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Current Affairs Today – December 20 2015

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Current Affairs Today 20 December 2015INDIAN AFFAIRS

5 new districts to be formed in West Bengal

The Government of West Bengal has approved the proposal for introducing five new districts in the state. The total number of districts in West Bengal will increase to 25 after the formation of these five districts.
(West Bengal CM – Mamata Banerjee)

Union Cabinet approves development of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG)

To provide energy security, Union Cabinet has consented a policy framework for development of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in coal and lignite bearing areas in the country.

  • The UCG policy framework has been framed in line with the existing policy for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) development on revenue sharing basis.

What is Underground Coal Gasification (UCG)?
UCG is a method of extraction of energy from coal/lignite resources which are otherwise regarded as uneconomical to work through conventional mining methods.

Members to be responsible for UCG
An Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Ministry of Coal with members from concerned Ministries will be responsible for identification of the areas, deciding about blocks to be put to bidding or awarding them to PSUs on nomination basis.

Nodal Agency
Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) will be the nodal agency for development of bid documents, work programme, conducting the bidding process, evaluation of bids, monitoring and process protocols etc.

42 mega food parks worth Rs 2,000 crore to be set up in the country

Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal announced the establishment of 42 mega food parks worth Rs 2,000 crore will be set in the entire country, out of which five have already been established.

  • The announcement was made during the inauguration of Centre for learning resources Development at L M Thapar School of Management Thapar University Campus Dera Bassi, Punjab.

One of such food parks is at Fazilka in Punjab whereas 2 food parks at Ludhiana and Kapurthala will be established with in next 2 years. She gave the approval for establishing Mega Food Park at Lalru, Punjab.

Benefits of Food Parks:
These Food Parks will be having all facilities like Production, Processing Plant, Cold Store, Collection centre & Transports.

  • One Mega Food Park provides employment to 30 thousand persons directly and will provide benefit indirectly to more than 1 lakh persons.

AICDGPs held in Gujarat

The 50th edition of the All-India conference of Directors General of Police (AICDGPs) inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Dhordo village, organised near the India-Pakistan border in white Rann of Kutch region near Bhuj, Gujarat.

  • The conference is organised by the Central Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Key issues – Police Reforms, Radicalisation, Social Media’s effect on Law and Order, security, Disaster management, Women Safety and tourist police, Inter-state police coordination.

Participants – All the DGPs and IGs of all the states and union territories, heads of National Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, IB, narcotics department and various police training academies.

PFRDA switches to PAN for online enrolment under NPS

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has started using PAN (Permanent account number) instead of Aadhaar for validation of new customers who can now be registered online under the National Pension System (NPS) scheme.

  • Following the Supreme Court judgment on usage of Aadhaar, the Aadhaar-based online NPS account facility that was started on a pilot basis had to be discontinued.

Participating banks
The subscriber having an account with Internet banking facility with any of the 6 participating banks can open his NPS account online.

  • State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, Oriental Bank of Commerce, United Bank of India, South Indian Bank and Syndicate Bank.

The Apex court has allowed usage of Aadhaar for the pension scheme under the National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), apart from MGNREGS, PMJDY and EPFO.

U.P. joins Centre’s UDAY scheme

Uttar Pradesh has become the twelfth State to become part of centre’s UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) scheme for reforming debt-laden state electricity distribution companies.
(Union Minister of State for power, coal and new and renewable energy – Piyush Goyal)

  • The State cabinet approved bringing the virtually bankrupt state-electricity utility, burdened with outstanding arrears of about Rs 32,000 crore under UDAY.

About scheme:
As part of the scheme, States are required to take over 75% of discoms’ debt as on 30th September, 2015, and shift it to their own balance sheet in two years without triggering their fiscal deficit thresholds. States are also required to bring their AT&C losses down to 15% from the present level by 2018-19.

  • Apart from UP, eleven other States have intimated their in-principle approval to come under the Uday scheme include Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Gujarat.


US Senate passes IMF reform in a Budget Bill

The US Senate passes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform as part of a budget bill.

  • It will clear the way for emerging economies and new industrial powerhouses like China and India to have more clout at the international lender.
  • According to the new proposal, India’s voting rights will increase to 6% from the current 2.3%.
  • China’s voting rights will rise from the current 3.8% to 6%. while the voting rights of US will decrease from 16.7% to 16.5%


Miss Spain Mireia Lalaguna Royo crowned Miss World 2015

Spanish model Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named Miss World 2015 in Sanya, an island resort off the southern coast of China. This was 65th Miss World contest and the seventh held in China.

