1. Apurvi Chandela set world record in 10m air rifle at Swedish Cup Grand Prix
i. Indian ace shooter Apurvi Chandela has set a new world record in the women’s 10 metre air rifle event at the 2015 Swedish Cup Grand Prix. She set the new record after winning gold medal in the women’s 10 metre air rifle event shooting score of 211.2.
iii. She won an Olympic quota place for India after winning a bronze in the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea in April 2015. Earlier in December 2015 Chandela had won the gold in the National Championships representing Rajasthan.
2. Union Cabinet gives nod to Civil Aviation MoU between India and Singapore
i. The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Singapore on cooperation in the field of civil aviation.
ii. The MoU was signed in November 2015 between Airports Authority of India (AAI) on behalf of Union Government and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) on behalf of Government of Singapore) during Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore.
3. Noted Gujarati writer Labshankar Thakar passes away
i. Noted Gujarati writer and poet Labhshankar Thakar passed away after prolonged illness in Ahmedabad. He was 80.
ii. He was modernist author of Gujarati literature with influence of existentialism challenging traditional literature styles.
iii. Some of his poems are Vahi Jati Pachhal Ramya Ghosha (1965), Manasni Vaat (1968), Mara Namne Darwaje (1972), Boom Kagalma Kora (1974), Pravahan (1986), Kalagranthi (1987).
iv. Awards: Sahitya Akadami Award (1991) for his poetry- Tolan Aawaz Ghunghat, Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar (2002) of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, Kumar Chandrak (1962), Narmad Chandrak and Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak (1981).
4. Union Cabinet approves Stand Up India Scheme for women and SC/ST
i. The Union Cabinet has approved the Stand Up India Scheme to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and Women entrepreneurs.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
iii. The Scheme seeks to facilitate at least two such projects on an average one for each category of entrepreneur per bank branch. The Stand-up India is component of Start-up India, Stand up India slogan anchored by Department of Financial Services (DFS) to encourage greenfield enterprises by Women and SC/ST entrepreneurs.
5. Union Cabinet approves creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund for MUDRA loans
i. The Union Cabinet has approved creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund (CGF) for Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) loans.
ii. The CGF is expected to guarantee more than 1,00,000 crore rupees worth of loans to micro and small units in the first instance.
6. Union Government decides to directly shift from BS-IV to BS-VI Emission norms in 2020
i. Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has decided to implement the stricter emission norms of Bharat Stage (BS) VI from 1st April 2020 in a bid to curb vehicular pollution.
ii. Government will directly switch over to BS-VI emission norms from the present BS-IV emission norms and completely skip BS-V emission norms altogether.
iii. Decision in this regard was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Unon Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and was attended by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.
7. Kate Atkinson wins 2015 Costa Novel Award
i. The British writer, Kate Atkinson has won the 2015 Costa novel award for her novel “A God in Ruins”, the companion her previous novel to ‘Life After Life’.
ii. With this, she became the first British author to receive a Costa prize three times. Earlier she had won it for Life After Life (2013) and Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995).
8. Sam Pitroda appointed as Odisha Government’s Technical Advisor
i. Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, popularly known as Sam Pitroda, was appointed Technology Advisor to the Odisha Government.
ii. Pitroda was appointed as the technology adviser for development of telecom, electronics, IT, ITES sectors of the state.
iii. Pitroda will have a key role in Vision 2036 for Odisha@100, as the state government is making a vision document for 2036 to celebrate the 100 years of state’s formation.
9. Kunal Shah appointed as Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India
i. FreeCharge co-founder and CEO Kunal Shah was appointed as the Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
ii. Shah succeeds Nishant Rao, who has now joined Freshdesk as the global Chief Operating Officer. Shah co- founded FreeCharge in August 2010.
iii. IAMAI also appointed Vishwas Patel, Chief Executive Officer of CCAvenue, as its Treasurer. Vinodh Bhat, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Saavn, will continue as the Vice-Chairman of IAMAI.
10. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died
i. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. He was 79.
ii. Sayeed who founded the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been admitted to AIIMS in Delhi with complaints of severe fever and neck pain.
11.Hashim Amla resigned as Test captain of South Africa
i. South African Cricketer Hashim Amla resigned as Test captain of South Africa. ODI Skipper AB de Villiers will take over as Captain for the remaining two Tests.
ii. The resignation came after the Proteas drew the second Test of the 4-match series against England at Cape Town. They had lost the first Test by 241 runs.
iii. Amla was criticised for his leadership since the start of the England series due to a dip in form. However, in the just concluded Test, he had made 201.
iv. Amla was named Graeme Smith's replacement as captain in mid-2014 and this was his sixth series in charge. After winning against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and West Indies, he oversaw a rain-affected drawn series against Bangladesh and the 3-0 defeat in India.