1. Francois Hollande to be Chief Guest at 2016 Republic Day celebrations
French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the 67th Republic Day parade of January 26, 2016. The announcement might have been finalised during the talks between French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega event will be symbolic. It would also send a strong message of a worldwide solidarity among the democratic countries against terrorism of the Islamic State (IS) which had staged barbaric attacks on November 13, 2015 in Paris. Mr. Francois Hollande would be the 5th highest dignitary from France to be Chief Guest of Indian Republic Day parade after Prime Minister Jacques Chirac (1976), President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1980), President Jacques Chirac (1998) and President Nicolas Sarkozy (2008).
2. Indian cueist Pankaj Advani won 2015 IBSF World Snooker Championship
Indian cueist Pankaj Advani won the IBSF World Snooker Championship held at Sunrise Crystal Bay resort in Hurghada, Egypt.
In the best-of-15 final, he defeated Zhua Xintong of China 8-6. This was the 15th World title for Advani.
Earlier, in September 2015 in Adelaide, he had won his 14th World title in the form of IBSF World Billiards Championship.
Advani is also the first person in history to take the short (6-Red) and the long snooker (15-Red) format in the same calendar year.
In August 2015 in Karachi, he had retained the World 6-Reds Snooker title and IBSF World Snooker Championship was his first 15-Red Snooker title since 2003 when he won the crown in China.
Women World Snooker Championship
Wendy Jans of Belgium won the Women World Snooker Championship. She defeated Anastasia Nechaeva (Russia). This was her 5th World title and 4th in a row.
Amee Kamani of India who defeated Wendy Jans in the group stage and Waratthanun Sukritthanes of Thailand shared the joint bronze.
World Snooker Masters title
Phisir Chandsri of Thailand successfully defended his World Snooker Masters title. He defeated defeating Jason Peplow 6-2 in the final. This was his third world title in a row from his début in snooker at Daugavpils (2013) followed by Bangalore (2014).
3. Blue Revolution with an outlay of 3000 crore rupees proposed
The Scheme Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries was in news as Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on the eve of World Fisheries Day 2015 on 21 November 2015 mentioned about it.
The scheme was conceptualized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 and entails a total outlay of 3000 crore rupees.
It visualizes an enabling environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries keeping in view the sustainability, bio-security and environmental concerns.
The scheme is an umbrella scheme that has been formed by merging all the existing schemes for effective implementation of different schemes in the fishery sector
The scheme will cover inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mari-culture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing Blue Revolution.
This will ensure that a focused approach of this nature ushers in Blue Revolution through an integrated development and management of fisheries and aquaculture sector.
4. Djokovic became 1st player to win ATP World Tour Finals for 4th consecutive time
World number one Novak Djokovic won the season-ending ATP World Tour finals. In the title clash played in London, Djokovic defeated third seed Roger Federer, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
With this, he also became the first player to win ATP world tour finals for the fourth consecutive time. He also surpassed Ivan Lendl's 1987 feat, when he had won his third straight Tour Finals title in New York.
Overall, this was the fifth time that Djokovic won this tournament. He ends the year with 11 titles, including three Grand Slams, taking his total to 10 majors.
Besides, in the Doubles, the eighth seeded Indo-Romanian team of Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea has ended as runner up. They lost to the second seeded Dutch-Romanian team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, 6-4, 6-3.
Bopanna was appearing in his second season-end Finale, having reached the final with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2012.
5. NTPC named official partner for HWL Final
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in third week of November 2015 was named as the official partner for the Hockey World League (HWL) final. HWL will be held in Raipur from 27 November to 6 December 2015.
Beside NTPC, Hockey India also secured partnership of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) as the principal partner and South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) as the first official partner for the year’s biggest international hockey event in the world.
The 2015 HWL will be participated by India, Argentina, Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. The Indian team will start its campaign against Argentina on 27 November 2015.
6. Urban Development Minister launched portal for small traders’ e-lala
Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on 23 November 2015 inaugurated ‘e-lala’, an e-commerce portal of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in New Delhi.
