Current Affairs 2nd December 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Chitra Ramkrishna, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), has stepped down, citing personal reasons.  NSE said J Ravichandran, currently serving as Group President at NSE, has been named to replace Ramkrishna and run the affairs of the bourse in the interim period.  The stock exchange would start the process for selection of a new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director shortly. NSE will soon inform Sebi about the development .Chitra Ramkrishna was the first woman to head the NSE and was recently elected the first woman chair of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).  The news came at a time when the exchange was preparing to hit the market with its initial public offering (IPO). NSE hired four additional investment banks recently to manage the issue.  News reports suggested that the bourse was expected to file the share sale documents with the markets regulator by December end.  Ramkrishna previously held various positions such as Joint Managing Director of NSE, head of listing and Deputy Managing Director of NSE, Member of Derivatives Panel of Sebi, Director of NSE and member of Executive Committee at NSDL since March 9, 2009.  Earlier last month, Ramkrishna was elected the chairwoman of WFE, the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses, which represents nearly 45,000-listed companies the world over 

The Trial run of Lucknow Metro train was flagged off by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. He also dedicated the Metro Train Depot to the public. The solo trial run of the metro was undertaken by two young women pilots Prachi Sharma and Priyanka Sharma . The trail run of the first phase of metro project covers around four kms between Transport Nagar and Single Nagar Metro stations. The first phase of Lucknow metro project, famously known as North South corridor connects Lucknow airport to Munshipulia. This phase of metro project was undertaken by Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), a joint project of UP Government and Union Government It has a total length of 23 Kms and covers 21 stations of which eight are elevated.  It will be open to public from 26th March 2017 after 3 months of rigorous trial. Metro man E Sreedharan has been the principal advisor of LMRC. Previously, he has successfully handled many mega projects like Kolkata Metro, Delhi Metro and Konkan Railways.

The second Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Ideologist Award for the year 2016 was awarded to Prof. Yu Long Yu of China. He was presented with this award by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Prof. Yu Long Yu :  He is Professor and Director at the Centre for Indian Studies, Shenzhen University. He has studied Indology for half a century and is the pioneer for Indology in South China. He has set up the Centre for Indian Studies and Tan Yunshan Sino-Indian Friendship Museum in Shenzhen University. ICCR Ideologist Award :  It is an annual award instituted by ICCR. It carries prize amount of US$ 20000. It is bestowed upon eminent Indologists working abroad who have made outstanding contribution to the study/research/teaching of India’s history, philosophy, thought, art, culture, literature, languages, civilization, society etc. The first was presented to Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stietencron of Germany in 2015.

The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world celebrated its 51st Anniversary of Raising Day. Various cultural programmes were organised for BSF veterans and personnel during the Raising Day celebrations. On this occasion, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh presented prestigious “Maharana Pratap Trophy- 2016” on the BSF Punjab Frontier. Border Security Force (BSF)  : BSF is the sentinels of Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It came into existence on 1st December, 1965. It was created by merging various State Armed Police Battalions for achieving a better coordinated synergy between the border guarding functions in peace time and fighting the war during the eventuality on both Western and Eastern fronts.  BSF is deployed on Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army and in Anti-Naxal Operations. Since its inception, BSF has proven its credentials during various counter insurgency and anti-militancy operations, internal security duties, natural calamities etc.

The new £5 note issued by the Bank of England has angered the vegetarians after it was revealed that it contains traces of animal fat. The note entered circulation in September 2016 but the information regarding the presence of the meat substance emerged on 28 November 2016 following a tweet by the Bank of England confirming the existence of the controversial substance. Highlights : The new five pound notes are printed on polymer- a thin plastic film, which is more durable and safer.  Present within the polymer pallets used in the creation of the thin polymer is a substance called ‘Tallow’, which is derived from animal fat.   It is mostly used in the manufacture of candles and soap.An online petition demanding a ban on such substances in currency production has gained more than 90,000 signatures. It was initiated by Doug Maw. The petition calls the inclusion unacceptable to millions of vegans, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and other vegetarian communities living in the UK.  According to the petitioners, the presence of the substance completely disregards the goal of most vegetarians to avoid harming animals.  People are also upset about the fact that it took the authorities two months to come out clean on the matter. However, the new note is not the only one that is based on the polymer. New polymer notes of £10 and £20 are also scheduled to come out in 2017 and 2020 respectively. The decision to shift from paper to polymer was taken in order to ensure that the notes last longer, stay cleaner and are harder to copy. According to bank estimates, the new notes will last 2.5 times longer than paper.

