Current Affairs Today – December 12 2015

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Current Affairs Today 12 December 2015INDIAN AFFAIRS

NGT directions on River Ganga rejuvenation

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a complete ban on use of any king of plastic from Gomukh to Haridwar along Ganga with effect from February 1, 2016.

  • The decision has been taken by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar which also comprises of judicial member M S Nambiar and expert members D K Agrawal and B S Sajwan.
  • Ganga cleaning project outlay 258 crores; out of which Rs. 78 crore has been spent.

“SABLA” Scheme to empower Adolescent Girls

Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – “Sabla” has been implemented by Govt which aims at empowering Adolescent Girls (AGs) between 11-18 years through nutrition, health care and life skills education. Nearly 100 lakh adolescent girls per annum are expected to be benefitted under the scheme.

  • The scheme will cover 205 districts selected from all the States and UTs.
  • An amount of Rs 27486.79 lakhs has been released to states under SABLA in 2015-16 till date and amount utilised is Rs 7844.49 lakhs.
  • Beneficiaries in 2015-16 till date – 4868553

Union Government declares Tamil Nadu flood as Calamity of Severe Nature

The Centre has declared the recent floods in Tamil Nadu as a “calamity of severe nature”. Centre’s announcement came after Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa made a plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking that the floods be declared as “National Disaster”.

  • In this regard, Parliamentarians are recommended to allocate upto 1 crore from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for renovation and rehabilitation work in the flood-affected districts.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indo – Japan inked concord to amend DTAA

India and Japan have inked a protocol for amending the existing convention for double taxation avoidance that provides for effective exchange of information in tax matters including bank accounts.

  • The existing convention on DTAA was signed by both nations in 1989.
  • The protocol was signed by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Ambassador of Japan Kenji Hiramatsu.

Myanmar launched its first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake

Myanmar has launched the country’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake in Shan state, opening a new chapter in its commitment to bio-diversity and eco-system conservation.

About Inle Lake :

  • Inle Lake was designated as Myanmar’s first biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Bioshpere (MAB) programme in Paris in June this year.
  • The lake gets funding from the government of Norway under the framework of the Inle Lake Conservation and Rehabilitation project.
  • The 489,721 hectares‘ Inle Lake is located in Nyaungshwe township, Taunggyi district in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state.

The wetland ecosystem of this freshwater lake is home to 267 species of birds, out of which 82 are wetland birds, 43 species of freshwater fishes, otters and turtles. Diverse flora and fauna species are recorded.

Key points :

  • Myanmar Capital : Naypyidaw
  • Myanmar Currency : Kyat
  • Myanmar President : Thein Sein

BANKING & FINANCE

New Zealand formally becomes member of AIIB

New Zealand has formally become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced by Finance Minister Bill English. New Zealand’s ratification would contribute to the AIIB reaching the 50-percent threshold of the needed for the AIIB to establish operations, English said in a statement.

  • New Zealand was the ninth country to formally become a founding member. The AIIB would have around 100 billion U.S. dollars of initial capital to promote sustainable development in the region.
  • New Zealand’s paid in capital will be around 125 million NZ dollars (83.05 million U.S. dollars), paid over five years.
  • The bank was expected to begin operations in January 2016.

AIIB Founding Members :

Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Taiwan and Ukraine, Colombia, Japan and New Zealand

Key points :

  • New Zealand Capital : Wellington
  • New Zealand Currency : Dollar
  • New Zealand PM :John Key

BUSINESS

Karnataka govt signs EoI with Reitzel Group

Karnataka delegation, which is touring France to attract companies for the forthcoming “Invest Karnataka 2016” from February 3 to 5, 2016 in Bengaluru, has signed an Expression of Interest (EoI) agreement with Reitzel Group.

  • As per the EoI, the company is expected to invest 20 crore and create about 50 new jobs to the already 200 existing jobs. Reitzel is a Paris-based family-owned company in the Agri and food processing industry.
  • The road show to promote “Invest Karnataka 2016” is organised by MEDEF International and GIFAS with a special focus on manufacturing and aerospace sectors.

