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September (19 - 25) Current Affairs

International


American multinational conglomerate 3M on 23 September 2011 announced the launch of its second research and development facility in Bangalore, India. 3 M established R&D centre with an investment of 100 crore rupees. Although the company had a bigger presence in China, revenues in China were growing faster.

The company plans to increase its sales in India from 1175 crore to 5000 crore rupees within the next five years. American multinational conglomerate 3M, was earlier known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.





Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed by a suicide bomber killed in Kabul on 20 September 2011. As head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, Rabbani shouldered responsibility to find a political solution to the 10-year war with the Taliban. Rabbani was given the dangerous and difficult job of guiding the negotiations between the government and its opponents, including the Taliban. His death will impact the future of the war in Afghanistan.

Rabbani began his career in 1971, when he became head of Jamiat-e-Islami. The Islamist party later formed one of the mujahedeen groups that fought Soviet forces following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.





The NATO agreed on 21 September 2011 to extend its mission in Libya by 3 months. The NATO had taken over the mission in Libya on 31 March 2011. The mission was mandated by United Nations (UN). The current operation mandate was due to expire on 27 September 2011 and it was the second 90-day extension to the mission to protect civilians.

The mission was extended because Muammar Gaddafi, the ousted ruler of Libya is still at large. Gaddafi loyalists are holding the area called Bani Wahid and denying the new government a complete victory over the region.





The WikiLeaks founder founder Julian Assange’s unauthorised autobiography was released by publishers Canongate. Copies of the unauthorised autobiography of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are placed on display for sale in a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland on 22 September 2011. The unauthorised autobiography was released amid heavy secrecy to stop the author from seeking an injunction to block publication.

The book is based on an early 70000-word draft of the manuscript written by Assange with the novelist Andrew O'Hagan and was shown to the publishers in March 2011.





India on 22 September 2011 took over the presidency of the G-24 group of 24 developing countries after a gap of 28 years. Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee took over the Presidency of the group from South African finance minister Pravin J Gordhan. Egypt was elected the Vice Chair of the group. The last time India held the Presidency of the group was in 1983-84. Interestingly, Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister at the time and thus chaired the G-24.

Members of G-24 group are spread equally over Asia, Africa and Latin America. From Asia, the members include Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Iran, the Philippines, Syria and Sri Lanka. There are eight members each from Africa and Latin America.

G-24 was Established in 1971. It coordinates the position of developing countries on monetary and development issues, particularly issues on the agendas of the IMF and the World Bank. The group was formed to balance the influence of the G-10 economic grouping.


National


According to data released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 23 September 2011, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the top three states from where maximum cases of bonded labour have been reported in the past 18 years.

As per the report 1300 cases of human rights violations pertaining to bonded labour were reported from Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab (465) and Haryana (425). Delhi stood at the ninth position with 45 such cases.

According to the data released by NHRC over 40 per cent of the 2,800 bonded labour cases which were reported to the commission are yet to be solved.





Election Commission of India (ECI) for the first time decided to deploy volunteers of National Service Scheme (NSS) and cadets of National Cadet Corps (NCC) for election duty in Uttar Pradesh and other states going for Assembly polls in 2012.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) planned to deploy NSS volunteers and NCC cadets outside polling stations on election day to maintain discipline and ensure voters stand in queue without facing inconvenience. ECI has planned to deploy the volunteers at polling stations with more than 1,000 voters and where there are more than two booths in the same place.




Goa became the first state in India to launch Swarnajayanti Aarogya Bima Yojana providing health insurance cover for the entire resident population of the State. 

The State Government on 20 September 2011 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ICICI Lombard which is the implementing agency for the new health insurance cover. About 3.2 lakh families in the state would be entitled to be in the purview of the scheme.





Delhi state government announced free housing for Schedule Caste living in jhuggis under the Rajiv Ratna Yojana. Under this scheme, 70000 houses will be built. 

The government also decided to provide 60000 rupees, which is supposed to be paid to the people living in jhuggis under the rehabilitation process.





HALCON along with terminal operator Clarion Solutions on 20 September announced the commencement of air cargo services at the Ojhar airport in Nashik in Maharashtra. HALCON is a joint venture working group between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and Container Corporation of India (Concor).

The airport is owned by HAL, which invested around Rs.70 crore in developing the infrastructure. While the airport, runway and air traffic control (ATC) will be managed by HAL, the cargo complex is to be managed by Clarion Solutions, which is assigned terminal operator, ground handling operator and regulated agent.





The Union governemnt on 20 September 2011 lifted the ban on export of onions. The Minimum Export Price (MEP) was fixed at $ 475 a tonne, the same level when the government decided to prohibit onion shipment. The MEP is to be reviewed every fortnight and a close watch would be kept on the domestic arrivals, total exports, overall domestic availability and domestic prices.

The ban was imposed on 9 September 2011 to check the spiralling prices that touched Rs. 25 a kg in retail in Delhi. While the ban brought down the wholesale prices by Rs. 2-5 a kg in Delhi, the decision triggered protests from farmers in the key producing regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka.





The Union government on 21 September 2011 constituted an inter-ministerial team to visit the areas affected by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, the epicenter for which was in Sikkim. The earthquake hit the eastern and north eastern region on 18 September 2011.

The Centre has constituted an inter-ministerial team to visit the affected places in the State and give its recommendations for assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund.





The Union government of India made it mandatory for tobacco traders, retailers, vendors to display the pictorial warning on all the tobacco related products at their stores. The government did so according to the new regulation under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Amendment Rules-2011.






A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Sikkim-Nepal border on 18 September 2011 and sent shock waves across north and east India and Bangladesh. The quake’s epicenter lay in an area in Sikkim 64 km from the capital, Gangtok. The earth quake was followed by three strong aftershocks measuring 5.7, 5.3 and 4.6 on the Richter scale.





The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on 8 September 2011 was certified for ISO 50001:2011 energy management system. DIAL became the first airport operator to receive this certification. The certificate was presented by British Standards Institution (BSI) India Managing Director Venkataram Arabolu.


Bilateral


India and Zimbabwe on 21 September 2011 agreed to expedite the ratification process of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) during the visit of Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Jyotiraditya Scindia. 

BIPA aims at boosting bilateral investments. The BIPA was signed between India and South Africa in February 1999 but hasn’t come into force. The Bilateral trade between India and Zimbabwe stood at 125 million US dollars in 2010-11. India and Zimbabwe also launched a chamber of commerce during his visit.





India and South Africa agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise) sector. This was agreed in a bilateral meeting between Jyotiradiya M Scindia, Minister of state Commerce and Industries and Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister for Trade & Industry, government of South Africa. South Africa houses many prominent centres of learning and excellence. The MSME sector accounts for a large share of industrial output, employment and exports in both countries. There are immense opportunities of cooperation and strategic alliances in MSME sector, which could be in the form of joint ventures, technology collaborations or marketing tie-ups.

The total trade between the two countries in the financial year 2010-11 was 10.6 billion US dollars, higher than bilateral trade target of 10 billion US dollars by the year 2012, set during the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma to India in June, 2010. A revised bilateral trade target of 15 billion US dollars has been set for the year 2014 during the meeting of Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Government of South Africa held on 10 January, 2011. South Africa is India’s 2nd largest trading partner in Africa. There is, however, ample scope of diversifying the existing trade basket by bringing in many more manufactured goods.





India signed DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) with Estonia on 19 September 2011 and forged a pact to work with it in the field of information, communications and technology (ICT). The DTAA and the pact on ICT was signed during the visit of communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal to Estonia. Kapil signed the DTAA with Estonian Minister of Finance Jurgen Ligi. 

India will also set up a Chair on Cyber Security in Tallinn University and a Chair on Indian languages, history and literature in another of Estonia’s universities.





BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) on 19 September 2011 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with America’s largest manufacturer of Light Emitting Diodes (LED)’s, Lighting Science Group (LSG). 

The far reaching MoU, a first of its kind in India will ensure that the two collaborate and explore avenues to demonstrate and promote energy efficiency using the next gen LED lighting. This association is expected to enable BRPL and LSG to explore opportunities to demonstrate the benefits of LED lighting.





The government-run Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) setup its first overseas campus in Kampala, Uganda to assist students of African nations understand the nuances of globalisation and capacity-building in the continent.

The new institute, named India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), is being set up as a part of the Indian government's initiative to help develop a higher education system in African countries in specialised fields.





India-Japan global partnership summit 2011 was held in Tokyo, Japan on 5-7 September 2011. To mark 10 years of the announcement of India-Japan Global Partnership Agreement, the India Center Foundation organized this summit. 

Apart from socio-cultural exchanges, this summit provided a platform for face to face discussion among the top business leaders, policy makers, opinion leaders and academicians from both nations.


Economic


Securities and Exchange Boar of India (SEBI) on 23 September 2011 notified the new takeover rule under which an entity buying 25% stake in a listed firm will have to mandatorily make an open offer to buy an additional 26% shares from the public. The notification follows the decision taken at SEBI's board meeting in July 2011.

The new norms mark an increase in the open offer size for public shareholders from 20 per cent currently. The trigger for making such an offer was raised from 15 per cent under the existing regulations.

