Today Current Affairs 7th November 2016

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 12th edition of International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition “Petrotech-2016” in New Delhi on 5 December 2016. The 2016 theme is “Hydrocarbons to fuel the future – Choices and Challenges”. 6000 delegates from about 75 countries are expected to attend the mega event. PETROTECH : PETROTECH is India’s flagship biennial international oil and gas conference and exhibition. It is Asia’s largest oil and gas event. This global event aims at bringing Energy Ministers, professionals, industry leaders, academicians and domain experts from the energy sector on a common platform.  It is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise and experiences. It also showcases the strengths & potential of Indian Hydrocarbon industry to the world besides providing a vibrant platform for sharing of experience, exchange of ideas, knowledge and technological development across various segments of hydrocarbon industry.  Petrotech 2016 will also include a BRICS Roundtable of Energy Ministers and a Roundtable discussion involving select CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) countries of Latin America. International Energy Forum International Gas Union (IEF-IGU)  : India will also host the International Energy Forum International Gas Union (IEF-IGU) Ministerial Forum on December 6, 2016. It is supported by GAIL (India) Limited and the Natural Gas Society of India.  The main theme of the forum is “Gas for Growth: Improving economic prosperity and living standards”. The forum seeks to increase the dialogue between Governments, Organisations and Companies in the global gas industry.  

The Indian Steel Association (ISA) has asked the Central Government not to impose any anti-dumping duty on Metallurgical Coke (met coke) fearing cost escalation of their products.  A levy of anti-dumping duty on met coke will have a cost-push effect on the steel sector. It will fuel further the cost of steel making, resulting in an increase in the cost of finished steel. Metallurgical coke : Metallurgical coke is made from low ash, low sulfur bituminous coal, with special coking properties. It is one of the most important and critical raw materials for the steel industry.  The steel industry in India having large blast furnaces requires met coke with high ash content and moisture content of less than 5% to run efficiently. This demand is met through imports from other countries as the domestic met coke has low ash content and high moisture content along high phosphorous and sulpher content. The Union Ministry of Commerce had initiated anti-dumping investigation on import of low ash met coke from Australia and China in the year 2015.  It had resulted in the sharp increase in the price of this key raw material with no signs of abating. Besides this, domestic steel industry is getting affected by the unbridled steel imports from countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Russia at predatory prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first International Agro-biodiversity Congress in New Delhi. The 4-day Congress (from November 6 to 9, 2016) will be attended by 900 delegates from 60 countries to discuss conservation of genetic resources. Agrobiodiversity :  Agrobiodiversity is defined as the variety and variability of plant, animals and micro-organism that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture. It includes all species that are closely inter-woven in an agricultural ecosystem. India is one of the most diverse countries in the world possessing unique crop and animal diversity. It covers only 2.4% of the world’s land area and yet it harbours 7-8% of all recorded species, including over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals. The conference has been organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Biodiversity International, a CGIAR Research Centre headquartered in Rome, Italy. It will address the threats imposed by climate change and ways to achieve sustainable agriculture production. It may adopt ‘Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity management and use’.  It will lead to discussion and knowledge sharing on issues for efficient management of gene banks, crop diversification, science-led innovations in genetic resources, issues relating to quarantine, intellectual property rights and biosafety and biosecurity. It will also prepare a road map to enhance food, nutrition and health security by optimal utilisation of agrobiodiversity while protecting agro-ecosystems. It also seeks to develop a network of partnerships to strengthen biodiversity management system at national, regional and global levels.

India and Sri Lanka have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries and hotline between their Coast Guards to address long-standing issue of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. These mechanisms aim to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues. The decision in this regard taken during talks between Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in New Delhi. The JWG on Fisheries will meet every three months beginning January 2017 while the Ministers of Fisheries on both sides would meet every six months along with Naval representatives and Coast Guard to discuss the protracted issue. Expediting the transition towards ending the practice of bottom trawling at the earliest. Framing procedures for returning fishermen arrested by both sides . Possibility of joint patrolling. However, both sides failed to resolve the issue of their seized boats which has been an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu. This issue will be discussed at the first JWG meeting. The fishermen issue continues to be a major irritant in the India-Lanka ties. This issue has a socio-economic dimensions, livelihood and humanitarian dimension and wants a long term solution to the problem. Sri Lanka’s Position : It accuses Indian fishermen of straying into its territorial waters. It wants Indian fishermen to immediately end to bottom trawling, a practice that depletes the ocean’s resources. It also has refused to return more than 100 trawlers seized since 2014. India’s Position : Fishermen from Tamil Nadu are only fishing in their traditional areas, especially around Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.

