Today Current Affairs 7th May 2016

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Two Indian women wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August 2016. Vinesh sealed her place for the Olympic berth after defeating Avin Demirhan of Turkey 12-2 in the 48 kg category in the semi-final match of the Olympic world qualifying tournament held at Istambul in Turkey. Now she will now fight for gold medal against Ivona Neena Matkovaska. Sakshi Malik also entered the final in the 58 kg category and qualified for Rio Olympics. In the Semi-final she defeated Len Jhang. In the final she will play against Russian Valeria Koblova Jholobova in the final.

The Centre has released Rs 9,367 crore to drought-hit states under MGNREGA in 2016-17, Parliament was informed . The government has also relaxed norms under MGNREGA to provide additional employment of 50 days per household over and above the 100 days in areas affected by natural calamities during 2015-16, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. During 2015-16 and 2016-17 (so far), Rs 18,715.01 crore and Rs 9,367.19 crore have been released, respectively, to the drought-hit states under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Funds are available with the state government in the form of state disaster response fund (SDRF) and additional financial assistance is considered from the national disaster response fund (NDRF) for natural calamities of severe nature. The government has released in advance the first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17 amounting Rs 2,551.9 crore to the drought-affected states. Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan are reeling under drought.

India and Japan on 6 May 2016 decided to exchange sportspersons, coaches, experts and administrators to improve the standard of the game in both nations. It was also decided that the two countries will play some friendly matches ahead of the tournament. The decisions were taken during a meeting between Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and a 12-member delegation from Japan led by Hase Hiroshi, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Both sides also agreed for exchange of sportspersons, coaches, sports experts, sports administrators, etc., and decided that they will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of sports. Hiroshi also informed that the Shinzo Abe-led government has launched a programme named 'Sport For Tomorrow' to promote sports among more than 10 million people in 100 nations between 2014 and 2020. In 2020, Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. The goal is to spread values learned through sports and increase awareness of the Olympic and Paralympic movement.Sonowal also accepted the Japanese minister's invitation to attend the 'World Forum on Sport and Culture', scheduled in October in the Japanese capital.  

Australian state of Victoria has announced two agreements with India in the area of medical technology to address major health challenges in India. During the government-led Neuroscience Victoria trade mission to India this week, Swinburne University signed two memorandums of understanding (MoU) to partner with major Indian healthcare providers. Neuroscience leaders from Swinburne signed one agreement with Medanta, one of India's largest private hospitals, on a project to improve the diagnosis of epilepsy across India.The project will develop products and technologies that can be used to help diagnose epilepsy in villages and remote communities across the sprawling nation, using technology to help local health workers make early diagnosis and refer patients quickly for treatment in urban centres. Swinburne University also signed a MoU with the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to develop a cutting edge 'smart helmet' to reduce the incidence of head injuries for motorcyclists.Two thirds of road vehicles in India are two-wheelers and tens of thousands of people die on India's roads every year with many more suffering injury and trauma. The 'smart helmet' is designed to be light-weight and incorporate technology to address the issues that currently discourage people from wearing helmets.These breakthrough agreements demonstrate the world-leading expertise being generated from Victoria's renowned medical research institutes with technological advances that are adding real public value across the world. The Labor Government is providing ongoing support to the medical technology and pharmaceuticals sector as one of six key growth industries to drive jobs in Victoria - the sector currently generates revenues of more than $12 billion a year including $1.98 billion in exports., India’s second largest e-commerce company, has acquired TargetingMantra (Insightful Pvt. Ltd), a Gurugram-based marketing and personalisation services company for an undisclosed amount. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction. The Targeting Mantra’s team will help in building the customer experience solutions that will personalise shopping experiences for customers. Founded in March 2013 by Saurabh Nangia and Rahul Singh, TargetingMantra specialises in building products for enhancing customer buying experience, increasing conversion rates through intuitive product discovery, recommendations and channel selection. Snapdeal was founded in 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal as a deals site, has become the biggest local rival to Flipkart.It raised $200 million from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and others in February and with this round of investment the company’s valuation has risen to $6.5 billion. Snapdeal : Snapdeal is an online marketplace, based in New Delhi, India. The company was started by Kunal Bahl, a Wharton graduate as part of the dual degree M&T Engineering and Business program at Penn, and Rohit Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi in February 2010. Snapdeal currently has 275,000 sellers, 30 million-plus products and a reach of 6,000 towns and cities across the country Investors in the company include SoftBank Corp, Ru-Net Holdings, Tybourne Capital, PremjiInvest, Alibaba, Temasek Holdings,Bessemer Venture Partners, IndoUS Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Saama Capital, Foxconn Technology Group, Blackrock, eBay, Nexus Ventures, Intel Capital, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Singapore-based investment entity Brother Fortune Apparel and Ratan Tata.  

