January 2014 Current Affairs List

1-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 1 January 2014


1. Latvia has formally joined the euro zone with new year, becoming the 18th member of the group of EU states which uses the euro as its currency. Latvia recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU's fastest-growing economy as well. This step will improve Latvia's credit rating and attract foreign investors.


Current Affairs India - 1 January 2014


1. Air Marshal Arup Raha took over as the Air Force chief today. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne. Earlier he had held various command, staff and instructional appointments in his 39-year-old career.


2. Market regulator SEBI has approved the appointment of Saurabh Sarkar as the new MD and CEO of MCX-SX. He now heads the United Stock Exchange (USE), is likely to take charge in February. The appointment of Sarkar comes at a crucial time for MCX-SX, which is seeing a churn in the top management, with the promoter Jigneesh Shah and Joseph Massey stepping down from the board after the Rs 5,600-crore NSEL payment crisis.


3. Chief Scientist & Head of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, B. Mahipal Reddy was honoured with the Best Scientist Award of Science-Tech Foundation (STF), Bangalore for the year 2013. He has been selected for his efforts which resulted in the development of novel catalysts for air pollution control, bio-mass conversion to value-added products, synthesis of fine chemicals and solar fuels, and the conversion of greenhouse gases to useful chemicals.


4. Indian government has cancelled a USD 753 million helicopter deal with Italian defence giant Finmeccanica after allegations of corruption. The contract was for 12 luxury helicopters to transport VIPs. The deal was scrapped because an integrity pact had been breached by the firm's Anglo-Italian helicopter arm AgustaWestland.


 


 


2-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 2 January 2014


1. The latest Markit/CIPS compiled UK-s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 57.3 in December compared to 3-year high PMI reading of 58.1 in November. Any reading higher than 50 indicates growth for the particular sector while reading of 57.3 indicates strong growth in the sector. This data confirms strong growth for UK manufacturing sector.


2. Ronaldinho has been chosen for the South American footballer of the year in the annual poll conducted by the Uruguayan daily El Pais last week. He was a key member of the Brazilian team that won the 2002 World Cup. He also won FIFA World player of the year in 2004 and he won Europe-s Ballon d-Or in 2005.


Current Affairs India - 2 January 2014


1. Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party government won the trust vote in the 70 member Delhi Assembly today when its confidence motion sailed through easily with the backing of the members of Congress, JD(U) and an independent. 28 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party-AAP along with seven of Congress, a lone JD(U)member and an independent stood in support of the government. 31 members of BJP and one member of its ally Akali Dal stood against it. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will take stringent action against anyone corrupt whether in the previous Congress government, MCDs controlled by the BJP and his government.


2. Former Infosys CFO and Board Member V Balakrishnan, who stepped down as Board member of software behemoth Infosys last month has joined the Aam Admi Party. He told that AAP is the best ever start up launched by an IITan and he wants to be part of this. He joined Infosys in 1991 and later became its chief financial officer. He was also considered be a top contender to the post of Chief Executive Officer.


3. Canara Bank has launched skill development program named as -Udaan- for youths in Jammu and Kashmir in co-ordination with NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) and the Government of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). This was launched as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) which was mandated by the recent companies bill. Unemployed residents of Jammu and Kashmir, who have done graduation or above, are being covered under this scheme and nearly 300 candidates have been short-listed for skill development training.


4. P. Madhusudan took charge as the new Chairman and Managing Director of PSU Company Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL). He succeeded A.P Choudhury whi retired from the post on 31st December 2014.He will hold the new post for the next five years, as the company plans to increase its capacity to reach to 11-12 mtpa and become a -maharatna-.


5. S.K. Sharma took charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of defence public sector Bharat Electronics Ltd. He joined BEL in 1978 after graduating from the University College of Engineering, Bangalore. He has wide experience in multiple disciplines covering Electronic Warfare, Avionics, Network Centric Systems, Radars and Components at BEL.


6. The HSBC compiled Purchasing Manager-s Index (PMI), an important parameter to measure the performance of the manufacturing activity, dropped 50.7 in December compared to 51.3 in November due to slower growth in output and new. Any reading higher than 50 indicates growth for the sector. This data confirms steady but slow growth for India-s manufacturing sector.


7. Defending Champions India will face Pakistan in the final of the Under-19 Asia Cup cricket championship after defeating Sri Lanka in a thrilling semifinal match in Dubai today. In the other Semifinal in Sharjah, Pakistan beat Afghanistan to reach in last two.


 


 


3-Jan


India-s Core industries output growth stood at 1.7% in November


India-s core sector output, consisting of eight key sectors, grew by 1.7% in November compared to 5.8% growth in the same month last year. November growth came as only 1.7% due to contraction in natural gas and refinery products output. But it was much better than 0.6% contraction in the previous month of October. The eight core industries have a weightage of about 38% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and IIP growth for November is expected to be low as well due to dismal core sector growth.


In April-November period of current financial year, the core industries- output grew 2.5%, lower than 6.7% growth recorded in same period last fiscal.


Current Affairs India - 3 January 2014


1. Aam Admi Party MLA, M S Dhir has been elected as Speaker of Delhi Assembly. Pro-tem Speaker Mateen Ahmad announced this in the House after voice vote. He defeated his BJP rival Jagdish Mukhi after getting 37 votes compared to 32 votes in against.


2. West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman Justice A.K. Ganguly resigned from the post of honorary professor of the National University of Juridical Sciences today after allegations of sexual harassment against him. The Union Cabinet has also approved a proposal for sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court for a probe into the allegation of sexual misconduct which will also initiate the process for removal of Justice Ganguly as WBHRC chairman.


3. Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) has appointed Manoj Vaish  as its new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He is currently the Managing Director of NSDL Database Management. He was earlier an Executive Director of the BSE between 1998 and 2004 and CEO of financial services research firm Dun & Bradstreet.


4. Bharti Retail has appointed former head of Walmart India Raj Jain as its Chief Executive Officer and Pankaj Madan as Chief Financial Officer. Raj Jain will report to Bharti Enterprises Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Rajan Bharti Mittal.


 


4-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 4 January 2014


1. -World Braille Day- is celebrated today (4th January) across the world to observe the Birthday of Louis Braille. Louis Braille, born in 1809, was the inventor of braille, a system of reading and writing used by people who are blind or visually impaired. Braille became blind after an accident at the age of three. He created a language based on the patterns of raised dots on paper, which could be felt and one can read anything that is unable to see. He did this to have an access to works of literature.


Current Affairs India - 4 January 2014


1. Aam Aadmi Party has announced today that it would fight coming Lok Sabha elections in as many states as possible. Senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan said the party will decide about the seats and candidates for the upcoming elections within one month. Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal today said that he will not contest Lok Sabha elections.


2. India-s largest software services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced to set up the world's largest corporate learning and development centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The corporate learning centre will have a total capacity to train 50,000 professionals every year.


3. B. G. Srinivas and U.B. Pravin Rao have been appointed as presidents of the Infosys Ltd Company yesterday. B. G. Srinivas will focus on global markets while U. B. Pravin Rao will focus on global delivery and service innovation and they will report to CEO Shibulal. Also Infosys has announced that Executive Council will cease to exist from 1st April 2014.


4. India have retained the Under-19 Asia Cup Cricket title after defeating arch rival Pakistan by 40 runs in the final match at Sharjah today. While batting first Indian team set to score 315 runs for a win, Pakistan managed to score only 274 for nine in 50 overs. Indian skipper VH Zol and star batsman Sanju Samson made centuries for the winning team.


 


5-Jan


 


6-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 6 January 2014


1. Bangladesh-s- ruling party Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won the recent election held yesterday. It has secured over three-fourth majority in elections marked by low turnout and poll boycott by the opposition parties. Awami League candidates won in 107 seats out of 147 for which voting took place yesterday.  With win in 127 seats uncontested, the party has now clear three-fourth majority in Parliament.


2. Portugal-s legendary football player Eusebio da Silva Ferreira passed away yesterday due to heart attack. He played for Portugal and he was Africa's first international football star. Eusebio won 64 caps for Portugal including the European Cup in 1962 and he was also termed as the European footballer of the year and won Golden Ball for the best European player in 1965.


3. Australia sealed a 5-0 Ashes series sweep with five dominant victories on home soil yesterday after completing a 281 run victory against England in the fifth and final test held at Sydney. It is only the third 5-0 sweep in the long history of Ashes series.


Current Affairs India - 6 January 2014


1. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched its heavy-duty rocket GSLV-D5 for placing communication satellite GSAT-14 into the orbit. The rocket GSLV-D5 lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 4:18 India time. It was powered by an indigenously developed cryogenic engine. This successful launch helped India to join the groups of nations including US, Russia, France, China and Japan in mastering the complex cryogenic technology.


2. Former Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly has resigned as chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission and submitted his resignation to the West Bengal governor. He faces charges of sexually harassing a law intern. Recently the Union Cabinet approving a proposal for sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court on the issue, which was seen as a step towards his removal as WBHRC chairman. After that he took the final decision to resign.


3. India-s gross direct tax collections were increased by 12.33% to Rs 4.81 lakh crore during the first nine months of the current financial year 2013-14. Direct tax collections stood at Rs 4.29 lakh crore during the same period last year. Net direct tax collections rose 12.53% to Rs 4.15 lakh crore compared to Rs 3.69 lakh crore in the year-ago period. The Government had set a direct tax collection target of over Rs 6.68 lakh crore for 2013-14 which looks difficult at this stage.


