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Current Affairs - 24 December 2014

Which party emerged as the largest party in Jammu & Kashmir Assembly elections of 2014, results for which were declared on 23 December 2014?
  • Jammu & Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP)
    JKPDP won 28 out of total 87 assembly seats that went to polls. It was closely followed by the BJP which won 25 seats. Ruling National Conference (NC) was at third place with 15 seats while Congress was able to save itself from being decimated by winning 12 seats. JKPDP was formed in 1998 by former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. It had captured power in the state in 2002 assembly elections. BJP was the biggest gainer in these elections as it was able to significantly increase its tally from just 1 seat in 2002 and 11 seats in 2008 to 25 seats now. However, it was clear that any govt. in state would be formed only by a coalition.
    Party Name                                                          No. of Seats (Total Seats 87)
    Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party                28
    Bharatiya Janata Party                                                        25
    Jammu & Kashmir National Conference                          15
    Indian National Congress                                                   12
    Jammu & Kashmir People Conference                            2
    Independents and others                                                    5

Jharkhand got first stable government since it was formed in 2000 when the results for state’s Assembly Elections were declared on 23 December 2014. BJP-led coalition was able to win 42 seats out of total 81 seats in Jharkhand Assembly. BJP won 37 seats on its own while its coalition partner was able to win 5 seats. What is the name of BJP’s coalition partner?
  • All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU)
    AJSU was formed in 1986 and was modelled after All Assam Student’s Union (AASU) of Prafulla Mahanta. It is led by Sudesh Mahto. Party won 5 seats despite Sudesh Mahto losing from his Silli seat which he represented for around 15 years. The ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) won 19 seats and its partner in government Congress won 6 seats. While BJP numbers more than doubled from 18 in 2009 to 37 this election, JMM’s numbers improved by one from 18 to 19 despite the loss of government. Chief Minister Hemant Soren won from Barhait by a good margin of 24,087 votes while lost in Dumka by a 5,262 votes. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) of former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi won 8 seats. Jharkhand has seen a long series of unstable politics since it was formed 14 years ago in 2000. It has seen nine governments and three stints of President’s rule in these 14 years.
    Party Name                                                          No. of Seats (Total Seats 81)
    Bharatiya Janata party                                                        37
    Jharkhand Mukti Morcha                                                     19
    Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)                            8
    Indian National Congress                                                   6
    All Jharkhand Students Union                                           5
    Bahujan Samaj Party                                                          1
    Others                                                                                    5

Veteran director and filmmaker K. Balachander passed away on 23 December 2014 at private hospital in Chennai. He was 84. In which year he was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest recognition for excellence in cinema in the country?
  • 2010
    K. Balachander was an institution in himself and was revered for being a talent-spotter both among artistes and technicians. Apart from directing over 150 films he was known for nurturing innumerable talents in film industry. The two greatest talents he has nurtured are Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth. Balachander’s most prolific years were in the three decades from 1960s to the 1980s. Among Balachander’s best-known films are ‘Aval Ora Thodar Kathai’, ‘Apoorva Raagangal’, ‘Avargal’, ‘Varumayin Niram Sigappu’ and ‘47 Natkal’. He also directed Bollywood hit ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’ starring Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 23 December extended the deadline for exchanging pre-2005 currency notes of various denominations including Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000. What is the new deadline?
  • 30 June 2015
    Earlier in March 2014 the RBI had set 1 January 2015 as the deadline to exchange pre-2005 currency notes. Thus it extended this deadline by 6 months. RBI also clarified that all such notes will continue to remain a legal tender. These notes can be exchanged for their full value. Currency notes issued before 2005 do not have the year of printing on the reverse side. In notes issued after 2005, the year of printing is visible at the bottom on the reverse. Post-2005 notes have added security features and help in curbing the menace of fake currency. Seeking cooperation for withdrawing pre-2005 currency notes from circulation, the RBI has asked the public to deposit the old design notes in their bank accounts or exchange them at a bank branch convenient to them.

The Union Government on 23 December 2014 constituted a committee to examine the possibility of constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for reinvestigation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases. Who is heading this committee?
  • Justice (retired) G.P. Mathur (former Judge of the Supreme Court)
    The committee will submit its report within 3 months. The 1984 riots had broken out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Many parties including the BJP were demanding reinvestigation into all cases related to these riots. Supreme Court lawyer H.S. Phoolka, who has been fighting the anti-Sikh riot cases, had in an open letter to then Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, demanded that an SIT be set up to probe the riots. The committee will also oversee the implementation of the payment of enhanced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh per person killed during the riots, as approved by the Union Cabinet on 10 December 2014.

US retail major Walmart announced opening a new cash and carry store in India after a gap of two years. The last store opened by it was in Bhopal in 2012. Where is this new cash and carry store being opened?
  • Agra
    Walmart runs 20 cash and carry stores under brand ‘Best Price’ across 9 states. The company is focusing only on cash and carry business in India in the absence of clarity on FDI in multi-brand retail trade. Earlier this year, Walmart announced plans to open 50 wholesale stores in the next 4-5 years to expand its footprint across the country.

Which committee recommends autonomous status for Vidarbha?
  • Kelkar
    The committee headed by the well-known economist Vijay Kelkar has recommended autonomous status for Vidarbha, noting that the region’s population feels neglected. It has also recommended shifting of the state secretariat to Nagpur, the state’s second capital, for the month of December every year.
    Finance and Planning Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar today tabled the committee’s report in the Legislative Assembly. The committee, appointed to study the issue of balanced development of various regions of Maharashtra, has said that Vidarbha should get autonomous status on the lines of Meghalaya which was granted an autonomous status in 1969, when it was apart of Assam.
    The autonomous status can be an alternative for separate statehood for the region, the report says, adding that all the important finance-related portfolios should be allocated to the leaders from Vidarbha.

