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National – Across the India:
1. Karnataka Government has decided to go ahead with the establishment of Asia’s first Rice Technology Park at Gangavati in Koppal district.
Apart from this state government has decided to set upa Maize Technology Park at Ranebennur in Haveri district.
Both parks will be established on the public-private participation model as a one-stop solution to all problems of rice and maize growers.
2. The Gujarat Government has accorded minority status to the Jain community in the state.
State government has issued a government resolution (GR) giving minority status to the Jain community.
Jain institutions will also get special status like the one given to Christian and Muslim institutions as per Article 30 of Indian Constitution.
3. The single emergency number ‘112’ will be operational throughout India from January 1, 2017 to help people reach immediate services of police, ambulance and fire department.
Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad approved the provision of a single number for various emergency services.
The 211 emergency services will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
4. Indian Army had conducted major military training exercise ‘2016 Chakravyuh-II’ in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
Purpose of the exercise is to “Validate battle readiness and operational effectiveness of the Pivot Formation and Rapid Division of Indian Army along with all its affiliated components”.
The Chakravyuh-II exercise involved rapid mobilisation and execution of battle plans in conjunction with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
5. The Union Government has launched nine projects initiatives for rural sanitation initiatives for conservation of river Ganga in Jharkhand.
It was launched by Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti under Namami Gange Programme in Sahibganj, Jharkhand.
Under this programme, villages located on the entire 83 Km. stretch of Ganga River in Jharkhand will be covered to improve the health and quality of life.
It will be carried out under the overall guidance of the Ministry with the support from UN Development Programme (UNDP), community organizations and NGOs.
6. The Union Government has constituted a three member committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators.
Sanjay Mitra, Secretary of Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, will be the head of this committee.
Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Delhi Transport Commissioner are its other two members.
7. Harish Rawat-led Congress Government has won the floor test in the state legislative assembly, which was conducted on 10 May 2016 on the order of the Supreme Court.
In the floor test Harish Rawat Government received 33 votes against 28 votes out of 61 qualified members who voted in the assembly.
According to this, the apex court has allowed Mr Rawat to assume office as Chief Minister after President’s rule is revoked in the state.
8. Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has given its approval to develop over 197 km long ‘bicycle highway’ from Agra up to the lion safari in Etawah to encourage eco-tourism in vicinity of Taj Mahal.
Decision in this regard was taken by State Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
State Cabinet also approved the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in the state from the Kharif season 2016.
9. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that Telecom companies will not compensate mobile phone users for inconvenience caused by call drops.
In this regard, the apex court has struck down the TRAI Regulation which made it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate subscribers for call drops from January 2016.
The Ruling was given by the SC bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman on the appeals filed by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
10. The Supreme Court has upheld constitutional validity of penal laws on defamation as the right to life under Article 21 includes the right to reputation.
Ruling in this regard was given by two-judge SC bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant on combined petitions filed by a number of politicians and public figures.
The petitioners had alleged that the provisions of criminal sanction act as a censoring device thus violate the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution.
11. Union Government’s apex think tank NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has decided to come up with a 15-year vision document in tandem with global trends and economic growth.
NITI Aayog which had replaced erstwhile Planning Commission (PC) in 2015, with its 15-year vision document will also abandon the concept of five-year plans prepared by the PC since 1951.
The first 15-year vision document will come into effect from 2017-18 after the end of the 12th Five year plan. It will be formulated with central objective of eradication poverty.
International – Across the Globe:
1. The United Nations has launched UN Zika Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) to finance critical unfunded priorities in the response to the Zika outbreak.
The fund was launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States.
The Fund aims to provide a rapid, flexible and accountable platform to support a coordinated response from the UN system and partners.
It will directly support the Zika Strategic Response Framework developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in consultation with UN agencies, partners and international epidemiological experts.
2. The fourth edition South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) Ministerial Meeting has begun in New Delhi.
The 3 day landmark meeting (from 9 to 11 May 2016) is being hosted by the Union Ministry of Child and Women Development.
The meeting will assess progress and developments of the past decade of regional effort of SAIEVAC and identify priorities for SAIEVAC for the next five years.
SAIEVAC is apex body of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations created to bring governments of the region into active engagement for child protection against violence.
3. United Kingdom’s first baby named Biagio Russo was born in Oxford using Next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) method.
This method uses a revolutionary In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique resulting in better selection of embryos to transfer during the treatment.
NGS also known as high-throughput sequencing is bio medical process that allows doctors to easily choose the embryos which have the strongest chance of growing into healthy babies.
4. Anti-crime candidate and mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte has won the 2016 presidential election of the Philippines by a landslide victory.
He will become the 16th President-elect of Philippines.
He was followed by Mar Roxas 23% (9.27 million) votes and his closest rival Grace Poe with 22% (8.6 million) votes.
5. The Obama administration will tell every US public school district to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The letter, signed by officials from the Education and Justice departments, does not have the force of law but contains an implicit threat that schools which do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.
The move comes as the Obama administration and North Carolina battle in federal court over a state law passed in March that limits public bathroom access for transgender people.
6. The Kenyan Government has decided to close Dadaab refugee camp which is often referred to as the world’s largest refugee camp over the issue national security.
The camp is home to 330000 refugees mostly from Somalia who have fled from the civil war in their country.
Kenyan Government has stated that the Dadaab refugee camp has become safe haven for terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist extremists group and also a conduit for smuggling weapons. al-Shabab also had planned three large-scale attacks from Dadaab.
1. 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.
Sakshi Malik also entered the final in the 58 kg category and qualified for Rio Olympics. In the Semi-final she defeated Len Jhang.
2. The International Cricket Council has appointed former India Captain Rahul Dravid and ex-Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene in its Cricket Committee.
Anil Kumble has been re-appointed as its chairman.
The committee, that already comprises some prominent names such as Andrew Strauss, Kevin O’Brien and Darren Lehmann, will add two of the most prolific batsmen of their generation in order to foresee the improvement of the game.
3. The BCCI has called for a Special General Meeting on May 22 in Mumbai to elect its new president following the resignation of Shashank Manohar.
Manohar’s exit from the top post on May 10 barely seven months into his tenure has necessitated the election of the new chief of the world’s richest and most powerful cricket body.
He was elected as ICC’s first independent chairman on May 12.
Awards & Recognition:
1. India is ranked ninth in 2015 Crony-Capitalism Index with crony sector wealth accounting for 3.4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The index was based on new study by The Economist which had used data from a list of the world’s billionaires and their worth published by Forbes.
In this study each individual is labelled as crony or not based on the source of their wealth.
Top countries are Russia (1st), Malaysia (2nd), Philippines (3rd) and Singapore (4th).
2. The Madhya Pradesh Tourism (MPT) won the Lonely Planet Group’s Best Indian Destination for Wildlife Award.
The award was handed over to MPT at a function in Mumbai by actress Amy Jackson.
The award was received by his Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vinod Kumar Amar, on behalf of MPT Chairman.
3. US President Barack Obama has honoured an Indian-American elementary teacher Revathi Balakrishnan from Texas at the White House.
She was honoured for her excellent work in the field of education as part of the ‘National Teacher of the Year Programme.
National Teacher of the Year Programme identifies exceptional teachers across the US by recognising their effective work in the classroom.
It engages them in a year of professional learning and empowers them to participate in education policy discussions at the state and national levels.
4. President Pranab Mukherjee has presented the National Florence Nightingale Awards to thirty-five nursing personnel from across the country.
They were presented with the award at a function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of International Nurses Day (12 May).
The Florence Nightingale Award was established by the Union Health Ministry to honour the selfless services rendered by Nurses with devotion, sincerity, dedication and compassion.
The award is named after Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing.
She was born on May 12, 1820 and the day is celebrated as International Nurses Day all over the world.
