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Daily GK Updates: 14 - 15th Sept 2014

1.    India, Vietnam ink 7 pacts; call for 'freedom' of navigation
i. India and Vietnam on Monday inked seven pacts, including one to enhance cooperation in the strategic oil sector, as they called for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, a remark which could irk China which has been claiming territorial sovereignty over the high seas.
ii. The agreements were signed during the second day of the four-day state visit of President Pranab Mukherjee who held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi on Monday. 
iii. Both the countries decided to "strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation on the basis of the strategic partnership with focus on political, defence and security cooperation, economic cooperation, science and technology, culture and people-to-people links, technical cooperation and multilateral and regional cooperation." 

iv. In a subtle message to China, the two countries, who established strategic ties in 2007, asserted that the freedom of navigation in the disputed waters of the South China Sea should not be impeded and called all the parties concerned to exercise restraint in this context. 
v. The two sides urged for "collective commitment of the concerned parties to abide by and implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to work towards the adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus. 
vi. "They called for cooperation in ensuring security of sea-lanes, maritime security, combating piracy and conducting search and rescue operations," it said. 
2.    Kerala to host Global Agro meet in November
i. Government of Kerala will host a Global Agro meet and an exhibition on hi-tech agriculture and food processing at Kochi on 6th and 7th of November. 
ii. Addressing a road show in New Delhi today, Agriculture Minister of Kerala K P Mohanan said, this will be one of the biggest events to showcase value-added agriculture and food processing products and technologies and will help equip farmers with the latest developments in the farming and agriculture sector. 
iii. Mr Mohnan said that value-added agriculture and food processing are regarded as sun-rise sector of Kerala economy because of their large potential for economic growth. 
iv. The Minister said that Kerala has huge potential for investment in horticulture, floriculture, dairy and other activities and global agro meet is an effort by the state to identify business opportunities, partnerships and sharing best practices.
v. The event will be held along with BIOFACH INDIA 2014 which offers the organic food industry the world over to look for investments in Kerala. Eight countries including Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Vietnam will be participating in the event.
3.    Mashelkar to chair expert panel on Modi's 'Swachh Bharat'
i. Scientist Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has been named the chair of an expert panel to recommend best technologies for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Swachh Bharat" national sanitation campaign.
ii. The 19-member expert committee has been asked to examine best technologies on sanitation and water so that they can be scaled up on a sustainable basis in various states -- with affordability, sustainability, scalability and quality as the main criteria.
iii. The terms of reference include achieving Prime Minister Modi's "Swachh Bharat" goals by 2019, with an emphasis on areas like potable water and sanitation, while also examining the environmental impact of each technology compared with its uses, officials said.
Note: i. Mashelkar, who said his appointment in the committee was a special privilege, presently overseas the Global Research Alliance -- a network of publicly funded institutes from the Asia-Pacific, South Africa, Europe and the US with over 60,000 scientists.
ii. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1991, Padma Bhushan in 2000 and Padma Vibhushan earlier this year.
4.    KK Paul sworn in as Manipur Governor
i. Manipur Chief Justice Laxmi Kant Mahapatra administered the oath of office and secrecy to Paul during a function at Raj Bhavan, which was attended by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, his cabinet colleagues and high civil and police officials.
ii. Raj Bhavan sources said Paul “will act as Governor of Manipur till the new appointment was made.” The outgoing Governor V K Duggal was given a warm send-off by the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues yesterday, sources added.
5.    Clean Goa Beautiful Goa' campaign launched
i. Goa Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar today launched ‘clean Goa Beautiful Goa” campaign on Miramar Beach Panaji. Goa Tourism has taken up the task of cleaning the beaches through manual means to have clean and hygienic beaches which will help improve tourism potential in the state. 
ii. Dustbins will be placed at every 100 meters interval; garbage will be collected from all beaches where it will be segregated into different parts such as bio degradable and non bio-degradable. 
6.    India welcomes renegotiation of Tata Housing project in Maldives
i. India has welcomed the successful renegotiation of the stalled Tata Housing development project in Maldives.
ii. Issuing a statement in Male last evening, Indian High Commission said, the revival of the project will send the right signal and encourage more such investments from Indian businesses into Maldives.
iii. The statement informed that Maldives has given a commitment to transfer back the two sites which were taken back and provide other timely clearances to the company.
iv. The initial agreement was signed in May 2010 by Mohamed Nasheed’s government but work on the project was later halted after the fall of his government.
7.    Doordarshan celebrates 55 years of existence
i. Public service broadcaster Doordarshan is celebrating its 55 years today. Doordarshan made a modest beginning in India on 15th September 1959, when the first experimental centre at Delhi with a small transmitter was inaugurated by the then President Rajendra Prasad. 
ii. Doordarshan is available on television, online and through mobile services throughout India, as well as overseas. Doordarshan is serving as a major source of information, education and entertainment for years. 
iii. Initially the coverage range was small which increased widely after May, 1975. The era of 80s was dedicated to Doordarshan with serials like Buniyaad, Dekh, mythological dramas like Ramayan and Mahabharat, Chitrahaar, Karamchand, Jungle Book and Rangoli hooking millions to their TV sets. 
iv. Surabhi was a hit show of early 90s. Amid the arrival of over hundred private channels, Doordarshan still stands apart with its qualitative content and programmes of public interest.
8.    Union Government announced to fund Swachh Vidyalaya campaign
i. Union Human Resource Development Ministry on 11 September 2014 announced to fund Swachh Vidyalaya campaign. 
ii. Funding of the campaign will be through Swachh Bharat Kosh that the Union Government has announced to set up to fund the Swachh Bharat Campaign. 
iii. Also, HRD Ministry would initiate the process of drafting a new cohesive education policy for the successful implementation of the campaign. The policy will be drafted after conducting nationwide consultations from January 2015.
iv. Earlier, Swach Vidyalya Campaign was anchored by Union Human Resource Development Ministry as a part of Swachh Bharat Campaign. The campaign aims to ensure the provision of toilets in all government schools by 15 August 2015.
9.    August WPI Inflation shrinks to five-year low of 3.74%
i. Declining prices of vegetable and other food articles pulled down wholesale inflation sharply to 3.74 per cent in August to a nearly five-year low.
ii. According to the data released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, inflation was at 5.19 per cent in July and 6.99 per cent in August 2013. Inflation in the food segment witnessed a significant decline to 5.15 per cent in August as against 8.43 per cent in the previous month. 
iii. The August WPI inflation is the lowest since October 2009 when it stood at 1.8 per cent. Vegetable prices contracted 4.88 per cent, the third continuous month of decline.
10.  Comic legend Joan Rivers dies at 81 
i. Comedienne and TV host Joan Rivers, best known for her lacerating wit, has died, her daughter said.
ii. Rivers, 81, had been on life support in Mount Sinai Hospital since having a cardiac arrest in New York last week. 
iii. In a statement, her daughter Melissa said she died surrounded by family and friends, and she thanked hospital staff for their "amazing care", reported by a news channel. 

