AWARDS & HONOURS
1. Ronaldo wins European Sportsperson of the Year award
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted the European Sportsperson of the Year by Polish news agency PAP. The Portuguese sensation pipped Tennis ace Andy Murray and Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu – who finished second and third respectively. The 31-year-old won his fourth Ballon d’Or after helping Real Madrid win La Undecima – their 11th European triumph – before leading Portugal to their maiden European Championship 2016 success.
2. Anil Baijal to succeed Najeeb Jung as new Delhi Lt Governor
Former Union home secretary Anil Baijal has been appointed as the new lieutenant governor of Delhi in place of Najeeb Jung who resigned recently. Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, was home secretary in 2004 when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was in office. His tenure was cut short by the UPA government, which, soon after taking over in May 2004, shunted him out. Baijal was actively associated with the designing and roll-out of the Rs 60,000crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission launched by the Manmohan Singh government.
3. Viral Acharya appointed as RBI Deputy Governor
Viral Acharya was appointed by the Government as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for a term of three years. Acharya will be joining the ranks of Vishwanathan, S S Mundra, R Gandhi as one of four deputy governors serving under RBI Governor Urjit Patel. Before his appointment to the RBI, he has been serving as CV Starr professor of economics at the New York University Stern School of Business since 2008. Acharya teaches at the Stern School of Business in New York university.
4. India eases visa process for Bangladeshis
In a bid to ease the procurement of Indian tourist visas for Bangladeshis, India will now allow those with confirmed travel tickets to submit their visa applications directly without prior appointments. The Indian Visa Application Centre in Mirpur will receive walk-in tourist visa applications from confirmed travellers and senior citizens from January 1.
The initiative has been taken as part of the on-going efforts to streamline, liberalise and ease the process of securing Indian visas. These measures are aimed at making Indian visa securing easier for Bangladesh visitors to India and strengthening people-to-people contacts between India and Bangladesh
5. India 2nd largest arms buyer among developing nations
India has emerged as the second largest purchaser of arms among developing nations after Saudi Arabia. Between 2008 and 2015, India purchased defence equipments worth USD 34 billion, which is a distant second after Saudi Arabia’s USD 93.5 billion, said the report ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2008-2015’ released by Congressional Research Service (CRS).
6. Government cancels FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs
The government of India has cancelled the FCRA licence of close to 20,000 of the 33,000 NGOs operating in the country after they were found to be flouting certain norms laid out in the Foreign Contributions Registrations Act, 2010. The FCRA or Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 is nothing but a regulatory act formed to keep a check on civil society bodies that may be receiving foreign funds in an illegal manner. Therefore, the cancellation of an FCRA licence means that the NGOs in question can no longer take funds from a foreign contributor but they can continue to work on donations given by Indian companies and individuals.
7. Kerala to seek Union government’s approval for using deer antlers in Ayurveda medicines
Kerala to seek Union government’s approval for using deer antlers in Ayurveda medicines. Antlers of spotted deer and sambar may find their way into Ayurveda medicines if a recommendation of the Kerala State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) finds favour with the National Board for Wildlife and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Antlers are the extensions of the deer’s skull. All three deer varieties found in Kerala, including spotted deer, sambar, and barking deer, shed their antlers annually.
8. Gujarat government announces Biotechnology Policy 2016
Gujarat Government announced its ‘Biotechnology Policy-2016’ to establish state as a preferred destination for manufacturing of biotechnology products. The policy has provisions for various incentives for investors who are keen to set up their units in the state.
It aims to take annual turnover of biotechnology products to Rs 15,000 crore from current f Rs 4,500 crore turn over within next 3-4 years and make Gujarat top state in this sector in the country.
9. Rajasthani writer Satya Narayan chosen for 2016 Bihari Puraskar
Eminent Rajasthani litterateur Satya Narayan has been chosen for the 26th Bihari Puraskar, 2016 for his Hindi book titled, “Yeh Ek Dunia”, the K K Birla Foundation announced. Instituted in 1991 by the Foundation, the award which is named after famous Hindi poet Bihari, recognises outstanding work in Hindi or Rajasthani, published during the last ten years by a Rajasthani writer. Narayan will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs, besides a citation and a plaque.
Last year the Bihari Puraskar was awarded to Bhagwati Lal Vyas for his Rajasthani poetry collection titled, “Katha Sun Aawe Hai Sabad”.
10. Russia, Turkey agree to push for ceasefire in Syria
The foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey agreed in a telephone conversation to push for a ceasefire in Syria and to prepare for possible peace talks planned in the Kazakh capital of Astana. During the conversation the importance was stressed of a rapid completion of agreements on practical parameters to end military actions (in Syria), the separation of the moderate opposition from terrorist groups, and preparations for the meeting in Astana.
11. Astronomers discover universe’s biggest Galaxy Supercluster near Milky Way
A team of international astronomers has discovered Vela super cluster, one of the biggest super galaxy clusters near the Milky Way. It was spotted by a research team of astronomers from South Africa, Australia and Europe with help slew of telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope (Sydney) and South African Large Telescope (Cape Town).
Vela super cluster is massive and it is estimated to carry 100,000 galaxies with trillions of stars. It is one of the biggest concentrations of galaxies found in the Universe. Our galaxy Milky Way, part of Laniakea supercluster is puny when compared to Vela.
12. Two-time Madhya Pradesh CM Sunder Lal Patwa dies at 92
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Sunder Lal Patwa (92) died of a heart attack. He was made Chief Minister of the state twice, once with the Janata Party and then with the BJP. Patwa started his political career in 1951 with the Jana Sangh. He was imprisoned for seven months in 1948 for participating in an RSS movement.
13. Bestselling kids’ book author Richard Adams dies aged 96
Richard Adams, the author of bestselling children’s book Watership Down, passed away at the age of 96. The English author had won several awards for Watership Down which was later made into an animated movie. Adams, also known for writing Shardik and The Plague Dogs, had served in the British Army during World War II.
14. Former Sri Lankan PM Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passes away
Veteran politician Ratnasiri Wickremanayake who served twice as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka today passed away after a brief illness. Wickremanayake served twice as the Island nation’s premier first from 2000 to 2001 and then from 2005 to 2010.
He was appointed prime minister by former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 21, 2005. It was Wickremanayake who paved the way for Rajapaksa to emerge as the next leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
15. Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher passes away at 60
Carrie Fisher, who will forever be known for playing Princess Leia Organa in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. She was 60 years old. Fisher was rushed to the hospital after going into into cardiac arrest while aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. Her career as an author continued as well, with the novels “Surrender the Pink” and “Delusions of Grandma.”