December, 2017

Mr. Vineet appointed chief secretary

Vineet Chowdhary, a 1982 batch IAS officer of Himachal cadre, has been appointed as the chief secretary of the Himachal government. Chowdhary replaced Vidya Charan Pharka, who was appointed chief secretary on June 1, 2016, superseding 6 senior IAS officers, including Chowdhary. Pharka, a 1983 batch officer, has now been posted as the principal advisor to the government.

Academy for Labourers

31 : The Haryana government would soon open an academy for training labourers engaged in construction work so that they could get better employment opportunities.The labourers will be trained to become carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians etc.In order to give the labourers equal status, the state government has, during three years, distributed about Rs 250 crore for their upliftment.

Ronaldo won the Best Player award

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Best Player of the Year accolade at the Globe Soccer Awards. Ronaldo retained the award, making it four wins overall, after helping his club defend the Champions League and win the Liga title. Ronaldo was named winner ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain Neymar.

Farewell to MiG-27 ML Bahadur

Indian Air Force has bid farewell to MiG-27 ML Bahadur over Hasimara Air Force base in West Bengal.The MiG-27 ML, codenamed ‘Bahadur’ had an impeccable track record in its more than 3 decades of glorious service to the nation.Its capability of dropping bombs, rockets, precision munitions guided by laser & fire air-to-air missiles for self-defence made it a lethal & potent weapon platform.

Saurabh Chawla appointed DLF Group CFO

DLF has announced the appointment of Saurabh Chawla as the Key Managerial Personnel & Group Chief Financial Officer.The appointment follows the elevation of former Group CFO Ashok Kumar Tyagi as the whole-time director of the company.He currently spearheads the Investor Relations function at the Group level and is also responsible for Private Equity, M&A transactions within the DLF Group.

Nepal bans solo climbing on Mt Everest

Nepal banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mt Everest, in an attempt to reduce accidents & make mountaineering safer.New regulations prohibit double amputee & blind climbers from attempting to reach the Everest without a valid medical certificate.The death toll so far this season stands at 6, nearly 300 people have died since the 1st ascent to the peak made in 1953.

PNB hikes interest on term deposits

PNB has announced raising interest rates by up to 1.25% on domestic term deposits of up to Rs. 10 crore for different tenures, effective from Jan 1, 2018.For 1 yr term, rate has been increased from 5% to 5.7% on bulk term deposits.In maturity buckets of 3 yrs to 10 yrs, rate has been increased from 5% to 5.25%. In maturity bucket of 91 to 179 days, rate is up from 6 to 6.25%.

Govt. injects funds into 6 public banks

Centre has pumped in capital of Rs.7,577 crore in various weak public sector banks.This capital infusion would help banks shore up their capital adequacy as they close the books for Dec quarter.Govt released Rs. 2,257 crore to BOI, while IDBI Bank was infused with Rs. 2,729 crore.All these banks are saddled with huge NPA & are under the prompt corrective action framework of RBI.

Pratibha Gai get top royal honour

Scientist Pratibha Laxman Gai has been named for damehood, the female equivalent of knighthood, for “services to chemical sciences and technology”.She is the fourth Indian-origin woman conferred with the honour since it was instituted in 1917.Gai has patented inventions in the fields of hydrocarbon catalysis/polymers, electronic ceramics, Piezoelectrics & nanocoatings for polymers & food.

World’s second largest cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency ‘Ripple’ has surpassed ethereum as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ripple had a market cap of $86.3 billion, surpassing ethereum’s $73 billion.Bitcoin remains the largest digital currency by far, having a market capitalization of roughly $247 billion, accounting for about 41% of the total cryptocurrency market cap.

Sue Grafton passes away

Sue Grafton, author of best-selling “alphabet series” of mystery novels died in Santa Barbara.Her series of murder mystery novels, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, have been translated into 26 languages & regularly topped best-seller lists in US.She received numerous awards for her work including from British Crime Writers’ Association & Mystery Writers of America.

Allahabad Bank and NeSL tie up

Allahabad Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding with National E-Governance Services Ltd (NeSL).The partnership could help in minimising the resolution period for cases referred by the bank to the National Company Law Tribunal. NeSL is India’s first Information Utility registered with Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India under the aegis of Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

Israel withdraws from UNESCO

Israel has formally notified UNESCO of its withdrawal from the education and science organization.Israel, which has been a member since 1949, has nine sites on the list, including the ancient Masada fortress next to the Dead Sea.Tensions had been bubbling since UNESCO controversially admitted Palestine as a member state in 2011 – a move opposed by the US and Israel.

