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Paris attacks mastermind may have committed suicide: French envoy

151. Golf: Anirban Lahiri wins Asian Tour Golfer of the Month award
i. Anirban Lahiri added another feather to his already crowded cap by winning the inaugural Hilton Asian Tour Golfer of the Month award. As part of Hilton Worldwide's newest partnership with the region's Tour, the Asian Tour Hilton Golfer of the Month award aims to recognise outstanding efforts of Asian Tour members both at home and abroad.
ii. Lahiri was voted as the winner based on his stellar performance from June to September, with subsequent awards based on monthly achievements as the Asian Tour is now back in full swing.
Ranked 39th in the world, the Indian star enjoyed a spell-binding opening nine months which saw him win two events sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
iii. Lahiri also finished joint fifth in the PGA Championship for India's best performance in a Major in August and became the first from the country to earn a spot with the Presidents Cup's International Team.
iv. Lahiri won the award ahead of Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prayad Marksaeng. The three players were nominated by a selection panel before going into a voting process.

152. Sehwag retired from all forms of International Cricket, IPL
i. Indian cricketer Virender Shewag on 20 October 2015 retired from all forms of international Cricket and Indian Premier League (IPL).
ii. Sehwag revealed his decision after signing up to play in 2016 Masters Champions League Twenty20 tournament in Dubai. Masters Champions League, a UAE-based Twenty20 tournament requires its participants to have retired from all international formats.
iii. An aggressive right-handed opening batsman and a part-time right-arm off-spin bowler, Sehwag played his debut One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test team in 2001.
iv. In April 2009, Sehwag became the only Indian to be honoured as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for his performance in 2008, subsequently becoming the first player of any nationality to retain the award for 2009.

153. PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone Amaravati, a new capital city of Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of Dussehra and Vijaya Dashmi. The foundation stone of new futuristic capital city of the state was laid at a grand ceremony held in Guntur district.
ii. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu along with other guests participated in the rituals to mark laying the foundation.
iii. The name Amaravathi was chosen in view of the historical, spiritual and mythological significance as it was ancient seat of Satavahana kingdom. Located between Vijayawada and Guntur region of state on the banks of Krishna River. It is only place where river flows north direction instead of east or south.
iv. State government had inked MoU with Singapore government agencies for preparing the master plan for Amaravati. It was submitted in July 2015. The capital city will house state Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, High Court, Secretariat, Raj Bhavan etc. in area covering 16.7 sq km.

154. RBI issued direction on implementation of Gold Monetisation Scheme 2015
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 22 October 2015 issued a Direction to all Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding Regional Rural Banks) on implementation of the Gold Monetisation Scheme, 2015 notified by the Union Government.
ii. The RBI issued the direction to banks in exercise of powers conferred on it under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. The GMS 2015 will replace the existing Gold Deposit Scheme, 1999.
iii. The designated banks may sell or lend the gold accepted under STBD to MMTC for minting India Gold Coins (IGC) and to jewellers, or sell it to other designated banks participating in GMS. The gold deposited will be auctioned by MMTC or any other agency authorised by the Central Government and the sale proceeds will be credited to the Union Government’s account with the Reserve Bank.
iv. Complaints against designated banks regarding any discrepancy in issuance of receipts and deposit certificates, redemption of deposits, payment of interest will be handled first by the bank’s grievance redress process and then by the Reserve Bank’s Banking Ombudsman.

155. Alok Rawat becomes first male member of National Commission for Women
i. Senior IAS officer Alok Rawat became first male person  to be appointed as member of National Commission for Women (NCW). His appointment fills the fourth seat in the five-member body that seeks to review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women.
ii. Alok Rawat is 1977 batch IAS officer of Sikkim cadre. Prior to this appointment, he had served at various senior level posts at different Union Ministries. He had served as Director (joint secretary) in Union Ministry of Defence and Union Ministry of Road transport and Highways.
iii. He also had served as secretary (UPSC) and secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Union Cabinet Secretariat and secretary in Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga rejuvenation.
iv. NCW is a statutory body established under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. It was established in January 1992 to review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women. It recommends remedial legislative measures, advise Government on all policy matters affecting women and facilitate redressal of grievances related to women.

156. Sam Pitroda’s autobiography Dreaming Big- My Journey to Connect India released
i. Autobiography of Sam Pitroda named Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India has been released. It is written with the help of an American author David Chanoff.
ii. The autobiography describes the journey of Satanarayan Gangaram Pitroda (famously known as Sam Pitroda), who is known as father of Indian telecommunication revolution.
iii. The book embarks a life long journey of Sam Pitroda starting from his birth in 1964 in Titilagarh in Odisha to his revolutionary career in United States and India.
iv. Further, the book also tells his success in the telecommunication revolution of India and important role played by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in achieving the revolution. It also highlights important incidents in his life after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

157. Government divides Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Areas into two Separate Headquarters
i. Union Ministry of Defence has divided erstwhile Maharashtra and Gujarat (MnG) Naval Area into two separate headquarters in order to enhance operational and administrative organizational structure. They have been divided under Flag Officer Maharashtra Area and Flag Officer Gujarat Naval Area.
ii. The division will help for better vigilance on the sea border with Pakistan and in better communication and coordination with the respective state governments, local authorities and fishermen.
iii. The charge of Flag Officer Maharashtra Area was assumed by Rear Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade. While, Rear Admiral Murlidhar Pawar will assume as Flag Officer of Gujarat Naval Area.
iv. The idea of dividing the existing Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area into two parts was mooted after considering breach in naval security from Pakistan’s side on at least on two occasions i.e. 26/11 terrorist attack in 2008 and destroying of ship carrying ammunition by Indian Navy in 2014.

158. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe awarded 2015 Confucius Peace Prize by China
i. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been awarded 2015 Confucius Peace Prize by China. The Prize is dubbed as Chinese equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been chosen for this edition of prize for his inspirational leadership and service to pan-Africanism and African independence.
ii. The prize also has recognised his efforts to overcome difficulties of all kinds and his commitments for constructing his nation’s political and economic order.
iii. Mugabe is the founding leader of Zimbabwe and has ruled the country since it gained independence in 1980 from United Kingdom. He was elected as Prime Minister in 1980 and served in that office till 1987.
iv. He became Zimbabwe’s first President in December 1987 and since then he is in office for past 28 years. In January 2015, he was appointed as Chairman of African Union (AU).
v. The prize was established in 2010 by China’s Communist Government after it was angered by Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

159. Prime Minister laid foundation stone of Shri Venkateswara Mobile & Electronics Manufacturing Hub
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 October 2015 laid the foundation stone of Shri Venkateswara Mobile and Electronics Manufacturing Hub in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The hub will be a dedicated mobile handset manufacturing facility.
ii. The foundation stone of this mobile handset manufacturing facility was laid during PM's visit to Andhra Pradesh to lay the foundation stone for new Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati.
iii. Shri Venkateswara Mobile & Electronics Manufacturing Hub will create more than 10000 jobs within a year. The hub is expected to contribute at least 5 percent of all-India target of 15 lakh jobs by 2019.
iv. As per Indian Cellular Association (ICA), Andhra Pradesh is fast turning out to be a preferred destination for mobile handset and component manufacturing companies.
v. ICA is also working with the Andhra government to set up design centres and incubation centres to establish the state as a truly global scale mobile handset manufacturing hub.

