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Thursday, January 31, 2019

40 years on: Khomeini's return from exile and the Iran Revolution Feb 01,2019

On a foggy Thursday morning on February 1, 1979, a chartered Air France flight from Paris touched down at Mehrabad International Airport near central Tehran, carrying Iran's most revered spiritual figure.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an outspoken critic of Iran's ruler Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, was coming home after 14 years in exile in Turkey, Iraq and France.

Before landing, the plane circled low overhead, reportedly to make sure that no tanks were blocking the runway.

Khomeini's return 40 years ago was essential to the success of the Iranian revolution. It eventually led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the cleric's ascent to supreme leader. It would also pave the way for Iran to recast its role in the Middle East and rejig its ties to the West - a geopolitical convulsion that continues to reverberate around the world to this day.

Wearing his trademark black robe and turban, the 78-year-old cleric slowly emerged from the aircraft holding onto the pilot with his right hand. His son, Ahmad, followed closely behind.

Iran Revolution - All You Need To Know

The Iranian Revolution also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution)was a series of events involving the overthrow of the Monarch of Iran,Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi and replacing his government with an Islamic Republic  under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt.

Demonstrations against the Reza Shah Pahlavi commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign  pf civil resistanceof  that included both secular and religious elements and which intensified in January 1978

Between August and December 1978, strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country.

Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi left Iran for exile on 16 January 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and Shapour Bakhtiar who was an opposition-based prime minister

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was invited back to Iran by the government,and returned to Tehran on Feb 01,1979 to a greeting by several million Iranians.

The royal reign collapsed shortly after on February11,1979 when Guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi in armed street fighting, bringing Khomeini to official power.

Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic republic on April 01,1979 and to formulate and approve a new Theocratic Republican Constitution whereby Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country in December 1979

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presents the Interim Budget 2019 today Friday Feb 01,2019


Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Interim Budget 2019 today Friday Feb 01,2019

Major Announcements in the budget

Fiscal deficit target revised

For the second year in a row, the government’s fiscal consolidation path has slipped from the budgeted targets. For FY19, fiscal deficit target has been revised up to 3.4% of GDP from the Budget estimate of 3.3% of GDP

Income Tax

The existing income tax rates to continue. However, those with income of up to  Rs 5 lakh per year will get full tax rebate

No relaxation on income tax rates for the salaried class this year.

Standard tax deduction for salaried persons raised from ₹40,000 to ₹50,000

TDS threshold on interest on bank and post office deposits raised from ₹10,000 to ₹40,000

TDS threshold on rental income increased from ₹1.8 lakh to ₹2.4 lakh

The benefit of rollover of capital gains to be increased from investment in one residential house to that in two residential houses for a taxpayer having capital gains up to Rs 2 crore; this can be exercised once in a lifetime

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
Piyush Goyal announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which Rs 6,000 per year will be transferred directly the bank accounts of farmers with less than 2 hectares land, in three instalments.

There are 12.56 crore marginal and small farmers having less than 2 hectares (5 acre) holdings. If Rs 6,000 is paid to each farmer, the total outlay will be Rs 75,360 crore.

The budget scheme is a modification of the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana government, which provides assistance on per-acre basis (Rs 8,000 per acre per year) without any holding size limit. What Goyal has announced is a flat Rs 6,000 benefit to all marginal and small farmers.

 8 crore free LPG connections

Over 8 crore free LPG connections to be given.

Presently, the government is providing around 6 crore connections. Next year all 8 crore will be given.

Mega Pension Yojana, namely Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan
to provide assured monthly pension of 3000 rupees per month, with contribution of 100 rupees per month, for workers in unorganized sector after 60 years of age
This move will benefit 10 crore workers in unorganised sector

Gratuity limit raised from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs

 Govt contribution in EPFO hiked to 14% from 10%

 (Image: Network18 Creative)

ESI cover limit has been increased to ₹ 21,000. Minimum pension was also increased to ₹ 1000.

