Current Affairs 11th May 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Indian Navy on 11 May 2016 decommissioned its fleet of iconic Sea Harriers. This episode of decommissioning marked the end of an era in India’s naval history, as the country holds an official ceremony phasing out the last of its iconic Sea Harrier jets. They were replaced with new generation MIG-29 K fighters in a ceremony on INS Hansa near Vasco. Wing Commander Shikhu Raj, a Sea Harrier Pilot himself and the commander of the squadron handed over the command of the squadron to Captain KHV Singh in an historic ceremony and bid adieu to the Sea Harriers. The function was presided over by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan. Fighter planes Sea Harriers  : The de-inducted fighter aircrafts, the Naval Air Squadron 300 - INAS 300, were popularly known as 'white tigers'. Called the glorious heritage of Indian Navy, Sea Harriers were inducted in 1983 and played a pivotal role in various operations. Designed and manufactured by British Aerospace, Sea Harrier is a naval Short-Vertical Take-Off and Landing Jet Fighter, used for both reconnaissance and strike.They operated from both INS Vikrant and INS Viraat aircraft carriers and participated in operations including Vijay and Parakram apart from many naval exercises.The use of the ski jump take offs from a short flight deck with a heavier load was a specialty of these 33 year serving fighter jets.The aircraft, developed by the British in the 1960s, was used by the British during the Falklands War, both Gulf Wars, and during the NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina.The retired aircraft will be put on display in museums. MIG 29 K :  The newly inducted MIG 29 Ks will be operational from INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier. Presently 45 MIG 29k are being introduced At present, Navy has more than 200 aircrafts and helicopters combat ready.

Global tech giant Apple has named Sanjay Kaul as country manager for India in place of long-time executive Manish Dhir, who quit the company in January this year. The elevation of Kaul, currently country sales director, to the position of country manager comes at a time when India has become a market of great importance to Apple. In the January-March 2016 period, the company reported a 56 per cent growth in iPhone sales, while global sales of the flagship device dropped 16 per cent. Kaul's appointment also comes at a time when Apple is planning to open brand-owned stores in India. The company's plans to serve the low- to mid-range smartphone market in India with refurbished devices have, however, hit a roadblock after the government did not give its approval. While India is the only bright spot in terms of growth for Apple, experts say the country doesn't push enough volumes to offset declining sales globally. In the long-term, India is the last large global market for Apple, as it is for other brands in the space.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has introduced amendments to the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to further amend the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act, 2002, the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and the Depositories Act, 1996. It is expected to help expedite recovery of debt by lenders. Jaitley had in the Union Budget 2016-17 proposed to amend the Sarfaesi Act to enable the sponsor of an ARC to hold up to 100 per cent stake in the ARC and permit non-institutional investors to invest in Securitisation Receipts. The Bill has been referred to the Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament. The Committee will consist of 30 members - 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.

Bangladesh government have hanged the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes committed during the country's 1971 Liberation War. He was 73 year old and hanged at Dhaka Central Jail.  He was the senior most Islamist to be executed in Bangladesh for war crimes during the liberation war against Pakistan. His final appeal against his death sentence was rejected by the apex court on May 5. He was in jail since 2010. With his execution, Nizami becomes the fifth top perpetrator to be hanged for the war crimes against humanity since the trial process began six years ago. Motiur Rahman Nizami  : Motiur Rahman Nizami was a Bangladeshi politician, preacher and the former leader of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He was the Member of Parliament of Pabna constituency from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2006. He also served as the Bangladeshi Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Industry. On 29 October 2014 he was convicted and sentenced to death for war crimes in 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. It has been considered that he was the supreme commander of the militia group Al-Badr during the Bangladesh Liberation War.In 2004, Nizami was convicted under separate charges for arms trafficking to the state of Assam, India and was sentenced to death, along with 13 other men in January 2014.He was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail on 11 May 2016. He is the third minister of Bangladesh to be hanged. He was frequently listed on The 500 Most Influential Muslims.  

