Online Current Affairs based on India & The World

22 Apr, 17

Modi to inaugurate UN Vesak Day in Colombo

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate UN Vesak Day in Colombo on May 12.
  • Mr Modi will also hold meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership.
  • The two countries are likely to finalise development cooperation agreements, besides discussing key issues, including the Palk Bay fisheries conflict.

Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate UN Vesak Day in which city of neighbouring country on May 12?
 - Colombo. 

21 Apr, 17

China announces 'standardised' names for 6 places in Arunachal

  • China has for the first time announced "standardised" official names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Civil affairs ministry had standardised in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet the names of six places in South Tibet, which India calls ‘Arunachal Pradesh’, in accordance with the regulations of the State Council.
  • The official names of the six places using the Roman alphabet are;
    1. Wo’gyainling,
    2. Mila Ri,
    3. Qoidêngarbo Ri,
    4. Mainquka, Bümo La and
    5. Namkapub Ri
  • Wo’gyainling is likely to be the new name for Ugyen Ling monastery.
  • Qoidêngarbo Ri is likely to be Choten Karpo Ri, Mainquka is likely to be Mechuka in West Siang district and Bümo La is likely to be Bumla, located a short distance from Tawang.

Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:

China has for the first time announced "standardised" official names for how many places in Arunachal Pradesh?
- Six. 

19 Apr, 17

Australia scraps 457 visas used largely by Indians

  • Australia will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, a majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.
  • The programme known as 457 visa allows businesses to employ foreign workers for a period of up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
  • Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country.
  • The majority of the visa holders under this category were from India, accounting for almost a quarter of the intake, followed by the UK and China at 19.5% and 5.8 % respectively.
  • The new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements. The new “Temporary Skill Shortage Visa” programme will comprise two streams—
    1. Short Term and
    2. Medium Term
    and will be underpinned by more focused occupation lists that are responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variations across Australia.
  • Short-term visas will be issued for two years, while medium-term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years.
  • Both streams will include mandatory labour market testing with limited exemptions, a new non-discriminatory workforce test; mandatory criminal history checks, a market salary rate assessment and a new two-year work experience requirement.

Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:

Which country will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, a majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country? 
 - Australia. 

11 Apr, 17

India, Mongolia begin joint military exercise 'Nomadic Elephant'

  • India and Mongolia have commenced a joint military training exercise called "Nomadic Elephant -2016" in Mongolia.
  • The Indian Army sent platoon-strength soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment to the 11th Indo-Mongolia exercise.
  • The exercise will be inclusive of the specialised operations in counter insurgency and counter terrorism setting.
  • The Indian Army contingent will also be accompanied by two observers.
  • Both the armies will participate in sporting events and be sharing techniques gained in unarmed combat and specialised rappelling.
  • The joint military exercise "Nomadic Elephant -2016" is expected to end on May 8.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
India and which country have commenced a joint military training exercise called "Nomadic Elephant -2016" which is expected to end on May 8
 - Mongolia. 

8 Apr, 17

India, Russia ink pact to build two nuclear reactors in Tamil Nadu

  • India and Russia today signed an agreement paving the way for building the third and fourth reactors at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.
  • The pact was signed between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Russia's Atomstroyexport.
  • The accord will operationlise the General Framework Agreement (GFA) signed in April this year between the two sides for construction of units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam.
  • The cost of the two units is likely to be around Rs 40,000 crore and they will generate a total of 2,000 MWs of power.
  • A separate agreement was also signed between (NPCIL) and Atomstroyexport for unit 3 and 4 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant for supply of some major equipment by the Russian company.
  • Aiming to enhance cooperation in the nuclear sector, both the countries also came out with a 'Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy' under which Russia will build at least 12 reactors in India by 2035.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (or Koodankulam NPP or KKNPP) is the single largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Construction on the plant began on 31 March 2002
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
 India and which country signed an agreement paving the way for building the third and fourth reactors at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu?
- Russia. 

