Daily GK Update: 16th September 2015 Important Current Affairs
1. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan from Kerala wins Bonn mayoral election
i. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, who won a recent mayoral election in German city of Bonn, has his roots in the South Indian state of Kerala.
ii. Sridharan, who will be appointed as the country's first Indian origin mayor, also brought the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to power in Bonn after over two decades by defeating the ruling Social Democratic Party.
iii. Sridharan's father, who was an Indian diplomat, immigrated to Germany in the 1950s and married his German mother.
iv. The 50-year-old had earlier served as treasurer and assistant mayor in the nearby Koenigswinter town.
2. Anupam Kher honoured with certificate of recognition in US
i. Anupam Kher received the ‘Certificate of Recognition’ from the California legislature for his dedication to helping Kashmiri Hindu community.
ii. Kher, 60, a Kashmiri Hindu himself, said the recognition also adds to his sense of responsibility.
iii. "I feel honoured to get these recognitions in the US. But they also add to my sense of responsibility towards humankind," he added.
iv. The certificate added to the list of honours Kher has received in the US. He was presented with the ‘Honoured Guest’ award by the US state of Texas and September 10 was announced as 'Anupam Kher Day' in Las Vegas.
3. UN marks International Day by stressing vital role of civil society for true democracy
i. A strong and freely operating civil society is crucial for successful and stable democracies and must be given the space to carry out their vital functions, the United Nations emphasized today, as it marked the International Day of Democracy.
ii. “Civil society is the oxygen of democracy,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 15 September.
iii. “Civil society acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. It plays a critical role in keeping Government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups.”
iv. Yet, Mr. Ban pointed out, freedom to operate for civil society is diminishing – or even disappearing. An alarming number of governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of non-governmental organizations to work, or to receive funding, or both. That is why, he added, the theme of this year’s Day is space for civil society.
4. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina wins UN award for climate change
i. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change.
ii. “Serving as Prime Minister of Bangladesh – one of the world’s least-developed countries – Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development,” said the announcement issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which confers the awards.
iii. UNEP noted that Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populated countries, with over 159 million people. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
iv. The award cites, among other initiatives, the progressive Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009, which made the South Asian nation the first developing country to frame such a coordinated action plan.
v. Bangladesh is also the first country to set up its own Climate Change Trust Fund, supported by nearly USD 300 million of domestic resources from 2009-2012.
vi. The awards will be handed out at a special ceremony on September 27 here at the close of the Sustainable Development Summit.
5. Indian-American Swetha Prabakaran selected for Champions of Change award in US
i. A 15-year-old Indian-American girl Swetha Prabakaran has been selected by the White House for the prestigious Champions of Change award.
ii. She was chosen for the award in recognition of her efforts for empowering the community by imparting education of Internet coding through her non-profit Organisation. She is among eleven young women selected by the White House as Champions of Change.
iii. Swetha was born in Indianapolis to Indian parents who had immigrated from Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli in 1998. She is the founder and CEO of Everybody Code Now, a non-profit body working to empower the next generation of youth to become scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
iv. The award is given by White House to those who support working families and help make change in their companies or communities. In this regard, White House had created the ‘Champions of Change’ programme in order to feature these individuals and to empower and inspire members of their communities.
6. IIT- Delhi, IISc figured in the top 200 World University Rankings
i. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi are two India institutes to figure in the top 200 in QS World University Rankings of 2015-16.
ii. In this edition of annual global university ranking list, IISc Bangalore ranked 147th and IIT- Delhi ranked 179th respectively.
iii. It was the 12th edition QS World University Rankings and has been topped by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of United States (US) for record fourth time.
iv. Harvard University (second), University of Cambridge (third), Stanford University (fourth), California Institute of Technology-Caltech (fifth). In the top 10 universities, 5 are from US, 4 from United Kingdom (UK) and 1 from Switzerland.
v. National University of Singapore (11th rank) has topped among the Asian universities.
7. Godavari, Krishna rivers to be formally linked today
i. In a good news to farmers, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will release water of river Godavari into Krishna on Wednesday to mark the formal linking of the two rivers.
ii. The programme will be held at Ibrahimpatnam village near Vijayawada. State Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao told reporters that the State has created history by completing the Krishna-Godavari linking project to divert about 80 TMC of water from river Godavari river to Krishna.
iii. Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government, had told PTI, “The inter-linking of rivers has been on the cards and on the drawing board for a long time, from the days when (eminent engineer) KL Rao was Irrigation Minister in the Union Cabinet (in 1950s).
iv. The linkage of Godavari water with Krishna basin is being made possible by the ‘Pattiseema’ lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river at Pattisam village in West Godavari district, he had said.
8. Pentagon sets up India Rapid Reaction Cell
i. The Pentagon has established a first-ever country special cell to speed up its defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.
ii. Established soon after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter assumed Pentagon’s leadership role in February, India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
iii. India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind inside the Pentagon. Currently, this cell has a staff of seven, representing various wings of the US Department of Defence.
iv. Given the new thrust on India-US defence relationship under Carter, officials say there are quite a few on the waiting list who have shown keen interest in working at the Pentagon’s India Rapid Reaction Cell.
9. Hangzhou to host 2022 Asian Games
i. The Chinese city of Hangzhou was confirmed on Wednesday as the host of the 2022 Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced at its General Assembly in Ashgabat.
ii. The capital of China’s Zhejiang province, Hangzhou, was the sole bidder to stage the 19th edition of Asia’s biggest multi-sports event.
iii. China has hosted the Asian Games twice before, at Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010, and has already been awarded the Winter Olympics in 2022.
iv. Held every four years, the next Asian Games will take place in Jakarta in 2018. The OCA had wanted to switch the Asian Games to an odd-number year to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup but reverted back to the same time slot after Hanoi, Vietnam withdrew as the 2019 host.
v. Jakarta stepped in as the replacement but asked for the Games to be moved forward to 2018 because the Indonesian presidential elections are slated for 2019.
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