Obama to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations
In a major sign of the deepening ties between India and the U.S., Prime Minister Modi has invited President Obama to be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony in year 2015. Invitation was delivered by Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Myanmar and Australia, when he met with President Obama at the East Asia summit and the G-20 meeting of world leaders.
Anointment of Naib Imam has no legal sanctity
While observing that the ‘dastarbandi’ ceremony scheduled in Jama Masjid would not amount to anointment of Shahi Imam Syed Bukhari’s youngest son as the Naib Imam, the Delhi High Court said the Delhi Waqf Board had not accorded legal sanctity to the ceremony. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw, hearing a bunch of public interest petitions challenging the ‘dastarbandi’, said Mr. Bukhari had no right in law or otherwise to anoint his son as his deputy. The Court noted that the Waqf Act, 1995, provides only for the appointment of a ‘mutawalli’ (caretaker) and contains no provision for appointment of Imam of Waqf properties, even if it is a mosque.
Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system introduced
The Centre government has introduced Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system in its offices across the country. The system will be installed at all the offices in Delhi by December 31. At other places it may be installed by the Republic Day, January 26, 2015. The manual system of attendance would be phased out accordingly. The equipment will be procured by the Ministries/departments as per specifications of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) on the Directorate-General of Supplies and Disposals rate contract from authorised vendors. The DeitY will provide technical guidance for installing the system. The equipment already procured by DeitY have a built-in Annual Maintenance Contract of three years.
Mangalyaan on Time’s list
India’s Mars mission Mangalyaan, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has been listed among the 25 best innovations of 2014 by the Time magazine. “Nobody gets Mars right on the first try. The U.S. didn’t, Russia didn’t, the Europeans didn’t. But on September 24, India did,” the magazine said. It pointed out that building the spacecraft cost India just $74 million, which was less than the budget for the Hollywood film Gravity.
250,000 Indians to benefit from Obama plan
U.S. President Barack Obama has announced his intention to carry out a “lawful” executive action to fix the country’s “broken” immigration system, a measure that would offer, from early next year, three-year deferment of deportation proceedings and the right to work legally to nearly four million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country before the age of 16. Among the four million immigrants who stand to gain from this policy action will be a number undocumented Indian citizens in the U.S., whose total population the Department of Homeland Security estimates to be 250,000.
Muslim pageant challenges Western beauty contests
An eclectic mix of women from around the world will compete in the finale of a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia, seen as a riposte to Western beauty contests. The women, who include a doctor and a computer scientist, are set to parade in glittering dresses against the backdrop of world-renowned ancient temples for the contest in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. However the 18 finalists are required to wear the Muslim headscarf and will be judged not only on their appearance, but also on how well they recite verses from the Koran and their views on Islam in the modern world. The World Muslimah Award first drew global attention in 2013 when organisers presented it as a peaceful protest to Miss World, which was taking place around the same time on the resort island of Bali.
Waltz set for Walk of Fame honour
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz will receive the 2,536th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 58-year-old Oscar winner’s friend Quentin Tarantino will be among the speakers inducting Waltz prior to the unveiling, reported Hollywood Life. Two of Waltz’s films next films are Horrible Bosses 2 and Tim Burton’s drama Big Eyes.
Sci. & Tech:
3-million-year-old canyon discovered under the Brahmaputra in Tibet
A huge 3-million-year-old canyon, thousands of feet deep in places, has been discovered buried under a major river in Tibet. The canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo (called the Brahmaputra in India) in south Tibet was discovered by a team of researchers from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the China Earthquake Administration. The geologists say that the ancient canyon — thousands of feet deep in places — effectively rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalayas became so steep, so fast. In 2013 civil engineers from the China Earthquake Administration collected cores by drilling into the valley floor at five locations along the Yarlung Tsangpo.
‘Horses and rhinos originated in India’
Horses and rhinos likely originated in the Indian subcontinent, over 54 million years ago, according to a new study. Working at the edge of a coal mine in India, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and colleagues have filled in a major gap in science’s understanding of the evolution of a group of animals that includes horses and rhinos. The group likely originated on the subcontinent when it was still an island headed swiftly for collision with Asia. Modern horses, rhinos and tapirs belong to a biological group, or order, called Perissodactyla. Also known as “odd-toed ungulates”, animals in the order have, as their name implies, an uneven number of toes on their hind feet. Though paleontologists had found remains of Perissodactyla from as far back as the beginnings of the Eocene epoch, about 56 million years ago, their earlier evolution remained a mystery. In 2001, Prof. Rose and Indian colleagues began exploring Eocene sediments in western India. In an open-pit coal mine northeast of Mumbai, they uncovered a rich vein of ancient bones. The mine yielded what Prof. Rose said was a treasure trove of teeth and bones. More than 200 fossils turned out to belong to an animal dubbed Cambaytherium thewissi , about which little was known. Cambaytherium is the first concrete evidence to support that idea.
Business & Economy:
SEBI bans Transgene for diverting GDR proceeds
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) banned K. Koteswara Rao, Chairman-cum-Managing Director and other promoters of Transgene Biotek from accessing the capital market till further orders as the regulator found that the company transferred its GDR proceeds through its subsidiary for undisclosed and ulterior purposes. On February 22, 2011, Transgene had first issued 25 lakh GDRs at $9.2 per GDR and again on October 3, 2011, it had issued 25 lakh GDRs at $7 per GDR. Thus, total 50 lakh GDRs were issued in the GDR issues of Transgene. It had raised $23 million through first issue and $17.5 million through the second issue of GDRs. Thus, total $40.5 million were raised by Transgene through the GDR issues and were deposited in the bank account of Transgene held in Investec Bank, Switzerland.
Forex reserves up $419.4 m
Forex reserves rose by $419.4 million to $315.551 billion in the week to November 14, driven by a rise in foreign currency assets. According to data released by the Reserve Bank, reserves had dipped by $778.4 million to $315.131 billion in the previous week.
Banks under lens for uniform savings rates
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will look at whether there is any cartelisation among banks, especially public sector lenders, in keeping the interest rate on savings accounts at the uniform level of four per cent. The trend has come to the attention of the fair trade watchdog since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decontrolled the interest rates and each bank is free to fix its own rate.
APGenco bags SKOCH award
Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited (APGenco) has bagged the SKOCH Award 2014 in best project category in the country. The award was given at the 38th Skoch Summit on ‘Resurgent India- Competitive India’ held in New Delhi. APGenco Executive Director Atluri Rama Rao received the award from Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Ashour wins his third World Open title
Ramy Ashour clinched his third World Open squash title when he saved a match point in a marathon 13-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 14-12 triumph over Egyptian compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy. Shorbagy, who became world No. 1 for the first time only this month, proved a hero himself, saving five match points in a row from 5-10 down in the final game, and six altogether.