Current Affairs – May 2016

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5 Indians posthumously honoured with UN’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal

Four Indian peacekeepers and a civilian have been chosen posthumously for United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal for their courage and sacrifice.

They are among the 124 police, military and civilian personnel who have been posthumously awarded a prestigious UN medal. They will be honoured on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (observed annually on 29 May).

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.

About Dag Hammarskjold Medal

  • Established in December 2000. Named after second UN Secretary General and Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold (In office: from 1953 to 1961).
  • Awarded posthumously to members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation under the control and authority of the UN.
  • Hammarskjold had died in a mysterious plane crash in 1961. He was posthumously awarded Nobel Peace Prize the year he died (only exceptional case).

India contribution to UN Peacekeeping

India is the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, its military and police personnel are deployed in UN missions in Cyprus, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Haiti and South Sudan.

So far, India has contributed around 1,80,000 troops who have served in over 44 of the 69 peacekeeping operations. It also includes 103 Indian female police unit in the UN mission in Liberia.


South Korean author Han Kang wins 2016 Man Booker International Prize

South Korean author, Han Kang, has won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for her novel ‘The Vegetarian’.

With this Han becomes the first South Korean to win this prestigious literary prize. The writer and her British translator Deborah Smith will share the 72,000 dollars prize money.

Han’s novel ‘The Vegetarian’ tells a story of a wife (Yeong-hye lead character) who decides to become a vegetarian. The decision provokes cruelty from her husband, and from her father, and obsession from her sister’s husband, as the woman, she dreams obsessively about becoming a tree.

The novel was picked unanimously by the panel of five judges chaired by Boyd Tonkin. It was chosen amongst six other novels.

About Man Booker International Prize

  • Man Booker International Prize is an international literary award.
  • The award given to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or generally available in English translation.
  • The Man Booker International Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.


Indigenous Advanced Air Defence interceptor missile, Ashwin successfully test fired

Indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, Ashwin was successfully test fired.

The test was the twelfth test of interceptor missiles fired from a warship in the Bay of Bengal. Of the 11 tests held earlier, 9 were successful.

Test: The interceptor missile was test fired from the complex of Abdul Kalam Island (formerly known as Wheeler Island) in Balasore district off Odisha coast.

It hit the target which another ballistic missile i.e. a modified version of Prithvi weapon system. The missile also validated various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode.

Key facts

  • AAD interceptor missile Ashwin is the advanced version of low altitude supersonic ballistic interceptor missile.
  • It is indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile.
  • Features: It is capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile is 7.5-meter long and weighs around 1.2 tonnes. It has a diameter of less than 0.5 meter.
  • It is single-stage solid rocket propelled guided missile. It is equipped with a hi-tech computer, a navigation system and an electro-mechanical activator.
  • The missile also has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars


  • With this successful test India became the fourth country in the world to have full-fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system. Other three countries are United States, Russia and Israel.
  • The successful test will also pave the way for the induction of the supersonic interceptor missiles in the Indian armed forces.
  • It will also strengthen India’s position in the very exclusive and elite Ballistic Missile Defence club of the other three countries.