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Daily GK Updates: 18th Sept 2014

1.    India signs pact with China to better trade ties, get $20bn
i. India on Thursday signed a 5-year trade and economic cooperation agreement with China with a view to improve the trade balance and obtain USD 20 billion Chinese investment into the country.
ii. The 'Five year Trade and Economic Development Plan' was signed by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President Xi Jinping. 
iii. The agreement lays down a medium term roadmap for promoting balanced and sustainable development of economic and trade relations between China and India, on the principle of equality and mutual benefit. 

iv. Among other things, it seeks to reduce bilateral trade imbalance and strengthen investment cooperation to realise USD 20 billion investment from China in 5 years. 
2.    Le Yucheng appointed China's New Ambassador to India
i. Chinese President Xi Jinping appointed Le Yucheng as China's new Ambassador to India.
ii. Le Yucheng replaced Wei Wei who previously served as China's envoy to India.
iii.  Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to India, he served as the China's ambassador to Kazakhstan.
3.    Leonardo DiCaprio appointed as UN Messenger of Peace
i. Academy Award-nominated actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has been designated the United Nations Messenger of Peace by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, with a special focus on climate change.
ii. The UN chief said that DiCaprio’s “first act” in his new role as Messenger of Peace will be to address the opening of the Climate Change Summit on September 23 in New York that has been convened by the Secretary General.
iii. DiCaprio, 39, said he is honoured to accept his new role of UN Messenger of Peace on Climate Change and to support the Secretary General “in his efforts to address one of the most important issues we face as a global community
Note: DiCaprio will join 11 other United Nations Messengers of Peace and one Goodwill Ambassador who advocate on behalf of the United Nations on a variety of priority issues for the Organisation.
ii. Messengers of Peace are individuals who possess widely recognised talents in the fields of art, film, literature, music and sports, helping to raise worldwide awareness of the Organisation’s ideals and activities.
4.    Government launches electronic toll collection programme with brand name FASTag
i. The government launched an electronic toll collection (ETC) programme in the country under the brand name "FASTag".
ii. According to the Ministry of Road and Highways, ETC entails payment of highway tolls electronically without needing to halt the vehicle at the toll plazas.
iii. "The unique number of the RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag affixed on the wind shield of the vehicle will be read by the readers fitted in the dedicated 'ETC' lanes of plazas and appropriate amount as per the class of vehicle will be automatically deducted from the account of the user," the ministry said in a statement.
Note: The ministry has roped in ICICI bank and Axis bank for providing central clearing house (CCH) services and to distribute RFID based "FASTag" through their franchises at points of sales near the toll plazas.
5.    International Economic Association appointed Kaushik Basu as President-Elect
i. The International Economic Association (IEA) appointed Kaushik Basu as president-elect of the association beginning September 2014. However, he will continue to serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank.
ii. This will be the second time that an Indian will be heading this association that produces a large number of research papers and books and organizes round tables on topics of contemporary interest. Amartya Sen became the first Indian to join IEA.
Kaushik Basu
• Kaushik Basu is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank. He was appointed as Chief Economist at the World Bank on 5 September 2012.
• He is currently the fourth President of the Human Development and Capabilities Association which was founded by Amartya Sen and a member of the Board of Directors of the Exim Bank of India.
6.    Adil Zainulbhai appointed as the Chairman of QCI
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed former McKinsey India Chairman Adil Zainulbhai as the Chairman of Quality Council of India (QCI). 
ii. He will serve Quality Council of India for a period of three years from the date of assumption of charge.
iii. He was the co-editor of Reimagining India that features 60 global businessmen, academicians, economists, authors and journalists.
iv. He serves on the boards of Reliance Industries, the American India Foundation, Saifee Hospital, Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (redeveloping Bhendi Bazaar in Mumbai), Network 18  , and the advisory board of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. 
About Quality Council of India (QCI)
Formed in 1997, QCI is represented by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM). 

