Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Starred Articles

Jan Dhan Yojana makes it to the Guinness Book of World Records
India > Politics > 27 Jan
India's effort of opening 15.45 crore bank accounts to transfer subsidies in a short span of five months is now a world record and will feature in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August, has set a world record for 'The most bank accounts opened in one week' – about 1.80 crore. The government plans to transfer annual subsidies of around Rs. 51,029 crores directly to bank accounts of 15.45 crore beneficiaries in the next year as a part of the financial inclusion campaign. The government has rolled out 34 direct transfer benefit welfare schemes including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the direct benefits transfer for LPG scheme.

India-US reach breakthrough on civil nuclear deal, Obama pledges investment of $4 billion
India > Obama visit > 28 Jan
The Civil Nuclear deal, between India and the United States of America, which was signed in the year 2006, gained momentum after a hiatus of eight years. The deadlock pertaining to the deal existed due to the latter's concern in case of a nuclear casualty. The two countries have now decided to transfer the financial risk to insurers in case of an accident. The last step for India now would be to rope in American suppliers selling reactor technology. President Barack Obama also promised $4 billion in loans and investment to boost trade, business and employment opportunities in India. US Export-Import Bank will finance $1-billion worth of exports, Overseas Private Investment Corporation will lend $1 billion to small, medium-sized enterprises in rural areas of India and the US Trade and Development Agency would finance $2 billion for renewable energy in India.

Renowned cartoonist RK Laxman dies
India > Others > 28 Jan
Noted cartoonist RK Laxman died at a Pune hospital on the evening of 26th January, 2015. The 93 year-old was admitted for urinary infection and chest related problems, he did not respond to medication, which led to a multi-organ failure and eventually his death. The cartoonist was famous for his 'you said it' cartoons, which featured every day in the Times of India, and depicted the common man's everyday problems. He received prestigious awards like the Padma Vibhushan and the Ramon Magasaysay award for his contribution to arts.

Anti-austerity leader Alexis Tsipras elected Greece Prime Minister, Eurozone leaders speculate Greece exit
Politics > World > 28 Jan
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras is set to swear-in as the Prime Minister of Greece following his historic win in the Greek elections. The new coalition government, formed by the anti-austerity party Syriza and the small right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, is being anticipated by analysts as short-lived, given the volatility of ANEL. The troika of lenders that bailed out Greece - the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund - imposed big budgetary cuts and restructuring in return for the money. While Tsipras is about to renegotiate the terms of the 240-billion-euro ($269 billion) bailout, chief economics spokesman of Syriza , Euclid Tsakalotos says that Greece cannot be expected to pay all its debts. He said, if Greece falls, it will take down the Eurozone and the euro with it, owing to the policies of austerity. As Tsipras is looking forward for negotiations with EU, the EU leaders speculate Greece's exit from the Eurozone resulting from the defaults on debt repayments and reduction of debt commitments on Greece's part. An exit from the Eurozone is likely to be disastrous for Greece as living standards would fall, banks would face chances of collapse, businesses could go bankrupt and the cost of imports could multiple. In such a scenario, investors would also become nervous about lending to other struggling countries. European Banks might be forced to stop lending and the country might be forced into another recession. Greece won’t be able to borrow from anyone and the government will eventually run out of Euros.


King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passes away, half-brother Salman becomes new ruler
World > Saudi Arabia > 23 Jan
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died on Friday leaving the throne to his half-brother, Salman. Before becoming the king of Saudi Arabia in 2006, he had run the country as de facto regent for a decade until the demise of predecessor King Fahd. Abdullah introduced cautious changes in the conservative Islamic kingdom including increased women's rights and economic deregulation, but made no moves towards democracy and was a hawk on policy towards rival Iran. Abdullah also played a crucial role in backing Egypt's military when it ousted its President Bashar al-Assad.
US President Barack Obama cut short his three-day visit to India and led a high-level delegation to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to King Abdullah. Saudi Arabia is among the most prominent allies of the US in the Arab world and is among the US-led coalition of Western and Arab nations conducting air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq. But relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been strained in recent years by differences over US policy on the Syrian conflict and its nuclear diplomacy with Shia-ruled Iran - a regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Also the US dependence on Saudi Arabia is likely to decrease following shale oil and new Arctic oilfields that might see US production double. Also there is increased pressure on the United States following Saudi Arabia’s stance on human rights and extremism.

Recipients of Padma Awards announced
Awards > India > 25 Jan
The Padma Awards recipients were announced by the NDA government recently. Notable personalities like BJP stalwart LK Advani, actors Amitabh Bachan and Dilip Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Nuclear scientist M R Srinivasan are among the nine awardees to receive Padma Vibhushan, the highest in the series of Padma Awards, for exceptional and distinguished service. Padma Awards is one of the highest civilian Awards of the country. It is conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines – art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

Wipro lands Rs 900-crore deal with Irish bank
Corporate > World > 25 Jan
Wipro won a $150 million (Rs 900 crore) IT outsourcing deal from the Allied Irish Banks (AIB) defeating incumbent IT vendor IBM to bag the IMS portion of the contract. According to the deal, Wipro will provide infrastructure management services (IMS), data centre and hosting services to AIB over five years. The deal will provide opportunity for Wipro to participate in other IT deals including the Bank of Ireland contract that is soon to be renewed later this year. Bank of Ireland had signed a five-year infrastructure contract with IBM in 2010. Following this deal, Wipro will set up a Dublin based ServiceNXT operations centre and the mainframe COE, creating employment opportunities for locals of Ireland. Over 130 AIB employees will be relocated to this new set up. Wipro's Shannon development centre in Ireland has been providing services to banks and financial services company across Ireland and the UK .

India celebrated its 66th Republic day with Barack Obama as the chief guest
India > 66th Republic Day > 26 Jan
India celebrated its 66th Republic Day on Monday, 26th of January, 2015 before its chief guest US president, Barack Obama at Rajpath, New Delhi. This is the first time that an American President would be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations. Arrangements were made to ensure an incident-free Republic Day celebration and fool-proof security to the American President was provided. The event saw a splendid display of India's military might and cultural diversity. The highlights of the events were – the BSF daredevils' formation of a human pyramid on moving motorbikes, a march-past of all-female units of the army, navy and air-force, tribal and folk dances of different states of the country showcasing unity in diversity and the display of long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MIG-29K fighter plane. The parade was concluded by a spectacular fly-past by the Indian Air-force that left a smoke-trail of the saffron, white and green representing the Indian national flag.

Arvind Kejriwal issued notice by the Election Commission for alleged “bribe” remark
India > Politics > 27 Jan
Former Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal was issued a notice by the Election Commission (EC) over his controversial 'bribe' remark while campaigning for the Delhi elections. In his rallies Kejriwal had appealed to the people of Delhi to accept money and other goods if offered in exchange of votes from parties like the Congress and BJP, but only vote for AAP in the polls. The EC notice states that the AAP leader's comments amount to 'abetting and promotion of the electoral offence of bribery'. Kejriwal had initially ignored the notice and chose to repeat his controversial comments in many of his rallies, but later acknowledged the notice and replied.

Barack Obama says India and US can become best partners, also holds a joint radio address with PM Modi
India > Politics > 27 Jan
As he concluded his landmark three day visit to India, US president Barack Obama said that the US can become India's best partners in all aspects, while addressing a crowd of students at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium. He also highlighted issues like a stronger economic relationship, climate change, women safety in India and religious tolerance. President Obama also co-hosted Narendra Modi’s monthly radio address to the nation titled “Maan ki Baat”, where they highlighted various issues like the plethora of opportunities in both their countries and the power of youth amongst others and also their own personal experiences and view-points that have inspired them in their personal life.

9 people killed in Tripoli hotel attack by IS
World < Tripoli Hotel Attack > 27 Jan

Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, Libya, which is quite popular with Libyan diplomats and government officials. The gunmen set-off a car bomb before entering the hotel, which killed three security guards. They later killed five foreigners on the 24th floor of the hotel before blowing themselves up after being surrounded by security officials. The final suicide bombing claimed one more life, that of a hostage. The Tripoli branch of the Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack on their Twitter handle, and said that the attack was in response to the death of an Al Qaeda suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi, who died before facing trial for bombing US embassies.


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