CA December 9, 10 & 11
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY BEING CELEBRATED TODAY
Human Rights Day is being celebrated today and the day is celebrated every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 as the shared standard benchmark to protect human rights across the world.
Our correspondent reports the slogan of this year is stand up for someone’s rights today, which emphasises on peace and harmony with respect for each other’s rights.
In run up to the celebration of Human Rights Day, the National Human Rights Commission, has organised a number of programmes. Besides these initiatives, during the last 23 years of its existence, the Commission has endeavoured to promote a culture of human rights.
It has made a number of interventions on important issues, which include on issues of bonded and child labour, prison reforms, rights of differently abled persons, manual scavenging and sanitation, and human rights of women.
INDIA, VIETNAM SIGN N-PACT, THREE OTHER AGREEMENTS
India and Vietnam have signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in New Delhi yesterday in presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and visiting President of Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan after their talks on enhancing the ties.
The MoU on civil nuclear cooperation was signed by Sekhar Basu, Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy and Pham Cong Tac, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam. The civil nuclear agreement with Vietnam, comes close on the heels of India signing a similar pact with Japan.
Vietnam is the 14th country with which India signed the civil nuclear deal.
The two countries also signed three other agreements to enhance aviation links, to jointly work in the area of
energy efficiency and promotion of parliamentary cooperation.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi yesterday. During the meeting, Mr. Modi said Ms. Ngan, as the first woman to head the National Assembly of Vietnam, is a source of inspiration to women across the world. He also welcomed increased Parliamentary interactions between the two countries and called for instituting an exchange programme for young parliamentarians.
The Prime Minister said that the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy which was signed today, will further strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Vietnam.
GOVT LAUNCHES DIGIDHAN CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE DIGITAL TRANSACTIONS
Union IT Minister Ravishankar Prasad yesterday launched Digidhan Abhiyan, to enable every citizen, small traders and merchants to adopt digital payments in their everyday financial transactions. Mr Prasad said during the Abhiyan, citizens will be informed about various modes of digital payments by educating them to download, install and transact digital payments.
The Minister said, digital mode of payment have witnessed an unprecedented upsurge from four hundred to one thousand per cent. Prasad said the user of e-wallet have gone up to 63 lakh from 17 lakh transaction per day after demonetization. He said, transactions through Rupay cards has also gone up from 3.85 lakh to 16 lakh per day.
The IT Minister has also lunched Digishala TV Channel. It is a free-to-air channel which will educate people about digital payment and is available on DTH service.
Mr Prasad said, the channel will encourage people for digital payment in their everyday life. The channel will be airing shows targeted at the rural and suburban population to inform them of various aspects of going digital like e-wallet, UPI, USSD, AADHAAR and usage of cards through talk shows and demonstrations.
The services will initially be available in Hindi and English and later in local languages as well.
SC MODIFIES NATIONAL ANTHEM ORDER, EXEMPTS DIFFERENTLY ABLED
The Supreme Court has modified its order on the National Anthem and exempted physically handicapped persons from standing before screening of a movie in cinema halls across the nation.It also clarified that doors of theatres need not be bolted when the National Anthem is played.
The order was passed yesterday by a bench comprising Justices DipakMisra and Amitava Roy, which agreed to hear the plea seeking recall of its order mandating playing of the National Anthem before films.Apart from relaxing the anthem norms for disabled, it clarified that its direction to close the entry and exit gates of cinema halls when the national anthem is played did not amount to bolting the door.
Attorney General MukulRohatgi informed the apex court
that the Centre will issue guidelines within ten days on how physically challenged persons should show respect to the National Anthem.
The court posted the application for recall of its November 30 order for detailed hearing on February 14.
PM TO ADDRESS PARIVARTAN RALLY IN BAHRIACH TODAY
Prime Minister NarendraModi will address a Parivartan Rally in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh today. A large number of people have started gathering at the rally venue from Bahraich as well as neighbouring districts. This is the fifth Parivartan Rally of the Prime Minister in Uttar Pradesh. Prior to it, he has addressed rallies at Ghazipur, Agra, Kushinagar and Moradabad. After Bahraich, MrModi is scheduled to address one more rally in Kanpur on 19th of this month.
Our correspondent reports that six layer security arrangements have been made for PM’s visit under terrorist threat perception for Bahraich being a Nepal bordering district. Besides, drone cameras will keep a close vigil of nearby areas of the rally ground. The entire region of Bahraich seems to be painted saffron as all roads leading to the city are filled with hoardings and banners welcoming PM Modi who will address the people around two in the afternoon. PM will be flanked by state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and host of senior BJP leaders and regional MPs on this occasion. Merajuddin, AIR News, Bahraich.
GOVT TO SOON LAUNCH HELPLINE NUMBER 14444 TO PROMOTE DIGITAL PAYMENTS
A nationwide toll-free helpline number ‘14444’ will be launched soon to educate people and provide support related to cashless mode of transactions. Nasscom President R Chandrashekar said government has sought the IT body’s help in providing support on a mass scale to people. He said,Nasscom is providing call centre support to the project.
MrChandrashekar said the service is expected to be operational within a week. He said, it is to help people at the first level to zero-in on the option most suitable for them that depends on person whether he has feature phone or not, Aadhaar number or not etc. He said once people will start using a particular methodology then helpline of particular digital payment service provider will also be made available through the helpline.
To educate people on digital transactions, Ministry of Electronics and IT on Friday launched free-to-air channel DigiShala which will be available on Doordarshan’s DTH platform and ‘CashlessIndia’ website to educate people about digital transactions.
CYCLONE VARDAH CHANGES ITS DIRECTION, LIKELY TO CROSS NORTH TN & SOUTH AP COAST
The very severe cyclonic storm, Vardah over west central and adjoining south Bay of Bengal moved further westwards and lay centred at about 520 km east-southeast of Nellore, 490 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and 480 km east-northeast of Chennai. The system is very likely to move west-southwestwards and maintain its intensity till this evening and thereafter, it is likely to weaken gradually while moving towards the coast.
Our correspondent reports that Under the influence of the cyclonic system light to moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely to commence from today evening and continue for subsequent 36 hours with light to moderate rainfall over north coastal Andhra Pradesh during the same period.
Squally winds speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting up to 60 kmph would prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts beginning tonight and will gradually increase to 70-80 kmph gusting up to 90 kmph at the time of landfall. Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next 48 hours as the sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coasts. Port Warning Signal No.3 kept hoisted in Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam and Vodarevu while Warning Signal No.2 was hoisted in rest of the ports.
Andhra Pradesh government has alerted 11 mandals in Nellore district which are likely to be affected by the storm and deployed two teams of NDRF for rescue and relief operations. Four teams of NDRF have been kept standby for action. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu who reviewed the situation with officials said that for the first time the State government is utilising the micro-level observational reports provided by ISRO to mitigate the loss of life, property and crop to the maximum extent. Toll-free help lines have been initiated in district headquarters’ of Nellore, Chittoor, Prakasam and Kadapa and special officers have been appointed to monitor the situation.
WATER ROUTE BETWEEN DELHI-AGRA TO BE STARTED SOON: NITINGADKARI
Union Minister NitinGadkari has said government is focusing on the development of water transport in a big way as it is the cheapest means of transportation. He said that a water route between Delhi to Agra will be started soon.
Gadkari was said this today after laying foundation stone of several road projects at Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. The minister has been pushing for the development of inter-state water transport and such a service has already been started between Varanasi and Malda.
