General Awareness : International Events -july, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) International Events

July - 2014

Israel resumes air strikes on Gaza as ceasefire fails

  •  Israel on Tuesday resumed airstrikes on Gaza after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire failed to stop the escalating violence that has killed 192 Palestinians in nine days of fighting as Hamas continued to fire rockets at the Jewish state.
  • Earlier Israel accepted, while Hamas refused the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire.
  •  The Egyptian-proposed ceasefire plan was aimed at halting Israel’s deadly nine-day offensive on the Gaza Strip that has killed 192 Palestinians but the Israeli premier had warned that the operation would be intensified if Hamas militants refused to accept the truce.

11 top Ukrainian separatists hit with EU sanctions

  •  Ukrainian separatist leader Alexander Borodai and 10 other top rebel officials were hit with EU sanctions. This will include travel ban and asset freeze.
  • Ukraine has seen a descent into violence since February, when former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the former Soviet nation following mass protests over his reluctance to seek closer ties with the EU.
  •  The separatists have also declared the Donetsk and Luhansk regions independent from Ukraine, with Borodai — a 41-year-old political consultant from Moscow — appointed in May as Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • New Ukrainian President petro poroshenko called for uprooting of rebels, which led to continous clashes between ukrainian authority and seperatist.

Israel troops briefly raid Gaza as offensive rages

  • Ignoring international appeals for a ceasefire, Israel widened its range of Gaza bombing targets to civilian institutions with suspected Hamas ties.
  •  It was the first time that Israeli ground troops are known to have entered Gaza in the current offensive. But the operation was carried out by special forces and did not appear to be the beginning of a broad ground offensive.
  •  United Nations Security Council called unanimously for a ceasefire also called for “the reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire,” which was brokered by Egypt, but gives no time frame for when it should take effect.
  •  Israel has carried out more than 1,200 air strikes over the six-day offensive to try to diminish Hamas’ ability to fire rockets at Israel. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, has fired nearly 700 rockets and mortars at Israel.
  •  The offensive marks the heaviest fighting since a similar eight-day campaign in November 2012 to stop Gaza rocket fire. The outbreak of violence follows the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, and the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack.

US brokers a deal to end Afghan election deadlock

  •  Afghanistan’s presidential candidates have agreed to an audit of all ballots cast on 14th june second round poll, in order to end the election deadlock.
  •  The announcement was made by the two candidates — Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah — and Mr. Kerry. Previously, Mr. Abdullah had accused the government, electoral authorities and Mr. Ahmadzai’s camp of being a “triangle of fraud”.
  •  The auditing process will start from the Afghan capital, and ballot boxes from the provinces will be transported to Kabul by international security assistance forces.
  •  Outgoing President Hamid Karzai was against foreign intervention in the election process, although he agreed with the candidates call for an expedient resolution of the election dispute.

UN chief heads to Middle East to help end conflict

  •  Amid an escalation of violence in the Middle East, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will leave for the region to help end the conflict between Israel and Palestinians that has killed more than 300 people, mostly civilians.
  •  Mr. Ban is currently reviewing a request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which would place Palestine under an international protection system administered by the UN.
  •  Mr. Abbas met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, and both agreed to the necessity of an immediate ceasefire and the urgency of holding a donors conference to start rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

Iran nuke talks to be extended till Nov 24

General Awareness : National Events - July, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) National Events

July - 2014

National Events

  • Govt proposes over Rs. 2,000 cr  for Ganga Conservation Mission
  • An integrated programme for the conservation of river Ganga called “Namami Gange” with an outlay of Rs 2,037 crores has been proposed.
  •  To harness the enthusiasm of the NRI community towards the conservation of the river Ganga, an ‘NRI Fund for Ganga’ will be set up which will finance special projects.
  •  A sum of Rs. 100 crore has been set aside for Ghat development and beautification of the river front at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi.
  •  The budget also contains the first ever effort to link the rivers across the country with the Finance Minister setting aside a sum of Rs. 100 crore in the current budget to expedite the preparation of Detailed Project Reports.

Govt to continue Aadhaar, provides Rs. 2k cr in 2014-15

  • A sum of Rs 2,039.64 crore has been provided for 2014-15 to execute the task of implementing Unique Identification as entrusted to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
  •  UIDAI was mandated to collect biometrics of 600 million residents in the country and rest of the population was to be covered under the National Population Register (NPR) project.
  •  Cabinet Committee on UIDAI decided that all residents would be issue National Multi-purpose Identity Cards under NPR and UIDAI would generate Unique identification number for the entire population. Both UIDAI and NPR were to share the biometric data collected by them for issuing NMIC and generating unique identification number.
  •  The NPR is a comprehensive identity database maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Home Ministry.

Government extends NDA’s senior citizen pension scheme for one more year

• Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana, first introduced by the previous NDA government has been revived again for the period of one year.
•Govt. also proposed setting up a committee to examine unclaimed amounts lying as deposits in accounts of PPF, Post Office and other saving schemes and recommend how this amount can be used to protect and further financial interests of the senior citizens.

PM to announce role for Planning Commission shortly

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will shortly announce the role that Planning Commission is going to play in his government
  •  The Independent Evaluation Office(IEO), which was set up for assessing the effectiveness of government programmes and institutional policies, recommended that the Planning Commission’s role as an allocator of resources to the states should be taken up by the Finance Commission and the allocation of resources amongst the Central Ministries should be carried out by the Finance Ministry.
  •  IEO had also said that Planning Commission acted as a ‘control commission’ and should be replaced by a ‘reforms and solution body’.
    BRICS summit: Narendra Modi leaves for Brazil
  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves on Sunday for Brazil for attending the five-nation summit of BRICS nations on July 14 and 15 .
  •  Summit is expected to finalise the setting up of a development bank and seek reforms of the United Nations and international financial organisations.
  •  Mr. Modi will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Adviser A.K. Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Finance Secretary

Arvind Mayaram.

  •  BRICS accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s land mass, 40 per cent of its population and a combined GDP of $24 trillion.
  •  The BRICS Development Bank is expected to take further shape with a decision to concretise its corpus at $100 billion, about which there was a broad agreement in Durban. It will be a development bank which will give concessional credit to members of BRICS and other developing countries.
  •  The Prime Minister will get an opportunity to engage with the Latin American region through meeting the leaders of South America, including heads of state and government from countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

President Pranab Mukherjee asks CPWD to become more dynamic

  •  President Pranab Mukherjee urged the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) under the Ministry of Urban Development to focus on areas where innovation and modernisation in the infrastructure sector
  •  Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 160 years of CPWD’s service, Mr. Mukherjee urged the organisation to evolve into “a smarter, more dynamic and highly professional organisation”.
  •  He asked the Department to aim at providing last mile connectivity of rural roads, health and educational infrastructure, water supply and sanitation and referring to sustainable habitats as the need of the hour and energy-efficient building.
  •  He also completed the CPWD for undertaking and complementing challenging assignments in the Rann of Kutch, Thar Desert, in high altitude areas of the Himalayas, North-Eastern Region and also in Afghanistan.

Pay revised wages for MGNREGA, says SC

  • The Supreme Court on Friday directed all States to pay workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) revised wages as per the notification issued by the Centre in February this year.
  •  It further asked the government to find a way out to end the disparity between the wages paid under the MGNREGA and State-mandated rates under the Minimum Wages Act.
  •  As per the February 13, 2014 notification issued by the Ministry of Rural Development, the wages per day to be paid by the States and Union Territories range from Rs. 156 in Uttarakhand to Rs. 236 in Haryana.

