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51.Uttar Pradesh Govt launches 1st Intrnational festival on Birds
i. Uttar Pradesh Government has launched International festival on Birds in a bid to promote state as an international bird-watching destination. 
ii. The first-of-its-kind festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS). It has been jointly organised by the State Forest department in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). 
iii. The three-day international festival (from 4 to 6 December 2015) on birds will be held the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. Over 80 Indian ornithlogists and around 25 top international bird experts and are participating in the first-of-its-kind festival.

52.Australia passes Anti-Terrorism Law to strip citizenship
i. Australia’s Federal Parliament has passed Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, 2015 to strip citizenship of convicted persons on terrorism charges. 
ii. The new legislation allows government to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences. 
iii. Those who are found to have fought for banned terrorist group overseas, their citizenship will be automatically terminated.

53. AP, Jharkhand join UDAY scheme to bolster Discoms
i. The Andhra Pradesh government has conveyed its in-principle decision to the Ministry of Power of joining UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme.
ii. On receiving the official communication, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, lauded Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu for joining the scheme.

iii. It seeks to reduce interest burden, cost of power and transmission and commercial losses. Consequently, Discom would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24x7 power supply. The scheme provides that States would take over 75 per cent debt of Discoms, as on September 30, 2015 in two years.
iv. The UDAY scheme has inbuilt incentives encouraging State governments to voluntarily restructure their debts. These incentives include taking over of Discom debt by the States outside the fiscal deficit limits, reduction in the cost of power through various measures such as coal linkage rationalisation, liberal coal swaps, coal price rationalisation, correction in coal grade slippage, allocation of coal linkages at notified prices, priority/additional funding through schemes of Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and, reduction in interest burden.

54. Tata Trusts partnered with Khan Academy for free online education
i. Tata Trusts and Khan Academy on 6 December 2015 announced a five-year, not-for-profit partnership to enable free online education for the Indian market. The partnership will adapt and build on Khan Academy's existing resources and tools to serve the specific needs of the Indian learner.

ii. The five-year partnership will be divided into two phases. The first two years will focus on designing a robust set of educational resources tuned to the needs of middle- and low-income students in urban environments.
iii. The next phase will see diversification into other content areas, including offering classes in regional languages such as Marathi, Tamil and Bangla. 
iv. Khan Academy is US-based non-profit educational organization which was founded in 2006. It was founded by educator Salman Khan to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
v. The academy produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos. Khan Academy is significantly backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Broad Foundation, Google, and many other philanthropic organizations.

55. Ministry of Railways flagged off first double decker Goa-Mumbai train
i. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on 6 December 2015 flagged off the first Goa to Mumbai double-decker Shatabdi train through video conference from Panaji, Goa.
ii. The fully air-conditioned double-decker train is the first-of-its-kind in India.
iii. The train will run thrice a week between Margao and the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Mumbai.
iv. The double decker train will cover the distance in around 12 hours. It has eight compartments with a seating capacity of 120 in each compartment.

56. Singapore replaced Mauritius as top source of FDI into India
i. Singapore replaced Mauritius as top source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India during April-September of 2015-16 financial year. An announcement in this regard was made by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of Ministry of Commerce and industry in the first week of December 2015.
ii. As per the data, between 15 April and 15 September 2015, India received 43096 crore rupees as FDI from Singapore. In the same period FDI from Mauritius was 23490 crore rupees.
iii. In the same period, While Netherlands was at number three with 7017 crore rupees of investment, the USA stood at the stood fourth with 5435 crore rupees.
iv. However in terms of cumulative inflows between April 2000 and September 2015 Mauritius still leads the investment list. While Mauritius contributed to 34 percent of total FDI investments, it was only 15 percent in the same period.

57. Commemorative coins of Rs 125, Rs 10 released in honour of Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 December 2015 released two commemorative coins of 125 rupees and 10 rupees, as part of the 125th birth anniversary year celebrations of Dr. Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar. 
ii. The coins were issued on his death anniversary, which is observed as Mahaparinirvan Divas of Babasaheb Ambedkar. He breathed his last on 6 December 1956.
iii. He was born on 14 April 1891 in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh. He was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer. He inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour.
iv. He was Independent India's first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India. In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, was posthumously conferred upon Ambedkar. Ambedkar's legacy includes numerous memorials and depictions in popular culture.

58. Atlas V rocket lifted off with Cygnus Cargo Spaceship to ISS
i. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V (401 configuration) rocket carrying the OA-4 Cygnus cargo spacecraft with much needed supplies blasted off towards the International Space Station (ISS) on 6 December 2015.

ii. The rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after three days of delay due to poor weather.
iii. The current Cygnus mission would be the first US delivery of cargo since April, the last time SpaceX’s Dragon capsule reached the station. A Cygnus last reached the station in July 2014.
iv. Supplies at the station are running low due to several failed delivery runs and botched rocket launches. The capsule carries more than 3500kg of food, clothing, computer gear, spacewalk equipment, science experiments and other supplies.

59. Kaher Kazem appointed General Motors India head
i. General Motors has appointed Kaher Kazem as President and Managing Director of its India operations, effective January 1. Kazem, who is currently chief operating officer (COO) of GM India, will be replacing Arvind Saxena who has decided to retire after leading the company since early 2014, the carmaker said in a statement.
ii. Kazem's proven track record will enable the company to deliver to Indian consumers the great vehicles they want and the world-class customer experience they deserve, he added. Kazem joined GM Holden in Australia in 1995 as a senior engineer. He later held several leadership positions at GM Holden Manufacturing Operations.
iii. In 2009, he was appointed vice president of Manufacturing and Quality for GM Thailand/Asean. Prior to taking on his current position earlier this year, where he managed the industrial side of the business, Kazem was president and MD of GM Uzbekistan from 2012.
iv. "I want to thank Arvind, who has helped lay the foundation for the future success of GM India. We look forward to a smooth transition to ensure the continued execution of our business transformation," Jacoby said.