US President Barack Obama has reappointed Indian-American Sachin Dev Pavithran to a key independent government agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. Mr. Pavithran has been reappointed as a Member of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.Created in 1973 to ensure access to federally-funded facilities, the Board is now a leading source of information on accessible design.  Pavithran : Pavithran was first appointed to Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board in 2012 and has served as Chair since 2015. He is Programme Director of Utah Assistive Technology Programme at Utah State University's Centre for Persons with Disabilities, a position he has held since 2011. He has served in a variety roles at the Centre since 2002, including Programme Coordinator and Disability Policy Analyst. He has more than 15 years of experience as a consultant in developing, testing, and training users of assistive technology and accessible websites. He serves on the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs National Board, the Research and Development Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, and the National Multicultural Council of the Association of University Centres for Disabilities. In 2016, Pavithran was selected as one of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for his accomplishments in using technology to improve government operations.   

India's fifth largest Private sector lender Yes Bank has received a ‘Custodian of Securities’ licence from the markets regulator SEBI to allows the entity to offer custodial services to financial market participants, including FIIs and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs). The bank has given a year to establish the business by developing the operational, tech and human capital capabilities. The bank had earlier received the RBI’s approval to enter the CoS business. Once it receives the final nod, it can offer custodial services to financial market participants, including foreign portfolio investors which would help its fee-based income. As per the MD of the bank Mr. Rana Kapoor the custodian services will complement its capital market offerings and help it channelize domestic and foreign investments into the country.  The size of custodial business in India is steadily growing with increasing value of assets under custody as well as newer investor classes such as Portfolio Management Services (PMS) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIF)opting for custody services.

The e-commerce giant Flipkart has partnered with a Bangaluru based social technology company 'MapUnity' to launch its map services. The network will cover the 126 cities including those chosen in the 'Smart Cities' mission. The company service will help Flipkart in handling logistics, supply chain and promotes public engagement in solving the key problems of metropolitan areas. Flipkart confirms that the project will be driven by the MapUnity as well as by a Delhi based digital mapping company MapMyIndia. The acquisition of MapMy India has taken place in December, 2015. As per Flipkart, this will be a platform that cross-uses drives innovation, features, value.   In 2006, MapUnity also built the first Transport Information System for a major city in India-Bengaluru ( and has since developed platforms for urban management, heritage and history, environment, and safety. Flipkart : Flipkart is an e-commerce company founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The company is registered in Singapore, but has its headquarters in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name "DigiFlip" with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags.In May 2014, Flipkart received $210 million from DST Global, in July 2014 it raised $1 billion led by existing investors Tiger Global and South Africa's media group Naspers and in May 2015 it raised $550 million from some of its existing investors. Flipkart's last fundraising round in May 2015 had pegged its valuation at $15 billion. In February 2016, Morgan Stanley, marked down its investment value to $11 billion.

Somnath Ghosh has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Tajikistan. He has so far served in Russia, Tajikistan, Belgium (European Union Headquarters) and Bangladesh. He also handled various desks in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. Before joining Ulaanbaatar, he was Assistant High Commissioner of India in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Tajikistan is a Central Asian country bordering Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It’s known for its rugged mountains, which are popular for hiking and climbing.

