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Current Affairs Today – January 7 2017

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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 Exams.

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Delhi Government Approves Phase-IV of Delhi Metro
i. The Delhi cabinet gave its nod to the fourth phase of Delhi Metro.It will add 8.5 lakh new passengers to its network.
ii.The fourth phase will have six new routes with a total length of around 103 km, and will be completed in six years at a cost of around Rs 50,000 crore.

Chandrababu Naidu announces Rs.100 crore reward for Nobel Prize winners from Andhra Pradesh
i. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced a reward of Rs 100 crore to anybody who becomes a Nobel Prize winner from the state.
ii. He announced this reward at the National Children’s Science Congress at Sri Padmavathi Women’s University in Tirupati.
iii. Mr.Naidu also felicitated 2015 Nobel Prize Winner for Physics Prof Takaaki Kajita of Japan.

Aadhaar now mandatory for EPF pension scheme
i. Central government has made obtaining an Aadhaar number mandatory for 2.5 crore members of the Employees’ Pension Scheme of 1995, one of the benefits available to Employees’ Provident Fund subscribers.
ii. According to a notification from Labour Ministry,those without an Aadhaar number will have to make an application to get enrolled by January 31, 2017.
iii. The subsidy, equivalent to 1.16 per cent of the employee’s salary upto Rs. 6,500, paid by the Centre towards the EPS, will no longer be credited till the Aadhaar number is shared with the authorities.

Delhi Government unveils ‘Good Samaritan Policy’
i. The Delhi government has approved “Good Samaritan Policy’ to encourage people to help accident victims.
ii. Delhi government approved ‘Good Samaritan Policy’ under which monetary incentive of Rs 2,000 and appreciation certificate will be given to people who help road accident victims in the national capital.
iii. According to the ‘Road Accidents in India’ report, Mumbai had the highest number of 23,468 number of road accidents during 2015 while Delhi had the highest number of 1,622 deaths due to road accidents.

44th New Delhi World Book Fair to focus on women writing begin
i. The 44th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair, 9-day-long fair, organised by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).
ii. Aim: To show and project the diversity of writings by women writers.
iii. Theme: ‘Manushi‘, focusing on “writings on and by women”.
iv. The fair is inaugurated by Mahendra Nath Pandey, MoS for Human Resource Development (Higher Education) at Pragati Maidan.
v. Guest of Honour: Eminent Odia writer and Jnanpith awardee Pratibha Ray; Special Guest: Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to India.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Norway to become first country to switch off FM radio
i. The Norwegian government will become the world’s first country to shut down its FM network from January 11, 2017 to digital will save money and allow national radio stations to invest more in radio content.
ii. FM Radioes are replaced with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) technology.
iii. Other countries are also considering making a similar shift, including Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Norway :
♦ Capital: Oslo
♦ Currency: Norwegian krone

Israel Building World’s Tallest Solar Tower
i. The world’s tallest solar tower is currently being constructed in Israel’s Negev desert.
ii. It will be 250 meters (820 feet) tall, is encircled by around 50,000 mirrors, called heliostats.
iii. Unlike the more common photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into power, the heliostats reflect the sunlight into the tower to heat a boiler, which will produce the steam to spin a turbine to generate electricity.
iv  The tower is just one of three power plots in Ashalim, with each plot using a different form of solar technology.
Israel :
♦ Capital: Jerusalem
♦ Currency: Israeli new shekel
♦ President: Reuven Rivlin

BANKING & FINANCE

India’s GDP growth estimated at 7.1% this year & Per capita net national income rises by over 10%
i. According to the Central Statistical Office data India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is estimated at 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 as compared to 7.6 per cent in 2015-16.
ii. The CSO’s projection on the per capita net national income during 2016-17 is projected to be 1 lakh three thousand seven rupees displaying an increase of 10.4 per cent as compared to 93 thousand two hundred ninety three during 2015-16 with the growth rate of 7.4 percent.
iii. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector and manufacturing sector are likely to show a growth of 4.1 per cent and 7.4 percent respectively during 2016-17, as against the previous year’s growth rate of 1.2 per cent and 9.3 percent in 2015-16.
iv. The wholesale price index (WPI), of food articles has risen by 6.9 per cent,and the consumer price index has shown a rise of 5.0 per cent during April-November, 2016-17.
v. The CSO also clarified that this projections did not use bank deposits and credit data for November in estimates because demonetization led to high degree of unpredictability.

