Current Affairs Update – 22nd to 28th December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs from 22nd of December to 28th December, 2015. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016, Syndicate Bank PO, SIDBI Assistant Manager Exams.

Finance/Banking/RBI –

RBI extended deadline to exchange pre-2005 notes to 30 June 2016

  • The Reserve Bank of India on 23 December 2015 extended the deadline for exchanging pre-2005 currency notes of various denominations by another six months to 30 June 2016.
  • The decision to extend the deadline was notified by the apex bank in a statement issued in Mumbai. 
  • RBI in an official statement said that the notes can be exchanged for their full value. It has also clarified that all such notes continue to remain legal tender.
  • Soliciting cooperation from members of public in withdrawing these banknotes, it also urged them to deposit the old design notes in their bank accounts or exchange them at a bank branch convenient to them.
  • Earlier on 25 June 2015, the Reserve Bank had set the last date for public to exchange pre-2005 banknotes notes as 31 December 2015.

Tech Mahindra launched NFC-based wallet MoboMoney

  • Tech Mahindra Limited on 23 December 2015 launched India’s first contactless digital payment ecosystem, branded MoboMoney.
  • The company claims that MoboMoney is the country's first commercial rollout of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows radio communication between two NFC enabled devices.

Highlights of MoboMoney
  • MoboMoney is a prepaid wallet issued in the form of an NFC Contactless Tag.
  • It can be used to Tap n Pay on a network of NFC enabled Merchant point of sale, thus allowing customers without an NFC-enabled phone to enjoy the simple tap and pay experience to purchase goods.
  • It allows consumers to load their wallet by paying cash at its 1000+ retail network, helping convert cash into e-cash.
  • The money loaded into the customers’ digital wallets can then be used to Tap n Pay for over the counter payments, recharges, make bill payments, as well as pay online - converting what were earlier payments done in cash, into digital payments.

RBI created Dedicated Helpline for guiding Start-ups in India on Forex Matters

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 22 December 2015 created a dedicated helpline (Email) for start-ups in India in order to offer assistance on Forex matters to them for undertaking cross-border transactions within the ambit of the regulatory framework.
  • While seeking guidance on the helpline, the enterprises will be asked to provide complete information to the Reserve Bank and mention the specific issues on which they need guidance from the Bank in relation to the Foreign Exchange Management regulations.
  • This will enable the personnel attending the helpline to offer timely and effective information. Generally, Start-up enterprises undertake a wide range of cross-border transactions including those related to investment.
  • Cross-border transactions of resident Indians are subject to the regulatory regime provided by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

CCEA approved investment of 5000 crore rupees into ONGC Videsh

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 22 December 2015 gave its approval for investment of 5000 crore rupees by Oil and Natural Gas Company Limited (ONGC) into the equity share capital of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) by conversion of existing loan of equivalent amount into equity.
  • The approved investment will strengthen the capital base of ONGC Videsh. It will enhance the ability of ONGC to undertake overseas Exploration and Production (E&P) business, thereby improving the energy security of the country.
  • With this investment, the equity base of OVL will rise to 15000 crore rupees. All the loan ONGC had given to OVL was at zero interest.

Idea became third mobile operator to launch 4G services in India

  • Idea Cellular on 23 December 2015 became the third mobile operator in India to launch 4G services in India. Earlier, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India had launched 4G services in India.
  • Idea, the third largest mobile operator in terms of revenue and subscriber base, launched the 4G services across 75 towns in the 4 telecom circles of South India, namely Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Idea customers with 4G devices in these 75 towns can now start experiencing superfast speeds by simply upgrading their existing SIM cards to new 4G SIM cards.

Lok Sabha passed The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015

  • The Lok Sabha on 22 December 2015 passed The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Bill will allow doubling of wage ceiling for calculating bonus of factory workers.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. The Bill 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 7 December 2015.

