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1. Award - 2016 Sahitya Akademi Award winners
  • The Sahitya Academy has announced the names of 24 poets and authors who will be conferred the prestigious 2016 Sahitya Akademi Award.
  • This award has recognised premier works in 24 Indian languages that includes 8 books of poetry, 7 books of short stories, 5 books of novels, 2 books of criticism and 1 book each of essays and play.
  • Play: Swarajbir (Punjabi).
  • Essay: Nrisinghaprasad Bhaduri (Bengali).
  • Criticism: Aziz Hajini (Kashmiri) and Nizam Siddiqui (Urdu).
  • Short stories: Chahatrapal (Dogri), Shyan Darihare (Maithili), Moirangthem Rajen (Manipuri), Asaram Lomate (Marathi), Paramita Satpathy (Odia), Bulaki Sharma (Rajasthani) Vannadhasan (Tamil).
  • Poetry: Jnan Pujari (Assamese), Anju (Bodo), Kamal Vora (Gujarati), Prabha Varma (Malayalam), Sitanath Acharya (Sanskrit), Gobinda Chandra Majhi (Santhali), Nand Javeri (Sindhi) and Papineni Sivasankar (Telugu).
  • All 24 awardees were chosen by a distinguished jury representing 24 Indian languages.
  • The final approval was given by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi chaired by its President Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.
  • They will be presented with awards at a special function to be held on 22 February 2016 during the Festival of Letters – the annual function of the Akademi.
  • Sahitya Akademi Award is conferred annually on writers of outstanding works in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages (22 Scheduled Languages+ English and Rajasthani)
  • The award consists of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of 1 Lakh rupees.

2. State - Aizawl becomes first free Wi-Fi city in North-East:
  • Aizawl became the first free Wi-Fi city in the North-East region.
  • The free Wi-Fi facilities would enable the much needed internet accessibility to one and all.
  • It is a pilot project of the Aizawl Municipal Corporation.
  • Aizawl is the largest city as well as the capital of the state of Mizoram in India

3. National - Government to soon set up helpline number 10588 for pregnant women
  • Government will soon set up a toll free number 10588 to provide relevant information and guidance directly to the pregnant women.
  • The toll free number will be functional at Mother and Child Tracking Facilitation Centre (MCTFC) in New Delhi.
  • The caller can give a missed call at this number and the operator will call back within 90 seconds to address their queries.
  • MCTFS is a centralized web-based application which captures the name based data of pregnant women and children.
  • It was set up at National Institute of Health and Family Welfare in 2014.

4. International - India to host 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space in 2017
  • India will be hosting the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCSS) in 2017 in which over 100 countries are expected to participate.
  • GCCS will deliberate on issues related to promotion of cooperation in cyberspace, to enhance cyber capacity building and norms for responsible behaviours in cyberspace.
  • The UK had hosted the first GCCS in 2011 followed by Budapest in 2012, South Korea in 2013 and the Netherlands in 2015.

5. National - Union Government launches Google Toilet Locator app
  • Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu launched 'Google Toilet Locator' mobile application to help people locate the nearest toilet.
  • It was launched as part of the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' as well as 'Digital India Mission'.
  • The app integrates location of all public toilets even those in private buildings with Google maps.
  • Initially the app will have details on location of all toilets in Delhi-NCR and Madhya Pradesh and later it will be followed by other states soon.

6. National - Parliamentary committee report highlights alarming rise in forest fires
  • According to report submitted by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, there is alarming rise in forest fires across India.
  • It says that the number of forest fires have touched 24,817 in 2016 from 15,937 fires in 2015.
  • It shows alarming rise 55% in the past year.
  • The report primarily focuses on the prevention and containing of fires in the Himalayan forests spread across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • There increase in forest fires is seen even though 2015 was considered a drought year.
  • But there is decline in frequency of forest fires by around 16%.
  • The three central States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha contribute a third of the forest fires.
  • Madhya Pradesh has seen a nearly ten-fold increase in forest fires, from just 294 in 2015 to more than 2,600 in 2016.
  • In Himachal and Uttarakhand, over 17,502 acres have been ravaged in 2016 due to forest fires, a rise of over 171%.
  • The committee was headed by Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Choudhary

7. National - Union Cabinet approves ordinance to pay salaries by cheques
  • The Union Cabinet has approved a draft ordinance to empower states and allow industries to pay workers' wages digitally, through a direct bank transfer to accounts or by cheque in a bid to encourage cashless transactions.
  • The draft ordinance proposes changes to the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.
  • It will need the President's assent to become law as per article 123 of the Constitution.
  • It will allow industries to pay wages to workers earning up to Rs. 18,000/ month, without taking their explicit consent as required under present Act.
  • However, wage payment through the banking system will only be optional, until State governments or Union Government come up with a notification for specific industries since Labour is in the concurrent list.
  • The present law (1936 Act) states that all payment of wages should be in cash.
  • Under it has mandatory provision asking employers to obtain written permission of the worker to pay either by cheque or by crediting wages to his or her bank account.

