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Person Current Affairs October 2nd Week 2017
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Person Current Affairs October 2nd Week 2017

1. Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan name figures in the list of possible winners of Nobel Prize in Economics.

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan’s name figures in this year’s list of possible winners of Nobel Prize in economics brought out by Clarivate Analytics. The economics prize will be announced in Stockholm on Monday, according to the official website of the Nobel Prize.

Clarivate Analytics, earlier a Thomson Reuters unit, publishes a list of possible Nobel Prize winners based on research citations, ahead of the formal announcement by the Nobel committee. Rajan is currently the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

Giving the list of six possible candidates for the economics Nobel, Clarivate said these were Citation Laureates – standouts whose research is clearly “of Nobel Class” according to its significance and utility, as attested by markedly high citation tallies recorded in the Web of Science.

According to information available on Clarivate’s website, in the last 15 years, 45 of the selected researchers had gone on to receive a Nobel – nine in the same year in which they were tipped by Clarivate and 18 within two years of the distinction. 

Rajan’s three-year term as RBI governor ended on September 4, 2016.

Exactly one year after his term as RBI governor came to an end, Rajan published a book with his “commentary and speeches” to convey what it was like to be at the helm of the central bank in “those turbulent but exciting times”.

Rajan, who was considered a vocal RBI Governor, in his book “I Do What I Do” said “The demonetisation tool used by the Indian government to drive out black money could have long-term benefits but its short-term economic costs would outweigh them.”

“I was asked by the government in February 2016 for my views on demonetisation, which I gave orally. Although there might be long-term benefits, I felt the likely short-term economic costs would outweigh them, and felt there were potentially better alternatives to achieve the main goal,” he wrote.

The Indian government undertook the demonetisation drive on November 8, 2016 by banning high denomination Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. Rajan is said to have predicted the 2008 market crash caused by the housing market crisis in the US that put its economy into deep recession and set off a global slowdown.

In 2011, he published the acclaimed “Fault Lines” on how hidden financial fractures threaten the world economy. He has won the British magazine Central Banking’s Central Banker of the Year award for his handling of the rupee crisis in 2013 and bringing back foreign investors to the country.

A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Rajan served as visiting professor at Stockholm School of Economics and at Kellogg School of Management. He was also a visiting professor at MIT Sloan School of Management.
 
2. Famous Filmmaker Kundan Shah passes away.
Famous Filmmaker Kundan Shah passes away
The mere mention of Kundan Shah, the director of the seminal Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) is enough to make a cinephile smile, but there was much more to the filmmaker than this cult classic. In many ways, Shah, the acclaimed filmmaker, who passed away on 7 October 2017, was responsible for bringing much joy into our insipid existence in the 1980s.

The 1980s have been derided for being the worst phase for Hindi cinema but it was also a period where a new breed of filmmakers from across the spectrum came into their own. In an era where five or six different generation of popular filmmakers ranging from a Raj Khosla, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Raj Kapoor, Nasir Husain, Vijay Anand, to Yash Chopra, Brij, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, to Rahul Rawail, Subhash Ghai, and Mukul S. Anand were making films, the Parallel Cinema movement that had begun with Mani Kaul and Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome and found it’s feet with Shyam Benegal’s productions in the 1970s was delivering its best works. If the decade had started with Saeed Akhtar Mirza’a Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai (1980) and scaled greater heights with Govind Nihalani’s Ardh Satya (1983), Kundan Shah’s debut Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro set the gold standard for the slapstick comedy genre that continues to remain peerless even after three and a half decades.

A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro not only revived the genre that had not seen much interest since the early days of Kishore Kumar but also captured the abject hopelessness of the common man in the 1980s. The story of two bumbling photographers Vinod Chopra (Naseeruddin Shah) and Sudhir Mishra (Ravi Baswani), who unearth the murder of the police commissioner (Satish Shah) by a property developer Tarneja (Pankaj Kapur) directly referred to the state of affairs in then Bombay. A satirical indictment of what was wrong with us as a nation back then, the film’s climax where the two photographers that were representative of the common man get framed for the collapse of a flyover was also an unmistakably scathing reminder of how the janta paid the price. The film’s long-drawn climax where the two photographers, the commissioner’s dead body, and nearly every single character become a part of a stage production of Mahabharat audaciously commented on the helplessness of the common man.

