Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 29 - JUNE - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 29 - JUNE - 2016
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 11:54

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

29- JUNE - 2016

 

NASA UNVEILS X-57 HYBRID ELECTRIC RESEARCH PLANE

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled the iconic X-57 Hybrid Electric Research Plane nicknamed asMaxwell.

The plane is fixed with 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them are integrated into a uniquely-designed wing. NASA will use this plane to test new propulsion technology.

Highlights of X-57 Hybrid Electric Research Plane

• The airplane is named after James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th century Scottish physicist who did groundbreaking work in electromagnetism.

• The artist's concept of the X-57 shows the plane's specially designed wing and 14 electric motors.

• NASA Aeronautics researchers will use the Maxwell to demonstrate that how electric propulsion can make planes quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

• Maxwell will be powered only by batteries, eliminating carbon emissions and demonstrating how demand would shrink for lead-based aviation fuel still in use by general aviation.

• Energy efficiency at cruise altitude using X-57 technology could benefit travellers by reducing flight times, fuel usage, as well as reducing overall operational costs for small aircraft.

• Moreover, X-57’s electric propulsion technology is expected to significantly decrease aircraft noise, making it less annoying to the public.

Comment
With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA’s research capabilities, the general aviation-sized X-57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation.

The first X-plane was the X-1, which in 1947 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. The X-1 project defined and solidified the post-war cooperative union between US military needs, industrial capabilities and research facilities.

INDIA GETS FIRST WOMEN FIGHTER PILOTS; COMMISSIONED 3 PILOTS IN BATCH-1

The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned first three women fighter pilots. The batch of pilots was inducted at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal near Hyderabad.

With this, India joined the select few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots in their Air Forces.

The first three women fighter pilots of India are –

• Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi

• Flying Officer Bhawana Kanth

• Flying Officer Mohana Singh

However, they will get to fly fighter jets like the Sukhoi and Tejas only in 2017 after their Stage III training at Bidar in Karnataka in 2017.

Background

• In October 2015, the Union Ministry of Defence approved the induction of women into the combat stream of Indian Air Force (IAF) on an experimental basis for five years.

• At present, around 1500 women serve in the Indian Air Force of which around 90 as pilots and about 15 as navigators.

• IAF had women in seven areas of administration, logistics, meteorology, navigation, education, aeronautical engineering mechanical and electrical and accounts.

• Earlier, the Air Force refused to allow women in fighter squadrons because of the fears of torture and rape, if they were shot down in combat.

• Combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.

INDIA, THAILAND SIGNED 2 AGREEMENTS ON COOPERATION IN CULTURE AND EDUCATION SECTORS

India and Thailand signed two agreements that are aimed at enhancing cooperation in culture as well as educational sectors.

The set of agreements pertains to extension of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for 2016-19 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nagaland University and Thailand’s Chiang Mai University.

The agreements were signed in New Delhi during the 3-day visit of Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha that concluded on 18 June 2016.

During the visit, he held talks with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a wide range of issues that are of concern for both the countries and the region as a whole.

At the end of the summit level meeting, a joint statement that mentioned cooperation in areas like maritime security, cyber security, military and intelligence cooperation among others.

India-Thailand relations

• India's relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of India's strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

• India's 'Act East' policy is complemented by Thailand's 'Look West' policy in bringing the two countries closer.

• They have strong economic synergies and the diversifying profile of growing bilateral trade and investment reflects the growth and maturity of the interaction between the two economies.

• Extensive people-to-people contacts are central to the India-Thailand relationship. In 2015, more than 1 million Indian tourists visited Thailand and over 100000 Thai tourists visited India.

• Two-way trade between India and Thailand stands at 8 billion US dollars. While export to Thailand from India is 2.63 billion US dollars, Thai imports reached 5.3 billion US dollars in 2015-16.

• Beginning from 2004, 29 rounds of talks for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were conducted so far.

• During the present visit, both the countries agreed to commence negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

IWAI AND IPGPL SIGNED MOU ON KALADAN MULTIMODAL TRANSIT TRANSPORT PROJECT

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project.

The MoU has been signed for implementation of the following three additional works, which are independent of the on-going works and are estimated to cost 476 crore rupees. They are

• Container handling facilities at Sittwe & Paletwa

• Operation & Maintenance of the completed works

• Wrecks removed in Sittwe Port basin area

IWAI shall remain as the overall Project Development Consultant (PDC) to Project Development Consultant (PDC) for implementation of PORT & IWT component of Kaladan project.

Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) in Myanmar

KMTTP was conceptualised and is being administered by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). It was planned with an aim to facilitate connectivity between the mainland and the North Eastern States of the country through maritime shipping, inland waterways and roads of Myanmar.

The link between North Eastern States of India and Myanmar will pave the way for enhanced trade & commerce across the border. It will also enable cultural and social integration at the regional level.

Project Development Consultant of the Project, IWAI

MEA had appointed Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as the Project Development Consultant (PDC) for the implementation of the Port & Inland Water Transport (IWT) component of the Kaladan Project on 19 March 2009 and by Supplementary Agreement dated 28 April 2016.

India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL)

IPGPL was established as a Joint Venture between Kandla Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust for the purpose of development of ports overseas. IPGPL was asked to partner IWAI in the Kaladan project as a sub-PDC.

It will help complete the implementation of Kaladan project within the scheduled timeframe of April 2019 and provide relief to IWAI. The responsibilities of IWAI has increased manifold due to declaration of 106 new National Waterways and implementing the ambitious ‘Jal Marg Vikas” project.

KANNADA MOVIE THITHI WON BEST FILM AWARD AT 19TH SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Kannada Movie Thithi won two awards - Best Film and Best Script Writers - under the Asia New Talent Awards Category at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Earlier, in August 2015, the film premiered at the 68th Locarno International Film Festival and won the Golden Leopard honour in the Filmmakers of the Present category and the Swatch First Feature award.

The film also won numerous other awards at film festivals held in Mumbai, Palm Springs, Marrakech, etc. Some of the important among them are

• 63rd National Film Awards: It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada.

• 2016 Karnataka State Film Awards: It bagged the awards, namely, First Best Film, Best Supporting Actress and Best Dialogue award.

• It was invited to the 45th edition of New Directors/New Films in New York, the USA.

About Thithi

Thithi is a drama film consisting of a cast of non-professional actors from villages in the Mandya district of Karnataka. It is a light-hearted story about three generations of men reacting to the death of their 101-year old patriarch.

SBI NAMED IN HALL OF SHAME LIST OF BANKS FUNDING CLUSTER BOMB MAKERS

The State Bank of India (SBI) was named in the Hall of Shame list of 158 banking institutions that have invested billions of dollars in companies making cluster bombs. The list was prepared by Dutch campaign group PAX Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report.

State Bank of India (SBI) is the only Indian entity on the list that includes global giants like JP Morgan, Barclays, Bank of America and Credit Suisse.

Highlights of the Report

• The report looks at investments into companies involved in the production of cluster munitions.

• 158 financial institutions invested over 28 billion US dollars in the seven companies researched in the report between June 2012 and April 2016.

• These 7 companies are China Aerospace Science and Industry, China Aerospace Science and Technology, Hanwha (South Korea), Norinco (China), Orbital ATK (US), Poongsan (South Korea) and Textron (US).

• Textron produces the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon. Between June 2012 and April 2016, 49 financial institutions invested over 12 billion US dollars in Textron.

• The maximum number of 74 banks are from the US, followed by China (29) and South Korea (26).

• The majority of the financial institutions included in the Hall of Shame are from countries that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), the international treaty that bans this weapon.

• However, the report points towards the serious concern that there are still 20 financial institutions from seven countries which have joined the CCM.

What led to the inclusion of SBI in the list?

• SBI has been included in the list because of its exposure to Orbital ATK, a US-based company specialising in the design, manufacture and launch of space and rocket systems for commercial, military and other government customers.

• Orbital ATK is one of the world's largest manufacturers of ammunition and a leading supplier of precision systems and electronic warfare. The company is also active in propulsion systems.

• State Bank of India has made an estimated 87 million US dollars available to the companies on the red flag list since June 2012.

About Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) categorically bans use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. This convention was signed by 94 countries in 2008 and it came into force from August 2010.

Most financial institutions named in the Pax list are from countries that have not signed this convention. However, there are also banks from the countries that have adopted this treaty over years.