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe named ICCR chief

National vice-president of BJP, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has been appointed as the President of Indian Council of Cultural Relations.He will replace Lokesh Chandra, who was a scholar & thinker & had been appointed by the NDA govt in 2014.ICCR is an autonomous organisation of India, involved in India’s external cultural relations, through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples.

Rajinikanth to launch political party

Tamil Nadu Superstar Rajinikanth has announced his political debut. He will launch his own party which will contest for all 234 constituencies in next assembly polls in the state.He said the party will be launched ahead of Assembly elections at an appropriate time.

Maiga appointed as the new PM

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has appointed Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, a former defense and foreign minister and intelligence chief as the new Prime Minister. Maiga will form a new government. This is done after his predecessor Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga and his entire cabinet’s resignation. The new government will be the fifth to serve under President Keita since his election in 2013.

Viswanathan Anand bags bronze

Grand Master Viswanathan Anand continued his excellent run by bagging a bronze in the World Blitz Chess Championship at Riyadh, Saudi.He defeated Maxim Vachier-Lagrave of France in the final round to take his tally to 14.5 points.World Champion Magnus Carlsen won the tournament scoring 16 points followed by Sergey Karjakin with 14.5 points out of the maximum possible 21 points.

China tests first photovoltaic highway

China has successfully tested its 1st photovoltaic highway based on home-grown technology, in it’s eastern Shandong province.The road is constructed using solar panels which have a thin sheet of clear concrete on top of them. Panels will transfer energy to electric vehicles passing on top of them.With this China became the 2nd country to construct a photovoltaic highway.

Sivagiri pilgrimage celebrations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 85th annual Sivagiri pilgrimage celebrations at Sivagiri Mutt in Kerala via video conferencing.The Sivagiri Mutt is a major spiritual-cum-pilgrim centre of the Ezhava community in Kerala and was established by Sri Narayana Guru. Sri Narayana Guru propagated the message of ‘One Caste, One Religion and One God for Mankind’.

New Chief Secretary of Rajasthan

IAS officer N C Goel has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Rajasthan. Goel, a 1982-batch IAS officer, earlier held the charge of Additional Chief Secretary of Forest & Environment, Tourism, Art & Culture Department, Mines & Petroleum departments. Goel has held top posts, including the CMD of Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation. He replaced Ashok Jain who completed 6 months on the post.

Canadian PM to visit India in February

The much-awaited visit to India by PM of Canada Justin Trudeau is likely to take place during February 19-23.It is also expected that the long-pending Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement will be signed during the visit.Following PM Narendra Modi’s visit there in April 2015, a lot of high-level visits under the Trudeau administration have been happening at a regular pace.

Digi. drive to boost engineering exports

The Commerce Ministry launched a digital drive under the aegis of EEPC India to promote the country’s engineering exports.Launching the E-Catalogue, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said it is among the pivotal components of Brand India Engineering initiative.The E-Catalogue is aimed at overcoming a major hurdle for Indian exporters in global quality engineering markets.

Bankruptcy Code law amended

The Lok Sabha amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code law.It will prevent wilful defaulters and existing promoters from taking part in insolvency proceedings of stressed assets of companies. The bill will replace an ordinance that was brought in November to prevent unscrupulous promoters from misusing the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

ISRO to launch 31 satellites in one go

ISRO would launch 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation space craft, in a single mission on January 10.The mission will be the first ‘Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’ (PSLV) mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August this year.The mission’s main payload would be India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation satellite.

India leads in global milk production

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said during the past 3 years, India has outpaced the global milk production with an annual growth rate of 5.53% compared with the 2.09% achieved globally.India has been the largest producer of milk in the world for the past 15 years.Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 m tonnes in 2016-17

Jitu Rai bags men’s 50m pistol

Ace Indian marksman Jitu Rai won the men’s 50m pistol national title with a new national record score of 233 at the 61st National Shooting Championship in Thiruvananthapuram. Rai’s score of 233 was a new record in the finals of the event. Jitu Rai also won the team gold in the event combining with Jai and Omprakash Mitherwal for a total of 1,658.

