Current Affairs Update – 20-21st December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 20th and 21st December, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS Clerk Mains and LIC AAO 2016, Syndicate Manipal 2016.

Economy/Industry –

US Senate ratified IMF reforms in budget bill to boost representation of emerging economies

  • The Senate of United States (US) on 19 December 2015 ratified reforms to boost the representation of emerging economies at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of Budget Bill. The legislation will now go to President Barack Obama.
  • If adopted, it will allow emerging economies and industrial powerhouses like India and China to have a greater say in how the IMF is managed.

Changes under the Reforms
  • China's voting rights will rise to 6 percent from 3.8 percent and the nation will become the third-largest shareholder, from its previous sixth position.
  • It would also double the IMF resources to about 660 billion dollars.
  • As China's voting rights rise, the US will see its share drop from 16.7 percent to 16.5 percent.
  • India's voting rights will also rise to 2.6 percent from the current 2.3 percent.
  • The biggest losers are European economies which will see their voting rights diminished.

The US retains its veto power.

Tata Motors listed as only Indian firm on top 50 global R&D spenders

  • Tata Motors on 20 December 2015 made it to the Top 50 in the annual Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard for 2015.
  • Prepared by the European Commission, the annual Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard for 2015 was topped by the German automaker Volkswagen. In the top five R&D spenders, Volkswagen was followed by Samsung, Microsoft, Intel and Novartis.
  • Tata Motors moved up from last year’s 104th position to 49th in 2015. Besides, the firm also showed the largest increase in R&D investments on the list.
  • In the expanded list of the world's 2500 top R&D firms, there are a total of 26 Indian companies. A total of 829 from the US, 360 from Japan, 301 from China, 114 from Taiwan, 80 from Switzerland and 27 each from Canada and Israel were listed in the scoreboard.
  • In terms of the number of companies on the list, India was overall placed at 15th position.

Awards & Honors –

Miss Spain Mireia Lalaguna Royo crowned Miss World 2015

  • Miss Spain Mireia Lalaguna Royo on 19 December 2015 was crowned Miss World 2015 at the Beauty of Crown Theater in Sanya, China.
  • Rolene Strauss of South Africa crowned Mireia Lalaguna as her successor at the end of the event. It is the first time Spain has won the title of Miss World.
  • Miss India Aditi Arya won the People’s Choice Award which ensured her direct entry in the competition. Yet the Indian beauty queen failed to make it to the final top 20 contestants.

Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach crowned Miss Universe 2015

  • Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was on 20 December 2015 crowned Miss Universe 2015 at the final of 64th edition of Miss Universe held in Las Vegas, the USA.
  • She was crowned by Miss Universe 2014 winner Paulina Vega of Columbia.
  • Urvashi Rautela who represented India in the contest couldn’t make it to top 15 semi-finals round.

Miss Iraq beauty pageant held for the first time since 1972

  • Miss Iraq beauty pageant was held for the first time since 1972. It was held on 20 December 2015 at a hotel in the capital Baghdad and involved eight contestants.
  • In the final event of the pageant, Shaymaa Qasim Abdelrahman was crowned Miss Iraq. She is a 20-year-old from multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk which is situated in the north of Iraq.
  • In the week running up to the event, the eight finalists embarked on a string of pre-pageant activities, including a visit to a camp for displaced people in Baghdad.
  • They also participated in a tree-planting ceremony near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon.

Malayala Manorama Journalist Picked for IPI India Award

  • Shajil Kumar of Malayala Manorama has been chosen for this year's International Press Institute (IPI) India Award For Excellence in Journalism for his outstanding work on "endangered tribal communities" who live on the slopes of Western Ghats in Kerela.
  • The award comprises a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a trophy and a citation.
  • The jury, which was headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand, unanimously selected Kumar's exclusive report 'The tale of endangered communities', out of several entries.
  • The jury included N Ravi, Chairman IPI India chapter and Director, The Hindu, M K Razdan, Editor-in-Chief, the Press Trust of India and Riyad Mathew, Senior Assistant Editor Malayala Manorama.
  • Kumar had done exhaustive and oustanding journalistic work in exposing the fragile lives of very microscopic tribal communities on the slopes of Western Ghats in Kerela, who have unique racial and cultural characteristics and how they are trapped between tradition and modernity.