60. NRDC enters into pact with CSIR-IICT
i. The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has entered into a memorandum of agreement with CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad for marketing the latter’s inventions/innovations, patents, formulations, know-how/processes and also collection of premia and royalties.
ii. The Chairman & Managing Director of NRDC, H Purushotham, said CSIR-IICT has generated a large number of technologies, know-how/processes which can be transferred to industries for commercial exploitation and for social benefits.
iii. The main strength of CSIR-IICT is its rich pool of scientists and PhD students numbering over 600. CSIR-IICT has active collaborations with several countries, including France, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Italy, USA, Australia, Japan, and Korea.
iv. In another development, the NRDC has in association with the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM), launched a series of IPR awareness and capacity building workshops in 25 universities/institutions in 21 States.
v. The objective of the workshops is to create awareness about IP in academia in the wake of new IPR policy being launched by the Government of India and connecting IPRs to the 'Make in India’ and 'Start up India’ programmes, Purushotham said in a press release.

61. Cochin Shipyard launches fast patrol vessels for Coast Guard
i. The public sector Cochin Shipyard Ltd has launched the nineteenth of the 20 Fast Patrol Vessels being built for Indian Coast Guard. The vessel was named “ICGS Atulya” and launched by Hema Subramaniam, wife of Commodore K. Subramaniam, Chairman & Managing Director, CSL.
i. As on date, 15 ships out of 20 have been handed over to the Indian Coast Guard. Cochin Shipyard has successfully delivered 15 ships in a span of just 25 months with an average delivery interval of 1.6 months, against the contractual commitment of 3 months interval.
iii. The last vessel of the order is to be delivered by Mar 2017 as per the contract with ICG. However, with the current pace of construction, the yard is targeting to accomplish this by mid of 2016, much ahead of schedule.
iv. The yard also paid a dividend of Rs. 16.99 crore to Government of India. The company is paying dividend for the seventh consecutive year, a release said.

62. Australia defeated Belgium to win Hockey World League Final
i. Australia on 6 December 2015 defeated Belgium by 2-1 to win 2014-2015 Men’s Hockey World League Final, which was held at Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium, Raipur. India defeated world number two and defending champions Netherlands by 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out, and clinched the bronze medal in the tournament.
ii. The 2014–15 Men's International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey World League was the second edition of the FIH Hockey World League field hockey championship for men. It took place from 27 November to 6 December 2015 in Raipur, India. The Semifinals of the competition also served as a qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
iii. Each national association member of the FIH had the opportunity to compete in the tournament. After seeking entries to participate, 56 teams were announced to compete.
iv. A total of 8 teams competed for Hockey World League Final. The teams were India, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Great Britain.

63. Maharashtra becomes first state to allow MLAs raise online question
i. The Maharashtra legislature has become the first in the country to launch an online mechanism for its members to send questions and move different motions in the House. In this regard state government has launched a website as part of Digital MLAs initiative in the winter session of state legislature in Nagpur.
ii. This system has been launched in an effort of state government to move towards complete digitization of the legislative process that aims at bringing the paper work to minimum. All MLAs and MLCs have been given unique user names and passwords to access to website so that they can send their questions and requests online.

iii. Facilitates them to move different motions like calling attention and half-an-hour discussion questions for legislature sessions. The system has been designed by the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL).

64. Indo-Russia bilateral naval exercise Indra Navy-15 began in Visakhapatanam
i. Indo-Russia bilateral maritime exercise Indra Navy 2015 commenced on 7 December 2015 in Vishakhapatanam. The exercise epitomises the strategic relationship between the two nations. The 8th edition of Indra Navy will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal till 12 December 2015.
ii. The primary aim of Indra Navy 2015 is to increase interoperability between the two navies and develop common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations. The scope of the exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour phase and a diverse canvas of operational activities at sea across a spectrum of maritime operations.
iii. The Indian Navy will be represented by INS Sahyadri an indigenous frigate, INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer and INS Shakti a Fleet Support Ship. The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) will be represented by Vadm Ryabukhin Andrey, Deputy Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
iv. The exercise will be progressed in two phases: the Harbour Phase (from 7-9 December 2015) at Visakhapatnam and the Sea Phase (from 10-12 December 2015) off Visakhapatnam. The Harbour Phase will encompass table-top exercises and planning conferences ashore, prior progressing to sea. The Sea Phase will include various facets of fleet operations.

65. SC directed State and UT Governments to consider acid-attack victims under Disabled Quota
i. The Supreme Court on 7 December 2015 directed State and Union Territory (UT) Governments to consider acid-attack victims under the disabled quota. The decision was made to make sure that the acid-attack survivors can be able to get reservations in government jobs as well as education benefits as disabled person.
ii. A bench of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice C Nagappan its order asked the states and Union territories to consider the plight of such victims and take appropriate steps with regard to inclusion of their names under the disability list.
iii. It directed Government to compensate, rehabilitate and provide free treatment to the survivors of acid attacks in pursuance of guidelines issued by it earlier. The court also said that its decision should be sent to chief secretaries of all states and UTs who would have to ensure that the order reaches to district magistrates.
iv. The order was pronounced while hearing a petition filed by Bihar-based NGO Parivartan Kendra that in its plea said that the state (Bihar) had not adequately compensated the victim for an incident that occurred over two years ago. The PIL said the victim had been paid only around 1.5 lakh rupees so far.
v. The court asked Bihar government to pay a compensation of 10 lakh rupees to an acid-attack victim, besides providing her free treatment including reconstruction surgery. It also asked the state to pay 3 lakh rupees to the victim's sister who has been providing her all help.

