Daily GK Update: 29th October, 2015 Important Current Affairs

Asia Pacific Region most disaster prone part of the world, says UN Report 
i. The Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone part of the world as it had suffered around 1,625 disasters in the decade through 2014. 
ii. It was revealed in recently released 2015 United Nations Asia-Pacific Disaster Report. 
Key highlights from Report 
  • Disasters in Asia Pacific region accounted for 40 percent of the global total and claimed over half a million of lives over the decade. 
  • The disasters in past decade have affected around 1.4 billion people and caused over 523 billion dollars in economic damage. 
  • Around 772 million poor people from this region which tends to be worlds populous region are vulnerable to disasters. 
  • Majority of disasters are cross-border in nature including floods, cyclones, droughts and earthquake. So, regional cooperation is crucial among nations in region. 

Govt. appoints 5 member committee to review Research Grants offered by UGC

i. Union Government has appointed a 5 member committee to review the research grants offered by University Grants Commission (UGC).
ii. The Review Committee will submit its report to the Ministry by December 2015.
iii. The ministry also has directed the UGC not to implement its decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships and continue all existing fellowships.
India, France ink MoU on preserving Written Heritage at National Library in Kolkata 
i. Indian and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve, develop and publicize written heritage at the National Library in Kolkata, West Bengal. 
ii. It was signed by Sreya Guha, Joint Secretary (Library) in the Union Ministry of Culture and Bruno Racine, President of the National Library of France. 
Key facts of MoU 
  • Entails development of digital co-operation, competency and skill-building, sharing of technical and other expertise and cultural co-operation between the two countries. 
  • It will assist a programme on digitization of old manuscripts and documents which had begun in France 7 years ago. 
  • It will also make Indian side to gain experience and high quality expertise in this field from France.
MP Government announces 33 percent quota for women in government jobs 
i. Madhya Pradesh government has decided to provide 33 percent reservation to women in government jobs. 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by state cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. 
iii. With this, the reservation to women in government jobs in the state has been increased from present 30 per cent to 33 per cent. 
iv. Apart from this decision, state Cabinet also gave its approval to a proposal providing compensation to farmers i.e. they have to repay only 90 thousand rupees on a loan of one lakh rupees. 
Bidhya Devi Bhandari elected as first female President of Nepal 
i. Bidhya Devi Bhandari of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)-CPN-UML has been elected as first female President of Nepal. 
ii. With this, she also became first President under newly promulgated Constitution of Nepal and second President since the Himalayan nation became a republic after abolishing the centuries-old monarchy. 
Najib Shah appointed as Chairman of CBEC
i. Senior IRS officer Najib Shah was on 28 October 2015 appointed as Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), apex body on Indirect Taxes. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
ii. Shah will serve the office till 11 March 2017, when he will attain the age of superannuation that is 60 years. Shah is a 1979 batch officer of Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise). Prior to this appointment, he has been working as Member of the CBEC since May 2015.
iii. He was also the Interim Chairman of the CBEC after retirement of Kaushal Srivastava in June 2015. Shah had also been the Director General of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
191 UNGA-members voted a resolution condemning US embargo on Cuba
i. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 October 2015 overwhelmingly approved the Resolution condemning an economic embargo imposed by the US on Cuba. It stated that existence of such restrictions undermines multilateralism and credibility of the UN.
ii. 191 countries from the 193 member states demonstrated a concerted and international stand with Cuba and voted in favour of the resolution. The United States and Israel were the only two countries that voted against the resolution.
iii. This is the 24th time that the UNGA has adopted the resolution that seeks ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba, despite resumption of relations between the two countries. 
iv. The Assembly, however, welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba announced on 20 July 2015 and the willingness of US President Barack Obama to work towards the lifting of the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.
Hockey India signed three years partnership with Sports Authority of India
i. Hockey India (HI), the top body governing the sport in the country, on 28 October 2015 signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sports Authority of India (SAI) to help regain hockey its position as the top sport of the country.
ii. As per the terms of agreements, SAI will promote hockey, which is amongst the world’s most popular sports, as a tool for youth development and excellence in sports.
iii. In addition, both the entities will work towards creating a lasting legacy for the sport by developing hockey coaching system, talent identification and infrastructure for inculcating positive values in today’s youth through hockey, education, health and other allied areas.


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