Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam has been conferred with the International Press Freedom Award for her reporting from the Naxal-infested Bastar area, one of the four journalists felicitated by the annual award for their commitment to a free press.
She was honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists along with El Salvador’s Oscar Martinez and Turkey’s Can Dundar. Jailed Egyptian photographer Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was given an award in absentia.
Subramaniam, a contributor to the news website Scroll, has reported on abuses by police and security forces, sexual violence against women, the jailing of minors, the shutdown of schools, extrajudicial killings, and threats against journalists in the Bastar region in Chattisgarh.
International Press Freedom Awards : The CPJ International Press Freedom Awards honor journalists or their publications around the world who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment. Established in 1991, the awards are administered by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, non-governmental organization based in New York City.
As per a report on global wealth published by Credit Suisse, the total quantum of wealth in India is rising but disparity between rich and poor is also rising. The report says that the uneven growth has left 96% of the adult population in India at the base of the wealth pyramid with wealth below $10,000. However, a small fraction of the adult population (0.3%) has net worth of more than $100,000.
Highlights from report Indian Scenario : The wealth in India is mostly dominated by property and other real estate. It makes up 86% of its estimated household assets. The wealth in India in local currency terms increased 5.1% in 2016 but due to adverse currency exchange movements. India’s household wealth fell by 0.8% to $3 trillion in dollar terms. The annual growth of wealth per adult in rupees has averaged 6% between 2000 and 2016. The number of millionaires remained flat at 1.78 lakh with $973 billion in wealth. Among these, ultra high-networth individuals increased by 5.2% to 2,260, including 1,040 with more than $100 million. The number of millionaires in India is projected to increase by 9.5% in the next five years to 2.8 lakh in 2021. Meanwhile, the personal debts are estimated to be 9% of gross assets in India which is much lower than in most developed countries.
Global Scenario : Overall growth in wealth remained limited in 2016. It is continuing the trend that had emerged in 2013 and is contrasting sharply with the double-digit growth rates witnessed before the global financial crisis of 2008. The total global wealth in 2016 edged up by 1.4% or $3.5 trillion to a total of $256 trillion, a rise in line with the increase in the world’s adult population.
China has agreed to import rice, non-basmati and basmati varieties from 17 registered mills in India. These mills are in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is considered as a major breakthrough in India’s efforts to ensure market access for Indian products (especially rice) in China as it is the world’s largest rice importer.
India had repeatedly sought market access for Indian products citing the country’s widening goods trade deficit with China. The products included non-basmati rice, pharmaceuticals and many fruits and vegetables among others. However, China had not granted market access to India’s non-basmati rice claiming that it failed to meet Chinese norms on quality, safety and health standards.
China’s apprehensions included the possibility of the cabinet beetle (or Khapra beetle) pest getting transported along with Indian non-basmati rice consignments to China.
In India, China’s objection to Indian non-basmati export was seen more political in nature than anything else as it imports non-basmati rice from its all weather friend Pakistan.
After numerous requests from Indian side, Chinese officials had visited India in September to inspect 19 rice mills registered with National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO). NPPO had assisted its Chinese counterpart AQSIQ during inspection for plant quarantine purposes and pest-risk analysis to ensure that non-basmati consignments from India will be pest-free, of good quality and safe. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Indian Commerce Ministry was also involved in the process.
Besides, India also had earlier sent the information sought by AQSIQ regarding the quality protocol and standard operating procedures.
NPPO is the nodal government agency for inspecting mills and granting certificates on plant health for export purposes. It is mandatory for Indian rice exporters to get registered with NPPO
The 13th World Robot Olympiad will be held in India for the first time ever. It will be organised jointly by NCSM under the aegis of Ministry of Culture and India STEM Foundation (ISF) from 25 November to 27 November 2016 at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.
More than 2000 students from 54 countries will participate in the event to find innovative ways, using robotic technology, to reduce, manage and recycle waste.
The theme for the 13th World Robot Olympiad is Rap the Scrap. The theme is in line with 'Swachh Bharat Mission' of the Indian government. The theme suggests students to Rap (talk) about waste – an important social issue. The students are expected to come up with innovative ideas using robotics technology to ‘Rap the Scrap’ i.e. to reduce, manage and recycle waste.
World Robot Olympiad : The World Robot Olympiad is a global robotics competition for young people. It uses Lego Mindstorms manufactured by LEGO Education. The competition was first held in 2004 in Singapore. It was formally established in the year 2003.
China, Japan, Singapore and Korea are considered the founding countries of the competition. It consists of 4 different categories, Regular, College, Open and Soccer.
For the Regular and Open categories, it consists of three different age groups: Elementary, Junior High and Senior High. Participants below the age of 13 are considered as Elementary, participants from ages 13 until 16 years old are considered Junior High and participants between 17 and 19 are considered Senior High.
