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- Cabinet Approved MFP for Development of Hydrocarbon Discoveries
- Indo-Australian Bilateral Co-operation in the field of security
- MAT to be waived off for FIIs
- 15,000 jobs for disabled by Feb. 2016: Centre
- NASA’s SERVIR-Mekong project for Five Southeast Asian Countries
- Soyuz Rocket with the first Danish astronaut launches towards International Space Station
UNGA approves draft 2030 Agenda for Stainable Development
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has approved the draft 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It has now been sent to all the states for adoption.
- 2015 is marked by watershed events for the International Community, with the Third International Conference on Financing for Development’ in Addis Ababa in July; the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Change Summit, widely referred to as COP-21, that is going to be held in Paris in December.
- The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are comprehensive and address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way.
Banking & Finance
SEBI-FMC merger finally becoming a reality
Moving one step closer towards having a single regulator for all securities and derivatives, the government announced the merger of the Forward Markets Commission and SEBI.
Why a merger was necessary?
- The idea of a unified regulator was being contemplated and debated upon in the government circles since 1997 with a view to avoid an Asian currency crises kind of scenario.
- The merger was triggered by the Rs. 5,600-crore payment default that grounded the National Spot Exchange (NSEL).
- Long standing recommendations finally accepted– In 2003, an inter-ministerial group headed by the then consumer affairs secretary, Wajahat Habibullah had proposed the merger of the securities and commodity derivatives market. Later, the Percy Mistry Committee and also another headed by Raghuram Rajan had also made the same recommendations. In 2013, when the FMC was moved from the Consumer Affairs ministry to the Finance Ministry, the same debate ensued.
- The merger is expected to strengthen regulation of the commodity forward markets and reduce wild speculation.
Google’s logo gets a new look
- The logo update comes after a major restructuring of the company that follows after Google became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. Alphabet Inc, a new holding company was formed by Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, formerly the bosses of Google.
- The new Google logo is still a wordmark ( text-based mark), but it now uses a sans-serif typeface, making it look a lot more modern and playful.Alphabet’s wordmark has a similar look, thus signifying that the two companies’ design language fall more inline.
- The logo change reflects that Google is no more just a search engine accessible by the desktop, but it is a huge collection of sites, apps, and services that you visit on PCs, Chromebooks, smartphones etc.
- The logo will be easier to load on small devices as it uses a low bandwidth with 305 bytes, with the old logo using-up 14,000 bytes. This falls in line with Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai’s big goals to bring the internet to areas of the globe that don’t already have it.
Acquisitions & Mergers
Snapdeal acquires Silicon Valley tech-startup Reduce Data
The acquisition will strengthen Snapdeal’s Content Discovery as Reduce Data has a programmatic display advertising platform that leverages artificial intelligence, real-time data and other tools. In short, with as many as two lakh sellers offering their merchandise on the e-commerce portal and with over 40 million registered users, the company aims to crank-up its content discovery capabilities by the acquisition.
Reduce Data owner Asaf Ali founded the company in 2012 and has customers across the US, India and the UK.
Snapdeal’s acquisition spree
- Snapdeal has been on an acquisition spree to compete with players such as Amazon and Flipkart, in the burgeoning Indian e-commerce industry.
- In 2015 alone, Snapdeal has acquired Freecharge (a payments and mobile recharge startup), MartMobi and Letsgomo Labs as well as picked up stakes in digital financial services platform RupeePower and logistics venture GoJavas. The company is also scouting for acquisitions in mobile technology and supply chain space.
- Japan’s SoftBank, Foxconn, Alibaba and eBay are among Snapdeal’s investors.
India’s first test-series victory in Sri Lanka in 22 years
- India beat SL 2-1, their first test-series win on the Lankan soil in 22 years. The last series win in the island nation was in 1993.
- Virat Kohli’s first series win as a captain ever since he took over reins of the team from Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
- It also broke the dry-spell of over-seas tests win that India was facing since its win against West Indies in 2011.
- With this win, Virat Kohli has become the youngest Indian Test captain at 26 years and 300 days, to win a series away from home. The earlier record was held by Kapil Dev.
- Cheteshwar Poojara was named Man-of-the-match for his unbeaten 145 innings whereas R. Ashwin was the Man-of-the-series for the 21 wickets taken by him.
ICC Test rankings- Ishant, Pujara enter top-20
- Cheteshwar Pujara has been placed as 20th in the batsman list, entering the top-twenty of ICC Test rankings. He scored his seventh century in Colombo with an unbeaten 145. Pujara is the second batsman, with Virat Kohli (at 11), to feature in the top-20. But with Kohli dropping one position from number 10, there are no Indian batsmen in the top 10 currently.
- Pacer Ishant Sharma moved to 18th in the bowler list, making progress on the top-20 bowler’s list, reaching the 200-wickets mark.
About ICC rankings
- The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body of cricket, which was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from England, Australia and South Africa.
- The ICC Player Rankings are a widely followed system of rankings for international cricketers based on their recent performances; started in 1987 after a suggestion by English Cricketer Ted Dexter.
- The rankings for top 10 bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders are maintained for tests, ODI and T20I, apart from the Historical rankings for tests and ODI.
2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Durban
- The Commonwealth Games Federation general assembly in New Zealand selected the South African city of Durban, South Africa as the host for the 2022 multi-sports event.
- The coastal city won the bid for the event after the Canadian city of Edmonton dropped out of the contention, citing falling oil prices as a reason for withdrawal.
- The Commonwealth Games are held every four years, with over 50 countries (mostly former British colonies) participating.
- This is the first time the Games will be held on the African soil, since it was founded in 1930. South Africa has so far hosted World Cups for rugby, cricket and soccer in the last 20 years.
- The opening ceremony and the athletics events will be held in the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was constructed for the FIFA World Cup, 2010.
- The Games will be held from 18-30 July, opening on the birth date of the late South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
- The 2018 Games are slotted to be held in Gold Coast, Australia.