1. Kiren Rijiju conferred with Disaster Risk Reduction Asia Champion honour by UN
i. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was on 17 November 2015 designated as the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champion for the Asia Region by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Rijiju also became the first Indian to be conferred with this honour.
ii. The honour was conferred Margarete Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, during the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders’ Meeting towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in Asia.
iii. Rijiju is the first regional champion for DRR after the Sendai Agreement, giving an impetus to Union Government efforts to facilitate regional support towards enabling community resilience in the Asia-Pacific region.
iv. UNISDR recognizes individuals as Disaster Risk Reduction Champions for using their political influence to lobby for disaster risk reduction in their country, region and beyond. This is a non-remunerated honorary position.
v. Only the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR may designate a Disaster Risk Reduction Champion by issuing a letter of designation. It advocates and promotes the goals and priorities of the Hyogo
2. RAW former Chief Sankaran Nair died
i. Former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) K. Sankaran Nair passed away on 17 November 2015 in Bengaluru. He was 94. Nair, who hailed from Ottapalam village in Kerala, was a part of the Intelligence Bureau. Later, he was inducted into RAW in 1968, as the deputy to Rameshwarnath Kao.
ii. Nair was also credited with the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. It was under his leadership that RAW helped find the guerrilla fighters troupe Mukti Bahini and train them.
iii. In 1977, Nair was appointed as the Chief of RAW. However, he resigned just three months after taking over. He protested against the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai downgrading the post of chief of RAW to director from Secretary (R).
iv. Nair also served as India’s High Commissioner to Singapore from 1986 to 1988. In 1985, the former RAW Chief was honoured him with a Padma Bhushan.
3. PM Narendra Modi concluded his two-nation tour to UK and Turkey
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 November 2015 returned to India after his two-nation tour of the United Kingdom and Turkey.
ii. During his five-day visit which took place from 12 November to 16 November 2015, Modi participated in G-20 summit at Antalya in Turkey and met with Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others.
iii. During this tour, he stayed in UK (12 to 14 November 2015) and Turkey (14 to 16 November 2015).
iv. Modi inaugurated Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Memorial in London. He unveiled Basaveshwara Statue in London and addressed the Indian Community at Wembley Stadium, London. Modi paid homage at Gandhi Statue in London and met with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. With this, he became the first Indian head to address the British parliament
v. Modi held delegation level talks with Prime Minister David Cameron of United Kingdom and also met Leader of the Labour Party and the Leader of the Opposition. Modi attended the UK-India CEO Forum. He also visited Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plant, a subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors, in Solihull
4. Foundation stone of first Mega Food Park of Telangana laid
i. Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal on 16 November 2015 laid the foundation stone of the first Mega Food Park in Telangana. The park is promoted by Smart Agro Food Park Pvt. Ltd. at Village Lakkampally and Chimrajpally, Nandipet Mandal, District Nizamabad, Telangana.
ii. Besides, two more Mega Food Parks have been sanctioned to be set up in Khammam and Mahboobnagar districts in Telangana.
iii. The park will have facilities of 5000 MT Multi Commodity Cold Storage, 5000 MT Raw Material Warehouse, 5000 MT Finished Good Warehouse, 5000 MT Grain Silos, 500 MT Deep Freeze, 20 MT/day Turmeric Processing Facility and modern food testing lab.
iv. The Mega Food Park Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the country to give a major boost to the Food Processing Sector. The scheme will also facilitate creation of modern infrastructure for food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market.
5. Tianhe-2: World’s powerful Supercomputer for the sixth consecutive time
i. China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer has emerged as the world’s most powerful supercomputer system for the sixth consecutive time. It was unveiled in 46th edition of Top500 list of supercomputers.
ii. The Chinese Supercomputer is capable of performing calculations with processing speed of 33.86 petaflops per second (Pflop/s). It has held the title since June 2013. Supercomputer Titan of the US Department of Energy has been placed at second position. It has a performance of 17.59 Pflop/s.
iii. Supercomputer Sequoia of Tech giant IBM was placed at third position. It has processing speed of 17.17 Pflop/s. K computer of Fujitsu was placed at fourth position. It has processing speed of 10.51 Pflop/s. Supercomputer Mira of IBM placed at fifth position. It has processing speed of 8.58 Pflop/s.
iv. Supercomputer Tianhe-2 or Milky Way 2 has been developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology. It has processing speeds of 33.86 petaflops (1000 trillion calculations) per second. Presently, it is deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou and is playing important role in boosting China’s capabilities in both scientific and defence fields.
6. Intel’s ‘Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’ begins in Telangana village
i. Chip-maker Intel has rolled out its ‘Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’ programme towards rural digitisation in 10 States from Nadimpalle villlage in Telangana.
ii. Announcing the setting up of the first Unnati Kendra at the village in Mahabubnagar District, Intel Vice President-Sales and Marketing Group and Managing Director-South Asia Debjani Ghosh said the company will work with Central and the State governments to identify “best framework” for digitisation.
iii. Creating a blueprint to drive technology-enabled transformation at the grassroots in the select States is the objective of the programme. While work with Telangana was underway for sometime now — the Kendra at the Common Service Centre has been functioning since June — Intel was yet to decide on the other nine States and number of villages in Telangana, Ms.Ghosh told presspersons at the launch function in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
iv. Effective digitisation of rural India will be central to the success of Digital India programme, she said, while underscoring the need to make such initiatives relevant to the people. It should lead to increase in the income and improved livelihood for rural people.
7. Delhi to host the first International Qawwali Festival 2016
i. Delhi will host the first International Qawwali Festival 2015 titled Taali Ho that is scheduled to be held from 12 February 2016 to 14 February 2016. This was announced during the performance by Qawwali singers from India and Pakistan at India Islamic Centre providing a glimpse of the festival.
ii. The festival aims to reinforce a notion that music is not restricted to any borders. The event is also set to showcase the evolution that Qawwali has undergone with artistes performing a fusion of old genre of music with a modern touch.
iii. Hailing from the Sikandrabad Gharana, the Nizami Brothers are going to perform at the event. They are among the most popular Qawwali singers in Astana Gayki as well as the modern Qawwali tradition.
iv. Other Qawwali singers who will be a part of the event are Warsi brothers from Hyderabad, Hamza Akram and Taimoor Akram from Pakistan, Tahir Hussain Faridi Qawwal from US and Ahmed Sham Sufi Qawwal from Afghanistan.
8. CCI imposed penalties on 3 Airlines for concerted action in Fixing Fuel Surcharge
i. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on 17 November 2015 imposed penalties upon 3 Airlines for concerted action in fixing and revising Fuel Surcharge (FSC) for transporting cargo. These 3 Airlines are Jet Airways (India) Ltd, InterGlobe Aviation Limited and Spice Jet Limited.
ii. The matter was filed by Express Industry Council of India under section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 against Jet Airways (India) Ltd, InterGlobe Aviation Limited, Spice Jet Limited, Air India Limited and Go Airlines (India) Limited alleging contravention of the provisions of section 3 of the Act which deals with anti-competitive agreements.
iii. The Commission noted that the Airlines acted in parallel in collusion in fixing FSC rates. Such conduct was found to have resulted in indirectly determining the rates of air cargo transport and thereby in contravention of the provisions of section 3(1) read with section 3(3)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002.
iv. Accordingly, penalties of 151.69 crore rupees, 63.74 crore rupees and 42.48 crore rupees were imposed upon Jet Airways (India) Ltd., InterGlobe Aviation Limited and Spice Jet Limited respectively. Besides, cease and desist order was also issued against the Airlines. No penalty was imposed upon Air India Limited as its conduct was not found to be parallel with other Airlines.
9. Indian Red Cross Society Secretary General SP Agarwal died
i. Eminent neurosurgeon and secretary general of Indian Red Cross Society Satya Paul Agarwal died on 17 November 2015. He was 70. He is survived by his wife Sarita Agarwal, son Tushar Agarwal and daughter Ashima Sharma.
ii. Since 2005, Agarwal was serving the Indian Red Cross Society as its Secretary General. He was also the Chair of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Advisory Body on Sustainable Development and Health.
iii. He was a well-known public health administrator and played a pivotal role in execution of various disaster relief operations and control of disease outbreak and epidemics in the country. From 1996 to 2005, he was Director General of Health Services of Union Government.
iv. In 2014, he received Belgian Redcross Flanders Gold Medal. In 2010, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, for his services to the fields of medicine and public health. In 2005, he was honoured with the Life Time Achievement award for TB.
10. Kosmos 2510, the first satellite of EKS (Tundra) system, launched by Russia
i. Russia successfully on 17 November 2015 launched the first satellite for its newest early warning system, named EKS or Integrated Space System. The satellite was officially named Kosmos 2510 (Tundra 11L).
ii. This new-generation satellite is designed to restore Moscow’s capability to detect, track and identify worldwide missile launches from space. The satellite was carried by a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located in Northern Russia.
iii. The launch was carried out under the command of Deputy Commander of Russian Aerospace Defence Forces (VKO) – Commander of the Space Troops Alexander Golovko.
iv. RKK Energia, a Russian manufacturer of spacecraft and space station components, built the Tundra spacecraft. The satellite will be operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. It was delivered into a highly elliptical geosynchronous orbit, called a Tundra orbit.
11. Czech Republic defeated Russia to retain Fed Cup
i. The Czech Republic on 15 November 2015 successfully defended its Fed Cup crown after beating Russia in final day’s play in Prague. Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova emerged as the team’s hero as she not only won her singles rubber to tie the match at 2-2 but also returned to court after a break to secure another comeback victory in the finals of the deciding doubles.
ii. The victory marked a fourth Fed Cup success for the Czech Republic in five years. The country has won the Fed Cup nine times overall, including Czechoslovakia’s five before its split in 1993.
iii. Fed Cup is the premier international team competition in women’s tennis. It was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The competition was known as the Federation Cup until 1995.
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