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Daily GK Updates: 9th Oct 2014

1.    France's Patrick Modiano wins literature Nobel 
i. Patrick Modiano of France, who has made a lifelong study of the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country, was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.
ii. The Swedish Academy gave the 8 million kronor (USD 1.1 million) prize to Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation." 
2.    Finance Ministry allocates Rs 520 crore to NABARD
i. The Union Finance Ministry has allocated 520 crore rupees to NABARD to create warehousing infrastructure for agricultural commodities in West Bengal.
ii. Giving this information in Kolkata, the Chief General Manager of NABARD, Smt. T.S.Raji Gain said that after West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh has got 500 crore rupees for the said purpose.
3.    Railways' Revenue earnings up by over 12 per cent
i. Railways revenue earnings have gone up by over 12 per cent during first six months of this fiscal.
ii. The total approximate earnings during the period were about Rs. 73,404 crore compared to Rs. 65,526 crore during the same period last year.
iii. The total earnings from goods during the period were about Rs. 48,772 crore as against Rs. 44,162 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 10.44 per cent.
iv. However, the total approximate number of passengers booked during this period were around 4253 million compared to 4255 million during the same period last year, showing a decrease of 0.06 per cent.
4.    Bandhan Bank appoints FIS Intl to develop core banking tool
i. The upcoming Bandhan Bank has appointed FIS International, one of the largest banking and payments technology solutions provider globally, to develop its core banking software solutions.
ii. According to a release issued by FIS, the global major will help Bandhan by providing and managing a fully integrated banking and payments platform through a totally outsourced delivery model.
iii. This will include the core banking, channel solutions, treasury, trade finance, and an entire suite of payments services that includes debit card management and interback connectivity.
iv. Bandhan, the country’s largest micro-finance institution, was granted an “in-principle” banking licence by the Reserve Bank of India earlier this year.
v. Bandhan is expected to start banking operations by September 2015 with about 600 branches and operations across 27 states.
5.    Union MNRE signed MoU for setting up first-ever Offshore Wind Power Project in India
i. Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 1 October 2014 for setting up a Joint Venture Company to undertake the first-ever Offshore Wind Power Project in India along the Gujarat coast.
ii. he offshore wind power project along the Gujarat coast will be of about 100 MW capacity.
iii. Subsidy to be provided for setting up of evacuation and transmission infrastructure including financial support for carrying out studies such as wind resource assessment, Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), oceanographic survey and Bathymetric studies.

6.  Syntheism – Creating God in The Internet Age authored by Alexander Bard released

Who: book titled Syntheism – Creating God in The Internet Age
What: authored by Alexander Bard was released
When: in October 2014
7.    Ocean Health Index for the year 2014 released
i. Ocean Health Index (OHI) 2014 was released by the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, Califronia, US on 30 September 2014. The Index, third in the series, was released in partnership with Conservation International.
ii. As per the OHI 2014, the overall health score of the Oceans of the world stands at 67 out of 100.
iii. The third annual OHI for the first time includes scores for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean plus the 15 other ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high seas areas).
8.    India overthrow from No. 1 spot in ICC ODI ranking 
i. India’s thrashing at the hands of the visiting West Indies team in the first ODI at Kochi, has dethroned it from the top tanking in the ODI format of the ICC. South Africa replaces India at the top with 113 points. 
ii.
India and Australia are at second and third places respectively. However, Australia has a chance to climb up in the ranking if it wins the remaining ODIs against Pakistan. The Kangaroos play Pakistan in Dubai tomorrow.
9.    German Ambassador lauds PM; extends support to Ganga mission 
i. German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner on Thursday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ambitious 'Clean India campaign' and Ganga rejuvenation plan while extending his country's full support to the missions.
ii. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ganga rejuvenation priority is an excellent example that India is thinking big. Clean Ganga Fund is a brilliant idea," Steiner said at the inauguration of three-day trade exhibition IFAT India 2014, organised by trade show company Messe Munchen's IFAT India. 
iii. The German Ambassador said his country is standing ready to support India's mission towards clean Ganga, adding that a German scoping mission has already started working in this regard this week. 
iv. Major clean-up efforts of all stakeholders in Germany generated technical know-how and decades-old experience. We would like to share these with India, together with state-of-the-art solutions developed by German companies. We also want to help to raise public awareness," he said.

