Daily Current Affairs - 26th Dec 2017

Alexei Navalny barred from running for Russia’s presidency

  • Russia’s Central Election Commission unanimously rejected top opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s bid to run against President Vladimir Putin next year.
  • The commission voted 12 to zero in barring Mr. Navalny from the presidential election, citing a controversial embezzlement conviction for which he received a five-year suspended sentence.
  • Mr. Navalny held rallies across Russia on Sunday, with more than 15,000 people endorsing his candidacy.

Australia coach Lehmann to step down

  • Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann will not seek renewal of his contract when his current deal expires at the end of 2019. Lehmann outlined his plans to a news channel, declaring the English summer season in 18 months will be his last hurrah.
  • Australia will seek to defend its World Cup title in the first half of the 2019 English season before playing an Ashes series.
  • In Lehmann’s time as coach, Australia has won two Ashes series at home and lost two in England, while also winning the 2015 World Cup.
  • Former Test opener Justin Langer will be among the favourites to succeed Lehmann as national coach.

Cisco India added 5,000 small and medium clients this year

  • U.S.-based tech giant Cisco said it has seen strong growth in the small and medium business (SMB) segment and has added 5,000 new customers this year in India.SMB is the fastest growing segment for Cisco in India, expanding at about 20% year-on-year.
  • The company is on track to reach its aim of tripling its SMB customer base to 75,000 by 2020. The company currently has about 25,000-30,000 SMBs as its customers in India.
  • Cisco had unveiled ‘Start’ to offer a new set of solutions to help clients go digital with wireless, secure connectivity for as less as $70 per user per year.
  • The largest sector in SMBs for Cisco is IT/IT-enabled services

Good Governance Day observed on to mark the birthday of former PM Vajpayee

  • Good Governance Day is being observed on December 25th to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On his birthday, the Centre as well as the state governments are celebrating Good Governance Day. In 2014, when Narendra Modi Government came to power, he announced to celebrate the birthday of Vajpayeeji as Good Governance Day.
  • The purpose for observing this day is to:
  • 1.Building transparent and responsible administration
  • 2.Ensuring the welfare of Aam Admi
  • 3.Devising good and effective policies for good governance
  • 4.To give a corruption free administration to the people.

Guatemala announces it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

  • Guatemala's president announced that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change. It's president has given instructions to the foreign ministry to start necessary coordination for moving the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
  • Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
  • Guatemala
  • Guatemalan President: Jimmy Morales
  • Capital:Guatemala city
  • Currency: Guatemalan quetzal

Gujarat's Rupani Cabinet to be sworn in today

  • The new BJP government led by Vijay Rupani will take the oath of office and secrecy at a grand ceremony in the State capital of Gandhinagar. Mr. Rupani and his deputy, Nitin Patel, several leaders will be sworn in as Ministers by Governor O.P. Kohli.
  • The BJP Legislature Party elected Mr. Rupani and Mr. Nitin Patel after party observers Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey named them at a meeting with top leaders and elected representatives.

Haryana government launches six e-services

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has launched six e-services bringing 100 citizen-centric services pertaining to 12 departments on a single platform. This platform will play host to 380 services pertaining to 30 departments by April 14, 2018. Tthe State government had started an e-initiative to end corruption.

India climbs to second in T20I rankings

  • India has surged to the second spot in the ICC’s latest T20I rankings after a 3-0 sweep over Sri Lanka. India has moved up from its pre-series tally of 119 points to 121 and has leapfrogged England, New Zealand and the West Indies to move from fifth to second place in the list.
  • Aaron Finch and Imad Wasim are the top-ranked batsman and bowler respectively. Jasprit Bumrah slipped to third place in the T20 bowlers list.
  • Kohli has slipped from 824 to 776 points. He is only eight points behind Finch and four behind Lewis.

India finish as runners-up in SAFF U-15 Women's Championships

  • India finished as runners-up in the SAFF Under-15 Women's Championships. India lost to Bangladesh 0-1 in the final at Dhaka. In a closely contested game, Shamsun Nahar's strike in the 41st minute helped Bangladesh to bag the title.
  • India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan participated in this South Asian Football Federation tournament.

India unbeaten in 16 series at home

  • India has had a good run of 16 consecutive undefeated series across all formats at home over a period of 25 months. India has won 15 series (six Test, five ODI and four Twenty20 series) and drawn one. While India played 20 Tests and lost only one Test.
  • India captain Virat Kohli has led the batting honours list in this 20-Test period, scoring 2,062 runs at a remarkable average of 71.10 with seven centuries and four half-centuries.
  • Ashwin has remained India’s lynchpin taking 125 wickets at 22.22 in 20 Tests with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja a close second at 104 at 20.47 in 20 Tests.

