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  • Current Affairs 18th May 2017

    Updated : 18-May-2017
    Current Affairs 18th May 2017

    Current Affairs 18th May 2017

    • NGT orders Rs 5000 fine on over-speeding vehicles in - Kaziranga
    • Elephant census begins in - Karnataka
    • State of emergency over cholera outbreak declared by - Yemen
    • Foundation dedicated to wellness of Mother and Child launched by - Suresh Raina
    • Indian Railways to install CCTV cameras at over 900 stations under - Nirbhaya fund
    • Year of Polar Prediction launched by - World Meteorological Organisation
    • India’s first smart grid to generate power from renewable energy sources created by - IIEST
    • Biologist Purnima Devi Barman nominated for - Whitley Awards
    • World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017 observed on - 17th May 2017
    • EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 launched by - Union Government
    • Dinosaur mummy discovered with all skin intact - in Canada
    • Separate 24x7 DD Channel for Jharkhand announced by - Venkaiah Naidu
    • US-based Indian Ramit Tandon won his - Maiden PSA title
    • Trump to address Muslim leaders on - Peaceful Vision Of Islam
    • Who has been appointed as Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC ? - Ovais Sarmad
    • Former Puducherry CM Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on - 15th May 2017

    Current Affairs 18th May 2017

    NGT orders Rs 5000 fine on over-speeding vehicles in - Kaziranga

    The National Green Tribunal announced on 17th May 2017 that any vehicle found over-speeding inside the Kaziranga National Park would have to pay an environment compensation of Rs 5000 along with challan under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act. 

    The order was passed by a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, NGT Chairperson. The decision was taken after the park’s director complained the tribunal about four animal deaths since January 2017 inspite of the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to prevent such fatalities. The bench advised the park authorities to take effective measures to stop these animal casualties.

    Key Details

    • The bench had earlier asked the Assam government and the director of the Kaziranga National Park to inform about the dying animals count because of vehicular movement along the highway.
    • This followed the filing of a plea by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury, who protested the expansion of NH-37 which passes from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the Kaziranga Park.
    • The green tribunal had also requested the Assam government to fix sensor-operated automatic barriers at the animal corridors and determine whether speed-check cameras were in working state or not.
    • Sri Lanka backs India's Stand on - China-Pak Economic Corridor
    • Sri Lanka, which was a participant of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) conference in Beijing, backed India’s concern about Kashmir on 16th May 2017.
    • The two-day conference brought together leaders from 29 countries in Beijing.
    • Speaking to PTI, Sarath Amanugama, Sri Lanka's Minister on Special Assignment said, it is difficult for New Delhi to accept the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it goes through the Indian interest's heart.
    •  He also said, had it been some uncontested region, India would have negotiated its way out.
    • Elephant census begins in - Karnataka
    • In Karnataka, a major exercise of elephant census began on 17th May 2017. 
    • The census exercise began simultaneously across all protected areas and state forests that were identified to harbour elephant population.
    • The Mysore Elephant Reserve, spread across 11,000 square km through Bhadra-Nagarahole-Bandipur-BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Cauvery Wildlife Reserve and Bannerghatta,  harbours most of the Karnataka elephants. 
    • The last elephant census of Karnataka was held in 2012, which pegged the State elephant population at 6072 with Bandipur and Nagarahole accounting for nearly 1500 elephants each.
    • The elephant census in Karnataka is a part of a Nationwide Elephant Census, which is being conducted to reduce possible errors. 
    • The elephant census is being organized in all Southern States simultaneously. 
    • Similar exercise was held in eastern India last month.
    • Four states- Karnataka, Kerala (Western Ghat regions in Kerala), Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh account for 40 percent of the country’s elephant population of more than 12000.

    More about Elephant Census

    • The Elephant Census is conducted every five years. 
    • The nation-wide elephant census is expected to be a three-month programme.

    State of emergency over cholera outbreak declared by - Yemen

    Authorities in Sanaa declared a state of emergency in the Yemeni capital over a deadly outbreak of cholera in May 2017.

    Houthi-run health ministry stated that it was “unable to control this disaster” and appealed for international humanitarian assistance to deal with the crisis. Yemen, the poorest country of Arab, is witnessing a devastating war between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Saudi-supported government. 

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said stated on 14th May 2017 that the cholera outbreak has killed 115 people and left 8500 ill between 27th April 2017 and 13th May 2017. This is the second outbreak of cholera in less than a year in Yemen.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also stated that an estimated 7.6 million people live in areas are at high risk of cholera transmission in Yemen.

    Foundation dedicated to wellness of Mother and Child launched by - Suresh Raina

    Indian cricketer Suresh Raina launched Gracia Raina Foundation (GRF) on 15th May 2017, which is dedicated to create awareness and work closely with mothers and children who require help ranging from physical and mental issues.

    Cricketer along with his wife Priyanka on the occasion of his daughter, Gracia Raina’s first birthday made this announcement.

    Raina stated that the organisation is something that is very personal to him and his wife and it has been very special for them to 

    announce its launch on their daughter’s birthday. He further added that his wife has been working hard towards this and he fully supports her endeavours. Raina also added that with this foundation they hope to throw light and help women and babies across the country.

    More about Gracia Raina Foundation

    • The foundation focuses to work towards physical wellness of mother and child by providing the mother with knowledge and information about pregnancy, child care 
    • post birth and nutritional needs to keep them physically healthy.
    • It also focuses to share skills to the underprivileged mothers in order to enable them to earn a livelihood for sustainable living.
    • It focuses to provide the pregnant women with a community where they can share their problems and get guidance whenever needed, thus helping them in their mental wellness.

    Indian Railways to install CCTV cameras at over 900 stations under - Nirbhaya fund

    Indian Railways announced on 15th May 2017 to install CCTV surveillance system at more than 900 stations with the Nirbhaya Fund at an approved cost of Rs 500 crore with an aim toincrease security at railway premises.

    For this purpose, Indian Railways will shortly float tenders to install about 19000 high definition CCTV cameras at 983 stations across the country to ensure round-the- clock security to passengers.

    Vital Points 

    • The cameras will be installed at platforms and waiting areas while there will be control rooms at stations to monitor CCTV footages by trained RPF personnel constantly.
    • The station master will have access to monitor CCTV camera footage as part of the project being undertaken by the public transporter.
    • Other than keeping a constant watch, the CCTV surveillance system will help in post-incident crime investigation.
    • Some of the ladies compartments of Mumbai suburban service will be covered under this project. 
    • The Hamsafar Express and the upcoming Tejas service will also be covered with CCTV cameras.
    • Currently, only Shaan-e-Punjab Express is fully covered with the CCTV system.

    Year of Polar Prediction launched by - World Meteorological Organisation

    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ON 15th May 2017 officially announced the start of the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP). YOPP is one of the key elements of the Polar Prediction Project. The YOPP’s aims to enable a significant improvement in environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond. It will be done by coordinating a period of intensive observing, verification,modelling, user-engagement and education activities.

    Year of Polar Prediction Objectives

    • To improve the polar observing system to provide good coverage of high-quality observations in a cost effective manner.
    • To gather additional observations through field programmes aim to improve polar key processes.
    • To develop improved representation of polar key processes in uncoupled and coupled models used for prediction.
    • To develop improved data assimilation systems that account for challenges in the polar regions like sparseness of observational data, 
    • steep orography, model error and the importance of coupled processes.
    • To explore the sea ice predictability on time scales from days to a season.
    • To improve understanding of linkages between polar regions and lower latitudes and assessing skill of models representing these.
    • To improve verification of polar weather and environmental predictions in order to achieve quantitative knowledge on model performance, and on the skill of operational forecasting systems for user-relevant parameters; and to monitor progress efficiently.

    India’s first smart grid to generate power from renewable energy sources created by - IIEST

    The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology has successfully created the country's first smart grid project that will generate power from renewable sources of energy. Ajoy Kumar Roy, the Director of IIEST stated that the grid will be synchronised to generate power from solar, wind and vegetable waste resources, depending on the weather conditions and waste products availability.

    Important Highlights

    • President Pranab Mukherjee will be inaugurating the project.
    • The power to be generated from solar energy sources would depend on the sunlight availability.
    • Wind energy will be generated during nor'wester and tropical storm.
    • The biogas power will be released from vegetable waste collected from the campus kitchen and outside markets.
    • The integrated project for Green Energy Systems (CEGESS) of the institute by the Centre for Excellence aims to generate 32 kw of power from whichever available resource and synchronise the smart grid to take the power in the system for use.
    • Further, explaining the need behind the system, Roy said that since coal-hydrocarbon based energy technology leads to environmental degradation, the future lies in renewable energy based technology.
    • He also added that the next 50 years will witness an unimaginable change in technology.

