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Current Affairs Today December 15 2017

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We are here for you to provide the important current affairs December 15 2017 which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, Business Standard, all Government official websites. Our complete current affairs helps you to get more marks in Banking, insurance, UPSC, SSC, CLAT, Railway and all other competitive Exams.

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Phase I, II of Ken-Betwa link project to be merged
Union Water Resources Ministry is planning to merge phase-I and II of Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers (ILR) project.
Details about Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers (ILR) project:
i. This project aims to link the rivers Ken in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh. Estimated cost for the first phase was Rs 18000 crore while second phase would cost Rs 8000 crore.
ii. Merging Phase – I and Phase – II is being considered on insistence of Madhya Pradesh State Government, which is one of the beneficiary state of this project. Other beneficiary state is Uttar Pradesh.
iii .Madhya Pradesh has insisted on including three projects of Phase – II viz. Kotha Barrage, Bina Complex and Lower Orr dam, in the first phase itself.
iv. Merging of both the phases will not only lead to increase in cost but also cause delay in completion. Besides, all environmental clearances will have to be sought afresh.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Colombia in agriculture and fisheries
On December 15, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Colombia in the field of agriculture and fisheries.
India – Colombia MoU in agriculture and fisheries:
i. The MoU envisages cooperation between India and Colombia in several aspects of agriculture including innovative agricultural practices/approaches, new agricultural mechanizations and cooperation in research in oil seeds and oil palm.
ii. In fisheries, India and Colombia will cooperate in marine industrial fishing, research & training in the field of fisheries and aqua-culture.
iii. A Joint-Working Group (JWG) will be constituted to finalise the plan for carrying out activities under the scope of this MoU.
Quick Facts about Colombia:
♦ Capital – Bogota
♦ Currency – Peso
♦ Current President – Juan Manuel Santos
♦ Important River – Magdalena, Cauca

Chandigarh Administrator, VP Singh Badnore launches smart city cards
On December 12, 2017, Chandigarh Administrator, VP Singh Badnore launched Chandigarh smart city cards.Smart city cardChandigarh Smart City Cards – Salient Features:
i. This card is a personalised card having a photograph and other details of the cardholder.
ii. It has been launched by Chandigarh administration in collaboration with the Bank of India.
iii. Chandigarh Smart City Card can be used to make payments for various government utilities viz. power, water bills, taxes and challans as well as for commercial utilities at retail merchants and fuel stations. Besides, it will also be considered as a valid identity proof.
iv. Cardholders can load maximum Rs 50000 in this card. It can be reloaded either through online transaction or at the e-Sampark centres.
v. Aadhaar number is must to avail this card.

Railways forms committee to review flexi-fare system
Indian Railways has formed a six-member committee to review the flexi-fare system in premium trains.
i. The committee comprises Ravinder Goyal, Adviser in Niti Ayog, Meenakshi Malik, Executive Director for Revenue Management in Air India; Iti Mani, Director for Revenue, at Le Meridien, Delhi, S Sriram, Professor of transport economics and  railway board officials.
ii. Mandate of this committee is to evaluate all options and recommend the best option keeping in mind, cost-effectiveness from passengers’ perspective and optimisation from railways’ perspective.
iii. Post implementation of flexi-fare system, railways lost several passengers as berths remained vacant.
iv. This committee has also been asked to explore scope for rolling out loyalty benefit programme for passengers.
About Indian Railways’ Flexi-Fare System
♦ Indian Railways launched flexi-fare system in September 2016.
♦ As per the formula under this system, base fares for premium trains increases by 10 per cent (up to 50 per cent) with every 10 per cent of the berths booked.

Society for Nuclear Medicine International Conference (SNMICON) 2017 held in New Delhi
On 14th – 17th December 2017, 49th Annual Conference of the Society of Nuclear Medicine – India – SNMICON 2017 is held in New Delhi.SNMICONSNMICON 2017:
i. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence inauguratedSNMICON 2017. SNMICON 2017 provides a unique platform for higher-level scientific discussions in the field of molecular imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy.
ii. Speakers from organizations like Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) etc. are participating in SNMICON 2017.
About Society of Nuclear Medicine, India (SNM-India):
♦ Founded – 1967
♦ Aim – to promote, encourage and help the development and advancement of Nuclear Medicine as a specialty in India

Maharashtra Government to adopt Clinical establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act
Maharashtra Government has started efforts to adopt Clinical establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act with an aim to ensure the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.
Maharashtra Government to adopt Clinical establishment Act:
i. Maharashtra Health Minister Dr. Deepak Sawant stated that this step would regulate all clinical establishments in Maharashtra. The draft Clinical Establishment Bill has been pending in Maharashtra since 2010 due to opposition from medical fraternity.
ii. This bill will pave way to control unethical practices adopted by some of the private hospitals. The proposal is pending with the Planning Department.
iii. The government has initiated discussion with Indian Medical Associations and other private practitioners to clear the bill.
About Indian Medical Association (IMA):
♦ Formation – 1928
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Type – national voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine in India

Government clears Bill banning instant triple talaq
On December 15, 2017, Government approved ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, under which, the practice of instant triple talaq will be made illegal and would attract a jail term of three years.
Salient Feature of ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’:
i. Triple Talaq is a practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by simply uttering the word ‘talaq’ three times.
ii. In August 2017, Supreme Court of India banned the practice of ‘triple talaq’ calling it unconstitutional.
iii. The draft ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’ has been prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were also the members of this inter-ministerial group.
iv. All cases of instant triple talaq across India (except Jammu and Kashmir) will fall under the purview of this bill.
v. As per the provisions of this bill, a man who tries to divorce his wife through ‘triple talaq’ (by means of oral, written or electronic communication) will face jail term up to three years and will also be fined.
vi. Besides, the bill also provides for a subsistence allowance to the victim and her dependent children and the custodial rights of her minor children.

Rajasthan raises upper age limit for government jobs to 40 years
On 13th December 2017, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced the increase in age limit while applying for government jobs from 35 to 40 years.
Other announcements by Vasundhara Raje:
i. On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the BJP government in Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje made few other announcements also.
ii. She announced developmental works for Jhunjhunu district worth Rs 2,237 crore. The other announcements include 48-hour free treatment for victims of road accidents in government and private hospitals, free angiography of patients in government hospitals and more than one lakh government jobs in the near future.
iii. She also announced that equipment worth Rs 25 crore will be purchased and developmental work will be done for the SMS Medical College and related hospitals.
About Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP):
♦ Founded – 1980
♦ President – Amit Shah
♦ Parliamentary Chairperson – Narendra Modi

Second edition of Serendipity Arts Festival begins in Goa
On 15th – 22nd December 2017, the second edition of the Serendipity Arts festival is held in Goa.SeretipitySerendipity Arts Festival:
i. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the festival. The festival is hosted across 11 venues which are a mix of indoor and outdoor locations.
ii. The uniqueness of the festival is that it does not focus on a single art form, but brings together seven of them.
iii. It celebrates the best of craft, music, theatre, culinary arts, visual arts and photography.
iv. Curating these projects are renowned personalities like Manjari Nirula (craft), Shubha Mudgal (music), Lillete Dubey (theatre), Sanjeev Bhargava (dance) and Manu Chandra (food) etc.
Some of the museums of Goa:
♦ Mog – museum of goa
♦ Pilar Seminary Museum
♦ Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery

Vice-President of India inaugurates the World Conference on Vedas in New Delhi
On 15th December 2017, Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the World Conference on Vedas, “Vishwa Ved Sammelan”, at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi.
Vishwa Ved Sammelan:
i. The event witnessed daily havan ritual amid chanting of the Vedic hymns by Muslim women. Fifty one couples having interfaith and intercaste marriages were felicitated during the event.
ii .The eminent speakers of the event were Rajya Sabha Vice Chairman P J Kurien, Vijay Bhatkar, Swami Chidanand, Surdarshan Jugessur, Glen Martin, Arif Mohammad Khan and Acharya Nardeva.
iii .A special session on the World Parliament and endorsement of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, and Veda, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and declaration on human rights were salient features of the conference.
Some of the museums in Delhi:
♦ Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum
♦ Indian Air Force Museum
♦ National Museum of Natural History


Income Inequality Highest in India Since 1980s – World Inequality Report
According to World Inequality Report 2018 released by World Inequality Lab, deregulation and related economic reforms in India since 1980s have led to significant increase in inequality.
i. As per the report, since 1980s inequality in India increased to such an extent that top 0.1% of earners have captured more growth than all those in the bottom 50% combined.
ii. The report has raised an alarm that by 2050, wealth of world’s 0.1% richest (representing 7.5 million individuals today) will be equal to that of the middle class (3 billion individuals)………………………………………Click here to Read more

