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August 14, 2015

14th August 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (14th August) is Independence Day of Pakistan.
    • While Pakistan will celebrate its Independence Day today, India’s falls tomorrow.
    • The two countries’ border forces used to traditionally exchange sweets at the Wagah border on this occasion and festivals such as Eid and Diwali.
    • But this year, BSF has decided to not accept any such gifts to protest the series of terrorist attacks in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir over the past month. 
  • Firming up their cooperation to build the $46 billion economic corridor through PoK, China and Pakistan signed around 20 agreements worth $1.6 billion to implement the ambitious CPEC project.
    • CPEC - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
National Affairs
  • Government is planning to give financial incentive of up to 1.5 lakh rupees on surrender of over ten year old vehicles to check pollution and address road safety concerns.
      • This comes at a time when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned plying of diesel vehicles which are more than ten years old in the national capital region.
      • Under the proposed policy, people would get an incentive of up to Rs 30,000 for discarding small vehicles like cars, while total benefits after taking into account tax exemptions etc could be up to Rs 1.5 lakh for big vehicles like trucks.
      • The new policy is likely to be valid for over-ten-year-old vehicles across the country. 
      • Transport Minister : Nitin Gadkari 
    • The YouTube channel of the Home Ministry was launched today.
      • The aim of this channel is to disseminate the information through videos.
      • The channel is expected to strengthen the online presence of the Ministry and engage audiences.
      • Launched by : Kiren Rijiju (Minister of State for Home)
    Business & Economy
    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all banks to provide interest concession of 2% in short term crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers.
      • Note : The government in the Budget for 2015-16 has proposed to implement interest subvention scheme in the current fiscal for short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh.
    • Uninor, the Indian unit of Norwegian telecom major Telenor, has awarded a contract worth Rs 1,200 crore to Chinese firm Huawei to modernise and manage its network across six circles in India within a three-year time frame.
    • In a bid to ease congestion in telecom, the Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal on that had suggested allowing Telcos to share spectrum in the same band. 
      • Telcos will now be able to share their unused spectrum thereby enhancing network quality and reducing operational costs. 
    • The Union Cabinet  gave its approval for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Nepal for the construction of a Petroleum Products Pipeline from Raxaul (India) to Amlekhgunj (Nepal) and re-engineering of Amlekhgunj Depot and allied facilities.
      • The MoU will promote bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector and secure long term supply of petroleum products to Nepal.
    • The Union Cabinet also gave its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation to establish the Pace Setter Fund - a fund to support the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy track of the U.S. - India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) between India and United States of America. 
      • This MoU was signed at New Delhi on 30th June, 2015. 
    New Appointments
    • Om Prakash Rawat, a former Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer who till recently was Secretary at the Centre, was today appointed as the new Election Commissioner, days before dates of the Bihar assembly elections are announced.
      • With Rawat's appointment, the sole vacancy in the three-member poll body has been filled. 
      • Rawat will join Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioner A K Joti in the three-member poll-panel.
    • The government has appointed senior lawyer Arun P Sathe, elder brother of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, on the board of markets regulator SEBI, raising eyebrows about political nominations to key positions.
    • The chief of Sabar Dairy, Jethabhai Patel, was re-elected as the Chairman of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), for another three-year term. 
    Science & Technology
    • Micro-blogging platform Twitter has announced that it has increased the Direct Message (DM) limit to 10,000 characters from the existing 140, enabling the users to send longer private messages to friends.
      • Earlier this year, the company had launched group direct messages, where multiple users could chat and any user could message another privately.
      • Twitter CEO : Jack Dorsey
    • Researchers have detected a methane-shrouded planet 1called 51 Eridani, 100 light years away that resembles a young Jupiter.
      • The planet is 20 million years old and may hold the key to understanding how large planets form.
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