Current Affairs of 1st December 2015

1. India, France launched International Solar Alliance

India and France  launched the International Solar Alliance in Paris. The alliance was launched jointly by PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21).

The alliance also invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the group. It will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.
Highlights of the alliance
• It aims to bring 121 tropical countries together to tap solar energy.
• The Alliance will enable solar-rich developing countries to make the best use of an abundant, free natural resource.
• It seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
• It would adapt the generation and storage technologies to the individual countries’ needs.
• Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.

2.RBI holds rates steady
After frontloading a 50 basis points cut in the policy repo rate in late September, the Reserve Bank of India chose to keep it steady at 6.75 per cent in its fifth bi-monthly policy review .
The central bank kept the rate unchanged, a stance which was widely expected by various stakeholders including economists, bankers and fixed income market players, in the backdrop of the impending hike by the US Fed in its policy signalling rate.
Further, with the consumer price index based inflation rising for the third month and hitting 5 per cent in October, the RBI may have chosen to err on the side of caution.
Since the beginning of calendar year 2015, the RBI has slashed the repo rate (the interest rate at which the central bank provides liquidity to banks to help them overcome short-term liquidity mismatches) cumulatively by 125 basis points.
The series of rate cuts by the RBI since January seem to have had the desired impact, with GDP growth rising to 7.4 per cent in the second quarter (July-September) against 7 per cent in the previous quarter. This apparently has allowed the central bank to take a breather.
The growth projection for 2015-16 has been kept unchanged at 7.4 per cent with a mild downside bias.

3. World AIDS Day observed across the world
The World AIDS Day was on 1 December 2015 observed across the world with the theme Getting to zero, End AIDS by 2030. However, the federal theme for the World AIDS Day 2015 was The time to act is now.
Both themes comply with fast-track strategy of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, to end the Aids epidemic by 2030. The strategy is aimed at averting 21 million Aids-related deaths, 28 million new HIV infections and 5.9 million new infections among children by 2030.

4. Roch Marc Christian Kabore elected president of Burkina Faso
Roch Marc Christian Kabore was elected as the President of the West African country Burkina Faso.
Kabore won the vote in the first round with 53.49 percent of ballots, which was enough to secure a first round victory.
Zephirin Diabre came in the second place with 29.6 percent of the vote, and Tahirou Barry stood third with just three percent of the votes.

5. Embrace of the Serpent bagged Golden Peacock Award for Best Film at IFFI 2015
Internationally co-produced adventure drama film Embrace of the Serpent on 30 November 2015 was awarded with the Golden Peacock Award for the Best Film at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa.
The Best Film Award comprises the Golden Peacock and a citation with prize money of 40 lakhs rupees to be shared between the Director and the Producer of the movie.
• The film is produced by Christina Gallego and directed by Ciro Guerra.
• The film depicts the first contact, encounter, approach, betrayal and eventually life transcending friendship between Amazonian shaman Karamakate and two scientists.
• The film is shot in the Amazonian rain forest in richly detailed black and white cinematography.
IFFI Winners 2015
• The Best Director award went to Peter Greenaway for the film Eisenstein in Guanajuato.
• The Best Actor (Male) went to Vincent Lindon for his portrayal of a laid off factory worker Thierry Taogourdeau in the film The Measure of a Man.
• The Best Actor (Female) award was shared by Gunes Sensoy, Doga Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan and Ilyada Akdogan for portrayal of role of five young orphaned sisters in the Turkish fim Mustang.
• The Special Jury Award went to the Spanish film Sealed Cargo directed by Julia Vargas.
• The Serbian film Enclave directed by Goran Radovanovic got the Special Mention Award.
• The Russian film maker, actor and head of Russian Cinematographers’ Union Nikita Mikhalkov was conferred upon the Lifetime Achievement Award.
• The ICFT – UNESCO Fellini Medal was awarded to Kaushik Ganguly’s Cinemawala that focuses on the sad state of single screen cinema halls in West Bengal.

