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Current Affairs Today – January 21 2016

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Dear Readers, We cover some important news in Current Affairs Today Section, which are not covered in Daily Detailed News, More Current Affairs coverage will help you to Score Good Marks in Competitive Exam.

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Current Affairs Today 21 January 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet approbated 50000 crore rupees for Infrastructure Projects in TN

Centre has consented Rs. 50,000 crore for infrastructure development projects in Tamil Nadu.

  • The announcement has been made by Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari during the foundation laying ceremony of 3 four-lane National Highways projects in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tirupur districts and 2 flyovers in Marthandam and Parvathipuram.

Policy on “Promotion of City Compost” assented by cabinet

Policy on “Promotion of City Compost” has got a stamp of approval by the Union Cabinet to lower the maximum retail price of city compost for farmers.

  • As per policy, sale of city compost will be assisted by Rs 1,500 per tonne, which can be utilized as organic fertiliser by farmers.
  • A joint contrivance will be organised by Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Urban Development and Department of Agriculture to supervise and make adequate quantity of City Compost available by having a mutual accord with compost manufacturers and Fertilizer Marketing companies.

ISRO-KISR MoU on cooperation in the area of outer space

Memorandum of Understanding has been inked between the Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organization (DOS/ISRO) and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) to cooperate & use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

Interest areas in respect to MoU:

  • Training
  • Building and launching of remote sensing and communication satellites on commercial terms.
  • Use of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites by KISR for initiating research and application project.

Apart from above, Joint Working Group will also be set-up, consisting of members from ISRO and KISR to work on the plan of action related to space technology for the sake & benefit of humanity.

  • The MoU will enable the exploration of remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication, satellite navigation and space science.

Rs 4,918-crore approved for Highway Project in Bihar

For the widening of NH 2 stretch in Bihar and to expand its infrastructure, Cabinet has assented Rs 4,918-crore.

  • The decision in this regard has been taken by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which also approved 6-laning of Aurangabad – Bihar/ Jharkhand Border – Barwa Adda section on NH 2 in Bihar and Jharkhand.
  • The highway with a stretch of 222 kms will diminish travelling time.

Keys Bihar:

  • CM – Nitish Kumar
  • Capital – Patna

Infrastructure Status vouchsafed to Shipyard Industry

In a bid to ease financial stress, union government has granted infrastructure status to the shipyard industry. This will enable shipyards to avail flexible long-term funding at lower costs.

  • The shipyards undertaking will also get benefits under Income Tax Act, 1961 as well as relaxed ECB norms and issuance of infrastructure bonds for meeting working capital requirements.

Presently, this strategically important industry i.e. Indian shipyard has employed around 30,000 people.

CCEA approves 5000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its nod for setting up over 5,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis.

  • Under Batch-lV of Phase-ll of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the projects will be executed by solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
  • Outlay – Rs 30,000 crore

The project will be set up in 4 trenches of 1,250 MW capacity of each viz. 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The project will facilitate employment to 30,000 people in rural and urban areas and thereafter will generate 8,300 Million units per year benefiting about 2.5 Million households.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ex-post-facto approval on the approach adopted by India at the 10th Ministerial Conference

10th Ministerial Conference

PM Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the approach adopted by India at the 10th Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Nairobi, Kenya during 15-19 December 2015.

  • The outcomes of the Conference, referred to as the ‘Nairobi Package’ include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least developed countries (LDCs).

The Conference was chaired by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed.

UN signs up Lionel Messi to help beat poverty

United Nations has appointed Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi and pop sensation Shakira to promote world body’s objective of eradication of poverty by 2030.

  • Shakira head a list of 17 well-known names recruited by the United Nations to promote its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including the fight against climate change and universal access to education and health.

Messi and Shakira are already goodwill ambassadors for UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund.

BANKING & FINANCE

Indo – WB concord of US$ 250 mn for “Bihar Kosi Basin Development”

“Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project” got a financial succor of US$ 250 million from World Bank after the accordment has been endorsed by the Government of India and the World Bank.

  • The Financing consensus was signed by the Raj Kumar (Joint Secretary, DEA) and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director in India (on behalf of WB) while the Project concord was signed by the Mr. Shishir Sinha, Development Commissioner.

ICICI Bank opens its first branch in South Africa

ICICI Bank inaugurated its first full service branch at Sandton in Johannesburg. This branch will undertake banking activities only for corporates and offer trade finance and short term funding for companies having trade links with India.

  • It is the first Indian private sector bank to open a branch in the African continent.
  • The branch was inaugurated by Vijay Chandok, President, ICICI Bank.
  • The branch is an authorized financial services provider in South Africa licensed by the South African Reserve Bank.

BUSINESS

SoftBank invests Rs 100 cr more in Housing.com

Japan-based Softbank has invested a fresh round of Rs 100 crore funding in Mumbai-based online real estate portal Housing.com.

  • SoftBank is the largest shareholder of the company.
  • Recently, Housing.com has appointed cofounder Snehil Buxy as its new chief product officer.

Housing.com has been rapidly building its business, such as establishing a strategic multi-year partnership with MCHI and CREDAI, the largest real estate developer body in India, creating the first virtual real estate expo that resulted in gaining 60,000 home buyers, released a first-of-its-kind innovative branding solution for premier developers called BRAND FALCON, and the company is now working with over 40,000 developers and agents.

MRF becomes global partner for ICC

MRF Tyres and The International Cricket Council (ICC) becomes global partner by announcing a four-year deal.

