Daily Current Affairs May 2015

Daily Current Affairs GK Update – 15, 16 May 2015

  1. Canada sets a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 % by 2030 [ALL]:
    • United States had also committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent cut by 2025 from 2005 levels.
    • European Union (EU) also had set a target to reduce emission of 35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
    • China is World’s largest green house gas emitter but has not announced its target to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions yet.
  2.  M.J. Joseph appointed as the Controller General of Accounts [ALL]:
    • Role of the Controller General of Accounts:
      • Controller General of Accounts or CGA is the chief Accounts Adviser to the Union Government.
      • Controller General of Accounts is responsible for maintaining and establishing a technically sound management accounting system of the Government.
      • The Annual Union Finance Accounts and Appropriation Accounts (Civil) is prepared by the CGA for presentation to the Parliament.
  3. OPAH – The world’s first fully warm-blooded fish discovered [ALL]:
    • Opah has ability to circulate heated blood throughout its body which makes it first fish known to be fully warm-blood.
    • It is also known as MOONFISH
      • Opah fish has rusty reddish color with white spots and bright red fins.
      • It weighs up to 90 kg and has an oval body shape.
      • It is deepwater denizen and is usually found at depths of 50-400 m.
      • It is a vigorous predator in frigid ocean depths and preys on fish and squid.
      • It can internally generate heat through constant flapping of wing-like pectoral fins.
      • Its unique structure also helps to prevent this heat from being lost to the environment as its gills lets warm blood to heat up cold blood returning from the gills’ respiratory surface.
      • As it is a warm-blooded fish, it has  faster swimming speeds and reaction times, better brain and eye function and withstand the effects of cold on vital organs compared to cold-bodied fish


      What are Warm-blooded organisms: Those organisms which generate their own heat and maintain a body temperature independent of the environment. They are also known as endotherms. It should be noted most of the mammals and birds are warm-blooded animals.This system is more akin to a car radiator.

      What are Cold-blooded organisms: Their body temperature depends on the outside temperature Thus they are hot when their environment is hot and cold when their environment is cold. They are also known as ectotherms. Most of amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and most fish are cold-blooded animals. That is why many cold-blooded organisms have to hibernate in winters to prevent their blood from freezing.

