Daily GK Update: 1st and 2nd November, 2015

1. BrahMos missile test-fired from Indian Navy's stealth destroyer INS Kochi, hits target
i. Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, with a strike-range of over 290 kms, was test-fired from the navy's newest stealth destroyer INS Kochi successfully hitting a decommissioned target ship in the Arabian Sea.
ii. The second of Project 15A 'Kolkata-class' guided missile destroyers test-fired the advanced missile system as part of 'Acceptance Test Firing' during a naval drill being conducted along the country's west coast.

iii. The world's fastest cruise missile, after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres, successfully hit decommissioned target ship 'Alleppey' located at a distance covering nearly the full range of the missile with high precision, defence officials said.
iv. The navy commissioned INS Kochi on September 30, this year. The 7,500-ton indigenously developed warship incorporates new design concepts for improved survivability, stealth, sea-keeping and manoeuvrability.
v. The warship has the advanced capability of carrying a total of 16 BrahMos missiles in two 8-cell vertical launch systems, besides other sophisticated weapons and sensors.
2. Punjab to set up bio-ethanol refinery
i. In what a major step towards tackling the menace of wheat and paddy straw burning in Punjab, the State government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up a bio-ethanol refinery.
ii. The MoU was inked with a consortium of Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. for an estimated project worth Rs. 950 crore, during the Progressive Punjab Investor Summit, 2015.
iii. Punjab’s Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said the bio-refinery could solve the chronic problem of straw burning, besides helping the farmers who would be paid for the agro-based produce. It would also help in containing the loss of fertility and damage to environment, the Minister and industry players at the summit said.
iv. During the summit, 12 other MoUs worth Rs. 21,305 crore were also signed. These include 300 MW solar plant and 150 MW solar plant with Neuron Power Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Biomass Power Plant by Sukhbir Agro Energy Ltd., 100 MW waste-to-energy projects by AG Dauters Consulting Pvt. Ltd., 100 MW power generation unit by Navrattan Group, Co-Generation power plant by Indian Sucrose Ltd. and 50 MW solar power plant by Imperial Solution Pvt. Ltd.
3. Ex-Cabinet Secy. to head panel on new education policy
i. Former Cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian has been appointed chairperson of a committee set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry to draft the new education policy.
ii. The committee, which has been mandated to submit the draft of the new policy no later than December 31, 2015, also has on board Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi; Sewaram Sharma, former Home Secretary, NCT of Delhi; Sudhir Mankad, former Chief Secretary of Gujarat, and J.S. Rajput, former Director, NCERT.
iii. The National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) will act as its Secretariat, the Ministry said in a statement.
4. AK Jha takes over as CMD, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited
i. Anil Kumar Jha today took over the charge of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a leading subsidiary of Coal India.
ii. Jha, with 32 years of industrial experience, was Director (Production & Planning) in MOIL Limited before assuming the charge, MCL said in a release. 
iii. The officer brings with him a rich and diverse experience of mine planning, production, management supervision, direction and control of underground as well as open cast coal mines, it said. 
iv. M-Tech in Mine Planning and Design from the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, with distinction, Jha started his career from the Ranchi-headquartered Coal India subsidiary Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) in 1983. 
5. Hero MotoCorp's Brijmohan Lall Munjal, doyen of India's 2-wheeler industry, passes away
i. Hero MotoCorp patriarch and doyen of Indian two-wheeler industry, Brijmohan Lall Munjal, passed away this evening after a brief illness. He was 92.
ii. Munjal passed away at a private hospital in South Delhi, according to family sources. He is survived by three sons and one daughter. The cremation will be done tomorrow.
iii. Munjal had retired from active role and become Chairman Emeritus of the over $4-billion group earlier this year and remained on the board of the company as non-executive member.
iv. The Hero Group, which officially came into existence in 1956, had started its activities in the early 1940s as a bicycle-maker run by the four brothers.
v. Munjal was born in 1923 at Kamalia in present-day Pakistan. After India’s independence, the Munjal brothers started a small business of manufacturing bicycle components in Ludhiana and went on to build one of the largest business groups in the country.
6. Reliance Communications to merge Sistema Shyam Tele with itself
i. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com) is merging the telecom business of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) that operates MTS brand with itself in an all-stock deal worth Rs.4,500 crore, marking the start of the much-anticipated consolidation in India’s telecom sector.
