Current Affairs Update – 14th January, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 14th January, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016 and Syndicate Manipal PO 2016 Exam.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 14th January, 2016

  1. Reserve Bank of India
    has allowed banks to offer the whole
    array of services even at off-site Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
    . Off-site
    ATMs are the ones that are set up on a standalone basis and are not on the
    premises of a bank branch.
  2. The country’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI), has opened its
    first branch dedicated to serving startup companies in Bengaluru
    . The
    announcement comes ahead of the Prime Minister’s ‘Start-up India Stand Up India’ event that will be held on January
    16, where the government will roll out its new startup policy. The bank
    envisions that its InCube branches will be a one-stop shop for
    the financial service requirements of startups in the country.
  3. Sikkim has become
    India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around
    75,000 hectares of agricultural land
    . It was 12 years ago in 2003 when the
    Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state
    through a declaration in the legislative assembly.
  4. Bengaluru-based activist Subhashini Vasanth on 13
    January 2016 was honoured with Neerja
    Bhanot Award
    . She was presented the award for her endeavour to help people
    in distress and for empowering widows of martyrs and their families across the
    country.
  5. David Beckham on
    12 January 2016 was presented with the Danny
    Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award
    at the sixth biennial UNICEF Ball in Los
    Angeles.
  6. Bhaskar Bhat, managing
    director of Titan, has taken over as
    Chairman of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd (Vistara),
    succeeding Prasad Menon who
    retired from the airline on January 13.
  7. India’s Sania Mirza
    and her Swiss partner Martina
    Hingis
    today broke a 22-year-old world record
    by winning their 29th women’s doubles match in a row
    en route to their
    entry into the women’s doubles final of the WTA Sydney International, here
    today.
  8. The US Citizenship
    and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    on 12 January 2016 notified revised petition fees for H-1B and L-1 visas.
    The increase in the fees is in tune with the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
    2016 that was signed into law by Barack Obama, the President of the USA, on 18
    December 2015.
  9. India continued
    its trend of being the top country of
    birth from Asia for immigrant scientists
    and engineers in US, with 950,000 out of the continent’s total 2.96 million, according to a new
    report.
  10. Renowned British actor
    Alan Rickman
    , best known for playing Professor
    Severus Snape
    in the Harry Potter
    series
    and ruthless terrorist Hans
    Gruber in “Die Hard“, died here on Thursday, media reports
    said.


Finance/Economy/Banking
RBI allows banks to
provide all services at off-site ATMs

  • Reserve Bank of India has allowed banks to offer the whole
    array of services even at off-site Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
  • Off-site ATMs are the ones that are set up on a standalone
    basis and are not on the premises of a bank branch.
  • “With a view to providing operational freedom to banks,
    it is advised that banks are now free to offer all their products and services
    through the ATM channels provided the technology permits the same, and adequate
    checks are put in place to prevent the channel from being misused to perpetuate
    frauds on the banks/other genuine customers,” it said in a notification.
  • Earlier, the banking regulator had allowed all services to
    be offered only at on-site ATMs or the ones that are on the premises of a bank
    branch.

SBI opens first
dedicated banking branch for startups

  • The country’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of
    India (SBI), has opened its first branch dedicated to serving startup companies
    in Bengaluru. The announcement comes ahead of the Prime Minister’s ‘Start-up
    India Stand Up India’ event that will be held on January 16, where the
    government will roll out its new startup policy.
  • The bank envisions that its InCube branches will be a
    one-stop shop for the financial service requirements of startups in the
    country.
  • While SBI isn’t focusing on helping startups with loans and
    other forms of capital assistance, it will service their banking needs such as
    employee account maintenance and will assist them on matters from setting up a
    company itself to the procedure for bringing in funds from foreign investors.
  • The bank has opened its first InCube branch in Bengaluru
    since the city is the hub for startups in the country. It also plans to open
    centers in Pune and Delhi-NCR in the coming months, but will limit opening them
    only in cities that have a large presence of startups.
  • Apart from serving a startup’s financial services
    requirements, SBI will also provide mentorship through technology experts. It
    has also tied up with third parties to provide taxation and legal consultation,
    etc. The InCube model has been built taking advice and feedback from senior
    technology experts such as Mohandas Pai, Nandan Nilekani and iSPIRT, added
    Bhattacharya.

Centre Approves Rs
791 Cr As Drought Assistance for Telangana
  • The Union government today approved Rs 791 crore for
    Telangana as central assistance to help the state cope with the drought
    situation which it is facing.
  • The decision was taken at the meeting of the High-Level
    Committee (HLC), chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, for Central Assistance
    to the drought-affected Telangana.
  • The committee examined the proposal based on the report of
    the central team which visited the drought-affected districts of Telangana.

Govt Limits Foreign
Travel by Bureaucrats to Four a Year
  • Bureaucrats can go on a maximum four overseas trips in a year,
    according to a Finance Ministry guideline which says that Secretaries should
    undertake foreign travels only when no one else can be deputed.
  • Secretaries to Government departments have also been barred
    from travelling abroad during Parliament session unless absolutely unavoidable.
    Also, Secretary and the Minister of a department cannot be abroad at the same
    time.
  • Prime Minister’s approval would be needed for any Secretary
    requiring travel beyond the mandated four trips in a year, according to the
    revised comprehensive guidelines on foreign visit by officers of Government of
    India issued by the Finance Ministry.

