1. Vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyam conferred 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award
i. Foremost south Indian classical vocalists Sanjay Subrahmanyam has conferred with prestigious 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award.
ii. The prestigious award was bestowed upon him by renowned mathematician Manjul Bhargava at 89th annual conference of the Madras Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
iii. With this, he became seventh artistes to be conferred with this award before completing 50 years of age. Others are Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer, G.N. Balasubramaniam, M.L. Vasanthakumari and M. Balamuralikrishna.
2. Javed Ahmed appointed as Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh
i. Javed Ahmed was appointed as Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh by the state government. He succeeds Jagmohan Yadav, who retired from the post on 31 December 2015.
ii. Ahmed will serve the post till 2020, the year of his retirement.
iii. He had earlier served as the joint director of the Central Bureau of Investigation during Central Deputation.
3. Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole passed away
i. Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole passed away on 31 December 2015 due to congestive heart failure following complications from a kidney transplant in Los Angeles. She was 65.
ii. Cole, daughter of late jazz legend Nat King Cole, was known for carving out her own success with R&B hits like Our Love and This Will Be.
4. Union Government signed Financing Agreement with World Bank to fund education of minorities
i. The Union Government signed a Financing Agreement of 50 million US dollars with the World Bank for Nai Manzil Scheme- Education and Skills Training for Minorities.
ii. The Financing Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affair (DEA) on behalf of the Union Government and by Michael Haney, World Bank’s Operations Adviser in India.
5. Quake in Afghanistan, tremors hit north India
i. A medium intensity earthquake today hit Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan, ripples of which were felt across North India, including in Jammu & Kashmir and the national capital.
ii. The earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, was 170 km deep, according to the National Seismology division of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
iii. There was no report of any loss of life or damage to property till the last reports came in. The tremor occurred at 2:07 PM and people in the national capital region rushed out of their homes.
iv. The India Meteorological Department said the quake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, while the United States Geological Survey ( USGS) put the intensity of the earthquake at 5.3.
6. Film-maker Shyam Benegal to head panel on Censor Board revamp
i. To put an end to recent controversies surrounding the Censor Board, the Centre has set up a Committee headed by noted film-maker Shyam Benegal to work out a revamp plan and submit its report within two months.
ii. Noting that film certification has to ensure that in doing so (giving certification), “artistic creativity and freedom do not get stifled/curtailed and the people tasked with the work of certification understand these nuances,” the committee is expected to provide a “holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework,” a statement from Information & Broadcasting Ministry said.
iii. The other members of the Committee are Hindi film director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey, film critic Bhawana Somaaya, Nina Lath Gupta of National Film Development Corporation and Joint Secretary (Films).
iv. Among other things, the committee would be expected to take note of the “best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression.”
v. It has been tasked with recommending broad guidelines/procedures under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act/Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the Screening Committee.
vi. The committee will also look into the staffing pattern of Central Board of Film Certification, known as the Censor Board, and recommend a framework to provide efficient/transparent user-friendly services.
vii. The Censor Board, at present headed by Hindi film-maker Pahlaj Nihalani, has been entangled in a series of controversies and has faced flak even from some board members, apart from some leading members of the film fraternity for “censoring creativity”. The latest to face the Board’s scissors was the James Bond movie ‘Spectre’, which invited a lot of ridicule in the social media.
7. Telangana become first state to accept e-motor insurance policies
i. Electronic motor insurance policies are legally accepted by the police and transport authorities in Telangana from today, making it the first state in the country to do so.
ii. The e-Vahan Bima, an electronic motor insurance policy issued in digital form with Quick Response (QR) code, has been formally launched here by the Minister for IT, K T Ramarao.
iii. As these policies can be stored and accessed on smart phones, the process of verification will become easier for commuters as well as police. There are 84 lakh vehicles in the state and 50 per cent of them do not have insurance.
iv. Driving a vehicle without a motor third party insurance is an offence under Motor Vehicle Act 1988 as it pays for legal liability in case of any injury or damage to any third party life or property caused by the use of vehicle in a public place.