GK Eduwrap – Weekly – 20th April 2015 to 25th April 2015

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National:

1. Nasim Zaidi assumed the charge as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India. He succeeded Hari Shankar Brahma.

2. Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) unanimously elected Sitaram Yechury as the general secretary of the party. He is the fifth general secretary of the party. He succeeded Prakash Karat, who was the General Secretary of the party from 2005 to April 2015.

3. India and South Korea held high level defense talks in Seoul. The talks were held on the sidelines of four day visit of Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to South Korea. The meeting was held with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo at the Ministry of Defense of Korea in Seoul.

4. Indian Railways launched E-Samiksha, an online monitoring mechanism. E-Samiksha aims at monitoring implementation of various ongoing projects of Indian Railways on real-time basis including Rail Budget proposals. It was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi.

5. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) accorded final approval to Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand as India’s 48th Tiger Reserve. With this notification, Uttarakhand got its second tiger reserve after the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

6. Tamil Nadu Government cancelled allotment of land for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCBPL) in the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) Industrial Growth Centre in Perundurai. SIPCOT Managing Director R. Selvaraj issued the cancellation order of 71.34 acres allotted to HCCBPL for non-compliance of terms and conditions of allotment order / lease deed.

7. Haryana assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal inaugurated the excavation work on the Rs 50-crore Saraswati Revival Project at Rolaheri village in Yamunanagar district of Haryana.

8. The Railway Ministry launched a mobile application named utsonmobile, for paperless unreserved tickets. This mobile application aims to eliminate the need for printing of unreserved tickets. The application was launched as a pilot project in New Delhi by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and will cover 15 stations between Egmore and Tambram suburban sections in Chennai of the Southern Railway. Later, the service will be extended to in suburban section in all metros of the country in phases.

9. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee released a Postage Stamp commemorating the 200 years of the Orthodox Theological Seminary or Old Seminary, Kottayam in Kerala. The Orthodox Theological Seminary known as Old Seminary or Cottayam Syrian College is run by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the St. Thomas Christians.

10. Union Cabinet has approved lowering of age of juveniles from eighteen to sixteen years for heinous crimes. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The cabinet also approved to introduce Amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014.

11. Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) received an ISO 9001:2008 certification from the British Standards Institute (BSI).

12. Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar constituted a high level committee to consider demand of hike in pay for fixed pay teachers. The four member committee headed by Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh has been asked to submit its report to the government in one month time.

13. Cyclonic storm struck the north-eastern border districts of Bihar. The storm with a wind speed of more than 150 kmph hit several districts of the state namely Purnia, Madhepura, Madhubani, Katihar, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Bhagalpur and Supaul.

14. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a shipping agreement between India and Jordan. The agreement aims at strengthening cooperation and providing sustained mutual assistance on merchant shipping and other related maritime matters. The nod was given in a Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi after recognizing the significant mutual benefit which can be derived from cooperation in area of shipping between the two countries.

15. Union Cabinet approved the introduction of The Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015 in the current session of Parliament. The bill aimed at setting up exclusive commercial divisions in courts was approved by the union cabinet chaired by the PM Narendra Modi. The bill will provide a mechanism to ensure speedy disposal of high value commercial disputes.

16. Indian-American Vivek Murthy took oath as the 19th US Surgeon General. The oath was administered by Vice President Joe Biden at a ceremony in the US. He took the oath on the Gita. Vivek Muthy became the youngest-ever in-charge of the country’s public health. As the US Surgeon General, Murthy carries the rank of Vice Admiral.

17. The fourteenth edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise named VARUNA-15 commenced on 23rd April 2015 off the coast of Goa. The 10-day long joint naval exercise will end on 2nd May 2015. It is aimed at further deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies and strengthening the bilateral ties between India and France.

18. Union Government rolled out an online system for submission of the Long Term Visa (LTV) applications by the eligible Pakistani nationals and for its processing by various agencies. The Union Home Ministry took the decision to address the difficulty of the minority communities in Pakistan who come to India with the intention to settle permanently. The applications can be submitted online through hyperlink indianfrro.gov.in/frro

19. Two Indian nationals in Singapore were hailed as heroes and commended for saving a dangling toddler stuck between the rails on a parapet of a second floor apartment block. S. Shammugun Nathan (35) and P. Muthukumar (24) were both lauded by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for their bravery act.

20. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24th April 2015 inaugurated India’s Healthcare Portal at the SAAARC Trade Mart in the Global Exhibition on Services, in ITPO, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

The portal is an authentic and dynamic information source which can effectively be used by any treatment seeker/potential medical tourist to search for hospital related and travel related information in India.

The medical facilities on the Healthcare Portal are locatable by easy to search options by location, medical specialty, key procedures, language options available in hospitals and their certifications.

21. International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach chief arrives in India to meet PM Narendra Modi.

International:

1. The 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was held from 12th April 2015 to 19th April 2015 at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. The Summit concluded with the adoption of Doha Declaration.

