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1. Mirage 2000 fighter jet of Indian air force (IAF) landed successfully on Yamuna Expressway as part of developing road runaway for emergency landing. It’s a kind of first for military aviation in India. IAF conducted the successful trial run of landing on Yamuna Expressway near Mathura under the plan of use of national highways in emergency situations.
2. Ecologists found a new species of fish called Pethia Striata in Tunga River in the Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka. The male of the species measures 3 – 4 cm in length and is red in colour, while the female is grey with a striking pattern of scales.
3. Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the new headquarter of Coal India Ltd. at New Town Rajarhat in West Bengal.
4. Union finance Ministry constituted Shah Committee to look into the issue of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
The committee will be headed by Justice A P Shah while the other members are Dr. Girish Ahuja, a chartered accountant and former Associate Professor of Commerce, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and Dr. Ashok Lahiri, former Chief Economic Adviser and Executive Director, ADB and currently Chairman of High Level Committee to interact with Trade and Industry on tax laws.
5. Maharashtra Government has decided to allow women employees to work in night shifts. In this regard, state government is going to amend Section 66(1) (c) Factories Act 1948, thus making the way for women employees to work in night shifts.
6. India has ranked 24th out of 70 countries in the first Environmental Democracy Index (EDI). The index was recently released by Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) and Access Initiative.
Top ten countries are: Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, Hungary, Bulgaria, Panama and Colombia.
7. Union Cabinet has approved continuation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) programme for another fifteen operational flights of PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50.
8. Union Cabinet has approved the revival of closed urea unit of Fertilizer Corporation India Limited (FICL) at Sindri in Jharkhand with an investment of 6000 crore rupees.
9. India and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan agreement to provide up to 21787 million YEN (about Rs. 1165 Cr.) for the Odisha Transmission System Improvement Project (OTSIP).
10. The fourth Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette of Project-28 christened Kavaratti was launched at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata.
The ships have been constructed using high grade steel (DMR 249A) produced in India. With a displacement of 3300 tonnes, the sleek and magnificent ASW Corvettes span 109.1 meters in length and 13.7 meters at the beam. They are propelled by four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots and have an endurance of more than 3000 NM.
11. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 50th anniversary of India’s first historic climb of Mount Everest in 1965 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The event was organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
On 20th May 1965, Indian team led by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli of Indian Navy made history by climbing 8848-metres high Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak, for the first time after a series of three unsuccessful attempt in as many as five years. Kohli, now 83, wrote a book on the expedition titled Nine Atop Everest.
12. Meghalaya has achieved 100% success in implementing Union Government’s flagship scheme for financial inclusion-Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY).
13. Infosys announced to become carbon neutral by 2018. For this the company earmarked an amount of Rs. 400 Cr.
The company announced to achieve carbon-neutrality on commuting and travel by its nearly 1.8 lakh employees. The company will offset 3.74 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide attributed to employees’ travel, and it will spend Rs. 70 Cr. in 2015 on initiatives such as installing solar projects for rural electrification, biogas plants and distribution of smokeless cook-stoves in villages, besides afforestation.
14. West Bengal’s town of Bishnupur, which is famous for terracotta temples, is all set to become the state’s first heritage city. Around 150 km away from Kolkata by road, Bishnupur was the seat of power for Malla dynasty, which built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th centuries.
15. The Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) discovered a new species of catfish named Glyptothorax senapatiensis in the Chindwin river drainage in Senapati district of Manipur.
The people of the Chindwin river drainage region used to have this 6 cm long freshwater fish as food. They called this fish as Ngapang. It is edible fish with high nutritional value and has high oil content. It has thoracic adhesive apparatus with U-shaped median depression opening caudally that helps the fish to cling on rocky riverbed in mountains against strong currents.
16. Infosys became the first Indian Company to join RE100 Renewable Energy Campaign. RE100 is a global platform for major companies committed to 100% renewable power.
Infosys joined some of the world’s most influential companies such as IKEA, Swiss Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, KPN, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, among others, which are taking bold steps to create transformative change needed to drive a clean energy revolution.
17. Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries sanctioned proposals for setting up 30 new cold storage chains in the country. The total expected grant-in-aid to be released by the Ministry is Rs. 274.9 Cr. which would attract an investment of Rs. 470 Cr.
These 30 new cold storage chains were sanctioned under the Integrated Cold Chain project. So far, 138 cold storage chains under the project have been sanctioned out of which 108 are under implementation. Out of these 52 cold storages have been completed and are operational.
19. India assumed the presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) held in Geneva after a gap of 19 years. The WHA session is presided by Union Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda who is also leading the high-level Indian delegation to the Assembly.
20. Ms. Draupadi Murmu was sworn in as the first woman and overall ninth Governor of Jharkhand since the state was granted statehood status after bifurcating from Bihar.
21. Union Government launched official website of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. The website is launched by Dr Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The website can be accessed on http://www.niti.gov.in
22. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched the official website of 10th World Hindi Conference at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan in New Delhi. It can be visited at www.vishwahindisammelan.gov.in
23. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POSOCO) for optimum use of weather information/forecast in the power sector.
24. Doordarshan (DD) and China Central Television (CCTV) signed an agreement for exchange of art, culture and development television programs. The agreement was signed by Prasar Bharathi CEO Jawhar Sircar on behalf of India in Beijing during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China. This agreement will enable both Doordarshan and CCTV to share programs on their networks at free of cost.
25. Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping launched Road Asset Management System (RAMS) for National Highways. The system will compile information on road assets, condition of the pavements and traffic through use of laser technology.
26. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced electronic tourist visa (e-Visa) facility for Chinese nationals. The above steps by the Indian Government are aimed at attracting a bigger chunk of about 100 million Chinese tourists who visited abroad in 2014.
27. Union Home Ministry decided to implement the NERS (Nationwide Emergency Response System) to save women in distress. In this regard, the Ministry invited proposals from IT service providers to implement it.
28. Union Government has allocated Rs. 5000 Cr. for the growth of Department of AYUSH, that comprises Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for AYUSH Sripad Naik at a function in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
29. ICICI Bank’s first branch in China was inaugurated in Shanghai, a major global financial hub. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar.
30. New catfish species named Glyptothorax senapatiensis was recently discovered by scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). It was discovered in Chindwin river drainage in Senapati district of Manipur.
31. Draupadi Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand. Murmu succeeds Syed Ahmed, who will take over as Manipur Governor.
1. President of the United States (US) Barack Obama entered Guinness Book of World Record for reaching a million followers in a span of mere 5 hours after going live.
2. Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants seized full control of ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. It is an oasis in the Syrian Desert.
3. Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for 2015. His name was announced as the sixth winner of the award at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
4. The Mullivaikkal village, the village where LTTE rebels fought their last fight against security forces in a war that lasted for 37 years, and around 40,000 tamils lost their lives during the civil war between Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan Army. The fight ended on 19 May 2009. On 19th May 2015, tamils in Sri Lanka were able to commemorate the day because the country’s new government under President Maithripala Sirisena lifted a ban on commemorating Tamil victims.
5. Peter M. Christian was elected as the eighth President of the Federated States of Micronesia.
6. The European Union (EU) approved a plan that empowers naval force to combat smugglers operating from Libya and tackle illegal migration in its territory. The policy for an unprecedented naval operation against the smuggling of refugees from North Africa to Europe was approved by EU foreign ministers during a meet held in Brussels.
7. Ranjit Boparan is nicknamed Chicken King for running UK’s largest poultry business has topped this year’s Asian Rich List for the Midlands region of England with an estimated wealth of £1.35 billion.
8. Researchers have discovered the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The site discovered is called as Maria Elena South (MES).
9. International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its recent report titled Act Local, Solve Global: The $5.3 Trillion Energy Subsidy Problem has voiced alarm about energy subsidies across the world.
10. The 68th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held at the IMO Headquarters in London, the UK, has adopted provisions of the Polar Code related to environmental norms. They aimed at protecting the environment of Polar Waters from pollution causing ships operating in the region.
11. Pope Francis has canonized Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy from Palestine. The canonization ceremony was held in Vatican’s St Peter’s Square and was attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and over 2,000 Christian pilgrims from the region.
Cannonisation is the act by which the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Church declares a deceased person as a saint. After canonization the person acquires the title of Saint.
12. Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to death by Cairo court for his part in a mass jailbreak in 2011.
13. Canada has formally announced its plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada’s announcement comes ahead of Climate change conference to be held in Paris in December 2015 which is aiming for international efforts to create a new frame work for addressing climate change.
Awards & Recognition:
1. Six Indian-Americans and a British-Indian were presented prestigious 2015 Ellis Island Medals of Honor in United States for their contributions to America. They were among nearly 100 individuals who were presented this prestigious award recently in New York.
About Ellis Island Medals of Honor:
» It is an American award founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations.
» The award pays homage to the immigrant for their experience and contribution made to America.
» It is awarded to native-born and naturalized US citizens.
Indian-American winners include
» Meera Gandhi: Founder of The Giving Back Foundation. It had played important role alleviating poverty illness, and suffering and also had addressed education issues which affect women and children around the world.
» Chad P. Gehani: Former president of the New York State Dental Association. In 2006, was honored with Foundation of Excellence in Community Service Award by the New York State Dental Foundation.
» Rahul M. Jindal: Presently he is a Staff Transplant Surgeon at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In 2013, he was awarded Leadership Award by the International Leadership Foundation in Washington.
» S. Mona Sinha: Chairperson of the Asian Women’s Leadership University (AWLU) Project, and is founding member of AWLU that focuses on empowering women as future leaders of Asia.
» K. V. Kumar: He is managing partner of Kumar & Talvadkar Associates, a Management Consulting Company. He was instrumental in successfully implementing various projects in different fields.
» Baroness Sandip Verma: Member of the House of Lords of United Kingdom. He is a former junior minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK.
» Rajdeep K. Dhami
2. Shivani Agarwal and Maharaja Pandit are two Indians who have been selected for the prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship by Harvard University.
Shivani Agarwal is from Indian Institute of Science has been selected as William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow for learning to make choices in the era of big data. Maharaja Pandit from University of Delhi has been selected as Hardy Fellow for his project life in Himalaya.
3. Snapdeal names Silicon Valley veteran Gaurav Gupta as Vice-President, Engineering.
4. Anurradha Prasad, the Editor-in-Chief of News 24 Channel was conferred with the Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award for Journalism, Writing and Social Services.
1. SS Ahluwalia was appointed as the chairman of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
2. US President Barack Obama has named an Indian-American professor Akhil Amar from Yale University as a member of the prestigious National Council on Humanities.
3. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) MP Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia has been appointed chairman of a Joint Committee of Parliament that will look into the provisions of the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, 2015.
4. BJP leader Tathagata Roy took charge as the 16th governor of left-ruled Tripura.
5. Pinky Mehta has been appointemnt as new CFO at the Aditya Birla Group. 24 years ago, she became the first woman officer to be hired by the Aditya Birla Group. Now, she became first woman CFO at the Aditya Birla Group.
6. Graeme Pitkethly has been appointed as new CFO at Unilever, after Jean-Marc Huet quits.
7. Harkeert Singh Saini, an Indian-American policeman has been awarded the prestigious Top Civilian Supervisor of the Year. He was conferred with award for his efficient services to the Houston Police department in the state of Texas of United States. He received this award from Houston Mayor Anise Parker and Police Chief Charles A. McClelland.
8. MJ Joseph was appointed as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in the Union Ministry of Finance. He succeeded Jawahar Thakur who has been appointed as OSD (Accounting Reforms) in the Office of CGA.
Mergers & Acuisition:
1. HDFC Bank, India’s second largest private bank by assets, picks up minority stake in CarDekho.
2. Mahindra & Mahindra to acquire 33% stake in Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery Company for Rs 159.24 Cr.
3. HDFC Bank in partnership with Apollo Hospitals launched HDFC Bank Apollo Medical Benefits Card, a co-branded medical benefits card which allows corporates to disburse medical allowances to their employees and has insurance cover for accidents.
4. Askme acquired grocery marketplace BestAtLowest.com for about 10 million US dollar.
1. Union Government has decided to amend Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms for NRIs, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) to increase capital flows into the country.
2. State Bank of India (SBI) has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with e-commerce giant Amazon. The MoU seeks to identify and tap the potential areas of collaboration for payments and commerce solutions between both signatory parties.
Objective: The report highlighted that developing Asia now invests more abroad than any other region. This UNCTAD trends monitor analyses the most recent trends in global outward investment and assesses its prospects for 2015. It covers outward FDI trends in developed, developing and transition economies.
According to the report: Hong Kong (China) and China were the second and the third largest investors in the world, after the United States which remains the largest single source of outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Developing Asia has become, for the first time, the world’s largest investor region with 440 billion US dollar invested, followed by North America and Europe.
4. The new service tax rate of 14% will come into effect from June 1, in a move that will make eating out in restaurants, insurance and phone usage expensive, among many other things. The service tax is currently levied at the rate of 12.36% including education cess.
5. GMR Infrastructure Ltd. has signed Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Guizhou International Investment Corporation (GIIC) for developing Kakinada special economic zone (SEZ) in Andhra Pradesh.
6. Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio), a telecom arm of Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed a pact with Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer firm Huawei for sourcing various 4th Generation (4G) devices.
7. United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) 2015 survey titled Making Growth More Inclusive for Sustainable Development was released.
Objective: The survey analyzes the economic growth performance of the region, along with its outlook and challenges countries face in sharing the benefits of growth with all people.
According to the Survey:
• Economic growth in Asia and the Pacific continues to do well in the global context, but is expected to increase slightly to 5.9% in 2015 from 5.8% in 2014.
• Weighed down by lower global oil prices and geopolitical tensions, the economy of the Russian Federation barely grew in 2014; it is expected to contract over 2015 and 2016.
• Unlike other sub-regions, North and Central Asia is facing low economic growth but high inflation.
• Economic growth in South and South-West Asia edged up in 2014, mainly led by stronger macroeconomic performance in India, but it remained far below its pre-crisis pace. The consumption-led growth was fuelled by favourable farm incomes, workers’ remittances and monetary easing.
• As the country accounts for 80% of the output in North and Central Asia, sub-regional growth performance and prospects are also bleak. Inflation has also increased in several economies as declining commodity prices led to subdued foreign exchange earnings and the weakening of currencies.
India’s Economic Growth:
• Indian Economy will grow at 8.1% in the current financial year 2015 and 8.2% in 2016.
• Investment is also expected to rebound, although unevenly, given the still low capacity-utilisation rate at about 70%.
8. State Bank of India (SBI) has launched contact-less credit and debit cards sbiINTOUCH.
sbiINTOUCH is based upon latest near-field technology (NFC) that enables customer to transact using the card by just tapping or waving it against the reader of the point-of-sale machine. Cards incorporated with NFC technology are secure and hassle-free. SBI is also proving a fraud liability cover of 1 lakh rupees on these cards.
With this, SBI has joined league of private lenders like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. It should be noted that ICICI bank was first to introduce contact-less credit and debit cards in India.
RBI rules on contact-less credit and debit cards:
• Presently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allows banks to enable transactions in case of contactless cards up to Rs. 2,000 without the requiring a separate PIN authentication.
• But incase of amounts higher, banks should provide customers with an option of contact payment and pin authentication requirement.
Science & Technology:
1. Kepler and Swift spacecraft of NASA provided supporting evidence and the first direct measurement of supernovae (stellar explosions) which can enable scientists to understand what causes supernovae.
The studies proved that Type Ia supernovae, which produce unprecedented brightness, can either be caused by merging with another white dwarf or by pulling too much matter from a nearby companion star. A white dwarf is the Earth-sized remnant of a star like the sun.
In the test, the missile was fired from Sukhoi -30 MKI fighter jet in two developmental trials to prove its long range capability. It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and one of the smallest weapon systems developed by it. Single stage solid fuelled and has payload capacity of 15 kg conventional explosives. It is air-to-air beyond-visual-range (BVR) all-weather missile that can be launched from different altitudes.
