Friday, October 31, 2014

Current Affairs Update - 30-31 Oct, 2014

Finance


1. Govt cuts non-Plan expenditure by 10%, bans creation of new posts

  • ·         Keeping in mind lower revenue realisation till date, the Finance Ministry has issued new austerity measures, including 10 per cent cut in non-Plan expenditure and ban on creation of new posts.
  • ·         “For the year 2014-15, every Ministry/Department shall effect a mandatory 10 per cent cut in non-Plan expenditure excluding interest payment, repayment of debt, Defence capital, salaries, pension and Finance Commission grants to the States, ” an office memorandum issued by the Expenditure Department of the Finance Ministry said.
  • ·         Even in the last few years, such measures were announced. However, it has never specified the amount of saving through such measures.
  • ·         On tour and travel, the Government has made it clear that Government officials will not travel in first class. “While officers are entitled to various classes of air travel depending on seniority, utmost economy would need to be observed while exercising the choice keeping the limitations of budget in mind. However, there would be no bookings in First Class," it said.
  • ·         It also advised that in all cases of air travel, the lowest air fare tickets available for entitled class are to be purchased. No companion free ticket on both domestic and international travel is to be availed of. “Facility of video conferencing may be used effectively,” it said.
  • ·         On creation of new post, it said that there will be a ban on creation of Plan and Non-Plan posts. At the same time, posts that have remained vacant for more than a year are not to be revived except under very rare and unavoidable circumstances and after seeking the clearance of Expenditure Department.
  • ·         Giving logic for such measures, the memorandum said that these are intended at promoting fiscal discipline, without restricting the operational efficiency of the Government. “In the context of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to continue to rationalise expenditure and optimise available resources,” it said.
  • ·         These measures have been announced after indirect tax collection grew mere 5.8 per cent during first six months of the current fiscal against the budgeted target of 25.8 per cent.
  • ·         Though gross direct tax collection registered a growth of 15 per cent in line with the budgeted target of 15 per cent, the rate of growth for net collection (gross collection minus refund) was mere 7 per cent.
  • ·         On non-tax revenue, good news is that lower crude prices and de-regulation of diesel prices is expected to have a very positive impact on subsidy payout. However, the Government is yet to kick off disinvestment plan.




2. Xoom launches instant deposit service to ICICI Bank accounts


  • ·         San Francisco headquartered digital money transfer provider Xoom Corporation will offer its customers an instant deposit service to send money to ICICI bank account holders in India.
  • ·         "This revolutionary service allows Xoom customers to instantly deposit money into their recipients' ICICI Bank accounts, 365 days a year, including bank holidays," Xoom said in a release.
  • ·         Instant deposits to ICICI Bank will be processed through Xoom's partnership with Punjab National Bank, it added.


India


3. Indigenously made diagnostic kit for Celiac disease launched

  • ·         A ‘first of its kind’ indigenously developed, cost-effective diagnostic test kit for the auto-immune Celiac disease, an intestinal disorder, was launched by the Science & Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday.
  • ·         The launch was part of a recent initiative to expand the activities of Department of Science & Technology into the health sector, the S&T Ministry stated, adding that this event follows the recent launch of a cost-effective injectable polio vaccine and ROTA virus vaccine about two months ago.
  • ·         The diagnostic kit has been developed by the Department of Biotechnology in the Science & Technology Ministry with the involvement of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and industrial partner, J Mitra & Co, an official release said.



