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January 22, 2016

22nd January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • A survey conducted by American media company US News and World Report has named Denmark as the best country in the world for women to live in
    • Sweden was named the second best country for women to live in, Canada was ranked third in the list.
  • The 4th Edition of India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference (IAHC) has begun in New Delhi. 
    • The two day conference aims at enhancing greater cooperation between India and African continent in the field of Hydrocarbons. 
    • It also seeks to explore opportunities, bridge boundaries and boost bilateral trade between India and Africa.

National Affairs
  • Delhi has observed 4th Car Free Day today.
    • This day initiative of the AAP government to curb vehicular pollution. 
  • The government decided to extend the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme to 61 more districts this year to improve the skewed child sex ratio.
    • About Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme :
      • The scheme was launched in 100 districts with poor sex ratio across the country in January last year.
      • Objectives of this Scheme :
        • Prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
        • Ensure survival & protection of the Girl Child
        • Ensure education of the Girl Child
        • Improve the Nutrition Status of Girl Child
        • Promote a protective environment for Girl Child
  • Ten major cities in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, have submitted their estimated proposals worth Rs 29,647.45 crore for the Central government-funded 'Smart City' project.
    • Note : The Mumbai proposal estimate of just Rs 1,118 crore is the lowest among all the ten cities.
  • According to National Crime Records Bureau, 41% of all suicides in 2014 were committed by people in the age bracket of 14 to 30 years
    • The data revealed that about 52% of suicides by women in 2014 were from the same bracket as opposed to 36% for men. 
  • Punjab's Education Minister Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema has announced that the state government is planning to initiate the teaching of the Punjabi language online
    • The move is aimed at boosting the popularity of the language globally. 
    • Note : Earlier, the state government enacted the Punjabi Language Act making Punjabi a compulsory subject from class 1 and Hindi from class 3.
  • The 19th edition of National Conference on e-Governance began in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
    • It was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari and the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh
    • The two day conference aims at discussing various aspects of e-Governance ranging from Technology Enabled Services to Cyber Security framework.

New Schemes
  • Union Government has launched a skill development scheme named "Nai Manzil"  for girls belonging to the minority communities in the country.
    • Under this scheme, girls from the minority communities will be imparted a three-month skill development training in seven identified sectors relevant to the region concerned.
    • These include training in saffron processing, food processing, embroidery, computers IT (both software and hardware), Tourism/hospitality, electronics and plumbing. 
    • Trainees will also be given stipend of Rs.4500/-for the course.
  • Jitendra Kumar Soni, collector of the Jalore district, Rajasthan, has started a scheme, 'Charan Paduka Yojna'.
    • This scheme provides shoes to 25,000 children before Republic Day. 

Science & Technology
  • Facebook today launched Audience Optimization, a tool that could help publishers in targeting appropriate audiences and better understand their interests. 
    • The tool will sport three features. They are, 
      • 'Preferred audience' : to add interest tags to the content.
      • 'Audience restrictions' : to limit the visibility of certain posts 
      • 'Audience insights' : provides visibility into the content performance.
  • A group of students at the Rice University have created TrumpScript, a Donald Trump inspired version of Python programming language. 
    • The language does not support numbers less than one million, and does not support importing any code. 
    • Also for every error in the code, the console will display a criticising message like "Trump doesn't want to hear it".
  • Google, in partnership with Indian Railways, launched its first free high-speed public WiFi service in the country at the Mumbai Central Railway Station
    • Important Points Note
      • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, Google promised to provide free WiFi across 400 railway stations in India. 
      • The service will be made available next in Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur, and Ranchi.
  • With the help of computer, Scientists of Central Missouri (headed by Curtis Cooper) have discovered the largest prime number 2^74,207,281 – 1.
    • This new Prime Number was named M74207281.
    • It was calculated by multiplying together 74,207,281 twos then subtracting one, according to scientists.
    • It is comprised of 22 million digits

New Appointments
  • Moldovan parliament has appointed Pavel Filip as the Prime Minister.
    • He would be the third prime minister of Moldova in less than a year.
    • The appointment follows the rise and fall of two prime ministers in 2015, namely Chiril Gaburici ( June 2015) and Valeriu Strelet (October 2015).
  • Senior revenue service officer Atulesh Jindal was today appointed Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body of Income Tax department.
    • He will succeed A K Jain, who completes his term this month-end.
  • Prashant Kishor, who played a key role in strategising for the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance to register an impressive win in the last Bihar state assembly elections, has now been appointed as an advisor (Policies and Programme implementation) to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
    • His status will be of a State cabinet minister.

  • Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has signed a MoU with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to monitor the mining activities in the country through satellite technology. 
    • As part of the MoU, IBM would set up an exclusive remote sensing cell under the technical guidance of the NRSC at its offices in Nagpur and Hyderabad. 

Business & Economy
  • The RBI has amended the Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS) to permit proprietorship and partnership firms to make gold deposits under a joint deposit account in the name of the depositors. 
    • Under the GMS that was introduced last year, resident Indians and trusts registered under the SEBI can earn interests on the gold deposited in the banks.
  • The United States has approved the sale of almost two billion US dollar worth of bombs and missiles to equip Iraq's squadron of F-16 attack jets in their battle against ISIS.
    • 400 American government staff and contractors would work in Iraq until at least 2020 to maintain the arsenal and train Iraqi pilots and ground crew.
    • This proposed sale enables Iraq to fully maintain and employ its aircraft and sustain pilot training to effectively protect Iraq from current and future threats, it said.
  • The Japanese Cabinet approved today the lifting of sanctions on Iran, following the recent completion of a landmark deal to try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
    • This move will allow Japanese companies to pursue investment in Iran's oil and gas industry.
  • India will be the fastest growing big economy in the world in 2016, a United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 report said today.
  • US-based International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation  has acquired a San Francisco-based cloud-based live video streaming service provider called Ustream.
  • Indian Oil Corporation is the only Asian company that was offered a term contract by Nigeria for selling crude oil
  • Mumbai-based TranServ has launched India's first social mobile wallet called Udio
    • Apart from the usual wallet functions like phone recharge, bill payment and digital money transfer, Udio would also allow its users to split bills, send or request money and gift merchant vouchers. 
    • The users would also be provided with prepaid Visa card powered by Maharashtra-based Ratnakar Bank.
  • World’s fifth largest watchmaker Titan Company Ltd, of the Tata Group has unveiled JUXT, a smartwatch in partnership with global technology giant HP Inc.

  • Film director Ettore Scola (84), one of the last grand masters of Italian comedy passed away.
    • He is famous for his 1977 Oscar nominated movie "A Special Day".
  • Reputed social worker Nirmala Gajwani (87) passed away.
Awards & Honors
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is named the World’s Best Hotel of 2016 in TripAdvisor’s ‘Travellers’ Choice Awards’.
    • It is the first Indian hotel to take the top spot in the annual list.
    • Built between 1928 and 1943, the palace is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, who ruled Jodhpur from 1918 to his death in 1947.

  • New Zealand has won the three-match T20I series against Pakistan. 
    • Corey Anderson was named the man of the match .
  • Swiss legend Roger Federer today became the first male tennis player to win 300 Grand Slam matches
    • He achieved this feat after defeating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the third round of the Australian Open. 
    • Note : The only other tennis player to have won 300 Grand Slam matches is Martina Navratilova, with 306 total wins.
  • With the Rio Olympics round the corner, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has signed a two-year commercial and marketing deal with Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS) to the tune of about Rs. 12 crore.
    • As per the contract, the IOS will manage sponsorship and public relations for the IOA for all the major national and international events in that period.

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