The CLAT Blog

Current Affairs: December 2016

1. Supreme Court decision: National Anthem to be played in theatres before screening movies.

  • TO INSTILL “committed patriotism and nationalism”, the Supreme Court Wednesday ordered that “all the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem” as a part of their “sacred obligation”. Discarding notions of “any different notion or the perception of individual rights”, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy added that the movie screen shall have the image of the national flag when the anthem is being played and that doors of the halls will remain shut during the anthem so that no disturbance is caused.
  • The bench said people must show respect to the national anthem and the national flag and called it “imperative” to show them honour and respect.
  • http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/national-anthem-in-theatre-supreme-court-national-flag-4414157/

2. GDP growth

 3. Cyclone Nada

  • Cyclone Nada weakened into a depression in the Bay of Bengal and made landfall in Puducherry’s Karaikal, close to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.

 4. Union Government approves Rs.2000 crore development package for refugees from PoK

  • The refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts.
  • The Modi government had in January 2015 approved certain concessions for the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir after considering the problems being faced by them. The concessions include special recruitment drives for induction into paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities in the state, admission for the children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas, among others.

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5. India and US sign a deal for 145 M777 lightweight howitzer artillery guns for Indian Army

6. OPEC meet in Vienna

  • The price of oil has risen sharply after Opec members meeting in Vienna said they were on the verge of agreeing a deal to cut production.
  • Brent crude was up by more than 7% at $49.80 a barrel on Wednesday following comments from some of the world’s leading oil producers, who have gathered to discuss possible action to rein in the oversupply of oil and halt the fall in prices.
  • Falih saidOpec was focused on capping production at 32.5m barrels a day, or cutting output by more than 1m barrels a day. He said he hoped Russia and other non-Opec members would also contribute by cutting production by 600,000 barrels a day.
  • Opec accounts for one-third of global oil production and in September, members agreed to limit output to between 32.5m and 33m barrels a day, from the current 33.64m, to prop up prices. The ambition for Wednesday’s meeting is to agree individual production targets for each country.
  • However, concerns remain that reducing output will lead to non-Opec oil producers taking a greater share of the market.

7. Army in West Bengal

  • In a hurriedly convened press conference Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that Central government has “deployed army in various parts of the State.”
  • “The State government has not been informed about this deployment by the Center. This is clearly a violation of the rules and understanding [between the Centre and the State] when army is deployed without informing a democratically elected government,” Ms. Banerjee said.
  • She said that at least in two points — in Dankuni [in Hooghly district] and Palsit [in Bardhaman] — both in south Bengal army was checking civilian vehicles.
  • “All vehicles were checked and I was told that people had to stand in long queues.”
  • “It seems that the central government is trying to create a civil war like situation in the country,” Ms. Banerjee said.
  • Earlier in the day this correspondent had witnessed at least half a dozen vehicles marked ‘Military Police’ at the toll tax counter on Vidyasagar Setu [bridge] connecting Kolkata to Howrah. The vehicles were parked on the left hand side of the bridge, as one enters Kolkata from Howrah side.
  • http://indianexpress.com/article/india/mamata-banerjee-army-exercise-west-bengal-4406514/

8. F1 champion Nico Rosberg retires.

9. Heart of Asia summit held in Amritsar on December 3 and 4

  • The sixth Heart of Asia conference is expected to see attendance of leaders from around 30 countries including US, Russia, China and Iran. The theme will be connectivity and increasing security in and around the Afghan region. The discussions will revolve primarily on peace, cooperation and economic growth in Afghanistan and neighbouring regions. India is the co-chair and host this time and Afghanistan is the permanent chair of the conference. Finance MinisterArun Jaitley will lead the Indian delegation in the summit.
  • There are 14 member countries of HoA.

10. John Key to resign as New Zealand Prime Minister

  • John Key, the New Zealand prime minister and leader of the National party, has resigned in a decision that has taken the country by surprise.
  • Key said he would vote for his deputy prime minister, Bill English, if he put his name forward.
  • Key is widely regarded as one of the most popular prime ministers in New Zealand’s history. He was first elected in 2008, and recently marked his 10-year anniversary as leader of the National party.

 11. Justice JS Khehar will be the next Chief Justice

  • Besides heading the bench in NJAC matter, Justice Khehar, 64, has also headed a bench which had set aside the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh in January this year.
  • Recommended as the 44th CJI

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12. Donald Trump becomes Times Person of the Year for 2016

13. Italy referendum

  • Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned on Wednesday after a bruising referendum loss at the weekend, with most parliamentary factions pushing for an early election in a few months’ time.
  • Mr Renzi tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, who said he would consult with the political parties to decide the next steps. He asked Mr Renzi to carry on in a caretaker capacity until a solution is found.
  • What was the Italy referendum about?
  • Mr Renzi wanted to introduce sweeping reforms to the country’s notoriously slow and costly government.
  • Italy has a “perfect” bicameral system – meaning its two chambers have exactly the same powers as each other, which often results in political gridlock.
  • The proposed reforms would have reduced the Senate’s powers and transformed it from a chamber of 315 directly elected politicians and six lifetime appointees to smaller “Senate of Regions”.
  • The new chamber would have had just 100 seats – 74 regional councillors, 21 mayors and five presidential nominees – with the latter serving for seven years rather than for life.
  • Mr Renzi’s reform would have tipped the balance of power towards the Chamber of Deputies – Italy’s equivalent of the House of Commons.
  • The Senate would have retained its veto on constitutional matters, but the Deputies would have had the final say on everyday bills. The Senate would also have been able to examine bills if a third of its members wished to do so, although its suggestions would not have been binding.
  • Both chambers voted in favour of the the changes earlier this year, but the measures did not reach the required two-thirds majority to force the legislation through, resulting in a referendum being called.
  • http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21711216-after-losing-20-points-prime-minister-will-resign-italian-voters-have-rejected-matteo
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italian-prime-minister-matteo-renzi-resigns-after-referendum-loss-a7461941.html

14. Handicapped people exempted from standing up for the National Anthem: SC

  • The order was passed by Justice Dipak Misra
  • The court, however, said that physically disabled must show “some such gesture” to express their respect for anthem.It also clarified that doors of theatres need not be bolted when the National Anthem is played

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15. Cyclone Vardah hits Chennai

16. Bill English confirmed as New Zealand’s new Prime Minister after John Keys exit

17. Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres sworn in as UN Secretary-General

  • Building on his promise to ensure gender parity and geographical diversity at the UN, Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres has appointed three women from Nigeria, Brazil and South Korea for top positions at the world body. Guterres announced he will be appointing Amina Mohammed of Nigeria as the UN Deputy Secretary-General on his assumption of office as the 9th chief of the United Nations in January 2017.
  • He appointed Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as his Chef de Cabinet and said he intends to create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and to appoint Kyung-wha Kang of South Korea to this new role.
  • Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was sworn in Monday as secretary-general of the United Nations, becoming the ninth UN chief in the body’s 71-year history
  • After being sworn in by General Assembly President Peter Thomson, Guterres addressed the 193 member nations, saying the UN must work to simplify, decentralize and make more flexible its sprawling bureaucracy.

18. Arunachal Pradesh hydro project :

  • Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju; his cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju; and several top officials of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU’s Chief Vigilance Officer that alleges corruption in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report. He attributes the “absence” to his investigation.
  • At the heart of the conspiracy, Verma’s report says, are several fake and inflated bills by contractors to allegedly siphon off money in the name of transporting rocks needed for the dam construction.
  • Not only was the transportation cost decided arbitrarily, the report says, but many transport challans and records provided by the contractor, Patel Engineering Limited (PEL), were found to be fake.
  • MoS Kiren Rijiju wrote a letter to Ministry of Power to release funds to the contractor and his cousin Goboi Rijiju went to meet Verma. Goboi Rijiju is one of the sub-contractors in the project. Verma’s report also has the audio CD of a purported conversation he had with Goboi Rijiju on December 29, 2015, in which the latter is heard pushing the officer to clear the payments and offering “any help you need from Bhaiya (the Minister).”
  • http://indianexpress.com/article/india/vigilance-probe-red-flags-fraud-and-corruption-in-arunachal-hydro-project-kiren-rijiju-4424240/

19. Donald Trump announces Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson as his choice for secretary of state

20. Shareholders unanimously pass resolution to remove Cyrus Mistry as director.

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21. BCCI chief might face contempt charges says Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday said BCCI president Anurag Thakur was prima facie liable for perjury and contempt for seeking a letter from the International Cricket Council and then denying it.
  • The court said he could be sent to jail for perjury if he does not apologise for seeking a letter that the Lodha Committee recommendations on cricket reforms amounted to governmental interference.
  • The court indicated that Thakur as well as BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke would face strong action for not coming clean and making an attempt to sidestep implementation of the panel’s recommendations on age cap and fixing the number of terms for BCCI office-bearers, among others
  • “We are prima facie of the view that you (BCCI) are obstructing (the implementation of the Lodha panel reforms),” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and A M Khanwilkar, further told Sibal. After the Supreme Court’s July 18 judgement approving the recommendations, the board is not entitled to say ‘no’ to it, the bench said.
  • Sibal pointed out to the court that neither the BCCI president nor its secretary had any voting right and both asked the state associations to adopt the Lodha panel recommendations, but they did not do so.

