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Daily Current Affairs - 21 to 22 January 2016


International

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since modern record keeping began in 1880. It was revealed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on 20 January 2016 after an independent analysis. 

• During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average. 
• This was the highest among all 136 years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 0.29°F (0.16°C) and marking the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century. 
• 2015 is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken. 


Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, on 21 January 2016 won the award of the world's best hotel at the Travellers' Choice award organised by TripAdvisor. The winners of Travellers' Choice Award, which entered its 14th year, were determined on the basis of the reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide. 


Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a US-based think-tank, on 14 January 2016 released the 2016 Nuclear Security Index with the theme "Building a Framework for Assurance, Accountability, and Action."The Index assessed global nuclear security conditions in 176 countries in two areas - the potential theft of weapons-usable nuclear materials and the potential sabotage of nuclear facilities. Among the 24 states with one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials in the world, while Australia was adjudged as the safest, India was among the least safe with the 21st rank.

Highlights of the report:
• Theft ranking: Australia (1), Switzerland (2), Canada (3), Poland (4) were in the top four safest, While Pakistan (22), Iran (23) and North Korea (24) were the most unsafe. 
Japan is the most improved state. France, the United States, and the United Kingdom score the highest among nuclear-armed states. 
• The United States, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom are the most improved nuclear-armed states. 
• Among states with less than one kilogram of or no weapons-usable nuclear materials, Sweden ranks first, and Djibouti is the most improved. 
Sabotage ranking: Finland ranks first among the 45 states that have nuclear facilities vulnerable to sabotage.

About the Index:
• The Index assessed the contribution of 24 states with one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials towards improved global nuclear materials security conditions, using 5 categories, namely, Quantities and Sites, Security and Control Measures, Global Norms, Domestic Commitments and Capacity and Risk Environment. 
• While the "theft ranking" was included in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the NTI Index, the “potential sabotage part” was included for first time in the index. In addition, the 2016 index included the assessment of country actions to meet the emerging cyber threat to nuclear facilities. 
• An additional 151 states, with less than one kilogram of material or none at all, are assessed using three categories, namely, Global Norms, Domestic Commitments and Capacity and Risk Environment. 
• The index is a joint effort between NTI and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the USA. 


National

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 20 January 2016 approved Policy on Promotion of City Compost. The policy primarily seeks to promote the use of city compost by bringing better coordination among various government departments and agencies. 

Features of Policy on Promotion of City Compost :
• Under the policy, a provision has been made for market development assistance of 1500 rupees per tonne of city compost for scaling up production and consumption of the product. Market development assistance would lower MRP of city compost for farmers. 
• Eco-Mark standard will be specified for city compost that would ensure that environment friendly quality product reaches the farmers. 
• Fertilizer companies and marketing entities will also co-market city compost with chemical fertilizers through their dealers' network. 
• The companies will also adopt villages for promoting the use of compost. Government Departments and Public Sector undertakings will also use city compost for their horticulture and related uses. 
• Concerned Ministry/Department will carry out IEC campaigns to educate farmers on the benefits of city compost and will take steps to increase setting up of compost plants across all States. 
• The Agricultural Extension Machineries including KVKs of ICAR will also make special efforts in this regard. 
 • Agriculture Universities and KVKs will also take up field demonstration activities using City compost for which Department of Agriculture (DoA), Cooperation and Farmers Welfare will assign targets to them. 
• A joint mechanism will be set up by Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Urban Development and DoA to monitor and facilitate availability of adequate quantity of city compost at terms mutually agreeable between compost manufacturers and fertilizer marketing companies. 

Benefits of compost :
• Compost from city garbage would not only provide carbon and primary/secondary nutrients to soil but also help in keeping the city clean. 
• Composting can reduce the volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products. 
• This also prevents production of harmful greenhouse gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes groundwater apart from polluting the environment. 
• City waste composting would also generate employment in urban areas. 


The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 January 2016 released a book titled "The Z Factor: My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time" in New Delhi. The book is the autobiography of the promoter of Essel/ Zee Group Subhash Chandra. It is a candid memoir of a ‘truly desi’ self-made businessman who came to Delhi at age twenty with seventeen rupees in his pocket. Now, Subhash Chandra has a net worth of 6.3 billion US dollars and annual group revenues of about 3 billion US dollars. 


