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National – Across the India
1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
The Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana is targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas employment.
It will provide training and certify Indians, who are seeking overseas employment in selected sectors.
2. Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of Zingiber (commonly known as ginger) from Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The new species has been named as Zinger pseudosqarrosum.
It belongs to genus Zingiber.
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3. The 20th edition of National Conference on e-governance 2016-17 started in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India, in association with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh has organized this conference.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Internet of Things and e-Governance” and will be covering newly evolving areas of e-Governance across five plenary sessions.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated 8th Edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
PM Modi also inaugurated ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show’, where around 1500 entities are participating from India and abroad.
5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the India International Exchange (INX) located at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), GIFT city in Gandhinagar.
The India INX is a wholly owned subsidiary of BSE Ltd.
6. 11th Blind Challenge Car Rally held in Bhopal to create awareness among people regarding the concerns of visually impaired people.
Indira Gandhi Museum and Arushi are organizing car rally, where the vehicle is driven by the sighted person and the navigator is a blind person, who reads the route given to them on the spot in Braille.
7. Delhi Airport become first in the world to adopt unique performance and benchmarking digital platform.
This platform at Terminal 3 would be used by airport operator to measure, manage and improve performance of airport on resource consumption and quality of passenger space.
8. The Union Ministry of Power unveiled world’s largest street light replacement programme in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area.
It is implemented under LED based Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Union Ministry of Power.
9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
It is the first-of-its-kind conclave of Nobel laureates to be held in India.
It has been organized by Nobel Media and coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology.
10. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released draft notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules), 2016.
The objective of the Rules is to make dog breeders and their marketers accountable and to prevent infliction of any cruelty on dogs in this process.
11. “Khanderi”, the second scorpene class submarine was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
It has superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack with the torpedoes as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles whilst underwater or on surface. Union Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre presided over the function to initiate the launch of Khanderi (Yard 11876).
12. The World’s first ‘Gender Literature Festival’ will be held in Patna during 7th to 9th April 2017.
The Gender Resource Centre of Bihar’s Women Development Corporation will be organizing the festival.
The objective of this festival is to create a platform, to exchange ideas, and to share and learn experiences of renowned people in the field of gender literature.
13. The first wax museum attraction Madame Tussauds will debut in Delhi this June with its operator Merlin Entertainments foraying into India with an investment plan of 50 million pounds over the next 10 years.
UK based Merlin Enterprises runs 116 attractions in 24 countries and the company will be foraying into Indian market with the launch of Madame Tussauds in the national capital.
14. The ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project has received formal environment, forest and tribal clearances.
It is India’s first river interlinking project that will connect Ken river in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh.
15. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered inspection of plants which treat wastes in the hospitals of the National Capital Delhi and ensure proper segregation, collection, and disposal of such waste.
The waste plants will be inspected by joint inspection team of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
16. Hope Island in Andhra Pradesh has become graveyard for Olive Ridleys turtles after 54 carcasses of this species were spotted on the shores of island.
This indicates that the breeding cycle of this species got severe blow due to mechanized fishing boats scouring in the Bay of Bengal coastline.
The Fisheries Department is encouraging mechanized boat owners to fit a Turtle Excluder Device (TDE) to allow these turtles to pass.
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International – Across the Globe
1. China is setting up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescope in a Tibet close to a Line of Actual Control with India with a budget of $18.8 million to detect faintest echoes resonating from universe which may reveal more about Big Bang theory.
Construction has started for the first telescope, code named-Ngari no.1, 30km south of Shiquanhe town in Ngari prefecture.
2. Netherlands’ flag carrier KLM has been rated the best international airline of 2016 by aviation insights company FlightStats, which ranked carriers on their on-time performance records.
KLM, with an 11.47% chance of a flight delay, was followed by Spain’s flag carrier Iberia (11.82%) and Japan’s flag carrier JAL (12.2%).
Qatar Airways and Australian Airlines completed the top five.
3. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the Katas Raj Hindu temple in Chakwal district of Punjab to inaugurate its renovation.
The work includes installation of water filtration plant in the Amrat Jal area.
