Where is the head-office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees :
In the recently hyped meeting held in Singapore IMF has raised the voting power of 4 middle income countries and there names are as follows: I China II Maxico III S.Korea IV Turky
1 All are correct
2 None is correct
3 Only IV is correct
4 Only I is correct
What is the best way to have a data and the slide number appear on every slide?
1 choose Tools, Header and Footer, click Slide tab, select the desired options, click Apply to All
2 choose Insert, Header and Footer, click Slide tab, select the desired options, click Apply to All
3 choose View, Header and Footer, click Slide tab, select the desired options, click Apply to All
4 choose File, Header and Footer, click Slide tab, select the desired options, click Apply to All
Who authored Sanskrit play the 'Mudrarakshasa' ?
Boris Gelfand of Israel, on December 15, 2009 won the Chess World Cup, defeating former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of - in Khanty Mansiysk in Russia.
Tata Steel has recently acquired which among the following steel producer company?
1 Mittal Steel
4 Nippon Steel
8 Export Processing Zones have been converted into Special Economic Zone. Whih one of the following is not a location of one of these SEZs?
Which among the following countries was the earliest to give women the right to vote?
3 New Zealand
Which country's leader of the "National League for Democracy" party has been in house arrest for a long period & recently international pressure was excreted by successful recent diplomatic visits by the US ?
A food chain consist of a
1 producer only
2 consumer only
3 producer and consumer
4 decomposer only
Recently at a meeting of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the government has raised the budget of the 2010 Commonwealth Games from Rs. 767 crore to ____?
1 Rs. 1,620 crore
2 Rs. 1,020 Crore
3 Rs. 1,520 Crore
4 Rs. 1,420 Crore
In which order Europeans came to India for carrying on trade?
1 Portuguese, Dutch, English, French
2 Portuguese, English, Dutch, French
3 English, Portuguese, Dutch, French
4 Dutch, Protuguese, French, English
Which type of rain is caused by ascent of moisture laden air along a mountain?
1 Convectional rainfall
2 Orographic rainfall
3 Cyclonic rainfall
4 All of the above
Which are the countries who set-up the Economic Co-operation Organisation :
4 All the above
Lothal had a structure which, according to some archaeologists, was a
3 public building
4 great tank
Panchayats at the intermediate level may not be constituted in a State, having a population less than:
1 Ten lakhs
2 Fifteen lakhs
3 Twenty lakhs
4 Twenty-five lakhs
India has signed an agreement to procure Advanced Jet Trainer (Hawk) from which of the following countries ?
What is the kind of state representation in the general assembly of the International Labour Organization :
1 Two representatives of the state government
2 One each representative of the workers and employees
3 (A) and (B)
4 None of the above
India has signed an agreement to procure Advanced Jet Trainer (Hawk) from which of the following countries?
Who had demarcated the border-line between India and Pakistan?
2 Lord Durand
4 None of these
Who Presides over the meeting of the council of Ministers?
1 The Prime Ministers
2 The President
3 Cabinet Secretary
4 Lok Sabha Speaker
Which of the following is wrongly matched
1 The Pitt's India Act (1784) : Board of Control to guide and control company's affairs
2 Charter Act of 1813 : Company's monopoly of trade with India ended
3 Charter Act of 1833 : Company's debt taken over by the government of India
4 Charter Act of 1853 : To regulate company's affairs
Attorney General of India is Appointed by
1 Chief Justice of Supreme Court
3 Law Minister
Market Research is needed for-
1 Choosing the right sales persons
2 Choosing the right products
3 Making proper marketing decisions
4 Deciding the sales incentives
With reference to normal human beings consider the following statements:
1. In response to the presence of HCL, secretin is produced from the duodenum.
2. Enterogastrone is produced in the small intestine in response to the presence of fatty acids.
Which of the statements is/are correct?
1 Only 1
2 Only 2
3 Both 1 & 2
4 Neither 1 nor 2
What was the important landmark judgement regarding amendment of the Constitution (Article 368)
1 Golak Nath vs State of Punjab
2 Kesavananda vs State of Kerala, Minerva Mill vs. Union of India
3 Shankari Prasad vs. Union of India
4 All the above
Vyas Sanman is given for excellence in the field of -
3 Social Service
With which one of the following dance form is Madhavi Mudgal associated?
1 Bharat Natyam
One Gigabyte is Approximately equal is
1 1000,000 bytes
2 1000,000,000 bytes
3 1000,000,000,000 bytes
4 None of these
Who is the first India to take a hat trick in an international test
1 Kapil Dev
2 Jasu Patel
3 Harbhajan Singh
4 B.S. Chandrasekhar
The theory of use and disuse was used to explain evolution by
3 De Vries
What is Sriharikota famous for?
1 An important steel making centre
2 Satellite launching station
3 Thermal Power House
4 Hindu pilgrim centre
1 An ice-cream
2 Prasar Bharti's FM Channel
3 A suitcase
4 A musical group
In 305 BC, which Maurya ruler defeated Alexander's general Seleucus Nicator and received the territories of Kabul and Balochistan ?
2 Ashok the Great
3 Chandragupta Maurya
4 Dasharatha Maurya
The cells that make up neurilemma in nerve tissue are
1 Epithelial cells
2 Connective tissue
3 Schwann cells
Which of the following events was the first to take place?
1 Chauri Chaura Incident
2 Kakori Incident
3 Bardoli Satyagraha
4 Rowlatt Satyagraha
Whichone of the following newspaper was launched by Motilal Nehru?
2 The Independent
3 Hindustan Times
4 National Herald
In which book or books the religious discourses of Gautam Buddha were collected?
Animals belonging to different classes of Vertebrates have developed similar adaptational features to a particular type of habitat. This phenomenon is called
1 Convergent evolution
2 Adaptive radiation
4 Parallel evolution
Pneumonia is a bacterial disease caused by the type of bacteria called
'Tipu Sultan' had his capital at
Cellular component can be physically separated from each other by
2 Radioactive tracers
Reliance Industries Ltd., on December 22, 2009, announced a third successive gas discovery in the - deep-sea block in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the east coast.
What Is an ECO- MARK?
1 A scheme for labelling Environment Friendly Consumer Product.
2 A Scheme for labelling pollution free industrial Unit.
3 A Cost-effective Production Technique
4 An International Certification recognizing, Eco Friendly building
Consider the following statements about Internet facility:
1 It serves as the largest one-line information system.
2 It provides the most dependable and latest mode for sending E-mail.
3 Recurring expenditure on communication E-mail is very high.
4 It is often misused and has triggered cyber-crimes.
In which field of art extraordinary progress was made in the Gupta period?
In which of the following years did the present name of Uttar Pradesh come into existence?
Which of the following is true?
1 Plotters are not available for microcomputer systems
2 Micro-computer are not programmed like conventional computers
3 Mini-computers are task-oriented
4 The contents of ROM are easily changed
Who were the first teacher of the Buddha, after his great renunciation?
1 Alar and Udarka
2 Ananda and Ashvaghosh
3 Sariputra and Maudagalyayana
4 Alara and Kalam
Which one of the following metals does not react with water to produce Hydrogen?
. Which ruler went to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism
Which one the following kingdoms was founded by Raja Odeyar?
Kautilya's 'Arthashastra' mainly deals with which aspect of he Mauryan period?
1 Village Community
2 City Administration
3 Economic system
4 The state
The most important feature in the economic measure pursued by Allauddin Khilji was
1 market control
2 foreign trade
3 minting of new coins
4 development of agriculture
Which on of the following authorities has the power to prescribe the tenure of office of the Chief Election Commissioner?