The Union Government and World Bank on 20 January 2016 signed the Financing Agreement for World Bank (IDA) assistance of 250 million US dollars for Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project. The Financing Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Union Government and Onno Ruhl, Country Director in India, World Bank. It is a loan for an implementation period of 5 years. Bihar Government will be the implementing agency. 

Highlights of the Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project :
• The objective of the project is to enhance resilience to floods and increase agricultural production and productivity in the targeted districts in the Kosi River Basin. 
• It aims to enhance Bihar’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 
• The primary beneficiaries will be rural producers and households in the Kosi River Basin who are regularly exposed to floods. 
• It has five components: (i) Improving Flood Risk Management; (ii) Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness; (iii) Augmenting Connectivity; (iv) Contingent Emergency Response; and (v) Implementation Support. 


The Girls First initiative was in news in the third week of January 2016 as the results showed that it helped in improving emotional and physical well-being of school children in Bihar. The initiative is a first of its kind project in the country as integrates evidence-based practices from the fields of social-emotional rearing, restorative justice, positive psychology and emotional intelligence. 

Outcomes of Girls First initiative: 
• It is implemented by Corstone India Foundation with the support of David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 
• Between 2013 and 2014, 3500 maginalized adolescent girls were served under the project. • The initiative helped in reducing school drop outs and early marriage and improving their psychosocial health. 
• As per a study, it was revealed that emotional resilience increased by 33 percent and health knowledge by 99 percent. 
• While clean water behaviour was improved by 96 percent, attitudes about gender equality by improved 18 percent in the same period. 
• At present, the project is scaled to serve 30000 boys and girls in 250 schools in partnership with the Bihar Education Project Council. 


The Chhattisgarh Government on 20 January 2016 signed a share-holding agreement with a few central government-run corporations for the second phase of Jagdalpur-Raoghat railway project. A special purpose vehicle (SPV)-Chhattisgarh Dakshin Railway Pvt Ltd-was constituted through the agreement to build 142 km railway line at a cost of 2000 crore rupees. The project aims at leading the economic development of tribal-dominated Bastar region. 

Key highlights of the agreement :
• National Mines Development Corporation will have 43 percent stake in the SPV 
• IRCON, a Ministry of Railways company, will have 26 percent stake in the SPV. 
• SAIL will have 21 percent and Chhattisgarh Mines Development Corporation will have 10 percent stake in the SPV. 
• The work on the first phase of the project, which will connect Dalli-Rajhara with Raoghat, is already underway. 
• The second phase will have 32 medium-size and 172 small bridges, 12 stations and will require 876 hectares of land. 


The Nai Manzil scheme was on 20 January 2016 launched for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme was launched for girls in Srinagar in three institutions- Skill Development Centre, University of Kashmir and two Madarsas. The two Madarsas are Madarsa Shahi-i-Hamdan in Pampore and Madarsa Imam Sadique in Shadipur, Bandipora. 

Highlights of the scheme :
Under the scheme, girls from minority communities will be imparted three month skill development training in seven identified sectors relevant to the region. These include training in saffron processing, food processing, embroidery, computers IT (both software and hardware), Tourism/hospitality, electronics and plumbing. Trainees will also be given stipend of 4500 rupees for the course. 

About Nai Manzil Scheme :
Nai Manzil Scheme is an integrated Education and Livelihood Initiative for the Minority Communities. It was announced by the Union Budget 2015-16. 
The scheme aims to benefit the minority youths who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madrasas. This will enable them to seek better employment in the organised sector and equipping them with better lives. 
The scheme covers the entire country. The Maulana Azad Education Foundation is the front runner in providing all the necessary help in start and execution of the scheme, supported by the Ministry of Minorities. 


Base Erosion and Profit Shifting(BEPS): 
The term BEPS is an acronym of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and it was in news in the third week of January 2016 as India decided to implement these guidelines. 

BEPS refers to tax planning strategies that would exploit the gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid. 

