Saturday, January 6, 2018

December 2017, Current Affair’s (For CLAT)

1.      Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS) in New Delhi on November 30, 2017. The 2-day summit is based on the theme 'The Irreversible Rise of India' to bring up 'revolutionary ideas' to accelerate India's growth and rise on the international stage. The list of dignitaries attended the summit includes Former US President Barack Obama, Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Chattishgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh and many others.

2.      The French film on AIDS "120 Beats Per Minute", directed by Robin Campillo, has won the prestigious Golden Peacock award for best film at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), while the film's actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart won the Silver Peacock in the best actor male category in Panaji, Goa. Apart from this, Amitabh Bachchan was felicitated with the Indian Film Personality of the Year Award 2017 and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan.

3.      The 14-day long Combined Military exercise 'Ajeya Warrior- 2017' between India and the United Kingdom (UK) has started in the Mahajan Field Firing Range near Bikaner of Rajasthan on December 1, 2017. The purpose of this exercise is to increase mutual cooperation and coordination between the two countries. Both armies will learn and share from each other's experiences. The 20 Rajputana Rifles unit of the Indian Army and the first battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment of the UK Army are participating in the exercise, which is third joint military exercise between the two countries. The first exercise of this series was held in Belgium in 2013 and the second maneuvers were held in the UK in 2015.

4.      President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the 18th Hornbill festival 2017 and the 54th Statehood Day celebrations of Nagaland at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama on December 1, 2017. The 10-day Hornbill fest is the perfect showcase of rich Naga culture and traditions, preserved over the years in the form of music, dance and food. It is also called the 'Festival of Festivals'. The festival is named after the Indian hornbill, the large and colourful forest bird which is displayed in the folklore of most of the state's tribes. The highlights of festival includes the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, the Miss Nagaland beauty contest, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and musical concert.

5.      Snehlata Shrivastava, a 1982 batch IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as new Secretary-General of Lok Sabha. She succeeded Anoop Mishra on December 1 and her tenure will end on November 30, 2018. With this, she has become the first woman Secretary-General of Lok Sabha. Snehlata's appointment was approved by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Prior to this post, she was working as Secretary Law in Central government. Ms Shrivastava has 35 years of rich and varied administrative experience.

6.      The World AIDS Day (WAD) is observed every year all over the world on December 1 to raise the public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is a pandemic disease caused due to the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Under the 2017 theme "Right to health", the World Health Organization (WHO) will highlight the need for the 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.

7.      Jenny Kim, a South Korean beauty pageant titleholder, has been crowned Miss Supranational 2017 in Krynica-Zdroj, Poland on December 1, 2017. She was crowned by the very beautiful Miss Supranational 2016 "Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty" of India. Altogether 65 contestants from across the globe participated at the prestigious pageant with Jenny Kim emerging victorious.

8.      Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn-in for a second and final five-year term for the post of President of Republic of Kenya, a month after winning a bitterly disputed election rerun marked by delays and boycott. Several heads of states and tens of thousands of his supporters attended the inauguration at a stadium in the capital, Nairobi, on 28th November 2017. Kenyatta won 98% of the votes cast in October's poll, which was boycotted by the main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who alleged the poll wouldn't be free and fair.

9.      Salil S Parekh has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Infosys, with effective from January 2, 2018. Parekh joins Infosys from Capgemini, where he was a member of the Group Executive Board. He has Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.

10.  India was re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) under Category B at an assembly of the organisation at its headquarters in London on December 1, 2017. Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha represented India at the assembly where India secured the second-highest 144 number of votes from member-countries, just after Germany's 146. India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its convention and joined it as a member-state in the year 1959. India has been elected to the Council of the IMO ever since it started functioning, except for a two-year hiatus during 1983-1984. The IMO Council plays a crucial role in deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation to the global shipping industry and its work strategy and budget. 

11.  South Korea and the United States launched their largest-ever joint aerial drill exercise "Vigilant Ace-2017" on December 4 and will run till Dec 8, 2017. Around 12,000 US service members, including from the Marines and Navy, are joining South Korean troops. The joint exercise is designed to enhance readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, the US military had said before the drills began. The exercise comes after a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced missile as part of a weapons programme that has raised global tensions.

12.  India's first Madame Tussauds wax museum has officially opened in New Delhi with 50 life-like figures spanning across history, sports, music, films, and politics, for the public at the iconic Regal building in central Delhi. The 50 life-like wax figures include multiple national and international celebrities such as Sachin Tendulkar, Mary Kom, Milkha Singh, Lionel Messi, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit Nene, as well as political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, PM Narendra Modi. This is the 23rd Madame Tussauds attraction globally. It will be open for all seven days with tickets priced at Rs 960 for adults and Rs 760 for children. The timing is 10am to 7.30pm.

13.  The International conference on climate change has inaugurated by Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari to draw attention towards the adverse effects of global warming in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The conference 'Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia' is organized by Nepal's Ministry for Environment in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The 4-day conference is attended by more than 300 experts from different countries of Asia including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar. V K Saraswat, member of India's Neeti foundation is leading the Indian delegation in the conference. The Hindu Kush Himalaya, a mountain range that spans from Afghanistan to Myanmar sources 10 major river systems in Asia that provide water, ecosystem services and livelihoods to more than 210 million people. The region holds and distributes water for more than 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.

