Current Affairs 9th December 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Amazon, which started as an online book retailer, has announced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as the best-selling book of 2016.  The playscript by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, was also named this year's 'Most Wished For' and 'Most Gifted' book.  Three Harry Potter-related books have been included in 2016's 'Kids and Teens' bestsellers list.

The Indian Army has launched a mobile application 'Veterans Outreach App', The app was launched by Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.  The app facilitates route guidance on a Google map to any chosen service facility. A link has also been provided to a 'Pension Calculator' on the website of Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pension) called 'Suvigya' which enables a veteran to check his/her pension entitlement. The app also facilitates 'Finding Coursemates' from among veterans registered on the Indian Army veterans' portal. The app, prepared under the aegis of the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV), has specific features like 'Ask a question' and 'Locator Services' that enable locating of Ex-Servicemen Cells, Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme Polyclinics, Station Canteens and Sainik Aram Grahs across the country.

The board of directors of IDFC Bank has approved appointment of Veena Mankar as Non-Executive Chairperson, with effect from December 9, 2016, up to July 26, 2018. The appointment is subject to approval by the Reserve Bank of India. The private sector bank, in a statement, said Anil Baijal stepped down from the board on Thursday at the end of his tenure. Mankar has been an independent director of IDFC Bank since July 27, 2015. According to the statement, Mankar started her career in 1975 with ICICI, the erstwhile development finance institution, which was followed by commercial banking experience in Dubai. Mankar set up and headed the Indian Representative Office of West LB, a German State-owned bank and thereafter was the founding Managing Director of a factoring non-banking finance company.

The 2016 India International Science festival (IISF) has started at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Campus in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The theme of the science festival is “Science for the masses”. IISF-2016 has been organised by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).  The main aim is to promote the science and technology developed by the Indian research labs and to inculcate the scientific temper among masses. It also aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds.  It will showcase recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments. It will also showcase India’s S&T prowess, technological developments, history of Indian Science and science education involving more than 10000 young researchers, academicians and top level Indian scientists. The IISF as a major science event was conceptualized in 2016 and was organized for first time IISF at IIT, Delhi in December, 2015.  It was visited by more than 4 lakh people and was a great success. It had won the distinction of Guinness Book of World Record for successful conduct of Largest Practical Science Lesson by 2000 school students.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items. In this regard, FSSAI has issued an advisory all states and Union territories and asked commissioners of food safety to restrict the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items.  This is first time in recent years FSSAI has issued new rule related to packaging of food items. So far, it had focused on setting standards for packaged food. In India, use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, a common practice by small corner shops and street vendors. Packing, serving and storing of food items in newspapers can cause serious health concerns due contaminate food items by newspaper ink.  Printing ink used for printing newspapers may contain bioactive materials, harmful pigments, colours, additives, binders, preservatives, chemical contaminants and even pathogenic microorganisms that may pose potential risk to human health. Even newspaper or cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with mineral oils, metallic contaminants and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity.  Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications after they are exposed to food items packed in such materials FSSAI: It is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It functions under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

According to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) India was ranked 8th among 163 countries in the list of most impacted by terrorism in 2015. The fourth edition of the index was released by Sydney-based think-tank Institute for Economics & Peace. India is one of six Asian countries ranked in the top 10 nations most impacted by terrorism. Global facts in 2016 GTI According to GTI 2016, Iraq was the worst hit by terror in 2015 followed by Afghanistan and Nigeria. Pakistan was ranked fourth. Deaths from terror attacks globally declined 10%from the highest recorded level of 32,765 in 2014 to 29,376 in 2015. Deaths from terror attacks globally declined 10%from the highest recorded level of 32,765 in 2014 to 29,376 in 2015. Economic loss from terrorism is $635 billion over 16 years from 2000 to 2015. This amount is equivalent to annual gross domestic product (GDP) of Egypt and Malaysia. The economic impact of terrorism, as a proportion of a country’s GDP, is highest in Iraq at 17.3%, followed by Afghanistan (16.8%) and Syria (8.3%).  ISIS has overtaken its African affiliate Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist group in 2015. It expanded to 11 countries in 2015 from six in 2014. Since 2014, the loss has declined from a 16-year high of $106 billion to the second-highest level of $90 billion, at constant 2015 prices.  Violent conflict, as a whole, caused $13.6 trillion loss to the global economy in 2015 (in purchasing parity terms), or 13.3 of global GDP. OECD countries, the world’s most developed saw 650% rise in terror-related deaths from 77 in 2014 to 577 in 2015.  Turkey (OECD member) witnessed 337 deaths in 2015, highest among OECD countries. These attacks were carried by the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and ISIS. In India, as many as 797 terrorist attacks were recorded in 2015 up by 4% since 2014. Besides, 289 terrorism-related deaths were recorded in India, a 45% decline over 2014. However, number of Indian Army and paramilitary soldiers killed this year is at an eight-year high. 2015 attacks were the highest since 2000, 80% were non-lethal. India experienced 7% of all terrorist attacks around the world, the fourth highest after Iraq (20%), Afghanistan (14%) and Pakistan (8%). In 2015, India suffered fewer terror attacks (797) than only Iraq (2,415), Afghanistan (1,715) and Pakistan (1,008). India suffered twice as many attacks as Syria (384).

The International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 was observed across the world on 9 December 2016 with the theme United against corruption for development, peace and security. The day was observed to raise public awareness about corruption and what people can do to fight it. On the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day, all the Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world joined forces to fight the crime. The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest road blocks to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are the main organisations that are at the forefront of these efforts. International Anti-Corruption Day : On 31 October 2003, UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and designated the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention against corruption. The UNGA also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

The Enforcement Directorate has summoned the officials of AirAsia India to investigate the airline’s alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations A case has been registered under Section 3 of the FEMA. The main focus of ED’s investigation will be on the irregularities in the company’s transactions involving non-existent parties, alleged to be located in India and Singapore. The airline’s management and control are also under scanner. It is a joint venture between its parent company AirAsia Berhad in Malaysia and Tata Sons who own 49% each. Remaining two percent is divided between Chairman S Ramadorai and Director R Venkataramanan, who is also the managing trustee of Tata Trusts. The main instigator of the investigation has been Cyrus Mistry, who right after his ouster as Tata Sons Chairman, reported fraud transactions worth Rs 22 crore at AirAsia through an email to Tata Sons Boards. His revelation was followed up by an article written by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and a forensic audit conducted by Deloitte based on the allegations of misappropriation of funds by former company executives. The Deloitte report brought to light an alleged payment of Rs 12 crore, which the airline made to HNR Trading for consultancy service without any proper agreement for the transaction and explanation on the nature of service provided. Another questionable payment is of Rs 10 crore that the airline made to a company called Link Media Immigration Services Pvt Ltd for media services, which after the investigation was found to be non-existent.

In a recent ruling, the Kerala High Court put a hold on the order relaxing dress norms at the state’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. The ruling comes just days after the temple’s CEO K N Sateesh allowed women to enter the temple wearing salwar suits. The move, which was taken in response to a petition lodged at the high court by a woman advocate Riya Raje, hadn’t gone down well with the Temple’s senior priest, Nedumpilli Tharanalloor Parameshwaran Namboodiripad. The priest had expressed his staunch opposition to the decision, calling it a violation of the temple’s age-old traditions. While his stand definitely had an effect on the high court’s earlier decision, a writ petition filed by private parties challenging the Executive officer’s decision also played a major role in the return of the old norms. A division of bench of the court has ordered for the old norms to continue for the time being. It comes as a huge blow to women, as like before they will be expected to wear only saris or cover their salwar and churidar with a dhoti while entering the temple. Kerala’s Padmanabhaswamy temple relaxes dress code for women The decision to allow women wearing salwar kameez to enter the temple was officially made by the temple CEO Sateesh on 29 November 2016. The administrative committee of the temple had, however, frozen his order but the writ petition alleged that despite this, women wearing churidar were allowed into the temple. In July 2007, another prominent place of worship in Kerala- the Guruvayoor Shri Krishna temple had amended its strict dress code for women devotees, allowing them to enter wearing salwar kameez and traditional long skirts. The rule still continues to stand.

Former US astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, died on 8 December 2016. He was 95. The ex-Marine and Senator had been in hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for more than a week.  John Glenn was best known for circling the earth in 1962. He circled the planet aboard the Friendship 7 space capsule. This achievement of Glenn marked the moment the US caught up with the Soviet Union in manned space exploration. After returning to Earth, Glenn was elected in 1974 as a Democrat to the US Senate, where he served for 24 years. John Glenn : He was the last of NASA's original seven astronauts to die. He circled the world three times on board the Mercury capsule "Friendship 7" before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean on 20 February 1962.  At the age of 77, he also became the oldest person, worldwide, to fly into space. He went to the orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery.He was the colonel in the US Marine Corps and flew combat flights during the Second World War and Korean War. He was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honours awarded by the United States and Congressional Gold Medal. In 1959, he was named as an astronaut. He was named as the astronaut after he set a transcontinental speed record flying a jet to New York from California in three hours and 23 minutes.Glenn served as an advisor to NASA until 1964.

