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1. Filippo Grandi assumed office as UNHCR Chief
1. Filippo Grandi on 1 January 2016 took over as the new High Commissioner for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Grandi succeeded Antonio Guterres, a former Portuguese Prime Minister, who retired on 31 December 2015 after heading the Refugee Agency for 10 years.
2. Grandi took over the position amid unprecedented displacement challenges, with worldwide forced displacement of people reaching a new post-World War-II high of 59.5 million.
2. Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman topped 2015 US Bestseller List
1. The book Go Set a Watchman written by Harper Lee was in news in the first week of January 2016 as it topped the 2015 US bestseller list.
2. Around 1.6 million copies of the book were sold in the USA since it was published in July 2015. The figures were based on US print unit sales reported to Nielsen.
3. Go Set a Watchman was published more than half a century after Harper’s Pulitzer-winning first book, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published.
3. Union Cabinet approved Stand Up India Scheme
1. The Union Cabinet approved the Stand Up India Scheme to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and Women entrepreneurs.
2. The Scheme is intended to facilitate at least two projects per bank branch, on an average one for each category of entrepreneur. It is expected to benefit at least 2.5 lakh borrowers.
The expected date of reaching the target of at least 2.5 lakh approvals is 36 months from the launch of the Scheme.
3. Highlights of the Stand Up India Scheme
• It provides for refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount of 10000 crore rupees.
• It will create credit guarantee mechanism through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).
• It will provide support for borrowers both at the pre loan stage and during operations.
• Its focus is on handholding support for both SC/ST and Women borrowers.
• The aim is to leverage institutional credit structure to reach out under-served sectors of the population by facilitating bank loans repayable up to 7 years and between 10 lakh rupees- 100 lakh rupees for greenfield enterprises in nonfarm sector set up by such SC, ST and Women borrowers.
• The loan under the scheme would be appropriately secured and backed by a credit guarantee through a credit guarantee scheme for which Department of Financial Services would be the settler.
• The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) will be the operating agency for the loan.
• Margin money of the composite loan would be up to 25 percent.
The Start up India Stand up India initiative was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech on 15 August 2015
4. India to skip BS-V, leapfrog to BS-VI norms from April 1, 2020
1. In a bid to curb vehicular pollution, the Centre todaydecided to implement stricter emission norms of Bharat Stage (BS) VI from April 1, 2020, by skipping BS-V altogether.
2. The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, which was attended by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.
3. Government has decided to leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI directly by April 1, 2020. We have decided to skip BS-VI emission norms.
5. International media conference in Mysuru
1. The Global Communication Association (GCA), a not-for-profit professional organisation, to host the 11th international conference of media experts and communication specialists from around the world at Mysuru on January 28-29.
2. The meet has University of Mysore, which is celebrating its Centenary year, as its academic partner for hosting the conference.
3. Established in the year 2007, the GCA objectives are the promotion of academic research in global communication studies among major universities worldwide; facilitation of joint project and research opportunities among scholars and students. More importantly, GCA provides an eclectic international platform for corporate executives, communication specialists, policy makers, academicians, bureaucrats, political leaders, public relations practitioners and co-related industry professionals to meet, interact and generate new ideas for growth.
6. Achyuta Samanta elected Indian Science Congress president
1. Dr Achyuta Samanta has been elected as President of Indian Science Congress for 2017-18.
2. As the 103rd Indian Science Congress is coming to an end in Mysuru, Dr Samanta has been elected as the general president for the 105th Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) scheduled for 2017-18.
3. Dr Samanta, who is a well-known educationist for setting up renowned institutions like KIIT University and KISS, is currently serving as a member of ISCA's executive committee.
7. Pushan Mahapatra new MD, CEO of SBI General Insurance
1. Private sector non-life insurance firm SBI General Insurance has appointed Pushan Mahapatra as its new managing director and chief executive officer.
2. SBI General Insurance is a joint venture between State Bank of India and Insurance Australia Group and the post was vacated after Bhaskar J Sarma retired on December 31, 2015.
3. Mahapatra, who took over the reins on January 1, has been associated with the company since July 2014 as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer.
8. Sri Lanka, Pakistan agree to expand FTA
1. Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to expand their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) by inclusion of services and investment. Statement in this regard was made by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his official visit to Sri Lanka.
2. The expansion of FTA would help companies of the two nations to form joint ventures (JV) for exports to other nations. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official trip to Sri Lanka comes after eight months of President Sirisena’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015.
9. Pranav Dhanawade hits world record by scoring 1009 runs at school level tournament
1. 15-year-old cricketer Pranav Dhanawade created a world record by scoring 1009 runs (not out) in HT Bhandari Cup, an under-16 inter-school tournament held in Mumbai (Maharashtra). With this, he also has broken a century-old cricketing record becoming the first batsman to score 1000-plus runs in an innings in any form of cricket.
2. 1009 (not out) in 323 balls with strike rate of 312.38 comprising of 129 fours and 59 sixes in the entire match. Records Broken: 3. Pranav by scoring unbeaten 652 runs in first day of match has broken a 116-old cricketing record of unbeaten 628 made by AEJ Collins in 1899 for Clark House against North Town House in UK
10. Jharkhand first state to sign MoU with Centre for power scheme UDAY
1. Jharkhand, a mineral-rich but energy-deficit state has become first state in country to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme with Union Government. In this regard a tripartite MoU was signed between the state government, Union Ministry of Power and state power distributor Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam Ltd (JBVNL).
2. The MoU will help state government in electrifying remaining 2200 villages in state and make Union Government’s vision of providing 24×7 electricity supply to all a reality. Through UDAY Jharkhand will also derive an overall net benefit of approximately 5,300 crore rupees.
1. The Union Government has reserved 33 per cent posts of Constables for women in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to enhance their representation. The proposal in this regard was approved by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and shall come into effect with immediate effect.
2. To begin with, 33 per cent of posts of Constables will be reserved for women in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).