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Current Affairs Today December 17 2017

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International herbal fair held in Bhopal
On 14th December 2017, the seven-day International Herbal Fair started in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
International herbal fair:
i. Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the International herbal fair at the Lal Parade Ground.
ii. Delegations from Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other countries are taking part in the fair. 300 stalls of rare herbs collected from various districts of Madhya Pradesh is put up in the fair.
iii. Cultural programme is held every evening during the fair. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will conclude the programme.
Some of the festivals of Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Bundeli Utsav
♦ Tansen Samaroh
♦ Bhagoria Fest

Global Partnership Summit 2017 held in New Delhi
Global Partnership Summit (GPS) 2017 was held in New Delhi from 11th to 14th December 2017.Global Partnership summitHighlights of Global Partnership Summit (GPS) 2017:
i. The Summit was organised by India Center Foundation (ICF). ICF is a not for profit and non-governmental organisation working to bring about socio-economic development in India.
ii. The Global Partnership Summit (GPS) has evolved from the India Japan Global Partnership (IJGP) initiative. GPS serves as a platform for global partners to share knowledge, expertise and experience for creating a development model which focuses on empowerment and sustainability.
iii. Discussions at GPS 2017 focused on several areas including clean energy, infrastructure and logistics, healthcare, energy, tourism, agro economy, art and culture, banking and finance, information communication technology and education and skill development.
iv. Around 3000 delegates and over 200 speakers including top business leaders, think tanks, policy makers, social change catalysts, youth leaders and academicians attended this summit.
v. Indian dignitaries who addressed the summit included Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highway, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister at Ministry of Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Earth Sciences and J. P. Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare.

Modi announces Rs 90000 Cr for improving roads, highways in Northeast
On December 16, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Central Government’s decision to invest Rs 90000 crore for building a network of highways and roads in the North Eastern region of India.
Funds for Improving Roads, highways in NorthEast:
i. This amount of Rs. 90000 crore for improving roads and highways in Northeast will be spent in the next two to three years.
ii. Out of this committed amount, Rs 60000 crore would be spent under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme while Rs 30,000 crore will be spent under Central Government’s Bharatmala project.
iii. It is to be noted that this amount of Rs. 90000 crore is above Rs 32,000 crore that has already been sanctioned for building 3800 kms of national highways.
iv. PM Modi also announced that Central Government is committed to bring all capitals of North Eastern States on the rail map.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announces partnership with Japanese University for growth of sports
On 16th December 2017, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced a sports tie-up between Lakshmi Bai University of Physical Education and a Japanese university.India Japan agreementLakshmi Bai University of Physical Education and a Japanese university tie-up:
i. This tie-up was announced by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the commemorative ceremony of the Japan-India sports exchange programme.
ii. During the ceremony a judo demonstration was showcased by Japanese Olympic medallists Masashi Nishiyama and Misato Nakamuro.
About Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education:
♦ Location – Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
♦ Officer in charge – Prof. Dilip Kumar Dureha
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

Gita Research Institute to be set up in Mathura
Uttar Pradesh State Government will soon set up a research institute for the study of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in Mathura.
About Gita Research Institute:
i. Setting up of Gita Research Institute has been proposed by Uttar Pradesh’s Minister for Religious Works and Culture, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary.
ii. Annoucement in this regard was made by Mr. Chaudhary at 144th anniversary celebration of the Government Museum, Mathura.
iii .Mr. Chaudhary has mentioned that this institute is being set up for research on Gayan (singing), Nratya (dance) and Vadan (the art of music) of the Krishna age.

Andhra Pradesh approves pension for state’s transgenders
On December 16, 2017, Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet approved a scheme to provide a pension of Rs 1500 to transgenders in the state.
i. Transgenders above 18 years of age, residing in Andhra Pradesh can avail pension under this scheme.
ii. Currently, there are 26000 eligible transgenders in Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Andhra Pradesh state government has decided to provide ration cards, plots and scholarships, as well as to impart skill development training for financial stability transgenders in the state.
iv .Among other Indian states, Kerala and Odisha have already introduced pension scheme for transgenders.
Quick Facts about Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Amaravati (de facto)
♦ Current Chief Minister – N Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Current Governor – E. S. L. Narasimhan
♦ Important National Park – Papikonda National Park

Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry formed Panel to protect homebuyers’ interests
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has formed a 30-member central advisory panel, which will advise government on implementation of the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) and will play an important role in protecting the interest of consumers.
Panel to protect homebuyers’ interests:
i. The panel is headed by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister and comprise Central and State government secretaries, real estate research organisations and representatives from home buyers associations.
ii. Five top secretaries from states including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Odisha and Chairpersons of regulatory authorities from five other states have been included in the panel.
iii. It will advise central government to boost growth and facilitate development of the real estate sector in India.
iv. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) which has come into force from May 1, 2017, covers all the residential and commercial projects in India.
v. Till date, most of the states have not fully implemented provision of RERA in compliance with the central act.


