Home Current Affairs JULY-2013
JULY-2013
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 23 August 2013 03:46

 

ABBREVIATIONS
BIT: Bilateral Investment Treaty.

IRNSS: Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.

NCRTC: National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited.

RRTS: Regional Rapid Transit system.

 

IMPORTANT DATES

WORLD HEPATITIS DAY 2013

28 July: World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day was observed across the world on 28 July 2013. The theme for the year 2013 is This is Hepatitis, Know it, Confront it. The theme has been set with an aim of creating a global awareness about the Hepatitis virus and to encourage its prevention, treatment and diagnosis. Of the five types of viruses, B and C are considered to be dangerous.

Food and Water Borne infections causes Hepatitis A and E Virus because of which millions of cases of acute illness is reported every year. Worldwide, infections with hepatitis B and C viruses cause an estimated 57% of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78% of cases of primary liver cancer. The availability of a vaccine that confers lifelong protection against infection with the hepatitis B virus gives public health a rare opportunity to prevent a leading cause of cancer, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

The significance of these challenges and opportunities was formally acknowledged in 2010, when the World Health Assembly adopted its first resolution on viral hepatitis.

About World Hepatitis Day

In 2008, the World Hepatitis Alliance launched the World Hepatitis Day to the concern that chronic viral hepatitis did not have the level of awareness, nor the political priority, seen with other communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Since 2008 World Hepatitis Day has been coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance. It is an annual event that provides international focus of the patient groups and living people to raise awareness about hepatitis B and C and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment. In May 2010 the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA63.18 on viral hepatitis, which provides official endorsement of World Hepatitis Day as the primary focus for national and international awareness-raising efforts. That resolution, which called for a comprehensive approach to prevention and control, opened a new era of awareness about the magnitude of disease caused by viral hepatitis and the need for urgent action on several fronts. The day is observed on 28 July to mark the birthday of Professor Baruch Blumberg, awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in discovering the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis In India

India is a home of about 11 percent of people from the world population that suffers from the chronic disease Hepatitis B and about 1 to 2 lakh people die every year due to hepatocellular carcinoma or cirrhosis.

 

PI APPROXIMATION DAY CELEBRATED ON 22 JULY WORLDWIDE

22 July: PI Approximation Day

Pi Approximation Day is celebrated worldwide on 22 July every year. The reason why this day is celebrated on 22 July is because of the value of Pi- 22/7. The fraction 22⁄7 is said to be the common approximation of Pi (π).

Objective of The PI Approximation Day

Pi Approximation Day is observed or celebrated in order to mark the Pi or approximation of EMBED Equation- twenty two over seven, where the denominator 7 represents the 7th month, i.e., July and numerator 22 represents the 22nd day of the month.

Starting Of The PI Day

It is important to note that Pi Approximation Day is very closely related to the Pi Day which is celebrated on 14 March every year (representing the value 3.14). The Pi Day started in the year 1988. The first party for honouring this mathematical entity- Pi, was held in 1988 when Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium, the San Francisco science museum revealed that the date was 14 March, i.e., number of the Pi (3.14). In the year 2009, the United States House of Representatives also supported the designation of Pi Day.

WHAT IS A PI (Π)?

Pi is the ratio of circumference of a circle divided by the distance across the circle, i.e., diameter of the circle.

The value of Pi is 22/7 or 3.14. Pi is an irrational number, which means that it is not possible to calculate Pi by dividing an integer by any other integer.

Pi is a never-ending and never-repeating number.

The most accurate calculation of Pi is to ten trillion digits.

Observance Of The Day

Pi Approximation Day is observed in a lot of ways, which include eating a pie and discussion of the significance of number π. Various schools also hold competitions in order to find out which student recalls Pi to its highest number of decimal places. Apart from this, there are recitation contests as well as annual Einstein look-alike contests in certain schools and universities.

 

NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY OBSERVED ON 18 JULY

18 July: Nelson Mandela International Day

Nelson Mandela International Day was observed across the world on 18 July 2013 to earmark freedom, justice and democracy. The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July as the Nelson Mandela International Day to recognize the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

MALALA DAY OBSERVED ACROSS THE WORLD ON 12 JULY

12 July: Malala Day

12 July 2013 was observed as Malala Day across the World and by United Nations. The day is being observed by the United Nations to highlight the fight of education of the Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai.

Seminars, conferences and other ceremonies were held across Pakistan wherein scholars, educationists and analysts participated to pay tribute to Malala, who fought for girl's education in Swat valley against the Taliban. 12 July, the day of Malala’s Birth was declared as Malala Day by UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon on her 16th Birthday.

About Malala

Malala is the girl from Pakistan, who was shot in head and neck by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on 9 October 2012 for advocating girls for their right to education and speaking against Taliban.

Award To An Indian Girl On Malala Day

On Malala Day, UN awarded the United Nations' Special Envoy for Global Education's Youth Courage Award for Education to Razia Sulatana, a teenager from a Nanglakhumba village of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, India. Razia was opted for the award for her efforts to motivate 48 children to go school after freeing them, from child labour bondage.

 

WORLD POPULATION DAY OBSERVED ACROSS THE WORLD ON 11 JULY

11 July: World Population Day World Population Day was observed on 11 July 2013 across the world. The theme for the year 2013 is ‘Focus is on Adolescent Pregnancy’. In 1989, in its decision 89/46, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) declared 11 July as the day that should be observed as World Population Day by the International Community.

The UNDP recommended 11 July as world Population Day, in order to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and programmes and the need to find solutions for these issues.

The 2013 World Population Day is being observed with an aim of raising awareness on the issue of adolescent pregnancy with the hope of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The 2013 aim has been proposed because as per reports about 16 million of girls under 18 years of age give birth to a child every year. Apart from this about 3.2 million undergoes an unsafe abortion and about 90 percent of the pregnant adolescents in the developing world are married. In case of India, pregnancy among adolescent is a serious challenge, as the latest National Family Health Survey data reports that about 3.5 percent girls in India gets married before attaining age of 18 years. This problem gives rise to early child bearing tendency among girls.

World And Impacts Of Growing Population

The world population went up to 7 billion people in 2011 from 2.5 billion as recorded in 1950. The population growth had profound implications on development, as this growth in population is an opportunity as well as a challenge with implications on sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment.

World Population Day In India

Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare observed the World Population Day by organising a Walk towards Population Stabilization from India Gate to Vijay Chowk. The walk was followed by a National Dialogue on Population Stabilization for a Better Tomorrow at Vigyan Bhavan. The Walk was flagged off by Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi.

About Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh

The Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) (National Population Stabilisation Fund) has been registered as an autonomous Society established under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. JSK has to promote and undertake activities aimed at achieving population stabilisation at a level consistent with the needs of sustainable economic growth, social development and environment protection, by 2045.

India And Impacts Of Growing Population

As per the latest 2011 census, India’s population in India went up by 17.64 percent to 1.21 billion in a decade’s time during 2001--2011 in comparison to 21.15 per cent in 1991--2001. The 2001-2011 period is the first decade with exception of 1911-1921 which has actually added less population compared to the previous decade but states like UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh have witnessed high growth of population .

Themes Of Past World Population Day

2012 - Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services

2011 - 7 Billion Actions

2010 - Be Counted: Say What You Need

2009 - Fight Poverty: Educate Girls

2008 - Plan Your Family, Plan Your Future

2007 - Men at Work

2006 - Being Young is Tough

2005 - Equality Empowers

 

INDIA DAIRY

1 July 2013

The Madras High Court on 1 July 2013 upheld the ban imposed by the government on LTTE in 2010.

National Cyber Security Policy 2013 was launched by Government to protect information and build capabilities to prevent cyber attacks.

I&B Ministry, cancelled licenses of 61 channels, as they were not under operation within one year of granting permission.

 

2 July 2013

SC ordered State Governments to curb the practice of sale of adulterated milk. The court directed them to share their steps to curb the practice of sale.

The second meeting of the Prime Minister’s Committee on the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was held.

Ordinance to implement Food Security Bill was approved by the union Cabinet and Sent for President’s assent. Further, it was forwarded to President.

 

3 July 2013

Supreme Court ruled that benefits of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme can’t be claimed by an employee. The right lies only in the hands of employer.

Bharti Airtel Ltd. became the majority shareholder in the Indian broadband units of Qualcomm Inc.

 

4 July 2013

Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance on food security on 5 July 2013 which seeks to give legal rights to 67 per cent of the population for subsidised grains.

Union Government of India announced to launch Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Surakhsa Yojna (MGPSY).

Senior parliamentarian Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil was appointed as the new governor of Sikkim.

 

5 July 2013

Law Commission extended the last date from 30 June 2013 to 31 July 2013 for sending suggestion on Electoral reforms.

The government for the first time has given its nod for recruitment and commissioning of women officers in BSF.

 

6 July 2013

Realty major DLF finalised the 325-crore rupees deal to sell 150 MW wind turbine project in Gujarat.

State Bank of India launched a card which will enable the holder to receive the remittance directly on the card.

 

7 July 2013

Former Delhi police Chief, KK Paul took over as the new Governor of Meghalaya.

Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh on took over as the new Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 

8 July 2013

Government announced a 20 per cent cut in Haj quota, putting the entire burden to be borne by private tour operators.

The Union Government in July 2013 hiked the import duty on sugar to 15 per cent from the present 10 per cent to restrain cheaper inflow of the sweetener.

 

9 July 2013

The Supreme Court of India on 9 July 2013 directed the Union Government of India to formulate a policy to regulate/ban Retail Sale of Acid across the country.

The Union government announced disbanding of DRDA the body which looks after implementation of anti-poverty programmes of Rural Development Ministry.

 

10 July 2013

The Union government 2013 approved a proposal to replace DGCA with a new aviation regulator with full operational and financial autonomy.

SC in its landmark Judgement barred people in Jail or Police Custody from contesting elections. This will help to clean the Parliament and State Assemblies.

 

11 July 2013

The Union Cabinet gave in-principle approval to withdraw the controversial Rent Act of 1958.

The Union Cabinet of India gave its approval to the proposal for setting up of a NAU.

The Union Cabinet of India on 11 July 2013 approved the proposal for setting up Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University.

 

12 July 2013

Indian Parsi conductor of western classical music Zubin Mehta to be honoured with Tagore Award 2013.

Pran, the legendary actor died. He was a proud recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award and Padma Bhushan Award.

 

13 July 2013

Website on NCC launched by Defence Ministry. The website is designed to provide information about NCC and will acts as an information data bank of its Cadets.

Government announced that the government would provide free pre-natal health care and ambulance facilities.

 

14 July 2013

Sula Vineyard, which is the largest wine producer of India, decided to make its mark in the wine market of Sikkim.

National Stock Exchange (NSE) has regained its position as the world’s largest bourse in terms of volume in equity trade.

 

15 July 2013

The Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group has cleared four projects worth 8000 crore rupees.

President Pranab Mukherjee launched a Kisaan Portal for sending SMS through mobile phones to the farmers across the country.

 

16 July 2013

The Union government of India proposed to make production of Photo identity card mandatory.

The Department of Food launched the system of electronic transfer of funds. This would help in ensuring quick & direct transfer of funds.

 

17 July 2013

SC refused to reduce age of Juveniles from 18 to 16. It also dismissed the plea that demanded non-protection of minors involved in heinous crime under the law.

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India launched the nation-wide National Tobacco Control Campaign known as- Tears you apart.

 

18 July 2013

Plan Scheme Development Communication and Information Dissemination got an approval from CCEA for its implementation.

Union Cabinet approved amendments to the marriage law enabling a woman to get a share of her husband's ancestral property.

 

19 July 2013

CCS approved the proposal of creation of Mountain Strike Corps along the entire LAC with China. This strike corps will be headquartered at Panagarh, WB.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance finalised its report on Goods and Services Tax (GST).

SC issued notice to Uttarakhand and six other states for their alleged failure in implementing Disaster Management Act.

 

20 July 2013

Cyber Security Initiative Put on Fast Track by National Security Adviser

The Government of India informed the Bangladesh regarding the ratification of 1974 Indira-Mujib pact

The Union Government of India proposed land reforms for acknowledging the women rights through National Land Reform Policy 2013 Draft.

 

21 July 2013

REC promised financial assistance to 20 underprivileged meritorious students under the Abhayanand Super 30 initiative.

Supreme Court directed the Union Government to enforce rules on the advertisement of tobacco products at all the sales outlet.

 

22 July 2013

Supreme Court the Union Government to enforce rules on the advertisement of tobacco products at all the sales outlet.

The 21st meeting of the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) was held in New Delhi. The meeting was held on PC & PNDT Act.

Poverty Ratio in India declined to 21.9 percent in 2011-12 from 37.2 percent measured in 2004-05 on the basis of the increase in per capita consumption.

 

23 July 2013

SC directed the Railways to approach competent authorities in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for recovery of losses.

A sum of 176.98 crore Rupees has been sanctioned for development of kole land, announced by the Thrissur-Ponnani Kole Development Council.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released consultation paper on valuation and reserve price of spectrum for the third auction.

Odisha, Bihar showed biggest decline in Percentage of Poor

 

24 July 2013

The Supreme Court of India ruled that clinical trials of untested drugs on humans require certain mandatory standards.

The Supreme Court of India slapped contempt notices on two Sahara firms.

Aircel announced that it partnered with Wikimedia Foundation for offering the free mobile access of Wikipedia to its customers.

The Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi launched the Clean India campaign at world heritage site Taj Mahal, Agra.

 

25 July 2013

Educomp and HCL announced about their partnership to facilitate life cycle services for existing as well as new Educomp classrooms in India.

Arun Nehru, the cousin of Rajiv Gandhi as well as the Minister for Internal Security during his government, died in Gurgaon.

India's K Jennitha Anto won the 13th IPCA World Women's Individual Chess Championship title.

 

26 July 2013

India’s Weather Satellite INSAT-3D was launched successfully from Kourou, French Guiana.

The notebook that contains two Urdu Ghazals written by Veer Sawarkar during his term in Andaman Jail was discovered.

India continues to reign at the top of the table in International Cricket Council’s latest ODI ranking released on 26 July 2013.

 

27 July 2013

Two rail as well as road projects which are worth 1500 crore Rupees were launched in Haryana.

First Textile Park dedicated to hand block printing and craft inaugurated at Bagru near Jaipur. Dr. KS Rao inaugrated the park.

 

28 July 2013

Delhi government is all set to launch food security programme from 20 August 2013.

India achieved a record production of 18.45 million tonnes of pulses in the 2012-13 crop year ended June 2013.

 

29 July 2013

Cyber Crime Offenders of Younger Age Group Rising: National Crime Records Bureau

30 July 2013

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Launched Emergency Care Initiatives on NH-8

Batla House Encounter convict Shahzad Ahmed got Life Sentence

Amjad Ali Khan to get 21st Rajiv Gandhi National Sadhbhavna Award

Eldest Daughter of Maharaja of Faridkot Won Legal Battle for Assets Worth 20000 Crore

Jagdish Raj, the Most Type-Cast Actor of Bollywood Died at 85

 

31 July 2013

Union Government to launch Bharat Mobile Scheme

 

 

WORLD DAIRY

1 July 2013

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Visually Impaired signed.

Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union.

Russia signed Anti-Gay Measures into law.

Sydney Monorail came to an end after 25 years of service.

 

2 July 2013

Indian IPv6 Lab got approval from international body.

India-China trade deficit reached 12 Billion US Dollars.

 

3 July 2013

 

Saudi Arabia extended amnesty period for illegal foreign workers.

India and Nepal agreed on cooperation in tourism.

Kosovo introduced visa regime for 87 countries.

4 July 2013

Irish lawmakers backed bill legalizing abortion in life-threatening cases.

President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi ousted in a military coup.

 

5 July 2013

India and Vietnam set up joint panel for ICT sector.

 

6 July 2013

India, Mauritius and other nations of IOR-ARC agreed to promote trade.

Venezuela and Nicaragua offered asylum to Edward Snowden.

 

7 July 2013

North and South Korea held talks over re-opening joint industrial zone Kaesong.

 

8 July 2013

China’s Ex-Minister sentenced to death for graft and power misuse.

UN released Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

Malaysia withdraw bill allowing unilateral conversion of child.

 

9 July 2013

India and Iraq signed a pact to enhance co-operation in energy sector.

India and Albania signed an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Abdoulaye Bathily as Deputy Head of UN Mission in Mali.

 

10 July 2013

Hazem El-Beblawi named as new Prime Minister of Egypt.

Japanese Royal Couple, the emperor and empress decided to visit India.

Salman Khurshid visited Nepal, discussed key bilateral issues with top leaders.

 

11 July 2013

India and Tanzania signed Agreements on Bilateral Cooperation in several sectors.

India agreed to co-operate Mongolia in renewable energy & HR development.

U.S. Navy landed first unmanned aircraft carrier in Atlantic Ocean.

President of Portugal approved reshuffled government.

 

12 July 2013

France and Switzerland signed New Inheritance Tax Deal.

India has right to pursue exploration and exploitation work in South China Sea: Vietnam.

United Nations Secretary General warned Myanmar to end Buddhist attacks on Rohingyas.

 

13 July 2013

Veteran actor Pran died due to prolonged illness.

Typhoon Soulik stuck Taiwan, killed one and injured 21.

 

14 July 2013

China cancelled the nuclear processing plant in Guangdong Province.

People's Democratic Party won the National Assembly Elections in Bhutan.

 

15 July 2013

Union Defence Ministry launched a website on NCC.

India became the biggest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil.

Iran agreed to take all oil payments from India in Rupees.

Bangladesh approved a Labour Law to boost worker rights.

 

16 July 2013

Sri Lanka banned film Flying Fish, claimed it insulted government and security forces.

US Lawmakers proposed National Park on Moon.

 

17 July 2013

Britain honoured Krishna Menon by placing blue plaque on his first home in London.

 

International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Ali Mohammed Mujaheed to death.

18 July 2013

Bengaluru International Airport renamed as Kempegowda International Airport.

Bono honoured with highest cultural award of France- the Commander of the Order.

Nelson Mandela International Day observed on 18 July.

 

19 July 2013

India Emerged as the second largest investor in the city of London.

 

20 July 2013

Incheon was named as the World Book Capital for the Year 2015.

Religious freedom for Hindus, Christians and Shia Muslims deteriorating in Pakistan: Report.

China lifted control on banks and allowed them to set their own lending rates.

 

21 July 2013

India topped in the chart of Sri Lanka’s foreign visitors.

Archeologists in Israel uncovered King David's Palace of Kingdom of Judea.

 

22 July 2013

Panel appointed by Interim President started Egypt Constitution amendment task.

Japan's ruling coalition won majority in Upper House.

Prince Philippe sworn in as the seventh king of Belgium.

EU agreed to list the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

 

23 July 2013

India and Nigeria signed agreement for solar power plants.

 

24 July 2013

14th Meet of Home Secretaries of India and Bangladesh concluded at New Delhi.

Supreme Court of Pakistan directed election commission to hold presidential election.

 

25 July 2013

 

India, Belarus signed protocol to enhance trade ties.

USA decided to stop the delivery of Four F-16 Fighters to Egypt.

India and China focussed on additional confidence building measures.

26 July 2013

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange launched political party in Australia.

New Prince of Britain, the royal baby, named George Alexander Louis.

 

27 July 2013

Asian Countries sought Ban on Smokeless Forms of Tobacco

 

28 July 2013

Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners.

MERS, a New Respiratory Virus found in Saudi Arabia

World Hepatitis Day 2013 observed with theme This is Hepatitis, Know it, confront it

 

29 July 2013

Cambodian Election 2013: Hun Sen's ruling Party claimed Victory

Ilya Segalovich, the Co-Founder of Yandex Died at the Age of 48 Years

 

30 July 2013

Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation Signed Between India and Senegal

IMF approved 1.7 Billion Euros for Greece's Bailout Programme

Saudi Arabia Awarded 22 Billion US Dollar Contracts for Development of Metro Line in Riyadh

 

31 July 2013

India and Afghanistan signed MoUs under SDP Scheme

Mamnoon Hussain, the India-Born Pakistani Businessman, Elected as the President of Pakistan

The US Senate Approved James Comey to be the Next Director of FBI

Angelina Jolie Declared as the Highest Paid Actress of Hollywood by Forbes

 

APPOINTED; ELECTED; Etc.

King Philippe: He has ascended the throne of Belgium after the emotional abdication of his father Albert II, vowing to strive for unity in a nation divided by language and tradition. The new sovereign has become the seventh “King of The Belgians”.

Mamnoon Hussain: He has been elected as the 12th President of Pakistan for a five-year term starting in September 2013.  Born in Agra (India) on 23 December 1940, Mamnoon has been associated with PML-N since 1993 and served as Governor of Sindh for a brief period of six months in 1999. He lost the post after the then Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf toppled the PML-N government in a military coup in October 1999. He owns a textile business in Karachi and has contracts with wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs.

Tshering Tobgay: Leader of People’s Democratic Party, he has been elected as the Prime Minister of Bhutan.

Virendra Kataria: He has been appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.

K.K. Paul: Former Police Commissioner of Delhi, he has been named the Governor of Meghalaya.

Najeeb Jung: He has been appointed as the Lt Governor of Delhi. He was earlier Jamia Milia Vice Chancellor.

Lt Gen A.K. Singh (Retd): He has been appointed as the Lt Governor  of Andaman and Nicobar Island.

Hemant Soren: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, he has been appointed as the ninth Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

R. Chandrashekhar: Former telecom secretary, he has been appointed as the President of the IT software services industry body NASSCOM. He will take over after present President Som Mittal’s tenure ends in January 2014.

T.C.A. Raghavan: He has been appointed as the High Commissioner of India to Pakistan.

Abdul Rahim Rather: Jammu & Kashmir Finance Minister, he has been elected Chairman of the empowered committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST).

 

PERSONALITY IN NEWS

BATLA HOUSE ENCOUNTER CONVICT SHAHZAD GOT LIFE SENTENCE

A trial court on 30 July 2013 awarded life term to Batla House encounter convict Shahzad Ahmed for killing MC Sharma and injuring two others. Batla House encounter had taken place in 2008. Shahzad was also fined 95000 rupees of which 40000 rupees would be paid to family of slain inspector MC Sharma and 20000 rupees to injured cop Balwant. Additional sessions judge Rajender Kumar Shastri pronounced the judgment after listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defence. Batla House encounter officially known as Operation Batla House, took place on 19 September 2008, against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. Encounter specialist and Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who led the police action was also killed during the incident.

 

EDWARD SNOWDEN AWARDED WITH GERMAN WHISTLEBLOWER PRIZE

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who exposed the widest US global surveillance operations, was on 25 July 2013 awarded German Whistleblower Prize 2013 worth 3900 Dollars in absentia.

Snowden has exposed the substantial and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data by US and other western intelligence agencies, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies.

It was the top secret National Security Agency documents that were leaked by Snowden since the beginning of June 2013 which in turn made it possible and unavoidable intensive investigations to establish whether the operations of domestic and foreign intelligence services have violated the existing rules applicable to them. Snowden has undertaken great personal risks in leaking the documents on the operations of the US and other western intelligence agencies, aware of the current criminal prosecution of whistleblowers in security areas.

Even after proving that the espionage operations partly or to a large extent were protected by the law, Snowden has helped in exposing such a dangerous situation, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies.

About Whistleblower Prize

The whistleblower prize which was instituted in year 1999 by German section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Association of German Scientists is awarded once in two years to honour persons, who “expose in public interest grave social injustices and dangerous developments for individuals and the society, democracy, peace and environment. German chapter of the global anti-corruption organisation Transparency International joined the prize for the first time this year.

 

INDIA TURNED DOWN THE SNOWDEN'S REQUEST FOR ASYLUM

India including several other countries on 2 July 2013 turned down Edward Snowden's request for asylum. Snowden has cancelled his asylum bid in Russia and several European countries said such applications wouldn't be considered if they were made from abroad. Meanwhile, several other countries, where the WikiLeaks says Snowden has applied for asylum, have said he cannot apply from abroad. Officials in Germany, Norway, Austria, Poland, Finland and Switzerland all said he must make his request on their soil. These asylum requests were filed by Sarah Harrison, legal advisor of Wikileaks in the matter of Snowden, the whistle-blower website said on Tuesday. The requests were made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italian, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Swiss Confederation, and Venezuela. The US Administration has warned countries not to give asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information. Edward Snowden is an American intelligence leaker, who is currently sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport, has sought asylum in 20 countries, including India.

 

SALMAN FRAMED FOR CULPABLE HOMICIDE IN HIT AND RUN CASE

Salman Khan on 24 July 2013 was charged with Culpabale Homicide, not amounting to murder by the High Court of Mumbai in the hit-and-run case. Culpabale Homicide, not amounting to murder, offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail. Salman Khan on his part pleaded not guilty.

The Court exempted, Salman Khan from appearance in the trial because he was away from the country for two months. Earlier, Salman Khan was charged with offence of causing death by rash and negligent driving, which carried a maximum punishment of two years in jail by the Metropolitan Magistrate. But his offence was enhanced to culpable homicide charge in June 2013 after the Metropolitan Magistrate examined the 17 witnesses in the case.

About The Case

Salman Khan on 28 September 2002 ran over his Toyota Land Cruiser, while driving on a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in Bandra suburban area of Mumbai. In the accident, one person was killed leaving behind four others injured.

 

SUNETRA GUPTA’S PORTRAIT TO BE EXHIBITED IN BRITAIN

Sunetra Gupta on 22 July 2013 became a part of the prestigious group of Women in Science Portrait Exhibition of the greatest women Fellows of the Royal Society together with newly-commissioned drawings, featuring Royal Society Research Fellows. Sunetra Gupta, the India-born Chemist and Physicist joined the first-of-its-kind art exhibition at the prestigious Royal Society, as one of her portrait has been included in the show. With this achievement, she has achieved an honour of joining the big league of female scientists like Marie Curie.

About Sunetra Gupta

She was born in Kolkata in 1965, she wrote her first works of fiction in Bengali

At the time of joining the group, she was a professor of theoretical epidemiology at

Oxford University department of zoology and was working on infectious disease

Her main area of interest is the evolution of diversity in pathogens

She is an acclaimed novelist, essayist and scientist

In October 2012 her fifth novel, So Good in Black, was long listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

In 2009, she was named as the winner of the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award for her scientific achievements

She graduated in 1987 from Princeton University and received her PhD from the University of London in 1992

She is an accomplished translator of the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore

 

NISHA DESAI NOMINATED ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE OF USA

Nisha Desai Biswal, an Indian-American woman was nominated for the Post of Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia by US President Barack Obama on 18 July 2013. Nisha Desai Biswal, held the post of the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at the time her of nomination to the post of Assistant Secretary of state. Nisha Desai Biswal will oversee the US Foreign Policy and relations at the State Department for India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This is the first time an Indian-American is heading the South Asia Bureau, a new milestone for the community.

About Nisha Desai Biswal

Nisha Desai Biswal worked at the American Red Cross from 1993 to 1995 in the Washington headquarters, and as an overseas delegate in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

From 1999 to 2002, she worked as a Hill staffer with the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee.

From 2005 to 2010, Biswal was the Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations in the House of Representatives.

Nisha Desai Biswal held the post of assistant administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), since September 2010.

 

M.M. RAJU WAS CONFERRED THE HONORARY FELLOWSHIP BY IETE

The Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) on 19 July 2013 has conferred its highest honour The Honorary Fellowship on HRD Minister M.M. Pallam Raju for his scientific vision and valuable contribution to the progress in the field of electronics and telecommunication.

M.M. Pallam Raju was earlier conferred with a Fellow of IETE in 2006 by Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) on his assumption of charge as Minister of State for Defence. Pallam Raju, as HRD Minister is a strong believer in the importance of strengthening the moral fibre of the children of the country, and also believes in leveraging on the complete potential of ICT towards meeting the educational objectives, both in school education and higher education. It is worth mentioning here that Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad and Temple University, USA, conferred an honorary doctorate and Doctor of Humane Letters respectively in the years 2008 and 2013. M.M. Pallam Raju with his outstanding leadership has professionally contributed towards strengthening the education system for children of the country, and for giving greater focus to industry-academia relationships, for advocating skill development and entrepreneurship amongst the youth and for promoting innovation and R&D amongst the country’s institutions of higher learning.

A Brief Insight Into Pallam’s Raju Political Career

Pallam Raju is a very active member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and has held several important positions in the state unit and at the National level, the most recent one as the Chairman of the Department of Policy Planning and Coordination (DEPPCO) in the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

In between August 2004 and January 2006, he served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology which comprises the Departments of Information Technology, Communications & Posts and Information & Broadcasting.

He has served as a Director on the boards of Indian Airlines & Air India during 1994-1997.

About The Honorary Fellowship

The honorary Fellowship is given to persons of eminence who are achievers in the field of Electronics, Telecommunication and Information Technology or have made valuable contribution in the aforesaid fields for the betterment of the society.

About Institution Of Electronics And Telecommunication Engineers

IETE is India’s leading professional society devoted to the advancement of science and technology and of Electronics, Telecommunication and IT. I t was Founded in 1953, and since its inception it is serving more than 52000 members through its 52 centres all over India and abroad.

 

ICT SENTENCED ALI MOHAMMED MUJAHEED TO DEATH

The second International Crimes Tribunal on 17 July 2013 sentenced war crime indicted Ali Mohammed Mujaheed, General Secretary of Jamaat e Islami to death. Mujaheed who was a leader of Jamaat's student wing Islammi Chattra Sangha in 1971 Bangladesh war was indicted of 7 war crimes including murder, genocide and conspiracy to kill intellectuals during the Bangladesh War for Liberation. The Jamaat e Islami is enforcing a day-long country hartal protesting against the verdicts of the ICT on the third day in succession. The two war crimes tribunals have so far delivered 5 verdicts since their establishment.

Who Is Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mojaheed?

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed is a Bangladeshi politician and presently the Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He was accused of helping to form the militant groups Al-Badr (the moon) and the Al-Shams (the sun) and committing crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He is currently held prisoner and standing trial at the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. He was Minister of Social Welfare from 2001 to 2007 in the four-party alliance Bangladesh government.

What Is ICT?

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) is a war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh established in 2009 to investigate and prosecute suspects for the genocide committed in 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams. During the 2008 general election, the Awami League (AL) promised to set up the tribunals in response to long-demanded popular calls for trying war criminals.

 

SC STAYED TRIAL AGAINST LALU YADAV IN FODDER SCAM

The Supreme Court of India on 9 July 2013 suspended all proceedings related to fodder scam (the alleged financial irregularities in the animal husbandry department) cases in the Jharkhand Court against Lalu Yadav. Lalu Yadav is the President of Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The Supreme Court Bench that comprised Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J. Chelameswar granted the stay to the case following Lalu Yadav’s special leave petition against the Judgement of the High Court of Jharkhand. The bench of Supreme Court also issued a notice to transfer the case against Lalu from CBI Court in the state to other Court with competent jurisdiction. The notice is returnable in two week on 23 July to the CBI.

About Fodder Scam

The multi-million rupee scam surfaced in the then Bihar in 1996 is also known as Chara Ghotala. After formation of Jharkhand in November 2000, 54 cases were transferred to the Jurisdiction of Jharkhand of which judgments have been passed in more than 40 cases by now. The scandal, which was in process for about two decades involved financial irregularities of about 900 crore rupees in procurement of the livestock of fodder, medicine and animal husbandry equipment.

 

 

DISTINGUISHED VISITORS

Pham Binh Minh: Vietnam Foreign Minister.

Joe Biden: Vice President of USA. His visit helped to lay ground work for the US visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September-October.
Jean-Yves Le Drian: Defence Minister of France.

 

DIED

Douglas Engelbart: Tech visionary, he invented the computer mouse. He died on 4 July 2013 at the age of 88. The first computer mouse was a wooden shell with metal wheels.  He developed it in the 1960s and patented it in 1970. The idea was way ahead of its time. The mouse didn’t become commercially available until 1984, with the release of Apple’s then-revolutionary Macintosh computer. Engelbart conceived the mouse so early in the evolution of computers that he and his colleagues didn’t profit much from it. The technology passed into the public domain in 1987, preventing him from collecting royalties on the mouse when it was in its widest use. At least 1 billion have been sold since the mid-1980s.

Pran: Legendary Hindi film actor, he died on 12 july 2013. He was 93. The actor, who had a six-decade-long career that saw him performing in over 400 films, was conferred the India’s highest cinema honour—Dada Saheb Phalke award—in April 2013. Pran left his imprint as a villain with powerful roles in films like Kashmir ki Kali, Khandaan, Aurat, Bari Behen, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai’', Half Ticket, Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim, Don, Victoria No. 403, Karz, Amar-Akbar-Anthony and Naseeb.


