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  • IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia took over as the Director General of the black cats commando force National Security Guard (NSG) on 1 feb.
  • The post fell vacant after incumbent chief S P Singh retired on 31 jan.Lakhtakia, a 1984-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Telangana cadre, was till now serving as Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters here.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had issued orders for his appointment as the NSG chief on January 19.
  • Lakhtakia, a post-graduate in Business Administration, will hold the top post of the elite counter-terror force till July next year, which is also his scheduled retirement.
  • The officer, apart from serving at various positions in his home cadre and the elite commando force Greyhounds, has also worked with the Special Protection Group (SPG) for over nine years.
  • The Special Protection Group guards the prime minister, former prime ministers and their immediate family members.The NSG was raised as the federal contingency force to counter terrorists and hijack-like incidents in 1984.
  • The commandos of the force are based in five hubs across the country, apart from their main garrison in Gurgaons Manesar. They also render personal security to some of the most high-profile VVIPs like Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and some chief ministers.

  • Senior-most Indian Information Service officer Neelam Kapoor, who had served as UPA government's spokesperson, was today appointed director general of Sports Authority of India (SAI
  • The 1982 batch IIS officer is at present the Principal Director General of the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP).
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved her appointment to the post till her superannuation, i.e. July 31, 2019, by upgrading the post to apex level, according to an order by the personnel ministry.
  • Kapoor was appointed the Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau by the then UPA government in 2009.As PIB chief, she was in-charge of information officers attached to every central government ministry.
  • When the NDA came into power, Kapoor was replaced by her batchmate Frank Naronha and was shifted to the DFP.
  • It is for the first time that an IIS officer has been appointed as SAI chief. The post is usually held by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar is looking after the post of SAI DG.
  • Kapoor has been one of the longest-serving secretary-level officers of the IIS, a senior official said.She was in November last year given the additional charge of media and communication for the home and sports ministries.
  • The additional charge was later taken back and an IIS officer was appointed to communicate with media for works related to home and personnel ministries.

  • Dr Dinesh Srivastava, distinguished nuclear scientist, took over as the chief executive of the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) here on 31 jan.
  • The incumbent chief executive, G Kalyanakrishnan, demitted office on superannuation. Dr Srivastava will also be the chairman of the NFC Board. Prior to this assignment, Dr Srivastava was holding the position of deputy chief executive, NFC.
  • Dr Srivastava had worked for three decades in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. He is also a senior professor in Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai.
  • He has contributed exclusively in the development of advanced structural materials of extreme strategic value for nuclear energy program in India.
  • The target of his work has been on self-reliant development of critical nuclear components for the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
  • His basic research studies on physical and mechanical metallurgy, thermo-mechanical processing and irradiation damage of zirconium, titanium and low alloy steels led to successful processing of these materials. Some of them are high creep resistant pressure tube, high burn-up fuel cladding tube and reactor pressure vessel.

  • This is the second time when Kohli has won the best cricketer of the year award. Kohli was first awarded best ODI cricketer by ICC five years ago.
  • ICC 18 jan named Indian captain Virat Kohli ICC Cricketer of the Year 2017, ODI cricketer of the year and winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for his exceptional performances across all formats.Kohli is also the captain for ICC's ODI and Test team of the year.
  • This is the second time when Kohli has won the best cricketer of the year award. Kohli was first awarded best ODI cricketer by ICC five years ago.
  • Kohli scored six tons ODIs last year, averaging a mammoth 76.84 in the year. His ODI career average now stands at 55.74, the highest ever by a batsman among test playing nations.
  • Apart from Indian captain, Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has also been awarded ICC T20I performance of the year for his incredible haul of 6/25 against England in Bengaluru in February. Australian captain Steven Smith is declared Test cricketer of the year.
  • Pakistan's Hasan Ali is adjudged ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year. Afghanistan's Rashid Khan is named ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year.Pakistan's Champions Trophy Triumph has got the inaugural ICC Fans' Moment of the Year award.

