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Current Affairs (December 25th - 31st, 2017)

  • World's largest amphibious aircraft AG600 makes maiden flight in China
    Current Affairs China's domestically developed AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, performed its maiden flight on 24th December. It took off from the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport at Zhuhai in Guangdong Province. State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation said, the plane has a 39.6-meter-long fuselage and 38.8-meter wing span.

  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny barred from running for president
    Russia's Central Election Commission on 25th December unanimously rejected top opposition figure Alexei Navalny's bid to run against President Vladimir Putin next year. The commission voted 12 to zero in barring Navalny from the presidential election, citing a controversial embezzlement conviction for which he received a five year suspended sentence.

    The decision prompted the 41-year-old protest leader -- who maintains that the court case against him was fabricated for political reasons to call for a boycott of the election.

  • Syria rebel groups reject Sochi peace initiative
    More than three dozen Syrian rebel groups, including influential Islamists, have rejected a Russian-led initiative for talks next month in Sochi on ending Syria's war. Russia and Iran, both key allies of Syria's regime, agreed with opposition backer Turkey to hold a Congress of National Dialogue in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29 and 30.

    Syria's government swiftly said it would attend but rebels have pushed back, calling it a Russian bid to eclipse a United Nations-led process in Geneva. Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations, but it has since morphed into a complex war drawing in world powers, including Russia.

  • Afghanistan to be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
    China on 26th December flagged the possible inclusion of Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — a move that is likely to irk India.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi mooted a possible opening of the doors for Kabul’s entry in the backdrop of the first Foreign Ministers’ trilateral dialogue between China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India has opposed CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), on the grounds that it infringes on its sovereignty.

    China has called CPEC a “flagship project” of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at building connectivity along the Eurasian corridor. A joint statement released at the end of the one-day conference said that the three countries reaffirmed their commitment to “advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road initiative”.

  • Nepal bans solo climbing on Mount Everest and other peaks to reduce accidents
    Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents. The cabinet has endorsed a revision to the Himalayan nation's mountaineering regulations, banning solo climbing on its mountains. This is one of a string of measures being flagged ahead of the 2018 spring climbing season.

    Maheshwor Neupane, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said, the changes have barred solo expeditions, which were allowed before. Neupane said that the law was revised to make mountaineering safer and decrease deaths.

    The cabinet also endorsed a ban on double amputee and blind climbers, although Everest has drawn multitudes of mountaineers wanting to overcome their disabilities and achieve the formidable feat.

  • Yoga Institute centenary celebrations launched
    Current Affairs Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on 24th December inaugurated the Centenary celebrations of the Yoga Institute in Mumbai. The institute was founded by Yogendraji Mani Haribhai Desai, the disciple of Paramahans Madhavadasji in 1918. It helps spread yoga practices.

  • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh launches e-HRMS on Good Governance Day
    Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh on 25th December launched the electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS) in New Delhi on the occasion of Good Governance Day. The Minister launched the 25 applications of 5 modules of the system. The e-service book launched for DoPT during March this year will also be integrated into the e-HRMS.

    Speaking on various other initiatives taken by the Government, Dr Singh said, Government has been able to expedite various stalled projects, due to the initiatives such as PRAGATI. He also said that the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances is organizing regional conferences at different parts of country, which is taking good practices of governance to other parts outside Delhi.

    The Minister said, Government is adopting a policy of intolerance towards non-performing officers and encouraging the performing officers and all these initiatives are in the direction of citizen-centric approach of the Government.

    With launch of e-HRMS, employees will be able to not only see all their details likes service book, leave, GPF and Salary but also apply for different kind of claims or reimbursements, loans or advances, leave, leave encashment, LTC advances and Tour on a single platform.

  • Home Ministry directs NGOs to open account in any designated bank in a month for transparency
    Union Home Ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals who receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, within a month for higher level of transparency.

    According to the ministry order, the directive to the NGOs, companies and individuals to open foreign contribution accounts in banks, which are integrated with the central government's Public Financial Management System (PFMS), came for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance.

