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INDEX

1. ACHIEVEMENTS OF INDIAN AGENCIES Five Indian soldiers killed as rebels ambush convoy in South Sudan UNMISS 5th generation fighter crosses a milestone Combat aircraft deal may be delayed South Western Commands raising day Commands 9

2. AWARDS Dada Saheb Phalke Award for Pran The Dadasaheb Phalke Award Ravuri gets Jnanpith Award The Jnanpith Award

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3. COMMITTEES AND REPORTS Member-secretary of panel for women resigns Amnesty: commute all death sentences to imprisonment 80 million kids drop out without completing basic schooling: UNICEF Shift to global gas pricing regime, says Planning Commission The British thermal unit Panel for ban on mining in 37 % of Western Ghats Panel to probe chit fund scam

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4. CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS Subbarao to attend IMF conference National panel meets to protect red sanders Pterocarpus santalinus India to host IBSA summit in June

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5. ECONOMY Core sector output contracts 2.5 % in Feb We are committed to reform: FM Revised consolidated guidelines on FDI WTO cuts 2013 global trade forecast to 3.3 % Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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India, EU move closer to free trade pact A free-trade area AP third in attracting private sector investment: Assocham Rising cashew kernel imports hit processors Cashew Nut Kernels Minimum land need for SEZ tag cut Cotton demand, production, likely to rise India tops global remittances list

6. ENERGY Coal shortage likely to continue for two years: CEA chairman Manmohan: renewable energy capacity will double by 2017

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7. ENVIRONMENT Rare bird sighted at Kawal tiger reserve The Black Stork Andes ice formed over 1,600 years melts in 25 Sundarbans tidal project axed GLOBE India to increase climate change awareness GLOBE Mukundara Hills is Rajasthans third tiger reserve Supreme Court allows shifting of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to MP Antarctic summer ice melting ten times faster The James Ross Island group Brow-antlered deer flourish in Manipur national park The Sangai

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8. GEOGRAPHY

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Barren Island volcano in Andaman Sea could be at least 1.8 million years old A stratovolcano Barren Island Getting our own pet asteroid New, healthier variety of rice Upcoming comet intrigues astronomers

9. HEALTH Excessive use of paracetamol deadly, warns expert Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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Paracetamol & StevensJohnson syndrome Innovative TB treatment in Nagaland hospital Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) Landmark verdict gives big boost to cancer patients Fears as more H7N9 cases in China H7N9 India leads the world in dengue burden: Nature India moves ahead to get WHOs polio eradication certificate High-tech helper is under scrutiny The da Vinci Surgical System Seize unique opportunity to wipe out polio, says global declaration The Global Polio Eradication Initiative Pneumonia and diarrhoea major child killers in India: new data GAPPD Swine flu reappears in West Bengal Swine influenza, Better nutrition can cut stunting, says UNICEF Tripura girl with swollen head in Gurgaon hospital Hydrocephalus

10. INDIA AND THE WORLD India seeks report on Chamels death Its time for free trade pact with Russia, says India India to hold FTA plus talks with Customs Union troika Nitaqat labour law Saudi Arabia defers Nitaqat enforcement by three months Ansari leaves for Tajikistan, first by an Indian Vice-President Indias Connect Central Asia Policy Nepal, India & Bangladesh to make most of Ganga water, hydropower India, China trying to resolve incursion issue The Line of Actual Control

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11. INTERNATIONAL Kenya poll results upheld U.S. transfers key district to Afghans In China, singles cant buy second home British peer reveals MI6 role in Lumumba killing The Secret Intelligence Service Patrice mery Lumumba H-1B visas through lottery Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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The H-1B Warm reception to Myanmars private dailies U.N. passes historic arms trade treaty Pak. militarys unilateral border activity irks Kabul The Durand Line Serbia-Kosovo meet inconclusive U.S. moves interceptor to Guam Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Serbia rejects E.U. brokered Kosovo deal Australia elevates China ties, a strategic breakthrough Historic G8 accord on sexual violence in conflict zones Chavez protg wins vote by thin margin Pakistan bears the brunt of Iran quake Letter to Obama contains ricin Ricin 157 dead in Sichuan earthquake Cartes wins in Paraguay In Italy, a re-election thats just a pause button Israel to end white phosphorous use De facto occupation by China: Philippines Putin, Abe vow to end 67-year-old island dispute Enrico Letta is Italian Premier-designate

12. NATION Controversial Gujarat irrigation Bill gets Governors nod Reinventing libraries The National Mission on Libraries Optic fibre connects Ambani brothers Gujarat Bill ending role of Governor, CJ to choose ombudsman passed Katju to set up Court of Last Resort AAP is now a registered party Skimmers could clean out bank balance Karnataka tops in management of rural drinking water schemes NHRC to hold full commission sitting in Raipur Job creation to be hit, says Nasscom chief World Bank to support seven low-income States Centre draws up 9-point action plan to develop naxal-affected areas Armed women security squads introduced Another milestone in e-governance Birth registration should be the first right of child Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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13. HISTORY AND CULTURE Bedrock on which Neolithic man sharpened stone tools found in T.N. The Neolithic Era, Ring that inspired Tolkien on show A grandson retraces flight over Everest Demolition threat to temple holding Xuan Zang relics Xuanzang Decommissioned submarine to be turned into museum by 2015 South Africa remembers communist stalwart Chris Hani Panel to seek National Geographic Societys help The National Geographic Society Ravi Shankars last recordings out soon

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14. NRIs & PIOs Obama faces flak for complimenting Kamala Harris Kamala Devi Harris Reprieve for Pakistani Hindus as India extends visa

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15. ORGANISATIONS Vijaya Bank gets certification from BSI ISO/IEC 27001 HAL turns focus on civil aircraft NTPC to shift Odisha project to Madhya Pradesh CBIs golden jubilee fete The Central Bureau of Investigation Tata Steel merges two group companies with self Force One HAL to produce cryogenic engines for ISRO TCS to buy French IT firm

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16. PERSONALITIES Veteran educationist Ahalya Chari passes away Vijender took heroin 12 times: police Heroin 45-year jail term for Monster of Grbavica Socialist thinker Mastram Kapoor passes away Bratindra Nath Mukherjee passes away Poverty a bigger challenge than AIDS, says World Bank chief Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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S. Gopalakrishnan is CII President A.K. Padmanabhan re-elected CITU chief Tiruvarur Latchappa Pillai dead P.J. Kurien elected forum chairman AFPPD Test-tube baby pioneer dies Sir Robert Geoffrey Edwards & In vitro fertilization A doyen among anti-British Bengal revolutionaries Man of many tongues Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy passes away at 90 Indian among Popes advisers Veteran singer PBS passes away Prathivadi Bhayankara Sreenivas R.P. Goenka passes away Sivanthi Adityan dead Justice J.S. Verma passes away Z security cover for Mukesh Security categories in India Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away Sunil Mittal to be ICC Vice-Chairman N. Ravi elected Editors Guild president Sarabjit critical after attack in Lahore jail

17. PLACES French troops guard Indian cement plant in Bangui 83 workers buried in Tibet landslide Parwan Tripura wants Wagah-like ceremony at Akhaura border 200-year-old temple torched in Bangladesh

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18. POLICY & GOVERNANCE

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Govt likely to slash P&K fertiliser subsidy by Rs 2,000-2,700 Stringent anti-rape laws get Presidents nod Delhi Police probing Googles map contest The Survey of India Environment clearance for projects worth Rs. 45,000 crore at breakneck speed Centre decontrols sugar industry PEAIS award to elude Kerala again PEAIS Pranab clears way for first-ever hanging of a woman Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 6

HC refuses interim relief to Merck in patent case Delay no ground for mercy in terror cases Telecom Security Directorate planned to tackle threat from Chinese equipment LPG direct cash transfer scheme likely from July 1 Crackdown on Ponzi scheme begins A Ponzi scheme Railway reservation period cut to 60 days

19. SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENTS 2,000 black holes on Milky Way galaxy The Milky Way A black hole A facelift through 3D printing technology U.S.' $100-million plan to map human brain Lab-made kidney holds out hope New light on dark matter Dark matter Russia: $50 billion earmarked for space research A shortcut to the space station The International Space Station Decoding a living fossil The bubble bursts on e-currency Bitcoin Bitcoin Russia launches bio-satellite Google Glass goes to first users outside company Google Glass NASA launches smartphone satellites Quantum biology mimicked in lab Quantum biology

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20. WOMEN PERSONALITIES Margaret Thatcher dead Margaret Hilda Thatcher & Thatcherism Two women from Fata make poll history She came, she saw, she wrote Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Malala announces first donation from fund Rashida Manjoo CRPF gets its first woman Special DG V.S. Ramadevi passes away Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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Shakuntala Devi Indias richest woman asked to vacate house Shamshad Begum falls silent

21. SPORTS Chennai to host world chess championship Fernando Alonso imperious in victory Scott first Aussie to win at Augusta The Masters Tournament Vettel scorches the desert yet again Gayle storm tears through Pune

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22. ASSIGNMENTS Paid news is a complex problem Comment.

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At the root of poor governance is our lethargy for change, whether it is in the implementation of schemes or adherence to valuesLack of good governance has been identified as the root cause of many of the serious deficiencies in society. It robs the citizenry of their security, and their social and economic rights.- Comment B.R. Ambedkar had successfully synthesised the thought of Karl Marx and the teachings of the Buddha Comment.

Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

1. ACHIEVEMENTS OF INDIAN AGENCIES

1. Five Indian soldiers killed as rebels ambush convoy in South Sudan

In April 2013, five soldiers of the Indian Army were killed and four injured in an ambush of their United Nations peacekeeping mission by unidentified assailants in South Sudan. Lt. Colonel Mahipal Singh, Havaldars Heera Lal and Bharat Sasmal, Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal and Sipahi Naval Kishore were killed as they escorted a 32-member convoy near the settlement of Gumuruk in Jonglei State. A contingent of 2,200 Indian Army personnel are deployed with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). While one group is based in Malakkal on the border with Sudan, the other one is deployed in Jonglei. Elsewhere on the African continent, Indian troops are involved in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote dIvoire. Jonglei is the largest and most populous State in South Sudan, a country carved out its northern neighbour in 2011 after a brutal civil war spanning many decades. Post-independence, the State has been roiled by inter-ethnic conflict between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities. The conflict has since escalated into a full-blown insurgency led by Murle leader David Yauyau who, the South Sudanese believe, is backed by the government of Sudan. Sudanese officials have repeatedly denied these allegations. Earlier, the U.N. urged South Sudans government to protect communities in Jonglei, even as representatives of France, Canada, Norway, the U.S. and the U.K. expressed concern that military conflict, lack of infrastructure, seasonal migration and deterioration of law and order were putting civilian lives at risk. About 17,000 people have been displaced in Jonglei due to the current conflict, according to the U.N.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is the newest United Nations peacekeeping mission for the recently independent Republic of South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July 2011. UNMISS was established on 8 July 2011 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1996 (2011). UNMISS is headed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hilde Frafjord Johnson. It is composed of 5,884 civilian, 5,508 military and 376 police personnel and is headquartered in the South Sudan capital Juba.

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2. 5th generation fighter crosses a milestone

India and Russia have crossed the first milestone towards the development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), completing the preliminary design. The preliminary design contract (PDC) for the Russian-Indian fifth generation aircraft has been executed, Russias Sukhoi aircraft company said in April 2013. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed the $295-million PDC contract in December 2010 with the Sukhoi company, which is responsible for developing the PAK-FA (perspective aviation complex-frontline aircraft), as the FGFA is called. Under the PDC contract, Sukhoi has also trained Indian engineers and provided HAL with the data and software needed to create a single working environment. A team of HAL engineers and IAF experts has been working at Sukhois design bureau in Moscow, while Russian engineers have been assigned to HAL. Four T50 aircraft, the Russian prototype of the fifth generation fighter, have already performed more than 200 test flights since January 2010. The customised FGFA version will have some differences from the Russian prototype to meet specific requirements of the Indian Air Force, the Sukhoi announcement said. Russian experts have said the FGFA will differ in mission hardware and software, as well as weapons. This is Indias biggest-ever defence project and its largest defence deal with Russia.

3. Combat aircraft deal may be delayed

The countrys biggest defence deal for 126 Rafale combat aircraft is expected to be delayed after differences surfaced between India and French firm Dassault Aviation over certain contractual obligations.

4. South Western Commands raising day

The seventh, and the youngest, command of the Army the South Western Command, which is headed by Lt. Gen. Gyan Bhushan turned eight on April 15, 2013. Itll celebrate its ninth raising day on April 15, 2013. The SWC, officially christened the Sapta Shakti Command, has extensive operational responsibility over a well developed and high value territory and demands preparedness of a very high order, defence spokesperson said. The jurisdiction of the Command, headquartered in Jaipur, extends over Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, covering more than 1.5 lakh sq.km. These three States provide the maximum number of soldiers to the Army.

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In addition to guarding the frontier, the Command provides assistance to the civil administration in these States as well as in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Commands The army operates 7 operational commands. Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Lieutenant General. Each command is directly affiliated to the Army HQ in New Delhi. Central Command, headquartered at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Eastern Command, headquartered at Kolkata, West Bengal Northern Command, headquartered at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir Southern Command, headquartered at Pune, Maharashtra South Western Command, headquartered at Jaipur, Rajasthan Western Command, headquartered at Chandimandir Training Command, headquartered at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

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2. AWARDS

1. Dada Saheb Phalke Award for Pran

Veteran Bollywood actor Pran Krishan Sikand, who played villain and character roles with lan in such classics as Milan, Madhumati and Zanjeer, has been chosen for the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the countrys highest cinema honour. The award will be conferred on the 93-year-old actor on May 3. In his sixdecades-long career, he has acted in more than 400 films.

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. The Award is given to a prominent personality from the Indian film industry, noted and respected for significant contributions to Indian cinema. A committee consisting eminent personalities from the Indian film industry is appointed to evaluate the award. Introduced in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, considered as the father of Indian cinema, award is given to recognise the contribution of film personalities towards the development of Indian Cinema and for distinguished contribution to the medium, its growth and promotion. The award for a particular year is given during the end of the following year along with the National Film Awards. The award comprises a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a cash prize of 1 million and a shawl.

2. Ravuri gets Jnanpith Award

In April 2013, eminent Telugu novelist, short story writer, poet and critic Ravuri Bharadwaja was selected for the prestigious Jnanpith award for the year 2012 for his contribution to Telugu literature.

The Jnanpith Award is a literary award in India. Along with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, it is one of the two most prestigious literary honours in the country. The award was instituted in 1961. Any Indian citizen who writes in any of the official languages of India is eligible for the honour. It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the The Times of India newspaper.

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3. COMMITTEES AND REPORTS

1. Member-secretary of panel for women resigns

Deepa Jain Singh, member secretary of the Centres High-Level Committee on the Status of Women, has resigned from her post in April 2013. The original 19-member committee which is less than a year old has already seen four resignations, including that of the chairperson Justice Ruma Pal. Three members of the committee had resigned almost immediately after their name were officially announced by the government. Set up in March 2012, the Committees mandate is to undertake a comprehensive study to understand the status of women since 1989 and evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of womens needs.

2. Amnesty: commute all death sentences to imprisonment

In all 682 persons, including 2008 Mumbai terror attack case convict Ajmal Kasab, were executed worldwide in 2012, which is two more than such executions carried out in 2011. Releasing the global annual report on death penalty-2012, the Amnesty International (AI) has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment and abolish the death penalty in India. The international human rights organisation said it was troubled by the arbitrary, flawed and biased use of capital punishment in India. On an average once in three days the death penalty was awarded as punishment in India, it claimed. The report said China once again executed thousands of people than the rest of the world put together, but due to the secrecy surrounding the use of the death penalty in the country it was not possible to obtain accurate figures on the use of capital punishment there. At least 1,722 newly imposed death sentences in 58 countries could be confirmed in 2012, compared to 1,923 in 63 countries in 2011. Despite some disappointing setbacks in 2012, the trend towards ending the death penalty continued, it said. The year saw the resumption of executions in countries that had not used the death penalty for some time, notably India, Japan, Pakistan and Gambia, as well as an alarming escalation in executions in Iraq. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 13

3. 80 million kids drop out without completing basic schooling: UNICEF

With eight million children never having stepped inside a school and 80 million dropping out without completing basic schooling, the United Nations Childrens Fund has described the situation as a national emergency and called for equipping the government and civil society to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. There has been progress in implementation of the Act in the past three years but children are still dropping out, not for labour, but because they are not learning anything in schools, Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative in India, said at a media roundtable on the Progress of the RTE Implementation.

4. Shift to global gas pricing regime, says Planning Commission

The Planning Commission has recommended switching to the international pricing formula for natural gas which presently works out to $14.5 per MBTU, almost three times more than the present price of $4.2 mBtu (per million British thermal unit) by the beginning of the 13th Plan (2017-22). The Planning Commission has also sought that coal bed methane (CBM) gas and yet to be discovered shale gas be freed from any price control or approvals without any further delay. The recommendations were conveyed to Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae and the Prime Ministers Office on April 5 through an official communication in the shape of comments on the C. Rangarajan panel recommendations on the pricing of natural gas.

