April 13, 2014

Current Affair Roundup- March 2014

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1. South Africa won the ICC U-19 World Cup after defeating Pakistan by six wickets in a low-scoring final match on 1st March. Batting first, Pakistan was bowled out for a just 131 runs in 44.3 overs. South Africa chased down the target in 42.1 overs with Aiden Markram (66) and Greg Oldfield (40) being the key contributors.


Chandi Prasad Bhatt
2.Famous Gandhian environmentalist and social activist, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, won the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2013. He was one of the pioneers of the Chipko movement for which he was awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1982. He was also awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2005.

The Chipko movement started in the early 1970s in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand with growing awareness towards rapid deforestation. The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a group of peasant women in Reni village acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by the contractors assigned by the state Forest Department.

3. Saurabh Chandra took charge as Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on 1st March. He succeeded Vivek Rae, who retired on 28th February. An IAS officer of 1978 UP batch, he was earlier Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

4. Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman passed away at a hospital in Hyderabad on Saturday. He was 74. The first Dalit president of BJP, he had hit the headlines when he was caught on camera receiving money from a purported arms dealer in a sting operation by Tehelka in 2001.
  
5. According to China-based research firm Hurun’s 2014 global rich list, Bill Gates was ranked as the richest person in the world with total fortune of USD 67 billion. He was followed by Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett (2nd) with a personal wealth of USD 64 billion and Amancio Ortega of Inditex at 3rd rank with USD 62 billion fortune. Carlos Slim Helu & family was ranked at 4th (USD 60 billion) while Oracle’s Larry Ellison was ranked at 5th position (USD 60 billion) in the same list.

According to this research firm 2014 global rich list, Mukesh Ambani was ranked as India’s richest person with personal fortune of USD 18 billion and ranked at 41st in the global list. Lakshmi Mittal is ranked at 2nd (Globally 49th with total fortune of USD 17 billion) and both Dilip Sanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Wipro’s Azim Premji were ranked at 3rd position (globally 77th with total fortune of USD 13.5 billion) in the same list. Tata Sons’ Pallonji Mistry ranked at 5th (Globally 93rd) with a personal wealth of $12 billion and SP Hinduja & family was ranked at 6th (globally 93rd) with a net worth of $12 billion in the same list.





6. The 86th Annual Academy Oscar Awards 2014 was announced on 2 March 2014 with hi-tech space thriller Gravity winning a leading seven awards in the ceremony. Slave drama '12 Years a Slave' won best picture award and Alfonso Cuaron won the Best director award for GravityMatthew McConaughey won the best actor award for “Dallas Buyers Club” while Cate Blanchett won the best actress award for “Blue Jasmine”. 

7.Third BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit was held from 1st March to 4th March 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The Third BIMSTEC summit was attended by the heads from six countries India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri lanka, Bhutan, Mayanmar and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Thailand.

8. Union Cabinet cleared reservation for Jat community under the central list of OBC category in nine northern states on 2nd March. This move will benefit to about nine crore people of the community which have been fighting to get this reservation for a long time. This decision will help Jats to avail benefits of reservation in central government jobs and central education institutions as well.

9. Union Government raised the number of workdays under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005) from existing 100 days to 150 days which will be effective from April 2014. This step is expected to benefit 14 lakh families in India. Also tribal beneficiaries, who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 will be eligible for 50 days wage employment under the rural job scheme. The beneficiaries would be those who have completed 100 workdays in that particular financial year.

10. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who rejoined BJP , was appointed as its National Vice President of BJP

11.RBI has extended the date for exchanging pre-2005 banknotes to 1st January 2015 compared to earlier timeline of 31st March 2014. 

12. Indian Badminton Player Arvind Bhat defeated Danish Hans-Kristian Vittinghus by 24-22, 19-21, 21-11 to win the men’s singles title of the $120,000 German Open Grand Prix Gold on 2nd March. Also he became the first Indian to win the title.

13. Singapore topped the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in 2014 which includes total 131 cities globally, as per the report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Singapore replaces Tokyo, which topped the list in 2013 and followed by Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney, with Tokyo falling to sixth place.

14. KS Popli has taken over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency. IREDA is Government-owned agency under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy that is mandated to promote, develop and extend financial assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

15. Global tech giant Apple announced that Peter Oppenheimer, the company’s senior vice president and CFO, will retire at the end of September. Luca Maestri will succeed him as CFO and he will report to Tim Cook. Oppenheimer joined Apple in 1996 and he was one of the most recognizable faces among Apple’s executive team. During his tenure as CFO, Apple’s annual revenue grew from USD 8 billion to USD 171 billion in last decade.

16. China has projected its economic growth target at 7.5% for 2014 as the Chinese government looks to steer the world’s second largest economy. This is slightly lower than 7.7% growth achieved in 2013. It has also set its inflation goal at 3.5% for 2014. The new target was announced in the first work report by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

17. The Election Commission has announced a nine-day schedule for the general elections and assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim. The first date of polling will start on April 7 and other dates are 9, 10, 12, 17, 24 and 30 of April and 7 and 12 May. Counting will take place on May 16.

Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath also said more than 81.4 crore voters will be eligible for voting and will be 9.3 lakh polling stations. All electronic voting machines will have ‘none of the above’ facility.

18. Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit will take over as governor of Kerala. She will succeed Nikhil Kumar who quit the post in order to contest the Lok Sabha election from Bihar.  

19. Assam has become the first state in India to observe State Child Protection Day on 4th March. The Internationally Child Protection Day is observed on 19 November every year. It was launched by the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) in 2000.

20. Indian Government has approved payment of 8.75% rate of interest on PF deposits in 2013-14 for over five crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO. The Finance Ministry has given its approval to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) trustees’ decision to provide 8.75% rate of interest to its members for the current fiscal. This is 25 bps higher compared to 8.5% rate of interest paid in previous financial year 2012-13.

21. US First Lady Michelle Obama presented the International Women of Courage Award to Indian acid attack victim Laxmi after she won the same for successfully leading the campaign against acid attacks on women in India. 

22. India’s Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has appointed R.Neelakantan as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on 4th March 2014 in a management re-org. He will replace Sam Isaac. Earlier Neelakantan had served as SpiceJet’s CFO from November 2010 to February 2013 and this change will mark his return to the low cost airlines again.

23. Global Internet Company Yahoo acquired a startup company named “Vizify” that lets users create infographics and videos out of social data. It enables create interactive visualizations based on data involving what they share online, creating a type of Internet biography. Post this acquisition, a team of five employees from Vizify will join Yahoo’s media product organization in San Francisco.

24. Global mining giant Vedanta Resources has appointed Es Rio Tinto Chief Tom Albanese as its new chief Executive Officer executive from 1st April. He will replace Mahendra Singh Mehta who is retiring on 31st March. Anil Agarwal continues to be the executive chairman of the mining group.

25. Australian cricket team has replaced India at number two position in the ICC Test team rankings . South Africa retained No 1 rank in the same ranking. With this, Australia will win a cash award of 370,000 US dollars while third-placed India will get 265,000 US dollars. South Africa will get 475,000 US dollars for being No1 test team.

26.International Women’s Day was celebrated on 8th March around the world yesterday. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Equality for Women is Progress for All."

27. The 2014 Winter Paralympics have been inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 7th March. The Ukraine team has also confirmed that it would take part in the Games amid current political crisis in Ukraine. 575 athletes from 45 countries will compete for 72 gold medals in five sports over 10 days in the winter Olympic.

28. Sri Lanka regained the Asia Cup trophy with a comfortable five-wicket victory over defending champions Pakistan on 8th March at Mirpur, Bangladesh. The last time Sri Lanka won the regional championship was in 2008. It is also Sri Lanka’s fifth Asia Cup title, equaling India’s five title wins.

29. The President of Indian has given Stree Shakti Puraskar to six persons for their distinguished services for the upliftment of women on International Women’s Day yesterday.  The awards are named after six legendary women of India, Rani Lakshmibai, Rani Rudramma Devi, Kannagi, Rani Gaidinliu Zaliang, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar and Mata Jijabai.

30. Mizoram defeated Railways by 3-0 in the final match of the 68th National Football Championship to win the Santosh Trophy on 9th March.

31. Virat Kohli has reclaimed the No.1 position in the latest ICC ODI rankings released on 9th March after conclusion of the Asia Cup. He was followed by South African batsman AB de Villiers who is now trailing by nine points. Other Indian batsmen in the list include Shikhar Dhawan at 8th spot, Rohit Sharma at 22nd spot and Ravindra Jadeja at 50th spot.

32. Akhilesh Guptahead of the Climate Change Programme at the Department of Science and Technology, has been elected as President of the Indian Meteorological Society for 2014-16. He succeeds Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.


33. Global aviation giant Airbus has opened an Indian subsidiary and restructured India operations in order to consolidate strengths and capture the growing market. It has created a fully owned subsidiary called Airbus India by grouping its activities in the country. Srinivasan Dwarakanath is the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Charles Champion is the Chairman of the new entity. 


