DAILY GK UPDATE 16 – 17th JUNE

1.   
‘World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought’
observed today
i. The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations
observance each June 17 every year.

ii. Theme: This year’s slogan, “Don’t let our future dry up”
calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to
water scarcity, desertification and drought.

iii. Its purpose is to
highlight ways to prevent desertification and recover from drought. Each annual
celebration has a different theme.
iv. The slogan embodies
the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and
sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource
challenges.
v. The goal of the 2013
World Day to Combat Desertification is to create awareness about the risks of
drought and water scarcity in the drylands and beyond, calling attention to the
importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well
as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
vi. The World Day to
Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness
relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects
of drought.
2.     Hassan Rohani New President of Iran:
i. Hassan Rohani the moderate cleric of Combatant Clergy Association party won the presidential election in Iran, defeated Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf of Islamic Society of Engineers party.
ii. He secured a little over 50 percent votes to win the election. He would succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 
iii. Hassan Rohani had registered for the prestigious designation of the country on 7 May 2013. He would take the office on 3 August 2013. He would become the seventh different President of Iran. 
iv.During his time as  chief nuclear negotiator he got along very well with Western diplomats. While he held that position, Iran suspended uranium enrichment. They restarted it when Ahmadinejad became president.
v. Rohani, a mid-ranking Shi’ite cleric, is an Islamic Republic insider who has held senior political and military posts since the 1979 Islamic revolution and maintained a good rapport with Khamenei, Iran’s most powerful man.
vi. Now Iranians will wait to see if Rohani can deliver tangible policy changes or if this is just going to be a softening in tone rather than substance.
3.   
RBI keeps interest rates unchanged
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its June mid-quarter monetary policy
today, left its key policy (repo) rate unchanged at 7.25 percent in line. 
ii. Cash reserve ratio
(CRR) remained at 4 percent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate will remain
unchanged at 6.25 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and
the Bank Rate at 8.25 per cent.
iii. The Central bank
said that the above monetary policy stance has been informed by the evolving
growth-inflation dynamic, the balance of risks as well as recent developments
in the external sector
iv. It said that the
global economic activity has slowed and risks remain elevated on account of
uncertainty over policies of systemic central banks.
v. The Central Bank has
said that balance of payments, inflation and growth rate will determine its
future monetary stance. It further said that only a durable receding of
inflation will open up the space for monetary policy to continue to address
risks to growth.
vi. RBI also said that
although several measures have been taken to contain the current account
deficit, there is a need to be vigilant about the global uncertainty, the rapid
shift in risk perceptions and its impact on capital flows. 
vii. Rupee has declined by 5.8 per cent since January 1 and
touched a record low of 58.96 to a dollar last week. It was trading at 57.84 during
the morning trade.
viii. The status quo
maintained by RBI has dashed hopes of interest rates cut which was widely
expected by the market
.
Note:
i.
Repo
is the rate at which banks borrow from the Central bank. CRR is the portion of
deposits that banks are mandated to keep with RBI.
ii. RBI projected the
GDP growth for 2013-14 at 5.7 per cent. However government estimated at 6.1 – 6.7
per cent.
Current
Rates:
1. CRR – 4%
2. Repo Rate – 7.25%
3. R. Repo Rate – 6.25%
4. SLR – 23%
5. MSF – 8.25%
6. Bank Rate – 8.25%
4.   
Eight new ministers inducted in Cabinet reshuffle
i. The Union Cabinet was expanded with the induction of eight new ministers.
Senior Congress leaders Sisram Ola, Oscar Fernandes, Girija Vyas and Dr K S Rao
were inducted as Cabinet Ministers.
ii. While,
Manikrao Gavit, Santosh Chowdhury, J D Seelam, E M S Natchiappan took the oath
as the Ministers of State.
iii. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of secrecy
to the newly inducted ministers at a function in Rashtrpati Bhawan on Monday.
iv. The
expansion-cum-reshuffle of the Council of Ministers was necessitated by the
exit of DMK Ministers as well as resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ashwani
Kumar, Ajay Maken and Dr. C P Joshi.
v. This is expected to
be the last cabinet reshuffle before next general elections.
New Cabinet
Ministers:
i. Mr. Oscar Fernandes – Road and Highways Minister
ii. Ms.
Girija Vyas
– New Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Minister.
iii. Mr. K.S. Rao – New Textiles Minister
iv. Mr.
SiS Ram Ola
– New Labour and Employment Minister.
Ministers of
state
i. EMS Natchiyappan
takes oath as MoS commerce and industry

