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December 4th week 2015 current affairs
Author : uppy
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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December 4th week 2015 current affairs

1) Govt. to set up centre of excellence for manufacturing skills.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for skill development in the manufacturing sector was signed between Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI).
  • The MoU is also for creating a multi-location national institute of manufacturing technologies for training education and research by utilising and upgrading the existing training facilities of Central PSUs such as HMT, BHEL and Instrumentation Ltd. under the DHI.
  • Under the MoU, all Central PSUs will invest at least 20 per cent of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for skilling purpose.
  • The centres of excellence will ensure that a robust national ecosystem for development of skills in the manufacturing sector is created in the country and internationally known best practices in this field are brought in with active participation of countries like Germany.
  • The MoU will also enable significant scale up of apprentice training in the central PSUs under the Department of Heavy Industry and promote adoption of ITIs by the Central PSUs.
2) Hetero gets DCGI approval to market Hepatitis C drug.
  • Drug maker Hetero has received approval from DCGI to market generic version of Gilead`s Harvoni, a drug used in the treatment of Hepatitis C, in the country.
  • Hetero is the first company in India to receive the approval for the fixed-dose combination Ledipasvir-Sofosbuvir (90mg/ 400mg).
  • Hetero signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with the USA-based Gilead Sciences in to manufacture and market chronic hepatitis C medicines.
  • It is a growing public health concern, particularly in developing countries. In India alone, it is estimated that 12-18 million patients are infected with Hepatitis C which is several fold greater than those with HIV/AIDS.
 3) SEBI bars outsourcing of depository-related activities.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India has activities, such as processing of applications from depository participants (DPs), issuers, registrar and transfer agents (R&T), facilitating corporate actions, allotting International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) and maintaining beneficial owner data, should not be outsourced.
  • Depositories are entities that hold securities in dematerialised form and operate through a network of depository participants.
  • Depositories have three months to implement the circular.
  • To promote financial inclusion and augment the revenue source of depositories, the DSRC has mooted an incentive of Rs. 100 for every basic services Demat account opened in cities beyond the top-15 centres.
 4) Google and NASA ride D-Wave to a quantum future.
  • A New Scientist investigation reveals Google`s grand plans for its quantum computer, as well as the first hints about what`s really going on under its hood.
  • It could be the most powerful computers in the world that the biggest internet company on the planet is testing one out.
  • In theory, quantum computers offer a huge advantage over ordinary PCs. Regular computers code information in binary bits that are either on or off – 0 or 1.
  • A quantum ``qubit`` can be both at the same time. This could let quantum machines crunch through certain problems, like searching a database, at blistering speeds even compared to a supercomputer.
  • Such zippy calculation is an attraction for companies like Google that deal with large volumes of data.
  • Google certainly isn’t alone in its quantum aspirations: its D-Wave Two machine is housed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California and maintained by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA).

5) UN agencies launched $1.98 billion Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016.

  • The United Nations agencies and partners launched the Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016.
  • The purpose of the initiative is to mobilise international support to tackle triple crisis of poverty, insecurity and climate change that plagues the Sahel region in Africa.
  • According to Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates, in 2016, nearly 23.5 million people will not have enough to eat, of which at least 6 million will require emergency food assistance, and about 5.9 million children under five years of age will be threatened by acute malnutrition, impacting their lives and development.
  • Highlights of Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016
  • It includes a regional plan that calls for 1.98 billion US dollars to provide vital assistance to millions of people in nine countries across the region.
  • It will focus on tackling dire effects of climate change, abject poverty, fast population growth and a tormenting rise in violence and insecurity in Africa’s Sahel region.
  • It will ensure millions are afforded the most basic assistance and protection they deserve to survive and live a dignified life in the region.
6) Myanmar inaugurated Yangon Stock Exchange.
  • Myanmar inaugurated a new stock exchange, named Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX), with plans for six companies to start trading in March 2016.
  • The exchange was set up by local companies in a joint venture with Daiwa Institute of Research Japan and Japan Exchange Group, which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • The Yangon Stock Exchange will be open only to Myanmar companies and investors and will eventually allow foreigners to invest in Myanmar shares.
  • Myanmar`s economy was stunted by decades of international sanctions until military rulers yielded to a civilian government in 2010

The six companies that will start the business by March 2016 are:

