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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 20th August, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 20th August, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS RRB 2015 Exam.

Finance –

Govt approves pact with Seychelles to check black money

  • Stepping up its fight against black money generation, the government today approved signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Seychelles for exchange of information on taxes.
  • The agreement will stimulate information exchange between India and Seychelles for tax purposes, which will help curb tax evasion and avoidance, Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.
  • In this regard, he said the government has taken various initiatives, including signing of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) with the USA and enactment of black money law.
  • The agreement will enable competent authorities of India and Seychelles to provide assistance through exchange of information that is relevant to the administration and enforcement of domestic laws of the two countries concerning taxes.

India –

YouTube tied-up with Whistling Woods International to set up YouTube Space

  • Google-run video sharing portal YouTube on 19 August 2015 tied-up with Whistling Woods International (WWI) to set up YouTube Space in Mumbai, a collaboration and production facility for YouTube video creators. However, the firms did not disclose any financial details.
  • Slated to open in late 2015, the YouTube Space Mumbai facility will allow YouTube creators and students at WWI to learn about video production and collaborate with other creators.
  • YouTube and WWI will also develop original courses to train the next generation of Indian filmmakers to succeed in digital and online media.
  • YouTube Space Mumbai is the seventh such facility for the YouTube. It has similar facilities in Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, New York, Brazil, and Berlin. The facilities are designed in a way so that the creators can produce original digital video content.

Prasar Bharti, Digital Television Russia inked MoU

  • Prasar Bharti and Digital Television Russia on 20 August 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation which will set the stage for a new media era in both the countries. This purposeful and meaningful MoU was inked in New Delhi.
  • The MoU is aimed at co-producing TV programmes, repackaging and dubbing popular programmes from the both countries.
  • It also covers technology modernisation, news exchange and programmes.

Union Government issued final notification demarcating ESZ around Okhla Bird Sanctuary

  • The Union Government on 19 August 2015 issued the final notification demarcating the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Okhla bird sanctuary.
  • The announcement was made by the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who also said that the final notification was issued after the National Board of Wild Life cleared the process of demarcating the ESZ.
  • The ESZ around the sanctuary will be the area up to 100 meters from the eastern, western and southern boundary. In the northern boundary, the ESZ will expand up to 1.27-km from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, which extends up to DND flyover across the riverbed situated in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district and southeast district of NCT Delhi.

Haryana, Maryland agreed to cooperate in biotechnology, life sciences

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Lt Governor of Maryland Boyd K. Rutherford, on 18 August 2015 have agreed to explore the possibilities of cooperation in the fields of bio-technology, life sciences and agriculture, cyber security and engineering.
  • They also decided to find out scope for working with companies engaged in the sector of low-cost housing.
  • The decision was taken during a meet of Khattar with Lt. Governor in Annapolis (Maryland). At present, Khattar is leading a 20-member delegation of officials and businessmen on a 10-day trip to the US and Canada.
  • During the visit to Maryland, the chief minister visited the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he sought cooperation and guidance from its Bloomberg School of Public Health for upgrading the Kalpana Chawla University of Health Sciences being set up at Karnal in Haryana as a Centre of Excellence.

Appointments –

Australian government appoints Adam Gilchrist ambassador to India - for education

  • In a move set to further strengthen education ties with India, the Australian government on Thursday appointed former cricketer Adam Gilchrist as nation's inaugural ambassador to the region on education.
  • The announcment was made by the Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne prior to attending the Annual Ministerial Dialogue and third Australia-India Education Council meeting in New Delhi on August 24.

Olympic champion Sebastian Coe elected as President of IAAF

  • The former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe on 19 August 2015 was elected as the sixth President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The British Olympian was elected as the President at the 50th IAAF Congress in Beijing, China.
  • Coe will take office on 31 August 2015 after the end of the 2015 IAAF World Championships of Beijing. He succeeds Senegalese Lamine Diack, 82, who has led the IAAF for 16 years.
  • The 58-year-old Briton defeated his rival Sergey Bubka, a former Olympic pole vault champion, by 115 votes to 92.

Karnal Singh assigned additional charge of Director of Enforcement Directorate

  • Karnal Singh, an IPS officer of 1984 batch of union territories cadre, was on 19 August 2015 assigned the additional charge of Director of Enforcement Directorate (ED). He will handle the office of the director for a period of three months or until further orders for a regular appointment.
  • His name for the post was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. This is the first time an IPS officer has been chosen for the key post under the Department of Revenue.
  • Singh, who is currently serving as Special Director in Centre Region of Enforcement Directorate, will replace Rajan S Katoch. Kotoch was given three extensions as ED Director.

Air India appoints Ashwani Lohani as Chairman, MD

  • Ashwani Lohani is to be the next Chairman and Managing Director of Air India.
  • Lohani is a 1980 batch Railway official. He will hold charge for three years or till further orders.
  • He takes over from Rohit Nandan who will demit office shortly.
  • Lohani is currently working as Chief AdministartiveOffcer of the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuel, a subordinate organisation of the Railway Board.

