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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 20 2016

 DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 20 2016


1. International - India has been ranked 4th in the Global Wind Power Installed
  • India ranked 4th in the Global Wind Power Installed Capacity index with cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of 25,088 MW in 2015
  • India has been ranked 4th in the Global Wind Power Installed Capacity index after China, USA and Germany in 2016
  • The index was topped by China, followed by US and Germany with cumulative installed wind power top-10-countriesgeneration capacity of 145362 MW, 74471 MW and 44947 MW respectively.

2. National - The Central Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) reduced the interest rate payable on their PF savings for 2016-17 to - 8.65%

3. International - First time in nearly 150 years, India's economy surpasses that of United Kingdom
  • According to report published in Forbes magazine, India has surpassed its colonial masters United Kingdom to become world's sixth-largest economy in GDP terms for first time after nearly 150 years. Following the change in the rankings, India's economy now stands behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and France.
  • India has managed to overtake UK owing to Britain's recent Brexit-related problems and its rapid economic growth followed by downslide in the value of the pound.
  • UK's economy is expected to grow by 1.8% in 2016 and slow down to 1.1% in 2017.
  • Its economy and currency are struggling since it voted to leave lucrative common market of European Union. Whereas, India's economy maintained its growth around 7% primarily due to price slump in global commodities, good rainfall, lower-than-expected inflation, reforms undertaken by Government to spur growth.
  • Furthermore, this gap is expected to widen as India grows at 6 to 8% per annum as compared to UK's growth of 1 to 2% until 2020, and likely beyond.
  • Even if the currencies fluctuate that modify these growth figures to rough equality, India's economy will be ahead of UK based on future growth prospects

4. International - The country whose Senate has passed a resolution seeking withdrawal of its biggest currency notes (Rs 5000 currency notes) is Pakistan

5. National -  The Union Government is planning launch toll-free number '1955' for taking feedback on call drops from telecom subscribers.
  • The short code 1955 was allotted for IVRS system on call drop.
  • Provisioning of this number will be made mandatory for telecom operators and it should be accessible for local and STD calling.

6. National - Saanjhi Saanjh: National Newspaper dedicated to Senior Citizen
  • This Newspaper is edited by Ms. J.V Manisha Bajaj, Secretary, Harikrit, an NGO for elderly people.
  • The first issue of bilingual newspaper Saanjhi Saanjh dedicated to senior citizen was recently released.
  • This newspaper has 8 pages which will be published by Harikrit publishers from Delhi.
  • It will carry important and useful news pertaining to elderly persons besides inspirational stories.
  • It will also serve as a bridge between old and new generations.

7. National - Union Government extends time period for farm loan dues by 60 days
  • The Union Government has decided to provide additional grace period of 60 days to farmers, whose crop loan dues fall between 1st of November and 31st December, 2016.
  • This decision was taken in view of constraints faced by the farming community in repayment of loans due to demonetization of high value notes.
  • The Union Government provides crop loans at subvented rates of interest at 7% per annum to provide stimulation to rural sector and farming community.
  • The prompt payee farmers can avail short term crop loans at 4% per annum.
  • The added incentive of 3% per annum is provided to farmers for prompt repayment of loans within due date and upto a maximum period of one year.

8.National - Union Government launches portal providing information on Haj pilgrimage
  • The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched a website www.haj.gov.in related to Haj Matters in New Delhi.
  • The website is available in Hindi, Urdu and English languages.
  • It will provide all necessary information relating to Haj management.
  • It will also facilitate making online application for Haj pilgrimage.
  • It will also give the information about Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Department, rules and regulations on Haj, Haj Pilgrimage, Haj Committee of India and private tour operators.
  • It also has Do's and Don'ts during Haj and also a film informing about various aspects of the pilgrimage.

9. National - India and Kyrgyzstan sign 6 agreements in various fields
  • India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc.
  • These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.
  • Besides, both leaders also issued joint statement.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism
  • MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development
  • MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.
  • Besides, both countries initiated talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors.
  • India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.
  • Highlights of Joint statement issued Both countries have agreed on the need to coordinate and work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for the common benefit.
  • They also reviewed cooperative engagement in the field of defence and sought to expand joint military exercises including the 'Khanjar' series of military exercises which has become an annual event.
  • They also decided to build on the development cooperation including in capacity building and training.
  • On economic ties both sides agreed to encourage engagement in healthcare, tourism, IT, agriculture, mining and energy.