  • First Myanmar Investment Company
  • First Private Bank Limited
  • Great Hor Kham Public
  • Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation
  • Myanmar Citizens Bank
  • Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public
7) Pharmacy chain Medplus to raise 420 crore.
  • MedPlus, the pharmacy chain with 1,300 outlets across the country, is raising 300-420 crore.
  • The firm, which registered a turnover of 1,350 crore in the last financial year, is expecting revenues of 1,800 crore in 2015-16.
  • Medplus holds 20 per cent in the firm, with private equity firms holding about 70 per cent.
  • Investment Banker Credit Suisse has been roped in to pick the strategic investors.
  • The window allows users to choose time slots to let MedPlus staff to come and collect samples. 
8) Sun pharma inks pact for brain therapies.
  • Sun Pharma has entered into a research agreement with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and Spain’s Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela to develop products for treating neurological diseases such as brain stroke and glioblastoma, a lethal brain cancer.
  • Scientists at Weizmann have developed a recombinant enzyme currently undergoing animal studies for indications of brain stroke and glioblastoma.
  • The enzyme may potentially be indicated for uses beyond these two brain diseases.
  • Sun Pharma will have the first right to develop these additional indications.
9) IOC seeks TN help to expedite pipelines.
  • Indian Oil Corporation has sought the help of the Tamil Nadu government to hasten approvals for its two stalled pipeline projects to improve fuel availability in the State at times of crisis such as the one Chennai city faced during the recent rains.
  • The projects, which have been stalled are the Rs. 124 crore Cauvery Basin Refinery Narimanam – Tiruchi product pipeline and Rs. 711 crore LPG pipeline from Chennai to Madurai via Tiruchi, for want of necessary approvals from the State government.
  • The State-run oil company’s moves to expedite the pipelines gain importance as Chennai faced a fuel crisis, following the closure of Manali refinery due to heavy flooding at the premises and the non-availability of truck drivers to move the fuel to retail outlets.
10) Chemical Giants Dow Chemical and DuPont Announce $130 Billion Merger.
  • The Board of Directors of DuPont and Dow Chemical Company unanimously approved a definitive agreement to merge the two companies in an all-stock deal.
  • The merger would combine two companies that sell pesticides, plant foods and genetically modified crops to millions of farmers around the world, and make a variety of chemicals for consumer and industrial products ranging from electronics, automobiles as well as household goods to building materials and safety equipment.
  • The merger brings to a close a record year for deal-making, surpassing a levels unseen since 2007.
  • The merged company will be named DowDuPont and it will have a combined market capitalization of approximately 130 billion dollars at announcement.
Details of Agreement
  • Dow and DuPont shareholders will each own approximately 50 per cent of the combined company, on a fully diluted basis, excluding preferred shares.
  • DuPont shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 1.282 shares in DowDuPont for each DuPont share.
  • Dow shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 1.00 share of DowDuPont for each Dow share.
11) Alibaba agrees to $266 million acquisition deal with South China Morning Post.
  • Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has agreed on a $266 million deal to acquire the South China Morning Post and other media assets of SCMP Group Ltd a deal that has raised a question over the outlook for its editorial independence.
  • The agreement includes acquisition of SCMP Group`s other media assets, such as licenses to the Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper`s Bazaar.
  • The acquisition of the Hong Kong`s flagship English-language newspaper is the most politically sensitive acquisition by the e-commerce giant to date.
  • In June 2015, agreed to pay 194 million dollars for an undisclosed stake in the China Business News, the domestic financial media firm.
12) Quick Estimates of IIP and Use-Based Index for October 2015 released.
  • Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Use-Based Index with the base year 2004-05 for the month of October 2015 were released.
  • It was released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Main highlights of Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • IIP for October 2015 stood at 181.3, which is 9.8% higher as compared to the level in October 2014.
  • The cumulative growth in the three sectors during April-October 2015-16 over the corresponding period of 2014-15 was 2.0%, 5.1% and 5.2% respectively.
  • In terms of industries, seventeen (17) out of the twenty two (22) industry groups the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth.

Main Highlights of Used-Based Index

  • The growth rates in October 2015 over October 2014 was 4.1% in Basic goods, 16.1% in Capital goods and 6.7% in Intermediate goods.

Three important items showing highest positive growth in October 2015 over October 2015 are: `Gems and Jewellery` (372.5%), `Sugar Machinery` (103.4%) and `Telephone Instruments including Mobile Phone and Accessories` (61.5%).

Three important items showing highest negative growth in October 2015 over October 2015 are: `Polythene Bags including HDPE & LDPE Bags` (-) 61.8%, `Ship Building & Repairs` (-) 46.5% and `Grinding Wheels` (-) 36.3%.

 

 

13) FIPB clears FDI proposals worth Rs. 5240 crore.

  • FIPB has approved seven Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs. 5,240 crore including that of India Advantage S4 I, L&T Finance Holdings and Strugence Debt Fund.
  • On the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)...the Government has approved seven proposals of FDI amounting to Rs. 5,240.35 crore.
  • FDI approval to India Advantage Fund S4 I, an alternate investment fund, will bring in Rs. 2,950 crore of foreign capital.
  • Paragon Partners Growth Fund will bring in foreign money to the tune of Rs. 985 crore; L&T Finance Holdings Rs. 707 crore; and Extramarks Education India Rs. 403.15 crore.
14) IOB to raise Rs. 1,570 crore through public offer.
  • State-owned Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) it proposes to raise up to Rs. 1,570 crore at the current market price from the public offer to fund its growth plan.
  • Shares of the bank closed at Rs. 30.45 per unit, down 0.33 per cent on the BSE.
  • The bank would be able to raise Rs. 1,577 crore as per the closing price.
  • The government holding in the bank was 73.80 per cent at the end of September 2015.
 
