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GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

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01 UN recognizes Palestine as a non-member observer state Dec World > Palestine
The United Nations General Assembly has finally voted in favour of recognizing Palestine as a non-member observer state. Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, had earlier stated this recognition as the last resort to maintain peace and harmony with Israel. This recognition means that, Palestine can now participate in UN debates, join the affiliated bodies and have a voice in world affairs. The votes were as follows: 138 nations voted in favour of Palestine while 9 voted against the country. 41 nations chose to abstain from the voting procedure. The Palestinian reaction to the UN decision was ecstatic and celebratory parades were seen on the streets of Ramallah in Israel. However, some countries are against the decision. Israel said that this decision by the UN will put the peace process between Israel and Palestine “backwards”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his plans to expand settlement buildings in Palestinian territory despite the UN decision. The U.S. has said that the UN bid was "unfortunate". Opponents of the bid say a Palestinian state should emerge only out of bilateral negotiations. The countries of the world reacted majorly in support of Palestine. Countries like Britain, France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark made appeals to ambassadors in Israel to ask Prime Minister Netanyahu to reconsider his plan to erect close to 3,000 homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. They also appealed for a reversal of course on the part of Israel and said that they completely disapproved of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

01 Facebook and Zynga go separate ways > Internet Dec Corporatefamiliar with the game Farmville on Facebook. The creators of this addictive game, Zynga, and the We are all platform on which this popular game is played, Facebook, have modified an agreement that gave the former strong access to the latter’s one billion users. Zynga has been successful in attracting millions of players to Facebook as a result of its online games. However, Zynga has announced that it will start its own platform for games and that players will no longer be able to access Zynga games on Facebook. Following this announcement by Zynga, the share prices of the company fell by 13% in the after-hours trading session. Zynga, also suffered some losses in the last few months and had announced job cuts and studio closures. Zynga will not promote its site on Facebook, likewise, the online gaming site will not have Facebook ads on its own site. This will be effective from 31st March 2013. Meanwhile, Facebook has not announced plans to build its own games platform. It said that Zynga will be treated just as any other platform and “will be governed by the same policies as the rest of the ecosystem”. Experts say that Zynga will have a lot to do as close to 80% of its revenues came from Facebook.

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04 Termination crucial to our survival: Maldivian Minister Maldives Dec World >of Tourism, Arts and Culture of the Maldives, Mr. Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor said that Maldives has Minister decided to end GMR Infrastructure’s twenty-five year contract to own and operate the Male International Airport. Mr. Gafoor said that the decision was “a totally economic one” and that it was “crucial to its survival.” Mr. Gafoor told the media that the terms of the contract were not positive. He further added that the airport was of strategic importance to the Maldivian government and that it was futile to pay someone to run it. He asserted that there has not been a single concession agreement in the world with a $25 Airport Development Charge. With the growth in tourism, the government would have to pay GMR for every extra tourist arriving in Male. Mr. Gafoor told the media that the Maldivian government has paid GMR $7 million for the year 2012. He estimated that this price could increase to $8 million with tourist arrivals growing in the Maldives. For 2012, a total of one million tourists visited the Maldives and this number could rise to three to five million in the next twenty-five years for which GMR concessions will run. He further explained the threat of having the only international airport in the country privatized. Such privatization must have the Parliament’s approval and not be based on executive decisions alone. Also, if it stays under the control of the government, airlines will be cheaper and more accessible to the tourists and help boost the economy. Mr. Gafoor stressed that the decision had nothing to do with India politically. “We have no issue with India, which is our closest friend. This is a company-to-company (Maldives Airport Company-GMR) issue and [it] will be resolved. India is our big brother, and I’m sure (India) will understand,” Mr. Gafoor said. When quizzed about any compensation to be offered to GMR for the termination, Mr. Gafoor said that such matters would be decided in court. He also said that if GMR can prove the authenticity of its investments then the Maldivian government is ready to bear the compensation.

06 Government approves the setting up of 20 new IIITs IIITs Dec Politics and Government >for HRD Shashi Tharoor informed the Lok Sabha that the central government has The Union Minister of State approved the plan of setting up 20 IIITs all across India, involving a total expenditure of Rs 2,808.71 crore. The land required for the IIITs will be provided by the concerned state governments free of cost. An IIIT would be established at a capital cost of Rs 128 crore each to be contributed in ratio of 50:35:15 by the centre, state and industry partners respectively.

11 HSBC to pay U.S. authorities $1.9bn as penalty Dec Bank Specific > Bank News

UK based HSBC bank has confirmed that it will pay $1.9bn to U.S. authorities as settlement post allegations of money laundering. The bank has apologized and stated that it has invested $ 290m on improving its systems to keep a check on money laundering. Recently Standard Chartered also paid a fine of $ 300m for violation of U.S. sanctions. Both banks paid up following investigations on money laundering and sanction violations by federal government agencies and New York state authorities. Page 2 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec
According to a report published by the U.S. Senate, this settlement was expected. The report covered instances of bypass of U.S. safeguards created to block transactions that involved terrorist drug lords and rogue states, permission of 25,000 transactions linked to Iran for a period of 7 years without disclosing the same, provision of US dollars and banking services to certain banks in Saudi Arabia in spite of known links with terrorist financing and more. The report also threw light on how, HSBC accounts were used by drug lords in the U.S. and Mexico to launder funds. Following this chain of events, HSBC has taken on board new senior management to keep a check on such activities. It has created a new position called Financial Crime Compliance and has recruited a former U.S. official to head the same. Former head of US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – Bob Werner will now be responsible for keeping a check on HSBC's anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance systems.

11 Etihad likely to invest over Rs 3000 crore in Kingfisher Dec Corporate > Mergers and Acquisitions

After buying stakes in three international airlines, Etihad Airways is likely to elevate the grounded Kingfisher Airlines. Etihad is estimated to pick up a 48% stake by investing over Rs 3000 crore in the airlines. Kingfisher owes Rs 60–70 crore worth of salary to its employees, 950 crore to oil companies, 500 crore to airports and 7000 crore to a consortium of 17 banks led by SBI. This investment is likely to improve Kingfisher’s creditworthiness. The deal is scheduled to be closed in two installments, the first 30% in this month and balance 18% in August next year. According to experts, after the airline gets back its suspended license it will take atleast a month to re launch operations.

