Current Affairs Today – December 22 2015

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Current Affairs Today 22 December 2015

INDIAN AFFAIRS

First prototype electric bus for MPs launched

To cope with the city pollution, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry is in touch with State Transport Corporations from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi showcased the prototype of India’s first retrofitted electric bus with “Go Green” message on it.
(Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India – Nitin Gadkari)

  • The bus was flagged off by PM Narendra Modi and handed over the key of the bus to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan.
  • The converted buses are part of a pilot project of Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT). The prototype was wholly developed by KPIT, Pune.
  • It is powered by lithium battery developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is very economical.

Odisha Govt launched “Anwesha” scheme for SC/ST students

The state Government of Odisha launched the Anwesha scheme to provide education to Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes children free of cost. 70 % Schedule Tribe and 30% SC students will be benefitted.

  • The scheme was announced by the Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik in Odisha’s capital city Bhubneshwar at Saragi Phul festival.
  • Saragi Phul is a three day children’s festival for ST, SC children held at Adivasi Ground, Bhubaneswar.

Lok Sabha passes The National Waterways Bill, 2015

The National Waterways Bill, 2015 which provides for declaring certain inland waterways as national waterways, was passed in the Lok Sabha.

  • Under it, 106 additional inland waterways will be added to the list of national waterways, taking the number to 111 from existing 5.
  • The legislation was moved for consideration and passing by Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Existing National waterways
NW – 1: Allahabad–Haldia stretch of the Ganges–Bhagirathi–Hooghly river
NW – 2: Sadiya–Dhubri stretch of the Brahmaputra river
NW – 3: Kollam–Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal and Champakara and Udyogmandal canals
NW – 4: Kakinada–Pondicherry stretch of canals and Kaluvelly tank, Bhadrachalam–Rajahmundry stretch of River Godavari and Wazirabad–Vijayawada stretch of River Krishna
NW – 5: Talcher–Dhamra stretch of rivers, Geonkhali–Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia–Dhamra stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi delta rivers

High-level committee set up to probe freight train derailment

A high-level committee has been constituted to probe the derailment of 25 wagons of a freight train in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The rail traffic remained disrupted on Lucknow-Allahabad route for the second day because of derailment between Bhadohi and Mondh railway stations.
  • A high-level committee comprising three members has been constituted to probe the matter and submit its report to the earliest.

FSSAI sets up nine panels to strengthen food regulatory mech

Regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set up 9 new panels for expediting work relating to strengthen the food regulatory mechanism in the country.

  • FSSAI has notified 12 referral laboratories and 82 National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited private laboratories.
  • In addition, there are 72 State and Public food laboratories to test food samples.
  • There should be at least laboratory in each district.

FSSAI makes standards while their implementation is the responsibility of the state governments. In 2014-15, 74,010 food samples were analysed and 14,599 samples were found adulterated or misbranded.

  • In this regard, 10,536 cases were launched and there were 1,402 convictions. Also there were 2,795 cases involving penalties and about Rs 10.93 cr were raised.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India received certification to build LNG ships

Cochin Shipyard becomes the first shipyard in India to receive certification to build LNG-transporting ships for any client world-wide, joining the league of South Korea, Japan and China.

  • The CEO of Gaztransport et Technigaz (GTT), Philippe Berterottiere awarded the license to Subramaniam, CMD, Cochin Shipyard.

Spain’s ruling conservative People’s Party wins 2015 general election

Ruling conservative People’s Party (PP) of Spain led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has won the 2015 general election of the country.

  • In the general election, PP won the 123 seats by securing in the lower house of the 350-member Parliament and securing 7% vote share.
  • However, it has fallen short of absolute majority which can be achieved by any party that wins minimum 176 seats.

Now the People’s Party has to form a coalition government with support of other political parties to govern for another four-year term.

Keys:
Spain Capital: Madrid
Spain Currency: Euro

UNSC extended sanctions against Taliban in Afghanistan

The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted resolution 2255 (2015) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The resolution sanctions regime against individuals and entities affiliated with the Taliban for 18 months.

Key Highlights of the Resolution

  • Any exemption would only be granted for the requested period of any travel to the specified locations.
  • It extends exemption to travel bans and assets freezes as well as language on the need to combat the financing of terrorism.
  • Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was taken into account to cut the flow of funds and other financial assets and economic resources to individuals and entities on the 1988 Sanction List.

It encouraged States to share information, establish partnerships and develop national strategies and capabilities to counter the devices.

BANKING & FINANCE

India to be the swiftly growing economy in next 10 years

The Centre for International Development (CID) at Harvard University has forecasted that India has the potential to be the world’s fastest growing economy gushing ahead of its South Asian economic rival China.

  • India has topped the global list with the growth rate projection at 7%.
  • On the other hand India’s contender China is expecting to face a continous slowdown to 3% growth annually to 2024.

No deadline for resolving complaints by Banking Ombudsman: RBI

There is no time limit for resolution of complaints under Banking Ombudsman scheme, aimed at seeking redressal of customers’ common complaints against banks.

