The Daily Brief – 28th September, 2016

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  • A study conducted by the World Health Organisation has revealed that air pollution could have killed at least 600,000 Indians in 2012. That is about a fifth of the 3 million who died worldwide because they were exposed to fine particulate matter that may have aggravated or been directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. India comes just behind China, which witnessed an estimated 800,000 deaths.
  • Stepping up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, India has refused to participate in the SAARC Summit being held in Pakistan in November. The decision on cancelling Indian participation was taken along with discussions continued about steps such as reviewing the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status for Pakistan following the Uri attack. The decision is unprecedented as this is the first time that India has cancelled participation in the regional group’s summit meeting because of actions that it blames on Pakistan-based elements. The tough step had been under consideration since the Uri attack, the second such cross border strike in nine months after the January 2 Pathankot airbase strike.
  • Enforcing its authority as the final arbiter of inter-State river water disputes, the Supreme Court ignored the Karnataka legislature’s resolution to not share Cauvery water and directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for the next three days. The Court said that this provisional release of water would be adjusted in the eventual adjudication of the dispute.
  • India and China held their first high level dialogue on counter-terrorism and security. The talks were co-chaired by R.N. Ravi, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Mr. Wang Yongqing, Secretary General of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of China. The dialogue draws officials from multiple agencies connected with combating specific aspects of counter-terrorism.
  • India’s unemployment rate has risen to a five-year high of five per cent in 2015-16, according to the latest annual household survey on employment conducted by the Labour Bureau.
  • India has climbed 16 notches to the 39th position during the past year in the World Econommic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-17 this marks the biggest scale of improvement in competitiveness among all countries and is the second year in a row India has gone up 16 ranks in the WEF index.
  • Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that India will invest $2 billion in Sri Lanka in the next three-four years. Ms. Sitharaman was in Colombo for talks on an Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). The ETCA initiative follows unfruitful negotiations, spanning nearly a decade, on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). India and Sri Lanka already have a Free Trade Agreement since 1998.
  • A new species of a ground-dwelling lizard has been discovered in Goregaon’s Aarey Colony and Thane’s Badlapur forested belts in Maharashtra. It has been named as Cyrtodactylus Varadgirii or Giri’s Geckoella after a Bengaluru-based scientist Varad Giri. It was discovered 130 years after the last such gecko was discovered.
  • The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport has become Asia-Pacific’s only and one of the world’s few airports to achieve a carbon neutral status.
  • The Union Government has given its approval to change the name of Gurgaon to ‘Gurugram’. With this both the city as well as the district of Gurgaon would be known as Gurugram.
  • An advanced Indian mega space launcher that can deliver ten-tonne and heavier communication satellites to space and using a semi-cryogenic engine is likely to to power ISRO’s launchers by around 2018. The GSLV presently has a load cpaacity of 2000 kgs. ISRO is gearing up for the first test flight of the GSLV Mark-III vehicle in December with a 4,000-kg payload.
  • NASA has announced that more evidence of possible water plumes erupting from the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa has been spotted using the Hubble Space Telescope. Europa, one of more than 50 moons circling the gas giant, is considered by NASA as a ‘top candidate’ for life elsewhere in the solar system because it is believed to possess a massive, salty, subsurface ocean that is twice the size of Earth’s.
Jim Yong Kim
  • Jim Yong Kim has been re-appointed as President of World Bank for a second five-year term beginning 1 July 2017. Jim Yong Kim is a South Korean-American physician and anthropologist. The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA).
  • The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced that current atmospheric concentrations of the main greenhouse gas CO2 — over 400 parts per million (ppm) — would, over the next century, push average global temperatures 2 to 2.4 C above the pre-industrial era benchmark.
  • Russia and Cuba have signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful atomic energy use. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 60th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held in Vienna, Austria. 
  • Google has announced a slew of products, such as YouTube Go and Google Station specially designed for India —the world’s second-largest Internet market.
  • Syed Shamsul Haq, one of Bangladesh’s best known writers, has passed away. Haq received the prestigious Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1966, Ekushey Padak in 1984 and the highest civilian award, the Swadhinata Padak, in 2000 for his outstanding contributions to Bengali literature.
  • World Rabies Day is observed on 28 September across the world to raise awareness about the rabies disease and its preventable measures.

Today’s Quiz

  1. Who has been appointed as the President of the World Bank for a second term?





2. What is Bangladesh's highest civilian award called?





3. Where was the 60th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held this year?





4. Which of the following countries is the world’s second-largest Internet market?





5. Water plumes have been found on the moon of which planet?





6. Which Indian airport became Asia-Pacific’s only airport to achieve a carbon neutral status?





7. What is India's ranking in the in the World Econommic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index?





8. Who is the final arbiter of inter-State river water disputes in India?









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