The Australians scientists has announced that the Great Barrier Reef suffered from its worst coral die-off ever recorded.
The scientists stated that warm seas around the Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700 kilometers stretch of coral in the past nine months.
The northern region of the reef had escaped with minor damage in earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002.
Highlights : The reef suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March 2016 and April 2016.
The underwater surveys and aerial studies revealed that a 700-kilometre stretch of reefs in the less-accessible north lost two-thirds of shallow-water corals in the past eight to nine months.Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef.
There is a minimal damage in the central and southern regions, including major tourist areas around Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, of the reef.
Bleaching of the 2300-kilometre long reef was one of the foremost reasons of the damage.
Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, which in turn drain them of their colour.The coral uses the organic products of photosynthesis to help it grow. Therefore, algae are vital for them.
The loss of algae makes the host vulnerable to disease, which will eventually make them die.However, coral can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.
Scientists estimate that the northern region will take at least 10-15 years to regain lost corals. However, they are also are concerned that a fourth major bleaching event may occur before that, which will impede the recovery.
Earlier in 2016, the reef studies centre have also warned that if greenhouse gas levels keep rising, then similar events would be the new normal.
The reefs, which take plenty of time to recover from severe bleaching, it is likely to lose large parts of the Great Barrier Reef in just 20 years.
Great Barrier Reef : The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system.It is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.The reef is so vast that it can be seen from outer space.
It is also the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. In 1981, it was selected as a World Heritage Site.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use.
A study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced the cash withdrawal limit from the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts to Rs 10000 a month only with an aim to protect farmers and rural Jan Dhan account holders from money launderers.
It applies to know your customer (KYC) compliant PMJDY accounts funded through deposits of new bank notes after 9 November 2016.
Highlights : PMJDY account holders, who want to withdraw more than Rs 10000 a month, will have to furnish appropriate documents to prove why they need the money.
The branch managers can allow further withdrawals beyond Rs 10000 only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the details on bank’s record.
Limited or Non-KYC compliant PMJDY account holders will be allowed to withdraw Rs 5000 per month from the amount deposited in new currency notes after 9 November 2016. These account holders can withdraw up to Rs 10000.
These limits have been applied with a view to protect the innocent farmers and rural account holders of PMJDY from activities of money launders and the legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws.
The decision comes after witnessing the rise in the activities of money launders following the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on 8 November 2016. Since then, the banks have been dispensing the new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes along with old notes of Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 100.
A recent research has found that astronauts may experience blurry vision and impaired eyesight after long spaceflights due to changes in spinal fluid that occur while in microgravity.
The research was presented at annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Chicago on 28 November 2016.
The syndrome known as 'Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure' (VIIP) was reported in nearly two-thirds of astronauts after long-duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Some of the astronauts experienced severe structural changes that were not fully reversible upon their return to Earth.
The problems includes flattening at the back of their eyeballs and inflamed optic nerves, which can lead to far-sightedness.
Longterm space flyers also had significantly increased post-flight flattening of their eyeballs and increased optic nerve protrusion.
On Earth, this spinal fluid system is designed to accommodate changes whether a person is sitting, standing or lying down. But in space, the system is confused by the lack of the posture-related pressure changes.
The research was carried out by lead researcher Noam Alperin, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Researchers initially thought that the problems were due to changes in the way blood is distributed in the body in microgravity, with more fluid lingering around the head area.
But this was later falsified when Alperin and colleagues studied before and after brain scans on seven astronauts who had spent multiple months at the orbiting space station.They then compared the scans of these seven astronauts to nine astronauts who made short trips up and back aboard the US space shuttle, which retired in 2011.They found that long-duration astronauts had significantly more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain.
This fluid typically helps cushion the brain and spinal cord while circulating nutrients and removing waste materials.
The Supreme Court (SC) ordered all cinema halls across India to play the National Anthem before the screening of films.
The apex court also directed that all present must "stand up in respect" till the anthem ends before the screening. The court also stated that the practice would "instill a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism."
The direction was given by a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy.
Highlights of the order : The top court also directed the cinema halls to display the National Flag on screen when the anthem is played.
The Bench stated that it is the duty of every person to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1951. The Union Government, represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, agreed with the guidelines to show respect and honour for the national anthem and the flag. The court also issued a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag.
It banned dramatisation of the anthem or it to be used in any part of any variety shows or for entertainment purposes. It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the National Anthem.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea to clarify when the national anthem should be sung. The PIL was filed by Shyam Narayan Chouskey seeking a set of parameters on what amounts to abuse of the anthem.
