Current Affairs: 29 May 2017

Important Days

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers: 29 May

  • 29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
  • The day was established to honour the memory of the UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace; 
  • Pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.
  • The theme for the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Investing in Peace Around the World.” 
  • The Day offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilians personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.

International Day of Action for Women's Health: May 28

  • May 28 is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, which for over 30 years, women’s rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement worldwide have commemorated in diverse ways. 
  • Year after year, women, girls, advocates and allies have continued to take action and stand up for sexual and reproductive rights for what they are: an indivisible and inalienable part of our human rights.
  • Now, at a time when women’s human rights, and particularly sexual and reproductive rights continue to be systematically violated worldwide, mobilization both within and beyond our communities remains essential, in order to resist any rollback on our rights and advance sexual and reproductive justice for all. 
  • As the global geopolitical context threatens to become increasingly regressive, it is more important than ever to denounce any attempts at curtailing women’s rights, including our human rights to decide freely upon all aspects of our bodies, our sexualities, and our lives, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

National Events

Defence Minister inaugurates Rs 1,300 crore Aeronautical Test Range in Karnataka

  • Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated a first-of-its-kind Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), which will be used to test the country's first unmanned aircraft, in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka
  • The facility, which will spread across an area of 4,200 acres, will be the leading test centre for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that has been using the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd airport in Bengaluru to test fly the Tejas combat aircraft so far.
  • The Challakere facility, located 200 kilometres (km) away from Bengaluru, is also close to other scientific institution such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). 
  • The strategic location would, thereby, help the Challakere complex in building and grooming scientifc manpower.
  • The ATR is already home to two of India's unmanned aerial vehicles- Rustom-1 and Rustom-2- that have undertaken test flights in Challakere before.

Dailong village in Manipur declared Biodiversity Heritage Site

  • The Manipur government has declared Dailong village of Tamenglong district as a Biodiversity Heritage Site of the state, 
  • A notification in this connection was issued by joint secretary of forest and environment, Kengoo Zuringla.
  • Dialong village, covering an area of 11.35 sq km, has been declared as Biodiversity Heritage Site under Section 37(1) of Biological Diversity Act, 2002. 
  • The declaration was made after the recommendation of Manipur Biodiversity Board

Haryana announces pension scheme for journalists

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced a slew of incentives for journalists, including a Rs 10,000 monthly pension scheme, for those who are above 60 years and have completed 20 years in the profession.
  • He also announced a life insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh and a cashless mediclaim policy of Rs 500,000.
  • The announcements were made by the Chief Minister at the "Swarna Jayanti Journalists' Meet"
  • He said now media persons, who have completed five years in the profession, would be given recognition by the state government.
  • He also announced that a new policy would be framed for giving recognition to representatives of online news portals.

India reports its first 3 cases of the Zika virus

  • India has reported its first three cases of the Zika virus, including two pregnant women who delivered healthy babies.
  • Health Ministry officials that the three patients in western Gujarat state had recovered. "
  • Zika is transmitted by the daytime-active Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
  • The medical journal Lancet has said 2.6 billion people living in parts of Asia and Africa could be at risk of Zika infection, based on analysis of travel, climate and mosquito patterns in those regions.
  • The vast majority of people infected by the Zika virus never get sick, and symptoms are mild for those who do, so surveillance systems may have missed cases.
  • Although Zika was first identified in 1947, the virus wasn't considered a major health threat until a major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected.

Govt permits DIPP to grant industrial licences to defence manufacturers

  • The government on Friday said the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) will now process the applications for grant of licence for manufacture of defence items. Earlier, the home ministry was carrying out this exercise.
  • “Power to grant manufacturing licence in respect of the category of arms and ammunition and defence items...has been delegated to secretary, DIPP,
  • The department, under the commerce and industry ministry, is mainly responsible for formulation of polices with regard to promotion of foreign investment and manufacturing industries. 
  • It asked all the interested entrepreneurs/industries/companies to apply with details to the senior development officer

International Events

Mission XI Million picks Chandigarh girl

  • An eighth standard student from Chandigarh has been selected to represent India as a young journalist at the global Football For Friendship (F4F) social programme in Russia. 
  • Ananya Kamboj, from Vivek High School, Mohali, has been selected to represent India.
  • The F4F programme, supported by Gazprom and FIFA, focuses on the development of children's football, fostering tolerance and respect for different cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. India joins the programme for the first time and will participate alongside 60 other countries. 
  • Ananya was shortlisted as the F4F young journalist from India after participating in a contest conducted by F4F supported by Mission XI Million, programme of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 that has a vision of making football the sport of choice among the youth by bringing football to 11 million kids. 
  • Ananya will join young journalists from around the world in St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2017.

