1. UN concerned over use of torture in Chinese prisons
(i) In its latest report, the UN Committee Against Torture, which is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, urged China to stop use of torture, prolonged detention, and ill-treatment of lawyers.
(ii) The UN committee has ordered Chinese authorities to halt the crack down on social activists and lawyers. The report has given China one year to report back on the progress made in key areas of the convention.
(iii) China was one of the six countries whose state reports were considered by the CAT. The other five include Liechtenstein, Azerbaijan, Austria, Denmark, and Jordan.
2. Myanmar opens new stock exchange
(i) Myanmar inaugurated its new Yangon Stock Exchange in December 2015, with plans for six companies to start trading.
(ii) Though the nation had a stock exchange during its military rule, trading was almost non-existent there.
(iii) The stock exchange, which is being set up with Japanese assistance will initially be open only to Myanmar companies and investors, while foreign investors will eventually be allowed to invest.
3. Mauricio Macri appointed as the President of Argentina
(i) In the recently concluded elections in Argentina, centre-right Mauricio Macri was appointed as the President of the nation. In his presidential speech Macri promised to tackle corruption, poverty and drug trafficking.
(ii) His predecessor Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner boycotted the oath taking ceremony. It is the first time since 1983 a predecessor missed a successor’s inauguration.
(iii) Macri intends to move away from the state-controlled economy and open up market, ease trading and currency control. He has also promised to improve relations with the US.
4. EU to take legal action against Greece, Italy and Croatia
(i) The European Union (EU) announced that it will take legal action against Greece, Croatia and Italy for failing to correctly register migrants.
(ii) The EU said that the three nations failed to implement the Eurodac Regulation, which necessitates fingerprinting asylum seekers and registering their data within 72 hours.
(iii) Further, the EU also launched an infringement case against Hungary over its asylum legislation.
5. Tata is India’s most-valued brand: Interbrand India’s
(i) A recent survey by Interbrand India ranked the nation’s top 30 brands, wherein Tata is the most-valued, followed by Reliance Industries, Airtel, Life Insurance Corp., State Bank of India and HDFC.
(ii) Tata has topped the list for the third time in a row and reported a 12% rise in brand value in 2015, its value at Rs.669.4 billion.
(iii) The biggest gainers this year include, software services provider HCL, followed by private lender Kotak Mahindra Bank, Tanishq, Infosys Ltd, Maruti Suzuki Ltd. and Asian Paints Ltd. All of these reported a 17% – 24% increase in brand value.
6. RIL wins Platts Global Energy Award for CSR
(i) Reliance Industries won in the 17th Platts Global Energy Awards 2015 in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category.
(ii) The award was given in recognition of RIL’s commitment and leadership to real world issues.
(iii) Platts adjudicators said that the company’s initiatives through institutions such as Reliance Foundation has contributed in areas like health, rural transformation, sports, disaster response, HIV/AIDS and building parks.
7. Infosys acquires minority stake in CloudEndure
(i) India’s second-largest software services firm Infosys recently acquired a minority share in an Israeli start-up CloudEndure in an all-cash $4 million (about Rs 26.7 crore) deal.
(ii) The start-up provides cloud migration and cloud-based disaster recovery software. Infosys said, “The company (CloudEndure) offers a highly differentiated solution addressing a USD 15 billion software and services market that is of significant strategic importance to Infosys.”
8. Saina defeats Carolina Marin at the BWF Badminton Superseries finals
(i) Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal defeated world champion Carolina Marin at the BWF Badminton Superseries finals in Dubai.
(ii) In a match that lasted an hour and 15 minutes, Saina achieved a 23-21, 9-21, 21-12 win over Marin, who recently was conferred the BWF’s ‘Female Player of the Year’ award.
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