Today Current Affairs 26th December 2016

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India successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5. The state-of-the-art surface-to-surface missile was test fired successfully from the launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. It was the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the missile. Agni-5 missile  : Agni 5 is three-stage solid propellant ICBM indigenously developed by developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Unlike other missiles of Agni series, Agni-5 is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. It is about 17 metre long, 2 metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.  This is the fourth developmental and second trial of the long range missile. The missile is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 kilometres with nuclear warhead carrying capacity of more than 1 tonne. Thus, it can hit most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. It has not yet inducted into the Services. It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.

US-based scientists have developed a bacteria-powered battery (bio-battery) on a single sheet of paper, which is capable of powering disposable electronics.  The paper-based bacteria-powered battery design is part of a new field of research called papertronics, which is a fusion of paper and electronics. In this battery researchers had laid ribbon of silver nitrate on a piece of chromatography paper. On top of this, they had placed thin layer of wax to create a cathode (positive electrode).  On the other side of the paper, reservoir out of a conductive polymer was made which acts an anode (negative electrode) filled with a few drops of the bacteria-containing wastewater liquid. When the paper is folded so that the cathode and anode come into contact, it is powered by the bacterial metabolism. This process is also known as cellular respiration. This bio-battery is cheap and can be easily manufactured as power source for medical sensors in remote and developing areas. In this case, the power is generated by common bacteria found in wastewater. Thus it store power generated by organic compounds.  The simple components are needed to make these kinds of paper-based batteries. This makes them a reliable backup in places where grid electricity or conventional batteries aren’t available.

Scientists from Canada have developed the first functional pacemaker cells using human pluripotent stem cells.  The cells can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses. It paves the way for alternate biological pacemaker therapy. Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.  These cells can be coaxed in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells. For this purpose researchers had used developmental-biology approach to establish a specific protocol for generating pacemaker cells. These human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts and have shown to function as a biological pacemaker, by activating the electrical impulses that trigger the contraction of the heart. Learning how to generate pacemaker cells could help in understanding disorders in pacemaker cells, and provide a cell source for developing a biological pacemaker.  Biological pacemakers offers promising alternative to electronic pacemakers and overcome their drawbacks as a lack of hormonal responsiveness and t inability to adapt to changes in heart size in pediatric patients. In general Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the primary pacemaker of the heart that controls the heartbeat throughout life. Defects in these pacemaker cells can lead to heart rhythm disorders that are commonly treated by implantation of electronic pacemaker devices.  A pacemaker is a device which is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heartbeats using low-energy electrical impulses.

A team of UK-based researchers have identified Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC) as the world’s most heat resistant material. They can withstand record melting point temperatures up to 3958°C (approx 4000°C). New Laser-heating techniques were used to find the temperature at which  TaC and HfC melted, both separately and in mixed compositions. Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC) are refractory ceramicse. they are extraordinarily resistant to heat. Researchers found TaC melted at 3,768 degrees Celsius, and HfC melted at 3,958 degrees Celsius.  Besides, the mixed compound (Ta0.8Hf0.20C) exceeded its previous recorded melting point. These materials at present are mainly used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors. This discovery may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles. It means that future spacecraft could become more faster than ever.  Currently hypersonic aircraft travelling above Mach 5 (5 times speed of sound) speed creates very high temperatures as friction is involved when travelling this speed limit. This means that these materials will enable spacecraft to withstand the extreme heat generated from leaving and re-entering the atmosphere.  

Indian actor Anupam Kher’s 500th film ‘The Big Sick’ has been selected for world premier at the Sundance Film Festival, to be held in the United States from 19 January to 29 January 2017. The Big Sick, which is an upcoming American romantic comedy film, has been directed by Michael Showalter. Apart from Kher, it stars stand-up comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Ray Romano and American actresses Holly Hunter and Zoe Kazan. The screenplay has been written by Nanjiani himself along with his wife Emily V Gordon and it is based largely on their own relationship. The film traces the challenges faced by a Pakistani-born man (Nanjiani) and his American girlfriend (Kazan). The news of the film’s selection for world premiere was confirmed by Anupam Kher himself through a tweet on his official twitter account. Along with congratulating the film’s producers for this feat, the veteran actor also praised his co-stars and expressed his joy in being a part of such a wonderful project. The event, organised by the Sundance Institute, is an annual American festival that takes place in Park City, Utah.  It is the largest independent film festival, organised in the United States of America.It will witness over 46660 attendees.   It will serve as a platform for American and foreign independent filmmakers to showcase their new work. It will feature competitive sections for feature films, short films as well as documentary films.

