Current Affairs January 2015 and 2016

Current Affairs January 2015

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                                             Current Affairs - 1'st January 2015

 
1. PM Narendra Modi greets nation on New Year

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday greeted the nation onNew Year, wishing that it brings immense happiness, peace andprosperity to everyone.

2.  Rajnath Singh launches women safety mobile app'Himmat'

i. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 1st Jan 2015 launchedIndia's first integrated mobile application for women safety called'Himmat', in the presence of Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi andDelhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.

                                              

ii. Who-so-ever will download this smart phone-based applicationcan alert the police in the hour of need by either shaking the phoneor pressing the power button twice," said Bassi.

iii. "It is directly linked to the Police Control Room andthey will get an indication immediately. After that the location canbe traced and will be updated every ten seconds," he added.

3. NASA's SMAP instrument to measure Earth's soil

i. The U.S. space agency NASA's Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)instrument is ready to measure the amount of moisture in Earth'ssoils with an unparalleled precision and resolution.

ii. The instrument comprises of three main parts namely radar, aradiometer as well as the biggest rotating mesh antenna ever used inspace.

The new instrument is expected to be launched on January 29.

4. Planning Commission renamed "Neeti Ayog"

i. India's Planning Commission will be renamed "Neeti Ayog"as part of a plan to restructure the institution that the governmentbelieves has run its course.

ii. The name, replacing "Yojana (planning)" with "Neeti(policy)" will be announced in an amended resolution for the newplan body today, sources said.

iii. The Planning Commission had suggested to a group chaired byPrime Minister Narendra Modi that its replacement body should bestructured to meet the need of changing economic paradigm andcomprise sectoral experts and states' representative.

5. Isro chairperson K Radhakrishnan retires

i. Spearheading Indian Space Research Organisation triumphantlythrough several milestones, its chairperson K Radhakrishnan retiredon Wednesday carrying the crowning glory of the much-hailed India'smission to Mars.

ii. Indian space scientists bid a 'sombre' farewell describingRadhakrishnan an "iconic leader" as his exit left the spaceagency at what ISRO on its Facebook called "at its mostglorified pedestal ever."

iii. Radhakrishnan, a recipient of Padma- Bhushan, the thirdhighest civilian award, was recently chosen as one of the top tenscientific personalities in 2014 by Nature Science Journal.

6. A K Mittal appointed railway board chairman

i. Mittal, who was member (staff), has succeeded Arunendra Kumar,whose appointment as well as entire tenure was mired in lot ofcontroversies.

ii. Mittal's position as member (staff) has been taken by PradeepKumar, who was general manager, North-Central Railway with additionalcharge as GM, Northern Railway.

iii. Navin Tandon had been appointed as new member (electrical), apost which was lying vacant for last six months. Tandon was GM, SouthEastern Central Railway. Gupta, member (engineering), has been givenadditional responsibility of member (mechanical), the post which islikely to be filled within a week.

7. Govt splits CMD post in Public Sector Banks

i. The government of India decided to split the post of chairmanand managing director at public sector banks (PSBs).The financeministry has appointed chief executive officers (CEOs) of four banks,while confirmed that non-executive chairman would be declaredshortly.

ii. The appointment of the CEOs would be for a fixed tenure, inthis case for three years or when the candidate retires, whichever isearlier.

iii. The four banks for which new MD & CEOs were announced onWednesday were Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank,United Bank of India and Vijaya Bank

8. Noted journalist Boobli George Verghese died

i. Eminent journalist Boobli George Verghese died on 30 December2014 following a brief illness. He was 87.

ii. He was an information adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhifrom 1966 to 1969. In 1975, Verghese was given the Ramon Magsaysayaward for his contribution to journalism.

iii. In October 2010, he published his autobiography First Draft:Witness to Making of Modern India.
His last work was Post Haste:Quintessential India, a book that was released in May 2014.

                                        Current Affairs - 2nd January 2015

 1. M Sathiyavathy appointed as Director General of CivilAviation


i. Union Government on 31 December 2014 appointed M Sathiyavathyas Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). With this appointment,Sathiyavathy, a 1982 batch Union Territories cadre IAS officer becamethe first women DGCA and will hold the post till 28 January 2017.

ii. She succeeded Prabhat Kumar, a 1985-batch IAS officer of theUttar Pradesh cadre, who completed his central deputation and returnto his parent UP cadre. In January 2014, Kumar was appointed as theDGCA head for three years.

iii. At the time of appointment, Sathiyavathy was serving asadditional secretary and financial advisor in the aviation ministry.

2. BHEL bags first key power project in Telangana

i. BHEL will set up first Supercritical Thermal Power Plant innewly formed state of Telangana. The company has bagged contractworth Rs. 3,810 crore.

ii. The order is for setting up the 1x800 MW Supercritical ThermalPower Plant on EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction)basis at Kothagudem in Khammam District of Telangana.

iii. To this effect, an advance cheque of Rs. 350 crore was handedover by the Chief Minister of Telangana, K. Chandrasekhar Rao toChairman & Managing Director.

iv. The project is targeted to be commissioned in 36 months onfast track basis with both BHEL and TSGENCO setting up teams toexpedite clearances and execution of the project.

3. R Koteeswaran takes over as new Indian Overseas BankCMD

i. R Koteeswaran has taken over as the Chairman and ManagingDirector of public sector Indian Overseas Bank.

ii. Prior to this, Koteeswaran was serving Bank of India as itsExecutive Director.Koteeswaran began his career in 1976 in Bank ofBaroda and later joined Bank of India as its Executive Director.

iii. He replaces M Narendra who has superannuated

4. Gujarat government announced new industrial policy for2015

i. Gujarat government on 1 January 2015 announced its newindustrial policy for the year 2015. The policy was announced by theChief Minister Anandiben Patel.

ii. The industrial policy aims to make the State a globalmanufacturing hub by playing a pivotal role in realising PrimeMinister Narendra Modi’s Make in India dream.

5. Indians awarded with Queen’s New Year Honours 2015

i. Queen’s New Year Honours for the year 2015 were given on 1January 2015.

ii. The honours were conferred on more than thousand persons,which included several persons of Indian-Origin from various field.

Indians conferred Queen’s New Year Honours Knighthood :NileshJayantilal Samani (an Indian-origin professor at the University ofLeicester) - his contribution to Cardiovascular Sciences changedscientific thinking and impacted on clinical practice in the field.

6. LIC International launches co-branded credit card withUAE's First Gulf Bank

i. India's LIC International and Abu Dhabi -based First Gulf Bankare planning to introduce a unique co-branded credit card in theUnited Arab Emirates to address concerns of insurance policy holders.

ii. It is first of its kind payment solution. This is the firsttime that an insurance firm has entered into a strategic alliancewith a bank in the gulf country.

                                            

iii. LIC International, established in Bahrain in 1989 by LIC ofIndia to facilitate residents in the gulf region, has over 350million policyholders worldwide.

7. Pakistani fishing boat carrying explosives sets itselfon fire after being chased by Indian Coast Guard

i. A suspicious fishing boat carrying explosives from Pakistan wasintercepted by Indian Coast Guard in Arabian Sea near Indo-Pakmaritime boundary but it sank after the crew on board set it on fire.The incident came a month after sixth anniversary of the Mumbaiterror attack.

ii. The boat carrying some four people blew up some 365 kms offPorbander coast after a hot chase.

iii. As per the intelligence inputs received on 31st December, afishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicittransaction in Arabian Sea.

iv. Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea – air coordinatedsearch and located the suspect fishing boat.

8. K.K. Paul to be Uttarakhand Governor

i. Krishan Kant Paul will be sworn in as the sixth Governor ofUttarakhand on January 8.

ii. A presidential communiqué said Mr. Paul, Meghalaya Governor,would continue to hold the office of the Governor of Manipur.

iii. The current Uttarakhand Governor, Aziz Qureshi, would betransferred to Mizoram.

iv. Challenging the move of the Narendra Modi government to seekresignations of Governors appointed during the UPA regime.

                                         Current Affairs - 3rd January 2015

1. RBI relaxed KYC rules for Non-Banking FinancialCompanies

i. Know-Your-Customers (KYC) rules for Non-Banking FinancialCompanies (NBFCs) were relaxed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on2 January 2015.

ii. The KYC rules were amended for NBFC’s due to practicaldifficulties and constraints being faced by them in getting KYCdocuments at frequent intervals.

As per RBI notification, the KYC exercise will be required to bedone in three ways and they are
For high-risk individuals andentities – in at least every 2 years
For medium risk individualsand entities - in at least every 8 years
For low risk individualsand entities – in at least every 10 years

2. Jaffna-Kankasanthurai rail track restored by IRCON inNorth Sri Lanka inaugurated

i. 18 kilometer long Jaffna-Kankasanthurai rail track in North SriLanka was inaugurated on 2 January 2015 by Sri Lanka’s TransportMinister Kumara Welgama. To mark the inauguration, famous Yal DeviExpress was flagged off.

ii. The restoration work of the commercial rail service covering adistance of 18 kilometers has been completed by Indian Railway’sconstruction company (IRCON).

iii. The track corridor has two crossing stations at Kondavil andChunnakam and five halt stations at Kokuvil, Inuvil, Mallakam,Tellipalai and Mavittapuram.

iv. The rail track that connects Colombo and Kankesanthurai passesthrough the high security zone which was freed from the Tamil Tigersin 2009.

3. Intel invests $24.8 million to speed up launch ofGoogle Glass rival

i. Vuzix Corporation said that Intel Corp invested $24.8 millionin the company to speed up the launch of internet-connected eyewear.

ii. Rochester, New York-based Vuzix develops computerized,internet-connected glasses and other video eyewear aimed atconsumers, businesses and entertainment.

iii. Intel, which was slow to launch chips for smartphones andtablets, is striving to be at the forefront of future trends inmobile computing and expand into new markets.

4. Kumar Sangakkara fastest to 12,000 runs in Tests

i. Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan Wicket Keeper batsman becamethe fastest player to reach 12,000 Test runs.

ii. Sangakkara had entered the game needing five runs to becomethe fifth man to surpass 12,000 test runs.

iii. Sangakkara has accumulated his runs in 224 innings, comparedto India's Sachin Tendulkar and Australia's Ricky Ponting, who bothneeded 247 innings to surpass the mark.

5. Gyan Sangam: Government on its way to overhaul publicsector banks

i.  Government has embarked on a mission to overhaul publicsector banks, beginning with a twoday, high-profile retreat in Pune.

ii. The main objective is to search for "out-of-the-box"ideas to reorient them to support the country's bid to move back to ahigh-growth trajectory.

iii. the government wants to draw up an urgent reform road mapthat could include the revamp of priority sector lending,consolidation and effective use of technology for lending besidesgreater financial inclusion.

iv. The event is being held at the National Institute of BankManagement on the outskirts of Pune.

6. Union Government accepted Bezbaruah panel report onsafety of North East people

i. Union Government on 2 January 2014 accepted the recommendationsof the Bezbaruah committee. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saidthat the recommendations will be implemented in next 6 months.

ii. The Bezbaruah committee of five members was set up underchairmanship of M P Bezbaruah in February 2014 to look into theconcerns of the people of the North East living in other parts of thecountry.

iii. The committee was constituted after the killing of ArunachalPradesh student Nido Tania in a Delhi market. The report wassubmitted to the Home Ministry in July 2014.

7. Bharat Forge acquired France-based Company MecaniqueGenerale Langroise

i. Bharat Forge Limited (BFL) on 2 January 2015 acquiredFrance-based Company Mecanique Generale Langroise (MGL) for nearly 90crore rupees.

ii. The acquisition aimed to consolidate its position in the oiland gas space. Bharat Forge acquired MGL via its German arm CDPBharat Forge GmbH.

iii. The acquisition will enhance BFL's ability to provide turnkeysolution and simultaneously strengthens the product offering in theoil and gas sector.

8. ICICI Launches Digital Village Project in Gujarat

i. Joining Digital India programme, top lender ICICI Bank haslaunched its own 'digital village' project while adopting an entirevillage in Gujarat to provide services ranging from cashless bankingto digitised school teaching.

ii. Digital village has three themes -- cashless, comprehensiveand connected.

iii. Village, named Akodara, in Sabarkantha district of Gujaratincidentally happens to be the same place where Modi startedGujarat's first animal hostel in 2011 when he was the Chief Ministerof the state.

iv. One of the key points is providing cashless banking servicesto every villager.

v. The villagers are getting SMSs in Gujarati for theirtransactions and other digital services.

vi. the bank has set up e-health, e-milk producer group, Wi-Ficonnectivity and schools with digital black boards in the village,along with a host of other digital facilities.

9. Kiran Bhai Vadodaria elected as INS president

i. Kiran Bhai Vadodaria on 2 January 2015 was elected as Presidentof the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for 2014-15. He is the Chairmanand Managing Director of Gujarati newspaper Sambhaav Metro.

ii. He succeeded Ravindra Kumar of The Statesman. The appointmentwas announced at the 75th annual general meeting of the organizationin New Delhi.

iii. PV Chandran of Grihalakshmi was elected Deputy President ofthe INS while Somesh Sharma of Rastradoot was made Vice President.

iv. Mohit Jain of Economic Times and V Shankaran were appointed asTreasurer and Secretary General of INS.

                                       Current Affairs - 4th & 5th January 2015

 1. Andy Murray won ATP World Tennis Championship in AbuDhabi

i. Andy Murray won the ATP World Tennis Championship at ZayedSports City in Abu Dhabi on 4 January 2015. He won the title afterthe world number one Novak Djokovic withdrew from the final matchciting illness.

ii. In the Semi-finals, Murray defeated Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-0 instraight sets. In the other semi-final, Novak Djokovic defeated theAustralian Open Champion Stanislas Wawarinka 6-1, 6-2.

2. LED there be light: Modi launches scheme to brightenDelhi

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a scheme forLED bulb distribution under domestic efficient lighting programme(DELP) in Delhi.

                                                

ii. Describing the LED bulb as a ‘prakash path’ (way tolight), Mr. Modi said that it is much more economical to conservepower than to produce power.

iii. LED bulbs shall be distributed in a phased manner from March2015 onwards, an official statement said.

iv. The entire project of installing LED bulbs for domestic andstreet lighting in 100 cities is targeted for completion by March2016.

v. In Delhi, LED bulbs will be provided to all domestic consumersat an initial payment of Rs 10 each and recovery of Rs 10 each for 12months from their electricity bill.

3. Sports ministry recommends Saina Nehwal's name forPadma Bhushan

i. The sports ministry today decided to recommend ace shuttlerSaina Nehwal for the Padma Bhushan award.

ii. Ministry insisted that it did not receive her nomination fromthe Badminton Association of India (BAI) within the stipulateddeadline.

 

iii. On Saturday, a disappointed Saina had stated that theBadminton Association of India (BAI) had recommended her name for thePadma Bhushan in August last year but the sports ministry rejectedher application, citing norms.

4. SRF Limited acquired DuPont's pharma business brandDymel

i. Specialty chemicals firm SRF Limited on 1 January 2015 acquiredthe pharmaceutical propellant business brand Dymel of Americanchemical firm DuPont for 20 million US dollars.

Highlights of the acquisition:

• SRF will own the DuPont Dymel brand and will also receive thetechnology for setting up its own current Good ManufacturingPractices (cGMP) facility for manufacturing HFC 134a Pharma grade.
•DuPont will supply SRF with the product from its existing facilitytill SRF’s production facility is approved.
• This transactionprovides immediate access to SRF on DuPont’s technology, brand andcustomers, thus enabling its instant entry into the pharmaceuticalsegment at a global level.

5. Laxman, SP Balasubrahmanyam new Swachh Bharatambassadors

i. The Centre on Monday nominated cricketer V.V.S. Laxman, chessplayer Koneru Humpy, playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam andseveral other icons as brand ambassadors of Swachh Bharat campaign.

ii. The nomination was formally made by Union Urban DevelopmentMinister M. Venkaiah Naidu at a function in Hyderabad.

iii. The others nominated include MPs K.Kavitha, Jayadev Galla,badminton icon P.Gopichand, corporate personalities B.V.R. MohanReddy, J.A.Chowdary, Rameshwar Rao and Gopichand, G.S. Rao frommedical field, lyricist S. Ashok Teja, Telugu actor Nitin and mediapersonality V. Radhakrishna.

6. Arvind Panagariya to be Vice-Chairman of PM NarendraModi's NITI Aayog

i. Eminent free-market economist Arvind Panagariya has beenappointed to run Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's new policycommission, or NITI Aayog.

ii. Niti Aayog has been set up to modernise economic strategyafter decades of Soviet-style central planning.

iii. the appointment of Panagariya, an Indian-born economicsprofessor at Columbia University in New York, is likely to beannounced in the next 24 hours.

iv. Panagariya's market-friendly, pro-growth economics has helpedshape Narendra Modi's outlook and is seen by many as a MargaretThatcher-like attack on overbearing labour regulations and state-runcompanies.

NOTE - Narendra Modi will be the Chairman of the Niti Ayog.

7. O T Anilkumar won 7th Chennai Open FIDE Rating ChessTournament (Category B)

i. O T Anilkumar of Kerala won the 7th Chennai Open FIDE RatingChess Tournament (Category B) at Nehru Stadium, Chennai on 3 January2015. He won the title after scoring 8.5 points from nine rounds andpocketed the winner's purse of 30000 rupees.

ii. The second place was shared by Dusthageer Ibrahim M of TamilNadu, Toshali V of NAdhra Pradesh and Harshini A of Tamil Nadu at 7.5points.

