Special Current Affair for IBPS Exams : In The News Part - 8

Special Current Affair for IBPS Exam

Topic: In The News [Part-8]


  • National Testing Agency (NTA)
  • Bichitra Tagore Variorum Website
  • GoM to consider Functional Autonomy of CBI
  • Pilatus PC 7 MKII
  • Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission
  • Moska Najib
  • Yuichiro Miura
  • Thanjavur
  • Rashtriya Smriti
  • New Delhi
  • Zhongxing-11
  • A New Variety of Mango, Nirbhaya
  • Arunima Sinha
  • BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile
  • Oklahoma
  • What is a Tornado?
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan and Himalayan National Park
  • 3-Man Probe Panel to probe IPL Betting
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites
  • National Defence University

National Testing Agency (NTA)

The HRD Ministry on 31 May 2013 decided to set up a seven member Task Force under the Chairmanship of Sanjay Dhande. It will have the representatives from CBSE, UGC, NCERT, AICTE and from the Ministry. It will prepare a blue print for creating a special purpose vehicle to take the concept of National Testing Agency (NTA) forward. The rationale for setting up the NTA lies in ensuring that multiplicity of entrance examination leading to stress on the students is addressed in a comprehensive manner by formulating a uniform entrance examination for admissions in different branches of higher learning. The decision for setting up the National Testing Agency was taken in the meeting of Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE) which was held on 2nd April 2013. In the meeting it was decided that the proposal to set up National Testing Agency shall be taken forward in consultation with all stakeholders.

Bichitra Tagore Variorum Website

The President of India Pranab Mukherjee launched the Bichitra Tagore Variorum Website on 5 May 2013 at a function at Jadhavpur University, Kolkata. Bichitra would convey the message of Tagore’s art and thought across the world.

In fact, Tagore’s works are a treasure which speaks of humanity’s eternal message. By making Tagore‘s works available to all Bichitra will remind us the high moral standards he set for us. Let us reset our moral compass.
US Senate confirmed Srinivasan as top US Court Judge to the District of Columbia Circuit

The US Senate on 23 May 2013 approved Srikanth Srinivasan was as the most senior US Judge of the South Asian descent to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The unanimous approval of Srinivasan gave birth to speculations that one day he may be tapped for the Supreme Court. Srinivasan born in Chandigarh, India and raised in Kansas is the first justice who has been confirmed to the Washington court since 2006 a year after Chief Justice John Roberts’ elevation created a vacancy. The senate confirmed his name to fill the vacancy created seven years ago by 97 votes in his favour.

About Srikanth Srinivasan

  • He is the Principle Deputy Solicitor General and defends the policies of US President Barack Obama before the Supreme Court

  • Earlier he has also worked under the former President, George W. Bush

  • He is a proud recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering US National Security in 2003

  • He also won Office of the Secretary of Defence Award for Excellence in 2005

  • He is described as a trailblazer by the US President, Obama

  • He is the first India-American to be appointed to the top American Court

  • His nomination to the post for the first time was made by President, Barack Obama in June 2012, which was returned back to him on 2 January 2013 due to sine die adjournment of the senate. Obama re-nominated Srinivasan for the same position on 3 January 2013

  • In 1989, he received his BA with honours from Stanford University and in 1995 received his Juris Doctor (JD) in 1995 from Stanford Law School. He was elected to Order of the Coif and further served as the editor of the Stanford Law Review

GoM to consider Functional Autonomy of CBI

The Union Cabinet of India on 14 May 2013 approved constitution of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider the matter relating to an appropriate law being made to provide for the independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and its functional autonomy. It has also been decided, with the approval of the Prime Minister that the composition of the GoM will be as under:

  1. P Chidambaram, Minister of Finance;

  2. Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister of Home Affairs;

  3. Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Minister of Law and Justice;

  4. Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs; and

  5. V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The GoM will prepare the draft law and the draft affidavit to be filed in the Supreme Court in the context of the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 120 of 2012, within three weeks. The GoM will be serviced by the Department of Personnel and Training.

