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Current Affairs  August 2014 - Important Points

Spain midfielder Xavi retires from international football

Spain midfielder Xavi On 5th August 2014, The Spain midfielder Xavi has announced his retirement from international football. The Barcelona player was a member of the teams that won successive major tournaments at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Euro 2012.
“I have decided to retire from international football,” Xavi told a press conference. The 34-year-old footballer represented his country for a record 133 times.
He made his international debut on 15 November 2000 against the Netherlands, the year when Spain won an Olympic silver medal in Australia. He was the part of the squad.

Prasar Bharati signed MoU with Deutsche Welle for Distribution

On 5th August 2014, Prasar Bharati, India’s Public Service Broadcaster signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Deutsche Welle, the German public service broadcaster for distribution of Doordarshan’s overseas India channel, DD India on a DTH platform. 
The agreement for the first time would facilitate availability of Doordarshan programmes on a Free to Air basic package mode, on EUTEL SAT Hotbird-13B, a popular DTH platform in Europe.
This MoU was inked in New Delhi in presence of senior officers of Prasar Bharati, Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and External Affairs. 
The agreement between the two public sector broadcasters would help in coverage of DD across Europe, Asia, North Africa and even up to Australia. It will also give DD India full access to the Middle Eastern countries, where a large number of Indians go for work.

Cartoonist Pran, the creator of Chacha Chaudhury, dies at 75

Cartoonist Pran On 6th August 2014, the eminent cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma passed away. He was 75 years old. Pran Kumar Sharma created the comic book character like Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu. As a cartoonist, he began his career in 1960 for a Delhi-based newspaper Milap with a comic strip Daabu. He was born on 15th August 1938 in Kasur near Lahore. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award 2001 from the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

China to Ban All Coal Use in Beijing by 2020

China On 4th August 2014, Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau announced the plans to ban coal use in Beijing and five other districts by the end of 2020. The purpose of the ban is to fight increasing levels of air pollution in China's major cities.
The Bureau also decided to prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating. 
Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted the plan on its website on Monday, saying the city would instead prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.
The official Xinhua News Agency said coal accounted for a quarter of Beijing's energy consumption in 2012 and 22 percent of the fine particles floating in the city's air. Motor vehicles, industrial production and general dust also contributed to pollution in the 21 million-person city.

Hungarian Olympic javelin champion Angela Nemeth died

On 5th August 2014, the 1968 Olympic Javelin champion of Hungary Angela Nemeth passed away. She was 68 years old.
She won a Javelin throw gold medal in 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico with career best throw of 60.36 meter. Till date, she is the only Hungarian woman to win an Olympic title in a throwing event.

Union Government granted Navratna Status to CONCOR

Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) was accorded Navratna Status by the Department of Public Enterprises under Union Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises. CONCOR is the 17th Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) to achieve Navratna Status.
CONCOR gives multi-modal logistics support for the country's exim (exports and imports) and domestic trade and commerce.
Do You Know ?
The granting of Navratna status entitles the company boards to do investments up to 1000 crore rupees or 15% of their net worth on a single project or 30% of their net worth in the whole year (not exceeding 1000 crore rupees) without seeking government permission.

Penguin Language Decoded By Italian Researchers

Italian researchers successfully decoded the language of African Penguins for the first time and revealed that the birds have a song that caters to every occasion. This was revealed in a study titled The Vocal Repertoire of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus): Structure and Function of Calls published in journal PLOS ONE on 30th July 2014. The study was led by Dr Livio Favaro from the University of Turin in Italy.

British minister Sayeeda Warsi resigns over Gaza conflict

British Minister Sayeeda Warsi Among the International Current Affairs, On 5th August 2014, the Foreign Office minister of Britain Sayeeda Warsi resigned from the government in protest of Britain's policy on Gaza. She described the British policy on the crisis in Gaza as morally indefensible. She tendered her resignation to the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
She was the first female Muslim cabinet minister to serve United Kingdom during David Cameron led government. 
About Sayeeda Warsi :
She is a British politician of Pakistani origin and was born on 28 March 1971 in Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire. She was born to Pakistani immigrants. Before entering politics, she worked as a solicitor 

NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma demitted office

Mamta Sharma On 1st August 2014 Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Mamta Sharma demitted office after serving the Commission for three years. Ms. Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, Member, NCW would act as Chairperson, NCW with effect from 1 August 2014. Mamta Sharma took over charge as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women on 2 August 2011.
Do you Know ?
The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.

Arrested Syndicate Bank chairman SK Jain suspended for allegedly receiving bribe

On 4th August 2014, Syndicate Bank Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) SK Jain was suspended by Union government after he was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 2nd August 2014 for accepting bribe.
SK Jain accepted bribe of 50 lakh rupees along with 5 other people for granting credit extension to some private firms involved in Coal Block Allocations Scam. CBI officials revealed that Mr. Jain was receiving payments from two firms.

