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January 22, 2016

21st January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (21st January) is Squirrel Appreciation Day.
  • French President of France Fran├žois Hollande will arrive on 24th January in India on a three-day visit.
    • Important Note : He will be the Chief Guest of our Republic Day celebrations.

National Affairs
  • The Pin Code Week is being celebrated from 15th to 21st January  2016 to distribute the message about pin code importance.
  • The blanket ban on polythene bags in Uttar Pradesh began from January 21st and there will be complete ban on the manufacture, import, purchase and storage of all kinds of plastic bags.
  • The 8th Edition of the popular Jaipur Literature Festival, begins today.
    • This festival is taking place in Jaipur since 2006.
    • This is Asia's Biggest Literacy Festival.
    • This festival is going to be held from 21st January 2016 to 25th January 2016.
  • Maharashtra will be the first state in the country where women employees in government jobs can avail up to 180 days’ maternity leave while having a baby through surrogacy.
    • Note : The Bombay High Court had ruled last year that even a mother having a child through surrogacy was entitled to maternity leave.
  • India’s first radio taxi service for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community, Wings Rainbow, was flagged off today. 
    • The initiative by Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust will have taxis chauffeured by LGBT community members, and is expected to start functioning in 2017.

MOUs
  • India today signed a $250 million loan agreement with the World Bank for Bihar Kosi Basin Development project, aimed at enhancing resilience to floods and increase agriculture productivity.
    • The objective of the project is to enhance resilience to floods and increase agricultural production and productivity in the targeted districts in the Kosi River Basin, and to enhance Bihar's capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency, Finance Ministry said in a statement.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom for Cooperation in the field Public Administration and Governance Reforms.
    • This MoU was signed between both countries in November, 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra’s official visit to UK.
  • The Union Cabinet has been approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organization (DOS/ISRO) and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
    • The MoU will enable pursuing potential interest areas in both cooperative and commercial mode, namely,
      • Use of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites by KISR for initiating a few research and application projects; 
      • Training; and
      • Building and launching of remote sensing and communication satellites on commercial terms.
    • The MoU will lead to setting up of a Joint Working Group, drawing members from ISRO and KISR, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.

Business & Economy
  • India has emerged as one of the five most promising markets for businesses globally.
    • This was disclosed in an annual global CEO survey by consultancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released at World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
    • It said India is now among CEOs' five most promising overseas markets.
    • The survey covered 1,409 CEOs spread across 83 countries.
  • The union government has granted infrastructure status to the shipyard industry in a bid to ease its financial stress. 
    • Note : With the infrastructure status, the shipyards will be able to avail flexible long-term funding at lower costs.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) panel on Alternative Investment Funds(AIFs) has proposed creating a favourable tax environment for investors, tweaking of safe harbour rules, unlocking domestic pools of capital, enabling onshore fund management in India and reforming the AIF regulatory regime. 
    • This panel was headed by : NR Narayana Murthy (Infosys founder)

Awards & Honors
  • Rahul Thakkar, a computer engineering graduate from Mumbai University, has won an Oscar for technical achievement
    • Mr. Thakkar shares the honour with Richard Chuang for “groundbreaking design” of the DreamWorks Animation Media Review System. 
    • He will be presented with the Technical Achievement Award (Design) on February 13 during the annual Scientific and Technical Awards presentation.

New Appointments
  • Noted environmentalist Ravi Chellam has assumed charge as the executive director of Greenpeace India.
    • This comes after former Executive Director Samit Aich had resigned in June last year following an internal review of the organisation's handling of two sexual harassment cases. 
    • Note : The government had earlier barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds by suspending its licence for six months and freezing all its accounts after alleging that it has "prejudicially" affected the country's interests.
  • Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra are the new brand ambassadors of the Centre's Incredible India campaign. 
    • It is for the first time that the government is directly appointing the brand ambassadors. 
    • Both the actors will be appointed for 3 years and will not charge a single penny for the endorsement.
    • The official announcement will be made after January 26.

Science & Technology
  • Indian Naval ships INS Vikramaditya and INS Mysore are on an official visit to Colombo from Jan 21 -23.
    • During their stay in Colombo, the crew of the ships will have professional interactions with Sri Lanka Navy personnel.
    • The ships will also take part in an exercise with the Sri Lanka Navy.

Books & Authors
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released a book titled The Z Factor: My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time in New Delhi.
    • The book is the autobiography of the promoter of Essel/ Zee Group Subhash Chandra.

Deaths
  • Padma Bhushan Awardee, Legendary classical danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai (97) passed away.
    • Mrinalini Sarabhai was the wife of noted space scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and mother of famous danseuse and social activist Mallika Sarabhai.

Sports
  • Uttar Pradesh won its maiden Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a 38 run win over two time champions Baroda in the final played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai
  • World number one pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis advances to second round of Australian Open Tennis.
  • Shuttlers P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Ajay Jairam enter quarterfinals of Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold tournament.

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