Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 31, 2016

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 31, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

President approves promulgation of Specified Bank Notes Ordinance, 2016

President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. It makes holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes after 31st March 2016 a offence that will attract a fine of Rs. 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher. The ordinance also provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned. It also provides an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit the Specified Bank Notes within time provided. For those citizens of India who are not resident in India, this facility would be available till June 30, 2017 to allow them adequate time to plan a visit as per their convenience.

CSL completes delivery of 20 FPVs to India Coast Guard

The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has delivered ICGS AYUSH, the 20th Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) to the Indian Coast Guard.  With this, CSL has completed construction of 20 FPVs for the Indian Coast Guard. Read more

CBDT extends deadline of Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the last date for availing the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme to January 31, 2017 from the earlier deadline of December 31, 2016. This extension aims to give companies one more month to accept its offer to settle retro tax disputes with Government. Read more

International Current Affairs

China to build $1.5 billion Matiari-Lahore power line across Pakistan

China’s State Grid Corporation is set to build a $1.5-billion power line across Pakistan to enable the transmission of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the country’s north to south. In this regard both countries have signed an investment agreement in Beijing. The power transmission line will link the national grid between the southern Pakistani town of Matiari and easternmost city of Lahore, located 1,000km apart. It will be Pakistan’s first high-voltage, direct current line.

Environment, Science & Technology

China announces ban on ivory trade by end of 2017

China has announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017. The move follows a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in South Africa in October 2016 that was backed by China. This decision is consider historic and a game-changer for the future of elephants.China has the biggest ivory market in the world- some estimates suggest 70% of the world’s trade ends up there. CITES is multilateral treaty between governments to protect endangered animals and plants. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Amazon wins patent to launch Drone deliveries from Flying Warehouse

American e-commerce giant Amazon has been awarded a US patent for a flying warehouse that would act as a launchpad for its drones to deliver certain products to customers’ doorsteps. Flying warehouse dubbed as Airborne fulfillment center (AFC) will be similar to an airship. It will be stocked with products and would float at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. When an order is placed, a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fly down and deliver the parcels. In this delivery system, drones will be able to communicate with each other via a mesh network to give information such as route and weather. UAVs can also recharge on the airship. The process will need little power as the drone would be gliding down rather than having to take off and land.

Banking, Business & Economy

RBI increases cash withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 4,500 per day

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has increased the daily limit of ATM withdrawal to Rs 4500 from current Rs 2500 with effective from January 1, 2017. Such disbursals will predominantly be in the denomination of Rs 500. However there has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM, for individuals and Rs 50,000 in case of small traders. Following demonetisation of old Rs 500/1000 notes in November 2016, RBI had imposed limits on withdrawal of cash from banks as well as ATMs. RBI also has permitted White Label ATM Operators (WLAOs) to source cash from retail outlets.

Apple to make iPhones in Bengaluru

Apple’s partner Wistron, a Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM), is planning to set up a manufacturing unit in the Bengaluru (IT capital of India) exclusively for manufacturing Apple iPhones. The company will set up the unit in Peenya Industrial Area and start for assembling of the Apple iphones for the domestic market. Earlier, Wistron in partnership with Optiemus Infracom Ltd. had set up a manufacturing unit in Noida for manufacturing HTC phones. The new manufacturing centre will be Apple’s second major plan for the IT capital. In May 2016,  Apple had announced setting up of a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru to support engineering talent and accelerate growth among India’s iOS developer community.

Mother Dairy unveils Aadhar-enabled payment

Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd. has introduced Aadhar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS) in more than 1,000 milk booths and ’Safal’ retail stores to promote cash less transactions. This service would now be available in addition to the existing modes like e-wallets and SmartChange Cards. It was commissioned in association with e-Governance Service India Ltd of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity).

Aadhar-enabled payment (AEPS)

AEPS enables bank customers to access their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts through the Aadhaar authentication. Customers can deposit cash, withdraw money, check account balance, and transfer funds to other Aadhaar-linked bank accounts using Aadhaar number and fingerprint captured during the enrolment. The fingerprint is authenticated by the UIDAI using machine. There is no need of signature or debit card. It is fast and secure as no one can forge fingerprint.