The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademark on 9 May 2016 granted the patent to Gilead Sciences for its Hepatitis C drug Sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) in India. The drug, which has a list price of 1000 US dollar a pill in the United States, was rejected for a patent by the Indian patent authority in January 2015. It was rejected on the basis that it represented only minor changes to a previous formulation, and the company already had licensing deals with manufacturers in India. Indian Patent Office : The Indian Patent Office is administered by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM). It is a subordinate office of the Government of India and administers the Indian law of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.The CGPDTM reports to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.CGPDTM has five main administrative sections, which are Patents,Designs, Trademarks, Geographical indications, and Patent Information System.The patent office is headquartered at Kolkata. The office of the CGPDTM is in Mumbai. Sofosbuvir : Sofosbuvir is a nucleotide analogue used in combination with other drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. It has been marketed since 2013.Compared to previous treatments, sofosbuvir-based regimens provide a higher cure rate, fewer side effects and a two- to four-fold reduced duration of therapy. Sofosbuvir inhibits the RNA polymerase that the hepatitis C virus uses to replicate its RNA. It was discovered at Pharmasset and developed by Gilead Sciences.The price of sofosbuvir is quoted in various media sources as 84000 US dollar to 168000 US dollar for a course of treatment in the U.S.It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. Gilead Sciences : Gilead Sciences is an American biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics. In 2006, Gilead acquired two companies, which were developing drugs to treat patients with pulmonary diseases. The company's name and logo refer to the Balm of Gilead, inspired by a 1965 play by Lanford Wilson featuring the underworld adventures of the patrons of the namesake cafe. Hepatitis C : Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that primarily affects the liver.The virus persists in the liver in about 75% to 85% of those initially infected.HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needlestick injuries in healthcare, and transfusions. It may also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth.There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. Chronic infection can be cured about 90% of the time with treatments that include the medications sofosbuvir or simeprevir. An estimated 130–200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. It occurs most commonly in Africa and Central and East Asia.The existence of hepatitis C, originally identifiable only as a type of non-A non-B hepatitis, was suggested in the 1970s and proven in 1989.Hepatitis C infects only humans and chimpanzees.  

Social Fridge Scheme: A scheme started during Europe’s economic crisis to feed the needy ones The term ‘Social Fridge’ was in news in the second week of May 2016 with Argentina adopting it to feed the needy ones who are facing the hardship due to increase in job cuts and inflation in the country. The genesis of ‘social fridge’ or ‘solidarity fridge’ lies in the recent economic crisis of Europe during which countries like Spain and Germany saw the mushrooming of such fridges.It is called so because people leave food in outdoor "social fridges" for those who need it. The fridges typically stand on the sidewalk outside restaurants.As of now some 57 “social fridges” are operating in Argentina. Trend spread to Argentina : Argentina is one of the richest nations of Latin America and with its countless fields and livestock it is one of the world’s biggest food producers.Since the time Conservative President Mauricio Macri took office on 10 December 2015 inflation is hovering around 40 percent and domestic prices have soared. As a result, Argentines are finding hard to match their salaries with their purchase of food.Further, the increasing inflation has led to an estimated 1.4 million Argentine falling into poverty net in last five months. Some 34.5 percent of the nation's 40 million people are living below the poverty line.With the lifting of foreign trade and currency restrictions, raising of utility prices and cutting of public sector jobs to correct the economic woes the Marci government, some 140000 people have lost their jobs.Although Argentina set up a national food bank during an economic crisis in 2001, many charities say they cannot run food projects because of a lack of regulations to authorize them.  

In a study conducted on the Malaria vaccine Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoite (SPZ) [PfSPZ vaccine] to test whether it offers a durable protection against the disease, it was found that the vaccine offered protection for more than 1 year.The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine on 9 May 2016. The findings of the study suggested that the PfSPZ Vaccine conferred durable protection to malaria through long-lived tissue-resident T cells and that administration of higher doses may further enhance protection The study was conducted by researchers at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health and collaborators at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine in Baltimore.The researchers assessed how vaccine dosage, regimen, and route of administration affected durable protection in malaria-naive adults. Study : After four intravenous immunizations with 2.7 × 105 PfSPZ, 55% non-parasitemic vaccinated subjects remained without parasitemia following controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) 21 weeks after immunization.45% non-parasitemic subjects from this dosage group underwent repeat CHMI at 59 weeks, and none developed parasitemia.Although Pf-specific serum antibody levels correlated with protection up to 21–25 weeks after immunization, antibody levels waned substantially by 59 weeks. Pf-specific T cell responses also declined in blood by 59 weeks.To determine whether T cell responses in blood reflected responses in liver, researchers vaccinated nonhuman primates with PfSPZ Vaccine and found that Pf-specific interferon-g-producing CD8 T cells were present at ~100-fold higher frequencies in liver than in blood.The result is significant because previous research showed the PfSPZ Vaccine to be highly protective three weeks after immunisation. PfSPZ vaccine : The vaccine was developed and produced by US-based pharmaceutical company Sanaria in 2013. It contains thousands of live, but weakened P. falciparum sporozoites, which is the early developmental form of the parasite.  