These norms were announced by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in October 2015 to close tax loop holes that it estimated cost countries upwards of 100 billion US dollars a year. With the implementation of these guidelines, it will become mandatory for Indian multinationals to make country-by-country reporting to follow guidelines from the financial year that begins on 1 April 2016. 

It will impact all Indian companies with significant cross-border operations and with annual consolidated global revenue of more than 5500 crore rupees. BEPS will be major significance for developing countries like India, as they strongly rely on corporate income tax and in particular from multinational enterprises (MNEs). 


Economy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 20 January 2016 approved development of the six laning of Aurangabad- Bihar/Jharkhand Border- BarwaAdda section on National Highway-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand. The estimated cost of the project is 4918.48 crore rupees including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. 

Highlights of the Project :
• It will be done under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. 
• The approval was given in BOT (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis. 
• The total length of the road will be approximately 222 km. 
• The main object of the project is to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in Bihar and Jharkhand and also in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic. 
• The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the State and would also increase employment potential for local labourers. 


The Union Government on 20 January 2016 granted Infrastructure Status to the Shipyard Industry in a bid to ease its financial stress. With the granting of the infrastructure status, the shipyards will be able to avail flexible long-term funding at lower costs. 

Benefits of the status :
• With this inclusion, the financial stress on the shipyard industry will be eased substantially. 
• The shipyards will be able to avail flexible structuring of long-term project loans, long-term funding from infrastructure funds at lower rates of interest. 
• It will also be able to avail longer tenure equivalent to the economic life of their assets, relaxed ECB norms, issuance of infrastructure bonds as well as benefits under Income Tax Act, 1961. 

About shipbuilding industry :
The shipbuilding industry is a strategically important industry due to its role in energy security, national defence and for developing heavy engineering industry. Currently, the Indian shipyards employ about 30000 people, the number will go up substantially once this sector is revitalized. 


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 20 January 2016 gave its approval for setting up over 5000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis. The work will be implemented by Solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under Batch-lV of Phase-ll of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). The total investments expected under the scheme is about 30000 crore rupees. This would help in creating additional 5000 MW capacity of Grid-connected solar PV power generation projects in four trenches of each 1250 MW capacity during four financial years - 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. It will also help in employment generation of about 30000 people in rural and urban areas with reduction of about 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year. 

Key highlights of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects :
• Installation of 5000 MW Solar PV plants will generate about 8300 Million units per year, which caters power to almost 2.5 Million households. 
• The Scheme will be implemented by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) as per the guidelines of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
• SECI will prepare necessary bidding documents for inviting the proposals for setting up of projects on a competitive bidding through e-bidding. 
• SECI will enter into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the selected developers and the Power Sale Agreement (PSA) with the buying entities. 
• Requisite funds for provision of the VGF support will be made available to MNRE from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), operated by Ministry of Finance. 
• Out of 5000 MW, some capacity in each tranche, will be developed with mandatory condition of solar PV cells and Modules made in India. This will be called the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) category and remaining will be in open category. 
• Projects could be set up in the Solar Parks being developed under a separate MNRE Scheme and also at other locations, which could be selected by the bidders on their own. 
• Commissioning period will be 13 months from the date of signing of PPAs. 
• MNRE will provide 100 percent VGF to SECI to disburse to Solar Power Developers immediately after commissioning, subject to availability of funds. 


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 20 January 2016 released the first report of the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) for comments from the stakeholders. The 21-member committee was constituted by the SEBI in March 2015 under the chairmanship of N R Narayan Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, to suggest measures for development of the alternative investment funds (AIFs) and startup eco-system in the country. 

The recommendations of the committee are founded on the following principles :
• Ease of doing business is important 
• Fund managers have the role of “Prudent Men” 
• Adopt global best practices, and where necessary, innovate the “next” (best) practice 
• Clarity, consistency, and certainty in tax policies 
Harmonisation and consistency across different regulators 
• AIFs should at least have parity with public market funds in tax policies. 

