- Cargo service on Brahmaputra to begin soon.
- In a first, the government will launch scheduled regular service of cargo movement using waterway in Brahmaputra. The regular movement of cement using National Waterway (NW) on the Brahmaputra in Assam will be between Pandu Port to Dhubri, a distance of about 255 km.
- According to shipping ministry, two barges of 200 tonnes capacity each will carry 400 tonne of cement.
- Transportation of cargo through NW-2 from Pandu to Dhubri will help save 1.5 lakh tonne km of road transportation per trip and 300 km of road travel while reducing logistics costs.
- Saudi Arabia, UAE introduce VAT in first for Gulf
- Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates introduced value-added tax, a first for the Gulf which has long prided itself on its tax-free.
- The five percent sales tax applies to most goods and services and analysts project that the two governments could raise as much as $21 billion in 2018, equivalent to 2.0 percent of GDP.
- The other four Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are also committed to introducing VAT but have delayed the move until early 2019.
· Israel Withdraws from UNESCO
- Israel filed notice to withdraw from the UNESCO alongside the United States.
- Israel has blasted UNESCO in recent years over the organization’s criticism of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and its decision to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011.
- Israel was the member of UNESCO since 1949. Both Israel and the US have filed its own withdrawal notice in October 2017.
· India Hosting 10 ASEAN Leaders on Republic Day 2018
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Republic Day celebration in 2018 would be “remembered through the ages”because the government for the first time in India’s history would host leaders of 10 ASEAN countries as chief guests on 26th January 2018.
- “The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all 10 (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)ASEAN countries coming to India as chief guests.
- This time, not one but 10 chief guests would grace the Republic Day.
- Maneka Gandhi to inaugurated online portal ‘NARI’
- In a big leap forward to empower women, the Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has inaugurated an online portal NARI in New Delhi.
- Developed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, the portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
- Further to provide a platform for NGOs and Civil Societies to interact with the Ministry of Women & Child Development, e-Samvad portal has also been developed which was inaugurated by the WCD Minister.
- The NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added everyday.
- There are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more.
- Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for 6 more months
- The entire Nagaland has been declared as “disturbed area” for six more months, till June- end, under the controversial AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice.
- There have been demands from various organisations in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to security forces.
- The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.
- Banks gearing up to refer 24 of 28 large NPA accounts to NCLT
- With the closure of RBI s deadline to resolve the 28 identified large stressed accounts in the second list, banks are gearing up to refer as many as 24 of them for insolvency proceedings.
- In August, the Reserve Bank had asked banks to either resolve the 28 more large stressed accounts or refer them to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by December 31.
- These accounts together account for 40 per cent of bad loans of around Rs 4 lakh crore.
- The biggest of the 28 cases is Videocon Industries at Rs 47,000 crore.
- RBI has also asked SBI to move to NCLT against Anrak Aluminium.
- Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed as foreign secretary
- Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale was y appointed foreign secretary for a two-year fixed term, succeeding S Jaishankar who completes his tenure on January 28, according to an official order.
- Gokhale, a 1981 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), was India’s envoy to China.
- He is at present secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
- Jaishankar was appointed foreign secretary on January 29, 2015, for two years. He was given a one-year extension in January last year.
- Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha beat Delhi to win maiden title
- Vidarbha claimed their maiden Ranji Trophy after beating Delhi by nine wickets in the final of India’s premier domestic tournament in Indore.
- The Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India between teams representing regional and state cricket associations.
- The competition is named after first Indian cricketer who played international cricket, Ranjitsinhji, who was also known as “Ranji”.
- Mumbai is the most successful team in the Ranji Trohy winning the title 41 times.
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