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Current Affairs for 12 January 2016
January 12, 2016
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35 CREW MEMBERS OF US SHIP GET 5-YR JAIL
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1.A court today sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment all 35 crew members of US company-owned ship Seaman Guard Ohio, which was held for illegally entering Indian territory with arms.

2.Justice Rajasekhar also imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 each on the crew members comprising 12 Indians, three Ukranians, six British and 14 Estonian nationals.

3.The crew, arrested on October 18, 2013, after their ship was intercepted by Indian Coast Guard off Tuticorin port, had been granted conditional bail by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in March 2014. The crew was arrested after the Coast Guard personnel found the ship carrying arms illegally in Indian waters off Tuticorin, a charge denied by the vessel authorities.

4.They faced charges under the Arms Act and Essential Commodities Act, which was invoked as the ship had allegedly bought diesel from a local agent in violation of law.

5.US firm AdvanFort International, which owns the ship, had been maintaining that the vessel was involved in anti-piracy operations and had not strayed into Indian waters.


 

DAVID BOWIE DIES OF CANCER AGED 69
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1.Singer David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

2.Tributes have been paid from around the world to the “extraordinary artist” whose last album was released days ago.

3.Sir Paul McCartney described him as a “great star” who “played a very strong part in British musical history”.

4.Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, who is a Bafta-winning film director, wrote on Twitter: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”


 

LEONARDO DICAPRIO WINS GOLDEN GLOBE FOR FILM DRAMA ACTOR

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1.Leonardo DiCaprio won the Golden Globe award for best dramatic actor in The Revenant. DiCaprio was saluted with a standing ovation at the Beverly Hilton hotel. He beat out Bryan Cranston of Trumbo, Michael Fassbender of Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne of The Danish Girl, and Will Smith of Concussion.

2.The Revenant earned Globes for best motion picture and best director for Alejandro Inarritu.

3.The 41-year-old actor born in Hollywood earned his third career Golden Globe. His earlier wins came two years ago for The Wolf of Wall Street and in 2005 forThe Aviator.

4.Actors Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Sylvester Stallone and Jon Hamm were the other winners at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards.

5.Winslet, 40, who played the role of Joanna Hoffman, marketing executive for Apple in biopic Steve Jobs, walked away with the golden trophy in the supporting actress category.

6.The Danny Boyle-directed movie, which did not do well at the box office, earned another trophy for Aaron Sorkin in the best screenplay category.

7.Stallone won the best supporting actor in a motion picture trophy for his role in Creed and was received with a standing ovation.

8.Damon won the best actor trophy in a musical or comedy category for his role of Mark Watney, a botanist in The Martian.

9.The latest from the seventy-third Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California .


 

IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL TO KEEP WOMEN OFF SABARIMALA?

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1.The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association and five women lawyers seeking a directive to allow entry of women into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple without age restriction. Women in the age group of 10-50 are not allowed entry. The court had issued notice in 2006.

2.The petition had contended that women, aged 10-50, touching the idol was considered an act of desecration. An attempt was made to prosecute Kannada actor Jaimala on the plea of desecration after her disclosure that she had entered the sanctum sanctorum and touched the idol in 1987. The priests conducted a special ritual to purify the idol. The ban was enforced under Rule 3 (b) of the 3.Kerala Hindu 3.Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, (women at such time during which they are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship).

4.The Kerala High Court had upheld the ban in 1991 and directed the Devaswom Board to implement it. The petition contended that discrimination in entry into temples was neither a ritual nor ceremony associated with the Hindu religion. It was anti-Hindu.


 

FILLIP TO ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ IN DEFENCE PURCHASES

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1.The DPP 2016 will have a new category, Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) platforms, which will be the priority route for procurements. Within this two sub-categories have been created, one with mandatory 40 percent domestic content for a domestic design and the other mandating 60 percent local content if the design is not Indian.

2.The domestic companies eligible under this will have majority Indian control and operated by Indian nationals.

3.In addition to building a technology base in the country, the government through the Department of Defence Production will fund private R&D for which various norms have been stipulated. Under this projects are eligible for up to 90 percent funding.

4.Of this 20 percent will be given in advance and the tender issued in 24 months. In case the tender is not issued the development will be refunded. There is also a Rs. 10 crore for MSMEs.

5.In another significant change, the contentious issue of offsets has been amended from the current Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 2000 crore giving flexibility for foreign companies. Offset clause mandates that a foreign company should invest 30 percent of the contract value back into the country with a view to bring in technology. Offsets push up cost of contracts by 14-18 percent, officials said.


79.5% TURNOUT IN HARYANA PANCHAYAT POLL

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1.Around 79.5 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first phase of panchayat election in Haryana on Sunday which was largely peaceful, barring a few stray incidents.

2.More than 79.5 per cent voters cast their ballots and the final turnout may go over 80 per cent, State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said.

3.He said stray incidents of violence were reported from Palwal, Mewat, Bhiwani, Rohtak, and Fatehabad districts.

4.Polling took place to elect 416 ward members of zila parishad, 1,221 ward members of panchayat samitis, 2,583 sarpanch and 26,248 posts panch in 47 blocks.

5.As many as 15,682 panches, 93 sarpanches and 46 members of panchayat samitis were elected unopposed, according to the commission office.

6.He said counting of votes for the posts of sarpanches and panches began immediately after closing of polls and results of 152 sarpanch were declared by 8.30 pm.


 

AP GETS RS 1.70 LAKH CR INVESTMENT PLEDGE ON DAY 2 OF SUMMIT

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1.Australia-based Queensland Coal Corp today agreed to set up a coal-based power plant in Andhra Pradesh with an investment of over Rs 30,000 crore as the state received projects commitments worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore on the second day of CII Partnership Summit.

2.The Andhra Pradesh government inked MoUs involving investments worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore on the second day of the three-day Summit being held here, said Parakala Prabhakar, Communications Advisor to the government.

3.The State inked agreements envisaging Rs 5,927-crore investments with potential to generate about 67,000 employment opportunities.

4.Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu yesterday said his Government had signed 32 MoUs with various companies involving investments of Rs 1.95 lakh crore on the first day of the conference. So far, the State has concluded pacts entailing investments of Rs 3.65 lakh crore.

5.Prabhakar said as many as 150 MoUs are expected to be signed tomorrow.


SEBI LOWERS MF EXPOSURE LIMITS

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1.As part of its attempts to make mutual funds reduce their exposure to one issuer or a sector in the debt schemes, the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has lowered the exposure cap for such investments by mutual funds.

2.The SEBI Board has decided to amend the mutual fund regulations so that single issuer limit is reduced to 10 per cent of the net asset value (NAV) of the scheme, which can be increased to 12 per cent of the NAV but only after an approval from the trustees. The sector-specific exposure limit has also been reduced from the current 30 per cent of the NAV to 25 per cent.

3.According to a statement from SEBI, the new norms would mitigate risks arising on account of high levels of exposure in the wake of events pertaining to credit downgrades and put mutual funds in a better position to handle adverse credit events.

4.In August 2015, a sudden downgrade in the credit rating of Amtek Auto Ltd led to a fund house taking a massive hit on its NAV and freezing all kinds of redemption for a brief period of time.


 

SIKRI TAKES OVER AS NEW CCI CHIEF

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1.Devender Kumar Sikri has taken over as the Chairman of Competition Commission of India (CCI), according to an official statement.

2.Mr. Sikri, a 1975 Gujarat cadre IAS officer, replaces Mr Ashok Chawla who demitted office on January 7.

3.The 62-year-old Sikri, who superannuated as secretary, department of justice on July 31, 2013, will have a two-and-a-half year tenure until he turns 65.


 

E-GOVERNANCE: TRANSACTIONS DOUBLE IN 2015

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1.Transactions related to e-governance in the country almost doubled in 2015, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

2.“According to the government website, electronic transaction aggregation and analysis layer (eTaal), 3.53 billion transactions took place in 2014 which almost doubled in 2015 to 6.95 billion…this shows Indians’ drive for technology,” the Minister said at a conference organised by industry body FICCI.

3.eTaal is a portal that disseminates e-transaction statistics of national and State level e-governance projects. “Indians have a great taste for technology. They first observe it, then adopt it and finally enjoy it. Indians by temperament are innovative,” Mr. Prasad added.


 

COMPLETE RECRUITMENT PROCESS IN SIX MONTHS: GOVERNMENT TO DEPARTMENTS

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1.The recruitment process including advertising vacancy and conducting interviews by government departments need to be completed within six months time, the Centre said today.

2.The move comes after noting long gap between the date of advertisement for the vacancy and date of examination or interview.

3.All ministries or departments are, therefore, requested that while initiating the recruitment process to fill vacant posts by the method of direct recruitment, it may be ensured that the entire recruitment process including and starting from advertisement, conducting written examination or holding of interview may be completed within six months, it said.

4.The administrative ministries or departments have been asked to issue similar instructions to autonomous bodies, public sector underta ..