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• Gurkha soldiers win right to retire in Britain: Former Gurkha soldiers cheered and
waved their regiment’s flag outside the high court in London after they won a long-running
fight to secure the right to retire in Britain. Members of the famous unit, which has fought
for Britain since 1815, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, overturned an earlier ruling
that meant those who retired before 1997 had no automatic right to live in Britain. All
other foreign soldiers in the British Army can settle in Britain after four years’ service
anywhere in the world. About 2,000 Gurkhas are affected by the current rules. The high
court ruled that instructions given by the home office to immigration officials were
unlawful and must be changed.
• Sri Lanka: At least 62 LTTE cadre and 10 soldiers were killed as the military launched an
all-out offensive to “flush out their last presence in the bastion Kilinochchi town. A
Ministry statement said the LTTE’s casualties were on the rise as security forces were
making their presence felt in Kilinochchi and are “on the verge of mounting a full-fledged
assault at the Tiger heartland.”
• India-France sign civil N –deal: Following the waiver granted by the Nuclear Suppliers
Group (NSG), France became the first country to sign a civil nuclear energy. This
pathbreaking development brings down the wall keeping India away from nuclear
technology and may act as a spur for swift closure of the 123 agreement with the US. The
agreement on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy' signed by Anil
Kakodkar, secretary, department of atomic energy, and French foreign minister Bernard
Kouchner at the Elysee Palace marks the unshackling of India from the denial regime
forced on it after the first Pokharan test in 1974. An official statement said, "This
agreement will form the basis of wide ranging bilateral cooperation from basic and applied
research to full civil nuclear cooperation including reactors, nuclear fuel supply, nuclear
safety, radiation and environment protection and nuclear fuel cycle management."
o Areva, a French company, is world leader in nuclear equipment, technology.
• U.S. Senate clears nuclear deal: The India-U.S. nuclear deal secured the approval of the
U.S. Senate which overwhelmingly voted a bill rejecting all the killer amendments and
paving the way for its implementation. The landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement,
entered into between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George W. Bush
in 2005, secured 86 votes while 13 Senators voted against it. The U.S.-India Agreement
for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (123 Agreement) got bipartisan
support after the killer amendments, moved by two Democratic Senators, were
• India, Sri Lanka to resolve fisherman issue: With incidents of Indian fishermen being
targeted allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy in the Palk Straits on the rise, India and Sri Lanka
have agreed to evolve a mechanism to resolve the issue. External Affairs Minister Pranab
Mukherjee and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama, who discussed a wide
range of subjects, agreed to task their relevant departments to evolve the mechanism.
• Glory in Africa: With Indian Air Force helicopter gu- nships killing hundreds of rebels and
infantry combat vehicles punching through rebel positions, India's largest-ever deployment
of soldiers on foreign soil has taken on a muscular new turn in the heart of Africa. The
Democratic Republic of Congo's internal conflict - whose resolution is a test case of strong
global intervention - has led an Indian brigade under the United Nations mission (known
by its French acronym MONUC) to rework its peacekeeping strategy from a velvet glove to
an iron fist.
o It’s largest deployment of Indian troops on foreign soil.
o It’s the United Nation’s costliest peace keeping mission ever, meant to show that
global intervention can work.
o Indian first sent troops to the Congo in 1960; there are 4,554 Indian soldiers
deployed as part of the UN peace keeping mission.
o More than three million Congolese have died kin endless wars and human slaughter.
• India looks at more economic engagements with SAARC nations: The government gave
its green signal for the entry of Afghanistan, with a GDP of about $8 billion, to become the
latest member of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta). In this regard the Cabinet
approved the proposal for ratification of the protocol of accession of Afghanistan to
Agreement on Safta. “Early ratification of the Protocol of Accession will accelerate
Afghanistan’s formal joining of Safta. It will also help in full implementation of Safta by
putting pressure on Pakistan to adhere to Safta norms for the sensitive list and give
transit to Afghanistan. The Saarc countries had earlier aimed to increase the intra-Saarc
trade from the present $20 billion to $40 billion in the next 3-5 years. According to
Research and Information System for Developing Countries, South Asia has emerged as
one of the world’s fastest growing regions with an average growth rate of 8% sustained
over the past five years. Saarc was set up in 1985 by the heads of India, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives to advance common interest. Safta was
launched in January 2006 and become operational in July 2006, opening over 4, 000
commodities for trade. In 2007, Afghanistan had joined the Saarc as the eighth member.
• Nanotech park in Himachal: An US-based nanotechnology firm Nanobiosym Inc has
evinced interest in setting up India’s first integrated nanotechnology and biomedicine
technology park in Himachal Pradesh.
• Bush signs $ 700-bn bank rescue: US President George W bush signed a $ 700 billion
financial market rescue plan into law, calling its decisive action to ease the credit crunch
that is now threatening our economy. The bipartisan legislation was sent to Bush after it
was approved by the House reversing its September 29 rejection of the measure which had
sent global stock markets plunging. The bill, approved on October 1 by the Senate with $
149 billion in tax breaks to attract House votes, authorizes the government to buy
troubled assets from financial institutions reeling from record home foreclosures. It also
affirms regulators, power to suspend asset-valuing rules that companies blame for fueling
the crisis. The House approved the measure 263-171, four days after rejecting an earlier
version by 228 to 205.
• India retains major share in global BPO: India, home to six of the world’s top eight
outsourcing hubs, continues to be a major global IT and BPO outsourcing destination
amid a determined bid by the neighbouring China to give it a tough competition in the
field, according to a new study. Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and
Pune are the six Indian cities in the list of top eight outsourcing cities of the world,
according to a study by Global Services, the media platform for global IT outsourcing and
BPO industry and Tholons, a global investment advisory firm. The other two cities are
Dublin of Ireland and Mataki city, the Philippines, the survey adds. But China dominates
the list of emerging cities for global outsourcing with Shanghai and Beijing leading the list
along with Cebu City from The Philippines.
• G-20: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Ecudor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay,
Venezuela, Zambia. The actual number of countries in G-20 varies. In the above list,
Educator, Peruand Turkey have sometimes been in the group and some times out of it. G-
20 was formed through the Brasilia Declaration in June 2003 by India, Brazil and South
Africa and with China joining these four countries form the core of G-20. G-33 actually
has 44 countries as members. Then there is the G-90 coalition that emerged in Cancun in
• Russia begins withdrawal from Georgia: Russia began dismantling checkpoints in the
buffer zones inside Georgia despite deadly car bomb blast across the border in South
Ossetia which Moscow blamed on Georgian secret services. A Russian military spokesman
said the moves were in line with a France-brokered peace plan that called for Russian
troops to be replaced by European observers by October 10.
• PM announces $20 mn assistance for Palestine: Affirming India's consistent
commitment to the Palestinian cause, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an
assistance of $20 million (Rs. 96 crore) to the Palestinian Authority.
• S & P cuts Pak’s credit rating on debt payment concerns: Pakistan’s credit rating was
cut by Standard & Poor’s, which doubts about the country’s ability to meet $3 billion in
debt-servicing costs as terrorism risks grow and investors flee emerging markets. The
nation’s long-term foreign-currency rating was cut two levels to CCC+ from B, with a
negative outlook, the US rating company said in a report Pakistan’s President Asif Ali
Zardari is seeking $100 billion to overcome the nation’s economic crisis and to fight
• In a first, UAE gets a women judge: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has got its first
woman judge with Khulood Ahmed Jawan Al Daheri being sworn in to the post.
• Pak rupee hits all-time low: Pakistani rupee dived to an all-time low against the US
dollar as the country's economy was battered by mounting security and financial problems
which have scared investors. The State Bank of Pakistan had to intervene to inject $100
million into the inter-banking market as the rupee slid to an low of Rs 80.5 to the US
dollar in the foreign exchange market.
• World GDP growth: The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest World Economic
Outlook sharply reduces its forecast for world gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 3%
in 2009, whittling it down from the 3.76% predicted in April. A global GDP growth rate of
4.21% is now forecast for 2010, compared with 4.76% earlier. The report says the current
crisis is “the most dangerous shock in mature financial markets since the 1930s”. It’s
difficult to see how that squares with the 3% growth rate in world GDP forecast for next
year. In 2001, after the technology bust, the global economy grew by a mere 2.2%. During
the recession of the early 1990s, global GDP growth was 1.45% in 1991, 2.02 in 1992 and
2% in 1993, before bouncing back to 3.37%. In 2009, China and India are expected to
grow at 9.2% and 6.9% respectively.
• Sri Lanka earmarks record amount for defence spending: Sri Lanka’s government
plans record spending on defence and public security next year to pay for driving Tamil
Tiger rebels from their last strongholds and end a civil war that’s left 100,000 people dead.
Defence ministry outlays are forecast to rise to 177.1 billion Sri Lankan rupees (Rs8040
crore) in 2009 from LKR 166.4 billion this year. Tamils, who make up 11.9% of the
population according to a 2001 census, are discriminated against by the Sinhalese
majority, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
• India’s competitiveness ranking drops: India has dropped in its global competitiveness
ranking to the 50th place, while neighbouring China has improved its ranking to the 30th
spot in the latest list compiled by the World Economic Forum. In the annual Global
Competitiveness 2008-09 Report, India has dropped two places from last year’s 48th spot.
Even as the financial turmoil is ravaging the economy, the US has topped the league of
134 countries. In last year’s list, China was at the 34th place.
• India to participate in Asia-Europe met for first time: For the first time India will be
participating in the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) founded in 1996, ASEM’s summit in
Beijing later in October. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accompanied by senior officials
will be attending the meeting as an invitee, where the head of states and governments of
45 European countries & the European Commission, with their counterparts from Asian
countries will be attending. The 7th ASEM summit is the first multilateral meeting that the
Prime Minister will be attending soon after the historic nuclear agreements with both the
US and France.
• Baglihar Hydro Power: The first phase of the 450-MW Baglihar power project in the
Kashmir Valley, built over the Chenab river is going to be completed. The project has faced
prolonged delays since it was started in 1999, including objections from Pakistan. The
Pakistan Government had given up “its objections” to the project in September and the
Indian Government had put into action the process to synchronise the first 150 MW unit
of the project.
• Rich live longer, poor die younger: For the first time, difference in life expectancy
between the richest and poorest countries is over 40 years, says the World Health
Organisation's World Health Report (WHR) 2008. Japan has the longest life expectancy at
81 years 6 months, while Zambia is the shortest at 32 years 8 months. The world's
average life expectancy is 67 years. In India, the average life expectancy is 63 years, 62 for
men and 64 for women. In India, the total health expenditure — including out-of-pocket
spending — is 5 per cent of the GDP, but the government's spending on healthcare is
barely 1 per cent of the GDP. In India, 49 per cent women gave birth with assistance from
a health professional, but the disparity between urban and rural India is pronounced —
75 per cent of urban women had medical help as compared to 39 per cent women in rural
areas. In India, 59 per cent women still deliver their babies at home.
o Japan – 81.5 years
o US – 78 years
o China – 73.5 years
o India – 63 years
o Pakistan – 62.5 years
o Zambia – 33 years
• India Mega Air Show in Hyderabad: The international exhibition and conference on civil
aviation being held in Hyderabad. France and Europe are India’s first partners in this
• India fares badly on global hunger index: India, in comparison, is failing miserably to
tackle hunger. India ranks 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
Even Punjab, the food bowl and the best performing state within India, came off worse
than countries like Gabon and Vietnam when measured on the index. Out of the 17 states
that researchers measured on the index, Madhya Pradesh came up worst. Compared
internationally, it could not measure up to even strife-torn countries of Africa such as
Congo, Rwanda and Sudan. It was marked as facing an "extremely alarming" hunger
crisis. The index was based on an average of three leading indicators-prevalence of child
malnutrition, rates of child mortality and the proportion of people who are calorie
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