India has Largest Diaspora Population in World: UN Report
As per a report by United Nations, nearly 15.6 million people from India live overseas, thus making Indian Diaspora, the largest in the world.
Highlights of UN Report on International Migrants:
i. In 2015, total number of international migrants was estimated at 243 million. With 15.6 million, Indians constituted 6% of this global figure.
ii. According to the ‘World Migration Report(2018)’, released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), growth in number of international migrants as compared to world population has been static. In, 2010, international migrants constituted 3.2% of world population, while in 2015 it stands at 3.3%.
iii. US is the most favourite destination for international migrants. US is home to 46.6 million international migrants.
iv. However, UAE is the most preferred destination for Indian international migrants. UAE is home to 3.5 million Indian migrants.
Top 5 Countries of Origin for Global Diaspora:

CountryNo. Of International Migrants
Indi15.6 million
Mexico12.3 million
Russia10.6 million
China10.5 million
Bangladesh7.2 million

Iran opens first museum dedicated to female artist exiled for decades
On December 15, 2017, Iran opened its first museum dedicated to Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, a solo female artist who has garnered widespread international attention during decades of exileFirst museum dedictaec to womeni. ‘Monir Museum’, which opened in Tehran, displays 51 works, including her signature mirror mosaics, reverse glass paintings inspired by geometric patterns and abstract monotypes.
ii. This museum is being managed by Tehran University.
iii. Many of Monir’s works were confiscated and destroyed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
iv.Monir has spent most of her career in the US. She permanently returned to Iran in 2004.
Quick Facts about Iran:
♦ Capital – Tehran
♦ Currency – Iranian rial
♦ Current President – Hassan Rouhani
♦ Important Rivers – Karun, Zayanderud

WHO certifies Gabon as polio free
On December 16, 2017, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Gabon as a “polio-free country”.
i. Declaration was based on the facts that no new cases of polio have been reported from Gabon in recent times.
ii. Polio is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. It mainly affects young children and results into permanent paralysis.
iii. There is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented through immunisation.
iv .In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries and nearly 350000 cases were recorded worldwide. Since then, polio cases have reduced by 99 percent.
v. Currently polio is endemic, only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Quick Facts about Gabon:
♦ Capital – Libreville
♦ Currency – Central African Franc
♦ Current President – Ali Bongo Ondimba
♦ Important River – Ogooue, Lekoni

Switzerland unveils world’s steepest funicular railway
On December 17, 2017, Switzerland unveiled world’s steepest funicular railway link to the alpine resort of Stoos.SteepesrrailwayInformation about world’s steepest funicular railway:
i. Funicular is a type of cable railway (a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails) on an inclined pane of cliff.
ii. The latest funicular unveiled in Switzerland rises 743 metres along gradients as steep as 110% and has a track length of 1720 metres.
iii. This funicular railway has been built at a cost of Rs 333.21 crore.
iv. It has four cabins. Each cabin can carry 34 people at a time.
Quick Facts about Switzerland:
♦ Currency – Swiss franc
♦ Important River – Rhine
♦ Highest Mountain – Monte Rosa


RBI imposes Rs 5 cr penalty on Syndicate Bank
On December 12, 2017, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on Syndicate Bank for non-compliance with its directions on Know Your Customer (KYC)” norms Cheque Purchase or Discounting and Bill Discounting.
i. This penalty has been imposed on basis of findings of the scrutiny conducted by RBI at certain branches of Syndicate Bank.
ii. RBI has imposed this penalty by exercising its power under the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act.
iii. However, RBI has stated that this penalty does not invalidate any transaction or agreement entered into by Syndicate bank with its customers.
iv. Earlier in July 2017, RBI had imposed Rs. 2 crore penalty on Union Bank of India for non-compliance of KYC norms.
Quick Facts about Syndicate Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1925
♦ Headquarters – Manipal, Karnataka
♦ Current MD & CEO – Melwyn Oswald Rego
♦ Tagline – ‘Your Faithful and Friendly Financial Partner’


