Current Affairs 21st June 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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World Music Day globally observed on 21 June ,2016.The World Music also known as DayMake Music Day. The concept of an all-day musical celebration on the days of the solstice, was originated by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang. The festival later became celebrated in 120 countries around the world. In October 1981, Maurice Fleuret became Director of Music and Dance at Minister of Culture Jack Lang’s request, and applied his reflections to the musical practice and its evolution: the music everywhere and the concert nowhere". When he discovered, in a 1982 study on the cultural habits of the French, that five million people, one child out of two, played a musical instrument, he began to dream of a way to bring people out on the streets. It first took place in 1982 in Paris . Ever since, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 700 cities in 120 countries, including India, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the United States, and Japan.  

Anand Desai led Expert committee set up to examine the Specific Relief Act, 1963 on 20 June 2016 submitted its report to Union Law & Justice Minister DV Sadananda Gowda. In its report the committee has recommended modifications in the Specific Relief Act, 1963, which will help in ensuring the ease of doing business. Recommendation of the committee includes : To change the approach, from damages being the rule and specific performance being the exception, to specific performance being the rule, and damages being the alternate remedy. To provide guidelines for reducing the discretion granted to Courts and tribunals while granting performance and injunctive reliefs so that public works projects is not be impeded or stalled. To introduce provisions for rights of third parties (other than for Government contracts). To consider addressing unconscionable contracts, unfair contracts, reciprocity in contracts etc., and implied terms.Need to classify diverse Public utility Contracts as a distinct class recognising the inherent public interest/importance to be addressed in the Act. Specific Relief Act 1963 : The Act was enacted by the Parliament to replace the earlier Act of 1877 with an aim to assure that whenever there is a wrong there must be a remedy.The Act does not confer any Rights on itself. Specific relief is only provided for the violation of a legal right.

Mori village in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh will be developed as a smart village of global standards. Towards this endeavor, the partners in the project on 19 June 2016 announced that prototype will be ready by mid-December 2016.Under the project, the village will be developed as a self-contained sustainable business model. Features of Mori smart village project : Mori is a small cashew-exporting village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district.The project involves using digital tools, real time information and uninterrupted internet connectivity. Under the project, the village will be equipped with fibre optic connectivity. Around 1900 households will be connected with 15 Mbps link. In order to strengthen brand image, e-commerce will be introduced to local villagers. For developing sustainable business environment, organic farming for shrimp hatcheries will be encouraged. Besides, direct marketing facilities will be offered to cashew farmers.To provide 24*7 power supply, uninterrupted power supply (USP) will be put in place. The Innovation Society of the Andhra Pradesh Government, the University of California at Berkeley, and several leading technology organizations including Google, Cisco, IBM, Ericsson are involved in the project.

Himachal Pradesh government today launched a Rs 640 crore project for skill development under which multipurpose training and marketing centres would be developed in rural areas as per the needs of local youths. Training would be provided by government institutes and departments, private sector and industries/industrial associations under the project which is launched with external assistance from Asian Development Bank. These centres would be monitored by District Skill Development Centre and to facilitate ITI students, equivalency would be granted in respect of trade and apprenticeship certificates being awarded by National Council of Vocational Training for the purpose of seeking admission in colleges.  Focus would be on addressing the needs and requirements of manpower in agriculture, horticulture, tourism and hospitality, construction, IT enabled services,banking and financial services. Self help groups to market, innovate and provide finance for Himachali paintings, metal crafts, shawls, carpets, wood craft carvings, embroidery, foot wear, leather crafts, blanketsand rugs, woolen caps, muffler and knitwear.  All the existing employment exchanges would be upgraded into model career centres for counseling and vocational guidance and mapping of existing facilities of government ITIs and polytechnics would be undertaken.  The government is also planning to start demand driven and employment oriented trades in existing state-run ITIs which would increase students intake by 2,500 per year.  The skill development programmes would be accessible to all residents of the state between the age of 16 to 49 years to both BPL and APL families in urban and rural areas.

Nikesh Arora has  resigned as the  Representative Director, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SoftBank Group (SBG) on 21 June 2016, a Japanese company. Simultaneously, he will also step down from the Chairmanship at Yahoo Japan, a company in which SoftBank has a 36.4 percent stake, as well as the Director of Sprint, an acquisition of SBG. However, Arora will assume an Advisory Role effective 1 July 2016. Nikesh Arora : Arora joined SoftBank Group from Google where he was the Chief Business Officer in September 2014. He took the position of Vice Chairman of SBG and CEO of SB Group US, Inc in September 2014.In June 2015, he assumed the position of Representative Director and Director of SBG. During his tenure, SoftBank invested in a set of growth-stage companies in India such as Snapdeal, Ola, Oyo, Grofers and Arora is one of the highest paid corporate executives who took home a pay packet of 135 million US dollars in 2014-15. Arora is an alumni of IIT-BHU, Varanasi and Northeastern University (MBA). Reason behind Nikesh Arora's Resignation : His resignation came a day after Softbank announced that an independent committee has found that the investors’ allegations against Nikesh Arora were without merit. Following this, the CEO of SBG Masayoshi Son, who was expected to step down, announced that he will remain at the helm.