PEOPLE OF THE CITIES HAVE TO DECIDE ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR CITIES: PM

  • “People of the cities have to decide about the development of their urban spaces and such decisions cannot be taken in Delhi,” PM Narendra Modi said.
  • “The spirit of participative governance is vital. Let us consider urbanisation as an opportunity. Gone are the days when it was seen as a challenge or obstacle,” said Mr. Modi.
  • Remarking that cities were not merely growth centres, Mr. Modi asserted that India’s urban spaces had the strength and the capacity to mitigate poverty, noting that there was a positive atmosphere of competing on development works under the mission.
  • Remarking on the robustness of the ‘Smart City’ project, he said the project in itself was “a mass movement” and that the “experiment had been successful.”
  • The Prime Minister flagged off 14 projects in the city while laying emphasis on the need to focus on solid waste management.
  • “Smart cities are about modern facilities and becoming centres of development,” Mr Modi said, adding, “The people of India are the smartest. Once their skills are harnessed then see the wonders that will occur.”

INFORMAL CONSULTATIVE PROCESS FOR INDIA'S ENTRY INTO NSG

  • Closed-door session of the NSG that ended its annual plenary in Seoul appointed Argentine Ambassador as the “Facilitaor of the Chairperson to having informal consultations with the Participating Governments (PGs) in the group”.
  • The decision indicates that despite opposition from China and other countries on the issue of the NPT that India has refused to sign, and the desire of several NSG countries to look for a “non-discrimatory” membership process.
  • Members reportedly agreed to the informal arrangement after a special session where several countries raised India’s case.
  • Eventually the NSG joint statement only recorded a bland account of the session, recording that “The NSG had discussions on the issue of “Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG.”
  • Ambassador Grossi’s appointment to assist the new Chairperson from Switzerland with the “continued discussion” on India is significant, as Mr. Grossi is the outgoing Chairperson of the NSG, and was keenly involved in bringing India’s bid to the NSG table this year.
  • Argentina has been very supportive of India’s bid, Mr. Grossi is an international expert on disarmament, and negotiated the accession of 197 members to the Chemical Warfare Convention (CWC) some years ago.
  • News of Mr. Grossi’s appointment came even as a U.S. official reportedly said that the NSG session had ended with a “path forward” for India’s acceptance as a member.

ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY REVOKES DRAFT FOREST POLICY

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has repudiated a ‘Draft National Forest Policy’ that it uploaded on its website earlier this month calling it an “inadvertent” error.
  • The ‘Draft National Forest Policy, 2016’, was uploaded on the Ministry’s website on June 16 along with an office memorandum calling for comments.
  • The Environment Ministry had tasked the Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Forest Management, an affiliated organisation, with reviewing and revising the existing forest policy.
  • This is the first time that the policy was being re-looked since 1988 as it wanted to update the several changes in forest laws and provide a forward-looking policy that talked about increasing India’s forest cover and tackling the effects of climate change.
  • While the policy was a study prepared for the “consideration of the government” it was unusual for the government to so “vehemently” deny that it was a draft.
  • The draft policy made several suggestions including promoting the commercial use of wood, a greater role for industry in forest management and time-bound reviews of the progress being made in effectively managing forests.

BREXIT GIVES TOO MANY PROBLEMS TO BRITAIN

  • The Brexit referendum verdict continued to spread turmoil in the United Kingdom’s political and economic landscape on day two after the vote.
  • While the long-term economic consequences of the break with the European Union remain unclear, its political fall out is more immediate.
  • Scotland announced after a cabinet meeting that her government would begin work on legislation for the option of a second independence referendum.
  • In Northern Ireland, which also voted by a majority to remain, similar rumblings are being heard.
  • Brussels, meanwhile, is pressing hard for the U.K. to quickly initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that triggers the process of disengaging from the EU.
  • Statements issued by foreign ministers of the six founding countries of the EU, following an emergency meeting in Berlin, indicated the urgency with which the countries wish to insulate the EU and their own economies from the Brexit upheaval.