Construction begins on world’s largest telescope in Chile

  • Construction began in Chile on Friday on the European Extremely Large Telescope, which when completed will be the world's largest optical telescope, some five times larger than the top observing instruments in use today.
  • The size of the ELT has the potential to transform our understanding of the universe, say its backers, with its main mirror that will measure some 39 meters (43 yards) across.
  • Located on a 3,000 meter-high mountain in the middle of the Atacama desert, it is due to begin operating in 2024.
  • Among other capabilities, it will add to and refine astronomers' burgeoning discoveries of planets orbiting other stars, with the ability to find more smaller planets, image larger ones, and possibly characterize their atmospheres, a key step in understanding if life is present.
  • “What is being raised here is more than a telescope. Here we see one of the greatest examples of the possibilities of science,” said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in a speech to mark the beginning of construction at the site.
  • The dry atmosphere of the Atacama provides as near perfect observing conditions as it is possible to find on Earth, with some 70 percent of the world's astronomical infrastructure slated to be located in the region by the 2020s.
  • The ELT is being funded by the European Southern Observatory, an organization consisting of European and southern hemisphere nations. Construction costs were not available but the ESO has said previously that the ELT would cost around 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) at 2012 prices. ($1 = 0.8949 euros)

Apple opens first official store in SE Asia

  • Apple opened its first Southeast Asia store in Singapore, drawing hundreds of excited fans to the swanky two-storey site in the city's upmarket shopping district.
  • Located on the affluent Orchard Road, the new shop -- easily distinguished by its iconic glass facade  is expected to be one of the most popular Apple stores in the world according to the US tech giant.
  • Merchandise such as the iPhone and MacBook were strategically placed on display across the spacious first floor, while the upper level acted as a classroom for customers to participate in hands-on sessions.

G7 Summit begins in Italy amid differences on trade, climate

  • Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations were assembled in Italy to start a two-day summit in which U.S. President Donald Trump was likely to face peer pressure on his contrarian stances on trade and the environment.
  • The G7 is an informal forum on global governance comprising the United States, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Japan. 
  • Trump's election last year on a protectionist and climate-sceptic agenda has put him at odds with partners.
  • The summit is bringing together leaders with largely untested personal relationships. Naylor noted that for the first time since 1981, four of out of seven participants - the leaders of the US, France, Britain and Italy - are at their first G7 summit.

Indo-Thailand Siam Bharat 17: HADR

  • Indo-Thailand Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Table Top Exercise 2017 was held at Chiang Mai, Thailand from 22 May to 26 May 17 between the Indian Air Force and Royal Thailand Air Force (RTAF). 
  • The eleven member IAF contingent was led by Group Captain Sucharu Rai VM. This was second such exercise to be conducted between the two Air Forces.
  • The aim of the bilateral exercise is to evolve SOPs for planning and executing relief missions during unforeseen natural calamities like Tsunami, earthquakes, cyclones, floods etc. 
  • The objective is to enhance interoperability between both the Air Forces, while conducting combined air operations triggered by a crisis. The exercise would assist in laying down procedures and establish decision support system in various stages of relief operations.

Sports

India’s Bhavani Devi strikes gold in fencing championship

  • Indian fencer C A Bhavani Devi struck gold in the Turnoi Satellite Fencing Championship at Reykjavik (Iceland). Bhavani Devi, who hails from Chennai, defeated Great Britain’s Sarah Jane Hampson 15-13. 
  • With this win, Bhavani Devi has also become the first Indian to win a gold medal in an international fencing event. She had previously won a silver medal.
  • She now trains at the Sports Authority of India centre at Thalassery.

Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win FA Cup for 13th time

  • Arsenal held out to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley with an Aaron Ramsey winner in the second half. 
  • The winner arrived seconds after Chelsea equalised through Diego Costa’s equaliser to cancel out Alexis Sanchez’s first half goal that was marred in controversy. 
  • With the win, Arsenal have won a record 13th FA Cup and seventh under Arsene Wenger. Wenger has now become the most successful manager in FA Cup history.
  • The FA Cup is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world.