Disciplinary action cannot continue after retirement: SC

  • Disciplinary proceedings against an employee cannot be continued after his retirement in the absence of a specific clause in the employment rules providing for such enquiry.
  •  Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and C. Nagappan said once an employee retires from service there was no authority vested in the employer to continue the disciplinary proceedings even for the purpose of imposing any deduction in the benefits payable after retirement to the delinquent employee.

Parliament passes bill on Polavaram project

  • Parliament on Monday passed a bill to facilitate transfer of 205 villages spread across seven mandals in the newly formed State of Telangana to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh for the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project.
  •  The bill, approved by Lok Sabha last week, was opposed by members of the House from Telangana and the States of Odisha and Chattisgarh on the plea that it would cause unwarranted displacement of 52 thousand scheduled caste families from the three States.
  •  The project is a difficult project to implement as it involves massive resettlement. It is on par with Sardar Sarovar Dam (in Gujarat) and Indira Sagar project in Madhya Pradesh.
    SC Constitution Bench to decide on `living will’ to die with dignity
  •  A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will take up for consideration a petition seeking to declare the execution of a `living will’ of persons, suffering from chronic terminal diseases and likely to go into a permanent vegetative state, to refuse treatment to pave way for their death.
  •  Petition was filled by NGO Common Cause.
  •  AG Mr. Rohatgi said the issue had lot of legal, social and moral aspects concerning the humanity as a whole. He said right to die merely because of pain and suffering would not be in the interest of society as it was against public policy.
  •  Ruling in `Aruna Shanbaug’s case’ decided that passive euthanasia is wrong.
  •  In November 2012 the Law Commission had submitted a report relating to passive euthanasia and `living will’.

States want review of key provisions in Land Acquisition Act

  • A conference of state revenue ministers recently suggested wide-ranging changes to dilute the Land acquisition act, and chief among them was to re-examine the consent clause, as ownership of land rests with the government in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, and also scrap the mandatory social impact assessment (SIA).
  •  Kerala felt that obtaining consent of land owners prior to preliminary notification was a herculean task as the identification of land owners at such initial stages may pose a problem.
  •  Madhya Pradesh felt that the provision of consent from 70 per cent land owners in case of PPP projects should either be deleted or eased out.
  •  States also want to do away with the mandatory social impact assessment (SIA) study prescribed in the act and should be confined to large projects or PPP projects as it may delay the acquisition process, which is called the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, 2013.
  •  States also wanted the definition of “affected family” in the act to be re examined as it is very elaborate and includes livelihood losers working in the affected area for three years prior to the acquisition of land and whose primary source of livelihood is affected.
  •  The clause specifying sharing of 40 per cent enhanced cost with original land owners when the land is transferred on higher consideration should be deleted as it leads to disputes, states felt.

Finding life beyond Earth is within reach: NASA

  •  Experts from NASA and its partner institutions have outlined a road-map to the search for life in the universe, an ongoing journey that involves a number of current and future telescopes.
  •  NASA’s quest to study planetary systems around other stars started with ground-based observatories, then moved to space-based assets like the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope.
  •  Today’s telescopes can look at many stars and tell if they have one or more orbiting planets. Even more, they can determine if the planets are the right distance away from the star to have liquid water, the key ingredient to life as we know it.
  •  The NASA road-map will continue with the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite (TESS) in 2017, the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, and the proposed Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope — Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) early in the next decade.
  •  The Webb telescope and WFIRST—AFTA will lay the groundwork, and future missions will extend the search for oceans in the form of atmospheric water vapour and for life as in carbon dioxide and other atmospheric chemicals, on nearby planets that are similar to Earth in size and mass, a key step in the search for life. .

NCW backs amendments to Juvenile Justice Act

  •  National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma on Wednesday said the Commission would back amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act to ensure proper punishment in rape cases.
  •  Ms Sharma reiterated that times were changing and keeping in mind that 45 per cent of the registered rape cases were perpetrated by juveniles, amendments were necessary in the law.
  •  Union Minister for Women and Child Development said juveniles committing rape should be tried as adults, the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and child rights groups had opposed it.
  •  Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number cases against women at 8252, with Delhi coming second with 2000 cases and Haryana -864 cases.
  •  She also called for a Code of Conduct for Parliamentarians.
  •  The NCW is also short of funds and last year the annual budget was down to Rs nine crore, half of which goes for salaries. .

Govt to extend Ganga action plan to major rivers

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General Awareness : Science & tech June - , 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Science & tech
June - 2014


  •  People who have a variant of a longevity gene have improved brain skills such as thinking, learning and memory. Researchers found that increasing levels of the gene, called KLOTHO, in mice made them smarter, possibly by increasing the strength of connections between nerve cells in the brain.
  •  The study was published in Cell Reports. Those who have one copy of a variant of the KLOTHO gene, called KL-VS, tend to live longer and have lower chances of suffering a stroke whereas those who have two copies may live shorter lives and have a higher risk of stroke.
  •  The study also found that those with one copy performed better on cognitive tests regardless of age, sex or the presence of the apolipoprotein 4 gene, the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

India’s first cyber lab

  •  The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) on May 6 will launch what is touted to be the country’s first cyber lab in a legal academic institution.
  •  The lab, co-funded by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, will be inaugurated by ShyamalGhosh, the former Telecom Secretary, Government of India; GulshanRai, Director-General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and R. VenkataRao, Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU.
  •  A release from NLSIU’s Advanced Centre for Cyber Law and Cyber Forensics, said the centre also offers training programmes for bank officials and other professionals who want to gain knowledge of cyber technology and forensics crucial for detection and investigation of cyber crimes.
  •  The centre launched its Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Law and Cyber Forensics in June 2013, which senior police officers, IT security officers and lawyers have enrolled for.
    Implantable device to control BP
  •  Not being able to control blood pressure even after gulping pills would no longer be a problem. Soon, an implantable device will reduce blood pressure by sending electrical signals to the brain.
  •  In a first, German researchers have successfully reduced the blood pressure in rats by 40 percent with this device without any major side effects.
  •  This could offer hope for a significant proportion of patients worldwide who do not respond to existing medical treatment for the condition.
  •  The implantable device uses an intelligent circuit to record the activity of the patient, for instance when they are exercising, and adjust the blood pressure accordingly.
  •  The device consists of 24 individual electrodes that are integrated into a micro-machined cuff. It is designed to wrap around the vagus nerve, which extends from the brainstem to the thorax and abdomen — supplying and stimulating various major organs including the heart and major blood vessels. 

MERS virus

  •  Despite a recent surge of ‘Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus’(MERS-CoV) cases, a meeting of an expert committee called by the World Health Organisation has concluded that conditions for declaring a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ had not been met.
  •  The fifth meeting of WHO’s Emergency Committee for MERS-CoV, which was first convened last year took into account the fact that there had been sharp increase in cases since this March, particularly in Saudi Arabia but also in the United Arabian Emirates.
  •  Since the virus was first detected in humans two years back, a total of 152 people have now died and 495 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia, according to an Associated Press report. Most cases of the disease have been in the desert kingdom.
  •  Egypt, Greece, Malaysia, Philippines, and the U.S. have recently reported isolated cases in individuals who had travelled there from the Middle East. The Netherlands has now reported its first such case.
  •  Seasonality could be a factor driving the recent increase. The virus is widespread in camels in the Middle East and north-east Africa, and the animals appear to become infected when young. Increased spread of the virus from camels to humans might be contributing to the outbreak.

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General Awareness : News June - , 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) In the news
June - 2014

Juan Carlos Varela:

  • Vice-President Juan Carlos Varela was declared the victor of Panama’s presidential election , thwarting an attempt by former ally President Ricardo Martinelli to extend his grip on power by electing a handpicked successor.

  •  With 60 per cent of ballots counted, officials said Mr. Varela led with 39 per cent of the votes, compared to 32 per cent for former Housing Minister Jose Domingo Arias, the preferred choice of Mr. Martinelli. Juan Carlos Navarro, a former mayor of the capital, was in third in the seven-candidate field with 27 per cent.

  •  The incumbent party has still never won re-election to Panama’s presidency since the United States’ 1989 overthrow of military strongman Manuel Noriega.

Amit Shah:

  •  The CBI has sought dismissal of the plea by GopinathPillai, father of Javed Sheikh aliasPraneshPillai, who was among those killed with IshratJahan, to arraign NarendraModi aide Amit Shah and the then Ahmedabad police commissioner K.R. Kaushik in the case. MrPillai had cited the resignation letter of suspended IPS officer and an accused in the IshratJahan case D.G. Vanzara in support of his petition.

  •  The agency, in its affidavit further, said that the resignation letter contains general allegations against some persons and not providing any concrete information about the role of Shah in this offence. After receiving the letter, CBI examined Vanzara in the jail. However, he has not disclosed any further details during his examinations”.

  •  The CBI also said there was no evidence against MrKaushik to show his involvement in the encounter and so he was made a witness in the case. “During further investigation and evidence collected so far, it appears that MrKaushik was not involved in the conspiracy of killing the deceased.


  •  Following the election of LalitModi as president of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hits back by 'indefinitely' suspending the association. The cricket board also appointed an ad-hoc body to run RCA's cricket affairs.

  •  Modi was elected President of RCA, setting the stage for yet another round of legal tussle between him and the Board, which had threatened to ban the state association in anticipation of this result.

  •  The RCA elections were held in December last year but the results were sealed following a Supreme Court directive. And it was opened recently by a court-appointed observer with the former Indian Premier League commissioner defeating his opponent, Rampal Sharma. Ouf of the 33 votes, Modi got 24, while Sharma got five.

  • The BCCI had asked the RCA to dissociate itself from Modi, or face action after the latter was banned for life for financial irregularities in the IPL in September 2013.

  •  However, Modi – riding on the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005, contested the election for the post of president. The former Commissioner of the IPL was seeking to return to cricket administration.

Nita M. Ambani

  • The board of directors of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has recommended the appointment of Chairman MukeshAmbani’s wife and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation Nita M. Ambani, as a director on the board of RIL.

  •  She is being nominated to the board in place of Ramnik H. Ambani, who is retiring at the age of 90 years.

  •  Approval of the shareholders will be sought in the 40th AGM being held on June 18.


  •  Veteran Congress leader NabamTuki was sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh for the second consecutive term at the Raj Bhavan in Itanagar.

  • Governor Lt. Gen. (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Tuki in an impressive function held at Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan in Itanagar.


  • The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha has recently recommended the appointment of AdarshGoel, Arun Mishra, GopalSubramanium and RohintonNariman as apex court judges.

  •  The recommendations are likely to be processed by the new government.

  •  This is the first time that two persons from the Bar, the former Solicitors-General RohintonNariman and GopalSubramanium, are being elevated at one stroke.


  • NarendraModi who steered the BJP-led NDA to a stunning victory will be sworn in as Prime Minister on May 26 at RashtrapatiBhavan.

  •  Mr. Modi was appointed as the Prime Minister by the President and was asked to advise the names of others to be appointed Members of the Council of Ministers.

  •  Stepping out after his meeting with the President, he addressed the media briefly and held-up the formal letter of appointment as Prime Minister.

Naveen Patnaik

  •  BijuJanata Dal president Naveen Patnaik was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Odisha for the fourth consecutive term in Bhubaneswar recently.

  • As many as 21 other Members of the new Council of Ministers headed by Mr. Patnaik were also sworn-in at a well-attended ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan premises.

  •  Mr. Patnaik had become the Chief Minister for the first time on March 5, 2000 when the BJD-BJP alliance came to power when the people ousted the Congress.

Anandiben Patel

  •  Anandiben Patel will be sworn in as Gujarat's first woman chief minister in a ceremony attended by her predecessor NarendraModi who will be the country's next prime minister.

  •  After MrModi resigned as chief minister, a position he had held for 13 years, his party's legislators elected Ms Patel to be their leader. MrModi's close aide Amit Shah, who does not share the warmest vibes with Ms Patel, was among those who endorsed her name for the chief minister's post.


  • Stepping up the battle in the Indian mobile handset market, homegrown firm Micromax has roped in Samsung India’s mobile and IT business chief VineetTaneja as its new Chief Executive Officer.

  •  Micromax, the country’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, expects the move to help it further strengthen its position in the segment, which is witnessing explosive growth.

  •  With over 25 years of experience, Mr. Taneja has worked with consumer brands like Hindustan Lever, Nokia and BhartiAirtel, prior to Samsung. He holds a degree in engineering from IIT-Roorkee and is an alumnus of IIM-Kolkata.

Ahmed Maitiq

General Awareness : India & the world June - , 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) India & the world
June - 2014

A1 visa

  • The U.S. has said the heads of state and government are eligible for A1 visas and no individual automatically qualifies for an American visa ,under the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). No individual automatically qualifies for a U.S. visa.

  • However, the U.S. law exempts foreign government officials, including heads of state and heads of government from certain potential inadmissibility grounds.
    In 2005, the U.S. State Department revoked Mr. Modi’s visa on the ground of alleged human rights violations after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

India-Israel Free Trade Agreement

  •  Ambassador of Israel to India AlonUshpiz said that negotiations between India and Israel to forge a free trade agreement (FTA), under way for three years now, are likely to be completed by next year

  •  The agreement was a much-needed legal framework to further strengthen ties between the two countries.

  •  The bilateral trade of around $5 billion, which by itself was significant given the modest $180 million in 1992, was well below potential.

  •  Areas where Israel offered its expertise included water desalination, while affordable healthcare was one where more efforts needed to be put in.
    Then, there was scope for Israel to offer assistance in internal security, from policing to curbing terrorism.

SAARC leaders invited for Modi’s swearing-in

  •  Prime Minister-elect NarendraModi has invited the heads of the governments of all South Asian states to attend his swearing-in in a gesture, which diplomats and experts said was without precedent. Though foreign envoys stationed in New Delhi have attended past swearings-in, Ministry of External Affairs sources said, no world leader has been invited to attend what has traditionally been seen as a domestic event.

  • The move startled regional diplomats-but also caused surprise in the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh, which was not consulted on the decision, BharatiyaJanata Party sources said.

  •  Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, the Ministry of External Affairs said, despatched formal invitations afternoon to the Presidents or Prime Ministers of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s President, has accepted the invitation but there was no immediate word on which other leaders would attend.

General Awareness : Economy June - , 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams)Economy
June - 2014


E-auction of iron ore

  •  The Goa Mines and Geology Department will hold its third e-auction of iron ore on May 12, wherein six lakh tonnes of ore, lying at jetties and the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) would be e-auctioned.

