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September (26 - 30) Current Affairs


International



German Parliament approved expanded powers for the EU’s main bailout fund. The Parliament voted in favour of an enhanced 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Many Germans are against committing more money to prop up struggling eurozone members such as Greece.

The approval by the Parliament means that it would allow the fund to buy bonds of distressed states and offer emergency loans to governments and offer emergency loans to governments. Earlier, Finnish parliament approved the proposed overhaul of the EFSF. The EU bailout fund must win the approval of all euro-zone members.




French government identified Bhopal and Maheshwar for conservation of their heritages under its Indian Heritage Cities Network. The heritage buildings of Bhopal , which will be taken up for conservation and augmentation works, include Sadar Manzil, Pari Bazaar and three ancient reservoirs - Motia Talab, Siddique Hasan Khan Talab and Munshi Hussain Khan Talab.





World Tourism Day (WTD) is observed anually on  27 September. In 2011 WTD was celebrated  with the theme Tourism – Linking Cultures. World Tourism Day (WTD) 2011 highlighted the role of the tourism industry in bringing together the cultures of the world and promoting global  understanding through travel. Egypt was the host country for the official celebration of WTD 2011.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 940 million tourists travelled  in 2010 to a different country, coming into direct contact with tangible (art, monuments) and intangible (music,  traditions) elements of culture.





India and three other members of G-4 countries pledged to work together to bring about urgent reforms in the UN Security Council. This was done after the Ministerial meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. G-4 countries called for enlarging the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

The G-4 countries reiterated their common vision of an enlarged security council for the 21st century, expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership taking into consideration the contribution made by the countries to maintenance of international peace and security as well as the need for increase representation of developing countries in both categories.

The G4 is an alliance among Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan for the purpose of supporting each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. The G4's primary aim is the permanent member seats on the UN Security Council.



National



The tenth annual report on Safai Karmcharis was presented to the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Mukul Wasnik by the Chairman of the National Commission for Safai Karmcharis Kamla Gurjar on 28 September 2011. The report was released by the National Commission for Safai Karmcharis.

The report is aimed at making the Government cognizant of the ground realities so that an effective action plan for mitigating the plight of Safai Karamcharis/manual scavengers is taken up on top priority at national level.





The Gujarat Legislative Assembly on 27 September 2011 passed the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 2011. The bill seeks seven-year jail term for cow slaughter or even transporting the animal for that purpose.





The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on 30 September 2011 was appointed as external auditor of two major UN organisations, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

It is for the first time that a supreme audit institution from outside Europe has been appointed to these prestigious positions in these two organisations. These appointments were made in the face of competition from other developed countries like the U.K., Spain and Norway. The tenure of these audits could extend up to six years.





The Union Government announced the reconstitution of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) under the chairmanship of V. Krishnamurthy. The NMCC was restructured vide a Government Gazette Notification dated 17 August 2011.

The council is to energise and sustain the growth of manufacturing industries and help in the implementation of strategies by the government.

NMCC was set up by the government as an inter-disciplinary body at the highest level to serve as a policy forum for credible and coherent policy initiatives in the manufacturing sector.





India post signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Stock Exchange (NSE) for deploying LCD TV screens in selected post offices across the country.

The MOU was signed by Alka Jha, General Manager (BP), India Post and T. Vanket Rao, Vice President of National Stock Exchange. This MOU is aimed at creating financial awareness among the public. To begin with LCD TV screens will be deployed in 50 post offices across the country.





Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi released Book on 20 Great Personalities of India. Social activist and National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy unveiled the first copy of the book and presented it to National Commission for Minorities chairperson Wajahat Habibullah.

The book carved out the lives of prominent personalities ranging from Jayaprakash Narayan to Jyoti Basu, K. R. Narayanan to R. Venkataraman to Pupul Jayakar, Mahatma Gandhi to the Dalai Lama. M. S. Subbulakshmi was another character who found mention in the book.



Bilateral



India and Myanmar on 27 September 2011 agreed to set a 3 billion US dollars as trade target. The trade target will be achieved by 2015. At present, the bilatral trade between India and Myanmar is 1.5 billion US dollars. 

This was decided at a fourth meeting of joint trade commission which was attended by the Union Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma and the Myanmar’s Minister of Commerce, U. Win Myint.





India and Pakistan have agreed to normalise their economic relations and jointly work to double bilateral trade to six billion US dollars by 2014. This was agreed during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Pakistan Commerce Minister Makdhoom Mohammad Amin Fahmin in New Delhi. 

At present, their bilateral trade is 2.7 billion US dollars. Pakistan has also agreed to implement all the obligations under the South Asian Free Trade Area, SAFTA Agreement meeting a long pending demand from India.





India and Bhutan signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a period of five years to facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience, information, material, expertise and technical knowhow, training of personnel and development of human resources in electoral matters and also for taking up joint initiatives and providing assistance to others. 

The MoU was signed during the visit of Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi to Bhutan on 16-18 September 2011.





India and Nepal resumed bilateral talks on security issues in Kathmandu on 22 September 2011. The-two-day joint secretary level talks between India and Nepal was resumed after a gap of four years. The last one was held in New Delhi in 2007.

Besides information sharing and security issues, India and Nepal also discussed about construction of the Nepal Police Academy at Panauti with Indian assistance of 5 billion Nepali rupees. The two nations also deliberated on border management and trans-border crime, human trafficking and smuggling of fake Indian currency through the open border.

Although India-Nepal agreement to hold joint-secretary level security talks every six months is in place, the security talks were not held for the past four years. India and Nepal share 1800 km long border between them.





India and China held their first comprehensive Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing on 26 September 2011. During this dialogue, India and China agreed to deepen bilateral investment cooperation, further opening markets and improve the investment environment. Beijing is the capital of China.   

The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy efficiency and conservation, as well as on environmental protection.



Business



GAIL India become the first public sector entity and the second Indian firm after Mukesh Ambani’s RIL to acquire shale gas assets abroad. GAIL India on 29 September 2011 on 29 September 2011 announced a deal with USbased Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc for acquiring a 20% interest in the latter’s Eagle Ford Shale acreage.






Asia’s oldest bourse Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 28 September 2011 got an approval to set up an exchange for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).





The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) on 29 September 2011 lowered its forecast for GDP growth to around 8 per cent in 2011-12, from its earlier estimate of 8.2 per cent. 

The eastimate was lowered on account of persistently high inflation, slowing industrial expansion and global uncertainties posing a challenge to economic growth.





A government panel headed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira in its report presented on 27 September 2011, mentioned there should there should be no restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Rs 47000 crore pharmaceuticals sector.





According to Comptroller General of Accounts data released on 30 September, the government’s fiscal deficit surged nearly two-fold to Rs 2.73 lakh crore during the first five months (April-August) of the current fiscal 2011-12 due to low revenue realisation. Deficit was Rs 1.5 lakh crore in April-August period of 2010.

The higher deficit in the April-August, 2011 was attributed to slowdown in net revenue collection following higher refunds and moderation in economic growth rate. 

The government decided to increase 2011’s borrowing target by an additional Rs 53,000 crore anticipating slower tax collections and lower disinvestment proceeds.





According to the report by Crisil Research, companies are likely to post a revenue growth of around 15 per cent, as compared to 19 per cent in April-June quarter and 22 per cent in July-September quarter of 2010. The report is based on an analysis of the aggregate financial performance of select companies across 21 industries (excluding banks and oil csompanies).

Real estate companies are likely to see their revenues fall by about 5 per cent in the July-September period due to increase in cost of inputs like cement. 

During the same period, airline companies are likely to see EBITDA margins decline sharply to 10 per cent from 22 per cent in 2010 due to higher aviation turbine fuel costs.





UNICEF in its finding for the year 2008 estimated that as many as 63.8 crore people In India practice open defecation due to inadequate sanitation. India accounts for 58 percent of those who practice open defecation across the globe.

UNICEF estimated that as many as 63.8 crore people, that is, 54 percent of the country's population, practice open defecation due to inadequate sanitation. Only five states in India - Kerala, Sikkim, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra - are doing well in sanitation. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 10 percent of population that suffers on account of inadequate sanitation.





Weiss Umwelttechink of Germany on 2 October 2011 launched its Indian subsidiary Weiss Technik India Pvt. Ltd. with the objective of catering to the growing needs of the Indian market. Weiss Umwelttechnik GmbH is a subsidiary of the Shcunk Group and a manufacturer of testing chambers and systems for environmental simulation. 

The company already has over 700 installations in India.Weiss at present has a manufacturing facility in China with technology from Germany. A facility in India would focus on a different range of products.





The Union government on 30 September 2011 increased the foreign direct investment limit for FM radio from 20 per cent to 26 per cent. The government also exempted the education sector and old-age homes from the conditions imposed in the construction sector.

The FDI limit in terrestrial broadcasting and FM radio was approved by the Cabinet in July 2011. TRAI in 2010 had made necessary recommendations arguing that increasing the limit will help the third-phase for FM radio, which will see 806 FM stations across 217 cities.



Persons



The Ministry of Finance (Department of Financial Services) on 27 september 2011 appointed K. S. Sreenivasan as part-time, non-official director on the board of Oriental Bank of Commerce. Sreenivasan has been appointed for a period of three years.





Leading Punjabi playwright and theatre personality Gursharan Singh popularly known as bhajji died on 28 September 2011. Gursharan Singh was known to have developed the character of Bhai Manna Singh through his plays.





Three distinguished Indian Americans, two inventors and a researcher were named by US President Barack Obama on 27 September 2011 as recipients of National Medal of Science, and for Technology and Innovation.

New York University’s Srinivasa SR Vardhan, Purdue University’s Rakesh Agarwal, and North Carolina State University’s B Jayant Baliga were the three Indians selected.





Rajiv Petrochemicals' chairman & managing director Rajiv Vastupal was elected president of the All-India Management Association (AIMA). He succeeded Gautam Thapar.

Vastupal, who was previously AIMA’s senior vice-president, will lead the organisation to build managerial excellence in India.





Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai died on 25 September 2011 in Nairobi. The first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai had began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees.  The Green Belt Movement organization founded by her in 1977 mentioned that she had been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year.

Wangari Muta Maathai was born on 1 April 1940, in Nyeri, Kenya.  She won a scholarship to study biology at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison and received a degree in 1964.



Awards



The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) on 28 September 2011 conferred the Rajiv Gandhi International Prize for Technology in Education and Development on the Azim Premji Foundation. 

The award instituted by the university in its silver jubilee year was presented to Azim Premji by Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.





Legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar was honoured with the first Hridaynath award for her contribution to Indian music on 28 September 2011. On 28 September, which also happened to be Lata Mangeshakar’s (82) birthday, she was presented a cheque of Rs one lakh, a trophy and a shawl by megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

The award has been instituted by Hridayesh Art, a Mumbai- based socio-cultural organisation in honour of Lata Mangeshkar’s brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar.





Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on its Foundation Day celebrated on 26 September 2011 presented the CSIR Young Scientist Awards 2011 that seek to promote in- house excellence in various fields of science and technology.

CSIR Young Scientist Awards were instituted in 1987. CSIR Young Scientist Awards seek to promote in- house excellence in various fields of science and technology. CSIR scientist, below 35 years of age, as reckoned on 26 September (CSIR Fondation Day) of the preceding year, is eligible for the Award.

The CSIR Young Scientist Award for the Year 2011 in Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences was awarded to Dr Arun Singh of CSIR National Geophysical Research Institute. Dr Rajeev Saraswat of CSIR National Institute of Oceanography also received the award in this category.

The CSIR Young Scientist Award for the year 2011 in Engineering Sciences was awarded to Dr Amol Arvindrao Kulkarni and Dr Kaushik Biswas.



Sports



The ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on 1 October 2011 announced the decision to set up the National Institute of Sports Science and Medicine (NISSM). 

NISSM will have its premises at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium in New Delhi. The institute will aim at fostering disciplines like Physiology, Nutrition, Psychology, Anthropometry, Nutrition, Biochemistry and Sports medicine.





The Indian kabaddi team lifted its first-ever Circle Style Asian kabaddi title by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 53-38 at Tabriz in Iran on 27 September 2011.

India and Pakistan were almost on even terms at the half- time score of 24-22, but in the second half India dominated proceedings leeading to a huge 15-point difference.

It is for the first time that the championship was played outside India. Eight nations participated in the championship.





Salgaocar defeated East Bengal 3-1 in the final of the 33rd Federation Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on 29 September 2011

Salgaocar became the first non-Kolkata club to win the premier domestic cup competition in Indian football since Mahindra United in 2005.




International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF) aanounced on 28 September 2011 its decision to shift the venue for IBSF World Men's Snooker Championship from Bahrain to Bangalore. 

IBSF World Men's Snooker Championship is scheduled to be held from 28 November to 3 December 2011.





Myanmar was banned from taking part in qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup and fined 25000 Swiss francs (28000 US dollars) by FIFA on 30 September 2011. 

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) banned Myanmar because of the trouble caused by the crowd in 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Oman on 28 July 2011.





Kenyan Patrick Makau on  shattered the world men's marathon record by 21 seconds when he clocked two hours three minutes 38 seconds in Berlin course.

Makau ran alone for the final 12 kms to break the previous mark of 2:03:59 set by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie on the same course. It was the fifth time the men's world record fell on the 42.195-km race through the heart of the German capital.





Chen Long won the Men's Singles Badminton Title at the Japan Open. In the women's singles final, Chinese World champion and No. 1 Wang Yihan whipped the eighth-seeded Juliane Schenk of Germany 21-16, 21-14 in 43 minutes to regain the title she won in 2008 and 2009.





India’s Deepika Kumari of India settled for a silver after being defeated by China’s Cheng Ming 5-6 in the tie-breaker of the women’s individual recurve summit clash at the World Cup archery finals in Istanbul on 25 September 2011.

Deepika had earlier overcome Berengene Schuh 6-0 to enter the final. She had defeated Alejandra Valencia of Mexico 6-4 in the quarterfinals.





Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore on 25 September 2011. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who held off a charging Jenson Button to win the Singapore Grand Prix is currently one point away from becoming Formula One's youngest double World champion.

The 24-year-old German led from pole to flag and despite a spirited challenge over the final five laps from Button, held on to move 124 points clear of the Briton with just 125 available from the five races remaining.



Science and Technology



China on 29 September 2011 successfully launched its first unmanned space laboratory Tiangong-1 from a site in the Gobi Desert. Tiangong-1 means heavenly palace. 

This launch makes China the third country after Russia and USA to operate a permanent space station. The space lab launched by China is expected to be operational by 2020.

The Tiangong-1 will orbit on its own for a month after which it will be joined by another spaceship, Shenzhou-8. Both will then carry out the first space docking.





Planetary scientists provided new insights into the process behind the evolution of Earth. They demonstrated how salty water and gases transfer from the atmosphere into our planet’s interior. 

An international team led by Mark Kendrick at the University of Melbourne showed that atmospheric gases are mixed into the mantle, inside the Earth’s interior, during the process called subduction. 

During subduction, techtonic plates collide and submerge beneath volcanoes in subduction zones.





Boeing's first long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft P-8I for the Indian Navy completed its initial flight on 29 September 2011 at the Boeing Field in Seattle, USA.

Test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes during the flight. The plane was taken to an altitude of 41,000 ft and stayed airborne for two and half hours.

India awarded a $2.1-billion (around Rs9450 crore) contract to Boeing in January 2009 for eight such planes to replace the ageing fleet of Soviet-era Tu-142s.





Surface to surface strategic PRITHVI (P-II) Missile developed by DRDO was successfully flight tested at on 26 September 2011, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur, Balasore District in Orissa. The launch operations were carried out by the Armed Forces as a part of regular training exercises.

The flight test of the Prithvi missile met all the mission objectives. PRITHVI-II, the first indigenous surface to surface strategic Missile, capable of hitting targets at ranges of 350 kms, reached the predefined target in the Bay of Bengal with a very high accuracy of better than 10 meters. The surface-to-surface missile has a range of 350km and can carry a warhead weighing up to 500kg.





Nuclear-capable surface-to-surface medium range missile, Shaurya, was test-fired from Chandipur-on-sea off the Orissa coast on 24 September 2011. The missile with a maximum range of 750 km was test-fired from an underground silo at Integrated Test Range of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Shaurya is 10 metre in length and about half-a-metre in width. It uses solid fuel that gives it a longer service-life and shorter launch time compared to the missiles which use liquid fuel. It is is a two stage, solid fueled weapon and can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads.



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