4. After Cambodia, now a Festival of India is being organized in Ghana from 25th January to March 16, 2017.
The Festival events are being showcased in four cities of Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, Takoradi in Ghana.
Sports & Athletics
1. Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan beat Puarv Raja and Divij Sharan 6-3, 6-4 in the first ever all Indians doubles finals at the Aircel Chennai Open to secure their maiden ATP title as a pair.
This is Rohan Bonappa’s 15th career title. This is the first title for Jeevan at ATP world tour level.
2. Indian tennis ace star Sania Mirza picked up her first title of the season, combining with American Bethanie Mattek Sandsto to lift the Brisbane International Women’s title.
The top seeded Indian-American duo triumphed 6-2, 6-3 against the second seeded Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final.
3. Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray to win Qatar Open.
However, Andy Murray remains world No.1 after losing Serbian Djokovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the final match.
4. Football’s governing body, FIFA agreed to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from its current 32 teams.
The number of matches will increase from 64 to 80.
5. Former world champion L. Sarita Devi will become the first ever woman boxer from India to step into the world of professional boxing.
She will make her professional debut against Zsofia Bedo of Hungary in the Indian Boxing Council’s January 29 fight night to be held in her hometown of Imphal.
6. Former world No.3 women’s player Nadia Petrova of Russia has ended her tennis career in the wake of long injury trouble.
Petrova, 34 had not played since the end of 2013 and several comeback attempts failed.
7. The Indian national football team moved up six places to the 129th position in the latest FIFA rankings, its best ranking since December 2005, when it was at the 127th position.
Notably, the Indian team has won nine of its last 11 matches, which has helped it jump 42 places in less than two years.
Awards & Recognition
1. The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony was organized at Beverly Hills, California, United States (US).
Best Motion picture, drama: ‘Moonlight’
Best Picture, comedy or musical: ‘La La Land’
Best Actor drama: Casey Affleck, ’Manchester by the Sea’
Best Actress drama: Isabelle Huppert, ‘Elle’
Best Actress, comedy or musical: Emma Stone, ‘La La Land’
Best Actor, comedy or musical: Ryan Gosling, ‘La La Land’
2. Indian-Americans Dr. Bharat and Dr. Sampat Shivangi received Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award given to overseas Indians and people of Indian origin.
They received award from President Pranab Mukherjee in Bengaluru on 9th January 2017.
3. Portugal and Real Madrid FC Captain Cristiano Ronaldo has won his fourth FIFA Best Player Award.
Ronaldo beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards.
4. Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri won the Best FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year award after beating Portugal’s Fernando Santos and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane on the shortlist.
Ranieri beat strong competition from Zidane, who led his Real Madrid side to their 11th UEFA Champions League title in his first season as a manager and won the 2016 UEFA Super Cup and 2016 FIFA Club World Cup.
5. USA women’s football team captain Carli Lloyd was named as FIFA’s Best Female footballer of the year for the second straight time, during The Best FIFA Football Awards in Zurich.
Lloyd, who plays for American football club Houston Dash, is a World Cup winner and a two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
6. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was given an award by the US embassy in appreciation for his invaluable contributions to the US-India partnership on tuberculosis.
The award was presented on 8th January by US Ambassador to India Richard R. Verma to the legendary actor who is also a tuberculosis survivor and brand ambassador for the initiative.
7. Outgoing US President Barack Obama has selected four Indian-American scientists among 102 researchers for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The awardees are: –
Pankaj Lal from Montclair State University
Kaushik Chowdhury from Northeastern University
Manish Arora from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Aradhna Tripati from University of California, Los Angeles
8. Jio Filmfare Short Films awards 2017 is organized by Worldwide Media Private Limited (WWM).
People’s Choice Award for Best Film- Khamakha
Best Short film in fiction- Chutney
Best Short film in Non -fiction- Matitali Kusti
Best Actor Female- Tisca Chopra for Chutney
Best Actor Male- Manoj Bajpai for Taandav
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Books & Authors
1. “Akhada” is the authorized biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler and a coach who has made India proud.
The book by Saurabh Duggal, traces Mahavir Phogat’s journey with his daughters and nieces hailing from a small village in Haryana to winning the medals for the country.