  • The State, through MSTC Ltd., has auctioned 1.62 million tonnes of iron ore through two e-auctions in February and March, realising around Rs.260 crore, which would go to the State treasury.

  •  These e-auctions are held under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, headed by U. V. Singh.

  •  The Supreme Court, partially relaxing its October 5 ban on iron ore activities in the State, in December last had permitted the Goa Mines Department to auction about 15 million tonnes of iron ore lying at jetties, mining leases, plots, beneficiary plants and port, all under the supervision of its committee.

  •  However, on April 21, the apex court lifted its ban on mining activities, but putting a cap of 20 million tonnes for annual production and ruling that since the renewal of all the deemed mining leases in the State had expired on November, 2007, and the operations carried out, thereafter, have been termed illegal, the mining lessees will not be entitled to the sale value of the ore sold in e-auction but to the approximate cost (not actual cost) of the extraction of the ore.

  •  Making government the custodian of the money collected through e-auction, the court directed the State to pay 50 per cent of wages of all the workers who were laid off or were not paid salaries since the time the mining operations were suspended.

Metro AG

  • German retailer Metro AG plans to have 50 wholesale stores in India by 2020 and make the country one of its 'focus expansion' markets alongside Russia, China and Turkey.

  •  India has always been an important future growth market of Metro .

  •  The Dusseldorf-based company was the first global player to enter the cash-andcarry wholesale segment in India, back in India. It currently operates 16 outlets in the country.

Prepayment fee on floating rate term loans

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that banks cannot levy charges on individual customers if they choose to close their floating rate loans.

  •  Some banks charge a fee if an individual borrower chooses to close his or her loan. This fee varies from bank to bank, and is mostly in the range of 1-3%.

  •  In its first bi-monthly monetary policy review on 1 April, RBI had indicated that in the interest of their consumers, banks should consider allowing their borrowers the possibility of prepaying floating rate term loans without any penalty.

  • Accordingly, it is advised that banks will not be permitted to charge foreclosure charges/pre-payment penalties on all floating rate term loans sanctioned to individual borrowers.

No Special trade benefits for Russia

  • U.S. President Barack Obama intends to withdraw special privileges granted to Russia because the country is too economically advanced to need preferential treatment reserved for less developed countries.

  •  Mr. Obama notified Congress that he intends to remove Russia from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme as Moscow is “sufficiently advanced” to warrant any preferential treatment.

  •  Once Russia’s eligibility is withdrawn, which would be effected via a presidential proclamation, U.S. imports of GSP-eligible goods from Russia will be subject to normal, non-preferential rates of duty.

  •  The purpose of the programme, which allowed $19.9 billion in imports to enter the U.S. duty-free in 2012, is to assist developing countries to use trade to boost their economic development.

  •  Russia has advanced beyond the level of economic development and competitiveness for GSP eligibility. As such, Russia should no longer qualify to receive GSP benefits.

Global 2000'

  • MukeshAmbani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack of 54 Indian companies in Forbes' annual list of the world's 2000 largest and most powerful public companies, with Chinese companies occupying the top three slots on the list.

  •  The Forbes 'Global 2000' is a comprehensive list of the world's largest, most powerful public companies, as measured by revenues, profits, assets and market value.

  •  China is home to the world's top three biggest public companies and five of the top 10.

  •  The US retains its dominance as the country with the most Global 2000 companies at 564.

  •  Japan trails the US with 225 companies in aggregate.

  •  India is home to 54 of the world's biggest companies.

  •  Reliance Industries is ranked 135 on the list with a market value of 50.9 billion dollars and 72.8 billion dollars in sales as on May 2014.

  •  Reliance is followed by State Bank of India which is ranked 155 and has a 23.6 billion dollars market value.

  •  The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas ranked 176, ICICI Bank (304), Tata Motors (332), Indian Oil (416), HDFC Bank (422), Coal India (428), Larsen & Toubro (500), Tata Consultancy Services (543), BhartiAirtel (625), Axis Bank (630), Infosys (727), Bank of Baroda (801), Mahindra & Mahindra (803), ITC (830), Wipro (849), Bharat Heavy Electricals (873), GAIL India (955), Tata Steel (983) and Power Grid of India (1011).

  •  Also making the list are Bharat Petroleum (1045), HCL Technologies (1153), Hindustan Petroleum (1211), Adani Enterprises (1233), Kotak Mahindra Bank (1255), Sun Pharma Industries (1294), Steel Authority of India (1329), Bajaj Auto (1499), Hero Motocorp (1912), Jindal Steel & Power (1955), Grasim Industries (1981) and JSW Steel (1990).

Issue of natural gas export

  •  A bi-partisan group of 22 American senators have expressed reservation on the export of natural gas to Asian countries such as India and China, arguing that such a move by Obama Administration would result in an increase in cost for consumers and businesses at home.

  •  They said the “large-scale exports of natural gas to Asia could also jeopardize America’s goal of achieving energy independence, a goal made more achievable by the recent increase in domestic gas production”.

  •  The senators urged Mr. Obama to consider the impacts on American manufacturing and families that rely on natural gas.

  •  The recent approval for export of liquefied natural gas from a sixth export facility has meant that the total approved exports now exceeds the amount of gas currently being used in every single American home and commercial business.

  •  The exports well exceeds the high export scenario referenced by a Department of Energy study in 2012 that indicated prices could increase by up to 54 per cent and it would translate into more than $60 billion a year in higher energy costs for American consumers and businesses.

U.K. rich list

  •  India-born Hinduja brothers have emerged as Britain’s richest, valued at £11.9 billion, in the Sunday Times’ annual list of the super rich.

  •  Gopichand and SrichandHinduja run the multinational Hinduja Group with interests across automotive, real estate and oil.

  •  Arsenal shareholder and Russian tycoon AlisherUsmanov fell to second place after his estimated fortune dropped to £10.65 billion. He is followed by Laskshmi Mittal with £10.25 billion, registering a growth of £250 million.

  •  London now has the most billionaires for any city with 72. The total number for U.K. has crossed 100 for the first time to reach 104 billionaires with a combined wealth of over £301 billion. The next most prosperous city in the world is Moscow with 48 billionaires, just ahead of New York and San Francisco.

  •  The Duke of Westminster is the richest Briton with around £8.5 billion and is ranked 10th.

Automatic tax information

  •  As they continue their efforts to clamp down on the menace of black money, India and other countries will have to wait at least till 2017 before the new global standard for automatic exchange of tax information comes into effect.

  •  India, Switzerland and 45 other nations had agreed upon automatic exchange of tax information, which is seen as a major step forward in global efforts against banking secrecy practices.

  •  Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sets the global tax standards and frames conventions against tax frauds, among others.

  •  The new standard, expected to be finalised in September this year, provides for exchange of information on bank account balances, interests, dividends, other financial income and sales proceeds to compute possible capital gains.

  •  By becoming part of the declaration, these countries have committed to implementing automatic exchange of tax information. The declaration also comes as a boost for India, which is making efforts to get details from Switzerland on alleged illicit funds stashed away by Indians there.

  •  Automatic exchange of information would allow for “collecting all bank information on non-resident to pass this information on to the countries of residence of these taxpayers so that they can no longer hide money on offshore accounts.

  •  The standard was developed at the OECD and endorsed by the G20 Finance Ministers.

Introduction of minimum wage in Switzerland

  • Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to introduce a minimum wage of 3,000 Swiss francs per month (4,500 dollars).