4. Business activity in the private sector continues to contract. The HSBC India Composite output index dropped to 48.1 in December compared to 48.5 in November. This index is a combination of manufacturing and services sector data based on surveys of purchasing managers. Any reading lower than 50 indicates contraction in the sector. Services out dropped significantly in December, sixth consecutive monthly drop. Service sector has more than 60% in overall economic activity and it will surely affect the GDP growth for the current quarter.


5. R. Chandrashekhar has been appointed as President of National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) on 4 January 2014. He succeeded Som Mittal whose tenure with the NASSCOM ended on 3 January 2014 after serving as NASSCOM President for 6 years. His immediate challenge would be to achieve NASSCOM-s ambitious target of USD 300 billion revenue by 2020 from the IT sector.


6. India's Mahesh Mangaonkar has won the Open du Gard squash title, the PSA Challenger 5 event. He defeated top-seeded Scot Greg Lobban in the final at Nimes, France, and claimed the first Tour title of the New Year. The win which is his third on the PSA Tour, also set up a nine-match winning streak for the Indian - the longest of his career.


7. India-s Young shuttler Aditya Joshi has become the first male junior badminton player from India to be ranked top in the world. He, at 17, recently got the number one slot in the January rankings of the World Badminton Federation (WBF).


Aditya was the national champion in 2013 and had won two gold medals in Junior International tournament held at Pune and silver in the Senior National championship while his age corresponds to junior category. Aditya was at the 11th position till November, but he managed to jump ahead of all the players by achieving 18,776 points.


 


 


7-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 7 January 2014


1. The US Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the head of the Federal Reserve, making her the first woman to lead the world-s most powerful central bank in its 100-year history through voting today. She got 56 votes in favor compared to 26 against. She is expected to be sworn in on February 1 and she will replace Ben Bernanke as the Chair of the Federal Reserve. This is undoubtedly the most powerful position for financial and capital markets worldwide. Ben Bernanke is stepping down after serving as the Chairman of Federal Bank for more than eight years which faced one of the biggest recession in Financial history.


2. The eurozone's inflation rate dropped to 0.8% in December compared 0.9% in November which is much lower than the European Central Bank's (ECB) target of 2%. The ECB cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.25% in November last year due to softening of Inflation number.


Current Affairs India - 7 January 2014


1. India has successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile today, which has a strike range of 350 km and is capable of carrying warheads of up to 1000 kg. The launch was part of a user trial by the Army. Inducted into India-s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in 2003, Prithvi-II is the first missile to be developed by DRDO under India-s prestigious IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme).


2. The Central government is set to create an Equal Opportunity Commission as recommended by the Sachar Committee, Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan said today. The Equal Opportunity Commission draft was with the Union Cabinet and it would be made into a law soon. He also said the Jain community will be added to the list of national minority communities. He said that, any member of any minority community who felt discriminated against could complain to the Equal Opportunity Commission.


3. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 was kicked off in New Delhi today with focus on engagement with the youth and discussions on healthcare. This year-s theme is -Engaging Diaspora: Connecting Across Generations- and this is the first time that the Youth PBD is being held on the first day of the event. Making a strong pitch for greater connectivity with diaspora youth, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Tuesday said partnerships between young Indians in the country and those residing overseas in industry and social sectors would create jobs and bring prosperity.


4. The Centre will soon appoint Justice B.S. Chauhan, a Judge of the Supreme Court, as Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal to take up pending applications. The tribunal has been without Chairman since April 2012, when Justice N.P. Singh resigned on health grounds. The tribunal gave its final award on February 5, 2007. Thereafter, the Tamil Nadu government filed applications for certain clarification on the award and sought some directions. Petitions filed by the party States and the Centre under Section 5(3) of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, seeking an explanation or guidance, have been pending before the tribunal since 2007.


5. An RBI panel has suggested setting up of specialised banks to cater to low income households to ensure that all citizens have bank accounts by 2016 today which will pave way for significant changes in Indian banking structures. It also suggested that facility for withdrawal, payment and deposit should be set up within a 15-minutes walking distance anywhere in the country. The panel, headed ex-ICICI Bank executive director Nachiket Mor, was set up by Raghuram Rajan on the day of taking over as the RBI Governor, to suggest steps for promoting financial inclusion.


The panel suggested setting up of -Payments Banks- to -provide payment services and deposit products to small businesses and low-income households- with a maximum balance of Rs 50,000 per customer. These banks can be set up with minimum capital requirement of Rs 50 crore, one-tenth of the Rs 500 crore required for full-service bank. It also suggested that Aadhaar card should be used automatically opening a bank account.


6. Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Ltd has appointed Munish Sharda as the new Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer. He has nearly two decades of experience primarily in the financial services sector. Earlier, he was Director of Sales & Distribution in Aviva Life and was also with Citibank India.


 


8-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 8 January 2014


1. Global investment bank and largest US bank by assets, JPMorgan Chase will pay a USD 1.7-billion fine for failing to report suspicious activities by Bernard Madoff, a jailed investor whose financial scheme eventually cost his clients billions of dollars. Under the terms of the deal, the US bank will pay the fine to victims of Madoff-s fraud and admit to its conduct, according to a statement by federal prosecutors. In addition, the bank separately agreed to pay USD 543 million to deal with private claims.


2. The euro zone's unemployment rate remained stable at 12.1% in November. With this, the euro zone jobless rate has now been unchanged at its current record level for eight consecutive months now. Greece has the highest unemployment rate of 27.4% followed by Spain at 26.7%. Austria has the lowest unemployment rate of 4.8% followed by 5.2% in Germany.


Current Affairs India - 8 January 2014


1. Delhi Government has launched an anti-corruption helpline to deal with complaints of graft related cases in the national capital. Launching the Helpline 011-27357169, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the number will be functional from 8 in the morning to 10 in the night on all days. He also said, the sting operation will be used by the Anti-Corruption department of Delhi Government as an evidence to initiate actions against the corrupt official.


2. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office at Kaushambi in Ghaziabad was attacked by some unidentified miscreants today. They were protesting against AAP leader Prashant Bhushan's remarks on Jammu and Kashmir as he had recently advocated for the lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir. As per Party sources, a group of 50 to 60 people, believed to be members of a right-wing group, vandalized the office around 11 AM.


3. The Telenor Group has nominated Morten Karlsen Sorby as the new Chief Executive Officer of Uninor with immediate effect. He replaces Sigve Brekke who has served as interim CEO of Uninor since early November last year. Morten Karlsen Søoby joined Telenor in 1993 and has been a member of the Group-s executive management team since 2003.


 


 


9-Jan


Current Affairs India - 9 January 2014


1. India has been ranked 23rd out of 25 countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials, as per the 2014 Nuclear Threat Initiative-s Nuclear Materials Security Index released yesterday. India received 41 out of 100 points, which is improvement by one point from the 2012 score. With this ranking, India has been ranked below its two nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistan and China as China was ranked at 20th place with 64 points and Pakistan was ranked at 22nd place with 46 points. For comparison, India and these countries are included in the list of 25 countries with one kilogram or more of these materials, which also includes all other nuclear-armed states.


In comparing both countries, India scored higher than China on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 related to nuclear security issues. China scored higher in a number of areas, including: the existence of an independent regulatory agency; having invited a peer review of its nuclear security arrangements; and having strong regulations for control and accounting of materials.


2. The high-level Vijay Kelkar Committee has favoured the current production sharing regime for high-risk deep sea oil and gas exploration over the revenue-sharing model that is being considered for the next round of auction in its two-part report on a road map to enhance domestic oil and gas output to Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily this week. While the first part of the report deals with -Quick Fixes- such as shifting to an open acreage regime, setting up a data repository, administering signed contracts and strengthening the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the second part covers pricing and taxation. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had earlier criticised this approach on grounds that it encourages companies to increase capital expenditure and delay the government-s share.


3. Union Cabinet has approved the new National Youth Policy-2014 to empower the youth across the country to use their full potential. The new Policy focuses on developing the youth into a productive work force, by providing them the right education and skills and promoting entrepreneurship.


Cabinet also approved comprehensive regulatory framework in the form of guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India. These guidelines cover detailed procedures for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, terms and conditions of registration, cross-holdings and methodology for audience measurement. He said it also covers a complaint redressal mechanism, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines.


4. Former BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa, whose tenure as Chief Minister was marked by charges of corruption and nepotism, rejoined BJP merging his Karnataka Janata Paksha with it today, a year after his exit from the parent party. It will boost BJP-s confidence before the Lok Sabha election this year as the party seeks to revive its fortunes in Lok Sabha polls with his pan state image combined with his appeal as Lingayat strongman. Earlier, Indicted by Lokayukta over illegal mining issue, BJP top brass had forced a reluctant Yeddyurappa to quit as Chief Minister in July 2011.


5. In a significant breather for non-banking finance companies, especially gold loan companies, the Reserve Bank of India has allowed them to give higher amount of loan against gold jewellery pledged by borrowers with immediate effect. As per latest RBI guidelines, NBFCs can now give up to 75% of the value of the gold jewellery pledged as loan compared to earlier 60%.  In March 2012, the RBI had directed NBFCs not to give more than 60% of the value of gold jewellery pledged in view of the rapid pace of their business growth and the nature of their business model, which has inherent concentration risk and is exposed to adverse movement of gold prices.


