Current Affairs Daily Digest – April 20 and 21 2017

  1. Italian mayor wins UNESCO Peace Prize

The Unesco has awarded its Peace Prize to Giuseppina (Giusi) Nicolini, the mayor of the Italian island of Lampedusa, for her commitment to saving the lives of migrants and refugee. Nicolini was bestowed with the honou for her effort that saved thousands who fled across the Mediterranean often on unseaworthy boats to find a better and peaceful life. Since becoming Mayor in 2012, Nicolini has been an outspoken defender of refugee and migrant rights. 

  1. Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura chosen for Krishi Karman Awards, 2015-16

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has selected Tripura for the Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for commendable increase in food grain production in small category states. Tripura gets this national award for the second time. The northeastern state first received the award in the 2009-10 fiscal. For total food grain production, Tamil Nadu gets the award in large category (production more than 10 million tonnes), Himachal Pradesh in medium category (1 to 10 million tonnes) and Tripura in small category (less than 1 million tonnes). Each award-winning state would receive a trophy, a citation and cash award of Rs five crore at a function in New Delhi.

  1. Government of India to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18 – Series I

Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18 – Series I. Applications for the bond will be accepted from April 24, 2017 to April 28, 2017. The Bonds will be issued on May 12, 2017. The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange. 

  1. 11th Civil Services Day function begins
  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the two-day 11th Civil Services Day programme.  The theme of the Conference was ‘Transforming India – Reform to Transform’. An Exhibition on various Priority Programmes of the Government of India was also organized on the theme.
  • The Civil Services Day is organized on 21st April every year, when civil servants re-dedicate themselves to the cause of the citizens and renew their commitment to public service.
  • This day coincides with the date on which SardarVallabhbhai Patel had addressed the first batch of probationers at the All India Administrative Service Training School at Metcalfe House, New Delhi in 1947.
  • This year two day function was organised on 20-21 April, 2016, in which eight break away sessions on replication of PM awarded initiatives and four Priority Programmes namely ‘PradhanMantri Jan DhanYojana’, ‘Swachh Bharat (Gramin)’, ‘SwachhVidyalaya’ and ‘Soil Health Card’.
  1. Centre extends Ceasefire with Naga rebel groups till April 27, 2018
  • The Government of India has extended the ceasefire with two Naga armed groups, National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Reformation (NSCN-R) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Neakpao-Kithovi (GPRN/NSCN) till April 27, 2018.
  • The decision was taken during a meeting between the Union Home Ministry officials and the Ceasefire Supervisory Board of both the Naga armed factions in New Delhi.
  • A ceasefire is in operation between the Indian government and NSCN-R and also between the government and NSCN-NK.
  • It was decided to extend the suspension of operation with NSCN-R and NSCN-NK for a further period of one year with effect from April 28, 2017.
  1. India contributes USD 2,50,000 to Election Assistance Division of UN

India has made a quarter-million-dollar contribution to the UN programme for helping countries to hold elections and develop their electoral systems. Eenam Gambhir, a First Secretary in India’s Mission to the UN, presented the cheque to Kyoko Shiotani, Chief of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General at the UN Department of Political Affairs.  This is the second Indian contribution of $250,000 to the programmes for electoral assistance and capacity building. The first was made in 2012. Through the Election Assistance Division set up in 1991, the UN has helped over 100 countries with their elections.

