Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 20, 2016

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 20, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Government to launch toll free number ‘1955’ for call drops

The Union Government is planning launch toll-free number ‘1955’ for taking feedback on call drops from telecom subscribers. The short code 1955 was allotted for IVRS system on call drop. Provisioning of this number will be made mandatory for telecom operators and it should be accessible for local and STD calling.

Saanjhi Saanjh: National Newspaper dedicated to Senior Citizen

The first issue of bilingual newspaper Saanjhi Saanjh dedicated to senior citizen was recently released. This newspaper has 8 pages which will be published by Harikrit publishers from Delhi. It will carry important and useful news pertaining to elderly persons besides inspirational stories. It will also serve as a bridge between old and new generations. This Newspaper is edited by Ms. J.V Manisha Bajaj, Secretary, Harikrit, an NGO for elderly people.

Union Government extends time period for farm loan dues by 60 days

The Union Government has decided to provide additional grace period of 60 days to farmers, whose crop loan dues fall between 1st of November and 31st December, 2016. This decision was taken in view of constraints faced by the farming community in repayment of loans due to demonetization of high value notes. The Union Government provides crop loans at subvented rates of interest at 7% per annum to provide stimulation to rural sector and farming community. The prompt payee farmers can avail short term crop loans at 4% per annum. The added incentive of 3% per annum is provided to farmers for prompt repayment of loans within due date and upto a maximum period of one year.

Union Government launches portal providing information on Haj pilgrimage

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched a website www.haj.gov.in related to Haj Matters in New Delhi. The website is available in Hindi, Urdu and English languages. It will provide all necessary information relating to Haj management. It will also facilitate making online application for Haj pilgrimage. It will also give the information about Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Department, rules and regulations on Haj, Haj Pilgrimage, Haj Committee of India and private tour operators. It also has Do’s and Don’ts during Haj and also a film informing about various aspects of the pilgrimage.

India and Kyrgyzstan sign 6 agreements in various fields

India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc. These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi. Read more

PM lays foundation stone of country’s first Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of the country’s first Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh to make India the Skill Capital of the World. He also inaugurated the Kaushal Pradarshini (Skill Exhibition) for the youth of Uttar Pradesh. Read more

States Current Affairs

Chhattisgarh CM dedicates country’s first cashless bazaar to people in Raipur

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh dedicated country’s first cashless bazaar in state capital Raipur to people. The cashless bazaar or smart bazaar has over 900 shops that provide customers the facilities of cashless payments using POS, UPI and other digital systems. Chhattisgarh is currently leading in the nation in training its people in digital transactions. So far it has trained over 5 lac 33 thousand people in cashless payments way ahead of second placed Uttar Pradesh that has trained 1.75 lac people in digital financial literacy.

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

RBI to issue new Rs 500 note with inset letter in new series

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will shortly issue 500 rupee banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi New series with the inset letter E having star mark in the number panel. This will be for the first time star banknotes in 500 rupees denomination will be issued. It will bear the signature of RBI Governor Dr Urjit R. Patel, Swachh Bahrat Logo and year of printing 2016.  Star banknotes in the denomination of 10, 20, 50 and 100 are already in circulation.

Union Government revises North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has revised North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIP), 2007. The revision of policy stipulates mandatory disbursal of subsidies payable to all industrial units in northeast through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism by Chief Controller of Accounts (Industry). Read more

International Current Affairs

China returns US underwater drone taken in South China Sea

China has returned a US underwater drone which was confiscated by its naval vessel in the South China Sea. The drone had been given back to the United States after friendly consultations between the two countries. It was seized, some 92km north-west of Subic Bay new Philippines in South China Sea. The seizure had triggered a diplomatic protest and added to US concerns about China’s growing military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed waterway.

US Electoral college formally elects Donald Trump as president

The US Electoral College has formally elected Donald Trump as President. He secured the 270 votes needed to formalise his victory. The result will be officially announced on 6 January 2017 in a special joint session of Congress. The process of getting through Electoral College is usually a formality. Under US law, electors must formally vote for the president and vice-president before they can lead the country. Mr Trump formally takes office on January 20, 2017.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveils bill of rights

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani unveiled a landmark bill of rights guaranteeing freedom of speech, protest, fair trials and privacy to citizens. The bill offers the first clear list of principles that could be used citizens to check the performance of State institutions. Many of these rights are already enshrined in Iran’s Constitution written after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov shot dead in Ankara

The Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was killed when a gunman opened fire when he was about to deliver a speech on opening of the exhibition “Russia in the eyes of Turks” in Ankara.

UNSC votes to deploy observers in Aleppo

The UN Security Council adopted a French-drafted resolution to quickly deploy UN observers to Aleppo (Syria) to monitor evacuations of civilians who remain in besieged city. It demands all parties for complete, immediate, unconditional, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid to Aleppo for evacuation. It stressed that evacuations must be voluntary and to final destinations of their choice, and protection must be provided to all civilians. It calls for the protection of doctors, medical workers and hospitals.

Environment, Science & Technology Current Affairs

Zika-linked birth defects more severe than previously thought: Researchers

Researchers have found that Zika virus linked abnormalities occurring in human foetuses are more severe than previously thought. It was found that other birth defects are more common than microcephaly, abnormal condition in which babies are born with very small heads. Thus, Zika virus not only causes Microcephaly but its absence will cause other birth defects. The mosquito-borne virus can damage foetal  development throughout pregnancy.

Huge dead zone discovered in Bay of Bengal

Scientists including those from India have found a huge ‘dead zone’ of an estimated 60,000 square kilometres in Bay of Bengal. This area is said to supports microbial processes that remove vast amount of nitrogen from the ocean. The study published in Nature Geosciences. Read more

Scientists discover 163 new species in ecologically diverse Greater Mekong region

Scientists have discovered as many as 163 new species in the ecologically diverse Greater Mekong region of the Southeast Asia. It includes 3 mammals, 9 amphibians, 11 fish, 14 reptiles and 143 plants. These species were discovered in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand. Read more

African nations developing lifestyle diseases: WHO

According to recent World Health Organization (WHO) survey of 33 countries has shown that African nations developing lifestyle diseases. It is mainly due city life and its modern trappings which have brought bad habits to developing African nations such as smoking, harmful use of alcohol, a poor diet and low levels of physical activity. Read more

Persons in News

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar appointed as 44th Chief Justice of India

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar (64) as 44th Chief Justice of India as per Article 124 of the Constitution. He will be the first Chief Justice from the Sikh community.  He succeeds CJI T S Thakur, who demits office on 3 January 2017. Justice Khehar will take oath of office on January 4, 2017. He will have tenure of over seven months till August 27, 2017. Read more

Renowned Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue unveiled in Haridwar

The 12-foot-tall stone statue of renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint Thiruvalluvar was inaugurated at Mela Bhawan in Haridwar, Uttarakhand by Chief minister Harish Rawat.Thiruvalluvar is renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint believed to have lived between 3rd Century BC and 1st Century BC. Read more

Renowned environmentalist Anupam Mishra passes away

Renowned environmentalist Anupam Mishra passed away. He was best known  for seminal work on water conservation ‘Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talab’ which has seen 40 editions in about 10 languages till date and sold 200000 odd copies. He was the editor of the bi-monthly magazine Gandhi Marg published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation. He was awarded various awards including Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Amar Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad National Award etc.

Sports Current Affairs

India wins five-match series against England

India has won five-match test series against England after England wrapped up the second innings at 207 in 88 overs in the fifth and final test match played at M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. India’s first innings total was its highest score in Tests and was the most runs made against England by any team. With this victory, India became no.1 Test team in 2016. Australia second placed in rankings.

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