The 12th World Robot Olympiad was held in Doha, Qatar in November 2015. The theme for the year was 'Robot Explorers'. In 2017, the World Robot Olympiad will be held in Costa Rica.
South Korea has approved a deal to share intelligence on North Korea directly with Japan. The agreement will come into effect after it is signed in the South Korean Parliament.
The pact known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was inked in Seoul, South Korea. This pact will help the two countries to pool military intelligence on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
The deal is designed to take advantage of the two countries’ perceived intelligence strengths. In case of Japan it is high-tech surveillance, and in South Korea, it is human intelligence or spies in North Korea.
Till date, the two countries shared their intelligence report via the US, which was seen as a cumbersome process in the face of potentially urgent threats. They were sharing their intelligence report on North Korea's nuclear program via the US under a deal signed in 2014.
Earlier, the two countries wanted to sign a similar deal in the year 2012 but South Korea failed to do so due to domestic opposition.
Controversy : The deal saw outcry by a large section of people as well as the opposition party of South Korea. In the case of South Korea, the deal is controversial as the country remembers the Japanese atrocities in wartime. The country still shares anti-Japanese sentiment over Japan’s colonial rule during the first half of the 20th century (between 1910 and 1945).
The main opposition party of South Korea termed the deal as humiliating and unpatriotic. They also threatened to impeach the Defence Minister Han Min-Koo, if the agreement is passed through the Parliament.
North Korea has termed the pact as dangerous, as it would open a door to a Japanese re-invasion of the Korean Peninsula.
On the other hand, the Defence Minster of South Korea defended the decision by terming that the deal was necessary due to military threat posed by North Korea.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the prudential norms on income recognition, asset classification and provisions pertaining to advances.The decision came following the withdrawal of the legal tender of 500 and 1000 rupees notes.
Highlights : Taking into consideration the problems being faced by small borrowers in repaying their loan dues, RBI decided to provide an additional 60 days time, provided that the value of the loan or crop loan is less than 1 crore rupees.
Term loans, housing loans and agriculture loans, whether business or personal, with sanctioned amount of up to 1 crore rupees on the books of any bank or any NBFC, will be eligible for relaxation.Loans sanctioned by banks to NBFC (MFI), NBFCs, Housing Finance Companies and PACs and by State Cooperative Banks to DCCBs are also eligible for the same.It also applies to dues payable between 1 November 2016 and 31 December 2016. Dues payable before 1 November and after 31 December 2016 will be covered by the extant instruction for the respective regulated entity with regard to recognition of NPAs.The additional time given shall only apply to defer the classification of an existing standard asset as substandard and not for restructuring of loans.
US President Barack Obama has presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, to 21 artists, sports figures, scientists and philanthropists.
Among the honourees were Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks and Diana Ross.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : He is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers
Elouise Cobell (posthumous) : She was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence
Ellen DeGeneres : She is an award-winning comedian who has been hosting her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.
Robert De Niro : He is an American actor and producer who has both Italian and American citizenship.
Richard Garwin : He is an American physicist, widely known to be the author of the first hydrogen bomb design.
Bill and Melinda Gates : Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.
Frank Gehry : He is a Canadian-born American architect.
Margaret H. Hamilton : She is a computer scientist, systems engineer and business owner.
Tom Hanks : He is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker.
Grace Hopper (posthumous) : She was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral.
Michael Jordan : He is an American retired professional basketball player.
Maya Lin : She is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art.
Lorne Michaels : He is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Liv
Newt Minow : He is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life.
Eduardo Padrón : He is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States.
Robert Redford : He is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist.
Diana Ross : She is an American singer, songwriter, actress and record producer.
Vin Scully : He is an American sportscaster.
Bruce Springsteen : He is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader.
Cicely Tyson : She is an American actress. She was nominated for the Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder.
Presidential Medal of Freedom : The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States. It was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy. It the highest civilian award of the United States.
The award is not limited to U.S. citizens. Although it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.Three people, Ellsworth Bunker, John Kenne
The Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated a multimedia exhibition with the theme ‘Aazadi 70 Saal, Yaad Karo Kurbani’ at the 47th International Film Festival of India in Panaji on 21 November 2016.
The exhibition was organised by National Film Archives of India (NFAI) to celebrate 70 years of India’s Independence and its depiction through films.
It covers patriotic films that give importance to the role played by Indian soldiers and freedom fighters in helping India gain Independence. It includes screening of films honouring martyrs and leaders like Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. It also includes silent films made during the period, 1913-31. Films based on discriminative issues like untouchability, women empowerment, caste system have also made it into the esteemed list.