Provisions of Bill
  • It seeks to raise the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from a salary of 10000 rupees to 21000 rupees a month.
  • It seeks to raise this calculation ceiling of bonus to 7000 rupees per month or as per the minimum wage notified for the employment under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (whichever is higher).

Digital media company Arre acquired Apalya Technologies

  • Arre, the digital media brand from UDigital, a venture founded by Ronnie Screwvala, B Saikumar and Ajay Chacko, on 21 December 2015 announced the acquisition of Apalya Technologies.
  • As part of the deal, the cofounders of Apalya, Vamshi Reddy and Shiva Bayyapunedi, will get 2 percent sweat equity in UDigital.
  • Apalya will help Arre, which is developing content in various forms including edgy videos, serial-like podcasts, investigative documentaries and long-form narratives, to add platform capability to its digital content play.

On-demand grocery service PepperTap acquired Jiffstore

  • Gurgaon-based on-demand grocery service PepperTap on 21 December 2015 acquired Bengaluru-based hyperlocal grocery delivery startup Jiffstore in a cash-and-stock deal. However, the deal details were not disclosed.
  • As per the terms of deal, Jiffstore will completely merge its operations with PepperTap. Furthermore, its 40-member-team will join PepperTap's Gurgaon and Bengaluru offices.

CCEA approved 3000-crore rupees scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 22 December 2015 gave its approval for implementation of an umbrella scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries. The scheme will be implemented at an outlay of 3000 crore rupees, for a period of five years.
  • It will cover development and management of inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing Blue Revolution. The scheme has the following six broad components, and they are

  • National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and its activities
  • Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post Harvest Operations
  • Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector
  • Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector
  • Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based Interventions

India –

AP Government signed MoU with Microsoft India on technology initiatives

  • Government of Andhra Pradesh on 28 December 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft India on a range of technology initiatives.
  • The MoU was signed after a meeting between the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella in Hyderabad.

Features of the MoU
  • By applying Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Advanced Visualization method, the company will provide technical knowledge to the AP Government and support building three proof-of-concept (PoC) solutions.
  • The three PoC solutions are related to the fields of education, agriculture and eCitizen services.

India, Russia signed 16 pacts to deepen bilateral cooperation

  • India and Russia on 24 December 2015 signed 16 Agreements/Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, security, technology, etc.
  • The pacts were signed after the conclusion of the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit in Moscow.
  • After the summit, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both the leaders issued a joint statement with the theme Shared Trust,New Horizons.

List of Agreements/MoUs
  1. Protocol amending the agreement, which was signed on 21 December 2010, between India and Russia on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens of the two countries.
  2. Protocol amending agreement between India and Russia on mutual travel regime for holders of Diplomatic & Official Passports of 3 December 2004.
  3. Agreement between India and Russia on Cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering
  4. Plan for Cooperation between the Federal Customs Service of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, India and the Russian Federation for combating Customs violations in 2015 – 2017.
  5. Programme of Action Agreed Between the Department of Atomic Energy of India and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom” for Localization of Manufacturing in India for Russian-Designed Nuclear Reactor Units.
  6. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Railways of India and the Joint Stock company "Russian Railways” on technical cooperation in railway sector.
  7. MoU between Solar Energy Corporation of India and Russian Energy Agency regarding construction of solar energy plants in the Republic of India.
  8. MoU for cooperation between HEC & CNIITMASH for development of Centre of Excellence for heavy engineering design at HEC.
  9. MoU for cooperation between HEC & CNIITMASH for upgradation and modernization of HEC’s manufacturing facilities.
  10. Memorandum of Understanding between Prasar Bharati and Digital Television Russia on Cooperation in the field of Broadcasting.
  11. Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISc) and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).
  12. Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), OJSC "GLONASS” and GLONASS Union.
  13. MoU in the field of investment cooperation in the Russian Far East between The Tata Power Company Limited and Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East.
  14. MoU for Cooperation for geologic survey, exploration and production of hydrocarbons onshore and on the continental shelf of the Russian Federation.
  15. Confirmation of successful completion of the first stage pre-completion actions in relation to the creation of a Joint Venture in JSC VankorNeft.
  16. MoU for Cooperation for geologic survey, exploration and production of hydrocarbons onshore the Russian Federation between Rosneft oil company, Oil India Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