Ukraine began its two-day military drill over the Black sea on 1 December 2015, putting Russia in a combat mode. The drill involves testing of surface-to-air missiles. This missile test drill is the first-ever for Ukraine. The testing location is extremely close to the Russian- annexed region of Crimea, which has escalated tension between the two nations. Highlights : The drill was conducted in the Kherson region, on the coast of the Black Sea. It involved S-300 medium-range missiles. In total, sixteen missiles were launched and all of them reached their targets. Although the missiles came within 18 miles of the Crimean airspace, Ukraine’s military assured that this exercise will pose no danger to the residents of Crimea. The main purpose of the drill is to build Ukraine's air defence. While Russia has sent several letters to Kiev protesting against the drill, calling it a violation of the International law and Sovereignty of Russia, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko maintained that the tests are taking place in full accordance with the International law. However, Ukraine is prepared for any kind of development and Russia has already positioned its warships off Crimea’s western coastline and has threatened to shoot down any missile that enters the Crimean airspace.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has apologised for the first time to the people of Haiti for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak in the country. The Secretary-General expressed deep regret for the loss of life caused by the disease. He stated, “On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologise to the Haitian people.” 2010 Cholera Outbreak in Haiti : As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ongoing Haiti cholera outbreak is the worst epidemic of cholera in recent history. The country has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The outbreak began in mid October 2010 in the rural Center Department of Haiti. The outbreak occurred ten months after a powerful earthquake which devastated the nation's capital and southern towns on 12 January 2010. It is widely believed to have been introduced by Nepalese peacekeepers from the UN. The peacekeepers lived on a base that often leaked waste into a river, and the first cholera cases in the country appeared in Haitians who lived nearby. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9000 people in the country.

The United Nations Security Council has voted to tighten sanctions on North Korea in response to the country’s fifth and largest nuclear test. The council unanimously approved the sanctions resolution following months of diplomatic arguments over how best to respond to North Korea’s latest nuclear test in September 2016. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The new sanctions target North Korea’s hard currency revenues by placing a cap on coal exports, cutting them by at least 62 per cent. In total, the sanction will cut down at least USD 800 million per year the hard currency that the country has to fund its prohibited weapons programs. The prohibited weapons programmes constitute a full 25 percent of North Korea’s entire export revenues. The sanctions would also put a ban on the country’s exports of non-ferrous metals and sanction 11 government officials as well as 10 entities linked to the country’s nuclear weapons program. They also include an array of other measures cracking down on North Korea’s access to the international banking system and on its export of statues.

Twelve more eminent personalities  were bestowed with the prestigious Yash Bharti Award 2016 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. With this, a total of 77 personalities have so far received the highest award of the state for the year 2016. Lieutenant General (Retd.) AK Singh Dr Manzur Hasan: Renowned cardiologist of the country Atul Tiwari: Film writer Dr Deen Muhammad Deen: Hindi litterateur Suhas LY: District Magistrate of Azamgarh. He also won gold medal in badminton at Beijing Paralympics. Dr Abbas Raza Naiyyar: HOD of Urdu department of Lucknow University Murad Ali Khan: Trap shooter Naseeruddin Shah: Actor Archana Satish: Anchor Shikha Dwivedi: Anchor Rachna Govil: Sportsperson Pramod Kumar Choudhary: Social activist Yash Bharti Awards : Yash Bharti Awards was instituted by Mulayam Singh Yadav Government in 1994.The award is conferred by the Uttar Pradesh Government for excellence in literature, fine arts, folk and classical music and sports.The award carries cash prize of 11 lakh rupees, a citation and a shawl. The award was discontinued by the Bahujan Samaj Party Government from 2007-2013, but later it was revived after a gap of six years.

Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, on 1 December 2016 launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’. The Abhiyan aims at making people aware about the cashless economic system. The programme was launched in line to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to youth in Mann Ki Baat, where Prime Minister called for making people aware about digital economy and cashless modes of transactions. For creation of a cashless economy, Javadekar appealed to the faculty and especially young students to come forward and join Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan. They, the youth and teachers, can help in encouraging people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund. For participation of youth and faculty, HRD Minister also launched a webpage where students can register themselves. They can also provide their feedback and suggestions on the initiative as well as upload the progress of their work. At present, India is undergoing transformational shift towards digital economy and youth can be an agent of change in this process of transformation. Besides, the HRD Minister also appealed to higher education institutes to receive nothing in cash (fee/fines/deposits) and pay nothing in cash (wages/salaries/vendor payments). He asked these institutions to develop a cashless campus (canteens/covering shops/services).

Yoga, India’s one of the ancient practices to keep oneself healthy, has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It was inscribed on the list during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The declaration describing Yoga as a Human Treasure got unanimous support of the 24 members of the Committee. With this, Yoga became the 13th intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from India so far with UNESCO. The previous intangible cultural heritage list includes Chhau dance (inscribed in 2010) The Buddhist chanting of Ladakh (inscribed in 2012) Sankirtana - the ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur (inscribed in 2013) The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab (inscribed in 2014) Ramlila- the traditional performance of the Ramayana (inscribed in 2008) Yoga : It is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. Records suggest that Yoga originated in the pre-Vedic India, it is mentioned in the Rigveda. But it developed around the sixth and fifth Century BC, in ancient India's ascetic and śramaṇa movements.It is practised in different schools of Yoga namely Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.It was introduced in the west first by Swami Vivekananda and later in the 1980s by Yoga gurus from India .Earlier in 2014, the United Nations declared 21 June as the International Yoga Day.  

Odisha Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Tata Steel’s 55,000 tonne per annum (TPA) ferro-chrome plant in Gopalpur Industrial Park in the state’s Ganjam district . The ferro-chrome plant at Gopalpur is equipped with state-of-art pollution control equipment and technology such as Effluent Treatment Plant & Sewage Treatment Plant. It is also the first plant in India to use briquetting method of chrome ore fines agglomeration.  Tata Steel is also developing an Industrial Park at Gopalpur. Spread over 2970 acres of land, the Industrial Park is a multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Besides the new unit at Gopalpur, Tata Steel has two other Ferro-chrome plants in Odisha- a 65,000 tonne per annum (tpa) plant at Bamnipal in Keonjhar district and the other at Athagarh in Cuttack district of 55,000 TPA capacity under the management of its subsidiary T S Alloys. 

India has improved its ranking by four places to 102nd position among 136 economies in terms of enabling cross border trade, with Singapore leading the list, the World Economic Forum (WEF). Among the Brics nations, India, China and South Africa have improved their ranking from the previous edition. While India's position has jumped four slots to 102, that of South Africa has improved three places to 55 while that of China stood at 61 compared with the previous ranking of 63. Brazil's ranking has slipped to 110 from the earlier 97 while that of Russia dropped to 111 from the 105th position The 'Global Enabling Trade Report 2016'  published by WEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation  assesses the performance of 136 economies by way of Enabling Trade Index (ETI). The index assesses the extent to which economies have in place the factors facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destinations. It takes into consideration various factors, including domestic and foreign market access, border administration, transport and digital infrastructure and operating environment. Singapore is leading the top ten economies that are enabling trade across borders followed by the Netherlands and Hong Kong SAR at second and third places, respectively. Others are Luxembourg (4), Sweden (5), Finland (6), Austria (7), the United Kingdom (8), Germany (9) and Belgium (10). Free trade remains the most powerful driver of global economic development and social progress. The challenge for leaders today is to confront protectionism, but they also have a duty to make trade a source for more inclusive growth.

Private sector RBL Bank has launched 'Aadhaar Payment Bridge System' (APBS) for small ticket micro-finance loan disbursements.  The bank said it is the first bank to launch the APBS on its platform and the intent is to meet the government's target on digital banking.  This was achieved by doing the first successful cashless disbursement to various beneficiaries in the rural segment across the country . The APBS system can now enable MFIs to disburse loan amounts directly in Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts through RBL Bank.  It has been developed by NPCI mainly to process government subsidies or direct benefit transfer (DBT) to various government scheme beneficiaries.  This unique idea of using an existing government platform for disbursing micro loans is a very big step in the direction of moving towards a cashless society in the rural segment . The APBS also assumes significance at a time when cash availability in the market is actually crippled due to government's recent decision to abolish Rs 500/1000 banknotes from circulation to check black money and widen the tax base. 

