Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 30, 2016

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 30, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates 77th session of Indian History Congress

President Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated the 77th session of Indian History Congress (IHC) at University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Over 3,000 historians and research scholars are participating in the 3-day session of IHC. The IHC is the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians with over 10,000 members. Radha Champakalakshmi of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is current President of IHC.

India, Singapore sign 3rd protocol for amending DTAA

India and Singapore have signed the 3rd protocol for amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). It will help in government’s efforts to eliminate black money. Earlier India had amended the DTAA with Mauritius and Cyprus. These revised double taxation avoidance agreements will help to block the routes to evade taxations. Besides, from 2019, Switzerland wil start giving India real time information on investments by Indian entities in that country in 2018.

Railways announce 10% rebate in vacant train berths

Indian Railways has announced 10% rebate for vacant berths after finalisation of the reservation charts and the discount will be based on basic fare of last ticket sold in the train. It will be effective from 1 January, 2017 on an experimental basis for six months. Under this scheme, passengers can avail the rebate in basic fare for availing the vacant berths in all reserved categories including AC and Sleeper class after the finalisation of the chart. However, all other charges like reservation and super-fast will be levied accordingly.

International Current Affairs

Russia announces plans to expel 35 American diplomats

Russia has announced plans to expel 35 American diplomats from the country in a tit-for-tat response to a similar move by United States of America. Earlier US President Barack Obama had ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats (suspected as spies) and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking US political groups in the 2016 presidential election. The US sanctions has also closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland cititng reason that they were used by Russian personnel for “intelligence-related purposes

China blocks proposal to list JeM Chief Masood Azhar as terrorist

China has once again blocked India’s proposal in United Nations to list Pathankot terror attack Mastermind Jaish-e-Muhammad’s Chief Masood Azhar as a global designated terrorist under 1267 Sanctions Committee. This is third time China has put technical hold to declare Pakistan based JeM Chief global terrorist. China was the only member in the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) to put a hold on India’s application. All other 14 members of the UNSC supported India’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject freezing his assests and travel ban. India has expressed concern over China move and mentioned that it confirms prevalence of double standards of China in the fight against terrorism.

France raises ‘terror tax’ to support victims of attacks

French Government is levying ‘terror tax’ on the property insurance policies of French citizens to help finance a fund for victims of the extremist attacks that have recently hit the country. The measure comes into force on from 1 January 2017 and requires policy holders to contribute 5.90 euros. French government earlier in October 2016 had launched scheme that about 90 million insurance policies are floating the fund which currently has reserves of 1.45 billion euros. More than 200 people have died in France in attacks over the last 20 months.

Syrian ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey comes into effect

A nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government and rebel groups has come into effect.The ceasefire has been brokered by Russia and Turkey, which will also act as guarantors. The deal includes a large number of rebel groups but not terrorists such as Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish YPG. The key points of ceasefire includes, measures for overseeing the truce and agreement to start peace talks will be held in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. The previous ceasefire initiatives brokered by the UN or US acting with Russia had quickly collapsed after they were reached earlier in 2016.

China opens world’s highest bridge to traffic

China has opened Beipanjiang towering bridge hanging 565 metres (1,854 feet) above a gorge in southwestern China to traffic. It is claimed to be the world’s highest bridge. The Beipanjiang bridge spans 1.34 km between Xuanwei city in Yunnan province and Shuicheng county in Guizhou province. The four lane bridge will cut journey time between Xuanwei and Shuicheng county from more than four hours to about an hour. It took three years to build the bridge at cost 1.023 billion yuan (about $140 million).

States Current Affairs

SP Vaid appointed Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief

Jammu and Kashmir Government has appointed Dr SP Vaid as new Director General of Police (DGP) of the state. The decision to appoint was taken in a state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehaboba Mufti in Jammu. Vaid will succeed K Rajendra Kumar who was appointed in May 2014 and completed his three-year term.Vaid is a 1986-batch IPS officer of J&K cadre who is presently working as Special DGP (Law and Order).

Haryana Government inaugurates the first digital investigation centre

Haryana Government inaugurated the Digital Investigation, Training and Analysis Centre (DIATC) at Gurugram to boost state police’s capabilities to solve cybercrime cases. The first of its kind centre in the coutry has been set up in collaboration with the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). The centre has a state-of-the-art cyber forensic laboratory and a high-tech facility in its premises to train officers from the state and other police forces. Apart from it also has a social media monitoring lab for enhancing technological capabilities of the Haryana police.

Solapur to host international fair for uniforms

Solapur District of Maharashtra is going to host Uniform and Garment Manufacturers’ Exhibition from January 5 to 7, 2017. The fair is being organised by Sri Solapur Readymade Kapad Utpadak Sangh in association with Maharashtra’s Textiles Ministry and Mafatlal Fabrics. More than 6,000 retailers are expected to take part in it. The objective of the fair is to invite garment makers to invest in the region’s garment industry. Solapur is gaining significance for garment trade. The uniforms manufacturing industry has an aggregate volume of Rs. 18,000 crore. Solapur is witnessing good demand for school uniforms and garments

BHEL commissions 600 MW unit in Telangana

State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has commissioned the second 600 MW unit of Singareni Thermal Power Project in Adilabad District of Telangana. The first unit of the project was commissioned in March 2016. It has been developed by the country’s second largest coal miner Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. So far BHEL is a major contributor to Telangana’s power sector and has commissioned more than 85% of the coal-based power stations in the state amounting to 5,740 MW. Telangana state utility also has placed orders with the central PSU for executing about 6,000 MW of thermal power projects on an EPC basis.

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

Facebook acquires eye-tracking startup The Eye Tribe

Facebook’s virtual reality-focused Oculus division has acquired eye-tracking technology startup The Eye Tribe based in Denmark for an undisclosed amount. The Eye Tribe startup was founded in 2011 by four students from the IT University of Copenhagen. It develops software that enables eye control on mobile devices and computers, allowing hands-free navigation. The acquisition will benefit Facebook’s Oculus to integrate eye-tracking software to its Rift VR (virtual reality) headset, allowing users to control actions by moving their eyes. Oculus, a virtual reality company, was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for 2 billion dollars. Recently it had rolled out two new features – Parties and Rooms – for Samsung Gear VR.

RBI extends loan repayment window to 90 days

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave borrowers another 30 days over and above 60 days for repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs 1 crore in further relief to people hit by demonetisation. It has asked lenders to provide borrowers 90 days for repayment loans. It will be applicable to dues payable between 1st November and 31st December. So, borrowers together get 90 days from getting the account classified under non-performing asset (NPA) category. Following the surprise demonetisation announcement made on November 8, 2016 to scrap high value Rs 500/1,000 notes resulted in cash crunch in the market leading to slowdown in business. As a result, repayment capacity of borrowers were impacted and there was fear of loan default rising.

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