Current Affairs - November 2015 and 2016

Current Affairs - November 2015

|   3319

                                            Current Affairs - 30thNovember 2015
 

1. Saudi Arabia Women to Vote and Contest in MunicipalElections for the First time

i. For the first time, Saudi Arabia allowed women to vote andcontest in municipal elections. As per a royal decree issued in 2011,the authorities on 29 November 2015 allowed 979 women to register andcampaign for 284 municipal councils.

ii. They were out of the total 6917 registered candidates whoobtained campaign permits from the authorities in the capital Riyadh.

iii. Earlier, Saudi Arabia held municipal elections in 2005 and2011, but only men were allowed to take part.

iv. At present, women make up a quarter of the country's ShuraCouncil (Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia), an unelected bodyappointed by the king that can propose laws but cannot pass them.

2. Interceptor boat ICGS C-422 commissioned into IndianCoast Guard service

i. Indian Coast Guard has commissioned interceptor boat ‘ICGSC-422’ into its fleet to further enhance its vigil alongPondicherry and South Tamil Nadu coast in the Bay of Bengal.

ii. It was commissioned in a traditional ceremony held at Karaikalport in Tamil Nadu by Puducherry Assembly Speaker V Sabapathy.

iii. ICGS C-422 is the 36th interceptor boat to be inducted intothe Coast Guard service. The boat is capable of multiple tasksincluding interdiction, surveillance and search and rescue.

iv. It has been fitted with state-of-the-art communication,navigational equipment along with adequate fire power. Presently,Indian Coast Guard has two fast patrol vessels ICGS Rani Durgavatiand ICGS Ameya along with two interceptor boats C-428 and C-415stationed at Karaikal port.

3. Mahesh Gupta takes over as PHDCCI President

i. The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has a newPresident in Mahesh Gupta. Gupta, a seasoned entrepreneur, iscurrently Chairman of Kent RO Systems Ltd, which is a leading playerin water purifier industry.

ii. He is a Mechanical Engineering Graduate from IIT Kanpur (1975)and Post Graduate in Petroleum Conservation from IIP, Dehradun. Guptasucceeds Alok Shriram who demited office as PHDCCI President onFriday.

iii. Kent RO Systems Ltd is an Indian healthcare products company,headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. It makes water purifiers,based on the process of Reverse Osmosis (RO) purification. Kent is ahousehold brand with more than 40% market share in RO WaterPurifiers.

iv. Gupta started his entrepreneurial journey in 1999 from scratchby inventing the country’s first dual technology water purifier.

4. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won 2015 Formula 1 AbuDhabi Grand Prix

i. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on 29 November 2015 won the 2015Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title at the Yas Marina Circuit in AbuDhabi, UAE. To win the title, the German driver defeated thedefending champion and his team mate Lewis Hamilton of the UK.

ii. While Kimi Raikkonen of Finland representing Ferrari was atthe third position, Force India drivers- Sergio Perez (Mexico) andNico Hulkenberg (Germany) were at the fifth and seventh positionrespectively.

iii. For Rosberg, it was the sixth title in the 2015 season. Inearly 2015, prior to Abu Dhabi, he won the titles in Spain, Monaco,Austria, Mexico and Brazil. Overall, it was the 14th title in hiscareer.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the season-ending championship in 2015.While the 2015 World Drivers’ Championship (WDC) was won by LewisHamilton with ten titles overall, Rosberg was declared the runner up.

5. Anil Khanna re-elected as president of Asian TennisFederation

i. Anil Khanna was on 28 November 2015 re-elected as the presidentof Asian Tennis Federation (ATF). He was elected for four years inthe Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

ii. At present, he is the president of the All India TennisAssociation (AITA).

iii. And, in September 2015, he was elected as the Vice Presidentof the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in the elections held inSantiago, Chile.

iv. In the election, he missed out the chance of becoming the nextITF President by a margin of 8 votes.

6. Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko to becomeworld heavyweight champion

i. Britain's Tyson Fury on 28 November 2015 defeated Ukraine’sWladimir Klitschko to become World Boxing Association (WBA) (Super),International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Organization(WBO), International Boxing Organization (IBO) and The Ring unifiedheavyweight champion.

ii. The fight took place in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Title showdown with Klitschko

• It was confirmed in July 2015 that Fury will take part in aWorld Heavyweight title showdown with Klitschko for WBA (Super), IBF,WBO, IBO and The Ring Heavyweight titles.
• Forthe match, Fury trained together with the highest ranked heavyweightkickboxers in GLORY, Rico Verhoeven and Benjamin Adegbuyi.
•Fury was awarded the fight 115-112, 115-112, 116-111 on thejudges' scorecards.
• Fury is Britain's fifthbona fide heavyweight world champion after Bob Fitzsimmons, LennoxLewis, Frank Bruno and David Haye.

7. Three-day Mayyazhi Mahotsavam kicked off in Mahe,Puducherry

i. The Mayyazhi Mahotsavam (Fete de Mahe), a three-day culturalextravaganza, started on 29 November 2015 at Mahe, Puducherry. Thefestival is being organised jointly by the Department of Tourism andthe Legislative Assembly Secretariat at Mahe, which is Puducherry’sexclave in Kerala. The festival will conclude on 1 December 2015.

ii. The Aayi Mandapam, the main venue, will witness theperformance of artists of national and international acclaim. Aparade of classical and folk-ritual art forms, including Kathakali,Mohiniyattam and Theyyam, are part of the fete.

iii. E. Valsaraj, long-serving Mahe MLA, will be felicitated onhis completion of 25 years of distinguished service in theconstituency. Valsaraj’s paintings will also be featured at anexhibition. There will be the performances by playback singersChithra and Mano.

iv. Actress Remya Nambeesan will perform Lasyam, a type of dance.Artists camp, painting and photo exhibitions, seminar on Waste isWealth and a debate will also be held.

8. Great Britain defeated Belgium to win 2015 Davis Cuptennis title

i. Great Britain on 29 November 2015 won the 2015 Davis Cup tennistitle by defeating Belgium 3-1 at Ghent in Belgium. While Leon Smithwas the captain of the winning team, Andy Murray played a crucialrole in the victory as he beat Belgium's David Goffin to clinch thedecisive point.

ii. Murray beat Goffin by 6-3 7-5 6-3 to give Great Britain 3-1lead in the best-of-five tie. With this win, Murray joined JohnMcEnroe and Mats Wilander as the only men to have an 8-0 singlesrecord in a Davis Cup year.

iii. For Great Britain, it was the first title since 1936 whichwas won by defeating Australia. Overall, it was the tenth title forthe team in the competition’s 116-year history.

iv. It is the premier international team event in men's tennis andconsidered as the world cup of tennis. It is run by the InternationalTennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams fromcompeting countries in a knock-out format.

v. It began in 1900 as a challenge between Great Britain and theUnited States. The women's equivalent of the Davis Cup is the FedCup. So far, Australia, the Czech Republic and the United States arethe only countries to have held both Davis Cup and Fed Cup titles inthe same year.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 29th November 2015
 

1. NHAI approves pilot project for developinggreenbelts along National highway

i. National Highways Authorities of India (NHAI) has approved apilot project for undertaking scientific studies on designinggreenbelts along national highways.

ii. Proposal in this regard was submitted by Nagpur based NationalEnvironmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

Key facts

* The pilot project will be implemented on a 5 kmstretch on NH-7 (Varanasi to Kanyakumari) between Jam and Hinganghatin Nagpur region.
* Around 20,000 scientificallychosen species of trees are proposed to be planted on both sides ofthis stretch in multiple rows at an estimated cost of 11 crore 80lakh rupees. The project will run for five years’ time span. Duringthis period various experiments will be conducted in NEERI laboratoryto record the impact of greenbelt development.

2.  Sindhu seizes Macau Open title for third time

i. Sindhu produced a dominating game to notch up a 21-9 21-2321-14 win against sixth seed Mitani in a women’s singles match.

iii. Two-time defending champion P. V. Sindhu completed ahat-trick of women’s singles title at the $ 120,000 Macau OpenGrand Prix Gold after defeating Japan’s Minatsu Mitani in thefinals here today.

iii. Sindhu produced a dominating game to notch up a 21-9 21-2321-14 win against sixth seed Mitani in a women’s singles match thatlasted an hour and six minutes here.

3.  Union Govt to roll out BSV norms from April 1,2019

i. Union Government has decided to advance the date forimplementation of Bharat Stage (BS) V and BS VI emission norms forfour-wheelers in order to reduce vehicular air pollution from roadtransport sector.

ii. As per advance dates,  BS V norms will be rolled out from1st of April, 2019 and BS VI norms from 1st April, 2021.

iii. In this regard draft notification was issued Union Ministryof Road Transport and Highways as per the Auto Fuel Policy, 2003.

About Bharat stage (BS) norms

* Bharat stage (BS) norms are emission standardsdecided by the government to regulate the amount of air pollutantsfrom vehicles. They were adopted in line with European regulationstandard ‘Euro norms’ in 2000.
* So far, 4states of Bharat stage (BS) norms have been issued by government. Ineach stage certain limit is specified on the released pollutants andin the succeeding higher stages, the BS norms reduces the limit ofpollutant emission.
* Issued BS stages are:
BS-I- Euro 1 - 2000
BS-II - Euro 2 - 2005
BS-III - Euro 3 -2010
BS-IV - Euro 4 - 2015 (63 cities till 1 April 2015)

4.  BBIN Friendship Motor Car Rally flagged offfrom Silchar

i. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor CarRally was flagged off from Silchar, Assam.

ii. The international rally aims at highlighting connectivity inthe sub-region and seamless movements of vehicles across the bordersin the 4 nations through implementation of BBIN Motor VehiclesAgreement (MVA).

Key facts

* The Car Rally has been jointly organised by theUnion Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Kalinga Motor SportsClub (Odisha) in partnership with the counterpart clubs of theneighbouring countries.
* The 19-days rally willculminate at Kolkata (West Bengal) on December 2, 2015 next aftercovering the capitals of Indian states and neighbouring countries.

5.  CBDT signs 11 more Unilateral Advance PricingAgreements

i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 11more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indiansubsidiaries of foreign companies operating in various segments ofthe economy.

ii. Of the total eleven APAs, seven were having rollbackprovisions in them with maximum period of 9 years, while the otherfour are extension agreements for future five years i.e. till 2020.

iii. With this, CBDT so far has entered into 31 APAs (30unilateral and one bilateral) and is now aiming to finalise another30 to 40 APAs in order to provide stability and confidence among theforeign enterprises operating in India.

What is Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)

* APA usually is signed between a taxpayer andthe central tax authority (in case of India it is CBDT) for multipleyears on an appropriating transfer pricing methodology.
*The APA Programme was introduced in 2012 as per theprovisions of the Income Tax (IT) Act, 1961. It helps in determiningthe price and ensuing taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.

 

                                     Current Affairs - 28th November 2015
 

1. Patricia Scotland appointed as Secretary General ofCommonwealth of Nations

i. Dominica-born British lawyer Patricia Scotland was on 27November 2015 appointed as the Secretary General of the Commonwealthof Nations. With this, Patricia become the first British citizen andfirst woman as well to hold the role in the 66-year history of53-member Commonwealth.

ii. Scotland succeeds India's Kamalesh Sharma and will join theoffice on 1 April 2016. She will receive a salary of nearly 160000British Pound as well as a four storey mansion in Mayfair.

iii. She was selected during the 24th biennial Commonwealth Headsof Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta on 27 November 2015.

About Patricia Scotland

• Scotland was the first black woman to be madea Queen’s Council in 1991.
• PatriciaScotland is prominent lawyer and was created Baroness Scotland ofAsthal in 1997.
• She became a member of Houseof Lords (Upper House) of the British parliament in 1997.
•She was UK Minister of State (Home Office) from 2003-2007and UK Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor’s Department) from2001-2003.
• She also had served as UKUnder-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from1999 to 2001.

2. India to launch $1-b equity fund for renewableenergy

i. India proposes to launch a $1-billion equity fund, with seedcapital from public sector units, to support renewable energycompanies.

ii. Addressing a ‘Talkathon’ ahead of the 2015 Paris ClimateConference or COP-21, Piyush Goyal Minister of State (IndependentCharge) Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, said, “While wehope the Paris talks will help developed countries provide long-tenorlow-cost funding, we are also preparing ourselves to see how we canfinance our renewable energy thrust.”

iii. Goyal and Minister of State (Independent Charge) forEnvironment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, weretaking questions from the public which were being asked on themicro-blogging social network Twitter.

iv. Apart from the private equity fund, Goyal also said that thecountry expects to collect $4 billion a year in the next three-fouryears for the National Clean Energy Fund through a cess on coalmining. Since the Narendra Modi-led Government took charge last year,clean cess on coal mining has been quadrupled to Rs 200 a tonne.

v. Asked about the International Solar Alliance, Goyal said itwill be launched on November 30 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modiand French President Francois Hollande. The Minister said that thepurpose of the International Solar Alliance is to forge a partnershipin countries blessed with abundant sunshine.

3. RBI granted in-principle approval to NPCI tofunction as the central unit for Bharat Bill Payment Systems

i. The Reserve Bank of India on 24 November 2015 decided to grantin principle approval to the National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI) to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) inBharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).

ii. The BBPS is an integrated bill payment system which willfunction as a tiered structure for operating the bill payment systemin the country with a single brand image providing convenience ofanytime anywhere bill payment to customers.

iii. As the central unit, NPCI will set necessary operational,technical and business standards for the entire system and itsparticipants. Besides, NPCI will undertake clearing and settlementactivities. The present scope of BBPS will include utility billpayments, such as, electricity, water, gas, telephone andDirect-to-Home (DTH).

iv. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was incorporatedin December 2008 and the Certificate of Commencement of Business wasissued in April 2009. It has been incorporated as a Section 25company under Companies Act.

4. P Uday Bhaskar appointed as Chairman of AndhraPradesh Public Service Commission

i. P Uday Bhaskar was on 26 November 2015 appointed as theChairman of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC). Thepost has been lying vacant for quite some time now. There had been nopermanent Chairman of the APPSC since 2014. Sivanarayana, who is oneof the member of APPSC, had been the Interim Chairman but he retiredin June 2015.

ii. Dr Uday Bhaskar is a professor of Civil Engineering andDirector of Foreign Universities and Alumni Relations of theJawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada (JNTU-K).

iii. He is also the Director of evaluation at the JNTU-K. Heworked at JNTU-K in various capacities including head of civilengineering, chief coordinator of several consultancy and researchprojects.

iv. He published more than 20 research papers in the national andinternational journals and conferences. Dr Uday Bhaskar did his PostGraduation and Doctoral degrees in Environmental Engineering fromIndian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

5. RBI granted in-principle approval to threeapplicants for setting up TReDS

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 24 November 2015 grantedin-principle approval to three applicants to set up and operate TradeReceivables Discounting System (TReDS). The three organisations havebeen asked to set and operate TReDS in accordance to the Guidelinesissued on 3 December 2014 under the Payment and Settlement System(PSS) Act 2007.

ii. Organisations which got in-principle approval was granted areNSE Strategic Investment Corporation Limited (NSICL) and SmallIndustries Development Bank of India (SIDBI),Mumbai.  Axis BankLimited, Mumbai Mynd Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana

iii. The in-principle approval granted will be valid for a periodof 6 months, during which time the applicants have to comply with therequirements under the Guidelines and fulfill the other conditions asmay be stipulated by the Reserve Bank.

iv. On being satisfied that the applicants have complied with therequisite conditions laid down by it as part of in-principleapproval, the RBI would consider granting to them a Certificate ofAuthorisation for commencement of the business of TReDS.

6. India-Israel co-developed LRSAM missile successfullyflight-tested

i. Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) was on 27 November2015 successfully flight-tested for the first time from an IsraeliNaval Platform. The missile is co-developed by India and Israel.LRSAM is also called Barak 8 missile in Israel which in Hebrewlanguage means Lightning.

ii. The trial test was undertaken by Israel Aerospace Industries(IAI) in the presence of Defence Research Development Organisation(DRDO) scientists. During the test the missile achieved the desiredgoal by hitting the incoming target.

About Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM)

• LRSAM or Barak 8 is an advanced long-rangemissile with air defence system.
• Its mainfeatures are long range, active radar seeker missile, vertical launchand multiple simultaneous engagements.
• Forthe LRSAM, DRDO has developed dual pulse propulsion system along withother safety arm mechanisms for Solid Propulsion system.
•The LRSAM programme consists of Missiles, Weapon ControlSystem, MFSTAR (Radar), Vertical Launcher unit and two- way datalink.
• It is capable to counter a wide varietyof air-borne threats such as anti-ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs anddrones as well as supersonic cruise missiles.

7. UNESCO Fellini medal to be awarded at IFFI for thefirst time

i. The UNESCO Fellini medal will be awarded in India for the firsttime at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) incollaboration with the International Council for Film, Television andAudiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris. The medal is given to a filmthat reflects UNESCO’s ideals.

ii. The Fellini medal was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival inMay 1995. The medal holds a double significance - to honour Italiandirector Federico Fellini’s contribution to film as an art form,and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995).Italian painter Valerio Adami designed the fragmented, interlockingimages of the medal.

iii. The obverse side features a profile of Fellini with hissignature hat, facing the inscription 8 1/2, the title of one of themost famous films in the history of cinema. The reverse is inscribedFellini (1920-1993) UNESCO.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 27th November 2015

 

1. Israel tests Barak-8 missile co-developed with India

i. The Israeli military has conducted another successful test ofthe Barak-8 missile, jointly developed with India, as it intercepteda small drone simulating an “enemy” target, defence sources said.“In the first of its kind operation test on Thursday,  Barak 8missile fired from an Israeli Navy ship successfully intercepted anenemy target registering 100 per cent success,” Israeli militarysources told PTI.

ii. INS Kolkata is the Indian ship likely to be used for thetesting as the launchers and radars to track missiles are alreadyinstalled on the vessel. The missile is being jointly developed bythe Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), IsraelAerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s Administration for theDevelopment of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, EltaSystems, Rafael and other companies.

iii. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be assigned the task ofproducing the missiles with 32 initial ones to be fitted on INSKolkata. Israeli security sources said that the advancedsurface-to-air missile system will be deployed to secure thecountry’s offshore gas fields.

iv. The system will extend the range of Israel’s aerial defenceand should be operational in about two years. It will also helpdefend Israeli navy ships from anti-ship missiles like the Yakhontmissile which is believed to be possessed by Lebanese Shia militantgroup Hezbollah and poses a major threat to Israel’s security.

v. The Barak-8, an upgraded version of the Barak missile systemalready being used by India and Israel, is designed to defend navalvessels against incoming missiles, planes and drones.

2. RBI permitted Foreign Portfolio Investors to buyDefaulted Bonds

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 26 November 2015 permittedthe Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) to buy fully or partlydefaulted bonds in the repayment of principal on maturity orprincipal installment in the case of amortising bond. The permissionwas given as part of the drive to promote investments by FPIs incorporate bonds.

ii. The revised maturity period of such NCDs/bonds that arerestructured based on negotiations with the issuing Indian companyshould be three years or more.

iii. The FPI that proposes to acquire such NCDs/bonds underdefault should disclose to the Debenture Trustees the terms of theiroffer to the existing debenture holders from whom they are acquiring.

iv. Such investment should be within the overall limit prescribedfor corporate debt from time to time (currently 2443.23 billionrupees). All other existing conditions for investment by FPIs in thedebt market remain unchanged.

3. GRSE handed over ASW Corvette 'Kadmatt' to IndianNavy

i. The second Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette Kadmatt built byGarden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) was formallyhanded over to Indian Navy at Kolkata on 26 November 2015. TheCorvette would be joining the Eastern Fleet shortly.

ii. The super-sophisticated frontline warship was handed over byRear Admiral (Retd) AK Verma, Chairman and Managing Director of GRSEto the Commanding Officer of the ship Mahesh C Moudgil.

iii. The ship is equipped with total atmospheric controlventilation system making it fully capable to fight in nuclear,biological and chemical warfare environments.

iv. It is 109 metres long with a displacement of 3200 tons. It hasa maximum speed of 25 Knots. It is designed to accommodate 17officers and 106 sailors. Its main role is to protect nation'smaritime interests against possible submarine attack. It is a potentplatform for neutralising the enemy submarines using weapons liketorpedoes, rocket launchers and helicopter.

v. It has been built in the country with indigenously developedspecial grade high-tensile (DMR249A) steel produced by the SteelAuthority of India. Its hull encompasses the bulk of sensors andweapon systems which are also indigenously manufactured.

4. Dhoni becomes brand ambassador for Dubai-basedcompany

i. India’s ODI cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has baggedhis first endorsement deal outside the country, signing up to be thebrand ambassador of Dubai-based hospitality and event managementcompany Grand Midwest Group for three years.

ii. Established by UAE businessman Zafar Shah Khan, the GrandMidwest Group owns hotel properties in Dubai, UK and Ireland. Thecompany also has interests in the entertainment business in India andcurrently owns a local cricket team in the UAE.

iii. The group’s event management arm — GM Sports — wasrecently in the news for announcing the launch of a Twenty20international cricket tournament called the Masters Champions League(MCL), which is scheduled to be played starting end of January nextyear.

5. World Robot Olympiad, 2015 held in Doha; 2016session to be held in Delhi

i. World Robot Olympiad (WRO), 2015 was held in Doha, Qatar from 6November to 8 November 2015.  The 2015 session of the event washeld with theme Robot Explorers. The event saw participation ofstudents from more than 55 countries.

ii. This is the first time in the history of WRO that Indianstudents were able to win three medals (1Gold & 2 Silver) and oneposition (Eighth).

iii. Storm Divers from Ahmadabad won first rank. Participantsincluded Aaman Shah, Aarav Savla and Shaurya Goenka. Thunder Diversfrom Ahmadabad won second rank. Participants included Vir Gandhi,Ishan Patel and Param Adani.

iv. Shadow Bots from Delhi won second rank. Participants includedJayant Sharma, Aman Thakur and Rohan Verma. Path Finders from Delhiwon eighth rank. Participants included Dhariya Gupta, Ishaan Sainiand Laxman Prasad.

v. Teams from over 225 different schools across India participatedin this event to showcase their talent and creativity. The Indiandelegation was led by Arvind Manjit Singh, JS (Culture).

vi. Besides, the Minister of State (Independent charge) forCulture and Tourism Dr Mahesh Sharma on 26 November 2015 announcedthat for the first time the 13th World Robot Olympiad will be held inDelhi in November 2016. It will be organized by National Council ofScience Museums (NCSM) with India STEM Foundation (ISF).

6. Union Government approved 3120 crore rupeesinvestment for infra boost in 102 AMRUT cities

i. The Ministry of Urban Development on 26 November 2015 approvedan investment of 3120 crore rupees investment plans for basic urbaninfrastructure boost for 102 cities approved under Atal Mission forRejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

ii. The plans will enhance water supply, sewerage networkservices, storm water drains, non-motorised transport andavailability of public spaces in 102 cities, under AMRUT.

iii. Besides, an inter-ministerial Apex Committee approved Statelevel Annual Action Plans for 2015-16 with an investment of 438 crorerupees for Haryana (18 AMRUT cities), 573 crore rupees forChattisgarh (9 AMRUT cities), 416 crore rupees for Telangana (12AMRUT cities), 588 crore rupees for Kerala (9 AMRUT cities) and 1105crore rupees for West Bengal (54 AMRUT cities).

iv. The Apex Committee approved investments in different basicurban infrastructure areas as proposed by respective stategovernments. Ministry of Urban Development will provide an assistance1540 crore rupees which is about 50 perecnt of total approved projectexpenditure. Total investment in water supply projects in 58 missionstates will be 2386 crore rupees.

v. Sewerage projects will demand an investment of 495 crore rupeesin 17 cities. A total of 106 crore rupees will be invested on stormwater drains in 9 cities. Urban transport will seek an investment of61 crore rupees in 9 cities. Around 72 crore rupees will be investedon development of parks and green spaces in all the 102 cities.

7. HSBC to shut down private banking business in India

i. HSBC Holdings Plc is shutting its private banking unit inIndia, marking the exit of another foreign bank from the cut-throatwealth management business in Asia's third-largest economy.

ii. Many foreign wealth managers had scrambled to open up shop inIndia a few years ago and aggressively ramped up operations to takeadvantage of robust economic growth, only to find themselvesstruggling.

iii. Even though India's economy has been minting millionaires ata strong pace, it has failed to translate into profits for theforeign wealth managers that have set up teams of well-paid bankersto help manage those riches.

iv. Banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley havesold their onshore India private banking units in the recent past, aspart of their global business restructuring.

v. The Mumbai-based HSBC spokesman said it would offer privatebanking clients the choice to move to HSBC Premier, the bank's globalretail banking and wealth management platform. The process is likelyto be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 26th November 2015

 

1. 26th November: Constitution Day

i. The ‘Constitution Day’ of India is being observed on 26thNovember to spread awareness of Indian Constitution and itsarchitecture Dr. B R Ambedkar.

ii. On the day in 1949, constitution of India was adopted whichcame into force on January 26, 1950 marking the beginning of a newera in the history of free India.

iii. 2015 Constitution Day is the first edition of this day andpart of year-long nationwide celebrations of 125th birth Anniversaryof Dr. B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee ofConstituent Assembly. Union Ministry of Social Justice andEmpowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for celebration ofConstitution Day.

iv. It has organised number of activities on the occasion of thefirst Constitution Day in order to spread awareness the supreme lawof the country and living document which makes the government systemwork effectively.

2. ISB to host Angel Summit in Hyderabad on Nov 28

i. Angel Hub is holding the first edition of The Angel Summit atthe Indian School of Business (ISB) campus in Hyderabad on November28. The day-long meet would have several women entrepreneurs andexecutives speaking on their experiences in building enterprises,raising funds and managing the entities.

ii. “Women from various fields such as business, art, technologyand cinema will discuss issues to foster awareness, inspiration andturn ideas that matter into action,” Sita Pallacholla, founder andChief Executive Officer of The Angel Hub, has said.

iii. About 20 start-ups, mostly founded or managed by womenentrepreneurs, would pitch in their ideas to angel and venturecapital funds. A panel discussion on ‘Be The Captain of Your OwnShip – Rising in Leadership Roles and Staying On Top’ would focuson the challenges involved in building businesses and growing up theexecutive ladder.

3. India successfully test-fires nuclear-capablePrithvi-II missile

i. India today successfully test-fired its indigenously developednuclear capable Prithvi-II missile, which has a strike range of 350km, as part of a user trial by the army. The missile test was carriedout from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the IntegratedTest Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here at 1210 hrs.

ii. The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile is capable ofcarrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquidpropulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance systemwith manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.

iii. The downrange teams on board a ship deployed near thedesignated impact point in the Bay of Bengal monitored the terminalevents and splashdown, they said.

iv. Inducted into India’s armed forces in 2003, Prithvi-II, thefirst missile to be developed by DRDO under India’s prestigiousIGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program), is now aproven technology.

v. Such training launches clearly indicate India’s operationalreadiness to meet any eventuality and also establishes thereliability of this deterrent component of the country’s strategicarsenal, they said. The last user trial of Prithvi-II wassuccessfully conducted on February 19, 2015, from the same test rangein Odisha.

4. National Milk Day observed in India

i. The National Milk Day (NMD) was on 26 November 2015 observedacross India to mark 94th birth anniversary of the Father of theWhite Revolution Dr Verghese Kurien. The idea of observing NationalMilk Day was first mooted by Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014on the lines of World Milk Day that is observed on 1 June every yearunder the aegis of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

ii. The first NMD was observed on 26 November 2014 by all Indiandiary sector majors including National Dairy Development Board(NDDB), IDA along with around 22 state level milk federations.

iii. Dr. Verghese Kurien is also known as the Milkman of India andthe architect of Operation Flood, the idea that transformed Indiafrom a milk-deficit country into the world’s largest milk producer.He founded around 30 institutions of excellence (like AMUL, GCMMF,IRMA, NDDB) which are owned, managed by farmers and run byprofessionals.

iv. Kurien was pioneer in establishment and success of the Amulbrand of dairy products. Under his chairmanship, Amul achieved keyinvention of milk powder processed from buffalo milk. In 1963, hereceived Ramon Magsaysay Award and in 1989, he was named for theWorld Food Prize by World Food Prize, USA.

5. Sunil Kanoria appointed as President of ASSOCHAM

i. Sunil Kanoria was on 25 November 2015 appointed as thePresident of The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India(ASSOCHAM). Kanoria has succeeded Rana Kapoor, Yes Bank ManagingDirector and CEO.

ii. Kanoria has an impeccable record as an expert in the field offinance. He  has been instrumental in bringing over 34000 crorerupees of consolidated assets under SREI which became one of thefirst NBFCs to get listed on the London Stock Exchange.

iii. Kanoria is the Vice Chairman of reputed non-banking financecompany SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited. He is also the jointManaging Director of SREI BNP Paribas, a joint-venture between SREIInfrastructure Finance Limited and BNP Paribas Leasing Group, France.

iv. He is currently a council member of the Institute of CharteredAccountants of India (ICAI) as a nominee of the Union Government. Heconceptualized the brand Quippo, the country's largest infrastructureequipment rental company.

v. He has been associated with several industry associations -Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), Hire Purchase andLease Association, Kolkata (HPLA), Merchants' Chamber of Commerce,Kolkata (MCC) and Federation of Indian Hire Purchase Association(FIHPA).

6. International Day for the Elimination of ViolenceAgainst Women observed

i. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Womenwas observed across the world on 25 November 2015. The day isobserved to raise awareness about violence against women and discusssolutions that would work for women community.

ii. The observance of the International Day for the Elimination ofViolence Against Women will be marked by organisation of an eventcalled Orange the world: End violence against women and girls acrossthe world.

iii. The event is being organized under the UN Secretary General’sCampaign called UNiTE to End Violence against Women. As part of theevent, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaignwill be held from 25 November 2015 to 10 December 2015 (Human RightsDay).

iv. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign will see coming together ofgovernments, UN agencies, civil society organizations and individualsfrom all countries of the world to step up efforts to end violenceagainst women and girls.

v. The Day was observed in India by lighting the iconic India Gatein orange colour, as a part of global Orange the World event. Theevent was organised by UN Women Indian along with UNFPA India, UNDPand UN in India as part of the United Nations global campaign that isset to continue till 10 December, designated as the UNs Human RightsDay.

7. Nitish announces liquor ban in Bihar from April 1

i. Bihar will go dry from April 1, 2016, Chief Minister NitishKumar. The Chief Minister made the announcement — a part of hiselection pledge — at an official function to mark Prohibition Dayhere. He said the poorest of the poor had been consuming liquor,badly hitting their families and their children’s education.

ii. Increasing liquor consumption was also a major cause fordomestic violence, particularly against women, and had contributed toa rise in crimes. “Women are suffering more than anyone else due toincreasing liquor consumption,” he said.

iii. An official at the Chief Minister’s office said Mr. Kumartook the decision after a high-level meeting with officials here. InJuly, Mr. Kumar had declared that prohibition would be imposed if heretained power in the assembly elections. Bihar Excise andProhibition Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan had earlier said that thestate government would soon take steps to impose a liquor ban.

iv. The decision is expected to derail the government’sfinancial health. The excise department went into an overdrive in2007 following a new policy and started issuing licences formarketing liquor across the state. The revenue collection of excisedepartment registered a more than 10-fold jump, from Rs.319 crore in2005-06 to Rs.3,650 crore in 2014-15.

 

                                       Current Affairs - 25th November 2015

 

1. 13th ASEAN-India Summit held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia

i. The Thirteenth ASEAN-India Summit was held successfully on 21November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Theme of the summit was OurPeople, Our Community, Our Vision.

ii. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of MalaysiaNajib Razak as Malaysia holds the chair for the year 2015.

iii. The summit was participated by the Heads of ASEAN MemberStates and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The SecretaryGeneral of ASEAN was also a participant of the summit.

2. Karnataka launches 'Tourist Mitras'

i. The Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka, along withthe Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) and theState Home Department, today launched in Bangalore ‘Tourist Mitra’,a 175-member friendly force, to reinforce smooth and secureexperiences for visitors to the state’s tourist spots.

ii. The launch was inaugurated by R.V. Deshpande, Minister forLarge & Medium Industries and Tourism, Government ofKarnataka
iii. In the first phase of the project, 175 home guardsunderwent three weeks of lectures followed by practical training fora month before stationing them across select destinations 13districts.

iv. The training includes imparting basic language skills,lectures by senior tourism and police officers and efforts are alsounderway to teach the guards conversational skills in Russian,Chinese, French and German languages.

v. The ‘mitras’ will have both static and patrol duties in thetourist locations. Presently, they will be on a 12-hour duty andthere would be special helplines as per the needs of the relevantdistricts.

3. Anju Bobby George appointed Chairperson of TargetOlympic Podium Scheme

i. Anju Bobby George, the former long jump world champion, was on24 November 2015 appointed as the chairperson of the Target OlympicPodium Scheme (TOPS). She will be assuming the charge in the firstweek of December 2015.

ii. Her appointment was approved by the Union Ministry of Sportsand Youth Affairs. The post of the chairperson was lying vacant afterthe resignation of Anurag Thakur, the BJP parliamentarian andSecretary, Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).

iii. She is presently a member of the TOPS' identificationcommittee, which also includes national badminton coach PullelaGopichand and former Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid.

iv. Anju from Kerala was the first Indian athlete who won thebronze medal in the World Athletics Championships held in Paris in2003.

v. In 2005, she with a jump of 6.75 meters had won a silver medalat the Monte Carlo World Athletics Championships. However, in 2014,she was declared winner of Monte Carlo Athletic Championship by theIAAF following disqualification of Gold Medalist Tatyana Kotova ofRussia for doping.

vi. The TOP Scheme under the National Sports Development Fund(NSDF) was formulated with the objective of identifying andsupporting potential medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.The focused disciplines of the scheme were Athletics, Archery,Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Shooting.

4. Nuclear-capable Dhanush missile successfully testfired from warship Subhadra

i. The nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile was successfullytest fired from warship Subhadra, off the Puri coast of Odisha in theBay of Bengal. The test was conducted by Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation (DRDO) and it was a perfect mission as themissile hit the target point with high degree of accuracy.

ii. One of the five missiles indigenously developed by the DRDOunder its strategic Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme(IGMDP). The surface-to-surface missile is a naval variant ofPrithvi-II missile and can carry both conventional as well as anuclear payload of 500 kg.

iii. The missile has a length of 8.53 meters and is 0.9 meterwide. It is single-stage, liquid propelled which can hit both landand sea-based targets upto strike range of 350 kms. The missilealready has been inducted into the armed Services. Naval variant ofthe missile was first successfully tested in 2012.

5. Japan successfully launches its first commercialsatellite

i. Japan has successfully launched its first commercial satelliteon 24 November 2015 as part its national space programme. JapaneseH-IIA rocket carrying Canadian TELSTAR 12V communications andbroadcasting satellite for operator Telesat was successfully liftedoff from Tanegashima Space Centre (TSC).

ii. With this, Japan is entered into the commercial satellitelaunch business which is mainly dominated by European and Russiancompanies.

iii. The first commercial satellite launch was overseen by JapanAerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.Japan is aiming to become a major player in the commercial satellitelaunching business which is worth 2.5 billion dollars a year.

iv. India had launched its first commercial satellite successfullyin 2007 using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying Italiansatellite AGILE for space exploration.

6. India-Singapore signed 10 agreements on mutualco-operation

i. India and Singapore on 24 November 2015 signed 10 agreements onmutual co-operation. These include Defence, Civil Aviation, NationalPlanning and cyber Security.

ii. The agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minster ofNarendra Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. NarendraModi was on a two-day visit to Singapore (23 November to 24 November2015).

iii. Agreement on the Extension of Loan of Artifacts to the AsianCivilisations Museum of Singapore Executive Programme on Cooperationin the Fields of the Arts, Heritage, Archives and Library for theYears 2015-2018.

iv. Operationalisation of the Technical Agreement on Sharing WhiteShipping Information was signed between the Indian Navy and theSingapore Navy signed on 21 July 2015.

v. Different MoUs signed are
MoU on Cooperation in the area ofCyber Security
MoU in Civil Aviation
MoU on Cooperation in theField of Planning
MoU on Cooperation to Combat Illicit Traffickingin Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substance and their Precursors

7. 10th East Asia Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

i. The 10th East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. The year’s summit held under the theme Our People, OurCommunity, Our Vision. It was the 10th anniversary of theestablishment of the East Asia Summit.

ii. The summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Malaysia NajibRazak and attended by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN MemberStates, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Russiaand the United States of America.

iii. The 2005 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of theEAS. The 2010 Ha Noi Declaration on the Commemoration of the 5thAnniversary of the EAS. The 2011 Declaration of the EAS on thePrinciples for Mutually Beneficial Relations

iv. The commitments emphasised the role of the EAS as aLeaders-led forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation onpolitical, security and economic issues of common regional concernwith the aim to promote peace, stability and economic prosperity inEast Asia. The 11th East Asia Summit will be held Lao PDR in 2016.9th East Asia Summit was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 13 November2014.
 

                                        Current Affairs - 24th November 2015

 

1. Operation Inherent Resolve to tackle ISIS

i. Operation Inherent Resolve: US military operation for theintervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

ii. Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) was in news in fourth week ofNovember 2015. It came into news after the Paris terror attack on 13November 2015 in which about 130 people were killed and several wereinjured.

iii. OIR is the US military operation name for the interventionagainst the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including boththe campaign in Iraq and the campaign in Syria. Effective 22September 2015, III Corps is responsible for Combined Joint TaskForce- Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).

iv. The anti-ISIS coalition is a coalition of 65-member nations.

2. Kuldip Nayar honoured with Ramnath Goenka LifetimeAchievement Award

i. Kuldip Nayar, a veteran journalist, columnist and author washonoured with Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award on 23November 2015. He was awarded for his contribution to journalism. Hewas conferred with the award at the eighth edition of the prestigiousRamnath Goenka Excellence awards ceremony held in Delhi.

ii. The award for the years 2013 and 2014 was handed over byInformation and Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley, who also handedseveral awards in different categories to over 56 journalists fortheir exceptional reportage in print as well as broadcast media.

iii. Kuldip Nayar is former editor of Indian Express. For leadinga protest against the excesses of the administration during theEmergency (21-month period in 1975–77), he was jailed under theMaintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). At the time ofemergency, he was a Urdu press reporter.

iv. Some other awardees includeed Prakash Kardaley Memorial Awardfor Civic Journalism (2014), Prakash Kardaley Memorial Award forCivic Journalism (2013),

3. Foodpanda ties up with IRCTC

i. Food ordering portal Foodpanda has tied up with Indian RailwayCatering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for order and delivery offood to the passengers. IRCTC is Indian railways’ catering, tourismand online ticketing platform.

ii. Passengers can now order meals of their choice throughfoodpanda’s aggregator model from a wide variety of cuisineoptions. To ensure that food reaches consumers in the best condition,foodpanda will deploy its own delivery fleet to fulfil alldeliveries.

iii. The service will be initially launched at the New DelhiRailway station post and then it will be rolled out in Mumbai,Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai.

iv. Customers will have the choice to order meals at least 2 hoursin advance of the travel. Delivery of food will be aligned to thetrain arrival time at the station and consumers can pay for the orderin advance online or make on the spot cash payment as per theirconvenience, the company said in a statement.