  •  77 per cent of voters cast ballots against the measure.

  •  At 25 dollars an hour, it would be the highest minimum wage in the world.

  •  The referendum was launched by left-wing parties and trade unions, which argued that such a salary was necessary for making a decent living in Switzerland, where the cost of living is among the highest in Europe.

  •  The government and employers associations had campaigned against the plan, warning that companies would shift operations to neighbouring countries and Switzerland’s important tourism sector would suffer.

Closure of few iron ore mines

  • The Supreme Court ordered the temporary closure of nearly half of the iron ore mines in top producing state Odisha due to non-renewal of years-old leases, in a blow to local steel mills that depend heavily on high-quality ore from the state.

  •  Odisha, which allows exports of only half of total iron ore output, produced more than 70 million tonnes in the last fiscal year from 56 operating mines.

  •  The move is unlikely to lift global iron ore prices given the limited flows from Odisha to international markets, but it could force Indian steelmakers to source the raw material overseas and soak up some of a forecast global supply surplus.

  •  The 26 suspended mines produced about 40 million tonnes.

  •  The verdict could force steelmakers to cut output or import expensive iron ore.

Net neutrality

  • The U.S. Federal Communications Commission may have jeopardised prospects for “net neutrality,” a principle requiring non-discrimination by Internet service providers between their client websites, when it voted in favour of a proposal to allow ISPs to charge higher fees to those who seek to deliver higher-quality content in the U.S.

  •  Effectively giving a green light for plans to create Internet “fast lanes,” with paid priority accorded to relatively deep-pocketed service providers such as NetFlix and YouTube, the FCC passed the proposal by a 3-2 vote among its commissioners, along party lines.

  •  While the vote does not signal a final outcome in the deliberations on preserving net neutrality, and the public will now be allowed to comment on the proposal before a final ruling is enacted later this year, the decision flies in the face of intensifying protest by 100 top tech companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

  •  Their concern is that smaller companies that are unable to pay for high-speed data delivery may face “additional obstacles against bigger rivals,” and the higher prices charged by these websites to overcome these barriers could get passed on to individual consumers.

Most Expensive Billionaire Home

  • Reliance Industries Chairman MukeshAmbani’s skyscraper residence in Mumbai is the most expensive billionaire home in the world, according to a Forbes list, which also includes Indian-origin steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal’s houses in London.

  •  Ambani’s 27-storey, 400,000-square-foot skyscraper home ‘Antilia’, named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, tops the Forbes list of the most expensive homes in the world.

  •  The house has six storeys of parking, three helicopter pads, and reportedly requires a staff of 600 to keep it running.

US-China trade

  • United States Secretary of State John Kerry has described China’s moves to deploy an oil rig in waters disputed by Vietnam as “provocative,” prompting an angry rebuttal from Beijing.

  •  The Chinese government accused the U.S. of making “erroneous” remarks that had “emboldened some countries’ provocations.”

  •  In recent days, Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have been in a tense stand-off, sparked by China’s deployment of an oil rig in the waters of the South China Sea off the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by Beijing.

  •  Vietnam dispatched ships in response, arguing that the waters were within its exclusive economic zone, located around 200 nautical miles from its coastline.

  •  China has maintained that it was well within its rights to deploy the $ 1 billion rig in the waters off the Paracel Islands, which it claims. Beijing would, however, have been aware of the possibility of a backlash from Vietnam, which disputes China’s claims. 

Mining : a legitimate economic activity

  • As more than 100 mines had been closed down in Odisha due to lack of statutory clearances following unearthing of the illegal mining scam, a high-level meeting recently decided to make mining activity a legitimate economic activity by complying with all statutory requirements through combined efforts of the State and Central governments.

  •  The meeting was held at the Secretariat here under the chairmanship of Odisha Chief Secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra.

  •  Union Mines Secretary Anup Kumar Pujari, Secretary and Union Steel Secretary G. Mohan Kumar and other officials attended the meeting.

  •  Mines & Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 was the governing legislation in the country and all issues relating to lease, auction, prospecting license, renewal etc. should be decided as per the provisions of the Act.

  •  Available data shows that there were about 59 operating mines in Odisha, including 41 iron and manganese mines, six coal mines, one bauxite mine, five chromite and six limestone mines.

  •  The issues relating to coal, water allocation and energy charges of National Aluminium Company (NALCO) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) were also discussed at the meeting. Mr. Mohapatra asked the PSUs to settle the issues through mutual discussions without promoting further litigation in these matters.

Myntra acquired by Flipkart

  •  Flipkart India Pvt Ltd, the country’s largest e-commerce firm, has acquired rival in the largest-ever deal in the country’s e-commerce market.

  •  The current policy does not allow FDI in business-to-consumer e-commerce even as 100 per cent FDI is allowed in business-to-business e-commerce.

  •  Myntra co-founder and chief executive MukeshBansal will head the fashion business of both Myntra and Flipkart, and Myntra will operate as an independent entity and retain its website, while Flipkart will continue selling apparel on its site.

  •  The Flipkart-Myntra deal comes amid a strong revival of interest in the Indian e-commerce market, but the trigger clearly is the need for consolidation to fight global majors Amazon and eBay Inc.
    NaMo factor and digital economy

  •  Most recently, Prime Ministerial candidate NarendraModi made a bold pitch for IT becoming the face of India, and, in the process, coined the Twitter-friendly phrase ‘India Talent (IT)’ + ‘Information Technology (IT)’ is equal to ‘India Tomorrow (IT)’.

  •  The Indian political class, after the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi administration, has certainly enjoyed talking about using technology and IT to boost economic growth and bring about development.

  •  The greatest failures of the outgoing dispensation, with regard to IT and the digital economy, were most certainly its inability to bring broadband penetration to a respectable level, and its borderline negligent behaviour towards the start-up ecosystem.

  •  Sadly, the e-commerce industry has grown only on the back of foreign capital. Sadder still is the fact that some of the biggest e-tailers such as Flipkart and Snapdeal cannot deliver to Congress scion Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Amethi due to a combination of poor physical infrastructure and concern over security.

  •  There is little doubt that the UPA-led government viewed technology-aided economic growth through the narrow prisms of technological ‘solutionism’ — implementing technology for the sake of looking technology-savvy and hoping that growth will follow — and fear.

Import curbs on Gold

  •  The high import duty and supply curbs on gold had a telling effect on demand for the yellow metal gold in the first quarter of calendar 2014 when demand slid 26 per cent to 190.3 tonnes. Figures released by World Gold Council’s (WGC) India demand statistics showed that in value terms, it slid 33 per cent to Rs. 48,853 crore and 41 per cent in dollar terms to $7.9 billion.

  •  Of this, jewellery demand declined 9 per cent to 159.5 tonnes and 18 per cent in value terms to Rs. 37,377.8 crore while investment demand declined 54 per cent in volume terms to 44.7 tonnes and 59 per cent in value terms to Rs. 11,475.2 crore.

  •  With the election of the BJP and its declared pro-business approach, there is an expectation that the short-term curbs on gold will be removed. Another factor is the hope that there will be relaxation of the curbs which will lead to a reduction in the prevailing premium.

General Awareness : International Events -june, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) International
June - 2014

Abuse of power case

 Thailand’s Prime Minister YingluckShinawatra defended herself  against abuse of power allegations in a crucial court case that is one of several legal challenges, which could remove her from office.

