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Current Affairs - 29 April 2016

General Affairs 

PM Modi To Address Joint Session Of US Congress On June 8
  • PM Modi To Address Joint Session Of US Congress On June 8Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8, Speaker of the US House of Representative Paul Ryan said today.

    "The friendship between the United States and India is a pillar of stability in an important region of the world," Mr Ryan told reporters during his weekly press conference.

    "This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world's most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity. We look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the US Capitol on June 8," he said.

    PM Modi, who was invited by President Barack Obama for a bilateral visit when he was in Washington for the nuclear summit, will be the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005.

    Earlier, Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh (July 19, 2005), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (September 14, 2000), PV Narasimha Rao (May 18, 1994) and Rajiv Gandhi (July 13, 1985) addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress.

    The tradition of foreign leaders and dignitaries addressing Congress began with the Marquis de Lafayette of France, who spoke in the House chamber on December 10, 1824.

    Ronak D Desai, a Fellow at New America and an Affiliate at the Belfer Center's India and South Asia Program at Harvard University, said, "an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Meeting of Congress is significant, given past US policy towards Modi during his time as Chief Minister of Gujarat."

    PM Modi's visit is likely to be the last official meeting between the two leaders during President Obama's final year in office.

25 Declassified Files On Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose To Be Released Today
  • 25 Declassified Files On Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose To Be Released TodayNEW DELHI:  The next tranche of 25 declassified files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be released today.

    "Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma will release the next set of 25 files pertaining to Bose tomorrow," an official said. Last month, the minister had released 50 declassified files relating to the leader on web portal

    Similarly, as many as hundred secret files were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Netaji's 119th birth anniversary on January 23.

    In October last year, PM Modi had met the family members of Netaji and announced that the government would declassify the files relating to the leader whose disappearance 70 years ago remains a mystery.

    While two commissions of inquiry had concluded that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945, a third probe panel, headed by Justice M K Mukherjee, had contested it and suggested that Bose was alive.

PM Modi Joins Obama, Cameron At London's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
  • PM Modi Joins Obama, Cameron At London's Madame Tussauds Wax MuseumModi's new wax figure arrived at the Baker Street attraction fresh from Delhi, where Prime Minister Modi had a private viewing of his wax statue last week.

    The statue is featured in the Madame Tussauds' popular "World Leaders" enclosure alongside Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Francoise Hollande, as well as leaders of the past including Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill.

    Prime Minister Modi was closely involved in the creation of his wax statue and was delighted with the final results, declaring that the Madame Tussauds team are "exceptional at what they do".

    General Manager of Madame Tussauds London, Edward Fuller, said: "We are delighted that Prime Minister Modi was able to see this very figure in India last week, and to welcome him to Madame Tussauds London today."

    "It's wonderful that our visitors now have the chance to get up close to such an influential leader, who is the source of so much public interest," he said.

    "It's not every day that you get to stand alongside the statesmen and women who are shaping our world. We think guests will relish the chance to rub shoulders with Prime Minister Modi," he stated.

    PM Modi's figure is dressed in his signature Kurta in cream colour, with a jacket, and he is featured in a traditional pose making a namaste gesture.

    London's figure is one of four created of the statesman, with the other three taking up residence at Madame Tussauds attractions in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

    It took a team of talented artists four months and 150,000 pounds to create the wax statues.

Severe Heat Wave Warning In Coastal Odisha
  • Severe Heat Wave Warning In Coastal OdishaBHUBANESWAR:  India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday sounded a severe heat wave warning in coastal Odisha for the next 3-4 days.

    9 people have been killed from sunstroke in Odisha as the state continues to reel under the scorching sun.

    The maximum temperature was recorded above 43 degrees Celsius at 10 places, and above 40 degrees at 18 places. Sonepur and Talcher recorded a maximum temperature of 45.4 degrees, while the state capital boiled at 45.3 degrees, the IMD said.

    Bhubaneswar wore a deserted look throughout the day as people preferred to remain indoors.