    The order, issued on December 21, said the NGOs are directed to comply with the order within one month. The government also told them not to do anything detrimental to national interests.

    The central government has already decided that all banks where the FCRA registered persons and organisations have opened their foreign contribution accounts will be integrated with the PFMS for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance.

  • 25% of Swachh Bharat cess hasn’t reached dedicated fund
    During the last two years, the government collected more than Rs 16,400 crore as Swachh Bharat cess, meant to fund sanitation schemes, but the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out nearly a quarter of the collection has stayed outside the dedicated fund.

    While collections through the 0.5% cess on all services was meant to be transferred to a non-lapsable Rashtriya Swachhta Kosh, over Rs 4,000 crore remained outside the RSK schemes.

    CAG said Rs 12,400 crore, around 75% of total collections, was transferred to the RSK and used for identified schemes in the last two years.

    The rules stipulated that the resources of RSK were to be distributed in the ratio of 80:20 between Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

    However, the ministry of drinking water and sanitation expended the entire amount on Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) without leaving any provision for Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)," the auditor pointed out on the portion of funds utilised.

    The national auditor has said that the experience was similar with other cesses. The CAG has found that in case of six major cesses, where total collections were to the tune of Rs 4 lakh crore till 2016-17, over Rs 1.81 lakh crore, or nearly 45% of the funds collected, remained unutilised and were not transferred from the government's Consolidated Fund of India to the dedicated funds or the intended schemes.

  • Parliament passes Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill
    Parliament has passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with Rajya Sabha approving it on 27th December. The bill will replace the ordinance promulgated by the President on 23rd of November this year. It seeks to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling and transit permit for its economic use.

    According to Minister for Environment and Forest Dr Harsh Vardhan, 24 States and Union Territories have supported this bill. It will promote the cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas; improve the income of the farmers besides providing green cover in the country.

    Parliament has also passed the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill with the Rajya Sabha approving it on 27th December. The bill establishes the Institute at Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and declares it as an institution of national importance. The Institute aims at providing high quality education and research focusing on the themes of petroleum, hydrocarbons and energy.

    According to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the institution will be totally autonomous and academics session has already been started. Earlier initiating the discussion, P L Punia of Congress supported the bill and said shell gas should be promoted in the country because it has lot of opportunity.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates Andhra Pradesh Fiber Grid Project
    President Ram Nath Kovind formally inaugurated the Andhra Pradesh Fiber Grid Project at Amaravathy on 27th December. The project aims to expand high speed internet facility in the state.

    It aims to cover over 1.45 crore households, more than 12,000 panchayats and 60,000 schools. It will also provide internet facilities to 10,000 government offices, 96 municipalities, 14 Corporations and 6,000 Public Health Centres in the state.

  • Cyclone Ockhi has affected Lakshadweep’s marine biodiversity
    Cyclone Ockhi has affected the marine biodiversity of Lakshadweep and washed up 80 tonne of plastic debris on the western coast of the country, minister of state in the ministry of environment, forest and climate change Mahesh Sharma informed the Lok Sabha on 29th December.

  • Smart City Mission: Only 7% of Rs 9,860 cr used and Ahmedabad spent the most
    Out of Rs 9,860 crore released to 60 cities under the Smart City Mission only seven per cent, or about Rs 645 crore, have been utilised so far, an issue which has raised concerns in the Urban Affairs Ministry.

    Of the Rs 196 crore released to each of around 40 cities, Ahmedabad has spent the maximum amount of Rs 80.15 crore, followed by Indore (Rs 70.69 crore), Surat (Rs 43.41 crore) and Bhopal Rs 42.86 crore, according to a data of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

    On the other hand, the data revealed that of the sanctioned funds Andaman and Nicobar could utilise only Rs 54 lakh, Ranchi 35 lakh, and Aurangabad Rs 85 lakh.

    Among cities which got around Rs 111 crore each from the Centre, Vodadara has spent Rs 20.62 crore, Namchi in Sikkim spent Rs 6.80 crore, while Salem, Vellore and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu could utilise only Rs five lakh, Rs six lakh and Rs 19 lakh, respectively.

