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BRAIN TREE

CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION


CURRENT AFFAIRS & GENERAL KNOWLEDGE

1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009


1. A massive plant, which can produce about three lakh litres of desalinated water an hour, is all
set to be commissioned in a week at the Kudanakulam Nuclear Power Project ( KKNPP) in
Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.
2. The National Conference President, Omar Abdullah was sworn in the 11th Chief Minister of
Jammu and Kahsmir. The oath of office and secrecy was administered by Governor N.N. Vohra.
Mr. Omar Abdullah became the choice for the top job after the National Conference ( having 28
members in the Assembly) and the Congress ( 17 members ) stiched up a coalition crossing the
magic number of 44 in the 87 member House. Both will be equal partners in the government
and will have 12 ministers each in the government as the state has a ceiling of 25 ministers
after a Bill was passed by the Ghulam Nabi Azad government two years back. Mr. Omar
Abdullah is the youngest person to occupy the office of the Chief Minister of J&K.
3. January 24th will be observed as the day of the National Girl Child. It will create awareness of
issues related to girls. The proposal was cleared by the cabinet.
4. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, leading economist Jagdish Bhagwati, diplomat Kishore Mahubani,
technocrat Sam Pitroda and industrialist L.N. Mittal are among the 20 prominent persons who
have accepted the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be members of his Global
Advisory Council. The council is based on the idea that the highly skilled overseas Indian
community represents a vast untapped resource that can be harnessed as an input into national
development processes in India. The council will be chaired by the Prime Minister.
5. The Hindu Media Resource Centre (HMRC) of M.S. Swaminatham Research Foundation,
Chennai, has been awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru prize for 2008. The award,
instituted by the Indian Science Congress Association, is given every year to organizations or
individuals who have sustained interest in popularizing science.
6. Radha Vinod Raju, a senior IPS Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Cadre, has been appointed the
first Director General of the National Investigation Agency ( NIA).
7. Radio telescopes across Australia, China and Japan launched a global 33 hour star gazing
Marathon to mark the start of the UNs International year of astronomy. This demonstration uses
17 telescopes and 28 data networks will be involved.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo won the FIFA World Player of the year award to complete a clean sweep
of footballs top individual honors for his dominating displays and sparking goals in leading
Manchester united to both the premier league and champions league titles in May, receiving
136 first place votes and 935 points in a worldwide poll of national team captains and coaches.
The result was announced by Brazil’s all- time great ‘Pele’ at a ceremony in Zurich, with
Barcelona and Argentina mid-fielder Lionel Messi coming in second with 678 points, while
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was third with 203.
9. The government launched ‘Project Snow Leopard’ to safeguard and strengthen wildlife
conservation in the Himalayan high altitudes covering J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand,
Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The Project aims at promoting a knowledge based and adaptive
conservation framework that fully involves the local communities, (who share the snow
Leopards range) in conservation efforts. The Project will encourage focused Conservation and
Recovery Programmes for endangered species, promote stronger measures for wildlife
protection and law enforcement and better understand and manage human – wildlife conflict.

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CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION
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1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009


