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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 21 2016


DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 21 2016

1. Award - National Commission for Protection of Child Rights gets SKOCH Awards for POCSO e-Box:
  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of Ministry of Women and Child Development has been conferred the Skoch Silver and Skoch Order-of Merit award.
  • The two awards were received by NCPCR for applying technology to develop an electronic drop box, POCSO e-Box for registering complaints on Child Sexual Abuse.
  • The competition saw more than 3000 participants and NCPCR's project, POCSO e-box was considered among the top 30 entries.
  • POCSO e-box is a unique endeavour by NCPCR for receiving online complaint of Child Sexual Abuse directly from the victim.
  • The system maintains confidentiality of the victim/ complainant.
  • Through a well defined procedure complaints are directly followed up by a team which counsels the victim, providing further guidance for required legal action.
  • Through a short animation film embedded in the e-box it assures the victim not to feel bad, helpless or confused as it's not her fault.
  • With the e-box, it is easy to register complaint through a step-by-step guided process.

2. Award - Corporation Bank bags SKOCH silver award:
  • Corporation Bank has bagged the SKOCH silver award for attaining the position of No. 1 channel partner of LIC of India for the past three financial years,  and the bank was also awarded order of merit under other three categories.

3. State - Maharashtra Government announces to create separate OBC ministry
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced to create separate Ministry for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  • This ministry will be headed by an independent minister.
  • It was announced on concluding-session of Kunbi Mahotsav held at Shahapur in Thane district.

4. State - Haryana Government issues petro cards to drivers for digital payments of fuel
  • Haryana government has issued petro cards to drivers in the state for cashless payments for fuel.
  • For this purpose two oil companies, namely Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum were shortlisted.

5. Banking - RBI modifies circular on depositing over Rs 5000 in banks in old notes
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has modified the old currency deposit rules and withdrew the 5000 rupee limit for depositing money in old currency notes for fully KYC (Know Your Customer) compliant accounts only.
  • The KYC complaint account holders will not be questioned over depositing more than 5000 rupee of old currency notes of 500 and 1000 rupees.
  • Earlier RBI had announced that deposits in old notes will be limited to 5000 rupee, and those exceeding the sum will come under scrutiny.

6. International - India surpasses Britain to become world's sixth-largest economy: Forbes magazine
  • 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.

7. International - India ranks 4th in 2016 Global Wind Power Installed Capacity Index
  • India ranked 4th in the Global Wind Power Installed Capacity index with cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of 25,088 MW in 2015.
  • The index was released was released as part Global Wind Report: Annual Market, flagship publication of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
  • India has achieved the largest-ever wind power capacity addition of 3,423 MW in 2015-16, exceeding the target by 44%.
  • 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.
  • Both Europe and the US markets performed better than expected and the European offshore sector set a new record, installing just over 3 GW.
  • Canada, Mexico and Brazil all had strong years.
  • South Africa was the first market in Africa to pass the 1,000 MW in 2015 and alongside Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya were also leading development in that market.

8.International - China Commissions its first 7-tonne Helicopter
  • China has commissioned AC352, its first seven-tonne helicopter marking a new development in the China's helicopter industry.
  • It is a multi-purpose twin-engine helicopter with a 7.5-tonne maximum take-off weight and is capable of carrying up to 16 passengers.
  • It can be used for operations like search and rescue, law enforcement, general transport and medical assistance.
  • The world's biggest helicopters is Mi-26(Russia), the Mi-26 has a payload of up to 20 metric tons (44,000 lb)

9. Natioal - National Security Guards to participate in Republic Day celebrations for first time
  • For the first time National Security Guards (NSG), an elite counter-terror force of India will participate in Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2017.
  • This will be first time in the history of annual Republic Day celebrations that the specialised paramilitary force will take part.
  • Till now, only the contingents of Army's Special Forces participated at the parade on the Rajpath during Republic Day celebrations.

