Thursday, 19 November 2015

Current Affairs November 19, 2015

10-yr-old girl from Pune becomes youngest Indian to speak at TEDx in New York
  • “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Like every other kid in an average Indian household, Ishita Katyal too was inundated with this age-old question by guests visiting her house. But she didn’t want to wait long to be someone; she wanted to make an instant impact.
  • And her dream came true on Children’s Day, when she became the youngest Indian to deliver a talk at the TED Youth Conference in New York. A student of Vibgyor High in Balewadi, Ishita delivered her talk titled ‘What do you want to be now’, challenging the system which thinks children are too small to make any difference. Her 4-minute speech received a huge applause from the crowd.
  • Ishita’s journey with TEDx began earlier this year, when she visited an event organised by TEDx Pune, founded in 2013.
  • As a youth organiser, Ishita successfully organised the first TEDx event in her school on February 7. When the opportunity to go to New York came, she grabbed it.
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is a day on which the work of women entrepreneurs is observed and discussed, held on the nineteenth of November of each year. The inaugural event was held in New York City at the United Nations, with additional events being held simultaneously in several other countries.
  • 144 nations overall recognized the first WED in 2014, which included the presentation of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards. The organization behind WED also has an ambassadorship and fellowship program.
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event convened at the United Nations in New York City included a conference, speakers, and the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards. An Education Philanthropy Pioneer Award was given to Barack Obama’s grandmother Sarah Obama, for her work in bringing gender equality to education in that country. Obama was presented the award by actress Quvenzhané Wallis. Loreen Arbus received an award for her philanthropic work, as did to Lynn Tilton.
  • Other attendees of the United Nations inaugural launch included actress Rose Byrne; Miss Universe Gabriela Isler; Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon; and First Ladies Gertrude Maseko of Malawi and Penehupifo Pohamba of Namibia. Delegations were sent from many different nations attended the event as well. A second WED is planned at the United Nations in 2015: the United Nations Foundation is a founding partner of the events.
World Toilet Day
  • World Toilet Day (WTD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world on issues of sanitation. Originally established by the World Toilet Organization in 2001, this day to draw attention to global sanitation issues is marked each year on November 19.
  • Since 2001, World Toilet Day has grown in scope and recognition by global partners. In 2013, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution recognizing WTD as an official UN international day.

Ola announces boat service in rain battered Chennai
  • In a first in the country, online taxi aggregator Ola has announced that it has deployed boats in water logged and partially submerged areas in Chennai. Relentless heavy rains resulted in water logging in a significant portions of the city.
  • The boats will also be used to provide food and drinking water in specific areas which are reportedly short of basic supplies. Both ferrying services and supplies will be offered free of cost to citizens, it said. The boats have been floated in five parts of the city.
  • Each boat will be manned by two rowers and can ferry anywhere between five to nine people in a single attempt. The company is also providing rain gear to all rowers, which will help them ferry people without any hassles. In order to guard customers from rain, Ola has also stocked umbrellas in every boat. Details of the rowers and fishermen were provided to Ola by local firemen and the Chennai Sport Fishing Company.

Ola raises $500 million in Series F round
  • Cab aggregator Ola said that it has closed $500 million in its Series F funding round. The fresh round of funding was led by UK-based Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, DST Global and Didi Kuaidi.
  • According to a press release from the company, Ola will use the fresh funds to further accelerate its growth in the Indian market with a focus on building mobility for a billion people.
  • The latest round of funding will be used towards fuelling growth across existing categories as well as in innovating mobility solutions for the local market. Ola will also continue to focus on building and nurturing the ecosystem for its driver-entrepreneurs and to enable more drivers to grow as entrepreneurs themselves, in the time to come.

Modi government clears big-ticket projects worth 10,000 crore
  • In a spate of decisions underlining the government’s reform drive, union cabinet has approved 10% stake sale in Coal India, initial public offer of Cochin Shipyards, and approved 3% interest subsidy for exports.
  • The cabinet also empowered roads ministry to revive 34 stalled projects by appropriate measure where delay is not because of the builder and cleared big-ticket railway projects adding up to over Rs 8,000 crore.
  • For the first time, cabinet also approved direct payment of a production subsidy to the farmers.
  • The union cabinet also allowed separation of land and construction cost of road projects to empower the highways ministry to clear more projects without going to cabinet where the cost escalation is because of higher compensation for land.

Apple crosses $1-billion sales mark in India
  • Apple crossed the $1-billion sales mark in Indian operations for the first time in the year ended March, according to results filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
  • The maker of iPhones and iPads posted a 44% increase in sales to Rs 6,472.89 crore from Rs 4500.35 crore and net profit doubled to Rs 242.85 crore from Rs 119.48 crore as the company widened its retail network and stepped up marketing efforts, including buyback schemes, installment programmes and discounts. The rupee traded at around 62-63 against the dollar in FY15.
  • Apple has more than doubled sales in India in the last two years, having posted revenue of Rs 3,057.79 crore in FY13. Analysts attributed this to the surge in demand for iPhones with sales growing upwards of 35% quarter-on-quarter in the last two years. As per the RoC filing, the parent didn’t take any dividend from India operations in FY15.

