International News – June-August 2016

Current Affairs – International News General Awareness – June-August 2016 – for general awareness paper of various competitive exams

ARMS RACE

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has officially declared India’s membership, stating that as a new member India will be entitled to “full participation” in organisational activities. India had firmed up its claim to MTCR by joining The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC). MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. MTCR aims at restricting the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

ENVIRONMENT

A two-day meeting of BRICS Parliamentarians on disaster management was held in Udaipur, India, in August 2016. The meeting laid bare the common thread of challenges on disaster issues faced by all the BRICS nations. The member nations agreed to move away from relief-centric to a holistic approach to disasters with a greater emphasis on prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The roadmap for implementation of three-year joint action plan (JAP) for BRICS emergency services (2016-18) was also finalized. The JAP had been agreed upon at the first meeting of BRICS ministers for disaster management at St. Petersburg in Russia.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

EU-BRITAIN: on 23 June 2016, Britain voted to end its 43-year old association with the European Union in a landmark referendum. The country voted 52%-48% in favour of ‘Leave’ to become the first member State to exit the 28-nation European Union. Nigel Farage, leader of the euro-sceptic UK Independence Party called for June 23 “to go down in history as independence day.”

TURKEY-ISRAEL: On 27 June 2016, Turkey announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel after a six-year rupture and expressed regret to Russia over the downing of a warplane, seeking to mend strained alliances and ease a sense of isolation on the world stage. The deal with Israel after years of negotiation was a rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East, driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as well as mutual fears over growing security risks. Relations between Israel and what was once its principle Muslim ally had crumbled after Israeli marines stormed an activist ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and killed 10 Turks on board.

WORLD ECONOMY

India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer, with its oil demand galloping 8.1% in 2015, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy. With demand of 4.1 million barrels per day, India is the third-largest consumer behind US (19.39 million bpd) and China (11.96 million bpd). India accounted for 4.5% of world oil consumption in 2015.

COUNTRY SPECIFIC

BRAZIL: On 31 August 2016, President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift. Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. The 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nose-dive and its political fortunes soured. Rousseff was replaced by her former Vice-President and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who had been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy. Brazil has now impeached two of the four presidents it has elected since returning to democracy in 1985 after two decades of military dictatorship.

RUSSIA: The Russian Parliament has passed the “Yarovaya law”, which are anti-terrorism laws that critics allege compromise on privacy and personal freedoms. The new legislations state that telephone and internet companies must keep all communication records for six months and must also help intelligence agencies to decode encrypted messages. The laws also restrict missionary work to designated areas.

General Knowledge – Awards – June-August 2016

Current General Knowledge for General Awareness Paper of competitive exams

Arjuna Award 2016
Rajat Chauhan (archery), Lalita Babar (athletics), Sourav Kothari (billiards and snooker), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (cricket), Subrata Paul (football), Rani (hockey), VR Raghunath (hockey), Gurpreet Singh (shooting), Apurvi Chandela (shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (table tennis), Vinesh (wrestling), Amit Kumar (wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (para-athletics), Virender Singh (wrestling, deaf).

Ashok Chakra 2016
Havildar Hangpan Dada, 36, who died in Kupwara on 27 May 2016, after killing three terrorists, has been awarded Ashok Chakra 2016. He hailed from Boduria village in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dhyan Chand Award 2016
Satti Geetha (athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (hockey) and Rajendra Prahlad Shelke (rowing).

Dronacharya Award 2016
Dipa Karmakar’s coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), S. Pradeep Kumar (swimming-lifetime) and Mahabir Singh (wrestling-lifetime).

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2015-16
Punjabi University of Patiala has been awarded the trophy.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2016
Olympic medallists P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik; ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who lost a medal by a whisker; and shooter Jitu Rai. This was for the first time the nation’s highest sporting award was conferred on four athletes.

