Current Affairs, News & Facts of 20 Dec 2015

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  • Former defence secretary R.K. Mathur appointed new chief information commissioner  

     

    Former Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur (62) has been appointed the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).He succeeds Vijai Sharma as he has retired after 
    completion of his tenure.Mathur will have tenure of about three years (2017) till he attain the age of 65.Traditionally,the senior-most Information Commissioner 
    is chosen as CIC. However, Mr Mathur appointment was made away from the convention of appointing senior-most serving Information Commissioner as CIC.

    Background :

    The post had fallen vacant after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December 1.The selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Wednesday finalised Mr.Mathur’s name.President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent for appointment of Mathur as CIC. As per the RTI Act, CIC is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the selection committee.

    About Central Information Commission (CIC)

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) was set up under the Right to Information Act in 2005,under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.

    The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who will be appointed by the President of India.At present, there are seven information commissioners—Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M.A. Khan Yusufi, Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava. A total of 33,724 complaints and appeals are pending in the commission, as per official data.

    About R.K. Mathur :

    • 62-year-old R.K. Mathur,is a retired IAS officer of Tripura cadre.He was made defence secretary for a fixed two-year term on May 28, 2013. Mathur.
    • Mathur has done his graduation from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and post graduation from IIT, Delhi.He has has held various positions in his cadre state and at the centre
    • He also had served as Secretary Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Defence Production and Supplies.
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  • Renowned British Novelist Peter Dickinson passes away

     

    Renowned British Novelist Peter Dickinson passes away

    Renowned British Novelist Peter Dickinson passed away in Winchester, Hampshire. He was 88.He was a prolific novelist best known for children’s books and 
    detective stories.Dickinson holds the distinction of being the first author to receive twice the prestigious Carnegie medal awarded annually in Britain by librarians for the outstanding new children's book.

    About Peter Dickinson:

    • He wrote almost 60 books which have been translated into 53 different languages.
    • His debut novel for children The Weathermonger was published in 1968 of Changes trilogy and was followed by Heartsease (1969) and The Devil’s Children (1970). His last novel In The Palace Of The Khans was published in 2012.

    Awards and Honours:

    He was the first and so far only author to win the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award for two consecutive novels for his detective books Skin Deep in 1968 and A Pride Of Heroes in 1969. His two novels Tulku (1979) and City of Gold (1980) had won the Carnegie Medal.

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  • Country’s biggest wildlife rescue centre commissioned in Nagpur

     

    Country’s biggest wildlife rescue centre commissioned in Nagpur

    India’s biggest Wildlife Rescue Centre named as Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre has been commissioned at Gorewada near Nagpur, Maharashtra. 
    The centre was inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in presence of State Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwa

    Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre :

    • Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center is managed by the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM).Nagpur based Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries (MAF) University is also part of this centre.
    • The centre is spread over 30 hectres and has been created on the lines of Gujarat based Gir National Park which is also one of the biggest and best wildlife centre in the country.
    • It has cages for herbivorous animals and would house Deer, Sambars and Nilgais. It also has two enclosures to house 10 Tigers at a time and also separate enclosure for Panthers.
    • It has enclosure that can house over 100 Birds of mixed species. It also has separated enclosure for housing Pythons including Cobra, Rat Snakes and vipers. The centre also has enclosures for housing 10 small mammals like Wolf, wild Dogs, Jackal.
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  • Uttar Pradesh government bans use of polythene bags across the State

     

    Uttar Pradesh government bans use of polythene bags across the State

    With an aim to protect the environment and public health Uttar Pradesh government has decided to enforce the ban on  the manufacture, import, purchase and storage of all kinds of plastic carry bags across the state, 

    Decision in this regard was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as per the directives of Allahabad High Court to prohibit its usage.

    Enforcement is the major challenge in implementing such orders as it will be very difficult to eliminate the use of polythene bags completely as it is still high on demand for day-to-day needs.

    Background :

    The Allahabad high court had last month directed the Uttar Pradesh government to issue a notification enforcing a complete ban on the sale of polythene across the state by December 31.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) too had recently banned the use of polythene along the Ganga, including areas in Uttar Pradesh.

    Key facts :

    • Following the ban, no shopkeeper, wholesaler or retailer will be able to use, store or purchase plastic carry bags for eatable or non-eatable items.
    • However,the ban will not be applicable on carry bags used for packaging purposes and State Government is looking at alternative material that can be distributed to the people.

    NotePolythene is the major reason for choked drains and it is also the cause of death of several stray animals.Most of the sewerage treatment plants in Uttar Pradesh are developed on technology from foreign countries. They are not equipped to treat water, which is studded with polythene. Polythene burnt with garbage also emits toxic fumes which are dangerous to health

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  • Bengal to get six new districts

     

    Bengal to get six new districts

    West Bengal Government has approved proposal for formation of five new districts in the state. With this the total number of districts of Bengal will increase to 25.Decision in this regard was taken by state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.

    Five new districts are :

    • Kalimpong district: It would be carved out by bifurcating Darjeeling district in north Bengal. 
    • Sundarbans district: Currently stretches across parts of the North and South 24 Parganas districts. It shall consists of part of world’s largest mangrove forest.
    • Basirhat district: It would be formed out of North 24 Parganas district. 
    • Burdwan (Industrial) district: It would be established by bifurcating existing Burdwan district. 
    • Jhargram district: It will be carved out of West Midnapore district.

    These new districts will take six months to one year’s time to come into existence after State administration gets formal permission from court and 
    create the basic infrastructure.

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  • Afghanistan becomes 163rd member of WTO

     

    Afghanistan becomes 163rd member of WTO

    World Trade Organisation (WTO) has unanimously approved Afghanistan’s WTO membership at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. 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.

    In this regard, Protocol of Accession (PoA) was signed by WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo and Afghanistan’s First Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Khan Rahmani.The final accession to become a full member will come in to effect after PoA is ratified by Afghanistan Parliament till June 2015. It will be the 36th least developed country (LDC) to join the global trade body.

    Advantages for Afghanistan:

    • By joining WTO, landlocked war-shattered Afghanistan hopes to reap the benefits of the WTO membership for its post-conflict reconstruction.
    • Trade-led growth will help to create new economic opportunities in world’s poorest economy and create jobs especially for women and in turn help to reduce poverty.
    • Post-conflict reconstruction will certainly contribute in a major way to reduce extremism and achieve regional peace and security

    About World Trade Organization (WTO) :

    World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.

    • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
    • Membership: 163
    • Official language: English, French, Spanish.

     

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  • United Nations Security Council Adopts Syria Resolution

     

    United Nations Security Council Adopts Syria Resolution

    • The 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution No. 2254 ending the nearly five-year war in Syria and outlining a peace process in Syria although Offensive and defensive actions against such terrorist groups in Syria such as ISIS will continue.
    • The resolution endorses talks between the Syrian government and opposition in early January, as well as a ceasefire.The Syrian war, which is heading towards its fifth year, has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced millions.
    • The resolution Calls for establishment of credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance in Syria within six months. Free and fair elections to be held in Syria under UN supervision within 18 months.
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