More than Shah’s films, it was his body of work on the small screen that made him a well-known name across India. Television in the India of the 1980s had just one channel, the national broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) and Shah’s Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984) was a landmark moment in India’s television history. DD had just started sponsoring its programs and Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi became one of the first sitcoms and also the biggest hit show on Indian television. Shah had also formed Iskra, a production house with fellow FTII alumni Saeed Akhtar Mirza and they produced Nukkad (1986) a series set on a Bombay street corner and later went on to direct Manoranjan (1987) a comedy based on the film industry and in 1988, he helmed Wagle Ki Duniya (1988), that was based on RK Laxman’s character, the common man.

In the 1990s Shah returned to films after a decade-long absence with Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994) and found an instant connection with the audiences. Co-written with Pankaj Advani, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa released in the same period when Khan had two massive hits in Baazigar (1993) and Darr (1993) and the actor great critical acclaim and remains one of his finest performances. Shah also directed the pre-marital pregnancy drama Kya Kehna (2000), which became a surprise hit but his later films Hum To Mohabbat Karega (2000) and Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002) were near washouts
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A writer once said that a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. For most Indians in the 1980s, the presence or absence of the first two — someone to love and something to do — hardly mattered thanks to the general mood of all-around disdain that engulfed everyday existence. For a majority of us, the only thing that was worth seeking was something to hope for and anyone, or anything that even suggested that in any degree was lapped up with both hands. It is for this very reason that Kundan Shah mattered more to millions of Indians than one would like to imagine. A dazzling mix of the comic and an acute sense of failure of human aspiration, Shah’s art was not interested in hiding the fact that life was cruel. Yet at the same Shah could make it deeply compassionate. Hindi cinema is very conscious to resolve things and as the narrative races towards a conclusion it often trades just about everything in order to set it right but Shah’s finest works — Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na or Wagle Ki Duniya — couldn’t care less.

Although Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa very conveniently has a ‘girl’ (Juhi Chawla) waltzing in at the last moment to soothe the heartbroken boy (Shah Rukh Khan), this could be attributed to it being a ‘commercial’ film but despite being an aberration to this dictum, Shah’s works somehow instilled hope. Even that glimmer of hope was good enough for us back in the day. Kundan Shah and his work and what it means to us could be best encapsulated by a quote from John Guare’s play Landscape of the Body where the Irish-American playwright observed: “It`s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
 
3. President launches Mata Amritanandamayi Math Project Jeevamritham in Kerala.
President launches Mata Amritanandamayi Math Project Jeevamritham in Kerala
President Ram Nath Kovind has said, the Nation requires more people who use their knowledge for the betterment of the nation and society. He was speaking at an event 

in Amrithapuri in Kollam in Kerala.

President launched 100 crore rupees Mata Amritanandamayi Math Project “Jeevamritham “to provide filtration system for cleaning drinking water to 5000 villages across 
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India, in kollam district in kerala today.

The President also distributed the certificates to three village out of 12 villages in the States of Bihar, UP, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chatisgarh, Uttarakand, 

Maharashtra and kerala, which were adopted by the Math, verified as Open Defecation Free by Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.

President Ram Nath Kovind also bestowed certificates to 5 out of 1940 free surgeries held at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research center in Kochi.
 
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays Foundation Stone for Bhadbhut Barrage over Narmada River.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays Foundation Stone for Bhadbhut Barrage over Narmada River
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for the Rs 4,337-crore Bhadbhut Barrage project here which aims to stop the ingress of salinity along the Narmada river.

Modi, on the second day of his two-day visit to poll- bound Gujarat, also flagged off a new train between Udhna in Surat and Jaynagar in Bihar.

The prime minister also inaugurated various neem-related projects of the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Company Limited (GNFC), and said the idea of 100 per cent neem-coated urea, conceived by his government, has stopped its pilferage and helped in addressing the problem of urea shortage faced by farmers.

Addressing a public meeting, Modi said the barrage project will solve the issue of drinking water for Bharuch, and also open up new channels for fisheries.


"Thousands of bighas of land has turned infertile due to salinity of sea water, which (the land) has to be revived. We also have to provide drinking water to people. 

