International Current Affairs
- In order to check infiltration and terrorism, the Border Security Force (BSF) will be installing laser walls and smart sensors along the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
- The satellite-monitored smart sensors will have night and fog operability tools and will blip and alert the border guards.
- The laser walls are set to become operational from next year.
- Scotland today launched a Baby Box Scheme, providing parents of newborn babies with maternity kits containing digital thermometers, blankets and baby clothes.
- The baby boxes, which newborns can also sleep in, were handed out by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
- Note : Finland, which introduced baby boxes in 1938, has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
- Iceland ended the year 2016 without a government for two months following the Panama Papers scandal and a snap election in which none of the parties got a majority.
- Former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had resigned over revelations of his offshore holdings in a tax haven which prompted demonstrations with protesters calling for immediate elections.
National Current Affairs
- Activist Irom Sharmila today formally announced that she will be contesting the 2017 Manipur Assembly election from Thoubal which is the constituency of Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh.
- The government today announced that billing service charge in addition to taxes at hotels and restaurants is completely discretionary and if a customer is dissatisfied with the experience he/she can choose not to pay the service charge.
- This comes after the government received complaints from consumers that restaurants are charging ‘service charge’ in the range of 5-20%.
- The Supreme Court today ordered that no politician can seek votes in the name of caste, language or religion.
- The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has held that death due to mosquito bite causing malaria is an accident and hence liable for the insurance claim.
- Adding that mosquito bite is something which no one expects, the commission said it would be very difficult to accept that malaria due to mosquito bite is a disease and not an accident.
Science & Technology
- India today successfully conducted the final test of the nuclear-capable Agni-IV missile from a road-mobile launcher on Odisha’s Abdul Kalam Island.
- The Strategic Forces Command, entrusted with India’s nuclear weapons, conducted the test.
- The surface-to-surface missile can carry a 1-tonne nuclear warhead over 4,000 km. Earlier called Agni Prime, it has already been deployed by the army.
- Features of Agni-IV missile :
- Indigenously developed Agni-IV is a nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile and can be fired using road-mobile launchers.
- With a range of around 4,000 km, it can be fired from deeper locations, making the missile difficult for the enemy to track and destroy it.
- The 20-metre-long missile is also equipped with state-of-the-art technology to correct itself for in-flight disturbances.
- Tyrus Wong (106), the artist whose works inspired the visuals in the 1942 Disney film Bambi, passed away.
- The award-winning concept artist worked with Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hallmark.
- Burundi’s Environment Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru was shot dead while on his way home in the country’s capital Bujumbura.
- This is the first high-profile assassination since the African nation sank into political turmoil in 2015 after incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza sought re-election for the third time.
Awards & Honors
- Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain today conferred the country’s highest civilian honour ‘Nishan-e-Imtiaz‘ on Army chief Qamar Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Hayat in recognition of their services.
- The award is given to civilians based on their achievements towards world recognition for Pakistan or outstanding service for the country.
Business & Economy
- The UK government is encouraging the public to return old £1 coins as the Treasury will be introducing a new 12-sided coin to replace it.
- The measure has been introduced to end counterfeiting, with reports suggesting nearly 2.55% of the 40 crore old coins in circulation are fake.
- The old coins shall become invalid by October next year.
- After SBI on Sunday cut lending rates across maturities by 0.9%, other banks like Punjab National Bank and Union Bank of India, have also brought down interest rates.
- PNB has cut its one-year marginal cost of funds-based lending rate by 0.7% and Union Bank has reduced it by 0.65%. Kotak Mahindra also cut lending rates by up to 0.45%.
Sports Current Affairs
- The Supreme Court today removed BJP MP Anurag Thakur from the post of BCCI President.
- The court also sacked BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke.
- Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel has constituted a committee to suggest improvements in National Sports Development Code and functioning of Indian Sports Federations.
- The move has come after the ministry suspended the Indian Olympic Association for appointing Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as life presidents.
- The committee is expected to submit its report within a month.