    Biologist Purnima Devi Barman nominated for - Whitley Awards

    Renowned wildlife biologist, Dr Purnima Devi Barman was nominated for the prestigious Whitley Awards in May 2017. Barman has been nominated for her consistent efforts and campaigns for the conservation of the Greater Adjutant Stork locally known as Haargila in Assam. She is also associated with Aaranyak, a Guwahati based NGO, which works for wildlife conservation.

    Key Highlights

    • The Whitley Awards are given by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) annually.
    • This award is also called Green Oscars, it is given to recognize and celebrate effective national and regional conservation leaders across the globe.
    • The awards are worth £ 35000 and are now amongst the most high profile awards of conservation prizes.
    • Purnima has been working with the Dadara, Pachariya and Hingimari villages of Kamrup district to save the Greater Adjutant Stork. 

    World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017 observed on - 17th May 2017

    The 2017 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was observed on 17th May 2017 with the theme for WTISD-17 is Big Data for Big Impact. 

    Key Points

    • The theme highlights the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information.
    • The purpose of WTISD is to help raising awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies.
    • 17th May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
    • World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17th May since 1969.
    • Plenipotentiary Conference instituted this in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
    • In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17th May as World Information Society Day.
    • The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day will be celebrated every year on 17th May.In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17th May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

    EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 launched by - Union Government

    Union Minister of Labour & Employment Bandaru Dattatreya launched EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 and E-Court Management System along with it on 16th May 2017.

    Key Highlights

    • It is an attempt to bring transparency and accountability on the part of EPFO.
    • It will also offer social security coverage  as well as implementation of policies for benefit of all stakeholders with adequate support level of social security. 
    • The charter will make service delivery system and grievance redressal mechanism more efficient so that it delivers goods and services  to its all stakeholders in a time bound manner with a reduced timeline from earlier timeline of 30 days. 
    • The new timeline in case of claim settlements is 10 days and 15 days in case of grievance redressal management. 
    • EPFO E-Court Management System is a transparent and electronic case management system which will cater to all stakeholders – the employers, the employees, litigants and CBT. 
    • EPFO E-Court Management System is a step towards paperless court system wherein court procedure of EPF & MP Act, 1952 and EPFAT will be taking place in a digital environment. 
    • In order to facilitate easy access to the tribunal, automated messages will be sent to the litigants on their registered mobile numbers regarding the status of their cases. 
    • Individual cases can also be tracked by the stakeholders online. 

    Dinosaur mummy discovered with all skin intact - in Canada

    Palaeontologists in Canada have discovered a dinosaur mummy that had been encased in stone for over 110 million years. The remains of the armour-plated dinosaur, which is a 3000-pound plant-eating horned creature, went on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta on 12th May 2017.

    Important Details 

    • The mummy has all the skin and gut contents intact.
    • It is also a never-seen-before species of dinosaur, as well as the oldest dinosaur ever found in Alberta. 
    • Its preserved skin and gut contents can provide invaluable clues on the extinct species. 
    • Miners discovered the fossil six years ago accidently.
    • Since the last five years, researchers have spent more than 7,000 hours shaping away at the fossil’s surrounding rock to expose the incredible creature.
    • The fossil broke into pieces upon its removal from Alberta’s Millennium Mine in 2011.
    • Darren Tanke, a paleo technician spoke of the damage caused to precious fossil is restorable.
    • He added that everything broke cleanly and in big pieces.

    Separate 24x7 DD Channel for Jharkhand announced by - Venkaiah Naidu

    Minister for Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu announced a separate 24x7 DD channel for the state of Jharkhand on 16th May 2017. This plan was announced at the review meeting of the programmes and initiatives of Ministry of I&B held at Ranchi, Jharkhand. Chief Minister Raghubar Das attended the meeting. A statement released by I&B ministry said that the DD Ranchi programmes would be telecasted on DD Bihar till the channel is launched. 