1 The President
2 The Parliament
3 The Council of Ministers
4 The President subject to law made by the Parliament
Many a times we read in the news papers about the talks going on about India-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement. SACU is a Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with how many members of Southern Africa?
Who collected land revenue during Akbar's reign?
1 Government Employees
4 Village Panchayats
Which one of the following amendment Acts added Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and santhali Languages in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution?
1 100th Amendment Act 2003
2 97th Amendment Act 2003
3 92nd Amendment Act 2003
4 91st Amendment Act 2003
When 1 litre of water freezes, the volume of ice formed will be
1 0.9 litre
2 1.0 litre
3 1.11 litre
4 1.5 litre
CRM means -.
1 Customer Relationship Management
2 Customer Retention Manager
3 Customers' Relatives Meet
4 Channel Route Market
In the worst fire in Russian history, more than 100 people were killed and still more wounded in a nightclub in the Ural city of - in December 2009.
'Rosatom' is the atomic energy agency of -
How is Satyadev Dubey well known?
1 Playwright and Director
2 A renowned economist
3 A well known environmentalist
4 A renowned Hindi Poet
Consider the following statements: 1. In Macedonia, ethnic Albanians are a minority. 2. In Kosovo, Serbians are a majority. Which of the statements is/are correct?
1 Only 1
2 Only 2
3 Both 1 & 2
4 Neither 1 nor 2
Which is the oldest mountain range in India ?
A bacterium divides every minute and takes an hour to fill a cup. How much time will it take to fill half the cup?
1 15 minutes
2 30 minutes
3 59 minutes
4 60 minutes
Calorie value is the least of the following materials -
1 Coal gas
2 Producer gas
3 Steam fiery gas
4 Oil gas
Which among the following has the maximum lifespan
The first person to observe the bacteria, protozoa and spermatozoa under the microscope was
1 Theodore Schwann
2 Matthias Schleiden
3 Robert Hooke
When a system is changed by force, that change is -
Which of the following countries is not a member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ?
Water boils at a lower temperature on the hills because
1 It is cold on the hills
2 There is less carbon dioxide on the hills
3 There is a decrease in air pressure on the hills
4 there is less oxygen
Who among the following has not championed the modern synthetic theory of organic evolution:
1 Julian Huxley
2 T. Dobzanski
3 G.L. Stebbins
4 De Vries
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution speaks about 'Equal Protection of the Law' which means
1 All are equal in the eyes of law
2 Law shall traet all equally
3 Equality of treatment within a class
4 Equal application of rule of law for all
The Prime Minister of India recently flagged off the first ever train in the Kashmir valley. The train will cover which of the following pairs of stations on its final completions?
1 Anantnag - Quazigund
2 Anantnag - Katra
3 Katra - Quazigund
4 None of the Above
According to latest government data released in December 2009, industrial production grew by an impressive - per cent in October, 2009, against 0.1 per cent in 2008.
What is the colour of the "Dharma Chakra" in the middle of our National Flag?
1 Sea blue
3 Navy blue
A car travels the first one third of a certain distance with a speed of 10 km/hr, the next one third distance with a speed of 20 km/hr and the last one-third distance with a speed of 60 km/hr. The average speed of the car for whole journey is
1 18 km/hr
2 24 km/hr
3 30 km/hr
4 36 km/hr
Which of the following king started the Vikram Sanvad?
What is the proper use of signal generator?
4 All of the Above
In context of the ongoing awareness and actions worldwide about Climate Change and Environment protection, what is the maximum safe level of Carbon Dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere which has been also called as climatological tipping point and demands for mitigation of global warming before we reach at this point?
1 270 ppm
2 300 ppm
3 330 ppm
4 350 ppm
Who collected land revenue during Akbar's reign?
1 Government Employees
4 Village Panchayats
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is the theory of
Which among the following is the first country in the world to declare Internet broadband access a legal right?
The first summit of NAM was held at -
4 New Delhi
A balance diet contains
1 animal protein
2 macro and micro nutrients
3 food nutrients for growth and maintenance
4 butter and ghee
Under the Indian Federation, which institution can rightly be called the ' Balance-Wheel'?
1 Inter- State Council
2 Election commission of India
4 President of India
Transistors are associated with which computer system?
1 First generation
2 Fifth generation
3 Second generation
4 None of these
Which is/are the main provisions of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000?
1 Finalisation of contracts through electronic media.
2 Legal recognition to digital signatures and documents.
3 Making hacking with computer system an office.
4 All of the above
Dr. Manmohan Singh has recently declared an Indian river as 'National River'. The name of the river is
. The most magnificent of Shajahan's buildings is
1 Red Fort Delhi
2 Jama Masjid
3 Taj Mahal
The disease that is caused by viral infection is
3 Common cold
Find out the odd one
1 Nobel Prize
2 Magsaysay Award
3 Commonwealth Writers Prize
4 Jnanapith Award
The disease caused by eating fish due to mercury poisoning is called
Calorie value is the least of the following materials -
1 Coal gas
2 Producer gas
3 Steam fiery gas
4 Oil gas
The Multi-Lingual Natural Disaster Information System (NDIS) has been developed by
1 Geneva Software Technologies Ltd. (GSTL)
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Where is the head-office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees :
Let’s have a look at some of the headlines published in the newspapers of late: “Women Empowerment is necessary for the economic development of the country-PM”, “Women Empowerment Bill introduced in the Parliament”, “Court approves reservation for women in Panchayats”, “Give big boost to women empowerment: Information and Broadcasting Minister”, etc. Why is it that we have been talking too much about women empowerment recently?
To answer this question, we must, first, understand what exactly is meant by women empowerment, why there is any need to empower women and what possibly can be done to achieve this feat. Women Empowerment is the ability of women to exercise full control over their actions. This means control over material assets, intellectual resources and even over their ideologies. It involves, at the psychological level, women's ability to assert themselves which has, so far, been constricted by the 'gender roles' assigned to them especially in a culture like India which resists changes.
Gender inequality has been part and parcel of an accepted male-dominated Indian society throughout history. It was embedded within the social hierarchy and this affected how women and men were perceived in leadership roles. Women were expected to be bound to the house, while men went out and worked. This division of labour was one of the major reasons why certain evils like 'Sati Pratha', ‘PardahSystem', 'Child Marriage', 'Dowry System', etc. took birth in our society. The traditional Indian mentality assumes that the place of women is mainly concentrated to the household activities like kitchen work and upbringing of the children. They have been considered as the sex-object and inferior to men in every sphere of knowledge.
Even after 63 years of our independence, women are still one of the mostpowerless and marginalized sections of Indian society. The 2001 Census shows that the sex ratio for India is 933, which is among the lowest in the world. Percentage of female literacy is 54 per cent against male literacy of 75 per cent. Women's representation in Parliament and in the State Assemblies has never gone beyond 8 and 10 per cent respectively. Most of the working women remain outside the organized sector. Mere 2.5 per centwomen are administrators and managers. Violence and atrocities against women are on the rise. Gender discrimination is the major problem, which the Indian women face in the present day society.
One concurrent example of gender discrimination is glass-ceiling effect. The term “glass ceiling” is used to describe an invisible barrier where women are deprived of opportunities at all levels of employment and are discriminated only because they are women. No doubt women have the potential to achieve an equal footing with men. But, it is the social practices and male attitudes that are making an effective and invisible barrier preventing women from rising above a certain point. One consequence of sex stereotypes is that women's achievements tend to be devalued or attributed to luck or effort rather than ability or skill, and therefore this stereotype has the potential to reduce the organizational awards that they deserve to receive. Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses but women for their strengths.
