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20 November 2014 National: ISRO chosen for Indira Gandhi prize for peace, disarmament Forty years of pioneerin...

GK & Current Affair Updates: November 20 - 2014

20 November 2014


ISRO chosen for Indira Gandhi prize for peace, disarmament
Forty years of pioneering work culminating in the successful launch of India’s first Mars orbiter this September has won the Indian Space Research Organisation the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2014. The award will be given to ISRO for its contribution in strengthening international cooperation in peaceful use of outer space. The award jury, chaired by Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari, made the announcement. Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is the prestigious award accorded annually by India to individuals or organizations in recognition of creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order. The prize carries a cash award of 2.5 million rupees and a citation.

45th Int'l Film Festival of India begins in Goa
The 45th International Film Festival of India begins in Goa. Mega-star of Indian cinema Amitabh Bachchan will be the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony. Southern superstar Rajinikanth will be the guest of honour. He will be given the centenary award for Indian Film Personality of the year. This will be the first time the festival will be inaugurated at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Bambolim, about eight kilometers from Panaji. Our correspondent reports that all arrangements are in place for a 11-day cinematic extravaganza which will screen 178 foreign films in various categories.

Najma Heptulla to adopt Phanda village of Bhopal
In Madhya Pradesh, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla will adopt Phanda village of Bhopal district under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. She will visit the village and interact with people. The Union Minister will work for the integrated overall development of the village.

India has world’s largest number of voluntary givers
If "achhe din" can be measured in terms of giving, India tops the charts when it comes to the largest number of volunteers anywhere in the world. Nearly 18.65 crore people in India support non-profit organizations (popularly known as NGOs) by volunteering their time and effort. In stark contrast, China, with only 6.8 crore volunteers, was fourth on this list. Compared with the previous findings relating to 2012, the number of Indians volunteering time has shot up by three percentage points as 29 million more people contributed their time in 2013. These findings were released by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), a global non-profit that compiles the World Giving Index annually. India has climbed 24 places (from 93) in its overall ranking of 69 out of the 135 countries that participated in the World Giving Index 2014 survey.


Author Neel Mukherjee's 'The Lives of Others' shortlisted for British literary prize
Kolkata boy Neel Mukherjee, who was the front runner to win the Man Booker prize 2014 but narrowly lost out, has another chance to end the year on a winning note. Mukherjee's latest novel The Lives of Others that is set in 1960s Bengal and revolves around a man's extremist political activism during troubled times has now been shortlisted for the prestigious British literary prize - The Costa Book Awards, under the category of a novel. This year's Costa Book Awards attracted 640 entries - the highest number of entries ever received in one year. Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on January 5, 2015. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2014 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on January 27, 2015.

Modi announces $ 80 m for Fiji
India’s Pacific Ocean outreach gained traction with the announcement of a slew of lines of credit and development assistance totalling $ 80 million for Fiji and a visa-on-arrival for all the 14 island countries in the region during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. Mr. Modi, who held talks with his Fijian counterpart Frank Bainimarama, also announced a $ one million Special Adaptation Fund for the Pacific nations and a proposal to develop Pan Pacific Islands Project for tele-medicine and tele-education.  His trip is the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Fiji in 33 years after Indira Gandhi in 1981. India and Fiji also agreed to expand their security and defence cooperation.

Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin dies at 78
Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown performer who scored his biggest hit with 1966's What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, has died at the age of 78. He was seriously ill and in intensive care at a Las Vegas hospital. Born in Mississippi, Ruffin moved to Detroit in the early 1960s and was signed to Motown's Miracle label. He moved to the UK in the 1980s, where he recorded songs with Paul Weller and Heaven 17. His last album, There Will Never Be Another You, was released in 2012.

Israel approves construction of new homes in West Bank
Israel has approved the construction of 78 new homes in the West Bank, in a move which could aggravate tensions between Palestinians and Israelis, which earlier erupted in a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue. Jerusalem's municipal planning committee authorised 50 new housing units in Har Homa and 28 in Ramot. Palestinians have been angered by Israel's recent plans to advance about 4,000 housing units on West Bank land annexed to the city and fear the Israeli settlements will deny them contiguous territory. The Palestinians want to establish a state in East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.

Jakarta gets its first Christian Governor
A Christian has been sworn in as Governor of Indonesia’s capital for the first time in 50 years despite protests from Islamic hardliners. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also the first ethnic Chinese person to become an Indonesian Governor, took the oath of office in a ceremony led by President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo. Mr. Widodo was Governor until becoming President in August 2014.

Business & Economy:

Securities market regulator SEBI approves new insider trading rules
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has tightened rules to keep a check on insider trading and made it cheaper for small investors to participate in companies' delisting process. As part of the revamp in insider trading norms, the capital market regulator has barred directors and key management personnel of listed companies from trading in futures and options contracts of the company. It has also put the onus on the accused to prove that he or she was not in possession of unpublished pricesensitive information. Under the new delisting rules, investors will be able to tender their shares on stock exchanges. This move will help reduce their tax outgo. Sebi has also shortened the period for the delisting process to 76 working days from 137 calendar days. Sebi has also brought in a new set of regulations for listing compliance.

UP sets up Rani Laxmi Bai women empowerment Fund
The Uttar Pradesh government has set up Rani Laxmi Bai women empowerment Fund, like the Nirbhaya Fund, to help out women needing monetary assistance. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the Modern Control Room (MCR) at Lucknow yesterday on the birth anniversary of Rani Laxmibai. This fund will be of 100 crores. He said, empowering women is top priority of the state government. The Chief Minister also donated 1 lakh rupees to the newly set up fund. A scheme to honour women with awards will also be started with this fund.

NABARD sanctions Rs 309cr to Gujarat
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development NABARD has sanctioned a loan of 309 crore rupees to Gujarat for lying of sub-minor canals of Sardar Sarovar dam Project. NABARD has sanctioned this amount under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund-RIDF. The project will be implemented by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) over a period of two years. The project was sanctioned to ensure that the benefit of irrigation system originating from Narmada Dam Main Canal reaches the last mile of farming community. Sub-minors are under-ground pipelines of aggregate length of 4525 kilometers in the command area of Sardar Sarovar Project. This will benefit around four lakh rural population in 2 thousand villages.

NTPC to set up 70 model schools in Odisha
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has decided to set up 70 model schools in Odisha. NTPC has also decided to set up an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Ganjam district of the state. NTPC chairman AR Choudhuy accepted a proposal in this regard proposed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The NTPC chairman also discussed about setting up of electricity project in Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district and a medical college in Sundergarh district of Odisha. Energy Minister of Odisha Pranab Prakash Das, Chief Secretary GC Pati and other senior officials of the state government were presented in the meeting.


Doha to host 2019 World Athletics Championships
Qatar's emergence as a global sporting hub gained further clout when Doha was chosen as host city for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. The fast-growing city alongside the Arabian Gulf will become the first from the Middle East to stage the blue riband event. Overlooked for the 2017 championships in favour of London, the Qatari capital was selected ahead of rival bids from 1992 Olympic hosts Barcelona and the American city of Eugene. Doha is already an established venue on the IAAF Diamond League circuit and hosted the 2012 World Indoors Championships.