Online Current Affairs based on International

22 Apr, 17

Malaysia Airlines Becomes First to Use Space-Based Aircraft Tracking

  • Malaysia Airlines — which lost a jetliner with 239 people on board in 2014 in one of aviation’s greatest mysteries — has become the first carrier to adopt a satellite flight-tracking system.
  • The airline will use a soon-to-be-launched satellite network to monitor its fleet in areas where there is currently no surveillance, including polar regions and remote areas of the oceans.
  • The airline reached a deal for the service provided by US-based Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR.

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

Which airlines company has become the first carrier to adopt a satellite flight tracking system? 
-Malaysia Airlines. 

China to host BRICS Film Festival in June

  • The 2017 BRICS Film Festival will be held in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province from June 23 to 27.
  • There will be 30 films from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) screened during the festival, including an anthology by five directors from the aforementioned countries.
  • The feature film consisting of five 18-minute shorts on the same theme is a joint work by ;
    1. Walter Salles from Brazil,
    2. Aleksey Fedorchenko from Russia,
    3. Madhur Bhandarkar from India,
    4. Jahmil X. T. Qubeka from South Africa, and 5. Jia Zhangke from China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

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

The 2017 BRICS Film Festival will be held in which city from June 23 to 27
- Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan Province. 

19 Apr, 17

RUSA Portal, Mobile App For Higher Education Launched

  • Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar today launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • Under the concept of RUSA the quality of education can go up by improving the research labs infrastructure and creating smart class rooms and various other programmes by which the quality enhancement and value addition to the students happen.
  • The portal is a one-stop for States' Higher Education Plans, decision of the States' Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme. Also, the gallery is a rich repository of the projects initiated under RUSA.
  • The detailed information regarding the projects can be had from the RUSA website rusa.nic.in.
  • RUSA is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Department of Higher Education, MHRD which aims to provide strategic central funding to State Higher Education.
  • Departments and Institutions and achieve the broad objectives of access, equity and excellence.

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

Who launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) recently ? 
 - Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar. 

17 Apr, 17

Sagarmatha Friendship-2017: Nepal-China Begin Joint Military Drill

  • The first ever joint military drill between Nepal and China -- Sagarmatha Friendship-2017 -- kicked off at Nepal Army's Para Training School in Maharajgunj in Kathmandu.
  • The Chinese Army's squad is participating in the military exercise that will focus on counter terrorism and disaster response. The 10-day exercise will conclude on April 25.
  • DGMO of Nepal Army General Binod Kumar Shrestha inaugurated the exercise.
  • Highlighting the historic ties between Nepali and Chinese armies, Colonel Yang Shumeng, leading the Chinese side, said such exercise would help understanding on counter terrorism and strengthening military ties.
  • The joint training with China marks the Nepali Army's extension of military diplomacy.
  • The exercise is taking place at the Maharajgunj-based training school where Yuddha Bhairab, Mahabir and Bhairabnath Battalions are located.

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

Sagarmatha Friendship 2017 is the joint military drill of which two countries? 
 - Nepal-China. 

15 Apr, 17

U.S. unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan

  • The United States dropped "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.
  • The 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GBU-43 bomb, which has 11 tons of explosives, was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.
  • The GBU-43, also known as the "mother of all bombs," is a GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003. It is regarded as particularly effective against clusters of targets on or just underneath the ground.
    Other types of bombs can be more effective against deeper, hardened tunnels.

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

Which country dropped "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan?
 - The United States of America. 

Canada’s Liberal government goes ‘bold’ and ‘risky’ by legalization of marijuana

  • The Liberal government of Canada is moving ahead with legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 18 and older.
  • It’s being called a “bold and risky social experiment” by many and would include tough laws against illicit dealers and those who break them.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legalizing pot is the best way to keep the drug from being used by younger, impressionable children.
  • The law change would become effective in July of next year and end the prohibition on marijuana use.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
The Liberal government of Canada is moving ahead with legalizing which recreational drugs? 
 - Marijuana. 