iv. Rivers stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords at an outpatient clinic last Thursday. 
11.  And Then One Day: Naseeruddin Shah's autobiography
i. Naseeruddin Shah's memoir "And Then One Day" is a candid recount of almost four decades of his life and the actor is happy that it is being appreciated though he says it may ruffle a few feathers in the film industry.
ii. One of the most formidable actors in Hindi cinema, Shah started writing about his life in 2002 but was not sure about its quality so he kept postponing it. 
iii. When asked why he was hesitant to release the book, he said he was not sure that anyone would be interested in reading his life story.
12.  Turing biopic wins Toronto film festival audience prize 
i. A biographical picture of British code breaker and war hero Alan Turing, featuring an Oscar-bait performance by Benedict Cumber batch, won the Toronto film festival audience prize for best picture on Sunday. 
ii. Turing was a brilliant Cambridge mathematician and pioneer of computer sciences who broke Nazi codes for the British military during the Second World War, helping to shorten the war. 
iii. He ended his life in sadness, committing suicide in 1954 at the age of 41, two years after being convicted of the then crime of homosexuality. 

iv. Turing was awarded a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II in December, 2013 following a long campaign by supporters. 
v. Cumberbatch has been generating Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the computer sciences pioneer in Norwegian director Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game," about Turing's work at code and cypher centre Bletchley Park. 

