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1. Ashwin is ICC's No. 1 Test bowler, first Indian since Bedi’s feat in 1973
1. Star India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has ended 2015 as the No. 1 Test bowler in the ICC rankings issued on the back of his strong showing against South Africa in the recent home series.
2. Ashwin, who took 62 wickets in nine Tests this year including 31 scalps in the four matches against South Africa, became the first India bowler since Bishen Bedi in 1973 to achieve the milestone of finishing the year on top.
3. In fact, Bedi, an ICC Hall of Famer, is the only India bowler to ever top the Test bowling table, while Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble peaked at number-two during their careers.
4. Ashwin achieved the number-one spot for first time in his career after injury prevented South African Dale Steyn from bowling more than 3.5 overs in England’s second innings in the Durban Test.
2. BHEL commissions Prayagraj power project unit in Uttar Pradesh
1. State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 660 MW unit of Prayagraj Super Thermal Power Project at Bara town in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
2. This is the first supercritical thermal unit to be commissioned in the state to achieve capacity addition on attaining full load. It is Greenfield thermal power project is owned by Prayagraj Power Generation Company Limited (PPGCL), a subsidiary company of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited. Super-critical units are generally eco-friendly and more efficient thermal power plants as they consume less coal as fuel.
3. Union Cabinet gives nod for India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal
1. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal that came into force on November 13, 2015. The deal along with the administrative arrangement for implementing the accord will bolster India’s energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in the country.
2. Currently, India has nuclear energy agreements with 11 countries and imports uranium from France, Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada (since December 2015). Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and annually exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel. It is third largest uranium producing country after Kazakhstan and Canada.
4. CCEA approves Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme for textile sector
1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved introduction of Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) for technology upgradation of the textiles industry. Decision in this regard was taken by CCEA meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The ATUFS replaces existing Revised Restructured Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (RR-TUFS) to give a boost to textile sector under Make in India campaign.
2. The amended scheme would attract investment to the tune of one lakh crore rupees in textile sector and create over 30 lakh jobs. A budgetary provision of Rs.17,822 crore has been approved of which Rs. 12,671 crore is for committed liabilities under the ongoing RR-TUFS scheme and Rs. 5,151 crore is for new cases under ATUFS.
5. Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan appointed DG of National Centre for Good Governance
1. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan as the Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance.
2. He will be in the office for a period of three years which is extendable by another two years or up to 60 years of age, whichever is earlier.
3. The 54-year-old Bandgaiyan is a former IAS officer of the Union Territories cadre. He hails from Madhya Pradesh.He is also an Ex-Chief Economist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
6. Japan and South Korea reached Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women
1. Japan and South Korea reached an Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women.
2. The agreement was reached after a meeting between Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea in Seoul.
It aims to resolve a decades-old dispute over Korean women who were used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
3. The agreement is considered as historic as the issue had been a bone of contention between the countries for decades.
7. Union Cabinet approved MoU between India & Jordan for promoting cooperation in IT & Electronics
1. The Union Cabinet on 30 December 2015 approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Jordan for promoting cooperation in the field of information technology and electronics.
2. The MoU was signed by both the countries in October 2015.
Its objective is to develop and strengthen industrial, technological and commercial cooperation between the two countries in Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E) sector.
It also tries to implement institutional and capacity building cooperation programme aimed at fostering partnerships between the two countries.
3. The main areas of co-operation under the MoU include-
• Identifying Capacity Building areas and specific needs of Jordanian IT sector, Design, Plan and implement IT Capacity Building Programmes for the benefit to Jordan
• Cooperation among private and public entities of both countries in the areas of investment and business promotion
• Strengthening of collaboration in the IT&E sector in the areas of e-education, e-Governance, m-Governance, e-health and telemedicine
• Sharing of best practices in the areas of regulatory policy and the institutional framework with special emphasis on developing internationally competitive IT&E manufacturing and services industry
• Participation in International events organized by each country, as appropriate and exchange of experts
• Other areas as jointly decided by the Parties
The above areas of cooperation will be realized through establishing a Working Group on IT&E composed of representatives of the Parties.
8. Modi lays foundation stone for Rs 7,500 cr Delhi-Meerut Expressway project
1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the Rs. 7,500 crore Delhi-Meerut Expressway project.This 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Expressway project is expected to be completed in 30 months.2. Describing it as NDA Government’s gift to the people, Modi said at the foundation stone laying ceremony that this expressway will generate opportunities for weekend-tourism and create thousands of jobs.