Welcome to the Quick Gyan (QG) Section of D2G. QG is just a glimpse of what happened today all over the world.
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AWARDS AND HONORS
Latest Updates on Award Winners – March 19 2016
M Venkaiah Naidu has been conferred with the Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award
Union urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu has been conferred with the Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award at 43rdSKOCH summit held in New Delhi.
- He was selected for the award for his contributions to inclusive growth and towards poverty alleviation in India.
- Besides, IT minister of Telangana State KT Rama Rao was awarded the Skoch Award in the Startup India category for his initiative in establishing the path breaking tech incubator T-Hub.
- Skoch awards were instituted in 2003 as the highest independently instituted civilian honours.
- These were have been conferred on some of the best brains from across the country for their efforts in the area of digital, financial and social inclusion.
DataWind receives award for maximum consumer pull
DataWind Inc., the leader in delivering Internet access to emerging markets, has been recognized for the tablet brand with maximum consumer pull. The award was presented to DataWind during the Tele Analysis Device World 2016, Confluence of Indian Device Ecosystem, in New Delhi.
- DataWind was recognized for making UbiSlate, the low cost, affordable internet connectivity devices accessible to people at the grass root level and in turn making a transformational impact to the Indian Tech industry.
- he Award was received by Anil Gupta, Vice President, Platform Strategy from DataWind which was presented by Anupam Srivastava, CMD, BSNL.
- Recently, DataWind was announced as the leader in the Tablet market in fourth Quarter of 2015 by both IDC and CMR Report with 20.7 percent and 24 percent market share respectively.
Cairn India bags five awards at ‘FICCI Excellence Awards’
Cairn India has remained in the top deciles of safety performance amongst peer group companies for the FICCI Safety Systems Excellence Award in Manufacturing.
- The awards, which are dedicated for best safety and occupation health systems act as a motivation and a catalyst for adopting best safety practices and systems in the manufacturing sector.
- Cairn India considers safe transportation of its people and its products as an integral part of responsible care.
- Continuous efforts to improve road and transport safety are therefore part of the company’s overall objective to improve safety performance throughout its business.
DLF Mall of India wins `Best Retail Project of the Year` award
DLF Mall of India (Noida) has won the award for ‘Best Retail Project of the Year – 2015’ at CNBC Awaaz Real Estate Awards held in Mumbai.
- Mall of India launched the first phase of the mall in Mid- December 2015 with over 180 brands opening their doors to the customers.
- DLF Limited also received the most prestigious awards for Developer of the Decade for DLF Ltd. and Project of the decade for DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon.
- The company has been instrumental in setting high standards in creating world class projects in residential, commercial and retail projects since its inception.
Quick Link – Award Winners
Messi appointed as Huawei global ambassador
FC Barcelona’s player Lionel Messi has been named Huawei global ambassador. The partnership with Lionel Messi showcases the brand’s alignment with people and brands that demonstrate, and strive towards its shared value of connecting greatness.
- Huawei believes that sports are a great way in which people enrich their lives and that is why our commitment towards sports in general, is so strong.
- In the India market Huawei completed 16 successful years and has associated with cricket, a sport which resonates the Huawei brand value, by sponsoring RCB in the Indian Premier League.
- Huawei shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015 and became the third-largest player after Apple and Samsung.
- The company has set a target of growing its smartphone sales by 300 per cent this year.
- Messi is also global brand ambassador for Indian auto major Tata Motors.
- In recent months Huawei has launched a series of blockbuster products like the Huawei Nexus 6P and Honor 7, which were amongst the top ranked phones of 2015.
Quick Link – Messi as Huawei global ambassador
BANKING AND FINANCE
RBI eases reporting of NEFT by non-A/C holders
The Reserve Bank said it is discontinuing a two-year-old provision where banks had to submit data pertaining to NEFT transactions by walk-in customers not having an account with them.
- The Central Bank said banks should continue to maintain the relevant records, adding as and when required, the Reserve Bank can call for ad hoc reports regarding the data.
- A survey and incognito visits by RBI at bank branches had resulted in introduction of the provision in January 2014. It was slated to be in place for a year.
- “It was also observed that, in many cases, the officers/staff dealing with the NEFT desk at different branches were not aware of many of the above features of NEFT and customers were not guided properly,” the RBI had said.
