current affairs

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Current affairs
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Current Affairs Febraury 2013

International Current Affairs

    • Pope Benedict XVI announced his Resignation because of Poor Health
      Pope Benedict XVI announced on 11 February 2013 that he would resign at the end of the month. He reasoned that he was too infirm to carry on. He is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision set the stage for the election of a new Pope before the end of March 2013.
      Pope Benedict XVI is 85 years old. He had become the Pope in 2005. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who took this step in 1415 to put an end to the Great Western Split among competing papal claimants.

    • Largest Saltwater Crocodile of the World, Lolong Died in Philippines
      The largest saltwater crocodile of the world, named Lolong died in Philippines on 10 February 2013 just 17 months after it was captured and put for tourists on display.
      Lolong measured 6.17 metres or 20.24 feet. The largest crocodile of the world died because of illness that is not known. It is believed that Lolong was over 50 years old.
      A hunting party that was sanctioned by the government captured Lolong in September 2011. The largest crocodile of the world became a source of tourist attraction.
      Lolong was declared officially as the largest crocodile of its kind in captivity by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012. It beat the record of 5.48-metre crocodile named Cassius which was kept in park in an island off Queensland, Australia.
      Lolong belonged to the family of species called Crocodylus Porosus, or the Indo-Pacific crocodile, which is said to be the largest reptile of the world.

    National

      • Giuseppe Orsi held on Bribe Charges in Indian Defence Helicopter Deal
        Giuseppe Orsi, head of an Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica was arrested in Milan on 11 February 2013 on the charges of his alleged involvement in the bribery activity to secure an Indian defence helicopter deal of 3600 crore rupees. He was arrested in relation to the probe of the international corruption.
        The Deal
        The contract signed with Italian defence giant Finmeccanica in February 2010 involved supply of 12 VVIP three-engine AW-101 choppers from AgustaWestland for the Indian Air Force’s elite Communication Sqadron. By now, three choppers have already been delivered to India.
        As per the reports on the bribe scam, it’s expected that about 362 crore rupees that is equivalent to about 10 percent of the final deal was given back to help the Italian firm in winning the contract.
        About Finmeccanica
        The Finmeccanica is an Italian defence Giant company that entered into a deal to supply 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters to India in February 2010.
        Giuseppe Orsi, now the CEO of Finmeccanica and the then head of its Helicopter Unit was arrested on the charges of the bribe scandal that surfaced.
      • Mohan Parasaran Appointed As the Solicitor General of India
        Mohan Parasaran, the Additional Solicitor General was on 13 February 2013 appointed as the Solicitor General of India after senior advocate Rohinton Nariman resigned from his designation.
        Mohan Parasaran will serve as the Solicitor General of India for a term of three years. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) cleared his name for Solicitor General of India. Rohinton Nariman resigned from his post in Early February 2013.
        Mohan Parasaran is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. He was appointed by first UPA Government as Additional Solicitor General (ASG) in July 2004.

      • Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty Appointed As the Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi
        The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee appointed Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty as the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi on 12 February 2013. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty is the IAS officer of 1970 batch and retired from the designation of Secretary to Government of India.
        Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty will retain his position till 31 December 2017. Chakravarty also served in Madhya Pradesh government. He had also remained member-secretary of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and director general of the National Museum, New Delhi apart from vice chancellor of the National Museum Institute.
        Lalit Kala Akademi
        Lalit Kala Akademi or the National Academy of Fine Art is fine art institution of Government of India with an objective to promote, develop as well as spread the culture of Indian fine art. It receives funds from Ministry of Culture.
      • Afzal Guru’s Secret Hanging Was Called Operation Three Star
        Operation Three Star: Code name given to secret plan for executing Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013.
        Operation Three Star started on 4 February 2013, just a day after the President of India Pranab Mukherjee rejected mercy plea of Afzal Guru. A few top officials of Home Ministry were aware about secret Operation Three Star.
        Afzal Guru was hanged on 9 February 2013 at 8 AM in Tihar Jail, New Delhi. Afzal Guru was guilty of conspiring as well as providing shelter to terrorists who attacked Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001.
        Hanging of Mumbai terror attack militant Ajmal Kasab was called Operation X. He was hanged at Yerwada Central Jail on 21 November 2012.

