Current Affairs 27th June 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has  flagged off a new train service between Danapur and Saharsa in Bihar hrough video-conferencing here and said his ministry aims at connecting every region of the country with the rail network.  Besides flagging off the Danapur-Saharsa Janhit Express, Prabhu also announced the extension of three train services in Bihar and Jharkhand.  While the daily service of Jaynagar-Saharsa Janki Express was extended up to Katihar, Patna-Murliganj Koshi Express was extended up to Purnea Court.  The service of Jasidih-Chandan passenger train was extended up to Banka. It is the first passenger train to run on the newly constructed Chandan-Banka line.  Prabhu said new trains services in these areas will improve socio-economic condition of the people of the state.

State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL)  has commissioned two units of 14 Megawatts each at Salma Hydro Electric Project in Afghanistan. The Salma dam, or the Afghan-India Friendship dam, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in presence of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, BHEL In the execution of the Salma hydro project, BHEL faced numerous challenges in the movement of men and material through difficult terrain.BHEL successfully overcame all the challenges/obstacles, and synchronised both the units well within the targets set out by Ministry of External Affairs. In recognition of BHEL's contribution towards setting up of the project, BHEL CMD Atul Sobti was honoured with an appreciation shield by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharati. This project has been funded under government of India's grant to Afghanistan.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been bestowed with an Honorary Fellowship by an Indian students body in the United Kingdom (UK) for his contributions to world peace and culture. National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) have awarded Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with an Honorary Fellowship. With NISAU striving for the betterment of the society and working towards development and change, the organisation is proud to honour Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his immense contribution to furthering world peace & working towards a violence-free society, for his social and cultural contributions to India and for furthering Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Studies in a global context. At NISAU one of our key aims is to further amongst Indian youth resident in the UK the feelings of compassion, Vasudheva Kutumbakam (The World is a Family) andSatyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails). We recognise Sri Sri's outstanding global contributions based on these very principles and hope to further these amongst the youth under his guidance. Ravi Shankar : Ravi Shankar, commonly known as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, was born on 13 May 1956 in Tamil Nadu, India. He is also frequently referred to simply as "Sri Sri" (honorific) or as Guruji or Gurudev. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence.In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values.For his service, he has received some of the highest awards of several countries including India, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay. In January 2016, he was awarded the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India.

Coca Cola will set up a bottling plant in Sitarganj in 70 acres of land to be provided by the Uttarakhand government. Earlier it had to cancel its plan to establish a unit at Chharba village in the state on environmental grounds. The company recently has asked the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL) to clear its stand on water, Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) and other issues in the 1,700-acre Sitarganj industrial estate.  Coca Cola was in the final phase of setting up its bottling plant in Sitarganj and land will be allotted to it.Coca Cola will set up the plant with the total investment of Rs 400-500 crore and has submitted an Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 1.26 crore. According to Kumar, Coca Cola officials have completed field inspections and have hired a company as consultant on environmental issues.Few years back, Chharba village residents had opposed the Coca Cola plant on the environmental grounds. Coca-Cola  : Coca-Cola  is a carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia. Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton Coca-Cola was bought out by business man Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The name refers to two of its original ingredients: kola nuts, a source of caffeine, and coca leaves. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published. The Coca-Cola Company has, on occasion, introduced other cola drinks under the Coke brand name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, with others including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime, or coffee. In 2013, Coke products could be found in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers downing more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day.

Two Indians, Kartik Sawhney and Neha Swain, have won the 2016 Queen's Young Leaders award in the United Kingdom which will be presented by the British monarch in Buckingham Palace in June 2016. Sawhney and Swain have won the prestigious award for their exceptional work in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities. Kartik Sawhney : Kartik Sawhney was born blind.He discovered that blind students were unable to pursue science after Grade 10. Therefore, he appealed and enrolled as India's first Grade 11 blind science student. He founded Project STEMAccess, which offers hands-on science workshops in India, as well as virtual training sessions.  He is acknowledged for his exceptional work highlighting universal access to education for all. Neha Swain : Neha Swain is a youth facilitator and co-founder of NGO Rubaroo. The NGO provides an inclusive space for young people, irrespective of their socio-economic background, to develop their leadership skills through interactive workshops.Her team provides workshops to schools in India free of charge and has so far worked with nearly 2000 young people in Hyderabad. Queen's Young Leaders Award : The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth.The award is given to youths who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.Winners of the prestigious Award received a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK.The winners receive the Award from Her Majesty The Queen.  

