1. Justice Tirath Singh Thakur sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India
i. Justice Tirath Singh (TS) Thakur was on 3 December 2015 sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India (CJI) by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Thakur succeeded incumbent Justice H L Dattu who retired on 2 December 2015.
ii. He will have the tenure as CJI for over one year and will retire on 4 January 2017. Born on 4 January 1952, Justice Thakur enrolled as a Pleader in October 1972. He was designated as a senior advocate in 1990.
iii. In February 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and was transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March 1994. He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi High Court in July 2004.
iv. He was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in April 2008 and in August 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court on 17 November 2009.
2. Industrialist MAM Ramaswamy died
i. Industrialist, founder of Chettinad Group, former parliamentarian MAM Ramaswamy passed away on 2 December 2015 in Chennai due to prolonged illness. He was 84.
ii. Popularly known as MAMR in political, business and sports circles, Ramaswamy was born on 30 September 1931 into a respected family in the Nattukottai Chettiar community, also known as The Rajah Family.
iii. MAMR’s grandfather Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar and his father Rajah Sir MA Muthiah Chettiar along with his uncles MRM Ramanathan Chettiar and MA Chidambaram Chettiar built the Chettinad Group into a business empire in Tamil Nadu.
iv. MAMR transformed the Annamalai University in Chidambaram, founded by his family in 1929, into an institution with 48 departments.
v. The industrialist also served as the Member of the Parliament of India representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.
3. Adidas India’s Pulin Kumar won prestigious INBA Award
i. Pulin Kumar, Group Senior Legal and Compliance Director of Adidas India, on 26 November 2015 was conferred with the Indian National Bar Association's (INBA) General Counsel of the year 2015 - Retail Award in New Delhi.
ii. Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani presented the award to Kumar on the occasion of INBA's Annual International Conference-66th National Law Day. The Indian National Bar Association has constituted 12 awards categories for general counsel in the field of technology, infrastructure, real estate, retail, corporate, privacy and data protection, law firm and insurance.
iii. INBA Awards also acknowledge top women lawyers, young women general counsel, young emerging lawyers and global general counsel. Every year, INBA invites nominations for the awards. The jury panel for consideration of the awards constitute renowned people from the legal field.
4. Union Cabinet approved signing of MoU between India and Iran on visa facilitation
i. The Union Cabinet on 2 December 2015 approved the signing of the agreement between India and Iran on visa facilitation for Diplomatic, Official/Service and Ordinary passport holders.
ii. As per the agreement, upon presentation of an official note by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the visa application, the resident Diplomatic Missions in the host country would, within 20 working days, issue a gratis visa valid for 90 days for the holders of valid Diplomatic/Official/Service passports, assigned on long-term missions to the Diplomatic Missions or the Consulates General.
iii. Appropriate gratis visas of three months' validity for visiting close family members (blood relations such as parents, siblings, adult children as well as in-laws) and visas for other close relatives of the assignees, on the payment of visa fees due would be issued.
iv. The agreement says that on presentation of an official note by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating the purpose of the visit, a non-extendable gratis entry visa will be issued within three working days, with a validity of up to fifteen days, to political authorities and officials travelling for specific bilateral purposes or to participate in a conference or seminar.
v. This Agreement can be amended at any time as decided and mutually agreed upon in writing by the Parties. Any dispute arising out of the interpretation, implementation or application of any provision of this Agreement shall be settled amicably through consultation or negotiation between the Parties.
5. Navy inducts decoy system Maareech
i. A fully indigenous decoy system, that can divert underwater torpedo attacks on ships and submarines, has been developed by Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL).
ii. The torpedo defence system, Maareech, was recently inducted into the Indian Navy. Maareech has been termed a complete package involving sensors and decoys for defence against torpedoes.
iii. Maareech is a joint project of the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Kochi, and NSTL. Sources said two production-grade Maareech systems have been developed and user evaluation trials were completed onboard two Indian Navy ships.
iv. Maareech is capable of diverting incoming torpedoes and is an advanced version of the regular decoys. While submarines use decoys as anti-torpedo systems, the system has been developed for the first time for surface ships.
v. Maareech has been termed “an excellent model of synergy between the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Indian Navy, and public and private industries.”