Haryana government would enact State Sports Council Act to accord statutory status to the Sports Council and further promote sports activities in the state.After the enactment of the Act, there would be a sports body at state, district and sub-division level which would coordinate and maintain all affairs of sports in the state. Sports Authority of Haryana has been set up on the pattern of Sport Authority of India.Govt. has decided to organize national wrestling championship on March 23 every year to promote rural games. Similarly, government has also decided to organize Rashtriya Kabaddi Pratiyogita on the birth anniversary of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay on September 25, every year.

Corporation Bank has bagged ‘MSME Banking Excellence Awards – 2015’ instituted by the Chamber of Indian Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (CIMSME).The bank won the Best MSME Bank Award for mid-sized bank, was selected as the runner-up in the CSR and business responsibility category, and won the Best Bank Award (runner-up) under MUDRA Yojna. The awards were received by bank chairman and managing director S. R. Bansal from Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy in New Delhi.CIMSME a key industry chamber dedicated to the wellbeing of MSME sector, presented the third edition of its flagship ‘MSME Banking Excellence Awards – 2015’ for banks. The evaluation has been based on parameters like overall bank performance, infrastructure available with the bank, priority sector lending, and performance in MSME segment-growth, targets, quality, innovation, green banking, technology used to improve reach, service quality, penetration and reporting systems, financial Inclusion, agriculture lending, CSR activity for social uplift, skill building initiatives including training, creating financial literacy and promoting awareness and technology intervention.

Cricketer Rohit Sharma on Thursday inaugurated the Pune International Sports Expo at the Agriculture College Ground. Shooter Gagan Narang was also present on the ceremony.It is the first sports expo being held in the country organised by city-based Steps Sports Entertainment Private Limited and will be open for public till May 8. It is organised to showcase various products and modern technologies for fitness and sports by Indian as well as multinational brands.Various events are slated on each day to celebrate the accomplishments of Indian sportsmen. It started with a talk show where Narang and cricketer Sharma shared their experiences and journey so far. The events will also see Zaheer Khan, Dhanraj Pillai, Sunil Chettri, Prarthana Thombe and Milkha Singh on the dais in the coming days.A special event of ‘Bokwa Sessions’ has been organised by fitness expert Paul Mavi, and will have six sessions of ‘Bokwa’ every day throughout the expo.  

US based private space transport service company, SpaceX has successfully launched Japanese JCSAT-14 communication satellite into the space. The satellite was place into its intended preliminary geostationary transfer orbit by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US. After meeting its primary goal of the mission, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on an ocean (floating) platform, known as a drone ship, off the coast of Florida. This is for the second time in row the reusable main stage booster of Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on offshore floating platform after the April 8, 2016 landing. JCSAT-14 Satellite  : JCSAT-14 Satellite is owned by Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation. The satellite will boost the company’s fleet of relay stations to 17. The satellite is built by Space Systems/Loral and is equipped with 26 C-band and 18 Ku-band transponders. It has design life of 15 years and replaces the aging JCSAT-2A which is now stationed at 154 degrees East longitude. Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation is the only non-governmental provider of multi-channel pay television and satellite communications in Japan and a major communications provider across Asia and Oceania.

Pakistan has won the third edition of the Asian Kabaddi Championship 2016 (Circle Style) by defeating India. In the final match held at Pakistan Ordinance Factory Sports Complex in Wah Cantonment, Pakistan (defending champion) defeated India by 50-31 points. This is Pakistan’s second successive win in the Asian Kabaddi title as they had won it in 2012. The championship was organised by the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) in collaboration with POF Sports Control Board under the banner of the Asian Kabaddi Federation.  This edition of championship took place in a league format and seven teams including India, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan had participated.  It should be noted that Pakistan has hosted the Asia Circle Style Kabaddi Cup for the second time. Earlier it was held in 2012.

