Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee C.N.R. Rao was conferred with Japan’s highest civilian award the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. He was presented with the award by Japanese Ambassador to India, Takeshi Yagi for his outstanding contributions to science and Indo-Japanese science cooperation.
N.R Rao is eminent scientist and world’s foremost solid state and materials chemists. He has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He was first Indian scientist to reach the h-index of 100. He has authored of around 1600 research papers. He also has authored and edited 45 books. He is also an elected member of almost all scientific academies across the globe and had served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Ministers of India. He is also the Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bengaluru and a former Chair of the Japan-India Science Council.
Awards: In 2014, he was awarded with India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna along with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. He has been bestowed with about 70 honorary doctorates and also has received the highest civilian award from several nations.
Note: h-index also called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number is a tool that measures the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist.
India Cricket team captain of One Day International (ODI) Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman were fined for breaching the International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct. They were fined after being found guilty of breaching Code of Conduct during the first of ODI match between both nations played at Mirpur, Bangladesh. Dhoni was fined 75 per cent of his match fees and Mustafizur was fined 50 per cent of his match fees. The breach incident had happened during India’s run chase when Mustafizur came in Dhoni’s way while he was running for a single. Mustafizur had earlier repeated the offence when Rohit Sharma was batting.
ISRO has announced to provide navigational support to Indian Railways through GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system. The navigational support along with space technology-based tools will be provided to Indian Railways for unmanned level crossings safety. By using GAGAN software system, a train will get to know the location of any unmanned level crossing by a warning signal. Once this warning signal is given, the train’s hooter will automatically start when it comes near an unmanned crossing.
GAGAN was jointly developed by the ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the advancement of air navigation. It is an indigenous navigational guide system developed on the lines of GPS system of the US. Presently, GAGAN signal is broadcasted through two Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites-GSAT8 and GSAT10. The system was launched in 2011 as a payload with GSAT-8. With this launch India had joined the club elite nations comprising of US, Europe and Japan who have the same level of space-based augmentation for navigational purpose. Tags: Indian Railways • ISRO • Science And Technology
Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz, has been re-elected as Chairman of Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) in House of Commons of UK Parliament. He was re-elected as Chairman of HASC for third time by receiving 412 votes compared to 192 votes secured by his opponent Labour Party MP Fiona MacTaggart. For the first time he was elected as Chairman of HASC in July 2007.
His full name is Nigel Keith Anthony Standish Vaz, but popularly known as Keith Vaz. Keith Vaz was born to Goan parents on 26 November 1956. He is a Labour Party politician and currently represents Leicester East constituency. He was elected as Member of Parliament for first time in 1987. He also had served as the Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1999 to 2001in Tony Blair led government. Prior to joining political career, Keith Vaz was practicing as a solicitor.
The world’s first electric passenger aircraft named BX1E was manufactured in China. The aircraft was designed by Shenyang Aerospace University and Liaoning General Aviation Academy located in the northeastern Liaoning Province of China.
BX1E aircraft has a 14.5-meter wingspan and a maximum payload of 230 kgs. It can fly at an altitude of 3,000 meters. The aircraft can charge within two hours. Fully charged aircraft can have flight time of 45 minutes to 1 hour with a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. The first two BX1E aircrafts were delivered to Liaoning Ruixiang General Aviation Co. Ltd. These aircrafts will be used in tourism, pilot training, meteorology and rescue operations.
HDFC Bank, India’s second-largest private sector lender has launched a 10-second paperless instant loan Scheme for its existing customers. The 10-second loan Scheme was launched as part of HDFC Bank’s digital banking platform GoDigital. With this, HDFC bank became first banking institution to completely automate the entire process of loan approval and disbursement. Under this scheme, bank will now disburse personal loans to its customers in just 10 seconds and a pre-approved loan amount will be available to them 24×7. The entire process of availing the loan under this scheme will be completely paperless. In this case, its customers by using net-banking or mobile banking avail of this loan.
Earlier, the bank had launched PayZapp application to cater to e-commerce space under its digital platform. It should be noted that, in financial year 2014-15, 63 per cent of HDFC Bank’s all transactions were conducted through various digital channels.
Translated Chinese version of Bhagavad Gita, a sacred ancient Indian scripture was released in China. This is the first a well-known Hindu ancient religious text was published in China. The book was released by Indian Ambassador to China Ashok K Kantha during an international yoga conference.
It was translated in Chinese by Professor Wang Zhu Cheng and Ling Hai of Zhejiang University in Shanghai and was published by Sichuan People’s Publications. The foreword for the book was written by K Nagaraj Naidu who had served as the consulate general at the Indian Consulate in Guangzhou city of China. Some of India’s ancient are well-known in China. It includes ancient Buddhist scriptures which were introduced to them by celebrated Chinese traveler Huen Tsang after he had visited India in the 7th century. Earlier in 2014, scholars from India and China published an Encyclopaedia on the age-old cultural contacts between both countries which had showcased their history to over 2000 years.