He also launched Rs 4,000 crore worth road connectivity projects in Agra. The projects included Rs 425 crore southern bypass road.
Addressing a public rally in the Taj city, the minister said that work on the Rs 375-crore northern bypass and Rs 1000 crore Agra-Bareilly highway with six lanes will start soon.
JOHN GLENN,US AVIATOR DIED
Former US aviator, astronaut John Glenn (95) passed away in Columbus, US
He was first American to orbit Earth and had circled three times earth in 1962 aboard Friendship 7 space capsule
Born as John Herschel Glenn Jr. on July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio, US
He was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korean war
Later he joined America’s space agency NASA
In 1998 – 36 years after his historic flight he became the oldest man to travel to space, at age 77
He was awarded NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Congressional Space Medal of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012)
ENGLISH, THE POWERFUL LANGUAGE : PLI
According to the 2016 World Power Language Index (PLI),English has been ranked first in the top 10 most powerful languages in the world
English is dominant powerful language of 3 G7 nations (USA, UK and Canada)
Published by World Economic Forum (WEF)
Hindi was ranked 10th in the 2016 PLI
There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world
English (1st), Mandarin (2nd), French (3rd), Spanish (4th), Arabic (5th), Russian (6th), German (7th), Japanese (8th), Portuguese (9th) and Hindi (10th)
The World Power Language Index (PLI) compares or ranks languages on their efficacy in the various domains
It uses 20 indicators to measure the influence on language
MAJOR DEFENCE PARTNER OF US – INDIA
India was designated as a major Defence Partner of US
Announced in the India-US joint statement on US secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi
This designation is a status unique to India
Ensures cooperation in future
India’s major defence partner status has been made as a part of India amendment in the National Defence Authorization Act, 2017
Approved by US Congress to allocate funds annually to the US military
GTI RANKS INDIA IN SEVENTH POSITION
India was ranked seventh in the list of countries most impacted by terrorism in 2015, according to Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2016
Released by the Institute for Economics & Peace, a think tank based in Sydney, Australia
As many as 797 terrorist attacks were recorded in India in 2015, up 4% since 2014
Iraq was the worst hit by terror in 2015
Afghanistan and Nigeria were ranked second and third respectively
WORLD BANK CANCELS LOAN TO PAKISTAN
The World Bank has cancelled a $100 million (around Rs.674 crore) loan promised to Pakistan for a natural gas efficiency project
Citing a lack of interest by the Pakistani gas distribution company
The project was aimed at reducing losses of gas in the pipeline system
VENEZUELA LAUNCH 20000 BOLIVAR BANKNOTE
Venezuela will launch a new 20,000-bolivar banknote
To help people struggling with large bundles of currency notes during the country’s economic crisis
The biggest denomination banknote currently in circulation is 100 bolivars
CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IN IT AT AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY
India will establish a Center of Excellence in Information Technology at Egypt’s oldest and most prestigious Al-Azhar University
This was announced by Indian Ambassador to Cairo, Sanjay Bhattacharyya
Mr Bhattacharyya discussed ways to enhance cooperation between India and the varsity on different issues with Grand Sheikh
Centre will be established as part of an effort to enhance cooperation in education between the two countries
Indian Government will pay all the cost of the project
INDIA-UK CONFERENCE ON EASE OF DOING BUSINESS INAUGURATED IN DELHI
The India-UK Conference on Ease of Doing Business has been jointly inaugurated in New Delhi
Inaugurated by Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ramesh Abhishek and British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith
The two day conference will act as an opportunity to enhance the strategic bilateral partnership between the two countries to the next level
The conference will bring together officials from state and central Government in India with UK experts
It will include discussion on regulatory reform, inspection reform, tax administration and trade facilitation
INDIA-ARAB PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN MUSCAT
The 5th India-Arab Partnership Conference will be in Muscat and Oman from 14th December
Objective is to enhance the economic relations between India and Arab countries Indian Ambassador to Cairo, Sanjay Bhattacharyya has said in Cairo that, the two-day conference is jointly organised by the Oman Foreign Ministry, Arab League Secretariat and the Ministry of External Affairs in India
Theme : ‘Partnership towards innovation and cooperation in Information Technology’
Conference will have ministerial representation both from Indian and Arab side
UK PM THERESA MAY WINS VOTE IN PARLIAMENT BACKING HER TIMETABLE FOR BREXIT
British Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote in Parliament backing her timetable for negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union
MPs voted in the House of Commons 461 to 89 in favour of May triggering Article 50 by the end of March 2017, which will begin the formal process of exit negotiations from the 28-member economic bloc
L&T TO BUILD WORLD’S BIGGEST CRICKET STADIUM AT MOTERA
Larsen & Turbo (L&T) has bagged a contract to make Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium of Gujarat the world’s biggest cricket stadium in terms of seating capacity(1,10,000 seats) from Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA)
Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium is situated in Motera, Ahmadabad in Gujarat
After the renovation it will take over the Melbourne Cricket Ground of Australia in terms of seating capacity (100,024 people)
The vice-president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) Parimal Nathwani handed over the letter of acceptance to M.V. Satish ,Whole-Time Director of L&T
JAPAN LAUNCHED HTV-6 SPACECRAFT SUCCESSFULLY
Japan’s space agency (JAXA) successfully launched a Kounotori 6 (HTV-6) spacecraft
Deliver a large magnetic tether, a space junk collector technology into orbit
Launched on board of H-IIB rocket from Tanegashima Space Center
The space junk collector (electromagnetic tether) will perform Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments (KITE) in order to test out new technology
Designed by JAXA engineers in collaboration with Nitto Seimo Co., a Japanese fishing net company
OCTOBER 10 : HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
The Human Rights Day is observed on 10th December to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
To encourage, support and amplify measures to be taken by everyone to defend human rights
2016 Theme : “Stand up for someone’s rights today”
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had organised a series of events
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was formally adopted and proclaimed by UNGA on 10 December 1948
PAKISTAN LIFTS BAN ON COTTON FROM INDIA
Pakistan has lifted an undeclared ban on import of ginned cotton from India
Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of Ministry of National Food Security and Research put cotton import on hold through Wagah and Karachi port
DPP said that the shipment didnot fullfill phyto-sanitory measures
The rising border issues had prompted Islamabad to impose the ban on 10,000 bales of cotton worth $3.3 million
IMPEACHMENT MOTION PASSED AGAINST PARK GEUN HYE
South Korean lawmakers passed an impeachment motion against President Park Geun-Hye
Removed because of her sweeping executive powers over a corruption scandal
The National Assembly motion passed by 234 votes to 56, transfers Park’s authority to the prime minister, pending a decision by the Constitutional Court on whether to ratify the decision and permanently remove the president from office
INDIA AND VIETNAM SIGNED AN AGREEMENT FOR CIVIL NUCLEAR COOPERATION
India and Vietnam signed Civil Nuclear cooperation to enhance the bilateral ties between two nations
Signed in NewDelhi in the presence of Sumithra Mahajan and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
Inked by Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy Sekhar Basu and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam Pham cong Tac
Vietnam is the 14th country with which India signed civil nuclear deal
Apart from these,both countries inked 11 agreements
CHINA LAUNCHES NEW CARGO SERVICES LINKING TIBET WITH NEPAL
China has launched a new cargo service linking Tibet and Nepal
Because dozens of trucks carrying goods worth $2.8 million left the Tibetan border port of Gyirong en route to Kathmandu
The new rail and road cargo service launched linking Guangdong, Tibet and Nepal
Aims to boost trade with the South Asian neighbour as China pushes forward its Belt and Road (Silk Road) initiative
This is the first such consignment being sent to Nepal after new Prachandha government took over
To reduce Nepal’s dependence on India despite it being expensive due to the mountainous terrain
KOLKATA-MIZORAM TRADE ROUTE TO OPEN VIA MYANMAR
A deep water port built in Myanmar’s Sittwe on the Bay of Bengal by India is ready to be commissioned
An inauguration ceremony is expected to take place next month, according to VikramMisri, the Indian envoy to Myanmar
The Indian achievement pips to the post a Chinese endeavour to create a deep-sea berthing infrastructure and an SEZ further down the Rakhine coast at Kyaukphyu
To expand their spheres of naval influence in the Indian ocean region as in the case of Gwadar in Pakistan and Chabahar in Iran being built by China and India, respectively
Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine in south-western Myanmar
It is located at the mouth of the Kaladan river, which flows into Mizoram in north-eastern India
Construction of the sea port ($500-million project) being funded by a long-term interest-free loan provided by India
DECEMBER 09: INTERNATIONAL ANTICORRUPTION DAY
Theme: United against corruption for development, peace and security
Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption
In developing countries,funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance
Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies
UNODC and UNDP have developed a joint global campaign, focusing on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development
The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
ALMOST 85% ATMS RECALIBRATED FOR NEW NOTES TILL NOVEMBER 30: GOVERNMENT
Almost 85 per cent of country’s cash dispensing machines had been recalibrated to fit the new notes till November 30 and the government has also advised banks to set up micro ATMs in rural areas to meet the cash need post demonetisation, Parliament was informed today.
