DAILY GK UPDATES -- AUGUST 2015 --ONE ( 1 to 50) --useful for interviews/exams
1. India’s first Harbour Defence System commissioned in Kochi
i. India’s first Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS) was commissioned in Kochi, Kerala.
ii. First of its kind system in the country is part of initiatives to strengthen and beef up coastal security in the western coastline.
iii. Designed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Consists of advance sensors, coastal surveillance radars and sound navigation and ranging systems (SONAR).
iv. Capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and generating warning for all types of underwater and surface threats to harbour security. The integrated system can detect presence of divers and under water threats with the help of this automatic system.
2. India’s Prabhroop Sekhon wins two golds in Special Olympics World Games
i. India’s 14 year old Prabhroop Sekhon has won two gold medals in the Special Olympics World Summer Games held at Los Angeles, US. He won the medals in 300 metre and 500 metre Roller Skating event.
ii. Sekhon hails from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Earlier he was coached and selected for various camps at State and National level. He is an Autistic student and is son of a serving Indian Air Force Officer, Group Captain BS Sekhon.
iii. Special Olympics World Summer Games are an international sporting competition organized by Special Olympics for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to celebrate the talents, perseverance and achievements of those with intellectual disabilities.
3. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd buys Sri Lankan firm Luxe Asia Pvt. Ltd
i. Major tour operator Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has acquired Sri Lanka based destination management company Luxe Asia Pvt. Ltd.
ii. The acquisition was done in undisclosed deal was made through Thomas Cook (India) Ltd’s wholly owned subsidiary Thomas Cook Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. After this deal, Luxe Asia will be operated as an independent entity.
iii. This acquisition will help Thomas Cook (India) Ltd to increase its significant presence in Sri Lanka along with destination management capabilities.
iv. Luxe Asia is primarily focussed on inbound tourism from key global market. It services both traveller segments and tour operator across its 10 destinations in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and Asia.
4. Cyclone Komen makes landfall in Bangladesh
i. Cyclone Komen made landfall in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. The cyclone has caused heavy rains that inundated vast areas of the coastal towns of Bangladesh, West Bengal and Odisha. Land affected areas due Cyclone Komen include eastern countries north in Bay of Bengal. They are Bangladesh, Myanmar, East India and Northeast India.
ii. Under the influence of cyclone, several coastal districts of low-lying areas and their offshore islands are likely to be inundated with high tides.
iii. It was formed due to generation of depression over the Northern Bay of Bengal, which later turned into a cyclonic storm. It is had attained the wind speed of from 65 to 75 kmph.
iv. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted that this cyclone will bring very heavy rainfall along with it in the Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha of India. After making landfall in Bangladesh it will further move west-north-westwards and weaken gradually.
5. Igniting minds: Kalam’s books fly off the shelves
i. Even as the country continues to mourn his passing, APJ Abdul Kalam’s books are flying off the shelves, say book sellers, with the former president’s autobiography, Wings of Fire, emerging as the top seller online.
ii. all the books authored by Kalam are in demand, with eight of them on the top 20 bestsellers list on online retailer Amazon.
iii. After the ‘people’s president’ passed away on July 27 while addressing management students in Shillong, there has been an outpouring of grief nationwide.
iv. The shop which has only India 2020 in stock now, is planning to add at least 50-100 copies of his other books — Ignited Minds, Target 3 Billion and Turning Points — to cater to bulk orders, as it expects more demand from schools in the coming days.
6. Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin presented with Arjuna Award
i. Union Government has conferred Arjuna Award on Indian cricket team off-spinner bowler Ravichandran Ashwin. With this Ashwin became 48th cricketer to receive the prestigious award.
ii. He was presented with award by Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a special function organised in New Delhi.
iii. The award was bestowed upon R Ashwin in 2014, but he was not present during the Award Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan in August 2014. During that time he was a part of the India One Day International (ODI) team, which was touring England.
iv. R Ashwin hails from southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Till date in his international cricket career he has taken 139 wickets in 99 ODIs, 124 wickets in 25 Tests and 26 wickets in 25 T20 internationals. He is the fastest Indian bowler to reach the 100 and 50 wicket mark in International Test cricket and 5th fastest bowler in Test history to bag 100 wickets.
v. Arjuna Awards was instituted in 1961. Given by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to sportsperson in recognition of their outstanding achievement in National sports.
