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Places in the News 2017

Current Affairs October 23rd to October 29th 2017

International

  • Burundi –it became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal. International Criminal Court, set up in July 2002, headquartered at Hague, Netherlands to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities.
  • Sri Lanka –it signed an agreement with India to build 1,200 houses in the southern port city- Hambantota. Of the 1,200 houses to be built, 600 will be constructed in the Southern Province, while the remaining would be built across Sri Lanka, through one model village in each of the country’s 25 districts. The coastal city of Hambantota gained strategic significance after President Rajapaksa built a massive port and an airport with huge Chinese loans.
  • Singapore - the country whose passport has become the most powerful in the world with a Visa-Free Score of 159, according to the Passport Index developed by advisory firm Arton Capital. This is the first time an Asian country has been announced as having the most powerful passport. India secured the 75th rank in the index with a Visa-Free Score of 51. Historically, the top 10 most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Afghanistan was on bottom most position (94th) with the score of 22. Pakistan was on 93rd Position with Iraq with the score of 26.
  • Saudi Arabia –this country has become the first country to give a robot citizenship. The move is an attempt to promote Saudi Arabia as a place to develop artificial intelligence and, presumably, allow it to become a full citizen. The Robot is named as 'Sophia'. Sophia was confirmed as a Saudi citizen during a business event named Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.

National

  • New Delhi -the place where India’s first Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) has been set up under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in collaboration with New Delhi Municipal Council. PMKVY is an initiative of Indian government to make country’s youth employable and strengthen them economically by providing them a meaningful, industry relevant, skill based training. The beneficiaries under the scheme are successfully trained, assessed, certified and awarded financially by the government. PMKVY is being run by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) while National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is the implementing agency for the scheme.
  • West Bengal -the state for which The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed a $300 million loan to continue a series of fiscal reforms in the state to improve the quality of public service delivery. The Program aims to further deepen the reforms with focus on expenditure rationalization, improvement in revenue administration, and facilitation of more private investment in the state.
  • Afghanistan -the country whose President Ashraf Ghani visited India recently. During his visit, he met with the president Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi. India and Afghanistan have agreed to work closely with the regional and international partners to further the objective of seeing Afghanistan emerge as a stable, peaceful, united and prosperous nation. The Indian leadership reiterated its support for a negotiated political reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Current Affairs October 01st to October 22nd 2017

International

  • Russia - the country with which India recently organized their first mega tri-services war game- Indra involving their armies, navies and air forces with an aim to boost their operational coordination. The Indian contingent included nearly 450 personnel while the Russian side was being represented by around 1,000 troops in the 10-day exercise Indra. The first ever tri-service exercise between the two countries reflects the vibrancy of the continued Indo-Russian strategic partnership.
  • Catalonia – it is the region of Spain whose autonomy was recently suspended by Spain as the region’s leader threatened to declare independence. The Spain government would soon meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region. Article 155 of the constitution, which cemented democratic rule three years after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked. Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain in the north-east end of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. It has four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, which is the second most populated city in Spain. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions of Spain. It accounts for 20.07% of the Spanish GDP.

National

  • India –this country topped the list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015, with 2.51 million people dying prematurely in the country that year due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution, according to a new study published in the reputed medical journal, The Lancet. The study is part of a two-year project that involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors, and the secretariat of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution. The aim of the Lancet Commission is to raise global awareness on pollution, end neglect of pollution-related diseases, and mobilise resources and political will to effectively confront pollution. India accounted for about 28% of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015. It also topped the list of deaths linked to polluted air (1.81 million) and water (0.64 million). China, with 1.8 million pollution-linked deaths in 2015, followed India on The Lancet list. Most of these deaths were due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution, such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Jaipur Airport –this airport was ranked first in the category of 2-5 million passengers in ACI-ASQ Survey. This is for the second consecutive time that Jaipur Airport has been rated the Best Airport in the World in the traffic volume of 2 to 5 million passengers per year. Jaipur was ranked as the Best Airport in the World catering to a traffic volume of 2 to 5 million passengers per year in 2016 also. The Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards are the aviation industry’s most prestigious accolades. The awards recognize the airports which have achieved the highest passenger satisfaction ratings in the ASQ Survey – the world’s benchmark measure of airport excellence.
  • Pune -the place where the fifth India-Sri Lanka Joint Training Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2017 was organized recently. The fourth chapter of the exercise was held at the Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016, when the main focus was to enhance inter-operability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate. The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. It is expected to send a strong signal to the world that both India and Sri Lanka understand the emerging threat of terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder in countering this menace. New Delhi -the place where the first ever All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently on 17th October 2017, on the occasion of the 2nd Ayurveda Day. It is the first institute under the Ministry of AYUSH with a National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) accreditation. The institute will have separate Yoga, Panchakarma, and Kriya Kalpa units, among others.
Current Affairs September 15 th August 21st 2017

International

  • Xiamen -the place in China where the ninth BRICS summit was organised recently. The five countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-accounts for 42% of the world’s population,23% of global GDP,17% of international trade and nearly 50% of growth in recent past. The first Bric Summit (South Africa joined in 2011) was held in 2009, in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Myanmar - the country which is at the top of the eighth edition of the World Giving Index compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation. It shows a global decrease in giving to philanthropic causes. India improved its ranking from 91 in 2016 to 81 in 2017.
  • Netherlands –this country is believed to have made the world’s oldest known glue 200,000 years ago by extracting tar from birch bark. Archaeologists have often been puzzled by the material used to make the glue that Neanderthal spears used to join its two parts-the flint and the stick. For this, Neanderthals used tar from birch bark, a material that researchers often assumed was difficult to make. But now Paul Kozowyk and Geeske Langejans, researchers from University of Leiden in the Netherlands have discovered three different ways to extract tar from birch bar.

Places in the News 2017

Current Affairs September 1th September 7th 2017

National

  • China -the country towards which India is looking forward to give a fillip to India’s economy. This was evident from 67 references to “China” and “Chinese” in the Three-Year Action Agenda: 2017-18 to 2019-20 prepared by the government think tank Niti Aayog. The agenda, released by finance minister Arun Jaitley recently, not only hails and acknowledges China’s economic muscle but also highlights how India comes up short. The agenda underscores the need to “replicate” China’s very large special economic zones along its coasts by developing two employment zones on India’s east and west coasts. For Make in India to succeed, the country would have to manufacture for a global market, as China and some other countries do. But for that, Indian products have to be competitive, it says. The Shenzhen model of urbanisation could inspire smart cities. Shenzhen used to be an unremarkable town until 40 years ago but an urbanisation push transformed it into a megacity, one of China’s wealthiest. Highlighting the role exports play in increasing productivity, employment and wages, the document says there are only four developing countries — China, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea — that “successfully transformed themselves” within three decades. But China, with a population similar to India, is most comparable. The action agenda wants India to harness its soft power by setting up centres “similar to” Confucius Institutes of China, Alliance Francaise of France and Goethe institutes of Germany.
  • Kerala - the most unequal state in India while Bihar is the most equal state as per the Gini co-efficient as per the recent statement made by outgoing Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya. Inequality is complex as well as multi-dimensional and in developing countries like India, poverty reduction should take precedence over inequality removal, he said. Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said there are 201 backward districts in India which need to be readily transformed to reduce inequality in the country. India –it is the most corrupt country in Asia as per the recent survey by the Transparency International which was published in March 2017. This was again mentioned in the Forbes article, which rated India the highest in the list with 69 per cent bribery rate, described India as: "In five of the six public services - schools, hospitals, ID documents, police, and utility services - more than half the respondents have had to pay a bribe. “Depicting how pervasive the problem is across Asia, the list released by Forbes - Asia's
  • Five Most Corrupt Countries - said that India beats Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and Myanmar, when it comes to bribery rate. India was closely followed by Vietnam at 65 per cent bribery rate. India's neighbour, Pakistan, stood fourth in the list with 40 per cent bribery rate. The 18-month long survey by Transparency International was concluded after talking to more than 20,000 people in 16 countries, regions and territories in the Asia Pacific. The Berlin-based corruption watchdog had put India at rank 76 out of 168 countries in its Corruption Perception Index last year. The country's 2015 corruption perception score remained the same as 2014's -- 38/100 - showing lack of improvement. According to figures published in March, 2017, while citizens of Pakistan were the most likely of any country to be asked for bribes in law and order institutions, for India the police bribery rate was 54 per cent and for China a low 12 per cent. India had the highest bribery rates of all the countries surveyed for access to public schools (58 per cent) and healthcare (59 per cent).

International

    China, India and Russia – these are the countries for which New Development Bank recently approved $1.4 billion loan for sustainable development. NDB was established in 2014 with an initial fund of $100 billion pooled from five BRICS countries. The bank - headquartered in Shanghai - was launched in July 2015 and issued its first loan in April 2016. Ahead of the BRICS summit, the New Development Bank (NDB) of the five-member group approved $1.4 billion loans for sustainable development projects in China, India and Russia. The Board of Directors of the Bank approved four infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the three countries. For India, the Bank has approved $470 million loan for Madhya Pradesh’s Multi-Village Rural Drinking Water Supply Scheme Project. The other loans approved included China’s Hunan Green Area Watershed Environmental Development Project which would get two billion yuan to enhance flood control, and improve water quality in Xiang River watershed. Also China’s Jiangxi Industrial Low-Carbon Restructuring and Green Development Pilot Project will get a $200 million loan to promote energy conservation, resources recycling and pollutants reduction through technology upgrade. The NDB will provide a $460 million loan to the Russian Federation for the development of infrastructure and implementation of information technology systems of Russia’s judicial system in Russia. The loans were approved ahead of the BRICS summit to be held in China’s Xiamen city from September 3 to 5, 2017.

Places in the News 2017

Current Affairs August 21th August 27th 2017

National

  • Nepal -the country whose Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visited India recently. This was his first visit to India after taking over as Prime Minister. The two countries signed eight agreements including drug trafficking and another for post-earthquake reconstruction.

Places in the News 2017

Current Affairs August 14th August 20th 2017

National

  • States which will now get a refund of CGST: Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir & North East are the states which will now get a refund of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST). After the recent decision of government, the industrial units in these states will get refund of CGST till 2027. The cabinet cleared the CGST refund scheme with a budgetary allocation of Rs.27, 413 crore which will come as a big relief for sectors like pharmaceuticals, automobiles and FMCG. Under the new GST regime rolled out on July 1, there is no provision for exemptions. Central or state governments, however, are empowered to refund their portion of tax.

International

  • Canada –it is the country which recently allowed the import of Indian bananas, pomegranate, custard apple and okra for the first time. Last year it had allowed the entry of Indian grapes. The development comes in the wake of two countries resuming negotiations for a free trade agreement in goods and services recently after a hiatus of two years with Canadian negotiators coming for the talks. Canada has allowed imports of these fruits and vegetables from India subject to certain conditions-consignment should be free from soil, pests, leaves and other plant debris; origin of material must be clearly identified on shipping documents.
  • Iceland –it is the country whose Reykjavik has become the first in the world to be served by commercial delivery by drones. The civil aviation authority in Iceland has granted permission for the flights to drone company Flytrex and the country’s biggest online retailer, AHA. According to the companies, Reykjavik’s sparse urban sprawl, numerous waterways and winding roads make delivering goods via trucks a fairly efficient method, but drones can make the trip much faster as the crow flies.
Current Affairs August 07st August 13th 2017

International

  • Mount Sinabung-the volcano, located in Karo regency in North Sumatra province of Indonesia, erupted on August 02, 2017. The eruption on the 8,080-foot volcano was one of the biggest over the past several months and was followed by at least 19 smaller eruptions and lava flows. The 2,460-meter (8,070-foot) high Sinabung burst back to life in 2010 after a long period of dormancy.

National

  • Varanasi- the place where the Philippines based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will be setting up a regional centre as per the recent Memorandum of Association (MoA) signed between the Agriculture Ministry,GoI& IRRI. IRRI which has offices in 17 countries is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the green revolution in 1960’s. IRRI’s South Asia Regional Centre will be set up at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi. The MoA was signed between Agriculture Secreatry Shobhana K Patnaik and IRRI director general Matthew Morell.
  • Wardha–the venue of the AICC (All India Congress Committee) meeting where AICC passed a resolution generally referred to as the ‘Quit India movement’-demanding a complete independence from the British. The AICC met in Bombay a month later(Aug7) and ratified the Quit India Movement. Gandhiji made a call for ‘Do or Die’ in his speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay on 8th August, 1942.
Current Affairs August 01st August 06th 2017

International

  • Japan- the country whose scientists have finally succeeded in creating a true blue chrysanthemum flower-one that passes strict colour standards. Scientists introduced genes from butterfly pea and the Canterbury bell into the chrysanthemum to make blue genetically engineered Taihei chrysanthemum.
  • Hambantota port–it is the famous port of Sri Lanka whose majority stakes was recently sold to a Chinese state firm, in a move, that worries many, including India. The long-delayed $1.1 billion sale of a 70% stake in Hambantota port to China Merchants Port Holdings, which straddles the world’s busiest east-west shipping route was recently confirmed by Sri Lanka.
  • Brazil–this country has combined with European Union and have jointly prepared and circulated a paper among WTO members proposing a reduction in the ceiling on farm subsidies given by developing countries. Presently there is a cap of 10% on food subsidy for developing countries and 5% for developed countries. They want to reduce difference between the caps of developed and developing countries. The move could effect India and other emerging countries. This move will prevent India from giving any subsidy except Minimum Support Price. It might have to cut grant for pest and disease control and infra and marketing services among others.
  • United States–it is ranked No.1 among all countries with most diplomatic posts abroad as of 2016 which includes embassies, high commissions, permanent missions and other representative offices. US has 271 diplomatic posts abroad followed by 267 of France and 258 of China. India is ranked 12th with 172 diplomatic posts abroad. G20 nations have on average 191 diplomatic office overseas

National

  • Columbia University-this university of United States is the university where the first vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, Arvind will return for academia after submitting his resignation from the coveted post in India from 31st August 2017.
Current Affairs July 17th July 23th 2017

International

  • Iran and Iraq-these are the two neighbouring nations which were once fiercely fighting against each came together recently to sign a pact on military cooperation. Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to step up military cooperation and the fight against 'terrorism and extremism'. Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan and his Iraqi counterpart Erfan al-Hiyali signed a memorandum of understanding which also covered border security, logistics and training. US President Donald Trump has voiced concern over what he sees as growing Iranian influence in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq where it is aligned with Shia fighters.

National

  • Ahmedabad-it is the first Indian city to get World Heritage Tag. Ahmedabad was inscribed as a World Heritage City at the 41st session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland on July 8,2017 which will go down in history as the date on which India's first city received such an accolade. The Walled City of Ahmedabad will now join the likes of Paris, Cairo and Edinburg. Of the 287 World Heritage Cities across the globe only two were hitherto on the Indian subcontinent: Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
Current Affairs July 01th July 16th 2017

International

  • Neeru Chadha-the first Indian to be selected in the United Nations Law Board. In a significant victory for India at the UN, international law expert Neeru Chadha won a crucial election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, becoming the first Indian woman to be appointed as a judge at the tribunal. Chadha, an eminent lawyer and the first Indian woman to become the chief legal adviser in the ministry of external affairs, won the election yesterday to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for a nine-year term from 2017 to 2026

National

  • Neelam Sanjiva Reddy–he is the only President of India since Independence who has been without a contest. Of the 37 candidates who filed nominations, the Returning officer rejected 36 nominations and he was elected unopposed the President of India in 1977. The highest number of 16 candidates were in 1967 in which Zakir Hussain won with 56.2% of votes defeating Kota Subbarao with 43.4% votes.
  • Achal Kumar Joti–he was recently appointed as the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India from 6th July 2017. He succeeded Nasim Zaidi who was elected CEC on 8th May 2015.
Current Affairs June 17th June 25th 2017

International

  • Columbia -the South American country which recently provided first legal recognition to three gay men staying together family "polyamorous family". It is the state where same-sex marriages were legalized in 2016 making it the fourth South American country to definitively legalize same sex marriage, after Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
  • Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal & Austria -they respectively are the top four nations in level of peace as per the Global Peace Index 2017. The 2017 index by the Institute of Economics and Peace has found that the global level of peace has improved slightly, by 0.28 per cent in score. A total of 93 countries improved, while 68 countries deteriorated. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, holding the position it has occupied since 2008. It is followed by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark.At the other end, Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, joined by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen. The study shows that India is ranked at 137 out of 163 countries with a global peace index score of 2.541.
  • Singapore Changi, Munich-Germany, Hong Kong -they are the top three airports respectively as per the third survey of 76 airports by AirHelp, a legal firm for flier grievances and compensation. The criteria for rating the airports were on-time performance, service quality and passenger sentiment. Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji and Delhi's IGIA was ranked as low as 70 and 67 respectively.
  • Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands -they respectively are the top three ranked countries in the latest Global Innovation Index 2017 by INSEAD, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). India has been ranked 60th in this global innovation ranking.

National

  • Delhi-Lahore & Kolkata-Dhaka –these are the two bus routes in which the buses plying on these routes for transporting passengers will be exempted from Integrated GST(IGST) as will the fuel they use. The GST council recently decided to exempt from IGST the inter-state movement of any mode of conveyance from one location to another of the same entity. The mode of conveyance includes trains, buses, trucks, tankers, trailers, vessels and containers. It also decided to exempt import of passenger buses and spares,fuel consumables for the bus services from New Delhi to Lahore and between Kolkata and Dhaka. IGST will be levied by the Centre on the inter-sttae movement of goods and services.
  • Kochi -the place where the country's first fully integrated mass transport network completed in record time was inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM lauded the new metro for inducting a large number of women and members of the third gender in the workforce. Kochi will be the first Indian city where a water ferry will be developed as a feeder service called 'Water Metro' to the metro.
  • India –they recently ratified two key core conventions on child labour at the International Labour Conferenece in Geneva, a step towards complete prohibition of child labour. The two conventions were ratified months after amendments to the Child Labour Act and include Convention 138 which sets minimum age for admission to employment and Convention 182 which penalizes and prohibits the worst form of child labour. With ratifications of these two core ILO conventions, India has ratified six out of eight core ILO conventions, with the other four core International Labour Conference conventions relation to abolition of forced labour, equal remuneration and no discrimination between men and women in employment and occupation. According to the 2001 census there were 12.6 million child workers between the ages of –14 years in India. In 2011 this number fell to 4.35 million. The National Sample Survey Office's survey of 2009-10 put the number at 4.98 million.
Current Affairs June 05th June 11th 2017

International

  • USA, France- they are the top two nations respectively in Nuclear Generation as per the data of World Nuclear Association for 2016. However the percentage annual increase from 2005 to 2006 was highest in China at 13.9% followed by India at 7.6%. France has the largest share of Nuclear Energy as percentage of total electricity at 72.3% followed by 19.6% of USA. India's nuclear energy as percentage of total energy stands at only 3.4%.

National

  • Puducherry, Visakhapatnam, Udaipur, Jamshedpur and Chandigarh–these are the five cities where the state oil companies started the pilot of daily pricing of petrol and diesel prices. Now the State oil companies will revise petrol and diesel prices daily for consumers across the country from June 16, an extension of a pilot that they have been running in five cities since May 1, 2017. A daily revision can cut out government interference in fuel pricing that often shows up during poll season even though petrol and diesel have been officially decontrolled for years now.
  • IIT, Mumbai, IIT-Delhi and IISc, Bengaluru–these are the institutes which recently found a place in the top 200 universities in the latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. India boasts of three of the top 200 universities in the world for the first time as IIT-Bombay grabbed the 179th rank this time from 219th last year, IIT-Delhi rose to 172nd from the 185th rank and IISc slipped by 38 places to 190.
  • Germany, Spain, Russia & France–these are the countries which were visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. PM Modi visited Germany from 29-30th May. PM held wide-ranging fruitful talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and attended the 4th India-Germany Intergovernmental Consultations. PM and Chancellor Merkel jointly addressed a Business Event where top CEOs from both the sides were present. PM Modi visited Spain on 30th May on an official visit. He held a meeting with President Mariano Rajoy and discussed bilateral and other issues of mutual interest. As part of the programme, Prime Minister also met King Felipe VI of Spain. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Russia from June 1-2, 2017. PM Modi and President Vladimir Putin held bilateral talks to further deepen cooperation in host of sectors. Key pact on Kudankulam nuclear pact was inked during the PM's visit. The leaders held the 18th India-Russia Annual Summit in St. Petersburg. PM Narendra Modi visited Paris, France on 2-3 June. He held fruitful talks with President of France, Emmanuel Macron on 3rd June and discussed issues of mutual interest with a view to further strengthen India-France strategic ties.
Current Affairs May 29th June 04th 2017

International

  • USA- the country which pulled out of the historic Paris climate accord. President Donald Trump withdrew his country saying it was bad for his country and unfairly advantaged India and China.
  • Qatar-the country with which four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties, further deepening a rift between Gulf Arab nations over that country's support for Islamist groups. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a gas ¬rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen. All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country.

National

  • Spain-the country with which India recently signed seven agreements, including pacts on transfer of sentenced persons and visa-waiver for holders of diplomatic passports. Five MoUs were signed between the two countries on cooperation in organ transplantation, cyber security, renewable energy, civil aviation and one between India's Foreign Service Institute and Diplomatic Academy of Spain. These agreements were signed during recent visit of India's Prime Minister NarendraModi. Modi is the first Indian PM to visit Spain since Narsimha Rao in 1992. The PM held wide ranging talks with President of Spain Mariano Rajoy in the Moncioa Palace Gardens. The PM paid a courtesy call to Spanish King Felipe VI at Pakacio de la Zarzuela palace.
  • The Gurudongmar glacier-the glacier in Sikkim-the source of one of the iconic lakes in the world by the same name-has receded one fourth since 1989 as per the new study published in American Geophysical Union.. The Gurudongmar Lake, named after founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the 18th century Guru Rinpoche is the main source for Teesta River that flows from Himalayas in Sikkim to Bangladesh.
  • Fiji- the country with which India recently discussed expanded defence partnership in maritime security. This was discussed during Fijian Defence Minister RatuInokeKubuabola meeting with his Indian counterpart ArunJaitley in New Delhi recently.AnMoU on defence cooperation envisaging several areas of cooperation including in defence industry, military training and humanitarian assistance and disaster management was signed.
  • Ahmedabad-the city where India's first three cases of Zika virus infection were reported recently.The virus were reported from Ahmedabad between February 2016 and January 2017, but the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which takes preventive and curative measures in the city, was unaware of this till a World Health Organisation (WHO) report became public on May 26, 2017. The mosquito-borne virus was detected in one man and two women of the industrial suburb of Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad. First, it was detected in a 64-year-old man in February 2016, next in a 34-year-old new mother in November and the last in a 22-year-old pregnant mother in January 2017.
  • Berlin-the city where the IGC meeting was held recently. Prime Minister NarendraModiduring his recent visit to Germany opened the fourth India-Germany Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to set a roadmap for the bilateral strategic ties. Media formal talks with Merkel as part of the IGC -- held every two years -- where he was joined by his delegation of senior ministers, including Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan, Commerce Minister NirmalaSitharaman, Energy Minister PiyushGoyal and Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar. The last IGC was held in New Delhi in October, 2015, when bilateral ties were significantly scaled up. Germany is the largest trade partner for India in the European Union (EU) and one of the leading sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
  • India–it is poised to become the third largest buyer of commercial passenger planes in the world with only the US and China ahead of it. The aircraft order book of the Indian airline industry will soon touch 1,080, which would mean that for every aircraft in service, there will be 2.2 aircraft on order, said a report released by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a Sydney-based aviation think tank.There are an estimated 480-odd aircraft in the country at present. Currently, a total of 880 aircraft are on order, with most of the orders placed by low-cost carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet. The 2.2 ratio would be the highest of any major aviation market in the world.But what should have the government and airport operators worried is that of the expected 1,080 aircraft, more than 700 are scheduled for delivery within the next decade, and 400 within the next five years.
  • Russia-the country with which India agreed to set up joint ventures for manufacturing aircraft and automobiles as the two nations look to boost trade and economic ties. Russian President Vladimir Putin, after summit talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, said Russian-Indian economic cooperation is returning to a growth trajectory. Putin said agreements made in the St Petersburg Declaration outline steps to further deepen bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres.
  • India–the country having the top nation among 30 developing countries on ease of doing business as per 'The 2017 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI)' report. GRDI now in its 16th edition, ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide and analyses 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables. The GRDI, titled 'The Age of Focus', ranks China in second place. India's retail sector has been growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent. Total sales surpassed the $ 1 trillion-mark last year and the sector is expected to double in size by 2020.
Current Affairs May 22th May 28th 2017

International

  • Geneva-the venue of the The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA), the main decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year's assembly will determine policies on a range of health issues, including medicines and health products, non-communicable diseases, health emergencies, as well as maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health. A new WHO Director-General will also be elected as incumbent head Margaret Chan's mandate comes to an end. In her final opening address to the assembly as Director-General, Chan called on the assembly to make "reducing inequalities" a guiding ethical principle. "WHO stands for fairness," she said, adding that countries should also work to improve collection of health data and make health strategies more accountable. Chan stressed the importance of continued innovation, noting that "meeting the ambitious targets in the Sustainable Development Goals depends on innovation."The assembly will last until May 31,2017.
  • China-the country whose long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings rating was recently was downgraded by Moody's Investors Services recently citing expectations that the financial strength of the world's second-biggest economy would erode in the coming years. The downgrade by one notch to an A1 rating from Aa3 comes as the Chinese government grapples with the challenges of slowing economic growth and rising financial risks stemming from soaring debt. While the downgrade is likely to modestly increase the cost of borrowing for the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises, it remains comfortably within the investment grade rating range. The ratings agency also changed its outlook for China to stable from negative. In March 2016, Moody's cut its outlook on China's government credit ratings to negative from stable, citing rising debt and uncertainty about the authorities' ability to carry out reforms and address economic imbalances. Rival ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded its outlook to negative in the same month. S & P's AA- rating is one notch above both Moody's and Fitch Ratings A+ rating. Moody's said its now stable outlook reflected the assessment that risks were balanced.
  • United States–they have built a monument at Brussels to commemorate the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels. This was recently unveiled by US President Donald Trump during his recent visit to Brussels where he called upon the NATO members to focus on defeating terrorism and urged them to pay a fair share towards the Alliance's upkeep. The President also called for a minute's silence for the victims of the recent Manchester Arena attack. The President said others needed to comply with their financial obligations toward the Alliance in order to guarantee their common defence and accused 23 of NATO's 28 members of not paying their dues. Trump was in Brussels for his first NATO summit before travelling to the Sicilian city of Taormina for a G7 leaders' meeting that would conclude his first Presidential international trip.
  • Sri Lanka- the neighbouring country where monsoon claimed more than 150 lives with the discovery of more bodies of people buried in landslides triggered by intense rains. This deluge also caused the island's worst flooding in 14 years and drove nearly half a million people out of their inundated homes in the southern and western regions. Sri Lanka has sought international assistance to which India sent two naval ships laden with supplies. The United Nations said it would donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets while the World Health Organization will support medical teams in affected areas.
  • Italy - the country which hosted the 43rd G7 summit from May 26–27, 2017. The summit was held in Taormina (ME), Sicily, Italy. In March 2014, the G7 declared that a meaningful discussion was currently not possible with Russia in the context of the G8. Since then, meetings have continued within the G7 process. It was the first time since 1987 that the G7 summit held in Italy was not hosted by Silvio Berlusconi. Along with Angela Merkel and Theresa May, it was also the first time that there were two G7 female leaders participated in the G7 summit. The attendees included the leaders of the seven G7 member states as well as representatives of the European Union. The President of the European Commission has been a permanently welcome participant at all meetings and decision-making since 1981.The 43rd G7 summit was the first summit for British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and U.S. President Donald Trump.

National

  • India–this country overtook Japan to become the second largest stainless steel producer in the world after China, according to data released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF). India's stainless steel production rose to 3.32 million tonnes for 2016, showing an impressive growth of about 9 per cent over three million tonnes achieved in 2015. At their annual conference in Tokyo on May 14-19, 2017, the ISSF said India overtook Japan as the second-biggest producer in 2016.
  • Gandhinagar–this place in Gujarat was the venue of the recently held 52nd African Development Bank (AfDB) meet recently. Speaking during the occasion, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the commerce between India and Africa will be of ideas and services. Africa-India trade multiplied in last 15 years. It doubled in the last five years to reach nearly seventy-two billion US dollars in 2014-15.
  • Dhaka–this city along with Mumbai are ranked 1 and 2 respectively in the most densely populated urban areas according to the UN Habitat data released recently. As per the report more than half of the world's population currently lives in urban areas and is expected to increase to 66% by 2050, with close to 90% of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. Dhaka with 44,500 people per square kilometer in 2015 is ranked 1st and Mumbai with 31,700 people per square kilometer is ranked 2nd and Medellin (Columbia) with 19,700 people per square kilometer is ranked 3rd. The other major Indian city featured is Kota at 7th place with 12,100 people per square kilometer.
  • Japan–it is the country whose Prime Minister has written the preface of the book titled 'Mann ki Baat'. He says, "Talking on a one-hour radio show once a month while addressing challenging tasks as Prime Minister requires tremendous efforts, and I cannot but feel his strong passion for dialogue with his people."The book, Mann Ki Baat: a social revolution on Radio, is a compilation of PM Narendra Modi's one-hour, once-a-month, radio shows. Apart from vignettes like how the name for the programme came about - Prime Minister Modi is said to have exclaimed, arreismekyabaathai, kahokuchhalkiphulki Mann kibaatkarunga (why make a big fuss, it will be just a heart to heart talk) the book will also go into analytics on what was followed up in terms of feedback from listeners, and even has chapter on how the phrase Mann Ki Baat has entered the political lexicon in order to mock Prime Minister Modi.
  • Arunachal Pradesh-the state which will now be connected with Assam through the 9.15 kilometres in length, the Dhola Sadiya Bridge the longest bridge in India which was inaugurated by Prime Minster Narendra Modi recently. It spans the Lohit River and connects the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The new, three lane, 9.15 kilometreDhola-SadiyaBridge has been built over river Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, and links Dhola in Assam to Sadiya in Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge will also reduce the distance from Rupai on NH-37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 KM, cutting down on travel time from the current six hours to just one hour.
Current Affairs May 15th May 21th 2017

International

  • Dubai – itbecame the first city to launch a font in its name. The 'Dubai Font', the first typeface developed by Microsoft for a city will be available in 23 languages. The font was developed simultaneously in Latin and Arabic script and is available to 100 million office 365 users around the world.
  • Saudi Arabia-the country with which United States recently sealed an arms deal worth $350 billion (Rs 22.75 lakh crore), which comes as President Donald Trump began an official visit to the Muslim-majority nation.The agreement, which is worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion (Rs 7.15 lakh crore) that will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as 'a significant expansion of (the) security relationship' between the two countries. The US-Saudi partnership has been fraught with controversy since the 9/11 attacks, which culminated last year in a Congressional vote to allow 9/11 families to sue the country for its suspected links to the attackers.Saudi Arabia is the primary destination for US arms sales, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, with the Kingdom purchasing nearly 10 per cent of US exports from 2011 to 2015.The weapons deal also gives Trump a victory to merchandise abroad.

National

  • Madhya Pradesh-the state which became the first state to adopt the January- December as the fiscal year instead of April-March in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi advice to adopt January-December as FY to align Indian economy with global practice. The change will kick in from January 2018.
  • India–this country overtook China to emerge as the world's biggest market for two-wheelers. A total of 17.7 million two-wheelers were sold in India last year as compared to that of 16.6 million in China. These information are based on datas received from Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers as well as data sourced from the China association of Automobile Manufacturers.
  • Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh–they are the top three states respectively in percentage share in the total registered vehicles in India as per the latest data of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The share of Maharashtra is 12.2%, Tamil Nadu is 10.7 % and Uttar Pradesh is 10.3%. The vehicles per 1,000 population has also gone up from 81 in 2006 to 167 in 2015.
  • Visakhapatnam Railway station–this was declared the cleanest railway station as per a recent survey report released by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently. The survey was carried out by the Quality council of India. Secunderabad occupied the second and Jammu the third spot among the most 75 most busy stations in the country. The Darbhanga railway station in Bihar was the dirtiest among the most busy stations.
  • Srinagar-the place which recently hosted the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council meeting to finalise the percentage of GST to be levied on different items in efforts towards possible roll out of GST from 1st July, 2017.
Current Affairs May 01th May 07th 2017

International

  • Geneva-the venue of the recently concluded 27th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This was in the news as India said it is a secular state with no state religion and safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of its polity. Attorney General MukulRohatgi who led the Indian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council, said India makes no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen.