  • Ananya Arora is an aviation mechanic in the US Army who is also a winner of a glorious beauty pageant now. Ananya is aspirant to know all about NASA, space and is determined to be an astronaut. Following her dreams she is now an aeronautical engineer in the US Air Force.
  • During her pageant days, Ananya expertly spoke under the frame of stereotypes Indians face. Post her win; she visited various schools to be an optimistic voice to spread the word.
  • Breaking stereotypes, Ananya is passionate about dance and loves being on stage. She says, “During all this, I got super crazy and I participated in the pageant Miss Asian Festival for Wichita. It helped me showcase Indian culture, and gave me a scholarship for college.”
  • Ananya says, in America, people consider an Asian only as Japanese, Korean or Chinese, which always frustrated her.
  • The only time Indians realize they are Asian is when they fill out forms as a written proof. She is a maintainer for Apache helicopters in the US Army.

  • The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the apex court.
  • She will be the seventh woman judge since independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court.
  • The first woman to be appointed as a judge of the apex court was Justice M Fathima Beevi in 1989.
  • Thereafter, Justice Sujata V Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai made it to the top court as judges.

  • The government on 10 Jan appointed renowned scientist Sivan K as the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to replace of A S Kiran Kumar.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved his appointment as secretary, Department of Space and chairman of Space Commission for a tenure of three years, an order issued by the personnel ministry said.
  • Sivan, at present Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, will succeed Kumar, who was appointed on January 12, 2015.
  • He graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering in 1980 and completed Master of Engineering in Aerospace engineering from IISc, Bangalore in 1982, according to his biodata.
  • Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Aerospace engineering from IIT, Bombay in 2006.Sivan joined the ISRO in 1982 in PSLV project and has contributed immensely towards end to end mission planning, mission design, mission integration and analysis.

  • Legendary astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon and later commanded the first space shuttle flight, has died, NASA said 6 Jan. Young was 87.
  • The space agency said Young died Friday night at home in Houston following complications from pneumonia.
  • NASA called Young one of its pioneers - the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.
  • "Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight," acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said in an emailed statement. "John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation's first great achievements in space."
  • Young was the only spaceman to span NASA's Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs, and became the first person to rocket away from Earth six times. Counting his takeoff from the moon in 1972 as commander of Apollo 16, his blastoff tally stood at seven, for decades a world record.
  • He flew twice during the two-man Gemini missions of the mid-1960s, twice to the moon during NASA's Apollo program, and twice more aboard the new space shuttle Columbia in the early 1980s.
  • His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut's, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency's status quo.

  • Rajinder Khanna, former chief of the country's external intelligence agency RAW, was today appointed as Deputy National Security Adviser, according to an official order.
  • The post was lying vacant since Arvind Gupta, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, completed his tenure in August last year. Gupta was in August 2014 appointed to the post.
  • Khanna, a 1978 batch Research and Analysis Wing Service (RAS) officer, has supervised several counter-terrorism operations and is considered an expert on Pakistan and Islamic terrorism
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of Khanna as Deputy NSA on re-employment and on contractual basis, the order issued by personnel ministry said, without mentioning his tenure.
  • Khanna is at present Officer on Special Duty (Neighbourhood Studies) in the National Security Council Secretariat.
  • Neighbourhood Studies prepares policy papers of neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

  • "President has appointed Sahasrabuddhe as the President of ICCR on 29 Dec (Friday)," a Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.
  • Sahasrabuddhe, the BJP's national Vice President, is also a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra.
  • ICCR, which was founded in 1950 by India's first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who also served as its first President. Former Presidents Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma and K.R. Narayanan, former Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee have also held the post.
  • The ICCR's main objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India's external cultural relations and to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries.

  • Former multiple World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India defeated reigning champion Magnus Carlsen from the black side of Botvinnik system in the Nimzo Indian defence in the ninth round of World Rapid Championship (WRC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 27 Dec.
  • Anand won in 34 moves, thanks to a delectable endgame in which his queen and bishop that controlled the long diagonal proved too powerful.
  • Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Wang Hao were among the leaders. Pune's Eesha Karavade defeated higher-rated Valentina Gunina in the ninth round.