Allocation of Rs 60,000 crore for UPA’s flagship MNREGA in 2019/20

Allocation of Rs 19,000 crore for construction of rural roads in 2019-20

Defence budget for the first time has increased to Rs 3 lakh crore and additional funds will be provided

Allocation of Rs 64580 crore to Railways
capital expenditure allocation of ₹ 1.58 lakh crore for the railways, the highest ever 

22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana

Indian Women's Cricket Team Captain Mithali Raj becomes the first woman cricketer to play 200 ODI's Friday Feb 01,2019

India captain Mithali Raj on Friday Feb 01,2019 added another feather to her hat as she became the first woman cricketer to play 200 ODIs. The 35-year-old achieved the record when she came out for the toss during the third ODI against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Mithali Raj already created the record of becoming the most capped woman’s cricketer in the 50-overs format in April 2018 when she led India as captain against England in the first match of their ICC Women’s Championship ODI series. She surpassed former England captain Charlotte Edwards who had played 191 ODIs in her 19-year-career.

Mithali Raj made her debut for India back in June 1999 for India against Ireland in Milton Keynes, where she scored an unbeaten 114 to script a massive 161-runs won for her side

In her 20-year-long career, the batswoman has to become the leading run-scorer in the format in the world, with 6,622 runs.

She has also led India as skipper 123 times, more than any other captain in the women’s ODI. Charlotte Edwards is at second place at 117.

In her career, she has scored 7 tons and 52 fifties, thus having the record of scoring most 50-plus scores in the format.

Acting FM Piyush Goyal to present interim budget Friday Feb 01,2019

Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will be presenting the outgoing NDA government’s last budget before its tenure ends in May 2019

Though Goyal told an all-party meeting that a “budget is a budget” and there is nothing like a vote-on-account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified to the Opposition that this will be an interim budget

In protest against the Centre for not granting special status to Andhra Pradesh, the TDP is observing today as a Black Day. The party's lawmakers arrived dressed in all-black.

Piyush Goyal arrives at Parliament

Express photo by Praveen Khana

A beaming Piyush Goyal posed along with his entourage from the Finance Ministry for a scrum of photographers waiting outside Parliament. The acting FM is wearing a grey Nehru jacket, or a Modi jacket, depending on your political alliance, and a tricolour lapel pin.  Meanwhile, a television anchor wondered whether Finance Ministers, past and present, carry budget papers in their briefcases or it is

2019 Domestic cooking gas (LPG) Price Revision Thursday Jan 31,2019

Domestic cooking gas (LPG) price was cut by Rs 1.46 per cylinder on Thursday Jan 31,2019, the third straight reduction in a month's time due to tax impact on reduced market rate of the fuel.

A 14.2-kg subsidised LPG cylinder will now cost Rs 493.53 in the national capital from midnight of Thursday Jan 31,2019 as against Rs 494.99 currently, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's largest fuel retailer, said in a statement

Domestic cooking gas (LPG) price was cut by Rs 1.46 per cylinder on Thursday, the third straight reduction in a month's time due to tax impact on reduced market rate of the fuel.

A 14.2-kg subsidised LPG cylinder will now cost Rs 493.53 in the national capital from midnight of Thursday as against Rs 494.99 currently, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's largest fuel retailer, said in a statement.

This is the third straight monthly reduction in LPG rate. On December 1, subsidised LPG price was cut by Rs 6.52 per bottle and by Rs 5.91 on January 1.

IOC said non-subsidised or market priced LPG rates have been cut by a Rs 30 per cylinder "due to fall in price of LPG in international market and strengthening of US dollar-rupee exchange rate".

It will now cost Rs 659 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.

The reduction comes on the back of a steep Rs 120.50 cut on January 1 and Rs 133 on December 1.

All LPG consumers buy the fuel at market price. The government, however, subsidises 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each per households in a year by providing the subsidy amount directly in bank accounts of users.

This subsidy amount varies from month to month depending on the changes in the average international benchmark LPG rate and foreign exchange rate.

When international rates move up, the government provides a higher subsidy. And when they come down, subsidy is cut.

As per tax rules, GST on LPG has to be calculated at the market rate of the fuel. The government may choose to subsidise a part of the price but tax will have to be paid at market rates.

So, with the fall in market price or non-subsidised LPG price, the tax incidence on subsidised cooking fuel has also come down, leading to the current price reduction.