In fact, the emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl." Even this stage is a favour to them as it indicates that they have survived the probable stage of foeticide. When a boy is born, friends and relatives exclaim congratulations. A son means insurance. He will inherit his father's property and get a job to help support the family. When a girl is born, the reaction is very different. Some women weep when they find out their baby is a girl because, to them, a daughter is just another expense.
This attitude has resulted in the widespread neglect of baby girls. In many communities, it's a regular practice to breastfeed girls for a shorter time than boys so that women can try to get pregnant again with a boy as soon as possible. As a result, girls miss out on life-giving nutrition during a crucial window of their development, which stunts their growth and weakens their resistance to diseases. The neglect continues as they grow up. Young girls receive less food, healthcare and fewer vaccinations than their male siblings. Tradition calls for women to eat last, their meal often reduced to the leftovers from the male members. A girl can't help but feel inferior when everything around her tells her that she is worth less than a boy. Her identity is forged as her family and society limit her opportunities and declare her to be second-rate.
Even after childhood, extreme poverty and deep biases against women create a remorseless cycle of discrimination that keeps girls from living up to their full potential. It also leaves them vulnerable to severe physical and emotional abuse. But the threat is more severe for girls and women who live in societies where women's rights mean practically nothing. Mothers who lack their own rights can offer little protection to their daughters from male relatives and other authority figures. The frequency of rape and violent attacks against women is alarming.
The government's policies for alleviating poverty have failed to produce any desirable results, as women do not receive appropriate wages for their labour. There is also significant amount of unpaid or non-marketed labour within the household. The increase in gender disparity in wages in the urban areas is also quite marked as it results from the employment of women in different and lower paying activities.
Now that we know the condition of women, the question arises as to how to empower them. The emancipation of women is not a simple matter. Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors. The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. Empowering Women thus aims to inspire women with the courage to break free from the chains of limiting belief patterns and societal or religious conditioning that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to see their true beauty and power.It requires the attitudinal change of the husband, other family members and society as a whole to the women.
Empowerment of women could only be achieved if their economic and social status is improved. This could be possible only by adopting definite social and economic policies with a view of total development of women and to make them realize that they have the potential to be strong human beings.
The first and foremost priority should be given to the education of women, which is the grassroot problem. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” Our predominant patriarchal system doesn’t provide enough chances for women to have higher education even if they wish. Girls should be motivated to take up higher education. Universal education for all below 14 years should be strictly implemented. Gender sensitive curricula should be framed at all stages of primary education to address sex-stereotyping menace. It is also necessary to sensitize the other sex towards women. It is important to usher changes in the societal attitudes and perceptions with regard to the role of women in different spheres of life. The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.
Women should be allowed to work and should be provided enough safety and support to work. Legislations such as Equal Remuneration Act, Factories Act, etc, Constitutional safeguards such as maternity relief, and other provisions should be strictly followed. Macroeconomic policies would help in this drive. Through economic empowerment women’s emancipation could be realized. They should be provided with proper wages and work at par with men so that their status can be elevated in society.
Political empowerment of women is necessary for their emancipation. In recent years many steps have been taken so as to increase the participation of women in the political system. The Women's reservation policy bill is however a very sad story as it is repeatedly being scuttled in parliament. Further, there is the Panchayati Raj System, where women have been given 50% representation as a sign of political empowerment.
Apart from these, strict implementation of programs and acts should be there to curb the mal-practices prevalent in the society. Strict measures should be taken for the implementation of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1994, which prohibits any prenatal diagnostic techniques and sex selective abortions. Dowry prohibition acts and other legislations pertaining to woman emancipation must be implemented strictly.
The struggle for gender justice will be slow, strenuous and protracted, as the change cannot be brought about easily. It has to be fought at emotional, cognitive and action levels. Swami Vivekananda had said “That nation which doesn’t respect women will never become great now and nor will ever in future” and in pursuit of making India a great nation, let us work towards giving women their much deserved status.
India launched the latest supercomputer ’Annapurna’ at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai.
Annapurna is India's seventh fastest high-performance computation (HPC) cluster having 1.5 Tera Byte (TB) memory and 30 TB storage space cluster capacity.
The latest supercomputer can be used in simulations and numerical calculations in the areas of statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics.
Srikumar Banerjee appreciated the technical team behind the effort for creating the super computer in a completely non-commercial domain.
The Rajya Sabha has passed the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill that seeks to bring some minor electoral reforms, including an increase in the security deposit of candidates, while the government promised to bring in more comprehensive changes in the electoral process soon. The Bill raises the security deposit for general candidates for Lok Sabha poll from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 and for Assembly polls from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. This has been done with a view to discourage non-serious candidates from contesting elections. The Bill also aims to put a complete ban on publishing and broadcasting of exit polls in between two phases of elections.
The Representation of People (Second Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha will also restrict the publication of exit polls, ensure speedy disposal of electoral disputes by setting up a new appellate authority within the district. It will also simplify the procedure for disqualification of a person indulging in corrupt electoral practice — specifying that it be forwarded to the presiding officer of the House in three months. The list of officials associated with conducting of elections is set to be widened to include employees of local authorities, universities, government companies, PSUs and banks so that action can be taken in case they are found furthering the interest of any candidate.
The Prague summit witnessed two contradictory developments: firstly, both the U.S. and the Russian Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed a new arms deal to restrict the number of nuclear weapons each country holds and secondly, the US claimed that it can hit anywhere in 60 minutes. I feel that these contradictory developments are the hallmark of the entire history of arms reduction and disarmament. It seems that the motives of NPT, CTBT, FMCT, START is by and large the same.
The present concern of America and its NATO allies is about Russia's far larger arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons; anti-US approach of nuke developing nations like Iran, North Korea, Libya, etc.; the possibilities of leaking of nuclear technologies to anti-US terrorist groups; failure of US policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. All these have prompted them to evolve a strategy to deal with the nuclear disarmament. It is important to note that the US and Russia hold over 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons.
The new US nuclear policy is based on two major assumptions: first, that the strategic situation has changed since the end of the Cold War and the US has strong enough conventional capability to deter a biological or chemical warfare attack and secondly, the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against those non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the non-proliferation treaty and are in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. These assumptions are is in sharp contrast with the Bush administration which in 2001 declared that nuclear weapons would be used to deter a wide range of threats, including weapons of mass destruction and largescale conventional military force.
But nevertheless, the pledge, however, does not cover Iran and North Korea because the US regards them as non-compliant with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is to recollect that North Korea pulled out of the treaty in 2003, while the US claims Iran is covertly engaged in developing a nuclear weapons capability, which Tehran denies.
Under these perceptions and assumptions, the US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed a new version of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) at Prague Castle. The pact, which must be ratified by both countries' legislatures, replaces the 1991 START agreement, which expired in December 2009. When the new agreement comes into effect, each nation would have to cut their number of deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 apiece over the next seven years, which is less than the 2,200 set under 2002 deal. In 2002, Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin signed the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT) to limit their nuclear arsenals by 2012 to 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed warheads each. The reduction to 1,550 is 74 per cent lower than the limit set in the original START deal and 30 per cent lower than the one established under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. At the same time, the United States and Russia would also have to cut by half, the number of deployed and non-deployed launchers and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments, bringing the number down to 800 per country. The new START also limits the number of deployed ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to not more than 700 each. Verification would take place via 18 on-site inspections per year. Both nuclear powers needed to show they were serious about reducing their vast stocks to lend weight to efforts to curb the atomic ambitions of countries like Iran and North Korea.