21. India beat Australia 4-2 on penalties in Junior Hockey World Cup semi-final; to meet Belgium in final.

22. PV Sindhu beats Carolina Marin in straight games at BWF World Super Series Final held in Dubai.

23. Supreme Court bans liquor shops on highways from 1 April

  • Supreme Court directs liquor stores to be relocated outside 500 metres of state and national highways
  • The ruling came after a plea filed by Tamil Nadu challenging the constitutional validity of a circular issued by the Central government on 22 April asking state governments to shut liquor shops along highways
  • “Relocate existing stores and remove all advertisement of such stores,” a bench comprising Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, justices D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao said while delivering the verdict.

24. SC rejects HC ruling : No sovereignty for Jammu and Kashmir outside Constitution of India

25. Augusta Westland Case

26. Gen Bipin Rawat named the next army chief, Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa to be the new chief of Air Staff

  • The government had announced Saturday that Lt General Rawat would replace General Dalbir Singh, who retires on December 31. Deviating from the practice of selecting the senior-most eligible officer, the government superseded Eastern Army Commander, Lt General Praveen Bakshi, and Southern Army Commander, Lt General PM Hariz. This is the first time since 1983 that the senior-most Army commander has not been chosen as the chief.
  • Lt General Rawat is from the infantry, the Gorkha regiment like General Dalbir Singh
  • http://indianexpress.com/article/india/indian-army-chief-bipin-rawat-appointment-modi-govt-on-anti-terror-experience-4434378/
  • Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will succeed Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha who will retire on December 31, 2016.

27. India wins the Junior Hockey World Cup defeating Belgium

28. Atletico de Kolkata beat Kerala Blasters to win ISL 2016 — owner captain coach place where played last year winner

  • The 2016 edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), the football league, saw Atletico de Kolkata lift their second ISL crown, beating Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi on December 18
  • The 2016 Indian Super League season is the third season of the Indian Super League, the football league, since its establishment in 2013
  • Final played in Kochi

29. Christine Lagarde convicted in arbitration case

30. Sasikala succeeds Jayalalithaa as AIADMK chief

  • The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general council on Dec 29,2016 adopted a resolution to work under the leadership of V.K. Sasikala—a close aide and confidante of late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.
  • Jayalalithaa had held the post of the general secretary of the AIADMK since 1989.
  • Jayalalithaa passed away on 5 December and O. Panneerselvam was handed the chief minister’s post after her death.
  • As per the AIADMK’s rule 20 section 2, until the appointment of the general secretary, Sasikala will hold the post of the general secretary.
  • Technically speaking, she is appointed as the general secretary as an interim arrangement, until the AIADMK conducts elections as per the rules.

31. Pranab Mukherjee appoints Anil Baijal as Lt. Governor of Delhi

  • Baijal was appointed after Najeeb Jung resigned from the post
  • Mukherjee had accepted the resignation of Mr. Jung.
  • Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer of U.T cadre, served as Home Secretary in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. He is currently associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation

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32. Abhay Singh Chautala ready to relinquish IOA life president’s role

  • Abhay Singh Chautala and Suresh Kalmadi were unanimously elected for the role at IOA’s AGM in Chennai
  • Former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Abhay Singh Chautala has offered to let go of the life president’s role conferred to him by the national Olympic body if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has any reservations over it. This comes just a day after Suresh Kalmadi, also inducted with the honorary role, declined the position.
  • Chautala reportedly thanked the IOA for the role but has opted to decline the role ‘in larger interest of Indian sport’ amid controversy over his selection. He, alongside Kalmadi, is facing charges of corruption during their tenure as president of the IOA.
  • The government had issued the IOA a showcause notice over the selection and Sports Minister Vijay Goel had said there would be no ties with the IOA until both weren’t removed.
  • http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/abhay-singh-chautala-relinquish-ioa-life-president-role-4450441/

33. UNC blockade: Manipur journalists seek Centre’s intervention

34. Tata Sons asks Cyrus Mistry to return confidential documents

35. India successfully test-fires most lethal missile Agni-V

  • India’s strategic capabilities today took a leap forward as it successfully test-fired Agni-V, the country’s most lethal nuclear-capable inter-continental ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 kms that covers entire China.
  • This was the fourth test of Agni-V missile and the second one from a canister on a road mobile launcher. All the four missions have been successful.
  • Among the missiles of Agni series, the latest Agni-V is the most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, the sources said.
  • http://www.deccanherald.com/content/588367/india-successfully-test-fires-most.html/