The Union Government has announced package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country. It was announced to supplement the surge in the digital transactions aftermath demonetisation of old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes for promotion of digital cashless economy and cutting out cash transactions. Petroleum companies will offer a discount of 0.75% on diesel and petrol to consumers who pay through digital means. 5% discount will be given to people who will buy monthly seasonal tickets in the Suburban railway networks through digital payment mode.  Passengers will get 10 lakh rupees free accident insurance cover on booking of Railway ticket through online mode. Payments through digital mode for railways catering, accommodation, retiring room will also attract 5% discount.  People will be get 10% discount on General Insurance and 8% discount on new life Insurance policies of PSUs purchased online.  Discount of 10% will be available to users for payment of toll at Toll Plazas on National Highways using RFID card and Fast Tags.  Government departments and PSUs will ensure that transaction, MDR charges are not borne by customers for public dealings.  NABARD will extend financial support to eligible banks for deployment of two Point of Sale (PoS) devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population of less than 10,000.  NABARD will also support Rural Regional Banks (RRBs) and Cooperative Banks to issue Rupay Kisan Cards to over 4 crore 32 lakh Kisan Credit Card (KCC) holders to enable them to make digital transactions at ATMs and POS machines.  Merchants will not pay more than 100 rupees monthly rental for PoS terminals, Micro ATMs and mobile POS from the merchants.

Pakistan has lifted an "undeclared" ban on imports of ginned cotton from India, pledging to strictly implement all phytosanitary and other conditions governing the fibre's imports on future shipments coming in via surface or sea. Earlier, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research put cotton imports from India on hold through Wagah border checkpost and Karachi port from November 23, saying the shipments did not fulfil phytosanitary conditions. However, traders at that time claimed that rising border tensions between the two neighbours prompted Islamabad to impose the ban on Indian cotton. A trader told Dawn that the DPP started issuing permits for importing cotton from India via Wagah. But the DPP has also made it clear to importers that only the consignments free from cotton seeds will be accepted and allowed into the country, he added. Last year, Pakistan imported from India ginned cottonworth more than $800 million, which accounted for two-thirds of India's cotton exports. Traders are expecting cotton imports from India and elsewhere to surge this year in view of the anticipated shortfall in the domestic crop. The government expects cotton output to remain close to 10.5 million bales of 170kg each against a reduced industry demand of 14m bales owing to widespread factory closures in Pakistan's Punjab province because of higher energy prices.

Himachal Pradesh has become the 18th state to join UDAY, a central scheme for revival of debt stressed power distribution companies, availing a net benefit of about Rs 823 crore. Government of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Himachal Pradesh and state DISCOM under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) today, for operational and financial turnaround of the DISCOM. Himachal Pradesh is the 18th state to sign MoU under UDAY. An overall net benefit of about Rs 823 crore would accrue to the state by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency during the period of turnaround.The state would take over Rs 2,891 crore of DISCOM debt, 75 per cent of the total DISCOM debt of Rs 3,854 crore as on September 30, 2015, as envisaged in the scheme. It also provides for the balance debt of Rs 963 crore to be re-priced or issued as state guaranteed DISCOM bonds, at coupon rates of 3 per cent less than the average existing interest rate. The annual saving in the interest cost to the state would be around Rs 140 crore on account of restructuring of the DISCOM debt. UDAY not only focusses on bringing about financial turnaround of the DISCOMs, but also lays stress on improving operational efficiencies of the DISCOMs. Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy- efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans & ACs and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in the state. 

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on launched Haritha Keralam Mission in Thiruvananthapuram on December 8, 2016. To clear and remove waste from all the water bodies in the state, ensure disposal of solid waste and removal of waste water and measures to increase the area of land under cultivation It is a comprehensive program for creating new development perspectives by maximum utilization of opportunities through waste management, water resources and agricultural development using organic farming. Renowned singer KJ Yesudas and actor Manju Warrier are brand ambassadors of this project

The Women and Child Development Ministry has tied up with India Post and State Bank of India to offer more payment options to buyers and simplify shipping of products bought from "Mahila E-haat", an online marketing platform for women entrepreneurs.  SBI users can avail multiple options for making payments such as draft, cheque, e-banking and e-wallet through "SBI Buddy" application. SBI customers abroad can make use of "SBI Global".  Also, one can take advantage of options like "general insurance" for insuring the item being couriered.  The tie-up with India Post will help women selling products on the forum locate the nearest post office for shipping purposes.  The entrepreneurs can also enter a vendor agreement with India Post, which will help them get a discount on bulk consignments.  Around 251 vendors have registered themselves with the forum. They have a network of nearly 1700 self-help groups that put up their products for sale. 

Microsoft has introduced business solutions from its partner ecosystem to meet the business needs of small and medium businesses across Kerala. Built by Microsoft’s ISV partners Smarter SMB and IDOS, these solutions address key areas like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Finance & Accounting and enhancing organisational efficiency. These solutions will run on Microsoft cloud and will be available at very low cost. SMB sector in Kerala has strong potential for driving growth through technology adoption and Microsoft is committed to providing them with the right set of solutions to achieve it. While bringing these solutions, Microsoft has also announced special pricing and deployment offers on Office 365. The pricing for Office 365 will start from as low as ₹250 per user per month and for organisations with more than 50 users, the company will take the responsibility for deploying the suite.

Google parent Company Alphabet has been named the company of the year by Fortune magazine in its annual Blue Ribbon ranking. The list recognises the "best of the best" organisations that have appeared on four or more Fortune lists in 2016 like Fortune 500 and Most Admired Companies.  Nike and Apple rank third and seventh on the Blue Ribbon list respectively.

Former basketball player Michael Jordan has been named the highest-paid athlete of all time by Forbes, with $1.7 billion in earnings.  His cumulative salary over 15 seasons is $93 million, with Nike paying him over $100 million for the Jordan brand this year. Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also feature among the highest paid athletes. Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American retired professional basketball player. He is also a businessman, and principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam as himself. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the then-Charlotte Bobcats, buying a controlling interest in 2010. In 2015, as a result of the increase in value of NBA franchises, Jordan became the first billionaire NBA player in history and the world's second-richest African-American.

The Union Cabinet approved proposal of the reforms to boost employment generation and exports in the Made-ups manufacturing Sector.  It approved budget of Rs. 6,006 crore for the apparel package in a time bound manner. The main objective is generating direct and indirect employment of upto 11 lakh persons over the next three years the made-ups sector. Providing production incentive through enhanced Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) subsidy of additional 10% for Made-ups. Extending Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMPRPY) Scheme (for apparel) to made-ups sector.  This extension will provide additional 3.67% share of Employer’s contribution in addition to 8.33% already covered under PMRPY for all new employees enrolling in EPFO.  Extending Rebate of State Levies (ROSL) (for apparel) Scheme to made-ups sector for enhanced Duty Drawback on exports of Made-ups. Simplification of labour laws: (i) Increasing permissible overtime working hours up to 100 hours per quarter in Made-ups manufacturing sector. (ii) Making employees’ contribution to EPF optional for employees earning less than Rs 15,000 per month. The reforms and interventions are expected to boost employment in the textile sector especially in Made-ups manufacturing Sector. It will create employment for upto eleven lakh persons and lead to increase in exports.

English has been ranked first in the top 10 most powerful languages in the world according to the 2016 World Power Language Index (PLI).  The index was published by World Economic Forum (WEF). Indian language Hindi was ranked 10th in the 2016 PLI. According to the index there are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world. Of these 2,000 count fewer than 1,000 speakers.  Moreover, just 15 languages account for half of the languages spoken in the world. English is dominant language of 3 G7 nations (USA, UK and Canada). Top 10 Languages in 2016 PLI : English (1st), Mandarin (2nd), French (3rd), Spanish (4th), Arabic (5th), Russian (6th), German (7th), Japanese (8th), Portuguese (9th) and Hindi (10th). The top six languages are official languages of the United Nations. The remaining 4 in the top 10 include two other BRIC languages (Portuguese and Hindi) and 2 of the economic heavyweights (Germany and Japan). Hindi is most primarily language spoken in India with a share of 41%. It is also the official language of Indian government. World Power Language Index (PLI)  : The World Power Language Index (PLI) compares or ranks languages on their efficacy in the various domains. It uses 20 indicators to measure the influence on language. It measures the usefulness of a language to a representative human being.  It is not meant to apply to any particular person with their own set of conditions, preferences and geography. It does not measure of the beauty or merit of a language or its associated cultures.

