Thursday, 17 December 2015

Current Affairs December 17, 2015

Current Affairs December 17, 2015

French President Francois Hollande to be Chief Guest at Republic Day in India
  • This will be the fifth time that a French leader will be a Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
  • President of France Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the upcoming Republic Day celebrations.
  • “We are happy that the President of France Francois Hollande has accepted our invitation to be the Chief Guest at India’s 67th Republic Day celebrations on 26th January 2016,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Pichai pitches Project Loon for connectivity
  • Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area of about 40 km, says Google
  • Chennai-born Google CEO, 43-year old Sundar Pichai, had some anxious moments during the recent floods in the city as he was unable to reach his family members.
  • While Mr. Pichai’s relatives are now confirmed to be safe, he said that amid natural disasters – like the one in Chennai where people get cut off from the grid – Google’s Project Loon that uses helium-filled balloons to provide data connectivity in remote areas could be of great help.
Mysuru gets Rs. 50 crore from Centre under AMRUT
  • Water supply, sewerage and urban transport are set to improve in Mysuru as the Centre has allocated Rs. 50 crore for the city under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
  • Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu has approved the Rs. 1,258-crore for Karnataka under the scheme.
  • Mysuru is one among 27 cities in Karnataka, which has been covered under AMRUT. Bengaluru has bagged the highest allocation of Rs. 173 crore, followed by Raichur with Rs. 77 crore; Hubballi-Dharwad with Rs. 75 crore and Ballari Rs. 72 crore.
Google to invest more in India
  • Company to ramp up engineering presence in Hyderabad; hire more people for Bangalore, Hyderabad campuses
  • Google is ramping up investments in India for development of more local products, building engineering capabilities and setting up a new campus in the country as it aims to bring all Indians online.
  • India as one of the most important markets, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “Our focus is on bringing Internet access to everyone, making sure our products are working for them in a meaningful way and then ensure our platform allows them to add their voice to the Internet.”
Ban on large diesel cars to hit nascent recovery
  • The Supreme Court’s decision banning registration of diesel vehicles with engines of 2000 cc and higher capacity in the National Capital Region is “unfortunate”, as the move will hit the nascent recovery in the industry, car makers said.
  • The ruling will also impact investments and employment in the automobile sector.
  • The companies that are likely to be most impacted by the decision are luxury car manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz and Jaguar Land Rover, besides makers of sport utility vehicles like Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors and Toyota.
NHAI to raise up to Rs.1,000 cr via bonds
  • The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) plans to raise funds up to Rs.1,000 crore through public issue of tax-free, secured redeemable non-convertible bonds.
  • The issue will open on Thursday and is scheduled to close on December 31, 2015, with an option of early closure, it said in a statement.
  • “The funds raised through this issue will be utilised to part finance various ongoing projects under the NHDP., it added.
Google Doodle celebrates Beethoven’s works
  • Despite losing his hearing in his 30s, Beethoven was one of the most celebrated composers of all times.
  • In a fun puzzle that tests your knowledge of master musician Ludwig van Beethoven’s work, Google celebrated the genius composer’s music via an interactive doodle. December 17th marks the 245th anniversary of the composer’s baptism.
  • The doodle puzzle prods you to put together Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata and Ode To Joy as the composer is met with some bad luck while on his way to the concert hall.
Xi Jinping calls for cooperation on Internet regulation
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping called for governments to cooperate in regulating Internet use, stepping up efforts to promote controls that activists complain stifle free expression.
  • Mr. Xi’s government operates extensive Internet monitoring and censorship and has tightened controls since he came to power in 2013.
  • Speaking at a government-organized conference attended by executives of global and Chinese Internet companies, he called for creating a global “governance system” to reflect the “wishes and interests of all countries.” He said that it would help fight online crime and terrorism and promote “healthy development” of the Internet.
World Bank approves $1.5b to support clean India campaign
  • The World Bank has approved a $1.5 billion loan for the ambitious clean India campaign to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
  • As per World Bank statistics, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in rural areas.
  • More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.
  • The loan will be used for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.
AIDWA leader opts out of race for 100 Women Achievers Award
  • Even before she had the chance of being formally decorated by the Narendra Modi government on January 26, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) general secretary Jagmati Sangwan has opted out of the race for 100 Women Achievers Award, making this the first refusal of a possible award given by the BJP government.
  • Unlike previous award recipients who chose to return their awards given by the State and literary academies in the context of growing intolerance, Ms. Sangwan said she was opting out of the race as she felt it was pointless honouring women amid the anti-women policies of the government.
Lalit Modi back as Rajasthan Cricket Association president
  • After being ousted as president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for 14 months, former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was, reinstated.
  • Amin Pathan withdrew the ‘no confidence’ motion against Modi, following which retired Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra reinstated Modi. Justice Mishra said 15 RCA member-districts had withdrawn their ‘no confidence’ motion “in the interests of the game.”
Chandrayaan-II in 2017; India to launch solar mission
  • Jitendra Singh said India has entered the era of “space marketing”. The “approved cost” of the solar mission is Rs. 378.53 crore.
  • India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan II will land on moon in 2017 and the country’s first solar mission Aditya L1 is likely to be launched in 2019.
  • Chandrayaan II will land on the surface of moon in 2017 and this second lunar mission will help explore the possibilities of signs of extra-terrestrial life, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour responding to supplementaries.
East Antarctic Ice Sheet stayed frozen for 14 million years
  • The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) has remained frozen for the past 14 million years, according to researchers who used an innovative technique to date one of Antarctica’s ancient lake deposits.
  • Antarctica was once lush with plants and lakes. Finding out how long the continent has been a barren, cold desert of ice can give clues as to how Antarctica responded to the effects of past climates and can also indicate what to expect in the future as Earth’s atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide grows, researchers said.

BPCL hits CAG for a six to defend Gold Cup title
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) picked up three out of five individual awards at the Dabang Mumbai-50th Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Championships.
  • SV Sunil was named the Best Player of Tournament, Birender Lakra was Best Defender and Amir Khan was pronounced BestForward.
  • Collectively, the defending champions were at a different level compared to an overawed Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) outfit, winning the title clash 6-1 at Mahindra stadium .

Chennaiyin FC holds its nerve, makes final
  • Loses second leg to ATK, but does enough to set up a title clash against FC Goa.
  • Chennaiyin FC entered its maiden Hero ISL final, riding on a 4-2 aggregate at the end of the second leg against Atletico de Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium.
  • Chennaiyin lost the match 1-2 against the host and defending champion, but had enough in reserve, thanks to its commanding 3-0 win in the first leg in Pune, to secure its passage to the title clash against FC Goa.

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