66. India launched I-LTEO programme to monitor 8 different biomes
i. India on 7 December 2015 launched the Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories (I-LTEO) programme to scientifically monitor eight different biomes (natural landscapes) across the country. The initiative was launched on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties-21 (COP-21) of UNFCCC in Paris.
ii. The programme aims to identify and monitor targeted socio-ecological challenges and help build capacity within India. The studies under the programme will indicate the need for imminent adaptation measures.
iii. Under this programme, students and young scientists will also be trained through sustained long-term support for research in the area of climate change. The initiative will also help the country to have its own scientific data-base in this key area without depending on studies done abroad.
iv. The new initiative will cover all the major biomass of the country from Western Himalayas to Western Ghats, Eastern Himalayas to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, central India to the Sunderbans and from Jammu & Kashmir to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Moreover, long term scientific monitoring of the natural landscapes, water resources, grasslands, mammals, birds, fishes and insects will also be carried out.
v. The focus would be to pick up signals and patterns of how changes in climate are affecting natural and closely associated human systems of agriculture and pastoralism. It will also enable its scientists to join international initiatives on the subject and provide empirical data on actual impacts on various eco-systems.

67. Beijing issued first-ever Red Alert on Air Pollution
i. Authorities in Chinese capital Beijing on 7 December 2015 issued its first-ever red alert on air pollution ordering schools to close due to hazardous air quality. Red alert is the highest possible state of caution.

ii. The order was issued after acrid smog enveloped the capital for the second time in December 2015. The order will last from 7am (local time) on 8 December 2015 morning until midday on 10 December 2015, when the weather is expected to change and blow away the smog.
iii. The red alert was announced for the first time since an emergency air-pollution response system (four-tier system) was introduced in 2013. Beijing got severe new law to control hazardous Smog and Air Pollution
iv. Half of private cars in the city will be ordered off the road during the period with an odd-even number plate system in force. Government agencies will have to keep 30 percent of their automobiles off the streets.
v. The other extra measures to be enforced include halting outdoor construction, banning fireworks and outdoor barbecues. Schools and nurseries will be required to close.

68. SmartCity Kochi to open next month
i. The much-delayed first phase of SmartCity Kochi, a joint venture of SmartCity Dubai and the Kerala Government, is ready for opening and will most likely take place in January.
ii. The exact date of the opening will depend on the convenience of Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, who is also the Emir of Dubai. Built-up area of around 6.5 lakh square feet will be open for commercial utilisation once the first phase is opened and nearly three-fourths of the space has already been taken by major companies in the IT and ITES sector.
iii. Along with the opening of the first phase, the work on the second phase, which aims to build a much larger space than the first, will also begin. On Monday, State Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson reviewed the progress of the project as well as that of ancillary infrastructure development.
iv. SmartCity, a much-hyped development project in Kochi, has been delayed for several years mainly because of the financial meltdown in Dubai around the turn of the decade and bureaucratic bottlenecks.

69. ‘Biz Bridge’ meet in Kolkata
i. Loan applications worth Rs. 50 crore were received from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), both existing and prospective, from the eastern region, particularly West Bengal, at the end of the four-day ‘Biz Bridge 2015’ organised here in the city.
ii. Organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Biz Bridge 2015 had about 100 exhibitors coming from across the country and drew over 10,000 high-end visitors.
iii. According to a release from CII, the apex chamber will take forward the loan applications through its Finance Facilitation Centre (FFC) for further action with all its 13 partner banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
iv. The CII-Finance Facilitation Centre had also put up a special stall drawing a large number of entrepreneurs, said Saugat Mukherjee, Regional Director, CII Eastern Region.
v. Countrywide, loans applications that have been made and processed through CII-FFC are worth Rs. 475 crore so far, the industry body claimed.

70. Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha
i. Union Government on 7 December 2015 introduced Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha to facilitate and fast track setting up of new nuclear projects in the country. The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
ii. The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 empowers the Union government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy.
iii. It expands the definition of paid-up share capital in parent Act to include joint ventures (JV) of public sector undertakings (PSUs). The whole of the paid up share capital would be held by one or more PSUs and empowers the Union government to constitute its Board of Directors for such JV.
iv. It proposes to make a consequential amendment in Section 14 of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to enable the Central Government to issue licence to such joint-venture companies to set up nuclear power plants, take measures for safe operation and ensure safe disposal of nuclear material. 
v. It states that any license, granted for matters such as (i) producing atomic energy and (ii) acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained etc., will be cancelled if a licensee ceases to be a government company.