4. Michael Keating appointed as Special Representativefor Somalia and Head of UNSOM

i. The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 November 2015 announcedthe appointment of Michael Keating of United Kingdom as SpecialRepresentative for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission inSomalia (UNSOM).

ii. Keating will succeed Nicholas Kay, who will complete hisassignment in December 2015. Kay was associated with UNSOM for overthe past two and a half years.

iii. Keating along with him brings an extensive experience insupporting political and peace building transitions, as well asleading complex humanitarian and recovery programs in Afghanistan,the Middle East, and Africa.

iv. While being Associate Director of Chatham House since 2012, heconcurrently served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General’sSpecial Envoy to Syria. He was Deputy Special Representative of theSecretary.

5. HRD Ministry sets up exclusive panel on Sanskritpromotion

i. The human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has constituted a13-member expert committee exclusively on Sanskrit in its attempt torevive interest in the ancient language.

ii. Headed by N Gopalaswami, the former chief electioncommissioner (CEC) and now Chancellor of Rashtriya SanskritVidyapeeth in Tirupati, the committee has been asked to recommendmeasures to integrate the study of the ancient language with otherdisciplines such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, medical scienceand law, suggest changes in Sanskrit education in schools anduniversities and recommend ways to impart Sanskrit education throughmodern tools.

iii. The committee is also tasked with charting out an action planto develop the language in the next 10 years.

iv. This is the second committee set up by the Smriti Irani-ledministry on Indian languages. Although the first panel’s broaderbrief included promotion of classical languages, the second one isexclusively dedicated to Sanskrit. Notified on November 18, thecommittee is expected to submit its report in three months.

6. Urban Development Minister launched portal for smalltraders’ e-lala

i. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on 23 November 2015inaugurated ‘e-lala’, an e-commerce portal of Confederation ofAll India Traders (CAIT) in New Delhi. The e-lala initiative is aimedat promoting the interests of 5.77 crore small businesses in thecontext of rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country.

ii. E-lala will enable physical stores to have their own onlinestores enabling them to retain their customer base besides additionalsource of growth in business. E-lala, a city and location basedportal, seeks to promote business-to-business and trader-to-customertransactions in a city.

iii. It seeks to eliminate middlemen and resulting in reduced costof goods and services. With the emerging global threat frome-commerce to small traders, e-lala initiative will address theproblem with proper outreach and marketing strategies.

iv. E-lala's distinctive features include a specialty cornerpromoting unique products associated with each city. It carries aninquiry corner enabling consumers post their enquiries for aparticular product which will be responded to in 24 hours. It carriesan artisan’s corner enabling artisans and entrepreneurs displaytheir products.

v. Online shoppers in the country are expected to increase from 34million in 2014 to 100 million in 2016 and e-commerce has grownmanifold from 3600 crore rupees in 2011 to 53000 crore rupees in2015.

7. Marathi actor Prashant Damle selected for DinanathMangeshkar award

i. Noted Marathi actor Prashant Damle was on 23 November 2015selected for the Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award. He will beconferred with the award by Lata Mangeshkar in April 2016 on theoccasion of the death anniversary of Master Dinanath.

ii. He was chosen for the award for his outstanding contributionin the field of theatre, film and music. The announcement was made byPandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar at the 100th show of Damle's Marathiplay Karti Kaljat Ghusli. Hridaynath was the chief guest for the100th show of the the Marathi play.

iii. He is a leading actor of the Marathi theatre and has acted innumerous Marathi dramas, movies and television serials for over 33years. He has been associated with Marathi Theatre since 1983 andtill date has performed in 26 different plays and variety of roles.

iv. In the journey of performing arts, he has been honoured withmany prestigious awards. Till date he has 4 Limca Book Records by hisname. He has also performed in 37 Marathi Feature Films and 24marathi serials.

v. Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar award was instituted in 1999 in thememory of Dinanath Mangeshkar, father of Lata Mangeshkar. Theprestigious annual award is given to personalities from Marathi andHindi theatre, music and films.

8. Rishi Gour appointed as Country President of SodexoIndia On-site Services

i. Rishi Gour was on 23 November 2015 appointed as CountryPresident of Support services company Sodexo India On-site Serviceswith effect from 1 September 2015.

ii. Gour joined Sodexo in 2011 and has since then worked towardsthe brand's promise of delivering quality of life services to over400 corporate, education and healthcare clients. Prior to joiningSodexo, Gour was associated with WNS Global Services, Accenture andCITIL across various functional areas.

iii. He has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering fromIIT-Varanasi and a Post-Graduate degree in Management from IIMAhmedabad.

iv. Sodexo India On-site Services is a leading provider ofservices that impact the Quality of Life of clients and theiremployees in the corporate segment and remote sites, patients andvisitors in the healthcare segment, and students and faculty in theeducation segment.

v. Sodexo is considered a strategic partner to its clients anddelivers more than 40 different food and facilities managementsolutions across 1200+ sites through its 40000 employees who touchthe lives of 1 million consumers daily.

 

                                   Current Affairs - 22nd & 23rd November 2015

 

1. Swati Dandekar appointed Executive Director to AsianDevelopment Bank by Obama

i. Indian-American politician Swati Dandekar was on 20 November2015 nominated as executive director to the Asian Development Bank(ADB) with ambassadorial rank by US President Barack Obama.

ii. Dandekar, 64, will succeed Robert M Orr, who has held theposition since 2010. Dandekar will serve as one of 12 internationaldirectors and hold the title of ambassador.

iii. Obama announced his intent to nominate Dandekar to this topUS position in Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with other keyadministration appointments and nominations.

About Swati Dandekar

• She was the first-ever Indian-American to beelected to Iowa House of Representatives in 2003.
• Shewas the first Indian-born American citizen to win a state legislatureseat in the United States.
• She served in theIowa House and Senate from 2003 to 2009 until she was appointed tothe Iowa Utilities Board in 2011.
• She wasalso member of the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011.
• Shereceived a Bachelor of Science from Nagpur University and aPost-Graduate Diploma from Bombay University.

2. Supersonic interceptor AAD missile successfully testfired

i. Indigenously developed supersonic Advanced Air Defence (AAD)interceptor missile was successfully test fired from the Abdul KalamIsland off the Odisha coast.

ii. The supersonic interceptor missile was launched after gettingsignals from tracking radars. The missile moved through thetrajectory path and destroyed the incoming electronically preparedtarget missile in mid-air at an endo-atmospheric altitude. During thetest, the kill effect of the interceptor missile was analysed fromdata collected by multiple tracking sources.

iii. The interceptor AAD missile has been indigenously developedby the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) underBallistic Missile Defence Programme.

iv. AAD missile is capable of destroying any incoming ballisticmissile at lower (endo-atmospheric) altitude, giving full-fledgedmulti-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system to country.

v. It is a 7.5-meter tall and single stage solid rocket propelledguided missile. It is equipped with a navigation system along with ahi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.

vi. It also has its own mobile launcher, sophisticated radars andindependent tracking system to secure data link for interception andhoming capabilities.

3. Mahatma Gandhi International Centre inaugurated inMatale by Sri Lankan President

i. The President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena on 22 November2015 inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre (MGIC)inaugurated in Matale. The Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha was alsopresent at the inauguration ceremony.

ii. The center was inaugurated as a tribute to the contribution ofMahatma Gandhi to humanity and the continuing relevance of hisprinciples and philosophy to mankind.

iii. The centre was built at a cost of over 4 crore rupees. TheCentre consists of an auditorium, library, meditation centre and aconference hall. It was funded under the Indian government'sDevelopment Cooperation Partnership with Sri Lanka.

iv. It will provide a platform to reinforce the teachings ofMahatma Gandhi and promote harmony among different communities. Itwill enrich the lives of people through meditation and yoga and canalso be used as a resource centre for cultural activities. It willalso help the youth to enhance their knowledge in various fieldsthrough seminars, workshops and conferences.

4. Djokovic became 1st player to win ATP World TourFinals for 4th consecutive time

i. World number one Novak Djokovic on 22 November 2015 won theseason-ending ATP World Tour finals. In the title clash played inLondon, Djokovic defeated third seed Roger Federer, in straight sets,6-3, 6-4.

ii. With this, he also became the first player to win ATP worldtour finals for the fourth consecutive time. He also surpassed IvanLendl's 1987 feat, when he had won his third straight Tour Finalstitle in New York.

iii. Overall, this was the fifth time that Djokovic won thistournament. He ends the year with 11 titles, including three GrandSlams, taking his total to 10 majors.

iv. Besides, in the Doubles, the eighth seeded Indo-Romanian teamof Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea has ended as runner up. They lostto the second seeded Dutch-Romanian team of Jean-Julien Rojer andHoria Tecau, 6-4, 6-3.

v. Bopanna was appearing in his second season-end Finale, havingreached the final with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2012.

5. Francois Hollande to be Chief Guest at 2016 RepublicDay celebrations

i. French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest atthe 67th Republic Day parade of January 26, 2016. The announcementmight have been finalised during the talks between French ForeignMinister Laurent Fabius and his counterpart Sushma Swaraj and PrimeMinister Narendra Modi in Delhi.

ii. The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega event willbe symbolic. It would also send a strong message of a worldwidesolidarity among the democratic countries against terrorism of theIslamic State (IS) which had staged barbaric attacks on November 13,2015 in Paris.

iii. Mr. Francois Hollande would be the 5th highest dignitary fromFrance to be Chief Guest of Indian Republic Day parade after PrimeMinister Jacques Chirac (1976), President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing(1980), President Jacques Chirac (1998) and President Nicolas Sarkozy(2008).

iv. With this invitation, France now holds distinction of beingthe guest of honour for the maximum five times of Indian Republic Dayparade followed by Bhutan (four times); Mauritius and USSR/Russia(three times each).

6. ASEAN leaders sign declaration for launching ASEANEconomic Community

i. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders havesigned a declaration for launching ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)which would be similar to European Union (EU)-style regional economicbloc.

ii. In this regard, Kuala Lumpur declaration on the establishmentof the AEC was signed by the leaders of 10-nation grouping chaired byMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at its 27th Summit held in KualaLumpur, Malaysia. It was signed in front of world leaders includingIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary General BanKi-moon.

iii. AEC would make ASEAN a single market with a free flow ofgoods, capital and skilled labour in the region. Integrate SoutheastAsia’s diverse 10 economies which has combine population of 620million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.4trillion US dollars.

iv. Abolish tariffs on imports within the bloc member countriesand promote the liberalization of service industries such asretailing and tourism. Calls for more free movement of and skilledlabour within the region including of doctors, architects and otherswith special skills.

v. Apart from this AEC, ASEAN leaders also adopted the declarationon “ASEAN 2025, forging ahead together”. The ASEAN 2025 documentcharts the path for building AEC over the next 10 years.

7. Pankaj Advani clinches 15th IBSF World SnookerChampionship title

i. India’s most successful cueist Pankaj Advani added anotherfeather in his cap by winning the IBSF World Snooker Championshipafter battling past his Chinese opponent Zhua Xintong in the final totake his world title count to 15. Advani, 30, once again mesmerisedthe green baize to prevail over the teenage sensation 8-6 in thebest-of-15 final at Sunrise Crystal Bay resort.

ii. The victory for Bengaluru’s ‘Golden Boy’ comes justafter he clinched the IBSF Billiards crown in September. He is alsothe first person in history to take the short (6-Red) and the longsnooker format in the same calendar year.

iii. India’s poster of cuesport, who led 5-2 in the firstsession, looked unstoppable against his talented opponent even afterthe break, but was tested by the 18-year-old cueist in a match whichsaw top snooker at display. Leading 6-2 after the break, Advani’smarch was halted by Xintong when he pulled back two frames to givethe champion cueist a taste of his own medicine.

8. Swachh Delhi Abhiyan launched in Delhi

i. A special cleanliness drive, Swachh Delhi Abhiyan has beenlaunched in the national capital Delhi to remove debris and garbagelying in various localities. The drive was launched by UrbanDevelopment Minister Venkaiah Naidu and shall continue in New Delhitill the end November 2015 month.

ii. Launched as part of Union Government’s flagship SwachhBharat Abhiyan. It is being undertaken up by the Union Government,Delhi government and all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi.

iii. Under the campaign, 3 municipal bodies in Delhi will clearthe garbage and the concrete waste will be lifted by the Public WorksDepartment (PWD) of Delhi government.

iv. Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had launched aspecial mobile application to give a push to the drive. Using thisapp and appilication people can send photographs of debris andgarbage lying in their areas so that the concerned agencies couldtake steps to remove them.

 

                                     Current Affairs - 21st November 2015

 

1. Harshavardhan Neotia elected as President of FICCI

i. Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman of Ambuja Neotia group, was on20 November 2015 elected as the President of industry body Federationof Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for the year2016.

ii. Neotia will succeed the current FICCI President Jyotsna Suri,Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharat Hotels Ltd, during thechamber's AGM in December 2015.

About Harshavardhan Neotia

* Currently, Neotia is the Senior Vice President(VP) of FICCI.
* He is also a member of theRajasthan Chief Minister's Advisory Council and West Bengal ChiefMinister's Core Committee on Industry.  
*Harshavardhan Neotia is the Chairman of Ambuja Neotia Groupthat covers the entire spectrum of the Real Estate industry includinghousing, hospitality, health care and education.
*In 1999, Neotia was conferred with Padma Shri for his outstandinginitiative in social housing.

2. UN Security Council approved French-sponsoredresolution urging action against ISIS

i. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 20 November 2015unanimously adopted a French-sponsored resolution 2249 (2015) callingall nations to take all necessary measures to prevent and suppressthe terrorist acts of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) andother extremist groups.

ii. It mentions that ISIS group constitutes a global andunprecedented threat to international peace and security andexpresses its determination to combat it by all means. Itunequivocally condemns in the strongest terms the horrifyingterrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State in Sousse, Tunisiaand Ankara, Turkey in 2015.

iii. It urges UN member states to intensify their efforts to stemthe flow of foreign terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria and toprevent and suppress the financing on terrorism. It is the 14thterrorism-related resolution adopted by the UNSC since 1999.

iv. However, the resolution does not constitute an authorisationfor military action because it is not drafted under Chapter 7 of theUN Charter which is the only way the United Nations can give a greenlight to the use of force.

v. The resolution was adopted by UNSC a week after ISIS extremistshad launched a coordinated barbaric gun and bomb assault in Paris(France) on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people.

3. AAI signed MoU with IL&FS to bolster overseasexpansion

i. Airports Authority of India (AAI) on 20 November 2015 signed aMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IL&FS Global FinancialServices to spread its wings overseas. IL&FS Global FinancialServices is a subsidiary of infrastructure giant IL&FS.

ii. Through this tie-up, AAI aims to go global from local,considering its expertise and capabilities in airport development andoperation and management. The authority will get an opportunity toidentify airport development opportunities in Middle East, Africaregions as well as in CIS countries.

iii. Over a period of time, AAI has developed more than 60airports in metro and non-metro cities in India.

iv. Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited(IL&FS) is one of India's leading infrastructure development andfinance companies.

4. UN Security Council approved French-sponsoredresolution urging action against ISIS

i. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 20 November 2015unanimously adopted a French-sponsored resolution 2249 (2015) callingall nations to take all necessary measures to prevent and suppressthe terrorist acts of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) andother extremist groups.

ii. It mentions that ISIS group constitutes a global andunprecedented threat to international peace and security andexpresses its determination to combat it by all means. Itunequivocally condemns in the strongest terms the horrifyingterrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State in Sousse, Tunisiaand Ankara, Turkey in 2015.

iii. It urges UN member states to intensify their efforts to stemthe flow of foreign terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria and toprevent and suppress the financing on terrorism. It is the 14thterrorism-related resolution adopted by the UNSC since 1999.

iv. However, the resolution does not constitute an authorisationfor military action because it is not drafted under Chapter 7 of theUN Charter which is the only way the United Nations can give a greenlight to the use of force.

v. The resolution was adopted by UNSC a week after ISIS extremistshad launched a coordinated barbaric gun and bomb assault in Paris(France) on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people.

5. Russia inks deal to build Egypt’s first nuclearplant at Dabaa

i. Russia has signed two agreements with Egypt to finance andbuild its first nuclear power plant at Dabaa on the Mediterraneancoast in the northwest of the country. As per one of the agreement,Russia will extend a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of constructionof the nuclear plant which is expected to be completed by 2022.

ii. Russia will grant a 35-year loan to the Egypt which is theArab world’s most populous country. However in the agreement theloan has been not disclosed as the details of the credit agreementare still under discussion.

iii. Dabaa Nuclear plant will be third-generation plant with fourreactors with total capacity of 1,200 MW. On completion the plantwill make Egypt a regional leader in terms of civil nucleartechnology.

iv. Since 1980s, Egypt has been pursuing its plan to have apeaceful nuclear programme for the production of electricity atDabaa. But the North African country had frozen its nuclear programmeplans after disputes with local residents due to the Chernobyldisaster in 1986.

6. Rajasthan, South Australia signed Sister-StateAgreement

i. Rajasthan and South Australia on 20 November 2015 signed thehistoric Sister-State Agreement to boost export and investmentopportunities between the two states.

ii. The agreement was signed by South Australia Trade andInvestment Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith and Rajasthan ChiefMinister Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan.

iii. The sister-state relationship between South Australia andRajasthan is based on a two-way exchange of research, policy andtechnical capabilities. The agreement provides partnershipopportunities across key sectors where South Australian business willoffer services and product support.

iv. The expertise of South Australia in sustainable watermanagement will also play a critical role to further improve wateraccess and security for businesses and communities in Rajasthan.

v. In November 2015, the South Australian Government releasedresearch showing that 65000 South Australian jobs are linked tointernational exports. It showed export jobs are not just limited totraditional export sectors like agriculture but also to services,health care, communications, transport.

7. Walmart offers entrepreneur development programmefor women

i. Walmart India today announced an entrepreneur developmentprogramme for women, a move to encourage women owned businesses(WOBs) in the supply chain. This will include softer payment termsfor them in their first year of empanelment with Walmart India.

ii. Speaking at the launch of Andhra Pradesh Rural InclusiveGrowth Project on Thursday, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, WalmartIndia, said, “Andhra Pradesh will be one of the first states inIndia where we will start an entrepreneurial programme for women incollaboration with Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty. Underthis programme, we will guide and advise aspiring women entrepreneursin starting modern Kirana stores in their communities.”

iii. As an ongoing commitment to empowering women around the worldand helping WOBs succeed and grow, Walmart has committed to source$20 billion from women for its US business and double sourcing fromwomen in international markets, the statement said.

iv. Wal-Mart India Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WalmartStores Inc., owns and operates 21 Best Price Modern Wholesale storesin 9 states across India. The company plans to open 50 more stores by2020.

v. Walmart has also trained 17,891 women with life skills in Indiathrough its Women in Factories (WiF) training programme. Launched in2011, WiF is working toward empowering 60,000 women working in 150factories that supply products to retailers in Bangladesh, CentralAmerica, China, and India.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 20th November 2015

 

1. 23rd APEC Economic Leaders Summit held at Manila

i. 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic LeadersSummit was held at Manila, Philippines from 18 November to 19November 2015. The summit was chaired by Philippines PresidentBenigno S. Aquino III.

ii. The theme of the Summit was Building Inclusive Economies,Building a Better World. After the conclusion of the summit, theleaders from 21 member-countries issued the 2015 Leaders Declarationtitled Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World: AVision for an Asia-Pacific Community

iii. Peru will chair APEC throughout 2016 and host the 24th APECEconomic Leaders’ Meeting. The idea of APEC was firstly publiclybroached by former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke during aspeech in Seoul, Korea on 31 January 1989. Ten months later, 12Asia-Pacific economies met in Canberra, Australia to establish APEC.

iv. China, Hong Kong, China and Chinese Taipei joined in 1991.Mexico and Papua New Guinea followed in 1993. Chile acceded in 1994.And in 1998, Peru, Russia and Viet Nam joined, taking the fullmembership to 21.