SEBI eases rules for foreign fund managers & Sebi relaxes rules for angel funds to boost start-up funding
i.The Market Watchdog SEBI has released rules allowing foreign fund managers to act as Portfolio Managers under a relaxed regulatory regime.
ii.This new rule will make it easier for foreign fund managers to enter India also provides significance of taxation incentives for the offshore fund managers willing to relocate to India.
iii. In another development the market regulator also relaxed its rules for investment by angel funds, including permitting them to invest in up to five-year old entities which will boost startup funding.
iv.Consequently the lock-in condition has been cut down from 3 years to 1 year for angel funds and their minimum investment threshold has been slashed from Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh.
v. Angel funds are permitted to invest in overseas venture capital undertakings up to 25 per cent of their investible corpus in agreement with other Alternative Investment Funds.

RBI to provide rupees 1 billion in Rs 100 notes to Nepal Rashtra Bank
i. India’s central Bank RBI has decided to provide Rs 1 billion in Rs 100 denomination notes to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to ease the acute shortage of Rs 100 notes faced by the landlocked nation.
ii. In the wake of demonetization RBI has asked the NRB to wait till the situation normalizes. RBI provides Rs 6 billion exchange facility to Nepal every year.
iii. After the Indian government’s move to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes the NRB had also lowered exchange limit of Indian banknotes in Nepal.
iv. The NRB provides exchange facility up to Rs. 2000 and Rs. 10, 000 to those who submit a copy of air or train ticket to travel to India. This limits is likely to extend till the 4-member EPG suggested by Nepal to review accords with Indiatime the RBI is able to provide regular exchange facility.
Nepal:
♦ Capital: Kathmandu
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee
♦ President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Forex reserves up by $625.5 mn to $360.296 bn : RBI
i. The Reserve Bank in its press release stated that foreign exchange reserves rose by $625.5 million to $360.296 billion in the week to December 30, 2016.
ii. The Central Bank also said that Foreign Currency Assets which us major component in the Forex Reserves surged by 612.4 million USD to 336.582 billion USD. However the Forex reserves had touched all-time high of USD 371.99 billion in September 30 last year.
iii. According to figures from the central People’s Bank of China, the country’s foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 320 billion last year. China’s forex reserves, the largest in the world, slipped to USD 3.011 trillion at the end of December.

BUSINESS

HZL gets green nod for Rs 1,200 cr Zawar Mines expansion project
i. Vedanta Resources subsidiary firm Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) has received environment clearance for its Rs. 1,200 crore Zawar Mines expansion project in Rajasthan.
ii. The Jaipur based firm which is the world’s second largest zinc producer is mulling to expand the production capacity of Lead-Zinc and ore beneficiation at its Zawar Group of underground mines located in Sarada district.
iii. The Environment Ministry nod comes after careful scrutiny of the HZL’s proposal.

Animal rights bodies hail govt’s ban on import of hides, skin
i. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has banned the import of exotic skins of reptiles like crocodiles and alligators and animas like fox, mink and chinchillas.
ii. The Animal rights bodies across the nation has hailed the center’s move to ban hides and skin which will impart “cruelty free” alternatives to reduce suffering to animals.
iii. Import of exotic skins of reptiles like crocodiles and alligators and animas like fox and others were subject to Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Tata Motors and Castrol Announce Global Strategic Partnership
i. Tata Motors and Castrol entered into three-year strategic partnership agreement for supply of Commercial Vehicle Oils to Tata Motors that will cover over 50 markets including SAARC and ASEAN region, Middle East, Africa, Russia and Latin America.
ii. The move will help Tata to expand their international footprint as Castrol with its reputable presence in these markets, will support Tata Motors.
iii. The British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants will work closely with the Tata team to co-engineer products suited to meet specific requirements of new engine technology and environment regulations.

