Major News and Events of 26 December 2013
What Happened on 26 December 2013
Inquiry ordered into Gujarat snooping by the Cabinet
Devyani Khobragade had full immunity when she was arrested
Gold prices slump below Rs 30000 for the first time in 4 months
Guardian, a safety app by Microsoft for women
Ravichandran Ashwin to receive Polly Umrigar Award
In what comes as a big relief to Narendra Modi, a Gujarat court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri who was set on fire and died during the Gujarat riots. Jafri in her protest had questioned the closure report of SIT the Special Investigation Team which was assigned the task by Supreme Court. SIT had stated that no prosecutable evidence was found against Modi. The order of the local court came in when BJP announced the campaign of "Narendra Modi-for-PM" prior to next year's national election. 58 others also received the clean chit in the case. Jafri had in her petition had requested that Modi and others should be tried for their involvement in the riots. The Metropolitan Magistrate B.J. Ganatra, upheld the SIT closure report.
The cabinet has directed a commission of inquiry into the supposed snooping of a young woman done by the Gujarat Police, acting on the direction of the state home minister Amit Shah at that time. This was decided at a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In this the inquiry the "physical/electronic surveillance" in Gujarat, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh would be looked into as these were done supposedly without the required authorization. A retired Supreme Court judge may be heading the commission of inquiry. The announcement to this effect will be made in few days. It was reported by two news portals last month that Shah had had passed the order for illegal snooping of a woman at the behest supposedly of Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi. A probe is already at place in the case in Gujarat at the order of the state government. BJP shot back at this and stated that Congress was aiming to target Modi as he was the prime ministerial candidate of BJP.
Adding more to the controversy, a new fact has come to light which is that Devyani Khobragade, the senior Indian diplomat had full diplomatic immunity inclusive of personal arrest and detention on December 12 when she was arrested in a visa fraud case. She was accredited as an "Advisor to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations" by the UN w.e.f. 26th August 2013 till 31 December 2013. This provided her complete immunity from detention, personal arrest, seizure of their personal baggage. Article 4 Section 11A specifies this immunity will be given to Delegates, Deputy Delegates, Advisors, Technical Experts and Secretaries of delegations. Her arrest is thus in contradiction to the status she enjoyed on that day. This matter has been taken up by India with the US State Department.
For the first time in four months gold prices reached below Rs 30,000 per ten grams level in Delhi on Thursday. Gold dipped by Rs 275 and stood at Rs 29,900 per ten grams, which was last observed on August 14. This was due to stockists selling against slump in demand at existing higher levels. Silver though had an increase of Rs 310 and was at Rs 44,000 per kg due to increased procurement by industrial units and coin makers. Gold of 99.9% purity was trading lower at Rs 29,940 and 99.5% purity was at Rs 29,800 per 10 grams, while silver traded at Rs 44,440 per kg in Mumbai. Closure of foreign markets for Christmas and New Year too contributed to the dip. In Delhi, gold of 99.9% purity traded at Rs 29,900 and 99.5% purity at Rs 29,700 per ten grams.
Science and Technology
Microsoft India will be launching Guardian, which is an app designed specifically for the Windows phones and meant for women safety. The incidents like Delhi gangrape led Microsoft to come up with an app like this for the protection of women. The Guardian app will allow the friends and family of the user to track her in real time once she allows it on her phone. This app would be utilizing Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services and Bing Map APIs. The app can also send in messages as an SOS alert and link in to police, security agencies and hospitals. The app was developed in the Microsoft Garage by a group of developers. The Microsoft Garage enables the employees of the company to utilize their free time in coming up with new ideas.
Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner will be honored with the Polly Umrigar Award as he was adjudged the best international cricketer of the year 2012-13. Ashwin clinched 43 wickets, in which four times he grabbed five wickets in a match and once it was 10-wicket as well. He also made 263 runs, scored two half centuries from 8 Tests. In ODIs, he compiled in 18 matches 24 wickets and from four T20 matches he got 3 wickets. The Polly Umrigar Award that has a trophy and Rs five lakhs cheque was earlier received by Sachin Tendulkar in the season 2006-07 and 2009-10, Virender Sehwag in 2007-08, in 2008-09 by Gautam Gambhir, in 2010-11 by Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli got it in 2011-12 won the awards. BCCI's annual Awards ceremony will be honoring the country’s best performance in the senior and the junior level cricket shown from 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2013. The event will be held on January 11 in Mumbai.