2. Finland’s opposition Centre Party led by Juha Sipila won the General Election. Centre party, the advocates of wage freeze and spending cuts to regain Finland’s competitiveness, defeated the centre-right National Coalition party of incumbent Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.

3. Pakistan Government conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan, top civilian award on Chinese President Xi Jinping. He was bestowed with this award for his outstanding contribution in promotion of relationship between the two countries by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

4. Japanese bullet train Maglev created a new world speed record of 603 kilometer per hour (kmph) in a test run near Mount Fuji. The seven-car maglev (short for magnetic levitation) train broke its previous record of 580 kilometer per hour created in 2003. Central Japan Railway (JRC) said that the train hit a top speed of 603 kilometer per hour (375 miles per hour) in a test run and managed nearly 11 seconds at over 600 kilometer per hour.

5. United Nations (UN) released a report titled Global E-Waste Monitor 2014. The report has been compiled by the United Nations University (UNU), the UN’s think tank. The report offers a wealth of insights into the location and composition of the world’s fast-growing e-waste problem.

6. A historic tower built in the 19th century collapsed in the Nepali capital Kathmandu following a severe earthquake on Saturday.

The Dharahara Tower, built in 1832, was a historic landmark that had been open to visitors for the last 10 years and had a viewing balcony on its eighth floor.

7. India was placed at 117th position in the recently released World Happiness Report 2015 (published by United Nations) among the 158 studied nations.

Key facts from Report

Top Five Countries-

Switzerland (1st), Iceland (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Norway (4th) and Canada (5th).

Bottom Five Countries-

Rwanda (154th), Benin (155th), Syria (156th), Burundi (157th) and Togo (158th).

Other Countries-

United States (15th), United Kingdom (21th), Japan (46th) and China (84th). India is ranked below countries like Pakistan (81st), Bangladesh (109th), Ukraine (111th) and Iraq (112th).

8. India has emerged as the fourth largest supplier of generic medicines to the United States. It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) for Chemicals and Fertilizers Hansraj Ahir gave this information in the Rajya Sabha in reply to a question.

9. 10-day naval exercise ‘Varuna’ between India and France began on 23 April 2015 off the Goa coast. It is the fourteenth edition of this naval exercise which will host of naval assets of both countries and will conclude on 3 May 2015.

10. NASA engineers have developed the first full-scale three dimensional (3-D) printed copper rocket engine part.

Combustion chamber was manufactured by using selective laser melting machine in the Laboratory located in Marshall Space Flight Centre’s Materials and Processing.

Sports:

1. Archana Girish Kamath and Anezka Ilcikova, the Indo-Czech Republic pair won the cadet girls’ doubles table tennis title at the French junior and cadet open in Metz, France. In the title clash, Archana and Anezka defeated the French pair of Lucie Gauthier and Leili Mostafavi 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 and clinched the gold medal. 2015 French Junior & Cadet Open, ITTF Premium Junior Circuit was held at Metz, France from 15th April to 19th April 2015.

2. Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar appointed as chief adviser of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU). Neeraj Kumar succeeded Ravi Sawant.

3. Ankit Keshri, an East Bengal Club cricketer died on 20th April 2015 due to an injury sustained during a Cricket Association of Bengal’s senior one-day knock-out match. He was 20.

4. The Supreme Court of India (SC) appointed Vivek Priyadarshi to head the team probing the Indian Premiere League (IPL) scandal. The decision was taken by a SC bench headed by Justice TS Thakur.

5. Cricket South Africa (CSA) on 21 April 2015 announced a new tournament to be known as the Africa T20 Cup. The tournament was planned to promote the game and nurture young talent in the continent. The tournament featuring Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, hosts South Africa and 12 CSA affiliates will run from 4 September to 4 October 2015.

6. Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli announced to set up his chain of gyms and fitness centres with the investment of 90 crore rupees. The gyms will be launched under the brand name Chisel. The brand is jointly owned by Kohli, Chisel Fitness and CSE, the sister concern of Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment.

7. Bangladesh won the three-match One Day International (ODI) Series against Pakistan in Dhaka by 3-0. This was Bangladesh’s first series whitewash against an Asian Test-playing nation.

8. The Union Sports Ministry suspended the recognition of Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) with immediate effect. It was suspended for poor management and conduct of 15th National Para-Athletics Championships held in Ghaziabad in March 2015.

9. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his way into the record books becoming the first Indian to start for a top-division European club when he started for Norwegian club Stabaek. He kept a clean sheet as his side romped to a 6-0 win. The 23-year-old Sandu had moved to Stabaek in August last year.

Economics:

1. Global Rating Agency Moody’s forecasted that Indian economy will grow at 7.5% in 2015. This growth rate is marginally higher compared with 7.2% in 2014.

2. Union Finance Ministry retained the rate of interest for General Provident Fund (GPF) and other related schemes at 8.7% for 2015-16. The notification was issued by the Finance Ministry on 21 April 2015. The 8.7% interest will apply on Provident Funds of central government employees, railways and defense forces.

