1. ISRO commissions Titanium Sponge Plant in Kerala
i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 10 August has fully commissioned and started commercial production at the first indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala.
ii. The initiative was taken by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre to establish Titanium Sponge Plant (TSP) a dedicated 500 MT per annum plant at M/s Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara in Kollam district, Kerala.
iii. It is the only integrated plant in the world that undertakes all activities right from mining of Ti minerals to manufacturing of aerospace grade Ti sponge under one roof.
iv. It is a Titanium (Ti) alloy products produced by conversion of raw titanium through Kroll process which is subjected to leaching or heated vacuum distillation to remove impurities and gaining the purest form (99.7 per cent) of Titanium Sponge. India has become the seventh country in the world producing Titanium sponge commercially.
2. ICICI Bank launches ‘Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ Scheme for weaker sections
i. India’s largest private sector lender Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank has launched ‘ICICI Bank Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ Scheme for weaker sections of society.
ii. The scheme is new home loan proposition of the bank with special interest rate to cater people from rural areas including women borrowers as well as from weaker sections.
iii. Housing loan will be provided at the ICICI Bank Base Rate (known as I-Base) which is currently at 9.70%. An eligible customer can avail of loan to purchase, construction or renovation of a home in the rural areas.
iv. The loan will range from five to fifteen lakh rupees for a period of 3–20 years and the loan can be up to 90 per cent of the property value.
v. With the launch of this scheme, the private bank seeks to support the socio-economic development of a larger section of the society especially economically deprived sections.
3. Kerala government announces State film awards 2014
i. Kerala government announced State film awards 2014 in various categories. The list of awardees was declared by State Minister for Cinema Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
- Best actor award: Nivin Pauly (Bangalore Days and 1983) and Sudev Nair (My Life Partner).
- Best actress: Nasriya Naseem for her performance in the films ‘Om Shanthi Hosana’ and ‘Bangalore Days’.
- Best Director: Sanalkumar Sasidharan for his film OraalPokkam.
4. Google unveils restructuring under new parent company Alphabet Inc
i. Search engine giant Google Inc has announced formation of a new holding or parent company called Alphabet Inc to encompass its search engine unit and all other subsidiaries.
ii. The new parent company was formed as part of Google’s new organisational structure which will help the company to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities and products.
iii. Now Google will be replaced by Alphabet Inc as the publicly-traded entity and all its shares will automatically converted into the of shares of new parent entity with same rights. Under the new structural arrangement all subsidiaries of Google will be brought under the control of Alphabet Inc which will come into effect later 2015.
iv. The new company will be led by Co-founder and current CEO of Google Larry Page while Sergey Brin, the other co-founder will serve as the President and Eric Schmidt will be executive Chairman. Google’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ruth Porat will become CFO of Alphabet and current directors of the company will become directors of Alphabet Inc.
v. Chennai born Sundar Pichai has been appointed of as CEO of new Google (subsidiary of Alphabet).
5. Kochi first to join World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council
i. Kochi becomes first Indian city to be a member of Beijing headquartered, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council and join its league of leading tourism cities across the world. The invitation to be the member of the council was sent to Kerala Tourism Department by WTCF which was formally accepted the state Tourism Department on 10 August 2015.
ii. The membership acceptance document was handed over to Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng by the Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the function held in Kochi.
iii. Kochi was invited to be the member of the council on ground of its partnerships in culture, sports and tourism. In case of Kochi its cuisine, martial arts and snake and dragon boat races fulfils the set ground for membership.
iv. The WTCF, headquartered at Beijing is a non-profit, non-governmental international organisation voluntarily formed by tourism cities like Los Angeles, Berlin, Barcelona and many other world famous tourism cities and tourism-related institutions.
6. India’s social security pact with Canada comes into force
i. The social security pact between India and Canada which was approved by Union Cabinet in 2013 comes into force after two years of long waiting. According to the pact the employees posted by Indian entities in Canada are not required to contribute towards Canada’s social security schemes for period of 60 months and similarly the Canadian employees posted in India would enjoy the same benefit.
ii. The employees on both the countries will be able to enjoy this benefit only when they produce a certificate of coverage that specifies that they are contributing towards social security schemes such as PF and pension in their home country.
iii. This pact was sign to enable Indian as well as Canadian employees to avoid double social security contribution and to enhance competitiveness of their services and products.
iv. Government has authorised Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to implement social security agreements in India and to issue certificate of coverage to the employees posted by Indian entities to Canada.
7. Sania Mirza to be conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
i. Sania Mirza on Tuesday became only the second tennis player to be recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star cricketer Rohit Sharma and ace shooter Jitu Rai were among the 17 sportspersons picked for this year's Arjuna awards.
ii. Sania, currently ranked world number one in women's doubles, scripted history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women's doubles Grand Slam when she partnered Swiss great Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy earlier this year.
iii. Sania is only the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Paes had been bestowed the honour way back in 1996 after his bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics.
iv. The 28-year-old, who has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career, beat competition from squash player Deepika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, track and field star Tintu Luka, rising shuttler P V Sindhu, and hockey captain Sardar Singh for the coveted honour.
8. 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze: India top Asian Youth Chess Championship with 17 medals
i. India impressed with a rich haul of 17 medals to be declared overall winners in the Asian Youth Chess Championship that concluded here today.
Bagging 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze out of the available 36 medals, Indian juniors made their presence felt in the event organised by Korea Chess Federation.
ii. Iran took four gold, two silver and one bronze for a tally of seven medals. Vietnam won four medals, one gold, two silver and one bronze, while strong contender China could win just two medals in one gold and one silver.
iii. Players like Divya Deshmukh (Girls Under-10) of Nagpur, R Vaishali (Girls U-14) of Chennai have won both Asian and World Age Group competitions. Vaishali won by the widest of margins.
iv. Champions Bharath Subramaniyam (Open U-8), Aakanksha (Girls U-16) and Krishna Teja (Open U-18) are a few names we are going to read more in the future.