- It had asked banks to educate staff about the NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) process in general and extension of the facility to walk-in customers and charges applicable for the same.
Quick Link – NEFT by non-A/C holders
GOI allows 49% automatic route FDI in Insurance
Seeking to attract more foreign investment, the government has relaxed FDI norms for insurance sector by permitting overseas companies to buy 49 per cent stake in domestic insurers without prior approval.
- Currently, FDI up to 26 per cent is permitted through automatic approval route. For FDI up to 49 per cent, the approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board is required.
- There are 52 insurance companies operating in India, of which 24 are in the life insurance business and 28 in the general insurance.
- During April-December 2015, FDI into the country grew by 40 per cent to USD 29.44 billion.
Quick Link – 49% automatic route FDI
WHO suspends TB drugs made by Mumbai based Svizera Labs
The World Health Organization has suspended the approval of tuberculosis drugs made by India’s Svizera Labs, a major supplier to developing countries, following an investigation into standards.
- The United Nations agency, which acts as a drug watchdog in markets lacking robust local regulation, said it had suspended all TB products made at Svizera’s Mumbai site because manufacturing standards and quality management were unreliable.
- It also said independent experts should retest batches of medicine already on the market and it might be necessary to recall supplies, depending on the outcome of those tests.
- The move is a fresh blow for India’s pharmaceuticals industry, which supplies cheap generic medicines to countries worldwide.
- The WHO had previously issued a warning letter to Mumbai-based Svizera Labs, part of Maneesh Pharmaceuticals, in September 2015, after finding dirty surfaces, black mould in a cleaning area, low hygiene standards and inadequate record-keeping.
Quick Link – Svizera Labs
Airbus to setup pilot training centre in India
Airplane maker Airbus SAS will set up a pilot and maintenance training centre in the National Capital Region at a cost of $40 million for the first phase, to support India’s need for new Airbus pilots.
- Srinivasan Dwarakanathan, president of Airbus division in India, said on an average one Airbus aircraft per week is expected to be delivered to Indian airlines over the next 10 years.
- Airbus said the proposed investment in a training centre is a key strategic Airbus initiative in line with the country’s Skill India programme launched in 2015 by the Indian government to develop a wide range of advanced competencies.
- This new centre will be fully owned by Airbus Group India with training to be delivered by Airbus’s specialized training instructors.
Quick Link – Airbus SAS
First Gay marriage bureau set up in India
Benhur Samson, an NRI, has set up India’s first Gay marriage bureau for homosexuals to help gay people find the right match for them.
- The general belief is that most homosexuals tend to identify their own partners and settle with them.
- But Benhur Samson, who used to help gays with surrogacy in India till 2013, was surprised when he received requests from them regarding prospective life partners.
- Samson started the arranged gay marriage service to cater to such persons. He has also roped in the gay prince of Rajpipla, Manvendrasingh Gohil, as a consultant, along with lawyers to look into the legal aspects of the marriages, including immigration if an Indian marries a person abroad.
- The bureau has so far received around 250 inquiries and around 24 people are enrolled with us, he said, adding that the process to identifying the right match for them is on.
The bureau charges $5,000 so that only serious candidates came forward to look for their match. If in case the person does not find the match the money charged is refundable.
Quick Link – First Gay marriage bureau
‘Iron fist’ at Pokhran: IAF displays prowess
On March 18, Indian Air Force (IAF) put up its greatest ever show of air power. The event was witnessed by the President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cabinet ministers and political leaders, and the entire military brass. Also present were the air attachés of various countries.
- The attachés of China and Pakistan were not invited as these countries do not invite their Indian counterparts for similar exercises.
- The event earlier called ‘Vayu Shakti’ got its current name ‘Iron-Fist’ when last held in 2013.
- The exercise logo shows an Iron Fist with a long arm to depict the long reach of the IAF. The Himalayan eagle perched on top with wings spread wide portrays IAF’s readiness for flight.
- The event was a showcase of all facets of air power and was packaged into six themes covering IAF’s transformation, net-centric operations, air-defence, combat support, night ops and soft power.
- All manned and unmanned aircraft, air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons, and Special Forces took part.
Quick Link – Iron fist
Sudhir Raheja given extra charge as AAI chairman
Member (Planning) Sudhir Raheja has been given the additional charge of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman after R K Srivastava’s tenure was curtailed suddenly by the government.