12 Facebook replaces Infosys on Nasdaq 100 Dec Corporate > Infosys

The global social networking firm Facebook Inc has replaced the Indian IT giant Infosys Ltd. in the NASDAQ-100 Index, the NASDAQ-100 Equal Weighted Index, and the NASDAQ-100 Technology Sector Index. The social networking firm has around 1 billion users across the world; however, its stock has lost significant value since its public listing in May this year. Infosys Ltd., the first Indian company to be listed on the NASDAQ-100 Index, has decided to transfer its Nasdaqlisted American Depositary Shares (ADS) to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is also planning to get listed on Paris and London exchanges.

13 Modi and Manmohan fish in the troubled waters of Sir Creek > Sir Creek Dec Government and Politics has raised the disputed Sir Creek boundary issue in a letter to the Prime Minister. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
Modi has claimed that the PM was announcing a decision on Sir Creek on December 15, as part of the confidence building measures. He cautioned that “handing over Sir Creek to Pakistan will endanger our energy security from these potential oil and gas reserves in future.” The PMO reacted sharply and denied the accusation. The PM's official statement said that Modi was talking “without making any effort to ascertain the facts.” Background: Page 3 of 20

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Sir Creek is a 96 km strip of water in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. The creek opens up into the Arabian Sea and separates the Kutch region of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. Pakistan claims the entire creek as part of Pakistani territory. It cites the 1914 Bombay Government Resolution, agreed upon by Rao Maharaj, the then ruler of the princely state of Kutch and the then Sindh Government. It included the creek as part of Sindh. This is disputed by India which maintains the boundary line is mid-channel as depicted in a map drawn in 1925, and supports its stance by citing the Thalweg Doctrine in International Law. Although not very valuable as a military base, this region is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas below the sea bed.

13 Europe grants new powers to European Central Bank Dec Economy > EU

European ministers have given the European Central Bank new powers to oversee euro zone banks from 2014, starting towards a new phase of closer integration to justify the euro. The single supervising organization will boost interbank lending and cross-border credit flows and will restore confidence across the Euro area. “It will have tangible effects for the real economy”, asserted Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank. Bank-to-bank lending has not recovered from the first strike of the 2007 global financial crisis. Many banks' liquidity needs depend on the ECB as most banks are hoarding their cash. When the ECB supervision comes in force, the euro zone's rescue fund - the European Stability Mechanism – will have permission in principle to directly recapitalize banks. Draghi is hopeful that combined with possible direct recapitalization of banks by the European Stability Mechanism and an envisaged single resolution mechanism, the single supervisory mechanism will go a long way towards breaking the vicious feedback loops between sovereigns and banks.

13 Quantitative Easing (QE) 4: US attempts to revive economy Dec Economy > USA

In the crucial fourth phase of QE in US, the Federal Reserve of USA will commit $45 billion a month to the purchase of long-term Treasury securities and mortgage backed bonds to stimulate the housing market and keep long-term interest rates low. This is in addition to the $40 billion in mortgages that the Federal Reserve already buys every month, which will only end when unemployment in USA falls to 6.5 per cent or inflation exceeds 2.5 per cent a year. The Federal Reserve chief, Ben Bernanke insisted that this move is not focused on a single rate or number but on “ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market”. He also insisted that the fresh round of bond buying is undertaken to lift house prices and quicken the pace of home sales. Background: Quantitative Easing at its core, is an attempt by a central bank to inject more money into the economy and to keep long-term interest rates low. It achieves this goal by purchasing large amounts of assets, often held by financial institutions.

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14 Leaner SBI to sustain in the competitive market Dec Bank Specific > SBI

SBI chairman, Mr.Pratip Chaudhuri announced that India's largest lender, State Bank of India will cut down on costs for customers and shut down unprofitable businesses. SBI slashed processing fees and waived off the prepayment penalty on home loans last year. This year SBI will repeat the same with corporate loans. The bank has also waived off the minimum balance requirement and has started promoting multi-city cheques. Besides these measures, SBI will reorganize its credit card business. This year SBI will mainly target retail sectors like auto loans and loans to small and medium-scale sectors.

17 Mid-Year Economic Analysis 2012-13 Dec Economy > Indian Policies
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The Government of India tabled the Mid-Year Economic Analysis for 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: Economy expected to grow at a slower rate than average of last decade at 5.7-5.9% in 2012-13. Fiscal deficit is contained at 5.3 per cent of GDP for this fiscal year. Inflation rates are expected to be moderate in Q4; March-end inflation is predicted at 6.8-7%.

As the economic slowdown seems to be bottoming out, there is positive news from other studies as well. The index of industrial production (IIP), which measures mine and factory outputs and power, increased generation, increased 8.2% in October. Experts believe that these positive developments should prompt the RBI to cut its bench mark lending rate at its monetary policy review which will boost investments and consumption.

18 AADHAR cards compulsory from first January Politics Dec Government and revenue > Aadhaar Card out a public notice stating that the “Aadhaar card is compulsory The department of and the UIDAI put from January 1 for access to every government service”. Certain services like opening of a bank account, Annshree Yojana, new mobile connection, LPG connection, old age pension, BPL card and scholarship for students can be accessed using the AADHAR ID. Delhi Government's Annshree Yojana is the first Aadhaar UIDAI-enabled scheme which was launched by UIDAI chief Nandan Nilkeni recently. However, revenue minister Arvinder Singh asserted that while Government offices will ask for the UID number from January 1, people will not be denied any services like pension or social security benefits. He said that the government will make an attempt to link as many services as possible to Aadhaar in the coming months and speed up enrollments.

19 PepsiCo will Launch Tropicana Powder > PepsiCo Dec Corporate with global rival Cadbury Kraft's Tang and Indian Firm's Rasna, Pepsico is set to launch its popular Competing
Juice brand Tropicana in a powder format in Indian Market. India is the only market where PepsiCo, one of the world's largest beverage makers, is launching Tropicana in the powder concentrate category. Page 5 of 20

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The powder concentrate market in India is estimated to be over Rs 600 crore. Rasna is the market leader with an over 80% share and Tang, which is the world's largest powdered beverage brand comes in at a distant no.2 position. Piruz Khambatta, chairman of Rasna, has said he is glad that multinational players are entering the market as he believes the market is set to grow faster. PepsiCo believes innovation will set them apart in this category. SR Murali, executive director, technology, PepsiCo India asserted that developing from Tropicana's global expertise, PepsiCo has a unique technology that preserves real-fruit taste. This technology allows converting fruit juices into easily soluble powder with no need for artificial preservatives.