Indigenously developed Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully test fired

  • Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra, was on 25 December 2015 successfully test fired. The test was conducted by the Indian Air Force off the coast of Odisha near the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore.
  • In addition to this air trial, the missile underwent successful ground based trials in early December 2015 near Pune.
  • The tests were aimed at validating the ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) features of the missile to overcome any jamming.
  • After carrying out some more trials, including air launch trial with a warhead, the missile is expected to be inducted into the Air Force in 2016.

Cochin Shipyard Limited became first licensed Indian shipyard to make LNG Ships

  • Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on 21 December 2015 received certification to build LNG-transporting ships for any client world-wide making it the first shipyard in India to get the nod.
  • The shipyard successfully completed a Mark-III Flex Mock-Up, which has been certified by Gaztransport et Technigaz (GTT), France, thereby completing all requirements to be licensed by GTT. After the certification, CSL can build LNG ships for any client world-wide using their patented membrane containment system known as the Mark-III Technology.
  • As part of the Make in India programme, the Government of India is keen that three of the nine ships should be built in India. CSL is keen to take part in the tender. Entering the LNG carrier technology area will set the yard on the technology growth path and will also lead to substantial improvements in areas like quality control, Health, Safety & Environment (HSE).

Odisha Government launched Anwesha scheme to provide free education to SC/ST students

  • The Odisha Government on 21 December 2015 launched Anwesha scheme to provide free education to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students. Under the scheme, 5000 SC and ST children will annually be enrolled into Standard I in leading private schools in urban areas of the state.
  • State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the scheme at Saragi Phul- a three day children's festival for ST, SC children held at Adivasi Ground, Bhubaneswar.

Highlights of the Anwesha scheme
  • The government will bear all expenses for education of the students under the scheme which will be implemented in 17 districts.
  • The expenses for fees, uniform, books, hostel accommodation as well transportation will be sponsored by the government.
  • The government aims to enrol a total of 50000 SC and ST students in phases.

Union HRD Ministry launched the 6th All India Survey on Higher Education

  • The Union Minister of Human Resource Development Zubin Irani on 21 December 2015 launched the 6th All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) in New Delhi.
  • The survey covers all the Higher Education (HE) institutions of the country including Universities, Colleges and Stand-Alone institutions from 2010-11 to 2014-15.
  • It brings out the correct and complete picture of the higher education system so that relevant statistics are available to the Central Government as well as State Governments in order to devise future educational policies.

The major findings of the AISHE 2014-15 are -
  • Increase in overall enrolment from 27.5 million in 2010-11 to 33.3 million in 2014-15.
  • Improvement in Gross Enrolment Ratio which is a ratio of enrolment in higher education to population in the eligible age group (18-23) years from 19.4 percent on 2010-11 to 23.6 percent in 2014-15.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI), a ratio of proportional representation of female and male, has marginally improved from 0.86 to 0.93 to the corresponding period.
  • Number of institutions of higher education listed on AISHE portal has also increased significantly – universities from 621 to 757 and colleges from 32974 to 38056 during the period.

Union Cabinet approved Lucknow Metro Rail Project Phase-1A

  • Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 December 2015 approved the Lucknow Metro Rail Project Phase-1 A. To be developed at an expenditure of 6928 crore rupees, the project will cover a length of 22.878 km with 22 stations.
  • Out of the total route length of 22.878 km, elevated route will be 19.438 km while underground route length will be 3.440 km with total 19 elevated and three underground metro stations. The metro train will ply between Chowdhary Charan Singh Airport and Munshi Pulia.
  • The project will cost 6928 crore rupees of which the Union Government will give 1300 crore rupees in form of equity and subordinate debt.