160. Union Government cleared first batch of AMRUT projects for 89 cities worth 2786 crore rupees
i. The Union Ministry of Urban Development on 22 October 2015 gave its nod to the first batch of state level Action Plans under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). The approved Action Plans have a total of 143 projects in 89 AMRUT cities in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
ii. The State Annual Action Plans (SAAP) worth 2786.28 crore rupees were cleared by inter-ministerial Apex Committee of AMRUT for 89 cities in the three states. It is for the first time that the Urban Development Ministry approved state level plans unlike the past practice of appraising and approving individual projects.
iii. The plans include 47 schemes relating to ensuring water supply connections and augmenting water supply. In addition, they also include 31 projects for expanding sewerage network services in identified cities and towns.
iv. Gujarat will take up sewerage projects in 25 AMRUT cities at a cost of 916 crore rupees and water supply schemes in 11 cities with an investment of 233.65 crore rupees. Rajasthan will take up sewerage schemes in 6 cities at a cost of 555 crore rupees and water supply projects in 10 cities at a cost of 344 crore rupees.
v. Union Government will provide an assistance of 50 percent of project cost for cities with a population of up to 10 lakhs each and one third of project cost for cities with a population of above 10 lakhs each.

161. Renowned marine biologist Syed Zahoor Qasim died
i. Renowned marine biologist Syed Zahoor Qasim died on 20 October 2015 in New Delhi. He was 88. He is considered as the founder of Polar Biology in India and was part of the first Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1981-82.
ii. After the first expedition, he successfully organized and guided the next the seven expeditions till 1988 and made pioneering contributions in the field of fisheries biology, mari-culture, estuarine ecology and environmental pollution.
iii. Based on his research, he also published around 200 original research papers in national and international journals. He was also a member of Planning Commission (1991-96) and served as the vice-chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi.
iv. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Union Government and Life Time Achievement Award by the Indian Science Congress in 2008. He was born on 31 December 1926 at Allahabad in the present day Uttar Pradesh.

162. RIP Labh Janjua: Bollywood mourns ‘London thumakda’ singer’s demise
i. Bollywood celebrities like Ayushmann Khurrana, Pritam, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan have mourned the tragic demise of Punjabi singer Labh Janjua, calling it a big loss to the Indian music industry.
ii. Labh Janjua, best known for his hit songs like “London thumakda” and “Jee karda”, was found dead at his residence in Goregaon (West) on Thursday morning, police said. His body was taken to Cooper Hospital for post mortem and the police is investigating further.
iii. Bollywood celebs took to Twitter to express their grief. Here’s what they have written: Ayushmann Khurrana: RIP Labh Janjua. Your voice will always remain immortal. It carried the soul of Punjab. Salim Merchant: Heard about the sudden demise of singer Labh Janjua.

163. Indian mountaineers climbed an untouched mountain peak, named it after APJ Abdul Kalam
i. Two mountaineers Arjun Vajpai and Bhupesh Kumar in third week of October 2015 created history by becoming first people to climb 6180 meter high unnamed peak in Himachal’s Spiti Valley. The duo named the peak as Mout Kalam, in honour of former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam.
ii. Newly named Mt. Kalam is located near Bara Shigri Glacier, largest glacier located in Himachal Pradesh. Bara-Sigri glacier is the second longest glacier in Himalaya after Gangotri both are around 30 km long.
iii. Vajpai and Kumar hailing from Noida and Bulandshahr respectively started the expedition on 8 October 2015 from Noida and completed the climb on 14 October 2015 and hoisted the Indian national flag. They returned back on ground on 20 October 2015.
iv. Earlier in 2010, Vajpai became the youngest Indian to climb Mt. Everest. He climbed the highest peak in the world at the age of 16. Bhupesh has scaled 17 peaks in India.

164. President gives away Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, fellowships
i. President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards for the year 2014 at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

ii. While leading musicologist S R Janakiraman, theatre doyen and noted filmmaker M S Sathyu, and musicians Vijay Kumar Kichlu and Tulsidas Vasant Borkar were awarded fellowships of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, 35 eminent personalities were honoured with Akademi Awards in the categories of music, dance, theatre, traditional folk/tribal music/dance/theatre and puppetry and overall contribution/scholarship in the performing arts.
iii. Nine artistes — including Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Nath Neralkar, Nayan Ghosh and Ronu Majumdar— received awards for their contribution to music, while eight artistes were honoured for their contribution to dance.
iv. Eminent folk singer from Jammu and Kashmir Abdul Rashid Hafiz, who is known for his renditions of traditional  Chakri singing, was among eight artistes facilitated for their contribution to traditional arts. Noted playwright Asgar Wajahat was amongst the eight artists honoured for their contribution to theatre.

165. Ratan Tata invests in virtual cash start-up Abra
i. Abra, a Silicon Valley bitcoin startup, on Thursday revealed it had raised money from Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and American Express, as part of its $12-million Series-A funding.
ii. Abra raising funds was reported last month, but the company did not reveal Tata’s participation then. These are the first investments in the crypto-currency world for both American Express and Ratan Tata.
iii. Bitcoin is a system of electronic money, used for buying and selling online and without the need for a central bank. Bitcoin is also a unit of the bitcoin electronic system of money.
iv. Tata has been investing in Indian, as well as international start-ups, for about a year. He has invested in companies such as Ola, Paytm, Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, and CarDekho. Tata has invested in at least 12 start-ups in the past year. He is also an advisor to private equity firms IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital, and Jungle Ventures.
v. Using the Abra app, users can store digital cash and send money to any smartphone. It uses a network of individuals or businesses earning money by buying and selling digital cash to and from any consumer via the Abra app.

166. Japan offers soft loan to India for bullet train project
i. Japan has offered soft loan of 15 billion dollars (Rs 90,000 crore) at an interest rate of less than 1 per cent to India’s ambitious first bullet train project viz. Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor along with technology.
ii. In this regard, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has submitted its report to the Union Railway Ministry. In its report JICA has envisaged a reduction in the travel time on the 505-km long corridor between the two western cities to 2 hours from the existing period of over 7 hours.
iii. The report also has mentioned that the bullet train is expected to run at speeds of around 300-350 km/hour.
iv. Japan’s announcement comes in a bid to surpass competition from China and other countries. It also seeks to overcome Japan’s broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years.

167. Himachal Pradesh to host India’s first Paragliding World Cup
i. India’s first Paragliding World Cup has begun at Bir Billing near Baijnath town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Snow leopard is the official mascot of this World Cup. It is for the first time that Paragliding World Cup is being organised in a South Asian country. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju flagged off the event.
ii. In this one week competition, more than 130 registered pilots including 14 women pilots from 35 countries would take part. Indian side is represented by 8 flyers and 6 among them are from the Himachal Pradesh.
iii. The Paragliding World Cup will have different categories of competition including Paragliding, Hot air ballooning, Hand gliding and Acrobatic shows.
iv. Himachal Pradesh government and Kangra District Administration have made elaborate arrangements for the purpose of World Cup. Helicopters and Air ambulance along with forty rescue teams equipped with latest equipment gave been deployed at various strategic locations to meet any emergency situation.

