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FIVE-JUDGE CONSTITUTION BENCH TO TAKE A CALL ON SECTION 377
1.The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred a batch of curative petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era provision criminalising consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private, to a five-judge Constitution Bench for a possible back-to-roots, in-depth hearing.
2.A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices Anil R. Dave and J.S. Khehar gave credence to arguments that the threat imposed by the provision amounts to denial of the rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.
PUNJAB TO GET OXFORD UNIVERSITY MODELLED ‘EDUCITY’
1.Speaking about the project Deputy CM Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal said: “The ultra modern Educity with a contingent of schools and colleges for varied streams will not only provide the best of education but also the environment to fill the “Innovation Gap” in the curriculum and requirements of the industry
2.This will also bring the world class education within the reach of overseas education aspirants.” The process of acquiring and developing 1700 acres of land for the Educity project has already begun. Land will be acquired in villages Kansala (419 acres), Takipur (354 acres), Rajgarh (337 acres), Boothgarh (303 acres) and Kartarpur (287 acres) for this ambitious project.
3.The project so completed would offer education facilities in courses like Engineering, Medical, Management, Biotech, Tourism, Hospital, Multimedia, pharmaceuticals etc. Land may also be allotted to some IT companies in this Education City.
ANUPAM KHER DENIED PAK VISA
1.Actor Anupam Kher found himself in the middle of yet another controversy on Tuesday when he announced that Pakistan had denied him a visa to attend the Karachi Literature Festival beginning Friday.
2.However, the Pakistan High Commission said the actor had never applied for one.
3.Mr. Kher was one of the 18 Indians invited to the four-day literary event. The 17 others, including senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das, have been granted visa.
4.Mr. Kher, who is among the Padma Bhushan recipients this year, said he was “sad and disappointed.”
BUDGET SESSION TO START AFTER FEB. 20
1.Responding to reports that had predicted the possibility of an early budget session of Parliament this year, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday made it clear that it would commence only after February 20.
2.A clear picture on the dates for the session would emerge when the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs meets in New Delhi on Thursday.
RBI RELAXES FDI NORMS TO BOOST START-UPS
1.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday relaxed several rules including foreign direct investment norms to boost start-up activity in the country.
2.To begin with, start-ups are allowed to receive foreign venture capital investment irrespective of the sector in which they operate. The new norms will enable transfer of shares from foreign venture capital investors to other residents or non-residents.
3.BI also said certain issues that are permissible under the existing regime shall be clarified like issue of shares without cash payment through sweat equity or against any legitimate payment owed by the company remittance of which does not require any permission under FEMA and collection of payments by start-up enterprises on behalf of their subsidiaries abroad.
U.S. TAX AUTHORITIES APPROVE SIGNING OF BILATERAL APAS WITH INDIA
1.The U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday announced that, starting February 16, its Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement office will begin accepting requests for bilateral advance pricing agreements between the U.S. and India. This marks a big step forward to ensure tax certainty between the two countries, according to experts.
2.This hesitation to enter into bilateral APAs might have been due to the large number of pending transfer pricing cases between the US and India, according to some experts. The two countries had around 200 cases pending for the last 4-5 years, 100 of which were resolved recently, according to the Indian government. Real progress in resolving these cases was made following the signing of the framework agreement between the Indian and the U.S. tax authorities in January 2015 as part of the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) provision contained in the India-U.S. Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
SANJEEV RAJPUT EARNS HIS QUOTA PLACE
1.Sanjeev Rajput provided the hosts a fitting climax to the Asia Olympic qualifying shooting competition at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Tuesday by clinching the men’s rifle 3-position quota place.
2.Rajput had qualified in fourth place with a total of 1,163. After faltering in the standing position, with 375 out of 400, he settled the issue with a solid performance in the prone phase of the 45-shot final.
GOOGLE’S ALPHABET OVERTAKES APPLE AS WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE COMPANY
1.Alphabet, Google’s parent company, pipped Apple to become the world’s most valuable company on Tuesday, ending the iPhone company’s four-year reign.
2.Alphabet’s shares rose by 4.7% by noon on Tuesday following the release of better than expected results. After the rise Alphabet was valued at $548bn to Apple’s $534bn.
3.Apple’s share price bounced back by the end of the day to put it in the lead again. But while the race between the two tech titans is close at present, analysts are predicting Alphabet will soon take the lead again. Deutsche Bank raised its 12-month share price target for Alphabet to $1,080, 40% above Alphabet’s closing price on Monday.