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Current Affairs Today – December 13 2015

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Current Affairs Today 13 Decemeber 2015INDIAN AFFAIRS

“Control of Potable Alcohol” along with 3 other bills approved

Four key economic Bills that would validate the reformist credentials of the Modi-led Government were introduced in the Lok Sabha. These Bills sought to bring in legislative changes in atomic energy, potable alcohol, commercial disputes and bonus payments.

Potable alcohol
A Bill to bring industries engaged in the manufacture of “potable alcohol” under the total and exclusive control of States in all respects was also introduced in the Lok Sabha.

  • The Bill proposes to amend the first schedule of the Act so that it would be in conformity with the judgement of the Supreme Court of 1997 (potable alcohol is to come under the control of states).
  • The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill was passed by a voice vote.

Government inks MoU for establishing IIITs in 3 cities

The Central Government signed MoU and documentation for establishing 3 Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) at Ranchi, Nagpur and Pune.

  • These IIITs are operated on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with participation of state government and industry, apart from the Central Government.
  • The agreement has been signed by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Secretary of Department of Higher Education from the Central Government side and by Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, M/s ADCC Infocad, Nagpur and M/s Hubtown, Mumbai.

IIIT-Ranchi partnered with TCS and Tata Motors
It will operate from the Old Judicial Academy in the Administrative Training Institute, Ranchi. The institution will be mentored by NIT-Jamshedpur.

IIIT-Nagpur partnered with M/s ADCC Infocad and TCS
IIIT-Nagpur will be set up in the BMIT Campus (temporary campus).The institution will be mentored by BNIT.

IIIT-Pune partnered with M/s Hubtown Mumbai and M/S Roltas
IIIT-Pune will be set up in the Siddhant Engineering College (temporary campus) and the permanent campus will be constructed at Chakan. The institution will be mentored by COE Pune.

  • Institutions have proposed to admit 120 students in each IIT in 2016 through JEE-2016.
  • With this, the total number of IIITs in the PPP mode has gone up to 16.

NGT bans registration of new diesel-run vehicles in Delhi

 National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered ban on registration of new diesel-run vehicles in Delhi to curb the growing menace of air pollution in the capital city. This ruling was given by NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.

  • In this regard, there will be no renewal of registration of vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.
  • The Tribunal directed Centre and state governments to consider not to buy any diesel vehicles for their departments.

Losar festival has been celebrated in Ladakh region of J&K

The festival of Losar has been celebrated across Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir with traditional and religious fervour

  • The Losar festival marks the beginning of New Year in Ladakh and  celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days.
  • Yolmo Losar is observed on the same day as of the Chinese New Year.

Key points :

  • J & K Capital : Jammu (winter)/Srinagar (summer)
  • J & K CM : Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
  • J & K Governor : Narinder Nath Vohra

Maharashtra constitutes a task force for setting up an IFSC in Mumbai

The Maharashtra government has constituted a task force under Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha for setting up an International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai.

IFSC is one of the most ambitious projects of the state government.

International Financial Service Centre(IFSC) :

  • The task force will be required to plan and oversee the development of designated areas at BKC.
  • The task force include Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha (chairman), Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North Central Poonam Mahajan (deputy chairman), Maharashtra Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya, MMRDA Commissioner U P S Madan, Principal Secretary Urban development Nitin Kareer and a representative from the Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India.

Key points :

  • Maharashtra Capital : Mumbai
  • Maharashtra CM : Devendra Fadnavis
  • Maharashtra Governor : C. Vidyasagar Rao

US English Access programme launched in Bihar

As part of US-India collaboration in the areas of development and education, an American English language skill course was launched for students hailing from economically disadvantaged section of the society.

  • The US Consul General in Kolkata Craig Hall inaugurated the first ever English Access Microscholarship Programme (Access) programme in Bihar which is supported by the US Department of State.
  • The Access programme here will be managed by a non-governmental body Association for Promotion of Creative Learning (APCL).

The global programme after-school classes would provide foundation of English language skills to talented students in the age category of 13-20 year.

  • Access programme consists of 180 hours of English language instruction during each academic year and a 30-hour summer intensive course.


Turkmenistan hosted “International Conference on Policy of Neutrality”

International scientific-practical conference “The foreign policy of Turkmenistan as a factor of security and stability in the world”, devoted to the Year of Neutrality and Peace and the 20th Anniversary of Neutrality of Turkmenistan was organized by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Ukraine together with the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

US update jet-engine technology transfer policy with India

US has updated its policy on gas-turbine engine technology transfer to India to expand cooperation in production and design of sensitive jet engine components.

  • The announcement on policy change was made at a meeting between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter at the Pentagon in Washington.

Jet engine component are largely used in big warships for the Navy and have a big market in merchant vessels. A gas turbine can also accelerate air to create thrust in aero engines or drive generators to make electricity or turn pumps.


Centre sets up “SETU” to support start-up businesses

Government has set up a mechanism known as SETU to support all aspects of start-up businesses and other self- employment activities.

  • SETU (Self—Employment and Talent Utilisation) has been established under NITI Aayog is a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas.


South East Asia Write award clinched by J.M. Sali

2015 South East Asia Write Award has been conferred upon Indian-origin writer Jamaludeen Mohamed Sali aka J.M. Sali whose books are read in universities.

  • The author has written 57 books, 80 plays and more than 400 short stories including Vellai Kodugal (White Lines) & Alaigal Pesuginrana (The Sound of the Waves) that are now studied by Tamil literature students in Singapore and Indian universities.
  • Born in 1939 in, Mr. Sali was invited to Singapore at the age of 25 to be an assistant editor at the Tamil Murasu newspaper by its founder, the late G. Sarangapani.