10.  Ericsson signed 4G network deal with Bharti Airtel

Who: Swedish telecom gear firm Ericsson
What: signed a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G network deal with Bharti Airtel
When: 9 October 2014
Swedish telecom gear firm Ericsson on 9 October 2014 signed a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G network deal with Bharti Airtel. Airtel signed the deal with Ericsson for FDD-LTE network.

The signing of the deal will add to the existing 4G services offered by Bharti Airtel.  The company is offering 4G services using TDD-LTE technology on 2300 Mhz band in Ludhiana, Mohali, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Chandigarh and Panchkula.
India likely to have 600 million broadband users by 2020: Ericsson
i. The mobile broadband subscriber base in India could grow to 600 million by 2020 from around 100 million now with 20 per cent of them using 4G, according to a white paper released here by Ericsson.
ii. The report says the share of data in the overall revenue of telecom operators will rise from 10-12 per cent in 2013 to 35-40 per cent in 2020, forcing operators to make substantial investment to improve infrastructure.
iii. “Mobile broadband will be the platform on which the ‘Digital India’ vision can be delivered. For this, we will need the release of additional spectrum in the relevant bands. This will contribute to affordability of services, and harmonization of spectrum will allow a lower-cost device ecosystem to evolve. 
iv. On the occasion, Ericsson announced the Indian launch of two new products to optimise indoor coverage — the Radio Dot System and the RBS6402 picocell — thereby, completing its Small Cell Portfolio for the Indian market.
11.  Veteran journalist M V Kamath passes away, PM condoles death
i. Veteran journalist M V Kamath died at his native place Manipal in Karnataka on Thursday after a brief illness.
ii. He was 93 and was admitted to hospital for the past few days. 
iii. Kamath, former chairman of Prasar Bharti and recipient of Padma Bhushan, was born in Udupi on 7th September 1921. 
12.  ISRO's PSLV-C26 to be launched on Oct 16
i. The launch of ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C26, is now scheduled for October 16 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
ii. The launch window of the mission opens at 01:32 hours Indian Standard Time (IST) and lasts till 01:47 hours IST. The lift-off is scheduled at the opening of the launch window at 01:32 hours IST.
iii. PSLV-C26 will carry the 1,425 kg Indian Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1C.
iv. IRNSS-1C, the third satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, has already been integrated with PSLV-C26 and the final phase of checks is progressing.
13.  India among top 5 financial contributors to Ebola response
i. India is among the top five contributors to the UN Ebola response with a contribution of U.S. $ 12.5 million, according to a fact sheet released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry here.
ii. The U.S. with U.S. $ 113.8 million tops the list to the UN Ebola response. It is followed by the European Union ($ 55.5 million), Canada ($ 31.9 million), Netherlands ($ 21 million) and India with $12.5 million.
iii. The world’s largest outbreak of Ebola has killed 3,865 people out of 8,033 infected so far this year, according to the WHO’s latest count.
 

14. World Post Day observed globally on 9 October 



World Post Day9 October: World Post Day
World Post Day was observed globally on 9 October 2014. This day is observed to create awareness of the role of the postal sector in people’s and businesses’ everyday lives as well as its contribution to the social and economic development of countries.

On this day, various programme and activities were undertaken with an aim to generate awareness of their Post’s role as well as activities among public and media on a national scale.

Across the world, the day was celebrated in variety of ways and they include

• In certain countries, World Post Day was observed as a working holiday
• In some countries, the day was used by Many Posts as an event to introduce or promote new postal products and services
• Some Posts also used World Post Day to reward their employees for good service
• In some countries philatelic exhibitions were organized and new stamps and date cancellation marks are issued.

World Post Day celebrations in India
In India, the day will be celebrated as a part of the National Postal Week which will continue till 15 October 2014. This week is observed in different forms and they are
• 10 October – will be the Savings Bank Day
• 11 October – will be the Mails Day
• 13 October – will be Philately Day
• 14 October –will be observed as Business Development Day
• 15 October – will be observed as Personal Life Insurance Day when insurance claims settlement will be given priority with the name to bring down pendency in claims settlement to zero.