6. The Chennai-based poet and activist Meena Kandasamy won the Mayilamma Award named after the `Plachimada Heroine- who had campaigned against the Coca-Cola company at Kerala-s Plachimada village. Meena won the award for her social activism and efforts for the empowerment of women. The Rs. 15,555-award, set up by the Mayillamma Foundation, will be presented in March at a ceremony at Palakkad.


Mayilamma, a former worker at the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Ltd bottling plant at Plachimada, found that the company had caused the drying up of 64 open wells and caused the contamination of the ground water in the area. She founded the Plachimada Anti-Coca Cola Struggle Committee that campaigned for several years and sat in dharna near the plant for more than three years to get the factory shut down.


7. Annual car sales in India declined for the first time in 11 years in 2013, after posting a 9.59% drop, as the auto industry continues to face lower demand due to the economic slowdown, higher interest and higher fuel prices, as per the Industry body the Society of Indian Automobile Industry (SIAM). Domestic car sales last year dropped to 18,07,011 units in 2013 from 19,98,703 units in the previous year.


8. Global social networking giant Facebook acquired India-based Little Eye Labs, a startup that builds performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile Android apps, for nearly USD 15 million. This is Facebook-s first ever India-based acquisition. The Bangalore based startup company, Little Eye Labs, was co- founded by a group of experts who call themselves "ions" in 2012. As part of the Facebook acquisition, Little Eye Labs will relocate to Menlo Park, California, the home of Facebook's headquarters. The Little Eye Labs technology will help Facebook to continue improving our Android codebase to make more efficient, higher-performing apps.


 


10-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 10 January 2014


1. The US unemployment rate dropped to a five year low of 6.7% in December compared to unemployment rate of 7% in November as firms created 74,000 new jobs. The number of jobs created was the lowest for three years and was well under half the number expected by analysts mainly because of the bad weather faced by the USA in December. This data confirms strong recovery in the USA job market.


2. China-s annual trade surplus jumped by nearly 13% in 2013 compared to previous year to USD 260 billion as export growth continued to outpace import growth. Exports were increased by 7.9% to USD 2.21 trillion and imports jumped by 7.3% to USD 1.95 trillion in 2013. With this, total trade value of USD 4.16 trillion overtook total trade volume of USA for the first time.


3. The European Central Bank (ECB) has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.25% as it wants to keep interest rate at record low for an extended period of time to boost economic and industrial growth. Also euro zone inflation dropped to lower than 1% level which gave more room to ECB to continue with record low interest rate.


Current Affairs India - 10 January 2014


1. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has launched a country wide drive to enroll one crore members by January 26 today in order to get more active support before Lok Sabha poll later this year. Announcing the -Main Bhi Aam Aadmi- campaign at a press conference here, Kejriwal said people aspiring to join the AAP across the country could SMS on a toll-free number - 07798220033- or give a missed call to that number in order to become a member.


2. Mahatma Gandhi's grand-daughter Ela Gandhi, Australian senator of Indian origin Lisa Maria Singh and Ramkrishna Mission in Fiji were among the 13 recipients of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award conferred in Delhi yesterday. President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the awards to the winners at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas programme. Ela Gandhi has been awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for public service, enhancing India's image and promoting ties between India and South Africa. Riyadh-based social worker Shihabudeen Kottukad was also awarded with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) for community service and promoting ties between India and Saudi Arabia.


3. Former MLA and noted freedom fighter Narayan Sahu passed away at his residence in village Angaragaon, near Khallikote in Ganjam district yesterday night. He was 90. He was a noted socialist leader was elected to the state assembly twice in 1957 and 1967 as an Independent and Sanjukta Socialist Party (SSP) candidate from Khallikote assembly constituency respectively. He was an active freedom fighter and was jailed several times while participating in the freedom struggle. He was one of the prominent figures in the Goa liberation struggle. He was honoured by the Goa government for his contribution towards the Goa freedom movement.


4. The inaugural Hockey World League Final tournament begins today at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi. The world's top seven teams including India are participating in the tournament. India was defeated by England today while playing the first match.


 


India-s export growth slows to 3.5% in December; Trade deficit stood at USD 10.14 billion


India-s exports grew at a slower pace of 3.5% to USD 26.34 billion in December 2013 compared to the same month last year while overall imports dropped by 15.25% to USD 36.48 billion in the same month.  This was largely because of continued drop in gold and silver imports which declined 68.3% to USD 1.7 billion due to various import restrictions put in place by the Indian Government. Trade deficit dropped to USD 10.14 billion in December 2013 compared to USD 17.59 billion in December 2012. It is slightly higher than November 2013 trade deficit of USD 9.22 billion.


In the first three quarters of 2013-14, exports growth stood at 5.9% to USD 230.33 billion and Imports fell by 6.55% to USD 340.37 billion. Trade deficit during the period dropped by42% to USD 110 billion which is significant to check current account deficit. Deutsche Bank said today that total current account deficit in 2013-14 could be lower than 2.8% of GDP, compared 4.8% in 2012-13. It said the latest softening of export data should not be seen as particularly worrisome, as growing global demand would push up exports soon.


IIP contracts by 2.1% in November; RBI needs to cut rates


India-s Index of Industrial Production, the most important parameter to judge performance of industrial sector contracted by 2.1% in November compared to 1.8% contraction in the previous month of October. This dismal data raises concern that the worst may not be over for the Indian economy. Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the IIP index was contracted by 3.5% in November.


For the cumulative April-November 2013 period of current financial year, IIP contracted 0.2% compared to 0.9% growth during the same period last financial year. Now RBI has to cut rates in order to boost industrial growth.


Forex Reserves decreased by USD 2.599 billion to 293.109 billion


India-s Forex reserves were decreased by USD 2.599 billion to 293.109 billion for the week ended 3rd January as per the recent weekly data released by RBI. This is the third continuous weekly decrease in forex reserves.


This decrease was mainly due to decrease in the reserve portion in the Foreign Currency Assets.  The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) was decreased by USD 1.680 billion to 266.953 billion for the same week. The SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve portion with IMF were also decreased by USD 27.8 million and USD 12.5 million respectively for the same week. Gold values were also decreased by USD 878.6 million to USD 19.724 billion for the same reporting week.


11-Jan


 


12-Jan


 


13-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 13 January 2014


1. Iran and six world powers have agreed to implement the interim nuclear deal from January 20. They have laid down concrete steps to put in place the deal aimed at placing curbs on Iran-s nuclear programme. The agreement to implement the interim nuclear deal from January 20 follows intensive talks in Geneva between negotiators from Iran, EU and US. To begin with Iran would limit its uranium enrichment to 5% which is commonly used in power reactors. It would stop producing 20% enriched uranium which is only a technical step away from weapons-grade material and neutralize its existing stockpile of 20% enriched uranium.


Iran will also grant IAEA access to its nuclear facilities and its centrifuge production lines. In exchange, economic sanctions would be partially eased for a period of six months. No fresh sanctions would be imposed on Iran during this period. The six month time frame would be utilized to work on a comprehensive nuclear deal.


2. A new government led by Sheikh Hasina has taken over in Bangladesh this weekend. President Abdul Hamid administered the oath of office to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her new Council of Ministers. This is the third time Sheikh Hasina sworn in as Prime Minister of Bangladesh.


3. 71st Golden Globe Awards were announced at Los Angeles this weekend which was organised  by Hollywood Foreign Press AssociationAmerican Hustle and 12 Years a Slave won the top awards at the event. -12 Years a slave- won the -Best Motion Picture, Drama- award and Alfonso Cuaron won the Best Director award for -Gravity- movie. Italian movie -The Great Beauty- won the award in the -Best Foreign Language Film- category.


4. Ariel Sharon, former Israeli general and prime minister who was in a coma for eight years after he had a stroke at the height of his power, passed away on Saturday. He was 85. He served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel until he was incapacitated by a stroke. He left big footprints on the region through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock, unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005.


Current Affairs India - 13 January 2014


1. India completed three years since its last case of polio was reported, a major public health success for India that until recently accounted for most of the world-s cases.In 2009, India-s 741 polio infections accounted for nearly half the world-s total. But a public immunization campaign made 2010 a turning point with only 42 cases.


The achievement was due to a massive immunization programme, which the WHO was to formally certify India polio-free on 11 February after checking the data. It is only the second time in the history that a disease is being eliminated in India through immunization after small pox in May 1980.


2. Aam Aadmi Party Government withdrew the approval given by the previous Sheila Dikshit dispensation to FDI in multi-brand retail in Delhi, its first major reversal of policy. The Delhi government has also communicated its decision to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of the Union Government.


The previous Congress government had taken a number of steps to remove bottlenecks in attracting FDI in multi-brand retail. It had even announced making amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to allow direct connectivity between retailers and farmers. As per the existing provision, farmers cannot sell their produce directly to retailers as it has to be routed through the mandis operated by APMC.


3. Retirement fund body EPFO has decided to increase the rate of interest on Provident Fund deposits to 8.75% for 2013-14 today, this will benefit about 5 crore subscribers. The Central Board of Trustees, which is the apex decision-making body of the Employees- Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), met today and approved the interest rate. The EPFO-s recommendation will be vetted by the Finance Ministry. Once the ministry approves the decision, the interest would be credited to the accounts of subscribers.


