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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 26 2016

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ON DEC 26                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1.NATIONAL - Union Government launches Lucky Grahak Yojana & Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana 

> The Union Government launched Lucky Grahak Yojana for Consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for Merchants to promote digital transaction.
> The Union Government has launched Lucky Grahak Yojana to encourage consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana to encourage merchants for transition to digital payments. These award based schemes were launched by the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, government's policy think-tank. Key Facts These schemes aim to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilize digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures.
> They will specially focuses on bringing the poor, lower middle class and small businesses into the digital payment fold.
> National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will be the implementing agency for these schemes. > Transactions using USSD, UPI, RuPay and AEPS will only be covered under these schemes. 
> Digital payments made through credit cards and e-wallets won't be covered.
> To ensure focus on small transactions incentives will be restricted to transactions within the range of Rs 50 and Rs 3000.
> The winners shall be identified through a random draw of eligible Transaction IDs by software to be especially developed by NPCI for this purpose.
> Lucky Grahak Yojana Under it, consumers making payment through digital mode will get chance to win minimum Rs 1000 each every day or Rs 1 lakh per week.
> 15,000 winners will get cashback prizes of Rs 1000 each every day starting on 25 December 2016 (Christmas) and ending on 14 April 2017 (Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanthi). In addition, there will be weekly awards worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 for 7000 people.
> On last day of scheme mega prize winner award will be announced.
> He will get Rs. 1 crore award.
> Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana This scheme is for the merchants across the country.
> Mandatory for merchants to have POS (Point of Sale) machines for undertaking cashless transactions.
> Under it, merchants doing business using POS are eligible to win Rs.50000 per week from 25 December 2016 to 14 April 2017.
> 3 Mega Prizes for merchants will be of Rs 50 lakhs, 25 lakh, 12 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November 2016 to 13 April 2017.
> It will be announced on 14 April 2017.                                                                                                                                      
2. NATIONAL - Union Textiles Ministry launches online portal JUTE-SMART
> The Union Ministry of Textiles launched JUTE-SMART' an online portal to facilitate purchase of Jute bags from the Jute industry by the state procurement agencies.
> It was launched on the occasion of Good Governance Day.
> The portal seeks to provide an integrated platform for use by all the stakeholders to allow easy access to information, more transparency and ease of doing business for the jute sector.                                                                                                                                      
3. NATIONAL - PM Narendra Modi inaugurates new campus of National Institute of Securities Markets
> Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated a new campus of National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) at Patalganga in Mumbai.
> NISM is an educational initiative of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
> Presently it was operating from its campus in Vashi and Navi Mumbai.
> However, infrastructure was not adequate to meet the growing needs of the institute.
> NISM was established in 2006 by the SEBI.
> It is involved in various capacity building activities aimed at enhancing and increasing the participation in the securities markets.
> The institute has six schools of excellence.
> SEBI is the regulator of the securities market.                                                                                                                                      
4. NATIONAL - Government launches Smart Consumer mobile App & OCMC
> The Union Government has launched 'Smart Consumer' mobile App and an 'Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)' to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances. Apart from this, a helpline 14404 was also launched for consumer related grievances on the occasion of National Consumer Day (24th December).
> The OCMC has been launched in association with Bengaluru based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances in New Delhi.
> The basic purpose of this Centre is to encourage consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and provide them with an option to settle disputes amicably. Initially, the OCMC deal with only deal with cases related to e-commerce companies.
> It will also facilitate online and even physical mediation between consumers and companies.
> Besides, microsite based on the theme "Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign" was also launched.
> It will help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.                                                                                                                                      
5. NATIONAL - Google India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs tie up for Digitally Safe Consumer campaign
> Google India has partnered with the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs to launch nationwide Digitally Safe Consumer campaign to raise awareness among consumers about online safety and better protect consumer interest online.
> The campaign is expected to be rolled out in January 2017.
> It will reach out with training materials to over 1,200 consumer organisations as well as consumer affairs department of every state/UT.
> It will be yearlong campaign focused on building capacities of consumer organisations, personnel of consumer affairs department and counsellors of National Consumer Helpline on Internet safety.
> Under it, Google with the help of partner agencies will work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through 'Digital Literacy, Safety & Security' workshops.
> It will be through a 'Train the Trainer' model for approximately 500 people including 250 consumer organisations across the country.
