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Major News and Events of 18 April 2013

What Happened on 18 April 2013

2G JPC blames Raja, clears Chidambaram

The parliamentary panel investigating the 2G spectrum allocation has put blame on former telecom minister A. Raja, stating that he modified the cut off date for the allocation of spectrum. It also stated that Finance Minister P.Chidambaram did not have any role in it.

The draft report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) was distributed among the members as per sources.The draft report further mentions that it was a policy decision to give licenses on a first come first served basis and not opt for auction of the spectrum.

Capital punishment for Pune's German Bakery blast convict

Pune sessions court on Thursday sentenced Himayat Baig, the German Bakery blast convict, capital punishment for his role in the terror attack which killed 17 people in February 2010. Three days earlier, Special Judge N.P. Dhote of Pune sessions court had pronounced Baig guilty in the case in which he was the only accused arrested.

Baig, a resident from Beed district, was caught from Udgir town in the neighbouring Latur district by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in September 2010, after almost seven months of the terror attack. On arrest, the ATS charged him for conspiring along with his six associates for the bomb blast at German Bakery, located in the posh Koregaon Park area of Pune.

On April 15, the day of his conviction, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre stated that Baig was charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 302, 307 (murder and attempt to murder), 435, 474 (mischief by fire and explosive and forgery) and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), along with other charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Explosives Act.

The prosecution's contention that the blast was a meticulously planned and executed attack to instill terror in the general public and carried on for widespread damage to life and property was upheld by the court. The special judge upheld the prosecution argument that the terror attack led to deaths of foreign nationals, thus projecting a negative image of the country.

Five foreigners also died among the 17 victims of the 13th February 2010 blast.

SC cancels Karnataka's 49 mining leases

The apex court's forest bench of Justice Aftab Alam, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, acting on the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee on green matters that were specified in the February 3, 2012 report, cancelled all the leases in 49 category C mines in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka for iron ore extraction.

Justice Gogoi while stating the judgment said, "the proceeds of the sales of the iron ore of the 'C' category mines made through the monitoring committee will stand forfeited to the state. The monitoring committee will remit the amounts held by it on this account to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for utilization in connection with the purposes for which it had been constituted."

The court gave a confirmation of its earlier order which permitted mining activities in 18 category A mines. The court, however, imposed restrictions on the mining activities in seven mining leases falling in the Karnatata-Andhra Pradesh border areas specifying that the embargo would remain till the demarcation of boundaries between the two states is sorted out.

India's exports dip by 1.76 percent in fiscal 2012-13

India's fiscal exports reduced by 1.76 percent to $300.6 billion in 2012-13 due to an uncertain global economic scenario.The imports increased marginally by 0.44 percent to $491.48 billion from $489.31 billion in 2011-12. This led to a trade deficit of $190.91 billion, an increase of 4.12 percent, compared to $183.35 billion in 2011-12.

As per data given by the commerce ministry, crude oil, the major component of India's imports, increased by 9.22 percent at $169.25 billion from $154.96 billion in 2011-12. Non-oil imports during April-March 2012-13 were worth $322.23 billion, which was 3.62 percent less than the level of such imports valued at $334.35 billion in April-March 2011-12.

For March, India's exports increased by 6.97 percent, as overseas earnings were at $30.84 billion from $28.83 billion registered in the same period last year. Imports increased at a slower speed in comparison to exports at 2.87 percent in the month under review at $41.16 billion from 42.38 billion in the same month of 2011-12.

Oil imports in March were less by 16.56 percent at $13.32 billion from $15.97 billion in the corresponding month last year. Non-oil imports during the last month rose by 5.41 percent at $27.83 billion from $26.40 billion in March 2013.

Konkona loves working with debutant directors

Actress Konkona Sen Sharma said she has no issues working with first-time directors. On the contrary, she feels they bring something new to the table as they plan their work for many years and thus have something unique to convey.

She said she has worked with a number of first-time directors like Ayan Mukherjee, Zoya Akhtar, Shonali Bose and now she is working for Kannan Iyer. If she likes the script and has a good equation with the director, then a first-time director can also be very special for her.

Konkona did Mukherjee’s directorial debut, Wake Up Sid!, and Zoya's first feature film, Luck By Chance.

Konkona  will be seen next in Ek Thi Daayan, directed by Kannan Iyer which depicts the tale of witches. The supernatural thriller will release this Friday.

Shuttler Sindhu defeatsed former World No.1, Sania and other shuttlers maintain ranks

Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu defeated former World No.1, Shixian Wang of China, to get into the women's singles quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Championships at the Taipei Arena on Thursday. 17-year-old Sindhu upset the third seeded Chinese 15-21, 21-14, 22-20 in a marathon match which continued for an hour and two minutes.

On the other hand, World No.2 Saina Nehwal maintained her place in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) women's singles rankings which released on Thursday. P.V. Sindhu also retained her 16th place.

London Olympics quarter-finalist Parupalli Kashyap, Mumbai's Ajay Jayaram and Sourabh Verma also maintained their positions in the men's singles rankings. Kashyap was at a career-best No.7, Jayaram and Verma at 30th and 38th, respectively. R.M.V. Gurusaidutt jumped a place to 35th.

Incredible India site touches two million hits mark

The Incredible India website, which was recently revamped, touched the two million hits mark while continuing receiving six thousand hits daily.

The tourism ministry informed that a host of features incorporated in the site, like hotel and flight booking and interactive videos, seem to have worked well for the site. There were other services in collaboration with Google and its affiliate YouTube as well.

The Incredible India worldwide promotional campaign depicts prominent holiday destinations of India. The campaign has got many prestigious international awards.

FAQs and Answers on Indian History and Geography
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