Current Affairs 17th May 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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A spectacular trove of cargo from a 1,600 year old merchant shipwreck was discovered by divers in the ancient harbor of Caesarea, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced. Divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan of Ra‘anana discovered the remains of a merchant ship which sank in the ancient port of Caesarea during the Late Roman period some 1,600 years ago and reported the find to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Using advanced equipment, archaeologists recovered bronze artifacts in an "extraordinary state of preservation," according to the Antiquities Authority, including: a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol; a figurine of the moon goddess Luna; a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave; fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues; objects fashioned in the shape of animals such as a whale; a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head; among others. A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years. Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. One of the biggest surprises was the discovery of thousands of coins stored for transportation in pottery vessels. According to the Antiquities Authority, the coins bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers. A cache of gold coins discovered last winter are currently on display as part of an experiential presentation in the Caesarea harbor. The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation has invested tens of millions of shekels for major recovery, conservation, and development projects throughout the Caesarea National Park and the harbor.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been made a honorary Knight in the French Legion Of Honour, France's highest civilian award.  The 50-year-old best selling writer, whose great- grandfather was French, was given the honorary title by President Nicolas Sarkozy at a ceremony in Paris, reported Digital Spy.  The title was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century and constitutes the country's elite national merit society.  Foreigners cannot be officially inducted, but are routinely made honorary recipients. Other foreign celebrity knights include Jerry Lewis, Steven Spielberg and Barbara Streisand.

World Hypertension Day 2016 observed on May 17.World Hypertension Day is a day designated and initiated by The World Hypertension League (WHL), which is itself an umbrella to organizations of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues. The day was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.The WHL launched its first WHD on May 14, 2005. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. Theme : The theme for World Hypertension Day this year is "Know Your Numbers", with the goal of increasing awareness anout high blood pressure (BP) within all populations around the world. The fast life, technological advancements and stressful workplaces are taking a toll. Diabetes and cardiac problems have now become a common ailment in almost every household, courtesy hypertension! With May 17 being observed as World Hypertension Day, this is a clarion call to those suffering high stress levels at work and sedentary lifestyles. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent enemy; it manifests itself quietly and wreaks much havoc undetected. It is estimated that the number of hypertensive adults will increase from 972 million in 2000 to 1.56 billion in 2025, leading to a rise of about 60 percent out of which, around 10 percent of the population suffers from secondary hypertension caused by a pre-existing disease. A study has also indicated that swimming could help older adults. It is suggested that it's as safe for older adults as walking and bicycling and that it improves the blood vessel functioning and curbs blood pressure. If it is okay to exercise moderately in case of the older ones, swimming should be a safe activity. But if you're sedentary, check with your doctor before becoming newly-active. There was a time when swimming was considered risky because being in cold water "elicits cardiovascular changes"; nevertheless, activity in moderation helps keep the BP under check.  

Singapore-based DBS Bank has decided to set up in Hyderabad its biggest technology hub outside its headquarters.The lender has appointed Mohit Kapoor as the head of its Technology Development Centre in Hyderabad. Prior to joining DBS, he was the global delivery leader and chief technology officer at Bank of America Continuum, based in Hyderabad. India was a choice market for this investment given its enabling ecosystem for technology innovation and access to a wide global talent pool. This is also in tandem with the bank’s decision to focus on technology and in order to grow it, the lender has launched a mobile-only bank recently. The lender believes that this technology hub would help in strengthening its technological capabilities across the region as well as its overall digital banking strategy.With this facility, we will be able to develop and retain digital intellectual property, have greater ownership and control of technology, and accelerate new ways of working. This comes at a time when the bank is awaiting clearance from the Reserve Bank of India to convert into a wholly-owned subsidiary in the country.The application was made in April last year. DBS Bank : DBS Bank Ltd is a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services company. The company was known as The Development Bank of Singapore Limited, before the present name was adopted in July 2003 to reflect its changing role as a regional bank.The bank was set up by the Government of Singapore in June 1968 to take over the industrial financing activities from the Economic Development Board. Today, its branches numbering more than 100 can be found island-wide. DBS Bank is the largest bank in South East Asia by assets and among the larger banks in Asia.

State-run engineering firm BHEL has bagged a Rs 1,600 crore order from a joint-venture company of NTPC and SAIL to set up a coal-based thermal power project in Odisha.The 1x250 Mw coal-based thermal unit will be set up at Rourkela Power Project on engineering, procurement & construction basis, According to the statement, the Rs 1,600 crore order for Stage-III of brownfield power project, located in Rourkela district of Odisha, has been placed on BHEL by NTPC-SAIL Power Company. The key equipment for the contract will be manufactured at BHEL's Trichy, Haridwar, Bhopal, Ranipet, Hyderabad, Jhansi, Thirumayam and Bengaluru plants while the company's power sector division shall be responsible for civil works and erection cum commissioning of the equipment.

State-run power producer NTPC Limited on 16 May 2016 signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with state-run miner Coal India limited to foray into the Fertilizer Sector and revive plants of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).The JVA was signed by NTPC's General Manager (BD) Arun Kumar Gupta and Coal India's General Manager (Coal Videsh) T Bandopadhyay. Highlights of the Joint Venture between NTPC and Coal India Limited :  The JV company would initially be incorporated with 50:50 equity participation from both.It will also contain the provision of inducting strategic partners at a later date depending upon business requirement of JV company.The joint venture company will take up the revival of FCIL plants at Sindri in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.It will set up an ammonia urea plant at each location.

Australian researchers built the world’s first scanning helium microscope (SHeM). An announcement in this regard was made by the scientists belonging to the University of Newcastle in the third week of May 2016. Features of SHeM :  It would enable scientists to study human, animal and plant samples, as well as pharmaceutical drugs and computer chips in their true state.It is expected to provide new insights into structures at a microscopic level. It will be useful in major industries such as solar energy, defence, explosives and information technology. It will help with the clean-up of toxic or even radioactive spills, without harming the surrounding flora or fauna. Conventional microscopes Vs SHeM : The conventional electronic microscopes use light to penetrate samples and this can damage them. The SHeM is an imaging technology based on a scanning helium ion beam. SHeM possesses very high source brightness and the short De Broglie wavelength of the helium ions. Due to this, it is possible to obtain qualitative data not achievable with conventional microscopes which use photons or electrons as the emitting source.

A new fund “Education Cannot Wait” will be launched at UN World Humanitarian Summit. It aims at assisting millions of children whose education has been disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters. The two-day World Humanitarian Summit will be held from 23 to 24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. The programme will see participation of more than 100 of the world’s leading countries, companies and philanthropists. The plan of launch of Education Cannot Wait was announced by UN envoy for education on 6 May 2016. Highlights of Education Cannot Wait fund : The fund is the global first and seeks to raise 3.85 billion dollars in next five years from governments and business. It is designed to cater the needs of 30 million displaced girls and boys, of which 20 million have no choice at the moment and are unable to go to school.This is the largest population of girls and boys uprooted since 1945.This fund will seek to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and development aid first.The fund can be used to save a generation lost to war, child marriage, forced labour and the recruiters for violent extremism. As per the records of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), education aid receives less than two percent of emergency funding. The new fund is expected to : Offer up to five years of educational emergency, recognizing that the average time a refugee is out of his or her country is more than 10 years.Have private sector, foundation and philanthropic windows and will be the first comprehensive education public partnership in humanitarian aid.Engage philanthropic companies in innovative solutions to deliver education, including bold experiments in online education to help refugees in camps and those holed up in hovels, huts and tents.The UN has stressed that the ultimate aim for Education Cannot Wait is to transform humanitarian aid for the future. Where the new fund will be used : The new fund will build on the recent Syrian initiative promising one million Syrian refugees schooling in Turkey, Lebanon and JordanIt will be used in Nepal where 900000 children are out of school because of the earthquake emergencyIt will be used in South Sudan where one third of children are denied schooling and in Nigeria where Boko Haram have closed 5000 schools.

Living Library: A UNDP project to turn testimonies of displaced persons in Ukraine into “books” The project Living Library was in news in May 2016. It is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project for the displaced people in Ukraine. Under the project, the testimonies of displaced persons are turned into books in a so-called Living Library. Living Library project : Goal: To ensure everyone starts “feeling a little bit more comfortable with each other. It hosts the therapeutic stories of displaced people of different communities of Ukraine.It provides stories of displaced person and records them and brings them all together into a library that other people can consult.It provides support in conflict areas like Ukraine to promote dialogue and reconciliation between communities. It contains stories of different communities collected from throughout the country, including the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.The project is implemented in partnership with the European Forum for international Mediation and Dialogue (MediatEUr). Agenda for Humanity : The project Living Library is in line with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Agenda for Humanity, which includes: a. Respecting the rule of war b.Leaving no one behind c. Working differently to end need d.Investing in humanity