The e-lala initiative is aimed at promoting the interests of 5.77 crore small businesses in the context of rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country.
Benefits of e-lala initiative
• E-lala will enable physical stores to have their own online stores enabling them to retain their customer base besides additional source of growth in business.
• E-lala, a city and location based portal, seeks to promote business-to-business and trader-to-customer transactions in a city
• It seeks to eliminate middlemen and resulting in reduced cost of goods and services
• With the emerging global threat from e-commerce to small traders, e-lala initiative will address the problem with proper outreach and marketing strategies.
• E-lala's distinctive features include a specialty corner promoting unique products associated with each city.
• It carries an inquiry corner enabling consumers post their enquiries for a particular product which will be responded to in 24 hours.
• It carries an artisan’s corner enabling artisans and entrepreneurs display their products.
Online shoppers in the country are expected to increase from 34 million in 2014 to 100 million in 2016 and e-commerce has grown manifold from 3600 crore rupees in 2011 to 53000 crore rupees in 2015.
7. Mahatma Gandhi International Centre inaugurated in Matale by Sri Lankan President
The President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena on 22 November 2015 inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre (MGIC) inaugurated in Matale. The Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha was also present at the inauguration ceremony.
The center was inaugurated as a tribute to the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi to humanity and the continuing relevance of his principles and philosophy to mankind.
Main highlights of the MGIC
• The centre was built at a cost of over 4 crore rupees
• The Centre consists of an auditorium, library, meditation centre and a conference hall.
• It was funded under the Indian government's Development Cooperation Partnership with Sri Lanka.
• The Urban Development Authority of Sri Lankan government was the consultant for the project.
• It will provide a platform to reinforce the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and promote harmony among different communities
• It will enrich the lives of people through meditation and yoga and can also be used as a resource centre for cultural activities
• It will also help the youth to enhance their knowledge in various fields through seminars, workshops and conferences.
8. Swati Dandekar appointed Executive Director to Asian Development Bank by Obama
Indian-American politician Swati Dandekar was on 20 November 2015 nominated as executive director to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with ambassadorial rank by US President Barack Obama.
Dandekar, 64, will succeed Robert M Orr, who has held the position since 2010. Dandekar will serve as one of 12 international directors and hold the title of ambassador.
Obama announced his intent to nominate Dandekar to this top US position in Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with other key administration appointments and nominations.
9. ASEAN leaders sign declaration for launching ASEAN Economic Community
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders have signed a declaration for launching ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which would be similar to European Union (EU)-style regional economic bloc. In this regard, Kuala Lumpur declaration on the establishment of the AEC was signed by the leaders of 10-nation grouping chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at its 27th Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was signed in front of world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
10. UP Government’s Clean UP, Green UP initiative earns place in Guinness Book
Uttar Pradesh government’s ambitious Clean UP, Green UP initiative has earned itself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Under state government’s green drive initiative 10 lakh saplings were planted in one day within a span of eight hours on November 7, 2015 at 10 locations in the state. This new record has surpassed the earlier record for plantation of maximum number of tree that was 8 lakh 50 thousand trees in a single day. The certificate for UP Government’s record-setting performance was awarded to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the function held in Saifai in Etawah district. On the eve of state government’s ‘Clean UP, Green UP’ initiative Chief Minister himself had planted peepal plant at Maudaha dam in Hamirpur district. The initiative was executed through coordinated efforts of state forest, irrigation departments along with Noida and Greater Noida Authority.
11. Union HRD Ministry forms N Gopalaswami Committee on Sanskrit Promotion
The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has constituted a 13 member expert committee exclusively on Sanskrit in its attempt to revive interest in the ancient Indian classical language Sanskrit. The expert committee would be headed by former chief election commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami. He is currently, Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (RSV) in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Other members of the Committee: Bibek Debroy (NITI Aayog member), Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation Dr Ramadorai, V V Bhat, Delhi University professor Ramesh Bharadwaj, Chamu Krishna Shastri, UGC Chairman Ved Prakash.