Today Current Affairs 28th November 2016

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IAS officer Suhas LY struck gold in the Asian Para-Badminton Championships that was held in Beijing by defeating Indonesian player Harry Susanto in straight sets by 21-4 and 21-11. Suhas, who is posted as the Azamgarh district magistrate, got a wildcard entry to the championships and ensured his seat in the finals by winning six consecutive matches. The 2007 batch officer defeated Wang Hwan Sing of Korea in the semifinals. Suhas was part of the 26-member Indian team that landed in the Chinese capital to participate in the tournament. Besides Suhas, Abu Hubaida was another member from UP in the team. National Paralympics Committee of China hosted the championship, which took place between November 22 and November 27, in which players from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Korea and several other countries participated.

The Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare launched e-pashuhaat portal to connect farmers and breeders of bovine animals. The portal will act as a single online e-trading market platform, including availability of bovine germplasm. It will enable the farmers to buy bovine animals, frozen semen and embryo. Highlights : e-pashuhaat portal will connect farmers with breeders- State, Central, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private agencies. It will provide information related to certification of the animal, breeding, its picture, volume of milk given by the cow etc.  It will facilitate farmers to purchase advanced breed of bovine animals at a reasonable price as per as their requirements. It will provide, certified picture of animals, its parents information, breeding, volume of milk given by bovine animal information.  Besides, it will provide information related to animal fodder varieties, its volume and price. It will have real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm. Earlier there was no single authentic organised market for animals. Information like pet cattle, trading of bovine animals was not available in any other forum or platform in the country. This portal is likely to help fill in the vacuum. Since dairying activity is a major supplementary source of income for farmers. The portal will play important role in increasing income of framers from animal rearing for achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. It establishes links between ‘farmer to farmer’ and ‘farmer to institutes’. Thus, it minimises the involvement of middlemen. It will create a comparative Farm Network that will facilitate farmers to exchange local knowledge and resources. India has the largest bovine population in the world. It accounts for 14% of world cattle population, while share for buffalo alone is 53% of which 79% of the cattle are indigenous and 21% are crossbred and exotic varieties. The Indigenous bovine breeds are sturdy and are endowed with quality of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases. They have ability to thrive under extreme climatic conditions and survive with low inputs. However, most of the indigenous are suited for draught animal power as they have low genetic potential for milk production.  Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ launched in December 2014 aims at addressing this issue.

Anand Yadav, the Sahitya Akademi awardee Marathi author, died on 27 November 2016 in Pune. He was 80.  He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1991 for his autobiography 'Zombi'. During his illustrious career, Yadav faced a major controversy over his book 'Santsurya Tukaram', wrote on Sant Tukaram, a 17th-century saint poet from Maharashtra.  Anand Yadav : Born on 30 November 1935 in the village Kagal near Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Yadav was one of the early writers of Marathi Gramin Sahitya. In March 2009, he was elected as the president of the 82nd Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Sammelan, which was held at Mahabaleshwar.He was supposed to resign as the President of the prestigious literary meet, four days ahead of the sammelan due to protests primarily by members of the varkari mahamandal against some of the material in his biographical novel "Santasurya Tukaram After resigning, he once against came into limelight due to a Marathi movie named Natrang (2010). The film was based on his novel, Natrang. He has penned around 40 books which comprise the collection of essays, poems, criticism among others. Some of his works included Gharabhinti, Kachawel, Zombi and Nangaerani. Zombi and Nangaerani depict his struggle for education.  

Arctic scientists have warned that the rapid melting of ice cap stands at a risk of triggering 19 ‘tipping points’ in the region. According to the Arctic Resilience Report, this arctic warming could cause uncontrollable climate change across the globe, affecting even far-off areas like the Indian Ocean and leading to devastating consequences.  Currently, the temperature in the Arctic region is around 20 degrees, much above the expected temperature. The extent of the sea ice too is at its lowest level at this time of the year in comparison with previous years.  Such tipping points occur when sudden change envelopes the natural system and causes a deep effect on the surrounding ecosystem, which is often irreversible.The main tipping point, in this case, includes growth in vegetation on the Arctic Tundra that replaces reflective ice and snow with thicker vegetation, which in turn absorbs more heat and results in an increase in the release of potent greenhouse gas, methane.  This process will lead to a shift in snow distribution that warms the ocean, resulting in global climatic change affecting monsoons as far away as Asia and collapse of key Arctic fisheries, affecting oceanic life across the world. The worst-affected people of such an outcome would be people living in and around the Arctic region.  The Arctic Resilience Report, which has been compiled by 11 organisations including the Arctic Council and six universities, has come at a much-needed time. While climate change is a huge topic of concern for countries across the globe, the new US President-elect Donald Trump plans to reallocate the budget currently used for climate change by NASA and other federal agencies to space exploration.

