Daily News Analysis (Hindu, Economic Times, Times of India : 22-01-2014)

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NATIONAL

Aakash-IV tablets to be tested by CDAC

  • The centre has decided to get tested the Aakash tablet  by Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) instead of IITs, earlier done by IIT Jodhpur. Differences (with regard to testing parameters and procedures and testing had been transferred to IIT, Mumbai) had cropped up between the IIT and the company Datawind (Canadian manufacturer) and hence the government has decided to disengage the institute.
  • Now for the latest Aakash version (IV) many companies including Dell, Acer, HP, HCL, Microsoft, Micromax and Datawind are in the race to manufacture the low cost tablet. For this version, CDAC would be incharge of both testing and certification. The Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals has issued the tender.
  • The tablet would cost around Rs.3000, having specifications of 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal storage with integrated flash, USB port, micro SD card slot, a 7-inch LCD display, WiFi and Bluetooth support, a 0.3MP camera, an open source operating system.

SC commutes death sentence of 15 convicts

  • The Supreme Court changed the death sentence awarded to 15 convicts to life term on the ground that there had been unreasonable delay in the disposal of mercy petitions by the President /governors.
  • Also the SC has given instructions to “safeguard” the interests of death row convicts. These guidelines are in the light of  non-uniformity of state prison manuals and process to handle mercy petitions.
  • The guidelines include a minimum 14-day notice before execution, mental health evaluation, final meeting with families and post mortem of the convicts after hanging. The court said that, the ground of unexplained delay for commutation of death sentence would be extended to all convicts, including those facing terror charges. It is also of the view that inordinate delay amounts to torture a violation of article 21.
  • The judgment has come as a breather for many convicts of high profile cases like Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case, Veerappan associates.
  • The court has given grounds on which a convict’s death sentence can be commuted; delay in disposal of mercy petitions, mental illness, solitary confinement, procedural lapses.

INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan air force goes offensive, bombs terrorist hideouts

  • As a retaliatory step for targeting the security forces, Pakistan air force bombed terrorist hideouts near Afghan border. The terrorist attacks had increased targeting both civilians and the military. The Pakistan government is under severe pressure to tackle the menace aggressively rather than just relying on peace talks.
  • The Pakistani military is targeting the Pakistani Taliban. The casualties include local civilians. A sense of fear has grown in the area.
  • The government prefers talks with the terrorists rather than using force but the recent attacks have pushed it to take this drastic step. The Taliban has threatened of attacking the families of politicians and army personnel. The terrorists have continuously targeted the Shia population and the polio vaccine workers. The militants oppose the vaccine program as it was used by the CIA to kill Osama Bin Laden, they say the vaccine is to make Muslim boys impotent.

Protests intensify in Bangkok as emergency is declared

  • Thailand declared a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok. It is to tackle the anti-government protests that have brought the city and surrounding areas to a halt.
  • Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra does not want to give control to the Army but intends to bring the situation under control using police force. The government is under pressure from protestors to step down and make way for unelected “people’s council.” She is accused of being a proxy to her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a former PM now in exile.

South Sudan government accuses UN of running a parallel government

  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir has accused the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) of running a “parallel government” and trying to take over South Sudan. The rift between the government and the UN Mission deepened after some top government officials were stopped from entering UNMISS camp in Bor (a town) after government forces had taken it back from rebels.
  • The civil war is fallout of reorganisation measures taken by the President to consolidate his power, antagonising his Vice President Riek Machar in the process. The present war is mainly clashes between pro-government and anti-government forces. It is also seen by some as tribal clashes, the president Kiir belongs to the Dinka tribe whereas Vice President Machar belongs to the Nuer tribe. The UNMISS has intervened, even Indian forces are a part of this mission. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has stakes in oil fields here which is now under threat.
  • The President Kiir has called on the rebels to lay down arms and come for peace talks. Both sides have accused each other for the stalemate in peace talks. The international pressure is mounting on both sides to come to a agreement and end the war which has already claimed more than a million lives including two Indian soldiers. In the latest crossfire a U.N. field hospital maintained by the Indian Army was damaged.

ECONOMY

New settlement norms are in line with laws : SEBI

  • Sebi has strongly defended the new consent settlement mechanism norms. It was issued earlier this month and has come into force retrospectively. The SEBI is of the view that the  new rules are in line with the law and they would pass the legal scrutiny.

Related Information

New Settlement norms

To protect markets from fraudulent activities SEBI made stricter norms for money-pooling schemes. The new norms also facilitate refund to small investors who suffer losses due to irregularities in the market. With respect to collective investment schemes, it makes it compulsory for all transactions to be conducted through cheque, draft or other banking channels, and not in cash.

Also companies committing serious offences like illegal money pooling, insider trading and fraudulent trades will not be allowed to settle them.

IMF predicts a growth rate of 4.6%

  • The IMF in its World Economic Outlook has said that India would see a economic growth rate of 4.6% this financial year. This growth has been attributed to good monsoon season and higher export growth. This is also backed by strong structural policies supporting investment.
  • The growth rate plunged to below 5% in last fiscal due to global slowdown and domestic factors (high interest rates).
  • The report has also predicted a global growth of 3.7% for 2014 and 3.9% for 2015.

 

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