Newly renovated and expanded Panama Canal reopened for bigger business on 26 June 2016. The first ship to cross the canal using the third set of locks was a modern New Panamax vessel, the Chinese-owned container ship Cosco Shipping Panama. The 5.25 billion US dollar project was unveiled nearly two years late after construction delays, labour strife and apparent cost overruns.The project is expected to create demand for ports to handle New Panamax ships. Panama Canal expansion project : The Panama Canal expansion project is also called as the Third Set of Locks Project.The project was formally proposed by the then-Panamanian President Martín Torrijos on 24 April 2006.A national referendum approved the proposal by a 76.8 percent majority on 22 October 2006. The project formally began in 2007.The project has built two new sets of locks, one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, and excavated new channels to the new locks. It also widened and deepened existing channels.  It also raised the maximum operating water level of Gatun Lake.The expansion doubled the Canal’s capacity, and has a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.The project doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal by: (a) Adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships (b) Increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. The new larger size of ships is called New Panamax. They are about one and a half times the previous Panamax size and can carry over twice as much cargo. Panama Canal : The Panama Canal is a man-made 48-mile waterway in Panama.It connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama.It is a key conduit for international maritime trade. France began work on the canal in 1881, but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate.The United States took over the project in 1904, and opened the canal on 15 August 1914. The Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.Colombia, France and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. In 1999, the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government. It is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.The American Society of Civil Engineers has called the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.  

Shooter Jitu Rai won silver in the 10 m Air Pistol event at the ISSF World Cup held in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is the second medal in a World Cup this season for Rai, who had won the free pistol gold in the first World Cup in Bangkok. Brazilian shooter Felipe Almeida Wu won the gold medal, while Korea’sJin Jongoh bagged the bronze medal. Jitu Rai : Jitu Rai is an Indian shooter of Nepalese origin.He competes in the 10 metre air pistol and 50 metre pistol events.In 2014, he won the silver medal in the 10 metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in Munich. He won two medals, a silver in the 50 metre pistol event and a gold in the 10 metre air pistol event, in Maribor.He became the first person to have won two medals at a single world cup for India. He was ranked number 1 in the world, in 10 metre air pistol and number 4, in 50 metre pistol, in July 2014.In the 2014 Asian Games held at Incheon in South Korea, he won the gold medal in the 50 m pistol category. He also won a bronze in the men's 10 m air pistol team event. ISSF World Cup : The ISSF World Cup was introduced by the International Shooting Sport Federation in 1986. It was introduced to provide a homogeneous system for qualification to the Olympic shooting competitions. It is still carried out in the Olympic shooting events, with four competitions per year in each event.

Lionel Messi sensationally announced his retirement from international football after Argentina crashed to an upset defeat against Chile in the final of the Copa America. The heartbroken Barcelona superstar was distraught after missing a spot-kick as Chile snatched victory in a penalty shoot-out  Messi's fourth straight defeat in a major final while representing Argentina. They were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final of the World Cup in 2014 and lost on penalties, also to Chile, in the final of the 2015 Copa America. Messi also tasted defeat with Argentina in the final of the 2007 Copa America. Messi's failure to match the achievements in the Argentina jersey of Diego Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, has often been held against him. Then equalled Argentina's international goal scoring record of 54, held by Gabriel Batistuta, in the quarter-finals before setting a new mark with his 55th international goal in the semi-final win over the United States. Lionel Messi : Lionel Messi, in full Lionel Andrés Messi, also called Leo Messi Argentine-born football (soccer) player who was named Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) world player of the year five times (2009–12 and 2015). Messi started playing football as a boy and in 1995 joined the youth team of Newell’s Old Boys. Messi’s phenomenal skills garnered the attention of prestigious clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. At age 13 Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona, and he began playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team.   