Appointments & Resignations:
1. An Indian-origin lawyer Murali Pillai from Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been elected member of the parliament.
He got elected by garnering 61.21 per cent of the votes in the by-election held at suburban Bukit Batok constituency.
His opponent Chee Soon Juan from Singapore Democratic Party got 38.79 per cent of votes.
Mr Murali became the first PAP candidate to win a by-election in a single member constituency in more than three decades.
2. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Senior Advocate of Bombay High Court Atma Ram Nadkarni as Additional Solicitor General.
He will have tenure of three years and an order in this regard was issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Earlier he had served as Advocate General (highest law officer of the state) of Goa.
3. Mrugank Paranjape took charge as managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), country’s largest commodity exchange.
His appointment fills the vacancy of the post which was vacant for past two years.
Mrugank Paranjape was working with Deutsche Bank for 14 years as Asia Pacific Head of Trust & Securities Services/Cash Management for Financial Institutions.
The MCX is country’s first listed commodity futures exchange that facilitates online trading, and clearing and settlement of commodity futures transactions.
4. Shashank Manohar has stepped down as President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with immediate effect.
He also has resigned as the representative of BCCI on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and also from the Asian Cricket Council
BCCI is the national governing body for cricket in India and is considered as world’s richest cricket board. It was established as BCCI in 1928 by replacing Calcutta Cricket Club.
5. Veteran cricket administrator Shashank Manohar was elected unopposed as ICC’s (International Cricket Council) first independent Chairman.
He was the sole nominee for the position and the ICC Board has now unanimously supported his appointment.
The amendments had abolished the post of the ICC President and created the post of independent Chairman.
6. United States (US) President Barack Obama has appointed an Indian-American engineer Manjit Singh as the member of President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (PACFBNF).
PACFBNF brings together leaders and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations in order to make recommendations to the Administration.
Singh is the President of Agilious, a software technology consulting firm he founded in 2013.
He is an engineering graduate of Bombay University.
He is the co-founder of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national Sikh American media, policy and education organization.
7. Senegalese Fatma Samoura has been elected as the International Federation of Association Football’s (FIFA) first female general secretary, announced the sporting organisation’s president, Gianni Infantino on Friday in Mexico City.
During the 66th FIFA Congress, Samoura was the best person for the job to help lead the soccer entity forward after being plagued by corruption cases since 2015.
Fatma Samoura will be accepted in the position after meeting the requirements established in FIFA’s Article 37 and after being evaluated by an independent review committee.
Economics & Banking GK:
1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) soon going to issue banknotes of 1000 rupees denominations with inset letter ‘R’ in both the number panels.
These new banknotes will be issued in the Mahatma Gandhi Series – 2005.
Besides, all the banknotes in the denomination of 1000 rupees issued by RBI in the past would continue to be legal tender.
The design of these new 1000 rupees banknotes is similar in all respects to the earlier issued banknotes of same denominations in Mahatma Gandhi Series – 2005.
2. India’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank has launched country’s first contactless business credit card in association with Jet Airways for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The card has been christened as the ‘Jet Airways ICICI Bank Business Advantage Card’.
The card is powered by ‘VISA payWave’ contactless technology.
The technology enables cardholder to make payments by simply tapping card at contactless enabled terminals in more than 48 countries including India.
3. According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, India’s core inflation remains a bit higher than policymakers would like, but the economy’s recovery should accelerate with a good monsoon.
Consumer prices rose last month at a more-than-expected 5.39 percent annual rate, up from 4.83 percent in March.
It was the first increase in the retail inflation rate since January.
Bills – New & Amendments:
1. Parliament has passed the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016 to widen ambit of law dealing with this anti-hijacking crime.
The Bill was first passed in the Rajya Sabha and later in the Lok Sabha in May 2016.
Now the Bill will go for Presidential assent as per Article 111 of Indian Constitution.
