Current Affairs December 5, 2015

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Current Affairs occupy primary place in all competitive exams. No candidate can afford to take current affairs lightly in this era of stiff competition where lakhs of candidates appear for few number of posts. In order to get success in competitive exam, one needs to have excellent grip over the current affairs along with other subjects.

We therefore brings Daily Current Affairs, which are the Summary of the Current Affairs which we cover in our Current Affairs Magazine. You can read all these news in detail in our Current Affairs Magazine.

current affairsCurrent Affairs Summary December 5, 2015

1. ENVIRONMENT MINISTER RELEASES INDIA STATE OF FOREST REPORT 2015

The Government announced that India’s forest and tree cover has increased by 5, 081 sq km. While the total forest cover of the country has increased by 3, 775 sq km, the tree cover has gone up by 1, 306 sq km. According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2015, the total forest and tree cover is 79.42 million hectare, which is 24.16 percent of the total geographical area. The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7, 044 million tones, an increase of 103 million tonnes, which is an increase of 1.48 in percentage terms over the previous assessments.

2. JAN LOKPAL BILL PASSED IN DELHI ASSEMBLY

The Delhi Assembly passed the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015. The house cleared the bill with two amendments passed by the Delhi Cabinet evening after some changes were suggested by activist Anna Hazare. The first amendment said a seven-member panel would select two members and chairperson in the institution of Jan Lokpal. The second amendment said the Jan Lokpal would be impeached only after a high court monitored probe against the ombudsman. The legislation will not become law till the central government approves it.

3. GOVERNMENT APPOINTS 14 NEW JOINT SECRETARIES

14 new Joint Secretaries have been appointed in different central government ministries in Delhi as part of a major mid-level bureaucratic reshuffle. Two Indian Police Service officers and one each from Indian Forest and Indian Postal Service have also been appointed as Joint Secretaries (JS). The reshuffle is aimed at speeding up the implementation of the government’s ambitious programmes.

4. SCIENTISTS DISCOVER MYCOBACTERIAL PROTEIN TO FIGHT TUBERCULOSIS

A team of scientists from Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) have discovered a mycobacterial protein that promises to fight tuberculosis in a novel way. The team has identified a novel mycobacterial protein Rv1988, which is secreted out of the mycobacterium into the host upon infection and localises to the chromatin (DNA-histone complex) in the nucleus of the human cell.

5. INDIA LAUNCHES ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMME

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched the Accessible India programme that aims to make hundreds of government buildings, railway stations and airports accessible to people with physical disabilities by next year. Coinciding with the World Disability Day on December 3, the campaign unveiled aims to make 2,500 government buildings in 50 cities accessible for the physically challenged by next year. That figure will be extended to 50 per cent of all government buildings in Delhi NCR and state capitals by 2018.

6. NEW CLIMATE DRAFT UNVEILED

Negotiators at the climate change summit unveiled a new draft deal on which there was still no agreement. Following three days of hectic negotiations over a complex 54-page draft pact, negotiators released a document four pages shorter but still there was reportedly no agreement on about 250 undecided options across the text.

7. CHINA APPROVES CONSTRUCTION OF 3 MORE DAMS ON BRAHMAPUTRA

China has approved the construction of three more dams on the Brahmaputra River in Tibet region apart from the Zangmu hydroelectric project that started operations in October. Zangmu hydroelectric project that became operational in October is a 510 MW run-of-the river project. India has urged China to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.

8. THE BUREAU OF INDIAN STANDARDS BILL, 2015 PASSED IN LOK SABHA

A Bill to extend the ambit of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) was passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015, adopted by a voice vote, proposes to make BIS a national standards body, introduce mandatory hallmarking of precious metal, prevent misuse of Standard marks and provide for recall of ISI marked products not conforming to relevant standards.

9. LED STREET LIGHTING MADE MANDATORY IN DELHI

Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain announced that LED street lightings has been made mandatory in the city and is being implemented. Delhi is amongst the first to implement the domestic efficient lighting program called “Prakash Path” followed by Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

10. UN POPULATION FUND WARNS ON PROTECTION OF WOMEN

The United Nations population fund warned about the fate of 26 million women and girls among those displaced by conflict or uprooted by disaster, calling for more attention to their needs. A total of 100 million people have required humanitarian aid this year — a record since 1945.

11. SAINA NEHWAL NOMINATED FOR WOMAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been nominated for the Woman Player of the Year Award of the Badminton World Federation. Saina, currently ranked number two, will vie for the coveted honour along with world number one Carolina Marin of Spain, 2014 winner Zhao Yunlei of China and another Chinese Bao Yixin.

12. JAPAN NUCLEAR RADIATION SPREADS TO US SHORES

Scientists said that radiation from Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster has spread off North American shores and contamination is increasing at previously identified sites, although levels are still too low to threaten human or ocean life. Samples of Pacific Ocean water confirmed that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to leak radioactive isotopes more than four years after its meltdown.

