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Current Affairs - 14 June 2016

General Affairs 

Kairana Mass Migration: BJP Promises Action After Probe By Party Team
  • ALLAHABAD:  Political temperature over reports of migration of Hindus from Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh is all set to rise in the run-up to next year's Assembly polls with BJP today terming it as "not good" for democracy and promising "proper action" after probe by a party team into the "very sensitive matter".

    A day after BJP chief Amit Shah expressed serious concern over "migration" from Kairana area in Shamli district, which had witnessed communal riots in 2013, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said his party has taken up the issue with all seriousness.

    "Party President has set up a committee, which will go there and study the situation. Such a migration is not good for democracy. The party is sensitive about it and proper steps will be taken after the report comes," Mr Gadkari said on the second day of BJP National Executive meeting in Allahabad.

    The seven-member committee consists of four lawmakers and three leaders from Uttar Pradesh.

    Mr Gadkari, a former BJP president, parried a question about the Samajwadi Party government's assertion that many Hindus had migrated from Kairana long back and some of them are now already dead, saying the BJP president has already reacted to this matter.

    "The party is sensitive on this issue and will take proper action," was his repeated refrain.

    Mr Shah, in his address to the National Executive on Sunday had said, "The migration happening in Kairana due to violence is a matter of serious concern. There is an atmosphere of violence. The lack of development and the lack of governance in the largest state of India, that is Uttar Pradesh, is becoming a matter of serious concern."

    Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad faced a barrage of questions on whether the saffron party was attempting at "communal polarisation" with Mr Shah raking up issues like migration of Hindus from Kairana.

    Rejecting the contention, he had insisted that BJP's "foremost commitment" is to the development of Uttar Pradesh but the Samajwadi Party government's "law and order failures" be in Mathura or Kairana were a matter of deep concern. "We don't speak about communalism but about national interest."

Congress Moves Election Commission, Demands Cancellation Of Haryana Polls
  • NEW DELHI:  Congress today approached the Election Commission to demand cancellation of the election to both Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, alleging a conspiracy by BJP-RSS led to the defeat of a candidate backed by the party under controversial circumstances.

    A delegation comprising Congress general secretary BK Hariprasad, party's Haryana unit chief Ashok Tanwar and its legal cell secretary KC Mittal accused the Manohar Lal Khattar dispensation of "misusing" the government machinery to defeat RK Anand.

    The Congress leaders and Mr Anand, a well-known lawyer, claimed there was no "internal sabotage" that caused the defeat.

    The INLD, which had originally backed Mr Anand, had alleged that Congress leader and former Chief Minister BS Hooda and BJP were "responsible" for the 14 votes of party lawmakers being declared invalid in Saturday's Rajya Sabha election, leading to the victory of BJP-supported independent candidate Subhash Chandra.

    The Congress leaders and Mr Anand accused Mr Chandra, a media baron, of "playing fraud on the democracy and Constitution" with the help of an independent MLA and some Election Commission officials. "There was a conspiracy hatched to hijack the elections... We have made a complaint to the Election Commission about the fraud played by Subhash Chandra, Jai Prakash (independent legislator) in the Rajya Sabha election.

    "The AICC too has filed its complaint. The EC has heard our side, they will decide the matter accordingly. We have urged them to declare as null and void the entire election process and hold re-polling there," Mr Anand told reporters after the meeting with Election Commission officials.

    Mr Hariprasad said all the Congress legislators voted for Mr Anand "as per the direction of the party".

    Mr Hariprasad said he, being agent of the party during the polls, had seen votes of all but one lawmakers.

    "There was no revolt. Congress people voted (to the right candidate), it was the conspiracy of the RSS-BJP. This indeed is a conspiracy and deliberate attempt (to defeat Anand). It is a big conspiracy to wipe out Constitution and election process," he said.

    When asked by reporters whether Mr Hooda did not vote, Mr Hariprasad retorted, "Who told you that Hooda did not vote? He did cast his vote."

    On the pen theory, Mr Anand claimed it was BJP legislator Aseem Goyal who had allegedly switched the pen meant for marking the votes so as to make the 14 Congress votes declared invalid. He alleged that Mr Jai Prakash took away the original pen from the voting enclosure.

    When asked why the pen issue was not raised while the election process was on, Mr Anand said, "One will not know such things when the polling is on".

    "We realised about the fraud when we checked the voting pattern. There was no point of Jai Prakash going there (inside the booth) again (twice)... after two of our MLAs cast their votes, he (Jai Prakash) went there again and changed the pen," Mr Anand claimed.

    The votes of 14 Congress legislators were declared invalid leading to the loss of Mr Anand who was otherwise expected to win.

