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PRESIDENT GIVES ASSENT TO TAXATION LAWS SECOND AMENDMENT BILL

President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill 2016 which was passed by Lok Sabha last month as a money bill without discussion amidst opposition uproar over demonetization issue.

Later, the Bill was sent to the Rajya Sabha but it could not take up the legislation following the deadlock between the government and the opposition. Since it was a money bill, it was deemed passed within 14 days from the Rajya Sabha, if the Upper House did not return it.

PRADHAN MANTRI GARIB KALYAN YOJANA TO BE OPERATIONAL FROM TOMORROW

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, PMGKY will be operational from tomorrow and will continue till 31st of March next year. Briefing reporters in New Delhi today, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, the money generated from disclosure of unaccounted cash will be used for this yojana.

He said, declarations under new black money disclosure scheme will be kept confidential. Mr Adhia appealed people who are having undisclosed income to come forward. He also said, people can also give information about blackmoney on the e mail ID- blackmoneyinfo@incometax.gov.in

Speaking on the occasion, CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said, the department has issued around 3,000 notices on the basis of deposits in bank accounts and have seized 316 crore rupees in cash. Out of which cash in new currency is above 80 crore rupees and jewellery worth 76 crore rupees. The total seizure is about 393 crore rupees.

CONGRESS LEADERS MEET PM MODI, GIVE MEMORANDUM ON FARMERS’ ISSUES

A Congress delegation led by party vice president Rahul Gandhi today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted a memorandum on farmers’ demand including loan waiver and problems faced by them due to demonetization.

Later talking to media outside Parliament, Mr Gandhi hoped that Mr Modi will waive off loans of farmers. He said the government should provide immediate help to the farmers as they are committing suicide because of the loan burden.

WORK IN PROGRESS ON FINALIZATION OF BUDGET FOR 2017-18: GOV

The government informed the Lok Sabha today that work relating to finalization of the Budget for 2017-18 is in progress. Allocation for specific schemes will be reflected in the Revised Estimates in the budget documents for 2017-18.

WORLD BANK PAUSED INDUS WATERS TREATY PROCESSES

Indus Waters Treaty processes initiated by India and Pakistan had paused by the World Bank

Announced by Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon

Paused to resolve conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants

BREXIT ADDED IN THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

Officially The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has added the word  ‘Brexit’ in it

It is among 1,500 new words added to the OED

Defined word ‘Brexit’ as “the (proposed) withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and the political process associated with it”

The word Brexit developed from “Grexit” which describes a similar process in which Greece might leave the Eurozone

Grexit was added in OED, calling politics “a fruitful area for new words”

The word ‘YouTubers’ defined as “frequent user of the video-sharing website YouTube” was also added in OED

INDIA-ARAB PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE HELD IN MUSCAT

The 5th India-Arab Partnership Conference was held in Muscat, Oman

Theme: ‘Partnership towards innovation and cooperation in IT’

Aim: To enhance flow of investments from both sides, accelerating the investment projects at a number of prioritized sectors, activate the existing joint ventures, provide conducive environment for export promotion and share expertise

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was the coordinating chamber of commerce from the Indian side while other side had Oman Chamber of Commerce

MODI ENTERS THE TOP 10 LIST OF WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at 9th position among 74 of the world’s most powerful people list 2016

The list gives the annual ranking on the basis of their financial resources, scope and use of power and the number of people they impact

Released by the Forbes Magazine

List topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin for fourth consecutive year

The first billionaire President, Donald Trump of the United States and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ranked second and third in the list

Merkel continues as the most powerful woman on the planet for consecutive 11 years

Other Indian’s in the list: Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani-38th rank, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella-51st rank

INDIA TOPS ASIA IN THE WORLD AS INNOVATION DESTINATION

India has emerged as the topmost country in Asia for innovation while third biggest country globally

Research done by Capgemini Consulting’s Digital Transformation Institute in collaboration with Fahrenheit 212 and in partnership with Brian Solis of Altimeter

The US (146 centres) leads the list of global innovators, followed by Britain with 29 and India is at third place

The ‘Silicon Valley’ of the east, Bengaluru, which is 5th largest hub at global level

Jaipur, Pune and Hyderabad each experienced opening of two new centres

The four cities accounts for 27% of Asia’s new innovation centres

9 new innovation centres were opened in India in 2016, leading the total number of innovation centres to 25

MARUTI TO EXPAND OFFERINGS AT NEXA WITH IGNIS LAUNCH

Maruti SuzukiBSE 0.62 % is looking to expand its product offerings at the NEXA chain of premium dealerships, which will sell a third product, the Ignis, starting next month. At present, the company sells premium hatchback Baleno and crossover S-Cross through the 197 NEXA outlets it has in 115 cities. Vehicles sold through the chain currently constitute around 10% of Maruti Suzuki’s overall sales. Its target is to increase this to 15-17% over the next few years.

