Union Cabinet approved NIPR (National Intellectual Property Rights) Policy
On 12th May 2016, Union Cabinet of India approved the NIPR (National Intellectual Property Rights) Policy. This policy will provide future roadmap in formulating effective and efficient IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) in India. The policy identified an abundance of innovative and creative energies flowing in the nation and recognizes the need for tapping these energies and channelizing them towards brighter and better future. A National IPR is a documented vision with the aim of creating and exploiting synergies across all IP (Intellectual Property) forms, concerned agencies and statutes. This new policy will set a strict institutional mechanism for implementing, monitoring as well as review of IPs. It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.
India emerged as the 5th largest e-waste producer across the globe: ASSOCHAM-KPMG study
On 24th May 2016, ASSOCHAM-KPMG published joint study stating that India has emerged as the 5th largest e-waste producer across the globe. It is also the 2nd biggest mobile market across the world. Every year, the total discarded electronic waste from India amounts to around 18.5 lakh MT (metric tonnes). Out of the total waste produced, twelve percent of this waste comes from telecom equipment alone. Almost 95 percent e-waste generated in the country is handled by unorganized sector. As per the report, almost 25 percent mobiles manufactured are wasted annually. The report recommends handling e-waste collection in a targeted and phased manner for quicker removal and higher efficiency in e-waste removal.
UNP (United Nations Peacekeepers) International Day 2016 witnessed with theme ‘Honoring Our Heroes’
On 29th May 2016, UNP (United Nations Peacekeepers) International Day, 2016 was witnessed with theme ‘Honoring Our Heroes’. The day is observed by paying tribute to the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets. The aim of this day is to honor the peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives in the service of the United Nations Flag. Since 1948, around 3400 peacekeepers have died serving the nation. The UNPA (UN Postal Administration) also issued six new stamp-sets for this occasion. This International Day was first conceived in 2002 by the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) Resolution 57/129 ad first observed in 2003. The theme for this year’s international day celebration was ‘Together for Peace’.
Chabahar Port Contract: Advantages for India
During the last week of May 2016, a new contract was signed between President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. A total of 12 agreements was signed and the event took place in Tehran. Out of these agreements, the most crucial agreement was the TTA (Trilateral Transit Agreement) between Iran, Afghanistan and India. In this deal, India has offered development of a new Port and Chabahar for export of goods from India to Iran with onward connection possibility to Central Asia and Afghanistan. The firms that represented India and Iran during this event were PMO (Ports and Maritime Organization) and IPGPL (India Ports Global Private Limited).
2016 RFACE (Red Flag Aerial combat exercises) concluded in US
The 2016 RFACE (Red Flag Aerial combat exercises) concluded in US on 13th May 2016. It was a multilateral combat exercise between India (Indian Air force, IAF), US, NATO as well as the allied forces. It was a four week exercise that started in April 28. The base of operations was Alaska (Nellis Air Force Base). This was India’s second participation in such exercise. Before this, India participated in similar exercise in 2008.The major objective behind IAF’s involvement in the inter-continental operations was to platform IAF’s capability in integrated air-operations as well as gain significant operational lessons. During this exercise, more than 170 IAF personnel took part in the exercise. The RFAC Exercise first started in 1975 and helps soldiers in refining their skills for difficult combat situations.
Modi and Maithripala releases ‘Simhastha Declaration’
On 14th May 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena together launched the ‘Simhastha Declaration’ at Ujjain’s Ninora village. The event occurred during the last day of IVM (International Vichar Mahakumbh) which was a part of the ongoing Simhastha Mela. Sri Lankan President was visiting India from 13th May to 15th May 2016 during which the announcement was made. The declaration included 51 points for mankind’s betterment. The declaration focusses on how the original and ancient during-centered system is relevant to the modern Indian society.
2016 ‘International Day of Families’ observed
On 15th May 2016, the world observed ‘International Day of Families’, 2016. This year’s theme was Healthy Lives, Families as well as sustainable future. This day gives an opportunity of promoting awareness regarding the issues that are related to families. This year’s theme was in line with the Agenda 2030 which includes sustainable development for ensuring healthy lives as well as promotion of well-being across all ages. This day was first observed in the year 1993 by the UN General Assembly. The day reflects the significance of international communities and their impact on families.
India and Slovenia sign Protocol improving ISDTA (India-Slovenia Double Taxation Avoidance) Convention
On 17th May 2016, India and Slovenia (Central European Nation) signed a contract for amending the existing double-taxation avoidance treaty. The objective of this amendment was to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. The event took place in Ljubljana. The Indian and Slovenian representatives for signing this protocol were Sarvajit Chakravarti (Indian ambassador to Slovenia) and Dusan Mramor (Slovenian Finance Minister) respectively. This agreement is expected to improve the existing ‘tax-exchange related information’ framework. The protocol will also help mutual support in tax collection.
UNODC presents inaugural WWC (World Wildlife Crime) Report
On 24th May 2016, the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) presented the inaugural WWC (World Wildlife Crime) Report. This report highlighted the illegal trade as well as poaching of thousands of various species across the world and the real threat they pose in environmental degradation. The report has urged different industries in taking responsibility in resolving this issue as most of the products manufactured from these illicit fauna and flora are food, furniture, fashion items and pets that are generally concealed in the general lives. The report was prepared with assistance from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), WCO (World Customs Organization) and the ICCWC (International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime).
On 23rd May 2016, India, Afghanistan and Iran signed the TTTC (Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor) agreement. The signing was done in presence of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of Iran Hassan Rauhani and President of Afghan Ashraf Ghani. The event took place in Tehran. The objective of this agreement was to facilitate and improve seamless goods transportation between Afghanistan and India via the port of Chabahar whose location is Iran’s South East region. This agreement aims to decrease the cargo tariffs as well as boost the economic development of the regions associated. Apart from the above, Iran and India also signed another agreement for developing the port of Chabahar and the cost of this operation will be around 150 Million (US) Dollars. This agreement will be complimenting the TTTC agreement.
42nd G7 Summit in Japan concluded
On 27th May 2016, the 42nd G7 summit that went for two days was concluded. The Summit started on 27th May 2016 and took place at Japan’s Ise-Shima. The major discussion point during this summit was a major global political and economic challenge. This summit was significant because after the adoption the 2030 SDA (Sustainable Development Agenda) by the United Nations, this was the first summit. The major topics discussed during this summit included energy and climate change, development, trade and the global economy, quality infrastructural investment and health.
Dialogue on Maritime Security between India and US held
On 16th May 2016, maritime security officials from India and US started their first dialogue round under the recently-formed MSD (Maritime Security Dialogue). This dialogue took place between Defense & External Ministry officials and their counterparts from US. From Indian sides, the representatives were Shambhi Kumaran (Joint Secretary- Planning & International Cooperation, PIC) and Munu Mahawar (Joint Secretary- External Ministry). From the US, the representatives were Manpreet Anand (South & Central Asian Affairs secretary) and David Shear (Assistant-Defense Secretary). Some of the major issues discussed during this dialogue included Asia-Pacific naval cooperation, multilateral engagement and maritime challenges. The objective was to enhance mutual relations and bring together technology and experience for the maritime security benefits of both nations.
2016 WTIS (World Telecommunication and Information Society) Day celebrated with theme ‘ICT entrepreneurship for social impact’
On 17th May 2016 WTISD (World Telecommunication and Information Society Day) was celebrated. The theme for this year was ‘ICT entrepreneurship for social impact’. The theme was selected in compliance with the Resolution 68. It was also endorsed by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) council in 2015. The agenda behind this year’s theme is to unlock the ever-growing potential of the ICT for dynamic and young entrepreneurs, innovators, SMEs as well as other young visionaries. The objective of WTIS Day is raising awareness regarding the usage of internet as well as other communication and information technologies and how they can bring together economies and societies. The first Global Telecommunication day was celebrated in the year 1969.
‘World Hypertension Day’ observed across the world
On 17th May 2016, the ‘World Hypertension Day’ was observed. This year theme was ‘Know Your Numbers’. The theme is related to the global objective of increasing awareness of high BP (Blood Pressure), its various side-affects and control measures across world populations. The world Health department (WHD) has taken up the challenge of screening up to 3 million adults by 2016. WHD is annually celebrated by WHL (World Hypertension League) which is a section of ISH (International Society of Hypertension). Started in the year 2005, WHD is celebrated each year on 17th May.
