Current Affairs October 2013

Robocoin: World’s first Bitcoin ATM unveiled in Vancouver, Canada

Screenshot_4The world’s first Bitcoin ATM machine which can transact digital currency – Bitcoins -for any official currency has been unveiled in Vancouver, Canada.

The ATM named Robocoin allows users to buy or sell the digital currency known as bitcoins. The ATM in Vancouver is operated by Las Vegas-based Robocoin and Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is unregulated by any central bank or government, but still works for purchasing goods and services from retailers willing to accept it. It can also be traded on an open market that fluctuates much like a stock market. Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without the inter-mediation of any central authority. Bitcoin is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.

Father of IBM personal computer: William C Lowe dead

Screenshot_2William C Lowe (72), who pioneered the conception and manufacturing of IBM’s first personal computer, passed away in Lake Forest, Illinois.

William C Lowe:

Lowe joined IBM in 1962, when he finished college with a physics degree. In 1980, William C Lowe, who was a lab director at that time, proposed the idea that IBM should develop a personal computer that could be mass marketed. He persuaded his bosses that he could set up a team to build a personal computer in a year. Lowe and his team developed the IBM PC by adopting open architecture, using parts and software from outside vendors, including Microsoft. In 1981, the IBM 5150 personal computer was launched, several years after Apple had brought its first computer to market.

Lowe went on to serve as an IBM vice president and president of its entry systems division, which oversaw the development and manufacturing of IBM’s personal computers and other businesses. He left the company in 1988 to work for Xerox, and later became president of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.

Kirit Parikh committee suggests increase in prices of Diesel, Kerosene and LPG

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Kirit Parikh committee on Pricing Methodology for Diesel, Domestic LPG and PDS Kerosene has recommended a price increase of Rs 5 / litre in diesel, Rs 4/ litre in kerosene, and Rs 250 in LPG cylinder with immediate effect.

What are the key recommendations of Kirit Parikh panel?

The Panel recommended:

  • Number of subsidised LPG cylinders should be decreased from the present 9 to 6 cylinders per annum to each household.
  • Subsidy on diesel sales should be capped at Rs 6/litre.
  • Do away with the subsidy on diesel within one year, which could save the exchequer Rs 72000 crore in fuel subsidy.
  • Government should take measures to pass on the impact of rise in price of diesel to consumers, and move speedily towards making the price of diesel market-determined.
  • Continuation of existing pricing principles for controlled petroleum products.

At present, oil marketing firms sell diesel at a discount of Rs 10.52 per litre, kerosene at Rs 38.32 Rupees and LPG at Rs 532.86 rupees per cylinder.

Kirit Parikh Committee

Kirit Parikh panel was set up by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in June 2013 assigning it with the task to advice on Pricing Methodology for Diesel, Domestic LPG and PDS Kerosene. The panel was chaired by Planning Commission member Dr. Kirit S. Parikh.

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