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Daily news

1. ANDHRA PRADESH CABINET APPROVES PENSION FOR STATE’S TRANSGENDERS

i. The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approved a scheme to provide a pension of Rs 1500 to transgenders above 18 years of age in the state.

ii. Under this scheme, the transgenders will be provided ration cards, plots, and scholarships, also skill development for financial stability. After Kerala and Odisha, Andhra Pradesh becomes the next state to sanction pension scheme for the transgender community.

2. UIDAI TEMPORARILY BARS AIRTEL FROM CONDUCTING AADHAAR LINKED E-KYC CERTIFICATION

i. The Unique Identification Authority of India has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process.

ii. The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their informed consent.

3. GST COUNCIL CLEARS E-WAY BILL MECHANISM

i. The GST Council has decided to implement the e-way bill mechanism throughout the country by June 1 after reviewing the readiness of the IT network. Under the Goods and Services Tax regime, the waybill is replaced by an e-way bill.

ii. It aims at mitigating the problems caused by waybill compliance. E-way bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the GSTN portal. The decision was taken in the 24 meeting of the GST Council via Video-Conferencing.

4. GOVERNMENT ROPES IN ICICI BANK TO ENABLE CASHLESS PAYMENTS ON E-NAM

i. The government has engaged private lender ICICI Bank to enable online payments at 470 mandis integrated with the national portal of electronic National Agriculture Market.

ii. At present, e-NAM participants are doing payments through traditional ways via bank branches, debit cards, and net banking. ICICI Bank will enable BHIM and Unified Payments Interface on the e-NAM portal for making cashless payments.

5. GOVERNMENT TO BEAR MDR CHARGES ON DIGITAL TRANSACTIONS UP TO RS 2,000

i. As per the IT Ministry, the government will bear the Merchant Discount Rate charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions.

ii. MDR is charged on payments made to merchants through BHIM UPI platform and Aadhaar enabled Payment System. The merchant discount rate will be borne by the government for two years with effect from January 1, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks.

iii. Merchant Discount Rate is a charge to a merchant by a bank for accepting payment from their customers in credit and debit cards every time a card is used for payments (like swiping) in their stores. The MDR is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount.

6. SUSHIL KUMAR CLINCHES GOLD AT COMMONWEALTH WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

i. Double Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar clinched a gold medal at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in South Africa. Sushil defeated New Zealand’s Akash Khullar via a pinfall in the final of the 74kg freestyle category to clinch the medal.

ii. Parveen Rana also won a bronze medal in the same category. Another Olympic medalist, Sakshi Malik also clinched a gold medal in the championships. Sakshi defeated New Zealand’s Tayla Tuahine Ford in the final of the 62kg women’s freestyle category.

7. REAL MADRID PRESENTED WITH THE FIFA WORLD CHAMPIONS BADGE

i. Real Madrid has earned the honor of being able to wear the official FIFA World Champions Badge on their competition jerseys for the duration of 2018 by defeating Gremio in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.

ii. Real Madrid will be able to display the emblem all the way up to the next FIFA Club World Cup, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates in December 2018.

8. SEBASTIAN PINERA WINS CHILE’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

i. A conservative billionaire and former president, Sebastian Pinera, has won Chile’s presidential election run-off.

ii. With nearly all votes counted, Mr Pinera has polled more than 54%. Left-winger Alejandro Guillier was his closest opponent. Sebastian Pinera has replaced Michelle Bachelet.

9. WHO CERTIFIES GABON AS POLIO FREE

i. The World Health Organisation has declared Gabon a “polio-free country”, given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country. According to WHO, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.

ii. Cases of polio have decreased by 99 percent since 1988 when polio was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide.

10. MAN SAILS AROUND THE WORLD IN 42 DAYS, BREAKS WORLD RECORD

i. Frenchman Francois Gabart smashed the world record for the fastest non-stop solo navigation of the globe, completing the mammoth feat in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

ii. The 34-year-old sailor crossed a virtual finish line drawn between the island of Ushant off France’s northwest tip and Lizard Point in southwest England at 0145 GMT, comfortably beating the previous record set by compatriot Thomas Coville last year by six days and 10 hours.

11. SAMSUNG, UNESCO PARTNER FOR VIDEOS ON INDIAN HERITAGE SITES

i. Samsung India has entered into a partnership with UNESCO to launch virtual reality content and 360-degree videos on Indian heritage sites.

ii. Indian heritage sites include the Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha and Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The project will provide experiential educational content to students across the country. There are 36 UNESCO heritage sites in India at present.