Indian Army has launched ‘Operation School Chalo’ in South Kashmir in the first week of November 2016. The operation is aimed at providing students with free coaching after their regular education system was interrupted by spiThe operation closely follows its predecessor, ‘Operation calm down’, which was aimed at clearing off the anti-social elements from the valley. Operation School Chalo : Spearheaded by Major General Ashok Narula, General Officer-in-Command of ‘Victor Force’, the Army under this operation is working out a plan for providing education to students. The plan includes: Identifying areas such as undamaged school buildings and community houses where the activities can be carried out safely. Identifying teachers in the localities and urging them to hold classes. Convincing parents to send their children to make-shift classrooms to study. Apart from this, the Army also started ‘Naujawan Club’, which gives the youth a chance to display their strengths in extra-curricular activities and various sport games.  raling violence, protests by militants and their supporters triggered by the encounter killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Significance of the operation : The education system in the valley has come to a virtual standstill as apart from one school, ‘Army Goodwill School’ at Pahalgam, all others have remained shut ever since violence peaked on 9 July 2016 following Burhan Wani’s encounter.  The situation has only worsened with the burning down of 31 schools by miscreants.  Operation School Chalo aims at re-establishing normalcy in the students’ life and distancing them from anti-social activities and elements. In spite of the unrest, General Narula’s plan of restoring normalcy in education sector has gained popularity in the valley.  The first big success of the operation has been a village in remote South Kashmir- Rainpora, where the arm troops have been successful in convincing parents to send their children to study. Two local teachers have volunteered to impart them education. Burhan Wani : Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the commander of Indian Kashmir’s largest rebel group- Hizbul Mujahideen. Born in Dadsara village to Muzaffar Wani, a village headmaster, Burhan fled his home at the age of 15. He was killed in an encounter with the Indian Army troops on 8 July 2016. Considered a martyr in Kashmir, Burhan’s death has triggered heavy violence in the valley, leading to the killing of more than 70 people and injury of over 7000 civilians and 4000 security personnel.  

Indian lawyer Aniruddha Rajput was elected as a Member of International Law Commission (ILC), a top body of legal experts of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 4 November 2016.  He is India’s first time candidate to the Commission and youngest among the group. He is also the first Indian nominee chosen from outside the close circuit of lawyers of the Union Ministry of External Affairs.Rajput is among other 34 individuals elected as members of the ILC. The members were elected from five geographical groupings of Asia-Pacific, African, Latin American and Caribbean, Eastern European and Western European states. They will have five-year term commencing from January 2017. Rajput was elected from the Asia Pacific Group by gaining 160 votes.  Aniruddha Rajput  : A practicising lawyer of India’s Supreme Court, Rajput is an alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was a member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India.He drafted the Sports Bill, 2012 at the second revision stage and has advised the state governments of Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir on laws relating to industry and mining. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Global Village Foundation.  He has several publications to his name including books, articles, chapters, conference papers on legal issues.  International Law Commission (ILC) : The ILC was established by the UNGA in 1947 to undertake the mandate of UN to ensure promotion and progressive development of International law and its codification.  It holds its annual session in Geneva, Switzerland for a period of ten to twelve weeks. The members of the Commission are the people who possess recognized competence and qualifications in both doctrinal and practical aspects of international law.  

Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) claimed to have found evidence confirming the existence of a mythical Indian river, Chandrabhaga.  The discovery came in the first week of November 2016.  This is the second among such findings. In October 2016, KS Valdiya led expert committee had found that Saraswati River did exist. River Chandrabhaga : The ancient river is said to have flowed about 2 kilometers away from the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, a UNESCO world heritage site, built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1255 CE.   The river holds an important position in ancient Indian literature. Most mythical stories around Konark including pictorial presentations like palm-leaf drawings, sketches and old photographs indicate towards its presence close to the temple.  However, other than these mentions there is no visible trace of the river around the temple. Scientists decided to go by what little information they had to validate its existence. The first step to the find was an analysis of satellite data: Scientists used images from US satellites- Landsat and Terra and from NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s ‘Radar Topography Mission’ in 2000.  Satellite imagery and Google Earth image together combined showed a ‘sinusoidal’ trace, characteristic of a typical palaeochannel passing north of the Sun Temple, extending approximately parallel to the coast.   Palaeochannel : The term effectively means remains of an inactive river/ stream, which has been either filled or buried by younger sediment.  Field analysis reveals that palaeochannel is characterized by swampy lands covered with water hyacinth plants. Surface profiling using ‘ground penetrating radar’ also further confirmed its existence as it showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley.  It can be traced till Tikarpada village, near the banks of Kadua River.  A geological map shows heavy alluvium deposit in the area- another typical characteristic of rivers.  Several patches of water bodies have also been seen at various locations along the channel and a swampy area, believed to be a part of the ancient river has been reserved by the Odisha Government for the ritualistic holy bath during Magha Saptami.

Researchers from Mumbai identified two biomarkers in serum samples that could help in TB diagnosis and TB disease prognosis. The identified microRNA biomarkers could be used for drug-sensitive pulmonary TB and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients. The research covered measuring of the levels of 4 miRNAs – miR-16, miR-29a, miR-125b and miR-155 in 30 newly diagnosed TB patients, 19 Multi Drug Resistant (MDR TB) patients and 10 patients who completed their therapy and were cured of the disease. 30 healthy individuals were also recruited as controls.  The levels of miRNAs were estimated by qRT-PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction), a technique used in molecular biology to detect RNA expression. Among the 4 miRNAs studied, levels of miR-16 showed to be significantly higher and miR-155 significantly lower in the serum of TB patients in comparison to healthy individuals. Serum samples collected from the 10 cured patients were also tested for two microRNAs- miR-16 and miR- 155, both at the time of diagnosis as well as after the conclusion of the treatment. The levels of both the biomarkers are different in people with MDR- TB in comparison with those who are healthy and those suffering from drug-sensitive pulmonary TB:  miR- 16 is 5-6 times higher in the patients with drug-sensitive TB and 2 times lower than normal level in patients with MDR-TB.   In case of miR-155, the reduction is only slightly less in comparison with drug sensitive TB and yet higher than the normal level. Both levels returned to normal once the treatment was complete.  Tuberculosis patients in India are generally first treated with drug sensitive TB drugs and it is only when they do not show any sign of improvement despite months of medication that MDR-TB is suspected.   The use of these biomarkers may accelerate the diagnosis of MDR-TB.  If miR-16 level is revealed to be lower than normal in case of TB patients or miR-155 level is not found to be increasing then, MDR-TB should be suspected.

Grant Thornton released its International Business Report 2016. The report ranks India at the second position on the global business optimism index during the third quarter (July-September 2016). During the April-June 2016 period, India was ranked at the third position after being on top for two consecutive quarters. Indonesia took the top spot, with the Philippines coming in third. Highlights for India : The report says, the improvement in the optimism ranking in the recent past clearly reflects that the reform agenda of the government and its efforts on improving the climate for doing business are having an impact.It says that the ranking rides on the recent policy reforms and Goods and Services tax (GST), which is expected to become reality soon. The ranking was also complimented by the rise of employment expectations.India came into light in the global economy due to the programmes and initiatives along with its focus on building relationships with all major economic powers. About 59 per cent of the respondents have voted in favour  ofthe growth prospects. In terms of revenue expectations, India slipped to third position from top in the previous quarter. In context of revenue, about 85 percent respondents have voted in favour of increase in revenue. The report says that there are still concerns around creating jobs for the millions of young people entering the workforce every year and the issue of corruption.  International Business Report (IBR) was prepared on the basis of a quarterly conducted global business survey of 2500 businesses across 36 economies.