13 Apr, 17

China heads world executions list

  • China executed more people than all other nations put together last year, according to Amnesty International.
  • The charity says in its annual report on the death penalty that while it is known that China puts large numbers of people to death, the exact number is not clear.
  • But Amnesty says it has managed to calculate that the figure is more than the 1,032 people killed by the state in other countries in 2016.
  • In 2015, the total was 1,634 - the highest recorded since 1989.
  • A drop in executions in the US has meant that America has now fallen out of the top five countries for judicial killings.
  • The other countries in the top five are:
    2nd, Iran;
    3rd, Saudi Arabia;
    4th, Iraq and
    5th, Pakistan.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country has executed more people than all other nations put together last year, according to Amnesty International? 
- China. 

First UK-China freight rail leaves London; to travel 12k km via 7 nations

  • The first China-bound freight train carrying British products left London on a 12,000-km journey adding another terminal to the rail freight between China and Europe.
  • The DB Cargo train, loaded with 30 containers carrying products, including;
    1. whisky,
    2. soft drinks,
    3. vitamins and
    4. baby products,
    started from east London's DP World Gateway to Yiwu city in central Zhejiang province, east China.
  • After going through the Channel Tunnel, the train will pass through seven countries —
    1. France,
    2. Belgium,
    3. Germany,
    4. Poland,
    5. Belarus,
    6. Russia,
    7. Kazakhstan
    — before arriving in eastern China on April 27.
  • The service is part of China's One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.
  • London is the 15th European city on an expanding map of China's rail freight
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
What is the name of China-bound freight train carrying British products on a 12,000-km journey adding another terminal to the rail freight between China and Europe? 
- DB Cargo train. 

11 Apr, 17

Sisi declares 3-month state of emergency in Egypt

  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt and ordered military special forces to protect vital infrastructure after two powerful church bombings by the Islamic State terror group killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 100 others.
  • Mr. Sisi announced the state of emergency nationwide for three months following the blasts that targeted the minority Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country's president has declared a three-month state of emergency and ordered military special forces to protect vital infrastructure after two powerful church bombings by the Islamic State terror group? 
 - Egypt. 

10 Apr, 17

NASA's Peggy Whitson Takes Command Of Space Station

  • NASA's Peggy Whitson, soon to become the most experienced US astronaut in terms of time spent in space, assumed command of the International Space Station as two Russian crew members and an American prepared to fly back to Earth. For Whitson, 57.
  • It was her second stint in charge of the $100 billion station, a multinational project overseen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
  • On April 24, Whitson will have spent more time in space than any other American astronant, surpassing the current US record of 534 days held by NASA's Jeff Williams, 59.
  • She already held records for the most time spent in space by a woman and for the most time spent spacewalking by a woman.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
NASA's which astronaut is soon to become the most experienced US astronaut in terms of time spent in space? 
 - Peggy Whitson.

Uruguay government legalises sale of recreational cannabis in pharmacies

  • Uruguay’s three-year process of legalising recreational cannabis consumption reached its final stage when the government said it would authorise pharmacies to begin selling the substance as of July.
  • Sixteen pharmacies have registered with the government of the tiny South American country to be able to sell marijuana for recreational purposes.
  • That number is expected to increase to 30 in the coming months.
  • Uruguay became a global pioneer when it legalised the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana in late 2013.
  • But the roll-out has been slow, and the authorisation for pharmacies to sell cannabis – initially expected by the end of 2014 – has been postponed several times.
  • The government hopes the formalisation process will “guarantee the quality and the purity of the product” citizens consume. The cannabis sold in pharmacies will be grown by producers licensed by the state.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country's government has legalised the sale of recreational cannabis in pharmacies? 
- Uruguay

8 Apr, 17

Malala to become youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace

  • Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is to become the youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace.
  • Yousafzai, 19, will be appointed on Monday by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterresand will help promote girl's education around the world as part of her new role.
  • The Pakistani education activist came to prominence when a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012 as punishment for campaigning for girls to go to school which defied the militant Islamic group's ban on female education.
  • Yousafzai has since continued campaigning on the world stage and in 2014 became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • Yousafzai, who received medical treatment in Britain where she has since studied, has also set up the Malala Fund to support girls' education projects in developing countries.
  • A regular speaker on the global stage, Yousafzai visited refugee camps in Rwanda and Kenya last July to highlight the plight of refugee girls from Burundi and Somalia
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Who is set to become the youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace. 
 - Malala Yousafzai. 

7 Apr, 17

German cyber command becomes official military branch

  • The German military has officially inaugurated a 260-strong cyber command which will become a fifth branch of the Bundeswehr.
  • Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has officially inaugurated the newly-created Cyber and Information Space Command (CIR), making it the fifth branch of German military after the army, navy, air force and medical service.
  • The Bundeswehr’s cyber command will operate around the clock to protect its own IT infrastructure and computer-assisted weapons systems, also be tackling inbound online threat.
  • The decision to form new military branch was presented by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on 26 April 2016, with the command becoming operational on 1 April 2017.
  • The command's headquarter is Bonn.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country's military has officially inaugurated a 260-strong cyber command which will become a fifth branch of the Bundeswehr? 
- The German military. 

Japan Officially Recognises Bitcoin as Currency Starting April 2017

  • Bitcoin has finally gained the recognition of a mainstream currency along the lines of other fiat currencies.
  • The privilege follows the implementation of a new law in Japan which categorises Bitcoin as a legal payment option within the country.
  • The much-awaited law went into effect on April 1, 2017.
  • Bitcoin exchanges will also come under additional regulatory scrutiny.
  • The recognition of cryptocurrency as a legal tender also means the applicability of regulations governing banks and financial institutions to cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
  • They will be required to comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits.
  • Other requirements include meeting the stated capital and cyber security requirements to ensure consumer protection.
  • The recognition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal payment instruments is good news for the global cryptocurrency ecosystem.
  • Adoption of cryptocurrency is expected to increase among people, which will, in turn, drive demand and price.
  • The new developments are expected to drive the cryptocurrency usage in Japan to over $9 billion in the next three years (2020), which is more than five times the 2015’s $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in circulation.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country has officially recognised Bitcoin as currency starting from April 2017? 
 - Japan. 

5 Apr, 17

India, Malaysia inks 7 agreements

  • India and Malaysia today inked seven pacts, including an air services agreement and a mutual recognition of educational qualifications of the two nations.
  • Apart from the air services agreement, the two nations signed an MoU on cooperation in the development of the proposed 2.5 MT per annum urea and ammonia manufacturing plant in Malaysia.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
India with which country inked seven pacts, including an air services agreement and a mutual recognition of educational qualifications of the two nations?
- Malaysia.

3 Apr, 17

Myanmar becomes SASEC's 7th member

  • Myanmar has become the seventh member of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partnership, opening up new markets and supply chain links for trade and business between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • SASEC countries —
    1. Bangladesh,
    2. Bhutan,
    3. India,
    4. Maldives,
    5. Myanmar,
    6. Nepal, and
    7. Sri Lanka —
    coordinate the planning of projects and activities to increase economic growth by building transport connectivity, facilitating faster and more efficient trade, and promoting cross-border power trade.
  • South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme of Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expanding towards the East with Myanmar formally becoming the seventh member of the Corporation in 2017.
  • Myanmar's membership in SASEC can offer a host of opportunities for realising synergies from economic cooperation in the sub-region.SASEC member countries recognise that most of SASEC's multi-modal connectivity initiatives include Myanmar.
  • Road corridors in Myanmar provide the key links between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Ports in Myanmar will provide additional gateways to the landlocked North Eastern region of India.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which new country has become the seventh member of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partnership? 
 - Myanmar. 

1 Apr, 17

El Salvador becomes first country to ban metals mining nationwide

  • The smallest country in Central America – El Salvador – has approved a law prohibiting all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources.
  • It is the first country in the world to create the new law, supported by 70 lawmakers, bans all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals both in open pits and mines.
  • The level of environmental pollution in El Salvador is one of the highest in the region, second only to Haiti, and the availability of drinking water is the lowest, according to UN data.
  • The legislation was passed despite interest from international gold and silver mining companies.
  • In October, El Salvador won a lawsuit at the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the Australian-Canadian miner OceanaGold Corp.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country becomes the first country to ban metals mining nationwide by the approval of a law prohibiting all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources?
 - El Salvador. 

