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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 21st July, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 21st July, 2015.

India –

Indian Railways and Odisha Government signed MoU for Dasappla-Bolangir Railway Line

  • The Union Railways Ministry and the Odisha Government on 20 July 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for implementation of Dasapalla-Bolangir segment of Khurda Road-Bolangir New Broad Gauge Railway Line on cost sharing basis.
  • The agreement was signed by Ved Parkash Dudeja, Executive Director (Works) Ministry of Railways and Sanjay Rastogi, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Commerce & Transport Department, Odisha Government.
  • Khurda Road-Bolangir (289 km), new broad gauge line project, was taken up by Indian Railways at an anticipated cost of 3050 crore rupees. To complete this project, Odisha Government consented to provide land free of cost and sharing 50 percent of the construction cost for Dasapalla to Bolangir line.

India, Singapore sign key agreement to boost maritime cooperation

  • India and Singapore today signed an agreement on sharing white-shipping information to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies as visiting Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan held talks with top defence officials here.
  • Dhowan, who is on his maiden visit to Singapore from July 20 to 23, called on Singapore’s Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen.
  • He also held talks with Chief of Defence Force Lt-Gen Ng Chee Meng and Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han after inspecting a Guard of Honour at Ministry of Defence.
  • He visited the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s Information Fusion Centre and the Changi Naval Base, where he and RADM Lai signed a Technical Agreement (TA) on sharing white-shipping information, which will enhance maritime information sharing between the two navies, said the Ministry of Defence in a statement. White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
  • The RSN and the Indian Navy conduct the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) together annually and this year’s SIMBEX, held in May, was the 22nd in the series.

Union Government launched National Career Counselling portal

  • Union Government on 20 July 2015 launched National Career Counselling Portal to modernize all government-run employment exchanges. The portal was launched under the aegis of National Career Service (NCS) project of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
  • The portal aims to bring on board around 20 million job seekers already registered with employment exchanges across India. It also aspires to bring 900000 establishments and companies on the portal.
  • NCS project aims at transforming all the government-run employment exchanges.

Highlights of the National Career Counselling portal
  • The web portal will be a one-stop platform for both job providers and job seekers where registration can be done online.
  • It will offer registration for job aspirants and employers for free. But to avoid misuse, job seekers will be required to link their Aadhar number when registering with the website.
  • The companies and organizations will need to submit their society registrations or company registration certificate copies while getting empanelled on the job portal.
  • It will provide basic platform for searching and applying for jobs on the portal.

Indigenous Visibility Measuring System, DRISHTI, installed at IGI Airport

  • An indigenously designed and developed Visibility Measuring System DRISHTI was installed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi on 20 July 2015.  The CAT III B IGI Airport, New Delhi, is now the first Airport in the country to have 10 indigenous systems operating in all its three runways.
  • The system developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), Bengaluru will be used for reporting the runway visual range, which is a critical parameter for safe landing and take-off of aircraft in poor visibility conditions (<25 to >2000 meters).
  • It is very cost-effective and is a mandatory system required at all airports as per International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
  • Earlier, CSIR-NAL and India Meteorological Department (IMD) signed a partnership agreement to jointly execute a mega project for installation of nearly 70 Drishti systems, at various Airports of the country.

KFC partners IRCTC, to serve meals on trains

  • People travelling in trains can now enjoy KFC’s meals on board as the fast food chain has tied up with IRCTC to start a delivery system for passengers.
  • Now a person travelling on train can order KFC meal, while booking ticket through IRCTC from July 20 onwards, under e-catering service initiatives, KFC said in a statement.
  • Presently, this facility is available only on 12 trains passing through New Delhi railway station.
  • However, it will be expanded to Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad (Kacheguda) and Bengaluru (Yeshwantpur) stations over the next 10 days, the statement added.
  • Consumers will have to visit the IRCTC website or call on 18001034139 (Toll Free) to place their order. A password will then be sent by KFC to the consumer’s mobile phone which will have to be mentioned at the time of delivery.
  • The service will initially be limited to trains which do not have pantry cars and subsequently would be expanded to trains like Rajdhani and Duronto.
  • E-catering service is a joint effort from KFC and IRCTC to provide fresh food to the passengers on trains.