- This is the second time Raheja has been entrusted with the task of heading the national airport company.
- In August 2014, Raheja was given the additional charge following the repatriation of the then acting Chairman Alok Sinha to his parent cadre, Uttar Pradesh.
- Raheja took over the additional charge of the post left vacant by the sudden exit of R K Srivastava, a 1984 batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer, was removed from the post by the government, nearly 15 months after he was brought at the helm for a five-year term.
- AAI manages a total of 132 Airports, including 24 International Airports, 7 Customs Airports, 78 Domestic Airports and 26 Civil enclaves at Military Airfields.
- It also provides air navigation services. Set up under an Act of Parliament, AAI came into being in April 1995 by merging erstwhile National Airports Authority and International Airports Authority of India.
Quick Link – AAI Chairman
Turkey and EU reach landmark deal on refugees
Turkey and the EU have reached a controversial deal European leaders hope will stop the flow of refugees to the continent in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara.
- Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU President Donald Tusk confirmed the agreement, which will come into force on Sunday, at a press conference in Brussels after three rounds of talks.
- The accord aims to close the main route by which a million people poured across the Aegean Sea to Greece in the last year before marching north to Germany and Sweden.
- Leaders of the bloc had agreed on Thursday on a common plan under which Turkey would be given financial and political concessions in return for taking back all refugees who reached Greek islands off its coast.
- Under the agreement, Ankara would take back all refugees and others, including Syrians, who cross to Greece illegally across the sea. In return, the EU would take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and reward it with more money, early visa-free travel and faster progress in EU membership talks.
- Outside the summit, rights group Amnesty International placed a large screen in the middle of Brussels’ European quarter proclaiming: “Don’t trade refugees. Stop the deal”.
Quick Link – Turkey and EU deal on refugees
General Lori Robinson nominated as first US female combatant Chief
General Lori Robinson has been officially named as the next nominee to lead US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), setting her up to be the first woman to lead a combatant command in Pentagon history.
- The announcement, made by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, was largely expected, with Defense News, among others, reporting in January that Robinson was the likely pick.
- She is currently commander for the Pacific Air Forces and enrolled in the Air Force in 1982.
- If confirmed by the Senate, she would replace Adm. Bill Gortney, who held the position since December 2014.
- The US Northern Command oversees all of North America.
- In December of last year Mr Carter opened all combat roles in the US military to women. The move opened up about 220,000 positions to women.
- The military has already begun to recruit women for combat jobs, including as Navy SEALs, and new plans could see them serving in previously male-only Army and Marine Corps infantry units.
- The top Army and Marine Corps generals told senators in February that it will take up to three years to fully integrate women into all combat job.
Quick Link – First US female combatant Chief
Russia gets its own Rating Firm – ACRA
Vladimir Putin’s homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat. Moody’s last week announced it would shutter its joint venture in Moscow of 12 years and Fitch said it will probably stop issuing local ratings on Russian companies, the same day ACRA, which stands for Analytical Credit Rating Agency, applied for a license to operate in Russia.
- In the past three weeks, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Ltd. have said they plan to stop issuing local ratings rather than agree to having their Moscow branches regulated by the Russian government at the cost of breaking international sanctions.
- Russia is squeezing the business of foreign-ratings assessors since downgrades it condemned as politically motivated last year pushed the sovereign below investment grade for the first time in more than a decade.
- The Bank of Russia announced plans to start a company immune to “geopolitical risks” in July after S&P and Moody’s cut Russia’s rating to junk amid a slump in oil prices and sanctions imposed over Ukraine.
- ACRA’s board is headed by an American, Karl Johansson, who advised the Russian government while at Ernst & Young LLP in Moscow. Ekaterina Trofimova, a former banking analyst for Russia and former Soviet states at S&P, will run the new venture.
- Twenty-seven shareholders, including Sberbank, Raiffeisenbank and Severstal PAO among others, will each have 3.7 percent of 3 billion rubles ($44 million) of the authorized capital.
Quick Link – ACRA
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Union Government bans repeat animal testing of drugs
The Indian government has amended its Drugs and Cosmetic Rules (DCR), 1945, and done away with the repeat tests on animals for drugs which have already been approved by the other countries.
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, had appealed the health ministry to scrap the tests on animals for drugs that are already approved by other countries.
