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- Kochi’s Sahaj International School will be inaugurated to become India’s first transgender school, transgender activists said. Led by six transgenders working with the TransIndia Foundation, the school will initially have 10 children. The students, including a migrant and a disabled person, have been selected from various sections of the transgender community.
- The Gujarat Cabinet cleared an ordinance which seeks to impose a total ban on hookah bars across the state, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani said. Once the law comes into effect, those found violating it could face prison up to 3 years and a fine up to ₹50,000, Gujarat MoS for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said.
- Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport became India’s first airport to introduce self bag-drop facility. This will allow passengers who have already checked in online to quickly tag and drop their baggage before heading directly to the gate. This facility is currently available to passengers of Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, and Indigo.
- A Gujarat-born activist who led a campaign against low pay to women workers at a UK factory in the 1970s has been included in BBC’s most influential women of the past 70 years list. Jayaben Desai, known as the sari-clad leader, was one of the seven women on the list topped by Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister.
- The Supreme Court ordered that Indian Air Force personnel could not keep a beard. The court said the regulations did not interfere with an individual’s religious freedom as they are meant to ensure discipline and uniformity. It upheld the sacking of the petitioner Ansari Aftab Ahmed, who sought equality with Sikh personnel, who are allowed to sport beards.
- The Supreme Court ordered the closure of all liquor shops near national and state highways across the country from April 1. While no new liquor vending license would be issued, the existing shops can continue to operate till the expiry of their licenses. The court further said liquor shops should be at least 500 metres from the highways.
- The Government informed that it has extended the e-Tourist Visa facility to citizens of 161 countries. Further, the number of foreign tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa from January to November this year has grown 168.5% over the same period last year, it added. Under the scheme, the applicant receives their travel authorisation through email once it is approved.
- Google’s parent company Alphabet’s CEO Larry Page has been named the world’s most powerful CEO by Forbes, with his company having a market capitalisation of over $550 billion. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have been ranked second and third respectively. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Walmart’s Doug McMillon have also featured on the list.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named as the World’s Most Powerful Person by Forbes, for the fourth consecutive year. “From the motherland to Syria to the US presidential elections, Russia’s leader continues to get what he wants,” the magazine said. US President-elect Donald Trump bagged the second spot, while India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi featured ninth on the list.
- An international team of archaeologists has discovered a 2,500-year-old lost city in Greece, around 300 km north of Athens. Their search yielded remains of towers, walls and city gates, along with ancient pottery and coins. The city apparently flourished from 4th-3rd century BC before being abandoned, possibly due to the Roman conquest of the area, the team added.
- India announced it will contribute ₹3.3 crore to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the year 2016-17 “despite (its) own resource constraints”. India’s cumulative contribution since the fund was launched in 2006 now stands at ₹40 crore. Notably, 29 countries promised ₹1,851 crore to the CERF after outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a plea for funds.
- YouTube has banned North Korea’s state television channel to avoid breaching US sanctions against the country, reports said. However, the channel’s YouTube page read, “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” According to YouTube guidelines, videos that include violent, sexual or harmful content or breach copyright are banned from the platform.
- Google launched ‘Android Things’, an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for smart connected devices like speakers, security cameras, and routers. Android Things is an update to Google’s existing OS Brillo with the addition of Google Play Services and Google Cloud Platform. Google is also working on its Weave platform that lets devices connect to Google Assistant.
- New Zealand women’s team captain Suzie Bates became the first female cricketer to win both ICC’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards. Bates, who had previously won the ODI Player of the Year award in 2013, won her maiden T20I Player of the Year award this year. Bates was 2016’s highest run-scorer in T20Is and second-highest in ODIs.