Union Government has approved twenty one proposals of Foreign Direct Investment (DI) amounting to over 280 crore rupees. The approved FDI proposals were based on recommendations of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) taken in its meeting held on 30 April, 2015.
Presently, FDI proposals up to 3,000 crore rupees are cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) under the normal approval route. However, those proposals involving FDI of more than 3,000 crore rupees are given final clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
A new scientific study has found that a sudden and massive ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica is causing small changes in the gravitational field of the Earth. This study was led by Dr Bert Wouters, a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Bristol, England and was recently published in Science Journal.
The changes were observed using the CryoSat-2 satellite, a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) dedicated to remote-sensing of ice. Researchers have found that the ice surface of some of the glaciers is currently going down by as much as 4 m each year. They also have found out that Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. But after 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean. These glaciers measure around 750 km in length and are shrinking nearly at a constant rate of 60 cubic km and adding about 55 trillion litres of water each year. With level of shrinking, this region now has become the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and causing small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.
Argentine footballer Cristian Gomez died during a game on 24 May 2015. Gomez, 27, of Atletico Parana collapsed on the pitch during a second-tier game against Boca Unidos. After collapse, the defender was taken to a hospital in the city of Corrientes, where doctors were unable to revive him.
The death of Gomez led to Argentine Football Association (AFA) suspending all other games which were scheduled.
Gomez is the second Argentine player to die in May 2015, after Emanuel Ortega of San Martin de Burzaco who suffered a fatal head injury on 14 May 2015. Ortega died after spending 11 days in intensive care battling head injuries he sustained after falling against a concrete wall surrounding the pitch.
The British actor Terry Sue-Patt passed away on 22 May 2015 in east London. He was 50. He was found dead at his home, however the cause of his death was not known.
Sue-Patt was best known for playing the role of school pupil named Benny Green in children’s TV series Grange Hill. He appeared in the show’s first episode in 1978 and left the show in 1982. He also did some minor roles in shows like General Hospital, Jackanory and The Bill.
Later, Sue-Patt became an artist working in graffiti and photography. But, he continued acting up till 2013. Besides playing Benny Green, he also co-starred with Gary Oldman in The Firm.
Lt General (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma has sworn-in as the 17th governor of Mizoram. Justice T Vaiphei, judge of the Gauhati High Court administered him the oath of office as per provisions of Article 159 of Indian Constitution. Mr. Sharma will succeed West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who was given additional charge of Mizoram in April 2015.
Prior to this appointment, he was serving as governor of Arunachal Pradesh. He was transferred to Mizoram by President Pranab Mukherjee on May 12, 2015. About Lt General (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma Nirbhay Sharma had served in Indian Army for 40 years before retiring in 2008. He is considered as one of the most distinguished and decorated Field Commanders of the Indian Army. In 2008, he was appointed as member of UPSC and was in office for 5 years i.e. till 2013. In 2013, he was appointed as governor of Arunachal Pradesh. He is third retired army officer to be appointed as Governor after Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha and Gen J.J. Singh.
Gujarat Government has initiated Sloth Habitat Project in Jessore wildlife sanctuary to provide better habitat to sloth bears. The project aims at restoring the ecology of sloth bears in the sanctuary by planting fruit trees and removing unwanted plant species that have intruded in the habitat. The planted trees will basically serve as food habitat for the sloth bears as their population increased. Nearly 293 sloth bears were found in the state forests in last census of 2011. Unwanted encroached plant species like Lantenaspp and Prospisjuli-flora, which is called as Gando Baval in local language will be removed.
State government’s decision to initiate this project comes after pilot project in this regard has shown positive results. This pilot project was implemented in Banaskantha district by state forest department in coordination with the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC). However, the final testing will be conducted in the forests of Jessore sanctuary in monsoon season from June or July and after necessary process the project will be handed over to the state forest department for implementation on large area.
Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bears found in India. Categorised as vulnerable species in International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list. It is black and dark brown in colour with yellowish patch on the chest and has large feet and claw. Sloth bear is omnivorous animal and mainly eat honey, termites, fruits (mangoes and figs) and grass.
An ancient aqueduct dating back 2,000 years ago was unearthed near Har Homa in in East Jerusalem city of Israel. The discovered lower aqueduct was used in ancient times to transport water into the city of Jerusalem.
Constructed during the rule of kings in the Hasmonean dynasty (140 B.C. to 37 B.C). It was one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water. It is 21 km long with starting point located at the En ‘Eitam spring, near Solomon’s Pools, south of Bethlehem. Water through it flowed down a gentle slope to Jerusalem, passing through the Israel’s modern-day cities of Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor. During the Ottoman period, around 500 years ago a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to protect the water.
Apart from this, other sections of the extensive aqueduct were unearthed in the past in Armon Ha-Natziv tunnels located in the City of David. Around the Sultan’s Pool along the west side of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. On the Sherover promenade in southern Jerusalem.
Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on 25 May 2015 was named as the International Cricketer of the Year 2015 while the middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was named as the CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year 2015.