BREXIT SPLIT THE NATION

  • More than a million Britons pleaded for a second referendum as Britain’s seismic vote to abandon the EU split the nation after pounding world markets, toppling the Prime Minister and raising the threat of a breakup of the island nation.
  • In a sign of the fissures exposed by the June 23 vote, 1.2 million people signed a petition on the official government website calling for a repeat vote.
  • A parliamentary committee, which can put forward petitions for debate by lawmakers, will consider the proposal on 28th June.
  • European powers called for Britain to be shown the door quickly as they grappled with the impending loss of one of the world’s top economies, the first defection in the bloc’s 60-year history.

CHINA AND RUSSIA SIGNED A RAFT OF AGREEMENTS TO INCREASE TIE

  • China and Russia signed a raft of agreements, that ranged from the areas of food and energy security to military, cementing the strategic core of a relationship that apprehends US growing military presence in their backyards.
  • Over 30 agreements have been signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s whirlwind visit to Beijing.
  • The agreements covered joint development of a longrange civilian aircraft.
  • Moscow was starting the development of the heavy aircraft engine with a thrust of 35 tonnes for the aircraft.
  • The two countries are also developing a heavy-lift helicopter based on Chinese specifications.
  • It would have a maximum take-of weight of 38.2 tonnes, and fly at maximum speed of 300 km per hour.

DAC GAVE APPROVAL ULTRA-LIGHT HOWITZER FROM THE U.S.

  • The Army’s eforts to induct new artillery guns made progress with the Defence Acquisition Council giving advanced approvals for the procurement of M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzer from the U.S. and Dhanush developed by the OFB.
  • The DAC meeting chaired by Defence Minister considered 19 projects. New proposals worth Rs. 28,000 crore were discussed and a large number of existing schemes were reviewed.
  • In the M-777 deal for 145 ULH worth around $750 million, the DAC approved the case under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from the U.S.
  • BAE systems, which manufactures the guns, will set up an Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) facility in India for which it has already selected Mahindra group.
  • Of the 145 guns, 25 will be imported while the remaining 120 will be assembled in India.
  • However the number is expected to go up further given the Army’s need for guns to quip the mountain strike corps on the Eastern front.

INDIA LOOKING FOR PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED BY AIIB

  • India is identifying projects worth $2-3 billion that could be funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
  • Mr. Jaitley signalled India’s full support for the China-led lender by calling upon it to open a regional office in New Delhi — a move that could help support South Asia’s burgeoning demand for infrastructure.
  • The projects in India, which were being identified, were in the areas of urban development, including smart cities, urban transport, energy, inland waterways and water supply.
  • The Beijing-based AIIB is headed by former Assistant Chinese Finance Minister, while India’s DJ Pandian is its Vice President and Chief Investment Officer.
  • Mr. Jailtley said that India had continued to maintain a high growth rate of 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, despite the overall “very modest” recovery of the global economy.
  • Mr. Jaitley said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union would have only a temporary impact on India.

THE CENTRE TO MAKE IT MANDATORY FOR COMPANIES TO GIVE APPOINTMENT LETTERS

  • The Centre will soon make it mandatory for companies with more than ten workers to give appointment letters to employees at the time of joining — a move that would benefit millions of workers in the informal sector.
  • An absence of legislation on the issue makes it difficult for workers, including those who are employed informally or via contractors in the organised sector, to establish proof of employment and gives companies room to violate labour laws and not ensure any social security benefits for such employees.
  • A proposal to make appointment letters mandatory is part of the draft labour code on working conditions finalised by the Union Labour and Employment Ministry.
  • Companies in the manufacturing, construction, plantation, mining and a few other sectors will have to issue a letter of appointment within days of hiring, even if this involves contractual or migrant short-term workers.
  • The Centre may prescribe a format for appointment letters which would include details such as designation of the worker, the time period for which she is employed and other working conditions and benefits.

BRITAIN FACES CREDIT RATING RISK

  • Ratings agency Moody’s said Britain's creditworthiness was now at greater risk after voting to leave the European Union, as the country would face substantial challenges to successfully negotiate its exit from the bloc.
  • Moody’s assigned a negative outlook to its ‘Aa1’ rating for British government debt after referendum showed that a clear majority of Britons wanted to leave the EU, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to announce he would resign.
  • Britain’s finance ministry and central bank had warned voters the country would face a major economic hit if it left the EU after more than 40 years as a member, and sterling fell to its lowest against the dollar since 1985.
  • Standard & Poor’s - the only major one to still assign Britain a top-notch triple-A.

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2016 03:53