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers for “building a world of genuine solidarity”; Bezwada Wilson (India) for “asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity”. He was born to a dalit family in Kolar Gold Fields township in Karnataka. Although his family had been engaged in manual scavenging for generations, he was spared the labour to be the first in his family to pursue higher education. Treated as an outcast in school and acutely aware of his family’s lot, he was filled with great anger, but he channelled this anger to a crusade to eradicate manual scavenging; Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia), for “redefining the landscape of zakat-based philanthropy in Indonesia, unleashing the potential of the Islamic faith to uplift, irrespective of their creed, the lives of millions”. Zakat (“charity”) is the obligatory tax on an adult Muslim’s wealth, that is dedicated every year to helping the poor and needy. DD’s (short for “Dompet Dhuafa”) economic projects have included building public facilities, support for small and medium enterprises, farm production and marketing assistance, a bank providing preferential loans to the poor, and a training-and-support program that has upgraded the capacities of hundreds of microfinance groups in Indonesia;  Conchita Carpio-Morales (Philippines), for “her moral courage and commitment to justice in taking head-on one of the most intractable problems in the Philippines, promoting by her example of incorruptibility, diligence, vision and leadership, the highest ethical standards in public service”; Vientiane Rescue (Laos), for “its heroic work in saving Laotian lives in a time and place of great need, under the most deprived of circumstances, inspiring by their passionate humanitarianism a similar generosity of spirit in many others”; T.M. Krishna (India), for his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions, breaking barriers of caste and class to unleash what music has to offer not just for some but for all”.

 

Current Affairs – Miscellaneous Information – July-August 2016

Current Affairs – Miscellaneous Information – useful for general awareness paper preparations

India has been ranked 141 on the 2016 Global Peace Index, falling behind countries like Burundi, and Serbia on the 163-country list. Prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the list names Syria as the least peaceful country. Iceland was named the world’s most peaceful country.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has announced the names proposed for the new elements, whose discovery helped complete the seventh row of the Periodic Table in December 2015. The names with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 are: Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts) and Oganesson (Og), respectively.

Cargo Express is India’s first time-tabled freight train. It runs between Delhi to Bengaluru.

Rajasva Gyan Sangam was the first joint annual conference of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). While CBDT is responsible for collecting direct taxes, CBEC recovers the indirect taxes.

A new Chinese computer system, called Sunway TaihuLight that can make 93 quadrillion calculations per second is now the world’s most powerful supercomputer.  Developed by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC) it has been built entirely using processors designed and made in China. It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics. It displaced Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that had claimed the top spot on the past six TOP-500 lists. Titan, a Cray X40 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is now at the third position.

China has declared that it now has the world’s largest spherical radio telescope at 500 meters. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) has been completed at a cost of approximately 180 million dollars and took about five years to complete. It is expected to be used to search for extra-terrestrial life, as also will focus on detecting pulsars, gravitational waves and eventually amino acids, which would confirm life on other planets. The 300-meter wide Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico was previously the world’s largest in terms of diameter.

UNESCO has listed the Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh, Sikkim’s national park, which is home to the world’s third highest peak Mount Khangchendzonga, and site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar among its World Heritage Sites, at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul.  A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as being of ‘special cultural or physical significance’.

China has unveiled AG600, the world’s largest aircraft which can land on both water and land. The aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, is meant for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescue missions. It can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and has a maximum flight range of 4,500 km.

A 114-km stretch between Rameswaram and Manamadurai in Tamil Nadu is India’s first ‘green train corridor’. A green corridor or zero toilet discharge section envisages that all trains on that route will have bio-toilets, thereby eliminating open discharge of waste on the tracks.

Rail Geet is a three-minute song with moving trains visuals, as an ode to employees of Indian Railways and an effort to establish a connect with the public. The song has been composed by Shravan and sung by Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurti. Titled Indian Railways, we love Indian Railways, the song will be played at every railway function’s beginning.

South India’s first Doppler weather radar, which can provide advance information about storms, cyclones, and other severe weather conditions, has been set-up at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This is India’s second C-Band Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar (C-DWR).  The first was set-up in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, in May 2015.

India’s first tiger cell is being set up in Dehradun to aid the tiger conservation efforts. A collaboration between the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the cell will have a database of tigers with DNA samples from 50 Indian tiger reserves. It will also keep track of poaching incidents and regularly update tiger numbers.

Akashvani Maitree is All India Radio’s first cross-border radio service channel. It was launched in Kolkata by President Pranab Mukherjee. The channel, dedicated to Bengali listeners will air content for 16 hours daily for listeners across India and Bangladesh. The participatory content creation platform will be shared with “Bangladesh Betar”.

