Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 23 - MAY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 23 - MAY - 2016
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016 04:38

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

23 - MAY - 2016

 

INDIA AND MAURITIUS SIGNED PROTOCOL TO AMEND TAXATION METHODS

India and Mauritius signed a protocol on taxation at Port Louis, Mauritius. The protocol provides for amending the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains

The Protocol also provides for updation of Exchange of Information Article as per international standard, provision for assistance in collection of taxes, source-based taxation of other income, amongst other changes.

Salient features of the Treaty/Protocol

• With this Protocol, India gets taxation rights on capital gains. They arise from alienation of shares acquired on or after 1 April 2017 in a company resident in India with effect from financial year 2017-18. Taxation in India at full domestic tax rate will take place from financial year 2019-20 onwards.

• The benefit of 50 percent reduction in tax rate during the transition period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019 shall be subject to LOB Article.

• Interest arising in India to Mauritian resident banks will be subject to withholding tax in India at the rate of 7.5 percent in respect of debt claims or loans made after 31 March 2017.

• Under the amended treaty, only those Mauritius-based companies that have a total expenditure of more than 27 lakh rupees in the preceding 12 months will be able to benefit from the tax treaty.

Significance of the Protocol

• The Protocol will tackle the long pending issues of treaty abuse and round tripping of funds attributed to the India-Mauritius treaty.

• It will curb the revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation, streamline the flow of investment and stimulate the flow of exchange of information between the two countries.

• It will improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

• Simultaneously, existing investments, that is investments made before 1 April 2017 have been grand-fathered and will not be subject to capital gains taxation in India.

SCIENTISTS UNVEILED HOLOFLEX, WORLD'S FIRST HOLOGRAPHIC FLEXIBLE SMARTPHONE

A group of researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University announced that they have developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone named HoloFlex.

The device is capable of rendering 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple simultaneous users without head tracking or glasses.

Key highlights of HoloFlex

The device features a 1920x1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode touchscreen display.

Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint.

It produces 160 x 104 resolution image that allows users to inspect a 3D object from any angle simply by rotating the phone

It is equipped with a bend sensor, which allows the user to bend the phone as a means of moving objects along the z-axis of the display.

It is powered by a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 2 GB of memory.

It can also be used for holographic gaming. In a game such as Angry Birds, users would be able to bend the side of the display to pull the elastic rubber band that propels the bird. When the bird flies across the screen, the holographic display makes the bird literally pop out of the screen in the third dimension.

INDIAN NAVY DECOMMISSIONS FIGHTER PLANES SEA HARRIERS

Indian Navy decommissioned its fleet of iconic Sea Harriers. This episode of decommissioning marked the end of an era in India’s naval history, as the country holds an official ceremony phasing out the last of its iconic Sea Harrier jets.

They were replaced with new generation MIG-29 K fighters in a ceremony on INS Hansa near Vasco.

Wing Commander Shikhu Raj, a Sea Harrier Pilot himself and the commander of the squadron handed over the command of the squadron to Captain KHV Singh in an historic ceremony and bid adieu to the Sea Harriers.

The function was presided over by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan.

About fighter planes Sea Harriers

• The de-inducted fighter aircrafts, the Naval Air Squadron 300 - INAS 300, were popularly known as 'white tigers'.

• Called the glorious heritage of Indian Navy, Sea Harriers were inducted in 1983 and played a pivotal role in various operations.

• Designed and manufactured by British Aerospace, Sea Harrier is a naval Short-Vertical Take-Off and Landing Jet Fighter, used for both reconnaissance and strike.

• They operated from both INS Vikrant and INS Viraat aircraft carriers and participated in operations including Vijay and Parakram apart from many naval exercises.

• The use of the ski jump take offs from a short flight deck with a heavier load was a specialty of these 33 year serving fighter jets.

• The aircraft, developed by the British in the 1960s, was used by the British during the Falklands War, both Gulf Wars, and during the NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

• The retired aircraft will be put on display in museums.

About MIG 29 K

• The newly inducted MIG 29 Ks will be operational from INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier\

• Presently 45 MIG 29k are being introduced

At present, Navy has more than 200 aircrafts and helicopters combat ready.

TWO HARBOUR DEFENCE SYSTEMS COMMISSIONED AT VIZAG TO ENHANCE NAVY'S SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY

Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS) and Mine Warfare Data Centre (MWDC) were inaugurated.

They were inaugurated by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.

The two Harbour Defence Systems would enhance the Navy's surveillance capability and response to security threats.

Both the IUHDSS and MWDC will function under the control of the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) Commodore Sanjiv Issar.

About the Defence Systems:

Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS): It is a multi-sensor system that can detect, identify, track and generate warnings for all types of surface and underwater threats to Vizag harbor.

Mine Warfare Data Centre (MWDC): It collates, analyses and classifies the data collected by the Navy's Mine Hunting Ships from various ports along the east coast. This will be the nodal centre for maintaining an underwater information database of harbours along the east coast.