4. Uttar Pradesh-s Gorakhpur railway station-s platform number one has entered into the Limca Book of Records as longest rail platform in the world. The platform-s length is 1355.40 meters and was inaugurated in 6 October 2013. It broke the earlier record held by Kharagpur railway station of West Bengal which held the record of having the world-s largest platform with length of 1072.5 meters.


5. POSCO, the South Korean steel maker giant has received environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for a steel plant of Rs 52000 crore in Odisha with an annual production capacity of 12 million tones. The project was in the pipeline for clearance for past eight years and this approval will pave way for the largest FDI investment ever in the country. Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha has also cleared the proposal of granting of Prospecting Licence (PL) over Khandadhar mines for the mega steel project near Paradip.


6. P.K.Goyal, Director of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was awarded the Best CFO Award yesterday. The award was conferred by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The award recognizes chartered accountants who have demonstrated excellence and have created value for their company-s stakeholders on a sustainable basis and are exemplary role model.


7. Veteran South Indian film actress Anjali Devi passed away in Chennai today. She was 85. She had starred in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada movies. She was best known for playing mythological characters like Sita in Lava Kusha, the first Telugu film in colour. Anjali Devi was married to music director P Adinarayana Rao and the couple has two sons.


8. Famous Social activist IIa Pathak passed away due to prolonged illness in Ahmedabad on 9 January 2014. She was the founder of Ahmedabad Women-s Action Group (AWAG). She was the president of India Chapter of Women-s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and served as professor in H K Arts College. She was also the vice-President of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and she played a key role in movement for justice to the victims of 2002 riots of Gujarat.


9. Youngsters Sanil Shetty and Ankita Das won the men's and women's singles champion respectively at the 75th Senior National Table Tennis Championships in Patna on 12th January. Sanil Shetty defeated his PSPB team mate Harmeet Desai by 4-2 and Ankita Das, also of PSPB, defeated AAI's Krittwika Sinha Roy by 4-0 to win the respective titles respectively.


India-s retail inflation eased to three month low 9.87% in December


India-s Retail inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index, eased to 9.87% in December compared to 11.74% in November due to some softening of food price rise. This is the lowest Retail inflation number in last 3 months. Food Inflation dropped to 12.16% compared to 14.72% in November and Vegetable prices on annual basis rose 38.76% in December, compared to 61.6% recorded in the previous month.


In December, Retail inflation in rural areas eased to 10.49% compared to 11.74% % in November and in urban areas eased to 9.11% compared to 10.5% in November.  This has raised hopes that RBI may not hike policy rates and leave them untouched at its upcoming policy review meeting on 28th January.


 


14-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 14 January 2014


1. Google has announced its acquisition of smart thermostat start-up Nest in a deal valued at USD 3.2 billion. This will help the internet giant to enter into consumer electronics hardware, adding smartphone-synched thermostats to its Motorola Mobility smartphones; Nexus mobile devices, and the promise of releasing Google Glass eyewear some time this year.


2. Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo won the world's best football player award for the year 2013, FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013. Ronaldo scored 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal last year, and his stunning hat-trick against Sweden in a decisive World Cup playoff was perhaps the defining individual performance. Ronaldo beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi to end his four year run as world's best player to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award in Zurich yesterday. Ronaldo won with 27.99% of the votes ahead of Messi (24.72%) while Ribery was third (23.36%) according to France Football, co-organisers of the award with FIFA.


Jupp Heynckes, now retired, was named coach of the year by FIFA on Monday after leading Bayern Munich to an unprecedented treble last season. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer named women's player of the year and Sylvia Neid won the women's coach award.


Current Affairs India - 14 January 2014


1. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has reduced the refinance rates for the banks and other lending agencies by 0.20% (20 bps) to 9.70% compared to earlier rate of 9.90% for next 5 years. It will be for commercial, state cooperative, regional rural and primary urban cooperative banks and this has been done in order to promote rural credit and rural infrastructure.


NABARD has also mentioned that banks drawing refinance of Rs 500 crore and more in a single drawl would be allowed further reduction of 0.10%. The State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Banks (SCRDBs) will be allowed for a single drawl of Rs 200 crore and above at 0.10% lower rate compared to earlier one.


2. Indian Long jumper Anju Bobby George became the first Indian track and field athlete to win a gold medal in a major world event after international governing body IAAF upgraded her second place finish at the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final to the top spot, following a dope violation by a Russian competitor Tatyana Kotova. Anju's fifth place finish at the 2005 Helsinki World Championship's long jump event was also upgraded to fourth.


3. Vijay Zol was selected as the Captain of India-s U-19 Cricket World Cup team by the All-India Junior Selection Committee yesterday. The U-19 Cricket World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February 2014. He also led India to win the U-19 Asia Cricket Cup after defeating arch rival Pakistan earlier this month. India has won the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup three times in 2000, 2008 and 2012.


 


 


15-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 15 January 2014


1. The World Bank has projected India-s economy will grow over 6% in 2014-15 and 7.1% by 2016-17 as global demand recovers and domestic investment increases. According to the report, in South Asia, weaker growth in India, following several years of rising inflation and current account deficits, has opened up a large negative output gap, which is projected to gradually close as the economy slowly recovers. Better Indian performance will be heavily reflected in the region-s growth, which is expected to strengthen to 5.7 per cent in 2014 and about 6.7 per cent in 2016, it said.


World Bank has projected China-s growth to be flat at 7.7% in 2014 and slow down to 7.5% for the next two years. Global GDP growth may firm up to 3.2% in 2014 from 2.4% in 2013, stabilising at 3.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively.


2. England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia have entered the semi-finals of the on-going Hockey World League Final in New Delhi. In the quarter-finals played at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium today, England defeated Belgium 1-0, Netherlands defeated Olympic Champions Germany 2-1 and New Zealand defeated Argentina 5-4 after the penalty shoot-out. In the fourth quarter final match, Australia thrashed India 7-2 to enter into semi-finals.


Current Affairs India - 15 January 2014


1. The 66th Army Day is being observed today (15th January) across the country. The day is celebrated in recognition of the appointment of General K M Cariappa as the first Commander-in-Chief of independent India. He succeeded British Army General Roy Butcher on this day in 1948. Bravery Awards are also given away on this day which includes Sena Medals and Unit credentials.


2. The Union Government extended the term of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman U K. Sinha for a period of two years yesterday. He succeeded C B Bhave as chairman of SEBI in 2011 for a period of three years. After this extension, his term was going to complete in February 2014.


3. Karnataka is the first state in the country to provide universal health coverage for tertiary care to all the sections of society. As many as 1.12 crore people in Karnataka are covered under the newly launched Rajiv Arogya Bhagya, for Above Poverty Line families. The Scheme entails the beneficiary to pay only 10% of the cost of treatment or procedures. It aims at providing subsidized healthcare to virtually every citizen in the State with Above Poverty Line (APL) card. Under the scheme, APL family members are entitled for health check up to 1.5 lakh rupees per annum. In special cases, if the expenditure exceeds 1.5 lakh rupees, the government grants another 50000 rupees. The BPL families are already covered under health scheme through Vajpayee Arogya Sree programme.


4. Kerala-based writer Anees Salim won The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction 2013 for his second novel, -Vanity Bagh- for consistent writing and humour and imagination. -The book is a very comic account of a young man from a minority group from a place called Vanity Bagh, also called Little Pakistan.


5. Senior IAS officer Rajeev Kher has been appointed Secretary in Department of Commerce. He is a 1980-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and is presently Special Secretary, Department of Commerce under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He will take over from S R Rao after his retirement on January 31.


Sudarsanam Srinivasan, a 1980-batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, has been appointed Member (Finance), Atomic Energy, Space and Earth Commissions. He is presently Special Secretary and Financial Adviser in Department of Space, has been appointed in the rank and pay of Secretary following retirement of A P Joshi, a 1978-batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre.


A Vijayanand, a 1980-batch officer of Indian Revenue Service (C&CE), will be Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in Department of Space. V S Madan, Director General and Mission Director of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been given one year extension, till March 2015.


IAS officer Shailendra Singh (from MP cadre 1988 batch) has been appointed as Joint Secretary with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under Ministry of Commerce. He will succeed Anjali Prasad who has been elevated as Additional Secretary with DIPP.


S S Garbyal, IFoS, has been appointed as Director General (Forests) and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests. He will succeed Shri K Jude Sekhar who retired in December 2013.


6. The US handed over to India three stolen antique sculptures, valued at over USD 1.5 million, in a display of cooperation between the two countries after a month-long tension over the arrest on an Indian diplomat in USA.


7. Famous Marathi poet and activist Namdeo Dhasal passed away in Mumbai today after a prolonged illness. He was 64. He was one of the founders of the militant Dalit Panther movement. He was also a pioneer of the Dalit literature movement. The Padma Shri awardee has had a medical history of myasthenia gravis which is one of the lesser known auto-immune disorders.


 


India-s overall Inflation drops to 5-month low of 6.16% in December, RBI may cut rates


India-s overall inflation, measured by the Wholesale price index, declined to a five-month low of 6.16% in December 2013 compared to 7.52% in November due to drop in food prices. Inflation in food articles, which has 14.34% share in the WPI basket, dropped to 13.68% in December, from 19.93% in November which helped the overall inflation to ease. Inflation in Onion prices dropped to just 39.56% in December, from 190.34% in November. Inflation in vegetables segment declined to 57.33% in December from 95.25% in November


Inflation in manufactured products, such as sugar and edible oils, stood flat at 2.64%. Inflation in the fuel and power segment stood at 10.78% in the same month compared to 11.08% in the previous month. With the easing of Inflation, RBI may cut rates during its next monetary policy review on 28th January to boost industrial as well as economic growth.


