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2012 October 22 to 25 Current Affairs


International Issues 

The City of Hyderabad(India) was named as World Third best city to visit in 2013 by Travel guide book Lonely Planet published on 22 October 2012. Hyderabad the capital city of Andhra Pradesh was described as "elegant and blossoming" by the Lonely Planet. 

The top 10 cities according to Lonely Planet to visit in 2013 are San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hyderabad, Derry/Londonderry, Beijing, Christchurch, Hobart, Montreal, Addis Ababa and Puerto Iguazu. Earlier in 2011, New York Times rated Hyderabad among the 41 top destinations to visit in the world.



Indian Telecom Service Company Bharti Airtel became the fourth largest telecom operator in the world in terms of subscribers, according to the Wireless Intelligence ‘Scoreboard’ report. At the end of the quarter ended June 2012, the Company had over 250 million mobile subscribers across its operations, representing 13 percent Year-over- Year growth. China Mobile is on the top position with 683.08 million connections, which is followed by Vodafone Group with 386.88 million Connections and American Movil Group with 251.83 million connections. 

The other Indian telecom operators in the report are Reliance Communications at eighth position, Idea Cellular at fourteenth position and BSNL at twentieth position. Reliance Communications had maintained its global ranking, Idea Cellular has moved up to three places and State-owned and run telecommunication giant BSNL's ranking dropped by two places.




The XIth Conference of the Parties (COP 11) - Convention on Biological Diversity was organised by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India from 8 October to 19 October 2012. Eleventh meeting of the COP 11 was held at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, and the conference included a high-level ministerial segment meet that was organised by India in consultation with the Bureau and Secretariat and it took place from 17 October to 19 October 2012. 

Mobilisation of financial resources was the theme for the COP 11 summit. The next round of the conference is scheduled to take place in Korea after 2 years. 

Finding out the commendable solution by discussions over the issues of the Earth’s bio-diversity is the main agenda of the conference.  The conference was attended by more than 5000 delegates from 180 countries. Enrollment of about 14,400 participants in the convention made it the largest biodiversity gathering of its time.

India’s Stand:
India also demanded steps to be taken for ecosystem restoration and establishment of a relationship between biodiversity and climate change, identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas in marine ecosystems.

India to Chair the Conference for Next Two Years as its President: India will be Chairing the Conference as its President for next two years. The Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan took over the charge of COP-11 as its President for next two years.

•    The Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who took over the charge of COP-11 as its President for next two years emphasised on the issue of resource mobilization that remained an unfinished agenda of COP-10 at Nagoya in Japan
•    Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister of India announced a grant of $50 million for strengthening the institutional mechanism of biodiversity conservation in India and other developing countries by the name of Hyderabad Pledge
•    The Prime Minister also launched the high level segment of the 11th conference of parties during the UN Convention on Biodiversity meeting at Hyderabad. 

This conference was the first conference after the launch of Decade of Biodiversity by United Nations in 2011.

The high level meet took place during the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNBD) that was declared by the United Nations General Assembly following its resolution 65/161. This plan was designed to find out the solutions for the objectives like Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. 

Across the UNBD, a trial to encourage government and representatives of different countries to develop, implement and communicate the results established by their national strategies designed for fine implementation of the strategic plan over biodiversity. 

Plan and Programmes Launched during COP11 Conference:
•    BirdLife International on 16 October 2012 launched an e-Atlas of Marine-Important Bird Areas during COP11. The e-Atlas would act as an inventory and carry data of around 3000 important bird areas from across the world and can play a major role in conserving the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) target for protection of 10 percent coastal and marine Areas by 2020
•    The NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) also declared its plan to create a national database for tigers, the flagship species of India proving a unique identification code and number to each one of these big cats in India. This was declared by the member secretary of NTCA, Rajesh Gopal during an event organized with a theme Have We Turned the Corner in Tiger Conservation

Demands of Developing and Developed Countries:
•    African countries like Namibia demanded developed nations to stand by their promise fund allocation for saving the bio-diversity, made in the 2010 protocol
•    The developed nations stood by their demand of creating a baseline of the investments made by now and how much more was needed

Discussions on Identified Targets of Nagoya Protocol:
•    Discussion over the 20 identified targets at 2010 Nagoya Protocol was also done to find out the problems that it faced for implementation. 