2. UNHCR chosen for Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace,Disarmament and Development for 2015

i. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) wason 19 November 2015 chosen for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace,Disarmament and Development for 2015.

ii. A decision in this regard was taken by the international juryof the prize, headed by Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansarion the occasion of birth annniversary of Indira Gandhi.

iii. The UNHCR was chosen for the award in recognition of itsimmense contributions in assisting millions of refugees in theirrehabilitation and resettlement.

Contributions of UNHCR

• It was established on 14 December 1950 by theUN General Assembly with a mandate to lead and co-ordinateinternational action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problemsworldwide.
• Its headquarters is in Geneva,Switzerland and operates in 123 countries across the world.
•Since its inception, it has helped tens of millions of refugees,returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and statelesspeople.
• Its ongoing work in Turkey, Lebanon,Jordan and the Mediterranean region to deal with the EuropeanMigration Crisis has been appreciated worldwide.
• InIndia, it has been working closely for decades with the government inidentifying refugees and their rehabilitation and resettlement.
•In the absence of a national legal framework for refugees, UNHCRconducts refugee status determination under its mandate for asylumseekers who approach the Office.
• Based onthis documentation, refugees can apply for long term visas (LTVs),work permits, access to education facilities, etc with the Governmentof India.
• For its humanitarian workworldwide, so far it has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 andagain in 1981.
• At present, Antonio Guterresis the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

3. Srishti Pandey won Indiana FIDE Rating ChessTournament

i. Maharashtra’s chess player Srishti Pandey on 18 November 2015clinched the second Indiana All India FIDE Rating Chess tournament.The tournament was organised by Nagpur Taluka Chess Association,which concluded at Dr Hedgewar Smarak Samiti Hall, Reshimbagh,Nagpur.

ii. Fourteen years old Pandey shared points with Avadh Chaitanyafrom Madhya Pradesh playing on the top board and ended with seven andhalf points each at the end of the ninth and last round of theSwiss-league tournament.

iii. After application of the tie-breaker, top-seed FIDE MasterVinaykumar Matta from Andhra Pradesh settled for the fourth position.Third seed FIDE Master Saurav Kherdekar from Railways was relegatedto seventh position.

4. Nitish Kumar sworn-in as Bihar Chief Minister

i. Senior JDU leader Nitish Kumar was sworn-in as Chief Ministerof Bihar for the fifth time on 20 November 2015. The swearing-inceremony was held at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

ii. Governor Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office andsecrecy to Nitish Kumar. He also administered the oath of the officeto other council of ministers belonging to RJD, JD(U) and Congressparties.

iii. RJD president Lalu Prasad's sons, first time MLA TejaswiPrasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, were also sworn in.

iv. In the elections held in five phases from October 12 Octoberand 5 November 2015 Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD),Janata Dal (United) (JDU) and Indian National Congress (INC) emergedas the winner of the election with thumping two-third majority. RJD,a part of the grand Alliance with 80 seats emerged as the largestparty.

5. World Economic Forum released Global Gender GapReport 2015

i. World Economic Forum (WEF) on 19 November 2015 released theGlobal Gender Gap Report 2015. It ranked 145 economies according tohow well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based oneconomic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

ii. As per the report, the global gender gap across health,education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4percent in the past 10 years suggesting it will take another 118years to close this gap completely.

iii. And, out of the 145 countries surveyed, while Iceland toppedthe Gender Gap Index for the seventh year in a row, India stood atthe 108th position.

iv. Top 5 countries with high gender equality are Iceland (1),Norway (2), Finland (3), Sweden (4) and Ireland (5) and fivecountries with least gender equality are Iran (141), Chad (142),Syria (143), Pakistan (144) and Yemen (145).

v. Among the G20 countries, while India and Saudi Arabia have thelowest rate of labour participation (40 percent), the USA has thehighest participation rate that is at around 80 percent.

vi. In Economic Participation and Opportunity segment, India’sperformance was one of the lowest (139 rank) among the surveyedcountries. While the labour force participation rate among women was29 percent, it was 83 among men.

6. TCS, Intel launched Centre of Excellence for IoT inHyderabad

i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest softwareexporter, on 18 November 2015 launched a new Centre of Excellence(CoE) for Internet of Things (IoT) in collaboration with Intel. TheCoE is located at the TCS campus in Hyderabad.

ii. Its focus is to integrate IoT solutions developed by TCS onIntel IoT platforms and to fast-track creation of end-to-endsolutions. It will augment developing new use cases for variousindustries for global customers in manufacturing, retail, hi-tech,semiconductors, healthcare and telecom industries.

iii. It will enable the creation of indigenous and innovativesolutions, establish a strong ecosystem of IoT, cloud computing, anda software-defined network. It will help in creating new businessopportunities; simplify product development and help customers dealwith rapid changes in technology.

iv. It refers to a network of internet connected devices which areembedded with electronic sensors and data transmitting technologies.By using the Internet, the data collected by sensors in the IoTdevices like cars, power systems and even as small as tooth brushestransmitted to other networked devices and data processing systems.

7. University of East London awarded honorary doctorateto Ashok Amritraj

i. Tennis champion-turned Hollywood filmmaker Ashok Amritraj on 19November 2015 was awarded with an honorary doctorate of Arts by theUniversity of East London. Amritraj was honoured for promotingtalented moviemakers from across the world, including India.

ii. Born on 22 February 1956 in Chennai, Amritraj started hiscareer as a tennis player who represented India on an internationallevel. He competed in doubles at Wimbledon and the US Open. Hereached the third round of the US Open in 1977. He also gainedvictories over Paul McNamee and his brother Vijay Amritraj insingles.

iii. His filmography as producer includes movies such as Bringingdown the House, Premonition, Machete, Blue Valentine and Ghost Rider:Spirit of Vengeance. He sat on the board of the Motion Picture andTelevision Fund (MPTF) for seven years.

   

                                    Current Affairs - 19th November 2015

 

1. Justice T S Thakur appointed Chief Justice of India

i. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 18 November 2015appointed Justice Tirath Singh Thakur as the Chief Justice of India.

ii. Justice Thakur will take over the office from 3 December 2015as the 43rd Chief Justice of India. His tenure will be till 3 January2017.

About Justice T. S. Thakur

• Justice Thakur was enrolled as a Pleader inOctober 1972 and joined the Chamber of his father D.D. Thakur.
•He practised in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Taxationand Service matters in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir.
•He was elected as the President of the Bar Association in 1986.
•He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1990.
• Hewas appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu &Kashmir on 16 February 1994.
• He wastransferred as Judge of the High Court of Karnataka in March 1994.
•In July 2004, he was transferred as a Judge of the High Court ofDelhi.
• He was appointed as Acting ChiefJustice of Delhi High Court on 9 April 2008.
• Hetook over as Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on11 August 2008.
• He was elevated as Judge ofSupreme Court and assumed the charge on 17 November 2009.
•He was conferred Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) degree byDr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow on 31 October2015.

2. Delhi Government approved Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015

i. The Delhi Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on18 November 2015 approved the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015. The Billenvisages the establishment of an independent authority toinvestigate offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Italso covers the Chief Minister’s Office.

ii. The bill drafted by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and DeputyCM Manish Sisodia largely resembles the provisions contained inUttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, 2011.

iii. The bill prescribes time-bound investigation of offenceswithin six months and states that as far as possible the trial insuch cases should be completed in six months. It also allowsauthorities to provisionally attach assets acquired by corrupt means.

iv. It provides that punishment for any act of corruption cannotbe less than six months and a maximum of 10 years. In rarest or rarecases, the corrupt public servant can be sentenced to lifeimprisonment. It seeks to bring Delhi Police, Delhi DevelopmentAuthority and municipal bodies under its ambit.

v. The Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015 is the newer version ofJanlokpal Bill, 2014, that had led CM Arvind Kejriwal to resign inFebruary 2014 after being at the helm of Delhi Government for 49days.  He had resigned after the version 2014 was unable to getthrough the legislative assembly.

3. Union Cabinet approved signing of TripartiteAgreement on IBSA Fund for Poverty Alleviation

i. The Union Cabinet on 18 November 2015 approved the signing ofthe Tripartite Agreement among India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA)on the IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger. Thedecision will help in strengthening the IBSA Fund which is a uniquevehicle in the context of South-South cooperation.

ii. The IBSA countries contribute 1 million US dollars eachannually to the Fund, which till January 2015 has accumulated to 28.2million US dollars, with total implemented/approved projectscommitment of 26.2 million US dollars. Remaining 2.09 million USdollars is available for programming. India on its part hascontributed 9.1 million US dollars so far to the Fund.

iii. The IBSA Fund undertakes development projects in thirdcountries. The first project to be financed by the IBSA Fund was insupport of agriculture and livestock development. It was conferredwith the South-South Partnership Award at the 2006 UN Day event heldin New York in December 2006.

iv. The IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger wasset up in 2004 as one of the three pillars of cooperation under theIBSA Dialogue Forum. The other two pillars are consultation andcoordination on global political issues and trilateral collaborationin concrete areas and projects.

4. World Toilet Day observed on 19 November with thetheme Sanitation and Nutrition

i. World Toilet Day (WTD) was observed on 19 November 2015 acrossthe world with the theme Sanitation and Nutrition. The aim of WTD isto raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t haveaccess to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to haveclean water and sanitation.

ii. The effort of the WTD in 2015 was to draw the world’sattention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutritionand improved health. WTD has been celebrated by the World ToiletOrganisation since 2001. It was later became an official UN day on 24July 2013 as the 67th session of UN General Assembly approved itthrough the Sanitation For All resolution.

iii. About 2.4 billion people around the world still do not haveadequate sanitation and 1 billion among them still defecate in theopen. Poor sanitation increases the risk of disease and malnutrition,especially for women and children.

iv. While 1000 children die each day due to poor sanitation, womenand girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offersprivacy. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly approved theSustainable Development Goal 6 that aims at access to water andsanitation for all.

5. Bangladesh Government blocked social media platformon security grounds

i. The Bangladesh Government on 18 November 2015 blocked popularsocial media platform Facebook and online messaging and callingservices WhatsApp and Viber on security grounds.

ii. Following this, Bangladesh Telecommunication RegulatoryCommission (BTRC) issued a letter to different telecom operators andall Internet Service Providers asking them to stop the servicesimmediately.

iii. The order came following the Supreme Court verdict of deathpenalty to war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali AhsanMohammad Mujahid. As per Dhaka Metropolitan Police, services wereblocked as criminals often use these services to plan and carry outsubversive acts.

iv. The blocking of social media is not a new phenomenon inBangladesh. On 18 January 2015, the BTRC blocked WhatsApp, Viber,Mypeople, Line and Tango across the country for security reasons. Theapps were unblocked after four days.

6. Mobile app to locate eToilet

i. Eram Scientific Solutions, manufacturer of electronic toilets,has unveiled a new eToilet mobile app. The Andriod app isdownloadable for free from Google Playstore by typing the keyword‘etoilets.’

ii. It helps locate the nearest etoilets via a map and addresslistings, Anvar Sadath K, CEO, Eram, says. It also provides detailson mode of access and information on facilities such asnapkin-vending machine and incinerator.

iii. The app enables sharing feedback on the user experience ofeToilet along with image uploading. The public can also use the appto suggest new places for installing eToilets. eToilets have opened anew era in the public sanitation sector with its unmanned,self-cleaning and remote monitoring features, Sadath said.

iv. The app has been launched as part of establishing a newconnected eToilet Infrastructure (CeTI) on the occasion of the WorldToilet Day (November 19).

7. Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed as India’sambassador to China

i. Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale has been appointed asIndia’s Ambassador to China. He will replace Ashok Kantha, who wasappointed as envoy to China in January 2014 for a two-year term i.e.till January 2016.

ii. Currently, Mr.Gokhale is serving as the India’s Ambassadorto Germany. He is a 1981 batch India Foreign Service (IFS) officer.Prior, to his appointment as India’s top envoy to Germany, he hadserved at different Indian missions including in Hong Kong, Hanoi,Beijing and New York.

iii. Mr.Gokhale also had held the posts of director (China andEast Asia) and joint secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry ofExternal Affairs (MEA) headquarters in New Delhi, . He is known to beone of the most knowledgeable Indian diplomat who is well versed withinternational affairs of China.

8. WHO launched World Antibiotic Awareness Week withthe theme Antibiotics: handle with care

i. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 16 November 2015launched the World Antibiotic Awareness Week with the themeAntibiotics: handle with care.

ii. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and encouragebest practices among the public, policymakers, health and agricultureprofessionals to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibioticresistance.

iii. The campaign is part of the WHO’s recent efforts to fightagainst antibiotic resistance due to growing misuse. In May 2015, theSixty-eighth World Health Assembly a global action plan to improveawareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance througheffective communication, education and training.

iv. Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are types ofmedications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria in orderto contain bacteria-caused illness. Though all bacteria are notharmful, few of them do cause such illnesses as syphilis,tuberculosis, salmonella, and some forms of meningitis.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 18th November 2015

 

1. Foundation stone of first Mega Food Park ofTelangana laid

i. Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat KaurBadal on 16 November 2015 laid the foundation stone of the first MegaFood Park in Telangana. The park is promoted by Smart Agro Food ParkPvt. Ltd. at Village Lakkampally and Chimrajpally, Nandipet Mandal,District Nizamabad, Telangana.

ii. Besides, two more Mega Food Parks have been sanctioned to beset up in Khammam and Mahboobnagar districts in Telangana.

iii. The park will have facilities of 5000 MT Multi Commodity ColdStorage, 5000 MT Raw Material Warehouse, 5000 MT Finished GoodWarehouse, 5000 MT Grain Silos, 500 MT Deep Freeze, 20 MT/dayTurmeric Processing Facility and modern food testing lab.

iv. The Mega Food Park Scheme is being implemented by the Ministryof Food Processing Industries in the country to give a major boost tothe Food Processing Sector. The scheme will also facilitate creationof modern infrastructure for food processing along the value chainfrom the farm to the market.

2. Intel’s 'Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’ begins inTelangana village

i. Chip-maker Intel has rolled out its ‘Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’programme towards rural digitisation in 10 States from Nadimpallevilllage in Telangana.

ii. Announcing the setting up of the first Unnati Kendra at thevillage in Mahabubnagar District, Intel Vice President-Sales andMarketing Group and Managing Director-South Asia Debjani Ghosh saidthe company will work with Central and the State governments toidentify “best framework” for digitisation.

iii. Creating a blueprint to drive technology-enabledtransformation at the grassroots in the select States is theobjective of the programme. While work with Telangana was underwayfor sometime now -- the Kendra at the Common Service Centre has beenfunctioning since June -- Intel was yet to decide on the other nineStates and number of villages in Telangana, Ms.Ghosh toldpresspersons at the launch function in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

iv. Effective digitisation of rural India will be central to thesuccess of Digital India programme, she said, while underscoring theneed to make such initiatives relevant to the people. It should leadto increase in the income and improved livelihood for rural people.

3. Kosmos 2510, the first satellite of EKS (Tundra)system, launched by Russia

i. Russia successfully on 17 November 2015 launched the firstsatellite for its newest early warning system, named EKS orIntegrated Space System. The satellite was officially named Kosmos2510 (Tundra 11L).

ii. This new-generation satellite is designed to restore Moscow'scapability to detect, track and identify worldwide missile launchesfrom space. The satellite was carried by a Soyuz-2.1b rocket fromSite 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located in Northern Russia.

iii. The launch was carried out under the command of DeputyCommander of Russian Aerospace Defence Forces (VKO) – Commander ofthe Space Troops Alexander Golovko.

iv. RKK Energia, a Russian manufacturer of spacecraft and spacestation components, built the Tundra spacecraft. The satellite willbe operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. It was deliveredinto a highly elliptical geosynchronous orbit, called a Tundra orbit.

4. Kiren Rijiju conferred with Disaster Risk ReductionAsia Champion honour by UN

i. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was on17 November 2015 designated as the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)Champion for the Asia Region by the United Nations Office forDisaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Rijiju also became the first Indianto be conferred with this honour.

ii. The honour was conferred Margarete Wahlstrom, SpecialRepresentative of the United Nations Secretary General for DisasterRisk Reduction, during the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders’Meeting towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR inAsia.

iii. Rijiju is the first regional champion for DRR after theSendai Agreement, giving an impetus to Union Government efforts tofacilitate regional support towards enabling community resilience inthe Asia-Pacific region.

iv. UNISDR recognizes individuals as Disaster Risk ReductionChampions for using their political influence to lobby for disasterrisk reduction in their country, region and beyond. This is anon-remunerated honorary position.

v. Only the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative forDisaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR may designate a DisasterRisk Reduction Champion by issuing a letter of designation. Itadvocates and promotes the goals and priorities of the Hyogo

4. Czech Republic defeated Russia to retain Fed Cup

i. The Czech Republic on 15 November 2015 successfully defendedits Fed Cup crown after beating Russia in final day's play in Prague.Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova emerged as the team’s hero asshe not only won her singles rubber to tie the match at 2-2 but alsoreturned to court after a break to secure another comeback victory inthe finals of the deciding doubles.

ii. The victory marked a fourth Fed Cup success for the CzechRepublic in five years. The country has won the Fed Cup nine timesoverall, including Czechoslovakia's five before its split in 1993.

iii. Fed Cup is the premier international team competition inwomen's tennis. It was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50thAnniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Thecompetition was known as the Federation Cup until 1995.

5. Delhi to host the first International QawwaliFestival 2016

i. Delhi will host the first International Qawwali Festival 2015titled Taali Ho that is scheduled to be held from 12 February 2016 to14 February 2016. This was announced during the performance byQawwali singers from India and Pakistan at India Islamic Centreproviding a glimpse of the festival.

ii. The festival aims to reinforce a notion that music is notrestricted to any borders. The event is also set to showcase theevolution that Qawwali has undergone with artistes performing afusion of old genre of music with a modern touch.

iii. Hailing from the Sikandrabad Gharana, the Nizami Brothers aregoing to perform at the event. They are among the most popularQawwali singers in Astana Gayki as well as the modern Qawwalitradition.

iv. Other Qawwali singers who will be a part of the event areWarsi brothers from Hyderabad, Hamza Akram and Taimoor Akram fromPakistan, Tahir Hussain Faridi Qawwal from US and Ahmed Sham SufiQawwal from Afghanistan.