The British thermal unit (symbol Btu or sometimes BTU) is a traditional unit of energy equal to about 1055 joules. It is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

5. Panel for ban on mining in 37 % of Western Ghats

Identifying 37 per cent or about 60,000 square km of the Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive, a high-level panel has recommended that destructive activities such as mining, thermal power, major construction, and some hydel power projects should not be allowed there. However, the panel was silent about any restrictions in the remaining 96,000 square km area, thus creating the perception that it had diluted earlier recommendations that the entire Ghats should be declared as an eco-sensitive area. The panel, headed by space scientist and Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan, which submitted its report to Environment Minister Jayanthi Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 14

Natarajan was initially set up to review the more stringent recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil.

The Gadgil report had wanted the entire area of the Ghats to be graded into three levels of eco-sensitive zones, each of which would have different restrictions. It had faced uproar from State governments and industries which were alarmed by the curbs on development in almost 70 per cent of the biodiverse range of mountains spanning six States. The new high-level panel has taken a different approach. Taking advantage of Dr. Kasturirangans connections with ISRO, it has used satellite data to produce a far more detailed database, with a resolution of 24 square metres as opposed to the 9 square km used by the Gadgil report. It then used remote sensing technology to distinguish between natural landscapes and cultural landscapes which include human settlements, fields and plantations.

6. Panel to probe chit fund scam

In April 2013, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the setting up of an inquiry commission headed by a former Calcutta High Court judge to probe the chit fund scam. The commission headed by retired Justice Shaymal Sen will look into how much money has been collected, who all were depositors and how we can return the money, Ms. Banerjee told.

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4. CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS

1. Subbarao to attend IMF conference

Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao will share his perspective at an IMF (International Monetary Fund) conference in Washington in April 2013. The conference will discuss policy pursued by various governments in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The conference on Rethinking macro policy II: first steps and early lessons will take place at the IMFs Headquarters on April 16 and 17.

2. National panel meets to protect red sanders

As a follow-up to the formation of a committee National Strategy for Management of red sanders by the Union government to protect the precious wood endemic to Seshachalam ranges in Andhra Pradesh, the primary meeting held in Tirupati discussed the administrative, legal and operational angles to the issue.

Pterocarpus santalinus or Red Sanders or Red Sandalwood is a species of Pterocarpus native to India. It is only found in south India in Kadapa, Chittoor, mostly in the hilly region of Nepal, in Pakistan and in Sri Lanka. In India sandalwood is one main and lucrative market for smugglers as a high price is paid for this wood in China. Since, the exporting of sandalwood from India is banned, the underground market is growing and there are a number of arrests every year of those trying to smuggle this wood to China.

3. India to host IBSA summit in June

After a gap of over 20 months, India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) large democracies from three different continents will meet at the summit level in New Delhi on June 6. The sixth summit will also commemorate the tenth anniversary of IBSA founding.

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5. ECONOMY

1. Core sector output contracts 2.5 % in Feb

Dragged down by natural gas and fertiliser sectors, the eight core industries shrank 2.5 per cent in February 2013, a worst-ever performance in decades, which is likely to result in muted overall factory output numbers. The core industries coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity had grown by 7.7 per cent in February, 2012. The decline in growth in February, 2013, was on account of negative growth witnessed in electricity generation and in the production of crude oil, coal, natural gas and fertilisers, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in April 2013. The contraction was last seen in these industries in February 2001. The core sector (at that time had six industries only) had contracted by one per cent. During April-February 2012-13, the cumulative growth rate of the sector was 2.6 per cent against 5.2 per cent during the corresponding period in 2011-12. These eight industries together account for about 38 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

2. We are committed to reform: FM

India's economy is capable of absorbing $50 billion in foreign direct investment a year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, adding that the government is committed to reforms to tackle a large current account deficit. Addressing a news conference during a visit to Tokyo in April 2013, promoting India as an investment destination, Mr. Chidambaram also reiterated that growth in Asias third-largest economy was expected to accelerate in the current fiscal year. Indias financial account, which includes foreign direct investment, portfolio investment and overseas borrowing by Indian companies, showed a surplus of $31.1 billion in the December quarter for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. The government is struggling to boost the economy, which has posted its weakest growth in a decade. Removing investment barriers, many of which date back to before India started opening up its economy in the early 1990s, has been the key to the governments push to restoring investor confidence. Mr. Chidambaram repeated his recent pledge that the government would simplify outdated foreign investment caps in a bid to attract more investors and tackle its Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 17

large current account deficit, but stopped short of specifying which sectors he wants to reform.

3. Revised consolidated guidelines on FDI

In April 2013, seeking to further simplify the foreign investment regime, the Central Government came out with the revised consolidated guidelines on foreign direct investment (FDI). The guidelines incorporated changes with regard to inflows in multi-brand retail and allowing Pakistani nationals and companies to invest in the country. Besides, it has included policy changes in sectors such as single brand retail, asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), power exchanges, civil aviation, broadcasting and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The government made these changes in the sixth edition of the Consolidated FDI Policy Circular, a ready reckoner on foreign investment-related regulations that is effective from April 5. Last year, amid opposition from some of its key allies and State governments, the Centre permitted 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail sector. The government also allowed foreign airlines to pick up 49 per cent stake in the cash-strapped domestic carriers. Similarly, it has raised FDI cap to 74 per cent in various services of the broadcasting sector. The foreign investment ceiling in ARCs has also been increased to 74 per cent from 49 per cent, a move aimed at bringing more foreign expertise in the segment. It has said that the total shareholding of an individual FII in an ARC shall not exceed 10 per cent of the total paid-up capital. Further, it has incorporated the changes made with regard to FDI from Pakistan. Now, a Pakistani citizen or an entity can invest in the country under the government approval route. With regard to issue price of shares, a new paragraph has been added. Under this, where non-residents including NRIs are making investments in an Indian firm in compliance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956, by way of subscription to its Memorandum of Association, such investments may be made at face value subject to their eligibility to invest under the FDI scheme. The government has permitted foreign investment of up to 49 per cent in power trading exchanges in the country. The policy has also listed as many as eight mandatory conditions and one optional clause with regard to conversion of a company with FDI into a Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) firm.

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4. WTO cuts 2013 global trade forecast to 3.3 %

In April 2013, the World Trade Organization (WTO) slashed its forecast for trade growth in 2013, saying it feared protectionism was on the increase. It cut its forecast for global trade growth in 2013 to 3.3 per cent from 4.5 per cent and said trade grew only 2 per cent in 2012. That was the smallest annual rise since records began in 1981 and the second weakest figure on record after 2009, when trade shrank. WTO Director General Pascal Lamy warned that 2013 could turn out even weaker than expected, especially because of risks from the euro crisis, and countries might try to restrict trade further in a desperate attempt to shore up domestic growth.

5. India, EU move closer to free trade pact

India and the European Union have moved closer to concluding a Free Trade Agreement. This was indicated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press interaction after the conclusion of the second Indo-Germany Governmental Consultations in Berlin in April 2013. Dr. Singh said he had explained to the Chancellor that India was committed to liberalising the FDI cap in the insurance sector. At present, India allows only 26 per cent FDI in insurance although the Union Cabinet approved a proposal for hiking this to 49 per cent. The proposal has to be approved by Parliament before this increase can be implemented. India and Germany also agreed to set up a high technology partnership group with Dr. Singh saying we look forward to expanded defence cooperat ion anchored in technology transfer, co-development and co-production in India. He said high technology commerce would benefit from further easing of German export controls. The two countries inked six agreements, including an MoU on cooperation in higher education.

A free-trade area is a trade bloc whose member countries have signed a free-trade agreement (FTA), which eliminates tariffs, import quotas, and preferences on most (if not all) goods and services traded between them. If people are also free to move between the countries, in addition to FTA, it would also be considered an open border. It can be considered the second stage of economic integration. Countries choose this kind of economic integration if their economical structures are complementary. If their economical structures are competitive, it is likely there will be no incentive for a FTA, or only selected areas of goods and services will be covered to fulfill the economic interests between the two signatories of FTA. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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6. AP third in attracting private sector investment: Assocham

Andhra Pradesh ranked No. 3 in attracting private sector investment to the tune of Rs. 7 lakh crore, constituting 9.4 per cent of the total investments in India, after Gujarat (Rs. 10 lakh crore) and Odisha (Rs. 8 lakh crore), an analysis by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in April 2013. Andhra Pradesh is closely followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka in the list of States attracting maximum investment proposals from private sources in India, said the analysis.

7. Rising cashew kernel imports hit processors

In spite of being a major producer and exporter of cashew kernels, India is now finding itself being listed as an importer too. According to Global Statistical Review 2007-12 released recently by the Spain-based International Nut and Dried Fruits Council (INC), cashew kernel imports into India, of late, are much above some of the traditional kernel importing countries. As per INC statistics, world raw cashew production last year was 5.43 lakh tonnes of kernels. While raw cashew production in India during 2012 was 1.60 lakh tonnes, Vietnam produced only 63,050 metric tonnes. But the irony is that Vietnam has overtaken India as the top cashew kernel exporting country and has maintained that position for the last five years. Both countries meet their export demands through import of raw cashew. And for that matter, Vietnam, till a few years ago, had no processing units. India used to be a major purchaser of raw cashew produced there. But now Vietnam has banned export of raw cashew.

Cashew Nut Kernels is processed from raw Cashew. Cashew kernel which is intact from the shell is graded carefully to superior standards required by top food companies all over the world. The un-shelled nut is steamed to soften the shell and carefully cut open. The kernel is dried to loosen the skin which is then peeled off. Whole kernels are graded by size and color. Pieces are chopped into required sizes.

8. Minimum land need for SEZ tag cut

In April 2013, the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma announced a set of reforms for Special Economic Zones (SEZ), including relaxation of land requirement norms, introduction of graded scale for minimum land criteria, offering an exit policy and doing away with minimum land requirement for setting up an IT/ITeS SEZs. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 20

Mr. Sharma said the government had taken note of the fact that there are acute difficulties in aggregating large tracts of uncultivable land which is vacant to set up SEZ. We have decided to reduce the Minimum Land Area Requirement by half for different categories of SEZs. For multi-product SEZ, minimum land requirement has been brought down from 1,000 hectares to 500 hectares, and for sectorspecific SEZs, it has been brought down to 50 hectares, he said. The 170 functional SEZs export-oriented enclaves have attracted investment of over Rs. 2.36 lakh crore, and exports from them totalled Rs. 4.76 lakh crore in 2012-13, a growth of over 2,000 per cent over the seven-year period. The minimum built-up area requirement had been considerably relaxed at one lakh sq. m.for Mumbai, Delhi (NCR), Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. For class B-cities, minimum built-up area would be 50,000 sq. m. For other cities, 25,000 sq. m. built-up area norm would be applicable. To provide greater flexibility in utilising land tracts falling between 50 hectares and 450 hectares, it had been decided to introduce graded scale for minimum land criteria which would permit a SEZ an additional sector for each contiguous 50 hectare parcel of land. He said flexibility to set up additional units in a sector-specific SEZ had been provided by introducing sectoral broad-banding to encompass similar or related areas under the same sector.

9. Cotton demand, production, likely to rise

The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB), which met in Mumbai recently, has estimated cotton production during 2012-13 (October 2012 to September 2013) to be 340 lakh bales as against the earlier estimate of 330 lakh bales. Imports are expected to be 25 lakh bales (it was 12 lakh bales in 2011-12). Consumption is also going up and is likely to be 267 lakh bales.

10. India tops global remittances list

India is the largest recipient of remittances in the world, receiving $69 billion in 2012, the World Bank has said. India topped the list of countries receiving remittances, followed by China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), Mexico ($23 billion) and Nigeria and Egypt ($21 billion each), it said in April 2013.

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6. ENERGY

1. Coal shortage likely to continue for two years: CEA chairman

The Central Electricity Authority has forecast that shortage of coal that has resulted in acute power shortage in several parts of the country is likely to continue for the next couple of years. There is coal to meet our requirements, but it has to be dug out, CEA chairman A.S. Bakshi said. Mining of coal was hit by problems such as clearances from various agencies, including the Ministry of Environment & Forests, as a result of which production could not be raised to the expected levels.

2. Manmohan: renewable energy capacity will double by 2017

India had launched a new initiative to double the renewable energy capacity to 55,000 MW by 2017 by exploiting non-conventional energy sources such as solar, wind power and energy from biomass, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in April 2013. Developing countries, he noted, accounted for 82 per cent of the worlds population and they used 55 per cent of the available global supply of energy. They must aim at faster growth of their GDP to improve the living standards of their populations and this will entail an expanded demand for energy. If they follow the industrialised countries in meeting their energy requirements through fossil fuel-based energy, we know that the impact on the global climate would be simply unsustainable.

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7. ENVIRONMENT

1. Rare bird sighted at Kawal tiger reserve

Authorities at the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh, have every reason to sport a smile on their face these days when faced with questions on the state of conservation in this youngest of the Tiger Reserves in the country. In April 2013, authorities of this Tiger Reserve spotted a pair of black stork (Ciconia nigra) which has not been sighted in Andhra Pradesh during the last decade.

The Black Stork Ciconia nigra is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a widespread, but uncommon, species that breeds in the warmer parts of Europe (predominantly in central and eastern regions), across temperate Asia and Southern Africa. This is a shy and wary species, unlike the closely related White Stork. It is seen in pairs or small flocksin marshy areas, rivers or inland waters. The Black Stork feeds on amphibians and insects.

2. Andes ice formed over 1,600 years melts in 25

Glacial ice in the Peruvian Andes that took at least 1,600 years to form has melted in just 25 years, scientists have reported, the latest indication that the recent spike in global temperatures has thrown the natural world out of balance. The evidence comes from a remarkable find at the margins of the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru, the worlds largest tropical ice sheet. Rapid melting there in the modern era is uncovering plants that were locked in a deep freeze when the glacier advanced many thousands of years ago. Dating of those plants, using a radioactive form of carbon in the plant tissues that decays at a known rate, has given scientists an unusually precise method of determining the history of the ice sheet's margins.

3. Sundarbans tidal project axed

The West Bengal government has decided to drop a plan to set up a tidal wave project in the creeks of the Sundarban Delta. The project would have been the first of its kind in the country.

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The power department officials confirmed that massive cost escalation was the reason for the government decision to abandon the project, whose cost had increased from Rs. 48 crore in 2003 to Rs. 238 crore now.

4. GLOBE India to increase climate change awareness

With Maharashtra being mauled by a drought worse than the one it faced in 1972, the Indian chapter of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) met State legislators and parliamentarians to increase awareness of the impact of climate change at the State and district levels.

GLOBE is the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment, founded in 1989. GLOBE facilitates high level negotiated policy positions from leading legislators from across the major economies parliaments and from regional dialogues. GLOBE's objective is to support ambitious political leadership on issues of climate and energy security, land-use change and ecosystems. Internationally, GLOBE is focussed on progressive leadership from G20 leaders and the leaders of the major emerging economies as well as formal negotiations within the United Nations. GLOBE shadows the formal G8 negotiations and allows legislators to work together outside the formal international negotiations. Without the burden of formal governmental negotiating positions, legislators have the freedom to push the boundaries of what can be politically achieved. At an international level GLOBE consists of senior cross-party members of parliament from the 16 major economies - the G8 countries, European Parliament, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. Also, GLOBE facilitates regional policy dialogues amongst legislators. GLOBE believes that legislators have a critical role to play in holding their own governments to account for the commitments that are made during international negotiations. Headquarters: London, UK

5. Mukundara Hills is Rajasthans third tiger reserve

After Ranthambhore and Sariska, Rajasthan will now be home another big cat habitat. Then the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR), located in Hadoti region, was notified by the State government in April 2013. The MHTR will be spread across four districts Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar covering an area of 759 sq km. It will boast of a core area of 417 sq km and a buffer zone covering 342.82 sq km. The reserve, expected to ease the big cat population pressure in Ranthambhore, will cover the existing Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal wildlife sanctuaries. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 24

Ranthambhore is home to 50 tigers while Sariska has nine big cats. The State governments are authorised, on the recommendations of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), to notify an area as a tiger reserve under Section 38 V of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The MHTR currently does not have a tiger population of its own but serves as a natural extension of the Ranthambhore reserve and big cats from the States premier reserve often stray into the MHTR area for breeding.

6. Supreme Court allows shifting of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to MP

In April 2013, the Supreme Court allowed translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, saying the species faced the threat of extinction and needed a second home. It gave the wildlife authorities six months to complete the process. At present, around 400 Asiatic lions inhabit Gujarats Gir National Park and Sanctuary. However, a Bench of K.S. Radhakrishnan and C.K. Prasad rejected a plan to introduce African cheetahs in India from Namibia, ruling that the preservation of the critically endangered native species such as the wild buffalo and the Great Indian Bustard should be given primacy. Under the Rs.300-crore programme, the Ministry of Environment and Forests planned to introduce African Cheetahs in the country. In May last year, the court stayed implementation of the project. The issue of relocating cheetahs was raised at a hearing on translocation of Asiatic lions from the Gir National Park and Sanctuary and surrounding areas, to the Palpur Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, pursuant to a decision taken by the National Board for Wildlife (NBW). The Gujarat government has been fighting a legal battle against translocation of lions after a public interest litigation petition, which sought their shifting to Madhya Pradesh, was filed in the Supreme Court.