"Accordingly, the upfront cash payment by the consumer of domestic LPG will also reduce by Rs 30 per cylinder. Domestic LPG consumer will now be required to make upfront cash payment of Rs 659 a cylinder in place of Rs 689 per cylinder," IOC said.

Subsidised cooking gas consumers will get Rs 165.47 per cylinder subsidy in their bank accounts for the month of February, down from Rs 194.01 in January.

Goods and services tax (GST) - GST collection surpasses Rs 1-lakh crore in January 2019

collections by Union and state governments scaled the monthly target of 1 trillion in January, the third time in this fiscal, despite tax rate cuts.

Total gross GST revenue collected in January 2019 crossed 1 trillion on Thursday Jan 31,2019, “a significant improvement" over the 94,725 crore collected in December and the 89,825 crore in January 2018", the finance ministry said

The collection for the full month and the break-up between the central and state receipts will be released on Saturday Feb 02,2019, said the finance ministry

This is the third time in current fiscal that GST (Goods and Services Tax) collections have crossed the Rs one lakh crore-mark. Previously in April and October, the collections had surpassed this milestone.

GST collection stood at Rs 1.03 lakh crore in April, Rs 94,016 crore in May, Rs 95,610 crore in June, Rs 96,483 crore in July, Rs 93,960 crore in August, Rs 94,442 crore in September, Rs 1,00,710 crore in October, Rs 97,637 crore in November and Rs 94,725 crore in December 2018

"This increase has been achieved despite various Tax Relief measures implemented by the GST Council to lower the tax burden on the consumers," the ministry said.

European Union(EU) Parliament Recognises Guaido as Venezuelan Interim President

The European Parliament recognised Venezuela's self-declared interim president Juan Guaido as de facto head of state on Thursday Jan 31,2019,heightening international pressure on the OPEC member's socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

EU lawmakers voted 439 in favour to 104 against, with 88 abstentions, at a special session in Brussels to recognise Venezuelan congress head Guaido as interim leader.

In a statement with the non-binding vote, the parliament urged the bloc's 28 governments to follow suit and consider Guaido "the only legitimate interim president" until there were "new free, transparent and credible presidential elections".

India's Lowest Team Total In ODI's Thursday Jan 31,2019

Coca-Cola enters 5-year partnership with International Cricket Council (ICC).

Coca-Cola has entered into a five-year global strategic sponsorship agreement with International Cricket Council (ICC).

Coca-Cola will be the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partner of the ICC till 2023

The five year agreement includes all ICC events around the world including ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in England , ICC men’s and women’s T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020 besides the women’s World Cup in 2021 and Men’s World Cup in 2023.

Coca-Cola is associating as a global sponsor with ICC after nearly two decades. It’s archrival PepsiCo ended its association with ICC in 2015

How is the Union Budget Prepared?

Indian Constitution - All You Need To Know

Students Satellite Launched By ISRO - Timeline from April 2009 to January 2019

Kalamsat - World's Lightest Satellite

2019 Jind Assembly By-Election in Haryana - BJP's Krishan Middha defeated nearest rival Digvijay Singh Chautala of Jannayak Janata Party by 12,935 votes Thursday Jan 31,2019

BJP's Krishan Middha defeated nearest rival Digvijay Singh Chautala of Jannayak Janata Party by 12,935 votes in the Jind bypoll.

Congress' Randeep Singh Surjewala settled at the third spot with 22740 votes.

The Jind bypoll is being seen as a test of the popularity of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

 The bypoll, which saw a voter turnout of 75.77 per cent, was necessitated following the death of INLD legislator Hari Chand Midha last year.

Voting took place on January 282019, with nearly 76 per cent of the 1.72 lakh voters exercising their franchise in the multi-cornered contest.

2019 Ramgarh Assembly Election in Rajasthan - Congress’ Shafia Zubrai wins by 12,228 votes Thursday Jan 31,2019

The polls were held on January 28,2019 and there were as many as 20 candidates contesting the Assembly seat. 

The Congress won the Ramgarh Assembly seat in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Thursday, with its candidate Shafia Zubrai beating BJP’s Sukhwant Singh by 12,228 votes.

