Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 15, 2016
The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 15, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.
National Current Affairs
Union Cabinet approves amended DTAA between India and Tajikistan
The Union Cabinet has approved the protocol amending agreement between India and Tajikistan for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. The protocol will enable sharing of information exchanged under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with other law enforcement agencies for non-tax purposes after it enters into force.
Government launches Lucky Grahak Yojana, Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana
The Union Government has launched Lucky Grahak Yojana to encourage consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana to encourage merchants for transition to digital payments. These award based schemes were launched by the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, government’s policy think-tank. Read more
Home Ministry cancels FCRA licences of Greenpeace, Teesta Setalvad’s NGO
The Union Home Ministry has cancelled renewal of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of Greenpeace India and two NGOs run by activist Teesta Setalvad. The move comes after the licences were inadvertently renewed for five years automatically online. These three NGOs are accused of prejudicial affecting public interest of the country and violation of various provisions of FCRA.
Studentds to show Aadhar card as Identity proof in JEE Exam
Students appearing for Joint Entrance Examination (Main) for engineering will have to show their Aadhaar card as proof of identity. This decision aims to make use of Aadhaar number for the exam to prevent impersonation and ensure fair practice. It was taken by the Joint Apex Board, which oversees conduct of JEE (Main) exam. Students not having Aadhaar number can use 28 digit code printed on the Aadhaar Enrolment slip for applying for JEE exam.
Union Cabinet approves MoU between Rural Development Ministry & FAO
The Union Cabinet has approved MoU between Ministry of Rural Development and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to improve effectiveness of rural development programmes in country. Read more
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India-Kyrgyzstan on agriculture cooperation
The Union Cabinet has approved memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Kyrgyzstan on cooperation in field of agriculture and food related industry. The proposed agreement covers various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector. Read more
Union Cabinet approves Major Port Trust Authorities Bill, 2016
The Union Cabinet has approved the draft Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. The bill aims to empower 12 major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision-making. Read more
Union Cabinet approves India’s approach to climate change negotiations
The Union Cabinet approved India’s approach to Climate Change Negotiations at the 22 Conference of Parties (COP) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016. Read more
Union Cabinet approves MoU between ISRO and USGS
The Union Cabinet has approved MoU signed between ISRO and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Cooperation in exchange and use of US Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data. It will enable ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 and 8 in India. It will also allow USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region. Read more
Defence Current Affairs
IAF personnel cannot keep beard: SC
The Supreme Court ordered that Indian Airforce (IAF) personnel cannot keep beard. It held that Central Government’s decision to ban beards in the IAF does not infringe upon fundamental rights. These regulations are meant for uniformity and discipline and have nothing to do with religious rights.
Pakistan successfully test-fires enhanced version of Babur cruise missile
Pakistan Army has successfully test fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed Babur cruise missile. The missile incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy. Read more
Seventh Indo-Maldives joint military exercise EKUVERIN begins
The seventh edition of India, Maldives bilateral EKUVERIN Exercise 2016 began at Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll, Maldives. The aim joint military exercise is to conduct military training between armies of both countries with emphasis on amphibious & counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations. Read more
Environment Current Affairs
Desert National Park records 11 Great Indian Bustard births
The Desert National Park (DNP) in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) witnessed successful birth of 11 Great Indian Bustards (GIB). With this, the figure of critically endangered species reached to 151. GIB is popularly known as ‘Godawan’. It is Rajasthan’s state bird. It has been exterminated from almost 90% of their former range due to habitat loss and poaching. IUCN has listed GIB as Critically Endangered (CR) species in the Red Data Book. It is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972.
Solar battery station & Community development centre inaugurated in Assam
A solar battery station and a community development centre was inaugurated at Bindhakata Tengapukhuri village in Dibrugarh district of Assam. The project has installed two solar battery charging stations of 6 KW capacity that would fulfill power requirements of 287 households of four villages of the area – Mirigaon, Mulukghat, Gerekigaon and Tengabri.
Rajiv Gandhi airport achieves carbon neutral status
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) or Hyderabad Airport has achieved carbon neutral status. It is the first in the Asia-Pacific region in the 5-15 million passengers per annum category to attain this status. It is the second airport among all categories in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve carbon neutral status. Earlier in September, 2016 IGI (Delhi) Airport was recognised as the first airport in Asia-Pacific to achieve carbon neutral status among all categories.
Persons in News
AR Rahman in Oscar race again
Music maestro AR Rahman is once again in the Oscars race for his work in sports biopic Pele: Birth of a Legend. ‘Ginga’ composed by Rahman to celebrate Pele’s soccer legacy is one of the 91 songs in the Original Song long list for the top award to be presented in February 2017. Earlier in 2009, AR Rahman had won double Oscars (Best Original Score and Best Original Song long) for his work in Slumdog Millionaire in the 89th Academy Awards.
Vladimir Putin named World’s Most powerful persons by Forbes
Russian President Vladimir Putin was named as the World’s Most powerful persons by Forbes magazine for consecutive fourth year. US President-elect ranked second in the list of 74 persons. Indian PM Narendra Modi ranked ninth in the list. Read more
Larry Page named World’s Most powerful CEO by Forbes
Alphabet’s (parent company of Google) CEO Larry Page was named as the World’s Most powerful CEO by Forbes. Mark Zuckerberg, Cofounder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook and Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon was ranked second and third in the list respectively. Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX and Walmart’s Doug McMillon have also featured on the list.
Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs
US Federal Reserve raises interest rates for second time in a decade
The US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25%, only the second increase in a decade and first in 2016. The Federal Reserve System Board chaired by Janet Yellen unanimously voted to raise the key rate to a range of 0.5% to 0.75%, citing a stronger economic growth and rising employment.
Amazon unveils Prime Video service in India
World’s largest online retailer Amazon has unveiled its streaming video service ‘Amazon Prime Video’ in India. It will offer its prime members the largest selection of newly-released Bollywood and regional Indian blockbusters and Hollywood movies and also stream US TV shows.
Vodafone launches e-wallet M Pesa Pay for retailers
Vodafone India has launched Vodafone M Pesa Pay in a bid to enable merchants and retailers to receive payments from their customers. The new feature replaces need for point of sale (PoS) machine since it is a face-to-face transaction where the merchant sends the request to the customer for making a payment. Existing M Pesa customers can use their wallets to make payments.
International Current Affairs
Indra Nooyi joins Donald Trump’s policy forum
Indian-American PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (61) has joined US President elect Donald Trump’s 19-member Strategic and Policy Forum. Besides her, other members are Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and SpaceX and Tesla chairman Elon Musk. The Strategic and Policy Forum team aims to assist US President in implementing his economic agenda. It will be chaired by Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone. It members are some of US’s most highly respected and successful business leaders. They will meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as he implements his economic agenda.
India, ASEAN set target of $100 billion trade to be achieved by 2020
India and ASEAN have set a target of trading at 100 billion dollar to be achieved by 2020. India is one of the most important power in the region and will be a significant dialouge partner. Currently the trade between ASEAN and India is 57 billion dollars. ASEAN and India will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017.
Hindus best-educated religious group in North America and Europe: Study
According to study released by Pew Research Centre, Hindus are the best-educated of all religious groups in North America and Europe. 96% of Hindus in US have college degrees compared to 36% for Christians who are a majority in the country. Hindus are followed by Jews having 76% have college degrees, Muslims (54%) and Buddhists (53%).