GK Power Capsule – May 2014 (The Hindu Review)

1. Narendra Damodardas Modi was sworn‐in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014. Along with him, 45‐member Council of Ministers that includes 23 Ministers with Cabinet rank, 10 Ministers of State with independent charges and 12 Ministers of State also took oath of their offices. This is the first time that, 25% of the Cabinet post has been allocated to women. Out of 23 Cabinet post, 6 has been allocated to women. The representative from SAARC nations included
1. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan
2. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala of Nepal
3. Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam of Mauritius
4. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan
5. President Abdulla Yameen of Maldives
6. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan
7. President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka
8. Speaker of the Bangladesh National Parliament, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury

2. 16th Lok Sabha Election 2014 results were declared on 16 May 2014. The elections were conducted in 543 constituencies across India. In the Elections 2014, the main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the elections by securing 282 seats. On the other hand, the incumbent party the Indian National Congress (INC) lost the elections by securing only 44 seats. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP was successful at securing 334 seats, whereas, UPA led by INC was successful at securing only 60 seats. The BJP for the first time has won the elections with majority since independence and it is the only the second time that a non-congress party has succeeded at securing this feat.

3. Winning parties of the five states
1. Odisha ‐ Biju Janata Dal (BJD) - Chief Minister – Mr. Naveen Patnaik
2. Arunachal Pradesh – Congress - Chief Minister – Mr. Nabam Tuki
3. Sikkim ‐ Ruling Democratic Front (SDF) - Chief Minister – Mr. Pawan Chamling
4. Andhra Pradesh – Telgu Desam Party (TDP) - Chief Minister – Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu
5. Telangana – Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) - Chief Minister – Mr. Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao

4. Former Intelligence Bureau Chief Ajit Doval was appointed as the National Security Adviser.

5. Japanese national, Hiroshi Naka was appointed as the Vice President and Auditor General of World Bank.

6. Mukul Rohatgi was appointed as the 14th Attorney‐General of India. He will succeed Gulam Vahanvati.

7. Nripendra Misra was appointed as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

8. Ahmed Maitiq was sworn‐in as the new Prime Minister of Libiya.

9. Petro Poroshenko won the Ukrainian Presidential Election.

10. Rajiv Mathur took over as the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). Mathur succeeded Sushma Singh.

11. Anandiben Patel was sworn‐in as the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat.

12. Narendra Kumar Verma was selected as Managing Director of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL).

13. Jitan Ram Manjhi was sworn‐in as the new Chief Minister of Bihar.

14. Justice BS Chauhan was appointed as the Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).

15. Major General Kristin Lund of Norway became the first‐ever woman to head a UN Peacekeeping Force.

16. Shah Rukh Khan on 13 May 2014 became the first Indian to feature on the cover page of the business magazine Forbes Middle East.

17. Sushma Swaraj became the first woman External Affairs Minister of India.

18. Prime Minister of Slovenia, Alenka Bratusek resigned.

19. UN Envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi submitted his resignation to UN Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon in New York. He was also the League of Arab States Special Representative on the Syrian crisis.

20. US Senate confirmed the name of Indian – American Indira Talwani as the federal judge in Massachusetts.

21. Sunday Times Super‐Rich List released on 11 May 2014 ranked London‐based Hinduja Brothers as the richest in UK. The two brothers, Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja topped the list having a fortune of 11.9 billion pounds.

22. Indian‐American Manish Shah was confirmed as a federal judge in Illinois by US senate.

23. UN secretary General Ban Ki‐moon awarded the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold medal to the eight Indian soldiers, who lost their lives in peacekeeping operations in 2013.

24. Vishwanath Tripathi, eminent Hindi writer was awarded with the prestigious Vyas Samman for the year 2013. He received the award for his work Vyomkesh Darvesh.

25. The project Mobile Seva under Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) won second rank in the 2014 United Nations Public Service Award.

26. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam was awarded with honorary degree by Edinburgh University in Scotland.

27. Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India conferred National Florence Nighangle Awards 2014 on 35 nursing personnel from across the country for their meritorious services.

28. Indian Aviation Academy was awarded with the International Arch of Europe Award for quality and technology in Gold Category.

29. PM Narendra Modi created a new Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship. It was created recognizing the importance of skill development in India.

30. The World Health Organisation declared outbreak of polio as a World Health Emergency after detecting new cases of polio across borders from countries like Syria and Pakistan. As per the WHO, the virus is considered endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

31. Improving the Business Environment in India report was released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Gujarat ‐ model of land acquisition was termed as the best in the country. Karnataka – integrated and comprehensive system for VAT. Maharashtra – Labour Management solution and setting up Maharashtra Industry, Trade and Investment Facilitation Cell. Rajasthan and Punjab – single window clearance system.

32. Malavath Poorna, a 13‐years and 11‐month old girl of Andhra Pradesh became the youngest woman to climb the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world.

33. Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) conducted annual bilateral naval exercises named SIMBEX 2014 in Andaman Sea.

34. Film Winter Sleep was honoured with Palme d’Or Award at the 67th Cannes Film Festival held in Cannes from 16 May to 25 May 2014. The film has been directed by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The Grand Prix Award ‐ The Wonders directed by Italian director, Alice Rohrwacher. Best actress Award ‐ Maps to the Stars stared by Julianne Moore. Best Actor Award ‐ Timothy Spall stared by the Mr Turner. Best director Award‐ Foxcatcher directed by Bennett Miller.

35. To pay tribute to the 100 years of Indian cinema, Brazil released two postage stamps designed by an Indian graphic designer.

36. A documentary film, Silent Screams – India’s Fight Against Rape directed by Pria Somiah won three awards at the 2014 New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards. The three awards includes ‐ Gold World Medal for 'Best Investigative Report', Two Bronze Gold Medals each in the Current Affairs and Human Concerns sections respectively.

37. Supersonic Akash air defence missiles successfully intercepted the targets Lakshya (pilotless target aircraft). The three Akash missiles were launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, off the coast of Odisha.

38. Union Government appointed Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the 28th Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He will assume the charge on 31 July 2014 the date on which General Bikram Singh retires.

39. First indigenously developed air‐to‐air missile Astra (Range – 60 Km) successfully test fired from Sukhoi‐30MKI fighter jet over the Arabian Sea off Goa. Astra is India's first Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air‐to‐Air missile.

40. The Book entitled Anticipating India ‐ The Best of National Interest written by Shekhar Gupta, the editor‐in‐chief of The Indian Express was released.

41. Arunendra Kumar, the Chairman of Railway Board released a book entitled India Junction – A Window to the Nation.

42. A book My Years with Rajiv and Sonia written by R.D.Pradhan released. R.D.Pradhan has penned his work experiences with Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in his book0.

43. A book entitled A Stamp is Born authored by C. R. Pakrashi was released by Vice President of India, M Hamid Ansari.

44. Arctic Summer written by Novelist Damon Galgut was released.

45. The candidate was written by Indian Journalist Anirudh Bhattacharya.

46. Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Sik won 2014 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

47. Dhubri constituency in Assam registered a highest voter turnout of 88.22 percent whereas Srinagar registered a lowest voter turnout of 25.86 percent.

48. The Union Home Ministry extended the ban imposed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in India for five more years.

49. The Supreme Court held that Candidates fighting elections can be disqualified if they fail to disclose information about assets and liabilities of even their spouse and dependent children.

50. President of India gave his assent to the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 2011. The Bill carries provisions for setting up regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or willful misuse of power by public servants, which includes Ministers. The Bill also demands adequate protection to persons who reports corruption.

51. The Constitution Bench of Supreme Court of India upheld the Constitutional validity of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The apex court said that the Act is not applied to unaided minority institutions.

52. The Election Queue Management System, a first of its kind initiative was introduced in Burdwan district, West Bengal during Lok Sabha election. The Election queue management system helped voters to find out the level of crowd in the polling booths in Burdwan district.

