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India elected as Vice Chair of Kimberley Process Certificate Scheme 2018

India was on 19 November 2016 elected as Vice Chair of Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme (KPCS) 2018 and as the Chair for 2019 of KPCS. 
●    The announcement was made during the KP Plenary Meeting 2016 at Dubai.
●    Earlier, this position of KP Chair was held by India in 2008. 
●    The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme imposes widespread requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds.
●    India is one of the founding members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).  
●    The Department of Commerce under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry administers the scheme.
●    The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is the Import and Export Authority within the meaning of Section IV(b) of the Scheme.

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit held in Lima

Several leaders at a major international summit in Peru called Saturday on the United States and other nations not to abandon global trade deals.
●    At a time when Americans and European voters are electing politicians who are deeply skeptical that the trade deals actually benefit their own citizens, leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit urged countries not to back away from freer trade.
●    Chinese President Xi Jinping, who held bilateral talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday, urged countries to embrace economic openness.
●    Obama praised the two countries' on their effective partnership on such global challenges as preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapon, opposing North Korea's nuclear provocations and trying to end the Ebola epidemic.
●    China wants regional countries to embrace an economic trade pact known as the FTAAP. 
●    That plan is widely seen as a competitor to the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which now must be ratified by the 12 countries that negotiated the deal.

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WHO declares Zika no longer a public health emergency

The World Health Organization declared an end to its global health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus on Friday, prompting dismay from some public health experts confronting the epidemic.
●    An agency advisory committee said it ended the emergency formally known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern because Zika is now shown to be a dangerous mosquito-borne disease, like malaria or yellow fever.
●    Committee members repeatedly emphasized that they did not consider the Zika crisis over.
●    “We are not downgrading the importance of Zika,” said Dr. Peter Salama, executive director of the W.H.O.’s health emergencies program.
●    Like all mosquito-borne diseases, Zika is seasonal and may repeatedly return to countries with the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry it
●    Individual countries facing serious new Zika outbreaks could still declare local emergencies.
●    But other experts worried that the W.H.O.’s declaration might slow the international response to an epidemic that is still spreading.

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"Post-truth" named Word of the Year for 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries

The word Post Truth was named as word of the year 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries on 16 November 2016. The word was selected after research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries revealed a fact that the use of word post-truth saw an increase of about 2000 percent over its usage in 2015.
●    The Word of the Year of Oxford Dictionary is an expression or word that is chosen to reflect the passing year in language. These words are chosen by the Oxford after reviewing and debating on the merits of the words, ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year. 
●    Post-truth (adjective): Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
●    It is also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase ‘post-truth politics’.
●    The word post-truth has been in existence for more than a decade but its usage saw a spike some events of recent past. The events that saw increase in frequency of usage of term post-truth like
●    It was used maximum time in June 2016 in the United Kingdom during European Union referendum.
●    It also saw its usage during the United States Presidential election. It again saw the rise in usage in July 2016 when Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.
●    As per Oxford Dictionaries, the word post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay of the Nation Magazine. The essay was written by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’. There is evidence of the phrase ‘post-truth’ being used before Tesich’s article, but apparently with the transparent meaning ‘after the truth was known’, and not with the new implication that truth itself has become irrelevant.


 

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Iran overtakes Saudi Arabia as top oil supplier to India

Iran overtook political rival Saudi Arabia as India’s top oil supplier in October, shipping data showed, just ahead of a producers’ meeting this month to hammer out the details on output cuts aimed at reining in a global glut.
●    Iran used to be India’s second-biggest oil supplier.
●    Over the whole January to October period, though, Saudi Arabia still holds India’s top supply spot, at an average of 8,30,000 bpd versus Iraq’s 7,84,000 bpd and Iran’s 4,56,400 bpd.
●    The surge is also thanks to Iranian price discounts, which attracted purchases from India’s programme to build up its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR). 
●    Last month, India took in 2 million barrels of Iranian crude for the SPR stocks, and another 4 million barrels is expected to be shipped in November.
●    In the first seven months of its fiscal year, between April and October, India imported 5,23,200 bpd from Iran, compared to 2,49,100 bpd for the same period a year ago.
 