6. PM Narendra Modi concluded his two-nation tour to UKand Turkey

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 November 2015 returned toIndia after his two-nation tour of the United Kingdom and Turkey.

ii. During his five-day visit which took place from 12 November to16 November 2015, Modi participated in G-20 summit at Antalya inTurkey and met with Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister DavidCameron, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others.

iii. During this tour, he stayed in UK (12 to 14 November 2015)and Turkey (14 to 16 November 2015).

iv. Modi inaugurated Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Memorial inLondon. He unveiled Basaveshwara Statue in London and addressed theIndian Community at Wembley Stadium, London. Modi paid homage atGandhi Statue in London and met with Queen Elizabeth II at BuckinghamPalace. With this, he became the first Indian head to address theBritish parliament

v. Modi held delegation level talks with Prime Minister DavidCameron of United Kingdom and also met Leader of the Labour Party andthe Leader of the Opposition. Modi attended the UK-India CEO Forum.He also visited Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plant, a subsidiary ofIndia’s Tata Motors, in Solihull

7. Indian Red Cross Society Secretary General SPAgarwal died

i. Eminent neurosurgeon and secretary general of Indian Red CrossSociety Satya Paul Agarwal died on 17 November 2015. He was 70. He issurvived by his wife Sarita Agarwal, son Tushar Agarwal and daughterAshima Sharma.

ii. Since 2005, Agarwal was serving the Indian Red Cross Societyas its Secretary General. He was also the Chair of the InternationalFederation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Advisory Body on SustainableDevelopment and Health.

iii. He was a well-known public health administrator and played apivotal role in execution of various disaster relief operations andcontrol of disease outbreak and epidemics in the country. From 1996to 2005, he was Director General of Health Services of UnionGovernment.

iv. In 2014, he received Belgian Redcross Flanders Gold Medal. In2010, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the third highestcivilian award, for his services to the fields of medicine and publichealth. In 2005, he was honoured with the Life Time Achievement awardfor TB.

8. Prithvi Raj Singh elected to Board of Governors ofWorld Water Council

i. Prithvi Raj Singh of Jal Bhagirathi Foundation was on 14November 2015 elected to Board of Governors of World Water Council(WWC) for 2016-18.

ii. The elections took place during the triennial 7th GeneralAssembly of WWC Members in Marseille, France where over 250 personsfrom 40 countries were gathered.

iii. Prithvi Raj was one among 35 members elected to the boardrepresenting the five Council colleges. He was elected in the Civilsociety organisations and water user associations (College 4)category.

iv. Over the next three years, from 2016 to 2018, the Board willsupport President Benedito Braga in implementing the council’sstrategy focussing on water security, adaptation, and sustainability.

 

                                  Current Affairs - 17th November 2015

 

1. Standard Chartered names Zarin Daruwala as new IndiaCEO

i. Zarin Daruwala will join as the India chief executive officerat Standard Chartered Bank, the international lender said in astatement on Tuesday. Daruwala was president of the wholesale lendingteam at ICICI Bank Ltd. Daruwala will report to Ajay Kanwal, regionalCEO, ASEAN & South Asia at Standard Chartered.

ii. In July, Standard Chartered had announced a revamp of its coremanagement team. Sunil Kaushal, who was heading the India operations,was moved and appointed as regional chief for Africa and Middle East.

iii. Daruwala, who had taken over as head of ICICI Bank’swholesale banking team in July 2010, has led teams in corporatebanking, project finance, structured finance, financial institutions,government and public sector banking, and has also helped buildICICI’s rural and agri-finance offering.

iv. ICICI Bank said its board has appointed Vishakha Mulye asexecutive director. Mulye, who is managing director and chiefexecutive officer of ICICI Venture Funds Management Co, will be incharge of the wholesale banking business at ICICI Bank, after herappointment.

2. Syed Akbaruddin appointed as next PermanentRepresentative of India to UN

i. Syed Akbaruddin was on 16 November 2015 appointed as the nextPermanent Representative of India to the United Nations at New York.He will replace Asoke Kumar Mukerji who assumed the office in April2013.

ii. In this position, Akbaruddin will head India’s diplomaticmission in the UN and articulates the country’s stand on criticalissues at the global forum.

iii. Akbaruddin is a 1985 batch officer of Indian Foreign Serviceand currently, he is serving as Additional Secretary in the Ministryof External Affairs. He also served as MEA spokesperson and was ChiefCoordinator of successful India Africa Foreign Summit held in NewDelhi from 26 October to 29 October 2015.

iv. So far, excluding Akbaruddin, 19 diplomats served as PermanentRepresentative of India to the UN. Notable among them are theincumbent Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari (1993-95),Brajesh C Mishra (1979-81), Nirupam Sen (2004-09) and Hardeep SinghPuri (2009-13) among others.

3. PRASAD and Swadesh Darshan schemes of Ministry ofTourism

i. PRASAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation andSpiritual Augmentation Drive) and SWADSH DARSHAN schemes of the UnionMinistry of Tourism were in news in the second week of November 2015.The two initiatives, along with Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs), werelaunched to achieve 1 per cent share of international touristarrivals by 2016-17 from the present 0.68 per cent.

ii. Both the schemes are under implementation in mission mode andaimed at developing world-class tourism related infrastructure.

iii. PRASAD's objective is to augment religious and spiritualtourism in the country as India is a land of many religions likeHinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Sufism.

iv. As part of SWADSH DARSHAN scheme, theme based tourism circuitsare identified for infrastructure development across the country.Theme Based Tourist Circuit (TBTC) is defined as a tourist circuitaround specific themes such as religion, culture, ethnicity, niche,etc. A TBTC could be confined to a state or could be a regionalcircuit covering more than a state or union territory (UT).

4. Siril Verma clinched silver at World JuniorBadminton Championships

i. Young shuttler Siril Verma on 15 November 2015 grabbed a silvermedal at the BWF World Junior Championships held in Lima, Peru.China’s Chia Hung Lu clinched the gold medal at the Boys' singlesevent.

ii. With this, Verma joined the ranks of Saina Nehwal, P.V.Sindhu, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, H.S. Prannoy and Sameer Verma, who havewon medals for India in the World junior championships.

iii. Verma came into limelight when he clinched the Junior U15Asian Championships title in 2013. He also became the first Indianplayer to win the Badminton Asia Youth Championships in 2013.

iv. The 15-year-old shuttler trains at the Pullela GopichandAcademy. Verma was born on 25 December 1999 in Andhra Pradesh (nowTelangana).

v. The BWF World Junior Championships is also known as the WorldJunior Badminton Championships. It is a tournament organized by theBadminton World Federation (BWF) to crown the best junior badmintonplayers (under-19) in the world.

5. Governing Council of NIIF constituted under thechairmanship of Finance Minister

i. Union Ministry of Finance on 13 November 2015 constituted theGoverning Council (GC) of the National Investment and InfrastructureFund (NIIF). The GC will be chaired by the Union Finance Minister andthe members included Secretary: DEA, Secretary: Financial Services,Arundhati Bhattacharya, Hemendra Kothari,T V Mohandas Pai.

ii. The GC was mandated to consider approval of guidelines forInvestment of Trust property/Corpus of NIIF and parameters forappointment and performance of investment managers/ advisors amongothers.

iii. Its objective is to back new and stressed projects and helprestart the investment cycle. It was proposed by the Union FinanceMinister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2015-16.

iv. It was approved by the Union Cabinet on 23 July 2015 with aninitial corpus of 20000 crore rupees. It was set up as a fund underthe provisions of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.

6. FIFA banned Nepal football Chief Ganesh Thapa for 10years for corruption

i. FIFA, the governing body of football, on 16 November 2015banned Nepal's football chief Ganesh Thapa for 10 years forcorruption. The body also banned the president of the Laos federationViphet Sihachakr for two years for bribery.

ii. In the context of the 2009 and 2011 elections at the AsianFootball Confederation congress, FIFA accused Thapa of committingvarious acts of misconduct, which includes the solicitation andacceptance of cash payments from another football official, forpersonal and family gain.

iii. FIFA's ethics committee also stated that he had specificallybeen bribed over elections for the FIFA executive committee in 2009and 2011.

iv. Earlier, it was revealed by The Associated Press that Thapareceived an illegal gift of 100000 US dollars from Bin Hammam in2009. The money was deposited into the personal bank account ofThapa’s son. Apart from the ban, Thapa was fined 20000 Swiss francsby the ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber.

7. Global cancer summit on Nov 18-20

i. Global Cancer Summit, a three-day programme focussed onunderstanding and suggesting strategies to tackle cancer, will beorganised from November 18-20 at the Indian Institute of Science.

ii. The event is organsied by BioGenesis - the Euro-Indian HealthCluster (India), Global Cancer Foundation and supported by the IndianCouncil of Medical Research. iii. The conclave is expected to have700 experts in the field of oncology and related sectors and isdedicated to the late US senator Ted Kennedy.

8. AMRUT Action Plans for 81 cities approved with totalproject outlay of 5748 crore rupees

i. An inter-ministerial Apex Committee on 16 November 2015approved State Annual Action Plans (SAAP) of 81 mission cities in 5states-Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Mizoramunder AMRUT for 2015-16.

ii. The meeting of the committee was headed by Shri MadhusudanPrasad, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development, which is thenodal ministry for implementation of Atal Mission for Rejuvenationand Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

iii. As per the approved SAAPs, the Union, State governments andurban local bodies together will invest 5748 crore rupees. Out ofthis, Central assistance will be provided to an extent of 2440 crorerupees.

iv. And, Out of the five states, Tamil Nadu with 27 AMRUT citieswould invest 3249 crore followed by Madhya Pradesh (32 cities)-1,656crore, Odisha (9 cities)-456 crore, Jharkhand (7 cities)-313 croreand Mizoram will invest 73 crore rupees in the lone mission city ofAizawl.

v. With this approval, number of cities covered under AMRUT wentup to 170 across 8 states with a total project expenditure of 8534crore rupees.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 16th November 2015
 

1. International Day for Tolerance observed across theworld

i. The International Day for Tolerance was observed globally on 16November 2015 with an aim to educate people about the need fortolerance in society and help them understand the negative effects ofintolerance.

ii. In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by itsresolution 51/95 invited UN Member States to observe theInternational Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activitiesdirected towards both educational establishments and the widerpublic.

iii. This action came in the wake of the United Nations Year forTolerance 1995, proclaimed by the UNGA in 1993. On 16 November 1995,the UNESCO member states adopted the Declaration of Principles onTolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the year.

2. ICICI Bank Canada launches student programme

i. ICICI Bank Canada, a subsidiary of private lender ICICI Bank,has launched Student GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) Programfor students aspiring to study in Canada.

ii. As per the terms of the programme, the amount of C$10,000 ispaid back to the student while he/she is studying in Canada in 12equal instalments along with the interest amount. The processing feefor applying to this programme is C$150.

iii. ICICI Bank Canada is the first Indian bank to be authorisedby Canadian High Commission to accept GIC from Indian students. Thisprogramme enables students from India to fulfil the prerequisite ofpurchasing a GIC by transferring funds from any bank account held bythem in India to their ICICI Bank Canada account. Students can dothis while they are in India.

iv. Aspirants can apply for the Student GIC Program can registeronline and fill an application form sent to their email address. Itcan be submitted online itself as well as designated forex branchesof ICICI Bank in India and transfer the required amount.

3. India, Australia completed formalities for CivilNuclear Pact

i. India and Australia on 15 November 2015 announced completion ofprocedures for bringing the two-nation nuclear deal into force. Thedeal was finalized at the bilateral meeting between Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on thesidelines of the G-20 Summit at Antalya in Turkey.

ii. With the completion of procedures, including theadministrative arrangements, India-Australia civil nuclear agreementwill enter into force and India will be the first country to buyAustralian uranium without being a signatory to the NuclearNon-proliferation Treaty.

iii. Australia has the world’s highest Uranium reserves (about athird of world’s recoverable uranium resources and exports nearly,7000 tonnes in a year) and is also a key member in the NuclearSuppliers Group where India is making efforts to gain entry.

iv. The civil nuclear agreement between India and Australia wassigned-in on 5 September 2014 during the state visit of AustralianPrime Minister Tony Abbott to India. However, the decks for itsimplementation were cleared with the announcement of completion ofthe procedures to enforce the agreement.

4. Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to win BrazilianGrand Prix

i. German Formula One motor racer Nico Rosberg on 15 November 2015defeated Lewis Hamilton to grab the Brazilian Grand Prix trophy.

ii. Sebastian Vettel grabbed the third position in the race.

iii. With the win, Rosberg reserved his place as runner-up in 2015Formula One world championship.

iv. The Brazilian Grand Prix was German F1 Driver's secondconsecutive win following the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix. Besides, itwas his fifth win of 2015 and the 13th of his career.

v. Born on 27 June 1985, Rosberg has also briefly competed forFinland very early in his career.

vi. Rosberg entered Formula One in 2006 with Williams Grand PrixEngineering. He joined the re-branded Mercedes team for the 2010Formula One season.

5. Maareech, an Advanced Torpedo Defence System, handedover to Indian Navy

i. The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over the Maareech- Advanced Torpedo Defence System – developed by DRDO to the NavyChief Admiral Robin K. Dhowan in Vishakhapatnam.

ii. Maareech is a joint project of Naval Physical andOceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi and NSTL, Visakhapatnam. It isa state-of-the-art indigenous system for torpedo detection andcountermeasures.

iii. The system provides a complete solution to detect and locatethe incoming torpedo and to apply countermeasures to protect navalplatform against torpedo attack. The system is capable of detecting,confusing, diverting and decoying the incoming torpedoes.

iv. Two production grade Maareech systems have been developed anduser evaluation trials completed onboard two Indian Navy ships.Besides, Parrikar also dedicated to the nation the Seakeeping andManoeuvring Basin (SMB). It is a one of its kind platform in thecountry set up as a joint effort of DRDO and Indian Navy.

6. First AMRIT outlet opened at AIIMS Delhi for sellingaffordable drugs

i. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 15 November 2015launched the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment(AMRIT) pharmacy outlet at the All India Institute of MedicalSciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

ii. The purpose of the first of its kind outlet is to reduce theexpenditure incurred by patients on treatment of cancer and heartdiseases by 50 to 60 percent.

iii. It is a retail pharmacy outlet that sells drugs and implantsfor the two ailments-cancer and heart diseases-at highly discountedrates. It would be selling 202 cancer and 186 cardio-vascular drugsand 148 types of cardiac implants at very affordable prices.

iv. It has been floated in a tie-up with government-owned HLLLifecare Ltd (HLL). Based on the outcome of the AIIMS outlet, thisinitiative will be taken to other central government hospitals andRegional Cancer Centres in partnership with the HLL.

7. Saina Nehwal wins silver medal at 2015 China Open

i. Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has won silver medal at 2015China Open Superseries Premier Badminton tournament after finishingat second position in the Women’s Singles category.

ii. In the final match played at the Haixia Olympic Sports Centrein Fuzhou, the defending champion and top seeded Saina lost to sixthplaced Xuerui Li from China by 12-21, 15-21 score.

iii. Saina and Li had met 12 times against each other and Sainahas won just 2 of those games. The final of China Open tournament wasoverall Saina’s fifth final of the year 2015 and the third instancein 2015 that the World No. 1 has come out second best.

8. Jharkhand Government introduced Mobile Governance

i. The Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on 15 November 2015introduced Mobile Governance in the state to realise the dreams ofDigital India during the occasion of 16th Foundation Day of thestate.

ii. The State Government launched 14 mobile applications and threeweb portals on the State Foundation Day to deliver the benefits ofinformation technology to the people of the state in order to bridgethe gap between the government and public.

iii. To facilitate quick clearance for industries, the stategovernment introduced Advantage Jharkhand Portal, the country's firstsingle window portal.

iv. The mobile applications were developed by Jharkhand SpaceApplications Centre (JSAC). These are designed to bring services fromgovernment, civic bodies and police force to the Android smartphonesof the beneficiaries.

v. All the mobile applications can be downloaded free of cost fromapps.jharkhand.gov.in portal. Although, they have not been put up onany popular application distribution platform yet, this option isopen for exploration in future.

 

                                Current Affairs - 14th & 15th November 2015

 

1. Terrorist attack in Paris; Hundreds Killed

i. Terrorists attacked six locations around Paris killing around160 civilians and injuring another 200 people and security personnel.

ii. While majority of the deaths occurred in the Bataclan concertvenue, around 80000 football fans in the Stade de France (NationalStadium of France) came under the deadliest attacks who were watchinga friendly match between France and Germany.

iii. To deal with impending attacks, France President FrancoisHollande, who was at the venue during the attack, immediatelyconvened an emergency cabinet meeting outside the stadium andannounced a state of emergency.

2. Naval Ship Vishwakarma commissioned

i. INS Vishwakarma, the erstwhile Shipwright School (SWS) and apremier training establishment of the Indian Navy has beencommissioned. It was commissioned by Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of theNaval Staff at a formal ceremony held at Visakhapatnam.

ii. INS Vishwakarma was commissioned in keeping with the Navy’sthrust towards indigenisation and ‘Make in India’ initiative. Italso was commissioned keeping in view the role of the SWS which hasassumed greater significance presently in honing Indian Navy’swarship and submarine design.

iii. Shipwright School (SWS) was established in 1941 at INSShivaji for training shipwright artificers of Indian Navy. SWS was apremier technical establishment and alma mater for Naval ArchitectOfficers, Shipwright Officers and Shipwright Sailors of the IndianNavy.

iv. It was subsequently shifted in 1943 to Naval Barracks, Mumbai(now INS Angre). In 1981, it was again shifted to the presentpremises at Visakhapatnam as a dedicated training establishment withindependent facilities for training of shipwright apprentices.

3. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates 35th IITF inNew Delhi

i. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated 35th edition of IndiaInternational Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The14 day fair has been organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation(ITPO), under aegis of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

ii. In this edition over 7,000 firms from India and overseas areparticipating.

iii. This year Afghanistan has been roped as the partner countryand Bangladesh is the focus country. Within Indian states, Goa andJharkhand are roped as partner states, while Madhya Pradesh is thefocus state.

iv. Theme of 2015 edition of IITF is Make in India in order toencourage companies to manufacture their products in India.

v. The major objective behind this international trade festival isto focus on 25 sectors of Indian economy for skill enhancement andjob creation. Some of these sectors are: automobiles, chemicals,Information Technology (IT), textiles, ports, pharmaceuticals,leather, aviation, tourism and hospitality, railway, auto components,wellness, design manufacturing, renewable energy, mining,bio-technology, and electronics etc.

4. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Ambedkar memorial inLondon

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the recently acquiredAmbedkar memorial by Maharashtra Government at King Henry’s Road inLondon, United Kingdom. On this occasion, Prime Minister unveiled aplaque to mark the dedication of the Memorial and was accompanied byMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

ii. Maharashtra government had bought this house in London wheresocial reformer and architect of the Indian Constitution Dr BhimraoRamji Ambedkar had stayed as a student in the 1920s.

iii. In September 2015, Maharashtra Government had purchased thehouse for 32 crore rupees and had converted into an internationalmemorial consisting of a public museum and a library owing to itscultural and national importance and pride of millions of people ofIndia.

iv. Apart from it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also unveiled aBasaveshwara Statue at Lambeth in London. Basaveshwara (1105-1167 AD)was a great philosopher and social reformer who had fought againstsocial evils of his time, and worked for the strengthening ofdemocracy at the grassroots.