7. India to host 2nd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)
i. India will host second edition meeting of Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) on 21 August 2015 in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
ii. The meeting will be attended by the heads of 14 island nations from Indo-Pacific oceanic region. It is seen as India’s first step towards greater engagement with the region, which is important from geostrategic and economic standpoint.
iii. It could also help counter the growing Chinese influence in this oceanic region. The FIPIC meeting will pave the way for agreements in various potential areas between India and these nations.
iv. It will include sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, food processing, solar energy, e-networks for coordination in tele-education and tele-medicine. It will also include space cooperation and climate change. Earlier in November 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Fiji had proposed to hold FIPIC summits regularly to increase ties among the participating nations.
8. Folger appointed MD, CEO of Mercedes-Benz India
i. Mercedes-Benz on Monday said it has appointed Roland S Folger as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of its India operations, replacing Eberhard Kern who will assume a new role for the European market.
ii. Under the leadership of Eberhard Kern during the past three years, the growth strategy of Mercedes-Benz India has been enhanced including the expansion of production capacity, as well as extension of network and product portfolio, the company said in a statement.
iii. After holding several positions in sales department for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and commercial vehicles with responsibility for the Southeast region, he was appointed Vice-President for Sales, Marketing and After Sales in Tuscaloosa (US)
9. HDFC Bank’s new initiative
i. HDFC Bank has launched ‘Dhanchayat’, an educational film to raise awareness on the dangers of borrowing money from unorganised sources.
ii. This film has been launched under the aegis of Swachh Banking, the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.
iii. As part of Swachh Banking, HDFC Bank-branded Dhanchayat video vans will travel across the country covering thousands of villages.
iv. Through the film, the bank will showcase to the rural population the importance of transparency in dealings as also the dignity and self-respect of the individual in the borrowing process.
10. US country singer Lynn Anderson passes away
i. United States country singer Lynn Anderson passed away after she suffered a heart attack in Nashville, US. She was 67.
ii. She was best known for her 1971 worldwide hit I Never Promised You a from Rose Garden. Lynn Anderson was born in North Dakota and was raised in Sacramento, California.
iii. She was daughter of two country songwriters and started her career at the age of 6. Her other US hits are How Can I Unlove You?, You’re My Man and Top of the World.
iv. She had won a Grammy award for Rose Garden and in 1971, she was also the Country Music Association’s female vocalist of the year. Alongside her singing career, she had appeared in number of television series.
11. HDFC Bank ties up with Snapdeal for co-branded credit card
i. India's second largest private sector lender, HDFC Bank and online marketplace Snapdeal jointly launched co branded e-commerce credit card today.
ii. The card is aimed at getting Snapdeal's customers, 70 per cent of whom are from smaller cities and towns, to make online payments instead of availing the cash on delivery option.
iii. A customer can apply for the card from Snapdeal's website, mobile site or mobile application. The applicant's credit eligibility will be checked instantly.
iv. The move is aimed at tapping the rise in ecommerce transactions with payments companies like Paytm which gives discounts to attract customers.
12. India women’s team wins silver in World Archery Championship
i. Indian women’s recurve archery team has won silver medal in World Archery Championship held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
ii. Indian women’s team included trio of Laxmirani Majhi, Deepika Kumari, and Rimil Buriuly.
iii. In the final match of World Championship they lost to Russia by 4-5 score.
iv. The winning Russian women’s team included trio of Ksenia Perova, Inna Stepanova and Tuyana Dashidorzhieva.
v. Indian archer Rajat Chauhan has won silver medal in the World Archery Championships in the compound category. It was India’s first-ever individual medal in the World Archery Championships
13. Reserve Bank of India leaves door open for more easing
i. Reserve Bank of India policy kept its policy rate on hold at 7.25 percent on Tuesday, as widely expected, while leaving the door open to ease further depending on the inflation outlook and how swiftly banks lower their lending rates.
ii. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also said government economic reforms and the timing of any increase in U.S. interest rates would be key factors that will determine whether the central bank cuts rates for a fourth time this year.
iii. The RBI has reduced its policy rate by three-quarters of a percentage point since embarking on an easing cycle in January. The last cut lowered the repo rate to 7.25 percent on June 2.
iv. The RBI’s next policy review is set for Sept. 29. That would be after the Fed’s September meeting, and any increase in U.S. rates is expected to suck money out of emerging markets.
14. Union Government extends term of Rajan S Katoch as Director of ED for 3rd time
i. Union Government has extended term of senior IAS officer Rajan S Katoch as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
ii. In this regard, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued an order. Thus, Mr. Katoch will have three months additional tenure till October 31, 2015.
iii. Mr. Katoch is an IAS officer of 1979-batch of Madhya Pradesh cadre. He was appointed to top most post of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in March 2012 for three year term which was to end in January 2015.
iv. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India. It is part of and operates under the aegis of Department of Revenue of Union Ministry of Finance.
15. HSBC India plans to launch ‘green bonds’
i. HSBC India’s chairman Naina Lal Kidwai announced to launch ’green bonds’ in India for raising funds for investments in environmental projects. Announcement was done by the HSBC chairman in a Ficci event held on 3 August 2015.
ii. The total investment attracted by Green Bonds in last two years is 37 million dollars. HSBC is the fourth largest issuer in the world.
iii. Green Bonds in India was initially launched by Axis Bank and Yes Bank in February 2015 that attracted investment of 1,000 crore rupees against the target of 500 crore rupees.
iv. Green bond is a debt instrument with which a bond issuer gets capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. The issuer of green bond gets capital from the investors only if the investment is being raised to fund ‘green’ projects relating to renewable energy or emission reductions etc.
16. Operation Muskaan helped Gurgaon Police to trace over 1000 kids
i. Operation Muskaan, an initiative launched by railway police to trace missing and destitute children and reunite them with parents, was in news in first week of August 2015.
ii. It came into news after Gurgaon Police traced 1094 children in Haryana during the month-long operation.
iii. Of the 1094 children traced under the operation, 263 were living in shelter homes, while 831 children were traced from different places. Out of the 831 children, 809 have been reunited with their parents, while the remaining 22 have been lodged in shelter homes.
iv. The Operation Muskaan was launched by the railway police on 1 July 2015 from Dindigul railway station of Tamil Nadu. The operation was launched with an aim to prevent child trafficking and rescue children from persons who tried to engage them in begging, sexual trade and other antisocial activities.
17. Airtel acquires YTS for mobile payment solutions
i. India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel has acquired YTS Solutions a mobile payments solutions company for an undisclosed price.
ii. YTS Solutions will be integrated with the operations of Airtel Money Services Ltd a subsidiary of Airtel.
iii. This acquisition will help Airtel to expand its footprint in the payments sector by integrating business capabilities and unique service delivery model of the YTS.
iv. In line with this acquisition the co-founder and MD of YTS Solutions, Manish Khera, will be appointed as CEO of Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd (AMSL) which offer wallet service under the brand name ‘Airtel Money’.
18. NTPC inks agreement to form JV with Jharkhand for Patratu Power Plant
i. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited has inked an agreement with Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL) to form a joint venture (JV) company for Patratu Power Plant.
ii. The agreement will help optimise utilisation of improve performance, assets and expand capacity of Patratu Thermal Power Station located in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand.
iii. The JV company will have 74 per cent share or stake of state-run NTPC while JBVNL will have the rest 26 per cent stake.
iv. It will work to improve the performance of the existing power stations in Jharkhand in order to gradually provide more power to the state.
19. Delhi's specially-abled athletes win 7 medals at Summer Games
i. A team of specially-abled athletes from state-run Asha Kiran Home has brought laurels to Delhi by winning seven medals, including three gold, at the World Summer Games 2015 in the United States.
ii. Phoolan Devi (17) won first gold for the country in power lifting (bench press category). She also clinched three bronze medals in power lifting (all lifts, dead-lift and squat lift).
iii. Two of the other gold winners at the games, held between July 25 and August 2 in Los Angeles, were Mathru and Patto who excelled in softball (team event) and 800 metres run respectively.
