General Studies & Current Affairs for Bank, SSC, CLAT, Civil Services and other Competitive Exams

15  December 2014 National: SAARC scientists gather in Port Blair to review climate change impact on coral reef Several scient...

GK & Current Affair Updates: December 15- 2014

15  December 2014

SAARC scientists gather in Port Blair to review climate change impact on coral reef
Several scientists from SAARC countries will come together in Andaman and Nicobar Islands capital Port Blair for a five-day workshop that aims to throw light on the impact of climate change on coral reefs and protection of the environment. The scientists from India, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka will participate in the event, which will conclude on 19th of December 2014. The workshop has been organised by India's leading scientific institute National Institute of Oceanography, NIO for SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre. Chief Scientist S Prasanna Kumar said, the main objective of the workshop is to build capacity among SAARC countries to understand and conserve this precious eco system.

India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine gears up for maiden sea trials
India's first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is now finally all set to make its maiden foray into the wide-open sea. The 6,000-tonne vessel, with an 83MW pressurized light-water reactor at its core for propulsion, is slated to begin its sea trials off Visakhapatnam. INS Arihant, or the "annihilator of enemies'', and its two under-construction follow-on vessels are the critical missing link in the country's long-standing pursuit to have an operational nuclear weapons triad — the capability to fire nuclear warhead from land, air and sea. While the Agni ballistic missiles and fighter-bombers constitute the first two legs, the triad's missing underwater leg has for long troubled the country's strategic establishment.

BPL families in MP to get Rs 100 incentive on linking bank accounts with Aadhar
The Madhya Pradesh government will give Rs 100 incentive amount to BPL families on linking their bank accounts with Aadhar number by 31st January 2015. The amount will be deposited directly in their bank accounts. The state government has taken this decision to activate zero balance bank accounts so their owners could avail the benefits of Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojna like accident insurance and over draft of Rs 5,000. One crore 4 lakh families already had bank accounts while over 49 lakh bank accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana.


Shinzo Abe led ruling coalition wins Japan election
Japan's governing parties have won a two thirds majority in the Lower House election. The Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and its coalition partner, Komeito, garnered 326 seats, one more than a two thirds majority, in the 475 seat Lower House. A two thirds majority in the chamber will allow the re-enactment of bills rejected by the Upper House. A two thirds majority in the Lower House also makes it possible to propose amending the Constitution. The largest opposition group, the Democratic Party of Japan, won 73 seats, 11 more than its pre-election strength of 62, but DPJ President Banri Kaieda lost his seat.

Miss South Africa crowned Miss World, Koyal Rana in top 10
Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the pageant's final in London, with an estimated billion viewers watching on television around the globe. Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the 64th annual competition, contested by women from 121 countries. Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was presented with the sash by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines. The medical student sat in the winner's throne as the 2013 champion put the glittering crown on her head before a fireworks finale at the ExCeL exhibition centre in east London. Priyanka Chopra was the last Indian winner of the coveted title in 2000. 21-year-old Jaipur-born Rana made it to the top 10 but failed to make it to the top five. Rana, however, bagged the sub-title of Best Designer of the world where she was seen standing gorgeously tall in a Falguni & Shane Peacock gown. She also shared the “Beauty With A Purpose” title with Kenya, Guyana, Brazil and Indonesia. She was amongst top five in the Beach Beauty contest.

UAE breaks world record for longest graffiti wall
The United Arab Emirates has broken the world record for the longest graffiti wall in its most populous city Dubai. While graffiti artists can be arrested for defacing walls, streets or public buildings, hundreds have been invited from around the world to create the record-breaking piece of art to celebrate the UAE's 43rd National Day. Dubai is a city that holds an eclectic array of world records, such as the largest fireworks display, the tallest skyscraper and the most luxurious hotel. And now it has also set the record for the world's longest graffiti scroll. The work stretches more than two kilometres along Jumeirah Beach and depicts the UAE's history over 43 years. The commission is also part of the government's efforts to transform the city into an open-air gallery.

