Current Affairs: Jan 11, 2014

Current Affairs
January 11, 2014

1. Bank of Japan, RBI conclude deal for raising BSA to USD 50 bn
i. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) and RBI concluded an agreement that expands the maximum amount of the bilateral swap arrangement (BSA) between the two countries to USD 50 billion.
ii. The agreement was signed by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Friday and has become effective as of 10th January 2014, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement.
iii. “With this agreement, the current BSA, effective for 3 years from 2012 to 2015, is expanded from the original size of USD 15 billion,” it added.
iv. The BSA aims at addressing possible short-term liquidity difficulties and supplementing the existing international financial arrangements, as one of the efforts in strengthening mutual cooperation between Japan and India.
v. “This expansion of the BSA will contribute to the stability of global financial markets including emerging economies,” the RBI said.
vi. The BSA shall be effective until 3rd December 2015.

2. NABARD reduces refinance rate for banks
i. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has reduced refinance rate for banks and other lending agencies by 0.20 per cent to promote rural credit and rural infrastructure.
ii. The revised rate of interest on refinance for a period of five years for commercial, state cooperative, regional rural and primary urban cooperative banks will be 9.70 per cent, down from 9.90 per cent.
iii. NABARD said in a statement, the new rates are effective from 7th of this month. It further said, banks drawing refinance of 500 crore rupees and more in a single drawl will be allowed further reduction of 0.10 per cent, making the effective rate 9.60 per cent.
iv. NABARD said, these measures are expected to give a boost to banks for extending investment credit and creation of much-needed warehousing infrastructure for agricultural commodities in the country.

3. LIC launches new Jeevan Anand plan
i. LIC has re-launched its “Jeevan Anand” plan, a participating non-linked plan which offers an attractive combination of protection and savings.
ii. This product provides financial protection against death throughout the lifetime of the policyholder with a special feature wherein it offers cover for whole life even after payment of maturity amount.
iii. The policy can be taken from age 18 years to 50 years with age of policyholder on policy maturity age not exceeding 75 years.
iv. The policyholder can choose policy term from minimum 15 years to maximum of 35 years. The minimum sum assured is Rs 1 lakh and in multiples of Rs 5,000.
v. The policy matures at the end of the chosen policy term and the surviving policyholder will get Basic Sum Assured along with Vested Simple Reversionary Bonus and Final Additional Bonus.
vi. The sum assured on death during the term of the policy will be higher of 125 per cent of Basic Sum Assured or 10 times of annualized premium.

4. Give a missed call to know your bank balance
i. It is quite common for some to give a missed call to their friends so that the other person calls him/her back.
ii. What if your bank allows such a facility? Not for transaction. It is only for enquiring about the balance in your account.
iii. Syndicate Bank has introduced such a facility for its customers.
iv. After giving a missed call to a dedicated number, the customer will get his/her balance amount in the account as an SMS, he said. The customer will not be charged for the facility.
v. Considering this, the bank came up with the idea of introducing the missed-call service, he said adding that the customers will have to follow the procedures related to SMS banking.

International Affairs
5. A Pakistani schoolboy (Aitezaz Hassan - 17) who died stopping a suicide bomber from attacking his school has been recommended for a national award, the prime minister's office said today.

6. The South Pacific nation of Tonga was lashed by a powerful cyclone on Saturday, destroying homes and ripping roofs from churches and other public buildings in the populous northern islands. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

7. UN leader Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council are urging South Sudan President to release political detainees at the centre of efforts to start a ceasefire in the country’s conflict.

8. Ali Larayedh, the Prime Minister of Tunisia resigned
i. Ali Larayedh, the Prime Minister of Tunisia resigned from his office on 9 January 2014.
ii. With his resignation, the country will be led by the caretaker Government of technocrats led by led by new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa.
iii. He resigned following a deal between the Islamist Ennahda Party of Ali Larayedh and the secular opposition for a transition to the democracy in the country.
iv. It’s likely that the name of Mehdi Jomaa will be announced by the President of Tunisia for appointment. Tunisia as a country has been the birthplace of the Arab Spring and its transition to democracy.

National Affairs
9. Nation remembered former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his death anniversary today.

10. Mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary remembered on his 6th death anniversary.

11. The government will launch its first wind energy mission National Wind Energy Mission (NWEM) this year to give a boost to the renewable source and putting it in the same league as the high-profile solar mission.

12. CPI today sought reversal of the environmental clearance granted to South Korean giant Posco’s steel plant in Odisha, asking the government not to “run rough-shod” over the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal and the “popular resistance” against the project.

13. Centre approves Rs 300 crore grants to upgrade Guwahati Medical College and Hospital & Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh.

