Current Affairs 25th June 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Twenty-year old Dutee Chand has become the latest Indian athlete to qualify for the Rio Olympics on 25 June 2016. Dutee beat the Olympic qualification mark of 11.32 seconds by clocking 11.30 seconds in the 100 meters race at the XVI International meet being held in G Kosanov Memorial, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Dutee is the 99th Indian athlete to qualify for this year's Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro. Dutee Chand : Dutee Chand is an Indian professional sprinter. She is currently being supported by the Anglian Medal Hunt Company, a foundation that supports Indian athletes. She is the current national champion in women's 100 metres event.  

Nepal has  banned its citizens from working in strife-torn Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya on 24 June 2016. The decision was made at a cabinet meet after 13 Nepali security guards were killed in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul. Nepali nationals killed in Afghanistan were employed as security guards in the Canadian embassy in Kabul. They were killed when militants exploded a bomb in a minibus on 20 June 2016. Decision of Nepali government :  It decided to suspend issuing labour permits to Nepalese nationals in four conflict-hit countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. It also decided to hold diplomatic talks with the Afghanistan government in order to guarantee the security and safety of the Nepalese in Afghanistan and also to provide necessary support for those willing to return home. It will provide 10 lakh Nepalese Rupee as compensation to families of the victims.It has also made arrangements for the treatment of those injured in the attack by Taliban. It also decided to ask the Canadian government to provide compensation to the families of the dead. As per reports, the killed Nepali security guards were not directly employed by the embassy but were hired by a British agency. In total, 147 Nepalis were working as security guards in the Canadian embassy in Kabul. Nepal government also evacuated 24 other Nepalese nationals who were working as security guard in the Canadian Embassy in Kabul following the terror attack.

The International Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June 2016. To mark the occasion, over 160 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and sports organizations across the world organised a series of events to spread Olympic values and encourage people to get involved in sports and lead more active lives. The 2016 Summer Olympics host-city Rio de Janeiro unveiled its athletes' village to mark the day. The Brazilian city will host the XXXI Olympiad between 5 August and 21 August 2016. International Olympic Day : The day is celebrated for promotion of participation of people in the sports all across the world, irrespective of athletic, gender or age ability. The International Olympic Day was initiated in 1948 for commemorating the commencement of modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894 at Sorbonne in Paris.There are three main pillars of the International Olympic Day - discover, learn and move. These three pillars of the sports event are deployed by the National Olympic Committees into sports, educational and cultural activities.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released its much awaited 'Vision-2018' document. The 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision-2018' aims at building best of class payment and settlement systems for a 'less-cash' India and ensuring access of mobile banking services to even basic phone users. The document's focus is on improving the infrastructure and regulations in the country to reduce cash transactions and increase use of technology. The RBI has  that its vision document focuses on responsive regulation, robust infrastructure, effective supervision and customer centricity. The RBI statement said that service providers will be encouraged to use technology to provide innovative easy to use mobile based payment solutions in an interoperable environment without compromising on security. RBI expects the Vision to result in a continued decrease in the share of paper-based clearing instruments.  

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 500 million dollars loan to build a bridge across the Ganga River in Bihar.  The loan funds will be used to build 9.8 km road bridge in Bihar on the Ganga River. On completion of the project it will be the India’s longest river bridge. The new river bridge will provide a vital transport link between the northern and southern parts of the state and neighbouring Nepal. It will make it easier for people to move between jobs and markets, particularly for poorer communities in the north of Bihar to the south of the river.  In all, the bridge is expected to benefit over nine million people as it is going to serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga bridge, which has begun to deteriorate. The length and height of the bridge has been designed to minimize impacts on the river itself.  The design parameters of the bridge will also ensure that it is able to withstand climate-related stresses such as a rise in the water level. Asian Development Bank (ADB)  : ADB is multilateral lending agency based in Manila, Philippines. It is dedicated to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. It is collectively owned by 67 members – 48 from the region including India.

