10 Aug, 2015
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1) Singapore observed which anniversary of its independence on 9 August 2015 with holding of numerous events across the country to mark the special occasion? – 50th anniversary
Explanation: Singapore, the modern island country, attained independence on 9 August 1965 when it was ejected from the Federation of Malaya amid social unrest. Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the East India Company with permission from the Johor Sultanate. Later it came under control of the British rule in 1824. After gaining independence from the British in 1963, Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia (Federation of Malaya). But it gained independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 after it was expelled two years later through a unanimous act of parliament. After experiencing some turbulence in its early years as a nation, Singapore embarked on a path of development and is has now transformed itself into one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is considered the father of modern Singapore as his emphasis on rapid economic growth, support for business entrepreneurship, limitations on internal democracy, and close relationships with China set the new nation’s policies for the next half-century. But on country’s 50th anniversary, as the world marvel at the island’s leap from a poor colonial port to a wealthy metropolis, Singaporeans are also grappling with a growing resentment over political restrictions, an influx of foreign labour and rising cost of living.
2) Year-long birth centenary of which famous Hindi writer, playwright and actor was initiated on 8 August 2015? – Bhisham Sahni
Explanation: Bhisham Sahni, the author of bone-chilling novels such as “Tamas” and “Mayyadas Ki Madi”, was born on 8 August 1915 at Rawalpindi in Pakistan. He was an academic, actor, speaker, writer, playwright and social activist. The love for literature and fervour for social reform ran in the family, followers of Arya Samaj. His elder brother and famous actor Balraj Sahni had taught at Shantiniketan and Gandhiji’s Sevagram in Wardha. He became associated with the Indian National Congress initially but passion for the cause of the common man turned him to Marxism. Bhisham Sahni authored over a hundred short stories and several novels (“Kunto”, “Neeloo Nilima Nilofar”, “Kadian”, “Jharokhe”, “Basanti”, etc) and plays (“Hanush”, “Madhavi”, “Kabira Khada Bazar Mein”, “Alamgeer”, “Muavze”, etc), but his most famous work remains “Tamas”, a novel based on the riots of 1947 Partition of India which he witnessed at Rawalpindi. He passed away on 11 July 2003 at the age of 87. Union Ministry of Culture and Sahitya Akademi are leading the one-year long centenary celebrations of this illustrious multi-faceted personality.
3) In view of the forthcoming festival of Raksha Bandhan, a special enrolment drive is being launched by participating banks and insurance companies in the months of August-September for enrolling bank account holders in Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY). What is the name given to this special drive? – “Suraksha Bandhan”
Explanation: The “Suraksha Bandhan” drive aims to take forward the Government’s objective of creating a universal social security system in the country. It is targeted especially at the poor and the under-privileged. Along with PMSBY and PMJJBY, the envisaged social security initiative also includes the Atal Pension Yojana (APY), launched along with the above two insurance schemes, which addresses the issue of old age income security. Participating banks supported by the participating insurance companies will work towards local outreach, awareness building and enrolment facilitation during this drive.
4) Global electronic manufacturing giant Foxconn, known for manufacturing iPhones for Apple Inc., on 8 August 2015 signed agreement with which state government for investing over US$ 5 billion over the next five years? – Maharashtra
Explanation: As per the newly signed MoU, Maharashtra government will provide the Taiwan-based Foxconn 1,500 acres of land for its plant where the company would invest US$ 5 billion over the next five years. Foxconn is expected to provide employment opportunities to around 50,000 persons. The said facility will focus on research and development as well as manufacturing, and the company has chosen the state for being a financial centre, availability of quality talent and software-hardware integration facilities. The MoU with the Maharashtra Government is different from company’s already announced joint venture with the Adani Group.
5) Thomas Cook (India) Limited on 8 August 2015 announced acquiring Kuoni Group’s travel businesses in India and Hong Kong for Rs. 535 crore. The deal includes outbound travel brand SOTC and destination management brand SITA. Which India-born entrepreneur backs Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.? – Prem Watsa
Explanation: In 2012, Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings, had acquired a 77% stake in Thomas Cook for Rs. 817 crore through Fairbridge Capital, an affiliate of Fairfax Financial Holdings. The deal to acquire Kuoni Group’s travel businesses in India and Hong Kong is the third acquisition by it in the last two years. In 2013, it had acquired Bengaluru-based HR and IT services company Quess Corp. Thomas Cook’s footprint currently extends to over 232 locations, including 23 airport counters, in 95 cities across India, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Kuoni had entered India in 1996 by acquiring SOTC Tours, and in 2000, it bought SITA World Travels. But, this year, the Swiss company made clear that it will exit its travel business across the world in a bid to focus on VFS Global. This deal also does not include VFS Global, which is Kuoni’s outsourcing and technology services subsidiary for governments and diplomatic missions.
6) Which mutual fund house acquired the asset management business of Deutsche Bank in India as announced on 7 August 2015? – Pramerica
Explanation: Pramerica Asset Managers Private Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial, Inc. of the US, and is the asset management company for Pramerica Mutual Fund in India. Both Pramerica and asset management business of Deutsche Bank houses are focussed on liquid and fixed income funds. As of 30 June 2015, Deutsche AMC had assets of around Rs. 20,720 crore, while Pramerica managed assets worth Rs. 2,125 crore. The sale by Deutsche Bank is the latest among a slew of foreign asset managers exiting the mutual fund business in India, including Morgan Stanley (acquired by HDFC AMC), ING (Birla Sun Life), Daiwa (SBI) and PineBridge (Kotak).
7) Which Indian-American diplomat was recently confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives and thus became the second Indian-origin diplomat to be posted to the South Asian region after Richard Rahul Verma? – Atul Keshap
Explanation: 44-year old Atul Keshap is a former official at the US Embassy in India. His first Ambassadorial posting (as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives) was confirmed by the U.S. Senate during August 2015 to make him the second diplomat of Indian-origin to be posted to the Asian region after Richard Rahul Verma, who is US Ambassador to India. Atul’s father, Keshap Chander Sen, who was from Punjab, was a U.N. development economist working in Nigeria where Keshap was born in June, 1971. His mother, Zoe Calvert, had been in the U.S. Foreign Service when she met and married Sen in London.
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