71. GRSE launches fifth ship of Indian Navy's LCU MK IV project
i. The fifth ship of Indian Navy's LCU MK IV project, was launched on Monday at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata. LCU L-55 is the fifth vessel in the series of eight Landing Craft Utility Ships being designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy.
ii. The chief guest, Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Material, Chairman & Managing Director GRSE were present on the occasion. 
iii. Vice Admiral AV Subhedar asserted that the Indian Navy has been supporting the drive for indigenous construction of warships leading to advancement of our shipbuilding industry and acknowledged the role of GRSE as a reliable partner in pursuing the national goal of 'Make in India'. 
iv. He further stated that Indian Navy is eagerly looking forward towards induction of LCU-MKIV class of ships, which would be based at Port Blair. The ship can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, humanitarian and disaster relief operations and evacuation from distant islands.
v. The first ship of the class 'LCU-L51' was launched on March 12, 2014 and is presently undergoing trials at GRSE. The vessel is likely to be delivered shortly to Indian Navy. 

72. Tech Mahindra bags 'Forbes Top 100 Middle East - Global Meets Local 2015' Award
i. Tech Mahindra, a specialist in digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering, has been awarded the prestigious 'Forbes Top 100 Middle East - Global Meets Local 2015' Award. ii. The award was presented at a special event hosted by Forbes Middle East in Dubai, celebrating the top management executives that are heading up regional offices in the Middle East for the world's most powerful companies.
iii. The winners are judged on criteria's of Global strength, experience in region, Geographical reach, Employment impact & Position in the Middle East region.
iv. Tech Mahindra has been in Middle East for over 12 years with operaticns across UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkey. The key focus verticals in the region are Energy & Utility, Telecom, Banking, Retail, Travel & Transport, Public Sector, Healthcare and Sports.

73. Indian-American entrepreneur Frank Islam to be conferred with Uttar Pradesh Ratna Award
i. Frank Islam, an Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist, will be conferred with Uttar Pradesh Ratna Award on 4 January 2016 at the inaugural UP Pravasi Diwas in Agra. The Uttar Pradesh Government will be honouring Islam to recognise his achievements and outstanding contributions in a foreign country.

ii. Born in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Islam moved to the United States in the early 1970s to study at University of Colorado where he obtained his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Computer Science. In 1994, he founded an Information Technology firm the QSS Group, which he sold in 2007.
iii. After selling the QSS Group, he established the FI Investment Group. He has also authored two books, Working the Pivot Points: To Make America Work Again, and Renewing the American Dream: A Citizen’s Guide for Restoring Our Competitive Advantage.
iv. The UP Ratna Award is conferred to the NRIs, who hail from the state. It is awarded to the NRIs who have made significant contribution to the field of science, technology, culture, medicine, education, public service and commerce in foreign countries.

74. Centre sets up `SETU’ to support start-up businesses
i. A mechanism known as SETU to support all aspects of start-up businesses and other self- employment activities has been set up by the government, Lok Sabha was informed today.
ii. Union Minister for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurs envisaged fostering entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation by providing support in terms of fiscal incentives, creation of grass root technology innovation hubs, legal support and market linkages.
iii. Rudy said government has also launched in August 2015 India Aspiration Fund (IAF) under the Small Industries Development Bank of India with a capital of Rs. 2,000 crore to give a boost to start—up ecosystem in the country.
iv. “The objective of the IAF is to catalyse tens of thousands of crores of equity investment into start—ups and MSMEs creating employment to lakhs of persons, mostly educated youth, over the next four to five years,” he said.
v. The Minister said the Department of Electronics and Information Technology is implementing a scheme entitled ’Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs’ (TIDE) under which 147 start—ups have been supported at 25 TIDE centres established in premier institutes like IITs, NITs, IIMs etc.

75. MSDE and DHI signed MoU for skill development in manufacturing sector
i. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for skill development in the manufacturing sector was signed on 8 December 2015 between Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI). The MoU focused on capital goods and automotive sector.

ii. The purpose of the MoU is to create centres of excellence for different manufacturing skills and a multi-location national institute of manufacturing technologies for training education and research by utilizing/upgrading the existing training facilities of Central PSUs such as HMT, BHEL and Instrumentation Ltd. under the DHI.
iii. The centres of excellence will ensure that a robust national ecosystem for development of skills in the manufacturing sector is created in the country and internationally known best practices in this field are brought in with active participation of countries like Germany.
iv. Under the MoU, all Central PSUs have committed to invest at least 20 percent of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for skilling purpose. The Central PSUs have also committed to provide equipment and machinery, which has been phased out of production line, but could still be used for training purposes to training institutions.
v. The MoU will also enable significant scale up of apprentice training in the central PSUs under the Department of Heavy Industry and promote adoption of ITIs by the Central PSUs.

76. Chen Long and Carolina Marin bagged 2015 BWF Player of the Year Awards
i. China’s Chen Long and all England and World champion Carolina Marin on 7 December 2015 bagged the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Male and Female Player of the Year Awards respectively in Dubai. Marin held off competition from Zhao Yunlei, Saina Nehwal and Bao Yixin. On the other hand, Long retained the Male Player of the Year award that he won last year.
ii. China’s rising star and World Junior Champion in Mixed Doubles and Men’s Doubles Zheng Si Wei grabbed the Eddy Choong Award for Most Promising Player of the Year.
iii. BWF, for the first time, honoured para-badminton players with the year-end awards. Lee Sam Seop of Korea was named Male Para-Badminton Player of the Year. Helle Sofie Sagoy was awarded with the Female Para-Badminton Player of the Year.
iv. Spain’s Carolina Marin is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by Badminton World Federation Women's Singles 2015. She became world champion in women's singles in 2014 and 2015. In 2009, she became the first Spanish badminton player to win a silver medal at the 2009 European Junior Badminton Championships.
v. She also became the first Spanish badminton player to win gold medal at the 2009 European U17 Badminton Championships. She was the first Spanish badminton player to win a Grand Prix Gold title after winning the 2013 London Grand Prix Gold.

