Current Affairs Global - 31 October 2013

1. Russian President Vladimir Putin has now overtaken Barack Obama to the title of the world's most powerful leader as ranked by Forbes yesterday as he successfully managed to put US threat of an attack on Syria at bay. It was the first time in three years that the US president has dropped to second place on the magazine's list. Third rank went to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to rule for a decade in which China is set to eclipse the US as the world's largest economy.

2. Norway continues to be on the top in the 'Prosperity Index' ranking of 142 countries compiled by London-based Legatum Institute. At the top of the index, Norway defended its No 1 position for the fifth year. Switzerland is at second place, followed by Canada (third), Sweden (fourth) and New Zealand (fifth)

3. The Federal Reserve announced that it will continue with its USD 85 billion monthly purchases of Government-backed bonds yesterday till US economic growth improves steadily. It will wait for more evidence that US economic growth progress is sustained before withdrawing its famous stimulus program, also known as Quantitative Easing 3.

4. Eurozone inflation in October dropped to 0.7% due to steep fall in energy prices, its lowest since February 2010. The lower inflation data increases pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to cut interest rates further. Core inflation, which does not include energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, also fell from an annual rate of 1.4% to 1.1%. At same time, the jobless rate in the 17 euro-using countries was unchanged from August's figure, although that month's rate was revised up to 12.2%.