Saturday, 5 March 2011


Current Affairs For February 2011


    2G scam: Former Telecom Minister A.Raja sent to Tihar Jail
  • Former Telecom Minister A Raja was sent to Tihar Jail in Jail in Delhi on Feb 17th in relation to the 2G scam. He will be in judicial custody for fourteen days until March 3rd. He was also earlier arrested by the CBI on 2nd Feb and was held in their custody in view of the evidence they had collected against him regarding his involvement in the 2G scam. A. Raja has been accused of issuing 2G licenses at throw away prices creating massive losses for the exchequer. According to the national auditor CAG, the 2G spectrum phone licenses were sold in 2008 for a fraction of their value and this has resulted in a notional loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crores. The 2 G scam has created major uproar in Parliament and has sent shock waves across the country.
  • ULFA, government begin Assam peace talks
  • Leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) met Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Feb 10 to signify the start of the much long-awaited peace talks aimed at ending 30 long years of insurgency in Assam. History was created when the eight member ULFA team headed by Arabinda Rajkhowa met Chidambaram at his North Block office for a first round of peace talks. This is a highly significant development considering ULFA has been trying since 1979 to carve out an independent homeland of Assam. While ULFA has not put up any demands or finalised any agenda for talks, the beginning of talks itself is being seen as a very positive step to restoring peace in the state.
  • PM announces JPC on 2G spectrum scam
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that his government would set up the Joint Pariamentry Committee (JPC) to investigate the 2G spectrum scam. The government finally agreeing to introduce the JPC does not come about as unexpected. With the opposition being absolutely unrelenting in their demands for the introduction of the probe, the Congress had to finally give in. The previous years winter session in parliament ended with only ten working hours on record. In order to ensure that the budget session does not get similarly affected, several meetings with the different political parties were set up and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee tried to bring about a compromise, which in the end proved to be futile. In the Lok Sabha, on the first day of the budget session the PM said “On account of the controversy relating to allocation of 2G spectrum, the winter session of Parliament was lost. Our country can ill-afford paralyzing Parliament, we all do disservice to those who have elected us.” Later on he also announced the introduction of the probe when he went on to add “It is in these special circumstances that our government agrees to a JPC...we are a functioning democracy and must try to resolve our difference is the spirit of collaboration not competition.”
  • Govt to release Rs. 150 coin soon
  • With the Income Tax Department celebrating 150 years of taxation in the country the government will issue coins of Rs. 150 in denomination. The special coins which also includes Rs 5 denomination would be released by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee ahead of his budget speech. The Rs 150 coin is prepared from an alloy of copper, nickel, silver and zinc. ‘Sathyameva Jayathe’ and ‘India’ would be engraved on the front side of the coin while the back side will feature a portrait of portrait of 'Chanakya and lotus with honeybee'. The Rs 5 coins will also be minted in a similar fashion. This is a special occasion with the IT department having completed 150 years of taxation from 1860 to 2010.
  • HC upholds Death Penalty for Kasab
  • The Bombay High Court on Feb 21 confirmed the death penalty to 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab and termed the case being the rarest of rare and held that there was "no scope of reform" of the convict. This comes nine months after the lone 26/11 terrorist who was captured alive was ordered to be sent to the gallows by the trial court on May 6, 2010. Kasab, an LeT operative was captured alive at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 while none other operatives who has come with him were gunned down by the security forces at the terror sites. Justice Ranjana Desai told Kasab through video conferencing "Aapko saza-e-maut yeh adalat barkarar karti hai. Aap Supreme Court mein appeal zari kar sakte hain (Your death sentence is upheld. You can appeal before the Supreme Court,"
  • Godhra verdict: Ahmedabad court convicts 31, acquits 63
  • A special court in Ahmedabad on February 22nd convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 including main accused Maulvi Umarji, in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident that left 59 people dead mostly Kar Sevaks who were returning from Ayodhya on the Sabarmati Express. This triggered the 2002 Gujarat communal riots which left over 1200 people dead mostly Muslims. The court was the first one to pronounce a judgment, among the nine trying the 2002 Gujarat riots cases. The court accepted the prosecution’s contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident. Apart from the charges of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy, the accused were convicted under IPC sections 147, 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 323, 324, 325, 326 (causing hurt), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds), various sections of the Indian Railways Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Bombay Police Act.
  • Kidnapped Malkangiri Collector, junior engineer released
  • Malkangiri District Collector RV Krishna and Junior Engineer Pabitra Majhi were finally released by the Maoists after being kept for a week in captivity. The two were abducted by the Maoists on Feb 16th and the Maoists in a letter to the government, listed 14 demands for the safe release of the two hostages. These included halting anti-Maoist operations by security forces, release of all political prisoners, scrapping of accords with MNCs for land transfer and projects, and compensation for the families of Maoist sympathizers killed in police custody. Dandapani Mohanty and academicians G. Haragopal and R. Someswar Rao were chosen as mediators and had discussions with the Maoists. The negotiators had made the government agree to 14 key demands including the release of Ganti Prsadam, Padma (wife of top Maoist Ram Krishna), and Sriramulu Srinivas, another top Maoist. After intense round of negotiations the government finally relented and made arrangements to secure bails for the jailed Maoists. A further twist in the tale occurred when the Maoists released only Majhi and held back the Collector making a fresh list of demands. However after another round of discussion, common sense prevailed and the Maoists released the collector a day later.

Sports News

    Cricket World Cup 2011 Officially Opened
  • The 10th edition of the ICC cricket World Cup, was officially launched on 17th Feb with a grand opening ceremony being held in Dhaka, Bangaldesh. The stadium was filled with spectators and evening proved to be visual spectacle with colourful fireworks, songs and dance routines to mark the start of the eagerly awaited event. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the event open amid thundering cheers while the fourteen participating Captains were revealed to the public being carried in tricycles. Shankar Ehsaan Loy and other popular artists performed at the venue with the show stopper being Bryan Adams.
  • National Games Held in Jharkand
  • The 34th National Games, was finally held in Jharkand and the event turned to be very successful. The games were held from 12th February 2011 to 26th February 2011.Many athletes all over the country took part in various disciplines and quite a few records were broken in the process. The long-postponed 34th National Games was originally scheduled for 2007. The Games have been deferred six times – four times due to delay in developing infrastructure and then postponed again due to the coming of Assemble Elections.
  • India start their Word cup campaign on a bright note
  • India played Bangladesh at Mirpur in the first WC match of the tournament on Feb 19. India started with a bang scoring 375 with both Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli hitting sensational hundreds to take the match away from the hosts. Sehwag particularly looked murderous. The Indian team was expected to be under pressure to perform well against Bangladesh as their previous campaign in 2007 resulted in an early exit and left many disappointed fans back at home.
  • Viswanathan Anand regains No.1 Ranking Again
  • World Champion Viswanathan Anand played against Magnus Carlsen of Norway to end the match in hard fought draw and finished second in the Bilbao Final Masters chess tournament. But the icing on the cake was when the Indian ace dethroned Carlsen from the number one ranking in Live rating list for the first time since January this year and ended up as the top player in ratings too.
  • Brazilian striker Ronaldo announces retirement
  • Former Brazil striker Ronaldo announced his retirement from soccer on Feb 14. The 34-year-old three-time world player had a year end contract with Corinthians. But a shock loss led to an early elimination from the Libertadores Cup and violent protests from fans. Ronaldo further added that frequent injury problems were one of the main reasons in him deciding to announce his retirement. Thus ends a brilliant career in which he scored more than 400 goals including a record 15 at World Cups.

International News

    Mubarak resigns, Egypt celebrates
  • The people of Egypt went wild with celebrations after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military on 11th February. For eighteen days thousands of people had taken to the streets all over Egypt demanding the ouster of their autocratic President who had been in power for the past thirty years. One of the key reasons for such public outrage has been widespread poverty, inflation and rampant corruption in the government for many years. Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the anti-government protests burst with joy when the announcement was made. This has been a hard fought struggle for the people of Egypt after many episodes of violence having been reported between the public and Mubaraks forces.
  • China overtakes Japan as world's second-biggest economy
  • China has now overtaken Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. Japan's economy was worth $5.474 trillion (£3.414 trillion) at the end of 2010, figures from Tokyo have shown while that of China's economy is closer to $5.8 trillion for the same period. China has been enjoying a manufacturing boom for quite a few years now and it is expected that at its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world's top economy in about a decade. The US economy is currently almost three times the size of the Chinese economy in dollar terms.
  • New Zealand earthquake strikes Christchurch, killing at least 148 people
  • A massive earthquake on 22nd Feb has caused massive destruction in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3-magnitude earthquake was the second in five months for the city and the death toll continues to increase with the police having confirmed 148 deaths with 200 still missing. The damage caused has been said to be much worse than the 7.1-magnitude quake on 4 September, which left two people seriously injured but no fatalities. The city's historic cathedral was one of the many buildings that got significantly damaged, while cars lay in a mangled heap under a pile of rubble and roads cracked open with fissures as a result of the tremors. Dazed, bleeding residents could be seen wandering through streets strewn with debris and piles of concrete.
  • Libyan people take to the streets in their demand for freedom
  • Inspired by the outcomes of Tunisia and Egypt over the past few weeks the people of Libya have also taken out to the streets in their cries for freedom against their autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi. Thousands of people have joined the struggle and there have been continuous reports of frequent clashes with the Muammars loyalists and the protesting public. Scores of people have been reported killed in continuing violence in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, amid escalating protests against Muammar Gaddafi's 40-year rule across the North African nation. With each passing day the leader seems to be losing support from people working in his own government and is also under increasing pressure from International powers to step down.
  • The Kings Speech Wins Best Picture at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards
  • ‘The Kings Speech’ had a great outing at this years Oscars winning four awards. The film won in the best picture category and its director Tom Hooper received Best Director. Colin Firth received the award for best actor for his central role in Kings Speech while best female actor went to Natalie Portman for Black Swan. ‘The Best Supporting Actor’ and The Best Supporting Actress’ awards were bagged by Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for their performances in film, ‘The Fighter’. Indian musician AR Rahman missed out on his two nominations for his score in ‘127 hours.’


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