2014 – January

 

Current Affairs for January, 2014

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01 Jan – India scraps Rs. 3,727-cr VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland

India terminated a controversial Rs. 3,727-crore contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 VVIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force which has invoked the integrity pact to scrap the deal in which the UK-based firm allegedly paid middlemen more than Rs. 375 crore in bribes.
The scrapping of the deal now opens the doors for fresh contract with other chopper companies like United Technologies Corp’s Sikorsky Aircraft, EADS’ Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin.
AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian defence group Finmeccanica, now faces the prospect of being
blacklisted for up to 10 years.

07  Jan – Government deposits with RBI cross Rs. 50,000 crore, adds to liquidity

The Union Government’s deposits with the Reserve bank of India have crossed Rs. 50000 crore, even as it is curtailing expenditure and blocking liquidity. At a time when other banks are borrowing from the RBI at 7.75% to meet their daily liquidity requirements, the central government’s huge deposit is seen as inappropriate in the face of rising fiscal constraints. As per the latest data, the government had parked Rs 50,931 crore with the RBI at the end of December 2013. The sum comprises mostly of the unspent advance tax receipts that tend to get bunched at the end of a quarter. The government does not earn any interest income on the money.
07 Jan – Janet Yellen appointed as first woman chairman of the US Federal Reserve

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen to serve as the next chairman of the US Federal Reserve. She will be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. She will be replacing Ben Bernanke, who finishes his second term at the end of the month. Elen has more than a decade-long experience in various important Federal positions.

09 Jan – As 1-kid rule ends, China bans forced abortions

China has banned forced abortions on women in advanced stages of pregnancy. China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said it will keep a close watch on hospitals to curb late-term abortions by women. Those who opt for such abortions and those who facilitate them will be punished. The move follows the decision to end the one-child policy. The government recently said a couple will be allowed to go for a second child if one of the two parents was a single child in his childhood.
Background:
The Commission is worried that the lifting of controls under the one-child policy will result in a one-sided sex ratio with a lot more males than females if there are no controls on abortions. China has a serious problem with sex ratio forcing a large number of men to marry women brought in by agents from North Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

13 Jan – Japan’s Suntory buys U.S. spirits maker Beam for $13.6 billion cash

Suntory Holdings Ltd buys U.S. spirits company Beam Inc for $13.6 billion cash in a deal that made the Japanese company the world’s third-largest spirits maker. Suntory has now become the third largest whiskey company and the fifth largest malt whiskey company by volume. The combined company will have annual sales of about $4.3 billion.
14 Jan – Nirbheek is India’s first revolver designed for women

Over a year after the brutal Delhi gangrape incident, the Indian Ordnance Factory has come out with ‘Nirbheek’, a .32 bore light weight revolver designed especially for women to defend themselves from assault. With its nomenclature inspired by ‘Nirbhaya’, the 500-g revolver is light and can be kept by women in their purses or handbags.

16 Jan – US implants secret software to survey offline computers, spies even onpartners like India

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has implanted a secret software in nearly 1, 00,000 computers around the world that allows it to conduct surveillance and create a digital highway for launching cyber-attacks, even if they are not connected to the internet The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user. Among the most frequent targets have
been units of the Chinese Army, which the United States has accused of launching regular cyber -attacks on American industrial and military targets, and also Russian military networks and systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and surprisingly sometimes partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan.
17 Jan – Pakistan’s Peshawar world’s ‘largest reservoir’ of polio: WHO

Calling for an urgent action to boost vaccination, the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan’s city of Peshawar as the world’s “largest reservoir” of endemic polio. According to the WHO report, almost every polio case in Pakistan, one of only three countries where the disease remains endemic, could be linked genetically to the virus circulating in Peshawar.
Polio is also endemic in Afghanistan and Nigeria, but of the three countries only Pakistan saw a rise in cases from 2012 to 2013.

18 Jan – Egypt passes new constitution

Egypt’s Electoral Commission has announced that Egyptian voters have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, with 98.1% voting in favor of the new constitution and 1.9 percent voting ‘no’. The anti-coup boycotted the elections. Nine people died of clashes on the first day of voting and some 400 people have been arrested over the two days for disrupting the vote. Mohammed Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president, is being held in jail in Alexandria, facing several criminal charges relating to his time in office. He says they are politically motivated. More than 2, 200 people have been killed since the ouster of Morsy and the repressive environment has sparked concerns from rights groups worldwide.
23 Jan – RBI to withdraw all pre-2005 notes from April

Reserve Bank of India has said that all currency notes issued before 2005 will be withdrawn from circulation after March 31, 2014. The move will ensure rationalization of bank notes with better security features and flushing out of unaccounted money stored in banks and personal lockers. If a person has such notes, he should exchange them for post-2005 notes and starting April 1st, no one should accept pre-2005 notes. Dismissing the ensuing panic, the RBI has clarified that all notes issued before 2005 will continue to be legal tender and banks would have to exchange the notes for their customers as well as non-customers. After 1st July, 2014, in order to exchange more than 10 pieces of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, a person would have to furnish proof of
identity and residence.