10. Science and Technology - Long range nuclear-capable subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay testfired
  • Long range nuclear-capable subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay was testfired from the launch complex 3 of the Integrated Missile Test Range in Balasore, Odisha.
  • The test was conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • After blasting off from launch pad, the missile took a unique trajectory in its entire path to the target.
  • However the test was an utter failure.
  • It was fourth test of Nirbhay missile so far and out of four, three have ended in failure.
  • The maiden launch was conducted in March 2013 but it was failure, the second test was conducted in October 2014 was a big success as it had travelled 1,010 km instead of the targeted 800 km.
  • The third mission on October 16, 2015 was again a failure.
  • Nirbhay is a long range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable subsonic cruise missile developed indigenously by the DRDO.
  • It has blended missile and aeronautical technologies which allows it to take off vertically like a missile and cruise horizontally like an aircraft.
  • It is a two stage missile.
  • In its first stage, it tilts horizontally.
  • In the second stage it will cruise horizontally like an aircraft with a turbo-jet engine at a subsonic speed of 0.7 Mach.
  • It is capable of carrying multiple payloads including nuclear warheads.
  • It is capable to engage several targets in a single flight.
  • It can be launched from various kind of platforms, ranging from surface lorry to a ship, from air and even from underwater vessels.
  • It is a terrain hugging missile which keeps on encircling the area of its target for several minutes and then hits bull's eye' on an opportune time.
  • It is difficult to detect by enemy's radars.
  • It has strike range of 700 km to 1000km, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.
  • It is considered as India's answer to US's Tomahawk and Pakistan's Babur missile.
  • It is expected to supplement the India-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which can carry warheads up to 290 km.

11. National - CBSE decides to make board exams mandatory for Class X from 2018
  • The governing body of Central Board of Secondary Exams (CBSE) has decided that Class X Board exams will be compulsory from academic session 2017-18.
  • Currently, it is optional for CBSE students to choose either the Board exam or a school-based examination.
  • Besides, the council also decided to extend three language formula (English, Hindi and modern Indian language) to class IX and X as well from the current VI to VIII while foreign language might be treated as fourth and elective subject.

12. National - NGT imposes Rs 50,000 fine on airlines emptying human waste from their planes empty in air
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered to impose a fine of 50,000 rupees on airlines whose aircraft empty toilet tanks in air while landing and splattering human waste on houses near airports.
  • It has directed aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to issue a circular to all airlines, whose planes are involved in the act, to pay fine as environmental compensation.
  • Normally, the waste in the aircraft tanks are disposed of by ground handling personnel once the plane lands.
  • But there are cases where lavatory leaks occur in the air.

13. National - CCEA approves doubling of Rajpura-Bhatinda railway line
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for doubling of Rajpura-Bhatinda railway line in Punjab.
  • The 172.64 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.
  • The doubling of line will ease the traffic bottlenecks and bring more revenue to Indian Railways by capacity enhancement of the route.
  • The districts of Patiala, Barnala, Sangrur and Bathinda would benefit from this project

14. National - Union Government announces Rs 207 crore project for protection of Majuli island
  • The Union Ministry of State for Development of North Eastern Region has announced to provide 207 crore rupees for protection and development project of world's largest river island Majuli located along river Brahmaputra in Assam.
  • The amount will be spent for safeguarding land loss due to erosion and protect 80 kilometer length of bank line on right bank of river Brahmaputra along Majuli island.
  • Nearly 1 lakh 60 thousand people reside at Majuli river island which is one of prime tourists destination of North East.
  • It is also hub of neo-Vaishnavite cultures initiated by Srimanta Shankardeva.

15.National - Union Cabinet approves sale of part of HAL's surplus, vacant land
  • The Union Cabinet approved sale of part of surplus and vacant land of Hindustan Anti-biotics Ltd (HAL) at Pimpri in Pune, Maharashtra to meet the liabilities of HAL.
  • The proposal includes sale of HAL's surplus and vacant land of about 87.70 acres.
  • It will facilitate mitigation of sufferings and critical condition of the employees.

16. National - ALIMCO inks MoU with UK trust to produce affordable wheel chairs
  • Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) has inked MoU with UK based Motivation Charitable trust to produce affordable wheel chairs in India.
  • Through the agreement, technology transfer will enable ALIMCO to produce cost effective and affordable wheel chairs.
  • It is also directed at lessening the dependency of import of the products from China.

