1. Indian mountaineers climbed an untouched mountain peak, named it after APJ Abdul Kalam
i. Two mountaineers Arjun Vajpai and Bhupesh Kumar in third week of October 2015 created history by becoming first people to climb 6180 meter high unnamed peak in Himachal’s Spiti Valley. The duo named the peak as Mout Kalam, in honour of former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam.
ii. Newly named Mt. Kalam is located near Bara Shigri Glacier, largest glacier located in Himachal Pradesh. Bara-Sigri glacier is the second longest glacier in Himalaya after Gangotri both are around 30 km long.
iii. Vajpai and Kumar hailing from Noida and Bulandshahr respectively started the expedition on 8 October 2015 from Noida and completed the climb on 14 October 2015 and hoisted the Indian national flag. They returned back on ground on 20 October 2015.
iv. Earlier in 2010, Vajpai became the youngest Indian to climb Mt. Everest. He climbed the highest peak in the world at the age of 16. Bhupesh has scaled 17 peaks in India.
2. President gives away Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, fellowships
i. President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards for the year 2014 at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.
ii. While leading musicologist S R Janakiraman, theatre doyen and noted filmmaker M S Sathyu, and musicians Vijay Kumar Kichlu and Tulsidas Vasant Borkar were awarded fellowships of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, 35 eminent personalities were honoured with Akademi Awards in the categories of music, dance, theatre, traditional folk/tribal music/dance/theatre and puppetry and overall contribution/scholarship in the performing arts.
iii. Nine artistes — including Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Nath Neralkar, Nayan Ghosh and Ronu Majumdar— received awards for their contribution to music, while eight artistes were honoured for their contribution to dance.
iv. Eminent folk singer from Jammu and Kashmir Abdul Rashid Hafiz, who is known for his renditions of traditional Chakri singing, was among eight artistes facilitated for their contribution to traditional arts. Noted playwright Asgar Wajahat was amongst the eight artists honoured for their contribution to theatre.
3. Ratan Tata invests in virtual cash start-up Abra
i. Abra, a Silicon Valley bitcoin startup, on Thursday revealed it had raised money from Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and American Express, as part of its $12-million Series-A funding.
ii. Abra raising funds was reported last month, but the company did not reveal Tata’s participation then. These are the first investments in the crypto-currency world for both American Express and Ratan Tata.
iii. Bitcoin is a system of electronic money, used for buying and selling online and without the need for a central bank. Bitcoin is also a unit of the bitcoin electronic system of money.
iv. Tata has been investing in Indian, as well as international start-ups, for about a year. He has invested in companies such as Ola, Paytm, Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, and CarDekho. Tata has invested in at least 12 start-ups in the past year. He is also an advisor to private equity firms IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital, and Jungle Ventures.
v. Using the Abra app, users can store digital cash and send money to any smartphone. It uses a network of individuals or businesses earning money by buying and selling digital cash to and from any consumer via the Abra app.
4. Japan offers soft loan to India for bullet train project
i. Japan has offered soft loan of 15 billion dollars (Rs 90,000 crore) at an interest rate of less than 1 per cent to India’s ambitious first bullet train project viz. Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor along with technology.
ii. In this regard, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has submitted its report to the Union Railway Ministry. In its report JICA has envisaged a reduction in the travel time on the 505-km long corridor between the two western cities to 2 hours from the existing period of over 7 hours.
iii. The report also has mentioned that the bullet train is expected to run at speeds of around 300-350 km/hour.
iv. Japan’s announcement comes in a bid to surpass competition from China and other countries. It also seeks to overcome Japan’s broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years.
5. Himachal Pradesh to host India’s first Paragliding World Cup
i. India’s first Paragliding World Cup has begun at Bir Billing near Baijnath town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Snow leopard is the official mascot of this World Cup. It is for the first time that Paragliding World Cup is being organised in a South Asian country. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju flagged off the event.
ii. In this one week competition, more than 130 registered pilots including 14 women pilots from 35 countries would take part. Indian side is represented by 8 flyers and 6 among them are from the Himachal Pradesh.
iii. The Paragliding World Cup will have different categories of competition including Paragliding, Hot air ballooning, Hand gliding and Acrobatic shows.
iv. Himachal Pradesh government and Kangra District Administration have made elaborate arrangements for the purpose of World Cup. Helicopters and Air ambulance along with forty rescue teams equipped with latest equipment gave been deployed at various strategic locations to meet any emergency situation.
6. First World Indigenous Games begins in Palmas, Brazil
i. First World Indigenous Games has kicked off in the northern Brazilian city of Palmas. The lavish opening ceremony of the multi-sport event was attended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
ii. The first of its kind international multi-sport event will involve around 2000 indigenous athletes belonging to different indigenous ethnic groups from 30 countries. Participants from countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, Mongolia, Australia, Philippines, Russia, Ethiopia and New Zealand are participating.
iii. The first World Indigenous Games will host sporting events like archery, canoeing, spear tossing and a race through the forest. Besides, non-competitive events will be also hosted to showcase different traditions of indigenous ethnic groups.
7. Indian-origin Ashok-Alexander Sridharan sworn in as mayor of Bonn in Germany
i. Indian-origin Ashok-Alexander Sridharan on 21 October 2015 sworn in as the mayor of Bonn in Germany. Bonn is the 18th most populated city in Germany and the provisional capital of erstwhile West Germany. Sridharan was elected to the office as a candidate of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel-led Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party in an election held in September 2015.
ii. With this win, Sridharan became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of a major city in the country. Further, he also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background.
iii. With this win, Sridharan became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of a major city in the country. Further, he also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background.
iv. It was for the first time in 21 years that a candidate from the CDU won the Bonn mayoral election leaving the Social Democratic Party (SPD) out in the cold.
8. Hurricane Patricia struck Mexico's Pacific coast
i. Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast on 23 October 2015. The hurricane carrying destructive winds with a speed of 165mph forced thousands to flee homes and beach front resorts.
ii. Patricia landed about 55 miles west-northwest of Manzanillo, home to the largest container port on Mexico's Pacific seaboard. There were no reported casualties and officials said the damage might not be as catastrophic as feared.
iii. The US National Hurricane Center said the hurricane hit as a Category Five storm - the highest classification. But it has since weakened to a Category Four, and will be downgraded to a tropical storm in the coming hours. It also said that it would lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides in rural areas.
9. Western Digital to buy SanDisk for 19 billion US dollar
i. Western Digital Corporation on 21 October 2015 announced that it entered into a definitive agreement with SanDisk Corporation to buy it for 19 billion US dollar. Both the Multi National Corporations (MNCs) are based in the USA.
ii. The acquisition is expected to pave the way for utilization of complementary product lines of both the companies and will provide the foundation for a broader set of products and technologies from consumer to datacenter.
iii. While Western Digital is an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of storage solutions that enable people to create, manage, experience and preserve digital content, SanDisk is a Fortune 500 and company and is a global leader in flash storage solutions.
iv. SanDisk was co-founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Sanjay Mehrotra in 1988 and has market capitalization worth 13.3 billion US dollars as of June 2015.