Pilatus PC 7 MKII

The IAF’s premier Academy located at Dundigal, Hyderabad on 31 May 2013 inducted basic trainer aircraft Pilatus PC 7 MKII. The PC 7 MK II aircraft would be used for Basic Training of all pilots of the Indian Air Force, in addition to the pilots of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. Till now this role was performed by the reliable but ageing workhorse, the HJT-16 Kiran aircraft. A total of 75 aircraft have been contracted from Pilatus, Switzerland. The procurement of PC 7 MkII was approved by the government in May 2012 and the first batch of PC-7 Mk II arrived at the Academy in February this year as a part of accelerated induction plan.

The first batch of Flight Cadets would start their training on PC-7 MK II from July onwards.

Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission

The Union Cabinet of India on 16 May 2013 approved the establishment of the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission. The objective behind this approval is to conserve and restore the heritage sites associated with the Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.

Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission will be assigned with the identification, collation and assessment of the information on Gandhi Heritage material, its management and deployment.

The mission will also be responsible for identifying the conservation methodology as well as the priorities for documents and objects, with its point of view of archival storage and museology and for physical structures and sites, as also guidelines for their subsequent maintenance.

The mission will disseminate the information that is based on relevant material for identification, collation and assessment and conservation would be through a web based portal, audio/visual (like digital prints and CDs), publications. It will also communicate through core sites and specify the function, use and significance of the site, wherever necessary.

The mission will also preserve the 2000 important sites identified by the panel that was chaired by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, ex-Governor of West Bengal along with the other 39 core sites.

Moska Najib

Afghan Women, Moska Najib is among the 25 shortlisted for one of the best jobs of the world – in the Australia’s ‘Best Job in the World competition. The 29 year old Moska Najib is a documentary film maker and photographer by profession.

The Delhi based Moska is the only Afghan to beat 6 lakh applicants in the race and if she wins the race by gaining the job, she will earn 100000 Australian dollars in six months.

Yuichiro Miura

Yuichiro Miura, the 80-year old mountaineer from Japan reached Mount Everest’s summit on 23 May 2013. With this, he became the oldest man to climb the highest mountain peak of the world. Yuichiro Miura climbed the Everest at the age of 70 and 75 as well. As the oldest man to climb Mount Everest, he replaced Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan who climbed the Everest at the age of 76 years in 2008. It is important to note that Min Bahadur Sherchan will again attempt climbing Mount Everest in the last week of May 2013, at the age of 81 years. Yuichiro Miura reached the height of 29035 foot (8850-meter). He climbed the Everest with three more Japanese climbers, which included his son and six Nepalis Sherpas.


Defence Ministry on 27 May 2013 inaugurated the first fighter aircraft base at Thanjavur in southern India. Su-30MKI combat aircraft will be stationed here.Thanjavur airbase can be another strategically important airbase of the Indian Air Force. IAF can protect vast area of interests by stationing frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi at Thanjavur. The setting up of the premier fighter base is important because of current geo-political scenario and threat perception in the Indian peninsula and in the Indian Ocean.

Rashtriya Smriti

The Union Cabinet gave approval for setting up Rashtriya Smriti to perform the last rites of the departed national leaders. The Union Cabinet of India, on 16 May 2013 gave approval for setting up Rashtriya Smriti at the Samadhis Complex near Ekta Sthal in New Delhi.

The Rashtriya Smriti is established to perform the last rites of the departed national leaders. The national leaders include Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers and such other leaders which will be decided by the Cabinet. It is important to note that previously, separate memorials for the national leaders were created near the Rajghat which consumed a lot of space. Therefore, the Cabinet decided that no new Samadhi would be developed for departed national leaders anymore and that the Rashtriya Smriti would be used for performance of last rites of these leaders. The Smriti area will also provide for the space for last rites apart from space for the public gathering.

New Delhi

At the number 2 position was Singapore. Pattaya was at number fourth position while Hong Kong followed it with 5th rank. Phuket was at the 7th position and Kuala Lumper remained at 9th position. New York and Las Vegas were at 8th and 10th positions respectively. London remained at 6th position and Dubai grabbed the 3rd position.

Hotel Price Index (HPI) report of 2012 by Hotels.com revealed that the metro cities of India remain at the top most positions in the list of top 10 favourite Indian destinations for the international travellers. The national capital of India, New Delhi ranked first followed by Mumbai.

The third most favourite destination for the international travellers was the beach capital of India, Goa. Other favourite destinations included south Indian cities of Bengaluru and Chennai which ranked fourth and fifth respectively. At the sixth position was Pink City of Jaipur.

In terms of Indians planning the trips abroad, the destination that dominated the top 10 favourite spots in the list were South East Asian destinations. The most preferred destination for the Indian travellers was Bangkok because of great value rates.


China, on 2 May 2013, successfully launched a communications satellite called Zhongxing-11 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest Sichuan province. The satellite was launched into its present orbit from Long March-3B rocket. This marked the 176th launch of Long March series of rockets of China.

About Zhongxing-11

  • Zhongxing-11 has the lift-off mass of approximately 5000 kg as well as mmedia for clients, Direct-to-Home as well as data transmission for the Asia-Pacific region.

A New Variety of Mango, Nirbhaya

A new variety of mango, harvested at Uttar Pradesh’s famous mango centre Malihabad, was named Nirbhaya after the 23-year-old Delhi girl who was brutally gang-raped on 16 December 2012 and died of her injuries two weeks later. The new variety is a way of honouring the bravery and spirit of the young physiotherapist, whose rape and death galvanized the entire nation.

Arunima Sinha

Arunima Sinha, became the first Indian amputee to conquer Mount Everest on 21 may 2013. 25-year-old Arunima Sinha is former national level volleyball player and had lost one of her legs after being thrown off a moving train of Padmawati Express for resisting a chain-snatching attempt by some criminals, when she was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi on 12 April 2011. She scaled the 8848 metre-high summit of the world’s highest peak at 10.55 a.m. as IST on 21 May 2013.

About Arunima Sinha

  • She was hospitalised with serious leg and pelvic injuries and in a proposition to save her life, doctors had to amputate her left leg below the knee.

  • Arunima successfully scaled the 6622-metre-high Mount Chhamser Kangri of Ladakh in year 2012 .

  • Arunima started training at the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) camp in Uttarkashi last year under the guidance of Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to conquer Mt Everest.

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

India on 22 May 2013 successfully test fired the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Navy’s latest guided missile frigate INS Tarkash off the coast of Goa. The missile performed the high-level ‘C’ manoeuvre in the pre-determined flight path and successfully hit the target. Jointly developed by India and Russia, the BrahMos is capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg. India is readying several different versions of the missile which includes land attack, anti-ship and submarine- launched versions.


Oklahoma City suburbs, US: 91 people, including 20 children were killed because of huge tornado that went through Oklahoma City suburbs in US on 20 May 2013. The worst affected area was Moore, situated towards the south of Oklahoma. The tornado travelled with the speed of 200 mph or 320 kmph.

Apart from 91 killed, 120 are seriously injured. The President of US, Barack Obama declared the Oklahoma tornado as the major disaster. Tornadoes, high winds as well as hail storms hit Kansas as well.

What is a Tornado?

Tornado is the rotating column of air which is in contact with the earth as well as cumulonimbus cloud, at the same time. They are also called cyclones or twisters. The tornado is encircled by the cloud of dust and debris. Most of the tornadoes travel with a speed of less than 110 miles per hour and are around 250 feet across. Before dissipating, they travel to several kilometres.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan and Himalayan National Park

Rajasthan and Great Himalayan National Park: India nominated cluster of six hill forts in Rajasthan as well as Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh for World Heritage Sites for 2013. The UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will be held in Phnom Penh in Cambodia in June 2013 and conferring the status of World Heritage Sites on these places will be decided in this meeting.

Hill forts of Rajasthan

Hill forts at six places Amber, Chittorgarh, Gagron, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore are showcase of the military architecture of Rajput, which are seen in memorials, temples as well as palaces. These forts were built between 13th and 19th century and they are absolutely unique in the region.

The Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park is spread over 75400 hectares and is situated in western part of the Himalayan Mountains in Kullu District. This rich in biodiversity site is one of the most scenic places of India. It nests 25 forest types and supports 805 different varieties of plants.