14.  The Andhra Pradesh assembly has unanimously passed the Kapu reservation bill to provide 5% quota to Kapu community under the Backward Castes (BC) 'F' Category in education and employment in the state. The bill will be sent to Centre for its approval and to include the Kapu reservation in Schedule 9 so that it will become legitimate. Though, Kapu quota if issued, will take the total quota in the state to 55%, which is more than 50% limit restricted by the Supreme Court. The state already has 29% reservation for Backward Castes under A, B, C, D and E categories. Apart from this, 15% and 6% reservations exist for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), respectively.

15.  India's largest floating solar power plant has become operational at the Banasura Sagar dam in Wayanad, Kerala on December 5, 2017. The solar power plant that floats on the surface of water has a capacity of 500 kilowatts (KW). It consists of 1,938 solar panels with a capacity of 260 watts, a 500 kilo volt ampere (KVA) transformer and 17 inverters. The unique feature of this plant is the anchoring mechanism used by the overwhelming technology to maintain the plant with the alteration of the water level. The total cost of the project is Rs. 9.25 crore.

16.  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launched a crypto-currency "Petro" to advance issues of monetary sovereignty, make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade. Beside this, Petro will also circumvent US-led financial sanctions. The digital currency will be backed by Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas and diamonds.

17.  Uttar Pradesh has become the first State to endorse the Central government's draft bill that makes instant triple talaq a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The draft law, which provides for three-year imprisonment and a fine to a man trying to divorce his wife by uttering "talaq" three times, got the State government's approval at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on December 5, 2017.

18.  The Rajasthan government will soon introduce 'Guru-Shishya' programme in all districts, under which college students can raise discuss with their teachers the issues and problems related to their institutes. According to state Higher Education Minister Kiran Maheshwari, the programme will be held in one nodal college in each district where students selected on merit and elected members of students union would participate. It will soon begin from Jaipur.

19.  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the key interest rate "repo rate" unchanged at 6% and reverse repo at 5.75% in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review for the year 2017-18 on December 6, 2017, as it feared that inflation may top the central bank's medium-term target of 4%. It also maintained its neutral policy stance. Consequently, the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate remained at 6.25%. The central bank has raised inflation forecast to 4.3-4.7% in third and fourth quarters of current fiscal and kept the economic growth forecast "Gross Value Added (GVA)" unchanged at 6.7%.

20.  The Madhya Pradesh Assembly has unanimously passed a Bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below on December 4, 2017. With this, Madhya Pradesh has become the India's first State where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows. The Capital punishment would be awarded to convicts under Section 376 (A), which is related to rape, and Section 376 (D, A), pertaining to gang rape. The Bill will now be sent to the President for his assent after which it will become a law.

21.  The National Commission for Minorities has set up a 3-member committee to look into whether Hindus should get minority status in seven states and a Union Territory where they are not the dominant religious group. The panel, led by the commission's Vice Chairman George Kurien, has been given three months to submit its report. The commission's decision is based on a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyaya, whose petition on the matter was rejected by the Supreme Court on November 10. The court had directed him to approach the minorities' commission. The states and the Union Territory named in the plea are Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab.

22.  The Kumbh Mela has been inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' at its 12th session in Jeju, South Korea on December 7, 2017. This inscription is the third in two years for India following the inscriptions of yoga and Nouroz. The inscription of elements on the list helps countries which are a part of UNESCO's convention for safeguarding cultural heritage to mobilize international cooperation and assistance for ensuring that communities continue to practice and transmit such aspects of their heritage. According to UNESCO, Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred Pitcher) is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. The festival is held at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender.

23.  Time magazine has named 'The silence breakers' its Person of the Year for 2017 referring to those individuals, mostly women, who came forward this year to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment and assault by powerful public figures in America. Those recognized by Time range from famous actresses who took on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to ordinary women who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents. One of the figures singled out by Time, Ashley Judd was the first actress to come forward on the record to make accusations against the 65-year-old Weinstein.

24.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the BR Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi on December 7, 2017 to encourage research and original thinking among the youth. The purpose of the centre is to promote the thoughts and teachings of Dr Ambedkar. It will be an important place for research on social and economic issues. The prime minister also unveiled two statues of the Dalit icon at the centre in Janpath.

25.  Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar, has won the 2017 Ballon d'Or award for the year's best player in Paris, France. It is his record-equalling 5th Ballon d'Or award with his great Barcelona rival Lionel Messi. Ronaldo, who also won the FIFA Men's Player of the Year award in October 2017, added the 2017 Ballon d'Or to his previous wins in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

26.  The Darrah National Park (DNP) is located in within the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests' ecoregion of Rajasthan and covers an area of 250 square kilometres. It is home to a number of species including the wild boar, deer, nilgai, cheetah and wolves. The park consists of three wildlife sanctuaries: Darrah Wildlife Sanctuary, Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary and Jawahar Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary. The River Chandrabhaga flows very close to the national park and there are a number of ancient temples, dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries that are situated along the banks of the river.

