1) Pankaj Advani won World Billiards Championship: Pankaj Advani won a grand double by clinching the World billiards championship (time format) at Leeds (England), just days after winning the points format title. Advani cruised past England’s Robert Hall 1928-893 in the final late on Wednesday night, capping a memorable week. The 29-year-old has now become the first cueist to bag the double three times in his career, the earlier occasions coming in 2005 (Malta) and 2008 (Bangalore). In the last four months, he has captured four world titles — in snooker and billiards. Last Week, Pankaj claimed the World Title in the Points Format by beating Peter Gilchrist, current World No. 1 in the Finals.
2) ‘I’m proud to be gay’ says Apple CEO Tim Cook: Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s proud to be gay. The public declaration, in an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, makes Mr. Cook the highest-profile business CEO to come out. Mr. Cook said that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. The executive said that for years he’s been open with many people about his sexual orientation and that plenty of his Apple colleagues know he is gay. Mr. Cook wrote in the column published on Thursday that it wasn’t an easy choice to publicly disclose that he is gay, but that he felt the acknowledgement could potentially help others. “I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important,” he wrote. Mr. Cook added that he considers “being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me”.
3) Union Government launches austerity measures: India announced a slew of austerity measures, including a 10% cut in certain types of government spending and curbs on foreign travel and conferences, to meet its deficit-reduction goal amid slower-than-estimated revenue growth and spiralling expenses. The government is aiming to narrow the nation’s fiscal deficit to 4.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) for the current fiscal, a goal that has been termed as challenging by economists as well as the government, prompting the expenditure-reduction measures on Thursday. The austerity steps have also placed restrictions on foreign travel and a ban on first class air travel. The finance ministry has also banned conferences in five-star hotels, purchase of vehicles and creation of new posts.
4) Low cost generic respiratory drug launched by Cipla: Taking the patent battle to Novartis, India's Cipla has launched low-cost generic version of the Swiss drug maker's respiratory drug Indacaterol sold under the Onbrez brand, while asking the government to revoke patents over the medicine.
5) WhatsApp founders own nearly $9b in Facebook stock: WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton received 116 million shares of Facebook stock currently worth nearly $9 billion when they sold their unprofitable messaging service to the social networking leader earlier this month. The breakdown of the big winners in Facebook Inc.’s $22 billion acquisition emerged Wednesday in a regulatory filing.
6) Arvind Mayaram appointed as Secretary in the Minority Affairs: Senior bureaucrat Arvind Mayaram has received a second transfer order in a fortnight. Mayaram, who was earlier shifted out of the Finance Ministry to Tourism, has now been appointed as Secretary in the Minority Affairs Ministry. The current posting is considered even low-profile than the one in the Tourism Ministry. New order issued on Thursday states that the Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared Mayaram's appointment as the new Minority Affairs Secretary.
7) ISRO plans second Mars Mission with rover and lander in 2018: After the success of the recent Mars Orbit Mission (MOM), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to revisit the Red Planet in 2018 with a heavier satellite which will carry a lander and a rover. The Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) Satellite Centre Director S Shiva Kumar said the space agency is planning to launch a second Mars mission in 2018, to conduct more experiments for which they have to develop new technologies.