The board of directors of ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company Ltd have appointed Chief Investment Officer Sankaran Naren as Executive Director . In his current role as the CIO of ICICI Prudential, Naren oversees the investment functions across the mutual fund and international advisory business. Naren joined ICICI Prudential in October 2004 and manages the ICICI Prudential Dynamic Plan as well as ICICI Prudential Top 100 Fund.  Naren received Rs 4.75 crore as remuneration for the financial year 2015-16. ICICI Prudential is one of the largest AMCs in the country with assets under management of Rs 1.79 lakh crore as on March 31.  ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company Ltd : ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company Ltd. is a leading management company (AMC) in the country focused on bridging the gap between savings & investments and creating long term wealth for investors through a range of simple and relevant investment solutions. The AMC is a joint venture between ICICI Bank, a well-known and trusted name in financial services in India and Prudential Plc, one of UK’s largest players in the financial services sectors. Throughout these years of the joint venture, the company has forged a position of pre-eminence in the Indian Mutual Fund industry. The AMC manages significant Assets under Management (AUM) in the mutual fund segment. The AMC also caters to Portfolio Management Services for investors, spread across the country, along with International Advisory Mandates for clients across international markets in asset classes like Debt, Equity and Real Estate. 

The Ayush ministry will sign a pact with the World Health Organization (WHO) to spread the significance of Ayurveda and Ayush all over the world.  The information related to Ayurveda and Ayush should spread out to the whole country, as well as the world. Hence, the Ayush Ministry will sign an agreement with the WHO.It is the mission of the Ayush ministry to make Ayurveda reach each and every district across the country. Naik presented 'Sandu Ayurveda Gaurav' and 'Sandu Ayurveda Bhushan' awards to veteran doctors for rendering continuous and devoted service in the field of Ayurveda.  India free from diseases and it is the first step towards this. World Yoga Day was celebrated on 21 June. The preparations for the second World Yoga Day are going on for the last two months. A team of American doctors were in the country for a discussion on cancer. I am pleased to state that India and the US will sign an agreement in the next two months to carry out a research on cancer.

India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth $5 billion in South Asia. The projects include road corridors connecting India with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan through West Bengal and India-Myanmar through Manipur. As per Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, India is also assisting the countries with power projects. In the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) 2025 workshop, he also stated that India is also planning to establish Integrated Customs Ports (ICPs) and improved Land Customs Stations (LCS) at key border points with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to ease the movement of goods and people within the sub-region.  The South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

India and Mauritius on 10 May 2016 signed a protocol on taxation at Port Louis, Mauritius. The protocol provides for amending the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains The Protocol also provides for updation of Exchange of Information Article as per international standard, provision for assistance in collection of taxes, source-based taxation of other income, amongst other changes. Features of the Treaty/Protocol : With this Protocol, India gets taxation rights on capital gains. They arise from alienation of shares acquired on or after 1 April 2017 in a company resident in India with effect from financial year 2017-18. Taxation in India at full domestic tax rate will take place from financial year 2019-20 onwards.The benefit of 50 percent reduction in tax rate during the transition period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019 shall be subject to LOB Article. Interest arising in India to Mauritian resident banks will be subject to withholding tax in India at the rate of 7.5 percent in respect of debt claims or loans made after 31 March 2017.Under the amended treaty, only those Mauritius-based companies that have a total expenditure of more than 27 lakh rupees in the preceding 12 months will be able to benefit from the tax treaty.   Significance of the Protocol : The Protocol will tackle the long pending issues of treaty abuse and round tripping of funds attributed to the India-Mauritius treaty. It will curb the revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation, streamline the flow of investment and stimulate the flow of exchange of information between the two countries. It will improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.Simultaneously, existing investments, that is investments made before 1 April 2017 have been grand-fathered and will not be subject to capital gains taxation in India.

