Current Affairs: January 2013 (Last Week)
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Controversy over Kamal Haasan’s Tamil film Vishwaroopam
Vishwaroopam which was originally slated to be released on 25 January 2013 was once again banned by the Madras High Court on 30 January 2013. Tamil Nadu government under Section 144 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code banned the film because of allegations by certain Islamic organisations. Islamic organisations protested that the film displayed their community in negative light.
The details of the film are as follows:
Vishwaroopam is an Indian Tamil spy thriller movie which is written, directed and co-produced by Kamal Haasan. The theme of the film surrounds around Vishwanath (Kamal Haasan) who is a Muslim. The film involves his encounter with the Afghani Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group.
•Director of the film: Kamal Haasan
•Producer of the film: Kamal Haasan and Chandra Haasan
•Written by: Kamal Haasan and Atul Tiwari
•Star cast: Kamal Haasan, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose and Jaideep Ahlawat
•Budget: 95 crore Rupees
•Distributed by: PVP Films
Reserve Bank of India slashed Repo Rate to 7.75 Percent and CRR to 4 Percent
The Reserve Bank of India on 29 January 2013 slashed its key interest rates by 0.25 per cent and released 18000 crore rupees additional liquidity into the system to perk up growth through reduced cost of borrowing. RBI in its third quarter monetary policy review surprised the market by cutting short-term lending rate called repo, by 0.25 per cent to 7.75 per cent and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by similar margin to 4 per cent.
The repo rate cut will reduce the cost of borrowing for individuals and corporates, whereas the reduction in CRR, which is the portion of deposits that banks have to park with RBI, would improve the availability of funds. Unveiling the policy review in Mumbai, RBI stated that the stance of monetary policy in this review is intended to provide an appropriate interest rate environment to support growth as inflation risks moderate. CRR cut will have impact on long term interest rates.
What are Repo rate and Reverse Repo rate?
Repo (Repurchase) rate is the rate at which the RBI lends shot-term money to the banks against securities. When the repo rate increases borrowing from RBI becomes more expensive. Therefore, we can say that in case, RBI wants to make it more expensive for the banks to borrow money, it increases the repo rate; similarly, if it wants to make it cheaper for banks to borrow money, it reduces the repo rate.
What is CRR (For Non Bankers):
CRR means Cash Reserve Ratio. Banks in India are required to hold a certain proportion of their deposits in the form of cash. However, actually Banks don’t hold these as cash with themselves, but deposit such case with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) / currency chests, which is considered as equivlanet to holding cash with RBI. This minimum ratio (that is the part of the total deposits to be held as cash) is stipulated by the RBI and is known as the CRR or Cash Reserve Ratio. Thus, when a bank’s deposits increase by Rs100, and if the cash reserve ratio is 6%, the banks will have to hold additional Rs 6 with RBI and Bank will be able to use only Rs 94 for investments and lending / credit purpose. Therefore, higher the ratio (i.e. CRR), the lower is the amount that banks will be able to use for lending and investment. This power of RBI to reduce the lendable amount by increasing the CRR, makes it an instrument in the hands of a central bank through which it can control the amount that banks lend. Thus, it is a tool used by RBI to control liquidity in the banking system.
The RBI will come out with mid-quarter review on 19 March 2013 and the annual policy on 3 May 2013.
Novak Djokovic won Australian Open Tennis Tournament 2013
Novak Djokovic returned to his dominant best to win his third consecutive Australian Open title, denying Andy Murray a second major championship with a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 victory on January 27, 2013 at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne. It was Djokovik’s third consecutive Australian Open title and fourth overall. The top-ranked Djokovic is the first man in the Open era to win three straight Australian titles while nine others have won back-to-back but were unable to win three in a row.
In 2012, Djokovic had started with an epic 5-hour, 53-minute five-set win over Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, the longest Grand Slam final.
Djokovic won his first major title in 2008 Australian Open. He now has six Grand Slam titles altogether. Federer has won four of his 17 majors at Melbourne, and Agassi is the only other player to have won that many in Australia since 1968.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won Australian Open 2013 in the Women’s Category
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on 26 January 2013 won the Women’s Singles title of the Australian Open Tennis tournament at Melbourne. The World Number One defeated Li Na of China, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final to win the title for the second successive time.