India –

West Bengal Government approved proposal for formation of 5 new districts

  • The West Bengal Government on 18 December 2015 cleared the proposal for setting up five new districts in the state. These five new districts will increase the number of districts of West Bengal to 25.
  • Earlier, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised about setting up new districts for better administrative control and for deliverance of public service at the door steps of the people staying in remote areas.

The five new districts will be:
  • Kalimpong: It will be carved out of Kalimpong subdivision of the State’s Darjeeling district.
  • Basirhat: It will be formed out of North 24 Parganas district.
  • Sunderbans: It currently stretches across parts of the North and South 24 Parganas districts.
  • Jhargram: It will be carved out of Paschim Midnapore district.
  • Burdwan (Industrial) and Burdwan (Rural): The existing Burdwan district will be bifurcated into Burdwan (Industrial) and Burdwan (Rural).

Sports –

Chennaiyin FC crowned 2015 ISL champion

  • Chennaiyin FC was crowned as the champions of the 2nd Indian Super League (ISL) Football tournament on 20 December 2015. In the final played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa, Chennaiyin defeated the hosts FC Goa, 3-2.
  • Goa was leading 2-1 till the 87th minute, but an own goal from their keeper, Laxmikant Kattimani, in the 90th minute and Colombian Stiven Mendoza's strike seconds later helped Chennai win the title.
  • Mendoza, who finished as the tournament's highest scorer with 13 goals, bagged the 'Golden boot' as well as the 'Hero of the League' award.

Kane Williamson became first-ever Kiwi batsman to top ICC Test rankings

  • Kane Williamson, 25, on 21 December 2015 became the first cricketer from New Zealand to top the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) Test rankings. He clinched the spot after guiding the Black Caps to a series-clinching five-wicket win in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Hamilton.
  • With this, Williamson moved above England's Joe Root (886 points) and South Africa's AB de Villiers (881) to sit on 889 points.
  • Besides, 2015 has been a golden year for Williamson, who took aggregate to 1172, the highest by a New Zealander in a calendar year.

FC Barcelona won 2015 FIFA Club World Cup

  • FC Barcelona on 20 December 2015 won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup. To win the title, Barcelona defeated Argentina’s River Plate by 3-0. The final match was held at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
  • From Barcelona, Luis Suárez of Uruguay scored two goals, while the remaining goal was made by Lionel Messi of Argentina.
  • With this goal, Messi became the first player to score in three finals after leading Barca to victory in 2009 and 2011.
  • At the end of the annual event, Suarez collected the Player-of-the-Tournament and Golden Boot awards.
  • So far, the event was held for 12 times and Barcelona tops the table of winners with three titles overall.
  • The 2013 title was won by FC Bayern Munich that was held in Morocco.

OUE Singapore Slammers crowned Champions of IPTL 2015

  • The host Singapore Slammers on 20 December 2015 beat the table toppers Micromax Indian Aces in the final to win the crown of the Indian Premier Tennis League (IPTL) – 2015. They defeated Indian Aces 26-21 in the final played at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
  • With this, Singapore Slammers won the prize money of 1 million US dollars while the Micromax Indian Aces got 500000 US dollars as runners-up.
  • For IPLTL 2015, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Male category was Ivan Dodig (Aces) while in the women category, the MVP was Belinda Bencic (Slammers). Both the MVP won 50000 US dollars each as prize money for their dominant tennis they played.

Eugenson Lyngdoh and Bala Devi bagged top AIFF honours

  • Bengaluru FC (BFC) midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh and striker Bala Devi on 20 December 2015 was named the 2015 All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player-of-the-Year and woman Footballer-of-the-Year respectively. The awards were announced at the AIFF Annual General Body Meeting held in Margao, Goa.
  • Lyngdoh was chosen the winner on basis of votes from Coaches of I-League Clubs and he will be presented a prize of 2 lakh rupees along with a Trophy. Bala Devi will be presented with a Trophy along with a prize of 1 lakh rupees.
  • Pritam Kotal was declared the 2015 AIFF Emerging Player of the Year.
  • Besides, AIFF also introduced a new award the 2015 AIFF emerging Woman Footballer of the Year, which went to Pyari Xaxa.
  • Furthermore, Football Association of Odisha (FAO) bagged the 2015 AIFF Award for Best Grassroots Programme.
  • The 2015 AIFF Award for long time contribution to Indian Football was awarded to Coca Cola.