Samsung India Partners With UNESCO to Launch VR Content and 360-Degree Videos
Samsung India has partnered with UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) to launch 360-degree video and Virtual Reality (VR) content of Sun Temple in Konark and Taj Mahal.Samsung Partner with UNESCOi. Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha and Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh are Indian heritage sites inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
ii. First 360-degree video and VR content on the Sun Temple was unveiled on December 16, 2017 at the Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH) 2017 in Visakhapatnam. TECH 2017 was organized by UNESCO MGIEP.
iii. The video was unveiled at a specially set up Samsung Smart Class at TECH 2017 venue.
iv. This partnership is aimed to provide experiential educational content to urban as well as rural students across India.
Quick Facts about UNESCO:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France
♦ Current Director General – Audrey Azoulay

Ola offers insurance cover for driver-partners
Online cab aggregator, Ola entered into an agreement with Bajaj Allianz to offer a comprehensive insurance programme for its driver partners.
Ola-Bajaj Allianz tie-up:
i. This programme has been named ‘Chalo Befikar’. Under this programme, Ola’s driver partners can avail an insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh. 
ii. This programme also offers other benefits viz. daily business loss compensation due to hospitalisation, taking care of outstanding car loans and children’s education.
iii. Ola currently has 9 lakh driver partners on its platform.
iv. In September 2017, Uber, which is Ola’s rival had rolled out a similar insurance programme for its 4.5 lakh driver partners in India. Uber has partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance. 
Quick Facts about Ola:
♦ Founded in – 2010
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka


Czech president appoints Andrej Babis as new prime minister
On 13th December 2017, billionaire businessman Andrej Babis was appointed Czech prime minister.Czech presidentAndrej Babis – Czech prime minister:
i. Andrej Babis’s ANO party won 29.6 percent of the vote, nearly three times the support won by second-placed center-right Civic Democrats in October 2017 election.
ii. In a ceremony on 13th December 2017, President Milos Zeman appointed Andrej Babis as Czech prime minister.
iii. Andrej Babis set up ANO party in 2011 as a protest movement when mainstream parties were involved in corruption scandals.
Presidents of few countries:
♦ Senegal – Macky Sall
♦ Serbia – Aleksandar Vucic
♦ Seychelles – James Michel
♦ Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma

Ravindra Jaiswal appointed as Ambassador of India to Sudan
On 15th December 2017, Ravindra Jaiswal was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Sudan.
Ravindra Jaiswal – Ambassador of India to Sudan:
i. Ravindra Jaiswal is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 1999 batch. Presently he is Deputy Chief of Mission, Berne.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Sudan. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
National sports of few countries:
♦ Afghanistan – Buzkashi
♦ Bermuda – Cricket
♦ Cuba – Baseball
♦ Iceland – Handball

Smita Nagaraj takes over as UPSC member
On 1st December 2017, Ms. Smita Nagaraj took the oath of office and secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).Smita NagarajSmita Nagaraj – UPSC member:
i. Smita Nagaraj is an Officer of the 1984 Batch of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of Tamil Nadu Cadre.
ii. She served as Executive Director of the Central Social Welfare Board, Director in the Department of Personnel & Training and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence.
iii. Prior to her joining the Commission, she was working as Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry of Defence.
About Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Formed – 1926
♦ Chairman – David R. Syiemlieh

Pradeep Kumar Gupta appointed as Ambassador of India to Republic of Mali
On 15th December 2017, Pradeep Kumar Gupta was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Mali.
Pradeep Kumar Gupta – Ambassador of India to the Republic of Mali:
i. Pradeep Kumar Gupta is presently Counsellor, High Commission of India, Accra. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Mali.
ii. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
National Animals of few countries:
♦ Algeria – Fennec fox
♦ Argentina – Rufous hornero
♦ Egypt – Steppe eagle
♦ Iran – Persian lion


Government approves Dish TV merger with Videocond2h
On December 15, 2017, Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Dish TV India Ltd (owned by Zee Group) announced that the company has received the final approval from Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry for completing its merger with Videocon d2h, the DTH arm of Videocon Industries Ltd.Dish TV VideoconInformation about Dish TV-Videocon d2h Merger:
i. The new merged entity will be called Dish TV Videocon Limited. It will serve the combined subscriber base of 29 million users.
ii. In terms of earnings, Dish TV Videocon Limited will be the largest listed media company in India.
iii. According to a report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), DishTV had the largest DTH market share (24%) as on June 2017.
iv. DTH is followed by Tata Sky (23% market share) and Videocon d2h having  21% market share.


