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Current Affairs Notes 1-Jan-2013

NYT journalist forced to leave China; website blocked

· Chris Buckley (45), an Australian who has worked as a correspondent in China since 2000 has been forced to leave the country after his visa was not renewed, in an apparent retaliation for the paper’s report that alleged Premier Wen Jiabao’s family had amassed USD 2.7 billion in assets.

· Besides Mr. Buckley’s visa, China has also kept on hold new Beijing bureau chief Philip P. Pan’s accreditation.

U.S. regulators approve new tuberculosis drug

· The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved a Johnson & Johnson tuberculosis drug Sirturo, for use with older drugs to fight a hard-to-treat strain of tuberculosis that has not responded to other medications.

· Sirturo, known chemically as bedaquiline, is the first medicine specifically designed for treating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

· The drug carries a boxed warning indicating that it can interfere with the heart’s electrical activity, potentially leading to fatal heart rhythms.

· Nine patients taking Sirturo died in company testing despite the deaths, the FDA approved the drug under its accelerated approval program, which allows the agency to clear innovative drugs based on promising preliminary results.

· The disease is rare in the U.S., but kills about 1.4 million people a year worldwide. Of those, about 150,000 succumb to the increasingly common drug-resistant forms of the disease.

U.S. Senate approves last minute deal on ‘fiscal cliff’

· Legislation that would allow tax rates to rise only on affluent Americans was passed by U.S congress.

Key points of the agreement

· Tax rates would jump to 39.6 per cent from 35 per cent for individual incomes more than $400,000 and couples more than $450,000, while tax deductions and credits would start to be phased out on incomes as low as $250,000.

· Tax rates on dividends and capital gains would also rise, to 20 from 15 per cent.

· The value of estates more than $5 million would be taxed at 40 percent, up from the current 35 percent.

Scientist Venkatesh Mannar honoured with Order of Canada Award

· Venkatesh Mannar a Chennai-born Scientist of Indian Origin and President, Micronutrient Initiative, Canada was awarded with Canada’s Highest Civilian Award – the Order of Canada in the last week of December 2012.


· Christopher Martin-Jenkins (67), cricket commentator and former president of the Marylebone Cricket Club, has died of cancer.

· Deepika Kumari and Kapil won the recurve title in 33rd senior National archery championship

Holy Quran allows polygamy, not encourages it: court

· Supreme court recently in a judgement said that polygamy in Islam is only permitted in special circumstances and cannot be taken for granted.

· A maulvi, accused of performing a girl’s marriage forcibly with a married man, has been denied anticipatory bail by a Delhi court which said the Sharia Law allows polygamy but only under special circumstances.

· The Supreme Court observed that even in countries governed by Sharia (Islamic) Law, the second marriage is permitted under special circumstances such as an illness of the first wife or her inability to bear children.

· As per the SC view, The Holy Quran permits a Muslim man to marry more than one woman at a time (up to a maximum of four), but does not encourage such behavior.

· Article 44 of the Indian constitution(Directive principles of the state policy) reads that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

· A uniform civil code administers the same set of secular civil laws to govern all people irrespective of their religion, caste and tribe. This supersedes the right of citizens to be governed under different personal laws based on their religion or caste or tribe. Such codes are in place in most modern nations.

· The common areas covered by a civil code include laws related to acquisition and administration of property, marriage, divorce and adoption.

· This term is used in India where the Constitution of India attempts to set a uniform civil code for its citizens as a Directive Principle, or a goal to be achieved.

North India shivers in extreme cold

· North India shivered due to extreme cold on Tuesday as minimum temperatures plummeted across the region.

· Delhi ushered in the New Year amid extreme cold and dense fog with mercury plummeting to the season’s lowest of four degree Celsius.

· As the Sun’s vertical rays move south of the equator, most of the country experiences moderately cool weather and north India experiences more cold as it lies much norther to the tropic of cancer.

India, Pak exchange list of nuke installations

· India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.

· Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against nuclear installations between India and Pakistan was signed on 1988 and came into force on 1991.

· As per the treaty, each party shall refrain from undertaking, encouraging or participating in, directly or indirectly, any action aimed at causing the destruction of, or damage to, any nuclear installation or facility in the other country.

In China, Delhi gang rape spurs online debate, then censorship

· Chinese authorities have moved to censor news about the Delhi gang rape and ensuing protests after the incident triggered a heated debate online between State media outlets and pro-democracy voices.

· While the brutal attack was initially highlighted by Communist Party-run outlets as indicative of the failures of India’s democratic system to ensure stability, the following protests in New Delhi triggered calls from pro-reform bloggers for the Chinese government to learn from India and to allow the public to express its voice.

· Internet repression in china is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world.

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