General Studies & Current Affairs for Bank, SSC, CLAT, Civil Services and other Competitive Exams

18 November 2014 National: Centre to lower age limit for civil service aspirants In a move that could affect thousands ...

GK & Current Affair Updates: November 18 - 2014

18 November 2014


Centre to lower age limit for civil service aspirants
In a move that could affect thousands of civil service aspirants across the country, the Centre intends to reduce the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants with effect from 2015. Going by the new norm, the upper age limit will be 29 years for SC/ST candidates, 28 years for OBC and 26 for the unreserved category. There will be an additional two years for physically challenged candidates in each category. At present, the upper age limit for SC/ST, OBC and unreserved candidates is 35, 33 and 30 years respectively. According to information published on the website of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, the number of attempts allowed for candidates appearing for the Civil Services Examination would also be reduced to six for SC/ST candidates, five for OBC and three for unreserved candidates. The measures, recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) and almost entirely accepted by the government, were put up on the website a few months ago. The Centre has decided to retain August 1 in the examination year as the cut-off date for eligibility and not to review the structure of the examination (both preliminary and main) since this was only recently changed.

Pandit Jasraj conferred with Sumitra Charat Ram Award
Renowned classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj has been conferred with Sumitra Charat Ram Award for Lifetime Achievement. Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley gave away the award to Mr Jasraj at a function in New Delhi. The award is instituted in the name of noted Indian arts patron, impresario and the founder of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Sumitra Charat Ram who played a key role in the revival of performing arts, especially Kathak in the post-independence era.

Hyderabad duo’s innovation wins Aegis Graham Bell Award
Imagine wearing Google glass and focussing it on a brand new electronic gadget, only to see the screen of the head mounted device get filled up with the technical directions needed to operate the new gadget. The concept may look futuristic and stir up images from scenes of sci-fi movies. However, such an innovation is very much possible, thanks to the present day technology of Augmented Reality (AR), based on which two youngsters from Hyderabad have developed a unique product. Their tech innovation on AR platform has recently fetched the duo of Hasan Ali Khan and Vaishali Neotia, ‘Aegis Graham Bell Award’, constituted by Aegis Graham Bell Business School and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Their work has also been nominated in best innovation in IT category of The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards, London, scheduled to be held on November 19.

Assam presents maiden state bravery award to Gunjan Sarma
Assam government has presented the first state bravery award to Gunjan Sarma in Guwahati. The award was given by state Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Ajit Singh. 15 year old Gunjan, a resident of Sivsagar district has been selected for the first ever bravery award for saving lives of 10 school children in 2013. The brave girl volunteered to be taken hostage by a gunman but later managed to escape from the forest area along the Assam- Nagaland border. The courage of Gunjan was well appreciated across the country. The Assam government announced to make the bravery award an annual event in the name of the brave girl.

IAF tests Akash missile
An Indian Air Force (IAF) team successfully flight-tested the surface-to-air missile, Akash, from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha. The missile flew at a supersonic speed over a distance of 14 km before destroying a target called “para flare” at a low altitude of 1.2 km. The para-flare was dropped by a MiG-27 aircraft of the IAF. It was an Air Force version of Akash that was launched and the mission met its objectives. It was the DRDO which developed the Akash and its system.

India, China joint military exercise begins in Pune
The Fourth India-China Joint Training Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2014 began at Pune in Maharashtra. The aim of the joint exercise is to acquaint both the Armies with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of counter terrorism environment. The 12 day Indo China Training Exercise is focused upon training on crossing of obstacles, special heliborne operations, firing of various weapons, handling and neutralization of improvised explosive devices and conduct of cordon and search operations in insurgency and terrorism environment. Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2014 is expected to develop mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military. The exercise will terminate on 25 November.


Church of England allowss female bishops
The Church of England has broken with a centuries-old tradition by paving the way for the appointment of female bishops. The general synod, the law-making body of the Church of England, had voted to back plans for female bishops back in July,s decision, the first female bishops will be in place by early in 2015. Women priests were ordained in 1994 but to date they have not been able to take on the Church's most senior roles. Divisions remain between Anglicans who feel it is consistent with their faith and traditionalists who disagree. A prior move to allow women to stand as bishops was defeated in 2012 by six votes cast by lay members of the general synod. The decision has been welcomed by long-term campaigners for change, who see it as step towards widening female participation in the Church.

International students in US at record high, China tops list, India on 2nd
The number of international students studying in the United States is at a record high with nearly one-third of them coming from China, followed by India that sent over over lakh students to the country in 2013-14. A report released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) said that a record number of 8,86,052 international students came to the US in the academic year 2013-14 to pursue studies in various academic courses, an increase of 8.1 per cent over the previous year. Topping the list is China from where 2,74,439 students came to study in the US - an increase of 16.5 per cent than 2012- 13. China, in fact accounted for more than 30 per cent of the total international students. China is followed by India, which sent 102,673 students in the year 2013-2014, an increase of 6.1 per cent than the previous year, reversing a three-year trend of declining numbers of Indian students at the US universities. In the previous year, international students contributed some 27 billion dollars to the US economy.

Int'l Buddhist Conference concluded in Nepal
The International Buddhist Conference concluded by appealing all countries of the world for conservation, promotion and greater development of Lumbini and other Buddhist heritages. Issuing a 23-point declaration, the conference attended by some 400 Buddhist experts and intellectuals from 10 countries, has appealed for development of heritages in Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Nawalparasi. The declaration states to enhance promotion of archaeologically and spiritually significant Buddhist heritages of world, promote Buddhist education and to co-work for sustainable development of Lumbini and adjoining areas.

Sierra Leone doctor with Ebola dead
A surgeon who was infected with Ebola while working in his native Sierra Leone has died, becoming the second patient in the United States to succumb to the hemorrhagic virus. Martin Salia (44), a U.S. resident, was infected with Ebola while treating patients in his home country. He was also given donated plasma from a survivor of Ebola and the experimental drug treatment ZMapp. Dr. Salia was the 10th person with Ebola to be treated in the U.S., and the second to have died from the infection. In October, a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, died at a Texas hospital of the virus.

Diplomat chosen as Burkina leader
Burkina Faso’s former ambassador to the United Nations is slated to be in charge of a civilian transitional government after the military briefly seized control of the country. Michel Kafando (72), was named early as transitional President to lead Burkina Faso until elections a year from now. Mr. Kafando’s nomination must be validated by the country’s highest court. Burkina Faso was ruled by President Blaise Compaore, who fled office amid rising opposition protests.

Sci. & Tech:

India's 10 Famous Bird Habitats in Serious Danger
Unsustainable developmental policies and rising insensitivity towards nature have put "in serious danger" at least 10 of the country's famous bird habitats including Gujarat's Flamingo City. Conservation society Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said that its recent findings clearly show that at least 10 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) - as they are now called globally - are in serious danger of being lost forever. BNHS studies and monitoring across the country have shown that the IBAs including Kutch's famous Flamingo City, Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Solapur-Ahmednagar of Maharashtra and Sewri-Mahul Creek in Mumbai are among the most threatened habitats in the country. Flamingo City is possibly the only breeding ground of the migratory bird in a great magnitude in Asia. The scattered grassland plots of the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary are home to the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. Their population at the sanctuary has plummeted from 27 birds in 2006 to 12 in 2012 and a mere three birds in 2013. The other bird habitats which are in grave danger of losing tree cover include Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh; Tillangchong in Andaman-Nicobar; Dihaila Jheel and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh; Basai in Gurgaon, Haryana; Sardarpur Florican Sanctuary in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh and Ranebennur in Haveri, Karnataka.

Business & Economy:

Govt to re-launch Kisan Vikas Patra scheme
The government has re-launch Kisan Vikas Patra scheme in New Delhi to encourage the habit of small savings among citizens. The ministry of finance, stated that the re-launched KVP will be available to the investors in the denomination of 1000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 rupees with no upper ceiling on investment. It also said the certificates can also be issued in single or joint names and can be transferred from one person to any other person. The facility of transfer from one post office to another anywhere in India and of nomination will also be available under the scheme. The investment made in the certificate will double in 100 months. Kisan Vikas Patra a certificate savings scheme was launched by the Government on 1st April, 1988.

$1 bn. SBI loan for Adani to build Australian coal mine
Adani Enterprises won support from the State Bank of India (SBI) and an Australian state to help it build a $7 billion coal mine, defying a slump in coal prices to 5-1/2-year lows that has stalled rival projects. The infrastructure conglomerate, whose founder, Gautam Adani, has signed a memorandum of understanding for a loan of up to $1 billion from the SBI for the mine, rail and port project, which it aims to build by end-2017. Mr. Adani also won a commitment from the Queensland State government to take short-term, minority stakes in rail and port infrastructure needed to unlock the massive coal reserves in the untapped Galilee Basin.

FTIL signs pact to sell Mauritius-based bourse
FT Group Investments Pvt. Ltd, Mauritius, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL), has approved the sale of its 100 per cent stake in Bourse Africa Limited, Mauritius. It was decided to sell the bourse to ‘Continental Africa Holdings Ltd (CAHL), Mauritius, for $40.5 million,’ FTIL said in a note to the BSE and the NSE.

Trade deficit narrows to $13 bn in Oct
Due to decline in oil import, India's trade deficit for the month October has narrowed to 13 billion dollars as compare to the previous month of 14.25 billion dollars. Trade deficit in October 2013 had stood at 10.5 billion dollars. Export data released by Commerce Ministry said that the gold imports jumped to 4.17 billion dollars from 1.09 billion dollars a year ago. Silver imports were reported at 686 million dollars. Meanwhile, the exports in October also hit lowest level since March 2014. It reduced by 5.04 per cent to 26 billion dollars in October 2014 as compare to October 2013.


After 21st ODI ton, Virat Kohli ascends to second spot in ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen

Virat Kohli has moved to second place in the ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen following his impressive batting show in India’s 5-0 series win over Sri Lanka while world record breaker double centurion Rohit Sharma jumped to the 15th spot in the latest chart. Kohli has jumped one place to be behind A B de Villiers of South Africa. Rohit made a spectacular rise of 18 places after his world-record breaking innings of 264 in Kolkata, in what was the 27-year-old’s second ODI career double-century. Shikar Dhawan maintained his fifth sport while Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained on seventh position. For Sri Lanka, Lahiru Thirimanne rose four places to 46th. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has surged to the top of the Reliance ICC ODI Player Rankings for all-rounders for the first time. In the ICC Players Rankings for ODI bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained the highest-ranking Indian at eighth while Ravindra Jadeja was at 10th spot.