An independent panel of British scientists and experts has formally given nod to introduce so-called three-parent baby fertility treatments or mitochondrial gene therapy (MGT) procedures.  The panel tasked with reviewing the safety of MGT held that this practice should be cautiously adopted to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to future generations.  Thus, it paves the way for the country to officially introduce the procedures. Earlier in February 2016, British Parliament voted to legalise three-parent baby fertility treatments or MGT procedures. It was first country in the world to legalise creation of In-Vitro Fertilisation babies with DNA from three people.  The world’s first three-parent baby boy was born in Mexico in April 2016 to a Jordanian couple with help of this new fertility technique which incorporates DNA from three people in embryo. MGT or Mitochondrial donation is a medical technique in which defective mitochondria carried by a woman is replaced with the healthy mitochondria of a donor.  Through invitro fertilization technique (IVF), the egg is then fertilised with the partner’s sperm. Thus, the embryo remains free from any such genetic defects. Thus, it prevents the transmission of mitochondrial (genetic) disease from one generation to the next. The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer. MGT proposes to give parents chance of having a child that is over 99% genetically matched to them and most importantly free of the mitochondrial disease.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for liberalization, simplification and rationalization of the existing visa regime in India. It has approved incremental changes in the visa policy as decided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with approval of Home Minister and in consultation with various stakeholders. The approval will stimulate economic growth and ease travel for foreigners. It will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes.  This is expected to increase earnings from export of services like tourism, travel on account of business, medical value travel. It will also help to make ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the Government successful.

The Union Cabinet has approved Central Assistance of 2000 crore rupees for 36,384 displaced families from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb. It was approved following an announcement of Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir 2015 announced in November, 2015 5 lakh rupees cash benefit per family will be disbursed to the displaced families. This financial aid will enable them to earn an income and subsist their livelihood. The amount will be disbursed through J&K state Government to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). In the aftermath of partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, thousands of families from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) migrated to the Indian state. Subsequently, during Indo-Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971, a large number of families were displaced from Chhamb Niabat area of J&K. Union Government and J&K state Government have extended series of relief and rehabilitation packages from time to time to mitigate the hardship of displaced persons from PoJK and Chhamb and to rehabilitate them.

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating position adopted by India at the recent 28th Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda. The negotiations at Kigali meet held in October 2016 were aimed at including HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol. The Union Cabinet has approved baseline and freeze years proposal of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEFCC) over the issue of phasing down the climate-damaging refrigerants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as negotiated in Kigali meet. In the Kigali meet, India had successfully negotiated the baseline years within a range of 2024 to 2030 and freeze year in subsequent years for phasing down the use of HFCs. It had two set of baselines years were agreed for developing countries. India along with nine other countries will have baseline years of 2024, 2025, 2026.  India will completely phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047 It also gives additional HCFC allowance of 65% that will be added to the Indian baseline consumption and production. Other developing countries including China (largest producer of HFCs in the world), South Africa and Brazil opted for 2020-22 baseline. The developed countries on the other will hand reduce use of HFCs over a 2011-13 baseline and will reduce production and consumption of HFCs by 70% in 2029. The freeze year for India will be 2028 and it will be with a condition that there will be a technology review in 2024/2025. India’s position was mainly aimed at allowing sufficient room for growth of its domestic sectors using refrigerants. The Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention for Protection of Ozone Layer which entered force in January 1989 aimed to phase out the ozone depleting substances (ODS).  At Kigali, it was decide to include HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol in order to regulate their production, consumption and phasing them out with time.  It also added mechanism to provide financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund created under the Montreal Protocol. Under it, funding for R&D and servicing sector in developing countries also was included in the agreed solutions on finance. Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol also for the first time will incentivise improvement in energy efficiency in case of use of new refrigerant and technology. Note: HFCs are not ODS but potent global warming substances and controlling them can contribute substantially to limit global temperature and advance actions for addressing climate change.  