U.N. Talks Agree to Building Blocks for New-Style Climate Deal in 2015
About 190 nations agreed the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit increases in global temperatures. Under the deal reached in Lima, governments will submit national plans for reining in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015 to form the basis of a global agreement due at a summit in Paris in a year's time. It also satisfied rich nations led by the United States who say it is time for fast-growing emerging economies to rein in fast-rising emissions. China is now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the United States, the EU and India. U.S. Special Climate Change Envoy Todd Stern said that a joint U.S.-China deal to curb emissions had helped show new ways to bridge a standoff between rich and poor. The U.N. Climate Change Secretariat says that the combined pledges by all nations likely in Paris will be too weak to achieve a goal of limiting warming to an agreed goal of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Libya's biggest oil exporting port terminal closed down due to fighting
Libya's biggest oil exporting port terminal at the Es Sider oil export port has been closed down due to intense fighting close to the port. Air strikes by forces loyal to Libya's duly elected government hit targets near the port to stop the advances of the troops of the rival administration in Tripoli. The Ras Lanuf port east of Es Sider was still operating but the al-Waha Oil Co running the Es Sider port had halted work. The company had been producing around 200,000 barrels a day. The Government is working from eastern city of Tobruk fearing attacks by the Islamists who now control Tripoli and Benghazi.

Business & Economy:

IOC is India's biggest company: Fortune 500 list
State-run Indian Oil Corporation is the country's largest company in terms of revenue, followed by Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum in the second and third place respectively, according to the Fortune 500 list of Indian companies for 2014. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) tops the chart with an annual revenue of Rs 5,00,973 crore, while Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) full-year revenue is Rs 4,44,021 crore. Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) is at the third spot with a revenue of Rs 2,67,718 crore. Hindustan Petroleum's (HPCL) Rs 2,36,797 crore revenue earned the fourth place in the Fortune 500 list.

Over 1 lakh cr rupees pumped by FIIs into stocks so far in 2014
The foreign institutional investors, FIIs have pumped in over one-lakh crore rupees into stocks. Foreign Institutional Investors, FIIs, made a net investment of nearly 1.1 lakh crore rupees into equity market so far in 2014 and a further 1.6 lakh crore rupees into debt markets, resulting a total investment of over 2.7 lakh crore rupees into the Indian capital market. The FIIs had made a net infusion of 1.1 lakh crore rupees into equity markets during 2013, while a record high amount of 1.3 lakh crore rupees was pumped in the year 2010. This would be the fourth time in history that net FII inflows for a year would cross 1 lakh crore rupees mark.

Forex reserves decline to $314.6 billion
India's foreign exchange reserves have dropped by a massive 1.649 billion US dollar to 314.661 billion dollar in the week to December 5. According to RBI data released stated the forex reserve have fallen due to decline in the Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs), which is a major constituent of overall reserves. The RBI data showed that this week FCAs declined by 867.4 million dollar US to 289.954 billion dollar. The RBI data also stated that the country's gold reserves, too, dropped by 753.2 million US dollar to 18.985 billion dollar. The Data showed that Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) decreased by 21.6 million US dollar to 4.208 billion dollar, while the country's reserve position with the IMF dipped by 7.7 million dollar to 1.513 billion US dollar during the week under review.

Arunachal Pradesh signs pact with Russian power company
Arunachal Pradesh has roped in RusHydro International, a company partly owned by the Russian government, to explore collaboration prospects in creating manpower for the several hydro-electric projects coming up in the state. The collaboration, which was in the form of a joint cooperation declaration between the state government and the Russian company, intends to provide modular education facilities for developing technical manpower in the state with its tie-ups with professional and reputed educational institutions. RusHydro International is one of Russia’s largest power generating companies with 38.2 GW installed electricity generation capacity distributed over 70 renewable energy source facilities across the country.


Germany lifts Champions Trophy Hockey Title
Olympic Champions Germany has lifted the Champions Trophy Hockey Title. In the final at Bhubaneswar, they defeated Pakistan by a convincing 2-Nil margin. Earlier, India lost to Australia 1-2 in a hard-fought bronze medal play-off match of the eight-nation tournament. The only time India had won a medal in the ChampionsTrophy was when they bagged a bronze in the 1982 edition in Amsteelveen, the Netherlands. India had also finished fourth in the last edition of the tournament in Melbourne two years ago. In other classification encounters, the Netherlands defeated Argentina 4-1 in the fifth-sixth place play-off match, while England defeated Belgium 3-2 to finish seventh.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu retains Grand Prix title
Japanese Olympic and world champion figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu has defended his title at the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Spain. He is the first Japanese skater to win the title back to back in the men's division.

Smith named Australia's stand-in captain
Steven Smith will become Australia's 45th Test captain after being confirmed to replace Michael Clarke as leader for the remainder of the series against India. Smith has officially taken over the Test vice-captaincy from Brad Haddin as Australia's selectors sought a more long-term solution than temporarily handing control to the 37-year-old Haddin. Smith will become the third-youngest man to captain Australia in Test cricket, behind Ian Craig and Kim Hughes. Clarke has already said that he will need to consider his future given the recurring nature of his hamstring and back injuries, and it raises the possibility that Smith could effectively be stepping into the role on a full-time basis.