With this win, the Congress has secured 100 seats in the 200-member Rajasthan legislative Assembly. BSP’s Jagpat Singh came in third.
Zubair got 83,311 votes, while Singh got 71,083 votes. BSP’s Singh got 24,856 votes.

Election to the Ramgarh seat was delayed due to the death of sitting MLA and BSP candidate Laxman Singh.

This win reduces the Congress’ dependence on support from other non-BJP parties. However, Congress leaders on different occasions have said that the party has support from Independents, the BSP and the RLTP and there is no threat to the government’s stability.

At present, Congress has 100 MLAs, RLD 1, BJP 73, BSP 6, RLTP 3, CPI (M) and BTP 2 each. Besides, there are 13 Independent MLAs.

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah crowned Malaysia's 16th king Thursday Jan 31,2019

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has been crowned Malaysia's 16th king under the country's unique system of monarchy.

The 59-year-old, who wore a traditional outfit in pale blue for the ceremony, took the oath of office at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday Jan 31,2019, nearly a month after the sudden decision of his predecessor, Sultan Muhammad V who step down  on January 6 after only two years on the throne; the first time a king has stepped down. The palace gave no reason for the decision.

He was accompanied by his wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah.

Malaysia's nine royal households take turns to serve as king, or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for five years each as part of a system that was agreed in 1957, when what was then Malaya got independence from the British.

Sultan Abdullah, who is from the central state of Pahang, takes the throne as the government of Mahathir Mohamad which won power in May moves to introduce wide-ranging institutional reforms.

The king is head of the state and commander of the armed forces and also oversees key appointments.
Mahathir, government ministers and members of parliament welcomed the new king at the parliament building ahead of the coronation.

The king inspected the guard of honour and was given a 21-gun salute.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

2019 India Tour of New Zealand - New Zealand beat India by 8 wickets in the 4th ODI @ Hamilton Thursday Jan 31,2019


5-Match ODI Series Results

First ODI @ Napier Wednesday Jan 23,2019
New Zealand 157/10 in 38 Overs
India              156/2 in 38.5 Overs(Target 156 in 49 Overs)
Match Result India won by 8 wickets
MOM - Mohammed Shami(India)for his 3/19(6 Overs)
Series Result - India lead the 5-match ODI series 1-0

Second ODI @Mount Maunganui Saturday Jan 26,2019
India  324/4 in 50 Overs
New Zealand 234/10 in 40.2 Overs
Match Result - Indiaw on by 90 Runs
MOM - Rohit Sharma(India) for his 87(97 Balls 4x9 and 6x3)
Series Result - India lead the 5-Match ODI Series 2-0

Third ODI @Mount Maunganui Monday Jan 28,2019
New Zealand   243/10 in 49 Overs
India                245/3 in 43 Overs
Match Result  India won by 7 wickets
MOM - Mohammed Shami (India)for his 3/41(9 Overs)
Series Result - India lead the 5-Match ODI Series 3-0

Fourth ODI @ Hamilton Thursday Jan 31,2019
India  92/10 in 30.5 Overs
New Zealand  93/2 in 14.4 Overs
Match Result - New Zealand won by 8 wickets
MOM - Trent Boult(NZ)for his 5/21(10 Overs)
Series Result - India lead the 5-match ODI series 3-1

New Zealand beat India by 8 wickets

India’s dominant show in the first three ODIs, with the series won, was undone by New Zealand in the fourth ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

In just under four hours, New Zealand had the job done to win by 8-wickets and make the series 3-1. Chasing a paltry 93 runs to win, despite losing early wickets, New Zealand went on to win with Ross Taylor scoring a quickfire 37 runs from 25 balls to take his side home.

Asked to bat, India had a horrible start and none of the middle order batsmen failed to make the most of the opportunity. Trent Boult took a fifer -  5/21(10 Overs) with Colin de Grandhomme picking 3/26(10 Overs) to leave India in tatters.
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal stitched a stand worth 25 runs – highest in the Indian inning – to ensure somewhat respectable total.

Once Kuldeep went, Khaleel, coming in for Mohammed  Shami perished too.

India were eventually bowled out for 92 runs for their seventh lowest ODI total and second smallest against New Zealand.

India  92/10 in 30.5 Overs
New Zealand  93/2 in 14.4 Overs
Match Result - New Zealand won by 8 wickets
MOM - Trent Boult(NZ)for his 5/21(10 Overs)
Series Result - India lead the 5-match ODI series 3-1

The 5th ODI is scheduled to be played at Wellington on Sunday Feb 03,2019

Shubman Gill becomes 227th ODI player for India, receives cap from MS Dhoni 


With Virat Kohli rested for the rest of the series, young Shubman Gill got to make his debut in the fourth ODI at Hamilton. Gill, who was man of the series in the Under 19 World Cup last, has already received rave reviews from all quarters and was in roaring form in Ranji Trophy.
He received his cap from MS Dhoni and thus became the 227th player to represent India in ODI cricket.

Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven (lit. If I return, it'll only be as king) - Tamil Film

Cast - STR,Megha Akash,Catherine Tresa,
Directed by Sundar C
Produced by Lyca Productions
Music Composed by HipHop Thamizha
Cinematography by Gopi Amarnath
scheduled to be released on Friday Feb 01,2019

The film is the re-make of the Telgu Film '' Attarintiki Daredi(2013)

Sarvam Thaala Mayam - Tamil Film

Cast - G V Prakash and Aparna Balamurali play the lead roles
Directed by Rajeev Menon
Produced by  Lalitha Menon

Music Composed by A R Rahman

Cinematography by Ravi Yadav
scheduled to be released on Friday Feb  01,2019

Peranbu (English: Great Love) - Tamil Film

Cast - Mammootty,Anjali,Samuthirakani,Suraj Venjaramood,Siddiqui
Directed by Ram
Produced by P L Thenappan
Music Composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography by Theni Easwar
scheduled to be released on Friday Feb 01,2019

India's First National Film Museum Opens in Mumbai Saturday Jan 19,2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai on Saturday Jan 19,2019

The inauguration ceremony was attended by a host of Bollywood stars including veteran actor Manoj Kumar, Aamir Khan, Kangana Ranaut, filmmaker Karan Johar, Simmba director Rohit Shetty and Zero director Aanand L Rai. 

From silent black-and-white films to colourful blockbusters bursting with song and dance, the evolution of Indian cinema is traced by a new museum in the home of Bollywood.

Costing 1.4 billion rupees ($19.6 million), India's First National Film Museum is spread across a stylish 19th-century bungalow and a modern five-storey glass structure in south Mumbai

The government-funded National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) boasts stacks of memorabilia, recordings and film-making tools as well as interactive touch screens where visitors can watch clips from memorable movies.

Movie buffs can learn about India's first full-length feature film, the 1913 Dadasaheb Phalke-directed Raja Harishchandra, and listen to recordings of K. L. Saigal, considered the first superstar of Hindi-language cinema.

The museum also hosts replicas of the Mutoscope, the camera used by the Lumiere Brothers, and the Praxinoscope -- a spinning cylindrical animation device invented in France in the 1870s.

They are also able to view hand-painted movie posters, including for internationally acclaimed director Satyajit Ray's 1955 hit Pather Panchali, and click selfies beside a statue of Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor.

The museum takes visitors through "the journey of Indian cinema, from silent films to 'talkies' to the studio era to the new wave," Prashant Pathrabe, director general of the Indian government's film department, told

Sri Lanka’s new India-funded train flagged off Sunday Jan 24,2019

A new passenger train, funded by the Indian government, was inaugurated between the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and the northern city of Kankesanthurai on Sunday Jan 24,2019

The Indian High Commission here said that the new Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), a 13-coach train set, was procured under Indian concessional financing by Sri Lanka Railways.

President Maithripala Sirisena, in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Taranjt Singh Sandhu, flagged off the train at the Colombo Fort railway station.

The contract agreement for supply of six DMUs and 10 locomotives to the Sri Lanka Railways was signed in March 2017. The total contract is worth $ 100 million, the Indian High Commission said.

