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Current Affairs Today December 11 2017

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Khelo India programme to be launched at cost of 1,756 cr rupees
On December 10, 2017, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced that Khelo India programme will be relaunched at a cost of Rs 1756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20. While making this announcement, Mr. Rathore also stated that 2018 will be celebrated as Year of Sports.
i. Under this programme, Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme will be rolled out. Each year, 1000 most talented young athletes across select sports disciplines will be covered in this scholarship scheme.
ii. The selected athlete shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5 lakh for 8 consecutive years……………………………………………..Click here to Read more

UN Women, Facebook inaugurates ‘We The Women’ event in Mumbai
On December 9, 2017, UN Women and Facebook inaugurated ‘We The Women’ event in Mumbai, aimed to empower and recognise the contribution of women in our society.We The WomenAbout ‘We The Women’:
i. Famous women achievers including Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, Wrestler Sakshi Malik, Cricketer Mithali Raj, Television and Film Producer Ekta Kapoor participated in this event.
ii. This two-day event was held at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai under the curatorship of journalist Barkha Dutt.
iii. Participants expressed their viewpoints on various issues including sexism, gender equality and sexual harassment.
iv. The event also hosted a flea market and food stalls showcasing food items by female chefs.
Quick Facts about UN Women:
♦ Founded in – 2010
♦ Headquarters – New York, United States

Government launches door-to-door campaign against TB
Union Health Ministry has launched a 15-day door-to-door campaign across the country to eliminate the tuberculosis (TB).
Door-to-door campaign against TB:
i. Under this campaign, aimed to detect, diagnose and treat TB, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and TB supervisors will make door-to-door visits to detect Tuberculosis patients and will give them free medical treatment till they are cured.
ii. According to data by World Health Organisation, every year, around 1.1 million TB cases (out of total 2.8 million TB cases) remain unreported and are thereby missed from treatment. The door-to-door campaign is expected to plug this slippage.
iii. Under the Revised National TB Control Programme, Union Health Ministry has set a target to reduce incidences of TB by 90 per cent by year 2025 and reduce mortality due to TB by 95 per cent by year 2030.
iv. Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease which affects the lung and is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB).

ASEAN – India Connectivity Summit begins in New Delhi
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – India Connectivity Summit (AICS) begun in New Delhi on December 11, 2017.ASEAN SUMMITAbout ASEA-India Connectivity Summit:
i. Theme of this two-day Summit is ‘Powering Digital and Physical Linkages for Asia in the 21st Century’.
ii. The Summit aims at accelerating existing connectivity prospects, evolving suitable policy recommendations, identifying issues of concern and developing strategies to enhance economic, trade and industrial relations between India and ASEAN member countries.
iii. Infrastructure, Shipping, Roadways, Digital, Energy, Finance and Aviation have been outlined as the focus areas for this summit.
iv. Ministers including Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) and Gen. V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs will be attending this Summit.
v. The Summit has been organized by the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Quick Facts about ASEAN:
♦ Founded in – 1967
♦ Secretariat – Jakarta
♦ Membership – 10 countries, 2 observers

15th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China held in New Delhi
15th trilateral meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers was held in New Delhi on December 11, 2017.
Highlights of the meeting:
i. This meeting was held between Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.
ii. Discussions at this meeting focused on regional security, issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region, counter-terror efforts and coordination at regional and multilateral forums.
iii. A joint communiqué was also released after the meeting. Both the visiting foreign ministers also called upon Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind.
iv. Before the meeting, Ms Sushma Swaraj had held separate bilateral meetings with both the visiting foreign ministers.

Tribal Festival “Adivasi Mahotsav” organised in Chhattisgarh 
On 10th and 11th December 2017, the Tribal Development Department organised a two-day Tribal Festival, “Adivasi Mahotsav” in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Adivasi Mahotsav:
i.Adivasi Mahotsav is celebrated to commemorate the martyrdom day of freedom fighter and great revolutionary from Chhattisgarh, Shahid Veernarayan Singh.
ii.The festival was inaugurated by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh at Government Science College Ground, Raipur. The function was presidedover by Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.
iii.A tribal literature festival was organized at Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Auditorium during the festival. Regional folk dances such as Bihu, Hojgiri of Tripura, Cherav dance of Mizoram, and other folk dances of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya were performed.
Folk dances of a few India States:
Bardo Chham – Arunachal Pradesh
Bagurumba, Bihu, Jhumur – Assam
Raut Nacha – Chhattisgarh
Fugdi – Goa