13. LYFT PARTNERS WITH OLA, GRABTAXI TO REACH ASIAN MARKETS

Lyft has formed new partnerships with two Asian on-demand ride services, Ola and GrabTaxi. Lyft, which announced an alliance with Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest ride-hailing company in September, has formed a coalition that will allow passengers to use all platforms to hail a ride as they travel between the US and Asia. The four companies, which connect passengers with cars and other transportation services through mobile apps, will compete together against Uber. They will also share information on new technology and products, and knowledge of local markets and regulations.

14. INDIA CROSSES 5 GIGAWATT MARK FOR SOLAR INSTALLATIONS

The cumulative installed capacity of solar power in India has crossed the 5 Gigawatt (GW) mark. While total commissioned utility solar capacity in India reaches 4.7 GW; rooftop capacity stands at 525 MW. In 2015 year to date, close to 2 GW solar capacity has been commissioned. As of today, the country has a solar project pipeline of 15.7 GW. The financial year 2016-17 will be Indian solar market’s transition year: annual capacity addition could top 6 GW with India becoming one of the leading solar nations worldwide.

15. PAYTM LAUNCHES VIRTUAL PREPAID CARD WITH ICICI BANK

Paytm has entered into partnership with ICICI Bank enabling payments at a much wider set of merchants through a co-branded virtual prepaid card linked to the user’s Paytm Wallet. Paytm wallet users can also add money to their mobile wallets by making cash deposits at any of the 4,000 ICICI Bank branches.

16. MICHAEL PHELPS WINS 200M MEDLEY IN US WINTER SWIMMING

American Michael Phelps won the men’s 200 metres individual medley at the United States Winter Swimming Championships at the King Aquatic Center. He finished in one minute 57.61 seconds for the title.

17. COMIC CON DELHI 2015

The latest event – Delhi Comic Con 2015 – kicks off on Friday. Comic Con is dedicated to expanding India’s popular culture by creating high profile events that cater to fans of not only comics, but also, gaming, movies, television, merchandise, toys, food & more. Since our inception, we have steadily expanded the scope of our events by involving the various industries that can help expand popular culture.

18. APPLE’S SWIFT PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE GOES OPEN SOURCE

Apple has open sourced Swift, the programming language it had unveiled last year. By making Swift open source, the company is paving the way for the programming language to be used beyond Apple’s products and is also tapping on the growing trend among many to rely on open source software. From Google to Uber, a large number of companies use Linux-powered computers in their data centres.

19. BIOMARKER OF EARLY LUNG CANCER IDENTIFIED

Researchers have identified a biomarker that detects the most common lung cancer in its earliest stage. The researchers tested Huntingtin interaction protein-1 (HIP1) as a potential new biomarker. The discovery could help increase survival of lung cancer patients.

20. GOVERNMENT TO BAN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES OLDER THAN 15 YEARS

Due to alarming levels of pollution being recorded across Delhi, the government aims to rid the city of commercial vehicles older than 15 years by April next year. New Delhi, by far and away is the worst offender as parts of Delhi recorded an AQI of 999. An AQI reading above 150 is considered to be unhealthy whereas 350-500 is said to be hazardous.

21. ORBITAL ATK POSTPONES CARGO LAUNCH

Rainy weather and thick clouds over Florida forced Orbital ATK to postpone the planned launch of its Cygnus cargo craft toward the International Space Station. The mission is Orbital ATK’s first space launch since its Antares rocket exploded in October 2014 just seconds after liftoff, destroying the cargo craft and its thousands of pounds of supplies bound for the astronauts living at the orbiting International Space Station.

22. INDIAN NAVY DAY CELEBERATED

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to naval personnel on 44th Navy Day. December 4 is celebrated as the Navy Day in India, to commemorate the start of Operation Trident during the India-Pakistan War of 1971.

23. ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN PANEL SUBMITS RECOMMENDATIONS

A panel headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian submitted its recommendations to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It has recommended a standard rate of 17-18 per cent under the proposed goods and services tax (GST). The panel’s recommendations could help break the political deadlock on the GST Bill. It has backed scrapping a controversial proposal of a 1 per cent additional levy by states on the cross-border transport of goods, which the Congress party has opposed. The constitution amendment bill for introduction of GST has been passed by the Lok Sabha, and is pending in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance does not have majority.

24. WORLD’S FIRST WASHABLE SMARTPHONE TO BE LAUNCHED SOON

A Japanese firm KDDI says that its new “Digno rafre” phone — to be launched in Japan next week — is the only one that can be washed with soap and water. Waterproof smartphones have been on the market for a while.

25. SUN PHARMA GETS US NOD FOR CANCER DRUG

Drug major Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has received approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture and market generic version of Novartis’ Gleevec, used in treatment of cancer, in America. The approval has been granted for Imatinib Mesylate tablets of 100 mg and 400 mg strengths. Imatinib Mesylate tablets, 100 mg and 400 mg are therapeutic equivalents of Novartis’ Gleevec tablets.

26. AUSTRALIA PASSES ANTI-TERRORISM LAW

Australia’s parliament has passed the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences or found to have fought with banned groups overseas. It will also ensure terrorists who are dual nationals are prevented from returning to Australia and dual nationals who engage in terrorism within Australia can be removed where possible.

27. QUIKR ACQUIRES REAL ESTATE ANALYTICS PLATFORM REALTYCOMPASS

Online cross-category classified business Quikr has acquired realtycompass, a real-estate analytics platform, to enhance its offerings in the property space. The platform provides builder ratings and detailed project analysis to end-consumers and investors to help them in making informed decisions. Founded by Nimesh Bhandari, Sankara Srinivasan and Alok Mishra in 2013, realtycompass will now be a part of QuikrHomes.

28. PROJECT FOR SATELLITE MONITORING OF PIPELINES LAUNCHED

To address pipeline safety concerns, GAIL and National Remote Sensing Centre, have launched an innovative surveillance geo-portal called ‘Bhuvan-GAIL Portal’ for utilising space technology for its pipeline application. GAIL has more than 13,000 kms of pipeline network, wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline RoU is presently done via Helicopter surveys. By January 2016, GAIL would begin live satellite monitoring of its pipeline RoU.

29. CHINA PLEDGES $60 BILLION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

Chinese President told African leaders that his country would pump $60 billion into development projects, cancel some debt and boost agriculture under a three-year plan that will extend Beijing’s influence in the continent. He also said China would not interfere in African countries’ internal affairs.

30. RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS SIGNS PACT TO SELL TOWER ASSETS

Anil Ambani owned Reliance Communications (RCom) has signed a non-binding pact with US-based telecom infrastructure company Tillman Global and private equity firm TPG to sell its tower assets. The amount raised from the deal will only be used to pare down debt. Reliance Communications had a net debt of Rs 36,726 crore as on March 31, 2015.

31. GRAPHENE FOR STRONGER DENTAL FILLINGS

According to new study, Graphene oxide could be used to make super strong dental fillings that don’t corrode. The study suggests we chew around 800 times in an average meal, that’s almost a million times a year. The idea of the project is to add graphene into dental materials, in order to increase their resistance to corrosion as well as to improve their mechanical properties.

32. IDEA CELLULAR LAUNCHES 3G NETWORK IN DELHI

Idea Cellular has commercially launched its 3G network in Delhi. Its 3G network on 900MHz band, which has high-calibre transmission and propagation capabilities, will provide a jam-free network, offering high-speed Internet and indoor Internet coverage.

33. GERMAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES MILITARY MISSION IN SYRIA

Lawmakers approved plans for Germany to take on a direct role in the battle against the ISIS group in Syria. Parliament agreed to the mandate for the deployment of Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate and up to 1,200 troops by an overwhelming majority of 445 votes in favour and 146 against. Britain joined the US-led bombing campaign over Syria on Thursday after its parliamentary approval.

34. ASTRONOMERS SPOT FAINTEST GALAXY FROM THE EARLY UNIVERSE

Astronomers have found the faintest object ever seen in the early universe. It existed about 400 million years after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The team has nicknamed the object Tayna, which means “first-born” in Aymara, a language spoken in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America. Though Hubble and Spitzer have detected other galaxies that are record-breakers for distance, this object represents a smaller, fainter class of newly-forming galaxies that until now have largely evaded detection.

35. JAPAN BANS FRENCH FOIE GRAS IMPORTS OVER BIRD FLU VIRUS

Japan has banned imports of French foie gras due to a bird flu outbreak. The ban, which became effective November 26, will be lifted 90 days after all affected French poultry farms finish culling their birds and conclude necessary sanitary procedures. Japan took action to stop imports of French poultry and live birds after the European Commission confirmed birds at a French chicken farm were infected with the H5N1 strain.

36. FIFA SUSPENDS ITS ARRESTED OFFICIALS

The two FIFA officials — vice presidents Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay and Alfredo Hawit of Honduras — were arrested in Zurich on suspicion of corruption. FIFA has suspended them now. If the changes are approved, these members will be removed from the day-to-day management of world football.

37. ANDHRA PRADESH LAUNCHES ‘SHE AUTOS’ SCHEME

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu launched the ‘She Autos’ scheme and distributed 49 CNG-fuelled autos to women drivers at a function in Vijayawada. The beneficiaries will have to pay Rs. 4,500 per month for a period of 18 months and the remaining amount would be borne by the Women’s Welfare Department as a subsidy.