Venezuela bars self-declared president Juan Guaido from leaving country Tuesday Jan 29,2019

Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice barred self-declared president Juan Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts on Tuesday Jan 29.2019, as leader Nicolas Maduro seeks to neutralize the American-backed opposition chief.

The 35-year-old head of the National Assembly legislature “is prohibited from leaving the country until the end of the (preliminary) investigation” for having “caused harm to peace in the republic,” high court president Maikel Moreno said.

The court is stacked with Maduro loyalists.

The move came after the State Department revealed that Mr. Guaido — the National Assembly head and self-proclaimed interim president — has been handed control of Venezuela’s U.S. bank accounts.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the order last week, which was then followed on Monday by U.S. sanctions targeting Venezuela’s state oil giant PDVSA, the cash-strapped government’s main source of hard currency.

“This certification will help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

2019 El Salvador Presidential Election Sunday Feb 03,2019

 Nearly a quarter of all Salvadorans live in the United States, and those expatriates send back more than $5 billion a year in remittances—around 18 % of El Salvador’s economy.

 As Salvadorans continue to flee north towards the United States, the policies of a new government could have implications for migration patterns and the overall security and economic stability of the region

El Salvador ended 2018 with a homicide rate of 50 for every 100,000 thousand people, the highest homicide rate in Central America, higher than both Guatemala and Honduras.

Although the country’s civil war—which pitted a right-wing government and its death squads against the left-wing guerillas of the parties and organizations that united under the banner of the FMLN—ended 27 years ago, many of the same problems that drove the violence then remain latent today

The country also faces extreme levels of inequality.

Only four in 10 schoolchildren reach the equivalent of high school, and only two of those 10 kids will go on to college. There remain in the country more than 600,000 citizens who don’t have access to potable water. Abortion is completely criminalized, LGBTQ rights are unrecognized

Presidential Candidates

The presidential candidate for the Gran Alianza por la Unidad Nacional, GANA, Nayib Bukele, right, along with his running mate Felix Ulloa
Results from 10 different polling firms say the 37-year-old Bukele leads Carlos Calleja of the conservative New Country coalition and Hugo Martinez of the party formed by El Salvador’s former FMLN guerrillas.

Nayib Bukele, a businessman who distributes Yamaha motorcycles and owns nightclubs, represents the Grand National Alliance for Unity.

Why do Salvadorans migrate?” Nayib Bukele, the front-runner in the upcoming Salvadoran presidential elections recently asked. “They migrate because of lack of hope. We see it in the caravans. It’s hope that moves the Salvadorans.”

Both hopeful and despairing Salvadorans head to the polls on February 03,2019 and a political shakeup of the small Central American country is expected.

After ten years in power, the left-leaning Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) seems likely to be unseated by the young, wealthy, shapeshifting former mayor of San Salvador, Nayib
 Bukele, who recently took the mantle of the young Great National Alliance (GANA).

But Nayib Bukele’s compromises to old-guard conservatives and his easy embrace of the right-wing GANA—despite the fact that as recently as 2017 he was a member of FMLN—makes it hard to judge which way he would take the country if elected.

If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a runoff between the top two candidates would take place March 10,2019


Pakistan's Supreme Court Upholds Acquittal of Christian Woman Accused of Blashpemy Tuesday Jan 29,2019

Pakistan’s top court has upheld the acquittal of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, finally ending her decade-old legal ordeal.

Asia Bibi (54)was freed from prison in October 2018 when the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence, saying charges against her were groundless and listed inconsistencies in witness testimonies.

But the woman has since been kept at an undisclosed location under state protection because of death threats from religious fanatics

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was heading the three-judge bench, said before throwing out the review petition Tuesday that the case did not merit a hearing because the complaint’s lawyer was unable to point out any flaws in the verdict freeing Bibi.

Tuesday’s court ruling has paved the way for Bibi to leave Pakistan, most likely for Canada, where her children have already been granted asylum.

Her attorney, Saiful Malook, said the rejection of the review petition is “a victory of justice." "The court vindicated our view that Bibi was innocent and justice has finally been done,” he added.