Google launches Chromebit micro-computer
  • Merging the Chrome operating system and an HDMI stick, Google has launched its latest product- Chromebit – that could turn any screen into a computer.
  • The $85 Chromebit, which has now gone on sale, is built by Asus and is the size of a small candy bar and can be plugged directly into an HDMI slot of any screen; making it a portable, cheap Chromebook that one could carry around easily.
  • Sans the screen and input devices, the Chromebit features a Rockchip RK3288 processor with quad-core Mali 760 graphics, 2 GB of RAM, with 16 GB of solid state storage, 2×2 dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a single full-size USB 2.0 port.
  • With features and power of this level, one could use the Chromebit in a variety of uses like turning an old monitor into a spare computer or run an actual PC on a TV, or use it with a projector, and much more. All that is needed is a decent Internet connectivity.
China search giant Baidu plans to open online bank
  • China’s main search engine Baidu plans to launch an online bank with financial services group Citic, the two companies said, as the Internet firm seeks to compete with rivals moving into banking.
  • The Baixin Bank, a venture between Baidu and China Citic Bank, will be the country’s first lender formed by an Internet company and a traditional bank, Baidu said in a statement.
  • Beijing-based Citic Bank, the banking arm of Citic group, will be the controlling shareholder, it said in the statement to the Shanghai stock exchange. The new bank will have two billion yuan ($313 million) in registered capital.
  • Neither company gave the size of Baidu’s stake in the bank, which still requires regulatory approval before opening.
Justice T.S. Thakur is the next Chief Justice of India
  • Justice T.S. Thakur has been appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
  • In a significant move signalling that seniority reigns supreme in the highest judiciary following the revival of the Collegium, Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu had recommended the name of Justice Tirath Singh Thakur as his successor.
  • Justice Thakur, who is the seniormost judge after the Chief Justice, will take over after Chief Justice retires on December 2, 2015. It is a convention that the present CJI recommends to the government the name of his successor. After the Law Ministry clears his name, the file would travel to the Prime Minister’s Office and finally reach the President. His Warrant of Appointment would be issued after the President gives his approval.
  • Though considered a formal routine and a courtesy from the incumbent to his successor, Chief Justice Dattu’s recommendation this time gains significance as it comes shortly after a five-judge Constitution Bench on October 16 struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission law and restored the Collegium system of judicial appointments.
  • Had the NJAC law been upheld in whole by the Bench, it would have been the six-member Commission, and not the CJI, who would have recommended the next Chief Justice of India.
Max Bupa appoints Ashish Mehrotra as MD & CEO
  • Standalone health insurer Max Bupa Health Insurance has announced the appointment of Ashish Mehrotra as its managing director and chief executive officer (MD & CEO). Prior to this, he was MD and Head- Retail Bank at Citibank. He will take over Manasije Mishra, who has moved on as managing director, Aetna India.
  • Mehrotra brings over 22 years of banking experience and held several portfolios at Citibank including Consumer Assets, Business Banking and Mortgage Business. He played a pivotal role in enabling the bank to gain a leadership position in the wealth management business in India.
  • In a statement, the company said he would be responsible for fortifying the company’s position, growing its customer base, enhancing its brand, products and services, strengthening distribution channels and creating long-term value. Mehrotra’s appointment is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.
Saradha scam: West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra resigns
  • West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, accused in the Saradha chit fund scam, resigned, hours after CBI argued before the Calcutta High Court that his bail be cancelled.
  • Mitra submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who accepted it and forwarded it to Governor K N Tripathi.
  • The resignation came just hours after CBI today pleaded before the Calcutta High Court to cancel Mitra’s bail citing that he is still functioning as a cabinet minister in the state government.
  • During a hearing of the CBI petition for cancellation of Mitra’s bail, the agency’s lawyer K Raghava Charyulu claimed before a division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapas Mukherjee that the minister’s influence was all pervasive and as such he could tamper with evidence as the investigators were trying to find the Saradha scam money trail.
  • Mitra was given bail by an Alipore court on October 31 and he walked out of prison on November 1, after ten months in jail following his arrest in connection with the chit fund scam case.

Advani enters IBSF World Snooker Championship knockouts
  • Ace cueist Pankaj Advani led the charge as a fine showing by the Indian contingent saw all the members qualify from their respective categories to the knockout stage of the IBSF World Snooker Championship.
  • Advani outplayed Belgium’s Peter Bullen 4-0 to advance to the last-32 at the Sunrise Crystal Bay resort.
  • In the first match of the knockout phase played in the women’s category, Chitra Magimairaj posted a comfortable win against her compatriot Sunita Khandelwal.
  • Chitra, the winner of this year’s IBSF world ranking Australian Snooker Open held in Sydney, played steadily to win 4-0. Chitra will now play her last-16 match against Tatjana Vasiljeva of Latvia.
  • Besides Chitra the other Indian women players including National Champion Amee Kamani, Vidya Pillai, Arantxa Sanchis and young Varsha Sanjib also exhibited good form.
  • Amee registered a sensational win in the group league against the reigning world champion Wendy Jans of Belgium by blanking her 3-0.

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