Russia has successfully test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile which will be used by the country's elite forces to get through anti-missile systems. According to Colonel Vadim Koval, spokesman for the Russian strategic missile forces, the prototype of a new missile with a mobile launcher was launched at 22:28 Moscow time from the Kapustin Yar testing ground in the Astrakhan region. 

The key task of the test launch was to verify correctness of technological solutions used in the new missile. Apart from that, the launch confirmed its operability and specified technical characteristics of its systems and units.



The World Economic Forum's global gender gap report 2012 says, empowerment of women in India has shown significant improvement. According to the Geneva-based world body, India has been ranked 105 compared to 113 in 2011, with a gain of 8 points. It also said, there has been a visible improvement in the status of women in the country this year compared to last year. 

The report released said the survey, covering 135 countries, has focused on economic participation and opportunities, health, political empowerment and educational attainment of women. India has fared better than counties like Pakistan, Nepal, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey among others. India, the report said, has performed above average on the category of political empowerment of women.


National Issues 

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has constituted a committee to coordinate action for the introduction of direct cash transfers to individuals under the various government schemes and programmes. The National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers chaired by the Prime Minister will provide an overarching vision and direction to enable direct cash transfers of benefits, leveraging the investments being made in the Aadhaar Project, financial inclusion and other initiatives of the government, to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability. 

Apart from determining broad policy objectives and strategies for direct cash transfers, the committee will identify Government programmes and schemes for which direct cash transfers to individuals can be adopted and suggest the extent and scope of direct cash transfers in each case. Besides, it will coordinate the activities of various ministries, departments and agencies involved in enabling direct cash transfers and ensure timely, coordinated action to ensure speedy rollout of direct cash transfers across the country.



The Union Cabinet has approved a National Policy aimed at transforming India into a leading manufacturing hub of electronic system and design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector. The policy envisages creation of an environment for electronics and manufacturing of indigenously designed and manufactured chips in the country with a focus on cyber security. It also aims at meeting the domestic demands and enhancing the export potential of electronic products. 

The policy is expected to create employment opportunities for about two million people with an estimated turnover of 400 billion dollars. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved the disinvestment of 10 per cent stake of the paid up equity capital in the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The government presently holds 90 per cent of the shares in the Corporation. 

The CCEA also approved continuing the state component under the Backward Regions Grant Fund in Bihar with an allocation of Rs 1500 crore in 2012-13. It also gave its nod for continuing with the special plan for Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts in Odisha with an allocation of Rs 250 crore. The CCEA approved the continuation of additional central assistance of 1400 crore rupees for drought mitigation efforts in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for the current financial year. 

The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) has approved a Railway Ministry's proposal to extend the new broadgauge line from Imphal Road (Tupul) to Imphal with an updated cost of Rs 4444 crore. 25 per cent of the total cost will be funded by railways from general budgetary support and 75 per cent from Finance Ministry. The project will cover Imphal East, Tamenglong and Senapati districts of Manipur. This line will provide rail connectivity to Imphal with the national mainstream and make possible direct movement of freight and passengers from this region to other parts of the country. The project is expected to be completed by March 2016.



Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 20 October 2012 suspended the license of the debt-ridden aircraft carrier Kingfisher Airlines. The decision came up after the airlines failed to address the concerns of the regulatory body about its operation that came up after the airlines was directed to stop-bookings till further notifications. 

The notification issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on 20 October asked Kingfisher to submit a concrete and reliable revival plan. The Airlines is suffering from a loss of 8000 crore rupees and a debt burden of 7524 crore rupees and right now out of 66 aircraft that was operational last year by the company have only 10 aircraft operational.



Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar under Yuva Scheme had initiated a programme in the month of October 2012 for sex worker to train and engage them in handicrafts and other small-scale businesses. The programme started is basically meant for providing alternative livelihood to sex workers so that they can become self-defendant. 

The drive is named as Katkth of which more than two dozen sex workers is already a part. The drive was started by Delhi Police from Farash Khana area of Kamla Market in Second week of October.



