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DECMBER CURRENT AFFAIRS
Current Affairs for 17 December 2015
December 17, 2015
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$1.5-BN WORLD BANK LOAN FOR SWACHH BHARAT

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To help India ensure that all its citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation to end open defecation by 2019, the World Bank has approved a $1.5-billion loan for a support operation project of Swachh Bharat, a sanitation campaign launched by the Union government.This will support SBM-Gramin, the rural component of the campaign, over five years with a programme which links funds to the results.


 

BLACKSTONE BUYS GENERAL ATLANTIC STAKE IN IBS SOFTWARE

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Blackstone, a global investment and private equity major, has made an investment of around $170 milion (Rs.1,132 crore) in Thiruvanthapuram-based travel and transporation technology provider IBS Software. By this investment Blackstone is buying out General Atlantic, an investor in the company.With the deal, which is expected to close within in a month, Blackstone will become a minority shareholder in IBS. General Atlantic, a leading growth equity firm, has invested in IBS since 2007. Blackstone is the world’s largest alternate asset management firm with assets under management in excess of $334 billion.


 

LUXURY DIESEL VEHICLES BANNED IN DELHI, NCR

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In a strong step to release the stranglehold of air pollution on the Capital city, the Supreme Court on Wednesday imposed a ban on the registration of diesel-run private cars of the capacity of 2000 CC and above and SUVs, noting that these vehicles are used by the rich and the common man or average citizen will hardly feel the pinch.


 

GOVERNMENT HIKES IMPORT TARIFF VALUE ON GOLD

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The government today raised import tariff value on gold marginally to $347 per 10 grams but reduced it on silver to $448 per kg, taking into account global price trend. During the first fortnight of this month, the tariff value on imported gold was fixed at $344 per 10 grams and on silver it was $461 per kg.
The import tariff value is the base price at which the customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing. It is normally revised on a fortnightly basis.


INDIA’S INVESTMENT CLIMATE BETTER: CISCO

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The investment environment in the country has improved significantly in the past 18 months, enabling businesses to focus more on performance rather than worrying about factors such as an unpredictable tax regime and interest rates, Dinesh Malkani, President for Cisco (India and SAARC) said. The country is one of the fastest growing markets for the firm where it invests $1.7 billion annually.


 

GOOGLE TO HEAVILY INVEST IN INDIA, TRAIN TWO MILLION DEVELOPERS ON ANDROID PLATFORM: SUNDAR PICHAI

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India, which already has more Internet users than the US, is the second-biggest market for Google for search queries. On Wednesday, it announced a raft of initiatives in India including a plan to provide free WiFi in 100 stations, train 2 million Android developers, equip women in rural India through a fleet of Internet-enabled bikes and build a new campus in Hyderabad.


CRUCIAL BRAIN CHEMICAL MADE FROM HUMAN STEM CELLS

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Using stem cells, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a specialised nerve cell that makes serotonin, a signalling chemical with a broad role in the brain.Serotonin affects emotions, sleep, anxiety, depression, appetite, pulse and breathing. It also plays a role in serious psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. A small number of neurons localised on one structure at the back of the brain are responsible for making this chemical.


INDIA GETS PE INVESTMENTS WORTH $17.5 BN IN 2015: PWC

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The surge is largely owed to the e-commerce sector, which saw deals worth $5.3 billion.Private equity investments in India touched a record high of $17.5 billion in 2015 across 685 deals, breaching the previous high of $14.7 billion recorded in 2007, a PwC report says. According to the report, PE investments (excluding real estate deals) till December 14, this year stood at $17.5 billion, registering a jump of 34 per cent over calendar year 2014, which saw $13 billion invested across 560 deals. The surge in PE investments this year was largely owed to the e-commerce sector, which saw deals worth $5.3 billion across 290 deals.


 

SALINE WATER CLEANS WOUNDS BETTER THAN SOAP: INDIAN-ORIGIN RESEARCHER

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Although using soap and water has remained the standard practice of wound cleaning before surgery, this method is actually less effective than just using saline water, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.The findings could lead to significant cost savings, especially in developing countries where open fractures are particularly common.


 

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE TO BE CHIEF GUEST AT 2016 REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS

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French President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade of January 26, 2016. Though official sources are yet to confirm this information, Julien Bouissou, the South Asia correspondent of French daily La Monde has tweeted the same. He later on clarified that his information was based on the French sources.The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega pageant of January 26 will be symbolic and send a message of a worldwide solidarity among the democratic countries against terrorism of the IS which staged the November 13 attacks in Paris.


 

RELIANCE INFRASTRUCTURE BUYS ADDITIONAL 17% STAKE IN PIPAVAV DEFENCE FOR RS 850 CRORE

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Reliance Infrastructure has acquired additional 17% stake in Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Co through an open offer to its shareholders, which will take the company’s shareholding in the latter to 35%.The Anil Ambani led company’s open offer to shareholders of Pipavav Defence, which closed Tuesday, had made an offer to buy additional 26%.