US lab makes the world’s strongest superconducting magnet
US-based National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has successfully tested the world’s strongest superconducting magnet ‘32 T’, producing 32 teslas (a unit of magnetic field strength), 33% stronger than the previous record.
32 T – World’s strongest superconducting magnet:
i. This superconducting magnet ‘32 T’ is made of a combination of conventional low-temperature and novel high-temperature superconductors.
ii. The 32 T will allow physicists studying materials to explore how electrons interact with each other and their atomic environment.
iii. It features a very stable, homogenous field suitable for sensitive experiments. It combines strength and stability.
About National High Magnetic Field Laboratory:
♦ Director – Gregory S. Boebinger
♦ Location – Tallahassee, Florida
♦ Operating agency – Florida State University


Indian Junior Girls claims 4 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze medal at International Boxing Tournament in Ukraine
Indian Junior Girls have claimed four gold, three silver and a bronze medal at the Valeria Demyanova Memorial International Boxing Tournament in Ukraine.International Boxing TournamentValeria Demyanova Memorial International Boxing Tournament:
i. Arundhati Choudhury won a gold medal in the 60 kg category winning against Uljanay from Kazakhstan. Raj Sahiba defaeted Ukraine’s Petrenko Julia and wongold medal in the 70 kg category.
ii. Mitika Sanjay won gold medal in the 66 kg weight category as she defeated Irina Notatina of Ukraine. In the 80 kg weight category Komal won gold medal.
iii. Jhalak Tomar (54 kg) and Sanjeeta (48 kg) won silver medals.   Lipakshi won silver medal in the 80 plus category. Mounika Baggu won a bronze medal in the 63 kg category.
About Boxing Federation of India (BFI):
♦ President – Ajay Singh
♦ Secretary General – Jay Kowli
♦ Treasurer – Hemanta Kumar Kalita

India win 10 golds at Johannesburg Commonwealth Wrestling Championship
On 16th December 2017, India won 10 gold and 10 silver medals on the first day of the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in South Africa’s Johannesburg.
Johannesburg Commonwealth Wrestling Championship:
i.Gold medal winners:

55 kgRajender Kumar
60 kgManish
63 kgVikas
67 kgAnil Kumar
72 kgAditya Kundu
77 kgGurpreet
82 kgHarpreet
87 kgSunil
97 kgHardeep
130 kgNaveen

ii.Silver medallists:

55 kgNaveen
60 kgGyanender
63 kgGaurav Sharma
67 kgManish
72 kgKuldeep Malik
77 kgManjeet
82 kgAmarnath
87 kgPrabhpal Singh
97 kgSumit
130 kgSonu

About Wrestling Federation of India:
♦ President – Brijbhushan Sharan Singh
♦ Senior Vice President – I.D. Nanavati

Spaniard Georgina Garcia-Perez wins first tennis title in Asia – in NECC-ITF women’s tennis championship, Pune
On 16th December 2017, Spain’s Georgina Garcia-Perez won the singles title in the NECC-ITF women’s tennis championship in Pune.
Spain’s Georgina Garcia-Perez – singles title in the NECC-ITF women’s tennis championship:
i. Georgina Garcia-Perez won a straight set battle against Katy Dunne and won singles title in the NECC-ITF women’s tennis championship. This is her first title in Asia.
ii. Georgina Garcia-Perez is ranked 238 on WTA Tour. Georgina has become the first Spaniard to win the ITF title in Pune.
About NECC–ITF Women’s Tennis Championships:
♦ Category – ITF Women’s Circuit
♦ Surface – Deco Turf (Hard)
♦ Prize Money – USD 25,000

Real Madrid wins FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017
Real Madrid won the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.FIFA World cupReal Madrid – FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017:
iReal Madrid won the final against Gremio and claimed the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017. Real Madrid has become the first side in the history of the FIFA Club World Cup to retain the trophy.
ii. Real Madrid has now won five trophies in 2017 – the Champions League, La Liga, Uefa Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and now the Club World Cup.
About 2017 FIFA Club World Cup:
♦ Host country – United Arab Emirates
♦ Dates – 6 – 16 December 2017
♦ Teams – 7