> These trainers will further engage with the local community to spread awareness around the need for Internet safety.                                                                                                                                      
6. STATE - 6,117 Kuchipudi dancers set new Guinness World Record
> As many as 6,117 Kuchipudi dancers set a new Guinness World Record by performing together in a single event in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh.
> The Guinness World Record adjudicated for the 12-minute "Jayamu Jayamu" item as the 'Largest Kuchipudi dance' performance.
> Kuchipudi dancers from various age groups (as young as 5 to more than 60 years) from across the world, including from US, UAE, UK, Russia, Hong Kong and Mauritius took part in performance.
> The record event was organised by SiliconAndhra, a cultural non-profit organisation in association with the Andhra Pradesh Government at IGMC Stadium.
> 'Jayamu Jayamu' was choreographed by the legendary Vempati China Satyam and it was chosen for the record attempt 'Mahabrinda Natyam'.
> The 'Mahabrinda Natyam' was part of the 5th International Kuchipudi Dance Convention hosted by the Andhra Pradesh Government's Department of Language and Culture. Kuchipudi: dance Kuchipudi is one of the ten major Indian classical dances. It originated in a village of Krishna district in modern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It derives its name from this village. It is a dance-drama performance art, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. Like all major classical dances of India, it was also developed as a religious art linked to traveling bards, temples and spiritual beliefs. The Kuchipudi style was conceived by Siddhendra Yogi, a talented Vaishnava poet of 17th century. It begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha followed by nritta (non-narrative and abstract dancing); shabdam (narrative dancing) and natya. The dance is accompanied by song which is typically Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied by musical instruments like mridangam, violin, flute and tambura. Like other classical dances, Kuchipudi also comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics but it is the use of speech that distinguishes Kuchipudi's presentation as dance drama.                                                                                                                                      
7. NATIONAL -  Ministry of External Affairs launches Twitter Seva
> The Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has launched Twitter Seva to directly engage with citizens in country and abroad, tourists and business travellers for speedy resolution of their visa and passport queries.
> Twitter Seva will enable the MEA, through its Twitter handle (@MEAIndia) to strengthen its primary relationship with Indian citizens by providing fast, efficient and real-time public services.
> The Twitter Seva service will be supported by 198 Twitter accounts of Missions and High Commissions across the world and 29 Regional Passport Offices (RPOs) in India. Both Indians and non-Indians register their relevant query simply with their tweet with MEA Twitter account.
> The request will activate the concerned office nationally or across the world and address a various range of issues under the MEA.
> The global roll-out of Twitter Seva will enable timely, transparent and large scale response to citizen Tweets in real-time.
> It will enhance scalability and expedite the process dealing with requests by Indian and global citizens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
8. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY - DRDO successfully flight tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon
> The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) successfully flight tested Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft at integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha.
> During the test, the captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at Interim Test Range during the entire duration of the flight. Besides, the performances of all systems of SAAW were satisfactory meet and all the mission objectives were achieved.
> Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) :  SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed 120 kilogram class smart weapon. It has been developed by DRDO. It is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kms. Thus, it gives IAF edge to hit adversary airfields with high precision from a safe distance. The light weight high precision guided bomb. It is one of the world class weapons systems that can be used to destroy runways, aircraft hangers, bunkers and other reinforced structures.
> The first test on the weapon system was conducted by DRDO in May 2016 from the IAF Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft in Bengaluru, Karnataka.                                                                                                                                      
9. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY - India successfully test-fires nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5
> India successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5.
> The state-of-the-art surface-to-surface missile was test fired successfully from the launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.
> It was the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the missile.
> Agni-5 : missile Agni 5 is three-stage solid propellant ICBM indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Unlike other missiles of Agni series, Agni-5 is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. It is about 17 metre long, 2 metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes. It is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 kilometres with nuclear warhead carrying capacity of more than 1 tonne. Thus, it can hit most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. It has not yet inducted into the Services. It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.
> Once this missile is inducted in Services, India will join the super exclusive club of countries having ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
> The missile will enhance India's strategic and deterrence capabilities.
> At present India in its armoury of Agni missile series, possesses Agni-I (700 km range), Agni-II (2000 km range), Agni-3 (2,500 km range) and Agni-4 ( more than 3,500 range).                                                                                                                                      
10. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY -  India's Team Indus partners with Japan's Hakuto to share ride to moon
> Indian private aerospace starup company Team Indus has partnered with its competitor Hakuto of Japanaese startup ispace Inc to carry its four-wheeled lunar rover to the Moon's surface.
> In this regard both entities have signed a commercial agreement.
