Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Current Affairs December 16, 2015

Air India starts flight from Ahmedabad to London

  • Air India commenced its first direct flight from Ahmedabad to London via Mumbai. The inaugural flight took off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad at 0430 hrs with 247 passengers on board.
  • A Dreamliner Boeing 787 aircraft will operate daily in this sector.
  • This flight is the fifth frequency of Air India in the India-London sector. The airline is already operating four frequencies to London three from Delhi and one from Mumbai.

India Business Card for SAARC trade

  • Taking forward its bonhomie with Pakistan, India is all set to launch an “India Business Card” for the business community in SAARC countries. The stumbling block so far for issuance of this card had been Pakistan, but the decks have now been cleared with renewed ties with Pakistan.
  • With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit in late 2016, the government wants to deliver on the announcements he made during the summit in Nepal.

Merriam Webster declares ‘ism’ as word of the year for 2015

  • Merriam Webster has picked a small but powerful suffix as word of the year- ism.
  • The top isms to earn high traffic spikes and big bumps in lookups on the dictionary company’s website in 2015 over the year before are socialism, fascism, racism, feminism, communism, capitalism and terrorism.

Justice (Retd) L N Reddy to head Judicial Committee on OROP

  • Justice (Retd) L Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court, will head the Judicial Committee which will look into the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, it was officially announced but the protesting veterans rejected it.
  • The Committee has been given a six-month deadline for submission of its recommendations.

New Zealand picks new flag design to challenge current flag

  • The winning design features a silver fern and red stars on a black and blue background.
  • New Zealanders chose a new flag design but the question now is whether enough people will rally behind it to oust the current flag.
  • Final results from a postal ballot were announced. The winning design features a silver fern and red stars on a black and blue background. The new design will now go head-to-head against the current flag in a national vote in March.
  • The winning design has similarities to the current flag but ditches the British Union Jack in favour of the fern, which has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams, including the beloved All Blacks rugby team.

Central Philippines in darkness as typhoon Melor hits

  • Wide areas of the central Philippines were plunged into darkness as powerful typhoon Melor barreled into the coconut-growing region, causing flooding, storm surges and forcing almost 800,000 people to evacuate their homes.
  • Known locally as Nona, the storm packing winds of 140 kph (87 mph) was about 40 km (25 mile) north-northeast of Romblon island early, moving west and weakening.
  • Romblon residents reported heavy rain and strong winds from midnight. Power was cut as transmission lines and electric posts came down.

A.K. Jain appointed new CBDT chief

  • Senior revenue service officer A.K. Jain was appointed Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body of Income Tax department.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the appointment of Jain as CBDT Chairman, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

About A.K.Jain

  • Mr. Jain, a 1978 batch Indian Revenue Services officer, was made acting Chairman of the board following superannuation of Anita Kapur on November 30.
  • He will have short tenure of two months, till January 2016.

Indian origin politician ‘Pravin Gordhan’ becomes South Africa’s FM

  • Pravin Gordhan, a widely respected Indian origin politician, has been appointed South Africa’s new Finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma, becoming the third finance chief of the country in a week amid a raging economic turmoil.
  • Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene from the ministry and replaced him with the relatively unknown lawmaker David Rooyen, sparking a wave of criticism and financial turmoil.

Violinist Perlman wins ‘Jewish Nobel’

  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the recipient of the first prize, and actor Michael Douglas was this year’s winner.
  • Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman has been awarded this year’s “Jewish Nobel” for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for the disabled, organisers of the $1 million prize.

PAN soon to be mandatory for cash transactions above Rs. 2 lakh

  • In the 2015-16 Budget, the Finance Minister had proposed making quoting of PAN mandatory for all sale and purchase of over Rs. 1 lakh.
  • In a bid to check generation of domestic black money, the government will soon issue a notification making quoting of PAN mandatory for all cash transactions beyond Rs. 2 lakh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

ISRO to launch six Singapore satellites

  • Indian Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch six Singapore satellites from Sriharikota.
  • The six satellites riding piggyback on PSLV-C29, to be launched from the first launch pad, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the spaceport of Sriharikota is scheduled for lift off at 6.00 pm.
  • The 59-hour-countdown for the of PSLV-C29/TeLEOS-1 Mission began at 7.00 am on Monday and was progressing normally.

