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During a Nasscom event at New Delhi, Govt has brought forward the deadline for making 52.5 lakh people digitally literate under National Digital Literacy Mission by a year to 2016. It was earlier fixed by the end of 2017.
- Nasscom Foundation and business software firm SAP announced partnership for opening 25 NDLM centres.
Kerala to organise international skill summit next year
Kerala government will organise International Skill Summit and Skill Fiesta to project the competency standards and global employability of youth in the state to the employers worldwide said by Minister for Labour and Skills Shibu Baby John.
Title of the summit : ‘Nypunyam 2016’
- Skill Fiesta will be jointly organised by Directorate of Employment and Training and Kerala Academy for Skills Excellence during February 5-7.
- Students and non-students under the age of 25 would be invited to compete in 12 trades including welding, plumbing, fashion technology, automobile technology, catering & restaurant service, mobile robotics, fitter, electrician, bakery and confectionery, carpentry, electronics and computer-aided design through stipulated institutions.
Key points :
- Kerala CM : Oommen Chandy
- Kerala Governor : P. Sathasivam
- Kerala Capital : Thiruvananthapuram
Government to set up panel to study forest ownership issue in NE
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced to set up a committee that will conduct a detailed study on the issue of forest ownership in Northeast region where vast areas of forests are privately.
Panel work :
To ensuring protection to forests and benefits to communities besides sustainable development.
- The Centre is likely to introduce Minimum Support Price for minor forest produce as is done in Madhya Pradesh, which will give justice to the people dependent on these produce.
Chetan Sanghi panel recommended suspension of DDCA
The three-member committee set up by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to investigate financial irregularities by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) recommended immediate suspension of DDCA.
- Committee was headed by the Chetan B. Sanghi, Delhi government’s urban development secretary.
- Committee recommended that sports bodies should be brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act (RTI).
- To appoint a panel of professional cricketers to run the game in the capital.
- The office bearers of DDCA are subject to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
- BCCI should suspend DDCA as per the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of the BCCI, Regulation 32 (vii) and streamline the administration of DDCA.
India and China arbitrated to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquillity at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- Both Nations also decided to strengthen cooperation against terror including at the international level in the light of terror strike in Paris.
Decision has been taken during the meeting between 26 -member delegation led by General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Indian side, was headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at New Delhi.
Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year
Oxford Dictionaries announced emoji, commonly known as “Face with Tears of Joy” as its “Word of the Year for 2015”.
- The word emoji is from Japan and is defined as “a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication”.
Every year, the Oxford Dictionaries team review candidates for word of the year and then debates their merits. This year Oxford University Press partnered with mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world.
- “Face with Tears of Joy” was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015.
- As per research, character comprised 20% of all emoji used in the UK in 2015 and 17% of all emoji used in the US.
Brazil declares emergency after mine waste spill
Brazilian government have declared a state of emergency for 180 days in more than 200 towns affected by a deadly mining waste spill.
- The government of Minas Gerais state said the measure covered the Rio Doce river basin and all towns impacted by the avalanche of mud and waste unleashed when two dams collapsed at the Samarco iron ore mine in Mariana 12 days ago.
- Samarco pledged to pay USD 260 million in damages as a “preliminary commitment” toward clean-up and compensation.
- The courts have blocked an additional USD 78 million and the government has slapped the firm with a total of USD 67 million in fines.The final clean-up cost could top USD 1 billion, according to Deutsche Bank.
Key points :
- Brazil Capital : Brasília
- Brazil Currency : Real
- Brazil President : Dilma Rousseff
France launches fresh air raids on Islamic State stronghold in Syria
French warplanes carried out fresh raids overnight against the Islamic State stronghold of Raqa in northern Syria, destroying a command centre and training centre.
- President Francois Hollande has vowed to hit back at IS “without mercy” after Friday’s attacks in Paris
- 10 Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters carried out the raid dropping 16 bombs.
- The United States and France have also decided to increase their exchange of intelligence on potential targets.
- France Capital: Paris
- France Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
BANKING & FINANCE
Troika has been inked worth $75 million (₹500 crore) credit deal for the Andhra Pradesh Rural Inclusive Growth Project.
- The accord has been signed between the Centre, Andhra Pradesh and World Bank.
- The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Department of Economic Affairs) of Ministry of Finance; Sunitha Kolaventy, Finance Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
CCI imposes Rs 258 cr fine on Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet
Competition Commission of India slapped penalties totalling Rs. 258 crore on Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet for cartelization in fixing fuel surcharge for transporting cargo.
- CCI did not impose any penalty on national airline Air India and private carrier Go Airlines, which were also named in a complaint filed by Express Industry Council of India.
Such conduct was found to have resulted in indirectly determining the rates of air cargo transport and thereby contravening Section 3 of the Competition Act. This section pertains to anti-competitive agreements.
- Penalty of 151.69 crore has been imposed on Jet Airways, InterGlobe and SpiceJet are Rs. 63.74 crore and Rs. 42.48 crore respectively.
- InterGlobe Aviation operates no-frills carrier IndiGo.
Australian companies can now export uranium commercially to India
Australian High Commissioner, Patrick Suckling had entered the Australia-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement into force. Through this agreement it is possible for Australian companies to export uranium to India on a commercial basis.
- The supply of Australian uranium will help India to meet its rapidly growing electricity demand and improve the welfare of its people.
- Agreement would also build on the growing collaboration between Australia and India on energy security.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has conferred Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champion for the Asia Region.