23 Jan – Indian-origin academician Rakesh Khurana appointed dean of Harvard College

Indian-origin academician Rakesh Khurana has been appointed dean of the prestigious Harvard College. He will take over his new role in July. Currently, he is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard.

26 Jan – Stanislas Wawrinka beats Rafael Nadal to clinch Australian Open; China’s Li Na wins women’s title

Swiss tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka achieved a dramatic win by beating World no. 1 Rafael Nadal to clinch the Australian Open Men’s singles title. A back injury to Nadal in the warm-up matches prevented him from displaying his usual flair during the match. China’s 31 year old Li Na stormed to her second Grand Slam title, defeating Dominika Cibulkova to become the oldest woman ever to win the Australian Open. She had won the French Open title three years ago. India’s Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau failed to clinch the Australian open mixed doubles title as they lost to French-Canadian combination of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor in straight sets in the summit clash.
30 Jan – Tatas to bag Rs 1,000 cr combat vehicle deal

In a move that will end a decades-long monopoly of Czech-made Tatra trucks in supplying the military’s high-end vehicles, Tata Motors is set to bag a Rs 1,000 crore contract with the Ministry of Defence for the supply of 1,239 heavy duty trucks. The deal for the so-called six-wheel-drive high mobility vehicles (HMV), fitted with material handling cranes, has the option of a follow-on order for 600 more units. This deal is among the three procurement projects the defence ministry kicked off in 2013 involving specialized trucks.

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06 Jan – IBA proposes only 5 free transactions per month, even if customers use their own bank ATMs

The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has said that banks would incur a monthly surcharge of Rs. 4000 crore for additional mandatory security requirements at the ATMs. In order to keep operations viable in the face of such an additional expense, the IBA has suggested that a customer should get only five free transactions per month even if he uses the ATM of the bank where he has an account. Right now, holders of savings accounts enjoy five free transactions per month in other bank ATMs, while there is no cap on own-bank ATM transactions. Following a brutal attack on a woman employee of a bank in Bangalore last year, the government has made it mandatory for all banks to deploy armed security guards across all ATMs.

16 Jan – Committee formed to decide fair fee for one bank using another bank’s ATM

The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella institution of banks to facilitate retail payment systems, has constituted a committee to suggest fair fee that a bank should pay another bank when its customers use the latter’s ATM. Some banks with large number of ATMs had raised several issues following which the NPCI decided to set up the committee. The six member committee will be is represented by three large card issuers, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank, and three large ATM network owners, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda and is expected to deliver its decision within a month.

21 Jan – Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) to give loans up to Rs. 1 crore without Jan collateral Bank

In order to promote women entrepreneurship, India’s first Women’s Bank, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, will provide collateral-free loans for amounts up to Rs 1 crore, which will instead be covered under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE). For loans availed for smaller amounts such as Rs 20,000, the bank will completely waive off the requirement for collateral. The CGTMSE is a credit guarantee scheme, where a premium is paid either by the lender or the applicant, provides a guarantee cover for up to 80 per cent of loans availed by women owned or operated micro- and small enterprises. The BMB, which has set up nine branches, plans to scale up operations and set up another 16 branches in various state capitals this fiscal. It will recruit about 300 candidates over the next few months.
24 Jan – Finance Ministry against banks charging own customers for ATM services

The Finance Ministry is not in favour of banks charging own customers for using their ATM services as suggested by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The ministry has said that it will increase the cost of servicing customers at the branch level as they might end up at the bank rather than the ATMs. The IBA had made the suggestion citing the increase in costs of running ATMs due to the mandatory enhanced security arrangements.

28 Jan – RBI policy review: Repo rate raised by 25 bps, CRR unchanged

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its policy review raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points. The decision was driven by an expectation that consumer price index (CPI) inflation will remain high, said RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.