India’s 1st indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine tested

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 16 July 2015 successfully tested India’s first indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.
  • The rocket was hot tested for duration of 800 seconds, which is approximately 25% more than the engine burn duration in flight.
  • The engine will be used for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25), the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching four tonne class satellites.
  • This cryogenic engine of C25 Stage operates on Gas Generator Cycle using extremely low temperature propellants – Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) at 20 Kelvin (-253 deg C) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at 80K (-193 deg C).

Appointments –

Maurice Obstfeld appointed as Chief Economist of IMF

  • White House economic adviser Maurice Obstfeld was on 20 July 2015 appointed as Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with effect from 8 September 2015. Obstfeld will succeed outgoing IMF economist Olivier Blanchard.
  • He will be responsible for handling the IMF's huge, troubled rescue programs for Greece and Ukraine while keeping a close eye on the slowdown in the global economy.
  • Maurice Obstfeld is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. However, he was on leave from Berkeley since mid-2014 to serve on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Bhanu Pratap Sharma appointed as Chairperson of FSSAI

  • Bhanu Pratap Sharma was on 20 July 2015 appointed as Chairperson of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) with effect from 3 July 2015. Sharma is an IAS officer of 1981 batch from Bihar cadre.
  • Sharma was given this additional charge of FSSAI for three months or till the appointment of a regular incumbent. Currently, he is the Secretary of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • FSSAI is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

Awards & Honors –

Telugu cartoonist Pamarthy Shankar won Grand Prix World Press Cartoon 2014 Award

  • Pamarthy Shankar, a cartoonist working with the prominent Telugu Daily newspaper Sakshi, on 11 July 2015 won the Grand Prix World Press Cartoon 2014 Award for sketching Nelson Mandela. He was presented the award at Cascais in Portugal by World Press Cartoon Director Antonio Antunes.
  • A Nelson Mandela caricature drawn by Shankar after the death of the iconic South African anti-apartheid leader in December 2013, fetched him the award for the year 2014. Shankar's caricature was displayed at a World Press Cartoon exhibition at Cascais in Portugal along with the top 50 works by other cartoonists in 2014.

Other two cartoonists who won awards in the caricature category are:
  • Alfredo from Argentina, who won the second prize for sketching late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
  • Iranian cartoonist Yaser Khanbarai, who won the third prize for sketching US President Barack Obama.

Benoy Behl won the Best Documentary Producer award at Madrid International Film Festival

  • Film-maker Benoy Behl in fourth week of July 2015 won the Best Documentary Producer award at Madrid International Film Festival. He was awarded for producing and directing a documentary film titled Indian Roots of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Bhel shot the documentary for XPD Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, which was released by Ministry of External Affairs in February 2014.
  • The film is shot extensively in Tibet, Kalmykia in European Russia, Ladakh, Spiti, Arunachal Pradesh, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Karnataka.

World –

China builds world’s largest amphibious aircraft

  • China has begun building the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, a media report said.
  • The assembly of the domestically developed AG-600 seaplane started in Zhuhai city on July 17, the People’s Daily reported on Tuesday.
  • The AG-600’s overall specifications, such as the maximum takeoff weight and flight range, are better than other amphibious planes in the world. Some countries with many islands, such as Malaysia and New Zealand, have expressed interest in the AG-600.
  • The aircraft can carry 50 people during a maritime search and rescue mission.

China to be world’s third largest nuclear-generating country

  • China is expected to become the world’s third largest nuclear generating nation around 2017, pushed by its national target against climate change, said U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • To fight against climate change, the Chinese government set a goal to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020, according to the China National Plan for Climate Change (2014-2020) released last year, reported Xinhua.
  • China is expected to surpass South Korea and Russia in nuclear generating capacity by the end of 2015, overtake Japan around 2017 and to be behind only after the U.S. and France, said the EIA.
  • Since the beginning of 2013, China has added 10 reactors totalling more than 10 GW, pushing China’s net installed nuclear capacity to 23 GW at present, said the EIA.

