Saturday, January 25, 2014

Current Affairs - 25 January 2014

Posco to await forest clearance nod

  • The National Green Tribunal has barred Korean steel giant Posco from cutting any tree on the land to be acquired in Odisha for its integrated plant until the State government hands over a formal forest clearance to the project under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
  • The NGT was hearing a petition filed by activists demanding that the company not cut trees as the State government had failed to give a forest clearance for months.
  • The State had so far argued that it was not required to give one, and the in-principle nod from the Union Environment and Forests Ministry sufficed.
  • The tribunal had earlier put a stay on felling of trees, which it said would continue till the State gave the clearance.

Government appointrd panel favours total autonomy for Prasar Bharati

  • Government-appointed committee recommends a third arm for new emerging media
  • Making out a strong case for granting total autonomy to Prasar Bharati, a government-appointed expert committee has recommended amendments to the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990 to give “effective freedom to the public broadcaster with administrative and financial powers.”
  • The committee also strongly batted for the use of social media by Prasar Bharati “which can be implemented immediately” and defining a social media strategy for the organisation.
  • It has called for setting up of a ‘Prasar Bharati connect’ as a third arm of the public service broadcaster independent of the Doordarshan and All India Radio and mandate it to manage the various social media initiatives of the organisation.
  • Headed by Sam Pitroda, the committee has said a funding mechanism should be developed for Prasar Bharati to address the need for autonomy with financial accountability.
  • The report was presented to Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari here on Friday.

Indo-Japan relation

  • When former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi travelled to New Delhi in 2005, he was the first Japanese leader to visit India in more than half a decade.
  • His visit took place at a time when Tokyo appeared somewhat wary towards India’s overtures for building closer defence ties.
  • Fast forward a decade, and the relationship has appeared to have come full circle.
  • It is now Tokyo that appears eager to broaden the security relationship with India, even pushing to sell its home-grown amphibious aircraft.
  • Mr. Koizumi’s visit has since come to be seen as a turning point. The past decade has seen an unprecedented level of engagement between both countries, underlined by regular annual summit meetings between their Prime Ministers, a rare occurrence in India’s diplomacy with most countries.

Hurdles for Walmart in Indian market

  • Eyeing India as a long-term growth market, U.S.-based retail giant Walmart said it was now focussing on expanding its wholesale retail business in the country and would wait for further clarity on rules for entering the multi-brand retail business.
  • “We will continue to serve the shopkeepers, kiranas and farmers using that format and grow that business in India,” said Mr. McMillon, who is here to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting.
  • When asked about registering a new company in India earlier this month, he said Walmart was positioning itself for the future, but the focus for the moment remained on Best Price cash and carry format.
  • Mr.McMillon said it was not possible as of now to predict any timeline for multi-brand entry as it would depend on the decision taken by the “people of India and the government of India with regard to the regulations for foreign direct investment.”

U.S. opens dumping probe on Chinese solar cells

  • The U.S. Commerce Department, on Thursday, opened an investigation into whether China and Taiwan were dumping a certain class of solar cells into the U.S. market at below the fair market value.
  • Launching the latest round in an ongoing dispute with China over solar energy products, the department took aim at some $2.6 billion in imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from the two countries.

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