Today Current Affairs 30th April 2016

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Supreme Court has approved holding a single common entrance test National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17. The SC bench comprising Justices A R Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A K Goel gave nod to the NEET proposal put before it by the Union Government, CBSE and the Medical Medical Council of India (MCI).The proposal had requested for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May 1, 2016 as NEET-1. The SC order would imply that all government medical colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges will be covered under the NEET. Those examinations which have already taken place or slated to be conducted separately stands scrapped. The apex court order also revives the Union Government’s Decemeber 21, 2010 notification for holding single common entrance test through NEET with a clarification that any challenge on the issue would directly come before it and no High Court can interfere in it.  

BlackBerry is having a hard time staying up with the current trends in Android and iOS. Some large technology biggies like Facebook and WhatsApp have decided to end their support to the dying operating system and we could hear similar news in the coming months. BlackBerry has now launched BBM Money, a payment solution, in partnership with Digitsecure, a payments platforms to cater to the BBM users in India. HotRemit is a product of Digitsecure, which does the work of a mobile wallet, which has been used to create the BBM Money service. BBM Money application can be downloaded from BlackBerry world, and allows users to send money to one another through BBM app. The transfers are instant and secure, however restricted to BlackBerry Messenger only.Facebook is the only other service in India that allows transfer of money through a messenger application. This makes BBM Money very exclusive, although limited to just one service, which itself is not a dominant one, unlike Facebook.

Reliance Infra-led Reliance Defence Ltd has signed a strategic partnership agreement with 3 Ukrainian state firms to collaborate on a range of military products. These three Ukrainian state-owned firms are Ukroboronprom, Spetstechno Exports and Antonov. The strategic collaboration will be for range of military products including transport aircraft, armoured vehicles, maritime gas turbines and unmanned aerial vehicles.  Under the agreement with Antonov, both companies will jointly bid for the medium military transport aircraft programme of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).  In addition they will also collaborate for assembly, manufacture and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of Antonov series of aircraft.  This collaboration will mainly address the requirements of the Indian market and also the agreed global markets.  Cooperation between Reliance Defence and Spetstechno Exports will focus on upgrade programs for the BMP 2 and Armoured Vehicles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Marine Gas Turbines for the Indian Navy Frigate program in India Reliance Defence is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure led by Anil Ambani. Antonov is globally known as the manufacturer of the largest transport aircraft in the world. Currently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) operates more than 100 AN-32 aircraft, which forms the backbone of its transport fleet.  

IT major Mindtree co-founder Subroto Bagchi has been appointed as head of the Odisha Skill Development Authority. He would report directly to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and has been given the rank of cabinet minister with a token monthly salary of Re 1. Bagchi was born in Patnagarh block of backward Bolangir district of Odisha. Aims  : Odisha Skill Development Authority Aims to unify the initiatives on the ground and create momentum for unemployed youth to receive skill-based training to make them employable in the state.  Functions : It will be overseeing skill development programmes in the state. It will also guide state government to implement and oversee all skill development programmes in the state.  Earlier in January 2016, Odisha Government had roped Sam Pitroda as its technology adviser for development of telecom, electronics, IT, ITES sectors.

Endangered asiatic wild dogs were in news in the last week of April 2016 as the nature reserve in northwest China's Gansu Province has declared it had spotted Nine dholes, or Asiatic wild dogs. These animals are rarely seen in the inland province. The movement of the animals were photographed with the infrared cameras in Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve on the north margin of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.Researchers also found various traces of the wild dog, such as footprints and droppings.The photographs and evidence found will prove to be important material for the research and protection of the species since not much is known about dholes that live across the plateau regions. Dholes are highly social animals that live in central, south and southeast Asia.The species lives mainly in south China's mountains and hills are under second-class state protection. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also included the animal on the Red List of Threatened Species.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in April 2016 entered into collaboration with German government for a special programme on 'Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security'. The programme is part of the German government's recently introduced special initiative 'One World, No Hunger' initiative. India is the only country in Asia chosen for this initiative. As part of the collaboration, NABARD is anchoring two major programmes — soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land programme in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It is also conducting innovation of watershed development and climate change adaptation programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Germany’s 'One World, No Hunger' addresses areas such as food and nutrition security, promotion of innovation, protection and sustainable use of natural resources in rural areas and promotion of responsible land use and access to land.

President Pranab Mukherjee is embarking on a two-nation tour to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand .A high level delegation including Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan is accompanying the President on the five day visit, which is aimed at energising and upgrading bilateral relations.Briefing reporters in New Delhi, Joint Secretary, South, Jaideep Mazumdar informed that this is the first ever state visit of an Indian President to these two countries. During the visit to Papua New Guinea, Mukherjee will meet Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and other leaders. Purpose of Visit  : Part of India’s growing engagement with Pacific Island countries .In 2015, Prime Minister of the Papua New Guinea visited India following the visit of the speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament in 2013. MoU of Two countries : Cooperation in the field of area and medical science,signed four MoUs in myriad sectors to boost ties, India offers $100 million for infrastructure fund. Singed four MoUs in myriad sectors to boost ties in following Sectors Agriculture Health Information Technology Infrastructure India offers $100 million for infrastructure fund : India awarded $100 million line of credit for development of infrastructure and acceded to jointly develop new avenues of cooperation to explore and develop the Pacific nation’s vast oil and gas resources.

Garima Chaudhary has won another gold medal at the 2016 Commonwealth Judo Championship finals at Port Elizabeth in South Africa. She has clinched the gold in 63kg junior category. In the year 2012, the 26-year-old Meerut based judoka was the only representative from India to contest for Judo Olympic medals at the London Olympic Games in 2012. The judoka has also participated in the previous edition of the competition held at Glasgow in 2014 but made an exit in quarter final.  

The Railway Ministry has decided to set up two new Directorates tasked with increasing the speed of trains and boosting non-fare revenues. Advertising will also be its major job. The first Directorate will identify and prioritise train corridors for raising the speed of trains. It will also examine the condition of all important railway tracks and their speed potential. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the second Directorate will raise revenues by advertising along the tracks and at stations by radio, video, internet, Wi-Fi, mobile apps and interactive services. Exploitation of vacant railway lands and renovation of stations will be its major responsibility.

Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has approved an investment of Rs.9,005 cr for construction of 73,205 more houses for Economically Weaker Sections in urban under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana in the States of  Maharashtra Punjab  Jammu & Kashmir Maharashtra : Maharashtra has been sanctioned a total of 71,701 houses in 10 cities at a total project cost of Rs.8,932 cr with Central Assistance of Rs.1,064 cr. Houses sanctioned include -61,946 under Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), 7,399 for Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) and 2,356 for In-situ Slum Redevelopment.  Houses sanctioned city-wise in Maharashtra are: Virar-61,946, Kalyan-30,378, Thane-8,184, Gothegar-3,822 and the rest in Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas of Wave, Palghar, Pen, Nilaje Pada, Raygad and Kelawali.  Punjab : For Punjab, construction of 1,280 houses for In-Situ Slum Redevelopment in Bhatinda was approved with a total investment of Rs.57 cr for which central assistance of Rs.12.80 cr was sanctioned.  Jammu & Kashmir : For Jammu & Kashmir, construction of 224 houses under Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban) has been approved with a total investment of Rs.16.07 cr with central assistance of Rs.3.36 cr. This includes construction of 141 houses in Udhampur and 83 in Baramullah.  Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana : The Government of India took a major step towards ensuring that people can get a house within their financial capability. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide scheme known as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Previously known as Housing for All scheme, this Yojana comes with a bold vision of providing affordable housing solutions for all Indian citizens.Launched on June 25, 2015, the primary aim for this Yojana is to ensure that 2 crore houses are built across nation’s length and breadth. The estimated completion year for the scheme is 2022, which means that these 2 crore homes will be constructed over a period of 7 years.

The International Jazz Day 2016 was observed across the world on 30 April 2016. This year, UNESCO celebrated the day at Washington, DC. The Day is intended to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music celebrate the day to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies. International Jazz Day : Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance.It is a vector of freedom of expression. It is a symbol of unity and peace.It reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities.It fosters gender equality. It reinforces the role youth play for social change.It encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones.It stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies. In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.The first annual International Jazz Day was kicked off in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock.

