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Current Affairs Today December 28 2017

We are here for you to provide the important current affairs December 28 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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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Lok Sabha passes GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017
On December 27, 2017, Lok Sabha passed the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017.This amendment bill seeks to increase maximum rate at which compensation cess on the entry relating to certain category of motor vehicles is being collected by the states. 
i. It applies to motor vehicles for transport of not more than 13 persons (mostly luxury vehicles), including the driver.
ii. The amendment bill seeks to increase maximum rate from 15 to 25%……………………………………………..Click here to Read more

Indian Science Congress 2018 to be held in Manipur
2018 edition of Indian Science Congress will be held at Manipur University in Imphal, Manipur in March 2018.
About Indian Science Congress 2018:
i. This will be the 105th edition of Indian Science Congress.
ii. Initially, Indian Science Congress 2018 was scheduled to be held at the Osmania University in Hyderabad, in the first week of January 2018. However, it had to be moved on account of security problems.
iii. ’Reaching the Unreached Through Science and Technology’ will be the focal theme of this event.
iv. Every year, this event is attended by several students, Nobel Laureates and scientists from India.
Quick Facts about Indian Science Congress:
♦ Initiated by – Two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon
♦ 1st edition – Held in 1914, in Kolkata
♦ 104th Edition – Held in 2017, in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

India provides medical assistance to Yemen
On December 26, 2017, India provided medical assistance worth about $1 million to Yemen as part of its commitment to provide humanitarian assistance.Yemeni. At a token handing over ceremony held in New Delhi,  Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar presented a box of anti-cholera medicines to Yemeni Ambassador Abdulmalik Abdullah Al-Eryani.
ii. This assistance was provided in response to a request from the Yemeni government. In the past, India has helped Yemen by providing food and medical assistance.
iii. In August 2012 and March 2013,  India provided food assistance to Yemen in the form of rice and wheat, each worth $2 million.
iv. Even in April 2015, Indian Government had extended medical assistance to Yemen.
Quick Facts about Yemen:
♦ Capital – sana’a
♦ Currency – Yemeni rial
♦ Current President – Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi
♦ Neighbouring Countries – Saudi Arabia, Oman

All passenger trains to have bio-toilets by March 2019
On 27th December 2017, the government announced that, it has planned installation of bio-toilets in all passenger trains to be completed by March 2019.
Bio-toilets in all passenger trains by 2019:
i. Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain made the announcement in Lok Sabha. He said that, railway workshops have been ordered to mandatorily install bio-toilets in all existing in-service eligible coaches that are undergoing mid-life rehabilitation and periodical overhaul.
ii. He also said that, retro-fitment of bio-toilets in existing in-service coaches is also being done to a certain extent.
About Ministry of Railways:
♦ Minister of Railways – Piyush Goyal
♦ Ministers of State for Railways – Manoj Sinha, Rajen Gohain

International Sweet Festival to be held in Hyderabad
The International Sweet Festival will be hosted by Hyderabad from January 13 to 15, 2018 at the parade ground, Hyderabad.Sweet FestivalInternational Sweet Festival:
i. The International Sweet Festival will coincide with the International Kite festival at Hyderabad. Telangana Tourism Secretary Burra Venkatesham made this announcement.
ii. The International Sweet Festival will exhibit more than 1,000 sweets. Only homemade sweets will be displayed in the festivals.
iii. Sweets from hotels will be not featured. Sweets from foreign countries will also be displayed in the festival.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Ashish Bahuguna
♦ CEO – Pawan Kumar Agarwal

6th Global Kokan Festival promoting development of Konkan Region will be held in Mumbai
The 6th edition of Global Kokan Festival will be held at CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Center, Vashi, Navi Mumbai from 6th to 10th January 2018.
6th Global Kokan Festival:
i. Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu will be the Guest of Honor at the Global Kokan Festival 2018.  It will be inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis.
ii. This festival is co-organized by Make in India and MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation).
iii. This festival will contain seminars on Make in Kokan, Advantage Kokan, Blue Revolution and Tourism Conference. Painting and photography exhibitions will also be held.
About MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation):
♦ MD – Vijay Waghamare
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India and Afghanistan launch 2nd air cargo route linking Kabul with Mumbai
On 27th December 2017, the second India-Afghanistan air cargo route connecting Kabul and Mumbai was launched by Afghan and Indian officials at the Hamid Karzai international airport, Kabul.India - AfghanistanSecond India-Afghanistan air cargo route:
i. Deputy Chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Khan Jan Alokozay, said that this air cargo route will increase export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan.
ii. The first Kabul-New Delhi air corridor was inaugurated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in June 2017.
Some of the busiest airports in India:
♦ Indira Gandhi International Airport – Delhi
♦ Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Mumbai
♦ Kempegowda International Airport – Bangalore
♦ Chennai International Airport – Chennai