NASA’s “Girl of the Year” doll

NASA, is collaborating with American Girl, a doll and book company, to inspire children to dream big and reach for the stars.The focus of the collaboration is the “Girl of the Year” doll for 2018, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut named Luciana who wants to be the first person to put boots on Mars.NASA want to encourage girls and boys to pursue their dreams.

Dabur opens skill development centre

Dabur India inaugurated a skill development centre for women, as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility campaign.The vocational training centre, set up at Dhekidol Village in Sonitpur district, will start with a 6-month course on stitching and tailoring, the company said.Corporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.

‘Smoke rings’ spotted in the ocean

Scientists have discovered the equivalent of smoke-rings in the Tasman Sea which may ‘suck-up’ small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean.The rings were spotted by analysing sea level measurements taken from satellites.The Tasman Sea is a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean, situated between Australia and New Zealand.

Nepal President signs key ordinance

Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi gave her assent to an ordinance for the constitution of Parliament’s Upper House.The ordinance suggested that the 1st National assembly under the new constitution be formed on the basis of the single transferable vote.STV is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat organizations or constituencies.

Softbank makes investment in Uber

A consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp has successfully bought a large number of shares in Uber. The deal is of worth $48 bn (£36 bn).The investment comes after a year of troubles for Uber, including a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit, Waymo. Dara Khosrowshahi is an Iranian-American businessman and the CEO of Uber.

SpaceX unveils its biggest rocket

SpaceX’s biggest rocket till date, the Falcon Heavy, has been raised on the Cape Canaveral launchpad for the first time.The rocket will look to push forward Elon Musk’s vision of making humans an inter-planetary species.It will have its maiden journey out of Earth’s orbit next month.

Project to Tackle Stubble Burning

MoEF has approved a regional project to combat climate change.The project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ is under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change. NAFCC was established in August 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and UT that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Lok Sabha passes bill for GST cess hike

Lok Sabha approved a bill to hike cess on luxury vehicles from 15% to 25% with a view to enhance funds to compensate states for revenue loss following the rollout of GST.The GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017, was passed by the Lower House.Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax levied in India on the sale of goods and services. GST was rolled out from July 1, 2017.

George Weah Elected Liberian President

George Weah has been elected as Liberia’s president.The former football star George Weah won the presidential election, defeating the vice-president, Joseph Boakai, in a runoff with 61.5% of the vote.Liberia is a country in West Africa, bordering Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire. Its capital is Monrovia.

India’s 1st Foreign-Owned ARC

US buyout giant KKR & Co has become the first foreign investor to fully own an asset reconstruction company (ARC) in India. It received approval from the Reserve Bank of India.The New York-headquartered investor plans to set up a separate managed company to put bad loans and bring in expertise to revive the assets.

Largest Human Research Project in China

The world’s largest human genome research project of 100,000 people was launched by China.The aim of the project is to document their genetic makeup for a study that aims to help generate the precision medicines of the future.It is the country’s first large project detecting the genetic links between health and sickness.

78th Session of Indian History Congress

The 3 day long 78th session of the Indian History Congress began in Kolkata. The Indian History Congress will have 6 sections this time – Ancient India, Medieval India, Modern India, Countries Other than India, Archaeology and Contemporary India.The aim of conducting Indian History Congress is for promotion and encouragement of the scientific study of Indian History.

Swaraj & Safadi held a bilateral meeting

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al Safadi held a bilateral meeting in New Delhi.They discussed deepening bilateral ties across multiple sectors.Mr. Safadi discussed steps to set up a robust agenda for deepening and diversifying areas of cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, defence and security and people-to-people contact.

Start-up Incubation Centre launched

30 : Defense Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman launches Start-up Incubation Centre in Mangalore.She has allocated Rs. 1.5 crore from her MPLAD (Member of Parliament’s Local Area Development) scheme for the development of a start-up incubation center called the Centre for Entrepreneurship Opportunities and Learning (CEOL) in Mangaluru.She represents Karnataka as an MP in the Rajya Sabha.

India’s first bitcoin trading app

29 : Cryptocurrency dealer Pluto Exchange announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways, and banks.By using a four-digit personal identification number, users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number.

Loan with WB for UP Tourism Project

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 40 Million from World Bank for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project” was signed between India and WB. The programme size is approx. USD 57.14 million, of which 40 million will be financed by the Bank & remaining by State.The Objective of the project is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations.