77. Hetero became first Indian company to receive DGCI’s approval for hepatitis C drug
i. Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs on 8 December 2015 announced that it received the approval of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to launch fixed-dose combination therapy Ledipasvir-Sofosbuvir. The product will be available under the brand name Ledisof in India.
ii. With this approval, Hetero became the first company in the country to get approval from DGCI to launch hepatitis C medicines. In September 2014, Hetero signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with the USA-based Gilead Sciences in to manufacture and market chronic hepatitis C medicines.
iii. This fixed-dose combination is the generic version of Gilead’s brand Harvoni. It was approved by US FDA for the treatment of chronic hepatitis genotype 1 in both treatment –naïve and treatment-experienced patients. And, Sofosbuvir in combination with Ledipasvir has shown to have high cure rates of around 90 percentage.
iv. It is a growing public health concern, particularly in developing countries. In India alone, it is estimated that 12-18 million patients are infected with Hepatitis C which is several fold greater than those with HIV/AIDS.

78. Singapore's Changi airport to run Jaipur, Ahmedabad airports
i. Passengers using Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports can soon look forward to a retail and food and beverages experience that passengers going through Singapore’s Changi airport enjoy at present.
ii. This follows the Governments of India and Singapore signing an agreement for Singapore airport developer Changi being nominated for taking up the operations and management of the two Indian airports.

iii. The agreement was signed on November 24 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the island city state and will see Changi manage the retail space inside the terminal building and car parking space, a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said. The operations of the airport will remain with AAI.
iv. The Government-to-Government agreement does away with the need for AAI to put out a tender for deciding on who they should tie-up with for operations and management of its airports and puts the enture process on a fast track, AAI officials said.
v. A team from Changi is expected in India by the end of the year to do due diligence on the two airports and make an offer to AAI, which owns and manages Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports. The entire process is expected to be completed by April 1 next year by when Changi should be in a position to start working at these two Indian airports, officials said.
vi. The two are airports which are seeing a jump in passenger demand and it is estimated that by 2023-24 Ahmedabad will see 7.87 million passengers passing through it up from 5.05 million while Jaipur will see 3.75 million passengers through it in 2023-24 up from the current about 2 million.

79. Karnataka govt signs EoI with Reitzel Group
i. Karnataka delegation, which is touring France to promote ‘Invest Karnataka 2016’ (global investment meet), has signed an Expression of Interest (EoI) agreement with Reitzel Group.
ii. As per the EoI, the company is expected to invest 3 million Euros (about Rs. 20 crore) and create about 50 new jobs to the already 200 existing jobs. Reitzel is a Paris-based family-owned company in the agri and food processing industry.
iii. The agreement signed in the presence of R V Deshpande, Karnataka Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Tourism at Paris is for Reitzel’s expansion of its existing Gherkin production plant at Kunigal, Tumakuru district.
iv. Gaurav Gupta, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director, Department of Industries and Commerce signed the agreement on behalf of the state government while Pierre B Darmon, Deputy CEO, Reitzel signed the same on behalf of Reitzel.
v. Delegation on arrival in France as part of road show to attract companies for the forthcoming ‘Invest Karnataka 2016’ event scheduled from February 3 to 5, 2016 in Bengaluru interacted with the existing and potential investors, organised by MEDEF International and GIFAS with a special focus on manufacturing and aerospace sectors.
vi. Addressing member companies of MEDEF and GIFAS at two separate events in Paris, Deshpande, highlighted the several steps initiated by the state government to decongest Bengaluru and disperse industry to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

80. New Zealand formally becomes member of AIIB
i. New Zealand has formally become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Minister Bill English said Tuesday. New Zealand's ratification would contribute to the AIIB reaching the 50-percent threshold of the needed for the AIIB to establish operations, English said in a statement.
ii. The move followed the passage of the International Financial Agreement Amendment Act in the New Zealand Parliament in November. New Zealand was the ninth country to formally become a founding member.
iii. The AIIB would have around 100 billion U.S. dollars of initial capital to promote sustainable development in the region. New Zealand's paid in capital will be around 125 million NZ dollars (83.05 million U.S. dollars), paid over five years.
iv. AIIB investments would include improving transportation links, providing sanitation and clean drinking water, and supporting cleaner and more sustainable energy.

81. Pune, Rajkot became interim IPL franchises to replace CSK, RR
i. Pune and Rajkot on 8 December 2015 became the interim franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) till 2017. The will take place of the suspended teams of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR).
ii. CSK and RR are facing two-year suspensions which were imposed by the Supreme Court-mandated RM Lodha panel following the 2013 IPL corruption scandal. CSK and RR stand suspended till 2017.
iii. The Pune franchise was bought by Kolkata-based business tycoon Sanjiv Goenka's company New Rising, while the Rajkot bid was won by Intex Mobiles through reverse bidding. 
iv. The process was necessitated by the suspension of CSK and RR for the involvement of their officials and co-owners in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. However, both the CSK and RR will be allowed back in the league after serving out their suspension.
v. The 2016 season of IPL will be held from 9 April to 29 May 2016. The opening and the final match of the season will be played in Mumbai and the new players’ auctions would be conducted in Bengaluru on 6 February 2016.