RBI extends period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments limit

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20,000 as part of efforts to promote digital payments. The limit has been extended till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines. Read more

Persons in News

Anil Baijal takes oath as Delhi Lieutenant Governor

Anil Baijal (70) took oath as the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. He was administered oath to the office by Delhi High Court chief Justice G Rohini at ceremony held in Raj Niwas, North Delhi. He was appointed by President Pranab Mujherjee after the sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung from the post.

Mr. Baijal is a 1969 batch IAS officer of Union Territory Cadre. He had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries. Read more

Navy Chief Sunil Lanba takes over as head of Chiefs of Staff Committee

The Union Defence Ministry has appointed Navy Chief Sunil Lanba as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff committee (COSC). Lanba received the baton from the outgoing Chief of Air Staff (CoAS), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha in a ceremony held in New Delhi. The COSC post is given to the senior-most of the service chiefs. It comprises the Army, Navy and IAF chiefs with the senior-most of them acting as the chairman on rotational basis till he retires.

Sorin Grindeanu named as New Prime Minister of Romania

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis has named social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu (43) as the new Prime Minister. Grindeanu is a member of the Social Democratic Party and former communications minister. He now faces a confidence vote in parliament on his programme and cabinet nominees. Earlier centre-right President Iohannis had rejected Social Democratic Party’s first choice economist Sevil Shhaideh for PM post, who would have been the country’s first female and first Muslim government leader.

Former Union minister Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil passes away

Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Eknathrao Vikhe-Pati passed away in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra after a prolonged illness. He was 84. He was popularly known as Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil.  He was eight time MP and was Minister of State (MoS) for Finance in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government in 1999. In 2002, he was elevated to the Cabinet rank and was assigned Union Industries Ministry. He was son of Vithalrao Vikhe-Patil, founder and father of cooperative movement in the Indian sugar industry. He had starded his political journey as an elected zilla parishad member from Ahmednagar. He was awarded with prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 2010 for his outstanding work in the field of Social Work.

Sports Current Affairs

Lionel Messi named World’s Best Playmaker of 2016

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was voted as the World’s Best Playmaker for the second consecutive year. It was announced by International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Messi topped the list with 172 points ahead of Andres Iniesta (66 points) and Toni Kroos (45 points). Notably, this year’s Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo did not feature in the list. The first World’s Best Playmaker title was won by current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in 2006, followed by Kaka in 2007.

Government derecognises Indian Olympic Association

The Union Sports Ministry has derecognised the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on the issue of nominating scam tainted duo Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as its life presidents. The deemed recognition of IOA has been suspended until it reverses its decision. Kalmadi was jailed in connection with the Common Wealth Games (CWG) scam while Chautala is facing charges in disproportionate assets case.  Earlier on 27 December 2016, Kalmadi and Chautala were elevated to the honorary position of life Presidents at the IOA’s Annual General Meeting in Chennai. The IOA was given time to reply the show-cause notice issued by the Ministry threatening de-recognition if it does not reverse its decision.

Kush Bhagat creates history by wining 3 gold medals at Western Asia Youth Chess Championships

Chess prodigy Kush Bhagat created history by winning all three gold medals on offer in the 1st Western Asia Youth Chess Championships. The event held at Al Ain Chess Club in UAE. He won in all the three categories – rapid, blitz and standard. With this he becomes only Indian to bag all the crowns in the competition. To win all three events, he overcame the challenges from 158 participants from 20 countries across the world.  Kush Bhagat is second standard student of the NSS Hill Spring International School, Mumbai (Maharashtra).

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins announces retirement

Professional road and track racing cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins (36) from Britain has announced retirement from cycling.  He was Britain’s first cyclist to win prestigious Tour de France. With this announcement his 16 years of professional career came to an end. In his career he has won Tour de France in 2012, total 8 Olympic medals (5 are gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) and 7 world titles. He is Britain’s most decorated Olympian and is the only cyclist to win world titles and Olympic gold medals on both track and road.

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