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National – Across the India
1. The famed Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) has started regular commercial rail service in Switzerland.
The first regular train to use GBT ferried passenger from Zurich to Lugano. The twin-bore GBT is world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel with length of 57-kilometer.
It had overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel (53.9 kilometers) as the longest rail tunnel in world after it was opened in June 2016 for its maiden ride.
2. The central zonal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Rajasthan government to cancel allotments of salt pans in the Sambhar Salt Lake.
Ruling in this regard was given by NGT bench headed by Justice Dalip Singh and expert Satyawan Singh Garbyal on a petition filed by Ajay Dubey.
3. President Pranab Mukherjee has launched a ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The campaign was conceptualized by Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and was organized by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.
4. Madhya Pradesh Government has launched five months long Narmada Seva Yatra to turn the Narmada river pollution free.
It was launched by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Amarkantak.
5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a cheese plant of Banaskantha Cooperative Milk Producers Union (Banas Dairy) at Deesa in Gujarat.
The event marked the launch of the celebration of the Golden Jubilee year of Banas Dairy (part of AMUL brand).
6. Punjab Government has launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.
The amphibious bus named “Harike Cruise” travels on land and as well as in water.
7. The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs to launch “Vanjeevan”, the National Resource Centre (NRC) for Tribal Livelihood issues in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
It will be launched in collaboration with UNDP and National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC).
8. The Indian Air Force (IAF) organized seminar to increase awareness about organ donation.
Around 500 air warriors and their families joined hands to strengthen the organ donation movement in the country.
9. 2016 IHS Jane’s Defense Budgets report has revealed that India is world’s fourth largest defense spender.
In this edition of report published by US research firm IHS Inc, India has surpassed Russia, France, Japan, and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s fourth largest defense spender.
10. The sixth edition of Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) began in New Delhi.
The three days’ conference addressed issues ranging from crowded city centres to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population growth, megacities, and urban corridors etc.
11. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim nationwide ban on usage of glass-coated ‘manja’ for flying kites, as the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals, and bird.
The ban order will apply on nylon, Chinese and cotton manja coated with glass.
12. 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.
The approval aimed to safeguard interest of poor and vulnerable groups by laying stress on adaptation, damage and loss while protecting the development space.
13. The Union Government has extended the facility of e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) Scheme for citizens of 161 countries.
This period registered a growth of 168.5% over same period of previous year. This indicates success of the e-TV Scheme.
14. The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on all liquor shops on national as well as state highways to reduce drink driving and road accidents that claim thousands of lives every year across the country.
The three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur gave its order on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO called ‘Arrive Safe’.
15. Haryana became the first state in the country to launch Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) initiative for safety of women.
It was launched by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
16. 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.
17. The ‘Thal Favang Kut’ festival organized by Department of Tourism, Government of Mizoram began in state capital Aizawl with enthusiasm and fervor.
It is a post-harvest festival which is celebrated after harvesting the paddy.
18. Himachal Pradesh became 6th state to attain 100% Aadhaar coverage based on the 2015 Population.
Delhi, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have already achieved full coverage.
19. Government announced a new income declaration scheme ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’.
Under this scheme the persons who haven’t declared their actual incomes yet, have a chance to declare it till 31st March 2017.
Those who will declare their income must pay a fine of 50 % of the unaccounted money and 25% will remain locked for 4 years.
Government will use this money from penalty under this scheme for social schemes.
20. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the draft notification for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 to regulate pet shops.
The objective of these proposed new rules is to make pet shops accountable and to prevent cruelty inflicted on animals kept in such pet shops.
21. Rajasthan Government has launched Annapurna Rasoi Scheme to provide quality meal at cheap price to poor and needy on lines with Tamil Nadu Government’s Amma canteens.
International – Across the Globe:
1. India has offered tsunami early-warning-system to South China Sea (SCS) countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines as part of soft-diplomacy.