Scientists have developed a new stem cell-containing bio-ink that allows 3D printing of complex living tissues that may be used for surgical implants.  The medical breakthrough was achieved by scientists from the University of Bristol, England. The study in this regard was published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. The new bio ink containing stem cells allows scientists to 3D print of living tissue which is also known as bio-printing. The ink contains two different polymer components: a natural polymer and a sacrificial synthetic polymer. The natural polymer was extracted from seaweed.  It provides structural support when the cell nutrients are introduced. The synthetic polymer used in the medical industry helps the bio-ink to change its state from liquid to solid when the temperature is raised. The special bio-ink formulation has helped scientists to construct complex living 3D architectures after it was extruded from a retrofitted benchtop 3D printer, as a liquid that later transformed to a gel at 37°C. Stem cell  : Stem cell is an undifferentiated cell of a multicellular organism which is capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells (through mitosis) of the same type and from which certain other kinds of cell may be formed by the cellular differentiation.  In the stem cell treatments new adult cells are introduced into the damaged tissue through the intervention strategy to treat the disease. These treatments have potential to change the face of curing human diseases and alleviate suffering.

South African Indian-origin lawyer Yasmin Sooka has been appointed to chairman of three member UN commission (committee) to monitor the human rights situation in South Sudan.  The committee was constituted by the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) resolution 31/20 which was adopted by consensus, the 47-member body. Other two members of the committee are Kenneth R. Scott (US) and Godfrey M. Musila (Kenya). The committee has been tasked to monitor human rights violations in South Sudan and make recommendations for the process of transitional justice, healing and reconciliation.  The Commissioners will serve in their personal capacities and shall provide guidance to the South Sudan Government on transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation issues. It will also engage with regional and international mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses. The committee will have tenure of one year and shall present a comprehensive written report to the UNHRC at its 34th regular session in March 2017. Yasmin Sooka  : She has vast experience in global human rights matters. Currently she is serving as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in South Africa. She was also a leading anti-apartheid activist and had served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by former President Nelson Mandela. She also had served on the UN’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone from 2002-2004. She also had advised the UN Secretary General on accountability for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka . The UNHRC had constituted Commission following calls for investigation into alleged atrocities committed by the government and rebel forces before an independent South Sudan was carved out of the larger Sudan in 2011 over the issue of ethnicity.

Sri Lankan Parliament has  unanimously passed the Right to Information (RTI) bill with amendments on 24 June 2016. The bill that seeks to restore transparency and good governance in the country was adopted without a vote in the Parliament after two days of debate. Purpose of the Bill :  To provide for the Right of Access to Information, to specify grounds on which access may be denied, to establish the Right to Information commission, to appoint Information Officers and to set out the procedure and for matters connected with it. It shall be the responsibility of the Ministry of the Mass Media to ensure the effective implementation of the Act. A five-member Right to Information Commission will be formed to monitor and ensure compliance. The members who will have powers to hold inquiries and hear appeals will be appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.Subject to the provisions of section 5 of this Act, every citizen shall have a right of access to information which is in the possession, custody or control of a public authority. A request for access to information shall be refused under following circumstances: a) Information related to personal information devoid of any public interest b) Defence matters of the state c) Confidential details on international agreements d) Information which might harm the economy of Sri Lanka e) Trade secrets f) Medical records g) Communication between a professional and a public authority which is not permitted to be disclosed h) Information which might hamper detection of any crime i) Information which would be in contempt of court j) Information that would infringe the privileges of Parliament k) Information which may be harmful to the integrity of an examination conducted by the Department of Examination, etc It says that all ministries, departments, public corporations, local authorities, non-governmental organisations that are substantially funded by the government, higher educational institutions, courts and tribunals etc. should provide access to information and shall maintain records. They must also endeavour to preserve all records in electronic format. Every public authority should appoint information officers.  During 2015 presidential campaign President Maithripala Sirisena promised the new law, since Sri Lanka had a long history of official secrecy. The bill was presented in the Parliament on 24 March 2016 by Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media. Earlier, the bill was introduced in 1996, but was delayed by successive governments citing national security issues, while Sri Lanka was at war with Tamil rebels until 2009.  

Nagaland Governor P B Acharya has launched women helpline - 181 in the premises of District Hospital Dimapur in Nagaland and also inaugurated Sakhi, a one stop Centre, intended to support women affected by violence both in private and public spaces under one roof.  Addressing the gathering, Acharya reminded society that women were marching ahead in every field. He also highlighted the multiple roles played by women as home makers, guardians of children and the hard work put in by them in every field.  sometimes women are taken for granted and not looked at as human beings due to greed for money and entertainment and we should change this mindset with all seriousness. He was optimistic that problems of distressed women would be addressed through this project and also appealed to all the stake holders for extending cooperation, so that violence against women would decline.  Minister Social Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs, Kiyaneilie Peseyie who was also present appealed to the people to extend co-operation for strengthening the security of women.