82. Sustained co-operation needed for cleaning Ganga: Bharati
i. Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati today called for sustained co-operation from the HRD Ministry for ensuring successful implementation of the 'Namami Gange' programme, by intervening in areas like rural sanitation and adult education on environment.
ii. Addressing a meeting regarding role of IITs and educational institutes in the ambitious programme here today, she mentioned areas where HRD's intervention is "specifically" required.

iii. Bharati also mentioned the major challenge before the government is to keep the Ganga clean with approximately 20 crore people taking dip in it every year. "Small stretches of rural areas can be adopted by educational institutes for treatment of small drains carrying rural sewage and solid waste and facilitate in providing 100 per cent rural sanitation," the ministry quoted Bharti as saying in a statement.
iv. Speaking on the occasion Union Minister for HRD Smriti Irani proposed a three-pronged approach for the involvement of her ministry in the programme. It was mutually agreed that secretaries of both the ministries will discuss these possible approaches and identify actionable points through which HRD Ministry can be involved in the programme. The action plan will include 'goal posts' for three months and review of the progress every six months.

83. ADB released Asian Economic Integration Report 2015
i. Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 8 December 2015 released a report entitled Asian Economic Integration Report 2015: How Can Special Economic Zones Catalyze Economic Development? The report examined current trends in trade, finance, migration, remittances and other economic activities in the region, with a special chapter on the role of special economic zones (SEZs).
ii. Asia’s income elasticity of trade declined from 2.69 before the global financial crisis (2008-09) to 1.30 in 2015. The value of Asia’s intermediate goods trade—almost 60 percent of total trade—contracted 2.6 percent in 2014.

iii. Structural factors for the above decline include a general trend of rebalancing away from export and investment toward consumption and services. And, the slowdown in the expansion of global and regional value chains after decades of rapid expansion and China’s growth moderation.
iv. However, regional trade integration is moving steady and Asia in general trades more with regional partners than outside the region. Asia has become an important source of outbound investment, with FDI outflows outstripping inflows, growing over 45 percent between 2010 and 2014.
v. Special economic zones (SEZs) can be a driving force for increased trade, investment and economic reform in Asia at a time the region is experiencing a slowdown in trade, provided the right business environments and policies are put in place. The expansion in the number of SEZs from about 500 in 1995 to over 4300 in 2015 shows the strong and rising interest to this form of policy experiment, though the success record is somewhat mixed.

84. 2016: UK-INDIA Year of Education, Research and Innovation launched
i. India and United Kingdom on 9 December 2015 launched a joint initiative 2016: UK-INDIA Year of Education and Research in New Delhi. It was launched by visiting Secretary of State, Business Innovation and Skill of the UK Sajid Javid along with Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani.
ii. In 2016, it will allow UK academicians to come to India under Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) programme. It will enhance partnership in research work in ten research priority areas under IMPRINT (IMPacting Research Innovation and Technology).
iii. It will help the two nations to deepen their bilateral relationship across education, research and innovation. To increase employability in India, the programme will help in development of community colleges and polytechnics of India, blended learning courses. These things will be done with the help of United Kingdom with focus on manufacturing and service sectors, which will help in meeting the requirements of Make in India.
iv. Javid also said that he looks forward to launch third phase of UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI-III) which could build upon good work already done under earlier phases of UKIERI. The third phase of UKIERI-III, with higher budgetary allocation of 3 million Pounds per year from each side, will commence on 1 April 2016.
v. Apart from 2016: UK-INDIA Year of Education and Research, Sajid Javid also announced the launch of 20th year of Chevening Gurukul Fellowship programme for Leadership and Excellence.

85. India’s Kartik Sawhney and Neha Swain won 2016 Queen's Young Leaders Award
i. Two Indians, Kartik Sawhney and Neha Swain, have won the 2016 Queen's Young Leaders award in the United Kingdom which will be presented by the British monarch in Buckingham Palace in June 2016. Sawhney and Swain have won the prestigious award for their exceptional work in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities.
ii. Kartik Sawhney was born blind. He discovered that blind students were unable to pursue science after Grade 10. Therefore, he appealed and enrolled as India's first Grade 11 blind science student. He founded Project STEMAccess, which offers hands-on science workshops in India, as well as virtual training sessions. He is acknowledged for his exceptional work highlighting universal access to education for all.
iii. Neha Swain is a youth facilitator and co-founder of NGO Rubaroo. The NGO provides an inclusive space for young people, irrespective of their socio-economic background, to develop their leadership skills through interactive workshops. Her team provides workshops to schools in India free of charge and has so far worked with nearly 2000 young people in Hyderabad.
iv. The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth. The award is given to youths who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.

86. Luxembourg became the 10th country to ratify AoA of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
i. Luxembourg on 8 December 2015 became the 10th country to ratify the Articles of Agreement (AoA) that will lay the legal framework for the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Apart from Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Brunei Darussalam, China, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom ratified the 60-article agreement so far.
ii. These 10 countries are among the 57 founder-member countries of the multilateral bank that has its headquarters in the Chinese capital Beijing. Among the 57 founder-member countries, except the Philippines all other 56 countries have signed the AoA and 46 countries are yet to ratify it.
iii. Earlier, on 29 June 2015, delegates of 50 countries signed the AoA enmasse including India. Though the Union Cabinet on 18 November 2015 gave its approval for the ratification and submitting of the AoA, formalities in this regard are yet to be completed.
iv. Representatives from 21 Asian countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on 24 October 2014 in Beijing. It is designed to finance infrastructure building in Asia and is headquartered in Beijing.

