Daily GK Updates: 31 July 2014

Dalbir Singh Suhag is new Army Chief
i. Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag has taken over as
the new Army chief. He succeeded the incumbent General Bikram Singh. 

ii. General Singh handed over the baton of
charge to him today. 59-year-old Lieutenant General Suhag, a Gurkha officer who
had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force operation in Sri Lanka,
will have a 30-month tenure. 
iii. He was made the Vice Chief of
Army Staff in December last year before which he was the Eastern Army

2.    John Kerry, Sushma Swaraj co-chair fifth Strategic
i. External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday co-chaired fifth
Indo-US Strategic Dialogue during which the two sides discussed “transformative
initiatives” in key areas of security and energy.
ii. The two leaders held nearly an hour-long restricted
meeting before they were joined by their delegations comprising senior
representatives from various ministries including energy and trade.
iii. Ahead of the Dialogue, Mr. Kerry along with Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker met Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
iv. The U.S. Secretary of State’s visit is first high-level
interaction at the political level after the new government came to power.
v. The visit two months ahead of Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the US is aimed at instilling some vigour in
bilateral ties, which appeared to have lost momentum in the final years of the
UPA regime.
3.    PM to launch govt’s financial inclusion campaign
i. Prime Minister will
launch the government’s campaign for financial inclusion to ensure banking
service to 7.5 crore households in the country.

ii. Addressing a
press conference at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley said that government objective is to reach every household possible and
have at least two account holders in every house. 

iii. He
said that the government is also trying to expand the mobile telephony banking
system and efforts are being made in this direction to made it available on all

iv. Eralier.
Mr Jaitely held a meeting with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Public
Sector Banks and Financial Institutions at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. 

v. He
said that in some areas regular branches will be created and where it is not
possible smaller branches manned by one or two people would be set up.
4.    New Delhi to host 3rd India-Africa Summit this year
i. New Delhi will host the Third
India-Africa Forum Summit, IAFS-III, on
the 4th of December this year.
This follows the decision taken at its Second Summit in the Ethiopian capital
Addis Ababa in 2011. 
ii. Giving this information in the
Rajya Sabha today, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said preparations for
the IAFS-III have begun in consultation with the African Union.  Ms, Swaraj said the
Declaration and Framework of Cooperation will be finalised in
consultation with the African Union. 
5.    Petrol price cut by Rs 1.09 a litre
i. Oil marketing companies have slashed
retail selling price of petrol by Rs 1.09 a litre in Delhi, with a
corresponding decrease in other states due to the strengthening of the Indian
rupee vis-à-vis the US Dollar. The price cut will be effective from midnight
July 31/August 1.
ii. Price of diesel sold to bulk customers like railways has
also been reduced by Rs 0.71 a litre at Delhi (including VAT), with a
corresponding decrease in other states.
iii. However, the retail selling price of diesel for normal
customers has been increased by Rs 0.56 a litre (including VAT) in Delhi. The
increase is as per the January 2013 Government directive to increase diesel
6.    HDFC Bank launches ‘secure banking’ in Kerala
i. HDFC Bank has launched its ‘secure
banking’ in Kerala aimed at creating customer awareness about safe banking
ii. The programme will initially be held across 12 branches
in Thiruvananthapuram district and the surrounding areas.
iii. It will eventually be rolled out across all 139
branches in the State, Dhiraj Relli, Branch Banking Head, HDFC Bank.
7.    Sushilarani Patel, a Classical singer died at 96
i. Sushilarani Patel,
the renowned classical singer of India died at her Bandra home due to heart
attack. She was 96. She in 2002 became a Sangeet Natak Academy laureate. 

ii. Patel,
a widow of Baburao Patel was living alone in her Bandra home since his death in
1982 and was cared by her disciplines as she had no close relatives. Baburao
Patel was the person, who ran India’s first Bollywood trade journal FilmIndia.
8.    Eminent Hindi litterateur Madhukar Singh died at 87
i. Madhukar Singh, an eminent Hindi
litterateur died at his residence in village Dharahara of Bhojpur district on
21 July 2014. He was 87.
ii. He was bedridden since many years after a paralytic
attack and is now survived by three daughters and three sons
About Madhukar Singh

 In 1970s Madhukar Singh led Samantar Kahani Andolan in story writing along with
Kamleshwar, a noted writer and others

 He extensively wrote about rural downtrodden workers and farmers 

 Singh wrote about 35 books and it included 17 collections of stories and
13 novels
9.    Sabine Lisicki sets record of fastest serve in women’s
i. German
Sabine Lisicki created a record of fastest serve in the women’s tennis.
ii. The world No 29
Lisicki set the record by serving at 131 miles per hour during the first-round
loss in the Bank of the West Classic Stanford, USA. However, she lost the game
played against Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-1.
Note: The previous record
of fastest serve in women’s tennis was held by Venus Williams achieved at the
2007 US Open, at a speed of 129 miles per hour. 
Kallis retires from all formats of game
i. Jacques Kallis, considered one of the greatest
all-rounders of all times, today announced his retirement from all formats of
international cricket.
ii. In a statement released today he
thanked Cricket South Africa, the team, the team sponsors, the fans and all the
people who have been involved in his career. He said,It has been an amazing journey. 
iii. Kallis said that he is not
retiring from all cricket as he has a two-year contract with the Sydney
Thunder. He added that if possible, he would help the Kolkata Knight Riders
defend the IPL title.
 England beat India
by 266 runs
i. With two test matches passing pacy, India lost to
England third Test at Southampton by 266 runs on Thursday. 
ii. England have now level the series 1-1 against India. 
iii. India
were bowled out for 178 before lunch, Moeen adding four more wickets to his two
from the previous evening for career-best figures of 6-67.

iv. The
result ends a run of 10 Tests without a victory for Alastair Cook’s side dating
back to last summer and squares the five-match series at 1-1 heading to Old
Trafford in a week’s time.