The US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn - co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus. If this act is passed, it will elevate the status of the Indo - US defence relationship on par with that of America's closest allies like NATO and Israel. The legislation has been sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for necessary action. The legislation, a similar version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in March, institutionalises the US government's focus on the US-India security relationship while sending a powerful signal to India that the US is a reliable and dependable defence partner.  Highlights : The bill puts India on par with America's closest defence partners, including NATO member states and Israel, for the purpose of congressional defence sales notifications.  For the US, it encourages the executive branch to designate an official to focus on US-India defence cooperation, facilitate the transfer of defence technology and maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). It urges the US government to enhance India's military capabilities in the context of combined military planning, and promote co-production and co-development opportunities.  For India, it encourages the government to authorise combined military planning with the US for missions of mutual interest such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter piracy, and maritime domain awareness.  The commercial and security imperatives for a robust defence partnership between the US and India could not be clearer. Defence trade has risen from some USD 300 million to over USD 14 billion over the last 10 years and there is every reason to expect it to rise further. USIBC strongly supports this bill and encourages widespread support in the Senate .

In the Uttarakhand floor test conducted in the legislative assembly, the Harish Rawat-led government got the majority on 11 May 2016 . In the voting held on the order of honourable Supreme Court, Harish Rawat got 33 votes against 28 votes out of 61 qualified members who voted in the assembly.Following the result, the SC said that Harish Rawat can take charge as the Chief Minister of the State after the Union informed the SC that it will revoke the President rule in the State. Uttarakhand plunged into a political crisis after nine Congress legislators of the state including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna revolted against the Chief Minister Harish Rawat and turned to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for support.Following which the President Rule under Article 356 was imposed in Uttarakhand on 27 March 2016 by the President Pranab Mukherjee on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.However, this was challenged by Harish Rawat in the Uttarakhand High Court which in its April 21 order quashed the President Rule in the State.This was followed by ordering of conduct of ‘composite floor test’ in the Uttarakhand legislative assembly by the Supreme Court on 5 May 2016 on the lines of 2005 Jharkhand floor test.The apex court on 9 March 2005 had passed the order for Jharkhand Assembly on the line of earlier order for a composite floor test in Uttar Pradesh in 1998.

National Technology Day is being observed across India on May 11 to glorify the importance of science in day-to-day life and motivate students to adopt science as a career option. Several events are organized in various engineering colleges and technical institutes to mark the occasion. Theme : The theme for this year's Technology Day is ‘Technology enablers of Startup India’. Significance of the day :  The day is being commemorated to celebrate the anniversary of first of the five tests of Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II) nuclear test, held on 11 May 1998 in Pokhran, Rajasthan. Apart from Pokhran nuclear test, on this day first indigenous aircraft Hansa-3 was test flown at Bangalore. India also conducted successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day. Considering all these technical achievements, 11 May was chosen to be commemorated as National Technology Day. To commemorate this day, Technology Development Board (TDB) has instituted a National Award. This award is conferred on to various individuals and industries by the President for their successful achievement in commercialization of Indigenous Technology.  

NASA’s unmanned Kepler space observatory has discovered the largest trove of exoplanets outside our solar system. So far, it has discovered total of 1,284 exoplanets and it is more than double the number of known exoplanets found with the Kepler space telescope. Of the new trove of 1,284 exoplanets nearly 550 are said to be rocky planets like Earth, based on their size. The new discovery has given hope that eventually another Earth can be discovered. So far NASA has discovered nearly 5,000 total planet candidates, of them more than 3,200 have been verified and 2,325 of these were discovered by Kepler. Kepler space observatory : The unmanned Kepler space observatory was launched in 2009 and was tasked with determining how commonly, Earth-like planets occur throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Since then it has scanned nearly 150,000 stars for signs of orbiting bodies, particularly those that might be able to support life. The Kepler observatory works by observing a dimming in the light of a star, known as a transit, each time an orbiting planet passes in front of it The observatory has been designed for a statistical mission and not to probe into the environmental conditions of planets that exist in the so-called Goldilocks zone of their stars. Exoplanet : It is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet.  Goldilocks zone : It refers to a habitable zone in the planetary system where the temperature is neither too high nor too low. Such conditions could allow for the presence on the planet’s surface of liquid water – a key ingredient for life.  

