Current Affairs: February 2013 (2nd Week)
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Pope Benedict XVI announced his Resignation because of Poor Health
Pope Benedict XVI announced on 11 February 2013 that he would resign at the end of the month. He reasoned that he was too infirm to carry on. He is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision set the stage for the election of a new Pope before the end of March 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI is 85 years old. He had become the Pope in 2005. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who took this step in 1415 to put an end to the Great Western Split among competing papal claimants.
Serena Williams becomes oldest woman to be world No 1
Serena Williams on February 15 became the oldest woman to claim the world number one ranking. Serena Williams who is aged 31 years thrashed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-3,3-6,7-5 and reached Semifinals of Qatar Open Tennis Championship in Doha. On entering the semi-finals, she achieved the top position after a period of two and a half years. Serena Williams will compete against Maria Sharapova in the Semifinals on 16 February 2013. Maria Sharapova reached semi-finals after defeating Samantha Stosur 6-2,6-4.
Wrestling dropped from 2020 Olympic Games list
International Olympic Committee (IOC) leaders dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics on 12 February 2013. In a surprise move, the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon —— the sport considered most at risk —— and remove wrestling instead.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn’t been announced yet. Wrestling combines freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines. It had 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year’s London Olympics.
Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.
The IOC executive board will meet in May in St.Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005 and off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games. Golf and rugby will be joining the program at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Giuseppe Orsi held on Bribe Charges in Indian Defence Helicopter Deal
Giuseppe Orsi, head of an Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica was arrested in Milan on 11 February 2013 on the charges of his alleged involvement in the bribery activity to secure an Indian defence helicopter deal of 3600 crore rupees. He was arrested in relation to the probe of the international corruption.
The contract signed with Italian defence giant Finmeccanica in February 2010 involved supply of 12 VVIP three-engine AW-101 choppers from AgustaWestland for the Indian Air Force’s elite Communication Sqadron. By now, three choppers have already been delivered to India. As per the reports on the bribe scam, it’s expected that about 362 crore rupees that is equivalent to about 10 percent of the final deal was given back to help the Italian firm in winning the contract.
The Finmeccanica is an Italian defence Giant company that entered into a deal to supply 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters to India in February 2010. Giuseppe Orsi, now the CEO of Finmeccanica and the then head of its Helicopter Unit was arrested on the charges of the bribe scandal that surfaced.
Oscar Pistorius charged for Shooting Dead his Girlfriend
Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Blade Runner from South Africa was charged on 14 February 2013 for allegedly shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria.
• Oscar Pistorius is a South African sprint runner, who turned up to be the first double-leg-amputee, who lined up in the starting blocks with the able bodied competitors in the men's 400 metres race during the London Olympics 2012.
• He won gold medals in the men's 400 metre race in a Paralympic and set a record time of 46.68 seconds as well as he managed to create a world record in the 4 × 100 metres relay in 41.78 seconds
One Billion Rising Campaign launched to end the Violence against Women
The entire world came together on one platform to raise the voice for the violence against women across the globe by participating in One Billion Rising Campaign. This is a global campaign to rise against violence and take a stand for the one billion women. Almost 200 hundred countries are taking part in this campaign.
UN in its message stated that by standing together the world can end the violence against women and girls and build a world where all live free from harassment and fear.
In fact, the governments across the globe should make a concrete commitment of action to end the violence against women and girls.
Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan all-rounder cricketer was appointed the Captain of the test and one-day cricket team of Sri Lanka on 14 February 2013 for a period of one year. Mathews replaced Mahela Jayawardene, who announced to quit captaincy after Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia.
Dinesh Chandimal, the wicket-keeper batsman was appointed as the vice-captain in the test and one-day format of the game and will lead the country as a captain in the T20 format of the game. Lasith Malinga was appointed as the vice-captain for the T20 team.
SEBI ordered freezing of accounts and attachment of properties of two companies of Sahara
Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the stock market regulator of India on 13 February 2013 ordered freezing of bank accounts and attachment of properties of two Sahara group firms Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd., and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. and its Chairman Subrata Roy as well as top executives Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary after it failed to refund more than 24,000 crore rupees to investors. The decision from the market regulator came after the Supreme Court of India granted it the freedom to freeze the accounts of the two companies and attach the properties of the defaulting groups.
