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15 January 2022

National News


Who is Navdeep Kaur, India's representative at Mrs World 2022?

Navdeep Kaur, who was crowned Mrs India World 2020-21, will represent India at Mrs World 2022. Brought up in Odisha, Navdeep pursued computer science engineering and holds a Masters in business administration, said reports. She had worked as an assistant manager in a bank and an assistant professor. She has been married for seven years and is a mother.

Not going to be cowed by those who attack me in crude vulgar terms: Zoho CEO

Zoho's CEO Sridhar Vembu has tweeted, "People who attack me in crude vulgar terms make my resolve stronger." He added, "I am not going to be cowed down by such attacks." The 54-year-old billionaire also said, "I come from a very ordinary background and wealth to me is a vehicle to help build our broader society, particularly our rural poor."


'North East on Wheels Expedition’ launched to promote Culture of Northeastern States

Minister of State for Culture, Meenakashi Lekhi has launched the 'North East on Wheels Expedition’ in New Delhi to promote the Culture of Northeastern States. The Bike Expedition is scheduled between 8th to 16th April this year to mark the celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.  75 Bikers participating in this expedition will be selected from all over the country and will cover about 9000 km in the North East Region in 6 groups.  The expedition will also promote the Dekho Apna Desh initiative of the Ministry of Tourism. The Riders will also carry the message of the importance of Road Safety.

International News


20th Dhaka International Film Festival begins

The 20th Dhaka International Film Festival begins at Dhaka, Bangladesh. The festival will showcase 225 films from 70 countries under 10 categories will be screened across various venues in Dhaka between 15-23 January.  The film festival is being organized in a hybrid mode with many films being streamed online during the festival. The DIFF will also organise the 8th edition of the ‘Women in Cinema’ international conference, as well as the 4th edition of the ‘West meets East’ screenplay lab during the festival.  The Indian entries to the 20th DIFF include films like Koozhangal directed by P S Vinothraj, Avijatrik directed by Subhrajit Mitra, Mayar Jonjal directed by Indranil Roychowdhury, and Aandaal directed by Shareef Easa among the 35 entries.


Canadian Foreign Min to visit Ukraine, vows to deter Russian 'aggression'

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said she'll visit Kyiv next week to reaffirm support for Ukrainian sovereignty and reinforce efforts to deter "aggressive actions" by Russia. This comes as the US claimed that Russia is plotting to stage acts of provocation to create a pretext to invade Ukraine. Russia has stationed more than 1,00,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.

Philippines to purchase BrahMos cruise missiles from India

Philippines has become the first foreign country to place an order for the purchase of the BrahMos Shore-Based cruise Missile System for its navy. This agreement will give a big boost to India’s defence manufacturing system.  The estimated deal cost is worth $374,9 million. The BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd will supply the missile, under the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project, for Philippine Navy.

India give support to Sri Lanka to overcome forex crisis

India has announced financial assistance of USD 900 million loans to Sri Lanka to help the island nation in building up its depleted foreign reserves and for food imports. It must be noted that Sri Lanka is currently facing a shortage of almost all essential commodities due to a shortage of dollars to pay for the imports.  India is extending its support through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay met Cabraal and expressed India's strong support to Sri Lanka in the wake of RBI extending over USD 900 million facilities.  These comprise deferment of Asian Clearing Union settlement of over USD 509 million and currency swap of USD 400 million.

Daniel Ortega sworn in as President of Nicaragua for 5th term

Nicaraguan President José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), was sworn in for a new presidential term. This marks his 5th term and 4th consecutive term as the President of Nicaragua.  He will remain in the office until January 2027. He received the presidential sash from Gustavo Porras, head of the National Assembly. Ortega's first stint in power ended in 1990 and upon returning as president in 2007, he quickly set about gaining control of key state institutions.

Agreements News

Indifi tie-up with GPay to offer instant digital credit to SMEs

Small businesses-focused online lending platform Indifi Technologies has collaborated with Google Pay to provide instant loans to eligible medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) merchants through the Google Pay platform.  The borrowing process is entirely digital and eligible merchants on the Google Pay for the Business app can click on loan offerings from Indifi and submit an application online. The loans will be in the range of Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 lakh.  With a 35 per cent share of monthly UPI volumes, Google Pay has been growing its financial services play over the past year like other payments leaders in India. It already provides loans and short-term credit to individuals and small merchants in tie-ups with IIFL Loans, CASHe, and ZestMoney, among others.

Banking , Business and Economy


Pak central bank denies govt's request to open Afghan Relief Fund

The State Bank of Pakistan has turned down Imran Khan-led government’s request to open the Afghanistan Relief Fund fearing Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions. This comes after the federal government decided to start an account to get donations for Afghanistan amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The central bank has asked the government to review its decision.


Paytm Payments Bank became most preferred UPI beneficiary bank in India

Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) became the largest and fastest-growing UPI beneficiary bank in India. It becomes the first beneficiary bank in the country to achieve the landmark of over 926 million UPI transactions in a single month.  Beneficiary banks are the banks of the account holder who is receiving money. Paytm Payments Bank has also gained rapid traction as a remitter bank for UPI payments.  While State Bank of India (SBI) topped the chart of being the biggest remitter in December 2021, according to data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). State Bank of India followed PPBL as the second-largest beneficiary with 664.89 million transactions.

India’s forex reserves declines by $878 mn to $632.7 bn

As per the weekly Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the foreign exchange reserves of India declined by $878 million to USD 632.736 billion in the week ended January 7, 2022. In the previous week ended December 31, India’s reserves dropped by $1.466 billion to $633.614 billion.  The decline was mainly due to a fall in gold reserves and foreign currency assets (FCA). In the reporting week, FCAs decreased by $497 million to $569.392 billion. Gold reserves declined by $360 million to $39.044 billion.  The special drawing rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $16 million to $19.098 billion. India’s reserve position with the IMF dipped by $5 million to $5.202 billion.

You always gave 100% for the team: Sachin as Virat quits Test captaincy

After Virat Kohli quit as Team India's Test captain, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said, "Congratulations on a successful stint as a captain, [Virat Kohli]." He added, "You always gave 100% for the team and you always will. Wishing you all the very best for the future." Former cricketer Vinod Kambli also reacted saying, "Whatever he did for Team commendable."

Important Days

Indian Army Day observed on 15 January

The Army Day in India is celebrated on 15 January every year, to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens. This year marks the 74th Indian Army Day.  The day is marked to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) KM Carriappa took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence.


20th Dhaka International Film Festival begins

The 20th Dhaka International Film Festival begins at Dhaka, Bangladesh. The festival will showcase 225 films from 70 countries under 10 categories will be screened across various venues in Dhaka between 15-23 January.  The film festival is being organized in a hybrid mode with many films being streamed online during the festival. The DIFF will also organise the 8th edition of the ‘Women in Cinema’ international conference, as well as the 4th edition of the ‘West meets East’ screenplay lab during the festival.  The Indian entries to the 20th DIFF include films like Koozhangal directed by P S Vinothraj, Avijatrik directed by Subhrajit Mitra, Mayar Jonjal directed by Indranil Roychowdhury, and Aandaal directed by Shareef Easa among the 35 entries.





JANUARY 16 2021



GAIL's Marketing Director arrested by CBI in alleged bribery case

The CBI has arrested GAIL's Director (Marketing) ES Ranganathan and five others in an alleged bribery case. A case was registered against Ranganathan and several others for allegedly obtaining bribes from private companies buying petrochemical products marketed by GAIL. The CBI conducted a search at Ranganathan's residence and recovered about ₹1.29 crore cash, gold jewellery and other valuables.

Hyd forest cover increased by 147% over last 10 years: Govt data

Hyderabad's forest cover has recorded an increase of 147%, from 33.15 sq km to 81.81 sq km, since 2011, according to India State of Forest Report 2021 figures. Hyderabad recorded maximum rise in green cover but stands fourth in terms of overall forest cover, behind Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. Minister KT Rama Rao credited Telangana's 'Haritha Haram' scheme for feat.

TN shuts schools for all classes till Jan 31, postpones exams amid COVID surge

The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced holidays in schools for all classes till January 31, in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases. The state government has also postponed examinations that were scheduled to be held from January 19 for Classes 10 and 12. According to an official statement, the revised dates for the examinations will be announced later.

Mandaviya releases postal stamp to mark 1 yr of COVID vaccine drive

Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya released a commemorative postal stamp on India's achievement in developing an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, to mark one year of India's vaccination drive. It features a senior citizen being inoculated by a healthcare worker and an image of a Covaxin vial. It signifies the work done by frontline workers and the scientific community.

1.47 lakh kids lost parents to COVID, other reasons since Apr 2020 in India

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has informed the Supreme Court that 1,47,492 children have lost either their mother or father or both parents due to COVID-19 and other reasons since April 1, 2020. The total includes 70,980 girls and four transgender children. More than 1.25 lakh children are being looked after by single parents.



North Korea to resume trade with China by rail on Monday: Report

The trade between North Korea and China by rail is expected to resume on Monday, Reuters reported citing Chinese traders. A trader told Reuters that a North Korean train had arrived at a Chinese border town on Sunday, the first such crossing since border lockdowns began in 2020. However, China and North Korea haven't officially announced the reopening of border.

Sri Lanka invites Indian investments in several sectors of economy

Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has invited Indian investments in the country's ports, infrastructure, energy, power and manufacturing sectors. Rajapaksa has assured a conducive environment would be provided that would benefit both sides. Notably, this comes days after India provided over $900 million in financial assistance to Sri Lanka amid a foreign exchange reserve crisis.

