DAILY GK UPDATE - 1st NOV


1.    All Syria chemical weapons placed under seal: Watchdog 
i. Syria's entire declared stock of chemical weapons has been placed under seal, inspectors said on Thursday, as international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi wrapped up a visit to muster support for peace talks. 

ii. All stocks of chemical weapons and agents have been placed under seals that are impossible to break," Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons spokesman Christian Chartier said, adding that the seals were "tamper proof." 
iii. "These are 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents (which can be used to make weapons) and 290 tonnes of chemical weapons," Chartier said in The Hague.
iv. The OPCW said earlier that Syria's declared chemical arms production equipment had been completely destroyed. 
v. The west blamed those attacks, which killed hundreds of people, on President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which denied all responsibility, instead blaming the attack on rebels.

2.    Foreign banks’ wholly owned subsidiaries will get near-national treatment: RBI
i. Foreign lenders' wholly owned subsidiaries in India will receive near-national treatment, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) assured on Tuesday.
ii. In its recently published policy, the central bank said that foreign banks would be incentivized to convert into wholly owned subsidiaries (WOS) by providing them with near-national treatment.
iii. The central bank said foreign lenders would be free to choose if they wanted to convert into wholly owned subsidiaries; however, it would not be compulsory for existing foreign lenders to convert into wholly owned subsidiaries.
iv. In the policy, the RBI said, "Taking into account the feedback received from stakeholders, a scheme of subsidiarisation of foreign banks in India is being finalised. The wholly owned subsidiaries (WOS) would be given near-national treatment, including in the opening of branches."
v. The RBI aims to systemically turn foreign banks into wholly-owned subsidiaries.

3.    India, Vietnam sign pact on transfer of sentenced prisoners
i. India and Vietnam on Friday signed a treaty for transfer of sentenced prisoners languishing in jails in the two countries.
ii. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Vietnam Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang signed the agreement on transfer of sentenced prisoners at a function here.
iii. The pact will help Indian prisoners imprisoned in Vietnam or vice-versa to be near their families for serving remaining part of their sentence.
iv. India has so far signed such agreements with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and Russia.

4.    Six Major Central Banks Permanently Made Currency Swap Accords
i. Six major central banks in the world made currency swap arrangements permanent on 31 October 2013 as a prudent liquidity backstop  in case of future global financial strains.
ii. Previously these banks had temporary bilateral currency swap arrangements.

Names of Six major central banks

1. The Bank of Japan
2. U.S. Federal Reserve
3. European Central Bank
4. Bank of England 
5. central bank of Canada
6. central bank of Switzerland

About Central bank liquidity swap
Central bank liquidity swap/Currency is a type of currency swap used by a country's central bank to provide liquidity of its currency to another country's central bank.

About Currency Swap
A currency swap is a foreign-exchange agreement between two institutions /Countries to exchange aspects (namely the principal an interest payments) of a loan in one currency for equivalent aspects of an equal in net present value loan in another currency.

5.    Google grants Rs 21 crore to 10 Indian non-profit organisations
i. Google Inc, the world's most-popular search engine, on Thursday announced Indian winners of its Global Impact Challenge funding.
ii. The Internet search giant announced that 10 Indian non-profit organisations had been selected for a funding of Rs 21 crore under its Global Impact Challenge. Agastya, Indian Digital Green Trust, Janaagraha and Social Awareness-Newer Alternatives (SANA) will receive grants of Rs 3 crore each.
iii. The remaining six non-profit groups will receive Rs 1.5 crore each.
iv. Jacqueline Fuller, who leads Google Giving, "The organisations were short-listed after due diligence by us with use of technology as well as speaking to their funders, peer groups, beneficiaries etc."
v. The jury that selected winners of the Google Impact Challenge was comprised of Thermax Ltd Chairperson Anu Aga, Google Inc's Senior Vice-President Nikesh Arora, and Jacqueline Fuller of Google Giving that invests more than $50 million per year in tech innovators, among others.

6.    Gopal Krishna Pillai is MCX-SX new Chairman
i. MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) has appointed Gopal Krishna Pillai IAS (Retd.) as Chairman and Thomas Mathew T., as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.
ii. SEBI has approved Pillai’s election as Chairman. Last month, SEBI had granted renewal to the exchange.
iii. Pillai was in the Indian Administrative Service and retired as Home Secretary to the Government of India. He belongs to the Kerala cadre of the 1972 batch of IAS.
iv. Mathew retired as current-in-charge Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India and has 36 years of experience in life insurance industry in India. He is currently on the boards of Tata Power, Voltas and Management Development Institute as Director.

7.    India, Australia to hold 3rd round of talks on nuclear deal
i. India and Australia are to hold the third round of negotiations to finalise a civil nuclear agreement that could enable the sale of Australian uranium to India, in Delhi during the week beginning November 25, it was announced on Friday.
ii. A statement issued by the Australian Foreign Ministry after talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Salman Khurshid and Julie Bishop in Perth, states that they have agreed that the conclusion of a high-quality Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would underpin a further significant expansion of the trade and investment relationship to mutual benefit.
iii. The Ministers also confirmed that the inaugural cyber security dialogue would be held in the first half of 2014, and reiterated the two countries’ commitment to work together to address threats such as terrorism and transnational crime.

8.    India developed Surface-to-Surface Missile Pragati
i. India developed a new tactical surface-to-surface missile Pragati which has a range between 60-170 km.
ii. The missile is on offer to India’s friendly countries.
iii. It was put on display at a defence exhibition at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX 2013).

Note: The Pragati missile is based on the Prahaar missile and it has been developed by the DRDO for the Army.


9.    Gurdeep Singh Pall Appointed as the Corporate VP of Skype
i. Microsoft appointed on 30 October 2013 Gurdeep Singh Pall as the corporate vice president of Skype, a popular and free international voiceover and messaging service and Lync communications product. He will replace the Mark Gillett.
ii. Gurdeep Singh Pall, 46, born in Chandigarh.
iii. He joined in Microsoft Company in January 1990 as a software design engineer. 
iv. He worked on many breakthrough products in his tenure, starting with LAN Manager Remote Access Service.
v. He was part of the Windows NT development team and led design and implementation of core networking technologies. 

10.  Scientists discovered a New Planet called Kepler 78b
i. Scientists discovered a new planet called Kepler 78b which has a similar mass and density to that of Earth.
ii. It orbits a star 400 light years away. Kepler78b is composed mostly of rock and iron, very similar to our own planet. It is extremely close to its host star which is a hundredth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
iii. The newly discovered planet belongs to a new class of ultrashort period planets. These planets complete one circuit of their host star in less than 12 hours.

11.  India won Gold in 18th Asian Archery Competition at Chinese Taipei
i. India's men's compound Archery team on 31 October 2013 won a gold medal in the 18th Asian Archery competition held at Chinese Taipei.
ii. Abhishek Verma, Ratan Singh, Sandeep Kumar forming the compound team defeated the Korean trio of Lihong Min, Yong Hee Choi and Jongho Kim 233-231 to win the gold. 
iii. The Indian compound trio showed their consistency right through the qualification round, in which they totalled 2086 points, to be ranked No.1 after they got a bye in the pre-quarters.
iv. 18th Asian Archery Championships 2013 was organized by Asian Archery Federation (AAF) in Taipei (TPE) from 29 October to 2 November 2013.