1. Gen. Raheel Sharif to head Islamic Military Alliance
Pakistan’s recently retired army chief Gen Raheel Sharif will head the Saudi Arabia-led 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed to combat terrorism. The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh. The coalition includes countries like Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen among others.
2. Gionee signs Virat Kohli as brand ambassador
Gionee has announced cricketer and the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team Virat Kohli will become their new brand ambassador. Virat will soon be seen in the upcoming campaign of Gionee, and will also be actively involved in a host of innovative marketing and customer experience initiatives of the brand. Gionee had roped in actor Alia Bhatt as it’s brand ambassador a few months ago and Virat is joining her.
AWARDS & HONOURS
3. Amitabh Bachchan honoured by US Embassy for TB awareness
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been honoured by the US Embassy to acknowledge his immense contribution to the India-US ties on tuberculosis. The award was presented by US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma to the 74-year-old actor, who himself is a TB survivor and brand ambassador for the cause.
4. Air India named third worst international airline of 2016
Air India, with a nearly 39% chance of a flight delay, has been rated the third worst international airline of 2016 by aviation insights company FlightStats. The ‘Worst International Airlines’ list was topped by Israel-based El Al with a 56% chance of delay, while Icelandair came second with a 41% chance. Philippine Airlines and Asiana Airlines completed the top five.
5. PM Modi announces scheme for youth seeking jobs abroad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will soon launch a skill development programme for young Indians seeking jobs abroad. The Pravasi Kaushalya Vikas Yojana (PKVY), a skill development scheme, is aimed at boosting the confidence level of the Indian youth, Modi said, addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru.
Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa, Modi said this day marked the return to India of one of the greatest Pravasis and that his government’s priority was to convert “brain drain” into brain gain”.
6. 20th National Conference on e-Governance inaugurated in Visakhapatnam
The 20th National Conference on e-Governance began in Visakhapatnam. A film on e- governance “Transforming India” was screened on the occasion. Addressing the gathering at the inaugural function, the Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that Good Governance is Fundamental, but e-Governance is Instrumental. The mantra for our Government from first day has been Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
7. India, Portugal sign six agreements
India and Portugal signed six agreements – including one on defence cooperation – after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa. The other MoUs signed provide for cooperation in the areas of information technology and electronics, agricultural trade (including market access for agricultural products), deeper engagement in renewable energy and marine research.
8. BSE launches mobile app for mutual fund trading
Making trading in mutual funds more convenient for investors, top stock exchange BSE has announced the launch of the ‘BSE StAR MF’ mobile application. The app is currently available to android mobile users. BSE runs the mutual fund trading platform – BSE Star MF – the largest MF distributor platform in India with more than 4 lakh SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) per month.
The platform provides a range of services for easy transactions and seamless order flow for Asset Management Companies (AMCs).
9. Pak fires its 1st submarine-launched nuclear-capable missile
Pakistan has successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 450km from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, giving the country a “credible” second-strike capability.
The missile, Babur-3, was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy, the Inter Services Public Relations. Babur-3, which has a range of 450km, is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested earlier in December, last year.
10. ‘La La Land’ dominates awards count at Golden Globes
Director Damien Chazelle’s musical romance “La La Land” registered four early wins at the Golden Globes with its lead star Ryan Gosling bagging the best actor trophy in the musical or comedy category. The movie, which leads the nominees list with 7 nods, also saw Chazelle winning the best screenplay award. French film “Elle”, Isabelle Huppert, won the best foreign film. “Zootopia” was named the best animated movie.
11. Bopanna, Jeevan win Chennai Open doubles title
Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, playing only the second time together, notched up a memorable victory in a historic all-Indian doubles final, as they outplayed compatriots Divij Sharan and Purav Raja in the Chennai Open. It is the first time that an Indian team has clinched the Chennai Open trophy since the legendary Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi took the title in 2011.
12. British singer Peter Sarstedt dies at 75
British singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt has died at the age of 75. Best known for the 1969 number one hit ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’, his family announced that he died after a six-year battle with progressive supranuclear palsy.
Born in Delhi, India in 1941, the British singer’s other songs included ‘Take Off Your Clothes’ and ‘Frozen Orange Juice’, the latter reaching number 10 in the 1969 UK charts.
13. Former Iranian President Rafsanjani dies aged 82
Former Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a co-founder of the Islamic Republic who later proposed freeing the economy from state control and promoted more moderate views than many of his peers, has died from heart failure. He was 82. Rafsanjani “played a critical role” in Hassan Rouhani’s election as president in 2013.