 


16-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 16 January 2014


1. China bagged a healthy USD 117.59 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2013, after registering negative growth in previous year 2012. FDI in China increased 5.25% year on year in 2013 compared to 3.7% drop in 2012. In December 2013 alone, FDI inflow rose 3.3% from a year earlier to USD 12.08 billion. FDI in the service sector rose 14.15% in 2013 to reach USD 61.45 billion while FDI in the manufacturing sector dropped 6.78% to USD 45.56 billion.


2. Henrique de Castro, the chief operating officer of Yahoo, will leave the company on Thursday, Yahoo announced yesterday in a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He was responsible for managing Yahoo-s sales, operations, media and business development worldwide. Mayer recruited him in 2012 shortly after she left Google to take the helm at Yahoo. No reason was given for his the abrupt departure of de Castro.


3. American professional golfer Jimmy Walker won the Sony Open golf tournament held in Hawaii this week. This was his second PGA Tour title. His first PGA Tour title came in October 2013 when he won the Frys.com Open, the first tournament of the new wraparound season. Walker closed with 7-under 63 for a one shot victory over his compatriot Chris Kirk who was placed second. As a result, he won 1.08 million dollars in prize money.


Current Affairs India - 16 January 2014


1. South Korean President Park Geun-hye started her four-day state visit to India yesterday with the aim of improving bilateral cooperation on the economy, science and regional security. Just before her visit, Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has cleared Rs 52000 crore FDI from South Korean Steel giant POSCO after 8 years. This is the largest FDI ever in India.


2. Jet Airways CEO Gary Kenneth Toomey resigned with immediate effect just three months after taking over as the CEO of Jet Airways, the airline announced today. Ravishankar Gopalakrishnan, the Chief Financial Officer, will officiate as the acting CEO till the Board appoints a new CEO. Speculation was rife about Jet-s new partner Etihad wanting to get its own top-level person to run the airline. With Etihad investing in several global airlines, including Air Seychelles, Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, there was talk in the market that a top-level person from Air Seychelles could replace Toomey.


3. Akhilesh Das Gupta is set to be re-elected President of the Badminton Association of India President as he remained the only candidate for the coveted post at the end of the filing of the nominations, held in Lucknow on Tuesday. General secretary Vijai Sinha would also be re-elected unopposed when the BAI-S annual general meeting takes place here on January 25 during the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Tournament.


 


17-Jan


Current Affairs India - 17 January 2014


1. Congress president Sonia Gandhi said today that the CWC decision on Rahul Gandhi not being named as party's prime ministerial candidate is final. Sonia Gandhi announced the same before she began her formal speech at the start of the day-long AICC session in New Delhi even if most of the delegates demanded Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha poll this year.


2. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Union Minister of Finance P Chidambram approved the sale of 10% government stake in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) yesterday. ONGC and OIL will buy a part of the government's stake in Indian Oil Corp for a total of Rs 4700 crore to Rs 5000 crore. It will help the government to meet part of its disinvestment target of 40000 crore rupees set for the financial year 2013-14. Earlier Coal India has announced hefty dividend from which Indian government is expected to earn more than Rs 16,000 crore as well.


3. Taiwanese poet Yushi was awarded with the Thiruvalluvar award by the Tamil Nadu government in Chennai on the occasion of Thiruvalluvar Day of 15th January. With this, He is the first foreign scholar to receive Thiruvalluvar award. The award was given to him in recognition of his contribution to the Tamil language. Yushi has translated Tirukkural (one of the collection of sangam literature), the poems of poet Subramanya Bharathi and poet Bharathidasan in Mandarin, Chinese language.


4. Legendary actress Suchitra Sen, who was known as the Greta Garbo of Bengali cinema and had 60 films to her credit including the memorable 'Aandhi' and' Deep Jwele Jai', passed away today after suffering a heart attack at a super-speciality hospital in Kolkata. She was 82. The condition of the 82-year-old screen goddess had deteriorated last evening after which she suffered a massive cardiac arrest leading to her death at 8:25 AM. She acted in over 60 movies between 1952 and 1978. She went into recluse in her Soutk Kolkata flat after her last film was released and over the past three decades she withdrew herself from public life and did not meet people except her family members.


5. The spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin passed away in Mumbai today. He was 102. The leader was the eldest son of Syedna Taher Saifuddin, 51st Dai ul Mutlaq. He succeeded his father upon his death in 1965. Revered as the 52nd Dai-al-Mutlaq (direct in the line of Prophet Mohammed) by the Bohras, the Syedna-s love for environment, flora and fauna was legendary. He was also an Arabic scholar.


 


18-Jan


 


19-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 19 January 2014


1. The Netherlands won Hockey World League Final after defeating New Zealand by 7-2 in New Delhi. Constantijn Jonker slammed a hat-trick to help the Netherlands lift the inaugural title at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium yesterday night. England won the bronze medal by defeating world champions Australia 2-1. Belgium retained its fifth place, while India secured sixth place.


Current Affairs India - 19 January 2014


1. India and UAE have agreed to cooperate in the field of renewable energy, especially in the areas of solar and wind power. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed in Abu Dhabi yesterday by New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah and Minister of State of UAE, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber. The partnership envisages among other things exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel and sharing of technological information and data, transfer of know-how and equipment on a non-commercial basis.


2. India and South Korea signed nine pacts aimed at imparting forward momentum to their bilateral ties that have seen intensification over the past four years. During a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye here on Thursday, India assured that work on the multi-billion-dollar Posco steel plant in Odisha would start in the coming weeks.


In Science and Technology, both countries will build on the experience of working on many practical projects financed through a USD 10 million Joint Fund by inking a MoU on Joint Applied Research. They also plan to step up collaboration in the peaceful uses of space science and technology.


3. Famous playwright and journalist Cyrus Mistry won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014, with its USD 50,000 cash prize, for The Chronicle of the Corpse Bearer. The jury said the book won because it forced us to re-look justice and love in a story of the Parsi community of corpse bearers in Mumbai.


4. Famous actor Mithun Chakraborty will be nominated to the Rajya Sabha on a Trinamool Congress ticket, Trinamool Congress announced yesterday. He won the National Film Award for best actor twice for Mrigaya in 1976 and for Tahader Katha in 1996.


5. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first Indian wicketkeeper and the fourth overall to effect 300 dismissals in One Day Internationals today when he caught a Ross Taylor nick in the opening ODI against New Zealand. He now has 301 dismissals to his credit in 239 matches. With this he joined Australia-s Adam Gilchrist (472 dismissals in 287 matches), Sri Lanka-s Kumar Sangakkara (424 dismissals in 362 matches) and South Africa-s Mark Boucher (424 dismissals in 295 matches).


Forex Reserves increased by USD 177.8 million to 293.286 billion


India-s Forex reserves were increased by USD 177.8 million to 293.286 billion for the week ended 10th January as per the recent weekly data released by RBI. This increase was mainly due to increase in the reserve portion in the Foreign Currency Assets.  The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) was increased by USD 190.3 million to 267.143 billion for the same week. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves.


However the SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve portion with IMF were decreased by USD 8.6 million and USD 3.9 million respectively for the same week. Gold values remained unchanged at USD 19.724 billion for the same reporting week.


 


20-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 20 January 2014


1. Afghanistan is likely to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) within the next three months, as per the Afghan Commerce and Industries Ministry. The government of Afghanistan has already signed a trade agreement with the United States and now it has to sign agreements with the European Union and two other countries before becoming a member of the World Trade Organization. Out of the eight negotiating members of the WTO, Afghanistan is required to sign bilateral trade agreements and the negotiations are going on with the European Union, Turkey and Taiwan in this regard.


If Afghanistan becomes a member of the World Trade Organization, the trade, commerce and investment in the country is likely to go up in coming years. It will also provide Afghan businessmen and industrialists to improve the quality of their product by adopting quality control measure.


2. China's economy grew at flat 7.7% in the last year 2013, maintaining its slowest growth in more than a decade. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the October-December quarter also came in at 7.7% compared to 7.8% in the previous quarter. But it was still higher than the government's target rate of 7.5%. The data confirms that the economic growth of the world-s second largest economy is now stabilizing.


 


Current Affairs India - 20 January 2014


1. India has successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of about 4,000 km, from a test range off the Odisha coast today. It was test launched from the launch complex-4 of the ITR at Wheeler Island, at about 10:52 AM. With this successful test firing, Agni-IV missile is ready for use by the army.


2. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Gulam Nabi Azad launched the National Urban Health Mission in Bangalore today. The programme aims to provide health security to urban poor and it envisages creation of necessary health check up infrastructure and the manpower requirement. Central Government will share 80% of the cost to implement the programme. All the 779 urban areas with over 50,000 population in the country will be covered under the programme by March 2015. Around 20 crore people in urban areas will have access to free health care, with the launch of this programme.


3. West Bengal has been selected for 'Krishi Karman' Award for 2012-13 as the best performing state in overall agricultural production in the country. The award would be presented by the President during the inaugural ceremony of the World Congress on Agro Forestry 2014 at Delhi on 10th February. Krishi Karman Awards' are the first ever awards being given to states for their effort and contribution towards raising the country's foodgrain production.