  • Vijay Rupani was 26 Dec sworn in as the chief minister of Gujarat for the second consecutive term after the BJP won the recently-held Assembly elections in the state.
  • Rupani, 61, and his deputy Nitin Patel were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor O P Kohli at a grand ceremony in Gandhinagar.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states attended the ceremony.
  • Before the swearing-in ceremony, Rupani, sporting an orange-coloured jacket, and Patel greeted the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states who came to attend the ceremony.
  • Rupani and his wife also offered prayers at the Panchdev Mahadev temple here before the swearing-in ceremony. With 99 MLAs, the BJP has a simple majority in the 182-member Assembly, 16 less than its 2012 tally of 115.
  • The opposition Congress, which had won 61 seats in 2012, managed to increase its tally to 77. The strength of the Congress and its allies in the new House is 80.
  • Rupani and Nitin Patel were elected as the leader and deputy leader, respectively, of the BJP legislature party at its meeting on December 22.

  • Pakistan granted Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav a Christmas concession 25 Dec, allowing him to meet his wife and mother, but only from behind a glass barrier.
  • Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan, convicted by a military court there of "espionage", a charge India vigorously denies.
  • Pakistan called the allowing of the meeting a "humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the father of the nation, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah". But the country's foreign minister acknowledged, although not in so many words, that it was a public relations gesture, given that Jadhav's case is currently being heard at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Pakistan wants to make a good impression.
  • Pakistan allowed Jadhav to meet his family 21 months after his arrest and incarceration. The meeting took place at the Pakistan foreign office in Islamabad amid tight security, with police and paramilitary security forces, including sharpshooters, deployed in the area.
  • This, even as hordes of Pakistani media personnel camped outside for a photo-op. Accompanying Jadhav's wife Chetankul and his mother Avanti to the meeting was JP Singh, India's deputy high commissioner in Islamabad.
  • Minutes into the meeting, Pakistan's foreign office released a photograph on Twitter, of Jadhav's mother and his wife seated on a sofa on their premises.
  • They didn't however release a photograph of Jadhav. Pakistani news outlets tweeted a picture, purportedly of the meeting. They didn't say whether the picture is a recreation or whether it is of the actual meeting. Similar pictures were tweeted by ANI news agency.

  • Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar won the world title after a long run of 17 years and has been making India proud ever since then.
  • After receiving lot of love and support, she recently received a special invitation for being the Guest of Honour at the Leadership Summit in Healthcare at Taj Palace, Delhi, India. Let’s have a look at the pictures from the event.
  • Manushi Chhillar looks pretty as she adorns her Indian attire, Saree with shimmer and shine and delivers remarkable words to the audience.

  • Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli isn't just the most valuable player going around in world cricket, he's also India's most valuable brand with a celebrity value of $143 million.
  • Kohli has dethroned Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who held the title of the country's most valuable celebrity brand from 2014, according to a report by corporate advisers Duff & Phelps.
  • Kohli, along with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, has led the ascent of millennials to the top of the rankings. Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni slipped from 9th place last year to 13th this year.
  • This year saw PV Sindhu make an entry at 15, the first time a female sportsperson has made it to the top 15.
  • "For the first time since 2014, Shah Rukh Khan has slipped from the top ranking and has been replaced by Virat Kohli.
  • Kohli is now the first choice of brands to engage and attract consumers, fuelled by his extraordinary on field performances and off-field charisma," said Varun Gupta, Duff & Phelps MD and regional leader, India, Japan and Southeast Asia.

  • A self-confessed Sanskrit lover, 16-year-old Nadeem Khan has been declared the winner of a state-level Sanskrit essay competition on Bhagvad Gita in the Rajasthan capital.
  • At a 'Gita Fest' organised by the Akshaya Patra Foundation that concluded on 18dec, two other Muslim students from Jaipur, Zaheen Naqvi of Class II and Zorabia Nagori of Class IV, also bagged top positions in a contest on the recitation of Gita verses.
  • The winners will receive their awards on 20 Dec.A student of Class X at a government school, Khan, the son of a labourer, has had a keen interest in Sanskrit language ever since it was introduced in his curriculum in Class VI.
  • "I find this language best among all known to me. I never found it alien despite the fact that I rarely get a chance to speak it, even in my class. The competition has acknowledged my devotion for the language," said Khan.
  • In my Sanskrit class, the teacher rarely speaks the language. They ask us to only focus on writing in Sanskrit. I am not fluent in speaking Sanskrit," he added.
  • The teenager, however, will not able to make it to the award ceremony. "I have an exam on 20 Dec but my parents and grandmother will collect the prize on my behalf," said Khan.