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Russia leaves International Criminal Court

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia signed an order on 16 November 2016 withdrawing Russia’s signature from the International Criminal Court treaty (ICC).
●    This move came on the opening day of the general assembly of member states. 
●    On 14 November 2016, ICC passed a ruling calling Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 an international armed conflict. This action angered Moscow, as it claims Crimea joined Russia after a popular vote. 
●    Russia is facing a lot of criticism for its airstrikes in Syria in support of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
●    The court is also looking into allegations of war crimes committed by forces of Russia and Georgia during their conflict in 2008. 
●    Russia does not see ICC as a genuine independent authoritative organ of international justice. 
●    Russia claims that in 14 years, the ICC has just given four verdicts and spent nearly 1 billion US Dollars.
 

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Festival of India being organized in Oman from 15 November, 2016 to 24 March, 2017 

A Festival of India is being organized in Oman from 15 November, 2016 to 24 March, 2017.  The Festival will showcase diverse Indian culture, i.e. classical and folk dance, music, Indian cuisine and Exhibition on Islamic Art Calligraphy.  
●    Artists from Jammu & Kashmir are also presenting folk dance and music of J & K.   The events will be held in four cities of Oman, namely, Muscat, Sur, Sohar and Salalah. Following events will be showcased:
●    An eight-member Classical (Indian creative ballet) by Hritaal Dance Group led by Mr. Jaydeep Palit from 15-19 November, 2016.
●    Exhibition of Islamic Art Calligraphy by Rampur Raza Library from 21 November – 3 December, 2016.
●    An eight-member Vocal Sufiana music by a group led by Dr. Soma Ghosh from 24 – 29 January, 2017.
●    A fifteen-member Jammu & Kashmir dance and music group organized by North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala from 10 – 14 February, 2017.
●    Food Festival by India Tourism Development Corporation, Ministry of Tourism from 15 – 19 March, 2017.
●    Fashion Show by National Institute of Fashion Technology/Ministry of Textiles – March, 2017

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Supermoon : Brightest Moon in 69 years observed

Monday’s supermoon was extra super, it was the closest moon in almost 69 years.
●    And it won’t happen again for another 18 years. 
●    Closest approach occurred at 6:21 a.m. EST when the moon came within 221,523 miles (356,508 kilometers). 
●    That’s from the center of the Earth to the center of the moon. 
●    Full moon occurred at 8:52 a.m. EST.
●    Supermoons appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the night sky.
●    A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a New moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. 
●    The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system.
●    The term "supermoon" is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. 

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New Peace Deal signed between Colombia Government and Rebels

A new peace agreement was signed by Colombian government negotiator Humberto de La Calle with rebel representative Ivan Marquez.
●    It's going to end a 52-year-long conflict that has claimed more than 2,20,000 lives and driven almost 8 million people from their homes in the South American country. 
●    The latest deal aims to address some of the concerns of the original accord’s opponents, who said the deal was too lenient on a leftist rebel group that had kidnapped and committed war crimes.
●    President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia inked an initial peace deal on September 26 amid international fanfare after more than four years of negotiations. 
●    But voters rejected it on October 2 by just 55,000 votes, dealing a stunning setback to Mr. Santos who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end Colombia’s conflict.
●    Mr. Santos immediately began looking for ways to rescue the deal and the sides extended a ceasefire until December 31 to get the modified deal done. 

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Egypt gets massive loans from IMF to revive economy

Egypt is getting a massive cash from the International Monetary Fund.
●    12 billion dollar loan has been approved – to support Cairo’s economic reform programme.
●    Egypt has been finding it tough to attract dollars and revive its economy since the uprising back in 2011.
●    The IMF loan is also seen as a positive move in terms of pulling back private investors who have turned their backs on Egypt.
●    Egypt agreed the loan in August, but had to secure bilateral financing to seal the deal.
●    The final approval also comes after the central bank abandoned its currency peg of 8.8 pounds to the US dollar – a dramatic move welcomed by the IMF and World Bank.
●    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
●    Formed in 1944, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. 

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