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in respect of 8 states. These states are Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand. The Union Cabinet took this decision based on the recommendation of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). The NCBC had recommended a total of 28 changes in the existing list of OBCs in respect of 8 states. Out of these 28 changes, 15 were new entries, 9 were synonyms or sub-castes of castes which were already in the list and 4 were corrections. The changes will enable the persons belonging to these communities/castes to avail the benefits of reservation in Government posts and services. It will also help them to get benefits in Central Educational Institutions as per the existing policy. They will also become eligible to avail benefits under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. administered by Union Government, which are available to persons belonging to OBCs. National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)  : The NCBC was set up as per the NCBC Act, 1993 in pursuance to the Supreme Court judgement in the Indra Sawhney case (1992). It consist of five Members, comprising of a Chairperson; social scientist; two persons having special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes and Member-Secretary. Chairperson must be or has been a judge of Supreme Court or High Court. It examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists of OBCs. It also hears complaints of under-inclusion or over-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tenders such advice to the Union Government as it deems appropriate. The advice of the NCBC is ordinarily binding upon the Union Government. So far based on recommendation of NCBC, Government has notified total of 2479 entries including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in Central List of OBCs in 25 States and 6 UTs.  

Scientists from Israel have created the world’s first ‘water-wave laser’ that emits a beam through the interaction of light and water waves. The study conducted by team of researchers from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology led by Professor Tal Carmon. A typical laser can be created when the electrons in atoms become “excited” by energy absorbed from an outside source causing them to emit radiation in the form of laser light. However, the water-wave laser for the first time showed that water wave oscillations within a liquid device can also generate laser radiation. It also successfully demonstrated nonlinear optics and water waves, two areas of research that were previously considered unrelated to one another. In this case, researchers had created a device in which an optical fibre delivers light into a tiny droplet of octane and water. The energy is emitted by the droplet when light waves and water waves pass through each other many times (about one million times) inside the droplet The interaction between the fibre optic light and the miniscule vibrations on surface of the droplet creates an echo i.e. interaction of sound waves causing it to emit radiation. Event when minute pressure is applied by light it can cause droplet deformation that is a million times greater than in a typical optomechanical device. It may offer greater control of the laser’s emissions. In order to increase this echo effect in the device, highly transparent, runny liquids was used to encourage light and droplet interactions. Application : The ‘water-wave laser’ may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies. It can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves. It also offers scientists a playground for studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.

TeamIndus, a private aerospace starup company is planning to send a spacecraft to the moon aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket on December 28, 2017. It will be India’s first private moon mission to be launched. It will be launched onboard of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). TeamIndus moon mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon. It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition images, video and data back to the earth. Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the lander and rover will be developed in-house by TeamIndus. For launching purpose TeamIndus has signed an agreement Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO. ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will launch the TeamIndus’s spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28, 2017. After completing a rotation around the earth, the spacecraft will land in 21 days at Mare Imbrium, a region in the North-Western hemisphere of the Moon. If the mission goes successful, it would likely pip ISRO’s proposed moon-lander mission — Chandrayaan 2. It launch date is not yet formally announced. TeamIndus is one of the four international teams and the only one from India that are running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition. The competition aims to encourage private companies to launch space missions. Other three international teams include two US based companies, Moon Express and Synergy Moon and one Israeli company SPACE 1 L. So far, all of them have announced agreements with space-launch-vehicle companies such as SpaceX. TeamIndus  : TeamIndus is Bengaluru-based private aerospace company. It is led by Rahul Narayan. It has 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees. It has high-profile investors, including Ratan Tata of the Tata Group; Binny and Sachin Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd.

The Congress of Colombia has approved the revised peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group. The lower house voted 130-0 to approve the text adopted earlier by the Senate. The approval comes after Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, and Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the FARC signed a revised peace agreement on 24 November 2016. The revised accord was Colombian Government’s second attempt to end Latin America’s longest-running conflict, which has killed around 220000 people. The previous deal, which was signed in September 2016, was rejected narrowly by the citizens of Colombia in a popular vote held in October 2016.  The Colombian Government and the FARC had signed the historic peace accord on 24 August 2016. However, the deal was rejected by the Colombian voters in a referendum. The peace agreement was reached after the two sides earlier in June 2016 signed the bilateral ceasefire agreement. Over the past four years, peace negotiators have managed to reach agreement on six areas and they are land reform, political participation for ex-rebels, justice for victims of the conflict, fighting drug trafficking, disarmament and the implementation and monitoring of the accord.

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