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Current Affairs Power Capsule – December 2014 (The Hindu Review)

1. 14.Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) will receive the Bharat Ratna.

2. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was a freedom fighter and educationist who was part of the Indian National Movement. He was president of Indian National Congress (INC) for two terms in 1909 and 1918. He was one of the founders of the Hindu Mahasabha. He was also founder of the Banaras Hindu University in 1 916.

3. Vajpayee is a three time Prime Minister of India who served the first term in 19 96 for just 13 days. During his second term in 1998-1999 he served for 13 months. In his final and third term he completed the full five-year from 1999-2004. Thus, he became the first Prime Minister from outside the Indian National Congress party to serve a full five-year term. He was also the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai in 1 978. As foreign minister, that year Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.

4. Senior IAS officer S Bhattacharya was appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India Ltd.

5. Senior IPS officer Prakash Mishra was appointed as the Directorate General of CRPF.

6. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the short- term indicative policy rate (repo rate) unchanged at 8 per cent, as the current economic environment is not conducive to cut rates in Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy. RBI retained its growth projection for 2014-15 at 5.5 per cent.
a. Bank Rate – 9 % (Unchanged)
b. Cash Reserve Ratio – 4 % (Unchanged)
c. Statutory Liquidity Ratio – 22 % (Unchanged)
d. Repo Rate – 8 % (Unchanged)
e. Reverse Repo Rate – 7 % (Unchanged)
f. Marginal Standing Rate – 9 % (Unchanged)

7. Dineshwar Sharma was appointed as Director of the Intelligence Bureau.

8. Veteran journalist-turned-diplomat Maleeha Lodhi was appointed as 16th Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations.

9. Indian-American Richard Rahul Verma’s nomination as the next US Ambassador to India.

10. Physicist Ashton Carter was nominated as the next defence secretary of US Department of Defence.

11. Senior IPS officer Anil Kumar Sinha was appointed as the new CBI Director.
12. Union Home Ministry approved the appointment of OP Singh as Director General of National Disaster Response Force.

13. Union Government nominated Rajiv Mehrishi as a Director on the Central Board of Directors of Reserve Bank of India. He succeeded Arvind Mayaram.

14. Former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Anoop Mishra was appointed as new Secretary General of the Lok Sabha. He was appointed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

15. United Nations Women announced the appointment of Indian tennis superstar Sania Mirza, as its Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia.

16. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the Yash Chopra Memorial Award.

17. Noted Pakistan-born poetess Imtiaz Dharker was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 for her latest poetry collection Over the Moon.

18. Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World 2014 at the final of the beauty pageant held in London, UK. Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third. India's 21-year-old Jaipur born Koyal Rana made it to the top 10 but failed to make it to the top five.

19. Playback singer Asha Bhosle was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) held in Dubai.

20. Child rights campaigner of India Kailash Satyarthi and Education activist of Pakistan Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2014. Both the recipients received medals and prize money 1.4 million US dollars from the Norwegian Nobel Committee at Oslo, Norway on 10 December 2014.

21. Kailash Satyarthi is a children's rights activist and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

22. Child education activist of Pakistan Malala Yousafzai at the age of 17 became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize and also the first person to win the Nobel Prize from Pakistan. She is known for her activism for right to education for women especially in the Swat Valley.

23. Chairman of Wipro Azim Premji was awarded Swiss Ambassador's Award in Mumbai.

24. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was named as the Asian of the Year 2014 by Singapore’s leading newspaper The Straits Times.

25. Michael Phelps was crowned Male Athlete of the Year at the 2014 USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards. He was crowned with the title for a fifth time.

26. Aaranyak, an Assam-based NGO won United Nations Light house Activities award for the year 2014.

27. Koppillil Radhakrishnan, Chairman of ISRO, featured in the Top 10 List of Journal Nature.

28. The mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was in news recently after an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Pakistan granted bail to him on 18 December 2014.

29. A R Rahman was nominated for Oscar Awards for the year 2015 in the Music Original Score Category for three films. He was nominated for the films Million Dollar Arm, The Hundred-Foot Journey and Indian film Kochadaiiyaan.

30. Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on 12 December 2014 became longest serving Chief Minister of India. He completed his 20 years in the office.

31. Aishwarya Rai Bachan was honoured with a special award at the Miss World 2014 ceremony in London for charitable work.