      Business and Economy Current Affairs

        • Exports of India Increased By 0.8 Per Cent in January 2013
          The exports of India increased by 0.8 percent in the month of January 2013 to 25.58 billion US dollars, comparatively; exports in January 2012 were 25.37 billion US dollars.
          Imports on the other hand, increased by 6.12 percent to 45.5 billion US dollars. During April to January 2012-2013, the overseas shipments of India dropped by 4.86 percent to 239.6 billion US dollars. The main concern for the country is however to widen the trade deficit.
          As a cumulative result, the exports depicted an arrest in decreasing exports. Now, the result is -4.9 percent. 
          Import of crude oil was growing at a faster pace. Oil imports in January 2013 increased by 6.91 percent to 15.89 billion US dollars in comparison to 14.87 billion US dollars in January 2012.
        • SEBI ordered freezing of accounts and attachment of properties of two companies of Sahara
          Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the stock market regulator of India on 13 February 2013 ordered freezing of bank accounts and attachment of properties of two Sahara group firms Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd., and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. and its Chairman Subrata Roy as well as top executives Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary after it failed to refund more than 24,000 crore rupees to investors.
          The decision from the market regulator came after the Supreme Court of India granted it the freedom to freeze the accounts of the two companies and attach the properties of the defaulting groups. 
          The market regulator gave 21 days time to Sahara Firms to submit the details of the investments done and not listed in an order. SEBI’s orders restricts the Sahara India Estate Corporation from operating its demat accounts and redeeming the mutual fund units held by it as well as from transferring the shares controlled by it to any other body or company.
          Sahara Housing was asked to furnish details related to the development rights along with the special puprpose vehicles as well as stakes. The orders to submit the details of movable and immovable properties to Subrata Roy and the three executives have restrained them from alienating, disposing or encumbering the properties on their names.
        • Authorized Capital of NABARD raised from 5000 crore rupees to 20000 crore rupees
          The Union Cabinet of India on 7 February 2013 approved raise in the authorized capital of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nabard to 20000 crore rupees from 5000 crore rupees.
          The authorized capital was increased with the aim to enlarge the operations and broadening the activities of NABARD.

        Sports Current Affairs

          • India maintained their Number One Spot in the ICC ODI Championship Table
            India maintained their number one spot in the ICC ODI Championship table in the latest rankings issued in Dubai on 11 February 2013. Both India and England have same 119 rating points, but England lags behind on the basis of decimal points. Australia and South Africa follow the top two teams closely with 116 and 112 points respectively.
            Among the batsmen, South African run machine Hashim Amla is at number one followed by fellow countryman AB Devilliers. India’s Virat Kohli is at number three followed closely by the skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Among the bowlers, Pakistan off spinner Saeed Ajmal maintains his top billing followed by Mohammad Hafeez. In the All rounder’s category, Pakistan skipper Mohammed Hafeez is the leader followed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.

          • MS Dhoni Named As the Vice-President of India Cements
            Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian cricket team was appointed as the vice-president of India Cements on 1 February 2013. India Cements is headed by BCCI President N Srinivasan.
            It is important to note that Dhoni resigned from Air India team recently and now is expected to play for India Cements in the BCCI Corporate Trophy which started on 1 February 2013. India Cements owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, the captaincy of which lies in the hands of Dhoni since 2008. The Managing Director-cum-vice-chairman of India Cements is Srinivasan.
            Including MS Dhoni’s name in the India Cements team for Corporate Trophy starting from 1 February 2013 to 8 February 2013 was actually a surprise, especially because the captain had declared to take rest for some time.
            Earlier, Dhoni played in the Corporate Trophy for the team of Air India, but later he resigned. The Corporate Trophy will be taking place in four main cities- Nagpur, Raipur, Indore and Pune.

          Science and Technology

            • Sir Issac Newton’s 300-Year-Old Textbooks Discovered in UK School
              A box of books said to be that of Sir Isaac Newton, in the school physics laboratory of Newcastle-under-Lyme School, Staffordshire in UK were discovered in the first week of February 2013. The textbooks are over 300 years old and contain works of Sir Issac Newton who is credited with discovery of gravity.
              The auctioneers estimated that the discovery could be worth thousands of pounds. The books were discovered by the sixth-form physics student Will Garside while working on the artefacts from the school site.
              The books contained Newton’s Laws of Motion as well as the account of principles of gravity spread across over 1000 pages. The discovered books are a set of three volumes and are said to be the property of first headmaster, Francis Elliot Kitchener, who was a keen scientist. The three books are known as Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, meaning mathematical principles of natural philosophy. They were first published on 5 July 1687.
              The work of Sir Issac Newton was translated in English in 1728. Sir Newton was leading scientist in subjects such as alchemy, theology, natural philosophy and astronomy. He was born in 1642 and died in 1727.

              • First Complete Bionic Man of the World Unveiled at London’s Science Museum
                First bionic man of the world called Rex was unveiled on 7 February 2013 at London’s Science Museum. The bionic man was created using 1 million US dollar limbs as well as organs. Prosthetic legs and ankle came from MIT, synthetic blood from Sheffield University, spleens, pancreas and artificial kidneys from University College London, retinas from Oxford University and artificial lungs came from Swansea.
                Rex has a human face with brown eyes and a height of 6.5 feet. It was designed jointly with assistance from 18 universities and companies. Rex gave a hope that it was possible to replace the body parts with the artificial alternatives, for the very first time.
                The internal organs of Rex such as artificial lungs, bladder and pancreas were in line of development. It is important to note that it is not possible for certain technology to function without the help of human input. For example bionic hands require signals from brain and muscles to work properly. Other parts however, such as pancreas and heart can be designed to work automatically.
                Rex would remain in display at London’s Science Museum from 7 February 201 to 11 March 2013.