India was formally designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States on 8 December 2016. It was announced in the India-US joint statement on US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had invited US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India. It marked the seventh interaction between the two leaders. The designation is a status unique to India and institutionalizes the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners. The designation also ensures enduring cooperation in future. However, the two sides, in the joint statement, did not specify details of the benefits that will accrue to India under the designation. National Defense Authorization Act, 2017 : India’s Major Defense Partner status has been made a part of the India Amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2017 (NDAA), approved by the US Congress to allocate funds annually to the US military. This Bill is expected to be passed shortly, which will put a official stamp on India’s status. Under the India Amendment in the NDAA 2017, the USA will inform the review of requests to export defence articles, defence services or related technology to India under the Arms Export Control Act. It will also inform any regulatory and policy adjustments that may be appropriate. Also, an American official will be designated to ensure the success of the Framework for the United States-India Defense Relationship, which was signed in 205. The designated associate will approve and facilitate the transfer of advanced technology, and will also strengthen the effectiveness of the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative and the stability of the India Rapid Reaction Cell in Pentagon.

A team of researchers from University of Illinois discovered the existence of hot atomic hydrogen (H) atoms in an upper layer of Earth's atmosphere, known as the thermosphere. The finding was recently published in the report titled Nature Communications. The discovery significantly changes current understanding of the distribution of hot atomic hydrogen and its interaction with other atmospheric constituents. Highlights of the finding : The discovery was enabled by the development of new numerical techniques and their application to years' worth of remote sensing measurements acquired by NASA's Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite. Atomic hydrogen efficiently scatters ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. The amount of scattered light sensitively depends on the amount of Hydrogen atoms that are present in the atmosphere. As an outcome, remote observations of the scattered H emission can be used to probe the abundance and spatial distribution of H. In order to extract information about the upper atmosphere from such measurements, one needs to calculate exactly how the solar photons are scattered. The researchers, under support from the National Science Foundation and NASA, developed a model of the radiative transfer of the scattered emission. This was done along with a new analysis technique that incorporated a transition region between the lower and upper extents of the H distribution. The analysis of the TIMED data led to the counter-intuitive finding that the temperature of the H atoms in the thermosphere increases significantly with declining solar activity. The finding is in contrast to the ambient atmospheric temperature, which decreases with declining solar activity. It was also found that the presence of such hot H atoms in the thermosphere significantly affects the distribution of the H atoms throughout the entire atmosphere. Hot H atoms had been theorized to exist at very high altitudes, above several thousand kilometres. However, the new finding suggests that they exist as low as 250 kilometres. The origin of such hot H atoms, previously thought not to be able to exist in the thermosphere, is still a mystery. The ongoing atmospheric escape of Hydrogen atoms is the reason why Mars has lost the majority of its water. H atoms play a critical role in the physics governing the Earth's upper atmosphere. Also, it serves as an important shield for satellites in low-earth orbit against the harsh space environment.

The Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) is scheduled to be held from 16 December to 23 December 2016 in Goa. The festival will see a stellar line-up of 33 global artists, who will display their work at the eight-day inspiration-packed festival. More than 40 exciting projects and exhibitions featuring famous artists, like Kabi Raj Lama, Bandu Manamperi, Escif, Billy Chang, SP Pushpakanthan, Lisa Stertz and Paquito Gonzalees, will be a part of the festival. Focus areas of the festival : Promoting patronage of the arts Creating a space for interdisciplinary exploration across the arts Being a driver for arts education Connecting young aspiring artists and students with the professional possibilities of the art world in India Connecting Indian arts community with international discourses in art. Serendipity Arts Festival : The Serendipity Arts Festival will be held on the banks of River Mandovi in Goa. The festival is envisioned as a space, which brings together the visual, performing and culinary arts. The festival is curated by a panel of artists and institutional figures. The festival is a long-term cultural project that hopes to affect positive change in the arts in India on a large scale. It is a cultural experiment that hopes to affect the way Indians interact with art on a daily basis by addressing issues such as arts education, interdisciplinary discourse, accessibility of the arts and patronage culture.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 crashed with 47 people, including five crew members and 42 passengers, on board into a mountain near the town of Havelian, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The plane crashed on 7 December 2016 en route from Chitral to the capital, Islamabad. Junaid Jamshed, a well-known Pakistani pop star turned evangelical Muslim cleric, is among those dead. Jamshed was one of Pakistan’s first and most successful rock and pop bands of the 1990s. After abandoning his musical career in 2001, he became a travelling evangelist with the conservative Tableeghi Jamaat group. The dead also included three foreigners, two Austrians and a Chinese man, as well as a member of Chitral's traditional royal family and his wife. As per chairman of the airlines, recovery operations continued late into the night at the remote crash site.  As per reports, captain of the Pakistani flight that crashed reported losing power in one engine minutes before its plane lost contact with the control tower.

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