4. Telecom regulator TRAI has appointed Sudhir Gupta as its new secretary, ahead of it releasing the final guidelines of spectrum trading and auction of CDMA radiowaves. He is a principal adviser with TRAI now and has been elevated to the post of Secretary.


In the past 10 years at TRAI, Gupta has played a key role in almost all the key regulations, recommendations and directions. This include mobile number portability regulation, rules to curb pesky calls, quality of service standards. He has been responsible for formulating recommendations related to spectrum auctions, 3G and later BWA spectrum auctions. These two had helped government garner over Rs 1 lakh crore.


5. Network18 has swept the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) 2013. CNN-IBN won several awards in various categories including Best News Coverage National, Best In-Show Graphics and Best Talk Show in the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) 2013. Network18's Hindi news channel IBN7 also bagged numerous awards. NDTV 24X7 won Best News Channel of the Year (English) and Aaj Tak won the News Channel of the Year (Hindi) award. Shereen Bhan and Punya Prasun Bajpai won the Best Anchor award for English and Hindi respectively. Rajdeep Sardesai and Shazi Zaman won the Best Editor-In-Chief award in English and Hindi categories respectively.


6. India's cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar will be mentoring 11 young and rising stars who were signed-up by sports major Adidas today. The young stars are Unmukt Chand, Parvez Rasool, Vijay Zol, Manan Vohra, Manpreet Juneja, Rush Kalaria, Chirag Khurana, Akshdeep Nath, Vikas Mishra, Sarfaraz Khan and Aparajith Baba. Tendulkar said by mentoring the young cricketers he will be able to give back something to the game from which he retired last year.


 


21-Jan


Current Affairs India - 21 January 2014


1. The Central Government has granted minority status to the Jain Community yesterday, this will enable them to avail of benefits in government schemes and programmes. With this announcement, Jains became the sixth community to have minority status after Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis.


2. Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) has appointed S N Goel as its chief executive officer and managing director as India-s leading electricity bourse was without a full-time CEO for some time. Before that, Goel was director (marketing & operations) at PTC India Ltd. He has also served as executive director with NTPC, a release said today.


3. Government has appointed senior police officer Aruna Bahuguna as the new chief of the Hyderabad-based National Police Academy, alma mater for IPS officers in the country. She succeeded incumbent IPS Subhas Goswami who was appointed as the Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) last year. She is the 28th chief of the academy and will be at its helm till February 2017. With this, she has also become the first woman to head National Police Academy.


4. Anand Sinha, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India retired yesterday. Post his retirement, his portfolio has been allocated to other three Deputy Governors, K.C. Chakrabarty, H.R. Khan and Urjit Patel. He was in-charge of eight departments, including Departments of Banking Operations and Development, Risk Management, Information Technology and Expenditure and Budgetary Control.


5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted an expert committee to review governance of boards of banks yesterday. P. J. Nayak, former Chairman and CEO of Axis Bank, will head the committee. The expert panel is expected to submit its report within a period three months from the date of its first meeting.


The committee would also review the regulatory compliance requirements of banks- boards in India, and judge what could be rationalised and where requirements needed to be enhanced. The panel will also review guidelines on composition of boards that vary immensely between public-sector, private-sector and foreign banks.


6. India-s economic growth is expected to be 4.6% this financial year and the growth may improve to 5.4% in the next financial year 2014-15, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today. Also IMF said that the growth rate in 2015—16, at factor prices (excluding taxes), is likely to be 6.4%.


7. Global Internet giant Google acquired Bengaluru based Impermium for USD 9 million. Bengaluru based Impermium is a three year old startup which focused on building security products for websites. Impermium has 300000 clients, including Tumblr, Pinterest, CNN, ESPN, Typepad and Washington Post. The acquisition will help Google improve its abuse monitoring efforts and make internet a safer place.


 


22-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 22 January 2014


1. The annual World Economic Forum 2014 started today at Davos in which business and political leaders gathered to discuss about the strength of the global economic recovery. About 2,500 chief executives, government leaders, economists and scientists started the four-day forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss not only ways to leave the crisis years behind for good but also how to tackle lingering problems such as growing inequalities, youth unemployment and ageing societies.


Current Affairs India - 22 January 2014


1. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay an official visit to New Delhi from January 25-27 and will be the chief guest at this year-s Republic Day celebrations, as per the Ministry of External Affairs. During his visit, Abe will also hold discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


2. T. Nanda Kumar will be the new Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). He will replace Amrita Patel who has been holding the post since 1998.


He is currently Member of the National Disaster Management Authority, is slated to take over from March 1st. Nanda Kumar will be the first ever person from the Indian Administrative Service to hold the position of NDDB Chairman. Both Patel and her illustrious predecessor Verghese Kurien, who was chairman from 1965 to 1998, have dairy professional backgrounds.


3. The Reserve Bank of India has advised that after 31st March this year it will completely withdraw from circulation all banknotes issued prior to 2005. From April 1, 2014, the public will be required to approach banks for exchanging these notes and banks will provide exchange facility for these notes until further communication.


The Reserve Bank further stated in an advisory that public can easily identify the notes to be withdrawn as the notes issued before 2005 do not have on them the year of printing on the reverse side.


4. An expert committee, headed by Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Urjit R. Patel, appointed to examine the current monetary policy framework of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has suggested that the apex bank should adopt the new CPI (consumer price index) as the measure of the nominal anchor for policy communication. The nominal anchor or the target for inflation should be set at 4% with a band of +/- 2 per cent around it.


The nominal anchor should be defined in terms of headline CPI inflation, which closely reflects the cost of living and influences inflation expectations relative to other available metrics. Also this target should be set in the frame of a two-year horizon that is consistent with the need to balance the output costs of disinflation against the speed of entrenchment of credibility in policy commitment, as per the report.


As per the suggestions, the government also needs to bring down the fiscal deficit as a ratio of GDP to 3% by 2016-17 which should be consistent with the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Rules 2013. It has suggested two schemes namely Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS) and Cash Management Bills (CMBs) may be phased out and the government debt and cash management should be taken over by the Debt Management Office of the government. All fixed income financial products should be treated on par with the bank deposits for the purposes of taxation and TDS. The committee has suggested detachment of Open Market Operations (OMOs) from the fiscal operations and instead linked solely to the liquidity management. OMOs should not be used for managing yields on government on government securities.


5. Chilika lagoon has been named 'destination flyways' by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) after its inclusion in a list of eight such sites worldwide. It is the only site in Asia to be thus recognized by UNWTO. The lagoon was so named because it is a sustainable and resilient destination for migratory water birds, said official sources. UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of universally accessible tourism. Over the years, Chilika has proved to be the ideal destination for migratory birds, which is the reason why it is also a globally-acclaimed tourist destination.


6. Coimbatore-born scientist and Stanford University Emeritus Professor Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Marconi Society Prize. Paulraj is the only India-born scientist to receive both the Marconi Prize and the Bell Medal, two top global IT technology awards. He was awarded for his invention and advancement of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology, which is at the heart of WiFi and 4G technologies that millions worldwide use.


7. Famous Telegu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao, or ANR as he is popularly known, passed away early Wednesday morning. One of the best actors that the country has seen, he leaves behind a rich legacy during his 70-year-career. That the Telugu film industry was born only a decade before he started his career showed how synonymous his name was with the industry.


 


23-Jan


Current Affairs India - 23 January 2014


1. Kerala Tourism has been conferred the United Nations Award for creating innovative initiatives for sustainable tourism, the first time India has ever won the recognition. Kerala won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance, the highest honour given to the government bodies for shaping global tourism policies through innovative initiatives. Kerala Tourism was chosen for the honour for its path—breaking -Responsible Tourism- project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the Hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco—friendly tourism.


2. Mines Minister Dinsha Patel has dedicated to the nation advanced light helicopter "Garuda Vasudha" of Geological Survey of India (GSI), equipped with modern sensors for exploring hidden mineral resources. The helicopter was launched from the Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) Complex, Bangalore...The Garuda Vasudha a 'Dhruv' category helicopter has been indigenously built by HAL and the HGSS comprising four aerogeophysical sensors.


Garuda Vasudha is used for extensive surveys by the GSI for locating hidden mineral health. Remote Sensing and Aerial Survey Wing of Geological Survey of India will be using both the aerial and heliborne survey together to locate mineral resources which will fulfill the rising demands.


3. Indian-origin academician Rakesh Khurana has been appointed dean of the prestigious Harvard College and will take over his new role in July. Mr Khurana is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard. Mr Khurana succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, professor of African and African American Studies, who stepped down last June after completing her five-year term. He will assume the role on July 1.


4. India's Olympic bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal dropped a place to be at 9th position, while P V Sindhu retained her 11th spot in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking published today. Saina, who had endured a tough season last year where she could not win a single title, was overtaken by Juliane Schenk of Germany. At the same time, top male shuttler Parupalli Kashyap jumped two places to be at No. 18, while Mumbai-s Ajay Jayaram moved up a place to be at 21st position.


 


24-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 24 January 2014


1. UNWTO awarded CNN-s Richard Quest with the 2013 UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award was given in recognition of his work as a business journalist reporting on the tourism industry.


The UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony held in Madrid, Spain on 22nd January. Richard Quest is the presenter of CNN-s flagship daily business programme Quest Means Business and the monthly CNN Business Traveller, regularly covering business affairs from around the world.


