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May 18th Current Affairs

International Issues

Global citizen around the world are observing International Museum Day on May 18. International Museum day brings a rare occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. 

Every year, a theme is adopted to mark the day ,aiming to give universal meaning to celebrations in various countries and to boost the waning interest in museums.

In the United States, according to estimates of the latest census data, children from racial and ethnic minorities now account for more than half of the births in the country.

Black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed-race births made up 50.4 per cent of new arrivals in the year ending in July 2011. It puts non-Hispanic white births in the minority for the first time.

Sociologists believe the ongoing economic slowdown has contributed to a greater decline in birth rates among white people.

The US Census Bureau recorded 2.02 million babies born to minorities in the year to July 2011, just over half of all births, compared with 37 per cent in 1990.

National Issues

The Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council has been reconstituted with Home Minister P Chidambaram as chairman and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and nine Chief Ministers, including Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa and Gujarat's Narendra Modi, as members.

Parliament gave its seal of approval to the Railway Property Unlawful Possession Amendment Bill 2011 with the Lok Sabha adopting it with a voice vote. The Rajya Sabha had already passed it. Replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa said the Act seeks to protect railway property and give punishment to offenders.

He said Railway Protection Force, RPF has been given more power through this legislation so that it can inquire into cases of encroachment of railway property and take action against the errant.

He said the work of fencing and plantation is also on the vacant properties of the Railways. Mr Muniyappa informed that there are 15,000 vacancies in the RPF out of the total strength of 74,000 and a process was on to fill them up.

The Government has set up the Financial Sector Legislation Reforms Committee (FSLRC) to review the financial sector laws including the banking sector laws.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a written reply informed the Lok Sabha that the government is constantly reviewing and amending banking sector laws.

New laws are being enacted on the requirement of the banking sector after consultations with the stakeholders, he said.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010, providing for certain important amendments to the Copyright Act. The bill will remove operational difficulties and address newer issues related to the digital world and Internet.

The Bill, moved by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, also seeks to bring Indian laws originally enacted in 1957 in conformity with international norms and World Intellectual Property Organisation. Mr. Sibal said that this has been done to protect the interest of artists.

The Cabinet has approved a Bill that aims to set up National Agriculture Bio-diversity Authority to keep a check on inflow of external pests while importing agricultural and animal products.

The National Agriculture Bio-diversity Bill will replace the Destructive Insects and Pest Act of 1914.

The bill, which will have provisions to protect the country's bio-diversity through stricter norms for import of agricultural, animal and fish products.

The proposed law will ensure streamlining of all plantation quarantine issues like pest-diseases and the threats of bio-terrorism either man-made or natural.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has decided to conduct mapping of mining areas and vulnerable regions in different States to find out about child labourers working in mines and quarries and to evolve a new child labour tracking system with emphasis on rescue and rehabilitation.

Amid the Opposition demand to make divorce more women-friendly, the government approved fresh amendments in a Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, to give the wife a clearly- defined share in the husband's immovable residential property.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took up new amendments to the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha earlier this month.

The government also decided to retain the mandatory six-month cooling-off period, which the Bill had proposed to do away with, in case of divorce with mutual consent. However, to waive the cooling period, both the parties will have to move the application together.

Economic Issues

India has the potential to grow at 8-9 per cent for the next two decades and a supportive global environment will help the country achieve this goal. Addressing a high level debate on 'State of the World Economy and Finance in 2012' at the United Nations General Assembly, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia made this statement. 

Ahluwalia said while the financial crisis slowed growth in developing nations,it was satisfying to note that growth rates remained more robust than many would have expected. He added this growth resilience reflects the fact that large numbers of developing countries now have stronger human and institutional capacities to grow.

Facebook announced a price of USD 38 per share for its record-setting initial public offering, which gives the leading social network a market value of USD 104 billion.


Grammy-winning disco legend Donna Summer died after a battle with cancer. She was 63. Nicknamed the Queen of Disco, the singer, whose 1970s and 80s hits included “I Feel Love,” “Love to Love you Baby” and “She Works Hard for the Money".



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