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People around the World Welcome 2017
People around the world welcome the new year in style. Pacific islands including Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati were the first to enter 2017 followed by Auckland in New Zealand. Australia’s biggest city Sydney kicked off the party with a spectacular fireworks display that lit up its iconic harbour. People in Mumbai ring in the New Year with heightened security.
Actress Barbara Tarbuck Dies
Barbara Tarbuck, best known for her long-running role as Lady Jane Jacks in General Hospital, has died. She began her career at age nine on the WWJ children’s radio show Storyland. She played Lady Jane Jacks, Jax Jacks’ mother on the popular ABC soap opera General Hospital from 1996 until 2010. She appeared on Broadway in David Mamet’s “The Water Engine” as well as in “Landscape & Silence.”
Pakistan’s New Chief Justice Takes Oath
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took oath of office as Pakistan’s 25th Chief Justice. He replaced Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who retired after superannuation. Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain administered oath to the new Chief Justice of Supreme Court. He is the senior-most judge and in April this year he served as acting CJ in the absence of Chief Justice Jamali who had gone abroad.
U.N. Backs Russian-Turkish Syria Efforts
The UN Security Council has voted to back efforts by Russia and Turkey to end fighting in Syria and plans for fresh peace talks next month. The resolution, drafted by Russia, also calls for rapid access for humanitarian aid to be delivered across the country. The resolution helps pave the way for talks in Kazakhstan between the Syrian government and opposition.
US Slaps Sanctions on 7 Pak Entities
The US has slapped sanctions on seven Pakistani entities associated with the country’s missile programme. The entities added to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) list “have been determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US. II seven have been placed on the entity list under the destination of Pakistan.
BJP Forms Govt in Arunachal Pradesh
BJP government was installed in Arunachal Pradesh. The development came after 33, out of 43 Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) MLAs, led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, merged into BJP. With this, Pema Khandu govt has the support of 47 MLAs, including the two independents in the 60-member Assembly. He paraded the MLAs before Assembly Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who accepted their joining.
Akhilesh Yadav Elected as SP President
Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav has unanimously been elected Samajwadi Party’s national president replacing party Chief Mulayam Singh. A resolution to this effect was presented in the party’s national convention in Lucknow. Shivpal Yadav has been removed from the post of state party chief. Meanwhile, Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has termed the convention as totally unconstitutional.
Sasikala Takes Charge as AIADMK Gen Secy
V K Sasikala took charge as AIADMK general secretary, the party’s top post. Sasikala formally assumed charge by signing papers. A meeting of AIADMK’s top decision making body, the general council, took the decision to appoint her as part general secretary. The long time close aide of late CM of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha fills up the post after it fell vacant with the demise of her mentor.
India Opens First School for Transgender
India’s first transgender school opened in Kochi, Kerala. The school, named Sahaj International, was inaugurated by transgender activist, writer and actor Kalki Subramaniam at Thrikkakara in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. This alternative learning centre works in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The school is the first of its kind in the country.
Bipin Rawat, Dhanoa Assume Charge
General Bipin Rawat assumed charge as India’s new army chief. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took over as the new chief of the Indian Air Force. They succeed General Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha respectively. The new appointments were announced on December 16 by the government. Chief of Naval staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will head the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Ashwin Ends 2016 as Top Ranked Bowler
The Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have held on to the top two positions in the ICC Test bowlers rankings. The Indian team aslo ended the year as the numero uno side in the latest list issued in Dubai. Ashwin also continues to lead the all-rounders’ table with no change among the top five in the list. Jadeja remains at third spot.
Pak 1st Test Team Member Imtiaz Dies
Imtiaz Ahmed, a member of Pakistan´s first-ever Test team, died. He was featured in Pakistan´s first Test played in Delhi against India in Oct 1952 and went on to play 41 matches as a wicket keeper-batsman. He scored 2,079 Test runs for Pakistan with a career best of 209 against New Zealand. His death means that Waqar Hasan is now the only surviving member of Pakistan´s first Test team.
Amazon Look to the Sky to Store Products Inc has filed for a patent to use airships to store products and serve as a base for delivery-drones. According to the patent filing, drones launched from the so-called “airborne fulfillment centers” (AFCs) would use far less power than those launched from the ground. The AFCs would hover at about 45,000 feet & be restocked and resupplied by “shuttles or smaller airships.
China Services Growth Slows in December
Growth in China’s services sector expanded in December at a slower pace than in the previous month. The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 54.5 in December, compared with the previous month’s reading of 54.7. China is counting on growth in services to offset persistent weakness in exports. The economy expanded at a steady 6.7 percent in the third quarter.
NRIs can exchange Old Notes till June 30
The RBI has come out with conditions for exchange of defunct notes for those who failed to do so. Resident Indian citizens, who were abroad from Nov 9th to Dec 30th, can avail this facility up to March 31st, 2017. NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30th, 2017. The limit for NRIs will be 25,000 rupees per person.
Modi Announces New Housing Schemes
PM Modi has announced new schemes to provide subsidised housing for the poor. Housing for the rural poor will be increased by 33%. For home loans of up to 9 lakhs, the underprivileged will get a 4% interest benefit. For home loans of up to 12 lakhs, they will get a three per cent interest benefit. In villages, will get loans of up to 2 lakh, with a three per cent interest relief.
IDBI Slashes Lending Rates
IDBI Bank has taken the lead in slashing interest rates by announcing a 40 basis points (bps) cut. Borrowers seeking three-year loans will be charged 9.30%, down 40 bps; while six month loans have been pegged at 8.90%, down 35 bps. The bank will charge 9.15% on one-year loans against 9.30% now. State Bank of Travancore, a subsidiary of SBI, too slashed benchmark lending rate by up to 0.3%.
PM Announces Crop Loan Benefits
PM Modi announced that government will bear interest for 60 days on crop loans taken by farmers from district cooperative banks & primary societies for sowing operations this Rabi season. Modi also announced that the 3 crore ‘Kisan Credit Cards’ would be converted to RuPay Card within three months. Nabard will be given an additional Rs 20,000 crore to finance district cooperative banks &
8% Interest on FDs for Senior Citizens
PM Modi said the senior citizens of the country would get 8% interest rate on fixed deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Senior citizens (60 years and above) will get monthly interest. Under the scheme, senior citizens will receive a fixed interest rate of 8% for a period of 10 years. Currently, banks give senior citizens an additional interest of 0.50% over the regular rates on fixed deposits.
Govt Doubles Credit Guarantee Limit
The government doubled the credit guarantee limit for small and medium businesses to Rs. 2 crore. It aims to give a boost to the small entrepreneurs and job creation. Government underwrites loans given by banks to small businesses through a trust. So far, loans were covered upto one crore rupees. MSME sector provides bulk of employment, accounts for 45% of India’s manufacturing.
Britain to Launch New Pound Coin
The British govt has announced that it would launch a new one-pound coin at the end of March. It will scrap the current one pound coin by October. The new 12-sided one pound coin would become legal tender on March 28th. he new coin has been introduced to deter sophisticated counterfeiters who can now replicate the current coin, which has been in circulation for 30 years.
M*A*S*H Star William Christopher Dies
William Christopher, who played kind-hearted priest Father Mulcahy in the TV series M*A*S*H, has died. He appeared in all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H, a bittersweet comedy about the life of a US medical unit during the 1950-53 Korean War. The show ran from 1972-1983, its finale drew 106 million viewers, a record at the time. M*A*S*H stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
ExHead of Bundesbank Hans Tietmeyer Dies
A key architect of the euro & a former Bundesbank president, Hans Tietmeyer, has died. He was a driving force behind creating the European Central Bank & the single currency. He ran Germany’s central bank from 1993 until his retirement in 1999. He was a staunch proponent of keeping prices & currencies stable, as well as safeguarding the independence of central banks.
Russia Delivers Advanced Sukhoi to China
Russia has finally delivered four Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China after a delay of two years. Moscow feared that its fifth generation jet will loose value after Chinese military unveiled its J-20 stealth fighter. The Su-35 is an advanced version of the Su-30s. Russia believes that with the commissioning of the J-20, the Su-35 will soon lose its value in the Chinese market.
US Cartoon Artist Tyrus Wong Dies
Tyrus Wong, the artist whose works inspired the Disney film Bambi, has died. A Chinese immigrant, Mr Wong’s vibrant paintings captured Walt Disney’s eye and became the basis of the film’s distinct style. Tyrus Wong only worked at Disney for three years, moving to Warner Brothers as a concept artist, designing greeting cards for Hallmark on the side.
Can’t Seek Votes in Name of Religion:SC
Politicians are barred from seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or creed the Supreme Court has ruled. The court also ruled that seeking votes in this manner will be deemed a corrupt practice and not permissible. The court’s bench said by a 4:3 majority that elections are a secular exercise. The relationship between people and whom they worship is an individual choice.
Agni IV Test-Fired Successfully
India successfully test fired the Agni IV nuclear capable ballistic missile that has a range of up to 4,000 km. The test comes within a week of the successful test firing of India’s most lethal Agni V missile. The Agni IV missile that is propelled by composite rocket motor technology. The missile is reportedly equipped with state-of-the-art avionics V-12 fifth generation On-Board Computer.
Jananpith Announces Navlekhan Award
Two new Hindi writers Shraddha and Ghyansham Kumar Devansh have been chosen for Bharatiya Jnanpith Navlekhan Award for the year 2016. The decision to confer the award on Shraddha for her short story, ‘Hawa Mein Phadphadati Chitthi’ & on Devansh for his poem ‘Akash Mein Deh’ was taken unanimously by a selection panel. It was chaired by eminent poet Vishnu Nagar.
Knighthood for British-Indian Professor
An Indian-origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University Shankar Balasubramanian received Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions. He was recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing. He had received PhD for research on the Reaction mechanism of the enzyme Chorismate synthase from University of Cambridge.
One More Second Added to IST
A ‘leap second’ was added to the Indian clock to synchronise with the Earth’s rotational clock. As the atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) struck 23:59:59, it was programmed to add an extra second to 2017 to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation. Adding a second barely has an impact on the daily life,but it does matter in the fields of satellite & communication.
SC Removes BCCI President Anurag Thakur
The Supreme Court removed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Anurag Thakur for allegedly lying on oath. A Contempt notice has also been issued by the Supreme Court to Anurag Thakur. The Court said that senior most vice-president of BCCI will act as President while Joint Secretary will act as Secretary. Earlier, Lodha Committee submitted its third status report on Nov 14.
Nadal Wins Mubadala Tennis Championships
Spanish tennis veteran Rafael Nadal defeated Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 to win the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. Nadal defeated his opponent David Goffin with 6-4, 7-6 in the finals. He reached the Abu Dhabi Finals by beating Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final and Milos Raonic in the semi-final. Adal who received a cash prize of $250,000.
Ricky Ponting Named Assistant Coach
Rcky Ponting will serve as an assistant coach for Australia during next month’s Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka. He will work alongside former team-mates Justin Langer & Jason Gillespie for the series. It will be Ponting’s first foray into coaching with the national side. He previously coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, leading the T20 side to a championship in 2015.
Somdev Devvarman Announces Retirement
India’s star singles player Somdev Devvarman announced his retirement from professional tennis. Somdev touched a career-high rank of number 62 in 2011. He has two runners-up finishes on the ATP World Tour as his best performances on the Tour. He made the finals of Chennai and Johannesburg ATP events. Somdev also won Singles and Doubles medals in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Petronet Signs Pact to Set up LNG Proj
India’s largest LNG importer Petronet has signed an agreement to set up a $950 million liquefied natural gas import project in Bangladesh. Petronet signed a MoU with with Petrobangla to set up a 7.5 million tonnes a year project to receive and regasify LNG on Kutubdia Island in Cox’s Bazar. It will also lay a 26-km pipline to connect it to the consumption markets.
NHPC CMD Honoured at 10th ENERTIA Award
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Chairman & Managing Director K M Singh has been conferred the Power & Energy Persona’s Award for Individual Excellence. He was awarded at the 10th ENERTIA Awards 2016 — India and South Asia’s awards for excellence in sustainable energy and power. He received the award from Former Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Upendra Tripathy
Govt Permit 12 Banks to Raise Rs 3,000cr
The government has allowed 12 lenders to raise nearly Rs 3,000 crore via preferential shares. This will be over and above the Rs 22,915 crore capital support committed to them in July last year. The government had already infused a sum of Rs 25,000 crore in 19 PSBs during FY 2015-16. A budgetary provision of Rs 25,000 crore has been made for 2016-17.
SAT Quashes SEBI’s Fine on Apollo Tyres
The Securities Appellate Tribunal has set aside the over 1 crore penalty imposed by SEBI on Apollo Tyres. The penalty was imposed with respect to buyback of shares. The application sought permission to intervene in the appeal. A total of Rs.1.03 crore fine was slapped on Apollo Tyres in July 2014 by SEBI for violating norms pertaining to buyback of shares.
BoB Launch Agriculture Investment Scheme
Bank of Baroda has launched an agricultural investment credit for the farmers of Rajasthan. The first loan has been disbursed in Sri Ganganagar. Under the scheme, farmers can avail of loan from the bank’s branches for construction of farm ponds, installation of solar pumps and for any other viable agriculture activities. Bank will help the farmers in doubling their income by the year 2022.
SBI, PNB, UBI Cuts Lending Rate
Top PSU lenders State Bank, Punjab National Band and Union Bank today slashed their benchmark lending rates by up to 90 basis points. SBI has reduced marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 0.9 per cent from 8.90 per cent to 8 per cent for one-year tenure. Punjab National Bank and Union Bank of India too have brought down the benchmark interest rate by up to 0.9 per cent.
NASA Captures Image of ISS Crossing Sun
A NASA photographer has captured a stunning image of the International Space Station making its way in front of the Sun at a speed of about 28968 kms per hour. Noel Kowsky, a lensman working for NASA captured the photograph. The image shows the orbital space station transiting across the Sun. The ISS orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 330-435 kms.
China Flags Off First Train to London
China has launched its first freight train to London over 12000 km away as part of efforts to improve trade. The train departed from Yiwu, Zhejiang Province & will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium & France before arriving in London. The journey will take 18 days. London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services.
Bargarh Dhanua Jatra begins
The World famous 11 day gala festival Bargarh Dhanua Jatra began on 2 Jan in western Odisha. All rituals were performed before Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the event Dhanu Jatra is an annual drama-based open air theatrical performance celebrated in & around Bargarh city spanning over an area of 6 km radius.It is considered to be the world’s largest open air theatrical festival
Guterres Takes Charge as UN Sect-General
Antonio Guterres took charge as the 9th UN Secretary General. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon as the world’s top diplomat. He served as Portugal’s prime minister between 1995 & 2002. He was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to Dec 2015. The new UN chief said, let us make 2017 a year for peace in which all citizens, governments, leaders strive to overcome our differences.
Art Critic & Author John Berger Dies
Art critic and author John Berger has died. His best-known work was Ways of Seeing, a criticism of western cultural aesthetics, but he also won the Booker Prize for his novel G. He donated half the prize money to the radical African-American movement, the Black Panthers. His editor Tom Overton, who is writing Berger’s biography, said the writer “let us know that art would enrich our lives”.
Fadnavis Unveil Portrait of Prabodhankar
Maharashtra CM Fadnavis unveiled the portrait of social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray inside the headquarters of Mumbai civic body. He termed Prabodhankar as “the great social reformer who fought against all the odds”. Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, known as Prabodhankar was a social reformer, author & a key leaders of the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti. He is the father of late Bal Thackeray.
Keralaite become Major Gen of Kyrgyzstan
An Indian-origin Saudi-based entrepreneur has been appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan. Keralite Shaikh Rafik Mohammed was appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan by Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan Ali Mirza. Rafik earlier worked as an adviser to the former Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev. It is a rare military position occupied by an overseas Keralite
David Syiemlieh is the New UPSC Chairman
David R Syiemlieh has been appointed as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Syiemlieh is from Meghalaya and was a UPSC member. He will remain the head of the organisation till his retirement on January 21, 2018 or till further orders. He will take over from Alka Sirohi, a former IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre.
Mobile App for Merchant Navy Officers
The Maritime Union of India (MUI) has launched android based mobile app named MUI It is the country’s oldest union representing Indian Merchant Navy Officers since 1939. The app is aimed at connecting the maritime fraternity across the country to facilitate and enable Indian merchant navy officers to share knowledge and other things related to their profession.
Haj Committee Mobile App’ Launched
Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has launched the Haj Committee of India’s mobile app. The app would bring all Haj related information to the fingertips of users and can make payments. Five adults and two infants can apply together as a group. A PDF copy of the form will go to applicant’s email. The website is in Hindi, Urdu & English languages
TT Champ Li Xiaoxia Announces Retirement
China’s table tennis Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia has announced her retirement. Li helped China win the team gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games when she also finished the runner-up in the singles event. She is the eighth table tennis Grand Slam winner in history with singles crowns from the 2008 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, 2012 Olympics in London & 2013 world championships in Paris.
Sports Ministry Constitutes Committee
Sports Minister Vijay Goel has constituted a committee to suggest improvements in the National Sports Development Code. Committee will be headed by Secretary (Sports) to suggest improvements in the National Sports Development Code. Injeti Srinivas is currently the Secretary (Sports) in the Ministry. The committee will give its report within one month.
Former Olympic Champion Vuarnet Dies
Former French Olympic downhill skiing champion Jean Vuarnet has died. He gave his name to a world-famous brand of sunglasses, won gold in the downhill event in the 1960 Winter Olympics in California. He is credited with inventing an aerodynamic crouch for downhill skiing known as the “egg”. Vuarnet was also the first person to win the event using metal skis.
26 crore Accounts Open under Jan Dhan
According to latest data released by Finance Ministry over 26 crore accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) across the country till date. Of the total, nearly 16 crore accounts are in rural areas and more than 10 crore in urban. Over 71 thousand 500 crore rupees have been deposited in these accounts and zero balance accounts has come down to nearly 24%.
BoB Ties up with CNX Corporation
Public sector lender Bank of Baroda has entered into a partnership with CNX Corporation (CNX). Its objective to provide collateral management services towards the loans against warehouse receipt sanctioned to the farmers through the network of the bank’s branches. CNX is engaged in providing warehouse management services relating to commodities and inventories.
Banks Cut Base Rates
Housing, auto & corporate loans are all set to become cheaper with half a dozen PSU and private banks reducing benchmark lending rate by up to 1.48%. SBI cut its lending rate by 0.9%. Home loan rate for ICICI Bank will come down between 0.45 and 0.6%. Kotak Mahindra Bank reduced the MCLR rate by up to 0.45%. Oriental Bank of Commerce has reduced the one-year MCLR rate to 8.6%
Finland to Pay Unemployed Basic Income
Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income. It will amounting to 560 euros (USD 587), in a social experiment hoped to reduce poverty & boost employment. The two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off January 1. The unemployment rate of Finland stood at 8.1 per cent in November.
Service Charges in Hotels not Mandatory
Government said that the service charges in restaurants is optional. Consumer has discretion to pay service charge or not. The clarification came following consumer complaints that hotels and restaurants are charging service charge in the range of 5 to 20%, in lieu of tips. It has asked the state governments to advise the hotels to display information that the service charges are voluntary.
SBI Pushes Merger to Next Fiscal
State Bank chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya hinted that the mega merger of its five associate banks & Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) could be pushed to the next financial year. The merger would make SBI a global-sized bank & would be amongst the top 50 lenders in the world. It will have an asset base of Rs 37 trillion or over $555 billion,with 22500 branches more than 50 crore customers.
Interest Rate on Small Savings Unchanged
The Govt has kept interest rates on small savings schemes like PPF & Kisan Vikas Patra unchanged for the Jan-March quarter. KVP will investments will continue to yield 7.7% & the PPF 8%. The one for girl child savings, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, will continue to give out 8.5%.
Tsunami threat in Fiji after earthquake
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has struck 284km off the coast of Fiji. The quake struck at 10.52am local time, the US Geological Survey said. A Tsunami threat message was initially issued for parts of the Pacific closer to the epicentre according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. The centre said hazardous tsunami waves were possible and could strike the coastline of Fiji.
MoU between India and Kenya
The Union Cabinet has approved signing of MoU between India and Kenya on bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors. The MoU covers various activities in these fields which include agricultural research, animal husbandry and dairy, livestock etc. The MoU provides for constitution of a Joint Working Group comprising of representatives from both countries.
New organ in human body
Scientists in Ireland have classified a brand-new organ inside human body. J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Surgery at University of Limerick in Ireland outlined the evidence for categorising the mesentery as an organ. ‘Mesentery’ that connects the intestine to the abdomen was considered a fragmented structure. This will aid better understanding & treatment of abdominal and digestive diseases.
Earthquake hits Ambassa of Tripura
A moderate intensity earthquake measuring 5.7 on the richter scale struck Tripura on Tuesday afternoon. It triggered landslides in the hill state which caused death of a woman and four others injured. According to the National Centre for Seismology, the epicentre of the temblor which occurred at 1439 hrs was in Dhalai district in Tripura at a depth of 28 km.
Govt. bans phones in Secretaries meets
To keep all proposals and ideas under wraps ahead of the presentation of the Budget on February 1, the Modi government has issued a fresh order. A ban on mobile phones in cabinet meetings, ministers and secretaries has been imposed in all Group of Secretaries meets. The Cabinet Secretariat sent a missive to secretaries of various departments, asking them not to carry their phones in meetings
S. Padmanabhan to be Chairman of Tata
Tata Power has said that S Padmanabhan has been nominated as chairman of the board of directors of the company. Last month, Padmanabhan was appointed the Additional Director. Prior to joining the Tata Power board, he was the Executive Chairman, Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG), and was recently given the additional responsibility as Head of Group HR for Tata Sons.
IBM India names Karan Bajwa as MD
Technology giant IBM said it has appointed Karan Bajwa Managing Director of its India operations. He succeeds Vanitha Narayana, who has been elevated as Chairman of IBM India. Bajwa joined IBM last year as Executive for Strategy and Transformation in the Asia Pacific region. Previously, he was Microsoft India’s managing director.
Over 30 PIOs in Forbes’ list
Over 30 Indian origin innovators, entrepreneurs & leaders have been featured in the 2017 edition of Forbes’ list of super achievers under the age of 30. It deals with 20 industries including healthcare, manufacturing, sports & finance. The list includes 27-year-old Vivek Kopparthi, co-founder of NeoLight that has developed a phototherapy device that is portable for use at home for jaundice.
Season’s first snowfall in Srinagar
Srinagar recorded the first snowfall of the season and rains that provided much needed relief from the intense cold as the mercury rose due to cloud cover. Srinagar recorded snow and rains equivalent to rainfall of 12.4 mm during the last 24 hours. The 5 month long dry spell in Kashmir, the longest in nearly four decades, ended as high altitude areas, including Gulmarg, experienced snow.
EC announces poll dates for five States
The Election Commission of India announced the dates for the Assembly elections in UP, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand & Goa at a press conference. The polls will be held from Feb 4 to Mar 8 and counting will begin on Mar 11.There are 690 legislative assemblies which will go to polls and 16 cr people will vote. Total of 185000 polling stations will be covered under operations
SB Deo becomes Vice-Chief of Air Staff
Air Marshal S B Deo took over as Vice Chief of Air Staff in place of Air Marshal B S Dhanoa who is now the chief. Air Marshal Deo, who was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on June 15, 1979 is an alumnus of the NDA and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He is a FCL and a ‘Cat A’ Qualified Flying Instructor with over 3,800 hours of operational and training flying.
India-Sri Lanka Joint Press Communique
India and Sri Lanka held Ministerial level talks on fishermen issues in Colombo. The Ministers exchanged views on possible mechanisms to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues. Both sides agreed to a set of Standard Operating Procedures to expedite the release and handing over of fishermen in each other’s custody on completion of respective legal and procedural formalities.
Nepal to have Constitution amendment
Nepal’s SC said, “Judiciary could not bar the Legislative from using its wisdom in the formulation of legislation, on the basis of the principle of separation of powers.” Issues like change in demarcation of provinces, citizenship, language & making the Constitution more inclusive are incorporated in the amendment. CJ Sushila Karki & Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada gave this ruling.
104th Indian Science Congress inaugrated
PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the five-day 104th Indian Science Congress at the Srinivasa Auditorium in Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati. Modi told the audience that “Science must meet rising aspirations of people. Our infrastructure and social welfare ministries must make use of science,”. By 2030 India will be among top three countries in science and technology,” PM Modi added.
Re-promulgation of ordinances a fraud:SC
Asserting that ordinance making power is not a parallel source of legislation the SC ruled that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution. The judgement was passed by a 5:2 majority.The judgement was passed by a 7 member committee led by Justice DY Chandrachud. The members included SA Bobde, Adarsh Goel, Uday Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao,TS Thakur & Madan Lokur
Disabled may get 5% quota in colleges
The govt will finalise the rules regarding the recently passed Disabilities Bill by Apr 14 which will allow disabled persons to avail 5% reservation in higher education institutions & 3-4% in govt jobs. According to the bill specially abled persons with benchmark disability between 6-18 years will get free education. Under the Act,the govt has increased the types of disabilities from 7 to 21
China confirms drills in South China Sea
China’s sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning conducted drills in the South China Sea. The news was confirmed by Taiwan days after it spotted the ship and accompanying ships had passed 90 nautical miles south of the island. The carrier’s J-15 fighters conducted flight exercises in “complex sea conditions”. The drills come at a time of heightened strain with Taiwan after it called US President Trump
Justice JS Khehar sworn in as CJI
Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar was sworn in as the Chief Justice of India. Khehar was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. He succeeded Justice Tirath Singh Thakur. Khehar is the 44th CJI and also the first Sikh to hold the apex office. He would have a tenure of little over seven months.
Union Budget may be advanced by a month
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs recommended holding of the Budget Session from 31 Jan when the govt is likely to table the Economy Survey followed by the Union Budget on 1 Feb. The first part of the Budget Session will run till 9 Feb. The Budget Session is being advanced as the government wants early allocation of funds for various schemes- from 1 April.
UAE govt seizes Dawood Ibrahim’s assets
In one of the biggest crackdown on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government seized assets of Mumbai serial blast mastermind worth up to Rs 15,000 crore. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval reportedly pursued the matter with UAE and requested the officials to act and seize Dawood’s property. This issue came when PM Modi, accompanied by NSA Doval, visited UAE.
World Braille Day Observed
World Braille Day is annually celebrated on January 4, the birthday of Braille inventor, Louis Braille in 1824. The day recognizes the contributions of Louis Braille in helping blind & visually impaired people to read and write. Braille is a code that uses bumps and indentation on a surface to represent letters. Louis Braille was blinded in an accident at a very young age, invented it.
UK Appoints New Ambassador to the EU
Senior diplomat Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed the UK’s new ambassador to the EU, replacing Sir Ivan Rogers. Sir Tim was the UK’s ambassador to Moscow from 2011 to 2015. He has also advised a succession of foreign secretaries as well as holding other roles in the UK’s EU mission. The resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers has revealed more than the difficulty and complexity of Britain’s EU exit.
Mein Kampf Becomes German Bestseller
A new edition of Adolf Hitler’s antisemitic manifesto Mein Kampf has once again become a bestseller in German bookstores. Over 85,000 copies have been sold since its re-release last year. The new copies, set for a sixth print run, include critical notes by scholars.
Mein Kampf [My Struggle in German] was first published in 1925, eight years before Hitler rose to power.
Jovenel Moise Clinches Haiti Presidency
Haitian businessman Jovenel Moise has been officially declared winner of November’s presidential election. He was elected with 55.6 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his closest rival. The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti has been led by an interim President since last February. It has been blighted by political instability for decades, and is vulnerable to natural disasters.
Govt Launched ‘Bunkar Mitra’ Helpline
Textile Minister Smriti Irani has launched a Bunkar Mitra-Handloom Helpline Centre where professional queries of weavers will be answered by the experts in the field. This helpline can be accessed by dialing the toll free number 1800-208-9988. Initially it will provide information in 7 languages. These are Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada Bengali and Assamese.
Centre Approves Ganga Cleaning Projects
The Centre has approved new projects for its ongoing Ganga rejuvenation programme in Haridwar and Varanasi. In Haridwar, 68 MLD sewage treatment plant (STP) in Jagjeetpur and 14 MLD STP in Sarai have been approved. Approval for 50 MLD sewage treatment plant at Ramana in Varanasi. It also decided to include six more cities under surface cleaning exercise of the river using trash skimmers.
Assam, Telangana Join UDAY Scheme
Telangana and Assam signed MoUs for being a part of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY). An overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 6,116 crore to Telangana and Rs. 1,663 crore to Assam will come from joining the scheme. Assam and Telangana will become the 19th and the 20th states to have joined the UDAY scheme. The UDAY scheme is meant for revival of loss making discoms.
Govt Launches Swachh Bharat Survekshan
The Union Ministry of Urban Development launched Swachh Survekshan 2017 to rank 500 cities/towns across the country on cleanliness with a population of 1 lakh and above. The survey will be conducted by Quality Council of India. It will judge cities on the basis of data provided by Municipal bodies, data collected through direct observations & independent assessment & citizen feedbacks.
Conf. on Yoga for Diabetes Inaugurated
The three day International Conference on “Yoga for Diabetes” was inaugurated by Minister of State for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in New Delhi. Shri Naik said that this conference aims to generate discussions on the role of Yoga in the prevention and management of Diabetes. The world’s apex body for culture UNESCO has recently included yoga in its list of intangible cultural heritage.
David Warner Achieves Rare Test Feat
Australia David Warner became only the fifth batsman to hit a century before lunch on the opening day of a Test match against Pakistan. He reached three figures off 78 balls as the Australia took control of the third Test match. He was out for 113, is the first batsman to hit a century in the opening session of a Test in Australia. He reached his hundred four minutes before lunch.
Cyclist Robert Marchand Sets New Record
Super senior citizen Robert Marchand has set a new world record in cycling at 105 years old. The Frenchman set the record for a man of that age to ride 22.547 kilometres in one hour. He broke the record set by himself five years ago for a person aged over 100 pedalling the furthest distance in an hour. The current men’s hour record is held by the UK’s Bradley Wiggins – 54.526km.
India Win SAFF Women’s Championship
India defeated Bangladesh 3-1 to win their fourth consecutive South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Football Championship title in Siliguri. In the process, the Indian eves are now unbeaten in 19 matches having won 18 and drawn one. This was Bangladesh’s maiden final appearance in the championship. For India, the goals were scored by Dangmei Grace, Sasmita Malik and Indumathi.
Dhoni Steps Down as ODI, T20 Captain
Mahindra Singh Dhoni has announced to step down as captain of Team India’s limited over matches. He will, however, be available for selection for the ODI & T20 England series starting this month. He had earlier stepped down as Captain of India’s Test team. Dhoni relinquishes captaincy in all formats of the game after having played 60 tests, 199 ODIs & 72 T-20 matches.
Azure Commissions Solar Power Project
Azure Power, a leading solar power producer in India, has commissioned the largest (150 MW) solar power project in north India, in the state of Punjab. For this project, Azure Power had signed a solar power implementation agreement with Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) under its Solar Policy Phase III. The 150MW solar power plant represents a portfolio of three projects of 50MW each.
Govt Launches UDAY Web Portal & App
Union Minister Piyush Goyal has launched Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) Web Portal & Mobile App. The UDAY portal/app would track & monitor the progress of DISCOMs on operational & financial parameters under the UDAY scheme. It would provide details of latest progress made by various DISCOMs, as recent as last month. The DISCOM-level data will be integrated into State & National level.
Google CEO Announces Digital Unlocked
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Digital Unlocked, a plan to help small & medium enterprises in India understand how online works & go digital. The online training compromises 90 training videos as well as an eight-hour classroom training along with FICCI. SMEs will need to register on the Digital Unlocked website. The search giant has planned 5000 workshops in 40 cities across India.
SBI Launches App for Prob. Officers
SBI Chairman has launched a digital platform & mobile app powered by Manipal Global Education Services’ (MaGE) EduNxt Platform. The SBI’s analytics dashboard app acts as a digital mentor to Probationary Officers & Trainee Officers. The intuitive mobile app provides a learning dashboard for the learner. The Officers can stay connected on the mobile app with all the latest developments.
RBI Appoints Surekha Marandi as ED
The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Surekha Marandi as Executive Director (ED). She succeeds US Paliwal who retired on December 31, 2016. As Executive Director, Marandi will look after the Consumer Education & Protection Department, the Financial Inclusion & Development Department & the Secretary’s Department. She has also served on the boards of United Bank of Indian & Bank of Baroda.
Droom, Axis Bank Tie-up to Provide Loans
Online automobile marketplace Droom as tied up with Axis Bank to provide quick sanction of loans on both new as well as used cars. Loans will be provided for up to 85% of the value of the car with a tenure of 1-5 years & upto 10 years for used cars at the end of the loan tenure. The collaboration is another step in our attempt to provide holistic facilities to users.
Paytm Gets RBI Nod for Payments Bank
Paytm Payments Bank, owned by One97 Communications & its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, received an approval to formally launch its services from the RBI. Sharma owns 51% stake while One97 owns 49%. Paytm is expecting to roll out its payments bank in the next 30-60 days in Noida. Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account.
Paul Ryan Re-elected as House Speaker
US lawmakers voted to retain congressman Paul Ryan as speaker of the House of Representatives. House members voted 239 to 189 to re-elect Ryan to the key post over former speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Ryan will lead a House in which Republicans hold 241 seats, compared with 194 seats held by Democrats. He will be a critical player in Congress as Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency.
Maduro Names New Vice President
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has appointed Tareck El Aissami, as Country’s Vice President. El Aissami served as junior Security Minister and later Interior and Justice Minister under Maduro’s late predecessor Hugo Chavez. Maduro has been in power since 2013, is struggling to keep the economy afloat. Political turmoil and rampant violence have also hammered his approval ratings.
Rockefeller Foundation Picks Rajiv Shah
Former head of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, Rajiv J Shah will be the next president of the Rockefeller Foundation. It is one of America’s largest and most influential philanthropies. He will succeed Judith Rodin, who has been the foundation’s president for 12 years. The Rockefeller foundation, set up in 1913 by the oil tycoon John D Rockefeller.
Sitar Maestro Abdul Halim Jaffer Dies
Noted sitar player Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan has passed away. He was a recipient of Padma bhushan & Sangeet Natak Academic awards. He was the last survivor of the Sitar Trinity that comprised Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan. During his music career spanning over six decades, Khan played the sitar for various films, including Mughal-E-Azam, Kohinoor, Goonj Uthi Shehnai among others.
EC Limits Cash Expense per Candidate
The Election Commission has set the campaign expenses limit per candidate between Rs 20 lakh & Rs 28 lakh in the five states where assembly polls will be held later this year. In Goa and Manipur the limit on election expenses per candidate is Rs 20 lakh. In Punjab, Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand the election expenses is Rs 28 lakh. This was announced by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.
Two day Assam Biotech Conclave Begins
The two day Assam Biotech Conclave began in Guwahati. CM Sarbanand Sonowal inaugurated the conclave in presence of Science and Technology minister Keshab Mahanta. The conclave will create business and partnering opportunities for its stakeholders and to showcase the facilities and opportunities offered by Guwahati Biotech Park. Several MoUs have been signed as a part of the conclave.
PM Pays Tribute To Guru Gobind Singh
The PM Modi, attended the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj in Patna. A commemorative postage stamp was released to mark the occasion. PM Modi offered prayers and served “langar” at the 61-acre area, covered with glittering tents. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, was born in Patna on December 22, 1666 & spent part of his childhood.
Bindra, Padukone in 9-member Govt Panel
Abhinav Bindra & Prakash Padukone are part of the nine-member government panel formed to make recommendations for bringing out a comprehensive National Sports Development Code. The committee will be headed by Injeti Srinivas. The other notable include Anju Bobby George,Narinder Batra, Bishweshwar Nandi, Nandan Kamath & Vijay Lokapally. The joint secretary sports is the ninth member.
Younis Khan Equals Sunil Gavaskar Record
Pakistan cricketer Younis Khan created history at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he smashed his 34th century & his fourth against Australia. He has equalled former India skipper Gavaskar’s tally of centuries. He became the second cricketer in Test history after Dravid to score a hundred in all 10 Test playing nations. He is the oldest Asian cricketer to have scored a century in Australia.
Mumbai to Take on Gujarat in Ranji Final
Mumbai defeated Tamil Nadu to seal their berth in the final of Ranji Trophy for the record 46th time in the Ranji Trophy. Mumbai will now take on Gujarat in the final at Indore’s Holkar Stadium. The Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India. The competition is named after first Indian Cricketer who played international cricket, Ranjitsinhji.
Mahrez is African Footballer of the Year
Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez has won the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year award. He was chosen ahead of 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. Arsenal and Nigeria forward Alex Iwobi won the young player award. Sixteen players have won African football most prestigious individual award since its inauguration in 1992.
S. Africa Beat Sri Lanka to Win Series
South Africa bowled out Sri Lanka for 224 in the second innings to win the 2nd Test by 282 runs and take a 2-0 lead in the series. Fast bowler Rabada finished with six for 55, giving South Africa a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The hosts have thus taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. South Africa has won the first test in Port Elizabeth by 206 runs.
Govt Launches IPR Enforcement Toolkit
The Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Toolkit for Police. The toolkit has been prepared by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management & FICCI. This toolkit will be a ready reckoner for police in dealing with IP crimes, specifically Trade Marks counterfeiting & Copyrights piracy. It provides for checklists for registering a complaint.
Sebi Issues Guidance on Board Evaluation
Sebi issued detailed guidance note for listed companies on board evaluation. Under this, companies have to evaluate the performance of the board as a whole, individual director & various committees. The reason for the guidance note is to create awareness of the concept of board evaluation. Board evaluation is voluntary for companies under the new Companies Act & the Sebi regulations.
Reliance Power Names Nagarajan as CFO
Reliance Power has appointed Suresh Nagarajan as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. He is presently holding the position of Senior Executive Vice President, has been elevated to the position of CFO by the Board of Directors. He is a chartered accountant and company secretary who has been with the company for about 11 years. He has been associated with Reliance Power since 2006
Private Sector Records Higher Sales
The RBI has said that net profit of listed private sector companies recorded a robust growth of 16% in the second quarter of the fiscal. Manufacturing continued to record high net profit growth, whereas services (Non-IT) sector continued to witness contraction in net profits. The aggregate sales growth of the listed non-govt non-financial companies grew by 1.9% in Quarter two of 2016-17.
SBI Launches Hybrid Home Loan
SBI’s new loan offer Hamara Ghar introduced a hybrid loan product which allows customers to tie up a fixed-rate loan for the initial two years. Customers would be able to avail of home loans up to Rs30 lakh at a fixed rate of 8.55% for the first two years, which would later be readjusted to a floating rate. For women, the home loan rate has been fixed at 8.5% for the first two years.
NCDEX Re-launches Castorseed Futures
The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) will relaunch trading in castorseed futures. To start with, castorseed contracts expiring in February, March, April and May would be available for trading. The contract will serve as crucial risk mitigation tool. In the absence of futures contract the traders, processors and exporters are left vulnerable to fluctuating prices.
Karnataka Bank Launches KBL Suraksha
Karnataka Bank has launched a campaign to promote a group personal accident insurance scheme for savings bank account-holders, ‘KBL Suraksha’. KBL Suraksha provides coverage against all types of accidental deaths. All savings bank account-holders of the bank in the age group of 18-70 years can subscribe to this scheme. The bank expects a significant increase in new savings bank accounts.
Yes Bank, Gupshup Launch Chatbot
Yes Bank partnered with Silicon Valley-based bot platform Gupshup to launch an artificial intelligence-powered banking chatbot ‘YES mPower’. It will instantly give information about loan products. The YES mPower bot is available through Facebook Messenger. With YES mPower, customers can get information on loan products like personal loans, auto loans, gold loans & loan against securities.
Antarctic Iceberg Poised to Break Off
A giant iceberg, with an area equivalent to Trinidad &Tobago, is poised to break off from the Antarctic shelf. A thread of just 20km of ice is now preventing the 5,000 sq km mass from floating away. The iceberg, is positioned on the most northern major ice shelf in Antarctica, known as Larsen C. The separation of the iceberg will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula
Putin ‘Sought to Help’ Trump Win US Vote
Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Donald Trump win the presidential election, a US intelligence report says. The unclassified report says the Russian leader “ordered” a campaign aimed at influencing the election. The 25-page report says that the Kremlin developed a “clear preference” for Mr Trump. The unclassified version contained no detailed evidence of Putin’s alleged role.
Eminent Jurist Weeramantry Passes Away
Eminent jurist C.G. Weeramantry, who was the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has passed away. He began his judicial career in the 1950s, & became Sri Lanka’s youngest Supreme Court judge. He set up the Weeramantry Centre for International Peace. He also served as president of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms.
China Launches Longest Bullet Train
China has launched its longest bullet train named “Shangri-la of the World”. It runs between Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province to Beijing. The train starts from Kunming on a 2,760-km trip to Beijing, which takes about 13 hours. The name of the train reflects the world famous resort in Shangri-la of Yunnan. China has built more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines.
3 Women Become First Female US Marines
In US, for the first time, the Marine Corps has put three enlisted female Marines in a ground combat unit once open only to men. They will serve as a rifleman, machine gunner and mortar Marine. The identities of the women are not being released. Their entry in the unit marks ongoing efforts to comply with Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s directive to open all military jobs to women.
Suriname Vice Prez Arrives in New Delhi
Vice President of Suriname, Ashwin Adhin, arrived in New Delhi on a nine-day visit. During his visit Adhin will attend the inaugural session of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) in Bengaluru. He will also meet a number of union ministers during his stay in India. He has been Vice President of Suriname since 2015. The PBD will be formally be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Historian Prof Gangmumei Kamei Dies
Noted Manipur-based historian, litterateur and scholar Gangmumei Kamei passed away. He was currently a member of the North Eastern Council (NEC). He was specialised in the history of the North-eastern region, and more particularly of Manipur. His most well-known books are: A History of Modern Manipur, A History of Manipur: Pre-colonial Period, On History and Historiography of Manipur.
Delhi Metro Phase-4 Gets Govt Nod
The Delhi govt approved the fourth phase of Metro project featuring six corridors measuring over a hundred kilometre. It will take the network to the outer areas of the national capital. This decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The mega project will cost over 50 thousand crore rupess, which is to be borne equally by the state and the Centre.
Centre Approves Assistance of Rs 1782 cr
The Centre has approved an assistance of over 1782.44 crore rupees for Karnataka. The state will get this sum from the National Disaster Relief Fund as drought relief. The financial assistance was approved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at a meeting. The Committee examined the proposal based on the reports of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team which visited the state.
4th Assam Int. Agri-Horti Show Begins
Fourth Assam International Agri-Horiculture show has begun in Guwahati. It was inaugurated by state CM Sarbananda Sonowal. Nearly 600 farmers of Assam will be trained on doubling farmers’ income, more crop per drop and agri-preneurship development. Over 200 organizations from across the country have taken part in the show. Business meet, exhibitions, discussion are also being organised.
Veteran Actor Om Puri Dies
Veteran Indian actor Om Puri has passed away. The actor has appeared in mainstream Bollywood cinema as well as Pakistani, British & Hollywood films. He had an illustrious film career, spanning over four decades. He was recipient of two National awards & two Filmfare Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.
2 Kashmiri Boys to Play for Spanish Club
Two boys from the Kashmir Valley have been selected to play in the Spanish Football league. Basit Ahmed and Md Asrar Rehbar, will play with Sociedad Deportiva Lenense Proinastur – a third division professional club from the Spanish La Liga. La Liga is the national football league in Spain. This is the first time that any Indian player will be playing for the Spanish club.
Virak Kohli to Lead in all Three Formats
Virat Kohli was officially appointed captain for all three formats of the game. He took over leadership for the upcoming limited-overs series against England. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after more than nine years at the helm, will play only as keeper-batsman. Virat Kohli will lead a 15-member squad in both ODIs and Twenty20s against England.
16th Meeting of FSDC Held in New Delhi
The 16th meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held in New Delhi. It was chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It was attended by heads of all financial sector regulators as its members. It reviewed the major issues and challenges facing the economy. The Council also reviewed the status of NPAs & the measures taken for tackling the stressed assets.
Sebi Eases Norms for Fund Managers
To make it easier for foreign fund managers keen to enter India, Sebi has notified rules under a relaxed regulatory regime. The move assumes significance in the wake of the govt’s incentives for the offshore fund managers willing to relocate to India. The regulator has made amendments to Sebi (Portfolio Managers) Regulations, 1993. It had issued a consultation paper in this regard in June.
EPFO makes Aadhaar Mandatory
Retirement fund body EPFO has made it mandatory for its subscribers to provide Aadhaar. The pensioners as well as members would have to provide Aadhaar or enrolment slips by January 31, 2017. Central government contributes 1.16 per cent of the basic wages as subsidy to every members Employees Pension Scheme Account It is in addition to 8.33 per cent deposited by their employers every month.
RBI arm to Test Blockchain Tech
Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of RBI, is set to test blockchain technology to support framework for digital transactions. The arm will soon roll-out pilots to develop applications for banks to adopt blockchain. The institute also plans to build a small digital currency model using blockchain. Blockchain promises tamper-proof ledger building.
UCO Bank Launches Suvidha Prepaid Card
UCO Bank has launched its UCO Suvidha (e) Prepaid Card. The card is a hassle-free alternative to cash, which can be used for cash withdrawals, purchase at Points of Sale (POS) or, over the Internet. The bank’s own customers as well as walk-in customers can avail of the card from all branches of the bank. The prepaid card offers the flexibility to load/ reload amount as & when required.
India, Kazakhstan Sign Protocol
The Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) announced that India & Kazakhstan have signed a protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC). The DTAC was signed on Dec 9th, 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation & prevention of fiscal evasion. The protocol will provide internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters.
India’s GDP Growth to Fall at 7.1%
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is estimated at 7.1% in 2016-17 as compared to 7.6% in 2015-16. Releasing the data, Chief Statistician T C A Anant said that the per capita net national income during 2016-17 is estimated to be One lakh three thousand seven rupees. It shows a rise of 10.4% as compared to 93 thousand two hundred ninety three during 2015-16 with the growth rate of 7.4%.
Portugal Father of Democracy Soares Dies
Ex-Portuguese President Mario Soares, regarded as a father of the country’s democracy, has passed away. He was founder of Portugal’s Socialist party. He was president from 1986 to 1996 after serving as foreign minister & prime minister, and later became a European lawmaker. He played a key role after the 1974 Carnation Revolution, a military coup that put an end to 48 years of Salazar rule.
US Congress Certifies Trump Election
The US Congress certified Trump won the election to become the nation’s 45th president, as lawmakers counted & affirmed the votes by the Electoral College. The count is normally a rubber-stamp event after the electors formally cast their votes. When US voters cast ballots, they did not directly elect the president but rather 538 electors charged with translating voters’ wishes into reality.
China To Set Up Altitude Telescopes
China is setting up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in a Tibet prefecture. The telescope, located 5,250 meters above sea level, will detect and gather precise data on primordial gravitational waves in the Northern Hemisphere. It is expected to be operational by 2021. Gravitational waves were first proposed by Einstein’s theory of general relativity 100 years ago.
New Ghanaian President Sworn In
Nana Akufo-Addo has been sworn in as Ghana’s new president after beating John Mahama in last month’s election. Mr Akufo-Addo’s inauguration represents the latest peaceful handover of power in Ghana. He said he would reduce taxes to boost the economy, adding that Ghana was now “opened for business again”. His main promise was to build a factory in each of Ghana’s more than 200 districts.
Trump Names Coats as Intelligence Chief
US President-elect Donald Trump has named Dan Coats as his National Intelligence Director. The Indiana ex-senator formerly served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The appointment comes a day after an intelligence report accused Russia’s President of ordering a campaign aimed at helping Mr Trump to victory. Coats will need the Senate to confirm his appointment.
14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Begins
PM Modi inaugurates the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru. Visiting Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa is the chief guest of the event. The theme of this year’s PBD is “Redefining engagement with Indian diaspora”. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has been held traditionally on 9th Jan every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.
Jaipur Int. Film Festival Begins
The ninth edition of Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) began in Jaipur. This year’s Life Time Achievement Award was presented to internationally acclaimed cine-visionary Ramesh Prasad. The event aims to promote emerging directors, as well as encourage exchange of knowledge, information, ideas and culture. The festival will witness participation by 250 filmmakers and artistes.
World Book Fair Kicks Off In New Delhi
The 9-day New Delhi World Book Fair began at Pragati Maidan in national capital. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Manushi’ which focuses on writings on and by women. The fair will exhibit the rich tradition of women writings from ancient times till the present. Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Mahendra Nath Pandey inaugurated the fair.
Budget Session to Begin from January 31
The Budget session of Parliament will start from January 31st. The Lok Sabha secretariat said the President will address both Houses of Parliament assembled together in the Central Hall on the first day of the session. The practice of separate railway budget presentation is being scrapped from this year. The session is likely to conclude on the 12th of April.
6 Agmts Signed Between India & Portugal
India and Portugal exchanged six agreements in different fields, including defence cooperation, agriculture, renewable energy & marine research. The MoUs were signed after bilateral meeting between PM Modi & his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa. The two leaders jointly released commemorative stamps. These stamps depict Dandiya & the Portugese dance form of Pauliteiros.
Real Madrid Equal Barcelona’s Record
Real Madrid beat Granada to move onto 39 games unbeaten — equalling Barcelona’s record for Spanish clubs going without defeat in all competitions. Now they are level with the record set by Barcelona in the 2015-16 season. Madrid’s previous club record of 34 games was set during the 1988-89. Juventus hold the European all-time record for their unbeaten run of 43 matches in all competition.
Australia Beat Pak to Sweep Series 3-0
Australia crushed Pakistan to sweep the series 3-0 on the fifth and final day of the third Cricket test in Sydney. The visitors were all out for 244 shortly before tea while chasing 465 runs. David Warner was named man of the match for his scintillating hundred before lunch on the opening day. Skipper Steve Smith was announced as the official player of the series.
Sania Wins Brisbane Doubles Title
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza picked up her first title of the season, combining with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to lift the Brisbane women’s doubles title. The top-seeded duo triumphed 6-2 6-3 against the Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina. The trophy, however, ended Sania’s 91-week reign as the world No.1 doubles player. That position was taken over by Bethanie.
Djokovic Wins Qatar Open Tennis Title
Novak Djokovic has won the Qatar Open tennis title. In the final in Doha, the Serbian defeated Andy Murray 6-3 5-7 6-4. With the win, Djokovic made an immense statement in his bid to rule men’s tennis again as it was Murray, who deposed him as world number one. It was the 36th contest between the two, and Murray lost for the 25th time against his old rival.
US Trade Deficit in November Rises
The US trade deficit in November rose to the highest level in nine months as imports of oil and other foreign goods increased, while American exports fell. The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit jumped 6.8 per cent to USD 45.2 billion. Exports edged down 0.2 per cent to USD 122.4 billion, reflecting lower overseas sales of American-made airplanes, autos and farm products.
Mozambique Ratifies TFA
Mozambique has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making it the 105th WTO member to do so. Mozambique’s instrument of acceptance was submitted to the WTO. Only five more ratifications from members are needed to bring the TFA into force. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion.
Aurobindo Pharma Buys Portuguese Firm
Aurobindo Pharma has announced its acquisition of Portuguese pharmaceutical company Generis Farmaceutica SA from Magnum Capital Partners for a consideration of around Rs. 969 crore. The company has inked the binding agreement through its wholly-owned subsidiary Agile Pharma BV of Netherlands. The consolidated APL group will rank number one in the Portuguese generic pharma market.
SBI Research Pegs FY17 GDP Down to 6.7%
SBI Research has pegged India GDP at 6.7 per cent for FY17, citing the note-ban impact on consumption and therefore production. It said even as RBI has replaced around 44 per cent of the banned currency, the money is not coming back decisively into the financial system. Earlier, the CSO pegged GDP growth at 7.1%. It was mainly due to slump in manufacturing, mining & construction sectors.
China Forex Reserves Fall by USD 320 bln
China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 320 billion last year. The country’s vast foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, slipped to USD 3.011 trillion at the end of December. The central bank’s efforts to stabilise the yuan are the main reason why the reserves have fallen. Aware of the danger, China has tightened its measures to stop the outflow of capital.
Centre Clears 26% Strategic Sale in BEML
The Cabinet has given an ‘in-principal’ approval for strategic disinvestment of 26 per cent equity shares in BEML Ltd. out of government’s shareholding of 54.03 per cent. At the current market pricing of Rs.999.50 a share, 26 per cent stake of BEML could fetch the exchequer over Rs.1,000 crore. After the strategic sale, government stake in the PSU would come down to 28.03 per cent.
Golden Globe Award Winners 2017 -I
The 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony event held honoring the best in film and American television of 2016. “La La Land”, a romantic musical comedy-drama film swept the Golden Globes awards by winning in the 7 categories. The film director Damien Chazelle took home the trophies for best director & screenplay. Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone won the trophies for best actor and actress.
Golden Globe Award Winners 2017- II
Isabelle Huppert won the best actress in a motion picture – drama for “Elle” which was named the best foreign film. Actor Casey Affleck won the best actor in a motion picture. In the best supporting actor and actress categories the trophies went to Aaron Taylor-Johnson of “Nocturnal Animals”. Viola Davis won the best supporting actress category for “Fences”.
Unsigned Soul Singer Ray BLK Wins
Soul singer Ray BLK has topped the BBC’s Sound Of 2017 list, which aims to predict the most exciting new music for the year ahead. It is the first time an unsigned artist has won the honour. Four of the top five Sound of 2017 acts are black British women, reflecting a rise of female talent. The Sound of 2017 list was chosen by a panel of 170 DJs, critics and festival bookers.
Trump Accepts Russia Role in Hacking
US President-elect Donald Trump has accepted the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the US presidential election. His incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus said that Trump believed Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations. It was the first acknowledgment from a senior member of the president-elect’s team.
Maduro Hikes Minimum Wage
Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro has announced a 50 percent hike in the minimum wage and pensions. This is the fifth increase over the last year, to help shield workers from the world’s highest inflation rate. The measure puts the minimum monthly salary at 40,683 bolivars. Maduro, has now increased the minimum wage by a cumulative 322 percent since February 2016.
Iran’s ex-President Rafsanjani Dies
Iran’s ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a dominant figure in the country’s politics since the 1980s, has passed away. He was a key figure in the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979, and served as president from 1989 to 1997. He was an influential figure in Iran, and headed the Expediency Council. Rafsanjani has been described as “a pillar of the Islamic revolution”.
IIT-Kharagpur Alumnus Wins ‘Tech Oscar’
Indian-American Parag Havaldar, is part of the Academy Awards’ list of winners for Techinical achievement. The list of 18 achievements was recently announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its 2017 Scientific & Technical awards. He is honoured for the development of expression-based facial performance-capture technology. He had done his BTech from IIT Kharagpur.
French Foreign Minister Meets PM Modi
French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault met PM Modi & discussed a wide range of issues, including defence & terrorism. Both leaders had discussions on terrorism of which the two countries are victims. The French side said the bilateral ties should move forward with the speed of a Rafale fighter jet. The two leaders also discussed about the cooperation in civil energy.
International Kite Festival Begins
The international Kite festival started in Ahmedabad at Sabarmati River Front. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the festival. About 51 kite fliers from 8 different states while more than 100 kite fliers from 31 countries are participating in this week-long mega event. Kites with different shapes, shades and colors are the main attraction.
PM Announces Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yoj.
PM Modi launched Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana,a skill development program targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas employment It was launched after inauguration of 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention in Bengaluru. It will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation,for this purpose, NSDC will leverage various MoUs it signed between 2011 and 2015 with different countries.
Dangal Becomes Bollywood Highest Grosser
Aamir Khan’s Dangal has overtaken his previous film PK to become the highest-grossing Hindi film in history with Rs 345 cr. The film, is based on life of Haryanvi wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat. The list of top earners included Aamir’s PK & Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan & Sultaan. The overall revenue of PK was Rs 340.8 crore, while Salman’s films netted Rs 316 cr & Rs 300.4 cr respectively.
Advani Wins Kolkata Open Snooker Meet
Pankaj Advani put up a flawless display to outclass Aditya Mehta 5-1 & win the 3rd Kolkata Open National Invitation Snooker Championship 2017. It was Advani maiden title in the Kolkata Open. The tournament was organised by the West Bengal Billiards Association at the Bengal Rowing Club. Mehta had won the previous two editions of the championship.
Bautista Agut Wins Chennai Open Title
Roberto Bautista Agut captured his fifth ATP singles title defeating Danill Medvedev 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Chennai Open. It was the second time that Agut was playing a final at the Chennai Open, having ended runner-up to Janko Tipsarevic in 2013. Last year, Agut had won two of his four titles in Auckland and Sofia. He had claimed two victories (Stuttgart and s-Hetrogenbosch) in 2014.
Bopanna and Jeevan Bag Doubles Title
Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan captured Chennai Open men’s doubles title. They defeated India’s Divij Sharan and Purav Raja 6-3, 6-4. This was for the first time, an ATP 250 event witnessed two Indian teams contesting a final. It is the first time that an Indian team has clinched the Chennai Open trophy since the Leander Paes & Mahesh Bhupathi took the title in 2011.
Aadhaar Mandatory for MGNREGA Work
From April 1, people living in rural areas need to have Aadhaar under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. People will be required to give proof of possession of Aadhaar or undergo the enrolment process till March 31, 2017. The govt has invoked Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016 for the purpose.
Petrol Pumps to Accept Cards till Jan 13
Petrol-pump owners deferred till Jan 13 their decision to not accept credit- and debit-card payments for fuel sales. This was done after banks put off the move to levy a 1% charge on every plastic transaction. The four banks that had said they would levy a charge on card usage are HDFC, Axis, ICICI & PNB. The govt had waived the Merchant Discount Rate on fuel purchase post demonetization.
HMD Global Launches Nokia 6
HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to use Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, announced its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users. It is priced at 1699 Yuan ( Rs 16,000 approx). The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014.
GAAR To Kick In From April 2017
The General Anti-Avoidance Rule,GAAR, will kick in from April 1, 2017. GAAR was part of the 2012-13 Budget speech of the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to check tax evasion and avoidance. During the 2015 Budget presentation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that its implementation will be delayed by 2 years. Its implementation was repeatedly postponed.
Govt Asks Banks to Obtain PAN/ Form 60
The Centre has asked banks to obtain and link permanent account number (PAN) or Form 60 (where PAN is not available) in all existing bank accounts by Feb 28 this year. The income tax rules have been amended for the purpose. The directive will, however, not apply to the basic savings bank deposit account (BSBDA). BSBDA are basically no-frill accounts or those with very low minimum balances.
FPIs Net Outflow at $ 3bn in 2016
Foreign funds has pulled out more than 3 billion dollars, from the Indian capital markets in 2016. Foreign Portfolio Investors have purchased stocks worth about 20,566 crore rupees, in 2016, but sold bonds to the tune of more than 43,646 crore rupees. It resulted in net outflows of 23,080 cr rupees. The overall net outflow has made 2016 the worst year for Indian capital markets since 2008.
Pak Test-Fires Submarine Cruise Missile
Pakistan conducted its first successful test-fire of a Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM). The missile, Babur-3, with a range of 450 kilometers was fired from an underwater, mobile platform. It is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2. The Babur-3 SLCM incorporates state-of-the-art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion.
Naidu Inaugurates Conf. for e-Governance
Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 2-day National Conference for e-Governance in Visakhapatnam. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Internet of Things and e-Governance’. The conference is an opportunity for the public and private sectors to discuss best practices related to e-Governance. Three books have been released on the 1st day of the conference.
Amitabh Bachchan Honoured by US Embassy
Amitabh Bachchan has been honoured by the US Embassy to acknowledge his immense contribution to the India-US ties on tuberculosis. The award was presented by US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma. TB is a bacterial disease which in humans is usually caused by an organism called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.
Modi Inaugurates Global Trade Show 2017
PM Modi formally inaugurated the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade show at Gandhinagar. More than 1500 representatives of about 80 countries in the world have participated in the trade show. The trade show has different pavilions of various sectors like automotive, pharmaceutical, agro, bio technology and among others. This year special emphasis has been on start ups, women entrepreneurs & MSME.
ISRO, CNES Ink Pact on Satellite Launch
Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, and French Space agency (CNES) has signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology. The agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall. Space cooperation between France and India spans over 50 years. ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA.
Maha Govt Launches Largest WiFi Service
Maharashtra government has launched India’s largest public WiFi service called ‘MumbaiWifi’. Under the current phase, hotspots were installed at 500 locations. These include tourist destinations like Gateway of India, Churchgate, CST along with slum clusters and public places. In Phase II, expected to launch by May 1, the hotspots will be installed at the remaining 700 locations.
BMC Launches Toilet Locator Mobile App
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has a mobile application to locate toilets in Mumbai. “Mumbai Toilet Locator” was launched by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta. The civic body has connected over 800 pay-and-use toilets across the city on “Mumbai Toilet Locator” through GPS. The easy-to-use application is meant for android phones.
Streetlight Replacement Project Launched
Union Minister Piyush Goyal launched the worlds largest LED street light replacement project completed by SDMC in south Delhi. In this two lakh conventional street lights have been replaced with energy efficient LEDs. The minister also launched the 2nd phase of the project. The initiative under the Street Lighting National Programme being implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.
Tamil Nadu Joins UDAY Scheme
Tamil Nadu has become the 21st state to join UDAY (Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana). The southern state signed the memorandum of understanding to join the revival package for discoms. The UDAY is a scheme to help revive debt stressed electricity distribution companies. With Tamil Nadu joining UDAY, over 90 percent of the total debts of discom companies will be covered under the scheme.
Mohd Faiz Subri Wins FIFA Puskas Award
Malaysia’s Mohd Faiz Subri has won the Puskas Award of 2016 at the FIFA Best Football ceremony. He scored an outstanding, swerving free-kick for Penang against Pahang in the Malaysia Super League. He was handed the FIFA award by Brazilian legend Ronaldo. He triumphed with 59.5% votes, ahead of Marlone with 22.86%. The award was named in honour of Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas.
Lloyd Wins The Best FIFA Women’s Player
Carli Lloyd from USA has been named FIFA’s top female player of 2016 in world football for the second year in a row. Lloyd beat Brazil’s Marta and Germany’s Melanie Behringer for the honor. In 2016, Lloyd scored 17 goals and had 11 assists in 21 games. She was 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, when she led the Americans to the Women’s World Cup trophy.
Gionee Signs Kohli as Brand Ambassador
Mobile handset brand Gionee has roped in Indian test captain Virat Kohli as the brand ambassador. The announcement of Kohli’s appointment was made alongside the announcement of Gionee clocking 1.2 crore customers in India. Gionee has two manufacturing units in India. It is continuously beefing up its brand and marketing initiatives with the aim to grow as much as 2.5 times in 2017.
Ronaldo Wins FIFA’s Player of the Year
Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA’s player of the year award for the fourth time, beating his old rival Lionel Messi. Ronaldo was rewarded for his performance in 2016 when he won the Champions League with his club Real Madrid and then Euro 2016 with Portugal. Messi was second and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann third. Italian Claudio Ranieri won the coach of the year award.
BIS Revises Standard on Gold Hallmarking
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has revised Indian Standard on gold hallmarking. The hallmarked gold jewellery will now be available in three grades of 14, 18 & 22 carat. The caratage will also be marked on jewellery in addition to fineness. Hallmark on gold jewellery will now have four marks, like the BIS Mark, the purity in carat, fineness & jeweller’s identification mark,
Air India’s Rated Third Worst Airline
Air India, has been listed as the third worst performing airline in the world in a survey by flight data firm FlightStats. Apart from Air India, the other worst carriers list included Air China, Hong Kong Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Delta, among others. The survey highlighted issues over service quality & flight delays. Air India has been struggling to get back to profitability.
No MDR Charges For Small Merchants
Country’s largest lender SBI has waived Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on debit card transactions for all small merchants with annual turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh for one year. The discount rate is a commission paid by a merchant to a bank on every transaction done on the point-of-sale machine set up by the bank. The move is targeted primarily towards a segment of population & small merchants.
SBI Pension Funds Gets New MD & CEO
SBI Pension Funds, a subsidiary of State Bank of India (SBI), has appointed Kumar Sharadindu as its managing director (MD) & chief executive officer (CEO). Sharadindu was a general manager at SBI Corporate Centre, Mumbai. SBI Pension Funds had an AUM Rs 46,019 crore as of March 2016. It is the seventh largest pension fund manager in terms of market share.
RBI Halts Destruction of Withdrawn Notes
The RBI has halted the destruction of withdrawn Rs.500 & Rs.1,000 currency notes. The apex bank has also commenced a comprehensive audit of the 4,075 currency chests to verify the number/nature of the currency notes that have been returned. The return of more notes than expected could be one of the reasons. All withdrawn notes will be processed through the currency verification system.
PM Inaugurates India Int’l Exchange
PM Modi has formally inaugurated the India International exchange (IIE) at GIFT city near Gandhinagar in Gujarat. GIFT city & IIE- the International Center of BSE were the dream projects of Modi. The Exchange’ will trade in all the products like currency, equities, commodities and derivatives. Currently, Indian companies have to contact foreign exchanges to raise funds in foreign currency.
Krishnamurthy to be Flipkart’s New CEO
Kalyan Krishnamurthy has been named the new chief executive officer of Flipkart. Krishnamurthy — a former executive in the New-York based investment firm will be responsible for Flipkart’s profit and losses. Flipkart’s other co- founder Sachin Bansal will remain as the executive chairman. Tiger Global owns about 35% stake in Flipkart, which was last valued at $15 billion.
Australia to tax all digital transaction
The Australian government plans to tax all online transactions, as part of a so-called ‘tax strike’. Currently, the government is unable to tax all of Australia’s approximately $7.37 billion annual online transactions. Mr. Morrison said that as Australia moves towards a modern, cashless economy, the government must keep up to ensure the tax system remains “modern”.
Natya Kala Acharya for Malavika Sarukkai
Renowned Bharatanatyam dancer and guru Malavika Sarukkai were conferred the title of ‘Natya Kala Acharya’ at the inauguration of The Music Academy’s 11th dance festival. Susan Tuller, Deputy Consular General, Consulate General of United States of America in Chennai, gave the title. She said this was her first Margazhi season and she was awed by the scores of ‘sabhas’ in the city.
Jaitley says no note-ban effect
Refuting claims that economic activity has been hit by the withdrawal of high-denomination currency notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said tax collections between April & December 2016 have shown a positive trend. Jaitley told that direct tax mop-up increased 12.01 % to 5.53 lakh crore. He also told that indirect tax revenue grew 25 % to 6.30 lakh crore in the first 8 months of the fiscal
GM losses mount to over 1100 cr in India
The Indian operation of General Motors is sinking with losses mounting to over Rs.1,100 crore during 2015-16. General Motors, which commenced operations in India in 1995, is witnessing some of its worst days. GM had said that it will not bring its global emerging market platform to India because of huge losses incurred by the Indian operations.
IndusInd Bank: The good show continues
The December quarter results for banks were expected to be anything but predictable, given the challenges thrown up post-demonetisation Deposits grew 38% year-one-year in the December quarter, with savings deposits growing 56%.
Poor quality food served for jawans
Tej Bahadur Yadav, a BSF jawan of 29th battalion, deployed along the Indo-Pakistan border in J&K, alleged that troops are served bad quality food. He also told that they even have to manage with an empty stomach sometimes. In the video, the jawan claimed that while the government procures essentials for them, the higher-ups and officers sell it off in an illegal manner.
Obama gets a job offer, from Spotify
If President Barack Obama is still wondering what to do when he leaves office next week, he has a ready job offer from Spotify. The world’s leading streaming service advertised an opening for “President of Playlists” and said it was looking for someone with “at least eight years experience running a highly regarded nation”. Mr. Trump will be the new president after Obama.
Shalabh Seth: CEO of Ola Fleet Tech
Transportation app Ola has roped in former SAB Miller India Managing Director Shalabh Seth as the CEO of Ola Fleet Technologies, its wholly owned leasing subsidiary. In his new role, Mr. Seth will drive supply growth through leasing and other driver focused initiatives to consolidate Ola’s position as the market leader. The operations were earlier handled by Ola Vice President Rahul Maroli.
Jazz musician Buddy Greco dies at 90
Buddy Greco, the popular singer and piano player, who started his long career with Benny Goodman, has died. He was 90. Greco best known for his hit “The Lady Is a Tramp,” passed away on Tuesday in Las Vegas, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Greco’s version of “The Lady Is a Tramp” was released in 1962 and sold over a million copies.
India sees increase in tourist arrivals
India registered an 11% increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2016 over 2015, with as many as 9 million tourists visiting the country. During a session on ‘Partnering with diaspora to accelerate tourism in India’, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said this was way above the projected 4.5% growth. This also resulted in a 15% growth in income from FTAs, he said.
ISRO,CNES ink pact on satellite launch
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) & French Space agency (CNES) have signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology. The agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall in Bengaluru. Space cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership and spans over 50 years
India’s 1st international stock exchange
Modi inaugurated India’s first international exchange ‘India INX’ at International Financial Services Centre in GIFT in Gandhinagar. INX, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the BSE will trade in equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodity derivatives including Index and Stocks. The exchange will create new standards in quality of service and speed of transactions in different time zones.
Pravasi Haryana Divas begins in Gurgaon
More than 400 people of Haryana origin from 300 countries today participated in the first-ever Pravasi Haryana Divas here in their efforts to connect with their roots and contribute to the development of the state. The pravasi Haryanvis attended the 2 day celebrations, which began at the Kingdom of Dreams. Haryana CM Manohar Lal along was present at the event.
Crack in Earth’s magnetic shield
The world’s largest and most sensitive cosmic ray monitor, has recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays that indicates a crack in the Earth’s magnetic shield. The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth. This was recorded by GRAPES-3 muon telescope located at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
Myanmar to fence border with India
Myanmar will build border demarcation fencing with India, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The neighbouring country will construct the fence in its Naga self-administered zone, 10 metres from the demarcation border line. The construction will not restrict the regular travel of both the peoples in accordance with their tradition and custom.
HDFC Bank to deploy humanoid ‘Ira’ soon
The private lender HDFC Bank launched what it claimed to be the first ‘humanoid’ in the domestic banking space. It is looking to partner with start-ups having technological solutions for rural operations. The bank showcased human-sized robot Ira, developed in association with Kochi-based Asimov Robotics, and said it will be deployed at a city branch within a fortnight.
Fault in Indian Ocean may trigger quakes
A new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatran region in 2012. Researchers from Nanyang Technological Univ in Singapore & Indonesian Institute of Sciences, has found new plate boundary forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean. The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
Thousands witness Teppotsavam
On the banks of Godavari in Bhadrachalam a multitude of devotees witnessed the colourful ‘Teppotsavam’ (float festival) amid royal opulence in the famous pilgrim centre. CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s wife and other family members were among those who watched the spectacular ‘celestial boat ride’. The processional idols of Lord Rama and his consort Sita, made five circular rounds in the river.
India receives $130 bn FDI in 2.5 years
With the government taking steps to improve business climate, total FDI inflows in the last 2.5 years have touched USD 130 billion, PM Modi said. Modi, while addressing investors at the Vibrant Gujarat summit here, also said that ‘Make in India’ initiative has become the “biggest brand” that the country has ever had. The total FDI in the last 2.5 years have touched USD 130 billion.
Centre proposes rules to regulate dog
To regulate dog breeding centres, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has proposed rules that prohibits dog breeding without registration. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has prohibited from breeding, owning or housing of dogs & pups without registration. The rules also prescribe requirements to be met by registered breeders for breeding & housing of dogs.
Russia To Ban Cigarette Sale
The Russian Health Ministry has unveiled plans to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2015. The Health Ministry proposal, would make Russia the first country in the world to completely phase out tobacco. The ban proposal, would go into effect in 2033, when the affected Russian citizens (now babies) turn 18 years old. The number of smokers in Russia dropped by 10% in 2016.
Ortega Sworn as Nicaragua’s President
Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega has been sworn in for a third consecutive term as President, with his wife Rosario Murillo as the new Vice President. Ortega and Murillo were elected in November with 72.5 percent of the vote. Their party won 71 of the 92 seats in parliament. Nicaragua could face economic challenges in Ortega’s third 5-year term with Venezuela’s aid, falling steeply.
War Correspondent Hollingworth Dies
Clare Hollingworth,the veteran British war correspondent who broke the news of the Nazi invasion of Poland, has passed away. She was the first to report on the invasion that triggered the outbreak of World War Two. It was she who spotted German forces amassed on the Polish border while travelling from Poland to Germany in 1939. She went on to report from Vietnam, Algeria & the Middle East.
Norway to Cease FM Radio Broadcasting
Norway has become the first country to cease FM radio broadcasting. Over the course of 2017, the FM radio network will slowly be switched off, with listeners only able to listen to digital programmes instead. The northern county of Nordland has stopped broadcasting using analogue frequencies. Capital Oslo will turn off FM broadcasting in Sept & the process will be completed by Dec.
India, Rwanda Become Strategic Partners
India & Rwanda agreed to raise the level of bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership. India extended a $120 million credit to bring over 41,190 hectares of cultivable land under irrigation. The joint statement was issued after bilateral talks of Rwanda President Paul Kagame and PM Modi. Rwanda signed the instrument & became the 25th co-signatory to the International Solar Alliance.
2nd Kalvari Class Submarine Launched
INS Khanderi, second of the Scorpene class submarine, was launched in Mumbai. The submarine, was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), will undergo trials. Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre presided over the function to initiate the launch. The state-of-art features include superior stealth & the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy.
Prabhu Launches IRCTC Rail Connect App
The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched new passenger mobile application named ‘IRCTC Rail Connect app’. It aims to promote ease of ticketing through digital transactions. The new mobile-based application will replace the old existing IRCTC connect app. It has been developed for reserved booking and to increase the ease to users.
12-Jan: National Youth Day
Swami Vivekananda’s Birthday on January 12 is celebrated as National Youth Day. It was first declared by the Government of India in the year 1984 to celebrate the birthday of Swami Vivekananda as the National Youth Day. The objective was to imbibe the students and youth with the philosophy and ideals of the Swamiji. The theme of this year’s Festival is ‘Youth for Digital India’.
