Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Starred Articles

Malaysia declares the disappearance of MH370 flight as an accident
World > Aviation > Jan 29
The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370 as an accident and said there were no survivors of the tragedy. Despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean, no trace of the Beijing bound flight that disappeared on 8th March, 2014 was found. Majority of the passengers were Chinese and families of the victims have expressed their unhappiness over the declaration and the negligent handling of the incident by Malaysian authorities. The airline is now free to start the compensation process after the declaration. Regardless of the announcement, Malaysian authorities are not ruling out the possibility of a foul play.

Britain becomes first country to allow three parent IVF
World > Others > Feb 03
Britain became the first country in the world to allow three parent in-vitro-fertilisation, which, doctors claim can prevent some inherited incurable diseases. The treatment gets the name 'three parent IVF' because it will get DNA from a mother, a father and a female donor. It is designed to help families with mitochondrial diseases, incurable conditions passed down the maternal line that affect around one in 6,500 children worldwide. The decision comes after a majority vote in the British parliament with 382 votes in favour of the technique and 128 being against it.

Jordan executes two Al-Qaeda prisoners in response to brutal killing of pilot by Islamic State
World > Jordan > Feb 04
The Jordanian government has executed two terrorists from Al-Qaeda, Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli, after Islamic State released a video that purportedly showed a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, being burned alive in a cage. The pilot was captured by the extremists in December 2014 when his F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State. Over the past week, Jordan had offered to trade al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, for the pilot, but decided against it after receiving no proof that the pilot was still alive. Jordanian TV said the pilot was killed as long ago as 3 January. Islamic State had earlier demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi in exchange for the captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was later beheaded by the militants.
Al-Rishawi had been sentenced to death after her 2005 role in a triple hotel bombing in Amman that killed 60 people. The killing of the 26-year-old Jordanian pilot appeared aimed at pressurizing the government of Jordan, a close U.S. ally, to leave US-led the coalition that has carried out months of airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.


First canister-based nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-5 test-fired
Science and Technology > First canister-based nuclear-capable ballistic missile > Feb 01
India's first ever inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V, successfully test-fired, taking the country’s strategic strikes capability to a new level. It has a strike range of more than 5,000 km and can deliver a nuclear warhead of over one-tonne-deep inside China. The trial took place in the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast, where a three-stage missile was launched from a canister mounted on a truck. Congratulating scientists from the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for the success, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the missile was an asset for the country's forces. The most powerful missile of India can travel faster than a bullet despite weighing nearly 50 tonnes and will increase the operational flexibility of armed forces.

Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, beheaded by Islamic State
World > ISIS > Feb 01
Islamic State has released a video that shows the alleged beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. The slaying of Goto, a freelance reporter whose work focused on refugees, children and other victims of war, shocked Japan, which until now had not become directly involved in the fight against the militants. Kenji had previously appealed in a video released by the militants that he and a Jordanian pilot would be killed unless the governments conformed to the demands of the Islamic State. Jordan and Japan reportedly conducted indirect negotiations with the militants through Iraqi tribal leaders, but late on Friday the Japanese envoy sent to Amman to work on the hostage crisis reported a deadlock in those efforts. Later, IS released a video of the Jordanian pilot, locked in a cage and being burnt alive.
The citizens of Japan were struck by a wave of anxiety concerning their future security and security has been heightened at many places, including airports and Japanese facilities overseas. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan will continue to stand by its decision and will not let the terrorists win. It will also keep providing substantial economic and humanitarian aid to countries in the region caught up in the struggle with IS.  

Sun-Ranbaxy merger gets conditional nod from US FTC
Corporate > Sun-Ranbaxy Deal > Feb 02
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally put an end to the key waiting period clause under the HSR Act, by clearing the $4 billion merger between Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy. The HSR Act prevents parties from completing mergers or acquisitions until they have made a detailed filing with the FTC and US Department of Justice, which determine whether the transaction will affect US antitrust laws or not. The termination came with a condition that Ranbaxy divests its interest in generic minocycline tablets and capsules to Torrent Pharmaceuticals.
Both the companies have agreed to conform to the conditions stated by FTC consent agreement and will complete the transaction within a certain period. Sun-Ranbaxy is currently also in the process of divesting seven brands in India as per the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home
World > Argentina > Feb 02
The case of mysterious death of Argentina's prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, has taken a new turn .According to the lead investigator, a 26-page document was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, requesting for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The draft also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister, accusing both of them of covering up Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina. No Argentine judge has come forward to take up the trial yet, given the sensitivity attached with the case. Legal experts said that the draft found in Mr. Nisman’s apartment was not valid in an Argentine court of law, and needed more than just the prosecutor’s wishes to move forward in the legal system.

Finance minister to postpone GAAR by at least a year
India > GAAR > Feb 02
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is set to delay the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) by at least a year in order to allow tax officials and the industry to get better acquainted with the rules. The delay will help in rectifying the tax policy towards a more stable one. The rules are aimed towards avoiding the provision of tax benefits to companies which try to find loopholes to avoid the payment of taxes and to ensure that tax benefits accrue only to the intended genuine economic activities.
The GAAR were formulated by the UPA government in 2012 and were set to be implemented in the year 2013-14 but the decision was eventually postponed to be implemented in the financial year 2014-15.

Volunteer group claims AAP received funding from dubious companies
India > AAP > Feb 02
AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) has accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of a funding scam. AVAM claims that the party received donations of Rs. 50 lakh each of the four companies, which the former claims, are fake and the AAP made dummy entries in order to evade taxes. The party has issued a statement saying they are open for all kinds of investigation. The allegations, if proved true, might prove to be a stumbling block in AAP’s intention to win the Delhi Assembly elections.
The Bharitya Janta Party (BJP) has asked the AAP to come clean against the above mentioned allegations and provide an explanation related to transparency and accountability of the donations.

Micromax beats Samsung to lead India's smartphone market
Corporate > Smartphone > Feb 04

According to the reports issued by research firm Canalys, Indian budget smartphone maker Micromax, beats Samsung in establishing its popularity among smartphone users in India. With 22% share of the total smartphone market in India, Micromax emerged leader for the first time in the fourth quarter. Samsung followed close behind with 20% share, ceding the top position to Micromax. The change in the market scenario can be attributed to the low prices offered by Micromax smartphones. However, Samsung disputed the reports saying that Samsung's volume market share in the October-December 2014 quarter was 34.3% and the value market share was 35.8%, as per the GfK data. It said that Gfk data is based on actual retail sales in 50,000-plus population cities, according to which it continues to lead the Indian market.


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