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June 9 and 10 Current Affairs

International Issues


Beijing has announced that it will open two new parts of the Great Wall of China to meet high tourist demand.

The authorities will now open the Huanghuacheng and Hefangkou areas. Beijing's municipal government will also expand the Mutianyu and Badaling sites in the city's northern suburbs. China recently announced the results of a state survey which found the Great Wall is considerably longer than first thought.

According to the study, the wall is 21,196.18 kilometres long, rather than an estimate of 8,850 kilometres given in a 2009 study. Work started on the Great Wall in 500 BC to protect China's northern border, and it remains the world's largest man-made structure.


National Issues


Delhi will soon be the first city in the country to set up food banks. Through these banks excess cooked and uncooked food will be collected from wedding receptions, parties, social functions, hotels and individual donors for distribution among hungry and poor people.

The scheme is being modeled on the lines of food banks in Chicago in the US, where community groups run them to feed hungry people by collecting excess food from hotels, wedding reception and through voluntary donations from individuals as well as various organisations.

The launch of the first ever India Food Banking Network (IFBN) was announced jointly by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations Sam Pitorda.

Pitroda said the infrastructure for collecting and distributing the food was being developed in cooperation with the Delhi Government, DLF Foundation, Reliance Foundation and Cargill India. He said donors of food could send an sms to 58888 following which IFBN volunteers would collect the food items while those who need food can also send sms to the same number.

Complementing the IFBN for the unique project, Dikshit said her Government would sign an MoU with India Food Banking Network to facilitate functioning of Delhi Food Bank. Dikshit said an efficient food storage and distribution system was necessary as hundreds of tonnes of food articles rot in India due to lack of storage.

The Food Bank project has been launched after a comprehensive three-year feasibility and site analysis in Delhi under the leadership of Pitroda.





Union Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed the National Website 'Missing Children Tracking System' (MCTS) for tracing missing children. The Website will not only have data on missing children but it will also have live database to monitor the progress of the children in the child care institutions.

A government spokesman told at Chandigarh that Govt. of India has decided to implement the project initially on a pilot basis in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The team of Union Ministry of Women & Child Development will organize a training programme on 20th June, 2012 to impart necessary training to the functionaries of Police Personnel, Child Help Line, SARA, Incharges of various Homes, Members of Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee at Chandigarh.

He said that National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been developing Software Recruitment Specifications for creating a uniform MCTS System, which will be replicated in those states where there is no system for tracing missing children and it will also undertake a gap analysis of various existing systems to develop bridging software to link it up with the National Portal.





Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that the National Development Council (NDC) approval for the 12th Plan is expected by September 2012.

Addressing a function on the 30th anniversary of NABARD in Mumbai, Mr. Ahluwalia said that as per the expectations if the NDC gives final approval to 12th five year plan by September it will be a full three months before, as compared with the 10th and 11th Plans. He dismissed all the reports stating that the planning body may not be able to get the proposals approved by the NDC as scheduled by September, because many working groups are yet to submit the final reports.

Mr. Ahluwalia said that this presumed delay in approval of 12th five year plan does not impact the functioning of the Plan. He said that he said it takes time to get all the data from all agencies and ministries, including reports of steering committees and working groups and views of different ministries and departments. Mr. Ahluwalia stated that the documents for 10th and 11th Plans were also finalized much after the beginning of the respective Plan periods.





The Planning Commission has sanctioned an amount of 750 crore rupees to Assam for erosion control and rehabilitation of the affected people for the year of 2012-13. Talking to newspersons in Guwahati, Chief Minister Mr. Tarun Gogoi said that the Planning Commission has allotted 1 thousand 500 crore rupees for irrigation and erosion control. Out of the total allocation, 50 percent fund will be utilized to control erosion.

Last year, Assam Government utilized around 210 crore rupees for erosion control and rehabilitations. It may be recalled that Assam lost an area of over 4 lakh bighas of land in the last 40 years due to erosion by rivers. The state has 44 erosion prone rivers in Brahmaputra valley.