87. Mahela Jayawardene awarded honorary lifetime membership of MCC
i. Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene on 9 December 2015 was awarded with an honorary life membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). MCC awarded the honorary life membership of the club to recognise Jayawardene's stellar career in which he played 149 Test matches and scored 11814 runs at an average of 49.84.
ii. Jayawardene became the 14th Sri Lankan to be awarded with MCC Honorary Life Membership. Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas were awarded with the same.
iii. MCC is a cricket club in London. It was founded in 1787. It owns, and is based at, Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's Wood, London NW8. It was formerly the governing body of cricket both in England and Wales as well as worldwide. In 1993, many of its global functions were transferred to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

88. IISc Banglore bagged solar panel research and development contract from US Military
i. The prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Banglore on 9 December 2015 bagged a US military contract for research and development on solar powered micro-grid. It is one of the rare instances that an Indian scientific institute has been awarded a federal contract by the US military.
ii. The federal contract worth 52900 US dollars was awarded by the US Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base in Japan. The contract is awarded to develop solar powered micro-grid with battery and supercapacitor energy storage system.
iii. Indian Institute of Science is a public university for scientific research and higher education located in Bengaluru. The institute was established by Jamsetji Tata in 1909. It acquired the status of a Deemed University in 1958.
iv. As per the criteria of Citations per Faculty in 2014 and 2015, the institute has been ranked at number 11 and 18 respectively worldwide. It was the first Indian institute to feature on Times Higher Education World University Rankings for engineering and technology in the year 2015-16 at 99th position.

89. Human Rights Day observed across the world
i. Human Rights Day was on 10 December 2015 observed across the world.  It aimed to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants of Human Rights Day- International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
ii. On the occasion of the day that marks 50th anniversary of these two International Covenants, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office launched Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always, a year-long campaign to shine a light on the inalienable and inherent rights of global citizens.
iii. The Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always campaign revolves around the timeless themes of rights and freedom and the relevance of the work that continues in securing and ensuring them.
iv. At its core, FREEDOM underpins the International Bill of Human Rights- freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from want.
v. Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.

90. TIME Magazine named German Chancellor Merkel as 2015 ‘Person of the Year’
i. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named as 2015 Person of the Year on 9 December 2015 by Time Magazine. The magazine cited her role in Europe’s crisis over migration and Greek debt.
ii. The announcement was made by Editor Nancy Gibbs, who in praise of Merkel said that Merkel had provided steadfast moral leadership in a world, where it is in short supply. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named runner-up and third place went to US Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
iii.  With this, Merkel, 61, joined the list of former winners, including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin,Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon. She is only the fourth woman since 1927 to be named winner outright and the first in 29 years. The other women to win were Wallis Simpson (1936), Queen Elizabeth II (1952) and Corazon Aquino (1986).

91. Modi, Shinzo Abe to visit Varanasi on Dec 12
i. Marking a new chapter in centuries-old ties between India and Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will visit this ancient temple town tomorrow.
ii. The visit assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of Partner City Agreement between Kyoto and Varanasi, Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, signed by the two leaders during the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan in August last year.

iii. Abe, who is on a three-day visit to India from today, along with Modi will attend the ‘Ganga Arti’, a beautifully choreographed ritual worship of the holy river performed daily at the fabled Dashashwamedh Ghat.
iv. A gigantic make-shift stage has been erected on the river bed with the help of pontoons and a music system is being installed with special permission from the Allahabad High Court.
v. The ancient temple town, situated less than 15 kms from Sarnath where Buddha delivered his first sermon upon attaining enlightenment, boasts of a special place in the religious and cultural consciousness of Japan as well as most of the South East Asian countries with sizeable Buddhist populations.

92. Kapil Chopra to head world tourism council
i. Kapil Chopra, President, The Oberoi Group, has been appointed as the Chairman of World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) for 2016, a statement from the hotel group said on Thursday.
ii. The Annual General Meeting of the WTTCII was held on December 9. Chopra, who served as the council’s Vice-Chairman for 2015, takes over from Manav Thadani, Chairman, HVS, South Asia. iii. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & Managing Director, Air India, has been appointed as the Vice-Chairman of WTTCII for 2016.

93. A portal to help SMEs get bank loans
i. While the SMEs that have managed to get timely finance from banks prefer not to comment on the difficulties in getting the support, there are many that are not even aware of the support system. According to an IFC survey, there are about 55 million registered SMEs, of which just about 35 per cent are in the banking system.

ii. Jyotsna and HD Sheriff, founders of the Chennai-based start-up said they specifically decided to address this gap when they mooted the venture. The portal, which went live in August has till date registered 5,000 visitors.
iii. Interestingly, the applicants are from tier-II and III towns, including Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Erode and Ahmedabad among others.
iv. Quickrupee has tied up with 16 bankers (mostly private banks and NBFCs) and another seven are in the pipeline, Jyotsna said.

94. India and South Korea ink MoU on taxation treaty
i. India and South Korea have inked a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on suspension of collection of taxes during pendency of mutual agreement procedure.
ii. This MoU will relieve the burden of double taxation for taxpayers in both the countries during the pendency of Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) proceedings. Besides, both countries also have agreed that transfer pricing dispute cases will be taken up for MAP under the revised Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Korea.
iii. MAP is an alternate dispute resolution mechanism that allows competent authorities of particular nation and its treaty partner to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement. Under it, two signatory sides can negotiate settlement on a case that can subsequently be taken off from the formal legal process.
iv. As a resolution process, MAP draws up parameters for taxation in one country for which credit would be available in another. Eliminates of double taxation arising out of transfer pricing tax disputes, characterisation of income and attribution of profits and existence of Permanent Establishment.