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union (EU) on 16 May 2016 announced the launch of #EmergencyLessons campaign on education in crisis zones. The campaign is a social media-driven public awareness campaign. It is aimed at reaching 20 million Europeans and highlighting the importance of education for children affected by emergencies. Highlights of #EmergencyLessons campaign : The campaign specifically targets people 25 year old and younger peoples.For the next seven months, the stories of the children affected by emergencies will be shared on social media.It covers countries like Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.It seeks to inspire these nations to raise their voices on behalf of millions of children and adolescents whose education has been interrupted by emergencies. It draws on the real-life experiences of children living through emergencies in countries such as Guinea, Iraq, Nepal and Ukraine.The campaign celebrates the other benefits of going to school like the friends made, the teachers who support children through trauma, and the stability found in the routine of attending classes. A number of celebrities are lending their support to the campaign. These include Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian European Space Agency astronaut; Bostjan Nachbar, Slovenian basketball player; Kriszta D. Toth, Hungarian news presenter and media personality; and Jaro Bekr, Slovakian dancer. Nearly one in four of the world's school-age children – 462 million – now live in 35 countries affected by crises, including an estimated 75 million children who are in desperate need of educational support. Apart from missing out on education, and the benefits it yields for them and for their societies, out-of-school children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and recruitment by armed forces, the agency said.

Vice-chancellors for universities in Rajasthan will now be handpicked by a selection committee which will invite applications through newspaper advertisements. The new arrangement will replace the existing convention riddled with delays and allegations of political favouritism  of direct appointment of V-Cs. Governor Kalyan Singh, who issued detailed guidelines for the new system Saturday, said the reform will bring uniformity and transparency in the appointment of V-Cs. “The new process will allow maximum number of applicants to apply for the post of V-C. The university will get a V-C in time and the selection process will be more transparent. Under the new system, a state-run university will have to invite applications by placing advertisements in two national newspapers. The advertisements will also be uploaded on the university website.  A pro forma for applicants has also been prepared, which will provide general information about them along with their educational qualifications, specialisation, academic publications and experience in administrative positions.  The governor, who is the ex-officio Chancellor of universities, also instructed varsities to encourage female applicants to apply for the post of the V-C. After shortlisting or finalising candidates, the selection committee will have to explain the applicant’s suitability, by way of a comparative analysis, to the Governor. The applicants will have to state the number of MPhil and PhD candidates guided by them, in their forms. The Governor will constitute the selection committee and also stipulate the duration for selecting a new V-C. 

Jamala, a Ukrainian Singer has won the 2016 Eurovision song Contest in Stockholm. This victory has come to Ukrain after a gap of 12 year as it has won the Eurovision title in 2004 by Ukrainian singer Ruslana. Now under Eurovision rules, the victory means the 2017 contest will take place in the Ukrainian capital- Kiev.  The contest is the longest-running annual international TV song competition,held, primarily, among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956. In this each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Eurovision Song Contest  : The Eurovision Song Contest often shortened to Eurovision, is the longest-running annual international TV song competition, held, primarily, among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956. The competition was based upon the existing Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy since 1951.  

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today launched a 15-day special drive for ensuring cleanliness at all government offices as he said that there is "scope for improvement" in the situation since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission. The Ministry also issued a Swachh Office Manual suggesting standard procedures to all central ministries and state governments to ensure sanitation. The Ministry also issued the Swachh Office Manual suggesting various norms for cleanliness including ensuring water supply of 45 litres per head per day, one toilet for every 25 persons, removal of stains every week and acid cleaning and scrubbing of toilets daily.   

As emails and SMSes become the order of the day, the good-old Postal Department is going hi-tech by geo-tagging the post offices and has begun monitoring timely clearance of the letter boxes through a mobile app.  India Post has geo-tagged over 1.5 lakh post offices on the indigenous geo-portal Bhuvan, developed by ISRO , to help people search the nearest post office and know about services and timings.  India Post has over 1.55 lakh post offices of which more than 1.39 lakh are in the rural areas. An official in Communications and IT Ministry said that the remaining post offices would also be geo-tagged soon on Bhuvan, a Hindi word for 'universe'.  The initiative is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to use space technology by various departments of the government .More than 1,50,000 post offices have been geotagged and their exact location on a GIS satellite imagery map along with photograph, services and office timings etc have been made available on the portal . Bhuvan, started in 2009 with simple display of satellite data and basic GIS functionality, now has more than 6,000 map services which are being used under various applications. Regarding other achievements of India Post in the last two years, the official said core banking solution ( CBS ) for providing 'anywhere banking' has been rolled out in 21,319 post offices, covering more than 30 crore Post Office savings bank accounts.  Besides, 910 post office ATMs have been installed across the country. A mobile app is being used for monitoring timely clearance of letter boxes in more than 16 cities . Bhuvan : Bhuvan is a software application which allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth. The browser is specifically tailored to view India, offering the highest resolution in this region and providing content in four local languages.A beta version was launched on 12 August 2009.Bhuvan is using a crowdsourcing approach to enrich its maps and collect point of interest data It also acts as a platform for hosting government data (example - Karnataka Forest Department datasets).The tool “Bhuvan Ganga” now available on public domain for people to participate in providing vital information for Clean Ganga project.  