Asia Bibi, mother of five was arrested in 2009 for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad in a dispute with Muslim female farm co-workers in her native village in Punjab province.
Bibi was convicted a year later of blasphemy and sentenced to death. She has maintained her innocence from the outset

Insulting Islam or its prophet is punishable by death in under Pakistani laws. The issue is extremely sensitive in the predominantly Muslim nation where even mere rumors have led to the mob lynching of suspected blasphemers.

The law is often misused to settle personal feuds, say human rights groups.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah submitted his government's resignation Tuesday Jan 29,2019

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's government submitted its resignation Tuesday Jan 29,2019 to President Mahmoud Abbas.

A Cabinet statement said the members would continue serving until a new government is in place.

The move comes two days after the president's Fatah faction recommended the government be replaced.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, rejected the resignation, saying Abbas was trying to exclude it from Palestinian politics.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority signed a reconciliation agreement two years ago, but continuing disputes between the two groups have prevented its implementation.

16x9 Image

The controversy over Australia Day - January 26

January 26 is Australia's national day. It marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson in Sydney in 1788. The Australian government describes Australia Day as a day to "celebrate all the things we love about Australia." But for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, January 26 marks the beginning of the loss of their culture, people and land.

The movement to change the date of Australia Day is continually growing in Australia. This year, tens of thousands of people attended rallies across the country in support of Indigenous Australians and to call on the government to change the date. January 26 is often referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day by Indigenous people and those who support moving Australia Day to a different day.

January 26 is also the day that thousands of people across the country become Australian citizens. The biggest ceremony was held in the city of Parramatta in Sydney, with 1,450 people. 

A number of councils had their power to hold citizenship ceremonies revoked in 2019, after they voted to change the January 26 date for their citizenship ceremonies out of respect for Indigenous Australians. This led Prime Minister Scott Morrison to devise an Australia Day plan that would oblige all councils across Australia to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 from the year 2020.

A number of alternative dates have been put forward as replacements for January 26. One is May 27, the date in 1967 that Australia held a referendum to include Indigenous Australians in the census. March 12 is another, on this date in 1913, Australia's capital city Canberra was officially named. A popular one is also May 8, due to it sounding similar to one of Australia's most used words — "mate."

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed banned over racist comment by ICC

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been banned for four matches after admitting making a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

The International Cricket Council said Sarfraz breached its anti-racism code in a one-day international in Durban.

Sarfraz Ahmed later apologised  and claimed his words were "not directed towards anyone in particular"

The wicketkeeper will miss two one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches, all against South Africa.

"Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction," said the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive David Richardson.

The world governing body opened an investigation after Sarfraz was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word "kaale", meaning "black"

Sarfraz will also have to go on an ICC education programme

He was charged under a part of the section of the code relating to "conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person... on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin"

In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that it had "a zero-tolerance approach to racist comments and behaviour", but expressed its "utmost disappointment" with the decision to ban Sarfraz.

The PCB said it believed the matter had been settled amicably following the player's apology and said it would seek to reform the anti-racism code at future ICC forums.

Sarfraz's suspension started with Sunday's 4th ODI @ Johannesburg  and the player will return to Pakistan, with all-rounder Shoaib Malik stepping in as captain for the rest of the South Africa tour - even though Sarfraz would have been available for the final T20 match on 6 February.

Tehran bans dog walking in public spaces

Tehran,Iran's capital city has banned the public from walking pet dogs, as part of a long-standing official campaign to discourage dog-ownership.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi said "we have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor's Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks"

Owning dogs as pets, and walking them in public, has been contentious ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and owners have sometimes had their dogs confiscated

Dogs are viewed as "unclean" by Iran's Islamic authorities, who also regard dog-ownership as a symbol of the pro-Western policy of the ousted monarchy.

Suman Kumari Appointed Pakistan's First Hindu Woman Judge

Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman in Pakistan to be appointed as a civil judge

Suman, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot, will serve in her native district. She passed her LLB. examination from Hyderabad and did her masters in law from Karachi's Szabist University

According to Pawan Kumar Bodan, her father, Suman wants to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Qambar-Shahdadkot. "Suman has opted for a challenging profession, but I am sure she will go places through hard work and honesty," the father said.

Her father is an eye specialist while Suman's elder sister is a software engineer and another sister is a chartered accountant.