  • Over 9,500 such complaints were pending against various banks.
  • The revised 2006 Banking Ombudsman scheme, applicable to all commercial banks, regional rural banks and scheduled primary cooperative banks, provides a forum to customers to seek redressal of their complaints relating to credit cards, house loans, promises given by the banks’ sales agents and delay in delivery of services.
  • “No time limit is specified for resolution of complaint under Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006”.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Indian-American Researcher Named Fellow of US Academy

Indian US reacher named fellow of US academyA prominent Indian-American bioengineering researcher has been named as a fellow in the US’ National Academy of Inventors for his work in inventing path-breaking healthcare technologies.

  • C Mauli Agrawal, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus, is the Vice President of Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He will be formally inducted in April next year.
  • His work in orthopaedic implants, cardiovascular biomaterials and diabetic foot products has drawn recognition. His bioengineering research has resulted in 28 patents.
  • Agrawal, 56, will be among 582 fellows in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He was selected for the honour because of his research and innovations in orthopaedic and cardiovascular biomaterials and implants.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Grocery delivery app PepperTap acquires Jiffstore

Online grocery delivery major PepperTap, run by Gurgaon-based Nuvo Logistics has acquired Bengaluru-based hyperlocal grocery delivery start-up Jiffstore for an undisclosed amount.

  • PepperTap hopes to raise around $11 million (Rs 73 crore) by January-end, the company said on Monday. PepperTap has raised $4 million (Rs 26.5 crore) in venture debt from Innoven Capital, the Indian lending arm of sovereign fund Temasek Holdings.

Digital media company Arre acquired Apalya Technologies

Arre, the digital media brand from UDigital, a venture founded by Ronnie Screwvala, B Saikumar and Ajay Chacko has announced the acquisition of Apalya Technologies.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

China launched DAMPE satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter

China has launched the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter.

  • It was the country’s first space telescope and launched on a Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
  • The purpose of the satellite is to search for smoking-gun signals of dark matter, invisible material that scientists say makes up most of the universe’s mass.

SpaceX successfully launched and landed Falcon 9 rocket

American aerospace company SpaceX achieved the historic feat of successfully launching and landing Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground at Cape Canaveral.

  • Falcon 9 successfully launched a constellation of 11 Orbcomm-OG2 second-generation satellites.
  • This was the 20th launch of the Falcon 9.

It is the first time in the history of rocketry that a rocket has returned back after delivering a spacecraft to its orbit, so that it could potentially fly again. This exercise of using reusable rockets will help in reducing the cost of access to space making explorations a more realistic goal.

SPORTS

OUE Singapore Slammers crowned Champions of IPTL 2015

The International Premier Tennis League 2015 title has been clinched by Singapore Slammers. The final was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

  • Singapore Slammers beat the Micromax Indian Aces in the final by 26-21 to win the crown of the Indian Premier Tennis League (IPTL) – 2015.
  • With this, Singapore Slammers won the prize money of 1 million US dollars while the Micromax Indian Aces got 500000 US dollars as runners-up.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) Awards 2015

Indian international midfielder Eugenson Lyngdoh has been voted “Player of the Year” for 2015 by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

  • Lyngdoh (29) was chosen the winner on basis of votes from I-League coaches. He will receive a sum of Rs.2 lakh for his efforts.
  • He plays for Bengaluru FC in the I-league and FC Pune City in the India Super League. So far he has represented the country eight times.

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum announced retirement

Brendon McCullum announces retirement from international cricketNew Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum announced retirement from all forms of international cricket. He will retire after the two home test series against Australia, which will begin in February 2016.

  • ODI Career: His debut was in 2001 against Australia at Sydney at age of 20. He had scored 5909 runs from 254 matches. This score include 5 centauries and 31 half-centauries. He had taken 258 catches and did 15 stumpings as a wicketkeeper.
  • Test Career: His test debut was in 2003 against South Africa. Overall he has played 99 tests so far and scored 6273 runs. He has scored 11 centuries and 31 half-centuries at an average of 38.48. He is only New Zealand batsman to score only triple century. He had taken 194 catches and made 11 stumpings.
  • T20 Internationals Career: He is the first and only player to score two Twenty20 International centuries so far and overall 2000 runs.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Mathematics Day observed to commemorate birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan

December 22 has been declared as the National Mathematics DayNational Mathematics Day observed every year on December 22 to commemorate birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan

  • The declaration to observe 22 December as National Mathematics Day was made by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 26 February 2012 at Madras University on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.
  • It was also declared to observe year 2012 as the National Mathematics Year.

About Srinivasa Ramanujan :

  • Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 in Erode district of Tamil Nadu.
  • His talent was recognized by G. N. Hardy, who arranged for him to be a student at Cambridge University. At age 32, Ramanujan produced an exceptional output in mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.
  • He died at a young age of 32 years on 26 April 1920