Key suggestions of the committee :
• For creating a favourable tax environment the panel recommended that exempted income of AIFs should not suffer tax withholding of 10 percent. 
• Overseas investors in India-centric fund vehicles should not be subject to the indirect transfer provisions of the IT Act when they transfer their investments in an India-centric vehicle to another investor. 
• Provisions relating to investor diversification, control or management of portfolio companies, tax residence, arm’s length remuneration of fund managers and annual reporting requirements under the Section 9A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 should be amended. 
• Make foreign direct investment in AIFs work efficiently by clarifying the rules for investment by non-resident Indian investors in AIFs on a non-repatriation basis. 
Security Transaction Tax (STT) should be introduced for private equity and venture capital investments, including SEBI-registered AIFs and has parity with the taxation of investments in listed securities. 
• In relation to reforms in the AIF regulatory regime, the panel suggested for the focus on regulation of fund managers instead of fund per se. 

About Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs): 
• Anything alternate to traditional form of investments gets categorized as alternative investments. 
 • Generally, investments in stocks or bonds or fixed deposits or real estates are considered as traditional investments and AIF refers to private equity and hedge funds. 
• In India, AIFs are defined in Regulation 2(1)(b) of SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012. 
• It refers to any privately pooled investment fund, (whether from Indian or foreign sources), in the form of a trust or a company or a body corporate or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). 
• AIFs bring significant benefits to the Indian economy. If the regulatory issues are streamlined, AIFs can attract large capital flows to potentially reach a size of as much 2 percent of the GDP. 


The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 18 January 2016 launched Algorithm Trading Test Environment (ATTE) service in partnership with Symphony Fintech Solutions Pvt Ltd. The BSE is Asia’s oldest stock exchange and, at present, is the world’s fastest stock exchange with a speed of 6 microseconds. 

Features of the Algorithm Trading Test Environment :
• This will enable all market participants to test their trading algorithms in Equity, Equity Derivative and Currency Derivative segments free of cost. 
• The members will be able to test their trading strategies with live market data feed during market hours and historical market data. 
• There is also a provision to generate data analytics reports to check the performance of the strategies. 
• BSE will provide individual test session for each member and there is no time slot booking for login sessions for trading members. 

About Algorithmic Trading : 
• It is also known as Algo-Trading or Black-Box Trading. 
• As per SEBI’s Broad Guidelines on Algorithmic Trading, released in March 2012, algorithmic trading is defined as any order that is generated using automated execution logic. 
• In simple terms, it is nothing but usage of Computers to execute trades based on pre-defined instructions. 

Advantages: It helps in executing trade at a huge speed and frequency, not possible for a human trader. As a result, emotional human impacts on trading activities can be circumvented. • It makes markets more liquid as more orders are placed in the market. • It helps in identifying trading opportunities in a milliseconds based on the codes written by the trader ensuring that trading opportunities are not missed. • It helps in identifying mispricing and instances of inefficiency very fast by rapidly closing in on arbitrage opportunities. 

Disadvantages: It increases the volatility in the market and stock prices by generating massive orders within few seconds. Volatility in Indian stock markets on 6 May 2015 is a case in point. • If erroneous programmes are allowed to run they can distort market prices to a large extent. • As per an estimate, Algorithmic trading accounts for a third of the total volume on Indian cash shares and almost half of the volume in the derivatives segment. • As per the SEBI’s guidelines of March 2012, all the Algo-Trading orders must be routed through broker servers located in India in order to regulate them. 


Bilateral

The Union Cabinet on 20 January 2016 gave its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom on cooperation in governance reforms. The MoU, which was signed in November 2015, seeks to extend bilateral cooperation in public administration and governance reforms. 

Features of the MoU :
• It covers areas of cooperation such as sharing good governance practices in public administration, user led service design, reducing bureaucracy in service delivery and government process re- engineering. 
• It will also cover reforms towards strengthening of social security, collaboration between Government and Industry on staff management, crisis and disaster Management and digital transformation of government among others. 
• It will help in understanding the system of customer oriented public service delivery in UK with reference to rapidly changing environments in the area of public service management and enable in adapting some of the best practices in the Indian Public Service Delivery System, 
• A Joint Working Group on Public Administration and Governance will be responsible for implementation of the MoU. 
• The First Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is scheduled to be held in January 2016 in London.


New Appointments

Noted environmentalist Ravi Chellam on 20 January 2016 took charge as the Executive Director of Greenpeace India, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO). Earlier in 2015, the government suspended Greenpeace’s foreign funding licence and froze its domestic bank accounts for alleged rule violations.


Moldovan parliament on 20 January 2016 appointed Pavel Filip as the Prime Minister. He would be the third prime minister of Moldova in less than a year. The appointment follows the rise and fall of two prime ministers in 2015, namely Chiril Gaburici (June 2015) and Valeriu Strelet (October 2015). 


Person in News

Legendary dancer and Padma Bhushan recipient Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away on 21 January 2016 in Ahmedabad. She was 97. Besides being a classical dancer, Sarabhai was a poet, writer and environmentalist.

• Mrinalini Sarabhai was the founder director of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, an institute for imparting training in dance, drama, music and puppetry, in Ahmedabad. 
• Her autobiography is titled Mrinalini Sarabhai: The Voice of the Heart. 
• She was honoured with the national civilian awards Padma Bhushan in 1992 and the Padma Shri in 1965. 


Italian director Ettore Scola passed away on 19 January 2016 following a prolonged illness in Rome. He was 84. As a filmmaker, he was considered to be among the last of a generation of Italian greats with a keen eye for the issues facing his country. 


Senior revenue service officer Atulesh Jindal on 21 January 2016 was appointed chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Jindal will succeed A K Jain, who completes his term at the end of January 2016. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Jindal as chairman of the apex policy-making body of the income tax department. 

Central Board of Direct Taxes : 
• The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. 
• The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes. 
• The Chairperson of CBDT is the senior-most IRS civil servant in the Government of India. 
• The Chairperson of CBDT is the ex officio Special Secretary to the Government of India and also cadre controlling authority of the Indian Revenue Service. 


Awards

Person of Indian Origin Rahul Thakkar on 8 January 2016 was named as one of winners of the Scientific and Technical Awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, famously called Oscar Awards. He shares the award with Richard Chuang in the category of groundbreaking design of the DreamWorks Animation Media Review System. He will receive the award at the Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on 13 February 2016 in Beverly Hills. 


Science | Technology

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 7 January 2016 announced that it had formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). It will remain within NASA's Planetary Science Division under Science Mission Directorate in Washington

Main functions of PDCO :
• It will supervise all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near the orbit of the Earth around the sun. 
• It will take a lead role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential hazards that impact Earth. 
• It will also issue notices of close passes and warnings of any detected potential threats, based on credible science data. 
• It will continue to assist to coordinate Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other U.S. agencies and international counterparts to participate in the precautionary actions against an actual impact hazard.


The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) on 20 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. 

Highlights of MoU :
• It will allow use of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites by KISR for initiating a few research and application projects. 
• It will also enable Training and Building and launching of remote sensing and communication satellites on commercial terms. 
• It will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing; satellite communication; satellite navigation and exploration of outer space. 
• It will lead to developing a joint activity in the field of application of space technology for the benefit of humanity. 
• It will lead to setting up of a Joint Working Group from ISRO and KISR which will work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU. 


Japanese astronomers’ team discovered the second largest black hole in Milky Way. They mapped high-velocity compact cloud called CO-0.40-0.22 with a mass 100000 times that of the Sun around 200 light years away from the centre of the Milky Way. The research related to this was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters with the title ‘Signature of an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole in the Central Molecular Zone of Our Galaxy’ on 28 December 2015. 

A team led by Tomoharu Oka, a professor at Keio University observed this mysterious cloud with two radio telescopes, the Nobeyama 45m Radio Telescope in Japan and the ASTE Telescope in Chile. These both telescopes are operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The cloud has an elliptical shape and consists of an intense region with a shallow velocity gradient and a less intense high-velocity wing. Its compactness and the absence of counterparts at other wavelengths suggest that this massive object is an intermediate-mass black hole. 

Astronomers already know about two sizes of black holes — stellar-mass black holes, formed after the gigantic explosions of very massive stars; and supermassive black holes (SMBH) often found at the centres of galaxies. Monster Black Hole is the largest and brightest ever found with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun. So, the present found on would the second largest. 