32. Ruhi Singh of India was in news because she won Miss Universal Peace & Humanity 2014 at Beirut, Lebanon on 10 December 2014.

33. Richest man of Russia Alisher Usmanov was in news as he decided to return the Nobel Prize medal to James D Watson which he bought for 4.8 million US dollars at auction from him.

34. James D Watson was in news because he auctioned his Nobel Prize medal for 4.8 million US dollars.

35. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was re-elected unopposed as head of Conservative Christian Democrats party.

36. Ashutosh Maharaj was in news because the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 1 December 2014 directed the Punjab government to perform last rites of him within 15 days.

37. World War- II Indian pilot Late Mohinder Singh Pujji was in news because UK honoured him by unveiling his eight-foot bronze statue at St Andrew's Garden in Gravesend, Kent, Great Britain.

38. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited United Arab Emirates.

39. Chintagufa area of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh was in news as Maoists killed more than dozen CRPF personnel in an attack.

40. Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra and Freida Pinto launched a multi-level global campaign, Girl Rising in New Delhi.

41. Indian Communication Satellite GSAT-16 was launched successfully from the Kourou space port in French Guiana. It was launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle VA221 of Arianespace. The GSAT-16 satellite was built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru. It is the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for ISRO.

42. NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first mission to Mars, Mariner 4 mission on 28 November 2014. Mariner 4 mission launched on 28 November 1964 was the NASA’s first successful journey to Mars.

43. World Diamond Conference was held in New Delhi on 11 December 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin along with Minister for Mineral Resources of South Africa Susan Shabangu attended the inauguration of World Diamond Conference.

44. 15th Indo-Russian Bilateral Annual Summit was held in Delhi. President Vladimir Putin of Russia visited India to hold the summit on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the summit, both the countries signed 20 agreements in the fields such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, health, investment, mining, media and wind power. Both the countries agreed on the construction of at least 12 new nuclear power units within the next 20 years, including two new units at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Both also countries agreed to find a new site to construct a new nuclear plant.

45. 18th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The theme of the summit was Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. The summit took place after an interval of three years. The last summit was held in 2011 in Maldives. The next summit will now be held in Islamabad in 2016. During the summit, the leaders signed an agreement on energy cooperation namely SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation, SAARC Regional Railway Agreement and SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement.

46. The Sushaasan Express was flagged off by the Union Ministry of Mines and Steel. The Sushaasan (good governance) Express was launched from Gwalior, the birth place of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

47. India set the Guinness Record for largest human formation of a national flag in the world. To set the record around 50000 volunteers from Chennai gathered at YMCA Grounds to form the human Tricolour with Chakra, the National Flag of India.

48. Cricket fans paid their tribute to 25-year-old Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes who died on 27 November 20 14, after being into induced coma. He went into induced coma on 25 November 2014 after a bouncer ball of Sean Abbott hit back of his head during a Sheffield Game at Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

49. Section 309 Indian Penal Code was in news recently as Union Home Ministry decided to remove this Section, thus decriminalizing attempt to suicide.

50. The National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) was in news recently as Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu announced the plans to launch the scheme. HRIDAY is a scheme for conserving and preserving the heritage characters of 12 cities. These are: Amritsar, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Ajmer, Mathura, Dwarka, Badami, Velankanni, Kanchipuram, Warangal (Telangana) and Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh).

51. GSLV Mark-III-X was in news recently because Indian Space Research Organisation launched it successfully from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. GSLV Mark-III-X is the heaviest rocket (630 tonnes) of India, which was launched on an experimental mission along with human Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE). In the experimental mission, the crew module separated itself from the rocket at an altitude of 126 km for re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Crew module, in the process of re-entry into earth’s atmosphere, was controlled by 3 parachutes which helped it to splash safely into the Bay of Bengal off Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

52. Druzhba-Dosti is a term used for vision statement of India and Russia over the next decade released during the 15th Indo – Russia Annual Summit held in New Delhi on 11 December 2014. The joint statement was released by during the visit of Russian President Vladimir V Putin to India at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Mod to hold the annual summit.

53. The book titled Why I Assassinated Gandhi written by Nathuram Godse and Gopal Godse was in news.

54. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a book titled Born Again on the Mountain by Arunima Sinha. She is the first Indian amputee and first female amputee to climb Mount Everest.

