Thursday, 23 April 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 22/04/2015

  • Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha: M. Thambidurai
  • Sitaram Yechury succeeded Prakash Karat as the General Secretary of Communist Party of India.
‘Political intervention necessary in a democracy’
  • Describing political intervention as a necessary element in a democracy for addressing public issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 21 advised civil servants against viewing it as a hindrance to their functioning.
  • At the Civil Services Day function, Mr. Modi’s observation about bureaucrats listening to him with all seriousness drew a hearty laugh when he said: “I have never been to Mussoorie [Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration where All-India Service recruits undergo training], but do you remain serious like this there as well? … Why have you all been sitting like this, I am not going to ask you for any new work.”
  • Mr. Modi drew a distinction between political interference and intervention(action taken to improve a situation), stating that the first one ruined the system but the other was necessary and inevitable in a democracy, for public interest-driven decision-making. “Political intervention and democracy go hand in hand in a democracy,” he said.
Call for reforms
  • He exhorted bureaucrats to reform the system from within, with a goal to bring in more accountability, responsibility and transparency.
  • Mr. Modi said civil servants should have a positive outlook and strive towards perfection, converting adversities into opportunities. Recalling Vallabhbhai Patel’s contribution to national integration, he said social and economic integration was among the civil services’ objective.
  • National unity today meant an end to the digital divide, urban-rural divide, and all forms of socio-economic inequities, he said.
  • The Prime Minister asked senior bureaucrats to visit educational institutions and spend time motivating the youth of the country to join the civil services.
  • Referring to a Goldman Sachs report that India would take a decade to reach the Asian average on government effectiveness, Mr. Modi sought to drive home the urgency of carrying out administrative reforms. He urged the bureaucrats to work as a team to take on the challenges ahead, develop a large reservoir of institutional memory bank and at the same time, help raise the next generation of talented civil servants.
Centre keeps GPF rate at 8.7%
  • The government has kept the rate of interest on General Provident Fund contributions unchanged at 8.7 per cent for 2015-16. The rates are effective from April 1.
  • The government recently maintained the rates for the PPF at 8.7 per cent for 2015-16.
  • Interest rates for senior citizens in small savings schemes will now be 9.3 per cent and for the Sukanya Samriddhi Account for the girl child, 9.2 per cent.
NYT’s Ebola coverage wins Pulitzer
  • The New York Times on April 20 won three prestigious Pulitzer Prizes and a St. Louis newspaper took the breaking news photography award for its coverage of racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, won the coveted award for public service journalism for an investigative series on why South Carolina is among the deadliest States for women in the country.
  • The New York Times staff shared the prize for international reporting for its coverage of the deadly Ebola epidemic in West Africa, announced the Pulitzer committee at Columbia University in New York.
  • A freelance photographer for the Times , Daniel Berehulak, won the feature photography award for what the committee called his “gripping, courageous” Ebola coverage.
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$10,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.

Morsy sentenced to jail for 20 years
  • An Egyptian court on April 21 sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsy to 20 years in prison for abuses against protesters but acquitted the Islamist leader of charges carrying a possible death penalty.
  • Morsy was convicted of ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators involved in clashes in 2012 when he was President, in a verdict Amnesty International denounced as a “travesty of justice”.
  • Fourteen others were convicted of the same charges, with most also sentenced by the Cairo court to 20 years in jail.
  • It acquitted the defendants of inciting murder in connection with the deaths of a journalist and two protesters during the December 5, 2012 clashes outside the presidential palace in Cairo.
Mohamed Morsy in Court's hearing

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