The Bombay High Court on 6 May 2016 upheld the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra indicating that consumption of beef will remain banned across the state.A division bench of Justices AS Oka and SC Gupte, however, struck down provisions that criminalised possession of beef of animals slaughtered outside the state. Highlights of the Judgement : Referring to these provisions as "unconstitutional", the bench said only "conscious possession" of the meat of animals slaughtered in the state will be held as an offence.With this ruling, the burden of proving innocence will not be on individuals and the onus to prove that the law was violated lies on the prosecution.In a 245-page strongly worded judgement, the High Court said the sections that criminalised possession of beef is an infringement on the right to privacy of citizens.It said that the state cannot make an intrusion into a citizen’s home and prevent him from possessing and eating food of his choice. The bench added that citizens are required to be let alone especially when the food of their choice is not injurious to health.The ruling was passed by the bench while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995 and in particular, possession and consumption of beef from animals slaughtered outside Maharashtra.While the Act had banned slaughter of cows, way back in 1976, the recent amendments prohibited slaughter of bulls and bullocks, possession and consumption of their meat.As per the Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail term and 10000 rupees fine while possession of meat of bull or bullocks.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was re-elected as Prime Minister of Ireland on 6 May 2016. Kenny, leader of Fine Gael party, was elected for the post 70 days after a general election which had produced no outright winner.He was re-appointed with 59 votes in favour and 49 votes against.His Gael party won the most seats in the election but fell short of the quota needed to rule without support. This means that Kenny will lead a minority Fine Gael government. Taoiseach Enda Kenny : He held the role of acting Irish Prime Minister over the past 10 weeks as talks took place between parties and independents on how to form a new government. The 65-year-old has made history in the Irish Parliament by becoming the first Fine Gael Irish Prime Minister to be re-elected to the office.His re-election followed a deal with a number of independent elected members and the Republic of Ireland's second largest party, Fianna Fail.Fianna Fail has agreed to support Fine Gael's programme for government over "three budget cycles" while some independents are expected to become government ministers. However, it was the fourth attempt to appoint a new Prime Minister since the general election of 26 February 2016 returned a hung Irish Parliament, in which no party won enough seats to govern without support from rivals.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on 5 May 2016 agreed to conduct coordinated sea patrols and establish a hotline to combat piracy and kidnappings in waters bordering the three nations. The countries’ foreign ministers and military officials reached an agreement in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. The meeting was prompted by the recent kidnapping of 10 Indonesian sailors in the southwestern Philippines by Abu Sayyaf. However, the sailors were released on 1 May 2016. Three nations and maritime borders : Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines share maritime borders along the Sulu and Celebes seas, through which 55 million tons of goods and over 18 million people pass each year.The waters surrounding the Sulu Archipelago, where the sailors were kidnapped, include the Sulu Sea and the northern limit of the Celebes Sea.Indonesia and Malaysia share a land border on Borneo Island, southwest of the Sulu Sea, and the three countries have sea borders in the region. As per Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry, more than 100000 ships sailed through the Sulu Sea in 2015. The ships carried about 60 million tons of cargo and more than 18 million passengers. Abu Sayyaf : Abu Sayyaf is a militant group based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines.The group is considered very violent, and was responsible for the Philippines' worst terrorist attack, the bombing of Superferry 14 in 2004, which killed 116 people.The name of the group is derived from the Arabic word, abu (father of) and sayyaf (swordsmith).As of 2012, the group was estimated to have between 200 and 400 members.The group was founded by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani. On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon swore an oath of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL.

A paddy dating back more than 8,000 years have been discovered by Chinese archaeologists who believe that it could be the earliest wet rice farming site in the world. The field, covering less than 100 square meters, was discovered at the neolithic ruins of Hanjing in Sihong County in east China's Jiangsu province in November 2015. At a seminar held in late April to discuss findings at the Hanjing ruins, more than 70 scholars from universities, archaeology institutes and museums across the country concluded that the wet rice field was the oldest ever discovered. Researchers with the institute found that the paddy was divided into parts with different shapes, each covering less than 10 square meters.  They also found carbonised rice that was confirmed to have grown more than 8,000 years ago based on carbon dating, as well as evidence that the soil was repeatedly planted with rice.   