Mr. Arvind Gupta appointed as Deputy NSA

Arvind Gupta - NSA On 4th August 2014, Mr. Arvind Gupta was appointed as Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA). The post of Deputy National Security Adviser fell vacant after the resignation of Nehchal Sandhu, former IPS officer of 1973 batch who was appointed as Deputy National Security Adviser during UPA rule.
Mr. Arvind Gupta is an 1979 batch officer. 
Mr. Gupta will also be working as Secretary of National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), a body that performs advisory functions for Government of India suggesting political, economic and strategic safety concerns. He has been appointed for three years on reemployment and contract basis.
Mr. Gupta is presently working as Director-General of Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

New species of Australian humpback dolphins identified

Scientists identified a new species of Australian humpback dolphin with the scientific name Sousa Sahulensis. The Australian humpback dolphins are a widespread group of coastal cetaceans ranging from the coast of West Africa to the northern coast of Australia. 
The authors of the study were Thomas A. Jefferson of Clymene Enterprises and Howard C. Rosenbaum of the Wildlife Conservation Society. The study of WCS was published on 1 August 2014 in the online edition of the journal Marine Mammal Science.

India finished 5th with 64 medals in 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 On 3rd August 2014, 20th Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2014 were concluded at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. Games were concluded after a span of 11 days from 23rd July 2014 to 3rd August 2014.
Total of 4929 athletes from 71 countries and territories of the erstwhile British Empire participated in this competition. 
India in CWG 2014 : 
India ranked 5th place in CWG 2014. India won total of 64 medals. Indian players clinched 15 Gold medals, 30 Silver medals and 19 Bronze medals in the games. On closing ceremony, the Indian contingent's flag bearer was Seema Punia, who won Silver in women's discus throw. While, the torch bearer in the opening ceremony was ace shooter Vijay Kumar, the 2012 London Olympics Silver medalist.
England ranked number one with 58 Gold, 59 silver and 57 Bronze medals. Australia was on second position, Canada on third and Scotland was on 4th position.
Do you Know ? 
The 21st Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast in Australia.

Union Ministry set up Hari Gautam Committee to review the status of UGC

Hari Gautam On 3rd August 2014, The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) set up a four member committee headed by former UGC chairman Hari Gautam to review the present status of Universities Grants Commission (UGC). The committee will suggest ways to restructure and reorganise the panel to attain better performance in order to meet desired objectives. The committee will submit its report in six months.
Other members of the committee are : 
  • CM Jariwala, former dean of law, Banaras Hindu University,
  • Kapil Kapoor, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, 
  • RP Sisodia, Joint Secretary (higher education). 

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2014 announced

Ramon Magsaysay Award The prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards for year 2014 were announced. Following were the six winners of awards : 
1. Saur Marlina Manurung (Indonesia) :  She put up a Jungle School program for children of Indonesia's Orang Rimba, or forest people.
2. Randy Halasan (The Philippines) : He put in huge efforts in teaching the children of the Matigsalug tribe in one of the remotest mountain villages in Mindanao.
3. Hu Shuli (China) : He is a Chinese investigative journalist whose work has led to the ouster of corrupt officials.
4. Omara Khan Masoudi (Afghanistan) : Masoudi was awarded for his courage in protecting Afghan cultural heritage.
5. The Citizen Foundation (Pakistan) : This NGO was recognized for building 1,000 schools over hundreds of cities and towns in the country.
6. Wang Canfa (China) : Wang Canfa founded the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, which has offered free legal services to thousands of people and provided environmental law training to lawyers and others.
Ramon Magsaysay Awards : 
Ramon Magsaysay Awards were established in 1957 and are named after popular Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay who died in a 1957 plane crash. These awards are often known as the "Nobel Prize of Asia".  These awards are only given to personalities from Asia.

Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi visited Nepal

Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi concluded two day visit to Nepal on 4th August 2014. During the visit, Prime Minister addressed the Nepalese Parliament. Narendra Modi was welcomed by the guard of honour.  Prime Misiter of India also offered puja at the famous 5th century Pashupatinath temple on the second and last day of his maiden visit to Nepal.
This was the first bilateral meet between India and Nepal in 17 years. Modi was assisted with a team of 101 delegates including several ministers accompanying him.
The Prime Minister announced that India will give Nepal 10000 crore Nepali rupee concessional line of credit, for its development. 

Defence Ministry not to blacklist Rolls-Royce

On 3rd August 2014, The Union Defence Ministry of India allowed armed forces to do business related to essential requirements with the Rolls Royce. This follows the Attorney General's opinion which favoured that IAF and the Navy can procure systems essential for their maintenance and operational requirements of the two services.
The IAF and Navy operate several aircraft including the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, SeaKing multirole helicopters, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Aircrnaft and the Jaguar fighter aircraft which fly on Rolls Royce engines.
In March 2014, the Union Defence Ministry had put on hold all the deal with the British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce over the allegations of corruption in contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and had ordered a CBI probe into Rolls- Royce's alleged hiring of middlemen in contracts with HAL, with which the British firm has transacted business of over Rs 10,000 crore in the past. 

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