June, 2017

US slaps sanctions on Chinese bank

United States has slapped unprecedented sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash. Bank of Dandong would be severed from US financial system for acting as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity. Bank will now be prevented from having accounts or doing business with US financial institutions. US also slapped sanctions on a Chinese shipping company.

US approves arms sales to Taiwan

US State Department has approved weapons sales to Taiwan worth a total of $1.4 billion. The arms sales contains 7 items, including Early Warning Radar Surveillance systems, the Joint Stand-off Weapon, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles. The sale will anger China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. China has long criticized US arms sales to Taiwan.

National Statistics Day

National Statistics Day is observed every year on 29 June, on the occasion of Birth anniversary of India’s eminent statistician Late Prof Mahalanobis. Aim of this Day is to create public awareness about importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation, to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Mahalanobis. Theme for 2017 Statistics Day is Administrative Statistics.

ADB commits USD 10 billion

Asian Development Bank has committed USD 10 billion support for infrastructure building and immediate development needs of less-developed states in India. ADB has also decided to increase the annual funding by USD 1 billion to USD 4 billion. ADB has also assured its support to relatively lesser developed states in the area of power, transport, urban development, and health services.

Sinha assumes charge as I&B Secretary

Narendra Kumar Sinha, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre has assumed charge as the Information and Broadcasting Secretary. He will take charge in place of Ajay Mittal, who has been appointed as the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training. Prior to being Secretary, Sinha served as Principal Secretary, Information Technology Department, Government of Bihar.

Anti-hunger activist awarded by Queen

Anti-hunger activist Ankit Kawatra was awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for 2017 at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. He was awarded for his exceptional work towards solving hunger and malnutrition in India by Queen Elizabeth II. He is the founder of Feeding India, that aims to eradicate hunger and food wastage in India. He was also selected as one of the 17 UN Young Leaders for SDG.

Dravid to continue as coach

Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced that Rahul Dravid will continue to remain the coach for India A and U-19 teams for the next two years. He was first appointed as the coach for the two teams back in the year 2015. In his first assignment as coach, ‘A’ side won the triangular series in Australia while Under-19 team emerged Runners-up in the 2016 World Cup.

Germany Approves Same-Sex Marriage

German politicians have voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a snap vote after Chancellor Merkel changed her mind to allow a free vote. The move brings Germany into line with many other European nations including France, Britain and Spain. Bill grants same-sex couples full marital rights, including child adoption. Lawmakers voted by 393 votes in favor of same-sex marriage to 226 against.

Kailash Mansarovar yatra cancelled

Kailash Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim has been cancelled. The decision comes in the wake of face-off b/w Indian and Chinese troops over a disputed area along Sino-Indian border. The yatra is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and is undertaken by hundreds of pilgrims every year. However the pilgrimage through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand will continue as scheduled

Government cuts PPF, NSC rate

Govt has reduced interest rates on small saving schemes, including PPF, NSCs and Kisan Vikas Patra by 10 basis points. PPF and NSCs will now earn 7.8%, while KVPs will fetch only 7.5%. Senior Citizen’s Savings Scheme and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana will now offer 8.3%. Interest rates on small savings are linked to the benchmark 10-year govt bond yields and are revised every 3 months