Saturday, 10 October 2015

World Today - 09th October 2015

  1. International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the economic growth rate of 7.5 percent for India in 2016 as against China’s 6.3 percent. In its latest World Economic Outlook Update, IMF said growth in India is expected to rise above the rates in other major emerging market economies.
  2. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 is awarded to the Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
  3. Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra has been named the first Indian ambassador for Tourism New Zealand, which markets New Zealand as a visitor destination.
  4. INS Astradharini, the first indigenous-designed and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel commissioned into the Indian Navy. INS Astradharini is an advanced replacement for INS Astravahini which was decommissioned earlier.
  5. South Korea’s Hoesung Lee has been elected as the new head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body tasked with assessing climate science at its 42nd session in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He succeeded India’s R.K. Pachauri.
  6. An expert committee under the Chairmanship of former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, P.D.T. Achary, and formed by the Speaker of the Delhi Assembly Ram Niwas Goel has proposed a huge 316% salary increase for the MLAs of Delhi in its report. The committee proposed raising the salary from present Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 50,000 per month.
  7. Saudi blogger and social activist Raif Badawi and British poet and critic James Fenton were jointly awarded with the 2015 PEN Pinter Prize. While, due to Badawi’s imprisonment, his award was accepted by Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia and campaigner for Raif Badawi.
  8. Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan launched ‘KISAN Project’ (C(K)rop Insurance using Space technology And geoiNformatics) that seeks to speed up payment of crop insurance claims to farmers and provide accurate assessment of crop damage. An Android-based app for collection of data of hailstorm with assistance from ISRO to assess large-scale damage to standing crops was also launched.
  9. Russia’s women volleyball team beat the Netherlands to win 2015 Women’s European Volleyball Championship held in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  10. Russia’s Sergey Karjakin won the 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup by beating Peter Svidler (Russia) by 6-4 in the final. Championship was held in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.
  11. IFS officer Vinay Mohan Kwatra was appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in Prime Minister’s Office for three years. Kwatra, a 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service officer will be replacing IFS officer Jawed Ashraf in the PMO. Steve Simon has been named as the new Chief Executive of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Earlier he was the Tournament Director and Chief Operating Officer of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Simon (American) succeeds Stacey Allaster.
  12.  National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) signed an agreement with Kotak Mahindra Bank. Under the agreement, farmers and traders who have kept their commodities in NCDEX-approved warehouses, can use such commodities as collateral for availing financial assistance from Kotak Mahindra Bank

