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Current Affairs Today – January 6 2016

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Current Affairs Today 6 January 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

MDoNER Calender-2016 released with theme “Rising North East”

The Union Minister of State for Development of North-Eastern Region (MDoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh has released MDoNER Calender-2016.

ThemeRising North East

  • The Calender-2016 is projecting various buildings and other developmental works carried out in each state of North Eastern Region with the assistance of Ministry of DoNER.
  • There are 12 photographs showing some of the infrastructure development activities in North Eastern Region under the various schemes of MDoNER.

First MOU on “UDAY” signed b/w GOI, Jharkhand & JBVNL

Government of India, Jharkhand and the JBVNL (Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for operational & financial turnaround of Discoms under the Scheme UDAY – Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana.
(Jharkhand CM – Raghubar Das)

  • Inking of this MoU indicates the onset of major Distribution reforms in the country under UDAY.

SC directed Gujarat government to make Gujarat State Cooperative Tribunal functional

The Supreme Court (SC) directed the Gujarat government to make functional the Gujarat State Cooperative Tribunal by filling up the vacant posts including that of judicial members, which is the bone of contention.

  • Further, the court directed that the tribunal cannot be allowed to be non-functional. The ruling was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.

The dispute has its origin in 2011, when the Gujarat Co-operative Bar Association moved the High Court challenging the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 and the Rules made there under with respect to the appointment of members of the State Co-operative Tribunal and members of Board of Nominees.

Odisha raises VAT on petrol and diesel by 3%

 The Odisha government increased the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by 3% each, making the fuel dearer.

  • The finance department issued a notification stating that the VAT on petrol and diesel would be 26% from earlier rate of 23%.
  • Petrol and diesel across the state will cost more by Rs 1.39 per litre and Rs 1.14 per litre respectively.

The government decided to increase VAT on the fuel as the state’s revenue collection was badly hit due to frequent decline in the prices of petrol and diesel.

Keys Odisha:

  • Capital – Bhubaneswar
  • Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik

Foundation Stone Laid for an “International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography”

The Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri. Y. S. Chowdary laid Foundation for the building complex of the International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCO-Ocean) at Hyderabad.

  • It will provide benefits in the form of of Potential Fishing Zones advisories to fishermen, Ocean State Forecasts for mariners, Tsunami & Storm Surge Early warnings, etc.

Ministry of Earth Sciences had signed a Memorandum of Agreement with IOC / UNESCO to cooperate in capacity development programmes. This shows the confidence of international community in India’s achievements, particularly in the field of oceanography.

First Company of Ganga Task Force deployed Ganga Gram Yojana launched

The Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti launched Ganga Gram Yojana at Village Puth in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

  • Under the scheme, 1600 villages of UP situated along the banks of river Ganga will be developed.

Highlights of the Ganga Gram Yojana

  • In the first phase of the progamme, 200 villages have been selected initially.
  • In these villages, open drains falling into river Ganga will be diverted and alternative arrangements for sewage treatment will be made.
  • The villages will have toilets in every house hold.
  • It is proposed to incur the expenditure of 1 crore rupees on every village.
  • These villages will be developed under the Sichewal model. Sichewal is situated in Punjab, where cooperation of the villagers has been solicited for the water management and waste disposal.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Pakistan- Sri Lanka agree to expand FTA with 8 MoUs

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to expand their bilateral free trade agreement by inclusion of services and investment. Apart from this 8 MoUs and defence deal has been signed between both the nations during the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif official visit to Sri Lanka.

  • This would help companies of the two nations to form joint ventures for exports to other nations.

Forbes named 45 Indians in list of its achievers under 30

Forty five Indians and Indian- origin people have made it to Forbes annual list of achievers under the age of 30 who are “changing the rules of the game or creating entirely new playbooks” across varied fields.

BANKING & FINANCE

India Index Services launches Private Sector Bank Index

NSE group company, India Index Services & Products (IISL) launched the Nifty Private Sector Bank Index.

  • Objective: To track 10 largest private sector banks listed on the NSE.
  • Calculation of INDEX: It is calculated using free-float market capitalisation method, and stock weights are limited at 25 per cent. Base date of the Index- April 1, 2005 and Base value – 1,000. The index will be calculated on an end-of-day basis.