India has decided to grant Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors who meet the minimum investment and employment generation criteria. The scheme which will allow foreign investors who qualify for PRS status and his/her family multiple entry into the country for 10 years without any stay stipulation, exemption from registration requirement and the right to purchase one residential property for dwelling purposes. The foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of ₹10 crore within 18 months or ₹25 crores within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year. The spouse and dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for employment visa) and undertake studies in India. While the PRS will be granted for ten years, it can be reviewed for another ten years if the PRS holder does not come to adverse notice.

Persons in News – June-August 2016

General Awareness Paper Resource – Persons in News

Ashok Patnaik: He has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). The NATGRID is a centralised agency which stores sensitive personal information on citizens from almost two dozen agencies to be made available for counter-terror investigations.

Banwarilal Purohit: He has been appointed as Governor of Assam.

Bardish Chagger: Indian-origin MP, she became Canada’s first female Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Dipika Karmakar: The Tripura-girl is India’s first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. She scripted history as she became the first Indian to make the cut for the individual vault finals in her debut Olympic Games at Rio.

Jagdish Mukhi: He has been appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Kartik Sawhney and Neha Swain: They have won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2016, that honours people from Commonwealth nations for their exemplary work. While Sawhney founded Project STEMAccess for universal access to education, Swain founded an NGO to provide an inclusive space to people from all backgrounds.

Leander Paes: He is the only tennis player in the world and the first Indian to make a seventh appearance at the Olympics. He had won the bronze medal for India in singles tennis at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Mahasweta Devi: Eminent Bengali writer and social activist, she died on 28 July 2016, at age 90. She was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanpith and Magsaysay Award, among several others. Her notable works include Hajar Chaurashir Maa, Breast Stories and Tin Korir Sadh.  She was also known for her contribution towards the welfare of tribal people.

Manohar Aich: First person from independent India to win Mr Universe, he died on 5 June 2016, at age 102. He had won three gold medals in bodybuilding at the Asian Games, and was nicknamed “Pocket Hercules” as his height was four feet 11 inches.

Michel Temer: He has taken-over as President of Brazil following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff by the Brazilian Senate.

Muhammad Ali: Boxing legend, he passed away aged 74 on 3 June 2016 after a 32-year-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Najma Heptulla: She has been appointed as Governor of Manipur.

Nasser Hussain: Former England captain, he has set a Guinness World Record for the highest catch of a cricket ball. The 48-year-old caught the cricket ball that was dropped using a drone from a height of 150 feet in windy conditions at the Lord’s stadium. The ball reached an approximate speed of 119 km/h before landing safely in the cricketer’s hands.

Pema Khandu: He has been elected as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Chairman, he was elected as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal.

Radhika Menon, Captain:  She became the first ever woman in the world to receive the Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea from the International Maritime Organisation, for saving the lives of seven fishermen.  She is also the first woman captain of the Indian Merchant Navy.

Rodrigo Duterte: He has been elected as the 16th President of the Philippines.

Shital Mahajan:  Indian sky-diver, she is the first woman in the world to execute a sky fall from both North and South Poles. She executed the sky-dive from the North Pole in 2004, and from the South Pole in 2006. The 34-year-old has five world records, 14 national records and over 650 jumps to her credit.

Sulabha Deshpande: Veteran film, theatre and television actress she passed away on 4 June 2016, at the age of 79. She was considered among those spearheading the experimental theatre movement in the 1970s.

Syed Haider Raza: Modern Indian artist, he passed away aged 94 on 23 July 2016, following prolonged illness. An internationally acclaimed painter, he was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1981 and was elected a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Academy in 1983. He had also been conferred with France’s highest civilian honour, the Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour), in 2015.

Theresa May: She has been elected as Britain’s Prime Minister following resignation of Mr David Cameron. She is the second woman after Margaret Thatcher to become Britain’s Prime Minister.

Umesh Sachdev: A 30-year-old Indian entrepreneur, he has featured in TIME Magazine’s 2016 list of ‘10 millennials who are changing the world’. His Chennai-based start-up Uniphore makes software that allows people to interact with their phones and access services like e-banking in their native languages.