The Union Government has notified that the registration fees for Hindus and other minority community people as Indian citizens have been reduced from Rs 15000 to Rs 100. The new rules will be applicable to minority communities from three neighbouring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh living in India on long term visa. These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. Highlights : For minority community people from countries other than Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the fees will be Rs 10000 for registration in India and Rs 15000 if they are registered elsewhere. The minority members from the neighbouring countries will be required to take oath of allegiance as an Indian citizen in front of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, in case if the Collector, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate are absent.  The power of citizenship has been delegated to the district collectors in Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, MP, UP, Maharashtra, West & South Delhi and Rajasthan also.The changes were made after amending various provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009.

The Union Government has launched the Aadhaar Payment App with an aim to simplify the digital transactions. This app will do away with the need of carrying plastic cards and the point of sale machines. It will also do away with the additional fee payments for service providing card companies such as Mastercard or Visa. Highlights of the Aadhaar Payment App : There are two sides to this Aadhaar Payment app, one is the consumer app and the other is the merchant app. On the consumer front, the app is just like any mobile wallet which will be used to transfer money. The customer needs to enter his or her Aadhar number into the app, select the bank through which the transaction will take place and then the biometric scan will work as a password for the transaction to be authenticated.  While, merchants will require two things to use this app, one is an Android smartphone and second is a fingerprint scanner.This app can also be used by a person to make payments without any phone. The app was developed by IDFC Bank along with UIDAI and National Payments Corporation of India.  In order to spread awareness about this app, the government will conduct workshops to train 14 lakh Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) across 500 districts and 6500 blocks and will explain the methodology to carry out digital transactions through this app.

Christians in Aleppo on 25 December 2016 celebrated Christmas for the first time ever in 5 years. The Christian population in the city celebrated the holy festival under a giant Christmas tree. Many people described the Christmas celebrations as the return of peace in the city that came back under full government control in the third week of December 2016. Aleppo : Aleppo is a city in Syria and also the most populous Syrian governorate. For many centuries, the city was the Syria’s largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo. It was one of the largest cities in the Levant before the advent of the Syrian Civil War. It is an ancient metropolis and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Historians state that the city may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC. Aleppo was first mentioned in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia. Its significance in history has been its location at one end of the Silk Road, which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. It was only in 1869, when the Suez Canal was inaugurated, trade diverted to sea and the city saw its slow decline. Since the Battle of Aleppo started in 2012, the city has suffered massive destruction. It has been the worst-hit city in the Syrian Civil War.

The Odisha Government recently decided to launch a new malaria control programme, DAMAN, in remote tribal-dominated areas. Odisha has 62 types of tribes including 13 primitive tribes that constitute 22.3 per cent of the state's population. The population is under the high risk of malaria infection. The annual expenditure for the programme will be Rs 24 crore from the state budget. The drive aims at supplementing the routine malaria control activities and fill the gaps in case finding and treatment among the high risk population of inaccessible villages of high endemic areas. Highlights of the programme : DAMAN stands for Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (Malaria Control in Inaccessible Areas). It will be implemented in 8000 villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic southern districts. These districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Gajapati. The programme incorporates mass screening for malaria with treatment of positive cases along with intensified supervision, mosquito control measures and regular health education activities throughout the year. The drive will continue for five years with a total expenditure of Rs 120 crore. The State Government has already sanctioned Rs 10 crore to start the programme.Around 80 lakh high-risk population will benefit from the programme.

A Russian military plane carrying 92 passengers crashed into the Black Sea on 25 December 2016. The nature of the crash is such that all are feared to be dead. The TU-154 Tupolev airplane disappeared from the radar screens just two minutes after its take off from Sochi in southern Russia. It was headed to Latakia in Syria and had stopped at Sochi for refuel. Highlights : People onboard included 8 crew members and 84 passengers, among whom 60 were members of a celebrated dance and music troop-the Red Army Choir, who were being flown into Russia’s air base, Hmeymim, in Syria to perform for the troops on New Year.  Other passengers included nine journalists and military servicemen. No survivors have been found as of now. Preliminary information indicates that the plane crashed due to a technical malfunction or a pilot error. The weather had been good. According to Major General Igor Konashenkovm, the pilot was well experienced and the plane had been last serviced in September this year. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared 26 December as a national day of mourning.  Search Operation : A state commission headed by Russian Transportation Minister, Maxim Sokolov is looking into the crash. Four ships, four helicopters, a plane and a drone are being used in the search operation. Six more ships from Russia’s Black Sea fleet have been summoned to the crash site.  The Russian military has also brought in more than 100 divers to assist in the search along with a mini-submarine. So far only four bodies have been recovered. Tu-154 planes have been involved in a number of accidents before as well including a major one in April 2010, when an airplane carrying the then Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many of Poland’s high ranking politicians, crashed in western Russia killing everyone on board. Manturov however, stated that it was too early to discuss the complete withdrawal of the airline’s service.

Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri  won the title of the $10000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures. It is the first singles trophy of the season. It was his 11th title on the ITF Pro Circuit. The third seed from India defeated the tournament’s number two Shintaro Imai of Japan 6-4, 7-5. Bhambri won 75% of his first service points and broke serve three times to lock victory in one hour and 54 minutes. With the win, the world number 534 takes away $1440 in prize money along with 18 ATP ranking points. On the other hand, Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Taipei and Pak Long Yeung from Hong Kong defeated Hong Kong’s Karan Rastogi and Jack Wong to win the doubles title 5-7, 6-3, 10-4. Yuki Bhambri : Yuki Bhambri is an Indian professional tennis player and former Junior No. 1. He was the winner of the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship. He is the first Indian to seal victory in the junior Australian Open title. He is also the fourth Indian ever to capture a junior singles Grand Slam championship title. In 2015, he played against two-time grand slam champion, Andy Murray, in the first round of the Australian Open. However, Bhambri lost in straight sets.

Union Government has announced Lucky Grahak Yojana awards for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana awards for merchants. The awards were announced at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The awards were announced with an aim to promote digital transaction among Indians. In the first draw of the Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana awards, names of 15000 winners were announced. These names were announced in the presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Process of Selection: The winners were selected under 4 broad categories namely UPI, SUUA, RuPay and AEPS from 8 crore digital transactions that took place between 9 November to 21 December 2016. Each winner will get Rs 1000 and the amount will be transferred to their bank accounts. As per the official release, DigiDhan Mela will take place in 100 different cities across India over the next 100 days until March 2017. On the occasion, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world despite the slowdown. India has huge potential to transform the economy into a digital one. With incentive schemes like Lucky Grahak Yojana and DigiDhan Vyapar Yojana, the Digital India movement will certainly strengthen the country’s economic backbone.” He also said that the move will also help in delivering a better and clear economy in future. IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked people to adopt and promote digital transactions for the country's economic development. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who congratulated the winners of the Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana said in his tweet that in the coming days there will be programmes all over the country in which thousands of the winners of the two initiatives will be awarded. The two Yojanas, Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants, were launched with an aim to encourage people to move towards digital transactions. The yojanas were launched by NITI Aayog, along with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is an implementation partner of the yojanas.

The Union Government has launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App and an ‘Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)’ to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.  Apart from this, a helpline 14404 was also launched for consumer related grievances on the occasion of National Consumer Day (24th December). The OCMC has been launched in association with Bengaluru based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances in New Delhi.  The basic purpose of this Centre is to encourage consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and provide them with an option to settle disputes amicably. Initially, the OCMC deal with only deal with cases related to e-commerce companies. It will also facilitate online and even physical mediation between consumers and companies.  Besides, microsite based on the theme “Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign” was also launched. It will help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.

The Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has launched Twitter Seva to directly engage with citizens in country and abroad, tourists and business travellers for speedy resolution of their visa and passport queries.  Twitter Seva will enable the MEA, through its Twitter handle (@MEAIndia) to strengthen its primary relationship with Indian citizens by providing fast, efficient and real-time public services.  The Twitter Seva service will be supported by 198 Twitter accounts of Missions and High Commissions across the world and 29 Regional Passport Offices (RPOs) in India.  Both Indians and non-Indians register their relevant query simply with their tweet with MEA Twitter account. The request will activate the concerned office nationally or across the world and address a various range of issues under the MEA.  The global roll-out of Twitter Seva will enable timely, transparent and large scale response to citizen Tweets in real-time. It will enhance scalability and expedite the process dealing with requests by Indian and global citizens.

As many as 6,117 Kuchipudi dancers set a new Guinness World Record by performing together in a single event in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh. The Guinness World Record adjudicated for the 12-minute “Jayamu Jayamu” item as the ‘Largest Kuchipudi dance’ performance. Kuchipudi dancers from various age groups (as young as 5 to more than 60 years) from across the world, including from US, UAE, UK, Russia, Hong Kong and Mauritius took part in performance. The record event was organised by SiliconAndhra, a cultural non-profit organisation in association with the Andhra Pradesh Government at IGMC Stadium. ‘Jayamu Jayamu’ was choreographed by the legendary Vempati China Satyam and it was chosen for the record attempt ‘Mahabrinda Natyam’. The ‘Mahabrinda Natyam’ was part of the 5th International Kuchipudi Dance Convention hosted by the Andhra Pradesh Government’s Department of Language and Culture. Kuchipudi dance  : Kuchipudi is one of the ten major Indian classical dances. It originated in a village of Krishna district in modern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It derives its name from this village. It is a dance-drama performance art, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra.  Like all major classical dances of India, it was also developed as a religious art linked to traveling bards, temples and spiritual beliefs. The Kuchipudi style was conceived by Siddhendra Yogi, a talented Vaishnava poet of 17th century. It begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha followed by nritta (non-narrative and abstract dancing); shabdam (narrative dancing) and natya.  The dance is accompanied by song which is typically Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied by musical instruments like mridangam, violin, flute and tambura. Like other classical dances, Kuchipudi also comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics but it is the use of speech that distinguishes Kuchipudi’s presentation as dance drama.

 Lord’s Cricket Ground has released its top 20 players for this calendar year. Indian test skipper Virat Kohli got the number 1 spot in the ranking owing to his marvelous performance in all format of the game. 4 Indians got place in the ranking. Apart from Virat the other 3 are off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin at 3rd spot, Ajinkya Rahane at 13th and Cheteshwar Pujara at 18th spot. The top 5 cricketers are : Virat Kohli (India) Jonny Bairstow (England) Ravichandran Ashwin (India) Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) Chris Woakes (England) Lord’s Cricket Ground is located in London and is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

The foundation stone for India's first second generation ethanol bio-refinery to be set up by Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) at Bathinda in Punjab at a cost of Rs 600 crore will be laid on December 25. The foundation stone laying ceremony will be held at village Tarkhanwala, in Bathinda district of Punjab, a Petroleum Ministry. The government is encouraging production of second generation ethanol from agricultural residues to provide additional sources of remuneration to farmers, address the growing environmental concerns and support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme. The Bathinda bio-refinery will produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day, or 3.20 crore litres per annum, which may be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of Punjab. The project shall also help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting. The bio-refinery will also produce about 30,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser per annum that can be used as soil nutrient. It will also produce more than 1 lakh kilograms of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements. HPCL and other state-run oil firms are setting up 12 2G ethanol bio-refineries across 11 states at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore. These Bio-refineries shall produce around 35-40 crore litres of ethanol annually, thus contributing significantly towards the EBP programme.

The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), from an Indian Air Force aircraft. In a statement, the DRDO said, the flight test was conducted at the integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha. It was flight tested on 24 December 2016. Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) : Developed by DRDO, SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed the 120-kilogram class smart weapon. This lightweight high precision-guided bomb is one of the world class weapons systems. The system is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kilometres. As per reports, SAAW’s captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at Interim Test Range during the entire duration of the flight. An official release said, “the performance of all systems were satisfactory with all the mission objectives achieved”. The Rs 56.58 crore SAAW project was sanctioned by the Union Government in September 2013.  Earlier in May 2016, the DRDO conducted the first test of the weapon system from Indian Air Force Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft in Bengaluru.  DRDO Chairman Dr S Christopher congratulated both DRDO and IAF team for the successful mission.

