.It will also help Solar entrepreneurs to connect with custormers. It will prove useful in maintaining the existing solar water heater systems and Repair and maintenance of solar pumps.

19. Tintu Luka won silver at Josef Odlozil Memorial Athletics Meet in Prague

a) Indian Track 7 Field athlete Tintu Luka bagged a silver medal in 800 meters in the Josef Odlozil Memorial Athletics Meet in Prague, Czech Republic.

b) She covered the distance within 2:00:61. This is her season’s first timing. 2013 World youth championship gold winner Anita Hinriksdottir of Iceland received the gold medal as she completed the distance in 2:00:54.

20. International Monetary Fund approved 1.5 billion US dollar loan to Sri Lanka

a) $1.5 billion US dollar loan to Sri Lanka was recently approved by International Monetary Fund (IMF). A 36 month extended arrangement was recently accepted the executive board of the IMF.

b) This funding is aimed at Meeting balance of payments needs arising from external environment and pressures, raising revenue through new taxes & financing the additional budget spending.