55. Union Government released Calendar for the year 2015 with the theme Clean India Green India.

56. Book titled Prince of Gujarat: The Extraordinary Story of Prince Gopaldas Desai (1887-1951) authored by Rajmohan Gandhi was released.

57. Rajdeep Sardesai penned the book titled 2014: The Election That Changed India. The book was released.

58. Book titled Letters for a Nation written by Jawaharlal Nehru & Madhav Khosla was published by Allen Lane an imprint of Penguin Books.

59. Book titled Next China-India War - World's First Water War – 2029 authored by former Army chief General Sundarajan Padmanabhan was released.

60. Biography titled My Name is Abu Salem written by S Hussain Zaidi was released.

61. The Committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice (retired) G.P. Mathur will look into Anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

62. The Union Finance Ministry constituted a High Level Committee headed by former Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Ashok Lahiri, to interact with trade and industry on tax-related issues on a regular basis.

63. Union Government observed 25 December 2014 as Good Governance Day. The day was observed to celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

64. Indian dairy sector majors decided to celebrate 26 November as National Milk Day to mark the 93rd birth anniversary of Father of White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien.

65. The advanced version of Mark-II Pinaka Rocket was successfully test fired at Chandipur, about 15-km from Balasore in Odisha. It was test-fired using a multi-barrel launcher. Rocket has a range of more than 60-km.

66. Nuclear capable missile Agni-IV was test fired from Integrated Test Range in Wheeler Island, Odisha. Agni-IV is a surface-to-surface missile with 4000 km range.

67. Russia and four other ex-Soviet nations, viz., Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan finalised the creation of Eurasian Economic Union.

68. Ukrainian Parliament, Rada, overwhelmingly adopted a bill that enables the country to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

69. BJP leader, Raghubar Das was elected as party leader by BJP Party of Jharkhand on 26 December 2014. He became the first non- tribal Chief Minister of Jharkhand. BJP- AJSU (All Jharkhand Students Indian Union) alliance secured 42 seats out of 81 seats where BJP alone secured 37 seats.

70. In Jammu and Kashmir election Peoples Democratic Party of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with 28 seats emerged as the largest party in the house of 87 seats. BJP with 25 seats stood at the second position.

71. President Pranab Mukherjee signed ordinances on Insurance Bill and e-auction of coal mines. Ordinance hiked FDI limit in Insurance sector to 49 per cent from 26 per cent.

72. The government kick started the auction process for cancelled coal mines with the launch of a portal for electronic bidding for 24 coal blocks in the first tranche.

73.The direct benefit transfer on LPG under which cash subsidy is paid to consumers so that they can buy cooking gas at market price, was rolled out in 54 districts from November 15 and will be extended all over the country from January 1. From January 1, LPG consumers across the country will have to buy cooking gas at market rates. They will get the difference between current subsidised rate and market price for 12 cylinders in a year in cash that will be transferred to their bank accounts. PAHAL or Pratyaksh Hanstantarit Labh has been rolled out.

74. In a bid to make cooking gas (LPG) easily available to consumers, 5-kg mini LPG cylinders will now be available at select petrol pumps and neighbourhood grocery stores besides regular gas agencies in almost all major cities. Now the subsidised cooking gas will also be available in 5-kg cylinders.

75. The Centre will soon bring 103 rivers under national waterways to give boost to the inland water transportation, which is largely under-utilised.

76.Wholesale price inflation hit zero in November, its slowest level since July 2009, as fuel inflation dropped to a five-year low and the rate of price rise in food items fell drastically due to favourable bases and declining global commodity prices.

77. India will remain the world’s fourth largest steel maker this year even as its production growth outpaced the global average in the first 11 months, World Steel Association data showed.

78. Asian Development Bank has granted a whopping Rs 6,000 crore soft loan for strengthening and building road network in Madhya Pradesh.

79.Finance minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, in the Lok Sabha to facilitate the introduction of proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) that would replace most of the central and state levies from April 2016 and create a single national market. Though under its ambit, the petroleum products would not be subject to the levy of GST till the GST Council decides. In the interim, both the Centre and states would continue to impose their respective tax on petroleum products. Taxes including excise duty, services tax, VAT, CST, entertainment tax, purchase tax, and luxury tax among others will be subsumed in the new indirect tax. For its passage, the Bill needs two-thirds majority in both the Houses and ratification by 50 per cent states’ legislatures. The Bill proposes to give states a five-year compensation timeline for revenue losses: 100% for the first three years, 75% for the fourth year and 50 % for fifth year. Central and state GST will be decided by the GST Council.