Union Government
formed Arvind Panagariya committee on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Corridor
  • Union Government on 11 January 2016 formed a five-member
    high level committee to monitor the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Corridor
    (bullet train project). The committee will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice
    Chairman Arvind Panagariya.
  • The mandate of the committee is to look into the overall
    operations and technical issues, Make in India component and financial outlay
    of the 90000 crore rupees worth project.
  • Further, the committee will also overview the project’s
    strategic importance for India-Japan bilateral relation. Earlier, in December
    2015, both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation
    and assistance in the execution of the project.

Apart from the
Chairman, the members of the committee are-
  • AK Mittal, Railway Board Chairman
  • S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary
  • Shantikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs
    Secretary
  • Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and
    Promotion

Govt panel pushes for
curbs on online pharmacies
  • A sub-committee of a panel set up by Department of
    Pharmaceuticals (DoP) wants restrictions on online pharmacies.
  • It has asked for a ban on such outlets being used for buying
    high-risk drugs and mandatory licensing of the physical premises where such
    orders are processed. The task force’s sub-group which proposed these
    regulations did not have any representation from online pharmacies.
  • The task force’s sub-group had 23 members. These included
    senior executives of major pharmaceutical companies such as Lupin, Glenmark,
    Abbott and Sun Pharma, beside representatives from business chambers.
  • The task force had three sub-groups and was established
    under the chairmanship of the DoP secretary Dr. V. K. Subburaj on October 31
    last year, to recommend measures for the development of manufacturing
    capabilities in the main lines of pharmacy production.

India
Sikkim becomes
India’s first organic state

  • Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by
    implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.
  • It was 12 years ago in 2003 when the Pawan Chamling-led
    government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration
    in the legislative assembly.
  • Later the entry of chemical inputs for farmland was
    restricted and their sale banned. Farmers therefore had no option but to go
    organic.
  • Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and
    chemical fertilisers as it tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex
    series of ecosystems.

Jharkhand to add
drinking water crisis in local disasters list

  • Jharkhand government on 12 January 2016 decided to add the
    ongoing crisis of drinking water in the list of special local disasters of the
    State.
  • The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting and will cover
    those districts where the rainfalls have been less than 75 percent of the
    normal or where the groundwater level has gone below by four meters or more.
  • As per the decision, the state will spend 10 percent of the
    state disaster relief funds in those areas to fight the crisis of drinking
    water.

Nitin Gadkari
inaugurated 2nd Liquid Chemical Berth of Mumbai Port Trust
  • Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on 13 January 2016
    inaugurated Mumbai Port Trust’s second liquid chemical berth at Pir Pau, Mumbai.
  • With commissioning of this berth, the cargo handling
    capacity of the Port will increase by 2.5 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) per
    annum.

Jharkhand to set up
fast track courts for trial of witchcraft-related attacks
  • For speedy trial of cases relating to witchcraft incidents,
    the Jharkhand Government on 13 January 2016 decided to set up fast track courts
    in five districts.
  • As per an official release, the courts will be formed in
    Ranchi, Chaibasa, Khunti, Palamau and Simdega districts.
  • The decision was taken during a cabinet meet chaired by
    Chief Minister Raghubar Das. The decision is based on the reports of
    witchcraft-related attacks in some rural areas of the state. 

Awards
& Honors –
Subhashini Vasanth
honoured with Neerja Bhanot Award

  • Bengaluru-based activist Subhashini Vasanth on 13 January
    2016 was honoured with Neerja Bhanot Award. She was presented the award for her
    endeavour to help people in distress and for empowering widows of martyrs and
    their families across the country.
  • She started the Vasantharatna Foundation in memory of her
    husband. The foundation provides education scholarships, conducted empowerment
    programmes and outbound learning programmes for women and children.
  • Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor presented the award to Vasanth
    at a ceremony held in Chandigarh.
  • The annual Neerja Bhanot Award was instituted in 1990 and
    named in honour of Senior Flight Purser, Neerja Bhanot, who saved hundreds of
    lives while sacrificing her own, during a Pan Am Flight 73 hijack at Karachi
    Airport in September 1986.

UNICEF presented
David Beckham with Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award

  • David Beckham on 12 January 2016 was presented with the
    Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award at the sixth biennial UNICEF Ball in
    Los Angeles.
  • Sir Elton John and David Furnish presented the award to
    Beckham at the event, honouring him for his tireless work to save and improve
    the lives of children around the world.
  • Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005. In
    2015, the footballer launched 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, making a
    personal commitment to use his voice, influence and connections to raise vital
    funds and rally for lasting change for children.
  • The Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award is named after
    Danny Kaye, star of Hans Christian Andersen and White Christmas. Kaye was one
    of the world’s most beloved entertainers. He was the first ever celebrity
    representative for UNICEF, and was a Goodwill Ambassador from 1954 until his
    death in 1987.