Henri Kontinen and John Peers won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 team title at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Kontinen and Peers defeated top-seeded Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 to claim the title. BNP Paribas Masters :  The BNP Paribas Masters is an annual tennis tournament for male professional players held in Paris, France.The event is part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour. Prior to 1990, it was a premier tournament of the Grand Prix Tour and part of the Grand Prix Super Series.Prior to the Tennis Masters Series replacing the ATP Super 9 in 2000, the event was known as the Paris Open. It is also often referred to as the Paris Indoor event. The year 2016 was the 45th edition of the tournament, and part of the 2016 ATP World Tour. It took place at the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris, France, between 29 October and 6 November 2016.  

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh has been now named the first Indian ambassador for Switzerland Tourism. Singh will now be in charge of promoting Switzerland Tourism’s campaign for 2017. India, Switzerland Tourism, said, Being a versatile, energetic and adventurous personality, Ranveer explored and enjoyed all that Switzerland has to offer. His passion and excitement for the country is what compelled us to request him if he would take on the mantle of brand ambassador to which he enthusiastically agreed. Switzerland has always made for a picturesque and mesmerising holiday experience with its terrific natural beauty. With Ranveer on board, we would like to showcase the multifaceted holiday experience that is Switzerland. The actor is now looking forward to visiting Switzerland in winter early next year. During his next trip to the country, he will be visiting St Moritz.

National Security Advisors of India and Japan held bilateral consultations in New Delhi.  During their discussions, Mr. Shotaro Yachi and Mr. Ajit Doval expressed satisfaction at the implementation of important understandings reached during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India in December last year. They shared a view that the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries is a key partnership for promoting peace, prosperity and development in the region and the world.

The Odisha government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) to set up four STPI centres in the state. The STPI centres would come up in Angul, Jajpur, Koraput (Jeypore) and Sambalpur. With these four, Odisha will have eight centres of the total 55 in the country. The proposed STPI centres would act as resource centres for the Information Technology (IT) and Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sectors by offering general infrastructural facilities required for export of software and services, said the Chief Minister. He said the Incubation High Speed Data connectivity facility would be available to entrepreneurs, specially catering to the need of Startups, MSMEs, SMEs to start their business without any hassles. He added that he is confident that the new STPI centres would facilitate and support the entrepreneurs to explore global opportunities and boost direct and indirect employment in the state.  

The Union Government has announced that the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 which envisages supply of subsidised foodgrains has been implemented across the country. Announcement in this regard was made by Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan after last two remaining states Kerala and Tamil Nadu rolled out the NFSA from November 2016. With this, now NFSA has been implemented in all States and Union Territories. As a result, 81.34 crore persons will get subsidised wheat at Rs. 2 per kg and rice at Rs. 3 per kg. At the current coverage, the monthly allocation of foodgrains to States and UTs under the Act is about 45.5 lakh tonnes.  The subsidy implication of about Rs. 11,726 crore per month and it is overall about Rs. 1,40,700 crore per year. Now Union Government will focus on further reforms in the public distribution system (PDS) including end to end computerization in order to check leakages and diversion of foodgrains. National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013  : The NFSA aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas). It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Central Government. It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System. Grains like wheat, rice and coarse grain will be distributed at the subsidized price of 3 Rs. 3, Rs. 2 and Rs. 1. Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children are entitled to get meals under the prescribed nutrition by MDM and ICDS.  NFSA 2013 will provide high nutrition food to the children from age group of 6 months to 14 years. Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to get maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000

Latvia has become the first country in the Baltic Sea area to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to link up with China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative.  The MoU was signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis in Riga (capital of Latvia).  It was Chinese Premier’s first visit to the European Union country. Besides, Latvia and China also singed five agreements on cooperation in such areas as small and medium-sized enterprises, transportation and logistics. OBOR initiative is China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade across Asia, Africa and Europe. It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.  It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. OBOR initiative is part of China’s revived 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger role in global affairs as a major global power.