- Margarete Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction presented the award during the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders’ Meeting towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in Asia at New Delhi.
- Shri Rijiju is the first regional champion for DRR after the Sendai Agreement.
- He is also the first Indian to be conferred with this honour.
Syria based journalist Zaina Erhaim has been awarded the Reporters without Borders Prize in France for her defence of press freedom. She lives and works in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo. Her uncle accepted the prize on her behalf at a ceremony in the Strasbourg, France.
- She has been bestowed with this award for her “determination and courage” in covering the conflict in Syria. (Syria is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists)
- In August, she was conferred with Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.
Indian-American judge receives US public service award
An Indian-American woman judge Ushir Pandit-Durant has become the first recipient of a US public service award in recognition of her contributions in the field of law.
- Office of Immigrant Affairs under Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has conferred the “South Asian Public Service Award” on Queens Senior Assistant District Attorney and newly elected Civil Court Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant.
About Ushir Pandit-Durant:
- Pandit-Durant and her family emigrated from India to the US when she was 10.
- In Nov 2015 she became the first South Asian-American elected to a judgeship in Queens County.
- Pandit-Durant attended New York Law School and in 1987 joined the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
- She was transferred to the Special Victims Bureau where she investigated and tried difficult cases with the most vulnerable victims
- Pandit-Durant was elected to the New York City Civil Court and in January 2016 she will join the honored ranks of the judiciary.
ACQUISTIONS & MERGERS
Marriott International to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
American hotel chain Marriott International will acquire rival hotel company Starwood Hotels & Resorts at $12.2 billion to create the world’s largest hotel chain.
- The merged company will have 1.1 million rooms spanning 30 brands in over 100 countries across the globe.
- Marriott expected one-time transaction costs of $100 million-$150 million related to the deal and the company expects the acquisition to add to its earnings from the second year after the deal conclusion. The transaction is expected to be complete in mid 2016.
Key points :
- Marriott CEO : Sorenson
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts CEO : Adam Aron
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
46th edition of the Biannual Top500 list of supercomputers has crowned the China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer as the world’s most powerful system for the sixth consecutive time. It has held the title since June 2013.
- Tianhe-2 or Milky Way 2 is capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion calculations in one second, which is almost twice the speed of the second most powerful supercomputer on the list – the US energy department’s Titan
- Tianhe-2 was developed by China’s National University of Defence Technology and deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou.
Russia’s newest defence satellite EKS Kosmos-2510 successfully launched
Russia successfully launched the first satellite for its newest early warning system EKS at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located in Northern Russia .The satellite was delivered into a highly elliptical geosynchronous orbit or Tundra orbit.
- The launch was carried out under the command of Deputy Commander of VKO,Commander of the Space Troops Alexander Golovko.
About EKS Kosmos-2510 :
- The EKS system (Unified Space System) will consist of satellites capable of identifying ballistic missile launches from outer space.
- The development of the program started in 2000. Currently, there are six Tundra satellites planned to be launched until 2020. The next Tundra mission is scheduled for 2016.
- The Russian Ministry of Defence awarded in 2007 a contract for the EKS system to RKK Energia with a first test launch planned in 2009.
Key points :
- Russia Capital : Moscow
- Russia Currency : Russian ruble
- Russia PM : Dmitry Medvedev
5 New long-haired wasp species discovered in India
Five new species of wasps have been discovered in parts of India by researchers Veenakumari Kamalanathan, Prashanth Mohanraj and F.R. Khan of the National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources
Name of the five species : adikeshavus.
The Sanskrit word means first one to have long hairs.
Here are five key facts you need to know about the new wasp species:
- They have long hair-like structures that extend from both of their wings
- These wasps have a keen preference for spider eggs. They are often found feeding on the medium-sized eggs of common spiders
- Their slippery haired wings allow them to slip through the silk strands of the spider egg sacs that are stored in leaf litter by spiders
- Each wasp has a uniform length of 1 to 2 milimetre and are found in clusters
- The discovery has inspired biologists to yield large number of parasitoids to destroy spider eggs.
Czech Republic defeated Russia to retain Fed Cup
The Czech Republic defended their Fed Cup title victory over Russia.Karolina Pliskova won her singles match and then returned to secure victory in the deciding doubles.
- The Czechs, who claimed their fourth Fed Cup triumph in five years, fell behind 2-1 after Russia’sMaria Sharapova defeated the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova .
About Fed Cup :
Fed Cup is the premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The competition was known as the Federation Cup until 1995.
Indian Red Cross Society secretary general SP Agarwal dead
Eminent neurosurgeon and secretary general of Indian Red Cross Society Satya Paul Agarwal(70) passed away.
About SP Agarwal:
- Dr Agarwal, a Padma Bhushan recipient, was a well-known public health administrator.
- He had been Secretary General of Indian Red Cross Society since 2005 and was also the Chair of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Advisory Body on Sustainable Development and Health.
- He had also served as Director General of Health Services, Government of India, from 1996 to 2005.
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies aged 40
Former All Blacks player Jonah Lomu, who revolutionised wing play to become rugby union’s first global superstar passed away in Auckland at the age of 40.He was suffering from a serious kidney condition called Nephrotic syndrome.
About Jonah Lomu :
- Lomu played 63 tests on the wing for New Zealand, scoring 37 international tries between 1994 and 2002.
- He rose to stardom at the 1995 Rugby World Cup had recently visited the UK for the Rugby World Cup, where he worked with tournament sponsors.
- He quit rugby in 2002 after playing 73 games for the All Blacks.