Friday, January 24, 2014

Current Affairs - 24 January 2014

RBI Governor,s clarification on currency note fears

  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday sought to quell fears over the decision to withdraw all pre-2005 currency notes from April 1, 2014, saying the RBI notification was not aimed at demonetisation.
  • Assuring the people that such currency notes would continue to be legal tender, Dr. Rajan said there was no cause for panic.
  • The public would be required to approach banks for exchanging their pre-2005 notes. The RBI on Wednesday said that after March 31 it would withdraw from circulation all currency notes issued prior to 2005.

Japanese PM,Shinzo Abe to be chief guest at Republic Day parade

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be able to squeeze in a visit to India to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on Sunday.
  • Meticulous to a fault, the Japanese have till now not announced Mr. Abe’s visit, during which he will have an intensive session with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • In fact, an invitation from the Embassy of Japan sent a day earlier was circumspect, saying Mr. Abe “intends to visit India, if circumstances allow”.
  • But the Indian side is sure Mr. Abe would make it and in the process be the first Prime Minister of Japan to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.

Pakistan, India trying to resolve LoC trade standoff

  • Pakistan is very keen that trade across the Line of Control (LoC) take place smoothly and summoned an Indian High Commission official on Tuesday essentially in an effort to break the deadlock, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.
  • Responding to questions at the weekly media briefing on Thursday, Ms. Aslam said a demarche was handed over to him on Tuesday raising concerns over the detention of a truck driver along with whom 48 others were also stopped on the other side.
  • The Indian High Commissioner met the Foreign Secretary and among other things, this was also discussed. Both sides are of the view that this issue should resolved at the earliest, she said.
  • She clarified that the truck drivers from the Indian occupied Kashmir side had not been arrested.
  • They were stopped on this side and 49 Trucks from Azad Jammu and Kashmir detained on the other side.

Indo-French satellite for climate change

  • India and France are working towards building the third Indo-French satellite for climate change studies, Mathieu J. Weiss, Counsellor (Space), Embassy of France in India, has said.
  • He was speaking to journalists after French Ambassador to India Francois Richier met Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K. Radhakrishnan here.
  • Mr. Weiss said the final shape of the project was to be announced by next March when Indian and French scientists would meet in France.
  • The new satellite, being built by the ISRO and the National Centre for Space Studies of France, would be meant for earth observation, he said. Discussions were under way for more than a year.
  • The first two satellites were launched in 2011 and 2013.

Indian-American Rakesh kumar appointed Dean of Harvard College

  • Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed Dean of the prestigious Harvard College. He is the latest addition to a long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership roles at renowned global universities.
  • Mr. Khurana, 46, is currently the ‘Marvin Bower’ Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard. He will assume his new role on July 1.
  • Harvard College is the school within Harvard University that grants undergraduate degrees. Mr. Khurana earned his Ph.D. through a joint programme between HBS and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998.

Raipur to develop Asia’s biggest botanical garden

  • Asia’s biggest botanical garden will come up in Naya Raipur with the Chhattisgarh government initiating work on the ecotourism project.
  • The State Forest Department has already started work in this connection near Khandwa village of the new capital, located around 23 kmfrom Raipur.
  • Chief Minister Raman Singh has a keen interest in promoting ecotourism and it was as per his initiative that the garden would be developed on 153 hectares of area near the Khandwa reservoir, close to the planned forest safari, according to an official here.
  • They also held a discussion with chief executive of the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) Amit Kataria and officials of the forest and other departments concerned.
  • The botanical garden will house plants of different varieties and species, which will also be used extensively for research purpose by the students and teachers of botany. Plants samples would be collected from all districts for plantation at the garden. Plant germplasm would also be preserved for the future, he said.

Africa,s tough law to fight against poaching

  • Africa is getting tougher in its fight against poaching. New laws with stiff penalties, more military training for rangers and new technology like drones with thermal cameras are all helping to protect rhinos and elephants. A new law in Kenya that increases penalties for killing tourist-attracting safari animals is already bearing fruit.
  • A Chinese man accused of trying to smuggle ivory in a suitcase was arraigned in a Nairobi court this week.
  • Under the law that came into effect on Jan. 10 and that the Kenya Wildlife Service had been lobbying for years, the man could face up to life in prison and a $230,000 fine.
  • In the past, such poachers and smugglers could walk out of court with a fine of less than $1,000.
  • Kenya’s new law is being paired with increased training and deployment of advanced equipment.
  • Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy will deploy drones later this year to help protect rhinos.
  • Parks in Tanzania and South Africa are also increasing their use of surveillance drones.
  • In South Africa’s massive Kruger Park, where hundreds of rhinos are killed each year, rangers are hunting for poachers using a former military helicopter and night-vision equipment provided by a private company.

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