8. 18 Jharkhand villages identified under 'Green IndiaMission'

i. Eighteen villages have been identified under union governmentsponsored 'Green India Mission' for undertaking eco-friendlydevelopment programmes in the areas falling under Seraikela forestdivision in Seraikela-Kharswan district of Jharkhand.

ii. The main objective of the mission was to develop theecological and economic scenerio by choosing different developmentalschemes including rain water harvesting and greenery among others.

iii. The forest division has also developed facilities fordevelopment of pissiculture and poultry which have helped villagersto earn livelihood.

iv. The Mission proposed a holistic view of greening and focusesnot on carbon sequestration targets alone, but on multiple ecosystemservices, especially, biodiversity, water and biomass.

9. Jiji Thomson resigned as Director General of SAI

i. Jiji Thomson on 2 January 2015 resigned as Director General ofSports Authority of India  (SAI) with immediate effect. Thomsontook charge of SAI in March 2013.

ii. He claimed that the central government delayed his promotionas Sports Secretary for six months before he finally requested forhis immediate repatriation to his parent cadre in Kerala.

iii. Jiji Thomson will now take over as Chief Secretary of Keralaon 31 January 2015.

10. Sutirtha Bhattacharya took charge as CMD of Coal IndiaLimited

i. Sutirtha Bhattacharya on 5 January 2015 took charge as CoalIndia Limited’s full-time Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). Thepost was vacant for over six month.

ii. Prior to taking the charge of Coal India, Bhattacharya, a 1985batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre was the CMD of thestate-owned Singareni Collieries Company.

                                         Current Affairs - 6th January 2015

 1. P Krishnamurthy appointed as Private Secretary of UnionDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar

i. IAS officer P Krishnamurthy was on 5 January 2015 appointed asPrivate Secretary of Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. He isappointed for a five-year period or on co-terminus basis with theminister's tenure.

ii. Krishnamurthy is presently working as Resident Commissioner atGoa Sadan and State's finance secretary.

P Krishnamurthy

• Krishnamurthy is a 1997 batch IAS officer of ArunachalPradesh-Goa-Mizoram Union territories (AGMU) cadre.
• He hasalso worked as secretary to Parrikar when the latter was Goa chiefminister.
• He served as Deputy Commissioner of North Divisionof Revenue Department, Delhi from 2008 to 2009.
• He was theDirector of the Education Department of National Capital Territory ofDelhi from 2009 to 2011.
• He served as the Director of NationalInstitute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) from 2011 to 2014.

2. Union Cabinet approved 2G telecom spectrum auctiontargeted to fetch 64840 crore rupees

i. The Union Cabinet on 5 January 2015 approved the largest everauction of Second Generation (2G) telecom spectrum that is targetedto fetch around 64840 crore rupees from the sale.

                                           

ii. The last date for submission of application for the auction is2 February 2015 and bidders will be pre-qualified by 13 February2015. The auction will start on 23 February 2015.

iii. Any company holding a universal service licence to providetelephony services or eligible to obtain the services can bid in theauction.

iv. The government had generated about 62162 crore rupees from thelast auction of the 2G spectrum in February 2014.

3. S Shrikrishna won the National Sub-Junior Billiardstitle 2015

i. S Shrikrishna on 5 January 2015 won his maiden NationalSub-Junior Billiards title at the BRC Gloster National Billiards &Snooker Championship 2015. He defeated Ishpreet Singh Chadha ofMaharashtra by 326-283 in an hour-long final play.

ii. Shrikrishna reached the finals by defeating Suraj Rathi ofMaharashtra as he won 334-198 in the play. While, Chadha defeatedHritik Jain of Madhya Pradesh to reach the finals.

iii. In Pre-quarters, S Shrikrishna (TN) defeated Abhinav Singh ofUttarakhand. Ishpreet Chadha reached in Pre-quarters after getting awalkover from Tanurag Gautam of Chandigarh.

4. World Cup 2015 squad announced: Yuvraj out, Jadeja in

i. The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Tuesday releasedits 15-member squad for the World Cup 2015.

ii. The noticeable exclusion was that of Yuvraj Singh who has beendropped from the squad.

iii. The players are as follows:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, ViratKohli,Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja ,Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma,Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny and Umesh Yadav.

iv. India will start it's World Cup campaign against Pakistan on15th of February.

5. ISRO gears up to launch IRNSS 1D

i. After completing an eventful year, ISRO is gearing up for somesatellite launches this year, with the IRNSS 1D being the first,which would put in place India's own navigation system on par withthe Global Positioning System of the US.

ii. "The launch campaign for IRNSS 1D has come, which startson January 16. Within two months, all components from other ISRO labshave to reach Sriharikota. The launch is likely after March 15.

iii. IRNSS 1D is the fourth in the series of seven satellites, thenational space agency is planning to launch to put in place theIndian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

iv. While four satellites Former Minister of State for PWD RamPrasad Kamal diedwould be sufficient to start operations of thesystem, the remaining three satellites would make it more accurateand efficient.

6. Former Minister of State for PWD Ram Prasad Kamal died

i. Former Minister of State for Public Works Department (PWD) RamPrasad Kamal passed away on 4 January 2015 after a brief illness inAllahabad. He was 84.

7. Union Cabinet approved to set up India-based NeutrinoObservatory in TN

i. Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5January 2015 approved to set up the India-based Neutrino Observatory(INO) in Tamil Nadu.

                                             

ii. The INO laboratory will host experiments such as theneutrino-less double beta decay and the search for dark matter.

iii. The INO project will be set up near Pottipuram village in theBodi West Hills of Theni district in Tamil Nadu. The project is at anestimated cost of 1500 crore rupees.

iv. The project also includes Inter-Institutional Centre for HighEnergy Physics (IICHEP) and Iron Calorimeter Detector (ICAL).

8. ICRISAT launched GreenPHABLET for small farmers

i. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-AridTropics (ICRISAT) on 29 December 2014 launched GreenPHABLET for smallfarmers. GreenPHABLET is a customised low-cost combination of phoneand tablet computer. The device was powered by GreenSIM.

ii. The GreenPHABLET is dust- and shatter-proof, readable underbright sunlight; operates from -20°C to +60°C.

iii. The device has been developed by the ICRISAT Centre ofExcellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture in collaboration withNUNC Systems.

                                        Current Affairs - 7th December 2015

 1. Subramanium committee recommended single window systemfor environment projects

i. High-level committee (HLC) headed by former Cabinet Secretary TS R Subramanium submitted its report to Union Government in firstweek of January 2015. In its recommendation, the committee suggestedsingle window clearance mechanism for green nods.

ii. The four member high-level committee (HLC) was appointed bythe Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and ClimateChange (CC) to review environmental laws.

Some recommendations include

• To evaluate project clearance in a time bound manner, it hasasked for setting a full-time expert body, National EnvironmentalManagement Authority (NEMA) at the Centre and State EnvironmentalManagement Authority (SEMA), which will be the pivotal authorities toprocess applications for green clearance. Existing Central PollutionControl Board and corresponding State agencies will be subsumed underthese agencies
• To benefit community at large as well as powerand mining projects and projects of national importance, it hadrecommended fast tracking procedure for linear projects
• Use ofnational GIS enabled environmental information data base which wouldassist both the project proponent and the scrutinising agency inobtaining authentic data vital for decision making on an application.

2. Nilesh Shah resigned as MD & CEO of AXIS CapitalLimited

i. Nilesh Shah on 5 January 2015 resigned as Managing Director andChief Executive Officer (MD &CEO) of Axis Capital Limited.

ii. Shah with over 20 years of experience in capital markets hasworked with the investment bank for nearly four years.

iii. Shah joined Axis Bank as President, StrategicInitiatives—Corporate Banking in March 2011. He took over as MD &CEO of Axis Capital in November 2013.

iv. Prior to joining Axis, he was the Deputy-MD at the ICICIPrudential Asset Management. At ICICI he quit after serving for sevenyears when assets more than quadrupled.

v. ICICI Prudential's Discovery, Dynamic and Infrastructureschemes under his watch delivered higher-than-average returns between2007 and 2010.

3. Avijit Ghosh took over the charge of CMD of HeavyEngineering Corporation

i. Avijit Ghosh on 1 January 2015 took over the charge ofChairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of Heavy Engineering Corporation(HEC). He is the 21st CMD of HEC which is a Public Sector Undertaking(PSU).

ii. Avijit Ghosh on 1 January 2015 took over the charge ofChairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of Heavy Engineering Corporation(HEC). He is the 21st CMD of HEC which is a Public Sector Undertaking(PSU).

iii. His appointment was confirmed by the Public EnterprisesSelection Board (PESB) under the Union Ministry of Personnel, PublicGrievances and Pensions. The board had recommended his name on 26June 2014.

4. NASA Closer Than Ever to Finding Earth's 'Twin'

i. Two of the eight are the most Earth-like of any known planetsfound so far outside our solar system, astronomers told the 225thmeeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.

                                                

ii. The discovery doubles the number of known planets that areclose in size to the Earth and believed to be in the so-called"Goldilocks zone" of the stars they orbit.

iii. The promising discoveries are that of the planets named as -Kepler 438b and Kepler 442b.

5. Railways' earnings up by over 12%

i. Railways has earned Rs 1,14,656.13 crore during April-December2014, registering an increase of 12.57 per cent.

ii. It had earned Rs 1,01,856.45 crore during the same period inthe previous year.

iii. The total earnings from goods during April-December, 2014were Rs 77,161.55 crore as compared to Rs 68,776.35 crore in thecorresponding period in 2013, showing an increase of 12.19 per cent,according to the Railway Ministry data.

iv. The total number of passengers booked during April- December2014 were 6,256.16 million compared to 6,360.15 million during thesame period in 2013, showing a decrease of 1.64 per cent.

6. Russian Popov Ivan won 7th Chennai International OpenGrandmaster Chess title

i. Popov Ivan of Russia on 6 January 2015 won 7th ChennaiInternational Open Grandmaster Chess title. He clinched the title viasuper tie-breaker after eight players ended with 7.5 points each.

ii. The winner Popov Ivan was awarded the cash purse of two lakhsrupees, while Runner-up Dzhumaev Marat of Uzbek GM got one lakh fiftythousand rupees and third placed GM Mozharov Mikhail of Russiasecured a cash award of one lakh fifteen thousand rupees.

7. Amitabh Bachchan named as the Brand Ambassador of APhealth sector

i. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan on 6 January 2015 named as theBrand Ambassador of  Andhra Pradesh (AP) health sector.

ii. His appointment was announced by the AP Health MinisterKamineni Srinivas in Hyderabad.

iii. Being the brand ambassador of AP health sector, he will beparticipating in various health-related campaigns of AP government.

iv. Bachchan will not take any remuneration for the services hewould be rendering to the state as its health ambassador.

8. Google, New ally for 'Digital India' project

i. Vinton Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, met Ministerfor Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad todiscuss the role technology giant can play in supporting thegovernment’s vision for a Digital India.

ii. Vinton Cerf said, "We have some ideas. We want to sharewith them those ideas to find out which of them make sense. Maybethey will have better ideas than us.”

iii. The government’s ambitious Digital India project aims toconnect all gram panchayats by broadband Internet, promotee-governance and transform India into a connected knowledge economy.

9. President signed Ordinance to amend Citizenship Act,1955

i. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Ordinance that amends’Citizenship Act, 1955.

ii. The ordinance provides life-long Indian visa facility toPerson of Indian Origin (PIO) and exempts them from appearing beforethe local police station on every visit.

iii. It merges Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Persons ofIndian Origin (PIO), thus making PIO eligible for life-long visa andbringing them on equal footing with OCI.

iv. It relaxes the requirement of 12 months in cases related tocitizenship by registration and naturalization. Instead it allows forbreaks up to 30 days if the Union government is satisfied thatspecial circumstances exist, and has recorded them in writing.

                                          Current Affairs - 8th January 2015

 1. PM inaugurates 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Sammelan

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally inaugurated the 13thPravasi Bharatiya Divas at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

ii. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Dandi Kutir- a uniqueexhibition on father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi depicting variousstages of his life and work at Salt mount near Mahatma Mandir.

iii. India will be building a monument in Guyana dedicated to thearrival of Indian indentured labourers in the country, Guyanesepresident Donald Ramotar is the chief guest at the event.

iv.About Bhartiya Pravasi Divas - India has been holding PBD for12 years now to coincide with the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi back toIndia from South Africa in order to acknowledge the contribution ofthe Indian diaspora to the development of the country.

v. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival of theyoung barrister Gandhi, who eventually went on to lead the country toindependence.

2. Atul Khare appointed as the UN Under-Secretary-General

i. Atul Khare was on 7 January 2015 appointed as the UnitedNations (UN) Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support(DFS). He will succeed Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh.

ii. His appointed was announced by United NationsSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Khare is currently providingcharitable medical advice in India.

iii. Khare joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1984 and hasserved Indian diplomatic missions in France, Mauritius, Senegal,Thailand and the United Kingdom.

3. French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s Paris officeattacked by terrorists

i. The French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo’s Parisoffice was attacked by three masked gunmen on 7 January 2015. Atleast 12 persons were killed in the attack.

ii. The killed persons include Editor-in-Chief Stephane Charbonnie(known as Charb) and cartoonists Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut (known asCabu), Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor andFrench economist Bernard Maris..

iii. This was the deadliest terror attack of France since 1961,when right-wingers bombed a train, killing 28 people.

4. India to host World Bridge Championships 2015

i. India will host the 42nd World Bridge Championships that willbe held in Chennai from 26 September 2015 to 10 October 2015. Theinformation was announced by Bridge Federation of India (BFI)president N R Kirubakaramoorthy on 7 January 2015.

ii. It is for the first time that World Bridge Championships arebeing held in Asia. This year, 660 players from 66 teams representingover 40 countries will take part in the 15-day long event.

iii. India comes under Asia and Middle East zone which is consistof 14 countries. This zone has two qualifiers for the World BridgeChampionships. As India has got the direct entry, only one qualifyingslot is left from this zone.

5. New Zealand won Test series 2-0 against Sri Lanka

i. New Zealand on 7 January 2014 won the 2-match Test seriesplayed against Sri Lanka by 2-0. In the second and final test matchplayed at Basin Reserve in Wellington from 3 January 2015 New Zealanddefeated Sri Lanka by 193 runs.

ii. New Zealand won the first test by 8 wickets. The match wasplayed from 26 December 2014 to 30 December 2014 at Hagley Oval inChristchurch.

• Man of the match of first match - Brendon McCullumfor his 134-ball 195

• Man of the match of second match - Kane Williamsonfor scoring 69 and 242* in the match

6. AMCA: India’s own fifth generation fighter aircraft

i. AMCA: Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft

ii. AMCA was in news in the first week of January 2015. It wasrevealed by the sources from Defence Ministry that the preliminarydesign stage of the futuristic fighter aircraft is over and thedevelopment work on the project is expected to start in 2015.

iii. The main purpose of the AMCA is to replace the aging SEPECATJaguar & Dassault Mirage 2000.

7. New Jersey to host international conference on Hindi inApril

i. The International Hindi Conference with the theme of "ExpandingWorld of Hindi: Possibilities and Challenges," would be held inNew Jersey in April.

                                           

ii. To be attended by Hindi scholars from various parts of theworld, in particular from the US and India between April 3-5,participants of the International Hindi Conference would discuss thecurrent status of the teaching and learning of Hindi among otherthings.

iii. This conference will provide a forum for community membersand leaders, language experts, policy makers, educationadministrators, advocates and other stakeholders from different partsof the US, Canada, South America and Caribbean countries, such as,Trinidad and Tobago along with experts from India to get together andshare their views and research, examine a wide spectrum ofopportunities, make plans for the future.

8. Australian airline Qantas named world’s safest byAirlineRatings.com

i. Australia’s national airline Qantas was named as the world’ssafest airline by AirlineRatings.com on 6 January 2015. The airlinewas lauded for amassing an extraordinary record of firsts in safetyhistory and operations over its 94-year history.

ii. Qantas was praised for the way it monitors the engines of itsaircraft using satellite communications and had a fatality freerecord in the jet era.

iii. The website said that the Australian airline Qantas has beena leader in development of the Future Air Navigation System, FlightData Recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance, automaticlandings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well asprecision approaches around mountains in cloud using RNP.

iv. The website announced its top ten safest airlines and top tensafest low cost airlines for 2015 from 449 it monitors.

                                         Current Affairs - 10th January 2015

 1. Maithiripala Sirisena sworn-in as 7th President of SriLanka

i. Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena (MaithiripalaSirisena) was on 9 January 2015 sworn-in as the 7th President of SriLanka.

ii. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Judge K Sri Pawan administered theoath of office to Maithiripala Sirisena at a oath taking ceremonyheld at the Independence Square in Colombo.

iii. Before the swearing-in ceremony of President MaithripalaSirisena, the leader of the United National Party (UNP) RanilWickramasinghe took the oath as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

iv. Maithripala heads a rainbow coalition of several partiesincluding United National Party and the Buddhist Monk party.

2. Sirisena's first overseas visit will be to India

i. Sri Lanka's newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena willmake his first State visit overseas to India.

ii. 'Mr. Modi invited our President to come to India first. Heproposes to go next month," said Rajitha Senaratne, seniorpolitician and spokesman of Mr. Sirisena.

3. Yu Min honoured with State Preeminent Science andTechnology Award 2014

i. Chinese nuclear physicist Yu Min was on 9 January 2015presented with the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award 2014by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

ii. He was awarded for his involvement in research into nuclearweapons since the 1960s.

iii. Yu Min is presently an academician at the Chinese Academy ofSciences.