South Korea Defeat China to Win 2017 Sudirman Cup

  • South Korea shocked badminton giants China on Sunday in the final of the 2017 Sudirman Cup, ending the team's run of six straight titles with a 3-2 win.
  • China hadn't lost a single finals match since 2005 and ran out to a quick lead, but impressive showings in the last two doubles matches handed South Korea the title. It's the nation's fourth title, with the last one coming in 2003.
  • The Sudirman Cup is the world mixed team badminton championship which takes place every two years. It is held in the same venue for the IBF World Championships in the same year until International Badminton Federation decided to split the two tournaments starting from 2003.
  •  There are five matches in every round: men and women's singles, men and women's doubles and mixed doubles. 
  • The Cup is named after Dick Sudirman, a former Indonesian badminton player and the founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). The first Sudirman Cup tournament took place in Bung Karno Stadium, Central Jakarta, Indonesia on May 24 – May 29, 1989.

Awards & Achievements

The Square' wins top award at Cannes Film Festival 2017

  • The Swedish film 'The Square', directed by Ruben Östlund won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at Cannes Film Festival. 
  • The film '120 Beats Per Minute!' won the Grand Prix, the runner-up prize. 
  • Further, the Best Actor prize was awarded to Joaquin Phoenix for 'You Were Never Really Here' while Diane Kruger won Best Actress for 'In the Fade'.

Pune city police receive FICCI Smart Policing Award 2017

  • The Pune city police have received the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) Smart Police Award for the year 2017. 
  • Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla received the award from BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi during a programme organised by FICCI and Vivekanand International Foundation on Homeland Security in Delhi 
  • The programme focused on the use of modern technology for countering internal security issues. As many as 133 police and security establishments in the country had taken part in the competition for the FICCI Smart Policing Award 2017. 
  • Pune city police got the award for their initiatives on women and cyber security.
  • Rashmi Shukla said initiatives like “BuddyCop” for helping women working in IT companies, the “Damini squad” involving women police officials have played a good role in tackling women security issues in the city.
  • The city police have also launched initiatives like “Lost & Found” portal, Beat Marshal Monitoring Sapience App, and Tenant Information System. These initiatives were considered by the jury while awarding the Pune city police.

Business & Banking

IOC overtakes ONGC to become India's most profitable PSU

  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has overtaken Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to become India's most profitable state-owned company. 
  • IOC, which has for decades been India's biggest company by turnover, posted a 70 per cent jump in net profit to Rs 19,106.40 crore in the financial year ended March 31, 2017. 
  • This was more than the Rs 17,900 crore net profit ONGC posted in the 2016-17 fiscal, making IOC the most profitable PSU, 
  • ONGC was long India's most profitable company but lost the crown to private sector Reliance and TCS a couple of years back. 
  • It has now been unseated as the most profitable PSU by IOC. 

IOC share sale: Govt said to choose investment bankers

  • The Indian government has chosen arrangers for the sale of a nearly $1 billion stake in the country’s largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.
  • The country picked Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on the offering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. ICICI Securities Ltd. and SBI Capital Markets Ltd. are also among banks selected to work on the sale
  • The country, which currently owns 58.3% of the energy giant, is pursuing a sale as it seeks to meet a Rs72,500 crore divestment target for the fiscal year beginning 1 April. 
  • India has met or exceeded its privatization target only six times since 1998.

Appointment

Tapan Ray to be the next Economic Affairs Secretary

  • The central government said that Corporate Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray will be the next Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, under the Ministry of Finance from June 1, 2017.
  • According to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Ray will take up the additional charge of the post of Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs from June 1, 2017.
  • The competent authority has approved assignment of additional charge of the post of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, to Tapan Ray, lAS (GJ:1982), Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, on superannuation of Shaktikanta Das, IAS (TN:1980), with effect from 01.06.2017 and until further orders

Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi assumes charge of Chairman of National Commission for Minorities

  • Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi assumed charge of the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities in New Delhi. After assuming the charge, Shri Rizvi said that the Commission will work for the welfare and development of minorities. 
  • Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi is a graduate in Arts and also holds Diploma in Mechanics. He served as Chairman, U.P Minority Finance Development Corporation Ltd. 
  • Shri Rizvi has been actively participating in social service. 
  • He worked for the improvement of the basic facilities and working conditions of Beedi workers and Weaver community in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • He also worked for Communal Harmony and National Integrity.

Jaideep Mazumdar appointed next Ambassador of India to Philippines

  • Jaideep Mazumdar has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Philippines.
  • The 1989 batch IFS officer is presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
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