Friday, 9 October 2015

World Today - 08th October 2015

  1. Writer Nayantara Sahgal has returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, recording her protest against what she calls a “vicious assault” on India’s diversity and debate, and the government’s failure to safeguard it. Ms Sahgal, 88, is the niece of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. She received the literary award in 1986.
  2. Easing norms for foreign ownership of government debt, RBI announced higher investment limits in rupee terms in government securities by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) with a view to bringing in an additional Rs 1.2 lakh crore by March 2018. The announcement follows a decision by RBI to fix FPI investment limits in rupee terms and raise it in phases to reach 5 per cent of the outstanding stock by March 2018.
  3. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, gave its approval for setting up of three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AllMS) at Nagpur in Maharashtra, at Manglagiri in Andhra Pradesh and at Kalyani in West Bengal under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY). This involves financial implication of Rs.4949 crore.
  4. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, approved the construction of a National War Memorial and a National War Museum at Princess Park, near India Gate, New Delhi in memory of all Indian soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country post-independence. The estimated cost of the project will be around Rs. 500 crore and the total time for completion of the entire project is estimated to be five years.
  5. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the protocol amending the Convention and the Protocol between India and Israel, and between India and Vietnam for avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital.
  6. Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, presented the Award of Excellence to Shri Rajiva Ranjan Verma, Director General / RPF, for the commendable contribution of Railway Protection Force (RPF) during “Operation Smile”, in the field of Anti Human Trafficking. It was presented in a function on National Conference of Anti Human Trafficking held at New Delhi on 07.10.2015.
  7. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval to the protocol for cooperation in the field of blue economy which was signed between India and Seychelles during the visit of the President of Seychelles to India on August 26, 2015.
  8. Ahmed Mansoor of UAE has been was awarded the Martin Ennals award. The award is named after the former secretary general of Amnesty International. This is also known as nobel prize of human rights. He campaigned for freedom of expression and greater political and civil rights in the United Arab Emirates since 2006, and successfully pushed for the liberation of two bloggers jailed for highlighting social problems in the country.
  9. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the formation of a Group ‘A’ service of the technical cadre of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSD&E). This was earlier called the Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour Employment. The new service will be called the Indian Skill Development Service (ISDS).
  10. Sweden’s Tomas Lindahl, the US-based Paul Modrich and Turkish-born Aziz Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on mapping how cells repair damaged DNA.
  11. The State Secretary for Home Affairs, Sweden, Ms. Ann Linde called on the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju. During the meeting both the Ministers discussed various issues of importance to the two countries including Disaster Management, threat of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and radicalization and steps being taken for counter-terrorism etc.
  12. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its growth forecast for India to 7.3% for the current fiscal, from 7.5% predicted in July, although it maintained the country’s near-term growth prospects still remained favorable. The multilateral agency also cut its projection for global economic growth to 3.1% for 2015.
  13. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to: (i) implement the World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project “Neeranchal” with a total outlay of $357 million (Rs 2142.30 crore at Rs. 60 = $1 Government Share 50%) (ii) implement the project at the National level as well as in the nine States of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

World Today - 30th September 2015

  1. Google has announced its plans to make Internet accessible to one crore passengers at 100 busiest railway stations in India by the end of 2016 and will later expand it to 400 other stations, making it one of the largest public Wi-Fi projects in the world. This announcement was made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Google’s US headquarters in Mountain View, California.
  2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lowered the repo rate by 50 basis points from 7.25 per cent to 6.75 per cent, while keeping CRR and SLR unchanged at 4 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively in its Fourth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2015. The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 7.75 per cent. However, it has lowered its FY 2015-16 GDP growth target to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent.
  3. Renowned Hindi poet and eminent journalist Viren Dangwal passed away. He was 68. His famous poem collection ‘Dushchakra Me Shrista’ had earned him prestigious Sahitya Academy award in 2004.
  4. India bagged seven medals, including five silver and two bronze at the 16th Asian Rowing Championships that concluded in Beijing, China. China bagged the maximum medals including 15 gold.
  5. NASSCOM, TiE and IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE India hosted the first ‘India-U.S. StartUp Konnect 2015’ programme in the Silicon Valley, to highlight the strengths of the Indian startup ecosystem. With an aim to boost startups in various organizations in India and the US seven MoUs were signed. During the programme Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Bharat Fund. It is aimed at providing seed funding to Indian entrepreneurs.
  6. The Government of India signed a loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for US $123.51 million for tranche 3 of the Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism to continue upgrading tourism infrastructure and services in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The loan will be used for development and conservation of places of tourist attractions. The third tranche loan is part of the $250 million multi-tranche financing facility that ADB approved in 2010.
  7. Bengali movie Kadambari has bagged two major awards at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival, including the best film honour and the best actress trophy for Konkona Sen Sharma, while India’s Oscars entry Court took home the best director gong for Chaitanya Tamhane. ‘Kadambari’ is directed by Suman Ghosh.
  8. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched a Railway Portal for dissemination of detailed information on Indian Railways. ‘Indian Railway Knowledge Portal’ which is accessible at is an initiative of the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) which allows the user to access most of the available knowledge about Indian Railways at one location due to linkage of websites, documents and much more. National Informatics Centre (NIC) has clustered all the libraries to a single interface via e-Granthalaya.
  9. Gujarat Tourism Policy for 2015-20 was unveiled by state tourism Minister Saurabh Patel. In this policy, the state govt. accorded industry status to tourism for the first time. The policy document pegs the investment potential in the tourism sector in the state at $4 billion or around Rs. 26,000 crore by 2025.
  10. Consequent upon the demise of Dr. Syed Ahmed, Governor of Manipur, the President of India has appointed V. Shanmuganathan, Governor of Meghalaya, to discharge the functions of the Governor of Manipur, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements are made.
  11. Silicon Valley based chip-maker Qualcomm announced that it will invest 150 million US dollars for Indian start-ups. The investment will come through a venture fund. The announcement was made after the company’s executive chairman Paul E. Jacobs met the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Digital Economy event in San Jose.
  12. Mathematician Jacob Tsimerman of the University of Toronto, Canada was chosen for the prestigious 2015 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize. Tsimerman is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto. He primarily conducts research in Number Theory.