North Korea conducted its third Nuclear Test and defied UN Regulations for World Peace
North Korea on 12 February 2013 announced success of its underground Nuclear Test. The country cleared that the miniaturized nuclear device was detonated successfully and it also announced that the test was an act of self-defence from the US Hostility and also threatened stronger steps in future.
This was the third test conducted by the country since 2006 that had defied the UN regulations in existence. The test is reported to have conducted in the North Hamgyeong Province nearby the Punggye-ri nuclear complex, the place where the tests of 2006 and 2009 were conducted. Due to the past two nuclear tests of 2006 and 2009, North Korea is already facing many sanctions over it imposed by the United Nations Security Council. This is the first test conducted in North Korea under the leadership of Kim Jong-un.
World Radio Day was observed to raise Awareness about the Importance of Radio
World Radio Day was observed to increase awareness about the importance of radio.
World Radio Day was observed on 12 February 2013 to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through it and enhance networking among broadcasters. On the 18th of December, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the 2011 resolution adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming the 13th of February as World Radio Day, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946.
Since its invention more than a century ago, the radio serves as a channel for information and entertainment. The multi-purpose medium is an important source of information in those areas which are sometimes too remote to get a newspaper delivered.
Across the world, the number of radio stations is increasing and the cost of broadcasting is decreasing. More than ever, the radio remains an effective means to bring social change, by sharing knowledge and providing a platform for inclusive debate.
Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan visited India
Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley was on the home visit to India from 7 February to 9 February 2013. During his visit to India he met with President of Indian Union-Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vice-President of India-Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister-Manmohan Singh, Minister of Finance-P Chidambaram and Foreign Secretary-Ranjan Mathai. His visit was aimed at improving India-Bhutan bilateral relationship.
Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty Appointed As the Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee appointed Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty as the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi on 12 February 2013. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty is the IAS officer of 1970 batch and retired from the designation of Secretary to Government of India. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty will retain his position till 31 December 2017. Chakravarty also served in Madhya Pradesh government. He had also remained member-secretary of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and director general of the National Museum, New Delhi apart from vice chancellor of the National Museum Institute.
Lalit Kala Akademi
Lalit Kala Akademi or the National Academy of Fine Art is fine art institution of Government of India with an objective to promote, develop as well as spread the culture of Indian fine art. It receives funds from Ministry of Culture.
MCX-SX, the Third National Stock Exchange Made its Debut in India
MCX-SX, the third bourse on the equities and equity derivatives trading block debuted on 11 February 2013. It is the third national stock exchange of India after Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. MCX-SX started its trading in shared of 1116 listed companies against 1665 companies in National Stock Exchange and 5191 companies in Bombay Stock Exchange.
Indian Tennis Players Association formed to address the concerns of Tennis Players
Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA), a collective body of Indian Tennis players was designed on 11 February 2013. The ITPA would be responsible to represent the concerns and professional interests of its members. The association is being constituted as there exist no particular structure in tennis to represent or address the issues of the tennis players in India. The modeling of the ITPA is done on the basis of (Association of Tennis Professionals) ATP and will operate on the basic principle of self governance and consultative dialogue, to arrive at decisions that impact the professional tennis of the country. Jaidip Mukerjea is elected as the interim President of the body and will be on the post till the formative period of ITPA and until the general body and general council meets formally.
India maintained their Number One Spot in the ICC ODI Championship Table
India maintained their number one spot in the ICC ODI Championship table in the latest rankings issued in Dubai on 11 February 2013. Both India and England have same 119 rating points, but England lags behind on the basis of decimal points. Australia and South Africa follow the top two teams closely with 116 and 112 points respectively.
Among the batsmen, South African run machine Hashim Amla is at number one followed by fellow countryman AB Devilliers. India’s Virat Kohli is at number three followed closely by the skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Among the bowlers, Pakistan off spinner Saeed Ajmal maintains his top billing followed by Mohammad Hafeez. In the All rounder’s category, Pakistan skipper Mohammed Hafeez is the leader followed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.
Afzal Guru’s Secret Hanging Was Called Operation Three Star
Operation Three Star: Code name given to secret plan for executing Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013. Operation Three Star started on 4 February 2013, just a day after the President of India Pranab Mukherjee rejected mercy plea of Afzal Guru. A few top officials of Home Ministry were aware about secret Operation Three Star.