Russia signed START because of its dwindling control over arms technologies. Russia's worrying factors are:
(1) the old Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's), heavy bombers and nuclear submarines, produced during the Cold war and in the early 1990's, are either to be decommissioned or dismantled;
(2) the defence industry is struggling and often failing to replace them with versions that are more modern;
(3) the current Russian strategic nuclear arms frustration is the Bulava (SS-NX-30) sea-based ICBM that has failed in seven of its twelve tests since 2004;
(4) the Russian navy is building four new nuclear submarines of the Borey class to be fitted with the Bulava and over 40 percent of the entire defense budget is being spent on the project and the future of this project is still very uncertain;
(5) the number of Russian nuclear weapon delivery systems, both strategic and shorter range, is declining as the Soviet arsenal becomes obsolete. Under such a situation, Russia wants to limit US projects and Russia's greatest fear is that the US Senate will stall and fail to ratify the new treaty. The US Senators have already indicated that ratification is not possible without full modernization of the US nuclear arsenal. Numerous mentions of the US anti-missile system in the treaty will also complicate the process further. Most of the Senators believe that the treaty prevents ICBMs and SLBMs from being used for missile defence. Although, Obama has predicted the U.S. Senate would ratify the treaty, despite some Republicans' objections that it goes too far in reducing American military might. Under the American Constitution, all international treaties signed by the President need Senate approval to becomeeffective. A deeper analysis of the major outcome of the summit clearly indicates that USA has meticulously managed to avoid discussion over the ambitious PGS programmes. New START provisions severely protect the US ability to develop and deploy a CPGS capability. The new START in no way prohibits the United States from building or deploying conventionally armed ballistic missiles. Long-range conventional ballistic missiles would count under the Treaty's limit of 700 delivery vehicles, and their conventional warheads would count against the limit of 1550 warheads, because the treaty does not make a distinction between missiles that are armed with conventional weapons and those that are armed with nuclear weapons. One can recall that that even the prior START treaty also made no such distinction.This warhead ceiling would accommodate any plans the United States might develop during the life of this Treaty to deploy conventional warheads on ballistic missiles.
USA called the Washington Summit with two major objectives:
(1) to evolve a consensus over future course of action against Iran; and
(2) to consolidate US position in ensuring better atmosphere for their longcherished dream of signing of non-proliferation treaty. The summit is dedicated to nuclear security and the threat of nuclear terrorism. The Summit was attended by leaders of 47 nations, 37 of whom were being represented by their heads of state or government.
Gains of Washington Summit:
1. Ukraine, under pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, has announced that his it would give up its stockpile of nuclear grade uranium. It will also convert its civil nuclear research facilities to operate with lowenriched uranium fuel that cannot be used for nuclear weapons.
2. Both China and USA have agreed to instruct their governments to work together on devising potential sanctions designed to punish Iran for its nuclear programme. But China described the outcome differently, without referring to sanctions.
3. Although, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declined to support Obama's push for tough new sanctions against Iran but said that his country was willing to act as a mediator in the diplomatic standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Limitations with the Washington summit:The greatest limitation of the summit was the participation of the countries. The important nuclear power driven countries like Romania, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Hungary were not invited. It is imporant to note that Romania has nearly 1500 MWe of nuclear generating capacity and sources 20 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy, Bulgaria's two reactors account for 35 per cent of its national power grid, and Hungary has four reactors generating one-third of its power. All three countries have also figured in the list compiled by the International Panel on Fissile Material with stocks of Highly Enriched Uranium in the 10- 100 kg range. Niger and Namibia, who together account for nearly 18 per cent of the world's mined uranium were also not considered for the summit. On the other hand, insignificant nuclear powers such as Armenia and Georgia were invited. This has considerably diluted the relevance of the summit. Further, among those attending the summit are Israel, India and Pakista - three nations that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty. Both North Korea and Iran, two states with disputed nuclear ambitions, were not invited. It is important to note that Syria was also left off the invitation list because the US believed Damascus has nuclear ambitions.
Israel was represented at the summit only by a deputy prime minister, amid reports that its government is worried that Turkey and Egypt might use the occasion to raise the issue of its nuclear arsenal.
At Washington, President Obama met both the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan and managed to satisfy both of them. USA fully endorsed India's concern over terrorism but at the same time did not offend Pakistan for this. In the course of discussion, Obama told Pakistan to take action against perpetrators of Mumbai-blast of 26/11. The US also advised Pakistan to curb the activities of anti-India terror groups operating out of that country. Obama also indicated that India could have access to David Coleman Headley, the Lashkar-eTaiba operative arraigned in Chicago for his role in 26/11. At the same time, USA tried to convince India that there would be no nuclear deal with Pakistan similar to the India-US nuclear deal. India regards these assurances as its diplomatic victory. Besides these, nuclear security and non-proliferation, food security, and poverty reduction, featured prominently in the bilateral discussions. However, in this process, USA deliberately managed to escape the discussion over India's seclusion in the new US-Afghanistan policy by only appreciating India's role in Afghanistan. It has been indicated that in order to appease Pakistani design in Afghanistan, India has been sidelined in the new US-Afghanistan policy. At the same time, India's proposal regarding Iran was not considered at all. India was of the opinion that sanctions against Iran would hurt common people and could prove counter productive and therefore, the proposal should be re-considered on humanitarian grounds. The evaluation of the outcome of the Washington Summit for India remained speculative and nothing concrete came out for India. The act of balancing between India and Pakistan has certainly diluted the stand of USA over the issue terrorism.
India’s role in nuclear non-proliferation
India's contribution in nuclear nonproliferation is significant. Since 2002, India has piloted a resolution at the UN on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As a founder member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, India has consistently supported the central role of the IAEA in facilitating national efforts to strengthen nuclear security and in fostering effective international cooperation. India is also party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendment. New Delhi is participating in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism of 2006. However, India feels that without complete elimination of all nuclear weapons, the target of nonproliferation is not possible.
At Washington, India has announced to set up a "Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership" in India. The Centre will consist of four Schools dealing with Advanced Nuclear Energy System Studies, Nuclear Security, Radiation Safety, and the application of Radioisotopes and Radiation Technology in the areas of healthcare, agriculture and food. The Centre will conduct research and development of design systems that are intrinsically safe, secure, proliferation resistant and sustainable. Considering the existing anomalies - the Prague speech, the Security Council resolution, the nuclear posture review, the START agreement and the Washington Summit - will all lead to the NPT Review Conference, where the nuclear weapon States are bound to face outright opposition from the non nuclear weapon States. This has been a history of nuclear non-proliferation treaties in the past. Moreover, the outcome of the Washington conference was already known. Any decision taken at the meeting is not binding on those countries that are not represented at the conference. Iran has said that the outcome of the nuclear security summit in Washington would have no impact on Iran's atomic programmes. Iran has further said that as the United States had invited the participants on a "selective" basis, there would be no obligation for countries not invited - like Iran - to follow the decisions taken at the summit.
In the ultimate analysis, it has been correctly said that the US President Barack Obama's new nuclear policy attempted to strike a compromise between the ideals of disarmament and the harsh realities of a nuclear-armed world. The first NSS did not touch any controversial issue and the threat from the Pakistan, Iran, North Korea remained undiluted. To me, any halfhearted attempt is bound to produce confusion, ignorance and would ultimately lead to deviance. Any summit which is craftly designed to only gain and not to lose anything is bound to go into the oblivion. To sum up, one can aptly analyze that at Prague nuclear arms were cut and reduced but the intention to build weapons that are more sophisticated were also reflected under Prompt Global Strike (PGS) programme. And at Washington, the need to tackle the leakages of nuclear weapons and its safety-related issue were highlighted but no concrete decision was taken against the major irritants and culprits and this has placed the summit into a nebulous and redundant category and hence, it will go into history as yet another halfhearted and one-sided summit to curb nuclear proliferation.
The Prompt Global Strike (PGS) programme was launched to enable the United States to plan and deliver military strikes anywhere on the globe in less than one hour. The PGS mission would contribute to tailored deterrence, its advocates argue, by giving the United States the ability to wield conventional weapons that possess the target-impact speed and global reach of long-range nuclear ballistic missiles, thereby creating a more adaptable deterrent. The Department of Defence (DoD) is currently exploring the full range of technologies and systems for a Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) capability that could provide the President more credible and technically suitable options for dealing with new and evolving threats. It is important to note that DOD had initially sought to achieve a PGS capability by placing conventional warheads on Trident missiles; however, Congress refused to fund the weapons system due to concerns that other countries would be unable to distinguish between conventional and nuclear Trident missiles.
In order to boost the programme, in the Fiscal Year 2009, House and Senate defence authorization bills recommended additional funding for DOD efforts to achieve a PGS capability with hypersonic vehicle technology. This indicates that the Senate is still very much interested in PGS capability. In January 2003, President George W. Bush took the first steps to transform PGS from a concept into an operational capability under Strategic Command (STRATCOM). STRATCOM was given the responsibility of “providing integrated global strike planning and command and control support to deliver rapid, extended range,precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non kinetic (elements of space and information operations) effects in support of theater and national objectives The leading candidates to deliver Prompt Global Strike’s swift knockout punch are the sub-launched Trident II missile and the X-51, a cruise missile launched from a B-52 and boosted to supersonic speed by a rocket.
IIFA Awards, 2010
Best Film: 3 Idiots.
Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan, for his role as a progeria-afflicted child in “Paa”.
Best Actress: Shared jointly by Vidya Balan for “Paa” and Kareena Kapoor for “3 Idiots”.
Best Director: Rajkumar Hirani for “3 Idiots
Best Screenplay: 3 Idiots.
Best Cinematography: 3 Idoits
Best Supporting Actor (Male): Sharman Joshi for his role in “3 Idiots”.
Best Supporting Actor (Female): Divya Dutta for her performance in “Delhi 6”.
Best Actor in Negative Role: Boman Irani for his role in “3 Idiots”.
Best performance in Comic Role: Sanjay Dutt for performance in “All the Best”.
Best Music Director: Pritam for “Love Aaj Kal”.
Best Singer (Male): Shaan, for “Behti hawa sa tha woh” (3 Idiots).
Best Singer (Female): Kavita Seth for “Iktara’ in “Wake Up, Sid!”.
Best Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire for “3 Idiots”.
Best Debut (Female): Jacqueline Fernandez and Mahie Gill share the award for their role in “Aladin” and “Dev D”, respectively.
Best Debut (Male): Omi Vaidya for his role of Chatur in “3 Idiots” and ackky Bhagnani for “Kal Kissne Dekha”.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Veteran filmmaker J. Om Prakash and yesteryear actress Zeenat Aman.
Outstanding achievement by an Indian in International Cinema: Anil Kapoor.
The awards ceremony was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
World Environment Day
The World Environment Day is the biggest global celebration for positive environmental action, coordinated by United Nations Environment Programme every year on June 5. It is a day that reminds everyone on the planet to get involved in environment-friendly activities. From school children to community groups, companies and governments, all come together to pledge towards building a greener planet. The day urges every citizen to mitigate environmental problems, which are a result of human activities.
This year’s theme—Many Species. One Planet. One Future—focuses on the importance of wealth of species and ecosystems to humanity.
This year's global host, Rwanda, has made huge strides on environmental protection. Rwanda is already internationally-renowned for introducing a ban on plastic bags, nationwide environmental clean-up campaigns and the restoration of previously degraded natural rain forests as part of a chimpanzee conservation programme.
Every year the World Environment Day is hosted in a different city with a different theme with the message to protect and save our environment. In 2008, the event was hosted at Wellington, New Zealand with the theme “Kick The Habit—Towards A Low Carbon Economy”.
In 2009, the event was held at Mexico City and the theme was: “Your Planet Needs You—UNite to Combat Climate Change”.
First flight of Tejas supersonic fighter plane
The dream of having a supersonic fighter jet of indigenous built came one step closer to realisation on June 2, 2010, when the Limited Series Production Tejas aircraft (LSP-4) took off from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport, Bangaluru, for its first flight.
Test pilot, Group Captain Suneet Krishna, flew the aircraft to an altitude of 11 kms and went supersonic, touching 1.1 Mach speed. A fighter plane flies in supersonic speed when it has already accomplished its mission and is being chased by enemy aircraft. For testing, there was a plane chasing the Tejas LSP-4 during its first test flight.
The Tejas flew in the configuration that would be finally delivered to the Indian Air Force.
Navy gets two Warships
Giving a boost to the Navy’s defence capabilities, two state-of-the-art high-speed warships, INS Cankarso and INS Kondul, were commissioned into the naval fleet on June 29, 2010.
The indigenously-built ships use water jet propulsion technology and can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots. Water jet technology has rapidly gained acceptance as the leading means of propulsion for all types of high-speed marine craft, including ferries, work boats, patrol crafts and pleasure boats.
The ships will be based in Goa and tasked with the role of detecting, locating and destroying small, fast-moving enemy surface craft engaged in covert operations.
INS Cankarso and INS Kondul are fitted with 30-mm CRN-91 gun built by Ordnance Factory, Medak, and Igla missiles and set of machine guns ranging from light to heavy.
These two ships are the first lot of the ten similar ships that the Navy proposes to induct in its fleet. They belong to the Car Nicobar class V and VI in the FAC series.
INS Cankarso is named after an island near Goa while INS Kondul derives its name from an island near Nicobar. Kolkata-based Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers built these ships in two years.
India’s first PG course in Golf Management
Golf, as a sport, is one of the fastest emerging sectors in India, with an estimated growth of 30 per cent in the next five years. However, there is a huge gap for good quality management professionals to join the golfing industry in India. To bridge this gap, International School of Corporate Management (ISCOM) has partnered with the prestigious Elmwood College, St. Andrews, Scotland, to introduce the first ever Postgraduate Programme in Golf Management.
The course is India’s first ever PG course in Golf Management and includes six months’ intensive apprenticeship at a golf facility in Scotland, UK. Minimum degree required to be eligible for the course is graduation. Admission is through entrance test. Candidates who qualify in GMAT, CAT, MAT or equivalent with at least 60% marks will be exempt from the entrance test. You have to be a golf player with minimum 24 handicap.
Solar-powered LED lanterns to earn carbon credits
The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)—aimed at slowing the warming of the planet—has notified governments and companies on how to calculate carbon-emission saved by installing solar-powered Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) instead of ubiquitous, ancient lanterns. This could give India an incentive to replace the lamps that are used in 30 per cent of households, meaning a saving of 50 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
A tonne of emission saved fetches up to Rs 19,000 in the international carbon market.
A poor Indian household can save up to Rs 1,000 per annum on kerosene costs, half the cost of a solar-powered LED lighting system. Once charged, LED bulb works for up to 42 hours, compared with eight to 10 hours that conventional solar lanterns do.
LED lamps are about 90 per cent more energy efficient than traditional incandescent lamps and about 20 per cent more than Compact Fluorescent Lamps.
The UN estimates its new initiative can change the lives of a quarter of humanity, which still gets light by directly burning fuels, emitting nearly 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of 60 million cars.
India’s first integrated Waste Management Plant
Infra firm a2z Infrastructure will set up India’s first integrated municipal solid waste management plant in Kanpur. The project, touted to be Asia’s largest, would comprise management of the city’s solid waste in an environment friendly manner and subsequent power generation for captive and merchant use.
Majority of the fuel used in the plant will be RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) derived from solid waste, which is considered a better replacement for coal with lesser emissions. The power plant will have the capacity to produce 15 MW power.
IIT-Kanpur to set up experimental power plant
The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has planned to set up a 550 kilowatt (KW) Solar Energy Research Experimental Station (SERES) in its campus. The station would serve the purpose of solar energy development research, apart from being a pilot project for improving the commercial viability of solar energy generation.
It would provide uninterrupted free power supply to six neighbouring villages, Nankari, Bara Sirohi, Singhpur, Bakunthpur, Naramau and Kachchar. The villages are electrified, but the present power supply is highly erratic.
The Rs 18-crore project has been taken up as a part of the ongoing golden jubilee celebrations at the institute.
Currently, the solar power produced in India costs around Rs15 per KW hour, whereas conventional energy costs as little as Rs 3.5 per KW hour. The institute will bring in team from the biotechnology and electrical departments to work on reducing the production cost of solar power to make it more economical and commercially viable.
The project will be modelled on the German mode of solar power generation after conducting the requisite studies on production and transmission.
“Printer” to create human organs
It may sound a bit too much, but doctors could one day be able to “print” new organs for transplant, say scientists who claim to have designed a “bio-printer” to create made-to-measure human organs. A prototype machine developed by the California-based regenerative medicine company Organovo is already capable of growing new arteries.
It is based on 3-D laser printing technology used to create new machine parts for industry. But, instead of combining layers of plastic and metal, the “bio-printer” puts living tissue together.
Two laser-based printing heads are used to place living cells onto thin sheets of gel with microscopic precision. Multiple layers are then laid on top of each other in a specially designed mould, or ‘scaffold’ and the cells begin to fuse together.
Thirty Meter Telescope Project
On June 25, 2010, India joined as an observer in the ambitious astronomical observatory, Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), in Hawaii, which will help in unravelling mysteries of black hole, origin of galaxies and formation of planets among others.
The status of an observer is first step by India in becoming a full partner in TMT, which will be fully operational in 2018 and will be world’s most advanced astronomical observatory.
The telescope will have a 30-metre segmented mirror which uses diffraction of light and focuses in much sharper way than smaller telescopes. Such a large size of aperture will help it collecting more light, thus generating much clearer and sharper images of fainter objects, which may not be possible by present day scopes. The images generated by the telescope will be 12 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.
A look at these images will help the scientists to understand several key aspects of universe, including the black hole formation, formation of galaxies, starting of the Universe and formation of first heavy elements in it.
National Business Register
The sixth economic census, set to take off in 2011, will provide India with a National Business Register (NBR) for the first time, containing the details of every business establishment in the country.
The creation and maintenance of a business register and directory are expected to be an economic data framework for various needed statistical surveys, including the Annual Survey of Industries and others of the National Sample Survey Organisation.
Currently, a fairly reasonable database exists for the agricultural sector, while much is lacking for the non-agricultural ones, particularly services. The move to create a directory will particularly benefit the latter. The services sector, contributing 62.5 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product, does not have a comprehensive data bank. The national accounts significantly under-states the sector, even as it is the major contributor.
The business register is to keep an account of all business establishments with a workforce of 10 or more people—addresses, sectors, turnovers, number employed etc.
Now, fly tricolour at night
India’s National flag will now fly even during night, which was not earlier allowed under the flag code rules. This has been possible due to efforts of industrialist-turned-politician and chairman of the Flag Foundation of India and MP Naveen Jindal.
The Union Home Ministry has allowed keeping the National Flag fly even during night with a rider that the flag does not remain in dark.
Julia Gillard: She scripted history when she was elected as the first woman Prime Minister of Australia. She succeeded Kevin Rudd, who stepped down following revolt against him within the Labour party. The rebellion had been spearheaded by Ms Gillard, opposing his policies on health, education and climate change.
Roza Otunbayeva: She has been elected as the first woman President of Kyrgystan. She claimed victory in a referendum in Kyrgyzstan, making her the interim President till 2011, a vote held to decide the legitimacy of her rule after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev regime was ousted in April 2010.
Benigno Aquino: He has been elected as the President of Philippines.
Justice (Retd) K.G. Balakrishnan: Former Chief Justice of India, he has been appointed as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.
Sharad Pawar: He has taken over as the President of International Cricket Council (ICC).
Shibu Soren: Chief Minister of Jharkhand.
Jacob Zuma: President of South Africa.
11—The first World Cup football tournament in Africa kicks-off with a feast of song and dance in Johannesburg, South Africa.
14—The 64-day-old blockade of the two crucial highways leading to Manipur is suspended by the Naga Student Federation following talks with the Union government. The organisation had launched the blockade protesting elections to Autonomous District Councils in Manipur hills and Manipur government’s decision to ban entry of NSCN leader T. Muivah to the State.
26—The Union government finally lifts government control and allows oil companies to fix prices of petrol on the basis of market forces.
29—Masoists kill 26 CRPF personnel in a remote area of Chattisgarh’s Narayanpur district.
Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix
Saina Nehwal of India beat Malaysia’s Mew Choo Wong to win the title. This was her second international title win at home. She had won the Lucknow Grand Prix in 2009.
Saina Nehwal notched up an incredible hat-trick of titles by successfully defending her Indonesian Open Super Series title with s hard-fought win over Japan’s Sayaka Sato. She had earlier won the Indian Open Grand Prix and the Singapore Open Super Series.
Indian ace Saina Nehwal clinched the second Super Series title of her career by winning the Singapore Open with a straight-game triumph over Chinese Taipie’s Tzu Ying Tai.
India defeated Sri Lanka by 81 runs to win the Asia Cup. India had set the Lankans a stiff target of 299 runs. Dinesh Karthik was declared man of the match.
West Indies-South Africa One Day Series
South Africa completed a 5-0 white-wash of the series with a thrilling one wicket win in the final match. Earlier, the South Africans had also won the Twenty20 two-match series.
England-Australia One Day series
England won the five-match series 3-0. This followed 2009’s Ashes triumph and 2010’s Twenty20 World Cup final win over their oldest rivals.
ISSF Shotgun World Cup
Double-trap marksman Ronjan Sodhi clinched the gold in the tournament held at Lonato, Italy.
French Open, 2010
Men’s Singles title: Rafael Nadal won the title by defeating Robin Soderling. This was his fifth French Open win.
Women’s Singles title: Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title when she defeated Australian Samantha Stosur to win the women’s singles title.
Men’s Doubles title: Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic won by beating defending champions Leander Paes of India and Lukas Dlouhy of Czech Republic.
Women’s Doubles title: Serena and Venus Williams of USA. Serena Williams won her second French Open Women's Doubles title, and the twelfth title in that discipline, which this was the fourth win in a row in the women's doubles in the Slams. Venus Williams won her second French Open Women's Doubles title, and the twelfth title in that discipline, which this was the fourth win in a row in the women's doubles in the Slams.
Mixed Doubles: Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonji? were the winners. Srebotnik won her third French Open Mixed Doubles title, and the fourth Slam title in that discipline. Zimonji? won his second French Open Mixed Doubles title, and the fourth Slam title in that discipline.
Hatoyama resigns as Japan’s PM
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who ended five decades of single-party rule when he swept to power in August 2009, but stumbled when he confronted a long-time ally, the United States, resigned on June 2, 2010. Hatoyama quit at a meeting of leaders of the Democratic Party of Japan in Tokyo, becoming the fourth straight Japanese leader to leave after a year or less in office.
“Since last year’s elections, I tried to change politics in which the people of Japan would be the main characters,” he said later at a nationally broadcast news conference. But he conceded that his efforts weren’t understood.
Hatoyama ran for the premiership on a campaign platform of maintaining a more equal relationship with the United States, which still enjoys enormous support among most Japanese. His decision to challenge Washington over the details of a massive military base relocation plan on the island of Okinawa befuddled Japanese and American analysts and government officials alike.
Hatoyama also called for Japan to become more of an “Asian nation,” which sparked concern in Washington that he wanted to move away from the country’s pro-US stance and closer to China.
Finance Minister Naoto Kan succeeded Hatoyama as the new Prime Minister.
Maoists force Nepal PM to resign
Nepal’s Prime Minister announced his resignation on June 31, 2010, bowing to pressure from opposition Maoists who had been demanding his ouster in Parliament and on the streets. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said in a televised speech that he decided to resign to end political deadlock and shore up the peace process.
Mr Madhav Kumar had taken over the post in May 2009 after the previous government led by the Maoists resigned following differences with the President over the firing of the army chief. He had the support of 22 political parties in Parliament and more than half of the 601 members in the Assembly. However, the Maoists, who have the largest number of seats in the Assembly, refused to support his government and instead staged protests to demand disbanding the government.
In May 2010, the Maoists had shut down the nation for more than a week, imposing a general strike. The protests also delayed the writing of a new constitution, which was supposed to be complete by May 2010. The deadline has now been extended by one year.
Landmark US Financial Reform Bill
On July 1, 2010, the US House of Representatives approved a landmark overhaul of financial regulations. The Bill would impose tighter regulations on financial firms and reduce their profits. It would boost consumer protections, force banks to reduce risky trading and investing activities and set up a new government process for liquidating troubled financial firms.
However, the Republicans say the Bill would hurt the economy by burdening businesses with a thicket of new regulations. They also point out that it ducks the question of how to handle troubled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Democrats plan to tackle in 2011.
Ethic Riots in Kyrgyzstan
Russia sent hundreds of paratroopers to Kyrgyzstan on June 13, 2010 to protect its military facilities as ethnic clashes spread in the Central Asian State, bringing the death toll from days of fighting to 97. Ethnic Uzbeks in a besieged neighbourhood of Kyrgyzstan’s second city Osh said gangs, aided by the military, were carrying out genocide, burning residents out of their homes and shooting them as they fled. Witnesses saw bodies lying on the streets.
The interim government in Kyrgyzstan, which took power in April 2010, after a popular revolt toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, appealed for Russian help to quell the riots in the south.
Led by Roza Otunbayeva, the interim government sent a volunteer force to the south and granted shoot-to-kill powers to its security forces in response to the deadly riots, which began in Osh, before spreading to Jalalabad.
Renewed turmoil in Kyrgyzstan has fuelled concern in Russia, the United States and neighbour China. Washington uses an air base at Manas in the north of the country, about 300 km from Osh, to supply its forces in Afghanistan.
G-20 Summit meeting
A Summit meeting of Leaders from the Group of 20 economic powers was held in Toronto, Canada on June 28, 2010. The leaders have agreed to halve deficits by 2013 and stabilise or reduce the government debt-to-GDP ratio by 2016. At the same time, the bloc left it to individual countries to decide on levying taxes on banks or adopting other means to fund future bailouts.
Along the way, the G-20 leaders who completed their fourth meeting since the global financial crisis of 2008, also diluted their position on a number of problems they had decided to fix earlier. For instance, while reinforcing their desire to move to a more stringent capital structure, the communiqué issued after two days of discussions said countries would “aim” to put in place a new framework by the end of 2012, which was earlier the target date. Members will also get flexibility in phasing the new rules.
The good news is that once these rules are implemented banks will have more capital to deal with crises as the ratio of core Tier-I capital of a bank to its risk-weighted assets is expected to double from the present level of 2 per cent.
On trade, too, there was dilly dallying. The G-20 leaders, who had earlier said that the Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks should be concluded in 2010, have not mentioned any deadline now. All that has been said is that they will now deliberate on the ways to take forward the talks when they meet in Seoul in November 2010.
G-20 members have also decided against erecting any new trade and investment barriers.
The decision to increase the quotas for developing countries in the International Monetary Fund by the Seoul summit was touted as another gain.
While many elements in the 19-page statement were a reiteration of the earlier pledges, these were at least two new elements. One of them was a proposal to set up a working group on development. The other was the desire to focus on issues related to corruption with members urging to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
However, the move by some developed countries to insert another new element — a levy on bank transactions — did not find a mention in the final text as the focus of the deliberations remained on reducing fiscal deficit levels. A key demand of European countries, was resisted by the US and developing countries such as India and Brazil.
Along with deficit reduction, G-20 leaders also agreed on ushering in structural reforms by emerging surplus economies, such as China. These countries, which can tailor their reform moves to strengthen social safety nets, should increase infrastructure spending and enhance exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying economic fundamentals.
G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers
Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of G-20 countries met in Busan, South Korea on June 4, 2010.
At the top of the agenda was Europe’s debt crisis. The Ministers also discussed medium-term growth framework and how to solve economic imbalances which caused the global financial crisis. Canada, the current G-20 President, hopes to secure an agreement in Toronto on the broad suite of policies needed to reduce these imbalances. Individual countries would then commit themselves to specific policies at the next G-20 summit in Seoul.
Building on progress to date, the leaders affirmed their commitment to intensify efforts and to accelerate financial repair and reform. They also agreed that further progress on financial repair is critical to global economic recovery and requires greater transparency and further strengthening of banks’ balance sheets and better corporate governance of financial firms.
The leaders also committed to reach agreement expeditiously on stronger capital and liquidity standards as the core of our reform agenda and in that regard fully supported the work of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
The leaders also emphasized the need to reduce moral hazard associated with systemically important financial institutions and reinforced their commitment to develop effective resolution tools and frameworks for all financial institutions on the basis of internationally agreed principles.
The G-20 was established in 1999, in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, to bring together major advanced and emerging economies to stabilize the global financial market. Since its inception, the G-20 has held annual Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meetings and discussed measures to promote the financial stability of the world and to achieve a sustainable economic growth and development.
China announces plans to make its currency more flexible
Equity markets across the world made handsome gains on June 21, 2010, after China announced plans to make its currency, the yuan, more flexible against the dollar. India’s benchmark equity index, the Sensex, and the broad-based Nifty today touched their highest levels in more than two months.
Market analysts said China’s move would go a long way in lifting the global economic sentiment that was under the weather due to the Euro crisis. China’s decision would result in a higher growth rate, especially for countries that have a significant trade relation with the Asian behemoth, as currency appreciation would make imports comparatively cheaper in China.
According to Barclays Commodities, there is a thinking that a stronger yuan will “increase Chinese purchasing power” leading to an increase in its “purchases of base metals”. “This coincides with a strong set of Chinese trade data for May 2010, which showed that the country turned a net importer of aluminium and lead, while copper and zinc imports remained strong”.
UNSC slaps sanctions on Iran
On June 9, 2010, the UN Security Council slapped sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, targeting the powerful Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles, and nuclear-related investments, despite opposition from Brazil and Turkey.
In the 15-member Council, 12 countries, including the US and Britain, voted in favour of the resolution, with Lebanon abstaining and Brazil and Turkey voting against.
The new resolution, which is fourth against Iran to be adopted by the UNSC, creates new categories of sanctions like banning Iran's investment in nuclear activity abroad, banning all ballistic missiles activities, blocking Iran's use of banks aboard and asset freezes for members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The resolution blacklists entities that includes 15 enterprises of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, three entities owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 23 industrial companies. The international community accuses Iran of seeking to develop an atomic weapon. But, Tehran has been maintaining that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful civilian purposes.
India has been maintaining that it is opposed to such kinds of sanctions as it will affect the common people more than the establishment. Russia and China, which have previously raised objections against such sanctions, supported the resolution and said they were happy with the text of the resolution as long as it did not have any negative impact on the people.
Iran voiced defiance, saying it would not halt uranium enrichment and suggesting it may reduce cooperation with the UN nuclear agency.
SAARC nations pledge coordinated action to tackle terror
Members of SAARC have pledged to step up coordinated action against the common menace of terrorism, including steps to apprehend or extradite persons connected with acts of terrorism and facilitate real-time intelligence sharing.
The meeting of the Interior Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, held on June 27, 2010 in Islamabad, Pakistan, also resolved to step up cooperation in real time intelligence-sharing and to consider Pakistan’s proposal for creation of SAARCPOL, an institution on the lines of Interpol.
The ministerial statement on cooperation against terrorism adopted at the meeting said the SAARC member States had underscored their “commitment to apprehend and prosecute or extradite persons connected, directly or indirectly, with the commissions of acts of terrorism”. They also reiterated their commitment to strengthen SAARC’s regime against terrorism.
The ministers resolved to ensure that “nationals and entities” of SAARC States who commit, facilitate or participate in commission of terror acts are “appropriately punished”.
The SAARC members—Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka—also acknowledged that linkages between terrorism, illegal trafficking of drugs, human trafficking, smuggling of firearms and threats to maritime security remained a “serious concern” and said these problems would be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
US-Russia ties improve
On June 25, 2010, US President Barack Obama declared he had succeeded in “resetting” the US-Russia relationship, which he said had reached its lowest point since the Cold War at the end of George W. Bush’s term in office. Obama was speaking to reporters in the East Room of the White House following meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev, meanwhile, agreed to allow a resumption of US poultry exports to his country which Russia had banned earlier in 201, claiming that a chemical used in the US violated its food safety rules.
But despite the bonhomie between the two leaders, who have met seven times since Obama took office, both Obama and Medvedev acknowledged that they had differences over certain issues, including Georgia. Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008.
The US and Russian Presidents said they had resolved a majority of the obstacles in the path to Russia’s entry into the WTO. They have instructed their negotiators to work as quickly as possible to wrap up what Obama said were “difficult issues” that will require “some significant work”, but Medvedev described as “minor problems”.
The two sides released 11 joint statements at the end of their meeting. These covered promotion and implementation of open government; Kyrgyzstan; energy efficiency; strategic stability; counter-terrorism cooperation; inter-country adoption; Afghanistan; people-to-people connections; strategic partnership in innovation; Russia’s accession to the WTO; US-Russia Presidential Commission.
Canada government blamed for Kanishka crash
A long-awaited inquiry into the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing, which killed 329 persons, mostly of Indian origin, has blamed the Canadian government for its failure to prevent the tragedy and recommended the appointment of a powerful security czar to resolve disputes between conflicting interests among security agencies.
“The government needs to take responsibility to avoid further failure and to prevent a return to a culture of complacency,” Justice John Major, the head of the Kanishka bombing inquiry commission, recommended on June 17, 2010, nearly 25 years after Canada's worst terrorist attack.
In the much-awaited final report from the commission that investigated the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985, he observed that the national security continues to be badly organised between the RCMP and Canada's spy agency. He also recommended radical transformation in prosecution.
Meanwhile, Candian Prime Minister Stephen Harper assured the family members of the victims of the 1984 Air India Kanishka bombing that the government would respond “positively” to the recommendations made by an inquiry committee and said compensation would be offered to all.
Years of criminal investigation have yielded just one conviction, for manslaughter, against a British Columbia mechanic Inderjit Singh Reyat, who assembled bomb components.
G-8 leaders drop commitment to complete Doha round in 2010
On June 27, 2010, G-8 leaders met in Totonto, Canada for their annual Summit meeting. The leaders decided to drop a commitment to complete the troubled Doha trade round in 2010 and vowed to push forward on bilateral and regional trade talks until a global deal could be done.
In 2009, a G-8 summit in Italy and a Pittsburgh meeting of the Group of 20 both had committed to a 2010 end date that now looks impossible to meet.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who chaired the G-8 summit, said Doha was not dead. “I don't think we can afford to say that. We’ve got to find a path over time to get to a successful conclusion,” he told a closing news conference.
Doha round has been dogged by differences among trade powers who want more access to one another’s markets but have struggled to lower their own trade barriers.
n ongoing study by Singapore-based Centre for Liveable Cities to rank 64 cities across the world has ranked Geneva and Zurich as most liveable places in the world. Singapore is ranked third. None of the six Indian cities that were included in the study—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune—find mention in the top 20, either in the global or Asian list.
From July 1, banks will move to a new, more transparent regime of loan pricing. They will jettison the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) and price loans off a ‘base rate’. Unlike the BPLR that was set somewhat arbitrarily by banks, the base rate will follow an explicit formula that factors in a bank’s cost of deposits, operating costs (expenses of running its branches, for instance), the cost of statutory drafts on bank funds imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (the Cash Reserve Ratio and Statutory Liquidity Ratio) and the profit margin. The base rate will help borrowers to compare interest rates offered by various banks and make the process of how banks arrive at interest rates for loans more transparent. RBI has stipulated that banks cannot charge below the base rate for most loans. (There are a couple of exceptions like agricultural loans and export credit.) While the new model will ensure greater transparency, it need not mean lower lending rates for borrowers.
The finance ministry has asked Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to make following changes to ULIPS: Minimum risk cover is to be of times (against 5 times). Pension products to come with guarantee. Minimum lock-in raised to five years and minimum life cover to Rs one lakh.
Indian consumers are the greenest in the world, according to a global survey of 17 countries. Brazil is ranked number 2, while US consumers are ranked last, just below Canada. The survey uses an index of consumption habits and their environmental impact in five categories: goods, food, housing, transport and attitudes. India’s proclivity for small cars, its relatively low vehicle density (India has 12 vehicles per 1,000 people; the US has 765 per 1,000), the penchant Indians have for fruits and vegetables and locally grown foods over imports these contribute to the score.
Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has become the first municipal body of India to cash in on cutting down carbon emissions warming the planet. A municipal compost plant in south Delhi, run by the private sector ILFS group, generated a first modest cheque of Rs 5 lakh in carbon emission reduction (CER) credits for its plan to keep more than 9,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 10 years by stopping methane leaks from garbage.
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5.
World Day against Child Labour is observed on June 12.
World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14.
Vaxiflu-S is India’s first indigenous vaccine to counter influenza-A H1N1, also known as swine flu.
India is ranked a lowly 128 on 2010 Global Peace Index. Pakistan (145) is placed among the five countries that were least peaceful. India had ranked 122 in 2009. New Zealand was ranked the most peaceful, followed by Iceland and Japan.
Shyam Saran Negi, resident of the remote Kalpa village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, was the first to cast his vote in independent India’s first elections on October 23, 1951. Elections in snow-bound Kinnaur region were held ahead of other places in India, where the elections were held in January and February of 1952.
The world's largest gold coin, "Maple Leaf 2007" has been sold at an auction for $4.03 million. Measuring 53 centimetres in diameter and with a purity of 99.999 per cent, it is listed in the 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest gold coin. The front side of the coin displays Queen Elizabeth II and the reverse shows three maple leaves, the national symbol for Canada. There are five Maple Leaf 2007 coins worldwide. One is owned by Queen Elizabeth II, two belong to unidentified investors in Dubai and the whereabouts of the fifth are unknown.
Tobin Tax is a levy on all spot conversions of one currency into another. It is imposed to prevent fluctuations in the market due to excessive capital inflows.