3. Toyota beats Volkswagen and General Motors for top place in global vehicle sales.

4. Russia and Argentina have signed a series of framework agreements on economic and energy co-operation.

The signed agreements include-

(i) Russian investment in a hydroelectric plant in Argentina’s Neuquen River.

(ii) Russia’s Rosatom nuclear corporation to build a new reactor at Argentina’s Atucha 3 nuclear power plant.

(iii) Memorandum of co-operation (MoC) on defence between both nations.

5. China and Pakistan on 21 April 2015 signed an agreement on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan worth 46 billion US dollars.

The agreement was signed by China’s President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Appointment:

1. Accounting giant KPMG elected company veteran Lynne Doughtie as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman. She is the first women to be elected to this position. She will succeed John Veihmeyer, who has served as Chairman and CEO since 2010 and simultaneously as Global Chairman of KPMG International since February of 2014.

2. Pathai Ananthasubramanian Murali on 23rd April 2015 resigned as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Director (ED) of Bengaluru-based United Spirits Limited. Murali also resigned from the boards of all subsidiaries.

United Spirits is the largest alcoholic beverage company of India.

3. Indian-American Dr. Vivek Murthy was sworn-in as the US Surgeon General on 23 April 2015.

Mergers & Acquisition:

1. Online travel services provider MakeMyTrip has acquired startup travel guide firm Mygola. MakeMyTrip Group has acquired 100 per cent of Mygola. The amount of the acquisition was not disclosed. The acquisition is done through the company’s earlier announced innovation fund, which is formed to invest in startup or early-stage companies in the travel technology space.

2. Online restaurant guide Zomato has acquired United States (US) based online table reservation platform NexTable for undisclosed amount. It is Zomato’s ninth acquisitions since past nine months.

3. National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) on 23rd April 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with e-commerce giant Snapdeal to roll out digital marketing courses.

4. The MoU aims at helping small and medium enterprises/businesses and artisans who want to take the online route to become entrepreneurs.

5. Bank of Baroda ties up with UAE Exchange for NRI money transfer.

Important Days:

1. Ninth Civil Services Day was observed across India on 21st April 2015. The day is observed by all Civil Services to re-dedicate and re-commit themselves to the cause of the people.

2. International Mother Earth Day was observed globally on 22nd April 2015 with the theme “It’s our turn to lead”.

3. United Nations (UN) observed World Book and Copyright Day across the world on 23rd April 2015. The day is an opportunity to recognize the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.

4. National Panchayati Raj Day was observed across India on 24th April 2015. The day is observed to mark the passing of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993.

5. First Battalion the First Gorkha Rifles (1/1 GR) on 24 April 2015 celebrated its Bicentenary at Pathankot, Punjab.

Awards & Recognition:

1. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and teen idol Zyan Malik were honoured at the 5th Asian Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Khan was awarded with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Cinema award. The 49-year-old actor received the award by Indian-origin British filmmaker Gurinder Chadha.

2. The Income Tax Department was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for easy tax compliance through quality service. The award was presented at a function at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on occasion of Civil Services Day.

3. The New York Times won two prestigious Pulitzer prizes for coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The coverage is described by the Pulitzer board as courageous and vivid journalism that engaged the public and held authorities accountable. For its Ebola coverage, The New York Times staff won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting and freelancer Daniel Berehulak won Pulitzer Prize for the feature photography.

4. Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor has been felicitated with the prestigious Deenanath Mangeshkar Award.

5. A 22-year-old Indian-origin soldier with Israeli army, diel Yosef has been awarded the President’s Medal of Excellence for his outstanding service.

Science & Technology:

1. The First ship of Project-15B, a Guided Missile Destroyer Visakhapatnam was launched at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. It is the largest missile destroyer commissioned in India till now.

2. India’s largest private sector lender Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank has launched a payment service Tap-n-Pay. It was launched by bank in collaboration with Tech Mahindra.

3. NASA engineers have developed the first full-scale three dimensional (3-D) printed copper rocket engine part. The part developed was a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures and pressures using additive manufacturing technique.

4. Indian biotech firm Stempeutics Research gets China Patent for its novel stem cell drug.

5. Bengaluru-based Stempeutics Research has been granted a process patent for its stem-cell based drug Stempeucel by the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China. Stempeutics said it has become the first company in the world to be granted a patent by the Chinese patent office.

Death:

1. Former Governor of Assam and three-time Chief Minister of Odisha Janaki Ballabh Patnaik died on 21st April 2015 in Tirupati. He was 89. Born on 3rd January 1927, in Rameshwar, Puri, Patnaik was a senior leader of Indian National Congress. He served Odisha as its Chief Minister from 1980 to 1989 and again from 1995 to 1999.

2. Eminent historian Professor Christopher Alan Bayly died on 20th April 2015 in Chicago due to heart attack. His death was announced by the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge. He was 70.

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