Daily GK Updates 22 February 2015 Current Affairs

1. UK to unveil Gandhi’s bronze statute on March 14i. Mahatma Gandhi’s bronze statue at Britain’s Parliament Square in London will be unveiled on March 14, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Sunday.
ii. The announcement came as the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust surpassed the 1 million pound mark in donations, with steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal adding 100,000 pounds and the Infosys board chaired by KV Kamath 250,000 pounds in the last few weeks.

iii. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to be the special guest at the ceremony to install the statue.
iv. “The statue in Parliament Square not only marks his huge importance in the history of both our countries, but will enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and it’s largest,” Mr. Cameron said in a statement.

2. India smash WC jinx, beat South Africa by 130 runs

i. Riding on another strong batting display powered by Shikhar Dhawan’s strokeful century, India today crushed South Africa by a massive 130 runs to beat them for the first time in World Cup cricket.
ii. India now appear set for a berth in the quarterfinals after their two comprehensive wins over Pakistan and South Africa which places them on top of Group B. They have yet to play the only other team of substance, the West Indies, with the remainder of the group being made up of Ireland, Zimbabwe and UAE.
iii. Dhawan’s career-best 137 propelled India to a comfortable 307 for seven today before the bowlers performed brilliantly to bundle out the Proteas for 177 in 40.2 overs in what turned out to be a rather lopsided contest at the packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
iv. This was India’s maiden World Cup win against South Africa after having lost the clashes in 1992, 1999 and 2011. With two wins from as many matches, India now have a very good chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals as group leaders.

3. Singapore Foreign Minister to visit India this week

i. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam will be visiting Sri Lanka and India from Feb 23 to Feb 26, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Sunday (Feb 22).
ii. MFA said in a statement that Mr Shanmugam’s trip to Sri Lanka is aimed at reaffirming the strong and friendly relations between Singapore and Sri Lanka.
iii. He will visit Colombo, where he will call on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He will also meet Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweera and central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran.
iv. In India, Mr Shanmugam will discuss how Singapore can strengthen bilateral cooperation with the states of Rajasthan and Andra Pradesh in meetings with their chief ministers.

4. India, Russia sort out differences on fighter jet project

i. India and Russia have generally agreed upon the amount and division of work during the research and
development (R&D) stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project.
ii. A contract for the R&D phase is being prepared and expected to be signed this year, said Yuli Slyusar, president and chairman of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) at Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru.
iii. “The Russian and Indian parties have generally agreed on the work share of each,” said company officials but refused to divulge specific details at this stage.
iv. The work share of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been a contentious issue as the project will have equal investment between India and Russia and is likely to cost over $30 billion for about 400 aircraft. India plans to induct 144 of them. But HAL’s share in the work has been limited to a meagre 13 per cent so far which will not build any critical technological gains. Both sides have been holding discussions to sort this out before the final agreement.

5. Maldives arrest ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on terror charges

i. Maldives authorities arrested former president and current opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday, ordering him to stand trial for his 2012 decision to arrest a senior judge.
ii. Nasheed’s supporters protested in the streets of the capital, Male, following the arrest in a sign that the Indian Ocean archipelago nation, in just its seventh year of multiparty democracy following 30 years of autocratic rule, could be plunging into political uncertainty.
iii. A document signed by a senior criminal court judge seen by The Associated Press said Nasheed was being charged under anti-terrorism laws. Television stations in the country aired scenes of the arrest.
iv. Nasheed resigned as president in February 2012 following weeks of public protests against his order to arrest Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed. In 2013, he lost the presidential election to current President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, a half-brother of the country’s 30-year autocratic ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom.

6. Deepak Parekh Suggests Large PSU Divestments, Wants Pro-Growth Budget

i. Pitching for disinvestment in public sector behemoths like LIC, Air India and BSNL, top industry leader Deepak Parekh has said it can unlock huge funds worth “lakhs of crores of rupees” and shares should be given to retail investors without depending on the overseas entities.
ii. However, one of the major requirements for such large- scale disinvestments is a government thinking on those lines, as lack of political will and union pressure have been halting such proposals for a long time including during the tenure of the previous UPA government, he said.
iii. Giving examples from during the UPA regime, Mr Parekh said he has been part of many important government panels, including those on BSNL and Indian Railways, but nothing moved on the suggestions made by those committees.

7. Hasina favours ‘speedy’ punishment for Bangladesh arsonists

i. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday called for “speedy” and “exemplary” punishment for arsonists and their backers in the strife-torn country.
ii. Hasina met senior officials and drew attention to the violence and anarchy that have been accompanying the blockade being enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led opposition, and said people must be saved from such anarchical activities, according to a bdnews24.com report.
iii. “There should be speedy punishment (for) those caught red-handed… those instigating the incidents, those who are funding them, those who are making the bombs and supplying them,” she said.
iv. The opposition BNP and its allies — having boycotted the general elections held Jan 5 last year — have enforced a non-stop nationwide blockade since Jan 6, demanding fresh parliamentary polls under a non-party caretaker government system.

8. Speaker rejects Manjhi’s charge of bias as ‘baseless’

i. Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday NarayanChoudhary today dismissed charges levelled against him byChief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi as baseless and imaginary. Talking to mediapersons today to set the record straightand dismiss charges levelled against him, Mr Choudhary saidthat a doctor and an ambulance is always kept ready in theLegislative Assembly during every session as routinepractice.
ii. He said this while replying to the allegation ofphysical assault by Mr Manjhi during trust vote. \”Since February 7, Vidhan Sabha and I have been facingcharges hurled from all quarters. However, the charges werebaseless and imaginary,\” he argued. The Speaker regretted that consistent attempts were madeto lower the dignity of the legislative assembly. So much sothat the constitutional post of speaker was made the butt of attacks.
iii. He contended that whatever decisions were taken by thelegislative assembly, were within the purview of theconstitution and impartial.

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