    Bhubaneswar MET department director Sarat Chandra Sahu said coastal Odisha would continue to experience increase in temperature in the coming days. Weather department also predicted light rainfall in interior parts of the state.

    Meanwhile, the special relief commissioner's office said the state government has received reports of 119 deaths due to sunstroke, while it has confirmed only nine.

    "Of the total case, 50 have been inquired into and nine deaths have been confirmed due to heat stroke. The rest 69 cases are under inquiry," it said.

Japan Wants Foreign Tourists To Avoid 'Public Flatulence'
  • Japan Wants Foreign Tourists To Avoid 'Public Flatulence'TOKYO, JAPAN:  A Japanese tourism board has called on foreign tourists to refrain from public "belching or flatulence" in an etiquette guide which was hastily rewritten, reportedly after complaints from a Chinese resident.

    The Hokkaido Tourism Organization, which represents Japan's northern-most island, published a downloadable brochure on its website, with polite instructions on everything from public bathing to using a Japanese toilet.

    Helpfully, it even dedicated an entire section to protocol for avoiding bodily functions.

    "Japanese etiquette is based on avoiding causing discomfort or nuisance to others," the guide points out.

    "Accordingly, Japanese will avoid bodily functions such as belching or flatulence in public entirely, or perform bodily functions as discreetly as possible."

    However, the Chinese-language guide -- originally entitled "Common Sense When Travelling in Hokkaido" -- upset a Chinese resident who angrily claimed the diagrams featuring examples of bad tourist behaviour were offensive, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

    The complaint prompted a new, foreigner-friendly version with softer explanations of Japanese customs.

    In the updated guide available in Chinese and English, gone are the large 'X'-marks next to cartoon illustrations of tourists committing, from a Japanese perspective, embarrassing gaffes, such as putting used toilet paper into the waste bin -- the general custom in China -- instead of flushing it away.

    According to The Japan Times newspaper, the original booklet was first published last August and was targeted at Chinese tourists, including a reminder not to open products before buying them when shopping, a habit also seen in China.

    China has said it will monitor the behaviour of unruly tourists abroad and punish them on their return home after being shamed by a string of well-publicised incidents in recent years.

    Research by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that more than 100 million Chinese tourists went abroad in 2014, spending some $164 billion.

    But reports of disruptive behaviour have tarnished their reputation, such as passengers scalding a flight attendant with hot water and noodles or a holidaymaker fined in Thailand for washing her feet in the wash basin of a public toilet.

    Media in Japan have carried a spate of reports of alleged uncouth behaviour by Chinese visitors, though some local commentators have urged understanding, recalling that the emergence five decades ago of Japanese tourists as a force in global travel was often met with complaints about their behaviour.

    Around 85,000 copies of the Hokkaido tourist brochure have reportedly been printed in Chinese and English, to be distributed to hotels and tourist attractions across the island.

    Business Affairs 

Sensex trades flat, Nifty below 7,850 tracking global cues; ICICI Bank top loser
  • Sensex trades flat, Nifty below 7,850 tracking global cues; ICICI Bank top loserThe S&P BSE Sensex on Friday was trading flat below its crucial psychological level of 26,000, while broader CNX Nifty was ruling below its key 7,850-mark.
    The headline indices tumbled tracking negative trend seen in Asian markets and overnight losses on Wall Street as the follow-through from Thursday's Bank of Japan decision weighed on the sentiment.
    At 09:20 am, the 30-share index was trading at 25,600, down 2.62 points, while broad-based 50-share index was quoting 7,845, down 1.95 points.
    Market breadth turned mixed with 15 of the 30 Sensex components trading in red.
    "Going forward, 7,820-7,800 would be seen as a trend deciding zone for the Nifty. As long as this support level is intact, we may expect Nifty bouncing back towards 7,910-7,950 levels," said Angel Broking in a research note.
    "On the flipside, a breakdown below it may lead to change in the near term trend," the brokerage added.
    ICICI Bank was the worst performing stock on Sensex and lost nearly 2 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). 
    Shares of HCL Tech extended losses after the IT major's March quarter earnings came in below Street estimates. 
    Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.31 per cent, Japan's Nikkei lost 3.61 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 1.35 per cent.
    Overnight, US stocks closed down as the Bank of Japan's shocking call to cap monetary stimulus continued to rattle investors while a late day decline in Apple shares on remarks by billionaire investor Carl Icahn added to selling pressure.

    Rupee gains 5 paise to 66.47 against US dollar
    • Rupee gains 5 paise to 66.47 against US dollarSnapping previous day's losses, the rupee on Friday gained 4 paise to 66.47 against US dollar tracking other Asian currencies which zoomed higher against greenback.
      On Thursday, the domestic currency dropped by 8 paise to close at 66.52 per dollar on month-end dollar demand from importers despite lower dollar in the overseas market.
      Traders said the follow-through from yesterday's Bank of Japan decision plus the softer dollar tone on account of US Federal Reserve staying pat on interest rates weighed on American currency against other major global currencies.
      The dollar index, which tracks the value of greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.35 per cent to 93.40.
      Among Asian currencies, Japanese yen gained the most (0.72 per cent) against dollar. Chinese yuan, Korean won, ringgit and Singapore dollar also added 0.23 per cent, 0.42 per cent, 0.39 per cent and 0.33 per cent, respectively.

        Satya Nadella, Indra Nooyi among three Indians who made it to 100 highest-paid CEOs' list
        • These 3 Indians made it to 100 highest-paid CEOs listAs many as three Indian-origin persons have been named among 100 highest-paid chief executive officers (CEOs) globally with PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and Lyondell-Basell's Bhavesh Patel making it to the top ten list compiled by Equilar.
          Chemicals company Lyondell-Basell top executive Bhavesh V. Patel was ranked sixth on the list with a total compensation of $24.5 million while Nooyi of PepsiCo was ranked eighth on the list with a total pay of $22.2 million.
          Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, was ranked 26th on the list of 100 highest-paid CEOs with a total compensation of $18.3 million. Equilar is a California-based company that provides information about total executive compensation packages of top officers at publicly traded companies and nonprofit organisations.
          The overall list was topped by Mark V. Hurd and Safra A. Catz of Oracle Corp with both boasting a total compensation of $53.2 million.
          Others on the top 10 include, Robert A. Iger of Walt Disney ($43.5 million), David M. Cote of Honeywell International ($33.1 million), General Electric's Jeffrey R. Immelt ($26.4 million), Randall L. Stephenson of AT&T ($22.4 million), Rupert Murdoch of Twenty-First Century Fox ($22.2 million) and James P. Gorman of Morgan Stanley ($22 million).
          This list is a snapshot of companies that file annual proxy statements before April 1 and aims to provide an early look at CEO pay trends for 2015. The report further noted that the median pay for Equilar 100 CEOs was $14.5 million in fiscal year 2015, up three per cent from the previous year.
          "Interestingly, eight CEOs on the list are female and they far outpace the median pay for the Equilar 100 as a whole. Median compensation for these eight women was $20.0 million in 2015 while average pay was $22.7 million," Equilar said. Catz tied with her colleague Hurd as the highest-paid individual CEO in the Equilar 100, was the highest paid female with $53.2 million.
          Apple is the largest company by revenue on the list totalling $233.7 billion in 2015 followed by Berkshire Hathaway with $210.8 billion. Notably, Tim Cook of Apple was paid below the median ($10.3 million) and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway was by far the lowestpaid CEO in the Equilar 100 earning $470,244 in total compensation last year.

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes Air India Rs 134 crore
        • Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes Air India Rs 134 croreOffering a lift to the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy, one who is very popular, has won a famous mandate and is often referred to as one of the most powerful men in the world, would be an honour to almost anybody. Doing it more than once would undoubtedly make you feel very privileged. But if you are a cash-strapped, deep-in-the-red air carrier like Air India, it could prove to be a burden.
          And so it happens that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, owes Rs 134 crore to the airline for chartered flights he embarked upon no less than 10 times between June and December 2015. The company has raised the invoices to all these trips but as has become the norm, the bills are yet to be cleared. It is not to say the PMO will not pay - it always has in the past - but there would be a delay, and in any business that costs money. The interest itself would be sizeable.
          "This is a cash-strapped airline that does not make money. Why is there such a delay on the part of the highest office in the country to settle these bills? Who bears the cost of the interest?" says Lokesh Batra, a retired navy commodore who has become an RTI veteran. "Ideally, the PMO should settle each of these bills within a month of receving the invoices."
          The PMO itself has been cagey about revealing expenses of each of Modi's foreign trips. RTI applications yield truncated replies, and reasons like "bill under process" or "bill not received" are liberally used. The fresh details came to light after a separate RTI was filed by Batra directly to Air India.

            Brent crude trades below $48 on looming OPEC production rise
            • Brent crude trades below $48 on looming OPEC production riseCrude oil prices fell in early trading on Friday as a looming rise in Middle East output may drag on the stronger markets seen in April, although falling US production and a weakening dollar are still offering support.
              International benchmark Brent crude futures were trading at $47.92 per barrel at 0236 GMT, down 22 cents from their last close.
              US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 18 cents at 45.85 a barrel.
              Both contracts remained near 2016 highs of $48.19 and $46.14 per barrel respectively, and WTI's smaller fall was a result of declining US crude output, traders said.
              Despite Friday's dips, Brent and WTI are up almost a third from April troughs and are over 75 per cent above their 2016 lows, lifted by falling output and a weaker dollar, which has fallen almost 6 per cent against a basket of other leading currencies this year.
              But Deutsche Bank said that a looming rise in production by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - with climbing Iranian output and following outages in Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates - could cap recent oil price rises.
              "A sustainable rise in OPEC production may be just around the corner, and ... the rally may pause," the bank said in a note to clients.
              "Maintenance in the UAE at fields ... is scheduled to end in April, implying a rise from current production of 2.73 million barrels per day (bpd) to the previous 2.91 million bpd production rate in May," Deutsche said.
              For 2017, the bank said it expected to be around 33.1 million bpd, "with upside risks originating from Libya and Saudi Arabia, and downside risks from unplanned outages and spending cuts in Iraq".
              One of the main repercussions of the global oil price rout between 2014 and early 2016 has been a deep economic crisis in crude export-reliant Venezuela, where political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said the government faces default as the state runs out of cash to keep the oil pumps running.
              "The government needs to invest about $15 billion per year to maintain current production (2.4 million bpd), and mounting problems will probably lead to a decline of 100,000-150,000 bpd this year," Eurasia Group said.

              "Barring a meaningful recovery in oil prices or fresh loans from China in the second half of the year, scarce foreign exchange will probably force the state to default later this year, most likely in the fourth quarter," it added.

            General Awareness

            India 3rd in worldwide dope violation in new WADA report

            • About World Anti-Doping Agency
              Agency created and funded by: The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
              Constituted: In 1999 in Lausanne, Switzerland
              Aims: to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports
              Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
              President: Sir Craig Reedie
              Key activities:
              • Scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code
              • India has became No. 3rd in Anti-Doping Rule Violation in 2014 – WADA reported
              Anti Doping Rule Violation:WADA
              • The decision will be taken against an athlete following full disciplinary proceedings
              • Award will be either reprimand or a period of ineligibility
              96 Anti Doping Rule violation cases registered by India– Out of which, 2 each in Athletics and wrestling & 56 men and 23 women whose failed in competition tests  and 13 were out-of-competition
              • Cases like Failure to appear for a test, Possession, Use or trafficking of a Prohibited substance
              Causes for Doping Violations
              1. Doping violations at the University
              2. Age-Group
              3. Government Departmental Level Competitions
              Ranking of different nations:
              Sl NoCountryRank
              9South Korea43

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