Thursday, February 19, 2015

Starred Articles

SC directs CBI to investigate SEBI and RBI in ponzi scams
India > Ponzi Scams > Feb 14
The Supreme Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). According to reports, SEBI and RBI have come under the suspicion of intentionally disregarding those involved in multi-crore chit-fund scams across several states. The bench of judges referred to SC's last year's order directing the CBI to investigate the matter after thousands of people complained of losing Rs 10,000 crore through the Ponzi schemes. Besides the arrest of three Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionaries — West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, TMC Member of Parliament Srinjoy Bose and Kunal Ghosh —in the Saradha chit-fund scam, senior TMC leader and former railway minister Mukul Roy was also questioned by the CBI. While disposing of a PIL seeking a direction to CBI probe into Rs 700 crore ponzi scheme scam involving various firms, SC made it clear to the CBI that it will have to carry out investigations even if it does not have sufficient manpower to handle the cases.

Civil nuclear pact signed by Sri Lanka and India
World > Indo-Sri Lanka Nuclear Pact > Feb 16
A bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was made between India and Sri Lanka besides deciding to expand defence and security cooperation. At the meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, a commitment was made to find a solution to the fishermen issue by adopting a constructive and humanitarian approach. Apart from nuclear pacts, three other pacts pertaining to the field of agriculture and Sri Lanka's participation in the Nalanda University Project were signed too. Narendra Modi said that India was honoured that Sirisena had chosen the country for his first overseas destination after assuming charge. Expressing satisfaction with the results of the talks between the two countries, Modi said that the two countries are committed on exploring the potential of economic cooperation.

Deloitte Global to get new India-born CEO, Punit Renjen
Corporate > Deloitte > Feb 16
US-based accounting giant Deloitte Global has appointed India-born Punit Renjen as its new CEO. Renjen is currently the US business chairman and CEO of the group, and will take over as the role of Deloitte Global chief executive officer from June 1, becoming the first Indian-origin person to lead a 'Big-Four' audit firm. He has been with Deloitte for over 27 years and has held a number of leadership positions. He hails from Rohtak, Himachal Pradesh and left for US to pursue higher studies. After a rigorous and comprehensive nomination and member firm partner ratification process, which is carried out once every four years, Renjen was appointed as the leader.

Government builds 7.1 lakh toilets in the month of January as part of the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan
India > Governing > Feb 17
As part of the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan the Narendra Modi government was successful in building 7.1 lakh toilets in the month of January, the highest number achieved in a single month so far. According to government data 31.84 lakh toilets have been built in the period between April 2014 and January 2015 and the government's aim to construct 50 lakh toilets by the fiscal year end is on track. The Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan aims to build 12 crore toilets with an estimated budget of 2 lakh crores over the next five years to make India 'Open Defecation Free' by the year 2019.


Nawaz Sharif expresses disapproval over India's permanent UNSC seat
World > Permanent UNSC Seat > Feb 13
Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif reportedly told Barack Obama that India's permanent membership in the reformed UN Security Council is unacceptable to Pakistan. According to him, India has not complied with UN resolutions on Kashmir and has "not fulfilled the commitment to give the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir”. The US President had called Sharif and the alleged conversation, concerning regional stability and peace, happened over the phone. Sharif also expressed keen interest in obtaining the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Obama had visited India in January during which he had reaffirmed the US' position that India is ready for NSG membership.

47 Myanmar soldiers die in clashes with Kokang rebels
World > Myanmar > Feb 13
After days of fighting with minority ethnic group Kokang, 47 Myanmar soldiers lost their lives in the northern state of Laukkai. According to the government, 73 soldiers were injured, but no data about rebel and civil casualties was available. The Kokang rebels are known to use sophisticated weapons such as anti-aircraft guns, and government forces used aerial strikes to counter the rebel attack. It is also known that two other rebel groups joined the Kokangs to fight government forces, but the situation now is under control.

Kejriwal’s Janlokpal Bill may face obstacles even if passed by Delhi Assembly
India > Janlokpal Bill > Feb 13
The acceptance of Delhi’s Janlokpal Bill depends on the acceptance of his demand for full statehood for Delhi, as he wants powers in order to gain authority to probe officials of the Delhi Police as well as Delhi's various municipal corporations. The Bill cannot probe these authorities now as they currently report to the Centre and the situation won't change unless Delhi gets full statehood. The 33 page Lokpal bill, which was presented by Kejriwal in the Delhi assembly in his previous term as Delhi CM has been found to have three major contradictions with the Central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act and NCT Act, 1991. According to various sources it is not possible to enact the bill as per Kejriwal's wishes as it would require major amendments to the acts mentioned above.

Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libiya after ISIS beheads 21 Egyptian Christians
World > Terrorism > Feb 16
After the Islamic State (IS) released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by IS militants, Egyptian fighter jets bombed specific IS targets in Libya. The pre-dawn strike hit militant camps, training sites and weapons storage areas in Libya, which is facing civil conflict and has become a haven for militant groups. Libyan air-force took part in the operation too, where the coastal city of Derna was targeted, which is considered as a base for IS militants. Egypt has called on the U.S. led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to broaden the scope of their operations to include Libya.

PM Modi vows India will shed the top weapons exporter tag
India > Defence > Feb 18
At the Aero India Expo, a major aviation industry conference, PM Modi vowed that India would shed the tag of being the biggest importer of weapons and would like to produce 70% of its armoury by the end of the decade, which currently stands at 40%. The PM's statement comes in the light of India's willingness to boost domestic manufacturing, which would also create more jobs for the people.

Telecom operators deposit Rs 20,435 crore for spectrum auction
Economy > Spectrum Auctions > Feb 18
The upcoming spectrum auction has garnered around Rs 20,435 crore from eight telecom operators. Reliance Jio Infocom submitted the highest EMD of about Rs 4,500 crore followed by Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications, Telewings (Uninor) and Uninor. The earnest deposit money translates into points that determine the quantum of spectrum blocks a company can bid in the auction process. Spectrum or radio waves being the key part of the telecom networks to provide mobile services, this auction will see aggressive bidding with top operators competing with each other. The amount fetched from this auction will help the government reach its fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of the GDP.

Indian coast guard denies blowing up Pak boat on Dec 31, contradicts earlier statement
India > Pakistani Boat Incidence > Feb 18
The Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday denied newspaper reports which quoted a deputy inspector general as claiming he gave orders to blow up and sink a Pakistani boat which infiltrated into Indian waters on New Year’s Eve. DIG BK Loshali whom Indian Express had quoted said that he wasn't handling the operations at the time of the incident and that the boat had set herself on fire and was not sunk by the Coast guard. After the Coast Guard denied the claim, the Indian Express - which first reported the issue - released a video of Loshali purportedly making the controversial remarks prompting defence minister Manohar Parrikar to say that he would order a probe into Loshali's comments.
The Coast Guard’s earlier statement contradicted the government's claim that there were Pakistani militants on the boat since the inmates of the boat blew it up after being cornered by Indian forces.


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