- The Investigational New Drug Committee, which considered the matter before the Drug Technical Advisory Board, states that if the drugs were tested elsewhere under Good Laboratory Practice conditions and align with India’s regulatory requirement, no further toxicity testing shall be required.
- Both committees also are encouraging the use of internationally accepted non-animal alternatives where available.
Quick Link – Govt bans repeat animal testing of drugs
Three astronauts launched to the International Space Station
One American and two Russians blasted off for their six-month stay on the International Space Station from Kazakhstan. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft lifted off with 9,000 pounds of thrust carrying the three astronauts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
- The Expedition 47 and 48 crew include veteran NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
- Soyuz was successfully captured and docked at the Space Station with the trio on time.
- Williams will set several records during his stay on the Space Station, he will become the new American record holder for cumulative days in space, at 534, beating Scott Kelly’s one-year mission.
- Williams will take command of the station starting on June 4 beginning Expedition 48 and marking his third Space Station expedition, also a record.
- Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the world record at 878 days.
- This will be Ovchinin’s first flight to the space station.
- The three new arrivals will bring the space station crew up to six join Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra, of NASA, ESA astronaut Tim Peake and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.
Quick Link – International Space Station
British Astronomers Find Nine ‘Monster’ Stars
Nine “monster” stars which are 30 million times brighter than the Sun have been spotted by British astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope.
- The cluster of stars around 170,000 light years from Earth is the largest group of very massive stars ever identified.
- They were discovered by an international team led by astronomers from Sheffield University.
- The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990 and is nearing the end of its life, but is still proving useful.
- The cluster is called R136, and measures a few light years across.
- It sits in the Tarantula Nebula inside the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. It is extremely large, hot and bright stars whose energy is radiated mainly in the ultra violet.
Quick Link – Monster
‘Man-made’ sun produces longest pulse at 50 million degrees
In a breakthrough, a ‘man-made’ sun experiment in China has successfully produced long pulse plasma discharge at a temperature of more than 50 million degrees — the longest discharge at such a high temperature.
- The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), an artificial sun experiment developed by Hefei Institute of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Science, realised a ultra-high temperature (UHT) long pulse plasma discharge for 102 seconds as of January.
- An artificial sun can provide limitless clean energy through controlled thermonuclear fusion.
- The light and heat of the Sun come from two of hydrogen’s radioactove isotopes – deuterium and tritium.
- These release a huge amount of energy during the process of fusion into a helium atom.
- The artificial sun imitates this fusion process.
Quick Link – Man-made EAST
New Golden Frog species discovered in Colombia
A team of scientists including a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) research associate announced the discovery of a new species of pale-gold colored frog from the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia. Its name,
commemorates both its color (dorado means ‘golden’ in Spanish) and El Dorado, a mythical city of gold eagerly sought for centuries by Spanish conquistadores in South America.
- The extraordinarily diverse group to which the new species belongs, Pristimantis, includes 465 recognized species, 205 of them from Colombia.
- At seven-tenths of an inch long, the species is among the smaller species in the group. The largest species grow to be 2 inches in length.
- Males of many frog species advertise for females with distinctive calls produced by vocal sacs or vocal slits.
- Oddly, although the new species lacks these structures, males are still able to produce calls consisting of an irregularly pulsed series of clicks.
- The new species was found calling from bushes along a roadside at about 8,700 feet elevation near Chingaza National Park, roughly 10 miles east of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city.
- Its discovery so close to a metropolitan area of nearly 10 million inhabitants illustrates how much of the planet’s biodiversity remains to be discovered.
Quick Link – Golden Frog species
Yogeshwar Dutt qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics
India wrestling star Yogeshwar Dutt has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 65 kg weight category in freestyle category.
- In the road to the final at the Asian Qualifying tournament, Yogeshwar defeated Ju Song Kim 8-1 and then in the quarter-finals the Indian wrestler defeated Xuan Dinh Nguyen of Vietnam by fall.
- The score was 12-2. In the semi-final, Yogeshwar overcame Seungchul Lee of Korea 7-2.
- The final against China’s Lee, Yogeshwar outclassed his opponent by 7-0.
- According to the rules, the last two wrestlers remaining in the competition seal an Olympics berth for their country.
- China’s Yeerlanbieke Katai, who Dutt will fight against in the final, has in the process also earned himself and China an Olympic berth in the 65 kg category.
Quick Link – Yogeshwar Dutt qualified for Rio
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