1. International Day of Rural women observed on 15 October
i. International Day of Rural women was observed on 15 October 2013 across the world to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women,
ii. in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
iii. The Day recognizes rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development worldwide.
iv. This International Day of Rural women, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008 by the United Nations.
2. Coal scam: FIR against industrialist KM Birla
i. In a fresh FIR against former coal secretary PC Parekh and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, the CBI registered on Tuesday, the 14th FIR in its ongoing coal scam, along with raids at several places.
ii. The case is being directly monitored by the Supreme Court.
iii. The two have been accused of criminal conspiracy and corruption in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks eight years back.
iv. The 46-year-old head of the Aditya Birla group will be called in for questioning, CBI sources said.
v. In connection with the case, CBI teams are also raiding various places including Delhi, Mumbai,Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Hyderabad.
vi. The agency has booked Birla as a representative of Aditya Birla Group and his group company, aluminium maker Hindalco, for alleged corruption in the allocation of Talabira two coal blocks in Odisha which was allotted to it on November 10, 2005, the sources said.
vii. The $40 billion (about Rs. 2.45 lakh crore) conglomerate has denied receiving any FIR and refuted allegations of any wrongdoing.
viii. Parekh, who was Coal Secretary at the time of this allocation, faces charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act as also criminal conspiracy and other offences.
ix. CBI has been at the receiving end in the Supreme Court which has pased tough questions on why coal fields were allocated to private players without a transparent bidding process, the slow pace of probe as also on missing files.
3. India, Finland ink clean technology pact to produce ethanol
i. In a first-of-its-kind initiative to promote use of clean technology, India on Tuesday signed an agreement with Finland to produce indigenous ethanol and reduce country’s dependence on its import.
ii. As per the deal, State-run explorer ONGC and Finnish clean technology firm Chempolis will set up a pilot project to produce ethanol, bio-chemicals and bio-coal from biomass residual matters.
iii. The agreement was inked between Finnish Minister for European Affairs Alexander Stubb and India’s Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Panabaka Lakshmi in New Delhi.
iv. The ONGC chairman further added that since 75 per cent of India’s ethanol requirements are met through imports, there is a large requirement which is not being met by indigenous production.
v. Besides, India is also looking at collaboration with clean technology firm Ripasso to convert solar energy into thermal energy.
4. President confers Presidential Award for Classical Tamil
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday conferred the Presidential Award for Classical Tamil 2009-10 and 2010-11 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
ii. Dr. Iravathram Mahadevan received prestigious Tolkappiyar award for his immense contribution in the area of Epigraphy.
iii. President also conferred Young Scholar Awards to Dr. T. Suresh, Dr. S. Kalpana, Dr. R. Chandrasekhar , Dr. Vaani Arivaalan and Dr. C. Muthamizhselvan for showing excellence in Tamil studies.
iv. The President awards for Classical Tamil have been instituted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development to give recognition to distinguished scholars who have made outstanding contribution to the development of Classical Tamil language and literature.
5. INS Sunayna commissioned into Indian Navy
i. The Indian Navy on 15 October 2013 inducted into service its largest offshore patrol vessel (OPV), INS Sunayna, at the Southern Naval Command.
ii. The ship was designed and built by the public sector Goa Shipyard. The ship is equipped with the most advanced communication, navigation and electronic warfare equipment besides a 76-mm SRGM (Super Rapid Gun Mount), and close-in weapon system (CIWS). INS Sunayna will strengthen the Indian Navy capability to safeguard the maritime interests.
iii. The vessel is expected to fill the vital gap in the Southern Naval Command’s patrol capability.
iv. The vessel also has the ability to embark an advanced light helicopter (ALH) or a Chetak search and rescue helicopter. Two more vessels of this class will be delivered to the Navy between this year-end and mid-2014.
6. EC of India Approved None of the Above Option in EVMs and Ballot Papers
i. The Election Commission of India ordered on 13 October 2013 the Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union territories to provide for None of the Above (NOTA) option in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers.
ii. The None of the Above option will be provided at the bottom of the panel on the EVMs or as the last row in the ballot paper after all the candidates have been listed with their respective symbols in the same language used to list the candidates.
iii. Likewise, the contours of the NOTA panel will be identical to that given to each candidate.
iv. In constituencies contesting more than 16 candidates in the fray, an extra EVM will be attached to the first balloting unit for the NOTA option as the EVMs currently in use can accommodate only 16 rows.
7. Walsh to be named India's hockey coach
i. Australian Terry Walsh is set to be appointed as head coach of the Indian men’s hockey team after the Sports Authority of India recommended his name to the Sports Ministry.
ii. Walsh’s name has been forwarded to the Sports Ministry and his appointment will be cleared in a week’s time.
iii. Thomson said the SAI has recommended a monthly salary of Australian dollar 12,000 for Walsh, who was part of Australia’s silver-winning team in 1976 Montreal Olympics.
iv. “Nobbs was getting Australian Dollar 11,000 and Walsh has been offered a thousand more than him,” he added.
v. Former Australia and Holland coach Walsh was the front-runner for the top job but there were indications earlier that Oltmans, who was the interim coach after Australian Nobbs resigned in July, would be made the permanent coach.
vi. Walsh was last seen in the role of Technical Director of USA Hockey. He left the position at the end of last year.
8. Indian-American actor Kumar Pallana dies
i. Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the memorable role of a janitor in Tom Hanks starrer 'The Terminal' and worked in many Wes Anderson movies, has died. He was 94.
ii. Pallana was a scene stealer as an Indian janitor who enjoyed watching people slip on his freshly cleaned floors in the Steven Spielberg directed movie.
iii. Anderson met Pallana as a customer at a coffee shop owned by his son and first cast him in 1996's 'Bottle Rocket'.
iv. The actor then went on to do supporting role in the director's 'Roshmore', 'The Royal Tenenbaums and 'The Darjeeling Limited', the Entertainment Weekly reported. Pallana also worked as a juggler, a singer and a yoga instructor among other trades.
9. Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Del Potro to win Shanghai Masters 2013
i. Novak Djokovic on 15 October 2013 defeated Juan Del Potro 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) to win a second straight trophy at the Shanghai Masters in China.
ii. Djokovic earned victory on the first of three match points in the third-set tiebreaker after Del Potro saved two Djokovic match-winners in the tenth game of the set. Novak Djokovic won a fourth Beijing trophy over the past five years when he beat Nadal last week. Djokovic is from Serbia.
iii. Djokovic, at present owns five titles this season and 39 in his career.
iv. Djokovic finished with 47 winners but converted on only two of his dozen opportunities. Djokovic has defeated Del Potro 10 times while has lost to him three times. Del Potro had defeated Nadal in the semi-finals of Shanghai Masters.
10. Oscar Hijuelos, the Cuban-American Writer, Died at 62
i. Oscar Hijuelos, the Cuban-American writer died on 13 October 2013 in New York City. He was 62 years old and died because of heart attack. He was the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize. He is survived by his wife.
11. Duleep Trophy: N.Zone to meet S. Zone in final in Kochi on Thursday
i. North Zone will clash with South Zone in the Duleep Trophy cricket final. The five-day match will be played in Kochi from Thursday.
ii. At Kochi today, a spin of coin sent the Harbhajan Singh-led North Zone into the final. Earlier, their semifinal match against East Zone ended in a draw due to bad weather and soggy field conditions on the fifth and reserve day today.