1. Donald Trump appoints Indo-American to key White House post
US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed an Indian-American, Raj Shah, as the Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy Communication Director, and Research Director. Shah, whose origins are in Gujarat, was reportedly born and raised in the US. During the election campaign, Shah had led a team to carry out research against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presidential candidate.
2. Jovenel Moise confirmed as Haiti’s new President
Jovenel Moise won Haiti’s presidential elections with 55.6 percent of the first round vote held on November 20. The announcement by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council puts an end to a protracted electoral process that began in October 2015 and paralyzed the Caribbean country’s politics for more than a year.
Moise, a 48-year-old political neophyte, is due to take power February 7 to succeed Jocelerme Privert, who will by then have served for nearly a year as interim president after Michel Martelly ended his term without an elected successor.
3. S Padmanabhan appointed as Chairman of Tata Power Company
Tata Power has announced the appointment of S Padmanabhan as its chairman in place of Cyrus Mistry who resigned last month. In December, Tata Power brought back S Padmanabhan, who was executive director of operations at the company until 2014, as an additional director on the board. Padmanabhan is also the executive chairman of the Tata Business Excellence Group and has recently been appointed as Tata Sons’ group head for human resources.
4. Rajiv J Shah appointed as President of Rockefeller Foundation
Former USAID head Rajiv J Shah is set to be named as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, one of America’s largest and most influential philanthropies, becoming the youngest person and the first Indian-American to lead the group. The selection will make Shah the youngest person and the first Indian-American to lead the Rockefeller Foundation, which was founded in 1913 by the oil tycoon John D Rockefeller.
5. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Kenya in field of agriculture and allied sectors
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
The MoU covers various activities in these fields which include agricultural research, animal husbandry and dairy, livestock and fisheries horticulture, natural resource management, post-harvest management and marketing, soil and conservation, water management, irrigation farming systems development and integrated watershed development integrated pest management, agricultural plant, machinery and implements, sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
6. Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Uruguay for Cooperation in Customs Matters
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of an agreement between India and Uruguay for cooperation in matters related to customs. The agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of customs laws, besides facilitating legitimate trade.
7. 104th Indian Science Congress inaugurated in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 104th Indian Science Congress at Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Modi exhorted scientists to keep an eye on the rise of disruptive technologies and leverage them for the country’s growth, as he pledged government’s commitment to support different scientific streams with emphasis on innovations.
Theme : Science and Technology for National Development.
8. Afghanistan bans Pakistanis from entering without visa
Afghan authorities at the Torkham international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan announced that Pakistani nationals without a valid passport and visa will not be permitted to enter Afghanistan starting January 1, 2017. This comes after Pakistan ordered border control measures to prevent the arrival of alleged terrorists from Afghanistan.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
9. Google launches My Business and Digital Unlocked tool for small and medium businesses
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who is in a short trip to India unveiled two initiatives – Digital Unlocked and My Business Website – to provide technological edge to the small and medium businesses (SMBs). Google in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has developed a training programme called ‘Digital Unlocked’ for the SMBs. The program is meant for small businesses and it will be certified jointly by Google, FICCI and Indian School of Business (ISB) – Hyderabad.
10. Japanese startup creates world’s first virtual reality shoes
Japanese startup Cerevo has developed ‘Taclim’, a pair of what it claims to be the world’s first virtual reality shoes for simulating different surfaces like desert, grassland or water in a game. The shoes have eight built-in interactive tactile devices which bring a sense of touch and allow a user to even feel kicking an enemy during a game.
11. Scientists discover mesentery, a new human organ in digestive system
Irish scientists have recently identified a new human organ that has existed in the digestive system for hundreds of years. Named as the mesentery, the organ connects the intestine to the abdomen and had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
12. Sitar Maestro Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan passes away
Renowned sitar player Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan — the last survivor of the “Sitar Trinity” of India along with the late Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan — died in Mumbai after a brief illness, a family member said. He was 88.
The son of renowned singer and musician Jaffer Khan, he started his musical career with the All India Radio in the early 1940s. He became the first Hindustani classical musician who collaborated in Carnatic music with legendary Veena exponent, Emani Sankara Sastry.