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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 11th August, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 11th August, 2015. These are important for the upcoming OICL Assistant, Insurance Exams and IBPS RRB 2015.

Finance/Banking –

ICICI Bank launches ‘Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ for rural borrowers

  • ICICI Bank has launched its ‘Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ at base rate of 9.7 per cent for borrowers from the rural areas.
  • “Applicants from rural areas, including women borrowers, can now avail of home loans at the ICICI Bank Base Rate (‘I-Base’), which is currently at 9.70 per cent. An eligible borrower can take up to Rs. 15 lakh,” ICICI Bank said in a statement.
  • Customers can avail of loans to purchase or construct or renovate a home in the rural areas. The loan would range from Rs. 5-15 lakh for a period of 3–20 years and the loan could be up to 90 per cent of the property value.
  • The offer would be available in 189 cities across the country.

Google launched its parent company Alphabet Inc

  • Search engine giant Google Inc on 10 August 2015 launched a new parent company called Alphabet Inc that separates its highly profitable search and advertising business.
  • The new parent company was formed as part of Google’s new organisational structure which will help the company to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities and products.
  • With this, Google will be replaced by Alphabet Inc as the publicly-traded entity and all its shares will automatically converted into the of shares of new parent entity with same rights. Alphabet Inc will comprise of the search engine unit and all other subsidiaries.

Facebook donates benefits worth $21 mn to India developers

  • Social networking major Facebook has given benefits of around $21 million to Indian developers as part of its FbStart initiative. This is part of the $50 million worth of benefits the company, which has more than 70 per cent of its developers outside the U.S., is distributing in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • FbStart is a programme launched last year to help early-stage mobile start-ups build and grow their applications. Under this, Facebook runs two tracks called ‘Accelerate companies’ and ‘Bootstrap companies’ and for which it will provide software and tools worth $80,000 and $30,000 respectively to developers.
  • As part of its plan to reach developers across the world, FbStart is being organised across 20 cities to meet mobile developers. In the Asia-Pacific region, FbStart was organised in countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and India.
  • In India, the event is being organised in Bengaluru and Gurgaon. In Asia, Facebook has more than 1,000 members as part of the FbStart programme.

Appointments –

India-born Sundar Pichai named new CEO of restructured Google

  • As the new CEO of a re-organised Google, India-born Sundar Pichai has joined an elite league of over a dozen Indian origin persons holding top posts at global corporations with collective turnover of about $400 billion.
  • In a significant restructuring at Google, Pichai has been named the new CEO of the technology giant after the company co-founder Larry Page announced the formation of a new umbrella firm Alphabet, of which Google will be a part. Page himself will be Alphabet CEO.
  • Pichai, 43, has joined the league of Indra Nooyi, Lakshmi Mittal, Ajay Banga, among many other Indian-origin persons at the helm at large conglomerates headquartered abroad.
  • There are many other Indians heading the businesses at relatively smaller companies abroad, especially in IT sector, but at least 12 large companies have got India-born chief executives.
  • These include Microsoft (Satya Nadella), PepsiCo (Indra Nooyi), ArcelorMittal (Lakshmi Mittal), Diageo (Ivan Menezes), Reckitt Benckiser (Rakesh Kapoor), MasterCard (Ajay Banga), DBS Group Holdings (Piyush Gupta), SanDisk (Sanjay Mehrotra), Global Foundries (Sanjay Jha), Cognizant (Francisco Dsouza) and Adobe (Shantanu Narayen).

L&T Infotech appoints Sanjay Jalona as MD, CEO

  • Larsen and Toubro today said it has appointed former Infosys executive Sanjay Jalona as the Managing Director and CEO of its IT arm, L&T Infotech.
  • Jalona will operate out of L&T Infotech’s office in New Jersey, USA.
  • His appointment adds thrust to L&T Infotech’s plans to boost profitable growth and strengthen its presence in the Americas, Europe, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and the Far East, the company said in a statement.
  • Prior to joining the country’s sixth largest IT services firm, Jalona was with Infosys as Executive Vice-President and global head of High-Tech Manufacturing and Engineering Services.
  • During his 15-year stint with Infosys, he has held senior leadership positions across the US, Europe and India.

India –

ISRO's titanium sponge plant in Kerala fully commissioned

  • The indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala has been fully commissioned and has started commercial production required for space applications, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said today.
  • ISRO took the initiative to set up a Titanium Sponge Plant (TSP) in the country to meet the requirements in strategic areas, says the space research body's website.
  • The annual requirement of titanium sponge for space programme is approximately 200-300 metric tonnes. ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre has established a dedicated 500 MT per annum plant at M/s Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara, Kollam district, it added.
  • The plant is set up to enhance the production capacity to 1,000 tonnes per annum in future, it said, adding that this is the only integrated plant in the world that undertakes all activities right from mining of Ti minerals to manufacturing of aerospace grade Ti sponge under one roof.

