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Current Affairs: 23rd April 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Apr 24th, 2015

1- Indian-American Dr. Vivek Murthy takes oath as US Surgeon General

Indian-American Dr. Vivek Murthy takes oath as US Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy

Indian-American Dr. Vivek Murthy was sworn-in as the US Surgeon General on 23 April 2015. He was administered oath by US Vice President Joe Biden at a ceremony held at Fort Myer in Virginia. Vivek Murthy is 19th US Surgeon General and youngest-ever (37-year-old) to become in- charge of the country’s public health. With this appointment he is also the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama Administration.

About Dr. Vivek Murthy

  • Born: July 10, 1977 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom.
  • Education: He holds BA from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management, and an MD from Yale School of Medicine.
  • Career: Prior to this appointment Dr Murthy was physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, he founded Doctors for America, a group of 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting comprehensive health reforms of US President Barack Obama.

It should be noted that U.S. surgeon general does not set any government policy but is an advocate for the people’s health. He is nominated by US President and confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate and has term of four-years.

2- NASA develops first 3-D printed copper rocket engine part

NASA develops first 3-D printed copper rocket engine partNASA engineers have developed the first full-scale three dimensional (3-D) printed copper rocket engine part. The part developed was a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures and pressures using additive manufacturing technique. Combustion chamber was manufactured by using selective laser melting machine in the Laboratory located in Marshall Space Flight Centre’s Materials and Processing. The machine had fused 8,255 layers of copper powder to make the chamber in 10 days and 18 hours. The raw material used was GRCo-84, a copper alloy created by scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Centre in Ohio. This alloy has an extensive materials characterization which helped engineers to validate the 3-D printing processing parameters and ensure build quality. 3-D printing or additive manufacturing technique has the potential to reduce the time and cost of making rocket parts. It can help to manufacture engine parts 10 times faster and reduce the cost by more than 50 per cent.

3- Union Cabinet approves lowering of age of Juveniles from 18 to 16 years for heinous crimes

Union Cabinet approves lowering of age of Juveniles from 18 to 16 years for heinous crimesUnion Cabinet has approved lowering of age of juveniles from eighteen to sixteen years for heinous crimes. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The cabinet also approved to introduce Amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. This amendment will propose and add special provisions to tackle heinous offences like murder and rape committed by juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years. The proposed bill will amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. The parent Act clearly defines and classifies offences as serious, petty and heinous and defines differentiated processes for each classified category. While the amendments in the bill adds provisions that in case a heinous crime committed by a person between 16 and 18 years, will be examined by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to assess if the crime was committed as a child or as an adult. Then the trial of the case will take place as a juvenile or as an adult on basis of JJBs assessment and decide whether the culprit should be sent to observation home or tried in a regular court. Background The changes in the Parent Act come against the backdrop of outrage over the conviction of a minor in the Delhi gang-rape case of December 2012. The minor in this case was tried in a juvenile court and was sentenced to three years in a reform home. However, the lighter punishment to this minor had triggered a debate on punishment for juveniles convicted of heinous crimes.

4- Zomato acquires NexTable

Online restaurant guide Zomato has acquired United States (US) based online table reservation platform NexTable for undisclosed amount. It is Zomato’s ninth acquisitions since past nine months. This acquisition also comes shortly after Zomato had acquired MaplePOS, a cloud-based POS product for restaurants on 14 April 2015. NexTable services help its users make restaurant reservations in real time and it also includes table management and marketing tools for restaurants. With this acquisition, NexTable will be renamed as Zomato Book and it will help Zomato to move beyond restaurant search and discovery into table reservations, online ordering services. NexTable was founded by TC DeSilva and currently he is CEO of the company.

5- Railway Ministry launches mobile app for paperless unreserved tickets

The Railway Ministry has launched ‘utsonmobile’, a mobile application for paperless unreserved tickets. The application service was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi. This application will allow its passenger to buy a ticket on the move and to board the train with the ticket secured on his mobile phone in digital format, without any need for printing the ticket. Initially, it has been launched as a pilot project and cover 15 stations in Southern Railway. Later on it will be extended to entire country in phases.

Key facts

The application has been developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). It aims to eliminate the need for printing of unreserved tickets. The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process. Payment for the ticket will be done through the Railway Wallet, a feature inbuilt in the App. Passenger will get ticket confirmation on their mobile screen after booking the ticket which will contain limited information of the ticket. This app can be downloaded from Windows Store and Google Play Store.


This paperless ticketing service using mobile applications comes in line with announcement made by Union Government in the Union Railway Budget of February 2015. In this budget, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that the Indian Railways is committed to Operation Five Minutes that is, purchase of an unreserved ticket within five minutes and launching of paperless unreserved mobile ticket is the first step in this area.

6- CCEA gives nod to three highway projects in three states

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved three highway projects in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with a total cost of 5,150 crore rupees. All the three projects will be implemented on Build–operate–transfer BOT (toll) model. The private sector will invest in it to meet the capital cost of projects which will be recovered by collection of toll during the concession period. These projects include Eight-laning of Mukarba Chowk to Panipat section of National Highway (NH)- 1 in Delhi and Haryana. The total length of the project will be around 70 kilometer and will cost of over 2204 crore rupees. Six laning of Agra-Etawah section of NH- 2 in Uttar Pradesh. The total length of the road will be over 124 kilometer at an estimated cost of over 1787 crore rupees. Four laning of the Solapur-Bijapur section of NH- 13 in Maharashtra and Karnataka. It will cost around 1538 crore rupees.

7- Union Cabinet approves agreement between India and Jordan on maritime transport

Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 April 2015 gave its approval for signing of a shipping agreement between India and Jordan. The agreement aims at strengthening cooperation between both nations in the area of shipping and to provide sustained mutual assistance and advice on merchant shipping and other related maritime matters. The agreement will help both countries to Facilitate and encourage development of their maritime relationship. Cooperation in the task to enhance and stimulate steady growth of maritime traffic. Training and exchange of staff and students from various maritime establishments. Accelerate and facilitate flow of commercial goods at sea and at ports by exchange of necessary information. Establishment of joint ventures (JV) in maritime transportation, shipbuilding and repairs, maritime training, information technology, including development of simulators, port facilities and related activities.

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