The index provides the investors with scope of banking sector indices catering to different investment needs.

Key person: Mr. Mukesh Agarwal, CEO, IISL.

BUSINESS

Union Government abolishes export duty on iron ore pellets

To compete with other suppliers in global markets and make way for further excavation at mine sites, Mineral exporters have urged the government to abolish export duty.

  • The government levied 5% export duty on pellets, 10% on bauxite and 30% on chromite and iron ore.

Low grade iron ore mined automatically while mining high grade is not used by domestic steel mills. So, its exports should be encouraged to vacate the mine sites where the same is deposited.

  • Massive stock of iron ore stored at the eastern coast of Odisha which awaits duty reduction for exports to China to compete with other global suppliers including Australia and Brazil.
  • Secretary Iron Ore Exporters’ Association: P K Chaki

BHEL commissioned 600 MW Kakatiya Thermal Power Plant Stage-II in Telangana

BHEL has commissioned 600 MW unit at Kakatiya Thermal Power Project, Telangana.

  • Commissioned at: Kakatiya Thermal Power Project (KTPP) at Chelpur in Warangal District of Telangana. It is the highest rating unit in the state.
  • Earlier units: One coal-based unit of 500 MW commissioned by BHEL in 2010 is already operational at KTPP.

BHEL has a key contribution in Telangana’s Power Sector, with 84 per cent of the coal-based power stations, amounting to 4,580 MW, commissioned by the company.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman topped 2015 US Bestseller List

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman topped 2015 US Bestseller ListThe book Go Set a Watchman written by Harper Lee has been in lead in the 2015 US bestseller list.

  • Around 6 million copies of the book were sold in the USA since it was published in July 2015.
  • The second and third bestseller in the list was Jeff Kinney’s Diary of Wimpy Kid series (1.48 million copies) and British author EL James’ Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian (1.4 million) respectively.

Go Set a Watchman was published more than half a century after Harper’s Pulitzer-winning first book, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published.

  • The spike in the sales of Go Set a Watchman can be attributed to the fact that 89-year-old Harper Lee is now confined to a nursing home and may not publish a word in future.

APPOINTMENTS

Filippo Grandi designated as the UNHCR Chief

Filippo Grandi (58) an Italian UN official took over as the new High Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

  • He will succeed Antonio Guterres, a former Portugese Prime Minister, who retired on December 31 after heading the Refugee Agency for 10 years.

LinkedIn names Akshay Kothari its India head

Networking website LinkedIn announced Akshay Kothari, its principal product manager to head operations in India replacing Nishant Rao. India has one of the largest users for LinkedIn after the US. Earlier, he was working from Mountain View, California headquarter of LinkedIn.

About Kothari:

  • Joined LinkedIn in 2013 when Pulse, the company he co-founded was acquired by LinkedIn.
  • Responsible for leading several major product and content initiatives in US, including Pulse.

Within 6years of LinkedIn’s presence in India: Member base saw a ten-fold increase including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top executives such as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon, who have their profiles on it.

  • LinkedIn managing director: Olivier Legrand

IAMAI appoints FreeCharge CEO Kunal Shah as Chairman

IAMAI appoints FreeCharge CEO Kunal Shah as ChairmanInternet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has appointed Kunal Shah, as the new chairman of the association replacing current chairman Nishant Rao, who recently moved to Chennai from Gurgaon to join a startup called Freshdesk as its global Chief Operating Officer.

About Shah:

  • Earlier positions: He was the co-founder and chief executive officer of FreeCharge and country head of LinkedIn.
  • Co-founded FreeCharge in August 2010. In April last year the company was acquired by Snapdeal.

IAMAI also announced Vishwas Patel(CEO of CCAvenue) as the new treasurer. CCAvenue provides payment gateway services to several thousand of online merchants across the world.

  • Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) HQ Mumbai

 Vishal Suri is new MD of Kuoni India

Vishal Suri who was chief operating officer (leisure travel) in Thomas Cook has been appointed as managing director of Kuoni India replacing Rajeev Wagle(Resigned).

