1.PM goes to Lahore, makes a Christmas date with history
i. With two unannounced stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rewrote the recent history of geopolitics in the region on Friday.
ii. Officials in Delhi and Islamabad told that Mr. Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Kabul to wish him on his birthday, and during the call, made plans to travel to Lahore to wish him personally a few hours later.
iii. Mr. Modi meet PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on 25th December.
2.Bangladesh signs $12.65 billion deal with Russia for nuclear power plants
i. Bangladesh's state-run Atomic Energy Commission signed a deal with Russia to set up two nuclear power plants, each with 1,200 MW capacity, an investment totalling $12.65 billion.
ii. The Work will begin early next year at Ruppur in Iswardi, 160km (100 miles) from Dhaka, said Kamrul Islam Bhyian, spokesman for the ministry of science and technology.
iii. "Russia will finance up to 90 per cent of the total cost as credit with an interest rate of Libor plus 1.75 per cent," Bhyian told Reuters.
iv. Bangladesh will clear the total loan within 28 years with a 10-year grace period.Bangladesh finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said it would be the country's biggest power project.
3.Former Wicket-Keeper Syed Kirmani nominated for 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Former Indian Wicket-Keeper nominated for the 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Col. CK Nayudu Awards Committee. The meeting was held at the BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai.
ii. Kirmani represented India at the international level between 1976 and 1986. His record includes 160 catches and 38 stumpings in tests and 27 catches and 9 stumpings in ODIs.
iii. The award was instituted by the BCCI in 1994 to celebrate the birth centenary of Col. Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu, the country’s first test captain.
4.India, Russia signed 16 pacts to deepen bilateral cooperation
i. India and Russia signed 16 Agreements/Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, security, technology, etc. The pacts were signed after the conclusion of the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit in Moscow.
ii. After the summit, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both the leaders issued a joint statement with the theme Shared Trust,New Horizons.
Some Agreements/MoUs signed were:
(1) Protocol amending the agreement on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens of the two countries.
(2) Protocol amending agreement between India and Russia on mutual travel regime for holders of Diplomatic & Official Passports.
(3) Cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering
(4) Plan for Cooperation between the Federal Customs Service of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, India and the Russian Federation for combating Customs violations in 2015 – 2017.
5.Indian-origin software engineer wins UK award
i. An Indian-origin software engineer named Nandagopal Lakshminarayanan has won a prestigious award in the UK for creating an innovative electronic smart key system which enables the creation and management of keys and locks that cannot be copied or picked.
ii. He has been working as a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) associate at Lincoln Security Ltd for the past two years, won the Business Leader of the Future award at Innovate UK's 'KTP Best of the Best Awards 2015' at a ceremony in London.
6.World Bank to give $35mn to Pakistan for Indus River Basin
i. The World Bank has approved an additional financial assistance to Pakistan of $35 million to support improved management, planning and development of water resources in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan.
ii.This $35 million is in addition to the $38 million given earlier towards improvement of water resources management in the Indus River system, the Bank said.
7.Kusal Perera faces 4-year ban
i. Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera is facing the prospect of a four-year ban after his B sample tested positive for a banned substance.
ii. "The ICC has informed that he faces a four-year ban, as his urine sample was tested positive in Qatar after the ICC had originally found it contained banned substance.
iii. Consequently Perera had to drop out of Sri Lanka's current tour of New Zealand. Sri Lanka lost the series 0-2. Perera is Sri Lanka's second player to flunk a dope test. Left-hander batsman Upul Tharanga was suspended for three months after testing positive for a banned substance during the 2011 World Cup.
8.Good Governance Day 25 December
i. Good Governance Day was observed on 25 December 2015 across the country. The day was observed to mark the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
ii. To mark the occasion, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda announced four new IT-based initiatives for providing citizen-centric health services.
iii.Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honor former-Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in governance.
9.Reliance, AlmazAntey to jointly develop air defence missile system
i. Reliance Defence Limited and Russian AlmazAntey, have decided to work jointly on the entire range of AD Missile and Radar Systems that are required for Indian defence forces. The development comes alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Moscow.
ii. According to the release, vice chairman of AlmazAntey VF Medovnikov said that “Working with Reliance Defence will help us develop new directions for both companies to address future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces”.
10.Direct-selling FMCG firm Amway India announced Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar as its brand ambassador to promote Nutrilite range of the products
i. Amway India CEO Anshu Budhraja in her statement said that they needed a strong and credible face who could help people understand the role of supplementation in addition to balanced diet and exercise as part of leading a healthy lifestyle, that's why Farhan Akhtar was an obvious choice.
ii.Nutrilite is a leading brand of vitamins and dietary supplements. The brand contributes more than 50 per cent of Amway India’s turnover.