National

  • India–this country is the world's fifth largest military spender as per the latest report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. USA is the biggest military spender with expenditure of $611 billion followed by $215 of China, $69.2 billion of Russia, $63.7 billion of Saudi Arabia and then is India with expenditure of $55.9 billion.10% is the average annual increase in India's military spending during the last three years.
  • Kerala-the state which is hosting an Indo-Australian collaborative research project on deploying stingless bee (Tetragonulairidipennis) as pollinators to increase the agricultural yield of fruits and vegetables. Experts say that the research is significant as leading pollination scientists are looking for alternative pollinators to traditional honey bees (Apis genus), which had for ages served as world's leading pollinators, responsible for over one-third of the global food supply. A change was necessitated as the population of honey bees were plummeting in many parts of the world due to combined effects of climate change, diseases like colony collapse disorder (CCD) and excessive use of pesticides. The $7 million-project will be carried out by Western Sydney University, Australia, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and the honeybee research centre at the Kerala Agricultural University's (KAU) Vellayani campus.
  • Karnataka–this state occupies the first slot in a list of states perceived to be corrupt on the basis of people's experience in paying bribes for public services as per a survey conducted by an NGO recently. Karnataka is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab. The Centre for Media Studies survey, which covered 20 states, found Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Chhattisgarh to be the least corrupt. The report said around one-third of the households experienced corruption in public services at least once during the last one year in comparison to about 53% of households that admitted to paying bribes during a similar study in 2005. The survey covered 3,000 odd persons, both in urban and rural areas. It also claimed that more than half of the respondents felt that the level of corruption had decreased in public services during the demonetisation phase of November and December 2016. The report estimated that the total bribe paid by households across 20 states and 10 public services was Rs 6,350 crore in 2017 as against Rs 20,500 crore in 2005.
  • Turkey- the country whose President RecepTayyip Erdogan visited India recently and had bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trade and investments were the key focus areas. India and Turkey agreed to boost bilateral trade from the current level of over $6 billion to $ 10 billion by 2020.
  • Ghazipur-the place where the 197-year-old factory, said to be the biggest and oldest legal opium factory in India is located. It was in the news recently as it has been shut for over a month for failing to comply with effluent discharge standards. The factory has failed to comply with effluent discharge standards and directions to install an online effluent and emission monitoring system. It is officially known as Government Opium and Alkaloid Works. The management of the Ghazipur opium factory itself ceased operations on March 1, 2017 after failing to comply with environmental norms. Set up in 1820, it was in the Ghazipur factory that the processing of opium began in India. Later, an alkaloid plant was set up here in 1943 during World War-II. The factory is spread over an area of about 43 acres. The other plant for processing opium and to manufacture alkaloids is in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh. The Alkaloid Works at Ghazipur and Neemuch process raw opium for manufacture of alkaloid drugs like narcotine, thebaine, papaverine and codeine phosphate. Morphine salts and codeine phosphate are the main products supplied by the factories to Indian pharmaceutical industry.
  • Top four cities in Swachh Survekshan-Indore, Bhopal, Visakhapatnam and Surat are the top four cities in ranking of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively among 434 cities in the recent government survey, Swachh Survekshan which was released by Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu recently. Mysuru in Karnataka, which topped the list in the 2015 survey covering 73 million-plus cities, has slipped to number five in the list while Tiruchirapally in Tamil Nadu gets the sixth rank, followed by New Delhi Municipal Council at number seven. Cities in West Bengal have not been ranked as the Mamata Banerjee government did not participate in the Swachh Survekshan. The criteria for this year's ranking included 45% marks for cities becoming open defecation free, solid waste management (including sweeping, collection, transportation and processing of garbage), education and capacity building. Another 25% marks was kept for field inspection and 30% for citizen feedback. At least 18 lakh citizens across the cities gave their feedback about the sanitation in their respective cities and towns.
  • India-the number one country in receiving remittances according to the latest World Bank data. Remittance is the money citizens of a country send home working abroad. India received $62.7 billion in remittance followed by $ 61 billion of China. The remittance of $62.7 billion received by India in 2016 is much lower than that of $68.9 billion in 2015. The World Bank has attributed the decline to fewer people finding jobs due to a slump in the Gulf economy, stricter visa norms. The worldwide decline in remittance is 2.4% while in India the decline was 8.9%.
Current Affairs April 24th April 30th 2017

International

  • Ghana, Kenya and Malawi-the three African countries that have been chosen to test the world's first malaria vaccine as announced by the World Health Organization recently. These countries will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children, who have been at highest risk of death. The vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures, the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement. The challenge is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child. Malaria remains one of the world's most stubborn health challenges, infecting more than 200 million people every year and killing about half a million, most of them children in Africa. Bed netting and insecticides are the chief protection. The malaria vaccine has been developed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and the $49 million for the first phase of the pilot is being funded by the global vaccine alliance GAVI, UNITAID and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • China-the country which recently launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier in the north-eastern port city of Dalian. This assumes importance in the backdrop of maritime disputes in the South China Sea and unease in New Delhi over Beijing's increasing naval prowess. The unnamed Type001A vessel, decorated with red flags and ribbons was transferred from a dry dock into the water with pomp and show. The first to be inducted was the Liaoning, a refurbished Soviet Union made vessel commissioned in 2012.

National

  • Shimla-one of the first city which saw the first regional flights under the UdeDeshkaAamNagrik (UDAN) scheme which was flagged off by PM Narendra Modi recently. The three inaugural flights were launched in the sectors of Shimla-Delhi, Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad. The PM launched the flight from the hill station to the Capital. UDAN ('UdeDeshkaAamNaagrik') is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 15, 2016. Airfare for a 1-hour journey of approximately 500 kilometres on a fixed wing aircraft or for 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs 2,500. The Airports Authority of India has approved 27 proposals which will see 27 currently served airports, 12 currently underserved airports and 31 currently unserved airports (for a total of 70 airports) connected. The airline companies chosen are Airline Allied Services (Alliance Air), SpiceJet, Turbo Megha Airways, Air Deccan and Air Odisha.
Current Affairs April 17th April 23th 2017

International

  • Turkey-the country which recently voted in a referendum for switching the country from the parliamentary to the presidential system.The 'Yes' campaign won 51.4 per cent of the vote against 48.6 per cent for 'No', in a count based on 99.5 per cent of the ballot boxes.Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in the referendum which will extend his influence over the judiciary making him dominant over the Parliament.Erdogan was voted to power in August 2014, the first time a Turkish President had been directly chosen by the popular vote.The referendum asked voters to choose Yes or No on the 18-article bill. It was passed by the Parliament in January with 339 votes in favour.Other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in the Parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts and same-day Parliamentary and Presidential elections after every five years.The country's current Constitution was formed in 1983 following a military coup in 1980.
  • Nepal-the country which held its first ever joint military exercise with China with a special focus on combating terror, amidst Beijing increasing forays into South Asia causing concern in India. The 10-day-long military drill called 'Sagarmatha Friendship 2017' is being organised by the two countries as part of their preparedness against terrorism that has posed as a serious security threat globally. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak.
  • Britain- the country which recently experienced its first full day of electricity generation without coal since 1882. Natural gas is replacing coal as the source of Britain's electricity generation. Britain's natural gas historically comes from the North Sea.

National

  • India – this country along with China accounts for the largest number of deaths owing to particulate matter(PM2.5)-small pollutant particles of 2.5 micron size that can easily enter the respiratory systems and cause ailments-according to a Lancet study released recently. The study said that 52% of the deaths in 2015 due to air pollution were from these two countries. China had the highest number of deaths in the world at 1108, followed by India that reported 1,090 deaths. The annual safe limit for PM2.5 pollutant is 10 micron per cubic metre, according to the World Health Organisation. The estimated average PM2.5 concentration for population-weighted exposure increased from 59 in 1990 to 73 micron per cubic metre in India, which is almost four times the safe limit. The Lancet study estimated that by 2030,India's air pollution levels would need to decline by 20% to maintain per person mortality (measure of number of deaths in the population) at 2010 levels.
  • Washington- the venue of the recently organised G-20 finance ministers' and central bank governors' meeting. India was represented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and RBY governor Urjit Patel. FM Arun Jaitley said that the Indian economy is estimated to grow by 7.5% in 217-18 and will be a major driver of global economic growth.
  • India–this country retained the top spot among remittances receiving nations, notwithstanding a significant 8.9 per cent drop in remittance, according to a World Bank report. The World Bank, in its latest report, said that the remittances to developing countries fell for a second consecutive year in 2016, a trend not seen in three decades.This was attributable mainly to the drop in oil prices and fiscal tightening in the oil producing countries in the Middle East, which has a significant Indian migrant population accounting for a large chunk of remittances.India, while retaining its top spot as the world's largest remittance recipient, led the decline with remittance inflows amounting to $62.7 billion last year, a decrease of 8.9 per cent over $68.9 billion in 2015.In the latest edition of the Migration and Development Brief, the Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries amounted to $429 billion in 2016, a decline of 2.4 per cent over $440 billion in 2015.Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, contracted by 1.2 per cent to $575 billion in 2016, from $582 billion in 2015.
Current Affairs April 10th April 16th 2017

International

  • Egypt–the country where a three-month emergency was declared recently following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities recently. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the "state of emergency for three months" in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council. The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed. The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement. Egypt had been ruled for decades under a state of emergency, which was cancelled a month before Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took power in 2012.

National

  • India –this country will remain the fastest growing major economy in the world with growth expected to be over 7.4% in 2017 and 7.6% in 2018 as per the latest forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In its new Asia Development Outlook (ADO) report released recently ADB said that China's growth is expected to slow to 6.5% in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018, down from 2016's 6.7%. The overall growth in Asia is expected to be 5.7% in 2017 and 2018.
  • R.K.Nagar -the constituency of Tamil Nadu whose by-election scheduled on April 12, 2017 was cancelled due to rampant voter bribing and corruption. In its elaborate order, the commission said that considering its duty "to conduct free and fair elections and to uphold the purity of election and after taking into account all the facts and circumstances," it is satisfied that R K Nagar poll process has been "seriously vitiated". This was on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers who bribed the electors and unlawfully induced them by offering money and other gifts of consumable items to woo them in their favour. Hence, the commission directed under Article 324 of the Constitution read with sections 150, 30 and 56 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and further read with Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, that its notification dated March 16 announcing the by-election stands rescinded forthwith.
  • Sikkim -the place where the Teesta river originates which is the major point of dispute between India and Bangladesh. It then flows through West Bengal as well as Bangladesh. India claims a share of 55 percent of the river's water. Bangladesh wants a higher share than it gets now. Currently, its share is lower than that of India's. Negotiations on how to share the water have been going on since 1983. A 2011 interim deal - that was supposed to last 15 years - gave India 42.5 percent of the Teesta's waters and gave Bangladesh 37.5 percent. Bangladesh wants 50 percent of the Teesta's waters between December and May every year, because that's when the water flow to the country drops drastically. India says it has its own compulsions. The river is Bangladesh's fourth largest transboundary river for irrigation and fishing. Hydropower on the Teesta is another point of conflict. There are at least 26 projects on the river mostly in Sikkim, aimed at producing some 50,000MW.
  • Australia –this country recently signed six agreements, including one for expanding counterterrorism cooperation with India. All agreements were signed in presence of India's PM Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull. The two countries signed six agreements, including one for expanding counterterrorism cooperation, but could not conclude negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which they have been negotiating. The two countries had signed a civil nuclear cooperation three years ago but the actual supply has not yet commenced in the absence of any commercial contract.
  • Puducherry, Vizag, Udaipur and Jamshedpur –these cities along with Chandigarh are the five cities where India's state-owned fuel retailers plan to implement daily revision of fuel price from May 1, 2017 ahead of a nationwide roll out of the scheme. State refiners currently revise fuel prices every fortnight to reflect volatility in the currency and global oil markets. State refiners - Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp - operate 90 percent of the retail outlets in the country.
Current Affairs April 03th April 09th 2017

International

  • London–this has become the first city in the world to announce an ultra-low emission zone to tackle rising levels of air pollution, under which the drivers of the most polluting cars will have to pay an extra charge. The ultra-low emission zone is an area within which all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles will need to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel.The new zone will be launched from April 8, 2019, when most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay 12.50 pounds to drive through central London, while buses, coaches and HGVs will pay 100 pounds. It is believed that move will result in a 50 per cent drop in emissions by 2020.
  • Syria-the country whose airbase was recently attacked by US missiles in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians by the Moscow-backed regime. Russia and Syria both condemned the US attack, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it 'aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of the international law'. US Navy launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a military airfield in Syria in response to a chemical-weapon attack on civilians.

National

  • Malaysia - the country whose Prime Minister Najib Razak visited India recently and held discussions with his counterpart Narendra Modi. India and Malaysia emphasized that all nations should show respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS),1982 in resolving maritime disputes.
  • Mizoram –this state topped the list of state for the first time in providing jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) -- a staggering 88.43 person days per household -- during the fiscal that is almost double the national average of 45.21 days, according to a performance report of the Union Rural Development Ministry. Tripura, which until fiscal 2015-16 had occupied the top spot for seven consecutive years, dropped to second position with 79.88 person days per household in the last fiscal. Sikkim, like in the previous year (2015-16), kept its third position with 66.77 person days per household during the fiscal. In sharp contrast, two other northeastern states -- Manipur and Assam -- were at the very bottom among India's 29 states by providing only 20.94 and 29.38 days of jobs, respectively, between April 2016 and March 2017. The MGNREGA, which is considered a pioneering rights-based legislation in the world, was introduced in February 2006 by the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. It mandates 100 days of work in a financial year to at least one member of each rural household -- but this has never been achieved in any state. The scheme aims to generate rural assets and create rural infrastructure like roads, ponds and water reservoirs. The average wage rate was Rs. 161.87 per day per person in the last financial year.
  • Israel-the country which recently signed a nearly $2 ((Rs 13,000 crore) billion deal with India to supply advanced missile defence systems, bolstering bilateral military ties in a contract believed to be the largest in Israel's defence industries' history.In a mega-contract worth over $1.6 billion, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries will provide advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile systems to the Indian Army.
  • Maharashtra –it became the first state to enact the bill to protect the journalists. Both houses of legislature recently passed the landmark Maharashtra Media persons and Media Institutions Bill to protect the journalists from attack.
  • Bangladesh-the country whose Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was received personally by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, breaking all the protocols. It was for the first time Indian PM made this exception for a neighborhood leader, having done so for former US President Barack Obama and recently, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He also travelled to the airport in normal traffic rather than following VIP protocol.
Current Affairs March 27th April 02th 2017

International

  • United States -the country which recently announced a $54 billion increase in defence spending which would be one of the largest increase in American history. With this the total spending of United States will go up to $596 billion which is much higher than that of any other country. China is at distant second with $215 billion while India's defence budget is only $51 billion. US spends more than any other country on defence because it defends its borders, upholds international order, promote US interests abroad and is geared to fight on multiple fronts.

National

  • Delhi –it is the city where the South Asian University which started functioning in 2010 is located. It was in the news after India and six other members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation pulled up Pakistan, asking it to immediately pay up $7.85 million as its contribution to the South Asian University. Pakistan is the only member of the SAARC which has not yet contributed any amount for running the institution.
  • Varanasi- it hosted the G20 meeting from March 28-29, 2017. Besides delegates from the G20 member countries, officials from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD and the Asian Development Bank participated in the meeting. India had earlier hosted such a meeting of officials in Goa, which is one of the country's top tourist destinations, indicating the strides Varanasi has made after it became the most important Lok Sabha constituency in the country.The G20 is an informal grouping of key countries founded in 1999 that represents 90% of the world's GDP. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, it emerged as the key international forum for coordinating a global response after US President George W Bush invited its leaders to Washington DC in November 2008 for the grouping's first summit. Germany is currently the G20 chair and the next summit of its leaders is scheduled to be held in Hamburg in July.
  • India –this country has become a net exporter of electricity during the April-February period this fiscal for the first time. As per Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the designated authority of Government of India for Cross Border Trade of Electricity, first time India has turned around from a net importer of electricity to net exporter of electricity. According to the statement, during the current year 2016-17 (April-February), India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, which is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan. Export to Nepal and Bangladesh increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively in the last three years. Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-80s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Uttarakhand -the state in which the High Court banned mining across the state for four months. The order would stop mining in interstate rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna, Gaula, Kosi, Daabka and Kali and also nearly 100 seasonal rivers and rivulets on foothills of the state apart from forest areas. The court also directed the state government to form a 'high level committee' to recommend guidelines to stop illegal mining and reclaim mined areas.
Current Affairs March 20th March 26th 2017

International

  • China - the country whose troops along with troops from China & Saudi Arabia participated in the Pakistan Day parade at Islamabad recently, in a sign of deepening ties. Islamabad considers China an 'all-weather friend' and in recent years the countries have grown even closer on the back of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), a Beijing funded network of road, rail and pipelines that will link western China with Pakistan's Arabian Sea port of Gwadar.
  • Germany - the country which recently switched on 'the world's largest artificial sun'. The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights-officially known as "Synlight"in Juelich, about 30km west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to stimulate natural sunlight. By focusing the entire array on a single 20cm by 20cm spot, scientists from the German Aerospace Centre will be able to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would normally shine on the same surface.
  • Norway - the happiest country on Earth as per the UN 2017 World Happiness Index which was released recently. India fell from 118th rank last year to 122 this year. 155 countries were ranked based on Gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy etc. Norway edged past previous champ Denmark, which fell to the second.

National

  • Chitrakoot - the place in Madhya Pradesh where 1.6 billion-year old fossils of red algae have been found by researchers from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, which is believed to be the oldest evidence of plant-like life found on the Earth. The oldest known red algae before this discovery are 1.2 billion years old.
  • Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai & New Delhi – they are the four Indian cities which are among the 10 cheapest places on the planet to live in. A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), part of The Economist Group, says that four Indian cities, including Chennai, are among the 10 cheapest places on the planet. While Bengaluru is ranked the third cheapest in the world, Chennai figures in sixth place followed by Mumbai and New Delhi in the seventh and tenth positions. Almaty in Kazakhstan has been ranked the cheapest city in the world followed by Lagos in Nigeria. Singapore retained the title as the most expensive city for the fourth consecutive year. The Worldwide Cost of Living is a bi-annual (twice yearly) EIU survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
  • Madhya Pradesh - it will be the first state in the country to float a happiness index in 2018. The index, based on questionnaire, will help the government gauge the happiness quotient of the people. Last year, the state government had announced that the happiness index will be ready by 2017, but recently Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the Happiness Index is being prepared to be published in 2018.
Current Affairs March 13th March 19th 2017

International

  • South Korea - the country whose President Park Geun-hye was removed by constitutional court over a graft scandal involving the country's conglomerates. Park becomes South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil over a corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in jail. A snap presidential election will be held within 60 days.
  • Pakistan - the country which recently passed the landmark bill to regulate marriages of Pakistan's Hindu minority, paving the way for adoption of a comprehensive and widely acceptable law for Hindus. The Hindu Marriage Bill 216 is the first personal law for the minority community and will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage, which is needed while applying for passports and other official documents.
  • The Westgate Park - the lake in Melbourne, Australia that has turned vivid pink due to extreme salt levels exacerbated by hot weather and low rainfall. This phenomenon is the of result of green algae at the bottom of the lake responding to high levels of salt and changing colours.
  • Argentina - the country where scientists have discovered world's first fluorescent frog. It sports a muted palette of greens, yellow and reds under normal light but gives off a bright blue and green glow in the dark. Researchers found that the South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) uses fluorescent molecules to tally unlike those found in other animals.
  • Saudi Arabia - the country which recently entered into talks with Japan to explore ways to bolster Japanese investment and trade in the Middle Eastern nation. Saudi Arabia King Salman along with thousand business people from Saudi Arabia visited Japan recently and held discussions with Japan PM Shinzo Abe. The visit is the first by a Saudi king in 46 years. The leaders agreed to promote Japanese investment, research and manufacturing, possibly through SEZs.
  • Vienna - Austria's grand capital on the Danube river, which has topped consulting firm Mercer's list of cities offering the highest quality of life for the eighth year in a row. The survey of 231 cities helps companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport. Vienna's 1.8 million inhabitants benefit from the city's cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire, are cheap compared with other western capitals. Singapore was the highest ranked Asian city, at 25 while 29th-placed San Francisco was the United States' highest entry. Top of the list in Africa was South Africa's Durban at 87. Baghdad is again considered the worst place to live.
  • Pakistan – the country which conducted its first national census in 19 years with the assistance of over 200,000 troops. It is the sixth census, which will be conducted in two phases and will be completed on May 25. The first phase which started from March 15 will conclude on April 15. After a ten-day gap the second phase will start from April 25 and conclude on May 25. Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time.

National

  • Attari - the place where India recently installed its tallest and heaviest national flag. This installation is 110 metres high, 24 metres wide and weighs 55 tons with a cost of Rs 3.5 crore. This flag was a project of the Amritsar Improvement Trust Authority of the Punjab government. Pakistan is reportedly not happy with India yesterday installing what is its tallest and heaviest flag that can be seen from Lahore. Islamabad believes India could use this giant flag for espionage purposes. Pakistan's Rangers have also reportedly conveyed its unhappiness to the Border Security Force and asked India to move the flag away from the border.
  • India – the country which is having the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries surveyed by Transparency International followed by Vietnam and Thailand. Japan is the least corrupt nation among those surveyed across the Asia Pacific Region. The Global Corruption Barometer for the Asia Pacific Region was released by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption global civil society organization, recently in Berlin.
  • Kochi - this city along with Mysore, Jaipur, Shimla and Bhubaneswar are the five cities in which the field trial of the new polymer-based Rs.10 bank note will be conducted by Reserve Bank of India. Plastic notes were first adopted by Australia in 1988 and now used in more than 20 countries. These are smaller and stronger than cotton-based paper notes, with more security features that make them harder to counterfeit. These cities have been selected for their geographical and climatic diversity.
  • India - the country whose first lunar mission-the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which was generally considered lost, was recently found orbiting the moon by NASA scientists with new technological application of interplanetary radar. ISRO lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009 barely a year after it was launched on October 22, 2008. Chandrayaan-1 is still circling some 200km above the lunar surface, the scientists have determined.
Current Affairs March 06th March 12th 2017

National

  • Dahej - the place in Gujarat where OPaL Petrochemical Complex was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. This is the single largest petrochemical complex in India with state of art technology which will annually produce 14 lakh tones polymers & 5 lakh tones chemicals. It is a JV company promoted by ONGC, GAIL & GSPC.
  • India - this country accounts for the second highest death rate of children under 5 years due to environmental risks-mainly pollution and poor sanitation-in the WHO south East Asia region includes Bangladesh, Indonesia and Bhutan. While India recorded 248.14 deaths among children under 5 years of age per lakh people, Myanmar also part of WHO's south East Asia region reported over 297 deaths per lakh annually. United Kingdom with 9.48 per 1 lakh people has the lowest rate of child deaths in the world.
  • Tirunelveli - the town of Tamil Nadu which recently became the first town to achieve 100% segregation of waste at source across households and establishments. The town which has about 1.6lakh households, took up this challenge in April 2016. It involved taking undertakings from each household to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, campaign through TV and local radio channels targeting housewives and roping in religious leaders and NGOs.
  • Maharashtra - the state which will receive the highest investment by World Bank in any state. The World Bank recently agreed to invest more than one billion dollars(more than Rs.7,000 crore) in the Mumbai Urban Transport Project(MUTP)-III and Climate Resilient Agriculture Project formulated for the drought-affected districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
Current Affairs February 27th March 05th 2017

International

  • Portugal - the country where fisherman recently found unexploded WWW II bomb. A Portuguese fisherman in Nazare, around 120 km north of Portuguese capital Lisbon, found an unexploded bomb, believed to be from World War II. The bomb, equivalent to 600 kg of TNT, was detonated by Portuguese navy divers safely at sea recently.
  • Morocco - this country returned to the African Union (AU) recently, which is likely to strengthen dialogue and cooperation among African countries. Morocco joined the AU in January 2017 after a 33-year gap. The country left the AU's predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 after the body recognised the independence of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
  • Barcelona - the Spain's northeastern city, which recently hosted the Mobile World Congress (MWC). The MWC is the most important event of the mobile phone industry, which expects to receive 101,000 professional visitors, surpassing the figures of the last edition.
  • Malaysia - the country which cancelled its visa-free travel deal with North Korea as a diplomatic spat deepens over the assassination of the half-brother of North Korea's leader. The cancellation will take effect on March 6, after which North Koreans entering Malaysia will be required to obtain a visa. Before the murder of Kim Jong-Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, the two countries enjoyed relatively warm ties, with some bilateral trade and citizens from both countries entitled to travel to the other under a unique reciprocal visa-free deal.
  • Canada - the country where the scientists have discovered remains of microorganisms that are between 3.8-4.3 billion years ago, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth. Tiny filaments and tubes formed by bacteria that lived on iron were found encased in quartz layers in NuvvuagittuqSupracrustal Belt (NSB) in Queber, Canada. The NSB contains some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth that provided a habitat for Earth's first life forms between 3,770 and 4,300 million years ago.
  • South Korea - this country with 347 robots for every 10,000 people is having the highest robot density in the world followed by Japan at 339 robots per 10,000 people and Germany with 261 robots per 10,000 people. This was in the news after amid a debate on whether robots taking over human jobs should pay income tax,2015 saw a 15% increase in sales of units year on year across the world, a record for one year. Electronics, metal, chemical, plastic and rubber industries are the main drivers of growth in demand for robots.

National

  • Himachal Pradesh-this sate signed a deal with Singapore for developing a smart integrated township on the outskirts of Shimla town to decongest the state capital. The Singapore government has committed to invest Rs 2,500 crore for developing the state's first 'smart hill town' on 450 bighas of land. The development of the integrated township is an ambitious project which would go a long way in decongesting this highly populated city, he said, adding there has been 10-fold increase in the population of Shimla that has resulted in congestion and over-utilisation of infrastructure.
  • Mumbai - it is the richest Indian city with a total wealth of $820 billion according to the latest New World Wealth report. India's financial capital here is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires, and is followed in terms of wealth by Delhi in second place and Bengaluru in third place. Delhi is home to 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires with a total wealth of $450 billion, while Bengaluru has 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires and an aggregate wealth of $320 billion. The total wealth held in India as of December 2016 amounts to $6.2 trillion, while the country is home to 264,000 millionaires and 95 billionaires, it added.
  • Kerala - the state where the government has made a saving of Rs 300 crore through introduction and adoption of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) in the school education sector. IT became a compulsory subject in Kerala schools from 2003, but it was in 2005 only that FOSS was introduced in a phased manner and started to replace proprietary software. The decision made by the curriculum committee to implement it in the higher secondary sector has also been completed now.
  • Sankhuwasabha - the district of Nepal, where a 900 MW hydro power project will be set up by India. Sankhuwasabha is situated657 km from Kathmandu via Birat Nagar. The Government of India recently approved the Arun-III project which will be set up with a cost of Rs 5,723.72 crore. The project is being implemented by a 100 per cent subsidiary of state-run SJVN Ltd. SJVN Ltd is joint venture between Central and Himachal Pradesh governments with shareholding of 64.46 per cent and 25.51 per cent, respectively.
  • Andhra Pradesh - the state which has proposed a hi-tech war against mosquitoes using optical sensors to capture their density, species and gender before moving in to exterminate them. Three cities in Andhra Pradesh — Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupati — want to use modern technology to detect mosquito breeding before malaria and other vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and zika become an epidemic. The Andhra government has sent a 'Smart Mosquito Density System' proposal to the Union urban development ministry for approval and to provide funds so that the three municipal bodies can implement this first-of-its-kind project in the country.
  • Israel - it is the country which will be visited by Indian prime minister for the first time. PM Narendra Modi historic visit to Israel in July 2017 will be a historic visit to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic ties and take the bilateral relationship to a new level.
Current Affairs February 20th February 26th 2017

International

  • Mexico City - this place has the worst daily traffic condition in the world for the second consecutive year, according to a new research released recently. TomTom, a Dutch company manufacturing traffic and mapping products, said in the research that the Mexican capital once again took the top spot with drivers expecting to spend an average of 66 percent extra time stuck in traffic every day, Besides ranking the worst for full-day traffic congestion, Mexico City also has the second worst evening rush hour traffic in the world, with drivers spending an additional 101 per cent of extra time in traffic compared to an uncongested situation. By analysing the traffic congestion situation in 390 cities in 48 countries, the research has listed other cities, including Bangkok, Jakarta and Bucharest as the most congested cities in the world.
  • Nepal - the country which will hold its first local elections in two decades in May 2017, a key moment in the country's fraught transition to democracy. The impoverished Himalayan nation emerged from a brutal decade-long civil war in 2006, which brought the end of the 240-year-old Hindu monarchy and transformed it into a secular republic. Local polls will be held on May 14, paving the way for provincial and then national elections later in the year. The Madhesis, who live in the densely populated Terai plains bordering India, want the constitution to be amended first and have pledged to protest against the polls. Local government representatives were last elected in 1997. Their five-year terms expired in 2002, at the height of the civil war, and their mandate was allowed to lapse.
  • Russia - this country overtook Saudi Arabia as the world's largest crude producer in December 2016, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December 2016 while Saudi Arabia output declined to 10.46 barrels a day. The US was the third largest producer at 8.8 million barrels a day in December 2016.

National

  • Indore - the place which recently hosted the South Asian Speaker's Summit which was inaugurated by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The two day summit was attended by Afghanistan national assembly speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, Bangladesh parliament speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Bhutan national assembly speaker Jigme Zangpo, Maldives parliament speaker Abdulla Maseh Mohamed, Nepal parliament speaker Onasari Gharti and Sri Lanka parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Pakistan had declined India's invitation to the summit in a move that seemed to be retaliatory act after India boycotted a commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) meet in Islamabad.
  • United Kingdom - the country with which India recently concluded two-day extensive talks over legal matters related to extradition of criminals. The two sides held "detailed and fruitful deliberations on the legal processes and procedures in either country and reviewed the requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance pending on either side". The two countries, which signed their extradition treaty on September 22, 1993, reiterated their determination to strengthen legal cooperation and expedite the pending requests. The Indian delegation was led by officials from the ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs, Law and Justice and representatives from investigating agencies, including the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. The British delegation was led by officials of the UK Central Authority for Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance, Home and representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service and their High Commission in New Delhi.
  • India - this country topped the list among the 63 countries listed in Nielsen's global consumer confidence index released recently. India's consumer confidence score rose to its highest level in 10 years in the December quarter despite the demonetization of high value bank notes. India's score of 136 represented an increase of three index points, to reach the maximum by any country followed by Philippines with 132 points and US with 123 points.
Current Affairs February 13th February 19th 2017

International

  • Japan - the country which has proposed to use small drones coated with horsehair and sticky gel to help pollinate crops to help offset the costly loss of bee population worldwide. 42mm long, 42mm wide and 15g in weight, the miniature bots described in the journal Chem are a long way from being deployed in the field, but researchers say that they may offer partial solution to the loss of bees from disease and climate change.
  • China - this country is the largest consumer of LPG in the world with consumption of 23mn tones/year. India with 19mn tones/year has become the second-largest domestic LPG consumer in the world due to Central government's rapid rollout of clean fuel plan for poor households and fuel subsidy reforms. The Ujjawala scheme has turned India into an example for energy experts.
  • Russia - this country hosted the latest regional conference on Afghanistan in which India also participated. A ministry of external affairs delegation led by joint secretary Gopal Baglay participated in it though the first such conference in December had kept India and Afghanistan out. India muscled its way into the conference, after NSA Ajit Doval travelled to Russia at the end of January to meet Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a confidant of President Vladmir Putin, where he is believed to have laid out India's interests in Afghanistan. It was only after this meeting that India was included, as was Afghanistan. Afghanistan had protested its exclusion the last time.
  • Hambantota port - the port of Sri Lanka where China would be investing $1.1 billion as part of its development of its modern-day "Silk Road". Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months. After signing an agreement last December, state-run China Merchants Port Holdings had been expected to buy an 80 percent stake in the southern port before an initial target date of January 7. Beijing also has a separate understanding with Colombo to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the same area, a deal that Sri Lanka was hoping to finalize later. But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition. Hambantota port and a nearby airport were built from 2008 by the Rajapaksa government with the help of $1.7 billion in Chinese loans.
  • UAE - this country will build the first city on the red planet as part of the 2117 Mars project in collaboration with specialized international organizations and scientific institutes. As part of a 100-year national programm, the UAE will set in operation a plan to prepare national cadres who can achieve scientific breakthrough to facilitate the transport of people to Mars over the next decades. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in the presence of representatives of 138 governments, six major international organizations, as well as leading international tech companies.
  • Zealandia - it is believed to be the Eighth Continent as per the new research published in A Geographical Society of America journal. It measures 5m sq km, roughly two third of Australia. 94% of the area is underwater and the portions which are visible are New Zealand's North and South Islands and New Caledonia. Scientists have known about this submerged landmass and now say it ought to qualify as continent as they believe that its crust is thicket than the ocean floor.