4. Sindhushree Khullar appointed as the Chief ExecutiveOfficer of NITI Aayog

i. Senior bureaucrat Sindhushree Khullar was on 10 January 2015appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NationalInstitution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog with effect from 1January 2015. She will serve the position for one year.

ii. Her appointment was approved the Appointment Committee of theCabinet.

Sindhushree Khullar

• Sindhushree Khullar is 1975-batch officer of the IndianAdministrative Service’s (IAS) Union Territories cadre.
• Shebecame the Member-Secretary of Planning Commission in April 2012 byreplacing Sudha Pillai.
• In March 2013, she was appointed asSecretary of the Planning Commission on contract basis for two years.

5. . Rajiv Mehta appointed new DGP of Meghalaya

i. Senior IPS officer Rajiv Mehta has been appointed as the newDirector General of Police in Meghalaya.

ii. He is currently serving as the Director General of NarcoticsControl Bureau (NCB) in Delhi.

iii. Mr. Mehta replaces P.J.P. Hanaman who retired on December 31and will take charge from acting DGP S.K. Jain.

6. John Kerry Heads for India to Attend the VibrantGujarat Summit

i. US Secretary of State John Kerry headed for India to attend theVibrant Gujarat Summit during which he will address investors toboost economic ties and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discussa broad range of bilateral and global issues, including climatechange.

ii. "The Secretary would be emphasising the importance andfuture potential of our economic partnership with India, StateDepartment Spokesperson Jen Psaki told PTI.

7. UN to Host New Libya Peace Talks in Geneva Next Week

i. The United Nations said that it would host a new round of peacetalks between Libya's warring factions in Geneva next week.

ii. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statementthat its head "Bernardino Leon" had proposed a freeze inmilitary operations for a few days "in order to create aconducive environment for the dialogue".

8. Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari presented PravasiBharatiya Samman Awards 2015

i. Mohammad Hamid Ansari on 9 January 2015 presented the PravasiBharatiya Samman Awards 2015 to sixteen personalities. The awardswere presented during the occasion of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas atGandhinagar, Gujarat.

ii. Apart from fifteen awardees, Senator Liza Singh from Australiaalso received the award as he could not accept the award in 2014.

                                           Current  Affairs - 11th January 2015

 1. World Bank projects 6.4% economic growth in India in2015

i. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said that the Indian economyis likely to grow at 6.4 per cent in 2015 and accelerate further inthe next year.

ii. After slowing to sub-five per cent growth in the previous twofinancial years, the economy has started showing signs of pick-up asit expanded by 5.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent in the second and thirdquarter of 2015.

iii. Mr. Jim said, he was “very encouraged” by the recentproposal of a Constitution amendment bill for Goods and Services Tax.

iv. GST will create one common market and substantial saving forcompanies on logistics, especially if the structure of the GST isuniform.

2. Vibrant Gujarat: PM Narendra Modi promises to makeIndia easiest place to do business

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today promised to make India the"easiest" destination to do business with a stable taxregime and a predictable, transparent and fair policy environment.

                                                 

ii. he said a single window clearance for projects is being set upat both central and state level.

iii. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD), India would be the only country among world's topeconomies which would increase its pace of growth this year.

iv. Recent initiatives towards a favourable enviornment is - FDIin construction has been liberalised, 100 per cent foreign investmenthas been allowed in railways, the defence sector has been opened forFDI up to 49 per cent and a similar level in the insurance sector.

3. Investers Boom in Gujrat

i. Reliance will invest Rs.1,00,000 crore in Gujarat across itsbusinesses, including the Gujarat petrochemical complex, in the next18 months.

ii. As part of the investment programme, RIL will partner withthousands of small businesses and Gujarati entrepreneurs to createvirtuous cycle of prosperity, Mr. Ambani said.

iii. Kumarmangalam Birla said the diversified Aditya Birla Groupwill invest Rs. 20,000 crore over a period of time in the state toramp up capacities across various existing facilities.

iv. On the anvil are brownfield expansions at our cement plant inSevagram, the VSF plants in Vilayat and Bharuch, and along with that,expansion in metal plants (among others) here.

4. SunEdison inks pact with Omnigrid

i. SunEdison and Omnigrid Micropower Company (OMC), which isengaged in building small-scale power plants with renewable sourceshave entered into an agreement to develop 5,000 rural projects,representing 250 MW of electricity, throughout India over the nextthree to five years.

ii. SunEdison and OMC have an offering that can helptelecommunication organisations meet their regulatory requirementsand provide energy to local communities.

iii. SunEdison is currently building 60 mini grids across India -this initiative will further accelerate our efforts towards the PrimeMinister's Energy Vision of making electricity available 24 hours aday, 365 days a year.

5. Federer notches 1,000th match win, claims Brisbanetitle

i. Roger Federer notched his 1,000th career victory and collectedhis 83rd title with a seesawing 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win overthird-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada in the Brisbane Internationalfinal.

ii. The 17-time major winner broke Raonic’s serve in the thirdgame and again in the opening game of the second set before Raonicbroke back for 2-2 and then dominated the tiebreaker.

iii. Only retired greats Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl(1,071) have won more than 1,000 matches on the men’s tour.

6. Facebook is the leader of social media

i. The findings of a survey by a US-based global think tank PewResearch Centre that involved 1,597 internet users revealed that 71per cent of US adults were hooked to Facebook in 2014.

ii. The figure up significantly from 63 percent in 2013, Forbesmagazine reported.

iii. For micro-blogging site Twitter, the percentage of userslogging in daily decreased from 46 percent in 2013 to 36 percent lastyear.

7. Stanislas Wawrinka won Chennai Open title of Tennis

i. Stanislas Wawrinka on 11 January 2015 won the Chennai Opentitle of tennis.In the summit clash at Nungambakkam tennis stadium inChennai, the Swiss world number four defeated the Slovenian qualifierAljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4.

ii. This was second consecutive ATP Chennai Open title forWawrinka and third time since 2011. With this win, Wawrinka pocketed73400 US dollar and 250 ranking points.

iii. In the 20-year history of the tournament, Bedene was thefirst qualifier to reach the final, winning seven matches en route tohis maiden ATP Tour final. He pocketed 38650 US dollars and 150points for winning three qualifying matches and four more in the maindraw.

                                           Current Affairs - 12th January 2015

 1. National Youth Day observed across India on 12 January

i. National Youth Day was observed across India on 12 January2015. The day is observed annually to mark the birth anniversary ofsocial reformer, philosopher and thinker Swami Vivekananda.

ii. This is the 152nd birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda andhis birth anniversary is being celebrated as National Youth Day inIndia since 1985.

iii. The Union Government in 1984 had declared that 12 January,the birthday of Swami Vivekananda will be observed as the NationalYouth Day.

iv. Swami Vivekananda's lectures and writings are a source ofinspiration for youth and have motivated numerous youth organisation.

v. His writings derive their inspiration from Indian spiritualtradition and the broad outlook of his Master Sri Ramakrishna.

vi. All his teachings can be found in The Complete Works of SwamiVivekananda, in nine volumes, published by Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata.

vii. He is best known for his inspiring speech at the Parliamentof the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 in which he introducedHinduism, his words began with words, Sisters and brothers ofAmerica.

2. US to host international Anti-terror Summit on 18February 2015

i. The United States on 11 January 2015 announced that it willhost an international Anti-terror Summit in Washington. The summitwill be held on 18 February 2015 and will aim on preventing violentextremism that was seen in attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office.

ii. The meeting will highlight best practices (domestic andinternational) and emerging efforts from several US communitiescarrying out pilot programs to address extremism.

iii. The US Attorney General Eric Holder announced about thesummit from Paris where he had joined an emergency conference onterrorism. The conference was held in the wake of a terror spree inFrance in first week of January 2014 in which 17 people (in attackand manhunt) were killed.

iv. The conference was attended by Interior and Justice Ministersfrom Europe and the US, where they called for increased Internetsurveillance and stricter border security to counter attacks like themassacre at the Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper.

3. SDSC-SHAR director MYS Prasad chosen for VikramSarabhai Memorial Award 2015

i. The director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SriharikotaRange (SHAR) MYS Prasad was on 10 January 2015 selected for theVikram Sarabhai memorial award 2015.

ii. The award will be presented to MYS Prasad by the IndianScience Congress Association (ISCA).

iii. Prasad was selected for his outstanding contribution toResearch and Development in the field of space science in his longcareer at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  

iv. The Vikram Sarabhai memorial award was instituted by theIndian Science Congress Association in 1997-98. The award carries aGold Medal and is given in every alternate years.

4. NRIs can vote through postal ballots

i. Centre gave their nod to the proposal prepared by a 12-membercommittee led by Vinod Zutshi, Deputy Election Commissioner, for‘Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting byOverseas Electors’.

ii. The Centre told the Supreme Court that the EC’srecommendation to extend voting rights to NRIs through postal ballotshave been accepted in letter and spirit.

iii. Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri asked the Centre toinform it about “further steps taken to implement the suggestions.”

iv. The poll panel had contended that the move to allow NRIs touse proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballotfacility will require changes in the law and a legislative framework.

5. Australia won 4-match Border-Gavaskar Test series, 2-0

i. Australia on 10 January 2015 won the 4-match Border-GavaskarTest series played against India by 2-0. India, who lost the firsttwo matches of the game, was successful in drawing the third andfourth matches of the series.

Series Report

• 1st Test Match - played at AdelaideOval between 9 December and 13 December 2014, Australia won by 48runs and Nathan Michael Lyon of Australia was declared as the Playerof the match
• 2nd Test Match - playedat Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane between 17December and 20 December 2014, Australia won by 4 wickets and StevenSmith of Australia was declared as the Player of the match
•3rd Test Match- played at MelbourneCricket Ground between 26 December and 30 December 2014, the matchwas drawn and Ryan James Harris of Australia was declared as thePlayer of the match.
• 4th Test Match - played atSydney Cricket Ground between 6 January and 10 January 2015, thematch was drawn and Steven Smith of Australia was declared as thePlayer of the match

6. Roger Federer won Brisbane International Tennis title

i. 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer of Switzerland on 11January 2015 won the Brisbane International Tennis title. He won theBrisbane title for the first time.

ii. In the finals played at Brisbane in Australia, he defeatedthird seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4.

iii. With this he became the third tennis player in open era towin 1000 ATP titles. The other two players are Jimmy Connors of theUS (1253) and Ivan Lendl of the US (1071).

7. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won the 2015 Presidentialelections of Croatia

i. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on 11 January 2015 won the 2015Presidential elections of Croatia. Kolinda belongs to theconservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and is a formerAssistant Secretary General at NATO and former Croatian ambassador tothe United States.

ii. She will take charge of the President office on 19 February2015 thus becoming the first female President of Croatia.

iii. In the presidential elections held on 28 December 2014, shebagged 50.4 percent of votes in the second round of voting. Shedefeated the incumbent President Ivo Josipovic of Social DemocratParty who got 49.6 percent votes.

iv. Second round of voting was held after no candidate received 50percent of the vote in the first round.

8. Golden Globe Awards announced

i. The 72nd Golden Globe Awards announced in Beverly Hills,California

ii. Coming of age tale "Boyhood" won the coveted GoldenGlobe for best drama on Sunday.

iii. while the quirky period caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel"was the surprise winner for best comedy or musical, in a big upset toawards season front-runner "Birdman."

List of award winners -

Best Motion Picture-Drama: Boyhood
Best Actor in a MotionPicture- Drama: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
BestActress in a Motion Picture-Drama: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
BestMotion Picture-Comedy or Musical: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BestActress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical: Amy Adams, BigEyes
Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical: MichaelKeaton, Birdman
Best Animated Film: How To Train Your Dragon2
Best Foreign Language Film: Leviathan (Russia)
BestSupporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Patricia Arquette,Boyhood
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: J.K. Simmons,Whiplash
Best Director-Motion Picture: Richard Linklater,Boyhood
Best Screenplay: Birdman
Best Original Score - MotionPicture: Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Best OriginalSong - Motion Picture: John Legend and Common, "Glory,"Selma

9. Microsoft ties up with Idea for paid apps, games

i. Handset maker Microsoft Devices has partnered with IdeaCellular to help subscribers of the telecom services firm pay forapps as part of monthly bills.

ii. Idea users will be able to purchase premium apps and gamesfrom the Windows Store on Microsoft Lumia as well as otherWindows-based smartphones and pay for them through integratedbilling.

iii. The smartphone market in India is poised to grow over 70 percent this fiscal and the app ecosystem is also booming.

iv. The Windows Store, competes with Google's Play Store andApple's App store besides other smaller platforms.

                                         Current Affairs - 13th January 2015

 1. AS Kiran Kumar appointed as new ISRO chief

i. AS Kiran Kumar on Monday was appointed as the new Indian SpaceResearch Organisation (ISRO) chief.

ii. He was the director of Satellite Application Centre and joinedISRO in 1975.He was also behind the success of India's Mars OrbiterMission which entered the Martian orbit on September 24.

iii. Kumar has contributed to the design and development ofElectro-Optical Imaging Sensors for Airborne, LEO and GEO platformbased imaging sensors starting from Bhaskara TV payload to the latestTMC adHySI payloads for Chandrayaan-1 missions.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or Award

i. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo on 12 January 2015 wonthe 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the best footballer of the yearin the world. It is the third time that Ronaldo has won the Ballond'Or award following the previous triumphs in the years 2008 and2013.

ii. Ronaldo defeated Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and BayernMunich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer by bagging 37.66 percent of votes.

iii. Lionel Messi was at the second position with 15.76 votes andManuel Neuer stood at the third place with 15.72 percent votes.

iv. 181 national team coaches, 182 national team captains and 181media representatives submitted their votes for the FIFA Ballon d’Oraward. The entire electoral procedure was overseen and monitored byPricewaterhouseCoopers Switzerland (PwC).

3. India’s Mars Orbiter team wins US award

i. India’s Mars Orbiter programme team has won the 2015 SpacePioneer Award in the science and engineering category from the USbased National Space Society (NSS).

ii. This award will be presented to an ISRO representative duringthe National Space Society’s 2015 International Space DevelopmentConference, the 34th ISDC, to be held in Toronto, Canada.

                                                 

iii. Note - India’s Mars Orbiter launched on Nov 5, 2013 thatwent into Mars orbit on Sep 24, 2014 achieved two significant missionfirsts in terms of an Indian spacecraft that has gone into orbitaround Mars on the very first try and that no other country has everdone this. Secondly, the spacecraft is in an elliptical orbit with ahigh apoapsis, and has a high resolution camera which is takingfull-disk colour imagery of Mars.

iv. The Mars Orbiter programme team located in Bangalore is headedby Mylswamy Annadurai.

4. Golfer Anirban Lahiri voted Asian Tour’s 2014Players’ Player of the Year

i. Anirban Lahiri, an Indian professional golfer on 12 January2015 was voted as the 2014 Players’ Player of the year in AsianTour. He was voted for his successful exploits on the Asian Tour,wherein he won two titles and finished second on the Asian Tour Orderof Merit.

His exploits on Asian Tour in 2014 included

• Won first title outside India in the form of CIMB NiagaIndonesian Masters
• His second win of 2014 came at the VenetianMacau Open
• Stood second in the Asian Tour Order of Merit,which was won by David Lipsky of the United States
• He helpedTeam Asia to secure a dramatic 10-10 tie against Team Europe at theinaugural EurAsia Cup

5. Raghuram Rajan named Governor of the Year in CentralBanking Awards 2015

i. Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has won "Governorof the Year" in the Central Banking Awards for 2015 on Monday.

ii. Jacques de Larosiere winning the Lifetime Achievement Awardafter a lengthy struggle for monetary order while Claudio Borio, headof the monetary and economic department at the Bank for InternationalSettlements, was handed the inaugural award for Economics in CentralBanking, designed to recognise significant contributions to thefield.

iii. This is a recognition of the part the Reserve Bank of Indiaand its staff have been playing in bringing macroeconomic stabilityto the Indian economy.

6. Deepak Parekh appointed as Chairman of BAE SystemsIndia (Services) Private Limited

i. Deepak Parekh appointed as a Non-Executive Director andChairman of BAE Systems India (Services) Private Limited with effectfrom 1 January 2015.

ii. Parekh was appointed as a member of the BAE Systems’sIndependent Advisory Board for India association in 2010.

iii. Indian Government honoured Parekh’s performance with thePadma Bhushan in 2006.

7. President signed Ordinance to amend Mines and MineralsDevelopment & Regulation Act, 1957.

i. Earlier, the promulgation of ordinance to amend the MMDR Act,1957 was approved by the Union Cabinet on 5 January 2015. Theordinance route was taken by the Union government after it was notable to introduce the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation)(Amendment) Bill, 2014 in the winter session of the Parliament inDecember 2014.

Objective of the MMDR (Amendment) Bill, 2014

• Improved transparency in the allocation of mineral resources
•Obtaining for the government its fair share of the value of suchresources
• Attracting private investment and the latesttechnology
• Eliminating delay in administration, so as toenable expeditious and optimum development of the mineral resourcesof the country

                                            Current Affairs - 14th January 2015

1. DRDO chief Avinash Chander removed

i.  The Modi government removed Avinash Chander, chief of topdefence research organisation DRDO, 15 months before his contract wassupposed to end.

ii. Chander was also the scientific advisor to the defenceminister.

iii. Chander joined DRDO in 1972 after completing graduation inElectrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT),Delhi. Chander is the chief architect of Agni series of ballisticmissile systems.

iv. The action could have been taken against the backdrop of PrimeMinister Narendra Modi's comment that the 'laid back' attitude in theDRDO will not be tolerated.