Amar Bose: Acoustics pioneer and founder and chairman of the audio technology company Bose Corp, known for the rich sound of its small tabletop radios and its noise-cancelling headphones popular among frequent fliers, died on 13 July 2013, at age 83.

Arun Nehru: Former Union Minister and a powerful figure during the tenure of former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, he died on 26 July 2013 at age 69.

Obaid Siddiqi: ne of India’s foremost biologists and former director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, he passed away on 26 July 2013. He was 81.

Jagdish Raj: Hindi film actor who holds the record of playing a cop in 144 films passed away on 30 July 2013. He was 85.  Some of his popular movies includeDeewar, Don, Shakti, Mazdoor, Imaan Dharam, Gopichand Jasoos, Silsila, Aaina andBesharam.

 

 

BOOKS/AUTHOR

AN AGENDA FOR INDIA’S GROWTH: ESSAYS IN HONOUR, RELEASED

An Agenda for India’s Growth: Essays in Honour of P. Chidambaram The book entitled An Agenda for India’s Growth: Essays in Honour of P. Chidambaram, was released in New Delhi on 31 July 2013 by Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 289 www.jagranjosh.com Page 289 Current Affairs eBook July 2013 The book, which is edited by Sameer Kochhar of the Skoch Foundation, encompasses various excellent essays by well known distinguished experts. In the book, all the authors dated their association with P. Chidambaram from 1991, when he was the Minister of Commerce as well as a key reformer initiating trade policy reform.

In one essay of this book, Montek Ahluwalia gave detailed account of P. Chidambaram’s role in trade policy reforms of 1991. During that time, he was the Commerce Secretary of Chidambaram.

 

JHUMPA LAHIRI FEATURED FOR MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013

The Lowland authored by Jhumpa Lahiri

Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland has been listed among 13 novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013.

The longlist for the prize, one of the English language's top fiction awards, names 13 writers from seven countries. The "Man Booker Dozen" 2013 comprises a diverse list of 13 novels that will astonish and intrigue in equal measure.

There are 13 outstanding novels range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1000 and from Shanghai to Hendon. The Lowland is story set in India and America, which is going to be published in September 2013 and is one of the highly anticipated books of the fall. It is being pitched as an easy frontrunner in London’s literary circles.

Long List 2013 Include

Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)

We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)

The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)

Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)

The Kills Richard House (Picador)

The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)

Unexploded Alison MacLeod (Hamish Hamilton)

Trans Atlantic Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)

Almost English Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)

A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)

The Spinning Heart Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)

The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)

About Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in 1967 in London and based in New York. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants from West Bengal. She had won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her debut short story collection Interpreter of Maladies (1999). Her first novel The Namesake (2003) was adapted into a popular film of the same name by director.

About Man Booker Prize 2013

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world's most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.

 

AN UNCERTAIN GLORY: INDIA AND ITS CONTRADICTIONS RELEASED

An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions authored by Amartya Sen & Jean Dreze An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions authored by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen was released in the third week of July 2013. The book has been published by Penguin Books India. Jean Drèze, the development economist and Amratya Sen, an economist, a philosopher and a Nobel Prize winner together have presented a far reaching analysis of the conditions of contemporary India with a compilation of the wealth of illuminating data. The book includes achievements of India since independence and the successful maintenance of the world’s largest democracy. The authors have also argued about the prevalent flaws in the development strategy of the nation. In particular, it overlooks the central role of human capabilities - both as an end in them and as a means of further progress.

About The Authors

Jean Drèze

Jean Drèze became an Indian citizen in 2002 and has lived in India since

Dreze has taught at the London School of Economics and the Delhi School of Economics

At present he is a Visiting Professor at Allahabad University

He has co-authored Amartya Sen in books named Hunger and Public Action and India: Development and Participation

He has also been a co-author of the Public Report on Basic Education in India

 

Amaryta Sen

Amaryta Sen is an Indian economist and philosopher, who won Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1998 for making contribution to welfare economics and social choice theory.

He is a professor at Thomas W. Lamont University

He also is a Professor of Philosophy and Economics, at Harvard University.

 

Some of the books authored by Amartya Sen include

- The Argumentative Indian

- Inequality reexamined

- The Idea of Justice

- Poverty and Famines

- Commodities and Capabilities

- Hunger and Republic Action

- Development as Freedom

- Choice, Welfare and Measurement

- Rationality and Freedom

- Identity and Violence the illusion of Destiny

 

SHAHAR SONE CHALA A COLLECTION OF POEMS RELEASED

Shahar Sone Chala authored by Sat Pal

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 292 www.jagranjosh.com Page 292 Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Shahar Sone Chala, a collection of selected Hindi poems penned down by Sat Pal was released on 15 July 2013 by Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi. This is the third book written by him. The poems of the book reflect the realities of life and underline the importance of peace, brotherhood and harmony in life. It also highlights the different aspects of society. At present Sat Pal is the information officer of Sheila Dikshit. His previous two books are Hindi satire.

 

BOOK TITLED SMRITIYAN AUTHORED BY GARIMA SANJAY RELEASED

Smritiyan authored by Garima Sanjay

The Vice President of India Hamid Ansari on 13 July 2013 released a book entitled Smritiyan authored by Garima Sanjay. Garima Sanjay is a professional author & documentary filmmaker by profession.

Smritiyan, the book describes that Life in general throws challenges before, we can fulfill our aspirations. At times we beat those challenges, but sometimes, especially in case of our personal and emotional lives, we’re unable to face these challenges and we simply give up and compromise with the situation and accept our failure. In such a situation, we blame our luck; or someone, whom we perceive as a villain in our life for our failures.

 

 

AWARDS
TAGORE AWARD, 2013

Zubin Mehta, an Indian-Parsi conductor of western classical music, has been felicitated with Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony.

The annual award was instituted by government of India during the commemoration of 150th birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. The first Tagore Award was conferred on sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar in 2012.


UNITED NATIONS MALALA AWARD

Razia Sultan, a young girl from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, who has been tackling the problem of child labour, has been conferred with the first United Nations Malala Award for spreading education among child labourers.

Razia is a resident of Nanglakhumba village in Meerut District. She used to stitch footballs in her village like several other girls, when she was four. After being rescued by a non-governmental organisation, she joined a school and eventually became a youth leader in her native place.


PREM BHATIA AWARD FOR JOURNALISM, 2013

Shalini Singh, deputy editor of The Hindu, been selected for the award for political reporting for her investigative coverage of several key issues. Foremost among these was her reporting of the telecom and Coalgate scandals.

The award for excellence in environmental reporting has been awarded to Jaideep Hardikar, special correspondent of The Telegraph, for his reporting on environmental and social topics particularly relating to rural and agrarian issues.


MAGSAYSAY AWARDS, 2013

Ernesto Domingo, from the Philippines, for “his exemplary embrace of the social mission of medical science and his profession, his steadfast leadership in pursuing ‘health for all’ as a shared moral responsibility of all sectors, and his groundbreaking and successful advocacy for neonatal hepatitis vaccination, thereby saving millions of lives in the Philippines.”

Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Corruption Eradication Commission), from Indonesia, for “its fiercely independent and successful campaign against corruption in Indonesia, combining the uncompromising prosecution of erring powerful officials with farsighted reforms in governance systems and the educative promotion of vigilance, honesty, and active citizenship among all Indonesians.”

Lahpai Seng Raw, from Myanmar,  for “her quietly inspiring and inclusive leadership—in the midst of deep ethnic divides and prolonged armed conflict—to regenerate and empower damaged communities and to strengthen local NGOs in promoting a non-violent culture of participation and dialogue as the foundation for Myanmar’s peaceful future.”

Habiba Sarabi, from Afghanistan, for “her bold exercise of leadership to build up a functioning provincial government against great odds—intractable political adversities, a harsh and impoverished environment, and pervasive cultural discrimination—serving her people with a hopeful persistence grounded in her abiding commitment to peace and development in Afghanistan.”

Shakti Samuha (“Power Group”), from Nepal, for “transforming their lives in service to other human trafficking survivors, their passionate dedication towards rooting out a pernicious social evil in Nepal, and the radiant example they have shown the world in reclaiming the human dignity that is the birthright of all abused women and children everywhere.”

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour and is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.  It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

 

 

AMJAD ALI KHAN TO GET RAJIV GANDHI NAT. SADHBHAVNA AWARD

Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan was chosen for the 21st Rajiv Gandhi National Sadhbhavna Award for his contribution towards promotion of communal harmony and peace. It will be conferred on Amjad Ali Khan on 20 August 2013, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award (Rajiv Gandhi National Communal Harmony Award) is an award given for outstanding contribution towards promotion of communal harmony, national integration and peace. The award was instituted by All India Congress Committee of the Indian National Congress Party (INC), in 1992 to commemorate the lasting contribution made by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The award carries a citation and a cash award of five lakh rupees. The award is given on 20 August evry year, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, which is celebrated as Sadbhavna Diwas (Harmony Day).The former recipients of the award comprise Mother Teresa, Bismillah Khan, Teesta Setalvad, Swami Agnivesh, Harsh Mander, Sunil Dutt, Dilip Kumar, Mohammed Yunus, Maulana Wahiuddin Khan and K R Narayanan.

 

PARADIP PORT CONFERRED WITH MAJOR PORT OF THE YEAR AWARD

Paradip Port was conferred with the Major Port of the Year award for its excellent performance in the year 2012-13. The award was received by SS Mishra, Chairman, Paradip Port Trust, at the SCOPE International Conference & Exhibition 2013 held in Chennai.

Paradip Port Trust (PPT) handled 56.55 million tonnes of traffic in the year 2012-13. There is an increase from 54.25 million tonnes of traffic in 2011-12. During 2012-13, the port also added 22 million tonnes of capacity, thus bringing the total to 102 million tonnes. It is important to note that the Paradip Port was also adjudged as the Major Port of the Year during 2009-10 at the Annual Indian Maritime Gateway Awards 2010 ceremony organised by Gateway Media Private Ltd.

ABOUT THE PARADIP PORT

Paradip Port is one of the major Indian ports that serve the Eastern and Central parts of the country.

Its vicinity extends to the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

The port primarily deals with the bulk cargos as well as clean cargos.

From the past 10 years, there has been an exceptional growth in the traffic handled by the Paradip Port.

The port carries out the operations 24x7x365.

Paradip Port is equipped with latest equipments as well as technology.

 

FOUR INDIAN AMERICANS WON SIMONS INVESTIGATORS AWARDS 2013

Four Indian-American Professors Kannan Soundararajan, Rajeev Alur, Salil P Vadhan and Senthil Todadri in fourth week of July 2013 won Simons Investigators Awards 2013. Apart from these, 9 other mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists were also selected for the Simons Investigators Awards for their cutting edge research. The 2013 awards were announced by the New York-based Simons Foundation, which is a non -profit organisation. Its mission is to advance the lines of research in mathematics and basic sciences. The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions. The foundation was incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons.

NAME OF PEOPLE AWARDED WITH THEIR FIELD OF STUDY:

Field of Study

Name of People awarded in Selected Fields

Physics

 

Victor Galitski from The University of Maryland

Randall Kamien from University of Pennsylvania

Joel Moore from University of California, Berkeley

Dam Thanh Son from the University of Chicago

Senthil Todadri from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Xi Yin from Harvard University

 

Computer science

 

Rajeev Alur from University of Pennsylvania

Piotr Indyk from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Salil P. Vadhan from Harvard University

 

Mathematics

 

Ngô Bao Châu from the University of Chicago

Maryam Mirzakhani from Stanford University

Kannan Soundararajan from Stanford University

Daniel Tataru from University of California, Berkeley

 

ABOUT SIMONS INVESTIGATORS

Simons Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists, who receive long-term research support from the Simons Foundation. Level and Duration of Funding: A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years with possible renewal for a further five years. An Investigator will receive research support of $100,000 per year, with an additional $10,000 per year provided to the Investigator’s department. The Investigator’s institution will receive 20 percent for indirect costs.

 

OISD SAFETY AWARDS 2011-12

Oil Industry Safety Awards for the year 2011-12 were presented by Union Minister of Petroleum Minister Petroleum & Natural Gas, Veerappa Moily and , Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Panabaaka Lakshmi on 19 July 2013. The award was given to the Chief Executives of Winning Oil & Gas organizations in a ceremony organised by Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) at New Delhi.

LIST OF THE WINNERS FOR THE PERFORMANCE YEAR 2011-12

Sl. No.

Group

Unit Basis

Award winners

1.

Oil & Gas Assets (Onshore)

Onshore assets

ONGC-Rajamundry

2.

Offshore Production Platforms

Production Platform-Pvt/JV companies

BG-Panna

3.

Refineries

Refinery

IOCL-BGR

4.

Other Processing Plants

Processing Plant

GAIL-Lakwa

5.

Cross Country Pipelines

Crude Oil Pipeline

Cairn Barmer-Salaya

6.

Product Pipeline

HPCL-Mundra-Delhi

7.

LPG & Gas Pipeline

GAIL-HVJ

8.

POL Marketing Organizations

Oil Marketing Company-POL

HPCL

9.

LPG Marketing Organizations

Oil Marketing Company-LPG

BPCL

10.

Most consistent Performer

Onshore Oil & Gas asset

ONGC-Rajahmundry

11.

Best Near-Miss Incident

Refinery

Essar Oil Refinery Ltd.

12

Marketing Operations

BPCL

13

Individual Contribution Towards safety

Individual; (Company/Contract Employee)

1. H.G. Sayyad, LOCO Staff, BPCL-Mumbai Refinery

2. B.N. Malleswara Rao, Field Operator, HPCL-

Visakh Refinery.

3. Amar Singh and Baldev Raj, General Operators, BPCL- Marketing Jammu Depot.

 

 

ABOUT THE OIL INDUSTRY SAFETY AWARDS

Oil Industry Safety Awards were initiated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 1987. These awards are given to recognize the efforts of Oil & Gas Industry in enhancing safety performance of the oil installations thereby improved productivity, profitability and sustainability. Organisations that have achieved exceptional safety performance are presented with the Safety Award. The criteria for selection of these Awards is based on various parameters like Complexity of the facility, Volumes handled, Safety Management system, Accidents & losses. In totality 16 numbers of Oil Industry Safety Awards were presented for the year 2011-12to the oil industry organizations. OISD Safety Awards also include Individual Awards to the employees & contract workmen who have made significant contribution to enhance safety. For the first time OISD awards were given to the organization reporting highest number of near-miss incidents.

ABOUT OISD

MOP&NG (Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas) constituted Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) in 1986 to enhance safety in Oil & Gas Industry. Oil Industry has immensely benefited from the standards and safety audits carried out by OISD who has been granted ISO 9002 certification recently.

 

REAL VNC WAS PRESENTED WITH MACROBERT AWARD

The British firm Real VNC was presented MacRobert Award by the Princess Royal for engineering innovation on 17 July 2013. The technology will enable IT workers to solve problems on other computers without leaving their desks and it will allow MRI scanners to be repaired remotely. The award carries a cash prize of 50000 ponds. Real VNC is a software company based in Cambridge. It was set up by some of the inventors of remote computer access software. It has collaborated with global technology giants such as Google, Apple, Intel and Sony and its technology is now said to be used in more than a billion devices across the globe.

The MacRobert gold medal was presented at the Royal Academy of Engineering's awards dinner.

 

BONO HONOURED WITH THE COMMANDER OF THE ORDER

Paul Hewson, popularly known as Bono, the frontman of the rock band U2 as well as the anti-poverty activist was awarded with the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, the highest cultural award of France on 17 July 2013 for the contribution to music. He was also praised for utilizing his popularity for the sake of humanitarian causes. The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters was awarded to Bono by the French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris. The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters was earlier also awarded to Shakira, David Bowie, Roger Moore, Bruce Willis, Bob Dylan and Sean Connery. The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters Award started for the first time in the year 1957.

About Paul Hewson (Bono)

It is important to note that Bono, 53, had also received the award earlier for the music as well as campaigning since the band U2 was formed around 37 years ago.

Bono has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times.

The Times Magazine had awarded him with Time Magazine's Person of the Year award in the year 2005.

In the year 2007, he was conferred with the honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.

About The Commander Of The Order Of Arts And Letters Award

The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters is also known as Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

It is the Order of France, the highest cultural award of France.

The award was established on 2 May 1957 by Minister of Culture.

In the year 1963, it was made a part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle.

The award recognises people who make significant contributions to the fields of literature, arts or help in spreading the motives of these fields.

The origin of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters award is found in Order of Saint-Michel.

 

BRITAIN PLACED BLUE PLAQUE ON THE 1ST HOME OF KRISHNA MENON

The British Government on 17 July 2013 honoured V.K. Krishna Menon, India’s first high commissioner in London and former Defence Minister by placing a Blue Plaque at the house, where he lived when he moved to the city for the first time. The blue plaque will be placed plaque at 30 Langdon Park Road in Highgate, North London, where Menon stayed from 1929 to 1931. Menon, during his stay in London, after Indian independence as independent India’s first High Commissioner to the U.K played an active role in the socio-political life of the city. The plaque was unveiled by Tony Benn, veteran leader of the Left-Wing Labour. Tony Benn is the son of William Wedgwood Benn, was secretary of state for India from 1929 to 1931, when Menon was campaigning for Indian independence in Britain. UK commemorates sites of historical and cultural importance in the country with blue plaques with a purpose of drawing attention of people.

V.K. KRISHNA MENON IN LONDON

He served as the Labour Councillor for the Borough of St. Pancras for 14 years after being elected in 1934. He introduced travelling libraries and Children corners here.

He served as an air warden around the Camden Square, during Second World War.

In 1955, he became the second freeman of St. Pancras. The only person before Menon to be honoured with freeman status was George Bernard Shaw.

He was described as the embodiment of the movement within Britain for India’s freedom, by former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan

Other Indians To Be Honoured With The Blue Plaque With Their Locations

Other Indian leaders namely Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel have been honoured by this English Heritage, previously.

London has two English Heritage Blue Plaques linked to Mahatma Gandhi at 20 Baron's Court Road in Hammersmith and Fulham and second one at Kingsley Hall, Powis Road in Tower Hamlets

Jawahar Lal Nehru is honoured with a plaque at 60 Elgin Crescent in London’s Notting Hill Bal

Gangadhar Tilak with a plaque at 10 Howley Place in Paddington

Sardar Patel has a plaque at 23 Aldridge Road Villas, Ladbroke Grove, in West London

About The Blue Plaque Scheme Of London

The Blue Plaque Scheme of London was founded in 1866 is run by the William Ewart MP and the Royal Society of Arts to commemorates the link between the notable figures of past and Britain's famous residents. More than 760 plaques have been placed across London by now. It is a uniquely successful means of connecting people and place. The Royal Society launched the scheme in 1867 with the unveiling of a commemorative tablet for Lord Byron.

 

VIDYA BALAN GOT THE BEST ACTRESS AWARD AT IIFA 2013

Vidya Balan on 6 July 2013 got the Best Actress award at 14th IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) awards 2013 held in Macau for her portrayal of a pregnant woman in search of her husband in Kahaani while Ranbir Kapoor was named Best Actor for Barfi.

Barfi also bagged the award for best film. In fact, it won 9 awards in technical category- Best Cinematography (Ravi Varman I.S.C.), Best Background Score (Pritam), Best Screenplay (Anurag Basu and Tani Basu), Best Production Design (Rajat Poddar), Best Song Recording (Eric Pillai), Best Sound Design (Shajith Koyeri), Best Sound Mixing (Debajit Changmai), Best Costume Designing (Aki Narula and Shefalina) and Best Make-Up (Uday Serali). Barfi is a romantic comedy about a mute and deaf man and his relationship with two women. Ranbir, who played a deaf-mute boy in Barfi was not present at the ceremony and the award was accepted on his behalf by the film's director Anurag Basu.

Other Highlights Of Iifa 2013

Gangs of Wasseypur won two awards, one for Best Action (Shyam Kaushal) and the other for Best Dialogue (Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap) was shared with Juhi Chaturvedi for Vicky Donor.

The award for Best Editing was won by Kahaani (Namrata Rao) and Best Choreography went to Ganesh Acharya for Agneepath.

Ek Tha Tiger won the award for Best Special Effects (Pankaj Khanopur, Sherry Bharda and Vishal Anand).

Where Is Macau?

Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the other being Hong Kong.

 

 

PRESIDENT CONFERRED NATIONAL YOUTH AWARDS 2011-12

National Youth Award 2011-12 was conferred by Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 4 July 2013 to 27 individuals and an organization at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is for the first time that the National Youth awards were given by the President of India. The youth award carries a Silver Medal, a Certificate and a cash prize of 40000 rupees in cases of individual awardees and 2lakh case prize for voluntary organizations.

About National Youth Award

National Youth Awards was instituted in the year 1985 and is conferred on youths every year, who have excelled in youth developmental activities and social service. The award is a source of encouragement to the awardees, as well as an example and catalyst to others.

Selection of Awardees is first made at State level and then at National level. At the National level, a Screening Committee headed by the Joint Secretary scrutinizes the proposals recommended by the State Government/UT administration at first. These screened proposals are thereafter placed before the Central Selection Committee headed either by the Minister of Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Youth Affairs and Sports or Secretary, Youth Affairs that makes the final selection of youth awardees. The Central Selection Committee may, at its discretion, consider on merits, individuals or youth organizations not recommended by a State Government/UT, for the Award.

 

 

REPORTS AND SURVEYS

ODISHA, BIHAR SHOWED BIGGEST DECLINE IN PERCENTAGE OF POOR

As per the latest data released by Government on 23 July 2013, Odisha and Bihar registered the sharpest decline in poverty levels between 2004-05 and 2011-12. The proportion of the poor in these states remains well above the national average. The government data reveals that in Odisha, the proportion of people below the poverty line (BPL) in total population came down from 57.2% in 2004-05 to 32.6% in 2011-12, marking decline of 24.6 percentage points. The state of Bihar witnessed a reduction of BPL by 20.7 percent. In year 2004-05 Bihar had a BPL share of 54.4% percent in its total population which drastically came down to 33.7% in year 2011-2012. So, keeping the statistics as parameter Bihar registered the fastest growth rate during the 11th five-year plan (2007-12). At national level, the share of the BPL population was estimated at 21.9%, which is almost 270 million in a population of 1.241 billion which means that every fifth Indian lives below the poverty line.

 

On the other hand, the government has set the bar low and had defined that anyone who earns 27.20 rupees or less in rural areas as BPL, while one who earns up to 33.30 rupees a day in urban areas are classified as poor, though these standard vary from state to state.

Some Facts To Be Known

BIMARU, (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) state still remain home to the maximum number of poor people in the country.

Uttar Pradesh has just fewer than 30% of its population in the BPL group, the number adds up to almost 60 million.

Bihar, ranks second in poverty level despite the improvement, and has 35.8 million poor, followed by Madhya Pradesh where 23.4 million or 31.6% of the population is BPL.

Among the Bimaru states, only Rajasthan has managed to do better than the national average with the share of BPL in total population estimated at 14.7% in 2011-12, compared to 34.4% in 2004-05.

Rajasthan is enhanced performer than Gujarat, popular for its rapid growth and good infrastructure. Gujarat had 16.6% people below the poverty line.

On National level, there were 217 million poor in rural areas and 53 million in urban areas in 2011-12, as against 326 million and 81 million, respectively, in 2004-05.

 

GLOBAL CEREAL OUTPUT TO REACH ALL TIME HIGH IN 2013: UNFAO

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimated on 11 July 2013 that World cereal production is set to increase by 7 per cent in year 2013, to a record 2.479 million tonnes, predicting it would help stabilise prices in 2013-14. UNFAO closely monitored, food markets as price spikes can make worse the global hunger crisis. UNFAO has come up with report named Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

Some Facts As Highlighted By

Around 868 million people in the world did not have enough to eat in the 2010-12 period.

As per FAO food insecurity was on the rise in conflict-stricken countries like Syria, Egypt, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, as well as in Madagascar, due to crop damage by locusts and a cyclone.

FAO in its major indication came to a conclusion that the situation was said to be critical, but improving, in most parts of the Sahel region, thanks to a good cereal harvest last year, while in North Korea food insecurity is chronic.

Sria's food security situation has significantly deteriorated over the past year and domestic agricultural production will further decline over the next 12 months if the present conflict continues.

The FAO Mission forecasts wheat import requirement of about 1.5 million tonnes for the current 2013/2014 season. Current wheat production is 2.4 million tonnes, some 40 percent less than the annual average harvest of more than 4 million tonnes before the crisis and 15 percent lower than the reduced harvest of 2011/2012.

Cereal imports of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries for 2013/14 are estimated to rise by some 5 percent, compared to 2012/13, to meet growing demand. Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria, in particular, are forecast to import larger volumes.

As per UNFAO In total, there are 34 countries requiring external food assistance, of which 27 countries are in Africa.

 

ITU: 40 PERCENT OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION IS ONLINE

As per the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) survey released on 7 July 2013, approximately 40 percent of the Global population or 2.7 billion people are online in 2013. In India it is 13 percent. In the developing world, 31 per cent of the population is online in comparison to 77 per cent in the developed world. Most governments have given broadband penetration utmost importance. Mobile broadband is expected to dominate the choice of technology. As per the ITU survey, a U.N. agency, the highest Internet penetration rate was detected in Europe, where 75 per cent of the population has access to Internet. The United States, with 61 per cent penetration, stands was found the second highest amongst regions with 61 percent penetration. Africa has nearly 16 per cent of its citizens using the Net while in Asia-Pacific region one out of every three citizens has access to the Internet. ITU survey found that 37 per cent of all women are online at global level as compared with 41 per cent of all men. Approximately, 1.5 billion men and 1.3 billion women have access to the Internet. According to the ITU, 41 per cent or nearly 750 million households have access to the Internet by 2013 at Global level. In the developed world, 78 per cent of households have got the Internet.

In 2013, approximately 1.1 billion homes across the world, of which 90 per cent are in the developing world don’t have access to the Internet. According to a McKinsey & Co. report released in December 2012, Internet users will be doubled in India from 160 million to 330 million by 2015. India’s National Telecom Policy envisages 175 million broadband subscribers by 2017 and 600 million by 2020.

 

GHAZIABAD AND ALLAHABAD ARE THE MOST AIR POLLUTED CITIES

Ghaziabad and Allahabad emerged as the two most air polluted cities in Uttar Pradesh according to a recent survey conducted by a research and advocacy organization called CSE. The report of the survey was released on 2 July 2013. The survey conducted by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found pollutants of the size of 10 micron in Ghaziabad, Allahabad, Kanpur and Bareilly, which was four times the acceptable size of particulates in urban areas. It also found air pollution levels three times more than the prescribed limits in Lucknow, Firozabad, Agra, Mathura, Khurja, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Gajraula. The air quality in Unnao, however, has come out as the cleanest despite a heavy presence of tanneries in the town. The amount of nitrogen-dioxide is found to be increasing dangerously in Meerut, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad and Kanpur. It is highest in Meerut and lowest in Rae Bareilly, the survey said. Sulphur-dioxide has been found mixed in the air at dangerous levels in Khurja and Ghaziabad. The presence of multi-pollutants has been found in cities like Mathura, Khurja and Ghaziabad. The study also revealed that in most cities, the manifold increase in the number of vehicles emerged as the leading source of pollution. In the state capital Lucknow, Vikasnagar, Chowk, Amausi and Charbagh localities have been found to be pollution hot spots. CSE stated that serious and sustained efforts are needed to minimize the air pollution in these areas of the city. It added that the growing use of diesel was a major contributor to the growing air pollution levels. CSE also said that emissions were leading to serious ailments and diseases like cancer and besides all, poor traffic management and growing number of vehicles are also adding to the scourge.

 

TAJ MAHAL RANKED AMONG THE TOP THREE LANDMARKS

TripAdvisor's 2013 Travellers Choice Attractions Awards ranked India's Taj Mahal among the top three landmarks in the world. Taj Mahal was ranked third in the list of Top 25 landmarks. The top two places were taken by Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia respectively. The winners of Travelers' Choice Attractions awards were determined based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews of attractions.

Taj Mahal, listed among the new Seven Wonders of the World, is renowned the world over for its architecture and aesthetic beauty. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, the white marble mausoleum in the northern Indian city of Agra is also a symbol of enduring love.

In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal attracts 2-4 million visitors annually, with more than 200000 from overseas. It shares the latest honour alongside Petra World Heritage Site in Jordan and Bayon Temple in Cambodia, which are ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the list of 25 top landmarks in the world.

 

 

PLACES IN NEWS

INCHEON WAS NAMED AS WORLD BOOK CAPITAL FOR THE YEAR 2015

Incheon: named as the World Book Capital for the year 2015. Incheon is in South Korea. UNESCO announced on 19 July 2013 that the committee in charge of international book industry named South Korean city of Incheon as the World Book Capital for the year 2015. The nomination was made by an international committee of experts representing the book industry and UNESCO, who met on 16 July 2013 at Paris headquarters of UNESCO. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the committee's decision and welcomed the number and quality of applications received by UNESCO for the title of World Book Capital 2015. The nomination does not imply any financial prize, but an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading. Incheon comes as the 15th city to be crowned with World Book Capital, after Bangkok in 2013 and Port Harcourt in 2014.

 

BENGALURU INT. AIRPORT RENAMED AS KEMPEGOWDA INT. AIRPORT

Bengaluru International Airport, Karnataka: The Union Cabinet of India on 17 July 2013 gave approval to rename the Bengaluru International Airport as Kempegowda International Airport. The demand to rename the airport was pending since a long time. The demand came from people of Karnataka along with the State Government of Karnataka.

About The Bengaluru International Airport (Bia)

Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is the first and foremost Greenfield Airport in South India.

It was commissioned as well as became operational on 24 May 2008.

Bengaluru International Airport is owned as well operated by the Bengaluru International Airport Pvt. Limited (BIAL). The main shareholders in this group are KSSIDC (an entity of the Government of Karnataka), the Airports Authority of India, GVK Group, Siemens and Zurich Airport.

Bengaluru International Airport is said to be the fifth busiest airport of India.

It has been built over the area of 4000 acres.

Background

The unanimous resolution was passed by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on 10 December 2012. A similar resolution was passed by the Legislative Council in order to rename the Bengaluru International Airport as Kempegowda International Airport.

Hiriya Kempegowda, who was popularly called Kempegowda was a ruler under the Vijayanagar Empire. He ruled almost all the parts of Karnataka during 16th century.

He was also said to be the founder of the city of Bengaluru.

Kempegowda built Bengaluru Fort. He also moved his capital from Yelahanka to the new Bengaluru.

 

NATIONAL AVIATION UNIVERSITY TO BE SET UP IN RAE BARELI, UP

The Union Cabinet of India on 11 July 2013 approved the proposal for setting up of a National Aviation University (NAU) in the name of Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University at the District of Rae Bareli in the State of UP as a Central University for providing aviation training. The Cabinet also approved the proposal to introduce the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013 in the Parliament; to create a post of Vice Chancellor (with pay scales on the pattern of Central Universities) by selection through a Search and Selection Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with members representing Ministries of Civil Aviation, Personnel & Training and Human Resource Development and for creation of a temporary post in the grade of Joint secretary to Government of India for the position of Project Director which would be filled up on deputation basis.

 

 

PICK OF THE MONTH

CAMBODIAN ELECTION 2013: RULING PARTY CLAIMED VICTORY

The Cambodian People's Party (CPP), which is led by Prime Minister Hun Sen won at least 68 seats in the Lower house comparing with the 55 seats for the main opposition. The National Election Committee (NEC) gave a list of results from each polling station but no tally for parliamentary seats. The election in Cambodia was held on 28 July 2013 and the results were also declared on the same day.

It is important here to note that the Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in Cambodia for nearly three decades (28 years).

CAMBODIA NATIONAL RESCUE PARTY

The major opponent of CPP in the election was Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which is led by Sam Rainsy, who recently came back to the country from self-imposed exile. More than nine million people were found eligible to vote. Cambodia is a one party dominant state with the Cambodian People’s Party in power. Opposition parties do exist, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.

CAMBODIA GENERAL ELECTION 2013

As per the National Election Committee (NEC) some 9.67 million Cambodians will be eligible to cast their ballots to elect the 123-seat National Assembly. Incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen is eligible to seek a fourth term.

ELECTION IN CAMBODIA

Cambodia is one party dominant state which elects on national level legislature. Parliament has two chambers. The National Assembly of Cambodia has 123 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation. The Senate has 61 members, appointed by the king on recommendation of the parties in the National Assembly.