India already provides earthquake and tsunami-warning alerts to several countries in the Indian Ocean neighborhood, as do Japan and Australia.
2. A deep-water port built in Myanmar’s Sittwe by India is ready to be commissioned.
Thus, Kolkata-Mizoram trade route via Myanmar will be opened.
The Sittwe port is starting point for the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar.
3. Qatar has formally announced the end of its controversial “kafala” labour system.
Under this controversial system, all foreign workers working in Qatar required a local sponsor, in the form of an individual or company, and need their permission to switch jobs or leave the country.
4. The ninth edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, an annual bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy began in the Bay of Bengal.
The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-16 was to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies and develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
5. The seventh edition of India, Maldives bilateral EKUVERIN Exercise 2016 began at Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll, Maldives.
The aim of 14-day platoon level joint military exercise was to conduct military training between armies of both countries with emphasis on amphibious & counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations.
6. The fifth edition of the India-Arab Partnership Conference was held in Muscat, Oman from 14th -15th December 2016.
Theme of the conference was ‘Partnership towards innovation and cooperation in IT’.
7. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) of United Kingdom has given approval to clinics seeking licences for three-parent baby technique or Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT).
The approval aimed to prevent children being born with deadly genetic diseases.
1. Mumbai-based Civil Engineer Iqbal Sayed became first Indian to win a medal at the Mr. Olympia Asia 2016’s Classic Bodybuilding category.
He has won a silver medal in the event held in Hong Kong beating participants from 20 countries.
2. The Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium (popularly known as Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad is set to become the world’s largest seating capacity cricket stadium.
The renovated stadium will have seating capacity of about 1,10,000 people from current 54,000 people.
3. Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani has won his 11th World Billiards (150-Up format) Championships title.
In the summit clash held in Bengaluru, Karnataka he defeated Peter Gilchrist of Singapore by six games to three.
It was his overall 16th world title.
4. India’s largest indoor sports arena will come up in New Town area of Kolkata, West Bengal.
It will come up on ten acres of land near the Deer park in Eco Park.
5. Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were named ITF (International Tennis Federation) World Champions of the year 2016.
Andy Murray (Britain) has won 9 titles in this year and sealed the year-end rankings top spot.
Angelique Kerber (Germany) has won Australian and US Open titles as well as a silver medal in Rio Olympics.
Awards & Recognition:
1. Two Indian-origin men Vivek Ramaswamy and Apoorva Mehta have figured in Forbes magazine’s second annual list of wealthiest entrepreneurs under the age of 40.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a successful biotech entrepreneur was ranked 24th on with a net worth of $600 million and Apoorva Mehta (cofounder of Instacart, a grocery delivery service) stands at 31st spot with a $360 million net worth.
2. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal has won the prestigious 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or Award.
He has earned this title of world’s best football player for fourth time.
3. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been named as one of 15 Foreign Policy Global Thinkers.
She was named in the decision-makers category for fashioning a novel brand of Twitter diplomacy.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was placed at 9th position among 74 of the world’s most powerful people list released by the Forbes Magazine.
The list gives the annual ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People based on their financial resources, scope and use of power and the number of people they impact.
5. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has officially added word ‘Brexit’ in it.
It is among 1,500 new words added to the OED.
6. The UN cultural body UNESCO has accorded world heritage status to Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvelous City).
It has been registered as “Carioca Landscapes between Mountain and Sea” on the UNESCO world heritage list.
7. Sahaj International School in Kochi will be the first residential transgender school in the country.
8. Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) presented ‘Global Agriculture Leadership Award 2016′ to Tata Sons Interim Chairman Ratan Tata in Mumbai.
9. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar, UK-based scholar John Ralston Marr and Hari Katha exponent Kamala Murthy have been selected for SIES-Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Award.
Each award carries a cash prize of INR 2.5 lakh, a citation, a shawl and an ornamental lamp.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
1. Digital payments platform Paytm has collaborated with major National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) toll concessionaries to enable cashless payments at all state, national and city toll plazas.
This partnership will facilitate commuters across the country pay their toll charges instantly using Paytm mobile application by scanning the QR code placed at toll payment counters.
Appointments & Resignations:
1. Lt Gen. Naveed Mukhtar was appointed as new chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
He will replace Lt Gen. Rizwan Akhtar.
Lt Gen. Naveed Mukhtar possesses a vast experience in the field of intelligence and has headed the counter-terrorism wing of ISI.
2. Writer and scholar Akshaykumar M. Kale has been elected as the President of the 90th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.
He is a critic of modern Marathi poetry. He was professor and head of Marathi Department at RTM Nagpur University.
3. Paolo Gentiloni has been named as Italy’s new Prime Minister.
His appointment comes after reformist leader and former PM Matteo Renzi resigned in wake of the referendum defeat.
4. Pulkit Trivedi was appointed as industry director of Facebook’s-commerce, retail, travel, and financial services verticals.
He has rich experience of 18 years and has worked with Microsoft, IBM and HCL in past.
5. Indian Actress Priyanka Chopra was appointed as UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador.
It was announced by soccer player David Beckham and British actress Millie Bobby Brown on the eve of UNICEF’s 70th anniversary in New York.
6. Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was sworn in as the 9th UN Secretary-General.
Antonio Guterres is Portuguese politician and diplomat. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.
7. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Sunil Arora as Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA).
He will have tenure of 5 years or till attaining 65 years of age.
8. The ACC has appointed VK Sharma as Chairman Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC), India’s biggest insurer and investor.
He will have tenure of five years.
9. Former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora was appointed as the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA).
10. Volkswagen group firm Audi appointed Rahil Ansari as head of the Operations.
Rahil will join the company from February 1, 2017.
11. Suzlon Energy has appointed Sanjay Baweja as its Chief Financial Officer.
Kirti Vagadia (Group CFO) will continue in his position and will focus on strategy, shareholder and board related matters at the Group level.
Economics & Banking GK:
1. Madhya Pradesh has organized country’s biggest and first ever crop insurance claim distribution programme under Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme in Ujjain district.
In this programme, insurance claims worth Rs. 4,416 crore were distributed to 20.4 lakh farmers of the state.
2. The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) has recommended imposition of definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of steel tubes and pipes from China in an attempt to safeguard the domestic industry from cheap imports.
3. Oil prices in international market shot up by 4% to their highest level since 2015.
The international benchmark for oil prices Brent Crude Futures soared to US$57.89 per, highest level since July 2015.
4. The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission.
The pay hike almost 10 to 15% in the pay of employees will be implemented from January 17, 2017.
5. RBI has directed banks to keep daily record of new currency notes.
It comes in view of seizures by Income Tax Department and other law enforcement agencies of large quantities of high denomination notes after post demonetization drive.
6. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered its growth forecast for Indian economy to 7.0% as an aftermath of demonetization.
7. India is going to contribute $5 lakh to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the year 2016-17.
CERF allocates approximately 450 million US Dollars in a year for humanitarian operations in about 50 countries.
8. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) came down to 3.63% in November 2016 as against 4.20% reported in October 2016.
The decline in inflation was largely due to the demonetization of high-denomination currency notes announced by Union Government.
9. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) set a limit on the Merchant Discount Rates (MDR) for debit card transactions up to INR 1,000 at 0.25% and for transactions above INR 1,000 and up to INR 2,000 at 0.5% to promote greater adoption of digital payment methods.
Bills – New & Amendments:
1. Rajya Sabha has passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.
The bill repeals Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.
2. 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.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
1. India and Indonesia have signed three agreements in various areas including fishing, standardization and youth affairs and sports to enhance strategic partnership.
These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Indonesia Joko Widodo in New Delhi.
2. The European Union signed agreement with Mali regarding return of migrants who have reached Europe’s shores, and whose asylum requests have been refused.
