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Current General Knowledge: January-February 2009

Ashok Chakra, 2009: Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht (NSG): Immortalised NSG during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Colonel Jojan Thomas (Jat Regiment): Killed in an encounter with terrorists in J&K. Havaldar Bahadur Singh Bohra (Special Forces): Killed in an encounter with terrorists in J&K. ATS Chief Hemant Karkare: Senior- most Police officer was killed during 26/11. Police Officer Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar: Both were killed along with Karkare during 26/11. Assistant Sub-inspector Tukaram Omble: Took five bullets to ensure Ajmal Kasab was taken alive. Delhi Police Inspector M.C. Sharma: Died in Batla House encounter with Indian Mujahideen terrorists. Meghalaya police officer R.P. Diengdoh: Killed in operations against militants. Assistant Commandant Pramod Kumar Satapathy: Laid down his life fighting Naxals in Orissa.
The Mumbai anti-terrorist operation got six Ashok Chakra winners, probably for the first time after Independence for a
single operation. Ashok Chakra is awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-
sacrifice other than in the face of the enemy.
Republic Day Awards, 2009: Padma Vibhushan: Atomic Energy Commission  chairman Anil Kakodkar, environmentalist Sunderlal Bahugna, Missionaries of Charity’s sister Nirmala, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chief G. Madhvan Nair are among 10 people awarded.
Padma Bhushan: has been awarded to 30 people, including Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, technocrat Sam Pitroda, journalist Shekhar Gupta and Lt Gen Satish Nambiar.
Actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshay Kumar, cricketers M.S. Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh, world billiards champion Pankaj Advani and former Hockey player Balbir Singh Khullar are among the 93 who have been given the Padma Shri awards.
Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence, 2009: Business leader of the year: A.M. Naik, Chairman, L&T. Company of the Year: Tata Steel. Businesswoman of the year: Shikha Sharma, MD, ICICI PRU Life Insurance. Entrepreneur of the Year: Dilip Shanghvi, Chairman, Sun Pharma. Emerging Company of the Year: Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren. Global Indian: Arun Sarin, Former CEO, Vodafone. Business Reformer: Kamal Nath, Union Commerce Minister. Policy Change Agent: E. Shreedharan, MD Delhi Metro. Corporate Citizen of the Year: Anil Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Lab. Lifetime Achievement Award: Ashok Ganguly, former Chairman, HLL (Now HUL). Corporate Citizen Special Award: The Oberoi Employees and the Taj Employees.
Golden Globe awards, 2009: Best Actor: Colin Farrell won the Best Actor award for his performance in the film In Bruges. Best Supporting Actor: Australian actor Heath Ledger. He was honoured posthumously for his portrayal of the villainous Joker in Batman sequel “The Dark Knight”. He became the second actor to win the award posthumous after Peter Finch, who had won the Best Actor award for his film Network in 1976. Best Actress: Kate Winslet, for her performances in Revolutionary Road. Best Supporting Actress:  Kate Winslet for her performance in “The Reader”. Best Animated Film: Wall-E. Best Foreign film: Israeli film Waltz With Bashir. Cecil B DeMille award for lifetime achievement: Director Steven Spielberg. Best film drama: Slumdog Millionaire. Best Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire. Best screenwriter: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. Best Musical Score: A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire.
Golden Peacock Award, 2009: Telecom operator Idea Cellular has bagged the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for its product My Gang at the 19th World Congress on Total Quality held in Mumbai. My Gang is the first community user group on prepaid, targeted at youth for creating and sharing identities in the cyber and mobile space and was declared the most innovative product.
INS Shikra: First Chopper base for Navy: The Indian Navy has formally commissioned its first helicopter base INS Shikra at Mumbai. The Indian Navy’s existing helicopter base, Kunjali II has been commissioned as the INS Shikra. While everything remains the same operationally, the change in status provides greater administrative flexibility as well as the creation of the Air Station’s own identity.
The base has been home to the Indian Navy’s rotary wing assets for 40+ years and every helicopter pilot has served here at one point or another. Air operations from this base commenced in 1964 with the setting up of a small Helicopter Maintenance Unit, as a base support facility at INS Kunjali. On April 3, 1972, INAS 321 ‘Angels’ was established at Kunjali and regular Chetak Operations commenced. The station continued to operate newer helicopters which were being inducted with the growth of the Indian Navy.
The copter base will be able to provide security services to important defence and civilian installations on the Western Coast.
India, French firm sign pact for six N-reactors:
In the first commercial deal after acquiring a clean waiver from NSG in 2008, to carry out nuclear commerce, India, in
January 2009, signed an MoU with French company Areva for supply of as many as six new-generation Evolutionary Power Reactors (EPRs).
As per the deal signed by Areva and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), Areva will supply two EPRs of 1,650 mw each for nuclear plants the French company will build at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. The order can be updated to six
later. The EPRs, which are designed to phase out old reactors all over the world, are currently under construction only in France, Finland and China. Four independent cooling systems for safety and lead-proof design are some of the features which separate the EPRs from the older reactors.
Raju, Radha Vinod Raju:
The Union  government has named
Radha Vinod Raju, an officer of the Indian Police Service, or IPS, as head of the newly set up National Investigation Agency, or NIA, an omnibus agency to fight terror, on the lines of US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Raju, who belongs to the 1975 batch of IPS, was a key member of the police team that investigated the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Gyotue monastery:
The 17th Karmapa, Oxygen Trinley Dorje, next only to the Dalai Lama as a Tibetan Buddhist leader, has finally found a permanent home in India. The Gyotue monastery has offered to build a residence for the 24-year-old Karmapa at Sidhbari village, 7 km from Dharamsala. Known as the Black hat Lama, he was recognized as the reincarnate of 16th Karmapa, Rangzun Rigpe Dorje, by the Dalai Lama. He defected from China with five men and his elder sister in January 5, 2000, and reached Dharamsala.
Jaipur: As many as 116 world famous authors, 20 interviewers and 30 performing artistes participated in the Literature Festival, the largest of its kind in Asia, that was held in Jaipur in January 2009.
Rai Bareily: The third rail coach factory has started operations here. Coaches of India’s own bullet train would be manufactured at this Rs 1,685 crore facility.
Tilaiya project for RPower: Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Power has bagged its third 4,000 mw Ultra Mega Power Project, at Tilaiya, in Jharkhand. The project entails an investment of Rs 16,000-18,000 crore and will have a debt-equity ratio of 70 : 30. Tilaiya is the fourth UMPP to be awarded to a developer. Earlier, two UMPPs bagged by Reliance Power are those of Sasan and Krishnapatnam. Tata Power got the Mundra UMPP.
Iran launches first home- built satellite: On February 3, 2009, Iran, engaged in a standoff with the West over its controversial nuclear programme, launched its first indigenous satellite, named Omid, using its own Safir-2 rocket, a move that could cause concern in the international community. The launch of the satellite coincided with 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The satellite is aimed at determining orbital measurements and will calculate Earth 15 times in every 24 hours.
Iran has pursued a space programme for several years. In October 2005, a Russian-made Iranian satellite named Sina-I was put into orbit with help of a Russian rocket.


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