Reliance Jio Infocomm, a telecom subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), on 18 May 2015 signed a pact with Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer firm Huawei for sourcing various 4th Generation (4G) devices. As per the pact, Huawei will supply 4G devices to Reliance Jio including smartphones, tablets and mifi dongles. This agreement will help Reliance in launching 4G service by 2015 in around 5000 towns and cities in India. It seeks to cover over 90 percent of urban India and over 2.15 lakh villages.
It is mandatory for Reliance Jio and other Indian telecom companies to roll out the 4G services at the earliest by 31 August 2015 as they won Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in 2010.
As per the licensing agreement, these services must be rolled out in at least 90 percent of the service areas, failing which the Department of Telecom (DoT) have the right to withdraw the radiowaves. In this regard, DoT had announced the procedure to test network roll out of companies that have procured BWA spectrum.
Apple Inc on 18 May 2015 acquired Coherent Navigation to improve Apple Mapping capabilities. Coherent Navigations is a company focused on hyper-accurate GPS. Coherent Navigation’s High Integrity GPS system is supposedly so granular that it can provide accurate location information to within a few centimeters. The acquisition is part of a series of map-related technology deals made by Apple in recent years.
Earlier, Apple acquired mapping start-ups BroadMap, Embark and HopStop.com as part of its acquisition spree, which accelerated shortly after the company’s decision to create its own alternative to Google Maps for the mapping feature on its devices. Apple Maps has long struggled with providing accurate location information since phasing out Google Maps in 2012. Coherent Navigation’s technology could theoretically be used to significantly enhance Apple’s Maps product.
Coherent specializes in high-precision GPS, which combines standard GPS data with data from the Iridium satellite communications constellation. It makes devices for civilian use and was involved in numerous projects with the U.S. government, including military location technologies.
Infosys became the first Indian Company to Join RE100 Renewable Energy Campaign. The Climate Group on 18 May 2015 announced it. RE100 is a global platform for major companies committed to 100% renewable power.
Infosys joined some of the world’s most influential companies such as IKEA, Swiss Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, KPN, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, among others, which are taking bold steps to create transformative change needed to drive a clean energy revolution. The company is already working to reduce its per capita electricity consumption by 50 per cent from its 2007-2008 levels and source all its electricity from renewable resources by 2018.
During fiscal year 2015, Infosys met 29 percent of its electricity needs – about 72.08 million units – for its locations across India through green power. During the same period, Infosys generated over 2911 MWh of electricity through its onsite solar PV installations across India. Seventeen companies have now joined the campaign and made a public commitment to become 100% renewable, including founding members IKEA and Swiss Re. As the campaign spreads in India, it is expected that more Indian companies will switch to renewable power and demonstrate the huge opportunity that exists in India’s growing clean economy.
RE100 is a global initiative that celebrates and supports major companies committed to 100% renewable power across their operations. Its goal is that 100 of the world’s most influential businesses commit to 100% renewable power within a specified timeline. RE100 was launched at Climate Week NYC (New York City) on 22 September 2014.
Root who was recently appointed vice-captain of England’s Test team was named as the cricketer of the year for scoring 1135 test runs at an average of 95 including four scores of 149 and above. His top test score of the season was of 200 not out against Sri Lanka at Lord’s. He also made three one-day international centuries.
Charlotte Edwards, the women’s captain won the award for consecutive second year. She was chosen for averaging above 75 in ODIs and nearly 60 in Twenty20 internationals in the season. Under her leadership, England secured ODI series victories against India and New Zealand, alongside T20 series wins against South Africa and New Zealand.
She was also presented the silver England cap by the England and Wales Cricket Board to celebrate her 200th match as women’s captain against New Zealand in February 2015.
GMR Infrastructure Ltd on 18 May 2015 signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Guizhou International Investment Corporation (GIIC) for developing Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) in Andhra Pradesh. The MoU was signed by Challa Prasanna, President of Kakinada SEZ (KSEZ) Pvt Ltd. It seeks to set up industrial park for Chinese high-end equipment manufacturing companies in Kakinada SEZ (KSEZ).
In this regard, GIIC plans to set up 2000 acres industrial park. The fully developed facility by KSEZ and GIIC will in turn generate over 5000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers. For developing the infrastructure and various facilities of the industrial park, GIIC will invest 500 million US dollars. In addition, Chinese companies setting up units at the park will invest 2-3 billion US dollars on their operations for over five years.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 18 May 2015 released a report titled Global Investment Trends Monitor. The report highlighted that developing Asia now invests more abroad than any other region. This UNCTAD trends monitor analyses the most recent trends in global outward investment and assesses its prospects for 2015. It covers outward FDI trends in developed, developing and transition economies.