Three main political parties have dominated Cambodian politics over the last decade: the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), the United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) and, more recently, the Sam Rainsy Party. As per article 76 paragraph 2 of Cambodian Constitution|: The deputies (i.e. of the National Assembly) shall be elected in a free, universal, equal, direct and secret ballot.

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN PAKISTAN

Mamnoon Hussain, the India-born Pakistani businessman was on 30 July 2013 elected as the 12th President of Pakistan. 73-year old Mamnoon Hussain, who belonged to the PML-N Party, will be administered the oath of the office on 9 September 2013.

Mamnoon Hussain succeeded Asif Ali Zardari, who did not go for re-election. The presidential office of Pakistan will be vacated on 9 September 2013 by the incumbent Asif Ali Zardari, as his term of 5 years ended. Mamnoon Hussain became a clear winner, in comparison to ex-judge Wajihuddin Ahmed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Raza Rabbani of Pakistan People’s Party was withdrawn.

LIFE SKETCH OF MAMNOON HUSSAIN

Mamnoon Hussain was born on 2 March 1940 in Agra, India.

He is the textile businessman as well as politician of Pakistan.

In the year 1999, he briefly served as the Governor of Sindh.

He migrated to Pakistan from India in 1954.

He earned the degree from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi in 1960s.

Mamnoon Hussain had, at some point of time, also remained the president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

BACKGROUND

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on 23 July 2013 ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold the Presidential election on 30 July 2013. The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan was issued following the petition filed by, Raja Zafarul Haq, the PML(N) leader, who pleaded the court that a large number of Parliamentarians, who will cast vote in the election would precede for Umrah and observe Aitakaf, during the last ten days of Ramazan. Earlier, the Presidential election of Pakistan was scheduled to be held on 6 August 2013.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCESS OF PAKISTAN

The polling for the Presidential elections in Pakistan started amidst tight security on 30 July 2013. More than 1000 members of Majlis-e-Shoora (the Parliament of Pakistan), as well as four provincial assemblies cast their votes in the Presidential elections. The unofficial results declared that Mamnoon Hussain had secured 277 votes in all, from Senate and National Assembly. Mamnoon Hussain required a total of 263 votes for winning. His competitior, Wajihuddin Ahmed, on the other hand got merely 34 votes, while 3 votes were rejected by the polling staff.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly: 110 voted in all for the presidential poll. 69 MLAs voted in favour of Wajihuddin Ahmed and 41 voted for Mamnoon Hussain.

Sindh Assembly: 69 in all, voted for the presidential poll. 64 votes went in favour of Mamnoon Hussain, while 5 votes were polled for Wajihuddin Ahmed.

Balochistan Assembly: 56 voted in all. 55 voted in favour of Mamnoon Hussain and 1 was given to Wajihuddin Ahmed.

Punjab Assembly: 337 voted in all. Mamnoon Hussain secured 313 votes, while Wajihuddin Ahmed won 24 votes.

Overall, Mamnoon Hussain secured 432 votes, while Wajihuddin Ahmed secured just 77 votes.

According to the Part III: Chapter 1: The President- [Article 41] of the Constitution of Pakistan, The President shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule by the members of an electoral college consisting of:

a) The members of both Houses; and

b) The members of the Provincial Assemblies.

Election to the office of President shall be held not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of the President in office: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly. (5) An election to fill a vacancy in the office of President shall be held not later than thirty days from the occurrence of the vacancy: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly. (6) The validity of the election of the President shall not be called in question by or before any court or other authority.

SOME IMPORTANT FACTS

Mamnoon Hussain is an India-born resident of Pakistan and was elected as the 12th President of Pakistan.

He was born in historic Agra city and belongs to Urdu-speaking ethnic group which migrated to Pakistan during partition in 1947.

In Pakistan, the office of President is ceremonial. However, the President is still the Constitutional chief of the armed forces. He/she cannot order the deployments.

The President of Pakistan appoints the services chiefs, but after recommendation from the Prime Minister.

So far, Pakistan has had 11 Presidents. Out of these, five have been military generals. Four of these illegally received powers through the coups.

The first President of Pakistan- Major Sikandar Mirza was elected in the year 1956 after adoption of the first constitution.

CONSTITUTION OF PAKISTAN: PART III: CHAPTER 1: THE PRESIDENT (ARTICLE 41-49)

There shall be a President of Pakistan who shall be the Head of State and shall represent the unity of the Republic.

A person shall not be qualified for election as President unless he is a Muslim of not less than forty-five years of age and is qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly.

Article 42: Oath of President

Before entering upon office, the President shall make before the Chief Justice of Pakistan oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule.

Article 44: Term of office of President

Subject to the Constitution, the President shall hold office for a term of five years from the day he enters upon his office: Provided that the President shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.

Subject to the Constitution, a person holding office as President shall be eligible for re-election to that office, but no person shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms.

The President may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, resign his office.

 

 

TELANGANA THE 29TH STATE OF INDIA ANNOUNCED

Congress and the UPA unanimously decided to create a separate Telangana State carving out of Andhra Pradesh on 30 July 2013.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of Congress Party, on 30 July 2013 decided to recommend to the Central Government to form the 29th State which will comprise of 10 districts.

The districts that will be a part of the new State are Hyderabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal.

Hyderabad, the central point of the Telangana, will be the common capital of the newly proposed State and the other regions, Rayalaseema and Andhra for a period of 10 years. A new capital for Andhra will be identified in Seemandhra region within this period.

Telangana State will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh. Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.

ABOUT TELANGANA REGION

The population of Telangana is 35.19 million (2011 Census). It includes seven million population of Hyderabad, which emerged as a major IT hub during the past two decades.

The region has geographical area of 1.14 lakh sq km.

The districts which are a part of Telangana region are Hyderabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal.

Hyderabad and Warangal are the two largest cities in the Telangan region.

Warangal city was declared as a World Heritage City by UNESCO in March 2013.

The two major Rivers Krishna and Godavari flew through the region.

TELANGANA MOVEMENT- A BACKGROUND

1. The Telangana region was a part of erstwhile Hyderabad State which was merged into Indian Union on 17 September 1948.

2. The Hyderabad State was merged with Andhra State with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act 1956 and so the united Andhra Pradesh state came into being on 1 November 1956.

3. In 1956 Gentlemen’s Agreement was signed by Bezawada Gopal Reddy, CM of Andhra State and Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, CM of Hyderabad State for safeguarding Telangana people.

4. The Telangana agitation began in 1969 as people protested the failure of implementation of Gentlemen’s Agreement and other safeguards.

5. In 1969 Marri Chenna Reddy launched the Telangana Praja Samithi by demanding separate Telangana State.

6. The separate State movement came in to limelight again when a new political party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was formed by K Chandra Shekhar Rao on 27 April 2001.

7. The UPA Government on 9 December 2009 took the decision of formation of Telangana State, in the backdrop of indefinite fast by TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao.

8. This decision had ignited street protests in the non-Telangana regions and opposition from Ministers, MLAs and leaders from within the party that forced the Central Government and the Congress leadership to put the issue on hold.

9. The Centre held rounds of meetings with all the parties from the State and set up a Commission under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna.

SRI KRISHNA COMMISSION

The Government of India constituted a five member Committee headed by Justice Sri Krishna for consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh (CCSAP) on 3 February 2010 to resolve the Telangana issue. The Sri Krishna Committee submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry on 30 December 2010 and suggested six options.

The six options are

1. Maintain status quo

2. Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course.

3. Bifurcation of State into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of RayalaTelangana.

4. Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory.

5. Bifurcation of the State into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital.

6. Keeping the State united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional/Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region –creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council.

POLITICAL PARTIES STAND ON TELANGANA

In favour

Indian National Congress

Bharatiya Janata Party

Telangana Rastra Samithi

Telugu Desam Party

Communist Party of India (CPI)

Against

All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM)

Neutral

YSR Congress

THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROCEDURE FOR CREATION OF NEW STATES

Article 3 of the Indian Constitution vests the power to form new States in Parliament Article 3 says; Parliament by Law,

a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;

b) increase the area of any State;

c) diminish the area of any State;

d) alter the boundaries of any State;

e) Alter name of any states.

No Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President.

The President shall, before giving his recommendation, refer the Bill to the Legislature of the State which is going to be affected by the changes proposed in the Bill, for expressing its views on the changes within the period specified by the President. The President is not bound by the views of the State Legislature, so ascertained.

By a simple majority and by the ordinary legislative process Parliament may form new States or alter the boundaries of existing States and there by changes in the political map of India.

HISTORY OF ANDHRA PRADESH STATE

Andhra State, the first state formed on linguistic basis, was created in 1953 from out of the erstwhile Madras Presidency with Kurnool as the capital.

The Hyderabad State was merged with Andhra State with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act 1956, so that the united Andhra Pradesh state came into being on 1 November 1956. Hyderabad was also selected as the capital of the united state of Telugu-speaking people.

SPECIAL CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION FOR ANDHRA PRADESH STATE

Article 371 (D) and (E) were inserted by the Constitution (Thirty-Second Amendment) Act, 1973. This Act provided the necessary Constitutional authority for giving effect to the provision of equal opportunities to different areas of the State of Andhra Pradesh and for the Constitution of an Administrative Tribunal with jurisdiction to deal with grievances relating to public services. It also empowered Parliament to legislate for the establishment of a Central university in the State.

Under this provision

Direct recruitment to posts in any local cadre under the State Government for candidates of these regions

Regarding admission to any university or other educational institutions, preference will be given to local candidates, who have resided or studied in those regions for a specific period.

ANALYSIS

The decision on Telangana is also to the fulfillment of the announcement made by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram on 9 December 2009 for creation of Telangana. This is the first decision of the UPA to form a new State in the last nine years. The Congress party however made it clear that no demand for creation of any other State would be considered as it emphasised that this case cannot be compared with any other. This assertion comes against the backdrop of demands for creation of separate States of Vidarbha and Gorkhaland. While Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS), which has been spearheading the demand for separate State, accepted the decision and supporters of united Andhra Pradesh stepped up protests against division.

 

CLINICAL TRIALS ON HUMANS REQUIRE MANDATORY STANDARDS

The Supreme Court of India on 27 July 2013 ruled that clinical trials of untested drugs on humans require certain mandatory standards to be followed. The directed the Union government to put in place a mechanism to monitor them.

The apex court directed the Government to convene a meeting of Chief Secretaries or Health Secretaries of all the states to frame a law for regulation of clinical trials of drugs by multinational pharma companies. A division bench granted four weeks time to the Union government to convene the meeting and for framing rules. In an affidavit, the Union government had admitted that 2 thousand 6 hundred 44 people died during clinical trials of 475 new drugs between 2005 and 2012.

 

NEW PRINCE OF BRITAIN, NAMED GEORGE ALEXANDER LOUIS

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on 22 July 2013 at the London hospital. His Royal Highness, the new Prince of Britain, also called the Royal Baby was named George Alexander Louis on 24 July 2013. This is the first child of the royal couple - Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The birth of the baby boy was announced through a formal press release, which was issued by the Kensington Palace. It was declared that the third-in-line successor to the throne will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NAME – GEORGE

The meaning of the name George is earth worker or farmer.

It is important to note that the name George was highly speculated because this was also the name of six previous British kings. The queen's father,

George VI rallied Britain during the World War II.

George was also the 12th most popular name for boys in England as well as Wales in 2011.

St. George, a 4th-century Christian martyr, is also the patron saint of England.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NAME- LOUIS

Louis is attributed to Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was the Duke of Edinburgh's uncle as well as the last British Viceroy of India before 1947. It is important to note that Prince Charles, the father of Prince Williams, was closely related with Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was then assassinated by Irish Republican Army in 1979. It is said that as per the royal standards, the announcement of the name of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge was too quick. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh had taken one month for naming Prince Charles.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will soon choose a picture for the first official portrait of the baby.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS

The royal baby will be the third one in line to the throne, only after Prince Charles and Prince William. Even if it was a girl, the scenario would have been same for the throne because earlier in 2013, the law changed for giving the female royals same rights of succession like the males.

Officially, the baby will be called His Royal Highness Prince [Name] of Cambridge.

The baby might become the head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England, and the head of state of 16 countries apart from the head of the Commonwealth, in distant future.

Earlier in 2013, the Queen had issued a royal decree which said, “All the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”

It is important to note that the royal baby moved ahead in line of throne from Prince Harry, who now became fourth in the line of throne.

 

JULIAN ASSANGE LAUNCHED POLITICAL PARTY IN AUSTRALIA

42 Year old Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on 25 July 2013 officially launched his political party to contest Australian elections this year. As per Assange, his party which he named Wikileaks Party would be fielding seven candidates including Assange for upper house Senate seats in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

It is important here to note that the two Indian-origin persons are among the seven candidates who will contest elections on a Wikileaks Party ticket in Senate polls in Australia. Indian-origin academician Binoy Kampmark, who was born in Malaysia and has Bengali heritage, will stand for the Upper House election from Victori whereas Suresh Rajan, who is based out of Kerala, will stand for the party in Western Australia.

The idea behind contesting election is to be an independent scrutineer of government activity. Julian Assange, will be contesting elections from Victoria. As per him major issue in the days would be the ruling Labour party's policy on asylum seekers. The foremost action of his party will be to demand full details of the government's asylum seeker arrangement with Papua New Guinea be made public. The core value of Wikileaks Party's is transparency; accountability and justice is the template against which we will examine any important issues for Australians: tax reform, asylum-seekers, climate change policy and more. Australia will be going into polls in November 2013, where the ruling Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labour party is up against Tony Abbott-led conservatives. Julian Assange is holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London since June 2012 where he demanded refuge during his legal battle for exile from Britain to Sweden.

 

INDIA AND CHINA FOCUSSED ON CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES

India and China focussed on additional confidence building measures in the two-day talks between the representatives of the two countries that ended in New Delhi on 24 July 2013. The two nations reviewed the recent developments in the border areas to enhance peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control.

India and China discussed additional confidence building measures between them. They consulted on measures to improve the functioning of the working mechanism and to make it more efficient. Finally the two delegations further discussed the possibility of introducing an additional route for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The meeting on working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs was led by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs Gautam Bambawale and senior officials of the Defence and Home Ministries from the Indian side. The Chinese side was represented by a composite delegation of its officials. The next meeting will be held in China at a mutually convenient date and time.

 

INDIA, BELARUS SIGNED PROTOCOL TO ENHANCE TRADE TIES

India and Belarus signed a protocol on 24 July 2013 to enhance trade ties during the sixth session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation held in New Delhi.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING

The meeting was held in the direction for strengthening trade and economic relations between the two countries.

The Belarusian side recommended India to determine an Indian counterpart deputed to

negotiate on the long-term cooperation agreement, take decisions and signing of the agreement for the full volume of the deliveries.

Belarus asked India to recognise Belarus as a market economy country. The Indian side responded that the matter is under active

correspondence between the sides. India is considering the issue of grant of market economy status to Belarus within the framework of India's Antidumping Rules.

The Belarusian side flagged the issue related to the introduction and long duration of action of antidumping duties on a number of products of the petrochemical complex: tire cord fabric manufactured by JSC Grodno Azot and acrylics fibers manufactured by the plant Polymir of the OJSC Naftan.

Both the sides also agreed to create a Certification Centre of Belarusian companies and professionals in the field of software at the earliest possible time.

The Belarusian Side will provide a draft concept of the Certification Centre of Belarusian companies and professionals in the field of software to initiate negotiations with the Indian Side.

Belarus advocated for revocation of the antidumping duties on these goods and expressed the intension to maintain the export of the products to India, mostly of interest to Indian consumers.

The Indian side stated that the matter is being examined positively and the official decision would be taken before the next session of the Commission.

Both the Countries also signed a protocol after the Meeting as per which both the sides will take necessary steps to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Textiles, India and the Belarusian State Concern for Manufacturing and Marketing of Light Industry Goods (concern Bellegprom) on Cooperation in the Field of Textiles, Clothing and Fashion Industries. The Belarusian delegation proposed to hold the 9th meeting of the Business Council "India-Belarus" in 2013 to promote the collaboration of business representatives, as well as agreed to define the dates of the National Exhibition (exposition) of the Republic of India during 2013-2014 in Minsk.

WHERE IS BELARUS?

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 32 www.jagranjosh.com Page 32 Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

 

PHOTO IDENTITY MANDATORY FOR PURCHASE OF ACID

The Union government of India on 16 July 2013 proposed to make production of Photo identity card mandatory for purchase of acid. The government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in which it listed a number of measures to curb the sale of acid in the open market. The shopkeepers will also require licence to sell the acid. The move comes after Supreme Court asked the government to submit guidelines to check open sale of acid, thereby checking acid attacks on women.

It is estimated that one thousand acid attacks take place in India every year. The apex court order came on a PIL seeking framing of a new law or amendment in the existing laws to deal with acid attack effectively.

Supreme Court Decision: Earlier, the Supreme Court of India on 9 July 2013 directed the Union Government of India to formulate a policy to regulate/ban Retail Sale of Acid across the country. The decision of the Court came in wake-up of the acid attacks in the different parts of the country. Earlier, on 16 April 2013, the Apex Court gave its orders to the Governments at Center, States and Union Territories to come up with an affidavit on the draft scheme, to restrict the retail sale of acid across the country. The Supreme Court Bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said to the Additional Solicitor General, Indira Jaising that despite of orders given by the Court to the Governments at Center, State and Union Territories, no affidavit on the scheme to restrict the retail sale of acid has been submitted in past 11 weeks, since 16 April 2013. The Supreme Court also said, that “this court may consider the suggestion of counsel for the petitioner *Aparna Bhat] to ban retail sale completely at the next hearing on 16 July 2013. The Supreme Court identified easy availability of acid at counters across the country as one of the basic reasons behind the attacks (comment of Justice Lodha). For past seven years the issue is lying pending in the Supreme Courts. But none of the Governments from centre/state/UTs was successful in addressing to the issue. The Court cited the example of Preeti, the girl who recently died in Mumbai due to acid attack. The court has given a week’s time to the Government to come-up with a framework of rules to prevent acid from being sold in retail.

LAW IN EXISTENCE TO CURB ACID ATTACKS

2013 The Criminal Law (Amendment Ordinance 2013) that has received Presidential assent has mentioned acid attack a specific offence, providing a maximum punishment of life sentence, under Sections 326A and 326B of Indian Penal Code. After section 326 of the Penal Code, the following sections shall be inserted, namely: –– Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc. Section 326A - Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or burns or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees: provided that any fine imposed under this section shall be given to the person on whom acid was thrown or to whom acid was administered. Section 326B - Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Comment: Acid violence is the practice of throwing acid on somebody, with an intention of killing or disfiguring the target. The practice is prevalent in most of the countries across the world, but the countries that have been the centre of such attacks are India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Afghanistan. Acid violence - throwing acid with the intention to maim, disfigure or even kill the target - occurs in many countries but is most common in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India where male domination of social structures persists. Over 1000 acid attacks takes place every year across the world.

 

RBI REDUCED REALISATION PERIOD FOR EXPORTERS TO NINE MONTHS

The Reserve bank of India on 21 July 2013 brought down the period of realisation and repatriation for exporters of goods and software to nine months from earlier 12 months. The move to reduce the period of realization was directed towards increasing foreign exchange inflows. Earlier in November 2012 considering the global slowdown; RBI had increased the time limit so that they can bring in export earnings to 12 months, from six months at that time.

But as per the industry experts, RBI brought down the realization period because of the deteriorating current account deficit of the country and the weakening of the rupee against the dollar.

The Reduction of realisation period was taken after consulting with the Government of India to bring down the realisation period from 12 months to nine months from the date of export valid till 30 September 2013.India's exports contracted by 4.6 per cent, for the second consecutive month, to 23.79 billion dollars in June 2013 compared to that in the year-ago period.

 

INSAT-3D, THE ADVANCED METEOROLOGICAL SATELLITE OF INDIA

INSAT-3D, the advanced meteorological satellite of India was launched successfully by the European rocket, Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana on 26 July 2013. The satellite will give a push to the weather forecasting as well as help in facilitating disaster warning services.

Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket of European space consortium launched the Alphasat satellites as well as INSAT-3D. Alphasat is the largest-ever telecommunication satellite of Europe. This satellite is the result of large-scale public-private partnership between Inmarsat as well as European Space Agency.

FEATURES OF INSAT-3D

The new satellite, INSAT-3D will be operational for next seven years, i.e., up to 2020.

The aim of the satellite is to make a crucial difference to the disaster warning systems as well as weather forecasting of India.

INSAT-3D will also provide monitoring of the ocean as well as land areas, apart from providing meteorological observation.

INSAT-3D will facilitate new dimension to the weather monitoring because of its atmospheric sounding system. The atmospheric sounding system provides the vertical profiles of integrated ozone, humidity as well as temperature, from top of the atmosphere.

It is important to note that the imaging system and mechanism of INSAT-3D has a lot of

improvement in comparison to INSAT-3A as well as KALPANA.

The satellite has the lift-off mass of 2060 kg.

It will facilitate continuity to the previous missions as well as also help in increasing the capability of providing meteorological and search and rescue services.

INSAT-3D carries the newly developed 19 channel sounder, which is the first payload of this kind to be flown to the ISRO satellite mission.

INSAT-3D has the facility of Search and Rescue payload which catches as well as relays the alert signals that originate from distress signal of maritime, aviation and land based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre located at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore.

The primary users of the Satellite Aided Search and Rescue service in India include Directorate General of Shipping, Defence Services, fishermen, Indian Coast Guard as well as Airports Authority of India.

The alert services include a wide area of Indian Ocean region, as well as covers Sri Lanka, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Seychelles, Bhutan and Maldives. The information of oceanographic, hydrological as well as meteorological data from the uninhabited locations over the coverage area from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs) such as Agro Met Stations, Automatic Rain Gauge and Automatic Weather Station, as well as remote locations will be collected by the Data Relay Transponder (DRT). The ISRO as well as India Meteorological Department have already established over 1800 DCPs.

 

NASA RELEASED IMAGES OF EARTH TAKEN BY DISTANT SPACECRAFT

NASA in month of July 2013 has released colour and black-and-white images of Earth and the Moon, as bright guiding light, taken from two interplanetary spacecraft millions of miles away in space.

It was NASA's Cassini spacecraft which has captured the colour images of Earth and the Moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 1.5 billion kilometers away. It was also the first time Cassini's highest-resolution camera captured Earth and its Moon as two distinct objects.

13 NASA's Cassini spacecraft which was named MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 98 million kilometers as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet. In the MESSENGER image, Earth and the moon are less than a pixel, but appear very large because they are overexposed. As per the images taken by the Cassini, the Earth and the Moon appear as mere dots - Earth appeared as a pale blue and the Moon as a stark white, visible between Saturn's rings. The outstanding feature of the image taken was that it was the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet's portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances which saw participation of more than 20000 people around the world. It is worth mentioning here that pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to our Sun. A camera's sensitive detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the Sun, just as human beings can damage his or her retina by doing the same.

 

DOLPHINS REACT WHEN CALLED BY THEIR NAME: RESEARCH

Team of researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland found evidence that dolphins call each other by names. Researchers found out that the marine mammals are capable of calling each other by the unique whistle for the purpose of identification.

Dr Vincent Janik, the researcher from the Sea Mammal Research Unit of the University of St Andrews explained that the dolphins live in 3D environment, offshore, in the absence of any landmark. It is important for them to stay together with each other as a group. The dolphins live in such an environment that they need an efficient system in order to stay in touch.

Since a long time, it was suspected that the dolphins make use of the distinct whistles in a similar way like the humans make use of the names. Earlier researches have also found that the calls like these were used frequently and that the dolphins in same group could learn as well as copy unusual sounds. But this is the first study in which the response of marine animals to being addressed by the name was studied. In order to investigate about it, the researchers recorded a pack of wild bottlenose dolphins and captured the signature sound (name) of each animal. These captured sounds were then played back with the help of underwater speakers. The researchers played signature whistles of animals in the pack. They also played the whistles in the collection and eventually the signature whistles of other animals. It was found that the dolphins only responded to their names by responding to their whistles.

The team of researchers explained that dolphins behaved like humans, which means that they answered when they heard their name. It was this skill that allowed these the dolphins to remain together in the group amidst the underwater habitat. The researchers explained that it was the first time that an activity or skills like this was observed in the animals. However, certain studied have also found out that a few species of parrot make use of the sounds in order to label others in the group.

 

US DROPPED BOMBS ON GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK

Four unarmed bombs were dropped by two US Fighter Jets in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park of Australia, when a training exercise went wrong on 16 July 2013. The Marine Park is a World Heritage-listed marine park off the coast of Queensland state. The information of dropping the unarmed bombs was announced by the U.S. 7th Fleet. The inert bomb and the unarmed explosive bombs were jettisoned by the two AV-8B Harrier Jets launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard aircraft carrier. As per the official statement of the 7th Fleet of US, the bombs were dropped (none exploded) in more than 50 meter of water away from the coral to reduce the damage caused to the reefs. The jets from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit had an intention to drop the ordnances on the bombing range of Townshend Island. But the mission was aborted after it was confirmed that the area was not clear of hazards. Whereas, the emergency jettisons were carried on by the pilots because the fuel was less and it was impossible for them to land with the loaded bombs. The emergency situation occurred on the second day of the biennial Joint Training Exercise Talisman Saber. During this military exercise, 28000 US and Australian military personnel come together for a period of over three weeks.

ABOUT GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is widely recognised as one of the best managed marine protected areas in the world. It is the world’s largest network of coral structures that is rich in marine life. The Marine Park stretches in an area of more than 3000 kilometers along the Australian northeast coast. The Great Barrier Reef has numerous different habitats and plants, all of which are vital to the ecosystem as a whole. It is a home for microscopic plankton as well as whales, which weighs more than 100 tonnes.

The great biodiversity of species and habitats is represented by the World Heritage status of the Reef. Protection of the reef’s biodiversity is just not essential for our future but also for the nature. As per the study conducted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority titled Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2013, the habitats, which are considered to be at the risk (potentially), include mangroves, coral reefs, the lagoon floor, islands, open waters and seagrass meadows. Apart from this the species or its groups identified to be at potential risk are the dugong, dwarf minke whale, humpback whale, grey mackerel, seabirds, king and blue threadfin salmon, inshore dolphins, marine turtles, sea snakes, sharks and rays (including sawfish) and snapper.

 

ANDY MURRAY WON WIMBLEDON MEN’S SINGLE TROPHY

Andy Murray on 7 July 2013 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 at Center Court of London to become the first Briton in 77 years to win the Men’s Singles Title at Wimbledon 2013. Wimbledon was held from 24 June to 7 July 2013 in London.

The 26-year-old became the Britain’s first male winner after almost eight decades, to win the championship. Earlier he was Fred Perry, who won his last Championship in 1936.

Women's Singles category of Wimbledon: In the Women's Singles category of Wimbledon, Marion Bartoli of France on 6 July 2013 won her maiden Grand Slam title. 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany failed to match Bartoli and lost in title clash in straight sets, 1-6, 4-6. Lisicki was the first German woman since 1999 to reach a Grand Slam final. The tournament was played in London.

Earlier in the tournament, Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon by Belgian Steve Darcis. Later Roger Federer, the record holder of 37 Grand Slams, faced a defeat from the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky (116 ranked player) on day three of the championship. This is the first time, in nine years that Roger Federer failed to qualify even to the Quarter Finals. Swiss Tennis maestro Roger Federer was the winner of the 2012 edition of Wimbledon Men’s Singles Title. He defeated Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon Open Championship Gentlemen’s Singles Final 2012 in London on 8 July 2012.

ANDY MURRAY RECORD CHART

Wimbledon is Andy Murray’s second Grand Slam Title, earlier he captured the 2012 US open by defeating Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 on 11 September 2012

With this win, Murray became the most successful Briton in terms of grand slams

This is the 36th time, when any British Man has won a Wimbledon Singles Title (this is the maximum in the medal chart of any nation)

With a hat-trick of win’s in 1936 Fred Perry was the last man from Britain to win Wimbledon. He had three Wimbledon, one US Open and Australian Open each and three French Opens by his name.

ABOUT MARION BARTOLI

Marion Bartoli is a top-10 French professional tennis player and presently French no. 1. She has won one singles major; seven other Women's Tennis Association singles titles and three doubles titles. Marion Bartoli is 28 years old. She had played her previous Wimbledon final in 2007 which she had lost to Venus Williams. She is the fifth oldest woman to become a first time major winner in the Open Era.

WIMBLEDON RESULT TALLY OF THE FINALS

Men’s Singles Championship – Final

Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets with 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 to capture the men’s title.

Women's Singles Championship – Final

Marion Bartoli of France won her maiden Grand Slam title after 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany failed to match Bartoli and lost in title clash in straight sets, 1-6, 4-6.

Mixed Doubles - Final

Daniel Nestor of Canada and Kristina Mladenovic of France defeated Bruno Soares of Brazil and Lisa Raymond of USA to win Mixed Doubles – Final at Centre Court.

Girls' Doubles - Championship – Final

No.1 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic defeated No.8 duo Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine and Iryana Shymanovich of Belarus, 6-3, 6-1

Boys’ Singles Championship – Final

Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy captured the Boys’ Singles Championship at Wimbledon after defeating Hyeon Chung from the Republic of Korea, 7-5, 7-6(2).

Boys’ Doubles Title – Final

Australians Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis captured the boys’ doubles title at Wimbledon with a dominant victory over Enzo Couacaud and Stefano Napolitano, 6-2, 6-3

Wheelchair Gentlemen's Doubles Title – Final

Top seeds Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Stephane Houdet of France defeated world No.2 seeds Frederic Cattaneo of France and Ronald Vink of Netherlands to win their first wheelchair gentlemen's doubles title together at Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-2 victory on Court 12.

Wheelchair Ladies' Doubles Title – Final

J. Griffioen and A. Van Koot of Netherlands defeated Y. Kamijin of Japan and J. Whiley of United Kingdom to win the finals of Wheelchair Ladies' Doubles

Sr. Gents Invitation Doubles – Final

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 41 www.jagranjosh.com Page 41 Current Affairs eBook July 2013

Pat Cash and Mark Woodforde of Australia defeated M.J. Bates of United Kingdom and Anders Jarryd of Sweden to capture Sr. Gents Invitation Doubles.

Ladies' Invitation Doubles – Final

L. Davenport of USA and Martina Hingis of Switzerland defeated Jana Novotna of Czech Republic Barbara Schett of Austria to win the Ladies Invitation Doubles.

Gentlemen's Invitation Doubles – Final

Thomas Enqvist of Sweden and Mark Philippoussis of Australia defeated Greg Rusedski of United Kingdom and Fabrice Santoro of France in the Gentlemen's Invitation Doubles

 

FIPB CLEARED JET-ETIHAD DEAL; BUT WITH CERTAIN CONDITIONS

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on 29 July 2013 cleared the proposal of Jet Airways to sell 24 percent stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad. With this clearance, Jet-Etihad deal has become the first one after the Union Government of India relaxed the FDI rules for aviation sector in the year 2012. The deal will now have to cross the hurdle of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for final approval.

The Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram announced that the Jet-Etihad deal was approved after the FIPB meeting, but with certain conditions.

CONDITIONS IMPOSED

According to the first condition, both Jet Airways as well as Etihad need to settle any dispute between them under the Indian law and not under the English common law as it was proposed, originally.

Apart from this condition, both the companies also need to get the prior FIPB approval for the purpose of change in the shareholding structure.

The approval for Jet-Etihad deal was stuck at FIPB on the grounds of various concerns such as whether Jet Airways would retain its effective control, including the retain of Indian owner or not. Also, it was a matter of concern whether Jet Airways would change the place of its business or not.

According to the revised agreement, it was agreed upon that all the committees formed by these two airlines for the operational as well as administrative functions would remain advisory in nature. The agreement also made it clear that Etihad would only make recommendations of the Senior Executives for appointments at Jet Airways.

Now, Etihad will have two directors on the Board which includes 12 members. Jet Airways would have four, which would in turn give more authority to the Indian promoters. The resolutions of the Board will be passed by a simple majority. The Veto power as well as the voting powers will vest in the Chairman, Naresh Goyal.

IMPACT OF THE JET-ETIHAD DEAL

The deal is said to be very important for Jet Airways, which at present, is facing significant challenges in terms of finance.

The deal will enable the Indian civil aviation industry, because there will be an enhanced capacity, bringing down of airfares as well as increased competition.

The deal, after the final approval, will instill more confidence on a global level in the airline industry of India.

The deal will primarily benefit the partners, while at the same time, improving the prevailing investment climate of India.

The deal is also very good for the civil aviation sector as well as passengers in India. There is a need of foreign investment in the infrastructure sector of India. The deal will therefore reaffirm the confidence of the investors in India’s growth.

The Jet-Etihad deal would garner approximately 2058 crore Rupees or 379 million US dollar for the Jet Airways, which in turn, will be used by it for paying off the debts as well as providing better passenger connectivity.

The deal will enable the passengers from 23 cities of India to get direct international flights.

The deal will also enable the passengers in India to avail the frequent flyer programmes of Jet Airways and Etihad.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL | WORLD

PRESIDENT OF IRELAND SIGNED THE ABORTION BILL INTO LAW

President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins on 31 July 2013 signed the bill (Government’s Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill) into law. The bill, overwhelmingly passed by both houses of the Irish parliament in July 2013, permits abortions only in cases where doctors deem the woman's life at risk from continued pregnancy. The law comes in the wake of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, 31, on 28 October 2012 of blood poisoning as a result of a miscarriage. Savita was reportedly denied a potentially life-saving abortion. The new legislation, which replaces 146 years old British era law, also permits abortions to alleviate life-threatening conditions, including a woman's own threat to commit suicide if refused a termination. Till recently, Ireland's only legislation on abortion was a handed-down British law from 1867, outlawing the practice with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The new maximum sentence is 14 years. Higgins convened a meeting of the Council of State on 29 July 2013 to seek its advice on the bill, which he could have opted to send to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality. The meeting, chaired by the President, was attended by 21 members of the 24-strong council. The 21 persons who attended, including seven members of the judiciary, still made it the biggest council since the Constitution came into effect in 1937.

 

INDIA AND AFGHANISTAN SIGNED MoUs UNDER SDP SCHEME

India and Afghanistan on 30 July 2013 signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in Kabul for implementing 60 projects in ten Afghan provinces under the Small Development Projects (SDP) scheme. The MoUs signed by Afghan Minister of Economy Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal and Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha in Kabul are related to the third phase of the SDP scheme and will be completed in the next four years. 100 million dollar SDP scheme was announced during Prime Minister’s visit to Afghanistan in May 2011. The first two phases of the scheme with a total outlay of 20 million dollars are nearing completion. The scheme has been designed by Indian government to address the developmental needs of mainly rural communities in far-flung areas of Afghanistan.

 

SAUDI ARABIA TO DEVELOP METRO LINE IN RIYADH

The Government of Saudi Arabia, on 28 July 2013, announced that it awarded over 22 billion US dollar in contract for the development of metro line in the capital, Riyadh. This is said to be the largest public transport initiative of the world and will help in boosting the economy of Saudi Arabia considerably.

The metro line will join Dubai as well as Qatar in the expansion of the public transport networks. The contracts were awarded to Bechtel Group Inc. (9.4 billion US dollar), Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (7.8 billion US dollar) and Ansaldo STS SpA (STS) (5.2 billion US dollar).

Six driverless subway lines in all, will serve to the Riyadh’s city centre, universities, government facilities, commercial areas, financial district as well as airport. This will be a 175-kilometer (109-mile) network. The Vice-President of High Commission for the Development of Riyadh, Tarek al-Fares, announced that the project will take a total of five years to be completed. The project will be overseen by Arriyadh Development Authority, the government body. Various architects won for their designs of the metro stations. Among the winning designs of metro stations were also the ones from Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. It is important to note that the budget of Saudi Arabia for telecoms and transportation swelled 84 percent in 2013 to 17.3 billion US dollar, which is the fastest expansion since 2004.

THE LONGEST METRO OF THE WORLD

The planned project will be an 85-station network. It is said to be the longest metro of the world under construction. This will help in creating 15000 jobs over the time period of 5 years.

SCENARIO OF THE PERSIAN GULF NATIONS

It is very important to note that the Persian Gulf nations are incurring billions of dollars for building their rail networks, ports as well as airports.

Qatar, which is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, awarded four contracts of the value of around 30 billion riyals or 8.2 billion US dollar, for the first phase of Doha Metro in June 2013. Doha will also host 2022 soccer World Cup.

Dubai, the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates, also constructed the first metro network in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2009.

As far as Riyadh is concerned, the population is projected to increase to 8.5 million people by 2023 from 6 million in 2013. Saudi Arabia is said to be the biggest Arab economy and it is spending over 500 billion US dollar for upgrading infrastructure as well as creation of jobs, while at the same time reducing its dependence on the hydrocarbons.

Also, the Gulf Cooperation Council member states are already spending a considerable expense on the infrastructure projects, which are aimed at improvement of living standards as well as smoothing of the social discontent.

Riyadh Metro Project also signifies that there is a shift in the thinking in terms of public transport as a means for saving gasoline.

In the meanwhile, the Jeddah metro tender is also lined up to be awarded in 2013 itself.

 

IMF APPROVED 1.7 BILLION EUROS FOR GREECE'S BAILOUT

The International Monetary Fund on 29 July 2013 approved a further 1.7 billion Euros (2.3 billion US dollars) in funds for Greece's bailout programme after it completed the fourth review of IMF. The total funds from the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank include 5.8 billion Euros.

Greece's reform record has been dismal ever since its EU/IMF bailout began in mid-2010, resulting into frequent delays in the disbursement of rescue funds. Greece goes through its sixth year of recession and unemployment increases at a record rate of 27 percent.

The IMF's board relinquished several requirements Greece had to fulfill by the end of June2013, since data was not yet available. This comprises targets for overall government debt, government domestic arrears and the general government balance. Although Greece cut budgets and external imbalances it has not done enough on broader reforms to its tax collection and public sector, which is necessary to ensure its economy returns to growth.

Greece will receive another 1 billion euros from international lenders in October 2013. Greece's bailout package was approved in March 2012, will total 173 billion euros over four years. It was done to help Greece recover from a sovereign debt crisis and return to markets, and protect the country from a possible exit from the euro zone.

 

INDIA & SENEGAL SIGNED PROGRAM FOR CULTURAL COOPERATION

An Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation was signed between India and Senegal for the period 2013-2015 on 29 July 2013 at New Delhi. This programme was signed to affirm the commitment of the two countries for sustaining the cultural exchanges. Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation was signed by Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Minister of Culture on behalf of Government of India and by Adboul Aziz Mbaye, Minister of Culture, on behalf of Government of Senegal. The programme will remain valid for a period of three years. However, it will remain intact till the fresh Exchange Programme is signed.

OBJECTIVES OF THE EXECUTIVE PROGRAMME FOR CULTURAL COOPERATION

Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation will seek to exchange the experts in the field of theatre.

The programme will encourage training in certain spheres such as artistic heritage, creative activities, audio visual, music, dance, theatre and puppetry.

The programme will seek to exchange the publications on cultural heritage.

It will seek to exchange the canvas works and grounding mats for exhibition.

This programme will exchange the experts in the field of prehistoric archaeology, while at the same time, providing laboratory training in the field of restoration of cultural properties and monuments.

The programme will also exchange experts reciprocally in order to promote the library activities and expertise in the fields of publishing, printing and binding.

The Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation will also exchange programmes which depict various facets of life and culture in the two parties through their respective Radio and TV organizations.

This programme will exchange experiences in the field of sports and explore the possibilities of exchanging sports teams or the coaches in diverse disciplines.

Under the programme, there will be an organisation of the cultural week which features various aspects of its culture.

The programme will also seek to exchange one or two experts in the field of performing arts and literature.

 

14TH MEET OF HOME SECRETARIES OF INDIA AND BANGLADESH

14th Meeting of the Home Secretaries of India and Bangladesh was held in New Delhi from July 19 to 22 July 2013. The meet of the home secretaries of the two nations was conducted with an aim of promoting and strengthening, the bilateral relations that exist between India and Bangladesh and to carry forward the relations further. The Indian delegation of Home Secretaries was headed by Anil Goswami, Union Home Secretary, Government of India and the Bangladeshi delegation was led by C. Q. K. Mustaq Ahmed, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of Bangladesh. Earlier, on 18 July 2013 the 13th JWG meet on security issues was also held between the two nations, in which both the sides discussed upon the issues related to security, border management, incidents of deaths due to firing on the border, implementation of agreements, ratification of the land boundary agreement, visa and consular related matters, capacity building and others.

ISSUES AND POINTS NOTED AND DISCUSSED DURING THE MEET OF THE HOME SECRETARIES INCLUDES

Home secretaries of both India and Bangladesh reaffirmed their commitment not to allow the territory of either country to be used for any activity inimical to each other’s interests

Satisfaction was expressed at the smooth operation of Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) by both the sides, as CBMP has resulted in reducing the number of border incidents

 

The two sides also agreed to increase the frequency of coordinated patrolling with a view to curbing criminal activities along the border

Confidence was expressed between the two sides on coordinated patrolling for enhancement of cooperation between the border guarding forces of the two countries, and enable them to prevent the movement of criminals and manage the identified vulnerable areas with a view to prevent criminal activities, acts of violence and loss of lives along the border areas

Secretaries of both the sides appreciated DC-DM conference between Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh and West Tripura district of India

Agreement was reached by both sides to sensitize the media about ground realities of border management

Agreement was reached at intensifying, the activities of the nodal points in different areas of cooperation that includes INTERPOL, drugs and human trafficking

Extension of cooperation for apprehension of wanted criminals and fugitives was agreed by both the sides

Home Secretary of Bangladesh urged for immediate tracking, arresting and handing over the killers of Bangabandhu, the Father of the nation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and was assured from his Indian counterpart that all possible assistance in this regard

Bangladesh agreed to expand and strengthen further cooperation in sharing actionable intelligence in real time

Measures taken to expedite the verification and repatriation of prisoners who have completed their sentences were reviewed

Discussion on ratification of the LBA-1974 and the protocol signed in 2011 were made

Agreement on increasing the number of goodwill visits and cooperation in training on subjects like Cyber Crime, ICT, Forensic Sciences

Implementation of three agreements (Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Combating Terrorism, organized crime and illicit drug trafficking) which were signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina to India in 2010 was also noted by the two sides The two sides also noted that the bilateral cooperation in the field of security and border management which was strengthened with by the signing-up of the four agreements pertaining to security cooperation including the Extradition Treaty.

 

INDIA AND NIGERIA SIGNED AGREEMENT FOR SOLAR POWER PLANTS

India and Nigeria on 22 July 2013 signed an agreement in Abuja to locate sites for solar power plants in Niger state. The agreement will provide additional energy for Nigeria's national grid. It would be the first of a series of power plant deals. The agreement was signed between the secretary to the Government of India, Sutanu Behuria and Nigeria's permanent secretary in the Ministry of Power Godknows Igali. With this agreement in place, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BSE) will begin preliminary studies for setting up independent solar-powered plants in selected locations in Niger. India expressed interest in the provision of funds in various forms for the development of Nigeria's power sector.

 

EU LISTED MILITARY WING OF HEZBOLLAH AS A TERRORIST ORG

EU foreign ministers on 22 July 2013 agreed to list the military wing of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The agreement needed the agreement of all 28 of the EU's member states. It will now become illegal for European diplomats to meet its militant staff or for Hezbollah sympathisers in Europe to send the group money. Hezbollah has already been blacklisted by the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. Hezbollah has a powerful political organisation and, along with its allies, had dominance the last Lebanese cabinet, which resigned in March 2013.

WHAT IS HEZBOLLAH?

Hezbollah is a Shi'a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Its paramilitary wing is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army.

Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon,

It was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Its leaders were followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its four main goals as Israel's final departure from Lebanon.

 

INDIA HAS RIGHT TO PURSUE EXPLORATION IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

Vietnam Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh on 11 July 2013 at New Delhi declared that India has the right to pursue exploration and exploitation work for hydrocarbons in South China Sea, in the Vietnamese Exclusive Economic Zone.

The announcement was made by Minh after the Joint Commission meet with Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister. He supported his declaration by stating that with this stand, Vietnam is in a position that there is a need of respecting the UN Convention on the Law (UNCLOS) of the sea to solve the issues in the South China Sea in a peaceful manner.

DECISIONS MADE AND POINTS DISCUSSED

Vietnam also supported India’s stand in the Look East Policy that puts an emphasis on more active role in the Asia Pacific region" and the world at large.

During the 15th Meet of the India-Vietnam Joint Commission, the issue of the Maritime Rights in the South and East China Seas were also discussed and the two sides reached to the conclusion of respecting the UNCLOS needs.

It was decided that the two sides will settle the maritime issue with each other in a peaceful manner, through dialogues, as India wants to keep the maritime lanes open in the South China Sea that acts as a gateway to the East Asia for shipping purposes

To patrol the border areas, India will provide patrol vehicles to Vietnam

For setting up Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station, both the sides have also signed a 19.5 million US dollar line of credit

An agreement was reached between the two sides to have direct flights between the two nations to boost ties and tourism between the two countries. A joint trade commission would also be formed to achieve a set trade target if 7 billion US dollar by 2015

Vietnam also said that it will support Indian bid for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council

 

INDIA VIETNAM ECONOMIC RELATION

Vietnam has chosen, Tata Power for development of a 1.8 billion US dollar 2X660 MW Long Phu 2 Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang province of Southern Vietnam. Tata power won the bid from Russian and South Korean companies.

India has also extended 164.5 million US dollar, 17 Lines of Credit that includes the Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station already inked to Vietnam.

India is also setting up a $2 million Vietnam-India Advanced Resource Centre in ICT (ARC-ICT) in Hanoi.

Earlier, India provided the PARAM Supercomputer, as a grant, for use in multiple applications, PARAM costs 4.7 crore rupees.

 

ISSUES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA FOR INDIA

Although, Vietnam has maintained a firm stand of its right in the South China Sea off Vietnam's coast based in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, but China in the past raised objections to OVL’s participation in the oil blocks of area. OVL is the foreign arm of ONGC.

 

FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND SIGNED NEW INHERITANCE TAX DEAL

France and Switzerland on 11 July 2013 have signed an agreement on inheritance taxes as per which Paris will help it bringing in more money.

As per the agreement, the inheritances will be taxed based on where the recipient resides, but not where the deceased lived, as it is used to be earlier. The agreement is supposed to allow France to ask Switzerland to investigate suspicious bank activity even if it does not have the suspects’ names. The new agreement will make it tuff for people living in France to escape taxes. It is worth mentioning here that France taxes inheritance progressively up to 45 per cent, compared to Switzerland’s maximum of 7 percent. France is one of a growing number of cash impoverished country which is trying to find tax hiding away in Swiss accounts.

X-47B is far bigger than the Predator, and has three times the range and can be programmed to carry out missions with no human intervention.

X-47B isn’t a stealth aircraft, and is designed with the low profile of one which will help in the development of future stealth drones, which would be valuable as the military changes its focus from the Middle East to the Pacific, where a number of countries’ air defences are a lot stronger than Afghanistan’s.

The X-47B has a wingspan of about 62 feet (19 metres) and weighs 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms), versus nearly 49 feet (15 metres) and about 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) for the Predator.

The X-47B can reach an altitude of more than 40000 feet (12200 metres) and has a range of more than 2100 nautical miles (3380 kilometres), versus 675 miles (1080 kilometres) for the Predator.

The X-47B is capable of carrying weapons and is designed to be the forerunner for a drone program that will provide around-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and targeting, according to the Navy.

 

INDIA AGREED TO CO-OPERATE MONGOLIA IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

India on 9 July 2013 agreed to co-operate with Mongolia in developing its renewable Energy Sector and Human Resource Development. The agreement between the two nations was reached during a meet between the Farooq Abdullah Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at Ulaanbaatar during his visit to Mongolia. Farooq Abdullah was on a visit to Mongolia to represent India at the oath taking ceremony of Elbegdorj, who has been re-elected as the President for his second four-year term. During his visit, Abdullah also handed over the letter of felicitation to Elbegdorj from President of India, Pranab Mukherjee lauding his personal vision and commitment towards the comprehensive partnership between the two countries and to invite him to visit India. During his visit to Mongolia, Abdullah also met Foreign Minister of Mongolia Lu Bold and Minister of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia, Sanjaasuren Oyun.

INDIA-MONGOLIA RELATIONS

The bilateral relations between India and Mongolia has expanded in recent past and at present it covers cooperation in defence and strategic issues along with educational and cultural exchanges.

To give a new boost to the bilateral relations, the President of Mongolia Elbegdorj selected India as the first destination for foreign visit after taking over as President of Mongolia for his first term, in 2009. The Union Government’s decision to depute a senior President’s inauguration is a signal of importance that India places Mongolia and towards further strengthening of bilateral relations with Mongolia. Keeping apart the political relations, the two nations share a close linkage with each other in terms of civilization and culture as Mongolia mainly is a Buddhist country. Several Mongolians travel to India for spiritual, educational and medical purposes.

 

INDIA AND TANZANIA AGREED ON BILATERAL COOPERATION

India and Tanzania on 9 July 2013 signed agreements on bilateral cooperation in different sectors that includes agriculture, health and education, mines and minerals. All the agreements were signed between the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur and the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard K. Membe at Dar es Salaam during the 3-day visit of Preneet Kaur to Tanzania. During the 3-day visit to Tanzania, Preneet Kaur co-chaired, the India - Tanzania Joint Commission Meeting. She also met with the President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya M Kikwete and reviewed the current level of development partnership between the two countries. President Kikwete assured that his country would support Indian aspiration for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council. As per the latest reports, economic engagement of India with Tanzania has gone up to a cumulative of 1546.56 million dollars in 2011. India is the third biggest investor in Tanzania with 305 projects.

 

 

INDIA AND ALBANIA SIGNED AGREEMENT ON DOUBLE TAXATION

The Union Government of India and Government of Albania on 8 July 2013 signed an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to the Taxes on Income and on Capital (DTAA). The agreement was signed to provide tax stability for the residents of both the nations. It would also facilitate mutual economic cooperation between the two countries. The signed agreement would also stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Albania. The agreement incorporates provisions for effective exchange of information between tax authorities of the two countries, which also includes exchange of banking information and supply of information without recourse to domestic interest.

MAJOR POINTS OF THE AGREEMENT SIGNED

Business profits would be taxable in the source state if the activities of the enterprise constitute a Permanent Establishment (PE) in that state. It provides fixed place PE, building Site, Service and Agency PE as well as Construction and Installation of PE.

Para 2 of Article 9 of the agreement incorporates concerns related to Associated Enterprises and thus involves recourse to Mutual Agreement Procedures for relieving double taxation in cases that involves transfer pricing adjustments

The signed agreement makes Dividends, Interest and Royalties & Fees for Technical Services income taxable in both the countries, the country of source and residence. The withholding rates of taxation for dividend, interests and royalties & fees for technical services of 10 percent each will help in promoting investment, technology and technical services flow between the two nations.

The Agreement also has the provisions for effective exchange of information between tax authorities of the two counties in line with latest international standard. It includes exchange of banking information and supplying of information without recourse to domestic interest.

An article on the Assistance in Collection of Taxes is also mentioned under the Article and includes provisions to take measures on conservancy. It includes anti-abuse

(limitation of benefits) provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed of by the genuine residents of the two countries

The agreement was signed by the Chairperson of Central Board of Direct Taxes, Dr. Sudha Sharma and the Ambassador of Republic of Albania, Fatos Kercikuon at New Delhi.

 

INDIA AND IRAQ SIGNED PACT TO ENHANCE CO-OPERATION

India and Iraq on 8 July 2013 signed a pact to enhance co-operation in energy security, bilateral trade & commerce, infrastructure and others. The agreement was signed between the Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and his counterpart from Iraq, Abdul Karim Luaibi at the end of the India-Iraq Joint Commission on technical co-operation in Baghdad. As per the agreement, in energy sector, Iraq will supply more crude oil to India to meet the growing needs of energy in the country. Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily is leading a 28-member delegation to Iraq to participate in the 17th India-Iraq Joint Commission meeting in Baghdad. The delegation reached Baghdad on 6 July 2013. Earlier, Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister was on a two-day visit to Iraq from 19 to 20 June 2013, which was the first visit of an Indian Minister to Iraq after 1990 visit of Inder Kumar Gujral, during his tenure as Union External Affairs Minister.

INDIA IRAQ ECONOMIC COOPERATION COUNCIL

About the Council

India Iraq Economic Cooperation Council was established under the patronage of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Delhi as a non-profit organization in India. This council was established with the aim of helping businessmen on both sides to enhance and diversify economic and commercial relations between the two countries. The MoU to establish the Council, with its chapter in both Delhi and Baghdad, was signed on 22 March 2010 during visit of a six member delegation from Iraq to India from 22 to 24 March 2010.

WHY A COUNTRY SPECIFIC COUNCIL FOR IRAQ?

Indian companies were present in Iraq before the war broke out and now in the reconstruction phase, they are required to revive their old contacts.

Security scene in Iraq is getting better day by day and there seems to be more international confidence in the stability of the country.

There will remain continuous flow of revenues in Iraq as the country is sitting on the world’s third largest oil reserves of at least 115 billion barrels. The war ravaged country

is trying to boost its revenues amid unstable oil prices by offering more oil and gas fields to international companies for development.

Rebuilding Iraq is focusing on brand new horizon of business prospects that only unexplored market can offer, showcasing full range of infrastructure projects, products and services. Indian business is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in Iraq today.

With normalcy fast returning, Iraq is keen to focus on rehabilitation of its economy. Interestingly, Iraq has sufficient financial resources to undertake its ambitious development plans. Iraq is expected to accord priority to rehabilitate oil refineries, power plants, telecommunications, hospitals, roads, railways, bridges etc. Besides these projects, Iraq is in need of food, medicine and other items of daily necessity. Indian companies are uniquely placed to participate in the projects/services under the reconstruction phase of Iraq.

 

 

UN RELEASED MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS REPORT 2013

United Nations on 1 July 2013 released the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report with more targets to be achieved by 2015. The report that seeks urgent address to several important challenges being faced by the world and its people was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The 2013 MDG Report looks forward to areas that requires urgent attention such as, one of every eight people of world remain hungry, death of women during childbirth, although facilities to protect them are available, lack of improved sanitation facilities for more than 2.5 billion people, of which one billion continue to practice open defecation, a major health and environmental hazard. Our resource base is in serious decline, with continuing losses of forests, species and fish stocks, in a world already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The report highlights major eight goals to be worked upon.

The eight major Goals set by United Nations under the Millennium Development Program were: Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Achieve Universal Primary Education, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, Reduce Child Mortality, Improve Maternal Health, Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, Ensure Environmental Sustainability, Develop Global Partnership for Development. These goals were set for the first time at the time of Project inception in July 2002.

PROGRESS REPORT OF THE MAJOR EIGHT GOALS

Goal 1: Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger – Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.

Some of the quick facts about improvement

With about less than 700 million people, who live in extreme poverty conditions in 2010 than in 1990, the Poverty rates have been halved

Widening of the global jobs gap by 67 million people due to the economic and financial crisis One in eight people still go to bed hungry, despite major progress

Globally, nearly one in six children under age five are underweight; one in four are stunted

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 75 www.jagranjosh.com Page 75 Current Affairs eBook July 2013

An estimated 7 per cent of children under age five worldwide are now overweight, another aspect of malnutrition; one quarter of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education – If current trends continue, the world will not meet the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

By 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school, down from 102 million in 2000

More than half of these out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa

Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills; 61 per cent of them are young women

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women – Steady progress has been made towards equal access of girls and boys to education, but more targeted action is needed in many regions.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

Gender parity is closest to being achieved at the primary level; however, only 2 out of 130 countries have achieved that target at all levels of education

Globally, 40 out of 100 wage-earning jobs in the non-agricultural sector are held by women

As of 31 January 2013, the average share of women members in parliaments worldwide was just over 20 per cent

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality – Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

Since 1990, the child mortality rate has dropped by 41 per cent; 14,000 fewer children are dying each day

Still, 6.9 million children under age five died in 2011—mostly from preventable diseases

In sub-Saharan Africa, one in nine children die before age five, more than 16 times the average for developed regions

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health – Maternal mortality has declined by nearly half since 1990, but falls far short of the MDG target.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

In Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia, maternal mortality has declined by around two thirds.

Only half of pregnant women in developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits.

Some 140 million women worldwide who are married or in union say they would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using contraception

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases – The incidence of HIV is declining steadily in most regions; still, 2.5 million people are newly infected each year.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

In 2011, 230,000 fewer children under age 15 were infected with HIV than in 2001.

Eight million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV at the end of 2011.

In the decade since 2000, 1.1 million deaths from malaria were averted.

Treatment for tuberculosis has saved some 20 million lives between 1995 and 2011

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability – Forests are a safety net for the poor, but they continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

The Quick Overview of the Facts

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by more than 46 per cent since 1990.

Nearly one third of marine fish stocks have been overexploited.

Many species are at risk of extinction, despite an increase in protected areas.

More than 2.1 billion people and almost 1.9 billon people, respectively, have gained access to improved water sources and sanitation facilities since 1990.

An estimated 863 million people reside in slums in the developing world

Goal 8: Develop Global Partnership for Development – The global financial crisis and euro zone turmoil continue to take a toll on official development assistance.

The Overview of the Facts

Official development assistance stood at $126 billion in 2012.

Eighty-three per cent of least developed country exports enter developed countries duty free

The debt service of developing countries consumes only 3 per cent of their export revenues.

In the developing world, 31 percent of the population uses the Internet, compared to 77 percent of the developed world.

MDG targets have already been met or are within close reach

The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been halved at the global level

Over 2 billion people gained access to improved sources of drinking water

Remarkable gains have been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis

The proportion of slum dwellers in the cities and metropolises of the developing world is declining

A low debt burden and an improved climate for trade are levelling the playing field for developing countries

The hunger reduction target is within reach

MDG targets, for which accelerated Progress and bolder actions needs to be taken

Environmental sustainability is under severe threat, demanding a new level of global cooperation Big gains have been made in child survival, but more must be done to meet our obligations to the youngest generation

Most maternal deaths are preventable, but progress in this area is falling short

Access to antiretroviral therapy and knowledge about HIV prevention must expand

Too many children are still denied their right to primary education

Gains in sanitation are impressive—but not good enough

There is less aid money overall, with the poorest countries most adversely affected

Areas with disparities, where attention needs to be focused as these often stand in the way of further improvements

Rural-urban gaps persist: access to reproductive health services and to clean drinking water is only two examples: In 2011, only 53 per cent of deliveries in rural areas were attended by skilled health personnel, versus 84 per cent of them in urban areas. Eighty-three percent of the population without access to an improved drinking water source lives in rural communities.

The poorest children are most likely to be out of School: Children and adolescents from the poorest households are at least three times more likely to be out of school than children from the richest households. Girls are more likely to be out of school than boys among both primary and lower secondary age groups, even for girls living in the richest households Gender-based inequalities in decision-making power persist: Whether in the public or private sphere, from the highest levels of government decision-making to households, women continue to be denied equal opportunity with men to participate in decisions that affect their lives

Measuring progress towards the MDGs: Progress towards the eight Millennium Development Goals is measured through 21 targets and 60 official indicators. This report presents an accounting to date of how far the world has come in meeting the goals using data available as of June 2013. Most of the MDG targets have a deadline of 2015, using 1990 as the baseline against which progress is gauged.

The basis for this Analysis: Regional and sub-regional figures presented in this report are compiled by members of the United Nations Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators (IAEG). In general, the figures are weighted averages of country data, using the population of reference as a weight. For each indicator, individual agencies were designated as official providers of data and as leaders in developing methodologies for data collection and analysis. The team that prepared the report was headed by the Department of Economic and Social affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, in response to the wishes of the General Assembly for periodic assessment of progress towards the MDGs.

UN Millennium Project: The Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people. In 2005, the independent advisory body headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, presented its final recommendations to the Secretary-General in a synthesis volume investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

UN Millennium Campaign: The United Nations Millennium Campaign, started in 2002, supports and inspires people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals.

 

UN REPORT: POVERTY IN INDIA DECLINED BY 16 PERCENT

The overall poverty incidence in India declined by 16 per cent between 1994 and 2010 as per the report of the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2013 released on 5 July 2013 in New Delhi. According to report, the poverty rate in India declined to 33 per cent in 2010 from 49 per cent in 1994. The decline in the poverty was more perceptible during 2005 to 2010. The report has been compiled by an Inter Agency and Expert group led by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.

 

 

CROATIA BECAME THE 28TH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Croatia on 1 July 2013 became the 28th member of the European Union, with crowds joining celebrations in the capital Zagreb. It comes almost two decades after Croatia's brutal war of independence. Croatia's split from Yugoslavia caused a 1991-1995 war to secure its independence.

Croatia had finished its accession negotiations on 30 June 2011 and it signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 9 December 2011. It was followed by its approval through a national referendum on 22 January 2012. It completed its ratification process on 4 April 2012. Entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU took place on 1 July 2013. It had applied for EU membership in 2003. Croatia is the first new EU member since Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. After Slovenia, Croatia is the second former Yugoslav republic to join the EU.

EUROPEAN UNION (EU)

The European Union is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The EU operates through a system of independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member nations. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. The EU's capital is Brussels. A monetary union, the eurozone, was set up in 1999 and it comprises 17 member states.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A MEMBER STATE OF EU?

A member state of the European Union is a state or nation that is party to treaties of the European Union (EU) and thereby subject to the privileges and obligations of EU membership. Unlike the membership of an international organisation, EU membership places each member under binding laws in exchange for representation in the EU's legislative and judicial institutions. On the other hand, EU member nations exercise considerable autonomy compared to the constituent states of a federation, maintaining their national military and foreign policy.

WHAT IS COPENHAGEN CRITERIA?

According to the Copenhagen criteria, membership of the European Union is open to any European nation that is a stable, free market liberal democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights. The Copenhagen criteria are the rules that define whether a nation is eligible to join the European Union. These membership criteria were laid down at the June 1993 European Council in Copenhagen.

 

 

 

NATIONAL

PLAN TO SET-UP A NEW MARINE TRAINING ACADEMY AT TUTICORIN

The Union Government of India on 27 July 2013 announced that it would set-up a Marine Training Academy at Tuticorin. The academy would be set-up through the Shipping Corporation of India in collaboration with the VO Chidambaram Port Trust. The announcement was made by Shipping Minister, GK Vasan at Chennai that the Ministry has already allocated 15 crore rupees for the development of the infrastructure for the academy. The first batch of the academy would commence from September or October 2013, with a batch of 40 students.

 

POVERTY RATIO OF INDIA DECLINED TO 21.9 PERCENT

Poverty Ratio in India declined to 21.9 percent in 2011-12 from 37.2 percent measured in 2004-05 on the basis of the increase in per capita consumption. The Planning Commission of India on 23 July 2013 released its report on the Poverty Estimates for 2011-12. The report was based on the Large Sample Surveys on Household Consumer Expenditure conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The National Poverty Line estimated for rural areas during 2011-12 was 816 rupees per capita per month, whereas, for urban areas it was recorded at 1000 rupees per capita per month. Thus, for a family of five, the all India poverty line in terms of consumption expenditure would amount to about 4080 rupees per month in rural areas and 5000 rupees per month in urban areas. These poverty lines would vary from State to State because of inter-state price differentials.

POVERTY ESTIMATES 2011-12

1. The all India poverty ratio is obtained as state-population weighted average poverty ratio, and the all India poverty line is the per capita per month expenditure that corresponds to the all India poverty ratio.

2. The NSSO tabulates expenditure of about 1.20 lakh households. Since these households have different number of members, the NSSO for purpose of comparison divided the household expenditure by the number of members to arrive at per capita consumption expenditure per month. This is called Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expenditure (MPCE) and is computed on the basis of three different concepts:

a. Uniform Reference Period (URP)

b. Mixed Reference Period (MRP

c. Modified Mixed Reference Period (MMRP).

3. The national level poverty ratio based on comparable methodology (Tendulkar Method) for 1993-94, 2004-05 and 2011-12 estimated from Large Sample Survey of Household Consumer Expenditure data of 50th, 61st and 68th round respectively are given in the image.

4. The percentage of persons below the Poverty Line in 2011-12 has been estimated as 25.7 percent in rural areas, 13.7 percent in urban areas and 21.9 percent for the country as a whole. The respective ratios for the rural and urban areas were 41.8 percent and 25.7 percent and 37.2 percent for the country as a whole in 2004-05. It was 50.1 percent in rural areas, 31.8 percent in urban areas and 45.3 percent for the country as a whole in 1993-94. In 2011-12, India had 270 million persons below the Tendulkar Poverty Line as compared to 407 million in 2004-05, that is a reduction of 137 million persons over the seven year period.

5. The decline in poverty flows from the increase in real per capita consumption. The per annum increase in real MPCE for each of the ten deciles.

The clear inferences are

a. The real MPCE increased by much more in the second period (2004-05 to 2011-12) as compared to the first (1993-94 to 2004-05)

b. That the increase was fairly well distributed across all deciles of the population

c. The distribution was particularly equitable in rural areas

The ratio is based on the methodology that was suggested by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee that suggests the factors in money spent on health and education besides calorie intake to fix a poverty line. As per Tendulkar Methodology, the poverty line has been expressed in terms of MPCE based on Mixed Reference Period. Since several representations were made suggesting that the Tendulkar Poverty Line was too low, the Planning Commission, in June 2012, constituted an Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan to once again review the methodology for the measurement of poverty. The report on the recommendation on poverty line made by Tendulkar Committee from the Rangarajan committee is likely to be submitted by mid 2014.

 

 

LAND RIGHTS TO WOMEN NATIONAL LAND REFORM POLICY DRAFT 2013

The Union Government of India proposed land reforms for acknowledging the women rights and giving the ownership to rural poor women, according to the National Land Reform Policy Draft 2013 formulated by Union Ministry of Rural Development released on 18 July 2013.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DRAFT

In all Government land transfers, women’s claims should be directly recognized.

According to the new policy, all new land distribution among landless poor families will be in the women’s name.

In all land distribution schemes (land related to surplus land, custodial land, or under the land ceiling act), the land should be distributed to rural landless women workers.

The policy recommends 50 percent of land holdings given to forest communities should go to women.

Under the policy, elderly women and widows too would gain title to land.

The policy advises the states to consider the adoption of a group approach in land cultivation. Thus, group titles to women’s group should be granted.

The policy also asked the state to assess all uncultivated arable land with the Government, and give women’s groups such land in the long term for group cultivation.

WOMEN AND LAND

Women constitute nearly 40 percent of the agricultural workforce in the country. More importantly, 75 percent of all female workforce and 85 percent of all rural female workforce in the country at present, was involved in agriculture.

In recent days, rural households are increasingly becoming female headed households, due to widowhood, desertion, or male out-migration.

The Eleventh Five Year Plan recognised that agricultural productivity was increasingly getting dependent on the ability of women to function effectively as farmers and strongly, and had also recommended to ensure effective and independent land rights for women.

The Twelfth Five Year Plan emphasised on enhancing women’s land access from all three sources- direct government transfers, purchase or lease from the market and inheritance.

The land rights can serve multiple functions in rural women’s lives and would empower them to challenge the socio-economic and political inequalities prevalent in the rural-semi feudal society.

 

PARLIAMENT TO RATIFY INDIRA-MUJIB PACT OF 1974

The Government of India informed the Bangladesh regarding the ratification of 1974 Indira-Mujib pact, during the home secretary-level talks on 19 July 2013.

Indian Government informed that it wanted to ratify the 1974 Indira-Mujib pact for demarcation of boundaries and for exchange of 161 adversely held enclaves with a population of about 50000 people.

For implementation of Indira-Mujib pact, Indian Government will have to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill in parliament according to Indian Constitution.

The Government of India is planning to bring a constitutional amendment Bill during the forthcoming monsoon session, beginning August 5 2013, for implementation of the Indo-Bangla land boundary agreement. Bangladesh Parliament has already approved the land boundary deal, India needs to introduce a constitutional amendment bill because its implementation involves territory swap.

INDIRA-MUJIB PACT 1974

In 1974, India and Bangladesh entered into an agreement on borders. Popularly known as Indira-Mujib Pact, the two signatories of the pact were the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Bangladesh Prime Minister Mujib-ur-Rehman.

This agreement sought to cover the demarcation of the land boundary between the two countries and other related issues.

Article 5 of the Agreement stipulated that: This agreement shall be subject to ratification by the Governments of India and Bangladesh and Instruments of Ratification shall be exchanged as early as possible.

The Agreement shall take effect from the date of the exchange of the Instruments of Ratification.

On 28 November 1974 Bangladesh Parliament had passed the Constitution (Third Amendment) Act, 1974 ratifying the Indira – Mujib Accord.

 

UNION CABINET OF INDIA APPROVED SETTING UP OF A NAU

The Union Cabinet of India on 11 July 2013 gave its approval to the proposal for setting up of a National Aviation University (NAU) in the name of Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University at the District of Rae Bareli in the State of U.P. as a Central University.The Cabinet also approved the proposal to introduce the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013 in the Parliament; to create a post of Vice Chancellor (with pay scales on the pattern of Central Universities) by selection through a Search and Selection Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with members representing Ministries of Civil Aviation, Personnel & Training and Human Resource Development and for creation of a temporary post in the grade of Joint secretary to Government of India for the position of Project Director which would be filled up on deputation basis.

The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University will be established as a Central University and as an autonomous body under the administrative control of Ministry of Civil Aviation in Rae Bareli District of U.P. with an estimated Central Government`s funding of 202 crore rupees in Phase-l (2013-14 to 2018-19) on the land available with Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Academy (IGRUA), a Society set up as an autonomous body under Ministry of Civil Aviation) in Rae Bareli District of U.P. About 26.35 acres of land available with IGRUA has been identified for setting up of NAU in its first phase. A skilled and competent workforce is essential to create a safe and efficient aviation industry. Despite existence of a large number of private institutions in India that provide aviation education and training, there is general consensus amongst stakeholders that the number of programmes offered, depth of course content and infrastructure facilities available with them are not sufficient to meet the industry requirements. It is therefore, necessary to establish National Aviation University to cater to the growing educational and training requirements of the civil aviation sector. The National Aviation University aims to facilitate and promote aviation studies, teaching, training and research with focus on emerging areas of studies such as aviation management, aviation regulation and policy, aviation history, aviation science and engineering, aviation law, aviation safety and security, aviation medicine, search and rescue, transportation of dangerous goods, environmental studies and other related fields, and also to achieve excellence in these and connected fields in emerging areas and such areas as may emerge in future. The University will also be a knowledge partner to safety and security regulators by providing required academic inputs to help them execute their enforcement responsibility better.

BACKGROUND

In 2006, the Kaw Committee had recommended setting up of a National Aviation University in India. The 12th Five Year Plan Document has also made a similar recommendation to augment qualified and trained manpower for aviation sector in India. Based on a Detailed Project Report submitted by Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Planning Commission granted In Principle Approval for setting up of National Aviation University in India.

 

WOMEN OFFICERS TO BE INDUCTED IN BSF FOR FIRST TIME

The government of India for the first time in Month of July 2013 has given its nod for recruitment and commissioning of women officers in BSF, the border guarding force. As per the BSF, Young women under and up to the age of 25 years will be recruited as direct entry officers in the rank of Assistant Commandants (ACs), and these officers are expected to be posted to lead their troops along the two most crucial borders the BSF guards at present-- Pakistan and Bangladesh. To the present time women could only get into the combat uniform in the officer cadre in two other central security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which are tasked to carry out a variety of duties in the internal security domain and not along Indian frontiers as these forces are not mandated for border guarding duties. It is important to mention here that, at a time when India has so many women troops in these forces there were no women combat commanders. Though, having male officers was not a problem but deputing women as leaders surely sends the message that they are second to none and can do any task given to them. This first batch of women officers will be on ground by late 2014 and their recruitment will be completed by December 2013. Two other border guarding forces, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) also do not have women officers in combat roles although they have a good number of women personnel in their constabulary.

SOME FACTS TO REMEMBER

The Border Security Force had first inducted women constables for regular security duties in 2009 and at present it has about 700 such personnel

The force is also the second largest paramilitary of the country with two lakh personnel in its ranks.

The government will recruit a total of 110 fresh officers in BSF this year while sanction has been given to induct 138 such ranks in the CRPF and 56 in CISF.

There is no cap on the number of women taking up these posts as the selection is based on merit under the recruitment exam conducted by the UPSC.

After being recruited and commissioned as ACs, these women officers can rise and get promotions to become Deputy Commandants and Commandants of an operational company (about 100 personnel) or a full battalion (approximately 1000 personnel) in the BSF.

 

GOVT TO LAUNCH MGPSY SCHEME FOR BLUE-COLLAR INDIAN WORKERS

Union Government of India on 4 July 2013 announced to launch Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Surakhsa Yojna (MGPSY), a pension scheme for blue-collar Indian workers in the Gulf. The Yojna would be launched in August 2013. The Pension and Life Insurance fund scheme, is applicable for the Overseas Indian workers having Emigration Check Required, ECR passports. The announcement was made by the Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in Riyadh. This pension and life insurance fund scheme would benefit a large number of oversees Indian Workers. The MGPSY is aimed towards helping the overseas Indian workers in saving money for their retirement, re-settlement in India after their return and a life insurance that will cover them against natural death during the period of coverage.

BENEFITS OF MAHATMA GANDHI PRAVASI SURAKHSA YOJNA (MGPSY)

Government contribution of 1000 rupees per annum in line with Swavalamban platform for all MGPSY subscriber who save between 1,000 rupees and 12000 rupees per year in NPS-Lite.

An additional government contribution of 1000 rupees per annum by MOIA for the overseas Indian women workers who save between 1000 rupees to 12000 rupees per year in NPS-Lite.

The Indian overseas workers, who save 4000 rupees or more per annum, will get an additional government contribution from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs of 900 rupees towards their Return and Resettlement

The objective of MGPSY is to encourage and enable the overseas Indian workers by giving government contribution to

Save for their Return and Resettlement (R&R)

Save for their old age

Obtain a Life Insurance cover against natural death during the period of coverage

The government contribution available under the MGPSY is for a period of five years or till the return of subscribed worker back to India, whichever is earlier.

 

 

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY POLICY 2013

The Union Government of India on 1 July 2013 launched the National Cyber Security Policy 2013 at New Delhi with an aim to protect information and build capabilities to prevent cyber attacks. The National Cyber Security Policy 2013 to safeguard both physical and business assets of the country. The Policy has outlined the roadmap for creation of a framework for comprehensive, collaborative and collective responsibility to deal with cyber security of the country. The policy has ambitious plans for rapid social transformation and inclusive growth and India's prominent role in the IT global market. It will cater to the cyber security requirements of government and non-government entities at the national and international levels. The policy will help in safeguarding the critical infrastructure like Air Defence system, nuclear plants, banking system, power infrastructure, telecommunication system and many more to secure country's economic stability. The National Cyber Policy in order to create a secure cyber ecosystem has planned to set-up a National Nodal Agency to coordinate all matters related to cyber security in the country. The nodal agency has clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The policy will also establish a mechanism for sharing information as well as identifying and responding to cyber security incidents and for cooperation in restoration efforts.

The National Cyber Security Policy has been prepared in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, user entities and public.

This policy aims at facilitating creation of secure computing environment and enabling adequate trust and confidence in electronic transactions and also guiding stakeholders’ actions for protection of cyber space.

The National Cyber Security Policy document outlines a road-map to create a framework for comprehensive, collaborative and collective response to deal with the issue of cyber security at all levels within the country.

The policy recognises the need for objectives and strategies that need to be adopted both at the national level as well as international level.

The objectives and strategies outlined in the National Cyber Security Policy together serve

Articulate concerns, understanding and priorities for action as well as directed efforts.

To provide confidence and reasonable assurance to all stakeholders of the country (Government, business, industry and general public) and global community, about the safety, resiliency and security of cyber space.

Adopt a suitable posturing that can signal to resolve and make determined efforts to effectively monitor, deter & deal with cyber crime and cyber attacks.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE POLICY

The National Cyber Security Policy covers the following aspects

A vision and mission statement aimed at building a secure and resilience cyber space for citizens, businesses and Government

Enabling goals aimed at reducing national vulnerability to cyber attacks, preventing cyber attacks & cyber crimes, minimising response & recover time and effective cyber crime investigation and prosecution

Focused actions at the level of Govt., public-private partnership arrangements, cyber security related technology actions, protection of critical information infrastructure and national alerts and advice mechanism, awareness & capacity building and promoting information sharing and cooperation

Enhancing cooperation and coordination between all the stakeholder entities within the country

OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES IN SUPPORT OF THE NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY VISION AND MISSION

Framework and initiatives that can be pursued at the Govt. level, sectoral levels as well as in public private partnership mode.

Facilitating monitoring key trends at the national level such as trends in cyber security compliance, cyber attacks, cyber crime and cyber infrastructure growth.

Earlier, the Government of India on 8 May 2013 approved the National Cyber Security Policy with an aim to create a secured computing environment across the country.

 

 

 

ECONOMY

FIRST QUARTER REVIEW OF MONETARY POLICY FOR 2013-14

RBI released the First Quarter Review of Monetary Policy for 2013-14 on 30 July 2013.

The highlights are as following:

The repo rate was kept unchanged at 7.25 percent.

Reverse repo remains at 6.25 percent.

Cash reserve ratio unchanged at 4.00 percent.

Keeps Marginal Standing Facility rate at 10.25 percent.

Bank rate stands at 10.25 percent.

Considerations behind the Policy Move

The policy stance in this review was informed by two considerations.

First, the need for continuous vigil and preparedness to pro-actively respond to risks to the economy from external developments, especially those stemming from global financial markets.

Second, managing the trade-off posed by increased downside risks to growth and continuing risks to inflation and inflation expectations.

 

MONETARY POLICY STANCE

Accordingly, the four broad contours of RBI’s monetary policy stance are as following:

First, to address the risks to macroeconomic stability from external shocks;

Second, to continue to address the heightened risks to growth;

Third, to guard against re-emergence of inflation pressures; and

Fourth, to manage liquidity conditions to ensure adequate credit flow to the productive sectors of the economy.

RBI Cut GDP growth forecast for 2013-14 to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent earlier.

 

 

INDIA AND SAUDI ARABIA DECIDED TO SET UP SIBN

India and Saudi Arabia on 24 July 2013 have decided to set up a Saudi-India Business Network (SIBN) separately in Riyadh and Dammam. SIBN would act as a catalyst to promote India-Saudi bilateral commerce and trade relations, investment, Business-to-Business interactions and exchanges. The proposed network would comprise of both Indian and Saudi businessmen, entrepreneurs, industrialists and members of business Chambers. Membership of SIBN would be open to all Indian and Saudi businessmen and entrepreneurs. Indian and Saudi companies recruiting Indians were also invited to join the Saudi-India Business Network.

India-Saudi Arabia Trade Relations

Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest trade partner of India and the bilateral trade stood at 43.19 billion dollars in 2012-13. Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for 17 percent of India’s requirements. It is also one of the major markets for Indian exports and the destination for more than 1.86 percent of India’s global exports. For Saudi Arabia, India is the 5th largest market for its exports, accounting for 7.55 percent of its global exports. Both the countries of India and Saudi Arabia have an established framework of cooperation which includes Joint Commission Meetings (JCM), India-Saudi Business Council. Several Indian companies are collaborating with the Saudi companies in the areas of designing, consultancy, financial services and software development. Saudi Arabia is also emerging as a big investor in India.

 

INDIA ACHIEVED A RECORD PRODUCTION OF PULSES

India achieved a record production of 18.45 million tonnes of pulses in the 2012-13 crop year ended June 2013. This augurs well for the country, which is dependent on imports to meet the shortfall of around 3 to 4 million tonnes. Higher support price prompted farmers to grow pulses. According to the 4th advance estimates released today, overall food grain production is projected at 255.36 million tonnes, which is lower than the record 259.29 million tonnes achieved in the previous crop year. In food grains category, rice production has been revised upward to 104.4 million tonnes from 104.22 million tonnes and coarse cereals to 40.06 million tonnes from 39.52 million tonnes in the third estimates. However, wheat output has been revised downward to 92.46 million tonnes from 93.62 million tonnes.

 

RBI IMPOSED RESTRICTIONS ON IMPORTS OF GOLD

The Reserve Bank of India on 22 July 2013 imposed certain restrictions on the import of various forms of gold by nominated banks, agencies, premier or star trading houses, SEZ units, EoUs which have been permitted to import gold for use in the domestic sector. In order to narrow down the Current Account Deficit - CAD and to arrest the fall of rupee, the Reserve Bank decided to rationalise the import of gold including import of gold coins into the country. In the revised scheme for gold imports, RBI asked nominated banks and agencies to ensure that at least one fifth of every lot of gold imported - in any form or purity - is exclusively made available for the purpose of export. They have been asked to sell gold for domestic use only to entities engaged in jewellery business or bullion dealers supplying gold to jewelers. Further, these banks and agencies will be required to retain 20 per cent of the imported quantity of gold in the customs bonded warehouses. Fresh imports will only be permitted only after the export of atleast 75 percent of the retained quantity that lies in the customs bonded warehouse. The Reserve Bank of India has brought down the period of realisation and repatriation for exporters of goods and software to nine months from earlier 12 months. This move could shore up foreign exchange inflows. Last November, RBI had increased the time limit to bring in export earnings to 12 months, from six months at that time, in view of global slowdown. Industry experts said this step has been taken by the Apex bank as the country is facing a worsening Current Account Deficit and the weakening of the rupee against the US dollar. The rupee has depreciated by over 12 per cent against the dollar since the beginning of this fiscal. The Reserve Bank of India has started scrutiny of nearly 3 thousand companies which could be carrying out non-banking finance operations without requisite registration. The step has been initiated by the Apex Bank in the wake of concerns about their actual business activities. The Reserve bank's move comes against the backdrop of the government efforts to crackdown on entities that are illegally raising large amounts of money from the public. The Reserve bank has sought details from the companies about their financials, including balance sheets, for the last three years, among others.

 

SECURITIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE 2013

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 18 July 2013 promulgated the Securities Law Amendment Ordinance 2013. The ordinance would grant Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the powers to regulate any pooling of funds under an investment contract involving a corpus of 100 crore rupees or more and attach assets in case of non-compliance. The ordinance was promulgated by the President following the powers granted to him by Clause 1 of Article 123 of Constitution The Chairman of SEBI would have powers to authorize the carrying out of search and seizure operations, as part of its efforts to crack down on ponzi schemes.With President's approval of the Ordinance, SEBI has received the power to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being investigated by it. Establishment of Special Courts enabled by this Ordinance would fast-track the resolution of pending SEBI related cases.

Article 123 of Constitution of India: Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament -

1. If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.

Current Affairs eBook July 2013 Page 134 www.jagranjosh.com Page 134 Current Affairs eBook July 2013

2. An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance-

a) Shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament, or, if before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions

b) May be withdrawn at any time by the President. Explanation.- Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.

3. If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision, which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.

 

ICAR AND THE ICAT SIGNED MORE THAN 60 MOUS

ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and the Industry to Commercialize Agri-Technologies (ICAT) on 20 July 2013 signed more than 60 MoUs on ready-to-commercialize agro-technologies from different agricultural sectors like crops, food technology, horticulture, veterinary, agri-engineering, agri-inputs and fisheries. The MoUs were signed as a part of the two day Agri-Tech Investors Meet 2013, from 19 July-20 July 2013. With the signing of the MoUs, the two bodies appealed promotion of entrepreneurship in agriculture and accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies and activities through an array of business support resources and services. During the Agri-Tech Investors Meet 2013, an expo that featured more than 60 ready-to-commercialize agro-technologies from different agricultural sectors was also held.

 

INDIA’S FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVES INCREASED TO 280.19 BILLION $

Reserve Bank of India on 20 July 2013 stated that India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves (FER) increased by 21.1 million US dollars to 280.19 billion US dollars. The total forex reserves had decreased by 4.48 billion US dollars to 280.16 billion US dollars in the previous reporting week. Foreign currency assets, a major component of the forex reserves, increased by 33.5 million US dollars to 252.14 billion US dollars for the week ended 12 July 2013. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms comprise the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves. The gold reserves were unchanged at 21.55 billion US dollars.

For the week under review, the special drawing rights (SDRs) decreased by 1.5 million US dollars to 4.334 billion US dollars, while India’s reserve position with the IMF was also down by 19.1 million US dollars to 2.162 billion US dollars.

 

INDIA SIGNED AGREEMENT WITH ADB ON LOAN FOR NKUSIP

The Government of India signed an agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 19 July 2013 for a 60 million dollars loan as to improve urban services and to strengthen municipal and project management capacity in several towns in North Karnataka.

Basically the agreement is for the third project under the overall facility of 270 million dollars for the North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Program (NKUSIP).

PROVISIONS UNDER NKUSIP

The third part of the loan under the North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Program will develop sewerage networks in six towns, and help the rehabilitation and expansion of potable water systems in two more towns. More than 100000 households will benefit from the improvements.

The project will support the State in its endeavor to improve quality of life in towns (Bidar, Davanagere, Dharwad, Gadag-Betegeri, Gulbarga, Jamkhandi, Sindhanur and Yadgir) in North Karnataka and promote economic growth.

The project will improve access to better urban services in the eight targeted urban local bodies, he added.

The project is going to assist implementing the State’s reform agenda through the execution of property and utility mapping subprojects using geographic information systems and the establishment of the Heritage Planning Cell. He said that it will also provide assistance to enhance billing and collection efficiencies in program towns.

The loan taken from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources has a 25-year term including a grace period of five years, commitment charges of 0.15 percent and an interest rate to be determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR-based lending facility. The Government of Karnataka is dedicated to provide counterpart funds of 41.6 million dollars for a total project investment cost of 101.6 million dollars under this tranche. The Government of India signed an agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 19 July 2013 for a 60 million dollars loan as to improve urban services and to strengthen municipal and project management capacity in several towns in north Karnataka

Basically the agreement is for the third project under the overall facility of 270 million dollars for the North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Program (NKUSIP).

ABOUT ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

Asian Development Bank was established in 1966, and is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2012, ADB assistance totaled 21.6 billion dollars including co-financing of 8.3 billion dollars. ADB, which is based in Manila, is dedicated for the reduction in poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional.

 

RBI OPENED 25000 CRORE RUPEE SPECIAL LIQUIDITY WINDOW FOR MFs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 17 July 2013 opened a special liquidity window for commercial banks to meet the cash requirements of Mutual Funds (MFs). The special liquidity window was opened taken into concern the Mutual Funds which faced heavy redemption pressure in debt-oriented MF schemes following a series of steps taken by the RBI to shore up the faltering currency. Keeping all this into consideration the RBI opened a special three-day repo window that will allow banks to borrow a total of 25000 crore Rupees at a rate of 10.25%. Banks can borrow this money to lend onwards to MFs. RBI will conduct the first repo auction under the special facility on 19 July 2013.The second auction is scheduled for 23 July 2013 and the subsequent operations at an interval of three days. Individual banks will be allocated funds in proportion to their bids, subject to the overall ceiling of 25000 crore, Rupees. In addition, banks availing of the additional liquidity support can seek a waiver of penal interest for any shortfall in maintenance of the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) up to 0.5% of their deposits, in addition to the 2% waiver allowed under the marginal standing facility (MSF). SLR refers to the proportion of deposits that have to be invested in government securities. On 15 July 2013, RBI sought to curb liquidity in the debt markets by making it more expensive to borrow money in a bid to prevent speculation in the currency market. The rupee, which fell to a lifetime low of 61.21 against the dollar on 8 July, has recouped some losses following measures by RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. After having lost as much as 7% since the beginning of the year, the rupee has recovered by about 3% against the dollar. RBI fixed the borrowing limit for banks at 1% of the system’s net demand and time liabilities, or banks’ total deposit base. Effective 17 June 2013, the overnight borrowing limit was set at 75000 crore Rupees for the entire banking system. There was no limit earlier.

the borrowing limit, RBI also raised the interest rate on money that banks borrow from MSF to tide over liquidity shortages—by two percentage points to 10.25%. The RBI is also planning to sell bonds worth 12000 crore Rupees in the secondary market on 18 July 2013 for another liquidity draining measure.

 

GOVERNMENT APPROVED PROPOSAL TO GIVE SEBI MORE POWERS

The Union government on 17 July 2013 approved a proposal to amend SEBI Act for providing more powers to the market regulator to crack down on Ponzi schemes.

As per the approval, SEBI will be given powers to conduct search and seizure operations and access call data records. Amendments to the Sebi Act and other relevant regulations were finalised after detailed consultations with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

POWER TO BE GIVEN TO SEBI WITH THE APPROVAL

SEBI regulator will get direct powers to carry out search and seizure operations and for attachment of assets, as part of efforts to crackdown on ponzi schemes.

The SEBI would have powers to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being probed by it.

SEBI since many years has been seeking a revamp of regulations as well as consent for a long time, given the changing nature of the securities market in general, and newer tools being used by manipulators to take gullible investors for a ride, in particular.

 

 

CORPORATE

PRASAR BHARTI AND AUSTRALIAN NETWORK SIGNED AN AGREEMENT

Prasar Bharati and the Australian Network on 30 July 2013 signed an agreement to strengthen the partnership between the two public broadcasters. The accord was signed by Prasar Bharti CEO Jawahar Sircar and ABC International CEO Lynley Marshall in New Delhi. With the agreement, ABC International will be available on DD Direct plus from 1 November 2013. It will allow the channel to be shown along with 59 other channels on Doordarshan's DTH platform. The partnership between the two public broadcasters will help build better understanding between people of both the countries. The partnership between Prasar Bharati and the Australian broadcaster will cover other areas like co-production activities, exchange of TV programmes, exchange of radio programmes and aspects.

 

 

FORD IS THE FIRST AUTOMAKER TO PARTICIPATE IN GGR PROGRAMME

Ford Motor Company joined the Voluntary India Greenhouse Gas Reporting (GGR) Programme in India on 23 July 2013. Voluntary reporting enables a complete transparency in terms of the carbon dioxide emissions.

It is important to note that Ford has the objective of bringing down the carbon dioxide emissions at all the global facilities, two of which are in Chennai. The objective is to bring down these emissions by 30 percent per vehicle by the year 2025.

Ford Motor Company also participates in such kinds of programmes in other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, China and US. With this, Ford has become the first automaker to participate in the Voluntary India Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme.

ABOUT THE VOLUNTARY INDIA GREENHOUSE GAS REPORTING PROGRAMME

The Voluntary India Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme is the joint effort between the World Resources Institute, the Energy and Resources Institute and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Because Ford Motor Company is the fsirst automaker to take part in the program, therefore, its role will be to provide assistance in establishing credible and verifiable greenhouse gas inventories.

The India manufacturing plant of Ford produces Ford EcoSport, Ford Endeavour, Ford Classic, Ford Fiesta and Ford Figo. The engine plant of Ford produces 17 different variants of diesel engines as well as gasoline. The vehicle assembly as well as engine plant complex is still under the process of construction in Sanand, Gujarat. All these facilities of Ford are equipped to re-use the 100% of wastewater generated. The facilities have considerably reduced the water use 30 percent per vehicle produced since 2010. Ford also reduced the energy consumption 10 percent per vehicle.

 

 

 

 

SATYAM FORMALLY MERGED WITH TECH MAHINDRA

Satyam on 15 July 2013 formally merged with Tech Mahindra. After debuting on the stock market in 1995, Satyam soon went on to become one of the country's top five IT companies and its share price was trading 250 rupees level in late 2008. It came to be known by January 2009 that Satyam was home to India's biggest ever corporate scam. Satyam is a Sanskrit word that means truth.

A quick revival, however, followed with its takeover by Tech Mahindra through a government-monitored auction process and its name was changed to Mahindra Satyam. Tech Mahindra on 12 July 2013 announced the completion of allocation of its shares to the shareholders of Satyam Computer Services, raising the issued capital of the firm from 129 million shares to 232 million. Many changes have come through under Mahindra’s and the group finally decided to amalgamate the two IT companies under its fold. Shares of Mahindra Satyam are no longer traded on the bourses. They last traded at a level close to 120 rupees a piece and the value of each erstwhile Satyam share is now equivalent to about 130 rupees a piece, taking into account Tech Mahindra's current share price of 1120 rupees. As per the merger ratio, two Tech Mahindra shares have been given for every 17 shares held by Satyam investors. Experts say it made sense for the new owner to drop the Satyam brand name from the business, given its infamous past. Following the integration, Tech Mahindra is now amongst the top-5 IT companies of India with revenues of 2.7 billion US dollars and expects it to rise to 5 billion US dollars by 2015. The integration of two entities makes it a much larger software company and will also aid in cracking and winning larger outsourcing contracts.

 

 

WORLD'S 1ST SMARTPHONE WITH FIREFOX OS LAUNCHED

Spain's Telefonica launched the world's first smartphone with the Firefox Operating System (OS) to compete with devices running Google Android and Apple IOS. The ZTE Open smartphone goes on sale in Spain this week for 69 euros (90 US dollars) and will soon be available in several Latin American countries. The device is aimed at the youth market and at people who are new to smartphones. Equipped with a 3.5-inch 480x320-pixel touchscreen, the ZTE Open includes a 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM and 512MB flash memory enhanced with a 4GB micro SD card that comes as part of the package. The purchase price includes 30 euros (39 US dollars) of pay-as-you-go credit. The ZTE Open is fully integrated with Facebook and the Spain-based social network Tuenti and talks are on about incorporating the WhatsApp instant-messaging service. The ZTE Open is already attracting interest from many other telecommunications companies.

 

Business News

UTI Asset Management Co Ltd, India’s sixth largest asset manager by size, appointed financial executive Leo Puri as its Managing Director, concluding a process that has taken more than two years because of disagreements among stakeholders.


The Union Cabinet has approved stake sales of 5% in India Tourism Development Corporation and 1.02% in State Trading Corporation of India Ltd.


Publicis and Omnicom have announced merger plans to create the world’s biggest advertising group, worth Rs 2.07 lakh crore. The French and US company presented the deal as a “merger of equals” in which Publicis and Omnicom shareholders will each hold about 50% of the new company's equity. The holding company will be based in the Netherlands and will maintain headquarters in New York and Paris. The merged group will be larger than WPP.


A new state-of-the-art forensic laboratory by global biotechnology firm Life Technologies Corporation has been opened in Gurgaon. This is India’s first private forensic lab. The facility will provide high throughput DNA profiling service to facilitate a broad range of DNA testing including paternity testing, kinship testing, and will also help in generating DNA database and forensic DNA analysis. The laboratory will reduce the burden on existing forensic system and address the requirements of DNA database generation for unidentified bodies or other crime investigations.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT & ECOLOGY

RARE EGYPTIAN VULTURES SPOTTED IN THE FOREST RANGE OF ODISHA

Rare Egyptian vultures were spotted near Laxmipur in Chikiti forest range of Odisha's Ganjam district in the month of July 2013. The forest department declared that it would carry out a survey of the birds in order to find out more about them. The survey would help in locating their nesting site. Thirteen Egyptian vultures were spotted by a bird-watcher, who in turn, informed about it to the divisional forest officer at Berhampur. It is important to note that this sighting of the rare Egyptian vultures indicate rich biodiversity as well as healthy trend. The Berhampur forest division also planned to submit the proposal to the wildlife wing of the forest department in order to undertake the projects for conservation of the endangered species. Action plan will be prepared after detailed survey has been performed. These vultures were sighted at different places in monsoon. It was found that these Egyptian vultures fed on small animals as well as fish. The number of vultures in south Asia, especially in Nepal and India, declined considerably over past few years. The major reason for this is residues of the poisonous veterinary drug in the animal carcasses.

 

PANEL RECOMMENDED AN INDEFINITE SUSPENSION ON GM CROPS

A Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court of India recommended an indefinite suspension on open field trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops till the deficiencies in the regulatory and safety systems are effectively, addressed.

In the final report submitted to the court on 3 July 2013, the panel did not mention 10-year suspension on field trials as suggested in the interim report in October 2012. Instead, it imposed four conditions for meaningful consideration for allowing trials.

THE PANEL SUGGESTIONS WERE

Setting up of a think tank to look into Bio-safety issues.

Housing the new Bio-technology regulatory in either Union Environment or Health Ministry.

Identification of specific sites for conducting tests and mandatory stakeholder participation as part of risk management strategy.

On successful following of the recommended conditions, the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) suggested that the trials should be only allowed on land owned by GM crop application and not on leased land.

 

TEC INTERIM REPORT

In TEC interim report submitted to the Supreme Court on October 2012, the panel recommended a ban on field trials of GM crops until the regulatory system was completely overhauled.

Panel also called for a 10-year suspension on field trials of Bt food crops (which are modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, such as the proposed Bt Brinjal), and a complete ban on field trials of transgenics in crops which originate in India.

TEC MEMBERS

1. Imran Siddiqui, Plant Development Biology scientist, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

2. P S Ramakrishnan, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences and Biodiversity, Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi.

3. P C Chauhan, an expert in Genetics Toxicology and Food Safety.

4. P C Kesavan, a former BARC Scientist and fellow in M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.

5. B Sivakumar, former director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

6. Rajendra Singh Paroda, former Director General of Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Delhi.

 

POLLUTER PAY PRINCIPLE ON THE YAMUNA RIVER: NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) bench headed by Swatanter Kumar on 22 July 2013 invoked the Polluter Pays Principle to deal with the problem of pollution and dumping of debris on the Yamuna bank.

THE NGT ORDERS

Any person found dumping debris on the river bank at any site will have to pay 5 lakh

Rupees for causing pollution. The offender will also have to remove the debris.

The fine so imposed shall be recovered from the person who is responsible for dumping of debris- truck owner as well as person to whom the debris belongs - by whose property demolition the debris have been created.

Even the contractor who is carrying on the business of dumping of debris shall be equally responsible.

The Tribunal directed all concerned authorities, including the Delhi Development Authority, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to ensure that all debris is removed by 15 August 2013.

The Tribunal gave the time till August 2013 to the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to constitute an Expert Committee to finalise the Yamuna preservation and beautification plan.

The Tribunal order came on the backdrop of a petition filed by Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiyo Abhiyan, which has opposed the dumping of debris and construction waste on the banks of The Yamuna River.

 

STICK-SLIP MOVEMENTS CAUSED VIBRATIONS IN REDOUBT VOLCANO

Researchers, who examined the data of 2009 Mt. Redoubt eruption explained that the vibrations that occurred during the eruption were caused by numerous so-called stick-slip movements on faults more than a mile, beneath the volcano.

The Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt volcano erupted in March 2009, with unusual screaming sounds. A volcano normally makes sounds above the range of human hearing, but this particular eruption produced something audible.

RESEARCH DETAILS

Researchers explained that it was beyond the scope of their study to determine the cause of the quake; they theorized that it was the result of pressure building in blocked magma conduits underground.

Blockage of conduit flow increases magma pressure, driving increasingly rapid deformation until the obstruction is breached and an explosion commences.

The study concluded that the high-frequency harmonic tremors were recorded before other volcanic eruptions, as well as in the collision of icebergs. Usually, these tremors cannot be heard by people. In the case of the Redoubt eruption, however, the shaking was just barely audible as a hum.

LOCATION OF MOUNT REDOUBT

Mount Redoubt is located in the Chigmit Mountains (part of the Aleutian Range) along the western shore of the Cook Inlet, an arm of the Gulf of Alaska, in Lake Clark National Park. Its elevation is 10,194 feet. The study was published in July 2013 edition of Nature Geoscience.

 

DEFORESTATION DROPPED IN CONGO BASIN RAINFOREST OF AFRICA

Satellite images of the Congo Basin of Africa revealed that deforestation has dropped down by around one-third since 2000 in the area. Researchers explained that this happened partly due to focus on mining activities as well as oil instead of commercial agriculture, where whole bandages of forests are cleared. The study of the state of deforestation was a part of series which is examining the state of forests of Africa. The primary focus was on Amazon and on South East Asian tropical rainforests. The missing part was completed through Congo Basin in Central Africa. It is important to note that Congo Basin is the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon, size-wise. The Congo Basin rainforest covers around 2 million sq km or 800000 sq miles area. The study revealed that this rainforest was in a much better condition than expected. The satellite images taken from the space enabled the researchers to monitor the change in dense foliage over the time. It was found that during the 1990s, around 3000 sq km or 1000 sq miles of forest was filled every year. But from 2000 to 2010, deforestation rate slowed down considerably. Less than 2000 sq km or 700 sq miles of rainforest were lost every year during that time. This happened because there was a network of the protected area. This however, also happened because of lack of expansion from agriculture. Losing the portions of crucial rainforests like these can have a huge impact on the climate change, biodiversity as well as the communities which are dependent on the environment. The rainforests of Africa have a very important role.

 

NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR SUCCESSFUL GREENING OF DESERTS

Engineers at the Kyoto University of Japan, in cooperation with Panasonic Corporation developed a new technology which can be used effectively for successful greening of the desert areas. Experts of Japan proposed to mix the dry sand along with special reagents which have the capability of holding water and do not allow this water to get absorbed deeper into soil. The special reagents can help in forming the fertile layer below soil surface. This fertile layer can preserve up to 70 percent moisture. The new technology does not ban the circulation of air inside the soil and thus helps in promotion of growth of plants. It is important to note that producing one ton of the special reagent costs around 10 million yen or 100 US dollar. It is planned that the marketing of technology will commence from 2016. The technology will be high in demand in Middle East, Africa as well as Central Asia. In these particular areas, the problem of greening the landscape is more. The technology will thus help in fighting desertification in acute areas.

 

 

UN FORUM TO BOOST SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

The United Nations General Assembly on 9 July 2013 established a new High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to replace the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). The decision was taken with an aim to boost efforts to tackle global economic, social and environmental challenge.

The new resolution was adopted with consensus in the 193-member Assembly with an emphasis towards development of an improved and more effective institutional framework for sustainable development. The assembly also decided that the Forum should provide a dynamic platform for regular dialogue and for stocktaking and agenda-setting to advance that process. The decision of the General Assembly is based on the key recommendation of the Rio+20’s outcome document of 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the Future We Want. The decision on Forum marks a major step forward in implementing 'The Future We Want'. This forum would play a major role in providing the political leadership and action-oriented recommendations that need to be followed based on the Rio Recommendation. This will help in meeting urgent global social, economic and environmental challenges. The Forum would assemble once in a year at the ministerial level under the sponsorship of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The heads of state will also be brought together every four year to add momentum for the sustainable development agenda by the Forum. For the first the High-Level Political Forum will meet in September 2013 at the time of General Assembly’s 68th Session

TASKS ASSIGNED TO THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM

The forum will be responsible to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development

Reviewing progress in the implementation of related commitments

Enhancing integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental

The Forum will replace the Commission on Sustainable Development, which was formed after the 1992 Earth Summit and helped to generate action on a range of issues that led to international agreements or treaties.

RIO+20 CONFERENCE: THE FUTURE WE WANT

The Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012 was the biggest UN conference ever and a major step forward in achieving a sustainable future – the future we want

 

GRADUATE COURSE ON DISASTERS, ENVIRONMENT & RISK REDUCTION

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) introduced a new graduate course on Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction at the 7th World Environmental Education Congress held in Marrakesh, Morocco. This course focuses to enhance awareness among the graduate about the environment and development and will target the causes of the environmental disaster.

This course of Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction is the latest concept to enhance awareness among the graduates, about environment and its development.

The practitioners and researchers of 10 countries amass this 50-hour interactive course that combines climate change, adaptation through case studies and ecosystem studies with disaster risk management and ecosystem based tools for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Government of Germany and the European Union has funded the module and direct for testing at ten universities of CNRD whereas already being taught at different universities of Germany, Egypt and Indonesia. The course describes the different ways by which the environment interact with the disaster and the causes of the by which disaster provide massive damage to the environment whereas as exacerbate disaster impacts are climate change and degraded environments. Integrated Coastal Zone Management/Integrated Water Resource Management are some of the Ecosystem-based tools that counter the hazards from disasters, especially when DDR are incorporated with it. The Case studies from Brazil (the impacts of an April 2010 storm along the Rio de Janeiro coast), Nepal (flood hazards in Central Terai) and Egypt (the impacts of sea level rise) were included to demonstrate the importance of the course. The Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) has also contributed in developing this course. Comment: In recent times, the speed with which the environmental changes have been witnessed, it’s mandatory to have a check on the disasters that are caused due to nature’s outburst. Incidents like, tsunami, earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, flood and others have increased in past one decade. The course on Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction by UNEP, would help people in having an understanding about the steps that need to be taken at times of disasters

 

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

SCIENTISTS DECODED HUMAN BRAIN'S ABILITY TO PAY ATTENTION

Scientists from Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California, Davis studied communications between synaptically connected neurons under conditions where subjects shifted their attention toward or away from visual stimuli that activated the recorded neurons. The Scientists were able to demonstrate that attention operates at the level of the synapse to improve sensitivity to incoming signals, sharpen the precision of these signals and selectively boost the transmission of attention grabbing information while reducing the level of noisy or attention-disrupting information. They reached this conclusion using the highly sensitive measure of attentions on neuron-to-neuron communication. The scientific results point to a novel mechanism by which attention shapes perception by selectively altering presynaptic weights to highlight sensory features among all the noisy sensory input. While scientific findings are consistent with other reported changes in neuronal firing rates with attention, they go far beyond such descriptions, revealing never-before tested mechanisms at the synaptic level. In addition to expanding our understanding of brain, this scientific study could help people with attention deficits resulting from brain injury or disease, possibly leading to improved screening and new treatments.

 

SCIENTISTS CREATED WORLD’S FASTEST ELECTRICAL SWITCH

US department of energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory invented the fastest electrical switching in magnetite- a naturally magnetic mineral. This scientific finding will enable faster, more powerful computing devices. Scientists used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser to find that it takes only 1 trillionth of a second to flip the on-off electrical switch in samples of magnetite, which is thousands of times faster than the electrical switch used in transistors. This scientific finding will throw new light on the electronic properties of magnetite. We already know the basic magnetic properties of magnetite. In fact, for the first time the speed limit for electrical switching in magnetite was revealed by this scientific breakthrough. Scientists hit magnetite with a visiblelight laser, which resulted into the fragmentation of the material's electronic structure at an atomic scale, rearranging it to form the islands. The laser blast was followed by an ultra bright, ultra short X-ray pulse. It allowed researchers to study the timing and details of changes in the sample excited by the initial laser strike.

After adjusting the interval of the X-ray pulses, the scientists measured the time duration of the material to shift from a non-conducting to an electrically conducting state and observed the structural changes during this switch. The magnetite was needed to be cooled to minus 190 degrees Celsius to lock its electrical charges in place.

 

VARIATION IN STRUCTURES OF BRAIN ARTERIES CAUSES MIGRAINE

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that variations in arterial anatomy of brain lead to the asymmetries in cerebral blood flow, which in turn contributes to process of triggering migraine.

The study conducted by the researchers found out that the networks of arteries which supply the blood flow to brain are incomplete in people suffering from migraines. It is important to note that the arterial supply of blood to brain receives protection from series of the connections between major arteries called circle of Willis. The circle of Willis is the term named after English physician, who described this first in the 17th century. It was found by the researchers that people suffering from migraine and especially the migraine with aura, will mostly have missing circle of Willis. It was earlier believed that the root cause of migraine was dilation of blood vessels in head. In the study, it was found that blood vessels have a different role to play, than suspected earlier. It was suggested in the study that the structural alterations of the blood supply to brain can increase the vulnerability to alterations in the cerebral blood flow, which in turn contributes to the abnormal neuronal activity starting migraine. Lead author of the study, Brett Cucchiara, the Associate Professor of Neurology explained that people suffering from migraine have difference in the blood vessels’ structure. And, this is something that a person is born with. These differences attribute to changes in blood flow in brain. It is because of these changes that the migraine triggers. This also explains that some people also feel that dehydration is the cause of their severe headaches.

THE STUDY

In the study, 170 people were studied. There were three groups- a group that had no headaches, a group that had migraine with aura and the third group, that had migraine without any aura. The team of researchers found out that there were incomplete circle of Willis mostly in the people who had migraine with aura (73 percent), followed by the migraine without aura (67 percent), followed by headache-free group (51 percent).

Magnetic Resonance Angiography was used by the team in order to examine the blood vessel structure. For measuring the changes in cerebral blood flow, noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging method pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania, called Arterial spin labelling (ASL) was used. It was found that abnormalities in the blood flow as well as the circle of Willis were most commonly found at the rear of the brain, where visual cortex is situated. This explains why people suffering from migraines with aura have visual symptoms like seeing wavy lines, spots or distortions.

 

INDIA’S FIRST HYDROGEN-POWERED FUEL CELL BUS DEVELOPED

Tata Motors Limited (TML) and Indian Space Research Organisation, in collaboration, developed the first Hydrogen-powered automobile bus of India, after various years of research. The first hydrogen fuel-fitted bus of India was put on demonstration at the ISRO facility- Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu on 28 July 2013.

 

PRIMARY FEATURES OF THE HYDROGEN-POWERED AUTOMOBILE BUS

The Hydrogen-powered automobile bus is the CNG kind of a bus.

Atop the bus, the Hydrogen in bottles at high pressure is stored, which would lead to

zero pollution.

These hydrogen bottles or cells were a by-product of the cryogenic technology and ISRO had been working on the development of this since past few years.

The technology used in Hydrogen-powered automobile bus is not exactly like the cryogenic technology. It is actually the liquid hydrogen handling, where ISRO has expertise.

The bus would lead to zero pollution because the product of cold combustion would be just water.

Since past 30 years, ISRO has had rich technology in production, storage as well as handling of the gaseous and liquid hydrogen. The team at ISRO generated technical specifications for various elements as well as general specifications of this bus. It is important to note that ISRO and TML had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the year 2006 in order to design as well as develop the automobile bus which uses hydrogen as the fuel through the fuel cell route. The entire project is a team work of Tata Motors and ISRO specialists along with the contribution from PESO (Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation) and DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research)

 

SOFTWARE TOOL TO CURB DENGUE AND MALARIA DEVELOPED

A software tool that can control and reduce the outbreak of Mosquito-borne diseases by data mining (Knowledge Discovering) has been developed by scientists of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) Hyderabad. This IT tool has been validated by the Central Government and taken up for implementation by health authorities in five States of States Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Mizoram in the initial phase which will be extended to all other States in a phased manner. This technology has been developed by Dr. U.S.N. Murthy, Chief Scientist, Biology Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and his team by improvising and customising Self Organising Map (SOM), a cluster technique in data mining. SOM technology would enable health officials to prioritise control parameters in endemic zones at village level and initiate measures to minimise morbidity and mortality, caused by the onset of vector-borne diseases. SOM technology can help to alert health authorities to take up larval and adult spraying before the transmission of parasite by the mosquito. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue are posing a serious public health problem in India and other South-East Asian Countries, with some of them were occurring in an epidemic form on a periodical basis. The North East of India parts account for about 10.5 per cent of malaria cases and 20 per cent of the deaths. The technology works on two ways -one relating to the names of the villages and the second focusing on mosquito density, infection, infectivity and parasitic load. Based on these parameters, a complete mapping of the villages could be done in terms of prioritising control parameters.

ANOTHER SOFTWARE FOR RAPID DIAGNOSIS OF DENGUE

A software tool that can rapidly diagnose dengue fever based on symptoms and clinical parameters has been developed by scientists of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) Hyderabad.

The Dengue Decision Support System (DDSS) has been developed by U.S N. Murty, Chief Scientist and Head of Biology Division of IICT.

DDSS would help health authorities in finding out the disease within 10-15 minutes, which was vital in saving the life of the patient.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses. It occurs in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. It is estimated that Dengue infects approximately 50-100 million people every year across the world.

 

BIOSENSOR FOR MEASURING ATHLETES EXHAUSTION LEVEL

Researchers from the UC San Diego developed a biosensor which can alert the athletes, marathoners, competitive bikers as well as extreme athletes when they are about to get exhausted. This biosensor should be applied to the human skin in order to receive alerts. The device can also be useful for the soldiers as well as other people engaged in intense kinds of exercises. This biosensor could also be used to monitor the fitness as well as stamina of the athletes. Researcher Joseph Wang as well as his colleagues from the UC San Diego explained sensor has the capability of monitoring lactate, which is a kind of lactic acid released in the sweat. Lactate is formed when the muscles require more energy than a human body can supply. In such a case, the human body shifts to anaerobic metabolism, thereby producing lactate as well as lactic acid. The researchers explained that this can help for a little while, but eventually when the lactate starts building up in the body; it causes a lot of fatigue as well as bonking out and compels the athlete to stop exercise. The team of Joseph Wang wanted to develop such an approach which is better than the present methods because measurement of lactate is very difficult and requires blood samples. Also, there is a disadvantage that it does not provide immediate results. The researchers explained that the first human test of a biosensor for measuring lactate, when applied to skin was like a temporary tattoo. It sticks on the skin and flexes together with the body movements. Therefore, it is capable of measuring the lactate levels absolutely accurately during the sweat exercise. The researchers, in the meanwhile, also explained that the skin-worn metabolite biosensors could also be useful in providing insights into the physical performance as well as the complete physiological status of a person, thereby offering a promise for the diverse sport, biomedical applications as well as military. Research in the future in context with this, will further help in correlating sweat lactate levels with blood lactate levels, performance as well as fitness.

 

DISKAGMA BUTTONII, 2.2 BILLION YEAR OLD FOSSILS, DISCOVERED

The latest study led by geologist Gregory Retallack of University of Oregon has presented the evidence for life on the earth, which dates back to 2.2 billion years, back. The team of Retallack in their study has mentioned about the 2.2 billion year old fossils of size of about the match stick head, which were connected in bunches by threads. The fossil was discovered from the ancient soil of South Africa and has been named Diskagma Buttonii, which means disc-shaped fragments of Andy Button.

To verify and document and verify that the Diskagma buttonii was a fossil, X-ray imaging was performed. As a result of the X-ray imaging the researchers described the fossils as the strange, little hollow urn-shaped structures with a terminal cup and basal attachment tube.

Diskagma Buttonii fossils bear resemblance with three living organisms of present time.

THE ORGANISMS ARE

Leocarpus fragilis found in Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness

Lichen Cladonia Ecmocyna gathered near Fishtrap Lake in Montana

Fungus Geosiphon pyriformis from near Darmstadt, Germany

It is also similar to the 2.8 billion year old Thucomyces lichenoides fossil in morphology and size. The Thucomyces lichenoides were also discovered in South Africa. The two fossils can be differentiated just with the chemical composition of each-other, which is completely different.

The discovered fossil is four times as old as the previous fossilized evidence of land life, and nearly half as old as Earth itself. At present, it is unclear that what exactly the discovered fossils are as the ancient fossil resembles with the modern soil organism called Geosiphan. Geosiphan is a fungus with a central cavity filled with symbiotic Cyanobacteria. At present, a 0.3 to 1.8 mm long fossil represents the benchmark for the age of the land dwelling known fossil.

Fossil soils that act as the host of the fossils are considered as evidence that marks for the rise of the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at about 2.4 billion to 2.2 billion years ago. This is widely referred as the Great Oxidation Event. And at the time, when the latest discovered fossil, Diskagma Buttonii existed the air on earth rose about 5 percent oxygen, which is comparatively lower than the 21 percent oxygen content of present time. But, before the Great Oxidation Event, there hardly existed any oxygen on earth.

The researchers believe that the fossils are the only promising candidate that supports the existence of the oldest known eukaryote. These were the organisms with cells that contained complex structures, and had a nucleus, within membranes. The research was published in a journal Precambrian Research.

 

TECHNIQUE TO REVERSE BLINDNESS IN HUMANS DEVELOPED

The team of scientists at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London revealed that the chances of reversing the blindness in humans made a significant leap. It was found in the animal study that it was possible to repair the portion of the eye that detects light, with the help of the stem cells. The scientists explained that the human trials were possible for the very first time.

The experts in the healthcare sector described this as a huge leap as well as significant breakthrough. There are Photoreceptors in the eyes. The Photoreceptors are actually the cells present in retina that react to light and then transduce it into electrical signal, which in turn is sent to the brain. However, in certain cases such as Stargardt's disease or age-related macular degeneration these cells can die off. There are already ongoing trials in people in order to make use of the stem cells for replacing support cells in eye that can keep the photoreceptors alive.

THE TECHNIQUE USED

The scientists made use of the new technique in order to build the retinas in laboratory. This in turn was used for collecting various stem cells, which were prepared to transform into photoreceptors. Then, they were injected in the eyes of blind mice. In the study, it was found that these cells could join in with existing architecture of the eye and thereby start functioning properly. However, it was also found that the effectiveness was low. Merely 1000 cells out of transplant of 200000 cells actually joined in with the rest of the eye. Lead researcher of the study, Prof Robin Ali explained that this was the real proof that it was possible to transplant photoreceptors from the embryonic stem cells source. This study gave a lead in order to perform these experiments in humans as well. It is important to note that an eye is an advanced field for the purpose of stem cell research. This technique is said to be relatively simpler because the light sensing cells merely need to pass the electrical message on to another cell for delivering their message to brain. Because the immune system of the eye is very weak, therefore, there are lower chances of transplant being rejected. Just a few cells can make vital difference in eye. Various stem cells in an eye can also help in improvement of the vision.

 

ISRO TO IMPROVE TRANSPONDER ALLOCATION NORMS

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to revisit the SatCom Policy 2000 to improve the guidelines related to allocation and pricing of satellite transponders for public and non-government users. A revisit to the allocation norms has been increasingly felt in recent years as ISRO’s user groups have far outgrown, both in public and private sector. By improving the guidelines of SatCom Policy 2000, ISRO will be able to allocate to different users by percentages and charge, for capacity on its INSAT/GSAT satellites in a much more rational way than present procedure. From the 2007 onwards, the space agency was surprised by the increased demand of commercial DTH, high-definition (HD) TV broadcasters and VSAT operators.

ISRO is the sole provider of transponders for broadcasters and other public and private users of space applications in the country.

ABOUT INSAT COORDINATION COMMITTEE (ICC)

The ICC allocates satellite transponders to user groups depending on their availability and urgency of use

INSAT Co-ordination Committee (ICC) chaired by Department of Space Secretary was constituted by Government of India on 2 November 1977 for the co-ordination and monitoring of the implementation of the INSAT-1 system and for planning future developments.

The committee includes Secretaries of the departments of I&B, Telecom, IT, Science & Technology, Economic Affairs, Defence, Planning Commission and a representative of the Telecom Regulatory Authority

WHAT IS TRANSPONDER?

Transponders are wireless communications device usually attached to a satellite. A transponder receives and transmits radio signals at a prescribed frequency range. After receiving the signal a transponder will at the same time broadcast the signal at a different frequency. The term is a combination of the words transmitter and responder. Transponders are used in satellite communications and in location, identification and navigation systems.

 

COMPUTER PROGRAM TO ACCURATELY RECOGNISE WOLF HOWL

A team of researchers at the Nottingham Trent University, UK developed the computer program which is capable of analysing the local signatures or the howls of eastern grey wolves. The study conducted by the team revealed that it was possible to recognise the individual wild wolves by just the howls and that too with 100 percent accuracy. The wolves roam around in their home ranges, which makes it difficult for the conservationists to keep a track on them visually. However, the new technology developed by the team can help the experts in monitoring the individual wolves by just their sound. Holly Root-Gutteridge, the lead researcher of the study explained that wolves do a lot of howling in the wild. With the help of newly-developed technology, it was possible to know which wolf exactly howled. Holly Root-Gutteridge also explained that the wolves make use of their distinctive calls in order to protect their territory from the rivals. These distinctive calls are also used to call their pack members. This is called their group activity.

ABOUT THE NEW TECHNOLOGY

The computer program of the team is very unique because it not just analyses the frequency or pitch of the howls of wolves but is also capable of analysing the amplitude or volume. Earlier, the researchers had only analysed the pitch of the animals with the use of technology. The new technology of the researchers was put on test by analysing as well as studying the archive recordings of wild eastern grey wolf howls, which dwell mostly in Algonquin Park, Canada. After the test it was found that the success rate of the technology was 100 percent when individual wolves were recognised from their solo howls. The accuracy rate was 97 percent in case of identifying wolves calling in the chorus. The computer program technology is in the last stage of its development. However, the lead researcher explained that this technology could soon be used in the forests in nearing future. Similar kind of a technology was tested on the captive wolf howls earlier, but in this study, it was for the first time that the accuracy level was absolutely 100 percent. Earlier, he researchers had achieved an accuracy rate of 76 percent by making use of audio sampling in order to identify the wild wolves. Earlier too, the experts had used acoustic sampling in order to monitor the wild animals like marine mammals and bats.

 

WORLD'S FIRST TRIP TO MOON'S SOUTH POLE IN 2016

The World's first mission to South Pole of the Moon for installation of a permanent telescope on the lunar surface was announced in July 2013. This installation of telescope would aid in the professional and amateur researchers. The announcement was made during the NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. This is a private mission and has been announced by the International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Express, jointly. The mission would be both scientific and commercial and they have planned to deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) aboard a Moon Express robotic lander. The mission will be utilised by the Moon Express to explore the South Pole of Moon for mineral resources and water. Earlier, evidences of mineral deposits in moon's southern polar region have been reported during the lunar probes. The International Lunar Observatory will set-up a 2 meter dish antenna and this would be the first instrument of the world that will conduct international astrophysical observations and communications from the surface of the moon. This will be helpful in providing commercial broadcasting and scientific research. It will also enable Galaxy 21st century education and citizen science in the moon.

The ILO and its precursor will be the first private space telescope to operate from the lunar surface and will have an internet-based access and control system. As per the announcement, the Lunar South Pole mission is expected to start in 2016. Before it, the Moon Express would start sending a series of robotic missions to moon in 2015 to support science, commerce and exploration.

 

CURIOSITY CONFIRMED THAT MARS IS COMPOSED MOSTLY OF CO2

The measurements by Curiosity rover of NASA, the most advanced spacecraft to land on Mars, the Red Planet, re-instated the fact, in the month of July 2013, that the planet was composed of mostly Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and a few other gases. These measurements match very closely with the findings of the Viking which had revealed about this in late 1970s. Apart from this, the scientists had also revealed the same earlier with clues from the Martian meteorites that fell on Earth.

It was revealed lately that the atmosphere of Mars was mostly dominated by carbon dioxide. However, it was surprising that earlier Viking had found that nitrogen was the second most abundant gas to be found in Mars’s atmosphere. But, measurements from Curiosity found that nitrogen as well as argon was nearly equal in abundance on the Martian air. The differences in the findings could be because of the use of different tools to collect the samples from the atmosphere. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Paul Mahaffy, the in-charge of Curiosity's air sampling experiments explained that despite the difference in findings of Viking and Curiosity, the notion that Mars had lost almost all the original atmosphere to space, is very much clear. This has what led to the change of this planet into the cold desert. The Curiosity Rover of NASA is the nuclear-powered, six-wheel rover which landed in ancient crater near the equator of Mars in 2012. The study however did not explain anything about the presence of Methane on Mars. In 2012, the team of Curiosity reported that there was no definitive aroma of Methane near its landing site. Since that time, a lot of air samples have been collected by the rover. In context with this, NASA has already decided to launch a Mars-orbiting spacecraft in order to solve the mystery of Methane on Mars. This new rover will be called Maven and it will target the Martian atmosphere. Scientists will explore whether Methane actually exists on Mars or not and will also find out about its abundance. Apart from this, Maven will also find out whether it varies year after year. The mission chief scientist of this is Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado.

 

SINGING CAN HELP LEARN FOREIGN LANGUAGE BETTER: RESEARCH

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Reid School of Music found that singing in the foreign language can help a person significantly in improving their ability to learn a foreign language. It was found that the adults, who heard short Hungarian phrases and sang them, helped them perform better in comparison to people who just spoke those phrases. People who sang these phrases performed better than the ones who repeated the phrases by speaking rhythmically. Researchers performed the study by asking three randomly assigned groups of twenty adults to participate in a total of five tests. It was found that the singing group could perform better in four out of five tests. It was found that in one test, the participants who learnt a foreign language through singing could perform twice better than the others. It was also found out that the participants who learnt by singing could also recall the Hungarian phrases with more accuracy in a long term. The researchers opted for Hungarian language because it is unfamiliar to most of the English speakers and is also one of the most difficult languages to master. This language has a completely different structure as well as the sound system in comparison to the Germanic or Romance languages like French and Spanish. The lead researcher of the study, Dr Karen M Ludke, who conducted this research as a part of her PhD studies at University of Edinburgh's Institute for Music in Human and Social Development explained that the study was a proof of the first experimental evidence that listen-and-repeat singing method could assist in learning the foreign language in a much better way. The research also opened up new avenues of further research. It was discussed whether melody could help in providing extra cue in jogging the memory of people and helping them recall the foreign words as well as phrases in a much better way. The study was published in Springer's journal Memory & Cognition.

 

NEW HORNED DINOSAUR SPECIES DISCOVERED IN UTAH DESERT

U.S. palaeontologists in month of July 2013 discovered the fossil of a previously unknown dinosaur — a bizarre horned beast that roamed on an island continent 76 million years ago. The new species has been named Nasutoceratops, which means big-nosed horned face. The giant creature discovered in the Utah desert was part of the ceratopsid group, which consists of plant-eating, rhinoceros-like dinos, including Triceratops.

Nasutoceratops has the biggest nose and the longest horns of any of the ceratopsids. It has horns, which is roughly 2.5 feet long, curve forward and extend to the tip of its oversized, beak-like nose. Nasuceratops likely used its peculiar horns to frighten rivals and deflect predators similar to modern-day elk or deer. On the other hand, the main purpose of the ornamental headgear was probably sexual selection. Nasutoceratops is only the second horned dinosaur unearthed in southern Laramidia. Its closest relative is Avaceratops lammersi, a species that lived in the northwest about 2 million years earlier.

 

NEW ZEALAND LAUNCHED JOINT US-GERMAN SPACE PROJECT

The world’s largest airborne observatory got off the ground from the New Zealand city of Christchurch on 17 July 2013 on a mission to explore the southern hemisphere skies. The flight is the first in the series of southern explorations for SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

ABOUT AIRBORNE OBSERVATORY

The airborne observatory consists of a 2.5 metre diameter telescope mounted inside a modified Boeing 747SP, which flies at altitudes of up to 13700 metres. The telescope will have its sights trained on the Milky Way galaxy, with scientists taking a closer look at young stars, star-forming regions and supernova miscellany in the southern Milky Way. Scientists are hopeful that the flights will help them to understand more about the development of galaxies and the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems from interstellar clouds of gas and dust. SOFIA will be based in Christchurch until 2 August 2013 with scientists hoping to make nine 10-hour flights during that time. It is likely to be the first of many trips to New Zealand for the science mission, with SOFIA expected to continue to visit the country over the next 20 years.

 

SMARTPHONE APP TO DETECT BREAST CANCER EARLY

Sanjay Sreekumar, the Indian-origin student in Australia developed a smartphone application which helps in detecting the breast cancer early. Sanjay Sreekumar is the software engineering undergraduate from Australian National University.

The application was designed by him for the Young Adults Programme (YAP), the breast cancer awareness organisation. The application known as YAP app allows the individuals to monitor the early signs of breast cancer on their own. The application helps by facilitating monthly inputs of the breast irregularities. The application allows identifying if a person requires further medical screening. Sanjay Sreekumar explained that the application has a huge potential because it provides proactive means for detecting illnesses. At present, Sanjay Sreekumar is working on the improvement of application by adding multiple languages as well as visual aids. The primary aim of YAP is to provide additional information on breast cancer in order to save lives. The application can also be used for other illnesses.

 

NEPTUNE’S 14TH MOON DISCOVERED BY HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE

The U.S. space agency in July 2013 announced the discovery of Neptune’s 14th moon. The Hubble Space Telescope captured the moon as a white dot in photos of the planet on the periphery of our solar system.

The new moon, Neptune’s tiniest at just 19.3 km across, and is designated as S/2004 N 1.

The Neptune 14th moon was actually discovered by the SETI Institute’s Mark Showalter while studying the segments of rings around Neptune when he spotted the white dot popping out, 105250 km from Neptune. He tracked its movement in more than 150 pictures taken from 2004 to 2009.

The method involved tracking the movement of a white dot that appears over and over again in more than 150 archival Neptune photographs taken by Hubble from 2004 to 2009. The considerably bigger gas giant Jupiter has four times as many moons, with 67.

SOME FACTS ABOUT NEPTUNE’S 14TH MOON S/2004 N 1

The Neptune’s 14th moon is very small and dim and is roughly 100 million times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the naked eye.

The Neptune’s 14 moon escaped detection by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew past Neptune in 1989 and surveyed the planet’s system of moons and rings

The moon is estimated to be no more than 12 miles across and smallest known moon in the Neptunian system.

The moons and arcs orbit very quickly, so there had to be a way to follow their motion in order to bring out the details of the system. It’s the same reason a sports photographer tracks a running athlete — the athlete stays in focus, but the background blurs.

 

GENOMES OF 201 MICROBES SEQUENCED BY THE SCIENTISTS

The genetic secrets of some of the most abundant and diverse forms of life on Earth have been uncovered by scientists in the third week of July 2013. Scientists recently sequenced the genomes of 201 microbes so that they could know the role these tiny, single-celled organisms play in our environment. It will help the scientists in drawing up a more detailed version of the microbial family tree.