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was observed on 26 June 2016. The day is held annually to speak out against the crime of torture. It also seeks to honor and support victims and survivors throughout the world. Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings. Torture : Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity. UN Resolution : On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. It was proclaimed with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (resolution 39/46), annex, which entered into force on 26 June 1987. This year, 2016, also marks the 35th anniversary of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, administered by the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, a unique victim-focused mechanism that channels funding for the assistance to victims of torture and their families.

Anju Bobby George and Pullela Gopichand were named as the members of Khelo India on 26 June 2016. Khelo India is a national programme launched by the Union Government for the development of sports in the country. George, India's lone athletics World Championship medal winner and Gopichand, the chief national badminton coach are the two sportsperson who were included in the seven-member committee of Khelo India. The committee will be headed by Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav. Pullela Gopichand : Born 16 November 1973, Gopichand is a former Indian badminton player. In 2001, he became the second Indian to win the all-England badminton champion. The first one was Prakash Padukone.He has been the coach of the Indian national badminton team since 2006.He runs the Gopichand Badminton Academy.Awards felicitated on him include a) He received the Arjuna Award in 1999 b) He received the Dronacharya Award in 2009 c) In 2014, he was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award Anju Bobby George : Born on 19 April 1977, George is an Indian athlete.On 22 June 2016, George resigned as the president of the Kerala Sports Council along with 13 other members.  She won the Gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in 2005. In 2005 World Athletics Final in Monte Carlo, she was upgraded to gold status from silver following the disqualification of Tatyana Kotova of Russia by the International Association of Athletics Federations. She was awarded Arjuna Award in 2002.She won the bronze medal clearing 6.49 m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games at Manchester.She also won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Busan. In 2001, she also won gold for triple jump and long jump in the Ludhiana National games. In 1999 she set the national record for triple jump in the Bangalore Federation Cup and Silver medal at the South Asian Federation Games in Nepal.

India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 27 June 2016. This entry would be mutually beneficial to enhance global non-proliferation norms. The instrument of accession to MTCR for India was signed in New Delhi by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. The entry also marks India's first entry into any multilateral export control regime. The MTCR Point of Contact in Paris conveyed the decision regarding India's accession to the regime through the French Embassy in New Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Facts of India joining MTCR : India's entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.It entered this multilateral export control regime with the support of all thirty-four MTCR Partners. In 2015, India’s membership to the group was blocked by Italy.MTCR membership will now enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. MTCR : Set up in 1987 by G-7 countries, the aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction. India's entry into MTCR comes days after it failed to get Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) membership due to stiff opposition from China and six other countries, namely Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. Turkey remained neutral. NSG is the 48-country cartel that controls nuclear exports. Significantly, China, which stonewalled India's entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of MTCR. India’s inclusion to the Missile Technology Control Regime means strengthening its own export controls, which will help it to justify transferring sensitive technology to India in front of other MTCR members. Further, this may pave the way for India becoming the member of NSG, Wassenaar Agreement (conventional arms & dual-use goods and technologies) and Australia Group (chemical weapons).

The government of Andhra Pradesh has joined the Uday scheme, meant for revival of debt-laden discoms, and an overall net benefit of about Rs 4,400 crore will accrue to the state.  Andhra Pradesh has signed an MoU as the thirteenth state to be covered under Uday," Power Ministry said in a statement, adding that "an overall net benefit of approximately Rs 4,400 crore would accrue to the state by opting to participate in Uday. the Centre, the state and the discoms of Andhra Pradesh ,APSPDCL and APEPDCL has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the 'Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana' (Uday) in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.  Andhra Pradesh has committed to take over discoms' debt of Rs 11,000 crore during the current year, which would reduce the interest burden of the state by Rs 330 crore per annum.  Through compulsory Distribution Transformer metering, consumer indexing and GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change of transformers and meters, smart metering of high-end consumers and feeder audit, AT&C losses and transmission losses would be brought down, besides eliminating the gap between cost of supply of power and realisation.  The reduction in AT&C losses of APEPDCL to 5.44 per cent and that of APSPDCL to 10.89 per cent and transmission losses of the state to 3.50 per cent is likely to bring additional revenue of around Rs 214 crore during the period of turnaround.  Goyal had said Uday bonds worth over Rs 1.5 lakh crore have been issued so far. UDAY Scheme : Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMs).DISCOMs in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs. 3.8 lakh crore and outstanding debt of approximately Rs. 4.3 lakh crore (as on March, 2015).  The scheme comprises four initiatives - improving operational efficiencies of discoms, reduction of cost of power, reduction in interest cost of discoms and enforcing financial discipline on discoms through alignment with state finances. It allows state governments, which own the discoms, to take over 75 percent of their debt as of September 30, 2015, and pay back lenders by selling bonds. Discoms are expected to issue bonds for the remaining 25 percent of their debt.