20 UBS to pay $1.5 billion (£940 million) for Libor Rigging Rigging Dec Corporate > UBS Libor is the second major bank to be fined over Libor interest rate scandal, after Barclays, Swiss banking giant UBS which paid $450 million to UK and US authorities. UBS agreed to pay $1.5 billion (£940 million) to US, UK and Swiss regulators for attempting to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate. Meanwhile UBS also faced investigation in Hong Kong for “possible misconduct” in submissions for Hong Kong's inter-bank lending rate. Libor is the average rate at which the major London based international banks lend money to each other. UBS also admitted to manipulating Euribor and Tibor - the euro zone and Tokyo equivalents of Libor.

20 US agency rejects Apple's 'pinch-to-zoom' patent Dec Corporate > Apple

Apple's 'pinch-to-zoom' patent request was rejected in a preliminary ruling by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The ruling also supports Samsung's request for a new trial in the patent war against Apple Inc. The South Korean conglomerate, Samsung lost $1.05 billion in damages to Apple in August, when a US jury found Samsung guilty of copying critical features of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The jury ruled that Samsung had infringed six of seven Apple patents. The US patent no. 7,844,915 'pinch-to-zoom' was one of the patents contested at that trial. On the grounds that prior patents covered the inventions, Apple's claims were rejected.

23 Industry in Bengal urges state government to talk to Tatas Dec Corporate > Tata

The Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry wrote a letter to the Mamata Banerjee government asking for a talk with the Tatas to settle the Singur issue. The Associated Chambers of Commerce, which is among the country’s apex chambers, had also suggested that the government needs to settle the issue to speed up its industrialisation drive. Background: In 2008, Tatas were offered six sites by the state government of West Bengal, for constructing a factory to manufacture their $2,500 car, the Tata Nano. After Tatas singled out Singur in Hooghly district, for the construction, the West Bengal government facilitated construction by using a rule to conduct an eminent domain takeover of 997 acres of farmland. As this rule is meant only for public improvement projects, the Singur Tata nano project was opposed by activists, displaced land owners and opposition parties in Bengal. West Bengal's opposition leader Mamata Banerjee gave political support to this agitation. The Tatas decided to move out of Singur on 3 October 2008 and later announced that they would be setting up the Tata Nano plant in Sanand, Gujarat. Page 6 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

24 GDP growth pegged at 7 per cent for 2013-14 Dec Economy > GDP Growth to peg GDP growth for 2013-14 at 6.5 to 7 per cent, higher than the 5.7 to 5.9 The Indian government hopes percent growth in 2012-13 as the finance ministry has estimated economic revival in its Mid-Year Economic Analysis. This optimism stems from the belief that in the first half of this fiscal, growth has bottomed out when the economy expanded at 5.4 per cent. The Mid-Year Economic Analysis also stated, “There are, however, reasons to believe that the slowdown has bottomed out and the economy is headed towards higher growth in the second half of 2012-13.”

26 Protests rise over the Delhi gang rape case Dec India > Crime

Protests over the gang rape at India Gate in Delhi turned violent as thousands of protesters clashed with police, overturned cars, and battled Rapid Action units. The government invoked Section 144, outlawing protest, and demonstrators were beaten with bamboo sticks, shot with water cannon and tear gas shells, and arrested. A police constable, Subhash Tomar, who was injured during the protests, lost his life on 24th December. Similar protests are being organized throughout the country as well as on social networking sites. Women from various organizations demonstrated in Bangalore. Silent march was organized in Kolkata. People held placards asking for Justice at local railway stations in Mumbai. Protesters online on Facebook and WhatsApp, replaced their profile images with a black dot symbol to represent the shame of being part of a society that cannot protect its own women. In his first official reaction after the incident, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed sympathy, saying "As a father of three daughters I feel as strongly about the incident as each one of you" and also appealed for calm, stressing that violent protests serve no purpose. On 16 December 2012, a female student was gang raped while on board of a moving bus in Delhi, India. The victim boarded a bus in South Delhi around 9:30 pm with a male companion. A group of six men already on board the bus assaulted both of them and raped the woman. The young woman is being treated at Safdarjang Hospital, where she has been on ventilator support. Six men have been arrested in connection with the incident and were tried and put in custody on 19 December 2012. The police promised to file the charge sheet within one week, following public outrage and demand for a speedy trial and prosecution. The Delhi High Court reprimanded the Delhi police for being "evasive" in a probe status report, on 21 December 2012. Two Assistant Commissioners of Police are suspended for failing to prevent the incident on 24 December 2012. A further court hearing is scheduled for 9 January 2013. The incident since has generated wide-spread public protests and international coverage. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women condemned the incident and called on the Government of India and the Government of Delhi “to do everything in their power to take up radical reforms, ensure justice and reach out with robust public services to make women’s lives more safe and secure”.

27 Non-Banking Finance Companies face closure due to RBI Proposal Dec Economy > NBFC
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Around 70 per cent of Non-banking finance companies or NBFCs may be put out of business, if the RBI decides to implement the Usha Thorat panel recommendation on minimum asset size. This move will shut a vital source of funding in many parts of the country.

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec
Around 9,000 companies lending to debtors in small towns and villages that do not have access to banking facilities could be in danger of losing their permits as their asset size is less than Rs 25 crore. Headed by former deputy governor of RBI, Usha Thorat, the panel wants to tighten rules for NBFCs. It also suggested that NBFC’s minimum equity capital should be raised to 10 per cent from 7.5 per cent of risk-weighted assets.

28 India loses Asian Champions hockey trophy to Pakistan Dec Sports > India

In the final of the second Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament, reigning champion India lost its title, losing 4-5 to arch-rivals Pakistan. The young team India played exceedingly well without their experienced players, but finally surrendered before the more experienced team.