This is not the first time that a person from the Hindu community has been appointed as a judge

 The first judge from the Hindu community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas, who served as the acting chief justice for brief periods between 2005 and 2007

Hindus make up nearly 2 per cent of Pakistan's total population and Hinduism remains the second largest religion in Pakistan after Islam.

What is Interim Budget?

Interim budget explained
An interim budget is passed by an outgoing government on February 1. As customary, an interim budget is passed in two conditions: If the government of the day does not have time to present a full budget or if general elections are nearby. The full budget is then presented by the incoming government.
What's the procedure?
Simple. The Parliament approves the outgoing government’s budget and gives it spending rights till the end of the financial year i.e. March 31.
By approving the interim budget, the Parliament passes a vote on account to help the government meet administration expenses until a full budget is passed by the incoming government.
In years when general elections are held, the vote on account is approved for a period of four months. Elections are due in May 2019.
Difference between interim and full budget
Not much. An interim budget is exactly similar to a full budget but the vote on account is usually approved for a part of the financial year.
The interim budget estimates are presented for the full year but the incoming government can completely give the budget a makeover or partially change it after coming to power.
Interim budget regulations
There is no hard and fast rule which stops the outgoing government from framing any new major policies or benefits and there have been no major policies introduced all interim budgets held before elections years.
While it has been reported that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is planning to increase the income tax exemption threshold, it remains to be seen whether the government changes the age-old tradition of not introducing major ticket reforms.

How Interim Budget different from vote-on-account?

 A vote-on-account only deals with the expenditure side of the government's budget, an Interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts, akin to a full budget. For instance, P. Chidambaram had presented the last interim budget of the UPA Government on February 17, 2014, while Arun Jaitley presented the full budget - and the Modi government's first one - five months later.

A vote-on-account or approval for essential government spending for a limited period was taken in an election year ahead of a full-fledged budget presentation by the incoming government. That's because the Union government requires parliamentary approval to draw money from the Consolidated Fund of India to cover its expenditure as per the Constitution.

But the budget approved by the parliament sanctions government spending only till the end of a financial year, or March 31. Hence, the purpose of a vote-on-account or an interim budget is simply to allow the government of the day to continue running till India votes.

The upcoming 2019  budget will be the third interim one since 2000.

. New York City Subway - All You Need To Know

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 472 stations in operation(424 if stations connected by transfers are counted as single stations)

The system is also one of the world's longest. Overall, the system contains 236 miles (380 km) of routes

By annual ridership, the New York City Subway is the busiest rapid transit rail system in both the Western Hemisphere and the Western World as well as the 8th busiest rapid transit rail system after
  1. Beijing
  2. Shanghai
  3. Seoul
  4. Guangzhou
  5. Tokyo
  6. Moscow
  7. Hong Kong 

The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 36 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City

2019 India Tour of New Zealand - New Zealand Name 14-Man Squad For T20I Series Against India


New Zealand have named a 14-man squad for the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against India that starts in Wellington on February 6. Skipper Kane Williamson returns to the squad, having missed the one-off T20I against Sri Lanka. Doug Bracewell, who was brought in as a replacement for the injured Jimmy Neesham in the Sri Lanka T20I, has been retained in the squad.

However, Henry Nicholls finds no place in the 14-man squad.

Uncapped Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner have earned their maiden New Zealand call-ups after strong performances in the Super Smash, New Zealand's domestic T20 league.

Mitchell scored a 23-ball 61 for Northern Knights against Central Stags and was in solid form for New Zealand A in one-day cricket. Tickner will join the squad for the final T20I as replacement for Lockie Ferguson, who is in contention for the first two matches.

Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games 1 & 2), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner (game 3)

Cheteshwar Pujara's Performance in the 2018-19 First Class Season

Amongst Test batsmen, only four batsmen (Mominul Haque, Tushar Imran, RJ Burns and DJ Vilas) have scored more runs than Pujara (1512) in all first-class cricket since the beginning of 2018.

No Test batsman has faced more deliveries than Pujara in first-class cricket in this period. The Indian number 3 has faced, on an average, 126.75 deliveries per innings since 1st January, 2018.