Current Affairs, News & Facts of 02 Jul 2015

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  • Greece became first developed nation to default on IMF debt
    • Greece became the first advanced economy to default on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) repayment with its failure to repay the roughly $1.8bn to the IMF the largest, single missed repayment in the IMF’s history.The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001 others are Somalia and Sudan.
    • The deadline for debt payment was missed by Greece after Eurozone Finance Ministers refused to extend its bailout. They had refused the bailout after Greece rejected the proposal given  by International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC).
    • Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout but Eurozone Finance Ministers refused to extend its bailout to Greece because Greece has rejected the proposal
    • of International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and European Central Bank (ECB)
    • The proposal had asked Greece to raise its primary surplus within two years in order to avail the 15.5 billion Euros of funding, which in turn required pension and tax reforms which will be a problem for the common public of Greece.
    • Greece has debt worth nearly 180 percent of its GDP after receiving two bailouts worth $266bn since 2010.
    • Unemployment has more than doubled since 2009 to 25.6 percent and pensions and benefits have roughly halved between 2010 and 2014.

    Impacts of being a defaulter :-

    • Greece, which is now in arrears, is at a risk of leaving Euro and shifting back to its old currency Drachma. Euro replaced Drachma as a currency of Greece in 2001
    • Drachma the currency of  Greece has lower value than Euro this will  lead to increase in the cost of imports which will bring inflation in the Greece economy which the country is already facing
    • Failure to repay the IMF could push the European Central Bank on Wednesday to ask Greek banks for more assets if they want more money. The ECB has been keeping Greek banks alive with 89bn euros of emergency funding

    Impact on Indian economy:-

    Europe is India’s largest trading partner with 129 billion US dollars of merchandise trade registered in 2014-15. Of this the European Union accounted for 97 billion US dollars with the UK, Germany, France and Italy being the leading partners.India will face loss on its exports especially engineering goods for which is the Europe is the largest destination

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  • Microsoft announces layoff 7800 employees
    • Microsoft has  confirmed that it plans to lay off 7,800 employees, Most of the lay off will be  from  smartphone hardware  department
    • Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) had 118,600 employees as of March 30, with about 60,000 of those workers in the United States.
    • The latest cuts may be especially detrimental to Finland, where many of Nokia's employees work
    • The company will continue designing, manufacturing and selling Microsoft Lumia phones, but on a much smaller scale. 
    • 2013 Steve Ballmer's purchase of Nokia was one of his most criticized deals.The price was more than $9 billion.
    • Now after the cut off Microsoft will be left with only about a fifth of the 30,000 people it absorbed after the buying Nokia.
    • Company's phone-making efforts would be trimmed to focus only on areas where it has seen strong sales.
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  • Sudan’s largest power plant commissioned by BHEL
    • State-owned power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.  (BHEL) has commissioned Sudan's largest power plant.
    • It has designed, manufactured, supplied and installed the complete power project with four units of 125 MW each  including associated civil works. Bhel has executed this project on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis. 
    • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has added another feather in its cap by successfully commissioning the 500 MW Kosti Thermal Power Station (TPS) (4x125 MW) in Sudan which is Sudan’s largest power plant.
    • The project uses crude oil from South Sudan as fuel, for which Bhel has designed special boilers. All the major equipment for the project -- boilers, steam-turbines, generators, Controls & Instrumentation (C&I), transformers -- have been manufactured in-house.
    • The company has also constructed a canal from the White Nile River to supply water for the project. The project is funded by the India's Line of Credit of USD 350 million
    • The company has also constructed a canal from the White Nile River to supply water for the project. The project is funded by the India's Line of Credit of USD 350 million

