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1. WTO approved Afghanistan’s membership terms to join as 163rd member
1. World Trade Organisation (WTO) unanimously approved Afghanistan’s WTO membership at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
2. With this, Afghanistan will become the 163rd WTO member and the ninth least-developed country to become a WTO member since the organization was established in 1995.
3. The Protocol of Accession (PoA) was officially signed by Director General Roberto Azevedo and Afghanistan’s First Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Khan Rahmani.
2. 23 poets and authors chosen for prestigious 2015 Sahitya Akademi Award
1. Sahitya Academy has announced the names of 23 poets and authors who will be conferred the prestigious 2015 Sahitya Akademi Award. This award has recognised premier works in 23 Indian languages that includes 6 books of short stories, 6 of poetry, 4 novels, 2 books each of essays, criticism and plays and 1 memoir.
23 Awardee’s are:
Poetry: Brajendra Kumar Brahma (Bodo), Dhian Singh (Dogri), Ramdarash Mishra (Hindi), K.V. Tirumalesh (Kannada), Kshetri Rajan (Manipuri) and Ram Shankar Awasthi (Sanskrit).
Short stories: Kula Saikia (Assamese), Man Mohan Jha (Maithili), Gupta Pradhan (Nepali), Bibhuti Pattanaik (Odia), Maya Rahi (Sindhi) and Volga (Telugu).
Novels: Cyrus Mistry (English), Jaswinder Singh (Punjabi) and Madhu Acharya ‘Ashawadi’ (Rajasthani).
Essays: Rasik Shah (Gujrati) and A. Madhavan (Tamil). Plays: Uday Bhembre (Konkani), Rabilal Tudu (Santali).
Books on criticism: Bashir Bhadarwahi (Kashmiri) and Shamim Tariq (Urdu).
Memoirs: Arun Khopkar (Marathi).
3. R.K. Mathur appointed as CIC
1. Former Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur has been appointed as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), breaking away from the convention of appointing the head from among the serving Information Commissioners.
2. The post had fallen vacant after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December 1.The 62-year-old Mr. Mathur, a retired IAS officer of Tripura cadre, was made Defence Secretary for a fixed two-year term on May 28, 2013.
3. Mr. Mathur, who did his graduation from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and post graduation from IIT, Delhi, has held various positions in his cadre state and at the Centre.He had been Secretary in Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Defence Production and Supplies.
4. International Migrants Day observed across the world
1. International Migrants Day was observed across the world on 18 December 2015. Since 2014, more than 5000 women, men and children lost their lives in search of protection and a better life while migrating.
2. The year 2015 will be remembered as a year of human suffering and migrant tragedies. Tens of thousands have been exploited and abused by human traffickers. And millions have been made into scapegoats and become the targets of xenophobic policies and alarmist rhetoric.
5. Husband-wife duo Claude and Norma Alvares awarded with 2015 Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award
1. The husband-wife duo of Claude and Norma Alvares were honoured with the 2015 Lifetime Service Award by Sanctuary Asia magazine.
2. On the other hand, Ashok Kumar, one of the pioneers of the fightback against wildlife crimes in India and chairman emeritus of the Wildlife Trust of India, was named the Sanctuary Legend. It is a new category in the list of Sanctuary Wildlife Awards for 2015.
6. NSE launches three new group indices
1. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched three separate indices on three corporate houses of India viz. Tata, Aditya Birla and Mahindra Group.
2. The first of its kind three separate indices based on corporate houses have been designed to reflect the performance of companies belonging to the respective corporate group. Each of three indices will comprise all the companies of the respective business group.
3. The three separate indices are
Nifty Tata Group Index: It includes 25 companies across 12 sectors with a total market capitalisation of 7.51 lakh crore rupees. It represents 7.83 per cent of the total market capitalisation of companies listed on the NSE.
Nifty Aditya Birla Group Index: It consists of eight companies across seven sectors with the market capitalisation of 2.08 lakh crore rupees. It represents 2.17 per cent of the total market capitalisation of companies listed on the NSE.
Nifty Mahindra Group Index: It consists of seven companies with a market capitalisation of about 1.64 lakh crore rupees. It represents 1.71 per cent of the total market capitalisation of companies listed on NSE.
7. Stock Exchange DAC gives nod to purchase of Russian S-400 Air Defence Missile Systems
1. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the purchase of Russian advance S-400 Trium Air Defence Missile Systems at an estimated cost of 40,000 crore rupees. Decision in this regard was taken by DAC meeting chaired by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi.
2. DAC approval for defence deal comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia later in December 2015. India would buy 5 units of the S-400 Trium air defence missile systems that are capable of destroying incoming hostile missiles, aircraft and even drones within a range of up to 400 km.
3. This purchase will give a major boost to the national air defence capacity and make India only the second buyer of the missile system after China. The S-400 System is also capable of taking out ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets.