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August 18, 2015

18th August 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns home after two day visit to UAE.
    • The visit saw both sides come down heavily on countries sponsoring terrorism against other states.
    • The two sides decided to elevate India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and chart out a new course for cooperation in key areas like trade and investment, defense, security, maritime security and intelligence sharing.
    • Note : Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Gulf nation in 34 years.
      • The last Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE was Indira Gandhi in 1981.
  • Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has approved stringent new counter-terrorism laws to fight growing insurgency in the country.
    • The laws establish special courts and offer additional protection from legal consequences for military and police officers who have used force. 
    • They also impose the death penalty for anyone found guilty of setting up or leading a terrorist group.
National Affairs
  • Delhi Transport Department approves the plan of Bike-on-Rent facility in the national capital and it will be notified by the end of this month.
    • Licenses will be issued for motorcycles which can be hired for use by individuals and tourists.
    • The measure has been taken to boost tourism in the city.
    • The move aims at providing last mile connectivity to tourists and individual in the city.
  • The Supreme Court today asked search engines like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd to respond to the allegations that they were violating Indian laws and a court order by not blocking advertisements on sex determination of a foetus.
    • The apex court had earlier ruled that the search engines shall not advertise or sponsor any advertisement which would violate Section 22 of the PCPNDT Act, 1994
  • The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has became the first airport in the country to be fully powered by solar power.
    • A 12 MW solar power plant in the airport premises will be inaugurated by the State Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today.
People in News
  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of United National Party claims victory in Parliamentary elections.
    • Rajapaksa concedes defeat in this election.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee's wife Suvra Mukherjee passes away.
  • She founded the 'Geetanjali Troupe', whose mission is to propagate Rabindranath Tagore's philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas. 
  • Books written by Suvra Mukherjee :
    • Chokher Aloey : This book is a personal account of her close interaction with Indira Gandhi 
    • Chena Achenai Chin : A travelogue recounting her visit to China.
Business & Economy
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated & laid foundation stone of 11 National Highway projects of 700 km at a capital cost of Rs 9700 crore in Bihar (Ara).
  • Modi also announced a "Special Package" of Rs 1,25,000 crore for Bihar.
    • Breakup of this Special Package :
      • Farmer’s Welfare : Rs 3,094 cr
      • Education : Rs 1,000 
      • Skill Development : Rs 1,550 cr
      • Health : Rs 600 cr
      • Electricity : Rs 16,130 cr
      • Rural Roads : Rs 13,820 cr
      • Highways : Rs 54,713 
      • Railways : Rs 8,870 cr
      • Airports : Rs 2,700 cr
      • Digital Bihar : Rs 449 cr
      • Petroleum & Gas : Rs 21,476 cr
      • Tourism : Rs 600 cr
        • Total : Rs 1,25,003 cr
  • Food grain production in the country estimated to have declined by 4.66 per cent to 252.68 million tonnes (mt) in 2014-15 due to poor monsoon and unseasonal rain.
  • Global Credit Rating Agency Moody's lowers India's growth forecast for this year to 7 per cent from 7.5 per cent projected earlier.
  • Adani Ports and the Kerala government have signed an MoU for the proposed Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam deep sea international terminal and port, 25 years after the project was first mooted. 
    • The central government will also participate in the infrastructure project, to be completed in three phases.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the Second edition of the State Bank of India's Banking & Economics Conclave.
    • Theme of this year's conclave : 'India's growth story: What needs to be done?'  
Awards & Honors
  • Tamil nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has presented the first APJ Abdul Kalam award to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist N. Valarmathi, who led the team that successfully launched Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-1 in 2012.
  • Scottish professional tennis player Andy Murray has won Rogers Cup Masters Tournament 2015 by beating Novak Djokovic.

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