23 Mar, 2015
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1) Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away on 23 March 2015, was the architect and the first Prime Minister of which Asian country? – Singapore
Explanation: Lee Kuan Yew was the legendary leader of Singapore who contributed incredibly in transforming the tiny Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore from a British tropical outpost to global trade and financial centre. He took over as Singapore’s first Prime Minister in 1959 and held onto power for over three decades. He co-founded the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959 and led the newly born country when it was separated from Malaysia in 1965. He passed away at the age of 91 at the Singapore General Hospital in the early hours of 23 March.
2) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 22 March 2015 came up with guidelines for which category of bonds which will help the Union Govt. in its “Smart Cities” plan? – Municipal Bonds
Explanation: The SEBI on 22 March approved a new set of norms for listing and trading of municipal bonds on stock exchanges. Municipal bonds, also to be known as “Muni Bonds”, would allow authorities to raise funds including for setting up of smart cities, by raising funds from the public and from the institutional investors. The municipal authorities, desiring of issuing these bonds, would need to have a strong financial track record and such bonds would be listed on the stock exchanges. In December 2014, SEBI had floated draft norms for ‘Issue and Listing of Debt Securities by Municipality’ and had sought public comments till 30 January 2015. These bonds products are very popular among investors in many developed nations, especially the United States, where they have attracted investments totalling over $500 billion and are among preferred avenues for household savings.
3) The Union Govt. on 20 March 2015 gave its approval for a flagship skill development scheme to cover 24 lakh persons and to replace the earlier STAR Scheme of the UPA era. What is the name of this new scheme? – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
Explanation: The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), started with Rs. 1,500 crore, aims to provide monetary reward of Rs. 8,000 to trainees on successful completion and certification of skill training course. It would cover 24 lakh persons that would include 14 lakh youth who would be skilled and 10 lakh workers who would be given recognition for prior learning. A special focus of the scheme would be Class X and Class XII dropouts. It would thus replace the earlier STAR Scheme that was implemented through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
4) The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) got a big boost when the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) gave coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) approval to the 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant. This plant is proposed in which state? – Gujarat
Explanation: The 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant, to be established at Mithivirdi, a coastal hamlet some 40 km from Bhavnagar (Gujarat), was announced way back in 2009. The MoEFCC recently gave its clearance for setting up of “intake and outfall facility” for this plant that has already been facing severe opposition from local farmers and social activists. The clearance has been granted for constructing an intake channel that will be 100 metre wide and 10 metre deep and a discharge facility comprising of Condenser Cooling Water Discharge tunnels of eight-metre diameter and six km. in length (for two units) and a total of 18 km. (for units).
5) In an important development, the Shiite rebels backed by supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on 22 March 2015 seized Yemen’s third largest city. What is the name of this city? – Taiz
Explanation: Taiz is the capital of Yemen’s most populous province and is located between the capital Sana’a and the southern city of Aden. It is also the third largest city after Sana’a and Aden. Yemen has been in political limbo over the past few months, since Shiite rebels (also known as the Houthi rebels) took over the capital in September 2014 and President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi fled to the southern port city of Aden. The rebels now control nine of the country’s 21 provinces. These rebels had declared a new government in February 2015 and had announced that a transitional five-member presidential council would replace President Hadi. However, the declaration has not been recognised by Sunni and southern leaders.
6) Indian Navy recently decided to decommission its aircraft carrier INS Viraat in February 2016. This naval carrier is one of the longest serving warships in the world. When it was initially commissioned in the Royal British Navy? – 1957
Explanation: INS Viraat is a British-build aircraft carrier and was first as HMS Hermes in the Royal British Navy in 1957. It took part in the famous Falklands War of 1982 between Britain and Argentina. It was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987. Between 1987 and 1995, the warship served alongside INS Vikrant – India’s first aircraft carrier. INS Viraat went through five refits and mid-life upgrades since 1987. Indian Navy decided to decommission it as yet another major refit and upgrade to extend its life was not expected to be cost effective. For at least two years (from 2016 to 2018) the Indian Navy will have to depend only on the 44,000 ton refurbished Russian Admiral Gorshkov, which has been rechristened INS Vikramaditya. The first indigenously built aircraft carrier that will be named INS Vikrant is expected to join the Indian Navy only in 2018-19.
7) Two open-cast coal mines – Makardhokra and Bhanegaon, were dedicated to the nation on 21 March 2015. These mines are situated in which state? – Maharashtra
Explanation: The two open-cast coal mines at Makardhokra and Bhanegaon, having a capacity of 2-million tonne and one million tonne respectively, were formally dedicated to the nation on 21 March by Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal. Apart from this the largest open cast project in the Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) at Penganga with a production capacity of four-million tonne per year was also inaugurated. About 60 lakh tonnes of coal from these projects will be supplied to power plants for generation of electricity and about 10 lakh tonnes of coal will be supplied to other consumers in Maharashtra.
8) Who became the highest run scorer in an ICC World Cup match by scoring an unbeaten 237 runs on 21 March 2015? – Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
Explanation: Guptill scored 237 not out against the West Indies at Wellington in the 4th quarter-final of the ICC World Cup 2015 to make highest runs in a World Cup innings. He broke the record made by West Indian Chris Gayle (215) against Zimbabwe on 24 February 2015. This knock by Guptill is the second-highest in all one-day internationals after Rohit Sharma’s 264. New Zealand easily defeated West Indies in this match to make it to the World Cup semi-finals to meet South Africa. In the other semi-final, hosts Australia would take on defending champions India.
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