India’s Annual Haj Quota Increased
In the biggest hike in nearly three decades, Saudi Arabia has increased India’s annual Haj quota by 34,500. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi & Saudi Arabia’s Haj & Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten inked an agreement in this regard. Now the size of India’s Haj quota has been increased from 1,36,020 to 1,70,520. It is the biggest increase in quota after 1988.
PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ Compilation Launched
A book compiling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio broadcast of ‘Mann ki Baat’ in which he addresses the nation on various issues was launched in New Delhi. The book compiled by Rajeev Gupta form UP was released by Union minister Jual Oram at the World Book Fair. The book covers the ‘Mann ki Baat’ episodes broadcast between October 3, 2014 and November 27, 2016.
Russian Gymnast Kudryavtseva Retires
Russian rhythmic gymnast, Yana Alexeyevna Kudryavtseva, announced her retirement. Her retirement ends her glittering career. She was the latest in a long line of world-class rhythmic gymnasts from Russia, who won every Olympic gold medal in the discipline since 2000. During her entire career, she had won 13 All-around World Championships from 2013 to 2015.
Sreejesh on FIH Athletes Committee
The Indian hockey team captain PR Sreejesh became a member of International Hockey Federation Athletes’ Committee. They have the responsibility to act as a liaison between the FIH and the athletes to make sure the players have voice in the FIH decision making process. Sreejesh’s role will be to seek and provide feedback to the FIH on behalf of all athletes.
Adams Appointed New West Indies Director
Former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams has taken over as the new director of West Indies cricket. He will oversee and manage all cricket matters. He returned to Jamaica after ending a five-year spell as head coach of English country side Kent last October. He replaces Englishman Richard Pybus who had been in the position since November 2013.
India Announce $100 million LoC to Kenya
India has announced a $100-million Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanization. This was decided after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. It was also decided to deepen economic cooperation, identifying expansion of bilateral trade as a “priority”. The two countries are also decided to strengthen coordination in tackling terrorism.
Air India Launches Fly For Sure Scheme
The national carrier Air India (AI) has launched a ‘Fly For Sure’ scheme. Under the new scheme the passenger would be able to take the next flight for their destinations. To avail the scheme, the passenger would have to pay non-refundable Rs 2,000. In case the flight is missed, Air India will accommodate the passenger in the next flight for the choice of destination by the traveler.
K M Philip, MRF Director, Passes Away
KM Philip, former whole-time director on the board of MRF has passed away. He had served on the MRF board since its inception in 1961 till 2015. He was a Padma Shri Awardee and a noted philanthropist. He was a founding member of the All India Rubber Industries Association & the association instituted the KM Philip Medal & Award on his 90th birthday in recognition of his service.
Travel Search Engine Kayak Enters India
Global travel search engine KAYAK has announced its entry into the Indian market, providing innovative travel tools to help people search, plan & manage their travel. The company helps travellers get the information they need before they book & offers tools & features to assist them throughout their trip. In India, the company will initially offer information of hotels, flights & car rental.
Honda Recalls Another 772,000 Vehicles
Japanese auto-maker, Honda Motor is recalling 772,000 additional Honda and Acura vehicles in the US for defective front passenger seat air bag inflators. The defective air bag inflators were made by Takata Corporation. It was part of an expanded recall of nearly 1.3 million vehicles. Takata is at the center of a massive recall of inflators that can explode in a crash, injuring people.
Airtel Appoints Badal Bagri as CFO
Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecommunications services provider, has appointed Badal Bagri as Chief Financial Officer for its India & South Asia operations. He will lead the finance teams across India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh. This will be Badal’s second stint with Airtel. He had previously worked with Airtel from 2010-2014 & was the Chief Controller for the Consumer Business.
World Bank Cuts India Growth Rate to 7 %
The World Bank has decelerated India’s growth for 2016-17 fiscal to 7% from its previous estimate of 7.6%. In its latest report, the World Bank said, immediate withdrawal of a large volume of currency & subsequent replacement with new notes in Nov contributed to slowing growth. The country would regain momentum in the following years with 7.6 and 7.8 per cent growth.
Biden Awarded Freedom Medal by Obama
Outgoing US President Barack Obama has awarded Vice President Joe Biden with the highest civilian honour. Mr Biden accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a ceremony in his honour at the White House. Obama called Biden “an extraordinary man, with an extraordinary career in public service.” The medal is the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Abe Signs Aid Package to Philippines
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has signed a 1-trillion yen, about $ 8.7 billion, aid package over the next five years to the Philippines. It is meant to improve economic & political relations between the two island nations. The package is focused on infrastructure and energy. Abe’s visit makes him the first foreign leader to visit since the election of the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte.
Obama Ending ‘Wet Foot, Dry Foot’ Policy
US President has ended ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy that allows only Cuban migrants who arrive in the US without a visa to become permanent residents. It terminates decades long policy that many argued amounted to preferential treatment for a single group of migrants. The policy mostly allows Cubans who reach US soil to stay in the country. Those caught at sea are returned to Cuba.
US Sanctions 7 North Korean Officials
United States has imposed sanctions on seven North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister. The sanctions were imposed in response to Pyongyang’s “serious” human rights abuses and censorship activities. The sanctions freeze their US property and interests. US citizens are generally barred from doing business with the seven North Koreans and the agencies.
China Launches Intelligence Naval Ship
China has launched a new electronic reconnaissance ship. The new electronic reconnaissance ship, the CNS Kaiyangxing or Mizar, with the hull code 856, was delivered to a combat support flotilla of the North Sea Fleet. The Kaiyangxing is capable of conducting all-weather, round-the-clock reconnaissance on targets. The announcement comes as Beijing’s new assertiveness in the South China Sea.
Delhi Declared Free from Bird Flu
Delhi has been declared free from H5N8 avian influenza commonly known as Bird Flu. Animal Husbandry Department of the govt issued a circular declaring the National Capital free from H5N8. Following the move, National Zoological Park opened its gates for public three months after the scare had led to its closure. H5N8 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus (sometimes called bird flu virus).
Madame Tussauds Museum to Open in Delhi
The first wax museum attraction Madame Tussauds will debut in Delhi this June. Its operator Merlin Entertainments foraying into India with an investment plan of 50 million pounds over the next 10 years. UK-based Merlin Enterprises runs 116 attractions in 24 countries. The museum will be housed in the Regal Cinema building at Connaught Place and will be spread over two floors.
Gujarat Signs MoU for Bullet Train Proj
Gujarat govt has signed a MoU worth Rs 77000 cr with the Ministry of Railways for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. The project is expected to cover 508km between Mumbai & Ahmedabad in about 2 hours,running at a max speed of 350 kmph & operating speed of 320kmph.The project is expected to complete by the 2023.The train will have a 21km tunnel under the sea
Guided Pinaka Successfully Test-Fired
The Defence Research and Development Organisation successfully test-fired the Pinaka missile from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur, Odisha. It has been jointly developed by ARDE Pune, DRDL Hyderabad & RCI Hyderabad. It can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 secs with 1.2 tonnes of high explosives & has a max firing range of 65 km.
Nike Launches New India ODI Kit
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has unveiled a new-look, feature-rich jersey for all the teams. The key feature in the new jersey is 4D Quickness, which provides multi-directional & multi-dimensional stretch for quickness. Another important feature, is that of Zero distractions’ which is designed to help minimize distractions. Nike has been providing kits to Team India for the past 12 yrs.
India Rise to 129 in FIFA Rankings
India jumped six places to the 129th spot, their best football ranking in over a decade, according to world governing body FIFA. It is India’s best ever ranking since Dec, 2005, when they were at the 127th spot. They have now improved 42 places in less than two years. The top positions remain unchanged with Argentina, Brazil & Germany still holding first, second & third place respectively.
World Bank Project Global Growth at 2.7%
The World Bank in its Global Economic Prospects report is forecasting 2.7 % growth in 2017 as compared with the 2.3% seen last year. There will be only a moderate pick up in global economic growth during 2017. For the developed economies the Bank forecasts growth of around 1.8 percent. Fiscal stimulus in major economies could generate faster domestic and global growth than projected.
Air India to Reserve 6 Seats for Women
In a first-of-its-kind move in the aviation industry, national carrier Air India will reserve six seats for women on its flights operating on domestic routes. At times, a woman travelling alone gets a middle or window seat on aircraft, which puts her to inconvenience. This necessitated for the airline to keep some seats reserved for them on aircraft flying on domestic routes.
Citibank Launches Voice Pwd in India
Citibank India has announced the launch of Voice Biometrics Authentication for its customer banking clients. It will help it save 1 lakh customer hours annually. The new technology allows clients to use their voiceprints for authentication rather than PINs for verifying their identities. The voice biometrics authentication capability uses voiceprint, similar to fingerprint.
TCS Net Profit up 11% at Rs 6,778 cr
India’s biggest software services firm TCS reported a 10.9 per cent jump in profit to Rs 6,778 crore for the third quarter of the current fiscal. It had reported net profit of Rs 6,110 crore in the October-December period of last fiscal. The operating profit was at Rs 7,733 crore in the reported quarter. Revenue of TCS was at Rs 29,735 crore in the third quarter of 2016-17.
Retail Inflation Eases to 3.41% in Dec
Retail inflation eased to 3.41 per cent in Dec 2016 as prices of vegetables and pulses fell sharply. It was marginally higher at 3.63 per cent in November last year. Meanwhile, industrial production in November soared to 5.7 per cent as against 1.7 per cent a month ago. Index of Industrial Production grew only marginally by 0.4 per cent on a cumulative basis between April & November 2016.
Chandrasekaran Is New Tata Sons Chairman
Tata Sons appointed TCS chief N Chandarasekaran as its new chairman. He has joined the Tata group in 1987, & rose through the ranks to become TCS CEO in 2009. Tata Sons, is the holding company of the listed Tata group companies in a business empire ranging from Jaguar Land Rover & steel mills to aviation and salt pans. Cyrus Mistry was sacked as the Chairman of the Tata Sons on October 24.
Rajesh Gopinathan Appointed TCS CEO & MD
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) named Rajesh Gopinathan as its new MD and CEO, after N Chandrasekaran elevated as Chairman of Tata Sons. TCS also appointed N Ganapathy Subramaniam as President and Chief Operating Officer. Gopinathan has been with TCS since 2001. He has played a key role in helping TCS becoming a USD 16.5 billion global company with over 371,000 employees.
Govt to Sell 51% Stake in Pawan Hans
The government will sell its entire 51% stake and transfer the management control of the Pawan Hans helicopter service. Pawan Hans is a joint venture where state-owned ONGC holds 49%. Set up in 1985, Pawan Hans currently has a fleet of 46 helicopters. It was incorporated with the primary objective of providing helicopter support services to the oil sector, services in remote & hilly areas.
Airtel Payments Bank launched
Airtel Payments Bank, a joint venture between Bharti Airtel & Kotak Mahindra Bank has been launched. Through their 80:20 joint venture both companies aim to disrupt a banking system that has gradually woken up to changing technology APB will have a network of 250000 Airtel retail stores across 29 states & will offer 7.25% interest compared to 3-4% offered by conventional banks.
Turkey Parliament Approves Key Articles
Turkey’s parliament has approved key measures allowing the president to be a member of a political party and issue decrees, part of a constitutional reform. The three articles approved overnight set out parliament’s supervisory role, enable the president to retain ties with a political party and detail the president’s executive powers as head of state, including the power to issue decrees.
Morocco Bans Production, Sale of Burqa
Morocco, a majority-Muslim country, has banned the sale and production of burqas (full-body veils). The burka, which covers the entire face and body, is not widely worn in Morocco, with most women favouring the hijab, which does not shroud the face. It said the measure appeared to be motivated by security concerns. It is unclear if Morocco is now intending to ban the garment outright.
Russia to Permanently Leave G8
Russia has announced its intention to permanently walk away from the G8 group of industrialised nations. In March 2014, Russia was temporarily suspended from the G8 group. G8 consists of UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada, resulting in the group becoming G7 in its place. It is an inter-governmental political forum of the world′s major highly industrialized economies.
‘The Exorcist’ Author Blatty Passes Away
US author & filmmaker William Peter Blatty, best known for writing The Exorcist, has passed away. The Exorcist was published as a novel in 1971, with the hugely successful big screen adaptation following two years later. The Exorcist won Blatty an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. He also wrote novels such as Elsewhere, The Ninth Configuration & Demons Five, Exorcist Nothing: A Fable.
India, US Sign MoU for Collaboration
India & the US have signed an MoU to collaborate in the fields of developmental activities & aid in third world countries. The MoU has been signed between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), & Development Partnership Administration (DPA) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. MCC is a US agency providing countries with grants to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty.
Madhya Pradesh Anand Utsav Begins
Madhya Pradesh, a week-long “Anand Utsav”- Happiness Festival begins across the state. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to set up Happiness Department. Anand Utsav is the first programme of this department. Anand Utsav aims to provide happiness to the needy. Different sports events will be organised to bring happiness and joy to the people during the festival.
India,US hold talks to protect oceans
India & USA have held extensive talks here to protect ocean ecosystems and promote sustainable development through the ‘blue economy’, one of the largest bilateral diplomatic engagements in the world specifically focused on oceans Collectively, USA & India have approximately 17000 miles of coastline making this official dialogue one of the largest bilateral diplomatic engagements in the world
EC Reserves Order on Cycle
The Election Commission has reserved its order on the symbol dispute of Samajwadi party. The two warring factions led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. The commission is expected to pass an interim order before the notification of polls in Uttar Pradesh on January 17. Elections will be held in seven phases in the state starting February 11.
No Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu on Pongal
The Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking to allow the controversial sport Jallikattu played during Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. The court had reserved its verdict on petitions challenging Centre’s notification allowing the sport. On January 8, last year the Centre had issued a notification lifting ban on Jallikattu. In 2014, the court had banned Jallikattu on grounds of animal cruelty.
Ken-Betwa River Linking Project Cleared
India’s first river interlinking project,the Ken-Betwa project has received clearance. The total cost is Rs 9393 crore. It will connect Ken river in Madhya Pradesh with the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh. It will help irrigate 6.35 hectares annually and will provide 49 million cubic metres (mcm) of drinking water & provide 78MW of power. The project was first envisaged in 1980.
Russia Amends laws for Spares Support
Russia has amended its laws permitting lot of their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to enter into long-term agreements for spares and support for military equipment supplied to India. This will address long-standing concerns regarding import of equipment. Currently, procurement of spares is a long process as India cannot deal directly with the OEMs but with designated intermediaries.
3 Chinese Weightlifters Stripped of Gold
Three Chinese women’s weightlifting gold medallists at the 2008 Beijing Olympics were disqualified for doping following a reanalysis of their drug tests. Cao Lei, the 75kg champion, Chen Xiexia, the 48kg gold medallist, and Liu Chunhong, who won the 69kg category, were stripped of their 2008 titles. The Chinese trio, tested positive for the banned GHRP-2, a human growth hormone.
SBI in Pact with Oman’s SGRF
State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF), a Sovereign Wealth Fund & the SBI will infuse $150 million & $50 million respectively in Oman India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF). The bank is backing the private equity fund for its second offering (Fund II). This decision is driven by the performance in the first fund. The first fund of $100 million, has been fully invested across 7 companies.
BSE IPO to Open on Jan 23
BSE, Asia’s oldest bourse, will launch its much-awaited Rs 1500-crore Initial Public Offering (IPO) on Jan 23.Rival NSE had filed an IPO of Rs 10000 crore. The public offer will see sale of 1.54 crore shares through the offer for sale (OFS) route.This works out to close to 30% of the total holding. The shares will be offered at a price of as high as Rs 500 each.
Trade Deficit Narrows in December
India’s trade deficit narrowed to $10.36 bln in Dec 2016 — the lowest in the last 3 months. Exports grew 5.72% to $23.88 bln, up from 2.26% in Nov. Imports rose by just 0.46 % to $34.25 bln.Petroleum & crude imports rose 14.61 % to $7.6 bln while electrical & non-electrical machinery jumped 7.55 % to 2.62 bln. Goods trade deficit was $12.7 billion in Nov 2016.
Rabi Sowing Crosses 616 Lakh Hactare
Rabi crops sowing coverage has reached 5.9% & has crossed 616 lakh hectares. Wheat has been sown / transplanted in 309 lakh hectares up 7.1% from last year. The area under pulses also moved up 11% to 155 lakh hectares, while that under oil seeds also increased 8.5% to 81 lakh hectares.
Global Unemployment to Rise by 3.4 m
According to the International Labour Organization report ‘World Employment Social Outlook: Trends 2017‘, Global unemployment is expected to rise by 3.4 million in 2017. Economic growth is expected to at 3.4% this year and 3.6% in 2018. The number of unemployed persons globally in 2017 is forecast to stand at just over 201 million with an additional rise of 2.7 million expected in 2018.
Sebi Notifies Rules for Foreign Holding
Regulator Sebi has notified rules allowing foreign investors to own up to 15 per cent stake in an exchange. A move that is expected to help attract more overseas funds. Currently, foreign entities can hold only up to 5 per cent in an exchange. Sebi has amended regulations to increase the limit of shareholding of foreign entities in Indian stock exchanges to 15 per cent, from 5 per cent.
Industrial Production Grows 5.7% in Nov
The country’s industrial production grew 5.7 percent in November 2016, compared to a contraction of 3.4 percent in November of the previous year. Factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production, IIP, enhanced in Nov due to better performance of the manufacturing, electricity & capital goods sectors. The manufacturing sector, constitutes over 75 percent of the index
Axis Bank to Offer Block Chain Service
Axis Bank became the third lender in the country to announce usage of block chain solutions for its operations, after ICICI & Yes Bank. It will be using the upcoming technology for cross-border remittances. Block chain solutions is a distributed database that records transactions on thousands of computers globally. It is said to reduce turnaround times & also ensures zero errors.
Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Successfully
Space-X’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launches with 10 satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications Inc. The two-stage rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was the first in a series of launches planned to upgrade Iridium’s global communications network. The USD 3 billion project aims to send 81 satellites to low-Earth orbit in coming months.
Chinese Base Jumper Achieves World-First
A Chinese base jumper Adam has successfully completed the world’s first jump from the world’s highest bridge in southwest China’s Yunnan province. Adam completed the jump from the newly-opened Beipanjiang Bridge which is 565 meters high. Construction of the bridge started in 2013 and officially opened last month. The bridge, which connects Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.
Aus, Japan Agree to Boost Defense Ties
The leaders of Australia and Japan  agreed to boost cooperation between their militaries. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull signed an upgraded defence agreement after talks in Sydney on trade and regional security issues. The pact would allow their militaries to provide each other with logistical support during exercises..
Ecuador Takes Chair of UN Group
Ecuador has taken over from Thailand as chair of the United Nations Group of 77. The group promotes the interests of the 134 developing countries it represents at the United Nations. The group was founded on 15 June 1964, by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries”.  There were 77 founding members but by Nov 2013 the organization had since expanded to 134 member countries.
US Lifts Economic Embargo on Sudan
The United States has announced the end of a 20-year economic embargo on Sudan. It had lifted trade and financial sanctions in an effort to foster ties with the Sudanese government. Sudan will be able to receive imported goods and services from the US. The lift will also release frozen Sudanese property and assets held in the US and permits the trade with the oil and gas industry in Sudan.
62nd Filmfare Awards 2017 Winners-I
62nd Filmfare Awards ceremony, presented by the Filmfare magazine, honored the best films of 2016. Aamir Khan bagged the Best Actor Award for his performance in ‘Dangal’. Alia Bhatt was honoured with the Best Actress Award for her gritty portrayal of a Bihari migrant in ‘Udta Punjab’. Dangal’ was awarded the Best Film and Nitesh Tiwari bagged the Best Director Award.
62nd Filmfare Awards 2017 Winners-II
Actor Shatrughan Sinha took home the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. Sonam Kapoor won the Critics Award for Best Actor (Female) for her portrayal of Neerja Bhanot in the biopic ‘Neerja’. Rishi Kapoor (Kapoor and Sons) and Shabana Azmi (Neerja) won best supporting actors male and female respectively. Best debuts were bagged by Diljit Dosanjh (Udta Punjab) & Ritika Singh (Saala Khadoos).
Navjot Singh Sidhu Joins Congress
Navjot Singh Sidhu has joined Indian National Congress in New Delhi. The former BJP MP’s wife, Navjot Kaur had earlier joined the party. The cricketer turned politician is likely to play a crucial role in Punjab which goes to poll on 4th February. He is known as a star vote-catcher & is likely to help the Congress overcome a strong fight from the Akali Dal & the AAP.
Ex Punjab CM Surjit Singh Barnala Dies
Former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala passed away. He had served as Punjab CM from 29 September 1985 to 11 June 1987. He also served as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He was elected to Parliament in 1977 and was inducted in the Morarji Desai government as agriculture minister.
69th Army Day Observed
The 69th Indian Army Day was observed on 15 January 2017. The day marks the taking over of the Indian Army by the first Indian Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal KM Cariappa, on January 15, 1948. He took over the reins of the Army from Lieutenant General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief. The day is celebrated to pay homage and salute to the Indian soldiers.
Federer World’s Most Marketable Athlete
A study prepared by the London School of Marketing has revealed that Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer  was the world`s most marketable sports person in 2016. According to the study, the former World No.1, currently ranked 17th, earned nearly $60.7 million last year . Federer is listed ahead of basketball player LeBron James ($53.8 million) & golf players Phil Mickelson ($50.2 million).
Chennai Beat Mumbai to Win PBL 2017
Chennai Smashers defeated Mumbai Rockets 4-3 to win their maiden Premier Badminton League title. With both the teams winning two matches each, the final match between Ajay Jayaram of Mumbai and Tanongsak S of Chennai became the title clash. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk sealed it for Chennai by beating Ajay Jayaram 9-11 11-7. Winners Chennai received prize money of Rs. 3 crore.
Gujarat Wins First Ranji Trophy Title
Gujarat won their first ever Ranji Trophy title beating Mumbai in the final at the Holkar stadium in Indore. Parthiv Patel’s 143 and Munprit Juneja’s 54 runs helped Gujrat to chase down the highest successful chase in the final at the historic Holkar stadium. Parthiv Patel was named as the ‘Man of the Match. Mumbai has won the Ranji title for record 41 times in the past.
US Mint Unveils $100 Gold Coin
The first time in the history of its currency, the United States Mint has unveiled a $100 gold coin featuring an African-American woman as Lady Liberty’s face. It is the first in a series of gold coins featuring Lady Liberty, which has been used on American coinage since the late 1790. The coin`s heads-side design by artist Justin Kunz depicts the profile of Liberty wearing a crown of stars.
Tax dept, Japanese Company Sign APA
The tax dept has signed a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (BAPA) with Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company. It aims to reduce litigations by providing certainty in transfer pricing. Recently, the CBDT has also modified an existing BAPA with another Indian subsidiary of a Japanese company to include rollback provisions. The APA was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012.
SEBI Streamlines Norms for Mergers
Sebi has streamlined the regulatory framework for mergers between listed & unlisted companies. In the case of merger of an unlisted company with a listed company, the public shareholding of the merged entity cannot not be less than 25%. The objective is to have wider public shareholding & to prevent very large unlisted company to get listed by merging with a very small company.
Sebi Allows MF to Invest in REITs
The Sebi has allowed mutual fund (MF) companies to invest in hybrid instruments such as Real Estate Investment Trusts. The regulator, however, has put certain conditions on mutual funds for such investments. A MF scheme cannot invest more than 10% of its NAV (net asset value) in units of REITs and InvITs. Out of this, MFs cannot invest more than 5% of its NAV in units of a single issuer
NPCI Declares Rs 54.90 crore Prize Money
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), has declared Rs. 54.90 crore worth of prize money to over 3.42 lakh winners of NITI Aayog’s Lucky Draw Schemes. The two schemes are Lucky Grahak Yojna (LGY) & Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojna (DVY). The schemes have total outlay of Rs. 340 crore of which Rs. 300 crores would be spent on consumers and merchants while the remaining on awareness & publicity.
Paytm Ties up with Paradise Biryani
Paytm has partnered Hyderabad’s leading restaurant chain, Paradise Biryani. It aims to bring the convenience of paying through the Paytm Wallet at its outlets across the country. Users of Paytm can now scan the QR code and pay instantly using their Paytm Wallet. Paytm  has launched its app in 10 regional languages, including Tamil and Telugu, to make digital payments accessible to all.
Digital Dakiya Scheme Inaugurated
Madhya Pradesh Indore district witnessed inauguration of first of its kind scheme of the country. Digital Dakiya aims at encouraging cashless transactions. “Digital Dakiya or Digital Postman will visit different places to teach and encourage people about cashless transactions. Digital Dakiyas visit door to door & trained households people about digitized transactions.


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