29 The National Development Council approves the 12th Five Year Plan for Dec India Government and Politics > India
Considering the global economic recovery, the national Development Council passed the 12th Five Year Plan document after revising the target annual growth rate at 8 per cent from hr proposed 8.2 per cent for the five year period. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram reiterated the need for strong but ‘painful’ measures to cut down the deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) in the next three years. The PM also reiterated the need for a phased increase in the prices of petroleum products, coal and power. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proposed the private-public partnership model for agriculture to achieve food security and inclusive growth and to improve farm incomes. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that the government hoped for “a growth rate of 5.8 per cent for 2013 and around 7 per cent for 2014 and 8 per cent in the remaining three years.”

30 The Delhi gang rape victim dies in Singapore Dec India > Crime

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student from New Delhi, who was gang-raped on December 16 in a moving bus, then thrown out of it, died at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore after fighting for her life for 13 days. She underwent three surgeries (including ones to remove her small and large intestines) but her condition remained critical. A condition called cerebral oedema or ‘swollen brain’ which in her case was caused by a cardiac arrest finally extinguished her fighting spirit. Her death has reinvigorated protests expressing anger over attitudes towards women in India and calling for stricter laws for violence against women. As protesters continued with candle light vigils and one day hunger strikes, the Armed forces and the ruling Congress party cancelled their New Year celebrations. The BJP reinstated its demand for a special parliament session to discuss the case.

30 Wipro allots shares as ADRs to JP Morgan Chase Dec Corporate > Wipro

JP Morgan Chase has got 38,663 equity shares for Rs. 2 a share as underlying shares that can be traded in the form of American Depository Receipts (ADRs), from Wipro. This is the second time Wipro has allotted shares to JP Morgan Chase and experts believe its Wipro’s move to comply with SEBI guidelines on promoter holdings, which specify that a maximum of 75% of a listed companies shares can be with the promoter. Page 8 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec
According to BSE data, Azim Premji along with his promoter group companies holds 78.31 per cent in Wipro.

Awards
13 Posthumous Grammy award for Ravi Shankar Dec Music
The organizers of the Grammy awards announced that Indian sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar will receive a posthumous lifetime achievement Grammy award. Grammy's spokeswoman, Stephanie Schell said, that he was selected before his death and was notified one week before his death that he was receiving the honor. Pandit Ravi Shankar who had won Grammy awards three times before, passed away in California at the age of 92. In its brief biography of the Indian musician the Recording Academy said “As one of the world's most renowned sitar players, Pandit Ravi Shankar is a true ambassador for international music. As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he is considered a pioneer in bringing Indian music to the West.”

23 Inventor of Lasik surgery, of Indian-American origin, gets highest US honour Dec Scientists Srinivasan, a renowned Indian-American inventor at IBM, is nominated by U.S. President Barack Rangaswamy
Obama for the the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honour bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. The discovery that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissues in a precise manner with no thermal damage to the surrounding by Mr. Srinivasan in 1981, named Ablative Photo Decomposition (APD), resulted in a procedure to correct vision known today as Lasik surgery. With 21 US patents under his name, Mr. Srinivasan was inducted into the U.S. “Inventor Hall of Fame” in 2002. He has spent 30 years at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. Administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980. The National Medal of Science which was created in 1959, is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.

Bank Specific
02 IndusInd Bank raises funds through Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) Dec Bank News has reasons to smile. It has managed to raise a huge amount of Rs. 2000 crore through sale of its IndusInd Bank shares to banks including UBS, Government of Singapore, SBI Mutual Fund and HDFC Life. The shares have been sold at a price of Rs. 384 per share. A spokesperson for IndusInd said that the issue was well received by investors throughout with an order book of $1 billion. The capital raised by the sale of shares is said to support the bank for at least three years. An investment banker representing IndusInd said that the new capital issue will lead to a dilution of 10% in existing shareholding. Owing to the association of the various high-profile banks with IndusInd, the bank’s stock hit a 52 week high of Rs. 420 per share. It ended the day at Rs. 417 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Page 9 of 20

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12 Axis Bank plans early retirement scheme Dec Bank Newsset to roll out an early retirement scheme for employees who’ve been with the bank for more than Axis bank is
10 years. The scheme is applicable to employees aged above 40 years, and at the level of VP and above. The bank wants to cut down on its work force which comprises 31, 738 employees. Other private institutions that introduced early retirement schemes include ICICI Bank. In the past when ICICI was a financial institution, it introduced its first VRS in 1996-97 followed by the second scheme in 1999 and later in 2003. According to analysts although this move will cause financial burden currently, in the long run it will lead to cost savings.

14 RBI Says no interest on CRR Dec RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rejected the finance ministry's proposal for payment of interest on cash reserve ratio (CRR). This is the second time the RBI has rejected this proposal. The cash reserve ratio or CRR is the portion of deposits that banks have to keep with the RBI. Currently banks do not get any interest on CRR. It will cost Rs. 19-20,000 crore to the RBI per year, assuming an interest rate of 7 per cent. Supporters of interest payment on CRR argue that it will strengthen and add to the profits of the banking system, enabling banks to bring down lending rates. PSU banks as well, will be in a position to pay more dividend, a significant portion of which will accrue to the government.

18 Axis Bank plans for 6000 crore fund raising in FY14 Dec Axis Bank

The country's third-largest private bank, Axis Bank is planning to raise over Rs 6,000 crore in FY14. The bank will perform this fund raising by an issue of shares which will be in the form of global depository receipt (GDR) or qualified institutional placement (QIP). This will boost Axis Bank's capital before RBI makes the Basel-III norms mandatory. RBI plans to implement Basel-III norms to avert a repetition of the 2008 financial crisis. These norms mandate that the banks need to keep a higher capital reserve. Axis Bank plans to raise its tier-I capital or equity capital to 12.2 percent which is more than the 7 percent prescribed by the Basel-III norms. Although the decision has been approved by the board, it may still need consent from shareholders, Reserve Bank and other regulatory authorities.

19 Lok Sabha passes Banking (Amendment) Bill, clearing way for new licenses Dec Lok Sabha
Due to these amendments RBI can now supersede boards of private sector banks, can make board and top management appointments in banks and control transfer of large number of shares. This bill increases the Page 10 of 20

The new Banking Regulation (amendment) Bill, cited by RBI as a prerequisite for granting new bank licenses, was passed by the Lok Sabha. The government's decision to remove a controversial clause which would have allowed banks to enter into future trading of commodities made the passing of the bill possible.