Russian capsule heads for space station

  • The crew  Yuri Malenchenko of Russia, Timothy Kopra of NASA and Briton Timothy Peake, representing the ESA will spend 6 months aboard the ISS.
  • A Russian space capsule carrying three astronauts from the United States, Britain and Russia has blasted off for the International Space Station.
  • The Soyuz TMA-19M is scheduled to dock with the orbiting laboratory at 8.23 p.m. Moscow time (1723 GMT), about six-and-a-half hours after it lifted off from the Russian manned space launch facility on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Pak. test-fires ‘Shaheen 1A’

  • Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear capable ballistic missile with a range of 900 kilometres, days after testing a similar missile capable of hitting targets as far as 2,750 kilometres away, bringing many Indian cities under its range.
  • The Shaheen-1A ballistic missile was fired from an undisclosed location with impact in the Arabian Sea.

Serena Williams is SI’s Sportsperson of the Year

  • Serena Williams is Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year the first female athlete honoured on her own by the magazine in more than 30 years.
  • Williams came within two matches of tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988, a bid that ended with a semifinal loss at the U.S. Open.
  • In all, the 34-year-old American went 53-3 during 2015 with five titles, including at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. Williams was No. 1 in the WTA rankings all season.

Pune picks Dhoni, Rajkot recruits Raina

  • Ashwin remains Dhoni’s teammate while Jadeja moves to home franchise
  • It’s official. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will wear a non-Chennai Super Kings jersey in the Indian Premier League for the first time when he turns up for the new Pune franchise, owned by Sanjeev Goenka’s New Rising, in the next two editions.
  • It will also be the first time that Dhoni and Suresh Raina, the highest run-getter in the IPL, will square up against each other after the left-hander was bought by the Rajkot franchise, owned by Intex Technologies.

Apurvi Chandela bags air rifle gold

  • Apurvi Chandela won the women’s gold in air rifle in the 59th National shooting championship.
  • Geetakshi Dixit clinched the silver, one point behind Apurvi.
  • In a lively final, it was Anjum Moudgil who led throughout before she stumbled with shots of 9.6 and 9.9 that left her clutching the bronze medal.
  • Apurvi had a 0.4 point lead over Geetakshi before the last two shots. Apurvi responded with shots of 10.0 and 10.6, while Geetakshi delivered the first shot that was not a 10 in the final.

National blind cricket from December 17

Even after 21 editions of National Blind Cricket Championship, the country’s visually-challenged fraternity gets more sympathy than support from those in position to make a difference.

Ashwin, Jadeja in top-5 of ICC all-rounders’ rankings

  • Ravichandran Ashwin held on to his top spot, while Ravindra Jadeja rose a rung to be fifth in the all-rounders’ chart of the latest ICC Test rankings.
  • However, no Indian found a place in the top-10 of batsmen’s rankings even though Ashwin (2nd) and Jadeja (8th) represented the country in the bowlers’ list.
  • Elsewhere, Kane Williamson stood just two steps away from the top spot in the rankings for Test batsmen, which were released after the conclusion of the Dunedin and Hobart Tests.

Winning Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown really special: Anirban Lahiri

  • India’s Anirban Lahiri has described lifting the coveted 2015 Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown as “really special” as he reset his goals to winning in America and becoming a Major champion in the near future.
  • The 28-year-old enjoyed a stellar campaign this season where he won twice on the region’s premier Tour, broke into the world’s top-50, posted a top-five finish in a Major, qualified for his maiden Presidents Cup and earned his PGA Tour card.

Vijay Kumar wins gold at National Shooting Championship

  • Olympic medallist Vijay Kumar shot his way to the men’s 25-metre centre fire pistol gold medal on day 12 of the 59th National Shooting Championship.
  • Vijay, who has not yet secured a quota for the upcoming Rio Olympics, is trying to get back to his best after being laid low by injury over the past couple of years.
  • The win at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range will give him a lot of confidence before the final Rio Olympic qualifying event begins at the same venue in January 2016.

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