Film adaptations of historic movements like Swadeshi movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Salt Satyagraha and Dandi march, the boycott of Simon Commission and Quit India movement are also included in the line-up.Overall, the exhibition shows the diversity in Indian cinema and how it has contributed immensely to bring forth India’s independence struggle from the past to present. It aims to inspire the new generation with the same. The public can get to visit the exhibition until 28 November 2016.
Besides this, the Union Minister also inaugurated the newly recreated website of NFAI, NFAI New Year Calendar which goes by the theme ‘Dance in Indian Cinema’ and an Exhibition on Virtual Reality. The virtual reality exhibition is truly one of its kind, as it gives a full virtual tour of NFAI premises and exhibition.
Veteran Carnatic musician Dr M Balamuralikrishna passed away at his residence in Chennai on 22 Nov 2016. He was 86. He had not been keeping well for the past few days.
Born in Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishnastarted singing at the age of six. He was a master of Carnatic and Hindustani vocal music and played musical instruments like the viola, the violin and the mridangam. He had composed music and acted in some movies, including Bhakta Prahlada.
He composed several thillanans, kirits and varnams. He revived old ragas like Narthak and Sunadavinodini and created new ragas like Lavangi, Mahathi, Manorama, Murali, Omkari, Prathimadhyamavathi, Rohini, Saravashree, Sumukham, Sushma, Ganapathi, Siddhi and Pushkara Godvari.
Balamuralikrishna had tried to popularise the idea of music therapy in south India.
Balamurali, as he was called by musicians and public, was a recipient of all three Padma awards Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. He won several awards, including the national award for best playback singer and best music director.
Indian test cricket captain Virat Kohli attained the 4 spot in ICC Test cricket ranking. This is his best ranking in test cricket till date. The knock of 167 and 81 runs against England in Vishakhapatnam laid the foundation of his entry in the top 5.
This is first time that he has crossed the mark of 800 points, presently he has 822 points. Till date only 11 Indian players have crossed the 800 points milestone of ICC ratings
On the top of the board is Steve Smith of Australia with 897 points in the same format. Cheteshwar Pujara , moved one spot up to 9th spot with his century in the match against England.
Virat Kohli is ranked 1st in ICC T20 rankings and 2nd in ICC One Day International rankings.
Oracle has announced it is buying Dyn, a Web traffic management firm recently hit with a cyber-attack that closed off the Internet to millions of users.
Business software and hardware titan Oracle did not disclose financial terms of the deal to acquire US-based Dynamic Network Services Inc, or Dyn.
Oracle planned to enhance its own offerings with Dyn's expertise in monitoring, controlling, and optimizing cloud-based Internet applications and managing online traffic.
Dyn was the target of cyber-attacks that pounded the underpinnings of the Internet in October, crippling Twitter, Netflix and other major websites with the help of once-dumb devices made smart with online connections.
The onslaught incapacitated a crucial piece of Internet infrastructure, taking aim at a service entrusted to guide online traffic to the right places by turning website names people know into addresses computers understand.
Dale Drew, chief security officer for Level 3 Communications, which mapped out how the October 21 attack took place, told a Congressional panel that the person had rented time on a botnet - a network of web-connected machines that can be manipulated with malware - to level the attack.
Using a powerful malicious program known as Mirai, the attacker harnessed some 150,000 "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices such as cameras, lightbulbs and appliances to overwhelm Dyn systems, according to Drew.
Dyn has more than 3,500 customers including Netflix, Twitter, and CNBC, making tens of billions of online traffic optimizing decisions daily, according to Oracle.
Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director of ZydusCadila, has been elected president of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) for 2017. Patel will take over from Harshavardhan Neotia, chairman of Ambuja Neotia Group, during the FICCI AGM to be held on December 16-17, 2016 in New Delhi.
Pankaj Patel spearheads Zydus Cadila, an innovation-driven global healthcare company which manufactures and markets a wide range of products ranging from APIs to formulations, vaccines, biologicals and niche technologies.
Patel is the chairman of the Board of Governors and Society, IIM, Udaipur and IIT, Bhubaneswar. He is also on the Board of IIM-Ahmedabad.
He also officiates on the board of various educational institutes like the Ahmedabad University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, the Gujarat Law Society, Nirma University etc.
He is the executive chairman, vice president and trustee of the Gujarat Cancer Society and chairman of the Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute, a regional cancer centre and one of the largest cancer centres of India, reaching out to the needy and underprivileged cancer patients.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa will be the Chief Guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention to be held from January 7 to 9, 2017 in Bengaluru.
External Affairs Ministry said the Portuguese Prime Minister has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will participate in the inaugural session of the PBD Convention on January 8 and address the delegates.
