Current Affairs Today – December 8 2015

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Current Affairs Today 8 December 2015

INDIAN AFFAIRS

“Kala Utsav” promoting Indian culture kicked off in Delhi

HRD Minister Smriti Irani launched Kala Utsav, a four-day event, organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to promote Indian culture among school students started at Bal Bhavan, New Delhi.

Participants – 1,400 students from across India

Theme “living traditions of tribal, folk and traditional arts of different regions”

  • It aims at enhancing the life-skills of the participants and to increase awareness about various Indian art forms and the “country’s rich heritage” among school children.

8 different biomes to be monitored through I-LTEO programme

India has launched the Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories (I-LTEO) programme to scientifically monitor 8 different biomes (natural landscapes) across the country.

  • The initiative was launched on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties-21 (COP-21) of UNFCCC in Paris.
  • It aims to identify and monitor targeted socio-ecological challenges and help build capacity within India. The studies under the programme will indicate the need for imminent adaptation measures.

Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha to fast track nuclear power projects

To expedite nuclear power projects, a Bill to amend the Atomic Energy Act to empower Nuclear Power Corporation of India to enter into joint ventures with other public sector undertakings introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Reason:  

To facilitate the fast expansion of nuclear power, utility and establishment, living up to India’s commitment of using nuclear energy for peaceful purpose. and help in the common objective of power generation network.

Moved by: Minister of State in the Department of Atomic of Energy (DAE) Jitendra Singh.

Key points:

  • Nuclear power is the 4th largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant(Tamilnadu) with first unit (1,000 MW) commissioned in the year 2013. With initial capacity of 2,000 MW.

Maharashtra becomes first state to allow MLAs raise online question

Maharashtra has become first state to allow the members of state legislature to raise online questions.

Aim: To move towards complete digitization of the process. The idea is to raise it to 100% and bringing the paperwork to minimum.

Programme: State government has given unique usernames and passwords to the members and a server has been set up. Laptops of members have been configured to server, which is set up by Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd.(MKCL)

  • Each member was given training once by MKCL, while members’ personal assistants were trained twice.
  • Answers given by ministers will also be made available online and in the last step all members, ministers and assembly speaker will be given touch screen tablets, connected via-wireless network. Assembly and council have been connected through Wi-Fi for the first time.
  • Principal secretary: Anant Kalse

Key points: Maharashtra
Third largest state in India and also the world’s second-most populous sub-national entity.
Capital: Mumbai
CM: Devendra Fadnavis
Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao

First India International Science Festival begins at IIT-Delhi

Five-day science festival inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) with a mega ‘Science Technology and Industrial Expo’ displaying projects by students, experts and entrepreneurs. It is the first International Science Fair (IISF) and  will continue till December 8.

  • Inaugurated by: Minister of Science and Technology
  • Organized by: Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO

Highlights:

  • 240 projects are being displayed at the expo. A project which amassed major attention was the solar-electric car made by 63-year-old Syed Sajjad Ahmed(school dropout) that is equipped with solar panels to generate electricity to run the car.
  • Pramodh K. R.’s project, a Class X student from Karnataka,‘Vision 2020 Bangarpet’, advocates the use of alternate resources such as solar energy and wind power to solve problems of water scarcity, pollution, electricity, and traffic.

Lok Sabha passes High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha passed a bill amending the law on salaries and service conditions of Supreme Court and high court judges

Aim: To bring in uniformity in pensions and other conditions of service of the judges.

  • Bill was brought in under Article 175 of the constitution to ensure that there is no discrimination in salaries, pensions and other service conditions of the judges of the two courts.
  • Law Minister: D.V. Sadananda Gowda

Key points:

  • Supreme court of India: It comprises the Chief Justice of India(Justice H.L.Dattu) and 30 other judges. It has original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

IIT-D set record in “Largest Practical Science Lesson”

IIT Delhi has scripted Guinness World Record in conducting the largest practical science lesson by assembling 2,000 school students from Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) at the sprawling lawns of Indian Institute of Technology.

  • The event was organised by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), the country’s largest science movement, as part of the India International Science Festival (IISF) 2015.
  • Fifty students of Class 9 to 12 each were drawn from 40 government and private schools to set the Guinness World Record.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Indo-American Frank Islam bestowed with UP Ratna Award

Uttar Pradesh Ratna Award has been conferred on Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Frank Islam (63) to recognise his achievements and outstanding contributions in a foreign country.

  • The award will be presented by UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the inaugural UP Pravasi Diwas in Agra on January 4, 2016.

INS Sindhudhwaj bags award for innovation from PM Narendra Modi

INS Sindhudhwaj bags award for innovation from PM Narendra ModiINS Sindhudhwaj, a submarine of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) awarded with ‘The Best Innovation Trophy’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of Navy Day Celebrations 2015.

About INS Sindhudhwaj :

  •  The innovation undertaken by the submarine to repair their ventilation system under challenging circumstances at sea during a search and rescue (SAR) operation was adjudged the first among the 137 entries of Navy, a release from the city-headquartered ENC.
  • The award comes as a great morale booster to the submarine arm which celebrates its 48th Anniversary on 08 Dec 15.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Latvia’s Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma resigned

Latvia’s-Prime-Minister-Laimdota-Straujuma-resignedLatvia’s Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma announced resignation after less than two years in office, saying there was a need for “new ideas” following serious infighting within her centre-right party.

  • She has been prime minister since January 2014, when she took over from Valdis Dombrovskis who resigned after the deadly collapse of a supermarket roof .
  • Straujuma has in recent weeks been subject to rumours of her imminent resignation.
  • She has notably come under fire, including from within her own Unity party, over the tax hikes included in the 2016 budget.