14) Mahindra to buy Italian Car Designer Pininfarina at Sharp Discount.
  • Mahindra group, with interests from tractors to IT outsourcing, has agreed to buy Italy`s Pininfarina SpA in an all-cash deal valuing the Turin-based car designer at just a quarter of its closing price.
  • Pininfarina, which has designed cars for Ferrari, Maserati, and Rolls-Royce, is the latest Italian industrial brand to be snapped up by an Asian buyer.
  • Mahindra & Mahindra, together with its IT outsourcing arm Tech Mahindra, will buy 76.06 per cent of Turin-based Pininfarina from holding company Pincar at 1.1 euros per share for 25.3 million euros ($28 million).
  • Mahindra has a reputation for buying undervalued companies.
15) Farida group to start manufacturing in West Bengal.
  • Farida group, one of the country’s largest exporters of footwear, will start manufacturing shoes at a new factory in West Bengal.
  • The unit set up at an investment of Rs. 5 crore is located outside Kalyani and will make 3,000 pairs a day.
  • The Rs. 1,300 crore Farida group has eight plants in Tamil Nadu, with two in Chennai and the rest in Ambur.
  • The plants make 25,000 pairs of shoes a day, of which 95 per cent are exported.
  • The company makes leather footwear for 10 leading international brands in more than 40 countries globally.
16) Routesms to invest up to Rs. 30 crore to widen footprint.
  • Mobile messaging service provider Routesms is looking to invest up to Rs. 30 crore in the next six months to expand to 10 new countries.
  • The company is expecting the investment to help achieve a nearly 50 per cent jump in its revenue to Rs. 400 crore during the next fiscal.
  • The company offers transactional and bulk SMS solutions for clients, and sends up to 2 billion messages a month.
  • The transactional SMSes constitute 80 per cent of its revenues, while the share of bulk SMSes which are promotional in nature has gone down to 20 per cent following regulatory concerns. 
16) SEBI links commodity trade data with its surveillance systems.
  • For better surveillance of commodities derivatives market, regulator Sebi has integrated trading data flow from various commodity exchanges to its own integrated surveillance and intelligence systems.
  • Merger of commodity market regulator FMC, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has become the unified regulator for the entire securities market.
  • The merger was proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech for 2015-16 in February 2015.
  • SEBI has also formed two divisions in its Integrated Surveillance Department (ISD), which have been adequately manned for effective surveillance and monitoring of the commodity derivatives market.
17) Natco Pharma gets DCGI nod to sell hepatitis C treatment drug.
  • Drug major Natco Pharma has got approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to sell generic version of Daclatasvir, which is used for treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
  • Daclatasvir is the first-in-class NS5A inhibitor used in combination with Sofosbuvir for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 3 infection.
  • Natco Pharma becomes the first in India to get approval for generic Daclatasvir Dihydrochloride (Daclatasvir) tablets, 30 mg & 60 mg, from the Drugs Controller General (India).
  • Natco it will market generic Daclatasvir under its own brand ‘NATDAC’, and through its strategic partners in India.
  • Natco launched immediately in India at Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 4,000 for the 60 mg and 30 mg strengths, respectively, for a bottle of 28 tablets.
18) Rupee slips past 67 a dollar.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intervened in the foreign exchange market as the rupee weakened to a more than two-year-low of 67 a dollar.
  • The rupee closed at 66.69 a dollar as compared to the previous close of 66.65.
  • Signs that the U.S. Fed is on course to increase interest rates this month have spurred investors to move out of emerging market economies and to safer assets.
  • The equity markets were also weak, with the Sensex closing almost 250 points, or 1 per cent, lower than its previous close.
  • The ECB reduced its deposit rate into negative territory to boost the European economy and it will continue to buy government bonds and other assets until March 2017, six months longer than previously planned.
19) Paharpur acquires SPX cooling Tech.
  • Kolkata-based cooling tower manufacturer Paharpur Cooling Towers has acquired Brussels-based SPX Cooling Technologies Inc`s dry cooling business globally for $48 million (around Rs. 320 crore) subject to adjustments for working capital.
  • The deal also includes SPX`s stake in its joint venture with Shanghai Electric.
  • SPX`s dry cooling is a leading supplier of highly engineered large dry cooling systems globally used in power plants.
  • SPX has one of the largest installed base worldwide with air-cooled steam condensers installed in over 200 power plants representing in excess of 130 GW of global installed power generation capacity.
  • The company`s plants are in China, it has engineering, sales and operations in Belgium, USA, China and South Korea. 

 

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