1. India wins UNESCO Award for conserving Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala
i. India has won the UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ 2015 for the conservation efforts of the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala.
ii. The top award was given in the Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation. This award recognises the conservation effort of sacred sites and its tangible attributes with conservation techniques emphasising on architecture and construction.
iii. These scared sites employ age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from vastu shastra focusing on construction and architecture.
iv. It should be noted that, UNESCO’s “Award of Merit” in Heritage Award was bestowed upon 150-year-old Sino-Portuguese former residence of a Thai aristocrat, which now has been converted into a local museum and historic inn.
v. Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thrissur district of Kerala.
2. Union Government recognizes Yoga as Sports discipline
i. Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has decided to recognize Yoga as a sports discipline and place it in the Priority category.
ii. This decision was taken by Ministry while reviewing and revising the categorization of various Sports disciplines.
iii. The sport of Fencing was upgraded from Others to General category based on the major past performance at international events.
3. Los Angeles to Be U.S. Bidder to Host 2024 Olympics
i. Eight months after finishing as the runner-up to Boston, Los Angeles has officially been chosen as the United States candidate for the 2024 Olympics, city officials announced Tuesday.
ii. Los Angeles is throwing itself into a contest — along with Paris; Rome; Budapest; and Hamburg, Germany — that some cities have grown increasingly hesitant to enter in recent years, as the financial pitfalls of hosting the Games have become more apparent.
iii. Boston, the U.S.O.C.’s original choice to bid for the 2024 Games, backed out earlier this year when concerns about costs the city might incur eroded public support.
iv. Los Angeles would face few of the financial challenges that have troubled past hosts, citing the city’s history of hosting successfully twice before, in 1932 and 1984
4. Durban in South Africa confirmed as 2022 Commonwealth Games host
i. The South African city of Durban has been selected as the host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Federation’s general assembly in New Zealand on Wednesday.
ii. Organisers said the Games would be held from 18 to 30 July, opening on the birth date of the late South African President and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
iii. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome the South African city of Durban as proud hosts of the 22nd Commonwealth Games,” the outgoing CGF president Prince Tunku Imran said. “As a movement we stand together to support the very first games on African soil.”
iv. The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from over 50 countries, mostly former British colonies. First held in 1930, 2022 will mark the first time the Games will be held in Africa, a move that could pave the way for South Africa to make another attempt for the Olympics after Cape Town finished third in bidding for the 2004 summer Games.
5. NASA’s SERVIR-Mekong project to help monitor environment in Southeast Asia
i. NASA and US Agency for International Development (USAID) have started the SERVIR-Mekong project, to strengthen the environmental monitoring in Southeast Asia region.
ii. It has been launched in the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand to serve the 5 countries of the Mekong River Basin viz. Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
iii. The focus of this project is to host vital issues in the Mekong river basin region in the five countries which is often called as rice bowl of Asia.
iv. It will enable these countries better address issues of natural resource and disaster management and support climate resilience studies including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
v. The project will help these Governments incorporate Earth observations and geospatial technologies in improving management of water and natural resources.
vi. Provide early warning of dramatic changes in regional water, weather, land cover and land use and climate and food security.
6. AK Jha appointed as interim CMD of NTPC Limited
i. A K Jha has been given additional charge of interim Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited.
ii. Presently, he is NTPC’s Director (Technical) and will be interim CMD for three months from September 1, 2015.
iii. Jha had joined NTPC as an Executive Trainee in 1977 and was directly associated with its flagship project Singrauli (5×200 MW).
iv. He has rich and varied corporate experience of 38 years in areas spanning across power projects such as engineering and design, monitoring and project planning, construction and management.
7. Snapdeal acquires Silicon Valley startup Reduce Data
i. Snapdeal has acquired Silicon Valley-based startup Reduce Data, a programmatic display advertising platform, the New Delhi-based online marketplace announced on Wednesday.
ii. While the financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, the Reduce Data team will join Snapdeal, as the latter's bid to build a world class discovery platform and associated tools for brands as well as over 200,000 sellers on the marketplace, the company said in a press statement.
iii. This is the twelfth buyout announced by Snapdeal since 2010.
iv. Founded in 2012 by Asif Ali, Reduce Data's platform uses artificial intelligence, real-time data and other tools, to help brands deliver advertising strategies for consumers across platforms and devices.