According to SEBI no acquirer shall acquire shares in a target company which taken together with shares or voting rights held by him entitle them to exercise 25 per cent or more of the voting rights unless the acquirer makes a public announcement of an open offer.




The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 22 September 2011 directed banks to implement various safety measures related to credit card and debit card usage over a period of next two years in order to eliminate cases of fraud and ensure security of transactions.

The RBI emphasised on the need to migrate to Euro pay MasterCard Visa (EMV) chip and PIN based cards from the present magnetic strip cards as the magnetic strip card is vulnerable to skimming and cloning. The need for a complete migration to EMV chip and PIN based cards could be considered based on the progress of Aadhar (Unique Identification Card) in 18 months time frame.

The RBI directed banks to strengthen the existing payment infrastructure and future proofing system along with adoption of fraud risk management practices within a period of next 12-24 months. An imperative need was felt to secure card based transactions as well to protect the interests of the card holders.





The Union government on 20 September 2011 extended the terms of reference of the Nilekani task force on direct transfer of subsidies. The extended terms of reference is to include an Aadhaar-enabled unified payment infrastructure.

Considering the expansion the government enlarged the task force by adding five new members. The new members is to include a representative from the Reserve Bank of India, a representative from the Indian Banks Association (IBA), Director of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the Controller-General of Accounts (CGA) in the Finance Ministry or one of his representatives and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).





According to a  report Hype cycle for green IT and sustainability in India, 2011 by  leading IT research and advisory company Gartner,  India's spending on green IT and sustainability initiatives will double from $35 billion in 2010 to $70 billion in 2015.

The report pointed out that India's information and communication technology (ICT) industry will be an early adopter of green IT and sustainability solutions as India is one of the fastest-growing markets in terms of IT hardware and communications infrastructure consumption.





The Union government on 19 September 2011 announced its approval to 12 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs.242.88 crore in foreign exchange. 

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) headed by Economic Affairs Secretary R Gopalan in the meeting held on 2 September 2011 cleared cleared proposals including one by Allcargo Global Logistics entailing FDI worth Rs.141.36 crore and another by Indian Rotorcraft to carry out assembly of military and civil helicopters.





A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between IIFCL, LIC and IDFC on 17 September 2011 in the presence of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to provide Takeout Finance for infrastructure projects.

The MoU between IIFCL and LIC and IDFC is to provide for takeout up to 50 per cent of the total project cost in the ratio of 20:20:10 by these institutions respectively.

The mechanism is expected to help financing to the tune of Rs.30000 crore under the scheme. This will facilitate banks to take more exposure in new projects, which in turn will help in bridging the gap in infrastructure financing to a great extent.






The International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week said that India would have a year-on-year projected growth rate of 7.8 per cent in 2011 and 7.5 per cent in 2012, even as it warned of overall slowing global activity, renewed financial instability and an uneven post-recession expansion.

Releasing its semi-annual World Economic Outlook report, the Fund said that in India, growth was forecast to average 7.5-7.75 per cent during 2011-12.


Persons



Hewlett-Packard Co on 22 September 2011 named former eBay Inc Chief Executive Meg Whitman its president and CEO. Whitman replaced the harshly criticized Leo Apotheker in a bid to restore investor confidence in company. Leo Apotheker became the third straight HP CEO to be fired.

Chairman Ray Lane became the Executive Chairman with a mandate to help Whitman run a sprawling $120 billion empire with over 300000 employees.




Congress veteran and former Union minister Vasant Sathe died on 23 September in Gurgaon. 

Vasant Sathe was a senior party leader known for his frank views . A lawyer by training, Sathe was the Union minister for information and broadcasting in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's cabinet.




Former Indian cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi nicknamed Tiger Pataudi died in New Delhi on 22 September 2011. He is survived by his wife Sharmila Tagore, his son Saif Ali Khan and his two daughters Soha and Saba Ali Khan. Tagore, Saif and Soha are prominent actors in India's film industry.

Mansoor was born to Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, eighth Nawab of Pataudi and his wife Sajida Sultan, second daughter of the last ruling nawab of Bhopal in 1941. Pataudi was the ninth and last Nawab of Pataudi until 1971, when the Indian government abolished royal entitlements through the 26th Amendment to the Constitution.





Former presiding officer of the Securities Appellate Tribunal C Achuthan passed away in Kerela on 20 September 2011 following a massive cardiac arrest.

After earning Masters degree in Economics and a degree in law from the Bombay University, Achuthan started off with the Indian Legal Services and served as a legal advisor to the Central government. He also served on the Company Law Board, before being promoted as the SAT's sole presiding officer from 1997 to 2003. Achuthan’s term as the SAT presiding officer for a five-year period from November 1997 which was by a year expired on 3 November 2003. After retirement from the SAT, he worked as partner with a Mumbai-based law firm Corporate Law Chambers.





Veteran musician, musicologist and revered guru T.K. Govinda Rao passed away on 18 September 2011. A highly regarded musician and practitioner of Carnatic music Govinda Rao received his initial training under Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar and much of his advanced music training under the legendary Musiri Subramania Iyer.


Sports


Former Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Akhtar’s autobiography, "Controversially Yours" was launched on 23 September 2011.

In the book, the temparamental Pakistan speedster questioned the abilities of some of the India’s batting stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar and rahul Dravid. He accused Tendulkar of being scared to face his scorching pace on a slow Faisalabad track. He claimed that Tendulkar and Dravid were not match-winners nor did they know the art of finishing games.

Akhtar also spoke at length about politics in Pakistan Cricket Board. He took a dig at two former captains Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik.





Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler won the Chess World Cup title on 20 September after winning a four-game final against his compatriot Alexander Grischuk. Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) an industrial town hosted over 120 world's greatest chess players from 40 countries who fought for the title.

Svidler is a six-time Russian champion and one of the highest-ranked players in the world. He defeated strong competitors like American Gata Kamsky and Urkainian Ruslan Ponomariov earlier in the competition. With the victory Svidler won a $96000 prize money and a ticket to the 2012 world championship matches.

Russia holds the No.1 spot on the World Chess Federation's top-10 list, followed by Ukraine.





Sri Lankan Golfer Anura Rohana emerged victorious in the Global Green Bangalore Open.


Awards


ONGC, Coal India (CIL) and NMDC were awarded by the government for best performance in different categories on 20 September. The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) Secretary, Bhaskar Chatterjee gaveaway the awards.

Best financial performance award in Maharatna and Navaratna category was given to ONGC. In Miniratna category, the best financial performance award award has been given to Goa Shipyard.

Good Corporate Governance award in Maharatna and Navaratna category was also given to ONGC. Good Corporate Governance award in Miniratna category, the same award was given to Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. K Balachandan MD, CPCL received the award.





Eminent Hindi authors Amar Kant and Shrilal Shukla was chosen for India's highest literary honour Jnanpith Award for 2009, while renowned Kannada litterateur Chandrasekhar Kambar won it for 2010. 

The selection board - chaired by noted writer and Jnanpith award winner Dr Sitakant Mahapatra - made the selections for the 45th and 46th Jnanpith awards.





DDB bagged the Network of the Year trophy at the Spikes Asia Advertising Festival in Singapore on 22 September 2011. BBDO came second followed by JWT in the third position. Ogilvy & Mather Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur walked away with the Agency of the Year, followed by runners up DDB Group Singapore and Mudra Communications, Mumbai in third.

The Spikes Asia Advertising parnered bt the Times of India is the regional awards and festival for creative excellence in advertising and communications. Eight juries chose 271 worthy winners from an initial 3647 entries. There were 12 winners in the direct category, 25 in promo & activation, 43 in media and 31 in digital. Twenty-five trophies were given in the design category, 17 in outdoor and 25 in film.





The 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony was organised on 18 September 2011 at the Nokia Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, California. The awards ceremony to honour the best in primetime television programming from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011 was hosted by actress Jane Lynch, who hosted the Emmys for the first time.

The list of awardess for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are as follows:

Best drama: Mad Men

Best comedy: Modern Family

Best miniseries: Downton Abbey

Best variety or comedy show: The Daily Show

Best actress, drama: Julianne Margulies, The Good Wife

Best actor, drama: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights

Best actress, miniseries: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce

Best actor, miniseries: Barry Pepper, The Kennedys

Best lead actress in a comedy: Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

Best lead actor comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Supporting actress in a comedy: Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Supporting actor in a comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family.

Best direction in a comedy: Michael Spiller, Modern Family.

Best reality competition: The Amazing Race





The 44th Jnanpith Award for 2008 was presented to renowned Urdu poet Professor Akhlaq Mohammad Khan Shahryar for his distinguished contribution in enriching Indian literature.

He was presented the award by actor Amitabh Bachhan in a glittering ceremony organized by the Bharatiya Jnanpith in New Delhi on 18 September 2011.


Science and Technology


Astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) captured rare data of a flaring black hole, revealing new details about these powerful objects and their blazing jets.

Scientists study jets to learn more about the extreme environments around black holes. Much has been learned about the material feeding black holes, called accretion disks, and the jets themselves through studies using X-rays, gamma rays and radio waves.





A team of Scientists from Rutgers University in Brazil discovered a tiny plant which they say bows down and sows its own seeds.

The plant has pink and white flowers. Scientists found the plant in rural northeastern Bahia, Brazil, one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas.



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