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23 September 2016, National & International Current Affairs

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National

Sep 23: The government will recover the cost of security for power projects, mostly under CPEC, from consumers for entire 25-30 years life of the projects.

Sep 23: Energy regulators of Saarc agreed to have harmonisation of regulations, codes and standards of electricity grids for cross-border electricity trade in the region.

Sep 23: The government appointed Zahid Akhtar Zaman as new director general of LDA.

Sep 23: A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for the first Pak-Russian joint exercise called ‘Friendship 2016’. The exercise is aimed at strengthening and developing military cooperation with Pakistan

International

Sep 23: The UN Security Council approved a resolution, with 14 votes in favour and one abstention (Egypt), urging quick global implementation of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty that would ban tests of nuclear weapons.

What is CTBT?

Adopted by the UN General Assembly under, the Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all.

The CTBT was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 — Resolution 50 (1996).

It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States.

It bans all nuclear explosions for both civilian and military purposes.

183 States have signed the Treaty and 166 States have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The resolution noted that of the 44 States listed in Annex 2, 41 have signed and 36 have both signed and ratified the Treaty, including several nuclear weapons States.

Of the 44 States included in Annex 2, all have signed with the exceptions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan.

Five of the 44 Annex 2 States have signed but not ratified the Treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States.

Sep 23: Marriott International, with 30 hotel brands under its umbrella, has become the largest hotel chain in the world. The chain has more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.

Sep 23: President Obama vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government.

Sep 23: Six nominations for the next director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) were announced. The current leader Margaret Chan ends her tenure next June.

Nominees include:

David Nabarro: Britain, UN’s special envoy for Ebola during the crisis in 2014/15

Tedros Adhansom Ghebreyesus: Ethiopia’s foreign minister and former health minister

Sania Nishtar: a former minister in Pakistan’s government

Philippe Douste-Blazy: former French health minister

Flavia Bustero: currently an assistant director general at WHO

Miklos Szocska: former health minister of Hungary

Sep 23: Lord Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist, stepped down as a Treasury minister of the United Kingdom. Mr O’ Neill is known for coining the phrase “Brics”, an acronym for the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Sep 23: Britain should apologize for its 1917 declaration endorsing the founding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and should recognize Palestine as a state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

The Balfour Declaration

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”’

The Balfour Declaration was sent as a 67-word statement contained within the short letter addressed to the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour on November 2, 1917.

The declaration acknowledged the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine.

Sep 23: India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for around $8.7 billion.

Rafael Deal

Here are the key aspects of the deal

  1. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves LeDrian signed the contract in Delhi on Friday after years of tortuous negotiations between the two countries.
  2. India will pay about Rs. 58,000 crore or 7.8 billion Euros for 36 off-the-shelf Dassault Rafale twin-engine fighters. About 15 per cent of this cost is being paid in advance.
  3. India will also get spares and weaponry, including the Meteor missile, considered among the most advanced in the world.
  4. Sources tracking the final negotiations had confirmed to NDTV that the IAF’s Rafales will come equipped with the Meteor designed to knock out enemy aircraft and cruise missiles significantly more than 100 km away.
  5. The acquisition of this weapon is likely to be game changer in South Asia. Neither Pakistan nor China, India’s traditional military adversaries, possess a weapon of the same class.
  6. The first Rafale warplanes are slated to be delivered roughly within 18 months of the signing of the final contract.
  7. There is an accompanying offset clause through which France will invest 30 per cent of the 7.8 billion Euros in India’s military aeronautics-related research programmes and 20 percent into local production of Rafale components.
  8. The deal could not be signed this January when French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day because India wanted a better price.
  9. For the Indian Air Force, the deal is bitter-sweet. On one hand, they will be getting two squadrons of the state-of-the-art fighter, on the other hand, the original requirement was for at least 126 jets.
  10. India needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters and has an existing strength of 32. The fighter fleet will go down further by about 10 squadrons as the MiG-21 fighter will have to be decommissioned.

Ig Nobel Prizes 2016

Sep 23: The 26th edition of the annual Ig Nobel Prizes, which celebrate the silly side of science, were handed out at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

List of Winners

Reproduction Prize: The late Ahmed Shafik, for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males.

Economics Prize: Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes, and Shelagh Ferguson, for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective.

Physics Prize: Gábor Horváth, Miklós Blahó, György Kriska, Ramón Hegedüs, Balázs Gerics, Róbert Farkas, Susanne Åkesson, Péter Malik, and Hansruedi Wildermuth, for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.

Chemistry Prize: Volkswagen, for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested.

Medicine Prize: Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).

Biology Prize: Awarded jointly to: Charles Foster, for living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird; and to Thomas Thwaites, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats

Psychology Prize: Verschuere, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers.

Peace Prize: Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek Koehler, and Jonathan Fugelsang for their scholarly study called “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit.”

Literature Prize: Fredrik Sjöberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead.

Perception Prize: Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs.

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