Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 20, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 20, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

First flight under UDAN scheme to take off in February 2017

The first flight under the government’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ke Aam Naagrik) will to take off in February 2017. The scheme aims to boost regional air connectivity and provide various incentives to airlines. It was launched in October 2016 with an objective to provide connectivity to un-served and under-served regions through revival of existing air strips and airports. Under this scheme, Government will provide subsidy to airlines that operate flights between two regional airports. The scheme will give a major boost to tourism activities and employment generation in hinterland. At present there are 75 operational airport in the country and 43 new airports will be added after the implementation of UDAN scheme.

Dantan Gramin Mela held in West Bengal

The 28th edition of Dantan Gramin Mela was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in West Midnapore district in West Bengal. The fair will display the rural handicraft skills of the people of the region. It will also display different goods ranging from textile to terracotta.

Indian economy projected to grow by 7.7% in FY 2017: UNWESP report

According to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 report, India’s economy is projected to grow by 7.7% in fiscal 2017 and 7.6% in 2018 India will remain the fastest growing large developing economy due to its strong private consumption and gradual introduction of significant domestic reforms. Read more

Church courts cannot veto divorce law: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that Canon law and decrees of divorce given by ecclesiastical tribunals or ‘Church Courts’ cannot veto the statutory law of divorce. Ruling in this regard was given by SC Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on writ petition filed in 2013 seeking a judicial declaration that divorce decrees passed by ecclesiastical tribunals are valid and binding. Read more

Cabinet approves the exclusion of States from National Small Savings Fund

The Union Cabinet has excluded States and Union Territories except Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi (UT) and Madhya Pradesh from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) investments with effect from 1 April 2016 The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved one-time loan of Rs. 45000 crore from NSSF to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to meet its food subsidy requirements. Read more

International Current Affairs

UNSC adopts resolution backing Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow

United Nation Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously approved a resolution expressing full support to Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow. The resolution called on longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh (in power since 1994 coup) to step down and also condemned Yahya Jammeh’s attempts to usurp power. Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down despite losing a disputed December 1, 2016 presidential election to Barrow. It has deepened political crisis in Gambia as Barrow was sworn in as Gambia’s president in Senegal. After his inauguration, troops from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a bloc of west African countries have entered Gambia in support of Adama Barrow.

First China-Britain freight train arrives in London

The first China-to-Britain freight train run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment arrived in London after completing a 7,500-mile journey in 18-days. This marks a milestone in China’s push to build commercial links across Europe and Asia. The train had started its journey from Yiwu, a wholesale market town in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang and passed through Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and the English Channel to reach Britain. The train was carrying cargo of small commodities including household items, clothes, fabrics, bags, and suitcases. This successfully journey of freight train from China, makes London the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China as part of its ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

CEPI formally launched at WEF, Davos

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was officially launched at World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos after it received $460-million to develop vaccines against 3 emerging highly-contagious and fatal diseases. These three diseases are Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-coronavirus, Lassa fever, and Nipah virus.  CEPI will use this fund to contain outbreaks these 3 diseases before they become global health emergencies. Read more

States Current Affairs

Dharamsala declared second capital of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh Government has declared Dharamsala as the second capital of the hill state with a population of about 70 lakh. Henceforth winter session of state legislature will be held in Dharamshala. Earlier the city had held 12 Winter Sessions of the state Assembly. Dharamsala is located in Himachal’s Kangra district near snow-clad Dhauladhar ranges. It was formerly known as Bhagsu. It was selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Union Government’s flagship Smart Cities Mission. The city already figured prominently in national and international map due to its significance owing to many reasons including religious, adventurous and natural tourism. It is also being abode of Tibetan Spiritual head Dalai Lama and the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile).

Note: Himachal Pradesh is third state in India to have two capitals after Maharashtra (Mumbai, Nagpur) and Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar, Jammu).

World Bank Sanctions Rs 1,376 Cr for Power Upgradation in Tripura

The World Bank has sanctioned Rs 1,376 crore for complete upgradation and improvement of the power system network in Tripura. Under the project, large number of 132 KV and 33 KV substations will be constructed and upgraded into five phases. New 132 KV substations would be constructed at Belonia, Sabroom, Bagafa and Satchand in South Tripura district, Rabindranagar, Gokulnagar in Sipahijala district, Amarpur in Gomati district, Mohanpur,in West district,  and Manu in Dhalai district.