The Board of Tata Steel  voted to remove Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of the company. The Board voted to appoint O.P. Bhatt, former Chairman of State Bank of India, as the Interim Chairman of the company. The company also stated that it has summoned an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 21 December 2016 to remove Mistry and Nusli Wadia, who is an independent director, from the company’s board. Six Tata Group companies, namely Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Power, Tata Chemicals and Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), have convened EGMs to remove Mistry as Director from their respective boards. Recently, the Board of Tata Global Beverages had removed him as the Chairman of the company. Earlier, TCS had also replaced him with Ishaat Hussain as the Interim Chairman. On 24 October 2016, the Board of Tata Sons Ltd had replaced Mistry as Chairman of the India’s largest conglomerate. Tata Steel : Tata Steel Limited is an Indian multinational steel-making company, and a subsidiary of the Tata Group.It was formerly known as Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited (TISCO). It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was founded by Jamshedji Tata and established by Dorabji Tata on 26 August 1907.  It was the 11th largest steel producing company in the world in 2013.The company’s largest plant is located in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. In 2007, it acquired the UK-based steel maker Corus. In 2014, it was ranked 486th in the Fortune Global 500 ranking of the world's biggest corporations.As per Brand Finance, it was the seventh most valuable Indian brand of 2013.  

Pink, the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Bollywood film, has been invited by the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for a special screening at its headquarters in New York, USA. Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and written by Ritesh Shah, the film- a modern Indian courtroom drama- highlights the issue of gender violence. It is by far being considered as one of the best works by the all-time Bollywood superstar- Amitabh Bachchan and one of the most successful releases of 2016. The film was very well received by audience and critics alike from all across India for its extremely realistic narrative. It was released on 16 September 2016 under the U/A category with four verbal cuts. It was specially screened for the Rajasthan Police, in order to train them to become more sensitive towards women’s rights and dignity. It completed a 50-day run in the theatres on 4 November 2016.  The film is about three working professionals- Taapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang and Kirti Kulhari- who share a flat in a posh South Delhi colony.  Amitabh Bachchan plays a retired lawyer, who is also the neighbour of the three girls.  It shows how the lives of the three women change when they encounter gender violence at the hands of an influential politician’s son and his friends. It also highlights the social stigma attached to women who are modern and less bound by traditional norms.  The girls end up being accused of ‘attempt to murder’ and here enters Amitabh Bachchan as their defence counsel, who goes up against the odds to fight for their innocence.

In a historic move, the Indian Railways and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have included ‘transgender as the third gender’ in the gender option along with male and female in the railway ticket reservation and cancellation forms. The decision stands for both offline and online booking. It was taken in accordance with the judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India in the NALSA vs Union of India case on 15 April 2014. The court then had directed the Union and State Governments to recognise transgender as the third gender and to grant them with all the benefits provided to the socially and economically backward classes.  Acting on the same, a Delhi-based advocate Jamshed Ansari had earlier issued a petition at the Delhi High Court alleging that IRCTC is violating Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India by not including a ‘third gender’ option in its reservation forms. Ansari had also demanded that there should be special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their protection and care.  His petition was however dismissed by the court, leading him to approach the Railways directly with the demand that such changes should be brought about in its reservation forms. The Railways finally acting on his representation have included the option in the tickets.  National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) vs Union of India case :  Momentous decision by the Supreme Court of India  that granted transgender people the right to identify themselves as male, female or as the ‘third gender’.  In the judgment, the court also granted transgender people the right to exercise their fundamental rights like any other gender category and reservation for them in educational institutions and jobs. The case was heard by a bench consisting of two Supreme Court judges – Justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri.  Both the justices had declared that the non-existence of law recognising transgender as the third gender could not be used to discriminate against them in any field or sector.  Along with creating reservations for them, the bench had further urged the Union and State Governments to take steps for the welfare and protection of the community and to eliminate the social stigma attached to them through awareness campaigns.

