Daily GK Updates: 12th August 2014

1.    Haider al-Abadi named as New Iraqi
Prime Minister
i. Iraqi
President Mohammed Fuad Masum named Haider al-Abadi as the new Iraqi Prime
Minister. Masum has given thirty days to Haider al-Abadi to form the next
government and present it for the approval of parliament. 

ii. Before
being nominated for the post of Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi was
deputy parliament speaker. He was nominated for the post by the Iraqi National
Alliance, a coalition of Shia parties.
iii. The purpose of this move is to ensure country’s security
which collapsed during rule of Nuri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq since
2006. It was believed that Maliki’s policies were partly responsible for the
violence that has gripped Iraq badly. 

PM dedicates
two hydro power projects in Leh and Kargil
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to
the nation the Leh Srinagar Transmission Line in Leh and Chutak hydro-power
project in Kargil on Tuesday. 
ii. “These projects are the 44 MW
Chutak hydro-electric project in Kargil district and the 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo
project in Leh district,” an official statement said.

iii. The
45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydro-electric project is a run-of- the-river scheme to
harness the potential of river Indus in the state. The project is designed to
generate 239 million units of energy.

iv. The
Nimoo Bazgo power station is located on river Indus in Leh district of the state
and has an installed capacity of 45 MW (3×15 MW).

v. The
approval for the project was accorded at an estimated cost of Rs 611 crore.
However, on account of escalation, statutory charges and higher cost of award,
project cost has now been revised to Rs 985 crore.
vi.  State run Power
Grid Corporation of India is implementing the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar Transmission
System for connectivity with Northern Region Grid for meeting demands of the
Ladakh region.

vii. The
Leh-Srinagar transmission line will connect the Ladakh region with the
country’s northern grid and ultimately solve the electricity woes of the energy
starved Leh and Kargil districts.
3.    K.V. Chowdary appointed as new
Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes
i. Senior IRS officer K V Chowdary appointed as new Chairman of
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). He was apoointed on 1 August 2014. 
CBDT is the apex authority of the Income Tax department.

ii. He
succeed R K Tewari. He retired on 31 July 2014.

iii. Presently,
he is working as the Member (Investigations) in the CBDT and is expected to
take over the new charge from 1 August 2014. He will have tenure of three
4.    TATA-SIA Airlines brand name to be
called Vistara
i. Tata-Singapore Airlines (SIA) named its upcoming joint venture airline asVistara and will start its operation from
October 2014. SIA on 11 August 2014 disclosed the name of their airline.

ii. Vistara
is an inspiration from Sanskrit word, Vistaar that means limitless expanse. It has
drawn inspiration from the brand’s domain – the limitless sky.
iii. The Tata Group and Singapore International Airlines will be
headquartered in Delhi and reports suggest that Vistara will give competition
to Air India and Jet Airways. Vistara will start its operation with an Airbus
320 aircraft and would add 20 aircraft in next first five years of operations. 
5.    Modi announces Rs. 8,000 crore
special assistance for J&K road projects
i. Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced special Central assistance of Rs.
8,000 crore for construction of four important surface communication projects
in Jammu and Kashmir while writing off the State’s liability of Rs. 60 crore
towards Food Corporation of India.
ii. Addressing a public
meeting, attended by about 8,000 people at the Polo Ground in Leh, during his
maiden visit to Ladakh region and second to Jammu and Kashmir after taking over
as Prime Minister, Mr. Modi said that his Cabinet would soon sanction four
major road communication projects for Jammu and Kashmir. He said that these projects
would be fully funded by the Centre to the tune of. Rs 8,000 crore.
6.    Oscar Winning Actor Robin Williams
i. Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his
home in Tiburon, California on 11 August 2014. He was 63. 

ii. Robin
Williams was remarkably known for his accurate impersonations. He will be
remembered for his crazy comic personality and great dramatic performances
7.    R Ashwin ranked no. 1 Test
all-rounder; India slipped to 4th position: ICC Test Ranking
i. India’s Ravichandran Ashwin was ranked number one Test all-rounder in
ICC Test team rankings released on 11 August 2014. He was ranked at the top
after his fine show with the bat in the fourth cricket Test against England
played in Manchester.
ii. He successfully scored 40 and 46 not out at the Old Trafford
though India lost the Test by an innings and 54 runs. The latest ICC Test
ranking was released in Dubai.
iii. Ashwin the Indian off-spinner with 372 rating points
displaced South Africa’s Vernon Philander (365) at the top of the ICC Player
Rankings for Test all-rounders. 
iv. Apart from this, India slipped to fourth position behind
South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in the Test team rankings for its dismal
performance against England in two test matches one after another. England is
placed at fifth position in the ranking.
v. As per the released test rankings, Africa leads the ICC Test
team ranking with 124 points followed by Australia with 123 points, Pakistan
with 103 points. However, India has slipped to fourth position with 102 points.