  • Suri held the position of CEO – Tour Operating in Kuoni India.
  • Thomas Cook concluded the acquisition of Swiss tour major Kuoni’s business in India.

Kuoni’s destination management business functioning under the brand name Sita, will be merged with Travel Corporation of India (TCI).

Sushil Agarwal becomes Aditya Birla group CFO

Sushil Agarwal becomes Aditya Birla group CFOAditya Birla Group has appointed Sushil Agarwal group CFO and Ashish Adukia as the deputy CFO the group’s telecom venture, Idea Cellular who was earlier the group’s President of Corporate Finance.

  • Earlier, Grasim Industries had announced merger of Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Ltd with itself.

Aditya Birla Group:

It is among the Fortune 500 companies. It has presence in a variety of business segment, including chemicals, insurance, telecom and retail among others employing over 1,20,000 people with operations spanning over 36 countries.

  • Aditya Birla Group, Director (Group Human Resources): Santrupt Misra

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Zydus acquires select brands of leading animal health co Zoetis

Zydus Group announced acquisition of select brands and the manufacturing operations in Haridwar of Zoetis which is a global animal health company.

  • Benefit: Zydus expand its animal health business in India and gain access to manufacturing operations which have also been catering to global markets and to a wide range of nutrition as well as therapeutic products which have strong brand equity and a combined turnover of Rs.171 crore.

Zydus: Zydus Animal Health is the leading animal healthcare player and a market leader in various therapeutic segments. Zydus Animal Health has introduced the highest number of First in India products.

  • CMD Zydus Cadila: Pankaj R Patel

Reliance capital gets CCI nod to acquire Goldman Sach’s fund arm

Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) has given nod to Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM) for the acquisition of Goldman Sachs’ onshore asset management business in India.

  • Earlier, RCAM had announced this acquisition for Rs.243 crore in cash.

About Reliance Capital: It is the financial services arm of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group. It is present in insurance, brokerage and wealth management, among other areas.

About Goldman Sachs Asset Management: It manages assets of over $ 1.19 trillion across geographies and asset classes.

  • HQ: New York
  • Chairman and CEO: Lloyd Blankfein

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Bengaluru to Get India’s First Space Park

As part of Make in India initiative, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to open a 100 acre Space Park in Bengaluru where private industries would be allowed to take up manufacturing of space system related components.

  • The Space Park spread in 100 acres of Whitefield area is expected to cater to increasing demand for components and other parts for satellites as India aims to launch more satellites for various observational services in future.
  • In 2016, India will launch 12 satellites for remote sensing and navigation.

Also India will be the first country to have a high altitude polar landing of Chandrayaan 2 and it will have three components – orbiter, Lander and rover to study the lunar surface. The mission is scheduled to be launched 2017-18.

N Korea conducted ‘successful’ hydrogen bomb test

North Korea had successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test marking a stunning step forward in its nuclear development. This was the country’s fourth nuclear test since 2006, but the first allegedly to involve a hydrogen weapon – also known as thermonuclear device.

  • The regime in capital city Pyongyang detonated a hydrogen device at the Punggye-ri underground test site in the far northeast.
  • UN Security Council prepares new sanctions as world leaders urge for “strong action” to be taken against Pyongyang following nuclear test which caused 1 magnitude earthquake.

Bombs which rely on nuclear fusion, release far more destructive power than other weapons based on a fission reaction.

SPORTS

Pranav Dhanawade hits world record by scoring 1009 runs at school level tournament

Pranav Dhanawade hits world record by scoring 1009 runs at school level tournamentMumbai teenager Pranav Dhanawade scripted history by becoming the first cricketer ever to notch up a four-figure score by smashing an unbeaten knock of 1,009 in an inter-school tournament.

  • 15-year-old cricketer Pranav Dhanawade created a world record by scoring 1009 runs (not out) in 323 balls during HT Bhandari Cup, an under-16 inter-school tournament held in Mumbai (Maharashtra).
  • He was representing KC Gandhi High School against Arya Gurukul.
  • With this, he also has broken a century-old cricketing record becoming the first batsman to score 1000-plus runs in an innings in any form of cricket.

HT Bhandari Cup was organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) mainly for suburban schools.