The Union Government launched Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) to provide free health check-ups to pregnant women at government health centres and hospitals.  The Scheme was launched by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda in New Delhi. It was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat in June 2016. The national programme aims to provide pregnant ladies free ante-natal services (ANC) and required treatment for free on 9th of every month. Objectives of the scheme are (i) Provide healthy life to the pregnant women. (ii) Lowering the maternity mortality rate. (iii) Making pregnant women aware of their health issues and diseases. (iv) Making sure safe delivery and healthy life of the baby. The scheme is applicable only for the pregnant women in their pregnancy period of 3 to 6 months. It will provide all kinds of medical checkups completely free to pregnant women.  These checkups will take place at the medical centres, government and private hospitals and private clinics across the country. These free of cost tests will include blood pressure, sugar level, weight, haemoglobin test, blood test and screening. Women will be marked differently using different colour stickers based on their health problems so that doctors can easily detect the problem.  Different colour stickers will be Red Sticker for Serious patients, Blue Sticker for High blood pressure and Yellow Sticker for Other diseases.

India and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction signed a Statement of Cooperation (SoC) of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). It was signed during the second day of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 held in New Delhi. Features of the SoC  : The cooperation aims to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the SFDRR through Training and capacity building for Asian countries. It also seeks at promoting international and regional cooperation to reinforce political commitment.  It facilitates knowledge sharing and strengthens the capacity of UNISDR for monitoring and review of the Sendai Framework. Underlines the guiding principles, objectives and areas of cooperation between India and UNISDR towards effective implementation and monitoring of SFDRR.  India will partner with UNISDR to work towards strengthening the capacity of Asian countries in ensuring risk resilient development. It facilitates sharing of knowledge and experiences and collaborative efforts towards addressing critical regional challenges. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR)  : 2015-30 SFDRR is an international Treaty that was approved by UN member states in March 2015 at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan. It is a voluntary and non-binding treaty which recognizes that the UN member State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk. It has framework for 15-year i.e. 2015 to 2020. It calls for sharing the responsibility with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. It is successor of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), which had been the most encompassing international accord on disaster risk reduction. It sets of common standards, a comprehensive framework with achievable targets, and a legally-based instrument for disaster risk reduction.  It calls for adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures for preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience. Four specific priorities of Sendai Framework: (i) Understanding disaster risk (ii) Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk (iii) Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience (iv) Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) adopted ‘New Delhi Declaration’ and ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’. It was the first AMCDRR to be held after the advent of the Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR) 2015-2030. The next AMCDRR will be held in Mongolia in 2018. AMCDRR was established in 2005. It is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The Conference also commemorated the first World Tsunami Awareness Day (observed on 5 November) to spread awareness on tsunami. The observance of the day stressed on the importance of early warning systems and preparedness of communities in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard. New Delhi Declaration of AMCDRR : It is a political commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk in the Asian region. It also committed for strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region for Disaster Risk Reduction.  It commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR in order to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks. It also emphasises the need to enhance the capacity of communities and ensure participation of all stakeholder groups towards achieving resilience. The SFDRR was adopted by at the Third World Conference on DRR at Sendai in Japan in March, 2015. It identifies targets and priority action areas towards reducing disaster risk by ‘reducing the damage caused by natural hazards like floods, droughts, earthquakes and cyclones through an ethic of prevention.