Thanks to the Gujarat government for this project. I am confident it will be completed in three years," he said.

"Coming together of river and ocean is good for fisheries. The barrage will be made using scientific methods, to stop saline water, improve drinking water and make two channels for fisheries," Modi said.

A bridge that will be constructed across the barrage, joining Dahej to Hazira, will help create twin industrial cities and reduce the distance between them, he said.

"The bridge will reduce the journey to Hazira by 20 kilometres, and help save fuel, environment and also time. Joining Hazira with Dahej will also make them twin industrial cities," he said.

Modi lauded the GNFC for its projects and said it has helped four lakh rural women who collect and sell the neem fruit and seeds.

"Bharuch GNFC has bought neem fruit and seeds and helped them earn Rs 40 crore. This is extra money, wealth from waste," he said.

The 100 per cent neem-coated urea project of the government has prevented theft of subsidised urea for use as a raw material in the chemical industry, the prime minister said.

"Earlier I used to write letters to the central government asking for more urea due to its shortage. When I became prime minister, I also used to get letters...For the last two years, not a single chief minister has written to me for urea," he said.
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"Won`t urea thieves conspire against me (for stopping pilferage)? But this is Modi. He has grown up on the soil of Gujarat, in the land of Gandhi and Sardar Patel," he said.

Flagging off a second `Antyodaya train` from Udhna in Surat to Jaynagar, Modi said it will help migrants from Bihar, who work in Gujarat, to go home during Diwali and Chhat Puja.

"A hardworking person leaves his old parents back home and comes to work in Gujarat. But during festival season, he faces hardship going back home. To ensure that our friends from Bihar and UP can go back home easily, we have emphasised starting long-route rail service," he said.

Modi said his government has started Antyodaya Express and Mahamana Express, connecting Vadodara to Varanasi, to join Gujarat with Bihar.

"These trains have become a great facility for people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh... (Mahamana Express) will help people to go on pilgrimage to Kashi Vishwanath (in Varanasi) and visit your Modi`s Lok Sabha constituency," he said.
 
5. Rajesh Nath Gets Germany`s Highest Civilian Honour.
Rajesh Nath, Managing Director of VDMA India, has been conferred the ‘Cross of the Order of Merit’, the highest civilian honour awarded to individuals for their services to Germany.

The award, also known as Bundesverdienstkreuz or Federal Cross of Merit was instituted in 1951 and is Germany’s only honour that is awarded to both Germans and foreigners for achievements in the economic, social, political or intellectual realms.

The Cross of Merit, along with the certificate signed by the President of Germany, was handed over by the Consul-General of Germany in Kolkata, Dr Michael Feiner.
 
6. Tyrrell Hatton retains Dunhill Links Championship title.
Tyrrell Hatton retains Dunhill Links Championship title
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton became the first man to retain the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title as he won by three shots after a six-under-par final round at St. Andrews on Sunday.

The world number 29 started the day five shots clear of the field and carded a 66 to win on 24-under ahead of compatriot Ross Fisher, who set a course record with an 11-under 61.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Hatton. “It felt so much harder than last year, maybe that’s just a bit more pressure on myself but I’m so happy that I managed to defend it and what a great week again.

“What a great round of golf from Fish, it’s amazing. He pushed me all the way and I was very happy to get over the line.”

Fisher, who played in the 2010 Ryder Cup, made 11 birdies for the lowest score in more than 13,300 professional rounds at the Old Course. He missed an eagle putt for a 59 at the last. It was the second year in a row that Fisher had finished second at the Dunhill Links, this time four shots clear of Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who carded a 63.
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“To go out and shoot a score like that with no bogeys, I just saw the lines and was hitting good putts and they were going in,” said Fisher.

“You almost want to keep going and I didn’t want it to end. At the home of golf I wanted to try and give that putt on the last a try for 59 and just came up a bit shy.

“Unfortunately I’ve got to sign for a 61 but I’ll definitely take it.”
 
7. Rafael Nadal Wins China Open Title.
Rafael Nadal Wins China Open Title 
World number one Rafael Nadal demolished Nick Kyrgios to win his sixth title of the season at the China Open.

The Spaniard won nine games in a row on his way to a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 victory to reclaim the trophy he last won in 2005.