    Ninety cities have so far been selected by the government under the smart city mission and each of them will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing various projects.

    The cities are required to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to get funds from the Centre for the implementation of the project.

    In a review meeting recently, the official said cities in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were found to be "performing well", while those in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra needed to speed up the implementation process.

  • India's push for farm issues at WTO remains unsuccessful
    India has struggled to achieve its trade goals on a multilateral platform such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the past, but the current year saw a drop in support for issues crucial to India and pushed back chances of the country achieving a permanent solution to food stockpiling.

    Earlier this month, the 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, the largest global meet for multilateral trade talks held biennially, came to an end without any significant outcome as nations dug into their divergent positions and the US played spoilsport to India’s demands for a permanent solution on public stockpiling of foodgrain.

    Held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the meet had set the tone for global negotiations in trade rules over the next two years and pointed to a scenario where the development-based agricultural issues had been cast away not only by high-income economies but several smaller and economically weaker nations as well, many of whom had remained India’s allies on the matter, Abhijit Das, head of the Centre for WTO studies said.

    While the developing world led by India and China had thrown their weight behind a demand for a solution on food stockpiling, besides domestic subsidies to the agriculture sector, developed nations such as the United States, the European Union and Australia remained staunchly against it, he added. Das had sounded the alarm before the meet began by saying that no major country apart from India was actively talking about the Doha development agenda.

    With wide divergence in negotiating positions established before the onset of the summit, trade experts had confidently predicted that few, if any, outcomes would emerge.

    On the other hand, the richer nations strived to bring into the discussions a stream of issues from rules for small and medium enterprises to gender rights in global trade, which India has categorised as non-trade issues. Many of these proposals ran counter to India’s interests while also reducing the policy space for governments if norms were decided beforehand, JS Deepak, India’s ambassador at the WTO had said.

  • India and Russia to remove trade barriers
    Current Affairs India and Russia have agreed to raise the level of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation to that of Deputy Minister or Commerce Secretary level and creating a mechanism to discuss and remove barriers to trade. They also agreed for creation of Working Groups on Agriculture and Pharmaceuticals.

    External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin met in New Delhi on 23rd December. They co-chaired the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC). The two sides decided to actively promote inter-regional cooperation to harness untapped potential and expedite implementation of the Green Corridor for exchange of pre-arrival data between Customs Administrations of the two countries.

    The IRIGC-TEC meeting noted the impressive growth of 22 percent in bilateral trade in 2016-17 and assessed the progress on issues concerning the most significant aspects of bilateral economic cooperation such as trade, economy, investment, industry, energy, transport, agriculture and space. The discussions also brought out action points for both sides which would assist in early realization of the full potential of this important relationship.

    During his visit, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

  • India, Afghanistan launch 2nd air cargo route linking Kabul to Mumbai
    India and Afghanistan have launched the second air cargo route, linking Kabul to Mumbai on 27th December. The objective of the air corridors is to boost the export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan. The first route from Kabul to New Delhi was launched in June.

    Inaugurating the first cargo flight, Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danish said the air corridor is very important for the Afghanistan and the government is hoping that the neighboring countries even consider the economy in their political policy.

    According to CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, Atiqullah Nusrat, the cargo plane will carry 40 tonnes of fresh fruits from Kabul. The air corridors between Afghanistan and India are key to boosting exports to India and the rest of the world.

    Afghanistan has, so far, exported 1,600 tonnes of fruits, worth more than 20 million US dollars, to India via the air corridor.

  • IRDAI frames guidelines for insurance firms to set up offices in financial service SEZs
    Current Affairs The country’s insurance regulator has cleared the way for setting up of IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) Insurance Offices (IIOs).

    With this, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has put in place the process of registration and operation of insurers and re-insurers in IFSC Special Economic Zones, in alignment with the objectives of IFSC-SEZ.

    Insurers and re-insurers from India and abroad are eligible to apply for registration to set up IIOs, subject to certain norms.