ii. J D Seelam
becomes MoS finance

iii. Manikrao Gavit
gets social justice and empowerment

iv. Santosh
Chowdhury gets health & family welfare
5.   
John Ashe elected as the President of
UN General Assembly
i. Antigua
& Barbuda’s ambassador to the United Nations, John William Ashe, was
elected president of the 68th Session of
the UN General Assembly (UNGA)
on Friday.
ii. The one-year
presidency of UNGA rotates among regions, with the 68th session being the turn of the Latin American and Caribbean
regional group, and Ashe the unanimous choice
iii. He will replace
former Serbian foreign minister Vuk
Jeremic
, who now leads the current plenary session of the 193 UN member
states.
More About John Ashe
i. Ashe,
58, is also ambassador to the World Trade Organisation and the government’s
chief negotiator for sustainable development issues.
ii. Ashe has led Antigua
& Barbuda’s permanent mission to the United Nations since 2004.
iii. He served as
Chairman of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, which met at United Nations Headquarters on 11–22 April 2005. 
iv. He worked for his country’s Permanent Mission to the United
Nations as Scientific Attaché, Counsellor and Minister Counsellor from 1989 to
1995.
6.   TRAI announces reduction in roaming charges
i. Telecom regulator TRAI on 17 June 2013 announced reduction in the national mobile phone roaming charges which will come into effect 1 July 2013.
ii. Trai has also come out with conditional a free national roaming plan that is aimed at bringing down cellphone roaming charges. 
iii. Trai has reduced ceilings for national roaming calls and SMS and instituted a new regime for providing flexibility to telecom service providers to customise tariffs for national roamers through STVs (Special Tariff Vouchers) and Combo Vouchers.
iv. It has also mandated two types of free national roaming plans to be provided by all telecom service providers. 
v. Ceilings have been reduced t 1 Rupee  per minute and Re 1.50 per minute, respectively.
vi. Similarly, the ceiling tariffs for incoming calls while on national roaming have been reduced from 1.75 Rupees per minute to 75 paise per minute.
vii. Tariffs for outgoing SMS while on national roaming, which were earlier under forbearance, have now been capped: outgoing SMS (local) a 1 Rupee per SMS and outgoing SMS (STD) at 1.50 Rupees per SMS. Incoming SMS will remain free of charge.
7.   
Ratan Tata Appointed as Chief Advisor
of AirAsia India
i. AirAsia
on 17 June 2013 announced that Ratan Tata, the ex-chairman of the Tata Group
was appointed as the Chief Advisor of AirAsia’s India board. In the meanwhile,
Mittu Chandilya was named as the CEO of the AirAsia India. 
ii. Ratan Tata paved the way for creating joint venture between
AirAsia, Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace and the Tata Group.
iii.In the joint venture,
AirAsia has 49 percent share, while Tata has 30 percent share. Remaining 21
percent share is held by Arun Bhatia.
iv. It is
expected that AirAsia will bring competitive pricing in aviation market of
India. AirAsia will start its operations by 2013 end.
8.   
R&AW founder B Raman dies battling cancer
i. One of
India’s foremost security experts and one of the founders of India’s external
intelligence wing — the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Bahukutumbi
Raman  passed away in Chennai on Sunday evening after a prolonged fight
with cancer. He was 77.
ii. Described as an asset
by the Indian intelligence community, Raman was a former additional secretary
with the Cabinet secretariat.
iii.  He was also the director of the Institute for Topical
Studies, Chennai.
iv. Author of several
books, Raman was a critic of India’s foreign policy.
v. He used to write on
security, counter-terrorism and military issues of India and South Asia.
vi. He had also written a
memoir titled “Kaoboys of Research and Analysis Wing: Down Memory Lane”.
9.   
Novel ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ won the Walter Scott Prize 2013
i. Tan Twan Eng, the Malaysian
author
was declared as the winner of Walter
Scott Prize
 for his English fiction novel The Garden of Evening Mists.
ii. He won the award
during Borders Book Festival which was held from 13 June 2013 to 16 June 2013. 
iii. The Garden of Evening Mists is first novel by any overseas writer that has won 4-year-old
Walter Scott Prize
iv. The Garden
of Evening Mists
 won over the strong shortlist which included Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.
v. There were also
other novels by English writers such as Anthony Quinn, Rose Tremain and Pat