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec voting rights of investors in private sector banks to 26 per cent, from earlier 10 per cent and to 10 per cent, from earlier 1 percent in public sector banks. After the amendments are enacted, RBI is expected to declare its final guidelines for the entry of new private banks.

Corporate
03 MphasiS acquires Digital Risk Dec IT Sector
MphasiS, an IT company based in Bangalore, has acquired US-based Digital Risk, a data analytics company. This acquisition cost MphasiS $200 million. MphasiS spokesperson confirmed the news and said that the acquisition was an all-cash deal. "For the past 15 months or so, we have been looking for a specialized company in banking and capital markets space and Digital Risk presented the best opportunity," said Ganesh Ayyar, Chief Executive Officer of MphasiS, The transaction value of the acquisition rounds up to about $25-30 million which fluctuates over the next 2 to 3 years. The transaction is expected to be completed by January 31st, 2013. With this acquisition, Digital Risk will be completely incorporated within MphasiS, and Digital’s current CEO and Chairman, Peter Kassabov, will report to the Chief Executive Officer of MphasiS, Ganesh Ayyar.

06 RIL arm exits Yemen oil block Dec RIL

The Dubai-based subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC, has divested its 25% stake in a Yemen oil block to Medco Energi of Indonesia for around for approx. $90 million. Medco Yemen Malik Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PT Medco Energi International Tbk of Indonesia. The Ministry of Oil and Minerals of Yemen confirmed that the transaction has been approved and that it will take place on 1st January 2013.

06 IFC gives nod to Religare; will partner in banking foray Dec Banking and Financechannels of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), One of the important announced that it is open to partner with Religare Enterprises in its proposed banking foray. IFC has recently invested close to 75 million U.S. dollars in Religare Enterprises, a move which will give the former 8 per cent equity stake upon conversion. Religare Enterprise is an Indian financial conglomerate which IFC has invested in through compulsory convertible debentures. Religare's Group CEO Shachindra Nath said that the company was very pleased with this association with Religare and is looking forward to collaborate with the enterprise on new ventures such as housing finance, rural banking and other areas.

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GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

13 McDonald's India to be a direct unit of Westlife Development Ltd. Dec Merger

Indian real estate developer, Westlife Development Ltd. will consolidate two of its group companies Westpoint Leisureparks Pvt Ltd. and Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd., which operates 148 McDonald’s outlets in western and southern India. This revamp will make the local franchisee of McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) a direct unit of Westlife Development Ltd. through its subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd. Amit Jatia, vice-chairman of the BSE-listed Westlife Development Ltd. expects this merger will open up opportunities for investors to draw benefit from the speedy growth of McDonald's in the country.

16 Indian infrastructure firm GMR seeks $800 million compensation from Dec Maldives Economy
Sidharath Kapur, CFO of GMR (Airports) confirmed that GMR has sent a letter to Maldivian government seeking a compensation of more than $800 million for the termination of its airport deal. He also stated that this is an initial estimate and can vary depending on the final loss and profit analysis and other reports. However, the Maldivian government demanded a forensic audit of all the expenses incurred by GMR through an international firm. GMR has said it does not have any objection to an audit if it comes from a proper legal process. The Maldivian government believes that the amount will not be higher than $350 million.

20 TCS aims to expand in China, Japan, Latin America, and Europe Dec TCS

The CEO of TCS, Chandrasekaran, said that TCS aims to significantly expand its presence in China, Japan, Latin America, and Europe. There are growth opportunities in segments like retail, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals of these four countries. For TCS, in 2011-12, the largest revenue came from North America (53.31%), followed by UK and Europe (25.32%), India (8.60%), Asia pacific (7.56%) and least from Latin America (3.08%). The largest revenue earning sector was BFSI (banking financial services and insurance), which contributed 43.80% in 11-12.

21 Google is designing $99 Nexus 7 Dec Google

Google is reportedly working on a new $99 version of the Nexus 7 tablet. In October, technology news website Digitimes reported that the price of updated Nexus 7 would be $99 and it will have a single core 800MHz processor made by WonderMedia Technologies of China. If unveiled at a comparable price in India, this tablet will compete against similar products from Micromax, Lava and Zen.

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GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

27 Samsung asks for ban on Ericsson products in the U.S. Dec Samsung – Ericsson War

Not so long ago, in November 2012, Ericsson had issued a complaint against Samsung, seeking a sales ban on some Samsung products, to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In a revenge of sorts, Samsung has accused Ericsson of breaching its patents (seven of them), and has asked the ITC to take necessary action. Samsung has suggested strongly, a ban on Ericsson products in the U.S. Ericsson and Samsung have had a licensed deal, for almost two years now, under which the latter can use certain technological patents of the former company. However, both companies have had issues with the deal and no renewal of agreement seems to be in the horizon. While Ericsson says that Samsung wants concessions on the licenses for product patents, Samsung has said that the fee demanded by Ericsson is very high.

28 Credit Sudhaar and CIBIL tie up Dec CIBIL

A credit health improvement company, Credit Sudhaar has tied-up with Credit Information Bureau Ltd (CIBIL) to offer credit advisory services. Arun Ramamurthy, co-founder of Credit Sudhaar stated that the CIBIL tie-up will help in reaching out to a wider audience base and also in targeting those individuals with a low credit score seeking credit health improvement services.

Economy
18 2013 Hiring Outlook – ITes are cautious while Retail looks positive Dec Jobs
The hiring outlook in 2013 will reflect the performances of various sectors in the FY 11-12, so while FMCG, Retail, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals remain positive and will continue to hire unabated in 2013, Banking and Finance, ITes an automobiles will not generate sizable employment opportunities. FMCG which is often considered to be a slowdown-proof sector is estimated to continue hiring in increasing numbers given the broadened consumption and rising consumer incomes. Sales and marketing profiles will be in demand across sectors, so will be research and development profiles. But the trend in ITes and Automobile definitely seems to be more flat manpower growth and slowdown in new intake.

20 Facebook CEO donates shares worth $500 million to an NGO Dec Facebook

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has donated facebook shares worth nearly 500 million dollars to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, an NGO for education and health issues. This is Zuckerberg's largest donation so far. In 2010, he joined 'Giving Pledge', an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get the richest Americans to donate most of their wealth.