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has nominated eight movies for this year’s International Council for Film, Television (ICFT) and Audio-visual Communication UNESCO Gandhi Medal.  Festival Director Senthil Rajan said, Allama is the only Indian film competing for the prestigious award. The remaining seven are from Canada, Spain, Iran, Turkey, Israel, The Netherlands and Latvia.  All 8 films are being screened at the ongoing IFFI in Panaji, Goa.

The Jharkhand government has introduced a strict law against placement agencies to rein in those involved in exploiting people on the pretext of giving employment outside the state. The government framed ?Jharkhand Nizi Niyozan Abhikaran and Gharelu Kamgar (viniyam) vidheyak 2016 (Jharkhand private employment agency and domestic employee bill) which was passed by the assembly recently. The bill was taken up at the behest of Chief Minister Raghubar Das who had advocated strong action against such agencies. The bill is aimed at removing the stain of human trafficking from Jharkhand and to put curb on placement agencies involved in the act. Under the new act, licence or proof certificate is required for placement agencies, and they should take licence within 90 days of the notification of the act, including those existing before the notification, the release said. On functioning as a placement agency without registration or licence or involved in illegal human trafficking, the offender would be sentenced to two years to jail or fined Rs 1 lakh or both Those who violate rules under the act or flout conditions of registration proof certificate would attract one year jail and Rs 20,000 fine or both, the release said. Under the new act, the placement agency could not take any money from the domestic workers and make available employment details and employment registration certificate within a week. The placement agencies cannot employ people below 18 years of age and should keep details of every employee along with regulation of minimum wage, eight hours duty and double the wage on doing overtime and leave as per the rule.

Assam's picturesque hill station Haflong will host the three-day 'Judima Festival' next month when tourists can indulge in a number of adventure sports like trekking, hiking, angling and satiate their taste buds by gulping one of the best traditional brews of the region.  The theme of the festival, to be held on December 18-20, will be centered on preservation, promotion and nurturing of ethnic culture, music, dance, craft and folk-art of Dimasa tribals living in Dima Hasao district of the state. Cycling, hiking, angling, local sight-seeing, heritage walk and night trekking for an ultimate trekking experience that ends with a breathtaking sight of sunrise along the Barail hills are part of the initiative which is being undertaken to promote tourism, the organisers said.  The festival has been named after the Dimasa traditional brew - Judima, which is one of the best brews in the region.  The name has been chosen due to its uniqueness in taste, methods of preparation and integral part it occupies in every aspect of Dimasa social and cultural life.  The festival is not only a symbolic celebration of the rich Dimasa drink but also to initiate the idea of an alternative means of livelihood to the local brewers, they said.  There will be rock-music contest and a rejuvenation session for both mind and body through 'Guided-Meditation' (with instrumental music) for the visiting tourists.  While Guwahati-based band 'Spreading Roots' will perform in the final night, Bollywood singer Papon is expected to be the show-stopper.  The first edition of the festival held in January 2016 saw the conglomeration of cultures from different ethnicities which helped in further strengthening the harmony among various tribes residing in the hill district. 

Indian Navy’s seventh landing craft utility (LCU) L-57 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal. LCU L-57 is the largest ship of this kind built anywhere in the world. It is the seventh vessel in the series of eight LCU Ships being designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy. LCU L-57 is fully designed in-house by GRSE. It is designed for a maximum speed of 15 knots with an endurance of more than 1,500 nautical miles.  It has a capability to transport two tanks or four special vehicles and 160 Army troops for landing in remote area. It can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, humanitarian and disaster relief operations and evacuation from distant islands.  It will be extremely useful for joint operations carried out by the Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security and protection of remote islands. It is best suited for protection of India’s island territories of Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea as well as Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal.

Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed Pakistan’s new army chief (or Chief of Army Staff , COAS). He will succeed Gen. Raheel Sharif who has formally retired from service. He was elevated to the rank of four-star general by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The post of Army chief is the most powerful in Pakistan. The Pakistani army is world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers. The army has played a prominent role in Pakistan’s politics since its independence in 1947 and so far has staged three coups. Lt. Gen. Qamar Bajwa  : Gen Bajwa has extensive experience of handling affairs in Pakistan-ocupied Kashmir and the northern areas of Pakistan. He belongs to infantry’s Baloch Regiment. He has commanded the 10 Corps, Pakistani army’s largest corp responsible for the area along the Line of Control (LoC). He has also served with a UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief Gen Bikram Singh. Prior to this elevation to the top post, Lt. Gen. Bajwa was serving as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation.

The 51st Annual Conference of Directors-General of Police of States was held at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Hyderabad, Telangana. The three day (from November 25-27, 2016) conference was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. It was attended by around 100 DGPs of states, Director Generals of Central paramilitary forces and their Inspectors General. The Conference focused on cross-border terrorism, infiltration and radicalisation of youth into Middle East terrorist groups like ISIS. Besides, it also discussed issues related to reforms in police forces, filling up of vacant posts in various police forces, menace of narcotics smuggling and human trafficking.  It concluded with presentations made by the delegates on Challenges posed by Communication Technology, Technology Deficit in Policing and the threat of Radicalization. Prime Minister Narendra addressed the conference on second day and took part in the ‘Yoga session’ at . He also launched a mobile app Indian Police at Your Call. Besides, Presidents Police Medals and Police Medals were also presented to the officers of the Intelligence Bureau during the conference. This was for the third time since Independence that the annual DGPs conference was held outside New Delhi. It was held in Guwahati (Assam) in 2014 and Kutch (Gujarat) in 2015.  The idea of holding the meeting of DGPs and IGPs outside New Delhi was mooted by Prime Minister Modi after he assumed power in 2014.

Rajasthan Government has decided to start Annapurna Rasoi Programme to provide quality meal at cheap and affordable price to people belonging to the weaker section and labourers.  The main beneficiary of the scheme will be rickshaw pullers, labourers, auto drivers, students, working women, elders and other weaker section. The food under this programme will be provided at subsidized rates, breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch/dinner at Rs 8 per plate. In the first phase the scheme will be started in 12 districts.  They are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Baran and Jhalawar. The food will be distributed by 80 mobile vans at locations decided by local self-help agencies in districts. The remaining 21 districts of state will be covered in second phase.

The National Milk Day (NMD) was observed on 26 November is to mark birth anniversary Dr.Verghese Kurien, father of the White Revolution in India. This year it was 95th birth anniversary of Dr.Verghese Kurien and third edition of observance of the day since it was established in 2014. To mark this event, all dairy cooperatives across the country had conducted a mega activation in all markets across the country. In addition, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets the Amul brand of milk and dairy products printed 150 million milk pouches with the National Milk Day logo featuring Dr. Kurien’s picture with the National Milk Day logo on it. The idea of observing National Milk Day was first mooted by Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014 on the lines of World Milk Day (observed every year on June 1) under the aegis of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The first NMD was observed on 26 November 2014 by all Indian diary sector majors including National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), IDA along with around 22 state level milk federations. Dr.Verghese Kurien Verghese Kurien was born on 26 November 1921 in Calicut (now Kozhikode in Kerala) in then Madras Presidency of British India. He had died on 9 September 2012. He was a social entrepreneur who had started billion-litre idea-Operation Flood which was the world’s largest agricultural development programme. Operation had helped to transform India from a milk-deficit country into the world’s largest milk producer. He was pioneer in starting co-operatives movement in dairy sector. He had founded around 30 cooperative institutions of excellence (like AMUL, GCMMF, IRMA, NDDB) which are owned, managed by farmers and run by professionals. He was founding chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and pioneer in establishment and success of the Amul brand of dairy products. Under his chairmanship, Amul achieved key invention of milk powder processed from buffalo milk. Ramon Magsaysay Award (1963), World Food Prize (1989), Padma Shri (1965), Padma Bhushan (1966), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Economic Times award for Corporate Excellence (2001) etc.

The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR in an attempt to keep the rising pollution level of the capital and its surrounding areas under check. The order of apex means that any sale, purchase or stocking of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR will be rendered illegal.  The a ban on firecrackers also links to winter pollution The Supreme Court ruling also sends a clear message that religious and wedding celebrations take second place to the basic fundamental right to breathe clean air under Article 21. The licences of the existing firecrackers sellers in Delhi-NCR will be suspended. Government will not issue new licences to any seller in this region. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) must study the harmful effects of the materials used in firecrackers and submit its report in three months. There is no restriction on bursting crackers as it will be difficult to implement and monitor. New Delhi ranks among the most polluted cities in the world. The air quality usually in New Delhi usually worsens during Diwali, when smoke from firecrackers and crops residue burnt in neighbouring states envelops the capital city.  Following Diwali celebrations this year, air pollution had increased at an alarming rate, covering the national capital in a blanket of smog for few days. This year Diwali fire crackers had pushed pollution level in Delhi to a dangerous level, worst in past three years. On Diwali night, Particulate Matter (PM) 10 in Delhi ranged from 448 (micrograms per cubic metre) g/m3 to 939 g/m3 as against the national safe standard of 100 g/m3.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced an incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of 100% for fortnight to absorb excess liquidity in the banking system following demonetisation.  CRR is the proportion of deposits that banks have to keep as cash with the RBI (or the central bank). Banks do not earn any interest on CRR balances kept with the RBI. Banks have to maintain 100% CRR for incremental deposits they received between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016. The incremental CRR requirement will be temporary measure and it is within RBI’s ‘liquidity management framework’.  However, overall CRR requirement will stay at 4%. The incremental CRR will be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier. After Union Government announced demonization of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016, banks started depositing and exchanging those notes.  The deposits in banks had swelled by Rs.3.24 lakh crore between September 16 and November 11, 2016.  The last fortnight of September 2016 saw deposit mobilisation jump by Rs.3.5 lakh crore. It is intended to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity arising from the return of specified bank notes to the banking system.  Thus, it leaves adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy It will only have a marginal impact on bank’s cost of funds since it was a temporary measure.  

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation launched AirSewa website and app to track flights, register complaints to offer people a convenient and hassle-free air travel experience. Both include a mechanism for grievance redressal, back-office operations for grievance handling, flight status and airport information. Highlights : Passengers can register their grievances through this new service by uploading voice or video along with an elaborate description about their grievances. On reporting grievances passengers will be given a unique reference number for each of their reported grievances via an email and SMS.  The users can track the status and response to these grievances through the web portal as well as mobile app based on the reference number provided. Once the grievance is closed the user has an option to provide his feedback and rate the overall experience and satisfaction.  Each shared grievance will be directed to the responsible nodal agency for resolution based on the category chosen by the complainant. Each grievance have a resolution timeline defined for initial response as well as final resolution and the nodal officer will communicate via an email and SMS.  Besides, user can check the flight status and schedule between any airports on the basis of flight number or for all flights to a particular airport. Airport information will be also displayed which will include basic details like weather, contact information of airport services like transport/parking, rest and relax, Wi Fi service.   

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok won the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open in Doha. With this, she recorded her second straight victory on the Ladies European Tour. Ashok shot a final round of three-under 69 to card a total of 15-under. She finished three strokes ahead of Lydia Hall and Caroline Hedwall. Nanna Koerstz Madsen ended in fourth place on 11-under-par. Annabel Dimmock ended in fifth and Nicole Garcia in sixth. Georgia Hall and Becky Morgan were joint seventh. Aditi Ashok : Aditi Ashok is an Indian professional golfer. On 13 November 2016, she became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title by clinching the Hero Women's Indian Open. She made history by being the youngest and first Indian to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School and therefore secured her Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season. This victory also made her the youngest winner of a Q School for an international tour. She is the first and the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games in 2013, Youth Olympic Games in 2014, Asian Games in 2014 and Rio Olympics in 2016.

