Current Affairs August 2013

Stage set to launch India’s first defence satellite

India’s first defence satellite GSAT-7 dedicated to Navy for maritime security is now set for the launch. The home-built satellite will be crucial as it will overcome Navy’s previous limitations from line of sight and ionospheric effects and will have coverage over India landmass as well as surrounding seas. It will be significant from security and surveillance points of view.

Key features of GSAT-7:
  • Indigenous
  • Cost: Rs 185 crore
  • Launch Cost: Rs 470 crore
  • Geo-stationary communication satellite
  • Carries payloads operating in UHF, S, C and Ku bands.
  • Lift-off mass of 2625 kg, heavy satellite
  • Strengthen Navy’s maritime security ability
  • Overcomes previous limitations from line of sight and ionospheric effects

The satellite will be launched into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA 215 by European space consortium Arianespacefrom Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

Current Affairs: Top Headlines for August 30, 2013

Melbourne tops the list of liveable cities in world

According to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Australian city of Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world while conflict battered Syria‘s capital Damascus is the least liveable city. The survey also lists Karachi and Dhaka among the least liveable cities.

HDFC Bank expands its rural business

HDFC Bank further expanded its rural presence by announcing the launch of 18 new rural branches in Haryana, taking its total network to 200 branches in the state. Of the 18 new branches 14 are in unbanked places which will bring formal banking services to around 90,000 people in the state. At the national level, the bank has 53% of its branches in semi-urban and rural areas supporting the idea of inclusive growth.

Rupee could depreciate to 75, more measures needed: BofA-ML

According to a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML), if the current stance towards declining rupee is maintained then the scenario could be worse, rupee could touch 75 per US dollar by the end of 2014. It suggested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take more pro-active measures to rebuild forex reserves. It also suggested the RBI to launch a scheme to attract significant forex inflows where the INR risk would be borne by the RBI to comfort investor confidence like issue of NRI or sovereign bonds or reviving FCNRA deposits.

National Sports Day celebrated across India

August 29 was celebrated as National Sports Day across the country to commemorate the birth anniversary of “the Wizard” of Hockey, Major Dhyan Chand. Various sporing events were organized across the nation to mark the day.  It was 118th birth anniversary of Dhyan Chand, the legend who helped India win three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936.

Scientists discover Sun’s twin

An 8.2-billion-year-old twin of the Sun has been discovered by the astronomers. Astronomers in Brazil used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to locate the star HIP 102152 located 250 light-years away. It is very similar to the Sun- except that it is nearly four billion years older. Studying the ancient star allows researchers to predict what may happen to our own Sun when it reaches that age.
Rupee registers biggest single-day gain in 15 years with RBI’s intervention

With the step taken by the Reserve Bank of India to open a special dollar facility for PSU oil firms, the rupee, which is under severe pressure, posted  sharp 225 jump to end at 66.55 against the dollar and the sensex  increased by over 400 points. The dollar facility will allow PSU oil companies to buy dollars directly to pay for the import of petroleum.

Right to Education anthem launched by Ministry of HRD

 With a view to disseminate the message of Right to Education, the Human Resources Development Ministry launched an anthem on the same which ideates to make education for children interesting and friendly. The ministry hopes that children will now imbibe the RTE message from popular public figures in a musical form. The anthem will be dubbed in English and 15 regional languages.

Second quarter brings sharp growth for US GDP

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) speeded up more quickly than expected in the second quarter owing to increase in its exports, strengthening the case for the Federal Reserve Bank to taper the quantitative easing programme started in 2008 global financial crisis. As per revised estimates GDP rose at a 2.5% annual rate. The quarter’s growth rate was more than double the growth rate recorded in the previous 3 months.

Government approves RIL’s $3.18 bn gas field development project with BP

The Reliance Industries Ltd. and Bharat Petroleum’s plant invest $3.18 billion in the development of R-series gas field in the KG-D6 basin, which is expected to produce up to 13 million standard cubic meters gas, has been given government’s approval.
The government has asked the operator to fast track the development of R-series discoveries to reverse falling output from the block, which declined to around 14 mmscmd from 62 in March 2010. At present, gas is produced from D1, D3 and MA fields in the KG-D6 block.

LIC raises it shareholding in SBI to 13.26%

Insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has increased its equity stake by 2.86% in the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India from 10.4 % to 13.26% by buying 19.57 lakh shares from open market. The additional stake would have been acquired by paying Rs 49.15 crore at current market price. With this, the equity share capital of the LIC has increased to Rs 684.03 crore from Rs 634.88 crore.

Iran to take legal action against US over 1953 coup

Iran has approved a bill that intends to sue the U.S for its involvement in the 1953 coup d’état that toppled the country’s democratically elected Prime Minister.  The bill comes following the release of latest declassified documents revealing more details of how the CIA masterminded the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh 60 years back. The bill proposes for establishing a panel to investigate the issue and submit a report within 6 months before legal action is initiated against the U.S. government in an international court.

What was the revelation on Iran’s 1953 coup? What was “Operation Boot” (U.K.) and operation “TPAJAX Project” (USA)?

The 1953 Iranian coup d’état which overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, and its head of government Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was orchestrated by the United Kingdom (under the name ‘Operation Boot’) and the United States (under the name TPAJAX Project). The CIA in August 2013 admitted that it was involved in both the planning and the execution of the coup, including the bribing of Iranian politicians, security and army high-ranking officials, as well as pro-coup propaganda. The CIA acknowledged that the coup was carried out under its direction and was an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government. The coup reinstated the autocratic regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He was later brought down in the 1979 Iranian revolution.

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