The match lasted for 2-hour and 40-minutes which featured 16 service breaks, with Li losing her service nine times.
Top seeded American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan won the men's doubles title. Americans Mike and Bob Bryan won their record 13th Grand Slam doubles title, defeating the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4.
MS Dhoni Named as the Vice-President of India Cements
Indian Cricket Team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was appointed as the vice-president of India Cements Ltd. (ICL) on 1 February 2013. Until recently, Mr. Dhoni was an employee of the national carrier Air India. India Cements owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, the captaincy of which lies in the hands of Dhoni since 2008. The Managing Director-cum-vice-chairman of India Cements is Shri N Srinivasan, the BCCI President. In the wake of his induction into the company, Mr. Dhoni has also been included in The India Cements’ squad for corporate tournament of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).
P.R. Vasudeva Rao becomes new Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research
Dr. P.R.Vasudeva Rao, Distinguished Scientist and Director Chemistry Group at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam, is the new director of the centre. He succeeds S. C. Chetal, who has retired on 31 January 2013. Dr Rao is a specialist in the area of Actinide Chemistry and in particular in the area of Chemistry of Nuclear Fuel Cycle. He led the research and development programmes of IGCAR related to chemistry. His significant contribution has been towards R&D related aqueous as well as pyrochemical reprocessing schemes.
Under his guidance, the Chemistry Group at IGCAR is pursuing R&D on the chemistry aspects of fast reactor fuels, coolants and control rod materials as well as the fuel cycle aspects, said a press release issued by IGCAR.
RIM changed name to Blackberry; Launched New Blackberry 10 Operating System
Canada based Research In Motion, popularly known as RIM and makers of Blackberry phone, on 30 January 2013 announced that it will now be known as Blackberry. The handset maker also launched two devices under its new operating system Blackberry 10. While the Z10 is an all touch device, the Q10 has QWERTY portrait keyboard
New feature in operating system, Blackberry 10:
There is a new feature in Blackberry 10. It is called Hub. Hub integrates the social network notifications additionally with email and BBM. The contact pages which are built in this Hub will show updated information as well as activity. This allows a user to move from one application to another easily through the Hub.
Writing without Typing
Another feature is called Writing without Typing. It allows a user to flick the words from keyboard to screen. The keyboard additionally will have in-built multi-language support which is accessible through the gesture.
The new operating system also has the BlackBerry Balance feature. This feature allows its users to split the phone for official as well as personal uses. This will offer help to the IT managers of various companies who could allow employees to carry one device for workplace and personal use.
Another feature called BBM Screenshare allows users to share the screen with the person they are calling. It will help the users in sharing presentations, documents and pictures while also making video calls.
Time Shift allows the users to click various pictures at a time so that they can choose the best one later.
India lifted the ODI series against England 3-2
India won the 05 match ODI series against England 3-2, despite the latter defeated India by seven wickets in the fifth and the last ODI played at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamshala on 27 January 2013. India batted first in the match and scored 226 in 49.4 overs. In reply, England easily reached the target with seven wickets remaining.
The details of the remaining matches are as following:
· First ODI- Played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on 11 January 2013. England won by 9 runs.
· Second ODI-Played at Nehru Stadium, Kochi on 15 Jan 2013. India won by 127 runs.
· Third ODI-Played at JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi on 19 January 2013. India won by 7 wickets.
· Fourth ODI-Played at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh on 23 Jan 2013. India won by 5 wickets.
Suresh Raina of India was declared player of the series.
Mumbai clinch 40th Ranji Trophy title with a crushing win over Saurashtra
Mumbai won its 40th Ranji trophy at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 28 Jan 2013. Mumbai won the final match against Saurashtra by an inning and 125 runs on the third day of Ranji Trophy final. The Mumbai team so far has played in 44 finals of Ranji Trophy.
