Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Starred Articles

Maithiripala Sirisena sworn-in as seventh president of Sri Lanka
World > Sri Lanka > Jan 10
On 9th January 2015, Shri Maithiripala Sirisena full name Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena was sworn-in as the seventh President of Sri Lanka. The oath taking ceremony held at the Independence square in Colombo, saw Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court judge Honorable K Sri Pawan administering the oath of office to Maithiripala Sirisena. The event was preceded by the oath taking ceremony of the leader of the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickramasinghe as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
Mithripala Sirisena, Health Minister in Rajapaksa government, won the 2015 Presidential Elections of Sri Lanka held on eight January 2015 by defeating incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa from United People’s Freedom Alliance by 51.28 % of votes and Opposition candidate Maithripala samisen from United National Party got 51.3 % of the votes.

SC orders enabling of e-voting by NRIs within eight weeks
Politics and Government > E-voting by NRIs > Jan 12
The plea filed by Pravasi Bharat chairman Nagender Chindam asking central government to enable e-voting by NRIs within eight weeks of elections has been cleared by the Supreme Court.
The report was filed after considering opinions from all sections by a committee comprising officials from the EC, law ministry and the ministry of external affairs. Under the proposal, NRIs will be sent ballot papers electronically and they will have to return it to poll authorities physically. The report   was filed to dispute the “inherent inequality” created by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act which insists on the physical presence of an NRI in his local constituency at the time of voting.    

Zomato enters US, acquires Urbanspoon
Corporate > Zomato > Jan 13
Zomato enters US following a deal with Urbanspoon costing around $60 million (Rs 373 crore), which will be an all-cash transaction. With Zomato's sixth and the biggest acquisition, it aims to double its traffic from about 35 million visits per months to more than 80 million visits per month, probably making it the largest restaurant search company in the world. This move makes Zomata the biggest competitor of Yelp which boasts of 139 mn unique monthly visitors during the third quarter of 2014. The acquisition will result in Zomato's presence in 22 countries across the world and a rise in its restaurant coverage from about 300000 restaurants to more than 1 million restaurants across the globe.
Zomato is looking forward to expand its customer base with the popularity of Urbanspoon by offering its customers a number of new capabilities and features.

Islamic militants kill 12 in deadly attacks on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, prompt worldwide outcry
World > Charlie Hebdo Shootings > Jan 13
On 7th January, 2015, two masked gunman attacked the office of the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo in Paris and shot dead 12 people including the editor in the middle of a news conference. The men shouted Allah-hu-Akbar as they went on with their rampage and shouted that they were avenging the prophet. Charlie Hebdo had previously been in the news for its alleged mockery of Prophet Mohammed and had attracted the ire of the Islamic world. Police tracked the gunmen, identified as brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, to a town, 25 miles northeast of Paris. A gun-battle ensued in which police killed the two gunmen and succeeded in freeing a sole hostage.
On 9th January, another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, held people hostage at a kosher super-market in eastern Paris and shot dead 4 people. The gunman seemed to have ties with the two brothers involved in the Charlie Hebdo attack and had earlier threatened to kill the hostages if police launched an assault on the cornered brothers. Police stormed the supermarket and succeeded in killing the gunman and freeing the hostages. The supermarket was located in a predominantly Jewish locality of Paris. All the three gunmen had ties with Jihadist militants and were allegedly trained by the Al-Qaeda in Syria.
France has the highest number of Jewish population in entire Europe. A sense of insecurity has engulfed the community following the attacks and many Jews are permanently moving to Israel from France. On 11 January 2015, 3.7 million people including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity to honour the 17 victims. This was the largest public rally in France since World War II. The phrase Je suis Charlie (French for "I am Charlie") came to be a common worldwide sign of solidarity against the attacks. The surviving staff of the magazine announced plans for a print run of three million copies for the next week's issue rather than its typical 60,000. The "survivors' issue" of Charlie Hebdo will also be sold outside France.


Subramanian Swamy claims Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin killed Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
India > S C Bose Killing > Jan 10
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sparked a controversy by stating that Netaji Subhash Chandra did not die in a plane crash as was believed earlier, but was killed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Swamy also demanded the declassification of files pertaining to the freedom fighter's death from the union government. However, Swamy later admitted that disclosing those files would jeopardise India's relations with Britain and Russia.

IS group hacks US Central Command's social media accounts
World > ISIS > Jan 13
US Central Command Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised as the Islamic State jihadists hacked them, replacing the CentCom's usual logo with a banner with the image of a hooded fighter and the words "CyberCaliphate" and "I love you ISIS". Incidentally, the hacking of CentCom's social media account came while Barack Obama was delivering a speech on cyber security.
The seized Twitter feed flashed the self-styled CyberCaliphate "is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base," written by the hackers. The motive behind the hacking is still unclear. The matter is being investigated by the officials.  

Pakistan asks for US help to resolve issues with India regarding Kashmir
India > Border Disputes > Jan 13
At a joint conference held by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan announced that it will not hold any talks with India unless Kashmir is a part of the dialogue. The statement comes in the light of India cancelling bilateral talks with Pakistan after the latter was involved in unprovoked cross border firing. Pakistan also appealed to the US, which has considerable influence in international affairs, to ask India to resume bilateral talks and include Kashmir as a component of the talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry tells Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist groups
World > Pakistan > Jan 13
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in a Peshawar school, US Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist organisations, which are a threat to Indian, Afghan and American interests. Pakistan has been often suspected of playing a double game by providing a safe haven to terrorist organisations, while simultaneously taking a stance against terrorism. John Kerry who is currently on an official visit to Pakistan also addressed the recent border disputes between India and Pakistan and said that the two countries need to sort differences and resume peace talks.

Chinese province bans burqa
World > China > Jan 14
Legislators in Xinjiang province of China have passed a law which prohibits residents from wearing a burqa, citing religious extremism. Recent incidents of communal violence among Turkish speaking Muslims and China's largest ethnic group have increased tensions in the province of Xinjiang. In the month of August another city in the province banned people wearing Islamic-style clothing and beards from using public buses.


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