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Current Affairs Today – October 24 2015

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Current Affairs Today 24 October 2015INDIAN AFFAIRS

Himachal Pradesh to host India’s first Paragliding World Cup

India’s first Paragliding World Cup has begun at Bir Billing near Baijnath town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Snow leopard is the official mascot of this World Cup.

  • It is for the first time that Paragliding World Cup is being organised in a South Asian country. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju flagged off the event.
  • In this one week competition, more than 130 registered pilots including 14 women pilots from 35 countries would take part.
  • Indian side is represented by 8 flyers and 6 among them are from the Himachal Pradesh.

The Paragliding World Cup will have different categories of competition including Paragliding, Hot air ballooning, Hand gliding and Acrobatic shows. Helicopters and Air ambulance along with forty rescue teams equipped with latest equipment gave been deployed at various strategic locations to meet any emergency situation.

Maha CM launches website in memory of cartoonist RK Laxman

Maha CM launches website in memory of cartoonist RK LaxmanMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a website on the life of legendary cartoonist Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman known simply to millions as R K Laxman, to commemorate his 94th birth anniversary.

  • The website “www.Rklaxman.Com” was launched in the presence of his family members after Fadnavis paid tribute at his official residence ‘Varsha’ to the revered artist.

Govt eases penal provisions for customs, excise offences

Union Govt has been eased the panel provision by raising the limit of undeclared or mis-declared baggage that will attract arrest or prosecution to Rs 20 lakh. This step is taken to avert harassment of overseas travellers.

  • Presently, overseas travellers can pay a fine for any undeclared or mis-declared baggage of a value up to Rs 5 lakh. Any such baggage beyond this limit attracts prosecution or arrest. The government has now raised this limit to Rs 20 lakh.
  • Monetary limits for arrests and prosecution have been raised for offenders under other acts including Central Excise, Customs and Service Tax.
  • There will be no limit for arrest and prosecution in the cases of smuggling of fake Indian currency notes, arms, ammunitions and explosives and endangered species.

Mumbai – Goa track to get India’s first double-decker Shatabdi train

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced the country’s first-ever double decker Shatabdi Express that would soon run between the tracks of Mumbai – Goa and will boost tourism in Goa. The announcement was made during the event at Goa University in Panaji.

  • Shatabdi Express is a premier service of railways which connects Metro cities with other cities. It returns to the station of origin the same day.
  • AC double-decker trains are equipped with modern amenities and its coaches have special features for comfortable travelling with a seating capacity for around 1,500 passengers.
  • The first double-decker air conditioned train was started in October 2011 between Howrah and Dhanbad.

No service tax on “charitable” yoga income

Income of trusts from yoga-related activities will now not be subject to service tax. Thus, attendees of yoga camps or classes conducted by charitable trusts will not have to pay service tax of 14 per cent. This could boost yoga promotion activities across the country.

  • Yoga activities carried on by private institutions will not benefit directly from this service tax amendment, which is specific to charitable trusts.
  • The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has in a notification specifically added yoga as one of the activities in the definition of ‘charitable activities’. Prior to this amendment, charitable activities were confined to activities related to the advance of religion or spirituality.

Union Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Chinese auto parts
The finance ministry has imposed anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese parts used in commercial vehicles for a period of five years.

  • The duties were slapped on Chinese items imported into India at prices less than even cost of production.

Anti-dumping duty has also been levied on fully-drawn or fully-oriented yarn, spin-drawn yarn, and flat yarn of polyester (non-textured) imported from China and Thailand.

Duty was also imposed on plain medium density fibre board of thickness 6 mm and above, imported from China, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka for a period of five years.
These decisions were taken following recommendations of the directorate-general of anti-dumping and allied duties.

What is anti-dumping duty?
A penalty imposed on suspiciously low-priced imports, to increase their price in the importing country and so protect local industry from unfair competition.

Hockey India lifts ban on midfielder Gurbaj Singh post High Court order

The ban had imposed on midfielder Gurbaj Singh(22yr) has lifted Hockey India(HI) with immediate effect in the wake of Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order. The ban lifted in just over excess of 2 months time. The ban was actually supposed to be lifted in May 2016.

  • The decision to ban him was for indulgence in groupism and creating disharmony within the team.The decision had threatened the midfielder’s dream of playing in next year’s Rio Olympics.
  • In 2012 Gurbaj was suspended for a brief period after the London Olympics following similar accusations from the then chief coach Michael Nobbs and his support staff.

Key points:
Hockey – National sport of India
International Hockey Federation(FIH) Formally Writes To IOA(Indian Olympic Association) Honouring Hockey India As The National Association Of India.

BANKING & FINANCE

Madhucon’s Agra-Jaipur expressway project sold out to Cube Highways

Hyderabad based Madhucon Projects has sold its Madhucon Agra- Jaipur Expressways Ltd (MAJEL) to Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure for Rs 248 crore.