QCI is an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. QCI is a joint creation by Indian industry to operate the National Accreditation Structure for conformity assessment bodies and provide accreditation in the field of education, health and quality promotion. 
7.    1st Industrial Park under MoU signed between India and China to be set up in Vadodara
i. The first Industrial Park under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and China will be set up in Vadodara district.
ii. The Chinese are looking for two to three other locations also. According to sources land for industrial park will be purchased on one-to-one basis, but whenever genuine industry will face any problem, Government will be at help.
iii. Under this MoU, the products allowed in India as per Indian law including the pollution norms will only be allowed to be produced in India.
8.    UAE signs 3 agreements with UNWFP for providing aid to Syrian refugees
i. United Arab Emirates has signed three agreements with the United Nations World Food Program, WFP, offering 31 million US dollars worth of humanitarian aid for the Syrian refugees. 
ii. This assistance will benefit about 8 lakh, 80 thousand Syrians. UAE has committed around 60 million dollars at the International donor conference on Syria, held in Kuwait in January this year. 
iii. The assistance will be used to provide urgent food aid to more than 6 lakh internally displaced people, including more than 3 lakh children and 1 lakh, 39 thousand women. 
9.    Naseeruddin Shah released his autobiography “And then One Day: A Memoir”
i. Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah released his autobiography And then One Day: A Memoir.
ii. And Then One Day is the poignant and inspiring memoir of the acclaimed Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Summary of the Book
The autobiography depicts his extraordinary journey from a feudal village near Meerut, to Catholic schools in Nainital and Ajmer, and finally to stage and film fame in Mumbai.
10.  Microsoft Corp buy Minecraft game maker Mojang
i. Microsoft Corp acquired the Swedish video game company Mojang for 2.5 billion US dollars. With this acquisition, Microsoft aims to lure young audience into its mobile world.
ii. Microsoft is primarily known for business software like Word and Outlook. But the acquisition of Mojang will help Microsoft expand its gaming division which also includes game franchises such as the Halo shooter game and Forza racing game.
Mojang
Mojang is a Stockholm-based developer of the wildly popular Minecraft video game. It is with the Minecraft that  Mojang brought in287 million US dollars revenue for the country in 2013. 
Note: i. Mojang was co-founded in 2009 by Markus Persson who developed the hit Minecraft game.  Markus Persson previously worked at Sweden's King Digital Entertainment Plc who made the Candy Crush Saga game.
ii. Introduced in 2009, "Minecraft" has sold more than 50 million copies for PCs, smartphones and videogame consoles like Microsoft's Xbox. Through licensing deals, the game has also inspired top-selling guide books for Scholastic Corp., toys from Lego A/S and a coming feature film from Warner Bros.
11.  Cognizant acquired healthcare software company TriZetto
i. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp acquired healthcare IT services provider TriZetto Corp for 2.7 billion US dollars. The acquisition is aimed at boosting the healthcare business of Cognizant. 
ii. Cognizant acquired TriZetto from London-based private equity firm Apax Partners LLP. Apax Partners acquired TriZetto in 2008 and was exploring a sale of the company.
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp provides services such as claims processing, billing and call center operations to insurers, hospitals. It also provides state-run healthcare exchange set up under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
12.  Goa became permanent venue for IFFI
i. Goa became a permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). 
ii. To make Goa a permanent venue for IFFI, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka and Chief Secretary of Goa State B. Vijayan.
iii. The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
13.  India slips to 158 in FIFA rankings
i. India slipped eights places to be ranked 158th in the latest FIFA rankings headed by World Champions Germany.
ii. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh saw a slide of 11 rankings to be placed 175th and 181st in the list while Sri Lanka jumped two spots to be placed 176th.
iii. Belgium stayed put at No.5 and Brazil climbed one spot to No 6 with Uruguay and Spain following the suit at Nos 7 and 8.
iv. France and Switzerland, which lost to England in a European Championship qualifier, traded places to complete the top 10.
v. Costa Rica is ahead of Mexico and the United States, with the three CONCACAF nations grouped from Nos 15-17. England climbed two spots to be at No 18.
14.  World's first water-based nuclear battery developed
i. Researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used as a source of reliable energy in automobiles and space flight. 
ii. The battery uses a radioactive isotope called strontium-90 that boosts electro-chemical energy in a water-based solution. 
iii. A nano-structured titanium dioxide electrode (the common element found in sunscreens and UV blockers) with a platinum coating collects and effectively converts energy into electrons. 

iv. "Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s," said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and nuclear engineering. 
15.  Ex-Assam DGP Shankar Baruah commit suicide
i. Former Director General of Police of Assam, Sanker Baruah committed suicide, he shot himself down with his .32 licensed-revolver at his Uzan Bazar residence in Guwahati.
ii. His suicide came after CBI raided his residence during the course of investigation of multi-crore Saradha chit fund case.  CBI raided his house on 28 August 2014.
iii. Sanker Baruah was a 1974 batch IPS officer and became DGP of Assam on 31 July 2009. He served the state as the head of Assam police till January 2012.

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