4. Bengal sets up task force to develop Sagar Islands as tourism destination

  • ·         The West Bengal Government today set up a task force to develop tourism across two beaches in the Sagar Islands, a deltaic region some 140 km from Kolkata, in the South 24 Parganas district. A deep sea port will also be coming up at Sagar.
  • ·         “Mamata Banerjee has undertaken a business trip to the islands, accompanied by a number of industrialists, with the aim of seeking investment in tourism and infrastructure development,” the Trinamool Congress website maintained. The task force will also explore possibilities in sea and river tourism i.e., inland water transportation.
  • ·         Banerjee, who named three virgin beaches – Rupsagar, Dheusagar, Bhorsagar – during her visit on Thursday, said two of these will be developed for tourism purposes.
  • ·         “Rupsagar and Dheusagar beaches will be developed for tourism. We have formed a task force to develop the tourism potential of the area,” she said.
  • ·         According to the Chief Minister, a deep sea port will be coming up at the third beach, called Bhorsagar.



5. Devendra Fadnavis sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra


  • ·         Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis was on 31 October 2014 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The oath ceremony was held at a gala public function at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • ·         Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao administered the oath of office and secrecy to Fadnavis. The oath ceremony in Wankhede Stadium was witnessed by over 30000 people.
  • ·         Along with CM, the Cabinet ministers were also sworn. These were Eknath Khadse, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde, Prakash Mehta, Vishnu Sawra, and Chandrakant Patil.
  • ·         Besides, Dilip Kamble and Vidya Thakur were sworn in as ministers of state.
  • ·         Fadnavis was appointed as CM of the State after he was elected leader by the legislative assembly members of the BJP.



6. Government announced 5 lakh rupees compensation to kin of 1984 Sikh riots victims

  • ·         Union Government on 30 October 2014 announced compensation of 5 lakh rupees for kin of victims who were killed during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.
  • ·         This compensation to families of the victims of the riots will be other than ex-gratia payment delivered to them earlier by government or any agencies. This decision of government will cost 166 crore rupees to the government.
  • ·         As per records, nearly 3325 people were killed in the communal riots that were triggered by the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 by her body guards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. Of 3325 killed in the riots, 2733 were resident of Delhi while others belonged to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.
  • ·         The order was passed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The decision was taken after a high-level meeting where issue of compensation to civilian victims of communal, terrorist or Naxal violence was discussed.
  • ·         Apart from this, the government during the meeting also enhanced the compensation to civilian victims of communal, terrorist or Naxal violence from 3 lakh rupees to five lakh rupees.



7. Foundation for World's tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel laid in Gujarat


  • ·         Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on 31 October 2014 laid foundation stone of the Statue of Unity - the world's tallest statue of Iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The foundation stone was laid down on the occasion of Sardar Patel’s 139th birth anniversary.
  • ·         The Statue of Unity - the world’s tallest monument in respect of iron man of India will be set up on an island Sadhubet at Sardar Sarovar Dam near Kevadia Colony in Bharuch district of the state of Gujarat.
  • ·         As per plan, the project will be completed at the cost of 2979 crore rupees and the work of the project will be completed in 46 months. Earlier on 27 October 2014, the Gujarat Government awarded the work order of the project to leading engineering company, Larsen and Toubro.


About the Statute
  • ·         The statute will be 182 meter tall and its main structure will be completed at an expense of 1345 crore rupees, a part of 2979 crore rupees is granted for the project. Rest money will be spent on 
  • ·         235 crore rupees will be spent on the construction of exhibition hall and convention centre.
  • ·         83 crore rupees will be spent on the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land.
  • ·         657 crore rupees would be spent to maintain the structure for next 15 years after its completion.


About Statue of Unity
  • ·         Statue of Unity - the world's tallest statue of Iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This project was launched on 31 October 2013, on Sardar Patel's birth anniversary by Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • ·         For development of the project, Modi launched a country wide campaign to collect iron to build the Statue of Unity and as per Gujarat Government, iron was collected from around seven lakh villages across the nation.



8. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas observed on 31 October to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel

  • ·         Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was observed on 31 October 2014 to commemorate the 139th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 
  • ·         The decision to observe 31 October as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Integration Day was taken by the Union Government to reiterate India’s strength and buoyancy against adversaries.
  • ·         The day was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who paid floral tributes at the statue of Sardar Patel and also flagged off the Run For Unity in New Delhi.
  • ·         The Run for Unity campaign is the key highlight to pay tribute to the efforts made by Sardar Patel to unite India. A nationwide marathon took place on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
  • ·         During the occasion, the PM praised Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is also known as the Iron Man of India who gave Ek Bharat (United India) and requested the people to work towards creating Shresth Bharat (Foremost India).


About Sardar Patel

  •        He was the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India.
  •        He is credited for the integration of over 500 independent princely states in 1947-49 from the British colonial provinces by Independence Act 1947.
  •        He is known as the Iron Man of India or Bismarck of India and he is also remembered as the Patron Saint of India's civil servants for establishing modern all-India services.



9. SunEdison signed MoU with Rajasthan Government to set up 5000MW solar projects

  • ·         SunEdison Inc. on 28 October 2014 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rajasthan Government to establish 5000 MW capacity of solar power in Rajasthan in next five years.
  • ·         The MoU comes at an opportune time following the Rajasthan's Government new Solar Policy which aspires to create 25 GW of solar capacity in the state in the next few years.

Highlights of the agreement

  •        SunEdison intends to establish 5 GW of capacity in the form of multiple mega solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, with the expected capacity of each mega solar project at 500 megawatts (MW).
  •        Under the project, multiple mega solar power projects will be set up on estimate 25000 acres of land in Rajasthan.
  •        The company will also work with the state government to design a programme for slowly and steady shifting of around 11 lakh electric irrigation pumps to solar pumps which will not only provide power to the farmers to pump water during the day time but also feeding electricity to feeder when not pumping


10. India-Saudi Arabia agreed to cooperate in hydrocarbon sector

  • ·         India and Saudi Arabia on 29 October 2014 agreed to cooperate in different areas of hydrocarbon sector. The areas include strategic reserves, petrochemical conservation, research and development, refineries and energy efficiency programmes. Saudi Arabia has assured India of all cooperation on trade and investment in hydrocarbon sector.
  • ·         The agreement was reached in bilateral energy consultations held in Riyadh between India and Saudi Arabia. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Niami represented the two countries in the consultations.
  • ·         Indian delegation that visited Riyadh for bilateral consultations comprised of Dharmendra Pradhan (as head), senior government officials and Chairmen of IOCL, HPCL and GAIL.


11. Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana

  • ·         Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 28 October 2014 launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY) for welfare of Tribal people and particularly to lift human development indices of tribal people. The scheme was launched during the meeting of the Tribal Welfare Ministers of States/UTs.
  • ·         The scheme was launched on pilot basis in one block each of the States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat.


Highlights of the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY)
  •        Under the scheme, Union Government will provide 10 crore rupees for each block for the development of various facilities for the Tribal people. These blocks have been selected on the recommendations of the concerned States and have very low literacy rate.
  •        The scheme mainly focuses on bridging infrastructural gaps and gap in human development indices between Schedule tribes and other social groups.
  •        VKY also envisages to focus on convergence of different schemes of development of Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments with outcome oriented approach.
  •        Initially the blocks having at least 33 percent of tribal population in comparison to total population of the block will be targeted under the scheme.



12. U.P. inks MoUs with firms for Lucknow-Agra expressway

  • ·         The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five firms for construction of the Rs.15,000-crore Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
  • ·         The work on the project is likely to begin next month with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav laying the foundation stone of the six-lane greenfield mega road project.
  • ·         “We have signed MoU with five infrastructure companies for the five various segments of the 302-km-long expressway that would connect Lucknow with Agra…Once complete, the project would be India’s biggest six-lane, access controlled expressway,” UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) Chief Executive Officer Navneet Sehgal told journalists here.
  • ·         UPEIDA, which is executing the project, has decided to give bonus to companies that complete the construction work before schedule, while those who fail to meet the deadline would be penalised. “The idea behind this is to fast-track the project…The expressway would give boost to economic and industrial development of the state,” Mr. Sehgal added.
  • ·         While Rs.11,500 crore would be spent on building the expressway, Rs.3,500 crore would be given as compensation towards land acquisition for the mega road project that passes through 10 districts - Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Kannauj, Kanpur City, Unnao, Hardoi and Lucknow.



