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India and Slovenia sign Protocol amending India-Slovenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

India and Central European country Slovenia signed a protocol in second week on May 2016 to amend an existing double taxation avoidance treaty in Ljubljana. This new agreement will curb tax avoidance and tax evasion.
•    The protocol was signed by Indian ambassador to Slovenia Sarvajit Chakravarti, and Slovenian Finance Minister Dusan Mramor on behalf of Slovenia.
•    This agreement will widen the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information.
•    The framework is likely to help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries.
•    It will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.
•    Slovenia, formerly a part of erstwhile Yugoslavia, attained Independence in 1991. India recognized Slovenia on 11 May 1992.
•    Soon after recognition, the then Foreign Minister of Slovenia Dimitrij Rupel visited India on 18 May 1992.
•    Slovenia opened its resident mission in New Delhi on 1 August 2002. While, India opened its resident Mission in Ljubljana in February 2007.

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PNB tops list of worst losses in Indian banking history

Punjab National Bank reported a net loss of Rs 5,367.14 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2016 against net profit of Rs 306 crore in the same quarter a year ago.
•    Provisions of the bank jumped nearly 3 times, 173 per cent, to 10,485.23 crore for the quarter under review from Rs 3834.19 crore in the same quarter last year.
•    The asset quality of Punjab National Bank deteriorated as gross non-performing assets rose to 12.90 per cent of gross advances during the quarter, from 6.55 per cent in the year-ago period.
•    Gross NPAs were Rs 55,818.33 crore in the quarter against Rs 25,694.86 crore last year.
•    Bad loans as a percentage of net advances stood at 8.61 per cent during the last quarter of 2015-16, from 4.06 per cent year ago. 
•    Net interest margins of Punjab National Bank slid 27 per cent to Rs 2767.71 crore in Jan-Mar 2016 period against Rs 3791.58 crore in the same period last year.
•    For the full fiscal, the lender reported a net loss of Rs 3,974.39 crore compared with a net profit of Rs 3,061.58 crore in corresponding last fiscal.
•    At 12.47 am, shares of public sector bank erased their initial gains and were trading 0.07 per cent at Rs 73.85.
•    With this huge loss, Punjab National Bank is now among the several public sector banks that have reported losses due to bad loans. 
•    Syndicate Bank reported a net loss of Rs 2,158.17 for the quarter ending March 2016 due to more than three-fold rise in provisions for bad loans and contingencies. 
•    Bank of Baroda, UCO Bank, Central Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Dena Bank have earlier reported losses due to bad loans.

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Nepal SBI Bank launches payment gateway

Nepal SBI Bank, one of the largest overseas subsidiaries of SBI, has launched payment gateway to facilitate online trade and non-trade transactions between the Himalayan nation and India.
•    With the launch of above services, the customer of Nepal SBI Bank can utilise various features of mobile banking and other value added services along with the platform of the payment gateway, the bank said in a statement.
•    The Payment Gateway was inaugurated by SBI Managing Director B Sriram, and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae.
•    Nepal SBI Bank is providing banking services from its 70 Offices including 59 branches and 3 Regional Offices.
•    Besides, Sriram also handed over a cheque for Rs 5.21 crore to Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli for PM Natural Disaster Relief Fund.
•    As a part of social responsibility initiatives of Nepal SBI, Sriram also inaugurated construction of main entrance gate of Pashupati area development trust on the theme of UNESCO World Heritage Design. 

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Apple opens Development Office in Hyderabad

Apple Inc. on 19 May 2016 opened a new Development Office in Hyderabad, Telangana. 
•    The office was formally opened by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.
•    The facility will focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. 
•    This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4000 jobs.
•    With iOS 9 Apple added Transit, offering a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world.
•    Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984.
•    At present, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
•    Across India, Apple supports over 640000 iOS app developer jobs and other positions related to the iOS ecosystem.

