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Current Affairs Today – August 16 2015

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Dear Readers, We cover some important news in Current Affairs Today Section, which are not covered in Daily Detailed News, More Current Affairs coverage will help you to Score Good Marks in Competitive Exam.

**Blue Heading are Detailed News, Click the News to Read More**

Indian Affairs 

Microsoft to help Andhra Pradesh get low cost Internet

  • Global technology giant Microsoft will be working with Andhra Pradesh Government on TV White Spaces Project, a technology that uses unused TV spectrum to deliver low-cost Internet connection to users. AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu requested the IT giant to look for avenues where the AP Government and Microsoft could work together.
  • In a first-of-its-kind pilot, Microsoft, Department of Telecommunications, Department of Electronics and IT, and Education and Research Network (ERNET) are working with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to bring low-cost broadband internet connection to four educational institutions in the district of Srikakulam which had no internet earlier. With Zilla Panchayat High School at Voppangi as the base station, the other three campuses were receivers located at distances of 10 kilometers or more from the base station.
  • Microsoft has also presented the cloud-based Machine Learning solution that they have built in collaboration with the AP’s Department of Education to help predict student drop-outs. This is being implemented in Chittoor district as part of ‘Badi Pilustondi’ (school is calling)– flagship program of the government.
  • This is a pioneering step undertaken by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Microsoft is happy to be supporting them.

Gujarat Government declares ban on use of plastic in state

  • Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today announced a ban on the use of plastic in the state.
  • “Keeping in view protection of environment, cattle health and cleanliness, have declared plastic ban across Gujarat,” Patel said after unfurling the National Flag at the Independence Day ceremony at Lunavada in Mahisagar district.
  • Several municipal bodies in the state have already baned use of plastic bags thinner than 40 microns. But the state government has announced this kind of a ban for the first time.
  • She didn’t specify plastic carry-bags, though presumably the ban is only about such bags.

Ministry of Agriculture renamed as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

  • Seven decade-old Agriculture Ministry will be renamed as ‘Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ministry’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Pre-independent India had a combined Department of Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce set up in June 1871.
  • In 1881, the Department of Revenue and Agriculture was reconstituted as separate departments.In 1923 it was combined with Education and Health.
  • The Department of Agriculture was re-dedicated as the Ministry of Agriculture in August 1947.

Important Points:

  • Agriculture Minister: Radha Mohan Singh.
  • India’s foodgrain production is estimated to have declined by 5.25 per cent to 251.12 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year.

42 mega food parks to start operations by 2019

Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that with a potential investment of about Rs 14,000 crore, Government approved 42 mega food parks which will become operational by 2019 this will benefit about 12.5 lakh farmers.

  • These 42 mega food parks are expected to generate about 3-4 lakh jobs.
  • Mega Food Park Scheme aims at facilitating the establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient supply chain, which includes collection centres, a central processing centre (CPC) and cold chain infrastructure.
  • Mega Food Park offers various facilities to food processors, farmers, retailers and exporters, helping achieve faster growth for food processing industries.

International Affairs

India imposed Anti-dumping duty on potassium carbonate imports from Taiwan, South Korea

  • India has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty for period of five years on Potassium Carbonate imports from Taiwan and South Korea. The duty was imposed by Union Finance Ministry based on the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD) that works under the aegis of Union Commerce Ministry.
  • The revenue department has imposed anti-dumping duty of 153 US dollar per tonne on Potassium Carbonate imports from Taiwan and 9.45 US dollar per tonne in case of imports from UNID Co Ltd, and 123.86 US dollar per tonne from all other exports from South Korea
  • This move was taken following the findings of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) which concluded that Potassium Carbonate imports from Taiwan are entering in the Indian market at dumped prices.

Business

Trade Deficit widens to $12.8 billion as exports drop

  • As per the  data released by Ministry of commerce and industry, trade deficit has widened to $12.8 billion in July from $10.8 billion in June.
  • Imports fell 10.3 per cent to $35.95 billion while exports came in at $23.1 billion. India’s merchandise exports has contracted for the eighth month running in July, registering a 10.3 per cent drop over last year.
  • In the April-July period, exports fell 15 per cent over last year. India’s exports were hurt because of a stronger currency, a problem that could worsen after the yuan devaluation.
  • A trade deficit is an economic condition that occurs when a country is importing more goods than it is exporting.

Datawind to open 2 more plants in India

  • Low-cost mobile device maker Datawind will add two more manufacturing units in the country within next six months to meet its local requirements as the company has stopped importing finished products from China.
  • “The new schemes and taxes now in place have made it beneficial for mobile devices companies to Make In Indiaand Datawind is no exception.
  • The company has an assembly unit in Amritsar and a manufacturing facility for touch panels. Amid debate on net neutrality, Datawind has partnered Reliance Communications to offer 12 months free access to websites through its UbiSurfer browser.
  • Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Datawind did not disclose the investments, but said that the company is evaluating that if it should have a captive plant or manufacture mobile devices through contract manufacturers.

Banking & Finance 

Awards & Recognition

Sport

Abhishek Verma wins gold medal in Archery World Cup

  • Indian archer Abhishek Verma took top prize at the World Archery Championships in Poland, marking a special independence day for the nation.
  • Scoring an impressive 13 perfect-10s and putting on a stunning display of archery, Verma took the gold medal at the compound men’s individual event. He beat Iranian archer Esmail Ebadi 148-145.
  • Verma’s victory marks the only win India has had at the championships as both the men’s and women’s recurve teams failed in the early rounds of the team events at the championship.
  • Ebadi and Verma last faced off at the Asian Games in 2014 at Incheon, South Korea, a battle in which Ebadi, the ruling champion, had emerged the victor.
  • Of his 15 arrows, Verma had 5 closest to the bullseye, shooting a maximum including the shot that would ultimately be closest to the centre. He scored 30 points for that shot in contrast to Ebadi’s 28.

Ronit, Archana emerge triumphant

  • Ronit Bhanja of West Bengal and Airport Authority of India’s Archana Kamath, both qualifiers, bagged the junior boys’ and girls’ titles with ease in the South Zone National-ranking table tennis championships at the Nehru Indoor Stadium.
  • Junior Boys: Final:Ronit Bhanja (WB) won against Abhimanyu Mitra (WB).
  • Junior Girls: Final:Archana Kamath (AAI) won against R. Harshavardhini (TN).

Lahiri tied eighth at PGA Championships

  • Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri scored two-under 70 to drop four places to be tied eighth after the third round of the $10,000,000 97th Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship at the par-72 Whistling Straits.
  • Lahiri, winner of the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open earlier this season, came onto the Whistling Straits course ,to complete his remaining five holes from second round and then less than three hours later began his third round.
  • Lying tied eighth, Lahiri will now play his final round with Matt Kuchar of the US, while Jason Day (66) will go in the lead group with Jordan Spieth (65), who already owns two of this year’s Majors – the Masters and US Open.

Obituary

U.S. civil rights leader Julian Bond dead

  • S. civil-rights leader and former NAACP head Julian Bond, who also held elected office in Georgia for two decades, died at the age of 75.
  • He was the civil-rights organization’s first president. “Julian was a visionary and tireless champion for civil and human rights,” SPLC said of its former president, who held the post from 1971 to 1979.
  • From 1998 to 2010, Bond was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Former ISI chief Hamid Gul passes away

  • Former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General (retd) Hamid Gul passed away in Murree.
  • He fought in the 1965 war with India.During 1972–1976, Gul directly served under General Muhammad Ziaul-Haq as a battalion commander, and then as Staff Colonel, when General Zia was GOC, 1st Armoured Division and Commander, II Corps at Multan.
  • Gul was promoted to Brigadier in 1978 and steadily rose to be the Martial Law Administrator of Bahawalpur and then the Commander of the 1st Armoured Division, Multan in 1982.
  • He then served as the director general of ISI between March 29, 1987 and October 4, 1989.He retired from service in 1992.

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