Today is International Civil Aviation Day

i. International Civil Aviation Day was observed on 7 December 2013 to highlight the importance of civil aviation for social and economic development around the world.

ii. The International Civil Aviation Day is aimed at promoting the safety and efficiency of air transportation and to create awareness about the role of International Civil Aviation Organization in air transport.

iii. International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO) is a UN body responsible for developing international standards for aviation safety. International Civil Aviation Day is annually observed on December. The date marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation at Chicago on same date in1944.

About International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO)
i. ICAO was established on 7 December 1944 to secure international cooperation and uniformity in civil aviation matters. 
ii. This observance aims to generate and reinforce global awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social and economic development. The day also commemorates the ICAO’s role in promoting the safety, efficiency and regularity of international air transport.

UN designates 31st October as World Cities Day

i. A United Nations General Assembly committee adopted a resolution on human settlement on Friday, designating Oct 31 as the World Cities Day.
ii. The General Assembly "decides to designate Oct 31 of every year, beginning in 2014, as World Cities Day," Xinhua cited from the resolution adopted by the UNGA Economic and Financial Committee.
iii. 'The General Assembly invites member states, the UN system, in particular UN-Habitat, relevant international organisations, civil societies and all other relevant stakeholders to observe and raise awareness of the World Cities Day', the resolution added.

iv. On Oct 31, 2010, a declaration issued on the closing day of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai proposed that Oct 31 be designated as World Better Cities Day, in a bid to recall, renew and advance ideas and practices of the Shanghai Expo for future development.

India contributes USD 1 million to UN Women

i. This contribution constitutes the fourth installment of India's multi-year pledge to provide five million dollars as core predictable funding to UN Women's resources, and takes India's existing contribution to USD 4 million to UN Women, so far.
ii. India's Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke K Mukerji handed over a cheque for the amount on Friday to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women. 
iii. Mukerji also reaffirmed India's steadfast commitment to the goals of gender equality, the empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming, as enshrined in the mandate of UN Women.

Cabinet approves creation of Telangana with 10 districts 

i. The Union Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the creation of a 10-district Telangana and outlined the blueprint for carving out the country's 29th state from the current Andhra Pradesh.

ii. Dropping a controversial move to add two districts of Rayalaseema to Telangana, which was opposed by various stakeholders, the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a draft reorganisation bill based on recommendations of Group of Ministers (GoM). 

iii. The decision of the cabinet came after the Congress Core Group met in the morning and cleared the CWC resolution of Telangana with 10 districts. 

iv. The bill will be sent to the President on Friday with a request to make a reference to Andhra Pradesh assembly to obtain its views.

The highlights of the bill are: 
i. Telangana will comprise 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh comprises 13 districts. 
ii. Hyderabad will remain the common capital for both the states for a period not exceeding 10 years. 
iii. The Governor of Telangana will have a special responsibility for security of life, liberty and property of all those who reside in the common capital area. 
iv. The Governor may be assisted by two advisors to be appointed by the Government of India. 
v. The government of India will extend financial and other support to the creation of a new capital for the successor state of Andhra Pradesh to be idendified by an expert committee. 
vi. Institutional mechanism with full involvement and participation of government of India will be put in place to manage water resources and projects on Krishna and Godavari rivers in an amicable and equitable manner. 
vii. Polavaram will be declared as a national project and will be executed by the union government following all environmental and R&R norms. 
viii. The government of India will assist the two states in augumenting their police forces for maintaining public order. 
ix. Article 371 D will continue for the both states to ensure equitable opportunities for education and public employment. 
x. Existing admission quotas in higher technical and medical institutions will continue for a period not exceeding five years. 

Jordan elected to UN Security Council as a Non-Permanent Member

i. UN General Assembly elected Jordan to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member on 6 December 2013 to replace Saudi Arabia.
ii. Saudi Arabia was elected in October 2013 to the Security Council as a non permanent member but it has rejected its seat in protest at the UN council's failure to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues.

iii. With 179 members of the 193-member General Assembly voting by secret ballot, Jordan received 178 votes while Saudi Arabia got one vote.

iv. Jordan will now join with Lithuania, Chile, Nigeria and Chad as new members of the council, replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Pakistan, Morocco and Togo. The other five temporary council members that will remain next year are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda.

9th WTO Ministerial Conference concluded at Bali, Indonesia

i. The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference was concluded on 6 December 2013 at Bali, Indonesia. The Ministerial Conference has agreed on the revised draft of Bali Package.

ii. The Ministerial Conference was held in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013 and attended by 159 WTO Member countries representatives.

Bali Package
i. During the conference, the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to allow countries to provide subsidy on staple food crops without any threat of punitive action.
ii. In this regard, the WTO has issued a revised draft of the Bali Package which addresses India's concerns on food security. The draft proposes an interim mechanism to safeguard minimum support prices to farmers against WTO caps till a permanent solution is adopted.
iii. The deal allows nations such as India to fix a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce and to sell staple grains to the poor at subsidised rates.
iv. It also permits countries to store food grains to meet contingency requirements.

