Current Affairs Update – 17th November, 2015

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Finance/Industry –

Governing Council of NIIF constituted under the chairmanship of Finance Minister

  • Union Ministry of Finance on 13 November 2015 constituted the Governing Council (GC) of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
The GC will be chaired by the Union Finance Minister and has following five members

  1. Secretary, DEA
  2. Secretary, Financial Services
  3. Arundhati Bhattacharya
  4. Hemendra Kothari
  5. T V Mohandas Pai
And, the GC was mandated to consider approval of guidelines for Investment of Trust property/Corpus of NIIF and parameters for appointment and performance of investment managers/ advisors among others.

Marriott International to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

  • Marriott International on 16 November 2015 announced that it will acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. With this acquisition, Marriott International is set to become world’s largest hotel company.
  • Within India also, the combined entity will displace the Tata Sons-promoted Taj Group of Hotels as the largest chain of hotels by rooms.
Features of Acquisition

  • The all cash acquisition deal is valued at 12.2 billion US dollars.
  • The combined company will own/franchise more than 5500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide.
  • It will give Marriott greater presence in markets such as Europe, Latin America and Asia including India and China.

CCI Slaps Rs 258 Cr Penalty on Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet

  • Clamping down on cartelisation in fixing fuel surcharge on air cargo, the Competition Commission today imposed penalties totalling Rs 258 crore on Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet -- an order that is likely to be challenged by the carriers.
  • Passing an order on a complaint filed way back in 2013 against five carriers, the fair trade regulator, however, did not impose any fine on Air India and private carrier GoAir.
  • While a penalty of Rs 151.69 crore has been imposed on Jet Airways, the fines slapped on InterGlobe and SpiceJet are Rs 63.74 crore and Rs 42.48 crore, respectively.
  • InterGlobe Aviation operates no-frills carrier IndiGo.

India –

AMRUT Action Plans for 81 cities approved with total project outlay of 5748 crore rupees

  • An inter-ministerial Apex Committee on 16 November 2015 approved State Annual Action Plans (SAAP) of 81 mission cities in 5 states-Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Mizoram under AMRUT for 2015-16.
  • The meeting of the committee was headed by Shri Madhusudan Prasad, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development, which is the nodal ministry for implementation of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
  • As per the approved SAAPs, the Union, State governments and urban local bodies together will invest 5748 crore rupees. Out of this, Central assistance will be provided to an extent of 2440 crore rupees.
  • And, Out of the five states, Tamil Nadu with 27 AMRUT cities would invest 3249 crore followed by Madhya Pradesh (32 cities)-1,656 crore, Odisha (9 cities)-456 crore, Jharkhand (7 cities)-313 crore and Mizoram will invest 73 crore rupees in the lone mission city of Aizawl.

Andhra Pradesh Government decided to waive off 110 crore loans of over 25000 weavers

  • Andhra Pradesh Government on 16 November 2015 decided to waive loans taken by over 25000 weavers amounting to a total of more than 110 crore rupees.
  • The decision in regard to waive off the loans was taken at the state cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister N Chandra Babu Naidu in Vijayawada. According to state information minister Palle Raghunath Reddy, the loan waiver would benefit 25567 weavers of the state.
  • The loan waiver cheques would be handed over to the beneficiaries in January 2016 on the occasion of Janmabhoomi programme.

India, China agreed to deepen defence ties, maintain peace at LAC

  • India and China on 16 November 2015 decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquility at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The two nations also agreed to strengthen cooperation against terror, including at the international level.
  • The decision was made during meeting of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC). Gen Changlong was heading a 26-member delegation during their state visit to India.
  • This is the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.

Foundation stone of first Mega Food Park of Telangana laid

  • Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal on 16 November 2015 laid the foundation stone of the first Mega Food Park in Telangana.
  • The park is promoted by Smart Agro Food Park Pvt. Ltd. at Village Lakkampally and Chimrajpally, Nandipet Mandal, District Nizamabad, Telangana.
  • Besides, two more Mega Food Parks have been sanctioned to be set up in Khammam and Mahboobnagar districts in Telangana.
Highlights of Mega Food Park in Telanagana

  • The park will be set up with the project cost of 108.95 crore rupees.
  • It will be spread in an area of 78 acres.
  • It will have strong backward linkage.