British Royals Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry on 16 May 2016 launched the Heads Together campaign at Queen Elizabeth Park in East London. The campaign aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing. Heads Together campaign : It will be executed the Royal Foundation in partnership with eight charities that have decades of experience in tackling stigma and raising awareness. It is the single biggest project the three British Royals have undertaken together so far.Funds for the campaign will be raised through the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.Each of the three royals will focus on a different component of mental well-being.Prince William will target young men at risk for suicide and Kate will focus on childhood mental health.Prince Harry will focus on military members and veterans and help them cope with the mental health challenges.  

The 2016 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was observed on 17 May 2016. This year, WTISD focused on the theme ICT entrepreneurship for social impact. The theme was in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council 2015. The theme for WTISD-16 was in line with ITU’s work in unlocking the potential of ICTs for young innovators and entrepreneurs, SMEs, and others.  The purpose of WTISD is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies. 17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973. In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day. The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day will be celebrated every year on 17 May. In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Nandini Bhandaru, a doctoral researcher at IIT-Kharagpur, bagged the European Materials Research Society’s (EMRS’s) Young Scientist Award at the EMRS 2016 Spring Meeting Lille France. She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to material science and nano technology, particularly nano patterning of soft films and surfaces. She is working at Instability and Soft Patterning laboratory of IIT-Kharagpur. Her area of doctoral research is on nanofabrication including soft-Lithography, thin film dewetting, polymer blend films and self-assembly. Innovation proposed by Nandini on nanofabrication : She proposed an innovation through which possibility of fabricating nano scale patterned surfaces can be done at an extremely low cost and using an inherently simple methodologyWith this technique, the fabrication costs of these surfaces can be reduced to one tenth of the current Photolithography or Electron Beam Lithography based methods which require high end expensive instrumentation.Part of the work has already been patented and published. One more paper and a patent are under preparation based on this work.The technique developed has been fully stabilized and patented and can be commercialized with minimal capital investment. Nanofabrication and its application : Nanofabrication is the design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometers. It is the driver technology in fields such as information technology, computers, the Internet, and bio-medical technology. It acts as the “mother board” for many of the devices and applications listed below:  Organic electronics organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) Optoelectronic devices, thin film transistors (TFTs) Plastic solar cells Biological sensors microfluidics Smart and super adhesives Data storage media Lab-on-a-chip devices Surfaces for nano-biotechnology applications such as patterned substrates for probing of cell behavior, including stem cell scaffolds for tissue engineering, DNA stretching, and so on.

The Union Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization (WHO) on 13 May 2016 signed the Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) for cooperation on Global promotion of Traditional Systems of Medicine.The agreement was signed by Ajit M Sharan, Secretary of Union Ministry of AYUSH and, Dr Marie Kieny, Assistant Director General of Health Systems and Innovations at WHO in Geneva.  Highlights : The PCA is titled as Co-operation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine between WHO and AYUSH, India, 2016-2020. It aims at promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine. It aims to support WHO in the development and implementation of the WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy : 2014-2023. It will deliver, for the first time, WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga, and WHO benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma.  This Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) with WHO is a further recognition of India’s rich experience in the development and governance of traditional medicine.  It will pave the way for India’s long-term collaboration with the WHO in fostering the global promotion and integration of AYUSH systems of medicine including through the inclusion of Ayurveda and Unani in the International Classification of diseases and the International Classification of Health interventions.

China has successfully launched Yaogan-30 remote-sensing satellite into sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) using the Long March-2D rocket. The rocket was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located in Gobi desert in northwest China’s Gansu Province. It was the 227th flight of the Long March rocket series and was also the second orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite launch Center in 2016. The Yaogan-30 satellite was built by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is part of second generation of the Yaogan series inaugurated in 2008. The first Yaogan satellite was launched in 2006. Features : It has two deployable solar arrays along with batteries. It uses the CAST-2000 platform, which has a dry mass of about one metric ton. Applications : Yaogan-30 will be used for land surveys, crop yield estimates, experiments and disaster relief purposes. Western Critics believe that Yaogan-30 is fitted with electronic intelligence (ELINT), electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar-sensing equipment to conduct military reconnaissance on a global scale. The Long March 2D is a two-stage rocket mainly used to launch a variety of satellites to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and SSO.

Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei on 16 May 2016 was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Tripura High Court. He was administered the oath of office by the Governor Tathagata Roy at the Raj Bhavan in Agartala. At present Vaiphei is the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. He replaced Deepak Kumar Gupta, who was transferred as the chief justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. Vaiphei was appointed as an Additional Judge in the Gauhati High Court in July 2003. He was elevated as the Chief Justice (Acting) in October 2015. Tripura High Court :  It is the High Court of the state of Tripura. It was established in March 2013.Prior to the establishment, a bench of the Gauhati High Court used to have jurisdiction over the state. The seat of the High Court is at Agartala, the capital of Tripura.Deepak Gupta worked as the first Chief Justice of the court. Article 223 of the Constitution : This article empowers the President of India to appoint acting Chief Justice to a High Court.Appointment of acting Chief Justice takes place when the office of Chief Justice of High Court is vacant.Such an appointment also takes place when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office.  

The World Bank Board on 13 May 2016 approved a 625 million US dollars loan to support the India’s program to generate electricity from widespread installation of rooftop solar photo-voltaic (PV). The Board also approved a co-financing loan of 120 million US dollars on concessional terms and a 5 million US dollars grant from Climate Investment Fund’s (CIF) Clean Technology Fund. Highlights of IBRD-CIF loan of World Bank : This IBRD-CIF loan has been designed to tackle a number of these barriers.  It will support a number of solar PV business models, to expand the reach of rooftop PV systems to a variety of customer groups. The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 19.5 year grace period, and a maturity of 20 years. Loan from CIF’s Clean Technology Fund has a 10 year grace period and a maturity of 40 years. Highlights of India's Rooftop Solar Project : The project will finance the installation of at least 400 MW of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (GRPV) across India. The solar PV installations will provide clean, renewable energy and  will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing thermal generation. The project will be implemented by the State Bank of India (SBI). SBI will on-lend funds to solar PV developers/aggregators and end-users. Financing will be provided to those with sound technical capacity, relevant experience and creditworthiness as per SBI standards. Need of Rooftop Solar PV systems in India : Frequent energy shortages and high cost of backup supply in India are the reasons behind the need of rooftop solar PV systems. Until now, those who wanted to install solar rooftop PV systems had to pay the full cost up-front. Aided by government policy and declining costs, rooftop solar has the potential to transform the energy sector. The overall potential demand for rooftop solar is estimated at about 124000 MW.  Electricity grid of India :  India is one of the lowest per capita consumers of electricity in the world. Over 200 million people remain unconnected to the electricity grid, and those who are, they continue to face frequent disruptions. Power shortages also affect industrial output with many industries and manufacturers relying on expensive and polluting diesel-based back-up power supplies.  

The United Nations in the third week of May 2016 announced that four Indian peacekeepers and a civilian will be honoured along with other 124 personnel with a prestigious U.N. medal. Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav, Rifleman Manish Malik,Havildar Amal Deka, Naik Rakesh Kumar and Gagan Punjabi will be honoured with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal awarded posthumously. The 124 personnel will be honoured on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day, observed annually on 29 May, will be commemorated this year on 19 May.  Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav : Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav served in the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). He made the supreme sacrifice in April 2015. Rifleman Manish Malik : Rifleman Manish Malik also served in the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He died in August 2015 during the mission. Havildar Amal Deka : Havildar Amal Deka served in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).He died in June 2015. Naik Rakesh Kumar : Naik Rakesh Kumar served in the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).He died in January 2015. Gagan Punjabi  : Gagan Punjabi was serving in MONUSCO in a civilian capacity under the U.N. Volunteers programme and died in an incident in January 2015. Dag Hammarskjöld Medal : The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is a posthumous award given by the United Nations to military personnel, police or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a UN peacekeeping operation.The medal is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash in September 1961.On 22 July 1997, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1121, in which it established the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal. The first medals were awarded in October 1998.  

A three-member Indian women's archery team comprising Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi was on 16 May 2016 named for the Rio Olympics. The women's trio will compete in the individual events as well as team event at the Rio Games in August 2016. India's women archers earned three individual berths and a team quota by virtue of the team's performance at the World Championships in Copenhagen in 2015. Process of selection for Rio Olympics : Archery Association of India (AAI) selected Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi to represent India in the games. During a series of selection trails, they underwent rigorous six stages of selection trials and training. The selection process was started in January 2016 in Jamshedpur, then at Delhi and finally in Bengaluru. Apart from this, the AAI also announced a three-member men’s team consisting Jayanta Talukdar, Atanu Das, Mangal Singh Champia for the third stage World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, to be held from 12 June to 19 June 2016. This selection was done in order to have a shot at Olympic berths. India has earned one individual spot for the Olympics in men's archery during the World Championships in 2015.

India and the United States (US) on 16 May 2016 held the first round of discussions under the recently-constituted Maritime Security Dialogue. The dialogue was held between the officials of Defence and External Affairs ministries and their US counterparts.The Indian side was represented by Shambhu Kumaran, Joint Secretary in-charge of Planning and International Cooperation (PIC) and Munu Mahawar, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary, Americas (AMS).  While, David Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; Manpreet Anand, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and Vice Admiral Aucoin, Commander, US Seventh Fleet, were the officials from the American side. Highlights of the Maritime Security Dialogue : Both the sides discussed various issues including Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement.They also agreed for the white shipping technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic.Navy-to-Navy discussion on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare was also undertaken. The Dialogue constituted : The dialogue was one of the several new initiatives agreed between Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter during the latter’s visit to India in April 2016. It was created as a part of the maritime security objectives under the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. The newly constituted Maritime Security Dialogue between India and US is a sign of the growing relations between our two countries. The dialogue comes as India and the US are cautiously eyeing the rise of China. The US wants its regional allies to adopt a more united stance against China over the South China Sea, where tension has spiked since China's construction of artificial islands with facilities for military use.  Even though US wants it, India had flatly refused to conduct joint naval patrols in areas including the South China Sea where Beijing has maritime disputes with several neighbours.

Justice Deepak Gupta on 16 May 2016 was sworn-in as the new Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. Chhattisgarh Governor Balram Das Tandon administered the oath of office to Justice Gupta at a function at Raj Bhawan in Raipur. Justice Gupta earlier served as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court. Justice Deepak Gupta : Justice Deepak Gupta was born on 7 May 1955 in Nurpur in Kangra District in a family of lawyers. He received his Law degree from the Delhi University in 1978.He started practicing in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh from 1978 and continued till 2004.He was elevated as Judge of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh and was administered the oath of office on 4 October 2004.He remained Acting Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court twice.He took oath as the first Chief Justice of Tripura High Court on 23 March 2013.

South Korean author, Han Kang, on 16 May 2016 won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for her novel 'The Vegetarian'. The prize ceremony was held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London Han is the first South Korean to win the prize. The writer and her British translator will share the 72000 Dollar prize money. The book was translated by Deborah Smith. The novel 'The Vegetarian' : The novel tells a story of a wife who decides to become a vegetarian.Her decision provokes cruelty from her husband and her father.She also faces obsession from her sister’s husband, as the woman, Yeong-hye, dreams obsessively about becoming a tree. Han Kang : Han Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea, and moved to Seoul at the age of ten.She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University.Her writing has won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award.The Vegetarian, her first novel to be translated into English, was published by Portobello Books in 2015. Human Acts was published by Portobello books in 2016.She currently teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. The novel was picked unanimously by the panel of five judges, beating six other novels including "The Story of the Lost Child" by Italian sensation Elena Ferrante and "A Strangeness in My Mind" by Turkey's Orhan Pamuk. Judging panel chairman Boyd Tonkin said Han Kang's work was unforgettably powerful and original. Survey commissioned by the Man Booker International prize in first week of May 2016 found that translated literary fiction is selling better on average in the UK than literary fiction originally written in English.