On all these days school children will be involved to educate them on functioning of the Postal Department. Customer Forums meeting will also be held in various postal circuits.

About World Post Day
The day is observed annually on the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern.

Universal Postal Union Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969 declared a day to be observed as the World Post Day. Since that declaration, the day is being observed and celebrated in different countries across the world.

At the time of establishment in 1874, UPU had 22 founding member countries but at present it has 192 member countries.

15. DIPP constituted a special team Japan Plus to fast track Japanese investments

Who: Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion
What: constituted a special team Japan Plus
When: 9 October 2014
 
The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) on 9 October 2014 constituted a special management team to facilitate and fast track investment proposals from Japan. The team was named as Japan Plus.

Japan Plus will be coordinated by Kenichiro Toyofuku from METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), Government of Japan and will comprise of four Indians from Government of India and two Japanese officials from METI.

16. Kalpana Morparia appointed as first woman director of HUL

Who: Kalpana Morparia
Where: Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)
What: appointed as first woman director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)
When: 9 October 2014
 
Kalpana Morparia on 9 October 2014 was appointed as first woman director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)

She was appointed as Director so as to meet  the deadline set under the sub-section (1) of the Section 149 of the Companies Act, 2013.
She will be the member of the audit and corporate social responsibility committees of the HUL board with immediate effect. Kalpana Morparia is serving as chief executive officer (CEO) of J.P. Morgan India. Now, she was inducted as an independent director on its board.

17. Italian court cleared the ex-CEOs of Finmeccanica of corruption charges in VVIP chopper scam

Who: An Italian court in Busto Arsizio
What: acquitted Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini of corruption charges in VVIP chopper deal
When: on 9 October 2014
 
An Italian court in Busto Arsizio on 9 October 2014 acquitted Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini of corruption charges in the 3600 crore rupees VVIP chopper deal with India.
But the court convicted Orsi and Spagnolini for a two-year jail terms on lesser charges of falsification of invoices. The court found that they falsified information to funnel money to a middleman Guido Haschke, who had been accused by the prosecution of bribing officials in India.

Besides, it also asked them to pay 1.5 million Euros in compensation to the Italian tax authorities and sentenced 22-month prison term to the alleged middleman Guido Haschke.
Orsi is a former CEO of Finmeccanica and Spagnolini is the former head of Agusta Westland, the British subsidiary of Finmeccanica.

Background

The deal for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force was signed in 2010 between Indian government and the company. But with the surfacing of the scam, the Government of India cancelled the deal with Augusta Westland on 1 January 2014 and put on hold further engagement with Finmeccanica on 5 August 2014.

As of now, India has already recovered 228 out of the 252 million Euros it had paid for the contract by invoking the integrity pact and encashing of bank guarantees and arbitration proceedings between the firm and the Indian government on the VVIP Chopper deal have also been initiated.

Apart from this, CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are probing the case in India, where former IAF chief, SP Tyagi and his cousins are alleged to be the beneficiaries.

18. Actor Aamir Khan appointed as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia

Who: Aamir Khan
What: appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in South Asia
When: 9 October 2014
 
Bollywood actor, director and producer Aamir Khan on 9 October 2014 was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in South Asia.

Aamir Khan will focus on supporting child nutrition to end stunting across the region. He became UNICEF Ambassador on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

19. Kundu Committee on Post Sachar Evaluation submitted its report to the Union government

Who: Post Sachar Evaluation Committee headed by Prof. Amitabh Kundu
What: submitted its final report to the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah
When: 9 October 2014
 
The Post Sachar Evaluation Committee headed by Prof. Amitabh Kundu submitted its final report to the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah on 9 October 2014.

The seven-member committee was setup by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in September 2013 to review the implementation of the recommendations made by the Justice (retd) Rajindar Sachar Committee on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India.

The mandate of the committee
• To evaluate the process of implementation of Sachar Committee Report
• To evaluate the Prime Minister’s new 15 points programme.
• To assess the outcome of the programmes implemented by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs and other Ministries
• To look into the mismanagement of funds released for the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) in Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs)
• To revive the proposal of Diversity Index proposed by Expert Group on Diversity Index headed by Prof. Amitabh Kundu
• To recommend the corrective measures by September 2014.


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