World’s largest automated container terminal opens in Shanghai
On December 10, 2017, China started trial operations of Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port, referred to as world’s biggest automated container terminal.Largest automated containerMore Information about Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port:
i. The port covers 2.23 million square metres areas and has a 2350-metre shoreline.
ii. Once this port is made fully operational, it will handle 4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). This handling capacity will be gradually expanded to 6.3 million TEUs.
iii. Several automated handling equipments including machinery used in loading and unloading, bridge cranes, a rail-mounted gantry crane and an automated guided vehicle (AGV) are being used at the port. All these equipments have been designed and manufactured in China by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company. 
iv. In order to maintain safety and efficiency, a domestically-developed automated management system is also being used at the port.

US, S Korea, Japan start missile-tracking drill
On December 11, 2017, United States (US), South Korea and Japan started a joint drill to track missiles from North Korea.
US-South Korea-Japan Missile-Tracking Drill:
i. This drill is being conducted in waters near the Korean peninsula and Japan.
ii. This two-day drill is the sixth since June 2016. It is being conducted as a response to recent announcement by North Korea that it has test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and has achieved nuclear statehood.
iii. Two ships from US and one each from Japan and South Korea are participating in this drill.
iv. During the course of this drill, participating warships will simulate detecting and tracking down potential ballistic missiles from North Korea and will share related information.

Delhi-NCR 84th most expensive office location globally: Report
According to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield’s ‘Office Space Across the World 2017’ report, Delhi-NCR is 84th most expensive office location in the world.Office Space across the worldHighlights of ‘Office Space Across the World 2017’ report:
i. ‘Office Space Across the World 2017’ report evaluated 215 global locations. The rankings were based on occupancy costs per workstation and workplace densities. Occupancy costs per workstation included base rents and common area maintenance charges.
ii. Delhi-NCR ranked 84th with an annual cost of USD 5392 (over Rs 3.5 lakh) per workstation. Other office locations in India ranked below 100, thereby making Indian office market, one of the most affordable across the world
iii. Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), which ranked 163rd in the global list was the second most expensive location in India with rental costs of over Rs 200000 per annum per workstation.
iv. The list was topped by Hong Kong with an annual cost of USD 27431 per workstation. Hong Kong was followed by London and Tokyo.


Pakistan depreciates currency after talks with IMF
In the last week, Pakistan allowed its currency (Pakistani rupee) to depreciate after important talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).Pakistan CurrencyRecent Depreciation of Pakistani Rupee:
i. This decision was taken to ensure materialisation of $2.5 billion worth of receipts from two international bonds launched in November 2017.
ii. As a result, on December 8, 2017,  Pakistani Rupee touched Rs. 110 against US dollar and closed at Rs. 107 at the end of the session.
iii. First round of discussions (between Pakistan Government and IMF) on external sector of Pakistan’s economy concluded on December 8, 2017.
iv. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will now allow Pakistani rupee’s exchange rate to adjust as per market conditions.
v. This currency adjustment is expected to help shift foreign currency holdings in commercial banks, back to official reserves. Currently, foreign currency holdings in Pakistan’s commercial banks is at a higher level of around $6 billion.
Quick Facts about Pakistan:
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency – Pakistani rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
♦ Important River – Indus

India’s economy expected to grow at 7.5 % in 2018: Nomura
Global investment bank Nomura has predicted India’s economy to register a 7.5 % growth rate in 2018, saying it is on the cusp of a cyclical recovery.
India’s economy expected to grow at 7.5 % in 2018:
i.Nomura said in the report that, the Indian economy is on the cusp of a cyclical recovery. The government has continued to implement structural reforms and prudent macro policies, the benefits of which may be harder to pinpoint right now, but over time will be positive for growth.
ii.It said higher crude oil prices and state election results are the main risks. Given the base effects, Nomura expects the growth in the first half of 2018to be at 7.8 %.
iii.It listed out factors supporting a strong growth: normalisation of GST related supply disruptions, positive effects of bank recapitalisation, positive remonetisation impulse and positive fiscal impulse.
About Nomura Group:
Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan
Group CEO – Koji Nagai
Chairman – Nobuyuki Kog


