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Current affairs : December 31, 2016 for all competitive exams

President approved ordinance on demonetisation
President Pranab Mukherjee on Dec 30 approved the promulgation of an ordinance that will help extinguish the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government’s liability towards the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes after March 31, 2017.
  • Ordinance provides for a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 or five times the face value of such notes found in possession of anyone after that date. 
  • From December 31 to March 31, those still in possession of currency notes whose legal tender nature has been cancelled can exchange these notes at the specified offices of the central bank.

‘Mobile App and Facebook Page’ of ‘National Trust’
The government has launched the ‘Mobile App and Facebook Page’ of the National Trust to mark the ‘National Trust Foundation Day’ on the theme “Celebrating Inclusion”.

  • The National Trust Act for the welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities was passed in the Parliament on 30th December 1999. 
  • Thus- 30th December- the Foundation Day of National Trust– is a day on which National Trust re-commits itself to the objectives set before it for the welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

PM launches Mobile App-BHIM for Aadhaar-based digital payment
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a mobile app Bharat Interface for Money, BHIM to facilitate digital cash transactions with only a thumb print after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. 
  • Addressing Digi Dhan Mela at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi, Mr Modi said, payments through the new system can be made by just a thumb impression. 
  • The new indigenously developed payment app BHIM has been named after the main architect of Indian constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar.

Govt sets up high-level committee to review arbitration system in India
The law ministry has formed a 10-member panel led by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna to review and create an institutional framework for the arbitration mechanism in India. The committee will submit its report within 90 days.
  • The committee includes judges, senior lawyers familiar with commercial laws, industry representatives and a member from a think-tank.

Insertion of LEAP SECOND in the Indian Standard Time
This year will have an extra leap second added to the end of it, making it slightly longer than 2015.
  • Since 1972, 36 “Leap Seconds” have been added at intervals varying from six months to seven years. 37th “Leap Second” will be added to UTC at the midnight of December 31, 2016
  • As the “Leap Second” is added simultaneously all over the world at UTC 23:59:59 on December 31, 2016, implying that in India the “Leap Second” will be inserted at IST 05:29:59 on January 1, 2017 (IST being five hours and thirty minutes ahead of UTC).
  • Previously Leap Second added June 30,2015 at 12:59:60.(UTC)

India and Singapore Sign a Third Protocol for Amending DTAA
India and Singapore have amended the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, by signing a Third Protocol.
  • This is in line with India’s treaty policy to prevent double non-taxation, curb revenue loss and check the menace of black money through automatic exchange of information, as reflected in India’s recently revised treaties with Mauritius and Cyprus and the joint declaration signed with Switzerland.

Railways may bring in cess on tickets again
The Railways is planning to bring back a cess on tickets to finance its proposed Rs.1 lakh crore Rail Safety Fund after a rise in derailments this year.
  • The fund was also meant for improving safety of rolling stock, upgrading training facilities, and simulators for locomotive drivers, among other things.

Power supply to Nepal:
India is all set to Supply Additional 80 MW to Nepal from 1st January 2017. With this, the total supply of electricity to Nepal from India will be about 400 MW.
  • The power will be supplied to Nepal through the Muzaffarpur (India) – Dhalkebar (Nepal) transmission line.

Kaleshwaram-Sirooncha Bridge opened
The much-awaited Kaleshwaram-Sirooncha Bridge connecting Telangana State with Maharashtra was opened on December 30, 2016.
  • Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao inaugurated the bridge, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 242 crores with Central assistance. 
  • Work on the 1620-metre long bridge started in 2011 and completed now.

World's highest bridge opens in China
The world's highest bridge has opened to traffic in China, connecting two provinces in the mountainous southwest and reducing travel times by as much as three-quarters.
  • The Beipanjiang Bridge soars 565 metres (1,854 feet) above a river and connects the two mountainous provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou.

State Bank of India ties up with Magicbricks.com 
State Bank of India the country’s largest bank has tied up with online classifieds portal magicbricks.com, to conduct joint marketing activites and help rejuvenate the real estate sector. To kick start the MOU, SBI and Magicbricks are launching the 'Seal the Deal' campaign. 
  • Under Seal The Deal, SBI and Magicbricks will be hosting a mega online property show for SBI Approved Projects. This will be the first housing carnival in the industry at this scale. 

Amazon’s flying warehouse to launch drones
American e-commerce giant Amazon will fly a warehouse at an altitude of about 45,000 feet that would act as a launch pad for drones, with an aim to deliver consignments in a jiffy.
  • Amazon, after winning a patent for flying the warehouse in the U.S., announced plans for an “airborne fulfillment center” (AFC) similar to an airship.
  • The airship will be stocked with products and would float at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. When an order is placed, a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fly down and deliver the parcels. 

Mother Dairy launches Aadhar-enabled payment system at booths
To promote cash less transactions, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd today introduced Aadhar enabled payment system in more than 1,000 milk booths and ‘Safal’ retail stores. 
  • This service would now be available in addition to the existing modes like E-wallets and SmartChange Cards.

Narinder Batra resign's as IOA associate VP
Senior functionary Narinder Batra has resigned as the associate vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association as a mark of protest against the IOA for not taking back its decision to appoint scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as honorary life presidents.
  • Strongly expressing his reservations over the appointments, Batra, who recently became the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, said he was strongly against the backdoor entry of Kalmadi and Chautala in the IOA.

General Bipin Rawat takes over as next Chief of Army Staff
General Bipin Rawat elected as the next Chief of Army Staff. General Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.
  • He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.

SP chief Mulayam Singh expels UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for 6 years
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has expelled his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for six years for alleged anti-party activities, putting the state ruling party on the brink of a split ahead of assembly elections next year. 
  • Also expelled for six years on the same grounds is the patriarch's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, a Rajya Sabha member. 

V K Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK General Secretary
In Tamil Nadu, V K Sasikala has taken charge as  All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary.
  • She is the sixth person and the second woman to hold the post. 
  • Sasikala Natarajan is a close confidante of Jayalalithaa, the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Romania's president appoints Sorin Grindeanu as the new Rome PM
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis has appointed Sorin Grindeanu as the country's new prime minister, the president's office announced. 
  • Grindeanu was proposed for the position by a government coalition comprising election winners Social Democrat Party (PSD) and junior partner Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE). 
  • The president signed the decree of Grindeanu's appointment.

India Today poll: Virat Kohli voted India's Sportsperson of 2016
Test captain Virat Kohli has emerged as India's Sportsperson of the Year 2016 in a poll conducted by India .
  • Kohli, with 44.18% votes, pipped badminton ace PV Sindhu (31.51%) for the top spot while star all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin came third with 13.83% of the votes.
  • Even though Kohli won the poll this year, all the six sportspersons who were a part of this poll were winners in their own rights.

Kush Bhagat creates history in UAE tourney, wins 3 gold medals in chess championship
Creating history, Mumbai prodigy Kush Bhagat has won all three gold medals on offer in the 1st Western Asia Youth Chess Championships. 
  • The event held at Al Ain Chess Club in UAE, he has reigned supreme in all the three categories - rapid, blitz and standard. 

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