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Daily GK Update - 19th Nov 2014

Daily GK Update - 19th Nov 2014

1.    ISRO chosen for Indira Gandhi prize for peace, disarmament
i. Indian space agency ISRO will be conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2014 in recognition of its contribution in strengthening international cooperation in peaceful use of outer space.
ii. The award jury, chaired by Vice President Hamid Ansari, made the announcement today.

iii. “The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in recognition of its path-breaking achievement, culminating in the Mars orbiter mission, its significant contribution in strengthening international cooperation in peaceful use of outer space,” a statement said.
iv. The jury also noted the pioneering role played by it in the application of advanced technologies in promoting broadbased and sustainable social and economic development and addressing basic needs of the people particularly in remote and rural areas of the country.
v. ISRO has shown how Indian scientists and talents can be harnessed to international level, catching up with more advanced nations in a highly technical and sophisticated field, it said.
vi. ISRO has demonstrated that in space technology, India stands shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world, it said.

2.    Japan slips into recession
i. Japan's economy shrank for the second consecutive quarter, marking a technical recession in the world's third largest economy.
ii.  Gross domestic product fell at annualized 1.6 per cent from July to September, compared to forecasts of a 2.1 per cent rise. That followed a revised 7.3 per cent in the second quarter, which was the biggest fall since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
iii. The economy shrank 0.4 per cent in the third quarter from the previous one. Economists said the disappointing figures are likely to lead to a delay to the proposed increase of the country's sale tax.

3.    World Toilet Day is observed globally
i. World Toilet Day is a United Nations (UN) observance, on November 19, that highlights a serious problem – 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.
ii. Each year thousands of people join in on promoting World Toilet Day via social media campaigns, online petitions, and by getting involved in a range of events held in different countries worldwide.
iii. The provision of proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children in the world, according to the UN.
iv. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest numbers of under-five child deaths, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities. Moreover, over one billion people defecate in the open due to lack of proper toilet facilities.
v. International organizations, particularly the World Toilet Organization, have promoted World Toilet Day for years.
vi. In 2013, the UN officially recognized November 19 as World Toilet Day in a bid to make sanitation for all a global development priority. It deemed the practice of open-air defecation as “extremely harmful” to public health.

4.    India extends $75-mn line of credit to Fiji
i. India today announced a $75-million line of credit for Fiji for a co-generation power plant and upgrading the sugar industry and also a $5-million fund to develop its villages even as the two countries agreed to expand their defence and security cooperation.
ii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made these announcements after talks with his Fijian counterpart Frank Bainimarama shortly after his arrival, also announced a visa on arrival for Fijians and assistance projects that included a parliament library and doubling the scholarships and training slots in India for people from this country.
iii. The lines of credit were part of three agreements signed between the two countries in the presence of the two leaders.
iv. Modi also addressed the Fijian Parliament, the first by a foreign leader, after parliamentary elections, during which he said that India was prepared to work with Fiji to build a “Digital Fiji’’.
v. The line of credit included $70-million for a co-generation power plant at Rarav sugar mill and $5 million to strengthen and modernise Fiji’s village, small and medium-scale industries.

Note: PM of Fiji - Frank Bainimarama, Capital of Fiji – Suva, Currency - Dollar

5.    India to replace “BIPA” with a new pact to protect investments
i. The government plans to replace bilateral investment protection treaties with a new pact that seeks to plug loopholes and enhance legal protection of foreign investors in India as well as Indian investments abroad.
ii. Finance Ministry is moving Cabinet with a draft of a new agreement called the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) saying there is a need to revisit existing BIPAs as they do not take into account the socio economic objectives of government policy.
iii. With respect to systemic issues, the new model introduces rules on conflict of interest regarding arbitrations and transparency. The model excludes taxation matters, sources said.
iv. India has so far signed 83 Bilateral Trade and Promotion Agreements (BIPA), of which 72 are in force, the Finance Ministry said in its website.
v. Under the new model of BIT, investor who have substantial business activities in the home State would be protected by the treaty. The proposed BIT would remain in force for a period of 10 years.

6.    International Buddhist Conference 2014 held in Nepal
i. The International Buddhist Conference 2014 was held from 15 November to 18 November 2014 in Lumbini, Nepal. It was held with an objective of preserving Buddhist culture and heritage.
ii. The conference was held with a joint initiative of Nepal Theravada Buddhist Academy and Myanmar Sitagu International Buddhist Academy.
iii. The conference was attended by some 400 Buddhist experts and intellectuals and issued a 23 point declaration.  

7.    Axis Bank launches smart self-service terminal
i. Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank, has launched a smart self-service terminal that enables customers to deposit as well as withdraw cash from the same machine.
ii. “Customers can initiate a deposit transaction through the smart self-service terminal even without using a debit card and will receive instant credit for the deposited amount.
iii. There is no cap on the amount of cash deposited by the customer through these terminals, provided his/her PAN details are available with the bank,” Axis Bank said in a statement.