While the Prime Minister will be the Chief Guest, Surinam Vice president Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held on January 7, 2017 in Bengaluru.
PBD is celebrated on January 9 every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India's freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
The conventions, celebrated every year since 2003, provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.
India and Switzerland signed a Joint Declaration for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between the two countries. The declaration was signed in respect to accounts of Indians held abroad and vice versa. The deal was inked on 22 November 2016 in New Delhi.
With this, India had joined a list of select countries with which Switzerland will exchange all financial information automatically. It will be done on a reciprocal basis for tax purposes.
The Joint Declaration was inked by Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes Sushil Chandra and Deputy Chief of Mission of Swiss Embassy in India, Gilles Roduit.
Highlights : It will make possible for India to receive the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis.
The exchange will begin from September 2019.
The data will be shared annually.
As per the declaration, details about accounts held before 2018 will not be shared.
The Swiss Federal Department of Finance said that the automatic exchange of information with India will be done on the basis of the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). This MCAA is based on the international standard for the exchange of information that was developed by OECD.
This deal, if approved by the Swiss parliament, will help the Union Government in its fight against the menace of black money that is stashed in offshore accounts. Fight against the black money has been a key priority area for the government.
The deal was achieved after India managed to convince the Swiss authorities that it will respect Switzerland’s tradition of banking secrecy. It will respect the confidentiality of account holders and use the data only for tax purposes. For the purposes, India has been lobbying hard to prevent its citizens from stashing undeclared funds in Swiss banks.
India and Switzerland Signed the Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
The Swiss Cabinet has authorised the Federal Department of Finance to initiate a consultation process on the inclusion of India and other countries in the AEOI partnership. After this consultation, the corresponding federal decrees will be submitted to the parliament for approval.
The Union Finance Ministry has constituted a committee comprising Additional Secretaries, Joint Secretaries and Directors to know status of implementation of demonetisation drive. The committee was formed after the Union Government took decision to scrap 500 and 1000 rupees currency notes on 9th November 2016.
Visit the States and union territories and submit its report by 25th November 2016. Each of the officers will visit different areas of the State and UTs separately with special focus on the rural areas. Submit a report on the general outlook and challenges arising out of implementation of the scheme.
Check currency availability across the States/UTs in the network of bank branches, ATMs and post offices. Check facilities at bank branches and post offices for deposit, withdrawal and exchange of currency. Check the impact of the demonetization on various segments including households, wage earners, agriculturists, traders, transportation, industries, informal sectors and small business.
Ace Indian Golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar has won the US $ 300,000 BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open for the second time in his career.
He won the title after closing with a four-under-par 68. Earlier, Bhullar has also won the event in 2013. With this year victory, he has sealed his seventh Asian Tour victory.
It was his second title 2016 season with a 16-under-par 272 total at the Pondok Indah Golf Course in Jakarta. With this win, Bhullar became the fifth player after Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Frank Nobilo (New Zealand), Frankie Minoza (Philippines) and Lu Hsi-chuen (Chinese Taipei) to win the event twice.
Renowned physicist MGK Menon passed away on 22 November 2016. He was 88.
Menon had a major role in the development of science and technology in India over 50 years. One of his most important contributions was nurturing the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
MGK Menon : Menon studied at Jaswant College, Jodhpur, and the Royal Institute of Science, Bombay.Later, he moved to the University of Bristol for his PhD in elementary particle physics under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Cecil F. Powell in 1953.He undertook experiments with cosmic rays to explore the properties of fundamental particles.
He was keenly involved in setting up balloon flight experiments, as well as deep underground experiments with cosmic ray neutrinos in the mines at Kolar Gold Fields. Between 1966 and 1975, he served as the President of the Indian Statistical Institute, President of the National Academy of Sciences, Director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Chairman Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Chairman Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad.
In May 1970, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1970.He served as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation from January 1972 and September 1972. In 2008, the asteroid 7564 Gokumenon was named in his honour.
Dr Viveki Rai, the renowned Hindi and Bhojpuri litterateur, died on 22 November 2016 in a hospital in a hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He was 92.
His works mainly depict rural life of India. His first story was published in 1945 in the then popular newspaper Aaj. He also wrote several articles and columns in magazines and news papers too.
Dr Viveki Rai : He was born on 19 November 1924 in Ballia district of eastern Uttar Pradesh. He was one of the participants of the freedom movement. He won several awards and recognition. Few of them are
Yash Bharti award by the Uttar Pradesh government
Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan Award
Mahatma Gandhi Samman by the Uttar Pradesh government
Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Award of Srimath Kashi
He was an author of about fifty books of stories, essays and novels. Few of his works were Sonamati, Mangal Bhavan, Samar Shesh Hai, Purush Puran, Namami Gramam, Astha Aur Chintan, and many more.