    As per the IRDAI (Registration and Operations of IIOs) Guidelines, 2017, no person or entity shall commence or undertake insurance or reinsurance business from an IFSC without obtaining prior registration as an IIO from the Authority.

    The registered IIO may be permitted to transact direct insurance business within the IFSC, from other SEZs and from outside India. In the case of reinsurance business, the IIO may accept reinsurance business from within the IFSC, from other SEZs and from outside India.

    It may also accept reinsurance business from insurers operating in the Domestic Tariff Area in accordance with the order of preference for cession, as per the existing norms.

    IIOs may be registered for carrying on business in various classes/sub-classes of life, general, or health insurance as also reinsurance businesses.

    The applicant should demonstrate a minimum assigned capital of Rs. 10 crore. In case the applicant is a Foreign Direct Insurer, the applicant company shall possess paid-up equity capital as per existing provisions.

  • E-commerce market may cross $50 bn in 2018
    The e-commerce market in the country is expected to cross $50 billion in value by the end of 2018 from the current level of $38.5 billion. This is due to a growing internet population and increased number online shoppers, according to a recent study.

    The digital-commerce market in India has grown steadily from $19.7 billion in 2015 to $13.6 billion in 2014, according to the study.

    The increasing mobile and internet penetration, advanced shipping and payment options, discounts, and the push into new international markets by e-businesses are the major drivers behind this unprecedented growth, it said. Banks and other players in the e-commerce ecosystem are providing a secured online platform to pay effortlessly through payment gateways.

  • Govt releases Rs 167 cr to 9 states with international border for development of infrastructure
    Home Ministry has released 167 crore rupees to nine states with international border for the development of infrastructure in forward areas.

    The states which will benefit include Rajasthan and Punjab, both having international border with Pakistan, and West Bengal and Assam, which share boundary with Bangladesh. Official sources said the amount was recently released to Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal under the Border Area Development Programme.

    The fully centrally funded BADP programme covers all villages which are located within 0-10 km of the International Border in 17 states. However, priority is given to those villages which are identified by border guarding forces for speedy development of infrastructure.

  • World Bank loan for Tamil Nadu irrigation overhaul
    Tamil Nadu will get a World Bank loan worth $318 million for the revival and modernisation of over 5,000 irrigation tanks and check dams, benefiting about 500,000 small and marginal farmers in the State.

    Central and State government officials on 26th December signed a loan agreement with a representative of the World Bank for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation project, which is aimed at promoting climate resilient agriculture technologies.

    The funds will be used to rehabilitate and modernise about 4,800 irrigations tanks, 477 check dams, spread across 66 sub-basins in the State.

    The project is expected to bring over 1, 60,000 hectares of cultivated land, currently partially irrigated, into full irrigation and would help farmers increase the yield of rice, maize, and pulses by 18 to 20 per cent, the release said.

  • India likely to be fifth largest economy in 2018
    India looks set to leapfrog Britain and France next year to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in dollar terms, a report showed on 26th December.

    The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) consultancy’s 2018 World Economic League Table painted an upbeat view of the global economy, boosted by cheap energy and technology prices.

    India’s ascent is part of a trend that will see Asian economies increasingly dominate the top 10 largest economies over the next 15 years.

    China is likely to overtake the United States as the world’s No 1 economy in 2032, CEBR said. While Britain looks set to lag behind France over the next couple of years, CEBR predicted that Brexit’s effects on Britain’s economy will be less than feared, allowing it to overtake France again in 2020.

    Russia was vulnerable to low oil prices and too reliant on the energy sector, and looked likely to fall to 17th place among the world’s largest economies by 2032, from 11th now.

  • Lok Sabha passes GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill- 2017
    The Lok Sabha on 27th December passed the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill- 2017. The Bill will replace Ordinance which was promulgated in September this year. It amends the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017. The Act allows the central government to notify the rate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Compensation Cess on items such as pan masala, coal, aerated drinks, and tobacco, subject to certain caps.

