Current Affairs sections updated with November 2014 news

The Current Affairs sections:

Notes on Current Affairs
Current GK
Appointments Etc
Sports News

have been updated with November 2014 news.

These sections are useful for those preparing for Civil Services Exam, UPSC Exams, SSC Exams, Assistant Grade Exam, LIC and other Insurance Recruitment exams, Defence Services exams like NDA & CDS, Bank PO, RBI, Clerks’ Recruitment Exams, MBA, Hotel Management, CLAT, CSAT etc

Indians now will be able to sit for US CPA Exam in Middle East

Indian citizens will now be able to appear for the uniform Certified Public Accountants (CPA) examination in the Middle East.

The announcement was made by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric.

CPA Exam candidates can register and conduct their exams at Prometric test sites throughout the Middle East.

Along with passing the Uniform CPA Examination, international candidates must meet education and professional experience requirements as mandated by US Boards of Accountancy.

Saudi Arabia is playing chicken with its oil

In August 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid a secret visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to meet with King Faisal. Sadat was preparing for war with Israel, and he needed Saudi Arabia to use its most powerful weapon: oil.

Until then, King Faisal had been reluctant for the Arab members of OPEC to use the “oil weapon.” But as the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war unfolded, the Arab oil producers raised prices, cut production and imposed an embargo on oil exports to punish the United States for its support of Israel. Without Saudi Arabia, the oil embargo would not have gotten very far.

Today, Saudi Arabia is once again using its “oil weapon,” but instead of driving up prices and cutting supply, it’s doing the reverse. In the face of a global slide in oil prices since June, the kingdom has refused to cut its production, which would help to drive prices back up. Instead, the Saudis led the charge to prevent OPEC from cutting production at the cartel’s last meeting on Nov 27.

The consequences of Saudi policy are impossible to ignore. After two years of stable prices at around $105 to $110 a barrel, Brent blend, the international benchmark, fell from $112 a barrel in June to around $65 on Friday. “What is the reason for the United States and some U.S. allies wanting to drive down the price of oil?” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked rhetorically in October. His answer? “To harm Russia.”

That is partially true, but Saudi Arabia’s gambit is more complex.

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via Reuters.com

The state and Islam: Converting the preachers

SAUDI ARABIA has long used a simple method to regulate mosques. The oil kingdom lavishes clerics with money and perks that can suddenly vanish if their preaching goes astray. If that does not work they are fired or parked in jail. Now Saudi preachers face a new constraint: starting next year authorities will install centrally monitored cameras in every mosque to record what goes on inside. The move is ostensibly meant to prevent theft and regulate energy use, but few doubt the real intention is to tighten the state’s grip on Islam, part of a trend across the Middle East.

Critics have long reviled Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of a rigidly puritanical brand of religion. The ruling Al Saud family, whose legitimacy rests in part on a 270-year-old pact with the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, has tended to shrug off the complaints. But in recent months it has worried about a backlash from conservatives angered by the government’s enthusiastic support for the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as its participation in the American-led military coalition against Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Apparently fired up by IS propaganda, radicals in the kingdom have lately targeted “infidel” Westerners and “deviant” Shias in a string of small but deadly terror attacks.

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via The Economist

Making sense of the growth puzzle

The performance of the Indian economy has been quite enigmatic in the past two-three years. Two successive years of low growth cast a shadow on our growth potential and we went around looking for reasons. Policy paralysis dramatized the issue and remained embedded in our minds. The cabinet committee on investment under the United Progressive Alliance government cleared as much as over Rs.6 trillion worth of investment by February. Yet, growth remained anaemic. We then said that we need reforms and there was some movement on land reforms and foreign direct investment in retail. Then the central government changed. Clearances have continued and the administration has been made to take decisions. Yet, the economic situation is at best stable, although sentiment is sanguine. Are we missing something?

An analysis of the growth path since 2011-12 shows slowdown has been due to a series of issues in which the government plays only a secondary role. The main issue has been with demand, where the level of spending has come down. The three major components: consumption, investment and government have shown limited traction.

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via Livemint

Drug resistance deadlier than cancer by 2050: Study

Infections resistant to medicines will kill more people per year than cancer by 2050, and cost the world $100 trillion annually, according to a U.K. government-backed report led by Jim O’Neill, the well-known former Goldman Sachs economist.

The wide-ranging study, called the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, was commissioned by the U.K. government earlier this year amid growing concerns about drug-resistant “superbugs”, including new strains of E. coli, malaria and tuberculosis.

Its forecasts, based on research by RAND Europe and KPMG, suggest that drug resistance, which is estimated to have caused around 700,000 deaths globally this year, will cause 10 million by 2050 if further action is not taken.

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via CNBC.com

Shale Oil’s Relentless Production Is Breaking OPEC’s Neck

The world’s biggest oil companies faced ruin in the summer of 1931. Crude prices had plummeted. Wildcatters were selling oil from the bonanza East Texas field for a nickel a barrel, cheaper than a bowl of chili. On Aug. 17, Governor Ross Sterling declared a state of insurrection in four counties and sent 1,100 National Guard troops to shut down the fields and bring order to the market. A month later the Railroad Commission of Texas handed out strict production quotas.

That heavy-handed intervention in the free market was remarkable enough. Even more remarkable was who pulled it off. The person in charge of shutting down the wildcatters, National Guard Brigadier General Jacob Wolters, was the general counsel of Texas Co., an ancestor of Chevron. And the Texas governor who ordered Wolters in was a past president of Humble Oil and Refining, a forerunner of ExxonMobil. Big Oil played hardball in those days.

History is repeating itself, with a twist. The stressed-out giants of today are Saudi Arabia and its fellows in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The descendants of the 1930s wildcatters are today’s producers of oil from shale, who are driving down the world price of crude by flooding the market with millions of barrels of new oil each day. At $64 a barrel, Brent crude is down 44 percent since June. The twist is that today’s upstarts aren’t draining oil from neighbors’ plots, as happened in the 1930s. And OPEC can’t call in the National Guard against them. All it can do is gape at the falling price of crude and contemplate the destruction of their cartel at the hands of the Americans, whom they thought they had supplanted for good 40 years ago. Energy economist Philip Verleger says shale is to OPEC what the Apple II was to the IBM  mainframe.

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via Businessweek