Donald Trump, the new President-elect of the United States, nominated Seema Verma to the post of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
She is the second Indian-American to be placed in one of the top administration positions, only after Nikki Haley, who created history by becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level position under any US president.
Seema Verma will be expected to work along with the newly elected Health and Human Services Secretary- Tom Price.
Seema Verma : Verma, an Indiana resident, is the founder and CEO of a health policy consulting firm- SVC Inc.
She has decades of experience in advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy.
Previously, she has worked for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County as vice president of planning and also at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in Washington, D.C.
As the president of SVC Inc, she has been an advisor to many US states including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, and Tennessee.
She has worked with various Republican governors including Mitch Daniels, the Governor of Indiana and Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky.
She has also previously worked with Vice President- Elect Mike Pence, as she constructed his Obamacare Medicaid expansion model called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a policy carved for low-income groups.
The Parliament of Thailand has invited Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to be the new king of the country. The invitation completes a formal step for the heir apparent to take the throne following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016.
As per the established procedure, the prince will have to accept parliament's invitation in order for him to be proclaimed king.
Maha Vajiralongkorn : Born on 28 July 1952, Maha Vajiralongkorn is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.He was made crown prince at the age of 20 by his father.
He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra, Australia. He is a qualified military pilot and helicopter pilot.
He also took an active part in military operations against the Communist Party of Thailand during the 1970s. He will be the 10th king of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty.
The prince, who will be known as King Rama X, can only be formally crowned after his father's royal cremation, which will take place in 2017.
Until the new monarch takes over, General Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council, will serve as regent.
Senior IAS officer M. M. Kutty was appointed the Chief Secretary of Delhi.
Kutty replaced K. K. Sharma, who was transferred to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).
The Union Government had sent back Kutty to his parent Union Territories cadre before the completion of the tenure of his Central deputation.
Previously, Kutty, who is a 1985 batch IAS officer, was working as the Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The IAS officer had also served as the Principal Secretary to the former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit. He has also been the Finance Secretary in the present AAP Government.
Chief Secretary : The Chief Secretary is the head of the state administrative machinery.
The position of the Chief Secretary has been there in India since the British Empire. The Chief Secretary was the second most important official in the colonies of British Empire, after the Governor. He was known as the Colonial Secretary.
The Chief Secretary serves as Chief of all government staff in the state and is the Secretary of the State Cabinet of Ministers.
The post of Chief Secretary belongs to the cadre within the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
The Chief Secretary of a state is the leader of the state’s administrative machinery, the Cabinet Secretary, the chief of the state’s public service commission as well as the principal Public Relation Officer of the state’s government. In view of the importance of the post, the post of the Chief Secretary has been kept out of the tenure system.
The Union Government has announced that the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the Public sector banks (PSBs) have touched around 66 lakh 40 thousand in the three months period from July to September 2016.
As on September 30, 2016 gross NPAs of the PSBs in the country rose to Rs. 6,30,323 crore as against Rs. 5,50,346 crore by end of June 2016. It shows increase of Rs. 79,977 crore NPAs on quarter on quarter basis during this period.
The incidence of NPAs is high in sectors like infrastructure, power, road textiles, steel etc. So, the Union Government has taken sector specific measures to tackle the menace of NPAs. These measures aim at improving resolution or recovery of bank loans.
They are enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, 2016 followed by amendment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI) and Recovery of Debt due to Banks and Financial Institutions (RDDBFI), Act. In addition, six new Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been established.
NPAs are loans made by a bank or finance company on which repayments or interest payments are not being made on time. Thus, NPAs are any asset of a bank which is not producing any income and are also called non-performing loans.
The loan is considered to be a NPA once the borrower fails to make interest or principal payments for 90 days. In case of Agriculture/Farm Loans, the NPA varies for of Short duration crop loan (interest not paid for 2 crop seasons), Long Duration Crops (interest not paid for 1 Crop season).
Large number of NPAs affects the profitability & liquidity of the banks. It adversely affects the value of bank in terms of market credit and widens assets and liability mismatch.
It results in inflating the cost of capital for economic activities and banks may charge higher interest rates on some products to compensate NPAs.
According new data from Civil Registration System ( CRS) released by the Office of the Registrar General of India, Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India. The SRB has declined to 887 in 2014 from 898 in 2013. The ratio has been declining since 2011 when the figure was 909. Thus, Sex ratio at birth is still on the decline.
The SRB based on CRS figures indicate the gap between registered male and female births, calculated as the number of females per thousand males. Highest SRB has been reported in Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993).