8. International - Nepal to hold first military exercise with China
  • Nepal will hold its first ever joint military exercise named Pratikar-1 with China on February 10, 2017. 
  • The focus of the drill will be on training Nepali forces in dealing with hostage scenarios involving international terror groups.
  • This military drill does not violate the 1950 India-Nepal treaty of peace and friendship and does appear unconventional.

9. International - BRICS bank approves USD 75 million loan for solar project in China
  • The New Development Bank (NDB) India has approved $75 million loan for Shanghai Lingang Distributed Solar Power Project in China.
  • It has maturity length of 17 years.
  • The project is a solar photo-voltaic power plant with total capacity of 100 MW. 
  • NDB was jointly founded by the BRICS countries by the BRICS (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) and headquartered in Shanghai.
  • It was formally opened in July 2015 with an objective of financing infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.

10. International - Japan approves biggest defence budget
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet approved approved 5.13 trillion yen ($43.6 billion) in defence spending for the fiscal year starting in April 2017.
  • It is Japan's highest annual defence budget announced so far.
  • It is up by 1.4% from the initial budget for the current fiscal year.
  • Now it will be sent to Parliament (Diet) for debate and approval.
  • Japan is on constant alert against neighbouring North Korea, a rouge nuclear state which has conducted two underground nuclear tests and more than 20 missile launches in the year 2016.
  • The defence budget rise also reflects the hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to build up Japan's military, which since World War II has been constitutionally limited to self defence.

11. International - Hong Kong revokes visa-free entry to Indians
  • Hong Kong, a China-administered special territory has decided to withdraw visa-free facility for Indians from January 23, 2017.
  • This decision was taken on the ground to prevent illegal immigration as number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise.
  • Indians were permitted to enter Hong Kong with a valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa.
  • However in recent times, it was found that Indian nationals were overstaying in Hong Kong by violating visa norms.
  • Visa-free travel for Indians is allowed in : Bhutan, Belize, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mauritius, Micronesia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, Trinidad, Vanuatu

12. State - Gujarat Government announces Aerospace and Defence Policy-2016 Gujarat Government announced Aerospace and Defence Policy-2016 to attract investment into fields of aerospace and defence design, development and manufacturing in the state.
  • Under the policy, investors will be entitled to get 100% reimbursement on stamp duty and registration charges paid for purchase, lease or mortgage of land meant for setting up the facility in the areas of Aerospace and Defence.

13. National - Bengaluru to get India's second sericulture centre
  • India's second centre of excellence for sericulture will be soon launched in Bengaluru, Karnataka by Union minister for Textiles Smriti Irani.
  • The centre will aim to boost the silk industry. India's first such centre was set up in Ranchi (Jharkhand) by the Central Silk Board.
  • Reportedly, India is currently importing nearly 4,000 metric tonnes of high quality raw silk from China.

14. State - Girija Vaidyanathan appointed as new Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Senior IAS Officer Girija Vaidyanathan was appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu.
  • She replaces P. Rama Mohana Rao.
  • She will also hold additional charge of Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms.

15. International - White House bans oil, gas drilling in Arctic, Atlantic oceans
  • The White House has blocked new leases for oil and gas drilling in sections of the Arctic and Atlantic region to protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem.
  • The protection covers an area of the Arctic and 31 sea canyons in the Atlantic. The ban was imposed considering the risk of oil spills and the limited ability to clean up from a spill in the region's harsh conditions.

16. National - December 22: National Mathematics Day
  • The National Mathematics Day is observed every year on 22nd December to celebrate birth anniversary of great Indian autodidact Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • This year, it is 129th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22nd December, 1887 in Erode district of Tamil Nadu.
  • He died at young age of 32 on 26 April 1920.
  • He was deeply religious person and had credited his mathematical capacities to divinity.
  • He had once said '"An equation for me has no meaning, unless it expresses a thought of God."
  • The National Mathematics Day was instituted in 2011 by the Union Government to celebrate Ramanujan's 125th birth anniversary. Besides, the year 2012 was also declared National Mathematics Year.
  • Biography "The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan" written in 1991 by Robert Kanigel.

