Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 24, 2016
The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 24, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.
National Current Affairs
Inter-Ministerial task force on Indus Water Treaty meets in New Delhi
The first meeting inter-ministerial task force set up by government to look into strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan was held in New Delhi. It was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary Nripendra Mishra. It discussed issues of fast-tracking implementation of hydroelectricity projects of 8500 MW-capacity in Jammu and Kashmir. These projects also include Tulbul Navigation intended at developing India’s rights over (Beas, Ravi and Sutlej) and Western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum) on which Pakistan has rights.
NPPA slashes prices of HIV, diabetes, angina drugs
The national drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped prices of over 50 essential drugs. It has led to a price cut in the range of 5 to 44% with the average being about 25%. These 50 drugs include those used for treatment of HIV infection, diabetes, anxiety disorders, bacterial infections, angina and acid reflux. Besides, NPPA has also fixed the retail prices of 29 formulations. In this regard in has. These 55 scheduled drug formulations and retail prices are regulated under the Schedule-I of the Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016 by the NPPA.
President promulgates the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016
President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016 as per Article 123. The law guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after wars. The ordinance was re-issued as a bill to amend the law could not be passed in in the winter session of Parliament due to repeated adjournments over the demonetisation issue. For the first time it was promulgated in January, 2016 to amend the nearly five-decade old Enemy Property Act to plug the loopholes in the principal Act to ensure that the enemy properties worth thousands of crores of rupees vested in the Custodian do not revert to the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm.
International Current Affairs
US President Obama gives assent to defence bill to boost cooperation with India
US President Barack has signed the National Defence Authorisation Act, 2017 to recognise India major defence partner of the United States of America. The Act enhances security co-operation between the two countries. It asks the US administration to designate an individual, within the executive branch, who has experience in defence acquisition and technology, to ensure the success of the framework for US-India Defence Relationship. The Act will also help resolve remaining issues impeding US-India defence. It also lays down conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.
UNSC passes resolution demanding end to Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian territory
The UN Security Council (UNSC) has passed a resolution demanding Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal. It demanded Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in toccupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years. In response, Israel declared that it rejects this anti-Israel resolution and will not abide by its terms.
Russia sends battalion of military police in Aleppo
Russia has sent a battalion of military police in Aleppo, after the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad took full control of the ravaged city from the rebels. The battalion has been sent to maintain law and order in the liberated territories. The Russian military police is a subdivision of the military that is meant to ensure order and discipline in the army.
Nepal to import additional 240 MW power from India
India has agreed to export to Nepal an additional 240 MW of electricity in a bid to lessen the power shortage of the Himalayan nation. In this regard agreement was signed between Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and state-owned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN). Under it, 80 MW power will be imported immediately from January 2017 and 160 MW from February 2017 through Dhalkebar-Mujjafpur Cross Border Transmission line. Nepal is facing under an acute shortage of power. Power purchase from India will to some extent help Himalayan state to address the problem of blackouts across the country.
States Current Affairs
India’s longest Expressway connecting Lucknow and Agra open for public
India’s longest expressway connecting Agra and Lucknow was thrown open for public after inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in November 2016. It is six-lane greenfield expressway having total length of 302-km. It has a design speed of up to 120 kms per hour. It has 2 km dedicated stretch built for fighter jets to land and take-off in times of “war-like emergencies”. It cuts down the travel time between Agra and Lucknow to just 3.5 hours, from the current 7 hours.
Maharashtra to launch India’s first 24×7 helpline for forests
The Maharashtra forest department is going to launch a state-wide 24×7 helpline for registering complaints or getting information about issues related to forests and wildlife from January 6, 2017. With this Maharashtra will become first state country to have first 24×7 helpline for forests. This call centre facility will enable citizens to complain about poaching, illegal wildlife trade, forest fires and encroachments on reserved land, among others.
Karnataka Government removes night shift restrictions for women
Karnataka Government has removed restrictions on allowing women to work in night shifts in all sectors in a bid to provide equal opportunities for women. As a follow up to this decision, Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 and the Factories Act 1948 have been amended. However, employers will have to carry out measures to ensure the security, safety and privacy of female employees. Besides, state Labour Department has imposed 15-conditions for hiring services of women during night time. Currently, women in the state are allowed to work in Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) sectors.
Dharamshala vegetable market becomes first cashless market in Himachal Pradesh
The Dharamshala vegetable market has become the first cashless market in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It has swipe machine facility to allow farmers and horticulturalists of the area to do cashless transactions. The swipe machine facility was installed by ICICI Bank in the market was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Banking, Business & Economy
RBI opens banking ombudsman office in Dehradun
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened a banking ombudsman office in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It is the third ombudsman office in North India after Kanpur and Chandigarh. With this, the total numbers of RBI ombudsman offices have increased to 17. The Dehradun Office will have the jurisdiction over the entire Uttarakhand and also the seven districts of western Uttar Pradesh. It was set up considering the significant increase in banking network during the recent past and the vast jurisdiction being covered by the current Office of the Banking Ombudsman, Kanpur. The Banking Ombudsman office receives and considers complaints relating to deficiencies in banking or other services filed by consumers.
Japan drags India to WTO on MIP imposed on steel imports
Japan has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against certain measures taken by India on imports of 173 iron and steel products. India had imposed minimum import price (MIP) on imports of certain iron and steel products in February 2016 for six months and was later extended twice for two months to overcome the issue of cheap imports of commodities that were hurting domestic industry
Science and Technology Current Affairs
Arctic heatwave could break records this year
Scientists have raised concerns over record-breaking heatwave at the North Pole due to rise in temperature up to 20 degrees higher than average. The unseasonably warm weather patterns in the Arctic region are directly linked to man-made climate change. It was found that temperatures throughout November and December 2016 were five degree Celsius higher than average. It follows a summer during which Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest extent ever recorded by satellites.
Sports Current Affairs
Shiva Keshavan wins gold medal at Asian Luge Championships
India’s seasoned Winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan has won gold medal at Asian Luge Championships held at Nagano in Japan. He finished the 2 heat race with a time of 1 minute, 39.962 seconds and top speed of 130.4 kilometres per hour. Japan’s Tanaka Shohei won Silver medal and Chinese Taipei’s Lien Te-An won bronze medal. This is his third gold medal won by Shiva Keshavan in tournament’s history and his medal tally includes four silvers and two bronze medals since 2005. Five-time Winter Olympian Keshavan is India’s only professional luge player and holds Asian speed and time records in sport.
India wins bronze medal at women’s U-18 Asia Cup hockey
India won bronze medal at women’s U-18 Asia Cup hockey held in Bangkok, Thailand by defeating South Korea by 3-0 goals. For India two goals were scored by Ritu, while Sangita Kumari scored one goal. For their creditable bronze medal-winning performance, Hockey India has announced cash rewards of Rs 1 lakh for each player and Rs 50,000 for each of the support staff.
India wins Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title
India won the 2016 Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title by defeating Sri Lanka by 34 runs in Colombo. Indian after winning the toss had opted to bat made 273 runs target for eight in 50 overs. In second innings Sri Lanka was bowled out to 239 runs in 48.4 overs.
Pankaj Advani wins National title in 6-red Snooker
Sixteen-time world champion Pankaj Advani has won the 2016 National title in 6-red Snooker, the shorter format of the game. In the final match heldin Mumbai Advani overcame his junior opponent Ishpreet Chadha by 7-4 score. With this win, Advani reclaimed the title, which he had won during the inaugural edition in Bangalore in 2010. He is the only player in the world to win all titles National, Continental and World in 6-red Snooker event.