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December 17, 2015

17th December 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (17th December) is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
    • This day calls attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers worldwide, as well as the need to remove the social stigma and discrimination that have contributed to violence against sex workers and indifference from the communities they are part of.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons. 
    • In this regard, IAEA Board of Governors have passed a resolution ending its long-running inquiry against Ian but allowing inspectors to continue to police the country’s nuclear programme.

National Affairs
  • India Railways is building World's Highest Rail Bridge, which is 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower when completed by 2016.
    • The arch-shaped steel structure is being constructed over the Chenab river to link sections of the spectacular mountainous region of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Andhra Pradesh government decides to allow foreign institutions to set up campuses in the state.
  • Maharashtra Government announces drought relief measures worth 10,500 crore rupees for the benefit of distressed farmers.

Awards & Honors

  • President Pranab Mukherjee received Garwood Award for ‘Outstanding Global Leader in Open Innovation’ from University of California, Berkeley
    • The University of California, Berkeley, one of the most prestigious educational institutes in the world, has established the Garwood Award to acknowledge individuals who have embraced, supported and encouraged open innovation in a significant and impactful way.
    • The award was presented to the President for promoting open innovation; for taking initiative of hosting and gathering global innovators at the first-ever Global Roundtable on the Inclusive Innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Awards & Honors
  • French President of France Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the upcoming Republic Day celebrations 2016, it was officially announced today.
    • Important Points to Note :
      • This will be the fifth time that a French leader will be a Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations, the maximum number from any country so far.
        • Earlier leaders from that country had presided in 1976, 1980, 1998 and 2008.
      • Bhutan has presided four times so far in 1954, 1984, 2005 and 2013.

Science & Technology
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully placed 6 commercial satellites from Singapore in their dedicated orbits. 
    • These satellites were launched using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C29) from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. 
    • This successful launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Singapore in year 2015.
  • China today successfully launched Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite, the countrys first space telescope in search for signals of dark matter, an invisible material that makes up most of the universes mass.
    • The satellite, which has been given the moniker "Wukong" after the Monkey King from the Chinese classical fiction "Journey to the West," was launched on a Long March 2-D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
    • It will enter a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 500 km to observe the direction, energy and electric charge of high-energy particles in space.

New Appointments
  • Former Delhi high court judge justice Reva Khetarpal took oath as the new Lokayukta of Delhi today.
    • The post was vacant since November 2013, when retired Justice Manmohan Sarin relinquished office.
    • Khetarpal will serve a five-year term.

Business & Economy
  • India has ranked a low 97th out of 144 nations, behind Kazakhstan and Ghana, on Forbes’ annual list of the best countries for business in 2015, scoring poorly on metrics like trade and monetary freedom and tackling challenges like corruption and violence.
    • Denmark topped the list on the Best Countries of Business in 2015 list by Forbes.
    • The US has dropped four spots to number 22, continuing a six-year descent since 2009 when it had ranked second overall.
  • The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by 0.25 percent, its first increase since 2006.
    • The rate, which stands at 0.5 percent after the increase, was kept the same through out the global credit crunch so that financial institutions could borrow cheaply and in turn allow them to lend at lower rates.
    • Note : Rates in the US have been at near-zero since 2008.
  • Union Government has given in principle approval to work on Loon project of internet search engine giant Google for providing Internet connectivity by using large balloons.
    • The announcement was made by Google CEO Sunder Pichai in New Delhi after meeting Union Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
  • Mumbai-based start-up accelerator VentureNursery has partnered with Paris&Co, the economic development and innovation agency of the French capital city, to help its graduating companies explore the French market.
  • The World Bank has approved a $1.5 billion loan for the ambitious clean India campaign to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
    • As per World Bank statistics, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in rural areas.
    • The loan will be used for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.

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