Attack On CRPF Camp In Udhampur Leaves Woman, Terrorist Dead
  • JAMMU:  A terrorist was today gunned down after he targeted a CRPF camp on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, about 170 kms from Jammu, police said, adding a woman was also killed in the incident while two other civilians were injured.

    The terrorist was travelling by a State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) bus which was stopped by a joint team of CRPF and local police for checking at Kud in Udhampur district.

    The bus was on its way from Kashmir Valley to Jammu and as soon as checking started, the terrorist opened fire at the security personnel and a CRPF camp nearby.

    "Police and CRPF were frisking all the Jammu-bound vehicles at Kral Nallah area in Kud when they stopped an SRTC bus and during its checking, an unidentified suspected militant opened fire at them this evening," Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar told PTI.

    In the cross-fire, one terrorist was killed and one AK-47 rifle and one pistol were recovered from him. Two women and a child were injured in the incident, police said, adding one of the ladies succumbed to her injuries on way to the hospital.

    The state police chief said it seems only one terrorist was travelling in the bus.

    "It was just the random checking of the vehicles when the police and the CRPF team were attacked, while the militant was gunned down, three civilians including two women and a child were injured in the firing," the DGP said.

    He said while it seems that the attack was carried out by one militant, the security forces cordoned off the area and launched a combing operation to ensure that no other suspected militant was involved in the attack.

    "The firing has stopped, CRPF and Police is on the spot and we are carrying a combing operation. Investigation is also on to ascertain the identity of the slain militant," the state police chief said.

    Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu, Danish Rana said that one terrorist has been killed even though the search operation is on.

Varun Gandhi Posters, Cavalcade Create Buzz In Allahabad; BJP Not Amused
  • ALLAHABAD: Hundreds of hoardings featuring Varun Gandhi, fans and supporters cheering lustily as he drove in for the BJP's national executive in a cavalcade of over two dozen cars and a roadshow as he arrived in town - the buzz that Varun Gandhi generated in Allahabad was second only to the attention Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew.
    The young BJP lawmaker's supporters made sure that if the party is looking for a face to project in UP for the elections early next year, their leader's candidacy would be hard to miss.

    But, has learned, the enthusiasm has not gone down well with the BJP's brass. The company which printed the posters and pamphlets that projected Varun Gandhi, the MP from Sultanpur in UP,  as the party held a two-day conclave, was swiftly identified by the BJP, which then obtained from it the names of those who had commissioned them to create the buzz that Varun Gandhi could be projected by the party as a counter to the Congress, which is said to be weighing the possibility of fielding a member of its first family the Gandhis in UP.

    A report, sources said, is likely to be prepared and submitted to the BJP leadership.
    The top agenda at the Allahabad meet was discussing plans for elections in five states next year - top leaders including party chief Amit Shah and PM Modi attended.

    But Varun Gandhi posters outnumbered those of any other leader. "These are not official hoardings and projection," said the BJP's state chief KP Maurya.

    The official BJP hoardings - hundreds of them - feature Home Minister Rajnath Singh with Prime Minister Modi or Amit Shah or both. Projecting Mr Singh, an old UP hand, is part of the plan.
    Senior union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed conjecture on the names of possible chief ministerial candidates.

    Sources in the BJP say Varun Gandhi has many credentials to be the BJP's face n UP, but there is one big problem. "Varun has always maintained a safe distance from directly attacking the Congress' first family due to obvious reasons. The coming election may see more of the Gandhis and that makes Varun not so suitable," a senior leader said.

No More American F-16s For Pakistan, Will Fly Jordanian Jets Instead
  • ISLAMABAD:  Pakistan has closed the chapter of acquiring eight F-16s from the US and will now opt for Jordan-owned F-16 fighter jets, foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said today amid strains in bilateral ties over the scuttling of the deal and a US drone strike on its soil.

    Mr Chaudhry, briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Policy, said "the US seemed to be satisfied with Pakistan's decision."

    "The chapter of receiving F-16 fighter jets from the US has been closed. Pakistan will now opt for Jordan-owned F-16 fighter jets," he said.

    Mr Choudhry said one of the reasons for "strained relations with the US was Pakistan's close ties with China."

    "Pakistan cannot cooperate with the US on some issues. One of these issues is its sovereignty," he said.

    He said that strained relations with the US were nothing new for Pakistan.

    Condemning the US policy on the war on terror he said, "The US has spent 16 years fighting the war on terror. If only it had given six years to the peace process things would have been different."

    The Pakistan-US ties strained after Congressional restriction on financing of F-16 fighter jets in Foreign Military Financing programme, due to which Pakistan could not buy the jets.

    The relationship further suffered when the US carried out a drone strike in Balochistan, killing Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, which was termed by Pakistani leadership as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Business Affairs 

Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion
  • Microsoft Corp agreed to buy LinkedIn Corp for $26.2 billion in its biggest-ever deal, combining the software giant's fast-growing cloud services business with the world's largest online network for professionals.
    The offer of $196 per share represents a premium of 49.5 percent to LinkedIn's Friday closing price.
    LinkedIn's shares jumped 48 percent to $194.28 before the opening bell on Monday. Microsoft's shares were down 3.3 percent.

    "Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn," Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn's board, said in a statement.
    Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
    "I have always had a great admiration for LinkedIn," Nadella said in a video on Microsoft's website. "I have been talking with Reid and Jeff for a while ... I have been thinking about this for a long time."
    The deal is expected to close in 2016, the companies said in a joint statement.
    Microsoft said it would issue new debt to fund the deal.
    After the deal, LinkedIn will become part of Microsoft's productivity and business processes unit.

    Retail inflation rises to 5.76% in May
    • Annual consumer price inflation edged up for the second straight month to 5.76 per cent in May, driven by higher prices of food and fuel products, government data showed on Monday.
      Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast retail inflation to inch up to 5.52 percent in May. This compares with an upwardly revised 5.47 per cent in April.
      Food inflation picked up to 7.55 per cent in May from an upwardly revised 6.40 per cent in the previous month.

      Welspun Enterprises, Fortis Healthcare among top 5 stocks that hogged limelight on Dalal Street
      • Snapping losses for the third straight session on Monday, the S&P BSE Sensex fell 239 points, while the broader Nifty50 managed to settle above its key support level of 8,100 ahead of consumer price index (CPI) inflation data.
        The headline indices fell on renewed worries about the impact of Britain's June 23 referendum on whether to leave the European Union and about upcoming central bank meetings.
        Key stocks that buzzed in today's trade:
        1)Dr Reddy's Laboratories: Shares of Dr Reddy's Laboratories   closed the day 0.70 per cent up on BSE after the company has inked a pact with Teva Pharmaceutical and an affiliate of Allergan Plc to buy a portfolio of eight abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) in the US for $350 million (around Rs 2,300 crore) in cash.
        2)Amtek Auto: Shares of Amtek Auto soared over 4.91 per cent on BSE after the company reported that the automobile component maker was close to selling its profitable German unit, Tekfor, for about $700 million (Rs 4,690 crore) to a foreign buyer in order to cut its debt.

        3)Aviation Sector:
         Shares of SpiceJet , Jet Airways andInterGlobe Aviation   declined up to 3 per cent after the government this weekend proposed several passenger-friendly measures, which are expected to dent bottom lines of airline operators. SpiceJet slipped 1.02 per cent to Rs 63.10 , Jet Airways tanked 3.15 per cent to Rs 550.75 and InterGlobe Aviation declined 2.20 per cent to Rs 976.95 on BSE .

        4)Fortis Healthcare: 
        Shares of Fortis Healthcareslumped 1.84 per cent on BSE after the company said its subsidiary has received an order from the Directorate General of Health Services (DHS) to deposit Rs 503.36 crore for non-compliance of conditions of land allotment lease.

        5)Welspun Enterprises:
         Shares of Welspun Enterprisessurged 1.06 per cent on BSE after the company on Sunday informed bourses that Welspun Energy, in which Welspun Enterprises holds 15.49 per cent stake, has signed a special purchase agreement (SPA) with Tata Power Renewable Energy for divestment of its subsidiary Welspun Renewable Energy Private Ltd.

      Rupee tumbles 38 paise to 1-week low of 67.14
      • Extending losses against the US dollar for the third day, the Indian rupee on Monday plunged by 38 paise to hit one-week low of 67.14 on persistent demand for the American currency from banks and importers in view of sharp fall in domestic equities.
        The rupee opened lower at 67.07 against last Friday's closing level of INR 66.76 per dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market and dropped further to 67.19 before ending at one-week low of 67.14, showing a loss of 38 paise or 0.57 per cent.
        The Indian rupee has dropped 49 paise or 0.74 per cent in the last three days.
        The Indian rupee had last ended at 67.25 per dollar on June 3, 2016.
        The Indian rupee hovered in a range of 66.94 and 67.19 per dollar during the day.
        Meanwhile, the dollar index was down by 0.16 per cent against the basket of six global currencies in the late trade.
        The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 67.0737 and euro at 75.5116.
        In cross-currency trades, the rupee firmed up further against the pound sterling to close at 95.24 from the last weekend's level of 96.24 while moved down against the euro to 75.67 from 75.46 per euro previously.
        The domestic currency also fell against the yen to 63.33 from 62.47.
        In the global market, the US dollar traded mixed against its major rivals in early Asian trade, while the British pound fell to an eight-week low against the dollar ahead of a referendum that could pull Britain out of the European Union. 

