Current Affairs, News & Facts of 19 May 2016

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  • Delhi Metro conducts trial run of country’s first driverless train

    Delhi Metro conducts trial run of country’s first driverless trainThe Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) conducted the trial run of  India’s first driver-less metro train.

    The trial run was flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

    The driverless trains will run on the over 58 km-long Majlish Park-Shiv Vihar (Line 7) and the over 38 km-long Janakpuri (West)- Botanical Garden (Line 8) corridors of the Phase-III.

    The average speed of the new train would be 37-38 km per hour, compared to 30-32 km per hour now. 

    Facts to know :

    The new trains, with extremely high levels of automation, is equipped with advanced features. The Operations Control Centres (OCC) of the Delhi Metro system will directly regulate the movement of the trains and train operators will not be required to operate these trains.

    Initially, train operators will run these trains but gradually driver-less operations, on the Unattended Train Operation (UTO) mode, will be possible and later on,  new signalling technology, Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) will be  implemented.

    In addition, a green Receiving Sub Station (RSS) for the power requirements of the Majlis Park – Shiv Vihar corridor was also inaugurated at Mukundpur. The RSS has been entirely designed as a green structure with features such as solar power plant, rain water harvesting and sewage water treatment facilities.

  • Indian-American Syamantak Payra wins Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award

    Indian-American Syamantak Payra wins Intel Foundation Young Scientist AwardSyamantak Payra - a 15-year-old Indian-American boy has won the USD 50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award  for developing a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace that allows a person with a weakened leg to walk more naturally.

    Mr Payra tested his prototype with two individuals partially disabled by polio, it almost immediately restored a more natural gait and increased mobility.

    This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 419 affiliate fairs held in 77 countries. Five Indian Americans also figured in the 22 "Best of Category" winners and each received a USD 5,000 prize.

  • UR Rao becomes first Indian to be awarded IAF’s ‘Hall of Fame’ Award

    UR Rao becomes first Indian to be awarded IAF’s ‘Hall of Fame’ AwardFormer  ISRO Chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as U. R. Rao became the first Indian to be given the 'Hall of Fame' award by the International Astronautical Federation ( IAF ).

    He will receive the award at the 67th International Astronautical Congress to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico in September 2016.

    The award has been given for his outstanding contribution to the progress of astronautics within the framework of the IAF activities.

    The IAF award is intended to reward personalities for their contributions to the progress of astronautics and the Federation.

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao

    Renowned  space scientist U. R. Rao  had served as Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1984 to 1994. He is the also the first Indian to be inducted  into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1976.

  • N.K. Singh to head panel to review FRBM Act

    N.K. Singh to head panel to review FRBM ActThe government has constituted  a panel under Former Revenue Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP N.K. Singh to review the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act of 2003 and prepare  roadmap for the future. 

    Ambit of the committee

    The committee will review the working of the FRBM Act over last 12 years and suggest the way forward, keeping in view the broad objective of fiscal consolidation and prudence and the changes required in the context of the uncertainty and volatility in the global economy

    Examine the need and feasibility of aligning the fiscal expansion or contraction with credit contraction or expansion respectively in the economy.

    The committee  will also examine the feasibility of having a ‘fiscal deficit range’ as the target instead of the existing fixed numbers.

  • Andy Murray wins Italian Open title, 2016

    Andy Murray wins Italian Open title, 2016Scottish professional tennis player- Andy Murray (World No.3) for the first time bagged Italian Open title, 2016 by defeating Novak Djokovic (World No.1) in the final match played in Rome on  the clay court by 6-3, 6-3 score.

    With this victory Andy Murray became the second British male tennis player to win Italian Open title after George Patrick Hughes who had won it in 1931 and the  first British singles champion in Italy since Virginia Wade who had won the title in 1971.