Kochi became first Indian city to join World Tourism Cities Federation Council

  • Kochi on 10 August 2015 became the first Indian city to be a member of Beijing headquartered World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council and join its league of leading tourism cities across the world.
  • The invitation to Kochi to be the member of the council was sent to Kerala Tourism Department by WTCF, which was formally accepted by the department. The membership acceptance document was handed over to Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng by the Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany.
  • Kochi became the member of the council on ground of its partnerships in culture, sports and tourism. Kochi's cuisine, martial arts and snake and dragon boat races fulfil the set ground for membership.

Union Ministry for Minority Affairs launched Nai Manzil Scheme in Patna

  • The Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla on 8 August 2015 launched a new Central Sector Scheme Nai Manzil in Patna.
  • The scheme will address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities in general and muslims in particular as it lags behind other minority communities in terms of educational attainments.

Highlights of the scheme
  • The scheme gives a new direction and a new goal for the all out of school or dropped out students and those studying in Madrasas. It is so because they will not be getting formal Class XII and Class X Certificates rendering them largely un employed in organised sector.
  • The Nai Manzil scheme is aimed at this target group as an integrated intervention in terms of providing education as well as skill development.
  • It aims at providing educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system.
  • It will also provide them trade basis skill training in 4 courses including Manufacturing, Engineering, Services and Soft skills.
  • The scheme is intended to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students.
  • It will provide avenues for continuing higher education and also open up employment opportunities in the organised sector.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched new train services in Northeast

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 10 August 2015 launched new train services in the Northeast after the completion of North Lakhimpur-Murkongselek and Balipara- Bhalukpong sections into broad-gauge. He launched the service through video-conferencing from New Delhi.
  • Prabhu described the occasion as a Golden Day in the history of Arunachal Pradesh and flagged off few train on the occasion.

Telecom Ministry launched mobile app named Disha to promote digital literacy in Bihar

  • Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on 10 August 2015 launched a new mobile app named Disha to promote digital literacy in Bihar. The app aims to help people learn about computers and Internet through self learning modules.
  • The app also aims to offer digital literacy to tribal and Dalit women in the state. The app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.
  • The Ministry also launched Disha handbook that has pictographic lessons on computers operations. The Disha handbook is framed by the Common Service Centres (CSCs) for the purpose of digital literacy.
  • The book was composed to ensure that anyone with little or no digital literacy can also learn using this book. This initiative is aimed at spreading digital literacy in women from tribal and Dalit background in Bihar.

Days –

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples observed

  • International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples was observed on 9 August 2015 with the theme Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples' health and well-being.
  • This year's theme puts a spotlight on the issue of indigenous peoples' access to health care services, as improving indigenous peoples’ health remains a critical challenge for indigenous peoples, Member States and the United Nations.
  • The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Volume II was launched at the UN

World Bio-Fuel Day observed globally on 10 August

  • The World Bio-Fuel Day was observed across the world on 10 August 2015. The day is observed every year with an aim to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels).
  • On 10 August 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.
  • Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Bio-fuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

Awards –

President Pranab Mukherjee presented Saraswati Sammaan to Dr. M Veerappa Moily

  • President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 10 August 2015 presented the 24th Saraswati Sammaan for the year 2014 to Dr. M Veerappa Moily, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) in New Delhi. He received the award for his epic Sri Ramayana Mahanveshanam written in Kannada.
  • Divided into five volumes, Ramayana Mahanveshanam was first published in 2007 in Kannada. Later the poem was translated into English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
  • Moily’s work was selected for the award in March 2015 by a 13-member panel of scholars and writers headed by former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti.

Sports –

Hockey India suspended Gurbaj Singh for 9 months

  • Senior India hockey player Gurbaj Singh was on 10 August 2015 suspended for 9 months for indulging in groupism and creating disharmony within the team.
  • This suspension means that Gurbaj will be unable to play for India till 9 May 2016. It may shatter the midfielder's dream of playing in 2016 Rio Olympics.
  • The decision to suspend Gurbaj was taken after a meeting of Hockey India's disciplinary committee headed by Harbinder Singh with the midfielder and former India coach Jude Felix. The coach levelled the charges against Gurbaj in his report after July 2015 Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium.


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