        Raghuram Rajan being attacked for fighting crony capitalism: Colleague
        • Coming to the defence of Raghuram Rajan, his Chicago University colleague and co-author Luigi Zingales has said the RBI Governor is being attacked for "fighting the inefficiency of the banking system" and for taking on the crony capitalists in the country.
          Amid a high-decibel debate in India on whether Rajan will get an extension or not beyond his current term ending this September, Zingales said governorship earlier used to be "entrusted to grey bureaucrats that left no impact".
          "Rajan, however, is the dream of the new India: young, competent, and reached the top of the Indian central bank because of his skill, not because of his political alignment," he wrote in an article.
          Rajan, a former Chief Economist of the IMF and an on-leave Professor of Finance at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has been under attack from the ruling party BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, among others, for what they term as the RBI Governor's failure to effect necessary interest rate cuts to boost the economy.
          Zingales, who is Professor of Finance at the same school and has been Rajan's co-author as well, said a central banker would have a "guaranteed re-confirmation" in any country in the world after managing to reduce "inflation from 11 per cent to 5 per cent while simultaneously enabling an increase in growth from 5 per cent to 8 per cent in just three years".
          While admitting that he may be "positively biased" as Rajan has long been his colleague and co-author, Zingales, termed the charges as absurd, including regarding his nationality, as he eulogised the RBI Governor on all fronts.
          "Rajan is also accused, due to belonging to the Group of 30, of being part of a 'group set up to defend the US' dominant position in the global economy' and to serve the interests of international finance," Zingales said, while adding that it was Rajan, who in 2005, in front of an enraged Alan Greenspan (then outgoing Chairman of Federal Reserve), denounced the potentially destabilizing effects of financial derivatives.
          Pondering over the reasons behind "such anger" targetted at Rajan, he said the RBI Governor "is fighting not only inflation, but also the inefficiency of the banking system, burdened by bad loans".
          "The Indian banking system is mainly in public hands and was used to finance crony capitalism, which has held the country back for too many years. So far, Indian banks have lived in the illusion that all debtors would pay sooner or later, even when borrowers often borrowed from one bank to pay another.
          "As Governor, Rajan has rightly decided to force the banks to cut down exposure to their most dubious borrowers, even at the cost of bringing out non-performing loans. From an economic point of view this is the best time. With the country growing at 8 per cent, these losses can be easily absorbed by the banking system."
          "If Rajan had done as most central bankers and closed his eyes to it, the problem would only have emerged at a time of economic crisis, when the 'extend and pretend' mechanism (allowing an extension of credit and pretending that the debtor is solvent) becomes impossible," Zingales said.
          "But in times of crisis, these losses are likely to bring down the banking system (see the Italian case) and then the whole economy is paralyzed.
          "We have seen Japan, after the bubble of the late 80s, take nearly two decades to get rid of bad loans, and it's still suffering the economic consequences of that crisis," he wrote in his article, which was first published in Italian national business daily Il Sole 24 Ore and has been republished on several other platforms.
          He admitted Rajan's policy has had a collateral damage, as "banks' share prices were affected, and even more affected were those Indian oligarchs who had enjoyed easy credit."
          "They are the ones fueling dissent, because Rajan has dared to publicly criticize the behavior of some of them," he said, while referring to Rajan's comments about Vijay Mallya's birthday bash despite a huge loan burden.
          The Chicago University Professor further said the eventual decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on whether to reconfirm Rajan would be "the litmus test for change in India".
          "On one hand is the young India, competent and meritocratic, that is conquering the world with its software and products, on the other hand is the India of the great political and economic dynasties, who established their power on political connections, if not directly on corruption, and that use a false sense of national identity to protect their declining power. It's up to Modi to choose," he wrote.

        General Awareness

        Researchers in Assam developed two rice variants for submerged areas

          • Researchers in Assam Agricultural University developedtwo rice variants for submerged areas such as Barak Valley in order to yield during the monsoon season whereas the valley is liable to periodical floods.
            Variants: Ranjit Sub – 1, Bahadur Sub – 1
            Features of the Variants:
            • The rice variants are improved version of the Ranjit and Bahadurvarities
            • The rice variants have been developed which ensures productivity even if the crops submerged during floods
            • The farmers of the Barak valley have already been farming the Ranjit and BahadurVarities for more years
            • Better productivity under submerged condtions
            • The variants are suitable for khariff season which is from July –October during the south-west monsoon in Barak Valley
            About Assam:
            • A state in northeastern India
            • Location: South of the eastern Himalayas
            • Assam comprises the Brahmaputra Valley and the Barak Valley
            • Governor: Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya
            • Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal

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