BANKING & FINANCE

Small savings schemes interest rates cut by 20 bps
Finance Ministry has notified the reduction in interest rates on Small Saving Schemes for January -March 2018 quarter by 20 basis points (0.2%) as compared to October- December 2017 quarter……………………………………..Click here to Read more
Post this decision, the applicable interest rate on investment in various Small Savings Schemes is as under:

Small Savings Scheme Annual Interest Rate
Public Provident Fund (PPF) 7.6%
National Savings Certificate (NSC) 7.6%
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) 7.3%  (11 months maturity)
Sukanya Samriddhi Account 8.1%
5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme 8.3% (Unchanged from previous quarter)
Savings Deposit 4.0% (Unchanged from previous quarter)
Term Deposits (1-5 year maturity) 6.6% to 7.4%
5-year Recurring Deposit 6.9%

India ranks 5th in list of countries with highest NPA levels – CARE Ratings
As per a report by CARE Ratings, India has ranked 5th on list of countries with highest non-performing assets (NPA) levels.
Highlights of CARE Ratings report on NPA levels:
i. The report classified countries into four categories viz. countries having very low levels of NPAs, countries having low levels of NPAs, countries having medium levels of NPAs and countries having high levels of NPAs.
ii. With an NPA ratio of 9.85 percent, India has been placed in fourth category i.e. of ‘high levels of NPAs’. Only countries where NPAs scenario is worse than India are Greece (36.67%), Italy (16.35%), Portugal (15.52%), and Ireland (11.85%).
iii. Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom have been placed in first category. NPA ratio in all these countries is less than 1 per cent.
iv. Second category included countries like China, Germany, Japan and the USA. These countries’ NPA ratio is less than 2 per cent.
v. Third category consisted few developed European countries and fast-growing developing countries like Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

SBI gets board okay to raise Rs 8000 crore to comply with Basel III norms
India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI) has announced that its board has approved raising Rs 8000 crore to meet Basel III capital norms.
♦ Approval has been given to raise the specified quantum of fund from domestic and international markets by issuing various debt instruments including masala bonds.
♦ Bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency are referred to as Masala Bonds.
About Basel Norms:
i. Basel norms, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, are set of internationally agreed set of banking regulations aimed at maintaining capital adequacy, stress testing and managing market liquidity risk.
ii. Basel norms (Basel I, II, III) were developed in response to contain the deficiencies in markets that were exposed by financial crisis of 2007–08.
iii. Banks in India have to comply with Basel III norms by March 2019.

Bank of Baroda enters into MoU with POORTI to help farmers buy agricultural inputs
Bank of Baroda has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with POORTI Agri Services to help farmers buy agricultural inputs like seed, fertilizers and pesticides.BoB i. ’Platform for Online Ordering and Rural Transformation of India’ (POORTI) is a platform for buyers and sellers of agricultural inputs.
ii. Besides, it also provides earning opportunity for educated rural youth who can function as delivery agents.
iii. As per the MoU, Bank of Baroda and POORTI will jointly work to make this platform more purposeful for farmers who can buy agri inputs online through payment gateway of the bank.
Quick Facts about Bank of Baroda:
♦ Founded in – 1908
♦ Headquarters – Vadodara, Gujarat
♦ Current MD & CEO – P.S.Jayakumar
♦ Tagline – ‘India’s International Bank’

IDBI Bank disengages Moody’s from rating bonds
On December 26, 2017, IDBI Bank announced that it has disengaged Moody’s Investors Services (Moody’s) to rate its bond programmes.
i. IDBI Bank has terminated all contracts with Moody’s pertaining to various issues made under its MTN (medium term note) Bond Programme.
ii. It is to be noted that in August 2017, Moody’s had downgraded the ratings of IDBI’s foreign currency senior unsecured MTN programme.
iii. IDBI Bank’s local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings were also downgraded by Moody’s citing under-capitalisation.
iv. In the previous fiscal (2016-17), IDBI suffered a net loss of Rs. 5158.14 crore. Even for the two quarters of 2017-18, it has suffered combined loss of Rs. 1051 crore.
Quick Facts about Moody’s:
♦ Founded in – 1909
♦ Headquarters – New York, US
♦ Parent Organisation – Moody’s Corporation