  4. SBI launches sbiINTOUCH,  NFC-enabled Contactless Debit and Credit Cards [ALL]:
    • sbiINTOUCH works on latest near-field technology (NFC) that enables customer to transact using the card by just tapping or waving it against the reader of the point-of-sale(POS) machine.
    • Cards incorporated with NFC technology are secure and hassle-free.
    • SBI is also proving a fraud liability cover of 1 lakh rupees on these cards.
    • With this, SBI has joined league of private lenders like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.
    • It should be noted that ICICI bank was first to introduce contact-less credit and debit cards in India.
    • RBI rules on contact-less credit and debit cards:
      • Presently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allows banks to enable transactions in case of contactless cards up to Rs. 2,000 without the requiring a separate PIN authentication.
      • But incase of amounts higher, banks should provide customers with an option of contact payment and pin authentication requirement.
  5. India, China signs 24 key agreements to boost ties in trade, economy, education [ALL]:
    • Some Major Agreements:
      • MoU in the field of Railways. India to seek Chinese cooperation to introduce high speed rails on Delhi-Nagpur Sector, and increase track speed on Chennai-Benguluru-Mysore route.  China will also extend assistance in establishment of Railway University in India.
      • MoUs in this regard, will facilitate the establishment of relationship between Chennai and Chongqing, Karnataka and Sichuan, Hyderabad and Qingdao and Aurangabad and Dunhuang as sister-state or province relations.
      • MoU to open consulate General offices in Chengdu and Chennai to facilitate trade and economic engagement and people-to-people exchanges.
      • Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and China’s Fudan University signed an agreement for establishment of Centre for Gandhian and Indian Studies at Fudan University and Yoga College in Kunming.
      • An action plan on cooperation in setting up of the Mahatma Gandhi National Institute for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Gujarat.
      • Both nations also signed Space Cooperation Outline for 5 years i.e. from 2015-2020.
      • MoU was also signed between Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and China’s Earthquake Administration for cooperation in earthquake science and earthquake engineering.
  6. President Pranab Mukherjee confers Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil [STATE]:
    • It gives recognition to distinguished scholars who have made outstanding contribution to the development of Classical Tamil language and literature.
    • Tolkappiyar Award for lifetime achievement in Classical Tamil was given to SV Shanmugam for year 2011-12 and R Krishnamurthi for year 2012-13.
    • Kural Pitam Award was given to Eva Maria Wilden of Germany for 2011-12.
    • Young Scholar Awards was presented to E. Ezhilvasanthan, K. Jawahar and K. Iyyappan for 2011-12 while for the year 2012-13 was given to R. Venkatesan, A. Sathish, M.R. Devak, U. Alibava and B. Jaiganesh.
  7. Tejaswini Sagar wins gold at Under-15 World School Chess Championship [Non-UPSC]:
    • In the final round played at Pattaya, Thailand she defeated Kavinya Miyuni Rajapaksa of Sri Lank to win gold medal.
  8. Union Government launches USTAAD Scheme for Traditional Artisans [ALL]:
    • USTAAD – Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development.
    • The Scheme aims to upgrade the  Skills and Training of minority communities by preservation of traditional ancestral Arts and Crafts.
    • It also envisages to boost the skill of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in the traditional ancestral work.
    • Under the Ustaad scheme, assistance will be provided to traditional artisans to sell their products in order to make them more compatible with modern markets.
    • It is fully funded by Union Government.
    • Union Ministry of Minority Affairs is the nodal agency for implementing Ustaad scheme.
  9. Harbhajan Kaur Dheer, Indian-origin councilor,  becomes the first Asian elected mayor in UK [Non-UPSC]:
    • Harbhajan Kaur Dheer belongs to the Labour Party
    • She was elected as mayor of Ealing Council in London.
    • She  succeeded councilor Tej Ram Bagha.
    • Her husband Ranjit Dheer is presently councilor of Ealing Council and is a former Mayor of Ealing from 2001-2002.
  10.  67th Nakba Day observed in Palestine [All]:
    • On 15 May every year, Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the day when the state of Israel was founded. Palestinians observe it to reaffirm their right to return to the land from which their ancestors were forcibly displaced by Israel in 1948.
    • The term Nakba in Arabic means catastrophe and is used by Palestinians to denote their mass expulsion and displacement from their ancestral homes and land in historical Palestine in 1948.
    • On the other hand, Jews in Israel celebrate this day as Independence Day.
  11. IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted environmental section of Polar Code [ UPSC]:
    • While these provisions are related to discharges of ships operating in the Polar Waters (Arctic and Antarctic seas), the safety regulations related to ship design, equipment, crew training and search-and-rescue issues were adopted the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December 2014.
    • Both of these regulations are part of the Polar Code aimed at protecting the environment of Polar Waters from pollution causing ships operating in the region.
    • Environmental Provisions of the Polar Code
      Prevention of pollution by oil: Discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ship are prohibited and Oil fuel tanks must be separated from outer shell.
      Prevention of pollution by noxious liquid substances: Discharge into the sea of noxious liquid substances or mixtures containing such substances are prohibited.
      Prevention of pollution by sewage: Discharge of sewage is prohibited unless performed in line with MARPOL Annex IV and requirements in the Polar Code.
      Prevention of pollution by garbage: Discharge of garbage is restricted and only permitted in accordance with MARPOL Annex V and requirements in the Polar Code.While, the code will apply to all new vessels constructed after 1 Jan 2017 and the vessels constructed prior to it must comply by 1 Jan 2018.
    • The adoption of the Polar Code and associated MARPOL amendments completed the process to make the Code mandatory under both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and MARPOL treaties.
  12. Union Government launched Road Asset Management System for National Highways [UPSC ]:
    • The system will compile information on road assets, condition of the pavements and traffic through use of laser technology.
    • The outcome of this integrated data collection system will assist in developing an accurate and scientific maintenance planning mechanism, finalizing road safety measures and development of the National Highways network in India.
