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Current Affairs: 12th February 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Feb 13th, 2015

1- Union Government warns States to complete Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) before 15 March 2015

Union government has warned States to complete Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) before 15 March 2015.

If states fail to complete the exercise before 15th March, the central assistance to states for building rural houses and welfare pensions will be blocked.

In this regard, Union Ministry of Rural Development has issued a note which strictly mentions that for year 2015-16 and onwards, SECC data will be the base for selecting the beneficiaries for the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

If states failed to select the beneficiaries from this data base will not receive financial assistance.

Background

  • Union government’s tough decision came in the wake of a PIL petition filed by human rights’ body People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
  • In the PIL petition PUCL had alleged that non-completion of SECC by states and UTs is the main reason for delay in implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
  • It should be noted that some states even have failed to publish the draft list of the census.

About Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC)

The SECC was started in June 2011 through a comprehensive door-to-door enumeration across the country.

It was started to

  • Generate authentic information on a large number of social and economic indicators relating to households across the country to rank them on their Socio- Economic status.
  • Enable caste-wise population enumeration of the country and their socio economic condition. It also included education status of various castes and sections of the population.

It was conducted by the Registrar General of India, Union Ministry of Rural development and Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA).

2- Four new fish species discovered in Kerala

Four new fish species named Puntius nelsoni, Puntius nigronotus, Systomus chryseusand Systomus rufus have been discovered in Kerala.

They were discovered by Mathews Plamoottil, a zoology professor at Baby John Memorial Government College in Kollam.

Facts about discovered species

  • Puntius nelson-Body and fins of this fish is yellowish in colour. Its head is deeper, the snout shorter and the mouth wider. It was discovered at Kallumkal in Thiruvalla, at the place where Pamba and Manimala rivers merge.
  • Puntius nigronotus-It has dorsal fin, black in colour and has more rays. Its lateral line scales are greater than its closest relatives. It was discovered at Mananthavady in the hilly Wayanad district.
  • Systomus chryseus-It is golden in colour and its pectoral fin is greatly elongated. It was discovered from Keezhvaipur near Thiruvalla.
  • Systomus rufus-Its fins are red in colour. It was discovered from Venpala, near Thiruvalla district.

All the four new species have received a Zoo bank register number from the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (the worldwide scientific authority for naming new animals).  The new species of the genus Systomus was discovered after one-and-a-half century.

Detailed articles describing these new species have been published in international publications like Journal of Research in Biology and International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies.

3- SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Florida

Unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on its third attempt.

It was carrying unmanned Deep Space Climate Observatorysatellite. This satellite will be used by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to monitor the Sun.

It will particularly monitor changes in solar wind and provide warnings on hazardous outbursts from our star to warn forecasters. In turn it will help forecasters to predict changes which affect satellites, power grids and communication systems.

About SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

  • Falcon 9 rocket is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX)- a private space transport services company.
  • It is basically used for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. It is powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellants.
  • In 2008, the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule combination had won a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract from NASA to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

4- Apple Inc. becomes first company worth over $700 bn in global corporate history

Apple Inc. becomes first company worth over $700 bn in global corporate history,Apple Inc. • IPhones • Ronald Wayne • Steve Jobs • Steve Wozniak

Apple Inc.

US technology giant Apple Inc. became the first company to reach a market value of $700 billion.

It was able to hit this milestone after its shares rose 1.9 per cent and closing at $122.02, which in turn increased company’s market value to $710 billion.

Earlier in January 2015, Apple Inc had recorded highest quarterly profit of 18 billion US dollar in corporate history worldwide after the company sold 74.5 million iPhones in quarter ending December 2014. With its $710 billion market value Apple is far ahead from the number two company, oil giant Exxon Mobil, which is worth around $382 billion in terms of market value.

About Apple Inc

  • Apple Inc. is California based technology giant that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, online services, and personal computers.
  • It is best-known for its niche hardware products which includes Mac line of computers, the iPod media player, the iPhone smartphone, and the iPad tablet computer.
  • Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to develop and sell personal computers. Later in 1977, it was incorporated as Apple Computer.
  • It was renamed as Apple Inc. in 2007, to reflect its shifted focus towards consumer electronics.
  • At present, Apple is the world’s second-largest information technology company by revenue after Samsung Electronics, and the world’s third-largest mobile phone maker.

5- India Cements transfers Chennai Super Kings franchise to new subsidiary

India Cements transfers Chennai Super Kings franchise to new subsidiaryIndia Cements has transferred the Indian Premier League (IPL) team- Chennai Super Kings Cricket (CSK) franchise to its new subsidiary Chennai Super Kings Cricket (CSKC) Limited.

This decision was taken by India Cements Vice-Chairman and Managing Director (MD) N Srinivasan led company’s Board of Directors meeting held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

While demerging CSK, the Board has approved a reorganisation plan for the newly formed subsidiary. This move will also help shareholders of India Cements exercise their choice- to own only the cement business or the cricket franchise or both

With this decision, CSK will be first franchise team in IPL history to be owned by the shareholders of a company.

Background

Earlier in September 2014, the Board of Directors India Cements had approved the proposal to demerge Chennai Super Kings (CSK) into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, by transferring its net assets at cost.

Under the ownership of India Cements, CSK led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had won IPL tournament twice. For first time in IPL Season 3 (2011) and second time in IPL Season 4 (2012).

6- Himachal Pradesh government launches Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System Project

Himachal Pradesh government has launched Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) Project in the state.

This project will enable the State Police to raise the benchmark of professional efficiency besides catching interstate criminals more quickly.

It was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from State Police Headquarters in Shimla.

About Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) Project

  • CCTNS project is funded by the Union government with budget of Rs. 19 Crore.
  • Himachal Pradesh is the first state in India to launch this project prepared by the Union Home Ministry after Mumbai attack of 26/11.
  • CCTNS project will connect 177 sites and 114 police stations in the state besides 13 district headquarters, 26 sub-divisional police officers and three police ranges headed by IPG rank officers with state crime records bureau.
  • It will also connect CID crime branch, 14 control rooms, finger print bureau, forensic science laboratory, 16 CCTNS training centres including state data centre and data recovery centre.
  • CCTNS project will also provide multiple channels to access citizen-centric services and online access for registering petitions on real-time basis.

7- Indian Navy conducted HADR Exercise in Lakshadweep Islands

Indian Navy had conducted Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief (HADR) exercise in Lakshadweep Islands (Kavaratti, Aggatti, Kalpeni and Androth).

HADR was Indian Navy’s large scale exercise to test its readiness for handling a tsunami like disasters in order to provide immediate succour and relief to the affected people.

It involved participation of more than 20 Indian Naval Ships from the Western and Eastern Fleet along with various aircraft of the Indian Navy.

Some facts about HADR exercise

  • The exercise spanned an area of approximately 8,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean.
  • HADR exercise simulated a major cyclone striking the islands, disrupting essential services and causing widespread destruction of property, loss of life and dislocation of personnel.
  • The ships in the drill were grouped into four forces, each having a humanitarian assistance and security component.
  • It involved the navy personnel setting up medical camps and making provisions for food, shelter from the elements, restoration of basic facilities and limited restoration work till the situation stabilised.

Indian Navy’s Disaster relief work

  • December 2014-Indian navy played key role resolving Maldives fresh water crisis by deploying its ships.
  • 2004- After the disastrous Indian Ocean Tsunami, Indian navy was also at the forefront of relief operations.
  • Indian navy took part in evacuation operations from Lebanon in 2006 and Libya in 2011
  • 2007- provided assistance in Bangladesh during Cyclone Sidr and also in 2008 during Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

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