Current Affairs Update – 13th April, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs for 13 April, 2015.

PM’s
Visit to Germany, France, Canada –
Modi inaugurates
German industrial fair, The Hanover Messe

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened on Sunday the Hanover
    Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, alongside German Chancellor Angela
    Merkel.
  • India is the partner country of this year’s trade fair,
    which brings together about 6,500 exhibitors from 70 nations. About 400
    industry representatives are expected from India.
  • India plans to use its prominent role in Hanover to help get
    rid of its image as a complicated place to do business in.
  • Part of a three-nation tour that includes France and Canada,
    Mr. Modi’s visit to the fair will include a tour of the premises and an
    Indo-German Business Summit.
  • On Tuesday he is due in Berlin, where he will be greeted
    with full military honours ahead of talks with Ms. Merkel at her office. While
    in Germany, Mr. Modi is also due to hold talks with German Economics Minister
    Sigmar Gabriel and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
  • Mr. Modi is promoting his “Make In India”
    campaign, which he launched in September 2014 to encourage foreign companies to
    manufacture their products in India. The campaign identified 25 key sectors –
    including automotive, pharmaceuticals, information technology and tourism and hospitality
    – as having the maximum potential for growth.
  • Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe and
    total bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at 16.08 billion
    euro (17 billion dollars) in 2013. There are currently more than 1,600
    Indo-German business collaborations and 600 Indo-German joint ventures in
    operation.
  • In France last week, Mr. Modi met with French President
    Francois Hollande. The two leaders announced multiple bilateral deals,
    including India’s purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets and two separate
    agreements related to a nuclear power project in Jaitapur, in Maharashtra.

Finance
India to clock 7.9%
GDP growth in FY16: Morgan Stanley

  • The country’s economy will grow at 7.9 per cent this fiscal
    and 8.4 per cent in FY 2016-17, on the back of policy reforms, spurt in
    domestic demand and lower inflation, according to foreign brokerage Morgan
    Stanley.
  • Under the new growth computation methodology, the GDP
    expansion at market prices will go up to 7.9 per cent in FY16 and accelerate
    further to 8.4 per cent in FY17, it said.
  • Stating that the risk to the growth forecasts are “evenly
    balanced”, it said the pace of policy actions to revive productivity dynamic,
    strength of external demand recovery and trend in capital inflows into emerging
    markets are the key factors to monitor.
  • The country switched to a newer system of GDP growth
    computation, which made it the fastest growing major economy in the world.
    Analysts still take the numbers with caution due to absence of back data.
  • Morgan Stanley said under the older series of growth, its
    FY16 growth estimate remains unchanged at 6.5 per cent.

Business
Deals & MoUs –
Royal Dutch Shell Plc
acquired BG Group for about 70 billion US dollar
  • Royal Dutch Shell Plc on 8 April 2015 acquired BG Group for
    about 70 billion US dollar. The deal would vault Shell far ahead of rivals like
    Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp. in the race to build market share for
    Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
  • The deal marks the most aggressive step yet in the
    competition to be the world’s dominant supplier of LNG.
  • LNG is a chilled form of natural gas used for electricity
    generation and home heating.
  • The acquisition is a bet that countries like China, India
    and others in the developing world will move toward cleaner burning fuels like
    natural gas instead of coal amid growing pressure to curb emissions.
  • The rival firm Exxon Mobil, estimates that the global trade
    in liquefied natural gas will more than triple through 2040, to nearly 100
    billion cubic feet a day—roughly 40% higher than current U.S. gas output.

India
               
India, North Korea
Foreign Ministers Meet, Swaraj Conveys Security Concerns

  • India’s security concerns were today conveyed to Ri Su Yong,
    Foreign Minister of North Korea which has close military ties with Pakistan.
  • Ri, the first ever Foreign Minister from his country to
    visit India, held discussions with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in a
    “frank and and friendly atmosphere”, according to a statement by the
    MEA.
  • The meeting, which comes nearly a month ahead of Prime
    Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Seoul, also provided an opportunity to the
    Indian side to re-assess its relationship with North Korea, which is under
    heavy economic and other sanctions from the UN and western countries.
  • India has been worried over Pakistan’s export of nuclear
    fissile material and reports that Pyongyang has been supplying missiles to
    Pakistan.
  • Despite sanctions and other multi-national efforts, the international
    community has not been able to curb the deep ambitions of Pyongyang, which has
    conducted several nuclear tests.
  • This has lead to tougher sanctions imposed on North Korean
    banking, travel and trade, reflecting the country’s increased international
    isolation.

Election Commission
sets up committee to allow migrants to vote
  • After the government’s green light to NRIs to cast their
    votes from abroad, the Election Commission has set up a committee of senior
    officers to consider whether electoral laws can be changed to empower voters
    who have migrated to other States within the country.
  • The poll body is considering whether inter-State migrant
    voters could retain their names on the electoral rolls of their native places,
    and also, if they could cast their votes through mechanisms such as postal
    ballot.
  • Under the present law, a person can be enrolled only at the
    place he is residing. A migrant has to get himself enrolled in the new place.
  • A relaxation of this law would prove beneficial to
    cadre-based parties in keeping their vote bank intact, especially in States
    such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu where many youths are migrating to other States
    for jobs.

Essar Power
commissions first unit at Paradip plant
  • Essar Power, one of India’s leading private sector power
    producers, today announced commissioning of the first unit of 30 MW project at
    its 120 MW captive power plant at Paradip in Odisha.
  • In the coming months, the balance 90 MW (3 X 30 MW) would be
    commissioned in phases, a company release said.
  • The 120 MW coal fired power plant will meet the power
    requirement of Essar Steel’s 12 million tonnes per annum integrated palletisation
    facility in Odisha.
  • The facility comprises a palletisation plant at Paradip and
    a beneficiation plant at Dabuna, connected through a 253 km slurry pipeline.
  • Upon completion, Essar Steel would have access to cheap and
    reliable power supply, thereby improving its competitive edge.

