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January 16, 2016

16th January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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National Affairs
  • As per the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which came into effect today, Selling cigarette or chewable tobacco to those under the age of 18 will result in a maximum jail term of up to seven years and also carry a  fine of a Rs 1 lakh.
    • This the first time that selling of cigarette or chewable tobacco have been made a criminal offence under the juvenile law.
    • Note : According to the previous statute only selling liquor and narcotics to those under the age of 18 was a crime.
  • After 400 years of prohibition, the Parsuram temple in Uttrakhand’s Jaunsar Bawar area has allowed entry to Dalits and women.
    • The temple authorities have also announced that they are planning to stop its age-old animal sacrifice practice.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee today formally launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2016 by administering polio drops to children at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the eve of the National Immunization Day.
    • Under the programme, around 17.4 crore children across the country will be administered polio drops tomorrow.

Business & Economy
  • China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in which India and 56 countries have joined as founding members was opened at Beijing today by President Xi Jinping.
    • Important Points to Note :
    • The bank was formally established in Beijing on 25th December 2015.
    • Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei was elected as the first Chairman of the AIIB council. 
    • China's former Finance Minister, Jin Liqun was elected the first AIIB president.
    • With authorised capital of USD 100 billion and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, AIIB will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare.
    • China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders, taking a 30.34 percent, 8.52 percent, 6.66 percent stake respectively in the newly formed Bank.
  • As per the World Bank report, Indian Government has succeeded in saving one billion US Dollars (Rs 650 crore approx) per annum with the help of its Aadhaar ID which curbs corruption to a great extent.
    • Note : Very soon, Centre will use Aadhaar ID for calculating the entire population in the country.
  • To meet the Basel III norms, the State Bank of India (SBI) today proposed to raise up to ₹15,000 crore from various means, including public offer and overseas issuance of shares, in the next 14 months.
    • Note : SBI had earlier revealed plans to monetise non-core assets to raise capital for meeting the global risk norms, which will be effective from March 2019.
  • State Bank of India (SBI) today announced the launch of ‘SBI e-Smart SME’ to provide easy working capital to e-commerce players.
    • Note : The bank has initially tied up with Snapdeal to offer loans of up to ₹25 lakh to its sellers, while it is also planning a similar partnership with Flipkart, Paytm and Amazon.
  • State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today extended its scheme slashing mobile call rates by up to 80% to existing prepaid mobile customers, with effect from January 16. 
    • Note : The company had earlier (in December 2015) announced the scheme for new prepaid users.
    •  The call rates have been reduced for both per minute and per second billing plans.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has fixed the public issue price of the sovereign gold bonds at ₹2,600/gram, the applications for which are set be accepted Monday onwards. 
    • The issue price of the first tranche of sovereign gold bonds in the scheme was ₹2,684/gram wherein it had got a subscription for 915.95 kg gold amounting to ₹246 crores.
  • At the official launch of the 'Start up India' programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that profits of startups set up after 1st April 2016, shall be exempted from income tax for a period of three years
    • He announced 80% rebate on filing of patents for startups. 
    • He also added that a dedicated fund of ₹10,000 crore will be created.

New Appointments
  • Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was today elected as the President of Taiwan.
    • Important Note : With this, Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan's first female president.
  • Bhaskar Bhat, manaing director of Titan, has taken over as Chairman of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd (Vistara).
    • He is going to replace Prasad Menon who retired from the airline on January 13. 

People in News
  • Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the actor who plays the role of 'The Mountain' in Game of Thrones (GoT) today set a new Guinness World Record for 'Fastest 20 metres carrying two fridges'.
    • Competing against the 2014 World's Strongest Man title holder, the actor took 19.60 seconds, carrying a total weight of 450 kg, to achieve the feat.
  • Actor-filmmaker Kamal Hassan and director Gautam Ghosh have been included in the Shyam Benegal committee that has been set up by the government to holistically look into the functioning of controversy ridden Censor Board making it a six-member body.
    • Note : The I&B ministry had set up the panel on January 1 to take a relook at the functioning of the Board.
  • Members of this committee are,
    • Shyam Benegal (Head)
    • Bhawana Somayaa
    • Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
    • Piyush Pandey
    • Kamal hassan
    • Gautam Ghosh

Awards & Honors
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today surpassed actor Shah Rukh Khan to become the 
    • As on January 16, Modi was followed by 17.37 million people, while Khan had a total of 17.35 million followers. 
    • Note : With a total 18.9 million followers, actor Amitabh Bachchan continues to remain the most followed Indian on Twitter.
  • An independent Delhi-based writer Ankita Anand has won the European Commission’s prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for 2015 in Asia and the Pacific amateur category.
    • She earned the award for her sensitive portrayal of life for young women facing the threat of the diktat of khap panchayats in Haryana with the title Stirrings beneath the peepul published in the journal The Equator Linel.
  • The first woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala, Dr Jancy James, has been selected for the prestigious Prof M V Pylee Award for the best academician.
    • Note : Instituted by Cochin University of Science and Technology, the award carries an amount of Rs one lakh and a citation, a release said here.
  • Easterine Kire, a poet, novelist and children’s writer from Nagaland won The Hindu Prize 2015.
    • Ms. Kire won for her novel ‘When the River Sleeps’, a book about a lone hunter seeking a heart stone in a faraway sleeping river and fighting all odds to get it. 

  • Noted filmmaker Anil Ganguly passed away.
    • He is best known for Jaya Bhaduri starrer, “Kora Kagaz” and “Tapasya” both of which won National Award.
    • His other notable films are “Saaheb”, ” Trishna”, “Khandaan”, “Humkadam”, “Pyar Ke Kabil”, “Balidan” (Bolidan -1990, Bengali), “Dushman Devta” among others.

Science & Technology
  • A Joint Exercise named SAHYOG-KAIJIN-XV was conducted in the Bay of Bengal Off Chennai today between Indian and Japan Coast Guard.  
    • This exercise is a part of the ongoing joint exercises between the Coast Guards of the two countries during the last 15 years.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) today declared that its spacecraft Juno has broken the Solar Power Distance Record
    • The solar powered spacecraft of NASA broke the previous record of travelling farthest distance set by Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency. 
    • NASA’s Juno travelled 793 million kilometers to break this record on January 13, 2016. 
    • Note : Before this, Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency travelled till 792 million kilometers.
  • India is planning to set up a National Water Informatics Centre in Delhi as part of its flood forecasting systems, by collaborating with France.
    • This was followed by the visit of a 10-member delegation to France and the Netherlands in November to study the possibility of replicating the high-tech systems, used by these countries, in India.
  • Pakistan will be soon lifting its ban on video-sharing platform 'YouTube' as an effort to reciprocate to Google that has recently launched a localised version for the country due to the availability of improper content. 
    • Note : YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since September 2012, a step taken by Islamabad pointing out the presence of improper content.
  • Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis clinched their 2nd title of 2016 by defeating Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic  in the final of Sydney International.
    • Important Note :
      • This was their 30th successive win and they now hold the 2nd longest winning streak, behind Novotna and Sukova's 44-match winning run.
      • The Indo-Swiss pair won the Brisbane International last week. 
  • India was ranked number one in the latest Test rankings released by the ICC following South Africa's seven-wicket defeat against England today. I
    • ndia has achieved the top spot for the first time since August 2011. 

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