French companies have invested about $4.5 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India since the year 2000 which makes it the 9th largest FDI contributor to India.

  • There are about 170 French companies which are headquartered in Karnataka.

Union Government slaps anti-dumping duty on stainless steel

 Union Cabinet has imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from 5.39% to 57.39% on import of cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel for 5 years.

  • It has imposed on the recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).
  • Anti-dumping duty has been imposed on 7 countries – China, South Korea, the US, South Africa, Thailand and Taiwan and European Union.

The highest duty has been levied on steel imports from China at 57.39%, followed by the European Union at 52.56%. Imports from Thailand have the least duty imposition of 4.58%.

  • The government’s decision comes in the wake of rising incidence of dumping as it was obstructing the performance of domestic industry with steel prices on a decline.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

2015 Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement conferred upon Salman Rushdie

India-born author Sir Ahmad Salman Rushdie (68) has been conferred with Mailer Center’s Annual Lifetime Achievement Prize that honours writers who fully exercise their freedom of creativity and thrive on dialogue and debate.

  • The prize is named after renowned American writer Norman Mailer, considered among the most influential writers of the second half of the 20th century.

Varanasi & Jaipur become members of UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Jaipur and Varanasi has made India’s maiden entry to the Creative City Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

  • Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO) has announced the designation of 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
  • Jaipur (Rajasthan) is added in the Crafts and Folk Art category.
  • Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) is added in the Music category.

Wipro won 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for innovation in IoT

Global software major Wipro won the Aegis Graham Bell award for developing a solution for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Minister of State Jitendra Singh presented the award to the outsourcing firm at a function in New Delhi

Aegis Graham Bell Award :

  • The Aegis Graham Bell Award is the country’s innovation award in the field of Telecom, Internet, Media and Entertainment (TIME) and Social, Mobility Analytics and Cloud (SMAC).

Wipro CEO : T K Kurien

HPCL CMD Nishi Vasudeva named CEO of the Year

HPCL CMD Nishi Vasudeva named CEO of the YearHindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) Chairman and MD Nishi Vasudeva has been chosen qwhile Reliance Industries has bagged the CSR Award at the 17th annual Platts Global Energy Awards or Oscars of energy in New York.

Women won two of the top honors:

  • CEO of the Year : Nishi Vasudeva and
  • Rising Star: Individual –  Maria Victoria Zingoni.

This year’s winner is India’s most profitable company, and its CSR performance is a shining example of the enormous positive impact on society that a corporate giant can bring when it commits to sustainable development.

APPOINTMENTS

Udai Kumar to take over as MD & CEO of Metropolitan SE

Udai Kumar to take over as MD & CEO of Metropolitan SEThe Metropolitan Stock Exchange (MCX Stock Exchange) appoint Udai Kumar as its interim Managing Director.

About Udai Kumar  :

  • He has worked in senior capacity with large institutions, such as JM Financial Consultants, JM Morgan Stanley, Centrum Capital and Fortune Financial.
  • He joined Metropolitan Clearing Corporation from Inter-connected Stock Exchange where he was Managing Director.

ABB India appoints Sanjeev Sharma as MD

ABB India appoints Sanjeev Sharma as MDPower and automation company ABB India Ltd appointed Sanjeev Sharma as its managing director effective.He replaces Bazmi Husain, who ABB said in September will take over as the global chief technology officer for ABB Group.

About Sanjeev Sharma :

  • Sharma, who joined ABB in 1990, was the global managing director for ABB’s low voltage systems business unit based out of Malaysia prior to the new post.
  • Sanjeev brings over 25 years of experience in ABB in diverse roles across various locations and functions.

About ABB India Ltd :

  • The power and automation major ABB has 12 world-class manufacturing facilities and more than 9,000 employees in the country. ABB has an extensive countrywide presence with around 24 marketing offices, eight service centers and eight training centers.
  • The company is the first to have factories for inverters and converters for wind energy in the country.
  • India is the largest engineering design and R&D resource base for ABB Group worldwide.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

DuPont and Dow Chemical Company announced to merge to form DowDuPont

The Board of Directors of DuPont and Dow Chemical Company unanimously approved a definitive agreement to merge the two companies in an all-stock deal.