A biography of veteran actor Shashi Kapoor, unveiling the chapters of his personal and professional life, released on 6 May 2016. The biography titled "Shashi Kapoor - the Householder, the Star", has been authored by film journalist Aseem Chhabra and it attempts to delve into the nature and nurture of the 78-year-old actor.The unveiling the chapters of his personal and professional life of the legendary actor who has appeared in a large number of Hindi language films as well as in English-language films. Kapoor, who was felicitated with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2015, is known for his work in films like "Waqt", "Deewar", "Trishul" and "Utsav".Also in 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan.

Indian shooters ended their campaign at the International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Cup in Suhl,Germany at a creditable fourth position, finishing with three gold, four silver and three bronze.  During the April 29-May 5 competition, a total of 585 junior athletes from 48 countries participated but only 24 nations made it to the medals table, which was topped by Italy with seven gold, four silver and one bronze. Russia stood second with five gold, six silver and nine bronze, while Germany came third with five gold, three silver and three bronze medals.  For India, Rituraj Singh was the most successful performer with two gold medals in both the individual and team events of the men's 25m Standard Pistol. Shivam Shukla also turned in impressive performances in pistol events, winning a gold and a silver. He also made it to the finals of the individual 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event but failed to win a medal.  Arjun Das won a yellow metal and a bronze for Team India.  Among the junior women, Yashaswini Singh Deswal was the most impressive with her two silver medals, both in the individual and team sections of the 10m Air Pistol event. She has been a consistent performer in world events over the last couple of years.  ISSF action next moves to Munich, Germany where the fourth leg of the Senior World Cup is scheduled to start on May 19.

Mickey Arthur has been appointed the head coach of the Pakistan, the governing body of cricket in the country announced on  May 6,2016. The 47-year-old South African takes over from Waqar Younis, who stepped down from the post following Pakistan's lacklustre show at the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20. A panel was appointed comprising Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja, and Faisal Mirza to make recommendations to the PCB. Discussions with Mickey Arthur were initiated and he has confirmed his acceptance of the post of Head Coach of the Pakistan National Cricket team. Mickey Arthur  : John Michael "Mickey" Arthur is a South African cricketer who played South African domestic cricket from 1986 to 2001. He is the current coach of the Pakistan national cricket team. He coached the South African national team from 2005 to 2010, and was the coach of the Australia national cricket team until his sacking on 23 June 2013.

Union inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA) on 28 April 2016 approved the proposal of Infosys to set up an IT/ITeS special economic zone (SEZ) in Bengaluru in an area spread over 4 hectares. Highlights : The Board decided to grant formal approval to the proposal as the Infosys possesses the land by itself. It also extended the time limit to nearly around 20 developers to complete their projects. The developers who got the time extension include Mayar Infrastructure Development for a biotechnology SEZ in Haryana, Wipro for IT SEZ in Karnataka and Vedanta for its sector-specific SEZ for manufacturing and exports of aluminium in Odisha. It also approved application of Unitech Realty Project for change of name of the developer to Candor Gurgaon One Developers and Projects and also changes in shareholding pattern of the company. The approval is subject to certain conditions such as: The seamless continuity of SEZ activity with unilateral responsibilities and obligations for the altered developer entity.The complete set of financial details relating to change in equity or merger, demerger, amalgamation or transfer in ownership etc should be furnished to Member (IT), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) which is a department of Revenue and to the jurisdictional authority on an immediate effect. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) : SEZs are export hubs that contribute about 23 per cent to the India’s total exports.Exports from such zones in 2014-15 stood at Rs 463770 crore rupees compared with 494077 crore rupees in 2013-14.The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 was passed by Parliament in May 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23 June 2005. It is a specifically delineated duty-free enclave and deemed to be foreign territory for the purposes of trade operations and duties and tariffs. The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:     generation of additional economic activity     promotion of exports of goods and services;     promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources;     creation of employment opportunities;      development of infrastructure facilities.