  • Eminent scientist and ‘father of DNA fingerprinting in India’ Lalji Singh died following a heart attack on 10 Dec. He was 70.
  • Dr. Singh was one of the leaders instrumental in making DNA fingerprinting mainstream in India, both at the level of research as well as for forensic applications.
  • This was after techniques advanced by him led to DNA profiling being used to establish parentage as well as solve some high profile crime cases in India.
  • Based on his work he was tasked by the government in the late 1990s to establish the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) with a mandate of making it a nodal centre for DNA fingerprinting and diagnostics for all species and several diseases.
  • He also set up a slew of dedicated labs that worked on several aspects of genetics such as population biology, structural biology and transgenic research.
  • Dr. Singh served as a director at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad from 1998 to 2009.

  • The World Human Rights Day is being observed on 10 dec. It is observed every year on 10 December the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • UN chief in his message on the human rights day has said.. "on 10 dec, we see a disturbing hostility towards human rights.
  • Let us stand against those negative forces. Let us stand up and speak out for human rights"

  • Researchers from California Institute of Technology in the US developed an inexpensive method by which DNA origami self-assembles into large arrays with entirely customisable patterns, creating a sort of canvas that can display any image.
  • While DNA is perhaps best known for encoding the genetic information of living things, the molecule is also an excellent chemical building block. A single-stranded DNA molecule is composed of smaller molecules called nucleotides - abbreviated A, T, C and G - arranged in a string, or sequence.
  • The nucleotides in a single-stranded DNA molecule can bond with those of another single strand to form double- stranded DNA, but the nucleotides bind only in very specific ways: an A nucleotide with a T or a C nucleotide with a G. These strict base-pairing "rules" make it possible to design DNA origami.
  • A large DNA canvas is assembled out of many smaller square origami tiles, like putting together a puzzle. Molecules can be selectively attached to the staples in order to create a raised pattern that can be seen using atomic force microscopy.
  • Researchers developed software that can take an image such as the Mona Lisa, divide it up into small square sections, and determine the DNA sequences needed to make up those squares. They then got those sections to self-assemble into a superstructure that recreates the Mona Lisa.

  • The nation is remembering the architect of the Indian Constitution and Bharat Ratna Dr. B R Ambedkar on his 62nd death anniversary.
  • He passed away on this day in 1956. Since then, Mahaparinirvan Diwas is observed every year to pay tributes to him.
  • President Ram Nath kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime minister Narendra Modi offered their floral tributes to Babasaheb in the Parliament House in New Delhi.
  • Dr. Ambedkar is remembered for his triumphant struggle against age-old social discrimination against dalits, women and labour classes. he was also the first Law minister of independent India.
  • Prime Minister remembered Babasaheb on the day and tweeted a video.
  • Rich tributes were also paid to Dr. Ambedkar by thousands of his followers who converged at his memorial, Chaityabhoomi, in Maharashtra.
  • State chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited Chaityabhoomi near Shivaji Park in Dadar 6 dec morning, said the work on Dr. Ambedkar's memorial at the Indu Mill land will begin in a month. Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao also paid tributes to Dr. Ambedkar.

  • Shashi Kapoor, the embodiment of romance and charm who wooed the top leading ladies of the '70s and '80s on the silver screen and captivated millions of fans, died today. He was 79
  • The actor-producer took his last breath at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai.
  • "Yes, he has passed away. He had a kidney problem and was on dialysis for several years," his nephew Randhir Kapoor, the son of the late Raj Kapoor, told PTI.Randhir Kapoor said the funeral would be held tomorrow morning.
  • "Shashi Kapoor expired at 5.20pm on December 4 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai," Dr Ram Narain from the hospital told PTI.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the popular actor.

  • Preet Didbal has been elected as the mayor of Yuba city in California, becoming the first Sikh woman to hold the position in the US.
  • Dibal was appointed by the California city council and will be sworn in on December 5, KCRA-TV reported. There are other Sikh mayors across the country Ravi Bhalla was elected earlier this month as mayor in Hoboken, New Jersey.
  • However, Didbal is the first Sikh woman to be elected as mayor in the country, the report said. Didbal was elected to Yuba city council in 2014 and is currently vice-mayor. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.
  • "Seeing someone that looks like you, that comes from the same faith as you, to be elected in a public office in this country is inspiring and exciting," Jaydeep Singh with the Sikh Coalition said. "When Ravi Bhalla was elected in New Jersey, that was the first time I saw someone who looked like me, who was in a public office in the United States of America," he said.
  • The Sutter-Yuba region is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the US.

  • Former Miss Asia Pacific, actor, producer, entrepreneur and environmentalist, Dia Mirza, was appointed UN Environment's Goodwill Ambassador for India.
  • A long-standing supporter of environmental conservation, Dia will take up the role to add more weight to her work on raising awareness of and seeking solutions to environmental issues that the world, and India in particular, faces.
  • "I feel honoured and inspired by this opportunity to work with UN Environment to protect the environment and promote sustainable development," said Dia. "Environmental issues will be the defining challenge of this era, and I am committed to helping the UN as a Goodwill Ambassador to do everything I can to provide a better future.
  • "Together, we will continue working towards conservation of nature, tackling climate change and inspiring people to live more sustainably."
  • Dia is a committed voice for change, and has contributed her efforts in the field of social change, conservation and environment. She has been to the face of many pivotal environmental campaigns across India, and has worked towards the conservation of wildlife.
  • As a Goodwill Ambassador, Dia will work with the United Nations to further spread the message on priority areas including clean air, clean seas, wildlife protection and climate change.

  • State-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) on 29 sep said it will procure 10,000 electric cars from Tata Motors, an order valued at around Rs 1,120 crore.
  • Tata Motors will supply the electric vehicles (EVs) in two phases with 500 e-cars in the first phase in November 2017 and the remaining 9,500 electric vehicles (EVs) in the second phase, EESL said in a statement.
  • EESL said Tata Motors quoted the lowest price of Rs 10.16 lakh, exclusive of GST in the competitive bidding."The vehicle will be provided for Rs 11.2 lakh, which will be inclusive of GST and comprehensive 5 year warranty which is 25 per cent below the current retail price of a similar e-car with 3 year warranty," it added.
  • "All these 10,000 electric cars will be will be procured within nine months period from the date of issue of letter of intent," EESL Managing Director Saurabh Kumar told PTI.
  • These electric cars are meant for usage by ministries and government departments, either through direct purchase from EESL or lease, he added.Tata Motors was selected through an international competitive bidding aimed at increased participation, it said.
  • Commenting on the development, Tata Motors CEO and MD Guenter Butschek said: "EESL tender provided us the opportunity to participate in boosting e-mobility in the country, at the same time accelerate our efforts to offer full range of electric vehicles to the Indian consumers."
  • The company has been collaboratively working to develop electric powertrain technology for its selected products, he added.While it did not specify which electric car it will supply, industry sources said the company will supply electric version of its compact sedan Tigor.
  • Other companies, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Nissan had also participated in the tender and bids for Tata Motors and M&M were opened, EESL said.

  • Senior advocate K KVenugopal's name has been cleared for appointment as the Attorney General for India, following the decision of MukulRohatgi to step down as the top law officer.
  • A decision to appoint the 86-year-old veteran lawyer as the successor of Rohatgi was discussed before the departure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to the US, Netherlands and Portugal.
  • Sources said that "Venugopal had a meeting with Modi before his departure for a three-nation tour".
  • When contacted and asked about his priority as the Attorney General, Venugopal said, "I will speak only after the notification is issued."

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