20 July 2016

Rohit Khandelwal becomes first Indian to win Mr. World title

Indian actor, model, television personality Rohit Khandelwal won the prestigious 2016 Mr. World title. With this he became first Indian and first Asian to win the Mr. World title. Rohit received a cash prize of 50,000 dollars after winning this covet title. Besides, Fernando Alberto Alvarez Soto (Puerto Rico) was named the first runner-up and Aldo Esparza Ramirez (Mexico) was named the second runner-up. The competition was held in Southport Theatre in Southport, England. In it 47 participants from around the world had participated.

 About Rohit Khandelwal 

  • Born in 1989 in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  •  He is also winner of Mr India 2015 contest. 
  • Prior to entering the modelling industry, he had served as ground staff for SpiceJet and technical support assistant at the Dell Computers.

Nigerian journalist Didi Akinyelure wins BBC World News Komla Dumor Award

Nigerian journalist and presenter Didi Akinyelure has won the second BBC World News Komla Dumor Award. 
As part of the award, she will start a three-month placement at the BBC in London in September 2016. It will provide her opportunity to gain skills and experience by attending a course with BBC Academy. 

Presently, Didi Akinyelure is a prime-time news anchor in Nigeria and presents business news for CNBC, which broadcasts across the African continent. 

She had started her career in the financial sector before moving to journalism in 2011. She has covered several stories social entrepreneurs in Africa who are transforming the African business landscape.

Canada to conduct world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans

Researchers from Laval University based in Quebec City, Canada are going to conduct the world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans. 

They are first international researchers team in the world to complete all of the steps in the regulatory process for the test. The development of the Zika vaccine has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. Until now, vaccines have been tested on mice. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including France’s Sanofi and India’s Bharat Biotech, are working on developing a Zika vaccine.

Noted Indian hockey player Mohammed Shahid passes away

Noted Indian hockey player Mohammed Shahid passed away due to multiple organ failure in Gurugram, Haryana. He was 56. Mohammed Shahid was a member of the V Baskaran-led Indian team that won a Gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

About Mohammed Shahid 

He was born on April 14, 1960, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He had made his first appearance for India at international level in the junior team in 1979 at the Junior World Cup held in France.

He was considered one of India’s greatest hockey players. He was known for his dribbling skills. He was also a member of the Indian hockey team that had won silver medal at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze medal at the 1986 Asian Games.
His biggest contribution to the game of Hockey was the ‘half push- half hit’. It was a stroke he used to hit the ball using the same grip used to dribble the ball.

Rajya Sabha passes Child Labour Amendment Bill

·        Rajya Sabha has passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012.

·        The bill prohibits employment of children below 14 years in all occupations or processes except where the child helps his family, with the provision for imprisonment up to two years for any violation.

·        Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya hailed the development as a historic step and said, it is aimed at total abolition of child labour

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Switzerland for cooperation in skill development

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Switzerland for cooperation in skill development. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The MoU was signed in June 2016 during the visit of a delegation led by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to Switzerland.
 Key Features of MoU 

  • Focuses on capacity building and exchange of best practices in the area of skill development between both countries.
  • Establish of Joint Working Group (JWG) to create, review and monitor the implementation framework for the MoU.
  •  Establish a framework for bilateral cooperation between two countries in the area of skill development and will formalise and deepen this partnership.

Union Cabinet approves Air Services Agreement between India and Mozambique

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Air Services Agreement between India and Mozambique. Presently there is no Air Services Agreement between both countries. In order to promote the air connectivity between them, the two sides had initiated the process of consultation in 2011 to finalize the text of Air Services Agreement. The draft text of the Air Services Agreement (ASA) was finalized in consultation with Union Ministry of Finance, Union Ministry of External Affairs and Union Ministry of Law & Justice. 
Features of the Agreement 
  • Each party will designate multiple Airlines. 
  • The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and that of a Third party.
  •  The designated airlines of either countries will be able establish offices in the territory of other country for the promotion and sale of air services. 
  • The designated airlines of the two countries will have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes.
  •  It also has provisions for revocation or suspension of operating authorization, principles governing operations of agreed services, commercial opportunities, safety and security related clause etc.

