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September ( 1 - 4 ) Current Affairs




International


>> Asia to add 1.66 million dollar-millionaires by 2015. According to the forecast of Swiss wealth manager, Julius Baer, Asia will add 1.66 million dollar-millionaires by 2015, taking the total number of wealthy to 2.82 million. According to the report, the wealth of high networth individuals (HNIs), those with $1 million or more in investable assets, would nearly triple to $15.8 trillion in the five years to 2015.



>> China alone would be home to nearly half of the millionaires in Asia with combined wealth of $8.8 trillion. The world's most populous nation would have 502,000 million HNIs with investable assets totaling $2.6 trillion.

India would more than double the number of HNIs to 403000 by 2015, while Indonesia would see the highest growth rate in the number of wealthy, up by a quarter to 99000.

As per the forecast that China and India would collectively contribute 40 percent to global growth for 2011 and 2012.



>> Global Liveability Survey picked Australian city Melbourne as the World’s most Liveable City. According to the economic intelligence unit’s new Global Liveability Survey, Australian city Melbourne was found to be the world’s most liveable city, while India’s business capital Mumbai was placed at 116th position. The annual survey assessed living conditions in 140 global cities.

According to the report, India’s commercial hub Mumbai is ranked 116th, one place up from its previous year‘s ranking. In 2010, Mumbai was ranked 117th while Delhi was at 113th position.

Other Australian cities in the top 10 included Sydney, placed at 6th, while Perth and Adelaide ranked 8th and 9th.

The top 10 cities included Toronto at (4th), Calgary (5th), Helsinki (7th) and Auckland (10th). London was ranked 53, while at 26 Honolulu was the top US city.

The worst to live in among the 140 locations were Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh’s Dhaka and Zimbabwe’s Harare.




National

>> Rajya Sabha Approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill-2011. Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament, approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill -2011 on 29 August 2011. The Bill sought to extend the term of the Council of Governors by two years. The objective of the bill is to provide better health facilities in the country. It was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha on 18 August 2011.

The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2011 was promulgated by the President in the sixty second year of the Republic of India. It sought to further amend the Indian Council Act, 1956. 



>> The Public Grievance Redressal Cell became Functional in Kerala. In Kerala, the IT enabled round the clock public grievance redressal cell in Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's office began functioning from 1 September 2011.

The new facility was inaugurated to ensure speed and transparency in administration. The Chief Minister said people can lodge complaints from anywhere in the world, anytime throughout the week.



>> Yashwant Sinha led Parliamentary Standing Committee’s recommendations on the PFRDA Bill. A parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance headed by Yashwant Sinha in its recommendations on the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, 2011, recommended that subscribers to the New Pension System (NPS) should get an assured return on their investments. The committee also suggested imposing a 26 per cent cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in pension programmes.

The PFRDA Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in March, 2011 includes no provisions pertaining to FDI. The committee opined that the inclusion of FDI policy in the provisions of the PFRDA Bill would be appropriate.
As on 31 March 2011, total assets managed by the pension fund managers amounted to Rs.8,585 crore.

Subscribers to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) get annualised interest of 9.5 per cent on their contribution. The NPSlaunched in January2004 has about 24 lakh subscribers, mostly those employed with the Central Government.



>> Parliamentary Railway Convention Committee directed Indian Railways to observe Fiscal Discipline. A parliamentary railway convention committee directed the Indian railways to observe greater fiscal discipline by focusing on reducing working expenses and escalating project costs.  The panel asked railways to allocate more sums on safety fund, which could be used on conversion of unmanned crossings, replacement of old assets and construction of over and under bridges.

The committee observed that the railways needed Rs 1.30 lakh crore to complete its huge projects’ backlog.

The committee noted that budgetary provisions made for railways safety fund declined from Rs 1071.36 crore during 2009-10 to Rs 935 crore for 2010-11 (RE) as against Rs 1,043 crore budgeted for the fiscal.



>> Assam Government Decided to Undertake Adult Vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis in the most endemic Sibsagar district on an experimental basis. The vaccination will start on 15 October 2011 and continue for 10 days.

The vaccination programme is expected to cover around five lakh adult population in the tea garden-dominated Sibsagar district in Upper Assam. It was for the first time in India that an adult vaccination programme was being undertaken.



>> Union Government Signed MoU with University of Melbourne to address the Problem of Mental Health in the country and the treatment gap on it. A MoU was signed in Delhi between the Health and Family Welfare Ministry and University of Melbourne to this effect. Varsity pro-vice chancellor Simon Evans said the collaboration will lead to the development of community mental health models in India that can be scaled up to increase access to effective care for people with mental illness.

The University of Melbourne  is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria.



>> Bihar Government Decided to Impose Professional Tax on all Salaried Persons. The Bihar State Assembly on 30 August 2011 passed the Bihar Profession, Trade, Livelihood and Employment Tax Bill, 2011, paving the way for the imposition of the tax. All salaried persons, professionals or self employed working in the state having an income of more than 3 lakh will have to pay professional tax.

Anyone with an annual income of three lakh to five lakh will have to pay one thousand rupees as professional tax, and those in the income bracket of five lakh to ten lakh will have to pay two thousand, while those having an income of over ten lakh will end up paying rupees two thousand five hundred every year.



>> Government gave its Nod to White Tiger Breeding Centre. The Central Zoo Authority has approved the breeding centre at Govindgarh in Madhya Pradesh, which has the unique distinction of being the home of white tigers.

The government preferred Madhya Pradesh to set up the conservation breeding centre as the last white tiger named Mohan was caught in the forests of Sidhi district (now the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve) in 1950 and reared by the erstwhile Maharaja of Rewa at Govindgarh. According to the Ministry's Project Tiger documents, there are many white tigers in captivity, though almost all of them have descended from the wild white Bengal tiger Mohan.



>> The Union Cabinet Approved the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India Bill. The Union Cabinet of India on 30 August 2011 cleared the Nuclear Safety And Regulatory Authority Bill 2011. The Bill envisages an Autonomous Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.  A high level panel have finalised the rules of implementation of nuclear liability law.

Government has planned to increase nuclear power capacity to 63000 MW by 2032 from the present 4,780 MW.  Indian Government decided to set up NRAI in the backdrop of the Fukushima nuclear accident.




Economic

>> CSO Data revealed Growth in the April-June Quarter of 2011-12 Quarter stood at 7.7%. Data released by the Central Statistics Office on 30 August 2011 showed growth in the April-June quarter of the current financial year 2011-12 stood at 7.7% compared to 8.8% in the same period in 2010-11 fiscal. In the January-March quarter 2010-11, the economy expanded 7.8%.

The GDP data based on the revamped Index of Industrial Production (IIP) resulted in revisions in mining, manufacturing, electricity and trade, hotels and restaurant sectors. Accordingly, the government revised downwards the first quarter growth for 2010-11 from 9.3 per cent to 8.8 per cent.



>> Food Inflation reached Double-digit 10.05%.  Food inflation reached the double-digit limit, 10.05% for the week ended 20 August 2011 as per the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 1 September 2011. The food inflation crossed the double digit mark after five months. The rise was mainly due a huge increase in prices of vegetables and onions.

Headline inflation in June 2011 stood at 9.22 per cent. Both the central bank and PMEAC had projected headline inflation to remain high at around 9 per cent till October 2011.



>> 35 Indian Companies in Forbes Asia's Best Under a Billion List for 2011.
Thirty-five Indian companies are included in the top 200 Asia-Pacific corporations in Forbes Asia's Best Under a Billion list for 2011 released on 31 August 2011. The number of Indian companies was second only to the 65 firms from both China and Hong Kong that found a place in the list.

Among the Indian companies that made the grade were SRF which manufactures chemical-based industrial intermediates, Polyplex, which makes polyester film and Glodyne Technoserve, an IT services company.

However, India's largest storage-battery producer, Exide Industries which was present in the list in 2010 grew too big to be included in the 200-company list for 2011 since it breached the USD 1 billion sales mark in the past 12 months.



>> India Post signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with VFS Global.
India Post on 2 September 2011 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with VFS Global to provide visa related services for different countries through post offices. The MoU set out broad understanding and intention of both the parties to provide visa related services at places where they are not currently available.

Post Office counters will be used for fee collection, providing visa application forms, dissemination of visa information, biometric enrollment and other visa application process related services.
VFS Global is in the business of visa application services and is currently working with 35 governments across the world.



>> Supreme Court: Hiring a Lawyer not Mandatory for a Person to Fight his Case in Consumer Forum.
The Supreme Court has said that hiring a lawyer is not mandatory for a person to fight his case in a consumer forum and he can plead his case personally or through his agent. A three-judge bench said that the Consumer Protection Act mentioned clearly that a person can plead his case through his agent and it will be against the consumer to force him to hire the services of an advocate for his case.



Persons

>> Soumitra Sen resigned ahead of the Impeachment Process in Lok Sabha.
Calcutta judge Soumitra Sen on 1 September 2011 resigned from the position of judge. He submitted his resignation to the President prior to impeachment process scheduled in the Lok Sabha and after the upper House had overwhelmingly voted to declare him guilty of financial misconduct.



>> Justice Sen was found guilty of misappropriating sale proceeds to the tune of Rs 24 lakh in a case in 1984 where he was appointed as receiver by the Calcutta High Court. He was an advocate at that time. He was later directed to deposit Rs 52 lakh by the High Court. He had allegedly unauthorisedly taken out Rs 25 lakh from another account and invested it elsewhere.  An in-house committee in its 6 February 2008 report had found him guilty of breach of trust and misappropriation of receiver's funds for his personal gain.  A three-member committee headed Supreme Court judge Justice B Sudershan Reddy in its report of September 2010 found Justice Sen guilty of misbehaviour.



>> Veteran Journalist & Former President of Indian Journalist’s Association Kalyan K. Chaudhuri died. Veteran journalist Kalyan K. Chaudhuri died on 2 September 2011. He was a Special Correspondent for Frontline magazine from August 1991 till retirement in December 2003. Chaudhuri was known for his informed journalistic writing.

As a journalist he focussed primarily on political developments in the eastern region. He was president of the Indian Journalists' Association in 1988.



>> Tory Tan won the Presidential Election in Singapore to become the Country’s Seventh President. Former Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan won the presidential election in Singapore to become the  country’s seventh President.  The results were declared on 28 August 2011.

Tan received 35 percent of about 2.1 million votes in the election. Tory Tan was backed by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

The PAP maintains a large majority in Parliament, with 81 of 87 seats.




Sports

>> Lashinda Demus, Jenny Simpson & Jesse Williams won Gold for the US at 13th World Athletics Champions.  At the 13th World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, USA won gold in three events out of the total six events held on 1 September 2011.

Lashinda Demus in the 400 metres hurdles, 1,500 metres runner Jenny Simpson and high jumper Jesse Williams won the gold medals and lifted the United States to the top of the medals table. Simpson’s winning time of four minutes 05.40 seconds was however the slowest to win a world title.

Demus ran 52.47 seconds in the 400 metres hurdles, beating defending champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica into silver with Russian Natalya Antyukh bronze. Williams completed a hat-trick of golds for the United States when he won the men's high jump with his first attempt at 2.35 metres, the first U.S. gold in the event in 20 years.



>> Olympic Champion Olga Kaniskina won her Third Consecutive World Women's 20km Walk Title. In the 13th World Championships in Athletics that started in Daegu, South Korea, olympic champion Olga Kaniskina won her third consecutive World women's 20km walk title on 31 August 2011.

The Russian completed the race in 1hr 29min 42sec, 18sec ahead of her nearest rival, China's Liu Hong. Liu Hong won silver and Anisya Kirdyapkina of Russia won bronze (1:30.13). Silver medallist Liu had won bronze in Berlin (2009 worldchampionship).

Kaniskina's three consecutive world titles matched the feat of Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, who won the men's 20km titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007.



>> Denmanrk’s golfer Thomas Bjorn won the European Masters. Denmanrk’s golfer Thomas Bjorn secured back-to-back titles for the first time in his career after winning the European Masters on 4 September 2011.
Bjorn’s 9-under 62 helped him finish with a 20-under total of 264, four shots clear of Germany’s Martin Kaymer. He thus earned the 333,333 euro ($473,000 U.S.) winner’s prize.





Science and Technology

>> Oldest Stone Tools dated 1.76 mn year & Popularly known as Acheulian Tools discovered in Kenya.  New geological study reported in the journal Nature on 1 September mentioned the recovery of rare haul of picks, flakes and hand axes from ancient sediments in Kenya. The stone tools are believed to be the oldest remains of advanced stone tools yet discovered. Archaeologists unearthed the implements while excavating mudstone banks on the shores of Lake Turkana in the remote north-west of the country.

Researchers dated the sediments where the tools were found to 1.76 million years old. Until now, the earliest stone tools of this kind were estimated to be 1.4m years old and came from a haul in Konso, Ethiopia. Others found in India are dated more vaguely, between 1m and 1.5m years old.



>> Russian and US Scientists to Study the Emission of Methane Gas in the Eastern Arctic. A group of Russian and US scientists has launched an expedition to study unprecedented emission of methane gas in the eastern Arctic. The expedition will focus on the sea shelf of the Laptev Sea, the Russian part of the Chukotka Sea and the East Siberian Sea. According to an estimate, 90 percent of underwater permafrost is located there.

The expedition was organised by the Russian fund of Fundamental research and the US National Science Foundation. They took this step after a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the seabed in the eastern part of the Arctic was registered.



>> IBM to acquire Toronto-based Risk Analytics Software Firm Algorithmics.  U.S. IT company IBM decided to acquire Toronto-based risk analytics software firm Algorithmics for $387 million in cash to enhance its financial services capabilities. The acquisition is expected to further expand IBM’s business analytics capabilities by helping clients manage financial risk.

IBM realised that there was significant demand from banks, financial markets and insurance firms for analytical insight, both to improve performance and comply with increased regulation.



>> Planetary Scientists Discovered the Closest Young Star to Earth. An international team carried out a research and showed that the star, named AP Columbae, is the closest so-called pre mainsequence star.






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