General Awareness Updates June 2012 and July 2012

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General Awareness Updates – June 2012 and July 2012

Persons in News

General Bikram Singh (right), a veteran infantry officer, took over as the 25th Chief of the Indian Army succeeding Gen. V. K. Singh whose 26-month tenure was mired in controversies. He will have tenure of two years and three months in the top post.

Prior to his appointment as Army Chief, Gen. Bikram was commanding the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command. He has held several important appointments in counter insurgency areas as the Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps and Akhnoor-based 10 Division as Major General.

The officer, better known as ‘Bikki’, was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry regiment in March 1972 after attending the prestigious Indian Military Academy (IMA).

At the IMA, he held the appointment of battalion cadet adjutant and was awarded the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles gold medal for ‘tactics and leadership’ and the Shriganesh Trophy.

He was awarded the ‘Commando Dagger’ and the ‘Best in Tactics’ trophy during his young officers’ course at InfantrySchool. He also served as an instructor at the Commando Wing of the Infantry School in Belgaum.

The officer was the face of the Army during the Kargil war when he was serving in the Military Operations Directorate inNew Delhi and used to brief the media about the progress in operations to drive out enemy troops from Indian territory.

As a brigadier, Gen. Singh attended the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania and has served in two assignments with the United Nations in Central America and as the deputy force commander and GOC of Eastern Division in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Aung San Suu Kyi took the oath of office to become an official member of Myanmar’s parliament. The swearing-in ceremony in the capital Naypyidaw marks the first time the 66-year-old opposition leader has held public office since launching her struggle against authoritarian rule nearly a quarter century ago.

Ms Suu Kyi’s entry into the legislature heralds a historic new political era for the Southeast Asian nation, cementing a risky detente between her party and the reformist government of President Thein Sein.

But her National League for Democracy party will occupy too few seats to have any real power in the ruling party dominated assembly. There are fears the presence of the opposition lawmakers could simply legitimise the regime without any change.

The World Bank has named a Korean-American medical doctor, Jim Yong Kim (below), as its next president, despite criticism of the selection process by his rivals for the job.

While the U.S. nominee faced a challenge for the first time ever, the World Bank’s most powerful shareholders, the US, Europe and Japan, came out in support for Kim who now holds the powerful job of providing loans and grants to developing countries.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister and a veteran of the institution, who had also been nominated as a candidate, criticised the way the U.S. had dominated the appointment process since the organisation was launched in 1944.

The position is crucial for much of the developing world. The president oversees a staff of 9,000 economists, development experts and other policy specialists, and a loan portfolio that hit U.S.$258bn in 2011, including U.S.$43bn in new loans and grants.

There had been some hopes from critics of the bank that the powerful emerging BRICS economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – might support Ms Okonjo-Iweala.

By a tacit agreement dating to the sister institutions’ founding, the U.S. has always chosen the World Bank head whileEurope supplies the leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But like the leadership succession last year at the IMF, the race to head the bank has sparked muscle-flexing by newly empowered emerging economies and poorer countries which have called for a more open process based on merit.

Vladimir Putin has become President of Russia for the third time. Just before this, he had served as prime minister for four years.

Laurent Lamothe is Haiti’s new Prime Minister. A businessman and former tennis player, he was nominated by the country’s President Michel Martelly.

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate, won France’s presidential election, beating Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right incumbent, by 51.6% to 48.4%.

Tomislav Nikolic is the new President of Serbia. He defeated Boris Tadic, the liberal incumbent.

Former SPG chief B. V. Wanchoo was named the new Governor of Goa while E. S. L. Narasimhan and K. Sankaranarayanan will have fresh terms as Governors of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively.

Former Madhya Pradesh minister and ex-MP Aziz Qureshi was appointed as the next Governor of Uttarakhand replacingMargaret Alva who will move to Rajasthan as Governor for the remainder of her term.

A 1976-batch IPS officer from West Bengal cadre, Mr Wanchoo retired as the head of the Special Protection Group on 31stOctober last year after heading the elite unit for more than seven years. He was joint director in the Intelligence Bureau when he was picked up by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to head the SPG in 2004.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was found guilty of contempt of court by the country’s Supreme Court for failing to ask the Government of Switzerland to reopen a money-laundering case against the President, Asif Ali Zadari. However, the court did not impose any jail time.

Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese blind political activist, has moved to the United States. In April this year, he escaped house arrest and turned up at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. He left the embassy only after he was given assurance by Beijing that no harm would come to him and his family.

The government of Mark Rutte, the prime minister of The Netherlands, has resigned. The resignation came after one of the ruling coalition’s constitutents - Freedom Party – withdrew support, over disagreements in budget cuts. However, Mr Rutte will continue as the interim PM till elections are held in September this year.

General Awareness Updates – June 2012 and July 2012

Places in News

About 46 people were killed when a demonstration plane, Superjet-100, built by Sukhoi, crashed into a mountain inIndonesia. The plane disappeared from radar screens shortly after take-off from Jakarta killing all passengers on board.

Bolivia announced that it would nationalise Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE), the country’s national power-grid company, which belongs to Spain’s REE. Though the decision was widely compared to Argentina’s recent expropriation of YPF, a Spanish-controlled oil firm, Bolivia gave Spain ample warning and promised to pay fair compensation. Moreover, TDE represented only a small fraction of REE’s total revenues. Bolivia’s president is Evo Morales.

General Awareness Updates – June 2012 and July 2012

Awards & Honours

2012 National Film Awards

             Best Feature Film: Shared by Deool (Marathi) and Byari (Byari)

             Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director: Aaranyakandam (Tamil)

             Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil)

             Best Children’s Film: Chillar Party (Hindi)

             Best Direction: GurvinderSingh for Anhe Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi)

             Best Actor: Girish Kulkarni for Deool (Marathi)

             Best Actress: Vidya Balan for The Dirty Picture (Hindi)

             Best Supporting Actor: Appu Kutty for Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil)

             Best Supporting Actress: Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi for Phijigee Mani (Manipuri)

             Best Child Artist (Shared): Partho Gupte for Stanley ka Dabba (Hindi); Irrfan Khan, Sanath Menon, Rohan Grover, Naman Jain, Aarav Khanna, Vishesh Tiwari, 
 Chinmai Chandranshuh, Vedant Desai, Divij Handa and Shriya Sharma for Chillar Party (Hindi)

             Special Jury Award: Anjan Dutt for Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na (Bengali)

             Best Film on Social Issues (Jointly being given to two Films): Mindscapes… of Love and Longing (Hindi & English);Inshallah, Football (Kashmiri, Urdu & English)

Soumitra Chatterjee receives Dada Saheb Phalke Award

Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee (right) was conferred with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award by Vice President Hamid Ansari.

The 77-year-old Mr Chatterjee was given a huge round of applause and a standing ovation by the audience as he received the Swarna Kamal (golden lotus) medallion, a cash prize of 10 lakh and a shawl.

In his acceptance speech, the great actor said: “I’m really not in the frame of mind to say anything. I have always been in doubt about my work. I always thought that entertainment business was not worthwhile... For 50 years I have been accepted and loved by my countrymen. They are the reason I have come this far.”

Making his debut in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’, he went on to enjoy a great actor-director relationship with Satyajit Ray by starring in classics like ‘Charulata’, ‘Ghare Baire’, ‘Devi’, and ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’.

Dylan conferred with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Legendary singer Bob Dylan was conferred with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour given in the United States.

The 71-year-old vocalist was among the 13 recipients of America’s highest civilian honour. The president chooses the recipients of the medal, which is awarded to people who have made major contributions to the security of the United States, world peace or culture, or have undertaken other significant public or private endeavours.

2012 Cannes Film Festival

             Palme d’Or: Amour (Love), directed by Michael Haneke

             Grand Prix: Reality, directed by Matteo Garrone

             Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt

             Best Actress: Cosmina Straten & Cristina Flutur, Beyond the Hills (tied)

             Best Director: Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux

             Jury Prize: Ken Loach, The Angels’ Share

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