Lowest SRB has been reported in Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834). These states have worst SRB. The level of registration of births with CRS has been improving. In 2014, it is estimated that 88.8% births were registered, up from 85.6 % in 2013. 16 States/UTs recorded all births. 14 out of 20 major States crossed the 90% level of registration of births in 2014.
The new date show that the majority of births in 2014 occurred in an institution i.e. government or private hospital. Institutional delivery accounted for 72% of all births. Another 14.1% births were attended by physicians/nurse/midwife.
However, around 3.8% of the cases were still attended by an untrained midwife. While 38.7% of the total registered deaths had occurred in institution, 23.3% did not receive any medical attention at the time of death. Only about 8.0% of the deceased received medical attention from qualified allopathic professional.
Myntra's chief technology and product officer Shamik Sharma has moved into an advisory role at the Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer, sources told TOI.
According to people aware of the development, he is expected to leave Myntraafter a four-year stint. Sharma is currently transitioning out of his role at the company while also mentoring other startups, it is learnt.
His move comes at a time when Myntra is trying to re-position the recently acquired smaller rival Jabong amid talks of it being shut down as a separate entity. When contacted, a Myntra spokesperson confirmed the development.
In addition to the acquisition of Jabong which has given Myntra clear dominance in the online fashion space.
The company at present is also working to launch its long planned omni-channel strategy with physical presence. Myntra is likely to open its first offline branded store this year starting from Bengaluru, while it is also in talks with traditional retail major Shoppers Stop to sell its private brands, TOI reported in its October 17 edition.
A former law firm receptionist Susan Kiefel is appointed as Australia’s first woman Chief Justice of Australia on November 29, 2016 by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. She will replace Justice Robert French
Kiefel will become the 13th Chief Justice of Australia and the senior judge on the seven-judge bench
She became the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland state in 1993. She is currently one of three women on the High Court bench and the longest serving judge after French.
Private sector lender ICICI Bank will transform 100 villages into digital villages in as many days to enable villagers go in cash less banking and payments transactions.
These villages, which will be spread across the length and breadth of the country, will enable villagers to use digital channels for banking and payments transactions .
The bank continues to be a catalyst to accelerate development in our country. We strongly feel that technology can play an important role in putting development on a fast lane. By leveraging technology, we converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village to India's first digital village last year.
Transformed into 'ICICI Digital Villages', villagers will be able to open bank accounts using Aadhar-based e-KYC and make cashless payments to retail stores through a unique SMS/USSD-based mobile solution.
The bank also said that it would also set up end-to-end merchant infrastructure that would enable the retailers at the village to accept mobile based payments.
Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh flagged off World War II Vintage Jeep Rally from Koirengei Old Air Field .
Apart from nine vintage jeeps, around 30 to 35 motorcycles and cycles also took part in this rally which was organised as a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival.
The main objective to organise this event was to spread a message of peace and reconciliation and evils of war.
The event was organised by the Second World War Imphal Campaign Foundation and Manipur Tourism Forum and the Department of Tourism.
The rally will culminate at the India Peace Memorial, Maibam Lotpa Ching.
The participants were seen in uniforms of the Japanese and Allied Forces and carried the flags of India, Japan and UK which attracted the eyeballs of all.
Former MLA of Heingang N Biren Singh, Chief Secretary O. Nabakishore, Special Secretary (Tourism), N. Ashok Kumar, President Manipur Tourism Forum and Director, IPR Meghachandra Kongbam also attended the flag off.
The festival of Losar has begun in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to mark the beginning of New Year in this Himalayan region. 10 day long festival began with illumination of religious and residential places and by visiting monasteries for prayer.
Losar is Tibetan word for ‘new year’ and this festival is an important social and religious celebration in Ladakh.
Following the old tradition, people from Ladakh visit graveyards of ancestor family members and pray for peace for the departed soul. Special food items during the festival are prepared to mark the occasion including guthuk, the soup with nine ingredients, khura are being served. People visit each other for exchange of Losar greetings.
On third day of the festival is people wait for the night to see the first moon of the New Year In India, Losar is also celebrated by Yolmo, Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, and Bhutia communities residing in different regions in the country.
Asia’s first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh. It is also India’s first cycle highway. The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between Etawah and Agra. It was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The cycle highway has been constructed by the UP public works department. It runs parallel to the main highway. It is about 7-feet-wide and is separated by a divider from main highway which ensures the safety of cyclists. The track begins from the lion safari in Etawah.
Along its path it dots 92 villages across the two districts. It criss-crosses the natural beauty of the Chambal and Yamuna rivers On its way it has tourist destinations like Naugava ka Quila, Raja Bhoj ki Haveli, and Bateshwarnath Temple.