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved first set of loans totalling US 509 million dollars to finance projects in four countries viz. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Tajikistan.  These loans for the four projects were approved in Board of Directors meeting of AIIB held at its headquarters in Beijing, China. Bangladesh : US 165 million dollars loan for a Power Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion Project.  Indonesia : US 216.5 million dollars loan for a National Slum Upgrading Project. It is expected to be co-financed with the World Bank.  Pakistan : US 100 million dollars loan for Shorkot-Khanewal Section of National Motorway M-4. It will be co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).  Tajikistan : US 27.5 million dollars loan for the Dushanbe-Uzbekistan Border Road Improvement Project. It will be co-financed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). These loans will have an interest rate of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 1.15 % and a repayment period of 25 years with 5 years in grace period. These projects spanning in the energy, transport and urban development sectors will help to bridge the region’s critical infrastructure financing gap. It will also help to strengthen regional connectivity.

The Union Rural Development Ministry and ISRO, Department of Space have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGA in each gram panchayat. Annually around 30 lakh assets are created under the rural job schemes across the country.  The MoU was signed after the Ministry had decided that the geo-tagging of such assets will be done on a mission mode to monitor rural development. The asset created under MGNREGA and other schemes will be completely geo-tagged with photograph through Bhuvan Mobile Platform by Gram Rozgar Sahayak or Junior engineer. The geo-tagging of assets will help to check and curb leakages and for effective mapping of terrain for future developmental works. It will also help in using of modern space technology for rural development in planning and execution of projects in a transparent manner. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had underlined the importance of online recording and monitoring of assets created under various schemes to check leakages and for effective mapping of terrain for future developmental works.  It also had become necessary for online recording and monitoring of assets to ensure quality as huge amount of funds under the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission are now flowing through to Gram Panchayats which will in turn lead to poverty reduction in rural areas.

This was second Copa America title for Chile in two years. In the 2015 Final, Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 scoreless draw at the end of regulation. This was second America title for Chile, it won the first title in 2015 after defeating Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 scoreless draw at the end of regulation. With this, Chile also became the first team to win the Copa America in back to back years since Argentina in 1946 and 1947. Being deadlocked 0-0 after 90 minutes and another half an hour extra time in the match, the two teams were supposed to opt for penalty shootout. Awards : Besides the Copa trophy, there were other awards to recognise both individuals and teams, and the winners in different categories are Golden Ball : Alexis Sanchez (Chile) Golden Boot : Eduardo Vargas (Chile) Golden Glove award : Claudio Bravo (Chile) Fair Play Award : Argentina Copa America Football tournament : Copa America, formerly known as the South American Football Championship is an international men's football tournament contested between national teams from CONMEBOL and CONCACAF. It is the oldest international continental football competition. The competition determines the continental champion of South America. Since the 1990s, teams from North America and Asia have also participated.