Awards
& Honors
               
Bihari Puraskar for
Writer-Journalist Om Thanvi
  • Noted writer and journalist Om Thanvi has been selected for
    the 2014 Bihari Puraskar for his book ‘Muanjodaro’, a travelogue which traces
    remains of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • In the book, Thanvi gives an detailed account of the famous
    civilisation and presents an analytical study of the historical and cultural
    heritage of India.
  • In literary circles, 55-year-old Thanvi is known for his
    unique style of story telling in simple and lucid language.
  • Instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991, Bihari
    Puraskar is given annually to an outstanding literary work in Hindi or
    Rajasthani published during last 10 years by a Rajasthani writer.
  • Apart from original residents of Rajasthan, it is open to
    those living in the state for last seven years. The award carries a cash purse
    of Rs one lakh, a citation and a plaque.
  • The selection for the award was made by a six-member panel
    of academicians.
  • Thanvi was born on August 1, 1959 in Falaudi in Jodhpur. He
    had worked in Rajasthan Patrika and Saptahik Itvari Patrika before joining
    Hindi daily Jansatta in 1989.

Sports
Brijbushan Sharan
Singh re-elected as President of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)
  • Brijbhushan Sharan Singh was on 11 April 2015 re-elected as
    the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for a four-year term.
  • As the president of the WFI he will guide the General
    Council of the federation and set the policy tone in order to achieve the
    objectives enshrined in the WFI Constitution.
  • He was elected unopposed during the 2012 elections also, as
    no other candidate had filed a nomination for the post.
  • In the recent elections held in New Delhi, all the office
    bearers and members of the executive committee in the previous term were
    elected unopposed including ID Nanavati, VN Prasood who were elected as senior
    Vice President and Secretary General respectively.

New Zealand won
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s hockey tournament by defeating Australia
  • New Zealand on 12 April 2015 won the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah
    Cup men’s hockey tournament. In the final clash played at the Sultan Azlan Shah
    Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia, New Zealand defeated World Champions Australia 3-1.
  • New Zealand’s win was steered by three saves from goalkeeper
    Devon Manchester.
  • New Zealand won the title for only the second time since the
    inception of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition in 1983. New Zealand’s first
    victory came in 2012 against Argentina.
  • On the other hand, Australia had won the cup in 1983, 1996,
    2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
  • Earlier, India defeated South Korea 4-1 in a penalty
    shootout to clinch the Broze medal (third position). This is the first major
    win for India in Hockey since it won the Gold medal of Hockey at the Incheon
    Asian Games 2014 defeating Pakistan in the final.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Highlights:
  1. Champion: New Zealand
  2. Runner up: Australia
  3. Third Place: India
  4. Best Player: Andy Hayward of New Zealand
  5. Fair Play Award (Raja Ashman Shah Trophy): Canada
  6. Top scorer: Jamie Dwyer of Australia with 7 goals
  7. Best Goalkeeper: Devon Manchester of New Zealand
  8. Man-of-the-match: Mark Knowles of Australia

World
NASA offers $18,000
to people to stay in bed

  • NASA is offering to pay people USD 18,000 — all they have to
    do is spend 70 days in bed.
  • The US space agency’s ‘Bed Rest’ research is designed to
    study the effects of prolonged exposure to micro-gravity and requires
    participants to remain horizontal for a period of 70 days.
  • In the study, scientists will gauge how effective exercise
    would be for astronauts who lose muscle, cardiovascular and bone function while
    in zero-gravity conditions.
  • Participants would first spend two to three weeks moving
    around and doing normal everyday things inside the “bed rest facility”.
  • They would then spend 10 weeks lying in a bed with their
    body tilted slightly backwards with their head down and feet up.
  • The only way to relieve and clean oneself would be by using
    a plastic bedpan and washing with a hand-held shower-head while still
    horizontal. The test subjects may also experience back and neck pain from
    constant lying down.

Obituaries
German Nobel laureate
Gunter Grass dies at age 87

  • Gunter Grass, the Nobel-winning German writer who gave voice
    to the generation that came of age during the horrors of the Nazi era but later
    ran into controversy over his own World War II past and stance toward Israel,
    has died. He was 87.
  • Grass was lauded by Germans for helping to revive their
    culture in the aftermath of World War II and helping to give voice and support
    to democratic discourse in the post war nation.
  • Yet he provoked the ire of many in 2006 when he revealed in
    his memoir “Skinning the Onion” that, as a teenager, he had served in the
    Waffen-SS, the combat arm of Adolf Hitler’s notorious paramilitary
    organization.
  • In 2012, Grass drew sharp criticism at home and was declared
    persona non grata by Israel after publishing a prose poem, “What Must Be Said,”
    in which he criticized what he described as Western hypocrisy over Israel’s
    nuclear program and labelled the country a threat to “already fragile world
    peace” over its belligerent stance on Iran.
  • “The Tin Drum” became an overnight success a fact that Grass
    told in 2009 surprised him. Asked to reflect why the book became so popular, he
    noted that it tackles one of the most daunting periods of German history by
    focusing on the minutiae in the lives of ordinary people.
  • Then he quipped- “Perhaps because it’s a good book.”
  • Three decades after its release, in 1999, the Swedish
    Academy honoured Grass with the Nobel Prize for literature, praising him for
    setting out to revive German literature after the Nazi era.



Regards

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