2. Idukki in Kerala became first District of India to haveComplete Rural Broadband Coverage

i. Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology on12 January 2015 linked Idukki district in Kerala to the NationalOptic Fiber Network (NOFN). The district was linked to the NOFN aspart of the Digital India project of the Union government.

ii. The district was commissioned with the first high speed ruralbroadband of India. With this, Idukki district became first districtof India to have complete rural broadband coverage.

iii. As part of it, 8 Block Offices & 52 Gram Panchayats ofthe Idukki district were connected on Optical Fiber and one GramPanchayat, namely Edamalakudy, was connected through VSAT (Very SmallAperture Terminal).

iv. The rural broadband connectivity to the Gram Panchayat ofIdukki is being provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Forthe first time the villages under this Panchayat would be connectedthrough Mobile phones and internet.

3. H.S.Brahma to be the next chief Election Commissionerof India.

i. Shri H.S. Brahma is all set to assume charge as the new ChiefElection Commissioner of India.

ii. VS Sampath, Chief Election Commissioner, demits office on 15thJanuary 2015, capping less than six years of an eventful tenure.

iii. Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath, turns 65 tomorrow, the upper agelimit under the Constitution for holding the post.

iv. H.S.Brahma will be the 19th Chief Election Commissioner ofIndia, He was the other election Commissioner along with Ahmed Zaidiin the outgoing Sampath regime.

v. H.S. Brahma, retired Indian Administrative Service officer ofAndhra Pradesh State cadre (1975 Batch) assumed charge as ElectionCommissioner of India on 25th August, 2010.

4. Madagascar Government led by Prime Minister Kolo Rogerresigned

i. Madagascar Prime Minister Kolo Roger and his government on 12January 2015 resigned from their position. The resignation wasaccepted by Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina on 13January 2015.

ii. However, the reason for the resignation was not disclosed bythe government. This is the first change of government inRajaonarimampianina's Presidency.

iii. The resigning government members will continue to work asCaretaker Government until the creation of the new government. Thegovernment led by Kolo Roger consists of 30 ministers and oneSecretary of State.

iv. Kolo Roger was elected as Prime Minister of Madagascar inApril 2014.

5. Infosys CEO dedicates $250 million to innovate in India

i. Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka met Prime Minister Narendra Modi anddisclosed that his company will spend USD 250 million (over Rs 1,500crore) to fund innovations in software and services in India.

ii. Infosys will develop software for managing the kumbh melascheduled in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) in 2016.

iii. The chief of India’s second largest IT services firm alsodiscussed with Modi ways in which the company can participate in thePrime Minister’s vision of smart and digitally empowered India.

iv. Infosys formed USD 500 million Innovation Fund. Of this, Rs.1,500 crore, will be dedicated to just innovation in India.

6. India will catch up with China’s growth rate in2016-17: World Bank

i.  The World Bank has said that India would catch up withChina’s growth in the year 2016-17.

ii. The World Bank in its report also forecast a growth rate ofseven per cent each in the fiscal year 2016 and 2017 as againstChina’s 7 per cent and 6. 9 per cent respectively.

iii. Regional growth is projected to rise to 6.8 per cent by 2017,as reforms ease supply constraints in India, political tensionssubside in Pakistan, remittances remain robust in Bangladesh andNepal, and demand for the region’s exports firms.

7. Canara Bank bags 3 MSME awards

i. Canara Bank has bagged three awards at the annual flagshipevent "MSME Banking Excellence Awards-2014" organised byChamber of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (CIMSME).

ii. Canara Bank has been adjudged as the "Best BankAward-Winner" among other awards.

iii. The awards were presented by Union Minister for MSME KalrajMishra on the occasion.

8. India and Australia signed MoU for skill andinfrastructural development in sports

i. The Sport Education Development Australia (SEDA) and India'sInfrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL-FS) signeda Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 13 January 2015. The agreementwas signed by the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment AndrewRobb.

ii. The MoU is aimed at developing the skills of Indian studentsin various sports and infrastructure as well.

Highlights of the MoU

• The partnership is expected to encourage the development ofsports and fitness vocational courses in India.
• SEDA'sexperience in vocational education programs will help provide Indianstudents with the specialist skills and experience that they need togain for employment in the sports.
• The partnership aims toimpart training to youngsters in 350 centres across India in 25-26states.

9. Pope Francis cannonised Joseph Vaz, the first saint ofSri Lanka

i. Pope Francis on 14 January 2015 cannonised Joseph Vaz, thefirst saint of Sri Lanka. Joseph Vaz was beatified by Pope John Paulin 1995. Pope Francis cannonised Saint Joseph Vaz in presence ofhundreds of thousands of people packed on a Colombo oceanfront duringhis visit to Sri Lanka.

ii. The Pope told the hushed crowd that Vaz was an example ofreligious tolerance relevant to Sri Lanka.

                                          Current Affairs - 15th January 2015

1. 67th Army Day observed on 15 January

i. India on 15 January 2015 observed the 67th Army Day. The day iscelebrated to commemorate the day, when Lieutenant General (laterField Marshal) K M Cariappa on 15 January 1949 became the firstIndian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army post Independence. Hehad succeeded General Sir Francis Butcher, the last BritishCommander-in-Chief of India.

ii. To mark the day, all three service chiefs, Army Chief GeneralDalbir Singh Suhag, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Robin K Dhowan andAir Chief Marshal Arup Raha paid tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyotihere at India Gate by laying floral wreath and remembering themartyred soldiers. Thereafter they also signed the record book at theIndia Gate.

iii. Various parades and military shows were organized in nationalcapital New Delhi and all army headquarters to mark the day.

2. PM Narendra Modi to launch 'Beti Bachao' scheme

i. The Modi government's big bang flagship scheme will be `BetiBachao, Beti Padhao' (BBBP), which will help address the country'slow child sex ratio.

ii. The scheme will be launched by PM Narendra Modi on January 22and will focus on a multi-sectoral approach to tackling the problemof the vanishing girl child.

iii. The Rs 100-crore scheme is expected to be monitored by theManeka Gandhi-headed ministry of women and child development (WCD) incoordination with the ministries of health and HRD.

                                               

iv. The Objectives -

-->To prevent genderbiased sex selection by stringentenforcement of laws, especially by strengthening the implementationof PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Pro hibition ofSex Selection) Act, 1994 (PC&PNDT Act) with strict punishmentsfor violations.

-->BBBP will also ensure access and availability of essentialrequirements related to nutrition, healthcare, education andprotection and elimination of discrimination against a girl childwhich can lead to low self-esteem, lifelong deprivation and exclusionfrom the mainstream.

-->Initiatives will be taken to encourage girls to expresstheir views and to be heard, to help them participate actively ,effectively and equally at all levels of social, economic, andpolitical leadership.

v. Targets of the Scheme -

-->A toilet in every girls' school in 100 vulnerable districts.

-->An innovation fund at state-level to encourage bestpractices in improving child sex ratio (CSR) and gender inequities.

-->District-level awards to schools strengthening girl childeducation.

3. Appointment Committee of Cabinet approved AnupamShrivastava as CMD of BSNL

 i. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approvedappointment of Anupam Shrivastava as CMD of Bharat Sanchar NigamLimited.

ii. BSNL's Director Enterprises A N Rai is currently handling theadditional charge of CMD.

iii. As Zonal Director for North Zone he is responsible formonitoring growth and maintenance of Telecom Network in 8 Circles.

4. Prabhu Nath Dwivedi named as the winner of the SahityaAkademi Award 2014 for Sanskrit

i. Eminent Sanskrit scholar Prabhu Nath Dwivedi was on 14 January2015 named as the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award 2014 forSanskrit language.

ii. He was awarded for his work Kanakalochanaha, a collection of16 short-stories based on various social issues. His name wasselected by a three-member jury of the Sahitya Akademi.

iii. The award will be presented to him in March 2015 during theFestival of Letters that will be organised by the Sahitya Akademi inNew Delhi.

5. Bhakti set world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52minutes in the Antarctic Ocean

i. Indian open water swimmer Bhakti Sharma on 14 January 2015 seta world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52 minutes in one degreetemperature in the Antarctic Ocean. She is the first Indian women aswell as to achieve this feat.

ii. She broke the record of British open water swimming championLewis Pugh and American swimmer Lynne Cox.

iii. The 24-year old is now the first Asian girl and youngest inthe world to have achieved this feat and now has conquered all thefive oceans of the world.

About Bhakti Sharma

i. She is pursuing open water swimming for last 10 years

ii. She has conquered all the five oceans of the world, eightchannels and seas, which itself is a world record

iii. In 2010, she was awarded the Tenzing Norgay NationalAdventure Award

6. RBI Changed Key Rates

i. In a move that brought huge cheer to the markets, Reserve Bankof India (RBI) cut the reverse repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75%.

ii. The central bank kept the Cash Reserve Ratio ( CRR) unchangedat 4.0%.

iii. Reasons for the Repo Cut :

-->Plunging Oil prices in the Global arena and hence in Indiakeeping the Inflation levels in the check.

-->WPI increased at the rate of a mere 0.11% as against theexpected increase of 0.6%.

-->Retail inflation is at 5% as against an expected 5.4%.

-->Fiscal deficit target is well in reach at 4.1%.

7. Amitabh Bachchan presented with Social Media Person ofthe Year award 2015

i. Actor Amitabh Bachchan was on 13 January 2015 presented withthe Social Media Person of the Year Award 2015  by the Internetand Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

ii. The award ceremony was scheduled to be held on 15 January 2015in New Delhi but as Amitabh Bachchan was not be able to make hispresence there, so he was honoured in advance.

iii. Amitabh Bachchan was awarded for being an active blogger anduser of different social networking sites. He makes the most use ofsocial media to communicate with his fans and well-wishers.

iv. He has over 12.5 million followers on Twitter and more than18857196 likes on his Facebook page.He has over 12.5 millionfollowers on Twitter and more than 18857196 likes on his Facebookpage.

8. Pakistan to ban JuD and Haqqani network

i.  Pakistan plans to ban 10 terror outfits, including 26/11mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the dreadedAfghan-based Haqqani Network, a move seen by experts as a "paradigmshift" in the country's security policy in the wake of Peshawarschool massacre.

ii. The move came a day after the US declared the fugitive chiefof the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Mullah Fazlullah as a 'SpeciallyDesignated Global Terrorist'.

iii. The UN security council designated the JuD a front for theLeT after the Mumbai attacks. Since then, the UN and US havesanctioned several JuD leaders.

9. Brett Lee retires from all forms of cricket

i. Australian pace bowler Brett Lee on Thursday announced he is toretire from all forms of cricket after a 20-year career.

ii. The 38-year-old called time on his international commitmentsin July 2012, but continued to play Twenty20 in both the AustralianBig Bash League and the Indian Premier League.

iii. Lee played 76 Tests for Australia, taking 310 wickets, and221 one-dayers with 380 dismissals.

 
                                      Current Affairs - 16th January 2015

 1. Hari Shankar Brahma appointed as the New Chief ElectionCommissioner

i. Hari Shankar Bramha was appointed as the new Chief ElectionCommissioner (CEC) by President Pranab Mukherjee on 15 January 2016.

ii. Brahma, the senior-most Election Commissioner in the ElectionCommission of India succeeds V.S. Sampath.

iii. Sampath demitted the office on 15 January 2015 afterattaining the age of 65, the upper age limit under the Constitutionfor holding the post.

iv. Brahma (64) will assume the charge of the office of ChiefElection Commissioner with effect from 16 January 2015. He will havea small tenure of three months till 19 April 2015, when he turns 65,the upper age limit for the post.

About Harishankar Brahma

• He is a 1975 IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre
• Hehails from Assam and has served as the former Union power secretary
•He was appointed as an Election Commissioner on 25 August 2010

2. Haryana picks Ramdev as brand ambassador

i. The Haryana government plans to promote yoga and ayurveda in abig way, and has appointed yoga guru Ramdev as its brand ambassador.

                                                 

ii.  Haryana's minister of sports and health Anil Vij said aherbal forest would be developed over thousands of acres of land inthe state where plants of 25 thousand species of ayurvedic herbswould be grown under the supervision of the yoga guru and his closeaide Balkrishna.

iii. An ayush wing was being established in all the hospitals ofHaryana for which 550 doctors would have to do a refresher courseunder the supervision of the yoga guru.

iv. Haryana would be developed into an Ayurvedic Universitywhereas a yogic centre of international standards would be built inPanchkula.

3. China Food and Drug Administration approved new vaccineto treat Poliomyelitis

i.  Chinese drug regulator China Food and Drug Administration(CFDA) approved a new vaccine S-IPV to treat the Poliomyelitis.

ii.  The vaccine S-IPV is known as Ai Bi Wei in China. It ismanufactured by the Institute of Medical Biology of the ChineseAcademy of Medical Sciences located in Kunming, southwest China'sYunnan province.

iii. The vaccine will be given to Chinese children as part ofroutine disease prevention and will help the global fight against thepolio virus. The World Health Organization is also considering use ofthis new vaccine in its global polio treatment program.

4. Leela Samson resigned as Chairperson of Central Boardof Film Certification

i. Leela Samson on 16 January 2015 resigned as Chairperson ofCentral Board of Film Certification, (CBFC).

ii. She was appointed as the Chairperson of CBFC on 1 April 2011.

About Leela Samson

• She is a Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor andwriter
• She taught Bharatanatyam at Shriram Bhartiya KalaKendra in Delhi for many years
• From August 2010 to October2014 she was the chairperson of Sangeet Natak Academy
• FromApril 2005 to April 2012, she served as a director of Kalakshetra
•Awards conferred in Samson includes Padma Shri which was given inrecognition of her contribution to the art of Bharatanatyam

5. Tarun Rai appointed as CEO of J Walter Thompson SouthAsia

i. Tarun Rai was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JWalter Thompson South Asia. The appointment was announced on 14January 2015 by the J Walter Thompson (JWT) company. JWT is anadvertising agency.

ii. He replaced Colvyn Harris who has been elevated to the role ofExecutive Director, Global growth and Client development.  Bothwill report to Gustavo Martinez, Global CEO of JWT.

iii. Rai in his role of CEO of South Asia will look after India,Sri Lanka and Nepal region as well as Indian companies of J WalterThompson which includes Contract Advertising, Hungama DigitalServices, J. Walter Thompson Mindset, Encompass and SocialWavelength.

iv. Prior to this appointment, Rai served as CEO of WorldwideMedia since 2008. Before 2008, he was associated with JWT wherein hehelped build brands like Hindustan Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo,Pizza Hut, De Beers, Tata Steel, Nestlé, Hero, Godrej and Kellogg’s.

v. Rai is an alumnus of London School of Economics and has beenassociated with advertising and media for more than 25 years.

6. Noted RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal conferredwith Giraffe Hero award 2015

i. Renowned Indian RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal wasconferred with the Giraffe Hero award 2015 by a US-based NGO TheGiraffe Heroes Project. ii. The award will be presented to him on 22January 2015.

                                                 

iii. Agrawal was awarded for his bravery in utilising the Right toInformation (RTI) Act, 2005 for public good despite innumerablechallenges. Agrawal also holds the Guinness record of filing highestnumber of published letters to the editors.

7. Siddhartha Chatterjee appointed as CTO of PersistentSystems Ltd

i. Siddhartha Chatterjee was appointed as the Chief TechnologyOfficer (CTO) of Persistent Systems Ltd with effect will be based atthe United States branch of the company.

ii. Chatterjee is a graduate in Electronics and ElectricalCommunications Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology,Kharagpur.

iii. Chatterjee has served as an Assistant and Associate Professorof Computer Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hillfrom 1994 to 2001.

iv. He had also served as a post-doctoral scientist at theResearch Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) at MoffettField, California from 1991 to 1994.

8. RBI issued final guidelines for banks to act asInsurance brokers

i . Reserve Bank of India issued final guidelines for banks to actas insurance brokers.  Earlier, the banks were allowed toundertake insurance business as agents of insurance companies on feebasis with an aim to increase insurance penetration in the country.

ii. The banks were allowed to look forward for participation ininsurance business in accordance to Union Government’s notificationin which it allowed banks to do business of insurance under Section6(1)(o) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

9. China to launch construction of five new nuclearreactors with total capacity of 5 Gigawatts in 2015

i. China will launch the construction of at least five new nuclearreactors with a total capacity of more than 5 Gigawatts in 2015. Thedecision was announced by the Deputy Secretary General of NuclearSociety of China, Shen Lixin on 15 January 2015.

ii. At Present, China has 22 nuclear reactors in operation and 26under construction. China launched the construction of five nuclearreactors in 2014 and had planned to keep up the pace of constructionof nuclear reactors in 2015.

iii. According to the World Nuclear Association, four new reactorsstarted operating in Fujian, Liaoning and Guangdong provinces ofChina in 2014.

iv. In 2012, State Council of China outlined the current nuclearreactor construction goals and approved the 12th Five-year Plan forNuclear Safety and Radioactive Pollution Prevention and Vision for2020. It is aimed to triple China’s atomic energy capacity to atleast 58 gigawatts by 2020.

v. China allocated 13 billion US dollars to improve safety atnuclear reactors of China and also to decrease severe air pollutioncaused by coal fired plants.