His daughters, Babita and Geeta, has won medals at Olympics, World Wrestling Championship, and Commonwealth Games.
2. Cyber Pathshala, a book on cyber schooling for the demonetization era, authored by Tarun Vijay was released by Union Human Resource Development Minister, Prakash Javedekar at the World Book Fair on 10th January.
According to Tarun Vijay, this book was to familiarize people of all ages with the new vocabulary of the new normal, demonetization, which has changed our language, style and idioms.
Mergers & Acquisitions
1. News Corp-backed has merged with Housing.com to become a joint venture with an additional investment of $55 million.
Includes $50 million from REA Group Limited and an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp, investing $5 million.
News Corp remains the largest shareholder of PropTiger with a share of 30%, and also owns 61.6% of REA Group.
Representatives of REA and SoftBank will join the board of the joint entity, which will continue to be chaired by a News Corp representative.
2. French optical lens maker Essilor International SA and Italian spectacle frames maker Luxottica have agreed to merge, creating an eyewear industry giant with a market value of around €46.3 billion ($49.16 billion).
Luxottica’s Chairman Del Vecchio will become Chief Executive and Executive Chairman of the new entity, while Hubert Sagnières, the Chairman and CEO at Essilor will become Deputy CEO and Vice Executive Chairman.
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Appointments & Resignations
1. Olympic and world 800m champion, David Rudisha from Kenya, is named the international event ambassador for the 14th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2017.
Rudisha, the 28-years-old middle-distance ace, retained his 800m title at Rio Olympics.
The Marathon will be held on January 15.
2. SBI Pension Funds, has appointed Kumar Sharadindu as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
Prior to this appointment, Sharadindu was a General Manager at SBI Corporate center, Mumbai.
3. Flipkart appoints former Tiger Global Management executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy as the new chief to run the operations of India’s largest online trader.
He is replacing co-founder Binny Bansal, who has been elevated to the position of Group CEO.
He joined Flipkart in June last year as head of ‘category design organization’.
4. Mobile handset brand Gionee appointed Indian captain Virat Kohli as the brand ambassador.
He will be joining Bollywood Actress Alia Bhatt who was roped in, a few months ago.
5. Daniel Ortega has been sworn in for a third consecutive term as Nicaragua’s President, with his wife Rosario Murillo as the new vice president.
Ortega was firstly elected in 2007.
6. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Seychelles.
Ausaf is currently working as the Consul general, Consulate General of India, Chicago.
7. Tata Sons has appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Chief Executive Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its new chairman.
He will take over as the Executive chairman from February 21.
The decision came about three months after the company in October ousted Cyrus Mistry and appointed Ratan Tata as its interim chairman, sparking a bitter public spat.
8. Lieutenant General Sarath Chand, Army Commander of Jaipur- based South Western Command, was appointed as the new Vice Chief of Army Staff.
Gen. Sarath Chand was commissioned into the Garhwal Rifles in June 1979 and had an outstanding professional career of 38 years.
9. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, was named nominee director of ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, the company which will be running The Republic, a media venture by floated journalist Arnab Goswami.
Goswami, the former editor of television channel Times Now, was named Managing director of ARG Outlier.
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Economics & Banking GK
1. Country’s largest lender SBI has waived Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on debit card transactions for all small merchants with annual turnover of up to Rs.20 lakh for one year.
The move is targeted primarily towards a segment of population and small merchants, who have not yet experienced the convenience of Card payments.
2. Axis Bank has become the third lender in the country to announce usage of block chains solutions for its operations.
The bank will be using the upcoming technology for cross-border remittances.
3. The private lender HDFC bank has launched a ‘Humanoid’ in the domestic banking space.
The bank showcased human-sized robot Ira, developed in association with Kochi-based Asimov Robotics and will be deployed at a Mumbai branch within fortnight.
4. BSNL plans to connect 1518 gram panchayats with Optical Fiber Cable this year in Assam to ensure Rural connectivity.
Kshetri Gaon panchayat in Kanpur district is likely to become the first digital gram panchayat of the country.
BSNL will provide 3000 hotspots at important places and has already initiated steps for automatic hook up points through wireless network.
