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January 31, 2016

31st January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (31st January) is World Leprosy Day.
    • This day is observed internationally on January 30 or its nearest Sunday to increase the public awareness of the Leprosy or Hansen's Disease. 
    • Note : Leprosy is one of the oldest recorded diseases in the world. 
    • Theme of World Leprosy Day 2016 : To live is to help to live
  • Switzerland is set to vote on a proposal in which every citizen would be paid 2,500 Swiss Francs (almost ₹1,66,000) per month regardless of whether the citizen is working or not. 
    • The proposal, if accepted, would make Switzerland the first country in the World to introduce unconditional wages
    • Note : The federal government will vote on the proposal in June.
  • Canada's newly elected government, led by PM Justin Trudeau, has introduced a bill to change certain words from Canada's national anthem for recognising women's contribution in nation building. 
    • Note : To allow more gender inclusiveness, the bill aims to change the third line of the anthem 'O Canada' from “True patriot love in all thy sons command” to “all of us command”.
  • Vice President of India Mohd Hamid Ansari will be embarking on a two-nation tour to Brunei Darussalam and Thailand from tomorrow (1st February 2016).
    • Note : This will be the first ever visit of a Vice President of India to the resources rich Brunei Darussalam.
National Affairs
  • Kerala government has decided to launch 'Gender Taxi (G-Taxi)', a taxi service owned and operated by transgenders
    • It aims to provide a better means of livelihood for the Transgender (TG) community and to ensure them equal treatment in the society. 
    • Note : Kerala had also unveiled the county's first Transgender Policy in November to end societal discrimination against the community.
  • Ambagarh Chowki, a tribal dominated naxal-hit block has become Chhattisgarh's first open defecation-free development block.
    •  At least 151 villages of the block with a population of around 1.05 lakh have constructed toilets at home to quit the traditional practice of open defecation. 
  • The NGO Mitr Trust is set to open a Transgender Model Agency in New Delhi, which will be India's first modelling agency for transgenders
  • In order to evaluate the city's traffic in real time, Delhi Police will soon install high definition CCTV cameras at 50 major locations
    • Connected to the traffic headquarters through direct radio links, the cameras will capture registration numbers as well as small objects that obstruct traffic. 
    • Note : The Police have already installed the cameras in five locations on a pilot basis.
  • River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti today announced that the Centre will implement a four-pronged programme in which as many as 1,600 villages along the Ganga stretch will be made filth-free by October 2016
    • Note : The second phase will be attained in four years after that, in which 6,000 villages will be taken up for the programme.
  • To celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the NDA government has directed all ministries, Indian embassies and consulates abroad to organise various activities on April 14 spreading Ambedkar's ideology and philosophy. 
    • A Committee headed by PM Narendra Modi has asked the ministers to ensure their participation.
  • The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department has announced that it will celebrate February 14 as State Tourism Day, with activities planned at Lucknow this year in the presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that the government is planning to create a network of 'Khadi Gramudyog' across villages in the country to provide job opportunities in the khadi cloth manufacturing sector. 
  • Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has unveiled the bronze statue of great Ahom General Lachit Borphukan and his soldiers on the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati today. 
    • The height of the statue of Lachit Borphukan is 35 feet.
    • The total cost of the project was 8 crore and 25 lakh rupees.
    • Note : Lachit defeated the mighty Mughal in the Battle of Saraighat.
New Appointments
  • Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba takes over the reins of Western Naval Command (WNC) as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) from Vice Admiral SPS Cheema at a ceremonial parade held at INS Shikra today.
Science & Technology
  • The first satellite of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Data Highway project has blasted off to space aboard a Proton rocket from Kazakhstan. 
    • The project, also called European Data Relay System, aims to launch a constellation of geostationary satellites that can receive and transmit data in near real-time. 
    • This system will help in faster monitoring of natural disasters.
  • Japan unveiled country’s first stealth fighter aircraft X-2
    • The domestically-built fighter aircraft seeks to augment defence capabilities of the country that is surrounded by China and Russia that already have radar-evading aircraft technology.
    • X-2 is expected to undergo its first test-flight in February 2016.
Awards & Honors
  • Indian actress and filmmaker Geetu Mohandas is among the winners of the Global Filmmaking award, aimed at encouraging emerging filmmakers, at the Sundance Film Festival 2016. 
    • Geetu was chosen for her upcoming movie, 'Insha' Allah: In pursuit of Akbar'. 
    • Note : Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia from Italy, Armando Capo from Cuba and Moroccan filmmaker Abdellah Taia also won the award.
  • At the 22nd Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards held in Los Angeles today, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Best Actor (Male) award for his role in 'The Revenant' while Brie Larson won the Best Actor (Female) for her role in 'Room'. 
  • Sampriti Bhattacharyya, a PhD scholar from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has featured among Forbes’ top 30 most powerful young change agents of the world, for creating an underwater drone. 
    • The drone can map ocean floors where GPS doesn't work. 
    • Originally from Kolkata, Bhattacharyya (28) is the founder of a startup, Hydroswarm, that designs and markets drones for ocean exploration.
Business & Economy
  • Qatar's first homegrown supercar called Elibreia was unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show 2016 in Doha. 
  • The government has started reviewing the Specific Relief Act, 1963, as a part of its efforts to improve ease of doing business in India. 
    • The revision would be in accordance with the current scenario involving huge investments and enforceability of the contracts. 
    • Note : The government had earlier established commercial courts and amended the arbitration law for faster disposal of business disputes.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government signed an agreement with the Union Ministry to take over 75% of loan liabilities of five state owned power distribution companies(DISCOMs) in the state, amounting to around 39,990 crore.
    • Power utilities in Uttar Pradesh have the third highest debt in the country behind those in Rajasthan and Tamilnadu.
  • Inorder to make Tamilnadu 'power Surplus' the state government is set to establish its first 800 MW coal based power plant under the Supercritical technology.
    • The 6376 crore undertaken by public sector unit BHEL will be completed in August 2019, generating 19.2 million units of power a day.
  • Brij Bedi, husband of former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, passed away today.
  • India's Srikanth Kidambi won his first Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold tody after defeating China's Huang Yuxiang in the final match in Lucknow. 
    • Indian pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra lost to Malaysia's V Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan in the final of the men's doubles competition in the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold today to inish as the runners-up in the tournament (Silver Medal).
  • World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray to clinch his sixth Australian Open title. 
    • Important Points to Note
      • With the victory, Djokovic equaled Roy Emerson's record of most Australian Open titles. 
      • Djokovic now has a total of 11 Grand Slam titles, moving into joint fifth place with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.
  • New Zealand defeated Pakistan by three wickets in the third ODI to clinch the series 2-0.  
  • India claimed the top spot in the ICC world T20I rankings after completing a 3-0 series whitewash against Australia today. 
    • Australia are in the eighth position after suffering the first whitewash in the limited overs format on home soil in 140 years. 
    • West Indies are second while Sri Lanka are third in the rankings.

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