6. Robert Lewandowski awarded with four Guinness World Record certificates for scoring five goals in nine minutes
Polish professional footballer Robert Lewandowski’s nine-minute, five-goal haul for German Football Club Bayern Munich against Wolfsburg was officially recognised on 30 November 2015 by Guinness World Record.
Lewandowski was presented with four separate official Guinness World Records certificates for his goal scoring spree during a special press conference which took place at Bayern Munich’s ground.

7. Union Government launches IPV injection as part of global polio endgame strategy
The Union Government has launched inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) injection as part of the global polio endgame strategy in New Delhi. The vaccine was launched by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda in New Delhi. It was launched as part of India’s next step in Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) to fight against polio virus in the country.
The launching of IPV would enable children to get double protection from polio i.e. orally and in the form of injection. UIP initially will cover six states including Uttar Pardesh , Madhya Pardesh , Bihar, Assam, Punjab and Gujarat in the first phase. By April 2016, Union Government would switch to IPV alongside the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to eradicate polio virus in the country. Henceforth, as part of India’s efforts to boost its polio immunization programme babies getting their third dose of OPV now would be administered an injection with IPV. It should be noted that India was certified polio-free country on 27 March 2014, but the immunization programme continues since two of its neighbours Afghanistan and Pakistan still remain polio-endemic countries.

8. Indian Railways ink Rs 40000 cr deal of locomotive plants with GE, Alstom in Bihar
Indian Railways has signed 40,000 crore rupees contracts with General Electrics (GE) and Alstom to set up two locomotive plants in Bihar. Under this deal, first venture the electric locomotive factory would be set up at Madhepura city and diesel locomotive would be set up at Marhowrah district of the state. It is the first major manufacturing investment in Bihar, boosting manufacturing and contributing to the overall economic growth of state along with creation of new employment opportunities in the state under flagship Make In India initiative. This is also the first big Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian railway sector after government had relaxed FDI norms to 100 per cent in the railway sector in 2014.

9. Anil Kumble resigns as chief mentor of Mumbai Indians
Former Indian Test Captain and ace spinner Anil Kumble has resigned as the Chief Mentor of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians with an immediate effect. His decision follows after Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) crackdown on conflict of interest in the board. Earlier in November 2015, Indian cricket team director Ravi Shastri was removed from the IPL Governing Council and selector Roger Binny was asked to leave. Since January of 2013, Mr. Kumble was associated with Mumbai Indians and in his first year as the mentor of Mumbai Indians team had won the IPL and the Champions League and once again the IPL cup in 2015.

10. Russian legendary film Director Eldar Ryazanov passes away
Russian legendary film Director and screenwriter Eldar Ryazanov passed away in Moscow, Russia. He was 88. He was one of Russia’s best-loved Soviet-era film directors and an icon of popular USSR culture of tragi-comedies that satirised daily life in the erstwhile Soviet Union.

11. India re-elected as Member of International Maritime Council
India has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under Category ‘B’ at 29th session of the IMO Assembly held in London. India’s membership of the IMO Assembly supports India’s status as one of the countries with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Presently, India ranks amongst the top 20 shipping countries of the world in terms of Gross Tonnage capacity (GT) as well as Deadweight capacity.
IMO has 171 member states and 3 associate members. India was one of the earliest members of the IMO and had joined it as a member-state in 1959

12.  RBI ease Overseas borrowing rules
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) liberalised the external commercial borrowing framework by increasing the limit for Indian companies for raising funds — with minimum average maturity of 3 years — to $50 million from $20 million. Companies can also take the ECB route for raising 10-year funds which is capped at five years now. RBI has also expanded the list of overseas lenders to include long term lenders like sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and insurance companies. “The framework for ECB as a means to attract flow of funds from abroad will continue to be a major tool to calibrate the policy towards capital account management in response to evolving macro-economic situation,

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