The Ignis, to be launched on January 13, will be positioned below the Baleno as a premium urban compact vehicle. With the Ignis, Maruti said it is targeting the Indian millenials. “Consumers aged less than 29 years account for 27% of all car purchases now, up from around 22% six years back. The millenials are unique in their approach and consumption pattern. They do their research online and know exactly what they want. So far, nobody has designed a car for them,” said RS Kalsi, executive director for sales & marketing at Maruti.

The Ignis will come strapped with a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-diesel engines. Automatic gear shift technology will be available across both fuel options. Bookings will commence online in early January. “Maruti Suzuki hardly had any presence in the mid-segment two to three years back. They successfully brought in the Ciaz, the Baleno, the Brezza; launched the NEXA chain of dealerships and managed to create a premium-ness around their brand. The Ignis has been developed to do the same for them at the entry level,” said VG Ramakrishnan, managing partner at Avanteum Advisors.

SUN PHARMA COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF OCULAR TECHNOLOGIES SARL

Sun Pharma today said it has completed the acquisition of the US-based eye care specialist Ocular Technologies Sarl.

“All the necessary formalities for closure of the said transaction have been concluded and the company has successfully completed the acquisition of Ocular Technologies Sarl, on December 15, 2016,” Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said in a BSE filing.

In October this year, Sun Pharma announced acquisition of 100 per cent equity stake in Ocular Technologies Sarl, owned by the private equity firm Auven Therapeutics, for a front payment of USD 40 million.

Sun Pharma will also pay more contingent on meeting drug development and sales milestones as well as tiered royalty on sales of Seciera for the company for accelerated development of breakthrough therapeutic drugs. Currently, Ocular is developing Seciera for treating dry eye disease, the city-based company said, adding the drug is currently in Phase-3 confirmatory clinical trials.

CHEVROLET OFFERING DISCOUNTS UP TO RS 1.89 LAKH ACROSS ITS MODELS

Chevrolet India has announced special year-end discount prices across its models – Beat, Enjoy, Cruze, Trailblazer and Sail, amounting up to Rs 1.89 lakh. In addition to the special pricing and offers on the cars, lucky customers may get a chance to win up to 100% cashback on their brand new Chevrolet.

“We are a brand with a clear focus on our customers, where safety, quality and world-class experience are natural elements in all our campaigns. After receiving positive response to the retail campaign announced in November, we decided to further extend the festivities with the new-year celebrations offer,” said Jack Uppal, Vice President Marketing & Customer Experience, GM India.

“We wanted to go that extra mile to delight our customers with the new year-end campaign. The campaign is in sync with Chevrolet’s promise to provide customized solution to customers. This is a great time to purchase Chevrolet cars, as customers will get the best value for their money along with complete piece of mind giving them a truly satisfying ownership experience.”

After the discount, Chevrolet Beat now costs Rs 3.69 lakh, Sail NB – Rs 4.99 lakh, Enjoy – Rs 5.99 lakh, Cruze – Rs 12.95 lkah, and Trailblazer – Rs 23.95 lakh.

SALARPURIA CLOSES BENGALURU PLOT DEAL WITH US’ ALEXANDRIA AT A DISCOUNT

Property developer Salarpuria Sattva has bought a six-acre plot in Bengaluru’s IT hub from New York-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which is seeking to consolidate its operations in India.

The deal was closed at about Rs 75 crore and came at a discount to the builder, two persons familiar with the development said. The firm decided to sell the plot since it did not want to develop it anymore, they said.

Bijay Agarwal, managing director of Salarpuria Sattva group, declined to comment. Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the world’s largest office builder of science and technology campuses, has separately sold Alexandria Knowledge Park at Genome Valley in Hyderabad for Rs 400 crore to Cerestra Advisors, a real estatefocused private equity firm.

The park has tenants including NovartisBSE -0.88 %, Lonza and AMRI, and has leased office space of 500,000 sq ft with a total buildup potential of 2.5 million sq ft. In August Salarpuria Sattva formed a joint venture with Apollo Asia RE Singapore to acquire 100% stake from a group of offshore investors in two real estate residential projects in Bengaluru and Vadodara.