World number one Rafael Nadal demolished Nick Kyrgios to win his sixth title of the season at the China Open.

The Spaniard won nine games in a row on his way to a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 victory to reclaim the trophy he last won in 2005.

However, having then been angered by a line call the Australian proceeded to complain to the umpire at two changes of end, which eventually cost him a penalty point at the start of the eighth game.
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Nadal duly clinched his second break to take the first set, and despite a spirited response from Kyrgios who forced break points in the third game of the second, there was no stopping the 31-year-old.

"In 2005 when I won here I never thought that in 2017 I would still be playing tennis! I’m very happy to be here and to win the title," he said afterwards. "For me this is a very important victory. It’s great to have a team like this behind me during a great season."

In Tokyo, David Goffin captured his second ATP title in a week at the Japan Open. The Belgian fourth seed, fresh from his victory at the Shenzhen Open, beat Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3 7-5 in an hour and 24 minutes.
 
8. Jagdish Mukhi sworn in as new Governor of Assam.
 
 
Jagdish Mukhi was on Tuesday sworn in as the governor of Assam.

He was administered the oath of office by Gauhati high court Chief Justice Ajit Singh at a function in the Srimanta Sankardeva International Convention Centre here.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his cabinet colleagues and senior officials were present at the swearing-in ceremony.

In his previous assignment, Mukhi served as the lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

He succeeded Banwarilal Purohit who has been appointed as the governor of Tamil Nadu.

Mukhi offered prayers at Kamakhya Temple after assuming charge.

The governor told reporters outside the temple that he feels blessed and is grateful to President Ram Nath Kovind for appointing him as the governor of Assam.

“I am fortunate to be appointed as the governor of a state whose heritage and composite culture has been an example of unity and harmony”, he said.

As governor, “I will work with my government and ensure that welfare of people are taken care of and decisions are taken according to rules and law of the land”, he said.

The governor also visited Bhupen Hazarika’s Memorial at Jalukbari and planted a sapling there.
 
9. Nisha Desai Biswal Appointed as President of USIBC.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced that the Hon. Nisha Desai Biswal has been appointed President of the U.S.-India Business Council. “We are thrilled to welcome Nisha Biswal to the U.S.-India Business Council and to the U.S. Chamber team,” said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and head of International Affairs. “She is a driven, visionary leader who has a strong record of advancing United States business across the growth markets of Asia and throughout India. Under her strong leadership, we’re confident the U.S.-India Business Council will play a critical role growing commercial partnership, investment, and innovation across the world’s oldest and largest democracies.”
 
Biswal served as Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State from 2013 to 2017, where she oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation, including launching the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. In recognition of her efforts, Biswal was awarded the prestigious Samman Award by the President of India in January 2017. She previously served as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Biswal also spent over ten years on Capitol Hill, serving as staff director on the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. ? Most recently, she was a senior advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she helped expand the firm’s India and South Asia practice.
 
“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead the U.S.-India Business Council and to join the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a period of historic opportunity for both countries,” said Biswal. “As one of the most significant and fastest growing markets, India is an important economic partner for the United States. Likewise, Indian companies are investing in ever greater numbers here in the United States. I am proud to be part of an organization which will play such a critical role shaping U.S.-India relations, and I am thrilled at the chance to help our companies deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for the citizens of the United States and India.” Biswal has served on the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and is a current member of the U.S. Institute of Peace International Advisory Council and the Institute for Sustainable Communities Board of Directors.
 
“UPS applauds Nisha being named as the new president of the U.S.-India Business Council,” said Jim Barber, president of UPS International. “At this critical time, she will bring dynamic leadership and well-established economic expertise to the mission of improving the U.S.-India relationship.” Biswal will join the U.S. Chamber beginning October 23, 2017.
 
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 350 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.
 
10. V M Kwatra Appointed Ambassador to Principality of Monaco.
 
 
Vinay Mohan Kwatra (IFS:1988), has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Principality of Monaco, with residence in Paris. Currently, he serves as Ambassador of India to France.

Kwatra was in October 2015 appointed OSD (JS rank) in PMO vice Jawed Ashraf. He would have continued in PMO till October 2018 but he was named as Indian Ambassador to France in May 2017; more than a year before he completed his tenure in PMO. It may be noted that Sanjiv Singla had replaced Kawatra in PMO.