India Signs Mega Missile Deal With Israel For 2 Billion Dollars

  • India has signed a weapons deal with Israel for nearly $2 billion in what's being described as the "largest defence contract" ever signed by the military exporting giant.
  • The deal will provide India with an advanced defence system of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.
  • The "mega" missile agreement is "considered to be the largest defense contract in Israel's defense industries' history some components will be assembled in India, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to reduce reliance on costly imports.
  • The Israeli firm will also supply a naval defence system including long-range surface-to-air missiles for India's first aircraft carrier, which is still under construction.
  • India - the world's largest defence importer - has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter regional rivals China and Pakistan.
  • Israel is a top weapons exporter, with sales last year surging to $ 6.5 billion. India is a top market for its arms, as New Delhi has turned increasingly away from traditional ally Russia for its military hardware.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
India has signed a weapons deal with which country for nearly $2 billion, that has been described as the "largest defence contract" ever signed by the military exporting giant? 
 - Israel. 

3 Apr, 17

Singapore blocks visas for Indian IT professionals

  • While the focus has been on the US, visas for IT professionals to work in Singapore have dropped "to a trickle", prompting the government to put on hold the review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) citing violation of the trade pact.
  • With Indian companies being advised to hire local talent, they are looking at relocating some of their operations to other countries in the region.
  • From HCL and TCS, which were the early movers to Singapore, the list has expanded to include ;
    1. Infosys,
    2. Wipro,
    3. Cognizant and
    4. L&T Infotech.
  • Singapore authorities were insisting on what is called "economic needs test" (ENT), which requires compliance with certain economic criteria, to deny access to Indian professionals.
  • In recent years, Singapore has emerged as a key opponent of allowing foreign professionals into the island nation.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country blocked the visas for Indian IT professionals, to hire local talent? 
- Singapore. 

24 Mar, 17

First joint cycle expedition of India-Bangladesh Army flagged off from Agartala

  • In a bid to cement mutual bonhomie, a joint cycling expedition of Indian Army and Bangladesh Army, first of its type, was recently flagged off from the Agartala military station.
  • India and Bangladesh share a very close linkage as far as history, culture and geography are concern.
  • Both the armies have been interacting with each other at various platforms at the senior level, senior level and training field.
  • This is one of the noble initiatives taken by the Indian and Bangladesh army and shall revive all the old memories of the war of liberation of 1971 as well as learning from the best practices at the junior and younger level between both the armies.
  • The expedition teams comprising of 19 soldiers each including officers, JCOs and OR will cover approx 532 km in 11 days.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
A joint cycling expedition of Indian Army and Bangladesh Army, first of its type, was recently flagged off from which military station? 
 - Agartala military station.

19 Mar, 17

India, Russia sign long-term support pact on Sukhoi Su-30MKI

  • India and Russia signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, which is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • Pacts were also signed for maintenance and life-cycle support for other Russian-origin platforms, such as;
    1. Mi-17 helicopters,
    2. MiG-29K aircraft,
    3. INS Vikramaditya and
    4. T-90 tanks.
  • The agreements were signed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
 India and Russia signed two long-term support agreements for which combat aircraft fleet, which is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF)? 
- Sukhoi Su-30MKI

