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Current Affairs: 23rd January 2015

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

1- Telugu comedian and director M.S.Narayana passes away

Telugu comedian and director M.S.Narayana passes away

M.S.Narayana

Popular Telugu comedian and director Mylavarapu Surya Narayana has passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana. He was 63. He is noted for his comic timing and facial expressions with witty dialogues in Telugu Cinema.

About Mylavarapu Surya Narayana

He was born on 16 April, 1951 in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. He is popularly known as M.S.Narayana and had acted in over 700 Telugu movies. He had started his career as a teacher and later graduated into acting. He had won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor- Telugu film Dookudu. He also had won Andhra Pradesh State Nandi Award for Best Male Comedian five times for the films Maa Nanna ki Pelli, Ramsakkanodu, Sardukupodam Randi,Shivamani and Dookudu. S. Narayana had made his debut as director in the film Koduku with his son Vikram in 2007.

2- Yemen government resigns under pressure from Shia Houthi rebels

Yemen government resigns under pressure from Shia Houthi rebels

President Abed-rabbu-hadi-mansour

President Mansour Hadi of Yemen along with Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and his cabinet have resigned. Yemen government’s resignation comes after the President agreed to the demands of Shia Houthi rebels, who had stormed his palace and private home in Sana’a (Capital of Yemen) earlier. However parliament speaker Yahia al-Rai refused to accept the President’s resignation.

Who are Shia Houthi rebels of Yemen?

This rebel group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, their former commander, who was killed by Yemeni army forces in September 2004. They adhere to a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism (a sect of Islam exclusively present in Yemen). These rebels are members of a group also known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God). They are fighting to win greater autonomy for their heartland of Saada province, and also to protect Zaidi religious and cultural traditions from perceived encroachment by Sunni Islamists. It should be noted that Zaidis make up one-third of the population of Yemen. They had ruled North Yemen under a system known as the imamate for almost 1,000 years which came to end in 1962. After death of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, his successors had led five uprisings. But in 2010, ceasefire was signed between Yemeni government and Houthi rebels. But current crisis began after President Hadi had declared that Yemen will be federation of six regions by drafting constitution in February 2014. Houthi rebels have rejected this draft constitution creating federation of six regions in Yemen.

3- Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz passes away

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz passes away

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has passed away. He was 93-year old patriarch. Abdullah’s brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is his successor and new King of Saudi Arabia. Salman in turn, has named his half-brother Muqrin as the new crown prince and his heir. Earlier, king Salman was the Crown Prince and defence minister since 2012. He was also the Governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.

About Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

He was born in Riyadh in August 1924 (although actual date is disputed). In 1962, he was appointed commander of the Saudi National Guard. In 1982, he became crown prince and first deputy prime minister when King Fahd succeeded King Khalid. In August 2005, he succeeded to the throne following the death of then King Fahd. He had handled the affairs of the country for a decade, before when his predecessor King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke. He played important role in introducing the cautious changes in ultraconservative Muslim kingdom by bringing significant reforms in the country. These include increased women’s rights and economic deregulation. Under his leadership Saudi Kingdom joined hand with its powerful ally U.S. to fight against al-Qaida. King Abdullah had been the guiding force behind Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as the Head of world’s largest crude oil producer and exporter.

4- Jhumpa Lahiri wins DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015

Jhumpa Lahiri wins DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015

Jhumpa Lahiri

Indian American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri has won prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015. Fifth edition of this prize was announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival. She has received the prestigious $50,000 DSC Prize for her book The Lowland. Her book was chosen by 5 judges from 75 books. The Lowland is a tale of two Indian brothers during time of 1950’s in Calcutta. It depicts story of both brothers one who get involved in the Naxalite movement in the late 1960s and the other leaves for the United States.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Her original name is Nilanjana Sudeshna.

Works- Her debut short story collection Interpreter of Maladies (1999) has won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her first novel was Namesake (2003) was adapted in a movie with the same name which was directed by Mira Nair. Suresh Kalpenn acted in this movie. The Lowland (2013). Currently, she is a member of US President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. DSC Prize for South Asian Literature It is awarded annually to writers of any ethnicity or nationality writing about South Asia such as culture, politics, history, or people. It was instituted in 2011. It is funded by infrastructure company the DSC Group.

Other recipients are: Pakistani author H.M. Naqvi (Homeboy)- 2011, Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman)-2012, Jeet Thayil(Narcopolis) 2013 and Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer)-2014.

5- US scientists make safe GMO

US scientists have taken the first step towards making safe genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) by using synthetic biology so they cannot spread in the wild. Using synthetic biology, scientists have re-written the genetic code of bacteria by using synthetic chemicals to grow them. In this case, scientists have engineered organisms so that they require synthetic amino acids for survival or for life.

Key characteristic of these GM bacteria is that they die if escaped into nature as they fed synthetic amino acids for survival. Implication of this research Currently, genetically engineered micro-organisms are used in Europe, the US and China to produce drugs or fuels under contained industrial conditions. With this GMOs scientist can build safety measures so that their spread could be controlled and can be used in the outside world. Now the future challenge is to re-engineer the code of other lifeforms.

6- Vodafone appoints Sunil Sood as India CEO

Vodafone appoints Sunil Sood as India CEO

Sunil Sood

Vodafone has appointed Sunil Sood as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for its India operations. He will be first Indian CEO of Vodafone. He will replace Martin Pieters will step down on 1 April 2015. Presently, he is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company Martin Pieters was the longest serving CEO of a telecom firm in the country and was CEO since 2009. Under Pieters’ leadership, Vodafone India had doubled its revenues and added more than 100 million customers. He also played important role in increasing market share of Vodafone India and launched data services which is used by more than 57 million customers.

About Sunil Sood

He is graduate with a B Tech from IIT Delhi and PGDM from IIM Kolkata. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. In 2000, he had joined Vodafone India’s predecessor business, Hutch and has held roles leading the company’s operations in Gujarat, Kolkata and Chennai. He had previously worked for Pepsi in a range of Indian and international leadership roles.

7- SBI signs 100 mn euro loan pact with EIB

India’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI), has signed a loan agreement for 100 million euro (about Rs 700 crore) with European Investment Bank (EIB). This agreement was facilitated by SBI Capital Markets, a subsidiary of SBI. It is the third tranche of a total sanctioned loan of 200 million euro by EIB to SBI for lending it to private businesses in the country. SBI will utilize this loan to support the development of private sector in country in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It will be also utilized social and economic infrastructure as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. Earlier on 25 June and 28 November 2014, first tranche of Euro 55 and second tranche of Euro 45 million was signed between both banks.

8- India, US inks pact to cooperate in ICTE to facilitate Digital India programme

India and United States have agreed to cooperate in the field of Information and Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) to facilitate Union government’s ambitious Digital India programme(DIP). In this regard, Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation was signed by Secretary in the Department of Electronics and IT- RS Sharma and US Ambassador to India- Richard Rahul Verma.

Key highlights of Joint Declaration

It will facilitate Union government’s flagship DIP, including electronic manufacturing and cyber security and several other such related fields between the two countries. Within period of next five years, it will help in strengthening industrial, technological, research and innovation and economic cooperation between India and the US. Under the umbrella of the ongoing India-US ICT Dialogue, it will also provide platform to US companies for exploring opportunities to collaborate in DIP, electronics manufacturing and human resource development

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