    • The data collected will be stored and managed through a web based application, which will be hosted in the public domain. The application, when fully developed, can also be accessed by smart phones.
    • The software will be equipped to interface with the indigenous Bhuvan satellite images.
    • The survey vehicle is equipped with three cameras including pavement view, 15 advanced Lasers and GPS connected to Gagan satellite.
    • The development of Road Asset Management System (RAMS) is a part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative.
  13. PM Narendra Modi announced e-Visa facility for Chinese Tourists [ALL]:
    • Incidentally, India designated 2015 as Visit India Year in China to augment Chinese tourist arrivals and tourist revenues.
    • The above steps by the Indian Government are aimed at attracting a bigger chunk of about 100 million Chinese tourists who visited abroad in 2014.
    • India, despite having huge tourist potential for Chinese by virtue of having many Buddhist holy places, it attracts less travelers when compared with that of our smaller neighbours like Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  14. ISRO announced to commission MOTR in June 2015 [UPSC]:
    • Key Features of Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR)
      • It is capable of tracking 10 different objects at a time.
      • Unlike the disc radars that keep spinning, MOTR is  stationary and  contains 4068 individual radiating elements.
      • It emits radio-frequency waves that combine to form a single beam. The beam can be electronically steered so that a third of the sky is scanned. Since the radar’s base can be rotated to three positions, the entire sky can be covered.
      • It was built at a lower cost when compared to other space agencies in the world which developed similar technologies for around 900 crore rupees. The MOTR was developed for around 245 crore rupees only.
    • Importance of MOTR:
      • The existing radars, which ISRO has six in its control, are capable of tracking single objects only and are limited in their utility by covering only larger objects. The induction of MOTR will help the ISRO in its future missions including the space capsule recovery, reusable launch vehicle and human space programmes and tracking space debris.
      • Regular tracking of space debris is required to update the space debris catalogue and to protect the country’s space assets from any possible collision with them.
      • The MOTR will help in achieving self-reliance in similar enedeavours. Between 2010 and 2015 ISRO changed and re-aligned the position of at least 12 satellites to avoid collision with debris. These operations were done by utilizing the resources of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
      •MOTR can also be used in Airports, meteorology related operations, vertical wind profiling and in defense.
    • India will join the elite league consisting of USA, Canada, Japan, Israel and European Union (EU) which have the similar capabilities by commissioning this technology .
  15. Maharashtra government banned digging of borewells deeper than 200 feet [STATE]:
    • The decision came as a result of increase in the digging of new borewells by farmers and private players due to water scarcity during the summers.
    • The decision is part of Maharashtra’s water conservation project Jalayukta Shivar Yojana which aims to make 5000 villages in state drought-free in one year.
  16. Union Government launched a new Award scheme known as kayakalp Award Scheme to improve cleanliness in Public Health Facilities [ALL]:
    • The scheme will work to encourage and incentivize Public Health Facilities (PHFs) in the country for maintaining the facilities clean and hygienic.
  17. Riley B. King, the King of Blues, passed away [Non-UPSC]:
    • He was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was known for his hits Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby. He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname The King of Blues.
  18. Indian Scientists found a rare plant with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats [UPSC]:
    • The plant is a small climbing shrub producing anti-cancer alkaloid Camptothecine (CPT). It occurs sparsely in Madikeri Forests in Kodagu in Karnataka.
    • Camptothecine is an important anti-cancer compound extracted from several plant species belonging to Asterid clade. It is a potent inhibitor of the intra-nuclear enzyme topoisomerase-I, which is required in DNA replication and transcription.
  19. Japanese Scientists discovered new state of matter called Jahn-Teller-metal [All]:
    • The discovery was made by studying a superconductor made from carbon-60 molecules or buckyballs.
    • The research involves caesium fulleride (Cs3C60) in a face-centred-cubic lattice with a Cs3C60 molecule at each lattice site. The research could help develop new molecular materials that are superconductors at even higher temperatures.
    • The study shows that the material has a rich combination of insulating, magnetic, metallic and superconducting phases – including the otherwise unknown state, dubbed as Jahn-Teller metal.
    • The research provides important clues about how the interplay between the electronic structure of the molecules and their spacing within the lattice can strengthen interactions between electrons that cause superconductivity.
    • Superconductors are a large and diverse group of materials that offer zero resistance to electrical currents when cooled below a critical temperature (TC).
    • Superconducting lattices of fullerides – C60 plus three alkali-metal atoms – have been studied for more than two decades, and provide an interesting test bed.
  20. Manipur’s Ngapang revealed as new Cat-Fish Species [UPSC]:
    • Scientists from Zoological Survey of India have discovered a new species of Cat-Fish , Glyptothorax Senapatienisis, in the Chindwin River in Senapati District of Manipur. It is commonly called as Ngapang.
    • It is a small fish but has high nutritional content.
    • North-Eastern India has huge Aquatic Diversity.
    • Manipur has a high Aquatic Diversity because of the presence of two important river drainage systems – Chindwin and Barack-Brahmputra.
  21. Leader of failed coup in Burundi arrested [ALL]:
    • Major General Godefroid Niyombare was the leader of the failed coup.
    • Facts: Capital of Burundi : Bujumbura.
    • Currency: Burundian Franc
    • It is a Central african country and is land-locked.
    • According to the Global Hunger Index of 2013, Burundi is the hungriest country in the world in terms of percentage.
  22. Budget Session of Parliament recorded as the most Productive session in last 15 years:
    • Lok Sabha worked for around 123% of the scheduled time and Rajya Sabha for around 102% of its scheduled time.
    • Before this, The Rajiv Gandhi government of 1984-1989 had a productivity of over 100%.


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