G.K Update 21 April 2016 (English)
By. D.K. Choudhary
1. 2016 Pulitzer Prizes Announced
i. The 2016 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on 18th April in the US. It is an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.
ii. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City.
iii. The prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories.
iv. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US $10,000 cash award.
2. India ranked at 133 on World Press Freedom Index
i. India ranks an abysmally low at 133 among 180 countries in the latest annual World Press Freedom Index which says Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems “indifferent” to the threats against journalists.
ii. The 2016 ‘World Press Freedom Index’ released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is led by Finland, which retained its top spot for the sixth consecutive year, followed by the Netherlands and Norway.
iii. India jumped three spots from the 136th position it had in 2015.
iv. Among India’s neighbouring countries, Pakistan ranks 147, Sri Lanka (141), Afghanistan (120), Bangladesh (144), Nepal (105) and Bhutan (94). China is ranked 176. The United States is ranked 44th and Russia is placed at the 148th place.
v. Among the lowest ranked countries were Syria, at 177th place out of 180, just above North Korea (179th) and last placed Eritrea. Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework and the safety of journalists in 180 countries.
3. MoU between India and Bhutan on Technical Cooperation
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering.
ii. India and Bhutan have had a long standing diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with each other. The India-Bhutan friendship treaty signed in New Delhi in February, 2007 also strengthens the mutual relations.
iii. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi made a state visit to Bhutan in June 2014. The visit reinforced the tradition of regular high level exchanges between the two countries.
iv. During the Indian Prime Ministers’ visit, the two sides agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in areas relating to their national interest.
v. The MoU is in furtherance of Article 2,7 and 8 of the India-Bhutan friendship treaty. The MoU will provide an Umbrella for educational, scientific & technical research and environment protection which are also stated aim of the India-Bhutan foundation established in August 2003.
4. Cabinet Approves Signing The Paris Agreement
i. The Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing of the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties held at Paris in December last year.
ii. The Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption with developed countries taking the lead and notes the importance of ‘climate justice’ in its preamble.
iii. The agreement will be signed by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Prakash Javadekar on behalf of India on 22nd of April 2016 at the high level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
iv. The Paris Agreement on climate change is a milestone in global climate cooperation. It is meant to enhance the implementation of the Convention and recognizes the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.
v. The objective of the Agreement further ensures that it is not mitigation-centric and includes other important elements such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology, capacity building and transparency of action and support.
5. Compat sets aside Rs 258-crore fine on Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet
i. The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) stayed penalties totalling Rs 256 crore imposed by Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet for fuel surcharge collusion.
ii. The competition watchdog had in November last year imposed penalties to the tune of Rs 151 crore on Jet Airways, Rs 63 crore on IndiGo and Rs 42 crore on Spice Jet, finding the airlines guilty of colluding in fixing of fuel surcharge for cargo transportation.
iii. The matter has been sent back to the CCI on technical grounds and COMPAT has given the airlines one more chance to defend themselves before the final order is passed.
iv. In its order, the CCI had said that conduct of these companies undermined economic development of the country and was detrimental to consumers’ interest.
v. The CCI had acted in a matter which was filed by Express Industry Council of India under the Competition Act against Jet Airways, InterGlobe Aviation, Spice Jet, Air India and Go Airlines alleging anti-competitive agreements.
6. Lanka to sign MoU with Japan, India for collaboration in science, technology
i. A Sri Lankan university will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan and India tomorrow on trilateral collaboration in science and technology.
ii. Sri Lanka’s University of Sri Jayewardenepura will sign the MoU with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science (AIST) and Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) of Japan and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of Ministry of Science and Technology, India, reports Lanka Page.
iii. The MoU will be signed by Dr Yoshihiro, OHMIYA, Director, Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI), Advanced Industrial Science (AIST) and Prof. Sampath Amarathunga, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
iv. The MoU signing ceremony will be followed by a half day symposium with the Japanese and Indian delegates, academics and local industrialists.
v. This initiative is the result of the long lasting academic collaborations of Prof. Ranil de Silva with Dr. Sunil Kaul, Chief Senior Research Scientist, AIST, which had paved the way towards the advancement in science and technology between Japan, India and Sri Lanka
7. RBL becomes first private sector bank to open dedicated branch for startups
i. The RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank) became the first private sector bank in India to open dedicated branch for startups.
ii. The dedicated branch was inaugurated at Koramangala, Bengaluru by Nandan Nilekani, noted entrepreneur and former chairman of UIDAI.
iii. The first exclusive bank branch for start-ups will offer a bouquet of banking products to service the end-to-end needs of the emerging entrepreneurial eco-system.
iv. The branch will assist entrepreneurs in setting up new enterprises or companies. It will offer them host of banking products including, foreign exchange services, remittances and cash management.
v. The Branch will also provide a range of value added services including legal and tax formalities, registration etc. through its affiliates and partners.
