Daily GK Update - 29th December 2014

1. Congress marks 130th Foundation Day

i. The Congress celebrated its 130th Foundation Day on Sunday as the party marked the occasion in a low-key manner.
ii. Party president Sonia Gandhi unfurled the party flag at its 24, Akbar Road headquarters in the presence of many senior leaders.
iii. Established in 1885, the Congress has seen its political fortunes slide this year. After facing a rout in the Lok Sabha elections, the party has lost a string of assembly elections.

2. US marks end of war in Afghanistan
i. The longest war in American history has come to a “responsible conclusion” with the withdrawal US and NATO combat forces from Afghanistan.
ii. NATO’s war in Afghanistan, fought for 13 years, came to a formal end on Sunday with a flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul that marked the transition of the fighting from US-led combat troops to the country’s own security forces.
iii. In the 13 years since US forces landed in Kabul post 9/11 to throw out Taliban out of power, some 2,200 US troops lost their lives in the war against terror in Afghanistan.
iv. From January 1, the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission, will be replaced by a NATO “training and support” mission.

3. Tata Coffee names Sanjiv Sarin as CEO designate
i. The board of directors of Tata Coffee Ltd. has informed Bombay Stock Exchange that it has approved the appointment of Sanjiv Sarin as the ‘CEO designate’.
ii. Tata Coffee said Mr. Sanjiv Sarin will assume charge as Managing Director and CEO of Tata Coffee Ltd. after the retirement of Hameed Huq, the current MD and CEO.
iii. Hameed Huq will retireretired on March 31, 2015 and has been with Tata Coffee for over 15 years and held the position of Managing Director since 2010.

4. AirAsia QZ8501: Indonesia plane 'at bottom of sea'

i. The missing AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 is likely to be at the bottom of the sea, the head of Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency has said.

ii. The search is continuing for the aircraft, a day after it disappeared with 162 people on board, but no trace has been found so far.
iii. Based on the co-ordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea.

5. L&T Hydrocarbon bags Rs 894 cr offshore contract from ONGC
i. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it has bagged an offshore contract worth Rs 894 crore from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for additional development of the Vasai East project.
ii. The Rs 2,500 crore project will result in incremental oil production of 1.83 million metric tonne (MMT) and incremental gas production of 1.971 billion cubic metres (BCM) by 2030.
iii.  L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE) has bagged the contract from ONGC to improve recovery factor of Vasai East field where production started in 2008, and it is scheduled to be completed by April 2016.

6. PM chairs high-level meeting on 'Smart City' initiative
i. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on Monday chaired a high-level meeting with Government officials on the Smart City initiative.
ii. The Prime Minister has asked the Ministry of Urban Development to convene a workshop of all central and state Urban Development Authorities at the earliest.
iii. He said one of the aims of the smart city initiative should be to improve the quality of urban governance, thereby lending greater strength to the overall governance processes of the country.

7. Black money: Over 1,000 entities under Sebi scanner
i. At least 1,000 individuals and companies have come under the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi) scanner for allegedly using stock markets to evade taxes and launder money through companies mostly existing on paper.
ii. A large number of over 1,000 entities currently under scanner - which include individuals and 'shell' companies created by them - are actually related to those already facing action by Sebi or other regulators including in some major scams that have come to the fore in the recent past.