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Current Affairs Today – August 18 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.

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Indian Affairs 

Kerala Government signed MoU with Adani Group for development of Vizhinjam Port

  • The Adani Group  signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government in Congress-ruled Kerala to build and operate the Vizhinjam International Seaport.
  • They will make operational the Vizhinjam mega transshipment container terminals within 1,000 days from the start of construction on November 1, 2015. The project was conceived over 25 years ago but had failed to take off as three rounds of prior bidding got no commitment from any serious developer
  • Vizhinjam, with its strategic access to the Middle East, the Suez Canal, the coast of East Africa, Bay of Bengal and the Straits of Malacca has an unmatched location advantage. This, coupled with the strong growth of India and the subcontinent, makes it one of the most exciting ports being developed in the world.
  • Adani Group has chosen Santosh Kumar Mahapatra, a former IAS officer who was instrumental in building the challenging Dhamra port in Orissa, to be the CEO for the Vizhinjam project.
Telangana Government launched Grama Jyothi Scheme
  • Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao launched a flagship programme Grama Jyothi across the state on 17 August 2015. The scheme is aimed at comprehensive development of rural areas allowing planning and execution of works by villages themselves.
  • The scheme will focus on improving the Human Development Index (HDI) by addressing core issues such as drinking water and sanitation, health and nutrition, education, infrastructure, natural resources management, agriculture, social security and poverty reduction.
  • For the successful implementation of the scheme, the state government has decided to invest 25000 crore rupees to empower villages.The Grama Jyothi programme aims to empower gram panchayats. The programme introduces a participatory approach in preparing village development plans involving the panchayats, self help groups, people and all interested in the holistic development of the village.
  • Grama Jyothi programme will be a game-changer to inclusive and holistic development of backward villages of Telangana. The government will also incentivise villages that achieve 100 percent targets in the areas of sanitation, immunisation, nutrition, literacy and green cover.

International Affairs

Egypt approves stringent new counter-terrorism laws

  • Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has approved stringent new counter-terrorism laws to fight a growing jihadist insurgency.
  • The laws establish special courts and offer additional protection from legal consequences for military and police officers who have used force.
  • They also impose the death penalty for anyone found guilty of setting up or leading a terrorist group.

Under the new laws introduced :

  • Trials for suspected militants will be fast-tracked through special courts. Anyone found guilty of joining a militant group could face 10 years in prison
  • Financing terrorist groups will also carry a penalty of life in prison (25 years)
  • Inciting violence or creating websites deemed to spread terrorist messages will carry sentences of five to seven years
  • Journalists can be fined between 200,000 and 500,000 Egyptian pounds (£16,300-£41,000; $25,550-$64,000) for contradicting official accounts of militant attacks. The original draft of the law was amended following domestic and international outcry after it initially called for a two-year prison sentence


Amul to build Rs 600 crore cheese plant in Palanpur, Gujarat


  • Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, owner of the country’s top dairy products brand Amul, plans to invest Rs 600 crore in a greenfield cheese plant in Palanpur, Gujarat, that will help it triple cheese output.
  • Amul looks to increase its share in the Indian cheese market from 65% now. Its Palanpur plant would produce mozzarella and processed cheddar cheese to start with.
  • Amul’s value added products such as butter, curd, ice-cream and milk-based beverages have seen impressive growth over the past few years. Amul butter holds 90% share in the Indian market whereas its fresh milk share is 40%-45%.
  • GCMMF had posted turnover of Rs 20,730 crore for the last fiscal ended March, up 14% from the previous year’s Rs 18,143 crore.

India imposed Anti-dumping duty on Linen imports from China and Hong Kong

‘Flax’ and ‘linen’ are synonymous and these fibers are used to produce yarn and fabric, the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on ‘flax’ fabric imports from China and Hong Kong.

  • This duty would be applicable only on those flax fabrics with flax content of over 50 per cent.
  • It is often used as in generic term to describe a class of woven bed, table and kitchen textiles because traditionally flax was widely used for towels, sheets etc.
  • For fabric originating in or exported from Hong Kong, this duty would be applicable at $0.63 per meter, this duty would be effective for a period of five years (unless revoked, superseded or amended earlier) from August 12, 2015.
  • Jaya Shree Textiles, a unit of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, had filed the petition seeking continuation of anti-dumping duty on ‘flax’ fabric imports from China and Hong Kong.