14. Nilekani ready to contest LS polls on Congress ticket
i. 58-year-old Nilekani, who is the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, said talks are going on about the constituency from which he should be contesting. He added that he would join Congress, which has been very “supportive” to him and his ideas.
ii. The Congress is likely to field Nilekani from Bangalore South, a middle-class centric constituency, known for its antipathy towards Congress since the late 1970s, from where BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar has won five times.
iii. Nilekani said ordinary citizens should join politics and he would like to be part of this movement. “In India the biggest change can be brought about through politics and I want to be there,” he said.

15. Gorakhpur railway station entered Limca Book of Records as world’s longest platform
i. 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.
ii. 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).
iii. The platform’s length is 1355.40 meters and was inaugurated in 6 October 2013.
iv. 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.

16. Nirbheek, India’s first gun for women, launched
i. India’s first gun for women, Nirbheek was launched on 9 January 2014. It is a tribute to the gang rape victim of December 2012, Nirbhaya.
ii. Gun has been manufactured by the Indian Ordnance Factory, Kanpur.
iii.It is a 0.32 bore light weight revolver which has been developed to give more power to women to defend themselves. It only weighs 500 grams and is made of titanium alloy. Besides, being the lightest revolver, Nirbheek is also the smallest revolver made in India

Awards and Honors
17. President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday presented the first 'Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial Award' for Excellence in Bengali Literature to eminent poets and litterateurs Nirendranth Chakravarti for the year 2012 and Sankha Ghosh for the year 2013 respectively at an award function at the Raj Bhavan.

18. Maharashtra Governor K Sankara narayanan today presented the K Veeramani Award for Social Justice to Maharashtra Minister for Public Works and Tourism Chhagan Bhujbal.

19. Former India captain Kapil Dev was with the C K Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award by the BCCI at its seventh annual awards ceremony today.

Science and Technology
20. Scientists have identified 14 new genes potentially implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

21. IIa Pathak social activist died at 80
i. Social activist IIa Pathak passed away due to prolonged illness in Ahmedabad on 9 January 2014. She was the founder of Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG).
ii. IIa Pathak was the president of India Chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and served as professor in H K Arts College.
iii. She was the vice-President of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and she played a key role in movement for justice to the victims of 2002 riots of Gujarat.

22. Former Bihar minister and RJD MP Sitaram Singh dies after a prolonged illness; He was 65.

23. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (85) died today at a hospital near Tel Aviv.

24. Bopanna-Qureshi ends as runners up in Sydney International Tennis tournament
i. Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani teammate Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi today ended as runners up in the Sydney International Tennis tournament.
ii. In the finals played a short while ago, the third seeded Indo-Pak pair lost to the Canadian-Serbian combination of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, 6-7, 6-7.

25. Players and Coaches accused of doping barred from getting Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards
i. The Government of India on 10 January 2014 set the new guidelines for National Sports Awards under which players and coaches accused of doping will not be considered for Arjuna and Dornacharya Awards.
ii. These guidelines were issued by the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh for awarding Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyanchand Awards.
iii. These guidelines were issued after the nomination of the controversial athlete Ranjit Maheshwari for Arjuna Award in 2013.
iv. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is the national organization responsible for promoting, coordinating, and monitoring the doping control programme in sports in all its forms in the country. NADA works towards a vision of dope free sport in India. It came into being in India in 2009. These Anti Doping Rules of NADA came into force from 01 January 2010.

26. John Isner wins Auckland title in Open buildup
i. John Isner fired 23 aces in a match which had no service breaks to beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7) in the final of the ATP’s Heineken Open in Auckland, his last tune up for next week’s Australian Open.
ii. No. 14-ranked Isner captured his eighth career singles title and won the title in New Zealand for the second time after his victory in 2010.
iii. The third-seeded Isner, playing with an right ankle injury he picked up at the Hopman Cup the previous week, took a crucial minibreak to open the first set tiebreaker.

27. The Haryana pair of Jubin Kumar and Sourav Chakraborty snatched the men's doubles title from Rajasthan's Vivek Bhargava and Sudhanshu Grover 3-2 in the 75th Senior National Table Tennis Championships today.

28. The women's double crown went to Railways' Anindita Chakraborty and Pallabi Kundu, who beat Airports Authority of India's Nikhat Banu and Krittwika Sinha Roy 3-1.

29. New Zealand thrashes India 3-1 in Hockey World League.

30. India lose 0-2 against England in campaign opener
i. India dished out a pathetic performance to go down 0-2 to higher-ranked England and start their campaign on a losing note at the Hero Hockey World League Final, in New Delhi on Friday.
ii. The Indians looked horribly out of sorts as England rode on two goals from Adam Dixon (28th, 45th minute) to pocket full three points from their opening Pool A encounter at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
iii. Chief coach Terry Walsh could not have imagined such a horrible performance from his wards in his first international match with the Indian team.
iv. Meanwhile, in the first Pool A match of the day, favourites Germany walloped New Zealand 6-1 to make a perfect start to their campaign in the eight-nation event.

v. India will next play New Zealand in a must-win match tomorrow, while England will be up against Germany.

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