It was to address root causes of illegal migration and to enable the return from Europe of Malian migrants.
3. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has signed a contract with consortium of six private companies to deliver India’s first industry-built satellite by late 2017.
The European Union (EU) and Cuba have signed a deal to normalize ties between them. Prior to it, Cuba was the only Latin American country not to have a cooperation deal with the 28-nation EU.
The EU had blocked ties with Cuba for decades over issues such as trade, human rights, and migration.
4. Cuban government has signed a deal with Internet giant Google to provide faster access to Google’s data.
The deal allowed Google to install servers on the island nation which will store much of the company’s most popular content.
5. The Union Cabinet has approved MoU between India and Kyrgyzstan on cooperation in field of agriculture and food related industry.
The proposed agreement covered various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector.
6. 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 also allow USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region.
7. 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.
The Inter-Governmental MoU on Joint Technical and South-South Cooperation will provide for collaboration on activities of common interest to support an integrated approach to rural poverty reduction through activities.
8. State-owned power producer National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and aluminum producer National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO) have signed MoU to establish a 2.4 giga watt (GW) Coal based power project at Gajmara, Odisha.
Science & Technology:
1. Scientists from US including one of Indian origin have created a nanoceramic material that can be used for safer, cheaper nuclear reactors.
The new material is made of aluminum oxide nanoceramic coating.
It can withstand high temperatures, the harsh effects of radiation and also become tougher under radiation.
2. China has successfully launched Fengyun-4 satellite, first of its new generation weather satellites into geostationary orbit.
3. Scientists for the first time have detected trace amounts of ammonia in the upper troposphere, the lowest atmospheric layer of Earth.
It was detected by team of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.
4. Researchers discovered Atlantic killifish, a fish species which has evolved to be 8,000 times more resilient to toxic waste compared with normal fish.
The fish species lives in the heavily polluted East Coast estuaries of US such as the Elizabeth River in Virginia and the Newark Bay in New Jersey.
5. Software giant Microsoft India has launched its first full-scale Cybersecurity Engagement Centre (CSEC) in New Delhi.
It is Microsoft’s seventh Cybersecurity Centre in the world.
It will function as a satellite to the its Redmond Digital Crimes Unit (DCU).
6. NASA is building a robotic spacecraft dubbed as ‘Restore-L Spacecraft’ to refuel, repair satellites currently in orbit.
In this regard, NASA has awarded a $127 million contract to California-based satellite company Space Systems/Loral to build Restore-L Spacecraft.
7. 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.
8. Indian Navy’s eight landing craft utility (LCU) L-58 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal.
It is the last vessel in a series of eight ships of LCU MK-IV project designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy.
1. National Energy Conservation Day was observed all over India on 14th December 2016.
It was celebrated to make people aware of global warming and climate change and promote a conscious effort towards saving the energy resources.
2. Bangladesh celebrated 45th anniversary of victory over Pakistan and its emergence as a new country on the map of the world on 16th December 1971.
On this day, Chief of Pakistani Army General AAK Niazi along with 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered to allied forces of Mukti Fouz and Indian Army at Ramna Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka following a defeat.
Important Abbreviations used in this Article
|GBT||Gotthard Base Tunnel|
|NGT||National Green Tribunal|
|NSTFDC||National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation|
|APMCHUD||Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development|
|MoEFCC||Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change|
|HFEA||Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority|
|ITF||International Tennis Federation|
|ICFA||Indian Council of Food and Agriculture|
|NHAI||National Highways Authority of India|
|IICA||Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs|
|ADB||Asian Development Bank|
|CERF||Central Emergency Response Fund|
|USGS||United States Geological Survey|
|FAO||United States Geological Survey|
|NTPC||National Thermal Power Corporation|
|NALCO||National Aluminum Co. Ltd|
|CSEC||Cybersecurity Engagement Centre|
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