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- The Indian Railways has unveiled the new Humsafar Express, an all AC-3 tier train that was one of the promises made by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu under the Railway Budget 2016. Apart from GPS-based passenger information system, the 22-coach train features facilities like CCTVs and braille-integrated displays. Notably, all coaches have bio-toilets and are equipped with smoke detection alarms.
- The government informed the Parliament that a decision has been taken to print plastic currency notes. Further, the process of procurement of material for the same has been initiated, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal Notably, such notes have an average life span of nearly five years and are difficult to counterfeit.
- The Supreme Court exempted people with physical disabilities from its recent ruling of making it mandatory for everyone to stand during the National Anthem to be played compulsorily before film screenings in theatres. The apex court further clarified that the doors of the cinema halls will be closed, but not bolted when the National Anthem is played.
- Students will no longer have to submit original certificates to universities for admission for the upcoming academic year, a notification issued by University Grants Commission (UGC) It also stated that institutes will have to give a full refund if admission is cancelled within 15 days. The notification covers all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes run by UGC-recognised universities.
- As per a notification issued by the Central government, as many as fifteen new castes, including Gadheri/itafarosh in Bihar, Jhora in Jharkhand and Labana in Jammu and Kashmir, have been included in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Notably, the National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended a total of 28 changes in respect of eight states.
- Uttarakhand High Court banned liquor in Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, and Chamoli districts of the state. The court also announced a ban on liquor and tobacco products within a radius of 5 kilometers from prominent Sikh shrines – Reetha Sahib and Hemkunt Sahib. The ban will be effective from the financial year starting April, reports said.
- The 21st International Film Festival of Kerala began in Thiruvananthapuram. It opened with Navid Mahmoudi’s directorial ‘Raftan,’ which narrates the story of a couple attempting to migrate from Iran to Europe. The eight-day festival, hosted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy on behalf of the Kerala Cultural Affairs Department, is set to showcase 184 films from 62 countries.
- India and Vietnam signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement for the peaceful use of atomic energy, with PM Narendra Modi asserting that this will further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. Three other agreements to enhance aviation links, jointly work in the area of energy efficiency, and to promote parliamentary cooperation were also signed.
- South Korea’s Parliament voted 234-56 in favour of impeaching President Park Geun-hye, following weeks of protests over her involvement in an influence-peddling scandal. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will be acting president until the court delivers a ruling. Geun-hye will be the first democratically elected President of South Korea to be impeached.
- South African swimmer Chad le Clos bettered his own record in the 100-metre butterfly stroke to set a new world record of 48.08 seconds, at the FINA short course world swimming championships in Windsor, Canada. He bettered his previous short course mark of 48.44 seconds, which he had set at the 2014 world championships in Doha.
- Muhtar Kent has announced that he will step down as the CEO of Coca-Cola in May 2017 and will be succeeded by company President and COO James Quincey. Kent, who has been CEO since 2008, will continue as Chairman. Kent’s total pay was reduced to $14.6 million from $25.2 million in 2016 after Coke’s revenue dropped 4%.
- The Huffington Post has appointed New York Times editor Lydia Polgreen to succeed its Founder Arianna Huffington as the Editor-in-Chief. Polgreen worked with the New York Times for 15 years, where she served as the head of NYT Global. Arianna Huffington, who left the company in August, has launched her own wellness advisory startup Thrive Global.
- The world’s oldest person to venture into space and first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn passed away at the age of 95. Glenn spent almost nine days on the space shuttle orbiter Discovery aged 77 in 1998. As a Marine Corps Major, John Glenn set a record for the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed.