Current Affairs 12th & 13th jan 2016

  • Government constitutes Arvind Panagariya committee to fast-track bullet train project
Union Government has constituted a committee to fast track the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, meant for connecting two cities with bullet trains. The committee is tasked to interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking further steps in implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor. Members: The committee will be headed by Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog. It will also include Railway Board chairman, foreign secretary and secretary (industrial policy) and secretary in the department of expenditure as its members. Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor: It will be 500km long and will be connecting both trains at the cost of the project will be 98,000 crore rupees.  Japan will invest 78, 000 crore rupees making it largest foreign investment in railway sector of India. Background Recently, Union Cabinet had had given its nod to bullet train project making it first of its king bullet train project with the help of Japan for funds and technology. Cabinet approval was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Panagariya which had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding also commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.

  • Lionel Messi wins 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or award
Barcelona FC forward Lionel Messi from Argentina has won the 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or Award. He has earned this title of world’s best football player for record fifth time. Earlier he was conferred with this award in 2010 (inaugural), 2011, 2012 and 2012. For this edition of prize, Messi secured 41.33% of the votes pipped current holder and three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo (27.76% votes), as well as his Barclona teammate Neymar (7.86% votes). Other 2015 winners FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: Carli Lloyd (United States) FIFA Pusk├ís Award: Wendell Lira.
World Coach of the Year (Men’s): Luis Enrique (Barcelona FC). 

World Coach of the Year (Women’s): Jill Ellis (United Staes). 
FIFA Fair Play Award: All football organisations supporting refugees 
About FIFA Ballon d’Or Award
 It is an annual football association award given by FIFA to the male player who has performed the best in the previous calendar year. This award was instituted in 2010 after France Football’s Ballon d’Or and the men’s FIFA World Player of the Year award were merged. It is awarded to the male player, based upon highest votes secured by him from national team coaches and captains, as well as journalists from around the world.

  • SC stays Centre’s notification lifting ban on Jallikattu
The Supreme Court has stayed the Union Government’s notification lifting ban on traditional bull taming sport Jallikattu during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu. In this regard the apex court rejected the plea of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu Government. This decision was taken by a SC bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana on petitions filed by various bodies including Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) seeking striking down of the MoEF’s notification. Background Earlier on 8th January 2016, MoEF had lifted the four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu ahead of the Pongal festival along with Bullock cart races in Maharashtra. This notification allowed the exhibition or training of bulls and some other animals, as performing animals by following the traditional customs as a part of culture.

  • First female F1 driver Maria Teresa de Filippis passes away
The first female F1 (Formula One) driver Maria Teresa de Filippis passed away on 8 January 2016 in Italy. She was 89. She is remembered as a first female pioneer in motor racing, a sport mainly dominated by men after she had participated in the five World Championship Grand Prix for the Maserati team in 1958. About Maria Teresa de Filippis She was born on 11 November 1926 in Naples, Italy. She had stated her racing career at the age of 22 and had won first race on a 10 km drive between Salerno and Cava de’ Tirreni by driving a Fiat 500.

She was given the opportunity to represent the Maserati team in Monaco Grand Prix of Formula one in 1958. She was also a founding member of the Maserati Club and later on she become its President.

  • India-Australia Social Security Agreement comes into operation
India-Australia social security Agreement signed between both countries came into operation. This agreement will enable people of both nations to avail retirement benefits in each other’s country and will boost bilateral business linkages. Key facts The social security Agreement will give people more freedom to move between India and Australia as their pension rights are recognised and protected. Under the ambit of it, Australian residing in India will be able to claim the Australian Age Pension without having to return to Australia. While, Indian residents living in Australia will have access to Indian retirement pensions It will strengthen India-Australia relationship as 397,000 Indian-born people living in Australia and making substantial contribution. Background The Social Security Agreement was signed in November 2014 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Australia and came into operation on January 1, 2016. So far, Australia has inked around 30 international social security agreements with other countries to support people living and working in more than one country. Some of the countries are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the US.