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Current News Shots October 11 - 18, 2013



DEFENCE

PRITHVI-II MISSILE TEST FIRED SUCCESSFULLY FROM CHANDIPUR ODISHA
Capability: Nuclear
Strike Range: 350km
Tested At: Chandipur, Odisha 
Launch activities were carried out by: Strategic Forces Command (SFC)
Monitored by: Scientists of DRDO.
About Prithvi-II Missile
Feat: First missile to be developed under India’s prestigious IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program)

  1. Can carry 500kg to 1000kg of warheads
  2. Liquid propulsion twine engines
  3. Advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvering trajectory
  4. Inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003

IMPORTANT DAY

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD OCTOBER 11, 2013
International Day of the Girl Child was observed globally on October 11, 2013 
Aim: To recognize the girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
Theme for (2013): Innovating for Girls’ Education
Focus: Smart and creative use of technology, policies, partnerships and, most of all, the engagement of young people, themselves, as the important tools and steps for overcoming barriers to girls’ learning and achievement. 

POLITICAL

INDIA-BANGLADESH POWER TRANSMISSION LINK OPENED
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the India- Bangladesh Grid interconnection in Bangladesh Mode:  Video-Conference.
Grid Line Length: 71-km Baharampur-Bheramara transmission link between the electricity grids of the two countries.  The link would facilitate cross-border electricity transfer of up to 500 mega watt (MW) from India to Bangladesh.
Aim: The grid interconnection between the two countries through a 500MW High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) between the eastern region of India and western grid of Bangladesh has being designed in such a manner that it would enable control of power transfer in either direction up to the capacity of the HVDC buffer, depending upon the availability and demand on either side.
 

SYRIA JOINS UN CHEMICAL WEAPONS PACT
Requirement for Chemical Weapons Convention: To declare and destroy all of the chemical weapons they possess.
Agency: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Enforcement of Treaty: 1997.
History: OPCW is based in The Hague, Netherlands
Full name of the treaty:The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction
Takeaways:

  1. Syria is the 190th country to join the convention.
  2. Only 6 UN states have yet to sign the international treaty, they are: Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan.

 

ECONOMIC BUSINESS AND FINANCE

SEBI MERGES FIIS AND QFIS INTO NEW FPIS CATEGORY
SEBI Proposes Overhaul of FII Entry Norms and Securities Buyback Framework
SEBI has in its recent board meeting inter alia accepted the following recommendations relating to buyback of securities and new entry norms for foreign institutional investors ("FIIs"), sub accounts of FII ("Sub-Accounts") and qualified foreign investors ("QFIs")

  • Amendments to SEBI (Buyback of Securities) Regulations, 1998: SEBI has approved a stricter framework for buyback of securities from open market through stock exchanges. Key changes proposed are as under:
  1. The companies proposing to buy back their securities shall buyback securities worth at least 50% (Fifty Percent) of the amount earmarked for buyback ("Mandatory Minimum Buyback") and shall place a minimum of 25% (Twenty Five Percent) of such amount under escrow as security for ensuring such buyback;
  2. Further in the event, the Company fails to complete the Minimum Mandatory Buyback, a sum equal to up to 2.5% (Two Point Five Percent) of the amount earmarked for such buyback will be forfeited by SEBI from the amounts kept in escrow;
  3. The maximum buyback period has been reduced from 12 (Twelve) months to 6 (Six) months;
  4. A company making buyback of its securities shall now be prohibited from raising any further capital, except in discharge of its existing obligations, for a period of 12 (Twelve) months from the buyback as against the period of 6 (Six) months applicable currently;
  5. A company cannot make another buyback offer within a period of 1 (One) year from the date of closure of preceding buyback offer; and
  6. A company can buyback 15% (Fifteen Percent) or more of its capital only by way of tender offer.
  • Simplified entry norms for FIIs, Sub Account and QFIs: SEBI has accepted the following recommendations relating to entry of FIIs, Sub Account and QFIs in India:
  1. Simplified and uniform entry norms for foreign investors by merging existing FIIs, Sub Accounts and QFIs into a new investor class to be termed as Foreign Portfolio Investors ("FPIs");
  2. Prior direct registration of FIIs and Sub Accounts with SEBI to be done away with and registration of FPIs to be done by designated depository participants authorized by SEBI subject to compliance with Know Your Customer ("KYC") requirements by such FPIs;
  3. From the point of KYC, FPIs will be categorized into three categories:
  1. Category I - which would include Government and Government related entities such as Foreign Central Banks, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Multilateral Organizations etc.
  2. Category II - which would include regulated entities such as Banks, Asset Management Companies, Broad Based Funds such as Mutual Funds, Investment Trusts, Insurance and Reinsurance Companies, University Funds, Pension Funds and University related Endowments already registered with SEBI.
  3. Category III - All other FPIs not eligible to be included in the above two Categories.
  1. The approach to KYC will be risk based. The documents needed for registration would be the simplest for Category I and most stringent for Category III. Designated officials of Category I and Category II FPIs will not be required to submit personal identification documents such as copy of passport, photograph etc.
  2. Portfolio investments to be defined as investment by any single investor or investor group, which shall not exceed 10% of the equity of an Indian company. Investments beyond the threshold of 10% shall be considered as Foreign Direct Investment.
  3. The changes proposed in the foreign investment regime will be formulated and finalized by SEBI in line with the recommendations and approval of the Government of India and will ease the entry process of FIIs, Sub accounts and QFIs into India.

