Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 23, 2016
The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 23, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.
National Current Affairs
Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung submits his resignation
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung submitted his resignation to the Central Government, 18 months prior to his completion of term. His tenure was scheduled to end in 2018 after he had taken the charge of the office in July 2013. Jung was the 13th Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University. He again will be returning to academics.
PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of Cancer Centre in Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He also inaugrated super-speciality hospital at Banaras Hindu University,trade facilitation centre and a crafts museum, along with some projects under the Union Textile Ministry.
Northeast Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy in Shillong
Union Minister of State for Ayush Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy (NEIAH) in Shillong, capital city of Meghalaya. The NEIAH aims at providing alternative health care to people of the northeastern region and Sikkim. It also aims to produce quality human resource in area of Ayush, particularly in ayurveda and homoeopathy along with yoga.
Government announces new rules to ease process of getting passport
The Union Government announced new passport rules in order to streamline, liberalize and ease the process of issue of passport. Under new rules, birth certificate is no longer mandatory for getting passport. Henceforth, applicant of online passport application will only need to provide the name of only one parent and not both. This will enable single parents to apply for passports for their children. Besides, married applicants will not be required to provide any marriage certificate. The application form does not require the applicants to provide the name of their spouse in case of separated or divorced persons.
Government allows use of old notes for tax payment under PMGKY
The Union Finance Ministry has allowed use of old bank notes of 500 and 1,000 rupees for payment towards tax, surcharge, penalty and deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) till 30 December 2016. The payment in old notes is to be made through challan and the deposits are to be made in the scheme. The PMGKY permits voluntary declarations of previously undisclosed income with an effective tax rate of 50% and requires assessees to deposit a further 25% of such wealth into a four-year interest-free deposit. The scheme allows assessees to disclose previously unaccounted and undeclared income under its ambit. It started on 17 December 2016 and is open for declarations upto 31 March, 2017.
Government reconstitutes committee helping Krishna River Board
The Union Water Resources Ministry has reconstituted a committee that was tasked with assisting the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB). The new committee will be headed by A.K. Bajaj, former chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC). Read more
Government launches Coal Mitra portal to facilitate flexibility in utilization of domestic coal
The Union Ministry of Coal has launched Coal Mitra, a web portal for allowing flexibility in utilization of domestic Coal. Read more
States Current Affairs
Puducherry introduces 3% quota for disabled in Government jobs
Puducherry Government has announced the implementation of 3% reservation for differently-abled persons in government jobs in the Union Territory. It was announced by Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi. The reservation is provided in par with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
UP Government approves inclusion of 17 OBCs in SC list
Uttar Pradesh government has approved a proposal to include 17 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Scheduled Class (SC) list. Proposal in this regard was cleared by state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Notably, the Central Government earlier had included 15 new castes in the central list of OBCs. The new inclusions in the central list include Gadheri/Itafarosh from Bihar and Jhora from Jharkhand, among others.
Defence Current Affairs
Indo-Tibetan Police Force inducts yaks at China border
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has become the first force in the world to induct yaks for strategically pivotal logistic support duties. Yaks are commonly referred as the ‘ships of the cold deserts’. They will be employed by the ITBP Veterinary Wing which works in the two states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along the Indo-China border.
International Current Affairs
France becomes first country to use drones for national mail service
France became the first country in the world to use drones for national mail service. In this regard, French postal service announced a drone delivery program to deliver parcels on a 14-kilometre route once a week to reach mountainous regions. These mail drones will have a range of 19 km and a top speed of 30.5 kmph. They also have parachutes for safe emergency landing.
US imposes more sanctions on Russia
United States has imposed more sanctions on Russian businessmen and companies over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine. The measures come before US President Barack Obama hands over power to President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. Donald Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and even said that two countries could get along. He even has nominated Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson for U.S. Secretary of State who had opposed US sanctions on Russia, which awarded him a friendship medal in 2013. The US had introduced sanctions on Russia after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and further expanded them after Russia intensified support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia projects $53billion deficit in 2017
Saudi Arabia, world’s biggest oil exporter has projected a 2017 Budget deficit of about US $53 billion and said that deficit in 2016 will be $79 billion, down 8.9% from 2016’s budget forecast. Expenses next year will reach $237 billion against revenues of $184 billion US. In the wake of 2016 record deficit, Saudi Arabia had frozen major building projects, cut Cabinet ministers’ salaries and imposed a wage freeze on civil servants. The main reason for fall of revenue was due to fall in poil prices, which were above $100 a barrel in 2014 and sank below $40 in 2016, but recovered towards end of 2016 and traded below $55.
