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May 22nd Current Affairs

International Issues

International biodiversity day is observed across the world on May 22 to increase understanding and awareness about biodiversity issues. The aim is to make people aware about the importance of biodiversity on the one hand and its unprecedented loss on the other

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has said that its forces will continue to participate in combat operations until the end of 2014.

Director Anurag Kashyap's latest movie, Gangs of Wasseypur, is India's first mainstream film to be screened in the Director's Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival in France. It is a story of a feuding family over 60 years in the rural eastern coal district of Dhanbad.

The International Labor Organization says, almost 13 per cent of young people world-wide, are currently out of work, with no sign, that there would be any quick improvement. In a new report, the ILO says, many skilled young people have been forced into part-time and unskilled work. More than 6 million others have become so disillusioned, they have given up even looking for jobs. The ILO urges governments to make job creations a top priority, with tax breaks for companies that employ young people.

The ILO's report paints a bleak picture of young people, losing hope and becoming increasingly detached, from the world of work. Almost 75 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed worldwide and the ILO's new report predicts no improvement, before 2016 at the earliest. For young people in particular says the ILO, these years without work, will be damaging.

Bangladesh is planning to introduce a marriage registration law for the minority Hindus. But the government feels it should be made optional, since community leaders have been opposing such a registration.

The Cabinet endorsed the draft of The Hindu Marriage Registration Act-2012. After vetting by the Law Ministry, the draft will be placed before Parliament.

National Issues

A Parliamentary panel has recommended statutory powers to CBI in dealing with corruption cases throughout the country without the states' concurrence. The Panel said that though a federal legislation, the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 is in place, which provides for an investigation agency at the national level to investigate and prosecute certain class of offences.It said,the Committee is of the considered view that a legislation may be proposed on similar lines, to give an effective statutory backing to CBI, which is a dire need of the hour, while taking care that the basic features of the Constitution are not compromised.

The panel had sought the opinion of the Attorney General on whether CBI could launch prosecution on offences related to matters in the Union List of the Constitution. The AG had then opined to identify the specific matters.

The panel took note of the Attorney General's opinion, but suggested the government to consider the legislation close on the lines of the NIA Act, 2008 to authorise CBI to probe and prosecute graft-related offences only.

The Committee, in its report on demands for grants (2012-13) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, also asked the government to ensure that CBI's modernisation plan should not be hampered due to budgetary constraints.

India accounts for 13 per cent of preterm birth rate and it ranges from 5 to 18 per cent in respect of other countries across the world. This information was given in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha by Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. He said as per a recent publication -- the global action report on preterm births, India has the highest number of preterm deaths.

The Minister said the government has made several interventions to reduce infant mortality. He said the release for Reproductive and Child Health programme under the National Rural Health Mission have been increased from 898 crore rupees in 2005-06 to over 4000 crore rupees in 2011-12.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukjerjee introduced Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill 2012 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill provides for development and regulation of the micro finance institutions for the purpose of facilitating access to credit, thrift and other micro finance services to the rural and urban poor and disadvantaged sections.

It also seeks to promote financial inclusion through such institutions. Mr. Mukherjee also introduce the Small Industries Development Bank of India (Amendment) Bill 2012 in the Lok Sabha.

The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2012 has received Parliament's approval. It seeks to amend the Constitution to include the Medara community in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka. The Medara community was omitted in the list in 2002.

Bilateral Issues

India Arab trade and economic ties are a successful model of south co-operation which has focussed mainly on development in the region. The speakers from India and Arab world at the ongoing India Arab Partnership Conference in Abu Dhabi underlined the need to further expand the trade to new areas and work for a sustainable development.

The Union Minister of State for External Affairs, E.Ahamad said no part of the world can remain isolated and its high time India and Arab nations join hands to ensure that the benefits of development reach out to the people. 

The two day long Conference is aimed at promoting trade and investment between India and the Arab world. It has been organized by FICCI and Abu Dhabi Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, UAE Ministry of Foreign trade and Arab League.

Arab League has 22 members, including countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria and Tunisia. India holds a unique distinction as the first non Arab country to enter the Arab League without having Arab community or an indigenous Arabic speaking population.The League conferred observer status to India in 2007. 

The trade between India and Arab League has gone up from US$ 30 billion in 2007 to $ 144 billion in 2011. India’s major exports to Arab League countries include chemicals, automobiles, machinery, foodstuff and other fast moving products, while it is a large importer of Arab oil and gas. A large Indian diaspora in the Arab world, of which some 20% are professionals have contributed a lot to enhance the trade and economic ties. The India-Arab Partnership Conference holds a lot of potential for both the sides to grow together and faster in a unipolar world.

Economic Issues

The government said it has taken a number of steps to augment the supply of foreign exchange to stem decline of rupee and foreign direct investment, FDI for infrastructure development. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said these steps include liberalization of External Commercial Borrowings ECB policy and portfolio investment norms. He said a number of measures have been taken to improve access to cooperate bond market through infrastructure Debt Funds.

The Reserve Bank of India has also taken initiatives to curb speculations in the foreign exchange market. Other measures include raising of NRI deposit interest rates, easing availability of export credit and stipulation that 50 percent of balances in the Exchange Earner's Foreign Currency, EEFC account to be converted into rupee balances.


Spain's Rafael Nadal has won the Men's Singles title of the Italian Open Tennis tournament at Rome for a record sixth time. In the finals played, Nadal defeated Serbia's World Number One Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. With this victory, Nadal has retained the World Number 2 position. Now, Swiss Roger Federer is third.


India-born Suma Chakrabarti will succeed Germany's Thomas Mirow as the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has been supporting economic transition in former Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet republics for the last two decades.

Mr. Chakrabarti, a permanent Secretary in the U.K. Ministry of Justice, has won the race for the leadership of the bank by prevailing over four other candidates, including Mr. Mirow, who sought a second four-year term.



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