1) Cabinet approved GST Constitutional Amendment Bill: The Union Cabinet on 17 December 2014 approved the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Goods & Services Tax (GST), inching closer to the rollout of an ambitious indirect tax reform expected to raise revenues and boost growth. The government aims to implement GST by April 1, 2016 and has been working overtime to get states on board. The tax reform is a centrepiece of the Narendra Modi government's economic agenda. Sources said the government hopes to introduce the bill in the current session of Parliament.
2) AIBA banned boxer Sarita Devi for 1 year: India's woman boxer Laishram Sarita Devi was on 17 December 2014 slapped with a one-year ban by International Boxing Association (AIBA) for her refusal to accept a bronze medal during the Incheon Asian Games earlier this year in South Korea. Also, India's foreign coach BI Fernandez and Sarita's husband Thoiba Singh were banned for two years, but chief national coach GS Sandhu was not found guilty and hence his suspension was lifted. The boxer's personal coach Lenin has been banned for a year.
3) RBI fined ICICI, Bank of Baroda for violation of KYC: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty on ICICI Bank (Rs.50 lakh) and Bank of Baroda (Rs.25 lakh) for violation of its instructions on Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) norms. It also cautioned State Bank of India, Axis Bank and State Bank of Patiala for these violations. The RBI said that some fraudsters had managed to open fictitious accounts in the name of a statutory organisation in these five banks and operated the accounts mainly for encashing cheques/demand drafts/postal orders, of which they were not the rightful owners, for periods ranging from one month to two years, without being detected by the banks.
4) U.S and Cuba agreed to re-establish diplomatic ties: The United States and Cuba made a historic breakthrough in their Cold War stand-off on Wednesday, moving to revive diplomatic ties and launch measures to ease a five-decade U.S. trade embargo. In the wake of a prisoner exchange, President Barack Obama said the United States was ready to review trade ties and to re-open its embassy in communist Cuba that has been closed since 1961.
5) Satyarthi’s school to be named after him: The government school in Vidisha, in which Kailash Satyarthi, winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize had his primary education, is set to be named after him. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced this at a function here to felicitate Mr. Satyarthi, who was on his first visit to the State after receiving the coveted prize.
6) PM to inaugurate Pravasi Bhartiya Divas on Jan 8 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on January 8. "On the morning of January 8, the Prime Minister will first inaugurate the 'Salt Mound' structure near Mahatma Mandir before officially inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. He will be accompanied by MoS for External Affairs, General (retd) V K Singh and many dignitaries," state Finance Minister Saurabh Patel told. The day is held to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of the country.
7) Indian-American Amit Priyavadan Mehta confirmed as a Federal judge by the US Senate: Indian-American Amit Priyavadan Mehta has been confirmed by the US Senate as a Federal judge in the District of Columbia, becoming the first Asian Pacific American to occupy this vital position. Nominated by the US President, Barack Obama in July this year, Mehta has been a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder since 2010, where he represents clients in civil and criminal matters before the State and Federal courts.
8) Jacqueline Fernandez and KS Radhakrishnan to get PETA India’s People of the Year award: Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez and former Supreme Court judge KS Radhakrishnan have been given PETA India’s People of the Year award for their contribution towards the protection of animals. The animal rights organisation named Ms. Fernandez as ‘Woman of the Year’ and justice (retd) Radhakrishnan as ‘Man of the Year’. “Justice (Retd) Radhakrishnan and Fernandez are role models who uphold this mandate for kindness to animals through the actions they take, as we all should,” PETA U.K. director Mimi Bekhechi, said.