Monday, 28 September 2015

World Today - 28th September 2015

  1. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that government has set disbursement target for micro and marginal businesses under MUDRA scheme during the current fiscal at Rs. 1.22 lakh crore. MUDRA has been established as a subsidiary of SIDBI with an initial corpus of Rs. 5,000 crore to provide capital to all banks seeking refinancing of small business loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). PMMY loans fall into three categories – Shishu (up to Rs. 50,000), Kishore (Rs. 50,000-Rs. 5 lakh) and Tarun (Rs. 5-10 lakh).
  2. China successfully launched a new model of carrier rocket Long March-11 for sending four micro satellites into space from the country’s northwestern province. The rocket will mainly be used for launching micro-satellites. The successful launch of the rocket marked a major breakthrough for the nation in key technology for solid propellant rockets. The trip was the 211th mission for the Long March rocket family.
  3. The Ministry of External Affairs appointed new Indian envoys to Pakistan, China, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Nations (UN) in a major reshuffle. Navtej Sarna will be the new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He succeeded Ranjan Mathai. Gautam Bambawale (India’s Ambassador to Bhutan) will take over as High Commissioner to Pakistan. He succeeded T.C.A. Raghavan. Syed Akbaruddin will be the next Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York. He will replace Asoke Mukerji. Vijay Gokhale (India’s Ambassador to Germany) will be the Ambassador to China. He succeeded Ashok Kantha. Anil Wadhwa (Secretary (East)) will be the new Ambassador to Rome. Pankaj Saran will replace P.S. Raghavan as the Ambassador of Moscow. Harsh V. Shringla (Indian Ambassador to Bangkok) will serve as High Commissioner to Bangladesh. Sujan Chinoy (Indian Ambassador to Mexico) will now be the Ambassador to Japan and replace Deepa Wadhwa.
  4. Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez has been named the first-ever global advocate for girls and women at the United Nations Foundation. The 46-year-old star will travel the globe in an attempt to highlight the plight of females struggling in war zones, refugee camps and even on the mean streets of her native New York.
  5. The Finance Ministry announced Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) exemption to foreign companies with no permanent establishment (PE) in India with effect from assessment year 2001-02. This means companies not having a permanent establishment or place of business in India would not come under MAT with effect from April 2001. Apart from this, the MAT will also not apply on a foreign company belonging to a country having a Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
  6. Matthias Muller was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Group. He succeeded Martin Winterkorn who resigned following the revelation that the German carmaker manipulated US diesel car emissions tests.
  7. Government has decided to appoint NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya as the Sherpa for G-20 talks, replacing Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The next G20 Leaders’ Summit is scheduled on November 15-16 at Antalya in Turkey.
  8. The 193 member states of the United Nations adopted new Sustainable Development Goals to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York. 17 broad goals and 169 specific targets are there in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The new goals primarily expect to reduce world poverty, improve health and education and quell climate change. SDGs are expected to be achieved by year 2030. They replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted at a UN summit in 2000.
  9. Sourav Ganguly has been appointed as the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) succeeding Jagmohan Dalmiya as announced by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Jagmohan Dalmiya passed away recently. Sourav Ganguly is the former Indian cricket captain.
  10. The 9th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (RPBD) will be held at Los Angeles, California, USA from 14 November to 15 November 2015. The Theme of 9th RPBD will be – The Indian Diaspora: Defining a New Paradigm in India-US Relationship.
  11. Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui has been elected as President of Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) after an election held as per directions of the Supreme Court. Siddiqui defeated Vinod Kumar, a former president of BCA, by a margin of 30 votes.
  12. Australia’s oldest cricketer Harold Stapleton, who represented Australian club New South Wales, died aged 100. An all-rounder, who played only one first-class match for NSW in 1941 before his career was cut short by the second World War.

