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

19 November 2014 National: World Toilet Day: Lack of sanitation makes women vulnerable to sexual violence World...

GK & Current Affair Updates: November 19 - 2014

19 November 2014


World Toilet Day: Lack of sanitation makes women vulnerable to sexual violence
World Toilet Day is being observed. The day is observed by United Nations to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet - despite it is their basic right. The theme for this year's UN World Toilet Day is "Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation", which seeks to raise awareness on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the lack of privacy as well as the inequalities present in toilet usability. On the eve of World Toilet Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement said that a staggering 1.25 billion women and girls will enjoy greater health and increased safety with improved sanitation. World’s 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation and 1 billion people still defecate in the open. This has dramatic consequences on the human health, dignity and security.

Centre praises Himachal for adopting e-Vidhan tech
Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker B.B.L. Butail has claimed that e-Vidhan project adopted by the Assembly has made the proceedings “paperless” and the exchequer is saving at least Rs 17 crore annually. The Speaker also said he also got a appreciation letter written by the Union Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prashad who praised the hill State for becoming India’s first high-tech legislative Assembly by implementing e-Governance solution “e-Vidhan” with the help of Department of Electronics and IT, NIC and NICSI. The State assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Nagaland have shown a keen interest in adopting the e-Vidhan system.

IIM-A hikes course fee by about 11%; Set to introduce changes in curriculum
India's premier business school, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad -IIM-A has announced a fee hike ranging from Rs1.9 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for three of its flagship courses. Courses whose fees have been hiked include Post-Graduate Program in Management (PGP), PGP-Agri-Business Management (PGP-ABM) and PGP for Executives (PGPX). This was announced by IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda. Mr. Nanda said that the fee has been increased from Rs 16.6 lakh to Rs 18.5 lakh for two years courses of PGP and PGP-ABM. The one-year PGPX course fee has also being raised from Rs 21.5 lakh to Rs 24 lakh for the batch commencing from April 2015.

TSR Subramaniam Committee submits report on environment law
The TSR Subramaniam Committee which was constituted to review the processes, laws and Acts of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change submitted its report. It was submitted to Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had appointed the Committee to review the Environment (Protection) Act, Forest (Conservation) Act, Wildlife (Protection) Act, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.

Akash missile successfully test fired in Odisha
India has successfully test-fired indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off Odisha coast. The test-fire was a practice and evaluation trial for a new squadron of Indian Air Force and a repeat performance as the medium range missile had been test-fired successfully from the same test range. ‘Akash’ missile is a medium range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defense system with a strike range of 25 km and can carry a warhead of 60 kg. It has the capability to target aircraft up to 30 km away and is packed with a battery that can track and attack several targets simultaneously. It has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles. The Air Force version of 'Akash' has already been inducted, while the army version is in the final stage of induction.

Nanavati panel submits final report on Gujarat riots
Twelve years after it was constituted, the Nanavati Commission of Enquiry probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots submitted its final report to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. Justice Nanavati and Commission member Justice Akshay Mehta handed over 2,000 pages report. The Commission’s term expired on October 31 after 24 extensions. It submitted the first part of its report related to the Sabarmati Express in 2008, which said that the train burning was a “planned conspiracy.” The same year, after the death of Justice K.G. Shah, retired HC Justice Akshay Mehta was appointed to the Commission.

Re-elected to IFABC
Hormuzd Masani, secretary-general of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Mumbai, has been re-elected to the Executive Board of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations (IFABC) for the fourth successive time. Mr. Masani will also be the Treasurer of the IFABC, again for the fourth consecutive term. The Executive Board has representatives from Australia, Sweden, Poland, Spain, the U.K., Switzerland and Romania.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifts Rani of Jhansi's petition to Abbott
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gifted to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott Australian lawyer John Lang’s 1854 petition against the East India Company on behalf of Rani Lakshmibai. Mr. Modi gave the gift to Mr. Abbott just ahead of bilateral talks. Born in 1816 in Sydney, Lang is generally regarded as Australia’s first native novelist. As a man of many talents, he was also a lawyer, journalist and born traveller. In 1842, he sailed to India and made the country his new home, even learning the Hindustani language. While carrying on a successful legal practice, he started a newspaper in 1845 called The Moffusilite, published initially from Meerut and later from Mussoorie. In 1854, Lang became the counsel of Lakshmibai — an iconic figure in the Indian uprising of 1857.

Indian-American wins peace prize
Neha Gupta (18), an Indian-American from Philadelphia, has won the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for her work to help orphans in India and other vulnerable children. She became the first ever American to be awarded the prize in The Hague, Netherlands. In 2013, the winner was Malala Yousufzai, who went on to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Ms. Gupta was awarded the prize on by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu in The Hague. The prize is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children’s rights.

Oxford Dictionary names 'vape' as 2014 word of year
The Oxford English Dictionary named "vape" the word used for the act of drawing on an electronic cigarette instead of a burning stick of tobacco as its 2014 word of the year. The 2013 word of the year was selfie, describing the decidedly less controversial self-portrait usually taken with a smart phone. The word appeared to peak in the United States in April, when New York City banned vaping indoors. The United Kingdom opened its first vape cafe called The Vape Lab in March.

First zero-gravity 3D printer installed
The world’s first zero-gravity 3D printer has been installed by NASA on the International Space Station (ISS), which will help astronauts to experiment with additive manufacturing in microgravity. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore installed the 3D printer, designed and built by Made In Space for NASA, inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) aboard the ISS.

Pakistan ranks third in Global Terrorism Index
A new global study by London based Institute for Economics and Peace has ranked Pakistan third on the Global Terrorism Index list. The report said Iraq was the country hit hardest by terrorism, with 2,492 attacks that killed more than 6,300 people. It was followed by Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Nigeria and Syria in fourth and fifth place respectively. With 10,000 worldwide attacks in 2013, Pakistan in particular saw a 37 per cent increase in deaths and 28 per cent increase in injuries since 2012. The report also says that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan between 2000 and 2013 has claimed 778 attacks, of which 12 per cent were carried out by suicide bombers. It also says that the Taliban have the highest number of fighters, estimated to be between 36,000 to 60,000.

Japan’s Abe calls snap polls
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for year 2015, seeking a renewed mandate for his all-or-nothing policies to end two decades of economic stagnation. Despite those policies, the Japanese economy slipped into a recession after a sales tax increase in April crushed consumer and business spending. That forced Mr. Abe to delay the second hike planned for October next year until April 2017.

Legendary Japanese actor Takakura dies
Legendary Japanese actor Ken Takakura, a craggy-faced, quiet star known for playing outlaws and stoic heroes in scores of Japanese films, has died of lymphoma. He was 83. He was best known abroad for playing a policeman in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain in 1989.

Science and Technology:

Philae finds traces of organic molecules on comet
Mankind’s first-ever probe of a comet found traces of organic molecules and a surface much harder than imagined, scientists said of initial sample data from robot lab Philae. Philae fell asleep on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Saturday, having run out of onboard battery power after 60 hours of prodding and probing an object zipping towards the Sun at 18 kmps. The lander control centre in Cologne, operated by German Aerospace Center (DLR), said Philae had uncovered much about the comet in spite of a rough touchdown in a less-than-perfect spot. Among the most anticipated data from Philae had been chemical analysis of a drill sample which scientists hoped would shed light on the origins of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago, and maybe even life on Earth.

Business & Economy:

India to strengthen trade ties with Tatarstan
Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar has said that the government will form a joint working group to promote trade in the fertilizer space with Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. A Russian delegation led by President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov called on the Fertilizer Minister for strengthening of bilateral relations and trade. The Minister said, India looks forward to long-term agreement for import of potash, phosphate and natural gas of which Russia has huge reserves.

Shell India wins multi-million dollar tax dispute
The Bombay High Court has ruled in favour of the Indian unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in a multi-million dollar tax dispute, the latest verdict against the tax department, which has been vigorously pursing claims against foreign firms in India. Shell had challenged the largest ever claim in a tax case related to transfer pricing. A rash of high-value tax claims on foreign firms, including IBM Corp and Nokia Oyj, in the past year has sparked criticism that overly zealous tax authorities could undermine foreign investment in India.

CCIL launches legal entity identifier services
The Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL) has launched its services as a local operating unit (LOU) for issuing globally compatible legal entity identifiers (LEIs) in India. The LEI is a 20-charactrer unique identity number assigned to entities which are parties to a financial transaction. As part of the global initiative to have a structure to identify legal entities across the globe in a unique manner, CCIL has been appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for rendering this service for Indian entities undertaking financial transactions. Initially all entities undertaking OTC derivative transactions will be required to obtain LEI and include the same in the derivative transactions reported.


Vengsarkar to receive C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award

Dilip Vengsarkar who earned the sobriquet ‘colonel’ has been chosen for the BCCI’s Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013-14. He will receive a citation, trophy and cheque for Rs. 25 lakh at the BCCI’s eighth annual awards ceremony to be held here on November 21. Vengsarkar was India’s prominent batsman from the mid-70s to early 1990s. He earned fame for scoring three consecutive centuries at Lord’s (103 in 1979, 157 in 1982 and 126 not out in 1986). He scored 6,868 runs in 116 Tests (17 centuries) and 3,508 runs in 129 One-Day Internationals.Other awardees: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Polly Umrigar Award, best international cricketer, Rs. 5 lakh), Parveez Rasool (Lala Amarnath Award, best all-rounder, Ranji Trophy, Rs. 2.5 lakh), R. Vinay Kumar (Lala Amarnath Award, best all-rounder in domestic limited-over tournaments, Rs. 2.5 lakh), Kedar Jadhav (Madhavrao Scindia Award, highest scorer in Ranji Trophy, Rs. 2.5 lakh), Rishi Dhawan (Madhavrao Scindia Award, highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy, Rs. 2.5 lakh), Rahul Tripathi (M.A. Chidambaram Trophy, best u-25 cricketer, Rs. 50,000), B. Anirudh (M.A. Chidambaram Trophy, best u-19 cricketer, Rs. 50,000), Shubham Gill (M.A. Chidambaram Trophy, best u-16 cricketer, Rs. 50,000), Smriti Mandhana (M.A. Chidambaram Trophy, best woman cricketer, Rs. 50,000) and Anil Chaudhary (best umpire in domestic cricket), Rs. 50,000). Previous Col. C.K. Nayudu awardees: 2007: Nari Contractor; 2008: G.R. Viswanath; 2009: Mohinder Amarnath; 2010: Salim Durrani; 2011: Ajit Wadekar; 2012: Sunil Gavaskar; 2013: Kapil Dev.