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January 23, 2016

23rd January 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today left for two day visit to Bahrain. 
    • During this visit, she will attend the first ministerial meeting of the India-Arab League Cooperation Forum in Bahrain (Manama).
    • In this meeting, the issues like terrorism and regional security are expected to be discussed. 
    • During her two-day visit to Manama, she is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of numerous other countries.
  • As per the Global Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 by UN Development Programme (UNDP), Sri Lanka has stood at the top position in terms of human development.
    • The report was based on the study of 188 countries and territories by assessing their long-term progress in 3 attributes – a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
  • India was ranked 22nd on an inaugural list of the world's best countries.
    • This list was topped by Germany.
    • Top 5 countries in the list are, 
      • Germany
      • Canada
      • UK
      • US
      • Sweden
    • Note : The report has been prepared by US News and World Report and New York-based brand consultancy BAV Consulting and Wharton School of Business.
  • According to a survey conducted by American media company US News and World Report, Denmark is the best country in the world for women to live in.
    • The survey contains the views of 7,000 women, who were asked to score countries on five attributes – including gender equality, income equality, safety and its progressiveness.

National Affairs

  • Today is 119th birth anniversary of Indian Nationalist and Freedom Fighter Subhash Chandra Bose.
    • Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Cuttack, which was then a part of Bengal province. 
    • An advocate of complete freedom, Netaji went to jail 11 times during the independence struggle. 
    • Netaji, the founder of the Indian National Army, was chosen President of the Congress twice when Mahatma Gandhi was also nominated.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released 100 Secret files related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today hoisted the largest tricolour in the country atop the tallest pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi on the occasion of birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
    • The flag is 66 feet in height, 99 feet in width and it is hoisted on a 293 feet tall pole.
    • Note : The earliest tallest flag pole was in Faridabad.
  • The Punjab government has launched the state's biggest employment drive with an offer of 1,13,766 government jobs to its youth within a year.
  • Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated a new terminal building at the Khajuraho Airport in Madhya Pradesh today. 
    • Constructed at a cost of ₹91 crore, the terminal is equipped with facilities of international standards and has advanced passenger facilities. 
    • Though it handles only domestic flights currently, it can handle 100 international flights in the future.
  • On the first anniversary of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, President Pranab Mukherjee has hosted a lunch for the winners of the government’s 100Women initiative
    • Note : These 100 women achievers were selected through public nomination and voting, held between December 3 to December 20. 

People in News
  • French President Francois Hollande will arrive on a three-day visit to India tomorrow.
    • Mr Hollande will directly reach Chandigarh in the afternoon where he will visit the famous Rock Garden along with PM Narendra Modi.
    • In the evening, the two leaders are expected to address CEO forum and India-French Business Summit. 
      • Mr Hollande will depart for New Delhi in the evening.
    • On 25th he will hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister at Hyderabad House.
      • Thereafter signing of agreements in various key sectors will take place.
    • On 26th, he will witness Republic Day at Rajpath as the chief guest
    • Important Points to Note :
      • This is the fifth time that a serving President of the French Republic will be the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day function which is itself a record.
      • No other country has had this honour so many times.

New Appointments
  • Senior journalist and political commentator Paranjoy Guha Thakurta was today appointed Editor of Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), a well-known academic weekly.
    • Thakurta will replace Rammanohar Reddy, who had decided to step down at the end of March after 11 years as Editor. 

Business & Economy
  • Deposits in accounts opened under the government's flagship financial inclusion programme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have crossed the Rs 30,000 crore mark.
    • Important Points to Note
    • As many as 20.38 crore bank accounts were opened under the PMJDY as on the January 20, as per the latest data available.
    • These bank accounts had deposits of Rs 30,638.29 crore (about $4.5 billion).
    • The accounts that can be opened under PMJDY are Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBDA) which can be of zero balance, as per RBI guidelines. 

Science & Technology
  • China is planning to develop an "exascale" supercomputer that will be capable of performing more than a billion billion calculations per second
    • Important Points to Note : 
    • The prototype for such a computer will be released in either 2017 or 2018. 
    • The supercomputer will be 1,000 times more powerful than China’s Tianhe-1A, which was identified as the world's fastest computing system in 2010.
  • A US-based startup has developed a smart wallet 'Walli' priced under $100, that notifies the user of its location and contents. 
    • Walli is operated through a dedicated mobile app available on both Android and iOS platforms. 
    • It also tracks wallet activities and notifies the user when a credit or identity card is missing from the wallet for too long.
  • The New Shepard suboribtal rocket, developed by space company Blue Origin, has become the world's first commercial rocket to be successfully reused

Awards & Honors
  • The governing body of the Oscars has today announced to make changes in its voting requirements, recruiting process and governing structure, to increase the racial diversity in Academy Awards
    • It aims to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. T
    • Note : The announcement came after the 2016 Oscars received criticism over its all-white nominations for a second consecutive year.

  • Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly and Social Activist Nirmala Gajwani (87) passed away.
    • She was the first lady Deputy Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly and was reputed social worker and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.
  • Noted Indian tabla player Pandit Shankar Ghosh (80) passed away.
    • The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award holder was in coma for the past 40 days after he underwent an angioplasty procedure following a heart ailment. 

  • Indian shuttler PV Sindhu reached the final of the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Gold after a hard-fought win over Sung Ji-Hyun in the semi-finals today. 

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