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January 18, 2016

17th January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Following the Pathankot attack, laser walls will soon be used to cover over 40 unfenced areas along the India-Pakistan border as the Home Ministry has made this a top priority to prevent entry of terrorists.  
    • Important Points to Note :
    • Laser walls detect objects and caution with a loud siren in case of any breach.
    • Riverine stretches in Punjab will be covered using this technology.
  • The world powers lifted economic sanctions against Iran after it had agreed to impose curbs on its nuclear programme in July. 
    • Iran's assets were unfrozen and companies across the world can now do business with the country. 
    • Iran said it could export 500,000 barrels of oil a day, a move that reportedly could further reduce global oil prices.
National Affairs
  • Today is National Immunization Day.
    • The government has decided to administer polio drops to over 17 crore children under five years across the country under the Pulse polio programme for 2016.
  • The government is planning to launch a scheme to solve the issue of beggary by providing food, shelter, rehabilitation and healthcare facilities to the homeless.
    • The scheme, which is being prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, aims to provide skill development to the able beneficiaries and will also maintain a database of them in due time.
  • For the first time in Haryana, the sex ratio at birth has crossed the 900 mark with 903 girls per 1,000 boys as per records for December 2015. 
    • Haryana CM : Manohar Lal Khattar 
  • Delhi government today wrote to Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Sunny Leone and others requesting them to not endorse pan masala products, and join the government's anti-tobacco campaign. 
    • The letter added that even though pan masala does not contain tobacco or nicotine, it "surely" has areca nuts that have been scientifically proven to cause cancer.
  • The World Bank has extended an assistance of $20 million for the reconstruction and eco-development of the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Vishakhapatnam
    • Note : This is the first time that the global lender is directly involved with a zoo
    • It is a part of the Bank's $250 million assistance for the damage caused by cyclone Hudhud.
  • Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has announced plans to introduce mobile toilet vans that will be stationed in areas that do not have public toilets. 
    • The corporation plans to buy 10 such vans with ten toilet blocks as a "step towards the Swachh Abhiyan".
  • The Delhi government has set up its first State Human Rights Commission with Justice Uma Nath Singh as its chairperson
  • In Gangtok, two-day national conference on 'Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare' began today.
  • The Madhya Pradesh government has inked a pact with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to set up the world's largest single-site solar energy plant
    • The 750 MW Rewa Ultra-Mega Solar Power Project will be set up in Gurh tehsil of Rewa district over a 1,500-hectare area at an estimated cost of ₹4,500 crore.
Business & Economy
  • The Department of Posts (DoP) is planning to open 1,000 ATMs and bring all 25,000 departmental post offices under Core Banking System (CBS) by March this year.
    • Note : CBS will enable customers to operate their accounts and avail banking services from any post office on the CBS network, regardless of where they maintain their account.
  • In an effort to find new sources to finance aid operations, a United Nations panel today recommended that a voluntary tax be imposed on concerts and sporting events
    • It also recommended the UN tap into Islamic social finance and the mandatory alms-giving.
    • Note : Requests for UN aid have reportedly increased from $2 billion in 2000 to $24.5 billion in 2015.
  • India ranks first in business optimism, according to Grant Thornton International Business Report, a quarterly global survey of 2,580 business leaders across 36 nations.
    • As per the survey, 89% Indian respondents expect economic recovery, owing to a stable government, recent policy announcements and regulatory changes.
    • India was followed by Ireland (88%) and Philippines (84%) in business optimism.
Science & Technology
  • NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 commander Scott Kelly today shared an image of the first ever flower grown in space
    • The flower belongs to the zinnia plant and is expected to help astronauts better understand plant growth in microgravity. 
    • This is the second plant grown aboard the International Space Station after the red romaine lettuce.
  • Khesari Dal, widely known as the poor man's dal has received clearance for consumption from the Indian Council of Medical Research after a 55-year-long ban. 
    • Note : The dal was banned in 1961 after cases of a neurological disease called lathyrism or paralysis of the lower body were reported due to its consumption.
Books & Authors
  • Indian author Chetan Bhagat has announced that his new fiction novel will release on Diwali this year. 
    • Bhagat tweeted that he was writing in female first person for the first time
    • The title of the book will be announced later. 
Awards & Honors

  • India's Anuradha Roy won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 for her novel Sleeping on Jupiter at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka.
    • This award consists US $50,000 DSC Prize and a trophy.
  • Indian batsman Virat Kohli, while playing against Australia in the third ODI, became the fastest cricketer to score 7,000 runs in the limited overs format. 
    • He achieved this feat in 161 international innings. 
    • The record was previously held by South African captain AB de Villiers, who reached the milestone in 166 innings.
    • Note : Kohli also became the fastest cricketer to score 24 centuries in the limited overs format.
      • He achieved this feat in 161 innings.
      • Notably, only five batsmen, including Kohli, have hit 24 or more centuries in ODIs.
  • The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) today banned the on-tour Indian cricket team from visiting casinos in Australia, as a proactive image-building measure.
  • 13th edition of Standard Charted ‎Mumbai Marathon‬ was successfully held today's morning. 
    • Kenyan athlete Gideon Kipketer clinched the top honor by winning the international men’s full marathon
    • Ethiopian Shuko Genemo won the top spot in international women’s full marathon.  
    • Among Indian finishers of full marathon, India’s Nitendra Singh Rawat and Sudha Singh won their respective competitions.
  • India's Gopi T and Kheta Ram today qualified for the Rio Olympics by finishing second and third respectively, among the Indian runners in the Mumbai Marathon .

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