1. Japan successfully launches space junk collector into orbit
i. Japan’s space agency (JAXA) successfully launched a Kounotori 6 (HTV-6) spacecraft that will deliver a large magnetic tether, a space junk collector technology into orbit. The spacecraft was launched on board of H-IIB rocket from Tanegashima Space Center.
ii. It was also carrying essential supplies for International Space Station (ISS).
2. Recommendations of Ratan Watal Committee for Digital Payments
i. The Committee on Digital Payments headed by Ratan P. Watal has submitted its final report to the Union Finance Ministry.
ii. It was 11-member committee notified in August 2016 by the Finance Ministry. It was tasked to review existing payment systems in the country and recommend appropriate measures for encouraging Digital Payments.
iii. It was having representatives from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), tax department and various industry bodies in the payments space.
3. Union Government launches DigiShala TV channel to promote digital payments
i. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched a TV channel named ‘DigiShala’ to promote cashless transactions.
ii. The channel was launched as part of the ‘Digidhan’ campaign which aims to spread awareness about digital transactions.
4. Disabled children are illiterate due to lack of support services: Report
i. According to the India Social Development Report (SDR) 2016, about 45% of all persons with disabilities (PWD) in India are illiterate. They remain illiterate mainly because of lack of support services. The theme for this edition of report was ‘Disabilities Rights Perspectives’.
5. Rajasthan High Court scraps 5% quota for Gujjars
i. The Rajasthan High Court has scrapped the Rajasthan Special Backward Classes (SBC) Reservation Act, 2015 that provided 5% quota to five communities, including Gujjars in jobs and education.
ii. The verdict was given on bunch of writ petitions challenging the 2015 Act on grounds of violation of Supreme Court mandated limit of 50% on reservation.
6. December 10: Human Rights Day
i. The Human Rights Day is observed annually on 10th December to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
ii. Observance of the day seeks to encourage, support and amplify measures to be taken by everyone to defend human rights.
7. Parliamentary Standing Committee seeks transparency in appointment of judges
i. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, has called for transparency in the appointments process on the part of the judiciary and the government. The committee was headed by Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha), Anand Sharma.
ii. It has examined delay in filling vacancies in Supreme Court and High Courts. It has tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha and now it is under the purview of the Union Law Ministry.
8. India ranks 7th in 2016 Global Terrorism Index
i. According to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) India was ranked 7th among 163 countries in the list of most impacted by terrorism in 2015.
ii. The fourth edition of the index was released by Sydney-based think-tank Institute for Economics & Peace. India is one of six Asian countries ranked in the top 10 nations most impacted by terrorism.
9. Tropical Cyclonic Storm Vardah to hit Andhra Pradesh
i. The tropical cyclonic storm Vardah over southeast Bay of Bengal is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada. It is the third cyclonic storm of the season after Cyclone Kyant and Nada, that were formed during the Northeast Monsoon season.
10. Indian Army launches Veterans Outreach App to reach out to veterans
i. The Indian Army has launched a “Veterans Outreach App” in a bid to reach out to its ex-servicemen. The app was launched by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag. It is dedicated to Army Veterans and Veer Naris.
11. SBI to sell 3.9% in insurance arm for Rs. 1,794 cr
i. State Bank of India has decided to sell 3.9 per cent stake in its subsidiary SBI Life Insurance Company Ltd (SBI Life) for Rs. 1,794 crore ($264 million).
ii. A bank statement said an investment vehicle affiliated with KKR-managed funds and an affiliate of Temasek, the Singapore-based investment company, will each purchase 1.95 crore shares from it.
ii. This is the second major divestment in the insurance segment after the Centre raised the maximum permissible shareholding of foreign investors in insurance companies from 26 per cent to 49 per cent. ICICI Bank had also sold a small stake in its life insurance subsidiary last year.
12. Chopper scam: former Air Chief Tyagi arrested
i. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested former Indian Air Force Chief Marshal SP Tyagi for his alleged role in the Rs.3,767-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, along with his brother Sanjeev Tyagi and Delhi lawyer Gautam Khaitan.
ii. This is the first time that a former service chief has been arrested for corruption in a defence deal. Tyagi was the Air Force Chief from 2004-07. “They were arrested on the allegations of accepting illegal payments for exercising influence through corrupt or illegal means,” a senior CBI official said.
iii. CBI sources said all the accused had been arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. They were also being interrogated at the CBI.
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