168. First World Indigenous Games begins in Palmas, Brazil
i. First World Indigenous Games has kicked off in the northern Brazilian city of Palmas. The lavish opening ceremony of the multi-sport event was attended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

ii. The first of its kind international multi-sport event will involve around 2000 indigenous athletes belonging to different indigenous ethnic groups from 30 countries. Participants from countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, Mongolia, Australia, Philippines, Russia, Ethiopia and New Zealand are participating.
iii. The first World Indigenous Games will host sporting events like archery, canoeing, spear tossing and a race through the forest. Besides, non-competitive events will be also hosted to showcase different traditions of indigenous ethnic groups.

169. Indian-origin Ashok-Alexander Sridharan sworn in as mayor of Bonn in Germany
i. Indian-origin Ashok-Alexander Sridharan on 21 October 2015 sworn in as the mayor of Bonn in Germany. Bonn is the 18th most populated city in Germany and the provisional capital of erstwhile West Germany. Sridharan was elected to the office as a candidate of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel-led Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party in an election held in September 2015.

ii. With this win, Sridharan became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of a major city in the country. Further, he also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background.
iii. With this win, Sridharan became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of a major city in the country. Further, he also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background.
iv. It was for the first time in 21 years that a candidate from the CDU won the Bonn mayoral election leaving the Social Democratic Party (SPD) out in the cold.

170. Hurricane Patricia struck Mexico's Pacific coast
i. Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast on 23 October 2015. The hurricane carrying destructive winds with a speed of 165mph forced thousands to flee homes and beach front resorts.
ii. Patricia landed about 55 miles west-northwest of Manzanillo, home to the largest container port on Mexico's Pacific seaboard. There were no reported casualties and officials said the damage might not be as catastrophic as feared.
iii. The US National Hurricane Center said the hurricane hit as a Category Five storm - the highest classification. But it has since weakened to a Category Four, and will be downgraded to a tropical storm in the coming hours. It also said that it would lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides in rural areas.

171. Western Digital to buy SanDisk for 19 billion US dollar
i. Western Digital Corporation on 21 October 2015 announced that it entered into a definitive agreement with SanDisk Corporation to buy it for 19 billion US dollar. Both the Multi National Corporations (MNCs) are based in the USA.
ii. The acquisition is expected to pave the way for utilization of complementary product lines of both the companies and will provide the foundation for a broader set of products and technologies from consumer to datacenter.
iii. While Western Digital is an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of storage solutions that enable people to create, manage, experience and preserve digital content, SanDisk is a Fortune 500 and company and is a global leader in flash storage solutions.
iv. SanDisk was co-founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Sanjay Mehrotra in 1988 and has market capitalization worth 13.3 billion US dollars as of June 2015.


172. Doordarshan emerges most watched Hindi channel
i. Public broadcaster Doordarshan today claimed that it has emerged as the most watched Hindi channel in terms of time spent per viewer ahead of top General Entertainment Channels. 
ii. The "monumental development" comes in as Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) released the much awaited All India viewership data, which includes rural India, for the very first time, a statement released by Doordarshan said.
iii. This indicates that after tuning to the channel, viewers preferred to continuously watch it for a longer duration of time rather than frequently switching the channels, as compared to other GECs, it added. 
iv. The channel also witnessed a significant rise in ratings and moved up to the 7th position in Hindi Speaking Markets in the week 41, according to the data, the statement said. 

173. India's first double-decker Shatabdi train to run between Mumbai, Goa
i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced that the Railways would soon start country's first-ever double decker Shatabdi Express that would ply between Mumbai and Goa. 

ii. Residents of Goa seeking Rajdhani luxury train services have to rely on the Trivandrum Rajdhani which passes through Goa and makes a halt at Margao in South Goa. 
iii. Responding to concerns to allow more tourists to make train journeys into Goa, Prabhu said the Railways can also start holiday train for tourists. 
iv. The first double-decker air conditioned train between Howrah and Dhanbad was flagged off in October 2011, and since then the service is operational between many cities, including Ahmadabad-Mumbai, Chennai-Bangalore, Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Lucknow. 

174. NDRF ties up with 30 PSUs to jointly tackle emergencies
i. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has partnered with about 30 Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to jointly tackle and mitigate man-made or natural disasters or emergencies.
ii. In this regard, a coordination meeting was held between NDRF and prominent PSUs like ONGC, Air India, GAIL and others involved in the mining and shipping and heavy industries sector.
iii. The maiden meeting was attended by over 40 senior officials from these PSUs for enhancing each other others capabilities for disasters or emergencies.
iv. The first of its kind initiative aimed to ensure efforts for building a good synergy between the government organisations. It will also ensure that two sides can act as one strong unit in case of any king emergency or disasters in case of small or mid-level exigencies.

175. Ministry of Railways flagged off Vigithon to fight against corruption
i. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on 25 October 2015 flagged off Vigithon marathon in Mumbai to sensitise people for a fight against corruption at the grass-root level. Vigithon was a run for corruption free India and was organised by public sector lender Union Bank of India.

ii. Several school children, common people, customers and employees of the bank participated in Vigithon. It brought in all the stakeholders together on a common platform to create sensitisation against corruption.
iii. Vigithon was aimed at educating the people about several instances of corruption and empowering them with the means to fight the problem. The run will be organised at other metro centres across the country as well.
iv. The run was organised as a precursor to the Vigilance Awareness Week which is going to be observed from 26 October 2015 till 31 October 2015. Vigilance awareness week is observed every year since 2000 as per the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission.

176. World Polio Day observed globally
i. World Polio Day was observed on 24 October 2015. The day was observed to create awareness about the hazards of the crippling disease. The Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.

ii. Use of this inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. Since then, GPEI has reduced polio worldwide by 99percent.
iii. A Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) aims to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018. GPEI is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF.
iv. According to UNICEF data, polio does not exist in most of the world, as the cases are down by 99.9 percent worldwide. There have been 51 cases of wild polio virus globally since the beginning of 2015, compared with 242 wild polio cases for 2014.
v. Just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have reported cases of wild polio so far in 2015, while on 24 July 2015, Nigeria, Africa's last remaining polio-endemic country, recorded the first year in history without a single case.

177. Sin Tax to be imposed on alcohol, tobacco during GST regime
i. Sin Tax has been included under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) law that will be effective from 1 April 2016. GST is being seen as one of the biggest tax reforms in the country.
ii. Sin tax is an excise tax levied on products and services like alcohol, tobacco and gambling considered bad for health or society.
iii. These additional taxes are also seen as efforts to discourage people from use of such products or services.
iv. This kind of tax is often used by government to attract higher their tax revenues as people generally refrain from opposition to such levies as they are indirect in nature and affect only their end users.