FE Best Banks Awards – SBI bags best Nationalised Bank award
FE Best Banks Awards 2015-16, ceremony took place in Mumbai on December 9, 2017. FE Best Banks Awards are considered as India’s most coveted banking awards……………………………………………………Click here to Read more
Winners of FE Best Banks Awards 2015-16:

Best Nationalised BankState Bank of India (SBI)
Best Old Private Sector BankCity Union Bank
Best New Private Sector BankHDFC Bank
Lifetime Achievement AwardUday Kotak
Banker of the YearArundhati Bhattacharya
Special Initiative AwardShriram Transport Finance
Best FintechJuspay Technologies
Best Non- Banking Financial InstitutionUjjivan Financial Services
Best Mobile Banking ApplicationICICI Bank
Best Savings Bank ProductKotak Mahindra Bank

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan conferred with Yeraringan Award
On 10th December 2017, Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu conferred the ‘Yeraringan’ Award to Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, in Chennai.Yeraringan-AwardProf. M.S. Swaminathan – Yeraringan Award:
i.The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
ii.In 1947, Prof. Swaminathan moved to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI, Pusa) in New Delhi as a post-graduate student in genetics and plant breeding.
iii.He qualified for the Indian Police Service but chose a different career path leading to food security for India.
iv.He was a Fellow of many of the leading scientific academies of India and the world, including the Royal Society of London and the US National Academy of Sciences.
About Royal Society of London:
Formation – 1660
Headquarters – London, England
President – Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Ram Nath Kovind awards Presidential Colours to submarine arm of Navy
On 8th December 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind awarded Presidential Colours to the submarine arm of the Indian Navy that is celebrating its golden jubilee.
Presidential Colours to submarine arm of Navy:
i.The event was held at the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at Vishakapatnam. President Ram Nath Kovind was given a 21-gun salute upon his arrival at the ENC headquarters.
ii.He also inspected a guard of honour at the INS Circars Parade Ground. It was attended by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Flag Office Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh and other senior officers of the force.
Some of the submarines of Indian Navy:
INS Arihant, INS Chakra, INS Sindhughosh, INS Sindhudhvaj and INS Sindhuraj


Rahul Gandhi elected as Indian National Congress president
On 11th December 2017, Rahul Gandhi was elected unopposed as president of the Indian National Congress.Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi – President of Indian National Congress:
i. Rahul Gandhi was the only candidate to file his papers on the last day for nominations.  His mother Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were among the leaders who proposed his name for the President post.
ii. Sonia Gandhi served as party president for 19 years. Rahul Gandhi became a Lok Sabha member in 2004.
About Indian National Congress:
♦ Founder – Allan Octavian Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Lok Sabha leader – Mallikarjun Kharge
♦ Rajya Sabha leader – Ghulam Nabi Azad


World’s Biggest Floating Solar Project begins operation in China
A unit of China Three Gorges Corporation is building a $151 million floating solar power plant, the world’s biggest, in the nation’s eastern province of Anhui, China.
World’s Biggest Floating Solar Project in China:
i. China Three Gorges Corporation started building the 150-megawatt project in July 2017. Part of the plant has connected to the grid.
ii. The project features panels fixed to floats on the surface of a lake that formed after a coal mine collapsed. The entire facility is expected to come online by May 2018.
iii. India has recently commissioned its largest floating solar power plant in WayanadKerala.
About China Three Gorges Corporation:
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China
♦ Industry – Electricity
♦ Founded – 1993


Mt Hope new tallest mountain in British Antarctic Territory
Cartographers surveying Antarctica have discovered that Mt Hope is the tallest mountain in the British Antarctic Territory (BAT) at 3,239 metres above sea level.Mt HopeMt Hope – tallest mountain in British Antarctic Territory (BAT):
i. Until now, maps showed Mt Jackson as the tallest mountain in the territory at 3,184 metres, according to researchers at British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
ii. New satellite data reveals Mt Hope being 55 metres taller than Mt Jackson and 377 metres higher than previously thought.
iii. Mt Hope is the highest mountain in the British Antarctic Territory. However, Mt Vinson remains the highest mountain in Antarctica standing at 4,892 metres.
About British Antarctic Survey (BAS):
♦ Purpose – to carry out scientific research and surveys in the Antarctic region
♦ Director – Professor Dame Jane Francis
♦ Formation – 1962


Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu win medals at 10th Asian Championship in Japan
Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu bagged a bronze medal each at the 10th Asian Championship in Wako City, Japan.
Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu – medals at 10th Asian Championship:
i. Jitu Rai won an individual bronze in the men’s 10m Air Pistol. Indian team comprising Shahzar Rizvi and Omkar Singh and Jitu Rai, bagged the Team gold inmen’s 10m Air Pistol event.
ii. Heena Sidhu claimed an individual bronze in the women’s 10m Air Pistol. Indian team consisting of Nivetha Paramantham, Heena Sidhu and Harveen Srao won Team silver in women’s 10m Air Pistol.
iii. India added another individual bronze through Anmol Jain in the junior men’s 10m Air Pistol. Indian team of Anmol Jain, Gaurav Rana and Abhishek Arya won Team silver in the 10m Air Pistol event.
About Jitu Rai:
♦ Nationality – Indian
♦ Sport – Shooting
♦ Rank – 3 (10 metre air pistol), 4 (50 metre pistol)

Hockey World League: Australia clinches Gold, India settles for bronze
On December 10, 2017, Australia won gold in the Hockey World League 2016-17 by defeating Argentina in the finals.Hockey Leaguei. The final match was held at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
ii .Australia beat Argentina by 2-1. Two goals from Austrlian side were scored by Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward, while Agustin Bugallo scored one goal from Argentinean side.
iii .In the bronze-medal play-off, India beat Germany by 2-1. This match too was played in Bhubaneswar.
iv. Odisha government presented a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to each Indian player for winning this bronze medal.
v. India has won bronze medal in Hockey World League for the second time. Earlier it won bronze in 2014-15 season played at Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Indian diving team secure 6 medals in Indonesia Open Aquatic Championship 2017
The Indian diving team won 6 medals (1 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medal) in “Road to Asian Games 2018” Indonesia Open Aquatic Championship 2017 held at Jakarta from December 5 to 9, 2017.
Indonesia Open Aquatic Championship 2017:
i. Siddhart Pardeshi won the gold medal in the 10 m Platform event by securing 345.90 points.
ii. Kongbrailatpam Ramananda Sharma won two silver medals in 1 m and 3 m Springboard events by finishing with 282.70 points and 358.80 points respectively.
iii. The pair of Ramananda and Siddhart secured 313.40 to bag a bronze medal in 3 m Synchronise diving event.
iv. Chingsubam Puskar Meetei won another bronze medal in the 10 m Platform diving event with 297.35 points.
About International Swimming Federation (FINA):
♦ Founded – 1908
♦ Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President – Julio Maglione


‘Pioneer of DNA fingerprinting’ Lalji Singh passes away
On 10th December 2017, eminent scientist and ‘father of DNA fingerprinting in India’, Lalji Singh, passed away following a massive heart attack while he was on his way to Delhi.Lalji SinghDeath of Lalji Singh:
i. Lalji Singh was 70 years old. He was the 25th vice chancellor of the BHU (Banaras Hindu University).
ii. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri award. He was the founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), also served as its director.
iii. He was the officer-on-special-duty (OSD) at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad between 1995 and 1999.
iv. He also founded Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES).
About DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD):
♦ Established – 1990
♦ Location – Hyderabad, Telangana
♦ Operated by – Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology

Veteran journalist Batuk Gathani passes away
Batuk Gathani, veteran journalist and foreign correspondent for Indian and international news organisations passed away in London.
Death of Batuk Gathani:
i.Batuk Gathani was 82 years old. He was born in Nairobi to a Gujarati business family. He reported for ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Frontline’ from Europe for several years.
ii.He was president of the Indian Journalists Association for several years. After retiring he continued to be an active member of the Indian community in the U.K. and the Indian Journalists Association.
About The Hindu:
Owners – The Hindu Group, and Kasturi and Sons Limited
Publisher – N. Ram
Headquarters – Chennai
Founded – 1878


International Mountain Day – December 11
On 11th December 2017, International Mountain Day was celebrated all over the world.International Mountain DayInternational Mountain Day:
i. The theme for International Mountain Day 2017 is: Mountain under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.
ii. This year’s theme is linked to the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting, held on 11-13 December 2017 in Rome, Italy.
iii. International Mountain Day 2017 highlights how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and to ensure that sustainable mountain development is integrated into the 2030 Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
About World Meteorological Organization:
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Secretary-General – Petteri Taalas
♦ President – David Grimes