34. India’s Heena Sidhu and Chain Singh won Gold medals at the 7th Asian Shooting Championships held at Kuwait . Heena won the golf metal in the Women’s Air pistol event while Chain Singh won the Gold in the Men’s Air rifle event. India’s Pooja Ghatkar also won the gold in women’s air rifle category. Indian team won 3 Gold Medals in the Shooting Championships event.

35. Two Indian CEOs have been named among America’s most powerful CEOs under the age of 40, who head publicly-traded companies with highest market values, in the Forbes magazine list published today. Website hosting company Endurance International Group CEO and founder Hari K Ravichandran (38) has been ranked 19th and asset management firm Altisource Asset Management (AAMC) CEO Ashish Pandey (38) is ranked 20th in the list.

The list is topped by Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page. The youngest CEO on the list is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who was placed at 2nd followed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who is also the only woman in this list.

36. Allahabad Bank has appointed Rakesh Sethi as its new Chairman and Managing Director. Before this he was an executive director at Punjab National Bank.


37. The Delhi high court upheld the death sentence awarded to the four convicts in the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi on December 16, 2012 which shocked the entire country. A bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani confirmed the sentence of Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh, saying the offence committed by them falls in the category of rarest of the rare and upheld their conviction.

38. Soma Mondal has been appointed as the new Director (Commercial) of Navratna PSU National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO)

39. India’s largest bank State Bank of India has launched a payment intermediary christened as SBI ePay, which will facilitate e-commerce or m-commerce transactions among merchants, customers and various financial institutions. With this, SBI becomes the first lender in India to start its own online aggregator services.

40. Thomas Mathew T has been appointed as new Chairman of MCX Stock Exchange.

41. India’s overall Inflation drops to 9-month low of 4.68%.

42. Crimea will formally apply to join Russia after its people vote to split from Ukraine. More than 97% of voters have supported leaving Ukraine to join Russia. At the same time, the referendum was widely condemned by Western leaders who were planning to discuss economic sanctions to punish Russia. The European Union also said the referendum was illegal and illegitimate and its outcome would not be recognised.

43. Tomas Halik, the Czech Czech public intellectual, Roman Catholic priest, and scholar, won the Templeton Prize for 2014. The award was announced by the John Templeton Foundation on 13th March and with total award value of 1.1 million Euro. His work is aimed at seekers, the segment of those asking questions about religious and spiritual issues but unaffiliated with religion or atheism.

44. India born Rajeev Suri, the head of Nokia’s telecoms network equipment division, is likely to become the chief executive officer of Nokia. He currently heads Nokia’s telecom equipment business and he is the strongest candidate to succeed Stephen Elop who is due to move to Microsoft once the 5.4 billion euro handset deal is closed.

45Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer to win the BNP Paribas Open Final in Indian Wells ATP Tennis Masters in California 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on 16th March. This is his first title of the year and his third at the BNP Paribas Open. Italy’s Flavia Pennetta won the BNP Paribas Open Women’s singles Final after defeating second seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1.

46Gyan Correa, the debutant director of Gujarati movie ‘The Good Road’, has been selected for the Gollapudi Srinivas National Award 2013. The film was selected from 20 nominations across many languages including Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. ‘The Good Road’ is the first ever Gujarati film which was selected to represent India at the Oscars last year.  The award has been instituted in memory of late Gollapudi Srinivasa, who died while directing his first film Prema Pustakam (Book of Love) in 1992.

47. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan presented the prestigious IAA Olive Crown Awards, Asia’s only green award for communication, organized by the Indian chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) for creative excellence in communicating sustainability in Mumbai.

Politician, animal rights activist and environmentalist Maneka Gandhi, was awarded “Green Crusader of the Year Award” for her contribution towards protection of animals. Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman & CEO McCann World Group India & president-South Asia received the “Green Agency of the Year award” and “Campaign of the Year Award” for its “Wake up, Clean up” project.

48. Gujarat has been ranked No 1 in terms of “economic freedom” in a list of India’s 20 largest states, as per the 2013 ‘Economic Freedom of the States of India’ report.

49. World Sparrow Day is observed on 20th March.The First World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010.

50. Famous Indian author and journalist Khushwant Singh passed away today in New Delhi. He was 99. He wrote dozens of novels and short story collections including books “Train to Pakistan”, “I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale” and “Delhi”. 

51. International Day of Forests is observed on 21st March across the world by the United Nation. The theme of the International Forest Day was “Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development”. International Day of Forests was observed for the first time on March 21, 2013 and it was established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012.

52. Physicist Prof. Rajesh Gopakumar has been selected for the 23rd G D Birla award for scientific research for the year 2013. 

53. Indian journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary for his continuous effort to use the internet and the mobile phone network to get voices of tribals from deep inside the forests of Chhattisgarh across to the world outside in the local Gondi language, was awarded a prestigious award for digital activism at the Barbican in London on 21st March.

54. World Water Day was observed on 22nd March across the world in order to raise awareness about importance of water and preserve the same. The theme for 2014 was “Water and Energy” to raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy.World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”.

55. World Meteorological Day was observed on 23rd March across the world to commemorate the entry into force in 1950 of the convention that created the World Meteorological Organization. The theme for 2014 is “Weather and climate: engaging youth.” 

56. Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen’s coalition won majority in parliament after bagging 54 out of the 85 seats.

57. The largest TV in the world built by Panasonic, Big Hoss, was unveiled for the first time at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, US.

58. President Pranab Mukherjee gave away gallantry awards to defence personnel for their distinguished services this week. 15 personnel were conferred Param Vishist seva medals at a Defence Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Three Kirti Chakra awards were also given and the recipients are Lt Commander Abhilash Tomy, Major Mahesh Kumar and Wing Commander Darryl Castelino. Castelino was awarded posthumously for his role in operation Rahat in Uttarakhand where his chopper crashed with 20 personnel on board after he had helped in rescuing lives of more than 80 people. Mahesh Kumar of Punjab Regiment got the award for his gallant acts in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir where he killed 4 terrorists in three separate incidents. Caption Abhilash Tomy received the Kirti Chakra for completing world voyage on his sail ship non-stop and without any external support in 151 days.

59. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March. 

60. The Supreme Court has asked BCCI President N. Srinivasan to step down from the post as BCCI President so that a fair probe of the Indian Premier League Fixing and betting scandal can be conducted. The court has given the order while taking up the Justice Mukul Mudgal led Committee report on IPL fixing scandal.

61. Famous Hindi author Govind Mishra has been chosen for the Sarawasti Samman for the year 2013 for his book Dhool Paudho Par which was published in 2008. With this he will be the second Hindi author only to receive the honour after Harivansh Rai Bachchan who received the award in 1991.

62. Rajiv Takru, a 1979 batch IAS officer, has been appointed as the new Revenue Secretary. He will succeed Sumit Bose, who retires on 31st March. 

63. G S Sandhu, a 1980 batch IAS officer, has been appointed as the Financial Services Secretary.

64. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, world’s most prestigious architecture award, for the year 2014. He won the award for his creative and inexpensive designs for disaster relief shelters.

65. The Supreme Court has appointed former Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar as the interim President of BCCI till the probe related to IPL spot fixing of last year is completed. The Court also directed that the senior most Vice-President of the Board, Shivlal Yadav, will be looking after the affairs of BCCI.

66. India  successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Prithvi II missile with a range of 350 km, from a test range at Chandipur, near Balashore in Odissa. The missile is capable of carrying 500-1,000 kg of warheads.


67. In a major relief to all the Indian banks, the Reserve Bank of India has extended the deadline for implementation of Basel III norms by one year to March 2019. The norm requires all the banks to raise huge amount of capital in order to satisfy the capital requirements.

68. Ajay S. Shriram, Chairman and Sr. Managing Director of DCM Shriram Ltd, has been elected as the President of CII for 2014-15. He succeeds S Gopalakrishnan of Infosys.

Sumit Mazumder, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of TIL Ltd. was elected as the President-Designate of CII for 2014-15 while Naushad Forbes, Director, Forbes Marshall, has been elected as the Vice-President for 2014-15.

69. Norway’s ex-PM Jens Stoltenberg has been appointed as next secretary general of NATO, the 28-nation military alliance. He will replace Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen and will take over in October. 

70. Afghanistan Cricket Board has won the prestigious Laureus Sports Award. Dr. Noor Mohammad Murad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board received the award on behalf of the team in a function in Kualalampur on 26th March.


71. UK’s Lewis Hamilton won the Malaysian Grand Prix held in Malaysia’s Sepang on 30 March 2014 while his teammate Nico Rosberg secured second position. This was his 23rd victory in Formula One and first in Malaysia.

72. World number two air pistol shooter Heena Sidhu won a silver medal at the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning, USA. 

Current Affair -1st January-2018

1. Nepal Bans Solo Climbing on Mount Everest i. Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, inc...