It also hosts 31 mammal species and 209 kinds of birds. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) evaluates cultural properties for UNESCO. These sites were inspected by ICOMOS in 2012 and final recommendation will be given by 17 May 2013. Overall, India has 29 World Heritage Sites; out of which 23 are cultural 6 are natural properties.

3-Man Probe Panel to probe IPL Betting

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 29 May 2013 constituted a three-man inquiry commission to probe the allegations against Gurunath Meiyappan and the three Rajasthan Royals players, who were arrested on charges of betting in the IPL-6 matches.

The Commission will be initiating the adjudication proceedings at the earliest. The committee consisting of Former Judge of the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu High Courts Justice T. Jayaram Chouta, Former Judge of the Tamil Nadu High Court Justice R Balasubramanian, and Secretary of BCCI Sanjay Jagdale. They will probe charges against M Gurunath, former Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings, as well as the three Rajasthan Royals cricketers who were arrested for alleged spot-fixing. The committee will also probe India Cements Ltd. the owner of the Chennai Super Kings Franchise and Jaipur IPL Pvt. Ltd. the owner of the Rajasthan Royals Franchise.


Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on 28 May 2013 launched its third Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) which is built for the Indian Coast Guard. The vessel was launched by Nina Paul Antony, the Chairman of Cochin Port Trust. This vessel was named Abhinav.

About the Fast Patrol Vessel

  • The Fast Patrol Vessel was named Abhinav.

  • The Fast Patrol Vessel weighs 120 tons and was placed on the specially designed cradles at the dock head which was hoisted by the gantry crane.

  • This vessel is third in series of 20 numbers FPVs contracted by CSL.

  • The primary objective of the vessel is monitoring, fisheries protection as well as patrolling within within exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Also, the objective of this vessel is coastal patrolling and involvement in patrolling for anti smuggling, search and rescue operations and for anti piracy operations.

  • The secondary role of the vessel is to provide communication link as well as escort convoys during the war time as well as hostilities.

  • The three Fast Patrol Vessels are small in size but they are technologically challenged and complex.

  • These ships are propelled by water jets in order to achieve the speed of 33 knots.

  • Cochin Shipyard developed certain special techniques in order to make sure of the high quality welding as well as fabrication of Aluminium structures.

At present, the Cochin Shipyard has 25 ships on the order which consists of 20 Fast Patrol Vessels, 3 Offshore Support ships for Indian and foreign owners, one Prestigious Aircraft Carrier for the Indian Navy as well as 1 Buoy Tender vessel for the Department of Lighthouses and Lightships.

Nunshi and Tashi Malik

Nunshi and Tashi Malik, two 21-year old Indians from Dehrahdun became first twins to scale Mount Everest on 19 May 2013. They were among 135 other people, who reached the top of the Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain of the world at 8848 meter above sea level. It is interesting to note that these twins reached the top of Mount Everest with two sherpas, who were also twins. Both these twin sisters were staying on mountains in that region in order to get acquainted with the atmosphere. Along with them, 11-member joint Indian and Nepal army expedition reached that summit too. In 2012, 62 Indians had attempted to scale Mount Everest, with 45 being successful.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, Japan: International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) approved Japan’s Mount Fuji to be declared as the UNESCO World Heritage site. Mount Fuji is the snow-topped volcano in Japan. Formal decision would be taken about its declaration as the world heritage site when the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO will meet in Cambodia in June 2013.

Japan’s Mount Fuji is located at 12460 feet and is the highest mountain of Japan. The volcano that erupted around a little more than 300 years ago is situated to south-west of Tokyo. It is visible from Tokyo easily. Mount Fuji is also featured in the historic art work of Japan, which also includes wood blocks prints. It is also said to be a part of traditional Three Holy Mountains, apart from Mount Haku and Mount Tate, both of which lie in Central Japan.

International Council on Monuments and Sites

  • International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) approved Mount Fuji an appropriate site for registration.

  • ICOMOS evaluates the cultural properties which are nominated to World Heritage List. It is also responsible for submission of the recommendation to UNESCO’s annual meetings.

At present, there are 16 World Heritage listed Sites in Japan, out of which 12 are cultural and four natural. Recent additions to this list were Buddhism-linked gardens and temples of Hiraizumi, which were recognised as World Heritage Site in 2011.

National Defence University

The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh on 23 May 2013 laid the foundation stone of the Indian National Defence University (INDU) at Binola, Gurgaon. The university is going to be an autonomous institution of national importance.

The Defence University came up following the recommendation of the Review Committee constituted after the Kargil Conflict by the Government for the establishment of a University that deals exclusively with defence and strategic matters. The review committee was headed by eminent strategic expert K Subrahmanyam.

Aim of INDU

  • INDU aims to provide knowledge based higher education for management of the defence of India to the military leadership and other concerned civilian officials. It will also keep them abreast of the emerging security challenges via scholarly Research and Training

  • It will develop and propagate higher education in Defence Studies like Defence Management, Defence Science and Technology. It will also promote the policy with its orientation towards, research related to National Defence.

  • It will prepare officers for high level leadership as well as staff and policy responsibilities

  • The think tanks of the University will be responsible for providing inputs for Policy Formulations

  • It will focus on higher education in defence studies, defence management and defence science and technology

  • The university will offer post graduate studies and doctoral / post doctoral research

Constituent Colleges and Institutions of INDU

  • National College of Defence Studies (NCDS)

  • Indian Institute of Defence Technology (IIDT)

  • Indian Institute of Defence Management (IIDM)

  • Defence Institute of Distance and Open Learning (DIDOL)

Institutes and Colleges of Indian armed forces that will be affiliated through INDU

  • National Defe nce College (NDC) New Delhi

  • Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) Wellington

  • College of Defence Management (CDM) Secunderabad

  • National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakwasla

The University will be instituted by the Act of the Parliament and President of Indian Union will be a visitor to it and Defence Minister will be the Chancellor. INDU will be governed as per its own norms and will be responsible to promote coordination and interaction between Institutions of Armed Forces or establishments of the country. It will give opportunity of higher studies through distance learning to both military and civilian personnel. It will also give affiliation to defence training institutions to award degrees. The Institute will be headed by its President (who will be a three star serving General / equivalent officer with C-in-C status on appointment) and the Vice-President will be a civilian. The University is being planned on the lines of IIT/IIMs.The students of the University will constitute 66 percent students from armed forces and remaining 33 percent would be drawn from other government agencies, police and civilian. The teaching faculty will comprise of both military personnel and civilians in the ratio of 1:1.

Samina Baig

Samina Baig on 19 May 2013 became the first Pakistani woman to scale Mount Everest. She did this along with Nunshi and Tashi Malik, the first Indian twin sisters to scale the Everest. After reaching to the top of Everest, all three women hoisted Indian and Pakistani flags along side, depicting a message of collaborative action, friendship and peace. The Nepal Mountaineering Department officials confirmed the feat, while at the same time, also explaining that 35 foreigners along with 29 Nepalese Sherpa guides scaled the Everest after climbing from highest camp on South Col, which is the pass between Mt. Everest and another neighbouring mountain.

Seljuk Minaret

Seljuk minaret in The Great Mosque of Aleppo, Syria: Seljuk minaret in The Great Mosque of Aleppo, which was constructed in 1090, was destroyed in Syrian protests on 24 April 2013. The Great Mosque of Aleppo, also known as Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo is largest and also one of the oldest mosques of Aleppo, Syria. This mosque is located in al-Jalloum district of Ancient Aleppo and has also been declared as the World Heritage Site. This mosque was constructed in 8th century but the present building dates back to 13th century apart from the destroyed minaret that was constructed in 1090. It is believed that the mosque is home of remains of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

The activists of President Bashar al-Assad regime and the anti-government activists blamed each other for the destruction of the minaret. It is important to note that this was the second in one week that historic mosque has been damaged seriously.

In the protests ongoing in Syria, five out of six World Heritage sites of Syria have already been damaged, according to the UNESCO. Earlier, the protestors broke into the best-preserved Crac des Chevaliers, ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra and Crusader castles of the world. Antique furnishings as well as intricate sculpted colonnades were burnt. Apart from this, the Islamic relics were also ransacked. Also, the looters took away the box that is said to encompass the strand of Prophet Muhammad’s hair. The cultural agency of the United Nations- UNESCO warned Syria that civil war was posing threat to rich cultural heritage of the country.