Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 18, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 18, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Ministry of Earth Sciences commissions Higher Resolution Weather Prediction Model

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has commissioned a very high resolution (12 km) global deterministic weather prediction model for generating operational weather forecasts. The model has been on trial since September 2016. It has shown significant improvements in skill of daily weather forecasts. It was made operational from January 2017. Read more

Railway Ministry unveils Mission 41K to save energy worth Rs 41,000 crore

Union Railway Ministry has unveiled ‘Mission 41K’ to save Rs. 41,000 crore on the Indian Railways’ expenditure on energy consumption over the next 10 years. The launch of this programme was announced at a Roundtable Discussion on Energy Initiatives of Indian Railways with external stakeholders headed by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Read more

India becomes associate member of CERN

India formally became an associate member of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) with the government completing the internal approval procedures for the agreement it signed in November 2016. Prior to it, in September 2016, CERN Council had adopted a resolution upgrading India’s position as associate member from earlier ‘observer’ status (since 2004). Read more

Cabinet approves India’s Membership in the International Vaccine Institute

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council. This decision involves payment of annual contribution of US $5,00,000 to the IVI (headquartered in Seoul, South Korea).Read more

Cabinet approves Trade Agreement negotiations with Peru

The Union Cabinet has approved holding negotiations for Trade Agreement with Peru on trade in goods, services and investment. The trade agreement will be an important landmark in India-Peru relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations that have existed between India and LAC countries. The trade agreement will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries. Read more

States Current Affairs

58th India International Garment Fair begins New Delhi

The 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF) began in New Delhi. It is organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council India (AEPCI). It is the one of the largest event and most popular platforms in Asia, from which overseas garment buyers can source products and forge business relationships with India’s finest players in the apparel and fashion accessories domain. A total of 312 participants from 14 states are participating in the Fair. The India International Garment Fair was started in 1988. The objective of the event is to showcase the latest trends in garment and fashion accessories and to leverage brand India across the globe.

Madhya Pradesh Government launches Aanandam Scheme to help poor

Madhya Pradesh became the first State of the country to launch Aanandam programme to help the needy persons. Under it, government through volunteers will provide help to the needy and economically sound citizens can donate items for the needy persons. This initiative is of MP Government’s Happiness department, first of its kind in India.

International Current Affairs

India ranked 78th in global ‘Passport Index’

India ranked low at 78th position on the recently released global Passport Index 2017 with a visa-free score of 46. The index which ranks countries based on the number of nations their citizens can visit without a visa or on arrival was released by financial advisory firm Arton Capital. Germany ranked first in 2017 Passport Index with a visa-free score of 157 followed by Singapore with a visa-free score of 156. Afghanistan’s is the least powerful passport with rank of 95th and visa-free score of just 23. China and Pakistan were ranked 58th and 94th on the list respectively.

UK unveils 12-point plan to leave European Union

United Kingdom unveiled her 12-point plan to leave European Union for implementing Brexit deal within two years in phased manner. The priorities include control over immigration; securing the rights of EU citizens in Britain; committing to retain workers’ rights; building a strong trading relationship with EU and rest of the world; removing Britain from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; and making Britain an attractive place for investors and students. In June 2016 referendum, UK had voted to leave the EU (a single market and the customs union with the 28-nation economic bloc) by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%.

30 more countries apply for Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

Thirty more countries have applied for joining the China-sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) apart from existing 57 founding members. The AIIB was officially established in 2015 with headquarters in Beijing, China’s capital. China is the largest shareholder with 26.6% voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5% followed by Russia 5.93% and Germany with 4.5%. The US and Japan, however stayed away from joining the bank while most of the European countries have joined it.

Environment, Science & Technology

Baby born using new type of 3-person IVF in Ukraine

A baby has been born using a new type of three-person IVF to a previously infertile couple in Ukraine. In this case, doctors had used a method called pronuclear transfer. This is for the first time in the world this method has been used. This baby is world’s second modern three-parent baby. Earlier a child was created using a slightly different method in Mexico. Doctors developed three-person IVF to help women who are at risk of passing on serious genetic disorders, called mitochondrial disease, to have a healthy child. The UK already has passed laws becoming first country to allow three-person IVF for couples with mitochondrial diseases, although no such baby has been born in Britain yet.