6. Brazil entered longest recession since 1930s
i. Brazil’s economy contracted by 1.7 percent during July-September 2015 compared to April-June period in 2015. An announcement in this regard was made by the government on 1 December 2015.
ii. It was Brazil's third consecutive quarter of contraction starting from January 2015 and thus, making it the country's longest recession since the 1930s.
iii. Inflation rose to over 10 percent, the highest in 12 years, in October 2015. Unemployment rate was pegged at 8.9 percent during July-September 2015 up from 6.8 percent in 2014-15. Due to lower earnings, household spending fell by 4.5 percent during July-September 2015.
iv. Real, Brazil's currency was down about 31 percent against the dollar between January-November 2015. Bovespa, Brazil's main stock index, has been decelerated by about 27 percent since September 2014. Foreign and domestic investments in Brazil have declined for nine straight quarters.
v. Primary reasons for recession in Brazil are multiple. They range from continuing global economic slowdown, shrinkage in exports and unprecedented scandal at the government-run oil company Petrobras.
7. Union Government approved setting up of 6 new IITs
i. The Union Cabinet on 2 December 2015 approved setting up of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Goa, Jammu, Kerala and Karnataka.
ii. The Cabinet also approved the operationalisation of these IITs by forming Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in order to give a legal status to them till the amendment for their incorporation in The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 is enacted.
iii. Each new IIT will have an initial intake of 180 students in its first year from temporary / transit which would increase to 450 in the second year and to 928 in the third year of their operation. The new IITs will be operated from their temporary campuses for the initial period of three years before shifting into their permanent campuses in the 4th year.
iv. Each IIT will have a sanctioned strength of faculty members with a faculty-student ratio of 1:10. The total cost for running these IITs is 1411.80 crore rupees and will be incurred between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
8. Indian-American Dr Vijay M Rao named as Chairperson of RSNA
i. Indian-American Dr Vijay M Rao was named as the chairperson of the prestigious Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Board of Directors on 2 December 2015.
ii. As the chairperson at RSNA, Dr Rao brings her expertise in health services and policy matters to bear in a shifting healthcare landscape of increasing complexity and declining reimbursements.
iii. At the time of appointment in RSNA, Dr Rao was the David C Levin Professor and Chairperson of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
iv. She is a graduate of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She remained on the faculty at Jefferson ever since completing her residency there in 1978. She was appointed associate chair for education in 1989 and vice chair for education in 2000.
v. The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is an international society of radiologists, medical physicists and other medical professionals with more than 54000 members from 136 countries across the globe.
9. Vijay Kumar Choudhary elected as Bihar Assembly Speaker
i. Senior Janata Dal (United) leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary on 2 December 2015 was unanimously elected new Speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Chaudhary was elected to the post after consensus was generated on his name among all political parties of the state, including the opposition.
ii. The pro-tem Speaker and Congress MLA Sadanand Singh announced the election of Chaudhary as the new Speaker.
iii. Chaudhary debuted in politics after untimely demise of his legislator father in 1982. In the same year, he won the subsequent by-election from Dalsinghsarai on a Congress ticket.
iv. He joined JD(U) in 2005. In 2010, he won the subsequent legislative assembly elections from Sarairanjan and was rewarded with the crucial Water Resources ministry in the newly formed cabinet.
10. Union Cabinet approved DTAC agreement with Japan
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 December 2015 approved signing and ratification of Protocol between India and Japan for amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) in order to facilitate tax-related exchange of information.
ii. DTAC was signed between the two countries in 1989 for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion through a protocol.
iii. The protocol will facilitate exchange of information as per accepted international standards on tax matters, including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
iv. There is a further provision in the Protocol for sharing any information received from Japan, with authorization of the competent authority in Japan and vice versa, in respect of a resident of India, with other law enforcement agencies.
v. The Protocol also has a provision for India and Japan to lend assistance to each other in collection of revenue claims, as well as for exemption of interest income from taxation in the source country, with respect to debt-claims insured by the Government or Government-owned financial institutions.
11. Axis Bank launches country's first 'display variant' debit card
i. Country's third largest private sector lender Axis BankBSE 0.70 % today said it has launched a 'display variant' debit card which does away with the hassles of generating one time password (OTP) over SMS while transacting.
ii. The card, which is being made available for high-value NRE customers, has an embedded EMV chip, a display screen and a touch-sensitive button which helps generating the OTP on the card itself.
iii. "This OTP, in conjunction with the user ID and password, allows the customer to transact on internet banking without having to wait for OTP delivery via SMS or email," a bank statement said, adding that it is the first lender in the country to offer the facility.
iv. The card comes with free ATM access across the world, offers on lounge access, loyalty points on transactions and an air accident insurance of Rs 25 lakh and a personal accident insurance of Rs 5 lakh. Details on the charges or the minimum balance requirements were not immediately available.