Environment, Science & Technology Current Affairs
Flock launches world’s first chat OS
Flock, a team messenger for businesses has launched world’s first chat operating system “FlockOS”. It allows developers to build customised apps, bots and integrations on Flock. It provides setup slash commands, providing an additional option for users to interact with the app. It can also configure a Bot to send directed messages to users, carry on conversations and completing tasks from within Flock.
World’s first solar road opens in France
The world’s first solar road was opened in the small French village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy. The one-kilometre long solar road is made with 30,000 square feet of solar panels. These panels have been covered in a silicon-based resin that allows them to withstand the weight of passing vehicles. It can generate enough energy to power street lighting in the village. It took five years and cost $5.2 million to develop it. It will be used for a two-year test period to check its standard output.
Newly discovered fish named after Obama
Scientists have named pink-and-yellow coral-reef fish as Tosanoides obama in the honour of outgoing US President Barack Obama. The fish is found exclusively within the protected area in Hawaii. It was discovered during a June 2016 in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaiian Islands. Male obamas fish have a distinctive spot on the dorsal fin near the tail. It is blue around the edge and red with yellow stripes in the centre. Besides this fish, Barack Obama also has trapdoor spider, a speckled freshwater darter (fish), a parasitic hairworm and an extinct lizard named after him.
NGT bans open waste burning across the country
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in open places across the country and announced a fine of Rs. 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste burning. The green panel’s judgement was given on the petition seeking directions to local bodies in states and Centre for improving solid waste management methods. Read more
Scientists use ‘pregnancy fluid’ to strengthen weak bones
UK-based researchers have found that stem cells harvested from pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid can be used to strengthen weak bones. Read more
Japan successfully launches solid fuel rocket
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched a solid fuel rocket named Epsilon-2 from the Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan. Read more
Banking, Business & Economy Current
Tata Motors shareholders remove Nusli Wadia from board of directors
Shareholders of Tata Motors have voted to remove independent director Nusli Wadia from the board of directors. In the extraordinary general meeting, 71.20% of the shareholders voted in favour of a resolution moved by Tata Sons to remove Mr Wadia as independent director of Tata Motors. Earlier, Mr Wadia was removed as independent director from the board of Tata Steel.
Amul to invest Rs 200 crore in Wes Bengal
Amul, a brand owned by Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union will invest 200 crore rupees with a ‘Centralised Milk Processing Plant’ at Sankrail Food Park in Howrah in West Bengal. The proposed plant will manufacture UHT milk, ghee and yoghurt besides normal milk. It will be built on an industrial cluster concept. Work on the plant would start in 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2018 end. The Kandua Food Park at Howrah’s Sankrail was developed by WBIDC to cater to needs of manufacturers and producers of food and agro products, in which dairy is an important inclusion.
India suffers from huge gender pay gap: ILO Report
Recently released Global Wage Report 2016-17 released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found that India suffers from huge gender pay gap. It shows that India has among the worst levels of gender wage disparity (men earning more than women in similar jobs) with the gap exceeding 30%. Read more
Sports Current Affairs
Mary Kom given AIBA Legends award
Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist MC Mary Kom was awarded the AIBA Legends award by the International Boxing Federation (AIBA). Besides, Asian Games’ bronze medalist Vikas Krishan Yadav was awarded AIBA Pro Boxing Best Boxer trophy.
Argentina wins FIFA Team of the Year title
Argentina has won the FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ title after finishing top of the FIFA rankings of the year 2016 with 1,634 points. Argentina’s rivals Brazil was placed at second position with 1,544 points while World Champions Germany finished third with 1,433 points. 2015 winner Belgium was placed at fifth position with 1,368 points.
Mahinder Pal Singh first Sikh cricketer in Pakistan to join national academy
Mahinder Pal Singh became the first Sikh cricketer in Pakistan to join national academy. He hails from Nankana Sahib in Lahore and is among the list of top 30 emerging cricketers in the country. Pakistan’s cricketing history has only seen 7 non-muslim cricketers representing the country.
Ashwin wins Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the year
Indian offspiner Ravichandran Ashwin won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named the ICC Cricketer of the Year besides the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. He is only the third Indian player ever win this trophy. The other two Indians are Rahul Dravid (won in 2004) and Sachin Tendulkar (2010). Overall, he is the 12th player to win the prestigious Trophy that is named after former West Indies cricket captain Sir Garfield Sobers.