 11. Gautam Bambawale appointed as India`s Ambassador to China.

India on Thursday announced the appointment of Gautam Bambawale as its next ambassador to China.

Bambawale, an Indian foreign service officer of the 1984 batch is currently India’s high commissioner to Pakistan.

Bambawale was previously India’s ambassador to Bhutan. He has also handled the China desk in the Indian foreign ministry that looks after relations with Japan, China, South Korea, Mongolia and North Korea. One of the first tasks in front of Bambawale will be to stabilise India-China ties rocked by a military face off in the Dokalam area of Bhutan that lasted 73 days.

The two sides agreed to disengage on 28 August, paving the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit China for the BRICS summit in early September.

Bambawale’s appointment clears the way for India’s ambassador to Poland, Ajay Bisaria, to be named India’s high commissioner to Pakistan.
 
12. Former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay elected as the new Director General of UNESCO.
Former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay elected as the new Director General of UNESCO
UNESCO’s executive board today chose former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay to be the UN cultural agency’s next leader over a Qatari candidate in an unusually heated race overshadowed by Mideast tensions.

The US announcement this week that it’s quitting UNESCO rocked the multi-day election and heightened concerns about the agency’s funding and future direction.

Azoulay succeeds outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, whose eight-year term was marred by financial woes and criticism over Palestine’s inclusion as a member.

Yesterday, the US and Israel said they plan to pull out of the Paris-based organisation over its perceived anti-Israel bias.

The 45-year-old took the stage to chants of “Audrey! Audrey!” following her victory and said the response to UNESCO’s problems was to reform the agency, not to walk away, an understated rebuke of the US and Israel.

“In this moment of crisis, I believe we must invest in UNESCO more than ever, look to support and reinforce it, and to reform it. And not leave it,” she said.

In a short address, she also thanked “the Executive Board member states that gave me their trust” in her surprise 30-28 vote win today over Qatari candidate Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari.

UNESCO’s general assembly will have to sign off next month on the executive board’s leadership pick, but it’s seen as a formality.

The new director will set priorities for the organisation best known for its World Heritage Programme to protect cultural sites and traditions.

The agency also works to improve education for girls, promote an understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, defend media freedom and coordinate science about climate change.
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Azoulay, a Jewish woman, had started the week’s voting with much less support but built up backing as other candidates dropped out and won a runoff earlier today against Egypt’s candidate.

The vote was a huge blow to Arab states, who had long wanted to lead the UN educational, scientific and cultural organisation.

UNESCO has previously had European, Asian, African and American chiefs, but never an Arab one since the organisation was founded in 1945 following World War II to promote world peace through culture.

The agency’s inclusion of Palestine as a member state in 2011 complicated this push, as did Qatar’s diplomatic dispute with Arab neighbours over accusations of sponsoring Islamic extremism.

Azoulay will be the second French leader of the organisation since Rene Maheu, UNESCO’s director general from 1961-74. Azoulay’s father is Moroccan and was an influential adviser to Moroccan kings, so she does have a connection to the Arab world.
 
13. Arjen Robben announced his retirement from International Football after World Cup qualifying failure.
 
 
Robben, the Bayern Munich winger, netted both goals during Tuesday`s 2-0 defeat of Sweden, which was not enough to overtake them in the hunt for a place in Russia next summer.

The Dutch had to win by a seven-goal margin, but in failing to do so they will sit out their second successive international tournament - having also failed to qualify for Euro 2016.

The 33-year-old, whose club career has also taken in spells with Chelsea and Real Madrid, retires from the international game with 37 goals and 29 assists to his name from 96 appearances.

After the final whistle in Amsterdam, Robben said: "It`s a good time to pass the torch to the next generation."

 14. Mobikwik appoints former Jabong Vice president Rukaiya Rangwala as the business head of its payments gateway.

Digital wallet major MobiKwik has appointed former Jabong vice-president Rukaiya Rangwala as the business head of its payments gateway business. Last week, the company had re-launched Zaakpay as MobiKwik Payment Gateway.

Rangwala, a technology and e-commerce industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, has worked across the US, Singapore, Japan and India.

