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Cabinet advanced the deadline for completion of rural connectivity through all- weather roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana by three years from 2022 to 2019.
- Govt has also decided to ↑ the annual allocation of the Central release for PMGSY works during year 2015-16 by Rs 5,000 crore and with this the total Central allocation to states would now be Rs 15,100 crore.
Delhi assembly passes CrPC (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015
Delhi Assembly has passed the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015 which empowers Delhi Govt to initiate a magisterial inquiry to cover any other cases in police custody and suspicious death.
- The bill amends section 176(1) of the CrPC Act, 1973 and widens the scope of magisterial inquiry into cases of suspicious death, rapes in police custody and suspicious disappearances.
Opposition has challenged the bill but Kejriwal Govt has mentioned that CrPC Act, 1976 enacted by Parliament is a subject in the Concurrent list (having 52 items) in the 7th Schedule to the Constitution of India and having power to amend it.
Call for disaster-resilient society
World Congress on Disaster Management concluded with the unanimous adoption of ‘Visakhapatnam Declaration calling for a comprehensive action plan for a disaster-resilient society.
- The declaration drafted after the recommendation of over 1,000 delegates from 40 countries and 20 States in 25 sessions for effective funding mechanism by creating national disaster mitigation fund for resource implementation of local plans and building a platform of knowledge management, good practices and innovations at local level.
It mooted setting up of an independent body of expert equivalent to State Disaster Management Authority at sub-national or provincial level for formulating policies on disaster management with suitable legislation or mandate.
- The declaration asked the authorities concerned to adopt proactive strategies such as comprehensive school safety, which includes children out of school could be piloted as a regional cooperation among nations.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on released the report titled The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters.
- The report was compiled by UNISDR and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).
- The report depicts that over the last 20 years, 90% of major disasters have been caused by 6457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events.
Indo-Pak border in Jaisalmer lighted with Solar power
The Indo-Pak border in Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan has been lit with solar power. The Jaisalmer border is one of the most sensitive international boundaries of India.
- The project is being managed by Union Home Ministry at a cost of around Rs 6.5 crore.This is a pilot project established by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI)- Rs 5.45 per unit
- The initiative comes following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for promoting renewable energy, as it reduces energy cost and spreads minimal to zero pollution.
- The border is managed by the Border Security Force (BSF).On the basis of this project, the central government will approve solar energy at every international border of the country.
- The government has already signed a 25-year agreement with SECI for the installation of solar power plants.
- The solar lights was more efficient and with less cost.
- It was pollution free
Sri Lanka won’t allow any country to set up naval base on its territory
Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that no naval bases within Sri Lanka would be allocated to other countries at the 6th annual Galle Dialogue on 23 November, 2015 in Galle.
Theme : “Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation: Challenges and the Way Forward”.
SriLanka Decision :
- Sri Lanka understood the role of the US Navy, and the requirement for States neighboring the sea to include US Navy in the measures to uphold navigational freedom in the Indian Ocean.
- Indian Ocean was exceptional and sea-borne trade remained key for the survival of the Island.
- Sri Lankan Government under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena envisages bilateral trade and economic treaties with India, Pakistan and the Bay of Bengal countries, the European Union and China.
- Sri Lanka Capital : Sri Lankan Rupee
- Sri Lanka Currency : Colombo
- Sri Lanka PM : Ranil Wickremesinghe
BANKING & FINANCE
Mumbai headquartered IDBI Bank has become the first commercial state-owned bank to raise $350 million via selling green bonds, where proceeds are used for clean energy projects.
- Bonds were priced at 4.26% (fixed rate) after adding a mark-up or spread of 255 basis points on five-year US Treasury now at 71%. But, the bank has converted those securities into floating rate, and they are offering 3.22%
- Bond will be of five-year maturity. This is a part of the bank’s medium-term-note programme, set at $5 billion over next few years.
SEBI & Bangladesh sign pact for investor’s protection
Equities and commodities market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation and technical assistance.
- The MoU seeks to promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two and aims at enhancing investor protection and creating conditions for effective development of securities markets in both countries.
- The pact was signed by SEBI chairman U K Sinha and BSEC chairman M Khairul Hossain.
SEBI has been actively engaging with the regulators in the SAARC region. The regulator has already signed 20 bilateral MoUs with other countries.
Emami ropes in Parineeti to endorse new product
FMCG firm Emami has roped in Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra to endorse its new skincare product BoroPlus Cocoa Soft Moisturising lotion. The product targets young women between the age 20-30.
- The ad film is going to be rolled out primarily in UP, Maharashtra, NCR, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.
The ad film will be run in cinema halls and will also be promoted digitally. BoroPlus Cocoa Soft Moisturising lotion is priced at Rs 85 for 100 ml pack.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
The 43rd Annual American Music Awards was held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, US and was broadcasted on ABC.
Show host – Jennifer Lopez
- Pop star Taylor Swift emerged as the winner at the American Music Awards by bagging three top prizes— song of the year for “Blank Space”, favourite pop/rock album for “1989” and favourite adult contemporary artist.
- Other big winners included boy band One Direction, who clinched favourite pop/rock band, duo or group and artiste of the Year.
The 8th edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards was held in New Delhi to honour the finest in Indian journalism in print and TV across languages.
- Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley presented the awards to journalists selected by an eminent jury.
- During function winners of 2013 and 2014 were honoured. There were 29 winners from 2013 and 27 from 2014.
Prashant Damle to get Dinanath Mangeshkar award
Noted Marathi actor Prashant Damle was conferred with Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of theatre, film and music. In the journey of performing arts, he has been honoured with many prestigious awards. Till date he has 4 Limca Book Records by his name.
- The announcement of the award was made by Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar at the 100th show of Damle’s Marathi play “Karti Kaljat Ghusli”.
- He will be conferred with the award by Lata Mangeshkar in April 2016 on the occasion of the death anniversary of Master Dinanath.
About Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award
The prestigious annual award is given to personalities from Marathi and Hindi theatre, music and films. It was instituted in 1999 by Lata Mangeshkar and her family in the fond memory of her father.
- It comprises of a cash prize of Rs one lakh, a moment and a citation.
- The award ceremony is held annually on 24 April. In 2015, the award was given to Anil Kapoor.
Lok Nayak Foundation awards for Garikapati, Chalasani Gandhi
Noted scholar and “Maha Sahasravadhani” Garikapati Narasimha Rao has been chosen for the 12th Lok Nayak Foundation Award announced by Chairman Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad.
- He will receive Rs.1.5 lakh in cash and a citation at a function on January 23.
- The foundation’s Life Time Achievement Award comprising Rs.50,000 will be presented to trade union leader Chalasani Gandhi who worked tirelessly for the welfare of Railway employees and workers.
Lok Nayak Foundation awards :
The award was presented every year on January 18, the death anniversary of NTR and Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
Previous Winners :
N.R. and Malati Chandur, Boyi Bhimanna, Janamaddi Hanumat Sastry, Ravuri Bharadwaja, Subbanna Satavadhani, Olga, Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and Vanguri Chitten Raju.
Author, jouranlist Rohini Mohan wins Shakti Bhatt prize
Rohini Mohan journalist with The Economic Times has bagged the Shakti Bhatt First Book prize 2015 for her book ‘ The Seasons of Trouble’
Panel members : Samhita Arni, Mohammed Hanif and Krys Lee.
Shakti Bhatt prize :
- The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize carries a cash award of Rs 2 lakh rupees, and a trophy. It is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation and the Apeejay Trust.
- The prize ceremony will be held at the Max Mueller Bhavan in New Delhi, December 22.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGN
Rishi Gour appointed as Country President of Sodexo India On-site Services
Support services company Sodexo appointed Rishi Gour as country president of India.
