Current Affairs, News & Facts of 20 May 2016

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  • Kerala Assembly Election 2016 Results

    CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) regained power in Kerala by securing absolute majority  by winning 91 seats (44.94% votes) of the total 140 seats while United Democratic Front (UDF) led by outgoing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy settled for 47 seats. 

    The Left Democratic Front (LDF) won 85 seats on its own while  another six by independents fielded by the opposition front. 93-year-old V S Achutanandan, the face of the LDF campaign and CPI(M) polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan, are among prominent winners in the LDF.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the first time has managed to open an account in Kerala by winning single seat from the Nemom constituency.

    Former Union minister O. Rajagopal of the BJP has won from from Nemom constituency defeating V. Sivankutty of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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  • Indian journalist Philip Abraham elected Deputy Mayor in UK

    Indian journalist Philip Abraham elected Deputy Mayor in UKPhilip Abraham - an Indian journalist has been unanimously elected the Deputy Mayor of Loughton town in the UK. Councillor Carol Davis, the newly-elected mayor presented the Deputy Mayor's Badge to Philip Abraham. The deputy mayor normally goes on to become the mayor for the following year.

    Philip Abraham : Abraham, a journalist from Kerala, had in 2012 won the election to the Loughton Town Council. Loughton is a vibrant town in the Epping forest district of Essex.

    Comment: V K Krishna Menon the former defence minister was the first person from Kerala to become a Councillor in Britain. He was a Labour Councillor for the Borough of St Pancras from 1934 to 1939.

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  • Apple to set up app centre in Bengaluru

    Apple to set up app centre in BengaluruTim Cook the CEO of the USD 233 billion Apple Inc., who is on his maiden India trip announced that an iOS mobile app design centre will be established in Mumbai to support and accelerate the growth of Apple’s developer community.

    He met ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar. ICICI Bank was among the first to introduce a banking application on the Apple Watch, even before it was introduced in India.

    Maps development office in Hyderabad

    Apple Inc has announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad, Telangana that will focus on development of Maps for its products including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

    Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps including 3D views, the Flyover feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas.

    With iOS 9 Apple offers a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world. The new facility, located on the Waverock campus, will provide a world-class, LEED-certified home for the expanding Maps team.

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  • Veteran Gujarati folk singer Diwaliben Bhil passes away

    Veteran Gujarati folk singer and Padma Shri awardee Diwaliben Bhil passed away in Junagadh, Gujarat following age-related ailments.

    She was 80. She had given her voice to various Gujarati folk songs, film songs and Garba. A primary school dropout, Diwaliben was a self-taught singer, she never took a formal education in music and singing. 

    Diwaliben, who began her singing career from a local Garbi, has become the voice of hundreds of Gujarati folk songs and garbas, including the famous "Marey todle betho mor", "Sona Vatkdi Re Kesar Gholya" and "Vage che re" and Ram Na Ban Vagya, Hari Na Ban Vagya Re.

    Diwaliben Bhil 

    • Born in a tribal family at Dalkhaniya village in Dhari taluka of Amreli in 1941, she worked at a primary school as part of the government's literacy programme, before her talent was recognised.
    • She received fame after Akashwani team found out her singing talent and recorded her song when she was signing Garba in Vanzari chowk area of Junagadh. Later she was invited to sing in Akashwani and recorded her first song, ‘Ful utarya fulwadi ae re lol’.
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  • Worlds first Zika virus clone developed

    Worlds first Zika virus clone developedScientists have for the first time have developed world’s first genetically engineered clone of the Zika virus strain. The researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) have named the clone as the infectious complementary DNA (cDNA) clone.

    The clone comprises of five fragments of complete zika viral genome which were individually cloned and assembled into the full-length Zika virus clone.

    The cloning of Zika virus may aid the development of vaccine and therapies against the infection and explore whether or how the Zika virus has evolved to spread more quickly and linked to serious birth defects.

    Furthermore, scientists also engineered a luciferase reporter Zika virus. Luciferase is the chemical in fireflies that gives them their signature glow.The "glowing" reporter virus could be used for antiviral drug screening and to track Zika virus infection in mosquitoes and small animal models.

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  • HDFC Bank launches SmartUp for startups

    HDFC Bank launches SmartUp for startupsHDFC Bank has launched SmartUp, a dedicated solution for startups to fulfil all their banking needs. It has been launched in association with Zone Startups India (ZSI), a Mumbai-based start-up accelerator.

    SmartUp is a complete banking solution meant for startups. It not only provides basic banking transactions, but also valuable services like advisory services, forex and payment solutions.

    Benefits of SmartUp current account :

    • The benefits of SmartUp current account include waiver of AMB (average monthly balance) for the first six months and extendable to 12 months.
    • It will also include salary account for employees by waiving the minimum number of employees criteria. 
    • 'PayZapp' for business - a payment and collection solution and a dedicated relationship manager.
    • Accountholders will also get recommendations of a chartered accountant for tax, regulatory and compliance issues.

    Zone Startups India (ZSI): It is a joint venture of Canada based Ryerson University and Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI). It has been operational for over two years and has helped over 70 startups.

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  • SBI Seeks To Take Over 5 Associate Banks, Bhartiya Mahila Bank

    SBI Seeks To Take Over 5 Associate Banks, Bhartiya Mahila BankThe country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI)  may merge its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with itself to emerge as a financial behemoth, with assets worth Rs 37 lakh crore (USD550 billion).

    Its five associates are State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT).

    In this regard, SBI has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that it is seeking in-principle approval for acquisition from the Union Government.

    Besides, the boards of the subsidiary banks and the SBI also met individually in Mumbai to begin merger talks to acquire the businesses including assets and liabilities.

    Key facts :

    The merged entity will increase SBI’s balancesheet size from Rs 28 lakh crore currently to  Rs 37 lakh crore. It will have one-fourth of the deposit and loan market in the country and SBI’s staff strength will increase by 35-49 per cent.The merged entity will also increase branch network from 15,000 branches currently to 21,000. 

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  • Nuclear Capable Prithvi-II missile test fired from Odisha

    India's indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile was successfully test-fired from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha.

    The test was carried out by Strategic Force Command (SFC) from a mobile launcher at launch complex-3 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. 

    A similar twin trial was conducted on October 12, 2009 from the same base where both were successful.

    Different Variants

    Prithvi-I for the Indian Army
    Prithvi-II for the Indian Air Force
    Dhanush for the Indian Navy

    Prithvi-II Missile  : With a strike range of 350 km, the Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target. The missile was inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003.

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