Chinese supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight with 93 petaflop/second speed was on 20 June 2016 declared as the world’s fastest supercomputer. It was revealed in the TOP500 list of supercomputers released at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany. The list further revealed that the USA is not home to the largest number of systems. With a surge in industrial and research installations registered over the last few years, China leads with 167 systems and the USA is second with 165. Asian share of 218 systems, up from 173 in November 2015, includes 8 supercomputers owned by Indian-based organizations. Features of Sunway TaihuLight : This supercomputer can perform 93 petaflop operations per second. It was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.It displaced the Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that has claimed the top spot on the previous six TOP500 lists. With 10649600 computing cores comprising 40960 nodes, is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2. Sunway TaihuLight demonstrates the significant progress that China has made in the domain of designing and manufacturing large-scale computation systems as it is completely based on homegrown processors. Other supercomputers in Top500 list Second position : An Intel-based Chinese Tianhe-2 supercomputer which can perform calculations with processing speed of 33.86 Pflops.  Third position : Supercomputer Titan of the US Department of Energy. It has a performance of 17.59 Pflops.  Fourth position : Supercomputer It is an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Fifth position : Supercomputer Fujitsu’s K computer. It has been installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Japan. Top Countries in the list : China (1st position) with 167 super computer systems, US (2nd position) with 165 systems, Japan (3rd position), Germany (4th position) with 26 systems, France (5th position) with 18 systems, Britain (6th position) with 12 systems. The Top500 list : It is one of the most authoritative and prestigious rankings list of the world’s supercomputers. The list is compiled on the basis of the performance of supercomputers by experts from the US and Germany based on the Linpack benchmark.

The State Bank of India (SBI) was named in the Hall of Shame list of 158 banking institutions that have invested billions of dollars in companies making cluster bombs on 16 June 2016 . The list was prepared by Dutch campaign groupPAX Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report. State Bank of India (SBI) is the only Indian entity on the list that includes global giants like JP Morgan, Barclays, Bank of America and Credit Suisse. Highlights : The report looks at investments into companies involved in the production of cluster munitions.  158 financial institutions invested over 28 billion US dollars in the seven companies researched in the report between June 2012 and April 2016. These 7 companies are China Aerospace Science and Industry, China Aerospace Science and Technology, Hanwha (South Korea), Norinco (China), Orbital ATK (US), Poongsan (South Korea) and Textron (US). Textron produces the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon. Between June 2012 and April 2016, 49 financial institutions invested over 12 billion US dollars in Textron.The maximum number of 74 banks are from the US, followed by China (29) and South Korea (26).  The majority of the financial institutions included in the Hall of Shame are from countries that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), the international treaty that bans this weapon.  However, the report points towards the serious concern that there are still 20 financial institutions from seven countries which have joined the CCM. 

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) on 1 June 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project. The MoU has been signed for implementation of the following three additional works, which are independent of the on-going works and are estimated to cost 476 crore rupees. They are 1.Container handling facilities at Sittwe & Paletwa 2.Operation & Maintenance of the completed works 3.Wrecks removed in Sittwe Port basin area IWAI shall remain as the overall Project Development Consultant (PDC) to Project Development Consultant (PDC) for implementation of PORT & IWT component of Kaladan project. Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) in Myanmar : KMTTP was conceptualised and is being administered by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). It was planned with an aim to facilitate connectivity between the mainland and the North Eastern States of the country through maritime shipping, inland waterways and roads of Myanmar. The link between North Eastern States of India and Myanmar will pave the way for enhanced trade & commerce across the border. It will also enable cultural and social integration at the regional level. Project Development Consultant of the Project, IWAI : MEA had appointed Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as the Project Development Consultant (PDC) for the implementation of the Port & Inland Water Transport (IWT) component of the Kaladan Project on 19 March 2009 and by Supplementary Agreement dated 28 April 2016. India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) : IPGPL was established as a Joint Venture between Kandla Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust for the purpose of development of ports overseas. IPGPL was asked to partner IWAI in the Kaladan project as a sub-PDC. It will help complete the implementation of Kaladan project within the scheduled timeframe of April 2019 and provide relief to IWAI. The responsibilities of IWAI has increased manifold due to declaration of 106 new National Waterways and implementing the ambitious ‘Jal Marg Vikas” project.