Pankaj Advani has bagged the National title in 6-red Snooker, the shorter format of the game in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Advani defeated Ishpreet Chadha in the final 7-4 to grab the title. He had first won the title during the inaugural edition in Bangalore in 2010. With this win, Advani has emerged as the strongest contender to represent India in the Asian and World Championships in 6-red Snooker in 2017. The Indian player is the only player in the world to win all the titles, National, Continental and World, in 6-red Snooker. Pankaj Advani : Born on 24 July 1985, India’s Pankaj Arjan Advani is a professional player of English billiards and former professional snooker player. He obtained his education at the Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore and completed his bachelor's degree in Commerce from Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College. He received training in snooker from former national Snooker champion Arvind Savur. He has achieved a hat-trick of hat-tricks in English billiards. He holds the World, Asian, and Indian National Championship titles simultaneously, in three different years, i.e., 2005, 2008 and 2012. In 2012, he became a snooker professional. His first season on the main tour was the 2012/2013 season. On his debut in 6-red snooker, he won the 2014 IBSF World 6-Red Snooker Championship. He is the only player to win world titles in both the long and short formats of snooker i.e., 15-red standard and 6-red, and both formats of English billiards i.e., time and point. In August 2014, he, along with Rupesh Shan, Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandilya, won the first ever World Team Billiards Championship held in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2004, the Government of India bestowed Arjuna Award on him. In 2006, he was honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. In 2009, he was awarded with the Padma Shri.  

Google India has partnered with the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs to launch nationwide Digitally Safe Consumer campaign to raise awareness among consumers about online safety and better protect consumer interest online.  The campaign is expected to be rolled out in January 2017. It will reach out with training materials to over 1,200 consumer organisations as well as consumer affairs department of every state and UT. It will be yearlong campaign focused on building capacities of consumer organisations, personnel of consumer affairs department and counsellors of National Consumer Helpline on Internet safety. Under it, Google with the help of partner agencies will work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through ‘Digital Literacy, Safety & Security’ workshops.  It will be through a ‘Train the Trainer’ model for approximately 500 people including 250 consumer organisations across the country. These trainers will further engage with the local community to spread awareness around the need for Internet safety.

Good Governance Day is being observed across India on 25 December 2016. The day is observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has turned 92. To mark the occasion, a Good Governance campaign will be undertaken for 100 days. During this campaign, ministers and members of Parliament will travel across India and attend programmes that highlight the key initiatives of the government. Besides, six major initiatives will be launched by the  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The initiatives include Immovable Property Return through Property Related Information System (PRISM) Recruitment Rules Formation, Amendment Monitoring System (RRFAMS) Announcement of E-Service Book Mandatory online filing of APAR by all All India Services and Central Group A Service Officers Launching of redesigned website of Department of Personnel and Training The endeavour of the government is to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors. The Good Governance Day was established in 2014 with an aim to honour former PM Vajpayee by fostering awareness among Indians about the accountability of governance. The concept of the day encompasses two fundamental elements accountability and transparency.  

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently declared that actor Sunny Leone is PETA’s Person of the Year. Leone will receive the award for her commitment for promoting the rescue of homeless dogs and cats, as well as her compassion for abused animals. Earlier in 2016, Leone featured in PETA’s ad campaign, which encouraged people to "be an angel" and adopt a homeless dog. In 2015, Kapil Sharma was chosen for the PETA’s Person of the Year award. Past recipient of the award include Shashi Tharoor, KS Panicker Radhakrishnan, Hema Malini, R Madhavan, Jacqueline Fernandez among others. Thical Treatment of Animals : People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization. It was founded in March 1980. It has more than 3 million members and supporters. It is the largest animal rights group in the world. Its slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way." It rejects speciesism and also disapprove of the use and abuse of animals in any way, be it food, clothing, entertainment or research subjects. Each year, the organisation selects a Person of the Year, who has helped promote the cause of animal rights. Previous PETA persons of the year include Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, and others.