Indian Navy has launched the state-of-the-art Harbour Defence Systems, viz. Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS) in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Besides, Mine Warfare Data Centre (MWDC) was also launched. IUHDSS and MWDC systems seek to enhance the Indian Navy’s surveillance capability and response to security threats at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam. IUHDSS : It is a multi-sensor system capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and generating warnings for all types of surface and underwater threats to Visakhapatnam harbour. MWDC : It will collate, classify and analyse data collected by the Indian Navy’s Mine Hunting Ships from various ports along the East coast. This state-of-the-art facility will be the nodal centre for maintaining an underwater information database of harbours along the East coast. Post 26/11, the Indian Navy was made responsible for the security of the country’s vast coastline of 7516 km in coordination with other agencies like Indian Coast Guard (IGC), Marine Police, Fisheries, etc. The creation of the Sagar Prahari Bal along with induction of Fast Interceptor Crafts (FICs) and commissioning of the IUHDSS are some of the Navy’s measures to strengthen security in the post 26/11 scenario. India’s first Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS) was commissioned in Kochi, Kerala in August 2015.  

Parliament has passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 after with the Lok Sabha adopted certain amendments made by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 that provides for development and regulation of certain industries. The Bill seeks to transfer from the Centre to states the control over industries engaged in the production of potable alcohol. It seeks to amend a schedule in the parent Act to exclude production of alcohol for potable purposes. It empowers central government to formulate policy and regulate foreign collaboration for all products of fermentation industries, including industrial and potable alcohol.  

The Union Government has constituted a three member committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators. The committee will be headed by Sanjay Mitra, Secretary of Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. Its other two members are Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members. The committee was constituted after taxi and other transport operators had appraised the situation emerging from Supreme Court’s order and directions of Environment Pollution Control Authority of banning diesel taxis in the National Capital Region (NCR). It will look into these issues and come up with appropriate recommendations to address the same in a time bound manner. Supreme Court Ruling : So far the apex court has given four rulings aimed at bringing down pollution levels in the NCR Delhi that has earned it the tag of the world’s most polluted city. Top court’s first order against diesel-run commercial vehicles came in December 2015. Later it issued an interim order banning registration of diesel-run vehicles with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above till March 31, 2016 and then was again extended till April 30, 2016. The apex court also had initially asked the diesel cab operators in the NCR to switch over to CNG by March 1, 2016. This deadline was later extended to March 31 and then to April 30, 2016.  

Brazilian footballer Bernardo Ribeiro (26) has died after falling ill during a match in Brazil. He was taken to hospital but later reportedly suffered a suspected fatal heart attack. Ribeiro is the third footballer to have died in the past week from complications arising in a match, following the deaths of Cameroonian footballers Patrick Ekeng and Djomnang. Ribeiro began his professional career with Skënderbeu in Albania. He signed for the Jets in August 2012 and made six appearances for the A-League club before heading to Finland with IFK Mariehamn and then back to Brazil with Inter de Lages last year.  