Black Hole : A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been pressed into a tiny space. This compression can take place at the end of a star's life. Some black holes are a result of dying stars. Because no light can escape, black holes are invisible. However, space telescopes with special instruments can help find black holes. They can observe the behavior of material and stars that are very close to black holes. 


Scientists spotted the potential planet by seeing the disturbances that it is causing in the gravitational field of the far solar system. There appears to be a great perturber upsetting the movement of other objects in that far away region. Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown, the researchers at the California Institute of Technology claimed it as a possible ninth planet and their research papers were published in The Astronomical Journal on 20 January 2016 with the title ‘Evidence for a distant Giant Planet in the Solar System.’ 

As for their Study, The Planet is surrounded by much brighter lights even the distant Pluto could be about 10000 times brighter. So, they opined that the planet might have made its way out to the edge of the solar system when it was thrown out there by the gravity of Jupiter or Saturn. The only recent addition solar system was Pluto. It was found in 1930 and was considered as its most distant and smallest planet for most of the 21st century, later it was controversially downgraded to just a dwarf planet and the solar system went back to having eight Planets. 


Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) on 21 January 2016 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for monitoring mining activity through satellite technology. The MoU was signed by IBM Controller General R K Sinha and NRSC Director V K Dadhwal in the presence of joint secretary, Union Ministry of Mines, Subhash Chandra. The MoU helps in the sustainable development and responsible use of precious mineral resources and also checking any anomalies in mining activities by license. 

Features of the MoU :
• As part of the MoU, the IBM would set up an exclusive remote sensing cell under the technical guidance of the NRSC at its offices in Nagpur and Hyderabad. 
• These cells utilise Bhuvan-based services for monitoring mining activities across the country. 
• A mobile application will be developed for field data collection to verify ground realities with respect of approved proposals. 
• The NRSC would carry out a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of using high resolution satellite imagery in monitoring the changes over a period of time in select group of mines. 
• Initially, the project will be launched in Odisha and Hospet sector of Karnataka on pilot basis. 
• The pilot project will help in checking and validation of the consistency of differential geo positioning system points collected as part of the lease boundary survey programme. 
• Once successful, the pilot project could be extended to other areas in partnership with States. 
• NRSC will extend training for the IBM staff in using the technology, which would be subsequently extended to the State Governments in the course of time. 


Discoveries

Professor Sathyabhama Das Biju, popularly known as the frogman of India, and his team of researchers discovered a new genus of tree hole-breeding frogs in the forests of India's northeast and China. The genus has been named Frankixalus after Professor Franky Bossuyt of Vrije Universiteit Brussel for his contribution to amphibian research. 

Key characteristics of Frankixalus: 
• The genus includes a species first described in 1876 based solely on museum specimens. • The newfound frog populations live and breed in pools of water in holes in the trunks of canopy trees — a lifestyle that likely kept them off scientists’ radar. 
• Tadpoles eat their mother’s eggs for sustenance, a common practice among frogs that live in low-resource environments. 


A team of scientists discovered a new bird species named Himalayan Forest Thrush in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China. The species was discovered after noticing that a bird, known as a brush that lived in the forest, sang differently than the same bird that lived in the mountains. The new species has been given scientific name Zoothera salimalii after famous ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali who has made significant contributions to ornithology in India. 


Sports

Uttar Pradesh on 20 January 2016 won its maiden Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy with a 38-run win over two- time champions Baroda in the final played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. 


The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on 21 January 2016 announced that it signed a marketing deal with Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS). As per the contract, the IOS will manage sponsorship and public relations for the IOA for all the major national and international events. This is the first time in the history of IOA that any professional sports marketing agency has been appointed to generate sponsorship revenues for Indian athletes. 

Details of the IOA-IOS deal : 
• The deal, having worth of 12 crore rupees, will cover a period of 2 years. 
• Under the contract, IOS Sports and Entertainment agency will generate sponsorship for the Indian contingent that will compete in the Rio Olympics in August 2016. 
• The IOS will develop intellectual properties in partnership with IOA and will attempt to unlock the commercial potential of the organisation. 


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