178. Renowned Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara passes away
i. Renowned Irish-American actress and singer Maureen O’Hara passed away in Boise, US. She was 95. She was one of the last living stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood of the 1940s and 1950s. She was known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines roles.
ii. O’Hara was born in 1920 in Dublin in then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (present Ireland). She started her career in 1939 after she was brought to Hollywood by legendary actor Charles Laughton.
iii. Her first film was The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Since then she had she had starred in more than 60 films.
iv. After retiring from acting career in 1970s, she successfully ran an airline business with her aviator husband Charles Blair. After her husband’s death she became first woman in US history to head a scheduled commercial airline.
v. Though she was never nominated for a competitive Academy Award, but in 2014 she was presented with an Honorary Academy (an honorary Oscar). She is only the second actress to receive an Academy Award for acting without having been nominated previously after Myrna Loy.

179. Bengali actor Pijush Ganguly passes away
i. Bengali film, television and stage actor Pijush Ganguly passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 50. Ganguly died because of multiple organ failure after he was critically injured in a road accident on 20 October 2015 at Santragachi in Howrah district.
ii. Ganguly was born on 2 January 1965 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He had started his career as an employee of NABARD and later shifted to acting career.
iii. His acting career began as a stage actor and later worked in television and films. He had started his television career with TV series Abar Jakher Dhan.
iv. He had acted in acclaimed films like Goynar Baksha, Byomkesh Phire Elo,Laptop, Iti Srikanta and Mahulbanir Sereng.

180. Abhishek Verma became first Indian to win Silver Medal in Archery World Cup Final
i. Indian archer Abhishek Verma 24 October 2015 created history by winning a silver medal in the Archery World Cup Final medal in the compound section held in Mexico City. With this, he became the first ever Indian to bag Archery World Cup Final medal.
ii. Verma went down 143-145 to Turkey's Demir Elmaagcli in the summit clash.
iii. In 2014, Verma bagged the gold medal in the men's compound archery team event along with Rajat Chauhan and Sandeep Kumar, and the silver medal in the men's individual compound event at the Asian Games held at Incheon, South Korea.
iv. He also won a gold medal in the compound men's individual section on 15 August 2015 in the third leg of Archery World Cup held in Wroclaw, Poland.

181. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won 2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix title
i. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on 25 October 2015 won the 2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix title. It was the third title for Hamilton at the Circuit of the Americas in Elroy, Texas of the USA where championship is being held annually.
ii. In the final race, while his team-mate Nico Rosberg of Germany stood at the second position, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (Germany) was at the third.
iii. Also, driver of Force India Sergio Perez (Mexico) was the fifth person to complete the race. For Hamilton, it was the tenth title in the 2015 season having won the races in Australia, China, Bahrain, Canada, the UK, Belgium, Italy, Japan and Russia prior to the US championship.
iv. With this win, he also won the 2015 World Drivers’ Championship (WDC). It was the third title for Hamilton as he won the WDCs in 2008 and 2014 also.
v. So far, Hamilton won more races compared to any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently 3rd on the all-time list, with 43 wins.

182. Third India-Africa forum summit begins in New Delhi
i. The third India-Africa forum summit (IAFS) began in New Delhi on 26 October 2015. The four day summit (from 26 October to 30 October 2015) is one of the largest gatherings of African countries outside Africa as all 54 nations of the continent have participated.
ii. It will address the key challenges faced by African nations which include food, health and environmental security etc. Provides India an opportunity to forge a constructive and deeper alliance with the resource-rich continent.

iii. India hopes to create favourable conditions through this summit to stimulate trade and investment flows between India and African countries. Both sides are expecting to reinforce their partnership on the global platform and deepen security cooperation including on countering terrorism and maritime security.
iv. IAFS is an official platform for the African-Indian relations. It is held every 3 years and the venue is selected on rotational basis from both sides.
v. Present summit was earlier scheduled in December 2014 in New Delhi, but it was postponed to October 2015 due to deadly Ebola outbreak in few western African countries.

183. Department of Heavy Industries drafted National Policy on Capital Goods
i. The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) came out with draft national policy on capital goods. This is the first time that such a policy is being framed after active consultation with industry associations.

ii. The Policy on Capital Goods is focused on the most critical sector for achieving the vision of Make in India and also is envisages unlocking the potential for this promising sector and establish India as a global manufacturing hub.
iii. The policy proposes a governance mechanism for smooth implementation and effectiveness of the policy. The mechanism will be in the form of inter-ministerial and inter-departmental committees at the highest level to ensure due consideration of the interests of all stakeholders.
iv. The committees will be tasked with driving coordinated action and monitoring the progress and effectiveness of policy on an annual basis. The capital goods sector operates in a dynamic local and global environment and it is imperative for the policy to undergo a periodic review and revision to maintain its relevance.

184. Financial powers of Health Institutions enhanced to 5 lakh rupees per patient under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi
i. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare enhanced delegated financial powers of designated Central Government Hospitals and institutes under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) scheme.
ii. After the enhancement, only cases for financial assistance beyond 5 lakh rupees would now be required to be referred to the Ministry from the earlier upper limit of 2 lakh rupees per patient.

The move is aimed at curtailing procedural delays for treatment, which would bring relief to thousands of patients annually.
iii. Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi was set up in 1997 to provide financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line (BPL). Patients suffering from major life threatening diseases related to heart, liver, kidney and cancer cases, etc., are covered under the scheme.
iv. Patients receive medical treatment only at any of the designated super specialty Government hospitals / institutes or other Government hospitals. Revolving Funds have been set up in 12 Central Government hospitals/institutes and amount up to 50 lakh rupees is placed at their disposal for providing financial assistance.

185. FIIs/RFPIs can now invest up to 74 percent in DEN Networks Limited: RBI
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 26 October 2015 notified that the Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs)/Registered Foreign Portfolios Investors (RFPIs) can now invest up to 74 percent of the paid up capital of DEN Networks Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS).

ii. DEN Networks Limited has passed resolutions at its Board of Directors’ level and a special resolution by the shareholders, agreeing for enhancing the limit for the purchase of its equity shares and convertible debentures by FIIs/RFPIs. 
iii. The purchases could be made through primary market and stock exchanges. The purchases would be subject to Regulation 5(2) of FEMA Notification and other terms and conditions stipulated by the Reserve Bank.
iv. The Reserve Bank notified this under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.

186. Guatemala elected comedian Jimmy Morales as the President
i. Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian, swept to power in Guatemala's presidential election. He will take the office on 14 January 2016. In the presidential election, Morales won more than 67 percent of votes. On the other hand, the ex-first lady Sandra Torres received less than 33 percent of votes.

ii. In 2015, Morales was nominated as the presidential candidate of National Convergence Front (FCN/Nation). Initially, he was considered an outsider. However, he finished first in the first round of the election and qualified for the runoff.
iii. Morales, who identified himself as a nationalist, supported death penalty and opposed abortion, came out with a slogan of Neither corrupt nor a thief that attracted the masses. His success came after both former vice president Roxana Baldetti and outgoing president Otto Pérez Molina had to step down and were arrested on fraud and corruption charges.
iv. Jimmy Morales born as James Ernesto Morales Cabrera on 18 March 1969 earned fame as a TV comedian when he starred in the popular TV series Moralejas (Morals). He joined the FCN party in 2013 and became its secretary-general.