10. President Pratibha Patil has given assent to the Criminal Procedure Code ( Amendment ) Bill,
which restrains the police from arresting a person for criminal offences for which the maximum
sentences is up to seven year imprisonment. The Bill, passed in the last session of parliament,
has now become a law and it will come into force from the date of notification by the centre.
It incorporates the recommendations of the Law Commission, the Justice Malimath Committee
report and guidelines issued by the supreme court from time to time to prevent over crowding of
jails with under trials.
BACKGROUNDER
 Before the amendment, section 41 of the CrPC permitted the police to arrest without
warrant “any person who has been concerned with any cognizable offence”, even on the
mere presence of “reasonable suspicion”. The new provisions stipulate that for cognizable
offences punishable with a maximum imprisonment of less than seven years, arrests should
be made only against the existence of “credible information” or a “reasonable complaint”.
The police moreover, are obliged to record in writing the reasons for making such arrests,
which are permitted only under certain conditions, for example, to prevent the person from
committing further crimes or tampering with evidence. When an arrest is not justified under
these conditions, the police may only issue a notice of appearance : asking the presence of a
person suspected of the crime to appear before it or at any other specified place.
 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2008 is based substantially on a draft
prepared by the Law Commission in its 177 th report and reflects the spirit of several
Supreme Court judgements on the power and procedure to make arrests. The hope is that
the new provisions will act as a check on the notorious tendency of the police to be arrest –
happy.
 The Third report of the National Police Commission suggested that nearly 60% of arrests
were unnecessary and unjustified. It estimated that the abuse of the arrest law accounted
for more than 43% of expenditure on jails. By making this law more humane and rational,
the amending Bill takes an important step towards improving what Supreme Court once
described as the hallmark a nation’s civilization- the methods uses to enforce the criminal
law.
11. The government has decided to place ‘Madrasa’ certificates on a par with those issued by the
CBSE and affiliates of the Council of Board of School Education in India (COBSE). HRD
Minister Arjun Singh approved the recommendations of the CBSE and the COBSE to provide
Madrasa certification equivalence with other school education boards. This would make pass
outs from ‘Madrasas’ eligible for jobs under government of India.
12. Byrraju Ramalinga Raju resigned as Chairman of Satyam Computers, India’s fourth largest
Information Technology Company, after admitting to the Board of Directors that accounts were
fudged to the tune of Rs. 7,106 crore over “several years”. The government announced that the
case of “financial bungling” by Satyam Computer services would be referred to the Serious
Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) after verification of “facts” by the Registrar of Companies
(ROC) in Hyderabad. The centre set up a three – member board by nominating HDFC
chairman Deepak Parekh, the former Nasscom president, Kiran Kamik, and the ex-SEBI member,
C. Achutan, as independent directors to take charge of the Hyderabad based IT major Satyam
and chart out the future course of action. Taru Das, C.I.I. Chief Mentor, Chartered Accountant
T.N. Manoharan and S.B. Maynak of LIC were also added to the board recently.

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1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009


13. Five states have declared the truckers’ strike illegal and invoked the Essential Services
Maintenance Act ( ESMA) to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities. The five states
that notified ESMA are Delhi Rajasthan, U.P., Gujarat and A.P.
14. Slumdog Millionaire, a British movie with Indian content and backdrop, has emerged the big
winner at the 66th Golden globes. It scoped four awards. A.R. Rahman became the first Indian
to win the Golden globe for Best Original Music score with ‘Jai Ho’. Based on Indian diplomat
Vikas Swarup’s novel Q and A, the film was directed by Danny Boyle.
15. The government has decided to set up an ‘Anomaly Committee’ to settle disputes arising out
of implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. It will receive representations
on anomalies up to six months from the date of its constitution.
16. The Army conducted a flight trial of Supersonic Cruise Missile. BrahMos at the Pokhran range
in Rajasthan. This is the 18th flight of BrahMos, which had been inducted into both the Navy and
the Army. The missile, jointly developed by Indian and Russia, can cruise up to an altitude of 14
km and destroy targets 290 km away. Its maximum velocity is almost three times the speed
of sound. It can carry conventional warheads weighing up to 300 kg. BrahMos can be launched
from land, ships, submarines and aircraft.
17. The Haryana government has passed the ‘Regulation of Property Dealers and Consultants Act’,
2008. This Act makes it compulsory for property dealers to register and obtain a licence for
practice. The idea is to bring more professionalism to the trade, protect the consumers and -
through a system of penalties - hold the property dealers and consultants responsible for any
unfair practice. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched the International
Year of Natural Fibres (IYNF) 2009 in a bid to emphasise the value of fibres while helping
to sustain the incomes of farmers. The production of animal and vegetable fibres was a major
agricultural sector, worth about $40 billion annually to the world’s farmers. The main objective
of the IYNF is to raise the profile of fibres and to emphasise their value to consumers while
helping farmers sustain their incomes.
18. The first solar eclipse of 2009 occurred over the Indian ocean and Western Indonesia on
January 26. It is ‘Annular’ with the moon not appearing large enough to fully cover the sun’s
disk.
ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is farther from the earth than normal in its
elliptical orbit, and hence its apparent size is not quite sufficient to cover the sun
completely. Even though the sun-moon- earth alignment will remain perfect, the moon in its
farthest point will appear slightly smaller in diameter than the sun and a thin ring of sunlight
will remain visible around the dark silhouette of the moon. The name annular eclipse comes
from the Latin ‘annulus’, meaning ‘ring’.
19. United States authorities have approved the first human trials using embryonic stem cells
testing a pioneering therapy for stroke patients. The clearance of the clinical trial - of a treatment
for spinal cord injury – was announced by Gerun, the biotechnology company that first applied
to the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) to conduct the trial last March. The FDA
approval comes a little more than 10 years after the first human embryonic stem cells mere
isolated at the University of Wisconsin, in work financed by Geron. Because the embryonic
stem cells can turn into any type of cell in the body the theory is they might one day be able to
provide tissues to replace worm – out organs or non- functioning cells to treat diabetes, heart
attacks and other diseases. The field is known as ‘Regenerative Medicine’.