13.  Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere to receive honours at NY Film Fest
i. The New York Film Festival will honour actors Ethan Hawke and Richard Gere this year. 
ii. The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that the actors would be guest of honours at the fest's "An Evening With..." series on two different dates.
iii. Hawke's tribute will take place on September 30, during which he will participate in an "intimate dinner and a conversation between the guests and NYFF Director Kent Jones" at the Stanley H Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center. 

iv. Gere will receive the same honour on October 8.
v. Hawke directed the documentary 'Seymour: An Introduction' which focuses on the life of piano prodigy Seymour Bernstein.
vi. Gere starred in Oren Moverman's 'Time Out of Mind' as a homeless man estranged from his daughter.
14.  Sabine Lisicki wins Hong Kong Open
i. Sabine Lisicki won her first WTA title in three years by defeating Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Hong Kong Open on Sunday. 
ii. No. 36-ranked Pliskova squandered a 5-1 lead in the match after she twice broke the top-seeded German in the first set before losing the next six games. 
iii. Lisicki fired five aces in the second set and twice broke her Czech opponent's serve, in the fourth and eight games, to clinch the final in just under 90 minutes. 

iv. Lisicki won her last WTA title in Dallas in 2011. It was also her third victory against Pliskova this year after victories at Wimbledon and at the Madrid Open. 
15.  Yuki goes down tamely, India lose play-off tie
i. India’s agonising wait to return to the World Group continued as the hosts lost 2-3 to Serbia in the rain-hit playoff tie after Yuki Bhambri surrendered tamely in the decisive fifth rubber against Filip Karjinovic in Bangalore on Monday.
ii. Krajinovic turned out to be a hero for the Serbians with his 6-3 6-4 6-4 win as the 2010 champions reclaimed their place in the World Group.
iii. The result means that India will now again fight it out in Asia/Oceania zone in the 2015 season. The last time India had made it to the World Group was in 2011, interestingly losing to Serbia in the first round
16.  Arnold Schwarzenegger in Chennai for ‘I’ audio launch
i. Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday arrived amidst tight security at the Chennai airport to attend the audio launch of Vikram-starrer “I”.
ii. The audio launch is expected to take place on Monday evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, where the star of the “Terminator” film series will share the dais with Tamil movie superstar Rajinikanth.
iii. A.R. Rahman will perform all the songs from the album live and will be supported by dancers, who will perform wearing the actual costumes and make-up from the film,” the source added.
17.  H S Prannoy clinches Indonesian masters title
i. Young Indian shuttler H S Prannoy clinched the maiden title of his career after winning the Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold, following his straight-game victory over local favourite Firman Abdul Kholik in the finals played at Palembang, Indonesia today.
ii. In a 43-minute battle, fifth seed Prannoy, who finished runners-up at the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hochiminh City last week, got the better of qualifier Firman 21-11, 22-20 in the men's singles competition. 

18.Union Cabinet Approves Launching of National Ayush Mission

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 September gave its approval for launching of the National AYUSH Mission (NAM) along with its core and flexible components. The proposed Mission will address the gaps in health services through supporting the efforts of State and UT governments for providing AYUSH health services and education in the country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas. The Mission will help in the improvement of AYUSH education through enhancement in the number of upgraded educational institutions; better access to AYUSH services through increase in number of AYUSH hospitals and dispensaries along with the availability of drugs and manpower.

19.KK Paul Sworn In As Manipur Governor
K K Paul was on 15 September sworn in as the Governor of Manipur at Raj Bhawan. He was administered oath of office by Chief Secretary Lawmkunga. Paul who serves as the Governor of Meghalaya was given additional charge of Manipur and Nagaland following resignation of  V K Duggal.

20. HS Prannoy Won Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold
Young Indian badminton player H.S. Prannoy won the Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold on 14 September.  He defeated Indonesian Firman Abdul Kholik in the finals played at GOR Jakabaring stadium, Indonesia. Prannoy is upcoming young badminton player from Kerala and had earlier won a silver medal in Boys’ singles at Summer Youth Olympics of 2010.

21. NASA unveils World’s Largest Spacecraft Welding Tool
NASA has unveiled the largest spacecraft welding tool – the Vertical Assembly Center (VAC) – at its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The 170-feet-tall, 78-feet-wide giant VAC completes a world class welding tool kit that will be used to build the core stage of America’s next great rocket – the Space Launch System (SLS). VAC is part of a family of state-of-the-art tools designed to weld the core stage of SLS and will join domes, rings and barrels to complete the tanks or dry structure assemblies. It will also be used to perform evaluations on the completed welds. Boeing is the prime contractor for the SLS core stage, including avionics.

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