The deal was valued at Rs 275 crore. The Bengaluru-based builder also partnered with Blackstone recently to develop a seven million sq ft IT park in Hyderabad. It has 17 million sq ft of space under construction and 30 million sq ft under various stages of development and planning across Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Goa and Coimbatore. It plans to venture into more cities in the near future. Currently, the only investment Alexandria Real Estate Equities . 500-crore knowledge holds in India is a ` park. scientific research and development cluster for life sciences industry in Bengaluru’s Electronic City.

HONDA TO HIKE CAR PRICES BY UP TO 3 PER CENT FROM JANUARY

Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) today said it will hike prices of its vehicles across models by up to 3 per cent from next month.

“Due to the increasing pressure on input costs and fluctuating exchange rates, we are forced to consider increasing the car prices across our line-up,” HCIL President and CEO Yoichiro Ueno said in a statement. The increased price will be effective from first week of January 2017, the statement added.

The company’s product range includes Honda Brio, Honda Jazz, Honda Amaze, Honda Mobilio, Honda City, Honda BR-V, Honda CR-V and the recently launched all-new Honda Accord Hybrid. These are priced between Rs 4.69 lakh and Rs 37 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Other car makers including Hyundai Motor India, Nissan, Toyota, Renault, Mercedes-Benz India and Tata Motors have also announced they would increase prices of their vehicles from January.

L&T SEES NO SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS IMPACT FROM CYCLONE VARDAH

Several vessels and facilities at L&T shipyard at Kattupalli in Tiruvallur district on outskirts of Chennai have been damaged due to cyclone Vardah, but the company asserts that there won’t be any “significant” impact on its business.

Vardah, the most intense cyclone to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in two decades, hit the shipyard hard, blowing away the roof of the workshop, while at least four vessels for which the company was looking for customers were damaged.

“We are inspecting and assessing the extent of damage to the vessels and will make a plan for repair after that. The assets are covered under insurance,” said D Morada, V-P of L&T.

He admitted that there has been “some damage” to the shipyard but was not very severe.”Since the facility was built by L&T, it will not take too long to repair the damage and restore normal operations,” he said, adding that overall, “there will be no significant impact our business”.

The company has emerged as a serious player in the domestic ship building and repair industry and is a strong contender for some of the upcoming multi-billion dollar naval contracts that will be up for grabs for Indian firms.

L&T’s Kattupalli facility operates a mega shipyard for shipbuilding as well as retrofitting and conversions. The facility also holds an export-oriented Modular Fabrication Facility (MFF) offering an offshore platform and floating production-cum-storage units and similar products and systems for the oil and gas sector. L&T has a controlling interest in its joint venture L&T Shipbuilding Limited (LTSB) with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDCO).

BHEL BAGS RS 200-CRORE RAILWAY ORDER FOR TRACTION CONVERTERS

Bharat Heavy Electricals LtdBSE -2.07 % (BHEL) has bagged an order worth Rs 200 crore for supply of traction converters to the railways. The order has been placed by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW).

HINDUSTAN UNILEVER EXITS LEATHER BUSINESS

Hindustan UnileverBSE 0.01 %’s subsidiary Pond’s Exports (PEL) that manufactures leather products, has entered into an agreement with Hindustan Foods for sale of certain movable assets and inventory as part of the company’s strategy to exit non-core businesses.

According to the company’s annual report the leather business had a rough year, due to challenging economic conditions in main market, Europe and further pushed down by a weaker Euro.

Over the past few quarters, HUL BSE 0.01 % has been shedding some of its non-core businesses including the Modern Bakery brand to Everstone Group’s Nimman Foods and the rice exports business to LT Foods Middle East DMC.

In July this year HUL exited its 21-year-old joint venture Kimberly-Clark Lever Pvt Ltd (KCLL), which manufactured baby and feminine care business under its brand Huggies and Kotex. In 2013, it exited its specialized marine exports business and sold its Chorward-based unit to Gadre Marine Exports.

AMBIT GROUP, DAIWA SECURITIES GROUP INC IN JOINT HUNT FOR INDO-JAPAN M&A OPPORTUNITIES

Ashok Wadhwa controlled financial services firm, Ambit Group has partnered with Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group Inc for mutual collaboration in mergers & acquisitions advisory services between companies from India and Japan.