Afzal Guru was hanged on 9 February 2013 at 8 AM in Tihar Jail, New Delhi. Afzal Guru was guilty of conspiring as well as providing shelter to terrorists who attacked Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001. Hanging of Mumbai terror attack militant Ajmal Kasab was called Operation X. he was hanged at Yerwada Central Jail on 21 November 2012.
Ranchi Rhinos beat Delhi Waveriders 2-1 to win the inaugural Hockey India League (HIL) in the match at Astroturf Hockey Stadium on 10 February 2013. Apart from winning the trophy, Ranchi Rhinos took away 2.5 crore Rupees. Runners-up Delhi Waveriders on the other hand, pocketed 1.25 crore Rupees.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards that completed in the third place took away 75 lakh Rupees. Uttar Pradesh Wizards defeated Punjab Warriors 4-3 to claim third position. Mumbai Magicians player Sandeep Singh hit maximum goals (11) in the tournament.
Pandit Ravi Shankar Honoured With Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award
Pandit Ravi Shankar, the sitar legend was honoured with the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. His daughter sitarist Anoushka Shankar accepted the award on his behalf on 9 February 2013 ahead of the Grammy’s show that took place in Los Angeles on 10 February 2013.
Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones attended the pre-Grammy ceremony at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre for accepting the honour which was given to their deceased father. Pandit Ravi Shankar died on 11 December 2012 at 92 years of age.
Pandit Ravi Shankar was in the list of seven other artistes named for Lifetime Achievement Award honourees and this also included Carole King and the Temptations. The Indian sitar legend also won best world music album Grammy for The Living Room Sessions Part 1. Pandit Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka Shankar was also nominated in this category for album Traveller.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram launched Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme in Mumbai
Finance Minister P Chidambaram on 9 February 2013 launched the much-awaited Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme in Mumbai. The move will encourage new investors to put their money in the stock market. The scheme, which was announced in the Budget 2011-12, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock market. Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than 10 lakh rupees would get tax incentives for investing up to 50000 rupees in the stock market.
As per the notification issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India on the scheme, there would be a lock-in period of one year on investments made under the scheme.
Asoke Kumar Mukerji Appointed As the Next Permanent Representative of India to the UN
Asoke Kumar Mukerji was appointed as the next Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations on 13 February 2013. Mukerji replaced Hardeep Singh Puri who retired in February 2013 after the tenure of two years.
Asoke Kumar Mukerji was chosen by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Union Government of India. At present, Mukerji is Special Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry. He also served as the Consul General in Dubai as well as the Deputy High Commissioner in London. Asoke Kumar Mukerji was the private secretary to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
Other important current affairs in a nutshell…..
* England defeated host New Zealand in the third and last Twenty20 Cricket match played at Wellington on 15 Feb 2013 to win the series 2-1.
* NASA scientists discovered the youngest black hole in Milky Way in Feb 2013. This youngest black hole is 1000 years old and 26000 light years away from Earth.
* Data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry reported that Inflation went down to its three year low of 6.62 percent in January 2013.
* A flyby Asteroid 2012 DA14 would pass from the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites above the earth on 15 Feb 2013.
* Mohan Parasaran, the Additional Solicitor General was on 13 February 2013 appointed as the Solicitor General of India after Rohinton Nariman resigned.
* Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) acquired stake of Navistar International Corporation in two joint ventures on 12 February 2013.
* Lydia Ko, the teenager became youngest winner of a women's European Tour golf event by winning at New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch on 10 February 2013.
* Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Appointed Subodh Kumar Agrawal and K. Raghu as its new President and Vice-President on 12 Feb. 2013.
* Horacio Zeballos defeated Rafael Nadal to win his first ATP World Tour trophy in VTR OPEN 2013 on 10 February 2013 in Vina del Mar, Chile in Men’s Singles.
* NASA on 9 February 2013 announced that its Mars rover Curiosity drilled into Mars’ surface. The drilling took place first time on 8 February 2013.
* The largest saltwater crocodile of the world, named Lolong died in Philippines on 10 February 2013. Lolong measured 6.17 metres or 20.24 feet.
* Manipur on 15 February 2013 decided to issue a complete ban on sale and consumption of tobacco products in the state.
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