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- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on Gandhi Jayanti. The Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations in December 2015. India had signed the agreement in New York in April 2016. So far, 191 countries have signed the agreement. It will come into force when 55 countries contributing to 55 % of total global emission ratify the agreement.
- Ahead of the festival season, the Central government has announced that possession and sale of fireworks of foreign origin is illegal and punishable.
- Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh have the maximum percentage of villages that are ‘Open Defecation Free’ according to the criteria of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Other better performing States with village-level achievements are Haryana and Meghalaya with just over 41 per cent each, Gujarat (37.58 per cent), Maharashtra (28.33 per cent), Chhattisgarh (24.91 per cent) and Rajasthan (23.83 per cent).
- The SAARC summit of 2016 is set to be cancelled. The confirmation from Nepal, the current SAARC Chair, came hours after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan decided, like India, to stay away from the summit scheduled for November in Islamabad. The cancellation will be unprecedented as four members have cited “terrorism”, “interference” and “imposed violence” while withdrawing from the summit.
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh State government regarding reports of over 100 children dying due to malnutrition in the state. The NHRC took suo motu cognisance of media reports that 116 children had died as a result of malnutrition related ailments in the past five months in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.
- India’s second largest IT services company, Infosys, introduced Skava Commerce, a modern, mobile-first and modular e-commerce platform. The new platform was developed by Skava, a start-up acquired by Infosys last year. It allows businesses to leverage flexible cloud-based micro-services and white label applications to new offerings and improve conversion in digital channels.
- Ravinder Singh and Shivpal Singh have broken the national record at the javelin throw event at the 56th National Open athletics championships being held at Lucknow.
- The United States has appointed Jeffrey DeLaurentis as the first official Ambassador to Cuba in five decades. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a thaw in relations in December 2014. The two countries restored full diplomatic relations in July 2015. Mr. Obama has visited Cuba and relaxed portions of the U.S. embargo imposed since 1962.
- Shimon Peres, one of the last surviving pillars of Israel’s founding generation, has passed away at the age of 93. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, and has served as President of Israel, and twice as Prime Minister.
- Scientists at the University of Minnesota have built artificial blood vessels that grew unaided when implanted into lambs, right into adulthood. If repeated in humans, such grafts would spare afflicted children the need for repeated surgeries.
- SpaceX chief Elon Musk has unveiled ambitious plans to establish a Mars colony by sending 100 humans at a time on massive spacecraft, possibly costing as low as $1,00,000 per person. Musk has expressed optimism that the first human mission could leave Earth in 2024 and arrive on the Red Planet the following year. Before that, SpaceX plans to send an unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to Mars as early as 2018.