Philippines to buy 32 helicopters worth $624m to boost disaster response

Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday said that the country is buying 32 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters for over $624 million to boost its disaster response capabilities. Lorenzana added that the acquisition will be done under a project which also includes a training program for pilots. This comes after Typhoon Rai claimed over 400 lives in December last year.


Thousands protest against COVID-19 measures in Netherlands

Thousands of people protested in Amsterdam on Sunday against COVID-19 measures imposed by the government despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the Netherlands. The protesters played music, chanted anti-government slogans and then marched along thoroughfares. The country reported more than 36,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to official data.

Taliban men pepper spray women protesters seeking rights to work, education: Report

short by Ridham Gambhir / 10:50 pm on 16 Jan 2022,Sunday

The Taliban forces on Sunday used pepper spray at a group of women protesting in Afghanistan demanding rights to work and education, said three demonstrators. As per other witnesses, one of the women had to be taken to the hospital due to this. Reportedly, one of the fighters also confiscated the phone of another man who was filming the protest.





India's gold imports more than double in Apr-Dec 2021 to $38 bn

India's gold imports rose to $38 billion in April-December 2021 from $16.78 billion in April-December 2020, a 126.4% YoY increase, as per Commerce Ministry's data. The surge in gold imports in April-December 2021 contributed to widening of India's trade deficit to $142.44 billion, a 132% YoY increase. India's trade deficit in April-December 2020 stood at $61.38 billion.

Reduce import duty on parts used for making mobile phones: ICEA

India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) demanded a reduction in import duty on parts used for manufacturing mobile phones. It said that increasing taxes on components will make products manufactured under the Production Linked Incentive scheme globally uncompetitive. It also demanded roll-back of GST from 18% to 12% as it is deterrent to growth of domestic market and manufacturers.

India's passenger vehicle exports rose by 46% in Apr-Dec 2021: SIAM

India's passenger vehicle exports rose by 46% between April-December 2021, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data. Passenger car shipments grew 45% to 2,75,728 units while utility vehicle exports rose 47% to 1,46,688 units during the period. Data also showed that export of vans nearly doubled YoY from 877 units to 1,621 units in April-December 2021.

Govt to help increase exports to $1 tn in 10 yrs: Goyal to IT sector

Union Minister Piyush Goyal virtually interacted with representatives of top IT companies and assured them full government support in pushing growth of the sector and increasing services exports to $1 trillion in a decade. He welcomed the industry’s proposal to create IT hubs in tier-2 and tier-3 towns. Businesses should identify the towns and government will assist them, he added.


200 startups to get ₹50 lakh seed funding each in Karnataka

Karnataka IT Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan CN said that the state government will provide 200 startups with seed funding of ₹50 lakh each in the current year to promote technological innovation in the state. Addressing the first National Startup Day, he said, "The seed funding will be facilitated to additional 75 startups to [take] tally to 200 startups in a year."

Apple asks staff to submit proof of COVID-19 booster shot: Report

Apple will require its retail store and corporate employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot, The Verge reported citing an internal memo. Unvaccinated employees or those who haven't submitted proof of vaccination will need negative COVID-19 tests to enter Apple workplaces starting January 24, it said. Recently, Meta mandated COVID-19 booster shots for workers returning to US offices.


Australia beat England within 3 days in Day-Night Test, win Ashes 4-0

Australia defeated England by 146 runs in the Day-Night Test in Hobart in three days, clinching the Ashes 4-0. Chasing 271-run target, England were dismissed for 124, with Pat Cummins, Scott Boland and Cameron Green taking four, three and three wickets, respectively. Apart from Hobart, Australia won in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, while the Sydney Test ended in a draw.

20-year-old shuttler Lakshya Sen defeats world champion Loh Kean Yew to win India Open

India's 20-year-old shuttler Lakshya Sen defeated world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore to win the India Open men's singles title. It is the first time that an Indian won the tournament on India Open debut. Lakshya won the final with a scoreline of 24-22, 21-17 in 54 minutes. Lakshya won a prize money of $30,000.

Novak Djokovic flies out of Australia after losing court appeal over visa

short by Pragya Swastik / 08:46 pm on 16 Jan 2022,Sunday

Tennis player Novak Djokovic flew out of Australia on Sunday after a court upheld the government's decision to cancel his visa over the country's COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status. It ended Djokovic's hopes of chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win at the Australian Open. The Serbian player was seen at Melbourne airport just hours after the verdict.




Mali's ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita dies at 76

The ousted President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita died on Sunday at his house in capital Bamako at the age of 76. Keita's death was confirmed by his former advisor and family. However, they didn't specify the cause of his death. Keita ruled Mali from September 2013 till he was overthrown in a military coup in August 2020.

56-year-old CEO of Atlanta's public transportation service dies by suicide

Jeffrey A Parker, the CEO and General Manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), died by suicide after reportedly stepping in front of a train at a station. The 56-year-old had more than 35 years of experience in both the private and public sectors of the transportation industry. MARTA's Board of Directors called Parker's death "shocking".





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