    Winners in other categories

    • Women’s Single Title : Serena Williams bagged  Italian Open title, 2016 in women’s singles category by defeating Madison Keys in the final match by 7-6, 6-3 score. Earlier she has won the title in 2002, 2013 and 2014. 
    • Women’s Doubles Title :  India’s Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis (World No. 1 pair) bagged Italian Open title, 2016 in Women’s Doubles category by defeating 7th seeded Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina by 6-1, 6-7, 10-3 score. 
    • Men’s doubles Title : United States pair of  Title Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan has won the the2016 Italian Open title in the men’s Doubles category by defeating the pair of Vasek Pospisil (Canada) and Jack Sock (United States) by 2–6, 6–3, [10–7] score.
  • India, WHO sign pact for global promotion of traditional medicine

    The ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have signed a historic Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine.

    The PCA is aimed at supporting WHO in the development and implementation of the ‘WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy.

    Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) 

    The PCA for the period 2016-2020 will deliver for the first time WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga and WHO benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma. 

    These will contribute significantly to the strengthening of national capacities in ensuring the quality, safety and effectiveness of traditional medicine including in establishing regulatory frameworks for traditional medicine.

  • NTPC partners with Coal India Limited to foray into fertilizer sector

    State-run power producer NTPC  has signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) with state-run miner Coal India Limited (CIL) o revive plants of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).

    The JVA was signed by NTPC's general manager (BD) Arun Kumar Gupta and Coal India's general manager (Coal Videsh) T. Bandopadhyay.

    The joint venture company will take up the revival of FCIL plants at Sindri in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh by setting up an ammonia urea plant at each location.

    The JV company would initially be incorporated with 50:50 equity participation from both but also contains provisions of inducting strategic partners at a later date depending upon business requirement of JV company.

  • IIT Kgp student bags European Materials Research Society award

    IIT Kgp student bags European Materials Research Society awardNandini Bhandaru, a PhD student at IIT-Kharagpur, has bagged the European Materials Research Society’s (E-MRS’) Young Scientist Award for her contribution to materials science.

    She had won the award for her outstanding contribution to materials science and nanotechnology, particularly nano-patterning of soft films and surfaces.

    Currently she works at the Instability and Soft Patterning Laboratory of IIT-Kharagpur. Her area of doctoral research is nano-fabrication, including soft-lithography, thin film dewetting, polymer blend films and self-assembly.

  • India and US conclude exercise  Red Flag Alaska 16-1

    The Indian Air Force (IAF), the US Air Force (USAF) and the US Navy (USN) have successfully completed an advanced aerial combat training exercise, Red Flag Alaska 16-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, in the US state of Alaska.

    This was the second time India had participated in such an exercise after 2008.The four-week exercise witnessed participation from a mix of combat and support elements from the IAF, USAF and USN.

    IAF deployed SU-30 MKI aircraft, Jaguars DARIN II and 2 IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers and a team of over 170 personnel as a part of the exercise.

    RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for US forces to provide joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment.

  • 5 Indians posthumously honoured with UN’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal

    Four Indian peacekeepers and a civilian are among the 126 military, police and civilian personnel who will be posthumously awarded United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal for their courage and sacrifice while serving in the world body’s peacekeeping operations last year. 

    Five Indians are

    Head Constable Shubhkaran Yadav: He died in April 2015 while serving in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). 

    Rifleman Manish Malik: He died in August 2015 while serving in the UN-MONUSCO. 

    Havildar Amal Deka: He died in June 2015 while serving in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). 

    Naik Rakesh Kumar: He died in January 2015 while serving in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 

    Gagan Punjabi: He died in January 2015 while serving in the MONUSCO in a civilian capacity under the UN Volunteers programme.

    Dag Hammarskjold Medal

    Established in December 2000, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal is a posthumous award given by the United Nations (UN) to military personnel, police, or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a United Nations peacekeeping operation. 

    It was named after second UN Secretary General and Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold who died in a mysterious plane crash in 1961. He was posthumously awarded Nobel Peace Prize the year he died which is rare.


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