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Daily Current Affairs from 15& 16th Dec 2017 (English)

1.       The establishment of International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOO), as a Category-2 Centre (C2C) of UNESCO, in Hyderabad, Telangana was approved by the Union cabinet. The centre will provide opportunity for India to emerge as leading country in Indian Ocean. It will forge cooperation and improve engagement between India and counties of IOR( Indian Ocean Rim ), including South Asian and African states bordering Indian Ocean. It will contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal-14 related to building marine scientific research capacity in geographical area.
2.       The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed complete blanket ban on use, sale, purchase and storage of plastic items such as carry bags, plates and spoons in towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh till upper areas of Uttarkashi along the Ganga River in Uttarakhand to tackle and prevent pollution of the Ganga. The green panel order comes while it was hearing a plea of environmentalist MC Mehta. The NGT also imposed Rs 5,000 fine on those violating order and also held that action will be taken against erring officials too 
3.       National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 that will replace the Medical Council, 1956 Act and enable a forward movement in medical education reform was approved by the Union Cabinet. The bill replaces existing apex medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with National Medical Council (NMC), a new body to ensure transparency. The bill aims at bringing reforms in medical education sector of the country which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices. The commission will have 25-members including Chairman and Member Secretary. It will have 12 ex-officio members and 11-part-time members of which five will be doctors elected to the commission. The selected members will be picked by a search committee headed by Cabinet Secretary. The bill proposes a common entrance exam and national licentiate examination which every candidate, who completes five years of MMBS course need to clear to become medical practitioner or get entry into post-graduation studies.
4.       EKUVERIN 2017- the eight edition of India, Maldives bilateral military exercise was held in India in Belagavi, Karnataka. The focus of exercise was to acquaint both armies with each other’s operating procedures in backdrop of CICT Ops(counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations) in urban or semi-urban environment under United Nations charter .Ekuverin (meaning ‘friends’ in the Maldivian language). Since 2009 this exercise was held on alternate years in their countries. The last one was held at Kaddhoo in the Lammu Atol of Maldives.
5.       The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) have organized the National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres (OSCs) in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence was inaugurated by WCD Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi. The Sakhi OSC scheme is being implemented by WCD Ministry since April 1, 2015. It aims to facilitate access to integrated range of services including medical aid, police assistance, legal aid and case management, psychosocial counselling and temporary support services to women affected by violence. Around 400 Sakhi- One Stop Centre Functionaries and nodal officials from State Department of Women and Child Development from 33 States/UTs across the country had participated in workshop.
6.       Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day in New Delhi was launched by the National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission. The initiative is aimed at maximizing impact of Atal Tinkering Labs by extending innovation to children in community who do not have access to formal educational institutions. The day marks Community Drive Initiative in which 25 young Mentors engaged with more than 200 students who are not enrolled in formal education system. NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of flagship programs of Government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in country and to set up Atal Tinkering Labs across the country.
7.       The Union Government is planning to club phase I and phase II of its ambitious Ken-Betwa inter linking river (ILR) project. The Ken-Betwa ILR project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken River to the Betwa basin through concrete canal to irrigate India’s worst drought-prone Bundelkhand region. On completion, the multipurpose project will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in terms of meeting irrigation, drinking water and electricity needs of people across 6 districts in the two states. The phases will be clubbed after Madhya Pradesh, one of the two beneficiary states (Uttar Pradesh in another), demanded so. It will result in revision of project’s cost. The costs for first phase was estimated at Rs. 18,000 crore and second phase was Rs. 8000 crore.
8.       The 4th India-Australia-Japan Trilateral Dialogue was hosted by India in New Delhi. It was hosted by India’s Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar, Australia’s Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson and Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shinsuke J.Sugiyama. The three sides highlighted the growing convergence of their respective countries’ interests in Indo-Pacific region. They underscored their shared commitment to peace, democracy, economic growth and rules-based order in region.
9.       A novel way to induce plants to give off dim light by embedding specialised nanoparticles into their leaves have been found out by the Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. The purpose of this experiment was to make plant function as a desk lamp, powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself and not by electricity connection. To create the glowing plants, scientists has used to luciferase, an enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. Luciferase acts on molecule called lucifern, causing it to emit light. Moreover, they had used another molecule called co-enzyme A which helps process along by removing reaction by-product that can inhibit luciferase activity.
10.   A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Morocco for enhanced cooperation in health sector.
11.   India and Morocco have signed four agreements for cooperation in Water Resources, Road and Marine Sectors. They were signed after Morocco’s Minister for Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water meet Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping in New Delhi..
12.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi has commissioned scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari into the Indian Navy in Mumbai, Maharashtra. INS Kalvari will be the first conventional submarine to be inducted into India Navy after more than 17 years. It is first of the six Scorpene-class submarines built under the strategic Project 75 built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) with assistance and technology transfer from France’s DCNS. INS Sindhushastra was last inducted conventional diesel-electric submarine in July 2000 which was procured from Russia. ‘Kalvari’ is Malayalam word that means deep-sea tiger shark. It reflects its agility, strength and predatory prowess. The length of INS Kalvari is 67.5 metres and height of 12.3 metres and weighs 1,565-tonn and displacement capacity of 1,600 tonnes.
13.   India was ranked 100th among 149 countries on the list of prosperous countries released as part of The Legatum Prosperity Index 2017. It is world’s leading global measure of economic and social wellbeing that studies 104 indicators under these categories: Economic Quality, Governance, Business Environment, Personal Freedom, Safety and Security, Social Capital, Education, Health and Natural Environment. Legatum Prosperity Index is an annual ranking developed by the London-based Legatum Institute.
14.   India’s economic growth forecast for current fiscal i.e. FY 2017-18 has been lowered by 0.3% to 6.7% from earlier 7%. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Asian Development Outlook Supplement. The reasons cited for this downward revision of growth forecast of largest economy South Asia are lingering effect of demonetisation, transitory challenges to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and weather-related risks to agriculture.
15.   The Union Government has framed a scheme to set up 12 Special Courts for a year to fast-track the trial of criminal cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs. Initially, 12 courts would be constituted. Two special courts will handle cases against 228 MPs and remaining 10 courts will be set up in 10 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This decision was conveyed by Government to Supreme Court and is intended to end inordinate delay in prosecution of politicians in criminal cases.

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