Friday, 18 September 2015

World Today - 18th September 2015

  1. India and Sri Lanka signed four pacts during the talks held between visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MoUs are exchange of letters on establishment of emergency ambulance services in Sri Lanka and supply of medical equipment to 200 bed ward complex at district hospital, Vavuniya in Sri Lanka, cooperation of exchange of SAARC region satellite technology and rejuvenation of small industries program with the patronage of Indian government. The two countries agreed to intensify cooperation in combating terrorism and work together for security and stability in the neighborhood.
  2. India and Cambodia have signed two agreements relating to Tourism and Mekong Ganga Cooperation Project. The agreements were signed after Vice-President Md. Hamid Ansari held delegation-level parleys with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. Vice-President Mohd. Hamid Ansari is on a four day visit to the South East Asian countries of Cambodia and Laos.
  3. In an ambitious bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs. 5142.08 crores. The Mission aims at development of rural growth clusters which have latent potential for growth, in all States and UTs, which would trigger overall development in the region.
  4. Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province in east China, was chosen by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to host the 2022 Asian Games. The OCA made the decision at its 34th Congress in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Hangzhou was the only candidate city for the 2022 Asian Games. Its successful bid means the regional games will be staged in China for the third time following Beijing in 1990 and southern Guangzhou in 2010. Beijing was just selected to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics after hosting the Summer Games in 2008. South Korea’s Incheon held the last Asian Games in 2014, while Indonesia’s Jakarta will play host in 2018
  5. The Pentagon, the headquarters for U.S. defence establishment, set up a first-ever country specific special cell with the objective of speeding up its defence ties with India. India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) – the first-ever country special cell at Pentagon was established to speed up United States’ defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country. It is headed by Keith Webster, Under Defence Department
  6. The Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) conferred the ‘Excellence in Golf in 2015′ award on 17-year-old Aditi Ashok in recognition of her recent achievements which included winning the Singha Thailand Amateur Championship last week, the 2015 British Ladies Amateur Strokeplay Championship and the prestigious 2015 St. Rule Trophy at St. Andrews. KGA president Venkat Subramaniam presented the local golfer an award at the prize distribution ceremony of the seventh Toyota Karnataka Golf Festival held in Karnataka.
  7. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change. United Nations Champions of the Earth award is the highest award in the world of environment conservation.
  8. China launched its most sophisticated observation satellite, Gaofen-9, as part of the country’s high-definition Earth observation project. Gaofen-9 was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu aboard a Long March-2D carrier rocket. It was the 209th flight of the Long March rocket series. The optical remote sensing satellite is capable of providing photographs with a resolution of less than a meter. It will be used in land survey, urban planning, road network design, agriculture, and disaster relief
  9. Two Indian educational Institutes find place in ‘2015-16 QS World University Rankings’s World Top-200’ . It was the 12th edition in the series of annual global university ranking list. The Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore (IISc-B) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) were ranked 147 and 179 respectively. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the list of universities in the world for record fourth time. Harvard University is at second place, followed by the University of Cambridge and Stanford University in joint third place
  10. Tamil Nadu state government announced making it mandatory for all high rise buildings in the state to have solar power generation facility. This announcement was made in the Tamil Nadu Assembly by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Under it all new multi-storey buildings (more than four floors) will have to establish solar power generation facility. The rule would be applicable to all group developments (with more than eight dwelling units) also. In effect, it will cover almost 90% of residential and commercial developments in cities like Chennai and Coimbatore. This is being seen as the first-of-its-kind initiative in urban solar power plant