Sachin Singh 2016 became the third Indian boxer to bag gold medal at the AIBA Youth World Championships. In the summit clash at St Petersburg, Russia, Sachin recorded a stunning unanimous victory over Cuban national champion Jorge Grinan in the 49kg weight class. Sachin defeated his rival 5-0 to record a rare Indian triumph over a Cuban boxer. 16-year-old Sachin has joined Thokchom Nanao Singh (2008) and Vikas Krishan (2010) in the Indian youth world championships gold club. With this, India finished the tournament with one gold and a bronze. Naman had settled for a bronze Tanwar in the 91 kg after losing in the semifinal. In 2014 edition, India was able to secure just a bronze medal. After this win, the newly-formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced a cash prize for the two medalists. It announced Rs one lakh for Sachin and Rs 25000 for Naman. Besides, the BFI also promise to suitably reward the coaches who travelled with them.  

The Chancellor of Nalanda University, George Yeo, resigned on 25 November 2016. He cited that when he was invited to take charge he was “repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now”. Yeo also stated that the dissolution of the Governing Board of the university and creation of a new one came as a complete surprise to him. He stated that he was neither involved nor consulted before the decision was taken. Earlier on 23 November 2016, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen terminated his nine-year-long association with the University, first as a Chancellor and later as a member of the Governing Board. He had resigned as the Chancellor in February 2015. George Yeo :  George Yeo is a former Singaporean politician. He also served as the member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP). He served in the Cabinet from 1991 to 2011 as the Minister for Information and the Arts (1991–99), Minister for Health (1994–97), Minister for Trade and Industry (1999–2004) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (2004–11). In the 2011 general election, he lost his seat in Parliament when the PAP's team in the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency was defeated by the team from the Workers' Party. Thereafter, he announced retirement from politics. Prior to entering Parliament, he was a Brigadier-General in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).  He was the Director of Joint Operations and Planning at the Ministry of Defence from 1986 to 1988.

The much-popular writer, storyteller Ruskin Bond has returned after a long sabbatical with a brand new collection of stories titled ‘Death under the Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean’.  The book consisting of 8 fresh thriller stories is set in the popular holiday destination, Mussoorie, in the bygone era of 1960-70. Through the stories, the writer narrates a murder mystery featuring an elderly woman- Miss Ripley-Bean and her friends.  It has been published by Penguin India. It is, in fact, a product of numerous thoughts and conversation shared between Ruskin Bond and Udayan Mitra from Penguin India. Like any other Ruskin Bond book, these stories too are replete with humour and unique characters. The suspense is such that it can hook the attention of both children and adults alike.  Ruskin Bond :  Indian Author of British descent, Ruskin Bond lives in Landour, Mussoorie with his adopted family. He was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992, Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014 for his immense contribution to the growth of children’s literature in India.  He wrote his first novel, ‘The Room on the Roof’ at the age of 17 in London. The book, which was semi-autobiographical, was based on an Anglo-Indian boy called Rusty. He was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for the same in 1957.  He has published several pieces of work since then including non-fiction stories, supernatural fiction, short stories, autobiographies, poems, essays and children’s books.  Some of his best works include ‘The Blue Umbrella’, ‘The Eyes are not Here’, ‘A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings’, ‘Funny Side up, ‘A Flight of Pigeons’ and ‘The Lamp is Lit’. Bond’s much-awaited Memoirs will debut next year. It is expected to reveal a lot about the author’s life in Mussoorie.  

Former Hockey player Mariamma Koshy took charge of Hockey India as its president with immediate effect on 25 November 2016. Hockey India, during its 41st Hockey India Executive Board meet, announced that Koshy will head the national body. Koshy, 63, succeeds Narinder Dhruv Batra, who in recent past was elected as the first ever non-European chief of the sport's governing body International Hockey Federation (FIH). Earlier in November 2016, Batra made history by becoming the first Indian and fifteenth president of FIH. Batra served Hockey India as its secretary general from 2010 to 2014. He was serving the organsiation as its President since 2014. In addition, Secretary General of Hockey India, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad took over as the chairman of the Hockey India League Governing Board. The two decisions will require ratification in the Hockey India Congress, which will be held soon. The decisions of these two changes came in the light after Batra stepped down from his position due to his election in the FIH. As per rules, Batra cannot hold both the posts, Hockey India and FIH, at the same time. Apart from this, he also resigned from his post as chairman of the Hockey India League incepted in 2013. The league was the brainchild of Batra. Narinder Dhruv Batra also resigned from his role as the Chairman of Coal India Hockey India League, his branchild which was incepted in 2013.