    The amount received by levying the GST Compensation Cess is used to compensate states for any loss in revenue following the implementation of GST.

    According to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the bill will enhance the Cess from 15 percent to 25 percent. Hike in Cess was necessitated to match the loss arising due to GST rate cuts on different items.

  • Lok Sabha passes Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amendment Bill
    The Lok Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill -2017 with a voice vote. The bill prohibits certain persons from submitting a resolution plan in case of defaults. These include wilful defaulters, promoters or management of the company having an outstanding non-performing debt for over a year. The Bill also has provisions to bar the sale of property of a defaulter to such persons during liquidation.

  • Fiscal deficit hits full-year target by November, 2017
    The government has missed its fiscal deficit target for the current financial year till November end, according to data revealed by the Controller General of Accounts.

    An official statement said the fiscal deficit as at the end of April to November 2017 for the current financial year stood at 112 per cent. Comparably, it stood at 85.8 per cent during the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

    In absolute terms, the difference between government revenue and expenditure stood at Rs.6.12 lakh crore. The government was expecting the difference to be at Rs. 5.46 lakh crore during the period under consideration.

    The higher fiscal gap is due to the lower than expected revenue collections at the back of higher government expenditure during the current financial year.

    An official statement said the government has received Rs. 8.66 lakh crore till November 2017. This includes Rs. 6.99 lakh crore tax revenue, Rs. 1.05 lakh crore of non-tax revenue and Rs. 61,849 crore of Non- Debt Capital Receipts.

    Through these Non-Debt Capital Receipts, the government mopped up Rs. 9,471 crore through recovery of loans and Rs. 52,378 crore through disinvestment of public sector undertaking companies.

    Of the total collections, Rs. 3.85 lakh crore has been transferred to State governments as devolution of share of taxes by the government during this period.

    Total Expenditure incurred by government during the period stood at Rs. 14.78 lakh crore, out of which Rs.12.94 lakh crore is on Revenue Account and Rs. 1.84 lakh crore is on Capital Account.

  • Centre allots Rs. 7,577 cr into 6 public sector banks
    Coming to the rescue of ailing banks, the Centre has pumped in capital of Rs. 7,577 crore in various weak public sector banks. This capital infusion is timely and would help these banks shore up their capital adequacy as they close the books for the December quarter, said a banking industry observer.

    The government has released Rs. 2,257 crore to Bank of India, which was recently placed under prompt corrective action by the Reserve Bank of India. The other big beneficiary of the latest capital infusion round is IDBI Bank, which has received Rs. 2,729 crore.

    While Central Bank of India has got capital support of Rs. 323 crore, Dena Bank has got capital support of Rs. 243 crore from the government.

    UCO Bank, another weak public sector bank, has got capital support of Rs. 1,375 crore. Bank of Maharashtra has received capital support of Rs. 650 crore, sources said.

    Reacting to the government move to release capital to these six public sector banks, the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam expressed confidence that this capital support will help mitigate the immediate problems faced by these weak banks.

    The benefiting Banks
    • Bank of India Rs. 2,257 crore
    • IDBI Bank Rs. 2,729 crore
    • Central Bank of India Rs. 323 crore
    • Dena Bank Rs. 243 crore
    • UCO Bank Rs. 1,375 crore
    • Bank of Maharashtra Rs. 650 crore

  • Investment in electronic manufacturing grew by 27% this year: Govt
    The government said that investment in electronic manufacturing grew by 27 per cent this year. The total volume of investment reached 1.57 lakh crore this year as compared to 1.43 lakh crore last year. In an year end review, the Ministry of Electronics and IT said, the flagship project of the government Digital India has made rapid progress and digital transactions witnessed a growth of over 300 per cent during this year.

    The Ministry said, there has been almost 60 per cent rise on the production of mobile phones, adding 4 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the sector.

    The Ministry said, with an objective to empower the people with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate anytime, anywhere, Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometrics based digital identity system. It said, total number of Aadhaar account holders reached to 119 Crore in 2017 compared to 104 Crore in 2016.