Recently published study in the journal Nature has revealed that Moon is engulfed in a permanent but lopsided dust cloud made up of tiny dust grains. The study team was led by Professor Mihaly Horanyi of University of Colorado Boulder physics.
The dust cloud was discovered by using data from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).
Composition: The cloud is primarily made up of tiny dust grains kicked up from the Moon’s surface. These tiny dust grains were result of the impact of high-speed, interplanetary dust particles.
Formation: Such a single dust particle from a comet striking the Moon’s surface lofts thousands of smaller dust particles into moon’s airless environment. This resulted in formation of lunar cloud which is maintained by regular impacts from such particles.
With annual events like the Geminids meteor shower, the density of dust cloud increases. It should be noted that the dust on the Moon which is dark and sticky was created over several billion years ago. It was outcome of interplanetary dust particles incessantly pounded the rocky lunar surface.
Practical Applications of this Study: Knowledge of the dusty environments in space especially knowing where the dust is and where it is headed in the solar system may help to mitigate hazards for future human exploration missions including dust particles damaging spacecraft or harming astronauts.
Note: LADEE was launched in September 2013. It had orbited the Moon for about six months. With the help of a detector on board LADEE a CU-Boulder was charted from more than 140,000 impacts during the six-month mission.
Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) has launched ASCIonline, a mobile application in a bid to address misleading advertisements. The application will provide consumers/users platform to report complaint services for misleading advertisements on a mobile apart from ASCI’s online complaint facility. It is India’s first consumer complaint mobile app. The mobile app is available free of cost on playstore (for android devices) and istore (for apple devices).
Consumer can file or report a complaint by simply providing advertisement details and objection. Complaints may also include media files such as image or video or YouTube link of that advertisement. The history of all previously registered complaints can be checked along with the latest status and other details. Status of the complaints can be simply tracked by providing the tracking code of the complaint. After change in status of complaint, consumers will receive automatic push notification.
ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary non-governmental organization (NGO) of the advertising industry in India. Aim- To maintain and enhance the public’s confidence in advertising. It was established in 1985 by three main constituents of advertising industry viz advertisers, advertising agencies and media.
Union Government has launched NOWCAST weather alert system and Crop Insurance web portal for the benefit of farmers. The new initiatives were launched by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh at a function held in New Delhi. NOWCAST weather alert system will provide free SMS service alerts on extreme weather conditions (ex-hailstorm) to over one crore registered farmers on their mobile phones. The free SMS alerts will be sent in Hindi, English and regional languages as per farmers’ request. It will be issued to farmers whose mobile phones are already registered on the government’s mKisan portal. The data for NOWCAST service will be taken from India Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) 146 weather stations.
Apart from these stations, 17 doppler radars of IMD will also provide information in this SMS service. Under this initiative, the extreme weather data originated from IMD will be updated on mKisan portal using a web service. Later, from mKisan portal the warnings regarding extreme weather conditions will be automatically transmitted by SMS to farmers located at district and block level. Insurance Web-Portal (www.farmer.gov.in/insurance) will be used to create awareness and encourage farmers to insure their crops by taking advantage of existing three schemes. They are Modified National Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Weather based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS). Besides these schemes, Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme (CPIS) is also applicable in some parts of the country.
Wealth-X on 17 June 2015 released the World’s Wealthiest Self-Made Billionaires List. It included world’s top 25 richest self-made billionaires. The list was topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates with a personal fortune totaling nearly 86 billion US dollars.
American entrepreneurs dominate the list claiming 14 of the 25 spots.The list features numerous notable American billionaires who are responsible for building some of the most successful companies in the world including Berkshire Hathaway, Oracle and Google. The combined wealth of the 14 Americans on the Wealth-X list is 514.2 billion US dollars, which is greater than the GDP of Norway.
The technology sector has proved yet again to be an incubator of great fortunes with many on the list such as Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, China’s commerce giant, amassing significant wealth by founding and building technology-based companies.
|Rank||Name||Nationality||Estimated Net Worth (billion US dollars)|
|1||William Gates III||United States||85.7|
|2||Warren Buffett||United States||70.1|
|4||Lawrence Ellison||United States||51.5|
|6||Jeffrey Bezos||United States||39.8|
|8||Mark ZUckerberg||United States||35.3|
|10||Michael Bloomberg||United States||33.7|
Two Indian-Americans Niraj Antani, an Ohio State legislature and Janak Joshi, a Colorado State legislature, were on 18 June 2015 appointed to the board of the 2015-2016 Future Majority Project of the United States (US) Republican Party.