80. India has not fared well in Forbes’ list of the ‘Best Countries for Business’ this year, ranking 93rd out of 146 nations, behind countries like Mexico, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka. Denmark topped Forbes’ 9th annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland and Sweden.

81. India’s GDP is expected to rise to 5.5 per cent in the current fiscal from 4.7 per cent last year, says the Finance Ministry’s Mid-Year economic review.

82. The Defence Acquisition Council approved proposals worth Rs 4,444 crore, including the purchase of four helicopters for survey vessels at Rs 2,324 crore.

83. An international think-tank has ranked it third globally with an estimated USD 94.76 billion (nearly Rs 6 lakh crore) illicit wealth outflows in 2012. China is on the top with USD 249.57 billion, followed by Russia with USD 122.86 billion in terms of the quantum of black money moving out of a country for 2012.

84. Government made it clear that Aadhaar number was not mandatory for transfer of subsidy amount of LPG cylinder and the option of providing a bank account is also available under the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG.

85. India’s economic growth is expected to improve to 6.3 per cent in 2016 with the country leading economic recovery in South Asia, according to a United Nations report.

86. The country’s balance of payments (BoP) remained surplus for the fourth consecutive year at 6.9 billion dollar for the second quarter, narrower than 11.2 billion dollar surplus in the first quarter, the Reserve Bank of India said.

87. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a brainstorming session with all chief ministers of states on replacing Soviet-style central planning with a ‘Team India’ concept that would give federal states a greater role.

88. Reiterating the promise of 24×7 electricity to all by 2019, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said use of information technology will help in achieving the target.

89. The government has also approved Rs 43,033- crore rural electrification scheme, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. The scheme will replace the existing Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).

90. A government-constituted task force to review the operations of India Post has suggested creation of a Postal Bank of India (PBI), which would work independently within the postal department with banking professionals. The task force headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian has also suggested setting up of three subsidiaries as a part of a holding company under the postal department for extending services in the fields of banking, e- commerce and insurance.

91. Tax Administration and Reform Commission headed by Parthasarathi Shome Committee proposed levying of banking transaction tax on withdrawal of cash beyond a specified limit in a day to check black money. BCTT was introduced in June 2005, but was withdrawn in April 2009. BCTT was levied in respect of cash withdrawals in a day exceeding Rs 50,000 in the case of an individual and Rs 1 lakh in the case of other persons.

92. Indian economy grew at 5.3 per cent in July- September quarter. The Gross Domestic Growth in the second quarter was better than 5.2 per cent of the same period last fiscal but was slower than 5.7 per cent rate achieved in April-June quarter of current fiscal.

93. Reserve Bank of India allowed banks to extend loans up to Rs 10 lakh to individuals against long-term infrastructure bonds issued by them, thus easing loan norms for low-cost housing.

94. Punjab National Bank said it will not put a cap on number of free ATMs transactions for its saving account customers.

95. As oil ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meet in Vienna to press for one million barrels a day production cut to support falling Brent crude oil prices.

96. To ease visa processing and help increase tourist inflow, the Union government rolled out the much-awaited electronic visa system for visitors from 43 countries.

97. 7.64 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana so far, 5.74 crore have no deposits. A total of Rs. 6,015 crore is held in the remaining 1.9 crore accounts. Thus, the average deposit in each of these is Rs. 3165.78. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has raised the target for opening of PMJDY bank accounts by the next Republic Day to 10 crore.

98. The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google.

99. The Reserve Bank of India issued final guidelines for small finance banks and payments banks, paving the way for mobile firms and supermarket chains, among others, to enter the banking arena to cater to individuals and small businesses. The minimum paid-up capital for these banks will be Rs.100 crore each. The foreign shareholding will be in line with the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks. Applications will be accepted till the close of business as on January 16, 2015.

