Current Affairs 14.5.09

Lapang becomes Meghalaya CM
Donwa Dethwelson Lapang was yesterday sworn-in as the chief minister of Meghalaya where President’s rule was lifted on Friday.Governor R S Mooshahary administered the oath of office and secrecy to Lapang at a programme in Raj Bhavan. Lapang is head of the Meghalaya United Alliance, which is comprising Congress and a regional party, United Democratic Party (UDP). The alliance has 37 MLAs — 26 from the Congress, nine from UDP and two Independents — in the 60-member house which now has an effective strength of 55 following resignation of one UDP MLA and disqualification of four others.
About President Rule in Meghalaya : President Rule in Meghalaya was imposed on march 18, 2009 after the government survived narrowly with the trust vote of speaker.
Runu Ghosh Convicted
Runu Ghosh, former deputy director general in the telecom ministry who has been convicted for corruption, will be pronounced Friday by a Delhi Court.

About Runu Ghosh :
She was a former Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer, and was held guilty by the court of amassing disproportionate assets of around Rs.2.27 million and can face imprisonment up to seven years. According to the prosecution, she acquired the wealth between 1992 and 1996 while working as deputy director general (licence and finance) in the Telecom Department during the tenure of then telecommunications minister Sukhram.

Hung parliament is what Exit polls say :
India’s month-long general election ended Wednesday, with exit polls forecasting the Congress-led coalition to be leading the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Neither group will win a parliamentary majority. They will now be battling for new allies to form a new government.

Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He is a a veteran counterinsurgency expert. He will take charge as the administration begins to implement its new strategy for the worsening conflict in Afghanistan and a growing insurgency in neighboring nuclear-armed Pakistan by allies of al Qaida and the Afghan Taliban. He is successor of Army Gen. David McKiernan

About US forces in Afganistan: There are more than 75,000 U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan. Another 21,000 American soldiers are due to deploy this year, including 17,000 destined for southern Afghanistan, the Taliban heartland and opium production center.

Last Nazi War Crime Trail in Germany:
Germany is preparing for its last Nazi war crimes trial and a courtroom duel between two old survivors: John Demjanjuk, accused of being a concentration camp guard in the killing fields of Eastern Europe, and Thomas Blatt, a former teenage inmate in one of the Third Reich’s most brutal outposts. In a charge sheet to be read to him with the help of an interpreter, Mr Demjanjuk will be accused of helping to kill 29,000 Jews.

UN warns a humanitarian crisis in Pakistan:
Fighting between government forces and Taliban in northern Pakistan has created a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis, say the heads of a Pakistan relief agency visiting New Zealand.Shama Mall, a deputy director of Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan, says the situation at home for the 200,000 people forced to flee in the last two days is worsening. “It’s very worrying at present. These people are under the open sky in a very insecure and unstable
environment. People have been forced to leave at short notice and their immediate needs are not being met. Many have never had to leave their communities before and are afraid to do so.

Business & Economy
India’s Industrial Output contract by 2.3%
The country’s Industrial output contracted by 2.3 per cent in March, the sharpest fall in 16 years, raising fears of a sustained industrial slowdown. The manufacturing sector, which accounts for 80 per cent of the index of industrial production (IIP), plunged by 3.3 per cent in March compared to last year’s 5.7 per cent growth, latest official data released on Tuesday showed. Overall industrial output grew by a 2.4 per cent during 2008-09, down from last year’s 8.5 per cent. click for Official Data

Microsoft launched First Bond Issue:
Microsoft has launched its first bond issue in hopes of raising 3.75 billion dollars, sparking rumors the US software giant was contemplating a takeover bid. Microsoft, in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that it would use the money from the bond issue launched Monday for “general corporate purposes” and planned to offer five-year, 10-year and 30-year notes. The software giant “intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include funding for working capital, capital expenditures, repurchases of stock and acquisitions.

China’s Exports Plunged 22.6% in April :
China’s exports plunged 22.6 percent in April from the year before in the sixth straight monthly decline while a torrent in bank lending meant to ward off the economic downturn pushed up spending on factories, real estate and other fixed assets. China’s economy is the world’s third-largest after the U.S. and Japan – relies heavily on exports for growth.

Special Duty on nylon tyre cord fabrics from China
The Central Board of Excise and Customs has in a notification extended the special duty imposed on imports of nylon tyre cord fabrics from China for a period of another five years.

ICICI ties up with VISA for US Cards
ICICI India’s second-largest Bank and India’s largest credit card issuer, and Visa Inc.have announced a strategic relationship that will enable ICICI’s New York Branch to issue Visa Debit cards in the U.S., extending the convenience and worldwide acceptance of Visa Debit cards to the bank’s increasingly global customer base. The bank will offer Visa Debit cards to its Global Indian Account and other checking account customers at its New York branch. The Global Indian Account service addresses the banking needs of Indians moving overseas who require access to local banking facilities in the United States.
About ICICI Bank Ltd:
ICICI Bank Ltd is India’s largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country with consolidated total assets of over $95 billion as of March 31, 2009. ICICI Bank’s subsidiaries include India’s leading private sector insurance companies and among its largest securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and private equity firms. ICICI Bank’s presence currently spans 19 countries, including India.
About Visa Inc.:
Visa Inc. operates the world’s largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries.
TCS Contract with Volkswagen
India’s largest information technology (IT) firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has signed a five-year contract with UK-based automobile maker Volkswagen Group to deliver IT transformation and support services.TCS will support Volkswagen in its business transformation programme to meet its aim to “sell more cars, sell more parts, drive down costs”.
SBI cuts deposit rates :
The State Bank of India has cut its fixed deposit (FD) rates across maturities by up to 50 basis points (100 basis points = 1%), effective from May 18. This is the second time in this month, and sixth time in 2009 that SBI has cut its deposit rates. Earlier this month, it reduced rates by 0.25 percentage points.
National Issues
PM wants to eradicate small schemes:
Prime Minister has directed all ministries and departments to suggest ways to downsize existing programmes. At present, there are only 50 central and centrally sponsored schemes, which had an allocation of more than Rs 500 crore for this year. This implies that for creation of any meaningful space, a large number of ongoing programmes will have to be deferred. Politically, this will be an uphill task as the government had introduced zero budgeting system three years ago and the then finance minister P Chidambaram had publicly expressed concern that proliferation of small schemes was hampering meaningful implementation.

In the Budget for this year, there are 908 Central schemes with a total allocation of Rs 77,973.6 crore of which only 24 schemes have an allocation of more than Rs 500 crore. These 24 schemes account for 42 per cent of all centrally funded schemes. The balance 58 per cent schemes have a total allocation of Rs 12,0876 crore.

Read Some Government of India Development Programs

India gets Akula-II by end of this year:
India gets its first new generation Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by the year-end, bolstering its Navy’s undersea capability manifold. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered delivery of the submarine to the Indian Navy and has sanctioned $300 million for speedy completion of the project.
What is Akula?
Akula means Shark in Russian .
India is paying two billion dollars for the completion of two Akula-II class submarines. The first submarine will be named INS Chakra.Whereas the Russian Navy’s Akula-II submarine is equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 kilometers, the Indian version expected to be armed with the 300 km range 3M-54 Klub nuclear-capable missiles. Missiles with ranges greater than 300 kilometers cannot be exported due to arms control restrictions, since Russia is a signatory to the MTCR treaty.
National Technology Day celebrated on May 11:
National Technology Day marks 11th anniversary of Pokhran-II nuke test. May 11, was a significant day in the history of India and it represented scientific contribution in hi-technology for country’s development and pride.
Both 1974 and 1998 nuke tests were conducted on Buddha Purnima day
About Pokharan II:
Pokharan-II refers to test explosions of five nuclear devices, three on 11 May and two on 13 May 1998, conducted by India at the Pokhran test range. The test was conducted when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was in power with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister. These nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states. On 18 May 1974 India exploded its first nuclear device code named Smiling Buddha. After about a quarter century, on Buddha Jayanti, 11 May 1998, Operation Shakti was carried out. Shakti was the codename for Pokhran-II.

About India’s Nuclear Warhead Program:
The Indian nuclear weapons program was started in the year 1964. The 1962 Sino-Indian war was an unforgettable lesson to the Indian establishment. It underscored the need to have a strong military with a comprehensive capability to deter enemy forces. The Chinese Nuclear Test at Lop Nur in 1964 goaded the Indian government into action to kickstart India’s indigenous program to develop nuclear weapons. Preliminary studies were carried out at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and plans were developed to produce plutonium and other bomb components. The program was shelved after Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s death. It was revived in the year 1968 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The program culminated in the nuclear test of 1974 at Pokhran codenamed Smiling Buddha.

After the 1974 test India decided to stop testing as a temporary measure. Various political parties, especially the right wing Jana Sangh pushed for further testing and weaponisation. Successive governments in India decided to observe this temporary moratorium for fear of inviting international criticism. In 1995, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao decided to carry out further tests. But the plans were halted after American satellites picked up signs of preparations for testing at Pokhran. The Americans under President Bill Clinton exerted enormous pressure on Rao to stop the preparations.

People :

Suresh Kalmadi is president of Indian Olympic Association
Indian Olympic Association
The Indian Olympic Association is the body responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympic Games and other international athletic meets and for managing the Indian teams at the events. It also acts as the Indian Commonwealth Games Association, responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games. The Indian Olympic Association was formed in 1927 with Sir Dorabji Tata as its first president and since that year has been the body officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee as India’s national Olympic organisation He was replaced by Maharaja Bhupindra Singh of Patiala in 1928 who stayed on till 1938.


Air Marshal PK Barbora is air officer commanding-in-chief, Western Air Command : Air Marshal PK Barbora, VSM, has taken over as the air officer commanding-in-chief, Western Air Command. Air Marshal Barbora, born in December 1950 in Shillong, was commissioned as a fighter pilot in June 1970. A very experienced flier, he has flown over 3500 hours. Air Marshal Barbora also took part in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

Former Navy chief Admiral Sardari Mathradas Nanda dies: Former Navy chief Admiral Sardari Mathradas Nanda, who became popular as “the man who bombed Karachi” during the 1971 war but later got enmeshed in controversy after his son was accused in defence kickback scandals, died late on Monday. He was 94.

Appointed the Navy chief in February 1970, Nanda is credited with formulating the daring strategy under which Indian warships bombed Pakistani oil tankers and enforced the blockade of Karachi port during the 1971 war. He will always be remembered in the most glowing terms for his leadership during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict, in which the Indian Navy carved its name in golden letters in the annals of history by its sterling offensive actions.
After retiring in 1973, Nanda also served as the chairman of the Shipping Corporation of India and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
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