In Brief

Google has announced creating of an Indian Language Internet Alliance (ILIA) with an aim to make internet accessible to 300 million Non-English speaking users. ILIA will be a new platform to offer better content and technology to Hindi speaking population of the country; in addition to that Google will also launch a Hindi voice search in the country.

World Economic Forum’s (WEF) India summit was held in first week of November 2014 in New Delhi. “Redefining Public-Private Cooperation for a New Beginning” was the theme of the summit. The programme is built on three pillars: Boosting Global Competitiveness, Launching a Domestic Systems Reset and Scaling Local and Social Innovation.

On 2 November 1834, a ship docked at what is now known as Aapravasi Ghat in Mauritius. The ship carried 36 Indian indentured labourers who had agreed to sign agreements to work for five years in sugar plantations on the island. They were the first of migration that would eventually number around 15 lakh contract workers from Asia, Africa and the South Pacific to travel across the world to work in European colonies around the world. One hundred and eighty years later, on 2 November 2014, an international conference commemorated this event by flaging-off the International Indentured Labour Route project, funded by UNESCO, which will expand the research network in the 22 countries where indentured labourers worked.

“Playing it My Way” is the autobiography of Sachin Tendulkar.

Indian Navy’s sailing ship INS Sudarshini will sail from Kochi to Singapore in December 2014 to mark the golden jubilee of bilateral ties between India and Singapore.  Belonging to the First Training Squadron at the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, INS Sudarshini is primarily engaged in training naval and NCC cadets on the seamanship. It has also undertaken historic voyages around the world. Since its official launch in 2011, the three-masted sailing ship has been on a six-month voyage to nine ASEAN nations during 2012-13, retracing the ancient route taken by Indian mariners to South East Asia during the 18th century. In October-November 2014, it sailed from Chennai to Nagappattinam in Tamil Nadu, to mark the Indian Navy’s commemoration of emperor Rajendra Chola’s millennium of coronation.

Principal Advisor to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Mr E. Sreedharan has been appointed as one-man committee by the Ministry of Railways to suggest a “proper system and procedure to ensure proper accountability and transparency” at General Manager level and other functionaries level for taking all commercial decisions.

Manohar Parrikar was the first IITian to become the Chief Minister of any Indian State.

Selfie has recently made its way into the dictionary, but the world’s first known self-portrait was taken 175 years ago by an American photographer. In 1839, amateur chemist and photography enthusiast Robert Cornelius, then 30 years old, had created what is believed to be the first photographic self-portrait. He had set up his camera at the back of his father’s shop in Philadelphia, removed the lens cap, ran into the frame and sat stock still for five minutes before running back and replacing the lens cap. He wrote on the back of the photo: “The first light picture ever taken. 1839.”

Gujarat is the first State of India to make voting compulsory.  The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill-2009, approved by the State Governor, makes voting in local body elections compulsory. It also provides for 50% reservation for women in all local body elections.

The 12th ASEAN-India summit was held in November 2014 at Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar.

The ₹113,000-crore ‘e-kranti’ project is Narendra Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. It is the world’s most ambitious broadband project that seeks to provide digital access to all citizens, from the rural and elderly to the poor. The blueprint revolves round ‘nine pillars’ — broadband highway, e-governance, electronics manufacturing leading to ‘zero import’, universal phone access, electronic delivery of services, jobs, rural internet, information for all and ‘early harvest’ programmes.

Indira Paryavaran Bhavan in New Delhi is India’s first net zero energy building that has been constructed with adoption of solar passive design and energy-efficient building materials.  It is one of the exemplary projects to be rated under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA).  Green materials like fly ash bricks, regional building materials, materials with high recyclable content, high reflectance terrace tiles and rock wool insulation of outer walls have been used in construction.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the star studded appointment of its ambassadors for 2015 Cricket World Cup and India’s Virat Kohli is a part of the five member group. Accompanying Kohli would be Australian fast-bowler Mitchell Johnson, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, Sri Lanka’s former captain Kumar Sangakkara and Australia’s Shane Watson. The ICC Ambassadors would add their support and considerable profile in the build-up to and during the 2015 Cricket World Cup; including involvement in the board’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme and event promotions.

Bengaluru has managed to attract one of Ireland’s renowned universities to venture into setting up the world’s third ‘Science Gallery’ – the first in Asia. Set to marvel visitors with “scientific theatre”, it will join the other two in Dublin (Ireland) and London (UK). It is likely to come up in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus by the beginning of 2018, at a cost of Rs. 25 crore.

November 14, birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, is observed as Children’s Day in India and worldwide it is observed as World Diabetes Day.  WDD was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007.

India is setting up a new ground station in Vietnam to monitor satellites and upgrading an existing facility in Indonesia, with New Delhi finally waking up to proactive “space diplomacy” of Beijing. India is keen to set up the new station in Vietnam in collaboration with the Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN. This is going to be the first major project coming out of collaboration between India and ASEAN, in the field of space technology, although Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched satellites of several members of the 10-nation bloc through bilateral arrangements.

India and China held the fourth edition of their joint military training exercise, named ‘Hand-in-Hand’, in Pune in mid-November 2014..

Reliance Life Insurance has tied up with global NGO “Room to Read” to set up over 100 libraries in government primary schools and reach out to over 10,000 children across India through this initiative.

According the 44th edition of the biannual TOP-500 supercomputer list, China’s Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defence and Technology, is the fastest supercomputer in the world. It beat the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer to second place.

Vape—the act of smoking from an electronic cigarette—has been chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as its international word of the year for 2014 after use of the term more than doubled over the last year.

Pehli Udaan is a singly-operated savings bank account offered by State Bank of India (SBI) for children aged 10 and above who can sign uniformly.

International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November. Inaugurated in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago, the  objectives of celebrating this day include focusing on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.

In 2001, the World Toilet Organization declared its founding day, 19 November, as World Toilet Day. Since then, the day has been observed globally by its member organizations.

Mangalyaan has been named among the best inventions of 2014 by Time magazine which described it as a technological feat that will allow India to flex its “interplanetary muscles.” The list also includes inventions by two Indians for developing an exercise space for prisoners in solitary confinement and a tablet toy for kids. Nalini Nadkarni, forest ecologist and college professor, helped develop the ‘Blue Room’ with Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon for inmates in solitary confinement. Former Google engineer Pramod Sharma developed ‘Osmo’, a tablet toy that gets physical. The other inventions are a reactor developed by aerospace company Lockheed Martin that could realize nuclear fusion, Apple’s smart watch that besides telling time can send messages, give directions, track fitness and make wireless payments and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, a “hybrid” that bundles laptop into a 12-inch tablet and can run desktop apps.

According to the Nation Brands Index, Germany deposed the hitherto reigning champion, the Unites States as the world’s favourite country. The home of Audi, Mercedes, Siemens, Bosch and Co. received top marks for honest and competent government, for social equality and a good investment climate. The strong showing of Germany’s economy, its leading role in Europe, and its perceived responsibility in international affairs were also important factors.

US President Obama will be the chief guest at Republic Day 2015.

India Rivers Week–2014 was held in November 2014 at WWF India secretariat in New Delhi. It came out with a national charter for Indian rivers. According to IRW experts, there is no river in any of the top 50 cities of the country which is not sick or dying, with Yamuna and Ganga leading the list.

Hublot will be official Timekeeper for ICC World Cup.

India has named National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval as special envoy for China border talks.

The selfie stick that facilitates your capturing a selfie from an angle of your choice by positioning your smartphone beyond the arms’ reach has made it to the Time magazine’s list of 25 best inventions of 2014. Also in the list is a smartphone that puts privacy at the forefront and helps users conceal their data.

Commonwealth Science Conference was held in India for the first time, at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, in November 2014. It was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherji. Duke of York Prince Andrew was the special guest at the inaugural session. Organised by the Royal Society and the Union Science & Technology Ministry, the conference was attended by about 500 delegates, including 300 top scientists and 70 research scholars from 30 Commonwealth nations, brainstorm on topics ranging from climate change, global health, mathematics and material and biological sciences to space.

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first World Health Organization treaty adopted under article 19 of the WHO constitution. The treaty came into force on 27 February 2005. It is legally binding in more than 175 ratifying countries. The FCTC is a supranational agreement that seeks “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” by enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide. To this end, the treaty’s provisions include rules that govern the production, sale, distribution, advertisement, and taxation of tobacco. FCTC standards are, however, minimum requirements, and signatories are encouraged to be even more stringent in regulating tobacco than the treaty requires them to be.

The Union government plans to push through labour reforms as recommended by the Second National Labour Commission’s report of 2002, which suggested there should be five groups of laws pertaining to industrial relations, wages, social security, safety and welfare, and working conditions.

All the dairy majors of India have joined hands to celebrate 26 November as National Milk Day, in the memory Dr Verghese Kurien, Father of India’s White Revolution.

At the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, Indian Prime Minister Narinder Modi listed vision for the SAARC region that rests on five pillars—Trade, investment, assistance, cooperation in every area and context of our people and all through seamless connectivity.

IIT Madras has become the first IIT to be made a full member of the CMS experiment at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, and will get several opportunities in a large number of related technologies initiated and applied at the Switzerland-based organisation.

The Lok Sabha has passed the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) Bill, 2014 which seeks to provide the four existing IIITs an independent statutory status and proposes to declare them as institutes of national importance to enable them to grant degrees to their students.

The Reserve Bank of India has allowed banks to give loans to individuals against investment in long-term bonds issued to raise money for lending to infrastructure and affordable housing projects. The purpose in giving such loans is to provide liquidity to retail investors. Banks can give loans up to ₹10 lakh per borrower. The tenure should be within the maturity period of the bonds.

Prime Minister Narinder Modi, addressing the DGPs’ Conference at Guwahati, Assam, said we should have the concept of SMART policing—‘S’ for strict and sensitive, ‘M’ for modern and mobility, ‘A’ for alert and accountable, ‘R’ for reliable and responsive and ‘T’ for techno-savvy and trained.

American geologists have named the earth’s most abundant mineral Bridgmanite. It had hitherto remained nameless as a large enough sample of the mineral, found in the earth’s lower mantle, had not been recovered.  A group of American geologists were recently able to extract a sample large enough to analyse from a meteorite. Bridgmanite makes up about 70 percent of the earth’s lower mantle and 38 percent of the total volume of the earth. It is made up of high-density magnesium iron silicate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, had announced that the Planning Commission would be abolished and replaced with a more relevant institution. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had set up the Planning Commission to steer the nation’s economic destiny at that time. Set up by a Cabinet Resolution, the commission has enjoyed power and prestige with Prime Minister as its chairman. It’s most important functions have been fixing targets for sectoral growth and allocate resources. Gulzarilal Nanda, V.T. Krishnamachari, C. Subramaniam, P.N. Haksar, Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, K.C. Pant, Jaswant Singh, Madhu Dandavate, Mohan Dharia and R.K. Hegde had been deputy chaiman at differnt points of time. Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the last deputy chairman.

Antikythera Mechanism is said to be the world’s oldest computer. Discovered from a Roman cargo shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, the complex device, made up of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears, was used in ancient times to track the cycles of the solar system. It was discovered in a wooden box and consists of bronze dials, gears and cogs.

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