10. National - PM lays foundation stone of country's first Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of the country's first Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh to make India the Skill Capital of the World.
  • He also inaugurated the Kaushal Pradarshini (Skill Exhibition) for the youth of Uttar Pradesh.to portray major skill development initiatives of the Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry.
  • The IIS is being opened by the Union Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.
  • The idea of IIS was conceptualised by PM Modi during his visit to Singapore's Institute of Technical Education.
  • Its primary objective is to empower India's youth to be more employable and self-sustainable.
  • The Union Skill Development Ministry is also set up six such institutes across country in coming years.

11. State - Chhattisgarh CM dedicates country's first cashless bazaar to people in Raipur
  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh dedicated country's first cashless bazaar in state capital Raipur to people.
  • The cashless bazaar or smart bazaar has over 900 shops that provide customers the facilities of cashless payments using POS, UPI and other digital systems.
  • Chhattisgarh is currently leading in the nation in training its people in digital transactions.
  • So far it has trained over 5 lac 33 thousand people in cashless payments way ahead of second placed Uttar Pradesh that has trained 1.75 lac people in digital financial literacy.

12. Banking - RBI to issue new Rs 500 note with inset letter in new series
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will shortly issue 500 rupee banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi New series with the inset letter E having star mark in the number panel.
  • This will be for the first time star banknotes in 500 rupees denomination will be issued.
  • It will bear the signature of RBI Governor Dr Urjit R. Patel, Swachh Bahrat Logo and year of printing 2016.
  • Star banknotes in the denomination of 10, 20, 50 and 100 are already in circulation.

13. National - Union Government revises North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy
  • The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has revised North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIP), 2007.
  • The revision of policy stipulates mandatory disbursal of subsidies payable to all industrial units in northeast through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism by Chief Controller of Accounts (Industry).
  • Industrial units which had commenced production on or after December 1, 2014 and on or before March 31, 2017 will be eligible for incentives as per the revised norms of subsidy.
  • It will also include existing units which go in for substantial expansion and commence commercial production on or before March 2017.
  • For this purpose, the industrial units need to get themselves registered on the e-payment portal by providing required bank details.
  • The subsidy for the existing and new industrial units going for substantial expansion will be limited Rs 3 crore per industrial unit operating in services sector and Rs 5 crore per industrial unit operating in manufacturing sector.
  • The limit for automatic approval of subsidy at the rate of 30% of the investment in plant and machinery will continue to be upto Rs 1.5 crore per unit.
  • In case for grant of capital investment subsidy higher than Rs 1.5 crore and upto a maximum of Rs 5 crore will be approved by empowered committee chaired by Secretary, DIPP.

14. International - China returns US underwater drone taken in South China Sea
  • China has returned a US underwater drone which was confiscated by its naval vessel in the South China Sea.
  • The drone had been given back to the United States after friendly consultations between the two countries.
  • It was seized, some 92km north-west of Subic Bay new Philippines in South China Sea.
  • The seizure had triggered a diplomatic protest and added to US concerns about China's growing military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed waterway.

15.International - US Electoral college formally elects Donald Trump as president
  • The US Electoral College has formally elected Donald Trump as President.
  • He secured the 270 votes needed to formalise his victory.
  • The result will be officially announced on 6 January 2017 in a special joint session of Congress.
  • The process of getting through Electoral College is usually a formality.
  • Under US law, electors must formally vote for the president and vice-president before they can lead the country.
  • Mr Trump formally takes office on January 20, 2017.

16. International - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveils bill of rights
  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani unveiled a landmark bill of rights guaranteeing freedom of speech, protest, fair trials and privacy to citizens.
  • The bill offers the first clear list of principles that could be used citizens to check the performance of State institutions.
  • Many of these rights are already enshrined in Iran's Constitution written after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

17. International - UNSC votes to deploy observers in Aleppo
  • The UN Security Council adopted a French-drafted resolution to quickly deploy UN observers to Aleppo (Syria) to monitor evacuations of civilians who remain in besieged city.
  • It demands all parties for complete, immediate, unconditional, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid to Aleppo for evacuation.
  • It stressed that evacuations must be voluntary and to final destinations of their choice, and protection must be provided to all civilians.
  • It calls for the protection of doctors, medical workers and hospitals.
  • Aleppo a city of northwest Syria near the Turkish border.
  • Inhabited perhaps as early as the sixth millennium B.C., Aleppo was a key point on the caravan route across Syria to Baghdad and later a major center of Christianity in the Middle East.
  • It is now the country's largest city of Syria

18.Science and Technology - Zika-linked birth defects more severe than previously thought: Researchers
  • Researchers have found that Zika virus linked abnormalities occurring in human foetuses are more severe than previously thought.
  • It was found that other birth defects are more common than microcephaly, abnormal condition in which babies are born with very small heads.
  • Thus, Zika virus not only causes Microcephaly but its absence will cause other birth defects.
  • The mosquito-borne virus can damage foetal development throughout pregnancy.

