2012 Current Affairs

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Palestine to get $100 million monthly "financial safety net" from Arab states

Arab states have offered the Palestinian Authority a $100 million monthly "financial safety net" to aid Palestinian government tackle an economic crisis after the United Nations granted de facto statehood to Palestine.

Reacting to the UN approval to Palestine as “non-member state” Israel has ordered to build 3,000 Jewish settler homes in the occupied West Bank and announced it would arrest payments of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinians to pay an outstanding electricity bill.

The crisis situation Palestinian economy is aggravating due to lack of foreign funding and Israel inhibitions on development. Palestine is facing a budget deficit of $1.5 billion for 2012, with donor funds expected to fulfill only $1.14 billion of this shortage.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) administers limited self-rule in the West Bank and gets most of its aid from the USA, the European Union and Arab states. But reduction in aid from Arab states over past some years has resulted in the PA being unable to pay salaries to its 153,000 civil servants on time on several occasions.

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Walmart spent $25 million in lobbying to enter Indian retail market

Global retail major Walmart has reported in its imagedisclosure that it has spent close to USD 25 million (aboutRs.125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India". 

The disclosure has come at a time when India has just opened up its multi-brand retail sector for foreign companies after the government won the vote over the FDI policy in retail, in both houses of parliament.

Walmart stores has been waiting for a long time to enter the expanding retail sector in India which is currently of the size of about USD 500 billion and is pegged to cross USD one trillion mark by 2020. The sector is also lucrative as it promises growth of 15-20%over the next 5 years.

In US, the companies are allowed to lobby for their cases in various departments and agencies in the country, but they are required to file their lobbying disclosure reports every quarter with the US Senate.

What is Walmart?

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. branded as Walmart
  • US multinational retailer corporation
  • Runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores.
  • World’s third largest public corporation
  • Biggest private employer in the world with over 2 million employees
  • Largest retailer in the world
  • Family-owned business (as the company is controlled by the Walton family who own a 48% imagestake in Walmart)
  • S. Robson Walton (Chairman) 
  • 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names
  • Walmart’s investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in the UK, South America and China are highly successful, whereas ventures in Germany and South Korea were unsuccessful.

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‘Life of Pi’ receives National Tourism Awards

imageRecently released feature film ‘Life of Pi’, directed by  Ang Lee based on Yann Martel book titled the same, has been given two National Tourism Awards by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India recognizing the impact it has had in promoting India as a tourism destination, especially Puducherry and Munnar (Kerala). 
These Awards would be given to Mr. Ang Lee, Director of the film ‘Life of Pi’ and Mr. Yann Martel. The award has been given to encourage more and more Film producers from abroad to shoot their films in India.

Click for more on “Life of Pi”

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