    Review meet highlights - 

    • Naidu requested the state government to provide a dedicated power supply via separate feeders to All India Radio & Doordarshan Stations in the state.
    • Naidu also requested the state government to motivate educational institutions and NGOs to set up community radio stations. The community radios will help the government to disseminate relevant information to people in local language/dialect.
    • Till official launch of the channel in Jharkhand, the programmes would be provided with a special window in available 24x7 satellite channel – DD Bihar.

    US-based Indian Ramit Tandon won his - Maiden PSA title

    Indian squash player Ramit Tandon won his first professional title on 14th May 2017 after beating his Indian counterpart, Kush Kumar in the Sys Open 2017. The US-based player beat Kumar in straight sets of 11-3, 11-2 and 11-3 in the final. It was Tandon's third appearance in a Professional Squash Association final.

    More about Ramit Tandon

    • Tondon was born in Kolkatta, he graduated from Sishya School in Chennai in 2011 and then shifted to New York for further studies.
    • He led the Indian Junior team to win its first ever Asian Junior title after defeating Pakistan in final.
    • He won 6 junior national titles and was ranked #1 in India when he ended his junior career.
    • He was a Columbia University student in New York, where he captained and played No. 1 on the varsity Squash team. 
    • He graduated in 2015 from the University.
    • He received the Connie S Maniatty award, the highest honour given to an athlete at Columbia University.
    • This has been his second tournament in the year. The earlier was in January 2017, when he became the 2nd Indian ever to qualify for the main draw in the Champions Tournament at Grand Central Station in New York.
    • However,he lost in the qualifying phase to current world number 2 Gregory Gaultier in 3 sets.

    Trump to address Muslim leaders on - Peaceful Vision Of Islam

    Donald Trump,The President of the United States of America will urge unity between the world’s major faiths during his maiden foreign trip that will take him to  Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and Jerusalem. The President’s itinerary was laid out by US National Security Advisor HR McMaster who confirmed that he would be addressing a gathering of Muslim leaders on his hopes for a peaceful Islam vision.

    Important Details

    • This is the first time that a US President has chosen Muslim nations for his first official trip predominantly.
    • Prior to this, US heads have generally chosen neighbouring nations such as Canada or Mexico for their first Presidential trip.
    • Trump would be meeting with the King of the country, King Salman and his crown prince in Saudi Arabia.
    • After conducting a day of talks with the royalty, Trump would be attending a gathering of dozens of leaders across the Muslim world.
    • Trump’s speech at the gathering is focussed to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies and to demonstrate America’s commitment towards its Muslim partners.
    • Trump will also help in opening a centre to de-radicalize extremists.
    • He will also be meeting President Mahmud Abbas of the Palestinian territories in Bethlehem on the West Bank where he will convey his administration's eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    Do you know?

    After assuming office on 20th January 2017, Trump had signed executive orders banning Muslim immigrants and travelers from certain Muslim nations from entering America.  The order was dismissed by the US courts.

    Who has been appointed as Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC ? - Ovais Sarmad

    Ovais Sarmad, a senior Indian official was appointed as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the second week of May 2017. Sarmad will be succeeding Canada’s Richard Kinley.

    Interesting Highlights

    • At present, Ovais Sarmad serves as Staff  chief to the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
    • He joined IOM in Geneva in 1990, where he served notably as chief of budget, director of resource management, director of the Global Administrative Centre and chief of Mission to the Philippines.
    • He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Hyderabad's Osmania University.
    • He also has a professional certification in management accountancy from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London.

    Do you know?

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3rd to 14th June 1992. The treaty entered into force on 21st March 1994.

    Former Puducherry CM Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on - 15th May 2017

    Former Puducherry Chief Minister Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on 15th May 2017 in Puducherry following an illness.

    More about Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy

    • Ramaswamy started his political career in Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) during student days. 
    • From 1969 to 1973, He was Home Minister in the DMK-CPI coalition ministry from 1969 to 1973.
    • He shifted his allegiance to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in 1973. 
    • He became Chief Minister of AIADMK in 1974 heading the AIADMK-CPI coalition ministry for a short period.
    • He was also the Chief Minister in the AIADMK government in 1977, which lasted in office for a little over one year. 
    • He successfully contested as an Independent candidate from Karaikal in 1985 and 1990. 

     

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