The Daily Brief – 23rd September, 2016

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  • India, United States and Afghanistan have reaffirmed their shared interests in combating terrorism and advancing peace and security in the region. In this regard, a trilateral statement was issued after a meeting of their delegates in New York on the sidelines of the 71st session of UN General Assembly.
  • The Union Government has extended support to certain new products and the rate of incentives for certain other specified products under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). MEIS was launched under the Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP) 2015-20. It seeks to enhance India’s export competitiveness of these goods and products.
  • The Union Government has appointed Navtej Sarna as Ambassador to the United States. He will take over from Arun Kumar Singh, who has retired from the service. In his new role he will face the task of engaging with the new government in the United States following the November 2016 Presidential poll. The government has also appointed IFS officer Taranjit Singh Sandhu as the next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. He will replace Yash Sinha.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed three economists, Pami Dua, Chetan Ghate and Ravindra Dholakia as external appointees on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). They will have a fixed four year terms.
  • After constant persuasion from the Uttarakhand government, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has agreed to permit hydro electric projects in the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). However, the Ministry has said that cumulative impact assessment study of the Bhagirathi Basin must be carried out for it to decide whether the 10 projects were viable.
  • Two Indian forest officials have been selected for the 2016 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards. They are Assistant Conservator Ritesh Sarothiya of the Madhya Pradesh State Forest Service, and Range officer Sanjay Dutta of Belakoba Forest Range Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Both of them have been honoured with this award for their law enforcement actions in wildlife protection. They will be presented with this award at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa in October 2016.
  • Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar has been sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
  • Around 1 lakh people belonging to the dominant Maratha community in Maharashtra participated in a ‘silent protest rally’ in the Amravati district, as a part of the community’s ongoing Statewide campaign demanding reservation and amendments to the SC-ST Atrocities Act. The rally was the tenth such silent one in the last one month.
  • India’s grain production in the ongoing kharif (2016-17) season is likely to be a record high 135.03 million tonnes, with an improved output of rice and pulses, thanks to a good monsoon, according to the first advance estimate of crop production released by the Agriculture Ministry. India achieved a record kharif production of 131.27 million tonnes during 2011-12. The production for 2015-16 stood at 124.01 million tonnes.
  • N. Taher, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Hyderabad Circle, has announced that the mortal remains of Georgian Queen Ketevan have been found in Goa, bringing to light the 16th Century connection between Georgia and the coastal state, a part of the Deccan peninsula.
  • The Tata Group has set up its new office in Yangon aimed at strengthening its presence in Myanmar.The office, set up by Tata International, will be a central hub for Tata companies and further enhance and strengthen the Tata Group’s engagement with stakeholders in Myanmar.
  • Aurobindo Pharma has received tentative approval from the USFDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to manufacture and market Dolutegravir used for the treatment of HIV in the U.S. market.
A still from Tamil film Visarani
  • Visaranai, the Tamil docu-drama crime thriller, has been chosen as India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 89th Academy Awards (Oscars) to be held in 2017. The national award-winning film, directed by Vetrimaran, and produced by actor Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films, documents four migrant workers who suffer police brutality and corruption after being jailed on false charges.
  • Syrian aid group White Helmets has won the prestigious Right Livelihood Award which is also known as the alternative Nobel prize. The White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a Syrian civil organisation of emergency responders in rebel-held areas. The White Helmets will share the prize with Russian activist Svetlana Gannushkina, Egypt’s feminist leader Mozn Hassan and leading independent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
  • Afghanistan has signed a peace agreement with notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, paving the way for him to make a political comeback despite a history of war crimes and after years in hiding. Hekmatyar, who heads the now largely dormant Hezb-e-Islami militant group, is the latest in a series of controversial figures that Kabul has sought to reintegrate in the post-Taliban era by granting judicial immunity for past crimes. The deal with Afghanistan’s second-biggest militant group marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani, who has struggled to revive peace talks with the more powerful Taliban. Hekmatyar, derided widely as the “butcher of Kabul”, was a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s who has been accused of killing thousands of people in the Afghan capital during the 1992-1996 civil war.
  • The Pentagon has confirmed that Islamic State (IS) forces have fired crude chemical weapons at U.S. troops in Iraq. The attack came from a powdered mustard agent delivered in a mortar or rocket shell and fired on U.S. forces.

Today’s Quiz

  1. India recently entered into an agreement for peace and security with which two countries, on the sidelines of the 71st session of UN General Assembly?





2. Which Indian film has been nominated for the Oscars next year?





3. Who has been appointed as India's new Ambassador to the United States?





4. Which of the following has not been appointed to the Monetary Policy Committee?





5. Which state is the Bhagirathi eco sensitive zone primarily located in?





6. Where has the Tata Group set up its latest international office?





7. Which Indian pharmaceutical company recently received tentative approval from the USFDA to manufacture and market Dolutegravir used for the treatment of HIV?





8. Which of the following is not a recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award this year?









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