27.  United States has officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. With this, the United States will be the first country to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. At present, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries. Other countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

28.  Mamta Kalia, the renowned Hindi scholar and writer, has been chosen for the 27th edition of Vyas Samman-2017 for her novel "Dukkham Sukkham". According to the KK Birla Foundation, which instituted the award in 1991, Vyas Samman is given annually to an outstanding work of Hindi literature by an Indian citizen published in the last 10 years. The award includes a cash prize of Rs 3.50 lakh. "Dukkham Sukkham" is a saga of a lower middle-class family's three generations. The literary work focuses on the transition in relations and situations of our society.

29.  The Taj Mahal, a mausoleum crafted in ivory-white marble, has been named 2nd best UNESCO world heritage site in the world, according to a new survey by travel portal TripAdvisor. The 'monument of love' was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It is rated after Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Other popular heritage sites on the survey include the Great Wall of China built by Xu Da of Northern Qi Dynasty in 1368 AD and South America's Incan citadel Machu Picchu in Peru.

30.  India has become the 42nd participating State of Wassenaar Arrangement after completing the internal procedures in Vienna on December 8, 2017. The membership will facilitate high-technology tie-ups for country's defence and space programmes. This membership is the second diplomatic success for India for the membership of export control regimes after it joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016. 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 (NPT). The Wassenaar Arrangement is an elite club of countries which subscribe to arms export controls, similar to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the MTCR.

31.  Kacheguda railway station in Hyderabad has become the India's first Energy-Efficient 'A1 Category' Railway Station. It is operated by the South Central Railway (SCR) zone of Indian Railways. The station achieved the feat by replacing 1,312 conventional lights with Light-Emitting Diode (LED). It also replaced 370 ceiling fans with fans that run on Brushless DC Electrical motors, and installed 12 energy efficient inverter-type air conditioners. All these measures will save about 1.76 lakh units and Rs14.08 lakh per annum with reduction of the connected load by 46.18 kW for Railways. The station was built in 1916 during the reign of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

32.  India's first mobile food testing laboratory, which will enable on-the-spot food safety tests to be conducted in Goa, has officially launched by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on December 10, 2017. This is the first ever 'Food Safety on Wheel' mobile laboratory in the country. The vehicle is equipped to conduct on-the-spot tests to check the food quality. It will also check the hygiene level of water and the results can be received within 15 minutes. The mobile lab will do away with need to get the food samples to the FDA laboratory near Panaji for tests. It will cut the delays. The mobile laboratory costs Rs 45 lakh and it has been fully funded by the Centre.

33.  Lalji Singh (70), the eminent scientist and the father of DNA fingerprinting in India, has passed away in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on December 10, 2017. He was the founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) & also served as its director. Singh also found various institutes and laboratories that included laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), Genome Foundation that aims to diagnose and treat genetic disorders affecting the underprivileged people, especially in rural India.

34.  Alappuzha, the coastal town of Kerala, has been recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the five models across the world for fighting the pollution menace. It has been reconized for its decentralised waste management system. Alappuzha, often called "the Venice of East", 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.

35.  The UN Women in collaboration with Facebook launched 'We The Women' event in Mumbai, Maharashtra on December 9, 2017 to empower and recognize the magnificent contribution of women in our society. It was a two-day participatory, open-to-all forum for women offering a 'Break Free' 48 hours to bring together diverse viewpoints, challenges, concerns and a celebration of everything that women have achieved. It's annual space giving women a platform to voice their unfettered expressions, forging bonds, great conversation and a wide community of friends.

36.  The 11th Ministerial conference of the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO) has started in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 10, 2017. At the meeting, India is represented by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu who will be pushing for a permanent solution to the public food stock-holding issue which is crucial for operating the food security programme. In it, he will not only have to safeguard the interests of Indian farmers, but will also have to put his foot down on blocking introduction of new issues such as e-commerce. During the course of the 4-day deliberations, the developing nations will resist the efforts by the developed nations to formally set aside the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and place new issues including e-commerce on the negotiating table.

37.  Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology, has launched the first NIC-CERT in New Delhi to prevent and predict cyber attacks on government utilities. The NIC-CERT is a setup of National Informatics Centre. It has been setup with an objective of creating a comprehensive framework that integrates world class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response. Using the tools, the team will correlate events that would help in generating a canvas of the attack surface and identify the vulnerabilities and possible exploits.

38.        The Bandhavgarh National Park (BNP) is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh and covers an area of 105 square kilometres. The park has one of the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named tigers which are large in size and are beautiful.

39.        The Rajasthan government has decided to recognize political prisoners held in jails during emergency 1975-77 as 'Loktantra Sainani'. The state Cabinet has decided to change the name of Rajasthan Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) 2008 to the Rajasthan Loktantra Sainani samman Nidhi 2008. So far, only those persons who were detained under MISA and DIR and kept in any of Rajasthan jails were given the per month pension of Rs. 12,000 and a monthly allowance of Rs. 1200. After the cabinet decision, citizen of Rajasthan who were held in any jail in the country during emergency period will also be eligible for this pension. At the same time, such people will not need to produce the certificate of the respective Jail Superintendent or Superintendent of Police for getting pension. Now only self certification has to be given. The government will direct all the district collectors to invite such Loktantra Sainanis to the programs on Republic Day and Independence Day to be organized at district level.

40.        OBOPAY, the global mobile payment solutions company, has recently secured a license for Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate a semi-closed loop wallet in India. Using the PPI license, OBOPAY will solve various payment related problems for their partner clients – bringing efficiency and transparency to the payments process, improving reporting, and reducing turnaround times for funds transfers. The PPI license can be implemented in a variety of industry segments. The license will enable the customers to do everything a prepaid payment instrument does: P2P, cash-in, bill payments, mobile recharge, and shopping. The headquarters of OBOPAY is located at California, United States.

41.        India has been ranked 100th out of 149 countries at the 11th edition of Legatum Prosperity Index (LPI-2017). The index offers an insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world. It is the world's leading global measure of economic and social well-being that studies 104 indicators under these categories: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment. The list is topped by Norway, followed by New Zealand, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden.

42.        Rajasthan has become the India's first state to offer free e-mail address in Hindi to its residents. The facility —name@rajasthan.bharat (in Devanagari script) — will lead to millions of new users who are not comfortable with English e-mail ids. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure maximum participation of people towards e-governance and that maximum facilities are available in the vernacular language. The first e-mail ID that was created was that of the chief minister, Vasundhara@rajasthan.bharat (in Devnagari). All the government personnel in the state will soon have an email id in Hindi too.

43.        Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated the World conference on Vedas " Vishwa Ved Sammelan" at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi on December 15, 2017. The 3-day conference will have in-depth discussions on the universal message of the ancient scriptures to bring world peace, ensure human rights and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It will also have in-depth discussions on de-mystifying various myths and fallacies surrounding the Vedas and Manu Smriti. The valedictory function of the conference on the 17th December will be attended by former president Pranab Mukherjee.

44.        Norway has become the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its Frequency Modulation (FM) network by completing its transition to digital radio. The transition, which began on January 2017, allows for better sound quality and more channels and functions at an eighth of the cost of FM radio. The digital switchover means that only the country's local radio stations continue to use FM frequencies. Other countries, including Switzerland, Britain and Denmark, are due to follow suit in the coming years.

45.        The Government of India (GoI) has signed a $250 million loan agreement with the World Bank for Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) Project on December 13, 2017. The purpose of the project is to enhance institutional mechanisms for skills development and increase access to quality and market-relevant training for the workforce. The Key result areas for the project include Institutional Strengthening at the National and State Levels for Planning, Delivering, and Monitoring High-Quality Market-Relevant Training; Improved Quality and Market Relevance of Skills Development Programs; Improved access to and completion of skills training for female trainees and other disadvantaged groups; and Expanding skills training through private-public partnerships (PPPs). The closing date for the project is 31st March, 2023.

46.        India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at Mumbai in June 25-26, 2018. The theme of the meeting will be 'Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration. For this, the MoU was signed by joint secretary (multilateral institutions division) in the Ministry of Finance Sameer Kumar Khare on behalf of the government of India and AIIB's vice- president and corporate secretary Danny Alexander. The AIIB is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond. It's headquarters is located in Beijing, China.

47.        The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared Gabon a "polio-free country" because of lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country. Polio is a highly-infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. There is no cure and it can only be prevented through immunization. The cases of polio have decreased by 99% since 1988, when polio was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide. Now the disease is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the WHO recorded four cases this year—two in each country. Last year, there were 37 cases globally.

48.        The Gita Research Institute will soon be set up by the Uttar Pradesh government in Mathura for research on Gayan (singing), Vadan (the art of music) and Nratya (dance) of the Krishna age. It is a research institute for the study of the 'Bhagavad Gita'.

49.        R Hemalatha has been appointed as the new Director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad. She has served as secretary of the Nutrition Society of India, is a fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and a fellow of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences. The NIN is an Indian Public health, Biotechnology and Translational research, which houses the best testing facilities for food and toxicology and has international collaborations.

50.        The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has recently approved the establishment of International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography, as a Category-2 Centre (C2C) of UNESCO, in Hyderabad. The purpose of this Agreement is to establish a training centre towards development of capacity for the countries on the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR), African countries bordering the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, small island countries under the framework of UNESCO. The operational oceanography is an activity of conducting systematic oceanographic studies towards providing information services to various sectors viz. fisherman, disaster management, shipping, ports, coastal states, navy, coast guard, environment, offshore industries for conducting their day-to- day operations.

51.        The 8th edition of bilateral military exercise "EKUVERIN 2017" has started between India and Maldives from December 15 in Belagavi, Karnataka. It is a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which is held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009. 'Ekuverin' means 'friends' in the Maldivian language. The focus of the exercise is to acquaint both armies with each other's operating procedures in the backdrop of a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorist operations in an urban or semi-urban environment under the United Nations (UN) Charter, with an overall aim to enhance interoperability between the two armies. The 7th edition of the exercise was held at Kadhdhoo, Lammu Atoll, Maldives in December, 2016.

52.        The headquarters of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is located in New Delhi. It is in news because the first national-level Training of Trainers programme for Sendai Framework will be organise by NDMA in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction-Global Education and Training Institute (UNISDR-GETI) from December 18-20, 2017. The 3-day programme will sensitise various Central Ministries and Departments on utilisation of Sendai Monitor for developing action plans for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), 2015-2030, is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda and identifies targets and priority actions towards reducing disaster risks and implementing development that is both resilient and sustainable. India, being a signatory to the SFDRR, is committed to work towards achieving the targets enshrined in the Framework.