The 17th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards 2016 were presented on 25 June 2016 in Madrid, Spain. The awards were presented by the International Indian Film Academy honouring the best Hindi films of 2015. Best Film : Bajrangi Bhaijaan Best Director : Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Bajirao Mastani Best Actor in a Leading Role : Ranveer Singh for Bajirao Mastani Best Actress in a Leading Role : Deepika Padukone for Piku Best Actor in a Supporting Role : Anil Kapoor for Dil Dhadakne Do Best Actress in a Supporting Role : Priyanka Chopra for Bajirao Mastani Best Male Debut : Vicky Kaushal for Masaan Best Female Debut : Bhumi Pednekar for Dum Laga Ke Haisha Best Performance in a Comic Role : Deepak Dobriyal for Tanu Weds Manu Returns Best Performance in a Negative Role : Darshan Kumar for NH10 Best Story : Juhi Chaturvedi for Piku Best Debut Couple : Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty for Hero IIFA Award for Woman of the Year : Priyanka Chopra Best Music Direction : Amaal Mallik, Meet Bros Anjjan, Ankit Tiwari for Roy Best Lyrics : Varun Grover for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage from Dum Laga Ke Haisha Best Male Playback Singer : Papon for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage Best Female Playback Singer : Monali Thakur for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage Best Sound Design : Bishwadeep Chaterjee and Nihar Ranjal Samal for Bajirao Mastani Best Background Score : Sanchit Balhara for Bajirao Mastani Best Cinematography : Sudeep Chatterjee for Bajirao Mastani Best Dialogue : Juhi Chaturvedi for Piku IIFA Awards :  The awards are presented by the International Indian Film Academy every year. These are presented to both artistic and technical excellence of professionals in Bollywood. The awards have categories like popular awards, technical awards and special awards.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed on 26 June 2016. The day was observed with theme Listen First. 2016 theme Listen First is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities. On this day, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also released the World Drug Report 2016. United Nations resolution : On 7 December 1987, United Nations general Assembly (UNGA) via resolution 42/112 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It was decided to observe the day as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs : Earlier in April 2016, the United Nations held a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. This session marked an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 "Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. The plan defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019. Recommendations of the outcome documents were : Measures to address demand and supply reduction and to improve access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion.  It also cover the areas of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development.The text puts new emphasis on proportionate national sentencing policies and practices for drug-related offences, and features a strong focus on prevention and treatment. How the day was observed in India :  On this day, the Punjab Frontier of Border Security Force organised a Cycle Rally comprising 65 BSF personnel led by Deputy Inspector General (Operations) BSF Punjab Frontier Mohan Lal from its Jalandhar Headquarters. This Cycle Rally was aimed at spreading the message of utmost dedication to national Security, awareness against drugs and to spread the message of physical fitness amongst the citizens and particularly amongst the youth.

Veteran Malayalam theatre artist and poet Kavalam Narayana Panicker passed away on 26 June 2016 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was 88. Kavalam Narayana Panicker :  Born on 28 April 1928, Panicker attended CMS College in Kottayam.He obtained a degree in Economics from S D College, Alappuzha and later a Bachelor of Law degree from Madras Law College. He started his career as a lawyer in 1955. In 1961, he was nominated as Secretary of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi.He has written over 26 Malayalam plays, many adapted from classical Sanskrit drama and Shakespeare. In 1993, Erin B. Mee directed his play Ottayan in New York City.His notable works are Madhyamavyayogam, Kalidasa's Vikramorvasiyam, Shakuntalam, Karnabharam, Bhasa's Uru Bhangam, Swapnavasavadattam and Dootavakyam.He also directed two movies, Mani Madhava Chakyar : The Master at Work, and Parvati Viraham in Kuttiyattam form. Kuttiyattam is a form of Sanskrit theatre. In 1983, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction. In 2002, he was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship. He was awarded with the Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Former BCCI President and former International Cricket Council Chairman N Srinivasan was elected president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) for the 15th consecutive term. N Srinivasan and KS Viswanathan has been elected president and secretary of the TNCA for the 15th and 10th time, respectively,” the association announced.  The state association recently announced the Tamil Nadu Premier League as a way to raise funds. Matches will be conducted from the fourth week of August till the second week of September. Star India will be the official broadcaster with telecasts in Tamil and English. There are 28 affiliated district cricket associations in Tamil Nadu and 780 participating clubs in the districts where tournaments are conducted for different age groups. The association supplies free balls and bats to the districts every year. The TNCA promotes cricket by conducting various league tournaments for the under-13, under-15, under-17, under-19, under-22 and under-25 age groups, besides organising and national tournaments. The association conducts a league championship for city-affiliated clubs and 726 league matches are played a year. A zone consisting of 12 teams each figures in the first and second divisions, whereas the third, fourth and fifth divisions consists of two, three and four zones, respectively. The petitioner argued it would be appropriate only if the elections were held in a free and fair manner, with due and equitable representation, according to the recommendations of the Lodha committee, under the supervision and charge of a retired election commissioner or a court-appointed administrator, only after making due amendments in the memorandum of association and the rules of the TNCA.