Appointments
Bhaskar Bhat becomes
Tata SIA Airlines Chairman

  • Bhaskar Bhat, manaing director of Titan, has taken over as
    Chairman of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd (Vistara), succeeding Prasad Menon who
    retired from the airline on January 13. Bhat had joined the company’s board
    with effect from January 14.
  • As the managing director of Titan since 2002 and founding
    member of Titan Industries, Bhat has led it to become the largest watch
    manufacturer in India and the fifth largest in the world.

R Shivakumar
appointed Chairman of Assocham Karnataka
  • R Shivakumar, Chairman of Kumar Group of companies,
    Bengaluru, has been appointed as the Chairman of Assocham Karnataka Regional
    Council, the new regional outfit of Assocham, New Delhi.
  • S Babu, Chairman of Ashwin Precision Products, has been
    appointed as Co-Chairman of Assocham Karnataka Regional Council.
  • The new revamped regional council of Assocham in Karnataka
    is expected to play a significant role in the development of industry and trade
    in the state.

Sports
Sania-Martina create
world record for most successive victories

  • India’s Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis
    today broke a 22-year-old world record by winning their 29th women’s doubles
    match in a row en route to their entry into the women’s doubles final of the
    WTA Sydney International, here today.
  • The World No 1 pair came from behind to beat the pair of
    Romanian Raluca Olaru and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6 6-3 10-8 in a
    closely-fought semi-final.
  • They now surpassed the pair of Puerto Rican Gigi Fernandez
    and Belarus’ Natasha Zvereva, who won 28 matches on the trot during their successful
    pairing back in 1994.
  • The Indo-Swiss pair have continued their good show from 2015
    when they won 9 titles which included the Wimbledon, US Open and the
    year-ending WTA finals.

World
US increased H-1B and
L-1 petition fees
  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on 12
    January 2016 notified revised petition fees for H-1B and L-1 visas. The
    increase in the fees is in tune with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016
    that was signed into law by Barack Obama, the President of the USA, on 18
    December 2015.
  • As per the revision, the petitioners must submit an
    additional fee of 4000 US dollars for certain H-1B visas and 4500 US dollars for
    certain L-1A and L-1B visas.
  • The increased fees are applicable to petitioners who applied
    on or after 18 December 2015 and will be in force till 30 September 2025.

India tops Asia in
sending scientists, engineers to US: Report

  • India continued its trend of being the top country of birth
    from Asia for immigrant scientists and engineers in US, with 950,000 out of the
    continent’s total 2.96 million, according to a new report.
  • From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers
    residing in the US rose from 21.6 million to 29 million. This 10-year increase
    included significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and
    engineers, from 3.4 million to 5.2 million, the researchers said.
  • Of the immigrant scientists and engineers in the US in 2013,
    57% were born in Asia, 16% were born in Europe, 6% were born in Africa, 20%
    were born in North America (excluding the US), Central America, the Caribbean,
    or South America, and less than 1% were born in Oceania.

UN released dataset
titled Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision
  • The Population Division of the United Nations Department of
    Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) on 12 January 2016 released the dataset
    titled Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision. The
    compilation was released at the UN DESA headquarters in New York, the USA.
  • The dataset analysed trends in migration flows across the
    world, even country as well as region wise, between 2000 and 2015.
  • As per it, the number of international migrants, persons
    living in a country other than where they were born, reached 244 million in
    2015 for the world as a whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000.
  • Out of the 244 international migrants, there are 20 million
    refugees across the world.

Obituaries
Actor Alan Rickman,
known for his role in Harry Potter series, dead

  • Renowned British actor Alan Rickman, best known for playing
    Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series and ruthless terrorist Hans
    Gruber in “Die Hard”, died here on Thursday, media reports said. He
    was 69.
  • Born February 21, 1946 in a working class family, Alan
    Sidney Patrick Rickman became interested in drama while attending upper school
    and trained in art and graphic design before securing a place at the Royal
    Academy of Dramatic Art in 1972 where he honed his talent.
  • His first major role was as the impetuous Tybalt in a BBC TV
    adapation of “Romeo and Juliet” (1978) but came to viewers’ attention
    with his brief appearance in the BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s
    “Smiley’s People” (1982) with Alec Guinness and then as the odious,
    smarmy Reverend Obadiah Slope in the channel adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s
    ecclesiastical series “Barchesters Towers” (1982).
  • What actually cemented his screen presence was his
    villainous part as the German terrorist in the high octane-action thriller
    “Die Hard” (1988) opposite Bruce Willis (a role he reprised in a
    flashback as “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, 1995), as the Sheriff of
    Nottingham in Kevin Costner-starrer “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”
    (1991), and then finally as the apparently malevolent Prof Snape, the potions
    master of Hogwarts, ceaselessly targeting the boy wizard and his friends in all
    seven films of the series from “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s
    Stone” (2001) to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part
    II” (2011).
  • A recipient of the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen
    Actors Guild Awards, he is survived by his spouse Rima Horton with whom he had
    been living together since 1977 and married in 2012.












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