Abhay Singh won U-19 Singapore Squash Open

  • India’s Abhay Singh on 20 December 2015 won the Under-19 Singapore Squash Open. In the final of the Old Chang Kee Singapore Open, he defeated second seed Alwin Chai of Malaysia.
  • He defeated Chai 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 in the final played at Singapore.
  • With this win, Abhay, the world number one junior player, has won seven junior titles in the year 2015. Out of seven titles, two of them are international titles.

Days/Observance –

UN launched 2016 International Year of Pulses

  • Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh on 18 December 2015 announced that Union Government had been taking considerable steps to improve production of pulses in order to reduce country’s dependence on imports.
  • These steps are in tune with the 2016 International Year of Pulses launched by the United Nations.
  • The UN on 10 November 2015 launched the year at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. It was launched with the theme nutritious seeds for a sustainable future.

Appointments –

Emami ropes in Sania Mirza as brand ambassador of Kesh King

  • Home-grown FMCG firm Emami Ltd today announced tennis star Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of hair oil and shampoo variants of its newly-acquired Kesh King brand.
  • The ayurvedic hair oil category is one of the most dynamic areas of growth in the Indian hair care market, she added.
  • Kesh King is also endorsed by celebrities like Juhi Chawla nationally except the southern markets for which Shruti Haasan has been roped in very recently.
  • Kesh King was acquired by Emami in June 2015 for Rs 1,651 crore, marking the company's foray into the ayurvedic hair and scalp care segment. The brand portfolio includes ayurvedic medicinal oil, herbal shampoo and conditioner and ayurvedic capsules.

Parthasarathi Mukherjee appointed as MD and CEO of Lakshmi Vilas Bank

  • Lakshmi Vilas Bank has appointed Parthasarathi Mukherjee as the new managing director (MD) and CEO. The bank today informed the National Stock Exchange (NSE) that it has received the approval for appointment of Mukherjee for three years from the date of his taking charge.
  • The post was lying vacant since September after Rakesh Sharma stepped down as MD to head state-owned lender Canara Bank.
  • Mukherjee was earlier with Axis Bank as group executive (corporate relationships and international business). He was with the bank for nearly 21 years. Before that, he worked for the State Bank of India (SBI) for nearly 12 years. 

Indian-American Named Secretary of Texas' Engineering Board

  • An Indian-American has been appointed as the Secretary of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers that licenses qualified engineers and regulates the practice of professional engineering in the US state.
  • Sockalingam "Sam" Kannappan, a professional engineer and senior design engineer for SNC-Lavalin Hydrocarbons and Chemicals, has been appointed as the Secretary of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) in Austin.
  • Houston-based Kannappan also serves as a board member of the Society of Piping Engineers and Designers and an advisory board member of the Asia Society's Texas centre.
  • The Indian-American engineer will be signing all newly-issued licenses, TBPE said in a statement.
  • The board issues, monitors and renews roughly 57,000 licenses for engineers.

Report –

World Bank released Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016

  • World Bank Group’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) initiative on 18 December released the Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016.
  • The report provides a snapshot of latest statistics on immigration, emigration, skilled emigration, and remittance flows for 214 countries and territories.
  • It also updates the 2011 edition with additional data on bilateral migration and remittances and second generation diasporas, and recent movements of refugees.
  • As per the report, the number of international migrants is expected to surpass 250 million in 2015, an all-time high, as people search for economic opportunity.
  • And, India was the largest remittance receiving country, with an estimated 72 billion US dollars in 2015, followed by China (64 billion) and the Philippines (30 billion US dollars).

World –

10th WTO Ministerial Conference adopted Nairobi Package

  • The five-day long 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference concluded on 19 December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference concluded with the adoption of the Nairobi Package that is aimed at benefitting organization’s poorest members.
  • The conference was attended by trade ministers of 162 member countries of the WTO. India was represented by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman. It is for the first such meeting hosted by an African nation.
  • The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries.


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