17. National - Union Cabinet approves creation of Indian Enterprise Development Services
  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the Cadre review and formation of a new service in the name of Indian Enterprise Development Services (IEDS).
  • Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • The IEDS will be created in the Office of Development Commissioner (MSME), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
  • Its creation will help to strengthen the organization and to achieve the vision of Startup India, Stand-up India and Make in India. It will also enhance the capacity and efficiency of the organization and help in achieving growth in MSME sector through a focused and dedicated cadre of technical officers.

18. Science and Technology - Mark Zuckerberg reveals Jarvis AI that controls his home
  • Facebook Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed Jarvis, an Iron Man-inspired Artificial Intelligence (AI) system butler that controls the lights, appliances, temperature, music and security in his house.
  • It uses several artificial intelligence techniques, including natural language processing, speech recognition, face recognition, and reinforcement learning.
  • It is voice by legendary Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman.
  • Zuckerberg developed Jarvis as part of his personal challenge for 2016.

19. Science and Technology - Scientists witness the birth of an ice cloud for the first time
  • US based researchers for the first time have observed the creation of ice crystals on individual atmospheric particles in the laboratory.
  • This observation gives an unprecedented glimpse at most critical but least understood parts of the process of cold clouds formation.
  • Researchers had replicated heterogeneous ice nucleation process in which particle attracts water vapour and forms ice crystals.
  • For this, they replicated suitable conditions found high above Earth's surface at an altitude of about 6 kilometres where cirrus clouds form in the sky due to ice crystals.
  • They witnessed formation of ice crystals in highly confined climate-controlled chamber in which atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity conditions were maintained similar in atmosphere.
  • For recreation of ice nucleation, researchers also used extremely small particles of a clay mineral called kaolinite.
  • These particles were just 2–3 microns in size, or less than one-tenth width of a human hair.
  • The kaolinite was then placed in a highly confined climate-controlled chamber of very small size, which was photographed by an environmental scanning electron microscope.
  • It was found that nucleation occurred at temperatures as low as minus 68 degrees Celsius with relative humidity from about 70 to 80%.
  • Natural process of heterogeneous ice nucleation:At an altitude of about 6 kilometres, relative humidity is high and temperatures are very low. It forces water vapour to collect on any small particles floating in the atmosphere, before freezing in place as an ice deposit. In the atmosphere, such airborne particles could be almost anything, including volcanic ash, aircraft emissions, or even microbes.

20. Science and Technology - Molten Jet Stream discovered deep inside Earth's core
  • Scientists for the first time have discovered the so-called molten jet stream within the Earth's molten iron core using latest data obtained from three European satellites called Swarm
  • The three satellites were launched in 2013 with the goal of studying Earth's magnetic field.
  • The latest satellite data that helps create an sharpest 'x-ray' view of the planet.
  • The molten jet stream is an accelerating band of molten iron circling the North Pole.
  • It just like the jet stream in the atmosphere It moves about 40 km per year, currently in a westward direction.
  • This speed is three times faster than normal outer-core speeds and hundreds of thousands of times faster than rate at which Earth's tectonic plates move.
  • It is located along a boundary between two different regions in the core.
  • This movement is caused when liquid in core flows toward the boundary from both sides and then is squeezed out sideways.
  • The satellite data has helped clarify Earth's inner workings and magnetic field.
  • It showed that changes in the magnetic field are actually being caused by the molten jet stream.
  • The discovery can also add light in changing magnetic field of earth and may relate it with switch in direction of the jet stream.