World –

Bangladesh became first country to receive funds from UN for Solar Home Systems

  • Bangladesh on 20 August 2015 became the first country to receive funds from the United Nations (UN) for its fast growing solar home systems. The UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued 395286 carbon credits worth 3.56 million US Dollar to two Bangladeshi organisations.
  • Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL) and Grameen Shakti are the two organisations that won the carbon credits. The UNFCCC has issued 212482 carbon credits to the IDCOL and 182804 credits to Grameen Shakti.
  • The IDCOL is a state-owned development financial institution dedicated to promote and finance infrastructure and renewable energy projects, while Grameen Shakti, set up by Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, aims to take clean solar power systems and communication technology to villages.

Pakistan and Russia signed defence agreement that includes the sale of four Mi-35 helicopters

  • Pakistan and Russia on 19 August 2015 signed a landmark defence agreement that includes the sale of four Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters to Pakistan. The agreement was signed by top defence officials from Pakistan and Russia in Rawalpindi.
  • The Mi-35 helicopter is an exceedingly modernised version of the Mi-24 (Hind) combat helicopter with new onboard equipment and avionics. It also has a more powerful engine and a different tail rotor.
  • Both countries were negotiating for this deal since 2014. It is after the visit of the Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to Russia in June 2015, that Russia sent a draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M Hind E combat helicopters to Pakistan.
  • The signing of agreement signals a major thaw in relations between the two Cold War rivals. Earlier in November 2014, Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations.

$10 billion Pak nuclear power plant to be built by China

  • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion nuclear power plant here.
  • The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant II (Kanupp II) with the capacity to produce 1,100 MW electricity is being built with the assistance of China, which has become the biggest investor in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan.
  • Built for an estimated cost of $10 billion, the project was in the spotlight due to opposition by civil society activists who alleged that it was being built in violation of environmental laws.
  • The start of work on Kanupp II will pave the way for the construction of Kanupp III, also with a planned capacity to produce 1,100 MW, to be built with Chinese help.
  • The groundbreaking of Kanupp III was also performed in 2013 along with Kanupp II.

Awards & Honors –

Debut Novelist Zia Haider Rahman won the James Tait Black Award 2015

  • Bangladesh novelist Zia Haider Rahman on 19 August 2015 won the James Tait Black award 2015 for his debut novel In the Light of What We Know. He received this prize during the 2015 Edinburgh international book festival.
  • Born in rural Bangladesh, Rahman was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and later at Cambridge, Munich, and Yale Universities. Prior to shifting to the writing career, he had worked as an investment banker and a human rights lawyer.
  • James Tait Black award is an annual literary award bestowed for literature written in the English language in UK and is the oldest literary award of UK.

Babasaheb Purandare conferred with 'Maharashtra Bhushan

  • History writer Balwant Moreshwar Purandare was on Wednesday conferred with the 'Maharashtra Bhushan' award, the state's highest honour, at a glittering function in Mumbai. The award ceremony was held at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai amidst tight security after the BJP-led state government's decision to honour Purandare received criticism from some sections of the Maratha community, which had protested against the move.
  • The ceremony was attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena MPs Arvind Sawant, Sanjay Raut, state cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde, industries minister Subhash Desai and Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar among other dignitaries.
  • Purandare, who was born on 19 August, 1921, started writing about the life of Shivaji from a very young age. He is known for his books like Raja Shiv Chhatrapati, Purandaryanchi Daulat, Purandaryanchi Naubat and Gadsanch which are considered masterpieces on the life and times of the 16th century Maratha warrior king.

List –

HUL, TCS & Sun Pharma among most innovative comapnies in the wolrd: Forbes

  • Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Sun Pharma Industries are the three Indian companies that have been named among the world's 100 most innovative companies by Forbes in a list that has been topped by Tesla Motors .
  • Fast moving consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever has been ranked 41 on the list, followed by TCS at rank 64 and Sun Pharma at rank 71 in the Forbes list of The Worlds Most Innovative Companies.
  • The list has been topped by Elon Musk's California-Based Tesla Motors which has a market capitalization of $25.5 billion. Musk has inherited (former Apple CEO) Steve Jobs' mantle as the cult favorite CEO. And his electric car company has grabbed Apple's creative crown, it said.
  • On Hindustan Unilever, Forbes said the company had over 35 brands spanning 20 distinct categories.

Days –

World Humanitarian Day observed with theme Inspiring the World's Humanity

  • World Humanitarian Day was observed on 19 August 2015 with the theme Inspiring the World's Humanity. The theme calls on people to join any of the world’s humanitarian organizations and become an active messenger of Humanity.
  • The day is dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.
  • World Humanitarian Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as part of a Swedish-sponsored resolution on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations, and set as 19 August.

Obituaries –

Former Gujarat Finance Minister Sanat Mehta passes away

  • Veteran Congressman and former Finance Minister of Gujarat, Sanat Mehta, breathed his last on Thursday evening at his residence in Vadodara.
  • Mehta, 90, had suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Tuesday late evening, following which he was admitted to a private hospital and kept on ventilator support till Thursday morning.
  • A prolific writer and newspaper columnist, Mehta has been a renowned expert in financial matters and a popular politician with clean image. He also contributed an article, “Development is in the blood of Gujaratis: The state is known for its entrepreneurial spirit” in the inaugural issue of BusinessLine’s Ahmedabad edition on May 25, 2013.
  • Among those who paid “rich tributes” to Mehta were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.


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