Mumbai in their first inning scored 355 runs while Saurashtra in reply could manage only 148. In its second inning Saurashtra was bundled out for merely 82. Mumbai pacers Ajit Agarkar (4-15) and Dhawal Kulkarni (5-32 & 9-56) did an excellent job. Wasim Jaffar was declared Man of the Match. Ajit Agarkar was the captain of the winning team.
Toyota wins back world's top auto sales crown from GM
Toyota Motor acclaimed the title of top selling automaker of the world in 2012, recording the highest sales and beating its arch rivals Volkswagen and General Motors. On 28 January 2013, Toyota Motor announced that it sold 9.75 million vehicles across the world group-wide in 2012, which is a record in itself for the Japanese automaker.
The sale of Toyota Motor has also increased by 22.6 percent in comparison to 2011. The announcement of the sales by the Toyota Motor placed the company back on number 1 position, which it had lost in 2011. Back in 2011, Toyota Motor had suffered negative publicity after the recall crisis in US as well as the disrupted supply because of earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand. Toyota had remained at the top most position from 2008 to 2010, but it dropped down in ranking to third position after its sales dipped in 2011.
Toyota’s Aim for 2013
•Toyota now aims at selling 9.91 million vehicles group-wide all over the world in 2013, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2012.
•The sales of Toyota include those at the Hino Motors and the Daihatsu Motor as well. Toyota-only sales hit the record of 8.72 million vehicles in 2012, an increase of 22.8 percent from 2011.
The Election Commission of India celebrated the 3rd National voters’ Day
The Election Commission of India celebrated the 3rd National Voters’ Day across the country on 25 January 2013. The theme for the 3rd NVD is Inclusion. NVD functions were held at more than 6.5 lakh locations across the country covering nearly all 8.5 lakh Polling Stations. Around 46000 Educational Institutions also celebrated National Voters’ Day. Around 4867 Youth Voter Festivals have been held across the states to engage youth in the registration process. The National Function to mark the 3rd National Voters’ Day was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
25th January is also the foundation day of the Commission, which came into being on this day in 1950. The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones, to make universal adult suffrage a complete reality. The National Voters’ Day is also utilized to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.
India celebrated its 64th Republic Day; Showcased Military Prowess and Cultural Heritage
India celebrated its 64th Republic Day on 26 January 2013. Unfurling of National flag, the rich cultural heritage, and nation's achievements in various fields were the highlights of Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in Delhi. The well-turned out and synchronised military and police formations led by General Officer Commanding (Delhi) Lt General Subroto Mitra marched proudly to the tunes of bands through the Rajpath where President Pranab Mukherjee, the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, took salute for the first time after assuming office in July 2012. The impressive march-past was watched by Chief Guest, King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.
The Army showcased its impressive weaponry which included main battle tank- ARJUN, Super Sonic Cruise Missile Brahmos Weapon System and Multi Barrel Rocket System -Pinaka. Display of above 5000 kilometer range Agni-V missile, Mobile Integrated Network Terminal and mini version of INS Vikramaditya also remained the centre of attraction during the function. 19 tableaux from various States and Central Ministries also mesmerized the spectators. Tornadoes, the motorcycle display by the Army Service Corps spellbound the spectators with their attractive stunts at Rajpath. At the final leg of the parade, a spectacular flypast was showcased by the Indian Air Force.
The air show commenced with 'Chakra' formation comprising MI-35 Helicopters. Arrowhead formation by five Jaguars and Trishul formation by three Su-30 MKI mesmerized the spectators. The ceremony culminated with the National Anthem and the release of colorful balloons.
Indian author U.R.Ananthamurthy in race for the International Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2013
Indian Kannada author U.R.Ananthamurthy (80) is one among the ten authors shortlisted for the prestigious International Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2013. Ananthamurthy became famous with his novel “Samskara” launched in 1966.
The International Man Booker Prize is presented by UK to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or generally available in English translation. It is a biennial event which awards an author for his lifetime work.
About the International Man Booker Prize
•International Man Booker Prize is a derivative of Britain’s Man Booker novel-of-the-year prize. It is awarded to the author for his lifetime work.
•The International Man Booker Prize is meant for the authors of any nationality whose work can be found in English.
•The winner of this award would be announced in London on 22 May 2013 by the chair of judge Christopher Ricks.
Major Abup J Manjali Selected For Second- Highest Peacetime Gallantry Award Kirti Chakra
Major Abup J Manjali of the Rashtriya Rifles was selected for the award of Kirti Chakra for his extraordinary bravery efforts in counter- terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Major Manjali is the only soldier to receive this second- highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra on the Republic Day. Apart from him, eight other jawans as well as officers were selected to be awarded with the Shaurya Chakra.
Major Abup J Manjali belongs to the Bihar Regiment and at present is deputed to Rashtriya Rifles. It is important to note that the Kirti Chakra can be given away to military personnel as well as the civilians. This award is the peacetime gallantry award which is equivalent to Mahavir Chakra.
Election Commission of India nominated Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom as the National Icons
The Election Commission (EC) of India on 22 January 2013 announced Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom as the National Icons to help promote, voter participation in India. Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom, both are Olympic Bronze Medalists in the London Olympics 2012, in Badminton and Boxing respectively.
Apart from these two, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Captain of the Indian National Cricket Team and former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam are the existing National Icons of the Board and they will continue to be at the position.
The duo, Nehwal and Mary Kom are roped in to be the National Icons to attract youth voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years in age. In its drive to revise the voters’ list in 2012 by the poll panel they added 2.32 crore citizens to the national Voter List out of which 93 lakh were the first time voters. The third National Voters Day would be observed by the Poll Panel on 25 January 2013 and some of the first-time voters would be given their photo identity cards on this day. The National Voters day is celebrated on the foundation day of the Election Commission.
Rajnath Singh elected as the new National President of Bhartiya Janata Party
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on 23 January 2013 elected Rajnath Singh as its new President. His appointment to the post was announced by Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Central Election Officer at the headquarters of the party, at New Delhi.
Rajnath Singh replaced Nitin Gadkari, who served the party as its President for a period of three years from December 2009 to January 2013.
Other important current affairs in a nutshell…..
* First Direct Presidential Elections were held in Czech Republic
* Zovi, the Online Fashion Retailer Acquired Rival Inkfruit
* NASA Marks 10th Anniversary of Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
* NASA launched a New Communication Satellite called TDRS
* World anti Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2013 to focus attention and create
awareness about the air-borne disease.
* Milos Zeman became Czech Republic’s First Directly Elected President
* Tiger Woods won his 75th PGA Tour Title in the Farmers Insurance Open
* Expert committee under Sam Pitroda Constituted to review Working of Prasar Bharti
* Aircel on 28 January 2013 launched Free Roaming Service for Voice, SMS and Data
* Philips Electronics sold the audio and video business to Funai Electric of Japan in the deal which would lead to its exit from consumer electronics completely.
* Union Ministry for Commerce launched eBiz Portal to Provide one Stop Shop for all Investment
* Milos Zeman won the Czech Republic Presidential Election 2013
* Shah Rukh Khan Ranked First in Inaugural Forbes India Celebrity 100 List
* China on 27 January 2013 successfully performed the second interceptor missile test. This is for the second time that China announced testing such a missile.
* India successfully test fired a ballistic missile K-15, with a strike range of around 700 kilometres, from an underwater platform in Bay of Bengal.
* Union Commerce Ministry claimed that India has crossed One Billion Mark in Tea Production
* Fauja Singh, 101, the oldest marathon runner of the world decided to stop running in the competitions after Hong Kong marathon which will be held in Feb 2013.
* The Women and Child Development Ministry observed National Girl Child Day on 24 January 2013 to create consciousness of the society towards the girl child.
* Shiv Sena, elected Uddhav Thackeray as the President of the Party on 23 January 2013 at Sena Headquarters at Dadar, Central Mumbai.
* The Justice Verma panel, created to review the laws for sexual crimes submitted the report to the Government of India on 23 January 2013.
* Nitin Gadkari resigned from his post as the BJP President on 22 January 2013. After his resignation, Rajnath Singh was elected as the party chief.
* INS Saryu, the largest shore patrol vessel was commissioned in the eastern coast for maritime surveillance around Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
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