19. Science and Technology - Huge dead zone discovered in Bay of Bengal
  • Scientists including those from India have found a huge 'dead zone' of an estimated 60,000 square kilometres in Bay of Bengal.
  • This area is said to supports microbial processes that remove vast amount of nitrogen from the ocean.
  • The study published in Nature Geosciences.
  • Dead Zone is an area in water body that contains little or no oxygen (or they are hypoxic) in bottom and near-bottom water.
  • Mostly they occur naturally but it can be caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors.
  • They are well-known off western coasts of North and South America, off coast of Namibia and off west coast of India in Arabian Sea.
  • In recent times, warming of the atmosphere through climate change is predicted to lead expansion of 'dead zones' in the ocean.
  • Researchers, including those from CSIR's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa, demonstrated that some oxygen does exists in the Bay of Bengal waters.
  • But the concentration of oxygen is much less than standard techniques could detect and some 10,000 times less than that found in the air-saturated surface waters.
  • The researchers also discovered that the Bay of Bengal hosts microbial communities that can remove nitrogen but at really slow rates.
  • Removing more nitrogen from the oceans could affect the marine nitrogen balance and rates of marine productivity.

20. Science and Technology - Scientists discover 163 new species in ecologically diverse Greater Mekong region
  • Scientists have discovered as many as 163 new species in the ecologically diverse Greater Mekong region of the Southeast Asia.
  • It includes 3 mammals, 9 amphibians, 11 fish, 14 reptiles and 143 plants.
  • These species were discovered in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.
  • It was revealed by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report.
  • The new species include lizard with dragon-like horns Acanthosaura phuketensis.
  • It was discovered at the Thai tourist island of Phuket.
  • New frog species Leptolalax isos which can fit on a fingertip was discovered in Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • It also includes eye-catching Parafimbrios lao, a snake with rainbow-like scale colours around its head.
  • It was found in the limestone karsts region of northern Laos.
  •  A new newt species Tylototriton anguliceps with dazzling red and black markings was also discovered.
  • Greater Mekong region : The Greater Mekong region is one of the most diverse regions and biodiversity hotspot on the planet.
  • It is a magnet for the world's conservation because of the incredible diversity of species.
  • It includes southwestern China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
  • Mekong river helps this diverse region to sustain.
  • The region has a diverse geographic landscape including massifs, plateaus, and limestone karsts, lowlands, deltas, fertile floodplains, forests and grasslands.
  • It is habitats for an estimated 20,000 plant species, 1,300 fish species, 1,200 bird species, 800 reptile and amphibian species and 430 mammal species.
  • However, it is under intense pressure from dam and road building as well as a thriving illegal wildlife trade and climate change.

21. International - African nations developing lifestyle diseases: WHO
  • According to recent World Health Organization (WHO) survey of 33 countries has shown that African nations developing lifestyle diseases.
  • It is mainly due city life and its modern trappings which have brought bad habits to developing African nations such as smoking, harmful use of alcohol, a poor diet and low levels of physical activity.
  • Lifestyle diseases : Lifestyle diseases are defined as diseases linked unhealthy lifestyle of people. These diseases appear in countries which are on path of becoming more industrialized and people live longer life. These diseased are commonly caused by alcohol, drug and smoking abuse as well as lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. Some of the diseases that impact lifestyle are heart disease, stroke, obesity and type II diabetes.
  • Developing African nations will see more die of chronic lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes than infectious diseases by 2030.
  • There is rise in non-communicable diseases to changes in developing societies.
  • It is estimated that 46% of Africans suffer high blood pressure, the highest worldwide.
  • Due to legislation and policy weaknesses daily tobacco use ranges from 5 to 26% in Africa and is growing.
  • Cigarettes are often a fraction of the price in Africa than in Europe.
  • Most people in Africa were not eating enough vegetables and fruits.
  • The rise of junk food and unhealthy diets has led to under nutrition and obesity.
  • Averages of 35% of people were overweight and that the average time spent in moderate or high intensity physical activity is less.
  • Women were more likely to be inactive and overweight.
  • Governments in African countries should raise domestic financing mechanisms so they can accommodate this growing burden.
  • Besides there is urgent need for reorganisation or reorientation of whole health system in Africa.