  • Government comes up with 12-point draft plan to combat air pollution
    Current Affairs Coordinated action to combat stubble burning, commissioning studies and launch of a hotline and an app to report violations are some of the measures in the 12-point draft plan formulated by a high-level task force to combat air pollution in the NCR region.

    The draft action plan also calls for formulating a journey planner app which integrates the Metro, the DIMTS and the DTC services and integrated ticketing across the DTC, cluster and metro within six months.

    The high-level task force headed by the principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formulated the draft 'Air Action Plan Abatement of Air Pollution in the Delhi NCR' and has invited suggestions in 15 days to make it more "effective and practical".

    The draft proposes coordinated action to combat stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and also monitor enforcement measures to reduce stubble burning.

    It also calls for implementing rollout of a plan for properly disposing of crop stubble and ensuring that independent data on stubble burning is available in real time in collaboration with department of science and technology among others.

    The plan says that in collaboration with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), it should be ensured that the Delhi-NCR has an adequate network of air quality monitoring stations.

    For power plants in the NCR region, it calls for NOx curtailment measures in a time-bound manner by the NTPC and other operators and asks the Environment Ministry to develop a 'Dashboard' of all the 'Red Category' polluting units in the NCR. Each of these units should install a certified pollution meter within their premises, it said.

  • India beat Sri Lanka in 3rd T-20 and wins series
    Current Affairs India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final Twenty 20 cricket International and won series 3-0 in Mumbai on 24th December.

  • India finish as runners-up in SAFF U-15 Women's Championships
    India finished as runners-up in the SAFF Under-15 Women's Championships. India lost to Bangladesh 0-1 in the final at Dhaka on 24th December. India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan participated in this South Asian Football Federation tournament.

  • India rise to second spot in latest ICC T-20 rankings
    In Cricket, Team India has risen to the second spot in the latest ICC Twenty-20 rankings. They leapfrogged England, New Zealand and the West Indies to move from fifth to second place, owing to a 3-0 whitewash in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka. Pakistan is at the top of the list.

    In the rankings for batsmen, Indian captain Virat Kohli slipped from the first spot to third, due to his absence in the series against the Lankans. Lokesh Rahul jumped 23 places to grab the 4th spot. The list is led by Aussie opener Aaron Finch, followed by West Indian Evin Lewis.

    Among the bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah has been pushed to the third spot behind Pakistan's Imad Wasim and Afghanistan's Rashid Khan.

    Bumrah had missed out on the final T20 and went wicket-less in the first two games against Sri Lanka. Yuzvendra Chahal gained 14 places to 16th.

  • Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Championship
    Vishwanathan Anand has won World Rapid Chess Championship title in Riyadh on 28th December. In the final, Anand beat Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev to reclaim the title he had won in 2003.

  • Jitu Rai wins Men's 50m pistol national title
    In Shooting, ace Indian marksman Jitu Rai won the Men's 50-metre pistol national title, setting a new record score of 233 at the 61st National Shooting Championships in Thiruvananthapuram.

    Rai got the better of Navy man Omkar Singh who shot 222.4 in the finals. Jitu's army teammate Jai Singh secured bronze with an effort of 198.4.

    Rai's score of 233 was a new record in the finals of the event. Rai also won the team gold in the event combining with Jai and Omprakash Mitherwal for a total of 1658, besting Team Air Force, who managed a total of 1626.

    Arjun Singh Cheema of Punjab won the junior men’s 50-metre pistol event. A total of 4800 men and women shooters from across the country are participating in the Championship including 200 wildcard entries.

    Persons in news:
  • M Malakondaiah:
    Current Affairs The Andhra Pradesh government appointed 1985-batch IPS officer M Malakondaiah as the Director General of Police. Malakondaiah, currently managing director of AP State Road Transport Corporation, will take charge of his new assignment from Nanduri Sambasiva Rao, who is retiring tomorrow. Malakondaiah will retire from service on June 30 next year.
Published on 1/4/2018 5:00:00 PM

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