About Rishi Gour :
- Rishi joined Sodexo in 2011 and has since worked towards the brand’s promise of delivering Quality of Life Services.
- Prior to joining Sodexo, Rishi has assumed various leadership and operating roles at WNS Global Services, Accenture and CITIL across functional areas, including business development, programme management, consulting, technology and operations.
About Sodexo India On-site Services :
- Sodexo(formerly Sodexho Alliance) is a French food services and facilities management multinational corporation. Sodexo is organized into two entities On-Site Service Solutions and Motivation Solutions.
Michael Keating appointed as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM
Michael Keating appointed as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) announced by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Mr. Keating will succeed Nicholas Kay of the United Kingdom who will complete his assignment at the end of the year.
About Michael Keating :
- Mr. Keating brings to this position extensive experience in supporting political and peacebuilding transitions, as well as leading complex humanitarian and recovery programmes in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa.
- He was Associate Director of Chatham House since 2012, he concurrently served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Syria.
- He was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan from 2010 until 2012.
- He served as Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, a policy group chaired by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
About UNSOM :
United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM ) was the first part of a United Nations (UN) sponsored effort to provide, facilitate, and secure humanitarian relief in Somalia, as well as to monitor the first UN-brokered ceasefire of the Somali Civil War conflict in the early 1990s.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Pfizer to take over Allergan in blockbuster merger deal of $160 billion
US drugs giant Pfizer Inc. has signed a deal to buy Ireland based Allergan for $ 160 bn making it the biggest pharmaceuticals merger deal in healthcare sector.
- The merger would create the world’s biggest drugmaker Pfizer Plc with its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
- Under this deal, Allergan shareholders will receive 3 shares in the merged company for each of their Allergan shares.
Currently Pfizer Inc is selling flagship pharmaceutical products like Viagra and cholesterol drug Lipitor, while Allergan is best known for selling anti-wrinkle treatment drug Botox, Alzheimer’s drug Namenda and dry-eye medication Restasis.
As per Analysts this deal will allow Pfizer. Inc to escape relatively high US corporate tax rates (nearly 35%) by moving its headquarters to Dublin where corporate tax is as low as 12.5 %.
- It should be noted that such kind of merger deals to evade the high corporate tax is termed as corporate inversion deals.
Payment gateway services platform NumberMall acquires Delhi-based BankSmarts Solutions
NumberMall, payment gateway services platform for merchants has acquired all the businesses of Delhi-based BankSmarts Solutions in stock and cash deal.
- The acquisition will extend NumberMall’s analytics capability, customer reach and merchant offers. The combination is expected to enable new classes of products and services that meet customer needs in assisted ecommerce.
About NumberMall :
Founded in 2012, NumberMall has provided services to more than 30 million customers on its platform, through 16,000 touch points. The technology integration is already underway and will be ready within three months.
Founder and CEO of NumberMall : Kiran Gali.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
New app can help seniors live better
Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new app aimed at enhancing the physical health, vitality and brain fitness of older people residing in independent living communities.
- The app, developed by the University of Notre Dame’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA) and called eSeniorCare creates a personalised socio-ecological construct around the senior.
Feature of App :
- It not only helps empower and engage the seniors, but also provides a continuity of care allowing health workers to proactively reach out to at-risk seniors when they need help.
- A physical health component of the app allows seniors to track a variety of health goals.
Roger Van Gent appointed as strategic coach of Indian Men’s Hockey Team
Roger Van Gent appointed as the strategic coach for the Indian mens team for the Hockey World League Finals next month and next years Rio Olympics by the Hockey India.
About Roger Van Gent :
- Roger will join the coaching staff of the Indian mens hockey team and assist High Performance Director and Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans. Van Gent, a Dutch citizen by nationality, embarked on his coaching career after securing FIH high performance coaching qualification in 2000.
- Since then he has worked with various domestic teams in the Netherlands. He himself has been a part of the first team of a club, MEP in Boxtel, in the head division of the Netherlands for a decade (1978-88).