The state government has also decided to start a project to reclaim parts of the land eroded by river. The low -cost project will be implemented at Sualkuchi area in Kamrup district as pilot basis with the support of Asian Development Bank.





The Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the Trade Fair Centre at the Cochin International Airport, built at a cost of 13 crore rupees.

The centre, built to international standards, has an area of 30,000 square feet with all modern amenities.

Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the satellite campus of the Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode at the Info Park in Kochi.





The high power committee constituted by the West Bengal Government on inclusion of additional areas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has recommended incorporation of 5 new Mauzas in the region. Announcing this in Kolkata this afternoon the State Chief Secretary Mr. Samar Ghosh said that the committee led by the retired Justice Mr. Shymal Kumar Sen has recommended inclusion of 3 Mauzas from Darjeeling and 2 Mauzas from Jalpaiguri districts in the territory of the GTA.

Mr. Ghosh informed that the committee took the decision for expansion of GTA areas after assessing the ground situation, population of Gorkhas in the region. The high power committee submitted its report to the Government.

The Government constituted the committee on July last year following demand of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha for inclusion of 398 Mauzas from Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts. The Chief Secretary said that the report of the high power committee will pave the way for elections to the GTA.

The West Bengal Chief Minister Miss Mamata Banerjee appealed to the all concerned to abide by the recommendations of the committee to expedite development in Darjeeling. The tripartite agreement on formation of GTA in Darjeeling was signed in presence of Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, Chief Minister Miss Mamata Banerjee on 18th of July last year to give more autonomy to the hill people. The GTA replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha has expressed its unhappiness over the report of the Sen Committee. They said that the party will decided its next course of action soon.





The Sports Ministry has sanctioned over Rs 77 crore to 26 states for conducting annual sports competitions under the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan scheme.

These states include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Under the scheme, playfields are developed and sports competitions are conducted annually at block, district, state and national levels.

Around 52,000 village panchayats and over 1,500 block panchayats have been covered under the scheme so far.





In Maharashtra, new initiative of using solar energy for the dual pump scheme under the National Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme has proved very effective and beneficial for the remote villages like Rampur in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district.

The dual pump scheme which runs on solar energy has been proved as a big boon for them and now they are able to get clean and safe drinking water at home through the pipelines. The solar energy option has been chosen because the district does not have proper water supply schemes to provide water to the people through the coordinated pipelines and the erratic and inadequate power supply is also a major concern in these areas.





The first edition of the “India; the Incredible Investment Destination”, Conference began in the Saudi Arabia Capital Riyadh. The road show is a part of the initiative by the Ministry of Finance to promote investment opportunities from the gulf region in India.

A high level delegation led by the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, R. Gopalan, representatives from the Securities and Exchange Board of India SEBI, the Reserve Bank of India RBI and the Department of Disinvestment would engage in a series of interactions with the captains of industry and business leaders in Saudi Arabia to explain the investor friendly business opportunities in India.





The National Advisory Council, NAC has recommended giving tax benefits to private employers of persons with disabilities.

Giving its suggestions on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPDB), the NAC, chaired by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has also suggested extending subsidies and financial incentives for starting small-scale income generation activities by household of persons with disabilities.

In a recent communication to the government, the advisory panel also suggested financial and tax benefits to private employers of Persons with Disabilities.


Bilateral Issues


India and Kazakhstan have signed an agreement to promote development of textiles, particularly garment manufacturing, to strengthen their domestic industries.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and State Authority Directorate of SEZ 'Ontustyk' during the third meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Joint Working Group on Textiles in New Delhi.

Both the sides agreed to cooperate in sectors like wool and cotton along with exchanging information


Economic Issues


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all banks to generate a unique identification code for each of their customers. It will strengthen Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing Of Terrorism (CFT) mechanisms.