7. Antarctic summer ice melting ten times faster

Summer ice in the Antarctic is melting 10 times quicker than it was 600 years ago, with the most rapid melt occurring in the last 50 years, a joint AustralianBritish study showed in April 2013. A research team from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey drilled a 364-metre long ice core from James Ross Island in the continents north to measure past temperatures.

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The James Ross Island group is a group of islands located close to the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The largest islands in the group are James Ross Island, Snow Hill Island, Vega Island, and Seymour Island. The islands lie to the south of the Joinville Island group. The group contains several scientific bases, notably Marambio Base, and numerous important palaeontological sites.

8. Brow-antlered deer flourish in Manipur national park

Wildlife lovers are overjoyed by the recent report that the population of the browantlered deer in its natural habitat at the Keibul Lamjao National Park, located within the Loktak Lake in Manipur, has increased from 180 a few years back to 200 now. However, the big question is how long this deer, listed in the Red Book, will survive.

The Sangai is an endemic, rare and endangered Brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur, India. Its common English name is Manipur Brow-antlered Deer and the scientific name, Rucervus eldi eldi McClelland. It lives in the marshy wetland in Keibul Lamjao about 45 km from Imphal. Its habitat is located in the southern parts of the Loktak Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Eastern India. It is also one of the seven Ramsar sites of international importance. The habitat of the Sangai is now protected as the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Sangai is also the state animal of Manipur.

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8. GEOGRAPHY

1. Barren Island volcano in Andaman Sea could be at least 1.8 million years old

A group of scientists at Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay have determined that Barren Island volcano in Andaman Sea would be at least 1.8 million years old. The determination of the age is important to elucidate the history of volcanism in the country and the evolution of the island arc in the Andaman subduction zone. In a report, the scientists team noted that there was need to learn the eruptive history of the Barren Island, as it became active in 1991 after a dormancy of 159 years. It has since remained active with almost continuous tephra eruptions or ejection of solid material into the air. Being a stratovolcano it had, in the past and would be likely to have in the future, massive eruptions that could seriously affect life in the Andaman Sea, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the neighbouring south-east Asian countries. The Barren Island stands in the midst of a volcanic belt on the edge of the Indian and Burmese tectonic plates. It is the northern-most active system of the Indonesian volcanic arc. Though forming part of the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar, it is totally uninhabited. It is accessible only to the Coast Guard and naval ships which monitor the island on a regular basis for any eruption. The eruption in 1991 lasted for about six months.

A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic explosive eruptions and quiet eruptions, while there are some with collapsed craters called calderas. The lava that flows from stratovolcanoes typically cools and hardens before spreading far due to high viscosity. The magma forming this lava is often felsic, having high-to-intermediate levels of silica (as in rhyolite, dacite, or andesite), with lesser amounts of less-viscous mafic magma. Extensive felsic lava flows are uncommon, but have travelled as far as 15 km. Stratovolcanoes are sometimes called "composite volcanoes" because of their composite layered structure built up from sequential outpourings of eruptive materials. They are among the most common types of volcanoes, in contrast to the less common shield volcanoes. Two famous stratovolcanoes are Krakatoa, best known for its catastrophic eruption in 1883 and Vesuvius, famous for its destruction of the towns Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. Both eruptions claimed thousands of lives.

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Barren Island is located in the Andaman Sea, one of the most easterly of the Andaman Islands. It is the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia. Along with the rest of the Andamans, it is a part of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and lies about 135 km northeast of the territory's capital, Port Blair. The first recorded eruption of the volcano dates back to 1787. Since then, the volcano has erupted more than ten times, with the most recent one which started in September 2010 and continued through January 2011. After the first recorded eruption in 1787, further eruptions were recorded in 1789, 1795, 180304, and 1852. After nearly one and half century of dormancy, the island had another eruption in 1991 that lasted six months and caused considerable damage. There were eruptions in 199495 and 200507, the latter being considered to be linked to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

2. Getting our own pet asteroid

NASA is planning for a robotic spaceship to capture a small asteroid and park it near the Moon for astronauts to explore, a Senator has said. The plan would speed up by four years the existing mission to land astronauts on an asteroid by bringing the space rock closer to Earth, Senator Bill Nelson said. The robotic ship would capture the 500-tonne, 7.6-metre asteroid in 2019. Then using an Orion space capsule, now being developed, a crew of about four astronauts would nuzzle up next to the rock in 2021 for spacewalking exploration. Mr. Nelson said this would help NASA develop the capability to nudge away a dangerous asteroid. It also would be training for a mission to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

3. New, healthier variety of rice

A Belgaum-based agro-businessman and researcher has developed a new variety of rice that is reportedly healthier than the varieties in use, and has applied for a patent. Researcher Girish Hattaraki said the new variety, which he has named Godhumshali Healthy Rice, has several health benefits. It has been tested by a Pune-based laboratory accredited by NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories), Mr. Hattaraki added.

4. Upcoming comet intrigues astronomers

Astronomers are tracking the distant flight of an unusual new comet that is flying toward our inner solar system from the farthest reaches of space. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 28

The comets blaze could make it the brightest object of the century as it rounds the sun providing that solar heat doesnt destroy it first, the astronomers say. Unlike most comets that fly into the solar system on orbits that ultimately bring them back again, this new comet is flying past Earth for the first time and may never return, said astrophysicist Diane Wooden, a comet specialist at NASAs Ames Research Centre in Mountain View. It is more than 400 million miles away now, too far to be seen by even the best amateur telescopes, but the Hubble Space Telescope has spotted it and has gathered images of its bright cometary head its coma and its streaming tail. The comets name is Ison, named for a Russian telescope that first spotted it.

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9. HEALTH

1. Excessive use of paracetamol deadly, warns expert

Unnecessary use of drugs in children, including paracetamol for various conditions could cause toxicity to vital organs like liver and kidneys and at times lead to Stevens-Johnson syndrome which has a high mortality, cautioned Dr. Ramesh Kancharla, paediatric gastroenterologist.

Paracetamol or acetaminophen, chemically named N-acetyl-p-aminophenol, is a widely used over-the-counter analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Paracetamol is classified as a mild analgesic. It is commonly used for the relief of headaches and other minor aches and pains and is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu remedies. In combination with opioid analgesics, paracetamol can also be used in the management of more severe pain such as post-surgical pain and providing palliative care in advanced cancer patients. StevensJohnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are two forms of a life-threatening skin condition, in which cell death causes the epidermis to separate from the dermis. The syndrome is thought to be a hypersensitivity complex that affects the skin and the mucous membranes. The main known cause is certain medications, followed by infections and, rarely, cancers.

2. Innovative TB treatment in Nagaland hospital

Since 2010, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) has been fully supporting the Civil Hospital in Mon in Nagaland, under the public-private partnership of the National Rural Health Mission. Together with the National TB programme, the MSF started treating patients with drug-susceptible TB and drug-resistant TB in April 2012. Since then, about 190 sensitive TB patients and DR-TB patients have been put on treatment. MSF has introduced an innovative home-based model of care in Mon wherein patients diagnosed with DR-TB are admitted to the hospital initially for a month and provided treatment under close supervision. The patients and their caretakers are also counselled about the therapy and how to contain infection. Later, medicines are given to these patients and their caretakers/DOT provider on monthly basis, as the patients have to travel long distances to reach Mon town and they cannot afford to pay for the transport to access the treatment more regularly. Drug-resistant TB is a problem in India with non-adherence to medicines being the main reason for developing resistance to drugs. TB drugs are strong with Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 30

acute side-effects and patients find it difficult to tolerate them, says Anshu Prakash, joint secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The drugs are to be taken for 6 to 9 months but patients discontinue as they start feeling fine in two months, he explained. Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders, is a French secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization is known in most of the world by its French name or simply as MSF, but in Canada and the United States the name Doctors Without Borders is commonly used. In 2007 over 26,000, mostly local, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators provided medical aid in over 60 countries. Private donors provide about 80% of the organization's funding, while governmental and corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$400 million. Mdecins Sans Frontires was created in 1971, in the aftermath of the Biafra secession, by a small group of French doctors and journalists who believed that all people have the right to medical care regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national borders. MSF received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its members' continued efforts to provide medical care in acute crises, as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters. MSF should not be confused with Mdecins du Monde (Doctors of the World, in English). The latter organization was formed in part by members of the former organization, but it is an entirely independent non-governmental organization with no links to MSF today.

3. Landmark verdict gives big boost to cancer patients

In April 2013, in a ruling that will help patients continue to buy several life-saving medicines as generic drugs, the Supreme Court held that the modification of a well known cancer-fighting drug is not a patentable new invention. The judgment allows suppliers to continue making generic copies of Swiss firm Novartis Glivec or Gleevec, which has been shown to fight chronic blood cancer effectively. While the Novartis drug costs more than Rs 1 lakh per month, with doctors often advising patients to take it lifelong, the generic equivalents cost less than one-tenth. The ruling would be a relief to some 300,000 patients in India currently taking the drug. Observers say that the Courts judgment sets a precedent against the practice of evergreening a strategy through which drug manufacturers introduce modifications of drugs to extend the five-year patents on them. They say that other evergreening patent applications could be rejected citing this judgment, Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 31

helping to keep many life-saving drugs out of the patent regime and pushing down costs.

Glivec is the brand name of Imatinib. Novartis had applied for a patent for a modification of this drug, a beta crystalline salt form of Imatinib Mesylate or IM, which it said could be better absorbed by the body by up to 30% more. After its patent application was rejected by the Patent office, Novartis moved the Intellectual Property Board, Chennai. The Board rejected the claim, but gave certain findings favourable to the company. Instead of filing an appeal before the Madras High Court, Novartis moved the Supreme Court. A Bench of Supreme Court Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai said: We firmly reject the appellants case that Imatinib Mesylate is a new product and the outcome of an invention beyond the Zimmermann [original] patent. The court held that patents can be granted only for medicines that are truly new and innovative. For new forms and new uses of existing medicines, patent applicants should prove improved efficacy. The court said that the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005 established that the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance is not an invention for the purpose of patenting. The Bench also dismissed the argument that the modified form had better solubility, saying the efficacy of this property over its predecessor chemical is not established. The judgment was seen as a boost for Indian drug giants such as Dr. Reddys, Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Natco Pharma, which make cheaper generic versions of Glivec.

4. Fears as more H7N9 cases in China

In April 2013, four more people in southern China have been reported as being infected with the little-known H7N9 bird flu, as health authorities placed hospitals around the country on alert amid new concerns about a rare virus that has never before been reported in humans.

H7N9 is a serotype of the species Influenza virus A (avian influenza virus or bird flu virus). H7 normally circulates amongst avian populations with some variants known to occasionally infect humans. An H7N9 virus was first reported to have infected humans in 2013 in China. Most of the reported cases of human infection have resulted in severe respiratory illness. Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's (WHO) assistant directorgeneral for health, security and the environment, identified H7N9 as "...an unusually dangerous virus for humans." As of April 17, the mortality is 21%, but since many patients with confirmed infection remain critically ill, the rate may increase. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 32

5. India leads the world in dengue burden: Nature

Dengue, the worlds most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease, is taking a far bigger human toll than was believed to be the case. As many as 390 million people across the globe could be falling victim to the virus each year, according to a multinational study published by Nature in April 2013. India emerges in the analysis as the country with the worlds highest dengue burden, with about 34 per cent of all such cases occurring here. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), incidence of dengue has shot up 30 fold in the past 50 years. Its estimate has been that globally there were 50-100 million dengue infections taking place annually.

6. India moves ahead to get WHOs polio eradication certificate

Having successfully completed two polio-free years, India is preparing to receive the crucial polio eradication certificate from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The certificate is issued on completion of incident-free three years. This primarily involves the destruction or safe storage of all laboratory sources of wild poliovirus. The storage should be in laboratories that meet international standards of biosafety. To achieve this, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has set up a National Task Force for Containment of Wild Poliovirus. Chaired by the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it will identify laboratories that could store wild poliovirus or potentially infectious material. Wild poliovirus could be present in certain types of clinical samples stored at or below minus 20 degrees Celsius. These could have been collected for investigations not related to wild poliovirus detections. There are several medical colleges/universities, colleges and research institutions that work on infectious material and, therefore, have clinical samples collected over several decades. Information from these institutions will be collected and compiled for preparing a national inventory. The WHOs Global Action Plan for containment of wild polioviruses advises that when polio cases are decreasing, national health authorities must alert laboratories, encourage destruction of all unneeded wild poliovirus material and compile an inventory of all laboratories retaining such materials.

7. High-tech helper is under scrutiny

The biggest thing in operating rooms these days is a million-dollar, multi-armed robot named da Vinci, used in nearly 400,000 surgeries in US last year triple the number just four years earlier. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 33

But now the high-tech helper is under scrutiny over reports of problems, including several deaths that may be linked with it and the high cost of using the robotic system.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic surgical system made by the American company Intuitive Surgical. It is designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach, and is controlled by a surgeon from a console. The system is commonly used for prostatectomies, and increasingly for cardiac valve repair and gynecologic surgical procedures. According to the manufacturer, the da Vinci System is called "da Vinci" in part "because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot", as discovered by Mario Taddei. Da Vinci also used anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details in his works. Da Vinci robots operate most commonly for hysterectomies and prostate removals.

8. Seize unique opportunity to wipe out polio, says global declaration

In April 2013, hundreds of scientists, doctors and other experts from around the world launched the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication, emphasising that an end to the paralyzing disease was achievable, and endorsed a comprehensive new strategy to secure a lasting polio-free world by 2018. The event coincides with the 58th anniversary of the announcement of Jonas Salks revolutionary vaccine. The declaration calls for full funding and implementation of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018, developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). With polio cases at an all-time low and the disease remaining endemic in just three countries, the GPEI estimates that it can be completely ended by 2018 at a cost of $5.5 billion.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

9. Pneumonia and diarrhoea major child killers in India: new data

Pneumonia and diarrhoea account for 23 and 12 per cent of deaths respectively in children below the age of five, according to new data. They remain major killers of young children globally too, accounting for 29 per cent of all child deaths a loss of 2 million lives each year. No major advances in technology are required to tackle them, for proven interventions were available, says the data released by the Integrated Global Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 34

Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) developed by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Childrens Fund. The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), a new global plan from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), represents the first-ever simultaneous effort to protect children from pneumonia and diarrhoea, the two leading killer diseases of children less than five years old. Designed to inform global and national programs and policies, the GAPPD provides a framework to protect children, prevent disease, and treat children who do become sick using proven interventions that have already contributed to major reductions in child deaths. The NGO community issued a statement of support for the GAPPD and pledged to begin immediately working with national governments, donors, multilateral institutions, the private sector and other partners to make the global framework a reality in the countries and communities hardest hit.

10. Swine flu reappears in West Bengal

In April 2013, with two cases of swine flu reported in West Bengal, concerns have been raised over a possible recurrence since a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.

Swine influenza, also called pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu, is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus (S-OIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs. As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3. Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human flu, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human flu, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection.

11. Better nutrition can cut stunting, says UNICEF

Stunting can be contained by focussing attention on pregnancy and the first two years of a childs life, a new UNICEF report has said. Stunting is not only about a child being too short for his or her age. It can also mean suffering from stunted development of the brain and cognitive capacity.

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The report offers evidence that real progress is being made in the fight against stunted growth the hidden face of poverty for 165 million children under five. It shows that accelerated progress is both possible and necessary. According to the report, Improving Child Nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progress released, one in four of all under-5 children globally is stunted because of chronic under-nutrition in crucial periods of growth. An estimated 80 per cent of the worlds stunted children live in just 14 countries. But in parts of India home to 61 million stunted children progress is still being made. In Maharashtra, the wealthiest and second most populous State, 39 per cent of children under two were stunted in 2005-2006. That, however, dropped to 23 per cent by 2012, according to a Statewide nutritional survey, largely as a result of supporting frontline workers in improving child nutrition. The damage done to a childs body and brain by stunting is irreversible. It drags down performance at school and future earnings. It is an injustice often passed from generation to generation that cuts away at national development. Stunted children are also at a higher risk of dying from infectious diseases than other children.

12. Tripura girl with swollen head in Gurgaon hospital

An 18-month-old Tripura girl, who is suffering from a rare illness that has caused her head to swell almost three times its usual size, has been brought to Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurgaon in April 2013. Roona Begum suffers from a medical condition called Hydrocephalus that causes abnormal accumulation of fluid in cavities of the brain. Her head has swollen to a circumference of 94 centimetres.

Hydrocephalus also known as "water on the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, tunnel vision, and mental disability. Hydrocephalus can also cause death. The name derives from the Greek words (hydro-) "water", and (kephalos) "head".

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10. INDIA AND THE WORLD

1. India seeks report on Chamels death

In April 2013, India has asked Pakistan to provide a full report about the circumstances surrounding the death of Chamel Singh on January 15, 2013, an Indian prisoner, in a Pakistani jail and a copy of the post-mortem report.