5. The World Bank has lowered its growth forecast for India to 7 percent from 7.6 percent in 2016-17.
It cited a slowdown in consumption and manufacturing due to demonetization and an ongoing decline in private investment and credit constraints due to bank balance sheets.
6. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) revised Indian standard on gold hallmarking.
It became effective from 1st January 2017.
The hallmark gold jewelry will now be available in three grades of 14 carats, 18 carats and 22 carats.
7. HDFC Bank has reportedly helped five temples in Kanyakumari district in southern Tamil to introduce digital wallets and point of sale (PoS) to enable their devotees to pay donations.
The temples that have introduced digital mode include Arulmighu Thanumalya Swamy Temple, Suchindrum; Arulmighu Bhagavathi Amman Temple, Kanyakumari; Arulmighu Nagaraja Temple, Nagercoil; Arulmighu Bhagavati Amman Temple, Mondaikudi; and Arulmighu Kumaraswamy Temple, Velimalai.
8. Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s top wireless carrier, has committed an initial investment of Rs. 3,000 crores ($441 million) to build its new pan-India Airtel Payments Bank.
Airtel Payments Bank is the first among several such niche banks to start operations, after the central bank handed over new permits to bring financial services within the reach of millions who still lack access to formal banking.
9. India’s factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has registered 5.7% growth in November 2016 as against 1.9% in October 2016.
It is the fastest growth recorded in more than four years and is largely on account of a low base effect.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. An ordinance to amend the 47-year-old Enemy Property Act has been approved by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Act will allow custodians to continue to hold sway over such properties.
These amendments plug the loopholes of the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
2. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has called for a review of the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act that stipulate children who do not perform well cannot be held back up to 8th Class.
The RTE Act aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years.
3. The Supreme Court has rejected a plea urging it to pass judgement on Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal.
The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in May 2014 and held that bulls could not be used as performing animals. It completely banned use of bulls for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races across the country.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. India and Kenya signed MoU for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
India announced $100 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Kenya for agricultural mechanization.
Both countries will focus on quick operationalization of the defence cooperation along with hydrography, anti-piracy, communication networks, capacity building and defence medical cooperation.
Science & Technology
1. Researchers from Midwestern University have identified the function of the human appendix, often viewed as a vestigial organ with little-known use.
They discovered that the human appendix has evolved at least 30 times and even possibly up to a maximum of 41 times throughout the mammalian evolution.
According researchers, once the appendix appears in human body, it never disappears, suggesting that the organ likely serves an adaptive purpose.
2. China successfully launched first commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket.
As part of the mission three satellites JL-1, CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.
The rocket was launched form northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province.
3. Pakistan successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
This launch gives Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.
The Babur-3 missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean and hit its target with precise accuracy and it has range of 450 km.
4. The Assam government will be shortly launching its indigenously-developed e-Wallet, Tokapoisa.in, to enable the people of the state for hassle-free online transactions in local language.
The mobile application Tokapoisa.in has been developed by the Assam Electronics Development Corp. Ltd. Besides being an e-Wallet, it will be a virtual payment terminal.
5. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has released the new passenger mobile application named ‘IRCTC Rail Connect App’ to promote ease of ticketing through digital transactions.
It has been developed to bring the power of next generation e-ticketing system like high performance and enhanced security.
6. Maharashtra government has launched WiFi service ‘Mumbai WiFi’ connecting 500 hotspots across Mumbai under the Smart city project.
The aim is to empower people digitally.
It is India’s largest and one of globally largest public WiFi service.
7. The measles-rubella vaccine (MR) is all set to be introduced in the country from the next month in five states and Union territories.
In addition, from March, Pneumococcal conjugate (pneumococcal pneumonia) vaccine will also become a part of the UIP basket in three other states.
8. The Supreme Court has described side effects of Endosulfan, a highly toxic agrochemical (pesticide) as devastating.
It has directed Kerala government to release entire Rs.500 crore compensation to over 5,000 victims in three months who have suffered from various deformities and health complications due to use of Endosulfan in the state. It also asked the state to consider setting up a center to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims.
9. According to scientists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region.
The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.