21. Science and Technology - Researchers develop first Chikungunya Vaccine
  • Researchers from United States have developed the first vaccine for Chikungunya fever made from an insect-specific Eilat virus.
  • The newly-developed vaccine does not have any effect on people, which makes it safe and effective for humans.
  • Its clinical trials on mice and non-human primates show that it quickly produces a strong immune defence and completely protects them from disease when exposed to the chikungunya virus.
  • Researchers had used live-attenuated Eilat virus clone to design this hybrid virus-based vaccine containing Chikungunya structural proteins.
  • The Eilat/Chikungunya vaccine was found to be structurally identical to natural chikungunya virus.
  • Its single dose can produce neutralising antibodies that lasted for more than 290 days.
  • The antibodies provided complete protection against chikungunya in two different mouse models.
  • In non-human primates, the vaccine elicited rapid and robust immunity.
  • The vaccines trials also showed that there was neither evidence of virus in the blood nor signs of illness such as fever after chikungunya virus infection in primates.
  • Chikungunya : Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a disease. It is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Its symptoms are characterised by abrupt fever and severe joint pain, often in hands and feet, and may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for chikungunya. There is no commercial chikungunya vaccine. Chikungunya treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids.

22. International - UK, Argentina sign deal to identify soldiers buried on Falkland Islands
  • The United Kingdom and Argentina have signed a deal to identify 123 Argentine soldiers who died in the 1982 Falkland island conflict and buried on the islands.
  • The agreement was negotiated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • The identification will be based on DNA samples taken from the remains of buried soldiers.
  • The 1982 Falkland Islands conflict, British had recaptured its overseas territory in the South Atlantic after it was invaded by Argentina.
  • In this two-month around 649 Argentine soldiers were killed conflict, while 255 British service personnel died.

23. National - AIBA grants full membership to Boxing Federation of India
  • International Boxing Association (AIBA) has unanimously granted full membership to the recently-formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
  • With this, India's return to the international boxing fold is complete after it was suspended for the past four years over the issue of administrative logjam
  • BFI President - Ajay Singh

24. Person - Veteran Malayalam actor Jagannatha Varma passes away
  • Veteran Malayalam actor Jagannatha Varma passed away in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • He was 77.
  • He had an impressive presence in Malayalam cinema for over four decades.
  • He was among the most familiar faces on screen in Malayalam cinema.
  • To concentrate on his acting career, he had quit his job as a Superintendent of Police.
  • In a career spanning three-and-a-half decades, he donned key roles in hundreds of films.

25. National - Vasectomy fortnight:
  • The government observed 'Vasectomy Fortnight' between November 21 and December 4 with the hope to create awareness about male sterilisation and, more importantly, to facilitate district administrations reach sterilisation targets through campaigns.
  • At the end of the programme, it was concluded that men were unwilling to share the burden of birth control compared to women.
  • This is besides the fact that sterilisation is simpler in men than women — recovery time and surgical risk are smaller, complications are rare and deaths rarer.
  • It should be noted here that of the 40 lakh sterilisation procedures done in 2014-15, vasectomies accounted for minuscule 1.9%.
  • Experts maintain that the gap between vasectomy targets and achievements remain unchanged over the years even as country's fertility and birth rates continue to fall, driven mainly by female sterilisation.

26. Award - Digital India Awards 2016 – Healthy Ministry wins gold in the Web Ratna Category
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has won gold in the Web Ratna category in the recently concluded Digital India awards, 2016, conferred by the Ministry of Electronics & IT to promote more innovative e-governance initiatives by the government entities.
  • The website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare conforms to the UUU trilogy.
  • It is totally bilingual as per the directions of Parliamentary Committee of official languages and is accessible to all.
  • Special features have also been incorporated in the website for visually challenged users.
  • The website complies with the mandatory requirements of Guidelines for Indian Government Websites (GIGW).
  • All relevant web policies have been implemented with due approvals.
  • Content has been grouped systematically under drop down menus that result in easy navigation.
  • The ministry has been awarded for comprehensive web presence in Web ratna awards in 2014 and appreciated by SUGAM Web e-Newsletter as usable, user-centric and universally accessible.
  • Digital India awards : Earlier known as the Web Ratna Awards, were instituted under the Ambit of National Portal of India.
  • The award acknowledges exemplary initiatives of various government entities in the realm of e-governance.
  • Web Ratna award felicitates a Ministry or Department of the Government of India which has a comprehensive web presence and display the level of accountability in terms of quantity, quality, spectrum of coverage, and innovation ascertaining user satisfaction.
  • Level of convenience provided to the citizen for availing the services, usability and accessibility are also assessed.

27. International - The word named by Merriam -Webster as Word of the Year 2016 is Surreal



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