8. Panasonic, US-based AES to install energy storage project in Haryana
i. Panasonic India and AES India Private Limited has announced an agreement to construct a 10 MW energy storage array at Panasonic’s Technopark manufacturing facility in Jhajjar, Haryana.
ii. This joint project is the first large-scale battery-based energy storage project in India.
iii. The storage will provide daily reliability and back-up to the manufacturing facility, while demonstrating grid stability and renewable integration services in the region.
iv. The project combines Panasonic’s capabilities as India’s leading lithium-ion battery supplier with AES Energy Storage’s Advancion® platform.
v. While AES operates 116 MW of energy storage projects around the globe, this project signifies AES’ entry into the commercial and industrial energy storage market.
9. Affordable plotted housing policy notified in Haryana
i. The Haryana Government has notified its Affordable Plotted Housing Policy 2016 for low and medium potential towns under the Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojna.
ii. This policy will enable the creation of additional affordable housing stock in the low and medium potential towns of the state. All projects are being required to be completed within seven years from the date of granting the license.
iii. The Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojna aims at developing ‘high density plotted colonies’ in low and medium potential towns where small plots are made available through a liberal policy framework.
iv. The policy mandates 30 % of the net planned area under the residential zone, inclusive of 20 % area limit for group housing projects, can be allowed for projects.
v. The minimum and maximum net planned area for such projects would be five acres and 15 acres respectively. The maximum permissible area of a plot shall be 150 sq metres.
10. BCCI appoints Rahul Johri as its CEO
i. Board of Control for Cricket in India – BCCI today appointed Rahul Johri as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
ii. Mr. Rahul Johri, was last serving as Discovery Networks – Asia Pacific’s Executive Vice-President and General Manager for South Asia. He will take on his new role starting from 1st of June.
iii. The creation of the post of the CEO was a change recommended by the three-member Lodha panel in its report in January this year. iv. The panel had stressed the need for the BCCI to separate its governance and management duties, with the CEO taking charge of the management side.
v. Commenting on the appointment, BCCI President Shashank Manohar, said, Mr. Johri’s vision, guidance and support will contribute towards the successful working of the BCCI. Meanwhile, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur also said, Mr. Johri’s appointment would help strengthen the working of the board.
11. Barack Obama nominates Indian-American Geeta Pasi as US envoy to ChadUS President
i. Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Geeta Pasi as the country’s next envoy to central African nation Chad.
ii. Ms. Pasi, who served as the United States Ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014, is a career member of the Foreign Service.
iii. She is at present the Director of the Office of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.
iv. She had joined the US Foreign Service in 1988. Since then she has served at various posts in Cameroon, Ghana, India and Romania.
v. Announcement for Pasi’s nomination as the next US envoy to the central African nation of Chad came along with several other appointments to key administration post.
12. William Bill Campbell, Silicon Valley Coach And Mentor Has Passed Away
i. The Silicon Valley coach and mentor William Bill Campbell has passed away. He was 75 year old and was suffering from cancer.
ii. He was a legendary mentor to some of Silicon Valley’s most important entrepreneurs and executives including Steve Jobs and Larry Page.
iii. Mr. William, who had served as President, Chief Executive and Chairman of Financial software maker Intuit better known for his advising and tech leader quality. That activity earned him the nickname, “The Coach.”
iv. The list of executives who worked with Campbell includes former EBay CEO John Donahoe, ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Google parent Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and many of the tech world’s leading venture capitalists.
v. Mr. William initially joined the Columbia University in 1974 as a football head coach. Than after that he had joined The Apple company in 1983 as a marketing executive and was appointed to the Apple board in 1997. Than later he joined Intuit and served it until January 2016 as its chairman.
13. Renowned Hollywood Actress Doris Roberts Has Passed Away
i. The five time Emmy award winning actress Doris Roberts has passed away. She was 90 year old.
ii. She was renowned for playing meddling mother Marie Barone in US sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
iii. Doris was born on 4th November 1925 in St. Louis, and grew up in New York, Us. She picked up her first Emmy in 1983 for a guest appearance on “St. Elsewhere“, making for a total of five wins overall.
iv. She was nominated for 11 Emmy awards including 7 for playing Marie Barone in Raymond, winning 4 for her work for that series from 1996 to 2005.
v. In May 2005, Roberts received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the University of South Carolina. She was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 7, 2011. She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 2003.