                                         Current Affairs - 17th January 2015

 1. HAL Chairman R K Tyagi conferred with JGBS-Top Rankers’Excellence Award

i. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman R.K. Tyagi was on16 January 2015 conferred with the JGBS-Top Rankers' Excellence Awardfor CEO of the year 2014.

ii. Tyagi played a key role in 2014 being a successful year forHAL through series of initiatives. The year was dedicated forIntegrity, Customer Focus and Quality (ICQ).  

iii. The award has been instituted by Jindal Global BusinessSchool (JGBS) and Top Rankers’ Management Consultants.

iv. HAL recently contributed to the success of Mars OrbiterMission and GSLV Mk III launch in 2014.

2. Andrey Baryshpolets won the 13th ParsvanthInternational Grandmasters Chess Tournament

i. Ukrainian Grandmaster Andrey Baryshpolets won the 13thParsvanth International Grandmasters Chess Tournament on 16 January2015. He defeated Deepan Chakkravarthy of India in the 10th and finalround of the Tournament that was held in New Delhi.

ii. Baryshpolets went home richer by winning 300000 rupees in the3000000 rupees prize money festival. Baryshpolets was followed byIvan Popov of Russia who finished second and Alberto David of Italywho finished third. All the three got 8 points each.

iii. Apart from this, the C category of the Tournament was won byVardan Nagpal who won a cash prize of 1.25 lakhs rupees for hisefforts. The second place in this section was won by Rishabh Jain whowon 100000 rupees.

3. Beagle 2 spacecraft found intact on surface of Marsafter 11 years

i. Beagle 2 was launched in 2003 onboard the European SpaceAgency’s Mars Express spacecraft. It was designed to land on theplanet’s surface on Christmas Day that year but following ejectionfrom Mars Express it was never heard from again.

                                                 

ii. UK’s Beagle 2 successfully landed on the surface of Mars in2003 but failed to fully deploy its solar panels. Without these, itcould not communicate with Earth and scientists lost contact.

iii. The discovery images come from the HiRISE camera on Nasa’sMars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

iv. Beagle 2 cost around £50m. It was comparatively cheap for aspace mission, with some industrial work being performed on acost-only basis.

4. Sania Mirza, Bethanie Mattek-Sands won women’sdoubles title of Sydney International

i. Sania Mirza and her partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US on16 January 2015 won the women’s doubles title of the SydneyInternational Tennis Tournament.

ii. The unseeded Indo-American pair defeated top-seeded AmericansAbigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones 6-3, 6-3 in the summit clashplayed in Sydney. With this win, the duo earned 470 ranking pointseach and split 39000 US Dollar as prize money.

                                                     

iii. This was the fifth WTA title for Sania and Bethanie together,while it was the first title of the season for Sania. This was 23rdcareer title for Sania.

iv. The 2015 Sydney International Tennis Tournament was held from12 January to 17 January 2015 at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre,Australia.

5. Deep Kumar Upadhyay appointed as Nepal's ambassador toIndia

i. Nepali Congress leader Deep Kumar Upadhyay was on 16 January2015 appointed as Nepal's ambassador to India. The post was lyingvacant since 2011.

ii. The decision to appoint Deep Kumar Upadhyay was taken at thecabinet meeting headed by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil KumarKoirala. He is a Central Working Committee member of the NepaliCongress party.

iii. Earlier, Upadhyay has served as an assistant finance ministerof Nepal. However, he does not have experience in foreign affairs ashe had never served any diplomatic position earlier.

iv. The post was lying vacant for more than 3 years when theMaoist-led government called back its ambassador to India RukmaShukshere Rana in August 2011. She was called back after she wasfound serving as the Managing Director of Indian joint venture DaburNepal.

6. Tamilmani likely to be interim DRDO chief

i. K. Tamilmani, Chief Controller of Aeronautics Cluster in theDefence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is likely tobecome the interim head of the organisation.

ii. Dr. Tamilmani, the senior-most of the seven cluster heads inthe DRDO, is the Director of the Centre for Military Airworthinessand Certification (CEMILAC), Bangalore.

iii. The government on Tuesday terminated the 18-month contract ofDr. Chander and asked him to step down on January 31, ahead of histerm that would have ended in May 2016.

iv. A proposal to de-link the position of Scientific Adviser tothe Defence Minister from the Director-General, DRDO, was underconsideration as part of a major overhaul of the organisation.

7. Book on Sonia Gandhi titled The Red Sari written byJavier Moro released in India

i. The Red Sari, an unauthorized biography of Congress PartyPresident Sonia Gandhi, was released by Roli Books in India. The bookhas been written by Spanish author Javier Moro.

ii. The book describes about how Sonia Gandhi’s courage,honesty, and dedication have made her a leader in the eyes ofone-sixth of humanity that is from her idyllic childhood to herpassionate love affair, and from her days as a docile daughter-in-lawto her current status of being the only Indian politician to haverefused Prime Ministership.

iii. This book also examines the lives of the famous Nehru-Gandhifamily set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War, the Emergency,Operation Blue Star, and other events that have shaped modern Indianhistory.

iv. Originally, the book was written in Spanish language and wastitled El Sari Rojo. It was first published in 2008.

v. The English version of the book was not allowed to release inIndia in 2010 because it was argued by the Congress Party and SoniaGandhi's lawyers that the book is full of untruths, half-truths,falsehoods, defamatory statements, completely imaginary and inventedconversations

8. LCA Tejas Ready for Crucial Handover

i. The first of the indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)Tejas is likely to be handed over to the Indian Air Force. DefenceMinister Manohar Parrikar is expected to hand over the aircraft toChief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

ii. This will start the process of induction of fighters beingbuilt at home under a project that was commenced in 1983 and hasalready cost the exchequer over Rs.17,000 crores.

iii. 20 aircraft will be built by 2017-2018, to make the firstsquadron of the aircraft.

iv. The LCA programme was initiated in 1983 to replace the ageingMiG-21s in Indian Air force's combat fleet but has missed severaldeadlines due to several reasons.

9. Flash floods in Malawi; hundreds killed

i. Malawi in the third week of January 2015 witnessed flash floodsdue to heavy torrential rain. The floods swept away several housesand have killed at least 170 people. Malawi is one of the world'spoorest countries.

ii. Vice-President Saulos Chilima said more than one lakh peoplehave been displaced from their homes, mostly in the south. Thegovernment has declared a third of the country as disaster zone andappealed for help.

10. Petra Kvitova won women’s single title of SydneyInternational Tennis tournament

i. Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on 16 January 2015 won thewomen’s single title of Sydney International Tennis tournament. Shewon the title defeating Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 7-6, 7-6in the final.

ii. This is the 15th career title won by former Wimbledon Championand World No 4 Kvitova. She won the Wimbledon Championship twice in2011 and 2014 respectively.

iii. Pliskova, on the other hand, finished her 2014 season withmore aces than any other player apart from Serena Williams of the US.With this win she was ranked 22 and this is the first she was in thetop 20.

iv. The Sydney International also called Apia International Sydneyis a tune-up event before Australian Open, the first Grand Slamtournament on the tennis calendar.

                                    Current Affairs - 18th & 19th January 2015
1. Indian-American Frank Islam receives Martin Lutheraward

i. An eminent Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropistFrank Islam has been presented with the prestigious Martin LutherKing Jr. Award.

ii. He is awarded in recognition of his contribution to the legacyof the great leader through his efforts in international service andcivil engagement.

iii. The award, which carries the name of Martin Luther King Jr.,an apostle of peace, is about building bridges between humanity.

iv. The award was presented to Islam by Harry Johnson, presidentof the Memorial Foundation Inc. and one of the honorary vice chairsof the event, which was held at Willard Intercontinental.

2. National Immunization Day for the year 2015 observed on18 January

i. National Immunization Day for the year 2015 was observed on 18January 2015. As a part of this, Children below 5 years of age weregiven polio drops as part of the government's drive to sustain polioeradication in India.

ii. Earlier on 17 January 2015, President Pranab Mukherjeelaunched the Pulse Polio Programme for the year 2015 by administeringpolio drops to children in New Delhi.

iii. Every year, India observes National Immunisation Day inJanuary to mark the launch of pulse polio programme.

iv. India has been implementing the Pulse Polio Programme since1995. In India, the last case of wild polio was reported on 13January 2011.

v. On 27 March 2014, India was certified as polio free countryalong with other 11 countries of South-East Asia Region of WorldHealth Organisation (WHO). These countries were Bangladesh, Bhutan,Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar,Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

3. Twitter ropes in Taranjeet Singh to head business inIndia

i. Microblogging site Twitter has hired Taranjeet Singh asbusiness head for its operations in India.

ii. Singh will responsible for increasing commercial opportunitiesfor Twitter and work closely with brands and agencies to maximise thevalue of real-time marketing for live public conversations.

iii. Taranjeet has more than 19 years of sales and businessdevelopment experience. He was previously sales director of SouthAsia for BBC Advertising.

4. Manjul Bhargava to lead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’steach in India programme

i. Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava will be the face andfacilitator of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet education projectto rope in eminent scholars and scientists abroad to teach studentsat IITs and central universities.

                                                

ii. Bhargava, who is the first person of Indian origin to win thecoveted international prize for his work in mathematics agreed to'recruit' scientists in the US and across the world to participate inthe Global Initiative of Academic network (GIAN), a shorttermteaching programme under which scholars abroad will be invited toteach in India.

iii. GIAN is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brainchild. Theproject is expected to figure once again on the Indian agenda whenObama arrives here.

5. Eicher Motors appointed Rudratej Singh as President ofRoyal Enfield

i. Eicher Motors on 19 January 2015 appointed Rudratej Singh asPresident of Royal Enfield. He will report to Eicher Motors ManagingDirector & Chief Executive Officer Siddhartha Lal.

ii. Earlier, he was based in Singapore with Unilever asVice-President — South Asia, HPC & Foods Marketing Operations.

iii. As President, he will be responsible for building thoughtleadership for the brand and leading the commercial business forRoyal Enfield.

iv. It would include global sales and after-sales, brand andmarketing, new product strategy and creating and growing new businessopportunities such as apparel, accessories, and other adjacencies.

v. Royal Enfield is the Chennai-based arm of the company. Itcurrently sold various models including Bullet, Classic andThunderbird.

6. Viktor Troicki won Men’s Single title of SydneyInternational Tennis Tournament

i. Viktor Troicki of Serbia on 18 January 2015 won Men’s Singletitle of Sydney International Tennis Tournament.  He won thetitle by defeating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 in thefinal.

                                                

ii. With this win, Troicki jumped to rank 54 from his currentranking of 92. His carrier best rank was 12. The Sydney win was thesecond ATP career title for Troicki.

iii. On the other hand, despite losing the final, Kukushkin jumpedto rank 51 from his current ranking of 66. His career best rank was48.

iv. The Sydney International also called Apia International Sydneyis a tune-up event before Australian Open, the first Grand Slamtournament on the tennis calendar.

7. Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgayvisited India

i. Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay visitedIndia from 10 January to 18 January 2015. He visited along with hisspouse Aum Tashi Doma, Foreign Minister Rinzin Dorji and EconomicAffairs Minister Norbu Wangchuk.

ii. As a part of his visit, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modiand held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral relations as well ason regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern.

iii. Both the leaders agreed that cooperation in the field ofhydropower was mutually beneficial and a win-win situation for bothcountries. They reiterated their commitment to the 10000 MW hydropower plant initiatives and also committed for early implementationof the four JV-model projects, totaling 2120 MW.

iv. He also met President of India Pranab Mukherjee, UnionMinister of Home Affairs -Rajnath Singh, Minister of External AffairsSushma Swaraj, Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley, Chief Ministerof Gujarat Anandiben Patel and many other leaders.

v. He also attended the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015 and alsovisited a number of very successful projects in Gujarat such as theGujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), Solar Park, KaushalVardhan Kendra (Skill Development Institute), Sabarmati river front,Garima Park and Kids City. Further, Prime Minister also visited theBuddhist sites in Vadnagar, Gujarat.

vi. The visit of the Prime Minister of Bhutan to India reinforcedthe tradition of regular visits at the highest levels, and extensiveexchange of views between the two counties.

8. AB de Villiers: South Africa batsman smashes centuryrecord

i. South Africa batsman AB de Villiers hit a century off 31 ballsto record the fastest ever one-day international ton.

ii. De Villiers, 30, set the new landmark during an innings of 149against the West Indies in Johannesburg.

                                               

iii. He smashed nine fours and 16 sixes in beating the previousODI record of 36 balls by New Zealand all-rounder Corey Andersonagainst West Indies last year.

iv. South Africa scored 439-2 as they registered their highestever ODI score, beating the 438-9 in a win against Australia in March2006.

9. Telecom Commission clears Rs 3700-cr base price for2,100-MHz

i. The Telecom Commission (TC) approved a base price of Rs 3,700crore for each MHz of 2,100-MHz spectrum to be auctioned on February25.

ii. The final reserve price is 36 per cent higher than the Rs2,720 crore recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI).

iii. The previous Telecom auction was cancelled amid thespeculation of bad and crony practices in the bandwidth allocation.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 20th January 2015

 

1. Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani appointed as Chairman of CBFC

i. Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani on 19 January 2015 was appointed asthe Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

ii. Nihalani, known for the 1990s blockbusters Shola aur Shabnamand Aankhen will succeed Leela Samson who resigned from her office on16 January 2015.

iii. Nihalani is also known for producing a fan-song for PrimeMinister Narendra Modi in 2014 titled Har Ghar Modi-The Power Houseof India.

iv. Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry who reconstitutedthe complete Board also appointed nine new members in it. The tenureof the Chairperson and the members of the CBFC will be of threeyears.

v. The Chairman and the members were appointed in accordance withthe sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 andRule 3 of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983.

2. Jaipur Literature Festival all set to begin

i. The eighth edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is allset to open on 21st January 2015. The event, which is now the world’slargest free literary festival, will see a galaxy of literary andmusical stars come together for a vibrant celebration of creativeexpression.

                                              

ii. To be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, theevent is seen as an agenda-setter on key issues from the globaleconomic crisis to the rise of e-books, the current state of politicsin the Middle East to the increasing importance of Indian languagepublishing.

iii. This year the Festival will look at gender equity in India ina series titled `Women Uninterrupted', supported by UN Women to markthe 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Gender, leading upto the world summit at the UN this September, as well as `The SevenDeadly Sins' that polarize society.

3. Former PM Manmohan Singh adopted Pachim Bekeli GaonPanchyat

i. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh adopted Pachim Bekeli GaonPanchyat under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY). Pachim Bekeli GaonPanchyat is located in Kamrup district of Assam.

ii. Manmohan Singh represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha.
SansadAdarsh Gram Yojana aims to cover 2500 villages by 2019. Under theproject, each Member of Parliament (MP) will take up theresponsibility of providing infrastructure and developing threevillages by 2019.

iii. The objective of the project is to create a holisticdevelopment of all adopted villages by the MPs in all aspects —human,personal, social, economic and environmental development, includingprovision of basic amenities, services, security and good governance.

4. Twitter buys Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial

i. Twitter Inc said it will buy Indian mobile phone marketingstart-up ZipDial, reportedly for $30 million to $40 million, as theU.S. microblogging service looks to expand in the world'ssecond-biggest mobile market.

ii. Bengaluru-based ZipDial gives clients phone numbers for use inmarketing campaigns. The start-up's clients include InternationalBusiness Machines Corp, Yum! Brands Inc's KFC and Procter &Gamble Co 's Gillette.
This acquisition significantly increasesour investment in India, one of the countries where we're seeinggreat growth,' Twitter said

iii. The service capitalises on a local tradition of communicatingthrough so-called missed calls.

5. Ayonika Paul, Annu Raj Singh won gold at 4th Gun forGlory Shooting Championship

i. Ayonika Paul of Railways and Maharashtra's Annu Raj Singh won agold medal each in their respective events at the 4th Gun for Glory(GFG) Shooting Championship.

ii. The championship was held at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati SportsComplex in Balewadi in Pune from 15 January 2015 to 21 January2015.
 
iii. Ayonika won the gold in 10m Rifle Women andAnnu Raj Singh won it in 10m Pistol Women.

iv. Ayonika shot 206.8 to defeat Pooja Ghatkar with a differenceof 1.3. Pooja, who scored 205.5, grabbed the silver medal. The bronzewent to Railway's Priya Agarwal who scored 183.5.

v. Annu Raj Singh shot 199.2 and was followed by Pune's AmitaGawate, who scored 191.6. The bronze was won by Priyanka Survirkar,who scored 171.2. The difference between Annu Raj and Amita was 7.7.

About Gun for Glory Shooting Championship:

-->The championship was established in January 2011 by theGagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation.

-->Gun for Glory is a not-for-profit enterprise operating outof the Shooting Range at the Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Stadium,Balewadi, Pune. India’s first privately managed shooting facilitywith world class infrastructure, training, coaches, staff madeaccessible to talented shooters via scholarships and fee subsidies.

6. Shubham, 13, Silicon Valley’s youngest entrepreneur,develops Braille printer

i. The California eighth-grader has launched a company to developlow-cost machines to print Braille. Tech giant Intel Corp. recentlyinvested in his start-up, Braigo Labs.

ii. Mr. Shubham wants to develop a desktop Braille printer thatcosts around $350 and weighs just a few kilograms, compared withcurrent models that can weigh more than nine kilograms.

iii. The machine could be used to print Braille reading materialson paper, using raised dots instead of ink, from a personal computeror electronic device.

7. Hyderabad to host World Congress on InformationTechnology in 2018

i. Hyderabad will host the World Congress on InformationTechnology (WCIT) in 2018. This will be the first WCIT to be held inIndia and the theme of the 2018 WCIT will be Future of enterprises.

ii. As part of this, the Chief Minister of Telangana KChandrasekhar Rao would visit the US, the UK and other countries toinvite the bigwigs of the IT industry to the 2018 event.

iii. WCIT 2016 is to be held in Brazil.