Barker as well as Australian author Thomas Keneally.
vi. Tan Twan Eng on 14
March 2013 was also announced as a winner of the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize.
vii. He became the first
Malaysian author to win the most prestigious literary prize of Asia for the
same novel The Garden of Evening Mists.
10. 
Urban
Administration Dept adopts online fund transfer system in MP
i. In Madhya Pradesh, the Urban Administration Department
has adopted online fund transfer system to ensure transparency and speed in the
process of fund transfer to urban bodies. 
ii. Funds are now being deposited directly
in bank accounts of concerning urban bodies through electronic transfer.
iii. Now both money and time are being
saved with the introduction of electronic fund management system. Through it,
funds are deposited in urban bodies’ accounts in short time. 
iv. At present, funds are also being
transferred through treasury to concerning urban bodies’ bank accounts.
11. 
India
win silver in Archery World Cup
i. The Indian duo of Rajat
Chouhan and Manjudha
Soy settled for a silver medal at the World Cup
(Stage-II) Archery competition in Turkey yesterday, after it lost the Compound
Mixed Team final by one point.
ii. The Indian pair had a slender 112-111
lead against the Italian world champions Sergio Pagni and Marcella Toniolli at
the end of third set.
iii. The inexperienced Indians faltered by
a couple of millimetres in the final arrow to go down 149-150 in a thrilling
contest.
iv. Earlier, the Indian recurve archers
had crashed out before the quarterfinals, as India concluded their campaign
with the silver lining from the compound archers.
Note: India has never won a Gold in the
Compound section, and their previous best in this format was in the Ogden World
Cup 2011 (Stage-III) when the Women’s team of Manjudha, Gagandeep Kaur and
Jhano Hansdah had won a silver.
12. 
India
tops in medal tally in Junior Asian Wrestling C’ship
i. Grapplers Pradeep Kumar (60kg)
and Sumit (96kg) won gold on Sunday in the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship
as India finished with a rich haul of 17 medals at Phuket, Thailand.
ii. Besides two gold medals on the
final day, Indian grapplers won two silver and a bronze to finish at the top of
the freestyle team rankings of the championships.
iii. Meanwhile, Vikas (66kg) and Pradeep Kumar (74kg) had to
settle for silver medals after losing their final bouts at the Saphan Hin
Indoor Sports Complex.
iv. Mandeep (55kg) got the better off
Younes Sarmastidizaji of Iran to claim bronze medal. Competiting under the new
FILA rules, Indian wrestlers won three gold, five silver and nine bronze medals
in the championships.
13. 
CT2013: Australia win toss, choose field against Sri
Lanka  
i. Defending champions Australia won toss and decided to field first against
Sri Lanka in their final league fixture on Monday to decide the last of the
remaining ICC Champions Trophy semifinal places.
ii. It will be a virtual
quarterfinal clash between the two sides at Kennington Oval but a lot will
depend on the outcome of the Group A match between England and New Zealand in
Cardiff to decide the equations.
iii. If New Zealand win,
Australia will have to beat Sri Lanka but if England triumph, they must beat
the Islanders by a huge margin to surpass Black Caps’ net run-rate, currently
the best in the Group.
iv. A win will seal Sri
Lanka’s place in the last four while a defeat will see them go home.
14. 
England defeat New Zealand to reach
semi-finals

i. England beat New Zealand by 10
runs in a Champions Trophy match reduced to 24 overs a side due to rain on
Sunday, earning themselves a place in the tournament’s semi-finals.
ii. England’s bowlers are excellent in
the second innings, defending a total of 169. James Anderson removes both
opening batsmen in the space of three deliveries.
iii. With the win, England ended their
league stage campaign with two victories from three matches bagging four
points. New Zealand finished with three points, courtesy a win and no result
against Australia.
iv. New Zealand were off to a bad start
in their chase with Anderson and Bresnan ripping through their top-order.
v. Earlier, England looked good to
breach the 200-run mark until they lost their last six wickets for 28 runs.
vi. Anderson
troubled the batsmen in particular through his swing besides making the ball
move sharply off the pitch.
v. The other semi-finalist from the group
will only be known after Monday’s clash between Sri Lanka and Australia at the
Oval. India and South Africa have qualified from Group B.