Trade Facilitation Agreement

i.  The 159-member WTO also agreed on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which is aimed at making international trade much easier by simplifying and streamlining custom procedures across the globe. 
ii. The pact is billed to bring in gains worth 1 trillion Dollars for global trade. The TFA would help countries cut transaction costs.
iii. The trade facilitation will also help developing countries including India to reduce transaction cost and improve competitiveness of domestic industry

India Point of view

1.Food Security Law may push India’s Minimum Support Prices (MSP) above WTO limits, but interim mechanism provides safeguards till WTO rules are corrected.
2.WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation could boost India’s exports
3.India gains global leadership by getting a crucial poor-rich country imbalance corrected on a multilateral forum
4.Support subsidies to poor farmers across all developing countries get safeguards against WTO rule.

About Ministerial Conferences
Ministerial Conference is- the topmost decision-making body of the WTO. The Ministerial Conference, usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreement.

About World Trade Organization

WTO was established with the signing of the Marrakesh Agreement/ Marrakesh Declaration at Marrakesh, Morrocco in 1994. WTO came up as a replacement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). GATT was overseeing the rules of commerce since 1948. GATT covered trade in goods, whereas WTO deals with trade of inventions, designs and services too. The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible

Headquarter: : Geneva, Switzerland

Established: 1 January 1995
Membership: 159 countries on 2 March 2013 

Head: Roberto Azevêdo (Director-General)

Ahmet Uzumcu re-appointed as OPCW Director General

i. Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu on 4 December 2013 was re-appointed as the OPCW Director General at the 18th Session of the Conference of State Parties. This will be his second term in the office.

ii. The Director-General called 2013 a truly historical year in his statement during the opening of the conference as the year has witnessed an unprecedented challenge for the OPCW in the form of eliminating Syria’s  chemical weapons in the midst of an active war.

iii. The Nobel Committee in recognition of 16 years of achievement of the OPCW has awarded it the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

About Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu
i.Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu has served as OPCW Director-General, since 25 July 2010. He was appointed to the position in December 2009 by the 14th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention
ii.He graduated from Foreign Relations Department of the Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University.
iii.He was consul at the Consulate General in Aleppo, Syria and ambassador to Israel from 28 July 1999 to 30 June 2002
iv.In 2008, he became chair of the Conference on Disarmament
v.He received an Honorary Doctorate for Lifetime Achievements in Arms Control and Disarmament from the Geneva School of Diplomacy in 2010 

RBI hits the jackpot with dollar deposit scheme

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s out-of-the-box move to woo dollar deposits by protecting banks from currency risks has been a big hit.

ii. Banks have managed to mobilise $34 billion in foreign currency deposits since the special swap scheme was flagged off in September.

iii. This is much higher than the sums raised by the Resurgent India Bonds (RIBs) of 1998 ($4.2 billion) and the India Millennium Bonds ($5.5 billion). The inflows have given the rupee a much-needed breather from its steady slide over the past year.

iv. Hence, both the bank and the depositor benefit from such returns. “In effect, the annualised profit rate of the overdraft amount invested in India by the bank may be close to 10 per cent. Additionally, the NRI investor earns an annualised return up to 17-18 per cent on his initial investment. 

Win-win for banks
But since banks have always had the option of raising FCNR (B) deposits, what has made them so attractive now? The low cost of this option was the major reason. Usually, an interest rate of 400 basis points over Libor is paid on dollar deposits to NRIs. To service the deposit, the bank would have to buy a currency hedge, paying about 7 per cent a year.

ii. But with the RBI subsidising the hedging cost at a fixed 3.5 per cent, the effective cost of funds for FCNR deposits has plummeted to 8.75- 9 per cent. This made it an attractive option, similar to raising domestic deposits.

Brazil, Croatia to kick off 2014 FIFA World Cup

i. The much-awaited draw for 2014 FIFA World Cup was completed for next year`s finals in the Brazilian resort of Costa do Sauipe.

ii. Brazil will play Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Brazil, who hosted the tournament last in 1950 would want to make the home fans proud this time with a sixth World Cup title. Mexico and Cameroon are the other two teams in their group.

iii. England soccer fans won't be delighted with the draw, as their team will kick off their campaign against Italy, who knocked them out of Euro 2012, in Manaus.

iv. On the other hand, defending champions Spain will begin their campaign in the World Cup with a rematch of the 2010 final against the Netherlands in Salvador on June 12 next year. Spain had defeated Netherlands 1-0 in the final in South Africa, as a result of an extra-time goal by Andres Iniesta.

2nd ODI: India look for Durban revival to keep afloat

i. The second One Day International Cricket match between India and hosts South Africa will be played at Durban tomorrow.

ll Cricket South Africa has confirmed that the India-South Africa ODI series will continue as scheduled.

iii. South Africa dedicated the three-match rubber to Nelson Mandela.

iv. Ahead of the first ODI, Dhoni had spoken about pressure on the team that loses in Johannesburg. He had said that there would not by any time to recover for the side who loses the opening match. Now, he and his players will be fighting for survival tomorrow.      

Football World Cup winner’s prize money rises to $35 million

i. The 2014 World Cup champions will receive $35 million in prize money, world football’s governing body FIFA announced in Salvador on Thursday.

ii. The value represents a 17 per cent increase in the prize money handed to Spain for winning the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

iii. FIFA will award the second placed side $25 million while the third will receive $22 million.

iv. Each of the tournament’s 32 teams will receive $1.5 million before the tournament begins to help cover their preparation costs.

v. Another $70 million have been set aside for indemnity payments to clubs who will be without their players during the month-long tournament.

Show more