36. Russian plane crash: 13 bodies reportedly recovered in Black Sea

  • A massive search and rescue operation is under way in the Black Sea after aRussian military plane crashed Sunday with 92 on board. Thirteen bodies have so far been recovered, as well as more than 150 pieces of debris, the Itar-Tass news agency reported, quoting a source in security agencies.
  • The Tupolev Tu-154 plane carrying 84 passengers and eight crew crashed in the Black Sea near Sochi after disappearing from radar Sunday morning local time, state-run Ria Novosti news agency reported.
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/26/europe/russian-military-jet-crash/

37. Supreme Court bans use of religion in Elections says cannot be used to influence voters and buy votes:

38. Bomb blasts in Istanbul: Two Indians dead

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39. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on New Years Eve.

  • Big push for housing for rural and urban poor –
  • To make it easier for the poor to buy their own homes, PM launched two new housing schemes for the urban poor.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Aawaz Yojana (PMAY), the poor and middle class in cities will get 4 percent exemption on interest for home loans up to Rs 9 lakh.
  • And, 3 percent exemption for home loans up to Rs 12 lakh.
  • Under PMAY, 33 percent more houses will be built in villages.
  • Also, home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get 3 percent exemptions for not just building a new house but also for renovation in villages. The grass is greener for the farmers
  • 3 crore Kisan credit cards will be converted into RuPay cards in 3 months.
  • Government will bear 60 days interest on select farm loans.
  • Last month, NABARD created a fund of Rs 21000 crore. Modi today announced that the government is adding Rs 20,000 crore more to this. The loss that NABARD will suffer by giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rate shall be borne by the government.
  • Happy new year for MSMEs – Credit guarantee for small businesses doubled to Rs 2 crore. – Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit for small business to 25 percent from 20 percent. – Banks have also been asked to increase working capital loans from 20 percent of turnover to 30 percent for enterprises that transact digitally.
  • Pregnant women to get Rs 6,000 in bank accounts to reduce child, woman mortality.
  • Guarantee of 8 percent rate on deposits for senior citizens up to Rs 7.5 lakh.
  • Restrictions on the withdrawal of money from banks and ATMs are likely to continue.
  • Read more at: http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/economy/key-announcementspm-modis-new-years-eve-speech_8190601.html?utm_source=ref_article
  • http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-narendra-modis-new-year-eve-address-on-demonetisation-highlights-1643814
  • http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/key-announcements-of-pm-narendra-modis-new-year-eves-speech/articleshow/56274762.cms

40. Supreme Court removes Anurag Thakur as BCCI president

  • In the hearing that will effectively decide the future of cricket administration in the country, India’s Supreme Court has removed Anurag Thakur as president of the BCCI with a showcause notice issued in regards to charges of perjury and contempt of court. Anurag Thakur has until January 19 to reply to the Supreme Court’s charges, as does Ajay Shirke , the BCCI secretary.
  • The bench, led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, had in the previous hearing on December 15 threatened to initiate perjury charges against Anurag Thakur for allegedly lying about asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to term the Lodha reforms as governmental interference.
  • http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/supreme-court-removes-anurag-thakur-as-bcci-president/articleshow/56288777.cms

41. President signs the note ban Ordinance:

  • The ordinance to extinguish the Reserve Bank of India’s liability in respect of cancelled Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will come into force from December 31, prescribing penalty for anyone found to be holding and or dealing in these notes beyond a threshold.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016 on Friday 29th
  • The ordinance also provides an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit demonetised notes within time provided to deposit the same with the RBI.
  • Indian citizens who were outside India from November 9 to December 30 can tender cancelled notes at the specified offices of RBI till March 31, 2017. For those citizens of India who are not resident in India, this facility would be available till June 30, 2017 in order to allow them adequate time to plan a visit as per their convenience.
  • This facility is subject to the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015, which puts Rs 25,000/- per person limit on anyone bringing money into India.
  • The main objectives of the Ordinance are
    • (i) to provide clarity and finality to the liability of the Reserve Bank of India and the Government of India for the SBNs;
    • (ii) to provide an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit the SBNs within the time provided; and
    • (iii) to declare holding, transferring or receiving SBNs as illegal, with provisions for penalty for contravention of any of the provisions of the Ordinance.
  • http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/policy/presidential-assent-to-note-ban-ordinance/article9451741.ece

42. The Sports Ministry has suspended the Indian Olympics Association for making Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chuatala its life time presidents:

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