India, Bangladesh Agree to Share Militant Information

  • India and Bangladesh today agreed to share information on militants as home secretaries of the two neighbours concluded their talks here reviewing internal security and other cross-border issues.
  • "They (India) assured us of providing information immediately if they get any information on militancy. We can eliminate terrorism and insurgency through bilateral understanding and intelligence sharing," Bangladeshi home secretary Mozammel Haque Khan said here after talks with his Indian counterpart Rajiv Mehrishi.
  • Khan said the issue of Bangladeshi nationals being detained by Indian border forces was a major issue of the talks while "both the countries have agreed to reduce such incidents to zero figure".
  • "For this we (both Bangladesh and India) need to educate our people so that they do not cross the borders and abide by all international regulations in this regard. This would also ease the task of BGB and BSF and stop such killings," Haque said.

Sports –

Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson announces retirement

  • Australia's Mitchell Johnson, who was the most devastating fast bowler of his era when in form, will retire from all international cricket at the conclusion of the second test against New Zealand later on Tuesday.
  • The 34-year-old left-armer, who was named International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Year in 2009 and 2014, is fourth on the all-time list of test wicket-takers for Australia with 311 at an average of 28.52.
  • His fortunes over his test career mirrored those of his country, in his pomp from his debut in 2007 to 2009 with a return to form in late 2013.
  • In between there was a long fallow period when he became a figure of fun, particularly among the fans of England.
  • Johnson had the last laugh, though, when he fired Australia to a 5-0 Ashes sweep in 2013-14 as well as helping the hosts to a fifth World Cup triumph in the 50-over format earlier this year.

Siril Verma clinched silver at World Junior Badminton Championships

  • Young shuttler Siril Verma on 15 November 2015 grabbed a silver medal at the BWF World Junior Championships held in Lima, Peru.
  • China’s Chia Hung Lu clinched the gold medal at the Boys' singles event.
  • With this, Verma joined the ranks of Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, H.S. Prannoy and Sameer Verma, who have won medals for India in the World junior championships.

Czech Republic defeated Russia to retain Fed Cup

  • The Czech Republic on 15 November 2015 successfully defended its Fed Cup crown after beating Russia in final day's play in Prague.
  • Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova emerged as the team’s hero as she not only won her singles rubber to tie the match at 2-2 but also returned to court after a break to secure another comeback victory in the finals of the deciding doubles.
  • The victory marked a fourth Fed Cup success for the Czech Republic in five years.
  • The country has won the Fed Cup nine times overall, including Czechoslovakia's five before its split in 1993.

World –

2015 G20 Summit held in Antalya, Turkey

  • The 2015 G20 Summit was held for two days on 15 November and 16 November 2015 at Regnum Carya Hotel Convention Centre in Antalya, Turkey.
  • It was the tenth summit since the inception of G20 in 1999 and held under the Turkish leadership.
  • The focus of the summit was to evolve strategies to ensure inclusive and robust growth through collective action. For this to achieve, Turkey has proposed three I’s-Inclusiveness,Implementation and Investment for growth.
  • The summit was attended by all the leaders of the G20 including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Obituaries –

VHP leader Ashok Singhal dead

  • The patron of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ashok Singhal passed away on 17 November 2015 in Gurgaon due to a prolonged illness. He was 89.
  • Singhal served as the international working president of the Hindu organisation for over 20 years.

Association with Ramjanmabhoomi movement
  • Singhal was a key organiser of the first VHP Dharma Sansad held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi in 1984.
  • The Sansad gave birth to the movement for reclaiming the Ramjanmabhoomi temple.
  • Later, he became the main leader of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement.

Former RAW chief Shankaran Nair passes away

  • Former chief of the country’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), K. Shankaran Nair, passed away in his sleep at Mallige Hospital in Bengaluru in the wee hours of Tuesday.
  • He was 94 years old and survived by a daughter, with whom he was staying in the city for the past eight years. His wife passed away three years ago.


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