    Projects that BHEL is executing outside India:-

    • 64 MW Grand Katende hydro project in Congo
    • 18 MW power plant in Comoros 
    • 8x183 MW Keban hydro rehabilitation project in Turkey 
    • 3 hydro projects in Bhutan with a combined capacity of 2,940 MW.
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  • Madhya Pradesh government starts e-registration of property 
    •  Madhya Pradesh government has started  the facility of e-registration of property documents in all the districts of state.
    •  The e-registration of property documentation will be done through software named Sampada. Under this facility, people can obtain e-stamp through internet banking or service provider.
    • They can also obtain information about market value of their property and registration fees to be payable on its purchase or sale through internet.
    • Earlier in December 2014, state government had started this facility of e-registration of property documents in 5 districts on pilot basis. These five districts were Ujjain, Sehore, Tikamgarh, Balaghat and Anuppur.
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  • 15-Year-Old Byron Wake becomes Britain’s Youngest ‘Cyborg’
    • A 15-year-old boy in the UK have become Britain's youngest 'cyborg' - part-human, part machine as he has used a hypodermic syringe to insert a microchip under the skin. The chip is the size of a grain of rice and is encased in 'bio-safe' glass
    • Byron Wake who is from Martock in Somerset has inserted a microchip under his hand by the help of which he can now unlock his mobile phone and operate some Bluetooth devices with a wave of his hand
    • The xNT chip emits a low-power radio signal that can perform simple functions such as unlocking a mobile or opening a door
    • It is estimated that around 10,000 people worldwide have implanted the chip in their body. It should be noted that Kevin Warwick from UK was the world’s first cyborg when he had a chip implanted in his body in 1998.
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  • Pollution monitoring devices to be installed till September in all major Polluting Industrial Units
    • Industrial units in three critically polluting sectors petrochemicals, oil refining and thermal power have been given time till September, to install 24x7 real time pollution monitoring devices at their effluent and emission discharge points
    • To put a check on pollution caused by industry, the ministry had identified 2,800 units spread across 17 heavily polluting sectors and had given them time till June 30 to install the pollution monitoring devices. The sectors include aluminium, caustic soda, fertiliser, paper pulp, copper, pesticides, textile, tannery, dyes, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, petrochemical, thermal plants and oil refineries
    • Nearly half of the 2,800 units that had got directions from the ministry to install the devices have moved towards compliance and ministery is  confident of achieving full coverage in the next few months, hopefully by September
    •  920 units have installed the monitoring devices and another 400 units have move towards Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD). The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which is monitoring effluents from these units, has already started receiving online data of status of compliance with respect to effluents and emissions.
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  • Abhijeet Gupta bagged gold in Commonwealth Chess Championship
    • Former world junior champion and Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta won the 19th Commonwealth Chess Championship
    • Abhijeet Gupta bagged the gold medal after settling for a quick draw with his opponent Arghyadip Das in the ninth and final round played at Mumbai, Maharashtra
    • Gupta regained the crown with a very impressive eight points out of a possible nine, winning the first seven games in the championship and drawing the last two very easily 
    •  Arghyadip Das came second winning the silver medal by beating M R Lalith Babu who won the bronze medal 
    • In the women's section, Padmini Rout, S Vijayalakshmi and S Meenakshi all won their games to win medals.
    • Rout won the gold, Vijayalakshmi won silver while Meenakshi bagged the bronze. Both Vijayalakshmi and Meenakshi won the last six games in the championship.
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  • Shimla Rs 643 Cr water scheme cleared for World Bank fund
    • Rs 643 crore project for augmenting the water supply to the growing hill city of Shimla had been approved by the union government.
    • The project got the union finance ministry nod and it would be placed before World Bank for funding purposes.The loan component would be Rs 514 crore and the state government would be contributing Rs 129 crore for funding the project.
    • The project involves lifting water from Kol Dam reservoir on River Satluj and it would meet the water needs of Shimla municipal corporation as well suburban areas under the special planning area.The project would ensure uninterrupted water supply to Shimla town.
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  • SBI partners with MakeMyTrip for travel biz
    • In its series of digital initiatives and tie-ups, State Bank of India, country’s largest bank, partnered with online travel company MakeMyTrip.com to capitalise on the business opportunities of the booming e-commerce and m-commerce ecosystem.
    • The alliance includes partnership with personal banking unit for consumer facing propositions – including EMIs on purchase of holidays & international travel, customized travel products like Forex cards and travel products that inspire SBI customers to travel.
    •  SBI aims at becoming a “One Stop” solution provider for the entire range of financial needs of e-Commerce players as well as our customers in the market.
    •  Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO – MakeMyTrip, elaborated, MakeMyTrip constitutes about 46% of the bookings in the online space and a lot of product work is being done in the $22-23 billion travel industry ecosystem.
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  • World Bank approves $650 mn loan for Eastern Freight Corridor
    • The World Bank has cleared a $650 million loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor to facilitate faster and more efficient movement of goods between northern and eastern parts of India.The Eastern Corridor is 1,840 km long and extends from Ludhiana to Kolkata.
    • The Indian Railways urgently needs to add freight routes to meet the growing freight traffic in India, which is projected to increase more than 7 percent annually
    •  The World Bank is supporting the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) as a series of projects in which the three sections with a total route length of 1,146 km will be delivered sequentially, but with considerable overlap in their construction schedules.
    • The first loan of $975 million for the 343 km Khurja-Kanpur section in the EDFC program was approved by the World Bank Board in May 2011
    • The second loan of $1.1 billion for EDFC2 which covers 402 km from Kanpur to Mughal Sarai was approved by the World Bank in April 2014. 
    • The loan is the third from the World Bank to help fund the freight corridor.
    • EDFC 3, approved today, will build the 401 km Ludhiana-Khurja section in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. The Project will help increase the capacity of these freight-only lines by raising the axle-load limit from 22.9 to 25 tons and enable speeds of up to 100 km/hr. It will also help develop the institutional capacity of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) to build and maintain the DFC infrastructure network.
    • India's railways, built mostly by the British before independence in 1947, are among the most extensive in the world but have struggled to expand to keep up with demand.
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