187. China launched third mapping satellite of Tianhui-1 series
i. China successfully launched the Tianhui-1C mapping satellite into its designated orbit from Jiuquan satellite launch centre in the north-western province of Gansu. A Long March-2D carrier rocket carried the Tianhui-1C mapping satellite blasts off from the launch pad.
ii. The satellite will offer a boost to country's ability to carry out scientific experiments, land resource surveys, mapping, crop yield estimation and disaster relief.
iii. The Tianhui-1C, which is the third satellite in the Tianhui-1 series, was designed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASTC). The first Tianhui 1 mapping satellite was launched in August 2010, and Tianhui 1B was launched in May 2012.

188. BlackBerry appoints Narendra Nayak as Managing Director of India operations
i. BlackBerry today said it has appointed Narendra Nayak as the Managing Director of its India operations to steer the Canadian handset maker's restructuring efforts. He replaces Sunil Lalvani, who had quit the organisation in June.

ii. Based in New Delhi, Nayak will be responsible for driving BlackBerry's software and services business through all channels in India direct enterprise customers, network operators, distribution partners, the company said in a statement.
iii. Nayak will also be responsible for BlackBerry's growing ecosystem of indirect channels in India that includes Value-Added Reseller (VAR), systems integrator and reseller partners, it added.
iv. Nayak joins BlackBerry from venture-funded software company Linguanext Technologies, where he was responsible for growing the business in India and across South East Asia, Middle East and Africa. Prior to Linguanext, he has held executive roles at CSC, IBM, Motorola and Digital Equipment India.

189. Yes Bank advances after operationalising IFSC Banking Unit in GIFT city
i. has operationalised its IFSC Banking Unit in Gujarat International Finance Tec City. The bank made announcement during market hours today, 27 October 2015.
ii. The IBU will propel the bank's growth plans further by providing it access to international financial markets, as well as provide a comprehensive product suite to its corporate clients requiring foreign currency funding.
iii. It will also allow the bank to raise foreign currency funding through MTNs and other routes as appropriate. Besides, the IBU will help the lender in further diversification and expansion of cross border asset products as well as widen the scope and depth of liabilities base.
iv. Earlier this year, the Government of India announced the setting up of an IFSC in Gujarat, namely in the GIFT city in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Later, the RBI, in April mandated that Indian public sector and private banks that are authorised to deal with foreign exchange will be allowed to set up IBUs with prior permission.

190. RBI, Bangladesh Bank ink MoU on information exchange
i. The Reserve Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Bank for exchange of supervisory information.
ii. RBI has entered into Memorandam of Understanding, Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and Statement of Co-operation with supervisors of a few countries to promote greater cooperation and share supervisory information.
iii. With this, RBI has signed 30 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Cooperation and one Statement of Cooperation, the central bank said in the release.

191. RIL first corporate to sign revised listing pact with BSE
i. Reliance Industries today became the first corporate to sign the revised listing agreement with the BSE as mandated under the newly introduced Listing Regulation notified by SEBI.

ii. Earlier, the listing agreement was a bilateral agreement between the stock exchange and the company and market regulatory SEBI didn't have regulations on this. Thus each company's agreement with stock exchange could be at variance and lacking the full force of SEBI's rigour.
iii. SEBI last month came out with such regulations and a six-month deadline for all companies in which it prescribed the listing agreement. With the signing of the agreement with BSE, RIL is the first listed company to conform to SEBI norms, a statement said.
iv. As part of the Listing Regulations, SEBI has mandated all existing listed entities to execute a fresh and simplified Listing Agreement with the stock exchange where they are listed, within six months of the notification date of September 2.

192. Indian-American farmer Anita Adalja to be honoured for exemplary agriculture work
i. Indian-American farmer is among 12 individuals from across the country who will be recognised as White House Champions of Changefor sustainable and climate-smart agriculture at an event in the US.
ii. Anita Adalja, is social worker who merged her career with farming. Currently, she is working as a manager at the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.
iii. Anita said, she is committed to food access solutions, community building and sustainable land stewardship. Before being called to farming, she was a social worker in Brooklyn. While working with formerly homeless, mentally ill adults in a supportive housing facility, Anita co-founded a rooftop farm on top of the building.
iv. Anita, has worked to create a more equitable and sustainable food system by increasing food access, sustainable farming, farmer training and farm-to-school education. Under her management, Arcadia Farm grows thousands of pounds of naturally grown produce that is sold in low-or no-food access areas in Washington, through its mobile farmers' market programme.

193. Hashim Amla becomes fastest to score 6000 ODI runs, breaks Virat Kohli's record
i. South African batsman Hashim Amla has broken yet another record held by India's ODI vice-captain Virat Kohli.

ii. This time, the right-handed opener has broken Kohli's record of by becoming fastest 6000 runs in the ODIs. For this Amla took just 123 innings as compared to Kohli, who achieved this feat in his 136th innings.
iii. Earlier in January this year, Amla bettered a joint record owned by Kohli and Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies to become the fastest to 5,000 ODI runs club.
iv. Amla reached the 5,000-run milestone in 101 innings (104 matches). Kohli and Richards took 114 visits to the crease to get there. Earlier on March 3, the 32-year-old Amla struck his 20th ODI hundred (159, his highest in ODIs) to become the quickest to the landmark and surpassed Kohli.
194. Deepika Kumari won silver medal in Archery World Cup Final
i. Indian archer Deepika Kumari on bagged the silver medal in the Archery World Cup Final held in Mexico City. Kumari went down 2-6 in finale to South Korea’s Chou Misun.
ii. Currently ranked World No. 5, Kumari clinched a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games in the women's individual recurve event. She also won a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games in the women's team recurve event along with Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi.
iii. In May 2012, she won her first World Cup individual stage recurve gold medal at Antalya, Turkey.
iv. In 2012, the Ranchi-born archer was honoured by the President of India with the prestigious Arjuna Award, India's second highest sporting award. She was also named as the FICCI Sportsperson of the Year Award in February 2014.

195. India ranked 130 in ease of doing business: World Bank
i. World Bank on 27 October 2015 announced that India ranked 130 out of the 189 countries surveyed in terms of ease of doing business for domestic firms. It was revealed in the report entitled Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency.
ii. As per the report, India could improve its ranking by 12 places from the 142nd position of the 2015 report by undertaking significant improvements in the regulatory framework for starting new businesses. The findings of the report were based on collection of data in Mumbai and Delhi between June 2014 and May 2015.

iii. India was placed at the 155th position overall in this segment. However, it is still one of the areas of greatest improvement for India, as the number of days to start a business was cut down to 29 days in 2015 from much longer 127 days in 2014.
iv. India showed very poor performance in this segment as it was placed at the 183rd position overall. India ranked overall 70 among the surveyed countries as now companies can get connected to the grid and get on with their business in 14 days sooner than before in Delhi and Mumbai.