53. The Supreme Court ruled that statement of rape victims should be directly recorded by a judicial magistrate within 24 hours instead of police officials.

54. Indian environment activist Ramesh Agrawal has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, also known as the Green Nobel.

55. The University Grants Commission wants to hold a fresh inspection of 41 deemed universities which were sought to be de‐recognised on the basis of the Tandon Committee report.

56. President Barack Obama said he had no desire to contain or counter China despite clinching a defence pact with the Philippines which will inject U.S. forces close to the volatile South China Sea.

57. The 28‐member European Union has temporarily banned the import of Alphonso mangoes and four vegetables from India from May 1.

58. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) allowed three top mobile operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — to continue with their 3G intra‐circle roaming (ICR) pact and provide roaming services to their customers. It quashed cumulative penalty worth Rs.1,200 crore imposed on the three operators by the Department of Telecommunications for violating licence agreement.

59. The Obama administration has retained India on the ‘Priority Watch List’ of nations in the U.S. Trade
Representative’s ‘Special 301’annual report on global intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes, on the basis that there were “growing concerns with respect to the environment for IPR protection and enforcement in India.”

60. The sultan of oil‐rich Brunei announced that tough Islamic criminal punishments would be introduced.

61. A newspaper‐initiated investigation, that claims to prove the use of chlorine and ammonia bombs on civilian targets by the government of President Bashar al‐Assad regime of Syria, has led to the formation of a fact‐finding team of weapons inspectors by Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

62. The International Monetary Fund said that Russia was already in recession and slashed its growth forecast for 2014 citing the effect of the Ukraine crisis on investment.

63. Export‐Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) plans to set up a project development company (PDC) in Africa, with the participation of State Bank of India (SBI), IL&FS and African Development Bank.

64. Manoj Vaish, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), has resigned.

65. India has accused Switzerland of “providing protection to taxpayers found to have evaded Indian taxes” and seriously undermining India’s efforts at tackling offshore tax evasion and stashing away unaccounted income abroad.”

66. The Defence Research Development Organisation finally has its own flying platform, a light aircraft, for testing a new set of air‐borne radars. The just acquired ‘ Nabhratna ’ (or jewel in the sky), a custom‐built Dornier‐228 aircraft, will speed up the development cycle of special radars that the DRDO is working on, Director‐General Avinash Chander said.

67. At least 250 people were missing after a landslip buried villages in northern Afghanistan. Badakhshan is a remote province in northeast Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.

68. Saudi citizens can now petition 90‐year‐old King Abdullah directly and lodge complaints through an Internet site set up at the initiative of the monarch himself.

69. India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which was headed for the scrap yard, got another breather from the Supreme Court as it blocked the vessel’s journey to ignominy. The ship was due at the scrap yard on May 17 after it was sold for Rs.60 crore through an e‐auction to the Mumbai‐based IB Commercials Pvt Ltd.

70. The Supreme Court held that imposition of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction in primary classes in government‐recognised, aided or unaided private schools was unconstitutional.

71. Weeks after India signed the agreement for building units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, New Delhi, at a meeting in Colombo, sought to allay fears in Sri Lanka over the safety of the project.

72. Minors above 10 can now open and operate savings bank accounts independently. Another decision was to allow minors of any age to open savings, fixed or recurring deposit accounts through natural or legally appointed guardians.

73. The government has introduced a draft notification that bans India from importing animal‐tested cosmetics.

74. The Obama administration said that it had signed a 20‐year lease on its military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

75. The Reserve Bank of India told banks that they were not permitted to levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances in any inoperative account.

76. Bharti Enterprises Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal will co‐chair the three‐day World Economic Forum on Africa being held in Abuja (Nigeria) from May 7.

77. Supreme Court banned ‘jallikattu’ (bull fighting) and bullock cart racing in Tamil Nadu. The court also banned bullock cart racing in Maharashtra.

78. India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi cast his vote at a polling booth at his native place in Himachal Pradesh. Mr. Shyam Saran Negi became the first voter of the country when elections were held for the first time in the country on October 25, 1951 in Kinnaur.

79. DRDO successfully flight‐tested an underwater missile called K‐4 with a range of about 3,000 km. The launch took place from a pontoon submerged more than 30 metres deep in the sea off the Visakhapatnam coast.

80. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin Kumar Dhowan announced that the newly inducted aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is now operationally deployed and its integral MiG‐29K fighters have been integrated with the carrier.

81. RBI said that banks would not be permitted to charge foreclosure charges or pre‐payment penalties on all floating rate term loans (home loans and auto loans) sanctioned to “individual borrowers”, with immediate effect.

82. You can now watch the Earth live — as viewed from space. Nasa is live‐streaming views of Earth from space captured by four commercial high definition video cameras that were installed on the exterior of the International Space Station last month.

83. A ceasefire between South Sudan’s government and rebels came into effect following a deal to end a brutal five‐month war that has pushed the country to the brink of genocide and famine.

84. Iran and Pakistan agreed to go ahead with the gas pipeline project which was discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

85. The world’s first airplane completely powered by electricity has successfully taken to the skies for its maiden flight, and could bring down air travel cost by more than a third, its developer Airbus said. The small experimental aircraft called ‘E‐Fan’ took off from an airport near Bordeaux in southwestern France.

86. Tata Housing announced its foray into Sri Lanka with an investment of over $400 million (about Rs.2,400 crore) to develop a township project at Colombo.

87. A week after the World Health Organisation report dubbed Delhi as the most polluted city in the world, Lieutenant‐Governor Najeeb Jung constituted a high‐powered committee to look into pollution levels in the city.

88. Transgenders appeared closer to getting reservation in employment and education in the public sector with the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) recommending their inclusion in the Central list of the OBCs.

89. The government should cut its holding in public sector banks to under 50 per cent, a RBI panel report said. The panel, headed by ex‐ Chairman of Axis Bank, P. J. Nayak, said governance at the 26 public sector banks suffered due to several ‘externally imposed constraints’ like dual regulation by the RBI and the Finance Ministry, and external vigilance by agencies such as the CVC and CAG, among others.

90. The Competition Commission of India has ordered a fresh probe against Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the online search advertising space.

91. China said it would slap provisional antidumping measures on single‐mode optical fibres imported from India, alleging that Indian companies were dumping them in the Chinese market.

92. United States Secretary of State John Kerry described China’s moves to deploy an oil rig in waters disputed by Vietnam as “provocative,” prompting an angry rebuttal from Beijing. The Chinese government accused the U.S. of making “erroneous” remarks that had “emboldened some countries’ provocations.” In recent days, Chinese and
Vietnamese vessels have been in a tense stand‐off, sparked by China’s deployment of an oil rig in the waters of the South China Sea off the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by Beijing.

93. Micro finance institution (MFI) Bandhan Financial Services Ltd. has appointed Deloitte to prepare its roadmap for launching banking services.

94. African leaders at a summit in Paris have agreed on a regional plan of action to combat Boko Haram, the Islamist group that has abducted more than 200 girls and threatened to sell them into slavery. In a rare show of unity, the leaders of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin pledged cooperation including joint border patrols and sharing intelligence to find the girls, snatched from Nigeria more than a month ago.

95. Washington charged five “Chinese military hackers” with cyber‐espionage, alleging that between 2006 and 2014 they broke into the computer networks of six U.S. corporations and made away with a “significant” trove of intellectual property and trade secrets relating to the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries.

96. China set up a 10 billion Yuan ($1.6 billion) fund to take forward its ambitious “maritime silk road plan” to build ports and boost maritime connectivity with Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean littoral countries.

97. India continues to rank lowest in the World Bank’s ranking on the ease of ‘Doing Business’ for 2014. India is now ranked at 134 against 131 in 2013. It is now placed lower than Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

98. The Reserve Bank of India allowed star trading houses and premier trading houses to import gold under the 20:80 scheme. Under this scheme Importers can buy gold provided a fifth of the imported quantum is exported as finished products like jewellery.

99. President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected the mercy petition of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, brother of fugitive ‘Tiger’ Memon, whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1993 case of Mumbai serial blasts.

100. Shah Rukh Khan is the lone Indian celebrity to have made it to the top‐ten wealthiest actors. He has an estimated fortune of $600 million. He is second on the list put out by Wealth‐X. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld tops the list with a net worth of $820 million.

101. China and Russia signed a landmark gas deal ending more than decade‐long negotiations, with the agreement for the annual supply of 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

102. An Egyptian court sentenced deposed president Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison on corruption charges.

103. Reserve Bank of India, for the benefit of persons with disabilities, has made it mandatory for banks to install talking ATMs with Braille keypads from July 1, 2014, as talking ATMs with Braille keypads.

104. The Thailand Army chief seized power in military coup. General Prayut Chan‐O‐Cha made the announcement in a televised address to the nation, saying the powerful armed forces had to act to restore stability in the nation.

105. Flipkart announced that it has acquired rival and leading fashion e‐tailer Myntra.com.

106. The board of BSE, the largest stakeholder in the United Stock Exchange (USE), has decided to merge the struggling currency bourse with itself, a move that will boost its own stressed currency trading business that is dominated by rival NSE.
108. Heavily‐armed terrorists attacked the Indian consulate in Herat and were repulsed by the Indo‐Tibetan Border Police guards stationed at the diplomatic outpost in western Afghanistan.

109. Iran has for the first time in six years addressed concerns about the so‐called “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear programme, a new IAEA report showed.

110. IDBI Bank signed an agreement with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) under which it will offer loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) at one percentage point lower interest than the market rates and also charge low processing fee.

111. In a goodwill gesture ahead of visits by the Pakistan Prime Minister and Sri Lankan President to Delhi for the swearing‐in of Narendra Modi, Islamabad and Colombo have ordered the release of up to 161 Indian fishermen in custody. While Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the release of 151 Indian fishermen and 57 boats, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the release of five Indian fishermen in custody in Colombo.

112. Anti‐corruption activist Anna Hazare is planning to launch a non‐political social movement called Asli Azadi Abhiyan (true freedom movement) in Mumbai on August 9, coinciding with the anniversary of the Quit India movement. He plans to lead a march from Kashmir to Kanyakumari later this year.

113. Next Summit: Brazil‐Russia‐India‐China‐South Africa BRICS summit in Brasilia, in July. The United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, Association of South East Asian Nations summit in Nay Pyi Taw in October.

114. The Union government announced the setting up of a high‐level Special Investigation Team to help unearth black money stashed away abroad, at the first meeting of the Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. SIT would be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice M. B. Shah and another retired Supreme Court judge Justice Arijit Pasayat would be its vice‐chairman.

115. U.S. forces will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

116. AirAsia India announced that its maiden flight on June 12 will take off from Bangalore to Goa at an introductory fare of Rs 990 (all taxes inclusive).

117. The fiscal deficit in 2013‐14 stood at 4.5% of GDP, lower than 4.6% projected in the revised estimate, mainly on account of curbs on government expenditure.

118. Highlighting the priorities of his ministry, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu said he wants to motivate private sector to go for housing for their staff as part of their social responsibility because "housing for all by 2022 is the motto of this government."

119. Singapore has replaced Mauritius as the top source of foreign direct investment into India, accounting for about 25 per cent of FDI inflows in 2013‐14.

120. The Indian economy will grow 5 per cent in 2014 and record a slightly higher expansion of 5.5 per cent next year on stronger consumption and investment, a UN report said.

121. The monsoon may arrive in the country at the southern Kerala coast around June 5, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

122. India will overtake Japan to become the world's third largest oil consumer behind the US and China by 2025, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

123. With improvement in macroeconomic indicators and steady implementation of policy reforms, the Indian economy is likely to cross the $5‐trillion mark by 2025, a Morgan Stanley report said.
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