Key points :

  • Latvia Capital : Riga
  • Latvia Currency : Euro
  • Latvia President : Raimonds Vējonis

 Ola appointed Joy Bandekar as Corporate President

Ola has appointed Flipkart executive Joy Bandekar as corporate president to head its new initiatives arm.

About Joy Bandekar :

  • Bandekar has 10 years of experience in the e-commerce space in India and south-east Asia region, served as corporate president at Flipkart in his most recent stint.
  • Prior to Flipkart, Bandekar had worked at global e-commerce marketplace eBay. He also had stints with firms such as Kirloskar, Reliance Industries, Maxworth Orchards, and Atcom Technologies.

Co-founder and CEO of Ola : Bhavish Aggarwal

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao resign

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao resignsBhaskar Rao has finally resigned from his post of Karnataka Lokayukta over alleged bribery scandal. His resignation letter was sent to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala.

Key facts :

  • Rao is on a long leave since July last after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case.
  • According to the Lokayukta Act, recently amended to simplify rules for removal of the anti-graft ombudsman, on admission of the motion, the presiding officers shall refer the matter to the High Court Chief Justice for investigation into the grounds over which the removal is sought.
  • The investigation for proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Sanofi Pasteur launches injectable inactivated Polio Vaccine

Sanofi Pasteur(vaccines division of Sanofi) launched ShanIPV, an injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). K Chandrasekhar Rao(Telangana CM) launched the vaccine. ShanIPV would be manufactured by affiliate Shantha Biotechnics(Hyderabad). India was publicized a polio-free nation in 2014.

  • ShanIPV: A trivalent inactivated, injectable polio vaccine
  • Goal: A polio-free world

Highlights:

  • All vaccines i.e. Imovax Polio of Sanofi Pasteur and ShanIPV of Shantha would be delivered in India through UNICEF.
  • One dose of IPV at 14 weeks of age. IPV is to be given also the existing oral polio vaccine.

Key points: Shantha Biotechnics

First Indian company to develop, manufacture and market recombinant humanhealthcare products in India. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanofi group.

HQ: Hyderabad
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Shantha Biotechnics: Mahesh Bhalgat

Cochin Shipyard launches fast patrol vessels for Coast Guard

Cochin Shipyard Ltd has launched the 19th of the 20 Fast Patrol Vessels being built for Indian Coast Guard.

  • Name: ICGS Atulya
  • Launched by: Hema Subramaniam, wife of Commodore K. Subramaniam, Chairman & Managing Director,CSL.

Features:

  • Long-range gun and ultra-modern vessel control navigation
  • communication tools

FPV(Fast Patrol Vessel): For patrolling within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), coastal patrol, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy activities, search- and-rescue operations and fisheries protection and monitoring.

Secondary role: Provides communication link, and guiding coastal troops, in times of hostilities and war.

Key points:

  • Coast Guard DIG G Devanand
  • CSL technical and finance director: D Paul Ranjan

ENVIRONMENT

Beijing issued first-ever Red Alert on “Air Pollution”

Beijing Govt has warned that the city would be shrouded in heavy smog from Tuesday until Thursday (8 Dec – 10 Dec), in this regard the city has issued its first ever “red alert” for pollution. The notice is issued after days of heavy smog last week which also puts traffic restrictions on certain types of vehicles.

  • The red alert was announced for the first time since an emergency air-pollution response system was introduced in 2013.
  • The warning was an upgrade from an orange alert issued over the weekend. It is a part of China’s four-colour warning system that includes yellow and blue levels for less polluted conditions.

SPORTS

India grabs the second place in ICC Test C’ship

India moved into the second place of the ICC Test Championship table after completing a 3-0 drubbing of South Africa in the four-Test series, which concluded with the fourth match in New Delhi.

  • It notched up a massive 337-run victory over South Africa in the fourth and final Test at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium after dismissing the visitors for 143 in 143.1 overs.

Pune and Rajkot teams replace Chennai and Rajasthan in IPL

Two new teams based out of Rajkot and Pune replacing suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Intex group bagged the Rajkot-based IPL team, winning the reverse bidding for the franchise while Kolkata-based business tycoon Sanjiv Goenka’s RP-Sanjiv Goenka group won the bid for the Pune-based team.

  • The RP-Sanjiv Goenka group acts as co-owner for the Indian Super League(ISL) franchise Atletico de Kolkata and former Indian cricket captain and member of IPL governing council Sourav Ganguly and La Liga club Atletico Madrid.
  • Intex group’s bid for Rs -10 crore clinched the Rajkot team and RP-Sanjiv Goenka group won the bid for the Pune-based team for Rs -16 crore.The base price for the reverse bid from the central revenue pool was Rs 40 crore.

IPL’s 2016 edition to be held from 9 April to 29 May and IPL auction will take place on 6 February, 2016 in Bengaluru.

OBITUARY

Former FIFA referee Bhattacharya passes away

Former FIFA referee S K Bhattacharya(87) passed away in Chandanpur, West Bengal.

About  Bhattacharya :

  • He was the one of India’s most reputed referee in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Bhattacharya held the distinction of supervising the Asia Cup finals in the 1972 in Tehran.
  • He also supervised the finals of all top tournaments in the country, including Durand Cup, DCM trophy and IAF Shield.
  • Being very strict on the field, capital’s players, in the prestigious Delhi Senior Division league, were scared of his strict decisions and paid due respect.