> It makes first-of-its-kind collaboration of two private space enterprises competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP).
> TeamIndus's 600 kg spacecraft will be launched on ISRO's PSLV rocket on December 28, 2017.
> Now Team Indus's spacecraft will also carry Hakuto's 4 kg robotic rover.
> The GLXP announced in 2007 encourages private-funded entities to land on the Moon and rove on its surface for at least half a kilometre.
> All qualifying teams must launch their spacecraft by December 31, 2017.                                                                                                                                      
11. INTERNATIONAL- Western Pacific Biotwang
> Western Pacific Biotwang is the name of a newly discovered whale call.
> It was first recorded in 2014 and now scientists have proved that it belongs to a species called the minke whale.
> The sound ranges from a low moan to a screechy metallic tone.
> The Western Pacific Biotwang sound or Minke whale's call ranges in frequency from 38 to 8,000 hertz (cycles per second) and lasts 2.5 to 3.5 seconds.
> The Minke whale is the smallest species of baleen whale.
> It gets its food by filtering krill and small fish from the water through baleen plates in its mouth.                                                                                                                                      
12. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY - Scientists discovers blocking protein activating immune response
> Scientists have discovered a blocking protein that activates the body's immune response.
> This protein can be used to reduce chronic activation of the immune cells.
> Thus it will give immune cells in body opportunity to restore their fighting strength.
> It may also help in better treatment of HIV that cripples immunity of the body by destroying immune cells.                                                                                                                                      
13. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY - India's first 2G Ethanol Bio-refinery to be set up in Punjab
> The foundation stone of India's first 2G (Second Generation) Ethanol Bio-refinery was laid at Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda, Punjab.
> Central Government Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is setting up this project at a cost of 600 crore Rupees.
> HPCL's bio-refinery will produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day i.e. 3.20 crore litres per annum from agricultural residues.
> It will be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of Punjab.
> It will also produce about 30,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser per annum to enhance soil nutrients.
> It will also produce more than 1 lakh kilograms of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.
> It will generate employment for about 1,200-1,300 persons in the biomass supply chain.
> It will also generate an additional income of approximately 20 crore Rupees per annum for farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.
> The project will also significantly help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.
> Background HPCL and other state-run oil firms are planning to set up 12 2G ethanol bio-refineries across 11 states at an estimated cost of 10,000 crore Rupees.
> These Bio-refineries will be significantly contributing towards the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) for achieving 10% Ethanol Blending in Petrol from current 5% by producing around 35-40 crore litres of ethanol annually.
> 2nd generation ethanol : 2nd generation ethanol is a fuel that can be manufactured from various types of biomass. Whereas 1st generation ethanol is made from the sugars and vegetable oils found in arable crops, which can be easily extracted using conventional technology. In comparison, 2nd generation ethanol is made from lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues or waste, which makes it harder to extract the required fuel using conventional technology.                                                                                                                                      
14. SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY - Scientists develops first Biological Pacemaker using Human Stem Cells
> Scientists from Canada have developed the first functional pacemaker cells using human pluripotent stem cells.
> The cells can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses.
> It paves the way for alternate biological pacemaker therapy.                                                                                                                                      
15.SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY -  Scientists identify as world's most heat resistant materials
> A team of UK-based researchers have identified Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC) as the world's most heat resistant material.
> They can withstand record melting point temperatures up to 3958°C (approx 4000°C).
> New Laser-heating techniques were used to find the temperature at which  TaC and HfC melted, both separately and in mixed compositions.
> Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC) are refractory ceramicse.
> They are extraordinarily resistant to heat.
> Researchers found TaC melted at 3,768 degrees Celsius, and HfC melted at 3,958 degrees Celsius. Besides, the mixed compound (Ta0.8Hf0.20C) exceeded its previous recorded melting point.
> These materials at present are mainly used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
> This discovery may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles.
> It means that future spacecraft could become more faster than ever.
> Currently hypersonic aircraft travelling above Mach 5 (5 times speed of sound) speed creates very high temperatures as friction is involved when travelling this speed limit.
> This means that these materials will enable spacecraft to withstand the extreme heat generated from leaving and re-entering the atmosphere.                                                                                                                                      
16. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - Scientists build bacteria-powered battery on a paper sheet
> US-based scientists have developed a bacteria-powered battery (bio-battery) on a single sheet of paper, which is capable of powering disposable electronics.
> The paper-based bacteria-powered battery design is part of a new field of research called papertronics, which is a fusion of paper and electronics.