As on September 30, 2016 there were 2,11,594 ATMs of banks and 14,324 white label ATMs working across the country.
“There are 1,79,614 ATMs which have been recalibrated till November 30, 2016,” Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Gangwar said the government has advised banks to deploy micro ATMs in rural areas in all sub-service areas across the country.
He also informed the house that 1,14,036 micro ATMs have already been deployed as on December 2, 2016.
HUMSAFAR EXPRESS TO BE LAUNCHED SOON, WILL HAVE INCREASED FARE STRUCTURE
Humsafar Express, a special service comprising only AC-3 coaches with many added facilities, is going to be launched shortly, but it will have higher fare than the usual trains.
“We will announce the fare structure of Humsafar soon but it will be slightly higher than the normal service,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said after inspecting the Humsafar coaches here.
Equipped with coffee/tea/soup vending machine, hot and refrigerated pantry and other facilities such as Khadi linens and waste basket in each cabin, the first 22-coach Humsafar Express will be pressed into service on dynamic fare system.
“We have announced four new type trains in our budget. Humsafar is here now, Tejas will soon be introduced, Antodaya is ready and Uday wil also be ready,” Prabhu said adding the first Humsafar will be launched from Gorakhpur.
SBI ASSOCIATE BANK TO OFFER VRS BEFORE MERGER WITH SBI
State Bank of India (SBI) associate banks have started preparations to unveil voluntary retirement schemes (VRS) for their employees before the proposed merger with the parent bank.
State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) board has approved the VRS while other associate banks will place the scheme before their boards in the next few days, according to two senior SBI group officials.
The VRS in associate banks would help SBI curb in staff cost escalation after the merger. SBI’s staff expense was Rs 6,853 crore in the September quarter, rising 11.6% year-on-year. SBI’s pension obligation is estimated to be around Rs 3,500 crore. This would rise once associate bank employees come under SBI fold.
AFFORDABLE PRICING HELPS BURGER KING LOG RS 141 CRORE IN SALES
American fast-food chain Burger King, in the first year of its India operations, has posted sales of Rs 141 crore and net loss of Rs 38 crore. In the 2015-16 fiscal, the company generated an average of Rs 3.1 crore from each of its 45 outlets opened till March.
Rival McDonald’s posted average sales of Rs 3.6 crore from each outlet. Burger King, however, notched up higher numbers than Jubilant FoodWorks, where average sales per outlet was Rs 2.2 crore in the 2015-16 financial year. Jubilant Food-Works’ brands are Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Burger King entered India in November 2014 when most quick-service restaurants were struggling with falling sales. “India, for Burger King, has been one of the largest countries it entered in recent times. The growth and finances are exactly as we planned,” said Rajeev Varma, CEO, Burger King India. “Our restaurant EBIDTA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation] is positive, which means we are making money,” he added.
TARIFF WAR STARTS; AIRTEL AND IDEA TAKE A LEAF OUT OF JIO’S PAGE, UNVEIL SIMILARLY PRICED PREPAID PLANS
The fight for India’s nearly one billion prepaid mobile subscribers has begun with Bharti Airtel, India’s largest phone company, as well as Idea Cellular announcing ‘free voice’ tariff plans, heralding a fullblown price war as they seek to take on Reliance Jio Infocomm at its own game and prevent the Mukesh Ambani-owned company from poaching their low and mid-end customers.
Both Airtel and Idea have similarly priced plans which bundle free voice calls with 300 MB and 1GB of 4G data at Rs 145 and Rs 148, and Rs 345 and Rs 348, respectively, for a 28-day period. Reliance Jio, at present, offers both data and voice free to its customers and will start charging them for data from April 1, 2017. While the incumbent operators’ 300 MB plans are competitively priced with Jio’s entry-level Rs 149 plan, the new entrant steals a march over them at the next slab as it will offer 2 GB of data for Rs 299 per month.
JP MORGAN INVESTS RS 200 CRORE IN ASSETZ
JP Morgan Asset Management has invested about Rs 200 crore in Singapore-headquartered Assetz Property Group, which develops residential and commercial properties in southern India.
“The money will be used to build an 18.5 acre residential project in north Bangalore. The capital will be given in the form of equity by JP Morgan,” said Akshay Dewani, director, Assetz Property Group.
The company is diversifying into new segments and is in the process of forming commercial, industrial warehousing and residential platforms to raise capital and expand its presence.
KKR AND TEMASEK BUYS 3.9% IN SBI LIFE
The country’s largest lender State Bank of India today sold 3.9% stake in its life insurance venture SBI Life to private equity firms KKR and Temasek. The deal values SBI Life at Rs 46,000 crore.
“KKR and Temasek has bought 3.9% stake in SBI Life Insurance Company,” said two sources.
SBI Life is a joint venture between State Bank of India and BN Paribas Cardiff.
In a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange, SBI said that the executive committee of the central board of the bank at its meeting held on December 09, 2016 has approved divestment 3.9% stake in SBI Life Insurance Company at a price of Rs. 460 per share, subject to all regulatory approvals.
STRIDES SHASUN TO ACQUIRE PERRIGO API INDIA FOR RS 100 CRORE
Bangalore-based pharmaceutical company Strides Shasun has inked agreements to acquire Perrigo API India for Rs 100 crore.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and expected to be closed by December 31, 2016, Strides told the Bombay Stock Exchange in a filing on Friday evening.
Perrigo parent or affiliates will continue to source few products from the facility under a long term supply agreement, according to Strides Shasun.
LOST IN TRANSIT: ATM REFILL FRAUDS JUMP FOUR-FOLD SINCE DEMONETISATION
Reported fraud during ATM refills has jumped four-fold to Rs 8.34 crore since demonetisation, exposing cracks in the largely disorganised cash-in-transit industry, officials said. According to experts, the monthly loss on an average before demonetisation used to be Rs 1-2 crore.
