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♦ China pledges RMB 150 million assistance to Nepal Army
- China has pledged to provide assistance of RMB 150 million to the Nepalese Army over a period of five years for humanitarian and disaster relief equipment.
- The Chinese assistance — equivalent to Nepalese Rs. 2.5 billion — was announced during Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel’s visit to China.
- Mr. Pokhrel returned to Kathmandu on Tuesday on conclusion of his week-long visit.
- During the visit, Mr. Pokhrel and Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect. With the latest aid, China’s financial support to the Nepalese Army has increased by 50 per cent.
- Mr. Pokhrel held separate meetings with Chinese counterpart Wei and Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China Gen Xu Qiliang.
- Last year, China had extended RMB 100 million for humanitarian and disaster relief equipment to Nepal’s Army.
- China has hiked defence assistance to the Nepalese Army in recent years.
- Mr. Pokhrel also attended the eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum from October 24-26 that witnessed participation of more than 500 representatives from 67 countries and seven organisations from around the world.
- The forum was themed ‘Building a new type of security partnership of equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation’
- Formerly known as the Xiangshan Forum, it was launched for the first time in 2006 with the objective of promoting cooperation among security officials, armed forces, international organisations and experts.
♦ Rajapaksa assumes charge as new Sri Lankan Prime Minister
- Former Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday assumed charge as Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister after the surprise sacking of his predecessor Ranil Wickremesinghe by President Maithripala Sirisena which plunged the island nation into an unprecedented political crisis.
- Mr. Rajapaksa assumed the duties in the Prime Minister’s secretariat which was not used by the ousted Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, officials from his Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) said.
- Mr. Sirisena on Friday night sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe and appointed Mr. Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister in a surprise move that is being debated as a constitutional coup.
- Mr. Sirisena also suspended Parliament till November 16 after Mr. Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.
- On Sunday, Sri Lankan Parliament’s Speaker Karu Jayasuriya recognised Mr. Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. At least a few Cabinet members will to be sworn in later, the party officials said.
- “There will be Ministers of finance, law and order, foreign and home affairs who would be sworn in,” said a spokesman of the SLPP.
- Mr. Wickremesinghe continues to remain in his Temple Trees office cum residence of the Prime Minister.
- President Sirisena has summoned the Colombo-based diplomats for a briefing at 5 pm on Monday.
♦ Rahul Dravid inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
- Former India captain Rahul Dravid was Thursday inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame at a brief function here ahead of the final ODI between India and the West Indies.
- Dravid became only the fifth player from India to be named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
- Legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar presided over the formalities.
- The ICC, on July 2, announced his induction into the Hall of Fame.
- Dravid joins an elite list that includes Bishan Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Gavaskar and Anil Kumble.
- Dravid aggregated 13,288 runs in 164 Tests with 36 centuries and 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs with 12 centuries, and was in 2004 named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year as well as the ICC Test Player of the Year.
- Dravid, who played a solitary Twenty20 International, was also a brilliant slip fielder and finished his Test career in 2012 with 210 catches, which is a world record.
- “It is a matter of great honour to be named by the ICC in the Cricket Hall of Fame. To find your name in a list of all-time greats across generations is something one only dreams of while setting out on a cricket career and the kind of recognition that would delight any player,” Dravid was quoted as saying in an ICC media release after the induction
♦ Madras HC bans online sale of drugs
- A writ petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association had sought a ban on websites that facilitate online sale of drugs.
- The petition wanted the ban to be in place till the Centre brings into force a legal framework for permitting such sales.
- Senior counsel AR.L. Sundaresan said it was a matter of serious concern that online sale of drugs listed in Schedule H, H1 and X of the 1940 Act was rampant in the country though there was a specific legal bar on selling such medicines without the prescription of medical practitioners.
- The judge concurred: “This cannot be allowed. Thousands of innocent people may purchase the drugs online just because they were sold at cheaper prices and end up getting harmful products. What will happen if steroids are allowed to be sold without any prescription? This court shall examine the issue in detail.”
- The petition said the Drugs and Cosmetics Act was enacted during the colonial era and much before the advent of online trade. Though several amendments had been made to the law over the last 78 years, so far no provision had been introduced in it permitting online sale of drugs and medicines.
- “As per the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules of 1945, it is not permitted to ship, mail or provide door delivery of the prescribed medicines… Yet, drugs of scheduled and non scheduled category are available online and distributed across the country,” it claimed.
♦ GST collection crosses Rs 1-trillion mark in October: Arun Jaitley
- For the first time since April, Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection for a single month has crossed Rs 1 trillion.
- “GST collections for October 2018 have crossed Rs. 1 lakh crore (1 trillion). The success of GST is lower rates, lesser evasion, higher compliance, only one tax and negligible interference by taxation authorities,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a tweet.
- GST collections for October 2018 have crossed Rs. 1 lakh crore. The success of GST is lower rates, lesser evasion, higher compliance, only one tax and negligible interference by taxation authorities.
- After it touched the one trillion mark for first time in April 2018, GST collections had missed the target for five straight months.
- The collections stood at Rs 940.16 billion in May, Rs 956.10 billion in June, Rs 964.83 billion in July, Rs 939.60 billion in August and Rs 944.42 billion in September.
- The Finance Ministry had targeted monthly GST collections to be Rs 1 trillion for this fiscal.
- GST rate cut on a range of products from July 27 likely to have resulted in the subdued numbers.
♦ Manufacturing PMI up at 53.1 in Oct on new business orders, employment push
- The country’s manufacturing sector activity improved in October, as firms scaled up production and employment levels amid strong rise in new business order flows, a monthly survey said Thursday.
- The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index strengthened from 52.2 in September to 53.1 in October as new orders and production increased at the quickest rate in four months.
- This is the 15th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI remained above the 50-point mark. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
- New orders increased at a sharp rate during October and panellists attributed this rise to successful advertising efforts, strengthening underlying demand and competitive price-setting. The rise in new order flows was the fastest since June.
- “A combination of domestic and foreign orders fuelled the upturn in overall activity, although export orders displayed the slowest expansion since July, total new work rose at the sharpest pace since mid-year,” said Pollyanna De Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report.
- Manufacturers stepped up hiring in October to meet rising demand conditions; and job-creation during the month was the strongest since last December
♦ Google workers stage global walk out on its handling of sexual harassment
- Hundreds of Google engineers and other workers around the world walked off the job Thursday to protest the internet company’s lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct.
- It is the latest expression of a backlash against men’s exploitation of female subordinates in a business, entertainment and politics.
- In Silicon Valley, women also are becoming fed up with the male-dominated composition of the technology industry’s workforce a glaring imbalance that critics say fosters unsavoury behaviour akin to a college fraternity house
- Employees were seen staging walkouts at offices from Tokyo and Singapore to London and Dublin.
- The Google protest, billed “Walkout For Real Change,” is unfolding a week after a New York Times story detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about creator of its Android software, Andy Rubin.
- The report said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 even though Google concluded the sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible.
- Rubin derided the Times story article as inaccurate and denied the allegations in a tweet.
- The same story also disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct of other executives, including Richard DeVaul, a director at the same Google-affiliated lab that created far-flung projects such as self-driving cars and internet-beaming balloons.
- DeVaul had remained at the “X” lab after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced about him a few years ago, but he resigned Tuesday without severance, Google confirmed Wednesday.
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