MICROBES

Microbes are found almost everywhere. They can survive in the most hostile places on Earth. They can be found in the deepest depths of the ocean and in the driest parts of the deserts, deep inside ocean and the polar rice. According to scientific estimate, there are many millions of species. The majority of microbes are difficult to grow. Therefore, studying them becomes difficult. Scientists took advantage of new genetic technology which allows a genome to be sequenced from a single cell and revealed the genetic code of 201 different microbes without growing them in the lab. The genomes will also help scientists in studying the biological features that allow microbes to survive in places where all other living beings survive.

 

KOODANKULAM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT WENT CRITICAL

The Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu on 13 July 2013 went critical. The plant will start full-fledged power generation in a month. With the dilution of boric acid in primary coolant water, the neutron multiplication process is being done in reactor core.

The nuclear reactor was loaded with 163 enriched fuel assemblies containing 80 tons of Uranium Oxide in October 2012. The nuclear reactor power will be increased in stages to attain full capacity of 1000 MW. At the first stage the nuclear plant will be synchronized to the southern grid with 400 MW in a month.

The power generation will be increased to 50 per cent, 75 per cent 90 per cent and finally 100 per cent in phases. With the commissioning of Koodankulam Nuclear Power plant, the nuclear power generation will rise to 5780 MW in the country.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is located in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

WHAT IS A NUCLEAR REACTOR?

A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Nuclear reactors are used at nuclear power plants for generating electricity. A reactor consists of an assembly of nuclear fuel (a reactor core), surrounded by a neutron moderator such as regular water, heavy water, graphite, or zirconium hydride and control rods that control the rate of the reaction. Most nuclear reactors use a chain reaction to induce a controlled rate of nuclear fission in fissile material, releasing both energy and free neutrons.

WHEN IT IS SAID TO BE CRITICAL?

In a nuclear reactor, the neutron number at any instant is a function of the rate of neutron production (due to fission processes) and the rate of neutron losses (via non-fission absorption mechanisms and leakage from the system). When a reactor’s neutron population remains steady from one generation to the next (creating as many new neutrons as are lost), the fission chain reaction is self-sustaining and the reactor's condition is referred to as critical. When the reactor’s neutron production exceeds losses, characterized by increasing power level, it is considered supercritical, and when losses occur, it is considered subcritical and shows decreasing power.

 

CHARON: LARGEST MOON OF PLUTO SPOTTED

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons Spacecraft in first week of July 2013 spotted Charon – the largest moon of Pluto that orbits at a distance of more than 19000 kilometer from the planet. Charon was captured in a cosmic snapshot by the spacecraft from a distance of about 885 million Kilometers.

The New Horizon Aircraft of NASA spotted the ice-covered moon of the dwarf planet using its highest-resolution telescopic camera. The Pluto bound aircraft is orbiting Pluto for fast nine and a half year and Charon is among one of its greatest milestone, till date.

ABOUT CHARON

Charon orbits the dwarf planet Pluto at a distance of 19000 kilometers and when seen from the new horizon, it seems to be about 0.01 degree way. Charon was discovered by James Christy of the Naval Observatory in 1978.

NASA’S PLUTO MISSION

In 2006, NASA dispatched an ambassador to the planetary frontier. The New Horizons spacecraft is now halfway between Earth and Pluto, on approach for a dramatic flight past the icy planet and its moons in July 2015. Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel is the Project Scientist of the New Horizons Project.

 

NASA’S HUBBLE DISCOVERED BLUE PLANET 63 LIGHT-YEARS AWAY

Scientists from NASA in July 2013 have discovered a blue planet that possibly rains glass, orbiting a star 63 light-years away.

This is the first time an exoplanet’s true colour has been determined. Astronomers has used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and made visible light observation spotting the planet HD 189733b which is one of the closest exoplanets that can be seen crossing the face of its star. Scientists continuously observed changes in the colour of light from the planet before, during and after a pass behind its star and observed that there was a small drop in light and a slight change in the colour of the light. The light was actually becoming less bright in the blue but not in the green or red. Light was missing in the blue but not in the red when it was hidden. Also, earlier observations by scientist reported evidence for scattering of blue light on the planet. The latest Hubble observation confirms the evidence.

SOME OF OBSERVATION OF PLANET AS RECORDED BY THE SCIENTIST

If seen directly, this planet would look like a deep blue dot, reminiscent of Earth’s colour as seen from space.

On this turbulent alien world, the daytime temperature is nearly 1093 degrees Celsius, and it possibly rains glass – sideways – in howling, 7242kph winds.

The cobalt blue colour comes not from the reflection of a tropical ocean as it does on Earth, but rather a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing high clouds laced with silicate particles.

Silicates condensing in the heat could form very small drops of glass that scatter blue light more than red light.

Hubble and other observatories have made intensive studies of HD 189733b and found its atmosphere to be changeable and exotic.

HD 189733b is among a bizarre class of planets called hot Jupiters, which orbit precariously close to their parent stars. The observations yield new insights into the chemical composition and cloud structure of the entire class.

HD 189733b was actually discovered in 2005. It is only 4.6 million kilometres from its parent star, so close that it is gravitationally locked. One side always faces the star and the other side is always dark. In 2007, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope measured the infrared light, or heat, from the planet, leading to one of the first temperature maps for an exoplanet.

 

1ST IVF BABY BORN USING NEW EMBRYO SCREENING TECHNIQUE

World’s 1st IVF baby is born in US in June 2013 thus becoming the world's first test tube baby to be born using a new low cost "next-generation sequencing" IVF technique.

The method, through which the baby was born, uses the latest DNA sequencing a technique which aims to increase in-vitro fertilisation success rates while being more reasonable for couples and lowering the risk of miscarriages.

The birth of baby using IVF sets an example to show next-generation sequencing can be used to pick the embryos created by IVF that are most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.

 

USE OF NEW EMBRYO SCREENING TECHNIQUE

The approach can identify embryos with the correct number of chromosomes and may cut hundreds of pounds off the cost of embryo screening.

The majority of embryos produced by IVF aren't able to lead to successful pregnancies, and through embryo screening techniques scientists have sought to find ways of identifying the embryos that should be implanted to give the greatest chance of success.

Having an incorrect number of chromosomes usually prevents embryos from producing a pregnancy. Until recently, such abnormalities have been hard to detect as they do not affect the appearance of embryos under the microscope. But through IVF, the desired abnormalities rate is quite low.

Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities.

Next-generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy. Potentially, this should lead to improved IVF success rates and a lower risk of miscarriage.

Recently, a number of trials of various chromosome screening methods have shown that they can improve IVF success rates by around 30 per cent.

Results from randomised clinical trials carried out during the last year have suggested that most IVF patients would benefit from embryo chromosome screening. However, the costs of these genetic tests are relatively high, putting them beyond the reach of many patients.

Next-generation sequencing could make chromosome testing more widely available, improving access by cutting the costs.

The researchers' approach involves sequencing DNA from multiple embryos all at the same time. Short DNA tags or 'barcodes' added to the genetic material from each individual embryo mean that the results could be identified uniquely and mapped back to the right embryo.

In the future, it should be possible to use the approach to check for chromosomal abnormalities and any serious inherited disorders at the same time.

ABOUT IN VITRO FERTILISATION

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process basically involves monitoring a woman's ovulatory process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium in a laboratory. When a woman's natural cycle is monitored to collect a naturally selected ovum (egg) for fertilisation, it is known as natural cycle IVF.

 

SCIENTISTS DETECTED MYSTERIOUS BURSTS OF RADIO WAVES

Mysterious bursts of radio waves originating from cosmological distances were detected by the scientists on 7 July 2013. These radio waves originated when the universe was just half its current age. Mysterious bursts of radio waves originated from billions of light years away. The international team of scientists is speculating about the origin of radio waves. The burst energetics suggested that they originated from an extreme astrophysical event which involves relativistic objects such as neutron stars or black holes. The scientific findings suggested some extreme events involving large amounts of mass or energy as the source of the radio bursts. The radio bursts last for just a few milliseconds and the furthest one was detected several billion light years away.

The scientists reached their findings after observing a tiny fraction of the sky. The team of scientists included researchers from the U.K., Australia, Germany, Italy and the U.S. The team used the CSIRO Parkes 64 metre radio telescope in Australia to obtain their results.

The scientists speculated that the origin of these explosive bursts may be from magnetic neutron stars, known as magnetars. They can give off more energy in a millisecond than our Sun does in 300000 years. The scientific finding will help in finding out the properties of space between the Earth and where the bursts occurred.

 

 

SPORTS

ADITYA MEHTA WON SNOOKER GOLD MEDAL IN THE WORLD GAMES

India's number one snooker player, Aditya Mehta on 31 July 2013 clinched the gold medal in the World Games, beating China's Liang Wenbo, 3-0, in the final of the quadrennial event at Cali, Columbia. Aditya Mehta hails from Mumbai. Mehta had earlier defeated Thailand`s Dechawat Poomjaeng 3-1 in the semifinal. Poomjaeng defeated another Indian and eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Poomjaeng won the bronze medal after securing a 3-2 win over Brazil`s Igor Figueiredo in his third-place play-off match.

 

INDIA DEFEATED NEPAL TO LIFT UNDER-16 SAFF FOOTBALL TITLE 2013

Indian boys defeated Nepal 1-0 in final to lift the South Asian Football Federation Under-16 Championship title in Kathmandu on 30 July 2013.The match was played at the Dashrath stadium. It was the second edition of the championship. The early and spectacular goal by defender Jerry Lalrinzuala through a long ranger turned out to be the match winner. India was represented by All India Football Federation's Regional Academy. India scored its first goal in the 18th minute. The early goal, which stunned the home crowd to silence, turned out to be the match-winner. India remained unbeaten in the biennial tournament. The Indian lads, who led 1-0 at halftime, maintained the pressure on the opposition team.Bangladesh won the third place, defeating Afghanistan 1-0 in the other match played for the third position.

 

SCHWEINSTEIGER WON JOURNALISTS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Bastian Schweinsteiger, the German midfielder defeated his teammates Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery to grab the Journalists' Player of the Year Award announced by the Kicker magazine on 28 July 2013. Bastian Schweinsteiger won 92 out of 527 votes. Franck Ribery won 87 votes, while Thomas Mueller won 85 votes.

ABOUT BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER

Bastian Schweinsteiger was born on 1 August 1984. He is a right-footed player.

He is the German footballer playing as the midfielder for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the German national team.

During his club career as well as in the International careers, he won various awards such as two League Cups, six Bundesliga titles, UEFA Champions League title as well as six German Cups.

He was the Bayern Munich vice-captain to long-time teammate Philipp Lahm, as of January 2011.

 

INDIA TOPPED IN THE ICC’s ODI RANKING

India continues to reign at the top of the table in International Cricket Council’s latest ODI ranking released on 25 July 2013. With 122 rating points, India is the number one team followed by Australia with 114 and England with 112 points. The latest ODI rankings were released by the ICC in Dubai.

Among the batsmen, South Africa’s Hashim Amla replaces countryman AB Devilliers at the top. India’s Virat Kohli has maintained his position at number three while skipper Dhoni is at number six. At the June ICC Board meeting, it was also decided that the annual update to the Test, ODI and T20I rankings should now take place on 1 May each year, rather than 1 August, since this better aligns with the current international calendar. This change has been incorporated in the latest update, and has been backdated to 1 May 2013.

 

TOUR DE FRANCE 2013: CHRIS FROOME WON 100TH EDITION OF RACE

Chris Froome from Britain on 21 July 2013 has won the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

It was Britain's second successive victory in the race. Earlier in year 2012 Sir Bradley Wiggin, Froome's Team Sky colleague became the first Briton to win Tour de France.

FACTS AND FIGURES OF THE RACE

Marcel Kittel claimed the final stage in the twilight, with Manxman Mark Cavendish third in a hotly-contested sprint along the Champs Elysees.

The second half of the race, heavy on climbing, with five mountain stages, took the riders to the top of Mont Ventoux and on two ascents of the legendary Alpe d'Huez.

The final stage ended as the first, with German sprinter Marcel Kittel in front.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider was third, as Germany's Kittel won a fourth stage in this year's race and Andre Greipel finished second, with more than 35000 spectators lining the streets in the French capital.

ABOUT TOUR DE FRANCE

The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries.

The race was first organized in 1903 to increase paper sales for the magazine L'Auto; it is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except for when it was stopped for the two World Wars. The Tour is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI ProTeams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers invite. The modern editions of the Tour de France consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period and cover around 3200 kilometres (2,000 mi).[10] The race alternates between clockwise and anticlockwise circuits of France. The number of teams usually varies between 20 and 22, with nine riders in each.

 

INDIA'S K JENNITHA ANTO WON IPCA WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP

India's K Jennitha Anto on 24 July 2013 won the 13th IPCA World Women's Individual Chess Championship title. In the event organised by the Interntional Physically Disabled Chess Association, at Velke Losiny in the Czech Republic, she competed in a combined group with men and became the highest scorer among the women players with four and a half points. For Jennitha, who hails from Tamil Nadu, the win came along with the Woman International Master title. The WIM title would allow her direct entry for many of the National events for women except the premier. The IPCA event attracted 49 physically challenged players of fifteen countries. Jennitha being a wheel chair player participated in Fide A category and almost all the players are international rated players.

 

SHANE WARNE, RETIRED FROM ALL FORMS OF CRICKET

Shane Warne, the spin legend retired from all forms of cricket officially. He announced retiring from Twenty20 League, thereby ending the overall competitive cricket career.

In the year 2007, the 43-year old Shane Warne quit the Test cricket with 708 wickets. He had remained active in the domestic Twenty20 leagues. He was also the captain of Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) title in 2008. After four seasons of IPL, Shane Warne signed up for the Melbourne Stars as a marquee player in the inaugural 2011-12 British Basketball League season.

ABOUT SHANE WARNE

Shane Warne was born on 13 September 1969.

He was popularly also known as the King of Spin.

He was the Right-handed, Lower order batsman.

His bowling style was Right-arm leg break.

He debuted on the first Test Match in the year 1992.

He took over 1000 international wickets (in Tests and One-Day Internationals), which is a milestone just second to Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.

His 708 test wickets created the record for most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket. His record was broken in the year 2007 by Muttiah Muralitharan.

 

DEVENDRA WON GOLD AT IPC ATHLETICS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Devendra Jhajharia on 21 July 2013 became the first differently-abled Indian to win gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships (19 to 28 July 2013) in France. He bagged the gold medal in javelin throw event at Rhone Stadium in Lyon. He threw the javelin to 57.04 meters in F-46 category, which is meant for one-armed athletes. The silver medal was captured by Mirshekari Abdolrasoul of Iran and the bronze medal was won by Ismail Mahmoud of Egypt. The championships has been organised by the International Paralympics Committee. With this win, India now stands at 19th Position in the medal tally. A 10-member contingent represented India in the Championships. PCI has announced a cash reward of 5 lakh rupees for Jhajharia and the Sultan Ahmed, President of Paralympics Committee of India announced that he would be felicitated on his return to the country.

IPC ATHLETICS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013

About 1000 athletes from 100 countries have participated in the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships at Lyon, France. This is the largest gathering of the international differently-abled athlete, after 2012 London Paralympic Games.

ABOUT DEVENDRA JHAJHARIA

Devendra Jhajharia is a one-armed javelin thrower from Churu District of Rajasthan, who won a gold

medal in the Javelin throw event at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.

He is the second gold medalist at the Paralympics after Murlikant Petkar

At Athens he managed to create a new world record of 62.15 meter throw by eclipsing the previous record of 59.77 meter

He won a Gold medal at the 8th FESPIC Games in Korea, 2002

In March 2012, he received the Padma Shree Award and became the first paralympian to win the award

 

MARTINA HINGIS INDUCTED IN TENNIS HALL OF FAME

32 Year old Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis was inducted in Tennis Hall of Fame on 13 July 2013. With the induction she became the fourth youngest members to be included in the tennis hall of fame, followed by Tracy Austin (30), Bjorn Borg (31) and Hana Mandlikova (32).

It is important here to note that Czechoslovakia born Martina Hingis was named after Martina Navratilova. She came into limelight after she won the 1993 Roland Garros junior title at just 12 year of age.

A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO MARTINA HINGIS’ CAREER

She had won three Australian Open titles (1997, 1998, 1999), one Wimbledon (1997) and a US Open title (1997).

She held the number one ranking for 209 weeks. She also won nine grand slam doubles titles and a mixed

doubles title.

In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time.

In 1997, Hingis became the undisputed World No. 1 women's tennis player.

In 1998, Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam women's doubles titles, only the fourth in women's tennis history to do so.

In 2001, Switzerland, with Hingis and Roger Federer on its team, won the Hopman Cup.

In February 2003, at the age of 22, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis, due to her injuries and being in pain.

In February 2005, Martina Hingis made an unsuccessful return to competition at an event in Pattaya, Thailand, where she lost to Germany's Marlene Weingärtner in the first round.

She is counted as the most successful player to play the Toray Pan-Pacific Tournament with 5 wins in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, and reached 8 finals in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007.

 

INDIA FINISHED AT 4TH POSITION IN THE ARCHERY WORLD CUP STAGE 3

India finished at fourth Position in the Archery World Cup Stage 3 on 21 July 2013 with Deepika Kumari winning gold and bronze medal on the concluding day, of Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Medellin, Colombia. Deepika Kumari who is world number three recurve archer shot four perfect 10s in breezy conditions to lead India to a 201-186 beating of China for the team gold medal. It is important here to note that it was India's first World Cup team gold since Shanghai 2011. Deepika also teamed up with Atanu Das to win the mixed team bronze with an 18-point margin (150-132) against the Mexicans. Overall, India finished fourth with one gold and two bronze, while the US topped the standings with nine medals (2-5-2), while China (2-1-2) and Colombia (1-1-0) were second and third respectively. The other two Indian members Rimil Buriuly and Bombayla Devi Laishram managed 11 between them while Deepika had an 8 to open up a massive 46-33 lead after the first end.

 

DEEPIKA KUMARI AND TWO OTHERS WON GOLD MEDAL IN ARCHERY

India on 21 July 2013 bagged a Gold medal in the Women's Recurve Team event at the Archery World Cup Stage-3 in Medellin, Colombia. The second seeded Indian trio of Deepika Kumari, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Rimil Biruly defeated the top seeded Chinese team of Cheng Ming, Xu Jing and Cui Yuanyuan, 201-186, to reclaim the Women's Recurve Team Gold after a gap of 2 years. Besides, it was India's second medal in this World Cup. India had clinched a bronze medal in the Compound Men's Team event. The team of Rajat Chouhan, Sandeep Kumar and Ratan Singh Khuraijam overcame stiff resistance from hosts Colombia to win 215-210 en route to the bronze medal.

 

INDIA'S K JENNITHA ANTO WON IPCA WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP

India's K Jennitha Anto on 24 July 2013 won the 13th IPCA World Women's Individual Chess Championship title. In the event organised by the Interntional Physically Disabled Chess Association, at Velke Losiny in the Czech Republic, she competed in a combined group with men and became the highest scorer among the women players with four and a half points. For Jennitha, who hails from Tamil Nadu, the win came along with the Woman International Master title. The WIM title would allow her direct entry to many of the National events for women except the premier. The IPCA event attracted 49 physically challenged players of fifteen countries. Jennitha being a wheel chair player participated in Fide A category and almost all the players are international rated players.

 

SERENA WILLIAMS WON SWEDISH OPEN TITLE

Serena Williams on 21 July 2013 won Swedish Open title by defeating Johanna Larsson in the final of the Swedish Open at Bastad in Sweden. The win is her 53rd WTA title and 51st match win of the year. She defeated Johanna Larsson with a 6-4, 6-1 success.

The 24-year-old Johanna Larsson broke to lead 3-1 in the first set before Williams bounced back to 3-3. Larsson proceeded to 4-3 before losing to the American's strong serve and losing the next three games.

Serena Williams is 16-time Grand Slam winner, and was knocked out in the fourth round of Wimbledon by Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, who went on to lose to Marion Bartoli of France in the final. Williams dominated the second set, breaking Larsson's serve twice. It is important here to note that, Williams also defeated 76th-ranked Larsson in their only previous match in the Fed Cup earlier this year.

 

DIVIJ SHARAN AND PURAV RAJA WON MAIDEN ATP TITLE AT BOGOTA

Purav Raja and Divij Sharan of India on 20 July 2013 clinched their first ever ATP tour doubles title by defeating Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands in the final match of Claro Open in Bogota, Colombia. The tournament was played from 15 July to 21 July. The fourth seeded Indian pair defeated the second seeded French-Dutch pair by 7-6(4), 7-6(3) in the final of the 638085 US Dollars, hard court event. This was the first ever ATP tour level tournament for the duo Divij and Purav together. The victory bought them 250 ranking points.

DIVIJ SHARAN

Divij Sharan was born on 2 March 1986 at New Delhi, India and is a left hander.

He started playing tennis, when he was of 7 years.

He ranked No. 5 in Junior World Doubles Rankings in 2003

He reached to the semi finals of the 2004 Roland Garros

He made his debut in the Davis Cup in 2012 versus New Zealand

He reached semi finals at Newport in 2013

PURAV RAJA

He was born on 7 December 1985 and is a right hander tennis player

 

OUSSAMA MELLOULI WON GOLD IN 5 KM OPEN WATER RACE

Olympic Champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia and Haley Anderson of American won the 5 Kilometer open water race on 20 July 2013 at the World Championships, Barcelona. Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia became the first swimmer of the world to win Olympic and world titles in both the Pool and Open Water after he sprinted a victory in Barcelona in a 5 kilometer event. Mellouli (29) won Gold in the open water race by covering the set distance in 53 minutes, 30.4 seconds. Canadian, Eric Hedlin took silver by completing the race 1.2 seconds behind Mellouli and Thomas Lurz of Germany, the five-time world champion finished at third position. Haley Anderson won the Gold in the race by finishing the race in 56 minutes, 34.2 second. She defeated Poliana Okimoto of Brazil in a sprint finish in the Barcelona harbor by 0.02 seconds and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil finished at the third position.

ABOUT OUSSAMA MELLOULI

Oussama Mellouli is a Tunisian swimmer, who is a three-time Olympic medalist. He trains himself with the USC Trojans team based at the University of Southern California.

ABOUT HALLEY ANDERSON

Haley Danita Anderson is an American college and international swimmer. She won a silver medal in 2012 London Olympic in the open water race of 10 kilometer.

 

SHANE WARNE INDUCTED INTO ICC HALL OF FAME AT LORDS

Australian legend bowler Shane Warne on 19 July 2013 joined the list of cricket legends to be inducted into the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Hall of Fame at Lord's. Shane Warne is the 69th male member of the Hall of Fame and the 18th from Australia. Shane Warne received the honour during the tea interval of the second day of the second Ashes Test, and joined Australian greats Glenn McGrath and Steve Waugh in the institution. Warne is counted among the first bowler to take 700 Test wickets and represented Australia in 145 Tests between 1992 and 2007. Shane Warne also took 293 wickets in 194 one-day internationals at an average of 25.73 and was a member of the Australia side that beat Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final at Lord's.

ICC CRICKET HALL OF FAME

The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of the legends of the game. It was launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on 2 January 2009, in association with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), as part of the ICC's centenary celebrations. Earlier, ICC on 11 July 2013 announced that Shane Warne, former Australian spinner would be inducted into the ICC cricket hall of fame on 19 July 2013 at Lord’s during the Ashes Test series between Australia and England.

 

TYSON GAY AND ASAFA POWELL FOUND POSITIVE IN DOPING TEST

Two of the sport’s biggest names Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell had failed drugs tests and tested positive for an Unidentified Substance at an out-of-competition test on 16 May 2013. 30 years old Gay is the second fastest man of all time and has run the three quickest 100m times of 2013, but tested positive for an unnamed substance.

The triple world champion will have his ‘B’ sample tested in last week of July 2013, but has already backed of the USA’s World Championships team and Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Asafa Powell on the other hand has clocked 9.88s but was not selected in Jamaica World Championships team to travel to Moscow in August 2013. Jamaican Asafa Powell’s name emerged as one of five Jamaican athletes – two in field events and three sprinters – who returned adverse findings following the tests conducted at their National Trials, staged in Kingston from June 20th-23rd.

ABOUT BANNED DRUG TAKEN BY ASAFA POWELL

The banned drug is named oxilofrine and is a stimulant used to boost the body's ability to burn fat. It helps athletes to boost their power-to-weight ratio with more lean muscle and less fat, and so increase their speed. It may also increase the rate at which the heart reaches its maximum performance during exercise, meaning a greater supply of oxygen can get to the muscles earlier. Oxilofrine is an agent that stimulates part of the nervous system and was previously used to treat low blood pressure. More recently, oxilofrine is found in combination with caffeine in dietary supplements marketed as weight loss products.

 

SCOTTISH OPEN 2013: GOLFER PHIL MICKELSON WON THE TITLE

American golfer Phil Mickelson on 14 July 2013 won the Scottish Open title in a sudden-death play-off against South Africa’s Branden Grace at Castle Stuart in Inverness in Northern Scotland. The 43-year-old Mickelson finished on 17-under-par while Sweden’s Henrik Stenson tied with Denmark’s J.B. Hansen for third place on 15-under-par, and Scotland’s Martin Laird finish fifth tied with Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin and England’s John Parry, all on 14 under.

A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO PHIL MICKELSON’S CAREER

Philip Alfred Mickelson has won over 40 events on the PGA Tour, including four major championships: three Masters Titles (2004, 2006 and 2010) and one PGA Championship (2005).

He has finished runner-up in the U.S. Open a record

six times and has reached a career-high world ranking of 2nd in multiple years.

In year, 2010, Mickelson won the 2010 Masters Tournament with a 16-under-par performance, giving him a three-stroke win over Lee Westwood in Augusta, Georgia

Phil Mickelson’s in his Career span has won 41 PGA Tour wins comprising of 4 Major Championships, 1 World Golf Championships, 2 FedEx Cup Events and 34 other PGA Tours.

SCOTTISH OPEN 2013

The four-day event started on 11 July 2013 at the four-year-old Castle Stuart Golf Links at Balnaglack Farmhouse, which will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open within the next three years after the tournament moves to Royal Aberdeen in 2014. It was sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management, and is considered to be one of the richer golf tournaments on the European Tour.

The Scottish Open was first held in 1972 at Downfield Golf Club near Dundee, but after the second event at St Andrews in 1973 there was a twelve-year break before its return to the European Tour calendar in 1986, replacing the Glasgow Open.

 

ABHIJEET GUPTA WON COMMONWEALTH CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP

Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta on 14 July 2013 won the Commonwealth Chess Championship.

Abhijeet Gupta settled for a draw with Indian national title holder G Akash in the 11th and final round that concluded at Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth.

Abhijeet scored nine points out of a possible eleven and had the best tiebreak score to win the gold medal in the championship that also incorporated the South African International open. Gupta was tied for the top spot along with top seed Sergey Fedorchuk of Ukraine and Sergei Tiviakov of Holland and had the best Bucholz among the three toppers to not only win the Commonwealth but also the overall title.

A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO ABHIJEET GUPTA’S CAREER

He has won overall 19 medals in all in various World, Asian and Commonwealth Chess Championships in Sub Junior, Junior and Senior Category.

He became National Junior (Under-19) Chess Champion at the age of 13 years and 10 days in 2002, a record unrivaled till 2011 where his name was included in the Limca Book of Records in 2001 as the permanent record holder.

He became an International Master in 2005 and went on to become an International Grand Master in the year 2008.

In the year 2012 won one gold and two silver medals in the recently concluded Asian Nations Chess Cup in China.

In 2010, he won the Bronze medal in the Asian chess championship at Subic Bay in Philippines

Among the women, WGM Soumya Swaminathan won the silver medal while national women's champion Mary Ann Gomes won the bronze. The gold in this category went to International Master Jovanka Housak of England.

The junior section was also swept clean by Indians as G Akash wo the gold Sahaj Grover getting the silver and Rakesh Kulkarni ending with the bronze medal. Kulkarni also won the South African open blitz championship held during the course of the championship.

 

INDIA RETAINED ITS TOP POSITION IN ICC ODI RANKING

India's back-to-back title wins helped the world champion team retain its top position in the ICC ODI rankings. The latest update was announced on 12 July 2013. India is now atop the table with 122 rating points, ahead of Australia 114 and England 112. After a successful ICC Champions Trophy campaign in England, India also emerged victorious in the just-concluded tri-series in the West Indies. India has been in the number one position since February 2013, when they beat England 3-2 in the Champions Trophy to regain the top place.

 

KRISHAN KAUSHIK APPOINTED COACH OF INDIAN HOCKEY TEAM

Hockey India (HI) on 10 July 2013 appointed Olympic gold medallist Maharaj Kishan Kaushik as the men's hockey team coach. 58 years old MK has replaced Michael Nobbs who was sacked after the team's series of dismal performances over the last 12 months.

Kaushik, who was working with the women's team from 1991, had to quit in 2010 after a female player charged allegations of sexual harassment against him. The player's letter to the Hockey India was signed by her 31 team mates but nothing was proved against Kaushik. MK Kaushik will be joining the training camp of the senior men's team which is going to start from 16 July 2013 at the SAI Centre in Bangalore for the preparations for the 9th Asia Cup to be held in Malaysia from August 24 to 1 September 2013.

A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO MK KAUSHIK’S CAREER

Under the Coaching of MK Kaushik, India men's hockey team had won their last major international tournament, the 1998 Asian Games, Bangkok.

In 1998, he received the Arjuna Award.

The Indian women's team had won bronze medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 under his coaching.

He was the member of the gold medal winning team at 1980 Olympics in Moscow, this was the last Indian team to win a gold in Olympics

He had also written the book, The Golden Boot.

 

LAJJA GOSWAMI WON SILVER IN SHOOTING WORLD CUP

Lajja Goswami on 9 July 2013 won silver medal in women's 50-metre Rifle 3 Position event at the ISSF World Cup in Granada, Spain.

She shots 584 in the qualification round and 454 in the finals to bag the silver to lead Norway's Malin Westerheim, who shot 443.9 in the finals.Petra Zublasing of Italy won the gold after scoring 459.1 in the medal round. Goswami totalled 152.4 over three series in kneeling. She has scored 154.8 in prone and 146.8 while standing to win the country's first medal in the tournament.

ABOUT LAJJA GOSWAMI

24-year-old Lajja Goswami, hails from Anand district in Gujarat and is a silver medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games,

Lajja Goswami had teamed up with Tejaswani Sawant to win silver in pair’s 50-m rifle 3 position at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.

She also had won gold in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions, ahead of Maharashtra's Sawant and veteran Anjali Bhagwat at the IX Sardar Sajjan Singh Sethi Memorial Masters shooting competition in year 2012.

It is important to note that she was unable to get selection in the 11-member team for 2012 London Olympics after failing to lift her game during the trials.

 

INDIA MOVED TO SECOND SPOT IN ICC TEST RANKINGS

As per the latest ICC Test rankings issued on 8 July 2013, India moved to second spot while South Africa led the ranking. England was placed at third position. South Africa gained seven rating points making its tally to 135 points. India scored 116 points. Although England won its last two test series against India it was placed below India in ranking due to its less consistent performances in other recent series particularly against Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa. England needs to win by a margin of 3-0 in the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to get the second position. The annual ICC test ranking ensures that it continues to reflect recent form of all the Cricket teams, with past results being cast off. The recent ICC Board meeting decided that the annual update to the Test, ODI and T20I rankings would now be finalised on 1 May 1 each year instead of 1 August because it aligns better with the current international calendar.

 

IOC EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR INDIAN OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 6 July 2013 extended the deadline of the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by a month for amending its constitution and holding fresh elections. Earlier, the IOC had directed the IOA to amend its constitution in line with the Olympic charter by 15 July 2013 and elect new office bearers by 1 Sep 2013 for considering the revocation of the ban on India. The IOC now feels that IOA needs more time to comment on the proposed IOA constitution. The IOC had suspended the IOA in December 2012.

WHAT IS IOC?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a Swiss non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was created by Pierre, Baron de Coubertin, on 23 June 1894 with Greek Demetrios Vikelas as its first president. At present, its membership consists of 100 active members, 33 honorary members and 1 honour member. The IOC organises the modern Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, held in summer and winter, every four years.

 

SOCHI 2014 WINTER OLYMPIC TORCH TO BE SENT IN SPACE

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee on 26 June 2013 made a declaration to send Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Torch into the space in November 2013. The torch would be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) from where it will be sent for a space walk. This will be the first time in the history that Olympics Torch will be carried in the open space.

The torch will arrive at the ISS on the Soyuz TMA-11M manned spaceship in November 2013. The historical assignment will be completed by the Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov, who has been tasked with the assignment. Mikhail Tyurin, Captain of the spacecraft, who received the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch in June 2013, will be responsible to pass it over to the cosmonauts who will take the torch on its unique walk. Following the mission, cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who is currently based on the ISS, will deliver the special cargo safely back to Earth. To ensure safety, during the space journey, the torch will not be lit during the spacewalk. Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia.

