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Andhra Pradesh assembly passes Kapu Reservation Bill
On December 2, 2017, Andhra Pradesh State Assembly unanimously passed A.P. Kapu (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in Services under the State) Bill, which provides 5% reservation in education and employment to Kapu Community in Andhra Pradesh.
i. With this 5% reservation to Kapus, total reservation in Andhra Pradesh has reached 55 per cent, which exceeds the 50 per cent limit restricted by the Supreme Court.
ii. Thus the Bill will require Central Government’s approval to include this reservation in Schedule IX of Indian Constitution.
iii. Kapu community accounts for 27% of Andhra Pradesh’s population. Reservation to Kapus was one of the electoral promises made by Chandrababu Naidu Government before 2014 elections.
iv. Kapu quota has been recommended by Manjunath Commission, which was set up In February 2016 by Mr. Naidu.
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
Vice President Naidu launches Deen Dayal Divyangajan Sahajya Scheme in Assam
On December 3, 2017, on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched Deen Dayal Divyangajan Sahajya Scheme in Guwahati, Assam.Launch of Deen Dayal Divyangajan Sahajya Scheme and related information:
i. Under this scheme, every differently abled person in Assam would be entitled to a one-time grant of Rs 5000 for their treatment.
ii. The launch function was attended by Assam Governor, Jagadish Mukhi and Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal.
iii. At the launch function, Vice President Naidu praised Assam Government for introducing ‘Pranam Act’ under which, all government employees can make contributions from their salaries for the welfare of elderly and differently abled family members.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to mention that according to 2011 census, India is home to 2.21 per cent of the total 15 per cent of differently abled population in the world.
Tendu leaf bonus festival inaugurated in Bijapur
On December 2, 2017, Tendu Leaf Bonus Festival was inaugurated in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
Tendu Leaf Bonus Festival:
i. At the inauguration of Tendu Leaf Bonus Festival, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh distributed bonus to the tendu leaf collectors of Bastar and Bijapur.
ii. Rs. 247 crore bonus will be distributed during the course of this 10-day Tendu Leaf Bonus Festival.
iii. It is to be noted that collecting Tendu Leaves is the primary means of livelihood for a huge population from Bastar to Sarguja of Chhattisgarh.
iv. Under the bonus scheme, Chhattisgarh State Government will also provide free clothing and insurance to tendu leaf collectors, and scholarship and healthcare to their children.
v. Besides, Chhattisgarh State Government has also announced increasing the tendu leaves collection rate from Rs 1800 to Rs 2500 per sack.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum opens in New Delhi
On 1st December 2017, India’s first Madame Tussauds wax museum was opened at Regal Building, Connaught Place, New Delhi.Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New Delhi:
i. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New Delhi is the 23rd edition of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. It consists of 50 lifelike figures of personalitiesrelated to history, sports, music, films, and politics.
ii. The statues of following personalities are present: Narendra Modi, Sachin Tendulkar, Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam, Marylin Monroe, Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Justin Beiber, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce Knowles, Kapil Sharma, and APJ Abdul Kalam.
Some of the museums in Delhi:
♦ Indian Air Force Museum – Palam
♦ Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum – Gandhi Smriti
♦ National Gallery of Modern Art – Jaipur House
♦ National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum – Pragati Maidan
First phase of Chabahar Port inaugurated by Iranian President
On December 3, 2017, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of strategic Chabahar Port in South-Eastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. Minister of State for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration function.
i. Iran has invested about one billion dollars in completing the first phase of the Chabahar Port. The first phase has been named Shahid Beheshti port.
ii. In 2016, India and Iran had signed a bilateral agreement to refurbish and develop certain parts of Chabahar Port. As per the agreement, India is to equip and operate two berths in the Phase – I of Chabahar Port on a 10-year lease……………………………………………..Click here to Read more
‘Populism’ is Cambridge dictionary’s ‘word of the year 2017’
The word “populism” has been announced as the Cambridge Dictionary 2017 Word of the Year.
Populism – Word of the year:
i. The word “populism” has been selected based on the criteria that the word should not only be the most searched-for words but is also reflected in spikes.
ii. Spikes means occasions when a word is suddenly looked up many more times than usual on or around a particular date.
iii. The dictionary defines populism as “political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want”. The dictionary definition includes the usage label “mainly disapproving”.
About University of Cambridge:
♦ Established – 1209
♦ Location – Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
♦ Type – Public Research University
BANKING & FINANCE
Forex reserves claw back to $400-bn mark again
According to the weekly data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange reserves crossed the $ 400-billion mark again, in the week to November 24, 2017.India’s Forex Reserves – Latest Data:
i. As per RBI data, forex reserves increased by $ 1.208 billion to touch $ 400.741 billion.
ii. In the previous week, forex reserves rose by $ 240.4 million to $ 399.533 billion.
iii. The latest surge in forex reserves came solely on the back of increase in foreign currency assets.
iv. Foreign currency assets is a major component of the overall reserves and currently stands at $376.304 billion in the week to November 24, 2017.
v. For the reporting week, Gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.666 billion while special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) marginally declined by $ 0.1 million to $ 1.497 billion.