5. 2017 announced as the UK-India Year of culture

i. Britain announced 2017 as the UK-India Year of Culture to markthe 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence.

ii. To mark the Occasion, UK Institute will partner with IndianInstitutes for the program and the British Library will digitize2,00,000 pages from its South Asian Archives.

iii. The government will send Shakespeare’s First Folio and the800 year old Magna Carta to tour India.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 13th November 2015

 

1. Subir Gokarn appointed as IMF's Executive Director

i. Former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India Subir VithalGokarn on 12 November 2015 was appointed as an Executive Director onthe board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

ii. Gokarn will replace Rakesh Mohan at the IMF. Mohan’s threeyear tenure ends in November 2015. Gokarn’s name was cleared byAppointments Committee of Cabinet presided by Prime Minister NarendraModi, as per an order issued by the Department of Personnel andTraining.

iii. The former Deputy Governor of RBI will represent India,Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan on IMF's Executive Board. The Boardis responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of themultilateral institution.

iv. IMF's Executive Board is composed of 24 Directors, who areelected by member countries or by groups of countries, and theManaging Director, who serves as its Chairman. The Board conducts itsmeeting several times in a week and carries out its work largely onthe basis of papers prepared by IMF management and staff.

2. Annual Hundred Drums Wangala Festival begins inMeghalaya

i. Annual Hundred Drums Wangala Festival has begun on a culturalfervor at Asanang near Tura town in Meghalaya.

ii. The three day-long started with the arrival of ten WangalaDance Troupes from various parts of Garo Hills. Significance ofWangala Festival Wangala Festival is an annual post-harvest festivalof the Garos tribes of North east India.

iii. Generally celebrated in the second week of November everyyear.

iv. It is a thanks giving ceremony to Misi Saljong, which is alsoknown as Pattigipa Ra-rongipa (The Great Giver) for blessing thepeople with rich harvest of the season.

3. Abraham M Keita from Liberia won the 2015International Children's Peace Prize

i. Liberian teenager Abraham M Keita was on 10 November 2015awarded with the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize2015. He was awarded for his extraordinary and peaceful fight forjustice for child victims of physical or sexual violence, and forsuccessfully campaigning for the Liberian parliament to adopt theChildren’s Law.

ii. Seventeen-year-old Keita received the prize from Nobel PeaceLaureate and his countrywoman Leymah Gbowee in The Hague. Gbowee in2011 became the first Liberian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize forher nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women'srights to full participation in Liberia’s peace-building process.

iii. International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded annually tochild from across the world for his or her dedication to children’srights. The prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, Chairman andFounder of the Dutch KidsRights Foundation.

4. Defence Minister commissioned India’s Coast Guardoffshore patrol vessel ‘Samarth’

i. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 10 November 2015commissioned the India Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV),‘Samarth’ at Vasco in Goa. It is Coast Guard’s largest OPV.

ii. The Ship built by Goa Shipyard limited is the first in theseries of six off Shore Patrol vessels. The 105m OPV is fitted withmost advance technology, navigation and communication equipment,sensors and machinery. It has a maximum speed of 23 knots and has anendurance of 6000 nautical miles at economical speed.

iii. Samarth that will be based in Goa is also capable of carryingpollution response equipment to contain any oil spill at sea. Thevessel will also carry one twin-engine helicopter and five high-speedboats.

iv. The OPV will be extensively used for Exclusive Economic Zoneand other duties as it is set to be exploited extensively on theWestern Seaboard.

v. The induction of a sophisticated and state of the art OffshorePatrol vessel will provide the desired fillip to the maritimeprotection of the coastal state of Goa in particular and the Indiacoast in general.

5. Sameer Panda-led Indian team won NASA award forBurst Prevention & Puncture Curative technology

i. A team of Indian scientist led by Sameer Panda from Odisha on 6November 2015 won the NASA award for an innovative technology namedBurst Prevention & Puncture Curative (BPPC) technology. UditBondia, KN Panda and Smitiparna Satpathy are the other members of theteam.

ii. They won the award in the Create the Future Design Contest-2015 conducted by NASA Tech Brief in New York. Tech Brief is acontest jointly organized by NASA and Society of AutomobileEngineers, International.

iii. They won the award for Mild Run Flat Tyre based on BPPCtechnology and developed by TycheeJuno, a firm working on Disruptiveand Breakthrough Innovation in technology mostly related toautomotive division.

iv. The tyre is a multi-chambered tubeless tire with sealantinside the chamber to take care of puncture in tread and sidewall.

v. The technology decreases the possibilities of bursts, takescare of punctures and dynamic wheel balancing. It helps to increasefuel efficiency and life and can also be manufactured with existingtechnology.

6. India inked MoUs with six countries in theInternational Civil Aviation Negotiations

i. The Government of India announced on 12 November 2015 that itsigned Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six countries. Thesecountries are: Finland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Sweden, Norway andDenmark, and Oman and Ethiopia.

ii. In addition, Agreed Minutes were signed with Serbia, Greece,and European Commission. The Record of Discussions was signed withBrunei Darussalam and Qatar.

iii. The MoUs were signed during International Civil AviationNegotiations (ICAN) 2015, which was held in Antalya, Turkey from 19to 23 October 2015.

7. RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan elected asVice-Chairman on BIS Board

i. Dr Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),on 9 November 2015 was elected as the Vice-Chairman on the Board ofDirectors of BIS.

ii. With this, he became the first Indian to be elected to thisposition in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

iii. In this capacity, he will serve the BIS for three yearsstarting from 10 November 2015 and will assist the Chairman of theBIS Board in his/her functioning.

iv. At present, Jens Weidmann is the Chairman of the Board ofDirectors. He is also the head of Bundesbank, the German bankingregulator.

 

                               Current Affairs - 11th & 12th November 2015

 

1. Belgian court ordered Facebook to stop trackingnon-members

i. A court of Belgium asked Facebook to stop tracking thecountry's Internet users who are not members of the US-based socialnetworking website. It gave 48 hours to the social networking site tostop tracking people in Belgium.

ii. The ruling was pronounced on a case lodged in June 2015 by theBelgian Privacy Commission, which said Facebook indiscriminatelytracks Internet users when they click like or share on the website.It said that the site uses a special cookie called Datr that lodgeson internet users’ device to track their activities.

iii. The court said that the company was obliged to obtain consentto collect the information being gathered. If Facebook fails tocomply, it could face a fine of up to 250000 euros (269000 dollars)per day to the Belgian Privacy Commission.

2. Ministry of Railways issued Letter of Award to GEGlobal Sourcing India Pvt Limited

i. Ministry of Railways issued a Letter of Award (LoA) toUSA-based GE Global Sourcing India Pvt Limited for setting up ofDiesel Locomotive Factory (DLF) at Marhowra, Saran district, Biharand for procurement and maintenance of mainline Diesel ElectricLocomotives.

ii. With this, a Joint Venture Company between Union Ministry ofRailways and GE Global Sourcing India Pvt Limited will be formed soonto construct and run the factory. The factory will manufacture moderndiesel electric locomotives of 4500 HP and 6000 HP to Indianrailways.
 
iii. The Railways Ministry will hold 26percent equity in the JV Company subject to a maximum of 100 crorerupees. The factory is expected to be established within a period ofthree years at a cost of about 1000 crore rupees.

3. Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev finalizedtakeover of SAB Miller

i. Anheuser-Busch InBev says it has finalized the terms of a $107billion takeover of SABMiller that will combine the planet’s twobiggest brewers and create a company that makes almost a third of thebeer consumed worldwide.

ii. As part of the deal, SABMiller will sell its stake in aventure with Molson Coors.

iii. AB InBev is seeking to bolster growth by acquiringSABMiller’s brands in Africa and Asia as changing tastes and craftbeers cut sales in developed markets. The two companies own hundredsof brands including Budweiser, Corona, Grolsch and Stella Artois.

4. Belgian court ordered Facebook to stop trackingnon-members

i. A court of Belgium asked Facebook to stop tracking thecountry's Internet users who are not members of the US-based socialnetworking website. It gave 48 hours to the social networking site tostop tracking people in Belgium.

ii. The ruling was pronounced on a case lodged in June 2015 by theBelgian Privacy Commission, which said Facebook indiscriminatelytracks Internet users when they click like or share on the website.It said that the site uses a special cookie called Datr that lodgeson internet users’ device to track their activities.

iii. The court said that the company was obliged to obtain consentto collect the information being gathered. If Facebook fails tocomply, it could face a fine of up to 250000 euros (269000 dollars)per day to the Belgian Privacy Commission.

5. Odisha's Barabati stadium excluded from BCCI's newTest venues

i. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 9 November2015 excluded Barabati stadium in Cuttack, Odisha from the list ofnewly declared Test venues.

ii. Barabati Stadium was excluded from the list after Cricket fanshurled plastic bottled onto the ground forcing the match referees tostop the match for some time.

6. Supreme Court upheld Kerala Government’s ban ononline lotteries

i. The Supreme Court of India (SC) upheld Kerala Government’sban on online lotteries.

ii. The judgment was delivered by a bench headed by the ChiefJustice of India (CJI) H L Dattu while hearing the All Kerala OnlineLottery Dealers Association Vs State of Kerala & Ors. case inwhich Sikkim Government is also one of the petitioners opposing theban.

iii. While upholding the ban, the bench stated that lottery is aform of gambling and it was condemned as a vice by the Rigveda,Smritis and Arthashastra.

7. Rhythm and Blues legend Allen Toussaint died

i. Rhythm and Blues legend Allen Toussaint died at the age of 77after suffering two heart attacks.

ii. The legendary New Orleans R&B songwriter and producer,known for hit songs such as ‘Working in the coalmine’ and‘Southern Nights’ — suffered a heart attack shortly afterperforming on stage at Madrid’s Teatro Lara , according to Spanishnewspaper El Mundo.

8. SBI has announced partnership deal with Emirates NBD

i. A leading UAE-based bank has announced a partnership deal withState Bank of India to help NRI customers in the gulf to carry outtheir remittances instantly and more conveniently.

ii. Emirates NBD has expanded its partner bank network in India toinclude State Bank of India (SBI) for the DirectRemit 60 secondsremittance platform.

iii. With this partnership, the bank’s Non-Resident Indian (NRI)customers who also bank with SBI can now avail themselves of thefastest remittance service in the UAE more easily.

   

                                Current Affairs - 10th November 2015
 

1.  World Science Day for Peace and Development2015 observed

i. The World Science Day for Peace and Development, dubbed WorldScience Day, was observed on 10 November 2015 across the world. Thetheme for 2015 is Science for a Sustainable Future.

ii. To mark the day, the United Nations Educational, Scientificand Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted several discussions,special campaigns, visits to science museums for school children, etcto raise awareness of benefits of science worldwide.

iii. For 2015, the theme Science for a Sustainable Future ischosen against the backdrop of 2030 Agenda for SustainableDevelopment as approved by the UN.

iv. World Science Day was created as follow-up to the WorldConference on Science, organized jointly by UNESCO and theInternational Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary) in 1999.

2.  India-Russia Joint Military ExerciseIndra-2015 begins in Rajasthan

i. The seventh edition India-Russia Joint Military Exercise‘Indra-2015’ has begun in Bikaner district of Rajasthan. Thisedition of exercise is focusing on ‘Counter Terrorism Operations inDesert Terrain under a United Nations Mandate’.

ii. The bilateral exercise would be held between Indian Army’sInfantry Battalion and Independent Russian Motorised Brigade from 7to 20 November 2015.

iii. It would be conducted 2 phases, namely ‘Combat Conditioning& Tactical Training’ and ‘Validation’ phases. Bothparticipating battalions would initially acquaint themselves witheach other’s counter terrorism approaches including Command andControl systems, operations, arms and equipment.

iv. They would also focus on ensuring a high degree of physicalfitness, tactical drills, techniques and procedures. This jointexercise will also engage in variety of joint missions includingjoint planning, Search and Rescue, Cordon and Search operations,special arms skills and joint tactical drills.

v. The bilateral exercise seeks to further boost people to peopleas well as military to military ties between India and Russia.

3.  BIS elects Raghuram Rajan as its vice-chairman

i. Raghuram Rajan, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor who hasbeen a vocal votary for increased co-ordination among central banks,has been elected vice-chairman of the Bank of InternationalSettlement (BIS). Mr. Rajan will have a three-year term asvice-chairman of the BIS.

ii. Mr. Rajan is the first Indian central bank Governor to becomethe vice-chairman of BIS. BIS is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland,and acts as a coordinating body among central banks to ensure globalmonetary and financial stability. The BIS board meets at least sixtimes a year.

iii. The BIS board comprise all central bankers. The boardincludes U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Bank of EnglandGovernor Mark Carney and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

iv. Mr. Rajan was appointed Governor of the RBI in September 2013,and was given a three-year term. This new role of Mr. Rajan willsurely boost his chances for an extension next year, according tocentral bank watchers.

v. The former International Monetary Fund chief economist, who iswidely credited for predicting the global financial crisis of 2008,was appointed RBI Governor amid a currency crisis in 2013 which hewas able to tackle soon after he assumed charge.

vi. He was also able to bring down inflation from double digitlevels in the last two years and had proposed radical changes in theareas of monetary policy and banking reforms in India.

4.  Ministry of Defence launched Army Cloud, DataCentre & Digi-Locker for the Indian Army

i. Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 9 November 2015launched Army Cloud, Software Defined Data Centre and Digi-Lockerfacilities for the Indian Army at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi.

ii. The three initiatives are aimed at catalysing automation anddigitization of the Indian Army and help in transforming it from aPlatform Centric to a Network Centric Force.

iii. Army Cloud includes a Central Data Centre, a Near Line DataCentre, both in Delhi and a Disaster Recovery site for replication ofits critical data along with virtualised servers and storage in anenvironmentally controlled complex.

iv. The latest technologies in the field have been incorporated inits implementation wherein all the resources could be provisioned todifferent applications on the Cloud, on click of a button.

v. Digi Locker will provide a secure and exclusive data storagespace to all the units and formation headquarters of the Army overits dedicated data network. It is similar to e-Locker of DigitalIndia program and has all the advanced features like digitalsignatures and watermarking.

vi. It is an important step towards implementation of cybersecurity as it precludes carriage of soft copies of data on CDs/DVDsand removable media. By using this facility, users can store, shareand access the data from anywhere any time on the Army Data Network.

5. Nigeria won 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup

i. Nigeria on 8 November 2015 won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Itwas held across 8 cities in Chile since 17 October 2015.

ii. To win its third championship Nigeria defeated Mali 2-0.Oshimhen and Bamgboye scored the goals for Nigeria at the 56th and59th minute respectively.

iii. India will host the bi-annual championship in 2017.

6.  Justice AP Shah appointed as the EthicsOfficer (Ombudsman) at BCCI

i. Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Ajit PrakashShah, was on 9 November 2015 appointed as the ethics officer(ombudsman) at Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He willpreside as the sole decision maker on all conflict of interest issuesplaguing Indian cricket.

ii. The decision to appoint an ombudsman was taken at the Board's86th Annual General Meeting to end the problem on conflict ofinterest in the Board. This is being considered as a BCCI’sclean-up operation.

iii. The clean-up operation has been triggered by the 2013 IPLspot-fixing scandal, which was investigated by the SupremeCourt-appointed RM Lodha committee.

iv. The apex court-appointed panel had suspended Chennai SuperKings and Rajasthan Royals for two years for their officials'involvement in the scandal. Justice Shah, 67, is known for his boldjudgments, including the July 2009 ruling that found India's150-year-old statute prohibiting homosexual acts as discriminatoryand therefore a violation of fundamental rights.

7.  India re-elected to UN Commission onInternational Trade Law

i. India on 9 November 2015 was re-elected by the General Assemblyto a six year term on the United Nations Commission on InternationalTrade Law (UNCITRAL).

ii. Apart from India, 22 other countries including the UnitedStates and Pakistan were also re-elected to the UNCITRAL. The Mondayelection was the fifth election that India has won in 2015. Thecountry also won the re-election to the UN Human Rights Council heldin 2014.

iii. In April 2015, the UN Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC)elected India to the executive councils of UNICEF and the World FoodProgramme, the governing council of the United Nations HumanSettlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Commission on CrimePrevention and Criminal Justice.

iv. The United Nations General Assembly by its Resolution 2205(XXI) of 17 December 1966 established the United Nations Commissionon International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to promote the progressiveharmonization and unification of international trade law.

v. The Commission is a legal body with universal membershipspecializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. Itcarries out its work at annual sessions held alternately in New YorkCity and Vienna.

 

                                 Current Affairs - 8th & 9th November 2015
 

1. Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma honoured withKala Shikhar award

i. Santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma on 7 November 2015 washonoured with the Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Award for lifetimeachievement. The governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao presentedthe award to the 77-year old Santoor player in Mumbai.

ii. On the other hand, Murad Ali Khan (Sarangi) and SatyajitTalwalkar (Tabla) were awarded with the Kala Kiran Awards. SpecialJury Award was given to Shehnai players Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar.

iii. After starting his career as a vocalist, Pandit Sharmaemerged out as the master instrumentalist of the Santoor. He iscredited with making Santoor a popular Classical Instrument.

The Santoor maestro is also the recipient of the Padma Shri andthe Padma Vibhushan.

iv. The Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Puraskaar was institutedby the Sangit Kala Kendra in the memory of Aditya Vikram Birla. Theaward is conferred on a distinguished artist for his/her lifetimeachievement in the chosen field of the performing and visual arts.

2. SBI's Arundhati Bhattacharya Most Powerful Woman InIndian Business: Fortune India

i. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson of country's largest bankSBI, remains the most powerful woman in the Indian business sector,according to Fortune India. ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar and ShikhaSharma of Axis Bank follow Bhattacharya at the second and thirdplace, respectively.

ii. Besides, HPCL Chairperson and Managing Director (MD) NishiVasudeva has bagged the fourth position, while AZB & PartnersCo-Founder Zia Mody and Aruna Jayanthi Chief Executive of CapgeminiIndia shared the fifth rank.

iii. Interestingly, all the top-five rank holders retained theirpositions from the previous year barring Jayanthi who was at seventhposition last year. Moreover, there are only two debutantes in theFortune India list of 50 most-powerful businesswomen for 2015.

iv. Meena Ganesh MD and CEO at Portea and Jyoti Deshpande Group MDand CEO at Eros International have made their debuts at 43rd and 50thpositions, respectively.

3. Nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-IV missilesuccessfully test-fired

i. Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) on 9 November2015 successfully test-fired surface-to-surface Agni-IV missile. Thenuclear capable missile was test-fired from the Wheeler Island offthe Odisha coast.

ii. SFC is entrusted with the task of handling strategic weaponsof the country. It is 20 meters in length weighs 17 tonnes andcarries a pay load of one tone. With light weight, the missile hastwo stages of solid propulsion and a payload with re-entry heatshield.

iii. It was developed by Defence Research and DevelopmentOrganisation (DRDO). It is the fourth missile in the series of Agnimissiles. It was earlier known as Agni-II prime

4. N Srinivasan removed as ICC Chairman

i. N Srinivasan was today dethroned as the ICC Chairman after theBCCI decided to recall him and nominate its recently-electedPresident Shashank Manohar as the chief of the world body. Thedecision to remove Srinivasan was taken at the BCCI’s 86th AnnualGeneral Meeting here today, virtually signalling the end of his holdon Indian cricket.

ii. The tenure of Srinivasan, who took over in June last year, wasto end next year in the same month and the remainder of the termwould be completed by Manohar as it is India’s turn to hold the topposition.

iii. It is learnt that the resolution favouring replacingSrinivasan with Manohar was passed at the AGM. In case, Manoharcannot attend the ICC meetings, Sharad Pawar will be India’srepresentative.

iv. The Tamil Nadu strongman will thus lose his grip on Indiancricket for good after having already been ousted as the BCCIPresident owing to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal in which hisson-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was held guilty of betting charges.

v. Although Srinivasan was not personally indicted for thedamaging scandal but the Supreme Court-appointed R M Lodha committeehad chided him for not acting on the elements which corrupted theIPL.

