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Demonetisaiton: Govt increases withdrawl limits at ATMs and banks; launches Rs500 notes

The Union Finance Ministry on 13 November advised the banks to increase the cash withdrawal limit at ATMs from the existing Rs. 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per day in the recalibrated ATMs and to increase the exchange limit over the counter from the existing Rs 4,000 to Rs. 4,500.

The ministry further advised the banks to increase the Business Correspondents limit to Rs 2,500 for withdrawal from bank accounts and also the weekly limit of Rs. 20,000 for withdrawal from accounts has been increased to Rs. 24,000, removing the limit of Rs.10,000.

The decision came after the Finance Ministry reviewed the position regarding availability and distribution of all denomination of bank notes.

Furthermore, banks have been advised to increase the issuance and use of mobile wallets and debit/credit cards as also to provide them to those customers and establishments not having access to these non-cash means of payment and the last date for submission of the annual life certificate for the government pensioners, which is to be submitted in November every year, has been extended up to 15 January.

Demonetisation: Your old Rs500, Rs1000 notes will now be valid till 24 November

With the emerging chaos and public anger rising across the country over limited cash availability post the announcement of demonetisation, the government on 13 November announced that the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will be valid till 24 November.

The Finance Minister made the announcement stating that the decision has been taken considering representations received from different quarters in the matter.

Hospitals and petrol pumps, CNG gas stations have been directed to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

The government also eased key restrictions including raising daily withdrawal limit from bank counters and ATM as well as hiking the amount of old and now defunct currency notes that can be exchanged.

To augment cash supplies, newly printed hard-to-fake Rs 500 notes were also released in market.

Trump's top appointments: Reince Priebus is White House chief; Steve Bannon chief strategist

US President-elect Donald Trump has made the first top appointments of his new administration, naming Reince Priebus his White House chief and Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counselor.

"I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country," Trump said in a statement 13 November.

"Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again."

Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, is a seasoned political operative who can build bridges to a skittish Republican leadership, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan, a longtime ally.

Bannon is a rabble-rousing anti-establishment social media entrepreneur who led Trump's presidential campaign in the final months.

Jayalalithaa says 'I have taken rebirth', urges people to vote for AIADMK in 19 November polls

After being treated in the hospital for more than a month now, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on 13 November said that she has taken rebirth because of people's prayers and urged them to vote for the AIADMK in the 19 November polls.

"I have taken rebirth because of your prayers and worship. I would like to share this happy news with you in the first place. By God's grace, very soon, by recovering fully, I am waiting to resume work." she said in a statement released by AIADMK.

She further urged the party workers, to work in full swing for the victory of AIADMK in the upcoming polls for Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Nellithope Assembly segment in Puducherry.

"Understand the nature of this statement and work with a sense of duty for making MGR's winning symbol two leaves bag a huge victory. Work with vigour and a passion for the goal, which is AIADMK's victory." she aadded in the statement.

56% of Japan's largest coral reef is dead

While we we were busy writing premature eulogies for the Great Barrier Reef, another spectacular reef was already more than half dead.

According to a release by Japan's Ministry of Environment, 56% of Okinawa's coral reef is now dead with 97% of it a victim of ongoing coral bleaching. The damage to the reef is believed to be the result of rising ocean temperatures due to climate change and exacerbated by the el Niño phenomenon.

Okinawa's reef, with over 70 species of coral, is considered to be one of the largest and oldest in the northern hemisphere.

British man aims to swim across Atlantic

A former British police officer, Ben Hooper, is aiming to do the unthinkable -- swim across the Atlantic ocean.

It's a feat a number of boats would find hard to manage but Hooper is confident that he will be able to get from Africa to South America after spending the last 3 years training.

Hooper set off from Dakar, Senegal on Sunday and hopes to cover a 3,200 kilometre journey that will culminate in his arrival on the sunny shores of Brazil sometime in March.

Hooper will be accompanied by two boats where he will eat and sleep for 8 hours a day when he isn't swimming. The boats have a combined crew of less than 12, including a paramedic to check on Hooper's health.

DeMonetisation: Five days on, 16 dead so far

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, on Sunday, that it will take 50 days for normalization of currency usage in the country, five days on the situation is grim. 16 people across the country have died so far. Here are three such instances: A newborn in Mumbai died after the hospital refused admission for lack of legal tender, a 18-month baby in Vizag died as parents didn't have money to buy medicines and a farmer had a heart attack while waiting to exchange currency notes in Gujarat.

African migration set to increase due to climate change

Speaking at the COP 22 climate conference, currently taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director for Africa, warned that Africa faces an increase in both internal and cross-border migration in the next few years due to increased climate change.

"The scale of such migration both internally and cross border is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change and unprecedented impact on lives and livelihood," Koudenoukpo added.

According to her, there will be an influx of rural residents moving to cities as economic opportunities in less developed areas take a strong hit thanks to the climate change.