11 Indian women win ‘Women Icons’ award in Singapore

  • Eleven Indian women are among the 25 Asian ladies who have won the ‘Women Icons’ award in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work.
  • Women empowerment and childcare remains on the minds of these women, who came from a number of fields for the award organised by Business Excellence & Research Group Pte Ltd and supported by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
  • Among the award winners last night was Vandana Sharma, who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces, broke several stereotypes around ‘Women in Uniform’ and ventured into the corporate world.
  • Keeping with her ‘Women Empowerment’ campaign is Revathi Siddharthe Roy, who holds a Masters in Economics degree but drove taxi for 10 months in Mumbai to support her family after her husband died in 2007.
  • Roy now runs a training school, Zaffiro Learning, for women to learn to ride two-wheelers and serve as “last mile” delivery person for e-commerce companies.
  • Joining in the awards was Dr Srimathy Kesan, who motivates children into Aerospace and Aeronautics subjects at her Chennai-based company, Space Kidz India.
  • Kesan draws children to science with the aim of building a pool of scientists in the coming year, saying India’s pool of scientists was depleting as more and more students were opting for engineering or medical studies.
  • Other winners were:
    1.  Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN,
    2.  Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn,
    3. Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global,
    4. Minal D’Rozario of Ideosphere,
    5. Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust,
    6. Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online,
    7. Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and
    8. Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
How many Indian women are among the 25 Asian ladies who have won the ‘Women Icons’ award in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work? 
 - Eleven. 

18 Mar, 17

India, Brazil conclude social security agreement

  • India and Brazil initialled the finalised text of the Social Security Agreement taking forward the spirit of the Goa Declaration at the 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment.
  • Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi.
  • The SSA between India and Brazil once in force (by early 2018) will also be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
 
India with which country initialled the finalised text of the Social Security Agreement taking forward the spirit of the Goa Declaration at the 8th BRICS Summit? 
- Brazil. 

Australia research centre enters into agreement with Indian Railways

  • A Railway research centre in Australia has entered into an agreement with the Indian Railways to support future research and technology development related to critical infrastructure in India.
  • Representatives from Monash University Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) and Indian Ministry of Railways corporation DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) signed an agreement.
  • IRT with partners - Balaji Railroad Systems Ltd (BARSYL), leading railway consultants in India, PwC, and Indian Institute of Bombay (IITB) were selected as the preferred supplier from a competitive global selection process.
  • They will provide guidance on the establishment of a new applied research and development institute in India known as SRESTHA (Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement).
  • SRESTHA will be locally engaged, but have a global reach with the aim to become a world leader in the advancement of rail.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
 Which country's railway research centre has entered into an agreement with the Indian Railways to support future research and technology development related to critical infrastructure in India?
 - Australia. 

16 Mar, 17

US Senate confirms Indian-American Seema Verma for top health care post

  • The US Senate has confirmed Indian-American Seema Verma for a top health care position in the Trump administration and she was set to play a key role in the government's bid to "repeal and replace" Obamacare.
  • Ms Verma, who has been described by the White House as the "unquestionably qualified" first generation Indian-American, was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 55-43.
  • She is likely to play a key role in the health care reform of US President Donald Trump, who has made it a priority to repeal and replace the affordable healthcare of his predecessor Barack Obama.
  • The second Indian-American in the Trump Administration to be confirmed by the Senate, Ms Verma would head the USD 1 trillion Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services that provides health services to 130 million people.
  • A health policy consultant, she is known as the architect of health care reforms in several states, including Indiana.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
The US Senate has confirmed which Indian-American person for a top health care position in the Trump administration and she was set to play a key role in the government's bid to "repeal and replace" Obamacare? 
 - Seema Verma. 

Cabinet approves revised pact with Bangladesh to set up Border Haats

  • The Union cabinet approved revised MoU between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats.
  • The Union cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats on India-Bangladesh border.
  • The Revised MoU and Mode of Operation will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalisation of additional border Haats.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
The Union cabinet approved revised MoU between India and which country for establishing Border Haats? 
- Bangladesh. 

9 Mar, 17

India-Oman armies exercise, Al Nagah-II, began

  • A 14-day joint training exercise of the armies of India and Oman began at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The exercise, Al Nagah-II, drew contingents comprised of platoon strength troops from both the armies.
  • The second edition of the exercise is in continuation of a series of joint exercises between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.
  • The first edition was held at Muscat in 2015.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
A 14-day joint training exercise of the armies of India and Oman began at which place of India? 
- Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.

