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Venezuela hikes monthly minimum wage by 150% to 660
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has ordered a 150% increase in the monthly minimum wage to 4,500 sovereign bolivars, worth about ₹660 at the black market rate. Maduro has now raised the minimum wage 25 times since he took office in 2013. The OPEC nation is in the midst of its worst-ever economic crisis, with acute shortages of food and medicine.
China, U.S. declare 90-day halt to new tariffs
China and the United States have agreed to halt new tariffs as both nations engage in trade talks with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days, the White House announced after US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held high-stakes talks in Argentina G20 summit. Mr Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on US$200 billion (S$274 billion) of Chinese goods to 25 per cent on Jan 1 as previously announced. US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and China has responded by imposing duties on $110 billion in US goods.
Govt forms6-member panel to look at selling 149 fields of ONGC, OIL to privatecompanies
The panel is headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and includes Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Oil Secretary M M Kutty, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker. The fields will be sold to private companies to boost domestic output. The government gave out 34 fields to private firms by offering them pricing and marketing freedom for oil and gas they produced from the fields in the first round of Discovered Small Field (DSF). The second round of DSF with 25 fields on offer is currently under bidding.
IOC sets up human rights advisory committee starting in 2024
The International Olympic Committee IOC has set up an advisory committee on human rights chaired by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the former United Nations commissioner for human rights starting in 2024. President Thomas Bach said Saturday at meetings in the Japanese capital that “human rights standards” will be included in Olympic host-city contracts beginning with the 2024 Olympic in Paris. Bach suggested the committee would focus on issues like the rights of transgender athletes. Bach was asked if the committee would look at human rights in China, where the ruling Communist Party has been criticized for the internment of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in western China. Beijing is the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics and spent USD 40 billion.
Bank of Maharashtra appoints A.S. Rajeev as MD and CEO
The 54-year-old previously served as the Executive Director of Indian Bank and had also been the CFO of Vijaya Bank. He will hold the position for a period of three years or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
NASA to launch VISIONS 2 to image Earths leaky atmosphere
NASA is set to launch VISIONS-2 rocket to get a closer look at the how the earth’s atmosphere is leaking into space. The VISIONS-2 mission, Visualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral Atom Sensing-2, is scheduled to be launched on December 4. Understanding atmospheric escape on earth has applications all over the Universe, from predicting which planets might be habitable, to piecing together how Mars became a desolate landscape. A sounding rocket makes brief, targeted flights into space before falling back to Earth just a few minutes later. Sounding rockets are unique among scientific spacecraft for their superior dexterity. They can be carted to remote locations, where they are aimed and shot into short-lived events, like the sudden formation of the aurora borealis, at a moment’s notice. The aurora borealis is of keen interest to the VISIONS-2 team, but not just for its otherworldly glow. The aurora play are fundamental drivers in the process of atmospheric escape, whereby planets, including Earth, gradually leak their atmosphere into space.
Former US President George HW Bush passed away at 94
George HW Bush became 41st president of the United States in 1989 after serving as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. His son, George W. Bush was also elected president and served two terms between 2001 and 2009. George HW Bush presided over the end of the Cold War and routed Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army but lost a chance for a second term after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge.
WhatsApp awaits RBI approval to expand its payment services
WhatsApp sought Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) approval that it can expand its payments services to all its 200 million users in India. The messaging app is waiting for a regulatory clearance to launch full-fledged payments operations in India. It has been almost two years since it first began discussions with the government on its payments services plans. The initiation comes at a time when competitors such as Google have forged ahead with their payments offerings. WhatsApp has drawn fire from the government over the spread of fake messages on its platform.
Sunil Arora took charge as new Chief Election Commissioner
Sunil Arora, the senior-most election commissioner, on Dec 2 took charge as the 23rd Chief Election Commissioner, succeeding OP Rawat who demitted office on December 1. Besides the Parliamentary polls, the 2019 assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will be held during his tenure. He will be in office till October 2021.
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