Current Affairs: 26 January

Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017

Republic Day: January 26

  • India celebrates its 68th Republic Day today.
  •  The Republic Day Parade and ceremony is currently in progress on Rajpath. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force, and Republic Day is celebrated to honour that day.
  • On this day in 1950, the first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath. President Pranab Mukherjee will start the ceremony by hoisting the Indian flag, following which the Republic Day Parade will begin from Rajpath. 
  • The parade starts from Rajpath and ends at Red Fort in Delhi. 
  • Every year on Republic Day, India invites a visiting head of state, who is the state guest of honour (chief guest) for the ceremony. 
  • This year's guest of honour is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who personally received the Prince at the airport, said that United Arab Emirates is India's valued partner and close ties between the two countries are important for the entire region.
  •  India and UAE have signed 13 agreements, including one on strategic cooperation. 
  • Though Republic Day is celebrated on January 26 with the Parade on Rajpath, the celebrations are spread over three days and ends with the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29.
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National Voters' Day: 25 January

  • On January 25 India celebrated its sixth National Voters Day. 
  • Since 2011, NVD is annually celebrated on Jan 25. 
  • This year's theme of NVD is "Inclusive and Qualitative Participation"and slogan is ‘no voter should be left behind'.
  • The significance of this day is to encourage youngsters, who have reached the age of 18, of the country to participate in the electoral process, by enrolling or registering themselves in electoral rolls and to exercise their franchise.

Four female umpires appointed for ICC Women's WC Qualifier 2017

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named four women in a strong field of nine umpires to officiate in next month's ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2017 in its continued efforts and commitment for the overall growth and development of women's cricket.
  • The February 7 to February 21 event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, will see experienced Kathleen Cross of New Zealand lead the group of women umpires, who all have international experience and are being groomed for more future responsibilities by the ICC.
  • Cross, who was the first woman to be named in an ICC umpires' panel in 2014 when she was named in the Associates and Affiliates panel, is the most experienced of the four officials with Sue Redfern of England, Claire Polosak of Australia and Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies the other women figuring in the list of umpires. 

AIFF launches professional league for women footballers

  • The All India Football Federation (AIFF) launched the first-ever Indian Women’s League (IWL) to be held at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi from January 28 till February 14.
  • The inaugural edition of the IWL will feature six teams — Jeppiar (Puducherry), Eastern Sporting Union (Imphal), Rising Student’s Club (Cuttack), Football Club Alakhpura (Haryana) and a team each from I-League and ISL clubs, Aizawl FC and Pune City FC.
  • Indian women’s team is ranked 54 in the world which is higher than the men’s ranking of 129 which means that for the upcoming FIFA women’s World Cup in 2019

Biologists created the world's first stable semi-synthetic organism 

  • There’s a new form of life crawling around in a California laboratory.
  •  It’s neither fully organic nor fully artificial, but falls somewhere in between. 
  • Created by a team of biochemists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the semisynthetic organism has DNA made up of both natural and manmade bases.
  • A semi-synthetic organism (SSO) is an organism that relies on a manmade part to function as part of its essential biology,
  • The organism is the product of about 14 years worth of research, developing an X-Y base pair and testing its stability (it’s ability to be copied) as the cell divides. 

Pune cops launch app to map real-time locations of patrolling teams

  • Pune City Police have started using a ‘Beat Marshall Monitoring Mobile App’ on experimental basis to map the real-time locations of patrolling teams from police stations. 
  • The data collected would then be used for effective response during the emergencies.
  • the mobile phone-based application will record timings of the patrolling, its route and the stops taken during the rounds. 
  • The application will be installed on the cell phones of Beat Marshals or patrolling cops so their movements can be mapped real-time by the control room staffers.
  • The locations can be seen on the city’s map, which would make dispatch of the nearest patrolling parties easier. 
  • Police officials said the application will help increase the patrolling frequency in times of emergency.

Japan's military launches first communications satellite

  • Japan successfully launched its first military communications satellite that is designed to upgrade its network in the face of China's increasingly assertive maritime activity and North Korea's missile threat.
  • The Kirameki-2 (kee-RAH-meh-kee 2) satellite was on an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima (tah-neh-GAH-shee-mah) Space Center in southern Japan. 
  • The satellite separated from the rocket and entered a designated orbit
  • It is the first of three satellites that will replace three civilian ones currently used by Japan's military. The new satellites will allow military units to communicate on a high-speed and high-capacity network.
  • The new satellites are also aimed at stepping up Japan's emergency response capability in case of natural disaster. 
  • China's maritime activity from southern Japanese waters to the South China Sea, as well as missile threats from North Korea.

Indian-Origin Mauritius PM Steps Down, Son To Take Over

  • Mauritius is set to have a new Prime Minister, two days after the 86-year-old Indian-origin Anerood Jugnauth resigned and handed over the post to his son.
  • Pravind Jugnauth, 50, leader of the main political party Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), has already formed his ministerial cabinet after receiving an appointment letter from President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim,
  • In a televised address, Anerood Jugnauth said he was resigning in favour of a "younger and more dynamic leader". His son is currently the Finance Minister.
  • According to the country's Constitution, the President appoints a member of the National Assembly as Prime Minister who has the support of the majority of members.
  • Pravind Jugnauth's party has the majority in the National Assembly with 32 members.

Damodar Valley Corporation receives NTPC award 2015-16

  • Damodar Valley Corporation received NTPC award 20015-16 from Union Power Minister, Piyush Goyal.
  • DVC chairman Andrew WK Langstieh, received the prize by Goyal amongst the power sectors under for implementation of Official Language.

Nita Ambani honoured by The Met in NY for her philanthropic work

  • Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson, Reliance Foundation, has become the first South Asian to be honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art(The Met) in New York for her philanthropic work in the areas of education, sports, healthcare, rural transformation, urban renewal, disaster response, women's empowerment and promotion of the arts.
  • The Met, recognised as one of the most iconic museums in the world, is currently located at three celebrated sites of New York — The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters — and houses over 5,000 years of art from around the world.

GOI Announced Padma Awards

  • The government on Wednesday announced Padma awards to citizens of the country in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres.
  • These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President of India has approved conferment of PadmaAwards to 89 persons as per the list below.
  •  The list comprises of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 7 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri Awardees. 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 5 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 6 posthumous awardees.

Boeing launches engineering and tech centre in Bengaluru

  • Global aerospace major Boeing on launched its engineering and technology center in Bangalore.
  • According to the global aerospace giant, ‘Boeing India Engineering and Technology Center’ (BIETC) will leverage a ‘talent pool of employees’ to increase productivity and long-term competitiveness to support it’s engineering growth in strong international markets such as India.
  • The company elaborated that BIETC will undertake ‘high quality technology-driven work’ to support diverse areas such as the development of advanced environment friendly coatings, and data analytics for next generation ‘Airplane Health Management’ tools.
  • Besides, BIETC is expected to be engaged in the development of software tools for airlines and airports to improve their operations and reduce costs, automation for more efficient next-generation manufacturing, systems, infrastructure and analytics.

France issues first 'green bonds' with record 7 billion euro sale 

  • France has issued its first "green bonds" with a record seven billion euro ($7.5 billion) sale, paving the way for the establishment of a genuine market in renewable energy bonds. 
  • Credit Agricole-CIB, which was one of the banks handling placement of the bonds with institutional investors, said it was a "historic" event for the green bonds market because of the size and long maturity of the loan.
  • The initiative was first announced in April 2016 by President Francois Hollande who has championed his country's role as a leader in energy transition. 
  • Poland was the first country to enter the green bond market with a more modest 750 million euro issue in December. 
  • Previously they had only been issued by companies or finance institutions such as the World Bank. 

NABARD to raise Rs 20,000 cr for on-lending to co-op banks

  • Cabinet permitted Nabard to raise about Rs 20,000 crore from the market for on—lending to cooperative banks at 4.5 per cent interest with an aim to provide cheaper crop loans to farmers.
  • Nabard will make short term borrowings at prevailing market rate of interest for approximately Rs 20,000 crore for on-lending to cooperative banks at 4.5 per cent.
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) will also coordinate the conversion of operative/live Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) into RuPay/ATM—enabled KCCs by cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in a mission mode.

India, France sign pact on maritime information sharing in Indian Ocean Region

  • India and France has signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) amid China's expanding naval forays in the area where India wants to establish itself as the net security provider. 
  • The agreement was signed when the two sides held their second dialogue on maritime cooperation for the Indian Ocean Region. 
  • The White Shipping Agreement will be implemented over the next few months enabling Navies of India and France to coordinate their roles in stabilising Indo-Pacific region, persons familiar with the developments indicated.
  •  It will enhance Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region. 
  • Delhi and Paris have been coordinating their naval movements and surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region over the last couple of years. 
  • France retains interests and assets with territories like Reunion Islands in the IOR.

Russia, Turkey and Iran Agree on Syria Truce Monitoring

  • Russia, Turkey and Iran, the sponsors of the peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels, have agreed to act as joint monitors for the war-torn country’s fragile ceasefire - in a promising step towards ending the violence. 
  • The sides will "establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire and prevent any provocations," according to a final statement read by Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Kazakhstan’s foreign minister, following the talks in Astana.
  • The accord was signed by Moscow and Ankara - the two major powers brokering the negotiations - and Tehran, on behalf of the Syrian government and armed rebel groups, which have not officially endorsed it.

Rijiju lays foundation for integrated check-post at Dawki

  • Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for a Rs 92.34 crore integrated check-post (ICP) at the India-Bangladesh international border here in Meghalaya to boost bilateral ties.
  • The ICP will generate employment opportunities and provide a major fillip to the economy of the state and the region. The ICP will strengthen the already good relations between India-Bangladesh
  • Dawki is about 85 km from Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, which is the largest trade route with Bangladesh.
  • The ICP is being built on an area spread over 22 acres, which includes a two-floor cargo terminal building of 2,456 square metres, two-floor passenger terminal building 4,625 sq metres, warehouse 1,420 sq m and parking 60,000 sq metres.

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