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Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme launched at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.

On 3 June 2016 The Haryana Government launched Asia's First Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme at Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore.
•    Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched the program.
•    The Union Government became prominent vulture breeding and conservation centre in India after successfully breeding Himalayan Griffon Vultures.
•    It is the old world vulture in the family of Accipitridae-in captivity.
•    Many vultures disappeared due to Diclofenac which is a pain killer drug given to cattle that can kill birds.
•    When vultures feed on the carcasses of animals with Diclofenac, they also die.
•    At present, the drug is banned in India.
•    The Himalayan Griffon is closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps species of vultures but is not endangered.

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India and Tunisia have signed two MoU for co-operation in Information Technology (IT) and promotion of traditional handicrafts.

On 2 June 2016 India and Tunisia signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation in Information Technology and promotion of traditional handicrafts.
•    The MoUs were signed after the delegation level talks between the two countries in the presence of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid in Tunis. 
•    After the meet, the two nations also released a joint press statement saying that the entire gamut of bilateral as well as global issues was discussed. 
•    The two sides had discussion on bilateral ties focused on economic partnership and adding new areas of collaboration in IT and education.
•    The two sides also decided to enhance co-operation in counter terrorism.
•    Apart from this, Ansari also appreciated Tunisia's support to India's candidature to the expanded United Nations Security Council. 
•    He also invited 350 Tunisian citizens to India for training in different institutes over the next five years.
•    He said that the meeting of the India-Tunisia Joint Committee will be held later in 2016 and focus of the meeting will be promotion of tourism.

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Indus Valley Civilization is 8000 years old: IIT Kharagpur Research

A study by Indian researchers at major excavated site of Bhirrana, Haryana suggests that the Indus Valley Civilization is much older than thought before and climate was not only the cause behind collapse of Harappa civilization.
The study was conducted by a research team from IIT Kharagpur, Institute of archaeology, Deccan College Pune, Physical Research Laboratory and Archaeological Survey of India.
The finding was published in prestigious journal Nature Scientific report on 25 May 2016.
•    Bhirrana site shows preservation of all cultural levels of Indus Valley Civilization from Pre-Harappan Hakra phase through Early Mature Harappan to mature Harappan time
•    The study of dated potteries of Early Mature Harappan time by a technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) suggests that these were nearly 6000 years old, the oldest known pottery so far.
•    This means that the Indus Valley civilization is 2500 years older than previously believed and the Indus Valley settlements that spread across Pakistan and northern India is older than the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.
•    Researchers used oxygen isotope composition in the bone and tooth phosphates of these 2 remains found at Bhirrana to unravel the climate pattern.
•    The study revealed that the monsoon became progressively weaker from 7000 years onwards but surprisingly the civilization did not disappear, rather they continued to evolve even in the face of declining monsoon condition.
•    In the event of weakening of monsoon changed their subsistence strategy. They shifted their crop patterns from the large-grained cereals like wheat and barley to drought-resistant species of small millets and rice.
•    As a result of lower yield of these later crops the organized large storage system of mature Harappan period was abandoned. In its place more individual household based crop processing and storage system arose.

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Union cabinet gives approval to 6 New IITs

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 May 2016 gave its ex-facto approval to the Amendment to The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 for incorporation of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
•    These six new IITs will be based in :
•    Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh
•    Palakkad in Kerala
•    Dharwar in Karnataka
•    Bhilai in Chhattisgarh
•    Goa
•    Jammu in Jammu & Kashmir
•    The above Amendment is also for conversion of Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad into an IIT by bringing it into the ambit of the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 and also declaring it as an institute of national importance.
•    The cabinet also gave ex post facto approval to set up NIT, Andhra Pradesh which has been registered as a Society under the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001. The approval will give a legal entity to the NIT.

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