22. Person - Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar appointed as 44th Chief Justice of India
  • President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar (64) as 44th Chief Justice of India as per Article 124 of the Constitution.
  • He will be the first Chief Justice from the Sikh community.
  • He succeeds CJI T S Thakur, who demits office on 3 January 2017.
  • Justice Khehar will take oath of office on January 4, 2017.
  • He will have tenure of over seven months till August 27, 2017.
  • In SC, he had led the five-judge constitution bench which had struck down the NJAC Act and 99th Constitutional Amendment Act for appointment of judges.
  • He has also headed a SC bench which had set aside the imposition of President's Rule in Arunachal Pradesh in January 2016.
  • Born on 28 August 1952.
  • He was awarded the LL.B degree by the Panjab University, Chandigarh in 1977. Later he acquired the LL. M. qualification from the same University in 1979.
  • He was appointed as Additional Advocate General, Punjab in January 1992

23. Person - Renowned Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar's statue unveiled in Haridwar
  • The 12-foot-tall stone statue of renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint Thiruvalluvar was inaugurated at Mela Bhawan in Haridwar, Uttarakhand by Chief minister Harish Rawat.
  • Thiruvalluvar is renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint believed to have lived between 3rd Century BC and 1st Century BC
  • The process introducing Thiruvalluvar statue in Uttarakhand was initiated by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttarakhand Tarun Vijay.
  • It is believed that he was born either in ThirunainarKuruchi, a village in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu or in Thiru Mylai (Mylapore) Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tirukkural is a classic Tamil sangam literature consisting of 1330 couplets or Kurals. The book is also called as the fifth Veda or 'Bible of the Tamil Land'.
  • The Tamil poet Mamulanar of Sangam period has mentioned that Thiruvalluvar was the greatest Tamil scholar.
  • His 133 foot tall statute at Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu), at southern tip of Indian Peninsula.
  • There is also his statue outside the School of Oriental and African studies in Russell Square, London (United Kingdom).

24. Person - Renowned environmentalist Anupam Mishra passes away
  • He was best known for seminal work on water conservation 'Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talab' which has seen 40 editions in about 10 languages till date and sold 200000 odd copies.
  • He was the editor of the bi-monthly magazine Gandhi Marg published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation.
  • He was awarded various awards including Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Amar Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad National Award etc.

25.Sports - India wins five-match series against England
India has won five-match test series against England after England wrapped up the second innings at 207 in 88 overs in the fifth and final test match played at M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
India's first innings total was its highest score in Tests and was the most runs made against England by any team.
With this victory, India became no.1 Test team in 2016.
Australia second placed in rankings.

26. State - Madras high court bans unauthorised Sharia courts in Tamil Nadu
  • The court's direction came in response to a PIL filed by a non-resident Indian, Abdul Rahman, who alleged that the Makka Masjid Shariat Council was operating as a court of law from a mosque on Chennai's Anna Salai. He said the council dealt largely with matrimonial disputes, even going to the extent of passing divorce orders.
  • The court order comes in the wake of a raging debate over the controversial practice of triple talaq, where Muslim women are divorced simply by pronouncing the word 'talaq' thrice.
  • Rahman's counsel, A Sirajudeen, told the court that the PIL had been filed "to safeguard the interests of a large number of innocent Muslims" who were adversely affected by decisions made by Sharia courts and councils across Tamil Nadu. He also said the council had created an impression among Muslims that it was functioning as per Sharia law, and all its orders and judgments were therefore binding on the community.
  • The Supreme Court had refused to ban Sharia courts in 2014, saying the interpretations made by Islamic judges were not legally binding and they could pass verdicts only when individuals submit to them voluntarily.
  • On October 7, the Centre had opposed the practice of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims in the Supreme Court, and sought a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism. However, it was oppposed by several Muslim organisations, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which stressed that "Sharia law cannot be changed".

27. State - The Himachal Pradesh has recently achieved 100% Aadhar saturation on the basis of population of year 2015.
With this, Himachal Pradesh has become the 6th State/UT in India to achieve this mile stone.
  • The other states which achieved 100% Aadhaar coverage are Delhi, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.
  • Apart from this, Himachal Pradesh has recently opened its first Cyber Crime Police Station at state police headquarter in Shimla.
  • The main purpose of this police station is to deal with increasing crime based on misuse of information technology by the High tech criminals.
  • The cyber offences like hacking of government web sites and its data, prevention and detection of cyber terrorism & financing all types of cyber fraud cases would be investigate by this police station.
  • The police station officials will also create general awareness among the masses to prevent them from falling victim to high-tech and cyber criminals.
  • To tackle cyber-crimes in this hill state this kind of police station was the need of hour which has been now fulfilled.




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