UNCTAD estimates that TNC investment appetite will improve, encouraged by better economic prospects, especially in the United States, proactive monetary policy in the Eurozone and the large cash holdings of companies. However, TNCs remain guarded due to the fragility in some emerging markets, exchange rate volatility and increased geopolitical tensions.
The President of United States (US) Barack Obama on 18 May 2015 banned giving certain kinds of military-style equipment to local police forces. He also called for a broader shift in law enforcement practices across the country. This ban means that the armoured vehicles on tracks, camouflage uniforms and grenade launchers will no longer be given out to local police forces.
The ban was announced by the President during his visit to Camden, one of the poorest cities of New Jersey. The city attracted attention as a national model for better relations between the police and residents after it dissolved its police force and replaced it with a new county-run system through that prioritizes community ties. The decision was taken in the backdrop of criticism that said that the police was heavy handed to deal with protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that turned violent. The series of fatal shootings by police increased mistrust and sparked protests across the US.
The issue came into spotlight after a young black man was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson in 2014 and later in April 2015, another black man was killed in Baltimore after taken in police custody. The US administration was criticized for being too lax about police practices. It was also criticized for not able to strike a right balance between the law enforcement and civil right activists.
Himachal Pradesh will host the Paragliding World Cup from 23 October to 31 October 2015 at Bir Billing in Kangra valley. The world cup will be held under the aegis of Para-gliding World Cup Association, France. This is for the first time that India will be hosting the Paragliding World Cup which will see participation from over 50 countries.
The state was chosen to host the World Cup after it successfully conducted the paragliding pre-World Cup-2013. For the successful conduct of the event, the state government has formed the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA) under the chairmanship of Sudhir Sharma who is the Urban Development Minister of HP. Further, the state government has directed to ban construction activities near the take-off and landing sites.
The success of the Paragliding World Cup 2015 would promote tourism as well as sports in the state.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences on 18 May 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) for optimum use of weather information/forecast in the power sector. POSOCO Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.
Six Indian-Americans and a British-Indian were presented prestigious 2015 Ellis Island Medals of Honor in United States for their contributions to America. They were among nearly 100 individuals who were presented this prestigious award recently in New York.
Union Government has sanctioned proposals for setting up 30 new cold storage projects chain in the country with a total investment of 724.9 crore rupees. It was announced by Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Badal in New Delhi. For this project Union Food Processing Ministry will provide grant of 274.9 crore rupees.
These sanctioned projects are part of 138 integrated cold chain projects which were approved by the Union government. Currently 108 approved projects are under implementation and 52 projects have been completed and are operational.
Once all these 138 cold chain projects become operational, it will add total 4.76 lakh tonnes of storage capacity in the country along with 118 lakh litres per day milk processing capacity and 810 reefer vehicles.
Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) MP Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia has been appointed chairman of a Joint Committee of Parliament that will look into the provisions of the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, 2015. The joint committee will comprise of 30-members- 20 members from Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha. The Committee will submit its report on the first day of the monsoon session.
NDA government led by Prime Minister this move come after they had agreed to refer the Land Bill to the joint committee after it had faced continuous resistance of opposition parties in the Parliament. Even some of its own allies like Shiv Sena, Akali Dal etc had shown opposition on various provisions of the amended legislation. The agreement was reached during the recently concluded Parliament session. The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. However it was stalled in Rajya Sabha as ruling government is in minority in upper house. The NDA government also had promulgated ordinances in this regard twice on the bill since December 2014. The Congress and the Left parties have been targeting the ruling dispensation as anti-farmer and pro-corporate.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its recent report titled Act Local, Solve Global: The $5.3 Trillion Energy Subsidy Problem has voiced alarm about energy subsidies across the world. The report has clearly mentioned that the energy subsidies across the world are expected to reach 5.3 trillion dollars in 2015, more than government health spending.
Definition of energy subsidies: The IMF report defined energy subsidies as the difference between the amount of money consumers pay for energy and its true costs, plus a country’s normal sales or value-added tax rate.
In addition, the true costs include environmental effects like carbon emissions that lead to global warming and the health effects.
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