Beijing Olympics gold medalist and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra has accepted the offer of the Indian Olympic Association to become India's Goodwill Ambassador for the Rio Olympics. The IOA had stirred up a controversy last Sunday when they named Salman Khan as a Goodwill Ambassador. Many sports personalities had slammed the move and questioned the timing of the appointment. Salman's movie 'Sultan', based on wrestling is due for release soon. The IOA had meanwhile also approached batting legend Sachin Tendulkar to be Goodwill Ambassador but the former India cricketer has not responded yet. Abhinav Singh Bindra  : Abhinav Singh Bindra (born 28 September 1982, in Dehradun) is an Indian shooter and is a World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event. By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. It was also India's first gold medal since 1980, when the Men's Field Hockey Team won the gold.He is the first and only Indian to have held both the World and Olympic titles at the same time, a feat he accomplished by capturing the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, after having won the gold at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Abhinav won Gold Medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. In 2014, Abhinav Bindra joined the GoSports Foundation, Bangalore as a member of their board of advisors. In collaboration with the GoSports Foundation, he will also provide support to India's up and coming talented shooters through the Abhinav Bindra Shooting Development Programme.  

Former bureaucrat and parliamentarian Nand Kishore Singh has been selected for prestigious ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver’, Japan’s highest civilian award. He was chosen for this prestigious award for promoting economic, educational and cultural ties between India and Japan. He is among 91 foreign recipients to be honoured during the 2016 Spring Imperial Decoration of Japan by Emperor Akihito during the investiture ceremony in May 2016. Nand Kishore Singh  : N K Singh is a politician, economist and former Indian Administrative Service officer (IAS) from Bihar cadre. He had served as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha (2008-2014) from Bihar. As a bureaucrat, he had served as Member Planning Commission and handled assignments of Union Expenditure and Revenue Secretary and Additional Secretary Economic Affairs. He was also Principal Secretary to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. He was also connected with International organisations like World Bank, IMF and UNDP. He also had served as the former Chairman, Board of Governors of Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon. Order of the Rising Sun  : It is a Japanese Government highest civilian established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji. It is conferred in recognition of distinguished accomplishments of an individual. The modern version of the order is being given to non-Japanese recipients from 1981.

Pakistani women’s rights activist from Swat valley Tabassum Adnan has won prestigious 2016 Nelson Mandela Graça Machel Innovation Award. She won the award for the individual activist category on the concluding day of the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) held from April 25-28, 2016 in Bogota, Colombia. With this Tabassum Adnan becomes the second woman from Pakistan’s Swat valley to win this international recognition after Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Tabassum Adnan  : Tabassum Adnan was a victim of child marriage and was married at the age of 13. The marriage was marked by frequent domestic abuse and ended after 20 years when she gathered the courage to divorce her abusive husband. Later she launched NGO Khwendo Jirga (Sister’s Council), a women-only Jirga where women meet weekly to discuss issues such as honour killings, swara and acid attacks the practice of giving women as compensation for crimes. In 2015, she was awarded 2015 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award in recognition of her untiring efforts and services for women’s rights. Nelson Mandela Graça Machel Innovation Award  : Established in 2004 at the CIVICUS World Assembly in Gaborone, Botswana. Propose: These Awards provide seed funding for innovative ideas emerging from organisations or groups of organisations participating in the CIVICUS World Assembly. Each winner gets funding value of US 5,000 dollars each and also discuss their ideas with the World Assembly participants.

Tobago batsman Iraq Thomas on 24 April 2016 created a record by scoring 21-ball century in the Tobago Cricket Association’s T20 tournament at Louis D'or. The 23-year-old Thomas represented Scraborough/Mason Hall and remained not out on 131 rums off just 31 balls. He helped his side to chase down Speyside's target of 152 runs in just eight overs.He slammed 15 sixes and five boundaries during his knock. During his innings he cleared the park thrice and the umpires were forced to bring new balls. West Indies’ destructive batsman Chris Gayle holds the record for the hitting the fastest T20 ton. Gayle achieved the feat of just 30 balls against Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League.In one-day internationals, AB de Villiers of South Africa owns the record for the fastest ODI century that he scored of a mere 31 balls.