196. Union Government constituted RV Easwar Committee to simplify The Income Tax Act, 1961
i. The Union Government on 27 October 2015 constituted RV Easwar Committee with a view to simplify the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The committee will be headed by Justice RV Easwar (Retd.), former Judge of Delhi High Court and former President of ITAT.

ii. The members of the committee are VK Bhasin, Vinod Jain, Rajiv Memani, Ravi Gupta, Mukesh Patel, Ajay Bahl, Pradip P. Shah, Arvind Modi and Dr. Vinay Kumar Singh.
iii. It was constituted to study and identify the provisions/phrases in the Act which are leading to litigation due to different interpretations and to study and identify the provisions which are impacting the ease of doing business;
iv. Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Committee was To study and identify the areas and provisions of the Act for simplification in the light of the existing jurisprudence and to suggest alternatives and modifications to the existing provisions and areas so identified to bring about predictability and certainty in tax laws without substantial impact on the tax base and revenue collection

197. 4th edition India, Sri Lanka bilateral naval exercise SLINEX 15 begins in Sri Lanka
i. The fourth edition of Sri Lanka-India bilateral naval exercise SLINEX 2015 began off Trincomalee coast, Sri Lanka. The six days exercise seeks to reinforce the strong neighbourly ties underscored by extensive maritime interaction and improved understanding between neighbouring both countries.

ii. SLINEX 15 seeks to enhance the capability of both navies to work together at sea and contribute towards maritime security in the region. It commenced with a Harbour Phase in which both participant navies were engaged in professional, cultural and social interactions.
iii. It will be followed by the Sea Phase in which complex operations including anti-piracy exercises, cross-deck helicopter operations, gun firings and anti-surface exercises will be undertaken. Indian Navy is represented by 2 missile corvettes viz. INS Kora, INS Kirpan and 1 offshore patrol vessel INS Savitri along with ship-borne integral helicopters. In addition, an Indian Naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also take part in the exercise.
iv. Sri Lankan Navy is represented by ships like Sayura, Sagara, Samudra, 6 Fast Attack Crafts, 1 Fast Missile Vessel and 2 Fast Gun Boats.

198. Sylvie Lucas appointed as Chair of the IGN on UNSC reforms
i. Luxembourg ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Sylvie Lucas on 27 October 2015 was appointed as the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms. Lucas, who was appointed by 70th UN General Assembly session President Morgens Lykketoft, replaced Ambassador Courtenay Rattray of Jamaica.
ii. Her appointment came ahead of the next round of negotiations to begin on the UNSC reforms. Earlier, she served as the president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from January 2009 to January 2010.
iii. She started her career with Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she worked from 1990 to 1995. She served as the deputy permanent representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations from 1995 to 2000. On 25 August 2008, she became the United Nations' permanent representative from Luxembourg.

199. Union Finance Ministry launched E-Sahyog Pilot Project to facilitate Taxpayers
i. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 27 October 2015 launched the e-Sahyog pilot project of the Income-Tax Department to facilitate taxpayers by reducing their need to physically appear before tax authorities. The e-Sahyog project is aimed at reducing compliance cost, especially for small taxpayers.
ii. The objective of e-Sahyog is to provide an online mechanism to resolve mismatches in Income-tax returns of those assesses whose returns have been selected for scrutiny, without visiting the Income Tax Office. The Income-Tax Department will provide an end to end e-service using SMS, e-mails to inform the tax assesses of the mismatch.
iii. The taxpayers will simply need to visit the e-filing portal and log in with their user-ID and password to view mismatch related information and submit online response on the issue. The responses submitted online by the taxpayers will be processed and if the response and other information are found satisfactory as per automated closure rules, the issue will be treated as closed. The taxpayers can check the updated status by logging in to the e-filing portal.
iv. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also inaugurated a drive to provide public service at peoples’ door step by holding special PAN camps in remote areas. Under this campaign, special PAN camps were held at forty- three remote, semi urban and rural locations across India.

200. Barclays names former JP Morgan banker as new boss
i. Troubled British bank Barclays today announced the appointment of former JP Morgan investment banker James Staley as its new chief executive. The 58-year-old American will take up his new role on December 1, the bank announced in a statement, indicating a renewed focus on its investment division.
ii. Staley, also known as Jes, declared that he would seek to “preserve and enhance” trust in the lender, whose reputation has been badly damaged by foreign exchange and Libor benchmark interest rate rigging scandals.
iii. Staley, whose appointment had been widely predicted in the media this month, is the former chief executive of JP Morgan’s investment bank and currently works for US hedge fund Blue Mountain Capital Management. Barclays announced in July that it had fired its then—chief executive Antony Jenkins in the wake of recent scandals.
iv. The retail banking veteran had vowed to bring a new culture of decency to Barclays, and oversaw drastic restructuring that shrank its investment bank, a move that reportedly upset major shareholders.

201. Tata Trusts, Harvard University announce collaboration
i. Tata Trusts and Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) today announced collaboration on knowledge creation and capacity building for social and economic empowerment in India.

ii. A key component of the project is the opportunity for budding social entrepreneurs and institutions in India to apply for social innovation grants totalling Rs. 50 lakh that will spur interventions and scale up existing initiatives resulting in greater impact in select geographies.
iii. The 18-month research project titled ‘Livelihood Creation in India through Social Entrepreneurship and Skill Development’ is the first step in this direction, a statement from Tata Trusts said.
iv. The project will focus on three key areas: rural livelihood creation with emphasis on the handicrafts and handloom sectors, educational, social and economic empowerment of women and science and technology-based interventions for poverty alleviation.
v. The purpose of the project will be achieved through research with over 150 institutions across 15 states of India, five workshops with 100 participating NGOs, and 20 webinars involving Harvard faculty and subject experts from India.

202. Citibank appointed Samiran Chakraborty as Chief Economist for India
i. Citibank on 27 October 2015 announced that it has appointed Samiran Chakraborty as Chief Economist for India.

ii. Prior to joining Citi, Chakraborty was Managing Director and Head of Macro Research for South Asia at Standard Chartered Bank. Earlier, he served ICICI Bank as Chief Economist and Delhi School of Economics as faculty for mathematical economics and open-economy macroeconomics.
iii. He carries more than a decade of experience in conducting macro research, covering various asset classes including currency, interest rates and credit markets.

203. P K Gupta elevated as SBI Managing Director
i. K Gupta will be elevated as Managing Director of country's largest lender State Bank of India  in place of Corporate Banking head P Pradeep Kumar, who is superannuating this month-end. Gupta, who is of Deputy Managing Director (DMD) rank, is presently Managing Director of the bank's investment banking arm SBI Caps.

ii. The appointment of the 1960-born Gupta is for a period of over four years (till March 2020), when he will be superannuating, Vijay Malhotra, according to a notification.
iii. Six officials from the bank were interviewed for the post last month and Gupta was the senior-most among them. Others included Varsha Purandare (DMD and Chief Credit Officer), Dinesh Khara (MD, SBI Mutual Fund) and Sunil Srivastava (DMD Corporate Services and New Business).
iv. The other three serving MDs at SBI are B Sriram (national banking group), V G Kannan (associates and subsidiaries) and Rajnish Kumar (compliance and risk).