8.    Government needs to infuse nearly Rs 2.4 lakh crore in state-run banks by March 2019: RBI
i. Government needs to infuse as much as Rs 2.4 lakh crore ($38.78 billion) into state-owned banks by end-March 2019 to meet different kinds of capital requirements including Basel III, provisioning for asset quality, and additional risks, said a central bank Deputy Governor SS Mundra
ii. Banks should start looking for ways to generate more internal capital as the leeway to get additional funds from the government would be limited due to the ongoing fiscal consolidation process, Mundra said.
iii. Indian government's holding in state-run banks ranges from 56.26 per cent to 88.63 per cent, and one of the options to generate capital is to lower stakes in banks, Mundra said. According to the Banking Regulation act, government holding in state-run banks cannot fall below 51 per cent.
iv. Banks should start looking for ways to generate more internal capital as the leeway to get additional funds from the government would be limited due to the ongoing fiscal consolidation process, Mundra said.

9.    9th East Asia Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
i9th East Asia Summit was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 13 November 2014. The summit was held on the sidelines of the 25th ASEAN Summit
ii. The leaders of the forum discussed cooperation in areas of common concern, particularly the non-traditional security issues such as wildlife trafficking, trafficking in persons, pandemics, climate change and disaster management.  

About East Asia Summit 
i. The East Asia Summit is an annual meeting of national leaders from the East Asian region and adjoining countries. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in December 2005.  

ii. 18 member countries participated in the summit.  EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.

10.  Andhra Bank launches saving schemes for children, teenagers 'AB Little Stars'
i. Andhra Bank, Kakinada zonal manager S Seshagiri Rao said that 'AB Little Stars' scheme has been launched for children in age group of 10-15 years and their parents stands as guardians while 'AB Teens' is targeted for teenagers between 15-18 years.
ii. Internet banking, ATM card, mobile banking and cash transfer will be provided to the young customers, Rao added.

11.  IBM launches new e-mail service ‘Verse’
i. Tech giant IBM has launched a new e-mail application ‘Verse’ for enterprises that integrates social media, file sharing and analytics to help increase productivity.
ii. The service stems from IBM’s $100 million investment in design innovation and adds layers of analytics, social media and security to the application as employees can access e-mails, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social updates and video chats through a single platform.
iii. It is the first messaging system to feature ‘faceted search’, which enables users to pinpoint and retrieve specific information they are seeking across all the various types of content within their email.
iv. IBM Verse uses built-in analytics to provide an ‘at-a-glance’ view that intelligently surfaces an individual’s most critical actions for the day.
v. IBM Verse will compete with Microsoft Window’s popular Outlook email service and Google’s Inbox.

12.  Rubber Board wins Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Award
iThe Department of Official Language under Ministry of Home Affairs has selected Rubber Board for the Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Award (First Prize) for excellence in the implementation of the official language policy for the year 2013-14.
ii. A Jayathilak, Chairman, Rubber Board, received the award from the President of India Pranab Mukherjee in a function held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
iii. The award is instituted for excellence in implementing Hindi as official language among Boards, Trusts and Societies under Central Government in States where Hindi is not used as the mother tongue.

13.  Indian-American Neha Gupta won International Children’s Peace Prize 2014
i. Neha Gupta on 18 November 2014 was awarded with the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize 2014.
ii. Neha, an 18-year-old Indian American from Philadelphia was awarded for her work to help orphans in India and other vulnerable children. 
iii. Neha became the first ever American to be awarded with the prize.
iv. She was awarded the prize by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu the patron of the Dutch children’s rights organization in The Hague, Netherlands.
v. In 2013, the award was conferred on Malala Yousufzai, who went on to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

14.  Jan Dhan scheme: Finmin asks LIC to sign MoU with Indian Banks' Association
i. The Finance Ministry has directed Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to immediately operationalise the benefit of life cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
ii. LIC has been asked to expeditiously enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for providing this facility, official sources said.
iii. Contrary to earlier stance, the Finance Ministry has now said that National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) would not be required to enter into MoU with LIC and IBA for providing this life cover benefit.
iv. During the launch of PMJDY scheme on August 28 in the capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a life cover of Rs 30,000 with the RuPay card.
v. This benefit would be made available for all those who subscribe to a bank account for the first time during the period August 15 to January 26 next year, it was announced.
vi. Under the recently framed guidelines for the facility of life cover, the Finance Ministry had specified that a four-partite agreement – LIC, IBA, NPCI and Department of Financial Services—will have to be executed for running the scheme.

i. LIC will create a fund for life coverage under PMJDY with an initial corpus of  100 crore from the social security fund of Government of India under Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY) being managed by LIC of India.
ii. This will be recouped through budgetary provision by the Government, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has said.
iii. The fund will be replenished by Government from time-to-time within the stipulated premium amount to meet the outgo and administrative expenses.

