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‘Laureates and Leaders’ Summit for Children Held in New Delhi
i. Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation organized a ‘Laureates and Leaders’ Summit for Children from December 10 to 11 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi which was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Aim: The summit aimed to fight against child labour, child slavery and violence against children to build a strong moral platform for protecting children from violence, and bringing forward a world where children are free to be just children.
Concluding the event, President Pranab Mukherjee launched a campaign named ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ on December 11, 2016 involving participation of about 5000 children.
Madhya Pradesh Inaugurates First Crop Insurance Claim Distribution Programme
i. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan on December 10, 2016, inaugurated the programme to distribute Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna claim worth 4 thousand 416 crore rupees to 20 lakh 46 thousand farmers of the state from Ujjain district.
ii. Madhya Pradesh is the first Indian state to start the biggest and first ever crop insurance claim distribution programme worth Rupees 4 thousand 416 crore.
iii. Under the scheme, the Farmers who lost Kharif Crop in the year 2015 due to natural calamities will be benefited.
iv. The insurance claim amount will be provided to the farmers in their bank accounts through online procedure.
India International Science festival -2016 held in New Delhi
i. The 2016 India International Science festival (IISF) was organized at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Campus in New Delhi from December 7 to December 11, 2016 by the Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Science & Technology.
ii. The event was inaugurated by the Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh.The theme of the festival was “Science for the masses”.
iii. Aim: to promote the science and technology developed by the Indian research laboratories among masses and to inculcate scientific understanding, temperament and appreciation for various achievements in Indian science & technology.
iv. About 10,000 people including 5,000 young scientists, 3,000 children from rural India and 600 foreign students participated in the festival.
v. The first India International Science Festival (IISF -2015) was held at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Delhi campus.
Railway Starts Giving Free Accidental Insurance Cover for Booking Railway Ticket Online
i. In order to promote Digital Transaction after demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency note, the Indian Railways has started to give free accidental insurance cover to the passengers who booked their tickets through online mode, from December 10, 2016.
ii. According to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) the passengers having confirmed or RAC (Reserved Against Cancellation) tickets would be covered under this scheme.
iii. The move was implemented after, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a free accident insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh for passengers who buy railway tickets online, to promote the cashless transaction.
iv. Earlier in September 2016, an optional insurance scheme was launched by the IRCTC on a pilot basis for one year, which provided an insurance cover of about Rs. 10 lakh for booking online ticket by paying 92 paise.
v. Under the scheme, Rs. 10 lakh was given to beneficiary in case of the death of the passenger, along with Rs 10,000 for transportation of mortal remains.
vi. Passenger was entitled to get Rs. 10 lakh in case he gets permanently disabled, Rs 7.5 lakh in case of partial disability, while Rs 2 lakh for the hospitalization expense.
Lt. Governor Puducherry, Kiran Bedi Launched Model Scheme
i. Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Kiran Bedi on December 11, 2016 announced the decision about the selection of Thimmanaicken Palayam village in the Manaveli Assembly constituency under Model Village Scheme.
ii. After conducting the survey of the village along with officials of various departments and local legislator R K R Anandaraman the former IPS officer decided that Raj Nivas (official residence of Lt Governor of Puducherry) would adopt the village in association with the National Cadet Corps (NCC).
iii. As a part of corporate social responsibility, Puducherry chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industries, the Mahindra Holidays, Aravind Eye Hospital and a few other organisations had also come forward to take up developmental works in the village.
iv. The model village scheme aims at creating a clean environment in the village under the Swachch Bharath Abhiyan and also make the village open defecation free within a month.
IAMAI Constitutes Ajit Mohan Committee to Fight Online Piracy
i. Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has constituted a committee to fight against the problem of online piracy and develop suitable business standards and best practices for the digital entertainment industry.
ii. Ajit Mohan of Hotstar will be the chairman of the committee while it will be co-chaired by Uday Sodhi of SET India and Salil Kapoor of HOOQ. Other member of the committee includes Star Plus, Digivive, Radio Mirchi, Shemaroo, Viacom 18, Netflix, Arre, Eros, among others.
iii. The aim of the committee is to safeguard the interest of the digital entertainment industry.
iv. The committee will take necessary steps to create a self regulatory code of conduct, measures for standard and good business practices, create public awareness measures to minimize online piracy and also take regulatory and legal actions as per requirement.