53.        The Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR) is a national institute established by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to carry out basic strategic and applied research on major pulse crops. It is situated in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Institute develops appropriate production and protection technologies, production and supply of breeder seeds of improved varieties, demonstration and transfer of technologies and strategic coordination of pulse research through wide network of testing centers across the country.

54.        Billionaire conservative Sebastian Pinera has won the 2017 presidential election of Chile on December 17, 2017. With 98.44% of the ballots counted, Pinera had won 54.57% in the run-off vote, to 45.43% for senator Guillier, a wider than expected margin in a race that pollsters had predicted would be tight. Pinera has pledged support and stable funding for Chile's state-run miner Codelco , and has promised to slash red tape which had bogged down projects under Bachelet.

55.        Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama "Mo" Farah, who is Britain's most successful-ever distance runner, has won the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. Farah, a four-time Olympic champion, has won his third successive world 10,000m gold medal in London in August 2017. He is the first athlete to win ten global outdoor long-distance titles on the track and the first Briton to win outdoor titles in four World Championships (both consecutively and outright). With this award, he became the first long-distance runner to win the Sports Personality award since Paula Radcliffe in 2002.

56.        Eminent Bengali poet Joy Goswami has been chosen for the 31st Moortidevi Award for the year 2017 for his poetry collection titled "Du Dondo Phowara Matro". It is an autobiographical account of the poet's life featuring his close ones including a pet cat. The work also echoes secret trysts, chance loves and more of the fantastical quotidian which makes up the poets consciousness. The award consists of a Saraswati Statue, a Citation Plaque and cash award of Rupees 4 lakh. It is firsttime that award is goven to Bengali poet.

57.        The festival of Losar has started in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on December 19, 2017 to mark the Tibetan New Year. The celebrations will continue for 3 to 9 days in different parts of Ladakh. The fest is regarded as the most important socio-religious event in Ladakh. Because of several ancient ritual performances and traditional events during the celebrations, it has now turned into one of major events for visitors in winter. It is celebrated by making symbolic meals and offerings. Houses are decorated with good luck signs. Prayer flags are hoisted in important religious places to welcome the new year. Thus, Losar Festival is an important festival in winter months.

58.        India has recently signed a financing agreement of $125 million with the World Bank (WB) in New Delhi for the Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project. The purpose of the project is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training provided in it is and apprenticeships. The result areas for the project include Improved Performance of Industrial Training Institutes; Increased Capacities of State Governments to Support Industrial Training Institutes and Apprenticeship Training; Improved Teaching and Learning; and Improved and Broadened Apprenticeship Training. The closing date for the project is 30th November, 2022.

59.        The Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) of Tata Steel has been honored with the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award for the year 2017 for driving innovation in mines. The award was given at Institute of Directors India's 2nd Global Convention held at Singapore. The award provides not only worldwide recognition and prestige, but a competitive advantage in driving business. The JEIM is one of the fully mechanised captive iron mines of Tata Steel. It is rated five star category mines by the Government for doing sustainable mining. Some of the innovations implemented in JEIM include digitisation in excavation of iron ore, use of iron waste for sustainable mining.

60.        Project 'Mausam' is the initiative of Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies. This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean 'world' – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean. The main purpose of the project is to inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Till date, 39 countries have been identified under Project Mausam viz. Bahrain, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen, UAE, Thailand, South Africa, etc.

61.        The Southern Command of Indian Army are conducting a major army exercise 'Hamesha Vijayee-2017' in the deserts of Rajasthan from December 16 to 22, 2017 to evaluate the capability of the armed forces to strike deep into enemy territory in an integrated air-land battle. The exercise being conducted in battle like conditions, aims at fine tuning surveillance and destruction mechanisms to support precision strikes and manoeuvres by network enabled forces. The Southern Command undertakes such exercises at regular intervals to ensure a high degree of battle readiness as well as validation of operational plans using modern weapons and equipment.

62.        India's Raghu Prasad and Javed Shaikh have recently named in the panel of umpires for the 2018 Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. On December 21, 2017, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced that 25 officials representing 19 countries from all five continents will officiate at this prestigious event taking place at the Kalinga Stadium from November 28 to December 16, 2018. As was the case with the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 appointments, both men and women will undertake officiating roles at this event, further enhancing FIH's drive to enhance gender parity across all areas of the sport.

63.        Delhi has been ranked 7th in most expensive office locations list in the world, according to latest JLL India Report 2017. According to a study by JLL, Delhi's rents are more expensive than San Francisco, Dubai and Washington DC whereas Mumbai at 16th position scores higher than Los Angeles, Singapore and Paris. The findings reveal that the most expensive premium office rent in the world is in Hong Kong, followed by London, New York, Beijing and Tokyo.

64.        The parliament of France has recently approved a law banning all exploration and production of oil and natural gas by 2040 within the country and its overseas territories. Under that law, existing drilling permits will not be renewed and no new exploration licenses will be granted. The French government claims the ban is a world first. However, it is largely symbolic since oil and gas produced in France accounts for just 1% of domestic consumption. The rest is imported. The ban is part of a larger plan to wean the French economy from fossil fuels and to fulfill France's commitments under the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming.