Bengaluru-based GMR Group will disinvest 30 per cent in its 10 energy assets to a Malaysian power utility for $300 million (Rs 2,000 crore). The management committee of GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) on Monday approved the primary capital investment by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (Tenaga) in GMR EnergyLimited (GEL). The Malaysian power giant would have the right to invest in other assets, including the Chhattisgarh power plant, Indonesian power assets and others at any time within the next five years. The group was awarded Ganeshpur coal block for the 1,370-megawatt (Mw) Chhattisgarh power plant in e-auction last year.Tenaga will also appoint their executives in the senior management of GMR Energy during the development and operation stage of the projects it has picked up stakes in. In December, GMR Infrastructure raised another Rs 2,000 crore from Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) which was the largest bilateral investment between India and the West Asian country in recent times. The Kuwaiti authority subscribed to GMR’s 60-year-long Foreign Currency Convertible Bond (FCCB) due 2075.The group has been following an asset-light strategy and has been on a capex holiday, except for select opportunities in the airport sector, for the past few years.In the past few years, it has divested five assets releasing Rs 3,800 crore equity and reducing liabilities by Rs 6,200 crore. Tenaga is the largest power utility player in Malaysia with a presence across the value chain of power generation, transmission and distribution. GEL manages a portfolio of coal-based, gas-based and renewable (hydro & solar) power projects, of 4,630 Mw. This portfolio would have an operating capacity of 2,300 Mw and pipeline capacity of 2,330 Mw.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism (MPT) on 9 May 2016 received the Best Indian Destination for Wildlife Award. The award was presented by the Lonely Planet Group. Actress Amy Jackson presented the award to MPT at a function held in Mumbai. On behalf of MPT Chairman, his Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Vinod Kumar Amar received the award. Wildlife in Madhya Pradesh : As per the estimates of Forest Survey of India published in the State of Forest Report (SFR) 2003, the total forest cover of M.P. is 24.79% of the land area. One third of the state is forested and offers an exciting panorama of wildlife.Madhya Pradesh has 25 wild life sanctuaries including nine National Parks. Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna, and Satpura National Park are managed as project tiger areas.Ghatigaon sanctuary is managed for great Indian bustard or Son Chiriya.Barasingha is the state animal and dudhraj is the state bird of Madhya Pradesh.The state has also launched number of programmes for the conservation of flora and fauna because of which Kanha and Pench were regarded as the most beautiful national parks in Asia. Lonely Planet :  Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.The company is owned by American billionaire Brad Kelley's NC2 Media, which bought it in 2013 from BBC Worldwide for 77 million US dollar.Originally called Lonely Planet Publications, the company changed its name to Lonely Planet in July 2009.As of 2014, Lonely Planet's largest office is located in Footscray, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

A forthcoming book titled India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t we just be Friends was in the news in the second week of May 2016. The book is authored by former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani.The book on India-Pakistan relations stirred a controversy because it exposed Pakistan's role in the 26/11 terror attacks. The book recounts the visit by ex-ISI chief General Pasha to Washington on 24 and 25 December 2008, where he made the startling admission. During the visit, General Pasha had admitted to the author that theplanners of the 26/11 attacks were “our people” but it was not “our operation”. Husain Haqqani : Husain Haqqani is a Pakistani leading South Asia expert, journalist, academic, political activist and former ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka and the United States. He has written two books on Pakistan. These books are Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, and Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding.He is currently a Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.He worked as a journalist from 1980 to 1988, and then as political adviser for Nawaz Sharif and spokesperson for Benazir Bhutto.From 1992 to 1993, he was ambassador to Sri Lanka.In 1999, he was exiled following criticisms against the government of then-President Pervez Musharraf.He was appointed as Pakistan's ambassador in April 2008, but his tenure ended after the Memogate incident, when the claim was made that he had been insufficiently protective of Pakistan's interests.A judicial commission was set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to probe the allegations against him. According to commission's report, which was issued in June 2012, he was declared guilty of authoring a memo, which called for direct US intervention into Pakistan. However, Pakistan's Supreme Court noted that the commission was only expressing an opinion.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 10 May 2016 cancelled the certificate of registration of the four Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs). RBI cancelled their certificates in exercise of the powers conferred on it under Section 45-IA (6) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. NBFCs whose certificate of registration were cancelled include  M/s Neelanjali Engineering Private Limited M/s Novoflex Tradecom Private Limited M/s Guide Investments and Trading Co. Pvt. Ltd M/s Enol Ventures Private Limited Apart from this, seven Maharashtra-based Non Banking Financial Institutions have surrendered their registration certificates following which they won't be allowed to transact their financial business. Out of the seven firms who have returned their licences, six are based in Mumbai and one in Pune. These include M/s V.H Doshi & Sons Investment Pvt. Ltd. M/s Vinodchandra Doshi Investment Co Private Limited M/s Samarth Doshi Investment Co. Private Limited M/s Echjay Overseas Trades Private Limited M/s Hari Mahavin Investment Private Limited  M/s Baroda Industries Private Limited M/s Eureka Finvest Private Ltd.