In 2014, the 19th WCIT was held in Guadalajara in Mexico. Thetheme was Building the Digital Age Together.
The first WCIT washeld in 1978 and it is held since then every two years.

8. Haiti president announced formation of new governmentunder Prime Minister Evans Paul

i. Haitian President Michel Martelly on 18 January 2015 announcedthe formation of new government that will be led by newly electedPrime Minister Evans Paul.

ii. Martelly appointed 18 ministers and 16 secretaries of state tothe new cabinet of Haiti. Carel Alexandre was appointed as the headof public security. The new planning minister is Yves Germain Joseph.

iii.Despite promising a new government, Martelly kept severalcurrent cabinet members in their posts including the Ministers ofDefence, Foreign Affairs, Health, Tourism, Education and Public Worksand appointed his allies to the key positions of Planning Ministerand Secretary of State for Public Security.

iv. The new cabinet was announced amid the political unrestagainst Martelly's rule on the impoverished Caribbean country.Martelly has been in power since 2011, but he has failed to endHaiti's long-running political turmoil and protesters have called onstreet protests aimed at resignation of Martelly.

v. In order to end the street protests, Martelly on 16 January2015 announced to build a broad-based government. Martelly urgedanti-government demonstrators to keep street protests peaceful as hetries to steer the country toward new elections.

vi. Haiti's parliament was dissolved in the second week of January2015 after the last-minute negotiations to extend the terms of themembers of Haiti Parliament collapsed. Former Prime Minister LaurentLamothe was also forced to resign on 14 December 2014.

 

                                     Current Affairs - 21st January 2015

 

1. 2015 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

i. The 45th World Economic Forum kick started in Davos,Switzerlandtoday.

ii. Ahead of the start of its annual meeting in Davos on Tuesday,the WEF published 14 measures of inclusive growth as it responded tocriticism that the gathering of 2,500 business leaders, academic andpolicymakers has become an exercise in hand-wringing about the gapbetween rich and poor.

                                                 

iii. Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, PopeFrancis, Jim Kim, the president of the World Bank and Mark Carney,the governor of the Bank of England, are among those who havestressed the need to ensure that the fruits of economic progress areshared more equally. Carney will be taking part in a panel in Davosthis week titled: “A richer world but for whom”.

2. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna made it to Guinness WorldRecords

i. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna(PMJDY) on 20 January 2015 made itto Guinness Book of World Records.

ii. Indian Banks opened 11.50 crore accounts under the PradhanMantri Jan-Dhan Yojana in a short span of five months. The feat wascommended by the Guinness Book of World Records.

iii. Out of the total account opened, 5.68 crore accounts belongedto male and 5.82 crore account belonged to females. In percentageterms, 49.37 % accounts belonged to male while 50.63% accountsbelonged to females.

iv. 6.84 crore accounts were opened in rural areas which is59.49%  of the total accounts opened while in urban area 4.66 crore accounts were opened which is 40.51%.

v. In August 2014, Indian Government set a target of opening up 10crore accounts to pass on benefits of various social security schemesto the account holders.

vi. Now, Government will transfer annual subsidy of around 51029crore rupees directly to bank accounts of 15.45 crore beneficiaries,plugging system leakages.

vii. PMJDY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August2014. The scheme was launched for opening the most bankaccounts—about 1.80 crore— in one week as part of the financialinclusion campaign.

3. Bibek Debroy joins as full time member of NITI Aayog

i. Noted economist Bibek Debroy today assumed charged as full timemember of the NITI Ayog (National Institution for TransformingIndia). Government had announced the appointment of Debroy and DRDOchief V K Saraswat as full-time members earlier this month.

ii. An economist by profession, he was educated at the PresidencyCollege (Calcutta), the Delhi School of Economics and the TrinityCollege (Cambridge).

iii. Debroy worked as a consultant in the Department of EconomicAffairs in Finance Ministry.

iv. Debroy has also authored several books, papers and populararticles, and has been a Consulting Editor of some financialnewspapers in the country.

4. EU decided to lift ban on import of mangoes from India

i. European Union (EU) decided to lift a seven-month-long ban onthe import of mangoes from India. The proposal to lift the ban wasvoted unanimously by the European Commission’s standing committeeon plant health.

ii. The decision to lift the ban was made after India, the world’sbiggest producer of Mangoes made significant improvements in planthealth controls and certification system.

iii. European Union issued a temporary ban on import of Indianmangoes on 1 May 2014 after fruit flies and other quarantine pestswere found in 207 consignments. The consignment infested with fruitflies were found by authorities in Brussels. The ban was supposed tobe effective till December 2015.

iv. EU accounts to almost 50% of the total exports of fruits andvegetables from India, UK is the top exporter.

5. India world's second-most trusted nation: Survey

i. India has emerged as the second-most trusted country in theworld in terms of faith reposed on its institutions even as globallytrust levels have fallen, says a survey.

ii. Trust in institutions in India has improved sharply in 2015with the country moving up three notches to the second place among 27nations.

iii. While the number of "truster" countries are at anall-time low of six in 2015 including UAE, India, China andNetherlands, the number of "distruster" countries has grownsignificantly to 13 including Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africaand Italy.

iv. The list is topped by UAE with 84 per cent trust. India (79percent),Indonesia (78 per cent), China (75 per cent), Singapore (65per cent) and Netherlands (64 per cent) are the others that haverecorded highest levels of trust.

6. Periyar Tiger Reserve won NTCA biennial award

i. The Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala on 20 January 2015 won theNational Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award. It wasawarded for encouraging local public participation in managing thereserve.

ii. People participation in managing Periyar Tiger reserve
Peopleparticipation in the reserve started with setting up of IndiaEco-Development project (IEDP) in 1996. This was followed by settingup of Periyar Foundation in 2006 which involved participation of 75communities including 15 tribal groups in the reserve ineco-development programmes.

iii. The eco-development programmes were carried on by developmentcommittees formed under the Periyar foundation. This resulted inboosting community-based eco-tourism in Periyar reserve.

iv. The foundation acted as a model for other reserves inbiodiversity conservation and community participation in managingnatural resources. As a result, the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 wasamended to ensure that each tiger reserve sets up a Foundation,similar to Periyar Foundation.

7. India set to overtake China next year: IMF

i. International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that India willgrow 6.5 per cent in 2016, overtaking China which, it projected, willslowdown to 6.3 per cent.

                                                  

ii. In a separate forecast, the United Nations World EconomicSituation and Prospects UN WESP report too predicted a smart recoveryfor India during 2015.It pegged its 2015 India growth forecast lowerthan the IMF’s –at 5.9 per cent.

iii. At 6.3 per cent, the UNWESP 2016 India growth forecast is,however, closer to that of the IMF.

iv. The IMF said that global growth will receive a boost fromlower oil prices, which reflect to an important extent higher supplyin many advanced and emerging market economies.

8. Netherlands, Thailand inked MoU with Sikkim to help indevelopment of floriculture

i. State government of Sikkim on 20 January 2015 inked Memorandumof Understanding (MoU) with governments of the Netherlands andThailand for development of floriculture in the state. This deal willhelp the state to reach out to the international market.

Features of the MoU:

• Governments of the Netherland and Thailand will provideexpertise and technology to develop hybrid Sikkim’s Cymbidium andother orchids and also cut flowers
• They will help the state inmarketing and transportation of flowers

Floriculture in Sikkim  

Geographical and environmental conditions of Sikkim are quiteconducive for development of floriculture at a higher altitude. Apartfrom this, Sikkim’s model of organic farming and cultivation giveslongevity of up to 90 days to orchid flowers and up to 10-20 days incase of cut flowers.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 22nd January 2015

 

1. Modi launched ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ scheme inHaryana

i. The ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ scheme, which seeks toaddress gender imbalance and discrimination against the girl child,was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Panipat in Haryana.

ii. Mr. Modi begged the people with open hands to save the livesof the girl child and also administered them an oath to fight femalefoeticide, celebrate the birth of a girl and educate them.

iii.  Mahendergarh and Jhajjar districts of Haryana are badlyeffected with imbalanced Sex ratios where there are just about 775girls for 1,000 boys, the lowest in India.

2. Pakistan's Ex-Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri penneda book titled "Neither a Hawk nor a Dove"

i. Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri

ii. Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Ex-Foreign Minister of Pakistan,authored a book titled Neither a Hawk nor a Dove.

iii. The book will be published by Penguin in India at the end ofJanuary 2015. The book is based upon the relations between India andPakistan.

iv. Kasuri in his book writes that the two countries have nooption but to go for a just and peaceful solution to Jammu andKashmir and other contentious issues between them. He further writesthat he knew on the basis of his experience that both the countrieshave major fault lines and that both are equally capable ofdestabilizing the other.

v. Thus both the countries are left with no option but to act in aresponsible manner since the fate of almost 1.5 billion people of thetwo countries depended on that.

vi. The book contains update till November 2014 including theadvent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the current policies ofthe new Indian government.

3. Microsoft unveils Windows 10 and ‘HoloLens’

i. Microsoft has taken the wraps off a new version of Windows anda new wearable 3D gadget it calls the HoloLens.

ii. The company showed the new headset, which lets users view andinteract with three-dimensional images.

iii. Windows 10 will also come with a new Web browser that will beclosely integrated with Cortana, the company’s voice-activatedanswer to Siri.

iv. Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be released laterthis year as a free upgrade for anyone owning a computer or gadgetthat’s currently running Windows 8.1 or 7.

4. Sunil Sood to succeed Marten Pieters as Vodafone IndiaCEO

i. Martin Pieters will be succeeded by Sunil Sood, who is atpresent the chief operating officer at the telecom giant.

ii. Marten Pieters, Vodafone India Managing Director and ChiefExecutive Officer, will be stepping down from his post with effectfrom 1 April, 2015.

iii. Mr. Sood, is currently responsible for day-to-day operationsand P&L management together with new business developmentinitiatives including the launch and expansion of mobile commerceactivities.

iv. Mr. Sood, who had joined Vodafone India's predecessorbusiness, Hutch, in 2000, in his current role, is responsible forday-to-day operations and P&L management together with newbusiness development initiatives including the launch and expansionof mobile commerce activities.

5. WhatsApp unveiled a new service for sending messagesfrom a Web browser

i. The mobile messaging application WhatsApp on 21 January 2015unveiled a new service for sending messages from a Web browser.

ii. WhatsApp's Web service will require your phone to stayconnected to the internet to work with the web browser. Moreover, theweb service can be availed only through the latest version ofWhatsApp on your phone.

WhatsApp's Web service

• This web service is simply an extension of the smartphoneservice.
• The Web browser mirrors conversations and messagesfrom your mobile device.
• All your messages will be still liveon your phone.
• The new messaging service currently only workswith Google's Chrome browser and will not be available to iPhoneusers due to Apple platform limitations.

6. OPEC, oil companies clash at Davos over price collapse

i. OPEC defended its decision not to intervene to halt the oilprice collapse, shrugging off warnings by top energy firms that thecartel's policy could lead to a huge supply shortage as investmentsdry up.

ii. Oil prices have collapsed to below $50 a barrel as a result ofa large supply glut, due mostly to a sharp rise in U.S. shaleproduction as well as weaker global demand.

iii. The heads of world's largest oil firms warned that thedecline in investments in future production could lead to a supplyshortage and a dramatic price increase.

7. Pakistan bans JuD, Haqqani network

i. Pakistan has banned the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) and the Haqqaninetwork after the US insisted it do so.

ii. The Pakistani government took action against the militantorganisations without making a distinction between the good Talibanand the bad Taliban .

iii. The Haqqani Network, founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, has beenblamed for some of the most heinous attacks on the US—led foreignforces in Afghanistan. It was designated as a terrorist organisationby the US in September 2012.

iv. the Ministry has also banned Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami,Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation, UmmahTameer-i-Nau, Haji Khairullah Hajji Sattar Money Exchange, RahatLimited, Roshan Money Exchange, Al Akhtar Trust, Al Rashid Trust.

8. Suzlon sells German unit for Rs. 7,200 crore

i. Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy on Thursday announced selling100 per cent stake in its German subsidiary Senvion SE to U.S.-basedCenterbridge Partners for €1 billion euro (about Rs. 7,200 crore)in an all-cash deal.

ii. The proceeds will be utilised towards debt reduction andbusiness growth in key markets like the US, India and other emergingmarkets.

iii. Senvion SE will give Suzlon licence for off-shore technologyfor the Indian market.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 23rd January 2015

 

1. Dubai’s Maze Tower listed in Guinness World Records

i. Dubai’s Maze Tower was on 21 January 2015 listed in theGuinness World Record for being the world’s largest vertical maze.The maze tower was built by Al Rostamani Group of Dubai.

ii. The 55-storey tall Maze Tower is located near the Sheikh ZayedRoad in the Dubai Financial District.

About The Maze Tower

• The building features an eye-catching front and rear frontelevation of balconies that make up an intricate maze.
• Themaze itself is not just a random pattern but a real puzzle. The mazepattern can also be lit up in different colours.
• The designuses the changing level of natural light and shadow during the day.
•It also features natural Brazilian Verde Bahia stone to create astriking facade. The stone is used throughout the exterior.
•The dark greenish hue of the building corner posts is attained usinga water jet treatment which creates an even matt surface.
• Alight colour is used in the building to emphasise the Maze and isachieved using a flame technique that roughens the surface andcreates a lighter and more reflective surface.
• The tower showsthe Maze Eye, an 8 metre circular video wall at the top of thebuilding which can beam images at great distances.
• There isalso a garden floor in the middle of the building and a roof top mazegarden.

2. India observes 118th birth anniversary of NetajiSubhash Chandra Bose

i. India today observed the 118th birth anniversary of NetajiSubhash Chandra Bose by paying glowing tribute to his memory atfunctions held throughout the country.

ii. PM Modi took to his official Twitter account to express hisgratitude to the phenomenal freedom fighter. Mr. Modi tweeted, Hisbravery, courage & patriotic zeal inspire us. On his birthanniversary, I bow to the proud son of India, Netaji Subhas ChandraBose.

iii. It has been maintained that Bose died in an air crash inTaiwan in 1945. However, the Mukherjee Commission had rejected theopinion that he had died in a plane crash at Taihoku airport inTaiwan on August 18, 1945.

3. PM Narendra Modi launched Sukanya Samridhi Yojana underBBBP campaign

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 January 2015 launched asmall deposit scheme Sukanya Samridhi Yojana for girl child under theBeti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) campaign.

ii. The scheme will ensure equitable share to a girl child inresources and savings of a family in which she is generallydiscriminated against a male child.

iii. Sukanya Samridhi Yojana will enable parents to open bankaccounts of girls who are under 10 years of age.

About the Sukanya Samridhi Account

• Sukanya Samridhi Account will fetch an interest rate of 9.1percent and provide income tax rebate.
• Sukanya SamridhiAccount can be opened at any time from the birth of a girl child tillshe attains the age of 10 years with a minimum deposit of 1000rupees.
• A maximum of 1.5 lakh rupees can be deposited duringthe financial year. The account can be opened in any post office orauthorised branches of commercial banks.
• The account willremain operative for 21 years from the date of opening of the accountor marriage of the girl child after attaining 18 years of age.
•To meet the requirement of higher education expenses, partialwithdrawal of 50 percent of the balance amount will be allowed afterthe girl child has attended 18 years of age.

4. Saudi King Abdullah passes away

i. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally whojoined Washington’s fight against al-Qaeda, has died, He was 90.

ii. He also sought to modernise the ultraconservative Muslimkingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudgingopen greater opportunities for women.

iii. Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz became king and Prince Muqrin wasdeclared Crown Prince, another Royal Court statement said.

5. Kerala to get first International Institute of Music

i. Kerala Culture Minister K C Joseph on 22 January 2015 announcedsetting up of the International Institute of Music in Kerala. It willbe the first international institute in India that is dedicated tomusic.

ii. A Trust headed by Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has beenentrusted with the responsibility to set up the Institute.

iii. The government will provide only land and all otherinfrastructure facilities will be built by a trust managed by Khan'sfamily.

iv. Kerala Government also identified the land for setting up theschool in Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi or Kozhikode.

6. RBI directs banks to display all loan costs

i. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made it compulsory for banks to setout every possible cost in respect of the loan in a fact sheet at theprocessing stage.

ii. Banks will also have to publish the 'annual percentage rate'representing the total cost of credit to an individual borrower.

iii. Besides, they will have to display on their website theinterest rate range for various contracted loans for the past quarterfor different categories of advances.

iv. The fact sheet drafted by the central bank requires lenders tospell out the interest rate, the spread above the benchmark rate,date of reset of floating rates, mode of communication of interestrate changes, all fees payable, refundable fees, charges forconversion from floating to fixed rate loan and penalty for delayedpayments.

v. The significance of this fact sheet is that it will make itpossible for borrowers to compare loans from two lenders.

7. South Korean president nominates new prime minister

i. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has nominated ruling partylawmaker Lee Wan Koo to replace Prime Minister Chung Hong-won .

ii. Chung offered to resign nearly 10 months before, over a ferrydisaster that killed more than 300 people in April last year.

iii. Park decided to retain Chung in June after two possiblereplacements for the job abandoned their nominations because ofquestions over past behavior.