  •  Ms. Yingluck is accused of abusing her authority by transferring her National Security Council chief in 2011 to another position. Critics say the transfer was to benefit her ruling party and violated the Constitution.
  •  The case was lodged by anti-government senators, who won an initial victory in February when another court ruled that the official, ThawilPliensri, must be restored to his job.
  •  If Ms. Yingluck is found guilty of interfering in state affairs for her personal benefit or that of her political party, she would have to step down as Prime Minister.

First ‘Born Free’ election

  •  South Africans voted in the first “Born Free” election , although polls suggest the allure of the ruling African National Congress as the conqueror of apartheid will prevail even among those with no memory of white-minority rule.
  •  Opinion polls suggest there is no doubt about the overall result, with ANC support estimated at around 65 percent, only a shade lower than the 65.9 percent it won in the 2009 election that brought President Jacob Zuma to power.
  •  The resilience of ANC support has surprised analysts who a year ago were saying it could struggle at the polls as its glorious past recedes into history and voters focus instead on the sluggish economic growth and slew of scandals that have typified Zuma’s first term.
  • Africa’s most sophisticated economy has struggled to recover from a 2009 recession - its first since the 1994 demise of apartheid - and the ANC’s efforts to stimulate growth and tackle 25 percent unemployment have been hampered by powerful unions.
  • South Africa’s top anti-graft agency accused Zuma this year of “benefiting unduly” from a $23 million state-funded security upgrade to his private home at Nkandla in rural KwaZulu-Natal province that included a swimming pool and chicken run.

Ceasefire in South Sudan              

  • South Sudan’s President has reached a ceasefire agreement with a rebel leader, an African regional bloc said , after a vicious cycle of revenge killings drew international alarm.
  •  The deal means “an immediate cessation of hostilities within 24 hours of the signing” and “unhindered humanitarian access” to all people affected by the months-long conflict, said a statement by the political bloc known as IGAD, which is mediating the conflict.
  •  Ethnically targeted violence in the world’s youngest country broke out in December, killing thousands of people and forcing more than 1.3 million to flee their homes. The U.N. Security Council has expressed “horror” at recent killings of civilians.
  •  U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice welcomed the peace agreement in a statement, saying it “holds the promise of bringing the crisis to an end”.
  • South Sudan is a largely Christian nation that broke off from the Muslim-dominated Sudan after a 2011 referendum. The fighting is an embarrassment to the U.S., which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and has been its strongest international champion.

Self-Rule in Ukraine

  •  Security forces and pro-Russian separatists clashed in eastern Ukraine, after an unauthorised referendum showed overwhelming support for independence from the pro-Western government in Kiev.
  •  Separatists in Sloviansk targeted soldiers and the television tower with grenades,.
  •  Recent vote in the self—proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk was organised by the separatists despite international condemnation and a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a postponement.
  •  The separatists said voter turnout exceeded 80 per cent, with a “yes” vote of nearly 96 per cent in Lugansk and 90 per cent in Donetsk.
  •  Eastern Ukraine’s pro-independence leaders said the next step would be to build government and military structures for a “New Russia” in the region.
  •  The Ukrainian government, the European Union and United States do not recognise the vote. Washington criticized Russia for not using its influence to stop the vote. Mr. Putin meanwhile said he would study the results before commenting.

First electric aircraft

  •  The world’s first airplane completely powered by electricity has successfully taken to the skies for its maiden flight, and could bring down air travel cost by more than a third, its developer Airbus said.
  •  The small experimental aircraft called ‘E-Fan’ took off from an airport near Bordeaux in southwestern France. E-Fan measures little more than 19 feet from nose to tail and slightly more noise than a hairdryer.
  •  Powered by 120 lithium-ion polymer batteries, the plane’s first official flight last month lasted less than 10 minutes, though the plane has the capability to fly for around an hour before recharging.

Search for abducted Nigerian Girls

  •  U.S. surveillance planes joined an international effort to find more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted by an extremist Islamic sect.
  •  The U.S. provided aircraft over Nigerian territory, and was sharing satellite imagery with the authorities.
  •  Islamist group Boko Haram said that it was willing to negotiate with the government over the release of the schoolgirls it abducted four weeks ago.
  •  The group released a video demanding the release of all imprisoned insurgents in Nigeria in exchange for the teenagers. The girls had converted to Islam, the group said.
  •  The government response to the demand was unclear, with one official saying there would be no negotiations, and another from the information ministry saying all options were on the table.

Strike of US drone

  •  A US drone killed three suspected militants in north-western Pakistan recently, the first such airstrike in nearly five months.
  •  The unmanned aircraft fired missiles on a suspected hideout and a car used by militants in Khyber tribal district near the Afghan border.
  •  It was not immediately known which group was targeted but Pakistani Taliban frequently use the route to travel across the porous border.
  •  The last drone attack in the country was on December 26. Strikes were halted since then apparently to facilitate the government’s peace talks with Islamist militants.
  •  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year announced negotiations with Taliban insurgents to end a decade of fighting but the talks appear to be heading nowhere.

Syrian water supply affected

  • A cut in water supplies in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been condemned by the head of the United Nations.
  •  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that preventing people from access to safe water denies them a “fundamental right”.
  •  A statement from his office added that denying civilians essential supplies is a breach of international and humanitarian law.
  •  Rebels from the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front cut water supplies in the city nearly two weeks ago.
  •  He said that the group has tried to resume pumping water but that supplies are erratic.

Aircraft crash in Laos

  •  A Lao military aircraft carrying top officials including its defence minister crashed in the north of the Communist country Laos.
  •  The aircraft was carrying about 20 people including DefenceMinister  DouangchayPhichit, the Vientiane governor and other prominent figures, foreign  ministry spokesman SekWannamethee told AFP quoting information from the Thai  embassy in Vientiane.
  • There was no immediate confirmation from Laos’s secretive communist  government.
  •  In October last year a civilian airplane operated by Lao Airlines plunged  into the Mekong River in bad weather killing all 49 people on board.

5th anniversary of war victory in Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka’s government marked the fifth anniversary of its civil war victory over ethnic Tamil separatists by displaying the country’s military strength, while preventing Tamil civilians from publicly remembering their dead.
  •  The government’s approach highlights the deep ethnic polarisation that remains in this island nation despite the end of the quarter-century civil war.
  • President MahindaRajapaksa presided over a Victory Day ceremony in the southern coastal town of Matara where military personnel paraded in the streets with tanks and artillery guns, while fighter jets flew overhead.
  •  In the country’s ethnic Tamil-majority north and east, however, military troops surrounded political party and newspaper offices in an apparent attempt to prevent public memorials for those who died in the war.
  •  Sri Lanka’s military defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009, ending the long civil war. Heavy civilian casualties and allegations of serious human rights violations, especially in the final months of the fighting, prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council this year to sanction an international inquiry into the conduct of both sides

War on Boko Haram

  • African leaders at a summit in Paris have agreed on a regional plan of action to combat Boko Haram, the Islamist group that has abducted more than 200 girls and threatened to sell them into slavery.
  • In a rare show of unity, the leaders of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin pledged cooperation including joint border patrols and sharing intelligence to find the girls, snatched from Nigeria more than a month ago.
  •  Nigeria has faced criticism for not having done enough to protect its people, particularly the girls, and for its slow response to the kidnappings.
  •  The country’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, described Boko Haram as a “terrorist organisation” and said it was part of an “al-Qaeda operation”.
  •  Nigeria and its neighbours pledged to reinforce security measures for those living in areas targeted by Boko Haram, carry out bilateral patrols and share operational intelligence to find the kidnapped girls and other snatched by the Islamist group.
  •  A second summit at ministerial level will be held in London next to report on what progress has been made.

Spouses of H-1B visa-holders to work

General Awareness : National Events - June, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) National Events
June- 2014

Super city

  • In line with the principles of sustainable development advocated in the Medellin Declaration, Gravity 2.0 Research Foundation recommended that a capital city region be considered rather than a single urban agglomeration for the location of a new capital for the State of Andhra Pradesh post bifurcation.

  •  In a representation submitted to the Expert Committee on identification of location of new capital for the State of Andhra Pradesh , the Gravity 2.0 Research Foundation, suggested that the new capital be located in the Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry-Vijayawada ‘Super City’ ensuring inclusive growth.

  •  They also suggested that coastal shipping be promoted and the National Waterway 4 be extended to Visakhapatnam.

Mining ban issue

  •  The Meghalaya Government has constituted a one-man Committee to guide the State Government prepare the compliance report to be submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on rat-hole mining ban in Meghalaya.

  •  The Committee would be headed by additional chief secretary KS Kropha and the report and other points would be prepared before the NGT holds its next hearing in New Delhi on May 19.

  •  The Tribunal, on April 17, in its interim order banned rat-hole mining and transportation of coal in Meghalaya in the interest of people working in the mines as well as for protection of the environment.

  •  The order was passed after the Assam-based All Dimasa Student’s Union and DimaHasao District Committee filed a petition stating that the illegal rat-hole mining in Jaintia Hills is polluting Kopiliriver by turning its water acidic. They also placed before the Tribunal two survey reports of 2006 and 2010 in which pH level of the water in Kopiliriver showed considerable difference.

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Awards & prizes April - 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) India And The World

April -2014

Awards and Prize

Pulitzer Prize

  • Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, already among the most popular and celebrated novels of the past year, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) India & The World

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) India And The World

April -2014

India- China Strategic Dialogue

  • India has assured China of its commitment to consolidate strategic bilateral ties based on mutual trust as well as sensitiveness to each other's concerns and aspirations, as their top diplomats held the annual strategic dialogue here amid the Indian general elections.

  •  Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh co-chaired the sixth round of the Strategic Dialogue with her Chinese counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin at the picturesque Diaoyutai guest house.

  •  The talks were held as the long-running LokSabha elections, hailed as the world's biggest democratic exercise, got underway in India that will form a new government at the Centre.

  •  Stating that the annual Strategic Dialogue is being held in less than a year, she told Liu that "it is symbolic of the fact that our relations are growing and our interactions are increasing".

  •  China said it was "confident" that India will stay committed to strong bilateral ties irrespective of whichever party comes to power after the polls.
    Temporary Indian workers in US

  •  More than one-third of the temporary workers in the US in 2012 were from India, which also accounted for the largest number of non-immigrants residing in the US that year, according to an official report.

  •  Out of the 1.87 million resident non-immigrants in the US in 2012, India accounted for the maximum number of 430,000 residents, followed by China with 210,000 residents and South Korea with 140,000, the Department of Homeland Security said in its latest report.

  •  Out of the 1.9 million non-immigrants residing in US in 2012, the largest categories were temporary workers (45 per cent, or 840,000) and students (38 per cent, or 720,000), the report said.

  •  Slightly more than 50 per cent of the students were ages 18-24, the report said.

  •  Among the top 10 leading countries of citizenship, Germany and France led the exchange visitor category, making up more than 60 per cent of the total, the report said.

  •  California was the leading destination state, with 270,000 (15 per cent) of the total 1.9 million non-immigrants choosing to reside in that state.

  •  The next leading destination states were New York (210,000), Texas (140,000), Florida (100,000) and Massachusetts (90,000).

  •  The top 5 destination states accounted for 44 per cent of the total and the top 10 accounted for more than 60 per cent.

  •  Compared to the nation as a whole, disproportionately large percentages of the temporary worker population resided in Texas, New Jersey and Washington. This was substantially larger than average percentages of the student population resided in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Border Defence Cooperation Agreement

  •  India and China recently held their first-ever Director General of Military Operations-level meeting, which discussed ways to implement the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement(BDCA)signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing in October.

  •  And it was an eight-member delegation led by People’s Liberation Army(PLA)Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Qi Jiangua, which represented the Communist nation at the DGMO-level dialogue.

  •  The two sides exchanged views on various issues of mutual interest such as maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC and enhancing mutual cooperation and understanding between the Armies of India and China. Measures for implementation of existing bilateral agreements were also discussed.

(Written Test Result) Recruitment of Assistants in Clerical Cadre in State Bank of India (SBI) "held in July / August 2014"

State Bank of India

(Written Test Result) Recruitment of Assistants in Clerical Cadre in State Bank of India "held in July / August 2014"

Exam Name: Cerk

Bank Name: State Bank of India (SBI)

Year: July / August 2014

(Cut-Off) IBPS PO IV - 2014 

Institute of Banking Personnel Selection

(Cut-Off) IBPS PO IV - 2014

Process for Arriving at Scores

The Scores of Online Examination are obtained by adopting the following procedure:

(i) Number of questions answered correctly by a candidate in each objective test is considered for arriving at the Corrected Score after applying penalty for wrong answers.

(ii) The Corrected Scores so obtained by a candidate are made equivalent to take care of the minor difference in difficulty level, if any, in each of the objective tests held in different sessions to arrive at the Equated Scores*.

* Scores obtained by candidates on any test are equated to the base form by considering the distribution of scores of all the forms.

(iii) Final scores in each test are rounded off to the nearest integer

Note: Cutoffs were applied in two stages:

(i) on scores in individual tests
(ii) on Total Score

The details of the cutoffs applied on Scores, of online examination, in individual tests and on Total Score is given below at (II) and (III) respectively

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) In the news April - 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) In the news
April - 2014

Mamata Banerjee

  •  Recently ,West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee threatened to defy an Election Commission of India (EC) order of transferring eight officials and dared the poll watchdog to take action against her for not complying, her administration had to eat humble pie as EC held its ground and asked her government to implement it’s order.
  •  But Banerjee accused deputy election commissioner VinodZutshi of playing into the hands of Congress and BJP and sought his removal from the poll panel.
  •  She accused him of being a tainted official with criminal cases pending against him. She also alleged that Zutshi was misleading the EC.
  •  Of the eight officials that EC wanted transferred, it said seven were found to have favoured the ruling Trinamool Congress party in the run-up to the general election. EC barred these officials from taking any poll-related responsibility.


(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Sports April - 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Sports
April - 2014

2014 ICC World Team

  • His side may have lost in the final but Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named captain of the 2014 ICC World Team of the Tournament that figures four Indians, including star batsman ViratKohli.
  •  Opener Rohit Sharma and RavichandranAshwin are the other two Indian players who feature in the team that was announced by the ICC.
  •  Kohli was adjudged Player of the Tournament for amassing 319 runs with the help of four half centuries, including knocks of 72 and 77 in the semifinal and final of the showpiece event.
  •  Besides Indians, the team has two players from both South Africa and West Indies, and one representative each from Australia, the Netherlands and champions Sri Lanka.
  •  Chosen by a select group of experts, the team was aimed at being suited for Bangladesh conditions, on the basis of performances in the tournament only. Statistics were used but were not the sole basis for selections.

The newest Laureus Ambassador

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Science & Technology

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Science & tech
April - 2014

New spy satellite by Israel

  • Israel has successfully launched a new observation satellite into orbit, one which is expected to be used to observe Iran and hostile militant groups in the Middle East.
  •  The Israeli-made “Ofek 10” satellite was launched in cooperation with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. The satellite has already begun transmitting data and visual material. It is expected to be operational within months.
  •  Israel is expected to use the satellite to keep tabs on Iran and the region. It believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon a charge Iran denies and accuses it of arming militants across the region.
  •  Unlike other countries that launch satellites eastward in the direction of the earth’s orbit, to

prevent debris following the launch to land in enemy countries east of Israel. The satellite completes a full orbit around the earth every 90 minutes.

The rising red planet

  •  This month, the Red Planet (Mars) looks bigger and brighter than it has for the past six years.
  •  That may sound like the Great Mars Hoax — the occasional (and totally false) claim that Mars will loom as big as the moon in the night sky. But in this case, the claim is totally true. This month, Mars will have its closest encounter with Earth since December 2007.
  •  The reason has to do with orbital mechanics. As Earth and Mars trace their elliptical orbits around the sun, the distance between the two planets varies dramatically. There are times when the separation amounts to almost 250 million miles (400 million kilometers). On April 14, that separation narrows to a mere 57 million miles (92 million kilometers).

Tectonic plates of Earth

  •  The tectonic plates of earth took around one billion years to form.The outermost layer of earth, or lithosphere, was weakened by movement in viscous layers below it. Around four billion years ago, cooler parts of crust of earth were pulled downwards into the warmer upper mantle and it damaged the surrounding crust. It continued until the weak areas formed plate boundaries.
  •  To investigate how the plates formed, Bercovici and YanickRicard of University of Lyon in France developed a computer model of earth's crust as it may have existed billions of years ago.
  •  The model included a low-pressure zone at the base of the crust which caused a piece of the crust to sink into the upper mantle - mimicking conditions thought to have occurred early in the earth's history.
  •  As the process repeated over time, it created a large tectonic plate with an active subduction zone.
  •  Prior studies suggested the age of the plates based on evidence of subduction gathered from minerals preserved in ancient rocks.
  •  In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate and sinks into the mantle as the plates converge.
  •  The oldest such specimens are four-billion-year-old zircons found in the Jack Hills of Australia that appear to have formed at temperatures and pressures that are indicative of subduction.

Varicose veins

  •  Varicose veins are a widely prevalent condition where veins, typically in the leg, swell and become twisted.
  • The development of varicose veins is not well understood.Women can get varicose veins during pregnancy and it is often seen in those who need to stand for long periods of time, such as policemen and shop assistants.
  •  There is also a strong genetic component to it. When both parents suffered from the condition, their progeny had 90 per cent risk of developing it too, compared to a 25 per cent to 62 per cent risk when only parent had it and 20 per cent risk when neither parent had been affected.
  •  The researchers decided to look at whether a gene know as ‘human forkhead box C2’ (FoxC2) could be involved. This gene is known to be important for blood vessel development.

Gilead hepatitis C drug patent

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Economy April -2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Economy

April -2014

Communicated monetary policies

  • Calibrated and clearly communicated monetary policies will build trust and improve business sentiments across the world by leaving little room for speculations , according to the Economic Affairs Secretary ArvindMayaram.
  •  Recent risks of very low inflation in euro areas might demand use of appropriate tools in the coming time to thwart deflation tendencies.
  •  MrMayaram represented India during the ongoing spring meet of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  •  In terms of exchange rate policy, while flexible exchange rates are desirable, a cautious approach should be followed before going for currency revaluations which can result in trust deficit and currency wars.

Electronic Travel Authorisation

  •  The move to grant in principle approval for Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to travellers from 180 countries to India will boost tourism in the country,according to the tourism Secretary ParvezDewan.
  •  Travelling to India will be made easy once the ETA to visit the country becomes operational.
  •  ETA will allow foreign travellers to apply for a visa from home and receive an online confirmation in five working days, is expected to become operational by October. Barring eight prior reference countries, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, government has decided to give e-visa to all the 180 countries.
  •  India had considerably relaxed its visa regime and expanded the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) scheme.
  •  India launched the VoA scheme in January 2010 for citizens of five countries – Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore — visiting India for tourism purposes. The scheme was later extended to six more countries in January 2011.

Walmart’s online marketplace model

  • In a first for the domestic retail industry, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, plans to set up an online marketplace model in its cash-and-carry stores in the country.
  •  The company is entering the wholesale e-commerce space and will extend the business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform to its Best Price Modern Wholesale store members.
  •  The platform will provide them with a convenient online shopping opportunity. As an exclusive virtual store for its members, the e-commerce platform will provide a similar assortment of products, as well as special items.
  •  Online retail, at present, accounts for less than 1% of the total market in India, but this space is slated to grow at 50-55% over the next three years to reach R50,400 crore by 2016, according to a report by Crisil.

Greek bond issued

  •  Greece’s Finance Ministry says its first return to the markets in four years has seen strong demand, with the country raising 3 billion euros through five-year bonds at a coupon rate of 4.75 per cent.
  •  Nearly 90 per cent of the sale was to international investors.
  •  The bond sale is Greece’s first since 2010, when it became locked out of the international debt market by high interest rates due to a severe financial crisis. It has been relying on international bailout funds ever since.

Muscle added to IAF Sukhoi

  • MRF is set to emerge as a major supplier of tyres for the Indian Air Force (IAF) as the country’s leading tyre maker has now created yet another record of supplying aircraft tyres for the defence.
  • After successfully producing and supplying tyres for Indian defence helicopters, the company has now started supplying indigenously developed tyres for Sukhoi 30 MKI, the most advanced fighter aircraft group in the IAF fleet.
  • Though MRF has been supplying tyres to various vehicles of Defence Forces, its journey to supply aviation tyres began in 2001. After meeting all requirements and securing approvals from various authorities, it started supplying helicopter tyres for Chetak fleet in 2008. In the same year, it took up the project of developing main wheel tyres for Sukhoi 30 MKI.
  •  After completion of the tests, the product has been cleared by CEMILAC (The certifying authority for Military aviation) for commercial production in 2012. These tyres are being produced at its facility at Medak (Andhra Pradesh).

Global trade to increase

  • Global trade is expected to increase by 4.7 per cent in 2014, better than the average of 2.2 per cent in the past two years, on the back of projected improvements in the developed economies, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  •  The world trade growth is projected to accelerate to 5.3 per cent in 2015.
  •  Although the 2014 forecast of 4.7 per cent is more than double the 2.1 per cent increase of last year, it remains below the 20-year average of 5.3 per cent. For the past two years, growth has averaged only 2.2 per cent.
  •  The sluggish pace of trade growth in 2013 was due to a combination of flat import demand in developed economies (0.2 per cent) and moderate import growth in developing economies (4.4 per cent).
  •  On the export side, both developed and developing economies only managed to record small, positive increases (1.5 per cent for developed economies and 3.3 per cent for developing economies).
  •  In 2013, the dollar value of world merchandise exports rose 2.1 per cent to $18.8 trillion, while the value of world commercial services exports rose 5.5 per cent to $4.6 trillion.
  •  The trade forecast for 2014 is premised on an assumption of 3 percent growth in world GDP growth at market exchange rates, while the forecast for 2015 assumes output growth of 3.1 percent.

March Inflation at 5.7 per cent

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