15.  ADB approves $350 mn for upgradation of roads in MP
i.  Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $350-million loan assistance for upgradation of district roads in Madhya Pradesh.
ii. “The Asian Development Bank has approved a $350-million loan to upgrade district roads in Madhya Pradesh for a project which will tackle an important link in road improvements,” ADB said in a statement.
iii. The project will upgrade 1,600 km of major district roads in the State through lane widening, surface improvements, and strengthening of culverts and bridges.
iv. This is to help cut travel time, improve traffic flow and road safety, and provide better access to markets and social services for poor and remote communities, the statement added.

16.  Oxford Dictionary names 'vape' as 2014 word of year
i. The Oxford English Dictionary named "vape" the word used for the act of drawing on an electronic cigarette instead of a burning stick of tobacco as its 2014 word of the year.
ii. The 2013 word of the year was selfie, describing the decidedly less controversial self-portrait usually taken with a smart phone.
iii. The word appeared to peak in the United States in April, when New York City banned vaping indoors. The United Kingdom opened its first vape cafe called The Vape Lab in March.

17.  Mumbai top investment destinations among UAE based Indians
i. Despite high property prices, India's commercial capital Mumbai has once again emerged as the most popular and attractive property investment hotspot among the UAE-based Indian expats.
ii. As many as 35 per cent UAE-based Indian expats voted for the city as their favourite property destination in India, in a recently conducted survey.
iii. In the report, published by Sumansa Exhibitions, who also organise the Indian Property Show to be held in Dubai in December.
iv. Bangalore grabbed the 2nd spot with 24.13 per cent votes going for it as the most favorite city for NRI property investments.
v. Bangalore catches the fancy of NRI investors due to its multi-directional growth in recent years plus potential of giving significant return on investment.
vi. Mumbai and Bangalore are on the 20th and 23rd positions respectively, in the list of investment destinations covered by the 'Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2014', published jointly by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

18.  Amul to set up Rs 200 crore unit in West Bengal
i. Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the maker of Amul dairy products, is setting up a unit in West Bengal for an investment of around 200 crore.
ii. According to Krishna Gupta, Managing Director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, GCMMF is taking up 16 acres of land at the Sankrail Food Park in Howrah district in the State.
iii. “Amul project would be the anchor investment in the 34 acre phase three of the food park,” Gupta. The State arm WBIDC is developing and extending the park.

19.  Trade deficit narrows to $13 bn in Oct
i. Due to decline in oil import, India's trade deficit for the month October has narrowed to 13 billion dollars as compare to the previous month of 14.25 billion dollars. Trade deficit in October last year had stood at 10.5 billion dollars. 
ii. Export data today released by Commerce Ministry said that the gold imports jumped to 4.17 billion dollars from 1.09 billion dollars a year ago.
iii. Silver imports were reported at 686 million dollars. Meanwhile, the exports in October also hit lowest level since March 2014. It reduced by 5.04 per cent to 26 billion dollars in October as compare to same month of last year.

20.  Tamil film director Rudraiya Chockalingam passed away
i. Veteran Tamil film director Rudraiya Chockalingam died on 19 November 2014 in Chennai following a brief illness. He was 67.
ii. Rudraiya Chockalingam is most famous for his critically acclaimed 1978 film Aval Appadithaan, a movie surrounding the trials and tribulations of a female protagonist.

21.  Indian Hockey coach Terry Walsh quits 
i. India's hockey coach Terry Walsh today quit from his position after his contractual talks with Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) broke down.
ii.  However, a fresh proposal is still being worked out for the Australian's consideration.
iii. Walsh, whose contract was to come to an end tomorrow, had already submitted his resignation last month after his demands for a greater say in team decisions and hand-picked support staff were turned down by Hockey India and Sports Authority of India. 
iv. Walsh had been negotiating to stay on board and met Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal this morning but the talks ended inconclusively. This prompted the 60-year-old to head back to Australia without withdrawing his resignation. 

22.  First Ebola case surfaces in India, patient quarantined
i. In the first case of Ebola in the country, a national returning from Liberia has tested positive and has been isolated at a special facility at Delhi airport.
ii. The health ministry said the 26-year-old man, who reached here last Monday, was already treated for the disease in the African country and had no symptoms. But the ministry said his semen samples tested positive, prompting authorities to isolate him.
iii. The situation is under control and there is no need for any alarm. All precautions are being taken," the ministry said.
iv. It said during recovery, people continued to shed virus in body fluids for variable periods.
v. But the virus in his semen samples may transmit the disease through sex up to 90 days from the time of clinical cure, it said.
vi. He will remain in isolation in the facility till his body fluids test negative and he is found medically fit to be discharged, it said. The ministry insisted the man was a treated and cured case.

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