8. R V Easwar appointed as Interim Chairman of DDCA

i. Former High Court judge Justice R V Easwar was on 22 January2015 appointed as Interim Chairman of the Delhi and Districts CricketAssociation (DDCA).

ii. Easwar was appointed by Delhi High Court following the plea ofDDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda who challenged the 16 January 2015order of trial court that directed the cricket body to not to conveneany meetings till Bansal's plea is heard.

iii. Easwar will preside over the DDCA's executive committeemeetings till a trial court decides on the controversy oversuspension of its President Sneh Bansal. DDCA will also pay 110000rupees as fees of per executive meeting to Easwar.

iv. The court also allowed the suspended President of DDCA SnehBansal and General Secretary of DDCA Anil Khanna to attend themeetings as members of the Executive Committee till the hearing ofBansal's plea challenging his removal before a trial court.

v. The High Court's order came after both Manchanda and Bansalagreed to the interim arrangement of appointing a retired judge tohead meetings of DDCA.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 24th January 2015

 

1. National Girl Child Day - 24th January

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today saluted the unparalleledaccomplishments of the girl child on National Girl Child Day.

ii. "On National Girl Child Day, I salute the unparalleledaccomplishments of the girl child. Their role in nation building isparamount," PM Modi tweeted.

                                                 

iii. Since 2008, the government has celebrated the National GirlChild Day on January 24 every year across India to raise awarenessand consciousness of the society with regard to the girl child.

2. UN Secretary–General appointed Saraswathy Menon inpeace-building panel

i. United Nation (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 24 January2015 appointed Indian sociologist Saraswathi Menon in peace-buildingpanel. This panel will review peace building activities.

ii. The others on the seven-member panel, formally known asadvisory group on the review of the peace-building architecture,include a retired Pakistani major general, Anis Bajwa and CharlesPetrie of France, who headed an internal review panel on UN actionsin Sri Lanka.

iii. The appointment was made in accordance with the Terms ofReference endorsed by the General Assembly and the Security Council.

iv. On 15 December 2014, the Presidents of the General Assemblyand the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to nominate upto seven experts to form an advisory group on the review of thepeacebuilding architecture.

3.  A tracker to curb sex determination

i. A simple set top box is helping prevent sex determination andfemale foeticide.

ii. The civil administration in Jind has now made it mandatory forall ultrasound labs in the district to install active trackingdevices with their machines so that the details of the tests becomeavailable online to the Chief Medical Officer.

                                                 

iii. Jind does not figure in the list of the 12 districts ofHaryana identified for concerted action through the Beti Bachao BetiPadhao campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

iv. The district administration has introduced the scheme ofactive tracking of ultrasound machines to curb their misuse for sexdetermination tests and to improve the sex ratio.

4. RBI Relaxes Overseas Loan Recast Rules

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed rules for companies andbanks to restructure and reschedule existing overseas borrowings bypermitting an increase in the total cost of borrowing offshore.

ii. Indian firms have found it difficult to restructure existingborrowings after facing a sharp slowdown in the economy.

iii. The banking regulator also allowed changes in the drawdownand repayment schedules of such overseas borrowings, the Reserve Bankof India said.

5. Prime Minister presented National Bravery Awards 2014to 24 awardees

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 January 2015 presentedNational Bravery Awards 2014 to 24 awardees.

ii. 8 girls and 16 boys were conferred with National BraveryAwards. Four of them have been awarded posthumously. The awardeesreceive a medal, certificate and cash incentive. Also, they willparticipate in the Republic Day parade.

iii. In addition, Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) providesfinancial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme tothose undertaking professional courses such as engineering andmedicine. For the others, this assistance is provided till theycomplete their graduation. The Government of India has reserved someseats for the awardees in medical and engineering colleges andpolytechnics.

iv. The selection was made by a high powered committee comprisingrepresentatives of various Ministries/Departments, non-governmentalorganisations as well as Office Bearers of ICCW.

6. Former Thailand Premier Yingluck Shinawatra impeached

i. Former Thailand Premier Yingluck Shinawatra was impeached on 23January 2015 by an army-backed parliament. The impeachment wasfollowed by the ban of the Yingluck Shinawatra from politics for fiveyears.

ii. Yingluck is the first Prime Minister to be impeached byparliament in Thailand’s history. The impeachment was a result ofan allegation for failing to stop corruption in rice-pledging scheme.

iii. The motion for impeachment was started in NationalLegislative Assembly. 190 of the 219 members present for the secretballot voted in favor of impeaching Yingluck Shinawatra. 18 membersvoted against the impeachment, 8 abstained, and 3 votes were spoilt.

iv. Yingluck was accused of dereliction of duty in hergovernment’s rice-pledging scheme, which Thailand’s nationalanti-graft agency said cost the country 500 billion baht in damagesdue to mismanagement and corruption.

7. Kerala government slaps Rs 54 crore fine on 4 onlinetraders including Flipkart, Jabong

i. Kerala Commercial Taxes Department has slapped a fine of Rs53.63 crore on four online trading companies including Flipkart andJabong for allegedly doing illegal business in the state.

ii. The fine was imposed by the intelligence wing of theCommercial Taxes Department for the year 2012-13 and 2013-14

iii. E-commerce major Flipkart has been asked to pay a fine of Rs47.15 crore, Jabong.Com Rs.3.89 crore, Vector e-commerce Rs 2.23crore and Robemall Apparels Rs 36 lakh.

8. 9 Crore sign up for LPG cash-subsidy scheme

i. More than 60 per cent of LPG customers in the country havejoined the ambitious PAHAL scheme for receiving cash subsidy so thatthey can buy cooking gas (LPG) at market price.

                                                 

ii. Over 9 crore consumers, out of a total customer base of 15.33crore, have joined the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) schemeand Rs 2,262 crore in cash has been transfered to them.

iii. The DBTL Scheme for LPG consumers (PAHAL) was launched onNovember 15, 2014 in 54 districts and in the rest of the country onJanuary 1, 2015. The Scheme aims to transfer the subsidy on LPGdirectly into the bank accounts of over 15 crore LPG consumers.

 

                                  Current  Affairs - 25th - 27th January 2015

 

1. India celebrates 66th Republic Day; Barack Obamawitnesses military might

i. India today celebrates its 66th Republic Day and showcasedbefore the chief guest US President Barack Obama and the world itsmilitary might and cultural diversity with a splendid display of landand naval weaponry, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.

                                                      

ii. Obama was the first ever US President to attend the parade asChief Guest on the second day of his three-day visit.

iii. For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day,all-women contingent from the three forces Army, Air Force and Navymarched down in the parade.

Army contingent was led by Capt Divya Ajith.
Navy contingentwas led by Lt Commander Sandhya Chauhan.
Air Force contingent wasled by Squadron Leader Sneha.

2. Libby Lane, first female bishop of England consecrated

i. Church of England has consecrated Reverend Libby Lane as itsfirst female bishop in a ceremony held at York Minster (a Gothiccathedral) in northern England.
With this consecration, Church ofEngland ended its 500 year old male dominated tradition andconsidered as a historic move towards widening female participationin the Church.

ii. In this regard General Synod- the law-making body of theChurch of England had given nod to this legislation in November 2014which was passed by UK Parliament in October 2014.

3. Legendary cartoonist R K Laxman died

i. Eminent cartoonist, illustrator and humorist Rasipuram Laxmanpassed away in Pune. He was 94.

ii. He is best known for creation of iconic character The CommonMan, for his daily cartoon strip, You Said It in The Times ofIndia(TOI). It was started in 1951. This character held a mirror tothe society and targeted politicians for more than five decades.

iii. His creations also include the sketches drawn for thetelevision adaptation of Malgudi Days.

iv. He is recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2005) and Ramon MagsaysayAward for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts(1984).

4. Modi to hold first meeting of NITI Aayog on February 6

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will spell out the functionalroadmap of the newly created NITI Aayog at its first meeting beingscheduled on February 6, 2015.

ii. The members of the Aayog would have first hand experience ofMr. Modi’s expectation from the new body and also help them infinalising the plan of action of the new body which was formed onJanuary 1.

iii. The ex-officio members of the Aayog are Home Minister RajnathSingh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhuand Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

iv. The Aayog’s special invitees are Road Transport and HighwaysMinister Nitin Gadkari, Social Justice and Empowerment MinisterThawar Chand Gehlot and Human Resource Development Minister SmritiIrani.

5. Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe 2015 in Miami

i. Miss Colombia Paulina Vega, has been crowned Miss Universe,beating out first runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez and contestants frommore than 80 other countries.

ii. With this, Vega became the second beauty queen from Colombiato win the title. Luz Marina Zuluaga was the first Colombian to winthe crown in 1956.

iii. The 22-year-old is the granddaughter of a legendary tenor,Gastun Vega.

iv. Three of the last six Miss Universe titles have gone toVenezuela, where beauty pageants are big business.

6. President approved conferment of Padma Awards 2015 on104 persons

i. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 26 January 2015approved the conferment of Padma Awards 2015 on 104 persons from thefields of activities including art, social work, public affairs,science, trade, medicine, literature and education, sports, civilservice, etc.

ii. The 2015 list of Padma Awardees comprises of 9 PadmaVibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri Awardees.  Out ofthese 104 awardees, 17 of the awardees are women.

iii. The awards will be given in March/April 2015 at a ceremonialfunction in Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

7. Major Mukund Varadarajan, Naik Neeraj Kumar Singhposthumously awarded with Ashok Chakra

i. Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh were on 26January 2015 posthumously awarded with the highest peacetime militaryhonour the Ashok Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee.

ii. In April 2014, Major Mukund Varadarajan had killed threeterrorists in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir.He was an officer in the 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles (22Rajput) of the Indian Army. However, he died after being severelyhurt in the operation.

iii. In August 2014, Naik Neeraj Singh died after heavy fire fromterrorists. He was leading a search operation in general area Gurdajiof Kupwara district. He was serving in  the 57th Battalion ofthe Rashtriya Rifles.

8. Divya Prakash Sinha appointed as Security Secretary inthe Union Cabinet Secretariat

i. Divya Prakash Sinha was on 25 January 2015 appointed asSecretary (Security) in the Union Cabinet Secretariat. Hisappointment was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC).

ii. The post of Secretary (Security) had been lying vacant sinceNovember 2013 when then Secretary Yashovardhan Azad resigned afterbeing appointed as Information Commissioner by the Union Government.

iii. The move is part of the Government's effort to fill up keyposts in the security establishment.

iv. Divya Prakash Sinha is a 1979 batch IPS officer of theManipur-Tripura cadre. He has served the Intelligence Bureau (IB) forseveral years handling operations in key regions such as theNortheast and New Delhi.

9. Jagannathan Chakravarthi appointed as Chief FinancialOfficer of Mindtree Limited

i. Jagannathan Chakravarthi was on 23 January 2015 appointed asthe Chief Financial Officer of Mindtree Limited with effect from 1April 2015.

ii. Chakravarthi succeeded Rostow Ravanan who will now beresponsible for the service lines, key accounts group and business inEurope.

iii. Presently, Chakravarthi holds the position of FinanceController of Mindtree Limited. Previously, he had worked with BhartiAirtel Limited, HCL Technologies and Hindustan Powerplus Limited.

Mindtree Limited

• Mindtree is a Global information technology and Outsourcingcompany headquartered in Bengaluru, India and New Jersey.
•Founded in 1999 , the company today has 28 offices located across theglobe.
• Mindtree deals in e-commerce, mobility, cloudenablement, digital transformation, business intelligence, dataanalytics, testing and infrastructure.

10. Obama wraps up three-day India visit, departs forSaudi Arabia

i. US President Barack Obama left India for Saudi Arabia onTuesday after a three-day visit focused on improving relationsbetween the world's largest democracies.

ii. The US president had been due to visit the Taj Mahal while inIndia, but cut short his visit to offer his condolences to the royalfamily following the death of King Abdullah and to pay his respectsto the new Saudi king.

iii. Obama addressed a gathering of about 2,000 students at theSiri Fort auditorium on the last day of his visit.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 28th January 2015

 

1. Arundhathi Subramaniam won Khushwant Singh MemorialPrize for Poetry

i. Poetess Arundhathi Subramaniam on 24 January 2015 won theinaugural Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry at JaipurLiterature Festival. She was awarded for her work When God isa Traveller.

ii. Subramaniam’s name was chosen from a list of 5 shortlistednames which were announced on 10 October 2014. Other shortlistedworks were

• Escape Artist by Sridala Swami
• Central Time by RanjitHoskote
• Fire Altar by Keki N Daruwalla
• Selected Poemsby Joy Goswami translated by Sampurna Chattarji

Arundhathi Subramaniam

• She is a poet and a writer on spirituality and culture
•She has worked as a poetry editor and curator and as a journalist onliterature, classical dance and theatre
• She is the author ofnumerous books, namely
--> Where I Live published
-->Sadhguru: More Than a Life
--> The Book of Buddha
--> OnCleaning Bookshelves
--> She edited Pilgrim’s India, ananthology of essays and poems on sacred journeys
--> She hasco-edited Confronting Love, an anthology of contemporary Indian lovepoems titled

2. RBI signs an information sharing agreement withBrazil’s Central Bank

i. This MoU was signed by Anthero de Moraes Meirelles, DeputyGovernor for Supervision, BCB and S.S. Mundra, Deputy Governor,Reserve Bank of India.

ii. This MoU was signed by Anthero de Moraes Meirelles, DeputyGovernor for Supervision, BCB and S.S. Mundra, Deputy Governor,Reserve Bank of India.

iii. In this regard, RBI in total has signed 23 such MoUs, oneLetter for Supervisory Co-operation and one Statement of Co-operation(SoC), with different Central Banks of other countries and overseasregulators/supervisors.

3. Kalyan Singh sworn in as Himachal Pradesh Governor

i. Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh was today sworn in as theHimachal Pradesh Governor

ii. He was administered oath of office by Himachal Pradesh HighCourt Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir

iii. Singh has been given an additional charge of Himachal Pradeshafter Urmila Singh, who completed the full five year term as HPGovernor on January 24.

4. Wing Commander Puja Thakur became first lady officer tolead Inter-Service Guard of Honour

i. Wing Commander Pooja Thakur on 25 January 2015 became the firstlady officer to lead the Inter-Service Guard of Honour for a majorvisiting dignitary at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidential palace).The Guard of Honour was inspected by the US President Barack Obama.

ii. Thakur leading the Inter-Service Guard of Honour was in linewith the theme of Nari Shakti (Women Power) chosen for the 2015Republic Day parade. The 2015 parade also saw all women contingentsof the army, air force and navy walking down the Rajpath for thefirst time.

iii. Thakur joined Indian Air Force in 2000 and belongs toadministrative branch. She is currently posted at DISHA, thepublicity cell under the Directorate of Personnel Officers at the AirForce Headquarters. Her father retired as a Colonel from the IndianArmy.

5. Hockey Olympian Jaswant Singh Rajput passes away

i. Two-time gold medal winning hockey Olympian Jaswant SinghRajput passed away on 28th January 2015 following a prolonged illness

ii. The former India centre-half was part of the gold medalwinning teams in 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

iii. With the likes of Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt and MeldricDaluz, Jaswant had formed a lethal foursome and was part of a goldenera in Bengal hockey with as many as seven players in theHelsinki-bound side.

6. K Durga Prasad appointed as the Special DG of CRPF

i. K Durga Prasad hte new appointed Special Director General (DG)of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is an IPS officer of 1981batch from Andhra Pradesh cadre will be in office for next threeyears or till further orders are given.

ii. Earlier, Prasad served as the director of the SpecialProtection Group (SPG). SPG provides security to the Prime Minister,former Prime Ministers and their family members.

7. Chandigarh launched a smart city app named SmartChandigarh

i. Chandigarh on 27 January 2015 launched a Smart city app named Smart Chandigarh. The app was launched to create awareness onconsumer rights and responsibilities and provide all types ofcitizen-centric and public utility services and information to theresidents.

ii. The Android-based mobile application is the first and officialmobile application of Chandigarh that would act as an interfacebetween residents and officials.

iii. The app was launched by Vijay Dev, Adviser to theAdministrator of Chandigarh. It is a single e-window to allinformation related to the department and various citizen-centricservices.

iv. The app is now available free at Google Play store for Androidphone users. Its iOS and Windows Phone versions would be releasedsoon.

v. The various departments would be directed to route allinformation and updates through the app and appoint a link officerfor the work. The app would become an important platform forredressing grievances.

8. Gujarat Technological University launches e-Rakshacentre to fight cybercrime

i. Gujarat Technological University (GTU) has launched e-RakshaResearch Centre to curb rising menace of cybercrimes.

ii. This research Centre will provide solution for issues relatedto cyber security by encouraging research and enhance capability inthis field.

Key facts e-Raksha Research Centre

--> This centre is established by GTU in collaboration withCyber Peace Foundation (CPF).
--> Its goal is to establish apeaceful and harmonious cyber space through research in thisarea.
--> It will also support Union government’s Make inIndia campaign by manufacturing routers, switches, firewalls, UTMs(Unified Threat Management) and other network appliances.
-->This centre will also train students in areas of cyber security andenhance their capability to provide solution for issues related toit.

9. Bradman young cricketer of the year award

i. Australian cricketer Sean Abbott has won Bradman youngcricketer of the year award 2015.

ii. Sean Abbott is the bowler, who was unwittingly at the centreof the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.

iii. In November 2014, he had delivered bouncer to Hughes that hithim in head during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG against SouthAustralia.

10. Saina Nehwal won women’s single of Syed Modi GrandPrix Gold Badminton Tournament 2015

i. Saina Nehwal of India on 25 January 2015 won the women’ssingles of Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Badminton Tournament 2015. Shedefeated World Champion Carolina Marin of Spain 19-21, 25-23, 21-16in the finals played at Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh.

ii. With this win, Saina retained her title which she had won in2014 and also maintained her 100 per cent win record against Carolinain three career meetings.

iii. Saina Nehwal is ranked third in the world whereas CarolinaMarin is ranked seventh in the world.

iv. Apart from this, third seeded Parupalli Kashyap beat WorldNumber five K Srikanth to win men's singles of the Syed Modi GrandPrix Gold badminton.