Virginia Raggi, a leading member of the populist anti-corruption Five Star Movement (M5S), on 20 June 2016 was elected as Rome’s first female mayor. She is also the first candidate from that party, M5S to be elected to Rome's mayoralty. Raggi, who will turn 38 in July 2016, is also the youngest mayor in Rome's history. A lawyer and local councilor, Raggi was elected to the post for the Italian capital after winning 67% of the vote in a runoff ballot against the Democratic Party’s (PD) Roberto Giachetti. Apart from her, Chiara Appendino another M5S candidate won the mayoral elections in Turin. M5S is a political party which was founded by comedian-turned politician Beppe Grillo. With this win in Rome, the party also emerged as the main opposition to centre-left Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Boeing on 18 June 2016 celebrated the foundation laying of a new facility in Hyderabad for its joint venture named Tata Boeing Aerospace (TBAL).The joint venture has been established to co-produce Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages and other aero structures, as well as to pursue integrated systems in aerospace.The facility has been under development in pursuance of a framework agreement signed between the two companies in July 2015. Features : It is located Adibatla IT and Aero SEZ (TATA Aerospace Special Economic Zone) about 50 km from Hyderabad. It will manufacture aerospace and defense products including unmanned aerial vehicles. It will create a manufacturing centre of excellence to produce aero structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopters. It will eventually be the sole producer of AH-64 fuselages globally. The Apache has been flown or selected for acquisition by the United States and 15 other nations, including India. This project was taken up to boost the indigenous defence production under Make In India campaign.

The International Day of Yoga was  observed across the world on 21 June 2016 ,with the theme Connect the Youth. This year’s observance of the Day highlights the important role healthy living plays in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015 by all 193 UN Member States. In India, the Union Government organised the event titled The National Event of Mass Yoga Demonstration at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh where Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself performed yoga. The idea to celebrate 21 June as the International Day of Yoga was initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 September 2014 during his address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Following this, the UNGA on 11 December 2014 adopted the resolution to commemorate 21 June as the International Day of Yoga every year. This resolution was adopted under the Global Health and Foreign Policy by the General Assembly in order to provide a holistic approach to the people worldwide for their health and well-being. More than 177 countries including USA, Canada, China and Egypt supported this move including 175 nations co-sponsoring the resolution. Yoga : Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India and is now practiced in various forms around the world.  It finds mention in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the author of the grammatical Mahabhasya.The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.  Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being.

The Union Government has  banned use of potassium bromate (KbrO3)as a food additive on recommendation of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 20 June 2016. Early in May 2016, FSSAI in its recommendation asked health ministry to remove potassium bromate, a cancer causing chemical, from the list of permissible food additives. The recommendation was made following a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that claimed that potassium bromate, which is classified as a category 2B carcinogen, can be a cause of cancer to humans.  CSE in study found that 84 percent of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate (KIO3). Besides, FSSAI has referred potassium iodate, also claimed to be carcinogenic used as a food additive, to a scientific panel. These two food additives are banned in many countries and listed as hazardous for public health.  

The International Astronomical Union in June 2016 named a 9.8 kilometers wide crater on Mars as Langtang, a popular trekking site in Nepal. Langtang is one of the villages of Nepal that was worst hit by the 25 April 2015 earthquake. As per reports, at least 215 people were killed in the village after the quake triggered an avalanche. The researcher behind the move, Dr. Tjalling de Haas, said that he chose this name because his colleague had worked there while studying Himalayan glaciers. It was his base camp for a long period, so we said may be it is a nice tribute. Dr de Haas, who studies Mars's physical geography at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, has named another crater as Bunnik, his hometown in Utrecht. Both names were approved by the International Astronomical Union Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched  the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to provide free of cost LPG cooking gas connections to women from BPL households will be held in Sambalpur, Odisha on 20 June 2016. According to reports, through this scheme, it is planned to increase the number of LPG customers in Odisha from 39 lakh at present to 80 lakh by December 2018. The scheme has already been launched regionally by the Centre in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Under the scheme, the central government is providing a financial assistance of Rs 1,600 to each eligible BPL candidate to buy an LPG connection. A total budget of Rs 8,000 crore has been set by the government for the distribution of LPG connections to 5 crore BPL families by 2019.  