BrahMos Aerospace for the first time successfully demonstrated integration of the world’s most formidable supersonic cruise missile system BrahMos on the Sukhoi SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft.  In this regard, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Nasik division conducted a test flight of a 2,500 kg supersonic BrahMos missile integrated with SU-30 MKI aircraft at its Nasik airport. With the successful integration of BrahMos missile system with Su-30 MKI aircraft Indian Air Force (IAF) became the first air force in the world in procession of a supersonic cruise missile system with a long range fighter aircraft.  IAF also moved few steps closer towards actual test firing when a 2.5 tonnes supersonic BrahMos air-to-ground missile from the Su-30 MKI. The powerful supersonic BrahMos missile will enable the IAF to penetrate deep inside the enemy territory to deliver a deadly blow to their vital installations from stand-off ranges. The Sukhoi-BrahMos combination will also help IAF to carry out air combat operations within and beyond visibility range. BrahMos missile  : BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia. Missile’s name has been derived from the names of two rivers, India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.  Features : It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2.8 and is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kilogram. It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant. It can strike a target at maximum range of 290 km.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Smart City Mission’ involving 83 projects from 20 different cities in the country. The ambitious mission of Union Government was launched at function held at Pune’s Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex one year after it was announced.  Speaking at the launching function PM Narendra Modi asked people not to think urbanization as a problem but an opportunity. He also stated that cities can fight poverty and it is necessary to strengthen their capacity to fight the poverty. The Smart City Mission’ projects launched included 14 projects of Pune (Maharashtra) and 69 projects from 20 different shortlisted cities in the country to be implemented at a cost of 1,770 crore rupees.  These projects are related to water supply projects, sewage treatment plants, solid waste management under Swachh Bharat Mission and development of green and open spaces under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).  It also includes housing projects for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and area development and technology based pan-city solutions under Smart Cities Mission. PM Modi also inaugurated ‘Make Your City SMART’ contest, aimed at involving citizens’ participation in designing smart cities. ‘Smart Net Portal’ was also inaugurated by PM Modi.  The portal enables the cities under different urban missions to share solutions and ideas for various issues during the implementation of various missions.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has given its approval to for the purchase of 145 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) guns from the US.  The procurement of ULH will be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from the US and it will cost around 750 million dollars. As part of this deal, 25 ULH guns will come to India directly from US in a fly away condition. Rest will be assembled in India at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility (AITF) for the weapon system in partnership with Mahindra and Mahindra Company. Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) Guns :  It is being manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. It is smaller and lighter. It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopters. It has effective firing range of 24 km. It will be deployed in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China under the Mountain Strike Corps (raised in 2013). Besides, DAC also approved :  Acquisition of five diving support craft for 150 crore rupees 386-crore rupees project for modernisation and augmentation of facilities at naval dockyard and naval ship repair yards. Buying of indigenously made simulators for Jaguar aircraft for 500 crore rupees and setting up of an electronic warfare range for 1,300 crore rupees through indigenous capability. DAC also asked Ordnance Factory Board (Jabalpur) to provide three 155 mm 45 caliber indigenously produced guns Dhanush to Indian Army by end of June 2016. Dhanush is also known as Desi Bofors.  Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) : It is an apex body of Union Defence Ministry for clearing defence procurement proposals forwarded by the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

Zubaida Bai, an Indian social entrepreneur, has been named among the ten ‘2016 Global Compact SDG Pioneers’, an initiative launched by UN. The list of ten SDG Pioneers was announced by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the 2016 UN Global Compact (UNGC) Leaders Summit in New York, United States.  Zubaida is the founder of ‘ayzh’, a for-profit social venture providing health and livelihood solutions and technology solutions to impoverished women worldwide. Global Compact SDG Pioneers seeks to provide local business leaders a global stage to inspire transformational action on the SDGs. UN Global Compact (UNGC)  : The UNGC is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that supports companies to do business responsibly by aligning their operations and strategies with the ten principles of  labour, environment, human rights and anti-corruption. It also helps them to take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

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