Current Affairs: January 5, 2012

Prof Trinh Xuan Thuan gets ‘Kalinga Chair’ award

  • Eminent scientist, Prof Trinh Xuan Thuan, of Vietnam has been conferred with the prestigious ‘Kalinga Chair’ award at the 99th Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar. The award was conferred marking the 60th anniversary of the prestigious UNESCO Kalinga Prize.
  • Kalinga Prize is given by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in association with Bhubneshwar-based Kalinga Foundation Trust, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, Department of Science and Technology.

EU agreed in principle to ban import of Iranian oil

  • The European Union has agreed in principle to ban import of Iranian crude oil to put pressure on Iran for its nuclear programme. The move will be announced in the end of January 2012.
  • United States, which recently imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, has welcomed the news, however, Iran has dismissed the threat of new sanctions and denies Western claims that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme.

11th Auto Expo Starts in New Delhi

  • The 11th Auto Expo starts in New Delhi on January 5, 2012. The Expo will witness as many as 50 global brands showcasing their products.
  • The Expo will also witness the unveiling of 24 cars by domestic companies and eight by global players, besides eight two-wheelers by home-grown firms.
  • The Expo will remain open for public from 7th January to 11th January 2012.

Union Cabinet approves filling up of backlog vacancies in SC and ST

  • Union Cabinet approves the filling up of backlog vacancies in SC and ST categories in central government jobs. There are 50,000 positions to be filled. The decision has been taken keeping in view the assembly polls in various states.
  • The proposal comes soon after the government decision to allow 4.5 percent reservation to the minorities within the OBC quota.
  • The last such effort was made in 2008 when the government had launched a special recruitment drive for recruitment in these categories.

Cabinet approved insurance for Overseas Indian Workers

  • Cabinet has also approved a proposal for providing insurance cover and pension benefits to Overseas Indian workers. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has already announced that a fund is being set up for the purpose.
  • The objective is to offer financial help to Indians working in Gulf region after they return to the country.

Cabinet approved making hallmarking of jewellery mandatory

  • As a step to maintain the quality of gold jewellery, the Union Cabinet has approved making hall marking of gold jewellery mandatory. India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold.
  • This was done by approving amendments to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986, which aims to expand the ambit of compulsory hallmarking to add more products.
  • At present, gold hallmarking is voluntary.
  • Jewellery accounts for around 65% of gold demand in India.

Rs. 19000 Crore approved for Katra – Quazigund Railway line project

  • The Central Government has approved an additional fund of Rs. 19000 Crore for completion of Katra – Quazigund Railway line project in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The decision was taken by Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure in New Delhi .
  • Katra – Quazigund Railway line is to be completed by 2017.

Voting in Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council in Assam underway

  • The voting for 26-member Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council is underway.
  • Over 5 lakh 86 thousand electorates of the tribal-dominated district are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect their representatives among 128 contesting candidates. All major political parties including the ruling Congress, Asom Gana Parishad, CPI (ML) and BJP have fielded their candidates for the polls conducted by State Election Commission.

6000 Indira Awas to be constructed in Saranda Forests

  • Union Rural Development Ministry permits to construct 6000 ‘Indira Awas’ in six panchayats of Saranda forest range in south west Jharkhand
  • Saranda forest was in grip of Naxalites and it was freed by security forces via Operation Anaconda.

Rally in support of Kim Jong-Un

  • On January 4, 2012, more than one lakh people rallied in support of new leader Kim Jong-Unin Korea. Kim Jong-Un has been recently proclaimed the great successor of his father.

China initiates action against traders who tortured Indian Traders

  • China has initiated criminal proceedings against five local suspects, responsible for the torture of two Indian businessmen, who has been brought to Indian Conciliate at Shanghai.

India Free from Bird Flu: Says Government

  • Government declares that India has become free from bird flu, H5N1.
  • However, the states have been advised to have strict surveillance, especially in the vulnerable areas bordering the infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.

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