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Current Affairs Today – January 5 2016

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Current Affairs Today 5 January 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

India-Nepal friendship bus service resumes after gap of 27 years

A friendship bus service between India and Nepal via Champawat in Uttarakhand resumed after a gap of 27 years. These air-conditioned buses are painted with Indian and Nepalese flags.

  • The bus will runs between Kanchanpur in Nepal close to Banbasa border in Champavat district of Uttarakhand and Anand Vihar in New Delhi.
  • No special documents are required to travel in these buses.
  • A bottle of mineral water and Wi-Fi facility would be provided free of cost to the passengers.

The service was suspended 27 years ago in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty.

Keys Nepal:

  • Capital – Kathmandu
  • Currency – Nepalese rupee
  • Prime Minister – Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
  • President – Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Toilets made mandatory to contest Panchayat polls in Bihar

State election commissioner (SEC) Ashok Kumar Chauhan announced that toilets will be mandatory requirement for eligibility to contest panchayat elections in Bihar.

  • Candidates have to give an undertaking regarding status of toilet by 1 January 2016 in their home.
  • To ensure free and fair polling the elections will be held in 10 phases.

The decision is based on the legislation – the Bihar Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which brought some new provisions including making it mandatory for candidates contesting all level of panchayat raj elections to have toilets at their individual home by 31 January 2016.

  • Election will be held for the posts of 8397 Mukhiyas (Village head), 8397 Kutcheri Sarpanchs besides Panchayat Samiti members, Kutchehri panchs, and Zila Parishad members.

Women to constitute 33% of constables in paramilitary

With a view to enhance representation of women in Central Armed Police Forces, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has approved 33% of constable-rank personnel in paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and 15% in the border guarding forces Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for being filled up by women.

  • The move came following the recommendation of the Committee on Empowerment of Women in its sixth report which had suggested urgent need to provide due representation to women in paramilitary forces.

These forces together comprise of around nine lakh personnel of whom only around 20,000 are women now.

Gadkari announces Rs 41,000 cr road projects for Telangana

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced the road projects worth Rs 41,000 crore for Telangana, including two Express Highways from the state capital Hyderabad to Bengaluru in Karnataka and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

  • He laid down the foundation stone of 4-lane of Yadgir and Warangal section of NH-202 (new NH-163) of length 99 km costing Rs 1,424 crore.

The Telangana portion of cost of construction for the two Express Highways would be Rs 16,000 crore covering 190 km for Vijayawada and 210 km for Bengaluru Express Highways.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

IIM – B School courses lead in Central Asia

As per the study of Paris-based international agency Eduniversal, which specialises in higher education, 3 post-graduate courses of Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru have been ranked top in Central Asia.

Three courses of the IIM-Bangalore:
Two-year Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)
One-year Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy and Management (PGPPM)
One-year full-time Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP)

BANKING & FINANCE

IMPS launched by Andhra Bank

In association with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Hyderabad headquartered Andhra Bank has launched Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) at all its branches.

  • This multi-channel & multi-dimensional platform will makes payments possible within fraction of seconds with all the standards maintained for security.
  • This facility of real time instant fund transfer system for inter-bank remittances will be available round-the-clock.
  • The maximum cap of transaction will be Rs. 2 lakh. The charges will be at the rate of Rs.5 per transaction.

BUSINESS

ARAI to collaborate with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre

Pune based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) are to collaborate to develop a battery for passenger cars using technology which is used to make batteries for space vehicles.

  • The focus of the research will be to develop technology in electric and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEV) applications for Indian automotive industry and facilitate promotion of green mobility platform.
  • This will also promote import substitution and the government’s mission of making in India.

ARAI’s is also planning to set up a museum that which will display the journey of India’s automobile industry. The blueprint for the project is ready. It is also preparing to undertake a data collection project for on-road measurement of pollution from diesel vehicles and old vehicles.

Oasis Group to invest Rs 500 crore for setting up ethanol plant

Oasis Group is planning to invest Rs 500 crore for establishing a wheat-based ethanol plant with capacity of 5 lakh litres per day at Zira district, Ferozepur in Punjab.

  • At present, mostly sugar mills are producing ethanol in the country, which is being sold to the petroleum companies.
  • The Centre has fixed the target of mixing up to 10% ethanol in petrol, but so far it has achieved only 5% blending.

In the first phase of manufacturing, the production capacity would be 2.5 lakh liters per day and in the final phase, it would be taken to five lakh liters per day. The ethanol will be produced using wheat, which is unfit for human consumption

  • The group operates five distilleries across the country with a collective production of about 20 crore litres of grain-based extra neutral alcohol.
  • The company had reported a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore in 2014-15 and aims to achieve Rs 2,000 crore by the next financial year.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

2015 Costa Novel Prize conferred on Kate Atkinson’s “A God in Ruins”

British writer Kate Atkinson has won the Costa novel award for the second time in three years for “A God in Ruins”. It is the companion novel to “Life After Life”.

  • With this award, she became the first author to receive Costa prize for three timesGod in Ruins in 2016, Life After Life in 2013 and Behind the Scenes at the Museum in 1995.

APPOINTMENTS

Mary Barra – First Woman to chair GM as CEO

After achieving the feat of becoming US automaker General Motor‘s first female CEO, now Mary Barra again created history by elected as its chairman.

  • She will succeed Tim Solso, who will remain on the board as lead independent director.
  • Only 11 companies in the S&P 500 have a woman in both the CEO and chairperson roles.

Sachin is brand ambassador for Novo Nordisk’s diabetes campaign

Sachin is brand ambassador for Novo Nordisk's diabetes campaignNovo Nordisk, Danish pharmaceutical company announced Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador for the disease awareness campaign ‘Changing Diabetes’ initiated by it in India. It is the leading global insulin maker, is providing free diabetes treatment and education to 4,000 children, who have been suffering from Type-2 diabetes in India.

  • Objective of Novo Nordisk: Raising awareness of diabetes and its impact on the lives of people affected by it.
  • Directions: Sachin Tendulkar advised people to hit the gym or go for a long walk to keep away from diabetes.
  • Some Stats: In India 69.2 million people have diabetes and by 2035, it is estimated that 123.5 million people will have diabetes. 2 per cent of the GDP gets impacted by diabetes disease.

Key persons:
Managing director of Novo Nordisk India Private Limited: Melvin Oscar D’souza
Novo Nordisk Corporate Vice President: Mads Bo Larsen

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Nokia completed acquisition of Alca-Lucent for 15.6 billion euro

Nokia announced acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent(French firm) in an all-stock deal for 15.6 billion euros i.e. USD 16.6 billion.

  • Outcome: With this it will create the world’s largest supplier of equipment that powers mobile-phone networks, surpassing Ericsson and Huawei.
  • Deal: Nokia will give Alcatel-Lucent shareholders 0.55 shares in the combined company for each of their old shares.

Alcatel shareholders will own 33.5 per cent shares of the company and Nokia shareholders 66.5 per cent. The combined entity will be called Nokia

  • Chairman: Current Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa.
  • Chief Executive Officer: Rajeev Suri

Earlier Facts: This is the biggest deal in the telecom industry since 1999 when Lucent Technologies bought Ascend Communications for about $ 21 billion and is comparable to Alcatel’s purchase of Lucent in 2006 for USD 13.4 billion in 2006.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Sri Lanka – Location to World’s largest “Blue Star Sapphire”

The world’s largest blue star sapphire, weighing 1404.49 carats has been found in a mine in the city of Ratnapura, in southern Sri Lanka, which is known as the “City of Gems”.

  • It has now been valued at $100 million with estimates that it could even be sold at auction for $175 million.
  • The current record for a blue star sapphire is 1,395 carats.
  • The sapphire has been named “The Star of Adam” by its current owner, who wants to remain anonymous.

Jharkhand Government inaugurated land bank web portal jharbhoom.nic.in

Raghubar Das, Jharkhand Chief Minister inaugurated the state’s land bank web portal “jharbhoom.Nic.In” enabling the investors know land-related information. He asked to identify land at the earliest for Food Processing Park.

  • Benefit: Setting up of land bank would help investors get information through district-wise nodal officers and their mobile numbers and email ID would be available on the website.

Points to remember: Jharkhand

  • Capital: Ranchi
  • Governor: Droupadi Murmu

SPORTS

Rajsamman wins P T Rajan Gold Cup

Rajsamman won the P.T Rajan Gold Cup. He is ridden by jockey Tanveer Alam and trained by Fazal-Ul-Rehman.

  • The winner is owned by Fardeen A Malick and Meiyappan Masilamani.

Rank

  1. Rajsamman (Tanveer Alam)
  2. Crown Rule (Md. Hesnain)
  3. Quick Enough (N. Rupa)

OBITUARY

English cricketer Matthew Hobden passed away

English cricketer Matthew Hobden passed awayMatthew Hobden(22), Sussex fast bowler has passed away.

About Hobden:

  • Born in Eastbourne, United Kingdom
  • His first-class debut for Sussex in 2014.
  • Hobden was tipped to become an England international. He was one of six players currently selected to participate in the ECB’s England Performance Programme (PEPP).

Former Wigan Athletic defender Steve Gohouri passed away

Former Wigan Athletic defender Steve Gohouri passed awayFormer Wigan Athletic defender Steve Gohouri(34) passed away. His body found in the River Rhine near Dusseldorf.

About Gohouri:

  • Joined Wigan from Borussia Monchengladbach in January 2010.
  • Part of the Ivory Coast 2010 World Cup squad, joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 2012
  • At Skoda Xanthi in Greece before looking to finish his playing career in Germany.

Wigan Athletic Football Club: Nicknamed “Latics”, is an English professional football club based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, who compete in League One, the third tier of English football.

Former Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia died

Former Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia diedThe 38th Chief Justice of India, Sarosh Homi Kapadia(68), died in Mumbai.

About Sarosh Homi Kapadia:

  • 28-month as CJI
  • Started as a Class IV employee and described integrity as his only asset.
  • First Parsi Chief Justice of India on May 12, 2010
  • Best known for his statistical acumen.
  • He stood his ground against a concerted move to stop the Allahabad High Court from delivering the Ayodhya title suits judgment.
  • Most remembered for his verdict in the Vodafone tax verdict.

Current Chief Justice of India: T. S. Thakur (43rd)