Urjit Ravindra Patel: He has been appointed as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Vijay Rupani: He has been elected as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

V.P. Singh Badnore: Former BJP MP from Rajasthan, he has been appointed as the Governor Punjab and Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh.

 

 

 

India’s Foreign Relations – June-August 2016

INDIA-AFGHANISTAN: Marking the completion of a landmark Afghan development project, , built on river Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat, during his visit to Afghanistan in June 2016. The Dam will irrigate 75,000 hectares of farmland in arid parts of western Afghanistan, besides generating 42-MW electricity. Originally constructed in 1976, the reservoir was damaged in the Afghanistan civil war. The Afghanistan government in 2015 changed the name of the project from Salma dam to Afghan-India Friendship Dam.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour.

INDIA-BANGLADESH: On 31 July 2016, Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mazibul Hoque jointly laid the foundation stone for the 15 km Agartala (India) – Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway project. The Agartala-Akhaura railway project was finalised in January 2010 when Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina met then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her visit to New Delhi. The project, which was sanctioned in the 2012-13 railway budget, would be a part of the Trans-Asian Railway network and would provide a much shorter connectivity from north-eastern States of India to Kolkata, via Bangladesh.

INDIA-GHANA:  In June 2016, Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian President to visit Ghana. He addressed a joint business forum meeting in the country, and also held delegation-level talks on agreements on visa waiver. The tour came as a part of India’s ‘Outreach to Africa’ initiative.

INDIA-IVORY COST: President Pranab Mukherjee, during his official visit to Ivory Coast in June 2016, was accorded honorary citizenship of Abidjan when he was given a key to Ivory Coast’s economic capital. The honour is bestowed upon visiting Heads of States. He was also given a traditional tribal name ‘Asito’ which means ‘example’ that should be followed by younger generations.

INDIA-KENYA: During the visit to Kenya, in July 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta which led to the two sides deciding to deepen and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas as they signed seven pacts, including in the field of defence and security and avoidance of double taxation.

INDIA-MEXICO: During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mexico, in June 2016, bilateral investments were a major focus during the talks. Both countries agreed to elevate their ‘Privileged Partnership’ into a strategic one and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto extended support for India’s NSG bid. Mexico also extended support to India’s International Solar Alliance initiative, which was launched at the Paris climate talks in 2015. Two-way trade between India and Mexico stands at around $6 billion. Within Asia, India is the largest importer of crude oil from Mexico.

INDIA-MOROCCO: During the visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari to Morocco, the two countries signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for improving bilateral relations in different areas, including cultural exchange, water and information technology.

INDIA-MOZAMBIQUE:  During the visit to Mozambique in July 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with President Filipe Nyusi. The two countries signed three pacts, including a significant “long-term agreement” under which India will buy pulses from this African nation to meet its recurring shortfall and contain prices of this commodity.

INDIA-MYANMAR: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Myanmar in August 2016 as part of the “Act East” policy of engaging with countries in Southeast Asia to drive an agenda of cooperative development. She held talks with Myanmar’s de facto ruler Aung San Suu Kyi, the first high-level contact between the two countries since the National League for Democracy came to power in 2015. Swaraj also met President Htin Kyaw. Talks between the two sides focussed on bilateral relations, the forthcoming BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in India, and security cooperation aimed at countering the activities of Myanmar-based militant groups from north-eastern States such as Nagaland, Manipur and Assam.

Security and connectivity issues dominated talks during the visit of President Htin Kyaw of Myanmar. Among the deals signed were two pacts to speed up construction of the Asian Trilateral Highway and agreeing to cooperate in efforts to fight insurgency. India also offered full support and backing to the new government in Myanmar, installed in March 2016, for its efforts to improve infrastructure.

INDIA-QATAR: During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Qatar, in June 2016, India and Qatar signed seven agreements and agreed to share intelligence to combat ‘hawala’ transactions (illegal money movement) and terror financing. The two countries also agreed to move beyond “trading relationship” and get into “strategic investments”.