  • Headquartered of MRF is in Chennai, India.
  • The four events include this year’s ICC World Twenty20 in India, next year’s ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.
  • The announcement was made at by ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson, MRF Tyres Chairman and Managing Director, K M Mammen, former India captain and MRF brand ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar, and other officials.

ACQUSITIONS & MERGERS

Godrej acquires majority stake in India Circus

Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd. has acquired major stake i.e. 51% in India Circus Retail Pvt.

  • This merger aims to strengthen India Circus market position as a lifestyle brand that offers home decor and personal accessories.
  • India Circus expects its market revenue to grow by 500% over the next two years.
  • Krsnaa Mehta is the executive director of India Circus.
  • He wants to make India Circus one of the celebrated Make in India brands.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

National Award for Technology Innovation in Petrochemicals 2015-16 presented by Ananth Kumar

The 6th National Awards for Technology in Innovation in Petrochemicals and downstream Plastics Processing Industry has been bestowed by Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Ananth Kumar in New Delhi to recognize outstanding contribution in R&D.

  • Out of 264 nominees for 2015-16, 17 have been chosen as winners & 14 as runner ups.
  • The scheme of these national awards implemented by Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET), under Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.

Adele’s Hello enters Guinness Book of World Records

Adele’s Hello enters Guinness Book of World RecordsGlobal superstar Adele’s (UK) recent hit song “Hello” reached a staggering one billion views on the popular video platform YouTube in mere 88 days.

  • It held a record for fastest time for a video to reach one billion views on YouTube beating PSY’s South Korean dance track “Gangnam Style”, which received one billion views in 159 days.

Grammy award-winning musician Adele’s comeback single received a whopping 27.7 million views in the first day after it was uploaded.

  • She achieved her first Guinness World Records title with “Most views for an act on VEVO in 24 hours”.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

ICSI appointed Mamta Binani as its President

First CS to be bestowed with “Bharat Nirman Awards” in 2010 and a practicing as a CS from 19 years, Mamta Binani has been designated as the President of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). She will commence her job from January 19, 2016.

Sanjiv Ranjan appointed as the India’s Ambassador to Republic of Argentina

Shri Sanjiv Ranjan has been designated as the next Ambassador of lndia to Republic of Argentina.

  • The 1993 batch lFS officer, presently serving as Joint Secretary in the Ministry.

Keys Argentina:

  • Capital – Buenos Aires
  • Currency – Argentine peso
  • President – Mauricio Macri

ENVIRONMENT

Seven Ancient Buddhist Caves Discovered In Mumbai National Park

Seven Buddhist caves have been discovered at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli (Mumbai) in India, in January 2016. The caves are discovered in the north fringes of the city.

  • The caves are assumed to be at least 2,000-years old.
  • The caves are possibly dated between the 1stcentury B.C. and 5th -6th century A.Dthat is before Kanheri Caves.

ISIS has destroyed Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery

The oldest Christian monastery St Elijah’s monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). The Associated Press published the satellite photographs on Wednesday.

  • This news was confirmed by Iraqi officials and historians. But analysts said the images, obtained by the Associated Press, recommended it had been demolished in late 2014, soon after IS seized the city.
  • A Catholic priest from Mosul warned that its Christian history was “being barbarically levelled”.

New bird species “Zoothera salimaliidiscovered in India

New bird species “Zoothera salimalii “discovered in IndiaA team of scientists from India, Sweden, China, the US and Russia discovered a new bird species, dubbed Himalayan Forest Thrush in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China.

  • The bird was biologically named as Zoothera salimalii as an honour to Salim Ali, who made significant contributions to ornithology in India.

It was first discovered in May-June of 2009 and after a thorough observation it was realized that it has similarities to other bird species Plain-backed Thrush (Zoothera mollissima) except song type.

  • The species breeds from Sikkim and Darjeeling in India and extends into northwest Yunnan in China.
  • This is found in rocky habitats and has longer bill, shorter wings and shorter legs.

SPORTS

Maiden win for young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala

Jehan Daruvala, Indian racer started his campaign 2016 by winning one of New Zealand’s  most prestigious events, the Lady Wigram Trophy, for his maiden victory in Formula cars.

  • Jehan Daruvala is the youngest Indian racer.

Chris Gayle Equals Yuvraj Singh’s Fastest T20 Fifty Record

Chris Gayle, west India opener hit a 12-ball 50 for Melbourne Renegades against Adelaide Strikers in a Big Bash League semifinal.

  • Gayle equals the  Yuvraj Singh’s record, set at the 2007 World Twenty20 against England in Durban.
  • Gayle also smashed the Big Bash record for the fastest fifty, from 18 balls, jointly held by Tim Ludeman and Chris Lynn.
  • Gayle’s innings included seven sixes and two fours
  • Gayle also holds the record for the fastest Twenty20 ton.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

PM releases “The Z Factor,” a book written by Shri Subhash Chandra

PM releases The Z Factor a book written by Shri Subhash Chandra

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, released a book named “The Z Factor” written by Shri Subhash Chandra.

  • The book is published by Harper Collins
  • The autobiography of Dr. Subhash Chandra is titled as “The Z Factor: My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time”.
  • Dr Chandra, is referred as the head of Indian Media,
  • He revolutionized the television industry by launching the country’s first satellite Hindi channel Zee TV in 1992 and later the first private news channel, Zee News.