2. Its time for free trade pact with Russia, says India

In April 2013, India and the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will hold their first-ever talks on a free trade agreement with the arrival of Victor Khristenko, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission to New Delhi. An FTA or CECA has been often discussed at the highest levels between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and successive Russian Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin after several initiatives to bring India-Russian trade ties to the take-off level yielded moderate results. However, 2012 was particularly good with the year-on-year growth rate put at 32 per cent. Both sides are following multi-vector policies. India has sealed or is negotiating FTAs or CECAs with several trading blocks and countries. Similarly, the trio of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have also held FTA talks with Vietnam, a close political ally like India.

3. India to hold FTA plus talks with Customs Union troika

India and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will hold talks for a free trade agreement plus in June 2013, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Chairman of Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Khristenko decided during their talks in New Delhi in April 2013. The June meeting in St. Petersburg is likely to decide on preliminary spadework into all the aspects of an FTA plus or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that aims to cover trade in goods, service, investment and movement of labour.

4. Nitaqat labour law

Saudi Arabias decision to enforce the provisions of its Nitaqat labour law has raised concerns not only in India, but also in the rest of the subcontinent. The law Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 37

specifies that one out of 10 employees in every business establishment should be a Saudi national.

The fallout in terms of displacement could affect many among an estimated three lakh low- and semi-skilled workers from India. More specifically, almost a fourth of all Keralites who work in the Gulf countries are in Saudi Arabia. The kingdoms drive to expand job avenues for its own nationals by means of the localisation initiative that had actually come into effect in November 2012 is unexceptionable in itself. It is also clear that those expatriate workers who are in Saudi Arabia through legally compliant processes have nothing much to fear from the latest crackdown.

5. Saudi Arabia defers Nitaqat enforcement by three months

Expatriates, particularly from India, who are worried about losing their jobs when Saudi Arabia strictly enforces the Nitaqat (naturalisation) law, have got a temporary relief in April 2013. Riyadh has informed New Delhi that the enforcement has been deferred by three months.

6. Ansari leaves for Tajikistan, first by an Indian Vice-President

In April 2013, Vice-President Hamid Ansari leaves on a four-day official visit to Tajikistan that is expected to give an impetus to Indias relations with the Central Asian neighbour. During the visit from April 14 to 17, Mr. Ansari will hold discussions with the President Emomali Rahmon who has been a regular visitor to India. India had played a key role in developing the Ayni airbase and continues to cooperate with Tajik authorities in maintaining it. The President, who has been at the helm of affairs in hydrocarbon and hydroelectric-rich Tajikistan, had then held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. India has also unveiled its Connect Central Asia policy, which includes a proactive multi-pronged diplomatic thrust to expand ties with the energy-rich Central Asian nations Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Tajikistan with whom India has strategic ties also holds a crucial place for India, owing to its geo-political position, as it shares borders with China and Afghanistan. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 38

The nearest Tajik point is only 16 km from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The two countries also have old and traditional linguistic and cultural ties.

7. Indias Connect Central Asia Policy

Indias Connect Central Asia Policy is a broad-based approach, including political, security, economic and cultural connections. On 12 June 2012 India's Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed gave a Keynote address at First India-Central Asia Dialogue. He outlined some of the elements of Indias Connect Central Asia policy as follows: (1) India will continue to build on our strong political relations through the exchange of high level visits. Its leaders will continue to interact closely both in bilateral and multilateral fora. (2) India will strengthen its strategic and security cooperation. India already has strategic partnerships in place with some Central Asian countries. In focus will be military training, joint research, counter-terrorism coordination and close consultations on Afghanistan. (3) India will step up multilateral engagement with Central Asian partners using the synergy of joint efforts through existing fora like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) and the Custom Union. India has already proposed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement to integrate its markets with the unifying Eurasian space. (4) India looks to Central Asia as a long term partner in energy, and natural resources. Central Asia possesses large cultivable tracts of land and it sees potential for India to cooperate in production of profitable crops with value addition. (5) The medical field is another area that offers huge potential for cooperation. India is ready to extend cooperation by setting up civil hospitals/clinics in Central Asia. (6) Indias higher education system delivers at a fraction of the fees charged by Western universities. Keeping this in mind, India would like to assist in the setting up of a Central Asian University in Bishkek that could come up as a centre of excellence to impart world class education in areas like Information Technology, management, philosophy and languages. (7) India is working on setting up a Central Asian e-network with its hub in India, to deliver, tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity, linking all the five Central Asian States. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7

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(8) Indian companies can showcase their capability in the construction sector and build world class structures at competitive rates. Central Asian countries, especially Kazakhstan, have almost limitless reserves of iron ore and coal, as well as abundant cheap electricity. India can help set up several medium size steel rolling mills, producing its requirement of specific products. (9) As for land connectivity, India has reactivated the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). India & Central Asian nations need to join our efforts to discuss ways to bridge the missing links in the Corridor at the earliest and also work on other connecting spurs along the route. (10) Absence of a viable banking infrastructure in the region is a major barrier to trade and investment. Indian banks can expand their presence if they see a favourable policy environment. (11) India will jointly work to improve air connectivity between our countries. India is one of the biggest markets for outbound travelers estimated at USD 21 billion in 2011. Many countries have opened tourist offices in India to woo Indian tourists. Central Asian countries could emerge as attractive holiday destinations for tourists and even for the Indian film industry which likes to depict exotic foreign locales in its films. (12) India already has a robust exchange of students. India will encourage regular exchanges of scholars, academics, civil society and youth delegations to gain deeper insights into each others cultures.

8. Nepal, India & Bangladesh to make most of Ganga water, hydropower

In a significant development indicating a sub-regional strategic alliance, Nepal, India and Bangladesh (NIB) have decided to join hands to cooperate and exploit the hydropower sector and use water resources management for mutual advantage, including jointly developing and financing projects in the Ganga river basin. Indicating its seriousness to give a boost to this initiative, India has already approved the composition of a working group on water and power that will coordinate with Bangladesh and Nepal. According to a note prepared by the Ministries of Power, Water Resources and External Affairs, the Ganga Basin has tremendous potential for development of water resources and hydropower. Therefore, the role of the Ganga in the agriculture, hydro-power, fisheries, navigation, and environmental sectors and in the economy of the co-basin countries is vital. The joint initiative will contribute to poverty eradication and better socio-economic integration. The note states that the NIB initiative will explore technically and geographically feasible means for augmentation and equitable distribution of augmented supply of water and power. There shall be a Committee of Water Resources and Power Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 40

Ministries of the NIB which will be the highest decision-making body, subject to the approval of the respective governments. The Ministers for Water Resources or Irrigation shall be co-chair, while the Ministers responsible for Power shall be co-vice chair. The NIB Committee will be supported by a Technical Advisory Committee comprising the Secretaries of Water Resources or Irrigation, Power or Electricity and at least two technical experts representing water sources and power and one representative from the MEA of each of the three countries.

Similarly, in order to derive optimum benefits from the Brahmaputra basin, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh have agreed to work jointly towards cooperative development and management of water resources and hydropower in an integrated and holistic manner. For this, the three countries have agreed to cooperate on the Bhutan, Bangladesh and India (BIB) Initiative.

9. India, China trying to resolve incursion issue

In April 2013, India and China are in touch to resolve the issue of reported incursion by Chinese troops who entered the Indian territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh and set up a tented post.

The Line of Actual Control (LAC)(also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line) is the effective border between India and the People's Republic of China. The LAC is 4,057-km long and traverses three areas of northern Indian states: western (Ladakh, Kashmir), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal). Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai first used the phrase in a letter addressed to Indian Prime Minister Nehru dated 24 October 1959. The term "LAC" gained legal recognition in Sino-Indian agreements signed in 1993 and 1996. The 1996 agreement states, "No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control.

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11. INTERNATIONAL

1. Kenya poll results upheld

In April 2013, Kenyas Supreme Court upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the countrys next President, ending an election season that riveted the nation amid fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 postelection violence.

2. U.S. transfers key district to Afghans

In April 2013, U.S. special operations forces handed over their base in a strategic district of eastern Afghanistan to Afghan special forces, a senior U.S. commander said, ending a particularly rocky episode in the strained relations between the two. Mr. Karzai had insisted that U.S. forces leave Nirkh district in Wardak province over the alleged torture, kidnapping and summary execution of militant suspects there, charges U.S. officials firmly denied. He had originally demanded the pull out from the entire province, a gateway and staging area for Taliban and other militants for attacks on the capital Kabul. However, he scaled down later after negotiations with U.S. officials.

3. In China, singles cant buy second home

In April 2013, in a bid to curb rising property prices, authorities in Beijing put in place new real estate curbs that bar single residents from buying a second apartment. The new rules, which also mandate higher down payments for second home purchases, have triggered wide debate in recent days. The measures had been expected after the government announced earlier that it would put in place curbs to bring down housing prices.

4. British peer reveals MI6 role in Lumumba killing

The British intelligence services may have just had one of their best-kept secrets blown: their role in the abduction and assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congos first democratically-elected prime minister whose Pan-African nationalism and pro-Moscow leanings alarmed the West. For more than 50 years, rumours have swirled over allegations of British involvement in Lumumbas brutal murder in 1961, but nothing has ever been proved leaving the CIA and its Belgian peers alone to take the rap for what a Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 42

Belgian writer has described as the most important assassination of the 20th century.

Now, in a dramatic revelation, a senior British politician has claimed that he got it from the horses mouth that it was MI6 that did it.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), is the agency which supplies Her Majesty's Government with foreign intelligence. It operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) alongside the internal Security Service (MI5), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI). It is frequently referred to by the name MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), a name used as a flag of convenience during the Second World War when it was known by many names. The existence of MI6 was not officially acknowledged until 1994. Its headquarters, since 1995, are at Vauxhall Cross on the South Bank of the Thames. Patrice mery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only twelve weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and executed by firing squad under the command of the secessionist Katangan authorities, an act that was committed with the assistance of the governments of Belgium and the United States via the CIA. The Belgian government officially apologized in 2002. In 2013, in a letter to the London Review of Books, a British parliamentarian claimed that he personally listened to the acceptance by head of MI6 posted at Leopoldvile that it was they who actually 'did it'.

5. H-1B visas through lottery

The much sought H-1B work visas could be decided through lottery this year, industry experts and officials reckon, based on the initial feedback from companies.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the US. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

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6. Warm reception to Myanmars private dailies

In April 2013, privately owned daily newspapers hit Myanmars streets for the first time in under freedoms that represent a revolution for a media shackled under military rule. Four Burmese-language titles The Voice, The Golden Fresh Land, The Union and The Standard Time made the transition from weekly as new rules came into effect that swept away state medias long monopoly on daily printing. Myanmars public have become accustomed to an increasingly boisterous media since the quasi-civilian government relaxed its grip on the press after coming to power in 2011. The countrys military rulers seized control of private daily papers in 1964.

7. U.N. passes historic arms trade treaty

In April 2013, the U.N. made history when it passed an unprecedented arms trade treaty (ATT) to better regulate the international sale in weapons. It was passed in the General Assembly with 154 members voting Yes; three Iran, Syria and North Korea voting No; and 23, including India, abstaining. The treatys passage came after negotiations failed last July when the U.S. pulled out abruptly. Its adoption implies a major step forward in controlling the $70-billion flow of arms across borders, particularly restricting its movement to and from areas where groups are suspected of violation of human rights. Speaking after the vote, Sujata Mehta, Indias Permanent representative to the Geneva Conference of Disarmament during the UNGA session, said At this stage we are not in a position to endorse the text contained as annexure to document. Therefore, India has abstained on the resolution. Under the ATT, ratifying nations are expected to accept fixed international standards for conventional weapons sales, linked to the protection of human rights. The adopted treaty text covers weapons such as tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small and light arms. However it does not explicitly cover predator drones and grenades. Ammunition exports are subject to the same criteria as the other included items, although its imports are not covered.

8. Pak. militarys unilateral border activity irks Kabul

In April 2013, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were further strained over what Kabul described as the Pakistani militarys unilateral construction and Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 44

physical reinforcement activities along the Durand Line, close to Goshta district in the Afghan province of Nangarhar. The Durand Line refers to the 2,640 kilometers long porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was established after an 1893 agreement between Mortimer Durand of British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan for fixing the limit of their respective spheres of influence. It is named after Mortimer Durand who was the Foreign Secretary of colonial British India at the time. The single-page Durand Line Agreement, which contains seven short articles was signed by Durand and Abdur Rahman Khan, agreeing not to exercise interference beyond the frontier Durand Line. The Durand Line cuts through the Pashtun tribal areas, politically dividing ethnic Pashtuns and Baloch who live on both sides of the border.

9. Serbia-Kosovo meet inconclusive

Serbia and Kosovo failed to find common ground on how to defuse longstanding tensions at European Union (EU)-sponsored talks in April 2013, officials said. The sticking point has been the future of the Serb minority in Kosovo, especially the north, since Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Majority ethnic Albanian Kosovo has since then won recognition from around 100 countries, including the U.S. and most EU member states. Serbia and Serbs living in Kosovo continue to reject Kosovos independence, with the focus of the negotiations on the some 40,000 Serbs living in the north. Both sides earlier agreed to establish an association of Serb municipalities but Kosovo refuses to grant it the executive and judicial powers demanded by Serbia. Kosovo fears that a large degree of autonomy for the north runs the risk that the area would eventually break away. The international community wants to avoid at all costs the creation of a Serb Republic in the north of Kosovo, said one source, referring to the Serb entity formed in Bosnia in 1992. Progress at the talks had been seen as essential to keeping the momentum going.

10. U.S. moves interceptor to Guam

In April 2013, the probability of a nuclear exchange between North Korea and other nations, including the U.S., inched upwards as Pyongyang put out a statement that The moment of explosion is approaching fast, and that U.S. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 45

aggression would be smashed by... cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.

The remarks raising tensions on the Korean peninsula came shortly after the Pentagon announced that it would mobilise the ground-based THAAD missileinterceptor batteries to protect its military bases on Guam, a U.S. territory located 3,380 km southeast of North Korea and home to 6,000 American military personnel, submarines and bombers.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a United States Army system to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach. The missile carries no warhead but relies on the kinetic energy of the impact. THAAD was designed to hit Scuds and similar weapons, but has a limited capability against ICBMs. Although originally a U.S. Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place May 2008.

11. Serbia rejects E.U. brokered Kosovo deal

Serbia has rejected a European Union-brokered deal for reconciliation with its former province of Kosovo. It is a defiant move that could jeopardise the Balkan countrys EU membership aspirations and fuel tensions in the region. The European Union had given Serbia until April 2013 to say whether it would relinquish its effective control over northern Kosovo in exchange for the start of Serbias EU membership negotiations. Even before the government rejection, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Serbias most powerful governing party leader and the Defence Minister, said the plan is unacceptable because it does not give more autonomy to minority ethnic Serbs in Kosovo who together with Serbia, reject Kosovos 2008 declaration of independence. The rejection of the proposal could be a severe blow for Serbias EU membership aspirations including millions of dollars of promised accession funds and would lead to more tensions in the Balkans, which is still reeling from the bloody wars of the 1990s when Serbia tried to prevent the breakup of the former Yugoslav federation by force. While some 90 countries including the United States and most EU nations have recognized Kosovos 2008 declaration of independence, it has been rejected by Serbia and its Slavic ally Russia. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 46

The most contentious issue in the talks was the status of northern Kosovo, where ethnic Serbs dominate the population and refuse to accept the authority of the ethnic Albanian-controlled government in Kosovo. Germany has made giving up control of Kosovos north the key condition for the start of Serbias EU accession negotiations. The stumbling block in the talks was a Serbian demand that ethnic Serbs, who represent about 10 per cent of Kosovos 2 million people, have their own judiciary and police force. But Kosovo officials have rejected that, saying it would be tantamount to a division of Kosovo into two separate entities.

12. Australia elevates China ties, a strategic breakthrough

In April 2013, Australia elevated its ties with China to a strategic partnership a level of engagement the country has with few nations, such as India and Indonesia with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Beijing hailing the move as a diplomatic breakthrough. The two countries have agreed to institutionalise regular meetings between their two Premiers to be held annually, and have also started a strategic and economic dialogue between their Foreign Ministers and top economic officials. China has a similar arrangement with only few countries including the U.S., Russia and Britain. This reflected evident commitment to the Australia -China relationship, said Ms. Gillard.

13. Historic G8 accord on sexual violence in conflict zones

In April 2013, foreign Ministers of the worlds eight most advanced countries (G8) adopted what they described as a historic declaration committing the international community to tackle sexual violence in conflict zones. The agreement was hailed as a turning point in the campaign against war zone rape. Special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie lamented that for too long international political will to prevent such violence had been sorely lacking. Describing the agreement as long overdue, she said violence against women and children must be confronted. For too long, they had been the forgotten victims of war in Africa, West Asia and elsewhere, she said.

14. Chavez protg wins vote by thin margin

In April 2013, Venezuelas acting President Nicolas Maduro was declared winner of the election to succeed his late mentor Hugo Chavez by a razor-thin margin, but his rival Henrique Capriles demanded a recount. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 47

15. Pakistan bears the brunt of Iran quake

Pakistan, specifically Balochistan, appears to have borne the brunt of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Iranian border province of SistanBaluchestan in April 2013.

16. Letter to Obama contains ricin

A letter addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama contained a substance that preliminarily tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, authorities said in April 2013. The letter contained a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, said an FBI statement.