13. Warren Anderson, wanted in Bhopal gas tragedy, dies


  • ·         Former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, wanted in India in connection with the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy has died aged 92.
  • ·         Anderson died on September 29 at a nursing home in Vero Beach, Florida but his death was not announced by his family and was confirmed from public records, the New York Times reported.
  • ·         The Indian government made multiple requests to extradite him, and officially labelled him a fugitive. A judge also called him an “absconder”.
  • ·         Anderson reached Bhopal four days after the accident, where he was immediately arrested. But after quickly paying bail, he never returned to face trial.
  • ·         The Bhopal horror began around midnight on December 2-3, 1984, when a chemical reaction in a plant that made insecticides caused a leak of toxic gases that swept through the surrounding community.
  • ·         The Madhya Pradesh government confirmed 3,787 deaths as a result. More than a half million people were injured, with many dying from illnesses, including lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease.
  • ·         In 1989, Union Carbide paid USD 470 million to the Indian government to settle litigation stemming from the disaster.


14. India's universal healthcare rollout to cost $26 bn


  • ·         India's universal health plan that aims to offer guaranteed benefits to a sixth of the world's population will cost an estimated Rs. 1.6 lakh crore ($26 billion) over the next four years, a senior health ministry official said.
  • ·         Under the National Health Assurance Mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government would provide all citizens with free drugs and diagnostic treatment, as well as insurance cover to treat serious ailments.
  • ·         The proposed plan would be rolled out in phases from April 2015 and will cover the entire population by March 2019, C.K. Mishra, an additional secretary at the health ministry, told Reuters. When the entire population is covered, it would cost an estimated $11.4 billion annually.
  • ·         "If you want to deliver the service, that is what it will take," Mishra said, disclosing for the first time an expert group's cost estimates that will be considered by the finance ministry for inclusion in the government's spending plans.
  • ·         Healthcare experts caution that it could take decades before India's 1.2 billion people are adequately covered and that the costs of provision could face significant upward pressure.
  • ·         If approved, India would need to drastically raise its healthcare spending. In the current financial year, the federal budget allocated about $5 billion to healthcare.


International


15. SAYes Summit in Bangalore

  • ·         Speaking at the Southý Asian Young Entrepreneurs Summit (SAYes) here, Pollock said, “The network that we have built here in Bangalore over the last two days will only grow. You will be the catalysts that break through and break down the barriers to connectivity in this region.”
  • ·         SAYes programme aims to foster regional economic connectivity in South Asia through entrepreneurship.
  • ·         The US Consulate General Chennai and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Bangalore Chapter partnered for the programme which saw 25 young entrepreneurs from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka attending it.
  • ·         The two-day summit was held at the Infosys and IIM-Bangalore campuses and it provided a vibrant and diverse platform for networking and mentorship.


16. China overtook US to become the world’s largest economy in PPP terms

  • ·         China in October 2014 overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms. This was revealed by the October 2014 update of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • ·         According to IMF estimation, as of October 2014, China’s GDP in PPP terms stood at 17.6 trillion US dollars and constituted 16.48 percent of the World GDP.
  • ·         On the other hand, the US GDP on PPP basis stood at 17.4 trillion US dollars and constituted 16.28 percent of World GDP.
  • ·         India stood at the third place in the global economy and its GDP on PPP basis was 7277.279 billion US dollars which is 6.8 percent of world GDP.
  • ·         Earlier in 2005, China economy was less than half the size of the US economy. Now the IMF projects that China economy will be 20 percent bigger than that of the US by 2019.
  • ·         China remained the biggest foreign holder of the US government debt which has holding of an estimated 1.27 trillion US dollars of US treasury bonds.