The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was inaugurated by noted filmmaker Ramesh Sippy on 20 November 2016, came to a close on 28 November in Goa, India.
The inauguration of the event was also attended by the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting – M Venkaiah Naidu and South Korea’s Ambassador to India- Hyun Cho. The focus country this time was the Republic of Korea.
The festival saw the screening of over 300 films from as many as 90 countries across the globe and saw participation from several young filmmakers. It also hosted a special screening of award-winning films from the first-ever BRICS film festival and a series of 20 award-winning short films based on the ‘Swachh Bharat' campaign theme.
While Poland’s official entry to the 89th Academy Awards, ‘Afterimage’ by Andrzej Wajda opened the festival, South Korea’s official entry ‘The Age of Shadows’ by Kim Jee-Woon brought the curtains down.
Highlights : Legendary Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-Taek was honoured with ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’. He has a lot of acclaimed pieces of work to his name including films like Chunhyang, Chihwaseon, and Mandala.
Iranian drama film ‘Daughter’ directed by Reza Mirkarimi beat 21 others to claim the Golden Peacock award for ‘Best film’. Along with the trophy, the film also won a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh.
The film’s male lead Farhad Aslani won the Silver Peacock for the best actor male.
Best actor female award went to Elina Vaska for her role in Latvian film – Mellow Mud. Silver Peacock for best director went to Soner Caner and Baris Kaya, co-directors of Turkish film- Rauf. They also won a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh.
Lee Joon-ik, South Korean director of film – 'The Throne' won the special jury award. He was honoured with the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh.
The ICFT- Unesco Gandhi medal was given to the Turkish drama film- ‘Cold of Kalandar’- directed by Mustafa Kara. The film was chosen for such a prestigious award for its ethnic values and respect for the environment.
The Apology’ by Toronto-based Tiffany Hsiung received a special mention in the Gandhi Medal competition.
The Centenary award for the ‘Best Debut Film of a Director’ went to Pepa San Martin for her Spanish film 'Rara' and the Centenary award for 'Indian Film Personality of the Year' went to actor and playback singer, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam.
Besides this, another main highlight of the festival was the premiere of ‘Bahubali: The Conclusion’ by national award winning director S S Rajamouli, who was also the chief guest of the closing ceremony.
Also present in the closing ceremony were other eminent personalities such as Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, Governor of Goa Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
The Delhi High Court held the son, irrespective of his marital status has no legal right to live in his parent’s house. Parent’s house means, the house self-acquired by the father/mother.
In its judgement, the court said the son can reside in there only at his parent's mercy up to the time the parents allow.
The judgment was pronounced Justice Pratibha Rani while dismissing an appeal by a man and his wife challenging the order of a trial court. The trial court asked the couple to vacant the first floor of his parent’s property in west Delhi.
The order had passed a decree in favour of his parents, who had filed a suit seeking a direction to their son and daughter-in-law to vacate the floors in their possession.
Highlights of the verdict : It held that the son and his wife were allowed to stay at their parent’s home when their relations were cordial and it doesn’t mean that they have to bear his burden throughout their life.
It held that in the case where the house is self-acquired, the son, married or unmarried, has no legal right to live there.
Bangladesh will honour the families of 1668 martyrs of the Indian Army who fought in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which resulted in the liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh), on the event’s 45th anniversary.
According to the Liberation War Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Huq, families of all the martyred soldiers will receive Rs 5 lakh as a mark of respect. The amount would be handed over by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Delhi between 18- 20 December 2016.
The amount in question would be given in Indian currency.
According to Huq, Demonetization would not pose a problem to them. First Bangladeshi Taka would be converted into dollars and handed over to the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi, who in turn will convert it into Indian currency and hand it over to the Prime Minister upon her arrival.
Aside from the money, the soldiers’ families will also be receiving a letter of gratitude from the Prime Minister in Bengali, English and Hindi and a plaque.
A book on the contribution of the martyrs will also be published.
Besides this, Bangladesh will also be constructing a war memorial in the district of Brahmanbaria to pay homage to all the Indian soldiers who gave up their lives for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence.
1971 War : The India-Pakistan war was ignited due to widespread genocide launched by West Pakistan army against the minority Hindu population and Bengalis living in East Pakistan, which led many to flee the country and take refuge in India.
Several Indian state governments including those of West Bengal, Bihar, Meghalaya and Tripura set up refugee camps along the border to provide safe shelter to the fleeing refugees.
After repeated failures in getting a response from the international community on the matter, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared India’s firm support towards Bangladesh’s independence struggle and decided to go on war against Pakistan.
Bangladesh was finally liberated on 16 December 1971.
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