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Daily G.K. Buzz - 27th June to 1st July 2015

NATION

Union Government approved a proposal for setting up second airport at Jewar in NCR

i. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on 25 June 2015 approved a proposal for setting up a second international airport at Jewar in the National Capital Region. The proposal would soon be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval
ii. Once the project gets the required approvals, the civil aviation ministry will offer the contract for building and running the proposed Jewar airport in Greater Noida to the GMR Group where the government acquired 2378 acres of land for the project.

Prime Minister launched Digital India Week




i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched the "Digital India Week" as part of the larger initiative to empower the people and extend services better with the use of information technology and its tools.
ii. The Prime Minister also unveiled a logo for Digital India, an umbrella programme that seeks to transform India into a digitally-empowered, knowledge economy with a host of initiatives for a synchronised and coordinated engagement of the government and its agencies.
iii. The larger goal of Digital India includes broadband connectivity in all panchayats, Wi-Fi in all the schools and universities and public Wi-Fi hotspots in all important cities by 2019. It will be deployed in delivering services in areas like health, education, agriculture and banking.

India ranked best for investment

i. A ranking of destinations for attractiveness to foreign investors has placed India at the top among 110 countries. China has secured the 65th position and the U.S. is at the 50th. In the 2014 index, India was at the sixth position and Hong Kong was number one.
ii. The ranking is based on an index for baseline profitability that assumes that three factors affect the ultimate success of a foreign investment: how much the value of an asset grows; the preservation of that value while the asset is owned; and the ease of repatriation of proceeds from selling the asset.

India recalls NZ High Commissioner after assault allegations

i. India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar has been recalled to the Headquarters in New Delhi, following allegations that his wife assaulted a domestic help who worked in their kitchen.
ii. The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said the High Commissioner has been “posted back to the headquarters” and an investigation will be carried out, considering the seriousness of the charges.


Nadia district won the UN Public Service Award 2015 for eliminating open defecation

i. The district administration of Nadia, West Bengal was on 26 June 2015 conferred with the United Nations Public Service Award 2015 for eliminating open defecation in the district.
ii. Nadia district could achieve this feat due to its collaborative effort with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Bank aimed at construction of toilets across the district.

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa launched first phase of Chennai Metro Rail Service

i. The first phase of Metro service covers the 10-km elevated stretch. It connects Alandur in south Chennai to Koyabedu in the north.
ii. With launching of this Metro service, Chennai became seventh city in India to have metro service including Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Kolkata and Jaipur.

Indian Railways, Indian Army among world's biggest employers: World Economic Forum Study

i. Two Indian organizations Indian Army and Indian Railways are among the world's biggest employers, together employing around 2.7 million people, as per a research published by the World Economic Forum on 17 June 2015.
ii. Indian Railways was ranked at the eighth place in the list of world's biggest employers with 1.4 million staff. Immediately after Indian Railways is the Indian Armed Forces with 1.3 million people.

9th National Statistics Day observed with theme Social Development

Theme - "Social Development"
i. The day organised by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) commemorates the birth anniversary of late Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis.
ii. PC Mahalanobis born on 29 June 1893 was an Indian Bengali scientist and applied statistician. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure. He made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India.

Union Government hiked national floor-level minimum wage to 160 rupees per day

i. The Union Government in June 2015 increased the national floor-level minimum wage (NFLMW) to 160 rupees per day from 137 rupees per day. The new rate will be effective from 1 July 2015.
ii. Its purpose is to have a uniform wage structure and to reduce the disparity in minimum wages across the country.

Elephant Census Report 2015 of Odisha released

i. The highest number of elephants 487 was recorded in Similipal Tiger Reserve followed by Satkosia Tiger Reserve with 234 elephants.
ii. The Elephant Census Report 2015 of Odisha was released on 29 June 2015 by Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh.