Israel eases visa procedure for Indians
In a bid to encourage more visitors from India, Israeli government has eased visa application procedures for Indian tourists.
i. The Israeli consulate in India announced that documentation related to seeking Israeli visa has been reduced for all Indians who have visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada and Australia and have completed their travel to these countries
ii. Over 55000 Indians travellers visited Israel from January – November 2017. This marks a 31 per cent rise over the corresponding period in the previous year.
iii. Israeli Tourism Ministry India Director, Hassan Madah mentioned that they are also working on introducing e-visa processing and easing the group visa process.
Quick Facts about Israel:
♦ Capital – Jerusalem
♦ Currency – Israeli new shekel
♦ Current Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu
♦ Important Rivers – Yarkon, Kishon

Norway becomes first country to end national radio broadcasts on FM
Norway has become the first country in the world  to shut down national broadcasts of its frequency modulation (FM) network and switchover to digital radio.Norway i. In Norway, transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) begun in January 2017.
ii. DAB enable better sound quality and more channels. Besides, cost of DAB is one eighth of the cost of FM radio.
iii. However, this switchover has been done only for national radio channels of Norway. Most of the local stations still broadcast on FM.
iv. It is expected that many other European countries, including Switzerland, Britain and Denmark may soon switchover to DAB.
Quick Facts about Norway;
♦ Capital – Oslo
♦ Currency – Norwegian krone
♦ Current Prime Minister – Erna Solberg
♦ Important Rivers – Namsen, Gaula

Oxford Dictionaries declare ‘Youthquake’ Word of the Year 2017
Oxford Dictionaries has declared “Youthquake” as 2017’s Word of the Year, reflecting what it calls a political awakening among millennial voters.
Youthquake – Word of the Year 2017:
i. It was first coined in the 1960s by Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, who used it to describe sudden changes in fashion, music and attitudes.
ii .The Oxford English Dictionary defines youthquake as the “series of radical political and cultural upheavals occurring among students and young people in the 1960s”.
iii. Youthquake’s use in Britain peaked during the June 2017 general election, after polls delivered a better-than-expected result for the Labour party.
About Oxford English Dictionary (OED):
♦ Published – 1884
♦ Published by – Oxford University Press
♦ Country – United Kingdom


India is the first country where AIIB has committed over $1 bn of financing
Danny Alexander, Vice-President and Corporate Secretary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has stated that India is the first country where AIIB has approved more than $1 billion of financing.
i. AIIBs has lent funding support primarily for energy, transport and broader infrastructure projects.
ii. Currently AIIB is making efforts to mobilise private investment for infrastructure projects across Asia.
iii. Mr. Danny Alexander also mentioned that AIIB is keen to support India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Mumbai Metro Project.
iv. It is to be noted that, last week, AIIB announced funding support for Part 6 of the Bangalore Metro project.
Quick Facts about AIIB:
♦ Opened for Business – January 2016
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China
♦ Current President – Jin Liqun

J&K Bank launches Sahafat Finance Scheme for journalists
On December 14, 2017, Jammu and Kashmir Bank launched J&K Bank Sahafat Finance Scheme”, a special financial scheme for journalists of the state.Sahafat Finance SchemeAbout J&K Bank Sahafat Finance Scheme:
i. Journalists and employees of media houses in Jammu & Kashmir can avail finance through this scheme for buying cameras, laptops, tablets and books.
ii. The loan amount can be in the range of  Rs 50000 to Rs 3 lakh, which should be repaid in 60 monthly instalments.
iii. Loan under this schemes is being offered at J&K Bank’s Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate(MCLR) plus 3.4 per cent interest rate.
Quick Facts about Jammu and Kashmir Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1938
♦ Headquarters – Srinagar, J&K
♦ Current Chairman and CEO – Parvez Ahmad

SBI starts State Bank Rewardz scheme
India’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘State Bank Rewardz’, a loyalty program for its valued customers.
Salient Features of ‘State Bank Rewardz’:
i. All SBI customers are pre-enrolled into this scheme.
ii. Under this scheme, SBI customers will get reward points for various transactions across many banking services offer by SBI viz. internet banking, mobile banking, using debit cards, availing loans etc.
iii. These reward points can be redeemed to get free gifts, merchandise and services such as mobile recharge, electronic items, beauty products, movie tickets etc.
iv. This is an enterprise-wide Loyalty program and thereby customers would get reward points for using any SBI product/service. Besides, reward points will get accumulated under a single customer ID irrespective of number and type of accounts held by an individual.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India (SBI):
♦ Founded in – 1955
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Rajnish Kumar


