Current Affairs March 2014

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“Iwao Hakamada”- World’s longest-serving death row-inmate freed by Japan

The Japanese court release of the World’s longest serving death row inmate, Mr. Iwao Hakamada (78), as the evidences used against him were probably made up.

About Mr. Iwao Hakamada

  • Nationality: Japanese.
  • Japanese former professional boxer.
  • Sentenced to death on September 11, 1968 for a mass murder (known as the Hakamada Incident).
  • Convicted of killing a company manager and his family and setting fire to their central Japan home, where he was a live-in employee.
  • Known for: World’s longest death-row inmate (48 years) certified by Guinness World Records.

 Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialized democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups. (Japan carries out a handful of executions every year).

Note: The only crimes that can lead to a death sentence in Japan are murder and treason.

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President Pranab Mukherjee re-promulgated SEBI ordinance

President Pranab Mukherjee cleared the re-promulgation of the SEBI Ordinance that provides powers for SEBI Chairman to authorize Investigating Authority or any other officer of the regulator to conduct search and seizure under the SEBI Act and crack down on Ponzi schemes.

 SEBI ordinance – Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013

  • Purpose: To arm the regulator with more stringent powers comes in wake of thousands of duped investors reportedly taking to the streets in Siliguri (West Bengal) protesting the proliferation of chit fund companies there and the Rs 2,000-crore Sardhaa chit fund scam.
  • SEBI can regulate any money pooling scheme worth Rs 100 crore or more and attach assets in cases of non-compliance and its Chairman can order “search and seizure operations”.
  • Empowers the market watchdog to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being investigated by it.

Note: The SEBI ordinance lapsed on January 15, has been re-promulgated for the third time as the Parliament could not pass the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the winter session.

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India’s forex reserves near $300 billion mark

India’s foreign exchange reserves continued their rally for the fourth straight week, increased by $1.35 billion to 298.64 billion dollar on a surge in currency assets even though the reserve position with the IMF slid heavily.

As per the data released by Reserve Bank of India( RBI)

  • Gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.978 billion.
  • Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major part of the overall reserves, rose $1.58 billion to $ 271.40 billion.
  • FCAs expressed in dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation/depreciation of the non-US currencies viz. the euro, pound and yen held in its reserves.
  • The special drawing rights were down by $ 16.9 million to % 4.462 billion, while the country’s reserve position with the IMF was down by a whopping $ 214.7 million to $1.801 billion.

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