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Current Affairs for 20 January 2016
January 20, 2016
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IMF CUTS GLOBAL GROWTH FORECAST AS CHINA SLOWS

1.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global growth forecasts for the third time in less than a year on Tuesday, as new figures from Beijing showed that the Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate in a quarter of a century in 2015.

2.To back its forecasts, the IMF cited a sharp slowdown in China trade and weak commodity prices that are hammering Brazil and other emerging markets.

3.The updated World Economic Outlook forecasts came as global financial markets have been roiled by worries over China’s slowdown — confirmed by official Chinese data on Tuesday — and plummeting oil prices.

4.The IMF maintained its previous China growth forecasts of 6.3 per cent in 2016 and 6.0 per cent in 2017, which represent sharp slowdowns from 2015. — Reuters

5.The IMF projected 7.3 per cent GDP growth for India in 2015-16 and 7.5 per cent in 2016-17, levels unchanged from its outlook released in October. In 2014-15, it estimates, GDP grew 7.3 per cent.


 

TWITTER GOES DOWN IN UAE, INDIA, EUROPE, US

1.Social media networking site Twitter went down at about 12.30pm UAE time, with the network’s website and mobile apps inaccessible in a host of countries including the US, UAE, India and several countries in Europe.

2.Visitors to the website were being greeted by a message telling them that “Something is technically wrong”.

3.Twitter for Mobile apps as well as the website itself appeared to be broken. Tweetdeck, Twitter’s other official client, was also broken.

4.Twitter has been experiencing service disruptions over the past few months, with the most recent outage being reported yesterday, January 18.


 

ALONG WITH E-VISAS, TOURISTS TO GET SIM CARDS TOO

1.Global tourists flying to India could be in for a surprise gift on arrival — a pre-activated local SIM card. The NDA government has set up a committee to finalise the plan to help tourists arriving on e-visas gain immediate access to mobile connectivity.

2.A decision to provide SIM cards for the duration of their stay was taken at a meeting between Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday.

3.Launched in November 2014, e-Tourist Visa is now available for citizens of 113 countries arriving at 16 airports. The government is also mulling over extending e-visa to seaports. In 2015, a total of 4,45,300 tourists arrived in India on e-Tourist Visa.


ODISHA’S FIRST AUTOMATED VEHICLE FITNESS TESTING CENTRE TO COME UP IN CUTTACK

1.The Odisha government is planning to set up its first automated vehicle fitness testing centre at Cuttack. Here the vehicles would be driven on a testing track to know their road worthiness.

2.Similarly, the transport department would set up testing tracks at seven urban centres where the applicants would be awarded driving license based on their performance on these tracks. There will be no human interference in assessing driving capability, said Mr. Kumar. These tracks are being set up in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore and Angul.

3.Around 9,640 accidents occurred on the Odisha roads that caused 3,920 deaths in 2014. The National Highway and State Highway network constitute12 per cent of the total road length, but 75 per cent of accidents took place on these roads.


 

I&C CENTRE IN SHILLONG

1.The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is setting up a model automated inspection and certification (I&C) centre for motor vehicles here at a cost of Rs.14.4 crore, Meghalaya State Transport Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh said on Tuesday.

2.With this centre, testing of fitness of all on-road vehicles will be done, he said.

3.The State government is in the process of identifying 3 acre land required for the purpose


ROOFANDFLOOR UNVEILS NEW LOGO

1.RoofandFloor, the real-estate marketplace from The Hindu Group, has unveiled its new identity and logo. The new logo is a monogram using the letters ‘R’ and ‘F’ – the brand initials.

2.RoofandFloor’s tagline ‘Let’s get you home’ denotes a sense of companionship throughout the home buying journey of a user – from discovery to purchase to possession and beyond.

3.RoofandFloor specialises in new properties across South India and works with more than 2,000 developers to bring verified listing of over 6,000 properties. Its TruePrice provides accurate price of every property, ensures that buyers have the most transparent information when it comes to home buying. Its end-to-end advisory service and expert professionals take the hassle out of property buying while providing the best value for buyers, the release said.


 

OCEANS WILL HAVE MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH: WEF REPORT

1.With the theme of ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum’s 46th annual conference began Tuesday at the Swiss ski resort of Davos. Other issues such as terror and inequality will also figure in the debates.

2.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is heading the Indian delegation to the conference, which also includes RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal. Ahead of the start of the conference, the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with McKinsey & Co. as a knowledge partner, released a new report which forecast that oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050, by weight.


 

RWITC TO HOST ARC AFTER 20 YEARS

1.The 36th edition of the Asian Racing Conference (ARC) will be held here at the Mahalaxmi Race Course from Jan. 24 to 29. The last ARC was held in India in 1995.

2.Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of the 36th Asian Racing Conference (ARC) organising committee, briefing the press on Monday said: “on behalf of the Turf Authorities of India (TAI) and Asian Racing Federation (ARF), it is incredible to see the enthusiasm that participants from across the racing fraternities have shown in attending the 36th edition of ARC that is being hosted in India after 20 years. I extend a warm welcome to all delegates”.

3.Mr. Vivek Jain, Committee Member of the ARC organising committee, stated: “We will kick off on Sunday, with the Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Gr. I). In addition to this event there will be the Gool S.Poonawalla Million, the Asian Racing Federation Trophy (which will have guaranteed prize money of Rs. 1 crore, the richest ever race for the Juveniles in India) jointly contributed by the TAI and the Championship Breeders Of India a race which will be sponsored by five Stud Farms of India.”


 

FIRST FLOWER IN SPACE HERALDS GIANT LEAP FOR ZERO-GRAVITY GARDENING

1.The orange zinnia looks like a daisy and has a reputation for being one of the easiest flowers to grow on Earth. In space, though, it was a challenge getting it to sprout. The flowers seemed doomed in December after four plants developed mould. But at the weekend, US astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been taking care of them, tweeted a photo of a solitary blooming zinnia with the Earth in the distance behind it, with the hashtag #SpaceFlower and the words: “Yes, there are other life forms in space!”

 

2.The flower is part of a wider attempt to grow food in orbit, using Nasa’s plant growth system Veggie, which was delivered to the ISS in April 2014. The Veggie team has already enjoyed a successful lettuce harvest and plan to have tomatoes too by 2017. Ultimately, the hope is to make possible “a sustainable food supplement” for a future manned mission to Mars.