RBI has said that since the formation of the entire KYC Registry would take a long time, banks should immediately start generating the Unique Customer Identification Code (UCIC). To begin with, RBI has asked banks to initiate steps for allotting UCIC to all their customers while entering into any new relationships.

Similarly, RBI has suggested banks to allot UCIC to existing individual customers by end-May 2013. According to RBI, UCIC will help banks to identify customers, track the facilities availed and monitor financial transactions in a holistic manner. It will also provide banks with a better approach while risk profiling their customers.

RBI has also taken several initiatives to arrest the fall of rupee against dollar . It has permitted NRIs to send remittances more frequently. According to a latest RBI circular released, resident Indians are now allowed to receive as many as 30 remittances from NRI friends and relatives during a year as against 12 earlier.

In the circular addressed to authorised Indian agents under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS), RBI directed them to bring this to the notice to sub-agents as well and ensure the adherence to the guidelines. Analysts said that RBI decision would boost foreign currency inflows and check rupee fall.

The Indian currency has been declining continuously since March and touched a historic low of 56.38 to a dollar last month.





Delhi has achieved an impressive growth rate of 11.3 per cent in 2011-12 which was much above the national figure of 6.5 per cent, despite the slowdown in the overall economy of the country.

The Finance Department said, the government was confident of maintaining around 11 per cent growth rate in the current fiscal despite downward forecast for the economy in general.

Officials said though the government had faced crunch in the financial year 2010-11 due to huge spending in the Commonwealth Games projects, the position has improved significantly as tax collection in 2011-12 was very impressive.

The Delhi government has projected the economy of the city to grow at a rate of 11 to 11.5 per cent during the 12th Five Year Plan period. The growth rate of Delhi in the Eleventh Plan period was 11.46 per cent as compared to 7.9 per cent at the national level.





Euro-zone finance ministers have said that the Euro-group was willing to respond favourably to the tune of 100 billion euros that is 125 billion US dollar to a bailout request from Spain for its troubled banks.

The 17 ministers said, the loan needed to cover estimated capital requirements with an additional safety margin, estimated as summing up to 100 billion euro in total.


Sports


Maria Sharapova has won her maiden French Open Women's singles title. In the final in Paris, the Russian second seed outclassed Italian Sara Errani in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 and became just the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam. Sharapova had earlier won the Wimbledon Crown in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open title in 2008.

Errani was playing her first Grand Slam final and was bidding to become the second Italian woman to win the French Open after Francesca Shiavone did so two years ago.





Indian weightlifters have ended their Commonwealth Championships campaign on a high with 45 medals, including 29 gold. On the last day of competitions at Apia, Samoa, India bagged a gold and two bronze medals.

Overall, India ended the championships with 29 gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals. This is first time that India have won a medal in all the categories -- 15 each in youth, junior and senior. There are eight categories in men's section and seven in women's in youth, junior and senior competitions.

Himanshu Kumar Chang won a gold in junior men's +105 kg category with an effort of 270kg. The bronze medals came through Victor Abilash Christopher in senior men's +105kg and A Siromani in junior women's +75kg.

The Commonwealth Championship was being held for youth (boys and girls), junior (men and women) and senior (men and women) categories simultaneously.


Awards


Defence Minister AK Antony felicitated the Armed Forces sportspersons, who won medals during the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi. He also felicitated the Services Football team that recently won the Santosh Trophy-2012 after a gap of over 50 years.

Addressing the winners, Antony lauded the contribution of Armed Forces athletes by contributing an impressive tally of 10 gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals, which is more than 25 per cent of the total medals won by the country that included 38 gold, 27 silver and 34 bronze medals.


Persons


The opposition Syrian National Council, SNC, has elected a Kurdish activist as its new president.

The exiled SNC, an umbrella group for opposition groups, elected Abdelbasset Sida at a meeting in Istanbul.

Mr Sida, who succeeds Burhan Ghalioun, said he planned to restructure the Council and get all opposition groups to agree on a unified vision.



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