SBI raises fund to meet Basel III norms

SBI has approved of raising Rs 8,000 cr through various sources, including masala bonds, to meet Basel III capital norms. Masala bonds are rupee denominated specialised debt instruments that can be floated in overseas markets only to raise capital.Basel III is an int. regulatory accord that introduced a set of reforms designed to improve regulation & risk management within banking sector.

India Test-Fires AAD Supersonic Missile

India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence supersonic interceptor missile from Odisha. It is capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile at low altitude.This was the 3rd supersonic interceptor test carried out this year. The interceptor is a 7.5 m long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system.

Prince Harry Named President of ACG

Prince Harry has been named the president of African Parks, a conservation group that manages a dozen wildlife areas across the continent.Prince Harry will contribute to its effort to protect Africa’s natural heritage and support both wildlife and communities. ACF’s goal is to support and link African conservation initiatives, groups and NGOs.

Triple Talaq Bill Passed in Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017 making instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband.The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’. Ravi Shakar Prasad is Minister for Law and Justice.The bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for approval.

MoU between Bank of Baroda and POORTI

Bank of Baroda has entered into MoU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to enable the farmers to purchase agricultural inputs provided by POORTI. This is a Platform for Online Ordering & Rural Transformation of India known as “POORTI”. Poorti is a company providing multi-party mobile commerce platform for easy ordering of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds by farmers with loans given by banks.

Exercise ‘Ekuverin’ Concludes

The two-week long eighth edition of the Indo-Maldives joint military exercise, ‘Ekuverin’, came to an end at Belagavi, Karnataka.‘Ekuverin’ means ‘friends’ in the Maldivian language. The bilateral annual exercise was a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence ForceThe exercise has been held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009.

Law to protect slums in Delhi

Parliament passed a bill to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the national capital region.The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, gives immunity to slums and some unauthorised constructions till December 31, 2020.The legislation will give cover against punitive action on “as is where is basis” until December 2020.

1500 more schools for Atal Tinkering Lab

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission, has selected additional 1500 Schools for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs.Atal Innovation Mission is the government’s programme to promote innovation & entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities & industry.They are innovation play workspaces for students between Grade VI to Grade XII, stimulating innovations combining science & tech.

UNESCO recognizes Panama’s hats

Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognized the artisans of Panama for their distinctive woven hats.Panama’s real contribution to the world’s hat heritage is the pintao, or painted hat, handmade from five different plants and a dose of swamp mud.The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.

Russia launches satellite for Angola

Russia on Tuesday launched a rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first national telecoms satellite for Angola.The Zenit-2SB rocket carrying Angosat to orbit was supplied by Ukrainian maker Yuzhmash, making the launch a rare joint project between the two countries since 2014.The Angosat project was agreed by Russia and Angola in 2009.

Spider named after Bob Marley

Scientists have named new water adapted species of spider after Bob Marley, as a homage to his famous song “High tide or low tide.”The species of water-adapted spider was first discovered in the year 2009, when the sea along the coastline of Queensland in Australia receded and revealed the population of spider.
The study was published in the Evolutionary Systematic journal.

ISC to be held in March in Imphal

The 2018 edition of the historic Indian Science Congress will be held at Manipur University, Imphal, in March. The event was scheduled at the Osmania University (OU), Hyderabad, in the first week of January but had to be moved out due to “security problems.”The aim of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is to advance and promote the cause of science in India.

India gives medical assistance to Yemen

India provided medical assistance worth about $1 million to Yemen in response to a request from the Yemeni government. As part of its commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to Yemen, India has been a member of the ‘Friends of Yemen’ Group.India has earlier extended medical assistance to Yemen in April 2015.

Countries with highest NPAs: Report

India has the highest level of NPA among BRICS countries and is ranked fifth on a list of countries with the highest levels of NPAs. It is according to a report by CARE Ratings. The countries ranked higher than India are Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. NPA is defined as a credit facility in respect of which the interest has remained ‘past due’ for a specified period of time.

Sebi restricts cross-holding in MF

SEBI approved norms to improve governance in mutual funds and credit rating agencies and deepen the securities markets. Sebi also did its bit to help tackle India’s Rs.10 trillion stressed asset problem at a meeting of its board in Mumbai.A sponsor of a mutual fund or its associates cannot hold more than 10% in any other asset management company or have a board seat.