Gujarat government has announced its 'Agri Business Policy-2016' with a special emphasis on promoting food processing industry, applying new techniques to convert agriculture waste into value-added products and developing the entire value chain of exporting locally grown farm produces.  The new policy was announced by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel while inaugurating this year's 'Krishi Mahotsav' in Anand town of Kheda district.  As per the policy document, any new projects of agro food processing will get 25 per cent subsidy, maximum of Rs 50 lakh, on the total cost of establishing or upgrading such units in the state.  Projects related to cold chain, food e-radiation, packaging houses and food parks will get 25 per cent subsidy in the limit of Rs 5 crore, on the total cost of establishment of any such unit.  Further, government will give 25 per cent subsidy, having maximum limit of Rs 2.5 crore, on the total cost of setting up primary processing or collection centre of farm produces at village level, it stated. The policy also provides for cheap term loans for entrepreneurs wanting to establish or upgrade food processing units.  The government will give loan up to Rs 1.5 crore at 7.5 per cent interest rate. Various agri-infrastructure projects, such as cold storage, are also eligible to get loans up to Rs 4 crore at 7.5 per cent interest rate, the policy document states. To promote export of agriculture, marine and poultry products, the government has also announced subsidies on the freight paid by exporters who fall into the category of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME).  To encourage MSME units for providing training to employees for skill up-gradation, the government will bear 50 per cent of the training cost, in the limit of Rs 10,000 per employee. Each unit will get a maximum of Rs 50,000 for three years. Under this policy, agro MSME units are now eligible to get 70 per cent refund on the total tax (Value Added Tax) they have paid against the output tax liability for a period of five years.  These units are also eligible to get 50 per cent refund on stamp duty paid for the sale, lease or transfer of land for the project. The policy also stresses on exploring newer ways to sell the agri produces.  Apart from improving the functioning of APMCs, the government will also focus on setting up alternative markets, such as terminal-based markets, commodity spot markets, private market yards etc.  The government will also engage in a comprehensive exercise to invent newer ways to convert agri waste into value-added products to help farmers in increasing their income.  

Michel Platini on 9 May 2016 resigned as Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president after Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) upheld the ban imposed by FIFA.The CAS rejected the appeal saying it was not convinced about the legitimacy of the payment ordered by ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter. However, CAS effectively reduced the ban on him from six years to four and reduced the fine from 80000 Swiss francs to 60000 Swiss francs.He has been UEFA chief since 2007 and he resigned to pursue the case over a suspect 2 million dollar payment in Swiss courts in a bid to clear his name.The upholding of FIFA ban by the CAS effectively ended his career as one of the most powerful figures in sport. Michel Platini : He was born on 21 June 1955 in Joeuf, France. He played 72 times and captained 50 times for France during 1976-1987. He scored 41 goals.He was regarded as one of the best players in the world at the time.He was a European champion in 1984.  

Anti-crime candidate and mayor of Davao Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte on 10 May 2016 won the presidential election of the Philippines held on 9 May 2016.With 91.53 percent of votes counted so far, he is set for a landslide victory with 15.36 million votes. He is followed by President Benigno Aquino’s choice Mar Roxas with 9.27 million votes and his closest rival Grace Poe with 8.6 million votes. In term of percentage Duterte took almost 39 percent of the vote compared to 23 percent of vote for Grace Poe and 22 percent vote for President Benigno Aquino’s choice Mar Roxas.Grace Poe and other opponents has already conceded the defeat. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte : He was born in 1945 into a political family with a modest background.A lawyer by profession he became vice-mayor of Davao in 1986 and mayor in 1988.He has also previously held a seat in congress. He is also known as “Dirty Harry” and often compared to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump.He captured the public imagination after promising to improve security by killing 100000 suspected criminals.As the mayor of Davao he gained popularity across the archipelago, where crime rates dropped drastically under his leadership. The election results show that a major portion of the public are choosing strong leaders over democratic ideals.Duterte’s election could threaten growth and investment in the Philippine after six years of economic expansion and political stability. The reason being he has admitted knowing little about economic policy. In the past six years under the incumbent President Benigno Aquino, the Philippines shed its label as the “sick man” of Asia and growth increased to an annual average of 6.3 percent over the past five years.But the Filipinos are demanding change as they claim that growth has not trickled down to the poor.  

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