Tata, GE Aviation to make aircraft engine components in India
Tata Sons has announced that GE Aviation and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) have entered into a partnership to manufacture, assemble, integrate and test aircraft components.Tata GE AviationMore details about Tata – GE Aviation Tie-up:
i. GE Aviation and TASL will jointly manufacture CFM International LEAP engine components in India, catering to the global market.
ii. CFM International LEAP engine is currently considered as world’s leading jet engine.
iii. It has also been announced that both the companies will jointly pursue military engine and aircraft system opportunities for the Indian market.
iv. In order to develop a robust ecosystem for aircraft engine manufacturing in India, a new Centre of Excellence will be established.
v. TASL, a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Sons is the lead systems integration company for delivering weapons to Indian security forces.
vi. GE Aviation is among the top aircraft engine suppliers. It is a subsidiary of General Electric.


Jitesh Singh Deo bags Peter England Mr India 2017
On 15th December 2017, Jitesh Singh Deo bagged the title of Peter England Mr India 2017.
Jitesh Singh Deo – Peter England Mr India 2017:
i. Jitesh Singh Deo hails from Lucknow. He will now represent India at Mr World 2020. Sixteen contestants from across India competed for the title.Mr Indiaii. The first runner up was Abhi Khajuria and the second runner up was Pavan Rao. The winners were felicitated by actor Kangana Ranaut.
About Peter England:
♦ Part of Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, a division of Aditya Birla Group
♦ Established – 1997


FIH chief Narinder Batra elected unopposed as IOA president, Rajeev Mehta re-elected as secretary general
International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Narinder Batra has been elected as president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for a four-year term at its Annual General Meeting.
Appointments in IOA:
i. Narinder Batra secured 142 votes in the polls and was elected as presidentof the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He is 60 years old.
ii. Incumbent Secretary General Rajeev Mehta was re-elected for his second term without any contest as he was the lone candidate for the post.
iii. Anandeshwar Pandey was elected as treasurerR K Anand was elected as senior vice president.
iv. The election results will however be subject to the final decision of the Delhi High Court.IOA PresidentAbout Indian Olympic Association (IOA):
♦ Created – 1927
♦ Purpose – selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games


Disney to buy 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion in Historic Hollywood Merger
The Walt Disney Co. has set a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire.
Disney buys 21st Century Fox Assets in Historic Hollywood Merger:
i. The deal values the 21st Century Fox assets in the transaction at $66.1 billion, including $13.7 billion in 21st Century Fox debt, or $28 a share. The enterprise value of the deal is $69 billion.
ii. 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share held, giving Fox shareholders about 25% of Disney.
iii. Disney expects to realize $2 billion in cost savings from combining Disney and Fox’s overlapping businesses within two years of the deal’s closing.
About The Walt Disney Company:
♦ Chairman and CEO – Bob Iger
♦ Headquarters – California, United States
♦ Products – Cable television, publishing, films, music, video games, theme parks, broadcasting, radio, web portals


MIT creates bioluminescent trees that glow like fireflies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers have created bioluminescent trees that glow like fireflies.Bioluminescent treesBioluminescent trees that glow like fireflies:
i. MIT engineers used an enzyme called luciferase to create the bioluminescent trees that glow like fireflies.
ii. Luciferase acts on a molecule called luciferin, causing it to emit light. Another molecule called Co-enzyme Ahelps the process along by removing a reaction byproduct that can inhibit luciferase activity. The resulting plant functions like a desk lamp.
iii .Researchers believe with further work, the technology could also be used to provide lights bright enough to illuminate a workspace or even an entire street, as well as low-intensity indoor lighting.
About Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
♦ Location – Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
♦ Chancellor – Cynthia Barnhart
♦ President – L. Rafael Reif


NITI Aayog launches ATL Community Day
On December 15, 2017, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission launched Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day in New Delhi.
About Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day:
i. The initiative was launched by NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant.
ii. Under this initiative, 25 young Mentors interacted with more than 200 students who are not enrolled in the formal education system.
iii. The mentors visited four locations in New Delhi and conducted brief sessions with children from various NGOs (NGOs working with disabled children, girls from the weaker sections of society and street and working children) on how innovations can help resolve the problems in the communities.
iv. Objective of this initiative was to provide these children with educational tools and encourage them to become problem solvers.
v. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is Government’s endeavour to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Under Atal Innovation Mission, Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) have been established in schools across India to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young generation.