Ramendra Kumar felicitated in Sri Lanka

Noted writer Ramendra Kumar, whose stories feature in Sri Lankan text books, has been felicitated in the neighbouring country for his contribution to children’s literature. Kumar is an award-winning writer with 32 books to his credit.His writings have been translated into 14 Indian and 13 foreign languages and have found a place in school text books and anthology also in India and abroad.

Anand won World rapid championship

Viswanathan Anand lifted the World rapid chess championship in Riyadh on Thursday.The genius of Chennai, who defeated Magnus Carlsen of Norway earlier in the tournament, went on to finish on top with 10.5 points at the end of the 15th and final round.Anand won that mini-match against Fedoseev.

Kuppali honoured with a Google doodle

Google is honouring the contribution of Kuvempu by dedicating a doodle to the winner of the first Kannada Jnanpith on the occasion of his 113th birth anniversary. The renaissance of Kannada literature was heralded by the publication of Kuvempu’s Sri Ramayana Darshanam, which was awarded the Jnanpith Award, half a century ago.It is also the golden jubilee of his novel Malegalalli Madumagalu.

India’s first bitcoin trading app

29 : Cryptocurrency dealer Pluto Exchange announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways, and banks.By using a four-digit personal identification number, users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number.

100th IEA Conference starts

President Ramnath Kovind inaugurated the 100th Annual Conference of the Indian Economic Association at Acharya Nagarjuna University in Guntur of Andhra Pradesh.The event will be held for four days.Indian Economic Association is a registered body of Indian economic professionals with an objective of providing a forum for debate and discussion of policy-oriented issues.

Agriculture Minister Launches LDF App

Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has launched Livestock Disease Forewarning – Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App).The app is developed by ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics, Bengaluru.Apart from early warning, the app will also provide information about clinical samples for the diagnosis in case of the epidemic.

President Dedicates 4 Projects to AP

President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, dedicated 4 projects to Andhra Pradesh Government at a function held at Velagapudi, Andhra Pradesh.The Projects were Andhra Pradesh Fibregrid Project, Andhra Pradesh Surveillance Project, Drone Project, and Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) system.The President focused on the 24/7 hyper-connected world and the online presence of the government.

Vin Diesel, 2017’s Top-Grossing Actor

Vin Diesel has been named the top-grossing actor of 2017 by Forbes, with $1.6 billion in global ticketing receipts from his film ‘The Fate of the Furious’.The second spot was occupied by Dwayne Johnson ‘The Rock’, with $1.5 billion receipts.‘Wonder Woman’ actress Gal Gadot, whose films earned $1.4 billion worldwide, featured in the third spot on the list.

Anushka is PETA’s ‘Person of the Year’

Anushka Sharma has been named PETA’s Person of the Year by animal rights organisation ‘People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’.She is a vegetarian and has nabbed the title for helping in protections of dogs and advocating for horses who are forced to pull carriages in Mumbai. PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world established in 2000.

WCD launches ‘Spot BBBP logo contest’

Ministry of Women & Child Development has launched a contest inviting people to share photographs of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao logo that they spot at unique locations. The objective of the contest is to engage with a larger audience. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao is a social campaign of the Govt. that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls.

Offshore Business From ‘GIFT’ to start

IRDAI has issued regulations for insurance firms to carry out offshore business from Gujarat-based ‘GIFT’.By this, for the first time in the country, foreign insurers are permitted to open IFSC Insurance Office at GIFT. GIFT is being developed as a global financial and IT Services hub, a first of its kind in India, designed to be at or above par with globally benchmarked financial centres.

Israel to name a station after Trump

Israel’s transport minister wants to dig a railway tunnel under Jerusalem’s Old City and name a station next to the Western Wall after US President Donald Trump.Yisrael Katz said he wanted to honour the US president for his decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray.

K S Chitra bags ‘Harivarasanam’ Award

Veteran singer K S Chitra has been selected for prestigious ‘Harivarasanam’ award 2017, instituted by the Kerala government. Chitra has been selected for the award in recognition of her contribution to propagate the spirit of secularism and universal brotherhood.The award carrying a cash prize of Rs one lakh, citation and plaque would be presented at a function on January 14, 2018.

Bob Givens, Passes Away at 99

Bob Givens, one of the animators behind designing the iconic characters Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, died at the age of 99.He was from the USA. He also brought his skills to TV advertising, animating cartoon insects for Raid bug-killer commercials. Givens served in the US army during the Second World War, before returning to the animation industry.