The Bill defines hijacking as seizing control of an aircraft in service, unlawfully and intentionally, by coercion, technological means or by exercising force or any other form of intimidation.
2. The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 has passed by the Parliament after the Lok Sabha adopted certain amendments made by the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill seeks to amend the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 that provides for development and regulation of certain industries.
The Bill seeks to transfer from the Centre to states the control over industries engaged in the production of potable alcohol.
3. The Parliament has passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill, 2016.
It was first passed in Lok Sabha and later in Rajya Sabha in the month of May, 2016.
The code seeks to ensure time-bound settlement of insolvency, faster turnaround of businesses and create a unified data base of serial defaulters.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and Mauritius on cooperation in cooperatives and related fields.
The Agreement provides for promoting cooperation between both countries through short and medium term programmes within the framework of the joint activities.
It will be valid for duration of five years after which it can be automatically extended for another five years.
2. The Union Cabinet has apprised of a General Framework Agreement (GFA) on Renewable Energy Cooperation between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The GFA was signed in February 2016 in New Delhi during the official state visit of Crown Prince of UAE to India.
The GFA aims at boosting bilateral cooperation between India and UAE in the field of new and renewable energy technologies.
3. India and other 5 countries “Canada, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand and China” have signed OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement in Beijing (China).
The multilateral agreement aims at boosting automatic exchange of information on tax issues and developing new tools to tackle the tax evasion.
The pact allows all signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange Country-by-Country Reports with each other.
It is designed to provide tax administrations with information needed to combat tax avoidance through transfer pricing.
Science & Technology:
1. Scientists have detected atomic oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars for the first time since the last observation 40 years ago.
It was detected using an instrument onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 100-inch diameter telescope. It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Centre.
2. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has unveiled the first global digital elevation (topographic model) of Mercury.
The model was unveiled by NASA’s MESSENGER ((MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission.
The MESSENGER mission shows stunning detail the topography across the entire innermost planet of our solar system.
The model was created using more than 100,000 images acquired by the MESSENGER mission.
3. Scientists from the Queen’s University (Canada) have developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone named HoloFlex.
The HoloFlex smartphone lets users to interact with 3D (Three dimensional) videos and images without using any headgear or glasses.
HoloFlex features a high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touch-screen display.
It renders images into 12-pixel wide circular blocks that allow the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint.
4. Indian Navy has launched the state-of-the-art Harbour Defence Systems, viz. Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS) in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Mine Warfare Data Centre (MWDC) was also launched.
IUHDSS and MWDC systems seek to enhance the Indian Navy’s surveillance capability and response to security threats at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
5. NASA’s unmanned Kepler space observatory has discovered the largest trove of exoplanets outside our solar system.
So far, it has discovered total of 1,284 exoplanets and it is more than double the number of known exoplanets found with the Kepler space telescope.
The unmanned Kepler space observatory was launched in 2009 and was tasked with determining how commonly, Earth-like planets occur throughout the Milky Way galaxy.
6. United States has activated a land-based missile defence station (Aegis Ashore Missile Defence System) in Deveselu, Romania.
The missile defence station is part of NATO’s larger European shield to protect member countries from short and medium-range missiles, particularly from the Middle East.
The Deveselu missile defence station has a battery of SM-2 missile interceptors.
It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.
1. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is being observed across the world on the second weekend in May.
This year, WMBD is being observed on 10th May. The day seeks to raise awareness and highlight the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats.
2016 Theme is “Stop the Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds”.
On this day people around the world organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD.
2. National Technology Day is being observed across India on May 11 to glorify the importance of science in day-to-day life and motivate students to adopt science as a career option.
2016 Theme is ‘Technology enablers of Startup India’.
The day is being commemorated to celebrate the “anniversary of first of the five tests of Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II) nuclear test”, held on 11 May 1998 in Pokhran, Rajasthan.
3. International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12.
It is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
The IND theme for 2016 is “Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving health systems”.