Padma Vibhushan conferred upon on renowned Dilip Kumar

Bollywood veteran and legendary actor Dilip Kumar was presented the Padma Vibhushan by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the thespian’s residence in suburban Bandra.

  • The 93 year old legendary actor was presented a medal, a certificate and a shawl.

About Dilip Kumar
Born as Muhammad Yousuf Khan in Peshawar, Mr. Kumar made his debut as an actor in the film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies.

Director Ron Howard gets a second Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Director Ron Howard gets a second Hollywood Walk of Fame starOscar-winning director Ron Howard has been presented with another star on Walk of Fame on account of his contribution to the TV and film industries.

  • The four-time Oscar nominee and two-time Oscar winner remains one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood.
  • He started as TV actor starring as Richie Cunningham in the legendary series “Happy Days”.
  • On leaving the show, he turned his hand to directing and has since developed a reputation for being adept at helming different types of movies such as “Willow”, “Apollo 13” and “Rush”.


Kapil Chopra to head World tourism council

Kapil Chopra to head world tourism councilKapil Chopra, President of the The Oberoi Group, has been appointed as the Chairman of World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) for 2016 announced at the Annual General Meeting of the WTTCII .

  • Chopra, who served as the council’s Vice-Chairman for 2015, takes over from Manav Thadani, Chairman, HVS, South Asia. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & Managing Director, Air India, has been appointed as the Vice-Chairman of WTTCII for 2016.

About WTTCII :

  • WTTCII(World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative) is an apex industry council with members from the Airlines, Hospitality, Travel Services, State Governments and Government of India organizations.
  • Established in 2000, WTTCII has been working closely with the Government of India, Ministry of Tourism, and other Ministries relevant to Tourism and Industry Stakeholders for the development of the Tourism Sector in India, especially on policy issues.

Ahmad Javed appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Ahmad Javed appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly announced by the Ministry of External Affair.

About Ahmad Javed :

  • A 1980-batch IPS officer Javed is scheduled to retire on January 31, 2016. According to official sources, the officer will serve his term before embarking on his new assignment.
  • He will be the fourth IPS officer to be appointed as India’s envoy to Saudi Arabia in an assignment which is traditionally a domain of the Indian Foreign Service.

Key points :

  • Saudi Arabia Capital : Riyadh
  • Saudi Arabia Currency : Riyal
  • Saudi Arabia King :  Salman bin Abdulaziz


Alibaba agreed to buy South China Morning Post of Hong Kong

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has agreed to buy the 112-year-old newspaper and other media properties of  Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) for an undisclosed amount.

Other Acquisitions of Alibaba :

  • In October, Alibaba bought up all the shares in video streaming site Youku Tudou it didn’t already own for $3.6 billion.
  • Earlier this year, it invested about $200 million for a stake in Shanghai Media Group’s financial information company China Business News. It also has a stake in Sina Weibo, which runs a Twitter-like microblog service.
  • The acquisitions are part of Alibaba’s strategy of diversifying away from its core Internet shopping business by tapping rising demand for online content from Chinese consumers.

Alibaba Chairman: Jack Ma


Scientists find new species of horned dinosaur

Scientists find new species of horned dinosaurThe new species belonging to the ceratopsia family was found in the same fossil beds in China’s Xinjiang province where the robust and heavily built Hualianceratops was discovered in 2002 by the same team. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • The team led by James Clark, Ronald Weintraub associate professor of biology at the George Washington University and Xu Xing, professor at the Chinese cademy of Sciences.

About new species of dinosaur :

  • Finding these two species in the same fossil beds reveals there was more diversity there than previously recognised.
  • The ceratopsian dinosaurs already had diversified into at least four lineages by the beginning of the Jurassic Period.
  • Hualianceratops lived approximately 160 million years ago


LOGO and MASCOT of 12th South Asian Games, 2016 Launched At Guwahati

The Organising Committee of the 12th South Asian Games, 2016 (OC-SAG) would unveil the logo and mascot of the Games in a ceremony to be held at the ITA Cultural Center Machkhowa, Guwahati, Assam.

Venue : Guwahati and Shillong

Date : February 6-16, 2016.

  • Kolhapurs Anant Khasbardar and Abhijeet Krishna of NIFT Patna won the mascot and logo designing contests, respectively.
  • The Logo and the Mascot of the Games were selected from around 450 entries each.
  • About 4500 sport persons and officials from 8 countries are expected to participate in 23 events from 6th February to 16 February 2016 in 12th South Asian Games.

Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Meghalaya Shri Mukul Sangma, and Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge) Shri Sarbananda Sonowal would be gracing the occasion.


Renowned agro-economist Sharad Joshi passes away

Renowned agro-economist Sharad Joshi passes awayVeteran farmer leader Sharad Joshi(81) who had been suffering from cancer for the past few years, died at Bopodi in Pune.

About Sharad Joshi :

  • Sharad Joshi was born in Satara.He received his formal education in Mumbai after which he worked in the Savitribai Phule Pune University as a lecturer in economics.
  • Joshi subsequently joined the Indian Postal Services and later moved to Berne, Switerzland, to work with Chief Informatics Service International Bureau, a UN organisation.
  • After 10 years, he left the job and returned to India to work on agrarian issues and formed the Shetkari Sanghatana in the late 1970s.
  • He launched Swatantra Bharat Paksha in 1994 and was elected a Rajya Sabha MP in 2004.