The changes proposed in the buyback framework and the foreign investment regime discussed above have been approved by SEBI in its board meeting and will have to be notified in the form of new regulations/ amendment regulations before coming into effect

WAL-MART GETS CLEAN CHIT IN FEMA CASE
Received Clean Chit form:ED (Enforcement Directorate) in the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) violation case.
Now FDI in multi-brand retail is allowed and FEMA also made provision for retrospective regularization of investments and hence Wal-Mart is allowed to carry on its business independently in India.

INDIA POST AND WALL STREET EXCHANGE TO OFFER INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC MONEY TRANSFER
The India Post collaborated with Wall Street Exchange, (a company of UAE’s Emirates Post Group) Service: Instant electronic money transfer service
Venue: New Delhi
Reason: Launch of an International Electronic Money Transfer service through Instant Cash product of the Emirates Post Group.
Instant Cash is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Emirates Post Group, and its services are available in 59 nations through more than 60,000 locations.
Key features:

  1. Recipients will be able to collect their payment at any of the identified 17500 post offices by producing the unique transaction number along with their identity and KYC documents. 
  2. Instant payment will be made. 
  3. The transactions will be safe and secure through established International Financial System of Universal Postal Union.

BILLS AMANDMENTS AND SCHEMES

NEW CINEMATOGRAPH BILL ON GOVERNING CINEMA: MUDGAL COMMITTEE
Headed By:
Justice Mukul Mudgal, (Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana)
This model Cinematograph Bill is to replace the Cinematograph Act 1952
Reason: To provide for a new legal framework for governing Indian cinema proposed a model Cinematograph Bill,

AWARDS HONOURS AND APPOINTMENTS

NOBEL PHYSICS PRIZE 2013 GOES TO ENGLERT AND HIGGS
Francois Englert of
Belgium
Peter Higgs of Britain for their theoretical discoveries on how subatomic particles acquire mass.
Contribution:
Higgs boson (Theorized in 1960s).
They proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass. Their theories were confirmed last year by the discovery of the so-called Higgs particle or God-particle’, also known as the Higgs boson, at the famous CERN(European Organization for Nuclear Research) laboratory in Geneva.

EUGENE FAMA WINS NOBEL IN ECONOMICS FOR HIS EFFICIENT MARKET HYPOTHESIS (EMH)
American Economist Eugene Fama
Trends in asset markets.
Other: Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen.

NEW ZEALAND AUTHOR ELEANOR CATTON WINS 2013 BOOKER PRIZE
Ms Eleanor Catton became
“The Luminaries” is the longest book ever to win the Booker Prize .
Ms Eleanor Catton is the youngest author ever to win the Booker Prize

OBAMA NOMINATES JANET YELLEN AS THE NEXT HEAD OF US FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD
Ms Janet L. Yellen
as the new head of the Federal Reserve Board.
Earlier: Ben Bernanke as Chair of the Federal Reserve Board. 
Brief: Yellen served as vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She would be the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board and also the first Democrat to head the Board since 1979.

CHEMISTRY NOBEL 2013 TO LEVITT, KARPLUS AND WARSHEL
Michael Levitt
, a British and US citizen,
US-Austrian Martin Karplus
US-Israeli Arieh Warshel
Contributions:
The trio has been credited for the development of multi scale models for complex chemical systems. 
They devised computer simulations to understand chemical processes. Their works laid the foundations for new kinds of pharmaceuticals and contributed to exploring multiple options in cyber space.

KARAN THAPAR WINS INTERNATIONAL PRESS INSTITUTE INDIA AWARD
Karan Thapar,
Television journalist,
Honored with the International Press Institute (IPI) India Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The jury for this award chose Mr. Thapar ‘for his sharp interviews on the Devil’s Advocate program on CNN IBN

MALALA YOUSAFZAI WINS EU’S SAKHAROV PRIZE 2013
Malala Yousafzai, who survived bullet-injury inflicted by the Taliban for championing girls’ education has won the European Union’s (EU) Sakharov Human Rights Prize 2013. 
Past winners of the Sakharov Prize
South African anti apartheid hero Nelson Mandela
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
The Sakharov Prize
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.
The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko. 

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2013 GOES TO OPCW
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) won the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons. The award was announced by Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.
What is OPCW? What are its award-winning efforts?
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an independent, international body established in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention. It has a working relationship with the UN.
The organization is currently working in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles which marks as the first time the OPCW is working in a war zone.
It conducts inspections of destruction procedures, as well as evaluating members’ own declarations, in order to examine that the convention is being followed.
Its headquarters are in The Hague, Netherland and it consists of 189 member nations, covering around 98% of the global population. These member states have agreed to work together to create a world free from chemical weapons.
Current Director-General of the OPCW: Ahmet Uzumcu


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