17. Science and Technology - China launches TanSat satellite to monitor global carbon emissions China successfully launched TanSat, a global carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring satellite to understand the effects of climate change.
  • With this, China became third country after Japan and United States to have its own satellite to monitor greenhouse gases (GHGs).
  • TanSat will thoroughly examine global CO2 levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million).
  • It weighs 620-kg and will be located in sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth.
  • It has three-year mission life.

18. Award - Kaisa Matomaki, Maksym Radziwill win 2016 SASTRA Ramanujan award Kaisa Matomaki and Maksym Radziwill have been jointly won the 2016 SASTRA-Ramanujan award for mathematics for their 'revolutionary' collaborative work on short intervals in number theory.
  • Their mathematical work dwells on properties of numbers in "short intervals."
  • They were presented with this prestigious award at inauguration of International Conference on Number Theory at SASTRA University at Kumbakonam.
  • Kaisa Matomaki from Finland's University of Turku is first woman to receive this prize since it was instituted in 2005. 
  • Maksym Radziwill is Assistant professor at McGill University, Canada.

19. National - Union Government asks banks to waive transaction fee on IMPS, NEFT transfer of over Rs 1,000
  • The Union Finance Ministry has asked Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to restrict fees on payments through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to the extent that is applicable for NEFT fund transfer of over 1,000 rupees.
  • It will apply for all transactions up to 31st of March, 2017.
  • IMPS is an interbank electronic instant mobile money transfer service through mobile phones.
  • The UPI app enables customers to make online as well as offline payment to merchants from their bank account.

20. Banking - RBI imposes penalty on 5 foreign banks for violating FEMA rules
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed fine on five foreign banks namely, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and The Royal Bank of Scotland for violating reporting requirements of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
  • The fines were imposed by Central Bank by exercising its powers under the provisions of Section 11(3) of FEMA 1999.
  • Germany's Deutsche Bank has been imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 while the rest of the banks have been fined Rs 10,000 each.

21. Sports - Bank of Baroda became first Indian company to support FIFA U-17 World Cup
  • The Bank of Baroda (BoB) became the first Indian company to sign up as a national supporter of the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be hosted by India in October 2017.
  • While FIFA already has international sponsors for all events, including Coca-Cola, Wanda, and Adidas BOB is the first Indian supporter.
  • The 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup will see participation from 24 countries and matches will be played at six different venues.

22. Sports - Ravichandran Ashwin named ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test cricketer of the Year
  • Ace Indian cricketing bowler Ravichandran Ashwin was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2016 and the ICC?Test cricketer of the Year 2016.
  • With this, he became the second Indian player after Rahul Dravid to bag the two coveted prizes in the same year. 
  • Ashwin has been ranked Number one bowler and all-rounder in Test cricket.
  • This year, he picked up 72 wickets in 12 matches at an outstanding average of 23.90 and scored 612 runs at an average of 43.17.
  • He is the only Indian in ICC's Test Team of the Year.
  • Besides, Virat Kohli was named captain of the ICC?ODI?Team of the Year.
  • While Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma also featured in the ODI?Team of the Year.

23. Sports - India's Arjun Bhati wins in Kids Golf World Championship
  • India's Arjun Bhati (12) secured the first position in Kids Golf World Championship 2016 held in Malaysia defeating South Africa's Methu Denish.
  • In this event 21 countries had participated.
  • Arjun has been playing golf for about three and half years and so far he has played a total of 82 tournaments.
  • Kids Golf World Championship is a world competition organised by US Kids Golf Foundation for boys and girls between ages 5 to 18 years.

24. Person - Hrithik launches book series for visually impaired children:
  • Actor Hrithik Roashan has launched a children's book series 'Tactabet', written in Braille format, which is being published for visually impaired people.
  • Available in both Hindi and English, the book series is on the alphabets.

25. Banking - Amul goes digital, ties up with MobiKwik for e-payments:
  • Domestic mobile wallet platform MobiKwik has tied up with Indian dairy co-operative Amul to help customers make cashless payments at its outlets.
  • The facility can be used at 7,000 Amul outlets and three lakh Amul multi-brand outlets and retailers across the country.

26. Person - Praful Patel re-elected unopposed as AIFF president for 3rd time:
  • The former Union Minister Praful Patel has been re-elected unopposed as  the president (third successive term) of All India Football Federation (AIFF)  for the term 2017-2020.
  • Earlier, the Annual General Meeting was held in New Delhi after the Delhi High Court vacated a stay on the elections.

27. Award  - This urban local body won the Platinum Award in the Outstanding Digital Initiative category as part of the Digital India Awards 2016 - Surat Municipal Corporation


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