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06 Jan – Indian smartphone device brand Xolo inks deal with Liverpool Football Club

Indian handset maker Lava’s smartphone brand Xolo has inked a three-season exclusive marketing deal with Liverpool Football Club for the Indian sub-continent and plans to spend about Rs 100 crore on promoting the game. Under the partnership, Xolo will be the official mobile handset partner for the football club in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. However, no financial details of the tie-up were disclosed.
06 Jan – Infosys 3.0 to be separate subsidiary; Sanjay Purohit to be named CEO

Infosys has planned to separate its new-generation business into a subsidiary, freeing it to focus on large outsourcing contracts, its area of strength. As a part of this step, Sanjay Purohit, who heads software products, platforms and solutions, will be named
CEO of the new subidiary. Infosys is also likely to name Samson David, head of Infosys’ platforms business as
chief operating officer, and Girish A Ramachandra, a vice-president, as chief technology officer.

08 Jan – Facebook acquires Bangalore based Little Eye Labs

Facebook has acquired Banglore based Little Eye Labs, a company building performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile app developers. This is the first Indian acquisition by Facebook. Other acquisitions Facebook has made to strengthen its mobile products include Parse, a mobile backend as a service startup it bought in April 2013. It also recently made an unsuccessful attempt to buy instant messaging firm Snapchat, which reportedly turned down Facebook’s $3 bn
offer.

20 Jan – Walmart registers new company in India

According to the data available with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Walmart has registered a new company called ‘Wal-Mart India Private Ltd’ in India. The American retail major had parted ways with Bharti Enterprises in October last year, bringing an end to their six-year long partnership.

20 Jan – Boeing, Etihad to develop aviation biofuels

Aircraft maker Boeing Co., Etihad Airways, oil company Total and others will work together on a program to develop an aviation biofuel industry in the United Arab Emirates. The program will involve research and development and investments in production of fuels derived from plants that can power aircraft. Boeing also has aviation biofuels programs with U.S. and other airlines.

20 Jan – Jet-Etihad deal faces new regulatory hurdles

The Rs. 2059 crore deal between Jet Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which had supposedly got approval from Indian authorities on November 12, has hit yet another roadblock. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has sought details of Tailwinds, Jet’s previous promoter company. Further, FIPB has also sought the details of other companies owned by Jet’s owner Naresh Goyal over the last 10 years and their financial dealings with companies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Also, Capital market regulator Sebi is taking a fresh look at the Rs 2,060 crore Jet-Etihad Airways deal following observations made by fair trade watchdog Competition Commission. The deal also faces the hurdle of a Supreme Court case filed by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy.

23 Jan – Tata-Singapore Airlines Joint Venture (JV) to lease airbuses from BOC aviation

The Tata Sons – Singapore Airlines Joint Venture (JV) that will operate a full-service airline in the low-cost category in India will lease an initial fleet of 20 Airbus jets from Singapore based BOC Aviation. BOC Aviation is the aircraft leasing subsidiary of Bank of China.
27 Jan – Air India to offer Wi-Fi on its aircrafts

Air India Ltd (AI) plans to offer Wi-Fi on both its wide- and narrow-body planes that are used for international and domestic flights, respectively, for a fee. Rohit Nandan, Chairman, Air India has approached French multinational Thales to help set up Wi-Fi service on its domestic and international flights.
Internationally several carriers such as Aerofloat, Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair, Hong Kong Airlines, Lufthansa, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Air Canada, Delta, United and Virgin America offer this service or are in the process of setting it up.

30 Jan – Google to sell Motorola phone business to Lenovo

Google is set to sell Motorola’s smartphone business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, a price that makes Google’s biggest acquisition look like its most expensive mistake.

Motorola has lost nearly $2 billion since Google took over, while trimming its workforce from 20,000 to 3,800. Google is also keeping most of the patents that came with the Motorola purchase.

30 Jan – TCS to replace Genpact as top BPO company

The BPO arm of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is set to occupy the no. 1 position in the business category replacing previous market leader Genpact. TCS‘s significant growth has helped its business exceed that of Genpact in a short time. IT industry customers want vendors who offer integrated IT and BPO services and this has helped TCS’s BPO unit immensely, leaving its Indian rivals far behind. Generally, BPO units of top-tier IT companies have grown faster than revenues of pure-play BPO firms like Genpact, EXL and WNS.

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02 Jan – Manipur Students’ Federation bans forever the Times of India and the RSS in Manipur

The Manipur Students’ Federation (MSF) has banned forever the Times of India and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Manipur. In its edition on December 8, the Times of India had published a news report based on the statement of RSS national executive member Arun Kumar which said it is not necessary to lift the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958. The MSF president has said all sections of people have been demanding the lifting of the AFSPA from Manipur. The RSS and the Times of India have refused to clarify the matter.
06 Jan – Ex-Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar to head Nasscom

Former union telecom secretary R. Chandrashekhar took over as President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). He succeeded Som Mittal who was at the helm of the industry body for seven years since 2007.
Chandrashekhar was the chairman, telecom commission and secretary of the department of telecom till March last year. Earlier, he had established the first department of information technology in the country in Andhra Pradesh and was secretary of the department from June, 1997 to December, 1999.