Pandorum Technologies developed India’s first Artificial Liver Tissue using 3D printing

  • Pandorum Technologies Private Limited in the third week of December 2015 developed India’s first artificial liver tissue with the help of 3-D printing technology.
  • The development is a major step forward in the on-demand manufacturing of 3D printed human organs.
  • The artificial liver tissue performs critical functions of a human liver including, metabolism, secretion of biochemicals such as cholesterol and albumin and detoxification.

Union Government launched two Mobile Apps for Farmers

  • For the benefit of farmers, Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh on 23 December 2015 launched two mobile apps namely Crop Insurance and AgriMarket Mobile.
  • The apps were launched to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Choudhary Charan Singh. Their birthday will be celebrated by organising Kishan Jai Vigyan Week.

North India's first cable bridge inaugurated at Basohali town of J&K

  • The Basohali town which is located in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir was in news on 24 December 2015 as the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dedicated the first cable-stayed bridge of North India to the nation.

Key details related to Basohli Cable-Bridge
  • The 592-metre bridge was constructed over river Ravi on Dunera- Basohli-Bhadharwah road.
  • It would provide close connectivity between three northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
  • It is fourth of its kind in India and first in North India and Jammu and Kashmir.

India’s first indigenously designed & built warship INS Godavari decommissioned

  • India’s first indigenously designed and built warship Indian Navy Service (INS) Godavari was on 23 December 2015 decommissioned in Naval Dockyard Mumbai. It was commissioned into the Navy on 10 December 1983.
  • With her decommissioning, INS Godavari (F-20) will complete its full life cycle, meeting all responsibilities and duties assigned, proving the success of Indian ship design and construction.
  • It was the lead ship of her class of three guided-missile frigates of the Indian Navy. The other two warships are INS Ganga and INS Gomati.

Reliance Defence partnered with Russia’s AlmazAntey for Air Defence Missile Systems

  • Reliance Defence of Reliance Infrastructure Limited on 24 December 2015 entered into a partnership with Russia’s AlmazAntey for producing Air Defence Missile Systems.
  • A corporate agreement in this regard was signed on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit to Russia.
  • Defence Acquisition Council’s approval for acquisition of S-400 air defence missile systems is expected to create business opportunity of about 40000 crore rupees.

Appointments –

Delhi Government appointed Gopal Subramanium Commission on DDCA scam

  • Delhi Government on 21 December 2015 appointed a one-member commission of inquiry on Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) scam. A decision in this regard was taken in  a cabinet committee meeting headed by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
  • The commission will be headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium. It will probe the alleged financial irregularities by the administrators of the DDCA.
  • The commission was appointed on the basis of recommendation of the three-member committee headed by Chetan Sanghi. The committee was constituted to probe alleged financial irregularities in DDCA after the Chief Minister’s office received serious complaints about its functioning.

Jet Airways appointed Amit Agarwal as Chief Financial Officer

  • Jet Airways on 22 December 2015 appointed Amit Agarwal as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He will be responsible for all financial and fiscal management aspects of the airlines business.
  • Agarwal will join the operating committee that has been tasked by the airline's board of directors to lead the airline’s growth strategy.
  • Prior to joining Jet Airways, he worked as the CFO of Suzlon Energy where he used to manage company’s finances and drive its turnaround initiatives.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal appointed as CEO of FSSAI

  • Senior IAS officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal was on 22 December 2015 appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • He succeeded Yudhvir Singh Malik, who was shifted as Additional Secretary in Niti Aayog in September 2015. Malik is believed to be the man behind the ban on global giant Nestles popular noodle brand Maggi, which has now been removed.
  • Prior to Pawan Kumar Agarwal's appointment, FSSAI Chairman Ashish Bahuguna was holding the additional charge of FSSAI CEO.

Gautam H Bambawale appointed as India's High Commissioner to Pakistan

  • Gautam H Bambawale was on 23 December 2015 appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He is presently serving as the Indian ambassador to Bhutan.
  • Bambawale will succeed TCA Raghavan, who will retire at the end of December 2015.