2. China's Lenovo - the world's biggest PC maker - has agreed to acquire IBM's low-end server business for USD 2.3 billion. About USD 2 billion will be paid in cash with the rest in Lenovo stock. Whlie IBM is selling its x86 "low-end" server business, which includes the System x, BladeCenter and Flex System products, it is retaining its powerful mainframe and storage business. Lenovo bought IBM's PC business in 2005.


3. FIFA have named a track by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez as the official anthem for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. We Are One (Ole Ola), which also features Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, will be performed at the opening ceremony at the Arena de Sao Paulo on the 12th of June.


4. Spanish top seed Nadal defeated 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer by 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-3 in a dominant semi-final match today to enter into Australian Open Men-s singles final. He will face Stanislas Wawrinka in the final match who is playing Australian Open final for the first time.


5. Italy's Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci successfully defended their Australian Open women's doubles title, after defeating Russian fifth seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina by 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 today. Errani and Vinci, the top seeds, were in their third straight Australian final and the win was their fourth Grand Slam crown, following Roland Garros and the US Open in 2012 and Australia last year.


Current Affairs India - 24 January 2014


1. National Girl Child Day is celebrated today (24th January) across India to ensure that every girl is respected, valued and treated equally in society. This day is observed every year to raise awareness and consciousness towards the girl child.


2. DMK suspended Mr. Alagiri, the son of DMK Chief Mr. M. Karunanidhi from being a member of the party and also relieved him of the party posts today. The reason for the removal was stated that Mr. Alagiri who was holding the post of DMK 's South Zone Organising Secretary was indulging in creating confusion and disorder within the party. The Party has also said that action had been taken against many party workers indulging in anti-party activities.


3. India-s largest lender State Bank of India strengthened its social media presence with the launch of its channel on popular video sharing website Youtube yesterday and said it will also be launching its handle on the micro-logging site Twitter soon. The YouTube channel, which follows a dedicated Facebook page launch in November, will initially have information about the bank-s products and services and its legacy to begin with and will gradually include philanthropic initiatives, it said in a statement.


4. Alok Sinha, Joint Secretary- Ministry of Civil Aviation, has been appointed as the Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI), who has been given additional charge of the new post. He replaced V P Agarwal who was removed from the Chairman post. The move comes as the Government has set on fast track the move to involve the private sector in the modernisation of six airports including those in Chennai and Kolkata.


5. B K Divakara has taken charge as Executive Director of Central Bank of India. Following his appointment, Central Bank of India now has three EDs, B K Divakara  along with Raj Kumar Goyal and Animesh Chauhan. Prior this appointment, he was a General Manager with Corporation Bank at its Head Office in Mangalore.


6. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of the country's largest biotech research firm, Biocon Ltd, has been named winner of the 2014 Othmer Gold Medal, It is a top award of the US-based Chemical Heritage Foundation. The Philadelphia-based Foundation is a collections-based non-profit organisation that preserves the history and heritage of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences and technologies. The collections are used to create a body of original scholarship that illuminates chemistry's role in shaping society.


7. Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau advanced into the mixed-doubles finals in the Australian Open tournament today after defeating defending champion Aussie pair of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden 2-6, 6-3 (10-2). They will now meet French Kristina Mladenovic and her Canadian partner Daniel Nestor in the finals tomorrow.


 


25-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 25 January 2014


1. China's Li Na has won the women's singles title at the Australian Open Tennis Championships today after defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in straight sets 7-6, 6-0. This is her second Grand Slam title after winning the French Open in 2011. With this she has also became the oldest winner of the women's title, surpassing Margaret Court who was 30 when she became champion in 1973.


Current Affairs India - 25 January 2014


1. The Election Commission of India celebrated the 4th National voters Day today (25 January) across the nation to commemorate the foundation day of the Election Commission of India and also to enhance the participation of the voters, especially the youth, in the democratic process. The theme for the 4th National voters Day is -Ethical Voting-. National Voters Day is started from 25 January 2011. Functions were held at more than 6.5 lakh locations across the country covering nearly all 8.5 lakh Polling Stations.


2. The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas launched LPG Connection Portability Scheme across the country on this week. It will be launched across 480 districts of the country covering all the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and distributors which have multiple LPG distributors of various ratings. With the launch of this new initiative, consumers can now switch to the distributor of his choice within a cluster of LPG distributors in the vicinity. This measure will bring great relief to those LPG consumers who are either unhappy with the services of their current distributor or want to move to an LPG distributor closer to their place of residence.


3. India and Japan have inked eight pacts in various fields including power generation, culture, education and tourism today. The pacts were signed after the delegation level talks between the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Mr Shinzo Abe in New Delhi. Both sides are working towards increasing their cooperation in the area of advanced technologies. The visiting Japanese Prime Minister said that his country has agreed to provide 200 billion Yen loan to develop Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and other rail projects.


Later, in a joint statement, the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to further deepen the Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries and contribute jointly to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world.


4. Noted actor-director Kamala Haasan and classical singer Begum Parveen Sultana have been selected for the prestigious Padma Bhushan award this year, while Bollywood actors Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal will receive Padma Shri. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh, ace shuttler Gopichand and squash player Pallikkal have got Padma Shri awards. Dr Raghunath A Mashelkar, Director-General of India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and B K S Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga and is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, have been awarded with the Padma Vibhushan, which is the second highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna.


5. Dr. Mohinder Singh, member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions and famous academician N Radhakrishnan have been awarded with the National Communal Harmony Award. Dr. Singh has been chosen for his work done in restoring peace after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Radhakrishnan for promotion of Gandhian values.


The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai won the award under organization category for its work to promote peace, secularism and communal harmony in the country. The Awards are instituted by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony to give appreciation and recognition to the efforts of individuals and Organizations for promotion of communal harmony and national integration in a sustained manner.


 


26-Jan


 


27-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 27 January 2014


1. Global tech giant Google has acquired DeepMind Technologies, an artificial intelligence company in London, for USD 400 million. DeepMind Technologies was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. The company combines -the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.- It said its first commercial applications are in simulations, e-commerce and games.


2. 56th Grammy Awards were announced yesterday.  French dance duo Daft Punk have taken top honours at the Grammy Awards, winning five prizes including album and record of the year. Hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won four Grammy Awards including best new artist and rap album for "The Heist," beating efforts from Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Kanye West and Drake. Justin Timberlake won three, while New Zealand teenager Lorde picked up two including song of the year for Royals. Lorde-s "Royals" song won the Song of the year award.


3. Switzerland's eighth seeded Stanislas Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam title in dramatic fashion when he defeated world number one Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final match yesterday. He defeated Nadal by 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours 21 minutes to win the title.


4. India's Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau failed to win the Australian open mixed doubles title as they lost to French-Canadian combination of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor in straight sets in the summit clash yesterday. They lost 3-6, 2-6 against the French-Canadian duo in the final match. Mladenovic and Nestor, who won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title last year as well. Sania had earlier won the Australian mixed doubles title along with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2009.


5. China's Xue Song defeated India's Srikanth K 16-21, 21-19, 21-13 to win the Men-s title in the Syed Modi India Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship yesterday.


China-s Chen Qingchen and Jia FanYi defeated Yu Xiohan and Huang Yaquang by 22-24, 21-19 and 21-11 to win the women's double title.  In the mixed double title, Yilv Wang and Huang Yaqiong won the tile. Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen defeated their compatriots K Huang and Sei Wei Zheng to win the men-s double title. All the doubles titles were full Chinese affairs. 


Current Affairs India - 27 January 2014


1. The Government has removed the restriction on scheduled operation by foreign airlines of the world's largest civilian aircraft, the Airbus A-380, in India. As per an official statement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation states that flights of A-380 to India will be allowed in 4 airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, which have the required infrastructure for A-380 operations. Singapore Airline, Emirates and Lufthansa are interested in operating A-380 aircraft in India on various international routes.


2. Karl Slym, the managing director of Tata Motors passed away yesterday after falling from 22nd floor of the Shangri-La Hotel to the fourth floor in Bangkok.  He was in Bangkok to attend a board meeting of the Tata Motors Thailand Limited. He started his career by serving at Toyota in UK. He joined Tata Motors as MD in October 2012 and before joining Tata group, he served as the executive vice-president of SGMW Motors, China, which is a joint venture of General Motors.


Ravi Kant, the former MD of Tata Motors and current non-executive director and vice-chairman of the company, may take temporary charge of Tata Motors


3. India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal won the Women's Singles title at Syed Modi India Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship after defeating PV Sindhu in the straight sets 21-14, 21-17 in Lucknow yesterday. With this she snapped her 15 months title drought.


4. Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni became the first captain to be played in four tied One Day International matches when India tied third ODI match against New Zealand on 25th January.  The last three tied matches Dhoni has played are ICC World Cup 2011 match in Bangalore against England, ODI match played on 11 September 2011 at Lords against England and ODI match played in February 2012 at Adelaide against Sri Lanka.


 


28-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 28 January 2014


1. Switzerland secured No 1 rank in the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) issued by Yale University yesterday. Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore and the Czech Republic secured the other top 5 ranks in the same order in the same index, which ranks countries on high-priority environmental concerns that include air quality, water management and climate change. The bottom five performers in the EPI are Somalia, Mali, Haiti, Lesotho, and Afghanistan. All the low performers are grappling with civil unrest, significant economic development pressures, and political turmoil.