  1. Quality Mark” Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDB
  • As part of the innovative initiatives under the “White Revolution” umbrella Schemes, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has supported the National Dairy Development Board(NDDB) developed initiative of “Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives to promote and encourage enhancement of safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives.
  • It is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of safe and quality of milk and products both for the domestic and foreign market.
  • The Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives in the country has been initiated to instill confidence in the consumers for the quality of milk being marketed by them by ensuring availability of safe and good quality milk and milk products.
  • The quality mark scheme was rolled out on 6th January-2016 after deliberating on the process and award mechanism for over a year. The initiative does not propose any new/ additional system for Food Safety and Quality Management but lays down minimum standards against each link of the processes required for ensuring quality and safety.
  1. Kerala to install cloth sanitary napkin vending machines

While the subject of menstruation is considered a taboo in India, the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation in Kerala, has launched a project to promote sustainable menstruation.  Project ‘Cloth pads’ is an initiative taken by the municipal corporation to make access to sanitary napkins easy. According to an AC Nielsen report, number of girls in India who use sanitary napkin in 2010 was 12%, which increased to 45% by 2014. This increase in use of commercial sanitary napkins has led to problems of disposal, as they are made of non-biodegradable materials. 

  1. Cabinet approves direct foreign borrowing by state entities

The Union Cabinet has approved new rules to allow financially sound state government entities to borrow directly from other countries which give Official Development Assistance for major infrastructure projects.  In such cases, the state government concerned will give a guarantee and the Centre will provide a counter-guarantee. For instance, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, a Maharashtra government entity, would be allowed to directly take an ODA loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Rs 17,854 crore Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project. The JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs 15,109 crore.

  1. India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact and coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.  Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact and coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

  1. Australia announces sweeping changes to Citizenship laws
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced sweeping changes to Australia’s citizenship laws, introducing tighter requirements for new applicants, a move that follows the scrapping of the 457 visa schemes for foreign workers.
  • Under the new reforms, the applicants must be permanent residents for at least four years — three years longer than at present — and must be committed to embrace “Australian values.
  •  Prospective citizens will have to pass a standalone English test that will focus heavily on respect for women and children, with possible questions about child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
  • The test will have questions assessing an applicant’s understanding of and commitment to shared Australian values and responsibilities
  1. Microsoft announces new Azure migration tools

Microsoft has announced new Azure migration tools and resources to help organisations utilise the power of the hybrid cloud.  Hybrid cloud is a computing environment which uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. The new tools and resources announced include free Cloud migration assessment, Azure hybrid use benefit and Azure site recovery.

  1. Mongolia launches its first-ever satellite

Mongolia launched its first satellite part of its efforts to make use of new technology to diversify its resource-dependent economy. The 1,227-megahertz satellite, called Mongol Sat-1, will help landlocked Mongolia expand its television, telecoms and broadband services.  The satellite was launched in partnership with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), a telecoms and broadcast provider for the region. No details about the cost of the satellite and the launch were provided, and government agencies could not be immediately reached for comment.

  1. Scientists uncover how bacteria survive human immune system
  • Researchers have uncovered molecular details of how pathogenic bacteria fight back against the human immune response to infection. Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Institut de Biologie Structurale (CEA-CNRS-UGA, France) have identified the structure of NsrR, a bacterial protein that binds to DNA and plays a key role in the bacterium’s resistance to nitric oxide (NO), which is produced in the initial immune response to infection.
  • In order to counter the effects of NO, which can be toxic to living organisms, many bacteria have evolved ways to detect it and mount a cellular response.  The most common dedicated NO sensor in bacteria is the regulatory protein NsrR. Regulatory proteins bind to DNA, and in doing so control whether particular genes are switched on or off.
  1. China launches its first-ever unmanned cargo spacecraft

China has launched its first cargo spacecraft, making further progress in its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft lifted off a Long March-7 Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan. The spacecraft can carry six tonnes of goods, two tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months

  1. India wins elections to two subsidiary bodies of UN

India has won elections to two subsidiary bodies of a UN organ focussed on social and economic issues.India along with 12 other members was elected to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The country garnered the most number of votes in the Asian group, with 49 out of 50 members of ECOSOC voting in its favour.

  1. PM, Paytm CEO feature in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been featured in Time’s magazine’s 100 most influential people list. Along with the Prime Minister, who is a regular on the Time list, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma too has made the cut. US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May have also been featured in the 100 most influential people list.

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Read Current Affairs Daily Digest For April 2017

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