Current Affairs 8th January 2018 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Saudi Arabia gave green signal to India’s proposal to revive option of Haj pilgrimage through sea route. It will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision. He said, sending Haj pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly. Mr Naqvi said, officials from both countries will discuss all formalities and technicalities so that Haj through sea route can be re-started in coming years.  The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped in 1995. Saudi Arabia Haj Minister Dr. Mohamed Bentin and Mr. Naqvi, who is on a Saudi Arabia visit, have signed bilateral annual Haj 2018 agreement in Makkah.  For the first time, Muslim women from India will go to Haj without Mehram, male companion.

All railway station nearly 8,500 across the country, including those in rural and remote areas will be equipped with Wi-Fi facilities at an estimated cost of Rs. 700 crore ($110 million). As part of the government's ambitious Digital India initiative, the national transporter has currently commissioned Wi-Fi services at 216 major stations enabling about seven million rail passengers to log on to the free Internet facility. 1,200 stations have been identified for this facility to primarily cater to rail passengers, about 7,300 stations have been earmarked to not only serve passengers but also local people in rural and remote areas. Railway stations in rural areas will have kiosks with Wi-Fi that will become digital hot spots offering services like digital banking, Aadhaar generation, issuing government certificates, including birth and death certificates, and filing taxes and paying bills, among others.

The Indian Navy inked a MoU with the Cochin Port Trust (CPT), Kerala towards leasing of 228 meters of berths at Mattancherry Wharf for a period of five years. The MoU has been concluded to cater for the futuristic requirements of the Navy with the sizeable increase in its fleet scheduled in the near future. This is the first time such an agreement has been signed between the Navy and CPT.

Minister of State (I/C) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh announced that Arunachal Pradesh would get its first Film and Television Institute, being set up by the Union Government as part of tapping the potential of the Northeastern region. This would be the second such one in the country. The first Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was set up in Pune. FTII is an autonomous institute operating under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is planning to issue its first US dollar-denominated bond with the minimum worth of $1 billion by June 2018. The earliest issuance window of the bond will be toward the end of first half of 2018 with the time required for certain procedures, including Board of Governors’ approval of AIIB’s 2017 financial statements as well as borrowing and swap documentation. The minimum size of the issuance will be one billion dollars, but as demand for the first bond issue may increase AIIB anticipates of having to issue a larger size.

Tamil Nadu also very well in terms of male and female GER figures, as also the GER figures for the Scheduled Castes. The All India Survey on Higher Education report (2106-2017), was released by Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar which saw the State lead with a GER of 46.9%. Among Union Territories, Chandigarh recorded 56.1%. Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Odisha posted low GERs of 14.4%, 17.2%, 18.5% and 21% respectively. Uttar Pradesh fared marginally better at 24.9%, close to the national average. GER for higher education is calculated with reference to the age group 18-23. It is the total enrolment in higher education, irrespective of age, expressed as a percentage of the election official population (18-23 years) in a given school year.

The 75th Golden Globe Award ceremony was held in Los Angeles, the USA.   “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” dominated the 2018 Golden Globes, taking home four statues, including best drama, best screenplay, and acting awards for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell in the drama category. Seth Meyers hosted the star-studded show. Here is the Complete List of Winners of Golden Globe Awards 2018- 1. Best motion picture, drama: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. 2. Best motion picture, musical or comedy: Lady Bird. 3. Best director, motion picture: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”. 4. Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, drama: Frances McDormand. 5. Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, drama: Gary Oldman. 6. Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Saoirse Ronan. 7. Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy: James Franco. 8. Best motion picture, animated: Coco 9. Best motion picture, foreign language: In the Fade 10. Best television series, drama: The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu 11. Best performance by an actress in a television series, drama: Elisabeth Moss. 12. Best performance by an actor in a television series, drama: Sterling K. Brown.

The Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) proposed rolling out of e-Sansad in Parliament and e-Vidhan in State Legislatures to digitize and make their functioning paperless. It was announced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar after inaugurating 18th All India Whips’ Conference in Udaipur, Rajasthan. They are mission mode projects of Union Government under Digital India to make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures paperless. These projects will make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures participative, responsive, transparent, productive and more accountable.

Pakistan released 147 Indian fishermen from Malir Jail in Karachi as a goodwill gesture. As per the list was given to the Indian High Commission by the Pakistani government, 457 Indian prisoners including 399 fishermen and 58 civil prisoners are in Pakistani jails. The fishermen were arrested for fishing illegally within the marine border limits of Pakistan and have completed their prison term. The Edhi Foundation provided them with clothes and Rs 5,000 each. Fishermen from India and Pakistan are frequently detained for illegally fishing in each other’s territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats lack the technology to avoid being drifting away.

West Bengal receives one more feather to be added to her crown. The acquired the first position for smooth implementation of e-tender process in the state. E-tendre rule for a contract for projects worthy of more than 5 lakhs was started in 2012 in the state to make the process more transparent. The main aim was to make tendre process more transparent and mainly corruption-free as many times people pointed the finger to the process for various irregularities. From the first day of 2018, e-tendre become mandatory in every department. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the award received from Central Government. The state was given the first prize for ensuring e tender.  The state becomes best in the country for ensuring e-tendering of Fifty-three thousand projects worth RTs 36,000 crore.

Gilles Simon of France lifted the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra Tennis trophy. In the summit clash in Pune, the unseeded French player defeated second-seeded Kevin Anderson in straight sets. Simon is ranked 89 in the world, while Anderson is ranked Fourteen. Simon had knocked out defending champion and third seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Switzerland won their third Hopman Cup as Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Germany's Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber in the deciding mixed doubles to secure a 2-1 victory in the final at the Perth Arena. It was Federer's second Hopman Cup triumph after victory in 2001 alongside then world number one Martina Hingis.

The vibrant Khelo India logo, reflecting the freshness, agility, and vitality of New India was launched at a ceremony by the Union Minister of  State ( I/C) Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. The logo also conveys an impression of fitness and competitiveness. The three-stroke Khelo India logo, designed by Ogilvy India, has in-built modularity, allowing plenty of adaptability and flexibility into endless pictorial forms.

Elina Svitolina secured her first WTA title in Australia with a straight-sets victory in the Brisbane International final. Svitolina beat Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Nick Kyrgios moved a step closer to claiming his first ATP title on home soil with a semifinal win over defending champion Grigor Dimitrov. He will face American Ryan Harrison in finals.

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