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on 16 May 2016 launched three initiatives for best practices in road transport sector. These three innovative IT initiatives are: INFRACON, ePACE and up-Scaled INAM PRO. These initiatives are aimed at making the road building procedure faster, more transparent and more efficient. These innovative IT initiatives are developed in house by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL). ePACE : It stands for Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements and it is an online integrated Management  Information System. It brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform,  ensuring  their effective and real time tracking. More than 2000 projects being executed by multiple agencies are currently listed on the portal.The portal can be freely accessed by anybody, and information regarding projects in any particular state can be found at the click of a button.The portal also allows for validation checks to prevent wrongful entries, making it difficult to fudge figures. It has provision to obtain reports in multiple formats with graphical interface for round the clock monitoring. It has also been provided with GIS interface to enable easy geo-tracking of the projects.The architecture of the application is scalable and customizable.ePACE as a platform is amenable to be used for monitoring projects pertaining to any ministry in the country and can improve governance of such projects. INFRACON : It is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. It acts as a kind of bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnelIt has linkages to Aadhar and Digi-locker for data validation and purity. 474 consultancy firms and 2387 key personnel under various categories are already registered with the portal. It will lead to a significant reduction of  paper work  during bid submissions and also brings in a lot of transparency and speed since the evaluation of technical bids can be done at the click of a button. INAM PRO : It has been developed as a web-based application ( for Infrastructure and Material Providers.  It is a kind of a web based market place that brings together the material providers and the prospective buyers on a common platform. It was launched in March 2015 to facilitate contractors and cement buyers engaged in executing projects in road transport sector to place cement orders online with the registered cement companies.With the help of INAM Pro, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is able to track and monitor the activities of buyers and suppliers, and remove impediments of both the partiesGiven the success of INAM-PRO, other materials like steel and steel slag have also been brought on this platform so as to make this as a comprehensive e-market place for infrastructure providers. Besides, these Nitin Gadkari also released the IT Task Force Report, which has suggested many innovative ways in which IT can be used to make the working of the transport sector more efficient and transparent.  

Global organization EY on 10 May 2016 released the Renewable energy country attractiveness index 2016. The report reveals 40 countries on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities based on a number of indicators.This year, the European markets slipped down in the EY’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) rankings while less mature markets across Latin America, Africa and Asia continued to rise. Highlights of the report : The emerging markets now represent half of the countries in the 40-strong index, including four African markets featuring in the top 30.Index was topped by the United States (US) and was followed by China at 2nd position and India at 3rd position.Countries like Chile at 4th position, Brazil at 6th position and Mexico at 7th position climbed higher in the index top 10.While Germany and France fell in the ranking to 5th and 8th position respectively.Argentina was the highest-scoring new entrant in the index. The transformation of the country’s economy brought it into the index in 18th position. Rank Country RECAI Score 1 US 77.0 2 China 76.9 3 India 71.6 4 Chile 70.4 5 Germany 69.0 6 Brazil 67.5 7 Mexico 67.0 8 France 66.7 9 Canada 64.6 10 Australia 63.8 About the RECAI report : The Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) ranks 40 markets on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.The ranking is given based on a number of macro, energy market and technology-specific indicators.

The 2016 International Day of Families was observed across the world on 15 May 2016. The theme for the year was Families, healthy lives and sustainable future. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families. The theme of 2016 International Day of Families focuses on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. International Day of Families : The Day was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237.It reflects the importance the international community attaches to families.The theme for the 2015 International Day of Families was Men in charge? Gender equality and children's rights in contemporary families.  

Former Test cricketer Deepak Shodhan, the first Indian to score a memorable ton in his debut innings, died on 16 May 2016. He was 87. India's oldest living Test cricketer died due to cardiac arrest after a brief battle with lung cancer at his residence in Ahmedabad. Deepak Shodhan :  He was left-handed batsman and could bowl medium pace.He played just three Tests in all averaging 60-plus.He rescued India from dire straits by scoring 110 not out in his debut innings against Pakistan in the fifth and final drawn Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 1952-53.His debut match was the first series between the two countries after partition. In the match, he stepped in at number 8 when India was tottering at 179 for 3 in reply to Pakistan’s 257 all outHe batted with Dattu Phadkar, GS Ramchand, wicketkeeper Prabir Sen and last man Ghulam Ahmed to guide the team to a 140-run lead.After the series of Pakistan, he was picked for the tour to the West Indies.Playing against West Indies in the opening Test at Port of Spain; he made 45 and 11 low down the order, before getting injured.The fourth test against West Indies was his last appearance in the country’s jersey.  

Income Declaration Scheme of the Union Finance Ministry will start from 1 June 2016 and will remain in force till 30 September 2016. The scheme is also called four month window for declaring black money. Under the Scheme declared income would be taxed at the rate of 30 percent plus 'Krishi Kalyan' cess of 25 percent on taxes payable and a penalty at the rate of 25 per cent of the taxes payable. In other words, a total of 45% of the income declared under the scheme will be taxed. Highlights :  Declarations can be filed online or with the Principal Commissioners of Income-tax.Surcharge and penalty must be made latest by 30 November 2016. Assets specified in the declaration will be exempted from Wealth taxThe scheme shall apply to undisclosed income whether in the form of investment in assets or otherwise, pertaining to Financial Year 2015-16 or earlier.  Foreign assets or income to which the Black Money Act 2015 applies are not eligible for declaration under this scheme. Non-payment of total taxes, surcharge and penalty in time or declaration by misrepresentation or suppression of facts shall render the declaration void.  Immunity from prosecution under the Income-tax Act, 1961 and Wealth Tax Act, 1957 is also provided along with immunity from the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 subject to transfer of asset to actual owner within the period specified in the Rules. The scheme is incorporated as Chapter IX of the Finance Act, 2016. It seeks to provide an opportunity to all persons who have not declared their income correctly in previous years to come forward and declare their undisclosed incomes.

