Indian Railway’s construction company (IRCON) has restored the rail track between Jaffna and Kankasanthurai in North Sri Lanka. This restored commercial Yal Devi Express service was formally inaugurated by Sri Lanka’s Transport Minister Kumara Welgama. This 18 kilometer track passes through the high security zone which was freed from the control of Tamil tigers in 2009.
The entire rail line between Colombo and the Northern part of Sri Lanka was destroyed in the late 1980s by the LTTE. India’s IRCON is playing important role in rebuilding the 252 km railway track on this route. Indian government had provided a line of credit of 800 million dollars for these projects. In 2014, the line upto Jaffna was made operational after it was restored.
It was established in 1976 by Union Government under the Companies Act, 1956. It is wholly owned by the Ministry of Railways. In 1995, it was renamed as IRCON International Limited. Since its establishment, this company had undertaken construction of railway projects in India and abroad especially in difficult terrains. It has completed more than 300 major infrastructure projects in India and over 121 major projects globally in more than 21 countries.
Veteran Indian-origin civil servant Joseph Yubaraj Manuel Pillay was reappointed as the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Advisers (CPA) by Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam. He was sworn in as top advisor to Singapore’s President for a period of next four years. As Chairman of the CPA, he will exercise the functions of the President’s office in the absence of President. If he is unavailable, the Speaker of Parliament would act as the head of state.
Presidential Council of Advisers (CPA): This council was formed in 1992. It advises Singapore’s President in various areas, including safeguarding the past reserves of the Government and key appointments in the public services.
He has served in a number of senior civil service positions in Singapore. He was first appointed to the CPA on January 2, 2001 and served its Chairman since September 2, 2005. He is one of the pioneers who helped build the Singapore economy after its separation from Malaysia in 1965. He also had served as Chairman of Singapore Airlines from 1972 until 1976. In 2012, for his public service, Pillay was awarded the Order of Nila Utama (First Class) award- one of Singapore’s most prestigious National Day Awards.
Union Government has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for another one year in Assam and has declared the entire ‘state of Assam’ as a ‘Disturbed Area’. As per government notification, this extension will for another one year beyond 03 November 2014 which is presently in force. Besides Assam, government has declared the area falling within 20 km wide belt along the border of Assam with Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya as Disturbed Area. In these disturbed areas, Army is empowered to take action for counter Insurgency (CI) operations against the underground (UG) outfits under the provisions of AF (SP) Act, 1958. Thus it seeks to control the violent incidents caused by the UGs which has direct disturbances to general law and order of the state.
This extension comes after the law and order situation had worsen in the North eastern state of Assam and its border areas due to the violent incidents caused by the underground banned outfits like ULFA(I), NDFB(S), KPLT, UALA, NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K) etc.
It was enacted by Parliament on September 11, 1958. It conferred special powers upon the armed forces in disturbed areas in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The act was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990. AFSPA was enacted to provide army officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas. Under this act, a member of the Indian armed forces cannot be prosecuted or tried in any criminal or civil court for any act committed by him or her while performing duty in a disturbed area. Moreover, no court or quasi-judicial body can question the government’s decision to declare any area disturbed. The provisions of AFSPA are very objectionable as it requires the following: All that is necessary for a part of the State to be handed over to the armed forces is for the Governor or the Central Government to notify it to be in a “disturbed and dangerous” condition. Even a non-commissioned officer of the armed forces is free, on the mere suspicion of violation of the law or commission of an offence, to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person. He can also without any warrant, arrest any person and enter and search any premises. No prosecution of anyone indulging in excesses purporting to act under AFSPA is possible except with the previous sanction of the Government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Indian Science Congress 2015 at the Mumbai University. It is the 102nd edition of this congress and Mumbai is hosting it again after the gap of 45 years. The theme of 102nd Congress is Science and Technology for Human Development. The Congress sessions aims to bring together eminent scientists, research scholars to popularize science and foster a scientific temperament.
It is 5 day event and will witness deliberations and presentation of papers by the scientific fraternity from across the globe. More than 12 thousand delegates are going to participate in the session. In this congress several symposia on relevant themes such as Women’s Science Congress, Children Science Congress and Science Exhibition etc will be also organized. This edition will cover a wide variety of topics like: Agriculture and forestry, veterinary science, earth science, environment, engineering, information & communication, computer sciences, mathematics, medicine, biology, physics and plant sciences among others. Other themes of interest include science & technology in SAARC countries, biodiversity conservation, space application, GM crops and the use of modern biotechnology in agriculture, clean energy systems for the future.
Union Sports Ministry has given nod to Boxing India (BI) as the new governing body for the sport. In this regard, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (Department of Sports) – Government of India has given the nod as it is a recognised member of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). It will help BI to expedite the administrative formalities and streamlining the overall functioning and activities boxing.
Boxing India President: Sandeep Jajodia
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed an information sharing agreement with United States (US) banking regulators for better coordination with them in supervising financial institutions. Earlier in December 2014, RBI had concluded a Statement of Co-operation (SoC) on “Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information” with the US banking regulators like Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System(FRB), Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). SoC was signed by Michael S Gibson- Director, FRB; Martin Pfinsgraff, Senior Deputy Comptroller-OCC; Doreen R Eberley, Director-FDIC and Indian counterpart P R Ravi Mohan, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision, RBI. RBI by signing such MoU/SoC with supervisors of other countries is seeking to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information among the authorities. In this regard, RBI in total has signed 22 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and one SoC, with overseas regulators/supervisors.
In September 2014, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, both countries had issued a joint statement to boost the efforts of the RBI and American banking regulators and supervisors for exchange of information to enhance the effectiveness of cross border supervision.
Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara has joined an elite group of cricketers to make 12,000 runs in Test Cricket. He reached this milestone in Sri Lanka’s second Test match against New Zealand held in Wellington, New Zealand. He has become the fifth cricketer to make 12,000 runs.
Other four cricketers are Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (15,921 runs), Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting (13,378 runs), Jacques Kallis from South Africa (13,289 runs) and India’s Rahul Dravid (13,288 runs).
Earlier in December 2014, he had achieved another feat by becoming only the fourth batsman to surpass the 13,000-run mark in one-day internationals (ODI’s). Other three batsmen in this list are Sachin Tendulkar (18,426 runs), Ricky Ponting (13,704 runs) and Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya (13,430 runs).
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