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GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

27 Employees' Provident Fund Organisation will be an AADHAR enabled service Dec AADHAR
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) will "embed" the Aadhaar number in bank accounts of beneficiaries making the UID number critical not just for poor families but even for middle class and high income Indians who seek their retirement savings from 2013. This seeding of Aadhaar within EPIF will be implemented in 43 districts including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Mysore and parts of Delhi by 31st December 2012. The authorities will hold up special camps to sync the Aadhaar data with the account information.

31 KC Chakrabarty, RBI Deputy Governor, tells banks to refrain from high prices Dec RBI Deputy Governor has asked banks not to increase prices of the products offered by them in order to retain RBI customers. The Deputy Governor also promised a new set of guidelines in the coming Ombudsman Conference in Mumbai. Calling for ‘non-discriminatory’ prices, he said that loans on education must see lower interest rates as compared to home loans.

Environment
04 Typhoon in Philippines Dec Philippines
A massive typhoon hit southern Philippines killing more than eighty people in the area. The typhoon called ‘Bopha’ resulted in landfall on Mindanao and caused heavy rainfall. Reports suggest that the wind was moving at close to 210 km/h. Close to forty thousand people had to be evacuated. The storm has caused severe power cuts, travel mishaps, flooding and landslides. Of the many provinces that were affected, the mining town of Compostela Valley was the worst hit. In Andap village, at least forty people lost their lives and over two dozen people were injured. The region's governor, Arturo Uy spoke to crowds and asked them to keep calm. The army was called in to help civilians. Rehabilitation work is in full-swing and officials have confirmed that the area will be back to normalcy sooner than later.

07 Earthquake in Japan; Tsunami warning follows Dec Japan

On 7th December, a strong earthquake hit Japan at the same coast where, almost a year ago, a huge earthquake and tsunami took hundreds of lives. The Japan Meteorological Agency confirmed that the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3 and struck the northeastern coast of Japan. The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo and Miyagi especially in Ishinomaki city of Miyagi. The earthquake hit the Japanese coast at 5.18 PM (Japanese time), lasted for several minutes and injured a number of people. The affected areas were shaken by repeated, smaller aftershocks. The earthquake was followed by a tsunami scare. Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi, reported a 1-meter-high tsunami while smaller cities and towns reported smaller tsunamis. The tsunami warning was cancelled approximately two hours after the earthquake. Page 14 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

Entertainment
11 Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar passes away at 92 Dec Personalities
Indian sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away at the age of 92 following a heart-valve replacement surgery. He had been suffering from upper-respiratory and heart issues over the past year. In a career spanning more than seven decades, he was instrumental in taking Indian classical music international. He has been associated with the likes of with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and rock artist George Harrison of The Beatles. Mr Shankar has been the recipient of many awards including the Bharat Ratna in 1999 and three Grammy awards. He was competing against daughter Anoushka Shankar, also a sitar player, for another Grammy in 2013. His death has elicited reactions from the Indian political and cultural spheres. He is survived by his wife Sukanya Rajan and daughters Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar.

Politics & Government
07 Ajit Pawar back as Deputy CM Dec National
On 7th December 2012, Ajit Pawar was sworn in as the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister. The Maharashtra Cabinet was plagued by the White Paper controversy on irrigation and Mr. Pawar had to resign a few months prior to this. Governor K. Sankaranarayanan administered the oath of office to Mr. Pawar in the presence of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Mr. Pawar is expected to be allotted a portfolio after the end of the winter session of the legislature. Mr. Pawar was alleged to be involved in a number of projects which had irregularities that increased the cost of the projects to over Rs. 20, 000 crore. These projects were not governed wholly by the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) and this created problems for him as the Water Resources Minister between 1999 and 2009.

11 Mali PM Cheick Modibo Diarra resigns after army arrest Dec Mali

Just hours after being arrested by soldiers in Mali, the country’s Prime Minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra, resigned from the post on national television. As ordered by military coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo, Cheick Modibo Diarra was detained in his house in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Mr. Diarra held office since April as the prime minister of an interim government in Mali. Mr. Diarra, sixty years of age, is an astrophysicist and has backed plans to send a West African intervention force into the northern half of Mali which was seized by the coup of Islamists and Tuareg separatists. This led to a cold war between the soldiers of the coup and the prime minister. Experts believe that the antagonism against Mr. Diarra has risen as soldiers from the coup consider him as an ‘outsider’ and that on many occasions, he has attempted to jeopardise “the planned political dialogue over the transition to democracy "Eight months ago the prime minister was given the mission to help Mali recover its Page 15 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec territorial integrity, but unfortunately he has been working to stay in power indefinitely," a spokesperson from the coup said. Mr Diarra will be held until a new prime minister is appointed by the interim president.

17 India rules out a joint statement after Rehman Malik’s Visit Dec Foreign Relation

At the end of interior minister Rehman Malik's three-day visit to India, India has refused to issue a joint statement with Pakistan as an act of public protest. The visiting Pakistani minister made provocative statements during his stay impeding the peace process and negating the very objective of his meeting. But the important takeaway from this visit is the new liberalized visa agreement signed by India's Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Rehman Malik which will promote people-to-people contact between the two countries. Shinde outlined the key features:     Multi-city visas for up to five cities Visitor visas for two years for senior citizens and children below 12 years Visa on arrival for senior citizens Group tourist visa.

Exemption of specified categories of businessmen from police reporting.

19 Land bill put off till budget session Dec Budget

The contentious land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation bill, which was introduced in 2011 has been pushed back to the budget session. This much contested bill seeks additional benefits other than monetary compensation for people who are adversely affected by involuntary displacement. The new land bill states that scrutiny of the economic and social impact of displacement is important and government must put in holistic efforts to improve the living standards of the affected families. Social activist Medha Patkar has criticized the bill stating that the bill did not consider many basic issues of conflict over forcible land acquisition. The bill excludes all government and infrastructure projects, which makes it ineffective to solve land acquisition issues in many conflict ridden projects. The bill has received criticism not just from farmers and activists but also from many industries and state governments.

