Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Current Affairs November 24, 2015

Modi sanctions Rs. 940 crore for flood-hit Tamil Nadu
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed the immediate release of financial assistance of nearly Rs. 940 crore to deal with the flood situation in rain- battered Tamil Nadu, hours after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to him for funds to sustain relief work.
  • With the northeast monsoon leaving a trail of destruction in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has pegged the damage at Rs 8,481 crore, with Ms. Jayalalithaa urging Mr. Modi to immediately release Rs. 2,000 crore to sustain relief work.
  • The Chief Minister, in her letter to the Prime Minister, gave a detailed memorandum on the flood damage. It was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office by a delegation led by S.T.K. Jakkayan, Special Representative of Tamil Nadu.
  • She said that 169 lives have been lost in various rain-related incidents since October 1, 2015.

At Kashi Vishwanath, saree is new dress code for foreign women
  • On an average, 60,000 devotees visit the temple every day with around five per cent of them being foreigners.
  • The security personnel posted at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi now have an added responsibility. They now have to keep an eye on women pilgrims, especially the foreigners, who reach the premises in revealing clothes or short dresses that end above knee.
  • Such pilgrims are either told come “properly dressed” or directed to nearby kiosks where they can wrap a saree before entering the temple.
  • The temple administration has imposed a ban on the entry of foreign women wearing “revealing” clothes and have introduced a dress code for them. Such foreigners will now have to wear a saree. For the purpose, the temple authorities have so far provided 25 sarees at the two entry points. Female police personnel have been deployed at these entry points to help such pilgrims in tying a saree.
Venkaiah Naidu launches Swachh Delhi Abhiya
  • Union minister Venkaiah Naidu has launched Swachh Delhi Abhiyan. The cleanliness drives would be taken out throughout the city with the first phase ending on November 30.
  • Allocating the fund under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Naidu presented cheque of Rs 96.7 crore to Delhi government. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has sanctioned the amount to several civic agencies.
  • Out of Rs 96.7 crore – North Corporation has received Rs 34.5 crore, East Corporation – Rs 24.5 crore, South Corporation – Rs 23.4 crore, North Delhi Municipal Council – Rs 76 lakh, Delhi Cantonment Board – Rs 3.32 crore and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board – Rs 4.89 crore.
  • The Swachh Delhi App which was launched on November 16 has received over 13,000 complaints and more than 60,000 downloads.
Your Indian Passport Will Be Declared Invalid On November 24th 2015, If It Is Handwritten
  • Handwritten Indian Passports will Be Declared Invalid on November 24th.
  • So your handwritten passport won’t take you on a foreign holiday. Neither can you fly out if it has a 20-year validity.
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which India is part of has decided to do away with non-machine readable (handwritten) passports globally.
  • Visa will not be issued by countries under the ICAO to persons holding passports that are handwritten or valid for 20 years. The rule will be implemented from November 25, 2015 globally.
  • Indian citizens residing in India and abroad and holding such passports with validity beyond November 24, 2015 should apply for the reissue of their passports well before deadline.
  • Bengaluru passport office became one of the top offices to receive many quarries regarding this, media reports.
A tribute to Narendra Prasad’s stamp on stage
The plays he wrote will be staged at a theatre fest from November 25 to 29.
About Narendra Prasad:
  • In 1979, he wrote another play Ira for the employees, which also won them several awards. Soon after, he wrote one of his most acclaimed plays, Souparnika , based on a story from Kottarathil Sankunni’s Aithihyamala . “It was a landmark. Over two years, we performed it in 36 stages across the State and in Delhi.
  • It won the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award for the Best Director and presentation. The play’s script also won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award,” says M.K. Gopalakrishnan, who played the lead character of the naive Venmani Namboothiri in that play.
  • Narendra Prasad continued to write a few more acclaimed plays for Natyagriham, including one based on poet Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan’s Malayalam translation of Waiting for Godot . But by 1986, the theatre troupe slowed down and eventually stopped performing.
India, Malaysia sign cyber security, infrastructure accords
  • India and Malaysia signed three agreements on cyber security, cultural exchange and infrastructure development, the third day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to this southeast Asian nation.
  • While the cyber security agreement was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-IN) and Cyber Security, Malaysia, the cultural exchange programme agreement was inked between the ministries of culture of the two countries.
  • The infrastructure development agreement was signed between India’s NITI Aayog and Malaysia’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
  • The cyber security agreement seeks to promote closer cooperation and the exchange of information pertaining to cyber security incident management, technology cooperation, cyber attacks, prevalent policies and best practices and mutual response to cyber security incidents.
Hollande to meet Obama on Tuesday as U.S. wavers on Russian role
  • French President Francoise Hollande will meet President Barack Obama in Washington this week and then travel to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin in an effort to draw Russia closer to the 65-nation coalition against the Islamic State, but U.S. continues to waver in its approach towards Russia.
  • In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, Russian and U.S. foreign ministers had stated that they would explore closer counterterrorism cooperation, but on the ground only incremental progress has been made.
ASEAN leaders launch EU-style regional economic bloc
  • ASEAN leaders declared the establishment of an EU-style regional economic bloc, ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour in the region.
  • The Kuala Lumpur declaration on the establishment of the AEC was signed by the leaders of 10-nation grouping in front of world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
  • The AEC envisages a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour across borders in the highly competitive economic region. It will integrate Southeast Asia’s diverse economies, a region with 620 million people and a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.4 trillion.
  • The ASEAN leaders also adopted the declaration on “ASEAN 2025, forging ahead together”.
  • The ASEAN 2025 document charts the path for the AEC building over the next ten years.
Indian-American Politician Nominated ADB’s Executive Director by Barack Obama
  • Indian-American politician from Iowa Swati Dandekar has been nominated as Executive Director to Asian Development Bank with ambassadorial rank by US president Barack Obama.
  • The first ever Indian-American to be elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 2003, Ms Dandekar, 64, would replace Robert M Orr, who has held the position since 2010.
About Ms Dandekar
  • Ms Dandekar was the first Indian born American citizen to win a state legislature seat in the United States.
  • Mr Obama announced his intent to nominate Ms Dandekar to this top US position in Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with other key administration appointments and nominations.
  • A member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009, Ms Dandekar was also member of the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011.
  • Ms Dandekar ran for the US House of Representatives from Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, but lost in the primaries.
Portea Medical acquires MedybizPharma
  • Home healthcare company Portea Medical announced that it has acquired specialty pharmaceutical distributor MedybizPharma in a move that will enable Portea to strengthen patient engagement and provide better care for chronic disease patients in India. The acquisition was made for an undisclosed consideration of cash and stock.
  • Announcing the acquisition Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical, said, “A structured and integrated approach enveloping awareness, monitoring and ongoing disease management is vital to tackle the battle India faces with chronic disease. While hospital-based treatments are important, continuing care delivered to patients at home is a key prong of effective treatment.
  • Portea is already present across several chronic disease areas and with the acquisition of Medybiz, we are adding a vital and powerful, specialised pharma arm to deliver better pharmacy care to patients with chronic conditions who have ongoing needs for medication.”
Tata Zica: Official name of Tata’s upcoming hatchback
  • Tata Motors that released the sketch image of its upcoming small hatchback (Codenamed Kite) few days back, has now made it official that it will be called the Tata Zica. Set to make its debut in the first week of December, the Tata Zica will be launched in the first half of January, 2016.
  • The Tata Zica hatch will be the third all-new product under Tata Motors’s HorizoNext umbrella after the Zest sedan and Bolt hatchback.
  • The Tata Zica will be offered with two engine options a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.05-litre, 3-cylinder diesel. While the 1.2-litre petrol unit is the same that powers the Bolt and the Zest, the 1.05-litre diesel is an all-new engine that churns out 64bhp and 140Nm.
Pfizer to buy Allergan in mega $160-billion deal
  • Pfizer Inc, the maker of Viagra and Lipitor, has struck a deal to buy Botox-maker Allergan Plc in a transaction valued at about $160 billion.
  • The complex deal, the biggest ever in the healthcare sector, will allow Pfizer to shift its legal base to Ireland in a so-called “inversion” that would reduce its tax rate.
  • Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read will be CEO of the combined company, while Allergan CEO Brent Saunders will be Chief Operating Officer, the companies .
  • New York-based Pfizer and Allergan, headquartered in Ireland, said Allergan shareholders will receive 11.3 shares in the combined company for each share held.
  • The deal values Allergan’s shares at $363.63 each, compared with the stock’s close of $312.46.
SC asks Vodafone to pay Rs 2,000 crore for merger
  • The Supreme Court  directed the department of telecom (DoT) to approve the merger of four firms with Vodafone Mobile Services upon the latter paying Rs 2,000 crore to the government.
  • The order was made in the government’s appeal against the interim order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on spectrum usage charge and other issues, including the merger of Vodafone-related firms.
  • In its order, TDSAT had stated no amount was payable till resolution of the disputes. The government moved the Supreme Court against the order, arguing the company had not followed the guidelines for merger. It contended the merger could not be approved till the dues of the companies were cleared.
  • The Supreme Court Bench headed by J S Khehar heard the government’s appeal and passed the order, asking TDSAT to speed up the hearing in view of the huge amounts involved.
  • The government’s demand against Vodafone Mobile is Rs 6,678 crore under five heads. However, Vodafone has disputed the amounts and agreed to pay Rs 1,773 crore, which is outside the TDSAT’s purview if the merger was approved.
IDBI Bank becomes first commercial state-owned bank to raise $350 million via selling green bonds
  • IDBI BankBSE 0.42 % has become the first commercial state-owned bank to raise $350 million via selling green bonds, where proceeds are used for clean energy projects.
  • “We have got huge oversubscription more than $1.10 billion,” said Kishor Kharat, managing director & chief executive director of IDBI Bank. “We have a pipeline of more than $1 billion clean energy projects requiring credit lines. In futures, we may sell more such bonds depending on those project status.” IDBI Bank had to decline the oversubscription in excess of $350 million, which the lender mopped up from 60-70 investors.
  • 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 1.71%.
Patent registration: Centre plans cutting approval time to 15 months from 5-6 yrs
  • As many as 2,26,339 patent applications were pending as on July 31, 2015, due to shortage of professionals, according to the government data.
  • In a move that is likely to give a push to innovation and encourage patent registration in the country, the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) is working towards reducing the time taken in getting approval for a patent application from the current 5-6 years to 15 months.
  • A senior official told The Indian Express that the industry department has already initiated the process of bringing down the time taken for completion of the process by recruiting as many as 459 additional patent examiners to examine the patent applications, a process that usually takes around 18 months.
  • “We are recruiting on a large scale because shortage of staff has been one of the prime reasons for the piling of applications. Further, efforts are on to enhance the infrastructure and IT support for dealing with patent applications. By these efforts we expect patent filing to go up to 60,000 a year and then further to one lakh in 2-3 years time,”.
India successfully test-fires supersonic interceptor missile
  • India test-fired it’s indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.
  • The interceptor, known as Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile.
  • The kill effect of the interceptor was being ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources. In April this year, the AAD missile had failed to hit the target missile during a similar test, the DRDO said.
Taylor Swift wins big at 2015 American Music Awards
  • 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 nabbed favourite pop/rock band, duo or group and artiste of the Year.
  • The Weekend, who took home favourite soul/R&B artiste and favourite soul/R&B album; and Nicki Minaj, who won favourite rap/hip-hop artist and favourite rap/hip-hop album.
  • Carrie Underwood won the favourite female artiste award in country music category.
  • Ariana Grande bagged the favourite female artiste trophy in pop/rock category, reported Variety.
  • The favourite male artist trophy in pop/rock category went to Ed Sheeran.
  • Rihanna became the winner in the favourite pop/rock female artiste category.
  • Favourite artist in the electronic dance music category went to DJ Calvin Harris.
  • Jennifer Lopez hosted the awards show, airing live on ABC from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre.
ATM maker Diebold offers $1.8 billion for German peer Wincor Nixdorf
  • Diebold Inc. agreed to buy German rival Wincor Nixdorf AG for about 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) to create the biggest maker of cash machines and security systems with more than $5 billion in sales.
  • Wincor investors will receive cash and stock valued at 54.32 euros a share, based on Friday’s closing price for North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold, according to a statement Monday from the companies.
  • The two companies combined will have a market share of about 35 percent, ahead of NCR Corp. with an estimated 25 percent, according to Kepler Cheuvreux.
Indian hockey team wins 3rd Test but lose series to Australia
  • Forward Akashdeep Singh’s blinder in the dying moments of the game helped India edge past Australia 3-2 in the final hockey Test but the hosts ended up losing the series when they faltered in the deciding penalty shootout.
  • India played a gritty game against the reigning world champions to steal a worthy win in the third and final match after drawing the opening Test and then losing out in the second.
  • With the score reading 3-2 at the final whistle, the match moved into the penalty shoot out to decide the winner of the series, which was tied at 1-1. The shoot-out saw a reverse of the match
  • India went into the third quarter with a 1-0 lead. Australia equalised through Trent Mitton’s 36th minute field goal which was his his first successful strike of the series.
  • It was horrible defending by Rupinder Pal Singh, who lost the ball in the attacking third. Mitton was quick to pounce on the gift and ran through the ‘Dee’ to beat goalkeeper Harjot Singh easily.
Hockey India announces cash prize for India colts after Asia Cup triumph
  • India defeated Pakistan 6-2 in a scintillating performance to lift the junior Asia Cup.
  • Hockey India announced a cash prize of Rs one lakh each for the players and the head coach of the Junior Men’s Asia Cup-winning team.
  • Besides, HI also announced Rs 50,000 for the other support staff of the team.
  • Additional prizes of Rs one lakh each were announced for Harmanpreet Singh the highest scorer of the tournament and Vikas Dahiya the best goalkeeper.
Noted economist T.S. Papola passes away
201The noted labour economist Dr. T.S. Papola passed away in Delhi. He was 74.
About T.S.Papola
  • A founder Member, former director and currently honorary professor at the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi, Dr. Papola was also chairman, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow; founder member of the Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi and Chairman of the Fourth State Finance Commission of Uttarakhand.
  • Dr. Papola was awarded VKRV Rao Young Social Scientist Prize for outstanding contribution in Economics in 1984. He was also conferred VKRV Rao Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to Social Science by the Indian Social Science Association and Kautilya Award by the UP-Uttarakhand Economic Association in 2007.
  • A well-known development economist, Dr. Papola specialised in the areas of labour and employment, development planning, industrial economics, regional development and enterprise development.He taught at the Universities of Lucknow and Bombay, Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), and University of Cambridge, U.K.

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