Banking & Finance 

Jaitley launches SBI’s mobile wallet ‘Buddy’
  • Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley launched State Bank of India’s mobile wallet- State Bank ‘Buddy’ in collaboration with Accenture and Master Card.
  • He also unveiled brand logo and website for SBI Foundation, a arm set up to implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the State Bank of India group.
  • The ‘Buddy’ application will be available for all customers irrespective of the bank the customer is banking with or card customer is using. The application will be available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
  • The Mobile Wallet comes with features like send money to registered and new users, recharge and pay bills instantly also book for movie tickets and flights.
IDBI appointed Kishor Piraji Kharat as its MD and CEO
  • IDBI (Industrial Development Bank of India )has appointed Kishor Piraji Kharat as its new Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.
  • Kishor Kharat is a graduate in commerce and law who is also a certified associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers. He had earlier assumed post of executive director of Union Bank of India and before that he had served Bank of Baroda for three decades.
  • IDBI was constituted on 1 July 1964 under IDBI Act 1964 based on the model of Developmental Bank of Canada with a motive to provide direct and indirect finance to Industries. Government of India took over the controls of IDBI in 1975 and then transformed into independent autonomous statutory organisation.
  • IDBI was regarded as a Public Financial Institution and continued to serve as a DFI for 40 years and was formally transformed into a Bank on 28 September 2004. IDBI thus became 28th Public Sector Bank. IDBI Bank was earlier known as IDBI Ltd which was change to its existing name IDBI Bank Ltd on 7 May 2008.
ICICI Bank launched locker facility named Smart Vault
  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, has launched the ‘Smart Vault’, a fully automated locker available 24×7, including weekends and after banking hours. The ‘Smart Vault’ uses robotic technology to access lockers from the safe vault. It enables customers to access their lockers in a secure lounge where the locker automatically comes up to the customer.
  • Customers can access the lockers in total privacy without any intervention of the branch staff. Located at New Delhi, the ‘Smart Vault’ is equipped with multi-layered security systems including biometric authentication, debit card & PIN authentication, unique dimple keys that are difficult to replicate, ‘unbreakable lock system’ and the option of using additional personal lock as well.
  • The smart vault facility comprises of a locker room for complete privacy. A customer can gain access to this locker room by swiping their debit card and validating their identity through biometric authentication.
  • Appointments

Sachin Tendulkar to be Maharashtra’s Tiger ambassador

  • Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar  agreed to become Maharashtra’s tiger ambassador.
  • Tendulkar wrote a letter to Mr. Sudhir Mungatiwar, the state’s forest minister, to give his consent for the same.
  • On July 29, World Tiger Day, Mungatiwar wrote to actor Amitabh Bachchan and Tendulkar, requesting them to be part of tiger conservation project.
  • Tendulkar had expressed his desire to work on this front after the government’s request.
  • Earlier in this August, Amitabh Bachchan  accepted the request from the government and met the minister to discuss details of his role and involvement in the project.

Awards & Recognition

Queen Elizabeth II set to become Britain’s longest-reigning Monarch


  • Queen Elizabeth is all set to become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in history. On September 9, she will topple her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for more than 63 years to become the new record holder. She was just 25 when she became Queen Elizabeth II on Feb 6, 1952 on the death of her father.
  • The popularity of the 89-year-old Queen has seen better times recently with her popularity chart rocketing , an image that had taken a hit following princess Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
  • The Queen who is Britain’s 40th monarch and who has seen 12 prime ministers during her reign in her speech read out from the throne in the House of Lords in June setting out the new government’s agenda said Britain gave utmost importance to the growing friendship between India and Britain.
  • Britain has major plans to commemorate the landmark of Queen Elizabeth becoming the longest serving monarch. Special displays are being planned at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse ,three of the Queen’s favourite homes.
  • From September 9, visitors to the three castles will be able to witness special photographic displays marking the reign. The displays will be shown in the inner Quadrangle of the official residences , areas of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle that are not normally included in the visitor route.

Tamil Nadu tops in organ donation in India

  • Tamil Nadu leads in organ donation in the country with organs of 683 persons being harvested and donated to over 3,000 beneficiaries since the setting up of the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu in 2008
  • The organ transplantations include 144 heart transplants, 69 lung transplants, 636 liver, 1233 kidney, four pancreas, two small bowels, 618 heart valves, 1,032 cornea, 22 skin and two blood vessels
  • Allocation for the health and family welfare department has been increased to Rs. 8,245 crore from Rs. 4,000 crore.
  • For streamlining organ transplantation, the government set up the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu. The Odisha government is planning to establish a similar authority there and has approached the Tamil Nadu government for support.
  • Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme was benefiting several persons. under this scheme the state has generated revenue of Rs. 903 crore

Science & Technology

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