Days –

National Mathematics Day observed to commemorate birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan

  • India on 22 December 2015 celebrated National Mathematics Day. The day was observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of great Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • On this occasion, India and UNESCO agreed to work jointly in spreading the joy of mathematics and knowledge to students and learners across the world.
  • To this end, Conferences on the “Zero” at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, as well as at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore were held in recognition of Aryabhata’s role in the invention of zero.

UN adopted resolution to observe 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day

  • The United Nations General Assembly on 22 December 2015 adopted a resolution to observe 5 November every year as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
  • The creation of the day is aimed at raising awareness among people in the world of the dangers of tsunami and stressing the importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage.
  • The proposal was first suggested by the Japanese Government after the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015.

30th National Consumers Right Day observed

  • 30th National Consumers Right Day was observed across India on 24 December 2015. The day provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • The Consumer Protection and Action Committee (CPAC) celebrated the day by distributing complaints forms, information brochures and other consumer rights literature freely to the public.

Good Governance Day observed on 25 December

  • Good Governance Day was observed on 25 December 2015 across the country. The day was observed to mark the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • To mark the occasion, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda announced four new IT-based initiatives for providing citizen-centric health services.
  • The initiatives include three applications namely Kilkari, Mobile Academy and M-Cessation and a dedicated toll free number 1800-11–6666 to provide round the clock support for counselling and treatment support services for TB patients.

Awards & Honors –

Cow named Yahoo's Personality of the Year

  • Search engine giant Yahoo on 21 December 2015 named Cow as the Personality of the Year 2015. The animal managed to top the list over other high-profile contenders for the spot in Yahoo's list of 2015 Year in Review (YIR) for India.
  • As per Yahoo India, it all started after the announcement of beef ban in Maharashtra, which led to massive debates and arguments. The Beef Controversy was fuelled further by Dadri lynching and Award Wapsi campaign, and the cow soon became the icon of discussions on intolerance.
  • Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal were among the top newsmakers of 2015.
  • The rise of ISIS, 2015 World Cup, APJ Abdul Kalam's demise, the Sheena Bora Murder investigation and the Vyapam Scandal featured on the list of Most searched news / events in 2015.

Andy Murray won 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award

  • Andy Murray of the UK on 20 December 2015 received the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in London. The Scottish tennis-player was presented the award by Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan.
  • Murray was chosen for the award after a public vote in which he received 361446 of the 1,009,498 votes cast. The voting was based on performance of sports personalities in 2015.
  • For Murray, it was the second award in three years. He received the previous award in 2013.

Indian American Rakesh K Jain selected for US National Medal of Science 2015

  • Indian American professor Rakesh K Jain was on 22 December 2015 selected for the National Medal of Science 2015 of United States (US). Jain is a professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Tumour Biology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • He will receive the honour along with 16 other winners of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a White House ceremony in 2016.

Former Wicket-Keeper Syed Kirmani nominated for 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Former Indian Wicket-Keeper was on 24 December 2015 nominated for the 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Col. CK Nayudu Awards Committee. The meeting was held at the BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai.
  • The committee consists of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar, Hon. Secretary Anurag Thakur and N Ram (Chairman of Kasturi & Sons Limited and Publisher of The Hindu).

Sports –

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum announced retirement

  • New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum on 22 December 2015 announced retirement from all forms of international cricket. He will retire after the two home test series against Australia, which will begin in February 2016.
  • At present, the batsman and wicket-keeper, is New Zealand’s captain in all three forms of the international game viz., tests, ODIs and twenty20.

Winners for the 2015 ICC Awards announced

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) on 23 December 2015 announced the winners for the 2015 ICC Awards in Dubai, the UAE.
  • The awards were based on performance of individuals and teams, both men and women, between 18 September 2014 and 13 September 2015.
  • Among the 10 awards announced, the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year were conferred on Australian captain Steve Smith.
  • AB De Villiers was conferred with ICC ODI Cricketer of Year award.
  • Josh Hazzlewood of Australia was conferred with ICC Emerging Cricketer of the year award.
  • Brendon McCullam was conferred with ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.

FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee banned Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini from football for 8 years

  • The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee on 21 December 2015 banned FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA Michel Platini.
  • They were banned for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level.
  • The ban came into force immediately. Blatter and Platini have also been fined 40000 US dollar and 80000 US dollar respectively.

Globe Soccer Awards 2015 conferred

  • The Globe Soccer on 27 December 2015 presented the sixth edition of Globe Soccer Awards 2015 to the winners at a ceremony held in Dubai, UAE.
  • Best Player of the Year - Lionel Messi
  • Best Club of the Year - F.C. Barcelona

Shiva Keshavan clinched silver at Asian Luge Championship

  • Shiva Keshavan on 27 December 2015 grabbed a silver medal in the 18th edition of the Asian Luge Championship held in Nagano, Japan.
  • The first place was claimed by defending champion Hidenari Kanayama of Japan. On the other hand, South Korea's Kim Dong-hyeon grabbed the third place.

World –

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Afghan Parliament House in Kabul

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 December 2015 inaugurated Afghanistan’s newly-built Parliament House in Kabul.
  • The house was entirely built by India’s government-owned construction agency Central Public Works Department (CPWD) at an estimated cost of 90 million US dollars.

Key features of Afghan Parliament House
  • Its foundation stone was laid by the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh in August 2005.
  • It is spread across 86 acres. With a plinth area of around 30000 square meters, it is the largest structure in Afghanistan.
  • It has elements of Mughal and modern architecture with marbles used from Chesht-e-Sharif district of western Herat province.
  • A block in the Parliament House was named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

China launched DAMPE satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter

  • China on 17 December 2015 launched the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter.
  • It was the country's first space telescope and launched on a Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
  • The purpose of the satellite is to search for smoking-gun signals of dark matter, invisible material that scientists say makes up most of the universe's mass.
  • The satellite will be place in a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 500 kilometers to observe the direction, energy and electric charge of high-energy particles in space.

Philippines became first Asian country to approve world's first-ever dengue vaccine

  • The Philippines on 22 December 2015 became the first Asian country to approve the sale of the world's first-ever dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
  • The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration approved the dengue vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue types in individuals from 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas.
  • Earlier on 9 December 2015, Dengvaxia, manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, secured its first regulatory approval in Mexico.

Zimbabwe announced to adopt Chinese currency Yuan

  • Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on 21 December 2015 announced that the country has planned to adopt the Chinese Yuan as legal tender. It will be done in return for debt cancellation worth 40 million dollars in the second week of December 2015.
  • As per the decision, Yuan will be a function of trade between China and Zimbabwe and acceptability with customers in Zimbabwe.
  • China has become the largest investor in Zimbabwe, which has been shunned by the West over its human rights record and is struggling to emerge from a deep 1999-2008 recession that forced the government to ditch its own currency in 2009.

Obituaries –

Veteran actor Sadhana Shivdasani passed away

  • Veteran Indian actress Sadhana Shivdasani died on 25 December 2015 in Mumbai, Maharashtra after a brief illness. She was 74.
  • One of the top actors of the 1960s and 1970s, Sadhana is remembered for her powerful performances in hits like Hum Dono, Love in Simla, Mera Saaya and Waqt.
  • Born on 2 September 1941 in a Sindhi family, the legendary actress first appeared on silver screen as a chorus  girl in the song Mur mur ke na dekh mur mur ke in Raj Kapoor's Shree 420.

Former CJ of Karnataka & Kerala High Courts Justice VS Malimath died

  • Former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Courts Justice V S Malimath died on 22 December 2015 at Manipal hospital in Bengaluru.
  • He was 86-years old and survived by wife Prema Devi V Malimath, a son and four daughters.
  • He was appointed as a Judge in the Karnataka High Court in March 1970. Subsequently, he was appointed as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court in 1984.


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