US scientists team has created the world's first microchip that has 1,000 processors and is thought to be the fastest chip designed in a university lab. This energy-efficient microchip, designed by a team at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is named as the "KiloCore" chip and has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors.o the best of our knowledge, it is the world's first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university. Fabricated by IBM using their 32nm CMOS technology, KiloCore chip's each processor core can run its own small programme independently of the others. The team said other multiple-processor chips that have been created till now never exceeded 300 processors. Features : This is a fundamentally more flexible approach than so-called Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approaches utilised by processors such as GPUs; the idea is to break an application up into many small pieces, each of which can run in parallel on different processors, enabling high throughput with lower energy use. Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data. The KiloCore was presented at the 2016 Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu recently.

The department of electronics and information technology (DeitY), government of India today gave its final approval for setting up of a greenfield electronic park within the Infovally complex, a dedicated IT hub, on the outskirt of Bhubaneswar. The park, to be set up under Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) scheme of the Centre, will come up on 203 acres of land at a cost of Rs 205 crore. Out of this, the government of India will give a grant of Rs 95 crore with the rest being contributed by the state government. The money will be spent on creating common infrastructure for about 100 units to be housed within the park. Apart from developed land, road, power, water and recreation facilities, the park intends to provide common facilities for training, incubation and R & D activities to the interested entrepreneurs. As per India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), the premier trade body representing the Indian Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry, the park is expected to attract industries with combined investment value of Rs 1000 crore and employment potential of 10,000 to 12,000 persons. The product range of units to be located in the park could range from manufacturing of solar panels and printed circuit boards to mobile handsets and accessories. electronic system design and manufacturing is a thrust area of the state ITC policy, 2014. Apart from the benefits prescribed under ITC policy, the units to be located in the park will be eligible for sops provided under state's Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR), 2015 such as VAT, electricity duty and EPF reimbursement etc.The DeitY had given its in-principle approval to the park in 2014.

The Punjab government has launched a special fund “Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis C Relief Fund” to provide free treatment for patients affected by Hepatitis C. With this initiative, Punjab became the first Indian state to provide free treatment to confirmed cases of Hepatitis C. The fund will have initial corpus of 20 crore rupees. This fund will provide all the residents of Punjab affected by Hepatitis C free treatment.  The scheme is considered important in the public health measures of the state as the prevalence rate of patients affected by Hepatitis could be as high as 3%.  There might be even up to 10 lakh cases of suspected Hepatitis C in the state of which up to 6 lakh would require treatment. It will also help patients to get free treatment as injectable peg-interferon for the disease is very expensive and unaffordable. Hepatitis  : Hepatitis is a medical condition in which there occurs inflammation of liver cells and its complications vary with the type of infection. There are 5 types of hepatitis viz. A, B, C, D and E. Each type is caused by a different hepatitis virus. It is mostly caused by a group of viruses called hepatitis viruses and also be caused by intoxicants like drugs, alcohol, chemicals and other infections and autoimmune diseases.

The Assam Government has launched a unique initiative ‘Maitree Ek Gyan Yatra’ to link primary schools to high schools to colleges.  The purpose of the programme is to change the mindset of the teachers, as in some places in states teachers of a school considered it below their dignity to teach the lower level students. Under the initiative, college teachers will take classes in high schools and high schools teachers will teach in primary schools voluntarily. The basic idea of implementing the initiative is to improve quality of school students and create better synergy in education sector. Initially it will be launched at in Sivsagar district of state and later will be implemented across the state.

India and Thailand has  signed two agreements that are aimed at enhancing cooperation in culture as well as educational sectors on 17 June 2016. The set of agreements pertains to extension of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for 2016-19 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nagaland University and Thailand’s Chiang Mai University. The agreements were signed in New Delhi during the 3-day visit of Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha that concluded on 18 June 2016. During the visit, he held talks with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a wide range of issues that are of concern for both the countries and the region as a whole. At the end of the summit level meeting, a joint statement that mentioned cooperation in areas like maritime security, cyber security, military and intelligence cooperation among others. India-Thailand relations : India's relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of India's strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). India's 'Act East' policy is complemented by Thailand's 'Look West' policy in bringing the two countries closer.They have strong economic synergies and the diversifying profile of growing bilateral trade and investment reflects the growth and maturity of the interaction between the two economies. Extensive people-to-people contacts are central to the India-Thailand relationship. In 2015, more than 1 million Indian tourists visited Thailand and over 100000 Thai tourists visited India.Two-way trade between India and Thailand stands at 8 billion US dollars. While export to Thailand from India is 2.63 billion US dollars, Thai imports reached 5.3 billion US dollars in 2015-16.  Beginning from 2004, 29 rounds of talks for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were conducted so far.During the present visit, both the countries agreed to commence negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).  

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