Current Affairs, News & Facts of 20 Aug 2015

    Comments (0)
  • Zia Haider Rahman's debut novel bags James Tait Black Prize



    • Bangladesh novelist Zia Haider Rahman has won Britain’s oldest literary prize, the James Tait Black award, for his debut novel "In the Light of What We Know""The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Yorkshire Family" by Richard Benson won the biography prize.
    • Zia Haider Rahman's novel is based on the story of an investment banker who receives a visit from an old friend in the novel Zia Haider Rahman addresses a whole range of issues - the war in Afghanistan, the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and the banking crisis.
    • Zia Haider Rahman, was born in Bangladesh and has worked as an investment banker and a human rights lawyer, he took this year’s prize at the Edinburgh international book festival on Monday evening

    About James Tait Black prize :-

    • The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are annual literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language
    • James Tait Black Memorial Prizes were founded in 1919 by Mrs Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband, James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd.
    • Award is given in three categories viz. Fiction, Biography and Drama (introduced in 2012) by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The award carries monetary prize of 10000 British pounds.
  • US Army Launches Biggest Allied Airborne Drills Since Cold War



    • US Army has launched the largest NATO airborne drills in Europe since the end of the Cold War, to enhance “security and stability” in the region.
    • The airborne drill which has been named as "Swift Response 15" is belived to be the largest Allied airborne training event on the continent since the end of the Cold War
    • Swift Response 15 will continue until September 13, in which nearly 5,000 soldiers from 11 Nato allies are taking part. 
    • Soldiers from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the United States are taking part in the exercise
    •  During the drill the allied warplanes led by US will drop more than one thousand paratroopers and warfare equipment to Hohenfels training area in Germany.
    • "Swift Response 15" marks the return to Europe of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division for the first time since it was sent to carry out operations in Kosovo in 1999
    • After a short break NATO is set to stage another major exercise, Trident Juncture 2015, which is to take place in Spain, Italy and Portugal late September.

    Objective of the drill :-

    The aim of the drills is to increase the capabilities of NATO's "high-readiness forces" based in Europe, and also to "demonstrate the alliance's capacity to rapidly deploy and operate in support of maintaining a strong and secure Europe

    About NATO :-

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) , is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. 
    • NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party

    Headquarters:- Haren, Brussels

    NATO has 28 member countries article five of the North Atlantic Treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary


  • Sebastian Coe elected as president of  International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)



    • Former Olympic 1500m champion Lord Coe from Britain has been elected as President of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) the body that governs world athletics.
    • Lord Coe is a former Conservative Party lawmaker and a member of the House of Lords, a two-time Olympic 1,500-metre champion and chief organiser of the 2012 London Olympics.
    • Lord Coe was elected as President after he defeated Ukrainian pole vault great Sergei Bubka and won the vote 115-92 in the IAAF election held on the eve of the world championships in Beijing.
    • Prior to this Lamine Diack was the president of  IAAF for 16 years, but he left international governing body under criticism after media allegations that he failed to act on evidence of widespread blood doping

    About Sebastian Coe :-

    • Sebastian Coe is one of UK’s finest sportsmen as  a middle-distance runner, Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 metres gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984.  He had set eight outdoor and three indoor world records in middle-distance track events.
    • After retirement from athletics, he had served as a Conservative Party member of parliament (MP) from 1992 to 1997. He had served as IAAF vice-president since 2007 and also had worked for FIFA. He also had served as chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
  • 30 per cent tax rebate for industries in Bihar


    • Ahead of the assembly polls in Bihar which is to be held soon  Finance Ministry announced  that 30 per cent income tax rebate will be given to new manufacturing plants and machinery to be set up in 21 'backward' districts of Bihar under a special concession for five years under section 32 of the IT Act from April, 2015 to March, 2020. 
    • The notified districts include Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Kaimur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada, Vaishali, Sheohar, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Purnea, Katihar, Araria, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Supaul and Muzaffarpur.
    • Any manufacturing undertaking or enterprise set up during the period from April, 2015 to March, 2020 in the aforesaid backward areas of Bihar will be eligible for 15 per cent additional depreciation under Section 32(1)(iia) and 15 per cent investment allowance under Section 32AD of the Income Tax Act on the cost of plant and machinery acquired and installed by it during the said period
    • Beside 30 per cent income tax rebate a company engaged in manufacturing will also be eligible for 30 per cent (instead of 15 per cent) of investment allowance if its investment in new plant and machinery during the period April, 2015 to March, 2017 exceeds Rs 25 crore.
  • Rishikesh and Haridwar to be declared as Twin National Heritage Cities



    • The Union tourism ministry will be conferring the title of 'twin national heritage cities' to the temple towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar. It is first instance of such a tag being given to any of the cities in the country
    • Rishikesh and Haridwar will receive funds earmarked for the development of the two cities which will also be connected with a metro rail network in the near future
    • A fund of Rs 120 crore has been announced for setting up a cable car ropeway system for Tehri lake and the char dhams.  While Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for Kedarnath, Rs 40 crore is for the other char dham destinations, and Rs 30 crore for Tehri lake. 
    • Rishikesh and Haridwar are proposed to be developed as "world-class" yoga and spirituality centres for which infrastructure and traffic situation will be improved at priority basis and to improve connectivity between the cities metro train between Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun has been proposed.

    Haridwar is very rich in heritage as it has more than 370 heritage sites while Rishikesh has around 30. These heritage sites include old temples, dharamshalas, akharas, havelis, etc, where there are many murals and artefacts of historic value.

  • Renowned Malayalam Actor Paravoor Bharathan Dies at 86 



    Renowned Malayalam actor Paravoor Bharathan who was known for his versatility in the Film Industry passed away in Kochi, Kerala. He was 86 and was suffering from age-related ailments since 2009.

    About Paravoor Bharathan :-

    Paravoor Bharathan was born at Vavakkad in North Paravoor, Cochin State in 1929. He had started his career in the late 1940s in drama and later in movies in 1950s. In his entire career he had acted in nearly 300 regional films

    Notable films are :- "In Harihara Nagar", "Aniyan Bava Chetan Bava", "Mazhavilkavadi", "Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal", "Mrigaya", "Aniyathipraavu", "Gajakesariyogam" and "Meleparambil Aanveedu"

    Awards:- He was honoured with the Bahadoor Award in 2004.

  • UP minister Chitranjan Swarup passes away



    • Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Chitranjan Swarup passed away . Swarup was 70 and passed away after a prolonged illness at a Delhi hospital 
    • He was first elected MLA in 1974 on a Congress ticket and subsequently in 2002 and 2012 on a BSP ticket. Currently he was a sitting MLA of Uttar Pradesh state assembly from Muzaffarnagar constituency.
    • He was holding various portfolios including Muslim Waqf, Urban Development, Water Supply, Urban Employment & Poverty Alleviation among others. 
  • LIC Launches Unit-Linked Insurance Plan



    • State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has  launched its maiden ULIP (unit-linked insurance plan) product across the country
    • Endowment Plus, a ULIP will offer investment cum insurance during the term policy and provide due benefit of risk cover and benefits of investment markets.

    Key points related to unit linked insurance plan (ULIP) :-

    • Policy holders will have options to choose from any of the four funds bond fund, secured fund, balance fund and growth fund with added conveniences of switching between these funds
    • The NAV (net asset vaule) of all the segregated funds will be computed on daily basis and will be based on investment performance and fund management change of each fund type
    • The product will also offer double death benefit. On death before the commencement of risk, an amount equal to the policy holder’s fund value will be payable, while on death after date of commencement of risk, an amount equal to the higher of basis sum assured or policy holder’s fund value will be payable
    •  It comes with an accident death benefit rider which provides for an additional amount equal to accident death benefit sum assured on death due to accident
  • RBI Allows 11 Applicants to Set Up Payments Banks



    Reserve Bank of India granted ‘in-principle’ approval to 11 applicants to start payments banks.The RBI had received 41 applications for payments banks who fulfill the criteria required for  providing service to the customers and promote government’s initiative of financial inclusion across the country.

    The ‘in-principle’ approval granted will be valid for a period of 18 months, during which time the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the guidelines and fulfil the other conditions as may be stipulated by the Reserve Bank.

    The selected applicants are:-

    1. Sun Pharma
    2. National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL)
    3. PayTm
    4. Fino PayTech
    5. Cholamandalam Distribution Services
    6. Department of Posts
    7. Aditya Birla Nuvo
    8. Vodafone m-pesa
    9. Tech Mahindra
    10. Airtel M Commerce Services
    11. Reliance Industries

    About Payment Bank :-

    A payment banks differs from conventional banks as it cannot lend to its customers. It is allowed to take deposits, allow remittances and provide simple financial products. The payment bank will need to invest 75 percent of its funds in government securities. The minimum capital needed to set up a payments bank is set at Rs 100 crore. The bank will be allowed to accept savings deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh from each customer

    Key Points :-

    • Payments bank licence will allow companies to collect deposits (initially up to Rs 1 lakh per individual), offer Internet banking, facilitate money transfers and sell insurance and mutual funds.
    • SBI, the country's largest lender, will take as much as 30 percent in RIL's proposed bank while Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom operator, plans to give 19.9 percent stake in the bank to Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.
    • The payments bank licence will enable the network of 1,54,000 post offices (including 1,30,000 rural post offices) to offer banking services to the masses in the country.

2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min

Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min