Japanese Cabinet approved Defence White Paper 2015

  • The Japanese Cabinet on 21 July 2015 approved the Defence White Paper for the year 2015. In the White Paper 2015, the cabinet described the security situation surrounding Japan as increasingly tough. The defence white paper for 2015 examines a range of global threats.
  • The annual paper was approved after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version as it had failed to contain any reference to China’s construction of offshore platform in the East China Sea.

Sports –

Eden Gardens to host 2016 World T20 final

  • Kolkata’s Eden Gardens will host the final of the ICC World T20, to be held in India from March 11 to April 3, next year, across eight cities, the BCCI announced today.
  • Matches will take place across Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi and Kolkata, which gets to host the summit clash at the iconic Eden Gardens.
  • The popular ground had missed out on hosting big ticket games during 50-over World Cup held in India four years ago.
  • The India versus England game was shifted to Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru after ICC found that Eden Gardens’ renovation work was not complete.
  • However, Eden Gardens have organised marquee matches in the past, notably the 1987 Reliance Cup final and 1996 World Cup semi-final, which India forfeited the match to eventual champions Sri Lanka due to a crowd disruption.
  • BCCI said the chosen venues will have to meet the prescribed requirements.

Bollywood Actor Milind Soman wins Ironman Triathlon in Zurich

  • The Bollywood actor and model just made the country proud by successfully completing the Ironman Triathlon held in Zurich, Switzerland on 19 July.
  • The triathlon is considered one of the world's toughest races and had 2,000 participants which included seven Indians.
  • The triathlon includes a 3.8-km swim, a 180.2-km cycle ride and 42.2-km run raced in that order without a break which the participants are required to complete within 16 hours to win the title of 'Ironman'.
  • 50-year old Milind Soman completed the triathlon in 15 hours and 19 minutes.

Duleep Trophy dropped for 2015-16 season

  • The BCCI’s domestic programme will start with the Ranji Trophy on October 1.
  • While the league phase of 108 matches would be completed in the first week of December, the knockout will begin in the first week of February 2016.
  • In all 900 matches will be played and the 2015-16 season will end with the Irani Cup match scheduled to be held from March 6, 2016. However, the inter-zonal Duleep Trophy has been dropped for the season.
  • The BCCI’s Tour Programmes and Fixtures committee has also taken into account the ICC under-19 World Cup to be played in Bangladesh and hence the BCCI has introduced a three-team under-19 Challenger.
  • The Deodhar Trophy will be played between the Vijay Hazare Trophy winning team and two more teams that will be picked by the senior National selection committee.
  • The BCCI is also set to start new tournaments for women in the form of an inter-State, an inter-zonal one-day under-23 and a three-day senior women’s inter-zonal tournament.

Books & Authors –

Book Titled "Locale, Everyday Islam and Modernity" by Shri M. Raisur Rahman

  • The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari released a book entitled Locale, Everyday Islam and Modernity authored by Shri M. Raisur Rahman at a function today.
  • Addressing on the occasion, the Vice President said that he is fully delighted to read such a valuable book which is in fact a chapter of North Indian history on Qasbahs.
  • History should be recorded as to why the institution of Qasbah has suddenly started declining and has almost disappeared. Reason is purely Economic as people had to leave their place for their livelihood. He congratulated the author for bringing out such a valuable book.
  • Dissolving the distinctions between centre and periphery, this book presents the Qasbahs of colonial India as vital and vibrant centres of intense intellectual and cultural activity.
  • The book demonstrates that the emergence of modernity among Muslims was a process during their colonial encounter in which Qasbah residents were active agents, and the Islam that emerged was that of everyday living.
  • Through this book the author, an Associate Professor, Department of History, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA has explored why locales remain major identity-markers and what makes Qasbahs continue to evoke memory and nostalgia.


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