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  • Current Affairs 15th December 2017

    Updated : 15-Dec-2017
    Current Affairs 15th December 2017

    Current Affairs 15th December 2017 - Important Points

    • Panel to review Flexi-fare system formed by - Railway Board
    • MoU for cooperation in Water Resources, Road and Marine Sectors signed between India and  - Morocco
    • Narinder Batra elected as new President of Indian Olympic Association on - 14th December 2017
    • Sri Lanka becomes 163rd nation to accede to landmine -  ban treaty
    • Disney acquired 21st Century Fox assets for USD 52.4 Billion in stock on - 14th December 2017
    •  8th planet Kepler-90i spotted by - NASA

    Current Affairs 15th December 2017 - Details

    Panel to review Flexi-fare system formed by - Railway Board

    The Railway Board has initiated the reviewing process also called the Flexi-fare system in premium trains by evaluating the prices with that of other transport modes in the same sectors.
    The move came after months of deliberations and negotiations.

    The Railway Board has formed a 6-member committee to review the system and submit a report in one month in order to initiate this process.

    Panel's members

    This panel consists of railway board officials along with Adviser, NITI Ayog,Ravinder Goyal, S Sriram, Professor of transport economics and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi and Meenakshi Malik, Executive Director, Air India, Revenue Management.

    Important Highlights

    • The purpose of this panel will be to inspect all options and suggest the best option keeping in mind railway's and passengers interest.
    • The panel would be measuring the effect of flexi-fare implementation in its present form with respect to the revenue generated for railways, impact on passengers psychology in terms of their choice of the railways as a means of transport with its increased fare.
    • The panel would also be looking at ways to offer adds-on to passengers like deferred benefits or loyalty benefits for the better patronage of the scheme.
    • The panel shall also be suggesting if any revision or modifications can be brought to the flexi-fare system to offer passengers flexibility of rates during peak season, lean season or during weekdays or weekends or during festivals even.
    • The panel has also been asked to examine the fares of the Humsafar Express launched in previous year.

    Flexi-fare system

    • The Flexi-fare system was launched in September 2016, led to up to 50 percent increase in its fares. Under the flexi-fare system formula, base fares of tickets increased from 10% to 50% with every 10% of berths booked.
    • But due to increase in the revenue amount, the railways lost passengers as several berths remained vacant.

    MoU for cooperation in Water Resources, Road and Marine Sectors signed between India and  - Morocco

    India on 14th December 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Morocco for collaboration in Water Resources, Road and Marine areas. The accordance was signed between Union Transport and Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari and his Moroccan equivalent, Abdelkader Amara, who presently is on a visit to India with his high-level delegacy of the Moroccan government.
    During the high-profile delegacy meet, the both sides considered matters relating to India-Morocco bilateral cooperation in road transport, water resources and the marine area.
    Following is the list of MoUs signed and exchanged between the two nations:

    • MoU in collaboration with the field of Water Resources.
    • MoU to establish collaboration between Indian Maritime University and Higher Institute of
    • Maritime Studies of Morocco.
    • Framework Accordance for Cooperation in Training between the National Ports Agency of Morocco and the Indian Maritime University.
    • Collaboration Framework Accordance between the Institute of Training in Engines and Road Maintenance of Morocco and Indian Academy of Highway Engineers.
    • Talking on the occasion, Union Minister Gadkari explained that he looked forward to utilizing the immense scope for cooperation between the 2 nations in the road transport, water resources and marine areas.

    Narinder Batra elected as new President of Indian Olympic Association on - 14th December 2017

    The chief of International Hockey Federation, Narinder Batra was chosen as the President of Indian Olympic Association at their Annual General Meeting organized in New Delhi on 14th December 2017.
    The 60-year- old Batra got 143 votes out of total 160, success the polls with an overwhelming majority. His challenger Anil Khanna on the other side just got 13 votes.
    The voting was organized under the supervision of a 3-member Election Commission incorporate retired High Court justices. S K Mendiratta, a legal advisor to the Election Commission of India, was the returning administrator.
    With this victory, Batra would hold the position for a period of 4 years from 2018 till 2022. He would be
    succeeding Narayana Ramachandran, who worked at the position from 9th February 2014 to 14th December 2017.
    Did you know?