♦ Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI) is a not-for-profit industry body registered under the Societies Act, 1986 to expand and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 2004
Mehbooba Mufti Flags off First Children Special Train in Kashmir
i. Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti flagged off fortnightly special train ‘Vaadi ki sair’ (Tour of the Valley) on December 11, 2016, for children that will run between Banihal to Baramulla.
ii. The Chief Minister also boarded the train at Quazigund station and travelled upto Baramula. 610 children boarded the train from various stations of valley to enjoy the ride.
iii. During the ride on first children special train, CM interacted with the students about studies and extra-curricular activities and encouraged them to excel in the respective field and contribute positively to the society.
iv. Several Ministers, Members of Parliament, MLAs and educationists accompanied Mehbooba and the children.
World’s longest Rail Tunnel Starts Operating in Switzerland
i. The world’s longest rail tunnel, Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT), began operating on regular basis in Switzerland, on December 11, 2016, to provide service to the passengers.
ii. The GBT Tunnel had an opening ceremony in June which was accompanied by European leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande for its maiden ride.
iii. The 57 km GBT took 17 years to build at a cost of over 12 billion Swiss francs ($11.8 billion, 11.2 billion euros).
iv. The first regular passenger train which used the GBT departed from Zurich at 6:09 am and arrived in Lugano at 8:17 am, saving about 30 minutes of previous travel time.
v. The Tunnel is equipped with technically advanced tunnel-boring machines, replacing the costly and dangerous blast-and-drill method.
vi. The 57 kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel has exceeded Japan’s 53.9-kilometre Seikan tunnel to become the world’s longest train tunnel while the 50.5-kilometre Tunnel connecting Britain and France has been placed at third place.
♦ Capital : Bern
♦ Currency: Swiss franc
OPEC, non-OPEC Agree to Cut Oil Output to Boost Oil Prices
i. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC Russia, on December 10, 2016, reached a mutual agreement on their first deal since 2001, to jointly restrict oil production to control the excess global availability of the oil and thus boost oil prices.
ii. It is the first time in 15 years that a global pact has been struck.
iii. The decision between the two organizations was taken as the prices of the oil went down to very low for more than two years disturbing the budgets and creating unrest in some countries.
iv. OPEC has agreed to put down the oil production 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 1, with top exporter Saudi Arabia cutting as much as 486,000 bpd.
v. While non-OPEC producers agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd, from the previous 600,000 bpd but still the largest contribution by non-OPEC ever.
vi. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabiaand Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.
♦ Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations.
♦ Founded :1960
♦ Headquarters Vienna, Austria
Uttar Pradesh and Tata Trust Ties to Strengthen Public Distribution System
i. Akhilesh Yadav lead Uttar Pradesh Government has tied up with Tata Trusts to acquire digital platforms to strengthen the public distribution system (PDS) in the state.
ii. Under the Agreement, Tata Trusts have installed electronic Point of Sale devices (ePOS) in various urban region shops of Lucknow, to ensure operation of an Aadhaar-enabled Public Distribution System (AePDS) at fair price.
iii. ePOS Scheme is a part of the MoU signed between UP Government and Tata Trust about a year back to work together in several sectors including agriculture, health, nutrition, education and migrant labour.
iv. In November 2016, the Tata Trusts and the UP government also announced the launch of Double Fortified Salt (DFS) to check the iron and iodine deficiencies prevailing amongst the population of UP.
Government Scraps 10 percent Import Duty on Wheat to improve Domestic Availibilty
i. The government on December 8, 2016, scrapped the 10 percent import duty on wheat due to the rising domestic prices and shortage in the buffer stocks arising out of the consecutive drought in the years 2014 and 2015.
ii .Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the scrapping of import duty on wheat from 10 per cent to nil with immediate effect under section 159 of the Customs Act 1962.
iii. The decision is likely to lower the domestic wheat prices and keep the food inflation under control.
iv .Earlier in September 2016, the import duty was reduced from 25 percent to 10 per cent. Wheat traders have anticipated the imports to touch 5 million tonnes this year.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Gentiloni Named As Italy’s New Prime Minister
i. Paolo Gentiloni was appointed as Prime minister of Italy on December 11, 2016. He replaces Matteo Renzi who resigned after losing a referendum on plans to reform Italy’s constitution.
ii. Gentiloni was served as foreign minister under Renzi. He will lead the Italy government till February 2018.