National

  • Madhya Pradesh - is the state in which the Union cabinet recently approved the establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP). The research platform will be established with satellite hubs in West Bengal (for pulses) and Rajasthan (for natural resource management) by the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA).The Madhya Pradesh government will provide 71 hectares (or 175.42 acre) of land at Amlaha Farm for the project on rent of Re 1 per acre per year for 30 years on lease. The Cabinet also gave 'in principle' approval for conferring on FLRP an international status as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.
  • Karnataka - the state whose assembly recently passed a bill to facilitate the conduct of "Kambala", a traditional annual buffalo race in marshy fields, held in the coastal districts of the state. The clamour for Kambala was spurred by the success of the stir in Tamil Nadu for allowing Jallikattu (taming of bull), which led to the state government bringing a similar amendment to the Central act. Kambala in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
  • Uttar Pradesh - the state which is having half of the most polluted cities in India as per the Central Pollution Board air quality data of the 46 million cities. The data tabled in the Parliament recently have five UP cities-Allahabad, Varanasi, Lucknow, Ghaziabad and Agra-among the top worst quality cities in the country.
  • Australia - the country with which India is collaborating for a project that will use bacteria to kill the disease transmitting ability of the mosquitoes which afflicts thousands of people with dengue every year. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has formed a task force to implement the technological breakthrough provided by Australian experts to manipulate mosquitoes. The methodology uses 'wolbachia', a bacterium that kills the aedesaegypti's ability to spread the disease.
  • Bengaluru - the place where Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar kicked off 11th edition of the five-day biennial Expo-Aero India 2017. With Make in India as its focus, he wooed global aerospace firms to make their products in India. It started with a fly-past of the indigenous-built LCA Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter, and first ever public display of the Light Utility Helicopter. This edition of Aero India, for the first time, combined the defence and civil aviation segments into a holistic event with the co-involvement of the Defence and Civil Aviation Ministries in the event. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju was also present at the inaugural event. Among the highlights on the opening day was handing over of the Indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) christened 'Netra' to the Indian Air Force, making India the fourth nation to have developed the technology on its own, after US, Russia and Israel.
  • India - it accounts for the highest number of premature deaths due to ozone pollution according to the State of Global Air 2017 report, released in Boston recently. It is 13 times higher than Bangladesh's, and 21 times higher than Pakistan's. According to it, as many as 2.54 lakh deaths occurred in 2015 on account of exposure to ozone and its impact on chronic lung disease. India's deepening pollution problem has a death toll second only to China, and together the two nations account for over half the world's deaths from pollution. The report was prepared by HEI in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.
  • Jammu and Kashmir - the state from which the government will now be able to collect collect data, including demographics. The Union Cabinet recently approved a proposed amendment to the Statistics Act that will enable the central government to collect data, including demographics, in Jammu and Kashmir as the existing law didn't apply to the state that has its own Constitution. It extends the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, to Jammu and Kashmir on statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects. The state has its own Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which is almost a replica of the central legislation. But the state act did not allow jurisdiction to be exercised by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir and did not extend to statistical subjects falling in the Union List of the Constitution. Data from the state was currently being captured through the National Statistical Survey Organisation. The proposed amendment will also provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each state and Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to government departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, the statement said. The move is intended to help improve the country's statistical data collection.
  • Telangana - the state which has initiated the concept of growing vegetables and fruits on balconies and terraces of individual houses with government support. The state horticulture department is asking people in the city to join hands with it in the 'Urban Vegetable Farming' initiative to promote cultivation of vegetables and fruits on balconies and terraces of houses. The new scheme will serve several purposes. One is that growing vegetables on the rooftop, balcony or backyard garden will help meet the demand in the city with the additional advantage of people getting organic vegetables at a much lesser cost than in the market. The other benefits include fresh vegetables at home all year round as well as greener balconies and terraces giving people an opportunity to get closer to nature. The horticulture department has decided that it will provide seeds, seedlings, manure and implements with a 25% subsidy to prospective growers. To begin with, each family will be restricted to two vegetable growing kits. Apart from urban farming, the department has also taken to encouraging cluster colonies where vegetables are grown in about 2,000 to 3,000 acres in a village in surrounding districts of Hyderabad where the farmers get subsidized material and get marketing facilities to sell their produce.
  • Taiwan - the country whose parliamentary delegation visit to India was opposed was opposed by India who lodged a complaint, warning New Delhi to follow the "One-China" policy and not have any official contact with Taipei. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, which could be reunited be force, if necessary. India doesn't maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, an island off the south-eastern coast of China that has a democratic government and a free press. The de facto Indian embassy in Taipei is called the Indian-Taipei Association and the Taiwanese maintain the Taipei Economic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.
  • Arunachal Pradesh - this state is having the highest road density of 1951km road per lakh people followed by Nagaland at 1575 km/lakh people as per Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data as on March31, 2015. As percentage of population road density is highest in hilly states and lowest in the plains.
Current Affairs February 06th February 12th 2017

National

  • Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu - they are the top 3 states that get most of the internal migration. The Economic Survey 2017 points to a dramatic spike in internal migration with Delhi being the top destination. The Economic survey used a unique method of studying railway traffic flow data to gauge migration. The state which is sending the highest number of migrants to Delhi/NCR are Uttar Pradesh & Bihar.
  • US - the country which recognising India's status as a 'Major Defence Partner', recently made necessary changes in its export control laws that would benefit India by facilitating smoother transfer of technologies and arms to it. The new rule that makes necessary changes in the export control laws "creates a presumption of approval" for Indian companies seeking to import Commerce Department-controlled military items, except Weapons of Mass Destruction, related goods. The new rule also amends the law so that companies will not need a license at all after becoming a Validated End User (VEU).
  • Indonesia - the country with which India is now also steadily stepping up military ties with Indonesia with an eye firmly on China. India and Indonesia have now decided to hold their first-ever joint air combat exercise as well as deepen maritime security cooperation. After Vietnam, Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia, India is now also steadily stepping up military ties with Indonesia. India also offered to train sailors from Indonesia in the complex art of submarine operations during the recent visit of defence secretary G Mohan Kumar to the country.
  • Puri - the place in Odisha, where the famous sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik, created a Guinness World Record by building the world' tallest sand castle at 48 feet and 8 inch. Sudarsan and his 45 students took about 9 days to build the sculpture built with the theme of World Peace. He broke the world record of 45 feet and 10 inch sand castle that was created in USA.
  • Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir - the states except which the Food Security Scheme will now be mandatory be linked with Aadhaar. This scheme which is among the biggest welfare schemes of the government will mandatory require Aadhar where government is providing any subsidy from the Consolidated Fund of India. Beneficiaries can also make their request for Aadhaar card enrolment by giving their name, address, mobile number with ration card number and other details to their fair price shop owners.
Current Affairs January 30th February 05th 2017

International

  • US - the country where the world's largest Ouija Board- measuring a whopping 121 square metres was constructed on the roof of a 130-year old hotel. The new Guinness World Record has been constructed on the roof of The Grand Midway Hotel which is believed to be haunted and is visible from Google Maps.
  • Bangladesh - the country where an incredible 1,186 cyclists recently set the Guinness World Record for the longest line of moving bicycles after travelling together in a single file line down a highway. The large-scale event was organised by BDCyclists, a non-profit social community that aims to promote healthy living as well as reduce congestion and pollution in the area by encouraging locals to cycle to work. Participants were required to ride continuously for a minimum of 3.2 kilometres, ensuring that no significant gaps opened up in the enormous chain. About 1,200 people started the challenge, but a few were disqualified for breaking the formation. Nevertheless, 1,186 cyclists was more than enough to break the previous record of 984 that was achieved in 2015 during the Sarajevo Grand Prix in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Australia - the country where three Indian-origin persons have been awarded country's highest civilian honour this year for their contributions in the field of medicine and work towards the community. Purushottam Sawrikar, a Sydney-based medical practitioner, received Order of Australia medal for the year 2017 announced on the Australia Day in General division category for his service to medicine, and to the Indian community. Makhan Singh Khangure from Perth was given the award for his for significant service to medicine in the field of neuroradiology, to education, and to a range of professional medical associations. Vijay Kumar, a nuclear medicine specialist and a researcher, was given the award for his significant service to medical research in the disciplines of nuclear medicine and biology, to professional organisations, and to the community.
  • China – they are going to launch its first spacecraft to Mars. It was in the news as China recently released a choice list of eight names for the country's first Mars spacecraft, which is scheduled to be launched by 2020.The names -- "Fenghuang" (phoenix), "Tianwen" (questions for heaven), "Huoxing" (Mars), "Tenglong" (soaring dragon), "Qilin" (Kylin), "Zhuque" (rose finch), "Zhuimeng" (chasing dreams) and "Fengxiang" (flying phoenix) -- were chosen from over 14,500 choices submitted by peopleworldwide.Proposals were accepted from August last year. The eight names were selected through a jury review and online polls. China plans to launch its first Mars spacecraft by 2020, which will orbit, land on and explore the Red Planet.

National

  • Barmer - the district of Rajasthan in which in a move to stop open defecation and ensure that people use lavatory regularly, district administration recently launched a unique scheme of providing Rs 2,500 per month to every family that will use lavatory in regular basis. The scheme has been launched in two panchayats. To encourage Swachh Bharat Mission and make use of lavatory a must, Cairn India in collaboration with Rural Development Organisation (RDO) and district administration has launched this unique scheme in Baytu and Gida panchayats. It is for the first time in India, this scheme has been launched to encourage the beneficiaries of these two panchayats so that villagers develop a habit of using lavatory regularly.
  • Israel - this country is going to observe observe 2017 with "A Growing Partnership" as the motto in relationship with India to mark 25 years of its diplomatic relations with New Delhi. It was on January 29, 1992, that India established diplomatic relations with Israel -- 44 years after David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, two Israeli Presidents, Ezer Weizmann and Reuven Rivlin, have visited India in in 1996 and 2016 respectively. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003. President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October 2015 while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited the Middle Eastern nation in January last year. According to the External Affairs Ministry, from $200 million in 1992, bilateral merchandise trade reached $5.19 billion in 2011.Though trade in diamonds constitutes more than half of bilateral trade, trade has diversified in recent years to include sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture and information technology. Major exports from India include diamonds and metals, chemical products and textiles. Imports from Israel include diamonds and metals, chemicals, and machinery and transport equipment.
  • Jharkhand - this state along with Gujarat are the states where the government has announced the setting up of two new AIIMS. These announcements were made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2017-18.
Current Affairs January 23rd January 29th 2017

International

  • Mexico - the country along whose border the United States has ordered for construction of a wall. United States President Donald Trump recently signed two executive orders for construction of a wall along the Mexican border and speeding the deportation of undocumented immigrants even as he said "a nation without borders is not a nation". He said the two executive orders will save thousands of lives, millions of jobs, and billions and billions of dollars. The other executive order, Trump said ends the policy of catch and release at the border, requires other countries to take back to their criminals, cracks down on sanctuary cities, empowers ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety. It also includes calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers, calls for the tripling of the number of ICE officers.
  • China - the country from where the first freight train arrived in Britain after an 18-day, 12,000-km international journey. The lengthy journey is the latest manifestation of China's drive to strengthen trade links with Western Europe along a modern day "Silk Road" trade route.
  • Palmyra - the world heritage site of Syria which was in the news recently after the militants destroyed the Tetrapylon, an iconic monument in this ancient city. Tetraplyon was a second-century theatre which had four monuments with four columns. Palmyra is the historical site that once linked Persia, India, China with the Roman Empire and the Mediterranean area.
  • Shanghai - the Chinese city which took part in the three-yearly Pisa test of 15-year-olds' academic ability in 2009-12 and it topped the table in maths, ahead of countries such as Germany, the UK,US and even Singapore and Japan. The secret behind these is that there primary school teachers specializes in a particular subject and take just two lessons per day. The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) is a triennial international survey of education systems worldwide that tests skills & knowledge of 15-year old students. It is conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) in member and non-member nations and was first held in 2000.
  • Iran - they announced that it would stop United States citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington's visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries announced by President Donald Trump. Iran said that it will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive US limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was no time to build walls between nations and criticised steps towards cancelling world trade agreements.
  • Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran - the seven Muslim-majority nations from where the US has temporarily barred entry to refugees and citizens. The order suspends for 120 days the entry of all refugees and the issuing of visas for 90 days for citizens from seven countries until new mechanisms can be put in place to screen them more effectively. The temporary ban on Saturday created chaos and outrage around the world, while numerous travelers found their access to US territory blocked and protests were staged at several US airports.
  • Kathmandu - the place where senior officials of the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will meet to attend the Programming Committee. This will be the first meeting of the SAARC member countries since the postponement of the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad last November. Nepal, current chair of the SAARC, had decided to postpone the SAARC Summit until further notice after four nations Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India decided to boycott the summit in Islamabad scheduled for November 9 and 10 last year. SAARC is a regional body founded in 1985 in South Asia, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Jordan - they signed a $14.1 million grant agreement with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury recently signed the agreement that will finance projects in the field of municipalities. The grant will help reduce unemployment in Jordan and enhance public services and raise the living standards of Jordanians, Xinhua news agency reported. The grant is part of a $1.25 billon grant that Kuwait pledged in 2011.Stressing the importance of the grant in light of the ongoing regional developments it will help implement key projects in various areas. The projects will help reduce pressure on Jordan, which hosts around 1.4 million Syrian refugees.

National

  • UAE - this country signed with India a pact on oil storage recently. The pact was signed between the Indian Strategic Petroleum reserves Limited (ISPRL) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It aims to establish a frame work for the storage of crude oil by ADNOC in India and further strengthen ties between the nations. India first began talks on this agreement in 2014. Under the proposed deal, India would have the first rights to the stored crude in case of emergency, while ADNOC would be able to move cargoes to meet the shift in demand. It was signed by oil minister Dhramendra Pradhan and a representative of ADNOC.
  • Meghalaya - the state whose Governor V Shanmuganathan resigned recently. Nearly 100 Raj Bhavan staff petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee, the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking their intervention to remove the Governor and restore the dignity of Raj Bhavan. The employees had alleged that Shanmuganathan had "seriously compromised the dignity of the Raj Bhavan and made it a 'young ladies club'. Shanmuganathan, who took over as the Governor of Meghalaya in May 2015?
  • Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building, was recently on lit up in tri-colours - saffron, white and green - to celebrate India's 68th Republic Day, showcasing strong cultural and trade bond between India and the UAE. The iconic building in Dubai, which stands at 823 metres, was named in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the UAE.
  • UAE - this country contingent led the 68th Republic Day parade at Rajpath recently. A 149-member marching contingent from the United Arab Emirates, with a band comprising 35 musicians from that country led the parade. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the Chief Guest at the function. Hence, the UAE contingent was given the honour to lead the parade. Leading the UAE contingent was Lt Col Abood Musabeh Abood Musabeh Alghfeli. Its personnel carrying M-16 rifle were from Presidential Guards, the Air Force, the Navy and Army. The UAE is the second country after France to send troops to participate in the Republic Day parade of India, a tradition started last year. The UAE military contingent was followed by an impressive military band of 35 musicians, dressed in white trousers and red bandhgala coat and playing delightful marching tune "Kaptien".
Current Affairs January 16th January 22nd 2017

International

  • Cuba - the country for which the United States recently ended the 10 year old special immigration policy which allowed Cuban migrants who arrived illegally on US soil to stay. Preferential immigration treatment for Cuban immigrants enticed millions to flee the island, fuelling economic stasis and a severe 'brain drain'. Meanwhile in the US, the growing Cuban-American population has become a potent political, cultural and economic force with 1.8 millions of Cuba-American in United States.
  • Hawaii - the place where atop a remote volcano six scientists have entered a dome where they will spend the next eight months in isolation to stimulate life for astronauts travelling to Mars. The study is designed to help NASA better understand human behavior and performances during long space missions as the US space agency explores plans for a manned mission to the Red planet. The crew-four men and two women- will perform geological field work and basic daily tasks in the 1200 sq.m. (365m) dome, located in an abandoned quarry 8,000 feet above sea level on the Mauna Loa volcano on the Hawaii's Big Island.
  • Japan - the country having the highest individual tax rate of 56% among all developed and emerging economies in 2016 as per the KPMG report. India's tax rate at 35.5% are substantially lower compared to the US and Western Europe but slightly higher than that in most emerging economies. Russia is having the lowest tax rates at 13%.

National

  • Japan - the country which recently joined hands with India to fructify their partnership for development of the Chabahar port in Iran with Tokyo committing investment to help improve Afghanistan's access to the port. Afghanistan confirmed Japan's pledge to develop access for Chabahar after a recent visit by Japan's state minister for foreign affairs Kentaro Sonoura. India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement last year in May for establishing transport and transit corridors for the strategically located port in Iran. PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Shinzo Abe last year discussed prospects for cooperation between India and Japan for promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia and neighbouring region through both bilateral and trilateral cooperation. Indian and Japanese officials are together working out details for development of infrastructure and connectivity for Chabahar. Japan's interest in Chabahar is important for India as it can help New Delhi in ensuring time bound implementation of its commitment to develop the Iranian port, seen as a counterbalance to the China's Gwadar port barely 75 km away in Pakistan.
  • Britain - this country along with the United States have approached India to leverage its influence with Mauritius on the contentious issue of Diego Garcia-where the US has a major military base-but is caught in claims over Mauritian sovereignty and legal rows over return of former islanders. Diego Gracia, one of the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean, was leased by Britain to US for the military base in 1966 for 50 years (two years before Mauritius independence in 1968). The lease expired recently, but has been renewed by London until December 20, 2036, much to the chagrin of Mauritius and groups seeking the return of islanders.
Current Affairs January 09th January 15th 2017

International

  • France - the country where every citizen has automatically become an organ donor unless they decide to opt out, due to significant change in the law. The new rules, which came into effect on January 1,2017 sees France policy align with a number of European nations such as Spain and Austria where 'presumed consent' means anyone can become a donor of organs and tissues when they die unless they specifically chose not to.
  • Norway - it became the first nation to start switching off its FM radio network next week in a leap to digital technology. The shutdown of the FM (Frequency Modulation) network, introduced in 1950s, began in the northern city of Bodoe. By the end of the year, all national FM broadcasts will be closed in favour of DAB which carries less hiss and clear sound throughout the large nation of 5 million people cut by fjords and mountains.
  • Vietnam - the country to whom India is offering the possible sale of indigenously developed Akash surface to air missile as both the countries crank up their bilateral military relations with a watchful eye on a confrontational China in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Iran - the country whose former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died recently. He was a wily political survivor and multimillionaire mogul who remained among the ruling elite despite moderate views. His reputation for cunning moves earned him a host of nicknames such as Akbar Shah or Great King, during a life that touched every major event in Iranian affairs.
  • UAE - the country whose defence force marching band will join the parade on Republic Day 2017, the first time Arab soldiers will be marching in New Delhi. With UAE crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan preparing to be the chief guest this year, the visiting dignitary who is also the deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, will bring a contingent to match the music and rhythm of India's numerous military bands. After the French marching band joined the parade in 2016 in honour of Francois Hollande, the practice has caught the fancy of others as well.
  • France - they recently pressed for "decisive action" against Pakistan-based terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen which are "targeting" India and vowed to work with New Delhi to get terrorist Masood Azhar proscribed by the UN Security Council. Without naming China which has blocked a proposal at the UNSC to sanction JeM chief Azhar, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, "The international community's determination to combat terrorism must be the same everywhere, regardless of the threat." Clearly referring to Pakistan without naming it, he emphasised that all countries should fight effectively against terrorism "originating from their territory or territories under their control". The French Minister was on a four-day visit to India primarily to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

National

  • Bengaluru - the city which hosted the Parvasi Bhartiya Divas from 7-9th January 2017. The theme of this year summit was Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.
  • Mumbai - it became the first Indian city to have Wi-Fi connections in public places. The state activated 500 hotspots recently. The service will be free until the end of January 2017. It will then be free up to 100MB after which users will be charged at comparative rates. The 'Aaple Sarkar Mumbai Wi-Fi' project with over 500 Wi-Fi hotspots is India's largest public Wi-Fi project and one of the largest globally in terms of number of locations and number of users.
  • Tamil Nadu - the state which was recently declared drought hit by chief minister O Panneerselvam. He announced measures worth Rs.160 crore and Rs.350 crore to alleviate water crisis in urban and local bodies respectively. He also ordered rescheduling of farm loans, cancellation of land tax and compensation for lost crops to the drought affected farmers.
  • Portugal - the country whose Prime Minister Antonio Costa has roots in Margao, a South Goa town. He recently visited his ancestral places and called to developing better relations with India. He suggested that Portugal was open to collaborating with India in the fields of defence, agriculture, oceanography as well as culture and heritage.
  • New Delhi - the Indian city where India's first Madame Tussauds museum will be opened in Delhi in June 2017. Merlin Entertainments will open its first Madame Tussauds with 50 figures. 60 per cent of the figures will be local celebrities and rest global. UK-based Merlin Enterprises runs 116 attractions in 24 countries and the company will be foraying into the Indian market with the launch of Madame Tussauds in the national capital.
Current Affairs January 02nd January 08th 2017

International

  • Istanbul - the place in Turkey where two Indians were among many people killed in a terror attack at a night club during New Year's celebrations. The deceased Indians are identified as Abis Hasn Rizvi, son of former Rajya Sabha MP and noted builder of Bandra in Mumbai Akhtar Hasan Rizvi, and Khushi Shah from Gujarat.The two Indians were among 15 foreigners who have been killed when a gunman went on a rampage at the waterside Reina nightclub where revelers were celebrating the New Year.
  • Afghanistan - the country which prohibited the entry of Pakistan nationals into Kabul without proper documents. The move comes seven months after Islamabad introduced stringent border control measures in a bid to "prevent the movement of militants into Pakistan." According to experts, thousands of tribesmen may bear the brunt of the policy as they have families on both sides. Keeping in view the new order, authorities displayed banners at various points in Torkham reminding Pakistanis that they would not be permitted to cross the border and enter Afghanistan without their passports from January 1, 2017.
  • France - the country which recently banned the use of pesticides in public green spaces. Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter. The new measure is part of a larger green program adopted by French lawmakers that also includes a ban on plastic bags for vegetables. The pesticide ban covers public forests, parks and gardens, but local authorities are still allowed to use pesticides in cemeteries. The new law also stipulates that pesticides will be prohibited in private gardens from 2019.
  • China - they recently launched its first freight train to London, more than 12,000km away, as part of efforts by the world' second-largest economy to expand rail links to different parts of the world and boost its dwindling exports.. It will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London. The service will improve china-Britain trade ties, strengthen connectivity with Western Europe.
  • Turkey - the country which recently extended its emergency rule. Turkey's parliament recently voted in favour of extending emergency rule by a further three months, effective from Jan. 19, 2017. Emergency rule, first imposed in Turkey after a failed military coup on July 15 and then extended in October, enables the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary.
  • Finland - this has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income amounting to 560 Euros ($587) in a social experiment which is hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive. The average private sector income in Finland is 3500 Euros per month.
  • United States - the country whose army recently issued a new regulation under which servicemen who wear turbans, heaps or beards can now be enrolled in the military, making the force more inclusive of minority religions and cultures. The move has been welcomed by Sikh-Americans and US lawmakers who have been on the forefront of a national campaign in this regard for the past several years. Before the January 3 changes announced by the US Army, Sikh-Americans and others had to be granted a limited accommodation or permission to serve in the army while maintaining their articles of faith.

National

  • Tirupati - the place where the 104th Indian Science Congress was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. He said that on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility, concept of Scientific Social Responsibility needs to be inculcated to connect our leading institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
  • Patna - the place where the famous PrakshUtsav in honour of the 350th birth anniversary of the Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru was celebrated recently. A special 61 acre sprawling, makeshift, tent-township was created at the famous Gandhi Maidan.
  • Andhra Pradesh - the state whose chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu recently announced a reward of Rs 100 crore to anyone from the state who brings home a Nobel Prize. Naidu's reward is about 17 times more than the prize money given out with the Nobel award, which is about Rs 5.96 crore (Swedish kronor 8 million). No other state government in India has perhaps made such a grand offer to its scientists. While addressing the inaugural function of the children's science congress on the sidelines of the 104th session of the Indian Science Congress in Tirupati, the CM also sought Japanese Nobel laureate Professor Takaaki Kajita's advice on how to win the Nobel Prize.
Current Affairs December 26th 2016 to January 01st 2017

International

  • Utah - the place in United States where the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is located. It was in the news recently after it announced that for the first time, an all-Indian crew will take part in a two-week Mars-related research assignment between January 28 and February 12, 2017. The MDRS, organised by the US-based Mars Society, was launched in 2001 and, in the past 16 years, nearly 1,000 youngsters from all over the world have participated in the programme. In a simulated Martian environment where participants experience the challenges of a manned mission to the red planet. MDRS is a Mars-analog test site which has a prototype of a habitat that will house humans on Mars and serves as a test bed for Martian exploration. The research projects of the Indian team will include assessing "the degree to which human-associated bacteria could potentially contaminate the Red Planet during a manned mission and measure the impact of dust storms."
  • Sri Lanka - the country which recently claimed to have constructed a towering Christmas tree claiming to have surpassed the world record. The 73-meter (238-foot) artificial tree in capital Colombo is 18 meters (59 feet) which is claimed to be taller than the current record holder. The tree's steel-and-wire frame is covered with a plastic net decorated with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver, 600,000 LED bulbs and topped by a 6-meter (20-foot)-tall shining star. The tree costs $80,000. The Guinness World Records is yet to confirm if this is the tallest artificial Christmas tree. Currently, the record is held by a Chinese firm that put up a 55-meter (180-foot) tree-like tower of lights and synthetic foliage, ornaments and lamps in the city of Guangzhou last year.

National

  • Tembhli - the village in north Maharashtra, which is known as India's first Aadhaar village. The then Congress-led government had chosen Tembhli in Nandurbar district, north Maharashtra, about 470km from Pune, to launch the Aadhaar project because Sonia Gandhi formally entered politics with a massive rally in Nandurbar in 1998. Ranjana Sonawane of this village was handed over India's first Aadhaar card.
  • Pakistan - the country which recently released first batch of 110 out of the 220 fishermen who arrived in Veraval town of Gir-Somnath district recently. As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan had released 220 Indian fishermen on December 25. However, due to non-availability of required number of coaches in the train from Amritsar, the fishermen, mostly from Gujarat, were divided into two batches.
  • Lalmatia - the place in Godda district of Jharkhand where mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) collapsed recently in which many persons died. The incident occurred on December 29, 2016 when a massive mound of earth came crashing down on excavators at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd, the worst such disaster in over a decade.
Current Affairs December 19th to December 25th 2016

International

  • Pakistan - the country where the cinemas will start screening Indian movies now as film exhibitors and cinema owners lifted the a two-month self-imposed suspension on their screening that was put in place amidst Indo-Pak tensions following the Uri terror attack. The cinema houses' owners said that they had only suspended the screening of Indian films but had not completely banned them.
  • Russia - the country whose ambassador to Turkey was killed by a Turkish policeman crying "Aleppo" and "revenge" at an art exhibition in Ankara recently in what Moscow said was a "terrorist act". Andrei Karlov died of his wounds after the shooting, which occurred on the eve of a key meeting between the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers on the Syria conflict. The incident came after days of protests in Turkey over Russia's role in Syria, though Moscow and Ankara are now working closely together to evacuate citizens from the battered city of Aleppo.
  • Berlin -the city where a lorry ploughed into a busy Christmas market recently, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more in what police said was a suspected terror attack. Ambulances and heavily armed police rushed to the area after the vehicle mounted the pavement of the market in a square popular with tourists, in horrific scenes reminiscent of July's deadly truck attack in the French Riviera city of Nice. Traditional Christmas markets are popular in cities and towns throughout Germany and have frequently been mentioned by security services as potentially vulnerable to attacks. The crash happened in the shadow of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church whose damage in a World War II bombing raid has been preserved as a warning to future generations.
  • Norway - this country announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with China recently, six years after Beijing froze ties with Oslo over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident. The announcement means talks can now resume on a free trade pact between mineral-rich Norway and China, the world's second-biggest economy. Diplomatic relations- and the trade talks- were frozen after the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010 to human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned in his own country by authorities who consider him a "criminal." But during a surprise visit to Beijing by Norwegian foreign minister Borge Brende recently, the two nations issued a joint declaration announcing they were unfreezing ties.
  • Mexico - the country where a massive explosion gutted biggest fireworks market in which many persons were killed and many were hurt. The incident happened when the San Pablito market at Mexico City suburb of Tultepec was packed with customers buying pyrotechnics for traditional end-of year festivities. The military, which is in charge of issuing fireworks sales permits, was deployed to help emergency crews transport casualties to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter. Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condolences to the families of those killed and his wishes for recovery for those hurt.
  • Islamabad – the place which hosted the three-day session of the Governing Council of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) recently. The objective of the conference was to promote innovation for sustainable development and discuss strategy of the APCTT. India along with Bangladesh and Iran pulled out of this conference on sustainable development.
  • Maui - the place in Hawaii from where the astronomers and cosmologists used a 1.8 metre telescope at the summit of Haleakala to repeatedly image three quarters of the visible sky over four years making it the world's largest digital survey of the visible universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies which was released recently. The data was released by the international Pan-STARRS project, which includes scientists from Queen's University Belfast and the Universities of Durham and Edinburgh along with NASA and the National Science Foundation.
  • Tokyo - this city along with New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris are the top 5 cities among global metropolises in terms of GDP, 2015. The source of this ranking is Oxford Economics and GDP has been measured in billions. Tokyo is ranked No.1 with GDP of 1536 $ billion followed by New York at 1494$ billion. Delhi is ranked 30th with GDP of 370$billion.
  • China- this city along with USA and Japan are the countries which have their own satellite to monitor the greenhouse gases. China is the latest country to join this list when they recently launched the 620-kg- TanSat which was put into orbit by the Long March-2D rocket, which took off from Jiuquan satellite launch centre in northwest China's Gobi desert. On a three year mission, TanSat will thoroughly examine global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days, believed to be accurate to at least 4 ppm(parts per million).
  • Chile - the country whose researchers are seeking special UNESCO world heritage status for Chinchorro mummies, which researchers say are the most ancient in the world. Around 300 Chinchorro mummies have been found in the arid desert valleys around Arica in northern Chile dating from 5,000 to 2,000 BC. It is believed that the Chinchorro people mummified their dead more than 2,000 years before the Egyptians did.

National

  • Kyrgyzstan - the country with which India recently firmed up broad contours of a bilateral investment agreement and inked six other pacts covering a range of areas even as they resolved to work closely to combat the challenge of terrorism, extremism and radicalism. In their comprehensive talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev also decided to strengthen ties in areas of defence, security, mining, IT, agriculture and energy. During the deliberations, the two leaders reviewed the 'cooperative engagement' in defence with Modi calling the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Bio-Medical Research Center as an excellent example of successful collaboration.
  • Patalganga - the place in Raigad district of Maharashtra where the new campus of National Institute of Securities Market (NiSM) was inaugurated by Prime Minister recently. NiSM is an educational initiative of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Nepal- this country's proposed joint military exercise with China has triggered unease in India. The decision discomfits India as it seeks to put a rocky patch in relations with Nepal during the tenure of K P Oli behind it and look forward to a new chapter with Prachanda at the helm. Though Nepal's PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been performing a balancing act between India and China, but Kathmandu's proposed first joint military exercise with Beijing early next year has triggered considerable unease in New Delhi.
Current Affairs December 12th to December 18th 2016

International

  • Japan - the country whose space agency recently launched a craft carrying a 'space junk' collector-an experimental tether to pull out of earth's orbit tones of clutter from old satellites. It is believed that fifty years of space exploration has produced a hazardous belt of junk orbiting Earth.
  • Ispra - the place in Italy is the location of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre whose scientists in association with Google engineers used millions of satellite images1 to show how rivers, lakes and other water bodies have changed over three decades. The project, available on https://global-surface-water.appspot.com shows in detail how climate change and other human activities affect pathways of water that covers a million square miles of Earth's land surface. The map shows where and when open water was present on earth's surface between March 1984 and October 2015.
  • Aleppo - the shattered city of Syria in whose support the lights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris were switched off on recently. The monument was plunged into darkness from 8 pm in what Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said was a protest at the 'unbearable' situation for civilians in the city where fighting raged during the day. The Eiffel Tower has been used as a symbol of unity before. It was illuminated with rainbow colours after the Orlando gay club shooting that killed 49 people, with the Belgian flag colours after the Brussels bombings, and with the French tricolour after the Paris attacks last year.
  • Russia and Iran - they are the two countries to whom India sounded a warning recently as they appear to be trying to change the ground situation in Afghanistan by engaging Taliban politically. This is an unusual cautionary note from India aimed at its oldest strategic partner. Even though India prefers to treat Russia with kid gloves, it feels Moscow's latest moves in Afghanistan have the potential to stir serious trouble. Russia says it regards Taliban as a "national military-political movement". Iran has been reaching out to Taliban, with the aim of keeping IS out of Afghan region.
  • Britain - it is set to become the first country in the world to legally offer "three-parent baby" fertility treatments after regulators gave the green light. The technique, which uses DNA from two women and a man, would allow mothers who carry disease-causing mutations in their mitochondrial genes to give birth to children free of the illness. British lawmakers had voted in February to allow the treatment, which uses in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), but clinics needed to obtain licences from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). An independent panel of experts last month said the practice should be "cautiously adopted" to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to future generations.
  • Athens - the city of Greece where the scientists have recently discovered the remains of a 2,500 year-old-city-- a finding that can change our understanding of the area traditionally considered to be a backwater of the ancient world. Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochos, five hours north of Athens. The remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovouni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. The ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was when they arrived.
  • China - they launched a new cargo service linking Tibet and Nepal as dozens of trucks carrying goods worth $2.8 million left the Tibetan border port of Gyirong en route to Kathmandu. The new rail and road cargo service launched recently, linking Guangdong, Tibet and Nepal, aims to boost trade with the South Asian neighbour as China pushes forward its Belt and Road (Silk Road) initiative. A train carrying products, including shoes, clothes, hats, furniture, appliances, electronics and building materials, covered the 5,200-kilometer distance between Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, and Xigaze in Tibet. The new service starting from Guangzhou serves as an important trade passage between China and Nepal. Guangdong and neighbouring regions, known as China's manufacturing hubs, are a major source of imports for South Asia, including Nepal.
  • Venezuela - it is the country whose President Nicolas Maduro recently signed an emergency decree ordering the country's largest banknote, the 100 bolivar bill, taken out of circulation to thwart "mafias" accused of hoarding cash in Colombiaon the lines of India's demonetization move. The announcement came recently as the government of Venezuela- a country in the midst of an economic crisis and crippled with the world's highest inflation- prepares to issue new banknotes and coins in values up to 200 times the highest denomination currently available. The 100 bolivar bill is worth fewer than three cents of a dollar at current market rates. One bill can barely cover the cost of a piece of candy, while a stack of 50 notes is needed to buy a hamburger.
  • Bill English - he was recently appointed as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand. The ruling National Party appointed the experienced Bill English as the country's new prime minister recently following last week's shock resignation of his popular predecessor John Key. English, 54, was Key's preferred candidate to succeed him after serving under him as finance minister and returning New Zealand's budget to a surplus. A farmer with degrees in commerce and literature, he has been in parliament since 1990 and was previously leader of the National Party in 2002 when it suffered its worst election defeat.

National

  • India along with 35 other nations abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria and urgent aid deliveries to the war ravaged country. The Canada-led resolution which expressed outrage at the escalation of violence in Syria, particularly war battered Aleppo was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour, 13 against and 36 abstentions recently. India abstained from voting on the resolution in line with its traditional approach that it does not mix humanitarian issues with political issues. The 193-member assembly adopted the resolution demanding an immediate end to all attacks on civilians in the war ravaged country.
  • Indonesia - it is the country with which India entered into agreement to expand their defence and maritime security ties and resolved to effectively deal with terrorism, calling for "zero tolerance" towards it. The two countries, among the very few fast growing large economies globally, also decided to boost bilateral trade and investment in areas of oil and gas, renewable energy, IT and pharmaceuticals, during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Two MoUs, one on providing for cooperation in youth affairs and sports and another on standardisation were signed. A joint communique on combating illegal and unregulated fishing was also firmed up. Both leaders called upon all countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 (banning militant groups and their leaders) and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities, seen as an apparent reference to China blocking India's move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the UN.
  • India - it now belongs to the list of top five defence spenders in the world with more than $50 billion devoted to its military budget, according to the annual Jane's Defense Budgets Report. In 2016, India passed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the country with the fourth biggest defence budget in the world. With growth expected to accelerate over the next two years, India will become the third largest defence budget globally in 2018, surpassing the UK. According to the report, global defence spending rose by 1 per cent to $1.6 trillion (Rs 108 lakh crore) in 2016, against a 0.6 per cent increase in 2015. The report also revealed that the United States was still king with its expenditure representing about 40 per cent of the total Global Defence budget.
Current Affairs December 05th to December 11th 2016

International

  • New Zealand - the country whose popular Prime Minister John Key stunned the nation recently when he announced that he was resigning after eight years as leader. Key had been widely expected to contest his fourth general election next year. But he said he wanted to ensure he didn't make the mistake that some other world leaders have done, and instead wanted to leave while he was on top of his game. Key was a successful currency trader before turning to politics. He was elected to the nation's parliament in 2002 and enjoyed a quick rise, becoming leader of his center-right opposition party in 2006. He won his first general election and became prime minister in 2008.He won subsequent elections in 2011 and 2014 and retained unusually high popularity ratings.
  • Britain - the country whose new 5 rupees polymer note has sparked a debate for the use of tallow which is made of animal fat. It was the use of tallow itself in cartridges which sparked the 1857 uprising in India.
  • Jordan - the country where scientists have discovered what could be the world's first polluted river, contaminated about 7,000 years ago by Stone Age humans who may have been producing copper metals from ores. In the now dry riverbed in the WadiFayan region of southern Jordan, researchers from University of Waterloo in Canada have found evidence of early pollution caused by the combustion of copper.
  • Denmark - the country where the scientists have discovered a 1,000-year-old Viking toolbox in a mysterious ring-shaped fortress, containing a set of extraordinary iron tools that may have been used to make ships, houses and jewellery. The fortress is thought to have been constructed under orders of the 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth.
  • Aceh - the province of Indonesia, which was recently hit by a strong earthquake in which many people lost their lives. As per US Geological Survey the 6.5-magnitude earthquake was centered about 19km southwest of Sigli town of Indonesia at a depth of 17km.
  • Pakistan – they recently lifted an "undeclared" ban on import of ginned cotton from India, days after rejecting a consignment of 10,000 bales of cotton from India citing violation of plant quarantine rules by importers. Earlier, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research put cotton imports from India on hold through Wagah and Karachi port from November 23, saying the shipments did not fulfil phyto-sanitary conditions, Dawn newspaper reported. The rising border tensions between the two neighbours had prompted Islamabad to impose the ban on 10,000 bales of cotton worth $3.3 million from India.
  • China - the country with which Nepal signed an agreement on providing cross-border internet protocol services between the two countries. The agreement signed recently in Hong Kong between China Telecom Global and Nepal Telecom comes after the two countries were connected with optical fibre through the Geelong (Keyrong)-Rasuwagadhi border point, ending Nepal's sole dependence on India for connecting it with global telecom and internet services.
  • South Korea - the country where the lawmakers recently voted to impeach its President Park Geun-Hye, stripping away her sweeping executive powers over a corruption scandal and opening a new period of national uncertainty. A ruling could take up to six months, during which time Park will remain in the Presidential Blue House-a leader in name only.

National

  • Vietnam - the country whose fighter pilots will be trained by India on its Sukhoi-30MKI 'air dominance jets' from next year. This will be done keeping in view eye on China. An agreement to this effect was inked recently after talks between defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich, who is leading a mega 30-member delegation, including the air force and naval chiefs on a three day visit to India.
  • India – this country recently launched its Resourcesat-2A imaging satellite via its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C36 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. This was India's seventh and final of 2016, caps what is already the country's busiest year for space launches. Six of India's launches this year were made by the workhorse PSLV rocket, with the seventh using the larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II. It is the third year in a row that India has increased the frequency of its satellite launches; making four launches in a year for the first time in 2014, and beating this with five in 2015. All six of India's 2016 launches to date have been successful.Resourcesat-2A has been built to similar specifications as Resourcesat-2, and carries the same instrumentation as both Resourcesat-2 and Resourcesat-1 before it. The primary imaging payload is the Linear Imaging Self Scanner 4 (LISS-4), a high-resolution visible and near-infrared camera with a resolution of 5.8 meters (19 feet).
  • Vietnam - the country with which India recently signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement during the visit of chairperson of National Assembly of Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan's to New Delhi. The two countries also signed three other agreements to enhance aviation links, to jointly work in the area of energy efficiency and promotion of parliamentary cooperation. The four pacts, aimed at boosting the relations, were signed in presence of Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Earlier, Ngan also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Current Affairs November 28th to December 04th 2016

International

  • Czech Republic - the country whose scientists have developed a model of a functioning human lung using 3D printing and other technologies. It has received three patents for its modeling. The model was developed by the research group from the Brno University of Technology. It can be used to simulate problems like asthma or other chronic diseases and their treatments. It is mechanical- and computer-based model of the lung developed by utilizing an array of modern technologies including 3D printing.
  • Great Barrier Reef – this reef of Australia have recorded worst mass coral bleaching event. It has killed more corals than ever before, sounding the alarm over the delicate ecosystem. It is estimated nearly two-thirds of 2,300-kilometre long reef or 700 km stretch of coral in the Great Barrier Reef's northern part have died in the past nine months. This is the worst die-off ever recorded in Great Barrier Reef and also the largest ever recorded anywhere. However, the central and southern sections of the reef are fared far better, with only 6% and 1% of the coral dead, respectively.Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef system in the world composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, north east of Australia and covers an area of approximately 348,000 sq km.
  • USA - the country with which India has signed government-to-government (G2G) deal to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million under the Foreign Military Sales programme. The deal was signed at the two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) held in New Delhi. This is the first defence deal signed by India for purchasing artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. It was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Russia - the country whose scientists have developed a new unique, low-cost method for producing high-quality nuclear fuel using electricity. It is alternative novel method that forms the basis of powder metallurgy and involves electric pulse sintering under pressure. The main type of fuel for nuclear power reactors is the uranium oxide pellet composition. It is produced from a powder by granulation, pressing, and sintering (coalescing into a solid or porous mass by heating) with the subsequent control of the quality and size of the pellets.
  • Israel - the country from which has created the world's first 'water-wave laser' that emits a beam through the interaction of light and water waves. A typical laser can be created when the electrons in atoms become "excited" by energy absorbed from an outside source causing them to emit radiation in the form of laser light. However, the water-wave laser for the first time showed that water wave oscillations within a liquid device can also generate laser radiation. The 'water-wave laser' may be used in 'lab-on-a-chip' devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies. It can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves.

National

  • Cinema Hall - the place where the Supreme Court has ordered to mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening and all those present in cinema halls have to "stand up to show respect." According to SC such practice, will instills a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism. It should be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their "love for the motherland." The SC order was given by bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy on a writ petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in October 2016.
  • Goa - the first state in India which will go cashless from December 31, 2016. With this, people will be able to buy perishables such as fish, meat, vegetables or anything else at the press of a button on their mobile. There will be no need to carry purse for purchases, as all transactions will be done on the mobile.
  • Uttar Pradesh - the State where Asia's first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated recently. It is also India's first cycle highway. The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between Etawah and Agra. The cycle highway has been constructed by the UP public works department. It runs parallel to the main highway. It is about 7-feet-wide and is separated by a divider from main highway which ensures the safety of cyclists. The track begins from the lion safari in Etawah. Along its path it dots 92 villages across the two districts.
Current Affairs November 21st to November 27th 2016

International

  • China – this country successfully launched the Tianlian I-04 satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province of Southwest China. This data satellite was launched on a Long March-3C carrier rocket. The launch of the Tianlian I-04 marks the 241st mission of China's Long March series of rockets. It will also offer data relay services for the country's medium- and low-Earth orbiting resources satellites. It will provide measurement and control support for spacecraft launches.
  • Cuba - the country whose former president and leader of communist Revolution Fidel Castro passed away recently. He was commander in chief of the 1959 Cuban revolution 1959 and had successfully built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States during Cold War. He had ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century (from 1976 to 2008) before handing over the powers to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 due to ill health.
  • Switzerland – this country recently signed a Joint Declaration with India for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in respect of accounts of Indians held abroad. Under the pact, both countries will start collecting data in accordance with the global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards. Thus, it will help India to get access details of bank accounts held by Indians in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years on an automatic basis from September 2019. It is considered as a big step towards fighting black money stashed by Indians overseas. The pact is based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA) also known as Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on AEOI.
  • Iran – this country for the first time ever has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become India's top crude oil supplier. It was revealed by ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts. Earlier, Iran used to be India's second-biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11. However, it had ceded its position to Iraq after the tougher western countries sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear development programme.
  • Cyprus - the country with which India has signed a revised Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion (DTAA) with respect to taxes on income, along with its Protocol, was signed today in Nicosia, which will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries on 13th June 1994. The new Agreement provides for Assistance between the two countries for collection of taxes. The new Agreement also updates the provisions related to Exchange of Information to accepted international standards, which will enable exchange of banking information and allow the use of such information for purposes other than taxation with the prior approval of the Competent Authorities of the country providing the information. The new Agreement expands the scope of 'permanent establishment' and reduces the tax rate on royalty in the country from which payments are made to 10% from the existing rate of 15%, in line with the tax rate under Indian tax laws. It also updates the text of other provisions in accordance with the international standards and consistent policy of India in respect of tax treaties.
  • UK - the country with which India has recently signed three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with the Competent Authority of United Kingdom (UK) to reduce tax litigation. These three APAs cover international transactions in the nature of payment of intra-group service charges and pertain to the telecom industry. They also have a roll-back provision. The APA Programme was introduced by Finance Act, 2012 with a view to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in Indian transfer pricing arena. Rollback of APAs was announced in the Budget in July 2014. An APA is usually signed between taxpayer and central tax authority on an appropriating transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions. An APA can be entered into for a maximum of 5 years at a time.

National

  • New Delhi - the place where The International Conference on Brucellosis 2016 and the 69th meeting of the International Society on Brucellosis was inaugurated. The three day conference has been organised by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR).The conference is result of DBT's network programme on Brucellosis launched in 2012 to address the epidemiology and development of new generation of vaccines and diagnostic kits. Brucellosis is a dreadful disease caused by genus of bacteria known as Brucella. It infects various species of Brucella cows, buffalos, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs and other animals and also humans.
  • Tamil Nadu - the State where world's first Genetic Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring salt-tolerant plants) was inaugurated at the coastal town of Vedaranyam. The first of its kind garden in the world was inaugurated by Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib Fakim through video-conferencing. The garden has been set up by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution. It will have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and 117 families of Halophytes plants. Initially it will comprise halophytes occurring along the coasts of India including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants. They can thrive and complete their life cycles in soils or waters containing high salt concentrations. They constitute two per cent of terrestrial plant species.
  • Goa - the place where the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held recently. It is one of Asia's oldest and India's biggest film festival. It was inaugurated by Veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy in the presence of Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu. This year over 300 films including 4 premieres, 6 international premieres, 26 Asian premieres 104 Indian premieres and Oscar-winning entries from nearly 90 countries were screened. South Korea was the focus country of IFFI 2016.
  • Palampur – this Assembly Constituency of Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh became the first e-assembly constituency of the country. The system will help the residents of the constituency to know about the development works going on by one click on the computer. In addition, the residents would also send their requirements about funds for different schemes in their respective areas online. This system would be introduced in other 67 constituencies of the state in next six months.
  • New Delhi - this city hosted the 13th edition of the World Robot Olympiad on the sidelines of trade fair in New Delhi. This is for first time India hosted World Robot Olympiad. It has been organised by National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the India STEM Foundation (ISF). The three-day international championship aims to find innovative solutions using robotics technology to reduce, manage and recycle waste. The theme of the event is 'Rap the Scrap' selected in line with Union Government's Swachh Bharat Mission. It will see participation of over 2000 students from 54 countries. The 2017, World Robot Olympiad will be held in Costa Rica.
Current Affairs November 14th to November 20th 2016

International

  • Colombo Declaration - the declaration to counter Drug Trafficking which was adopted recently by Interior Ministers of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in a high level meeting held in Colombo. All countries agreed to work towards making the region a "Drug Free Zone". Narcotic drug trafficking in the IOR poses a threat to peace and security in the region and its possible link to organized crime and funding of terrorism. Colombo declaration also calls for the expansion and development of communication through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC's) Indian Ocean Prosecutors Network. Indian delegation was led by the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir.
  • Nepal - this country along with India participated in tenth edition of joint military exercise conducted at Army Battle School (NABS in Nepal from 31 October to 13 November 2016. The bilateral Military Training exercise had played important role in boosting defense ties between India and Nepal. The Surya Kiran series of military exercises between India and Nepal are being conducted annually. Surya Kiran is the largest bilateral military exercise in terms of troop's participation in series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries.
  • Russia - this country recently withdrew officially from International Criminal Court (ICC). The executive order mentioned that Russia is pulling out of the 2002 Rome Statute, which establishes the ICC's status and powers. Russia was against by ICC's declaration that Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula was an armed conflict. Russia is also under international pressure over its campaign of air strikes in Syria over the issue of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations. ICC based in The Hague, Netherlands is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal. It has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It was established by the Rome Statute which was adopted in July 1998 end entered into force in July 2002.
  • Iran - this country for the first time ever has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become India's top crude oil supplier. It was revealed by ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts. Earlier, Iran used to be India's second-biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11. However, it had ceded its position to Iraq after the tougher western countries sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear development programme.
  • Netherlands - this country performed the first-ever brain implant on a 58-year-old woman paralysed by Lou Gehrig's disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-ALS). With this, she became the first patient to use a brain-computer interface. The implant has enabled paralysed women to communicate in day-to-day life via a speech computer. Doctors in first-ever brain implant directly installed a device called an electrocorticograph (ECoG) on the women's brain. The device has electrodes fitted in the brain. Using these electrodes in brain, the patient can control the computer using brain signals, spell out messages at two letters per minute.
  • Cyprus - the country with which India has signed a revised Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion (DTAA) with respect to taxes on income, along with its Protocol, was signed today in Nicosia, which will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries on 13th June 1994. The new Agreement provides for Assistance between the two countries for collection of taxes. The new Agreement also updates the provisions related to Exchange of Information to accepted international standards, which will enable exchange of banking information and allow the use of such information for purposes other than taxation with the prior approval of the Competent Authorities of the country providing the information. The new Agreement expands the scope of 'permanent establishment' and reduces the tax rate on royalty in the country from which payments are made to 10% from the existing rate of 15%, in line with the tax rate under Indian tax laws. It also updates the text of other provisions in accordance with the international standards and consistent policy of India in respect of tax treaties.

National

  • Pune - the city in which International Conference and Exhibition on Sugarcane Value Chain–Vision 2025 was held recently which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this conference, eminent international and national speakers will deliver lectures on significantly different important aspects of sugarcane value chain.
  • It will also have live demonstrations of sugarcane crop showing various advance technologies and practices in cultivation.
  • New Delhi - the place where The International Conference on Brucellosis 2016 and the 69th meeting of the International Society on Brucellosis was inaugurated. The three day conference has been organised by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR).The conference is result of DBT's network programme on Brucellosis launched in 2012 to address the epidemiology and development of new generation of vaccines and diagnostic kits. Brucellosis is a dreadful disease caused by genus of bacteria known as Brucella. It infects various species of Brucella cows, buffalos, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs and other animals and also humans.
  • Himachal Pradesh - it will be among four other states where Pneumonia Vaccines will be introduced along with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in a planned manner from 2017. It may be recalled that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had earlier this year introduced Rotavirus Vaccine to combat diarrhoea in the four states of the country - Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Maharashtra - it became the first state in the country to adopt the Fly Ash Utilization Policy. Fly ash is a fine, glass powder by-product recovered from gases of burning coal in thermal power plants during production of electricity. They are micron sized earth elements primarily consisting silica, alumina and iron. Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement contents of concrete. It can be used in the production of bricks for building construction. Central Government has made it mandatory for use of fly ash bricks in construction activities happening 500km around thermal power plants. The policy seeks 100% use of fly ash generated from thermal power plants and biogas plants for construction activities. Facilitates use of fly ash to make bricks, blocks, tiles, wall panels, cement and other construction materials. The policy extends use of fly ash to 300 kms radius of power plant from earlier 100 kms radius of power plant.
  • Odisha - the state in which the scientists from Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) claimed to have found evidence confirming the existence of a mythical Indian river, Chandrabhaga. Scientists used images1 from US satellites- Landsat and Terra and from NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour's 'Radar Topography Mission' in 2000. Satellite imagery and Google Earth image together combined showed a 'sinusoidal' trace, characteristic of a typical palaeochannel passing north of the Sun Temple, extending approximately parallel to the coast. The ancient river is said to have flowed about 2 kilometers away from the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, a UNESCO world heritage site, built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1255 CE.
Current Affairs November 07th to November 13th 2016

International

  • China - this country recently launched a satellite into space designed by academies affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp to detect signs of pulsars, which are very high density stars formed by neutrons.
  • UK - the country whose Prime Minister Theresa May visited India recently. She addressed the inaugural session of the India-UK Tech Summit organised by the CII. This was her first bilateral visit outside Europe and her first ever trade mission
  • Lima - the capital of Peru which is going to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit from 19 to 20 November 2016. The theme of the summit is "Quality Growth and Human Development" and the official logo is the architecture of the ancient city of Caral. It will be the second time Peru hosting to the APEC Summit, previously it had hosted the event in 2008. The 2016 summit will gather leaders from the world's 21 most important member economies, as well as over 1,500 investors and entrepreneurs.

National

  • Maharashtra - this state has been ranked first state in the country in 2016 Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index. The first-ever index based on initiatives taken by the states in implementing farm sector reforms was issued by the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog. Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index ranks states based on their initiatives taken in implementing provision of seven farm sector reforms. These reforms have been proposed under model APMC Act, joining eNAM initiative, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and level of taxes in mandis. The index identifies three major parameters. They are (i) reforms in agricultural marketing, (ii) land lease and (iii) forestry on private land. What is purpose of the index? The index aims at helping states identify and address problems in farm sector, which suffers from low growth, low incomes and agrarian distress to double farm income. It also seeks to bring reform in agriculture sector by ease of doing agribusiness as well as provide opportunities for farmers to benefit from modern trade and commerce. The various indicators of index showcases the levels of competitiveness, efficiency and transparency in agriculture markets of the states. Key Highlights of 2016 Index Top 5 States are Maharashtra (score 81.7), Gujarat (71.5), Rajasthan (70), Madhya Pradesh (69.5) and Haryana (63.3).
  • Kerala - this state has become the third Open Defecation Free state in the country after Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) .The announcement in this regard was made by the Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer in New Delhi on the occasion Foundation day of Kerala (1 November). With this Kerala becomes first high density populated state in the country to achieve Open Defecation Free status. All 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 Gram Panchayats and 2117 villages of the State have been declared free from open defecation. Freedom from open defecation has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide safety and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens.
  • Arunachal Pradesh - the state in which the Home Ministry of Union Govt has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) in three more districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding, all bordering Assam due to "extortion and intimidation" by the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), who are "contriving to dominate areas hitherto occupied by NSCN (Khaplang).
  • India - this country will host the 2018 International Competition Network (ICN) Conference. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will host the Conference. By virtue of this event, CCI has also been inducted as an ex-officio member of the steering group member of the ICN for a period of 3 years. The 2017 ICN Annual Conference will be held in Portugal and will be hosted by Portuguese Competition Authority. International Competition Network (ICN) ICN is an informal international body consists of 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions. It was established in 2001. CCI is a member of the ICN since 2003. It is exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement and facilitate cooperation between competition law authorities globally.
  • Loktak Lake – the lake of Manipur which has been selected for conservation by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change by constituting a four member committee. The team will visit Loktak Lake from 7 November to 9 November 2016 and hold discussions with the State Government, its concerned agencies and other stakeholders. The consultations will also include people living in the vicinity of the lake. The Ministry has asked the team to submit a report by 15 November 2016.
Current Affairs October 31st to November 06th 2016

International

  • New York - the headquarters of United Nations which was in the news recently after it was lit up for the first time on the occasion of Diwali.
  • Italy -the country which was recently hit by powerful earthquake believed to be the strongest earthquake to strike the country in the last 35 years.
  • Ross Sea - the place in Antartica where the world's largest marine reserve aimed at protecting the pristine wilderness of Antarctica will be created after the deal sealed by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resource (CCAMLR). This deal will see a massive US and New Zealand backed marine protected area established in the Ross Sea. It will cover more than 1.55 million square kilometer out of which 1.12 million square kilometer will be no fishing zone.
  • China – this country showcased its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter for the first time in public recently, sending it on a fly-past over Air show China, the country's biggest meeting of aircraft makers and buyers in the southern city of Zhuhai. The J-20 fighter is called Beijing's answer to the US F-22 stealth fighter and the F-35 that will be soon deployed in the Pacific by the United States and Japan. The stealth aircraft is regarded as major breakthrough for China which is otherwise mostly reliant on Russian aircraft including advanced versions of Sukhois.
  • Japan – they launched a next generation geostationary meteorological satellite Himawari-9 recently, aiming to further improve weather services in the Asia-Pacific region. Himavari-9 is the second of two identical weather satellites to offer more detailed and more-timely images1 and storms, clouds and other weather systems to forecasters in Japan and across the Western Pacific. The first one, Himawari-8 was launched in October 2014.

National

  • Sumdo – the village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh was in the news recently after it was visited recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on occasion of his Diwali celebrations with the soldiers. On his way to Sumdo, PM met civilians at Himachal's Chango village, close to the Sino-Indian border.
  • India – this country was among the 16 countries, including China and Pakistan that abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution that aimed to launch negotiations on a treaty seeking a ban on nuclear weapons. The UN General Assembly's First Committee, which deals with disarmament and international security adopted the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament negotiations despite a number of nuclear powers adamantly opposing it.
  • Telangana - the state which recently signed a pact with Maharashtra for construction of irrigation projects across Godavari river, ending the inter-state dispute. Touted as the historic pact, this will pave way for construction of three barrages on Godavari and its tributaries Penganga and Pranahita.
  • China - the country which recently objected to Dalai Lama's scheduled visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying the invitation to the Tibetan spiritual leader "will only damage peace and stability of the border areas" as well as its ties with India. The Dalai Lama is likely to visit Tawang, the seat of a Buddhist monastery. China claims Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area.
  • Andhra Pradesh – this state along with Telangana jointly topped the ease of doing business ranking while Gujarat has slipped to the third position in the list prepared by the World Bank and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana occupied the fourth, fifth and sixth slots, respectively in the index based on degree of implementation of DIPP's 340-point Business Reform Action Plan. The Action Plan includes reforms on 58 regulatory processes, policies, practices, or procedures spread across 10 reform areas spanning the lifecycle of a typical business. These are mainly single window clearance, tax reforms, labour and environment reforms, dispute resolution and construction permit.
  • Kerala – this state was recently declared drought hit by the Kerala government recently. The state government declared the state as drought-hit in view of the sharp decrease in rainfall during the South West Monsoon and said that Centre would be approached for necessary assistance to meet the emergency situation. The state Disaster Management Authority had been entrusted to seek necessary additional funds from the Centre to tide over the crisis.
  • New Delhi
  • - the venue of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), 2016 which was held recently. The conference in which many Asian countries are participating was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Current Affairs October 24th to October 30th 2016

International

  • Nepal - the country which recently announced its decision to allow its nationals to go to war-torn Afghanistan for work, ending an almost four-month ban imposed after 13 Nepali security guards were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber in the Afghan capital. Nepalese are still banned from working in other conflict hotspots such as Iraq, Libya and Syria.
  • Quetta - the capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan which recently faced one of the deadliest terror attacks in Pakistan when many people, mostly young cadets, were massacred and more than 100 others injured when heavily-armed Islamic State militants attacked the Police Training College.
  • China - the country whose experimental space lab Tiangong-2 orbiting the Earth recently launched a micro-satellite, roughly the size of a desktop printer. Weighing 47kg, it has light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and a wide angle imager.
  • Bishkek - the capital of central Asian country Kyrgyzstan which will host the next meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organistaion (SCO) from November 2-3, 2016. India and Pakistan are the new members of the SCO grouping, which for long has been touted as a possible counterweight to the US-led security bloc NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). The grouping also includes Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

National

  • Mumbai - the place where the famous Haji Ali shrine is located which was in the news recently after the Dargah Trust agreed that women will be granted access to the sanctum sanctorum on par with men but sought some time to make the requisite infrastructural changes. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.
  • The Andaman & Nicobar Islands – this place will get the country's first city-scale battery storage solar power plants. India's largest generation utility NTPC will set up two solar storage plants with a total capacity of 25MW in the main island of Port Blair as part of the Centre's bid to rid the place of polluting diesel generators, its main source of power at present.
  • Nepal - the country which recently formed a high level panel to address bottlenecks in India-funded projects and to implement them in time bound manner. Foreign Secretary of Nepal will lead the Nepali side of the panel, while the Indian side will be led by Indian Ambassador to Nepal. India-funded projects in Nepal include those in areas like energy, hydro-power, cross border transmission line, road and railways as well as integrated check posts.
Current Affairs October 17th to October 23rd 2016

International

  • Thailand - it is the country where the world's longest reigning monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej died recently. The king ruled for 70 years and the crown Prince Maha Vajiralingkorn has been named as the king's successor.
  • Bangladesh - it is the country with which China recently signed loans and investment deals worth $20 billion recently seeking to increase Beijing's influence in a country closely allied with India. The agreements were signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Dhaka. It is the first visit in more than three decades by a Chinese President to Bangladesh, which needs tens of billions of dollars of investments in its transport infrastructure and energy production to boost its flagging economy and create jobs for its 160 million people.
  • Saudi Arabia – this country has tied up with Japan's Softbank Group to create a $100-bn technology investment fund called SoftBank Vision Fund, aiming to create one of the world's largest equity funds. The fund would be managed in the UK by an arm of SoftBank and it intends to be the biggest investor in technology sector.
  • Kigali - the capital of Rwanda where in a landmark step to combat climate change, about 200 nations, including India, recently struck a legally-binding deal after intense negotiations to phase down climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons that have global warming potential thousand times more than carbon dioxide. The agreement reached by 197 parties on the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is expected to prevent a global temperature rise of up to 0.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. According to the amendment, developed nations will reduce HFC use first, followed by China. India and nine other nations of South and West Asia will follow suit. Overall, the deal is expected to reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by the year 2045.The amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2019, provided that at least 20 instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval of the amendment have been deposited by states or regional economic integration organisations that are parties to the Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under the amendment, three different schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs. The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. China, which is the largest producer of HFCs in the world, will reduce HFC use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline. India will reduce the use of HFCs by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline. Developed countries have also agreed to provide enhanced funding support to developing countries. The Montreal Protocol amendment is legally-binding, unlike the Paris Agreement signed last year but set to enter into force next month.
  • China – this country recently moved a step closer to establish its permanent space station by 2022 as it launched a spacecraft carrying two astronauts, in its longest-ever manned space mission, who would later join its second experimental space lab orbiting the Earth. Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong were blasted off into space by Shenzhou-11 (heavenly vessel) spacecraft from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre near the Gobi Desert in northern China. The Shenzhou-11 was put into orbit by a Long March-2F carrier rocket. China, which conducted its first manned space mission in 2003, is putting in billions into its space programme in a bid to catch up with the United States and Europe. It also plans to launch its maiden Mars mission in 2020 to match India and others.
  • London – this city has topped the 2016 Global Power City Index for the fifth consecutive year with Mumbai ranked 39th on the list of the world's leading global cities for business, innovation and culture, according toThe 2016 Global Power City Index (GPCI) report, which was released by the Mori Memorial Foundation's Institute for Urban Strategies recently. The report ranked London as the leading overall city, highlighting the capital's strong cultural offering, ease of doing business and global transport links.The report ranks 42 major cities of the world across six key measures of economy, research and development, culture, accessibility, environment and livability.Mumbai, the only Indian city to feature on the index, was ranked 39th.
  • USA - the country which recently commissioned Zumwalt which is considered to be the most advanced stealth destroyer ship. The Zumwalt, costing nearly $4.4 billion is striking in appearance with sharp angles and weaponry concealed behind flat surfaces, a design that makes it many times more difficult to spot on radar than conventional destroyers. The 610-foot-long ship also has an advanced power plant and weapon systems that can move the navy into the future. The ship is named after Adm Elmo R "Bud" Zumwalt, a Bronze star winner from World War II who went on to serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars and as chief of naval operations from 1970 to 1974.

National

  • Goa – it is the place which hosted the eighth BRICS summit from October 15-16, 2016. The last summit was held at Ufa, Russia. BRICS countries include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and they account for more than 3 billion people, about 43 percent of world's population.
  • India – this country is having the highest number of new TB cases as per the Global Tuberculosis Report (2016) according to which six countries accounted for 60% of new TB cases-India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
  • Russia - the country, with which India recently signed 16 key bilateral pacts. The bilateral pacts were signed in Goa after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held "fruitful and substantive" wide-ranging talks encompassing entire gamut of bilateral ties. The two sides also made three announcements to boost ties in sectors like trade and investment, hydrocarbons, space and smart cities. Besides the purchase of 'game changer' S-400 Triumf long-range air defence systems from Russia at a cost of over $5 billion (Rs 33,000 crore), the other two deals related to procuring four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates and setting up of a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters. The inking of these deals assumes significance since in in the recent past it was perceived that India, which had signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the US providing access to Americans to Indian military bases, was drifting away from its traditional defence ally, Russia.
  • Myanmar - the country whose Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visited India recently. Suu Kyi, who is the de facto leader of Myanmar, was in India for the Brics-Bimstec summit in Goa and thereafter she met Indian leaders at New Delhi.
  • Ludhiana - the place where National SC/ST Hub to provide support to entrepreneurs from the community was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. With an initial outlay of Rs. 490 crore, the hub will work towards strengthening market access/linkage, monitoring, capacity building, leveraging financial support schemes and sharing industry-best practices. It will also enable central public sector enterprises to fulfill the procurement target set by the government. The Public Procurement Policy 2012 stipulates that 4 per cent of procurement done by ministries, departments and CPSEs will have to be from enterprises owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs.
  • Russia - the country with which India recently signed an agreement to acquire a second Russian Akula-2 class nuclear-powered attack submarine for the Indian Navy.The submarine is expected to arrive in India by 2020 or 2021.It is powered by nuclear energy, but launches land missiles. India already has one Akula 2 submarine that it has been operating since 2011. However, its lease period was 10 years, and India was believed to have been looking for a replacement.The development comes in the wake of reports that India has joined a set of very few countries that have their own nuclear triads -- the ability to launch nuclear weapons from air, land and water -- after the commissioning of INS Arihant.
  • China - the country with which India recently carried out a joint army exercise in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, a move that comes amid hectic diplomatic manoeuvring between the two countries over a host of issues like Nuclear Suppliers Group and designation of Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations. During the day-long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian border village was painted. Thereafter joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance. The Indian team for the exercise was led by Brigadier R S Raman and that of the Chinese was led by Sr Col Fan Jun.
  • Aundh - the place near Pune in Maharashtra where this year's edition of 'Hand-in-Hand' will be held from November 15 to 27, 2016. The Hand-in-Hand is a series of the India-China joint exercises which is an effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along the border areas of India and China.
  • Singur - the place in West Bengal where farming was resumed at the demolished Nano car plant site after a decade with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sprinkling mustard seeds on the land.The physical possession of 103 acres of land was given to 298 farmers spread over five mouzas well within the 12-week deadline set by the division bench of justices Arun Mishra and V Gopala Gowda of the Supreme Court on August 31,2016.The bench also ruled that the land acquisition process in Singur for the car project was faulty and was not for public purpose.
  • Myanmar - the country with which India recently signed pact for cooperation in banking, insurance and power sectors. These agreements were signed at New Delhi between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.
Current Affairs September 05th to September 11th 2016

International

  • Greenland - the place where the Australian scientists have found fossils dating back to staggering 3.7 billion years ago which is much older than the previous record holders. The tiny structures called 'Stromatolites' were found in ancient rocks along the edge of Greenland's ice cap. The earliest evidence of life on Earth ahead of the Greenland discovery was made in 2006 when Australian and Canadian researchers dated microfossils in rocks from Pilbara's Strelley Pool Chert formation at more than 3.4 billion years old.
  • USA – the country along with China ratified the Paris climate pact which was approved by 195 countries, including India, in December 2015. The ratification is the final step before it comes into force. The Paris agreement will enter into force only after at least 55 countries, accounting for minimum 55% of total global emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification. The agreement is meant to limit global warming "well below" 2degree C and get as close to 1.5degree C, to increase economic and social ability to adapt to extreme climate and also to direct the scale and speed of global financial flows to match the required low carbon and climate resilient development.
  • China - the country where the world's longest glass bridge is located which recently made its entry into the Guinness Record Books. The 1400 feet long and suspended 300 metres above the earth, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountains cliffs in Zhangjiajie Park in Hunan province.
  • Hangzhou - the city of China which hosted the two-day G20 Summit recently.
  • Philippine - the country whose President Rodrigo Duterte recently made strong remarks against US President asking him not to lecture on human rights. This statement by the new Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte aimed at United States President Barack Obama snowballed into a diplomatic row as the White House cancelled a meeting, which was scheduled between the two heads of state. Duterte, known to some as "The Punisher" for his brutal approach to crime, delivered his profanity-laced broadside in an address during the meeting of Southeast Asian leaders in Laos, after Obama had criticised his controversial crackdown on the drugs trade in the Philippines.
  • North Korea – the country which conducted its fifth and potentially most powerful nuclear test recently. North Korea confirmed its latest nuclear test had confirmed that it could mount a nuclear warhead on a rocket. A seismic tremor recorded in an area around North Korea's known nuclear site on Friday, an activity that the South Korean government suspected to be a nuclear test. The quake was detected near North Korea's Punggye- Ri nuclear test site as the country celebrates Foundation Day, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the nation in 1948.North Korea has been under UN Security Council sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
  • Britain – this country is planning to build a wall in the northern French port of Calais to stop migrants jumping on trucks, under a deal agreed earlier this year. The four-metre (13-foot) high, one-kilometre long barrier will be built on a port approach road starting this month and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The wall, which will be funded by the British government under an agreement struck at a summit in March, will complement a security fence already put up around the port and entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
  • Vientinae – the place in Laos which was the venue of the recently concluded 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ASEAN Summit is a semiannual meeting held by the member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in relation to economic, and cultural development of Southeast Asian countries.

National

  • Arunachal Pradesh - the state whose Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, who refused to quit even after being nudged by the Centre, was recently sacked by President. President Pranab Mukherjee asked Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan to discharge the functions in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements are made.
  • Rajasthan – the state which stood at the top in pulses sown area for 2016-17 as per the latest data released by the agriculture ministry recently. With 9.75 lakh hectare of area sown under pulses Rajasthan was at the top followed by Madhya Pradesh with 6.78 lakh hectare. The total sown area under pulses has increased from 106.92 lakh hectares at this time last year to 142.02 lakh hectares, a rise of 33%.
  • Maharashtra - the most economically competitive Indian state, according to the Asia Competitiveness Institute of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. It was followed by Delhi and Tamil Nadu. All the 29 states and 7 union territories were ranked based on macroeconomic stability, government and institutional setting, financial, business and manpower conditions, quality of life and infrastructure development.
  • Vietnam - the country with which India recently signed a new defence line of credit of half a billion dollars ($500 million) to help Vietnam source more military hardware from India. The two sides also signed an agreement on double taxation avoidance.
  • Karnataka – the state which was directed by Supreme Court recently to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of the farmers there which led to lot of violence in Bangalore.
  • Andhra Pradesh - the state for which the Centre recently announced a financial package that includes full funding of Pollavaram irrigation project, tax concessions and a special assistance, but stopped short of giving the state a special category status. Andhra Pradesh, which financially suffered because of creation of separate state of Telengana in June 2014, will get a railway zone as also all cost incurred on the irrigation part of Pollavaram project from the date it was declared a National Project on April 1, 2014 will be funded by the Centre.
  • Sindhudurg - the district of Maharashtra which was recently found to be the cleanest district in India in the first-ever survey of sanitation standards with 99% households using toilets. Among the other cleanest in the plains was Nadia (WB), Satara (Maharashtra), Midnapore East (WB). The districts were ranked on four parameters: access to toilets, usages, littering in public places and households having stagnant waste water in their premises.
Current Affairs August 29th to September 04th 2016

International

  • China – this country recently started a cargo train service from Guangzhou city to Russia recently to boost trade as part of its multi-billion dollar project to revive ancient silk routes. The train will travel 11,500km over 14 days before reaching its destination. Its cargo includes garments, shoes, hats, cloth, lamps and lanterns, electrical appliances and electronics.
  • Iceland - the country which recently raised the alarm that its largest volcano Katla set to erupt after its largest volcano was hit by the biggest tremors since 1977. Iceland raised the alarm after its two quakes larger than four in magnitude rocked the crater of Katla recently. That was followed by at least 10 more tremors at the volcano, which rose 1,450 metres (4,757 feet) into the air on the North Atlantic Island's southern coast. Katla last erupted in 1955 and 1999.Its last major eruption was back in 1918, when it spewed ash for more than five weeks.
  • Spain - the country where the famous Tomatina festival is organized held every year on last Wednesday of August. It begins in the morning around 11 when many trucks heave loads of tomatoes into the centre of the town, Plaza del Pueblo, while people cover balconies in plastic sheets and board up houses and shopfronts. This year more than 20,000 people attend the fest. Since 2013, the capacity of Tomatina is regulated by selling tickets.
  • New Zealand - the country whose coast was recently hit by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake generating a small tsunami. Many aftershocks, several of nearly 6.0 magnitude, rocked the region for hours after the initial jolt as coastal residents made their way to high ground by torchlight. But less than three hours later they were advised they could return home after a 30-centimetre tsunami was detected.
  • France - the country where the highest administrative court recently suspended a town's ban on so called burkinis, the full body swimwear used by some Muslim women that has become the focus of intense debate over women's rights and secularism. Burkini is a swimwear created by Aheda Zanetti, an Australian woman of Lebanese origin, for Muslim women working as lifeguards on Australian beaches.

National

  • Vietnam - the country which was visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi enroute to China for the G-20 Summit recently, signalling India's growing strategic presence in South East Asia and in Beijing's periphery.
  • Madhya Pradesh – this state recently decided to give away onions for free to manage a mountain of rotting onions. The state has decided that onions will be given away for free at fair price shops at a token Re1/kg so to recover transportation costs.
  • Sikkim - the state which is having highest representation percentage (50%) of women in high courts with one woman judge for every male judge. In India there are only 61 woman judges in 24 high courts as opposed to 534 male judges. Eight high courts-J&K, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Uttarakhand don't have a single woman judge.
  • Jamnagar – the district of Gujarat state is the place where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the first phase of the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran for Irrigation) project. The Rs. 12,000 crore project is considered to be an ambitious one for PM Modi, who had announced the project in 2012 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, to fill up nearly 115 dams of Saurashtra region which faces shortage of water for irrigation and drinking. Being implemented in phases, the SAUNI project consists of four links -Link I, II, III and IV - that will take water to the 115 dams spread across all Saurashtra's 11 districts.
  • Egypt - the country whose President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi visited India on a three-day visit and held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to step up engagement in areas of security, counter-terrorism and trade. India and Egypt have a strong economic relationship. India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt -- the second largest export destination. India's imports from Egypt were worth USD 1.74 billion during 2014-15.Indian businessmen have invested nearly USD 3 billion in about 50 companies in Egypt and have given employment opportunities to around 35,000 Egyptians.
  • Assam - the state in India whose Majuli Island on the Brahmaputra was declared the largest river island in the world, toppling Marajo in Brazil, by Guinness World Records recently. The river island covers an area of around 880 sqkm. Home to an estimated 160,000 people of different ethnic groups, the island is an assembly constituency reserved for scheduled tribes. It was recently declared a district and was earlier a sub-division under Jorhat district.
  • USA - the country with which India recently signed LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement) which will allow their militaries to access their facilities on a reciprocal basis for logistics support. This was signed between India's Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and US Defence Minister Ash Carter.
Current Affairs August 22nd to August 28th 2016

International

  • London - the city where the underground train unveiled a 24-hour service for the first time in its 153 year old history. London's mayor Sadiq Khan recently took the first Night Tube which will help revellers, tourists and shift workers who will be able to travel on the Victoria and Central Lines on Friday and Saturday nights at any chosen hour.
  • Nisyros - the island in the southern Aegean Sea which was in the news recently when 15 musicians gathered at an active crater at this place for 10.5 hr performance. The musicians placed themselves in a large circle within the Stefanos Crater which with a diameter of 1,000 feet is one of the largest hydrothermal craters in the world.
  • Italy - the country which was recently devastated by an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude in which many people died. The 6.2 magnitude tremor, the worst to hit Italy since 2009, reduced scores of buildings to piles of masonry in and around the villages of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquanta del Tronto.
  • Singapore - the country where the world's first self-driving taxis began picking up passengers recently. Select members of the public can hail a free ride through their smart phones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. For now, the taxis only run in a 2.5 square mile(6.5 square kilometer) business and residential district called 'one north' and pick-ups and drop offs are limited to specified locations.
  • Athens - the place which houses the world's first weather station built more than 2,000 years ago for merchants to tell the time. The Tower of Winds stands on a slope on Athen's ancient Acropolis hill. The 46ft tower's construction is credited to the architect and astronomer Andronikos of Cyrrhus. It was in the news recently after it has been restored and re-opened to the public for the first time in 200 years.

National

  • New Delhi - the place where the Air Force is planning to build the new Aerospace Museum near to the international airport. Spread over 43 acres, it would have extensive indoor and outdoor displays including huge aircraft parked and hanging in flying attitude with mural depicting the golden era of the Indian Air Force. The IAF presently has a museum near the technical area of Air Force Station Palam, which was established in 1967.
  • Mumbai - the place where Haji Ali dargah is located which was in the news recently after the Bombay High Court delivered a landmark judgement striking down a ban on women from entering the inner sanctum of the dargah. The court ordered the Haji Ali dargah Trust to ensure that women worshippers are granted access to all parts of shrine 'at par with men'. The bench, however, stayed the implementation of its order for six weeks to allow for an appeal.
  • Singapore - the country whose Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently delivered a lecture to Indian Union Ministers and senior bureaucrats during 'Transforming India' at New Delhi recently. The Sri Lankan-origin Shanmugaratnam gave a masterclass on the Indian reforms, its slow pace and the unfinished agenda. He said India has to focus on exports to boost economy and pointed out that though the country had 18% of the world's population, it only accounted for 2% of world exports.
Current Affairs August 15th to August 21th 2016

International

  • Budapest - the capital of Hungary which was the venue of the Sziget Festival which is regarded as one of the biggest cultural events of Europe offering art exhibitions, theatrical and circus performances and music concerts. More than 1500 events and performers from over 60 countries entertain around 450,000 visitors representing 98 countries of the world.

National

  • Donja - the village in Osamanabad district of Maharashtra which has been selected by the cricket icon and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar for development under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, launched in October 2014, is a rural development programme focusing on development of villages which include social and cultural development, and spread motivation among the people on social mobilisation of the village community. Osmanabad has been reeling under severe drought over the last few years and has also recorded a steep rise in incidents of farmer's suicide.
  • Mokhra Khas - the village in Rohtak district of Haryana which came into limelight recently after one daughter of this village, Sakshi Malik won the first ever medal ever in female wrestling for India and her bronze at Rio Olympics was the first medal by any Indian at this year's Olympics.
  • Nagla Fatela - it is the tiny village of Uttar Pradesh which came into limelight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed during his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2016 that this village had finally been electrified, seven decades after independence. However according to a report in newspaper many of the villagers in this hamlet in Mahamaya Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh have been living without electricity.
  • Bihar - this state became the first non-NDA state to ratify the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST). The bill passed by Parliament recently needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the president can notify a GST Council which will decide the new tax rate and sort out other issues. Bihar is also the second state after BJP-ruled Assam to ratify the bill.
Current Affairs August 08th to August 14th 2016

International

  • Thailand – this country recently voted for a military based constitution of the country. The voters overwhelmingly approved the new junta-backed constitution that lays the foundation for a civilian government influenced by the military and controlled by appointed-rather than elected-officials. The referendum was seen as a test of the popularity of the military government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a retired army general who has severely curtailed dissent since coming to power in a 2014 coup. But his rule has brought a measure of stability and ended the frequent street violence and divisive politics that had frayed Thailand's social fabric for years.
  • Serbia - the country where near the town of Belgrade archaeologists have found amulets with tiny rolls of gold and silver along with human skeletons of 2000 years ago. The team of archaeologists led by Miomir Korac found these two amulets made of lead that when opened had rolls of precious metals-silver and gold-covered in symbols and writing.
  • Pazardzhik - the town in southern Bulgaria where the Bulgarian archaeologists are believed to have found the world's oldest gold artefact. The diameter of the bead is 4mm and it dates back to 4,500-4,600 BC.

National

  • West Bengal - the state whose cabinet recently resolved to change the state's name, dropping the "West" to call it simply "Bengal" in English. In Bengali, the state will be called" banga" or "Bangla" instead of "Paschimbanga". This is the third attempt to change the state's name in the last 17 years. The advantages of the proposed name change are practical and obvious. The proposed name starts with "B" instead of "W" so official representatives of the state will not have to wait long for their turn to present the state's case in all-India meetings.
  • Maharashtra – this state has been the leading state in domestic adoptions of children in India for the past three years according to the data from the Central Adoption Resource Authority, the central agency for adoption in India under the women and child development ministry. Maharashtra topped with 159 kids adopted domestically and 26 internationally this year, followed by Bengal with 72 domestic adoptions and Odisha with 51 domestic adoptions.
  • Kudankulam - the place in Tamil Nadu where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa jointly dedicated to the nation the 1,000 MW Nuclear Power Plant-I assuring it was one of the safest atomic plants in the world. It is an Indo-Russian project and is believed to add efforts to scale up production of clean energy in India. The KNPP had been set up using the Russian VVER type reactors based on enriched uranium and its second unit was expected to start operations later this year.
  • Uttar Pradesh – this state was recently awarded the Guinness World Records certificate for the most number of trees, 50414,058, planted in 24 hours by a team at 6146 multiple locations across Uttar Pradesh on 11-12th July 2016.
  • Lasalgaon - the place in Nashik district of Maharashtra which was in the news recently after large scale rotting of onions was reported from this place. This was due to intermittent strike by traders to protest against the government's new rule that allows farmers to trade their produce directly in the open market.
  • Delhi -the place from where the Supreme Court recently lifted its eight month ban on the sale of diesel cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of 2,000cc or more. New vehicles above 2,000cc can now be registered in Delhi and NCR on a payment of 1% of their ex-showroom price as green tax.
Current Affairs August 01st to August 07th 2016

International

  • Singapore – it is the country which has cut off civil servants' work computers from the Internet in order to keep information systems secure. Civil servants would however be able to access the Internet on their personal devices such as tablets and mobile phones. Public school teachers and lecturers have been kept away from the move.
  • Kuwait - the first country in the Gulf to regulate the work conditions of domestic staff and set a minimum wage for its hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian domestic staff. A decree issued by Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah set the minimum wage at 60 dinars ($200) a month and also granted domestic staff a raft of other rights. It grants domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, a 12-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month a year at the end of contract.
  • North Korea – the country which recently test-fired a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan in an apparent show of force against the planned deployment of a United States missile defence system. The missile was launched from near the western North Korea city of Unyul. The projectile flew some 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) and was believed to be a Rodong mid-range missile. UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from developing ballistic missile technology.
  • Islamabad - the venue of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ministerial conference where India was represented by Home Minister Rajnath Singh The eight-member SAARC grouping comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Russia - this country's military helicopter was shot down over Syria recently which led to the killing of all five people on board. It is the single deadliest incident for Moscow since it intervened in the wars.
  • Nepal - the country where Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' took over as the new Prime Minister recently. This change was necessitated after K P Oli resigned from the post of Prime Minister ahead of a no-confidence vote.
  • Qinhuangdao - the place in China's northern Hebei province where trial run for the unique transport system, TEB-1 was started recently. The 22-meter-long, 7.8-meter-wide and 4.8-meter-high bus can accommodate 300 passengers. The 7 feet space of TEB-1 above the road allows cars and other small vehicles to drive under it. The bus, which can travel at 40 miles per hour has two seats in the middle of the compartment and rows of seats on both sides. It is designed to allow more passengers to stand. The bus also has traffic lights on all four corners.

National

  • The Kaziranga National Park – the national park in Assam, one of the world's most protected heritage sites which faced the flood fury in Assam and which has taken a toll on the park which is 80 per cent under water and has been robbed of as many as 218 animals, 17 of them being rhinos and over 166 hog deer by the floods in a span of just seven days. Located in between beautiful Himalayas, Dhansiri and Brahmaputra River the National Park is facing the worst floods in the past 10 years. Kaziranga National Park is home to 35 species of mammals and has 2,400 one-horned rhinoceros, 20,000 hog deer, 100 tigers, 1000 elephants, 1500 wild buffaloes, 1000 swarm dear.
  • Mahad - the place in Maharashtra's Raigad district where British-era bridge collapsed on the Mumbai-Goa Highway due to which many people were swept away in the swollen Savitri river. The 100-year-old bridge, inaugurated in 1927, had been in use for almost 10 years before its formal inauguration.
  • Kokrajhar - the district of Assam which recently had to face a militant attack. The attack at Balajan Tiniali is believed to be done by Songbijit faction of National democratic Front of Bodoland which is fighting for 'Independent Bodoland'.
  • India – this country wants to set up a global repository of tiger data-pictures and DNA samples-to identify the origins of poached big cat body parts. India's proposal will be discussed at a UN Conference on wildlife in South Africa in September 216. India has the world's largest database on tigers, covering 1685 of the country's 2226 big cats at the Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India. India is having the highest population of tigers in the world according to the Global Tiger Forum. Out of the total of 3890 tigers in the world India is having 2226 tigers followed by 433 in Russia and 371 in Indonesia. All figures are for 2015 except for India's (2014) and Nepal's (2013).
Current Affairs July 25th to July 31st 2016

International

  • China – this country recently unveiled the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600. The AG600 is about the size of a Boeing 737, has a maximum flight range of 4500km and can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds and has a take-off weight of 54 tonnes. China plans to use it for marine rescue missions and fight forest fires.
  • Islamabad - the venue of the SAARC interior and home minister's conference to be held from August 3, 2016. India will be represented by Union Home minister Rajnath Singh.
  • China – this country is having the highest number of atheists according to the 2011 census as per WIN-Gallup International Global index of Religiosity and Atheism 2012. As per the report 47% of the population of China is atheists while compared to 3% of Indian population.
  • Norway – this country is planning to gift a peak to Finland on its Independence Day centenary. The government of Norway is contemplating a proposal to give the Haiti peak as a gift to its neighbor Finland next year as it will celebrate 100 years of independence. Most of the mountain is on the Finnish side of their northern border but the peak of Haiti which is 1331 metres is in Norway. The proposal would redraw the border to put the peak in Finland.
  • China - the country which has started levying anti-dumping duties as high as 46.3 percent on electric steel products imported from Japan, South Korea and the European Union. China began levying the duties recently after an investigation by the country's Ministry of Commerce found evidence of dumping that was harming Chinese industry.
  • Hangzhou - the place in China which will host the G-20 summit scheduled to be held from 4-5 September 2016. US President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to have bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the meeting.
  • Australia - the country which moves north by 7cm each year due to normal tectonic motion. Australia adjusts its latitude and longitude to put vast country into alignment with global navigation satellite systems. Australia's local coordinate system, the Geocentric Datum of Australia was last updated in 1994.
  • USA – this country is having the most number of people in the world's top 1% as per the new University of Oxford study of countries that were home to the world's richest people between 1988 and 2012. USA is having 38% of the world's top1% and it is followed by Japan with 8.5 % and Germany at 5.8%. This has been calculated in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

National

  • Jammu - one of the six places in addition to Tirupati, Palakkad, Bhilai, Dharwad and Goa where the new IITs will be opened as per the Institutes of Technology (Amendment)Bill, 2016 which was passed by the Lok Sabha recently. The bill also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanabad within the ambit of IIT Act.
  • Petrapole - the important border crossing between India and Bangladesh where the Integrated Check Post (ICP) was recently inaugurated jointly by India's PM Narendra Modi and Bangladesh's PM Sheikh Hasina through video conferencing with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also joining in. Petrapole-Benapole is an important border crossing between India and Bangladesh with over 50% of bilateral trade passing through it.
  • China - the country against which India recently issued trade advisories. These advisories were issued by Indian embassy in Beijing for dealing with Chinese companies after a gap of over three years. China is the only country against which India has issued trade advisories. Earlier trade advisories issued by the embassy in Beijing were in December 2010, September 2011 and April 2013.
Current Affairs July 18th to July 24th 2016

International

  • Italy - this country is having the highest number, 51, of World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. It is followed by China with 50 sites and Spain with 45 sites. India has also now 35 sites out of which the maximum is in Maharashtra (5) followed by Tamil Nadu (4).
  • Turkey – this country recently declared emergency for 3 months. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently announced a three-month state of emergency, saying this would enable the authorities to take swift and effective action against those responsible for last weekend's failed military coup. The president has accused a US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of being behind the coup.
  • China - this country along with Pakistan border troops have for the first time launched joint patrolling of the border connecting Pakistan occupied Kashmir with Xinjiang province amid reports that over 100 Uighurs have fled the restive region to join the Islamic State. This is the first time China-Pakistan began joint patrols in recent years though Chinese troops have been conducting patrols in the area since 2014.Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim Turkic-speaking ethnic group who hail from Xinjiang in China.
  • Sweden - the top country in the chart followed by Denmark and Norway on the top three performing countries in the Sustainable Development Goal Index released recently. India has ranked a low 110 out of 149 nations assessed on where they stand with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched a new Sustainable Development Goal Index and Dashboard to provide a report card for tracking Sustainable Development Goals progress and ensuring accountability. The index collected available data for 149 countries to assess where each country stands in 2016 with regard to achieving the SDGs.
  • Argentina - the country in which the researchers have recently found remains of unknown species of meat-eating dinosaur from 80 million years ago adding to the dino family known as the 'Giant Thieves'. The fossil found in Patagonia-an area rich in bone discoveries from the late Cretaceous Period-is named Murusraptor barrosaensis and it is believed that they walked on two legs, bore large sickle-shaped toe claws and were fast , agile and smart with voracious appetites that led to the nickname' Giant Thief".

National

  • Tamil Nadu - the state in which the Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently inaugurated the first green train corridor, which envisages usage of bio-toilets for zero human waste discharge, between Rameswaram and Manamadurai. Developed by the Indian Railways and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), bio-toilets collect human waste in tanks and decomposes the waste using bacteria, thus ensuring zero discharge on tracks.
  • Delhi - the place from where about 282,000 diesel vehicles, which are more than 10 years old, may go off the national capital's roads if the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to de-register such vehicles is implemented.
  • China - it is the country whose three journalists of the Chinese official news agency, Xinhua, were expelled from India after India refused to renew their visas to work in the country and were asked to leave the country by 31st July 2016.
  • Tamil Nadu - this place has maximum number of urban internet subscribers in India accounting for over nine per cent of country's total 231 million urban subscribers. Tamil Nadu boasts of over 21 million urban internet subscriber base, with Maharashtra and Delhi competing almost neck-to-neck with 19.7 million and 19.6 million subscribers respectively, followed by Karnataka with 17 million users, as on March, 2016. The telecom circle of UP East has the highest number of rural internet subscribers at 11.2 million and almost a matching number of urban users. Maharashtra is next in this pecking order with 9.7 million rural internet subscribers, with Andhra following close on heels with just over 9 million rural internet subscribers.
Current Affairs July 11th to July 17th 2016

International

  • Nice - the southern city of France where many people, including several children, were killed and many seriously injured in an attack when a large truck plowed into a crowd of people after a Bastille Day fireworks display. Bastille Day is a celebration of everything France holds dear, its secular republic and the values of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity).
  • Philippines – the country which won its ownership right over South China Sea when the Permanent court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled recently that China has no 'historic title' over the South China Sea waters and it has breached the Philippines sovereign rights with its actions. China was claiming 80% of the energy rich waters through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. China's assertion are based on a 1947 map showing vague dashes-known as the nine-dash line-looping about 1800 km south of Hainan Island. But the tribunal said there was no legal basis for the claim. China boycotted the hearings of the Tribunal.
  • Turkey – the country which faced fifth coup in as many decades which lasted for just five hours in which many people were killed and injured. The attempted putsch began when a faction of the military sent tanks backed by fighter planes into the capital Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey's financial hub, to seize power while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was holidaying in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris. Turkish officials have blamed the coup attempt on a US-based moderate Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has often accused of attempting to overthrow the govt.

National

  • Alappuzha – the city in Kerala which emerged as the cleanest city on the basis of management of solid waste in a recent survey by the Centre for Science & Environment (CSE). The Delhi based think tank has ranked 14 cities on the basis of their management of solid municipal waste.
  • Spain - the country which has manufactured the Talgo train. Talgo has become the fastest train in the country by clocking a speed of 180 km/hr. by covering 84 km in 38 minutes in a trial conducted by Railways on Mathura-Palwal route, surpassing the record of Gatimaan Express. The train successfully completed its trial run recently by clocking 180 km/hr. due to its light and advanced technology. Talgo aims to connect the national capital, New Delhi, with the financial capital, Mumbai. The maximum speed of Gatimaan Express is 160 km/hr., Shatabdi Express 150 km/hr. and Rajdhani Express is 130 km/hr.
  • Arunachal Pradesh - the state in which the Supreme Court recently ordered the reinstatement of the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government and dismissed the BJP-backed govt. this is the first time the SC has ordered the reinstatement of the dismissed state government though it has on several occasions quashed the imposition of central rule.
  • Madhya Pradesh - this state became India's first state to set up a dedicated 'department of happiness' and a panel of experts for suggestions to 'put a smile on every face' through activities like yoga, spirituality, meditation and arts.
  • Sikkim - this state's Khangchendzonga national park was one of the three sites of India which have been added to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO. The Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world's third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. The other two sites are Le Corbusier's creation Capitol Complex in Chandigarh and Mahavihara of Nalanda University. A world heritage site is a place (such as building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument or mountain) that is listed by the UNESCO as being of 'special cultural or physical significance'.
Current Affairs July 04th to July 10th 2016

International

  • Pietermaritzburg - the railway station in the South Africa which was visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently to commemorate the 1893 incident in which Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of the first- class carriage because of his colour and race.
  • Spain - the country famous for bull fights. It was in the news recently after a bull fighter was fatally gored in Spain-the first professional matador to be killed in the ring in more than three decades. Victor Garrio was gored in the Teruel bullring, first since 1985.
  • Frankfurt- the place in Germany is the place where the biggest ever orchestra was held gaining entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. 7548 musicians performed at the Commerzbank-Arena for the biggest ever orchestra.7224 musicians was the previous record set in Brisbane, Australia in 2013.
  • Tanzania - the country to which India extended its full support to meet its development needs and signed five agreements. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Tanzania met Tanzanian President John Magufuli and assured all support for its development. India will provide a Line of Credit of $92 million for improvement of Zanzibar's water supply system. MoUs on water resource management and development, establishment of vocational training centre at Zanzibar, visa waiver for diplomatic passport holders and an agreement between national small industries corporation and small industries devpt organization has been signed.
  • Shanghai – the place which hosted the recent G20 nations meet where the world's top 20 economies agreed to improve international trade governance in view of the global slowdown due to increasing anti-trade measures that have become more universal since 2009. The meeting endorsed the 'G20 Strategy for Global Trade Growth' in which the economies will lead by example to lower trade costs, harness trade and investment policy coherence, boost trade in services, enhance trade finance, promote e-commerce development and address trade and development.

National

  • Aligarh Muslim University – it is the university for which the centre recently withdrew the appeal filed by the previous government that had sought to retain the minority tag of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). If declared non-minority institution, AMU will have to reserve seats for SCs, STs and OBCs.
  • Kerala – it is the top state in providing girl education in all categories as per the Sample Registration System-Baseline Survey of 2014. The percentage of girl child education in Kerala is 99.6%in 6-9 years category, 99.5% in 10-14 years category and 97.0% in 15-17 years category.
  • India – this country is having the highest population displaced within their own country by natural calamities in 2015 followed by China and Nepal as per the figure released by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. These three countries alone accounted for half of the global internal displacement. 36.6 lakhs people were displaced within the country in India in 2015 while it was 36.0 lakhs in China and 26.2 lakhs in Nepal.
Current Affairs June 27th to July 03rd 2016

International

  • Panama Canal - the famous canal where a new lane was opened recently to accommodate longer, wider and heavier vessels than before. The new lane with two new locks is now large enough to accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers compared to the current 5,000. The Chinese container ship became the first commercial vessel to pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific through this new lane.
  • China – it recently suspended communications with Taiwan after this country failed to acknowledge the concept that there is only 'one China'. Relations between the two sides have grown increasingly frosty since President Tsai Ingwen won Taiwan's leadership by a landslide in January and took office in May, ending eight years of rapprochement. Beijing and Taiwan used to have official communications since 2014 but that has now been stopped.
  • Turkey – the country whose main international airport at Istanbul faced a series of attack in which many people were killed recently. Istanbul's Ataturk is Turkey's largest airport and major transport hub for international travellers.

National

  • USA - it is the country from where India will be purchasing 145 ultra-light Howitzers, worth about Rs.5000 crore for the newly-raised Mountain Strike Corps. The first batch of 25 guns will be delivered by US based BAE-Systems in ready-to-use condition within six months of signing the contract. The remaining will come in a knock-down condition for which a facility for assembly, integration and testing has been set up in India.
  • Maharashtra – this state continued to remain the richest state in the country, with a gross state domestic product (GSDP) in 2014-15 recorded at about Rs 9.50 lakh crore at constant prices, rising 5.7 per cent from 2013-14 according to Reserve Bank of India's first edition of the Handbook of Statistics on Indian States. The second-richest state in terms of GSDP was Tamil Nadu, closely followed by Uttar Pradesh at about Rs 5 lakh crore each, in 2014-15.
  • Majuli - the place in Assam, now a sub-division of Jorhat district will be India's first river island district and Assam's 34th district. The Assam government recently decided to grant district status to Majuli, a 400 sq.km island in river Brahmputra.
  • India – it is one of the five countries where the highest numbers of children aged less than five years die of preventable causes as per UNICEF's latest assessment report. The other nations are Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. In 2015, India recorded an under-five mortality rate of 48 deaths per 1,000 live births. The major reason for this is prematurity, natal infection, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
  • Odisha - the state from where India recently test-fired a new surface-to-air missile developed jointly with Israel from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore off Odisha coast. The weapon system is a variant of Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile, Barak. This is the first time that missile was tested from a land-based platform for the first time. Also called Barak NG (next generation), the LRSAM can intercept aerial targets up to a range of 80 km. Apart from the missile, the system includes a multi-functional surveillance and threat alert radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. The test-firing of the missile was jointly carried out by Indian defence personnel, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries.
Current Affairs June 20th to June 26th 2016

International

  • China – this country's supercomputer recently topped the list of world's fastest computers for the seventh straight year-and for the first time the winner uses only Chinese designed processors instead of US technology. The Sunway TaihuLight of China was found to be five times faster than the Titan, the fastest supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in US. The TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops or 93,000 trillion calculations per second. Other countries with computers in the top 10 were Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
  • Spain - it is the country in European Union (EU) nation which granted the maximum number of citizenship to foreigners in 2014, Spain granted 2.06lakh citizenship to foreigners followed by 1.30lakh by Italy. About 8, 90,000 foreigners acquired citizenship of an EU country in 2014 with India 4th on the list of nations granted most citizenship and the highest to get EU citizenship was Moroccans.
  • Seoul - the place which hosted the two-day plenary meeting of Nuclear Suppliers Group held on 23-24th June 2016. China continued to stonewall India's entry harping on the need to have a criteria for countries like India which have not signed the nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty and clubbing India's case with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
  • Tashkent - the place which hosted the annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from June23-24, 2016.
  • Britain – the country which recently voted to leave the European Union after the verdict of landmark referendum held on 23rd June 2016, in a stunning repudiation of the nation's elites that deals the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War II. After this the number of countries in European Union is reduced to 27.
  • Columbia - the country which recently signed a historic ceasefire and disarmament pact with FARC rebels ending a half-century conflict that has killed a hundred of thousands of people. The deed puts a definitive end to fighting in Latin America's largest civil war, which has torn the country apart with shootings and bomb bardments in its coca-rich jungles and hills. President Juan Manuel Santos of Columbia and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez signed the dead at a ceremony in Cuba.

National

  • Maharashtra – it became first state in India to grant minority status to the 'Jews', one of India's smallest religious communities. Of the estimated 5,000 Jews in India, around 4,300 live in Maharashtra largely in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad district. The government's move means the community is now eligible for state schemes for religious minority groups, including scholarships for students and grants to educational institutions run by community members, among others.
Current Affairs June 13th to June 19th 2016

International

  • China - the only country where violence hit its economy less than in previous year. Compare with 2015, in 2016 nearly all countries had their GDP hit more by violence except for China where the violence containment cost as % of GDP was 4% in 2016 as compared to 5% in 2015. The Institute for Economics and Peace, an Australia-based non-profit organization, has devised a model to calculate the cost of violence. It includes variables like expenditure on law enforcement and justice and loss of life and property. India's violence containment cost as % of GDP was 9% in 2016 as compared to 5% in 2015.
  • Orlanda - the place in Florida, USA where many people were killed after a shootout in the Pulse night club.

National

  • Tamil Nadu - the state which has allowed the formation of trade unions in IT industries. The state, in a significant departure, has said the IT sector will now be covered by the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which allows workers to form labour unions. This is a significant departure from the practice in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, the country's largest technology hub, which has rules prohibiting formation of labour unions at these companies.
  • The Madras High Court - the court which recently ruled that persons who do not wish to disclose their caste or religion in application forms for admission to educational institutions in the state, should not be compelled to do so. The state government had issued the order with the avowed objective of having a casteless society, the bench said. The PIL was filed seeking a direction to educational authorities to take appropriate steps to implement the GO with regard to the non-insistence of religion and caste of the student who prefer to remain "without such narrow and divisive identities".
Current Affairs June 06th to June 12th 2016

International

  • USA - the country with which India signed a MoU that will allow select Indians expedited clearance through American airports. Called the Global Entry Programme, the MoU inked by Indian ambassador Arun Singh and US customs and border protection deputy commissioner Kevin McAleenan allows pre-approved and low-risk travelers expedited entry upon arrival at select airports.
  • Japan - the country of Shigemi Hirata who recently became the world's oldest college graduate at the age of 96. He recently received the Guinness World Records after earning a Bachelor of Arts in Ceramic Arts from University of Art and Design.
  • Switzerland – the country which recently agreed to support India's bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which it applied to join last month, having won a waiver in 2008 that accorded it the right to trade in commercial nuclear technology. New Delhi's bid for full membership of the 48-nation club, if granted, would tip the balance of power in South Asia against its arch-rival Pakistan, whose own application has been backed by China despite questions over its proliferation record.
  • USA - this country also recently backed India's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group citing the reason that by becoming the member of the elite grouping the country would be in a stronger position to be a "good citizen" on proliferation-related issues.

National

  • Guwahati - the Assam capital which recently became the first city in the country to have its own City Animal with the Kamrup Metropolitan district administration declaring the Gangetic River Dolphin as the mascot. The dolphin, locally known as 'Sihu', would be the 'City Animal' of Guwahati.
  • India - this country jumped 13 positions and was placed second in retail potential in the 2016 Global Retail Development Index, released by AT Kearney, a Chicago-based consultancy. The country was ranked 15 in the previous year. The report profiled 30 developing countries. India's high ranking is driven by GDP (gross domestic product) growth, improved ease of doing business, and better clarity regarding foreign direct investment regulations.
  • USA - the country from which Prime Minister Narender Modi recently brought back 200 ancient artefacts worth more than $ 100 million. The credit for this goes to the Indian investigative agency-the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) which in association with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helped in recovering these artefacts.
  • India – this country recently joined The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. This code is considered an important global mechanism for containing the spread of ballistic missiles and joining it is considered an attempt to create a favourable atmosphere for India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This mechanism is a voluntary, legally non-binding multilateral body aimed at preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that can deliver weapons of mass destruction. The HCoC formally came into effect on November 25, 2002, at a conference at The Hague (the Netherlands). This code expects the subscribing States to furnish annual declarations on missile policy and the pre-launch notifications (PLNs) of missile test launches.
  • Feni River - the river in Tripura over which India recently began working on bridge which will link North Eastern states and the rest of India via Bangladesh through the Chittagong International Port.
Current Affairs May 30th to June 05th 2016

International

  • Japan – the country which recently started the sale of the world's first robotic mobile phone called RoBoHon. The human-shaped smartphone has been developed by a Japanese electronics company Sharp and engineer Tomotaka Takahashi, the inventor of the first robot astronaut 'Kirobo'. Apart from being used as mobile, it could be used as projector to display video, photo or maps. It can also recognize faces of the people using its front camera and then address them by their name. It went on sale with a base price of JPY 198,000(Rs.1.21 lakhs).
  • USA – the country which is having the most of world's most powerful and large companies as per Forbes ranking which is based on the basis of their revenues, profits, assets and market value. USA has 586 of the world's 2000 biggest companies followed by China which has 249. India has 56 firms on Forbes' list with Reliance Industries and State Bank of India leading the way. ICBC China is number 1 on the list followed by China Construction Bank.
  • Hiroshima - the Japanese city where the US President recently laid wreath at the Peace Memorial, telling an audience that included survivors of American atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a 'moral revolution'.
  • Batemans Bay - the place in New South Wales is a small town in Australia which has recently declared a 'state of emergency' after it was overrun by 100,000 bats and which has outnumbered human residents. The grey headed flying foxes have overrun the human population of 11,000 and now they have covered the every surface and every tree. Officially the grey headed flying foxes are listed as vulnerable species so authorities can't kill them. They are considering deterring them using smoke and noise.
  • New York - the city which scored the top rank in the global livability survey of 181 cities-the 2016 Cities in Motion Index (CIMI), prepared jointly by the Barcelona-based University University of Navarrara's IESE Business Scholl and the Centre for Globalisation and Strategy. It was followed by London and Paris. Among the Indian cities Mumbai got the highest rank of 167 followed by 174 by Delhi.
  • Oberwil - Lieli-the super-rich village in Switzerland, one of the wealthiest in Europe recently chose to pay a fine of 200,000 pounds instead of accepting 10 refugees under the country's newly imposed quota system. Residents of the village, which has 300 millionaires in a population of 22,000, voted 'no' in a referendum over whether to accept the refugees. The Swiss government had recently announced a quota system to take in about 50,000 asylum seekers. The plan was to distribute the refugees across the country's 26 counties according to the quota system.
  • The Mediterranean Sea - the place where up to 700 migrants, including 40 children, are feared to have died recently while crossing, based on the accounts that survivors told aid workers once they reached safety. This even as rescue ships saved thousands of others from Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks in daring operations. About 550 other migrants are missing from a boat which overturned after leaving the Libyan port of Sabratha.
  • Switzerland - the country which has opened the largest and deepest railway tunnel across the Alps. One of the world's biggest engineering marvels, the 57.1 km long Gotthard Base Tunnel will reduce travel time between Zurich and Milan by one hour making it a 2 hour and 50 minute journey. The $10.3 billion project consists of two 57-kilometres-long single-track tubes, on which trains can travel at a maximum speed of 250 kilometres per hour. It is also the first flat route through the Alps or any other major mountain range, with a maximum height of 549 metres above sea level. Built by Alp Transit Gotthard AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Railways, the tunnel surpasses the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.
  • France - the country which declared flood emergency recently. The Louvre, the world's most visited museum in Paris was closed recently after the River Seine surged to its highest level for over 30 years in the French capital following torrential rainfall. Besides the Louvre, the Orsay museum of Impressionist art was also be shut. Both are located right by the Seine in central Paris. French President Francois Hollande on Thursday declared the region around Paris a natural disaster area.
  • Israel – the country whose start up Sirin Labs recently unveiled the world's costliest phone with a cost tag of $14,000 i.e more than Rs.9 lakhs. It is an android Smartphone that promises chip-to-chip 256-bit encryption similar to what the military uses to protect its communications. It is called Solarin and is activated via a physical security switch on the back.

National

  • India - this country is ranked 41st in the Global Competitiveness Rank 2016 according to the survey by the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Centre(WCC) which is three rank up from the 44th rank of 2015. This improvement is due to Exchange rate Stability, Current account balance, Government Budget Deficit, Corruption and Bribery, Bureaucracy, tax Evasion and Ease of doing Business. The first position is occupied by China Hong Kong followed by Switzerland.
  • Pulgaon - the place in Maharashtra where the Central Ammunition Depot located (CAD) located which was in news recently due to heavy fire. CAD is the nerve centre of the Army's war fighting capabilities. It is spread over more than 7,000 acres and is the second largest ammunition store in Asia.
  • USA - this country is the top source of foreign tourist arrivals in India as per the data of Ministry of Tourism for 2015. The percentage of foreign travels from USA is 15.1% with Bangladesh at surprise second position with 14.1%. The reason being many European countries don't have consulates in Bangladesh forcing that country's people to travel to India for visas.
  • Qatar - the country with which India recently agreed to share intelligence to combat hawala transactions and terror financing as the two countries signed seven agreements and decided to move beyond the trading relationship and get into strategic investments. The two sides highlighted the need to "isolate" the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the country had meeting with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatari leadership where the two sides decided to constitute an inter-ministerial high-level joint committee to regularly review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest. A MoU was also signed between Qatar Investment Authority and External Affairs Ministry for investment in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund between the two countries that would facilitate foreign investment from the gas-rich Gulf state.
  • Herat - the province of Afghanistan where Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the landmark Afghan-India Friendship dam. The dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, has been built by India at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore on river Harirud in Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat neighbouring Iran. It will irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 MW of power. The multi-million dollar project has been executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd, a government of India undertaking under ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.
Current Affairs May 23rd to May 29th 2016

International

  • Britain - the country which granted political refugee status to ousted former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. A prominent human rights campaigner and Maldives' first democratically elected president, 49-year-old Nasheed had been allowed to go to Britain in January for the for spinal cord surgery following a deal brokered by Sri Lanka, India and the UK.
  • Japan - the country which hosted the 42nd G7 summit held on 26–27 May 2016 which was held at the Shima Kanko Hotelin Kashiko Island, Shima, Mie Prefecture, Japan. The participants were Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union.
  • Britain - this country's Second World War submarine that vanished 73 years ago has been found with 71 bodies of crew off the coast of Italy. The 1,290 tonne vessel was found by a diving team at a depth of 100 metres, close to the island of Tavolara, off the northeast coast of Sardinia. The submarine vanished without a trace around January 2, 1943 and is believed was hit by a mine in the Gulf of Olbia. The submarine had left Malta on December 28, 1942 for its first mission to destroy two Italian battleships when they lay anchor at the port of La Maddalena.
  • China - the country which has unveiled design concept for a 'straddling bus' which lets cars drive underneath, saving not only the road space but also helps reduce air pollution. Also known as a land airbus, the concept was the brain child of Beijing-based Transit Explore Bus. The design is environment friendly as it is powered by electricity. Regardless of whether the bus is moving or not, the cars under two-metres high can easily pass through the bus on which 1400 passengers can travel.

National

  • Iran - the country with which India recently decided to jointly combat terror, radicalism and cybercrime as the two strategic partners signed 12 agreements including a "milestone" pact on developing the key Chabahar port for which India will provide $500 million (Rs 3,371 crore).Besides developing the Chabahar port, the two sides also signed agreements in diverse fields like trade credit, culture, science and technology and railways.
  • ISM, Dhanbad - the institute which is going to be converted into an IIT under the Institute of Technology Act, 1961 as per the recent cabinet decision. The cabinet granted ex-post facto approval to the amendment in the Act. The cabinet also decided to set up new Indian Institute of Technology at Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwar (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chattisgarh), Goa and Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir)
  • India – this country is the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world discarding roughly around 18.5 lakh tonnes of electronic waste each year. Telecom equipments alone accounts for 12 percent of the e-waste, as per joint study by Assocham-KPMG. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified e-waste management rules, 2016 in which producers are for first time Extended Producers' Responsibility (EPR). The rule prescribes a waste collection target of 30 percent waste generated under EPR for the first two years, progressively going up to 70 percent in the seventh year of rule.
  • Spain - the country from which the Talgo coaches have been brought to be inducted in the Indian Railways. These are being tested now and after successful testing will be used between Delhi and Mumbai route for present. Talgo's trains are lighter, faster and consume 30 per cent less energy. It can run on curves without decelerating the speed. Talgo is a Madrid-based Spanish leading manufacturer of semi-high speed (160-250 kmph) and high-speed (350 kmph) passenger trains. The train envisages to cover the 17-hour journey between Delhi and Mumbai in about 12 hours.
Current Affairs May 16th to May 22nd 2016

International

  • Maldives – the country which terminated its four-decade-old diplomatic ties with Iran. The reason cited on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives states the reason as 'Iran's policies are detrimental to peace and security in the region (West Asia) which in many ways is also linked to stability and security of the Maldives'.
  • Sri Lanka - the country which saw massive landslides triggered by torrential rains, which led to death of many persons. The most affected were farming villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitiya in Kegalle district, about 72 kilometres north of Colombo.
  • Canada - the country which recently issued apology for the 'great injustice' to Indians in 1914, almost 102 years after Canada turned away over 376 migrants onboard the ship 'Komagata Maru', mostly Sikhs from India, after their arrival in Vancouver. Canada's PM Justin Trudeau apologized in the House of Commons for the role of government in the Komagata Maru incident.
  • China – the country which is objecting to India's quest for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).China recently indicated that India would be eligible to be a member only if it signed the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty). This is China's newest objection which is slightly different from its earlier stand asking for a criteria-based exception. US is openly endorsing India's bid to join NSG.
  • Egypt - the country's whose jetliner crashed recently carrying 66 people enroute from Paris to Cairo. The crash of jetliner, an Airbus A 320, Egypt Air 804, was the second civilian disaster for Egypt in the past years.
  • Indonesia - the country where volcano Mount Sinabung is located which erupted recently. Around seven people were killed after the volcano in western Indonesia erupted, blasting clouds of volcanic ash 3km (2 miles) into the sky. More than a dozen people were killed when it erupted in 2014. It also erupted in 2010, after having been dormant for 400 years. The 2,460-metre (8,070 foot) tall volcano is among the countries most active. Indonesia, located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, has more than 120 active volcanoes.
  • USA – the country which fully lifted its ban on weapons sales to Vietnam. President Barack Obama announced this recently during a visit to Hanoi, unpicking a decades-old embargo on the one-time enemy. Both countries are warily eyeing China's military build-up in the disputed South China Sea. The rollback of the arms embargo is highly symbolic of a shift in relations that has seen a surge in trade and cultural changes between the two countries that were locked in a bitter, bloody conflict just a generation ago. The US is cosying up to Asia-Pacific countries in a strategic shift to tap the trade potential of the region and as a bulwark to the influence of regional superpower China. Vietnam's military spending has surged in the last decade, by 130 per cent since 2005, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. But much of Vietnam's arsenal is made up of ageing Russia-built equipment.

National

  • Hyderabad - the city chosen by Apple to set up its map development centre. The city houses National Remote Sensing Centre and is also home to several companies offer geographical information system services. Apple has set its sights on India as a market with smart phone sales in the US and China saturating. The company is looking at quality services to boost smart phone shipments in India.
  • Canada - the country which recently issued apology for the 'great injustice' to Indians in 1914, almost 102 years after Canada turned away over 376 migrants onboard the ship 'Komagata Maru', mostly Sikhs from India, after their arrival in Vancouver. Canada's PM Justin Trudeau apologized in the House of Commons for the role of government in the Komagata Maru incident.
  • Iran – the country which was recently visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Iran in the last 15 years. Besides signing a deal on development of Phase-1 of the Chabahar port, India is looking at doubling oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation, which a few years back was its second-biggest oil supplier, as well as making progress on getting rights to develop a giant gas field in the energy-rich country.
Current Affairs May 09th to May 15th 2016

International

  • North Korea – the country which recently expelled three BBC journalists and banned one for life for allegedly 'insulting the dignity' of the authoritarian country which has invited scores of foreign media for its ruling party congress. North Korea's ruling party congress recently announced a title for Kim Jong-un, party chairman, in a move that highlights how the authoritarian country's first congress in 36 years is aimed at bolstering the young leader.
  • Mauritius - the country with which India signed the amended Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement after which that country's investment will come under India's tax net. India will levy capital gains tax on investment routed through Mauritius from April 1, 2017 which will be imposed at 50% or half of the domestic rates until March 31, 2019 and at full rates thereafter. The new rules which are part of the amended DTAA signed between India and Mauritius will effectively eliminate the incentive to route investments through Mauritius based 'sheel' or 'conduit' companies.
  • Five tiny Pacific islands – the islands which are believed to have disappeared due to rising seas and erosion, a discovery thought to be the first confirmation of the impact of climate change on coast lines in the Pacific. The submerged islands were part of the Solomon Islands, an archipelago that over the last two decades has seen annual sea level rise as much as 10mm. The Solomon Islands, a nation made up of hundreds of islands with a population of 640,000 lies about 1,000 miles northeast of Australia.
  • Zabol – the place in Iran is the world's most polluted cities as per the recent report released by World Health Organization. Zabol which suffers from months of dust storms in the summer, and which clocked a so-called PM2.5 measure of 217 is the world's most polluted city. The next four are all Indian cities of Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur. New Delhi was the survey's ninth worst city, measured by the amount of particulate matter under 2.5 micrograms found in every cubic metre of air, with an annual average PM2.5 measurement of 122.But while WHO experts acknowledge India faces a "huge challenge", many countries are so bad that they have no monitoring system and cannot be included in its ranking. The WHO says more than 7 million premature deaths occur every year due to air pollution, 3 million of them due to outdoor air quality. Common causes of air pollution include too many cars, especially diesel-fuelled vehicles, the heating and cooling of big buildings, waste management, agriculture and the use of coal or diesel generators for power.
  • Brazil's – the country whose President Dilma Rousseff recently agreed to cede power to her vice president-turned- enemy, Michel Temer, after a majority of the Senate backed suspending her and opening an impeachment trial. The marathon 17-hour debate in the night ahead of the vote sealed the fate of Brazil's first female president. Only a simple majority of the 81-member Senate is required to suspend Rousseff for six months pending judgement on charges that she broke budget-accounting laws.

National

  • Maharashtra - the state which has the highest number of people killed by animals from 2005-2014 as per the data of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 1185 people were killed in Maharashtra by animals between 2005-14 followed by 817 in Assam and 796 in Odisha.
  • Mauritius - the country with which India signed the amended Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement after which that country's investment will come under India's tax net. India will levy capital gains tax on investment routed through Mauritius from April 1, 2017 which will be imposed at 50% or half of the domestic rates until March 31, 2019 and at full rates thereafter. The new rules which are part of the amended DTAA signed between India and Mauritius will effectively eliminate the incentive to route investments through Mauritius based 'sheel' or 'conduit' companies.
  • India - the country which is ranked second among world's top IT exporters as per the recent released World Bank report title 'World Development Report-Digital Dividends'. With $51.7 billion ICT exports India stood behind only Ireland whose export is $52.4billion. Germany stands third with export of $37.8 billion.
  • India - the country which has the third highest number of internet users by absolute numbers as per the recent released World Bank report, only behind China and United States. The report says that the digital adoption in India is relatively high in government than in businesses and among people. The report however says that 8 out of 10 people in the country still don't have internet access.
  • India – this country along with China recently joined a club of countries that agreed to automatically share information of MNC s working in these countries to help tax MNCs. Apart from the two Asian countries Canada, Iceland, Israel and New Zealand also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for Automatic Exchange of Country-by-Country reports (CbC MCAA) bringing the total signatories to 39 countries. The agreement was signed as part of the global initiative called Base Erosion and Profit Shifting that is meant to ensure that MNCs do not get away without paying taxes.
Current Affairs May 02nd to May 08th 2016

International

  • Antarctic - the continent beneath which the scientists are believed to have discovered a large lake one that may hold life that has lain undisturbed for millions of years. The research team, including scientists from Imperial College London and researchers from USA and China, studied satellite imagery that showed grooves on the ice surface similar to those present above other sub-glacial lakes.
  • United Arab Emirates - the country which is planning to build a man-made mountain to increase rainfall. The desert nation is hoping the major project will recreate the effect of mountain ranges and force air to rise, creating clouds that will allow cloud-seeding. Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification which aims to alter the amount and type of precipitation produced by clouds. Scientists from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) run by the US based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) are working on deciding the most effective locations.
  • Bangladesh - the country which recently gave its nod for the first phase of the $3bn Reliance Power project. The liquid gas-fired powered project with an aggregate 3,000 MW capacity in that country will provide a role to the private sector in growing energy ties with India. The power project, including a floating facility for storing and re-gasifying liquid gas imported in ships, is the single-largest foreign investment till date for Bangladesh.
  • The Atacama Desert – the desert which saw the installation of the 'Fog collection system', developed by the Catholic University of Chile. The collection of water is done using large pieces of vertical canvas to make fog condense into droplets of water and flow down into a trough.

National

  • Dilli Haat - the place in Delhi where Delhi government has approved the proposal to set up a memorial on former President APJ Abdul Kalam's life and belongings. Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation has been assigned the work of setting-up this memorial on deposit work basis and its further operation.
Current Affairs April 25th to May 01st 2016

International

  • London - the place where the iconic Big Ben clock tower is located which has been chiming non-stop for nearly 157 years is going to stop for repairs. The 96m tall tower, which was completed in 1856, needs work to repair the clock faces and mechanism, cracks in the tower's masonry and corrosion in the roof, as well as restoring the edging around the clock faces to their original 19th- century colours. The Elizabeth Tower, its official name, will be repaired during a three year project starting in 2017 at an estimated cost of 29 million pounds.
  • USA – the country which decided not to subsidise the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The sale can still go through if Pakistan is willing to pay for them fully which would be around $699.04 million, in an outright commercial deal. A proposed subsidy of 42% was blocked by lawmakers in both the senate and the House of Representative.
  • Kenya – the country which burnt pyres of elephant ivory and rhino horns. In an unprecedented move 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horns were set on fire in Nairobi National Park sending a message to poachers and smugglers that their trade will be stopped. The historic bonfires will be largest-ever torching of ivory in the world. On the black market, such a quantity of elephant ivory could sell for over $100 million (Rs664crore) and the rhino horn could raise as much as $80 million (Rs.531crore).

National

  • Mumbai – it is the noisiest city in the country as per the latest report of Central Pollution Board. Though the most common source of noise pollution is motor vehicles, other sources like generators sets, office machines, aircrafts, industrial and construction activities too substantially contributed to increasing the noise level in cities.
  • New Delhi - the venue of the recently held talks between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan. The meeting between foreign secretary S. Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, who is in Delhi for the Heart of Asia conference was the first formal interaction since their scheduled talks were deferred in the wake of Pathankot attacks in January. Issues such as probe into the Pathankot attack, 26/11 trial and Samjhauta Express blast investigations were discussed.
  • Bengaluru – this city saw the inauguration of the first phase of the Metro rail project recently. The network is named Namma Metro or Our Metro. The second phase would connect the outskirts — the tech hub of Electronics City and Whitefield, helping de-stress the thousands of knowledge workers commuting on these routes. This BMRC expects to be covered by 2020.
  • Maharashtra – the state with 39.9% is the highest payer of Income Tax for 2014-15 as per the data released by government recently. This is followed by Delhi at 13.1% and Karnataka at 8.7%. As per the report 80 lakhs new tax assesses have been added in 4 years i.e. from 2011-12 to 2014-15.
  • Ballia - the place from where Prime Minister launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana recently. This scheme will provide LPG connections to 5 crore women belonging to below-poverty-line-households and usher in Clean Fuel-Better Life. Ballia in Uttar Pradesh is having the lowest number of LPG connections. Only 8 out of 100 people have the facility of LPG which is the lowest in the country due to which this scheme was launched from here.
  • Delhi - the place in which the Supreme Court recently banned the plying of non-CNG cabs from 1st May 2016. Supreme Court ordered conversion of public transport and commercial vehicles in Delhi to CNG in 1998 whose implementation began in 2000. The last date to complete the conversion ended on 30th April 2016 and the Supreme Court has refused to extend the deadline.
  • Uttarakhand - the state which was recently effected by huge forest fire which destroyed vast tracts of forest land. The fire is believed to have destroyed around 2.269 hectares of forest land. The districts effected were Rudrayaprayag, Pauri, Chamoli, Almora, Nanital and Dehradun.
Current Affairs April 18th to April 24th 2016

International

  • Moscow - the venue of the meeting of foreign ministers of Russia-India-China which was held recently. India's External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of China's blocking India's attempt of blacklisting Pakistan based terrorist Masood Azhar with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
  • Saudi Arabia - the country to which US President Barack Obama began a two day visit hoping to ease tensions with the historic U.S ally. Riyadh and its Sunni Arab Gulf allies are bristled at what they see as Washington tilt towards regional rival Iran after Teheran's land mark nuclear deal with world powers.
  • Japan – they joined the selected group of nations to have stealth fighter jet planes. Japan's first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies recently as the country joined the selected group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology. Only the US, Russia and China have been internationally recognized as having successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets.

National

  • China – the country which was visited recently by India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar where he met his Chinese counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan and raised China's 'veto' on Masood Azhar,its involvement in projects in Pakistan Occupied-Kashmir(PoK) and the need to demarcate the Sino-India Line of Control (LAC).
  • Japan – the country which has offered a concessional loan to India to build the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It has offered a concessional loan of Rs.97,636 crore to fund about 80 percent of the project cost with a repayment period of 50 years beginning from the 16th year of operation at an interest rate of 0.1 percent.
  • Jharkhand - the state which is having the lowest percentage of households with toilet as per the recently released Swachhta Status report by the National Sample (NSS) Office. The percentage is only 18.8 percent. Sikkim with 98.2 percent topped the list. The nationwide rapid survey was conducted during May-June 2015, concurrently with the 72nd round of the NSS.
Current Affairs April 11th to April 17th 2016

International

  • Ecuador - this country was recently devastated by a major earthquake of very high magnitude. An earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes struck off the Pacific coast and was felt around the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic as far away as the highland capital Quito and collapsing building and roads.
  • Iran - the country which was visited by India's External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj recently. She met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani besides meeting with her counterpart Javad Zarif.
  • United States – the country which is going to sign Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with India. This is a defence agreement for providing logistics support to each other fighter planes, warships and personnel. The agreement would have in-built safeguards to stop providing logistics support to the US military rule if it worked against India's interests. Interests of countries friendly to India would also be factored in.

National

  • Delhi – the state which launched the second phase of the odd even scheme for vehicles from 15th April 2016. The scheme is in vogue from 8a.m to 8p.m. The first phase was implemented from January 1 and January 15 this year.
  • Panagarh – the Air Force Station in West Bengal was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh on occasion of the 97th birthday of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh. This is the first time an air base is being renamed after a person, in honour of the only five star officer in its history. Panagrah air base was constructed in 1944 during the Second World War and after India's independence played a key role in the 1965 and 1971 wars.
  • India - this country is the largest recipient of World Bank loans. India has so far received $52.7 billion in commercial loans from the International bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and $49.4 billion from the International Development Association (IDA) which is Bank's assistance programme for developing countries.
  • Meghalaya - the state which is planning to set up rain Museum and Research Centre at Sohra, erstwhile Cherrapunjee. The proposed centre will showcase the uniqueness of the people and their culture besides providing necessary scientific back up for high end research on rainfall.
  • Bihar - the state, which recently became a complete 'dry state' after banning sale and consumption of all kinds of liquor. The ban includes Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL). Bihar joined only three other Indian states-Nagaland, Mizoram and Gujarat-to enforce a total ban on sale of liquor.
  • Maharashtra –the state which banned 13 out of the 19 IPL matches to be held in the state. Keeping in view the serious drought conditions prevailing in the state, the Bombay High Court asked the organisers to shift all matches out of Maharashtra from 30th April onwards.
  • Kollam - the district of Kerala witnessed a major tragedy when many people died after an unauthorised fireworks display at a century-old temple, Puttingal Devi temple.
Current Affairs April 04th to April 10th 2016

International

  • Palmyra - the ancient and historic city was recently freed from the Islamic state group by Syrian troops. Palmyra is both an important symbolic and strategic prize for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad forces, as it provides control of the surrounding desert extending all the way to the Iraqi border. The army cleared the IS fighters from the UNESCO world heritage site, where the militants sparked a global outcry with the systematic destruction of treasured monuments.
  • Pakistan – they recently opted out of the 235-crore SAARC satellite project with the fear that India may get access to the sensitive 'Pakistani data'. This project was mooted by PM Narendra Modi at the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November 2014. This will mean renaming the satellite-South East Asian Satellite (SEAS). The remaining SAARC members have expressed their willingness to join the project, which will help in areas like disaster management, direct-to-home telecasts, telecommunication, broadcasting, tele-education and tele-medicine. The satellite which was scheduled to be launched on December8, 2016 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, may now be rescheduled.
  • UAE – this country accounted for the highest death of people of Indian origin who died while working overseas. As per the data of Ministry of External affairs, 8,307 persons of Indian origin died between January 2016 and March 2016 in UAE, 8031 in Saudi Arabia and 1703 in Kuwait. The lowest death during this period was recorded in Germany, at 105 only.
  • Washington DC – the city which hosted the fourth Nuclear Summit 2016 which was held from 31st March-1st April, 2016. Us President Barack Obama convened the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, followed by Seoul in 2012 and the Hague in 2014. Since 2009 there has been removal of over 3.8 metric tonnes of foreign material by the US and its partners (enough for over 150 nuclear weapons).

National

  • Navi Mumbai – this city will host the International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) World Cup for bouldering in May 2016. India is only the fourth Asian country to have bagged a Climbing World Cup. The International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) has 83 member-countries and there are eight such IFSC World Cups being held across the World every year.
  • West Bengal – the state which recorded the maximum number of deaths in the last 3 years due to killing by elephants. As per the data of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change nearly 400 people die every year in the country by killing of elephants. West Bengal recorded 227 deaths from 2012-13 to 2014-15 while the other major states with maximum deaths due to killing by elephants were Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand.
  • Jammu and Kashmir - the state where Mehbooba Mufti was recently sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister. The oath was administered by Governor N. N. Vohra. Nirmal Singh of BJP took over as the deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir for a second time when PDP-BJP government again came to power ending 11 weeks of political uncertainty. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti took oath as the Chief Minister and also became the first woman chief minister of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Delhi – the place which is having the best percentage of Aadhaar coverage with 109% coverage while Telangana is at 100% and Haryana at 96.4%. The two states with worst coverage is are Assam - 2.8% and Meghalaya -3.2%.
  • Madhya Pradesh – the state which got the honour of having the the world's first sanctuary for white tigers which was opened recently. The 25-hectare sanctuary at Mukundpur,20 km from Rewa, is currently home to only one white tiger, Vindhya.
  • Bihar - the state which recently became a complete 'dry state' banning sale and consumption of all kinds of liquor. The ban includes Indian-made foreign liquor(IMFL). Bihar joined only three other Indian states-Nagaland, Mizoram and Gujarat-to enforce a total ban on sale of liquor.
Current Affairs March 28th to April 03rd 2016

International

  • New Zealand – they recently voted convincingly against a proposal to ditch Britain's Union Jack from the national flag and adopt a silver fern design instead. 43.16% favoured the new design of a flag with a large silver fern as its main feature, designed by architectural designer Kyle Lockwood while 56.61% voters chose the existing flag.
  • Bangladesh – they recently launched the supply of 10GB of data per second bandwidth from Cox's Bazar to India. For the Internet broadband connectivity, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Co Ltd. (BSCCL) has laid a 30km optical fibre cable from Brahmanbaria to Akhaura, adjoining Agartala while Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has set up an International Long Distance (ILD) gateway at Agartala.
  • China – the country which opposed India's bid to ban at the United Nations JeM chief Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attacks. It is learnt that just hours before the deadline recently, China requested the UN committee, which is considering a ban on the chief of the Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), to keep on hold the designation.

National

  • Himachal Pradesh – the place which is having the highest number of LPG connections as % of households. It stands at 318 as against the All India average of 111 in urban areas and 35 in rural areas as per data of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. The government gas control order says that only one LPG connection is permitted for a household consisting of husband, wife, married children and dependent parents living in a dwelling unit having a common kitchen. The analysis of LPG connections across the country, however suggests the existence of as high as three connections per urban household in sharp contrast to the poor LPG accessibility in rural areas.
  • Belgium – the country which was recently visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India and Belgium vowed to work together to counter the misuse of religion by groups and countries for perpetrating terror acts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel agreed to facilitate regular exchange of civil society to promote the values of peace, tolerance and inclusion.
  • Nainital – the place in Uttarakhand where the Asia's biggest telescope was remotely inaugurated recently by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel from Brussels. The Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) with a 3.6 metre wide primary mirror is located at Devasthal near Nainital in Uttarakhand. This has been built with Belgian assistance.
  • Riyadh - the capital of Saudi Arabia which has the TCS All Women IT and ITES centre which was visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently during his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Current Affairs March 21st to March 27th 2016

International

  • China - the country which was visited by Prime Minister of Nepal recently which was termed as his efforts to reduce the land locked Himalayan country's dependency on India for trade and supply of essential items. Nepali PM KP Sharma met Chinese President Xi Jinping and signed 10 deals, including one on a new trans-border railway line and another on China opening up its seaports to Nepal for trade.

National

  • Uttarakhand - the state were President's rule was imposed recently and the state assembly was kept in suspended animation after President Pranab Mukherjee signed a proclamation under Article 356 recently. This was done just a day before Chief Minister Harish Rawat was slated to face a floor test to prove the Congress government's majority.
  • Goa – the state which is hosting the DEFEXPO2016. This was inaugurated by Manohar Joshi, India's Defence Minister at Naqueri Quitol in Quepem Taluka of South Goa on 28th March 2016. At its 9th edition, the DefExpo 2016 will host 1055 companies across 47 countries.
  • Pathankot - the place which the five member Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan will be visiting to probe the attack on Pathankot air base, marking the first ever such visit to the country to probe a terrorism case.
Current Affairs March 14th to March 20th 2016

International

  • Myanmar - the country which recently elected Htin Kyaw as the new President with the support of Aung Saan Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy. His election ushers in the long-time Opposition party into the government. He will be the first civilian President in Myanmar in more than five decades.
  • China - this country is planning to introduce Tobin Tax on foreign exchange transactions to curb currency speculation. The initial rate of the so called Tobin tax may be kept at zero, to allow authorities time to refine the rules.
  • Denmark - this country overtook Switzerland as the world's happiest place as per report prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The top 10this years were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
  • Pokhara - this city of Nepal hosted the SAARC foreign minister meet recently. India's External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met Pakistan's foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz.
  • London - this city recently deployed 10 pigeons armed with air pollution detectors on their backs to monitor pollution in the British capital. Equipped with GPS devices and pollution sensors to monitor nitrogen dioxide and ozone levels, the birds dubbed the 'Pigeon Air Patrol' were released from Primrose Hill, a wealthy area in north London.
  • Cuba - the country to which the US President Barrack Obama recently made a historic visit. He became the first President to visit Cuba in 88 years after he agreed in 2014 to improve relations with the Cold War foe. He addressed a joint Press Conference with Cuban President Raul Castro.
  • Brussels - the capital of Belgium. It was in news recently after it airport and other places was hit by terrorists attack. It is also the headquarters of European Union and NATO.
  • Cuba-the country to which the US President Barrack Obama recently made a historic visit. He became the first President to visit Cuba in 88 years after he agreed in 2014 to improve relations with the Cold War foe. He addressed a joint Press Conference with Cuban President Raul Castro.
  • Brussels
  • - the capital of Belgium. It was in news recently after it airport and other places was hit by terrorists attack. It is also the headquarters of European Union and NATO.

National

  • Srinagar – this place has the Asia's largest tulip garden which was opened for public viewing recently for this season. Located on the foothills of Zabarwan range, it was inaugurated in 2008 and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
  • Hyderabad - the city which hosted the India Aviation 2016- the fifth in the biennial series of international exhibition and conference on civil aviation which was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee where he called for improved air connectivity to small cities and the north-eastern states.
  • New Delhi - the city which hosted the three days World Sufi Forum which was organised recently. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Forum on the opening day which was dominated by discussions on terrorism.
  • Goa – the Indian state which will host the eighth annual summit of BRICS countries from October 15-16. The group of emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and south Africa accounts for 42% of the world population and a combined Gross domestic Product(GDP) of over$16trillion. India is the current chair of BRICS.
Current Affairs March 7th to March 13th 2016

International

  • Kuwait–this country recently re-imposed the ban on imports of Indian poultry.
  • Japan-this country researchers have identified a unique bacterium-Ideonella sakainsia 201-F6- that can almost completely degrade a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - in six weeks at the same temperature. The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradation- resistant polymer PET.
  • Australia-the Scientists from this countryrecently claimed to have created the world's thinnest lens which is 2,000 times thinner than the human hair, a breakthrough set to revolutionise nanotechnology. The finished lens is is 6.3 nanometres in size as compared to the previous smallest lens which was 50 nanometres thick. The lens has been created by a team of researchers led by Yuerui Lu from Australian National University. Scientists said the lens could have revolutionary applications in medicine, science and technology and it could be used to create bendable computer screens.
  • Japan-the country whichrecently observed the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster that took place on March 11, 2011 after a powerful tsunami hit the Japan coast. More than 3, 00,000 people had to be evacuated after three of Fukushima's six reactors blew up following the huge tsunami.

National

  • Mumbai-the venue of the Indian Maritime Summit to be held from 14-16th April, 2016. The Ministry of Sipping has identified 109 projects worth Rs.72, 864 crore on which agreement will be signed during the summit. South Korea will be the partner country for the summit.
  • Chennai–the city with most number of people with health cover as per the data from the National Family Health Survey 4 released by the Union Health Ministry recently. In Chennai 56.8% households are covered by health insurance followed by Hyderabad with 49.8% and Kolkata with 26.1%. Among metros, Mumbai (city) has the lowest with 12.4%.
Current Affairs February 29th to March 06th 2016

National

  • Assam - the state in which the Election Commission has announced the Assembly Elections along with that of Tamil Nadu, west Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.
Current Affairs February 22- 28th 2016

International

  • Chabahar Port- the strategic port in Iran for which the Indian government recently cleared proposals for its development including a $150-million credit from Exim Bank.
  • Nepal- the country, where a plane crash killed all 23 people on board recently. The Twin Otter aircraft operated by a private Tara Air took off over from Pokhran for Jomsom crashed into a hill in Myagdi district.

National

  • Kerala- this state recently was declared as India's first state to achieve the ability to put all of its work including public delaing, online.
Current Affairs February 15- 21st 2016

International

  • Sindh- the province in Pakistan which recently passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2015 thus becoming the first provincial legislature in Pakistan to formalize the recognition of Hindu, Sikh and Jain minorities.

National

  • Mumbai- this city was ranked as the noisiest city in India in a recent survey done by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
  • Mysuru- the Karnataka's palace and garden city which was declared the country's cleanest city for the second consecutive year in a Union urban development ministry's survey called Swachh Survekshan recently.
  • Gulf of Kutch- the place where the Zoological Survey of India has planned to come up with the country's first coral sanatorium where sick corals can be brought in from other reefs for speedy recovery. India has 5,790 sq.km of coral reefs and it is believed that 4000 species of the fishes in the world use coral reefs to protect themselves from rough ocean waves.
Current Affairs February 08- 14th 2016

International

  • Munich- the venue of the meeting of the 17 countries led group-International Syria Support Group which in its meeting agreed to halt hostilities in war-torn Syria.

National

  • JNU- stands for Jawaharlal Nehru University which was in news after arrest of its president on sedition charges.
  • Mumbai- the city which recently hosted the Make in India Week which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Current Affairs February 01- 07th 2016

International

  • Japan- the country which is going to start the world's first automated indoor farm with robots handling almost every steps of the process, from watering seedlings to harvesting crops. Kyoto based company, Spread is opening the 4,400 sq.m. of the farm with floor to floor shelves which will produce around 30,000 heads of pesticide free lettuce a day at the farm daily.
  • United Kingdom- for the first time in the world this country recently approved genetic modification of human embryos which are than a week old as part of research into infertility and miscarriages.
  • Rome- the place where the 23-nation conference of the US-led coalition was held recently to discuss strategy to fight the Islamic state.
  • Mount Sakurajima- the volcanic mountain in southern Japan which erupted recently with fiery bursts of super-hot rock and ash.
  • Taiwan- the country which was recently hit by an earthquake of 6.4-magnitude which killed many persons.

National

  • India – this country with 220 million smart phone user base at the end of 2015 recently surpassed US to become the second largest smart phone market after China.
  • Siachen- the world's highest and coldest militarized zone where 10 soldiers were believed to be buried under the snow deluge triggered on the northern side of the glacier recently. These soldiers were from the Madras Regiment of Indian Army.
  • Sikkim- the state which is soon to be linked by railway track after the Supreme Court showed the green flag to a litigation marred railway line from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim, a project hanging fire since 2009. The 44.9 km railway line will have 28 bridges and 14 tunnels and the total tunnel length would be around 38.55km, about 85.86%of the total route.
  • Vishakhapatnam-the venue of the recently held The International Fleet Review(IFR),2016 based on the theme of 'United through Oceans' in which as many as 90 ships including 24 warships and over 70 aircrafts of 50 nations participated.
Current Affairs January 25- 31st 2016

National

  • Arunachal Pradesh- the north eastern state of India in which President's Rule was imposed on 26th January 2016. The imposition of President's rule is the 30th instance for the eight-state Northeast since 1967. No state has undergone President's Rule as many times as Manipur.
  • India- this country recently signed an agreement with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • Gurgaon- the place where the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was inaugurated recently by India's PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
  • Pune- this city along with Visakhapatnam are the only two cities to be adopted by France and US respectively among the 20 cities selected by government for smart city project.
Current Affairs January 18- 24th 2016

International

  • China- the world's second-largest economy which grew at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century i.e. in the last 25 years. The 6.9% growth in 2015 is the lowest since 3.8% in 1990 a year after the Tiananmen Square crackdown which rocked China and isolated it internationally.
  • Charsadda- the town near Peshawar in Pakistan where many students died after militants attacked classrooms at the Bacha Khan University.

National

  • France- the country with which India recently signed 16 pacts, including an agreement between Airbus Group and Mahindra for manufacture of military helicopters and three MoU's under the 'Smart City' theme.
Current Affairs January 11- 17th 2016

International

  • Iran- the country from which the European Union and the US lifted the sanctions which were imposed by them. The sanctions were lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency certified Saturday on 16th January 2016 as Implementation Day-which Iran had completed its part of the agreement with western powers.

National

  • Ranchi- the place which is set to get the world's largest tricolor flying atop the country's tallest flag pole at the Pahari temple. The 293ft tall flag pole will surpass the present highest of 250 ft. at Faridabad and also will be 53 feet taller than the Qutub Minar.
Current Affairs January 04- 10th 2016

International

  • Saudi Arabia- the country which recently snapped its ties with Iran after strained relations over the execution of 47 terrorists which included Saudi Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr who inspired the Shia groups in Saudi Arabia to participate in protests.
  • Punggye-ri- the place where it is believed that North Korea tested its hydrogen bomb recently.

National

  • Manipur- the state which was severely hit by a powerful earthquake of 6.7 magnitudes which hit the northeastern parts of India recently. The epicenter of this earthquake was in Tamenglong district of Manipur.
Current Affairs December 21, 2015- January 03rd 2016

International

  • Pathankot- the airbase of this place was recently under threat after attack be terrorists from across the border.
  • Mysore- the venue of the 103rd Indian Science Congress which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.

National

  • Ramadi- the capital of Anbar province of Iraq which was recently recaptured by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)-seven months after it was lost to the Islamic State (IS).
  • Malaysia- the country whose scientists have built a street lamp that lures and traps mosquitoes by mimicking the scent of humans, while conserving energy by running on solar and wind power. A team from University of Malaya, headed by researcher Chong Wen Tong, developed the system to tackle the dengue outbreak in Malaysia.
Current Affairs December 21- December 27th 2015

National

  • India- this country topped the list in receiving remittances from abroad in 2015 as Indians living abroad sent home an estimated $72 billion(Rs.4.75 lakh crore) this year according to the World Bank's Migration and Remittances Fact book 2016.China($64 billion) and the Philippines($30billion) trail behind India at number two and three respectively.
Current Affairs December 14- December 20th 2015

International

  • Nairobi- the venue of the meeting of 160 trade ministers of World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • Saudi Arabia- the country which is heading the 34 Islamic nations anti-terror coalition to fight terrorism and will share information and train equip and provide forces if necessary for the fight against ISIS militants.
  • Peshawar- the Army Public School located here in Pakistan recently celebrated the first anniversary of the massacre of kids in a Taliban attack that left around 151 people dead.
  • Shenzhen- The place in south China's Guangdong province in which a major landslide collapsed and buried many buildings.

National

  • Sriharikota- ISRO recently in its 50th mission from this place put six satellites into orbit. The payloads were released at intervals of 30 seconds and 20km. This was the first time that ISRO tested a multiple burn fuel stage/rocket engine.
  • Bhuj- the place which hosted the all India directors Generals and inspector General's Conference in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Current Affairs December 07- December 13th 2015

International

  • Saudi Arabia- the women from this country recently voted for the first time, in a tentative step towards easing sex discrimination in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom.
  • Cuba- this country restored its direct postal services with US after a half century rupture in one of the bilateral deals since the former cold war foes re-established diplomatic ties in July 2015.
  • Gambia- the West African state which was recently declared as Islamic country by its President Yahya Jammeh.

National

  • Japan- this country concluded negotiations for a landmark civil nuclear pact with India and also agreed to give a $12 billion loan for India's first high speed train in a boost to the ties between Asia's second and third largest economies.
  • Varanasi- the historic city of India which was recently visited by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accompanied by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Current Affairs November 30- December 06th 2015

National

  • Singapore- the country which was recently visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he delivered the prestigious Singapore Lecture where he urged the world to delink religion from terrorism.
  • Putrajaya- the federal administrative complex south of Kuala Lumpur where India and Malaysia signed three MoU's for cooperation in cyber security, public administration and culture in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Rajak. The MoU on cyber security between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) and Cyber Security Malaysia will promote cooperation and exchange of information on cyber security incident management, cyber-attacks, technological cooperation, prevalent policies and mutual response to cyber security incidents. The MoU between the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and Malaysia's Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) will promote cooperation in management, delivery and monitoring of government programmes to improve efficiency and develop tools to monitor performance.
  • Panaji- the venue of the recently held International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
  • Bihar- the state which is set to be a dry state from April 1 next year after chief minister Nitish Kumar announced a complete ban on sale of alcohol, keeping a promise he made prior to the recent Assembly polls.
Current Affairs November 23- November 29th 2015

International

  • Russia- the country which put sanctions against Turkey following the downing of its plane by Turkey-the decree includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labour contracts for Turks working in Russia.
  • Paris- the venue of UN Conference on Climate to tackle global warming.

National

  • Singapore- the country which was recently visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he delivered the prestigious Singapore Lecture where he urged the world to delink religion from terrorism.
  • Putrajaya- the federal administrative complex south of Kuala Lumpur where India and Malaysia signed three MoU's for cooperation in cyber security, public administration and culture in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Rajak. The MoU on cyber security between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) and Cyber Security Malaysia will promote cooperation and exchange of information on cyber security incident management, cyber-attacks, technological cooperation, prevalent policies and mutual response to cyber security incidents. The MoU between the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and Malaysia's Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) will promote cooperation in management, delivery and monitoring of government programmes to improve efficiency and develop tools to monitor performance.
  • Panaji- the venue of the recently held International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
  • Bihar- the state which is set to be a dry state from April 1 next year after chief minister Nitish Kumar announced a complete ban on sale of alcohol, keeping a promise he made prior to the recent Assembly polls.
Current Affairs November 16- November 22nd 2015

National

  • Antalya- the place in Turkey which recently hosted the G20 summit where the leaders pledged a strong response to a spate of deadly attacks by ISIS in Paris recently which killed nearly 130 people. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for transparent,equitable,non-discriminatory and rule based global trading system and laid emphasis on the role of small and medium enterprises in the global value chain to expand global employment.
  • Taleigao- the place in Panaji, the capital of Goa which hosted the 46th International Film Festival of India(IFFI) recently.
  • Kuala Lumpur- the capital of Malaysia which recently hosted the ASEAN summit in which India was represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Current Affairs November 09- November 15th 2015

International

  • Maldives- the country which announced the end of state of emergency which was imposed last week after an alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

National

  • Wembley Stadium- the stadium in London where Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally along with Britain's PM David Cameron.
  • Tamil Nadu- the state which was affected by heavy rains recently in which many people died and many were affected.
  • Republic of Korea- the country with which India recently signed a MoU to enhance the bilateral air service co-operation whereby the capacity entitlement for both countries has been increased from six to nineteen services per week.
Current Affairs November 02- November 8th 2015

International

  • Maldives- this country declared the state of emergency as President Abdulla Yameen sought to shore up his power over the Indian Ocean island nation following a suspected assassination attempt.
  • Singapore- the neutral venue where Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and China's President Xi Jinping met for the first time since the formerly bitter Cold War foes split amid civil war 66 years ago and though no concrete agreement resulted both hailed the meeting as a sign of a new stability in relations.
  • Sierra Leone- the country which was recently declared free from Ebola epidemic that has killed almost 4,000 people, including more than 220 health workers since it began last year. The ceremony was held in the capital Free Town which was attended by President Ernest Bal Koroma and UN World Health Organisation representative Anders Nordstrom.

National

  • Spain- this country is going to be the focus country in the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to be held in Panaji, Goa.
Current Affairs October 26- November 1st 2015

International

  • Jurm- the place in Hindukush mountains in Afghanistan which is believed to the epicenter of earthquake which rocked many parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan with tremors in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • South China Sea- this region recently saw a tension gripping between China and US after a US warship USS Lassen entered Zhubi Reef, part of Spartly(Nansha) Islands which Beijing claims is within its maritime territory.
  • Nepal- they recently signed a deal with China for supply of petrochemicals products –ending four decades of Indian monopoly.
  • China- the country which recently ended its decade long one child policy and allowed the couples to have two children.
  • Vienna- the capital of Austria where leaders of 18 nations including the US, Iran and Russia and representatives from the European Union and United Nations met recently to discuss Syria.

National

  • New Delhi- the venue of the recently concluded India-Africa summit, which was attended by representatives from 54 South African countries. The meeting pitched for India and Africa getting their rightful place in global institutions, most importantly the United Nations Security Council and also collaboration between Africa and India in fighting climate change and terrorism.
  • India- this country was ranked 130 in the new Doing Business report released by the World Bank recently which is 4 places up from last year's list. The list was topped by Singapore.
Current Affairs October 19- October 25th 2015

National

  • Amravati- the place which has been selected to be the new futuristic capital of Andhra Pradesh. It was once the capital of south India's powerful Satavahana rulers. The foundation stone for the new capital city was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
Current Affairs October 12- October 18th 2015

National

  • Ramallah- the capital city of Palestine National authority which was visited by India's President Pranab Mukherjee recently. He crossed the Betunia checkpoint to enter Palestine from Israel to create history. He is the first Indian head of the state to reach to this conflict zone. President Mukherjee gifted a grant of $5million to Palestine and also announced five different projects amounting to $17.79 million.
  • Amman- the capital of Jordan where the Mahatma Gandhi Street was inaugurated by India's President Pranab Mukherjee recently.
Current Affairs October 05- October 11th 2015

International

  • Palmyra- the ancient oasis town of Syria also known as the 'Pearl of the Desert' is also a UNESCO heritage site situate about 210km north east of Damascus. This was in the news recently as ISIS destroyed the 2,000 year old Arch of Triumph.
  • Atlanta- the place where the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific rim nations reached final agreement on the largest regional trade accord in the history-Trans-Pacific Partnership-after years of negotiations. The Pacific accord would phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as other barriers to international trade.
  • Brussels- the capital of Belgium where the defence minister meeting of NATO nations was held recently which was chaired by NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

National

  • Germany- the country which pledged an investment of more than 1bn euros in Indian solar power projects as the two countries struck deals recently to strengthen green ties.
  • Bisada- the village in Uttar Pradesh which came into limelight after killing of one man over suspicion that he had stored and consumed banned cow meat.
  • India- this country accounted for the largest number of poor people in any country in 2012 but its poverty rate was lowest among countries having large number of poor population as per the World Bank report titled 'Ending Extreme Poverty and Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies' which was released recently. Extreme poverty is defined as living on or below $1.90 a day. In 2012 share of those in global population who live in extreme poverty was 902 million(12.8%) while in 2015 it is believed to fall to 702million(9.6%). The Rangarajan Panel considers people living on less than Rs.32 in rural areas and Rs.47 a day in urban areas as poor. A panel headed by late economist Suresh Tendulkar fixed the poverty line at Rs.27.2 in rural areas and Rs.33.3 in urban areas.
  • New Delhi- the place where the Cabinet recently approved a plan to construct a National War Memorial and a War Museum near India Gate to honour the memories of over 22,500 Indian soldiers who were killed in action post-independence.
Current Affairs September 28- October 04th 2015

National

  • Chang La- the place in Ladakh where the world's highest terrestrial R&D centre was opened recently. This place is above 17,600 feet above mean sea level. Named The Extreme Altitude Research Centre it will be run by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Current Affairs September 21- September 27th 2015

International

  • Queensland-the place in Australia where fossils of a giant herbivorous dinosaur dating back to more than 100 million years have been found. The Austrosaurus mckillopi was a land dwelling herbivorous dinosaur that grew up to 15m in length with a barrel like body and four pillar like legs.

National

  • Dublin- the capital of Ireland which was recently visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. Narendra Modi who became the first Indian PM to visit Ireland in 59 years addressed a joint press conference with his counterpart Enda Kenny. PM Modi expressed his gratitude to Ireland and mentioned that the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian constitution were inspired by Irish constitution and how Irish experts helped India get its Geological survey of India and the first Linguist survey of India.
Current Affairs September 14- September 20th 2015

International

  • Nepal- the country which adopted a long-delayed constitution that took more than seven years to complete. President Ram Baran Yadav signed the constitution and made the proclamation announcement recently.

National

  • Gujarat- the state which topped the list for being the best state for doing business in India as per World Bank study. The parameters were as agreed upon by DIPP and state and Union Territory government in December 2014.
Current Affairs September 07- September 13th 2015

International

  • Mecca- the Muslim holy city in which many people died recently after a crane crashed through a ceiling at the Grand Mosque.
  • Egypt- the government of this country resigned recently after it was rocked by a corruption scandal. The government led by Ibrahim Mahlab resigned after the arrest of agriculture minister Salah Helal on suspicion of taking bribes.
Current Affairs August 31- September 06th 2015

International

  • Mt McKinley- the highest mountain of North America which is 20,237 feet above sea level has been renamed as 'Denali'. US President barrack Obama recently decided to rename it meeting the long pending demand of Native Americans in Alaska.
  • China- the country which held its biggest display of tanks, missiles and troops at Tiananmen Square in a parade to commemorate 70 years of victory over Japan in World War II.
Current Affairs August 24- 30th 2015

International

  • Spain-the country which recently celebrated 70 years of the famous La Tomatina festival. The iconic fiesta which is billed as the 'the world's biggest food fight' has become a major draw for foreigners.
  • Mauna Loa- the barren region in Hawaii where six women and men shut themselves inside a dome to spend the next 12 months eating powdered cheese and with limited internet access-in the longest US isolation experiment that will help NASA prepare for its journey to Mars.

National

  • Nepal- the country with which India recently signed an agreement to construct a 41-km long pipeline connecting both countries. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) of the Rs.275 crore projects was signed recently by Indian petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Nepal's minister for commerce and supplies Sunil BahadurThapa.
  • Lasalgaon- the Asia's biggest onion market which is located in Maharashtra which was in news recently due to spiraling onion prices.
  • Maharashtra- the government of this state recently bought the famous Ambedkar house in London. It is the house where Dr. BR Ambedkar lived during his student days at the London School of Economics in the 1920s.
Current Affairs August 17- 23rd 2015

International

  • Peru- the place where the new species of Titi monkeys were discovered after Primatologist Jan Vermeer pursued a specimen he saw in 2008 until he found live ones in the Peruvian jungles.

National

  • Jaipur- the venue of the 2nd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit (FIPIC), being hosted by India, which aimed at stepping up cooperation with the island nations, some which have large oil and gas reserves.The14 island nations taking part in the FIPIC summit include Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Niue, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Current Affairs August 10- 16th 2015

International

  • Zimbabwe- the country which partially lifted a ban on big game hunting around Hwange National Park that was imposed after an international outcry over the killing of Cecil, the country's most prized lion by an American last month.
  • Tianjin- the northern port city of China, which was recently hit by huge explosions at a warehouse storing volatile chemicals which killed many persons.

National

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque- the famous mosque located in Abu Dhabi which was visited by PM Narendra Modi recently. This is the first visit by an Indian Prime minister to the UAE in 34 years.
Current Affairs August 03- 09th 2015

International

  • Reunion Island- the island in the Indian Ocean where the debris of the disappeared Malaysian airlines MH370 is believed to have been found recently.

National

  • Nagaland- the state which will be benefitted most from the historic peace accord signed between Central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) recently at New Delhi.
  • Harda- the town of Madhya Pradesh where two trains derailed after the flash floods set off by torrential rain weakened tracks over a swollen river.
  • Mysore- this city of Karnataka topped the list of nationwide survey conducted by the urban development ministry as part of its Swachh Bharat Mission. The survey covered 476 cities and municipalities in 31 states and union territories each with a population of more than 1, 00,000 people. The top city was followed by Tiruchirappalli(Tamil Nadu),Navi Mumbai(Maharashtra),Koch(Kerala) and Hassan(Karnataka).
Current Affairs July 27- August 02nd 2015

International

  • Beijing- the Chinese capital was recently elected to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. They beat Almaty in Kazakhstan to become the first city to be awarded the summer and winter games.

National

  • Rameswaram- the birthplace of former President APJ Abdul Kalam where he was laid to rest with full state honours.
  • India- this country is going to be the world' most populous nation by 2022 according to the UN's2015 Revised World Population Prospect Report.
  • Bangladesh- the country with which India recently implemented the Land Boundary Agreement, 1974. India has 111 enclaves inside Bangladesh territory while Bangladesh has 51 enclaves in India's territory. These territories will merge with respective located country but the people will have the option to decide where they want to settle.
Current Affairs July 20- July 26th 2015

International

  • Cuba- the country with which USA restored its diplomatic relations officially recently, 54 years after the ties were broken.
  • Nairobi- the capital of Kenya which recently hosted the Global entrepreneurship Summit which was also attended by US President Barrack Obama and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Current Affairs July 13- July 19th 2015

International

  • Azraq-the place in Lebanon where Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai recently opened a school for the Syrian refugees.
  • Greece- the country which agreed to follow a strict European Union terms in a bailout deal which is much harsher than those rejected by it in a referendum a week ago. Greece agreed to a swathe of labour reforms, privatization, deregulation of several economic sectors and more, increased taxes cut across the board and more cuts in government expenditure, including reduced pensions and 50bn Euro investment fund drawn from Greek govt. assets to be managed by EU officials. In lieu of this EU will provide immediate finance of 7bn Euro to save Greece's collapsing bank with a further 5bn Euro by August.
  • Iran- the country with which the west countries signed the landmark N-deal to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. The accord will keep this country away from producing enough material for an atomic weapon for at least 10 years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites. Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the Us, European Union and UN will be lifted.

National

  • Tajikistan- the country where the bust of Rabindranath Tagore was unveiled jointly by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with country's President Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe recently. Two agreements in the fields of culture and skill development were also signed between the two countries.
  • Puri- the century's first Nabakalebra Rath Yatra (chariot festival) of the Jagannath Temple in Odisha was held recently.
Current Affairs July 06- July 12th 2015

International

  • Greece- the country which voted against austerity measures in the referendum held on 5th July 2015 in which 6.16 millions Greeks voted.

National

  • Tashkent- the capital of Uzbekistan which was recently visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he held bilateral talks with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.
  • Astana- the capital of Kazakhstan which was recently visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Ufa- the Russian city which recently hosted the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Shanghai Organisation summit which were attended by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Ashgabat- the capital of Turkmenistan which was recently visited by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi where India recently signed 7 pacts with this country and stressed for early implementation of $10bn TAPI pipeline project.
Current Affairs June 29- July 05th 2015

International

  • Taipei- the capital of Taiwan where around 500 people died recently after fire broke out in its Formosa Fun Coast Park.
  • Medan- the place where the Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed shortly after take-off killing around 116 people.
  • Cuba- the country with which US has decided to resume full diplomatic ties after more than five decades. The US broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1959 after Fidel Castro and his brother and current president Raul Castro overthrew a US-backed government in a revolution. They formally snapped ties in 1961, shuttering their embassies, the year before the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that brought the world to the edge of a nuclear war.
  • Palmyra- the Syrian town where a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, the 10 foot statue weighing 15 tonnes known as the Lion of Al-Lat was destroyed by Islamic state group jihadists.

National

  • New Delhi- the place where Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the "Digital India Week" in an effort to bridge India's digital divide and make governance more technology enabled and efficient. The digital programmes announced were- digital lockers to store documents, e-Sign using Aadhaar, e-Hospital systems, National Scholarship Portal, Centre of Excellence on Internet on Things(IoT) and a high-speed digital highway- that aims to make government services more efficient, easily accessible and hassle free.
  • Chennai- the much awaited metro service was inaugurated here recently by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Current Affairs June 22- June 28th 2015

International

  • Mount Sinabung- the volcano in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia which erupted recently.
  • Panama- this country topped the Gallup-Heathway's Index that ranks countries on the basis of resident's sense of purpose, social, financial, health and community well-being. India was placed 70th in the list of 145 countries.
  • United States- the country which joined the growing community of nations to legalize same sex marriages.
  • Port el Kantaoui- the popular Mediterranean resort of Tunisia in which gunmen killed 37 people in the country's worst attack in recent history.
  • Sri Lanka- the Parliament of this neighbouring country was dissolved recently by its President Maithripala Sirisena in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms.
  • Vatican- this country signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" calling for courageous decisions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backing a two-state solution.
  • Greece- the parliament of this country recently approved the referendum on the latest offer of a debt deal by the country's EU-IMF creditors.

National

  • Nathu La- the famous pass in Sikkim through which the pilgrims crossed over to China for the final leg of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra with the land route reopened after over 50 years following the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
Current Affairs June 15- June 21st 2015

International

  • Britain- the country which recently celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta-the human rights document which was sealed on June 15, 1215 by King John in Runnymede beside the Thames.

National

  • India- this country was recently declared home to the fourth largest number of ultra-high-net-worth households which have more than US$100mn (Rs.642 cr.) in private wealth as per The Boston Consulting Group's 'Global Wealth 2015.'
Current Affairs June 8- June 14th 2015

International

  • Nepal- the country which adopted the new constitution as per which country would be divided into 8 federal states, will have a bicameral parliament with the lower house having 275 members-60% of them would be filled through direct elections and the rest by proportional representation. The upper house will have 45 seats.
  • Tbilisi- the capital of Georgia where zoo animals roamed free after its infrastructure was damaged due to bursting of bank of River Vere.

National

  • Myanmar- the country in which Indian paratroopers of the elite 21 Para (Special Force) Regiment conducted cross border strikes on two insurgent camps.
Current Affairs June 1- June 7th 2015

International

  • Kruen-the place near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, where the leaders from Group of Seven (G-7) industrial nations met recently.

National

  • Chandel- the district of Manipur located on the border of Myanmar where 18 army men were killed after an ambush by militants.
Current Affairs May 25- May 31st 2015
  • Cuba- this country was recently removed from list of state sponsors of terrorism by USA.
Current Affairs May 18- May 24th 2015

International

  • Ireland- the country which recently voted to allow the same sex marriage, marking the culmination of four decade struggle for gay rights.
Current Affairs May 11- May 17th 2015

National

  • Xian- the place in China, famous for the terracotta army â€"the museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses-a World Heritage site-which was recently visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his China visit.
  • Ulan Bator- the capital of Mongolia where Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit signed a host of trade and defence agreements and upgraded ties to strategic partnership.

International

  • Palestine- this state was recently recognized officially by the Vatican sparking Israeli ire and accusations.
Current Affairs May 04- May 10th 2015

National

  • Iran- notwithstanding US objections, India recently signed an agreement with this country for the development of the strategically important Chabahar port, which will give India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
Current Affairs April 27- May 3rd 2015

International

  • Baltimore- the US city which erupted into violence after the death of 25 year old black man who died after suffering a spinal injury in police custody.
  • Changsha- the place in China's Huan province where the Broad Sustainable Building Company of China claims to have set a record by erecting a 57 storey skyscraper in just 19 working days called Mini Sky City building.

National

  • Moga- the district of Punjab which came in news after a girl was thrown out of the bus after which he died.
Current Affairs April 20- April 26th 2015

International

  • China- this country recently signed a MoU with Pakistan to build a 3,000 km economic corridor from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in China's western Xinjiang region.
  • Puerto Montt- the city of Chile where the Calbuco volcano erupted recently after remaining inactive for 50 years.
  • Gallipoli- the place in Turkey where Britain's Prince Charles and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pay homage to the Turkish memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I battle of Gallipoli.
  • Lamjung- the place near Kathmandu which was the epicenter of 7.9 magnitude earthquake, Nepal's worst in 81 years where many thousands of people died recently. The major building which collapsed was nine storey Dharahara tower built in 1832 which was brought down by earthquakes twice in 1834 and 1934 and was restored in 1936. Durbar Square, a UNESCO site was also destroyed along with several ancient temples.

National

  • Erode â€" the district of Tamil Nadu where the proposal to set up bottling and manufacturing plant of Coca-Cola was cancelled recently after farmers protest.
Current Affairs April 13- April 19th 2015

International

  • Lampedusa- the southern Island of Italy where a fishing boat packed with migrants capsized killing around 700 persons in one of the worst disasters of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
  • Washington- the venue of the International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting in which India was represented by Finance minister Arun Jaitley.

National

Current Affairs April 5- April 12th 2015

International

  • Hokota- the coast located in the north east of Tokyo where more than 150 dolphins were found stranded on the coast.
  • Panama City- the city where US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro signed the historical agreement which will remove Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
  • Hannover- the place in Germany where the world's largest fair for industrial technology where India is the official partner this year was inaugurated jointly by India's Prime minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Current Affairs March 30- April 5th 2015

International

  • Garissa- the place where many students of Kenya's Moi University campus were killed in militant attack.
  • Sana- the capital of war-torn Yemen from where lots of Indians were evacuated recently by the Indian government.
  • Lausanne- the place in Switzerland, where Iran recently signed the historic nuclear agreement. As per the agreement Iran will reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, there will be no enrichment at the underground Fordow site for about 15 years. Iran has also agreed to grant access to IAEA inspectors. In return Iran will not have to close any nuclear facility altogether, it will see US and EU sanctions suspended, increasing possibility of integration with the global economy.
Current Affairs March 23-29th 2015

International

  • French Alps- the area where an airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airlines crashed recently killing around 150 persons. The flight 4U9525 was going from Barcelona to Dusseldorf in Germany.
  • Saudi Arabia- the country which recently launched airstrikes in Yemen against the Shia Muslim rebels.

National

  • Golden Temple- this historic temple was visited by Narendra Modi for the first time after becoming Prime Minister. He also paid tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on Martyr's day on 23rd March.
  • Qatar- the country with which India inked six agreements on energy, investment during the visit of Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani . This country is also the largest source of India's LNG imports at 86%.
Current Affairs March 16-22nd 2015

International

  • China- this country recently surpassed Germany to become the third biggest arms exporter after US and Russia as per the report given by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • Warwick- the place in UK where the foundation stone of a new National Innovation Centre (NAIC) was laid down by Tata group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and chairman Cyrus Mistry along with Warwick Manufacturing Group's founder Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya. The centre, which will be the largest research centre of its kind in Europe is funded by Tata Motors owned Jagaur Land Rover, the University of Warwick and Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  • Bardo Museum- the national museum of Tunisia located in the capital Tunis which was recently attacked by gunmen killing many persons including foreign nationals.
  • Sanaa- the capital of Yemen where suicide bombers killed many people in what was the country's deadliest militant attack in years.
  • Svalbard- the place in Norway which along with Faroes, recently witnessed the total eclipse for about 2.5 minutes. This was the first eclipse in the region around the Faroes in 60 years.
  • Seoul- the place where the foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan met for the first time in three years to work together to improve ties strained by historical and territorial issues and restore trilateral summit talks amog their leaders.
Current Affairs March 9-15th 2015

International

  • Saudi Arabia- this country overtook India as the world's biggest weapons importer in 2014 as per HIS, a provider of global market and economic information.
  • Kazakhstan- the place where the Soyuz TMA-14M capsule with International Space Station crew members Barry Wilmora, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova landed after spending more than six months on the space station.

National

  • Seychelles- the first country to be visited by prime minister Narendra Modi on his three nation tour which also included Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
  • Mahe- the place where Prime minister unveiled a plaque during dedication of India Seychelles cooperation project "Coastal Surveillance Radar System".
  • Sri Lanka- the country where India's Prime Minister visit happened after 28 years when India's PM Narendra Modi visited the island nation. Earlier this country was visited by Sh. Rajiv Gandhi in 1987.
  • London- the historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled here at the Parliament square recently in a rare honour bestowed by the British government. The 9 ft. statue was unveiled jointly by British Prime Minister David Cameron and India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • Goa- the state which was in the news for when the Gandhi Jayanti holiday was missing from Government holiday list .
  • Varanasi- the place from where the government is preparing to launch its first scheme for minorities, a national crafts programme called "Ustad" linked to the "Make in India" campaign.
Current Affairs March 1-8th 2015

International

  • Singapore- this has been named as the most expensive city in the world for a second year in a row, followed by Paris, according to a research by Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  • Montreux- the lakeside town of Switzerland where US secretary of state John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the first round over Iran's nuclear programme.

National

  • Uttarakhand- the state where the National Board for Wildlife recently cleared the aerial ropeway between Ghangari and Hemkund Sahib to boost tourism.
February 2015

International

  • United Kingdom- this country recently became the first country to allow three parent babies-DNA from two women and one man.
  • Taiwan- the country in which a TransAsia Airways plane crashed into a river in Taipei killing many persons.
  • Sanaa- the capital of Yemen , where the United States, Britain and France recently closed their embassies in the wake of Shia rebels taking over the country.
  • Ilyama city- the city of Japan which broke the world record by making 1585 snowmen in one hour recently smashing the previous Guinness World record by 306 made in the United States in 2011.

National

  • Iran- the country to which India owes over $ 4 billion( about Rs.25000 crore) for oil purchases . The government is likely to allow third country exports of food, medicine and medical equipment to this country in a bid to cut down the huge oil import bill. Third country exports refer to outbound shipments of goods, which are first imported by India and exported with value additions.
  • India to build five ultra mega power projects, economists sceptic
    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his government plans to build five new ultra mega power projects totalling 20,000 MW which will unlock investment of up to Rs.1 lakh crore. Economists, however, seemed sceptic.
    The step has been planned with the aim of electrification of the remaining 20,000 villages in the country by 2020.
    "The government proposes to set up five new ultra mega power projects, each of 4,000 MWs in the plug-and-play mode.
    "All clearances and linkages will be in place before the project is awarded by a transparent auction system. This should unlock investments to the extent of Rs.1 lakh crore," Jaitley told the Lok Sabha while presenting the budget for 2015-16.
  • Reliance Power to build 6,000 MW solar park in Rajasthan
    Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rajasthan government to develop a 6,000 MW solar park in the state over the next 10 years.
    Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation managing director B.K. Doshi and Reliance Power's senior executive vice president Suresh Nagarajan signed the MoU in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Reliance Power chairman Anil Ambani.

  • India's First Double Hand Transplant Successful
    Doctors at a private hospital here in Kerala have registered a rare feat of conducting India's first successful double hand transplant.
    The transplant was conducted at Amrita Institute of Medical Science here Jan 12 and 13 on a 30-year-old train accident victim, who received both hands of a 24-year-old road accident victim.
    Subramania Iyer, professor and head of the plastic surgery department, said that only 110 successful hand transplants have been conducted so far in the US, European countries, China and Australia, since the first one in France 13 years ago.

January 2015

International

Tokyo- this city recently topped the list of safest cities in the world in the safe cities index 2015 listed by The Economist.

Bund- the district of Shanghai in China, where many people died recently, in stampede during the New Year celebrations.

National

Mumbai â€" this city recently hosted the 102nd Indian Science Congress.

Pune- the city which recently hosted the two day conclave of all heads of banks called 'Gyan Sangam'.

Gandhinagar- the venue of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in presence of US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

London- Ambedkar's house where he lived in 1921 as student is located here in UK and the Maharashtra government has decided to buy this house for Rs.35 crore.

Siri Fort Auditorium- the famous auditorium in New Delhi where US President Barack Obama reached to the Indian youths with many Hindi phrases.


Hindustan Zinc constructs 10,000 toilets in Rajasthan

Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company, said it has constructed 10,000 toilets in Rajasthan as part of its Maryaadaa (dignity) campaign that will build 30,000 such units and free some 80 villages in the state from open defection.

"We have completed the construction of 10,000 toilets in the districts of Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Bhilwara," said Pavan Kaushik, head of corporate communications, adding around 60 percent of the state's population defecates in the open.

Joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Campaign, the company has signed an agreement with the state government to construct 30,000 toilets and make over 80 villages free of open defecation within the next five years, he said.

India to reconstruct pillars on India-Nepal border

A senior Indian security official said India will take the initiative for the reconstruction of damaged border pillars on the India-Nepal border.

In the course of an inspection at Indo-Nepal border in Kanchanpur district in far west Nepal, chief at the Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) of India, Pilibhit sector, DIG K.P. Singh said India has planned to carry out repair and maintenance of the border pillars.

A recent meeting of surveyor generals of Nepal and India held in Kathmandu also agreed to reconstruct the damaged pillars, erect the missing ones and clear the Dash Gaja or no man's land area. The SSB is guarding the border on the Indian side and Nepal's Armed Police Force on the Nepali side.

PM Modi Marks Diwali In Siachen, Announces Rs.745 Crore More For Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to the icy heights of Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir where he lauded the armed forces and promised a national memorial for Indian soldiers. He later announced an additional relief package of Rs.745 crore for the flood-ravaged state.

The Siachen halt marked the start of a visit on Diwali day to the state where he later met victims of the recent floods â€" the most destructive in 50 years â€" at Raj Bhavan, an event boycotted by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

"I am fortunate that as a servant of the nation, I got to see in what circumstances the soldiers have to live here," Modi said, addressing troops in Hindi in freezing temperature at the world's highest battlefield.

Classes begin in Nalanda University â€" after over 800 years

Classes opened Monday at the Nalanda University, an ancient international centre for learning in Bihar, after a break of over 800 years with 15 students, its vice chancellor said.

"We have formally started the academic session of Nalanda University Monday morning in the International Convention Centre at the Buddhist pilgrim town of Rajgir," Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabhrawal told IANS. Rajgir is about 100 km from Patna.Sabhrawal said the ancient Nalanda University functioned from 413 AD to 1193 AD.

Classes for the School of Historical Sciences and the School of Environment and Ecology have started for the first session 2014-15.

Three Indian Cities To Be Named For Smart Cities Project

Three Indian cities are in line to be adopted for the government's "smart cities" project by way of technology and infrastructure upgrade during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's talks in Washington that are also set to see major cooperation with the US in the field of renewable energy.

The Modi government is keen to push ahead with its smart cities project under which 100 smaller cities are to be upgraded to match the resources of the top metros. Japan has evinced interest in developing the oldest living city of Varanasi into a smart city.

Three Indian cities are likely to be identified as part of the smart cities project during talks in Washington, said an official source declining to be named.

Kolkata celebrates 325th anniversary of Job Charnock's landing

A discussion by the Hooghly river at sunset, exhibitions showcasing British-era buildings of the city and cultural programmes Sunday marked the 325th anniversary of English trader Job Charnock's landing in 1690.

Charnock was considered to be the founder of Kolkata but in 2003, the Calcutta High Court ruled against it saying Kolkata's existence is older than Charnock's landing. However, this didn't stop enthusiasts from celebrating it as Kolkata's 324th 'birthday' Sunday.

Intellectuals and artists gathered a decorated cruise vessel by the river as dhaakis (drummers) set the mood for the evening. Prominent among them were singers Usha Uthup and Haimanti Shukla. Conch shells were blown to welcome the participants to a session on the city's cultural evolution.

India's Biggest Incubation Hub To Be Launched In Hyderabad

India's biggest incubation hub will be launched in Hyderabad by the year-end or early next year, Telangana's Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao announced Wednesday.

The Telangana government is developing the hub in collaboration with International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad, Indian School of Business (ISB) and NALSAR University of Law.

T-Hub, as the incubation centre will be known, is coming up at IIIT campus. The facility will be spread over 80,000 square feet and can accommodate 400 start-ups. The first phase will be ready by year-end or January-February next year and he claimed that this itself will be India's biggest incubation hub.

The minister said ISB would provide business mentoring, IIIT technology mentoring while NALSAR would help in intellectual property and related areas.

Himachal CM Launches E-Vidhan Project

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Monday launched a Rs.8.12 crore e-Vidhan project of the state legislative assembly.

The monsoon session of the assembly, slated to begin Wednesday, will now go paperless. The session will have 16 sittings and will conclude Aug 29.

"A new chapter has been added in the history of the state assembly as it has become the first state in India to launch the e-Vidhan project," the chief minister said.

Speaker B.B.L. Butail said the project would save an annual expenditure on papers from Rs.15 crore to Rs.10 crore.

"From sending questions online and receiving replies in an e-format, we are going to do away with the entire hard copy format," Butail told IANS.

The chief minister said this would make the work completely paperless and online. "It is a rare feat for the state. It would improve the efficiency and is environmental friendly as it would reduce the usage of paper."

PM to inaugurate naval flight test facility in Goa

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will this week inaugurate the flying deck-like Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) for naval aircraft at the INS Hansa, a naval base in Goa, officials said.

Modi is expected to inaugurate the facility Friday, according to Indian Navy officials.

Kashmir Government Increases Employees Retirement Age To 60

The Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday enhanced the retirement age of its employees to 60 years from the existing 58.

The decision was taken by the state cabinet at a meeting chaired here by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Abdullah has been taken quick administrative decisions and making "people friendly" announcements after the debacle of the ruling National Conference(NC)-Congress coalition in the Lok Sabha elections in which it did not win a single of the state's six parliamentary seats.

Tripura tops list for giving rural jobs for fifth year

Tripura has kept its top position for the fifth consecutive year for offering 66 person-days so far in the current fiscal in executing the central government's flagship rural jobs scheme MGNREGS, a minister said here Monday.

"Tripura has been providing the highest average employment for the past five years under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)," said Rural Development Minister Jitendra Chaudhury.

India To Build 200 Low-Cost Airports

India plans to build 200 low-cost airports in the next 20 years to connect tier-II and tier-III cities, said a civil aviation ministry official.

This will be one of the focus areas of India Aviation 2014, the country's largest civil aviation exhibition and conference beginning here Wednesday.

Gorakhpur railway station world's longest platform

Gorakhpur railway station's platform number one of Uttar Pradesh has entered into the Limca Book of Records as longest rail platform in the world. The certificate given by the Limca Book of Records was unveiled on 10 January 2014 by KK Atal, the General Manager North Eastern Railways (NER).

The platform's length is 1355.40 meters and was inaugurated in 6 October 2013. Before the platform number one of Gorakhpur, the platform of Kharagpur railway station of West Bengal had the distinction of being world's largest platform with length of 1072.5 meters.

World War II aircraft wreckage found in Manipur

A wreckage of an aircraft has been found by the residents of an interior village of Manipur at Konu Hil in Senapati district in January 2014. It is believed that the wreckage is of an aircraft from the Second World War.

The wreckage of the aircraft comprise of main engine, which was detected by the members of Youth Club of Senjam Chirang village. The aircrafts wreckage weighs about 300 kilogram and had 14 pistols. It is possible that the aircraft would be of the forces, who were engaged in a battle with the Japanese forces in Manipur.

Places in News 2013

There were several places in India that were in the news in 2013. However, their importance became more to every Indians when natures furry, fires accidents and mishap occurred. Acts of terror and communal riots too have brought certain places on the national radar. Here we try to recapture the scene of several places in India that hogged the limelight in 2013.

Natures Furry

Quake in J&K - Himachal Pradesh: On May 1, a 5.8-magnitude quake with the epicenter near the Jammu and Kashmir-Himachal Pradesh border led to tremors in Delhi and large parts of north India, including Srinagar, Jammu, Shimla and Chandigarh.

Uttarakhand Floods: These floods caused in June 2013 by a multi-day cloudburst centered on the state of Uttarakhand are being considered country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. According to figures provided by the Uttarakhand government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." The Indian Air Force, the Indian Army, and paramilitary troops evacuated more than 110,000 people from the flood ravaged area.

Cyclone Phailin: Cyclonic storm Phailin on October 13 slammed east coast near Gopalpur in Odisha, triggering heavy rains and strong winds with speed reaching up to 200 km an hour. However, the state governments had taken admirable rescue evacuation measures as more than 500,000 people were shifted to safety already in one of India's biggest evacuation in 23 years.

Cyclone-Helen- Helen, the cyclonic storm in Bay of Bengal, hit the Andhra Pradesh on November 22. Prior to its arrival, heavy rains lashed the state. The cyclone claimed several lives and lot of damage, especially to agriculture in the state. AP had only just breathed a sigh of relief from Helen when it another storm in Bay of Bengal, christened Lehar, started closing in. Evacuation and rescue measures had kicked off. However, Lehar took a dive as it weakened into deep depression and major devastation was avoided.

Fires, accidents & mishaps:
Mumbai slum blaze: A major fire broke out in a slum near Bandra station in west Mumbai, which gutted 100 huts. People were caught unaware as they were sleeping.

Allahabad Kumbh Mela Mishap: The world's largest congregation of people, the 55-day Kumbh Mela, began on Makar Sankranti with thousands of devotees taking a dip at the Sangam â€" the meeting point of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers. A fire broke in one of the residential camps in Mela. As many as 19 people were injured, six of them including three women suffered serious burns, as the fire engulfed tents.

Allahabad railway station stampede: As many as 36 people died and over a dozen injured when a railing of an overbridge at Allahabad railway station fell down. This happened because here was a huge rush since three crore devotees took a holy dip at the Kumbh Mela during the biggest bathing day 'Mauni Amavasya'

Ratangarh Durga temple stampede: This stampede on October 13 was one of the most destructive as it claimed 115 lives and Stampede injured over 100 people. Stampede was supposedly triggered by rumors that the bridge over Sindh river the devotees were crossing was about to collapse

Bangalore-Nanded Express Train Fire: At least 26 passengers, including 12 women and two children, were burnt to death on December 28 when an air-conditioned coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express caught fire near Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.

"INS Sindhurakshak" mishap: On 14 August, in a huge set back to Indian Navy, a conventional submarine; "INS Sindhurakshak" exploded after a fire on board and sank in the naval dockyars in Mumbai. In this mishap, 18 persons, including 3 officers were feared killed. A small intensity explosion was followed by two massive blasts, causing major fire in the Russian made submarine.

Terror & Riots

Terror strikes Hyderabad: Twin explosions in Hyderabad killed at least 12 people and injured over 50 people. This was the first terror strike in the city since 2007 in the twin cities.

Muzaffarnagar Riots: Beginning on August 27, clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh claimed 43 lives and injured 93. It is being described as the worst violence in UP in recent memory.

60 percent of Maharashtra’s Muslims below poverty line

Nearly 60 percent of Muslims in both urban and rural areas of Maharashtra fall in the below poverty line (BPL) category, a state-government appointed panel has revealed.

As much as 59.40 percent of the urban Muslim population and 59.80 percent of the rural Muslim population fell in the category, while another 25 percent of the community was living just barely above the BPL mark, said the report by a committee headed by retired civil servant Mehmoodur Rehman.

Rehman headed a committee of social scientists which was set up five years ago to study the educational, social and economic backwardness of the Muslim population in the state. It submitted its report to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here Monday.

A top official said that the report has been received and the government will study it before taking further steps on its recommendations.

Among other things, it had urged a ban on the practice of ‘triple talaaq’ (divorce in one sitting) and called for reforms in the Muslim community with regard to gender equality.

According to the findings, while 70 percent of the Muslims were centred in urban areas, they faced a major problem problem of housing.

The remaining 30 percent in the rural areas did not have satisfactory access to various poverty alleviation programmes of both the central and state governments.

The record in educational opportunities was equally disturbing, with only 2.2 percent of the total Muslims completing graduation, while only 1.4 percent of Muslim women do so.

“The work participation rate among the Muslims is 32.4 percent and the women work participation is only 12 percent.”

It also mentioned the low representation enjoyed by Muslims in government jobs at various levels.

While in the Indian Administrative Service cadre of Maharashtra, the presence of Muslims is “as good as non-existent”, in the police force, they account for a presence of about a mere 4.4 percent.

“Muslims should have a reservation of 10 percent, or at least 8 percent in the employment and admissions to all educational institutions including the professional courses,” it recommended.

The committee suggested a ban on the practice of ‘arbitrary’ talaaq (divorce) and making alimony compulsory to the divorced woman.

The report also expressed concern over police harassment and the large number of cases registered against Muslims.

“While the total populace of the community in the state is 10.6 percent, the jail occupancy statistics range between 32-35 percent,” it said.

Given these figures, it has suggested setting of a commission to find out the causes behind the disproportionate share of Muslims in state jails and suggest corrective actions that can be taken to avoid this.

The committee also asked the government to come down heavily on police personnel violating the basic fundamental rights of the Muslim community and stressed the need for an open dialoge and interaction between communities on the lines of several European countries.

Cabinet approves over Rs.3,000 crore-worth highway projects

The government Wednesday approved upgrading of two highway projects under the National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) with a total outlay of Rs.3,018.91 crore.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) approved the development of the Aurangabad-Yedeshi section of National Highway (NH) 211 and the Sangrur-Haryana border section of NH 71.

The Aurangabad-Yedeshi section in Maharashtra, with a total length of 190 km, will be developed as a four-lane road on a build, operate and transfer (BOT-Annuity) basis. It will cost Rs.2,406.63 crore.

“This (Aurangabad-Yedeshi section) stretch is a link between NH-3 and NH-4 in Maharashtra and shall be giving feeder traffic to ‘Yedeshi-Solapur’ meeting golden quadrilateral NH-4 at Solapur city,” the CCEA said in a statement.

According to the CCEA, the Sangrur-Haryana border section of NH 71 in Punjab will be developed under NHDP Phase-IV on a build, operate and transfer (BOT-Annuity) through design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) pattern.

The section will be developed as a four-lane road with a total length of 57 km and will cost Rs.612.28 crore. “The main townships on the project highway are Sangrur, Patran and Khanauri,” the statement added.

'Half Of Jharkhand Legislators Face Criminal Cases'

Nearly half of Jharkhand's 81 legislators face different types of criminal cases, and 20 of them face serious criminal cases, says an affidavit filed in the Jharkhand High Court by the state government.

"The state government has submitted a list of 40 legislators in the Jharkhand High Court who are facing different types of criminal cases. More than 20 of these legislators are facing cases in which the sentence could be 10 years to life imprisonment," Rajeev Kumar, a lawyer who filed a petition in the court on behalf of India Against Corruption (IAC), told IANS.

Sikkim's First Airport To Be Ready By 2014

Sikkim's first airport will be completed by end-2014 providing much-needed air connectivity to the landlocked state, Tourism Minister Bhim Prasad Dhungel said here Thursday.

Speaking after meeting union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi, Dhungel said the airport at Pakyong, 30 km south of the state capital Gangtok, is being constructed by the Airports Authority of India on 200 acres of land. At an altitude of 4,700 feet, it will be one of the five highest airports in India.

Indian Navy to launch indigenous aircraft carrier Aug 12

The Indian navy will launch its first indigenous aircraft carrier Aug 12 at Kochi, making the country only the fifth in the world with capability to build such vessels.

Talking to media persons here, navy vice chief Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan said the 40,000 tonne indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) was one of its most prestigious warship projects and was unprecedented in terms of size and complexity.

Government Open To 100 Percent Private Equity In Six Airports

The government is willing to allow 100 percent equity by private companies to manage six government-owned airports.

Under PPP model, management and operations of Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati airports will be awarded to private players for a concession period of 30 years from the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

ISRO to assemble another engine for aborted GSLV

The Indian space agency will assemble another engine to fly its heavy rocket geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV), while packing off the leaking one to its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) for detailed study, an official said Tuesday.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had called off the launch of its GSLV rocket carrying the communication satellite GSAT-14 Aug 19 after the liquid fuel started leaking like a tap from the rocket's second stage.

Unique, green air-cooling system for Nalanda University

Architects building the Nalanda International University at the ancient seat of learning in Bihar have decided to use the desiccant enhanced evaporative (Devap) air-cooling system. This is the first time such a system will be used in India.

The Devap system works by using 'dessicant' material that removes moisture from the air using heat, as also evaporative technologies that bring about cooling by using up to 90 per cent less energy than conventional means.

Tamil Nadu state firms to buy 3.56 percent stake in Neyveli

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa Monday said the central government and the market regulator have agreed to her proposal of state PSUs acquiring 3.56 percent of the central government's stake in Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC).

She said the transaction would cost the five state public sector undertakings (SPSUs) around Rs.500 crore.

Supreme Court clears Rs.140 crore spruce-up near Taj Mahal

The Supreme Court on Monday green signalled a Rs.140 crore plan for beautification and streamlining of civic amenities in Taj Ganj area around the 17th century marble marvel Taj Mahal, officials said here.

District officials informed the agency that Rs.17.68 crore would be spent on upgrading amenities in 15 slum clusters in the area.

District magistrate Zuher Bin Sagir indicated the work on the project would start this month itself.

The plan for beautification and development of facilities in the area was submitted for clearance by the Uttar Pradesh tourism department.

Bangalore airport named after city founder Kempe Gowda

The five-year-old Bangalore International Airport will be named Kempe Gowda International Airport, after the founder of the city, the union cabinet decided Wednesday, according to a state government release here.

Kempe Gowda is believed to have founded Bangalore about 500 years back. Folklore has it that it was known as 'Benda kaaluru' (baked bean town) and over the years it became 'Bengaluru' as it is even now called in Kannada, the language of the state.

Rs 9,600 crore nuclear fuel facility to come up at Kalpakkam

Chennai: India's first fast reactor fuel cycle facility (FRFCF) involving an outlay of around Rs 9,600 crore got the centre's nod recently, said a top atomic energy sector official.

"The union cabinet recently gave its green signal for the FRFCF (or fuel reprocessing facility) project to be set up in Kalpakkam," R K Sinha, secretary, department of atomic energy (DAE) and chairman of atomic energy commission (AEC), said over phone from Mumbai.

Work on the project is expected to start later this year.

Gold Coins Dating Back to the Gupta Period Unearthed in West Bengal

Gold coins said to be from Gupta period were unearthed on 1 June 2013 at Ahiran in West Bengal Murshidabad district. These coins were found during the construction of National Highway 34. The coins date back to fourth century A.D.

The gold coins from Gupta period are second discovery in West Bengal from the early colonial period. The first one was the discovery at Kalighat. Therefore, the discovery is considered as extremely important. Historians explained that the discovery will help in presenting the clues about the reach of Gupta Empire. This discovery will also facilitate new scope in the research of Gupta coinage system in India.

HAL to make flight control systems in Hyderabad

Indian state-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Thursday said it has tied up with French aerospace firm Sagem to manufacture automatic flight control systems and sensors at Hyderabad.

"HAL has entered into a contract with Sagem of Safran group at the Paris air show for technology transfer to set up the production facility for flight control systems and sensors at our Hyderabad division," the company said in a statement here.

Facility to test bird hits on aircraft in Bangalore

The state-run Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) have jointly set up a research facility here to test bird strikes on aircraft using air guns, the institute said Monday.

"The integrated impact and crashworthiness research facility is equipped with capability for bird strike testing using one of the largest air guns in the world," NAL's structural technologies division head Satish Chandra said in a statement here.

30 Marine Stations to be set-up in Tamil Nadu

Coastal Security Group Additional Director General of Police Sylendra Babu on 16 June 2013 announced that 30 marine police stations will be set up in Tamil Nadu. To support the coastal security group and enhance security of the coastal areas, 24 fast-interceptor boats and 14 small boats will be produced.

Marine Police patrols up to 12 nautical miles from the coast after that the control shifts in the hand of Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy.

DNA of unidentified Uttarakhand bodies being preserved

The DNA of those who died in calamity-hit Uttarakhand and now cannot be identified is being preserved, with officials saying that many of the bodies have decomposed.

Officials of the state government, with forensic experts, sub divisional magistrates and the police officials have now started an operation to identify dead bodies and in cases where they cannot, preserve their DNA.

The officials reached Gaurikund and Kedarnath and said that some bodies had decomposed and stood no chance of being recognised.

Haryana Govt issued Shiksha Setu Cards to Students

State Government of Haryana on 5 May 2013 issued Shiksha Setu Cards for Government Schools to keep students and teachers updated about the performance of students.

The Shiksha Setu Cards are issued for ensuring individual attention over every student as this will help to impart quality education to students in Government schools. These cards will act as the report cards for the students. This can be considered as a state Governments step towards effective implementation of the Section 134 A of the Right to Education Act, which envisages for admission of children belonging to poor and needy families in private schools

Bengal appoints first woman graduate from Toto community

Bengal:Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) The first woman graduate from the endangered Toto community in West Bengal will be appointed a social worker in a government department, a minister announced Monday.

Rita Toto will be appointed in the state's Backward Classes Welfare Department, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said Terming the decision as "historic", Chatterjee said it will help her to serve her own community The Toto community, which is facing near extinction, now has a strength of 1,346 people Rita Toto is a graduate in humanities stream. The daughter of a bank employee, she hails from Jalpaiguri district.

Bandaya Writer Uttanur Rajamma dead

Uttanur Rajamma, 70, a veteran Bandaya writer died on 14 May 2013 at his residence in Chintamani in Chickballapur district of Karnataka.

About Uttanur Rajamma

  • Uttanur Rajamma belonged to Kolar district of Karnataka
  • She advocated for the emancipation of women
  • From 1970s she is identified for with the Bandaya literary movement

Maoists kill 16 in attack on Congress rally in Chhattisgarh

Raipur/New DELHI: An over 100-strong group of Maoists attacked a Congress party convoy, carrying out a landmine blast and then opening fire, resulting in the death of 16 people, including two senior Congress leaders and injuries to 25 others.

According to reports, the two had come out of their vehicles following the gunfight to surrender before the rebels but were shot dead.

The convoy of Congress party's parivartan yatra was targeted near Darbha forest in Jagdalpur, about 340 km south of Raipur. State Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his newly-married son Dinesh Patel who were kidnapped by the Maoists were later found dead.

Senior Congress leader and former union minister V.C. Shukla was injured in the encounter.

Mukundra Hills: Rajasthan's third tiger reserve

Jaipur: After Ranthambore and Sariska, Rajasthan will now boast of yet another tiger reserve. The state government has declared the Mukundra Hills a reserve for the conservation of the majestic cats, officials said Thursday.

The reserve area is spread over 759 square kilometres in four districts - Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar. About 417 square kilometres have been defined as the core tiger habitat, while an area of 342.82 has been notified as the buffer zone.

Mukundra Hills is connected with the Ranthambore National Park, located in the state's Sawai Madhopur district. In the two existing reserves in the state, Ranthambore has 50 majestic cats including 24 cubs, while Alwar's Sariska is home to nine tigers.

High Level Working Group Presented Report on Western Ghats to MoEF

The 10-member High Level Working Group (HLWG) headed by K Kasturirangan presented report on Western Ghats to Ministry of Environment and Forests on 17 April 2013.

The Working Group makes a range of recommendations to incentivize green growth in the Western Ghats. These include managing forests and improving their productivity to ensure inclusive growth and economic benefits for local communities; integrating forest accounts into state and national economic assessments; initiating an ecosystem service fund to help villages around the forests; promoting sustainable agriculture and; encouraging ecotourism for local benefits.

As part of the governance of ecologically sensitive areas, the Working Group has proposed to set up a Decision Support and Monitoring Centre for Geospatial Analysis and Policy Support in the Western Ghats, which will monitor changes and advise state government on policy reform. But it has made it clear that all these reports must be in the public domain. It has also recommended that the high-resolution map, which demarcates ecologically sensitive areas, down to each village settlement, must be put in the public domain so that people can be involved in taking decisions about environment, which is first and foremost their concern.

Daring robbery in Chandigarh Jewellery Showroom

Unidentified persons looted a Tanishq showroom on the wee hours of the morning on 12/1/2011. The burglars around ten to fifteen in number came in dressed as cops and tied the hands of the two security guards stationed outside the showroom. They then barged into the shop and started removing all the jewellery from the shelves. Within an hour and a half they wiped the shop clean to the tune of 15 crores. The Panchkula and Haryana police are looking at the possible involvement of the Badri gang. Rajesh Badri its ringleader is the most wanted criminal of the Haryana Police. The police have now released the CCTV footage of the showroom where you can see the burglars looting the shop.

Allahabad High Court Nullified the District Status of Amethi

Amethi, Uttar Pradesh: The Allahabad high court on 15 April 2013 nullified the district status of Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Nagar, which at present is called Amethi. While nullifying the district status of Amethi, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court described it as illegal.

It is important to note that Amethi is Congress Vice- President, Rahul Gandhi's constituency. In 2010, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati had carved this district by taking out Tiloi and Salon regions from Rae Bareli and also adding Amethi, Musafirkhana and Gauriganj tehsils. The district was renamed as Amethi after the Samajwadi Party came into power.

President dedicated Siddheshwar Dham Temple to the Nation

President Pranab Mukherjee on 16 April 2013 dedicated Siddheshwar Dham Temple to the Nation at Solophok in south Sikkim. The temple is built by the state government in form of replica of all four religious pilgrims in India to promote religious tourism.

It is situated amidst the breadth taking surroundings of Solophok Hill, 5 km from Namchi, befitting the mythological setting behind the establishment of the original Dhaam.

It has a 108 ft tall statue of Shiv, replicas of 12 Jyotirling, models of sacred Chaar Dhaam Hindu Temples of Jagannaath, Badreenath, Dwaarakaa and Raameshwaram and a 18-feet statue of Kiraateshwar - the hunter incarnation of Shiv.

It has been created over 29.9 hectares at a cost of Rs 56.51 crore. The giant statue of Lord Shiv in sitting posture has been erected at the highest point of the hilltop. The temple implements this unique concept of bringing all four Dhams under one roof in Sikkim.

Ahmedabad became the first City in South Asia to launch Heat Action Plan

President Pranab Mukherjee on 16 April 2013 dedicated Siddheshwar Dham Temple to the Nation at Solophok in south Sikkim.

The temple is built by the state government in form of replica of all four religious pilgrims in India to promote religious tourism.

It is situated amidst the breadth taking surroundings of Solophok Hill, 5 km from Namchi, befitting the mythological setting behind the establishment of the original Dhaam.

It has a 108 ft tall statue of Shiv, replicas of 12 Jyotirling, models of sacred Chaar Dhaam Hindu Temples of Jagannaath, Badreenath, Dwaarakaa and Raameshwaram and a 18-feet statue of Kiraateshwar - the hunter incarnation of Shiv.

It has been created over 29.9 hectares at a cost of Rs 56.51 crore. The giant statue of Lord Shiv in sitting posture has been erected at the highest point of the hilltop. The temple implements this unique concept of bringing all four Dhams under one roof in Sikkim.

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