SHASHANK MANOHAR UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED AS INDEPENDENT ICC CHAIRMAN

Shashank Manohar was elected unanimously and unopposed as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) by the Board.

Manohar is the first elected independent Chairman of the Cricket governing body and will serve for two-year term with immediate effect.

He resigned from the post of President of Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) on 10 May 2016.

Before his election, the ICC Full Council approved constitutional amendments to accommodate the new position of an independent ICC Chairman.

The amendments also included the abolishment of the President’s post with effect from the 2016 ICC Annual Conference in Edinburgh.

How Manohar was elected unanimously?

• ICC directors were each allowed to nominate one candidate till 23 May 2016; the candidate should be either a present or past ICC director.

• Nominees will be eligible to contest election if they have support of at least two or more full member directors.

• Manohar was the sole nominee for the position and the Board has unanimously supported his appointment.

• The independent Audit Committee Chairman, Adnan Zaidi presided the election process and declared Manohar as the successful candidate.

About ICC’s Full Council

• It comprises 10 full members, 38 associate members and 57 affiliate members who are collectively represented by five regional affiliate member representatives.

• The role of Chairman is an honorary one.

About Shashank Manohar

He is a prominent Indian lawyer who served his first stint as the BCCI President from 2008-2011. Following the passing of Jagmohan Dalmiya, he was re-elected as the BCCI President in October 2015 and, by virtue of that position, has held the role of ICC Chairman since then.

EGYPT FLIGHT FROM PARIS TO CAIRO CRASHED INTO THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA

  • An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people crashed into the Mediterranean sea with possible wreckage spotted off a Greek island, as investigators probed whether it was downed by a bomb.
  • Egypt’s Aviation Minister said that while it was too soon to say why the Airbus A320 had vanished, “a terrorist” attack would be a more likely scenario than a technical failure.
  • The plane had fallen 22,000 feet and swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before it disappeared from the radar screens.
  • The incident raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger plane by the Islamic State jihadist group over Egypt last October, which killed all 224 people on board.
  • The jet was flying from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared, without sending a distress signal.

INDIA LED THE WAY FOR ‘RED LINE CAMPAIGN’ FOR ANTIBIOTICS PACKAGING

  • India’s idea of putting a red line on antibiotic packages to curb their over-the-counter sale is now being cited as a model that can be used globally to counter the rising threat of superbugs.
  • In its final report on tackling drug resistant infection released on May 19, the global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance says India has led the way so far with its idea of a ‘Red Line Campaign’ for antibiotics packaging.
  • This was launched earlier this year, and should be considered as a starting point. It recommends that the labelling and symbols used can be improved if needed and then expanded globally.
  • While stressing that convincing people to stop using antibiotics would not be effective unless they recognise antibiotics.
  • “Labelling of antimicrobials, especially antibiotics, is crucial. We call on governments and international health organisations to agree on global labelling standards,” it adds.
  • India’s Red Line campaign, launched in February this year, began marking prescription-only antibiotics with a red line to curb their irrational use and create awareness on the dangers of taking antibiotics without being prescribed.
  • The report says laws prevent sale of antibiotics and other antimicrobials over-the-counter, but these may be weakly enforced in some countries and non-existent in many.
  • It says 20-30 per cent of antibiotics are consumed without prescription in south and east Europe, and up to 100 per cent in parts of Africa.
  • It is still early in India to map the impact of the Red Line initiative, but experts see better awareness.

ANOTHER MONTH BREAKS TEMPERATURE RECORD

  • Due to the combination of global warming and an El Nino, the planet shattered monthly heat records for an unprecedented 12th straight month.
  • The month of April smashed the old record for the month of April by half a degree.
  • Previously various agencies has predicted that this could be the hottest year till date.

REPORT SHOWS SEXUAL ABUSE IS FREQUENT IN INDIA

  • Action Aid — a global charity — has set up various installations to represent women standing up against sexual violence. Its objective is to highlight the unsafe nature of cities in general for women.
  • Action Aid has also commissioned a poll by YouGov, which interviewed women across the globe from countries like Brazil, India, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
  • Forty per cent of women interviewed said they had experienced at least one of these forms of abuse — being groped in public transport or bus stops; getting stared at or being called names; being stalked or followed; or being sexually molested.
  • In North India, according to the survey, 89 per cent of women said they had experienced harassment of some sort, with 50 per cent having experienced unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature.
  • The charity has asked the U.K. government to contribute at least £70 million from its existing aid budget to help protect women over the next three years.\

US PRESIDENT TO VISIT VIETNAM AND JAPAN

  • Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam and Japan next week will reiterate the “rebalance to Asia” policy that many critics say has faltered after the initial push.
  • Mr. Obama’s visit will also resuscitate the memories of the U.S.’s difficult past of war and conflict with these two current partners in Asia.
  • Mr. Obama will be the first serving U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities on which the U.S. dropped atomic bombs in 1945.
  • The visit will also underscore the significance the Obama administration attaches to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that is the cornerstone of the U.S.’s Asia-Pacific policy, despite it being hotly contested in the ongoing presidential campaign.
  • Maritimes disputes on the South China Sea will be part of the discussions at the G-7 meeting in Japan.
  • The U.S. opened full diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1995 but the relationship is far from smooth. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush visited Vietnam once each and this will be Mr. Obama’s first trip to the country that shares a border with China
  • But concerns regarding human rights violations in the country still rattle U.S. administrations, and Mr. Obama will interact with civil society organisations in Hanoi.
  • The White House had earlier said the President would not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb while visiting Hiroshima.

SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY OF END OF EELAM WAR OBSERVED

  • Even as Sri Lanka observed the seventh anniversary of the end of the Eelam War, issues of reconciliation and accountability remained “largely unaddressed”, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG).
  • The group said the government “appears to be backtracking” on transitional justice plans, particularly on the role of foreign judges and experts.
  • “Mechanisms promised to the UNHRC [United Nations Human Rights Council] feed Sinhala nationalist suspicions, while attempts to reassure Sinhalese and the military encourage doubts among Tamils about [the] government’s willingness”, it added.
  • It added that though the “national unity” government has “expanded the political centre and isolated hard-line nationalists”, the window for change has begun to narrow.

SYRIA REGIME TAKES BACK KEY TOWN

  • Syrian troops backed by fighters from the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah retook a key town and nine surrounding villages outside Damascus from rebels.
  • Pro-regime fighters used clashes between rival rebel factions Jaish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman as an opportunity to retake the town of Deir al-Assafir, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
  • As rebels summoned their fighters from Deir al-Assafir to the frontline, regime forces launched “a violent attack and heavy air campaign resulting in them controlling the town” in the opposition bastion of Eastern Ghouta.

APPLE OPENED ITS FIRST DEVELOPMENT CENTRE IN INDIA TO WORK ON APPLE MAPS

  • Apple Inc. opened its first development centre in India to work on Apple Maps, the company’s digital maps and navigation service.
  • The company’s servers will be located in the U.S. but technical and support services would be provided in Hyderabad. It will work out of an existing software hub that is part of a special economic zone.
  • “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations,” said Tim Cook.
  • Apple didn’t specify the amount of investment in the facility but in a statement it said the centre would accelerate development of maps and create up to 4,000 jobs.
  • The Cupertino, California-based company has teamed with Noida-based RMSI, a global IT services company, to provide development expertise and software for geo-spatial services.
  • It chose Hyderabad to set up its map development centre as the city had the largest number of engineers in the country specialising in mapping. The National Remote Sensing Agency that processed maps and images from India’s earth observation satellites was based here.
  • Several companies in the city offered GIS services, including spatial analysis, mapping and visualisation, content imagery and remote sensing.
  • There were at least 50 small enterprises that supported the GIS and mapping industry. A significant amount of mapping done was used by the mobile phone industry.

TRAI ISSUED A CONSULTATION PAPER ON FREE DATA

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued a consultation paper on free data seeking comments from stakeholders whether business models which provide free data or suitable reimbursement to users could be allowed without violating the differential pricing norms set by the regulator.
  • This move is aimed at giving consumers more choices for accessing the Internet, according to a posting on the regulator’s website.
  • Earlier this year, TRAI had banned the practice of differential pricing of data or allowing telecom service providers to offer differential pricing for access to specific applications or websites.
  • The move put the end to Facebook’s Free Basics. Now, the regulator is looking at different models which can work within its regulatory framework.
  • It is looking at whether a “Telecom Service Provider (TSP)-agnostic platform” that does not play the role of gate-keeper could be allowed in order to “give consumers more choices for accessing the Internet.”
  • The other models it talks about is that of a “don’t charge” or toll-free API, where the telecom service provider doesn’t act like a gatekeeper and direct transfer of money for Internet data charges.

THE HYBRID ANNUITY MODEL IS BEGINNING TO FIND SOME TRACTION

  • The hybrid annuity model for awarding highway contracts introduced by the government last year, is beginning to find some traction after an initial lukewarm response from infrastructure players, ratings agency ICRA said in a report.
  • “After initial teething problems with no bids for the first project under the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) and modest participation (average of three bids for the first few projects) during January-March 2016, NHAI (National Highways Authority of India)’s aggressive promotion of the model, through awareness campaigns to lenders and developers has yielded positive results,” ICRA said in its report on Indian Road Sector.
  • It said some of the recent bids witnessed good participation, as high as nine-ten bidders per project.
  • The first bid under the hybrid annuity model, for four-laning of the Solan-Kaithalighat section in Himachal Pradesh had received no bids.
  • Under this public-private partnership (PPP) model, the government invests 40 per cent of the construction cost for building highways over a period and the balance comes from the private developer.
  • The government will invest money in five equal instalments based on the targeted completion of the road project.
  • Also, unlike the build, operate and transfer (BOT) toll model, government will collect the highway toll tax.
  • The private developer will recover his investment from the government by receiving annuity payments over a period of 15 years.
  • The government also offers 80 per cent of prior land acquisition and forest clearance in such projects to the developers.

 

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