India is biggest importer of U.S. oil refinery by-product ‘petcoke’
India has become the biggest importer of U.S. oil refinery by-product ‘petcoke’, which in 2016 got almost a fourth of all the fuel-grade “petcoke” the U.S. shipped out.
India – biggest importer of petcoke:
i. Petroleum coke called as ‘petcoke’, a U.S. oil refinery by-product, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and heart and lung-damaging sulfur.
ii. In 2016, the U.S. sent more than 8 million metric tonnes of petcoke to India. That’s about 20 times more than in 2010.
iii. The Supreme Court recently banned petcoke use by some industries as of November 1, 2017 in the three states surrounding New Delhi.
Some of the world’s most polluted cities by particulate matter concentration:
♦ Iran – Zabol
♦ India – Gwalior
♦ India – Allahabad
♦ Saudi Arabia – Riyadh
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri only Indian on Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year top 20 list
Aditya Puri, the Managing Director of HDFC Bank, is the only Indian on Fortune’s ‘Businessperson of the Year 2017’ list.
Aditya Puri on Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year top 20 list:
i. The Businessperson of the Year list is an annual ranking of world’s top 20 heads of companies. At the 18th position, Aditya Puri is the only head of an Indian company on the list.
ii. Aditya Puri has been the Managing Director of HDFC Bank since its inception in 1994. Nvidia’s Jensen Huang, a Taiwan-born American entrepreneur and businessman, has topped the list.
iii. Some others who made it to the list are: Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Mary Dillion of Ulta Beauty, Francisco D’Souza of Cognizant, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe Systems.
About HDFC (Housing Development Financial Corporation) Bank Limited:
♦ Founded – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ MD – Aditya Puri
Miss Korea Jenny Kim crowned as Miss Supranational 2017
On 1st December 2017, Miss Korea Jenny Kim was crowned as Miss Supranational 2017 in Krynica Zdroj in Poland.Jenny Kim – Miss Supranational 2017:
i. Jenny Kim is a 24-year-old model from Seoul. She succeeds Srinidhi Shetty of India as Miss Supranational.
ii. Tica Martinez of Colombia and Bianca Tirsin of Romania were named the first runner-up and second runner-up respectively.
iii. India’s Peden Ongmu Namgyal, reached top 25, but failed to make it to the top 10. Sixty-five contestants competed in this year’s competition.
iv. Jenny Kim competed at the Miss Universe 2016 pageant held in Manila, Philippines, where she won as Miss Congeniality.
About Miss Supranational 2017:
♦ Date – December 1, 2017
♦ Place – Municipal Sports and Recreation Center (MOSIR), Krynica-Zdroj, Poland
♦ Hosts – Davina Reevs, Ivan Padrez
India’s Ajaita Shah is grand champion at GES 2017 Catalyst Pitch competition
India’s Ajaita Shah has emerged as the Grand Champion in the catalyst pitch competition held by Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) on the closing day of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES2017) held in Hyderabad.
About Ajaita Shah and GES 2017 Catalyst Pitch competition:
i. Ajaita Shah is the founder of a startup named ‘Frontier Markets’. This startup provides last mile distribution solution for energy products based on solar technology that empowers women.
ii. As the winner of the catalyst pitch competition, Ajaita Shah received several prizes in kind including $50,000 in Amazon Web Services credits and a Dell laptop computer.
iii. Jainesha Sinha, founder of GyanDhan, from India, Vaishali Neotia, founder of Merxius Software, from India and Fiona Edwards Murphy, founder of ApisProtect, from Ireland were the other three finalists of the catalyst pitch competition.
iv. Semifinal pitch sessions were based on the four GES focus industries viz. Healthcare and Life Sciences, Energy and Infrastructure, Digital Economy and Financial Technology and Media and Entertainment.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Lieutenant General D R Soni takes over as chief of Indian Army’s Southern Command
On 1st December 2017, Lieutenant General D R Soni assumed command of the Indian Army’s Southern Command headquartered in Pune.Lieutenant General D R Soni – chief of Indian Army’s Southern Command:
i. Lieutenant General D R Soni is an Armoured Corps officer of the 1979 batch. Prior to this, he was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command since September 2016.
iii .He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was commissioned in the Central India Horse in June 1979.
iv. He has done requisite Army courses including the Junior Command, Senior Command and Higher Command Courses.
About Commands of the Indian Army:
Army Training Command, Central Command, Eastern Command, Northern Command, South Western Command, Southern Command and Western Command
S K Chourasia appointed as DGOF and chairman of Ordnance Factory Board
Sunil Kumar Chourasia, IOFS (Indian Ordnance Factories Service), has been appointed as the new Director General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and Chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) with effect from 1st December, 2017.