100. Individuals/professionals with 10 years of experience in banking and finance and companies and societies will be eligible to set up small finance banks. Existing non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), micro finance institutions (MFIs), and local area banks (LABs) can also opt for conversion into small finance banks. The small finance banks will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to un-served and undeserved sections. However, RBI said, “There will not be any restriction in the area of operations of small finance banks.” The small finance banks will be subject to all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks, including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). The small finance banks will be required to extend 75 per cent of its adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) to the sectors eligible for classification as priority sector lending (PSL) by the RBI.

101. The RBI said that the objectives of setting up of payments banks will be to further financial inclusion by providing small savings accounts and payments/remittance services to migrant labour workforce low income households, small businesses, other unorganised sector entities and other users. Existing non-bank pre-paid payment instrument (PPI) issuers and other entities such as individuals / professionals, non- banking finance companies (NBFCs), corporate business correspondents(BCs), mobile telephone companies, super-market chains, companies, real sector cooperatives and public sector entities can apply to set up payments banks. A promote r/promoter group can have a joint venture with an existing scheduled commercial bank to set up a payments banks. On acceptance of demand deposits, the RBI said that payments bank would initially be restricted to holding a maxim um balance of Rs. 100,000 per individual customer. Payments banks, however, cannot issue credit cards. It also stated that apart from amounts maintained as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), it will be required to invest minimum 75 per cent of its “demand deposit balances” in Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).

102. Namibia became the first African country in Africa to go to presidential and legislative polls using EVMs made in India.

103. Market capitalisation of all listed companies on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Asia first stock exchange, reached historic milestone of Rs. 100 lakh crore-mark on 28 November for the first time.

104. The Reserve Bank of India came out with the final guidelines for the Bharat Bill Payment System, which will help consumers pay multiple bills like electricity, telephone and school fees at a single point of transaction. The RBI-promoted payment retail gateway and the issuer of the Rupay debit Cards, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has been appointed as the nodal bod y. The apex banks has set a Rs.100-crore net worth and domestic registration as qualifying conditions for those seeking to be authorised collection agents.

105. China and Pakistan have kicked off their multi- billion dollar ‘Economic Corridor’ project that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by laying the foundation of a fenced four- lane motorway, setting in motion a mammoth project connecting the two countries.

106. In order to improve performance of public sector banks, the government sought suggestions from the general public on various parameters, including bad assets that have hit a record low in terms of volumes.

107. Indian and France agreed to overcome differences and fast-track ongoing negotiations for the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from France.

108. India, backed by the United States, opposed a U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling on New Delhi to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons. The resolution, which also targeted Israel and Pakistan, was, however, passed overwhelmingly.

109. To help attract foreign funds in construction of townships, hospitals and hotels, the government relaxed the FDI policy for this sector by easing exit norms and reducing built-up area and capital needs. India allows 100 per cent FDI in the sector through the automatic route. The new policy has done away with the three-year lock-in period for repatriation of investment. Under the new policy, the minimum floor area requirement has been reduced to 20,000 square meters from 50,000 square meters earlier. It also brought down the minimum capital requirement to $5 million from $10 million.

110. Relaxing norms for Pre-paid Payment Instruments (PPIs), the Reserve Bank of India doubled the card limit to Rs.1 lakh.

111. India is only “partly free” with a rank of 30 out of 65 countries in Internet freedom but as of May this year.

112. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said the first phase of the capital city in Guntur district would be completed by 2019.

113. Government told the Supreme Court that students of Kendriya Vidyalayas can learn Sanskrit this academic year without having to take exams and study German as an optional subject.

114. ICICI Bank has informed the stock exchanges that the bank decided to sell its shareholding in ICICI Bank Eurasia Limited Liability Company (IBEL), a non-material wholly-owned banking subsidiary in Russia.

115. A Boeing aircraft has completed the world’s first flight using ‘green diesel’, a sustainable bio-fuel made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and animal fats.

116. The Lok Sabha cleared The Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill, 2014, to remove 90 redundant Amendment Acts from the statute book.

117. The U.S. and NATO closed their combat command in Afghanistan, more than 13 years after invading the country in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks to target Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. However, American officials say the U.S. troop total will shrink to 5,500, and to near zero by the end of 2016.

118.The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. imposing high duty on imports of certain Indian steel products, an order hailed by India as a ‘significant victory’ that will help domestic manufacturers and exporters.

119. A technical survey to restore a 496-km-long historic road link between Guwahati and Dhaka via Shillong and Sylhet, snapped during Partition, began.