  • The merged company will be named DowDuPont and it will have a combined market capitalization of approximately 130 billion dollars.
  • Dow shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 00 share of DowDuPont for each Dow share.
  • DuPont shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 1.282 shares in DowDuPont for each DuPont share.

Andrew N Liveris will be named Executive Chairman and Edward D Breen will be named CEO of combined company.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Pakistan successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Shaheen-III ballistic missile

Pakistan successfully test-fired the medium-range Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear warheads up to 2,750 km bringing many Indian cities within its range.

  • It is designed by National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) and Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).
  • The test flight of the missile was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system, according to a statement from the military’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Pakistan had test-fired the Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II missiles last year. Shaheen-I is also capable of carrying nuclear as well as conventional warheads and has a range of 900 kms while the Shaheen-II missile can also carry nuclear and conventional warheads up to a range of 1,500 kms.

Website on Netaji’s last days launched in UK

A new website providing documentary evidence of the last days of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was launched by UK-based independent journalist and Bose’s grandnephew Ashis Ray.

  • Website dedicated to the freedom fighter and Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA) aims to debunk numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Netaji’s death.

Website : www.bosefiles.info

  • In October, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi gave an assurance to a section of Bose’s relatives that he will raise the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he meets him in Moscow later this month.
  • Website has started by posting documents from files of the Indian Embassy in Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which establish that Bose never went to theSoviet Union in or after 1945.

SPORTS

UCI ranked Cyclist Deborah “World No. 4”

As per World Elite UCI (International Cycling Union) ranking released by UCI, the 20 year old Deborah Herold, from Andaman and Nicobar moved up to 4th spot in the world rankings from earlier 10th rank.

  • Her brilliant performance in Track Asia Cup & Taiwan Cup Track International Classic event also led the Indian team to improve its world ranking to 13th.
  • India is the highest ranking Asian country in 500m time trial as China is on 15th spot.

Elizabeth wins women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions gold

Elizabeth wins women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions goldElizabeth Susan Koshy representing Kerala performed a hat-trick as she won the women’s 50-metre rifle 3-position gold by defeating Anjum Moudgil for the third time in the National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, New Delhi.

  • Anjum Moudgil of Haryana won the silver while Gaayathri N of Tamil Nadu bagged the bronze.
  • She has made a new final national record of 459.3 by beating her own record of 452.0.

Results of Women 50m rifle

  1. Elizabeth Susan Koshy 459.3 (578)
  2. Anjum Moudgil 448.8 (581)
  3. Gaayathri 435.6 (575)

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Sharad Pawar’s autobiography On My Terms released

The English and Marathi version of a book “Life on My Terms –From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power” authored by Sharad Pawar released on the 75th birthday of Pawar, the Maratha strongman and the leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

  • The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid .

About Book :

  • The Marathi version has been named Lok Majha Sangati
  • It is a semi-autobiography in which Pawar has recollected all important incidents in his social and political career in the past 50 years.The 400-page book has 40 pages of photographs.
  • It detailed his experiences of political and social issues spanning 50 years. He, in his book, has provided a detailed account of the reason which helped in creation of rough patches in his relation with Rajiv Gandhi. He tells that his proximity with Chandra Shekhar brought rough patches to his ties with Rajiv.

President of India receives first copies of books ‘Selected Speeches of the President’ and ‘Presidential Retreats’

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received first copies of the books ‘Selected Speeches of the President’ Volume  3 and ‘Presidential Retreats’ at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan from the PM Shri Narendra Modi.

About “Selected Speeches of the President – Volume 3” :

  • It is a third in a series of volumes containing important speeches of the President.
  • Speeches in this volume have been segregated into three themes such as Award Functions, Important Days and Events and Conferences.
  • The book has been published by Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

About “The Presidential Retreats of India” :

  • It has been prepared by Sahapediaunder commission from the President’s Secretariat and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). This book, published by the Publications Division covers.