204. ABIL, Versace to develop new project in South Mumbai
i. Pune-based realty developer ABIL (Avinash Bhosale Group) is partnering with Versace to develop a new exclusive residential project in Hughes Road, South Mumbai.
ii. The residences with interior design by Versace Home will be the first of its kind in India, offering a selection of apartments with bespoke interiors, created under the artistic direction of Donatella Versace.
iii. Established in 1979, ABIL has set up St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai, The Westin Pune, Le Meridien in Nagpur, W Retreat and Spa in Goa (under construction) and the Sun-n-Sand hotel in Pune. The Group has developed over 7.8 million square feet of residential and commercial property in Maharashtra and is developing approximately 14 million square feet of property across the State.
iv. The residences with the interior design by Versace Home offer the Versace lifestyle, as with the already completed Milano Residences in Manila, the Philippines and the Damac Tower in Beirut. Currently under construction are the Al Jawharah Damac Residences Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Versace Residences in Chengdu, China and the Aykon Nine Elms project in London, UK.

205. J&K to host South Asian Rugby 7’S Championship in 2016
i. Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Youth Services and Sports Molvi Imran Raza Ansari on 27 October 2015 announced that Kashmir Valley will host South Asian Rugby 7’S Championship in 2016.
ii. The decision was made during the 131st Standing Committee meeting of J-K State Sports Council, which was chaired by Ansari. As per the decision, the championship will be held at Bakhshi Stadium from 18 June to 20 June 2016.
iii. The Championship will be participated by eight teams consisting of 180 participants from various countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India.
iv. The minister also said that the government wants such events to be held in the state for the promotion of sports activities at global level. He also said that the Council would provide all possible support to make the event a success and will provide various facilities like boarding, lodging and logistic for smooth conduct of the event.

206. IOC allowed refugees to compete in Olympics for the first time
i. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach on 26 October 2015 announced that all the highly qualified athletes who are refugees will be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. This is for the first time that refugee athletes will be competing in any Olympic Games.
ii. As per the announcement, all the eligible athletes will be able to compete for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
iii. The announcement was made during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting which adopted a resolution urging all countries to stop fighting and observe a truce during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Bach also appealed to all 193 UN member states to help the IOC identify talented refugee athletes.
iv. IOC has created a 2 million US dollars fund to bring hope through sport to refugees. Having no national anthem to play for them, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the IOC flag and the IOC anthem.
v. While participating in the 2016 Olympics, refugee athletes will stay in the Olympic Village alongside the other 11000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees. Until now, qualified refugee athletes were not able to participate because they couldn't represent their home country and its national Olympic committee.

207. Asia Pacific Region most disaster prone part of the world, says UN Report 
i. The Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone part of the world as it had suffered around 1,625 disasters in the decade through 2014. 
ii. It was revealed in recently released 2015 United Nations Asia-Pacific Disaster Report. 

Key highlights from Report 
  • Disasters in Asia Pacific region accounted for 40 percent of the global total and claimed over half a million of lives over the decade. 
  • The disasters in past decade have affected around 1.4 billion people and caused over 523 billion dollars in economic damage. 
  • Around 772 million poor people from this region which tends to be worlds populous region are vulnerable to disasters. 
  • Majority of disasters are cross-border in nature including floods, cyclones, droughts and earthquake. So, regional cooperation is crucial among nations in region. 

208. Govt. appoints 5 member committee to review Research Grants offered by UGC

i. Union Government has appointed a 5 member committee to review the research grants offered by University Grants Commission (UGC).
ii. The Review Committee will submit its report to the Ministry by December 2015.
iii. The ministry also has directed the UGC not to implement its decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships and continue all existing fellowships.
209. India, France ink MoU on preserving Written Heritage at National Library in Kolkata 
i. Indian and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve, develop and publicize written heritage at the National Library in Kolkata, West Bengal. 
ii. It was signed by Sreya Guha, Joint Secretary (Library) in the Union Ministry of Culture and Bruno Racine, President of the National Library of France. 

Key facts of MoU 
  • Entails development of digital co-operation, competency and skill-building, sharing of technical and other expertise and cultural co-operation between the two countries. 
  • It will assist a programme on digitization of old manuscripts and documents which had begun in France 7 years ago. 
  • It will also make Indian side to gain experience and high quality expertise in this field from France.
210. MP Government announces 33 percent quota for women in government jobs 
i. Madhya Pradesh government has decided to provide 33 percent reservation to women in government jobs. 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by state cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. 
iii. With this, the reservation to women in government jobs in the state has been increased from present 30 per cent to 33 per cent. 
iv. Apart from this decision, state Cabinet also gave its approval to a proposal providing compensation to farmers i.e. they have to repay only 90 thousand rupees on a loan of one lakh rupees. 

211. Bidhya Devi Bhandari elected as first female President of Nepal 
i. Bidhya Devi Bhandari of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)-CPN-UML has been elected as first female President of Nepal. 
ii. With this, she also became first President under newly promulgated Constitution of Nepal and second President since the Himalayan nation became a republic after abolishing the centuries-old monarchy. 

212. Najib Shah appointed as Chairman of CBEC
i. Senior IRS officer Najib Shah was on 28 October 2015 appointed as Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), apex body on Indirect Taxes. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
ii. Shah will serve the office till 11 March 2017, when he will attain the age of superannuation that is 60 years. Shah is a 1979 batch officer of Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise). Prior to this appointment, he has been working as Member of the CBEC since May 2015.
iii. He was also the Interim Chairman of the CBEC after retirement of Kaushal Srivastava in June 2015. Shah had also been the Director General of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

213. 191 UNGA-members voted a resolution condemning US embargo on Cuba
i. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 October 2015 overwhelmingly approved the Resolution condemning an economic embargo imposed by the US on Cuba. It stated that existence of such restrictions undermines multilateralism and credibility of the UN.
ii. 191 countries from the 193 member states demonstrated a concerted and international stand with Cuba and voted in favour of the resolution. The United States and Israel were the only two countries that voted against the resolution.
iii. This is the 24th time that the UNGA has adopted the resolution that seeks ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba, despite resumption of relations between the two countries. 
iv. The Assembly, however, welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba announced on 20 July 2015 and the willingness of US President Barack Obama to work towards the lifting of the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.

214. Hockey India signed three years partnership with Sports Authority of India
i. Hockey India (HI), the top body governing the sport in the country, on 28 October 2015 signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sports Authority of India (SAI) to help regain hockey its position as the top sport of the country.
ii. As per the terms of agreements, SAI will promote hockey, which is amongst the world’s most popular sports, as a tool for youth development and excellence in sports.
iii. In addition, both the entities will work towards creating a lasting legacy for the sport by developing hockey coaching system, talent identification and infrastructure for inculcating positive values in today’s youth through hockey, education, health and other allied areas.

215. RBI allows NRIs to subscribe to National Pension System 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed non-resident Indians (NRIs) to subscribe to the National Pension System (NPS) enabling them access old age income security. 
RBI has taken this decision in consultation with Union Government under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to appease NRIs. 