8 Mar, 17

Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise 'Surya Kiran-X' begins

  • A joint military exercise 'Surya Kiran-Xi' between India and Nepal began in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.
  • This is a battalion level joint exercise between the two armies.
  • The two-week long exercise is aimed at training of both the troops in the area of various counter insurgency operations over a prolonged period.
  • It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation.
  • Both the armies will mutually benefit from the varied experiences gained during the exercise.
  • The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted biannually, alternatively in India and Nepal.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
A joint military exercise 'Surya Kiran-Xi' between India and Nepal began in which place of India? 
 - Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.

16 Feb, 17

India to join Moscow meet on Afghanistan

  • India is among six nations participating in a conference on Afghanistan’s future in Moscow two months after Russia hosted a similar conference with only China and Pakistan.
  • After India and particularly Afghanistan objected to being cut out of the discussion, Moscow agreed to expand its ambit, announcing a six-nation conference of;
    1. Russia,
    2. India,
    3. Iran,
    4. Pakistan,
    5. China and
    6. Afghanistan.
  • To begin with, India is increasingly uncomfortable with Russia’s overtures to Pakistan on defence issues.
  • Significantly, Russia did not join the;
    1. U.S.,
    2. U.K. and
    3. France
    in sponsoring a resolution against Jaish chief Masood Azhar at the U.N. sanctions committee last month, a resolution which China then put a hold on.
  • Russia has been seen as favouring a softer line on the Taliban as a counter to the spread of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.
  • Russia and China have also been coordinating to demand the delisting of senior Taliban leaders designated as terrorists by the U.N. sanctions committee.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
 Which new country is among the six nations participating in a conference on Afghanistan’s future in Moscow two months after Russia hosted a similar conference? 
 - India. 

First Indian genomics beacon launched in UK

  • Global Gene Corp and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) launched the first-ever beacon for Indian genomics data, which is expected to help scientists develop more effective drug delivery systems.
  • A beacon is an online web service that allows researchers to determine whether an institution has particular genomic data in its data set.
  • The aim of the Indian beacon is to address the gap in shared Indian genomics data, which helps scientists better understand disease and develop more effective drug delivery systems and therapeutics.
  • Genomics is the science that will define healthcare in our lifetime. Solving healthcare problems at scale is exceptionally important for India to ensure quality of life.
  • The Indian beacon joins those already on the Wellcome Genome Campus supplied by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire.
  • Cambridge-based Global Gene Corp (GCC) is based at the Wellcome Genome Campus and is co-founded by alumni from the ;
    1. Indian Institute of Technology,
    2. Harvard and
    3. National University of Singapore
    with the mission to “democratise genomics”.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which two organisations launched the first-ever beacon for Indian genomics data, which is expected to help scientists develop more effective drug delivery systems? 
 - Global Gene Corp and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). 

13 Feb, 17

India plans to host counter-radicalisation conference with ASEAN

  • India plans to host a conference with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to share experiences and ideas on prevention of radicalisation.
  • The event is likely to be held in October.
  • The plan is to share India’s experience and benefit from that of ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia.
  • More countries could be invited as observers depending on the interest.
  • The UAE is one such country — it has expertise in deradicalisation that was one of the key areas of discussions during the recent bilateral interactions.
  • The countries in the region from ASEAN to Gulf have agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and terrorism to deal with growing IS threat.
  • Malaysia and Indonesia are among the countries working on this aspect, and India wants to gain from their expertise
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country plans to host a conference with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to share experiences and ideas on prevention of radicalisation?
 - India. 

11 Feb, 17

India, UK sign MoU to allow more flights to boost tourism, trade

  • India and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.
  • Limits on flights from Indian cities, including Chennai and Kolkata, have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India.
  • The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any international airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.
  • The agreement was formally signed by;
    1. Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and
    2. Lord Ahmad, Aviation Minister of UK,
    during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
India with which country signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries?
 - United Kingdom. 
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