Ola to enter Australian market

Image Source: OLA
Caption: Ola has captured the Indian taxi-hailing app market entirely in no time
India’s taxi-hailing app service, Ola is stepping up for its first international venture in Australia. Currently, the Australian market is dominated by Ola’s rival in India, Uber. Just like how it captured the Indian market, it may have better plans for the market abroad. The rapid growth of the Bangalore based service which started in 2011, was quick and immense. Ola will soon start the recruitment process of its drivers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, where it plans to launch the service first. The firm has earned massive profits over the years who now claims to have 125 million users in India.
Ola has now appointed a financial technology entrepreneur to manage the feature of Ola Money, where payments of your ride can be done through this digital payment platform of its own. It was backed up by investors from Japan’s SoftBank and US fund Tiger Global Management. The firm is waiting for the regulatory approval from Australia who promises to give high quality and an affordable traveling experience like never before to its customers there.
“We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation,” said Ola’s chief executive and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal to BBC. 

Australia becomes the 26th Nation to pass same-sex marriage bill

Australis’s Senate House legislated same-sex marriage on Wednesday, November 29, 2017. A landmark event for a country, where until 1997 same-sex marriage was deemed illegal by few states. If things go as planned, Australia will become the 26thnation to legalise same-sex marriage.

Two weeks before, the conservative legislators halted services to the same-sex couples. They ordered the florists, bakers, musicians and even caterers to deny service to the same-sex couples. But all thanks to the Australian people, their determination to pass the bill made them arrange for a vote in a postal survey run by the national statistic agency. The conservative lawmakers were outnumbered as they got twelve votes out of 42. They were even defeated at the two-day debate in the senate. The only fear that now remains is that the bill will again be objected at the lower house, as reported by Reuters.

There is a good amount of disagreement between various parties in the country. While labor party senator Penny Wong referred to the passing of the bill as people’s will, centre-right party senator Matt Canavan objects to it as being wrong and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull from liberal national party was diligent enough to make sure that the bill gets passed by December 7, 2017, which remains unsuccessful too.

Sources: Reuters, The Times of India

Victoria becomes first Australian state permitting voluntary euthanasia

In a landmark judgment, Victoria has become the first Australian state to pass a law that legalizes voluntary euthanasia, which will come into effect from June 2019. This law makes provisions for legal residents to request lethal doses of medication, provided they are terminally ill and have less than 6 months to live. An exception comes in the form of patients with special conditions like motor neuron disorders and multiple sclerosis, who are allowed to ask for lethal medication even if they are given up to a year to live.

 According to Reuters, this legislation led to some intense debate and discussion in the state parliament which included a 27-hour debate in November. Daniel Andrews, an advocate for euthanasia said that this judgment showed reform and compassion. He believes that the terminally ill have been denied control over their lives for too long, which this judgment will now remedy. Three of Australia’s six other states have rejected pleas to legalize mercy killings in the past.

 Other countries across the world including Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland and certain states of the US have long since legalized euthanasia but the Australian government continues to resist. However it does not have the power to repeal the legislation passed by states like Victoria. Victoria’s Health minister Jill Hennessy said that with the implementation of the bill a “good death” will be an option for patients “currently enduring difficult ends of life.”

Sources: The Hindu, Reuters

Australian police find plans for elaborate IED in Sydney

Australian officials have arrested four men who were allegedly conspiring to bomb an airplane. The arrests took place in Sydney after raids were conducted on Saturday. Australian police forces raided five properties across Sydney after a home-made bomb was found on a terrace in the eastern suburb of Surry Hills. The police issued a statement regarding the intentions of the attackers, saying that the plot was inspired by Islamic radicalism.

While Australia has seen several attacks and foiled plots that were inspired by the Islamic State, this attempt deviated from the usual lone-wolf tactics that have characterised previous attacks. The group arrested on Saturday comprised of two middle-aged men and their adult sons, who were working on devising an elaborate Improvised Explosive Device(IED) with the aim of taking down a plane.

“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. The operations have caused the implementation of revised boarding procedures at Australian airports. The measures include extra screening time and additional checks of both hand and checked baggage.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Federal Police

Mithali Raj becomes all-time leading run scorer in women’s ODI cricket

Indian skipper Mithali Raj created history as she became the leading run-getter in women’s one-day internationals. She achieved this feat during the ICC Women’s World Cup against Australia at Bristol.
She overtook England cricketer Charlotte Edwards’ record of 5992 runs by scoring her 34th run while batting against the Aussies. Edwards scored these runs in 191 matches, whereas it took the 34-year-old 184 matches to reach this achievement.
This was not the only record she broke. Apart from overtaking the Englishwoman, she also became the first woman to reach the 6000-run landmark.
With a 50-plus batting average, Mithali boasts the most number of ODI half-centuries, 49. Recently she created a streak of scoring seven consecutive half-centuries before that ended with getting out on 46 runs against West Indies at the ongoing World Cup.
She also grabbed headlines a few days ago during the tournament, when she was seen reading a book before getting down to bat. At a pre-World Cup press conference, she confidently retaliated to a sexist question from a reporter, drawing praise from all corners. According to Times of India, she was asked about her favourite male cricketer to which she had replied, “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?”
Currently, Mithali has scored 6028 runs, including five centuries and 49 half-centuries.

Sources: NDTV

Image Source: AFP

Great Barrier Reef taken off ‘In danger’ list: UNESCO

Popular World Heritage Site of Queensland, Great Barrier Reef has been left off UNESCO’s ‘In danger’ list despite its recent dilapidated state, according to United Nations Cultural body UNESCO. The decision was taken at the annual meeting of its World Heritage Committee (WHC) in the Polish city of Krakow.

The decision was taken in a bid to rescue the conservative Australian government from facing political embarrassment and avoid potential blow to the nation’s tourism sector.

“We’re taking every action possible to ensure this great wonder of the world stays viable and healthy for future generations to come,” Australia’s Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio told Reuters.

However, the WHC still holds concerns regarding the land clearing laws and the water quality targets. Frydenberg has said that the government has heavily invested in the project and improvements will show over time. Queensland’s Environment Minister Steven Miles defies the government’s claim and asserts that the State did all the heavy-lifting.

In what is said to be the strongest El Nino effect in 20 years, the site which is worth $56 billion to the Oz tourism sector faced the biggest coral reef die-off. The government is lambasted for its inaction towards fighting climate change and excessive usage of fossil fuels by the opposition.

Sources: Reuters, ABC.net

Image Source: CNN

India and Australia forge partnership in textile , fashion and clothing industries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which deals with cooperation in the textiles, clothing and fashion sectors, linking the Ministry of Textiles, India with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia.

Australian fashion designers, using Indian woven and textile have shown interest to work with the Indian stakeholders, includes cooperation with textiles, handloom sector. This, in turn, will provide state of art, designing of textiles and handloom products. These products would be introduced in Indian as well as international markets.

The move will likely connect the Australian and Indian textile and fashion industries. This would promote collaboration and international engagement between these industries and also provide economic opportunities and professional engagement. Other benefits include training, skill development and public exhibition of products derived from these industries in the two countries.

An increase in the handloom fabric production by establishing market linkages, for the overall development of handloom sector and better access to domestic and export markets in order to provide with weavers, continuous employment and better living standards is on the cards.


News Sources- ANI, PIB