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Islamabad SAARC Meet Virtually Off : India Plus 3 more Nations Pull Out

After India said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Islamabad for the regional SAARC summit in November, three other members - Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan - have also pulled out of the meet, isolating host Pakistan.
•    The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws. 
•    PM Modi has also reviewed the crucial Indus Waters Treaty, which divides resources from six rivers between India and Pakistan, saying "blood and water can't flow together."
•    Officials said India will now utilise much more of its share of water, which will eat into the surplus that Pakistan had been availing.
•    On Thursday, PM Modi has called for a deliberation on whether to downgrade Pakistan's status as a trading partner.
•    Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has led India's campaign against Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly, calling for the isolation of nations that export terror.

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27 September : World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day 2016 was observed across the world on 27 September 2016. The theme of the World Tourism Day 2016 is Tourism for All - promoting universal accessibility.
•    The official World Tourism Day 2016 celebrations will be held in Bangkok, Thailand.
•    International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6 % in 2015 to 1184 million.
•    In 2015, international tourism generated 1.5 trillion US dollar in export earnings.
•    UNWTO forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3.5% and 4.5% in 2016. 
•    By 2030, UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to reach 1.8 billion (UNWTO Tourism Towards 2030).
•    World Tourism Day is held annually on 27 September with purpose to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.

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India to host 1st BRICS Young Scientists Conclave

The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, under the BRICS framework, is hosting a five day event where a group of about 50 young scientists/ researchers from BRICS countries are meeting in Bengaluru from 26-30th September, 2016. It would be organized and coordinated by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru. 
•    This BRICS Young Scientists Conclave assumes importance as it is taking place during India’s chairmanship of BRICS in 2016 under a focal theme of ‘Building, Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions’. The event shall be inaugurated by Prof K. Kasturirangan, former Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
•    The BRICS Young Scientist Forum (BRICS-YSF), under which the BRICS Young Scientists Conclave is being organised, was initiated at the 2nd BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting at Brasilia in March, 2015. The respective Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ministries of BRICS countries are the lead coordinating organisations for this Forum on co-investment and co-ownership principles.
•    The Conclave aims at building a BRICS Innovation Corps – who individually or collectively have specialized capability to work on their novel scientific ideas and technological solutions which transform and accelerate change through better quality of life and higher incomes for citizen of this region. It will pave way for creation of strong generation of S&T leadership that can accelerate change collectively.
•    Some of the lead speakers in the Conclave, among others from India and abroad, include Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Dr. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, Dr. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Ayog, and Dr. Baldev Raj, Director, NIAS.  Besides, the above the Conclave is hosting more than 20 distinguished persons from BRICS nations with extraordinary achievements through scientific research, innovation and techno-entrepreneurship.

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Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit - 2016 Begins

The Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit (IITIS) 2016 has begun in New Delhi after it was inaugurated by Union Finance Minster Arun Jaitley. 
•    Summit has been organized by the Union Ministry of Tourism in association with Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI). 
•    IITIS will provide a common platform for domestic and international investors. 
•    It will host presentations of investible properties, session on why invest in India, Micro of Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) in tourism sector. 
•    It will also host panel discussions on core infrastructure for tourism, session on start-ups, digital India, Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD and niche tourism products, B2B meetings. 
•    Summit will also have dedicated space for seminars, business to business (B2B) meetings and roundtables around focus themes. 
•    It will also see domestic investors, entertainment companies, global investors, helicopter services, infrastructure-developers, hoteliers, international associations, restaurateurs, tour and travel operators, venture capitalists, urban developers and civic amenity providers.

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2016 BRICS Wellness Workshop begin in Bengaluru

The first BRICS Wellness Workshop concluded on 11 September 2016 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. 
•    The workshop was inaugurated by Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar on 10 September 2016.
•    Along with the workshop, National Fair on comprehensive Indian Medicine system (AROGYA) was also inaugurated in the city. 
•    The four day event is organized by Union Ministry of AYUSH, in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). 
•    The fair will conclude on 13 September 2016.
•    The Workshop is organized to promote partnerships with BRICS nations.
•    It aimed at promoting knowledge sharing and pushing forward AYUSH initiatives in BRICS countries, which will further help in globalization of AYUSH.
•    The Workshop was designed to have sessions related to Traditional Systems of Medicine, Trade and Economy, Wellness and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Wellness indicators for BRICS, Wellness and Tourism among others.
•    It included a session on WHO strategy for Traditional Medicine.