12. SATHEESH REDDY CONFERRED WITH NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD

i. G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems, has been conferred with the prestigious National Design Award.

ii. He has bagged this award for his significant national contribution towards indigenous design and development of diversified missile systems, guided weapons, avionics technologies.

Currently News

1. NARENDRA MODI INDUCTS SCORPENE-CLASS SUBMARINE KALVARI INTO INDIAN NAVY

i. PM Narendra Modi commissioned India’s 1st modern conventional submarine, INS Kalvari, into Navy’s fleet in Mumbai, a first in almost two decades. Kalvari is the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines handed over by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited.

ii. The Navy last inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhushastra, procured from Russia in July 2000. 1. Dreaded Tiger shark- Kalvari is named after the dreaded tiger shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean.

2. French naval defense’s design- The submarines, designed by French naval defense and energy company DCNS, are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai as part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy.

3. Scorpene class submarine- The Navy is inducting six Scorpene-class submarines on a 3 billion dollar contract. Construction for the first submarine, designated as MDL Yard 11875 commenced in December 2006.

2. INDIA SIGNS LOAN AGREEMENT WITH WORLD BANK FOR US$ 250 MILLION FOR SANKALP PROJECT

i. A Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 250 million (equivalent) for the “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Project” was signed with the World Bank.

ii. The Objective of the project is to enhance institutional mechanisms for skills development and increase access to quality and market-relevant training for the workforce. The closing date for the project is 31st March 2023.

3. INDIA AND MOROCCO SIGN MOU FOR ENHANCED COOPERATION IN HEALTHCARE

i. India and Morocco signed an MoU for enhanced cooperation in the health sector in New Delhi. Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Dr. Abdelkader Amara, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Morocco signed the MoU.

ii. The main areas of cooperation include the following: Non-communicable diseases, including child cardiovascular diseases and cancer; Maternal, child and neonatal health; Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical quality control and Hospital twinning for the exchange of good practices.

4. INDIA RANKS 100 IN GLOBAL PROSPERITY INDEX

i. India has upgraded its ranks in ‘The Legatum Prosperity Index 2017’ and is now on 100 position. At present, the rising trend in India’s prosperity is significant in view of the fact that India registered lower economic growth following demonetization and implementation of the goods and services tax reform in 2017.

ii. The index, which offers an insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world, ranks India 100th on the list of prosperous countries among 149 countries.

5. OBOPAY GETS PRE-PAID INSTRUMENT LICENCE FROM RBI

i. OBOPAY has announced that the company has secured a license for Prepaid Payment Instrument from the Reserve Bank of India to operate a semi-closed loop wallet in the country.

ii. The company would also be using the license to increase business in its B2B (business-to-business) operations by co-branding the prepaid instrument with a partner brand.

6. 27TH NATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION DAY- 14 DECEMBER

i. The National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated annually on 14th December. The 14th President of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

ii. The ECD is organized on 14th December each year by Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under Ministry of Power. The Day is celebrated with an aim to demonstrate India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation.

iii. President Ram Nath Kovind would be presenting the National Energy Conservation Awards. The awards would be conferred to Industries that have demonstrated measurable reductions in their energy use. The President will also be presenting the National Painting Competition Prizes. This year, over 1 crore 22 lakh children across India between 4th and 9th standards participated in the National Painting Competition.

7. NORWAY BECOMES 1ST NATION TO SHUT NATIONAL BROADCASTS ON FM

i. Norway became the world’s first country to shut down national broadcasts of its FM network by completing its transition to digital radio.

ii. The transition will allow for better sound quality, a greater number of channels and more functions, at a cost eight times lower than FM radio. The transition concerns only national radio channels.

8. BCCI LIFTS BAN ON RAJASTHAN CRICKET ASSOCIATION

i. The Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to lift the ban on the Rajasthan Cricket Association provided former IPL chief Lalit Modi stays away from its functioning, the Board decided in its Special General Meeting.

ii. The RCA was suspended by the Indian cricket board in May 2014 when ex-Indian Premier League Commissioner Modi was re-elected its president.

9. DELHI GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTES COMMITTEES TO LOOK INTO COMPLAINTS OF FEE HIKE BY PRIVATE SCHOOLS

i. The Delhi Government constituted ‘Fee Anomaly Committees’ in each district to look into complaints of fee hike by private schools in the state. The Committees have been formed on the recommendations of the Justice Duggal Committee.

ii. The Directorate of Education of the state said that parents can now complain to committee if they have an issue with the fees charged by private schools. The complaint can be registered with the committee of the respective districts in the prescribed format along with a processing fee of Rs 100.

iii. The committees have been formed in the backdrop of recent complaints by parents regarding the arbitrary fee hikes by private schools, which cited the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission as a reason for fee hike.

10. ACTOR-DIRECTOR NEERAJ VORA PASSES AWAY

i. Bollywood actor, writer, and filmmaker Neeraj Vora, in the coma since a year, died at a Mumbai hospital. He was 54.

ii. As an actor, his first work professional work came in the form of Ketan Mehta’s Holi (1984), which also starred Aamir Khan. His last film as an actor was Anil Kapoor starrer Welcome Back, which released in 2015.

Currently affairs

1. 2ND UNWTO/UNESCO WORLD CONFERENCE ON TOURISM AND CULTURE HELD IN MUSCAT

i. The 2nd UN World Tourism Organization/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture was held in Muscat, Capital city of Oman.

ii. The Minister of State for Culture (I/C) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma led the Indian delegation. The conference was focused on sustainable development, culture and tourism as a factor of peace and prosperity; tourism development and protection of cultural heritage.

2. INDIA TO HOST 3RD ANNUAL MEETING OF BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF AIIB

i. India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at Mumbai in June 2018.

ii. The Theme of the Annual Meeting, 2018 will be “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”.

iii. The Government of India and AIIB Secretariat signed the MoU to delineate the duties and responsibilities of major stakeholders who would be involved in organizing the aforesaid Annual Meeting.

3. RBI RAISES FPI LIMIT IN G-SECS, STATE DEVELOPMENT LOANS

i. The Reserve Bank of India increased the limits for investment by foreign portfolio investors for the January-March 2018 quarter by Rs 6,400 crore in Central Government Securities and Rs 5,800 cr in State development loans.

ii. With effect from January 1, 2018, the revised investment limit for FPIs in G-Secs will be Rs 2,56,400 cr against the existing limit of Rs 2,50,000 cr.

4. AIIB GRANTS 1ST LOAN TO CHINA TO REDUCE DEPENDENCE ON COAL

i. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved its first loan to China, its largest shareholder, to reduce its dependence on coal by over 600,000 tonnes annually by building a natural gas distribution network for villages.

ii. The USD 250-million-loan will fund a project to connect 216,750 households in approximately 510 villages to the natural gas distribution network. With an authorized capital of USD 100 billion, China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 percent voting shares.

iii. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 percent.

5. ADB LOWERS INDIA’S GDP FORECAST FOR FY18 TO 6.7%

i. The Asian Development Bank lowered India’s GDP forecast for the current fiscal by 0.3% to 6.7 %.

ii. It has also revised downward the gross domestic product outlook for next fiscal beginning from March 2018 to 7.3% from 7.4% mainly due to rising global crude oil prices and soft growth in private sector investment.

6. HINDI WRITER MAMTA KALIA SELECTED FOR VYAS SAMMAN 2017

i. Renowned Hindi writer Mamta Kalia was selected for the Vyas Samman 2017 for her novel “Dukkham Sukkham” published in 2009.

ii. She was chosen by a selection committee headed by Sahitya Akademi director and author Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari. She will receive Rs 3.5 lakh as the prize money of Vyas Samman.

iii. She is known for her works in Hindi and English including “Beghar”, “Janch Abhi Jaari Hai”, “Nirmohi”, and “Bolne Wali Aurat”. She has been conferred with various awards for her work including Yashpal Katha Samman from Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, Sahitya Bhushan Samman and Ram Manohar Lohia Samman.

7. RAJASTHAN, FIRST IN INDIA TO OFFER E-MAIL IDS IN HINDI

i. Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to launch free email addresses in Hindi (in Devanagari script) for its residents, as per the state IT department Principal Secretary Akhil Arora.

ii. The initiative aims to ensure maximum participation of people towards e-governance and that maximum facilities are available in the vernacular language. The first e-mail ID was created for CM Vasundhara Raje.

8. INDIA’S LAKSHMI PURI AMONG SIX DIPLOMATS FELICITATED WITH DIWALI ‘POWER OF ONE’ AWARD AT UN

i. Six top diplomats including one Indian were felicitated with the inaugural Diwali ‘Power of One’ award at the UN headquarters in New York for their contribution to help form a more perfect, peaceful and secure world.

ii. The awards were presented on 11 December, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the issuance of a ‘forever Diwali stamp’ by the US Postal Services. Lakshmi Puri, the Indian head of the UN Women was one among the top six.

9. DHAMMAPIYA ELECTED NEW SECRETARY GENERAL OF IBC

i. Buddhist monk Dhammapiya from Tripura has been elected as the new secretary general of the International Buddhist Confederation.

ii. He was elected to the post at the second general assembly of the IBC. The IBC is a global Buddhist forum for preservation and development of heritage sites of the religion in India and other parts of the world.

10. PRIYANKA CHOPRA CONFERRED MOTHER TERESA MEMORIAL AWARD FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

i. Indian actor, Priyanka Chopra has been bestowed with the 2017 Mother Teresa Memorial award for her contribution towards lending her support to social causes such as her recent visit to Syria where she met and interacted with refugee children.

ii. The 35-year-old is also UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador and is known for supporting various philanthropic activities. The award was received by her mother Madhu Chopra, on her behalf. The award has been conferred to several famous personalities in the past such as Malala Yousafzai, Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Oscar Fernandes, Sudha Murty, Sushmita Sen and Bilquis Bano Edhi.

11. INDIA BECOMES 1ST EVER TEAM TO REGISTER HUNDRED 300+ ODI TOTALS

i. India has become the first-ever team to register 300+ totals 100 times in ODIs, after posting 392/4 against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

ii. This was also the 25th instance of India scoring 350+ in an ODI innings, second-most by a team after South Africa (26). India was driven by captain Rohit Sharma’s 208*, his third ODI double hundred which is also a record in ODIs.

12. SHUBHANKAR SHARMA WINS JOBURG OPEN

i. 21-year-old Indian Golfer Shubhankar Sharma claimed his maiden European Tour victory in the Joburg Open, in South Africa. He has defeated South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen.

ii. This was a maiden European Tour win for Shubhankar Sharma. England’s Marcus Armitage was the top British finisher in Joburg.

Currently affairs

1. RUSSIA-INDIA-CHINA FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET BEGINS IN DELHI

i. Foreign Ministers of Russia, India, and China are holding a trilateral meeting in New Delhi. The meeting is expected to review global and regional issues of mutual interest as well as discuss trilateral exchanges and activities.

ii. The External Affairs Minister will have separate bilateral meetings with her Russian and Chinese counterparts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi have arrived in New Delhi.

2. CHINA STARTS WORLD’S BIGGEST FLOATING SOLAR PROJECT

i. A unit of China Three Gorges Corp. is building a 1 billion yuan ($151 million) floating solar power plant, the world’s biggest, in the nation’s eastern province of Anhui. China Three Gorges New Energy Co. started building the 150-megawatt project in July and part of the plant was connected to the grid.

ii. The project features panels fixed to floats on the surface of a lake that formed after a coal mine collapsed, according to the unit. The entire facility is expected to come online by May 2018.

3. INDIA INX GETS SEBI GO-AHEAD FOR LISTING OF DEBT SECURITIES

i. BSE’s India International Exchange has received approval from the capital market regulator SEBI on the framework for the listing of debt securities.

ii. The move will enable Indian and foreign issuers to issue masala bonds, Eurobonds, and foreign currency bonds from India INX at International Financial Service Centre at Gujarat International Finance Tech for the first time.

4. UMA SHANKAR APPOINTED RBI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

i. Uma Shankar, chief general manager in charge of the Reserve Bank of India’s financial inclusion and development department has taken over as executive director in the central bank.

ii. Shankar has been elevated after Meena Hemchandra the executive director in charge of the central bank’s supervision department retired recently.

5. UTTARAKHAND GOVERNMENT MAKES LED BULBS COMPULSORY IN ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICES

i. The state government of Uttarakhand has taken a new initiative for energy conservation by making it compulsory for all government offices to install LED bulbs.

ii. The move is expected to reduce the consumption of electricity in offices and civic areas. All the District Magistrates and Head of Departments have been directed to strictly follow the orders, following sanctions by the state cabinet. The purchase of sodium vapour lamps and incandescent lamps by all the state departments has also been banned .

6. MARUTI SUZUKI REPLACES SBI AS 6TH MOST VALUABLE INDIAN FIRM

i. India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki became India’s sixth most valued firm, crossing India’s largest lender State Bank of India.

ii. Maruti Suzuki’s market capitalization stood at Rs 2.73 trillion, marginally ahead of SBI’s market value of Rs 2.70 trillion. Reliance Industries is the country’s most valued company with a market value of Rs 5.83 trillion, followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, ITC and Hindustan Unilever.

7. GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES DOOR-TO-DOOR CAMPAIGN AGAINST TB

i. The Government of India has launched a door-to-door campaign for 15-days in the country for early diagnosis, detection and treatment of tuberculosis to eliminate the disease.

ii. The health ministry has initiated this campaign along the lines of its anti-polio drive, which fetched very good result for India and successfully eliminated this disease from the country.

iii. Under it, the health department workers, Accredited Social Health Activists and TB supervisors will make door-to-door visits to find TB patients and give them free medical treatment till they are cured.

8. PRADEEP SINGH KHAROLA TAKES OVER AS AIR INDIA CMD

i. Senior IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola took charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. Kharola assumed charge from Rajiv Bansal.

ii. He was the managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd since February 2015.

9. RAHUL GANDHI ELECTED INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS PRESIDENT

i. The Indian National Congress announced that Rahul Gandhi has been elected as its new President, taking over from his mother Sonia Gandhi. He is the 16th President of Congress since Independence.

ii. Rahul was declared the party President after no other candidate filed a nomination to contest the presidential elections.

10. INDIA BEAT GERMANY, WIN BRONZE AT HOCKEY WORLD LEAGUE FINAL

i. India defeated Germany 2-1 in the Hockey World League Final to grab the bronze medal at the event, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. SV Sunil and Harmanpreet Singh scored for the world number six Indian side.

ii. The world’s fifth-ranked side Germany was without any substitutes as seven of their players were unavailable for the match either due to injury or high fever. For India’s success, Odisha government presented each player a cheque of Rs 10 lakh.

11. PIONEER OF DNA FINGERPRINTING LALJI SINGH PASSES AWAY

i. Lalji Singh, a pioneer of DNA fingerprinting technology in India and former Vice-Chancellor of Benares Hindu University, BHU (2011 to 2014), passed away at the age of 70.

ii. Lalji Singh and his team developed the indigenous probe that was first applied to settle paternity disputes in the late 1980s at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Hyderabad.

12. VETERAN JOURNALIST SUKHARANJAN SENGUPTA PASSES AWAY

i. Veteran journalist Sukharanjan Sengupta died due to old age-related health problems. He was 85.

ii. Sengupta had worked for Bengali dailies Jugantar and Ananda Bazar Patrika in his long career spanning over six decades.

13. INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN DAY OBSERVED GLOBALLY

i. International Mountain Day was observed across the world on 11 December 2017 with the theme ‘Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger and migration’.

ii. The day provides an occasion to highlight how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and to ensure that sustainable mountain development is integrated into the 2030 Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Currently

1. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GROUNDWATER ORGANIZED

i. An International conference is being organized on the Groundwater issues in the country with a theme of “Groundwater Vision 2030- Water Security, Challenges, and Climate Change Adaptation”.

ii. The conference has been organized by the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee and Central Ground Water Board under the aegis of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

2. 1ST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SPORTS MEDICINE & SPORTS SCIENCES SAICON 2017 INAUGURATED IN DELHI

i. The First International Conference on Sports Medicine and Sports Sciences SAICON 2017 was inaugurated in New Delhi by the Minister of State (I/C) Youth Affairs and Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore.

ii. SAICON 2017 will promote scientific temperament in the country and inspire students, researchers and educationists alike to take up sports science and research to the next level.

3. KERALA TO RAISE MINIMUM LIQUOR DRINKING AGE FROM 21 TO 23

i. The Kerala government lead by the Left Democratic Front has decided to raise the legal drinking age from 21 to 23 years. The State Cabinet in a meeting decided to introduce a new ordinance raising the minimum age for liquor consumption from 21 to 23.

ii. The Ordinance will amend the Abkari Act. The previous UDF regime had adopted a policy in favour of prohibition by shutting down bars and closing doors on state-run liquor vending outlets.

4. USA NOW RECOGNIZES JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL

i. President of USA Donald Trump has announced that the US now recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, overturning decades of official US policy.

ii. The fate of the ancient city is one of the thorniest issues between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel called Donald Trump’s move “historic” but there has been sharp international criticism. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Donald Trump’s announcement “deplorable”.