65.        The National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) is located near Bidyadharpur village on the Cuttack-Paradip Road, Odisha. It is one of the premier national research institutes under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The purpose of the NRRI is to improve the income and quality of life of rice farmers in India. The scientists at NRRI have many research results to their credit in various disciplines of rice research, including: Biochemistry, Blue green algae, Entomology, Food technology, Plant breeding and genetics, Physiology, etc.

66.        Manoj Sinha, the union minister of communications, has launched project "DARPAN – The Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India" in New Delhi on December 21, 2017. The project has an outlay of Rs 1400 crore and intends to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster (BPM). This will enable each of approximately 1.29 lakhs branch post offices to improve service delivery. DARPAN offers core banking services to the account holders. The project will improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve financial inclusion of un-banked rural population. It is targeted to complete the project by March 2018.

67.        The 2017 bilateral naval exercise "Naseem-Al-Bahr" (or known as Sea Breeze) has started between Indian Navy and Oman Navy at Said Bin Sultan Naval Base, Wudam on December 17, 2017. The Indian Navy deployed a submarine, P8I long-range maritime aircraft, two naval ships – INS Trikand and INS Teg – for the bilateral exercise. This exercise was the 11th edition and has been a biennial feature since 1993. India has an ancient maritime tradition and maritime interaction with Oman dates back to over 4000 years B.C. The bilateral relation between India and Oman were formally established with signing of a 1953 Indo-Oman Treaty of friendship, Navigation and Commerce, a first between India and an Arab country. Since then, Naval exercises have contributed to strengthening of bilateral ties between India and Sultanate of Oman. The first exercise Indian Navy with Royal Navy of Oman was conducted in 1993 and this year marks 24 years of Indian Navy -Royal Navy of Oman bilateral exercises.

68.        The Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has launched Students and MEA Engagement Programme (SAMEEP) to bring Indian foreign policy to students across the country. Under this, MEA officials will talk to students to help them better understand foreign policy. The main purpose of SAMEEP is to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across the country. Under this programme, all the ministry officers – under-secretary and above – will be asked to go to their hometowns, particularly their alma maters. They will be expected to interact with the students about the way the MEA works, basic elements of its policies, how diplomacy is conducted, and generally give students an idea of what a career in the MEA would look like. The officials will be provided a basic standardised presentation by the ministry, but will be free to add their own improvisations and experiences.The agenda of the programme is not only to make students interested and aware of India's place in the world and its global ambitions, but also to drive interest in diplomacy as a career option.

69.        India's first and only design university "World University of Design (WUD)" has started at Sonipat, Haryana. The university, which is dedicated to education in the creative domain, is promoted by Om Parkash Bansal Educational and Social Welfare Trust of Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab. The campus is situated on NH1 in Rajiv Gandhi Education City (NCR), Sonipat – the largest planned integrated city for education in India. The University has International Collaborations with foreign Universities like UWS University of West Scotland, VFS the Vancouver Film School, and IAAD the Italian University of Design. The WUD offers India's largest creative course catalogue – 23 specialized UG and PG programs in various design arenas such as design, fashion, communication, visual arts, design and retail management, and architecture. It follows a unique curriculum that encourages research, academic excellence, industry preparedness and social innovation. It has a 1000 capacity open-air theatre and several smaller venues to host and hold cultural performances.

70.        The Birmingham city has been officially selected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games on December 21, 2017. This will be the third Commonwealth Games to be hosted in England following London 1934 and Manchester 2002. The international multi-sports event are expected to take place between 27 July and 7 August 2022.The 2022 Commonwealth Games were originally given to Durban in 2015, but the South African city was stripped of the event this year because of financial difficulties.

71.        The United Kingdom (UK) has topped the Forbes' rankings of best countries in the world for business in 2018. It is the first time this country has taken the top spot in the Forbes 12th annual survey after rising from 5th in 2016. The UK scored well on technology plus the size and education of the workforce although 'political risk' was seen as the weakest point. The list ranks 153 countries on 15 factors including property rights, innovation, taxes and red tape. New Zealand ranked second overall for the third straight year, followed by Sweden and Canada. India was ranked 62nd on the list.

72.        The Union Government has formally launched 'Ganga Gram' project at Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan in New Delhi on December 23, 2017. As part of its clean Ganga mission – Namami Gange, Ganga Gram project is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of the holy river with active participation of villagers. In August 2017, the Union Government declared all 4,470 villages on the banks of the Ganges, located in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Open Defecation-Free (ODF). Of these villages, the Centre and the state governments have identified 24 villages to be taken up under a pilot project to transform them into Ganga Grams. The project envisages solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation, organic farming, horticulture and promotion of medicinal plants.

73.        The 2nd edition of the Iranshah Udvada Utsav, a cultural festival of Parsi community, has started in Gujarat on December 23, 2017. The festival is organized by Foundation for Development of Udvada along with Gujarat Tourism and the Udvada Samast Anjuman. The highlights of the festival include a screening of the new 'Jiyo Parsi' film, a discussion on the relevance of Zoroastrianism in modern times, and a performance in memory of Freddie Mercury. More than 2,000 Parsis from all across the world will participate in the festival. During the course of the festival, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Information & Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani and the industrialist Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, who is the chief guest of the festival, will participate in various programmes. The festival was the brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

74.        The National Mathematics Day (NMD) is celebrated every year in India on December 22 to commemorate the birth anniversary of great mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and to recognize his contribution to mathematics. It was in 2012 that then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh declared December 22 as National Mathematics Day. In 1917, Ramanujan was elected to be a member of the London Mathematical Society. In 1918 he also became a Fellow of the Royal Society, becoming the youngest person to achieve the feat. He passed away on April 6, 1920.

75.        China's world's largest amphibious aircraft "AG600" has performed its maiden flight from the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport at Zhuhai in Guangdong Province on December 24, 2017. It's the latest step in China's military modernization program. The 121-feet long AG600 aircraft plane, codenamed "Kunlong", has a 38.8-meter wingspan and 4 turboprop engines. It is around the size of a Boeing 737 and can carry 50 people. The aircraft has military applications but will also be used for firefighting and performing maritime rescues. It can use conventional airports and also land and take-off from the sea.

76.        India's first-ever broad gauge air-conditioned AC EMU suburban train has flagged off from Borivali station on western railway in Mumbai, Maharashtra on December 25, 2017. The AC train was depart from Andheri Station at 14.10 hrs and reached Churchgate at 14.44 hrs. It is decided that on Weekends that is on Saturday and Sunday, the rake of AC train will not be operated for maintenance purpose. The services of AC local train will replace existing 12 Non AC services. RPF constables will be present in each coach to ensure proper security. Out of 12 services of AC Local train 8 will run fast and will only halt at major station like Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali, Bhayander and Vasai Road in both direction. Weekly, Fortnightly and monthly season ticket will be charged equivalent to 5, 7.5 and 10 single journey of AC EMU respectively. MUTP surcharges or any other charges if applicable will be levied separately as per applicable rate for the first class coach. Good and Services tax (GST) @5% shall be levied on the total fare as per the existing principle.

77.        The Betla National Park (BNP) is located in the Chota Nagpur Plateau of the Latehar district of Jharkhand and covers an area of 226.33 square kilometers. It is home to sloth bear, panther, and wolf, jackal, hyena, etc. The park's rich bird life features the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white-necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, the pied hornbill, etc. The famous Kamaldah lake attracts several varieties of water birds including the common whistling and cotton teal, the knob-billed duck, snipe and geese.

78.        The Karnataka government has launched the Bengaluru city logo on December 24, 2017 for branding the city as a tourism destination. With this, Bengaluru has become the first Indian city to get its own logo. The logo was designed by Nammur, a design start-up, which won a contest and received a prize money of Rs 5 lakh from the government. The logo of the city, which is derived out of its own name, highlights the letters b, e, and u of Bengaluru in red and the other letters in white. The logo 'Be U' highlights the cosmopolitan culture of the city and is expected to build the city's image on the global stage.

79.        The annual meeting of World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 will be held in Davos, Switzerland from January 22. In the 5-day event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian PM in 20 years to visit the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. It was in 1997 when the then Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had attended the event. More than 100 Indian CEOs along with the hot shots of Indian business diaspora, like Mukesh Ambani, Chanda Kochhar and Uday Kotak is expected to be present at the forum. The WEF is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva.

80.        India's first home-grown high purity gold reference standard – the Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201) – was launched at the India Government Mint (IGM), Mumbai on December 24, 2017. The BND-4201 is the reference material for gold of '9999' fineness (gold that is 99.99% pure) and will be beneficial to the consumers and public at large to ensure purity of gold. The high purity gold reference standard has been developed through collaboration between IGM, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre — National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (Hyderabad), and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi). The gold reference standard is indispensable in gold and jewellery hall marking. This will also be useful for Collection and Purity Testing Centres to certify the purity of gold deposits under the gold monetization scheme.

81.        The Good Governance Day (GGD) is celebrated every year in India on December 25 to mark the birthday anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The day was established in 2014 to honor Mr Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the people of accountability in government. On December 23, 2014, Mr Vajpayee, and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) were announced as recipients of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

82.        The world's tallest and longest glass floor bridge has opened in Shijiazhuang, China to the public. The bridge stretches 488 meters long and two meters wide. It stands at 218 meters above the valley between two steep cliffs in Hongyagu Scenic Area in Pingshan County. It is made of 1,077 panes of transparent glass with each being four centimeters thick and weighs a total of 70 metric tons. The sky bridge is designed in a such a way that it swings a little when visitors walk to its center. As per reports, the bridge can support up to 2,000 people, however, only 500 people will be on it at one time.

83.        India's first runway on 'Sea Bridge' will come up in Lakshadweep because the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recently got a green nod to extend Lakshadweep's Agatti Airport. The task will be carried out by building an RCC platform on the beach and shallow area which will allow bigger ATRs to operate on the island. The entire project is likely to cost about Rs 1,500 crore. The move will allow ATR-72 aircraft to land comfortably.

84.        The Union Environment Ministry has launched a pilot project 'Blue Flag' for beach clean-up and development. The purpose of the project is to enhance standards of cleanliness, upkeep and basic amenities at beaches. Under the pilot programme, each of the coast of the state/UT was requested to identify/nominate a beach, which is to be funded through the ongoing Integrated Coastal Management Programme (ICMP). Till date, all the coastal States have nominated the pilot beaches in their receptive territories including Goa. Formal nominations are, however, awaited from the coastal UTs viz., Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar". This information was given by Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, in reply to a written question in Lok Sabha on December 22, 2017. The 'Blue Flag' is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, Marina or sustainable boating tourism operator, meets its stringent standards.

85.        The National Sugar Institute (NSI) is located in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and is involved in research, training and advisory services to the sugar and allied industry, and functions under the Department of Food and Public Distribution of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The institute provides technical education and training in research in all branches of sugar chemistry, sugar technology, sugar engineering and allied fields. It also provides assistance to central and state governments in matters relating to sugar and allied industries.

86.        President Ram Nath Kovind has formally inaugurated the 100th annual conference of Indian Economic Association (IEA) at Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh on December 27. The focus of the 3-day conference will be on economic growth of the country and growth in agriculture, industry and service sectors. Approx 1,300 dignitaries are expected to attend the conference. Apart from this, President also inaugurated fibernet at the temporary Secretariat in Velagapudi.

87.        The Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) is an autonomous organization engaged in agricultural research related to spices in India. The institute has its headquarters in Kozhikode, Kerala and is a subsidiary of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-New Delhi), under the Ministry of Agriculture.

88.        Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia, a 1990 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, has been given charge for the post of Joint Secretary in Fifteenth Finance Commission under the Department of Economic Affairs for tenure of five years. Under the chairmanship of NK Singh, the 15th Finance Commission was constituted. Arvind Mehta will be the Secretary to the Commission. The panel, which is a statutory body under Article 280(1) of the Constitution, will prescribe the formula for devolution of taxes between the Centre and States for the five years commencing on April 1, 2020. It is expected to submit its report by October 30, 2019. The Finance Commission will also finalize its recommendations in a new setting — after the abolition of the Planning Commission and Plan and Non-Plan expenditure as well as the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

89.        Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma has been named PETA's Person of the Year 2017 for her efforts to help protect dogs from fireworks. She was also against the use of horses to pull carriages in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was given by animal rights organisation People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

90.        The 78th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) has started at the Jadavpur University campus in Kolkata, West Bengal on December 28, 2017. The 3-day IHC will have six sections this time – Ancient India, Medieval India, Modern India, Countries Other than India, Archaeology and Contemporary India. The aim of conducting Indian History Congress is for promotion and encouragement of the scientific study of Indian History, holding Congresses and publishing of the proceedings, bulletins, memoirs, journals and other works.

91.        Pluto Exchange will launch the India's first bitcoin trading app for transacting in virtual currencies. The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks. Pluto Exchange will enable transactions using mobile numbers only. With this, by using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number. The app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.

92.        India has been ranked 5th on a list of countries with highest Non-performing Assets (NPA) levels and is on top spot among the BRICS nations, according to latest report by CARE Ratings. The NPA list is topped by Greece (36.4%) followed by Italy (16.4%), Portugal (15.5%) and Ireland (11.9%). All these countries, along with Spain, are commonly referred to as PIIGS, and have been victims of sovereign debt crises in recent years. Spain is ranked at 7th spot below India and Russia. At 9.85%, India's NPA ratio is 400 points higher than that of Spain's. The CARE ratings report was compiled in four categories, including low, very low, medium, and high level of NPAs. With NPA ratio of just 1%, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom were listed in the first category, while China, Germany, Japan, and the USA – with less than 2% of NPA – was listed in the second category. Growing economies like Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey were listed in the third category.

93.        The 25th edition of National Children Science Congress (NCSC-2017) has started at Science city in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on December 27. The five-day Children Science Congress has been organized by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The theme of the Congress is 'Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development' with the special focus on persons with disabilities. 900 young scientists from 30 states are participating in 25th National Children Science Congress. This year, 50 children and teachers from Asian nations have also participated in the event. Apart from science exhibition, various activities such as hands-on demonstrations, presentations by children scientists, poster session and cultural programmes have also been organized in the science congress. The NCSC is an ideal and innovative programme for children to inspire, empower and expand their minds to world.

94.        Israel has has officially confirmed withdrawal from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over an anti-Israel bias. Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO chief, stated that she had been officially notified that Israel would leave on December 31, 2018. Earlier in October 2017, the US formally notified the UNESCO that it would withdraw from the organization on December 31, 2018. The 195-member body is best known for producing a list of World Heritage sites that have become tourist favourites. UNESCO also runs science, educational and cultural programmes, including programmes to educate people about the Holocaust and promote intercultural dialogue.

95.        Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra, has been appointed new President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). He will succeed Prof. Lokesh Chandra. Sahasrabuddhe is the vice-president of Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini which is South Asia's only training and research academy for elected representatives and voluntary social workers. ICCR was founded in 1950 by India's first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who also served as its first President. The ICCR's main objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India's external cultural relations and to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries.

96.        Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Globe Soccer's Best Player for the year 2017. He retained the title and won it 4th time overall. Ronaldo appeared by video link as he received the award from Italy's Alessandro del Piero in Dubai. Real Madrid was the named best club of the year and Zinedine Zidane was best coach. In other awards, Francesco Totti and Carles Puyol received player career awards, Marcello Lippi was handed a coaching career award, Spain's La Liga was best league of the year, and Jorge Mendes named best agent.