Union Railway Ministry inaugurated Integrated Security System in Mumbai

i. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 29 June 2015 inaugurated the Integrated Security System (ISS) at four railway stations in Mumbai comprising Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Dadar, Kurla and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT).
ii. The ISS was installed with a total cost of 21.72 crore rupees. The ISS is aimed at improving security on Railway premises, ensuring safety of the people and averting terror attacks.

Literacy rate 71 percent in rural areas, 86 percent in urban areas: NSSO survey

i. National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on 30 June 2015 released the 71st Round of its survey on Social Consumption: Education.
ii. National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) functions under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

INTERNATIONAL

US Supreme Court legalized Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide




i. The United States (US) Supreme Court on 26 June 2015 legalized same-sex marriage across the nation in a closely divided ruling by a 5 to 4 vote. 
ii. With this ruling, now the states cannot deny marriage rights enjoyed for thousands of years by opposite-sex couples to gay men and lesbians.

7th Meeting of India-Thailand Joint Commission

i. India and Thailand on 29 June 2015 signed five Agreements/ Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) during the 7th Meeting of India-Thailand Joint Commission in Bangkok. 
ii. The documents were signed by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn.

First-ever possible treatments for MERS Virus identified

i. The two antibodies, REGN3051 and REGN3048, showed an ability to neutralize the virus. Both antibodies exhibit tight binding to the recombinant Spike (S) protein, suggesting that they have a high affinity for binding to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
ii. The team of researchers from University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists (UMSOM) identified two promising treatments to prevent and treat deadly epidemic.

SPORTS

Veselin Topalov won the Norway Chess Tournament 2015

i. Veselin Topalov on 25 June 2015 won the Norway Chess tournament 2015 by leaving behind Viswanathan Anand into a quick draw.
ii. Topalov secured 6½ points while Anand ended the tournament in second place with 6 points.

ICC amends ODI rules; suspends USA Cricket Association

i. In what will come as a relief to bowlers, ICC has decided to get rid of catchers in the first ten overs, removed the batting Powerplay and also allowed five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last ten overs of an innings in one-dayers.
ii. The ICC also said that all “no balls” and not just over-stepping by the bowlers will result in a free hit in both ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals. The rule changes will come into effect for series starting on or after July 5.

Kumar Sangakkara confirms retirement; second Test against India to be last

i. Sri Lanka’s legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara ended speculations around his future and confirmed his retirement from international cricket on Saturday at the press conference after the third day’s play of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. 
ii. Sangakkara will play only two Test in the upcoming three-Test home series against India with second Test being his last. Sangakkara will also give the third Test against Pakistan a miss.

Mizoram seeks BCCI affiliation

i. The Cricket Association of Mizoram (CAM) on Saturday sent a formal request to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeking affiliation.
ii. Dalmiya has forwarded the matter to the affiliation committee members with a request to take up the matter for consideration so that a decision is taken at the earliest in the interest of cricket.


Gutta-Ponappa won women's doubles of Canada Open Badminton tournament 2015

i. Indian pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwni Ponappa on 28 June 2015 won the women's doubles of Canada Open Badminton tournament 2015. 
ii. In the final played at Calgary, the third seeded Indian pair defeated top Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in straight games of 21-19, 21-16.

APPOINTMENTS

Ujjwal Batria appointed as CEO of Lafarge India

i. Ujjwal Batria was on 25 June 2015 appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of French cement maker Lafarge's India operations.
ii. Batria succeeded Martin Kriegner, who will now be Area Manager-Central Europe of Lafarge Holcim, an entity to be formed by the proposed merger of the world's top two cement firms.

Jagmohan Yadav appointed as DGP of Uttar Pradesh

i. 1983 batch Indian Police Service officer Jagmohan Yadav was on 30 June 2015 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh.
ii. He is the 8th police chief of Uttar Pradesh in the last three-and-a-half years of the Samajwadi Party (SP) rule.

