Current Affairs of 11 November 2015

1. GSAT-15 communication satellite launched successfully 
GSAT-15, the country’s latest communications satellite, was launched successfully by the European Ariane 5 VA-227 launch Vehicle in the early hours of Wednesday (November 11).
The 3,164 kg GSAT-15 carries communication transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands.
After a flight of 43 minutes and 24 seconds, GSAT-15 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,819 km, inclined at an angle of 3.9 degree to the equator. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one.
ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-15 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle. Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal health.

2. Govt eases FDI norms in 15 major sectors
ringing attention back to economic issues after the Bihar-poll debacle, the BJP-led Government has announced easing and simplification of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in fifteen sectors and raising the threshold limit for approval by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to Rs. 5,000 crore from Rs. 3,000 crore.
The sectors where rules have been eased include defence, construction development, broadcasting, civil aviation, agriculture, plantation, limited liability partnerships, manufacturing, single-brand retail and private sector banking, according to an official release of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).
This means that manufacturing companies with FDI in all sectors including electronics like mobile phones will be allowed to sell on-line directly without tying up with domestic e-commerce companies.
In the defence sector, foreign investment up to 49 per cent will be under automatic route, instead of being routed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Proposals over 49 per cent will be scrutinised by the FIPB. The amendment, however, does not mention doing away with requirement of Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) nod for proposals over 49 per cent.
FDI cap in the broadcasting sector has been raised to 100 per cent from 74 per cent for broadcasting carriage services like teleports, direct to home (DTH), cable network and mobile tv.
In broadcasting content services including FM radio and up-linking of ‘news & Government route current affairs’ TV channels, the FDI cap has been raised to 49 per cent from 24 per cent.
In addition to tea plantation, the Government has now decided to open certain up other plantation activities to 100 per cent FDI including coffee, rubber, cardamom , palm oil tree and olive oil tree plantations.
In the construction development sector, the requirements of minimum capitalization of $ 5 million within the period of six months of commencement of business and conditions of area restriction, have been removed.
In the area of single-brand retail, the Government has clarified that for ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge
technology’, the 30 per cent sourcing norms can be relaxed subject to Government approval.
The Government has also decided to allow the same entity to carry out both wholesale and single brand retail trading relaxing the current rule that an entity can’t be engaged in both activities at the same time.
In the banking sector, full fungibility of foreign investment is to be allowed in private banking sector. “Accordingly, FIIs/FPIs/QFIs, can now invest up to sectoral limit of 74 per cent, provided that there is no change of control and management of the investee company

3. Pakistan’s Younis Khan retires from ODI cricket
akistan’s veteran batsman Younis Khan has announced his retirement from one-day international cricket, saying the first day-night game against England here today will be his last match.
Younis, who has been in prolific form in Test cricket since the last few years and became the first Pakistani batsman to score 9000 Test runs besides hitting 31 centuries, has in comparison struggled in the 50-overs format averaging just 31.34 in 264 matches.In Test cricket, he averages 53.94 in 104 matches.

4. Parrikar commissions new offshore patrol vessel
The Coast Guard’s latest and largest offshore patrol vessel, Samarth, was  commissioned here by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who asked the force not to sit on past laurels and focus on securing India’s maritime interests.
With a displacement of 2450 tonnes, the ship is equipped with sophisticated technology, sensors, navigation, communication and weapon systems. Samarth is first in the series of six 105m offshore patrol vessels and has been built by Goa Shipyard.
Backing the Coast Guard’s efforts at modernisation, Parrikar referred to the force earlier this year intercepting a vessel off the Gujarat coast.

5. Emirates bank, SBI join hands for easier remittances
A leading UAE-based bank has announced a partnership deal with State Bank of India to help NRI customers in the gulf to carry out their remittances instantly and more conveniently.

Emirates NBD has expanded its partner bank network in India to include State Bank of India (SBI) for the DirectRemit 60 seconds remittance platform.
With this partnership, the bank’s Non-Resident Indian (NRI) customers who also bank with SBI can now avail themselves of the fastest remittance service in the UAE more easily.
The tie-up with SBI will help strengthen Emirates NBD’s DirectRemit platform, which is set to benefit a large additional customer base in the UAE.
The partnership will allow fund transfers to SBI bank accounts across India in 60 seconds at zero fees. Emirates NBD currently has existing tie-ups with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank in India.
Emirates NBD customers can also transfer money to other banks in India with their remittance being processed within an hour. Customers can avail of the 60 seconds money transfer service via online, mobile banking & ATMs.
With DirectRemit, customers will be able to transfer funds back home instantly and can also make home loan payments, pay bills, remit insurance premiums or carry out out investments.

6. H-1B visa reform Bill introduced in US Senate
Two US Senators have introduced a bipartisan legislation in the Senate seeking reform of H-1B visa programme and modify wage requirements while also calling for a sense of urgency against the “abuse of the system” over a scheme they claim has gotten away from its original intent.
The H-1B visa programme was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialized areas of employment that cannot be filled by Americans.
n addition, the bill includes establishment of a wage floor for L-1 workers; authority for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate, audit and enforce compliance with L-1 program requirements; assurance that intra-company transfers occur between legitimate branches of a company and don’t involve “shell” facilities; and a change to the definition of “specialized knowledge” to ensure that L-1 visas are reserved only for truly key personnel.

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