Current Affairs, News & Facts of 20 Oct 2015

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  • Spain, US signed new accord to cleanup nuclear accident site at Palomares


    Spain, US signed new accord to cleanup nuclear accident site at Palomares


    United States and Spain have signed new accord to clean up land contaminated by radiation from undetonated nuclear bombs that accidentally fell on a site in southern Spain in 1966.

    The accord was signed in Madrid during US Secretary of State John Kerry official visit to Spain. Under the new agreement, US will remove the soil contaminated by nuclear radiation at Palomares.

    Background :-

    • On Jan. 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear bombs collided with a tanker plane during midair refueling over the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain, killing seven of 11 crew members.
    • The accident occurred at the height of the Cold War when it was U.S. policy to keep nuclear-armed warplanes in the air constantly near the Soviet border.
    • None of the bombs exploded, although the detonators in two of them broke up, spreading 7 pounds (3 kg) of plutonium over a 200-hectare (490-acre) area near the village of Palomares.
    • Under an earlier accord that ended in 2010, Washington paid  (USD 350,000) a year for tests for radioactive contamination and regular blood tests for more than 1,000 Palomares residents.
    • Immediately after the accident, both countries took steps to secure the area by removing contaminated soil and for decades the rural area was deemed free of radioactivity.
    • But the Spanish government study carried out between 2004 and 2007 found radioactive traces in a 40-hectare area although it said there was no danger to local residents. As a precaution the government sealed off the area until it could reach a deal with Washington over a cleanup.
  • Infosys to acquire US based firm Noah Consulting


    Infosys to acquire US based firm Noah Consulting


    • India’s second largest information technology (IT) services company, Infosys has announced the acquisition of US-based Noah Consulting firm for USD 70 million (Rs. 454 crores) in a cash deal.
    • Founded in 2008, the Houston-headquartered Noah provides information management consultancy services to the oil and gas industry and employs 122 consultants. It helps oil and gas companies to create and deploy information solutions in order to generate value from their oil and gas assets.
    • The acquisition will position Infosys to offer end-to-end data management services to oil and gas companies globally. This acquisition will combine Noah’s deep industry knowledge, information strategy planning, data governance and architecture capabilities with Infosys’ ability to provide technology and outsourcing services to oil & gas clients.
    • It is the third acquisition of Infosys in 2015 earlier in April this year, Infosys had acquired Kallidus, a San Francisco-based digital and mobile commerce solutions provider that operates under the brand name Skava, for a total consideration of USD 120 million (Rs 763 crore). In February this year, the company had acquired Panaya, an automation technology solutions provider, for an all-cash deal of USD 200 million (Rs 1,244 crore).
  • Virender Sehwag announces retirement from International Cricket


    Virender Sehwag announces retirement from International Cricket


    • Virender Sehwag has given India 17,253 runs at a brisk pace and destroyed best of bowlers the world over has announced his retirement from international cricket.
    • Although Sehwag  last appeared in Test match for India in March 2013 against Australia in Hyderabad which is more than two and half years. After which he was dropped for poor form. 
    • Selectors have only gone in for young players with an eye for the future the door was all but shut for Sehwag to make one final return to international cricket, but he continues to play in domestic cricket for Delhi and Haryana this season. 
    • Virender Sehwag born 20 October 1978 is an aggressive right-handed opening batsman and a part-time right-arm off-spin bowler, he played his first One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test team in 2001.
    • Sehwag played his first One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test team in 2001. He is the only Indian to be honoured as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for his performance in 2008 and subsequently becoming the first player of any nationality to retain the award for 2009.

    Test Career:-

    • In a glorious international career spanning over 12 years, Sehwag played 104 Tests scoring 8586 runs at an impressive average of 49.34, hitting 23 centuries and 32 half-centuries. Sehwag is the only Indian batsman to score a triple-century in Tests, and he did it twice. 

    ODI Career :-

    • In 251 ODIs, he accumulated 8273 runs at an average of 35.05 and scored 15 hundreds apart from hitting 38 fifties. He has second highest ODI score of 219 after Rohit Sharma.

    Twenty20 Career :-

    • In 19 Twenty20 Internationals, he managed 394 runs with two half-centuries. 


    • He occasionally captained India, in 12 ODIs scattered between 2003 and 2012 and four Tests from 2005 to 2012. He led India in their maiden T20I too, at Johannesburg in 2006. 

    Sehwag was a part of the Indian team that reached the final of the 2003 ICC World Cup and lifted the 2011 edition. In Twenty20 internationals, he was a member of the side that lifted the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007

  • NATO launches biggest military exercise in 13 years


    NATO launches biggest military exercise in 13 years


    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched its biggest military exercise in 13 years, mobilizing 36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries to test the alliance's ability to respond to new security threats. The exercise will demonstrate that NATO is capable of responding to threats from any direction.
    • Trident Juncture will continue until November 6. The exercise will also certify next year’s NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force.

    Facts to know about NATO :-

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization  is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO has 28 member state. 
    • The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack
    • The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70 percent of the global total. Members' defense spending is supposed to amount to 2 percent of GDP. NATO's headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels (Belgium) 

     Member States of  NATO:-

    Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, LuxembourgNetherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.


  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Central Bank of UAE ink MoU for supervisory information exchange


    Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Central Bank of UAE ink MoU for supervisory information exchange


    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of  UAE, United Arab Emirates on Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information.
    • The MoU was was signed by Saeed Abdulla Al Hamiz, Assistant Governor for Banking Banking Supervision Affairs on behalf of Central Bank of UAE and Meena Hemchandra, Executive Director on behalf of RBI.
    • RBI has entered into such MoUs, Letters for Supervisory Co-operation and Statements of Co-operation with supervisors of a few countries to promote co-operation and sharing of information.With this, the Reserve Bank has signed 29 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and one Statement of Co-operation.
  • Major modification in the National Blood Policy (NBP): Blood banks can borrow from one another


    Major modification in the National Blood Policy (NBP): Blood banks can borrow from one another


    • Union Health Ministry has made a major modification in the National Blood Policy (NBP), 2002. Earlier, donated blood could not be transferred from one bank to another but now blood banks will now be able to borrow units from one another in case of a shortage.
    • The Union Health Ministry took the decision on Friday as part of reforms to the handling of blood units in the country based on the recommendation of the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC).
    • Life saving medicines like immunoglobulins, human albumin and clotting factors which are all derived from plasma be be easily available and we will not have to import if we have sufficient blood in blood banks.

    Background :-

    • Supreme Court banned paid donation, the government was mandated, under the National Blood Policy (2002), to phase out replacement donation in five years and promote voluntary blood donations.
    • However, since few people donate blood regularly, hospitals ask family members of patients to donate blood so as to pre-emptively replace the blood withdrawn from the blood bank.  Ideally, hospitals should not ask for replacement donation at all.

    The National and State Blood Transfusion Councils were established in the 1990s to promote voluntary donations. There are three kinds of blood banks:-

    • Government 
    • Private 
    • Those run by NGOs.

    According to Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India has 2,760 licensed blood banks. A 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report said nine million of 12 million blood units needed annually in India were collected through voluntary donation.

    Human blood is treated as a drug as per provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Presently, India has around 2,760 licensed blood banks as per the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

  • Justin Trudeau elected as the Prime Minister of Canada  


    Justin Trudeau elected as the Prime Minister of Canada


    • Justin Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau has been elected as the Prime Minister of Canada after his Liberal Party won  184 of the 338 seats
    • The Conservative Party was next with 97 seats, followed by the New Democratic Party at 28 seats and Bloc Quebecois with 9 seats and with this nine-year reign of Conservative Party PM Stephen Harper and his party came to a sudden end.
    • Justin Trudeau, 43, became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history. The earlier youngest prime minister was Joe Clark, a Conservative, who took office in 1979 the day before he turned 40.
    • Justin Trudeau, a former school teacher and member of Parliament since 2008, He is the son of Pierre Trudeau, who took office in 1968 and led Canada for most of the next 16 years although today he remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America.
    • Canada has shifted to the centre-right under Mr Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline. 
    • The Trudeau victory will ease tensions with the US and he promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending. 

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