Steve Elworthy appointed MD of 2019 World Cup

·        Steve Elworthy, an England Cricket Board official and ex-South African player, has been appointed the Managing Director of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, which will be held in England and Wales.

·        He will also oversee the Champions Trophy and the Women’s World Cup in 2017. Elworthy has been Tournament Director of the 2013 Champions Trophy, besides other events.

19 July 2016

Fourth tranche of Sovereign Gold Bond scheme opened for subscription

The fourth tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) scheme opened for subscription. SGB is government securities denominated in grams of gold. It offers an alternative to holding gold in physical form. The scheme was launched by the Union Government in October 2015. Government has fixed 3,119 Rupees per gram as the issue price for the bond in this tranche. The scheme will be open till 22 July 2016. Key Facts

Key Facts
  •  The bond can be purchased from the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
  •  Besides, all Bank branches and select Post Offices and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited will also issue it.
  •  In this tranche minimum subscription has been reduced to 1 gram and maximum at 500 gram per person or institution. Earlier, the minimum denomination was 5 gram. 
  • The SGB bonds can be converted into demat form and can be used as collateral for availing loans. Redemption of SGB bonds by an individual is exempted from capital gains tax.
  • SGB gives an interest of 2.75 per cent per annum and is payable every six months on initial investment. Government will use the funds raised through these bonds as part of its market borrowing programme.

Guruprasad Mohapatra appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of India

Image result for Guruprasad Mohapatra appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of IndiaSenior IAS officer Guruprasad Mohapatra was appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI). Prior to this appointment he was working as Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce from the past two years.

 About Guruprasad Mohapat
  •  He is a 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer. He is the youngest son of noted litterateur late Mohapatra Nilamani Sahoo from Odisha.
  •  Earlier he had served in the Sales Tax department of Gujarat as Special Commissioner (Enforcement). He was the Joint MD of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). He also had served as a Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and as the Commissioner of Transport in Gujarat.
  •  He is an MA in Political Science, MPhil in Diplomacy (International Relation) and also an MBA degree holder. He also had served as Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad for over 3 years.

Parliament passes Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016

The Parliament has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 to provide statutory status to the existing Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana. The Bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the Regional Centre and also confers upon it the status of an institution of nat
ional importance.

Key Facts 
  • Objectives of the Regional Centre: (i) Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields, (ii) create a hub of biotechnology expertise, (iii) facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia and (iv) Promote cooperation at the international level. 
  • Powers: (i) Provide masters, post-graduate diplomas and doctoral degrees in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. Agricultural, medical and engineering sciences) (ii) Institute academic positions like professorships and appoint them (iii) Determine standards of admission to the Regional Centre etc. It will have Board of Governors, Programme Advisory Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee etc. as authorities responsible for its administration and functioning.

India’s first e-court opened at Hyderabad High Court

India’s first e-court (paperless court) was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad which is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court. 

Key Features
  • The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public. 
  • It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country. 
  • It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective

CBDT inks 7 Advance Pricing Agreements to cut tax litigation

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers to reduce tax litigation. With this, CBDT has so far entered into 77 APAs. This includes three bilateral APAs and 74 unilateral APAs. These 7 APA
s signed pertain to various sectors like banking, information technology and automotives. Some of these APAs have rollback provisions.
 What is Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)? 

  • APA usually is signed between a taxpayer and the central tax authority (in case of India it is CBDT) on an appropriating transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions. 
  • It seeks to introduce certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime investment friendly.
  •  It provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing that aim to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.
  •  In India, Advance Pricing Agreement mechanism was introduced in 2012 as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 
  • In case of Indian context, APAs seeks to give (i) Boost to economy and ease of doing business (ii) Provide alternative path to the investors with rollback provision to reduce litigation (iii) Strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

Malcolm Turnbull sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia

Malcolm Turnbull was sworn as Prime Minister of Australia for second term after a narrow victory in the federal election. He became the 29th Prime Minister of the country. He was administered oath to the office by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Queen Elizab
eth II’s representative in Australia.
Image result for Malcolm Turnbull sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia
  • In the 2016 Australian federal election, Liberal/National Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull had won a one-seat majority of 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives. 
  • the opposition Labor Party won 69 seats. The 2016 federal election was a double dissolution election to elect members of the 45th Parliament of Australia.