10 Jan – Satyam Computers founder B Ramalinga Raju’s wife, sons get jail terms

A local court convicted directors of 19 companies whose promoters included wife and sons, family members
and relatives of Satyam Computer Services Ltd founder B Ramalinga Raju for allegedly evading income
tax.However, the court, based on a plea of the accused, suspended the sentence for one month to enable
them to approach a higher court.
Mr Raju and nine others accused, including his two brothers, are currently on bail in a case related to fudging
of Satyam accounts in 2009.
14 Jan – Uttar Pradesh blacks out TV channels for criticizing government

Two news channels – Times Now and India News – were unplugged by cable operators in Uttar Pradesh immediately after chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s open attack on the media for its “negative coverage of Saifai Mahotsav”. Some cable operators confessed that they were acting on an informal government order. The UP government has been under severe attack from the media for holding a grand, expensive carnival at Saifai, the home town of Mulayam Singh Yadav, at a time when thousands of riot-affected poor people have been left to fend for themselves in the bitter cold in Muzaffarnagar.

15 Jan – Several PSBs may defy finance ministry on insurance sales

The finance ministry had told government-owned banks to end the practice of selling policies of one life and one non-life insurer, also known as the corporate agency model, and shift to the insurance-broking model. But several banks have partnerships with foreign insurers that oblige them to sell only the products of their joint venture partners. Bank of India has passed a resolution that it will only sell insurance products of Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance, a joint venture with Union Bank of India and Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance. Other banks such as State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank are in the process of passing similar board resolutions.

20 Jan – Pacific island nation of Palau to issue coins for Tirupati Balaji Temple

The Government of Palau, reflecting the global popularity of Tirupati Balaji, is issuing a limited collectors’ edition coin dedicated to the deity. The silver coins are minted in German Mint and studded with Swarovski crystals and a small diamond, and would be sold in Kolkata. The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, popularly known as Tirupati Balaji, in Andhra Pradesh is visited by millions of devotees annually. It would be for the first time that a foreign country is issuing coins on the Hindu deity.

21 Jan – Government warns of credit card payment virus

The government of India has warned banks and retail establishments of ‘Dexter’, a malware that steals credit card data from point of sales (POS) terminals which are connected to the internet. The malware alert was sounded by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team which is a part of the ministry of communications and information technology.

23 Jan – Global unemployment rate crosses 200 million, unemployment rate to increase in India

Global unemployment rate has crossed 200 million in 2013 with bulk of the jobless coming from East and South Asia, indicating that uneven economic recovery and successive downward growth revisions have had an adverse impact on the global employment scenario. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has forecasted that India’s employment rate will inch up to 3.8% in 2014 from 3.7% in 2013 while China’s employment rate is expected to rise to 4.7% from 4.6%. Although, the unemployment rates of these two Asian countries are much lower compared to crisis-hit European nations such as Greece, Portugal and Spain or some of the West Asian and African nations, India and China still make up a major portion of jobless workers owing to their huge population.

30 Jan – Investment limit for foreign investors raised to $10 billion

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked the investment limit for foreign investors, such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and foreign central banks, to $10 billion from $5 billion. However, the overall investment limit in government bonds for foreign institutional investors (FII) has been kept at $30 billion.

30 Jan – Arunachal student dies in Delhi, attracts protests

Nido Taniam, an 18 year old Student from Arunachal Pradesh died after being beaten up mercilessly by locals at a marketplace in the Lajpat Nagar area of Delhi, triggering widespread protests. He was the son of Arunachal Pradesh Congress legislator Nido Pavitra. He was studying in Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar. The incident attracted widespread protests and criticism from Political Parties and Activists. AAP spokesperson said that the way police picked him up and then again dropped him to the same spot was needed to be looked into.

[tabby title=”Politics”]

22 Jan – Kejriwal ends protest after compromise with Centre, AAP minister Somnath Bharti accused of alleged misbehavior

The over 30-hour protest outside Delhi Rail Bhavan by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters in the high-security Raisina Hill area, that threatened to disrupt Republic Day celebrations, ended after two police officers were sent on leave under a compromise with the Centre over his demand for suspension of five police officials for alleged dereliction of duty. Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung also appealed to Kejriwal to withdraw the agitation and promised a speedy judicial inquiry into the alleged police inaction. The party has alleged that the policemen did not cooperate with Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti during his vigilante-style raid on African women, whom he accused of allegedly being involved in drug and prostitution rackets, on Wednesday night. The AAP also protested the alleged police inaction to minister Rakhi Birla’s complaint concerning “improper action” in a dowry case. Around 31 people, including AAP supporters, police and media personnel were injured in clashes.
A Ugandan woman has identified Delhi Law Minister, Somnath Bharti, as the one leading the group of people who allegedly assaulted and misbehaved with them during the raid. BJP leader Arun jaitley has said that Bharti’s actions were racist in character. African nationals have staged protest against AAP and pressure has been mounting on the Delhi government to take action against Somnath Bharti.