Lendingkart raises Rs. 25 crore debt from State Bank of India
Lendingkart has announced that it has raised Rs. 25 crore loan from State Bank of India in the form of cash credit facility which can be drawn in separate tranches as and when it needs.This will be the first time SBI funding for a digital financial company.
♦ This arrangement can be inferred as SBI’s attempt to reach out to more borrowers by backing technology-enabled lending companies.
♦ Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd are other banks who have collaborated with Lendingkart.
About Lendingkart:
i. Lendingkart is a group of start-ups that offers small ticket-size loans, mostly unsecured credit, to borrowers with limited credit history.
ii. It primarily focuses on credit to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for working capital and business expansion needs.
iii. For credit assessment, Lendingkart relies on technology and non-traditional data sources.

SEBI caps cross-shareholding in mutual funds at 10%
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is considering putting a 10 per cent cross-shareholding cap in mutual funds in order to avoid the potential conflict of interest.SEBICross-shareholding in mutual funds:
i. If this proposal is approved by SEBI’s board, any shareholder owning at least 10 per cent stake in an Asset Management Company (AMC) will not be allowed to have a 10 per cent or more stake in another mutual fund house operating in India.
ii. This norm will affect shareholding pattern of UTI Asset Management Company (AMC), as State Bank of India (SBI), Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), Baroda of Baroda (BoB) and Punjab National Bank (PNB)are having their own mutual funds and are also holding 18.24 per cent stake each in UTI AMC.
iii. Besides, SEBI is also contemplating a norm under which, a sponsor of a mutual fund, its associates, group companies and its AMC will be restricted from holding 10 per cent or more stake in a rival AMC.

Cheque books of SBI associate banks to be invalid after December 31
Cheque books of account holders of State Bank of India’s (SBI’s) Associate banks that include State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore and Bharatiya Mahila Bank will become invalid after December 31, 2017.
i. From April 1, 2017, above mentioned five associate banks of SBI and Bharatiya Mahila Bank became a part of SBI.
ii. After this merger, cheque books of these former associates were supposed to have been invalid after September 30, 2017. However, this deadline was extended till December 31, 2017.
iii. It is to be noted that SBI has changed names and Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) codes of nearly 1300 of its branches. 
iv .Account holders will now have to get new cheque books bearing the new IFSC code.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India (SBI):
♦ Renamed in – 1955
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Rajnish Kumar

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Noted writer Ramendra Kumar felicitated in Sri Lanka
Writer Ramendra Kumar, was felicitated by the Writers and Publishers of Sri Lanka for his contribution to children’s literature, at a function held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Ramendra Kumar felicitated in Sri Lanka:
i. Ramendra Kumar’s works have been translated into 14 Indian and 13 foreign languages. His works also appear in school text books in India and other countries also.
ii. At the felicitation ceremony, his book Dilemma and other stories was also released. This is his fourth book in Sinhala.
iii. Eminent personalities like Deshabandhu Sirisunama Godage, award winning publisher and Bobby G Boteju, renowned translator were present at the function.
About Ramendra Kumar:
♦ Occupation – Writer and Engineer
♦ Genre – Children’s fiction, satire, poetry, travelogues, fiction & non-fiction for adults

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Prince Harry named President of African Parks
Prince Harry has been made the president of African Parks, a conservation group which manages wildlife areas in Africa.Prince HarryPrince Harry – President of African Conservation Group:
i. Prince Harry’s role will be to protect Africa’s natural heritage and support wildlife and communities that live around conservation areas.
ii. African Parks has praised Prince Harry’s earlier work of relocation of elephants in Malawi and installation of GPS collars on lions to keep them protected.
About African Parks:
♦ Founded – 2000
♦ Manages – 10 parks in 7 African countries currently

Yamaha Motor India appoints Motofumi Shitara as group chairman
On 28th December 2017, Yamaha Motor India group announced Motofumi Shitara as group chairman with effect from 1st January 2018.
Motofumi Shitara – Yamaha Motor India group chairman:
i. Motofumi Shitara will also serve as the Managing Director of Yamaha Motor India Pvt. Ltd. and Managing Director of Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt. Ltd.
ii. His appointment comes after the departure of Hiroaki Fujita, chairman of Yamaha Motor India group and Masaki Asano, managing director of Yamaha Motor India sales.
About Yamaha Corporation:
♦ Headquarters – Shizuoka, Japan
♦ President & Representative Director – Takuya Nakata