The CBI is investigating a case in Bengaluru where an attempt was made to convert Rs 5.63 crore “black money” into white using ATM refill agencies. This follows a string of other frauds, like a fortnight ago when an ATM cash van made off with about Rs 1 crore in Bengaluru. Employees stole Rs 74 lakh in cash meant for ATMs in Visakhapatnam. This month is also bound to see an increase in those numbers because of mass movement of currency with lesser scrutiny post-demonetisation, experts said.
FLIPKART LEADS WAY WITH 5% RISE IN SMARTPHONE SALES
Online retailer Flipkart strengthened its no. 1 position in the smartphone market on back of high-selling models from Xiaomi and Motorola, taking away share from rivals Amazon and Snapdeal.
Flipkart had a 45% share of smartphones sold online in India in the quarter ended September, up 5 percentage points from the share it had in the three months ended June, according to data from Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
No. 2 Amazon lost share sequentially to 30% from 32% and so did third-placed Snapdeal, whose share dropped to 16% from 18%, Counterpoint said.
CESC CLAIMS TO HAVE IMPROVED KOTA POWER SUPPLY SITUATION
CESC claims to have improved the quality of power distribution in Rajasthan’s Kota since taking over the operation of distribution franchisee 100 days ago.
Power distribution franchisee, Kota Electricity Distribution Ltd (KEDL) is a member of the Rs 17,000 crore RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group which also operates CESC Ltd in Kolkata. Currently, CESC serves more than 3 million consumers in its licensed area in Kolkata and adjoining areas.
Reviewing the first three months of operations at KEDL, A N Singh, CEO, KEDL said that the recently acquired Kota distribution franchise is spread over 150 square kilometre. Since its operation began on September 15, 2016, the number of consumers has increased from 1.76 lakh to 1.80 lakh.
FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF LUXURY CARS, INDIAN MARKET WILL EXPECT DECELERATION THIS YEAR
Hit from all corners, the Indian luxury car market is expected to post its first ever decline in 2016 since Mercedes Benz officially started selling in India in 1994. Mercedes Benz India managing director Roland Folger said 2016 has been the toughest year for the luxury car industry in a while. He thinks it would be unrealistic to hope that last year’s numbers can be achieved.
First, there was the 2-litre diesel vehicle ban in the National Capital Region that accounts for almost a fourth of the market, followed by a 1 per cent extra tax in the Budget, an infrastructure cess of 1 per cent and finally demonetisation. All this has meant that the top two luxury car makers, Mercedes Benz and Audi, which account for 60 per cent of the market, are likely to post flat numbers or declines for 2016.
TATA MOTORS GLOBAL SALES RISE 1 PER CENT IN NOVEMBER
Tata MotorsBSE 0.60 % today reported a 1 per cent rise in global sales at 91,832 units, including that of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) vehicles, in November.
The company had sold 90,695 units in November 2015, Tata Motors said in a regulatory filing.
In the passenger vehicles category, global sales stood at 64,862 units last month as against 61,629 units during the same period a year ago, up 5 per cent.
AXIS BANK BUYS 13.6% STAKE OF IFCI STAKE IN ACRE FOR RS 23 CRORE
Private sector Axis Bank today completed acquisition of 13.67 per cent stake in Assets Care and Reconstruction Enterprise (ACRE) from IFCI Ltd for Rs 22.72 crore.
With this, IFCIBSE 16.42 % has transfered 73.28 lakh shares of ACRE, an asset reconstruction company engaged in the acquisition of assets (NPAs) from Banks/FIs and their resolution, to Axis Bank.
The share sale was at Rs 31 per share, resulting in a total cash consideration of Rs 22.72 crore,” Axis Bank said in a regulatory filing with stock exchanges.
IL&FS ENGINEERING LOWEST BIDDER FOR RS 225-CRORE ORDER
IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company Limited (IL&FS Engineering Services) has emerged as the lowest bidder for Rural Electrification (RE) Works worth Rs 225 crore of Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam(JBVNL).
“IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company Ltd (IL&FS Engineering Services) has emerged as the lowest bidder for Rural Electrification (RE) Works of Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL), Ranchi worth Rs 225 crore in package of Sahibganj comprising Sahibganj and Pakur districts in Jharkhand under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY),” IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company said in a statement.
According to it, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)-RE contracts are being funded by Rural Electrification Corp (REC).
FORD, NISSAN, TOYOTA PENALISED FOR UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES IN SPARE PARTS
The competition appellate tribunal Compat today disposed appeals of Ford, Nissan, Toyota Kirloskar, and found them to be guilty of indulging in unfair practices in the spare parts market.
While pronouncing its oral order, Compat said these automakers have been penalised 2% of their turnover in the spare parts market. And what’s more, the Compat has also given directions to create a level playing field in after sales service.
For instance, Compat in its oral order has directed the three automakers to remove all restriction on supply of spare parts, ensure no restrictions on independent repairers, and also provide MRPs on spare parts on company websites. Besides these measures, the Compat wants the Ministry of Road & Transport to ensure standardisation of auto parts.
‘CEMENT INDUSTRY TO SEE PICK UP IN DEMAND FROM NEXT MONTH’
Domestic cement industry, which is facing demand constraints post demonetisation, may witness a pick up from January with likely normalcy in liquidity, says a report.
“An abrupt decline in trade segment’s sales volume down by 20-50 per cent on month-on-month basis against the backdrop of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes led to postponement of demand as less availability of cash in circulation brought the construction activities to standstill,” Reliance Securities Research Analyst Binod Modi said in the report.
“The domestic cement demand scenario is expected to pick up only from January 17 onwards with the likely normalcy in liquidity,” he said.
AIRTEL TO EXPAND PAYMENTS BANK PILOTS TO 3 SOUTH INDIA STATES
Airtel is looking to extend its ‘Payments Bank’ pilot project to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka in the next couple of weeks, to test out the services before a pan-India roll out.
The company is planning around 20,000 Airtel outlets as banking points in AP and Telangana, and 15,000 in Karnataka.
Over a lakh customers have already opened savings account with Airtel Payments Bank in less than two weeks of the first payments bank pilot going live in Rajasthan with close to 70% accounts being opened in rural areas, the company added.
BOB IN TALKS TO BUY CENTRAL BANK’S HOUSING FINANCE ARM
Looking to strengthen its position in the home loan segment, Bank of Baroda is in talks to buy a majority stake in Cent Bank Home Finance (CBHFL), the housing finance subsidiary of Central Bank of India, say sources.
Central Bank holds 64 per cent stake in CBHFL, while Hudco, UTI and National Housing Bank are the other promoters.
“Talks are at an advanced stage. Central Bank has agreed to sell its entire stake to BoB,” a source told PTI.
PANASONIC PLANS LOCAL MFG OF AIR PURIFIERS FROM NEXT YEAR
Home appliances and consumer electronics company Panasonic India plans to manufacture air purifiers in the country by next year, a top company official has said.
“We are still importing air purifiers, but I am seriously considering (manufacturing) because this market is growing quite rapidly. So, we are considering to look at manufacturing them also in India, possibly from next year,” Panasonic India and South Asia President and Chief Executive Officer Manish Sharma told PTI.
The company imports its range of air purifiers from its Hong Kong-based unit.
The Japanese firm has 15 manufacturing units in India and recently announced investment of Rs 115 crore in a factory in Haryana to manufacture refrigerators.