    • Batra’s victory was more or less certain as his contender Khanna, the late President of All India Tennis Association, had declared his withdrawal from the polls on 7th December.
    • However, the elections were still managed for the Presidential position as Khanna sent the withdrawal letter to the IOA-appointed Election Commission after the specified last date, which was 3rd December.
    • Other Appointments Handball Federation of India's Anandeshwar Pandey was chosen as the treasurer of the IOA, after he beat Rakesh Gupta by 113 to 37 votes.
    • The organization's present Secretary General Rajeev Mehta was re-elected for a 2nd term without any contest as he was the only candidate for the position.
    • RK Anand was chosen as the Senior Vice President of the organization, after beating his opponent - Kabaddi federation's Janardhan Gahlot, by 96 votes to 35.
    • After his victory, Batra explained that he would take a scheme to the government to hold the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2026 Commonwealth Games. He told that the final conclusion on holding the games, however, will depend on the government, as they will dispense the funds. He also added that the IOA desires to work with the government in a conducive environment.

    Sri Lanka becomes 163rd nation to accede to landmine -  ban treaty

    Sri Lanka has turned the 163 Country to assent to the anti-personnel mine block convention. Sri Lanka had pledged previous year to join the mine block convention and help the international community to aid the landmine clearance program.
    Now, it has accepted to Accession to the Convention of the barring of the utilization, production, stockpiling and shift of anti-personnel mines.

     More about Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Treaty

    • The Mine Ban treaty came into force on March 1st, 1999. This agreement bans the use, manufacturing, stockpiling, and shifting of antipersonnel mines.
    • Austria will manage and host over the 16th conference of the state’s parties to the agreement in Vienna during the period of December 18-21st, 2017.
    • According the report by International Campaign to prohibit Landmines- a Nobel Prize-winning campaign, previous year 8,605 mine or explosive remnants of war casualties were detailed, in which minimum 2,089 people were murdered.

    Disney acquired 21st Century Fox assets for USD 52.4 Billion in stock on - 14th December 2017

    Disney reached a deal to acquire certain assets of 21st Century Fox (FOXA), the parent company of FOX Business on 14th December 2017 for approximately USD 52.4 billion in its stock. The total transaction is valued for USD 66.1 billion, including debt of 21st Century Fox.

    Important Highlights

    • This deal is including 21st Century Fox assets- 20th Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses such as Star India.
    • Before this acquisition, Fox will be separating the Fox Business Network, FS1, Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company.
    • Disney's Robert Iger will also be continuing to serve as the Chairman and CEO of Disney through 2021.

     8th planet Kepler-90i spotted by - NASA

    NASA has recently discovered an 8th planet circling Kepler-90 which is a Sun-like star and is 2545 light-years away from Earth. NASA made this announcement of discovery on 14th December 2017.

    Kepler-90i was discovered in data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope using Machine Learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach towards artificial intelligence for machin's learning.
    computers learned to identify planets by finding the instances in the Kepler data where the telescope recorded its signals from the exoplanets.

    More about Kepler-90i

    • It is a hot rocky planet orbiting its star once every 14.4 days.
    • Kepler-90i is that close to its star where its average surface temperature is more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit, at par with Mercury and it is approximately 30 percent larger than Earth.
    • Its outermost planet, Kepler-90h, orbits at the similar distance to its star as Earth does to the Sun.
    • The planet discovery was made after researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg trained a computer to learn how to identify exoplanets in the  light readings recorded by star Kepler. The light readings were the tiny changes in brightness captured whenever a planet passes in front of its star.

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