17. Cargo rocket Antares of NASA carrying supplies to ISS exploded after launch

  • ·         The Antares, an unmanned two-stage cargo rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded just seconds after the launch. The explosion took place at Wallops Island site of Virginia, the US on 28 October 2014.
  • ·         In the incident, the first stage of Orbital Science's two-stage Antares rocket burst into flames as it rose from its launch pad.
  • ·         The two-stage Antares rocket was carrying 32 satellites, company’s Cygnus capsule and food for the astronauts to ISS. According to NASA though no one was injured but 5500 pounds of cargo was destroyed. The launch was worth 125 million pounds.
  • ·         This was the Orbital Science’s third official cargo mission to ISS for NASA under the terms of 1.9 billion US dollars contract under which the company was to send eight delivery missions. The Orbital Science Company first launched Antares rocket on its maiden flight in April 2013.
  • ·         The explosion did not caused any immediate issues for the ISS since the Russian Space Agency’s robotic Progress 57 spacecraft was launched successfully from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 29 October 2014.



18. Sweden became the first European Union country to recognize the State of Palestine

  • ·         Sweden on 30 October 2014 became the first European Union (EU) country to officially recognise the State of Palestine.
  • ·         Israel protested against the Sweden decision and the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Swedish ambassador shortly after the announcement.
  • ·         130 other nations that already recognise the Palestinian State include Hungary, Slovakia and Poland although these three countries took this step before joining the EU. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to recognise the Palestinian State.
  • ·         Palestinians are seeking to create a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza with East Jerusalem as their capital. They also demanded that Israel withdraws from occupied Palestinian territories.
  • ·         With the failure of direct peace negotiations with Israel, Palestinian authorities tried to approach the international community to recognise Palestinian sovereignty.



19. Scientists created coldest ever cubic meter in Universe

  • ·         An international team of scientists in the month of October 2014 claimed to have set the world record for creating coldest cubic meter in the Universe.
  • ·         Scientists are working on the cryostat that's part of the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events experiment (CUORE) cooled an 880-pound block of copper to a temperature of six milliKelvins.
  • ·         Dr. Karsten Heeger, director of Yale's Arthur W. Wright Laboratory, has been involved in the CUORE collaboration, which conducts the cryogenics research. The collaboration was based at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. It involves 130 scientists from the U.S., Italy, China, Spain, France, and other countries
  • ·         It is the first experiment ever to cool a mass and a volume of this size to a temperature this close to absolute zero (0 Kelvin). The cubic metre (35 cubic feet) of copper weighing 400 kilograms was brought to a temperature of six milliKelvins or minus 273.144 Celsius (minus 459.66 Fahrenheit).
  • ·         Absolute zero is considered as the lowest possible temperature. It is -273.15 C or zero on the Kelvin scale. It was named after 19th-century Irish engineer and physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, credited with establishing the correct value of the temperature.


20. Taiwan banned officials from studying in China

  • ·         Taiwan on 30 October 2014 banned its government officials from higher studies in mainland China for national security reasons. The ban is applied on the officials who have an access to classified information as well as ministers, mayors and country magistrates. The decision was made in backdrop of strained relations between the two sides.
  • ·         As per reports, Taiwan is concerned that confidential information available to high-level government officials might be leaked in theses and research papers. This ban was implemented in accordance to the revised regulations in view of national security.
  • ·         According to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) the ban applies to senior civil servants and officials whose work is related to national security, ministers without portfolio, heads of cities and counties, heads of Taiwan's special municipalities, personnel from the National Security Bureau and the Ministry of National Defense.