AGREEMENTS

India, US signed MoUs to enhance cooperation in areas of Health Sector

i. India and the United States (US) on 25 June 2015 signed a series of agreements on health sector to enhance cooperation in areas such as cancer research, infrastructure development, training, capacity building and better assessment and application of new diagnostic technologies.
ii. MoUs Signed are :-
MoU on cancer research, control, prevention and management
MoU on collaboration in Environmental, occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control
Letter of Intent (LoI) on Anti-microbial Resistance Research

Arnab Goswami becomes first journalist to ring opening bell at BSE

i. Times Now and ET Now president news and editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami has become the first journalist in the 140 year history of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) to be ringing the opening bell, thus marking the opening of proceedings at the exchange.
ii. He was accompanied by BSE MD & CEO Ashish Kumar Chauhan, along with other officials of the exchange.

AWARDS

President conferred Punyabhushan Award on Prataprao Pawar

i. President Pranab Mukharjee on 26 June 2015 conferred Punyabhushan Award on Prataprao Pawar, Chairman of Sakal Media Group (SMG) at Balgandharva Auditorium in Pune.
ii. Pawar is the 27th recipient of the Punyabhushan award and his name was selected for the award by a committee led by scientist Raghunath Mashelkar.

Famous Writer Vishwanath Tripathi chosen for 28th Moorti Devi Award

i. Veteran Writer Vishwanath Tripathi was on 27 June 2015 selected for the 28th Moorti Devi Award for the year 2014 for his book Vyomkesh Darvesh. 
ii. Vyomkesh Darvesh is a lifetime story of Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi.

ECONOMY

BRICS BANK TO BE OPERATIONAL BY END OF 2015

i. The Five-member BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group is likely to have its own development bank by the end of this year.
ii. The NDB is expected to have about $100 million in capital and inaugural meeting of the board of governors of the new bank is all set to be held in Moscow on July 7.
iii. While India occupied the place of first president of the NDB, Russia placed its nomination to hold the post of first Chairman of the Board of Governors and first Chairperson of the Board of Directors would be from Brazil.

Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower by Henry M Paulson

i. The book takes the reader behind closed doors to witness the creation and evolution and future of China’s state-controlled capitalism.
ii. The book draws an unprecedented access to modern China’s political and business elite and answers several key questions like how so quickly China become an economic superpower, the process in which business is done in the country

50 countries joined Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

i. Delegates of 50 countries on 29 June 2015 signed the 60-article agreement that will lay the legal framework for the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
ii. Australia was first to sign the agreement at the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital Beijing.

Infibeam Files for IPO in First Major Domestic E-Commerce Listing

i. Indian e-retailer Infibeam filed a draft prospectus for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise Rs. 450 crores ($70.69 million), becoming the first of India's e-commerce companies to list its shares on the domestic market.
ii. Launched in 2007, Infibeam runs the infibeam.com and BuildaBazaar.com websites. Last year, Sony Music bought a 26 percent stake inIndent, the company's digital entertainment arm.

Cabinet clears setting up of online national agriculture market 

i. Government today approved the setting up of an online national agriculture market that will provide more options to farmers for selling their produce
ii. Sources said an online platform would be set up wherein farmers will be able to sell and buy fruits, vegetables and other produce from across the country.

BOOKS

"Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji" written by Abdul Kalam

i. Book titled Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji authored by former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari was released on 15 June 2015. 
ii. In Transcendence, the authors Dr Kalam and Arun Tiwari have mapped a journey of self-realization reflected in the eyes of Pramukh Swamiji, painting a delightful fusion of spirituality, science and leadership.

DEMISE

Matti Makkonen, pioneer of SMS technology, died

i. Matti Makkonen, the man responsible for conceiving the idea of short messaging service (SMS) technology, died on 30 June 2015 following a brief illness. He was 63.
ii. This Finnish tech pioneer pitched the idea of SMS messaging to two colleagues in a pizzeria while at a telecommunications conference in 1984. However, it was on 3 December 1992 that the first text message was sent from a computer to a mobile device via the Vodafone network.

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