2. Rapper-turned-actress Queen Latifah will be honoured by the New York Women in Communications with its 2014 Matrix Award, which honours females who change the world. She will be honoured on April 28 at the Waldorf Astori along with eight others. Past Matrix winners include Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Robin Roberts, Ellen DeGeneres, Martha Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and Meredith Vieira.


3. The UK economy grew by 1.9% in 2013, the highest growth rate since 2007, as per the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2013 slipped to 0.7% compared to 0.8% growth in the third quarter.


Current Affairs India - 28 January 2014


1. India ranks 155th out of 178 countries in the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) issued by Yale University yesterday. Despite an improvement in overall performance, India comes out worst among other emerging economies, including China, in efforts to address environmental challenges, with dramatic declines on air quality, as per the study. Very low GDP per capita coupled with the second highest population in the world means India-s environmental challenge is more formidable than that faced by other emerging economies.


India is the worst performer among the BRICS countries as China ranks 118th, Brazil 77th, Russia 73rd, and South Africa 72nd in the same list. Even India-s rank is lower compared to Pakistan (148) and Nepal (139) as well.


2. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja has quit Union Council of Ministers and will work for the partyShe was nominated by the Congress for a Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana, filed her nomination from Chandigarh.


3. H C Meena, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1976 batch, has been appointed as the Secretary Security in the Cabinet Secretariat last week. She will hold the post till his superannuation on 30 September 2014. Earlier, she has served as the director general in Rajasthan.


4. As per RBI announcement, India-s current account deficit (CAD) has shown improvement. India-s trade deficit during April-December 2013 was 25% lower than last year. Consequent to the lower trade deficit, CAD has declined from 4.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the current fiscal to 1.2% of GDP in Q2 of 2013-14. -The full-year CAD is likely to be below 2.5 per cent of GDP,-- the RBI said in the Macro-Economic and Monetary Developments released by the RBI in the third quarter review 2013-14 today.


RBI hikes repo rate by 25 bps to 8%; surprises stock market


The Reserve Bank of India announced to increase the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility by 25 basis points from 7.75% to 8.0% during its third quarter monetary policy announcement today. RBI has also increased reverse repo rate by 25 bps to 7% compared to 6.75%. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) was kept unchanged at 4% and SLR was kept unchanged at 23%. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and bank rate stood at 9%.


The main reason behind this rate hike decision is high inflation. The RBI has maintained that although CPI inflation was coming down, it is still at elevated levels at close to double digits. It also said that core inflation (non food and fuel) remained high, indicative of wage inflation and second order impact. RBI has also projected GDP for the current fiscal at a little below 5% while it expected it to be between 5% and 6% in the next fiscal. The current account deficit (CAD) for 2013-14 is expected to be below 2.5% of GDP as compared with 4.8% in 2012-13.


 


 


29-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 29 January 2014


1. As per UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, Global FDI increased by 11% in 2013 to an estimated USD 1.46 trillion, with the lion's share going to developing countries. FDI flows to developing economies reached a new high of 759 billion dollars, accounting for 52% during the year. UNCTAD forecasts that FDI flows will rise gradually in 2014 and 2015, to USD 1.6 trillion and USD 1.8 trillion, respectively.


2. US Chamber of Commerce released the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index yesterday. The United States received the highest (28.5%) overall score followed by UK France. China IIP environment continued to see challenges (trade secret protection and enforcement) and it shows improvements in certain aspects of its patent regime. Most high-income economies — with notable exceptions such as Canada, New Zealand, Chile, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — have robust national IP environments in place. The weakest national IP environments are in the lower-middle-income countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and India. International IP Index is prepared by the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce which maps the IP environment of 25 countries from around the world utilising 30 factors, which are indicative of an IP environments that fosters growth and development.


3. The ICC Board has approved the introduction of an International Women-s Championship. The Competing countries will include Australia, West Indies, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India and Pakistan. Each team will play the others in a series of matches between mid-2014 and the end of 2016. The top teams will qualify automatically for the ICC Women-s World Cup to be held in 2017 in England.


Current Affairs India - 29 January 2014


1. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the National Rural Livelihoods Mission under the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Digital Green — a Microsoft Research Project yesterday. The MoU was signed to exchange the relevant livelihood practices among rural communities under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). Digital Green is an international, non-profit development organization and it is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Government of India. National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in June 2011 and NRLM is the biggest programme for women empowerment in India.


2. The Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the Government, has decided to enhance the existing sub-limit of USD 5 billion available to long term investors - sovereign wealth funds, multilateral agencies, pension/ insurance/ endowment funds and foreign central banks - registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India for investment in Government dated securities to USD 10 billion. This increase in sub-limit is within the total limit of USD 30 billion available for foreign investments in Government securities. This step was taken in order to boost foreign investment to support Rupee amid concern related to Federal Reserve stimulus cut.


3. FDI flows into India jumped by 17% to USD 28 billion in 2013 as per the latest United Nations report published today. It also said foreign direct investment across the world rose to levels not seen since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008. India was ranked 16th among the top 20 global economies receiving the most FDI.


4. US Chamber of Commerce released the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, in which India has scored a low 7 point out of maximum 30 points. India-s percentage score has fallen from 25% in 2012 to 23%. India continues to have the weakest IP environment of all countries included in the GIPC Index for the second consecutive year. India scored poorly in the area of patents, copyrights, enforcement, membership and ratification of international treaties (in which it scores 0), among others.


5. Bharti Airtel has appointed Manoj Kohli as MD of Bharti Enterprises of all non-telecom businesses of the group retail insurance, food and agriculture, realty and other businesses of the group. Currently he is the MD &CEO (International) of Bharti Airtel. Akhil Gupta has been designated as chairman and vice chairman of Bharti Enterprises and will serve on Bharti boards. At the same time, DS Rawat has been appointed as MD and CEO of Bharti Infratel and Gopal Vittal has been appointed as MD and CEO of India and South Asia including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Gopal vital will take new charges on 1 April 2014.


 


30-Jan


Current Affairs Global - 30 January 2014


1. Lenovo Group agreed to acquire Google Inc's Motorola handset division for USD 2.91 billion in order to expand its business into a heavily competitive U.S. handset market dominated by Apple Inc. It is Lenovo's second major deal on U.S. soil after acquiring IBM-s low-end server business for USD 2.3 billion announced last week.


2. Google acquired Motorola Mobility for USD 12.5 billion in 2012 and sold the same division for USD 2.91 billion only after nearly 2 years. This is definitely the worst acquisition ever done by the internet giant. Google will keep majority of Motorola's mobile patents after this deal. Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page said that Google would be best served by focusing on smartphone software rather than devices.


3. The US economy grew by 3.2% in the final quarter of 2013 compared to same quarter last year. US economy is also expected to grow at the strongest pace since the end of US recession in 2009. Due to this optimism and improvement of job market scenario, the Fed announced that it would cut monthly bond purchases by USD 10 billion.


4. The US Federal Reserve announced a USD 10 billion reduction in its monthly bond purchases from USD 75 billion to USD 65 billion in final meeting for outgoing Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. This is the second straight month of reducing stimulus efforts. The Fed left its overnight interest rate unchanged at 0% - the level it has been at since December 2008. Most of the stock markets including China, Japan and India were down following the news bond purchase cut.


5. New Zealand's Kathy Cross became the first woman to be inducted in an ICC umpires' panel today when she was elected as an Associate and Affiliate International official following the annual review and selection process. She is now eligible for appointments to ICC World Cricket League Divisions 3 to 6.


Current Affairs India - 30 January 2014


1. India remembered Mahatma Gandhi on his 66th death anniversary today with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leading the country in paying homage to the Father of the Nation. Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Singh paid floral tributes at Gandhi-s memorial in Rajghat in Delhi. Senior Congress and BJP leaders along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial.


2. The government raised quota of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 cylinders per household in a year from the current 9 today. The hike will be effective from 1st of April. However, consumers will get one extra cylinder each during February and March this year, beyond the quota of nine. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily also said the direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG has been put on hold for the time being as there were complaints about its implementation and a committee has been set up to look into the issues. It will make fate of Aadhaar linked direct subsidy transfer uncertain for now.


3. Anand Kumar, a mathematician and founder of Super30 classes was awarded with the 2014 Ramanujan Mathematics Award in Rajkot this week. The award was given to him at the Eighth National Mathematics Convention organized in Rajkot. Ramanujan Mathematics Award is an annual award that is given to a person who has at least three papers published in international journals and is involved in teaching mathematics.


The 41-year-old mathematician from Patna is better known as the founder of Super30 - an institute that offers free residential mentoring on how to crack the entrance test for IITs to 30 students selected from underprivileged families each year. Mr Kumar's papers have been published in a number of international journals including Mathematical Spectrum and Mathematical Gazette of the UK. He has been invited many times by the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society to present his papers.


4. Arun Kumar Gupta has assumed charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a navratna public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Shipping.  He joined the company in 1976 and he has the experience of working at the senior management level of SCI, which includes serving as Director, Irano-Hind Shipping Company, at Tehran with additional charge of safety and quality department for a period of over three years.


5. US auto major has appointed Nigel Harris as President of its Indian business replacing the incumbent Joginder Singh. Harris, Vice President Sales and Service, Ford Asia Pacific, has been appointed as President, Ford India effective February 1, 2014. Singh will repatriate to US as Director Corporate Strategy, Ford Motor Company.


 


31-Jan


 




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