Nokia has announced the appointment of Sanjay Malik as the head of Indian market, effective August 1.  Malik is currently Head of Network Implementation (NI) at Nokia Global Services and is credited with efficiently driving growth and delivering strong performance both in terms of revenue and operational efficiency . Role : In his new role, he will lead customer operations, drive the business growth strategy and superior customer engagement services for the India market.  He will be based in Gurgaon. Previously, he was heading Bharti GCBT (Global CBT), where he led the transformation of the business by enhancing customer satisfaction, market share and business results across India and Africa . He joined Nokia in 2000, and takes over from Sandeep Girotra, who has been heading Indian market since 2011.  Nokia : Nokia Corporation stylised as NOKIA, is a Finnish multinational communications and information technology company, founded in 1865. Nokia is headquartered in Espoo, Uusimaa, in the greater Helsinki metropolitan area. In 2014, Nokia employed 61,656 people across 120 countries, did business in more than 150 countries and reported annual revenues of around €12.73 billion.[3] Nokia is a public limited-liability company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. It is the world's 274th-largest company measured by 2013 revenues according to the Fortune Global 500.] The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

Mahasthangarh, the 3rd century BC archaeological site in Bogra, Bangladesh, has been declared as the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SARRC) cultural capital for the year 2016-17.  As a SARRC cultural capital, the historic place will host festivals on literature, films, foods and dances from October 2016 to September 2017. Besides, the year 2016-17 has also be declared the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage. Mahasthangarh  : Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in Bangladesh. It dates back 3rd century BC and is located 11 km north of Bogra in Bangladesh. It was the ancient capital of Pundravardhana i.e. home of the Pundra, a group of people not speaking languages of the Indo-European family. Every year, an archeologically and culturally rich city in the one of the 8 SAARC countries is declared as the cultural capital for that year. It was an outcome of Delhi Resolution which was adopted at the conference while preparing a road map on cultural ties till 2017. This development seeks at strengthening cultural ties among the people of SAARC nations. Bamiyan, a historic city of Afghanistan, is the current SAARC cultural capital for 2015-16.

China has established country’s first dark sky reserve for astronomical observation in the Tibetan prefecture of Ngari, bordering Nepal and India. The reserve was jointly launched by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (GDF) and the regional government of Tibet.  Dark-sky reserve: It is an area that is kept free of artificial light pollution. The purpose of a dark sky preserve is generally to promote astronomy. It usually surrounding a park or observatory. The Ngari Dark reserve aims to limit light pollution by stepping up protection of dark-sky resources for education and tourism development. It covers an area of 2,500 square kilometres. The first dark sky reserve is considered only the first step undertaken by China in protecting the area from light pollution. The reserve will also try to seek accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association, a non-profit organisation based in the US.  The accreditation will help the reserve in preserving and protecting the night time environment and dark skies globally. Ngari in Tibet is among the best sites for astronomical observation on earth, due to its high altitude and large number of cloudless days throughout the year. However, in the recent times inflow of people from other areas has given rise to increasing urbanisation and thus the associated risk of more light pollution. Light pollution :  Light pollution is artificial brightening of the night sky caused by man-made lightening sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets. It is also known as photopollution or luminous pollution and basically is the misdirected or obtrusive of natural light by excessive artificial light.

Neil O'Brien, a pioneer of quizzing in India and leader of the Anglo-Indian community, died in Kolkata on 24 June 2016. He was 82. A former member of Lok Sabha, Neil O'Brien was also a three-time nominated Anglo-Indian MLA in West Bengal and an educationist. Neil O'Brien : He conducted the first well-organized, formal quiz in 1967 at Christ the King Church Parish Hall in Calcutta. He has served the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) as its chairman from December 1993 till July 2011. CISCE is an all India examination body which conducts the ICSE and ISC Examinations.  He served Oxford University Press, India as its managing director.Being the leader of the Anglo-Indian community, he was the president-in-chief of All-India Anglo-Indian Association.He also headed the Frank Anthony group of schools.

Day of the Seafarer 2016 was observed across the world on 25 June 2016. The theme for the year is At Sea For All. The theme for the year has a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, Shipping: indispensable to the world. The themes highlight the point that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of us. Day of the Seafarer is observed to give thanks to the seafarers for their contribution to the economy and civil society of the world. The day also acknowledges risks and personal costs borne by them while being in their jobs.The decision to designate 25 June as the Day of the Seafarer was taken by International Maritime Organization (IMO)in 2010. The first edition of the Day of the Seafarers was observed by IMO in 2011. The Day of the Seafarers has also been included in the list of observances by United Nations.

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