95. World’s first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, approved for use in Mexico
i. The Mexican authorities on 9 December 2015 approved the use of the first-ever vaccine against dengue fever, which will be publicly available for the first time. French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur declared that the Mexican authorities have granted marketing authorization to Dengvaxia, the vaccine against dengue fever.

ii. Sanofi has requested regulatory approval of Dengvaxia vaccine in 20 countries across Asia and Latin America, but Mexico was the first to green flag it. The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) approved Dengvaxia for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue virus serotypes in preadolescents, adolescents and adults, 9 to 45 years of age living in endemicareas.
iii. The COFEPRIS approval of Dengvaxia is based on results from an extensive clinical development program involving over 40000 people of different ages, geographic and epidemiological settings, and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds living in 15 countries.
iv. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report published in late 2014, the vaccine had an average rate of effectiveness of about 60.8 percent in protecting against the four strains of dengue now circulating.
v. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Overall, the disease is a potential threat to almost half of the world’s population.

96. Sharad Pawar’s autobiography On My Terms released
i. Sharad Pawar's On My Terms: From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power, an autobiography of Sharad Pawar was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 December 2015. The book was released on the 75th birthday of Pawar, the Maratha strongman and the leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
ii. In this book, Pawar has detailed his experiences of political and social issues spanning 50 years. He, in his book, has provided a detailed account of the reason which helped in creation of rough patches in his relation with Rajiv Gandhi. He tells that his proximity with Chandra Shekhar brought rough patches to his ties with Rajiv.
iii. Born on 12 December, 1940 in Katewadi village of Baramati tehsil of Maharashtra, he is the only leader of the state, who became Chief Minister 4 times.  He also held cabinet minister portfolio in several Congress led Government's at the centre.
iv. A heavyweight in national politics and NCP President Sharad Pawar has completed 75 years of his life and a political innings of 55 years.

97. Myanmar inaugurated Yangon Stock Exchange
i. Myanmar on 9 December 2015 inaugurated a new stock exchange, named Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX), with plans for six companies to start trading in March 2016.
ii. Initially, the Yangon Stock Exchange will be open only to Myanmar companies and investors and will eventually allow foreigners to invest in Myanmar shares.
iii. The exchange was set up by local companies in a joint venture with Daiwa Institute of Research Japan and Japan Exchange Group, which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
iv. It is hoped that the opening of stock market will help companies raise capital and fuel economic development in Myanmar, which is one of Asia's poorest countries. Myanmar's economy was stunted by decades of international sanctions until military rulers yielded to a civilian government in 2010.

98. Udai Kumar to take over as MD & CEO of Metropolitan SE
i. The Metropolitan Stock Exchange (formerly MCX Stock Exchange) is set to appoint its interim Managing Director and CEO Udai Kumar as MD & CEO. The equities and commodities market regulator SEBI is expected to clear the appointment soon. Kumar was the lead runner among the two other candidates shortlisted from foreign and public sector banks, said sources.
ii. The appointment will create a vacancy for the MD’s post at the exchange’s clearing corporation as Kumar was playing the dual role of heading both the organisations. In October, Kumar was asked to lead the exchange as a stop-gap arrangement after the incumbent Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Saurabh Sarkar resigned.
iii. Kumar, who has experience of over two decades, is expected to play a key role in the turnaround strategy of the exchange, which posted a loss of Rs. 15 crore during the September quarter against Rs. 12 crore in the same period last year.
iv. He has worked in senior capacity with large institutions, such as JM Financial Consultants, JM Morgan Stanley, Centrum Capital and Fortune Financial. He joined Metropolitan Clearing Corporation from Inter-connected Stock Exchange where he was Managing Director.

99. ABB India appoints Sanjeev Sharma as MD
i. ABB India Ltd has appointed Sanjeev Sharma as Managing Director with effect from January 1, 2016, to continue the path of next level of growth across utilities, industries and infrastructure in the country.

ii. Sanjeev Sharma first had joined ABB in 1990 and since then has held a number of global senior management roles. He brings extensive experience in industrial automation and electrification across market segments and geographies and has led several successful change management initiatives across global operations.
iii. Prior to this appointment, Sanjeev was the global Managing Director for ABB’s Low Voltage Systems business unit, where he was based in Malaysia. He started his career working for ABB in India and has also worked in Germany and Switzerland.
iv. “Sanjeev brings over 25 years of experience in ABB in diverse roles across various locations and functions, where he has most notably been responsible for running successful global business units,” said Frank Duggan, Chairman of the Board, ABB India Ltd.
v. “ABB in India has been steadily growing despite a challenging market environment, therefore we look forward to welcoming Sanjeev to the team where he will be responsible for driving the next level of growth for ABB in India, which is a key market and an important resource base for ABB.”

100. Naseeruddin Shah receives lifetime achievement award at DIFF
i. Veteran Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah was honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). French actress Catherine Deneuve also received the award. The stars shared the podium with the likes of Egyptian actor Ezzat Al Alayli, award-winning French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila at the gala Wednesday night opening.
ii. The 12th edition of the festival opened with the screening of Lenny Abrahamson’s suspenseful and heartrending drama ‘Room’ based on Emma Donoghue’s 2010 best-selling novel of the same name.
iii. Actor Michael B. Jordan, Deepa Mehta and Anu Menon, Jacob Tremblay, the young star of ‘Room’ walked the red carpet.

iv. ‘Room’ starring Brie Larson, tells the extraordinary tale of a young mother and her five year-old son living out their lives in the confines of a tiny windowless room. Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal is also expected to attend the festival.

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