Abhay Appointed Director General of NCB

Senior IPS officer Abhay was appointed Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).He is at present working in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post till November 18, 2019.The post was lying vacant after R R Bhatnagar took over as DG of CRPF in April 2017.

Paytm To Cross 100 mn Downloads

India’s largest mobile-first financial services platform, Paytm announced that its app has crossed the 100 million milestone on Google Play Store in the second week of December 2017.This makes Paytm the country’s first payments app to cross the 100 million downloads mark.The platform allows users to do online recharges and bill payments, book movie tickets, do travel bookings among others.

Fish discovered inside Meghalaya cave

A new species of blind fish has been discovered inside a cave in East Jaintia Hills, in Meghalaya. The fish “Schistura larketensis” gets its name from Larket village, where the cave has been found, the journal, Zootaxa, said.The species has apparently lost its sight living in the perpetual darkness inside the cave.

‘Mann Ki Baat’: most trending hashtag

Modi’s programme “Mann Ki Baat” was the most trending hashtag on Twitter in 2017, followed by #jallikattu & #GST. Mannkibaat sparked a great deal of commentary all over the year, including a tweet from Sachin Tendulkar.“Mann Ki Baat” is a radio programme hosted by Modi on the last Sunday of every month to addresses people of the nation on All India Radio, DD National & DD News.

Five times MLA Rajiv Bindal would be the next Speaker of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, state.

A former minister and a general secretary of the state BJP, Bindal had been an RSS activist all along and also served as a whole timer with the saffron organisation for a few years. Recently, Jai Ram Thakur has sworn in as CM of Himachal.

Afganistan to join CPEC

Afghanistan is willing to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan. India is against the project because of the Kashmir issue. Rajiv to be new HP Assembly Speaker

Govt cuts small savings interest rate

The government has cut the interest rate on small savings schemes, such as Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Savings Certificate (NSC), by 0.2 percentage points for the January-March quarter. PPF and NSC will now fetch a lower annual rate of 7.6%.Since April 2016, interest rates of all small saving schemes have been recalibrated on a quarterly basis.

Children exempt from passport biometrics

The government has exempted children up to the age of five years from giving their biometrics to the passport issuing authority.Union minister of state for External Affairs General (retd.) V. K. Singh, made this announcement.However, they will have to be physically present at the Passport Seva Kendra for their photographs to be taken for the passport.

Over 71 cr mobiles linked with Aadhaar

Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that nearly 71.24 crore mobile numbers, both new connections and existing, have been linked with Aadhaar till December 8.He also revealed that about 82 crore bank accounts have been linked with Aadhaar.The deadline for linking Aadhaar number to all services and government schemes is March 31.

Mumbai to Kabul air corridor inaugurated

28 : India and Afghanistan on Wednesday inaugurated their second air cargo route linking Mumbai and Kabul.The new route is expected to boost Afghanistan’s export of fruits and medicinal plants.Afghanistan has exported 10,640 tonnes of goods worth over $20 million to India via the first air corridor which was launched in June this year to link Kabul and New Delhi.

Anisa sets new mark

Anisa Sayyed became one of the premier pistol shooters in the country by winning the women’s 25m air pistol gold in the 61st National shooting championships.In the junior women’s section, Chinki Yadav (Madhya Pradesh) took the top spot.Haryana took the gold in the junior women’s team event with 1686 points ahead of Tamil Nadu (1652) and Maharashtra (1641).

Guatemala to move its embassy

The president of Guatemala says the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Guatemala was one of 9 nations that voted earlier this week with the US when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Benjamin Netanyahu, is Israeli’s Prime Minister.

Army reduces residual service term

Army Headquarters has reduced the residual service for the rank of Army Commander from 24 to 18 months.The new promotion policy has been issued by the Military Secretary branch.The reduction in the number of years of residual service for the Army Commander’s rank will mean that a larger pool of officers will now be available for the appointment of General Officers Commanding-in-Chief.

India’s first pod taxi on the way

The much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project has moved a step closer to reality.The projected Rs 4000-cr pod taxi scheme is also known as Personal Rapid Transit.It will run from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.

Loan Agreement between TN & World Bank

Govt. of India, Govt. of TN & World Bank signed a $318 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project.It will promote climate resilient agriculture technologies, improve water management practices, and increase market opportunities for small and marginal farmers.The $318 million loan from the IBRD has a 5 yr grace period & a maturity of 19 years.