INDIA-SOUTH AFRICA:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his official visit to South Africa in July 2016, signed four pacts with South African President Jacob Zuma, which are linked to the fields of information and communications technology, tourism, arts and culture, and science and technology. He also sought deeper collaboration with South Africa in the defence sector. Mr Modi also relived Mahatma Gandhi’s 1893 train journey between Pentrich and Pietermaritzburg. Business leaders from India and South Africa also signed eight MoUs at a CEO forum on the side-lines of Prime Minister Modi’s visit—in sectors including mining, railways, defence and education.

INDIA-SWITZERLAND: Prime Minister Narendra Modi scored a big win for India’s bid to be admitted to the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG, a 48-member club of nuclear trading nations, during his visit to Switzerland in June 2016. After a meeting with Mr Modi in Geneva, Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann, said, “We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG.” India has remained shut out for decades from the NSG because of its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while it developed its nuclear technology. Switzerland also promised to work with Indian authorities to tackle tax dodgers who stash money in Swiss bank accounts to avoid Indian taxes.

INDIA-TANZANIA:  India and Tanzania signed five bilateral agreements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the African country in July 2016. These included the extension of a $92 million line of credit by India for the rehabilitation of the water supply system in Tanzania’s Zanzibar region, an MoUs on water resource management and visa waiver for diplomatic passport holders.

INDIA-TUNISIA: During the visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari to Tunisia, in June 2016, both countries signed two MoUs on promotion of handicrafts and IT and communication and digital economy and discussed a range of issues of mutual and regional interests, including issue of spreading tide of extremism and terrorism which is a threat faced by both the nations.

INDIA-USA:  During the three-day visit to USA in June 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Barack Obama, who reiterated America’s support for India’s entry to the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group), which currently has 48 countries who trade in sophisticated nuclear technology and material while ensuring it is not used for weapons. Prime Minister Modi also became the fifth Indian leader since 1985 to address a joint session of the US Congress, and the first foreign leader to be invited to do so in 2016.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Delhi in August 2016 to chair the annual strategic and commercial dialogue that was co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj and Commerce and Industry Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman. The dialogue reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relationship. India made a strong push for greater US support in getting a membership to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Business ties, defence cooperation and clean energy initiatives were also focussed. The two sides also explored means for greater US participation in the Make in India flagship in the defence sector. Progress in the establishment of the Working Groups on Aircraft Carrier Technology and Jet Engine was reviewed.

In August 2016, India signed the bilateral Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will give the militaries of both countries access to each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs. The agreement will allow the Indian and US navies to have an easier time supporting each other in joint operations and exercises and when providing humanitarian assistance. While it is an enabling agreement, LEMOA does not make logistical support automatic or obligatory for either party. LEMOA is one of the four ‘foundational agreements’ that the USA enters into with its defence partners. With LEMOA, India has signed two of the four. The first one was signed in 2002—the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

Current Affairs – Sports – Rio Olympics Highlights

On 5 August 2016, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were officially declared open by Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer. Former Brazilian long-distance runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, who won the bronze medal at Athens Olympics in 2004, lit the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony.

Five-time Olympian and gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra led the biggest ever Indian Olympic contingent as it entered the Maracanã Stadium. Among the Indian athletes was tennis ace Leander Paes making a record seventh Olympic appearance.

The 2016 Rio Olympics were declared closed on 22 August 2016, by the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, following a ceremony which culminated in the handover of the Olympic flag to 2020 hosts Tokyo. The 2016 Games, which were the first to be held in South America, saw 11,000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees compete for 306 sets of medals.

Mascot: The mascot of Rio games was named Vinicius (after the poet of Bosa Nova), a mixture of all the Brazilian animals.

Bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik was India’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.

USA topped the medals tally with 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals. Great Britain was second with 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals. China came third with 26 gold, 18 silver and 26 bronze medals. India could manage only two medals-bronze in Wrestling and silver in Badminton.

Highlights:

  • South Korean archer and former world number one Kim Woo-jin set a new world record, during the ranking round of the men’s individual archery competition. He scored the first-ever 700 in archery recurve, beating the previous record of 699 set by compatriot Im Dong-Hyun at London 2012.
  • American swimmer Katie Ledecky broke the world record in 400-metre freestyle, giving her country its first swimming gold of the Rio Olympics. The 19-year-old clocked 3:56.46 to better the previous record of 3:58:37, also held by her.
  • Kenya’s middle distance runner Conseslus Kipruto set a new Olympic record in the men’s 3000-metre steeplechase event after clocking 8:03.28 minutes in the final.
  • Jamaica’s Omar McLeod became the country’s first-ever Olympic 110-meter hurdles champion. He clocked a time of 13.05 seconds, which is the slowest winning time in an Olympic final since 1992.
  • Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson completed the double of 100-m and 200-m Gold to become the world’s fastest woman. This was also the first time a woman had completed a double since USA’s Florence Griffith Joyner at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Thompson clocked timings of 10.71 seconds and 21.78 seconds in 100-m and 200-m, respectively.
  • Usain Bolt became the first athlete to complete a triple-triple of winning golds in 100-metre, 200-metre and 4X100-metre at three consecutive Olympics. With a total of nine golds in as many events, Bolt has the second most number of Olympic gold medals, behind American swimmer Michael Phelps.
  • American sprinter Allyson Felix became the first female track and field athlete to win five Olympic gold medals.
  • Great Britain’s 58-year-old Nick Skelton won the gold medal in the individual jumping event in equestrian, thereby becoming the oldest medallist in Olympic equestrian history. He also became the oldest medallist at the Rio Olympics and Britain’s oldest Olympic gold medallist since 1908, when shooter Joshua Milner won the gold, aged 61 years.
  • Great Britain women’s hockey team won its first ever Olympic gold after defeating defending champions Netherlands in the penalty shootout.
  • Argentinian men’s hockey team beat Belgium 4-2 to win their nation’s first ever medal in the men’s hockey event in Olympic history. The silver-medal finish for Belgium was their best finish at the Olympic Games in 96 years.
  • Brazil won its first ever Olympic gold in football after defeating Germany on penalties in the final.
  • German women’s football team won its first-ever Olympic gold medal after defeating Sweden 2-1.
  • American athlete Ryan Crouser broke a 28-year old Olympic record to win the gold in men’s shot put. His 22.52-meter throw broke the previous record of 22.47-metre made at 1988 Olympics.
  • Claressa Maria Shields of the United States won gold in women’s middle (69-75kg) boxing to become the first US boxer, male or female, to win two Olympic boxing golds.
  • USA’s Gwen Jorgensen won the gold medal in the women’s triathlon.
  • USA’s Ashton Eaton won gold in the men’s decathlon.
  • Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet won gold in Steeplechase with the second fastest time in history–8:59.75.
  • Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the men’s marathon gold.
  • Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas threw herself across the finish line in a daring lunge to beat out favourite Allyson Felix of the US for gold in the women’s 400m. By diving past the finish line, Miller crossed .07 seconds ahead of Felix.
  • Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana won the women’s 10,000 meters as also broke the world record set in 1993 with a time of 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds.
  • Monica Puig of Puerto Rico won the Tennis women’s singles gold—first gold medal ever won by Puerto Rico.
  • USA’s Michelle Carter, won the women’s shot put final, becoming the first-ever female American shot put gold medallist, and the first to take the medal stand since 1960. (Her father, Michael Carter, a former NFL player, had won the shot put silver medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.)
  • The artistic gymnastics women’s team gold was won by USA.
  • Cyclist Kristin Armstrong, just shy of her 43rd birthday, won her third consecutive gold medal in the women’s individual time trial. She became the first person to win the same event three times in a row, and the oldest woman to clinch gold in any Olympic sport.
  • Swimmers Yusra Mardini and Rami Anis were part of the refugee team—refugees of war-torn Syria who survived making the dangerous journey from Syria across the Aegean Sea to Greece in boats. It was the first time the International Olympic Committee allowed a team made up of Stateless refugees to compete in an Olympics.
  • Dipa Karmakar, India’s first ever female gymnast at the Olympics, became the first ever Indian to qualify for the apparatus finals of artistic Gymnastics at the Games. She bagged the fourth position, missing the bronze medal by a whisker.
  • Sakshi Malik clinched the bronze medal in 58-kg freestyle wrestling.  Notably, Malik also became the first Indian female wrestler to ever win an Olympic medal.
  • P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian female and first ever Indian shuttler to win an Olympic silver after she lost to world number one Carolina Marin in the final. She also became India’s youngest individual Olympic medallist. Before her, Vijender Singh was India’s youngest Olympic medallist. Sindhu became the fifth Indian woman to win an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleswari, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sakshi Malik

Current Affairs – Sports News – June-August 2016

ATHLETICS

Neeraj Chopra created a new junior world record on his way to the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw event at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Poland. He hurled the javelin to a distance of 86.48 metres, to beat the previous record of Latvia’s Zigismunds Sirmais by nearly two metres, and become the first Indian to win a gold medal in the history of the World U20 championship.