5. KACHEGUDA BECOMES INDIA’S FIRST ENERGY-EFFICIENT RAILWAY STATION

i. Kacheguda Railway Station in Hyderabad under the South Central Railway has earned the unique distinction of being the first Energy Efficient ‘A1 Category’ Railway Station on Indian Railways.

ii. The station has achieved 100% energy efficiency by replacing 1,312 conventional lights with light-emitting diode lighting, among other steps.

6. TAJ MAHAL NAMED SECOND-BEST UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

i. The Taj Mahal, India’s iconic ivory-white marble mausoleum in Agra, is the second best UNESCO world heritage site in the world, according to a new survey by online travel portal TripAdvisor.

ii. The Taj Mahal is rated after Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Other popular heritage sites on the survey include the Great Wall of China (3rd) built by Xu Da of Northern Qi Dynasty in 1368 AD. Machu Pichu in Peru in South America has bagged the fourth spot.

7. TIME MAGAZINE NAMES #METOO ‘SILENCE BREAKERS’ AS PERSON OF THE YEAR

i. “The Silence Breakers”, the vanguard of a global movement by millions of women to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, was revealed to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

ii. Time Magazine has recognized the women who came forward with sexual assault allegations as its 2017 Person of the Year, calling individuals such as Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, “the voices that launched a movement.”

8. WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT DECIDES TO MAKE INDIA ITS MEMBER

i. In a significant development, elite export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement decided to admit India as its new member. This would raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation besides helping it acquire critical technologies.

ii. The decision was taken at the two-day plenary meeting of the grouping in Vienna. India’s entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

9. KERALA’S ALAPPUZHA IN TOP 5 UN CLEAN CITY LIST

i. The waste management system being implemented in Kerala’s coastal town of Alappuzha has been recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme as one of the five models across the world for fighting the pollution menace.

ii. Alappuzha has been listed in the UNEP environment report entitled, ‘Solid approach to waste: how five cities are beating pollution’ alongside cities like Osaka in Japan, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Penang in Malaysia and Cajica in Colombia.

10. ALL ABOUT THE STAR SCREEN AWARDS 2017 HELD IN MUMBAI

i. Star Screen Awards, the annual film awards recognises the best of talent in Hindi films. Vidya Balan bagged the award for Best Actress (Critics) for Tumhari Sulu, Irrfan won the Best Actor Award for his performance in Hindi Medium.

ii. Rajkummar Rao won the Best Actor Award (Critics) for Newton & Best Actor in a Supporting Role Award for Bareilly Ki Barfi as well.

11. AXIS SECURITIES GETS NCDEX MEMBERSHIP

i. Axis Securities, a subsidiary of Axis Bank, has become the first-ever broking arm of a bank to take membership of a commodity exchange by registering itself with NCDEX.

ii. In September, Reserve Bank of India allowed banks wishing to undertake commodities derivatives clearing to set up a separate subsidiary for the purpose and adhere to the membership norms laid by market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India.

12. LONDON MAYOR NAMES DEEPAK PAREKH AS FIRST INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR

i. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has named noted Indian businessman, Deepak Parekh, as ‘International Ambassador’ who will be tasked with championing the UK capital across the globe.

ii. Parekh, is one of the first of a network of international ambassadors, that would include high-level business and cultural figures based in London or overseas. Parekh is the chairman of India’s premier housing finance company HDFC Ltd.

13. KANCHANMALA PANDE WINS INDIA’S 1ST WORLD PARA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIP GOLD

i. Nagpur’s Kanchanmala Pande created history as she became the first Indian to secure pole position at the World Para-Swimming Championship in Mexico.

ii. The 26-year-old Reserve Bank of India employee won gold in the 200 meter medley event in the S-11 category and was also the only Indian to qualify for the women’s category.

14. CRISTIANO RONALDO WINS BALLON D’OR, EQUALS LIONEL MESSI’S RECORD

i. Cristiano Ronaldo (from Portugal) has won the Ballon d’Or for a fifth time to move level with rival Lionel Messi. The Real Madrid forward was named the winner of France Football’s prestigious award at a ceremony in Paris, France.

ii. The award caps a year in which Ronaldo has won LaLiga, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup with Real Madrid, as well as helping Portugal qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Messi, the only other player to have won the award since 2008, finished second.