Former Indian captain Kapil Dev was conferred with the International Lifetime Achievement Award at the 19th edition of the awards. Rohit Sharma was given a special award for his record-breaking 264 made against Sri Lanka in an ODI at Kolkata.
The CEAT awards honour the best of the cricketers based on their performances in international cricketing in all formats – Test, ODI and T20 – as rated by the CEAT Cricket ratings (CCR) for the year 2014 – 2015.
E-commerce major Snapdeal on 25 May 2015 acquired Hyderabad-based mobile technology startup MartMobi for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition will help Snapdeal to strengthen its mobility platform for merchant partners.
In 2015 itself, Snapdeal acquired payments and mobile recharge startup Freecharge in a cash-and-stock deal as well as picked up stakes in digital financial services platform RupeePower and logistics venture GoJavas.
Founded by Pramod Nair and Satya Krishna Ganni, MartMobi creates mobile sites and apps for e-commerce stores, small and medium-sized businesses.
With over 150 clients, MartMobi enables seamless connectivity with the customers’ existing back-end systems in addition to a real-time analytics engine to improve conversions and user engagement.
Former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Pradip Baijal’s book The Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private Enterprise: A Practitioner’s Diary was in news in fourth week of May 2015.
The self published book was in news because the author in the book has claimed that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had warned him of consequences if he did not co-operate in the 2G scam. He also claimed that even CBI warned him that he would be harmed if he did not cooperate. Besides, in a talk with a news channel he also informed that the UPA government also destroyed some files related to the 2G scam. In the talk, he claimed that his charges are not politically motivated, and the former Prime Minister approved the action of his Ministers.
The author also claimed that Singh also dismissed his concerns in 2004 over Dayanidhi Maran being appointed as telecom minister as a case of conflict of interest. Maran was a broadcaster and TRAI had been made broadcasting regulator in 2004.
The book was published on 24 April 2015.
Ciudad Acuna in Mexico was in news as on 25 May 2015 it was hit by a tornado killing at least 13 people and injuring several. It was the first tornado to hit Acuna since the city’s foundation, more than 100 years ago. The city Acuna lies on US-Mexico border.
The tornado that attained the speed of 270-300 kilometer per hour at one point also damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes of the city. Rescue work is being carried out by digging through the rubble of damaged homes in a race to find victims.
On the other hand, in the United States (US), the tornado that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes dumped record rainfall on parts of the Plains and Midwest causing major flooding and forcing at least 2000 Texans to leave their homes.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 25 May 2015 launched a strategic framework for its newly-established Space Agency. The Director-General of UAE Space Agency is Mohammed Nasser Al-Ahbabi.
The framework is aimed at launching satellite missions and the first Arab unmanned probe to Mars called Hope Probe by 2021. The launch ceremony was held in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Abu Dhabi.
The drafting of strategic plan is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 that aims to establish the UAE as one of the world’s leading countries by 2021 when UAE would be celebrating its Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation. Besides, a memorandum of understanding was signed between between Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK Inc.
The agreement between the three entities, with coordination and oversight from the UAE Space Agency, marks the launch of a joint venture to introduce a graduate degree programme in advanced space science for the first time in the Middle East. The UAE’s path to space dates back to 1976, when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan met the NASA team responsible for the Apollo Moon programme. That meeting inspired nearly three decades of efforts guiding the UAE towards space and will be realised with the arrival of the Hope Probe.
Swiss Federal Tax Administration Switzerland in its official gazette that was released in the fourth week of May 2015 made public the names of two Indian women with Swiss bank accounts. These names were among the scores of foreign national names that were made public so that they can be probed in their respective countries.
The two Indians named in the gazette are Sneh Lata Sawhney and Sangita Sawhney. The country has provided only date of births of these two women. Making public these names, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration asked the two Indians to file an appeal within 30 days before the Federal Administrative Court if they do not want their details to be shared with the Indian authorities under their ‘mutual assistance’ treaty on tax matters.
Similar in the case of nationals of other countries, including British, Spanish and Russians, the country has provided similar details. Besides, in case of American and Israeli citizens, their full names have been withheld and they have been identified by their initials and dates of birth.
The Swizz Federal Gazette has named at least 40 such final notices, while it is expected that more names will be published soon.
Delhi Government on 26 May 2015 approved mandatory Global Positioning System (GPS) in all public transport vehicles from June 2015. The decision was taken keeping in view the security and safety of commuters, especially women. The GPS devices will be available from Driving Licence Appointment and Payment System (DIMTS).
The GPS devices can be procured at cost-effective rates. DIMTS will monitor all data from the GPS devices. The press release said that after 1 June 2015, no commercial or passenger vehicle will be allowed a fitness certificate if it doesn’t have a GPS device. The decision comes months after the transport department, which has been extending the deadline for mandatory GPS, announced that all passenger vehicles will need it in order to get their fitness certificates renewed.
The transport department had made it mandatory for all autorickshaws in 2014 to install GPS in order to get their annual fitness certificate. It had later expanded that ambit to cover taxis and gramin sewa. However, autorickshaw and taxi unions had been complaining about the high cost of the devices. Some have demanded subsidies.
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