20 BJP for Gujarat while Congress clinches Himachal Pradesh Dec State Elections

While the Congress party was routed for the third time in a row in Gujarat, it managed to get voters from Himachal Pradesh vote against the incumbent government to bring power to the Congress. In Gujarat, 115 seats out of 182 went to Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), while in Himachal BJP managed to win only 26 out of total 68 seats. The Congress managed to win 61 seats in Gujarat, and 36 seats in Himachal Pradesh. Gujarat's reigning Chief Minister, Narendra Modi won a fourth successive term as the chief minister of Gujarat. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal accepted the defeat. His official statement stated that despite the best efforts of his government, the anti-incumbency pattern of voting of the hill folk could not be reversed. Page 16 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

Science and Technology
04 Big Sam, of the Curiosity Rover, investigates Mars Dec Mars Rover NASA’s Rover to Mars, has continually researched the soil on the Red planet. In a bid to try and Curiosity Rover, pin point the exact components of the soil on Mars and the presence of carbon-rich molecules, that can be the "feedstock" for life, NASA has planned a series of soil tests by its onboard lab called the ‘Sample Analysis at Mars (Sam)’ instrument. Scientists in NASA say that the lab is well equipped and will be able to detect components in the soil. However, the process will be “slow and methodical.” The first sample for the soil test was taken from a dune on the Red Planet called ‘Rocknest.’ Scientists say that this dusty spot was chosen for the first sample as it promises to contain complex carbon compounds. If these compounds are collected as samples and studied effectively, a lot can be disclosed about the harsh environment that exists on Mars. Now that the Curiosity Rover has been on Mars for close to four months, scientists say, it is time to fulfill its key mission goals i.e. to understand the organic chemistry on the Red planet.

12 North Korea carries out controversial rocket launch Dec North Korea

North Korea has taken the world by surprise - launching a long-range rocket from its West Coast into space, along with a satellite. The country had made a failed attempt in April this year. Countries from around the world have condemned the launch by North Korea, saying it is a breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions. United States of America and South Korea have even gone as far as saying that North Korea’s launch was “a test-run for a harmful missile to be launched in the coming future. It is a threat to international peace and a pattern of irresponsible behavior.”

Sports
10 Messi breaks Muller’s 40 year goal record Dec Soccer
Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller’s 40 year old record of 85 goals in a calendar year record by scoring his 86th goal this year. He scored two goals in a match played on Sunday 16 minutes into the game. Messi was playing for Barcelona at Real Betis.

23 Sachin Tendulkar retires from One Day International cricket. DecCricket

The greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, Sachin Tendulkar,retired from one-day internationals. His decision ended a career spanning 23 years during which he re-wrote record books with his phenomenal feats. BCCI issued a statement on his behalf, after Sachin conveyed the decision. In the statement released by the Board, Tendulkar was quoted, "I have decided to retire from the One-Day format of the game. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup wining Indian team. Page 17 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec
The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest". Tendulkar who made his ODI debut against Pakistan in 1989; leaves it after amassing 18,426 runs in 463 matches at an average of 44.83. He also has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred -- the first in ODI cricket. The 2011 world cup victory of the Indian team was the brightest moment of his ODI career. Earlier he had made himself unavailable for International T20 matches and he will now remain active in only the Test arena.

World
10 John Dramani Mahama Wins Ghanian presidential polls Dec Ghana Presidential Polls
The Ghanian presidential polls were a closely fought battle with John Dramani Mahama being declared the winner. The polls received criticism from the opposition who alleged fraud in the polls of the nation that is often considered as a model of African democracy. The results were announced in the midst of frenzy. While the majority news channels announced a Mahama win, leading the opposition to strongly reject them, the opposition declared its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, the actual winner. There were eight candidates in the race, and so a 50 per cent vote in favour of a candidate was needed to avoid a second-round of elections.

12 U.S. to recognize Syria opposition coalition Dec Politics

U.S. President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. will formally recognize Syria's main opposition coalition as "the legitimate representative" of the Syrian people. The President told ABC News that the National Syrian Coalition was reflective of true Syrian values and representative of the people. The National Coalition was inclusive enough for the U.S. to take the “big step” of recognizing it as the main representative body of the Syrian people. President Obama said that along with the acceptance of the Coalition, the U.S. also has a word of caution for the party. Mr. Obama said that the party must organize itself and respect the rights of women and minorities. The UK, France, Turkey and the Gulf states have given their recognition to the Coalition party in the recent past. Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria is getting uglier with killings happening every day. Sources say that more than forty thousand people have lost their lives in the last one-and-a-half years, due to the vendetta against President Bashar al-Assad. Recently, killings were reported of people who had no relation with the President but belonged to his sect – the Alawite sect. Killings were reported from the village of Hama and Aqrab. According to sources of the UN, more than half a million people from Syria have left their homeland and taken refuge in neighbouring countries.

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14 Sandy Hook – Shooter kills 26 in Elementary School shooting Dec Crime

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec

20 year old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, US on 14 December 2012. Before driving to the school, he killed his mother Nancy Lanza at their nearby Newtown home. The total death toll was 28, including Adam and his mother. Two adults were treated for injuries. After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, this was the second-deadliest school shooting in US history. It is also the seconddeadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings. Police did not speculate on a motive, citing the ongoing investigation. Because so many of those killed were young children, the incident touched a nerve across the world and a lot of world leaders have expressed grief. U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to use whatever power his office has to thwart more tragedies. The heart wrenching incident has compelled an increasing number of US congressmen to seek changes in firearm laws and have reignited the gun control debate. A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed only 54% people in favor of tougher gun control laws which is a marginal increase over 51% supporters earlier this year. Background: The US has gun control laws which make it easy to obtain and possess guns legally. This is in contrast to laws in India, where licenses to keep guns are harder to come by. This has especially been highlighted in the case of rifles and automatic ammunition.

16 Shinzo Abe re-elected as Japan premier Dec Japan

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan enjoyed a landslide victory in the country’s elections. It will return to power after a hiatus of three years, under the leadership of Japan's ex-prime minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda accepted defeat and stepped down from the position as the head of the Democratic Party of Japan as well. The LDP government has put forth a tough stance in a territorial row with China. It supports a pro-nuclear power energy policy despite last year's Fukushima disaster. This can work in India's favor as India is trying to gain Japan's support for normalizing India’s nuclear power status in UN. The party also has a radical monetary policy to end continued deflation and control a strong yen. The re-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to defend Japan’s territories and said he wants to restore people's hope in his party. Background: In 2006, Shinzo Abe replaced Junichiro Koizumi to became youngest post-War Prime Minister of Japan. He is also the first Japanese Prime Minister to be born after the war. In his first brief one year term, his visit to India started a new era of India-Japan relations after his address to the Indian Parliament. His 'Broader Asia' approach can be a game-changer for Asia.