IOC KEEN TO BUY 26 PC STAKE IN GSPC’S MUNDRA LNG TERMINAL
State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is in talks to buy 26 per cent stake in debt-laden Gujarat State Petroleum Corp’s (GPSC) almost-completed Rs 4,500 crore Mundra LNG import terminal in Gujarat.
The 5 million tonnes a year import terminal, the third facility in Gujarat for import of natural gas in its liquid form in ships, is nearing completion and GSPC is keen to exit the project completely.
“They offered us all of their 50 per cent stake but we are keen to take 26 per cent for now,” an IOC official said.
SC RESTRAINS DLF FROM CREATING 3RD PARTY RIGHTS IN NOIDA LAND
The Supreme Court has restrained reality major DLF from creating any third party rights on a portion of land where it has constructed the ‘Mall of India’ in Noida area of Uttar Pradesh.
The court’s interim order came on an appeal filed by several land owners against the Allahabad High Court verdict dismissing their petition on the ground of delay.
“Post the special leave petition for hearing on January 25, 2017. Till the disposal of the special leave petition, there shall be no creation of further third party rights in respect of the property belonging to the petitioners/ applicants,” a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman said.
ONGC AWAITS DGH NOD FOR $5 BILLION KG-D5 GAS DEVELOPMENT PLAN
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp is awaiting nod of upstream regulator DGH to commence investing USD 5.07 billion in bringing to production oil and gas discoveries in its Bay of Bengal block KG-D5.
About a year back ONGC submitted to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) a field development plan (FDP) for bringing to production 10 oil and gas discoveries in KG basin block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5), which sits next to Reliance Industries flagging KG-D6 fields.
DGH so far has not approved the FDP, an official said.
A meeting of the block oversight panel, Management Committee (MC) headed by DGH, has been called next week to review the FDP, he said. “Without waiting for the approval, tendering for long-lead items has started to ensure the 2019- 20 schedule for starting production is not missed,” he said.
RENAULT TO RAISE PRICES BY UP TO 3 PER CENT FROM JANUARY
French car major Renault plans to increase prices of its vehicles in India by up to 3 per cent from next month to offset increased input costs.
“We are currently working on the exact details but it is going to be in the range of 1.5 to 3 per cent from January next month,” Renault India Operaions Country CEO and Managing Director Sumit Sawhney told PTI.
Explaining the reasons for such a move, he said, “In the past few months, the prices of steel have gone up significantly globally and it is impacting us as well.”
The company was holding on to the hike for the past few months but now has decided to go ahead with the increase which will entail the entire product portfolio, he added.
INDIA AND ISRAEL TO INTENSIFY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION
India and Israel have inked a bilateral scientific collaboration treaty that aims to put together young scientists on joint research projects mainly in the area of applied sciences.
Under the agreement, both countries will aim to spend $1 mln in 2017 for mutual research projects as well as joint initiatives for young scientists. The agreement was signed during the visit of Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis’. His visit signaled a rapid follow up of Israeli President’s Reuven Rivlin trip to India last month. Both sides agreed to give boost to the bilateral cooperation in science and technology under the aegis of the S&T Agreement concluded between India and Israel in 1993. As a follow-up to the India-Israel Joint Science & Technology Committee meeting held in Jerusalem earlier this year, the two ministers agreed to step up the collaboration in the next two years by providing $1 million from each side to support new research and technology (R&D) projects in the cutting edge areas of ‘Big Data Analytics in Health Care’ and Security in Cyber Space’.
The Indian Science Minister Harsh Vardhan noted, “we would like to identify new opportunities and mechanisms to expand and upscale our cooperation agenda by creating a value based relationship which can contribute to the 21st century knowledge economy.”
Both India and Israel have implemented several cutting edge research projects in applied areas covering agricultural and medical biotechnology, human genomics, advanced materials & nanotechnology, imaging sensor & robotics, solar energy, communication & IT and lasers & electro-optics. It was also agreed to consider special initiatives to support women in science and technology through new joint programmes in this area. Meanwhile, Israel Space Agency (ISA) is keen to collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in technologies relating to earth observation, communication and rocket propulsion. “We have specific areas in which we’d like to collaborate with ISRO. I’m hopeful that something serious will emerge after more meetings,” Avi Blasberger, director, ISA told local media after a meeting with his ISRO counterpart on Tuesday.
3,000 CHILDREN GATHER IN CAPITAL FOR SCIENCE FESTIVAL
With backpacks on their shoulders and joy on their faces, as many as 3,000 children from rural India arrived in the national Capital, on Wednesday for five days of fun, frolic, and of course, Science.
The children are here to participate in the ‘Science Village’ event of the India International Science Festival (IISF)-2016, which aims to focus on the theme of rural development. Organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the five-day festival will have sessions on topics including indigenous science and technology, innovative agricultural practices, livestock management and advanced manufacturing technologies.
Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis will pay a special visit to the fest, which was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on December 8.
The students have been divided into eight ‘houses’, named after distinguished scientists of the country: APJ Abdul Kalam, S Chandrashekhar, Aryabhatta, JC Bose, Homi J Bhabha, S Ramanujan, K S Krishnan and C V Raman. The festival has provided students with an elaborate platform for scientific interaction, to improve their understanding of Science, knowledge and temperament.
The festival organisers will also attempt to create a Guinness World Record for the most number of students dressed as Nobel laureaute Dr Albert Einstein at the same venue. As many as 600 students will dress up like Einstein on December 9, the third day of the festival. The objective of the event is to celebrate Einstein’s inventions and theories and to make students aware of his contributions. Earlier, the Black Pine Circle School in the US had made the record, with 319 of its students dressed as Einstein.
COLUMBUS TOOK EVEN VIRUSES, BACTERIA TO U.S.’
When Columbus first discovered America, he brought to the land not just people, but a host of plants, animals, viruses and bacteria, leading to a collision of ecologies that had been separated for hundreds of years and that, says Charles C. Mann, journalist, author and scientific writer, was when true globalisation began.Mr. Mann was speaking on Friday at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation on his book, ‘1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created’.Calling the ecological impacts of the movement of animals and plants, along with people and commodities across continents as important, Mr. Mann traced the history of the potato from the Andes to Europe, the growth in the production of potatoes being instrumental in feeding large segments of the European population and thereby an increase in the population and more stable governments in Europe.Prof. M.S. Swaminathan spoke of similar impacts in India, such as people in parts of the northeast where malaria is endemic, developing sickle cell traits and of the country’s food crops, most of which are not of Indian origin. He said the globalisation of genetic resources could have beneficial effects if done with care.
AS MARIO JUMPS, SECRET’S OUT. TIME TO WEAR FITNESS ON YOUR SLEEVE
Secret, an iOS and Android app that allowed users to share content anonymously on the web within a friends’ circle, is back. It was started by David Byttow in 2014, and shut down in 2015 following internal differences in the company. And it’s now a web publishing platform, a la Medium, as on Thursday. It’s called Bold, an IO. If you hopped over to the platform, you might find that it is strikingly similar to Medium. In fact, it has an ever starker interface, with just a plain white screen. Bold.io is paired with the Slack cloud and while it is essentially an intra-organisation collaboration “platform for writing long-form content at work”, including “engineering tutorials, product specs, memos, onboarding docs, etc.,” its content can be made publicly visible too. The whole point seems to be to make content on social media more “authentic” through anonymity. Will people really be more honest when their name isn’t attached to their views.
SHOOT AT SIGHT: THE S-400 BOOSTS INDIAN AIR DEFENCE
The S-400 air defence system will give India the unprecedented capability of taking out aircraft and missiles while they are still in enemy airspace.
The year is 2020. A posse of F-16 jet fighters takes off from the main Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Sargodha. Approximately 300 km east, at the Adampur air force base, an Indian S-400 air defence system picks up these aircraft almost instantly. The radar lock unnerves the F-16 pilots and they peel further west – away from the battery’s range.
While taking evasive action the PAF jets have to be careful not to stray into Afghanistan – which is increasingly hostile towards Islamabad – or Iran. The Pakistani pilots, however, realise trespass is the least of their problems. As the F-16s arrive over Balochistan – the furthest they can get away from the Indian border – they are tracked by another S-400 battery stationed near the Jodhpur air force base 527 km away.
NOT JUST FENCES AND WALLS
It is a harsh reality that in most attacks like Mumbai (26/11), Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota, there was considerable evidence of local help
There is growing concern about increasingly frequent attacks on our defence bases, especially the breaching of perimeters. While the concern is genuine, it should be tempered with better understanding of the challenges faced by base commanders. Most breaches entail some failures at a tactical level — but all slip-ups are subjected to rigorous post-mortems, defaulters taken to task and appropriate lessons learnt. Yet, defences are never perfect as attackers keep innovating; hence, simply guarding bases is a repetitive activity which leads to complacency.
Our defence camps are from a pre-insurgency era. Their location is a function of land availability. Otherwise, why should an armoured division get sited in Hisar, where the first challenge is extreme weather? Many of our defence installations are hemmed-in within civilian areas; some have highways passing through them. In outlying areas, some installations have become real estate destinations, despite initially being in barren or water-logged areas. As a result, there have been rampant encroachments, making a mockery of mandatory safety distances.
Besides free access, our bases have structures in their vicinity that provide a platform for reconnaissance, infiltration, even stand-off attacks. With every incident, there is renewed focus on these but little is done to remove them. Momentary concern subsides and new encroachments spring Coming – Armed Drones
COMING – ARMED DRONES
Pakistan tested its indigenous ‘Burraq’ UCAV last year and according to the Dawn quoting industry insiders, in 2015 China had offered to sell Pakistan its CH-3 UCAV, which can carry two laser-guided missiles or bombs. Now in November 2016, China has opened global export for the CH-5 combat drone with transfer of technology; China’s mightiest military drone in terms of operational endurance and payload capacity. The CH-5 had made its first flight in August 2015. The drone made of composite materials has a wingspan of 21 meters. It can stay airborne for 60 hours and operate at an altitude of up to 10 km. Its current maximum range is 6,500 km, and next upgrade aims to enable flying range of 10,000 km. It can carry airborne early warning system, as well as electronic warfare instruments. With a payload of 1,000 kg of equipment and weapons, it can carry 16 air-to-surface missiles. China plans to develop advanced version of CH-5 capable of staying in the air for up to 120 hours, with a 20,000-km range.
In our case, recent media reports quoting MoD sources indicate that the military has prepared detailed blueprint for procuring unattended aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the next decade; some 5000 UAVs are to be procured through the ‘Make in India’ initiative, indigenously through joint ventures (JVs) with foreign companies at an estimated cost of US$3 billion. Currently, the military only operates UAVs imported from Israel (Searcher Mark I, Searcher Mark II, Heron and Heron), in addition to DRDO developed Nishant UAV.
DEFENCE COOPERATION RENEWAL ON CARD AS JOKOWI VISITS NEXT WEEK
India and Indonesia are likely to renew their bilateral defence cooperation agreement with enhanced features as Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrives next week and hold talks with the top leadership here.
He will be on a state visit from December 12 to 13 at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This will be the first visit of President Widodo to India after assuming power in October, 2014.
Jokowi will be accompanied by his spouse, several Cabinet Ministers, senior officials and a 22-member high-level business delegation from Indonesia, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Modi had yesterday offered all assistance to Indonesia which was hit by a powerful earthquake this week, killing nearly 100 people and causing widespread destruction.
Hundreds of houses and shops had been levelled by the quake, leaving countless people homeless and in need of basic supplies like food and water.
Joint Secretary (South) in the MEA Jaideep Mazumdar said both countries have deep cooperation in areas of trade, defence and security besides people to people ties.
He said the bilateral defence cooperation agreement is set to expire this month-end.
He said there would be an announcement to the future of this agreement during the visit.
The two navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) on respective sides of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade and legitimate marine activities.
INDIA AND VIETNAM LIKELY TO SIGN CIVIL NUCLEAR PACT THIS WEEK
India is likely to seal a landmark civil nuclear pact with Vietnam this week during the visit of the President of Vietnam’s National Assembly, Ngyun Thi Kim Ngan, the first such partnership with a neighbour of China.
The Indo-Vietnam Inter-Gover nmental Framework Agreement in the field of civil nuclear cooperation will entail capacity building and training of Vietnamese nuclear scientists by India besides assistance to improve safeguard measures of nuclear installations in the Southeast Asian country, according to persons familiar with the development.
Sri Lanka is the only other developing country with which India has signed a civil nuclear pact.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Hanoi in early September the two sides also agreed to “expedite the negotiation” for a new Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, “which will set a strong foundation for further cooperation in civil nuclear energy”.
India has been helping Vietnam’s civil nuclear sector since signing the first agreement in 1986, besides supplying a research reactor and training a few scientists under the International Atomic Energy Agency program.
U.S. CONGRESS CLEARS LEGISLATION FOR DESIGNATING INDIA AS MAJOR DEFENCE PARTNER
A legislation providing for recognition of India as a major defence partner of the US cleared the Congress on Thursday and now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s approval.
The National Defence Authorisation Act approved by the Senate includes a provision, “Enhancing defence and security cooperation with India”, that requires the defence Secretary to take steps to recognise India as the major defence partner of the US.
Last week, the House of Representatives had approved the legislation, which is essentially the defence budget.
The final passage in the Senate took place the day Defence Secretary Ashton Carter was in Delhi to discuss with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar the implication of the designation for India-US cooperation in defence.
“The designation of a ‘Major Defence Partner’ is a status unique to India and institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of the US’ closest allies and partners,” a joint statement issued after their meeting .
‘O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA,’ ‘MAKING A MURDERER’ WIN AT 2016 IDA AWARDS
The International Documentary Assn. has named Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” as the top feature documentary of 2016.Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” won the Best Limited Series TV Award for exec producers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi. Best Curated Series went to to DR TV’s “DR2 Dokumania” for exec producer Mette Hoffmann Meyer; Best Episodic Series Award to Netflix’s “Last Chance U” for exec producers Joe LaBracio, Dawn Ostroff, Lucas Smith, James Stern and Greg Whiteley; and Best Short Form Series Award to “Field of Vision” for exec producers Charlotte Cook, Laura Poitras and AJ Schnack.“O.J.: Made in America,” an analysis of race and celebrity in America through the story of O.J. Simpson, topped Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” “Cameraperson,” “Fire at Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro”and “Weiner.” All six IDA nominees were included on the 15-title shortlist, unveiled Dec. 6, as finalists for the Best Documentary by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.The eight-hour long “O.J.: Made in America” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January 22 and was released in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles in May before being aired in five parts on ABC and ESPN. “The Look of Silence” won the IDA award last year, then lost out at the Oscars to “Amy.”The IDA unveiled the winners in ceremonies Friday night at the Paramount lot in Hollywood with Vivica
CRISTIANO RONALDO DYES HIS HAIR GOLD AHEAD OF BALLON D’OR AWARDS
Cristiano Ronaldo showed off a new look during Real Madrid training on Friday, dying his hair with a tint of gold ahead of Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.The Portuguese forward is expected to win the award on Monday night for the fourth time and his new haircut is a nod towards that.Having won Euro 2016 and the Champions League with Real Madrid, Ronaldo is firm favourite ahead of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to scoop the trophy.It has been suggested that he dyed his hair in advance of the interview and photo session for the winner, which may have already taken place.Ronaldo will not feature for Real Madrid on Saturday night when they take on Deportivo la Coruna at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Zinedine Zidane giving some key players time off before the Club World Cup starts in Japan.
IAF LINES UP SERIES OF SLEEK ‘ASTRA’ TRIALS
Indian Air Force (IAF) is slated to carry out a series of captive trials of indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile ‘Astra’ from a fighter aircraft from Monday.
Defence sources said the missile will be fired from Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft targeting a Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) at different altitudes from different angles over the Bay of Bengal to reconfirm the killing efficiency of the all-terrain and all-weather weapon system.
The anti-aircraft missile, considered one of the best of its kind in the world, will be tested for three days. Altogether, three rounds of the missile have reportedly been planned to be test-fired.
The focus is on to achieve success during all the three trials this time as a coordinated air exercise on Wednesday reportedly ended in failure as the missile nose-dived after it was fired from the aircraft and exploded on the sea beach causing enormous noise.
“The captive trials are aimed at establishing the compatibility of the missile’s electronics with the Su-30MKI avionics. Apart from Sukhoi, the missile can be integrated with Mirage-2000, MiG-29, Jaguar and Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA),”
The single stage, solid fuelled ‘Astra’ missile is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets.
INDIA TO GET RAFALE FIGHTER JETS IN 3-YEAR TIME: IAF CHIEF
India will get the first tranche of Rafale fighter jets from France in the next three years, Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha said.
“Rafale contract caters for delivery time between 36 months to about 66 months if I am not wrong. So within three years time we will have the first few aircraft delivered to us and within five and a half years we will have two full squadron of aircraft in operation,” Raha said at a function here.
He said the fighter jets, capable of carrying nuclear weapons and equipped with latest missiles, will tremendously increase the force’s capability.
When asked about the depleting strength of jets, he said besides Rafale, India is going to produce Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in large numbers.
“The effort is on to increase production lines. The more the number of aircraft we produce, the faster we ramp up the capacity to close the gap created by obsolete and old aircraft,” Raha said.
IAF has put on display one such obsolete MiG-27 fighter aircraft in front of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here. The installation was inaugurated by the Air Chief Marshal.
JAPANESE PROFESSORS RECEIVE FUJIHARA AWARD READ
Drs. Kei Hirose and Yoshinori Fujiyoshi, of Tokyo Institute of Technology and Nagoya University respectively, have received the Fujihara Award. The Fujihara Award was established in 1959 by the Fujihara Foundation of Science. This award is presented to persons who have made an important contribution to the development of science and technology. Two people are selected for this award every year from the fields of mathematics and physics, chemistry, engineering, biology and agriculture, and medicine.
Hirose, director of the Earth-Life Science Institute, has contributed significantly toward our understanding of the origin of the Earth and its dynamics, and was recognized with this award. Fujiyoshi’s prize-winning research is about the structure and function of membrane proteins.
CURTAIN-RAISER SITHARAMAN AWARDS EXPRESS HONOURS TO STARS IN IT SECTOR
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman will give away the country’s most coveted IT awards — Express IT Awards — in the country’s technology capital today. Applauding the winners will be the who’s who of the IT world.
The winning candidates were picked by a high-powered jury comprising Google India managing director, Rajan Anandan, Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Facebook India Managing Director Umang Bedi, former Yahoo India R&D head and co-founder of iSpirt Sharad Sharma, Nasscom Product Council chairman Ravi Gururaj and Indian IIT Bangalore director S Sadagopan; a record 406 entries were received and read through and assisting the jury in their task was Price Water house Coopers.
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP HONOURS ITS BEST APPRENTICES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
The prizes for the 45 young talents with 16 vocations were presented by the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Matthias Müller, the Member of the Board of Management responsible for Human Resources, Organization and IT, Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, and the President of the Global Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh.
The nine young women and 36 young men were honored at a ceremony held at the CongressPark in Wolfsburg following a joint meeting of the Group Board of Management and the Global Group Works Council.
MURRAY MCLAUGHLIN TO RECEIVE CHEMISTRY INDUSTRY AWARD
Murray McLaughlin, a leader with Sarnia-Lambton’s efforts to attract new bio-industries, is being honoured.
McLaughlin, an adviser with Sarnia-based Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, will receive the award from the Chemical Institute of Canada/Society for Chemical Industry, at an event scheduled for Toronto in March.
The annual awards dinner recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences and engineering related industries, according to a news release.
McLaughlin will receive the group’s international award, during a awards dinner held during its Green, Clean and Sustainable Chemistry Seminar March 30.
“When you think of what he has accomplished over his many decades in these areas, it is well-deserved,” said Sandy Marshall, executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada.
ALL 2,367 STRANDED TOURISTS FROM HAVELOCK IN ANDAMAN RESCUED BY AIR FORCE, NAVY
All 2,376 tourists, stranded in Havelock and Neil (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) have been rescued by Indian Air Force & Navy, officials said. An official of the Union Territory disaster department said a fleet of seven ships and six helicopters evacuated all tourists, from the two islands.
Heavy rains and cyclonic weather had led to the disruption of normal life in the island with a flood-like situation in north and middle Andamans since December 5 with no mobile or internet connectivity. The tourists were evacuated to Port Blair by the IAF, Navy, Coast Guard and Union Territory administration.
Twelve foreigners including two Germans, four Spanish and one Israeli national were among the tourists stranded. Lt Governor of the Islands Jagdish Mukhi said there was no untoward incident and no loss of life or property due to the weather conditions.
Earlier, evacuations began with five naval ships, two coast guard ships and three Indian Air Force choppers kicking into action. The evacuations happened two days after the administration of Andaman and Nicobar sought the Indian Navy’s help.
GERMAN COMEDY SWEEPS EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS
The German-Austrian comedy drama “Toni Erdmann” has swept this year’s European Film Awards. It picked up five gongs at a ceremony in the Polish city of Wroclaw.
Written and directed by Maren Ade, “Toni Erdmann” took home best European film at the European Film Academy’s annual awardson Saturday.The film, about a father-daughter relationship, was nominated for several other top international awards this year.
Ade got the nod as best European director and screenwriter, while Sandra Hueller was named best European actress for the female lead, and Peter Simonischek of Austria won best European actor for the role of Toni Erdmann.
The film beat off competition for the best film title from the Franco-German production “Elle,” Spain’s “Julieta,” Ireland’s “Room” and this year’s Palm d’Or winner “I Daniel Blake” by renowned British director Ken Loach.
The 29th European Film Awards took place in the Western Polish city of Wroclaw.
Other winners included “A Man Called Ove,”aSwedish/Norwegian production which picked up Best European Comedy, “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki,” which won the European Discovery (Prix Fipresci) award, and the Franco-Swiss production “My Life as a Zucchini,” which was awarded best European Animated Feature Film.