♦ Capital: Rome
♦ Currency: Euro
29-year-old Rafia Qaseem Baig becomes first Pak woman to join Bomb Disposal Unit
i. Rafia Qaseem Baig(29) become the first Pakistani woman to join the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) in the restive province that frequently witnesses terror attacks.
ii. Rafia was joined the police force at the age of 22. She completed her master’s degree in International Relations and master’s degree in Economics and worked at the International Rescue Committee where she developed a passion for law and enrolled in an LLB programme that is currently under way.
iii. She was also the only female member of an investigation team that rescued Lady Reading Hospital physician Dr Intikhab Alam 48 hours after his abduction in 2010.
iv. She will work in the BDU after completing her 15-day training along with 31 other male members at Nowshera’s School of Explosive Handling.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Nanoceramic material material for safer, economical nuclear reactors created
i. Scientists have created a nanoceramic material which will be used to produce safer and economical nuclear reactors.
ii. This can be used at higher temperatures and radiation fields, producing energy efficiently and the material becomes tougher under radiation.
iii. Generally, water has been used as the primary coolant in reactors, absorbing the heat released from fission reactions.
iv. Water poses fewer risks of corrosion damage to materials and in advanced reactors, increasing their temperature is the best way to increase energy production.
What is Nuclear Reactors :
♦ A nuclear reactor is a system that contains and controls sustained nuclear chain reactions.
♦ Reactors are used for generating electricity, moving aircraft carriers and submarines, producing medical isotopes for imaging and cancer treatment, and for conducting research.
China Launches First, Second Generation Weather Satellite ‘Fengyun-4’
i. China launched a new weather satellite, Fengyun-4 satellite, in the geostationary orbit, on December 11, 2016, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province . Long March-3B carrier rocket took the satellite into orbit.
ii. It was China’s First second-generation weather satellites launched as well as the country’s first quantitative remote-sensing satellite in the geostationary orbit.
iii. The satellite will make high class observations related to spatial and spectral resolution of the atmosphere, clouds and space environment of China and surrounding regions and aid in improving capabilities of weather and climate forecasts.
iv. The launch second-generation weather satellites were the 242nd mission of China’s Long March series of rockets. The China Meteorological Administration is the primary user of the satellite.
v. 14 weather satellites have been launched by China till now, seven of which are still in orbit.
Cheerleading and martial art of muaythai Becomes Provisional Olympic Sport
i. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board on December 6, 2016, has granted provisional recognition to cheerleading and the martial art of muaythai as Olympic sports.
ii. The governing body for each sport will now be entitled to receive at least $25,000 annually from the committee along with the opportunity to apply for additional grants and take part in a number of programs, including athlete development and anti-doping.
iii. With the inclusion of the two sports in Olympics, total 37 sports are now part of the Olympic game.
iv .However, the provisional recognition of the two sports will be provided for up to three years, after which they can apply to become a part of the game.
v. This year, the IOC committee included six new sports including skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing, karate among other in the 2020 Summer Olympics which will be held in Tokyo.
International Olympic Committee
♦ It is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization to support the development of competitive sport by ethical and environmentally sustainable means.
♦ Headquarter: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ Founded: 23 June 1894
♦ President: Thomas Bach
Iqbal Sayed Becomes First Indian to Win Medal at Mr. Olympia Amateur Event
i. Iqbal Sayed of Mumbai won the silver medal at the Mr Olympia amateur event held in Hong Kong, beating participants from 20 countries under the Olympia Amateur Asia 2016’s Classic Bodybuilding category.
ii. 27-year old Iqbal, who works as a civil engineer with Reliance Infrastructure and Mumbai Metro, has become the first Indian to win a medal at the Mr. Olympia amateur event.
iii. In 2015, Iqbal was Mr. Mumbai runner up
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Dipa Karmakar’s biography to be co-authored by her coach Bishweshwar Nandi
i. The biography of Dipa Karmakar who is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics to be written by Vimal Mohan, Digvijay Singh Deo and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi.
ii. The book titled ‘Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder’ which will be published by Fingerprint! in August 2017.
iii. The book will speak about the struggle Dipa had gone through all these years. It will includes many untold stories of struggle and triumph, besides rare archival photos from Karmakar’s private album as well as competition photos’ from Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
International Mountain Day observed with the theme ‘Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity’
i. Every Year 11th December is celebrated as “International Mountain Day” to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life.
ii. Aim : To highlight Mountain Cultures. Mountains host communities with ancient cultures and traditions, and are places of religious worship, pilgrimage and rituals all over the world.
iii. 2016 Theme — “Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity“