Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 18 October 2017

50 Indian peacekeepers in Sudan awarded UN medal

Fifty Indian peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan have been awarded the UN Medal for their professionalism and service in protecting civilians and building durable peace in the conflict-ridden country.

The Indian peacekeepers are part of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

They are deployed with the Indian battalion stationed at Bor in the Jonglei region of South Sudan. They were presented with the award recently by UNMISS Force Commander General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi.

The Indian battalion had played an important role in keeping the community safe as well as encouraging local peace efforts. They had also provided much-needed services to the community outside of their core mandate, such as medical care for local residents and support for local farmers with veterinary treatment for their animals. The battalion has supported the mandate of the United Nations and the overall peace process.

Indian Ambassador to South Sudan, Srikumar Menon, attended the medal ceremony and thanked the peacekeepers for their commitment and service.


Haryana records 39 percent of all cancer cases in India

Cancer is strengthening its grip across India and Haryana has a major share with over 39% of cases recorded in the state.

Approximately 17.3 lakh new cancer cases are being estimated by the year 2020 in India, therefore with the present trends Haryana might have around 6.5 lakh cancer cases by then.

Breast cancer has a majority share of cancer cases and is the leading cause for deaths in women suffering with non-communicable disease. According to an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) report, breast cancer shares 10% of all cases. By that rate, Haryana may report around 2 to 2.5 lakh cases alone.

Approximately, 1.5 lakh breast cancer cases are being reported in the country every year and the incidence is showing an upward trend. One in eight women is known to develop breast cancer cases at some point of time in life.


Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal among 15 nations elected to UN Human Rights Council

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council along with 12 other countries. The other nations elected to the human rights wing of the UN are Angola, Australia, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, and Ukraine.

This Human Rights Council election by the UN General Assembly was the first one conducted with new ballot papers. In the past, ballot papers had been completely blank. Now, they contain the names of the candidate countries, along with additional space to inscribe other names.


FM launches gold options trading on MCX

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has launched gold options trading on the leading commodity bourse MCX and said this is one of the steps towards formalising trade in the yellow metal. Options are derivatives which give a buyer the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specific price on or before a certain date.

This is the first product for options trading that the regulator Sebi has allowed after 14 years of commencement of commodity exchanges in the country. The gold options contract launched allows trading in 1kg gold.

Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, Economic Advisor to PM Bibek Debroy, MCX Chairman Saurabh Chandra and MCX Managing Director and CEO Mrugank Paranjape were present at the event. MCX is the leading commodity bourse in the country with a market share of over 90 per cent. It has a large presence in gold, base metals, and energy.