Ricin from the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein. A dose the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human. The median lethal dose (LD50) of ricin is around 22 micrograms per kilogram (1.78 mg for an average adult, around 1228 of a standard aspirin tablet/0.4 g gross) in humans if exposure is from injection or inhalation. Oral exposure to ricin is far less toxic and a lethal dose can be up to 2030 milligrams per kilogram. Abrin is a toxin found in the highly ornamental rosary pea. It is similar to ricin but even more toxic.

17. 157 dead in Sichuan earthquake

In April 2013, at least 157 people were killed and more than 5,700 injured in a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Chinas south-western Sichuan province. Authorities fear the number of casualties could rise considering the strength of the earthquake, which was felt in at least five surrounding provinces.

18. Cartes wins in Paraguay

In April 2013, Colorado Party millionaire and political neophyte Horacio Cartes (56) won Paraguays presidential race, paving the way for his nation to rejoin the Mercosur trade bloc.

19. In Italy, a re-election thats just a pause button

In April 2013, despite the surprise and very rapid election of Giorgio Napolitano, Italys 87-year-old outgoing President for a second seven-year term, Italy remains politically gridlocked. His election may have won querulous lawmakers a short breather, but for the moment at least, no permanent end to the crisis is in sight.

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20. Israel to end white phosphorous use

In April 2013, Israels army has announced that it will stop using munitions containing white phosphorus, for which it was internationally condemned during a military operation against Gaza in 2008-2009.

21. De facto occupation by China: Philippines

In April 2013, the Philippines accused Beijing of engaging in the ... de facto occupation of a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, following a face-off that began last year. The Philippines says the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, as recognised by international law. However China insists the shoal is Chinese territory as part of its claim to almost all of the South China Sea including waters up to the coasts of other countries. A face-off between the two countries began last year when China dispatched government vessels to stop the Philippines from arresting Chinese poachers in the area.

22. Putin, Abe vow to end 67-year-old island dispute

In April 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to renew efforts to find a solution to a decades-long territorial row that has prevented the two sides from signing a World War II peace treaty. The dispute surrounds the southernmost four of the Kuril islands known in Japan as the Northern Territories which have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at Stalins behest in 1945 at the end of World War II. The four islands are currently inhabited by around 16,500 Russians. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has twice visited the island of Kunashir, called Kunashiri in Japan, infuriating Tokyo.

23. Enrico Letta is Italian Premier-designate

In April 2013, Italys President appointed Enrico Letta as Premier-designate, asking him to form a coalition government representing Italys main parties to end two months of political paralysis and put the country back on the path of reform and growth.

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12. NATION

1. Controversial Gujarat irrigation Bill gets Governors nod

In April 2013, with Governor Kamla Beniwal giving her approval, the decks have been cleared for a controversial Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Bill 2013 that makes possession of licence mandatory for sinking a tubewell, borewell or artesian well on any agricultural land and also has a provision for imprisonment. The Bill seeks to regulate sinking of borewells on any agricultural land along with use of groundwater available from it. Violators will be punished with imprisonment up to six months and a fine of Rs 10,000. The law will replace the 134-year-old Gujarat Irrigation Act 1879 that permitted sinking of borewells if the depth exceeded 45 metres. The new Bill is also tough on use of groundwater from wells or bores for irrigation. Any farmer owning cultivable land within 200 metres of a canal will have to pay for its water reaching his fields by percolation, leakage, surface flow or by means of a well dug from the canal.

2. Reinventing libraries

More than the spread of e-books, poor infrastructure and pathetic services are endangering the future of libraries in India. The role of public libraries in particular is fast shrinking and they hardly meet their community objectives. In a recent written reply in the Lok Sabha, the government tried to provide some hope by pointing to the creation of the National Mission on Libraries and the enhanced allocation of Rs 400 crore in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan to strengthen the library movement.

The National Mission on Libraries works to modernise and digitally link nearly 9,000 libraries across India to provide readers access to books and information. The project costs around 1000 crores. The National Knowledge Commission gave 10 recommendations on libraries in its 2011 report. Based on these recommendations Indian government started National Mission on Libraries under the Indian Ministry of Culture. Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture will be the central agency for the National Mission on Libraries for administrative, logistics, planning and budgeting purposes.

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3. Optic fibre connects Ambani brothers

In April 2013, eight years after parting ways, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani started a business collaboration that would allow Reliance Jio Infocomm, controlled by Mukesh, to use the nationwide optic fibre network of Anils Reliance Communications Ltd. for a one-time fee of Rs. 1,200 crore. In 2005, the telecom business along with power, infrastructure and finance went to Anil Ambani, while Mukesh Ambani got Reliance Industries, which focuses on petrochemicals. Five years later, the brothers amended the original non-competing agreement, following which Reliance Industries entered telecom by buying Infotel Broadband Services Ltd. that owned radio-wave spectrum for high-speed broadband services. The telecom venture, now called Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., is preparing to launch 4G services, which would be served by accessing the optic fibre network.

4. Gujarat Bill ending role of Governor, CJ to choose ombudsman passed

In April 2013, amid protests and a walkout by Opposition MLAs in the Assembly, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party pushed through a new Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2013 that ostensibly seeks to end the role of the Governor and the Chief Justice of the High Court in appointing the ombudsman. The Bill proposes a seven-member selection panel headed by the Chief Minister, which will recommend a candidate for the Lokayuktas post and the Governor only needs to ratify it. The other members will be a minister hand-picked by the Chief Minister, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, a High Court judge nominated by the Chief Justice and the State Vigilance Commissioner. The existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, empowers the Governor to appoint the ombudsman in consultation with the Chief Justice and the Leader of Opposition. This has now been done away with.

5. Katju to set up Court of Last Resort

Asserting that a large number of people, particularly minorities, languish in prisons as undertrials for years, or remain unjustly incarcerated, Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice Markandey Katju has decided to set up a Court of Last Resort to examine such cases. In such cases, the police either fabricates evidence or there is inadequate legal representation, or a court finds an accused innocent but after he has already spent years in prison, he said in a statement.

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The Court of last Resort of which Justice Katju would be the patron would ask States about details of both undertrails and convicts who have been in prisons for long; examine whether there has been injustice and apply for bail if necessary; apply for pardon, respite, suspension or reduction of sentence to the President or Governor; and educate the police. Others behind the initiative include film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, and lawyer Majeed Memon.

6. AAP is now a registered party

In April 2013, the Election Commission has formally registered social activist Arvind Kejriwals Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a political party. Mr. Kejriwal, a former member of the India Against Corruption movement, founded by social activist Anna Hazare, launched the AAP on November 26, 2012, after he fell out with the latter. The AAP has a 23-member national executive and Mr. Kejriwal is its convener.

7. Skimmers could clean out bank balance

As customers merrily embrace new age banking practices, frauds related to net banking, credit cards and debit cards are also on the rise. What is unnerving is that while criminals skim the cards there, the frauds are perpetrated in Russia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and United Kingdom among others, pointing to the role of international gangs. Details of credit or debit cards are captured in the ATMs using gadgets when unsuspecting customers swipe them, and a duplicate card is generated (the process is known as skimming). Net banking frauds happen with malware, a software programme designed for fraudulent activities. In a majority of cases, customers have responded to emails disclosing confidential information related to bank accounts, personal identification numbers and passwords. These mails purportedly originated from Reserve Bank of India, Income Tax Department and government departments.

8. Karnataka tops in management of rural drinking water schemes

Karnataka has emerged top performer in the country in management of rural drinking water schemes and devolution of powers to panchayat raj institutions (PRIs) in 2012-13 and received an incentive of Rs. 241.1 crore from the Union government. Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which evaluated the performance of all States in the implementation of rural drinking water schemes Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 52

based on Management Devolution Index, ranked Karnataka as the top performer among 28 States in rural population managing rural drinking water supply schemes.

The Centre grants incentive fund based on the performance in the devolution of powers to the PRIs, cost recovery and adoption of better management practices in rural drinking water supply schemes under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, State government officials told. Officials said Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra secured second and third places, respectively, and got Rs. 182.1 crore and Rs. 114.29 crore as incentive.

9. NHRC to hold full commission sitting in Raipur

For the first time since the formation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will hold a full commission sitting in Chhattisgarhs capital Raipur. NHRC chairperson Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and its members, Justice B.C. Patel and retired diplomat Satyabrat Pal, will hold several sessions in April 2013. The NHRC will talk to people from all walks of life and the government on many issues, including the plight of bonded and child labour, conservancy workers and leprosy patients. The members will visit schools in Dantewada to figure out the state of childrens education, especially those of tribal children, said a NHRC official.

10. Job creation to be hit, says Nasscom chief

Last year we added 1.8 lakh jobs net. This year it will be 1.3 to 1.5 lakh jobs. Last year there was filling up of back logs because we had shrunk our pipeline, Nasscom President Som Mittal told in April 2013. Replying to a query, he said the IT industry was expected to grow at 12 to 14 per cent in dollar terms in the current fiscal. This year we will probably add $13-15 billion new business in both domestic and exports, Mr. Mittal said.

11. World Bank to support seven low-income States

In its first country strategy to set specific goals on reducing poverty and increasing prosperity, the World Bank plans to shift its support in India significantly to seven identified low-income States where most of the countrys poor live. As part of the multilateral lending agencys new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for India (2013-17), which was discussed by the Board of Executive Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 53

Directors, the World Bank proposes a lending programme of $3 billion-5 billion every year over the next four years. The Banks objective is to bring down poverty levels in the seven low-income States to just 5.5 per cent in 2030 from 29.8 per cent in 2010.

The States identified for the focused support are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

12. Centre draws up 9-point action plan to develop naxal-affected areas

In April 2013, concerned over the extreme left groups penetration into tribal territories and their ability to win over the hearts and minds of people deprived of basic necessities of life, the government has drawn-up a nine point action plan to deal with a host of development challenges. The action plan is an outcome of series of meeting of a specially constituted Review Group of LWE (Left-Wing Extremism) under the aegis of the Cabinet Secretariat. The government had decided to expedite the recognition of forest rights, as well as review the definition of backward districts under the Integrated Action Plan/Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) as part of the action plan. It said that comprehensive guidelines were issued to State/ Union Territory governments for expeditious recognition of forests rights, including the community rights and community forest resource rights under the Act. Taking note of the gap and requirement of large residential schools, the Director of School Education and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are looking to establish such institutions with a minimum of 1000-2000 students in the LWE areas. To improve the communication infrastructure Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will install 2199 low cost mobile towers in those areas. The Telecom Commission is also exploring energy efficient alternate fuels such as solar energy. A special window, too, has been introduced under the Forest Conservation Act to expedite the laying of transmission lines under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY). The Ministry of Environment and Forests has given a notification to cover all the 82 IAP districts granting general approval under the Forest Conservation Act for diversion of forest land up to 5 acres. The Ministry of Power will review pending works in 1776 villages to ascertain the ones which can be cleared with the issuance of the new notification. The Mobile Health Units will address the LWE districts endemically affected by malaria. Additionally, an increase in Mobile Health Units is likely to be introduced in the 12th Plan.

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To address the absence of post offices and banks in the LWE affected areas, there has been a proposal to open post offices in 12,898 gram panchayats in 82 identified LWE affected districts.

13. Armed women security squads introduced

In April 2013, to ensure womens safety in Punjab, the government introduced the Women Armed Special Protection Squad (WASPS).

14. Another milestone in e-governance

Kerala achieved yet another milestone in its march towards total e-governance, when the entire payments in tendering processes were made online. Kerala has become the first State in the country to implement the e-payment facility in tendering processes, ensuring total confidentiality and transparency in the business transactions and thus closing the door to corruption.

15. Birth registration should be the first right of child

Registration of births and deaths is still low in India, at 80 and 67 per cent respectively. This in spite of the country passing the Registration of Births and Deaths Act way back in 1969.

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13. HISTORY AND CULTURE

1. Bedrock on which Neolithic man sharpened stone tools found in T.N.

A centre for sharpening polished Neolithic (stone) tools made about 5,000 years ago has been found near the Keezhanur hamlet on the Javadi hills in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The centre is a bedrock in the middle of a rivulet, about a km from Keezhanur, with 21 grooves. It is in these grooves on the rock surface that the Neolithic man sharpened the edges of his polished stone axes when they got blunted after usage in cultivation. The shallow, trough-shaped grooves were formed by his constantly sharpening the tools against the rock surface.

The Neolithic Era, or Period or New Stone age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 10,200 BC, according to the ASPRO chronology in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world and ending between 4,500 and 2,000 BC. Traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age, the Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene Epipaleolithic period and commenced with the beginning of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution". It ended when metal tools became widespread (in the Copper Age or Bronze Age; or, in some geographical regions, in the Iron Age). The Neolithic is a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals. 2. Ring that inspired Tolkien on show

A Roman gold ring that could have inspired J.R.R Tolkien to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is going on exhibition in England. Found in a field in southern England in 1785, the ring is linked to a Roman tablet inscribed with a curse on the thief who stole it. That tablet was found at the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the god Nodens in Gloucestershire, western England. Tolkien worked on the etymology of the name Nodens in 1929 and visited the temple several times.

3. A grandson retraces flight over Everest

On April 2013, Charles Douglas-Hamilton, the grandson of the first man to fly over Everest, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (he flew together with another Scotsman, David McIntyre), got on a special flight from Kathmandu to get a view of what his grandfather had seen 80 years ago to the day on April 3, 1933. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 56

The flight 80 years ago took off from Purnea in Bihar and conducted a photographic survey of the mountain, which were used in later attempts to climb the mountain, including the first proven successful ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

4. Demolition threat to temple holding Xuan Zang relics

In April 2013, a move to demolish parts of a temple in China that holds the remains of the famed monk Xuan Zang, who travelled to India in the 7th century, has triggered outrage. Authorities have said they will partially demolish the 1,300year-old Xingjiao Temple in Xian, in Shaanxi province, an ancient capital city (then known as Changan) and thriving centre of Buddhist learning. The monk Xuan Zang (often spelt as Hsuan Tsang in India, using the older romanisation system) returned to Changan following his trip to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures. His remains are believed to be kept in the Xingjiao temple, which is at the centre of Xians plans to become a world heritage site.

Xuanzang or Hsan-tsang, original name Chen Yi, honorary epithet San-tsang, also called Muchatipo, Sanskrit Mokshadeva, or Yuanzang (born 602 AD, Goushi, Luozhou, now Yanshi, Henan province, Chinadied 664 AD, Changan, now Xian, China), was a Buddhist monk and Chinese pilgrim to India who translated the sacred scriptures of Buddhism from Sanskrit into Chinese and founded in China the Buddhist Consciousness Only school. His fame rests mainly on the volume and diversity of his translations of the Buddhist sutras and on the record of his travels in Central Asia and India, which, with its wealth of detailed and precise data, has been of inestimable value to historians and archaeologists. On his journey he traveled north of the Takla Makan Desert, passing through such oasis centres as Turfan, Karashar, Kucha, Tashkent, and Samarkand, then beyond the Iron Gates into Bactria, across the Hindu Kush (mountains) into Kapisha, Gandhara, and Kashmir in northwest India. From there he sailed down the Ganges river to Mathura, then on to the holy land of Buddhism in the eastern reaches of the Ganges, where he arrived in 633 AD. In India, Xuanzang visited all the sacred sites connected with the life of the Buddha, and he journeyed along the east and west coasts of the subcontinent. The major portion of his time, however, was spent at the Nalanda monastery, the great Buddhist centre of learning, where he perfected his knowledge of Sanskrit, Buddhist philosophy, and Indian thought. While he was in India, Xuanzangs reputation as a scholar became so great that even the powerful king Harsha, ruler of North India, wanted to meet and honour him. Thanks largely to that kings patronage, Xuanzangs return trip to China, begun in 643 AD, was greatly facilitated. Xuanzang returned to Changan, the Tang capital, in 645 AD, after an absence of 16 years. He was accorded a tumultuous welcome at the capital, and a few days later he was received in audience by the emperor.

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5. Decommissioned submarine to be turned into museum by 2015

INS Vagli, the decommissioned submarine, will be converted into Tamil Nadu Maritime Heritage Museum in Mamallapuram by March 2015.

6. South Africa remembers communist stalwart Chris Hani

In April 2013, South Africans paid moving tributes to slain anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, whose death at the hands of a right-wing gunman 20 years ago plunged the country into crisis. Hani, former leader of the South African Communist Party, was assassinated by Polish immigrant Janusz Walus outside his house in Boksburg on the outskirts of Johannesburg on April 10, 1993. His death prompted riots and was a formative experience for the nation, which was fast approaching democracy but still feared the end of apartheid would prompt civil war.

7. Panel to seek National Geographic Societys help

The intricate craftsmanship of gem-studded jewels has dazzled the Supreme Court-appointed experts who have been documenting the treasures of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Evaluating and recording the details of the jewels is consuming more time than they thought. Fearing that this may delay the completion of inventory, the committee of experts is planning to seek the help of the National Geographic Society (NGS), a non-profit institution known for its magazine and television programmes on archaeology and environment, to speed up the process. In its seventh interim report, submitted to the court last month, the committee said investigating the gem-studded objects was time-consuming and it was able to document only three or four objects a day. Of the 1.05 lakh items documented so far (till mid-March), about 500 were embedded with gems. Except a few, all of them had a minimum of 100 precious stones each. One single locket alone contained 997 gems. Together, these jewels accounted for 60,000 gems.

The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history. The National Geographic Societys logo is a yellow portrait frame rectangular in shape which appears on the margins surrounding the front covers of its magazines and as its television channel logo.

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8. Ravi Shankars last recordings out soon

The last recordings of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar would be released in May 2013. This would be the first posthumous release of his recordings. East Meets West Music, the official recording label of the Ravi Shankar Foundation, said the three recordings are part of the seven done in October 2011. Four of them, released in 2012 as The Living Room Sessions Part 1, won him Grammy for Best World Music Album posthumously.

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14. NRIs & PIOs

1. Obama faces flak for complimenting Kamala Harris

In the context of the loud debates on misogyny, rape and other anti-women trends in the U.S., President Barack Obama could not have picked a worse moment to offer California Attorney General and American of Indian descent Kamala Harris a compliment on her appearance.

Kamala Devi Harris is an American attorney. She is the 32nd and current Attorney General of California following the 2010 California state elections. Harris has worked as an author and a politician and served as District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. First elected in 2003, defeating incumbent district attorney Terence Hallinan, she was re-elected in 2007. Harris is the first female African-American and Asian (Indian) American attorney general in California.

2. Reprieve for Pakistani Hindus as India extends visa

In April 2013, in a reprieve to 480 Pakistani Hindus, the Home Ministry has extended visas for a month, before the government takes a decision on their demand for political asylum in India. These people were originally granted visa till April 8 to take part in the Kumbh Mela that concluded in Allahabad. But these people refused to leave India, alleging that atrocities were being committed against them in Pakistan. They even petitioned the President and the United Nations. The matter came to light when the Pakistani Hindus approached the Delhi government and pleaded for political asylum as their travel documents expired on April 8. The Delhi government then sought the Home Ministrys direction. Significantly, the government is yet to take a decision on granting political asylum or Indian citizenship to several Pakistani Hindus who had come to the country in the last few months. But it has not deported them and has been extending their visas regularly. In December last, the Home Ministry told Parliament that between 2009 and 2011, 1,290 applications of Pakistani nationals had been received from various State governments.

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15. ORGANISATIONS

1. Vijaya Bank gets certification from BSI

In April 2013, Vijaya Banks announced that its Risk Management Department has received ISO 27001 certification from the British Standards Institute. The public sector bank claimed that the banks department is first among Indian banks to receive such certification.

ISO/IEC 27001, part of the growing ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards, is an information security management system (ISMS) standard published in October 2005 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its full name is ISO/IEC 27001:2005 Information technology Security techniques Information security management systems Requirements. ISO/IEC 27001 formally specifies a management system that is intended to bring information security under explicit management control. Being a formal specification means that it mandates specific requirements. Organizations that claim to have adopted ISO/IEC 27001 can therefore be formally audited and certified compliant with the standard. The standard contains 12 main sections like 1. Risk assessment 2. Security policy management direction 3. Organization of information security - governance of information security 4. Asset management - inventory and classification of information assets 5. Human resources security - security aspects for employees joining, moving and leaving an organization and so on.

2. HAL turns focus on civil aircraft

The defence public sector company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. has formally revealed plans to manufacture civil transport planes along with suitable Indian and foreign partners. Without elaborating, the Bangalore-based military aircraft maker said the civil segment was highly promising. The B.K. Chaturvedi Committee on restructuring HAL had recommended last year, among other things, that HAL should focus on the civil aviation segment through a new subsidiary. HAL at present manufactures fighters, transport planes, trainer aircraft and helicopters for the Armed Forces, most of them under licence from the original manufactures. Its own product, the Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH), is positioned for civil use. For the just ended 2012-13 fiscal, the HAL said it posted a turnover of Rs. 14,316 crore and profit before tax of Rs. 3,471 crore. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 61

3. NTPC to shift Odisha project to Madhya Pradesh

NTPC, which had proposed to invest over Rs.11,000 crore in a new 1,600 MW coal-based project at Gajmara in Odisha has decided to relocate it to Gadarwara in Madhya Pradesh, due to delay in land and environmental clearances.

4. At CBI golden jubilee fete, President terms Nirbhaya symbol of aspiring nation

In April 2013, remembering the young paramedical student who was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi last December, President Pranab Mukherjee said Indias consciousness was grievously hurt by that shocking incident of sexual assault and death of the girl who was the symbol of an aspiring nation. Expressing concern over diminishing morality in the society, he said the time has come where the nation needs to reset its moral compass. Speaking at the Central Bureau of Investigations golden jubilee celebrations, Mr. Mukherjee said: The police and investigative organisations can play a crucial role in creating conditions that could engender societal changes. An alert police force and investigative agency can ensure that no crime goes unpunished. It is important to ensure speedy and thorough investigation of allegations. The prosecution should also be speedy so that the guilty are punished without delay. This would enhance the deterrent value of punishment. It would improve responsiveness, one of the most important features of good governance.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a governmental agency belonging to Government of India that jointly serves as a criminal investigation body. The CBI is a premier investigating police agency in India. It is an elite force which plays a major role in preservation of values in public life and in ensuring the health of the national economy. It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries. The services of its investigating officers are sought for all major criminal probes in the country. The agency was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment. The Central Bureau of Investigation was later established on 1 April 1963. Its motto is "Industry, Impartiality, Integrity". The agency headquarters is a state-of-the-art building located in New Delhi. The agency has other field offices located in major cities throughout India. The CBI is controlled by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension of the Union Government usually headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister. While analogous in structure to the FBI, the CBI's powers and functions are severely limited to specific crimes based on Acts (mainly the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). The CBI is the official Interpol unit for India.

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5. Tata Steel merges two group companies with self

Tata Steel Ltd. (TSL) has announced the merger with itself of two group firms, the listed Tata Metaliks Ltd. (TML) and the unlisted Tata Metaliks Kubota Pipes Ltd. (TMKPL), a joint venture between TML and two Japanese companies.

6. Force One

A 25-year-old commando of Maharashtras elite counter terrorism unit, Force One, committed suicide in April 2013.

7. HAL to produce cryogenic engines for ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation is setting up a Rs.139-crore facility at the Bangalore unit of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. to produce cryogenic engines and complex components for its GSLV and future rockets and it will be ready in three years. At present, ISRO is developing cryogenic engines with a consortium of Godrej and Hyderabads MTAR. HAL is said to have been approved as a second source of assemblage by the Space Commission in March 2013.

8. TCS to buy French IT firm for Rs.530 cr

In April 2013, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that it had signed definitive agreements to acquire 100 per cent equity in Alti SA, an IT services company in France. The deal, valued at 75 million euro (around Rs.530 crore), is an all-cash transaction, TCS said in a statement.

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16. PERSONALITIES

1. Veteran educationist Ahalya Chari passes away

Senior educationist Ahalya Chari who passed away in April 2013 was one of the architects of the education system in independent India, dedicating seven decades of her life to the field of teaching. Ms. Chari began her career as a teacher in 1943, at a girls school founded by Dr. Annie Besant in Varanasi, and went on to serve at the Central Institute of Education (CIE), Delhi, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Regional Institute of Education (RIE), Mysore, in different capacities, later heading them at different times.

2. Vijender took heroin 12 times: police

In April 2013, the Fatehgarh Sahib drug seizure case took yet another sensational turn as the Punjab police claimed that Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh consumed heroin at least 12 times after procuring it from alleged drug dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon, an NRI who has already been arrested in the case.

Heroin (diacetylmorphine or morphine diacetate) also known as diamorphine and colloquially as H, smack, horse, brown, black, tar, and other names, is an opioid analgesic synthesized by C.R. Alder Wright in 1874 by adding two acetyl groups to the molecule morphine, found in the opium poppy. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine, and functions as a morphine prodrug, meaning that it is metabolically converted to morphine inside the body in order for it to work. When used in medicine it is typically used to treat severe pain, such as that resulting from a heart attack or a severe injury. The name "heroin" is only used when being discussed in its illegal form. When it is used in a medical environment, it is referred to as diamorphine. The white crystalline form considered "pure heroin" is usually the hydrochloride salt, diacetylmorphine hydrochloride. Illicit heroin is usually in freebase form, dulling the sheen and consistency to a mattewhite powder. Because of its lower boiling point, the freebase form of heroin is also smokable. It is prevalent in heroin coming from Afghanistan, which as of 2004 produced roughly 87% of the world supply in illicit raw opium. However, production in Mexico has risen six times from 2007 to 2011, changing that percentage and placing Mexico as the second largest opium producer in the world.

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3. 45-year jail term for Monster of Grbavica

In April 2013, Veselin Vlahovic, a former Bosnian Serb paramilitary dubbed the Monster of Grbavica, was jailed for 45 years for inflicting a reign of terror on Sarajevo civilians during the 1992-95 war. During systematic repression against the non-Serb population he participated in expulsion of his victims, he committed murders, he tortured, raped and imprisoned his victims, judge Zoran Bozic said at the sentencing in a packed Sarajevo courtroom. The sentence against Vlahovic, a Montenegrin, is the most severe delivered for war crimes by a Bosnian court.

4. Socialist thinker Mastram Kapoor passes away

Eminent socialist author and thinker Mastram Kapoor passed away in April 2013. Author of over 100 publications on socialist thought, he was known for penning Ram Manohar Lohias biography. He was recently awarded the Yash Bharati award, which was revived after six years by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

5. Bratindra Nath Mukherjee passes away

Professor Bratindra Nath Mukherjee, 79, renowned historian and an expert in epigraphy who deciphered several ancient scripts, died in April 2013 A Padma Shri awardee, Professor Mukherjee was among the countrys rare scholars who knew central Asian languages, including Sogdian, and was the author of more than 50 books and 700 articles in national and international journals. Sogdian is an Eastern-Iranian language of the area that is modern-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Among his well-known books are Greek and Aramaic Edicts of Ashoka, Rise of Kushan Empire and Indian Gold, a book on ancient coins of the country. The historian was considered a reputed numismatist and had written two volumes: Numismatic Art of India and Coins of Bengal.

6. Poverty a bigger challenge than AIDS, says World Bank chief

The president of the World Bank has warned that ending the worst of global poverty within a generation would prove a tougher challenge than tackling AIDS as he urged direct action to help more than a billion people benefit from growth. Jim Yong Kim, the former health activist chosen by Barack Obama to lead the Washington-based institution, said the goal of reducing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 21 per cent to 3 per cent by 2030 was achievable but extraordinarily difficult. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 65

7. S. Gopalakrishnan is CII President

In April 2013, Infosys co-founder and co-Chairman S. Gopalakrishnan has taken over as President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for 2013-14, succeeding Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej.

8. A.K. Padmanabhan re-elected CITU chief

A.K. Padmanabhan and Tapan Sen were re-elected president and general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in April 2013.

9. Tiruvarur Latchappa Pillai dead

Noted nagaswaram player Tiruvarur S. Latchappa Pillai died in April 2013.

10. P.J. Kurien elected forum chairman

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien has been elected unanimously as the chairman of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) in April 2013.

The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) is a coordinating body of National Committees of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and Parliamentary Committees dealing with population and development issues working to generate support and perpetuate cooperation among Asian parliamentarians in the area of population and development, and related fields. The Asian Forum is committed to informing, educating and motivating parliamentarians on the linkages between increasing population and issues such as reproductive health, family planning, food security, water resources, sustainable development, environment, ageing, urbanisation, migration, HIV/AIDS, and gender equality.

11. Test-tube baby pioneer dies

British scientist Robert Edwards, 87, who won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in in vitro fertilisation, leading to the birth of the first test- tube baby, died in April 2013.

Sir Robert Geoffrey Edwards was a British physiologist and pioneer in reproductive medicine and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in particular. Along with surgeon Patrick Steptoe, Edwards successfully pioneered conception through IVF, which led to the birth of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, on 25 July 1978. This was achieved with the drug Pergonal which was already used for ovarian follicular stimulation in infertile women. It was developed by Serono, the global biotechnology business built by three generations of the Bertarelli family. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the development of in vitro fertilization". Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 66

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves monitoring a woman's ovulatory process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium in a laboratory. When a woman's natural cycle is monitored to collect a naturally selected ovum (egg) for fertilisation, it is known as natural cycle IVF. The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient's uterus with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy. The term in vitro, from the Latin meaning in glass, is used, because early biological experiments involving cultivation of tissues outside the living organism from which they came, were carried out in glass containers such as beakers, test tubes, or petri dishes. Today, the term in vitro is used to refer to any biological procedure that is performed outside the organism it would normally be occurring in, to distinguish it from an in vivo procedure, where the tissue remains inside the living organism within which it is normally found.

12. A doyen among anti-British Bengal revolutionaries

Binod Bihari Chowdhury, a close associate of the great Bengal revolutionary Masterda Surya Sen, who died in April 2013, was a doyen of the era of antiBritish revolutionaries. Born on January 10, 1911 in Chittagong, Binod Bihari died in Kolkata while undergoing treatment. He was a part of Masterdas Jugantor (meaning New Era) a revolutionary group that took part in the famous Chittagong Armoury Raid on April 18, 1930. As per the plan, the group raided armoury of both the police and the Auxillary forces of the British and proclaimed a revolutionary government. Binod Bihari joined the Indian National Congress in 1939 and became the Assistant General Secretary of its Chittagong district committee. He was a member of the Bengal Provincial Congress Executive Committee from 1940 to 1946. In 1946, Binod Bihari was elected the General Secretary of the Chittagong branch. After the Partition of India in 1947, he was elected a member of the then East Pakistan Provincial Assembly and carried out his duties until 1954. During the crucial period of the partition of India, he did not leave East Pakistan and remained in Chittagong even after close family members, including two sons, crossed the border in late 1960s Though not involved in active politics after Bangladesh became independent, he played a leading role in all cultural, social and rights-based movements. He received, among others, the Independence Award, the highest civilian award in Bangladesh, in 2000.

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The acting Bangladesh President, Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mourned his death with Hasina describing him a symbol of valour and patriotism. He was cremated in Chittagong, where the great revolutionary lived all his life. Binod Bihari Chowdhury was considered the last remaining link to a decisive part of sub-continental history.

13. Man of many tongues

Timothy Doner from New York gained fame after he posted videos showing off his skills on Youtube, including one in which he was seen speaking 20 consecutive languages. A 17-year-old American boy has attracted worldwide attention by mastering 23 languages, including Hindi, in just a few weeks. Experts have classified him as a hyperpolyglot, who can master a language in very short period of time.

14. Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy passes away at 90

Justice Ontethupalli Chinnappa Reddy, a distinguished retired judge of the Supreme Court, died in April 2013. He was 90. He was the youngest of the legendary-quartet of Supreme Court judges along with Justices V.R. Krishna Iyer, P.N. Bhagwati and D.A. Desai, who changed the course of Indias judicial and political history by seeking to radically transform the court. Section 376 of IPC: Punishment for rape

15. Indian among Popes advisers

In April 2013, Indias Oswald Gracias was among eight high-ranking cardinals from around the world who were appointed by Pope Francis in an advisory council to look into ways of reforming the Vatican bureaucracy. The council will help the Pope revise the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia Pastor bonus the Church administration which helps him in the daily governance, the Vatican said in a statement.

16. Veteran singer PBS passes away

The lilting bass voice of playback singer Prathivathi Bayangaram Sreenivas, which rendered with equal and mellifluous ease a whole range of human emotions from melancholy to romance and happiness, fell silent in April 2013. P.B. Sreenivas, or just PBS was 82. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 68

Prathivadi Bhayankara Sreenivas was a veteran playback singer from India. He was born in Gollaprolu near Kakinada in East Godavri District of Andhra Pradesh. He had sung around 3000 songs in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Tulu films. He was known for his playback singing in the Kannada, Telugu and Tamil film industries. He had sung in all the main languages of the country but it is in Kannada that he has the highest number of songs in his career.

17. R.P. Goenka passes away

Rama Prasad Goenka, chairman emeritus of RPG Enterprises and Indias takeover king, passed away in April 2013.

18. Sivanthi Adityan dead

B. Sivanthi Adityan, owner of Dina Thanthi, the largest circulated Tamil daily, and a well-known sports administrator, died in April 2013.

19. Justice J.S. Verma passes away

The former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, who recently chaired the panel that came out with recommendations on improving womens security, died in April 2013.

20. Z security cover for Mukesh

In April 2013, amid reports of threat to Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani from banned terrorist organisation, Indian Mujahideen (IM), the Centre has decided to give the business tycoon Z security cover. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently approved the second highest security cover for Mr. Ambani. He will be guarded by the CRPF commandos and escorted by pilot and follow-on vehicles. This is the first time a private person is given such cover in the country.

Security categories in India In India, security details are provided to high-risk individuals by the police and local government. Depending on the threat perception to the person, the category is divided into four tiers: Z+ (highest level), Z, Y and X. The Special Protection Group protects important politician the Prime Minister of India. Individuals under the Z+ security blanket include current and former Supreme court and High court Judges, Cabinet Ministers, Governors, Chief and Deputy Chief Ministers, leading politicians, and senior bureaucrats. The 'Z' category entails security cover by the Delhi police or the ITBP or CRPF personnel and one escort car. The 'Y' category encompasses two personal security officers (PSOs) and the 'X' category, one PSO. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 69

The SPG (Special Protection Group), NSG (National Security Guards), ITBP (IndoTibetan Border Police) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) are the agencies responsible for providing securities to VVIPs, VIPs, politicians, high-profile celebrities and sportspersons. The NSG is used extensively to guard VIPs and VVIPs, especially those in the Z+ category. Many NSG personnel are seconded to the Special Protection Group (SPG) which guards the Prime Minister.

21. Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away

Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, the violinist whose tonal quality and chiselled rendering elevated Carnatic music to new heights, died in April 2013.

22. Sunil Mittal to be ICC Vice-Chairman

In April 2013, Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal has been appointed as Vice-Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), becoming the third person from India to be appointed to this position in the history of ICC. The ICC is one of the world's oldest global business organisations. Founded in 1919, it represents private-sector views to national governments and intergovernmental bodies around the world.

23. N. Ravi elected Editors Guild president

N. Ravi, director of Kasturi and Sons Limited, publisher of The Hindu, and a former Editor of the paper, was unanimously elected president of the Editors Guild of India in April 2013.

24. Sarabjit critical after attack in Lahore jail

In April 2013, Indian death-row prisoner Sarabjit Singh sustained serious head injuries when he was attacked by other inmates in Lahores Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan.

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17. PLACES

1. French troops guard Indian cement plant in Bangui

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then in Durban for the BRICS summit, asked his foreign policy managers to ensure the security of 100 Indians working in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), Indian diplomats arranged for a complement of 30 French troops to guard their factory premises in April 2013. French troops arrived at the cement plant on the outskirts of the CAR capital of Bangui following vigorous diplomatic string pulling by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said Jaguar Overseas CEO K.S. Aswathanarayana, whose company runs the factory.

2. 83 workers buried in Tibet landslide

In April 2013, as many as 83 workers were buried alive when a major landslide hit a mining area in Chinas Tibet region, authorities said. The accident occurred in the capital Lhasas Maizhokunggar county. Over 1,000 rescuers, including police, fire-fighters and medical personnel, were working at the site, located at an altitude of 4,600 metres.

3. Parwan

On March 25, the United States commander in Afghanistan handed over what had been the notorious Bagram prison now renamed the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan to the government of President Hamid Karzai. About 4,000 prisoners there have been transferred to Afghan control since September 2012; about 1350 of those have already been released, but a further transfer of control was delayed because Washington rejected Kabuls plans to release prisoners the U.S. considers a security threat.

4. Tripura wants Wagah-like ceremony at Akhaura border

In April 2013, The Tripura government has proposed to hold the Beating Retreat ceremony at the Akhaura border, as was conducted at the Wagah border in Punjab. While the border security force (BSF) and its Bangladesh counterpart have already accepted the proposal, it needs to be ratified by both the governments.

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5. 200-year-old temple torched in Bangladesh

In April 2013, in the latest attack, unidentified criminals torched a 200-year-old Hindu temple in Rajoir upazila of Madaripur district in Bangladesh.

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18. POLICY & GOVERNANCE 1. Govt likely to slash P&K fertiliser subsidy by Rs 2,000-2,700

In April 2013, Government is likely to cut the subsidy on phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers such as di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MoP) by Rs 2,000-2,700 a tonne on account of weakening of global prices. Fertiliser Ministry is expected to reduce the subsidy on DAP by Rs 2,000 per tonne to Rs 12,350 a tonne and that on MoP by Rs 2,700 per tonne to Rs 11,700 a tonne for the 2013-14 fiscal, an official said. Under the nutrient based subsidy (NBS) regime introduced on April 1, 2010, retail prices of 22 varieties of P&K fertilisers have been freed, but, the government reimburses companies the difference in cost of selling these soil nutrients at lower price to farmers. In the current fiscal, which ends 31st March 2013, government had fixed subsidy on DAP at Rs 14,350 per tonne and on MoP at Rs 14,400 a tonne. Subsidy on DAP and MoP for the 2011-12 fiscal was at Rs 19,763 and Rs 16,054 per tonne, respectively. Another ministry official said the new subsidy rates, to be applicable for 2013-14, are subject to Cabinet clearance. Earlier, Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilisers Srikant Jena told Parliament that budget estimates for fertiliser subsidy in 2012-13 was Rs 65,874 crore. Against a projected requirement of Rs 1,02,207.38 crore, the Revised Estimates (RE) allocated is Rs 70,628 crore. India imported 78.64 lakh tonnes of urea till February of this fiscal, against 78.34 lakh tonnes in the entire previous financial year. During April-February period of 2012-13 fiscal, import of DAP stood at 57.79 lakh tonnes and that of MOP at 18.14 lakh tonnes. On an average, India consumes about 30 million tonnes of urea and around 2526 million tonnes of DAP, MoP and complex fertilisers annually.

2. Stringent anti-rape laws get Presidents nod

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to stricter laws to check crime against women, particularly cases of sexual assault. A Bill to replace the Ordinance that the Union government promulgated in February to enforce harsher anti-rape laws was passed in Parliament in March 2013 The Criminal Law [Amendment] Bill, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19th March, 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21st March, 2013. The President of Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 73

India has accorded his assent to the Bill on 2nd April, 2013 and it will now be called the Criminal Law [Amendment] Act, 2013, a government communiqu said.

The new laws have provisions for increased sentence for rape convicts, including life-term and death sentence, besides providing for stringent punishment for offences such as acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism. Through the revised Bill, the government has amended various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. As per the amended law, a rape convict can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years, which may extend to remainder of the convicts natural life. It also provides for the death sentence to repeat offenders. And for the first time, stalking and voyeurism have been defined as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time, while acid attack convicts can get a 10-year jail sentence.

3. Delhi Police probing Googles map contest

Internet giant Google could land in serious trouble over its Mapathon 2013 as the Delhi Police have launched an inquiry into the mapping contest held in February-March this year following a formal complaint by the Survey of India. Mapathon 2013 activity is likely to jeopardise national security interest and violates the National Map Policy. Citizens of the country, who are ignorant of the legal consequences, are likely to violate the law of the land, the Survey of India wrote in its complaint filed at the RK Puram police station on March 25, 2013. Google had launched the Mapathon contest between February 12 and March 25, asking Indians to map their neighbourhoods and send their maps so that they can be uploaded in the search engines sites. Google had also said it would reward the top 1,000 participants. In a letter to Googles India office on March 21, Additional Surveyor-General of India R.C. Padhi asked the U.S.-based Internet company to stop the activity which was against Indias policy guidelines. Survey of India is only mandated to undertake Restricted category surveying and mapping and no other government/private organisations or any individual are authorised to do so, he wrote. As per the National Map Policy, 2005, The responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database of the whole country, which is the foundation of all spatial data vests with the Survey of India. The Survey of India further noted that the Ministry of Defence has identified and prepared a list of civil and military vital areas (VAs)/vital points (VPs) in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is regularly updated. [From] Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 74

national security points of view these VAs/VPs cannot be shown in the map/data published in public domain.

The Survey of India is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying. Set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company, it is one of the oldest Engineering Departments of the Government of India. The Survey of India's distinguished history includes the handling of the mammoth Great Trigonometric Survey under William Lambton and George Everest. Its members are from Survey of India Service cadre of Civil Services of India.

4. Environment clearance for projects worth Rs. 45,000 crore at breakneck speed

The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) seems to be helping to raze green speed-bumps ruffling the feathers of environment and tribal activists in the process with environment clearances having been issued for more than Rs. 45,000 crore worth of projects in its first two months of existence. Since it was set up by the Union Cabinet in December 2012, the CCI has successfully prodded the Ministry of Environment and Forests to implement a slew of measures aimed at streamlining clearance procedures. Those include such controversial moves as the delinking of environment and forest clearances for linear projects like roads, railways and transmission lines, and the exemption of such projects from getting gram sabha consent, which face vociferous opposition from forest and tribal rights activists.

5. Centre decontrols sugar industry

In April 2013, in a major decision, the Centre unshackled the Rs. 80,000 crore sugar industry by abolishing the monthly release mechanism and abolishing the obligation on mills to supply levy sugar for subsidised distribution under the Public Distribution System, allowing market forces to come into play. The decision, in line with the suggestions of a panel headed by C. Rangarajan, the chairman of Prime Ministers Economic Advisory Council, was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Minister of State for Food K.V. Thomas told. Claiming that the decision to decontrol the industry will not impact sugar prices, Mr. Thomas said there was enough sugar in the country. The production last year was 26.5 million tonnes. This year, about more than 24.5 million tonnes is expected as against a requirement of 22.2 million tonnes. The Centre will continue to provide sugar to the poor under the Public Distribution System (PDS) at the current issue price of Rs. 13.50 per kg. For this, the States will be free to purchase through a transparent system at the current ex-factory price of Rs. 32 per kg which has been capped for two years. The Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 75

difference between the purchase price and the issue price will be borne by the government.

The subsidy on this score which will double from the current level of Rs. 2,600 crore to Rs. 5,300 crore will be borne by the Centre, The regulated release mechanism, wherein the government fixed the sale quota for each mill every month, will be dispensed with immediately.

6. PEAIS award to elude Kerala again

Kerala is unlikely to regain its numero uno status in decentralised planning and development at the grass-roots level in the country. The Union Panchayat Raj Ministry is understood to have completed the process of rating the performance of local self-government institutions during 2012-13 under the Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS).

The Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS) is a Central Sector Plan Scheme which is being implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj since 2005-06. The scheme had an allocation of Rs.5.00 crore for 2005-06, which was raised to Rs.10.00 crore for the subsequent years. Funds released to the State Governments/UTs on 100% grant basis, after assessing their devolution of the 3Fs (Funds, Functions and Functionaries). The Scheme has continued in the 11th Five Year Plan period with annual allocation of Rs.10.00 crore. From 2006-07 onwards the criteria for eligibility were derived on the basis of devolution of 3Fs, which was developed by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi. During 2007-08, the index was revised to include a fourth dimension of Framework, which specifically tests if the State has met the four mandatory Constitutional requirements viz. establishing the State Election Commission, holding PRI Election every five years, establishing State Finance Commission and setting up of District Planning Committees.

7. Pranab clears way for first-ever hanging of a woman

Haryanas Sonia, daughter of Relu Ram Punia, former Haryana MLA, might become the first woman in Indias history to be hanged as President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected her mercy petition in April 2013. Sonia was convicted along with her husband Sanjeev in 2007 of killing eight members of her family, including her father, over a property dispute in 2001. They are currently lodged in Ambala jail. Notably, Nalini was awarded the death penalty for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination but her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the intervention of Sonia Gandhi. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 76

8. HC refuses interim relief to Merck in patent case

In April 2013, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim relief on a patent row to U.S. pharmaceutical major Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), which had sought a restraint on Glenmark Pharmaceuticals manufacturing and marketing antidiabetes drugs Zita and Zita-Met. The courts order came on MSDs plea alleging that the Indian pharma company had violated its intellectual property right (IPR) over its anti-diabetes medicines, Januvia and Janumet, by coming in the market with their own drugs containing the same salts. The U.S. firm had sought a courts order to rest rain the Mumbai-based firm from manufacturing and sale of drugs Zita and Zita-Met for treatment of Type-2 diabetes. The U.S. firm said it had invented the Sitagliptin salt, used in the anti-diabetes drugs and has a patent over the molecule.

9. Delay no ground for mercy in terror cases

Long delay by the President or the Governor in disposing of mercy petitions of persons convicted under anti-terror laws or similar statutes cannot be a ground for commutation of the death sentence, the Supreme Court held in April 2013. A two-judge bench gave this ruling while rejecting the plea of Khalistani terrorist and death-row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar in a judgment that paves the way for his execution and may have a bearing on the fate of over 20 convicts facing execution.

10. Telecom Security Directorate planned to tackle threat from Chinese equipment

In response to the perception within the intelligence and defence community of the growing threat to national security from imported Chinese telecom equipment, the Centre is planning to set up a Telecom Security Directorate. This is part of the governments broader strategy to set up an institutional framework of technical manpower to handle telecom security-related issues linked to the use of telecom gear manufactured by Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE. The Department of Telecommunications is also setting up the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) for lawful interception and monitoring of telephone and Internet services, besides establishing the Centre for Telecom Equipment and Security Certification, for which a pilot laboratory has been set up at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bangalore that will carry out R&D activities to develop test tools.

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11. LPG direct cash transfer scheme likely from July 1

The government is gearing up for the next big leap under the Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme to bring a huge number of nearly 14 crore LPG consumers under its ambit. The scheme, which is likely to be launched from July 1, is aimed at directly putting the subsidy component of the domestic cylinder into the bank account of the consumers to eliminate the leakages in the system and address the problem of diversion of domestic cylinders for commercial market. The scheme will be introduced around the middle of May in 20 districts and later will be extended to a bigger chunk of consumers and practically cover over 14 crore consumers by the year end. The consumers are likely to get around Rs.4,000 per annum from the government, and they will have to then buy LPG at the market price of Rs. 901.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder. Currently, each consumer is entitled to 9 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at the subsidised price of Rs.410.50. The government bears a subsidy Rs.435 per cylinder. The Planning Commission is already gearing up for meetings with 78 District Collectors to give momentum to the scheme. Under the scheme, subsidies and other benefits will be transferred directly into the Aadhaar-linked bank account of beneficiary. The Finance Ministry is of the view that keeping in mind the huge number of consumers under the LPG scheme, the beneficiaries (consumers) would have to directly approach the banks for seeding of Aadhaar numbers to their bank accounts. Seeding of Aadhaar number to the bank account is essential for the government to identify beneficiaries.

12. Railway reservation period cut to 60 days

The Railways have cut by half to 60 days, the maximum period for advanced reservation of tickets with effect from May 1, 2013. This is an effort to by the Railway Ministry to rationalise the booking process to avoid huge cancellations.

13. Crackdown on Ponzi scheme begins

In April 2013, the Centre said the RBI, the SEBI, the IT Department and the Enforcement Directorate have begun crackdown on Ponzi schemes and have initiated action against the Saradha Group.

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A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going. The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, who became notorious for using the technique in 1920.[3] Ponzi did not invent the scheme (for example, Charles Dickens' 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit and 1857 novel Little Dorrit each described such a scheme), but his operation took in so much money that it was the first to become known throughout the United States. Ponzi's original scheme was based on the arbitrage of international reply coupons for postage stamps; however, he soon diverted investors' money to make payments to earlier investors and himself.

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19. SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENTS

1. 2,000 black holes on Milky Way galaxy

Two thousand black holes kicked away from their homes are now living on the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy, according to a study conducted by researchers of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. This name derives from its appearance as a dim "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky, in which the naked eye cannot distinguish individual stars. The term "Milky Way" is a translation of the Classical Latin via lacteal. The Milky Way appears like a band because it is a disk-shaped structure being viewed from inside. The fact that this faint band of light is made up of stars was proven in 1610 when Galileo Galilei used his telescope to resolve it into individual stars. In the 1920s, observations by astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy 100,000120,000 light-years in diameter containing 200400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets. The Solar System is located within the disk, around two thirds of the way out from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of a spiral-shaped concentration of gas and dust called the Orion Arm. The stars in the inner 10,000 light-years are organized in a bulge and one or more bars. The very center is marked by an intense radio source named Sagittarius A* which is likely to be a supermassive black hole. Stars and gas throughout the Galaxy rotate about the center at approximately the same speed, which contradicts the laws of Keplerian dynamics. This indicates that much of the mass of the Milky Way does not emit or absorb electromagnetic radiation; this mass is known as dark matter. The rotational period is about 200 million years at the position of the Sun. The Galaxy as a whole is moving at a velocity of 552 to 630 km per second, depending on the relative frame of reference. The oldest known star in the Galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old, nearly as old as the Universe. Surrounded by several smaller satellite galaxies, the Milky Way is part of the Local Group of galaxies, which forms a subcomponent of the Virgo Supercluster. A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return. The hole is called "black" because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing, just like a perfect black body in thermodynamics. 2. A facelift through 3D printing technology

In what is believed to be the first surgical procedure of its kind in Britain, doctors have used a pioneering three-dimensional printing technology to create a Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 80

prosthetic face for a man who had lost almost the entire left side of his face, including his eye, cheek bone and most of his jaw after suffering from an aggressive form of cancer.

Eric Moger (60), a restaurant manager, said the surgery had transformed his life and he was amazed how he looked now. He was now able to drink water and eat food like a normal person. Until now, he was fed and given water through a tube.

3. U.S.' $100-million plan to map human brain

Barack Obama has launched an ambitious plan to map the human brain for the first time, in an attempt to seek vital clues for treating diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers. The Brain Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) will launch with $100 million of federal funding, and there are hopes that it could create thousands of jobs in spinoff scientific and technological enterprises. The funding a tiny fraction of the $2.7-billion that the Human Genome Project cost U.S. taxpayers between 1990 and 2005 will come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation. The initial funding is enough to jumpstart the project, but it will have to attract a great deal more cash if it is to do all that the President and NIH hope. Launching the initiative at the White House in April 2013, Mr. Obama called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join in one of what he has identified as the grand challenges of the 21st century. Mr. Obama pointed to the long-term benefits for science, the economy and the human race as a whole of these huge scientific endeavours. The brain contains almost 100 billion neurons, whose workings are mostly guessed at. The project will attempt to map these in action something that has never been attempted. Scientists will first have to devise a plan of campaign. Just figuring out how to go about it will probably take a year and require huge effort and invention from computer scientists and mathematicians as well as neuroscientists. The goal is firstly to try to shed light on the development of distressing and increasingly widespread neurological diseases such as Alzehimers and Parkinsons, as well as conditions that develop in childhood such as autism, and acute afflictions that leave people severely disabled like stroke and hopefully find new ways of treating them.

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Beyond that, the project will help scientists understand how the brain works when it is functioning as it should.

4. Lab-made kidney holds out hope

In April 2013, researchers in the United States said they had bio-engineered a kidney and transplanted it into rats, marking a step forward in a quest to help patients suffering from kidney failure. The prototype proves that a bio-kidney can work, emulating breakthroughs elsewhere to build replacement structures for livers, hearts and lungs, they said. Described in the journal Nature Medicine, the work entailed taking a rat kidney and stripping out its living cells using a detergent solution, leaving behind a shell made of collagen. The next step was to repopulate this empty structure with living cells, comprising human endothelial cells, which line the walls of blood vessels in the kidney, and kidney cells taken from newborn rats. The trick was then to seed these cells in the correct part of the kidney, using a muscle duct called the ureter as a tube. The team transplanted the organ into living rats from which a kidney had been removed. The new kidney started filtering blood and producing urine through the ureter as soon as the bloody supply was restored, and there was no evidence of bleeding or clots. Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital Centre for Regenerative Medicine said the goal was to help the millions of people with kidney failure whose lives are crimped by dialysis.

5. New light on dark matter

In April 2013, an international experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) reported the observation of an excess of positrons in the cosmic ray flux, the source of which could be the elusive dark matter. This forms the most important part of the first results from the experiment, called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which were reported by the experiments spokesperson, Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) at Boston, Massachusetts. The mysterious dark matter, which is believed to account for a quarter of the universes mass-energy balance and is distributed isotropically invariant with Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 82

respect to direction in the space, can be observed indirectly through its gravitational interaction with visible matter but is yet to be directly detected.

The search for dark matter is one of the objectives of this space-borne AMS even as it is being actively searched for in ground-based experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other experiments in deep underground experiments. The instrument is basically a giant magnet and an antimatter detector attached to the outside of the ISS. It is the most powerful and sensitive particle spectrometer ever deployed in space. It is designed to study the cosmic ray particles, which are charged high-energy particles that permeate space, before they have a chance to interact with the Earths atmosphere. The first AMS results are based on the analysis of about 25 billion recorded primary cosmic ray events. The events were recorded between May 19, 2011 and December 10, 2012. Of these, an unprecedented 6.8 million were unambiguously identified as electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons, observed in the energy range 0.5 Giga electron-Volt (GeV) to 350 GeV. Of these 6.8 million particles, more than 400,000 were positrons.

In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized to account for a large part of the total mass in the universe. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. Instead, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total massenergy of the universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Thus, dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe. Dark matter came to the attention of astrophysicists due to discrepancies between the mass of large astronomical objects determined from their gravitational effects, and the mass calculated from the "luminous matter" they contain: stars, gas and dust. It was first postulated by Jan Oort in 1932 to account for the orbital velocities of stars in the Milky Way, and by Fritz Zwicky in 1933 to account for evidence of "missing mass" in the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters. Subsequently, many other observations have indicated the presence of dark matter in the universe, including the rotational speeds of galaxies by Vera Rubin, in the 1960s1970s, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet Cluster, the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and more recently the pattern of anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. According to consensus among cosmologists, dark matter is composed primarily of a not yet characterized type of subatomic particle. The search for this particle, by a variety of means, is one of the major efforts in particle physics today. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 83

6. Russia: $50 billion earmarked for space research

Russia will spend more than $50 billion on space research in coming years to reassert its leading positions in the field, said President Vladimir Putin in April 2013. The government will earmark 1.6 trillion roubles ($51.8 billion) for the space industry through 2020 to compensate for underfunding in previous years and catch up in areas where Russia is lagging behind, Mr. Putin told a government meeting in Russias Far East after inspecting the new Vostochny (Eastern) launch pad under construction in the Amur region. Mr. Putin unveiled the ambitious space programme on the 52nd anniversary of Yuri Gagarins first human flight to space, which put the Soviet Union ahead of the United States in the space race. The Russian leader called for a shift in emphasis from manned space flights to other programmes, where Russia was trailing other space powers. In recent years Russias space programme has suffered a number of setbacks, including the loss of several Mars probes and earth satellites. This has led to delays and cuts in other programmes, including an Indo-Russian mission to the Moon. Mr. Putin said the government was prioritising the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome launched last year in the sparsely populated Amur region, about 100 km from the border with China. The cosmodrome is to become operational in 2015 and will operate manned flights from 2018.

7. A shortcut to the space station

In April 2013, a Russian-American crew arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after a fast-track trip from Earth of under six hours, the swiftest ever manned journey to the orbiting laboratory. A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts opened the hatches of their Soyuz-TMA spaceship and floated into the ISS to a warm welcome from the three incumbent crew, live pictures broadcast on Russian television showed. Their record-breaking trip from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to docking with the ISS lasted less than six hours, slashing the usual travel time by some 45 hours. Previously, trips to the ISS had taken over two full days as spaceships orbited the Earth 30 times before docking. However, under a new technique, the Soyuz capsule only orbited Earth four times before docking. The quick journey dubbed by NASAs official television commentator as a chase into space has been made possible by launching the Soyuz just after the ISS passes overhead in orbit. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 84

After reaching orbit, the Soyuz capsule had just over 1,600 km to make up to catch up with the ISS, which it achieved with improved thrusters and manoeuvring. The manned flight comes after Russia successfully sent three unmanned Progress supply capsules in August, October and February to the station via the short six-hour route.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It follows the Salyut, Almaz, Skylab and Mir stations as the ninth space station to be inhabited. The ISS is a modular structure whose first component was launched in 1998. Now the largest artificial body in orbit, it can often be seen at the appropriate time with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets. Budget constraints led to the merger of three space station projects with the Japanese Kib module and Canadian robotics. In 1993 the partially built components for a Soviet/Russian space station Mir-2, the proposed American Freedom, and the proposed European Columbus merged into a single multinational programme. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The station has been continuously occupied for 12 years and 178 days, having exceeded the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, in 2010. The station is serviced by Soyuz spacecraft, Progress spacecraft, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, the H-II Transfer Vehicle, and the Dragon spacecraft. It has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations. The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian orbital segment (ROS) and the United States orbital segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The ISS is maintained at an orbital altitude of between 330 km (205 mi) and 435 km (270 mi). It completes 15.7 orbits per day.

8. Decoding a living fossil

In the hope of reconstructing a pivotal step in evolution the colonisation of land by fish that learned to walk and breathe air researchers have decoded the genome of the coelacanth, a prehistoric-looking fish whose form closely resembles those seen in the fossils of 400 million years ago.

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Often called a living fossil, the coelacanth (pronounced SEE-luh-canth) was long believed to have fallen extinct 70 million years ago, until a specimen was recognised in a fish market in South Africa in 1938. The coelacanth has fleshy, lobed fins that look somewhat like limbs, as does the lungfish, an air-breathing freshwater fish. The coelacanth and the lungfish have long been battling for the honour of which is closer to the ancestral fish that first used fins to walk on land and give rise to the tetrapods, meaning all the original vertebrates and their descendants, from reptiles and birds to mammals. The decoding of the coelacanth genome, reported in the journal Nature in April 2013 , is a victory for the lungfish as the closer relative to the first tetrapod.

9. The bubble bursts on e-currency Bitcoin

Many saw it coming, but that didnt stop the Bitcoin bubble from bursting: after rising to dizzying heights, the digital currency suffered its first true crash in April 2013.

Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency first described in a 2008 paper by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system. Bitcoin creation and transfer is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority. Each bitcoin is subdivided into 100 million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal places. Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution. The processing of bitcoin transactions is automated by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically. In addition to archiving transactions each new ledger update creates some newly-minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 where this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will top out at 21 million bitcoins. Bitcoin is accepted in trade by various merchants and individuals in many parts of the world. A large share of such commercial use is believed to be for illicit drug and gambling transactions. Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized Bitcoin's volatile market value, relatively inflexible supply, and minimal use in trade.

10. Russia launches bio-satellite

In April 2013, Russia launched an orbital Noahs Ark to space a bio-satellite packed with an array of mice and other small creatures to study the effects of long flights on living organisms. Russias latest BION-M1 biological research capsule carrying 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos, snails, fish eggs, Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 86

micro-organisms and plants blasted off aboard the modernised Soyuz 2 rocket from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

11. Google Glass goes to first users outside company

Google has begun shipping its Google Glass wearable computing devices to its first users outside the company and released guides so developers can write software for it. The voice-controlled Google Glass is able to display information in the screen from the internet via a wireless connection to a smartphone, but also to take pictures and video using a front-facing camera.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display (HMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer.Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format,[8] that can interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands. While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, Google is considering partnering with sunglass retailers such as Ray-Ban or Warby Parker, and may also open retail stores to allow customers to try on the device. The Explorer Edition cannot be used by people who wear prescription glasses, but Google has confirmed that Glass will eventually work with frames and lenses that match the wearer's prescription; the glasses will be modular and therefore possibly attachable to normal prescription glasses. Glass is being developed by Google X Lab, which has worked on other futuristic technologies such as driverless cars.

12. NASA launches smartphone satellites

In April 2013, NASA has successfully launched three smartphones into space to snap images of Earth, and the handsets may prove to be the lowest-cost satellites ever flown into space. Each smartphone is housed in a standard cubesat structure, measuring about four inches square. The smartphone acts as the satellites onboard computer. Its sensors are used for attitude determination and its camera for Earth observation. The smartphones destined to become low-cost satellites rode to space aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corporations Antares rocket from NASAs Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. The trio of PhoneSats is operating in orbit, and may prove to be the lowest -cost satellites ever flown in space. The goal of NASAs PhoneSat mission is to determine whether a consumergrade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics of a capable, yet very inexpensive, satellite. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 87

Transmissions from all three PhoneSats have been received at multiple ground stations on Earth, indicating they are operating normally.

13. Quantum biology mimicked in lab

For the first time scientists have engineered a series of molecules that show quantum effects similar to that observed in the light-harvesting complexes. Greg Engels group in University of Chicago have been able to both understand as well as mimic the efficient mechanism of light transfer happening in plants. Aside from other benefits, this would lead to the production of artificial energytransfer devices which could use the mechanism efficiently.

Quantum biology refers to applications of quantum mechanics to biological objects and problems. Usually, it is taken to refer to applications of the "non-trivial" quantum features such as superposition, nonlocality, entanglement and tunneling, as opposed to the "trivial" applications such as chemical bonding which apply to biology only indirectly by dictating quantum chemistry. Austrian born physicist and theoretical biologist Erwin Schrdinger was one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1944 book "What is Life?" Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, and the transfer of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in chemical processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects.

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20. WOMEN PERSONALITIES 1. Margaret Thatcher dead

Margaret Thatcher, Britains first woman Prime Minister who led the Conservative party for more than a decade through one of the most tumultuous periods in modern British history and became a deeply divisive political figure, died in April 2013.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman (and only scientist) to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism. Upon moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until the 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983. Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987. During this period her support for a Community Charge (popularly referred to as "poll tax") was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990. Thatcherism claims to promote low inflation, the small state, and free markets through tight control of the money supply, privatisation and constraints on the labour movement. It is often compared with Reaganomics in the United States, Economic Rationalism in Australia and Rogernomics in New Zealand and as a key part of the worldwide neoliberal movement.

2. Two women from Fata make poll history

For the first time in Pakistan history, two tribal women decided to contest National Assembly elections. In doing so, they not only challenged tribal customs but also risked drawing the ire of terrorists who have increasingly begun targeting women for stepping out of their homes. While Badam Zari (42) is from Bajaur tribal agency, Nusrat Begum is from the adjoining Lower Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province). Both are contesting as independents and are aware of the risks they face. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 89

3. She came, she saw, she wrote

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Booker Prize and Oscar-winning novelist and screenwriter who died in April 2013 at the age of 85, was a remarkable literary hybrid of the 20th century, her fiction and screenplays fashioned from a life of continual alienation and exile. She spoke of changing countries like lovers and of being a perennial refugee. Although much of her best-known fiction was set in India, from The Householder (1960) to Heat and Dust (1975), she was both celebrated and reviled for her intense emotions about the country. She once compared the feeling to being strapped to a bicycle wheel a love-hate relationship that took her decades to break away from.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was a German-born British and American Booker prizewinning novelist, short story writer and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. She is perhaps best known for her long collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions, made up of director James Ivory and the late producer Ismail Merchant. Jhabvala wrote a dozen novels, 23 screenplays and eight collections of short. She is the only person to have won both a Booker Prize and an Oscar.

4. Malala announces first donation from fund

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, has announced the first grant of $45,000 from the Malala Fund for girls education to an unnamed organisation in Pakistans Swat Valley. The grant has been given to support the education of 40 girls, aged five to 12, who would otherwise be forced into domestic labour. Malala, who now attends Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, set up the Malala Fund following the Talibans assassination attempt back in October 2012. The fund is run by a board of trustees, including Malala and her family, with the support of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, founded by former US secretary of state Hilary Clinton.

5. UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit India

Seemingly part of the world-wide apprehension about the rising cases of violence against women in India, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, will visit India from April 22 to May 1.

6. CRPF gets its first woman Special DG

Senior IPS officer Aruna Bahuguna will be the new Special Director General of the CRPF, the countrys largest paramilitary force. Current Affairs (Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam) 2013Part 7 90

Ms. Bahuguna will be the first ever woman to occupy the post, which is second only to forces chief in hierarchy. The appointment orders for the 1979-batch Andhra Pradesh cadre officer, were issued in April 2013.

7. V.S. Ramadevi passes away

The former Governor of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, V.S. Ramadevi, died in April 2013. She was the Chief Election Commissioner of India from 26 November 1990 to 11 December 1990. She was the first woman to become Chief Election Commissioner of India.

8. Shakuntala Devi

The human computer, mental calculator, math whiz Shakuntala Devi passed away in April 2013 at the age of 80. Ms. Devi held a Guinness World Record for her lightening-speed calculations. Among her distinctions was her ability to, given a date in the last century, mentally ascertain the day.

9. Indias richest woman asked to vacate house

In April 2013, Savitri Jindal, said to be Indias richest woman, was asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to vacate her government house within 15 days, which she was occupying illegally.

10. Mesmerising voice of Shamshad Begum falls silent

In April 2013, Shamshad Begum, one of the earliest and most versatile playback singers from the golden age of Bollywood music, died after prolonged illness. She was 94.

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21. SPORTS 1. Chennai to host world chess championship

Reigning world chess champion Viswanathan Anand will defend his title against challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway in November 2013 in Chennai. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa informed the State Assembly that the World Championship for 2013 would be held in Anands hometown between November 6 and 26 and the government would allot Rs. 29 crore for the event.

2. Fernando Alonso imperious in victory

In April 2013, Ferraris Fernando Alonso emerged unscathed to take victory in a drama-packed Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton holding on for second and third. A charging Sebastian Vettel came fourth, just 0.2 seconds behind Hamilton, after adopting a different tyre strategy from most of his rivals, while his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber failed to finish.

3. Scott first Aussie to win at Augusta

In April 2013, Adam Scott sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the second play-off hole to beat Angel Cabrera and win the 77th Masters at Augusta in USA, becoming the first Australian golfer to capture the green jacket.

The Masters Tournament is a golf competition that was established in 1934, with Horton Smith winning the inaugural tournament. The Masters is the first of four major championships to be played each year, with the final round of the Masters always being scheduled for the second Sunday in April. The Masters is the only one of the four majors to use the same course every year; the Augusta National Golf Club. Masters champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (the U.S. Open, the Open Championship (British Open), and the PGA Championship) for the next five years, and earn a lifetime invitation to the Masters. They also receive membership on the PGA Tour for the following five seasons and invitations to the Players Championship for the five years following their victory. The champion also receives the "Green Jacket", the first one being won by Sam Snead in 1949. The champion takes the jacket home for a year and returns it thereafter. A multiple-time champion will only have one jacket unless his size changes dramatically.

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4. Vettel scorches the desert yet again

Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in this years title race when he claimed victory for Red Bull at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April 2013.

5. Gayle storm tears through Pune

In April 2013, Chris Gayle smashed 17 sixes in his unbeaten 175 off 66 balls against Pune Warriors India in Bangalore. Both the fastest-ever Twenty20 hundred (30 balls) and the IPLs highest individual score, it powered Royal Challengers Bangalore to a 130-run victory.

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22. ASSIGNMENTS

1. Paid news is a complex problem Comment.

2. At the root of poor governance is our lethargy for change, whether it is in the implementation of schemes or adherence to valuesLack of good governance has been identified as the root cause of many of the serious deficiencies in society. It robs the citizenry of their security, and their social and economic rights.- Comment

3. B.R. Ambedkar had successfully synthesised the thought of Karl Marx and the teachings of the Buddha Comment.

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