Daily NEWS Update - 28th July 2015

1. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passes away.

i. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, widely acclaimed as the “people’s President”, passed away after collapsing during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.

ii. Mr. Kalam (83), who was President between 2002 and 2007, took the lead in the conduct of India’s nuclear tests in May 1998 and was later fielded as the National Democratic Alliance candidate by then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.

iii. Mr. Kalam, the country’s 11th President, was one of India’s most eminent scientists, and had the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.

iv. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.

v. As scientific advisor to the Defence Minister from July 1992 to December 1999, the former President led the “weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy”.

vi. One of his pet themes was PURA – or the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas – a theme he referred to often in his travels abroad.

2. ADB to give $ 300 m loan to India.

i. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will extend a loan of $ 300 million to India for improving road connectivity and increasing the domestic and regional trade along the North Bengal—North Eastern Region (NER). 

ii. The loan is the first tranche under $ 500 million multi—tranche South Asian Sub—regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Programme. Under this programme, about 500 km of roads will be constructed.

iii. The project will improve road connectivity and efficiency of the international trade corridors by expanding roads in NER of the country.

iv. The investment on the ‘last mile’ connectivity will contribute to achieve the objective of regionally balanced and inclusive growth of remote and economically lagging regions,” said Tarun Bajaj, Joint Secretary in the Ministry.

3.  Centre approves Rs 1,000 cr for India-Bangladesh rail link.

i. The Indian government has sanctioned around Rs.1,000 crore for a 15-km India-Bangladesh railway project, an official said on Sunday.

ii. The union government on Saturday communicated to Tripura that it had sanctioned Rs.580 crore to lay the rail tracks and acquire required land in Tripura, Transport Secretary Samarjit Bhowmik said.

iii. Bhowmik told IANS: "The alignment and other technicalities of laying the 15.06 km track to link Agartala with Bangladesh's Akhaura railway station has been changed by top engineers and railway officials."

iv. The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to 515 km once the rail track is constructed through Bangladesh.

4. Physicist P. Hariharan passes away.

i. Eminent physicist P. Hariharan died on Sunday in Berkeley, California. He was 89.

ii. Dr. Hariharan was the son of Prof. H. Parameswaran (H. P. Waran) of Presidency College and the son-in-law of Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer.  He was born on December 24, 1926.

iii. He worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi from 1949 to 1951 and then at the National Research Council, Ottawa from 1951- 1954. On returning to NPL, Dr. Hariharan received a PhD for his work on photographic resolving power. Subsequently, he held key posts at several scientific institutes and organisations and was also an honorary visiting professor at the University of Sydney.

iv. Dr. Hariharan's research contributions include the design of a new three-beam interferometer, the double-passed Fabry-Perot interferometer, and the first practical radial-shear interferometer. He was also the first to apply digital phase-shifting techniques to holographic interferometry for measurements of vector displacements and strains. Dr. Hariharan has published more than 200 papers and has authored four books. Dr. Hariharan was a recipient of several awards, including the Joseph Fraunhofer Medal of the Optical Society of America, the Thomas Young Medal of the Institute of Physics, London and the Walter Boas Medal of the Australian Institute of Physics.

5. IT Secretary R S Sharma appointed as TRAI chairman.

i. Information Technology Secretary Ram Sevak Sharma on Monday was appointed chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

ii. Sharma was set to retire in September as secretary of department of electronics and information technology. A 1978-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, he was a probable choice because of his familiarity with the telecom and IT sector.

iii. Sharma holds a Master’s degree in mathematics from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a Master’s in computer science from the University of California, USA, according to his profile on the department of electronics and IT website.

iv. Among the other candidates short-listed for Trai chairman were Power Secretary P K Sinha, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher, former telecom secretary M F Farooqui, and former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Subir Gokarn.

6. Mexico Defeat Jamaica 3-1 in Gold Cup Final.

i. Andres Guardado became the first player to score in three Gold Cup finals and Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1 on Sunday, stretching their record trophy total to seven.

ii. Andres Guardado was the star of the match once again as he scored the opener for Mexico.

iii. But the "Reggae Boyz" could not stop the Mexicans from capturing their third title in the past four attempts at the biennial North American regional football tournament.

7. Renault India Ropes in Ranbir Kapoor as Brand Ambassador.

i. Automobile manufacturer Renault India on Monday announced that it has roped in actor Ranbir Kapoor as its brand ambassador.

ii. Renault is celebrating its fourth year anniversary in India this July and is progressing towards a new and dynamic phase of growth. This association will leverage the versatility and legacy of both Renault and Ranbir, as he represents the underlying brand promise of Renault -- 'Passion For Life'.

iii. Sumit Sawhney, country CEO and managing director, Renault India Operations, said Ranbir is the perfect match because he "ideally portrays