Daily Current Affairs May 2015

Daily Current Affairs GK Update – 7 July 2015

Nakshatra Vatika at Rashtrapati Nilayam Gardens inaugurated:

  • President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Nakshatra Vatika at his official Rashtrapati Nilayam Gardens in Bolarum, Secunderabad.
  • The garden has plants representing planets, zodiac signs and stars. The layout of ‘Nakshatra Vatika’ has been developed in various geometrical combinations corresponding to the Shree Chakra of Vedic astrology on a 0.91 acre plot.
  • Facts about Nakshatra Vatika:
    • In the core of the garden, the formation is square-shaped and accommodates nine squares to represent all the Navagrah (Planets).
    • Each square is planted with a particular tree/plant variety that represents the respective planet.
    • The first inner circular band is divided in 12 small circles at parts of 30º each corresponding to the 12 Rashi (zodiac sign). Each has a plant that represents the particular zodiac sign.
    • The outer circular band consists of 27 parts of 13º- 20’ each with small circles which represents each a Nakshatra (Stars), planted with a representative tree/plant of that particular star.
    • In all, 48 trees/plants representing nine Navgrahas, twelve Rashi and Twenty seven Nakshatra are present in the Garden.
    • Beside these, the Peepal tree, Banana tree and Bilva have been also placed in appropriate locations in the Vatika bringing the total to 51 trees/plants.
  • The Nakshatra Vatika will be the second specialised garden within the complex of Nilayam Garden, which already has an Herbal Garden in it.

Scientists developed a Quantum Dot Spectrometer that is small enough to function within a smartphone:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists created a Quantum Dot (QD) Spectrometer which is small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera.
  • Spectrometer: Spectrometers are the instruments that measure the properties of light.
  • QD spectrometer represents a new application for Quantum dots, which have been used primarily for biological molecules and labeling cells, as well as in television screens and computers.
  • Special features of the device:
  • It is quite portable and would enable the devices to diagnose diseases, especially skin conditions, or detect environmental pollutants.
  • It is unique and advantageous in terms of flexibility, simplicity, and cost reduction.
  • What are Quantum Dots?
    Quantum dots (QD) are a type of nanocrystals made up od semiconductor materials small enough to exhibit Quantum Mechanical properties. These are made by combining metals such as lead or cadmium with other elements including sulfur, selenium, or arsenic.
  • Quantum dots were first discovered by Alexey Eximov.



Unwed mother can be child’s guardian without father’s consent: Supreme Court:

  • The Supreme Court of India has given a ruling that an unwed mother can be the sole legal guardian of a child without the consent of the father.
  • The Supreme court further held that it was not required for  the mother to disclose the identity of the father and include him as a party to the guardianship petition in certain cases.
  • It said that in the best interest of the child, procedural requirement of issuing a notice to the father when a guardianship petition is moved can be done away with.
  • The existing laws, that is, Guardians and Wards Act and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, require that a notice should be sent to the child’s father for his consent when there is a petition for guardianship.

World Bank released revised classification of World’s economies based on Gross National Income:

  • The World Bank has released the revised classification of the world’s economies based on estimates of gross national income (GNI) per capita for 2014.
  • Important points of the report:
    In 1994, 56.1 percent of the world’s population or 3.1 billion people lived in the 64 low-income countries.  in 2014, this was down to 8.5 percent or 613 million people, living in 31 countries.
  • Mongolia and Paraguay moved from the lower middle-income status to upper middle-income, a group with yearly income levels of 4126 US dollars to 12735 dollars.
  • Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar and Tajikistan moved from the low income group to the lower-middle income group. While low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita of 1045 US dollars or less, members of lower-middle income group have between 1045 US dollars and 4125 US dollars.
    • Argentina, Hungary, Seychelles and Venezuela have moved from the upper middle income category to high income, with average per capita income levels of 12736 US dollars or more.
    • In contrast, South Sudan has fallen out of the lower middle-income classification back into low-income status due to civil wars and sluggish in the oil industry.
    Maldives and Mongolia were the highest movers in the rankings – up 13 and 8 places, respectively.
    Oman and Timor-Leste fell most from their 2013 ranking – down 15 places for both.
    Malawi has the world’s lowest reported GNI per capita at 250 US dollars, while Monaco has the highest, at more than 100000 US dollars – more than 400 times more per person on average than Malawi.
    India’s position as per the revised classification
    • Though India’s average per capital GNI reached 1610 US dollars or around 101430 rupees, it continues to be in the lower middle income category.
    • With the addition of one trillion US dollars during the past seven years, India’s GDP reached 2 trillion US dollar mark in 2014. In 2013 it was 1.861 trillion US dollars.

Greece rejected creditor’s demands for more austerity in crucial referendum :

  • Greek citizens rejected the creditor’s demand for more austerity in exchange of extension of bailout package (15.5 billion Euros) in a historic referendum on 5 July 2015.
  • The creditors include the  European Central Bank (ECB), European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • The referendum asked Greeks a simple question vote Yes or No on a proposal from Euro group leaders to extend financing to the deeply indebted country
  • Result of the referendum: 61.31 percent voted ‘No’ as compared to 38.69 percent ‘Yes’ for the referendum that demanded for more austerity in return for rescue loans.
  • The referendum was Greece’s first in 41 years  since Greek constitutional referendum in 1968 and it came amid severe restrictions on financial transactions in the country imposed in last week of June 2015.

Corporation Bank launched first MUDRA card under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana:

  • The card is based on the RuPay platform and facilitates the withdrawal and use of the working capital finance by micro entrepreneurs.
  • Under the PMMY, the bank launched three loan schemes-Shishu, Kishore and Tarun- to entrepreneurs based on their capacity to repay
  • While Shishu scheme provides loan up 50000 rupees, an amount of up to 5 lakh rupees will be lent under the Kishore scheme. Under Tarun scheme loan up to 10 lakh rupees will be offered. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched by PM Narendra Modi on 8 April 2015 under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) to ensure credit facility to small entrepreneurs through Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs).

UNESCO and UNITAR signed agreement to protect cultural heritage with geo-spatial technologies:

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) recently signed an agreement to protect cultural heritage sites with the latest geo-spatial technologies.
  • The agreement was signed at the annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany.
    Features of the Agreement:
    • It is part of the UNESCO’s Unite for Heritage framework under which UNESCO enters into agreements with sister UN Agencies to protect cultural heritage sites across the world.
    • It will enable both the organizations to work together during conflict situations and following natural disasters by sharing their respective expertise and collaborating on prevention and capacity development.
    • Under the agreement, complimentary capacities of both the organizations-satellite technology of UNITAR and ground based resources of UNESCO – will be put into best use for protection of heritage sites.
    • Apart from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), crowd-sourcing application UN-ASIGN, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and advanced web-mapping solutions will be deployed to continuously monitor the status of heritage sites.
  • The agreement will be operational through the UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT).
  • Importance of geo-spatial technologies in protecting heritage sites:
    The agreement between both the UN organizations was signed against the backdrop of damage occurred to cultural heritage sites due to conflicts and natural calamities in different parts of the world in recent times.
    For example, the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 destroyed the 19th century Dharahara (Bhimsen) tower and Monkey Temple of Swayambhunath that happens to be UNESCO heritage sites. Similarly, damage was done to world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq by the ISIS militant group.


Controversial Meiji Sites of Japan get World Heritage status:

  • UNESCO has decided to grant World Heritage status to 20 old industrial sites in Japan.
  • The Meiji period (1868-1912) sites include coal mines and shipyards including coalmine GUNKANJIMA, which helped transforming the economy of Japan.
  • What is the controversy: Japan has acknowledged that some of the sites used forced Korean labour to work on the sites when the Korean peninsula was under its rule.


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