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NTPC tied-up with Coal India Limited`

State-run power producer NTPC Limited on 16 May 2016 signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with state-run miner Coal India limited to foray into the Fertilizer Sector and revive plants of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).
The JVA was signed by NTPC's General Manager (BD) Arun Kumar Gupta and Coal India's General Manager (Coal Videsh) T Bandopadhyay.
•    The JV company would initially be incorporated with 50:50 equity participation from both.
•    It will also contain the provision of inducting strategic partners at a later date depending upon business requirement of JV company.
•    The joint venture company will take up the revival of FCIL plants at Sindri in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
•    It will set up an ammonia urea plant at each location.

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Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese taxi service Didi Chuxing

Apple said it invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. 
Didi is the world’s largest mobile transportation service platform that offers mobile technology-based transportation options across over 400 major Chinese cities, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, Chauffeur, DiDi Bus, DiDi Test Drive and DiDi Enterprise Solutions.
•    Company saw a total of 1.43 billion rides on its platform in 2015.
•    In February 2016, DiDi became the world’s second largest online transaction platform. 
•    The company said it completes more than 11 million rides a day, with more than 87 percent of the market for private car-hailing in China.
•    One of the major reasons behind making the investment was the chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market. 
•    Apple is entirely confident of growing business in the the long term in China’s economy. 

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Union Cabinet approves for MoU between SEBI and FSRA Abu Dhabi

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 May 2016 gave its approval to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), Abu Dhabi.
•    The MoU is for mutual co-operation and technical assistance between the two financial regulators.
•    It will promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two signatories
•    It will help to create conditions for development of securities markets in the two countries.
•    It would also contribute towards strengthening the information sharing framework between the two regulators.
Apart from Abu Dhabi, SEBI also signed bilateral agreements with a number of countries which include Mauritius, Bangladesh etc
SEBI is a signatory to global market regulators' grouping IOSCO's MoU which encourages the exchange of information and assistance

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Inter-governmental agreement between India and Mauritius

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 May 2016 approved to sign the inter-governmental agreement between India and Mauritius. 
This is based on cooperation in cooperatives and related fields.
• The agreement between the two countries will be for duration of five years.
• It provides for promoting cooperation through short and medium term programmes.
Both countries also signed a protocol on taxation that amend the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains on 10 May 2016.
• A joint meeting was held on September 2012 in Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare followed by Ministerial level meeting after a year in September, 2013.
• It was discussed for the possibility of signing an MoU between the two countries for exchange of legislation governing cooperatives, exchange of information and technicalities pertaining to the cooperative sector, establishment of institutional linkages and deputation of experts under ITEC programme.

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Uday Kotak, only Indian in Forbes Most Powerful People in the Financial World list

On 11 May 2016 Forbes magazine released the list of the Most Powerful People in the Financial World. 
•    The only Indian in the list is Uday Kotak, the CEO of the Kotak Mahindra Bank. 
•    He is ranked 33rd in the list 
•    He has a net worth of 7.1 billion dollars and oversees assets worth 34.6 billion dollars.
•    The list has been topped by Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group 
•    Next on the list is David Tepper of Appaloosa Management and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
•    Stephen Schwarzman is the CEO of Blackstone Group, the world’s biggest private equity firm. 
•    David Teppere is the CEO of Appaloosa Management.
•    Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co, America’s largest bank. 
The candidates on the list were judged on net worth, assets under management or overseen, three-year track records and influence on markets.

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Commemorative Coin of 100 rupees & Circulation Coin of 10 rupees on Maharana Pratap released

On 9 May 2016 The Union Government released a commemorative coin of hundred rupees and a circulation coin of ten rupees on Maharana Pratap. 
•    The coin was released as a part of 475th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Maharana Pratap.
•    The coin was released by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism Dr Mahesh Sharma in New Delhi.
•    Maharana Pratap was a brave warrior, successful organizer and ingenious strategist, who fearlessly fought the Mughals and protected his people until his death.
•    He was a ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan.
•    His birth anniversary is celebrated every year on the 3rd day of the Jyestha Shukla phase.
•    He was the eldest son of Maharani Jaiwanta Bai and Udai Singh II, founder of Udaipur.
•    He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs.
•    Union Ministry of Culture has been celebrating the 475th Birth Anniversary of Maharana Pratap in association with the State Government of Rajasthan.

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