Constantino Chiwenga sworn in as Vice President of Zimbabwe
On 28th December 2017, Constantino Chiwenga took charge as Zimbabwe’s vice president in Harare, Zimbabwe.Zimbabwe Constantino Chiwenga – Vice President of Zimbabwe:
i. Constantino Chiwenga is 61 years old. He is a retired army chief. Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa, government officials, traditional leaders, military and police chiefs attended the swearing-in ceremony.
ii. Recently, Constantino Chiwenga along with the army took control of the country and played an important role in helping the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa take charge after previous president Robert Mugabe’s 37 year rule ended.
Oldest Prime Ministers of few countries:
♦ Babiker Awadalla – Sudan
♦ Yasuhiro Nakasone – Japan
♦ Hyun Soong-jong – South Korea

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Radha Mohan Singh launches Livestock Disease Forewarning (LDF) Mobile App
On 27th December 2017, Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh released the Livestock Disease Forewarning – Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App).
LDF Mobile app:
i. The LDF Mobile app was developed by ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (ICAR-NIVEDI).
ii. The app uses Monthly Bulletin system to send out early warning. The app will also provide information on clinical samples for diagnosis.
iii. This would help to take immediate action in case of an epidemic. This app will work in Android smartphones. It will consume 2.5 MB space.
About ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (ICAR-NIVEDI):
♦ Location – Yelahanka, Bengaluru
♦ Functions under – Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

India successfully test fires indigenous AAD Interceptor Missile off Odisha Coast
On 28th December 2017, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired an Advanced Area Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from defence test facility on Kalam Island, Odisha. AAD Interceptor Missile off OdishaAAD Interceptor Missile test fired:
i. The target missile of the interceptor missile was a modified version of Prithvi-II. The target missile was launched from a Launching Complex of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.
ii. The interceptor missile destroyed the target missile in mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude less than 30 km.
iii. This AAD interceptor missile can destroy incoming enemy ballistic missiles at an altitude of 30 km.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
♦ Chairman – A. S. Kiran Kumar
♦ Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka

ENVIRONMENT

New species of blind fish “Schistura larketensis” discovered inside Meghalaya cave
A new species of blind fish “Schistura larketensis” has been discovered in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.
Schistura larketensis:
i. Schistura larketensis has been named after Larket village, where it was found in a cave. The research has been published in the journal Zootaxa.
ii. The research team includes scholars from the Gauhati University and the North Eastern Hill University. The fish had lost its pigments and eye sight after living in the darkness of the cave.
About Zootaxa:
♦ Publisher – Magnolia Press (New Zealand)
♦ Edited by – Zhi-Qiang Zhang

SPORTS

Anisa Sayyed wins women’s 25m pistol gold with new national record
On 27th December 2017, Anisa Sayyed won the women’s 25m pistol gold with a new national record at the 61st National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC), in Trivandrum, Kerala.Anisa SayyedAnisa Sayyed wins women’s 25m pistol gold with new national record:
i. Anisa Sayyed created a new national record at the finals with score of 33. Also, she won over Shital Shivaji Thorat and Rahi Sarnobat who won the silver and bronze medals respectively.
ii. In the junior women’s 25m pistol, Chinki Yadav from Haryana won gold medal with another finals national record by scoring 31. Anisa Sayyed also hails from Haryana.
About National Rifle Association of India (NRAI):
♦ Founded – 1951
♦ President – Raninder Singh

First ever four day Cricket test match won by South Africa
South Africa won over Zimbabwe on the second day of the first four-day test cricket match by an innings and 20 runs at St George’s Park, in South Africa.
South Africa wins the first ever four day Cricket test:
i .The International Cricket Council had given permission to Cricket South Africa to conduct a four-day test match. This is the first test match after 1972/73 to be held for four days.
ii .South Africa won over Zimbabwe on the second day and winded up the match earlier which was supposed to last for four days.
About Cricket South Africa (CSA):
♦ Headquarters – Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
♦ Chief Executive – Thabang Monroe
♦ Coach – Ottis Gibson

OBITUARY

Actor Alfie Curtis passed away in UK
On 26th December 2017, London based actor Alfie Curtis passed away.
Death of Alfie Curtis:
i. Alfie Curtis was 87 years old. The cause of his death has not yet been revealed.
ii. He played the character of Dr Evazan in the 2016 Star Wars film Rogue One. His other important work is the movie ‘The Elephant Man’ which came out in 1980.

AlfieAbout Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):
♦ Chairperson – Prasoon Joshi
♦ CEO – Anurag Srivastava
♦ Formed – 1952