Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Important Personalities, New Appointments and Who's Who: 2009

1. Farah Pandit of Kashmiri-origin was appointed special representative of the Obama administration to reach out to the Muslim world. She was appointed by Secretary of State to interact with Muslims across the globe. She was a senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. She also served on the National Security Council and with USAID on assistance projects for Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Born in 1968, Farah belongs to a business family of Kashmir. Her father, Muhammad Anwar Pandit, is originally from Sopore. Her mother, a doctor is from Srinagar city. In early 70s Farah's parents shifted to United States and stayed in Boston, where her father continued his business.

2. Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik took charge as the 19th chief of the India Air Force from Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, who demitted office on May 31. An alumnus of Sainik School, Satara, and the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Air Chief Marshal Naik saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. He was decorated with the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Vishist Seva Medal.

3. Amal Allana was appointed as chairperson of the National School of Drama (NSD) for a second term on June 15,2009. Allana, an alumnus of the NSD, is the daughter of Ibrahim Alkazi, the founder of the NSD. She joined NSD in 2005 as the chairperson. She has directed several plays, including “Aadhe Adhure”, “The Exception and the Rule”, “Khamosh, Adalat Jari Hai”, “Ashadh Ka Ek Din”, “Mahabhoj”, “King Lear”, “Himmat Mai” and “Begum Barve”. She was awarded many honours, including awards from the Delhi Natya Sangh (1994), Sahitya Kala Parishad (1996), Czech TV for the tele-play “Wapsi” (1983) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for direction (1998).

4. Punjab National Bank Chairman and Managing Director K. C. Chakrabarty succeeded T. S. Narayanasami who was superannuated Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of India on May 31,2009.

5. Distinguished journalist and political commentator Harish Khare was appointed as the media adviser to the Prime Minister on June 20,2009. He replaced Deepak Sandhu, who was shifted to the Central Information Commission as its member. Harish Khare will hold the rank of a secretary to the government of India. Prior to this appointment, Khare, was the Chief of Bureau and senior associate editor at The Hindu. He also worked as the resident editor of the Times of India, Ahmedabad. Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank took oath as the fifth chief minister of Uttarakhand along with three ministers on June 28. Replacing B C Khanduri as the chief minister, Nishank was Health Minister in his cabinet. A sitting legislator from Thalisen constituency, Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank is a strong leader from Garhwal and is known to be close to the RSS.

6. Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam was appointed solicitor general on June 15, the second most important law officer of the country after the attorney general. From the petrol pump scam case to the inquiry commission into Graham Staines murder, he had ample opportunity to render valuable assistance to the Supreme Court as amicus curiae. At the same time, he represented the Centre in high-voltage cases like Bihar assembly dissolution, defreezing of London bank accounts of Bofors case accused Ottavio Quattrocchi and the cash-for-query scam. 51-year-old Subramaniam was additional solicitor general during 2004-09.

7. Vice-Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma was appointed country’s next Chief of Naval Staff. He will take charge from Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who retires from service on August 31. Born on November 14, 1950, Vice-Admiral Verma, currently Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command, has, during his long and distinguished 39 years of service, commanded aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

8. Senior advocate and former Solicitor General Goolam E Vahanvati was appointed the new Attorney General of Indiafor a period of three years. He became the first Muslim to hold the post of Attorney General of India. G E Vahanvati succeeded Milon Banerjee, who had held the Attorney General’s post in the last government. He and all other law officers had put in their papers on May 29,2009 to make way for a fresh team.

9. Timothy J Roemer was nominated as the next US Ambassador to India. A former US lawmaker and a member of the 9/11 Commission, Roemer is currently head of a Washington-based think tank. He is considered close to President Barack Obama and was among the first few Democrat leaders to support Obama in his run for US Presidency.

10. Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), C B Bhave was elected chairman of the Asia- Pacific Regional Committee of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) at the 34th Annual Conference of IOSCO being held at Tel Aviv, Israel. IOSCO is recognised as the international standard setter for securities markets. The Organisation’s wide membership regulates more than 90% of the world’s securities markets and IOSCO is the world`s most important international cooperative forum for securities regulatory agencies.

11. Seven-time member of Lok Sabha Karia Munda was unanimously elected Deputy Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha on June 8. The tradition of having the Deputy Speaker from the Opposition was began in 1977, the very year Karia Munda entered the Lok Sabha. Munda was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Khunti in Jharkhand on BJP ticket.

12. One of the most influential figures in modern pop culture, Michael Jackson, died of a sudden cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles on June 25,2009. Jackson, known as 'King of Pop' by fans and often derided as 'Whacko-Jacko' by the media, was 50. Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, US. I Want You Back, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Billie Jean, Bad, Black or White, Earth Song were his biggest hits album. His 1982 album Thriller remains the world's best-selling record of all time. Jackson began his career as a child in family group The Jackson 5. He then went on to achieve global fame as a solo artist with smash hits such as Billie Jean and Bad. Thriller, released in 1982, is the biggest-selling album of all time, shifting 65m copies, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He scored seven UK number ones as a solo artist and won a total of 13 Grammy awards. Michael Jackson popularised a dance technique called the moonwalk or backslide. Moonwalk presents the illusion that the dancer is stepping forward while actually moving backward. The dance move gained widespread popularity after being performed by Michael Jackson during his song ‘Billie Jean’ on the March 25, 1983. He published autobiography ‘Moon Walk’ in 1988. The book was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.

13. Sri Lankan Army killed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabakaran with at least 18 top leaders including Pottu Amman, B. Nadesan and S. Pulithevan in an intense battle on May 18,2009. Prabhakaran founded LTTE on a culture of suicide attacks and had developed an aura of invincibility. He was the prime architect of the bloody 30-year civil war, and was responsible for the assassinations of several political leaders including India's Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in1991 and Sri Lankan President Premadasa in1993.

14. A 1973 batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, Ashok Chawla was appointed Finance Secretary in the Government of India. Ashok Chawla hold various important portfolios in the field of economy, Industry, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Oil and Natural Gas, Insurance and infrastructure. He also worked as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation. Also he was given Additional charge of the Department of Financial Services since May 1,2009.

15. 1975 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre H. S. Brahma took the charge of Secretary, Union Ministry of Poweron May 12,2009. He was earlier Special Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority in the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

16. 1971 batch IAS officer of Andhra pradesh cadre J S Sarma took the charge of the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on May 14,2009. He succeeded Nripendra Misra who superannuated on March 22. After Nripendra Misra’s retirement AK Sawhney, the senior-most member in Trai had been acting as the TRAI chairman. TRAI is an independent regulator for all issues relating to telecom and broadcasting. The salary and emoluments for the TRAI chairman's position was recently increased to Rs 3 lakh per month, who holds a three-year term as the industry regulator.

17. Madhu Kannan was appointed managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on May 11,2009 by its board. Prior to his appointment, he was a managing director (corporate strategy) with Bank of America-Merrill Lynch based in New York. Kannan also held various senior roles across businesses at the NYSE Euronext. The post of CEO was lying vacant ever since its managing director, Rajnikant Patel, resigned abruptly in August 2008.

18. Pascal Lamy was reappointed director-general of World Trade Organisation. The General Council, on 30 April,2009 endorsed reappointment of Lamy for a second term of four years. He was elected unopposed for the post as none of the WTO's 153 member states put forward another candidate by the deadline of December 31, 2008. A French political advisor and businessman Pascal Lamy had worked as European Commissioner for Trade. He is also Honorary President of Paris-based think tank Notre Europe.

19. Leader of African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma took oath as fourth President of South Africasince the end of apartheid. He was administered the oath by Constitutional Court Chief Justice Pius Langa in front of Father of the Nation for the New South Africa and first black president Nelson Mandela and 30 Heads of States and Governments on May 10,2009 in Pretoria. Jacob Zuma, a self-taught man who fought the apartheid regime from inside South Africa and spent 10 years in prison in Robben Island along with Mandela succeeded outgoing President Kgalema Motlanthe. Jacob Zuma was the head of the ANC’s internal security wing during the struggle against apartheid. The election held in April 2009, his party ANC polled 65.9 per cent of the votes and narrowly missed getting the two-thirds majority in parliament.

20. Leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) Madhav Kumar Nepal sworn in by President Ram Baran Yadav as second Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 25,2009. Earlier he received 359 votes out of the 601-member Constituent Assembly and was declared winner. Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala and senior congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba proposed Madhav Kumar Nepal’s name while CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal and 21 other Constituent Assembly members supported it. The UCPN (Maoists) boycotted the election announcing they would not support the government. The CPN (unified) and the Janata Dal also boycotted the House. He replaced first Maoist prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda who had resigned on May 4, following a row over the tenure of Army chief General Rookmangud Katawal.

21. Sister Mary Prema was declared new superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation founded by Mother Teresa. German-born nun Mary Prema replaced Sister Nirmala Joshi, who was re-elected for the third time on 13 March,2009 but she requested to be relieved of her duties due to ailing health. Miss Joshi has led the congregation since 1997, after the death of Nobel laureate Mother Teresa. Missionaries of Charity (MoC)was established in Kolkata in 1950 by Mother Teresa. She was awarded Nobel Peace prize in 1979. MoC is a Roman Catholic religious order comprising of over 4500 sisters in 133 countries.

22. The government of India appointed Hardeep Singh Puri as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He succeed Nirupam Sen, whose term ended March 31,2009. A 1974-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Hardeep Singh Puri served as India’s ambassador to Brazil and prior to his new appointment, he was as secretary (economic affairs) in the external affairs ministry.

23. Horst Koehler was reelected as the President of Germany by a single vote for a second five year term on May 23,2009. The 1224-seat assembly members and state representatives of the country's 16 state legislatures, who include local television celebrities and sports stars, voted in a secret ballot. He had the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the opposition Free Democrats. Horst Koehler received 613 votes while his opponent the center-left Social Democratic Party candidate Gesine Schwan secured 503 votes. Horst Koehler had been managing director of the International Monetary Fund between 2000 and 2004.

24.The ‘Time’ magazine has published Time 100 list of the World's Most Influential People’ in the category of political leaders, celebrities and academicians among others in the May 11,2009 annual Time 100 issue. World's Most Influential People list was prepared by magazine's editors and it was different from popular choice in TIME. com's online poll. Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani (31st) and Oscar winning Indian music director A R Rahman (59th) made it to the list. Democratic senator Edward Kennedy and British premier Gordon Brown made it to the first and second spot respectively. US secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the eighth place, Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Kayani is sitting pretty at the 19th position, just a spot ahead of President Barack Obama. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and media celebrity Oprah Winfrey also placed on the list. Sri Lankan performer in the ‘O Saya’ song of Slumdog Millionaire, Maya Arulpragasam placed 43rd.

25. The U.S. State Department's security director Gregory Starr was appointed new U.N. security chief overseeing the world body's far-flung security operations. Starr was given responsibility of protecting more than 285 U.S. embassies and consulates overseas as well as 100 domestic facilities. He replaced David Veness of Britain who resigned in June 2008 over the December 2007 truck bombing at U.N. offices and another building in Algiers that killed 17 U.N. staffers and injured 40 others.

No comments:

Post a Comment