 

AL MANA SPORTS RIGHT ACTIVIST OF QATAR HONOURED BY IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 1 July 2013 honoured six women for their outstanding contributions to the development of women’s participation in sport and its administration at Lausanne. Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana was honoured with Annual World Trophy for her work as President of the Qatar Women's Sport Committee. Al Mana as the sports administrator helped Qatar to send its first female athletes to the Olympics with top award for women in sports. Ahlam was honoured as the pioneer for women’s right in Qatar by the IOC as Ahlam has played a major role in popularizing sports among schoolgirls in the Gulf nation. Al Mana played an integral role in the participation of four Qatari female athletes at London Olympics 2012 – first time participation of Qatar women in its history. This was the first time, when Qatar sent women athletes to the games. Women from five continents also received awards for promoting gender equality.

FIVE CONTINENTAL TROPHIES WERE AWARDED TO

Dj Saran Camara (Guniea, Africa)

Marlene Bjornsrud (US, Americas)

Boossaba Yodbangtoey (Thailand, Asia)

Ona Baboniene (Lithuania, Europe)

Catherine Alice Wong (Fiji, Oceania)

ABOUT ANNUAL WORLD TROPHY OF IOC

The International Olymipic Committee (IOC) Annual trophy was established by the IOC in 1985 in order to promote the teaching of Olympism. Every year the IOC Executive Board selects a different theme. The selection of the recipient and the awarding of the trophy are entrusted to the National Olympic Committee to recognise a person or institution of their choice. Jacques Rogge is the President of International Olympics Committee.

 

BRAZIL WON FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP BRAZIL 2013

Brazil won the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 on 30 June 2013 against Spain in the final match. Brazil won 3-0 against FIFA World Cup holders Spain. On the Brazilian side, two goals were scored by Fred and one was scored by Neymar. Brazil grabbed the FIFA Confederations Cup for the third time. Earlier, it had won the Cup in the year 2005 in South Africa, 2009 in Germany and 1997 in Saudi Arabia. Fernando José Torres of Spain was awarded with the Golden Boot Award, while Fred of Brazil won the Silver Boot Award. The Bronze Boot Award was given away to Neymar. Italy defeated Uruguay on penalties and secured the third place.

FACTS ABOUT THE FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP BRAZIL 2013

The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup was the ninth cup, held at Brazil from 15 June to 30 June 2013. It was the prelude to 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 was the first national team tournament which made use of the goal-line technology. This technology will also be used in 2014 World Cup.

The final positions of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup were: Brazil (Champions), Spain (Runners-Up), Italy (3rd Position) and Uruguay (4th position).

The top scorers of the tournament were Fred of Brazil and Fernando José Torres of Spain who scored 5 goals each during the tournament. Neymar of Brazil was declared as the Best Player of the Tournament.

2013 FIFA Confederations Cup participating teams were: Brazil, Spain, Italy, Uruguay, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria and Tahiti.

Prize Money: Brazil won 4.1million US dollar, Spain won 3.6 million US dollar, Italy won 3 million US dollar, Uruguay won 2.5 million US dollar. The teams from Fifth to eighth place won 1.7 million US dollar.

ABOUT FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP

The FIFA Confederations Cup is the international association football tournament for national teams.

It is held after every 4 years by FIFA.

The teams participating in the tournament belong to each of the six FIFA confederation championships, i.e., UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC, apart from the FIFA World Cup holder and the host nation.

Total of eight teams participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup.

AWARDS GIVEN DURING 2013 FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Name of the Award

Name of the Country/Player

FIFA Fair Play Trophy

Spain

Golden Ball Winner

Neymar (Brazil)

Golden Boot Winner

Fernando Torres (Spain)

Golden Glove Winner

Júlio César (Brazil)

Silver Ball Winner

Andrés Iniesta (Spain)

Silver Boot Winner

Fred (Brazil)

Bronze Ball Winner

Paulinho (Brazil)

Bronze Boot Winner

Neymar (Brazil)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

UNION GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH BHARAT MOBILE SCHEME

The Union government of India on 30 July 2013 planned to launch Bharat Mobile Scheme under, which one member of every rural household who has completed 100 days of work under MGNREGA can get free mobile device. The new scheme is aimed at empowerment. The mobile may be provided per household preferably to a woman and the handset will come with a three-year warranty. The mobile device for The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act workers will be non-transferable as it will also be customized for transfer of benefits of different government programmes like direct cash transfers scheme. According to initial proposal, selected telecom operators will be asked to provide mobile devices. Distribution would be done by the service providers in coordination with district administration. The mobile numbers in the device is expected to work as first level authentication to identify and inform the beneficiary of scheme, sources said. Around 5 crore households have been provided work in year 2012-13. The proposal for Bharat Mobile Scheme was mooted by Planning Commission of India.

 

COMPLEMENTARY FEEDING SHOULD BEGIN AT THE AGE OF SIX MONTHS

Medical experts opined, in the month of July 2013, that complementary feeding for the infants should begin at the age of six months, apart from the mother’s milk. The medical experts explained that by this time, the digestive system of the infants become mature enough to process the complementary foods. It is also important to note that beginning of the complementary feeding to infants can also lead to under-nutrition as well as under-developed immune system.

Understanding Complementary Food

Complementary food should be very appropriate, which means that it needs to have sufficient nutrition as well as energy.

The complementary food given to the infants should be very smooth in texture and it should be easy to digest.

It is important to note that infants, in particular, have high energy requirement, but also their stomach is very small in size. Hence, the complementary food given to them

should be high in energy content. Energy requirements of the infants are very high during first year of the life of infants.

Another important factor to be considered is that the diet should have good fat content because it is an important determinant for the energy density.

In case, the appetite is poor, there is a need of higher proportion.

Foods that have high energy density are very rich in fat, but are also low on the water content. These kinds of foods include eggs, ghee, cheese and butter. On the other hand, the foods that have high water content have lower energy density. These foods include porridge made using water, boiled rice, low-fat yogurt, fruits and vegetables as well as soups and stews.

Feeding the infants with low-energy foods on a regular basis can cause an adverse effect on their stamina as well as physical strength.

The complementary foods should therefore contain higher amounts of fibre, minerals as well as vitamins.

Source Of The Complementary Feeding

The medical experts explained that complementary feeding can be sourced from a range of food groups. This can enable a child to get vital nutrients, thereby ensuring optimum development and growth.

The groups of food from which complementary feeding can be sourced include meat, fish and poultry products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, grains, roots and tubers, legumes and nuts, fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin A and finally, the dairy products.

Giving complementary foods to a child from at least four out of these groups, everyday can ensure a well-balanced nutrition and optimum growth of a child.

Preparing The Complementary Foods For Infants

It is very important to note that the infants are highly vulnerable to infections. Therefore, their foods should be prepared while keeping in mind the vital parameters of hygiene and safety.

Food-borne illness can take place in the infants in case the food is not properly cooked or is kept at a room temperature for a long time, or if the cooking equipment is contaminated. Also, illness related to food can occur in the infants in case the hands are not properly washed before the infant is fed.

It is important to note that the best way to prepare the complementary food for the infants is to prepare it fresh. Or, it should be consumed in just one or two hours after cooking, especially during the hot climate.

It is also important to ensure that the complementary foods are prepared thoroughly because high temperature during the cooking process is required to kill the bacteria.

Lukewarm food should be fed to the infants.

While introducing complementary foods to the infants for the first time, it is essential to note that the products which do not cause allergy to the babies should be chosen. The foods devoid of colours, artificial flavours, preservatives and harmful chemicals, should be chosen for complementary feeding.

Amount Of Complementary Food Required By The Infants

According to the WHO report of complementary feeding called the Report of the global consultation convened jointly by the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development and the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at Geneva from 10 to 13 December 2001, it was recommended that for the beginning, complementary foods should start at six months of age with small amounts of food and the quantity should be increased as the child grows older. During this time, it is also important to maintain the frequent breastfeeding. The energy needs from complementary foods for infants with average breast milk intake in the developing countries are approximately 200 kcal per day at 6−8 months of age, 300 kcal per day at 9−11 months of age, and 550 kcal per day at 12−23 months of age. In the industrialized countries, the estimates were different. These were 130, 310 and 580 kcal/d at 6−8, 9−11 and 12−23 months, respectively. The difference occurred because of difference in the average breast milk intake.

 

INDIA TOPPED IN THE CHART OF SRI LANKA’S FOREIGN VISITORS

Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority released a data of tourists on 18 July 2013, which claimed that India topped the charts of foreign tourists to the island nation. As per the report, over 83 thousand Indians visited, the Sri Lanka in the first half of this year of which 13000 Indian visitors in June 2013 alone. India was followed by Britain and Germany with 55 thousand and 36 thousand visitors. Sri Lanka has set a target of attracting 1.25 million tourists to the country in 2013, of which more than half a million people visited the nation by June 2013.

 

INDIA EMERGED AS THE 2ND LARGEST INVESTOR IN CITY OF LONDON

India in the month of July 2013 has come into view as the second largest investor in the city of London with Indian companies led by software major Infosys encouraged by the investment fervour generated by the 2012 Olympic Games in the British capital. Software services firm Infosys leads the charge of inner Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) made by a total of 28 Indian companies, which has created 429 additional jobs for the British economy in the in year 2012 alone. India is a very important market for London and Olympics has provided the perfect opportunity for Indians to come and experience London and resulted in more Indian companies setting up in London. India has seen exceptional growth and there are a large number of areas of common interest, such as transport and city planning, where India and United Kingdom are planning to work together. India brought in a large amount of the 2.5 billion pounds additional foreign investment into the UK since the Games and Indian FDI projects in 2012-13 are estimated to generate 24 million Pounds in gross value added for London’s economy over the next three years. Information and communications technology (ICT) was the key sector in terms of Indian FDI into London, which is followed by financial services and retail. In the financial services sector, Axis Bank stood out for setting up its global operations in London as a direct consequence of discussions during the mayoral visit to India in November 2012.

 

DTAB RECOMMENDED LIFTING BAN ON DRUG, PIOGLITAZONE

The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) on 19 July 2013 recommended for revoking the ban on Pioglitazone – an oral anti-diabetic drug, which was banned on 18 June 2013. DTAB also recommended that the medicine should be sold with a boxed warning (that the drug carries a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects). The recommendations were sent to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, which will in turn issue the formal orders. The Expert Committee meeting convened on 11 July 2013, took the decision of the lifting the ban on Piogltazone. The Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Director General of Health Services Jagdish Prasad has constituted when the Government was severely criticised by diabetologists for acting in haste and without conducting any scientific study in the country. India approved Pioglitazone more than a decade ago and many people are using this drug. The Ministry banned Piogiltazone based on a letter sent in January 2013 to the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) by the Chennai-based diabetologist Dr. V. Mohan, chairman of Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.

The market for Pioglitazone in India is estimated at 700 crore Rupees annually and major players, such as Ranbaxy, Cipla and Sun Pharma, manufacture the drug. The drug was banned in France in 2010, but it is still using in the US, the UK and other countries, with a warning label.

 

PUDUCHERRY GOVT LISTED WINE AS FOOD ITEM TO ATTRACT TOURISTS

The Puducherry government on 17 July 2013 delinked wine from the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) category and listed as a food item to attract more tourists to the state. With the Government’s decision, wine will not flow freely into the town as the ban on sale of wine bottles in general stores will continue as usual and sale will be allowed only in licensed IMFL shops, and hotels. The government also reduced excise duty on wine to increase the volume of sale. The decision was taken in accordance with the expectation of tourists from neighbouring areas that had stopped visiting the town in recent months because of increase in excise duty that took the prices of premium varieties almost equivalent to Tamil Nadu.

 

WHO ASKED INDIA TO BAN PESTICIDE THAT KILLED CHILDREN IN BIHAR

The United Nations Health agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested India in 2009 to consider a ban on Monocrotophos, the pesticide blamed for the poisoning of mid day meal in Bihar on 16 July 2013. The pesticide that killed 23 schoolchildren in Bihar's Chhapra district was banned in many countries as per the directions from the WHO, because of its high acute toxicity. However in India, Monocrotophos is widely used and easily available pesticide. WHO had also warned that in India, against strong International health warnings, many pesticide containers are not thrown away after use but recycled and used for storing water, food and other consumables.

In Bihar's case, the children fell ill within minutes of eating their mid-day meal in their one-room primary school.

They started vomiting and convulsing with stomach pains - symptoms that experts say would be common in poisoning with such a toxic chemical.

Forensic investigation found the meal had been prepared with cooking oil that contained Monocrotophos.

According to WHO, swallowing just 120 milligrams of Monocrotophos can be fatal to humans. Initial symptoms of taking chemical are sweating, vomiting, blurred vision and foaming at the mouth.

About Monocrotophos

Monocrotophos – a substance that belongs to a family of chemicals called organophosphates that share a common mechanism of toxic action.

Monocrotophos affects the central nervous system by inhibiting cholinesterase, an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission.

The countries and regions that have banned monocrotophos use include Australia, Cambodia, China, the European Union, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the US. Importing Monocrotophos is illegal in 46 countries.

 

SRI LANKA BANNED FILM FLYING FISH

Flying Fish: Ban imposed on the film in Sri Lanka The Government of Sri Lanka on 15 July 2013 announced a ban on the movie, Flying Fish. The government claimed that the film, Flying Fish, insulted the Government as well as the Security Forces of the country. Lakshman Hulugalla, the Director General of the Government's Media Centre for National Security claimed that the Flying Fish was banned in Sri Lanka because, the creators of the film used images of the Sri Lankan military uniform, without permission from the Ministry of Defense. Earlier, the Government suspended the Film Festival organized by the French embassy in Colombo after the screening of the film, Flying Fish. The film was directed by the Sri Lankan filmmaker, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara. The film had its world premiere in 2011. It has also won international recognition in film festivals across the world.

 

CSIR SET TO LAUNCH ITS FASTEST SUPERCOMPUTER

CSIR in month of July 2013 declared that, it is all set to launch its fastest supercomputer at India’s first ever big data science institute in Bangalore. The launch of Super Computer by CSIR will mark its entry into the new field of data intensive scientific discovery. The supercomputer is supposed to have a speed of 360 tera flops, which will make it the fourth fastest country in the country and will be housed in by the CSIR Fourth Paradigm Institute (CSIR-4PI). With the launch of Supercomputer, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is deciding to re-position its Bangalore-based Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation to deal with data intensive scientific discovery, which has came out as the fourth paradigm of science. The supercomputer situated in the Bangalore-based 4PI will form the backbone of the new venture which will connect CSIR laboratories located in Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Srinagar, Chennai, Chandigarh, and Nagpur. The laboratories based at these centers will have computing facilities between 10 and 50 tera flop capacity and is going to be linked to the supercomputer using the National Knowledge Network thus connecting 200 scientists and over 1000 students in the identified domain areas.

 

 

 

 

UNION GOVT CONSTITUTED EGOM HEADED BY P CHIDAMBARAM

The Union government of India on 17 July 2013 constituted an empowered Group of Ministers, EGoM, under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, for timely implementation of major projects related to the North-Eastern region. The EGoM will include Home Minister, Power Minister and Minister of DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region). The matters pertaining to the various projects, which cannot be resolved during the meeting of Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will be referred to the EGoM for further action.

 

URDU GHAZALS WRITTEN BY SAVARKAR IN ANDAMAN JAIL FOUND

Two Ghazals in Urdu written by freedom fighter, Veer Savarkar during the days of his 11-year imprisonment, in the Andaman Cellular Jail has been discovered by a Dadar based Institute. The ghazals are a part of the notebook kept by Savarkar in the prison and are patriotic in nature. The Ghazals are written in the sublime form of the Urdu Poetry and are written in fluent Urdu. The notebook was discovered by Manjiri Marathe, from the collection of books handed over to her by late S P Gokhale, an associate of Savarkar. Manjiti is a trustee of the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak and daughter of S P Gokhale. The two ghazals portrays, that runs into five pages states about Savarkar's hope for the freedom of India. Savarkar was imprisoned from 1910 to 1921, in the Andaman’s. The notebook that contains, the Urdu Ghazal also includes two Hindi poems The notebook is a handmade and its cover has been designed by sticking the jail records together. As first part, the notebook includes the pictures of Rama, Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Shivaji, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, which is just like a scrapbook and the cover used is taken from cover-page of Marathi magazine Chitramay Jagat. The notebook was placed on display at the Smarak opposite Shivaji Park maidan in fourth week of July 2013 and then would be shifted to a museum of Indian revolutionaries being developed by the Smarak.

About Veer Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar born on 28 May 1883 in village Bhagur, near Nashik, Maharashtra was a freedom fighter. He was commonly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar

He also was an eminent social reformer, writer, dramatist, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher.

He was a pioneer of the movement for religious reform in Hindu culture by doing away the caste system prevalent within it. He coined the term Hindutva.

He was the founder of the student societies that included Abhinav Bharat Society and the Free India Society.

His published work the Indian War of Independence about the Indian rebellion of 1857 was banned by British authorities.

Due to his connection with the revolutionary group India House, he was arrested in 1910, after which he was sentenced with two life terms of imprisonment that totaled to fifty years, and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In 1921 after renouncing the revolutionary activities he was released under restrictions after signing a plea for clemency.

The airport at Port Blair the capital of Andaman and Nicobar's has been named as Veer Savarkar International Airport.

Commemorative blue plaque on India House that is fixed by the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England reads Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 1883-1966, Indian patriot and philosopher lived here.

 

ARCHEOLOGISTS UNCOVERED KING DAVID'S PALACE OF JUDEA

The Israel Antiquities Authorities on 18 July 2013 announced that during a joint excavation programme led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, two of the largest structures from the Kingdom of Judea were uncovered. Kingdom of Judah was a state established during the Iron Age in the Southern Levant. The two structures have been identified as the Palace of the King David and the large storage structure of the Kingdom, by the researchers namely Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor. The uncovered structures presents the evidence of the state of the building and administrative organisation, during the reign of King David and his central authority in Judah. The results of seven year long, excavation will also help the researchers in developing an understanding of the origins of the Kingdom of Judah. As per the archeologists, there exists the probability that the site (named Khirbet Qeiyafa) was destroyed in the battle against the Philistines in 980 BC.

 

JUDICIAL COMMISSION ON AFSPA HIGHLIGHTED MISUSE OF THE ACT

The Judicial Commission on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) appointed by the Supreme Court of India submitted a 100 page report to the Court in the third week of July 2013. The report has highlighted the rampant misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur. The judicial commission also noted that the Act has failed in tackling the insurgencies and the armed forces were indulged in gross violation of Human Rights. The Commission in its findings has also noted that the Act was abused widely and several encounters under the blanket of the Act, carried out in the North-Eastern states, were fake. The report submitted by the commission also mentioned that the activities of the forces appear as if they believed a priori that the suspects involved in the encounters had to be eliminated and the forces acted accordingly. The Commission investigated on six sample cases of encounters and didn’t found them genuine and maximum force was used to kill people. The commission in its findings stated that the Act provided sweeping powers to the security forces even to the extent of killing the suspected person with protection against prosecution but the Act failed to provide protection to the citizens against the possible misuse. The commission also noted that in general cases, the greater the power, the greater the restraint and stricter the mechanism to prevent its misuse or abuse. But in case of the AFSPA in Manipur this principle appears to have been reversed. The Judicial Commission on AFSPA was headed by Santosh Hegde the former Judge of Supreme Court and included J.M. Lyngdoh former Chief of Election Commission and A.K. Singh, retired IPS officer as its members. The commission was formed by the Supreme Court to probe into the alleged cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur after receiving complaints related to 1500 fake encounter deaths that occurred in Manipur in last 10 years in September 2012. The Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families’ Association (EEVFAM) along with Human Rights Alert (HRA) demanded investigations into the deaths. Earlier, the Justice Verma Committee that filed its report with the measures to curb sexual violence also highlighted the misuse of AFSPA by army personnel. The Verma committee suggested bringing in the sexual violence against women by armed forces or uniformed personnel into the range of Ordinary Criminal Law.

Comment: The report from the Judicial Commission headed by Santosh Hegde has been submitted at the time, when the demand for removal of AFSPA is at its height across all the states (Jammu and Kashmir and North-eastern States), where the law is in existence.

 

STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE FINALISED GST REPORT

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on 20 July 2013 finalised its GST (Goods and Services Tax) report. The report would be tabled in the parliament during its Monsoon season that is scheduled to begin from 5 August 2013. The GST Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2010 and since then was being examined by the Standing Committee on Finance. The proposed GST aims towards bringing in a common tax regime for goods and services by including most of the indirect taxes and would be beneficial in increasing the revenue collection. Earlier, several deadlines were missed-out by the standing committee in submission of the report due to the differences between the central and the state governments. The governments at the two levels had issues of central sales tax, compensation to states and design of GST structure.

About Parliamentary Committee And Its Types

Parliamentary Committee means a Committee, which is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker and which works under the direction of the Speaker and presents its report to the House or to the Speaker and the Secretariat for which is provided by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. By their nature, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Standing Committees and Ad hoc Committees. Standing Committees are permanent and regular committees which are constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The work of these Committees is of continuous nature. The Financial Committees, DRSCs and some other Committees come under the category of Standing Committees. Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal Ad hoc Committees are the Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Railway Convention Committee, Joint Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex etc also comes under the category of ad hoc Committees.

 

NEUROTRAUMA CONFERENCE 2013 TO BE HELD IN ASSAM

The 22nd Annual Conference of the Neurotrauma Society of India is to be held in Guwahati, Assam from 23 to 25 August 2013. About twelve International neuroscientists and twenty national faculties would be participating in this event. This is the first conference being organized in the North Eastern states of the country. The conference will help to create awareness about the Neurotrauma.

What Is NEUROTRAUMA?

Neurotrauma refers to injury to a nerve, especially part of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

Neurotrauma describes two complex conditions:

a) Acquired brain injury: Acquired brain injury can lead to problems related to communication with others

b) Spinal cord injury: Spinal cord injury can lead to permanent paralysis and the inability to work

 

INDIA LAUNCHED ITS FIRST NAVIGATIONAL SATELLITE IRNSS-1A

India on 1 July 2013 successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite, IRNSS-1A using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C22. IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System)-1A was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Research Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. After a flight of 20 minutes 17 seconds, the IRNSS-1A Satellite, weighing 1425 kg, was injected to the intended elliptical orbit of 282.46 km X 20,625.37 km at 00:01 hours. This was the first launch operation conducted by ISRO in night. IRNSS-1A was launched on 1 July 2013 at 23:41 pm IST and was placed in the orbit on 2 July 2013 at 00:01 minutes and 17 seconds after a flight of 20 minutes 17 seconds. The important flight events are stage and strap-on ignitions, heat-shield separation, stage and strap-on separations and satellite injection took place exactly as planned. The XL configuration of PSLV was used for the mission. Previously, the same configuration of the vehicle was used thrice to launch Chandrayaan-1, GSAT-12 and RISAT-1 satellites. This was the 23rd Successive flight of PSLV.

With this launch, India has stepped into the new era of its space applications. The data collected by the satellite would help the country in a series of fields like disaster management, fleet management, vehicle tracking and marine navigation.

About The Satellite

IRNSS-1A is the first of the seven satellites constituting the space segment of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. The entire IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed by 2015-16.

IRNSS-1A is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.

IRNSS-IA is among the first seven satellites that constitutes the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) Space Segment. The mission has a life of 10 years.

The satellite was launched into the satellite was placed satellite in its Geosynchronous Circular Orbit at 55 deg East longitude.

The navigational payload of the IRNSS-1A will transmit the service signals of navigation to users with its operations in L5 of 1176.45 MHz and S Band of 2492.028 MHz. The Rubidium atomic clock and the ranging payload of the C Band transponder would facilitate accurate determination of the range of IRNSS

IRNSS satellites are designed on the lines of Global Positioning System (GPS) of United States', Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) of Russia, BeiDou satellite navigation system of China, Galileo (GNSS) of European Union's and the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System.

Features Of Navigation System

The navigation system would provide two types of services to India and they are Standard Positioning Service and Restricted Service. Standard positioning services will be available to all users, whereas the restricted version is an encrypted service that would be made available to authorized users only.

IRNSS APPLICATIONS

Mapping and geodetic data capture with precise timing

Visual and voice navigation for drivers,

Integration with mobile phones and terrestrial

Aerial and marine navigation,

Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers

India aims to place the seven-satellites of the IRNSS space segment in orbit by end of 2014 with a position accuracy of 20 meters in the primary service area at an investment of 1420 crore rupees. Apart from this, Dr. Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of ISRO on the day of launch of IRNSS-1A announced that India will step into the its first Mars mission by November 2013.

History Of Space Journey Of India

The Space Journey of India was started with the launch of Aryabhatta in 1975 using a Russian rocket. Till date, India has successfully completed its 100 space missions. The PSLV C 25 that will carry the mars orbiter would be launched any day after 21 October 2013.

 

ANGELINA JOLIE IS THE HIGHEST PAID ACTRESS OF HOLLYWOOD

The Forbes, which released its list on 30 July 2013, declared that Angelina Jolie was the Hollywood’s highest paid actress. She had the estimated earnings of 33 million US dollar. She defeated Jennifer Lawrence, the 2013 Best Actress Oscar winner, who had the estimated earnings of 26 million US dollar. Angelina Jolie also defeated Kristen Stewart in the list. Kristen Stewart had the earnings of 22 million US dollar. Angelina Jolie rose from the third place on the list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses. At the fourth position was Jennifer Aniston who had the earnings of 20 million US dollar. At the fifth position was Emma Stone with the earnings of 16 million US dollar. In order to compile the rankings for the Hollywood’s highest paid actress, Forbes held talks with managers, agents as well as professionals associated with the film industry. The rankings were based on the earnings from June 2012 to June 2013.

TOP 10 HOLLYWOOD’S HIGHEST PAID ACTRESS

Name of the Actress

Estimated Earnings

Angelina Jolie

$33m

Jennifer Lawrence

$26m

Kristen Stewart

$22m

Jennifer Aniston

$20m

Emma Stone

$16m

Charlize Theron

$15m

Sandra Bullock

$14m

Natalie Portman

$14m

Mila Kunis

$11m

Julia Roberts

$11m

 

 

ONE LINERS

  1. 1. The Person who succeeded Ranjan Mathai to be the next Foreign Secretary of India by Manmohan Singh                                     Sujata Singh
  2. 2. The vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University who on 1 July 2013 appointed as the 20th Lt Governor of Delhi           Najeeb Jung
  3. 3. The Person who on 2 July 2013 has been appointed as Director General of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)                               Sunil Soni
  4. 4. The first ever Indian woman to receive Dubai Government's coveted Emirates Woman Award for business excellence in June         2013- Vandana Gandhi
  5. 5. The U.S. inventor who was known as the father of the computer mouse who died on 3 July 2013 at age of 88- Douglas Engelbart
  6. 6. The Egyptian Leader who sworn in as interim president of Egypt till the next elections takes place succeeding Mohamed Morsi, who was removed after a military coup- Adli Mansour
  7. 7. Renowned Madhubani painting artist who died at a private hospital in Ranti, near Madhubani on 4 July 2013- Mahasundari Devi
  8. 8. The former Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), who was appointed as the President of NASSCOM on 5 July 2013- R. Chandrasekhar
  9. 9. The Bollywood actress who on 6 July 2013 got the Best Actress award at 14th IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) awards 2013 held in Macau- Vidya Balan
  10. 10. Leading liberal opposition leader who on 6 July 2013 was named as Egypt's new Prime Minister- Mohamed ElBaradei
  11. 11. Senior parliamentarian who on 4 July 2013 was appointed as the new governor of Sikkim- Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil
  12. 12. Former Delhi police Chief, who on 8 July 2013 took over as the new Governor of Meghalaya- KK Paul
  13. 13. An acknowledged food scientist and the former Director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) who died on 9 July 2013- Dr. H.A.B. Parpia
  14. 14. The Person who on 8 July 2013 took over as the new Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands- Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh
  15. 15. The Theme of world Population day observed across the World on 11 July 2013- Focus is on Adolescent Pregnancy
  16. 16. Indian Parsi conductor of western classical music who was selected to be honoured with Tagore Award 2013- Zubin Mehta
  17. 17. The legendary actor and the proud recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award and Padma Bhushan Award who died on 12 July 2013- Pran
  18. 18. The Person who on 16 July 2013 was appointed as the next Commissioner of Delhi Police and will be succeeding Neeraj Kumar- Bhim Sain Bassi
  19. 19. The Person who was administered the oath of the office of Chief Justice of India (CJI) by he President of India on 19 July 2013-Justice Palanisamy Sathasivam
  20. 20. The Chief Justice of India who on 18 July 2013 retired from the office after a short term of just nine months- Justice Altamas Kabir
  21. 21. The day which was observed as Nelson Mandela International Day to inspire people to be an agent of change- 18 July 2013
  22. 22. 82 Years old Veteran Tamil film lyricist who died at a private hospital in Chennai on 18 July 2013- Vaali
  23. 23. An Indian-American woman was nominated for the Post of Assistant Secretary of State of USA- Nisha Desai Biswal
  24. 24. South Korean city which was named as the World Book Capital for the year 2015 as per UNESCO announcement- Incheon
  25. 25. Former Kuttanad MLA and Chairman of the Kerala State Farming Corporation, who died at a hospital in Kochi- Prof. Oommen Mathew
  26. 26. The Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir who on 21 July 2013 appointed as the new Chairman of GST Panel- Abdul Rahim Rather
  27. 27. The Chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett, India who was re-elected as the President of Advertising Agencies Association of India-Arvind Sharma
  28. 28. Renowned south India yesteryear actor, who died in Chennai at the age of 59 on 23 July 2013 followed a brief illness- Manjula Vijayakumar
  29. 29. The Duchess of Cambridge, who gave birth to a baby boy on 22 July 2013 at the London hospital- Kate Middleton
  30. 30. Indian American author who novel The Lowland has been listed among 13 novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013- Jhumpa Lahiri
  31. 31. The cousin of Rajiv Gandhi as well as the Minister for Internal Security during his government, who died in Gurgaon on 25 July 2013- Arun Nehru
  32. 32. The famous Indian Port which was conferred with the Major Port of the Year award for its excellent performance in the year 2012-13- Paradip Port
  33. 33. The Bollywood actor who held the Guinness World Record for being the most type-cast actor, died on 28 July 2013 at the age of 85 years- Jagdish Raj
  34. 34. Sarod maestro who was chosen for the 21st Rajiv Gandhi National Sadhbhavna Award- Amjad Ali Khan
  35. 35. The former Indian Test umpire who passed away on 29 July 2013 at a private hospital in Karnataka. He was 83 years of age- SN Hanumantha Rao

 

 

 

DO YOU KNOW

The National Capital Region (NCR) will now cover 13 districts of Haryana with the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) approving the inclusion of Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Jind and Karnal districts, besides Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.


Asia’s first engineering college for the blind is proposed to be set up near Hyderabad. The novel initiative has been undertaken by Devnar Foundation for the Blind, with help from professors from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani.


The Central government has approved a grant of Rs 50 crore for setting up a Science City in Guwahati, Assam.


New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has been ranked first in the International Centre for Climate Governance global ratings for the most influential institutions working in the field of climate change, economics and policy.


On 15 July 2013, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to curb the rupee’s decline, raised the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and Bank Rate each by 200 basis points to 10.25 percent, capped the amount up to which banks can borrow or lend under its daily liquidity window and announced a sale of government securities through an open market operation. The RBI said total funds available under its repo window will be capped at 1 percent of banks’ deposits – roughly 750 billion rupees – from 17 July. It also announced a 120 billion rupee sale of government bonds.


The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has regained its position as the world’s largest bourse in terms of volumes in equity trades, according to the latest data by World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).


The good
old Ambassador car, which once ruled the roost in India, has been voted as the world’s best taxi by the global automotive programme of BBC, Top Gear. The Hindustan Ambassador started life in Britain as the Morris Oxford but, with a quick name change, it went on to become one of India’s most enduring vehicles. In 1948, CK Birla Group firm Hindustan Motors Ltd began the production of the Ambassador at Uttarpara in Hooghly district, West Bengal. Till the arrival of the Maruti in the early 80s, the Ambassador was the status symbol in India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 23 August 2013 05:18
 

Comments   

 
+1 #1 Mininder. 2013-10-07 07:04
:eek:I was missing so much.Brilliat information from all walks of life.whoever is regular in reading can definately win "Kon Banega Crorepati".
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