31 Mar, 17

Montenegro set to become NATO's newest member after US Senate vote

  • Montenegro is set to become Nato's newest member after the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to ratify the tiny Balkan nation's entry.
  • Despite its size, Montenegro bears strategic importance. A former ally of Russia, the country is in the middle of a clash between the West and Moscow over influence in the Balkans.
  • Montenegro's membership gives Nato a contiguous border along the Adriatic coast.
  • US secretary of state Rex Tillerson earlier this month pressed the Senate to act quickly on Montenegro's admission.
  • Montenegro will become the 29th member of the alliance. Nato invited the nation to start entry talks in December 2015, about nine years after the nation of 620,000 people split from Serbia in a 2006 referendum.
  • Russia strongly opposes the expansion of the Western military alliance in a region it considers part of its strategic sphere of interest. Wary of Russian influence in the still-volatile region, Nato wanted Montenegro to join the alliance.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which country is set to become NATO's newest member after US Senate vote? 
- Montenegro. 

30 Mar, 17

Sima Kamil becomes first woman to lead a major Pakistani bank

  • United Bank Limited (UBL), one of the Pakistan's largest banks, announced Monday that it had appointed Sima Kamil as the new president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the bank, to replace outgoing CEO Wajahat Hussain.
  • Kamil, who will initially serve as deputy CEO at UBL, is slated to take over the top slot after May 31, when Hussain departs from the company.
  • Kamil had previously been leading Habib Bank Ltd's (HBL) Branch Banking since 2011 and oversaw a large expansion of HBL's branch network.
  • She dealt with HBL's retail, consumer, small and medium enterprises, and rural banking initiatives, as well as the bank's wealth management division as head of the HBL Asset Management Company Ltd.
  • Vanita Gupta appointed president of Leadership Conference.
  • Indian-American Vanita Gupta, who headed civil rights division in the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration, has been appointed as president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, becoming the first woman to head the prestigious organisation.
  • Known for her fearless advocacy of all human beings, 41-year-old Gupta will replace Wade Henderson who is stepping down after more than two decades.
  • Gupta, who will also lead its sister organisation The Leadership Conference Education Fund, will begin her new role on June 1.
  • Gupta served as Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
  • She joined the ACLU in 2006 as a staff attorney, where she subsequently secured a landmark settlement on behalf of immigrant children from around the world detained in a privately-run prison in Texas that ultimately led to the end of "family detention" at the facility.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
Which of the bank of Pakistan, announced  that it had appointed Sima Kamil as the new president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the bank? 
- United Bank Limited (UBL). 

25 Mar, 17

The World’s Largest “Artificial Sun” Is Powering up in Germany

  • Synlight is the largest collection of film projector spotlights ever assembled in one room, and scientists in Germany are turning them all on at once in the pursuit of efficient and renewable energy.
  • This experiment involving the world’s “largest artificial sun” is taking place in Jülich, a town located 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, and it was designed by scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
  • The device features 149 industrial-grade film projector spotlights, and each one boasts roughly 4,000 times the wattage of the average light bulb.
  • When this artificial sun is turned on, it generates light that’s 10,000 times as intense as natural sunlight on Earth.
  • Swiveling the lamps and concentrating them on one spot can produce temperatures of around 3,500 degrees Celsius (6,332 degrees Fahrenheit), which is three times as hot as the heat generated by a blast furnace.
  • In the future, the facility may be used to test the durability of space travel parts when blasted by solar radiation, so not only could Synlight help us deal with our energy crisis here on Earth, it could help us explore worlds far beyond our own, too.
Quick Question for Bank PO/ IBPS Exams 2016-17:
The World’s Largest “Artificial Sun” Synlight which is the largest collection of film projector spotlights ever assembled in one room has been created in which country? 
 - Germany. 
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