Current Affairs: Top Headlines for September 5, 2013

IMF approves $ 6.7bn loan package to Pakistan to avert financial crisis

Pakistan will get a loan package of 6.7 billion dollar from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has been approved to help the country avert a financial crisis. The government has had to agree to fight widespread tax evasion. The loan will be paid out over 3 years, starting with the release of 540 million dollar.

Russia urges IAEA to do risk assessment to Damascus reactor if US strikes Syria

Russia has warned that a military strike on Syria could have devastating effects if a missile hit a small reactor near Damascus that contains radioactive uranium. The statement from Russia has come at a time when the US is contemplating military action against the Assad regime in Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons to suppress the protest there. Russia has urged the Internal Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to urgently assess the risk in the wake of imminent US strikes against Syria over the use of chemical weapons. It has stated that in case of a strike on the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) near Damascus, areas in proximity could be contaminated by highly enriched uranium. It also warned that the nuclear material could fall into wrong hands who might use it as a weapon.

 G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg today

The heads of the G-20 nations will meet at the 8th summit of the group which will be held today in St. Petersburg in Russia. But, before summit, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will informally meet with leaders of BRICS nation which include Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. These nations are to set their own agenda for the larger summit of G-20.

Raghuram Rajan hints new steps to strengthen monetary policy

After taking charge as the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, has announced a slew of measures to strengthen the monetary system like setting up of a few committees to examine critical areas of functioning, like monetary policy and screening of applications for licences to open new bank branches.
Key points in the announcement made by Raghuram Rajan:

  • Setting up of an external committee, headed by the former Governor Bimal Jalan, to screen applicants for new bank licences, from January 2014.
  • Formation of a panel under the chairmanship of his deputy Urijit Patel to strengthen the monetary policy framework.
  • Establishing a technical committee to examine the feasibility of using encrypted SMS-based fund transfer.
  • To introduce consumer price inflation-linked savings certificates by November 2013 to provide some cover to households.
    To open a special window to swap foreign currency non-resident dollar funds.
  • The re-booking amount limit allowed to exporters on cancelled forward contracts will be doubled to 50% from current 25%. The facility will be extended to importers, who are currently not allowed to re-book their cancelled forwards contracts.
Nation celebrates Teachers’ Day today

Nation is celebrating Teachers’ Day today (September 5) to commemorate the birth anniversary of former President, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He was an eminent philosopher and teacher who contributed immensely towards the Indian education system.

SC rejects centre’s plea seeking review of verdict on disqualification of convicted politicians

The apex court refused to accept the Centre’s petition seeking a review of its judgment on disqualification of MPs and MLAs on being convicted in a criminal case. However, the court agreed to hear the Centre’s plea seeking review of its verdict barring arrested persons from contesting elections.

US Senate Committee approves for using limited force against Assad regime in Syria 

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a resolution, granting President Barack Obama authority to use limited force against the Assad regime in Syria. A similiar resolution is being discussed by a Committee of the US House of Representatives. The move will be debated by the US Congress next week and after its approval President Obama will get the authority for limited military action against Syria for 60 days.

Indian scientists undertake earthquake prediction research

Researchers from the National Geophysical Research Institute are conducting deep-earth study in the Koyna-Warna region of Maharashtra with the aim to enhance understanding of seismic activities and improve earthquake prediction. The study is first of its kind in India which involves drilling deep holes of up to 8km into the earth to directly visualize and measure rock changes during earthquakes. The Koyna-Warna region is known for frequent seismic activity, linked to changes in water levels in water reservoirs present in the region.

Data from satellites show increase in CO2 emission

Observations from ESA’s Envisat mission and Japan’s Greenhouse gases Observing Satellite, GOSAT, show that carbon dioxide emissions increased by about 0.5% annually between 2003 and 2013. The data also shows that recent methane increases are likely due to man-made emissions. According to researchers, the main reason for the rise in carbon dioxide over the last decade is emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas. The methane emissions are being linked to increase in man-made emissions, combined with natural variations caused by wetland emissions and biomass burning.

Google celebrates its 15th birthday

Internet search engine Google turned 15 on September 4, 2013. It was on this day in 1998 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google as a privately held company. They originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub” which was eventually named Google. To mark this occasion, Google has named the next version of the company’s mobile Operating System (OS) as Android KitKat after Nestle’s popular chocolate and wafer confectionery.

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