1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009


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20. To mark the birth bi-centenary of Louis Braille, the Indian government instituted a new award
in 2008, for the best Braille Press in the country. It was given to Shri A.K. Mittal of All India
Confederation of Blinds. From 2009, the award will be given as a part of National awards for
empowerment of persons with Disabilities, given on 3rd December every year on the occasion of
the International Day for persons with disabilities.
21. 25 Indian and three Bangladeshi crew members of M.T. Biscaglia, a Liberian flag vessel that
was hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Gulf of Aden, were released, National Union of
Seafarers of Indian Genera Secretary Abdul Gani Serang said. The ship operated out of
Singapore by Ishima Private Ltd. owned by a company in Marshal Islands.
22. K.C. Verma, the Internal Security Adviser to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, will be the next
Chief of country’s External Intelligence Agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
23. The Srilankan military announced the capture of Mullaithivu town, the last major settlement of
the LTTE in the only district still under its control. With this loss, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam are now confined to Puthukudiyiruppu and Vishwamadu areas of the district. Mullaithivu
town is situated in a narrow stretch of land between Nathikandal lagoon and the Indian Ocean. It
has been under the control of the Tigers since 1996 and was considered their main military
base.
24.

PADMA AWARDS ANNOUNCED


 Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, ISRO Chief Madhavan Nair,
Sister Nirmala, Superior General of Mother Jesesa’s Kolkota – based Missionaries of
Chairties, and noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna are among the 10 distinguished
personalities honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest Civilian award,
on the 60th Republic Day.
 In all, 133 personalities from various fields were named, including 10 for Padma
Vibhushan, 30 for Padma Bhushan and 93 for Padma Shri. The first Olympic Gold medalist
shooter Abhinav Bindra, Cricket captain M.S. Dhoni, Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and
Aishwarya Rai Bachan figure among the awardees for Padma Shri.
 The first Chancellor of Sweden based World Maritime University Chandrika Prasad
Srivastava, noted historian D.P. Chattopadhyaya, Jasbir Singh Bajaj from Punjab and
Purushottam Lal from U.P. both from the world of medicine the former Governor and noted
civil servant Govind Narain and industrialist A.S. Ganguly from Maharashtra were the other
Padma Vibhushan awardees.
 The country’s highest civilian award - Bharat Ratna was already announced for 86 year old
vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in November last.

25. Dominic Emmanuel, who has been working on inter-religious dialogue, and Anjuman Sair –E-
Gul Faroshan, known for its annual “Phol Walon Kis Sair” (in Delhi), have been selected for the
National Communal Harmony Award for 2008. The jury, headed by Vice President M.Hamid
Ansari selected Delhi based Mr. Emanuel in the Individual Category and Anjuman Sair-E-Gul
Faroshan, in the organization category.

1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009


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26. The Euro, the European Union single currency turned ten this month. It is the single most
visible symbol of post- war European Integration that enables the free movement of persons
and services across national borders.
 Since its launch, first merely for bank transactions and then replacing the legal tenders of
12 countries from 2002, the Euro has eliminated the cost of currency exchange during
internal travel and facilitated the comparison of prices in cross-border trade. The European
central banks fundamental objective of ensuring price stability and keeping fiscal deficit
below three per cent of GDP has occasioned some acrimonious divisions with national
governments that are wedded to social security programmes.
 The Euro is today the world’s second largest global currency after the United States
dollar, with about a quarter of the share of foreign exchange reserves. The euro zones
attractiveness as the world’s largest single trading destination has led emerging economies
to rethink the green back as the sole currency peg for exchange rates. For EU countries that
are yet to adopt the euro, which include the U.K. Hungary and Poland, the message from
it all is create the political climate to expedite an early entry.