Justice Navin Sinha on 14 May 2016 was sworn-in as the new Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court. Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath to the new Chief Justice of the state High Court. Sinha was appointed by President Pranab Mukherjee as per provisions Article 222 of Constitution after following recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur.  Justice Navin Sinha : Prior to the transfer to the Rajasthan High Court, Justice Navin Sinha served as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. He obtained an LL.B. degree after completing a bachelor's degree in arts. He joined bar on 26 July 1979.He practised for 23 years primarily at Patna High Court and specialised in civil, constitutional, labour, service, commercial, company, criminal laws.He was made a permanent judge of Patna High Court on 4 February 2004.He was transferred to Chhattisgarh High Court on 9 July 2014.  

Dutch teenager, Max Verstappen, on 15 May 2016 became Formula One's youngest race winner after winning the Spanish Grand Prix. Red Bull's Verstappen defeated Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by 0.616 seconds.His teammate Sebastian Vettel stood at the third position. Verstappen drove to triumph after, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out in the first lap of the race. At 18 years and 228 days, Max Verstappen is the youngest race winner in F1 history. The Dutchman was two years and 210 days younger than the previous youngest winner, Sebastian Vettel. Few days back, Verstappen was promoted from feeder team Toro Rosso in a driver switch with Daniil Kvyat. It was only his second day racing for Red Bull after the surprise switch to the team. Max Verstappen : He is the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen who never finished better than third in his career.He became the first Dutchman to win a Formula One race and just the second to stand on an F1 podium. The other is his father, Jos, who scored two podium finishes in 1994 with Benetton. He made debut aged 17 at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso, this made him the youngest driver to compete in the history of the sport.Verstappen is also the sport’s youngest race leader and youngest podium finisher. He is also the youngest F1 point scorer and the youngest driver to start a Grand Prix, both achieved 2015 season.Verstappen is the first driver to win in his first race with a new team since Fernando Alonso won on his Ferrari debut in 2010.Verstappen’s victory is the first time Red Bull has ever won a Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel has not been in the team.  

Indian women’s squash team on 15 May 2016 won the silver medal at the 18th Asian Team squash championships. In the final played at Taipei in Chinese Taipei, Indian team lost to the Malaysian team by 0-2 margin. This was the ninth women’s Asian Team Squash Championships title for the Malaysian team. In the first match, India’s Sachika Ingale lost in straight games 7-11, 6-11, 10-12 to Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam. Later, Delia Arnold of Malaysia defeated India's top player Joshna Chinappa 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9. Dipika Pallikal was not required to play the third match which could have been decisive had Joshna won her encounter. On the other hand, the Indian boys’ team faced a defeat in the semi-final by arch-rivals Pakistan, 2-1. With this win, Pakistan managed to enter the final for a clash with Hong Kong. Pakistan Men's Team won the title by defeating Hong Kong.  

World governing body for football, FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) on 14 May 2016 appointed Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal as deputy chairman of its Governance Committee. Portuguese Luis Miguel Maduro, Advocate General of European Court of Justice (ECJ), was appointed as the Chairman of the Governance Committee. Justice Mudgal was also appointed as the head of the FIFA’s first Independent Review Committee along with Luis Miguel Maduro. Mudgal is the former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana and headed the IPL spot-fixing probe. He was also involved in overseeing the conduct of international cricket matches and IPL games at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. The inclusion of justice Mudgal to FIFA’s is being seen as a major development for Indian football and judiciary.The decision to appoint Jutice Mukul Mudgal was taken at the 66th FIFA Congress which was held at the Mexico City. FIFA’s Independent Review Committee : The Committee has been set up to protect the organisation against any conflict of interest in the approval of any appointments to the key committees and bodies. As a result it will be responsible for checking eligibility of the members who will be appointed to the FIFA’s Audit & Compliance Committee, whose chairman Domenico Scala’s resigned on 14 May 2016.  

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