 

                                      Current Affairs - 29th January 2015

 

1. S Jaishankar appointed as the Foreign Secretary ofIndia

i. India's Ambassador to the US, Dr. S Jaishankar was appointed asthe Foreign Secretary on 28 January 2015. He will have tenure of twoyears from the date he assumes charge.

ii. The decision of appointing Jaishankar as the Foreign Secretarywas taken by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) chaired byPrime Minister Narendra Modi

iii. Jaishankar replaced current Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singhwhose tenure was curtailed by nearly seven months. Singh’s two-yeartenure was to end in August 2015. She was appointed as ForeignSecretary in 2013.

iv. Jaishankar’s appointment came few days before he wassupposed to retire. He was due to retire on 31 January 2015.

2. Union Cabinet reconstituted Empowered Committee onsetting up of Semiconductor Wafer FAB projects

i. The Union Cabinet on 28 January 2015 reconstituted theEmpowered Committee on setting up of Semiconductor Wafer Fabrication(FAB) manufacturing facilities in the country. The reconstitutedcommittee will be headed by NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat.

ii. The setting up of FAB units will promote Electronics SystemDesign and manufacturing in India which will stimulate the flow ofcapital and technology.

iii. Besides, these units will also create employmentopportunities, help higher value addition in the electronic productsmanufactured, reduce dependence on imports and lead to innovation.

3. Steve Easterbrook appointed as CEO of McDonald’sCorporation

i. Steve Easterbrook was on 28 January 2015 appointed as the ChiefExecutive Officer (CEO) of McDonald’s Corporation with effect from1 March 2015.

ii. Steve Easterbrook will succeed Don Thompson who decided toretire as President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's on 1March 2015 after spending nearly 25 years in the company. Thompsonwas the first African-American to head the company since it wasfounded in 1955.

iii. Easterbrook was also elected to the Board of Directors tofill the vacancy created by Thompson. He is currently Chief BrandOfficer of the company.

iv. Meanwhile, McDonald’s gave no reason for the abruptretirement of the Thompson. However, the change in management cameafter two years of worsening sales of McDonald's in US market.

4. BrahMos to be integrated with Sukhoi  

i. HAL has completed integration of BrahMos thermonuclear cruisemissile with Sukhoi-30MKI after over two years of work, modifying theRussian-made aircraft.

ii. HAL director S Subrahmanyan, who led the project, said thefirst test flight of the modified Su-30MKI with the BrahMos missilewill be conducted in March.

5. India to host ICC Twenty20 World Cup in 2016

i. International Cricket Council (ICC) in its board meeting inDubai on 29 January 2015 announced that India will host the Twenty20World Cup in 2016. The Twenty20 World Cup will be held in India from11 March 2016 to 3 April 2016.

ii. The meeting was chaired by N Srinivasan in the presence of allthe full-member and associate representatives.

iii. Besides this, the ICC board took some major decisions. Theseinclude

• Reinstatement of the use of a Super Over in the event of a tiein the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final.

• Approved changes in ICC Code of Conduct offences relating toslow over-rates in ICC events so that captains do not carry any priorminor over-rate offence strikes or over-rate suspensions from otherseries into an ICC event.

• Any over-rate strikes incurred prior to the ICC Cricket WorldCup 2015 will be carried forward to the first bilateral series afterthe event.

• The 2017 Champions Trophy will be hosted by England from 1June to 19 June 2017 The 2017 Women’s World Cup will be held inEngland from 4 August 2017 to 27 August 2017.

• The 2018 Women’s Twenty20 World Cup will be organised in theWest Indies from 2 November to 25 November 2018.

• England will host the 50-over World Cup in 2019 from 30 May to15 June 2019.

6. Centre to dilute stake in CIL

i. The government is planning to dilute its stake further inMaharatna public sector Coal India Ltd (CIL) with the company puttingup on the stock exchanges a notice for an offer for sale of up to 10per cent of the government stake in CIL.

ii.  CIL had gone public in October 2010 with a 10 per centdilution of the government holding, the trade unions had blocked afollow-on offer proposed by the UPA-II government in late 2013.

iii. In this fresh move, the allocation shall be on a pricepriority method at multiple clearing prices in accordance with theSEBI OFS circular.

iv. CIL had helped generate over Rs 23,000 crore through itsinitial public offer and expectations are that a similar amount wouldbe garnered this time too. CIL shares have averaged at Rs.383.

7. ICC ends Amir’s ban

i. In a major breakthrough, the ICC has allowed Pakistan fastbowler Mohammad Amir to return to domestic cricket early from hisfive-year ban for involvement in spot-fixing.

ii. Amir (22) was jailed for six months and banned for his part ina spot-fixing scam during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.

iii. Amir, then 17, delivered pre-arranged no balls at Lord’s ina plot that also led to the banning of Mohammad Asif and then captainSalman Butt.

8. Shirani Bandaranayake reinstated as Chief Justice ofSri Lanka

i. Shirani Bandaranayake, the former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka,was reinstated on 28 January 2015 by Sri Lankan President MaithripalaSirisena on a special cabinet approval.

ii. With the reinstatement of Bandaranayake, the appointment ofMohan Peiris as Chief Justice of Sri Lanka by former PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa was cancelled and termed as illegal appointment.

iii. The appointment of Peiris was termed illegal because,according to President’s office, the Rajapaksa government had notfollowed the proper constitutional procedure. Peiris was appointed assuccessor of Bandaranayake.

iv. Earlier, Bandarnayake, the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka,was impeached and removed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka during theregime of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2013.

v. She was removed on the allegations of failure to disclosefinancial assets, abuse of power and disregarding the constitution.The charges were leveled against her after some of her legal rulingswent against Rajpaksa’s government.

9. Union Government launched Website, Logo, Vision,Mission of NHIDCL

i. Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) on 28January 2015 launched Website, Logo, Vision and Mission of NationalHighways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

ii. These were launched by the Union Minister for Road Transport,Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari.

Website: www.nhidcl.com

Logo: Building Infrastructure - Building theNation

Vision: To be an instrument for creation andmanagement of infrastructure of the highest standard in the countrywith focus on the North East and Border areas and contributesignificantly towards nation building.

Mission: To be a professional company which worksin most efficient and transparent manner and designs, develops &delivers infrastructure projects in a time bound basis for maximizingbenefits to all stakeholders.

iii. Besides, the Ministry also floated first tender for upgrading2-lane Akajan-Likabali-Bame Road in Arunachal Pradesh at a cost of272 crore rupees.

About NHIDCL

--> The NHIDCL as a fully owned company of the Union Ministryof Road Transport & Highways, Government of India wasincorporated on 18 July 2014.

--> Vijay Chhibber, Secretary in the MoRTH, is the ex-officioChairman of the Company.

--> The company billed as the first e-PSU aims to fast-trackroad construction in the northeast and border areas by using ITsolutions.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 30th January 2015

 

1. 30th January observed as Martyrs' Day

i. The government today observed Martyrs' Day on the 67th deathanniversary of the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi and those whosacrificed their lives in the struggle for the country's freedom.

ii. The MHA has told all states and UTs to see that “speechesand talks connected with the significance of the day, particularlymentioning the role of freedom fighters in the freedom of India maybe made”.

iii. The day is remembered in the living memory of all the freedomfighters who lost their lives for handing our the much neededindependence.

iv. Mahatma Gandhi was assasinated by Nathuram Godse on this day.

2. Hanumanthu Purushotham took charge as CMD of NRDC

i. Eminent scientist Hanumanthu Purushotham took charge asChairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National Research DevelopmentCorporation (NRDC). He took over the charge in the fourth week ofJanuary 2015.

ii. Earlier, he was Scientist-G and Head of Knowledge ManagementCentre at International Advanced Research Centre for PowderMetallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Department of Science andTechnology at Hyderabad.

iii. With about 30 years of diverse experience across theinnovation value chain in different industry verticals, he had servedas scientist in various capacities in various CSIR laboratories ofthe country.

About NRDC

--> The NRDC was established in India in 1953 to help developand promote technologies developed at various National Research &Development institutions.

--> NRDC is recognised, particularly in the developingcountries, as the source of reliable appropriate technology, machinesand services, which are typically suitable for these countries.

3. Shekhar Sen appointed as Chairman of Sangeet NatakAkademi

i. Renowned music composer and actor Shekhar Sen was on 29 January2015 appointed as the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA). Hewas appointed for a term of 5 years with immediate effect.

ii. Shekhar Sen will succeed Leela Samson who resigned from theposition on 5 September 2014. The post was lying vacant since October2014.

Shekhar Sen

• Born and brought up in Chhattisgarh, Sen began to learn musicfrom his parents who were renowned classical singers of GwaliorGharana & Musicologists.

• Sen established himself as a singer with a different style bysinging the medieval poets like Raskhan, Raheem, Lalitkishori,Bhooshan Bihari and many more.

• He is famous for his mono act musical plays Tulsi, Kabeer,Vivekananda, and Soordas.

• Sen’s performances are acclaimed in India, US, UK, Belgium,Surinam, Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, South Africa, UAE, Mauritiusand Trinidad.

• Shekhar Sen has received prestigious awards including PadamShri Award in 2015, Safdar Hashmi Puraskar in 2001 for hiscontribution in field of theatre and V. Shantaram Lalit KalaPuraskaar in 2008.

4. Malaysia declared MH370 flight disappearance anaccident

i. The Malaysian government on 29 January 2015 officially declaredthe disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 an accident andsaid that there were no survivors.

ii. The declaration was made by the Director General of Departmentof Civil Aviation (DCA) Azharuddin Abdul Rahman in accordance withstandards of annexes 12 and 13 of the International Civil Aviation.

iii. With this announcement, the way for the airline to paycompensation to victims’ relatives was cleared. But the search forthe plane will continue.

iv. Besides this, DCA has planned to release an interim report onits crash investigation on 7 March 2015, a day before the firstanniversary of the disappearance of the aircraft.

v. The Beijing-bound Boeing 777 aircraft carrying 239 passengersand crew on board disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March2014. Since disappearance, neither the plane nor its whereabouts werefound despite a massive international search in the southern IndianOcean.

5. RK Mathur to hold additional charge of DDR&D

i. Defence Secretary RK Mathur is given additional charge ofDepartment of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D).

ii. Mathur, a 1977-batch IAS officer of Manipur Tripura cadre,will hold the additional charge for a period of three months.

iii.  He will take over the additional charge from incumbentAvinash Chander.

iv. Another IAS officer Reena Ray has been appointed as AdditionalSecretary in Department of School Education and Literacy.

6. Jaipal Singh appointed PS to MoS Home

i. Jaipal Singh, a Gujarat-cadre IFS officer, has been appointedPrivate Secretary to Minister of State for Home Affairs HaribhaiParathibhai Chaudhary.

ii. Singh, a 1991-batch Indian Forest Service officer is presentlyworking as Director in Department of Higher Education.

iii. He has been appointed for a period of upto September 26,2018, which is maximum period of seven years of stay outside thecadre in a single stint, or on a co-terminus basis with theminister's tenure.

7. Send money 24x7 using only your phone's address book

i.  HDFC Bank, India’s second-largest private bank, is setto introduce a new app, Chillr, which will allow users to send moneyto any contact in their phone books, 24 hours a day, seven days aweek.

ii. Chillr is a third-party app, which will be availableexclusively for the customers. It will allow them to transfer moneyusing a contact’s mobile number alone.

iii. Through the app, one can send Rs 1-5,000 a day. While thebank will not levy any charges, users will have to pay a fee forusing the IMPS platform.

8. India overtakes China as world’s leading goldconsumer

i. India overtook China as the world’s biggest gold consumer in2014 as global physical demand fell.

ii. Chinese gold demand slid by more than a third last year to afour-year low of 866 tonnes.

iii. Indian jewellery demand rose 14 percent last year to a record690 tonnes, putting it back ahead of China as the world’s numberone jewellery manufacturer.

 

                                                      31st January 2015

 

1. Krishna Chaudhary appointed as the Director General ofITBP

i. Krishna Chaudhary was appointed as the Director General (DG) ofthe Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on 30 January 2015. Chaudhary,an IPS officer of 1979-batch Bihar cadre will be in office till June2017.

ii. At the time of appointment, he was working as the DirectorGeneral of the Railway Protection Force.

iii. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee ofCabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

iv. Chaudhary succeeded Subhas Goswami who retired on 31 December2014. CRPF DG Prakash Mishra was holding the additional charge of theITBP since the retirement of Subhas Goswami.

2. Agni 5, successfully test-fired

i. India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed,intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missileAgni-5, which has a strike range of over 5000 kms and can carry anuclear warhead of over one tonne, from Wheeler’s Island off Odisha

ii. The three stage, solid propellant “missile was test-firedfrom a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the IntegratedTest Range (ITR) at about 8.06 hours.

iii. M V K Prasad is the director of the project.

iv. About AGNI Series -

India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-1 with700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500km to more than 3500 range. After a few more trials, Agni-5 will beinducted into the services.

3. Uniformity, innovation coming to credit data

i. In its bid to better the credit information landscape, theReserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed all credit institutions tobecome members of credit information companies (CICs).

ii. Currently, there are four such companies in India—CreditInformation Bureau (India) Ltd (Cibil), Equifax Credit InformationServices Pvt. Ltd, Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltdand CRIF High Mark Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd.

iii. According to the RBI’s report on furnishing creditinformation, India is ranked 28 in “getting credit” and thecoverage of CICs accounts for only 19.8% of adult population, asagainst 100% in several countries.

4. S Lakshminarayanan appointed as Chairman of ShriramTransport Finance Co Ltd

i. S Lakshminarayanan was on 29 January 2015 appointed as Chairmanof Shriram Transport Finance Co. Ltd (STFC), India’s largest truckfinancing company.

ii. The decision to appoint S Lakshminarayanan as Chairman of STFCwas taken during a board meeting of the company held at Colombo on 24January 2015.

iii. Lakshminarayanan is a retired IAS officer. He has beenIndependent Director of Shriram Transport Finance Co. Ltd sinceSeptember 2009. During his career in the civil services, he heldseveral senior positions such as Secretary of Union Ministry of HomeAffairs.

5. Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova to win AustralianOpen

i. Serena Williams won her 19th Grand Slam title, continued herunbeaten run in six Australian Open finals and extended herdecade-long domination of Maria Sharapova with a commanding 6-3, 7-6(5) win.

ii. She is now second only to Steffi Graf (22) on the list ofmajor winners in the Open era.

iii. The 33-year-old Williams, the oldest winner of the Australianwomen’s title in the Open era, won the first six points of thesecond set and seemed on course for another lopsided victory beforeSharapova hit back in a gripping second set.

6. India tops Credit Suisse Emerging Consumer Scorecard2015

i. The formation of a strong government at the centre whichtriggered a major revival in consumer sentiment in 2014 saw Indiarank first in the Credit Suisse Emerging Consumer Scorecard 2015.

ii. The fifth annual Emerging Consumer Survey by the Credit SuisseResearch Institute profiles consumer sentiment and its drivers acrossthe emerging world providing insights regarding consumer sentimentand future consumption patterns.

iii. The survey showed India as having the lowest consumption ofbeer, meat and cigarettes, the lowest ownership of cars and lowestaccess to the internet.

7. Bravo quits Tests

i. West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has announced hisretirement from Test cricket.

ii. The 31-year-old has played 40 Tests but had not suited up forthe West Indies since December 2010.

iii. Bravo said he had already informed the West Indies CricketBoard (WICB) of his decision to retire from Tests but said he hadmade clear his desire to continue playing ODIs and Twenty20s.

iv. He bagged 86 wickets at an average of nearly 40.

8. Kanagasabapathy J Sripavan sworn-in as 44th ChiefJustice of Sri Lanka

i. Kanagasabapathy J Sripavan was on 30 January 2015 sworn in as44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. His appointment was approved by SriLanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena.

ii. Justice Sripavan succeeded Shirani Bandaranayake who resignedon 29 January 2015. She resigned one day after she was reinstated asChief Justice by the Sri Lankan President on 28 January 2015.

iii. Bandaranaike, the first woman Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, waspurportedly impeached and removed by the Sri Lankan Parliament in2013.

iv. Sripavan is the second Tamil to be the Chief Justice of theSri Lankan Supreme Court. The first Tamil to hold this highestjudicial post in Sri Lanka was Suppiah Sharvananda, who servedbetween 1984 and 1988.

9. PETA announced to create India's first fenced elephantsanctuary near Bengaluru

i. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on 29January 2015 announced to create India's first fenced elephantsanctuary within the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Karnataka. Theforested space will allow elephants to move around freely within thesecure area.

ii. The model of the sanctuary was designed by the PETA consultantand elephant expert Carol Buckley and it will come up in an area of49.5 hectare within the Biological Park which is an extension of theBannerghatta National Park.

iii. The sanctuary will allow the herd to roam and bathe in pondsfreely without being restricted by chains or without any humaninterference and to allow elephants to live naturally.

iv. PETA will train local caregivers in the principles ofprotected contact. Protected contact is a method of ensuring safeinteraction between human beings and elephants by keeping themseparated by a sturdy barrier and using positive reinforcementtechniques instead of the age-old routine of physical punishment tomanage the elephants.

v. Further, there is a provision for the elephant and mahouttraining facilities and safety measures.
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