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PM Modi 9th most powerful person: Forbes

  • Prime minister Narendra Modi has ranked 9th on the Forbes list of 74 of the World's Most Powerful People.
  • The list has topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a fourth straight year and had US President-elect Donald Trump in the second place. 
  • Barack Obama is at 48th spot.

'Brexit' and 'get your freak on' added to Oxford Dictionary

'Brexit' and 'Grexit' (hypothetical withdrawal of Greece from the EU) are among the 1,500 new words and phrases added to the Oxford English Dictionary this week. 'Get your freak on' (sexual activity, especially unconventional) and 'glam-ma' (glamorous grandmother) have also been added. 'Bomb', a surfing term for large wave, and 'Bama', popularised by Beyoncé in Formation, are among the additions.

Gujarat-born 1970s activist on BBC’s power women list

  • A Gujarat-born activist who led a campaign against low pay for women workers at a UK factory in the 1970s has made it the BBC’s most influential women of the past 70 years list released on 15th December.
  • Jayaben Desai, known as the sari-clad leader of a two-year industrial action against the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in north London in 1976, was named among seven women chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’.

Paytm launches ‘Each one, teach one’ to increase digital inclusion

  • Paytm has announced a program to increase the digital inclusion in the country where in it is calling upon consumers and merchants across India to teach others on how to use Paytm to pay and accept money.
  • The campaign is aimed at transforming user behaviour and further accelerating the country’s ongoing shift from cash to digital payments.
  • As a part of the drive, Paytm has also announced an incentive including Rs. 1 cr. grand prize along with additional prizes like motorcycles, smartphones, laptops and other exciting gifts. 
  • All users transacting between 1st December 2016 and 31st March 2017 are eligible to win these prizes.

Now you can listen 'Mahabharata' on AIR from Dec 19

  • 'Mahabharata', B R Chopra's famed teleserial, is set to be broadcast in its radio avatar on the All India Radio (AIR) from December 19.
  • It'll be broadcast from Monday to Friday on 70 primary channels of 'Hindi Zone' and FM Gold Stations of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

Rio Gets UNESCO World Heritage Status

  • The Marvelous City or Rio de Janeiro officially has entered into the UN’s list of world heritage sites while UNESCO status was announced in 2012 in recognition of its soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest and beaches.
  • The UN cultural body, UNESCO given this status to Rio to highlighted the “extraordinary fusion” of man-made and natural beauty.

Govt announces Lucky Graahak Yojana from Christmas

The Government has announced to launch a 'Lucky Graahak Yojana' and 'Digi Dhan Yojana' to encourage digital payments.Schemes will begin from 25th Dec till April 14, 2017. 7,000 weekly awards and a maximum award of Rs 50,000 each for merchants will be awarded under Digi Dhan Vyapari Yojna.

Union Cabinet approves agreement between India and Tajikistan for avoidance of double taxation

  • Union Cabinet on 14 December 2016 approved the protocol for amending the agreement between India and Tajikistan for the avoidance of double taxation. Moreover, the agreement also aims at the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
  • Once the protocol enters into force, it will enable sharing of information, that is exchanged under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), with other law enforcement agencies for non-tax purposes.

Sochi, Russia won’t host 2017 Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships

  • The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has announced that Russia will not host the 2017 Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships. 
  • The reason cited by IBSF for this was that Russia is accused of state-sponsored doping and IBSF wants to focus on sport rather than accusations.

India to contribute $500,000 to UN emergency response fund

  • India will contribute $500,000 to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the year 2016-17 announced by Indian diplomat Anjani Kumar a counsellor at India’s UN Mission at the pledging session held at UN.
  • India giving its contribution since it was launched in 2006. 

Qatar abolishes controversial 'kafala' labour system

  • Labour Minister of Qatar, Issa bin Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi on December 13, 2016, formally announced the end of its controversial “kafala” system, which was the biggest ever labour reform in Qatar.
  • Kafala System is a system used to monitor migrant laborers, working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors of Qatar and other gulf countries.

VG Kannan appointed CEO of Indian Banks’ Association

  • V G Kannan has taken charge as Chief Executive of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) on 14th December 2016. He succeeds M V Tanksale who demitted office as Chief Executive on August 9, 2016 after being at the helm for three years. 
  • Kannan had retired as Managing Director & Group Executive (Associates & Subsidiaries) of State Bank of India on July 31, 2016.

World Bank declares pause to protect Indus Waters Treaty

  • The World Bank Group has halted the two concurrent processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty.
  • The Bank initiated this move in order to protect the treaty.
  • A communication in this regard was sent by the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to finance ministers of both the countries. 

Interim Nationwide Ban Imposed On Manja For Flying Kites By NGT

  • A ban was imposed by the National Green Tribunal on December 14, 2016 on the procurement, sale and use of glass powder coated ‘manja’ and other dangerous strings for flying kites.
  • The order was passed by the NGT bench, headed by Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar who said that the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals and birds as well as causes harm to environment. 

‘Courts of India – Past to Present’ by Supreme Court of India – Bar & Bench

  • The book titled ‘Courts of India – Past to Present’ released by the Supreme Court of India.
  • The book is a comprehensive history of courts and judicial system in India. 
  • It was authored by the Editorial Board comprises members of both the Bench and the Bar.

e-Tourist visa extended to citizens of 161 countries

  • The Government of India informed that it has extended the e-Tourist Visa facility to citizens of 161 countries.
  • Further, the number of foreign tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa from January to November this year has grown 168.5% over the same period last year.
  • Under the scheme, the applicant receives their travel authorization through email once it is approved.

November WPI inflation at 3.15%

  • The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation for November 2016 came in at a five-month low of 3.15 %, lower than 3.39 % in the October month.
  • The September WPI inflation has been revised from 3.57 % to 3.8 %.
  • The Wholesale Price Index or WPI is "the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods". India uses this index to measure inflation in their economy.
  • The Indian WPI figure was released weekly on every Thursday. But since 2009 it has been made monthly. It also influences stock and fixed price markets.

Bewitched, Titanic actor Bernard Fox dies at 89

Bernard Fox died of heart failure at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California on 14th December. He is best known for his roles on the ABC series Bewitched and James Cameron's Oscar-winning picture Titanic. Fox also made appearances in several British films and TV shows.
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