BADMINTON

Saina Nehwal defeated Chinese shuttler Sun Yu to win the Australian Open Super Series in Sydney. This was Saina’s first title in 2016, with her last win being the India Super Series in March 2015. Saina has won the Australian Open for the second time—she had won the title in 2014 also.

Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth defeated Korea’s Lee Hyun Il in the men’s singles final of the 2016 Canada Open. This was his first Grand Prix title.

CRICKET

India defeated West Indies by an innings and 92 runs on day 4 of the first Test in Antigua to register their biggest Test win outside Asia. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 7/83 in West Indies’ second innings, while captain Virat Kohli scored the first double century of his career. This was Anil Kumble’s first match as Team India’s coach.

Ravichandran Ashwin has become the first Indian to score multiple hundreds and take multiple five-wicket hauls in a Test series; he achieved this milestone during the third Test against West Indies in August 2016. The 29-year-old also became the fourth player overall to achieve the feat. Ashwin joined Kapil Dev and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the third Indian player to take two five wicket hauls and score two centuries in a Test series. While Kapil Dev achieved it twice in his illustrious career, Bhuvneshwar Kumar achieved this in the five-Test series against England in 2014.

Sri Lanka defeated Australia by 163 runs in the third Test, winning the series 3-0 and completing their first ever whitewash of Australia. The Aussies have lost 13 and won just one Test out of the 18 they have played in Asia since 2008. Before this series, SL had won only one Test against Australia in 33 years.

FOOTBALL

Chile upset favourites Argentina with a penalty shootout victory in the Copa America final to retain their title in the world’s oldest continental soccer competition. Colombia beat USA 1-0 to finish third.

Portugal defeated France 1-0 to win their first ever Euro Cup championship. Substitute Eder scored the winner for Portugal in extra time. This was the first ever Euro Cup final to end scoreless at the end of 90 minutes.

GOLF

Swedish player Henrik Stenson won the British Open at Royal Troon, pipping Phil Mickelson by producing a major championship record-equalling round of 63 on the final day. Mickelson finished on 17-under after a fine final round of his own of 65. J.B. Holmes of the United States was a distant third at six-under par.

GYMNASTICS

Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian woman to qualify for the gymnastics event in the Olympics, has been officially named a “World Class Gymnast”, by the governing body of world gymnastics, Federation de Internationale de Gymnastique. The title is given to some of the best gymnasts in the world.

TENNIS

World Number one Novak Djokovic completed his career Grand Slam after defeating Andy Murray to win the 2016 French Open Men’s Singles title. Novak Djokovic is the first man since 1969 to be the defending champion of all four Grand Slams—French Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open—at a single time. He is only the third man in history to achieve the feat after Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969. Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza won her maiden Grand Slam title after defeating the defending champion Serena Williams in women’s singlesMartina Hingis and Leander Paes each completed a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles after winning the Mixed Doubles title against Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig.  Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez beat Bob and Mike Bryan to win the men’s doubles title.  The French pair of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic secured a rare triumph for the home nation by winning the women’s doubles title.

World number two Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon men’s singles title, defeating Canadian Milos Raonic. This was Murray’s third Wimbledon final, with his first Championship victory coming in 2013 against Novak Djokovic.  Serena Williams beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber to win her 7th Wimbledon women’s singles titleher 22nd Grand Slam, equalling Steffi Graf’s record for most Grand Slam title wins in the Open Era. Serena Williams and Venus Williams won their sixth Wimbledon women’s doubles title after defeating Tímea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen won the mixed doubles title. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated fellow countrymen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin to win the men’s doubles title. It was the first all-French doubles final at Wimbledon in the Open Era.