20. IOC gives Olympic Sport recognition to ‘Frisbee’
i. International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially recognised ‘Frisbee’ as an Olympic sport.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken at the 128th IOC Session held in Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia by giving official recognition to World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF).
iii. It was included as Olympic sport after WFDF had meet all the criteria including having 62 national federations members and gender equality.
iv. Olympic recognition to this sport now opens the door to the some financial support from the IOC and participation in the Olympic Games. Frisbee is the sport of flying disc which became popular in the 1960s and 70s. Presently, WFDF governs several Frisbee events including Beach Ultimate, Ultimate Frisbee and field events.
21. Asia’s biggest telescope MAST inaugurated at Udaipur Solar Observatory in Rajasthan
i. Multi-Application Solar Telescope (MAST), Asia’s biggest telescope was inaugurated at the Udaipur Solar Observatory in Rajasthan. It was inaugurated by Professor U.R Rao, Chairman of Physical Research Laboratory, inaugurated.
ii. The telescope was installed under the project undertaken by Union Ministry of Science and Technology and was funded by Department of Space (DoS). The project will be monitored by Ahmedabad based Physical Research Laboratory.
iii. MAST has a lens of 50 cm in diameter. These lenses were developed on the basis of optical and mechanical system of Belgium. The rear part of MAS has been developed by the observatory while its front part was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
iv. It will provide 3 Dimensional (3D) images of solar activities such as solar blast and solar flares. It will also in vital studies about other planetary movements even in the day time.
v. MAST has been designed in 2004 and its optical elements were added to it in 2008. In 2013, it was installed at the Udaipur Solar Observatory.
22. Mathematician Dr. Amalendu Krishna wins 2015 Ramanujan Prize
i. Mathematician Dr. Amalendu Krishna has won the Ramanujan Prize for year 2015. He has been bestowed with this award for his outstanding contributions in the area of algebraic cycles, algebraic K-theory and the theory of motives.
ii. Presently, Dr. Krishna is mathematician professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. He hails from Bihar and had completed his early college and schooling education there.
iii. Ramanujan Prize was established in 2005. It is named after the noted Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. It recognizes a researcher from a developing country who has conducted outstanding research in a developing country and is less than 45 years of age.
iv. Dr. Krishna is the second Indian to win this award. First was Sujatha Ramadorai who had won it in 2006.
23. IDFC Bank to start operations from October
i. IDFC Bank is set to start lending operations from October 1.The stage is set for this with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) granting IDFC Bank licence for undertaking banking business, said IDFC in a notification to bourses.
ii. According to the terms and conditions of the bank licence, the transfer of business of IDFC Ltd. to the proposed bank should coincide with commencement of banking business.
iii. The auditor certificate certifying transfer of business as on date of commencement of operations of the bank should be submitted to the RBI, the financial institution informed the bourses on Tuesday.
iv. The board of directors of IDFC and IDFC Bank, at their meetings held on July 30 and July 27, respectively, have determined that the demerger scheme could be effective only upon receipt of requisite operational licences from the RBI and IDFC Bank Ltd. will commence the banking business from October 1.
24. NDDB wins award for geographical info system
i. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) on Tuesday said it has won the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award 2015 for exemplary work in Dairy Geographical Information System.
ii. The award ceremony was held recently at the annual Esri International User Conference in San Diego and presided over by Jack Dangermond, President and Founder of Esri.
iii. With the advancement of Internet-based GIS technology, it is now possible to integrate and quickly disseminate the tremendous amount of attribute and graphical data of villages into usable information for decision-making by all stakeholders of the dairy sector.
iv. NDDB’s Internet-based Dairy Geographical Information System (i-DGIS) application is the first of its kind in India, where village-level integration of data has been done, at such a large scale, for the dairy sector.
25. Ministry of Rural Development launches ‘SAMANVAY’ portal for Gram Panchayats
i. Union Ministry of Rural Development has launched ‘SAMANVAY’ web portal to monitor progress and implementation of the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) for development of Gram Panchayats. It was launched by Union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh.
ii. SAMANVAY web portal consist a compilation of all Government schemes of both Centra and State governments for Gram Panchayats.
iii. The purpose of this portal is to help Member of Parliament’s (MPs) to utilise relevant schemes in the planning and implementation of SAGY. It will act as a database for compiled and mapped information on various gram panchayat related activities through various schemes undertaken by the Centre and State Governments. In SAMANVAY, around 1800 state schemes from across all states have been documented.
iv. Apart from this, minister also launched a magazine Panchayat Darpan to monitor the progress of the SAGY. The magazine will act as a mirror of all the development activities by identifying 35 indicators undertaken in the village panchayats under SAGY.