Niraj Antani is a student at the University Of Dayton School Of Law, having previously graduated from Ohio State University with Bachelors degree in political science. He became the youngest member of the House of Representatives in 2014 at the tender age of 23. While on the other hand, Joshi has been serving as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2011. He practiced internal medicine, nephrology, and occupational medicine from Gujarat University in India.
The Board of FMP is chaired by TW Shannon, Chairman and former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The Future Majority Project (FMP) seeks to recruit, train and elect Republican candidates from diverse communities on the state level who better represent the full diversity of America.
In 2013-2014, FMP recruited hundreds of new candidates and elected 43 new leaders to office. With this cycle, FMP aims to recruit 250 new, diverse candidates and see 50 of those candidates appointed or elected to office.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on 18 June 2015 released a report titled Global Trends: World at War. It delineates worldwide trends in forced displacement by the end of 2014.
The report declared that ongoing refugee crisis due to wars, conflicts and persecution is the worst in recorded history and over half of the world’s refugees are children.
India as a country of origin had 10433 refugees and 16709 asylum seekers with pending cases in 2014; and 199937 refugees and 5074 pending cases of asylum seekers as country of asylum for 2014.
The West Bengal (WB) State Assembly on 18 June 2015 passed West Bengal Tea Plantation Employees Welfare Fund Bill, 2015. The bill is aimed at ensuring welfare and provision of basic amenities for tea plantation workers in the state.
West Bengal is the second largest Indian tea-growing State after Assam, accounting for a quarter of India’s 1100 million kg tea output. There are 283 registered gardens in Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai. Several Central and state-sponsored welfare schemes are now being run in these gardens
The proposal labeled as a package of fake democracy required support from two-thirds of the assembly to pass. The package would have granted all Hong Kong citizens the right to vote for their Chief Executive for the first time in 2017 and elect him directly. But they would only be able to vote for candidates that had been vetted by a pro-Beijing committee.
Rejection of the package means that the next chief executive of city in 2017 will be chosen by 1200 members of the pro-Beijing committee who will select their leader.
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is headed by the Chief Executive (CE) who is elected by the Election Committee and then appointed by the Central People’s Government. The Election Committee is a Hong Kong electoral college whose members are elected by People.
Exercise Ajeya Warrior -2015: Joint exercise between the armies of India and UK
The term Exercise Ajeya Warrior was in news on 17 June 2015 as few soldiers of the Indian Army sustained injuries that were in UK to participate in the military exercise. The soldiers belong to the Kumaon Regiment.
Its aim is to build and promote positive military relations between Indian and UK Army and to enhance their ability to undertake joint tactical level operations in Counter Insurgency/Counter Terrorism Environment under the United Nations Charter.
It is held biannually in both the countries, alternatively. In 2015, the 16 day exercise began on 13 June 2015 at Westdown Camp in Salisbury Plains Training Area, UK.
Japan’s SoftBank Corp on 18 June 2015 announced that it has set up a joint venture with Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba and electronics supplier Foxconn Technology to sell its human-like robot Pepper around the world. The company in its statement said that the robot will go on sale to general consumers from 20 June 2015 for 198000 yen (1610.54 dollars) each plus monthly fee and insurance. These waist-high peeper robots will serve as baby-sitters, medical workers or even party companions.
At present, these robots which can learn and express human emotions are used in stores including SoftBank’s mobile phone shops. SoftBank will have a 60 percent stake in the joint venture, while Alibaba and Foxconn each will spend 14.5 billion Yen ($117.94 million) for 20 per cent stakes.
China and Australia on 17 June 2015 signed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) at Canberra in Australia. The agreement was signed by China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb.
The ChAFTA will ensure 85 percent of all exports of Australia to China tariff-free that will rise to 93 percent by 2019.
The chAFTA will open up markets worth billions of dollars and create jobs for both the countries. With this agreement Australian farmers will enjoy the same benefits possessed by New Zealand, Chile and ASEAN competitors who have similar free trade agreements with China.
Union Ministry of Finance on 17 June 2015 formed two committees for facilitating implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 1 April 2016. These committees are intended to speed up the process of establishing necessary administrative infrastructure to implement the GST.
GST will subsume present indirect taxes like excise, services tax, sales tax, octroi, etc. and is touted as the biggest tax reform since the Constitution of India came into force. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 was approved by the Lok Sabha and is pending with the Rajya Sabha.
Journalist and writer Aakar Patel appointed as Executive Director of Amnesty International (AI) India on 18 June 2015. He will head AI India’s operations and its efforts to end human rights abuses in India and worldwide.
Patel as the organization’s chief political advisor, strategist and spokesperson will give direction to its goal of being an independent, effective, and deep-rooted organization in India.
India’s junior boys and cadet girls on 18 June 2015 won the team championship titles at the South Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. To retain the title in junior boys section, the Indian paddlers won all the four matches without dropping a set. Similarly, cadet girls won all their matches without a hiccup.
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