Daily GK Updates: 30th August 2014

1.    India, Japan sign MoU to develop
Varanasi into ‘smart city’
i. Varanasi, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents
in the Lok Sabha, will be developed into a ‘smart city’ by using the experience
of Kyoto, the ’smart city’ of Japan, under a pact signed b/w India & Japan.

ii. A Partner City MoU was signed by Indian Ambassador
Deepa Wadhwa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa at a ceremony witnessed by Modi
and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
iii. The MoU, which was signed soon after
Modi’s arrival here on a five-day visit, provides for cooperation in heritage
conservation, city modernisation and cooperation in the fields of art, culture
and academics, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told
reporters. This will serve as framework for Smart heritage city programme
between the two countries, he added.

Note: Kyoto, which is a heritage city with
Buddhist culture, provides special symbolism to the visit as the Prime Minister
has the vision of “rejuvenating” Indian cities.
2.    President confers National Sports
Awards to eminent sportspersons
i. President Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Sports
Awards to eminent sportspersons on the occasion of National Sports Day at
Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday. Boxer Jai Bhagwan, shuttler V. Diju and shooter
Heena Sidhu are among 14 sports persons who received the Arjuna Award – 2014 for
their outstanding performance in the field of sports.
The awardees:
Arjuna award: Abhishek Verma (archery), Tintu Luka
(athletics), H.N. Girisha (para-athletics), V. Diju (badminton), Geethu Anna
Jose (basketball), Jai Bhagwan (boxing), R. Ashwin (cricket), Anirban Lahiri
(golf), Mamta Pujari (kabaddi), Saji Thomas (rowing), Heena Sidhu (shooting),
Anaka Alankamony (squash), Tom Joseph (volleyball), Renubala Chanu
(weightlifting), Sunil Kumar Rana (wrestling).
Dronacharya award: Mahabir Prasad (wrestling); Lifetime
achievement: N. Lingappa (athletics), G. Manoharan (boxing), Gurcharan Singh
Gogi (judo), Jose Jacob (rowing).
Dhyan Chand award: Gurmail Singh (hockey), K.P. Thakkar
(swimming-diving), Zeeshan Ali (tennis).
Tenzing Norgay Awards: Land adventure: Subedar Jagat Singh, Passang Tenzing Sherpa; Air adventure: MWO Surender Singh; Lifetime
 Wg. Cdr. (retd)
Amit Chowdhury.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy: Punjabi University, Patiala.
Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (employment of sports
persons and sports welfare measures); Jindal Steel Works (community
sports–identification and nurturing of budding/young talent); Guru Hanuman
akhara (establishment and management of sports academies of excellence); Child
Link Foundation of India–Magic Bus (other forms of sports activities not covered
in the categories mentioned in the schemes).
Note: i. Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand
Awardees receive statuettes, citations and cash prize of 5 lakh rupees each,
whereas recipients of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar were given Trophies.
ii. No sportsperson was selected for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Award this year.
3.    Indian Bank to revise FCNR (B) term
i. Public sector Indian Bank will revise the interest rate
on foreign currency non-resident (banking) term deposits from tomorrow.
ii. “For FCNR (B) deposits, in USD, the revised interest
rate has been revised to 2.34 per cent (from 2.36 per cent) for deposits of one
year and above but less than two years,” the Chennai-based bank said in a
iii. For deposits of two years and above but less than three
years, it has been revised to 2.71 per cent from the existing 2.76 per cent.
iv. Interest rates have been revised to 3.64 per cent for
deposits of three years and above but less than four years from the existing
3.71 per cent, it said.
4.    Malaysia, India to review economic
cooperation pact
i.  Malaysia and India will soon review
their economic cooperation pact, signed in 2011, to chart out ways to enhance
and diversify trade further, the Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, T S
Tirumurti, has said.
ii. “The two sides
are expected to review the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)
either in December or February next year,” he said.
iii. He said,
although, the agreement had helped in a big way and the bilateral trade now
stood at $13.38 billion in 2013, as per Malaysian statistics, the trade balance
was in Malaysia’s favour.
iv. Malaysia exported goods worth $9.95
billion to India, while it imported $4.44 billion from India last year.
v. The CECA, which came into force on July 1, 2011, is a
free trade agreement, which covers trade in goods and services and investment,
as well as, economic cooperation.
5.    Noted historian
Bipin Chandra passes away 
i. Noted historian Bipin Chandra died today at his
residence after prolonged illness. He was 86.
“He had not been keeping well
since last few months.
ii. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Chandra had donned multiple
roles including that of chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, Member of the University Grants Commission (UGC)
and the Chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT).
iii. Considered to be a specialist in economic and political
history of India, Chandra had authored several books including ‘The Rise and
Growth of Economic Nationalism’, ‘In the Name of Democracy: The JP Movement and
the Emergency’, ‘Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India’ and ‘The Making
of Modern India: From Marx to Gandhi’, among others.
iv. The left leaning author had founded the journal
‘Enquiry’ and was a member of its editorial board for a long time.
v. Born in 1928 in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh,
Chandra studied at the Forman Christian College, Lahore, Stanford University,
US and the University of Delhi.
vi. He worked as the Reader at Hindu College of Delhi
University and then became the professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru
6.    US actor Harry Belafonte to receive
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar Award
i. US actor and singer
Harry Belafonte was named for  honorary Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar
Award on 29 August 2014. Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar Award is one of the
three Governor’s Award given by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
for lifetime achievement.
ii. The academy noted
his films such as Carmen Jones, Odds Against Tomorrow and The World, the Flesh
and the Devil strived to bring attention to the injustices of racism and
inequality. He will recieve the award in November 2014. 
About Harry Belafonte

Belafonte, also
known as the King of Calypso, who has spent much of his life campaigning for
various causes including Aids awareness, famine relief, education and civil
rights. He was a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and marched alongside
Martin Luther King Jr. He was also named as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in
7.    India Signed agreement with World Bank
for MSRPII project
i. India
on 29 August 2014 signed loan agreement with World Bank for Mizoram State Roads
Project (MSRP II). As per the agreement, soft loan window of World Bank,
International Development Agency (IDA) will provide assistance of 107 million
US dollars for the Project.

ii. The agreement was signed by Nilaya
Mitash, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs and Onno Ruhl,
Country Director, World Bank, India.
iii. The objective of the
project is to enhance transport connectivity along regional trade corridors in
Mizoram.The project will focus on improvement of priority cross-border roads
connecting Myanmar and  Bangladesh , as also on trade related

iv. Thus, the MSRPII will be an important
milestone in enhancing the connectivity for the state of Mizoram and the rest
of North-East India with Myanmar and Bangladesh. 

v. The project is the first project
facilitating regional connectivity in transport sector undertaken in India with
Bank support.