Weekly Current Affairs Pocket : 28th – 30th December 2019

India, Japan hold 5th round of maritime dialogue
* Indian delegation was led by Indra Mani Pandey, Additional Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs), Ministry of External Affairs, while Japanese delegation was led by Ambassador Yamanaka A Osamu, Deputy Assistant Minister, Deputy Director-General in Foreign Policy Bureau.
* The two sides exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest in maritime domain and identified the means for further strengthening their maritime cooperation.
* Both sides reiterated the importance of the Dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on issues of mutual interest in maritime affairs and agreed to hold the next round of the Dialogue on a mutually convenient date in India.

New Him Darshan Express trains starts between Kalka and Shimla stations
* The Indian Railways have started the new Him Darshan Express train to run between Haryana’s Kalka and Shimla stations, as a Christmas gift to the people, with effect from December 25, 2019.
* The ‘Him Darshan’ train has a seating capacity of over 100 passengers and is the first train of the Indian Railways having all vistadome coaches to run on a regular basis.
The Train comprises seven coaches including six First Class air-conditioned vistadome coaches with glass rooftop to have a panoramic view of the hilly region and one First Class coach.
The initiative aims to promote tourism and provide a delightful experience to the passengers on the world heritage Kalka-Shimla section.

SBI to implement OTP-based ATM cash withdrawals from January 1 2020
* The OTP-based cash withdrawal system shall be active across all SBI ATMs effective 1 January 2020 between 8 pm to 8 am. “Introducing the OTP-based cash withdrawal system to help protect you from unauthorised transactions at ATMs. This new safeguard system will be applicable from 1st January, 2020 across all SBI ATMs.
* When an SBI cardholder will enter the amount of cash he/she wishes to withdraw, a screen will appear asking for the OTP. The customer will then have to put the OTP that the bank will send to the registered mobile number.
* OTP is a system-generated string of numeric characters that allow users to make a single transaction. The facility will not be applicable at other banks’ ATM as this functionality has not been developed in National Financial Switch (NFS).

AAO won Life Achievement honour to Dr Santosh G Honavar
* Dr. Santosh G Honavar conferred with the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) highest award Life Achievement honour. He is the first Indian chosen for the honour. American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye specialists.

Koneru Humpy wins World Rapid Chess championship
* Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy gifted the chess community of India a huge honour by becoming the Women World Rapid Champion. She won the title after drawing the Armageddon game against Lei Tingjie of China. Humpy lost the first tie-break game and then won the second to reach the Armageddon game.
* Humpy is only the second Indian to win the rapid gold in the current format after Vishwanathan Anand who won it in 2017.

Amitabh Bachchan receives Dadasaheb Phalke Award
* Amitabh Bachchan, who has been conferred this year’s Dadasaheb Phalke Award, received the award today in Delhi. President of India Ram Nath Kovind presented the award to the actor. Amitabh Bachchan is honoured with the award for his outstanding contribution to the film industry.
* The 66th National Awards were held in Delhi on December 23 this yaer. Amitabh Bachchan, who was ill at that time, was not able to attend the ceremony. Today, President Ram Nath Kovind invited all the National Award winners of this year to the Rashrapati Bhavan for a get-together. During the award ceremony it was announced that Amitabh Bachchan will be presented with the award on December 29.

General Bipin Rawat named country’s first Chief of Defence Staff
* General Bipin Rawat has been named the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star General, the principal military advisor to the defence minister, and head the new Department of Military Affairs to ensure jointness in training, logistics and procurement of the three services.
* General Rawat is the first officer to hold the post of the Chief of Defence Staff. The Defence Ministry had also amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the CDS to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years. The CDS will administer all tri-services organisations, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning.

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