[tabby title=”Science”]

31 Jan – Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalkrisnan gives IISc Rs 225 crore

Infosys co-founder and executive vice-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan has set aside Rs. 225 crore to develop a Centre for Brain Research at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. It is one of the single largest contributions in the field of pure sciences. The money will be given under the banner of the Pratiksha Trust, a charitable organization Kris has set up with his wife Sudha. The trust funds education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. An international scientific advisory board has been set up to guide research and operations at the centre.

[tabby title=”Sports”]

14 Jan – Cristiano Ronaldo wins 2013 Ballon d’Or award

Cristiano Ronaldo won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2013, ending Lionel Messi’s four-year run as the world’s best player. Ronaldo scored 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2013, and his stunning hat trick against Sweden in a decisive World Cup playoff was perhaps the defining individual performance. Voting was done by national team captains and coaches, plus selected journalists, in FIFA’s 209 member countries.

[tabby title=”World”]

03 Jan – Nepal to become a free Wi-Fi zone

The Nepal government has announced a plan to turn Nepal into a free Wi-Fi zone. To prepare basic foundations, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC), which introduced the plan, formed a task force to hold a feasibility study on implementing the plan. Mahesh Adhikary, member of Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) has been asked to submit the report along with recommendations to the ministry within 30 days.
Due to lack of resources and absence of necessary infrastructure necessary for the purpose, the plan has surprised many.

06 Jan – Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League wins elections marred by violence

Bangladesh’s ruling party, the Awami League, has won the recently concluded elections, considered to be one of the most violent in the country’s history. Street violence, low turnout and a boycott by the opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has demeaned the importance of the election results. On Monday, clashes stemming from the election killed three people in Dohar, outside the capital Dhaka and another 18 people were killed on Sunday as police fired at protesters and opposition activists torched more than 100 polling stations. Around half of the 300 seats were uncontested because of the opposition boycott, allowing the Awami League to secure a big victory. Nearly 300 people have been killed in political violence in Bangladesh since last February and further violence is likely to lead to economic stagnation in an already impoverished country.

12 Jan – Sheikh Hasina sworn in for 3rd time as Bangladesh PM

Sheikh Hasina along with her Cabinet of 49 Ministers was sworn-in before President Abdul Hamid at the Bangabhaban, the President’s house. She had won an overwhelming majority in the Bangladesh general election by defeating opposition party, Jatiya party.
The election was one of the deadliest since Bangladesh’s 1971 independence, as an opposition alliance led by Khaleda Zia, former prime minister and Hasina’s archrival, attempted to derail the vote by calling weeks of strikes and blockades. At least 18 people died in the election day violence, and more than 100 polling centers were set on fire. Since last February, at least 300 people have died in political violence.
14 Jan – Nigeria bans gay marriage, gay meetings

Nigeria’s president has signed a law that bans same-sex marriage and criminalizes homosexual associations, societies and meetings, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail. It is now a crime to have a meeting of gays, or to operate or go to a gay club, society or organization. Nigeria already has a law inherited from British colonizers that makes homosexual sex illegal in the West African nation.

14 Jan – Egyptians vote on new constitution in key referendum

Egyptians voted on a new constitution amid high security in a referendum likely to prompt a presidential bid by the army chief who overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The referendum marks the first time Egyptian voters have cast their ballots since a summer coup that ousted the country’s first freely elected president and is seen as a test of legitimacy for Egypt’s post-coup leaders.
An Islamist coalition led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had called for a boycott and “civilised peaceful protests” during the two days of polling, and the interior ministry had pledged to confront attempts to disrupt voting.

28 Jan – Argentina’s Government imposes $2,000 limit on US Dollar Purchase

Argentina has changed its 2-year old restriction on US dollar purchases. People will now be able to buy $2,000 per month provided their salary is more than $900 (7,200 pesos).
However, with almost 80% of Argentina’s workers earning less than 7,200 pesos a month in the last quarter, this move is expected to only benefit the top 20% in the country. People who qualify will be allowed by the tax agency to purchase up to 20% of their average monthly salary for the past one year.

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