Single-window customs clearance extended for exporters
i. The revenue department extended the facility for customs clearance of export consignments in a bid to reduce the transaction cost.
ii. The move comes from the government after the similar interface SWIFT for imports that runs successful. This interface aimed customs clearance of shipments thereby reducing interface with government agencies, dwell time and cost of doing business.
iii. The interface has been implemented on pilot basis at Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai air cargo complexes for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and wildlife items.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Michelle Obama selects Indian-American girl for education campaign
i. US First Lady Michelle Obama has selected 16-year-old Indian-American Swetha Prabakaran to serve in the inaugural Student Advisory Board of an education campaign which seeks to provide educational opportunities for teenagers in America.
ii. She was chosen for ‘Better Make Room’ campaign’s Student Advisory Board in recognition of her efforts to educate youth in the field of computer sciences.
iii. The board members will be traveling to the White House to attend Michelle’s School Counselor of the Year Ceremony.
iv. She is among 17 students selected by the White House to serve on ‘Better Make Room’ Student Advisory Board which has 12 high school students and five college students.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

IRCTC to launch new app IRCTC Rail Connect for booking tickets faster  
i. IRCTC Limited will launch a new ticketing App which will have several features added on the existing one for faster booking of tickets.
ii. Existing IRCTC Connect will now become IRCTC Rail Connect to facilitate booking of train tickets in a faster and easier way.
iii. IRCTC, which handles online train ticket bookings, will formally unveil the IRCTC Rail Connect App .
iv. The new ticketing App will be based on next generation e-ticketing system and it will be synchronised with the ticketing website also, which is missing in the current system.

NASA sending African-American astronaut to space station for the first time
i. US based aeronautics and aerospace research agency the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is sending African-American astronaut Jeanette Epps to the International Space Station for the first time.
ii. Epps an aerospace engineer will head to the ISS as a flight engineer in 2018. Her commander will be Andrew Feustel, a veteran astronaut.
iii. In its announcement NASA also stated that it will launch two unmanned missions to asteroids designed to study one of the earliest eras in the history of the solar system.
NASA :
♦ Headquarters : Washington, D.C.
♦ Head : Charles Bolden

ENVIRONMENT

Scientists: Giant Iceberg is poised to break Off Antarctica
i. Scientists say an iceberg is ready to break away from Antarctica. 
ii. This is a big one – possibly the biggest on record at 3,000 square miles or a quarter the size of Wales.
iii. Professor David Vaughan, glaciologist and the director of science at the British Antarctic Survey, describes the process of it “breaking away” to the Today programme.
iv. Penguins and seals won’t be affected, in fact sometimes they even hitch a ride as icebergs glide through the water.

Black rice gains popularity in Assam  
i. A variety of Black rice or purple rice, which is also known as world super food recently has gained popularity in Assam.
ii. It was recently sown by the local farmers for the first time in Barak Valley.
iii. It is known for its powerful disease-fighting antioxidants and also contains dietary fiber, anti-inflammable properties.
iv. It has the ability to help stop the development of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even weight gain.

SPORTS

Sania Mirza wins Brisbane International, loses World No.1 ranking
i. Tennis Ace Sania Mirza has clinched her first Double’s title of the season 2017, after she lift the Brisbane International women’s doubles title with her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
ii. However the tennis star has lost her no. 1 ranking on the ATP charts to her partner owing to the victory.
iii. In the contest Indo-American duo triumphed 6-2, 6-3 against the second-seeded Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
iv. The rank loss ended Sania’s 91-week reign as the world No.1 doubles player in the WTA rankings, Presently American Tennis star Bethanie Lynn Mattek-Sands ranked in the top spot.

Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win the Qatar Open
i. Serbian Tennis Ace Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray to defend his Qatar Open title, however the Britain star Murray stays at number one in ATP Singles Ranking.
ii. Currently Djokovic ranked number two defeated the number one by 6-3 5-7 6-4 which also end the Briton’s winning streak of 28 consecutive ATP Tour matches.
2017 Qatar Open:

Category Winner Runner
Men’s Singles Novak Djokovic (Serbia) United Kingdom Andy Murray
Men’s Doubles French pair JérémyChardy and Fabrice Martin Canada VasekPospisil / Czech Republic RadekŠtěpánek,