Longest and Largest
  • Longest river (India)Ganges
    Longest river (World)Nile
    Longest Railway(World)Trans-Siberian railway
    Longest Railway Station (World)Grand Central Terminal, Chicago (U.S.A.)
    The longest tributary rive of IndiaYamuna
    The longest river of the south IndiaGodavari
    Longest Electric railway line in IndiaFrom Delhi to Kolkata via Patna
    Longest RoadGrand Trunk Road
    State with longest coastline in IndiaGujarat
    Longest railway route in IndiaDibrugarh in Assam to Kannyakumari in Tamil Nadu
    Longest tunnelJawahar tunnel (Jammu & Kashmir)
    Longest national highway in IndiaNH-7 which runs from Varanasi to Kanyakumari
    Longest Dam in IndiaHirakund Dam (Orissa)
    Longest River Bride in IndiaMahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna
    Longest populated cityMumbai (1.60 crore)
    Longest Railway PlatformGorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh)
    Longest river which forms estuary in IndiaNarmada
    State with longest coastline of South IndiaAndhra Pradesh
    Longest Railway Bridge in the WorldHuey P. Long Bridge, Louisiana (U.S.A.)
    Longest Irrigational CanalThe Kalakumsky Canal
    Longest Canal in WorldSuez Canal
    Longest Beach in IndiaMarina Beach, Chennai
    Longest Tunnel in World (Railway)Tanna (Japan)
    Longest Tunnel in World (Road)Mont Blanc Tunnel between France and Italy
    Longest Wall (World)Great wall of China
    Largest Zoo (World)Kruger National Park, South Africa
    Largest BirdOstrich
    Largest ArchipelagoIndonesia
    Largest ChurchSaint Cathedral (Goa)
    Largest MuseumNational Museum, Kolkata
    Largest DeltaSunderban Delta, W. Bengal
    Largest DomeGol Gumbaz, Bijapur (Karnataka)
    Largest Zoo (India)Zoological Gardens, Alipur, Kolkata
    Largest man-made LakeGovind Vallabh Pant Sagar (Rihand Dam)
    Largest DesertThar (Rajasthan)
    Largest lake (Fresh water)Wular lake (Kashmir)
    Largest MosqueJama Masjid, Delhi
    Largest State (Area)Rajasthan
    Largest cave templeKailash temple, Ellora (Maharashtra)
    Largest animal FairSonepur (Bihar)
    Largest State (Population)Uttar Pradesh
    Largest corridorRameshwaram temple corridor (Tamil Nadu)
    Largest cantilever span brideHowrah Bridge (Kolkata)
    Largest forest stateM.P.
    Largest StadiumSalt lake (Yuva Bharti), Kolkata
    Largest PortMumbai
    Largest GurudwaraGolden Temple, Amritsar
    Largest river islandMajuli (Brahmaputra river, Assam)
    Largest PlanetariumBirla Planetarium (Kolkata)
    Largest Lake (Saline water)Chika lake, Orissa
    Largest City in PopulationTokyo
    Largest ContinentAsia
    Largest (Population) CountryChina
    Largest (Electorate) CountryIndia
    Largest CreatureBlue Whale
    Largest DeltaSunderban (Bangladesh & India)
    Largest Desert (World)Sahara (Africa)
    Largest Desert (Asia)Gobi
    Largest Dam (World)Grand Coulee Dam (U.S.A.)
    Largest DiamondThe Cullinan
    Largest DomeAstrodome, in Housten (U.S.A.)
    Largest EpicMahabharat
    Largest Irrigation SchemeLloyd Barrage, Sukkur (Pakistan)
    Largest Island (World)Greenland
    Largest SeaMediterranean sea
    Largest Lake (Artificial)Lake Mead (Boulder Dam)
    Largest Lake (Fresh water)Superior
    Largest Lake(Salt water)Caspian
    Largest LibraryUnited State Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
    Largest MuseumBritish Museum, London
    Largest OceanPacific
    Largest ParkYellow Stone National Park (U.S.A.)
    Largest PeninsulaArabia
    Largest RiverAmazon (S. America)
    Largest Sea-birdAlbatross
    Largest Radio TelescopeNew Mexico (U.S.A.)
    Highest CityVan Chuan (China)
    Tallest StatueStatue of Motherland, Volgagrad (Russia)
    Highest VolcanoOjos del Salado (Andes, Ecuador)
    Highest WaterfallAngel (Venezuela)
    Highest LakeTiticaca (Bolivia)
    Highest Dam (World)Hoover Dam (U.S.A.)
    Highest CapitalLa Paz (Boliva)
    Highest Tower (India)Pitampura Tower, Delhi
    Highest WaterfallGersoppa waterfall (Karnataka)
    Highest mountain peak in IndiaGodwin Austin (K2)
    Highest Dam in IndiaTehri Dam on Bhagirathi River
    Highest GatewayBuland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri (Agra)
    Highest straight gravity DamBhakra Dam
    Highest LakeDevatal (Garhwal)
    Highest AwardBharat Ratna
    Highest Gallantry AwardParamveer Chakra
    Highest Battle fieldSiachin Glacier
    Highest   AirportLen (Laddakh)
    Tallest AnimalGiraffe
    Fastest BirdSwift
    Smallest BirdHumming Bird
    Tallest in the World BuildingBurj, Dubai (UAE)
    Biggest City in AreaMount Isa Australia
    Costliest CityTokyo
    Smallest ContinentAustralia
    Biggest Country(Area)Russia
    Deepest LakeBaikal (Siberia)
    Highest Mountain PeakMount Everest (Nepal)
    Longest Mountain RangeAndes (S. America)
    Biggest PalaceVatican (Italy)
    Coldest Place(Habitated)Verkhoyank (Siberia)
    Dryest PlaceIqique (In Atacama Desert, Chile)
    Hottest PlaceAzizia (Libya, Africa)
    Biggest PlanetJupiter
    Brightest PlanetVenus
    Highest PlateauPamir (Tibet)
    Smallest PlanetMercury
    Rainiest PlaceMausinram (Meghalaya, India)
    Brightest StarSirius
    World’s first TramwayNew York
    Most Active VolcanoMaunaloa (Hawail-U.S.A.)
    Lowest body WaterDead Sea
    Densest populated StateWest Bengal
    Biggest HotelOberal –Sharaton (Mumbai)
    Smallest State (Area)Goa
    Smallest State (Population)Sikkim
    Place of heaviest rainfallMausinram (Meghalaya)
    Deepest river valleyBhagirathi & Alaknanda

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