SLCM Ties up with HDFC, IndusInd bank

Agri service solutions provider Sohan Lal Commodity Management having operations across India and Myanmar has tied up with HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank.The agreement is for providing collateral management services.This tie-up will provide easy access to scientific storage facilities leading to a fair price discovery of their products in the market.

IAF conquers ‘Seven Summits’

After scaling of Mt Everest in 2005, IAF launched a unique and unprecedented series of mountaineering expedition ‘Mission Seven Summits’.It had the aim to fly the tricolour and the IAF flag on the highest peaks in every continent. A team comprising 5 IAF mountaineers, led by Capt RC Tripathi has successfully scaled Mt Vinson in Antarctica, thus completing the assigned Mission.

SAC developing new Remote Sensor camera

The Space Application Centre Ahmedabad is all set to develop a new advanced hi-tech “Remote Sensor” camera with a capacity to capture images from a height of over 300 kms.The Camera will be fully indigenous, living up to “Make in India” concept. It will be an improvement on the existing application used for infrastructure development works, soil management and even security-related tasks.

Centre gives fund for border development

Home Ministry has released Rs 167 crore to 9 states – Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, under the Border Area Development Programme. BADP is fully funded by Central Government. Under this programme, development work is carried out in all villages which are located within the 0-10 km of the international border.

Government’s plan for backward districts

Central Government has drawn up a tailor-made action plan for improving the socio-economic condition of 115 “most-backward” districts in India.The government will setup basic services like healthcare, education, sanitation as well as basic physical infrastructure like roads and drinking water supply.Government’s goal is to bring a transformative change in these backward districts by 2022.

SDMC launches Atal Jan Aahar Yojana

South Delhi Municipal Corporation launched ‘Atal Jan Aahar Yojana’ for poor people to provide them meal at Rs 10. The Yojana was launched by South Delhi Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Matiala at Matiala Chowk.Scheme has been started at 5 outlets in different locations of south Delhi. Its aim is to provide nutritious meal to the poor and needy.

Odisha splits tourism & culture department

The Odisha government decided to split the tourism and culture department and initiated setting up of Odia Language Commission.The cultural wing was also renamed as Odia Language, Literature and Culture Department.It was also decided to set up a ‘Heritage Cabinet’ to protect the monuments and ancient temples.

Music Legend Robbie Malinga Passes Away

Legendary South African musician Robbie Malinga passed away.The veteran musician suffered from anaemia. He announced his retirement as a solo artist in 2016, after more than 20 years in the industry.The musician is known for his hit songs such as, ‘Sobabili’, ‘Mthanda’ and ‘Baby Please’.

B’desh’s 1st eco-friendly thermal plant

Construction of Bangladesh’s first eco-friendly thermal power plant with ultra-modern clean coal technology has been started by a Chinese consortium in central Bangladesh.The thermal power plant is constructed near a seaport in Payra town in Patuakhali district of Bangladesh. It consists of two units.The estimated cost of the project is USD 1.56 billion.

‘World Economic League Table’ Report

Indian economy will surpass Britain and France in 2018 and will thus become the 5th largest economy.This is as per 2018 World Economic League Table released by Centre for Economics and Business Research.USA economy will be able to retain its No. 1 position for a year longer than what was anticipated in the last report.In 2032, China is likely to overtake the US as world’s No. 1 economy.

Fin. Ministry to issue bonds to PSB

Finance Ministry is likely to issue 1st tranche of recapitalization bonds to public sector banks in January 2018.These bonds are part of government’s plan to infuse Rs 2.11 lakh crore capital into the public sector banks over a period of 2 years.The plan was announced in Oct 2017 by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley.

‘Dornier 228’ to fly soon

Directorate General of Civil Aviation has allowed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. manufactured Dornier 228 for civilian flights.It is a 19-seater aircraft which was only used by defence forces till now.It will now become the first ‘Made in India’ plane to be used for commercial flights. HAL can even sell this plane to other airlines in India, which can be used for regional flights under UDAN.

Saudi Arabia hosts world chess games

On 26th December 2017, Saudi Arabia hosted a world chess tournament for the first time at the APEX Convention Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.The tournament is called the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships.It has around 400 international players. 16 players are participating from Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Reddy’s unveils cancer drug in U.S.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has introduced Melphalan Hydrochloride for injection, a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Alkeran for injection, in the U.S. market. Melphalan hydrochloride for injection is indicated for the palliative treatment of patients with multiple myeloma for whom oral therapy is not appropriate. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.