December 09, 2014

GK & Current Affair Updates: December 9- 2014


9  December 2014

National:

False cruelty cases under Section 498A ruining marriages, SC says
The Supreme Court said false complaints under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code against innocent in-laws alleging cruelty and harassment at matrimonial homes were increasingly making the husbands adamant not to take back their wives. "For no fault, the in-laws, especially old parents of the husband, are taken to jail the moment a false complaint is filed against them by a woman under Section 498A. By roping in in-laws without a reason and for settling a score with the husband, the false and exaggerated 498A complaints are causing havoc to marriages," said a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri. These comments assume significance as it has been a trend with the apex court to seek response from the husband on a mere mention of a petition by a woman in matrimonial disputes. The court also readily transfers a matrimonial case to a place convenient to the wife, brushing aside protests from the husband.

Draft report on Insurance Bill finalized
The Rajya Sabha Select Committee finalised its draft report on the Insurance Bill. The Bill seeks to raise foreign direct investment in insurance joint ventures from 26 to 49 per cent. The Select Committee has 15 members. It is expected that with the three BJP members, three Congress and one member each from the AIADMK, Shiromani Akali Dal and Biju Janata Dal on board, the report will be adopted by majority vote.

Dalveer Bhandari gets Nagendra Singh international peace award
Vice President Hamid Ansari conferred on former Supreme Court judge and a member of the International Court of Justice, Dalveer Bhandari, the first Justice Nagendra Singh International Peace Award. The award was instituted by the International Goodwill Society of India (IGSI), a non-political, cultural and academic organization, which claims its objective is to float a global movement and awakening for a total nuclear ban and revival of ancient Indian cultural heritage. Bhandari cited a few judgements he had sat upon at the ICJ, to which he was elected member in 2012. These include a pending 200 year-old boundary dispute, a temple dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, a maritime dispute between Peru and Chile and a recent settlement between Australia and Japan on the issue of whaling. "Such is the role of the ICJ in building and maintaining peace and justice in the world. The threat to peace is so imminent that UN agencies alone cannot ensure peace and security.


LS clears Bill to repeal 90 Amendment Acts
The Lok Sabha cleared The Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill, 2014, to remove 90 redundant Amendment Acts from the statute book despite a demand from the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to refer the draft legislation to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Now, finance panel may allocate funds
In the aftermath of the scrapping of the Planning Commission, the Modi government is mulling whether the role of allocating plan funds across States can be given to the Finance Commission. It would like the new body that will replace the Plan panel to be a ‘think-tank in the era of liberalisation’ that could possibly be merged with the National Development Council (NDC).The NDC is the highest development policy planning body, comprising the Prime Minister, Union Cabinet Ministers, State Chief Ministers and State Finance Ministers. The Modi government scrapped the Plan panel on August 13 through a Cabinet decision. Till then, the Centre had transferred to States in excess of Rs. 3,00,000 crore, or 2.5 per cent of GDP, annually through the panel. The mechanism for the transfers was two-fold. States received funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes. They also received Central Assistance for their plans. Each State’s share was arrived at following discussions between the Planning Commission, Finance Ministry and the State Government in the case of Central Assistance. For Centrally Sponsored Schemes, the individual State shares were determined through discussions between the Planning Commission, States and Union Ministries such as Health and Rural Development.

International:

World’s first herbal Koran unveiled in Dubai
The world’s first handcrafted herbal Holy Koran, made from about 200 medicinal plants, has been unveiled .The Koran has been made by the Islamic arts and calligraphy company, Heddem Arts and has been crafted over 23 years from 1957 to 1979 by Turkish Unani Doctor Hamdi Taher. The Koran is made of high potency herbal mixtures prepared as per Unani medical system. “Herbal sheets of the Holy Koran have many therapeutic properties when the reader moves his fingers on the letters or in and around the pages, the herbal mixture seeps through the pores in the fingers, providing health benefits. The herbal-cream-written Koran includes 606 pages and weighs about 7.5 kg.

U.S., NATO combat role ends
The U.S. and NATO closed their combat command in Afghanistan, more than 13 years after invading the country in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks to target al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. As NATO’s International Security Assistance Force’s Joint Command, which was in charge of combat operations, lowered its flag and formally ended its deployment, resurgent Taliban militants launched yet another bloody attack in the country. The NATO flag of the command folded and put away amid the foreign troop withdrawal. From January 1, the coalition will maintain a force of 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak around 140,000 in 2011. As of December 1, there were some 13,300 NATO troops in the country. Up to 10,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for the first three months of next year, 1,000 more than previously planned. As a result, there will be little, if any, net drop in U.S. troop numbers between now and December 31, when the international combat mission formally ends. By the end of 2015, however, American officials say the U.S. troop total will shrink to 5,500, and to near zero by the end of 2016.

Hong Kong protest sites to be cleared: Court
Hong Kong's high court has ordered the main protest sites that have choked the financial city for more than two months to be cleared, building up to a final showdown between pro-democracy activists and authorities backed by Beijing. A local bus company, which was granted an injunction against street blockades at the site in Admiralty, home to government offices and next to the main Central business district, has received an official clearance order from the high court, according to notices posted in local papers. Student groups have been calling for a free vote in the Chinese controlled city through largely peaceful demonstrations dubbed the "Umbrella Movement".

Business & Economy:

Huffington Post now in India with Times Group
AOL-owned news website Huffington Post launched its India edition in partnership with The Times of India Group, India's largest media conglomerate. Huffington Post will combine its award-winning news and blogging platform with the local expertise and reach of the Times of India Group to tap India's snowballing number of internet users. Group M, the world's largest media investment corporation, will be the strategic partner for brand synergies and advertising in India for the website.

India sees clear pick-up in growth momentum: OECD
Reflecting improved prospects, India is the only major economy seeing a ‘clear pick up in growth momentum’ while mixed trends are predicted for developed countries, according to Paris-based think tank Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD said growth would continue to lose momentum in Europe. For other major economies, the outlook is for stable growth momentum. The readings, for the month of October, are based on composite leading indicator (CLI), which is designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend. “India is the only major economy where the CLI points to a clear pick-up in growth momentum. The country’s CLI rose to 99.6 in October from 99.4 in the previous month. Last month, the OECD said the Indian economy was expected to see an average growth of 6.7 per cent over the 2015-19 period, while a further boost would depend on reform plans of the government.

ICICI Bank to charge ATM transactions
ICICI Bank has announced a hike in its ATM charges for saving account holders from January 1 next year. Under the new method, the number of free transactions in a month is fixed at five using own ATMs, while it has been capped at three for other banks’ machines.

CCI clears Sun-Ranbaxy deal with riders
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved Sun Pharmaceutical's $3.2 billion acquisition of rival drug firm Ranbaxy Laboratories, provided the companies divest some overlapping brands within six months. The completion of the merger would make Sun Pharma the largest drug maker in the domestic market and the fifth largest global generic pharma company. The Competition Commission of India ordered Sun and Ranbaxy to sell seven brands, in which the merged company would have "appreciable adverse effect" on competition in India as a result of their market share. Earlier this month, TOI reported CCI will soon give a go-ahead to the merger on condition the two companies will divest some products to avoid monopoly. Sun Pharma the seven products, which are to be divested, constitute less than 1% of the combined entity's revenues in India.

Current Affair -1st January-2018

1. Nepal Bans Solo Climbing on Mount Everest i. Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, inc...