ii. R-Com on Monday signed a definitive agreement with Sistema JSFC, a publicly-traded holding company in Russia, for demerger of SSTL. As a result, SSTL will acquire and hold a 10% equity stake in R-Com.
iii. R-Com will also take over the liability to pay the department of telecommunications (DoT) instalments for SSTL’s spectrum, amounting to Rs.392 crore a year, for the next 10 years. As on 31 March, the total debt of R-Com was at Rs.39,828 crore.
iv. The transaction is expected to be closed in the second quarter of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals. After the closure, minority investors of SSTL will be given an option to exchange their shares in SSTL with the pro-rata R-Com shares held by SSTL.
7. Khel Ratna to be conferred posthumously on former footballer Late Ram Bahadur Chetri
i. The names of former footballer and Asian games gold medallist late Ram Bahadur Chetri and renowned athletics coach Renu Kohli have been officially approved by the state sports ministry for the prestigious Khel Ratna (posthumous) and Devbhoomi Uttarakhand Dronacharya respectively this year.
ii. While former weightlifter Hansa Manral Sharma has been would be conferred life time achievement award.
iii. The names were approved by a committee headed by Sports Minister Dinesh Agarwal during a meeting held on Saturday night. Sports secretary, Sailesh Bagoli, was also present during the meeting.
iv. Significantly, the sports department received 23 nominations, 16 for Khel Ratna and 7 for the Dronacharya award. Khel Ratna and life time achievement award winner will get a cash award of Rs 5 lakh each while winner of Dronacharya award will receive Rs 3 lakh as prize money. The awards were first introduced in year 2012 by the sports ministry.
v. While athletics coach Renu Kohli, who would be given Devbhoomi Dronacharya award this year and is a sports authority of India (SAI) coach, was also presented Dronacharya Award by the union sports ministry in year 2002 for her excellence in athletics coaching.
8. Nico Rosberg wins Mexican Grand Prix
i. Nico Rosberg claimed victory at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of Mercedes teammate and newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton.
ii. The German won by 1.954sec to claim his fourth win of 2015.
iii. It is the 12th win of his career after leading from pole position to beat home the British racer.
iv. Finland's Valtteri Bottas of Williams took third, 14.592sec back.
9. New Zealand All Blacks run over Australia to win record third Rugby World Cup
i. New Zealand cemented their status as the greatest team in rugby history when they overwhelmed Australia 34-17 at Twickenham on Saturday to become world champions for a record third time, and the first nation to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
ii. Tries from Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma'a Nonu had the All Blacks cruising 21-3 early in the second half before Ben Smith's yellow card opened the door for Australia, who got back to within four points with tries by David Pocock and Tuvita Kuridrani.
iii. But flyhalf Dan Carter, who missed most of the 2011 tournament through injury and who is retiring from international rugby after Saturday's match, stepped up with an exquisite drop goal and a 50-metre penalty to put the result beyond doubt.
iv. Replacement wing Beauden Barrett applied the black icing to the Kiwi World Cup cake with a late try which Carter converted to take his personal tally to 19 points New Zealand have lost just three times in 54 matches since their triumph on home soil four years ago, and have won every World Cup match since losing to France in the 2007 quarter-finals.
v. The previous six World Cup finals had produced seven tries between them and Saturday's total of five was a record, eclipsing the four of the inaugural final when New Zealand beat France.
The sport's superpower won the cup for a second time four years ago, also on home soil, and Saturday's victory was their first overseas.
10. Sania-Hingis pair in final, extends streak to 21 games
i. Sania Mirza caps her wins with a victory jig. Her hands cover her face in childlike fashion as she bounces up and down, duly joined by her partner Swiss legend Martina Hingis. The celebration was a little more pronounced on Saturday after the top seeds rallied to beat Taipei's Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan to make the title round of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals.
ii. The Indo-Swiss pairing -playing their first season-ender as a team -came through 6-4, 6-2 in 83 minutes, extending their winning streak to 21 matches, which incidentally started following their semifinal loss to the third-ranked sisters in Cincinnati in August.
iii. In Sunday's final the season's hottest team plays the Spanish pairing of Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro, who put out Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucir Hradecka 7-6 (8-6), 6-0.
iv. In the first semifinal, the fancied duo, who won two majors this season, started slowly , the 35-year-old Swiss was broken in the third game and the Taipei twosome went ahead 3-1.
v. They took a 4-0 lead in the second set. Sania and Hingis were broken in the fifth and seventh games of the second set, but they closed out the match breaking Hao-Chin in the eighth when Hingis punctuated the contest with an overhead.


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