> How this bio-battery works? : In this battery researchers had laid ribbon of silver nitrate on a piece of chromatography paper. On top of this, they had placed thin layer of wax to create a cathode (positive electrode). On the other side of the paper, reservoir out of a conductive polymer was made which acts an anode (negative electrode) filled with a few drops of the bacteria-containing wastewater liquid. When the paper is folded so that the cathode and anode come into contact, it is powered by the bacterial metabolism. This process is also known as cellular respiration.
> This bio-battery is cheap and can be easily manufactured as power source for medical sensors in remote and developing areas.
> In this case, the power is generated by common bacteria found in wastewater.
> Thus it store power generated by organic compounds.
> The simple components are needed to make these kinds of paper-based batteries.
> This makes them a reliable backup in places where grid electricity or conventional batteries aren't available.                                                                                                                                      
17. STATE - Odisha Government to launch DAMAN programme for malaria control
> The Odisha Government has decided to launch Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (malaria control in inaccessible areas) DAMAN, a new malaria control programme for five years.
> This programme will be implemented in 8 thousand villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic southern districts of the state.
> They are Koraput, Nabarangapur, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Gajapati, Rayagada, Nuapada and Kandhamal.
> It will benefit around 80 lakh high-risk population of the State. Odisha alone contributes around 38% of the reported malaria cases and 28% of malaria total malaria deaths in the country.
> Till end of October 2016, a total of 3 lakh 71 thousand people tested positive for malaria in the State, which is highest among any state in the country.
> Notably, around 69 persons died of malaria in the State till October 30, 2016, which is highest in the country.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
18. NATIONAL - PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
> The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the statue of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on an island off the Mumbai coast in Arabia Sea.
> He also performed Jal pujan for the grand memorial Shiv Smarak of Maratha king.
> The statue is expected to be the world's tallest.
> It will be 210 metres tall and will be constructed entirely in the sea on an oval-shaped rocky outcrop of 15.96 hectare.
> The first phase of the memorial will be completed by 2019 and the entire memorial by 2021.
> On completion it will surpass the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York (US) and the under construction Statue of Unity of Saradar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat.                                                                                                                                      
19. PERSON - Dr Barbara Jatta becomes first ever female director of Vatican Museums
> Dr Barbara Jatta was chosen by Pope Francis as the first woman to direct the Vatican Museums.
> With this she becomes the highest-ranking female administrator in the Vatican.
> Prior to this, she was serving as the Deputy Director of the Vatican museums.
> The Vatican Museums are among the most popular in the world and reportedly drew six million visitors in 2015.
> It has total of 54 museums,1400 rooms, chapels, and galleries.
> These museums were founded by Pope Julius II in the 16th century.                                                                                                                                      
20. PERSON - Dinanath Bhargava who sketched national emblem passes away in Indore
> Dinanath Bhargava, a co-artist in the team that sketched the national emblem 'Lion Capital of Ashoka' and decorated the pages of the Constitution's manuscript passed away.
> He was 89.
> He was chosen by noted painter Nandlal Bose, then the Principal of Kala Bhavan Shanti Niketan, in the group for designing the pages of the Indian Constitution's manuscript.
> He was born on November 1, 1927 at Multai in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh.
> The national emblem of India was adapted by the Government of India on 26th January 1950.
> It has been taken from the Sarnath Lion capital erected by Ashoka.
> It has only three lions are visible and the fourth one is hidden from the view.
> All the lions are mounted on an abacus.
> At the centre of the Abacus, there is a Chakra (wheel) which symbolizes the Dharma Chakra (Eternal wheel of law).                                                                                                                                      
21. NATIONAL-  Yoga derecognised as a sport
> The Union Sports Ministry has derecognised yoga as 'priority sport'.
> The decision was taken after the government concluded it will not be possible to conduct competitions.
> Earlier in September in 2015, Yoga was recognised as a sport and was added in the list of priority sports.
> There were issues over the formation of national sports federation for Yoga as many entities were staking claim to form a recognised body.
> With this, Yoga will now come under the prerogative of the Ministry of AYUSH.                                                                                                                                      
22. NATIONAL - 25 December: Good Governance Day
> The Good Governance Day was observed on 25 December to mark birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
> The day was established in 2014 to foster awareness among the Indian people of accountability in government.
> On this occasion, Good Governance campaign was launched for 100 days.
> During this campaign Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) will travel across the country and attend programmes highlighting the government's key initiatives.
> It seeks to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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