Daily GK Updates 8th & 9th January 2017, Important Current Affairs

Daily GK Updates 8th & 9th January 2017, Important Current Affairs
1. 74th Golden Globe Awards 
i. The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony was organized at Beverly Hills, California, United States (US).
ii. Winners of various awards are as follows:
Best Motion Picture Drama: Moonlight. 
Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy: La La Land. 
Best Director in Motion Picture-Drama: Damien Chazelle for La La Land. 
Best Actor in Motion Picture-Drama: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.

Best Actress in Motion Picture-Drama: Isabelle Huppert for Elle.
 Best Actor in Motion Picture or Musical or Comedy: Ryan Gosling for La La Land. 
Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Emma Stone for La La Land. 
Best Actor in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals. 
Best Actress in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Viola Davis for Fences. 
Best Original Score Motion Picture: Justin Hurwitz for the La La Land. 
Best Original Song: “City of Stars” (Justin Hurwitz, Pasek & Paul) for the La La Land. 
Best Animated Feature Film: Zootopia. Best Foreign Language Film: Elle (France).

2. Indian Army conducts test of indigenous heavy artillery gun Dhanush

i. The Indian Army has successfully conducted ‘user-validation’ trials of indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) Dhanush in the Himalayas.
ii.  It clears the way for the induction in the Army. Earlier, proof firing tests of Dhanush’s armament systems were carried out during technical trials in June and September 2016 and some initial integrated firing tests were successfully carried out in December 2016.

3. New Ginger species with medicinal properties discovered in Andamans

i. Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of Zingiber (commonly referred as ginger) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 
ii. The new species has been named as Zingiber pseudosquarrosum and belongs to genus Zingiber. It is used for its medicinal values by the local Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the Andamans.

4. SC wants VVPAT in EVMs for fair elections

i. The Supreme Court has reiterated the necessity to implement the Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs) to ensure 100% transparency in elections. 
ii. This is the second time the Supreme Court has directed Election Commission (EC) for the implementation of VVPAT in EVMs. 
iii. Earlier in 2013, SC had directed the EC to introduce VVPAT in a phased manner for 2014 general elections. SC had observed that VVPAT will ensure free and fair polls and help in sorting out disputes. In response the EC had informed the apex court that the VVPAT can be introduced in a phased manner.

5. 20th National Conference for e-Governance begins in Visakhapatnam

i. The 20th Edition of the National Conference for e-Governance 2016-17 has started in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. 
ii. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Internet of Things and e-Governance’ and will be covering newly evolving areas of e-Governance across five plenary sessions.

6. Government makes Aadhaar mandatory for MGNREGAwork

i. The Union Government has made mandatory for workers in rural areas enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) to have an Aadhaar card. 
ii. Those who have registered under the scheme will be required to give furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar card or undergo the enrolment process till March 31, 2017.

7. Ashwin, Jadeja retain top slots in ICC Test rankings, Kohli stays second

i. India's spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja held onto the top two slots in the ICC's latest Test ranking for bowlers while skipper Virat Kohli was a notch behind Steve Smith in batsmen's list.
ii. Ashwin (887 points) and Jadeja (879 points) were at number one and two in the list, while Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood (860 points), who gained 29 points, by virtue of his good show against Pakistan has risen to the third spot in the list.

8. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas opens in Bengaluru

i. The 14th edition of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora, began in the country’s IT hub today with the spotlight on the role of youth in transforming the society and India’s potential to play the role of a ‘Vishwa Guru’ again.
ii. The ‘Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the world.

9. France supports India’s membership of UNSC

i. French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault met Prime minister Narendra Modi. France reiterates its support for India’s membership of NSG and candidature as a permanent member in a reformed and expanded UN security council.

10. Bank of India to reduce its interest rates

i. The Bank of India today said it has decided to reduce its interest rates on retail loans, including home and vehicle loans, with effect from 9-1-2017.
ii. The bank earlier reduced its minimum lending rates or marginal cost of funds based lending rates (MCLR) by up to 90 basis points, effective January 7. The rate on home loans has been lowered to 8.65 per cent for women borrowers, while for others the rate has been set at 8.70 per cent. The bank has reduced the interest rates for vehicle loans to 9.35 per cent.

11. Former Iranian President Ayatollah Rafsanjani passes away

i. Former Iranian president and  Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani  Rafsanjani passed away.

12. Djokovic wins Qatar Open tennis title
i. Djokovic has won the Qatar Open tennis title. In an epic final in Doha, the Serbian defeated Andy Murray 6-3 5-7 6-4.

13. Sania wins Brisbane women’s doubles title but loses No.1 rank
i. Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza picked up her first title of the season, combining with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to lift the Brisbane International women’s doubles title. 
ii. The top-seeded Indo-American duo triumphed 6-2 6-3 against the second-seeded Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final.
iii. The trophy, however, ended Sania’s 91-week reign as the world No.1 doubles player in the WTA rankings. That position was taken over by her partner Bethanie.

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