UN-Habitat released World-Cities Report, 2016 named ‘Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures’
On 18th May 2016, UN-Habitat released a new global-flagship report on World-Cities. The report was on sustainable development and is titled as ‘Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures’. As per the report, a new (urban) agenda is required for unlocking the world cities’ transformative powers. As per the report, top 600 world cities which includes one-fifth population of the globe, generate around 60 % of the global GDP. After the last conference of the UN which was held in 1996 in Istanbul, the developing cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America have become the center of attraction.
United Kingdom appoints journalist from India as their Deputy Mayor
On 19th May 2016, Philip Abraham (Indian Journalist and Councilor) was unanimously appointed as Loughton town’s (United Kingdom) Deputy Mayor. Carol Davis, newly-elected mayor presented the badge of Deputy Mayor to the councilor. Previous to this, VSK Menon was first Indian personality to service as Britain’s Councilor. He worked as the Labor Councilor between 1934 and 1939 for the Borough, St Pancras. Abraham is Kerala Link’s editor and won the Loughton Council in the year 2012.
27th India-Indonesian CORPAT concluded in Belawan
On 19th May 2016, the 27th India-Indonesian Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) concluded in Belawan, Indonesia. In this closing ceremony in Belawan, the navies from the two nations conducted interactive sessions on tactics for enhancing inter-operability. The 27th edition of this program took place for 4 days, from 16th May 2016 to 19th May 2016. The navies of Indonesia and India have been conducting this Coordinated Patrolling program with support from the IMBL (International Maritime Boundary Line) since 2002 and happen twice every year.
International Day for Biological Diversity 2016 observed across the world
On 22nd May 2016, the UN (United Nations) observed the IBD (International Day for Biological Diversity) for the year 2016. This year’s theme was ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods’. The major objective of this theme was highlighting the significance of biodiversity in support development. The theme also highlighted that the biodiversity is a significant cross-cutting outline in the Sustainable Development agenda, 2030. 22 May has been declared as IBD as per the UN General Assembly’s resolution 55/201 and is being observed since 2000. The main objective of this day is to increase understanding as well as awareness regarding biodiversity issues.
(International) Jazz Day 2016, observed globally
On 30th April 2016, the world observed ‘International Jazz Day’, 2016. This year, the Jazz Day was celebrated by UNESCO in US, Washington, DC. The objective of this day is raising awareness across the international jazz community regarding its virtues and its significance as a force in unity, peace, dialogue, education as well as in improving relations among people. Many civil society firms, governments, private citizens and educational institutions are presently promoting Jazz music for fostering greater appreciation for the music as well as improving its contribution in the creation of a more inclusive society.
‘International Labour Day’ celebrated globally
On 1st May 2016, ‘International Labour Day was celebrated all over the world. This year’s theme was ‘international labour movement.’ This day is also celebrated as ‘May Day’ and ‘International Worker’s Day.’ As a result of the ongoing changes in economic relationships among the emerging global economies, the theme is all the more significant. As a result of its significance, over 80 nations from around the world observed this day as a national holiday.
World Press Freedom Day
May 3 2016 was observed as World Press Freedom Day all across the world. The theme for this year was related to transparency in accessing information and accepting the fundamental freedom of every individual. The day also acknowledges the importance of three other events- Celebrating 15 years of new SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), 25th anniversary of Windhoek Declaration and 250th anniversary of first freedom law based on information. The day was established with an objective to promote liberty in Press and make information accessible worldwide.
Alberta Wildfire: Canada Government declares ‘State of Emergency’
Alberta is a Western Canadian Province encompassed by prairies, mountains, huge coniferous forests and desert badlands. It was in news during May 2016 first week as the Canada government declared ‘State of Emergency.’ The emergency was declared due to the massive wildfire that destroyed many homes. The city affected was Fort McMurray which is the province’s oil sands hub. As a result of the wildfire, around 80000 residents had to be evacuated the city. The fire started on 1st May 2016.
Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, will conduct joint water-patrols to stop kidnappings
On 5th May 2016, it was announced that Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, will be conducting joint water-patrols to stop kidnappings. There will be coordinated patrols of the sea as well as establishment of a hotline for combating kidnappings and piracy across the water borders of the three countries. The military officials and foreign ministers of the three nations came into an agreement during an event in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was held as a result of the recent abduction of ten Indonesian sailors by pirate Aby Sayyaf from southwestern Philippines. These sailors were however, released on 1st May 2016.
Chan’s Megastick bug from China confirmed as longest insect in the world
On 5th May 2016, West China’s Insect Museum announced Chan’s Megastick bug from China as the longest insect in the world. This bug measures around 62.4 cms and broke the length record amongst world’s 807625 identified insects. Apart from being called as Chan’s Megastick, it is also known as Phobaeticus Chani and was first discovered across Guangxi, China’s southern province two year back. Before this insect, the record was held by a Malaysian insect discovered in 2008 that was 56.7 cms long. London’s NHM (Natural History Museum) holds a specimen of this Malaysian Insect.
Obama signs NBL (National Bison Legacy) Act making the Bison as America’s ‘First National Mammal’
On 9th May 2016, President of the United States Barack Obama signed the NBL (National Bison Legacy) Act. This act made the Bison officially as America’s ‘First National Mammal. ’ With the signing of this act Bison becomes the first mammal as America’s official symbol. Till now, Bald Eagle was represented as the nation’s official symbol. Both the designations will share separate stature as Eagle is birthed via eggs and Bison is a mammal. Bison is North America’s largest Mammal. A mature male bull can weigh up to 2000 pounds while a female (also known as cows) weighs around 1000 pounds.
Indian-American teacher Revathi Balakrishnan conferred as 2016 ‘Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year’
Revathi Balakrishnan, Indian-American (elementary) teacher was conferred with the ‘Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year’, 2016 honor. The honor was presented by Barak Obama, US President and the event took place in White House. Revathi received this award for her extraordinary contribution in educational sector at the PSE (Patsy Sommer Elementary) School, Texas. Revathi hails originally from Chennai.
Forbes list of ‘Most Powerful People in the Financial World’ contains only one Indian
On 11th May, Forbes Magazine released an awaited list ‘Money Masters: the Most Powerful People in the Financial World.’ This list is comprised of top 40 powerful people across the financial environment of the globe. Out of these 40 people, only one Indian could make it to the list, Uday Kotak. Uday is Kotak Mahindra’s CEO. His net worth is 7.1 billion (US dollars) and got the 33rd rank in this list. His overseas assets are worth around 34.6 billion (US Dollars). Blackstone Group head by Stephen Schwarzman tops the list.
MoU between FSRA, Abu Dhabi and SEBI approved by Union Cabinet
On 12th May 2016, a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Narendra Modi approved MoU between FSRA (Financial Services Regulatory Authority), Abu Dhabi and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). The main feature of this MoU is gaining technical assistance and mutual co-operation between these two significant financial regulators. It will also promote further growth of economic links as well as cooperation between these two signatories. It will also enhance the conditions and environment for the security market development in these two nations.
According to WHO, Zabol is the most polluted city in the Globe now, and not Delhi.
After a survey done by the WHO (World Health Organization), it announced on 12th May 2016 that the capital city of India New Delhi is not the world’s most pollution city (in terms of air quality) any more. According to the survey, the most polluted air was measured in Iran’s Zabol city. Zabol suffers various dust-storm months during summer. As per the PM2.5 measurement, Zabol’s measured 217. Delhi came in the 11th rank by measuring 122.
Civil unions of same-sex approved by Italian Parliament
On 11th May 2016, the Government of Italy gave a go ahead to legalize civil union of same sex. The legislation was passed after it got 372 favorable counts compared 99 abstaining and 51 against. With this legislation, Italy becomes the last Western European nation to legalize same-sex union. As of now, the bill has been accepted by the Italy Senate as well as the COD (Chamber of Deputies). However, approval is still pending from the President of Italy. This new law will grant same-sex couples same rights as those of married heterosexuals.