S K Chourasia – DGOF & Chairman of Ordnance Factory Board:
i. Previously, S K Chourasia was Member of OFB and was in charge of Material & Components division. He joined Indian Ordnance Factories Service in 1981.
ii. He was selected to work in Government of India as Deputy Secretary and thereafter Director in Ministry of Defence from 1992 to 1997. He was Chief Vigilance Officer in PSUs from 2002 to 2005.
iii. From 2005 to 2008, he held the post of Director & Commissioner for Departmental Enquiries at Central Vigilance Commission.
iv. Before taking over as Member at OFB, he was the General Manager of Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project, Trichy & Senior General Manager of Ordnance Factory Kanpur.
About IOFS (Indian Ordnance Factories Service):
♦ Formed – 1935
♦ IOFS officers are – Gazetted (Group A) defence-civilian officers under the Ministry of Defence
♦ Responsible for – the management of the Indian Ordnance Factories
Preet Didbal becomes First Sikh woman Mayor in US
Preet Didbal has been elected as the mayor of Yuba city in California and has thereby become first Sikh woman elected as mayor in the United States (US).About Preet Didbal:
i. Preet Didbal was elected to Yuba city council in 2014 and is currently serving as vice-mayor. She will be sworn in as mayor on December 5, 2017.
ii. Ravi Bhalla is another Sikh Mayor in US. He was elected as mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey in November 2017.
iii. The Sutter-Yuba region in California is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the country. It is estimated that US has around 500000 people who follow the Sikh faith.
Pakistan’s Law Minister Zahid Hamid resigns
On November 27, 2017, Pakistan’s Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Zahid Hamid tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, following protests by hardline religious groups in Pakistan.
Reason behind Zahid Hamid’s Resignation:
i. Mr. Zahid Hamid had brought in a change in the wording of the oath of office. According to certain hardline religious groups in Pakistan, these changes undermined Islamic beliefs and linked it to blasphemy.
ii. Protesters took to streets demanding the reversal of these changes and demanding Mr. Hamid’s resignation.
iii. During two-day clashes between protesters and security forces in Islamabad and other places in Pakistan, at least six people were killed and hundreds were injured.
iv. Zahid Hamid’s resignation was a part of a deal reached between the government and the protesters.
Researchers discover 300 fossilised Pterosaur eggs in China
A team of Brazilian and Chinese paleontologists have announced the discovery of about 300 fossilised eggs and skeletons of pterosaurs.
Fossilised Pterosaur eggs discovered in China:
i. The fossils, some of them of embryos with the bones preserved in three dimensions, were found in 2015-2016 in the northeastern Chinese region of Hami. They were analysed and described in a joint project by Brazilian and Chinese dinosaur experts.
ii. The research was published in the journal Science. Pterosaurs are a group of extinct winged dinosaurs that were the first known vertebrates to be able to fly.
iii. Molds and casts of the eggs and the bones found by the team will be on display form 1st December 2017 at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.
National Museum of Brazil:
♦ Established – 1818
♦ Location – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
♦ Type – Natural history, ethnology and archaeology
Cyclone Ockhi ravages Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Lakshadweep
On December 1, 2017, Cyclone Ockhi, originating near Sri Lanka over the Bay of Bengal, moved over the Arabian sea through Kanyakumari triggering heavy rains and high speed wind in Lakshadweep islands.
i. Due to heavy rains along with strong winds on account of Cyclone Ockhi, several trees got uprooted and communication lines were disrupted in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and islands of Lakshadweep.
ii. Many fishermen from Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been reported to be missing.
iii. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has asked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intensify search and rescue operation for the missing fishermen with the help of Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy.
Virat Kohli becomes first captain to score six double ton
On 3rd December 2017, Virat Kohli became the first player to score six double centuries as captain.Virat Kohli – first captain to score six double ton:
i. Virat Kohli scored 200 off 238 balls on the second day of the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium. This record of six double centuries is a first as a captain.
ii. He has surpassed West Indies’ Brian Lara, who held the record previously with five double tons in Tests.
iii. Also Virat Kohli now shares the record of most number (six) of double centuries for Indian in Test cricket with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. He is also only the second Indian after Vinod Kambli to score back-to-back double hundreds.
About Test cricket triple centuries:
♦ Andy Sandham – 325 runs
♦ Donald Bradman – 334 runs
♦ Wally Hammond – 336 runs
International Day of Persons with Disabilities – December 3
On 3rd December 2017, International Day of Persons with Disabilities was observed all over the world.International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
i. The theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2017 is: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.
ii. The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was declared in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly.
iii. This day aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
About Paralympic Games:
♦ Major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities
♦ Organized in parallel with the Olympic Games
♦ Governed by – International Paralympic Committee