26. Delhi Government decided to have tram network in Old Delhi
i. Delhi government on 4 August 2015 decided to run trams in several walled city areas including Lal Quila, Jama Masjid and Old Delhi Railway Station. The decision was taken to augment transport infrastructure of the city.
ii. The tram network in Old Delhi will comprise Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Sheeshganj Gurudwara, Old Delhi Railway Station and Fatehpuri Masjid. It will also link New Delhi Railway Station and several other localities.
iii. The government also decided to make Shahjahanad Redevelopment Corporation, set up to carry out infrastructure projects in Old Delhi, on the lines of New Delhi Municipal Council.
iv. As of 2014, the Kolkata tram in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the only public tram system in the country.
27. Alibaba to invest INR 4000 crore in Paytm
i. To tame the world’s e-commerce giant Amazon, Alibaba is to invested 4000 crore rupees in m-commerce giant Paytm. Alibaba has picked up 25 per cent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 through its subsidiary Ant Financial.
ii. Earlier it has done investments in Snapdeal, FreeCharge and now Paytm which is the largest mobile payments space in India. Paytm has around 80 million digital wallets and Alibaba is interested in this major mobile commerce player in this mobile-first market to topple the largest global rival Amazon.
iii. Through the partnership with Alibaba Indian e-commerce players now also has access to Chinese market.
iv. It should be noted that the Indian merchants are second biggest sellers on Alibaba portal after the Chinese.
28. India, Mozambique ink MoU to boost ties in New and Renewable Energy sector
i. India and Mozambique agreed to deepen cooperation in New and Renewable Energy. In this regard both sides inked Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on expanding cooperation in energy sector.
ii. It was signed after delegation level talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique who is on official 5 day visit to India.
iii. Apart from this, both nations also agreed ways to intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy as both have large coastlines and are linked by Indian Ocean.
iv. India and Mozambique share a history of profitable trade relations and there bilateral trade in 2014-15 valued at US 2.4 billion dollars. In last 5 years trade between the two countries has multiplied five times.
29. ILO, FICCI ink MoU to boost MSME productivity
i. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have inked MoU to impart training to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to make them competitive and boost productivity.
ii. The MoU was signed as part of the second phase of Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Global Programme. The second phase covers three years period from January 2014 to December 2017 wherein national institutes will provide training to MSMEs.
iii. SCORE is a training programme which seeks to empower employers and workers and increase productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs. It is being supported by the Norway Agency for Development Cooperation (NADC) and the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SSEA). Presently it is operational in eight countries including India.
iv. It seeks to enable the FICCI to effectively coordinate and manage SCORE training services. Each phase under this global programme will approximately have year or more period and will be governed by a technical partnership agreement. The first phase was covered between October 2009 and December 2013.
30. Union Cabinet approves proposal to sign agreement with UNESCO
i. Union Cabinet gave its nod to a proposal to sign an agreement with UNESCO for establishment of a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia-Pacific region.
ii. This centre will be established as a category-2 centre (C2C) of the UN body at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
iii. By signing this agreement WII Dehradun will be first existing institute to be accorded recognition by UNESC. It will be also the first institute to get natural heritage recognition by UNESCO as currently there are 9 C2C institutes related to cultural heritage.
this agreement has been mooted by the Union Environment Ministry. While, Union Government will provide capacity building for establishing this centre in order to support countries in the region for up keeping of heritage and natural sites.
31. Union Cabinet gives nod to Direct Release of Wages into bank accounts of MNREGA workers
i. Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of direct release of wages in to the accounts of the workers engaged under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Direct release of wages system under the MNREGA aims to streamline the flow of funds and to empower state governments to deliver entitlements as per the objectives of the Act.
ii. The wage component of MGNREGA will be directly released to the worker’s accounts based on a fund transfer order to be generated by states’ implementing agencies of government.
iii. The fund transfer order in case of wages of workers from implementing agencies will be based in accordance with procedures prescribed by Union Rural Development Ministry and the wage component will be given to the State Employment Guarantee Fund window for further transferring it to beneficiaries.
iv. In the implementation of this scheme, the gram panchayats will be empowered to take up work according to the agreed labour budget and without struggling for release of funds.
32. Central Government liberalises single-brand retail norms for non-resident entities
i. Now non resident single-branded retailers in India can operate their own outlets, can franchise their stores and can even opt for wholesale business as per central government’s new notification.
ii. These single-brand retailers can opt for above said trading options only when they do business through subsidiaries in India or form a joint venture with Indian entity.
iii. Central government allowed single-brand retailers because the proceeds from franchise business will come into the current account while proceeds from FDI will be accounted in the capital account which does not violates rules set for non resident entities doing business in India.
iv. Central government norm of 30 percent sourcing from Indian MSEs or cottage industries may be relaxed for all non-resident entities who are involved in FDI beyond 51 percent.
v. At present there is 100 per cent FDI allowed in single-brand retail trading and require prior approval from government for the proposals beyond 49 per cent FDI
33. Murugappa Group to form new Joint venture with Japan-based Organo
i. The water treatment engineering company Polutech Limited of Murugappa Group signed an agreement with Organo Corp of Japan to set an industrial water treatment requirement company in a Joint venture.
ii. According to the agreement signed the Murugappa Group will hold 51 per cent in joint venture and the remaining portion will be with the Organo Group. The estimated new venture will deal in industrial water treatment requirements services, which will deal to meet growing demand of industries for waste water management.
iii. Murugappa Group’s Polutech is a key player in the water treatment engineering services in India; it manufactures equipment and designs systems for water and waste water treatment plants. Whereas, Japan’s Organo is a key player in general water treatment engineering. It provides water treatment systems, management and maintenance of delivered systems and also deals in sales of standard products and chemicals.
34. Airtel commercially Launches India’s first 4G services across 290 cities
i. On 6 August 2015 India’s telecom giant Airtel has commercially launched the high-speed 4G services across 296 towns across India .
ii. In April 2012 Bharti Airtel had first launched its 4G service in Kolkata and from then conducted trials in 51 cities.
iii. For the 4G devices Airtel has join hands with mobile handset maker Samsung to develop and provide 4G-enabled handsets in affordable price.
iv. It should be noted that it is Airtel who has built first commercial 4G network in India that has brought high speed mobile broadband into reality.
35. PM Modi declares August 7 as National Handloom Day to mark Swadeshi movement.
i. To commemorate the 1905 Swadeshi movement the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced August 7 as ‘National Handloom Day’ at the function held in Chennai.
ii. At the event PM Modi also launched the ‘India Handloom’ brand to help weavers with brand for global markets.
iii. The day 7 August was selected to commemorate the 110 year old Swadeshi Movement, which promoted use of domestic products over British products.
iv. The motto behind observing National Handloom Day is to honour the handloom weavers and to carter an impetus to India’s handloom industry. Whereas launching of ‘India Handloom’ brand aims to promote handloom of India in the global markets as a genuine good quality international product.
36. Indian-American Atul Keshap confirmed Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
i. Indian-American Atul Keshap has been confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, becoming the second Indian-origin diplomat to be posted to the region after Richard Rahul Verma.
ii. Mr. Keshap (44), a former official at the US Embassy in India, was on Wednesday confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the country’s envoy which would be his first Ambassadorial posting.
iii. He is currently working as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau of State Department. He joined the Foreign Service in 1994.
iv. Mr. Keshap also served as special assistant for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia for the under secretary of state for political affairs.
37. Colonel Harwant Singh (Retd), World War-II hero passes away.
i. Retired Colonel Harwant Singh, a World War-II veteran and hero passed away in Patiala, Punjab. He was 95.
ii. He was commissioned in 2nd battalion of the Sikh Regiment of then British Army in September 1941. During the World War (WW)-II he had served in Palestine, North Africa, Iraq, Cyprus and Italy for the British Army.
iii. In 1944, he was awarded with the Military Cross (highest award of the British Army) for gallantry during an offensive against the German forces on the Gothic Line in Italy.
iv. During the first Independence Day celebration of 1947, he was officer in charge of the flag-hoisting ceremony held at Princess Park on August 15 and Red Fort on August 16.
38. Rajasthan signs MoUs for Rs 2,452-cr investments at the investment meet in New Delhi.
i. Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth 2,452 crore rupees at an investor event organised in New Delhi.
ii. The event was organised in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) by the Bureau of Industry Promotion in Rajasthan.
iii. Investment pacts were signed between the state government and several private companies that plan to set up industrial units in Rajasthan.
iv. These investments are expected to generate over 7000 direct and more than thousand indirect jobs.
39. IS seizes central Syrian town of Qaryatain.
i. The radical militants of Sunni Islamist militant group Islamic State (IS) have seized Qaryatain, a key town in central Syria. It was seized following heavy clashes with Syrian forces.
ii. It is IS’s biggest advance after it had captured the historic town of Palmyra in May 2015.
iii. The town of Qaryatain lies southwest of Palmyra and it is heavily populated town with a mixed population of around 40,000 Sunni Muslims and Christians, as well as thousands or internally displaced people.
iv. Qaryatain lies midway between the cities of Palmyra, Homs and Damascus and is home to towering Roman ruins. Its capture gives the IS group strategic link up to areas under its control around and in Palmyra with areas in the eastern countryside of Qalamoun in Damascus province of Syria.
40. Egypt launches Suez Canal expansion.
i. Egypt has launched a major expansion of the Suez Canal. It was inaugurated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a lavish ceremony held at port city of Ismailiya ( located on west bank of canal).
ii. The project was started in August 2014 for the expansion of the Ballah Bypass from 61 metres to 312 metres. The project was dubbed as the New Suez Canal.
iii. Expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal in order to boost Egypt’s economy and global standing by turning the Suez Canal zone into a global logistics and trade center.
iv. Completed in one year span with an estimated cost of US 8 billion dollars. It comprises 72km of new channel and bypasses which has deepened the main waterway.
41. Snapdeal appoints Amitava Ghosh as VP-engineering.
i. Ghosh, who has over 17 years of experience in building web-based products and platforms, will lead the development of intuitive technology solutions at the Delhi-based online marketplace.
ii. Prior to this, Ghosh was the chief technology officer at TaxiForSure before Ola Cabs acquired the company. He headed the India engineering team of Tribune Digital Ventures earlier.
iii. Snapdeal said in a press release that under Ghosh's leadership the company has launched Newsbeat, a mobile application which provides personalised audio streams of news stories.
iv. For almost a decade, Ghosh was associated with Yahoo, where he was responsible for building platforms and user experiences for listings, media verticals, communities and social products. He holds an MTech degree in biochemical engineering and biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
42. Accenture India appoints Rekha Menon as chairman, Anindya Basu as MD.
i. Global technology and consultancy giant Accenture on Friday said it will elevate Rekha M Menon as chairman of its India operations.
ii. It has also roped in Anindya Basu as the country managing director (MD) in India.
iii. Menon is currently MD, human resources, for company's growth markets and has been leading HR strategy for Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey and Latin America.
iv. Basu will be responsible for driving Accenture's domestic business in India and building relationships with key clients by leveraging the company's capabilities in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations, it said.
43. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd acquires zurich Kuoni’s travel business in India and Hong Kong
i. Billionaire investor Prem Watsa-backed Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has acquired Kuoni Group’s travel businesses in India and Hong Kong for ₹535 crore.
ii. The deal includes outbound travel brand SOTC and destination management brand SITA. It does not include VFS Global, which is Kuoni’s outsourcing and technology services subsidiary for governments and diplomatic missions.
iii. Kuoni entered India in 1996 by acquiring travel brand SOTC and destination management brand SITA. The acquisition includes these two units of Kuoni.
iv. The deal does not include Kuoni’s outsourcing and technology services subsidiary VFS Global which provides technology services to governments and diplomatic missions.
v. Over 1,800 employees of Kuoni’s business unit in India and Hong Kong tour operations will now work for Thomas Cook. After this deal Kuoni will operate its business activities as an independent entity.
44. Boost for 'Make in India': Foxconn to invest $5 billion in Maharashtra.
i. Global electronic manufacturing giant Foxconn has announced it will invest $5 billion over the next five years in Maharashtra, which has given the Taiwan-based company 1,500 acres of land for its plant.
ii. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said the facility in Maharashtra will focus on research and development as well as manufacturing, and the company has chosen the state for being a financial centre, availability of quality talent and software-hardware integration facilities.
iii. Foxconn will look for tie-ups with local partners for its presence in this state, he said, while adding that this MoU with the Maharashtra government was different from the already announced JV with the Adani group.
iv. At an event organised to announce the investment and a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard between the company and the state government, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Foxconn will be given 1,500 acres of land.
45. Maharashtra government declares Thane creek area as ‘Flamingo Sanctuary’
i. Maharashtra government has declared the area along Thane Creek as Flamingo Sanctuary.
ii. In this regard State Revenue and Forest Department has issued notification to declare northern part of the creek as a wildlife sanctuary as per provisions of Section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection Act), 1972.
iii. It should be noted that this Sanctuary is Maharashtra’s second Marine sanctuary after Malvan (marine) Wildlife Sanctuary which was declared in 1987.
46. Pramerica buys Deutsche Bank’s mutual fund business in India.
i. Mutual fund house Pramerica has agreed to buy the asset management business of Deutsche Bank in India. While neither party disclosed the size of the deal, industry sources estimate it to be ₹300-400 crore.
ii. As of June 30, 2015, Deutsche AMC had assets of around ₹20,720 crore, while Pramerica managed assets worth ₹2,125 crore. Both fund houses are focussed on liquid and fixed income funds.
iii. Pramerica Asset Managers Pvt Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial, Inc of the US, and is the asset management company for Pramerica Mutual Fund here.
iv. Ravneet Gill, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Bank Group India.
47. ESIC extends health insurance scheme to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur.
i. Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to implement its health insurance scheme to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur in a bid to cover all states in the country.
ii. It has decided to extend the benefit of its health insurance scheme to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, a union territory, according to an official release.
iii. ESIC already covers union territories of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Puducherry under the ambit of its health insurance scheme.
iv. ESIC, an arm of Labour Ministry, has a direct subscriber base of 1.95 crore, covering a population of around eight crore people under its cover.The ESIC board, headed by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, has also decided to extend the reach of ESI Scheme to 393 districts in the country by 1st April, 2016.
48. Ram Nath Kovind, Acharya Dev Vrat appointed as Governors of Bihar, HP.
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Acharya Dev Vrat and Ram Nath Kovind as the governors of Himachal Pradesh and Bihar respectively.
ii. Mr. Kovind will succeed Keshri Nath Tripathi (Governor of West Bengal) who was holding additional charge of Bihar. He had been a two-time Rajya Sabha member between 1994-2000 and 2000-06.
iii. He hails from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and is a lawyer by profession. He was a senior BJP leader and had severed as chief of BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha.
iv. Acharya Dev Vrat will succeed Kalyan Singh (Governor of Rajasthan) who was holding the additional charge of Himachal Pradesh.
49.Union Government launched School Nursery Yojana to bring students closer to nature
i. The Yojana seeks to engage class VI to IX in raising of saplings in nurseries created in schools. The Yojana was launched by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.
ii. Theme of the Yojana is to plant a tree for sustainable future and to make the nation clean and green.
About School Nursery Yojana
- The Yojana in its first phase would cover 1000 schools and would be extended to 5000 schools in 2016 and 10000 schools the following year.
- Under the Yojana, students will grow saplings as part of practical exercise for biology classes and extra-curriculum activities.
- Each school will initially receive first time financial grant of 25,000 rupees for creation of the nursery with essential facilities.
50.Global satellite to be named after Abdul Kalam
i. A global satellite for earth observation and disaster risk reduction — GlobalSat for DRR — proposed under the UN framework is to be dedicated to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as a tribute to the vision of the celebrated rocket scientist and former Indian president who died July 27.
ii. This has been stated by Milind Pimprikar, Chairman of CANEUS (CANada-Europe-US-ASia) Organization on Space Technologies for Societal Applications headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
iii. Founded in 1999, CANEUS serves to develop a common platform for space technology solutions for natural and man-made disaster management. The ‘GlobalSat for DRR’ is a UN-driven global initiative on sharing space technology for disaster risk reduction, Mr. Pimprikar told IANS.
DAILY GK UPDATES -- AUGUST 2015 --ONE ( 1 to 50) --useful for interviews/exams Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 3:45:00 PM Rating: