Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 31 January 2014

Monorail in India

  • India’s first monorail will be thrown open to the public soon , eight years after it was first proposed.
  • With this, India will join countries like the U.S., Germany, China, Japan, Australia and Malaysia that run monorails.
  • This is the first phase of operation in which the train will run between the central suburb of Wadala and the eastern suburb of Chembur. A distance of 8.93 km will be covered in 15 minutes. The stretch usually takes about 40 minutes in Mumbai suburban trains. A monorail train of four coaches can carry 560 passengers.

SC order on Bhullar’s execution

  • The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and agreed to review its judgment by which it had rejected the 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict’s plea to commute his death sentence to life term.
  • A four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a curative petition filed by Bhullar’s wife Navneet Kaur.
  • The bench also comprising justices R.M. Lodha, H.L. Dattu and S.J. Mukhopadhaya directed the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), where Bhullar is being treated, to file a medical report within a week on the condition of the death convict who is alleged to be suffering from a mental illness.
  • Bhullar’s wife has filed the petition for relook against the apex court verdict which rejected her plea to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on grounds of delay on the part of the government in deciding his mercy plea.
  • Bhullar was convicted and awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast in New Delhi in September 1993, which killed nine persons and injured 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M.S. Bitta.
  • The apex court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi High Court in 2002.

Death penalty for Paresh Barua

  • Experts on the north-east say the death sentence awarded to United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) chief Paresh Barua and 13 others will have little impact on the outfit as both Barua and most of his cadres have already shifted base out of Bangladesh.
  • They were handed the death penalty by a special court in Chittagong for smuggling 10 truck loads of arms into Bangladesh in 2004.
  • Intelligence officials in the State, however, feel that the elusive insurgent leader will be under pressure to come forward for talks should Myanmar act on the lines of Bangladesh and evict insurgents from north-east, including Barua and his cadres, from its soil.
  • The Assam police have intelligence inputs that Barua is currently operating out of his base along Myanmar-China border.
  • Barua headed the military wing of the ULFA as its self-styled commander-in-chief till the insurgent outfit split in 2011, when the outfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and other top leaders were apprehended in Bangladesh in 2009 and handed over to India. They later signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre and the Assam government to pave the way for a formal dialogue.


  • When the Reserve Bank of India tacitly acknowledge the existence of dogecoin, a digital currency that was initially started as a joke, the central bank couldn’t have imagined that the dogecoin community would put together a fund-raising effort aimed at helping Indian athletes reach the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • The Dogecoin Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by dogecoin creators Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, has just done that, however. According to several media reports, Indian athletes Himanshu Thakur and Nadeem Iqbal require funding to defray the costs of competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • The dogecoin community took to the challenge, and raised the roughly $6,000 required to help the athletes.
  • Virtual currencies such as bitcoin and dogecoin have received little clarity with regards to regulation from the Government and the RBI.
  • The I-T department and Enforcement Directorate have conducted raids against several bitcoin operators despite the current lack of regulation.

Satya Nadella : the next Microsoft CEO

Technology giant Microsoft is likely to name Indian-American top executive Satya Nadella to replace longtime chief Steve Ballmer as the new Chief Executive Officer, capping a five-month search for the only third CEO in the company's history.
The Hyderabad-native, who is the executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, has been among the front-runners being considered for the top job.

First woman to chair US Fed

  • Janet Yellen, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history, will take over the reins of the US central bank and formally be sworn in soon.
  • She succeeds Chairman Ben Bernanke, Yellen will be sworn in by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo,
  • Yellen will be one of a handful of women heading central banks globally. Her main task will be to navigate the US central bank's way out of its extraordinary stimulus, beginning with a further dialing down of its massive bond-buying programme, and deciding when to raise rates.
  • The Fed has already announced a $20 billion reduction in its monthly asset purchases and is expected to completely shut down the program by year-end.

World badminton ranking

  • The victory at the Syed Modi International tournament in Lucknow helped London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal to surge two places to reach the seventh position in the latest world badminton ranking, released in Kuala Lumpur recently.
  • The 23-year-old, who broke a 15-month title drought in Lucknow after winning the Grand Prix Gold event, bagged 7,000 ranking points and now has 59,680 points from 14 tournaments.
  • P.V.Sindhu, who finished runners-up at that tournament after losing the final to Saina, also broke back into the top 10 with 55,752 ranking points. She gathered 5950 points from her second-place finish at Syed Modi International tournament.
  • Rising men’s singles player, K.Srikanth, who also finished runners-up at Lucknow, made a massive jump of 10 places to break into the top-20. He is currently the second highest ranked men’s shuttler behind Parupalli Kashyap, who is at 18th spot.

ICC 2015 World Cup

  • Scotland pipped Kenya to secure their third World Cup appearance while United Arab Emirates (UAE) also booked their ticket for next year’s marquee 50-over tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
  • On the final day of the Super Sixes in Christchurch, Rob Taylor shrugged off his poor form and, batting at number eight, blasted 46 unbeaten runs off 37 balls to help Scotland reach the 261-run victory target with three balls to spare.
  • Scotland and UAE will now play the tournament final at Bert Sutcliffe Oval .
  • The winner of the contest will join England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Afghanistan in Group A while the loser will be clubbed in Group B alongwith South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.


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