Current Affairs Update – 31st December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs Update of 31st December, 2015. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016, Syndicated Manipal PO Exam and SIDBI Assistant Manager Exams.

Industry/Finance –

World Bank offers $50 million loan for minority education

  • The World Bank signed a credit agreement of $50 million with the government today for education and skill training for minorities.
  • "The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $50 million credit for the Nai Manzil: The Education and Skills Training for Minorities Project to help young people from minority communities complete education and gain from market-driven training programmes with the aim of improving their employment outcome," World Bank said in a release.
  • The project will support the government's national Nai Manzil (New Horizon) scheme, which was launched in August this year.
  • The project will reach out to the disadvantaged youth from minority communities and support their enrolment in open schooling as well as provide hands-on vocational training.
  • It will also provide post-placement support to assist them in finding sustainable employment, read the statement.

Andhra Pradesh Government decided to hike wages of Anganwadi workers

  • The Andhra Pradesh Government on 30 December 2015 decided to hike the wages of Anganwadi workers. The wages of the Anganwadi workers will be increased from 4200 rupees to 7000 rupees and the wages of Anganwadi helpers will be hiked to 4500 rupees.
  • It was also decided to replace the conventional street lights with LED lights in 659 villages across the state.
  • The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting presided by state Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in Vijayawada.
  • In addition, the Cabinet decided to implement a new sand policy with effect from 1 February 2016. As per the policy, Mines Department will monitor tendering and auctioning of sand reaches in the state.

Airtel acquires 100 per cent stake in Augere Wireless

  • Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it has acquired the balance 26 per cent stake in Augere Wireless, which holds 4G spectrum in Madhya Pradesh, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.
  • Earlier, Airtel had announced acquiring 74 per cent stake in Augere Wireless but did not disclose financial details of the deal.
  • Augere holds 20 Mhz of spectrum in 2300 Mhz band in Madhya Pradesh service area, which includes Chhattisgarh state, to be used for 4G services. The company had won this spectrum for Rs. 124.66 crore in 2010 but has not rolled out services.
  • Airtel now has 20 Mhz in 2300 Mhz band across nine service areas. The company directly won this spectrum in four service areas for Rs. 3,314.36 crore.
  • Later, it acquired Qualcomm’s India unit which had spectrum in four circles including metros.
  • Infotel Broadband, which was acquired by Reliance Industries, was the only bidder to win spectrum on pan-India basis in the 2300 Mhz band in that auction.

India –

Union Cabinet approved Raptor MoU for conservation of migratory birds of prey

  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 30 December 2015 gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for conservation of migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia. The MoU, also called as Raptor MOU, will help India gain knowledge in effectively managing the habitats of the raptors.
  • With the signing of the MoU, India will become the 54th signatory to the MoU.
  • The MoU is also in conformity with the provisions of the existing Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, wherein the birds have been accorded protection.

Union Cabinet approved construction of 69 bridges on trilateral highway in Myanmar

  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 30 December 2015 approved the construction of 69 bridges including approach roads on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section of the trilateral highway in Myanmar.
  • The bridges will be constructed at a cost of 371.58 crore rupees.

Key facts related to construction of bridges on TKK road section:
  • The construction of bridges will impart all weather usability to the TKK road section, which is also part of the route for the proposed Imphal-Mandalay bus service.
  • It will improve connectivity between India and Myanmar and facilitate the movement of goods and traffic.

Sports –

Virat Kohli named BCCI Cricketer of the Year

  • Continuing his meteoric rise, Indian Test captain Virat Kohli was today named ‘Cricketer of the Year’, while Mithali Raj was picked for the top women’s award in the BCCI annual honours to be given away on January 5 in Mumbai.
  • Under Kohli, the Indian team ended a 22-year wait for a series win on Sri Lankan soil before battering world No.1 South Africa to give them their first overseas loss in nine years.
  • The right-hander has done well with the bat too, scoring 640 runs in 15 Test innings that he played at an average of 42.67. In his 20 ODI outings this year, Kohli managed 623 runs at an average of 36.65.
  • Mithali, on the other hand, became the first Indian woman and second overall to complete 5,000 runs in ODI format this year. Mithali will be presented with the M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for the best women’s cricketer.
  • In other awards, former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani will be presented the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • The Karnataka State Cricket Association has been chosen the State association of the year for achieving the treble of winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy in the season.
  • Karnataka all-rounder Robin Uthappa has been picked for the Madhavrao Scindia Award for being the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy. Uthappa scored 912 runs in 11 matches, averaging 50.66.
  • The top wicket-taker’s award is being shared this year by Karnataka’s R Vinay Kumar and Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur, both of whom scalped 48 in the previous season.

Ashwin is ICC's No. 1 Test bowler, first Indian since Bedi’s feat in 1973

  • Star India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has ended 2015 as the No. 1 Test bowler in the ICC rankings issued on Thursday on the back of his strong showing against South Africa in the recent home series.
  • Ashwin, who took 62 wickets in nine Tests this year including 31 scalps in the four matches against South Africa, became the first India bowler since Bishen Bedi in 1973 to achieve the milestone of finishing the year on top.
  • In fact, Bedi, an ICC Hall of Famer, is the only India bowler to ever top the Test bowling table, while Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble peaked at number-two during their careers.
  • Ashwin achieved the number-one spot for first time in his career after injury prevented South African Dale Steyn from bowling more than 3.5 overs in England’s second innings in the Durban Test.
  • Steyn had started the Durban Test leading Ashwin by four points and now trails the India off-spinner by the same margin. Even though the fast bowler bagged four wickets in the first innings, these were not enough for him to end the year as the number-one ranked bowler for the sixth time since 2009.
  • Ashwin’s successful season was reflected in his ranking after he started the year in 15th position and slowly but surely moved to the top of the chart.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla announced retirement from all forms of cricket

  • Laxmi Ratan Shukla, former Indian cricketer and Bengal all-rounder, on 30 December 2015 announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. However, he might continue playing for his club Mohun Bagan.
  • Sukhla’s announcement came two days after he was named in the Bengal squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy starting on 2 January 2016.

Bjorn Isberg named as Tournament Director of 2016 Hockey India League

  • Sweden's Bjorn Isberg on 30 December 2015 was appointed as the Tournament Director of Coal India Hockey India League (HIL), the premier league for hockey in India.
  • On the other hand, Muthukumar Balakrisnan from Malaysia was given the role of the Assistant Tournament Director in the 4th edition of the Coal India Hockey India League.
  • Andy Mair from Scotland was named as the umpire's manager for the league.

Appointments –

Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan appointed DG of National Centre for Good Governance

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on 30 December 2015 approved the appointment of Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan as the Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance.
  • He will be in the office for a period of three years which is extendable by another two years or up to 60 years of age, whichever is earlier.
  • The 54-year-old Bandgaiyan is a former IAS officer of the Union Territories cadre. He hails from Madhya Pradesh.
  • He is also an Ex-Chief Economist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Awards & Honors –

Indian-Origin Cancer Researcher Harpal Singh Kumar Knighted by Queen Elizabeth

  • A top Indian-origin cancer research expert has been conferred Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for being "hugely influential" in his work on prevention and treatment of cancer, according to the annual New Year's Honours list released here today.
  • Harpal Singh Kumar, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), has been honoured for services to cancer research and being "hugely influential in promoting research into the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and cancer care."
  • "CRUK's income and research spend are at an all-time high. Under his leadership, it has been instrumental in pushing the government to take further measures to reduce smoking and to ban sun-beds for under-18s," Kumar's citation reads.
  • Samir Desai, founder-CEO of Funding Circle, receives a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his work in the field of financial inclusion and Raminder Singh Ranger, chairman of Sun Mark Ltd, is awarded a CBE for services to business and community cohesion.

World –

Japan and South Korea reached Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women

  • Japan and South Korea on 28 December 2015 reached an Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women.
  • The agreement was reached after a meeting between Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea in Seoul.
  • It aims to resolve a decades-old dispute over Korean women who were used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
  • The agreement is considered as historic as the issue had been a bone of contention between the countries for decades.

Obituaries –

Singapore's Indian-Origin Blind Champion of Disabled Ron Chandran-Dudley Dies at 81

  • Ron Chandran-Dudley, a Singaporean of Indian-origin who championed the rights of handicapped both here and abroad, has died of a massive heart attack. He was 81.
  • Chandran-Dudley breathed his last yesterday in a hospital where he was taken to after complaining of chest pain.
  • He is survived by wife Rena Chandran-Dudley, 87, who said it was the worst attack she had seen him experience as he earlier had heart problems for which he underwent a quintuple bypass.
  • Blinded at the age of 19 from a kick to his head during a rugby match, Chandran-Dudley was one of Singapore's key pioneers, having established many of the handicapped welfare associations here.

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek died

  • Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek died on 29 December 2015 at Ostrava, Czech Republic. He was 47.
  • Srnicek passed away nine days after suffering cardiac arrest.


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