“Her (Rukaiya) extensive experience in business development, expertise in managing operations and strong financial understanding will be instrumental as we aim to grow over 200% by next year,” said MobiKwik co-founder Upasana Taku.

The company aims to have over $5 billion worth of transactions on its platform by the end of 2017-18. “MobiKwik Payment Gateway has already done transactions worth $1.8 billion this year,” it said.
MobiKwik had re-launched the gateway with new updates such as flagging a risky transaction even before it reached the banks, and the auto retry feature that would direct the user back to the page if a transaction failed.
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The company said that it was expanding its payment gateway team to 100 across its Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Bangalore offices by the end of the current financial year. At present, it powers payments for over 30,000 ecommerce websites and apps, and aims to double the figure this fiscal year.

Its clients include UBER, Zomato, Domino’s, IRCTC, Grofers, Instamojo and Easemytrip, among others.

MobiKwik, which claims to have a network of over 2 million direct merchants and over 60 million-plus users, has so far raised about $115 million from Bajaf Finance, Sequoia Capital, Net1, Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express and MediaTek. In August, it had raised about Rs 225 crore from Bajaj Finance Ltd.
 
15. Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun resigns as Company Predicts record profits.
Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun resigns as Company Predicts record profits
Samsung Electronics Co. posted record profit on booming demand for displays and memory chips, setting the stage for co-vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun to step down and move the South Korean company past a corruption scandal.

Kwon, who also served as chief executive officer, announced his retirement on Friday after the Suwon-based company reported that operating income almost tripled to ¥14.5 trillion ($12.8 billion) in the three months ended September. That topped the ¥14.3 trillion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Third-quarter revenue matched predictions at ¥62 trillion won.

Kwon ran Samsung Electronics with Jay Y. Lee, heir to the company’s founder and de facto chief, who was sentenced to five years in prison in August for bribing a presidential confidante in return for help in succeeding his father. The younger Lee has appealed, and denies the charges. While the trial has blemished Samsung’s corporate image, that hasn’t dented demand for its products. The world’s largest maker of memory chips can rely on steady demand for the components, which are used in smartphones, personal computers and data centers.

“Kwon has been the face of Samsung since legal troubles began for Lee,” said Chung Sun-sup, head of corporate analysis firm chaebul.com. “For some time to come, though, the company won’t have anyone to go out there and interact publicly.”

Friday’s results didn’t include net income or break out divisional performance. Final numbers are usually released two weeks later. Samsung’s shares fell less than 1% by midday Friday in Seoul. They have climbed more than 50% this year.

Kwon, a semiconductor engineer, has met with president Moon Jae-in and attended events both at home and abroad since Lee was detained in February on corruption charges. Kwon will resign from the management board in March next year when his term ends, the company said.

“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” Kwon said in the statement.

Mark Newman, senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein said Kwon’s top deputies, president J. K. Shin, who is in charge of mobile products, or Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung’s semiconductor business, may be in line to succeed Kwon.

“It’s definitely unexpected,” Newman said. “I think the company is going to be fine. The company just needs to find a way to fill this hole that Kwon is leaving.”
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Lee’s conviction in August is part of a bigger corruption scandal that brought down South Korea’s president. Samsung Electronics is the crown jewel of a conglomerate comprised of about 60 units selling selling life insurance, cargo ships and clothes.

Despite the trial, the company’s business has remained robust, helped by strong demand for memory chips. Contract prices for 32 gigabyte DRAM server modules climbed 7.2% in the September quarter from the June period while prices for 128 gigabit MLC NAND flash memory chips rose 4.7% in the same period, according to inSpectrum Tech Inc.

“It’s the chip prices that are driving up the profit rather than the sales volumes,” said Park Kang-ho, an analyst at Daishin Securities. “We’re expecting an operating profit of about 16 trillion won in the next quarter.”

Samsung also leads in the next generation of screens called organic light-emitting diode displays, supplying them to Apple and other smartphone makers, even as it competes for dominance in the global market. It’s also seeking to release a phone with a bendable display next year to tighten the lead with Apple and fend off challenges from Huawei Technologies Co., Oppo and other Chinese rivals.

Samsung is counting on the S8 and Note 8 smartphones released this year to recover from last year’s debacle with the Note 7. The company may benefit if Apple is unable to deliver a high volume of iPhone X smartphones as planned this year. 

 

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