Current Affairs Quiz - new
International Current Affairs 2013
Current Affairs [November 2013]
Current Affairs [October 2013]
- Nirupama Rao named visiting fellow at US varsity
Former Indian ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, has accepted a one-year appointment as the Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow with the Brown-India Initiative at the Watson Institute for International Studies.
Rao, who retired earlier this month after a 40-year diplomatic career, begins her appointment in January 2014, Providence, Rhode Island based Brown University announced Monday. While at Brown Rao will be writing a book focusing on how the advent of new media technologies are changing the way countries respond to policy-related situations.
- Antony To Commission INS Vikramaditya In Russia Nov 16
Defence Minister A.K. Antony will Saturday commission Indian Naval Ship Vikramaditya, the country's second aircraft carrier and its biggest warship, at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia.
Antony will leave Delhi Friday for a four-day visit to Russia. He will also co-chair the 13th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu in Moscow Monday, said a defence ministry release.
Current Affairs [September 2013]
- US shutdown not to hit Indian Mars mission
The partial shutdown of the US government would not affect the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) scheduled for launch Oct 28, the Indian space agency said Saturday.
"National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) authorities of the US have reaffirmed support to our Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, scheduled for launch Oct 28," the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement here.
- IFC to sell rupee-linked bonds of $1 bn
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's investment arm, plans to raise $1 billion by selling rupee-linked bonds to help finance private sector investments in India and strengthen capital markets.
The programme, the largest in the offshore rupee market, was launched here Wednesday.
Current Affairs [August 2013]
- Jhumpa Lahiri novel competes for Man Booker Prize
Indian American author and Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland, has been shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize, organisers said Tuesday.
Set in the 1960s, "The Lowland", provides a view of suburban streets of Calcutta (Kolkata) through the eyes of Subhash.
- Gujarati film 'The Good Road' India's entry for Oscar
Debut feature filmmaker Gyan Correa's Gujarati film "The Good Road" has been chosen to represent India in the best foreign film category at the Academy Awards.
Current Affairs [July 2013]
- World Bank to loan $100 mn for low-cost housing
Thee World Bank will extend a $100-million loan for sustainable housing in India that can be used to purchase, build or upgrade low-cost dwellings, the finance ministry said Thursday.
The state-run National Housing Bank will execute this project.
Import Duty On Gold, Silver Hiked To 10 Percent
The Indian government Tuesday hiked customs duties on gold, platinum and silver to 10 percent to curb imports and lower the current account deficit.
This led to a recovery in the rupee. The partially convertible rupee closed at 61.19 per dollar compared to 61.27 Monday.
- India's DRDO launches explosive detection kit in US
It looks like a little pocket sized cigar box, but it packs a mighty punch in the fight against terrorism. And now this nifty explosive detection kit, developed by the India's Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), is all set to play its part in the US too.
- China Developed the Fastest Computer of the World Called Tianhe-2
A survey conducted by Top 500, revealed on 17 June 2013 that the Chinese supercomputer is the fastest computer of the world. This Chinese supercomputer is called Tianhe-2 and it replaced US machine called Titan, which was earlier said to be the fastest computer of the world.
India to be most Populous Country by 2028
The UN report titled World Population Prospects was released on 13 June 2013, forecasted that India will be the most populous country of the world by 2028 leaving behind China. The report also claimed that by 2025 the world population will increase by one billion and reach to 8.1 billion from 7.2 billion at present. By 2050, the world population will be 9.6 billion as per the report.
Current Affairs [May 2013]
Current Affairs [April 2013]
- India granted Observer Status by Arctic Council
India on 15 May 2013 was successful in getting the observer status in the Arctic Council along with five other nations namely China, Italy, Singapore and South Korea. This step of the Arctic Council will give India a foothold in the resource rich Arctic Ocean with the melting of the ice. As India will get an access from navigation to oil and gas exploration. The observer status was assigned to India after a meeting held at Kiruna, Sweden.
India is the largest producer and consumer of Chickpeas in World
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its latest report for 2011 claimed that India is the largest consumer and producer of Chickpeas in the world. The second advance estimates for 2012-13 marked a record production of Chickpea is 8567.8 thousand tonnes.
- "The Orphan Master's Son" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Adam Johnson's novel The Orphan Master's son won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2013. Last year, judges had failed to select a winner of the award for fiction for the first time in 35 years. The book carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.
Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University. He spent time in North Korea to research his book. Other books in contention were, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander and The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.
Indian-Origin Economist Raj Chetty Won John Bates Clark Medal For 2013
Delhi-born Raj Chetty, the professor in the Department of Economy at the Harvard University won John Bates Clark medal for 2013, also called Baby Nobel. Raj Chetty's work was also cited by the US President Barack Obama in State of the Union Address.
John Bates Clark medal is conferred upon the American economist whose age is below 40 years and the one who has made crucial contribution to economic knowledge and thought. Baby Nobel is one of the most prestigious awards of economy. Infact, it is second only after Nobel Prize in economic science.
Raj Chetty, 33, is the first Indian-origin person to win this high honour. His areas of work include social insurance, tax policy as well as education policy.
International Current Affairs 2013
Current Affairs [March 2013]
- World Bank bar Larsen & Turbo for six Months over Forgery
The World Bank in the month of March 2013 barred Larsen & Toubro (L&T) from doing any business with it or the projects funded by it for a period of six months, as it found that a senior executive of the conglomerate indulging in fraud.
The department has made L&T ineligible for being awarded of any contract of the World Bank Funded projects and also from receiving any loan proceeds made by the Bank or participating in any Bank-financed project. The department is supposed to continue till 6 September 2013.
India Proposed Hydrocarbon Pipeline from Kazakhstan
India in the month of March 2013 proposed the idea of a hydrocarbon pipeline with Kazakhstan that is intended to bring fuel through a five-nation route.
The concept of the pipeline, unveiled could be in future extended to Russia. Officials said currently most hydrocarbon pipelines from Central Asia are on an east-west axis. This pipeline will, like TAPI, be on a north-south axis, providing a new route to South Asia for hydrocarbons extracted from Central Asia.
International Current Affairs 2013
Current Affairs [Febraury 2013]
Current Affairs [January 2013]
- Pope Benedict XVI announced his Resignation because of Poor Health
Pope Benedict XVI announced on 11 February 2013 that he would resign at the end of the month. He reasoned that he was too infirm to carry on. He is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision set the stage for the election of a new Pope before the end of March 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI is 85 years old. He had become the Pope in 2005. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who took this step in 1415 to put an end to the Great Western Split among competing papal claimants.
Largest Saltwater Crocodile of the World, Lolong Died in Philippines
The largest saltwater crocodile of the world, named Lolong died in Philippines on 10 February 2013 just 17 months after it was captured and put for tourists on display.
Lolong measured 6.17 metres or 20.24 feet. The largest crocodile of the world died because of illness that is not known. It is believed that Lolong was over 50 years old.
A hunting party that was sanctioned by the government captured Lolong in September 2011. The largest crocodile of the world became a source of tourist attraction.
Lolong was declared officially as the largest crocodile of its kind in captivity by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012. It beat the record of 5.48-metre crocodile named Cassius which was kept in park in an island off Queensland, Australia.
Lolong belonged to the family of species called Crocodylus Porosus, or the Indo-Pacific crocodile, which is said to be the largest reptile of the world.
- No plans to run for Presidency in 2016: Hillary
Virtually putting to rest all speculations about her contesting the next US presidential elections, outgoing secretary of state Hillary Clinton has said she has absolutely no such plans and is just focussing on finishing her term in office.
"Well I have absolutely no plans to run for presidency. Right now, I am trying to finish my term as Secretary of State," she told CNN in an interview when asked about reports of her contesting the elections of 2016.
"I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of women and girls, and hopefully be writing and speaking. Those are the things that I am planning to do right now."Clinton said she does not know what her new life entails for her, when there are no appointments for her.
- New levels of horror in Syria, says UN
The Syria war has reached 'unprecedented levels of horror', UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said after dozens of men were killed in a grim new massacre. Brahimi told the divided UN Security Council that it must now act to halt the carnage epitomised by the nearly 80 young men killed with a single bullet and dumped in a river in the battlefront city of Aleppo.
Syrian rebels blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the killings, but state media said an Islamist opposition faction was to blame. Syria "is breaking up before everyone's eyes. Only the international community can help, and first and the foremost the Security Council," Brahimi told the council's 15 ambassadors, apologising for sounding like a broken old record.
Twenty two months of conflict have now left well over 60,000 dead, according to the UN, which will seek $1.5 billion in humanitarian funding for beleaguered Syrians at a conference in Kuwait,
- China urges Japan to foster normal ties
China urged Japan to create conditions for the normal development of bilateral relations, saying the two sides should "properly handle tensions" over the sovereignty of the disputed Diaoyu islands.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong lei said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had suggested that a summit between Japan and China was necessary to mend bilateral relations hampered by recent territorial disputes, Xinhua reported.
Hong said China attaches importance to developing relation with Japan, and stressed that Beijing hopes that Tokyo will make joint efforts to overcome major difficulties so as to push bilateral ties back to the track of normal development.
International Current Affairs 2012
Current Affairs [December 2012]
Current Affairs [November 2012]
- First economic dialogue between India, Japan
To impart a renewed momentum in order to grow and flourish new ties and to resolve issues relating to civil nuclear issues, India and Japan are going to hold their first economic dialogue and sixth strategic talks.
The two dialogues will be co-chaired by our external Affairs Minister along with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba, who will be on a two day visit to the National Capital.
The dialogues are slated to be centred on range of bilateral and global issues. These issues include the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation, maritime security and the evolving East Asia regional security architecture.
- Russia to build two more nuclear reactors in China
Nuclear countries Russia and China have cemented their nuclear cooperation leading the Russian capital to build two more reactors in the Chinese soil.
Earlier also Russia helped China in building two reactors in the Taiwan nuclear plant in Jiangsu province. Those two reactors went into operation in the year 2007 as said by the Sergey Sergeevich Razov, Moscow's envoy.
The two reactors being built have a combined capacity of 2,000 mw and are using Russia's VVER 1000 nuclear model.
Russia will build the two reactors in Taiwan after the Chinese government lifts its suspension on the new atomic power plants imposed after the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
- China set to take over reins of Pakistan's Gwadar port
China appears all set to take over the reins of Pakistan's strategic Gwadar port in Balochistan, with the Singapore Port Authority (SPA) and its partners intending to pull out of a 40yr old management and development contract.
The SPA and its partners, the National Logistics cell and AKD Group, have been allowed to quit the project to transfer 584acres at the mouth of the port that are currently in possession of Pakistan Navy.
"We have not been able to meet the contractual obligations and resolve land issues. As a result, they (SPA and its partners) have gone under duress and we issued them no objection certificate to give up their contract," ports and shipping minister Babar Khan Ghauri told a meeting of senate's standing committee on ports and shipping.
Current Affairs [October 2012]
- China claims historical rights Beijing’s claims to nearly all the South China Sea are embossed in its latest passports, based on what it calls long established “historical facts” and what Chinese analysts say is Western imperial precedent.
Beijing has grown increasingly assertive in recent years in claiming islands and waters even without effective control of them- in some cases hundreds of kilometres from the China’s mainland and close to rival claimants’ coasts.
The latest front on the simmering dispute is China’s new passport, which shows the map of the country including almost all of the strategically significant sea, the site of key shipping routes and possibly significant petroleum reserves.
- UK press needs new watchdog: Leveson A judge called on legislation to underpin a new regulator for Britain’s “outrageous” newspapers in a dramatic move that threatens to Divide Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government.
Lord justice Brian Leveson, who led an eight month inquiry following the phone hacking scandal that closed down Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, also criticised politicians for getting too close to the press.
His eagerly awaited report called for legislation for a new independent self regulatory body underpinned by law, saying that misbehaviour by the British press has undermined its own arguments that it works in the public interest.
- Genuine Indian students kept out by UK agency Officials at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) sat over more than 150,000 complaints of non-European students breeching their conditions of study, Britain’s chief inspector of immigration John Vine said, prompting a senior MP to accuse the agency of putting off genuine Indian students.
Vine criticised the UKBA in a report for failing to act on tip-offs provided by colleges and universities who, under a student sponsorship system, are meant to notify the agency whenever non-EU students do not enrol, stop attending courses or breach visa rules.
Vine said the agency had no targets in place for responding to such tip-offs. “As a result, notifications were not being acted upon.” At one point a backlog of 153,000, such reports had built up, said Vine, whose tem examined work at three UKBA offices in Sheffield, Beijing and Delhi. However by may this year, all outstanding tip-offs had been acted upon.
- Pakistani journalist escapes bomb attack Pakistani journalist and celebrity TV anchor Hamid Mir escaped an assassination attempt, when the police defused a bomb planted under his car in Islamabad. The device in a metal box was found under the front passenger seat of Mir’s car. “It was a powerful bomb. Had it gone off, the car would have been blown into pieces,” interior minister Rehman Malik said.
Mir who host Capital Talk, an evening show on Geo TV, and writes a column for Jang, was criticised by the Taliban last month in the wake of the shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.
The interior minister said that he would offer a reward of Rs 5 crore for anyone who provided any information on the accused.
Current Affairs [September 2012]
- Pakistan reaches out to old Afghan enemies Pakistan has increased efforts to reach out to some of its biggest enemies in Afghanistan, a significant policy shift that could prove crucial to US-backed efforts to strike a peace deal in the neighbouring country.
The target of the diplomatic push has mainly been non Pashtun political leaders who have been at odds with Pakistan for years because of the country's historical support for the Afghan Taliban, a Pashtun movement.
Many of the leaders fought against Taliban when the fundamentalist Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan in 1990s with Pakistan's help and have accused Islamabad of maintaining support for the insurgents following the US led invasion in 2001- allegations denied by the government. Many experts agree that Pakistan continues to see the Taliban as an ally, albeit a shaky one, in countering the influence of archenemy India in Afghanistan.
- Statue of Liberty reopens, The statue of Liberty has reopened for the public viewing after a year-long 30 million-dollar interior makeover. The mostly federally funded renovation to the 126 year old statue of Liberty includes fire safety and ventilations improvement, better bathrooms, a third elevator and remodelled staircase with 39 extra steps to make it easier to climb from pedestal to crown.
And for the first time ever, there is wheelchair access to the top of the pedestal. With the structural improvements, 26,000 more visitors will be able to visit the crown every year, the New York Post reports.
"All that makes me confident I can bring my grandparents," Jean-Pascal Mill, 38, a tourist from Lyon, France, who visited the Liberty Island said.
Opposition rejects Prachanda's proposals Any hope that the festive mood in Nepal could help end the ongoing political crisis seems unlikely for the time being with the opposition parties rejecting a fresh move by the ruling Maoists.
After a 'Dashain' hiatus of nearly 10 days, talks have resumed among the ruling parties and those in opposition, but there is no sign yet of resolving the impasse soon. Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists Leninist) rejected two proposals forwarded by Unified Communists Party of Nepal (Maoists) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.
The Maoists chief had discussed the proposals in separate talks with NC president Shushil Koirala, CPN (UML) chairman Jhalanath Khanal and former prime minister and CPN (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Prachanda expressed his party's willingness to support a new government headed by NC if the latter agree on reviving the dissolved constituent assembly to promulgate the new constution.
Wen Jiabao's family denies NYT report on wealth Lawyers hired by Premier Wen Jiabao's family have issued an unprecedented rebuttal to the New York Times story denying that his close relatives including his mother have amassed assets worth more than $2.7 billion in the last decade.
The lawyers have denied that the "hidden riches" as described by the US newspaper does not exist and that his mother who according to the report had accrued millions- only received her salary and pension.
They have added that they reserved the right to hold the newspaper responsible legally. The denial issued is being considered unusual as it's possible for the first time that a top Chinese politician has issued a denial against a foreign newspaper's report.
Earlier this year when a similar story was done by Bloomberg on senior leader Xi Jinping, he had not responded.
Hurricane pauses US presidential campaign President Barack Obama planned to travel to Florida for a campaign stop as Hurricane Sandy, bearing down on the eastern United States, forced White House candidates to review their schedules.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney has cancelled appearances in Virginia to head for Ohio before the Hurricane's arrival, while Obama moved up his initial plans to go to Florida to go back in Washington in time for the storm's landfall.
The president has also cancelled two campaign events in Virginia and Colorado to monitor developments related to Sandy. Vice president Joe Biden, meanwhile cancelled a visit to the battleground state of Virginia to allow law enforcements and emergency workers there to prepare for the advancing storm.
Democrats set to retain senate, Republicans to keep House Richard Mourdock has known both instant celebrity and instant notoriety. He shot to fame by beating Richard Lougar, long time Indiana senator in the primaries, in May. He hit infamy earlier this month describing pregnancy from rape as "something God intended", endangering Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's race.
Also jeopardising the Republican Party's efforts, to wrest control of the US senate from Democrats. Indiana was a safe seat returning Lugar to the senate for 32 years. It's not any longer.
Another Republican candidate for the senate Todd Akin was there ahead of Mourdock on rape with this: a woman's body shuts down during rape to prevent pregnancy. And that put another senate race in danger for Republicans.
US voter will elect on November 6 a president, one third of the 100-member senate (like Rajya Sabha), and all 435 members of the House of Representatives.
Chinese Uighurs joins jihadis in Syria Chinese Muslims separatists from the northwest region of Xinjiang are battling Syrian government forces alongside al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, an official Chinese newspaper reported.
Radicals among the China's ethnic Turkic Uighur minority have been travelling to Syria since May to join the fighting on trips organised by groups opposed to Beijing's rule over Xinjiang the Global Times reported.
Citing unidentified Chinese anti-terrorism authorities, it said the groups were funding their activities through drug and gun trafficking, kidnapping and robbery, and providing training for "separatists, criminals and terrorists" who had fled Xinjiang.
After receiving orders from al Qaeda, terrorists from China came to Syria to meet with jihadists already on the ground before forming groups on the front lines," the report quoted an unidentified official as saying.
BBC inquiry begins as sex abuse scandal grows An inquiry into the BBC's culture and practices got under way with the corporation reeling from allegations of child sex abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile, one of its biggest stars.
The probe begins a year to the day since death of Savile, the eccentric presenter now considered one of the most prolific sex offenders in British history, with some 300 alleged victims coming forward in recent weeks.
It also starts the day after 1970s glam rocker Gary Glitter, a convicted paedophile, was questioned on suspicion of sexual offences, the first arrest in the widening police probe into the activities of Savile and others around him.
Janet Smith, a former Court of Appeal Judge, inquiry will also examine whether BBC's child protection and whistle blowing policies are fir for purpose.
Current Affairs [August 2012]
- As many as 58 persons were killed in the wake of nationwide attacks in Iraq, which also included a car bomb in front of the French Consulate. The local wing of Al-Qaida has been behind such attacks in Iraq before, especially after the US troops left.
- An Afghan police official was reported to have killed 4 NATO international service members in Kabul. This took the death toll of international service members to 51, and all of these have been slain by Afghan soldiers or imposters in their uniforms. As many as 12 attacks of similar kind were reported in the month of August itself.
- Muslim protestors set afire temples and homes in Bangladesh, after reports that a Buddhist man insulted the Islam religion. At least 4 Buddhist temples were torched, and another 15 homes, each belonging to Buddhist families, were demolished and set afire. Police had to deploy special teams to control the situation. The man behind the alleged insult was given police protection and taken to a safe location.
More than a 1000 people congregated at Ground Zero in New York, in commemoration of the anniversary of the unforgettable September 11 attacks on NY City's Twin Towers and The Pentagon, outside Washington. President Obama, and First Lady observed a moment of silence, and also conducted a military honor guard.
Tens of thousands of people lashed out at the government in anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece. Demonstrators were fired at with teargas after hooded youths threw petrol bombs at the police. These demonstrations were the biggest in terms of the number of protestors. Demonstrators said they were being strangled to a life of misery with ever increasing taxes and wage cuts.
Anti - Islam film in the US led to seething protests that turned violent and led to several casualties in several countries. On September 21st, protests against the film went bad and led to the loss of 20 lives. Mobsters torched 6 cinema halls and Pakistan summoned the US envoy and strongly pushed for the US government to intervene and help in removing the video from YouTube.
A massive 300 killings took place across the country of Syria, and this count did not account for the unidentified bodies, including which the count would have been much more. These killings marked the gravest day of the 18 month revolt that has paralyzed the nation. Ever since the country entered a state of internal war against President Bashar al-Assad's rule in March 2012, Syria has witnessed several blood stained days as this.
On September 12, Somalia's newly made President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the foreign minister from Kenya, both escaped a suicide bomb attack. The events took place in a Mogadishu hotel, where the two were to hold a news conference. The two political heavyweights, however, escaped without any injuries.
After the demise of Meles Zenwai in August, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF) declared acting Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn as the new man in charge. EPDRF is the ruling party in Ethopia.
Current Affairs [July 2012]
- Tour core tiger areas but don’t build: SC
Tourists can hope to see tigers in natural habitat once again as the Supreme Court Wednesday softened stand, saying it wasn’t averse to “regulated tourism” in the core areas of reserves.
“It’s the raised construction inside core areas and not tourists who harm tigers. Is it necessary that 100 vehicles go inside at a time? It (tourism) needs a proper regulation”, a bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
However the court’s ban- ordered on July 24 and extended on August 29- on tourist activities will remain in place till September 27, when the case comes up next. The court is hearing a petition on tiger conversation.
On attorney general GE Vahanvati’s assurance, the court gave the government four weeks to draw comprehensive guidelines to take care of both tourism and tiger conservation.
- China set to take over reins of Pakistan’s Gwadar port
China appears all set to take over the reins of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port in Balochistan, with the Singapore Port Authority (SPA) and its partners intending to pull out of a 40yr old management and development contract.
The SPA and its partners, the National Logistics cell and AKD Group, have been allowed to quit the project to transfer 584acres at the mouth of the port that are currently in possession of Pakistan Navy.
“We have not been able to meet the contractual obligations and resolve land issues. As a result, they (SPA and its partners) have gone under duress and we issued them no objection certificate to give up their contract,” ports and shipping minister Babar Khan Ghauri told a meeting of senate’s standing committee on ports and shipping.
- Graft scandal hushed up
A top official of Communist Party of China (CPC) fled to the US with millions of yuan, it has emerged after the net users posted the information of his escape on Chinese Social networking sites.
State media subsequently was forced to confirm the news only now though Wang Guoqiang, the CPC chief of Fengcheng city in Liaoning province of northeast China, is learnt to have fled the country in April. It’s the latest corruption scandal to hit the CPC as it gears up for the leadership change later this year.
It also comes as senior party leaders are repeatedly calling for clean governance and is being seen as a case where authorities had reportedly tried to cover it but failed. Wang has reportedly taken more than 200 million yuan or $31.5 million with him.
- 350 Indian students in UK face deportation
Around 350 Indians are among the 3,000 international students who face deportation from Britain after the government suddenly cracked down on a London university accusing it for approving visas for bogus students.
London Metropolitan University’s power to approve visas for non-European students, was revoked by the government’s immigration department, which said a quarter of 101 students sampled in a random check were bogus.
But critics say that the government was punishing genuine fee paying foreign students, who bring 12.5billion pounds every year, with an ill-conceived and potentially ruinous move aimed at bringing down immigration. Immigration minister Damien Green said the university was guilty on three counts: some students had overstayed their visas, others didn’t have a “decent standard” of English and more than half weren’t attending classes.
- Republicans welcome NRI’s into fold
The Republican Party announced a new political reality in the US: Indian-Americans are no longer a Democratic Party monopoly. It had Ishwar Singh, a Sikh American of Indian Origin; lead the prayer opening the third day of its national convention.
A Rabbi did the honours the previous day. And it had Yash Wadhwa, small businessmen of Indian origin from Wisconsin, talk about the power of American dream, always a powerful rallying cry.
At 3 million, the Indian Americans are the third largest Asian American Community, training the Chinese and the Filipinos. But they are the most prosperous minority community. “I came here with just $2 in my pocket,” said Wadhwa. One of the many small business owners invited to the convention, he was the only Asian American.
- Pakistani atlas shows Kashmir as Indian
A new school atlas published by the government of Pakistan’s Punjab Province has shown Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Gilgit-Baltistan as region as Indian territories. The education authorities rushed to recall the atlas from all the elementary and high school libraries of Punjab Province which has a population of 90 million.
The government of chief minister Sahahbaz Sharif has had to face criticism from academicians over the development. “It is a grave mistake that speaks of the inefficiency of our chief minister’s team,” publisher Khalid Pervez said.
Over 15,000 copies of the atlas had been delivered to school libraries so far.
- Karzai to replace security chiefs
Afghan president Hamid Karzai is trying to shore up his shaken security team as his administration struggles to build an army and police force in the face of a resurgent Taliban as the US and other foreign forces begin to draw.
Karzai’s latest reshuffle of top officials if it goes through appeared to be an attempt to stack the cabinet and electoral commission with his allies in a bid to retain power behind the scenes after his final five year term ends and the international troops withdraw in 2014.
“With the elections coming, with the transition.... it is a time for him to re-strengthen his team,” said Maritime van Bijlert, an expert at the Afghan Analysts Network. An
Afghan official close to the president said the head of the country’s election commission, the attorney general and the finance minister were expected to be among the top positions to be part of the shake up.
- The first human to step on the moon none other than Mr. Neil Amstrong passed away at the age of 82. Amstrong’s historic step on the moon along with the Appollo 11 onto the space is famously quoted in history as “this is one small step for human but a giant leap for mankind” With some complications following a cardiovascular procedure resulted in his untimely death.
- Planarian flatworm is known to regenerate parts of its own body. This may offer great hope for many weakening eye diseases as per a team of researchers from the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who are on the forefront of a major breakthrough while studying this worm. These scientists have magnificently deciphered the genome of the worm’s eye which could set a way to study eye development and eye related sicknesses. Peter Reddien and his team of scientists at the MIT conducted more than two thousand planarian eyes and discovered six hundred active genes and a detailed study was conducted amongst 200 of them.
- The effects of junk foods may be huge as per a study that was conducted on babies, infants consuming junk foods. These kids may have reduced IQ levels when compared to those kids who are fed with healthy diets. Lisa Smithers hailing from University of Adelaide Public Health also managed the study and analysed the basic relation between the dietary behaviours of various kids ranging from six months upto two years and their IQ levels at eight years of age. The study was conducted on more than seven thousand children. Their dietary patterns including traditional and modern home-made food, ready-to-eat baby foods, breastfeeding and junk foods were analysed. The core aim of the study was to see what impact diet would have on the IQ when important and other nutrients are fed to the brain during early year’s upto two. And it was finally concluded that children who were breast fed at six months and consumed a healthy and balanced diet regularly including foods such as cheese, fruits, vegetables, pulses at fifteen and twenty four months had IQ levels that are two points higher when they turn eight.
- If you are coffee lover, you have a reason to worry now! A study conducted by the experts in Britain have found out that a daily cup of latte can add upto ten punds of annual weight to your body and that’s close to 4.5 kilos! With the rapid increase in the high-street coffee shops, the obesity epidemic in Britain in highly on the rise as reported by the Daily Express. A small cup of latte with full-fat milk is loaded with one hundred and fifty three calories while a cup of black coffee containing semi-skimmed milk contains barely thirty five calories. This dietary research was conducted in over two thousand British adults. It is said that the people who are sensible for their well-being fail to recognize how much fat and sugar they are drinking.
- Japanese journalist Mika Yamamato was gunned down when she was reporting the coverage in Syria where there were conflicts between Syrian forces and rebels in the alleppo region. She was forty five.
- Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenavi passed away due to some unspecified illness. He was just fifty seven years old.
- Some thirty thousand unauthorized Indian workforces may get a reprieve for the next two years from deportation as per the Deferred Action Policy set by the Obama administration.
- Frequent fliers will have something to cheer about now. Sir Rishard branson owned British airlines Virgin Atlantic, in a move to attract more customers and increase its seating capacity, is offering a unique promotion. A free space trip for the most frequent flyers of the Virgin atlantic.
- A famous lavatory company based in Japan has invented the world's first 'waste-powered' automobile that can chart a course for over 180 miles onto a tank that is complete with animal waste. The company has revealed the motorbike claimed it as the first such vehicle in the world that is powered with waste. The three-wheeler is installed with lavatory in the place of a normal seat and large paper roll on the back.
- A study conducted by Virgin media business concluded that smart phones will replace land lines in the next five years. The study states that office land lines will be a matter of old school. More than 65% of the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) claimed that the dominance of smart phones on their tables will allow the land lines to lose their significance.
- The next iPhone that is likely to be launched in the next few weeks of so will have a micro-chip installed inside that when waved next to the scanners can carry out minor transactions. After portable music players, cameras, and games you may very well replace your wallet too with this new feature!
Current Affairs [June 2012]
- Stephen R Covey, the author of popular self-help book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People', passed away in Idaho. He was 79 years old and due to some complications that originated from a bicycle accident in April.
- Nelson Mandela often referred to as Madiba turned 94 and celebrated his birthday on 18th July. Former US President Bill Clinton paid him a surprise visit at his home on village Qunu.
- Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar opposition leader received a congressional gold medal which is a highest US award when she visits the country this year. She’s also set to receive the Atlantic Council’s “Global citizen” award.
- Fukushima nuclear crisis, a man-made disaster
The Fukushima nuclear power plant which had a meltdown during March 2011 was mainly due to human error and not the natural disaster was what was being claimed earlier. An investigation report that was tabulated in the parliament in July. The report also mentioned that the disaster could have been foreseen and prevented accordingly. The report blames cultural conventions and the reluctance to question the authority which has led to this mishap. The six reactor Fukushima nuclear power plant in Daiichi was very badly damaged following the earthquake and Tsunami which knocked out the cooling systems and this led to meltdowns and release of dangerous radioactive materials. Several tens of thousands or residents were asked to evacuate from the exclusion zone around the plant while various workers battled to get the reactors under control until it was declared a safe zone in 2011
- The Beijing municipal government declared the heaviest rain in 61 years killed 37 while thousands were evacuated in China.
- On a lighter note, Obama was declared the world's most popular president leaving behind all the famous heads of governments of the world and this of course is more on a virtual world... called Twitter!
- Colorado shooter was getting psychiatric care
In the investigation it was found that the Colorado shooter who was a graduate student was being treated by a psychiatrist at the university where he studied.
The defense motion disclosed this revelation in the court. The defense motion asked to indentify the source of leaks to some media outlets claiming that James Holmes sent a package to the psychiatrist. The package contained a notebook with descriptions of an attack that was similar to the shooting that he carried out.
The defense motion has appealed that the package which contains the communications of Holmes and Dr Lynne Fenton should be shielded from public view as it may hamper the further investigation.
The package was seized by investigation authorities after they discovered it in the mailroom at the University of Colorado, Denver.
- Romney blames US Prez Obama for info leaks about Osama raid
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney moved his attacks on US President Barack Obama's ways of handling US economy to a new charge that stated that the president has sought political gain by leaking crucial details of the Osama raid that killed the dreaded terrorist.
During his address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention Romney decided to make the accusations against the current president.
From his speech excerpts that were released recently, Romney rapped Obama for the info leaks calling the leak "contemptible", and saying such action by none other than our own President betrayed the national interest and compromised US troops. Regarding the leaks he has demanded a full- fledged investigation.
From the experts it is said that the former governor of Massachusetts is going to use his topic to outline his view about Obama and that the US president has relinquished American leadership all around the world.
Current Affairs [April 2012]
1 lakh target for sterilisation by the Health Department
With the aim to control the population growth in the state, the medical health and family welfare department has set its target to sterilize at least one lakh people including both male and female within 2 weeks of July month.
All the chief medical officers have been directed by the health of all the districts to work harder in order to meet the set target. As per the reports almost 3.14 lakh people were sterilized in the last financial year though the set target was 6.66 lakh.
Now with the aim to sterilize around 1 lahk people the health department aims to reduce the total fertility rate by 2.9 by the end of this year from the present level of 3.1.
As per the officials of the health department the target of 1 lakh was decide after factoring in the number of eligible couples in the state. There is a predefined formula to set the target. This year also the department has decided to sterilize around 6.8 lakh males and females in the state. However in the first quarter of this year the department has successfully managed to sterilize around 30,000 cases. Now they have the target to sterilize 1 lakh people in just 2 weeks. Thus to complete this task the health officials have sort the help of all the districts collectors.
Abu Jundal to be interrogated by the NIA
Three security agencies two from Mumbai and the National Investigating Agency (NIA) have filed a petition seeking custody of 26/11 key handler Abu Jundal in order to interrogate him in his connection with the 26/11 and several other terror strikes in the country.
though the Mumbai Police and Mumbai crime branch have separately appealed to the metropolitan magistrate seeking Jundal's custody on the ground that they need to interrogate him along with Ajmal Kasab, who is the lone surviving 26/11 gunman, whereas the NIA sought the custody of the Lashkar terrorist in connection with an FIR lodged against him on June 8, 2012 regarding a terror strike in the capital.
The magistrate has decided to hear the applications filed by the two security agencies and will decide regarding the application of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) seeking custodial interrogation of Jundal for Mumbai serial blasts since 2006.
Facebooks’ feel good factor
As per a new research, what most of the people like about the social networking sites are themselves. Brittany Gentile said even though we know what social networking means most of the people are self focused and just concerned about them. Brittany is a University of Georgia doctoral candidate and she researched at the effects of social networks on self-esteem and narcissism.
There are more than 526 million people who log on to Facebook every day and they simply help themselves in boosting their self-esteem in the process as reported by the journal Computers in Human Behaviour reports.
Gentile, along with Keith Campbell, psychology professor at Georgia San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge, asked 151 college students, aged 18 to 22 years, who also completed Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), as a part of the study, to either edit their social networking page on MySpace or Facebook or to use Google Maps.
Current Affairs [March 2012]
Russia to build two more nuclear reactors in China
Nuclear countries Russia and China have cemented their nuclear cooperation leading the Russian capital to build two more reactors in the Chinese soil.
Earlier also Russia helped China in building two reactors in the Taiwan nuclear plant in Jiangsu province. Those two reactors went into operation in the year 2007 as said by the Sergey Sergeevich Razov, Moscow's envoy.
The two reactors being built have a combined capacity of 2,000 mw and are using Russia's VVER 1000 nuclear model.
Russia will build the two reactors in Taiwan after the Chinese government lifts its suspension on the new atomic power plants imposed after the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
Britain's Duke of York Prince Andrew to visit the Capital Delhi on Monday
Britain's Duke of York Andrew, will arrive in the capital for a week-long visit in order to enhance ties with India in areas like defence and trade.
The Prince will be in Capital to represent Queen Elizabeth II in the year of her Diamond Jubilee. After visiting the capital the Prince is slated to visit other states of the country as well which includes Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and north eastern state of Nagaland.
The British High commission to India stated that -"The Prince’s visit includes diverse themes that range from inclusive development and defence ties to the growing business relationship".
It is also said the meeting will also discuss how the British-Indian relations have changed and enhanced over the 60 year reign of their Queen.
Following deadly strikes by terror group Taliban, Delhi and Kabul soon to share real time intelligence info
India and Afghanistan are looking forward to renew up the intelligence sharing system shared by the two following the recent multiple strikes by terror group Taliban. The air strikes were made in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan. With the Indian foreign minister S M Krishna's meeting with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul the government officials have stated that the two countries have decided to stop the practice of sharing intelligence using routine' letters and now they will simply provide intelligence inputs immediately to the each other’s government.
Taliban stroked Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan on April 15. These attacks are being seen as the most ferocious air strikes coordinated by the group in the country. The report stated that the Indian establishments were not the main targets.
Current Affairs [February 2012]
Fuel that makes peace: Oil Barter to help strengthen Indo-Pak bonds
INDIA agreeing to export petrol, gas besides diesel to Pakistan to capture the speedball rising process challenge leadership the neighboring suzerainty is a favorable hike from colorful angles. exceeding Delhi’s ruling comes momentarily attached Islamabad agreed importance end to ad judicature India the long-awaited eminently Favored nation stratum besides Pakistan allowing a flying interject of lines that rap hold office procured from India. Work prominence petrol, which has adroit importance, consign strengthen the stir to pop in gamble effect common economic gravy. The two countries concentrating on their common economic increasing along stash addition people-to-people contacts leave stab an inclination landing agency operative their political relations. Unfeigned is an observed axiom seeing Pakistan to meets its game needs from its next-door neighbor instead of looking over supplies from far-off countries. The exclusive drop that remains to exhibit touch is that of the identity — petrol outlets mark Pakistan lay upon Euro II bundle fuel since India produces petrol that meets Euro-III standards. Pakistan is competent to fulfill discrete half of its pipeline requirements from it’s acquiesce sources annually as existent has unitary 12-million-tonne altering ability. Unalike to this, India exports 25 per cent of its 185-million refashioning bent.
Trade Targets between India and Africa revised, worth US$ 90 billion by 2015
The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles of India, Sh. An and Sharma, and the African Trade and Industry Ministers met in New Delhi today for the 2nd meeting of the India-Africa Trade Ministers. The Meeting was co-chaired by Humble Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union Commission, and Sh. Anand Sharma. During the meeting, the Ministers launched the India-Africa Business Council (IABC). The IABC is co-chaired by Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Group from India side and Mr. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON, President, Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Nigeria from African side. The Council will suggest the way forward on enhancing economic and commercial relations between India and Africa and also identify and address issues which hinder growth of economic partnership between India and Africa. The core sectors of cooperation which will be explored by IABC are Agriculture, including Agro-processing, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, Mining, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services, Gems and Jewellery, Banking, Financial Services (including microfinance), Energy, Core Infrastructure including Roads and Railways. The Council met later in the day.
During the meeting, the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme in the C-4 countries (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Mali), Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda was also launched. The Technical Assistance Programme in the cotton sector is an initiative of the Government of India under the umbrella of the ‘India-Africa Forum Summit’ towards helping the above-mentioned cotton growing countries of Africa to build capacity, technical expertise and thereby competitiveness in the field. IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited is the Project Management Agency for implementing the Project.
During the meeting, the Indian and African Ministers set the target of India-Africa bilateral trade as US $ 90 billion by 2015. In the year 2011, India-Africa bilateral trade has reached US $ 60 billion. The Ministers agreed on the need to strengthen the trade relationship between the two sides through, inter-alia, the building of trade-related capacity and the conclusion of trade cooperation agreements between India and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) / countries. “Our leaders had set a target of US$ 70 billion by 2015 but we can note with satisfaction that last year we crossed US$ 60 billion. A 20-fold growth within a decade is indeed an achievement worth applauding. I propose that given the current growth rate, we may agree to revise the trade target to US$ 90 billion by 2015,” said Shri Sharma.
Current Affairs [January 2012]
UN drug report reveals India as the biggest consumer of heroin in South Asia
The United Nations drug reports 2011 revealed that India is the largest consumer of the illegal drug Heroin in the South Asian region. This report acts a contrary to the report that states that India is just being used as a transit point by international traffickers in order to smuggle heroin from the Afghan region to countries like Europe and the US. The reports suggest that out of the 40 tonnes of heroin that is being produced in South Asia approximately 17 tonnes are consumed in India only, making it the biggest consumer of the drug in the southern region.
Apart from consuming, India is the main source of heroin suppliers to countries like Bangaladesh and Nepal. And the rest half is consumed by Sri Lanka and the remaining being smuggled via Pakistan.
O P Malik the director of the Narcotics Control Bureau said that the rising student population in the southern and western regions of the country are the biggest consumers of the drug.
Chinese woman shot dead in Peshawar
A Chinese woman along with her translator was shot dead by unknown assailants in the north-western city of Peshawar, sources said. The assailants fired at the two when the woman and her translator were shopping in Peshawar's Jehangirpura market area.
"The Chinese woman named, Jiang Hua, is about 40 years old and she was killed along with her Pakistani translator Muhammad Salman in the crowded marketplace inside old Peshawar city," said Peshawar's senior superintendent of police Tahir Ayub.
During the firing some other people were also injured and were taken along with the Chinese woman and her translator to Lady Reading Hospital where the latter succumbed to their injuries.
However the main motive behind the killing, remain unclear and the reason why the woman was in city also remain unclear, a police official said.
US shows concerns over Pakistan diverting aid money for other purposes
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and some others lawmakers expressed their concerns over Pakistan’s move of diverting the aide money provided by the US administration for other purposes. Following the diverting reports the US even tried its best to build fire wall to stop the diversion of aide money for other purposes.
Hillary Clinton said that they have constructed a wall to refrain Pakistan to use aide money for other purpose. The Secretary of state responded to the question asked by the Senetor Jim Webb regarding the fact that of Pakistan using the aide money for expanding their nuclear program.
Senetor Clinton said that they have built a firewall; and if the administration provides aid for other purposes, it will make sure that the money is being utilised for health, education, energy, etc and not for works like expanding nuclear power which is a serious concern.
She further said that dialogues are going on with the Pakistan on the reforms the country they need to make for their own people benefit.
1 dead, 4 wounded in Ohio high school shooting
In yet another incident of school firing a teenager opened fired in the cafeteria of a suburban Cleveland high school. The open firing lead to the killing of one student and has severly wounded four others. After the incident the culprit was chased from the school building by a teacher a short distance away.
An eyewitness who is also a student said that the gunman mainly targeted a group of students sitting together in the cafeteria and one person who was killed was shot as he was trying to duck under the cafeteria table seeking protection.
The suspect has been identified as T.J. Lane and that the Lane's family is mourning over the incident and the loss that Lane made for their community.
Following the shooting the FBI refrained from commenting on the motive behind the shooting. Police Chief Tim McKenna said –“the investigating team has lot of work to do before making any final statements regarding the shooting that killed one and injured four others at the start of the schools day.”
However an education official revealed that the shooter is a student of Lake Academy student, not a student at Chardon High. But Brian Bontempo said not to comment on any questions about the student. Bontempo is the superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center, which operates the academy.
US says that the Afghan turmoil won't change US war plan
The Obama administration is sticking to its war plan despite rising turmoil in Afghanistan regarding anti-American riots in which a US military advisers was gunned down at point blank range and the growing demands to bring back the troops home.
Responding in the matter the Obama administration said that the violence against the American soldiers in Afghanistan will not deter them from continuing their war plan or will neither speed up the work of bringing the forces back home.
Pentagon Spokesperson George Little said- "Our forces are working alongside thousands of Afghans every single day with the aim to ensure to bring better future for the people of Afghanistan. And nothing will deter us from doing our work. Our forces are progressing and we have made many of our enemies stand on heels in the war torn country.”
However the American administration were uneasy to answer question of whether to continue fighting a war which has lost support not only in the United States but also from the people the U.S who have sent in their family members in the badlands. The ungratefulness of afghan’s against the Americans working there and the killing of American soldiers and officials has made the matter worse for the Obama Administration.
Current Affairs [December 2011]
Cameron to face hacking probe against him
Prime Minister David Cameron is likely to face hacking probe. Reports are rife that the P.M may be called before the public inquiry regarding the matter of the World phone-hacking scandal. He will be asked to answer questions about his linkups with Rupert Murdoch and his media group.
The Times reported also stated that the inquiry may also call Mr. Murdoch to put forward his answers.
Downing Street claimed that the P.M Mr. Cameron is willing to appear before the public enquiry if he is being called.
The P.M spokesperson said that – the P.M’s office has not received any request to appear before the enquiry and even if they are going to receive it then the Prime Minister will definitely attend it.
The relationship of Mr. Cameron's with Mr. Murdoch and his newspaper group was under scrutiny following Murdoch newspapers move of shifting their support from Labour to the Conservative Party during the last general election.
As per the, The Times report Mr. Cameron may be asked to elaborate about his controversial decision in which he decided to hire the former NoW editor Andy Coulson as his media chief. He was warned not to take such step as news about his links in the hacking allegation was on the rounds.
Mr Coulson later resigned in January last year following the reopening of the case by the police. Mr. Coulson was soon arrested but later released on bail.
$300m stake in Twitter bought by Saudi prince
Saudi prince and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who is an investor in world's top companies, also bought a $300 million stake in the fast-growing microblogging site Twitter. By this move the Prince has gained another foothold in the media industry of the world.
Alwaleed is a nephew of the Saudi king and he has a personal net whose worth was estimated by Forbes magazine in March this year and is just some points below $20 billion. Not only this Alwaleed also owns a 7 per cent stake in News Corp and he further plans to start a cable news channel in his homeland.
The stake in the Twitter was bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom . He also owns a Co investment firm and that the stake was bought after months of negotiations with the sites company. Following the stake buying the shares in the Prince Kingdom jumped to 5.7 percent in stock and trade market in Saudi Arabia.
Microsoft goes a sort of social type
The renowned tech company Microsoft has also brought itself in the scene of social media and all this was done in a low key affair. Microsoft also owns a small stake in the Facebook.
the site that has been introduced is made just for students who wants to share interesting discoveries over the internet and the site looks like a composition of both Facebook and Google +.
Though only certain universities have access to this site, the site is a blend of functions like web browsing, search functions and networking and it also includes an interesting feature named "video party".
Hotline launched by the US for detained immigrants
In order to help the detained immigrants a telephone hotline was launched by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department. This hotline will allow the detained immigrants detained in their country to help them know their rights and to allow them to report cases if they are being treated unfair by other peoples.
The phone number can be used by detained immigrants. The move was launched as the US officials feels that the immigrants they may be US citizens or they may be victims of crime.
To ensure that such people who are in custody are properly notified about their rights. The US department guarantees that the phone line is made available 24 hours a day and will be having many interpreters in several languages so as to employee effective communication between the immigrants and the concerned authorities.
US blames Pak for NATO air strike being carried by them
As another blow to the already weakened relationship between the US and the Pakistan was announced when the US blamed the Pakistani officials for the NATO strike carried out by them. Be it the aggressive approach towards Pakistan or their tactical need in Afghanistan, all the hopes were laid down to rest when the Pentagon said that the respect all rules engagement and international law of conflict hinting to the NATO strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Further the Washington even named the incident an act of war. An official said that-“the Pakistani soil misbehaved that led the NATO to strike back. And such response is continued then they will again shot back.
Pentagon spokesman captain John Kirby further said that they have delivered the report regarding the same to Pakistan’s general Kayani in Islamabad by a US officer in charge. The officer is going to explain every detail of the findings to the general.
Hearing for the suspected WikiLeaks leaker concludes
The hearing for the WikiLeaks leaker was concluded in a US court. The leaker was a US Army intelligence analyst. He was accused of leaking secret classified files to the WikiLeaks website which gave enemies complete access to government secrets. However the defence lawyer of the accused said that his client has done no crime.
The lawyers from both the sides made several arguments at the hearing in order to decide whether Bradley Manning who is a Private First Class person should be court-martialed for the charges held against at him. The charges include aiding the enemy and wrongfully causing intelligence reports to be published on the Internet that caused furore and a mess for the government.
The prosecution held 22 criminal charges against the accused further saying that the massive release of documents by the accused had caused harm to national security.
International Current Affairs 2011
50bps cut on reserve ratio by china
China’s bank –People’s Bank of China (PBOC) decreased the reserve ratio for banks by 50bps.
This move was taken to support China’s economy as economical growths are getting down in
other parts of the world.
Before the announcements on the cuts were made reserve ratio was recorded 21.5%.
This is the first such blow on the major monetary loosening by the PBOC since Dec 2008. Not
only this the PBOC had earlier raised the RRR 6 times this year and even raised lending limits
more than 5 times since the year 2010.The last RRR increase was recorded on June 20th this year.
Unemployment rate drops to 8.6% leading the U.S economy to add 120,000 new jobs
In the U.S the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% which lead to the addition of 120000 new
jobs all over the country. This percentage was the lowest to be recorded in the last two years as
announced by the Department of Labor.
In October this year the rate was 9%. As the U.S employers added 120000 new jobs this proved
to be a significant improvement by the gain of 80000 jobs as compared to last month record.
Although this is still not a good news because if compared with the past 3 months the economy
has added only an average of 114000 net jobs every month which is hardly enough to go by the
At present America still have 14 million jobless people, the economy needs to bulk up the job
addition by 250,000jobs a month to bring down the unemployment rate substantially.
Ex-Taliban to attend Afghan talks despite US disapproval
Ex-members of Taliban are going to attend the Bonn conference to be held in Germany for the
topic about the future of Afghanistan after the year 2014.
The Afghan governments list of invitation to the meeting is being viewed as a crucial step to
hammer out the country’s future but regarding the invitation to the former members of Taliban
the U.S officials have backed out of the meeting.
The organizations former ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef along with other
members of the delegation has already reached France to discuss in advance about the agenda of
Regarding the meeting the US ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said that there is no
place for the involvement of former Taliban members to attend the meeting in order to decide the
future of the troubled country.
International Current Affairs 2011
International Current Affairs 2011
Zardari nods to cooperate with China
- Pakistan will cooperate with China to overcome terrorism and secessionism, cited Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani President. Zardari repeated Pakistan’s pledge to get rid of extremism and he promised China of his nation’s full cooperation in overcoming terrorism and secessionism, reported Associated Press of Pakistan. The Pakistani president landed in China in late August to be present at the first China-Eurasia Expo to be hosted by Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in the first week of September. He alleged Pakistan denounces terrorism in all its types and appearances and will not relax on any attempt to get rid of it. Zardari also talked about his daughters were on board with him on the trip, which is a testimony of the relationships between the two nations existing since generations. He further talked about the upcoming trip of Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to China later on this week to be present at the International Political Conference and assumed it demonstrates Pakistan and China were making efforts to fortify relations and ultimately deep-rooting their international polity.
United States downgraded to AA+
- The United States parted company with its respected AAA credit rating for the first time in seven decades after being downgraded by Standard & Poor's. The country's credit rating was cut to AA+ following S&P alleged the conciliation made by Congress and President Obama in early August to slash expenditure and enhance the liability upper limit "doesn’t meet the level, in our view, would be essential to even out the government's standard-term debt dynamics."
The agency was frank in its evaluation. Its statement read:
"We downgraded the 70-year long AAA rating of the United States since we think that the protracted storm over increasing the constitutional liability upper limit and the associated monetary policy debate point out that additional upcoming development surrounding the increase in public expenditure, particularly on privileges, or coming to an agreement on generating income is less probable than we formerly understood and will stay put to a arguable and intermittent procedure," the ratings firm believed.
International Current Affairs 2011
Death toll rises in Syria
Death toll rises in Syria on the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad in the city of Hama. The military tanks pounded the city creating scenes like that of 1982 massacre. Human rights activists said that the assaults killed at least 24 civilians, included 10 in Hama. All this happened when the troops with the help of tanks tried to control the people.
This violent attack led to the death of total 134 people throughout Syria in just 3 days. 90 of the people died only in Hama.
The government said that they have also lost more than 500 soldiers and security officials in the violent revolt. The condition of Hama prompted many Syrians to show and demonstrate solidarity from the start of Ramadan. Syria has been facing international wrath for its harsh measures.
War will continue even if NATO stops bombings-Gaddafi
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has said that the war will go on even if the NATO team stops bombing. This has left no room for diplomacy from the Gaddafi’s camp in order to stop the five month long conflict.
Do not even think that after all the sacrifices we have made or our sons, brothers have made by sacrificing their lives we will stop fighting. Nothing sort of it will happen said the Libyan leader.
The rebels and the western forces have continued pressure on the leader even as the holy month of Ramadan began. The NATO has continued its bombings forcing the loyalist of the leader to give up.
Also the rebels have seized up half of the country but they continue to loose the ground against the trained Gaddafi forces.
Regardless of the fact that whether the NATO stops bombing or not the Gaddafi government will continue its fight till Libya is liberated said the Libyan leader.
Hina Rabbani khar appointed as Pak’s new Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar was appointed as Pakistan’s new foreign minister. Khar ,34, is the youngest minister to accept the post. This came as a big surprise for the people.
Khar was elected twice to the national assembly during Musharrafs’ reign in 2002 and during Benazir’s stint in the year 2008. She never went public to win campaign. Since she belongs to a political family it is said that for any years the seat was with held by her father Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar and she gives her winning credit to her political father.
Rabbabi offers hope to a number of women in Pakistan not in terms of their lifestyle but in terms of their way to choose their lives. We have in the past few years the evolvement of women in Pakistan. The list includes the likes of Fatima Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir, Sherry Rehman and now Hina Rabbani Khar. Now women are rejecting the roles that many men try to cast them in.
Since her appointment as the foreign minister of Pakistan Khar has been continuously criticised because to is too young to handle foreign affairs of Pakistan and that she holds a degree in hospitality management and she even has a degree in economics. But with a country with young population Khar seems to be making place for herself.
George Best’s ex wife blames phone hacking scandal for his death
Ex wife of late footballer George Best claimed that the phone hacking scandal lead to Best’s death. During the investigation police found out that Best,59 died from multiple organ failure in 2005 and that his phone was hacked by Glenn Mulcaire who is a private investigator.
Alex Best a fomer model and former wife of Best reportedly has said that the phone hacking lead to increased pressure on her former footballer husband which resulted in his death.
HShe said that Best was an alcoholic and that when a person is subjected to tremendous pressure then they ultimately turn to alcohol for some relief. But Best had so many problems related with alcohol such that with the increasing pressure and alcoholic problem finally lead to his death.
China to launch safety campaign after the severe train crash
After facing public wrath and outrage China’s rail minister ordered a two month safety campaign and has apologized for the accident which killed around 39 people in the country’s Zhejiang province. This is the deadliest rail accident in the province of China after the year 2008.
Beijing sacked three of its rail officials even before the investigation began.
China’s rail minister has said that the safety campaign will extend till September and that the campaign will focus mainly on the operation involving high speed trains. China’s government is trying hard to calm down the people after the accident by taking various measures as possible.
Pravakar Sahoo – China leave India trailing
As compared to India, China is very antagonistic in the Bangladesh market. Except for price competition of Chinese goods, the friendly approach of Chinese sellers and executives at the customs is a reason to smile for traders in Bangladesh. When China comes into this scene Visa has never been a problem; China attracts ventures from Bangladesh to chip in showings for improved data on Chinese goods.
Chinese sellers are all set to spruce up well-known goods on the demand of Bangladeshi importers to provide to the price responsive local marketplace of their South Asian neighbors. Plus, Chinese industry corporations deal with transportations, trade intricacies, and over and over again take notes on grievances. In a good number of industries, China is prepared for expertise transmit, while our very own Indian industries are yet to be. The country is not only playing with their business connections, but now has only a negligible investment presence in Bangladesh.
Trades between India and Canada to reach $15 Billion:
EEPC India with a purpose to accomplish considerable increase in trade for manufacturing goods and services prepared a colloquium on being involved in business transactions with Canada. Talking on the colloquium the Joint Secretary Department of Commerce, Shri Arvind Mehta said, “Bearing in mind the fact, that China now has a widespread existence in Canada this episode could share the accomplishments on different added steps employed by the Government of India all through this year”.
The official further talked about the cut rate and uniqueness of the Indian producers will be of immense assistance to Canada as it is currently counting those countries that are a step ahead of NAFTA for trade development. The Consul General of India, Mrs. Preeti Saran in addition was present at the event. Even as conveying her important lecture she was buoyant that these events can direct to our targeted growth in trade involving the two nations.
Acting High Commissioner, Mr. Mario-Ste-Marie, and High Commission of Canada in New Delhi was as well in attendance. EEPC INDIA through the backing of Indian High Commission at the Canadian Capital and Canadian High Commission in the Indian Capital are arranging the second season of the famous show in Toronto, “India Show”. “India Show” Toronto, Canada is being prepared at most appropriate time with this year being confirmed as the “Year of India in Canada” by Dr. Manmohan Singh, respected Prime Minister of our country and Mr. Stephen Harper, his Canadian opposite number. This came in the light of Mr. Harper’s visit to India in November 2009
Healthy Rankings for India on Global Stage:
II, Confederation of Indian Industry and INSEAD examine on ranking countries on innovation, known as GII, Global Innovation Index was revealed in Geneva, Switzerland for the current year. The whole examination is a once a year attempt to evaluate dissimilar enablers for policy makers and added share holders such as trade and foundations to assess their dealings and impacts in comparison with additional countries in order that they can employ valuable measures. Formed about 4 years ago, GII examines they way nations influence their running surroundings to excite improvement outcomes. Five posts make up the innovation effort sub-index and these include foundations, research and development in the human resource department, socio-economic infrastructure, market advancements and trade advancements. The innovation production sub-index is made up of two pillars: creative outputs and scientific outputs.
In the overall innovation Index, the country has ranked 62 for the year 2011 when evaluated against the position in the year 2010 of 56. Switzerland has been the leader of all these countries, climbing from 3rd in the GII for the year 2010, 2nd and 3rd positions are respectively held by Sweden and Singapore. Six countries from the EU make up the Top 10 list and it also takes in Hong Kong, the United States of America as well as Canada which are 4th, 7th and 8th. The only emerging economy that reached the Top 30 ranks in GII was China at 29.
Dr. Naushad Forbes, Chair of the CII Innovation Council 2011-12 and Director of Forbes Marshall, said “At present there is some buzz about innovation in the entire world in all types beginning from commerce to government to civilization. Following the current economic decelerate the spotlight has swung evidently towards the budding regions not just with respect to a thriving possible market but also an attractive place for economical innovations.
Analyzing this swing is vital to identify in what we are moving forward, GII is an initial spot to do that and undeniably on the correct path Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology at INSEAD, Soumitra Dutta, and editor of the examination believes that innovation is dangerous to motivating development in both developed and budding economies, particularly for the period of a time when the worldwide economy is current recovering from past plummets. Except for CII, the year 2011 the added three knowledge allies in Global Innovation Index are the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), Booze & Company and Alcatel-Lucent
Current Affairs [May 2011]
Most wanted deadly terrorist Osama Bin Laden Dead
The most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was finally gunned down by the US troops in alliance with CIA agents. The deadly terrorist was killed in a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This city of Pakistan houses at least 5, 00,000 people that includes a Pakistani military base and a military academy. After Osama refused to surrender he was shot dead by the US military troops. News of his death spread like wild fire and the Americans relieved to joy.
In the light of this news a Pakistani parliamentary training centre was attacked by two suicide bombers which killed 80 people and wounded more than 120 people. All this attack was announced as retaliation for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Following the attacks the Taliban took the responsibility and even condemned the Pakistani government from failing to stop the US military raid.
IMF head arrested for sexual assault:
IMF (International Monetary Fund) head Dominique Strauss Kahn was arrested for sexually assaulting a maid at a Manhattan Hotel. Dominique who’s also a political figure in France was taken into custody at Kennedy International Airport.
His arrest aroused a mixed sense of disbelief, anger and embarrassment among the masses in France. Dominique had a well formed reputation among the political Supremes.
Dominique was even considered as the next best candidate for presidential seat after the Nicolas Sarkozy.
Following his arrest Strauss has resigned as the Managing Director of IMF. On may 19th Strauss was indicted with multiple charges like attempted to rape, sexual abuse amongst others.
Floods leads to massive Evacuations Along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers :
Heavy rains have caused severe flooding in the regions of Ohio valleys and Mississippi. All the regions like Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas are flooded heavily and have been evacuated leaving people to leave their home and move towards higher planes for shelter. The engineers and disaster control management team have been working on how to lower the river level in order to stop further destruction. As per the sources the flooding water in the river of Mississippi is flowing at a massive speed nearly 17 million gallons a second. And the river level has risen above the danger level that is to 56.3 feet which is 13 feet above the danger level. Flood control department is deciding to open the portion Morganaza Spillway but it has its own danger effect that is it will flood the other areas’.
French nationals to sue sarkozy over crimes in Libya:
Two French lawyers have said that they are planning to sue French President Nicolas Sarkozy against the Humanity crimes over the military campaign in Libya that was led by NATO. Jacques Verges and Roland Dumas two of the French lawyers have decided to represent the families of the victims during the military campaign. It was said that the military campaign that was initiated as a means to protect the civilians was in fact responsible for their killings. The two lawyers said the military campaign as an inhuman assault against the common man and a sovereign country, and that they have decided to defend the victims of the military campaign.
It was said that the two lawyers have decided to defend the victims of the NATO bombings because they themselves saw the aftermath consequences of the bombings when they visited Libya.
Though the western government has denied any civilian casualties caused during the NATO bombings, Verges and Dumas have said that they had seen several such casualties at various such hospitals and there are almost 20,000 such victims.
Pakistan gets Chinese aid against the US raids.
After the killing of the deadly terrorist Osama Bin Laden, US have accused Pakistan Government for harbouring the deadly terrorist for many years. Now by doubling its military attacks on Pakistan the US wants to enter into the sphere that’s influenced by the Chinese Government. But in retaliation to the Obama Administration the Chinese government has again lend a helping hand towards Pakistan by providing air arsenal and even warned the US government that any sort of attack on Pakistan would considered as an inhuman and unfriendly attack on the Chinese government too.
The Chinese government has clearly said that any attack on Pakistan will be considered as an attack against China which will not be tolerated. This is the 1st such blunt ultimatum for the US government after the Soviet warning during the crisis in Berlin in the year 1958-1961. This indicates the danger of war between the two countries Pakistan and the US.
China’s support has been a critically important for the Pakistani government and this relation is not seen as good for the US and the Indian government as it has been said that: “If the US and the Indian government continues to put pressure on the Pakistani government, then Pakistan officials can say that we are not alone our friend China is Behind us. We have a super power nation as our friend”.
Death toll rising at fast pace and the massive unrest continues to grow
The Syrian protests have entered their tenth week and thousands of protestors came to the streets all over the country after the Friday prayers. In order to keep police and the security forces at bay the protest this time were held during the nights over the weekends. As per the reports at least two people were killed during the army operation in Rastan away from the city of Homs. Even many activists called the day for massive demonstration against the brutal torture and killing of a 13year old boy named as Hamza-al-Khatib.
As per the reports from the local media 32 soldiers and some police personnel were also injured during the clashes and 3 police men lost their life. Also a policeman’s son was among the ones who were killed during the clashes between the protestors and the forces.
As the reports around 143 soldiers, police men and security forces have lost their lives from the day the unrest began in the country and more than 1000 people have been killed during the clashes and almost 10,000 arrested.
In the midst of the clashes the Interior Minister Ibrahim al Shaar has announced that he is going to listen to the complaints of the civilians in person.
Fear grows as EU suspends all aid to Syria
Almost 100 of people are about to lose their jobs as the EU has decided to cut down on all major aids to the Syrian government. Tishreen newspaper was quoted as saying that though the Syrian government will be affected by the aid cancellation but the common man will suffer the most as they will be on the verge to lose their jobs. It is said that in order to loosen up the stability of the Syrian government the stopping of aid is one such step by the European government.
Meanwhile the G-8 has announced support of around 40bn for the Arab countries. This support is meant in order to help the Arab countries to move towards a better Democratic government policy. Half of the sum from the 40bn support will be spent for the Tunisian and the Egyptian government reform.
Russian premier Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying that the Russian government is not going to back EU states and the US at the security council meet.
Oscar Nominated Director killed in Libya
Two veteran journalists including Oscar nominated Director Tim Hetherington were killed in the town of Mistrata on 13/4/2011 while covering the battles between the rebels and the Libyan government forces. Tim (40) was nominated this year for codirecting the Afghanistan war story Restrepo in Best Documentary category. Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, was also killed. His work has appeared in many famous magazines and newspapers all around the World and has been awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal, which is one of the most prestigious awards for War Photography. Two other journalists Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown, who were freelancing for several large publications were also wounded.
Japan Atomic Crisis Reaches Chernobyl Level as Radiation Climbs
Japan's nuclear safety agency has raised the severity level of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant from level 5 to level 7 which ranks it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It doesn't mean it's as bad as Chernobyl but it's still a negative development nonetheless. There have been only two level-seven incidents in nuclear history: the Chernobyl catastrophe 25 years ago in the Ukraine and now Fukushima, on the east coast of Japan. The disaster in Ukraine spewed debris as high as 9 kilometers into the air and released radiation 200 times the volume of the combined bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a 2006 report commissioned by Europe’s Green Party. The March 11 earthquake, the nation’s strongest on record, and tsunami left about 27,500 dead or missing, according to Japan’s National Police Agency. Japan was struck by two earthquakes stronger than magnitude 6 again on April that hindered recovering efforts as workers were temporarily evacuated.
Kate marries Prince William
Prince William second in line to the throne married his long time girlfriend Kate Middleton at a service in London’s West Minister Abbey on 29/4/2011. The pair exchanged in the presence of close to two thousand guests while the rest of the World watched it live on television. It was the most eagerly awaited and anticipated wedding since the Charles and Diana wedding. Middleton looked beautiful in her ivory and white satin dress with lace sleeves and shoulders, designed by Sarah Burton of the Alexander McQueen fashion house. The crowds cheered when the newly weds travelled in an open carriage on their way back to the Buckingham Palace from the abbey. Hundreds of thousands of people appeared in front of the palace to witness the kiss between the newly weds from the balcony while street parties where held across the United Kingdom to cheer the royal couple. The wedding was watched by close to two billion people across the globe. The couple will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge following their marriage.
Osama Bin Laden killed in Pakistan
The worlds most dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden has been shot dead by American Navy Seals on 2/5/2011 after he was found to be staying in relative luxury in a house just few hundred meters away from a Pakistani military academy in Abbotabad. Bin Laden was shot in the face and chest when the American forces sprung a surprise attack and the whole mission was performed without the consent or the knowledge of Pakistan. Obama, in his address to the nation shortly before midnight, thanked the Americans who have toiled in pursuit of bin Laden and applauded those who carried out the successful mission in Pakistan. “For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” Obama said. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.” This comes as a real embarrassment to the Pakistani government which has been maintaining for many years now that Osama was not there in Pakistan. And to find him holed up in a facility just yards away from a prestigious military academy which is also just a couple of hours away from Islamabad poses many tough questions regarding Pakistani’s commitment to fighting terror. The US government had further declared that they would carry out such operations again in the future if the need arises. The US is already mulling over whether they should sanction further aid to Pakistan unless they come up with satisfactory answers regarding how Osama was found where he was. This is a serious intelligence lapse and does not auger well for the country that is already reeling under various problems that threaten the very fabric of the nation. It remains to be seen how the nation will cope with the allegations.
Syria lifts emergency rule
Syria's government approved lifting the country's nearly 50-year-old state of emergency on 19/4/2011 in an effort to satisfy the one of the key demands of the anti government protestors. But the government also issued a stern warning to call of the protests against President Bashar Assad’s hard line rule. Assad the previous week had told his cabinet to remove the state of emergency – in place since his Baath Party took power in March 1963 – but added that such a move would give protesters no more reason to take to the streets. This could give Assad further pretext to move against any further marches or rallies. The Syrian population how ever shows no signs of letting down after being inspired by the successful revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt. Most of Syria’s 23 million people were born or grew up under the strict control of the state of emergency. Assad hard line rule means strict control over the media, allowing eavesdropping on telecommunications and permitting arrests without warrants from judicial authorities.
Earthquake and Tsunami strike Japan
A powerful earthquake of 8.9 magnitude struck Japan on its north eastern coast on 11/3/2011. The earthquake resulted in a massive tsunami that caused wide scale destruction and loss of thousands of lives. Cars, ships and buildings were all swept away by the rampaging waters of the Tsunami which struck about 400km (250 miles) north-east of Tokyo. The port city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture was one of the worst affected. Ten metre waves struck the city deluging everything that was part of it-farmlands, cars, buildings, houses etc. Fires broke out in the city following the deluge. A cluster of two to three hundred bodies were found in one part of this city alone. This is the most powerful natural disaster to have struck Japan in its recorded history and is considered 8000 times more powerful than what struck Christchurch in New Zealand earlier this year.
As of March 30th 2011 according to official estimates the death toll now stands at 11,257 while another 16,344 people are still missing. Many of the survivors who have been displaced have lost all their property to the Tsunami. More than 173,200 people are living in the 2000 evacuation centres in the 17 prefectures mostly in the northern side of the country. Among the worst affected prefectures which are Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate 146,628 displaced people have been housed in close to 1,245 evacuation centres.
The massive earthquake that struck the north east coast of Japan has resulted in a catastrophic situation at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant. When the earthquake struck they switched off the reactor and where about to use the onsite diesel back up power. The tsunami then struck and the back up power also failed. Hence after losing electric power, that system could not be used. Instead the operators are dumping seawater into the vessel and letting it cool the fuel by boiling. But as it boils, pressure rises too high to pump in more water, so they have to vent the vessel to the atmosphere, and feed in more water, a procedure known as "feed and bleed." Thousands of people residing in areas close to the plant were evacuated. Over the following days there have been many instance of radiation exposure traced in the vicinity. Radioactive water found in and outside reactor buildings is delaying work to restore cooling functions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Having received inspiration from the revolutions of Egypt and Tunisia the next country to vehemently protest against government autocracy is the North African country of Libya. The public are fighting to bring down Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year rule and are demanding new leadership and democratic elections. What actually began as a series of peaceful demonstrations took ugly turns when Gaddafi’s army tried to crush protests by using force eventually turning into an all out civil war in the days to come. In a matter of days the uprising had spread to other parts of Libya and Gaddafi was having trouble retaining control over many parts of the country. Gaddafi a harder nut to crack than Mubarak has continued to be on the offensive and refuses to give up power in spite of all the diplomatic pressure, much to the chagrin of his own country men. On 19/3/2011 a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to the uprising in Libya. The military operations began, with US and British forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the French Air Force and British Royal Air Force[ undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by the Royal Navy. Air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles by French jets have since been confirmed. The situation is far from peaceful and remains to be seen what would be the outcome of the situation in the days to come.
Elizabeth Taylor passes away
One of Hollywood’s greatest icons Dame Elizabeth Taylor breathed her last on 23/3/2011 due to congestive heart failure. The 79 year old actress has been in the public eye for six decades having won three academy awards and has acted in over 50 films. The Cleopatra star's stunning looks, including her famed violet eyes, earned her fans around the globe and her stormy personal life that included eight marriages received as much press interest as some of her best works. She won two Oscars for her performances in “Butterfield 8”(1960) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) and a third Oscar for her humanitarian work in 1993. The actress has also battled many health ailments undergoing as much as 20 surgeries during the course of her life. In her later years she was a spokeswoman for several causes, most notably AIDS research.
Mubarak resigns, Egypt celebrates
The people of Egypt went wild with celebrations after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military on 11th February. For eighteen days thousands of people had taken to the streets all over Egypt demanding the ouster of their autocratic President who had been in power for the past thirty years. One of the key reasons for such public outrage has been widespread poverty, inflation and rampant corruption in the government for many years. Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the anti-government protests burst with joy when the announcement was made. This has been a hard fought struggle for the people of Egypt after many episodes of violence having been reported between the public and Mubaraks forces.
China overtakes Japan as world's second-biggest economy
China has now overtaken Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. Japan's economy was worth $5.474 trillion (£3.414 trillion) at the end of 2010, figures from Tokyo have shown while that of China's economy is closer to $5.8 trillion for the same period. China has been enjoying a manufacturing boom for quite a few years now and it is expected that at its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world's top economy in about a decade. The US economy is currently almost three times the size of the Chinese economy in dollar terms.
New Zealand earthquake strikes Christchurch, killing at least 148 people
- A massive earthquake on 22nd Feb has caused massive destruction in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3-magnitude earthquake was the second in five months for the city and the death toll continues to increase with the police having confirmed 148 deaths with 200 still missing. The damage caused has been said to be much worse than the 7.1-magnitude quake on 4 September, which left two people seriously injured but no fatalities. The city's historic cathedral was one of the many buildings that got significantly damaged, while cars lay in a mangled heap under a pile of rubble and roads cracked open with fissures as a result of the tremors. Dazed, bleeding residents could be seen wandering through streets strewn with debris and piles of concrete.
Libyan people take to the streets in their demand for freedom
- Inspired by the outcomes of Tunisia and Egypt over the past few weeks the people of Libya have also taken out to the streets in their cries for freedom against their autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi. Thousands of people have joined the struggle and there have been continuous reports of frequent clashes with the Muammars loyalists and the protesting public. Scores of people have been reported killed in continuing violence in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, amid escalating protests against Muammar Gaddafi's 40-year rule across the North African nation. With each passing day the leader seems to be losing support from people working in his own government and is also under increasing pressure from International powers to step down.
The Kings Speech Wins Best Picture at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards
- ‘The Kings Speech’ had a great outing at this years Oscars winning four awards. The film won in the best picture category and its director Tom Hooper received Best Director. Colin Firth received the award for best actor for his central role in Kings Speech while best female actor went to Natalie Portman for Black Swan. ‘The Best Supporting Actor’ and The Best Supporting Actress’ awards were bagged by Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for their performances in film, ‘The Fighter’. Indian musician AR Rahman missed out on his two nominations for his score in ‘127 hours.’
- Salman Taseer Killed in Islamabad
Punjab Governor Salman Tasser was shot dead by one of his own body guards at the Khosar market in Islamabad. Taseer was a member of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party(PPP) and was vocal on a various issues including Pakistans Blasphemy Law. The assassin was Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a member of Punjab Elite Force who shot the Governor with his weapon and surrendered to the security forces moments after shooting the governor dead. Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that the killer admitted to killing the Governor over his statement when he called the Blasphemy Law as a “black law”.
- Iranian plane crash kills 77
The IranAir Boeing 727 was flying from Tehran with 106 passengers when it came down and crashed near the city of Orumiyeh. With 77 casualties at least 35 people have said to have been injured. According to official reports plane had taken off an hour later than scheduled, and came down because of bad weather conditions. This is the second major crash since 2009 when a plane caught fire mid are resulting 168 deaths. The country has been under international sanctions for years, preventing it from buying new aircrafts or spare parts from the West. Hence as a result the countries civil fleet of aircrafts are in poor condition due to their old age and lack of maintenance.
- 35 dead at Moscow Airport Blast.
A suicide bomber carrying a suitcase walked into Moscow’s busy Domodedovo airport and set off a huge explosion Monday, killing at least 35 people and wounding 180. The air was engulfed in a cloud of smoke with body parts and shrapnel strewn all over the place. Hundreds of people were in the loosely guarded area at the time. The blast was the worst terrorist attack since two female suicide bombers from the troubled Dagestan region blew themselves up on Moscow’s subway last March, killing 40 people.
- Whistleblower Elmer hands over bank data to Wikileaks
Swiss whistle-blower and former banker Rudolf Elmer has given WikiLeaks information about bank accounts of more than 2,000 prominent individuals who have parked money offshore. Rudolf Elmer once worked in the office of Julius Baer in the Cayman Islands until he was fired by the bank in 2002. The Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer handed over two CDs containing the data to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in London on 16/1/2011. However Julian Assange has said the information was unlikely to be published soon and may take a few weeks to process and confirm them.
- Brisbane Faces Worst Flood Since 1893
Brisbane faces its worst floods since 1893 as overflowing rivers have begun to engulf the city. Overnight, emergency workers went from door to door in Brisbane helping residents flee to higher ground, with hundreds relocating to evacuation centres. About 2500 businesses are said to be fully affected and another 2500 partially affected. Close to 3000 people are in evacuation centres across the state and 60 schools and almost 90 kindergartens and childcare centres have been severely damaged or are inaccessible. The death toll from the floods disaster has risen to 15 and the many parts of the city have been affected by massive power cuts.
- Massive Protests Rock Egypt
Egypt has been rocked by violent protests by demonstrators who have been demanding the ouster of the country's longtime autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak. Tens and thousandths of people have taken out to streets raising slogans with protests turning violent in many parts of the country. The tension increased today when Mohammed ElBaradei, a former top official at the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency and a high-profile Mubarak opponent was placed under house arrest when he returned to Cairo in his bid to provide a leader for the mass movement.
- Sri Lanka abandons Tamil version of its national album
The Sri lankan government has decided to scrap the tamil version of the national anthem in its official and state functions. This move may possibly further alienate the tamil minorities in the country. A directive to use only the Sinhalese version as been sent by the ministry as president Rajapakse pointed out that no country uses two versions of the same language.
- China reveals world’s fastest train
China unveiled its new high speed train CRH380 that can clock a maximum speed of 486.1 kmph. It is said to be much faster than even the bullet trains of Japan. At a cruising speed of 380 this is certainly a major accomplishment. China on its part has gone ahead and is now working on a model that is expected to clock 600kmph.
- Mark Zuckerberg, Times Person Of The Year
Times magazine has named Mark Zuckerberg as the person of the year . Mr Zuckerberg is the founder of thesmash hit social networking site Facebook and is also the world youngest billionaire currently. Although, Julian Assange the editor in chief of wikileaks was the pick of the time readers, but Zuckerberg won because of the scope and reach his website and how it has touched and remodeled our thoughts on social networking bringing the world that much more closer. Facebook has reached 500 million users this year all around the globe and the numbers are still counting.
- Pakistan’s Initiative against Terrorism
Pakistan has been the victim of international terrorism in the past few months. As a result of this, a top US official recently said that Islamabad should begin to crack down on terrorists and terrorist groups operational within the country immediately. Barrack Obama, President of the United States of America has also agreed to this statement and feels that Pakistan has been one of the major victims of international terrorism lately. President Obama also said that Pakistan needs to take strong and immediate steps against all terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil. Furthermore, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said that a number of terrorist groups are operating in a syndicate and working together against American interests, not just in the US but in other nations such as Afghanistan and India as well. Mr. Blake also stated that the US has welcomed every step take by Pakistan so far and that it is in full support of Pakistan as always.
- UN’s terrorism sanctions list
In a recent and sudden move, a US committee took down several names of al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists off its terrorism sanction lists. The committee said that the reason for such an action was that several of the names on the sanctions list were probably dead. The committee Chairman Thomas Mayr Harting said that following this step, the committee had started investigations into how many terrorists put on the list were actually dead. This committee was set up in 1999.
- New Government in Iraq
Prolonged warring and quarrels between rival political factions in Iraq had caused over an eight month deadlock over the issue of forming the next government. Recently, the Iraqi Prime Minister appealed to these political factions to work together and unite following his acceptance of the President’s request to form the next government. Senior officials admitted that a Herculean task now lay before them, that of forming a government comprising of members of all possible political factions. The task has been made harder by the month long deadline to form the government which will preside over the country’s affair as US troops move out and power is handed back to the Iraqi people. The new government is expected to have members from all the political factions such as the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. Prime Minister Designate al-Maliki called upon al Iraqi citizens and politicians to help him in this difficult task.
- Friendly neighbor China
Rising concerns over China’s assertive and aggressive attitude in the Asian continent has prompted China’s President Hu Jintao to assure all nations that China is committed to being a friendly and helpful neighbor. China has been in the news recently over its spats with neighboring nations over international borders and territories. The reason for this has been said to be China’s interests in a group of potentially resource rich islands in the Asian Pacific. Speaking to leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Japan, President Hu said that China was committed to the regional policy of building good neighborliness and friendship.
- Rolls Royce sued by Qantas
Australian flight safety officials have recently warned that manufacturing defects have been found in the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines. Officials further urged airlines using these engines to carry extensive checks before using them because defects present in them could lead to catastrophic failures. In the meanwhile, Qantas began court proceedings against Rolls Royce and was granted an injunction by the federal court of Australia which ensured that the airline could pursue legal action against the engine manufacturing giants.
- Myanmar polls called fake
The first democratic polls in Myanmar after several years of military rule were held among complaints of threats, intimidation and accusations of the polls being a charade. In most constituencies, the poll was a competition between the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Unity Party (NUS). Several accusations were made by opposition parties against the USDP, claiming that they illegally collected advanced ballots. USA and UK officials also voiced their concerns about the transparency and fairness of these polls.
- China’s slowest growth
China had its slowest rate of economic growth in a year during the September quarter. In addition to this, a World Bank report hinted at a further decrease in its economic growth. One of the reasons for this has been the long term inflation that China has faced for almost two years. China’s industrial growth has also fallen considerably in recent times. This slow growth in China’s economy has gotten many people to believe that India might be the next economic superpower to rise because of its high levels of industrial and economic growth in recent times. Though not immediately, but experts predicted India’s rate of growth to exceed that of China’s by a considerable margin in the next five years.
- India gets UNSC non-permanent seat:
The biggest news on the international front for India has been its inclusion into the UNSC as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years. Even as India’s acclamation for a non-permanent bench on the body that includes fifteen members in total was an inevitable cessation afterwards Kazakhstan back out of the chase for the Asian bench beforehand in early January. India got an unbelievable 187 of the 191 votes in the UN General Assembly ballot on October 14th 2010. India's previous spell in the Security Council was way back in 1992. Almost immediately afterwards India's appointment, Indian agent to the United Nations Hardeep Singh Puri put it straight that New Delhi would make use of this couple of year valid span to build assurance and accord a feeling of aplomb to the five non changing associates (famously known as the P-5) - the United States of America, Russia, Britain, France and China. Considering that Brazil, a running affiliate of the United Nation Security Council, and South Africa and Germany, which got appointed with India, on October 14th were as well in contention for a permanent membership, he stated: 'Of course everybody of us will attempt to bring into play the two years we need to render our allies a feeling of aplomb and formulate trust and faith so that they are at ease with our role playing in the United Nation Security Council on a continued period of time'.
- India and Mozambique sign 3 agreements:
India and Mozambique came together and signed three agreements and a credit band of 500 million United States dollars has been advanced to that nation state for works regarding the infrastructure, agronomics and power during a convention that featured President of Mozambique Armando Guebuza and Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh. Guebuza and Singh, who captivated entrustment level converses, resolved to actualize an affiliation following the lines of superior political meeting, deepening of bread-and-butter collaboration, deepening of defense and aegis collaboration, distinctively to get hold of sea lanes in opposition to piracy and, cooperation in competence building and human resource (or workforce) development. “Both of us together accord to the aforementioned Indian Ocean association and we carve up familiar issues. It is in our alternate absorption to ensure the assurance and aegis of sea lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean,” Dr. Manmohan Singh said in a collective journalist statement. India will back the enactment in preparation and setting up organizations in Mozambique to back capacity building in the coal business and will as well back the ability formation for the defense and patrolling personnel of that nation state, the Prime Minister alleged. Conveying worry over the assurance and aegis of sea lanes in Indian Ocean, Guebuza promised India it will accommodate all practical aid to safeguard them.
- Indians freed from Malay traffickers:
Not less than 24 Indian men who were discovered bound up in a residence in a Malaysian boondocks were successfully freed from the arrest and two Pakistani men supposedly engaged in a human trafficking guild were detained with immediate effect. "Inquiries into the matter exposed that those people, age-old amid 20 and 30, were from Uttar Pradesh. If the reports of the media are to be trusted, the victims landed on to the capital’s intl. airport four months back, afore getting picked by the accused people who were apparently looking for workers in an industrial unit in Johor," he said. He further stated that the two men promised the Indian workers appealing wages as the bait. It is once again proved that Malaysia is a magnet for wide spread drug peddling and human trafficking. Unemployed workforce looking out for jobs is brought for added transfers to other Southeast Asian countries and to Australia.
- Indian to lead FIDE:
Indians have already proved their metal in various sports at the international level. Tennis, Cricket, Shooting, Boxing and also Chess. After Vishwanathan Anand, another lot of Indians are about to triumph on the World Chess Podium. D.V. Sundar has been elected has the President of the world body for the sport of chess, FIDE at Russia. Apart from that, the president for the Asian Continent was Mr. Dongre and Commonwealth Chess Federation President was revealed in the name of Mr. B.S. Chahuhan, a press statement by the All India Chess Federation revealed.
- Make way for the new breed:
The new world power calendar for 2010 has once again predicted that New Delhi’s dominance in the world will see acceleration by 2025. Among the able coalition, the country has been placed at the fourth position afterwards the US, China and the European Union. ‘The Global Governance 2025’ was together brought out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) of the US and the European Union’s Institutes for Security Studies (EUISS). In the current year, the US leads the lot of able countries/regions, cumulatively for about 22 percent of the worldwide supremacy. The US is chased by China at 12 percent, European Union at 16 percent and India at eight percent. India comes next to Japan, Russia and Brazil with beneath than 5 percent apiece. Following these global statistics, by 2025 the ability of the US, EU, Japan and Russia will cut down although that of China, India and Brazil will boost but this surge will see the positions unchanged. By 2025, the United States of America will continue to be the most dominating nation, but it will be possessing just a bit above 18 percent of the global authority. The US will be carefully trailed by China with 16 percent, European Union with 14 percent and India with 10 percent looking to overleap.
- Mission Accomplished
The United States have finally started pulling its troops out of Iraq. President Barack Obama has confirmed that the US plans to withdraw significant number of combat troops from Iraq stating that the war was nearing an end. The remaining force of 50,000 soldiers will train Iraqi security forces and provide security for ongoing US Diplomatic efforts.
- Australia with a hung parliament
Australians failed to elect a new government in the polls held in August and were left with a hung parliament. The non-result elections between Julia Gillard’s Labor and Abbott’s Liberal party led to the first hung parliament in Australia since World War II. Three key Independents are now in the process of deciding which party to support to form a government.
- Pakistani cricketers tainted
The Game of cricket gets murkier with alleged match-fixer Mazhar Majeed’s claim of having rigged games played by Pakistan for three years. The British Police recovered cash from hotel rooms of Pakistani players involved in spot fixing. Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammed Asif were interviewed and their mobiles confiscated after Majeed’s confession. The Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC will probe all 82 international matches played by Pakistan during this time. The news came as a bolt for the flood-stricken and violence-plagued country where cricket is the national sport.
- Pakistan Floods
Annual monsoons rains have led to flooding in Pakistan leading to the death of 1500 people and rendering thousands homeless. In the worst flooding disaster in 80 years the floodwaters have affected about one-fifth of the country washing away millions of hectares of crops, submerging villages and destroying roads, bridges, schools, electricity and communication setting back the infrastructure by many years. Disease is fast spreading in these flood affected areas and there have been warnings that dams in the south may burst. It is estimated that the floods in Pakistan have displaced people thrice the number displaced during partition.
- Hike in Visa fee
The Obama Regime has raised H-1B and L1 visa fees to protect its borders from illegal Mexican immigrants. This additional fee would be used to build operating bases and deploy unmanned aerial surveillance to beef up U.S.-Mexico border security. The impact of this hike will be substantial on Indian IT companies that account for approximately 50,000 H1 and L1 visas per year.
- Mosque near ground Zero
A New York city panel has cleared the way for the construction of a mosque near ground zero that has been causing a political uproar over religious freedom. The proposed construction of the mosque near ground zero has sparked debate all around the country. President Barack Obama, however, supported the right of having a mosque by asserting that Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America.
- China to launch space station
Having finished the first module of a planned space station and testing its electronics and other systems China is all set to launch it into orbit next year. Changes were being made to the rocket that will carry the 8.5ton Tiangong 1 module into a set orbit. No finishing or manning dates have been given for the space station. The official Xinhua news agency said that The Shenzhou 8 spacecraft and Shenzhou 9 and 10 spacecraft would dock with it in the second half of 2011 and 2012 respectively.
- Online route
Oxford English Dictionary that has been in print for over a century may never appear in print for the future generations. The word reference Bible is likely to loose its existence to its online version. With the digital books becoming popular, the format that the 3rd edition, currently being worked upon, will take is anybody’s guess.
- Japan Elections
Democratic Party of Japan suffered a heavy blow in the elections for the upper house of Japan’s Diet (parliament) when it won ten seats fewer than expected thus loosing its majority. DPJ will now have to look for new coalition partners to restore its majority in the upper house and enable it to easily pass laws through the Diet legislature. After breaking the 55 year period of dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party and naming Naoto Kan the new prime minister just a month back the results have baffled the DJP.
- July 15th Summit, Islamabad
Failed talks between Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna and the Pakistani counterpart Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi's have once again proved that whenever efforts were initiated by India to improve the relations between the two countries. The Pak leaders and officials took deliberate steps to derail the process conveying a clear message to India that the talks can continue only on its terms.
- Gulf of Spill
More than three months after the April 20 explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil platform, which killed 11 workers and sank the rig gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the most severe US environmental disaster ever is close to coming to an end. In an operation called “static kill” 2,300 barrels of mud was forced down into the well’s opening overnight pushing the crude back down to its source. A cap over the wellhead has shut in leaking oil since July 15 and the static kill — also known as bull heading — probably would not have worked without the cap in place.
Omar-al-Bashir, President of Sudan has been charged with three counts of genocide over the Darfur Conflict, he was convicted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. It is for the first time that a court has accused anyone of genocide.
- Jacob Lew the new Budget Director
President Barack Obama has chosen Mr. Jacob Lew as his new budget director. This is Mr. Lews second stint with the federal budget.
- Julia Gillard become Australia’s first women Prime Minister replacing Kevin Rudd following a sudden revolt against him.
- No more time for sorrow’ written by Robert Beeman. The author predict that terrorist will set off an atom bomb in the USA by 2013.
- Tuvalu become 187th member of IMF (International Monetary Fund). The island is located in the Pacific Ocean.
- Kyrgyzstan voted for a new constitution in a referendum. It is Central Asia’s first parliament democracy.
- G-20 summit held at Toronto, Canada.
- G-15 summit was held at Tehran on 16-17 May.
- Bangladesh handed over Ranjan Daimary of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland to India. The group was responsible for serial bombing in Assam in 2008.
- National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Myannmar’s democracy leader Aung San Sui Kyi was abolished after deadline to re-register as a political party was over.
- EU-IMF provide a $ 1 trillion rescue package to the Greece to resolve its debt crises.
- Pakistan successfully test fired two short range ballistic missiles, Shaheen I( range 650 Km) and Ghazani (range 290 Km) capable of carrying nuclear war heads and striking Indian cities.
- Belgium became the Europe’s first country to ban burqa.
- Pakistan’s National assembly passed a bill that takes away the President’s power to dissolve parliament, dismiss a elected government and appoint the three services Chiefs. Pakistan’s parliament passes 18th amendment which was later signed by Presient cutting President’s powers.
- USA and Russia signed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty(START) that allowed a maximum of 1550 deployed overheads, about 30% lower than a limit set in 2002. The treaty was signed in the Progue Castle.
- Emergency was imposed in Thailand.
- Nuclear Security Summit held at Washington.It was a 47 nation summit wherein P.M. announced setting up of a global nuclear energy centre for conducting research & development of design systems that are secure, proliferation resistant & sustainable.
- PM visit USA & Brazil, a two nation tour. He attended Nuclear Security Summit in USA & India- Brazil-S.Africa(IBSA) and Brazil-Russia-India-China(BRIC) summit in Brasilia (Brazil).
- 16th SAARC Summit held in Bhutan in 28-29 April. The summit was held in Bhutan for the first time. It is the silver jubilee summit as SAARC has completed 25 years. The summit central theme was ‘Climate Change’. The summit recommended to declare 2010-2020 as the “Decade of Intra-regional Connectivity in SAARC”. The 17th SAARC summit will be held in Maldives in 2011.
- China will launch in 2011 unmammed space mode ‘ Tiangong I’ for its future space laboratory.
- US internet giant Google close its business in China.
- India’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel buy Zain’s Africa operations for an enterprise value of $ 10.7 billion (Rs 49000 crore). Currently Bharti’s non-India operations include Sri Lanka & Bangladesh.
- Russia abolished two of its eleven time Zones.
- NATO forces carried out Marjah operation (dubbed Moshtarak) against Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
- European Union summit was held in Brussels. EU & IMF decided to giving support to Greece in its struggle to bring its ballooning budget deficit under control. EU President is Herman Van Rompuy.
- Iran’s President Mahmood Ahmedinejad declared that Iran had produced first batch of 20 % enriched uranium and now Iran became a nuclear state.
- Iran launched ‘Kavoshger -3 rocket’ capable of carrying a satellite. It carried a mouse, worms & two turtles.
- Gilgit Baltistan region elected its first Chief Minister Mehdi Shah on the basis of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment & Self Governance Order 2009. The new appointed CM declare the Gilgit Baltistan region as 5th province of Pakistan. The Indian Govt has, however, of the view that the region was part of J & K, and thus objected to the remarks of CM.
- Venezuela devalued it currency ‘Bolivar’.
- A massive earthquake strike Haiti, the Carribbean nation. Capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince.
- Mahinda Rajapaksa won a second term as Sri Lanka’s President. He belongs to Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
Current Events 2010
Current Affairs 2009
Current Affairs 2008
Current Affairs 2007
Current Affairs 2006
December2006: Current Affairs.
November2006: Current Affairs.