The Daily Brief – 19th January, 2017

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  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved, in principle, the listing of five public sector general insurance companies on the stock markets, with a plan to divest 25% of the Centre’s stake in each of them over time. The companies whose stake would be offloaded, as per stock market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India’s listing norms, are The New India Assurance Company, United India Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, National Insurance Company, and General Insurance Corporation of India.
  • The Tata Memorial Hospital has commenced the first ever clinical trial in India to address the problem of hair loss in cancer patients during chemotherapy.
  • Mumbai is set to become hotter over this century, losing more than half of its mild weather days, warns a new study that found that the average number of such days will significantly decrease worldwide. Currently, Mumbai enjoys about 82 mild weather days per year. According to researchers, by 2035, the city will lose 16 mild days, and, by 2100, the number will be reduced by 44.
  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has dismissed the contempt petition filed by the investment firms of Cyrus Mistry’s family against Tata Sons and others on charges of violating the tribunal’s December 22 order by convening an extraordinary general meeting to consider the removal of Mr. Mistry from the company’s board.
RBI Governor, Urjit Patel
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that about Rs. 9.2 lakh crore had been put back in circulation since the demonetisation on November 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes would cease to be legal tender from the midnight of November 8 had sucked out 86% — amounting to Rs. 15.44 lakh crore — of currency notes in circulation till then.
  • According to recently released annual by Jones Lang LaSalle’s City Momentum Index (CMI), Bangalore has emerged as the most dynamic city in the world. The index tracks the speed of change of a city’s economy and commercial real estate market. It covers 134 major established and emerging business hubs and ranks them on parameters like technology, connectivity, population, education and real estate investments.
  • Sri Lanka is in talks to offer the port of Trincomalee to India. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the ongoing Raisina Dialogue.
  • The women of Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra are set to perform at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • An advanced military fortification with a well-defined gatehouse complex and donkey stables dating back to the time of King Solomon have been discovered in Israel, a finding that points to the ancient community’s highly organised defence system and long-distance trade. The fortification dates back to the reigns of kings David and Solomon in the 10th century BCE.
  • China plans to develop a prototype exascale computer by the end of the year, state media has said, as it seeks to win a global race to be the first to build a machine capable of a billion, billion calculations per second. If successful, the achievement would cement its place as a leading power in the world of supercomputing. The Asian giant built the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight machine, in June last year, which was twice as fast as the previous number one. It used only locally made microchips, making it the first time a country has taken the top spot without using U.S. technology.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Army private Chelsea Manning, who had been sentenced to 35 years behind bars for handing classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks. Mr. Obama pardoned 64 people and commuted the sentences of 209 others — including 29-year-old Manning, who will now be released in May — in one of his final acts as President.
  • Russian authorities have extended U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden’s residency permit by three years, up until 2020.

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