Science and Technology Current Affairs

US launches Geo-3 satellite mounted with Atlas V rocket to destroy missiles from space

The US military has successfully launched Geo-3 satellite mounted with Atlas V rocket into space to monitor possible missile attacks from space. The military satellite capitalizes on infrared technology for defence purposes that include missile counter-defense, missile warning, intelligence gathering, and geospatial situational awareness to support troops. Earlier the US Air Force had launched Geo-1 and Geo-2 satellites into space in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Israel’s Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield becomes operational

Israel has claimed that its upgraded ballistic missile shield Arrow-3 system has become operational. The missile system has been jointly developed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and US firm Boeing Company and funded by United States. The Arrow 3, together with the Arrow 2 (operational since 2000) will help Israel to significantly reduce the possibilities of ballistic missiles hitting it. The upgraded system has the capability to destroy incoming missiles in outer space. Arrow 3 missile system has capability to fly into space and destroy warheads, whereas Arrow 2 system can intercept projectiles high and low within the atmosphere.

2016 was hottest year on record: WMO

According the consolidated analysis of the World Meteorological Organization, the 2016 was hottest year on record. It surpassed the exceptionally high temperatures of 2015. The global average temperature in 2016 was about 1.1 degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period. Surging concentrations of human induced carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) have resulted into climate change and temperature rise. In 2016, Arctic and Antarctic regions were having minimum sea ice levels. Record ocean heat due temperature rise also has caused widespread coral reef bleaching, including in the Great Barrier Reef, which has seen up to 50% of its coral die in certain parts.

ISRO successfully maneuvers orbit planes of Mars Mission

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully maneuvered the orbit planes of Mars orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan to enhance the capacity of battery. The direction of orbit plane of Mars orbiter was changed to cut the eclipse duration as it was not getting sun lights during eclipse. MOM still has 30 kilograms of energy, which will provide service for many more years. In September 2014, India had created a space history by becoming first nation in the world to successfully launch interplanetary mission to Mars in maiden attempt. ISRO was the fourth first Asian and fourth space agency in the world to reach Mars orbit after the Roscosmos of Russia, NASA and European Space Agency.

Physicists create a new form of Hydrogen

Physicists from Austria have created new form of Hydrogen i.e. negatively charged hydrogen clusters. It is a previously unseen form of hydrogen. For the past forty years, existence of hydrogen in ion clusters was known and is positively-charged clusters have already exists. Read more

Banking, Business and Economy

CCI slaps Rs 206 crore penalty on 7 cement companies

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of nearly Rs. 206 crore on seven cement companies for bid-rigging and cartelisation. These seven companies are Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, JK Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC and JK Lakshmi Cement. They have been penalised for violating competition norms with regard to a tender floated by a Haryana agency back in 2012. The penalties slapped are equivalent to 0.3% of each of their average turnover for three financial years. Bid rigging is illegal form of collusion in which a commercial contract is promised to one party even though for the sake of appearance several other parties also. CCI is a statutory body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.

FIPB clears 6 FDI proposals worth Rs 1,187 crore

The Inter-ministerial body Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approved six investment proposals envisaging foreign investments of Rs 1,186.5 crore.  Decision in this regard was taken by FIPB meeting headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das. Read more

Persons in News

Priyanka Chopra wins People’s Choice Award for TV Series Quantico

Indian actress Priyanka Chopra has won her second People’s Choice Award for Favourite Dramatic TV Actress. This is Priyanka’s second award in a row. She had won her first award in 2016. The People’s Choice Awards is an American awards show held annually since 1975. It recognizes the people and the work of popular culture, voted on by the general public.

English poet Jacob Polley wins 2016 TS Eliot prize

English poet Jacob Polley has won the 2016 TS Eliot Prize for poetry for his collection “Jackself”. With this he won the coveted £20,000 award at the Wallace Collection Gallery in London, United Kingdom (UK). Polley’s Jackself is a sequence of narrative poems partly inspired by his childhood in Cumbria, UK. It is one of his four poetry collections. Previous winners of the prize include Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney and former poet laureates Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy.

Sports Current Affairs

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba becomes major Olympic Games sponsor until 2028

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba became major sponsor of the Olympic Games after signing a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that runs until 2028. With this, Alibaba joins 12 other companies, including Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, as top sponsors after joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme. No financial details were disclosed, but IOC previously had held that major sponsors pay around US$100 million per four-year cycle, which includes one summer and one winter Olympic Games. Alibaba’s deal with IOC comes as Asia prepares to host three consecutive Olympic Games with South Korea’s Pyeongchang hosting 2018 winter edition, Japan hosting 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo China hosting 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing.

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