3. INS Kavaratti, Indian Navy’s latest anti-submarine warfare class stealth corvette was launched in Kolkata.
Kavaratti is the last of the four anti-submarine warfare class stealth corvettes being built for India under Project 28. It weighs 3,300-tonne and has a length of 109.1 metres and measures 13.7-m at beam.
Propelled by four diesel engines and can reach a speed of over 25 knots. It has an endurance of more than 3,400 nautical miles.
4. 6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy was held in New Delhi. The Conference was organised by ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) with the theme Nuclear Energy: a Clean Energy option.
5. The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) signed a seven-year multi-million dollar contract with the global aviation IT firm SITA. The contract will enable the airport to implement the new Common Use Self Service kiosk (CUSS) platform that allows passengers to print their own boarding passes as well as baggage tags from June 2015.
East Essence is the world’s largest Islamic clothing company. The company plans to turn India into a global centre of Islamic fashion. The US firm has presence in 68 countries and has annual sales of about 256 crore rupees.
7. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is expected to formally commission its first indigenously designed Rs. 245 crore Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) in next three to five months. It was built at a lower cost when compared to other space agencies in the world which developed similar technologies for around Rs. 900 crore. The MOTR was developed for around Rs. 245 crore only.
Key Features of MOTR:
• It is capable of tracking 10 different objects at a time in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
• Unlike the disc radars that keep spinning, the 35-tonne radar is a stationary, 12-metre-long, 8-metre-tall and contains 4068 individual radiating elements.
• It emits radio-frequency waves that combine to form a single beam. The beam can be electronically steered so that a third of the sky is scanned. Since the radar’s base can be rotated to three positions, the entire sky can be covered.
8. Apple has acquired Coherent Navigation to compete with strong competitors like Google Maps and Nokia’s HERE Maps.
1. Joe Root was named as England men’s cricketer of the year 2014-15 and Charlotte Edwards was named as women’s cricketer of the year 2014-15.
2. Maria Sharapova won the women’s singles of Italian Open for the third time. She defeated Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro by 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. The Italian Open title was held in Rome, Italy.
3. Brad Haddin, the Australian wicketkeeper batsman retired from One Day International (ODI) cricket. His final ODI appearance was the seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in World Cup final in Melbourne.
4. Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his fourth Rome Masters Tennis title. In the summit clash, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3. With this win, Djokovic earned prize money of USD 628100 and 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points.
5. Vikas Gowda won a bronze medal in the second leg of the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League series in Shanghai, China. With this win, he has won USD 4000 besides earning one Diamond League point.
6. Ethiopian runners won both the Men’s and Women’s titles in the eighth edition of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) World 10 Thousand metre run in Bengaluru, Karnataka. In Men’s category, Mosinet Geremew bagged the title by clocking 28 minutes and 16 seconds. In the women’s section, Mamitu Daska bagged the title by clocking 31 minutes and 57 seconds.
7. India’s ace shooter Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Event of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. With this win he qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics by earning himself a quota place.
1. Eminent economist, policy advisor and noted academic Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri passed away in Pune, Maharashtra.
3. Former King Edward Memorial Hospital nurse and rape survivor Aruna Shanbaug died on 18th May 2015. She was in coma for 42 years after she was brutally assaulted and raped by a hospital sweeper on 27th November 1973. The 66-year-old was put on ventilator after she suffered a serious bout of pneumonia last week. Aruna was in the medical ICU of the hospital located in Parel area of Mumbai.
1. Anti-Terrorism Day was observed across India on 21st May 2015. The day is annually observed on the death anniversary of seventh Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated at an election rally near Chennai by a suicide bomber from the LTTE on 21st May 1991.
2. Palestinians on 15th May 2015 observed the 67th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian Nakba Day. As part of it, dozens of Palestinians staged a march in southern Gaza Strip and vowed to return to their ancestral Homeland.
On 15th May every year, Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the day when the state of Israel was founded. They observe it to reaffirm their right to return to the land from which their ancestors were forcibly displaced by Israel in 1948.