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September ( 5 - 11) Current Affairs

>> September (12 to 18) Current Affairs

International


The United Nations' (UN) International Literacy Day is observed anually on 8 September. The International Literacy Day is observed to raise people's awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world. The day highlights the importance of literacy in areas such as health and education. Literacy and Empowerment is the theme for the year 2009-2011 of the United Nations Literacy Decade.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its partners promote the day to underline the significance of literacy for healthy societies, with a strong emphasis on epidemics and communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.



The five-day 71st International Congress of FIP (International Pharmaceutical Federation) inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil on 4 September 2011 concluded on 8 September in Hyderbad. The World Health Organisation and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) signed a joint-statement on the role of pharmacists in tuberculosis care and control on the inaugural day of the conference. 

The joint-statement envisages a series of measures to help detect tuberculosis, offer treatment support to patients and substantially reduce the number of deaths due to it.

Currently India has 700 pharmacy degree colleges. Andhra Pradesh has 300 pharmaceutical colleges- the highest number in the country. As many as 300 colleges in the country were operating on the basis of preliminary clearances given by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and a conduct of courses permission by the PCI.



Top government, business and civil society leaders from several countries, including India, have formed a unique alliance to deal with climate change. They have launched an ambitious programme to restore 150 million hectares of lost forests and degraded land by 2020. 

The alliance was formed at the two-day conference on climate change organised jointly by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the German Ministry for Environment in the city of Bonn. 

The meet titled 'Bonn Challenge on Forests, Climate Change and Bio-diversity' was aimed at securing a broad support from government, business and civil society leaders for forest conservation efforts and thereby making a contribution to reducing global warming.



The European Union on 2 September 2011announced a ban on oil imports from Syria. This step could strive away a major source of financial support for the government’s five-month-old crackdown on dissent. It will make it harder for the Syrian government to fund the effort against the protesters.

The US had already banned Syrian oil imports. Europe buys most of Syria’s oil, spending 4.1 billion dollars in the country in 2010.

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by six countries in 1958. In the intervening years the EU has grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993.


National


The Lok Sabha on 6 September 2011 unanimously extended the term of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), looking into the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and 2G spectrum, till the last day of the 2012 budget session. The members gave their approval by voice vote when a motion, moved by JPC Chairman P.C. Chacko was put to vote.

Originally, the term of the 30-member JPC was to expire on the last day of the 2011 monsoon session of the parliament. JPC was constituted on 4 March 2011 after the Opposition made the demand and even stalled the parliament’s winter session in 2010.

The JPC consisting of 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha was responsible for looking into the pricing of telecom licences.



A three-member expert committee, set up by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and meant to determine the precise value of spectrum during 2001-2008 submitted a report on 19 August 2011. In the report the committee compalined of a tricky exercise plagued by data deficit.

The report was filed at a time when the valuation of public loss caused by the 2008 spectrum allocation under then Telecom Minister A Raja is being pegged between Rs 1.76 lakh crore by the Comptroller and Auditor General to over Rs 30000 crore by the CBI and zero loss by Raja’s successor Kapil Sibal.



The government has decided to lift a ban on wheat exports and put a ban on onion exports to control its rising prices. The decision to open wheat exports was taken by the empowered Group of Ministers EGoM on food, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the wake of the record production and storage problem.

The Union Ministry for Food and Consumers Affairs will stop the export of wheat and non-basmati rice once shipments reaches two million tonnes each. Wheat exports was banned early in 2007 to augment buffer stock when the output had fallen.



Haryana Government Introduced a Policy to Provide Security to Whistleblowers. The notification issued by the government stated that a whistleblower or a RTI activist could submit an application to superintendent of police or local police commissioner, in case there is any threat to his (whistleblower) life. 

An enquiry will be conducted, and the officer would ask for a threat analysis report from officers concerned and CID. If it is found that the applicant is facing genuine threat, he will be given security cover immediately.



Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to offer air taxi services. In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated the air taxi service at Bhopal's Raja Bhoj Airport on 7 September 2011. The first flight of this service took off from Bhopal to Gwalior.



The Land Acquistion, Relief and Rehabilitation Bill, 2011, was approved by the Union Cabinet on 5 September 2011. It aims to put in place a transparent and legal framework for land acquisition. According to the proposed Bill, consent of at least 80 per cent of people will be mandatory to acquire land except where it is acquired for a public purpose. 

The Bill defines public purpose as land use for strategic purposes, infrastructure and industry. The Bill calls for different land acquisition norms for rural and urban areas. Under the new Bill, the states will be free to have their own land acquisition laws. The proposed law seeks to replace the 117-year-old Land Acquisition Bill, 1894 and for the first time integrates both land acquisition and R&R package.



In Assam, the process to set up the first integrated tea park of the North East region has been initiated. Sources in the tea industry said that the proposed park would come up at Chaygaon on the outskirts of Guwahati.

The tea park would provide infrastructure of international standard and the state of the art facilities.


Bilateral


The Government of the Republic of India signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the Oriental Republic of Uruguay for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital on 8th September, 2011. 

The Agreement was signed in New Delhi by MC Joshi, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes on behalf of the Government of India and by Cesar Ferrer, Ambassador of Uruguay to India, on behalf of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

The DTAA provides that business profits will be taxable in the source state if the activities of an enterprise constitute a permanent establishment in that state. Such permanent establishment includes a branch, factory, etc. Profits of a construction, assembly or installation projects will be taxed in the state of source if the project continues in that state for more than six months.



NTPC and Ceylon Electricity Board have sealed a deal for jointly setting up a coal-fired power plant in Sri Lanka at an investment of up to 700 million dollars. 

NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury and CEB chief Wimaladharma Abeywickreme signed the final agreement in Colombo on 6 September 2011 for setting up the 500 mw power plant at Sampur in Trincomalee. 

The project will be a major milestone in bilateral relations and further cement the economic bonds between India and Sri lanka. It will also mark NTPC’s overseas debut.



India and Israel have decided to enhance cooperation in Tourism Sector. This was decided at a meeting between Stas Misezhnikov, Tourism Minister of Israel and Union Tourism Minister, Subodh Kant Sahai held in New Delhi on 5 September 2011. Welcoming the visiting dignitary, Sahai said both the countries can explore the possibilities of cooperation in wellness, spiritual and religious tourism. 

The Israeli Minister said hoteliers of his country are interested to set up hotels in India. He also requested for more flights between India and Israel. Stas Misezhnikov invited Sahai to visit Israel. 

Both the countries have decided to consider exchanging experience in destination management and promotion. Manpower development will be another area of cooperation between India and Israel. Exchange programme for teachers, students, and exchange of information on teaching modules will be considered by the two countries.



India and Bangladesh on 6 September 2011 signed a historic protocol on land boundary agreement following the talks between Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. During the visit of Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh, India and Bangladesh signed the following agreements:

Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development.

Protocol to the Agreement concerning the demarcation of the Land Boundary between India and Bangladesh and related matters.

Addendum to the MOU between India and Bangladesh to facilitate Overland Transit Traffic between Bangladesh and Nepal.

Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Renewable Energy.

Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation of the Sunderban.

Protocol on Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban.

Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) on Cooperation in Fisheries.

MOU on Cooperation between Doordarshan and Bangladesh Television.

MOU on Cooperation between Jawaharlal Nehru University and Dhaka University.

(x) Agreement of Cooperation between National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFT), India and BGMEA Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Bangladesh.


Economic Issues


Asian Development Bank, ADB has approved 500 million dollar loan to help India improve rail services. The bank has approved a multi-tranche financing facility for the Railway Sector Investment Program, RSIP. The RSIP is being carried out by the Ministry of Railways and will end by December 2018.

Asian Development Bank loan will be used to develop freight and passenger routes in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including the critical Golden Quadrilateral corridor that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. 

The loan will be utilised for laying down additional lines and the electrification of hundreds of kilometers of existing track, along with installing new signaling. The loan has a 25-year term, with a grace period of five years. The Centre will provide counterpart finance of over 64 crore US dollars to cover the costs of the total program, estimated at over 110 crore US dollars.



UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2011 was launched in New Delhi on 6 September 2011. The report mentioned that global economy would wtness a slow down to 3.1 per cent in 2011 from 4 per cent in 2010. The slow down would impact developing economies which would get affected by recession in the developed world.

Even as the developing countries were expected to regain the pre-crisis growth rate of 6 per cent in 2011, economic expansion in the developed economies was likely to be only about 1.5-2 per cent.

The South Asia region was likely to be among the best performers globally, with a growth of seven per cent in 2011. On the other hand, growth in the U.S. was to remain low on account of low domestic demand, stagnating wages. The European debt crisis is expected to act as a drag on the global growth.



UNCTAD projected an economic growth of 8.1 per cent for India, the fastest rate of expansion in the world after China.



The Indian rupee on 7 September 2011 settled at one-year low of 46.16/17 against the US currency, down by 5 paise over last close as sustained dollar demand from importers and some banks erased its early gains.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit opened higher at 46.05/06 a dollar from last close of 46.11/12 and touched a high of 45.98 in line with smart rise in local stocks. It was however not able to maintain the surge concluded the day at 46.16/17. it had ended at 46.35/36 a dollar last on 15 September 2010.



Private sector lender HDFC Bank has launched personal loan Swift. This is a product, which is processed in 24 working hours of receiving complete loan document. 

Using imaging solution technology, the bank will now set the pace ion this product category and ensure that the loan processing will start the moment a customer enters into a branch in the morning and be complete in 24 hours.

Swift will be soon available to all its customers who hold salary accounts with the bank in 25 select branches across the country.



Global rating agency Moody's projected India's GDP (gross domestic product) growth for the 2011-12 fiscal at 7.5-8 per cent on 5 September 2011. 

It also cited high domestic interest rates coupled with the current global uncertainties as the near-term factors that could affect its economic expansion. 

Moody's noted in its annual sovereign credit update on India that the cyclical slowdown was unlikely to alter its credit outlook.



The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) observed on 5 September 2011 that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has wider powers under the Sebi Act to issue directions to even unlisted firms to protect interest of investors in the securities market.


Persons


Eminent industrial economist, D.U. Sastry passed away on 5 September 2011.
Shastri received his early education in Economics at Mysore University and at Amherst College in Massachusetts, United States. 

He spent some time as a research scholar under D.R. Gadgil at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Pune. He was also a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and was associated with Nobel laureate L.R. Klein.



Former Davis Cupper and secretary of the All-India Lawn Tennis Association Sumant Misra died on 3 September 2011. Mishra who was India’s first national tennis champion was called Grandfather of Indian tennis.

He represented the country at the Davis Cup between 1947- 1956 and also played in the Wimbledon and US Nationals in the pre-Open era in world tennis.Misra was one of the only three Indians to win the national title.



Eminent sculptor Ganapati Sthapati died on 6 September 2011 in Chennai. He had sculpted the famous Tiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari and Buddha statue in Hussainsagar.

Professor Sthapati was the chief architect of the 133-feet-tall statue of Tiruvalluvar, the Tamil saint who penned the Tamil treatise, Thirukkural. The statue is erected on a rock in the Indian Ocean in Kanyakumari. 

The Telugu Desam founder N.T. Rama Rao had engaged him for several of his pet projects during his stint as chief minister including the tallest Buddha statue, sculpted by Sthapati from a monolithic rock.



American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician, Eddie Murphy was chosen to host the 84th Academy Awards/ Oscars in February 2012. 

The hosting of the Oscars in 2011 by the dramatic actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco had fallen flat with critics and viewers.

Murphy who made his film debut in 1982 would join the likes of Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg, who are among the big names to have hosted the show.


Sports


ESPN-STAR Sports, the official broadcaster and commercial partner of Nokia Champions League (NCL) Twenty20, announced Shah Rukh Khan as the face of the tournament. 

The announcement was made on 9 September 2011. Nokia, the title sponsor of Champions League Twenty20, also announced ambitious plans to promote its association with the tournament.

The third edition of Nokia Champions League Twenty20 will be participated by more than 100 players who have experience at the international level.



Star Indian boxer Vijender Singh won gold and also bagged the Best Boxer award at the World Police and Fire Games in New York. 

Indian pugilists finished off a reasonably successful campaign with two golds, two silvers and a bronze at the World Police and Fire Games in New York.

Both Vijender (75kg), an Olympic and World championship bronze medallist and Dinesh Kumar (81kg) won gold.

The World championships, scheduled to be held from 22 september in Baku, Azerbaijan, is the first Olympic qualifying event.



Sai Praneeth, the second seed defeated top seed and Petroleum teammate Saurabh Varma 21-13, 10-21, 21-16 to win the men's singles crown in the IFCI all-India ranking senior badminton championship on 5 September 2011.

Sai Praneeth also won the men's doubles partnering Nanda Gopal (AAI). The dup defeated top seeds Pranav Chopra (PSPB) and Akshay Dewalkar (AI) in three well-fought games 22-20, 14-21, 21-15.



Jamaica's Usain Bolt won the Men's 4x100 Relay final and set a world record at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea on 4 September 2011.

The climax to World Athletics championship that concluded on 4 September 2011 was bought by sprint superstar Usain Bolt as his Jamaican team smashed the 4x100m relay World record. 

It was Bolt's second gold of the World championships after winning the 200m crown. On the second day of the competition Bolt was disqualified following a false start thereby shattering his dream of 100m gold.


Science and Technology


NASA Researchers: DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space. NASA funded researchers found evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. 

The research gives support to the theory that a kit of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life. 

The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that the chemistry inside asteroids and comets is capable of making building blocks of essential biological molecules. The team of scientists ground up samples of twelve carbon-rich meteorites, nine of which were recovered from Antarctica. 

They extracted each sample with a solution of formic acid and ran them through a liquid chromatograph, an instrument that separates a mixture of compounds. They further analyzed the samples with a mass spectrometer, which helps determine the chemical structure of compounds.



Brazilian scientists believe they have located an underground river, an estimated 4000 meters below the Amazon River. Named after the head of the research team that located the river, the Hamza River stretches an estimated 6000 kilometers, emptying deep in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Like its famous above ground counterpart, the underground river is believed to flow from west to east, but at a much slower pace than the Amazon. Scientists recently said they believe the Hamza River may explain the low salinity of the Amazon.



Lukoskin, a herbal product for Leucoderma developed by DRDO, was launched by Dr. W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller Research & Development (Life Science & International Cooperation) in New Delhi on 7 September 2011. The product backed by extensive R&D work by the scientists of Defence Institute of Bio-energy Research (DIBER) will be a boon for the patients of Leucoderma.

Leucoderma or vitiligo is an idiopathic acquired disorder of skin. Patients with vitiligo develop white spots in the skin with varying size and location. The world wide incidence of leucoderma has been reported 1-2%. In India, its incidence is around 4-5% in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat it is very high more than 5-8%. This skin disorder is considered as social stigma and people confuse it with leprosy.



The total volume of Arctic sea ice fell to a record low in 2010, according to a new study. Scientists at the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington estimated that last year broke the previous 2007 record for the minimum volume of ice, which is calculated from a combination of sea ice area and thickness.

Axel Schweiger of University of Washington, led the study.


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