Construction major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) became India’s first firm to get debt recast under RBI’s new Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A). The RBI-mandated Overseeing Committee (OC) under the S4A has approved HCC’s Rs. 5,000-crore debt recast passed by an ICICI Bank-led joint lender forum in September 2016. 52% of the debt (nearly Rs. 2,600 crore) was found to be sustainable and can be serviced as per original terms and conditions, including about interest rate and tenure. Out of the remaining 48% (Rs.2,400 crore) debt,  1,000 crore debt will be converted into equity for banks, which could eventually give them 25% stake in the company’s post-scheme equity capital. The remaining debt of Rs. 1,400 crore would get converted into optionally convertible debentures to be issued to the lenders. These measures would now go for approval from HCC’s shareholders. Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) :  The RBI had launched S4A scheme to help resolve the corporate debt problem and strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets. Under this scheme, a company’s debt is bifurcated into two parts sustainable and unsustainable based on the cash flows of the company’s project. The sustainable debt cannot be less than 50% of existing debt and will have to be serviced over the same terms as that of existing facilities. The unsustainable debt can be converted into equity, Optionally Convertible Debentures or Redeemable Optionally Convertible Preference Share with clearly spelt out terms. Banks can sell this stake or equity to a new owner who will have the advantage of getting to run the business with a more manageable debt.  Banks or lenders will formulate the resolution plan and implement the same along with necessary internal approvals. RBI mandated advisory body called Overseeing Committee (OC) will be constituted, which will review the resolution plans submitted by the Banks.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a four-member team for conservation and management of Loktak Lake in Manipur.  The team will visit Loktak Lake and hold discussions with the State government, its concerned agencies and other stakeholders including people living in the vicinity of the lake. Review implementation of works undertaken with financial assistance provided by Union and State governments so far for the conservation and management of the lake. Suggest further interventions required for conserving the lake in a holistic manner.  Enumerate steps required to be initiated for declaring Loktak Lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Identify actions and steps to be taken for increasing tourism potential of Loktak Lake. Loktak Lake :  Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis floating over it. Phumdis are the heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition. Keibul Lamjao National Park is also one of Phumdis in the lake. It is only floating national park in world and is last natural refuge of endangered Sangai deer. This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur.  It serves as a source of water for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower generation. Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, Loktak lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later it was also listed under the Montreux Record in 1993. Human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem.

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova won the 2016 WTA Elite Singles Trophy. She defeated Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-2 to grab the title at Zhuhai, China. Venus Williams was the defending champion for the title. However, she chose not to participate despite qualifying for the edition. Petra Kvitova : Petra Kvitova is a Czech professional tennis player.She turned professional in 2006.She has won nineteen career singles titles including two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon. She is also an Olympic bronze medallist, having won the medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.She reached her career-high ranking of world no. 2 on 31 October 2011 and is ranked world no. 13 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) as of 31 October 2016. WTA Elite Trophy The WTA Elite Trophy is the secondary year-end professional women's tennis tournament on the WTA Tour. The singles event features 12 players (11 of them ranked from 9th to 19th on the final table of the WTA ranking, and one wildcard).The inaugural edition was held in 2015, offering 2.15 million US dollar in prize money. The WTA Elite Trophy replaces the smaller WTA Tournament of Champions which was played 2009–14.Zhuhai, China, hosts the Elite Trophy for the first five years until 2019.

Indian Women's hockey team lifted the Asian Champions Trophy 2016 in Singapore. In the summit clash, India defeated China 2-1 . India’s first goal was scored by Deep Grace Ekka in the 13th minute, which was equalized by Zhong Mengling in the 44th minute. In the dying minutes of the game, the second goal came from Deepika Thakur to give the Indian eves the formidable lead and the crown. This is for the first time that Indian eves won the Asian Champions Trophy competition. Top five women's teams of Asia took part in this tournament. This was also the qualifying round for the 2017 Asia Cup. India beats Pakistan to win Asian Champions Trophy Earlier on 30 October 2016, the Indian men’s team also conquered the Asian Champions Trophy. In the finals, the Indian team defeated its arch rival Pakistan 3-2.

The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict was observed globally on 6 November 2016.  On 5 November 2001, the UN General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict through  resolution A/RES/56/4. On 27 May 2016, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted resolution UNEP/EA.2/Res.15 to recognize the role of healthy ecosystems and sustainably managed resources in reducing the risk of armed conflict.  It also committed itself towards the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals listed in General Assembly resolution 70/1 entitled Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage. Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that over the last 60 years, at least 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources. Conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to relapse.  

Parminder Singh has resigned as the Managing Director (MD) of Southeast Asia, India, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of Twitter. Singh's resignation came barely two days after the resignation of Twitter’s India head Rishi Jaitly. Parminder Singh :  He had joined Twitter from Google in November 2013.  At Google, Singh was leading the company's Display Advertising business for the Asia Pacific region. He has also worked as Google India's Business head for nearly three years, where he led the monetization of IPL Cricket Tournament streaming on YouTube. He also looked after monetization for other Google properties like Search, Google Display Network and Orkut.  Before joining Google, he has also worked at IBM and Apple.