Key acts - 
  • NPS will act as an investment option for NRIs under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. 
  • NRIs may subscribe to the NPS through normal banking channels and the person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act, 2013. 
  • NRIs should pay the subscription amounts of NPS either by inward remittance through normal banking channels or out of funds held in their NRE/NRO/FCNR account. 
  • No restriction will be imposed on repatriation of the annuity or accumulated savings of NPS.
216. RBI allows Indian corporate to issue offshore rupee-denominated bonds outside India 
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted permission to the Indian corporate to issue offshore rupee-denominated bonds outside India. 
ii. In this regard, Union Government has considered the matter of taxation of income from such bonds under Income Tax (IT) Act, 1961. 
iii. Such bonds will attract a withholding tax of 5 per cent and gains arising in case of appreciation of rupee against the foreign currency. 
iv. In this case investment made would be exempted from capital gains tax. Capital gains tax would be exempted for the Capital gains arising in case of appreciation of rupee between the date of issue and the date of redemption against the foreign currency in which the investment is made.

217. China abandons its decades old One Child Policy 
i. China, world most populous country has announced to abandon its three decades-long one-child policy and changed it two-child policy. 
ii. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in this regard has issued an official communiqué at  the end of party’s 4 day plenary session headed by President Xi Jinping in Beijing. 
iii. The change of policy is intended to Balance population development world’s second largest economy. 
iv. Address the challenge of unnatural negative demographics due rising numbers of old age population as well as concerns over declining labour force. 
v. This announcement comes amid slowdown of China’s economy which has plunged for the first time below the 7 per cent figure since the 2009 global economic crisis.

218. Raif Badawi wins EU’s Sakharov Prize 2015 
i. Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been selected for European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights for year 2015. 
ii. European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France has honoured Mr. Bidawi with this award considering him as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech. 
iii. Raif Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals received an international fame in 2012 after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for insulting Muslim clerics. 

219. John Magufuli elected as President of Tanzania 
i. John Pombe Magufuli of ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has won the 2015 Tanzanian Presidential election.
ii. With this victory he became fifth President of Tanzania since its independence from United Kingdom in 1961. 
iii. John Magufuli won this Presidential election by securing 58.46 per cent of the total votes and defeated Edward Lowassa of opposition Chadema party who received 39 per cent votes. 

220. China’s first lunar rover Yutu sets record for longest stay on Moon 
i. China’s first lunar rover, Yutu, has set the new record for the longest stay by a rover on the lunar surface. 
ii. With working on the Moon for almost two years it has surpassed previous record of Soviet Union’s (USSR’s) 1970 launched rover Lunokhod 1, which had spent 11 months on the Moon. 
iii. The lunar rover Yutu was deployed and landed on the moon in 2013 via China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe. In 2014, it had experienced a mechanical control abnormality but was revived.

221. Activist Bindeshwar Pathak selected for New York Global Leaders Dialogue Humanitarian Award
i. Sociologist and founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak on 29 October 2015 was selected for the prestigious New York Global Leaders Dialogue Humanitarian Award for his contribution to sanitation and improving the quality of life for millions of manual scavengers.
ii. Pathak will be presented with the award on 12 April 2016 in New York, US.
iii. The activist first understood the plight of manual scavengers in 1968 when he joined the Bhangi-Mukti (scavengers’ liberation) Cell of the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebrations Committee.
iv. He founded the Sulabh International Social Service Organization in 1970, combining technical innovation with humanitarian principles.

222. India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 held in New Delhi
i. India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) 2015 was held for four days between 26 October and 29 October 2015 at Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi.
ii. Besides PM Narendra Modi, the summit was attended by top leaders of 40 African nations.
iii. The purpose of the meeting was to enable consultations at the highest political level between 54 nations across Africa and the Indian government.
iv. It was the third IAFS since its inception. The previous summits were held in 2008 and 2011 in New Delhi and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) respectively.

223. Amit Kumar won silver in men's club throw F51 event of IPC Athletics World Championships
i. Indian para-athlete Amit Kumar Saroha on 28 October 2015 won silver medal in men's club throw F51 event in the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha. With this, Amit sealed a berth for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
ii. Amit clinched silver with an effort of 25.44m, behind Serbia's Zeljko Dimitrijevic who won gold in a championship record of 26.29m. Milos Mitic of Serbia bagged the bronze in 25.40m.
iii. Amit’s medal helped the 15-member Indian team to end the campaign with two silvers. Devendra Jhajharia had won silver in men's javelin throw F46 event on 27 October 2015.

224. Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das nominated on RBI Central Board 
i. Union Government has nominated Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das to the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 
ii. Mr. Dase is IAS officer of 1980 batch from of Tamil Nadu cadre. His nomination is effective from October 30, 2015 and until further orders. 

About Central Board of Directors of RBI 
  • RBI’s affairs are governed by the Central Board of Directors (CBD) which also responsible for its general superintendence and direction. 
  • Composition: There are 21-members in CBD of RBI. It comprise of Governor , 4 Deputy Governors, 2 Finance Ministry representatives. 
  • 10 Directors are nominated by Union Government in order to represent important elements from India’s economy. 
  • 4 directors are from local boards of RBI which are headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi.

225. Paul Ryan elected as 54th Speaker of US House of Representatives
i. Republican Paul Ryan was elected as the 54th speaker of the US House of Representatives after fetching the votes of 236 members by the full House of Representatives. 
ii. Following his election, Ryan was sworn in as Speaker of the House. He took the oath on his own copy of the New American bible and kept the gavel he wielded as Chairman of the powerful tax writing committee. 

226. National Unity Day observed across India
i. The National Unity Day was observed across India on 31 October 2015 to commemorate the birthday of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. 
ii. On this occasion of 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, PM Narendra Modi flagged off Run for Unity at Rajpath in New Delhi.
iii. Moreover, on this day, all ministries and departments of the government and all the state governments and administrators of all the Union Territories organise programmes including the Pledge-taking Ceremony, Run for Unity involving people from all sections of society.

227. Ministry of Civil Aviation released Revised Draft National Civil Aviation Policy
i. The Ministry of Civil Aviation on 30 October 2015 released Revised Draft National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP 2015).
ii. The policy aims at providing a favourable environment and a level playing field to various aviation sub-sectors, such as Airlines, Airports, Cargo, Maintenance Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) services and so on.
iii. Besides, the scheme also intends to create an eco-system to enable 30 crore domestic ticketing by 2022 and 50 crore by 2027.

228. Railways launches ‘Vikalp’ for waitlisted passengers to get confirmed berth
i. Railway is launching a new scheme under which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets online.
ii. Known as Viklap, the alternative train accommodation scheme will take off in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors from November 1, on a pilot basis.
iii. Initially, Vikalp scheme will be available only for the tickets booked through internet for six months and option will be limited to mail and express trains on the two selected routes, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

229. GSAT-15 to be launched on November 10 from French Guiana
i. ISRO’s latest communication satellite GSAT-15 is all set to be launched on November 10, 2015 from French Guiana on board Ariane 5.
ii. The Indian space agency, as part of augmenting telecommunication services, had earlier launched communication satellites GSAT-14 and GSAT-6, respectively.

iii. The satellite would provide C and Ku band telecommunications and navigation services to India.

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