21. ECI elected as Chair of General Assembly of AAEA for the next two years

  • ·         The General Assembly of Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) on 29 October 2014 elected Election Commission of India (ECI) as Chair of the organisation for the next two years.  ECI will host the 2014 General Assembly Meeting of AAEA in New Delhi.
  • ·         ECI was represented by V.S. Sampath, Chief Election Commissioner of India and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and Dr. Nasim Zaidi.
  • ·         Besides, the General Assembly also elected the Philippines as Vice Chair and designated it as host for the next General Assembly. Mongolia, Bhutan and S. Korea (outgoing Chair) were also elected as Executive Members.
  • ·         The General Assembly also admitted the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and Maldives as new members.
  • ·         India is a founding member of AAEA which was established in 1998. The Organisation has 20 member-countries.
  • ·         Besides India, other members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.


22. Malala won 2014 World’s Children prize


  • ·         Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 World’s Children Prize on 29 October 2014 after a global vote involving millions of children. She received the prize at a ceremony in Mariestad near Stockholm.
  • ·         Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history was nominated for the 2014 World’s Children’s Prize for her courageous and dangerous fight for girls’ right to education. She received 50000 US dollar as award.
  • ·         At present, Malala has her own fund, the Malala Fund, which was created to help girls get to school.
  • ·         According to statement of the organisation, Millions of children have voted to award Malala this year's World's Children's Prize for the rights of the child. 


2014 World's Children's honorary awards
  • ·         Indira Ranamagar and John Wood won the 2014 World's Children's honorary awards. The honorary awardees were given 25000 US dollar.
  • ·         John Wood was honoured by the World’s Children’s Prize 2014 for his 15-year fight for children’s right to education. John quit his job as a manager at the Microsoft company to fulfill his dream: to fight poverty by giving children all over the world the chance to go to school.
  • ·         Indira Ranamagar was honoured by the World's Children's Prize 2014 for her 20-year struggle for prisoners' children in Nepal. She grew up in extreme poverty and had to fight to be able to go to school. Even as a young girl she knew that she wanted to help other people who had hard lives.

About World Children's prize
  • ·         World Children's prize was created in 2000 and is run by the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF), based in Mariefred, Sweden. The Foundation is independent of all political and religious affiliation and is a non-profit organisation that runs with support from bodies including the Swedish Postcode Lottery and Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


23. The Festival of India inaugurated in Japan

  • ·         The Festival of India, year-long festival was inaugurated on 27 October 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. The festival was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Shripad Naik and Tourism Minister of Japan Akihiro Ohta.
  • ·         The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi during his visit to Japan in August 2014 announced the Festival of India in Japan will be conducted to enhanced people to people contacts between the two countries.
  • ·         The Festival of India represents major cultural expedition of India into Japan on a large scale for the first time since 1988, almost 26 years ago. It is one of the largest events of India conducted in Japan Covering 20 cities.




24. Facebook sets up India Client Council


  • ·         World’s largest social networking site Facebook has set up the India Client Council to offer a forum to brands to share ideas about the future of marketing.
  • ·         The Council includes companies like Tata Motors, Flipkart, Airtel, P&G, Madison World, ICICI Bank, HUL, Micromax and Future Group among others.
  • ·         Apart from India, Facebook has global, EMEA, Brazil and UK councils.
  • ·         “There are now more than 100 million people in India connected through Facebook and in the past year, we have invested heavily in creating solutions that are tailored to the needs of people and advertisers here,” Facebook India Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy said.
  • ·         This is the next step in the efforts to better serve partners — the India Client Council, she added.



25. Apple's Cook says 'proud to be gay'


  • ·         Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook publicly came out as gay, saying in a magazine article that he wanted to support others who find it difficult to reveal their sexual orientation.
  • ·         "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook said in an article he wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek published on Thursday.
  • ·         "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realise how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," he said.
  • ·         Cook's statement makes public a fact long known but rarely discussed openly in California's close-knit Silicon Valley technology community.
  • ·         A popular gay and lesbian magazine, Out, placed Cook at the top of its annual top 50 list of gay people in 2013. 
  • "As the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to reveal he is gay, Tim helps make the business world a bit less homophobic," Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of gay rights organisation DignityUSA told Reuters in an email.
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