5. Prof Ashok Misra headed Committee of Eminent PersonsCEP on JEE submitted its report

i. The Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP) on 5 November 2015submitted its report. It was constituted by the Indian Institute ofTechnology (IIT) Council under the Chairmanship of Prof Ashok Misrato suggest reforms to the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

ii. A National Testing Service shall be set up by early 2016,mandated to conduct an Aptitude Test, which should test thescientific aptitude and innovative thinking ability. The Aptitudetest may be offered 2 or more times in a year and would be an onlinetest. The testing shall test the scientific thinking and cannot begamed through coaching

iii. Based on this performance, about 4 lakh candidates shall beshort-listed for taking the JEE. The JEE itself will be on the linesof the current JEE (Advanced) and designed to test the knowledge inPhysics, Chemistry and Mathematics; and will be conducted by theIITs.

iv. From this, ranks will be issued to 40,000+ students who canseek admission in IITs and NITs based on a common counselling. TheIITs be requested to set up a system for developing mock JEEexaminations which will help students prepare for the JEEsignificantly and wean them away from the coaching industry. Thepossibility of using the MOOCS platform can also be explored.

v. MHRD may take measures for the improvement of school educationand the method of examination of the Boards, so that students withthe Science aptitude are well prepared in the concepts by the timethey reach 12th grade, without dependence on coaching institutions.

6. N Srinivasan removed as ICC Chairman

i. N Srinivasan was today dethroned as the ICC Chairman after theBCCI decided to recall him and nominate its recently-electedPresident Shashank Manohar as the chief of the world body. Thedecision to remove Srinivasan was taken at the BCCI’s 86th AnnualGeneral Meeting here today, virtually signalling the end of his holdon Indian cricket.

ii. The tenure of Srinivasan, who took over in June last year, wasto end next year in the same month and the remainder of the termwould be completed by Manohar as it is India’s turn to hold the topposition.

iii. It is learnt that the resolution favouring replacingSrinivasan with Manohar was passed at the AGM. In case, Manoharcannot attend the ICC meetings, Sharad Pawar will be India’srepresentative.

iv. The Tamil Nadu strongman will thus lose his grip on Indiancricket for good after having already been ousted as the BCCIPresident owing to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal in which hisson-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was held guilty of betting charges.

v. Although Srinivasan was not personally indicted for thedamaging scandal but the Supreme Court-appointed R M Lodha committeehad chided him for not acting on the elements which corrupted theIPL.

7. Union Government launched E-Pathshala, Saransh,Shaala Siddhi Portals

i. The Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on 7November 2015 launched the e-Pathshala, Saaransh and NationalProgramme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi)web portals/ mobile apps.

ii. These portals were launched during the edNEXT, the NationalConference on ICT in School Education that was held at New Delhi.During the Conference, Shala Darpan, MDM-IVRS and Ekta project fromAlwar, Rajasthan were also show-cased.

iii. E-Pathshala is a web portal which hosts educational resourcesfor Students, Teachers, Parents, researchers and educators. Itcontains textbooks and other e-books as E-Pub 3.0 and Flipbooks inEnglish, Hindi and Urdu. It is available through especially developedmobile app interface on Android, IOS and windows platforms for wideraccess.

iv. Shaala Siddhi web portal is a comprehensive instrument forschool evaluation which enables the schools to evaluate theirperformance in more focused and strategic manner. The web-portal willhelp all schools to assess themselves and the results can be seen byall enabling them to provide feedback.

v. Saransh is a tool which allows the schools to identify areas ofimprovement in students, teachers and curriculum to facilitate andimplement change. The platform is presently available for classes 9thto 12th and provides a comprehensive overview of standard 10thperformance since 2007 and standard 12th performance since 2009 tillthe current academic session.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 7th November 2015

 

1. 'India in Shanghai’ Cultural Week inaugurated atShanghai

i. An Indian culture week called ‘India in Shanghai’ was on 5November 2015 inaugurated at China Shanghai International ArtsFestival (SIAF) at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. The SIAF annualfestival began on 16 October 2015 and will continue till 16 November2015.

ii. The culture week was inaugurated by Indian Ambassador Ashok KKantha along with Zhong Yanqun, Vice Chair of The Standing Committeeof the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.

iii. This is the first time in the 17-year history of the ChinaShanghai International Arts Festival that India was designated as theguest country during the festival.

iv. The events at the India Culture Week will showcase the best ofcontemporary Indian arts. The India Culture Week aims to provideChinese friends a glimpse of the multi-faceted cultural traditions ofIndia as well as enable a better understanding of India among Chinesepeople. The cultural performances are also expected to lead to agreater collaboration between Indian & Chinese performing Artsand corresponding institutions.

v. As 2015 is named as ‘Visit India Year in China’, it isexpected that this Festival will encourage more Chinese tourists totravel to India and see for themselves the rich and diverse culturalheritage of India.

2. 21st INCOFYRA to be organised in Bengaluru in 2016

i. The 21st International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Researchand its Applications (INCOFYRA) will be held from 3 to 7 January 2016at Prashanti Kutiram, Bengaluru. The summit will be organized by theVivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Sansthana. The 21st INCOFYRA will bringtogether the traditional and modern medical systems.

ii. The theme of the conference is Yoga in Integrated HealthcareSystems.

iii. The conference targets to promulgate the research findings inthe field of integrative medicine and give directions to futureresearch on Dialectology, Oncology, Cardiology, Mental Health, and soon. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will inaugurate theconference.

iv. The 21st INCOFYRA will offer a platform for national andinternational experts and practitioners in traditional systems ofmedicine to show findings of evidence–based research regardingimpact of Yoga on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

3. Heena Sindhu won gold in 13th Asian ShootingChampionship

i. India’s Heena Sindhu on 6 November 2015 won the gold medal inthe 10m air pistol women’s event at the 13th Asian ShootingChampionship. The championship was started on 1 November 2015 andwill be held for 12 days in Kuwait City.

ii. Incidentally, Heena was also the winner of the gold medal inthe 10m air pistol event in 8th Asian Air Gun Championship. It washeld in New Delhi in September 2015.

iii. Other medals included Nivetha who won gold in the 10m airpistol junior women’s event. In the 25m pistol men’s juniorevent, Shivam Shukla won gold.

4. WHO officially declares Sierra Leone Ebola-free

i. Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola-free by the World HealthOrganisation, prompting nationwide celebrations tinged with sadnessover the loss of 4,000 victims to the disease. The capital Freetownwas transformed into a giant carnival on Friday night as ecstaticcrowds took to the streets in an emotional outpouring.

ii. The relief that the 17-month nightmare was virtually over wasreflected in candle-lit prayers and spontaneous parties.

iii. In a low-key ceremony in the capital on Saturday morning, theWHO country director, Anders Nordström, confirmed 42 days had passedwithout any new cases, thereby satisfying criteria that transmissionof the virus has ended.

iv. Sierra Leone will now enter a 90-day period of heightenedsurveillance to make sure the virus does not return. The NationalEbola Response Centre will remain operational until the end of theyear and swabbing of all dead bodies for Ebola will be mandatoryuntil June 2016.

v. But while the atmosphere overnight was jubilant, there was alsonervousness over the continuing outbreak in neighbouring Guinea,where four new cases were recorded over the past fortnight. In a grimreminder of how Ebola cuts through families, all four are children ofa mother who contracted the disease from a relative and died.

5. Indian Army successfully test-fired BrahMossupersonic cruise missile in Rajasthan

i. Indian Army on 7 November 2015 successfully test-fired theBrahMos supersonic cruise missile at the Pokhran Test Range inRajasthan. It was launched from an Autonomous Mobile Launcher (AML).For BrahMos, it was the 50th test-flight. The previous test-firingwas from INS Kochi off the west coast on 1 November 2015.

ii. It is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be inservice and is capable of carrying a conventional and nuclear warheadof 300 kilogram. It is a two-stage missile having Solid propellant inthe first stage and Ramjet liquid propellant in the second stage.

iii. It can be launched from land, Sea, Sub-seas and air. Itoperates on Fire and Forget Principle by adopting varieties offlights on its way to the target.

iv. The missile has been developed by the BrahMos AerospacePrivate Limited. It is a joint venture between Russian Federation'sNPO Mashinostroeyenia and India's Defence Research and DevelopmentOrganisation (DRDO) and the missile derives its name from the namesof two rivers, namely the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva ofRussia.

6. Rajasthan government launched the Agro-Processingand Agri-Marketing Promotion Policy 2015

i. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on 5 November 2015launched the Rajasthan Agro-Processing and Agri-Marketing PromotionPolicy 2015. The policy seeks to promote agro-processing and toreduce post harvest losses at the farm gate.

ii. The Agriculture Department of Rajasthan Government will be thenodal department for the policy and Rajasthan State Agriculturalmarketing Board will act as nodal agency for the policy.

iii. The policy aims to promote agro-processing and to reduce postharvest losses at the farm gate thus ensuring maximum prices offarmer’s agri produce. The state government also signed 112 MoUswith private companies in different sectors during the launch ofpolicy.

iv. Rajasthan Agro-Processing and Agri-Marketing has been includedas the thrust sector under Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme,2014 to provide higher incentives than normal provisions.

v. In addition, additional incentives provisions of subsidy forproduct patent, product registration, quality certification, sendingsamples abroad, project report preparation, transport of on fruitsand vegetables and spices abroad also have been made.

7. RBI issued Uniform Guidelines on Internet Bankingfor Cooperative Banks

i. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 5 November 2015 issued revisedand uniform guidelines on Internet Banking for all licensedcooperative banks including Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs),Cooperative Banks (StCBs) and Districts Co-operative Banks (DCBs).These guidelines relate to Internet Banking (View Only) facility andInternet Banking with Transaction facility.

ii. In case, any service offered under ‘view only’ facilityrequires two-factor authentication or One Time Password (OTP), banksmay adopt the security features related to internet banking asprescribed by RBI, as appropriate to such services.

iii. The cooperative banks offering this facility to theircustomers should ensure that the facility is strictly fornon-transactional services such as balance enquiry and balanceviewing among others.

iv. The cooperative banks have to report commencement of theservice to the concerned Regional Office of RBI (and also NABARD incase of StCBs/DCCBs) within one month of operationalisation of thisfacility.

 

                                      Current Affairs - 6th November 2015

 

1. Veteran actor Vikram Gokhale honoured with VishnudasBhave Award

i. Renowned film, television and stage actor Vikram Gokhale on 5November 2015 was conferred with the prestigious Vishnudas BhaveAward.

ii. Gokhale was honoured with the award at a ceremony held inSangli, Maharashtra on the eve of Marathi Rangbhumi Din. Prominentactress-singer Faiyaz Shaikh presented the award to him.

iii. The actor was felicitated with the award for his outstandingcontribution to Marathi theatre. In 2011, Gokhale was awarded withthe Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his Acting in Theatre. In 2013,he was facilitated with the National Film Award for Best Actorcategory for his Marathi film Anumati.

iv. The Vishnudas Bhave Award is an annual award which wasinstituted by Sangli-based Akhil Maharashtra Natya Vidya Mandir. Theaward was instituted in the memory of famous Marathi dramatistVishnudas Bhave.

2. Ashwin fastest Indian to reach 150 Test wickets

i. Ravichandran Ashwin's CV has another bullet point under theachievements column as he is now the fastest among Indian bowlers toreach the landmark of 150 Test wickets in 29 Tests.

ii. The historic moment arrived for the premier offspinner on thesecond day of the first Test in Mohali, part of his 13 five-for (5for 51) in Tests that helped India eject South Africa for 184 aftertheir disastrous first innings that ended in 201 all out.

iii. Ashwin collected figures of 5 for 51 in 24 overs to fox thevisitors on a track that is dry from day one when 12 wickets fell forjust 229 runs in 88 overs. But Indian trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadejaand Amit Mishra spun a web around the South Africans to take all 10wickets on the second day, which helped India take a slim 17-runlead.

iv. Overall, former England fast bowler Sydney Barnes is thefastest to the landmark of 150 wickets, which he achieved in 24Tests. Second on that list is legendary Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis,who did it in 27 Tests, followed by Australian leggie ClarrieGrimmett, who took 28 Tests.

3. Tanzania’s first female Vice President SamiaSuluhu sworn in

i. Tanzania's first female Vice President Samia Hassan Suluhu on 5November 2015 was sworn into office. She was sworn in along with thenew President John Pombe Magufuli at the swearing-in ceremony held inthe country’s economic capital Dar es Salaam.

ii. Magufuli, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party'scandidate, emerged victorious on 29 October 2015 in the presidentialelections of Tanzania. The National Electoral Commission (NEC)declared that Magufuli won the election with 58.46 percent of votes.

iii. Born on 27 January 1960, Suluhu started her career by workingas a clerk in the Ministry of Planning and Development. A graduatefrom the Institute of Development Management (now known as MzumbeUniversity) with an advanced diploma in public administration, shewas employed on a project funded by the World Food Programme.

iv. In 2000, Suluhu was elected as a special seat member to theZanzibar House of Representatives. President Amani Karume hadappointed her as the Minister of Labour, Gender Development andChildren. In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly andwon by more than 80 percent. She was appointed as the Minister ofState for Union Affairs.

4. Union Cabinet gives nod to UDAY Scheme for financialrestructuring package for power DISCOMs

i. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has givenits nod Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) for financialrestructuring of debt of power distribution companies. The Schemeaims for financial turnaround and revival of Power Distributioncompanies (DISCOMs) and also ensures a sustainable permanent solutionto the problem.

ii.  ii. UDAY scheme allows power DISCOMs in selected statesto convert their debt into state bonds as well as roll out number ofmeasures to improve efficiency at power plants. Seeks to ensure thatstruggling DISCOMs can shake off years of losses and start on a pathto profitability.

iii. Selected states would be able to sell the balance 25 per centas state-backed power bonds or loans which will carry interest ratesof g-sec plus 50 basis points.

iv. Thus with nod to UDAY Scheme, Union Government seeks toaccelerate the process of reform across the entire power sector inorder to ensure affordable and accessible 24×7 Power for All. v. Thescheme has been framed by Union Power Ministry as power DISCOMs inseveral states have been severely mismanaged, resulting in a debtburden upward of 4 lakh crore rupees. This has taken a toll on thepower as well as bank sectors.

5. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Belgium forEnergy

i. The government approved an agreement with Belgium forcooperation in development of new and renewable energy technologies.

ii. "The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi, has approved a Memorandum of Understanding which has beensigned between Indian and Belgian government authorities at theFederal and regional level for energy," an official statementsaid.

iii. The objective of the Memorandum, it added is to establish thebasis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage andpromote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energyissues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.

iv. "The areas of cooperation will focus on development ofnew and renewable energy technologies in the field of wind energy,biomass, solar (thermal and photovoltaic), smart grids, geothermalenergy, marine energy, contribution of renewables to diversificationof supply and energy security, and any other mutually agreed areas,"the statement said.

6. Rebooting India authored by Nandan Nilekani &Viral Shah released

i. The book titled Rebooting India: Realizing a BillionAspirations authored by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah was releasedon 4 November 2015. The book talks about the demographic dividend ofIndia, which is expected to be the world’s youngest country by 2020with 64 percent (roughly 800 million) of its population of workingage.

ii. It also suggests that India may fail to become a globalpowerhouse, if it fails to resolve the contradictions and bridge gapsthat distort our society.

iii. Through the book, the authors Nilekani and Shah say thatchallenge before us is to enable every one of India’s 1.2 billioncitizens to realize their aspirations. According to them, it can beachieved only by using technology to radically reimagine governmentitself.

iv. Rebooting India identifies a dozen initiatives where a seriesof citizen-friendly, high-tech public institutions can deliverlow-cost solutions to India’s grand challenges.

v. Viral Shah worked at the intersection of policy and technologyat the Unique Identification Authority of India, where he led thedesign of the government's payments and subsidy platforms usingAadhaar. He is a co-inventor of the Julia programming language, andco-founder of FourthLion Technologies.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 5th November 2015

 

1. PM Narendra Modi launched research project ImprintIndia

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 November 2015 launchedImprint India, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative. The projectencourages the Indian technical institutions to develop a blueprintfor research to crack major engineering and technology challengesrelevant to the nation.

ii. Imprint India is a 1000 crore rupees project, which aspires toidentify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovationand Direct scientific research into identified areas.

iii. This is to ensure higher funding support for research intothese areas and Measure outcomes of the research effort withreference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urbanareas.

iv. The Imprint India will focus on 10 themes and each will becoordinated by one IIT/IISc.

2. RBI imposes Rs 1 cr penalty on Dhanlaxmi Bank

i. The Reserve Bank has imposed Rs 1 crore penalty on DhanlaxmiBank for violation of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti MoneyLaundering (AML) norms.

ii. It had issued a Show Cause Notice to the bank for notcomplying with KYC and AML guidelines “in respect of a currentaccount under investigation” of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW),Mumbai.

iii. After considering the bank’s reply, as also, personalsubmissions, information submitted and documents furnished, RBI cameto the conclusion that the bank had violated theinstructions/guidelines issued, from time to time, which warrantedimposition of monetary penalty on it.

iv. RBI further said that “this action” is based ondeficiencies in regulatory compliance and is “not intended” topronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement enteredinto by the bank and its customers.

3. Indian-born Harjit Sajjan sworn-in as DefenceMinister of Canada

i. Indo-Canadian Sikh Harjit Sajjan was on 4 November 2015sworn-in as Defence Minister of Canada. Sajjan succeeded ConservativeDefence Minister Jason Kenney.

ii. He is one of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 30-memberCabinet that was sworn-in at a public ceremony held at Rideau Hall inOttawa, Canada. Trudeau was sworn-in as the 23rd Prime Minister ofCanada.

iii. Sajjan is a decorated Lt Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forceswho was elected as a MP for Vancouver South. He has served in Bosniaand had three deployments to Kandahar, Afghanistan. He has receivednumerous military honours, including the Meritorious Service Medal in2013.

iv. As the new Defence Minister, Sajjan will work with Trudeau onreshaping Canada's combat mission fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.Sajjan was born in India and later moved to Canada with his familywhen he was five-years-old.

4. Jitu Rai won silver in 13th Asian ShootingChampionship

i. Ace shooter Jitu Rai on 4 November 2015 won India's firstsenior medal at the 13th Asian Shooting Championship in Kuwait City.He bagged the silver in the finals of the men's 50 metre pistolevent.

ii. Korea’s Park Daehun, who won the gold medal of the event,shot finals world and Asian record score of 199.2, while Jitufinished with a finals score of 189.5.

iii. In the process, Jitu defeated his long-time rivals Jin Jongohof Korea and Vladimir Issachenko of Kazakhstan.

iv. Apart from this, India also won four silver and two bronzemedals in the junior events of the championships. In the women's 25metre pistol event, Heena Sidhu, Gauri Sheoran and Annu Raj Singhcould not qualify for the finals.

5. V Sivaramakrishnan appointed as MD of OxfordUniversity Press India

i. Oxford University Press India (OUPI) has appointed VSivaramakrishnan (Siva) as the managing director, with regionalresponsibilities including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

ii. He will join OUP India from Manipal Global Education Services,privately owned service provider to the higher education and trainingsectors.

iii. In progressing from chief marketing officer to executivepresident for education services, Siva has overseen seven years ofstrong business development, improved quality assurance, and theeffective delivery of supporting technology platforms.

iv. Prior to moving into the education sector, he led a team thatbuilt and ran a successful online news, shopping, and gaming portal.He also spent nearly ten years with the Ford Motor Company –including time based in the UK and US – and held various consumerbranding roles within Proctor and Gamble.