38. FOREX RESERVES DOWN BY $750.2 MILLION TO $351.615 BILLION

According to RBI country’s foreign exchange reserves reduced by $750.2 million to $351.615 billion in the week to November 27, due to decline in foreign currency assets. Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of overall reserves, fell by $726.2 million to $327.669 billion in the reporting period. FCAs, expressed in dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation and depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and the yen, held in the reserves.

39. CHINA UNVEILS STOCK MARKET RISK CONTROLS

China announced circuit-breaker mechanisms to prevent systemic risk in case of sharp stock-market falls, and it appears close to pushing ahead long-awaited reforms for initial public offerings. The circuit-breaking rules for all Chinese exchanges were announced by the Shanghai Stock Exchange and will take effect on January 1. Plans for IPO reforms will be rolled out as early as next week.

40. NALCO APPOINTS FIVE INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS

The state-owned aluminium maker Nalco named five independent directors on its board. The appointees are Damodar Acharya, Dipankar Mahanta, P K Nayak, Maheswar Sahu and S Sankararaman.

41. DECLASSIFICATION OF NETAJI FILES

The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra, officially handed over the first set of files related to Netaji to the Director General, National Archives of India, setting the stage for their declassification beginning on 23rd January, 2016.

42. GMR INFRA INKS $300-M BOND DEAL WITH KUWAIT INVESTMENT BODY

GMR Infrastructure has inked a foreign currency convertible bond private placement deal with Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), a sovereign wealth fund, for $300 million (about ₹2,000 crore). The FCCBs, with a 60-year tenure and due by the year 2075, will carry a 7.5 per cent coupon rate.

43. SEBI OUTLINES ROADMAP FOR E-BOOK FOR CORPORATE BONDS

In a bid to increase market activity, SEBI has proposed to set up a platform for online sale of privately-placed corporate debt. Technically called electronic book, the platform enables improvement in efficiency, transparency of the price discovery mechanism and also reduction in cost and time taken for such issuance.

44. NEW UN TOOL TO PREVENT MATERNAL AND NEWBORN DEATHS

WHO announced a new checklist for healthcare workers that will help reduce maternal and newborn deaths with “a single and practical bedside tool” designed to make a difference for women and infants in various settings around the world. WHO’s new Safe Childbirth Checklist and Implementation Guide targets the major causes of maternal and newborn complications and deaths, including post-partum haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour, preeclampsia and birth asphyxia.

45. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION REDUCTIONS SURPASS GLOBAL EMISSIONS

A new report finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two United Nations-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector. Report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks, totaling close to $2 trillion dollars in market value, have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

46. WORLD SOIL DAY ON DECEMBER 5, 2015

The UN General Assembly declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils, which aimed to create full awareness of civil society and decision makers about the fundamental roles of soils for human’s life. The Year also sought to achieve full recognition of the prominent contributions of soils to food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

47. NEW SAND FLY SPECIES DISCOVERED IN BRAZIL

Researchers in Brazil after detailed morphometric and morphological analyses of three different flies in the genus Psathyromyia, they found that the specimens were originally misidentified and that they were actually an undescribed species. The new species, Psathyromyia baratai, is described in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

48. SCIENTISTS DEVELOP ‘SHAZAM FOR EARTHQUAKES’

An algorithm inspired by a popular song-matching app is helping Stanford scientists find previously overlooked earthquakes in large databases of ground motion measurements. They call their algorithm Fingerprint And Similarity Thresholding, or FAST, and it could transform how seismologists detect microquakes — temblors that don’t pack enough punch to register as earthquakes when analyzed by conventional methods. While microquakes don’t threaten buildings or people, monitoring them could help scientists predict how frequently, and where, larger quakes are likely to occur.

49. WEATHER SATELLITE STARTUP WILL LAUNCH ON INDIAN ROCKET

A Colorado-based startup developing a satellite network to predict weather using radio signals will launch its first two spacecraft on an Indian rocket. Privately owned PlanetiQ signed a contract with Antrix Corp Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, to launch the pair of satellites in late 2016. GeoOptics and Spire are two other startups planning to build and operate fleets of low-orbiting satellites equipped with so-called GPS radio occultation sensors. Tempus Global Data and HySpecIQ intend to fly a different type technology, called hyperspectral imaging, to collect similar atmospheric data.

50. STUDENTS TO TALK WITH SPACE STATION ASTRONAUT

Students from seven high schools in Boston will have the opportunity to speak with a NASA astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station on Dec 8. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Space station Commander Scott Kelly will answer questions from students in grades 9 through 12 at Bristol Plymouth Regional High School, Campus Academy, Duxbury High School, Fenway High School, Innovation Academy Charter School, St. Marks School and the Winsor School. Kelly launched to the station on March 27 as half of the first crew to spend a full year on the space station.

Read these Current Affairs in detail in our Current Affairs Magazine.

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