  • Mireia, a 23-year-old medical college student and a pianist from Barcelona, obtained the title after beating 113 other contestants from around the world.
  • Miss Russia Sofia Nikitchuk finished the runner-up and Miss Indonesia Maria Harfanti ranked at third position.


Nengcha Lhouvum Mukhopadhaya appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Indonesia

Nengcha Lhouvum Mukhopadhaya appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of lndonesiaMs. Nengcha Lhouvum Mukhopadhaya has been appointed as the next Ambassador of lndia to the Republic of Indonesia. She is expected to take up her assignment shortly.

Indonesia Capital – Jakarta
Indonesia Currency – Indonesian rupiah
Indonesia President – Joko Widodo

Sushil Kumar Singhal appointed as the Ambassador of lndia to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe

Shri Sushil Kumar Singhal presently Ambassador of India to the Republic of Angola, has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of lndia to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe with residence in Luanda.

About Sao Tome & Principe:
Capital – Sao Tome
Currency – Sao Tome and Príncipe dobra


New Eel species discovered in West Bengal

Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new marine species of eel along the coast of Digha in Purba Medinipur district, West Bengal.

Scientific nameGymnothorax mishrai
Proposed nameBengal moray eel

  • The specimen was collected from fishing boats at a fish-landing centre located at Shankarpur, West Bengal. Bengal moray eel was collected from a depth of about 22 metres.

Prague zoo claims to have longest salamander

Prague zoo claims to have longest salamanderAccording to Prague zoo, Karlo, a Chinese giant salamander, is the biggest representative of its species at 1.58 meters now on Earth.

  • The critically endangered animal is the largest amphibian on the planet.
  • According to the latest measurements, Karlo is 58 meters (5 feet, 2 and 3/16 inches) long.

Chinese giant salamander received 19 months ago from the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, Germany is the biggest representative of its species.

  • Karlo’s age is estimated at 37 to 38 years and weight is 35 kilograms.
  • The largest salamander on record was 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches) long.


Chennaiyin FC wins the second edition of ISL Football tournament

Chennaiyin FC has won the 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) Football tournament. The team defeated Goa FC by 3-2 goals at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

  • ISL Golden boot Award: John Stiven Mendoza Valencia (Chennaiyin FC).
  • Golden Glove Award: Apoula Edima Edel Bete (Chennaiyin FC).
  • Hero of the League award: John Stiven Mendoza Valencia (Chennaiyin FC).
  • Muthoot Group Fair Play Award: Mumbai FC.

Key Points: Chennaiyin FC is owned by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani.

Barcelona FC wins 12th edition of FIFA Club World Cup

Barcelona FC has won the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2015 for third time. The team defeated River Plate FC by 3-0 goals at International Stadium Yokohama in Japan.

  • Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar scored the three goals against the River Plate FC team.
  • Barcelona FC had already won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009 and also in 2011.

Key Points:

  • Best Player: Luis Suarez
  • Fairplay Award: Barcelona FC

Dhoni to remain captain till World T20

Dhoni to remain captain till World T20The National selectors decided that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will remain captain of the limited-overs sides till the World T20 championship in March.

  • It was announced by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur.

He is the most successful Indian captain. He has won two World Cups for India, taken India to no. 1 Test rankings.


Famous German conductor Kurt Masur passed away

Kurt Masur, the German conductor who led the New York Philharmonic orchestra for 11 years died at the age of 88 years.

  • He was called as the “one of the last old-style maestros”.

Famous German conductor Kurt Masur passed awayAbout Kurt Masur

  • 1927 born served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War.
  • Masur spent 26 years leading the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
  • He also served as music director of the New York Philharmonic.

Awards & recognitions

  • In 1995, he received the Cross of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • In 1996 he received the Gold Medal of Honor for Music from the National Arts Club.
  • In 1997 he received the titles of Commander of the Legion of Honor from the French government.
  • In 2001, Kurt Masur became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.
  • In 2014 received a Goldene Henne (de) award for his work in public policy.


International Human Solidarity Day – December 20

International Human Solidarity Day is observed every year on December 20 to celebrate our unity in diversity. It is the day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements.

  • 2015 International Human Solidarity Day theme is “Shared Progress & Prosperity based on global solidarity”.
  • UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon delivered a message that by adopting the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders expressed their resolve to seek shared progress and prosperity based on a spirit of global solidarity.