West Bengal to give legal protection to Hilsa Fish

West Bengal fisheries department has proposed to give legal protection to Hilsa Fish to arrest its dwindling population. In this regard, fisheries department is speaking to the state home department to bring about provisions in CrpC and IPC. With the formal introduction of the provisions, Hilsa will become the first fish variety in the country to get legal protection. It will lead to arrest or fine anyone for selling, catching and buying small Hilsa (commonly called “khoka ilish” in Bengal). Hilsa fish is on brink of extinction due to decades of migration barriers, over-fishing and pollution. Earlier as a protection measure, state government had declared five hilsa sanctuaries on the Hooghly river from Farakka to Sagar (covering a stretch of 250 km) where fishing has been banned between June-August and October-December.

NASA approves mission to explore iron-rich asteroid 16 Psyche

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has approved a mission to explore 16 Psyche, an iron-rich asteroid. As part of the mission, NASA craft will be launched in 2023, and will arrive at Psyche in 2030. The mineral contents on the asteroids are worth over 100-thousand times the value of the entire world economy. Read more

Places in News

Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong becomes role model for cleanliness

Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya has become a role model for other states in maintaining cleanliness and also tourists’ hotspot. It is also claimed as Asia’s cleanest village. Over 500 tourists from across the country and abroad visit the village daily. Through cleanliness, the villagers have created opportunities to earn money as the village has become tourists’ prime destination in North East. Several other states have expressed their willingness to adopt Mawlynnong village as role model in maintaining cleanliness.

Manipur’s Karang is India’s first cashless island

Karang, a small lake island in Manipur, became the first cashless island in India. It was announced by the Union ministry of Electronics and Information Technology after island fulfilled necessary criteria under its Digital India programme. Most of the families living on Karang island have opted for cashless transactions. So far, 400 beneficiaries, 16 merchants, including 6 motor boat service providers, have registered themselves. The Karang island is located in the middle of Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. Earlier in 2015, Akodara a village in Gujarat, had attained the unique status to be India’s first digital village.

Persons in News

Antonio Tajani elected as President of European Parliament

Italian conservative Antonio Tajani was elected the new President of the European Parliament (EP). In the elector contest of four rounds, he defeated another Italian socialist Gianni Pitella by securing 351 votes against 282. Antonio Tajani will succeed Germany’s Martin Schulz and head the parliament for the next two-and-a-half years. Tajani is a former spokesman for Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and an ex-European commissioner. The EU Parliament president chairs the plenary sessions of the legislature and is the face of the parliament in the EU and on the international stage. The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the EU. It exercises the legislative function of the EU along with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission. The Parliament is composed of 751 members who are directly elected. EP represents the world’s second largest democratic electorate (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world.

N Chandrasekaran appointed Tata Motors chairman

Tata Motors has appointed Tata Group Chief designate N Chandrasekaran (54) as its Chairman and additional director with immediate effect. The appointment comes after unceremonious sacking of Cyrus Mistry. Chandrasekaran will take charge at the helm of $103-billion Tata Sons, the main holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate from February 2011. He will be the first non-Parsi chairman of the 150-year old Tata Group.

Sports Current Affairs

Sports Ministry to launch talent search portal to spot bright sportsmen

Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a talent search portal in a bid to spot bright sportsmen and groom them. The idea behind launching the portal is that grass root population also gets an opportunity to contribute their share in sports. With the help of the portal, the talents will be selected and will be trained at Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Kapil Dev inducted into Legends Club Hall of Fame

Cricket icon Kapil Dev was inducted into Legends Club ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, Mahrashtra. He was presented with a citation by former India player and Legends Club President Madhav Apte. Kapil Dev had led India to the emphatic World Cup victory in 1983, is considered as the country’s greatest all-rounder. Sunil Gavaskar, who was the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, was also presented a citation. He already has been inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame on July 11, 2013.

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