20 Abortion to be legalized in Catholic Ireland Dec Ireland

Seven weeks after the death of an NRI dentist from pregnancy-related complications, deeply-Catholic Ireland has decided to make changes to its no-abortion policy. The Irish government is planing to bring legislation to allow for termination of pregnancy in cases where the mother's life is in danger. The death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who was refused a termination of her pregnancy in a Galway Page 19 of 20

GKCA Update 1st to 31st Dec hospital prompted this move. She was 17 weeks pregnant and doctors refused her pleas for an abortion. She was suffering a miscarriage and died of septicaemia three days after requesting a termination. Background: Abortion is banned in Ireland as per a papal diktat and has always split public opinion in Ireland. It is one of two EU countries - the other is Malta - where women cannot have an abortion even when their lives are in danger. However, Ireland's cabinet decided to change the law after intense public protests followed Halappanavar's death.

26 Draft constitution divides Egypt Dec Egypt

Although a two-stage referendum on a draft constitution is concluded, the political turmoil in Egypt is likely to continue. Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood has claimed a referendum victory for a draft constitution with an Islamist-tilt, but The National Salvation Front (NSF), the largely secular opposition cried foul over the result and pledged to appeal the result in court. In spite of stiff opposition, the controversial vote and the draft charter backed by Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi is rushed through. While official results of the referendum are awaited, an estimated 64% of the ballot is predicted to have endorsed the draft charter which betrays the lack of popular approval for Morsi and the Brotherhood. Combined with the fact that the overall voter turnout was as low as 30%, there is a question over the validity of the referendum.

27 Morsi accepts mistakes in drafting Egypt’s constitution Dec Egypt President Mohamed Morsi accepted the mistakes during the run-up to sanction of the newly drafted Egypt’s constitution and insisted that the fierce disagreements about it should be considered as a sign of a healthy democracy. He invited the opposition for a dialogue to settle rifts over the draft and to move on to restoring the economy. This is Egypt's first constitution since the ejection of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The National Salvation Front (NSF), main opposition party in Egypt, rejected the draft constitution saying that it enshrines Islamic rule and questioned its legitimacy, arguing it passed without a national consensus. Morsi, the first elected president after Mubarak countered saying it was Egypt's first constitution passed and drafted through a popularly approved process but also accepted that there is room in Egypt for an effective, national opposition.

31 Effects of the GMR fallout Dec Foreign Relations

Repercussions of the GMR fiasco have surfaced with India tightening visas for Maldivian citizens. Maldivians could earlier use visa-free travel facilities to come to India for various purposes like education, medical treatments etc. However, the Indian government has decided to now restrict this privilege only to the tourism industry of Maldives. India has revised its bilateral visa agreement with Maldives according to which Maldivians can enjoy a 90-dayvisa-on-arrival facility only for tourism. Maldivians travelling to the country for purposes other than tourism must have visas or will be deported.

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...For centuries the word "freedom" has been a topic of debate, and for good reason. There are so many different views of what freedom truly means and what influences it has on our daily lives. According to the American Heritage College Dictionary the word freedom means "The Condition of being free of constraints. To me, the word freedom is being able to achieve anything you want to. It is being able to change your surrounding environment how you want it to be. Many questions have been asked about whether we are truly free of constraints or if everything is predetermined by events that have already transpired. Some believe that it is indeed true that we are not free, that nothing happens freely, and that nothing happens by chance, everything is determined to happen precisely as it does down to the smallest detail. If this statement is true then we are not free, we live a life of predetermined events. In this paper I will discuss many topics regarding freedom including the idea of predetermined events, the use of consequences, and a look back in history at freedom and how it has c... ... middle of paper ... ...ll I am able to choose what I want and change to who I want to be. Living in the United States also plays a big role in my freedom. The United States differs from all other nations. The right to freedom is a gift that is taken for granted. The right of freedom is a gift that no one can take away, a gift that is unseen, but invaluable. Your right to freedom may......

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...Questions The point of this assignment is for you to compare and contrast your view of the philosophical issues of free will and personal identity with the philosophical theories explained by the author of your textbook. After you read each chapter, take some time to check the statement that comes closest to your view (and summarizes a philosophical theory explained by the author). Free will or determinism? When I think about the extent of my freedom to choose in life, I believe that human beings are False absolutely free to choose whatever path in life seems best to them (libertarianism) True are sometimes free, but sometimes have their choices shaped by social, cultural and psychological forces over which they have no control (soft determinism – traditional compatibilism) False are choosing freely only if what it is they say they want is something whose consequences they understand and is a goal or desire that is genuinely good for them (deep self-compatibilism) False are completely determined in all their choices by what has come before – their biology, social forces, etc. (hard determinism) Please explain in a few sentences here why you selected the option you did. Raise at least one question about the position you have taken. I have taken the position of soft determinism because while I believe we have free will- I believe that our free will is limited by probability. I do however wonder if it is possible to defy probability. Can we truly......

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...Jonathan M. Reiland 5th Period Mr. Nabors English 4206 [ 11 November 2010 ] The Book of Job: An Examination Of all of the stories, fables, proverbs, and histories of the Bible, The Book of Job is one of the most compelling due to its unique literary style and the complex treatment of the issue of suffering. Unlike other books of the Bible, The Book of Job details a conflict between man and God within a poetic structure, and is the only book in the Bible to take on the problem of suffering as its main purpose. Throughout the book, Job pleads to God for all of the misfortunes that have befallen him. This type of discourse found in Job cannot be found anywhere else in scripture. Upon examination of the roles of protagonist and antagonist, it becomes apparent that the roles may be alternated between Job and Satan. Moreover, different conclusions and interpretations of the book can be made. Theological complications due to the existence of evil in a world ruled by an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent god will be attempted to be reconciled by theodicy. As coined by Gottfried Leibniz, theodicy is a branch of apologetics which attempts to reconcile the apparent evil in the world with God’s benevolent nature. Job’s nature and wealth is described in the first three verses of the book. He is depicted as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). It would seem unlikely that Job would ever find himself on the negative side of God,...

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Determinism V Libertarianism

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