120. A proposal to give Rs.5 lakh each to the kin of the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims, triggered after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was approved by the government.

121. A goods train from China completed the world’s longest rail journey when it reached Madrid, its final destination. The train was flagged off from China’s international commodity hub of Yiwu on November 18.

122. UN General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’.

123. Google has said that it will shut down Google News in Spain because of a new law that will force it to pay news outlets whose content it publishes, partially or in whole.

124. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it had passed orders against 51 entities and its directors carrying on unregistered collective investment schemes (CIS), since January 1, 2011.

125. The Maharashtra government declared Dahi Handi (forming of human pyramids and breaking the earthen pot on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami) an “adventure sport.”

126. Nineteen long years after it was first screened, Hindi romantic-drama Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, on 12 December, the film completed its 1,000th week at the iconic Maratha Mandir cinema hall in south Mumbai.

127. China has tested a hyper-sonic strike vehicle Wu- 14, signaling that Beijing is working on a new ultra high speed weapon system that can breach the existing missile shields of the United States.

128. Mauritius President named veteran politician Sir Anerood Jugnauth as Prime Minister, after the 84-year-old won a landslide taking nearly three-quarters of the seats in Parliament.

129. The Centre has decided to provide financial assistance to parents of transgender children to enable them to bring them up without discrimination and stigma. The financial assistance scheme, fully sponsored by the Centre, provides for Rs. 1,000 per transgender child a month as monetary help to parents until it reaches 18 years.

130. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies.

131. The U.S. Congress passed a $1.1-trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2015 amid intense partisan wrangling.

132. Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe announced his resignation, following repeated calls for him to step down amid anti-government protests and a political crisis in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

133. The Supreme Court allowed Anil Kumar Sinha, the new CBI Director, to take charge of the investigation and prosecution in the 2G Spectrum scam cases.

134. The dreaded IS terror group has been banned in India, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh disclosed.

135. Indian woman boxer L. Sarita Devi was handed a one-year ban by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the Asian Games.

136. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty on ICICI Bank (Rs.50 lakh) and Bank of Baroda (Rs.25 lakh) for violation of its instructions on Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) norms. It also cautioned State Bank of India, Axis Bank and State Bank of Patiala for these violations.

137. Goa Talkies is organising the first edition of the Goa Short Film Carnival from February 20 to 22, 2015.

138. India will receive € 625 million from Germany to support green energy infrastructure, according to a financial cooperation agreement signed between the two countries.

139. The United Nations said it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world’s largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

140. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has slapped a penalty of Rs.31 lakh on Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance Company and Rs.5 lakh on Anand Rathi Insurance Brokers for violating regulatory norms.

141. A 1000-kg “glide bomb,” designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was successfully tested. An Indian Air Force fighter, which took off from the Kalaikunda air base, near Kharagpur, West Bengal, dropped one over the Bay of Bengal, off the Odisha coast. The bomb, guided by its on-board navigation system, glided for about 100 km before reaching the targeted area with precision.

142. Following a bird flu scare, 100 geese and a few other birds were culled in the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

143. President Pranab Mukherjee handed over the recordings of transmissions made by All India Radio and Doordarshan during the Liberation War of 1971 to Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid.

144. The Modi government has promised Housing for all by 2022, relaunching the programme Rajiv Awas Yojana under the Sardar Patel National Mission for Urban Housing.

145. The 13th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in Ahmadabad, Gujarat from January 7 to 9. Gujarat has been chosen as the partner State as 2015 happens to be the 100th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa. On January 7, the youth segment of PBD will be inaugurated with the theme Bharat ko jano and Bharat ko mano.

146. Ford Credit India has been granted licence by the Reserve Bank of India to operate as a non- banking financial company in India. Ford Credit India is a subsidiary of Ford Motor Credit Company.

147. The Maharashtra Assembly passed the Maratha reservation Bill. The previous Congress-NCP government issued ordinances to provide 16 % reservation to Marathas.

148. The deadline for exchanging pre-2005 currency notes of various denominations, including Rs.500 and Rs.1,000, has been extended by another six months till June 30, 2015.

149. The Union government has approved an amendment to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act to increase the number of seats in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council from 50 to 58.

150. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai here on January 3, it was officially announced.