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Current Affairs: 8th January 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Jan 9th, 2015

1- Pakistan enacts new law to create constitutional military courts to try terrorists

Pakistan government has enacted new law, to create constitutional military courts to try and punish terrorists. This new law came into effect after it was signed by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain. Earlier, Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and 21st Constitution Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly and the Senate. Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 aims to set up Constitutionally protected military courts to try and punish terrorists. While, 21st Constitution Amendment Bill, 2015 provides constitutional cover for the establishment of military courts in Pakistan.

Background

For past few years, Pakistan is struggling to come up with an adequate response to deal with the increasing menace of militancy. Pakistan’s ruling government was under pressure after Peshawar School attack that had killed around 150 people including 132 children. So there was need of strict law to deal with the militants.

Summary

The law will give a tough message to militants who often are wriggled out of ordinary courts.  Thus it will help to curb and eliminate militancy in Pakistan. Presently, Pakistan has already lifted moratorium on death penalty and hanged seven convicted militants.

2- Dinesh Oraon elected as Speaker of Jharkhand Assembly

Dinesh Oraon elected as Speaker of Jharkhand Assembly

Dinesh Oraon

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Dinesh Oraon was unanimously elected as the Speaker of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly. It was announced by the Protem Speaker Stephen Marandi. His name for the post was proposed by the Chief Minister Raghubar Das. He is the 10th Speaker of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly since the state was granted statehood status after bifurcating from Bihar on 15 November 2000.

About Dinesh Oraon

He is a member of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly from Sisai constituency of Gumla district. He has represented this constituency twice, first time in 2000 and for second time in 2014.  He has studied M A. and was lecturer in Ranchi University.

3- ICICI Bank launches India’s first contactless credit and debit cards

ICICI Bank launches India’s first contactless credit and debit cards

ICICI Bank

India’s largest private sector bank Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank has launched country’s first ‘contactless’ debit and credit cards. These cards will provide its customers to make electronic payments by waving the cards near the merchant terminal instead of dipping or swiping.

Facts about ICICI Bank’s contactless cards

These cards are based on the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and powered by MasterCard contactless and Visa pay Wave technologies. It provide customers with the improved convenience of speed as these cards require significantly less time than traditional cards to complete a transaction. It also enhances security features for the customer. Presently, bank has introduced these cards in cities like Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Mumbai. ICICI Bank also has provided with over 1200 Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machines that are capable of accepting contactless payments in these cities.

4- Kotak Mahindra-ING Vysya merger gets shareholders nod

Kotak Mahindra-ING Vysya merger gets shareholders nod

Kotak Mahindra-ING Vysya

Private sector Kotak Mahindra Bank has received its shareholders nod for merger of Bengalaru-headquartered  ING Vysya Bank with itself. It was approved by the 99.30 per cent in number representing 99.93 per cent in value of the shareholders present. This approval is considered as important step for merging of two banks to form new entity. Now this merger is subject to the final approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Competition Commission of India (CCI) and such other approvals.

Background

In November 2014, Kotak Mahindra Bank had announced that it is acquiring ING Vysya Bank in an all-stock deal. This merger will make Kotak the fourth-largest private bank in India in terms of total business. The biggest three private banks are ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. The management of these banks are expecting that the new merged entity will be operational by April 1, 2015. The acquisition will help Kotak Mahindra Bank to widen its reach in South Indian market and also help in acquiring SME customers as ING Vysya Bank was having stronghold in SME customers. After merger the combined banking entity will have a widespread network of 1,214 branches across pan India.

5- Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Prize for Display at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Prize for Display at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum

Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Prize has been put up for display at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum. It was put for display, after Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi dedicated his prize to the nation. He presented his medal to President Pranab Mukherjee in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Now, visitors to Rashtrapati Bhavan will now be able to get a glimpse of the Nobel Peace Prize received by him. The medal made up of 18 carats gold and weighing 196 grams will be kept at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum for display. Rashtrapati Bhavan museum: It was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in July 2014. This museum provides public an inside view of the Rashtrapati Bhavan along with its art, architecture and lives of past presidents.

About Kailash Satyarthi

He is the eighth Nobel laureate to have been born in India. He is an adherent of Gandhian philosophy. He has upheld Mahatma Gandhi’s practice of engaging and conducting peaceful protests against the exploitation of children for financial gain. He is the founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement). Through his NGO, he campaigns for protection of child rights and to abolish illegal human trafficking.

6-Indian diplomat Atul Khare named as UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support

Indian diplomat Atul Khare named as UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support

Atul Khare

Indian diplomat Atul Khare is named as UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support, Department of Field Support (DFS). It was announced by Secretary-General of United Nations Ban Ki-moon. He will succeed Bangladesh’s Ameerah Haq. This appointment makes him as one of the highest ranking Indian officials in UN.

UN Department of Field Support (DFS)

This department provides dedicated support to peacekeeping field missions and political field missions around the world. It also provides support in the areas of finance, logistics, Information, communication and technology (ICT), human resources and general administration to help missions promote peace and security. His appointment to this position will bring strategic management and innovative reform expertise in both headquarters and field perspective of UN’s DFS.

About Atul Khare

He belongs to 1984 cadre of Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Diplomat career: As Indian diplomat, he has served in Indian Missions in Paris, Dakar, Port Louis and London as well as the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York. He is Former Director of The Nehru Centre and Minister (Culture), High Commission of India in London (2005-2006).

United Nations career: Previously, he was Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) at the level of Under Secretary-General (2006-2009). Earlier he also has worked as Chief of Staff and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General with the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). He also has served as Assistant Secretary-General leading the Change Management Team (2011-2012) and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Deputy Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York (2010-2011).

7- 19th National Youth Festival begins in Guwahati, Assam

19th National Youth Festival begins in Guwahati, Assam

19th National Youth Festival

The 19th National Youth Festival has begun in Guwahati, Assam. This festival coincides with the 152nd birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

Theme of this edition of youth festival is Youth for Clean, Green and Progressive India. It aims to spread to spread national integration and harmony.

Events: It is 5 day event, which will provide platform to the young talents to perform their level best in music and cultural events.

During this festival, different competitions, exhibitions, cultural programs, and seminars will be held.

In this festival sports persons including Virender Sehwag, Sushil Kumar and Mary Kom along with several young MPs are participating to motivate the young minds towards nation building.  This youth festival is also likely to give a boost to the tourism industry of the state.

It will showcase various shades of youth talent through Yuva Kriti, Food Festival, Young Artist Camp, Youth Convention, Suvichar and Adventure activities.

Besides these there will be other competitive and non-competitive events between youths of different states.

Opening ceremony: It was attended by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister of State for Home state Kiren Rijiju at Nehru Stadium in Guwahati.

About National Youth Festival

It is an annual gathering of youth during National Youth Week i.e. from 12 to 16 January. It is celebrated to mark birth anniversary of youth icon Swami Vivekananda.

It is organized by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with one of the State Governments.

8- President signs ordinance to pave way for e-rickshaws on Delhi roads

President signs ordinance to pave way for e-rickshaws on Delhi roads

e-rickshaws on Delhi roads

President Pranab Mukherjee has signed an ordinance to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 as per Article 123 of Constitution. This ordinance will pave the way for plying of e-rickshaws on roads of Delhi.

Earlier, in December 2014 Union Cabinet had approved promulgation of the ordinance as a bill in this regard was not able to pass in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament due to logjam in Upper House (Rajya Sabha).

Background

Previously in July 2014, Delhi High Court had banned E-rickshaws or battery-operated three-wheeler vehicles on safety concerns.

Union government had brought Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2014 to amend to parent Act in order to legalize E-rickshaws. It was passed by the Lok Sabha.

Article 123 of Constitution: It gives legislative power to President. He can issue ordinances when Parliament is in recess i.e. not in session if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter.  The ordinance has similar effect to an act of parliament.

However, every ordinance must be laid and approved by both houses of the parliament within 6 weeks from the reassembling.  If not placed and approved by both houses of the parliament after reassembling it becomes invalid.

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