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Tourism Ministers of BRICS to Meet in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

The Tourism Ministers of BRICS countries will meet in Madhya Pradesh's temple city Khajuraho for a two-day long conference from September 1. 
•    During the conference, several presentations will be made and group discussions on Inter-Regional Tourism Promotion will be held. 
•    Further, a session on implementing technology and innovation in the sector will be held along with various cultural programmes.
•    On the first day of the meet a presentation will be made on the Indian Tourism Ministry's 'Atulya Bharat' campaign by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.
•    Later, BRICS nation's representatives and Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) delegation will make a presentation, it said.
•    On the second day, Indian Travel and Trade and its associated institutes will have a meeting with the BRICS representatives. 
•    Group discussions will also be held on the Inter-Regional Tourism Promotion.
•    Besides a session on implementing technology and innovation in tourism sector will also be held.
•    Various cultural programmes including light and sound show will also be organised for the participants during the event.

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Asia’s largest annual security forum Shangri-La Dialogue was inaugurated in Singapore

Asia’s largest annual security forum Shangri-La Dialogue was inaugurated in Singapore on 3 June 2016. It is the 15th Asia Security Summit to openly discuss and debate security matters in the Asia-Pacific region.
•    It is expected that the 2016 discussions will be dominated by the issues like territorial disputes in the South China Sea, military provocations of North Korea and Islamist extremism, migration, counter terrorism, military competition and cyber security.
•    The Singaporean government along with British think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies launched the Summit in 2002.
•    The forum is organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
•    The annual three-day summit became an unofficial conclave for regional defense ministers, along with European and US military officials.
•    The 2016 dialogue got its name from the location of the meeting, the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.
•    The forum serves for military officials as a venue to meet behind closed doors.
•    The event will be attended by at least 20 Defence Ministers from Asia-Pacific countries which India’s Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. It will be led by Pentagon chief Ashton Carter.
•    It provides opportunities to defence ministers, military chiefs and high-ranking defence officials to hold bilateral meetings on its sidelines.
•    The primary interest to delegates attending 2016 is China’s assertive activities in the South China Sea as it continues to gobble up islets and challenge the passage of US Navy ships and aircraft through the area.
•    The Legislators, academic experts, journalists and business delegates from around the globe will attend the dialogue.
•    The previous editions of the conference were marked by heated public exchanges between US and Chinese officials.

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Indian Army Successfully Summits Mount Everest

A team of six Indian Army mountaineers led by Lieutenant Colonel Ranveer Jamwal has successfully summitted Mount Everest (8848 metres) at dawn on 19th May 2016. 
•    Concurrently, the Lhotse Summit Team under Major Nooruddin Ahmed is attempting to summit Mount Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world at 8501 metres. 
•    The Indian Army climbers were amongst the initial lot of mountaineers to successfully climb Everest after a hiatus of two years as the peak was closed due to the devastation caused by the earthquake in Nepal last year.
•    The 30-member Indian Army’s Everest Massif Expedition 2016 was flagged off by Lt Gen MMS Rai, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, on 30th March, 2016. 

•    Five members of the team will also be participating in the tough and intensive ‘Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon’ on 29th May 2016, considered to be one of the toughest trail marathons in the world.

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Beti a non-fiction short film invited in 42nd edition of Seattle International Film Festival 2016

Beti, a four minute documentary film on girl child education from India, has been invited for special screening at the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), Washington DC.
•    Beti is the only short film from India to be featured amongst 421 films representing 85 countries and will be screened on 30 May 2016, which is Seattle Memorial Day at the SIFF.
•    The film was made by young student filmmakers of Chandigarh.
•    The movie is directed by Shivain Arora.
•    The short film promotes girl child by narrating the real life story of three girls from a government school and their dream for the future.
•    The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), held annually in Seattle, Washington since 1976, is among the top film festivals in North America. 
•    Audiences have grown steadily; the 2006 festival had 160,000 attendees. 
•    In recent years, the SIFF has run for more than three weeks (24 days), in May/June, and features a diverse assortment of predominantly independent and foreign films and, in recent years, a strong contingent of documentaries.

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