6. Michelle Payne became first female jockey to winMelbourne Cup

i. Michelle Payne on 3 November 2015 became the first femalejockey to win 6.2 million Australian dollars Melbourne Cup. Paynerode rank outsider Prince of Penzance to a famous victory inAustralia's richest and most prestigious horse race.

ii. Payne, born on 29 September 1985, won in her first race atBallarat. On 10 October 2009, she won her first Group One race, theToorak Handicap at Caulfield Racecourse aboard Allez Wonde. Later,she emerged as the third female jockey to ride in the Caulfield Cup.In 2010, she came out as a winner in the Thousand Guineas atCaulfield aboard Yosei.

iii. The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia's most prestigiousThoroughbred horse races. The race is conducted annually by theVictoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne,Victoria.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 4th November 2015

 

1. Priyanka Chopra bags People’s Choice Awardsnomination

i. The 33-year-old “Mary Kom” actress, who has made it to thetop five, will be competing with big names like Jamie Lee Curtis,Emma Roberts, Marcia Gay Harden and Lia Michele. In her debutAmerican TV thriller “Quantico” the “Gunday’ star plays thelead role of a young FBI recruit Alex Parish. The news of her beingone of 15 actresses vying for a final nomination in the category camelast month.

ii. Apart from the actress, the show has also bagged the finalnomination in the Favourite New TV Drama category.

2. Mysuru Railway Station became the firstblind-friendly Railway Station in India

i. Mysuru Railway Station (Karnataka, India) became the firstblind-friendly Railway Station in India. The visually impaired –friendly facilities at Mysuru Railway Station  has beeninaugurated by Mysuru’s Member of Parliament Pratap Simha. Tactilemaps of the railway station and train schedules in Braille wereunveiled on the occasion of inauguration. The authorities have alsoput up 400 metal signages in Braille along the railings of thestaircases leading to various platforms.

ii. Anuprayaas, a Non – Governmental Organisation assisted therailways in making Mysuru railway station blind-friendly. The RailwayBudget 2015-16 stated that 200 more stations will be constructedunder Adarsh Station scheme which will include facility of Wi–Fi atB stations, facility of self-operated lockers to be made available atstations, provision of concierge services through IRCTC at majorstations, online booking of wheel chair on payment basis for seniorcitizens, patients and the differently-abled passengers through IRCTCon selected stations.

3. Justice T S Thakur will be next Chief Justice ofIndia

i. Justice T S Thakur (63)  will be next Chief Justice ofIndia. His name has been recommended by current  CJI JusticeDattu. Current CJI Justice Dattu will retire on December 2, 2015.Presently, Justice Thakur is the senior most judge of the SupremeCourt. He would be the 43rd CJI.

ii. Justice Thakur was born on January 4, 1952 and enrolled as aPleader in October 1972. Later, he started practising in the Jammuand Kashmir High Court. His father D D Thakur was an eminent advocatewho became a judge of J& K High Court and later also as a unionminister.Justice Thakur worked in Karnataka High Court, Delhi HighCourt and Punjab and Haryana High Court.

4. Maharashtra Government approves APJ Abdul KalamAmrut Yojna

i. The Maharashtra state Government has approved a revised scheme,named APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojna, for pregnant and lactating womenin the tribal areas of the state. The scheme aims at providing atleast one full hot cooked nutritious food to every pregnant lady andlactating mother.

ii. The scheme will be rolled out on 15 November 2015. Theanganwadis workers, the tribal women and the local meal committeeswill implement the scheme. The Women and Child Welfare Departmentwill spend 10 crore rupees in stipend to anganwadi workers.

iii. The scheme will be executed in 16 districts having tribalpopulation. A four-member meal committee will be constituted in everytribal village across 16 districts. A woman panchayat member willhead the committee, along with two pregnant or lactating mothers andan anganwadi worker.

iv. The food will be provided for six months, beginning from thirdtrimester of pregnancy to the three months period after delivery. Themeal will include pulses, rice, fruits, vegetables and boiled eggswith occasional supply of milk.

5. Tropical Cyclone Chapala hits Yemen triggering heavyfloods

i. A rare tropical Cyclone Chapala has slammed into Yementriggering heavy flooding and causing damage in coastal region of thewar racked country. The cyclone made landfall in the south easternprovinces of Hadramawt and Shabwa along the Gulf of Aden coast ofYemen in Arabian Sea bringing winds of speed more than 100 kms perhour.

ii. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has categorized CycloneChapala as a Category 4 equivalent storm on the Saffir-SimpsonHurricane Wind Scale. It is believed that Cyclone Chapala is the mostpowerful storm that has hit Yemen in last five decades.

iii. It is the second-strongest cyclone on record over the ArabianSea, only after Cylone Gonu (2007). The rainfall brought by cyclonehas caused flooding of rivers which are usually dry causingdestructive mudslides. Earlier the cyclone had wreaked havoc on theisland of Socotra, located 350 kilometers off the Yemeni mainland.

6. Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik announcesretirement from Test Cricket

i. Veteran Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, who made aspectacular comeback into the Pakistani Test squad after five years,has announced retirement from the longest format of the game. The33-year-old said that he wanted to vacate the place for youngsterswho are ready to fill in his shoes. Malik added that he wanted tofocus more on ODIs and is willing to play the 2019 World Cup. In thefirst Test of the on-oing three-match series, Malik slammed 245 runsagainst England at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match endedin a draw.

ii. Malik has played 35 Tests for Pakistan where he has scored1898 runs at an average of 35.14.

7. UNGA Disarmament Committee adopts draft resolutionbacking abolition of nuclear arms

i. The United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) DisarmamentCommittee has adopted a draft resolution submitted by Japan callingfor the abolition of nuclear arms. The resolution was adopted by 156member countries, while 17 abstaining and 3 voting against itincluding China and Russia. But it failed to secure endorsement US,Britain, France and other key powers as they abstained from votingdespite supporting it.

ii. The resolution Stresses the inhumanity of nuclear weapons andurges nuclear powers to be more transparent in their disarmamentefforts. The resolution asks world leaders to visit the two Japanesecities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which were devastated by the nuclearattacks. Since 1994, Japan has been spearheading efforts UNGADisarmament Committee to introduce resolutions on nuclear arms everyyear.

iii. The UNGA Disarmament Committee or First Committee deals withdisarmament, threats to peace and global challenges that affect theinternational community. It seeks out solutions to the challenges inthe international security regime.

 

                                       Current Affairs - 3rd November 2015

 

1. Mana Patel, Virdhawal won best swimmers' award in69th senior National Aquatic Championships

i. Mana Patel and Virdhawal Khade emerged as the best swimmers ofthe 69th senior National Aquatic Championships 2015 that concluded inRajkot on 2 November 2015.

ii. Mana from Gujarat was adjudged the best swimmer in the women'scategory of the competition. She broke her national record by 13micro second in women’s 50m backstroke race.

iii. She completed the 50m backstroke event in 30.25 second.Earlier in 2014, she had set a record in the 50m backstroke eventtaking time of 30:38 seconds.

iv. On the other hand, Khade from Maharashtra was declared bestswimmer in men's category. He bagged three gold medals in the events50m freestyle, 50m and 100m butterfly, with a national record in the100m butterfly.

v. Swimmer from Tamil Nadu, AV Jayaveena set a national record in100m breaststroke event, beating the previous record of 1:16.76 witha record time of 1:16.25.

2. ICGS Arinjay commissioned in Kochi

i. An Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Arinjay was on 1 November2015 commissioned by Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM Flag OfficerCommanding-in-chief, Southern Naval Command at a ceremony held atNaval Base in Kochi.

ii. The ship will be based at Okha under the administrative andoperational control of the commander, coast guard region (northwest). The ship is commanded by Commandant AK Mudgal and hascomplement of four officers and 31 enrolled personnel.

iii. The ship is 15th in the series of 20 Fast Patrol Vessels(FPV). The 50-metre indigenous FPV has a displacement of 290 tonnesand can achieve a maximum speed of 33 knots with an endurance of 1500nautical miles at economical speed of 13 knots.

iv. It is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and advancedcommunication and navigational equipment. The ship is capable ofundertaking multifarious tasks such as surveillance, interdiction,search and rescue and medical evacuation.

3. Lionel Messi appointed Tata Motors’ global brandambassador

i. Tata Motors has roped in Football star Lionel Messi as theglobal brand ambassador for its passenger vehicles. To start with,Tata Motors will roll out the association campaign, #madeofgreat,starring Lionel Messi tomorrow.

ii. This is the first time ever that the Passenger VehicleBusiness will be undertaking an overall brand association campaignwith a brand ambassador, said the company. The company has alsoannounced to soon roll out an exclusive, limited editionmerchandising range of this association.

iii. Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit,said, “We are very excited to have Lionel Messi on board. He istalent galore with conviction & is an icon for today’s youth.Watching him play football is magical. His determination on the fieldis awe-inspiring.

iv. He is a winner who is trustworthy, reliable, pioneering,simple and driven by self-belief, which is the core idea of thiscampaign – ‘What drives us from within is what makes us great.,”

v. Lionel Messi, who is endorsing an Indian brand for the firsttime, said, “Namaste India. I am very excited about my firstassociation with an Indian brand and am extremely thrilled to be apart of the Tata Motors family. I have always been fascinated byIndia and have heard such great things about this diverse country.

vi. I was once in India with Argentina National Team and I hope tovisit it again.

4. Punjabi became third most common language inParliament of Canada

i. Punjabi in the first week of November 2015 became the thirdmost common language, after English and French, in the House ofCommons of Canada after 20 Punjabi-speaking candidates were electedto the parliament in October 2015.

ii. On 19 October 2015, 23 Members of Parliament of South Asianorigin were elected to the House of Commons, Parliament of Canadaduring parliamentary elections, out of which 20 speak Punjabi.

iii. Out of the 20 candidates, 8 are Liberals and two areConservatives. Among the newly-elected Punjabi-speaking MPs, 14 aremen and 6 are women. Twelve candidates were elected from Ontario, 4from British Columbia, 3 from Alberta three and one belongs toQuebec.

iv. As per the Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey,430705 Canadians identified Punjabi as their mother tongue, making itthe third most common language after English and French.

v. In addition, 430705 native Punjabi speakers make up about 1.3percent of Canada's population and the 20 Punjabi-speaking MPsrepresent almost 6 percent of the House of Commons.

5. First International Film Festival for the personswith disabilities to be held in Delhi

i. To recognise the spirit of the persons with disabilities, firstinternational film festival for the persons with disabilities (IFFPD)will be held in Delhi from 1 December to 3 December 2015.

ii. The announcement with regard to the three-day event was madeby Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities,Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Lov Verma on 2 November2015.

iii. The three-day-long event will see the screening of 40 filmscomprising of 10 feature films, 16 short films and 14 documentaries.All these films have been selected from 541 entries from India andabroad. The film festival will conclude on 3 December, which isobserved as International day of Persons with Disabilities.

iv. IFFPD 2015 will felicitate the Best Director and Best Film ineach of the 3 categories of Films with cash awards with the First andSecond Runner Up receiving trophies and citations from theDepartment.

6. ‘Project Loon’ in India: Google, govt working onballoon Internet project

i. Internet giant Google is working with the government on a pilotproject for providing Internet connectivity by using large balloons.

ii. Google, under its ‘Project Loon’, is using big balloonsfloating at a height of 20 kilometers above earth surface fortransmission of Internet services. It has already tested thistechnology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.

iii. Google may initially partner with BSNL for testing thistechnology by using broadband spectrum in 2.6 Ghz band. Thetechnology, used for 4G services, has potential to replace mobiletowers as it can directly transmit signals on 4G mobile phones.

iv. To use LTE, Project Loon partners with telecommunicationscompanies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able toaccess the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and otherLTE-enabled devices.

v. Google uses solar panel and wind to power electronic equipmentin the balloon throughout the day. The source said that Google mayoperate as technology service provider and not as internet serviceprovider.

7. National Tribal Crafts Mela Aadishilp-2015 begins inNew Delhi

i. 11th National Tribal Crafts Mela Aadishilp has begun in NewDelhi. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of Tribal Affairs JualOram.

ii. This edition of Crafts Mela has been organised by TribalCooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited(TRIFED) and will be open till November 11, 2015.

iii. More than 90 tribal artisans from all over the country aregoing showcase their unique and exquisite tribal artefacts. The mainobjective of Aadishilp is provide tribal artisans an importantplatform to showcase their talents through their valuable products tourban India.

iv. Tribals will be also able to sell their traditional art andcraft works directly to the customers and get their valuablefeedback.

v. The mela will showcase hand crafted items, handloom products,cane and bamboo products, dry flowers, tribal
jewellery, Dhokracraft, tribal paintings, tribal weaves and embroidery

8. Facebook and BSNL partnered to set up 100 WiFihotspots in rural India

i. US-based social networking giant Facebook on 31 October 2015partnered with state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) to create100 WiFi hotspots in rural areas of western and southern India.

ii. During the partnership, Facebook will invest 5 crore rupeesper annum for buying bandwidth from BSNL. The hotspots will be set upby BSNL selected vendor Quad Zen and Trimax.

iii. Under the joint initiative, Facebook has chosen 100 villagesto provide Wi-Fi hotspots on a revenue-sharing model. The socialmedia major will spend 5 lakh per site a year for buying bandwidthfrom BSNL for a period of three years.

iv. As per the project, the first half an hour will be free forthe consumers. In addition, the WiFi network will have a capacity toallow an average of 2000 individuals to latch on at the same time.

v. Qaud Zen will be responsible for equipment sourcing and salesand marketing initiatives for the south-west region while Trimax willwork out for the northern region in an open process.BSNL expects tocomplete the WiFi rollout by 31 December 2015.

 

                                 Current Affairs - 1st & 2nd November 2015

 

1. AK Jha takes over as CMD, Mahanadi CoalfieldsLimited

i. Anil Kumar Jha today took over the charge ofChairman-cum-Managing Director of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), aleading subsidiary of Coal India.

ii. Jha, with 32 years of industrial experience, was Director(Production & Planning) in MOIL Limited before assuming thecharge, MCL said in a release.

iii. The officer brings with him a rich and diverse experience ofmine planning, production, management supervision, direction andcontrol of underground as well as open cast coal mines, it said.

iv. M-Tech in Mine Planning and Design from the Indian School ofMines, Dhanbad, with distinction, Jha started his career from theRanchi-headquartered Coal India subsidiary Central Coalfields Limited(CCL) in 1983.

2. BrahMos missile test-fired from Indian Navy'sstealth destroyer INS Kochi, hits target

i. Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, with a strike-range of over290 kms, was test-fired from the navy's newest stealth destroyer INSKochi successfully hitting a decommissioned target ship in theArabian Sea.

ii. The second of Project 15A 'Kolkata-class' guided missiledestroyers test-fired the advanced missile system as part of'Acceptance Test Firing' during a naval drill being conducted alongthe country's west coast.

iii. The world's fastest cruise missile, after performinghigh-level and extremely complex manoeuvres, successfully hitdecommissioned target ship 'Alleppey' located at a distance coveringnearly the full range of the missile with high precision, defenceofficials said.

iv. The navy commissioned INS Kochi on September 30, this year.The 7,500-ton indigenously developed warship incorporates new designconcepts for improved survivability, stealth, sea-keeping andmanoeuvrability.

v. The warship has the advanced capability of carrying a total of16 BrahMos missiles in two 8-cell vertical launch systems, besidesother sophisticated weapons and sensors.

3. Reliance Communications to merge Sistema Shyam Telewith itself

i. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com) is mergingthe telecom business of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) thatoperates MTS brand with itself in an all-stock deal worth Rs.4,500crore, marking the start of the much-anticipated consolidation inIndia’s telecom sector.

ii. R-Com on Monday signed a definitive agreement with SistemaJSFC, a publicly-traded holding company in Russia, for demerger ofSSTL. As a result, SSTL will acquire and hold a 10% equity stake inR-Com.

iii. R-Com will also take over the liability to pay the departmentof telecommunications (DoT) instalments for SSTL’s spectrum,amounting to Rs.392 crore a year, for the next 10 years. As on 31March, the total debt of R-Com was at Rs.39,828 crore.

iv. The transaction is expected to be closed in the second quarterof 2016, subject to regulatory approvals. After the closure, minorityinvestors of SSTL will be given an option to exchange their shares inSSTL with the pro-rata R-Com shares held by SSTL.

4. New Zealand All Blacks run over Australia to winrecord third Rugby World Cup

i. New Zealand cemented their status as the greatest team in rugbyhistory when they overwhelmed Australia 34-17 at Twickenham onSaturday to become world champions for a record third time, and thefirst nation to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.

ii. Tries from Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma'a Nonu had the AllBlacks cruising 21-3 early in the second half before Ben Smith'syellow card opened the door for Australia, who got back to withinfour points with tries by David Pocock and Tuvita Kuridrani.

iii. But flyhalf Dan Carter, who missed most of the 2011tournament through injury and who is retiring from internationalrugby after Saturday's match, stepped up with an exquisite drop goaland a 50-metre penalty to put the result beyond doubt.

iv. Replacement wing Beauden Barrett applied the black icing tothe Kiwi World Cup cake with a late try which Carter converted totake his personal tally to 19 points New Zealand have lost just threetimes in 54 matches since their triumph on home soil four years ago,and have won every World Cup match since losing to France in the 2007quarter-finals.

v. The previous six World Cup finals had produced seven triesbetween them and Saturday's total of five was a record, eclipsing thefour of the inaugural final when New Zealand beat France.

The sport's superpower won the cup for a second time four yearsago, also on home soil, and Saturday's victory was their firstoverseas.

5. Nico Rosberg wins Mexican Grand Prix

i. Nico Rosberg claimed victory at the Mexican Grand Prix onSunday ahead of Mercedes teammate and newly-crowned world championLewis Hamilton.

ii. The German won by 1.954sec to claim his fourth win of 2015.

iii. It is the 12th win of his career after leading from poleposition to beat home the British racer.

iv. Finland's Valtteri Bottas of Williams took third, 14.592secback.

6. Ex-Cabinet Secy. to head panel on new educationpolicy

i. Former Cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian has been appointedchairperson of a committee set up by the Human Resource DevelopmentMinistry to draft the new education policy.

ii. The committee, which has been mandated to submit the draft ofthe new policy no later than December 31, 2015, also has on boardShailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi; SewaramSharma, former Home Secretary, NCT of Delhi; Sudhir Mankad, formerChief Secretary of Gujarat, and J.S. Rajput, former Director, NCERT.

iii. The National University of Educational Planning andAdministration (NUEPA) will act as its Secretariat, the Ministry saidin a statement.

7. Punjab to set up bio-ethanol refinery

i. In what a major step towards tackling the menace of wheat andpaddy straw burning in Punjab, the State government on Thursdaysigned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up abio-ethanol refinery.

ii. The MoU was inked with a consortium of Beta Renewables,Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. for an estimatedproject worth Rs. 950 crore, during the Progressive Punjab InvestorSummit, 2015.

iii. Punjab’s Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithiasaid the bio-refinery could solve the chronic problem of strawburning, besides helping the farmers who would be paid for theagro-based produce. It would also help in containing the loss offertility and damage to environment, the Minister and industryplayers at the summit said.

iv. During the summit, 12 other MoUs worth Rs. 21,305 crore werealso signed. These include 300 MW solar plant and 150 MW solar plantwith Neuron Power Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Biomass Power Plant by SukhbirAgro Energy Ltd., 100 MW waste-to-energy projects by AG DautersConsulting Pvt. Ltd., 100 MW power generation unit by NavrattanGroup, Co-Generation power plant by Indian Sucrose Ltd. and 50 MWsolar power plant by Imperial Solution Pvt. Ltd.


feedback