Daily GK Updates: 20th August 2014

V Thomas takes over as new PAC Chairman
i. Senior Congress leader K V Thomas
today took over as the new Chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
ii. The key committee, which examines
CAG reports after they are tabled in Parliament, will hold its first meeting
next week.

iii. The post of the PAC Chairman is held
by a senior member of the Opposition party. Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP) was the
Chairman of the PAC in the last Lok Sabha.
Note: i. The PAC, constituted every year,
consists of not more than 22 members — 15 members elected by the Lok Sabha and
not more than seven members from the Rajya Sabha.
ii. The PAC’s controversial 2011 draft
report on the 2G scam, which had strongly indicted former Telecom Minister A
Raja and come down heavily on the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat for not
taking “corrective action”, continued to be on its ‘unfinished agenda’ for
three years.
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar passes away
i. World-renowned yoga guru and founder
of the Iyengar School of Yoga BKS Iyengar passed away here early this morning
following illness.
ii. 96-year-old Iyengar had been ailing
since some time and was admitted to a private hospital here a week back. He was
put on dialysis after his condition worsened two days back.He breathed his last
at 3.15 am.
iii. Iyengar, honoured with Padma
Vibhushan, is survived by a son and daughter.
HDFC Bank accorded most valued brand
i. HDFC Bank with a brand value of $
9.4bn is India’s most valuable brand according to the first edition of the
BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands ranking that was announced in Mumbai
ii. At pole position, HDFC Bank’s
valuation was much higher than telecom major Airtel at $ 8.2 bn that occupied the second spot.
iii.  Other banking sector leaders like State Bank
of India
(SBI) at $
6.8 bn were placed at number three with ICICI Bank ($ 3.53 billion) at fourth
iv. The combined brand value of all the 50
top brands in the ranking was about $70bn.
Note: The study, undertaken by marketing
and brand consultancy Millward Brown in conjunction with the WPP Group, claims
to be the only one in India that takes into account consumer opinions of brands
to calculate the contribution that product brands make to business
IDBI donates Rs9 cr to build toilets
in rural schools
i. The IDBI Bank has donated Rs 9 crore
towards the building of 300 gender-segragated toilets in schools close to the
bank’s branches in rural and semi-urban areas.
ii.  IDBI CMD M.S. Raghavan said this was the
Bank’s contribution to the Swachh Bharat Mission announced by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi on Independence Day.
iii. This was part of its CSR initative,
he said, lauding the national mission which was sure to go a long way to
improve health and sanitation facilities for rural India and encourage the girl
child’s education.
to be observed as Water Conservation Year: Uma Bharti
i. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has stressed the need
for interlinking of rivers to save excess water from floods. 

ii. Speaking at an International
Seminar in New Delhi today, Ms Bharti said that her Ministry has finalized 30
river interlinking projects which will be implemented in the next 10 years. 
iii.The Union Cabinet has recently
approved the Ken-Betwa link. 
iv. She said that interlinking is
being done keeping in view the aqua life and ecological balance.
TCS and Bharti Foundation announced to
spend 200 crore rupees for Clean India Campaign
i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and
Bharti Foundation announce to spend 200 crore rupees for Clean
India Campaign
ii. TCS has decided to provide hygienic
sanitation facilities in 10000 schools for girl students. On the other hand,
Bharti Foundation (development arm of Bharti Enterprises) decided to build
toilets in Ludhiana in next three years covering every rural household.
iii. This initiative of Bharti Foundation
is part of Satya Bharti Abhiyan where
in it will invest in improving sanitation facilities in government schools in
rural Ludhiana by building new toilets for girls where no such facilities
Indian neuroscientist Partha Mitra
awarded research grant to map the human brain
i. Partha
Mitra, an Indian neuroscientist in the United States, was awarded Early Concept
Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to map the human brain on 19 August
2014 under President Barack Obama’s multi-year BRAIN Initiative.
ii.  Brain Research through Advancing Innovative
Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) is an Initiative by the US government to identify
brain structures.
iii. Partha
Mitra was awarded this grant along with Florin Albeanu, a researcher at the
National Science Foundation. With this grant, they would develop a virtual
neuroanatomist, an artificial-intelligence system that can recognize neural
structures and cell types in tiny images of brain slices. They would also be
developing conceptual and physical tools that may help to promote neuroscience.
eco-temple opens in London
i. A Hindu temple, claiming to be the world’s first
‘eco-temple’ featuring solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system, has been
opened in northwest London in the UK.

ii. The ornate Shree Swaminarayan
Mandir in Kingsbury combines traditional Indian architecture, intricate
carvings and masterful artistry with green technology.The temple opened
iii. Mayor of London Boris Johnson
described the new temple and facilities as stunning and impressive during his
recent visit to the temple.
India and
Czech Republic signed MoU on technical cooperation in Railway
i. India and Czech Republic on 19 August 2014 signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in railway sector.
This MoU was signed between the Union Ministry of Railways and Czech Railways
(Ceske Drahy) of the Czech Republic and Association of Czech Railway Industry
(ACRI) of the Czech Republic.  

ii.  The
MoU was signed at Rail Bhawan in New Delhi by Chairman of Railway Board,
Arunendra Kumar and Ambassador of Czech Republic, Miloslav Stasek.
Jammu and Kashmir to host Football
Federation Cup in August 2015
i. The All India Football Federation
(AIFF) announced on 18 August 2014 that Jammu and Kashmir will host Football
Federation Cup in August 2015.
Federation Cup
The Federation Cup is an annual club level football
tournament of India. It was started in 1977.
ii. Presently it is the most important
club tournament after the I-League to which it has become a de facto League
Cup. The winning club of the Federation Cup gets a chance to compete in the
continental level in AFC Cup.
iii. The current holders of the
Federation Cup are Churchill Brothers which defeated Sporting Clube de Goa by
3–1 in the 2014 final held in Kochi.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen to
become youngest Formula One driver
i. Max
Verstappen of Netherlands will become the youngest Formula One (F1) driver in
the F1 history when he will compete for the 2015 season. For the 2015 season he
will make the F1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso
ii. Verstappen currently
racing in Formula Three is the son of former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen,
who had contested for 106 Grands Prix for teams such as Benetton and Tyrrell
between 1994 and 2003. 

iii. The
youngest driver to earn a Championship point is Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who
was 19 when he finished ninth in this season’s opening race in Australia. The
Russian will be Verstappen’s team-mate in 2015.