With a cumulative equity Foreign Direct Investment of Rs 1.3 trillion between April 2000 and September 2016, Japan has emerged as the 3rd largest source of equity FDI for India over this period and the trend is expected to accelerate going forward.

“India has been a most favored nation for Japanese businesses. The Indian economy and corporates have always attracted interest from high quality Japanese corporations. Being patient investors, Japanese investors are well suited to long term investment needs of the Indian economy,” said Ashok Wadhwa, Group CEO, Ambit.

“Japanese companies are increasingly identifying India as a key geography for expansion given India’s status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies and strong demographic profile. Ambit has a highly experienced M&A advisory team with a strong track record. We believe that our alliance with them complements our existing platforms in Asia, Europe and North America and creates a strong support for the strategic plans of our Japanese clients in India,” said Kentaro Konishi, President and CEO, Daiwa Capital Markets India. Ambit has been the advisor to 27 M&A and ECM transactions since calendar year 2015, across various sectors, with an overall deal value in excess of $ 5.5 billion.

INFOSYS TO INVEST IN DRONE MANUFACTURER IDEA-FORGE

Indian IT giant, Infosys has invested an undisclosed amount in Indian drone start-up ideaForge, as it looks to tap its solutions for industrial uses.

ideaForge’s drones have been used by the Indian Armed Forces for surveillance, crowd monitoring and rescue operations, and have commercial applications in verticals such as energy, utilities, telecom and agriculture, Infosys said in a statement Thursday.

“ideaForge’s high performance UAVs, which have been designed and built in India, have significant potential in industrial use cases.

We are looking forward to working with ideaForge and bringing their technology, expertise, and solutions to our clients to unlock new business insights from operational data that has previously been difficult to obtain,” Ritika Suri, Global Head of Corporate Development & Ventures at Infosys, said in a statement.

The ideaForge investment is the company’s eleventh investment out of its $500 million investment fund.

TINY SATELLITES MOOTED TO WATCH SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY ALONG BORDER

Tracking troop movements across international borders, or monitoring new or existing terror training camps is not easy.

Satellites passing over target areas for only a few hours can relay time-limited intelligence, while ground-based intelligence gathering cannot always be reliable.

But consider this: A series of eyes in the sky to snoop on unfriendly neighbours or hostile groups 24/7, using space-based electronic equipment on board military satellites to relay intelligence.

This is a suggestion through a study by a Bengaluru-based scientific think-tank to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

And sources in the space agency say they are giving serious thought to the plan.

INDO-MALDIVES JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE COMMENCES IN MALDIVES

A 14 days joint training exercise of the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force commenced today with the Opening Ceremony at Kadhdhoo, Lammu Atoll in Maldives.

The training contingents comprised of a platoon strength from BIHAR Regiment and a similar strength of the Maldivian National Defence Force. Senior military observers of both the countries will be witnessing the validation phase of the Exercise.

Exercise EKUVERIN – 2016 will be the seventh edition of Joint Exercise and is in continuation of a series of joint Exercises between the Indian Army and Maldivian National Defence Force. The previous edition of the Exercise was held at Trivandrum, India in 2015.

The aim of the Joint Exercise is to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of amphibious and counter insurgency/ Counter terrorism environment as also to enhance the existing military relationship between the Indian Army and the Maldivian National Defence Force.

PAKISTAN SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRES CRUISE MISSILE

Pakistan Army today successfully test-fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed cruise missile that can hit targets at 700 kms with all kinds of warheads, bringing many Indian cities within its range. Called ‘Babur’ after Mughal invader and founder of the dynasty of same name, the missile is part of Babur Weapon System version- 2 because it is enhanced version of earlier missile.

LARRY PAGE NAMED WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL CEO BY FORBES

Google’s parent company Alphabet’s CEO Larry Page has been named the world’s most powerful CEO by Forbes, with his company having a market capitalisation of over $550 billion.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have been ranked second and third respectively.

Tesla’s Elon Musk and Walmart’s Doug McMillon have also featured on the list.

Warren Buffet was fourth on the Forbes list followed by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase.

Tesla chief Elon Musk is sixth on the list.

The other high-profile CEOs who couldn’t make it to the list are Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, General Motors chief Mary Barra and Ma Huateng, CEO of Chinese conglomerate Tencent.

GUJARAT-BORN 1970S ACTIVIST ON BBC’S INFLUENTIAL WOMEN LIST

A Gujarat-born activist who led a campaign against low pay to women workers at a UK factory in the 1970s has been included in BBC’s most influential women of the past 70 years list.

Jayaben Desai, known as the sari-clad leader, was one of the seven women on the list topped by Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

RAHMAN’S SOUNDTRACK FOR PELE BIOPIC IN OSCARS’ 1ST SHORTLIST

Music composer AR Rahman’s soundtrack for footballer Pele’s biopic ‘Pele: Birth of a Legend’ has been selected in the first shortlist for ‘Best Original Score’ by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Oscars 2017.

Rahman’s song ‘Ginga’ is also in the running for Best Original Song.

Earlier, Rahman won two Oscars in these categories in 2009.

At present, the list, which was released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday on its official website, contains 145 other scores, but only a handful will make it to the final nominations category.

Pele focuses on the rise the football icon from the streets of Brazil to leading his team to victory in the World Cup in 1958.

IT MINISTER TO CONFER DIGITAL INDIA AWARDS 2016

We live in the age of revolution in information technology.

The universal acceptance of the power of ICT to transform and accelerate the development process, especially in developing economies is indisputable.

The rapid advance in communications technologies, especially the internet, has enabled governments all over the world to reach out to their most remote constitutes to improve the lives of their most underprivileged citizens.

The Government of India has also been proactively engaged in the seamless delivery of information and services with the adoption of best ICT practices.

Almost all government departments are now utilising the medium of world wide web in making their services accessible and integrated with the citizens.

The Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

INDIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST: MOEEN ALI, UNLIKE JOE ROOT, SHOULD AIM FOR DADDY HUNDRED TAND MAKE IT COUNT

Another middling effort with the bat on the first day of a Test after winning the toss, saw England reach 284 for four at the close of play on Friday. It is remarkable that this Chennai Test is happening at all, given that the city has been ripped asunder by a cyclone, and when it did start, it followed a very similar pattern to the matches that have gone before it – England players looked set before departing or failed early on. The only exception was Moeen Ali, who was not out at the close on 120. This score is what England should be getting as a minimum when batting first on a decent pitch. Given their struggles to get Indian wickets, the bare minimum will not be enough to prevent another defeat.England have picked the wrong team over the last four Tests, and made an almost identical error at the start of the fifth and final match. Throughout this series they have gone into each match with six bowling options, and in each game one bowler has had virtually nothing to do. And this has been while the batting has struggled. Since their batting efforts in Rajkot saw them secure a draw, they have passed 300 just once, and that in a match that they lost by an innings. England have lost this series because they have been outplayed by India in every facet of the game, but the humbling defeats they have suffered have come as a result of them not scoring enough runs. Things were a little brighter on the first day in Chennai, but the issue of not enough runs has not disappeared.

GURPREET SINGH CLINCHES GOLD

A large gathering of shooters, who also doubled up as spectators, saw Gurpreet Singh record a spectacular 35 hits on target in the eight-series five-shot 25m men’s rapidfire pistol final of the 60th National shooting championship at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Thursday.There were six contestants competing for the title, and Gurpreet, who had qualified with a top score of 579, dominated the final to win his favourite event for the first time.The Army marksman, who will turn Carrying his qualification form into the final, Gurpreet hit the centre ring four and five times in the first two series.Behind him was Haryana’s Harpreet Singh and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vijay Kumar.Gurpreeet managed only three hits in the third series, but thereafter hit all five in the fourth before finishing off with three in the last.Gurpreet had sealed the fate of the final in his favour in the penultimate series after which Vijay Kumar and Neeraj Kumar, also of the Army, tied on 24, went into the shoot-off29 in a few days, said after the prize distribution ceremony: “The 51st National championship was my first and it has taken me 10 years to win the rapidfire

VISWANATHAN ANAND SURVIVES A SCARE AGAINST ANISH GIRI

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand survived a scare before eventually holding his position together to escape with a draw against Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri in the sixth round of London Chess Classic.Trying to invade early into Giri’s position, Anand found that the former was adequately prepared and while it was an extremely wild game the chances were only for Giri in complexities.Wesley So of United States cemented his position at the top of the table by handing Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria his fifth defeat in the tournament. The Filipino turned American Grandmaster took his tally to an enviable 4.5 points out of a possible six and now remains a half point clear of compatriot Fabiano Caruana.Caruana defeated Hikaru Nakamura, also of United States, to remain within striking distance of Wesley So. This was another adrenaline rush for the players as well as spectators and Caruana justified why he is world number two and bridging the gap between him and world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

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