IOC, BPCL are keen to acquire GAIL

  • Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd. (BPCL) are both keen to acquire gas utility GAIL India Ltd. to become fully integrated energy companies. IOC and BPCL have separately indicated to the petroleum ministry their interest in taking over GAIL, to help add natural gas transportation and the marketing business to their kitty.
  • GAIL, however, feels a merger with oil and gas producer ONGC would be more appropriate.
  • The Centre is aimed to create integrated public sector oil majors that would match the performance of international and domestic private sector counterparts.

Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh tops in GST collection in first five months

  • Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are the top contributors among states and Union Territories in the first five months of the rollout of the GST regime. Both comprising about 24 per cent of the total cess collections of Rs 30,224 crore under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
  • Maharashtra garnered Rs 3,702 crore and Uttar Pradesh collected Rs 3,549 crore through cess levied on sin and luxury goods. The individual contribution of these two states is even higher than the cess collected through imports, which stands at Rs 2,604 crore.
  • Karnataka ranks third with cess collection of Rs 3,110 crore, followed by Chhattisgarh that raised Rs 2,288 crore as cess till November 30.
  • Maharashtra also has the highest State GST (SGST) collections of Rs 18,701 crore during July-November. Tamil Nadu is at the second spot, having collected Rs 8,739 crore.
  • An amount of Rs 1.91 lakh crore has been collected as Integrated GST (IGST) till November 30. Out of the total IGST collection of Rs 1.91 lakh crore, Rs 90,038 crore has been collected through imports.

Narendra Modi to be first PM to attend World Economic Forum in 20 years

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his maiden appearance at Davos, Switzerland where the world’s top CEOs and a large number of heads of govt gather for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in January, 2018. Nearly a hundred Indian corporate chiefs and policymakers will be present.
  • It will be the first time that an Indian Prime Minister will be treated like the chief guest with the country expected to dominate the show. In the past only two PMs - PV Narasimha Rao and HD Deve Gowda have gone to Davos with the last one being in 1997.
  • The meet will give India an opportunity to show case its policies as well as soft power through food, art and culture.

NGOs told to use specific banks only

  • The Union Home Ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals that receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month for higher level of transparency. It also asked them to ensure that such funds are not utilized for activities detrimental to the national interest. This exercise shall be completed expeditiously within one month (by 21-01-2018) with intimation of the details of the accounts to the Ministry under a prescribed form.

Norms bar PSU staff from criticising government

  • The Centre has issued a fresh set of norms to govern the conduct of central PSU employees, which bars them from political activities and criticizing government policies or actions. The new rules will impact over 12 lakh employees working in State-owned firms.
  • According to the norms, no employee will make any statement, which has the effect of adverse criticism of any policy or action of the Centre or State governments, or of the CPSE, or which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the central public sector enterprise (CPSE) and the public.
  • The ‘Consolidated Model Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules for CPSEs’ also prescribes that employees must not accept any gifts, refrain from consuming any intoxicating drink or drug in a public place, not appear in a public place in a state of intoxication, or use any intoxicating drink or drug to excess.

PSBs asked to rationalise overseas, domestic branches

  • The Union finance ministry has asked public sector banks to look at rationalizing their domestic and overseas branches as part of the reform process to strengthen their financials. The banks have been advised to pursue closure of loss-making domestic and international branches as part of a capital-saving exercise.
  • Many banks, including State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB), have already taken initiative. Indian Overseas Bank has rationalised the number of regional offices in the country by reducing 10 regional offices from the existing 59, eyeing optimum utilisation of resources and reduction in administrative costs.
  • The Ministry is of the view that there is no need for multiple banks in a single country adding that banks can explore a single subsidiary formed with 5-6 banks coming together for conserving capital and realizing economies of scale.

Saba Karim appointed as General Manager of BCCI

  • Former wicketkeeper of India Saba Karim (50) was appointed as the new General Manager (GM) of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He will report directly to BCCI CEO.
  • In his new administrative role, Saba Karim will be responsible for implementing operational plans, budgeting, monitoring the match playing conditions and administration of Domestic program.
  • BCCI CEO: Rahul Johri

Typhoon Tembin to hit South Vietnam

  • Nearly a million people are being told to evacuate their homes in south Vietnam as a deadly typhoon Tembin bears down on the area. Tembin was expected to slam into the country late on Christmas Day, after killing more than 230 people in the Philippines and leaving tens of thousands homeless in its wake. The storm's downpours caused floods and landslides in the Philippines.