              Environment

                • The Union Government of India approved setting up of NPCA: National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems
                  The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 7 February 2013 approved the proposal for the merger of National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) to develop a new scheme named National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA).
                  The formation of the NPCA was done with the objective of conserving aquatic ecosystems (lakes and wetlands) by implementing sustainable conservation plans. To govern the implementation uniform policy and guidelines will be framed.
                  The estimated cost to bring this plan into operations during the 12th Plan Period is 900 crore rupees. The Government of India and the State Governments would be sharing the costs in a ratio of 70:30 and in case of the North-Eastern states the ratio is 90:10.

                  • Union Cabinet of India gave its nod to decrease head counts in areas covered under PMGSY
                    The Union Cabinet of India on 6 February 2013 gave its nod to the proposal of decreasing the headcounts to 100 in habitations under the government’s flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PMGSY. Under this program (PMGSY) habitation with population of 100 tribals and more in eighty-two naxal-hit would be connected via all weather roads. Earlier, under the PMGSY program the tribal areas with a population graph of more than 250 people in the naxal-affected reasons were covered. The decision of decreasing the head counts in different area came after it was pointed out by Kishore Chandra Deo, the Tribal Affairs Minister that maximum habitations in these areas had a population graph of less than 250 people.

                  Neighbors

                    • Presidential Election in Maldives scheduled in September 2013
                      Election Commission of Maldives on 6 February 2013 announced that the Presidential Elections in Maldives would be held on 7 September 2013. This would be the first election scheduled to take place in Maldives after the former President Mohamed Nasheed was replaced by the vice-President Mohamed Waheed, on 7 February 2012.

                      • Nepal Started Census of Endangered Species Tigers in Five Conservation Areas 
                        Nepal started a three-month-long census of the tigers on 4 February 2013. Tigers were declared as the endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2010. The census includes five main conservation areas in Nepal which include two wildlife reserves namely, Parsa and Shuklaphanta as well as three national parks namely Bardiya, Banke and Chitwan. All the conservation areas where census began lie in the Terai plains of the country. 
                        First counting of the tigers started in Shuklaphanta reserve which is situated in far-west region. The census was jointly started by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. 50 cameras were installed in Shuklaphanta reserve for counting the number of tigers.
                        Nepal is said to be the abode of Royal Bengal Tiger that primarily dwells in dense forests of the Terai plains. Royal Bengal Tiger was declared as the endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2010.
                        As per the initial census, there were a total of 200 tigers in Nepal. However, poaching remains a threat to tigers in Nepal.

                      Indian Defense

                      • The 9th edition of Aero India 2013, a five-day aviation show organised by the Defence Exhibition Organization of the Ministry of Defence ended at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bangalore on 10 February 2013.
                        Defence Minister of India, A K Antony inaugurated the Air Show on 6 February 2013.
                        During the inauguration ceremony of the 9th Edition of Aero India show, Aero Space Policy of Karnataka state was unveiled by the Defence Minister of India, A K Antony. The Show was opened for general public on 9 February 2013. The ended after displaying its magnificent aerobatic skills and belongings that created a chance of winning potential business tie-ups and networking. 
                        To make the show the largest Air Show of Asia different bodies namely Defence Ministry of India, Indian Air Force, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Department of Space, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and few more comes together to organize the show.
                        The first Edition of the show was organised for the first time in 1996. In the previous 2011 edition of the show Boeings F/A-18 Super Hornet, Jaguars, Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, Saab Gripen and Dassault Rafale were the main highlights of Aero India 2011. 
                        The next Aero India show is scheduled to be held from 18 February to 22 February 2015 at Bangalore.
                        The Exhibition aimed at creating good scopes of public-private partnership model following the provisions available in the Defence Procurement Policy of 2010 that provides Indian aerospace industry a chance to turn up as a hub for world class products and technologies for Indian aerospace industry in the sub-continent.
                      • Union Cabinet approved DRDO for developing AWACS for IAF
                        The Union Cabinet of India on 6 February 2013 gave approval to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for developing an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) for IAF.
                        AWACS allows IAF to keep a close watch on the enemy territory. The government granted an in-principal approval to the proposal for developing an indigenous AWACS. The approval was granted in the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security.
                        DRDO officials announced that DRDO would work for finalisation of further details of the programmes as well as the number of aircrafts that IAF would need for giving overall coverage to India’s boundaries. At present, India has a fleet of three AWACS aircraft.
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