  • Cube Highways will acquire 74% equity stake while the balance 26 % equity stake will be acquired after getting a nod from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

About Madhucon
Madhucon Infra is the Infrastructure development arm of Madhucon Group. Mumbai-based investment bank Equirus Capital acted as theexclusive advisor to the Madhucon Group for the transaction, while law firm Nishith Desai Associates was the legal counsel.

  • MAJEL is an operational BOT toll project between Bharatpur and Mahwa in Rajasthan connecting the two key tourist destinations of Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan.
  • The MAJEL project started its commercial operations in May, 2009.

Paytm ties up with Bank of Maharashtra

E-commerce platform Paytm has tied up with Pune Headquartered Bank of Maharashtra to offer mobile wallet top up facility through bank ATMs.

  • Bank of Maharashtra’s debit card users will now be able to make their mobile or utility bills payment or pay for services such as cab fare and more by topping up their Paytm mobile wallets through the bank’s 1800 ATM network.
  • Paytm recently tied up with Miranda stores in Andhra Pradesh from where people can load their mobile wallet. The company tied up with ICICI to allow its users to top up the wallet at a bank branch.

Noida-based Paytm is backed by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, SAIF Partners, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank.

HDIL to invest Rs 150 crore on housing project in Mumbai

Realty firm Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) will invest about Rs 150 crore for the first phase of its upcoming affordable housing project at Virar in Mumbai.

Project area – 550 acres
Construction Cost – Rs 100-150 crore

The company will launch the first phase of its affordable housing project “Planet HDIL” in Virar this Diwali another two luxurious projects in Ghatkopar (East) by year-end.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

APPOINTMENTS

Nasser Khan Janjua appointed as National Security Advisor of Pakistan

Nasser Khan Janjua appointed as National Security Advisor of PakistanRetired Lieutenant General Nasser Khan Janjua has been appointed as the new National Security Advisor (NSA) of Pakistan. His appointment will increase army’s hold on the security affairs of the country.

  • He will take the charge from Sartaj Aziz (86) who had been holding dual offices of NSA and Adviser on Foreign Affairs, with status of a federal minister but now the appointment of the new NSA will help Mr Aziz to concentrate on diplomatic affairs.
  • Mr Janjua had retired earlier this month as chief of Southern Command which is based at Quetta in Balochistan province.
  • Mr Janjua has also served as the President of the National Defence University and has worked on military preparedness exercise “Azm-e-Nau” which manily focuses on India.
  • Mr Janjua’s immediate task will be to concentrate on security ties with India in the east and Afghanistan in the west.

Ashok-Alexander Sridharan sworn in as Mayor of Bonn in Germany

Ashok-Alexander Sridharan sworn in as Mayor of Bonn in GermanyIndian-origin politician Ashok Sridharan has been sworn in as the Mayor of Bonn in Germany.
As a candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Sridharan had polled 50.06 per cent of the votes in the mayoral election on September 13 to wrest power from the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

About  Ashok-Alexander Sridharan
49-year-old Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from India and a German mother.
Sridharan is the first person of Indian-origin to become the head of administration in a major German city. He kicked off his five-year term by  taking over the power from his SPD predecessor Juergen Nimptsch.

Capgemini’s Aruna Jayanthi gets global role, Srinivas Kandula is India head

The new appointments is being put in place following the completion of Capgemini’s $4-billion acquisition of Igate.

  • Aruna Jayanthi has been elevated as the global BPO head of the 11-billion euro French IT company.
  • Former Igate HR head Srinivas Kandula has replaced Jayanthi as Capgemini India CEO. Ashwin Yardi, head of Apps One for Capgemini, has been appointed the COO of the Indian operations.

Capgemini group chairman and CEO Paul Hermelin made these announcements at the company’s group leadership meeting Les Recontres 2015 held in Rome earlier this month. The changes will be effective from January 1.

Ashok Leyland’s UK arm Optare’s CEO steps down
Ashok Leyland’s UK arm Optare said that its CEO Enrico Vassallo has decided to step down after two years with the company.

  • Hariharan Krishnamurthi, chief financial officer, has been appointed as the chair to the senior management team in the interim.

SPORTS

Brazil hosts first World Indigenous Games in Palmas

The first edition of World Indigenous Games is a multi-sport event involving indigenous athletes has been official started from 23rd October 2015. Games are held in Palmas, Brazil.

Participants: 1,800 indigenous athletes from 24 countries and regions
Organiser: Inter Tribal Council

  • The games will end on November 1.
  • Every athlete will get a medal, no matter in what place they finish. There will be no obsessing over drug testing or landing sponsorship deals.
  • Each delegation can send a maximum of 50 athletes.
  • The minimum age for athletes is 16 but there’s no upper age limit.

INTERNATIONAL DAY

World Development Information Day

October 24 2015 observed annually as the World Development Information Day to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them.

  • It was instituted in 1972.
  • Many events are organized to focus attention on the work that the UN does, particularly with regard to problems of trade and development.

World polio day

World polio day was observed on 24 October 2015 with a commitment to fight against poliomyelitis and pay a tribute to Jonas Salk, American medical researcher and virologist who led the first team that developed a vaccine against poliomyelitis.