Ek Thhi Kusum a collection of short stories written by Prakash Pant, former State Assembly Speaker of Uttrakhand was released by Aziz Qureshi, Governor of Uttarakhand. The stories of the book are a collection of socio-economic tales of the far-flung areas of hill state. Ek Thhi Kusum in itself is an exploration of the pains and sufferings of common man and his trails to fit himself in the fast changing social environment. It is a self criticism of the loosing moral and traditional values, which has been neglected in a blind pursuit of prospering and achieving the material satisfaction.



Super 30, the acclaimed educational programme by Anand Kumar and known for training economically backward section for the IIT-JEE on 24 October 2012 entered into an agreement with University of Tokyo, to sponsor its student a chance to study at Japan. The agreement was inked between Director of the University of Tokyo, Yoshino Hiroshi and Anand Kumar founder of Super 30. Following the pact of this agreement, University of Tokyo would sponsor the study of atleast one student from the Super 30 at the University. 

This agreement is a follow-up of the Japanese Government Program named Global 30, of engagement with Super 30 for increasing the flow of Indian Students to Japan. The University came to know about the educational group named Super 30 by a programme run by the Japanese Government Broadcast Corporation (NHK) about Super 30 with a title Indian Shock, which highlighted the success story of the Mathematical Club. The Super 30 is an initiative of Anand Kumar at Patna, Bihar to train 30 students from economically backward section of the society, for IIT-JEE and a majority of its students have succeeded in the test so far.



Department of Food & Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) on 25 October 2012 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for creating a Centre of Excellence focusing on capacity building in the areas of post harvest management of food grain by providing training on latest developments to the aspirants internationally. 

The MOU was signed by S. Gupta, Director of Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI), Hapur on behalf of Department of Food & Public Distribution and G. Mathialagan, Director of CWC. As per the Memorandum of Understanding, CWC is going to take over the management of training functions and related facilities of IGMRI, and develop it as a centre of excellence for the purpose of training in post harvest management of foodgrains and other agricultural commodities. 

The MOU was signed for a period of five years which is effective from 25th October, 2012. The MOU ideates that CWC will develop IGMRI, Hapur as an institution of excellence to attract overseas participants from SAARC nations, neighbouring countries for training on post harvest management of food grain.



The Chief Minister of Kerela, Oommen Chandy on 24 October 2012 declared that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) would execute the Kochi Metro Rail Project in association with E. Sreedharan in next three years.



The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved a Rs 1,200 crore proposal for procuring 10,000 anti-tank guided missiles for the Army from Russia. The CCS cleared the proposal to acquire Russian-origin 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles for the Mechanised Infantry and Infantry battalions of the Army. 

The Konkurs-M are part of the weapon systems being procured by the force to augment the anti-tank arsenal in the Army. The CCS had cleared the purchase of 25,000 Invar missiles for the T-90 tank fleet under a Rs 2,000 crore proposal. The Konkurs are part of the anti-tank weapon family of the force which includes the Milan anti-tank guided missiles which India has been buying from France and also license-producing it at the Bharat Dynamics Limited facilities .



The government approved a Rs 3,150 crore package for development of backward regions in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in New Delhi, Rs 1,500 crore will provided to Bihar as Special Plan Assistance.


Bilateral Issues 

The King of Spain Juan Carlos I has invited Indian businessmen to invest in his country. Addressing a lunch meeting with business leaders in Mumbai, King Juan Carlos I said that although Spain has strong economic relations with India, there is certainly room for improvement and growth. He assured investors that Spain is carrying out far-reaching economic policy measures to tide over its current financial crisis. Leading industrialists from Godrej, Reliance, IDFC, Tata and others were present in the meeting.



The 2nd India-Japan 2+2 Dialogue was held in Tokyo on 22 October, 2012. These 2+2 consultations at Senior Official level are mandated by the Action Plan to Advance Security Cooperation concluded between India and Japan in December 2009. The first India- Japan 2+2 Dialogue was held at New Delhi in June 2010. The two countries briefed the other on their respective defence and security policies in the background of each country’s security environment. In this context, both nations reviewed bilateral security and defence cooperation and discussed ways of further expanding such ties. 

The two sides also exchanged views on maritime, cyber and outer space security. They agreed to an early meeting of the new India – Japan Cyber Security Dialogue. They also discussed the regional and international security situation. The next and the 3rd round of the India – Japan 2+2 Dialogue will be held at New Delhi at a mutually convenient date. The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Shri Ranjan Mathai and Defence Secretary Shri Shashi Kant Sharma.The Japanese delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki and Administrative Vice Defence Minister Hironori Kanazawa.


Business Issues 

Nokia India on 22 October 2012 signed a deal with Futbol Club (FC) Barcelona making the company a regional partner of the club. It was a step taken Nokia India for capitalising on the huge fan following for European football in the country. Nokia India by signing the deal became the Barcelona Club’s regional partner in India and also became the first ever company in India to be associated with the Barcelona Club in this way. Marking the deal, Nokia India presented the campaign 'Tiki Taka with Nokia Lumia', to increase interest in the game and specifically in FC Barcelona within the country.



Kerala based IBS Software Services on 24 October 2012 announced the acquisition of Atlanta-based Hotel Booking Solutions (HBSi) through a multi-million dollar deal. The acquisition of HBSi by IBS’ was made by buying over the entire shareholding of Crosslink Capital, which is San Francisco-based leading private equity and venture capital firm. Crosslinks Capital has over $1.8 billion in assets with investments in around 100 companies.


Economic Issues 

The Finance Ministry is hopeful of raising Rs 12,000-13,000 crore from stake sale in the public sector undertakings (PSUs) by December-end which could help the government to rein in fiscal deficit to around 5.3 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13.

Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Arvind Mayaram expressed hope that disinvestment will pick up and Rs 30,000 crore may be raised for the full fiscal. Ruling out any further borrowing by the government, Mayaram said government is aiming to bring the fiscal deficit down to 3 per cent by 2016-17. He said, the deficit will be controlled by reducing expenditure and realising funds from PSU disinvestment.


Awards

Narendra Kumar the IPS officer who was brutally killed by illegal mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh and many other Security Personnel who had laid down their life for fighting against Maoists and anti Social element on 20 October 2012 were awarded with Singham Bravery Awards. The awards were handed over to the family members of the police officers by reel life 'Singham' Ajay Devgan,who is also the brand ambassador of Maharashtra police ,actor Sunil Shetty and former CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar. 

Besides Narendra Kumar, the award was posthumously presented to Surinder Singh, Narinder Singh Ranjeet Singh, Prakash S Meena, K C Meena, Tanveer Singh and Sanjeev Kumar. Marking the occasion, Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty, were also bestowed with 'Pride of Nation' awards. 

The Singham Bravery Award was organised by the All India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF) and were held on the occasion of National Police Day 2012 to felicitate those who had risked - some had even sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.



The Veteran Indian Diplomat Vijay K. Nambiar along with five Indo-American Malayalees would be honoured at New York by Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center. The honour would be conferred for their service to the society and outstanding contributions in the respective field of specialization. 

These awardees would be honoured on 3 November 2012 during the annual banquet in the Long Island and they are Vijay K. Nambiar, Geeta Menon, Joy Kuttiyani, Viju Menon, Narayanan Neithalath and Roy Thomas.



V. Narayan Murthy was honoured with 2012 Hoover Medal at the Global Humanitarian Technology Conference in Seattle in Washington on 22 October 2012. Murthy, who is the 70th recipient since the medal's inception, was recognized for establishing a foundation that forges outstanding improvements in healthcare, social rehabilitation, rural uplift and education. Previous awardees include former US presidents Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower and James Earl Carter. Narayan Murthy co-founded Infosys limited in 1981. He contributed significantly in India's success in information technology outsourcing. 

The Hoover Medal was established in 1930 to recognize great, unselfish, non-technical services by engineers to humanity. The Infosys Science Foundation was established in 2009 to promote science research in India. The Hoover Medal is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.



Former Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of India, Babu Jagjivan Ram was awarded with the Friends of Liberation War Honour by the Government of Bangladesh for his contribution in the 1971 War. He was given the honour by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and President of Bangladesh, Mohammad. Zillur Rahman. The award was received by Babuji's grandson, Anshul Avijit at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. Anshul Avijit, is a journalist and academician and also the son of Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar.


Persons 

President of the Sahitya Akademi and an eminent writer, Sunil Gangopadhyay died on 23 October 2012 due to heart attack at his residence in Kolkata. Born on 2 September 1934, Sunil Gangopadhyay was an acclaimed poet and novelist from India. He provided a platform for the poets of new generations with Krittibas a seminal poetry magazine that he started in 1953 as a founder editor. He was successful as a novelist, short story and travelogue writer as well as for his writings as children fiction. His pen names were Sanatan Pathak, Nil Upadhyay and Nil Lohit. 

• He received Ananda Puraskar in 1972 and 1989 
• He was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985 
• Gangopadhyay was honoured as Sheriff of Kolkata in 2002 as a prominent citizen of the city 
• He was honoured with India’s highest literary award Saraswati Samman in 2004- this award is also listed under Schedule VII of Indian Constitution 
• In the year 2011 he won the Hindu Literary Prize, shortlist, The Fakir 
• In the year 2012 received Sera Bangali Lifetime Achievement Award by Star Ananda.



The newly-appointed Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court, Justice Yatindra Singh, took the oath of office in Chattisgarh on 22 October 2012. 

Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt administered the oath to Justice Yatindra Singh at Raj Bhavan in Bilaspur District of Chattisgarh. 

Prior to appointment as Chief Justice, Justice Yatindra Singh was posted at the Allahabad High Court. He was born in 1952 and had graduated from Allahabad University in 1970. He had also served as Additional Advocate-General of Uttar Pradesh Between March 1997 and February 1999. He had two books written under his name entitled 'Cyberlaws' and 'A Lawyer's World and Childhood dreams'.



Pope Benedict XVI on 24 October 2012 appointed Major Archbishop-Catholicos Baselios Mar Cleemis as the Cardinal to boost Christianity in India. Cleemis is the head of the relatively-young Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and is the only Indian in the list of six senior prelates to be named as Cardinals in the latest expansion of the Church of Cardinals that is elected by the Pope. Cleemis who is 53 years old, with this appointment has turned up to be the youngest Cardinals in the Catholic Church and is the first cardinal from the Syro- Malankara rite of Catholic Church and is now the first Prince of the Church as Cardinals are known.



Actor and Satirist Jaspal Bhatti died in a road accident on 25 October 2012. Bhatti was a very renowned face on Indian television and also for Bollywood films with his comedy shows and appearances. 

His TV shows Ulta-Pulta and Flop Show on Doordarshan had entertained TV audiences in late 1980s and 1990s. He had also directed a Punjabi Comedy film Mahaul Theek Hai in 1999, which is a comedy satire set on the police force, administration and society.


Sports 

The World No. 4 badminton player Saina Nehwal on 21 October 2012 won the Denmark Open Super Series Premier tournament by defeating the German badminton player Juliane Schenk by 21-17 21-8. She was competing in the women's single final category badminton match in Odense, Denmark and was Playing without the chief national coach and her mentor Pullela Gopi Chand, 

This title is counted to be her sixth Super Series title and the first title outside Asia. Her previous titles came in Indonesia (2009, 2010, 2012), Singapore (2010) and Hong Kong (2010). Saina Nehwal, was competing in her first tournament after the London Games, which fetched her $30000 prize money. The victory is another milestone in career history of the Indian shuttle Saina Nehwal who had successfully defended her Swiss Open title by defeating world number two Wang Shixian of China in March 2012.



Lance Armstrong on 22 October 2012 was stripped of from all the seven Tour de France Titles and banned for life from cycling. This event occurred as a follow up of the 202 page report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA ) that accused Armstrong of leading a doping programme on his team. President of International Cycling Union (UCI) Pat McQuaid cleared on 22 October 2012 that the report from the anti-doping agency, USADA was accepted and no appeals would be made in the Court of Arbitration for Sports. 

Organisers of Tour de France would now officially remove the name of Armstrong from all its record books that will include omission of his consecutive victories from 1999 to 2005. Christian Prudhomme the Tour Director announced that no official winners of these years would be declared and the race would follow the decisions made by the UCI.



Sun TV Network have won the Hyderabad IPL franchise for 85.05 crores per year. The IPL Governing Council met earlier in Mumbai to open the bids for a new IPL Franchise. This Franchise fee represents a premium of over a 100 % above the amount paid by DCHL for the Hyderabad Franchise in 2008. The SUN TV Network bid was substantially higher than the second bid of PVP Ventures, which was 69.03 crores.


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