27. Archaeologists in China have unearthed the earliest man-made cave houses and privately –
owned pottery workshops which date back 5,500 years. After four years of excavation, a row of
17 cave houses were found on a cliff along the Jinghe river in the northwest China’s Shaanxi
Province, they were built between 3500 and 3000 B.C. The cave houses belonged to a late
Neolithic culture named Yangshao that originated in the middle reaches of the Yellow river and
was considered a main origin of Chinese civilization. Yangshao was best known for red
pottery ware with painted patterns.
28. Pulitzer prize winning U.S. novelist John Updike died. His books and short stories chronicled
small-tow American life.
29. The former President, R. Venkatraman passed away. He presided over the era of coalition
politics at the centre in late 1980s. Mr. Venkatraman was elevated from Vice- Presidency,
assumed the office of President on July 25, 1987 and his term lasted till July 25th, 1992.
Earlier he held they key portfolios of Defence, Finance and was also Deputy Chairman of
Planning Commission. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the
Constitution.
30. India and Kazakhstan signed a major agreement for supply of Uranium and a comprehensive
cooperation in Civil Nuclear Energy Programme. In another agreement, oil and natural gas
corporation Videsh Limited (OVL) and its partner company Mittal Energy Limited signed a
deal with Kazakhastan’s state owned Kaz Munai Gas to take a 25% stake in Kazakhstan’s
prospective Satpayev oil field in the Caspian sea. An extradition treaty an MOU for cooperation
in space and a protocol on accession of Kazakhstan to WTO were also signed, after delegation
level talks between the visiting President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nussultan Nazarbayer and the
President Mrs. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil in New Delhi.
31. Slovakia has become the 16th member of the Euro zone – the second former communist
country to do so. Banks will soon swap Korunas ( crowns –Slovakian currency ) for euros.
Slovakia sees its adoption of the euro as a shield from the turbulence that has hit currencies
in neighbouring ex-soviet bloc countries. Slovakia ( capital-Bratislava) has enjoyed rapid
economic growth since joining the European union in 2004. The small alpine state of Slovenia
formerly part of Yugoslavia, was the first ex-communist country to join the euro, two years ago.

1st January, 2009 to 31st January, 2009

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32. Brazil and France sign arms deal worth 8.6 km euro ( $ 12 bn, £ 8.2 bn ). Brazil signed the
defence deal with France to buy 50 helicopter and five submarines. The deal includes transfers
of technology intended to help Brazil develop its own arms industry. The four submarines will
be conventional and the fifth one would be nuclear powered.
33. The year 2010 may be declared as the year for “affordable housing”. This was recommended in
the National Conference of Ministers of Housing, Urban Development and Municipal Admin
held in New Delhi on 20th January 2009. The other recommendations are: 1) States to plan for
“slum free city” 2) Steps to create a healthy rental market. 3) Enlarge and strengthen housing micro
finance.
34. Exports of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine appear to have completely stopped amid a
dispute over gas supplies between the two countries. The EU depends on Russia for about a
quarter of its total gas supplies, 80% of which is pumped through Ukraine. Russia’s gas
company Gazprom has accused Ukraine of shutting off the final pipeline carrying gas to Europe,
but Ukraines Naftogaz said that the taps are in Russia.
 Dependence on Russia for gas : 100% - Latvia, Slovakia, Finland, Estonia. More than 80% -
Bulgaria, Lithuania, Czech Republic. More than 60% - Greece, Austria, Hungary.
 Russian, Ukraine and European Union officials have signed a deal which should pave the
way for the re-opening of gas supplies to Europe. The deal was signed by Ukranian Prime
Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Czech Prime Minister
Mirek Topolanek. Under the deal EU, Ukranian and Russian observers will monitor supplies,
in order to calm Russian fears that Ukraine is siphoning off gas for its own use.
35. A gene mutation that almost guarantees the development of heart disease is carried by 60 m
people. Around 4% people from the Indian sub-continent have the mutation, which increases the
risk of heart disease seven-fold. Heart disease is the number one killer in the world and India is
particularly badly hit. In the test tube, cells with the mutation- where 25 letters of genetic code
are missing – the MYBPC3 protein is abnormal and messes the heart muscle structure.
36. U.S. sets world’s largest marine protection area. Parts of three Pacific island chains, comprising
5,00,000 sq km of sea and sea floor were being designated by president George Bush ( when in
power ) as national monuments to protect from oil and gas extraction and commercial fishing in
what will be the largest marine conservation effort in history. New national monuments :
1) Marianas Marine N.M.  String of Undersea volcanoes and vents of Mariana Trench, which
at 11000 metres is worlds deepest underwater canyon.  Coral reefs arounds three innermost
islands of Marianas. 2) Pacific Remote Islands N.M. 3) Rose Atoll Marine N.M. (Highest
proportion of live coral cover on the planet).

DISCLAIMER
The information presented above has been collected from a variety of sources. Brain Tree
exercises due care and caution in collecting the data before publication. Inspite of this, if any
omission, inaccuracy or printing errors occur with regard to the data, Brain Tree will not be held
responsible or liable.

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