3RD ODI: DAVID WARNER TON POWERS AUSTRALIA TO SERIES CLEAN SWEEP OVER NEW ZEALAND
David Warner smashed his second straight hundred and Mitchell Starc bowled lethal reverse swing to spearhead Australia to a third emphatic win over New Zealand in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in Melbourne on Friday.The Australian vice-captain was run out on the last ball of the innings for 156 off 128 balls — more than half of his team’s 264 for eight total — with 13 fours and four sixes.
It follows Warner’s 119 off 115 balls against the Black Caps in Canberra on Tuesday.Starc then led Australia to a series clean sweep helping to skittle New Zealand for 147 off 36.1 overs to reclaim the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.Starc bowled Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro with unplayable yorkers and then trapped Mitchell Santner leg before wicket with reverse swing to finish with three for 34.Warner, with 299 runs at 99.66 from the three matches, was named man of the match and man of the series after raising his 11th ODI century and seventh for the year.
ADITYA UPSETS 2ND SEED
Aditya Vashistha beat second seed Vorachon Rakpuangchon to enter the quarterfinals of the MSLTA-ITF junior tennis championship here on Wednesday.1-Siddhant Banthia bt Nikit Reddy (USA) 7-6(1), 7-6(1); Dhruv Sunish bt 5-Baran Cengiz (Tur) 6-4, 7-6(4); 7-Alex Solanki bt Kabir Manrai 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; 4-Parikshit Somani bt Sumitpal Singh 6-4, 6-2; Aditya Vashistha bt 2-Vorachon Rakpuangchon (Tha) 7-6(10), 6-2; 8-Nikshep Ravikumar bt Guan Kai Wang (Chn) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5).
KARNATAKA TAKES FIRST DAY’S HONOURS
Karnataka claimed the honours on day one with skipper Vinay Kumar’s five for 46 keeping Maharashtra in check in their final Ranji Trophy league match here.Looking at the pitch and the conditions, Karnataka went for a pace-heavy attack and made four changes. An injured Mayank Agarwal, a “rested” Robin Uthappa, spinners Shreyas Iyer and Abrar Kazi made way for debutants Pavan Deshpande and Arjun Hoysala, along with pacers A. Mithun and S. Arvind.Put in, Maharashtra succumbed to 163 in nippy conditions, but soon rattled Karnataka early. However, the former champion steadily moved to 67 for one at stumps
PREMIER BADMINTON LEAGUE: PV SINDHU, CAROLINA MARIN EXCITED ABOUT PLAYING IN SECOND EDITION
Badminton World No. 2 and Olympic champion Carolina Marin will not miss the Premier Badminton League (PBL), which will be held from January 1-14, for anything. And it has got something to do with a lady named PV SindhuMarin beat PV Sindhu in the Rio Olympics final in August to win gold. Marin remembers the match, during which the Indian had stretched the Spanish champion. Marin can’t wait to take on Sindhu again, this time at the Indian’s backyard. Marin, who had been picked up by Hyderabad Hunters for Rs 61.5 lakh, is expected to face PV Sindhu, India’s highest ranked player now, in what would be the marquee match of the tournament. Sindhu plays for Chennai Smashers in PBL-2. The Marin vs Sindhu match-up will throw up an interesting dilemma for the fans. The question is who will the Hyderabad crowd support — their home-grown champion, Sindhu, or Marin, who will be playing her heart out for the city franchise.What the fans can be assured of is an electrifying contest like the one we saw in Rio.
BIG BASH LEAGUE CRICKET: HARMANPREET KAUR 1ST INDIAN TO PLAY FOR SYDNEY THUNDER
Harmanpreet Kaur is all set to create history. She is set to become the first Indian cricketer to feature in a foreign Twenty20 cricket tournament after she was named in the 13-member squad for the Sydney Thunder franchise in the Women’s Big Bash League.Sydney Thunder, who won the inaugural edition of the Women’s Big Bash League in 2015/16, are set to defend their crown when they take on the Melbourne Stars in the opening game at the North Sydney Oval on Saturday.In July 2016, Harmanpreet Kaur created history as she became the first Indian player to be signed up for the Big Bash League. She has enjoyed a good run in the Twenty20 World Cup, in which she scored 89 runs and took seven wickets in four matches. She also played a vital part in India securing their first-ever series win against Australia in a Twenty20 International series
KARNATAKA WINS WITH BONUS POINT
Karnataka finished the job with a day to spare after its medium-pacers staved off an aggressive counter-punching innings from Kedar Jadhav and the openers chased down a modest target set by Maharashtra on the third day of their final Ranji Trophy league match here on Friday.
In the final session, Karnataka made light of a 37-run target with the openers, debutant Arjun Hoysala and Kaunian Abbas, needing 10 overs to complete a 10-wicket victory. The triumph was worth seven points, including a bonus.The day started well for Karnataka with its last-wicket pair of skipper R. Vinay Kumar and S. Arvind stretching the overnight first-innings score of 313 for nine to 345, for a lead of 182 runs.
IDUKKI POSTS WINS
Last year’s runner-up Idukki defeated Kottayam 25-18, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19 in a men’s Pool-B match of the Kerala State senior volleyball championship at the Kinginy Stadium here on Saturday. Kozhikode bt Palakkad 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, 20-25, 17-15; Thrissur bt Kollam 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-16; Idukki bt Kottayam 25-18, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19; Ernakulam bt Pathanamthitta 26-24, 25-21, 25-12.
GIANT KILLER DERYL SELBY OF ENGLAND ENDED SAURAV GHOSAL’S RUN IN THE QUARTERFINALS
Giant killer Deryl Selby of England ended Saurav Ghosal’s run in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Channel VAS squash championship, a PSA world tour event being held at St George’s Hill, here.Selby, who had taken out top seed Mohammed Elshorbagy of Egypt in the first round in a marathon five-game thriller, did not stretch much to earn a 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 win over the Indian, the match lasting 45 minutes.Ghosal had defeated seventh seed Spanish player Borja Golan 11-5,11-7, 10-12, 11-8 earlier in the first round.
RASHPAL WINS MAYOR’S MARATHON
Rashpal Singh from Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, running on a chilly morning, won the men’s full marathon title at the Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon, bettering Olympian Kheta Ram’s course record on Sunday. Leading from start to finish, the champion clocked 2:22.04, which was 28 seconds lower than Kheta’s 2:22.32 in 2015.Sanjivani Jadhav bagged the women’s half marathon title with a time of 1:18.02 and finished ahead of Monika Athare (1:20:06), who had beaten the former at the Delhi half Marathon. Sangeetha Naik claimed the second place. The men’s half marathon saw A.B. Baliappa and Srinu Bugatha engaged in a hot contest for the lead, Baliappa pulled away to win in 1:05.33, one second ahead of Bugatha (1:05:34), followed by Damor Mohan a close third (1:05:51).Rashpal said: “The support from the public right through the race inspired me. My next target is the World Championship and I am sure I will be able to achieve it. I tried to maintain the pace from start to finish this time, and succeeded.”Rashpal got Rs. 2.5 lakh, Pankaj Dhaka Rs. 1.25 lakh, and third-place finisher Satyabhan earned Rs. 75,000.Forty elite athletes took part, besides 600 entries for the full marathon; 4000 for the men and women half marathons. The Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation, Kala Krida Vikas Mandal were co-organisers, Aryanz Sports were the event promoters, and India’s 3000m steeplechase woman finalist at 2016 Rio Olympics, Lalita Babar, was the event ambassador.