1. Isro chairperson K Radhakrishnan retires
i. Spearheading Indian Space Research Organisation triumphantly through several milestones, its chairperson K Radhakrishnan retired on Wednesday carrying the crowning glory of the much-hailed India's mission to Mars.
ii. Indian space scientists bid a 'sombre' farewell describing Radhakrishnan an "iconic leader" as his exit left the space agency at what ISRO on its Facebook called "at its most glorified pedestal ever."
iii. Radhakrishnan, a recipient of Padma- Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, was recently chosen as one of the top ten scientific personalities in 2014 by Nature Science Journal.
India's Mars Orbiter, currently orbiting the red planet, tweeted it's farewell.
2. Planning Commission renamed "Neeti Ayog"
i. India's Planning Commission will be renamed "Neeti Ayog" as part of a plan to restructure the institution that the government believes has run its course.
ii. The name, replacing "Yojana (planning)" with "Neeti (policy)" will be announced in an amended resolution for the new plan body today, sources said.
iii. The Planning Commission had suggested to a group chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that its replacement body should be structured to meet the need of changing economic paradigm and comprise sectoral experts and states' representative.
It was India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a socialist who admired Joseph Stalin's drive to industrialize the Soviet Union, who in 1950 set up - and chaired - the Planning Commission to map out a development path for India's agrarian economy.
3. Tropical storm Jangmi struck Philippines
i. Jangmi, a tropical storm made landfall in northeastern Mindanao Island of Philippines on 28 December 2014. The storm that caused heavy rains and triggered flash floods and landslides in the country killed at least 30 people.
ii. Tropical storm Jangmi, known in the Philippines as Seniang carried winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour destroying several bridges and highway and lead to evacuation of thousands of residents.
iii. Apart from Philippines, the storm has affected several parts of other countries like Malaysia and southern Thailand.
4. NASA's SMAP instrument to measure Earth's soil
i. The U.S. space agency NASA's Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) instrument is ready to measure the amount of moisture in Earth's soils with an unparalleled precision and resolution.
ii. The instrument comprises of three main parts namely radar, a radiometer as well as the biggest rotating mesh antenna ever used in space.
The new instrument is expected to be launched on January 29.
5. A K Mittal appointed railway board chairman
i. Mittal, who was member (staff), has succeeded Arunendra Kumar, whose appointment as well as entire tenure was mired in lot of controversies.
ii. Mittal's position as member (staff) has been taken by Pradeep Kumar, who was general manager, North-Central Railway with additional charge as GM, Northern Railway.
iii. Navin Tandon had been appointed as new member (electrical), a post which was lying vacant for last six months. Tandon was GM, South Eastern Central Railway. Gupta, member (engineering), has been given additional responsibility of member (mechanical), the post which is likely to be filled within a week.
6. Noted journalist Boobli George Verghese died
i. Eminent journalist Boobli George Verghese died on 30 December 2014 following a brief illness. He was 87.
ii. He was an information adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1966 to 1969. In 1975, Verghese was given the Ramon Magsaysay award for his contribution to journalism.
iii. In October 2010, he published his autobiography First Draft: Witness to Making of Modern India.
His last work was Post Haste: Quintessential India, a book that was released in May 2014.
7. Govt splits CMD post in Public Sector Banks
i. The government of India decided to split the post of chairman and managing director at public sector banks (PSBs).The finance ministry has appointed chief executive officers (CEOs) of four banks, while confirmed that non-executive chairman would be declared shortly.
ii. The appointment of the CEOs would be for a fixed tenure, in this case for three years or when the candidate retires, whichever is earlier.
iii. The four banks for which new MD & CEOs were announced on Wednesday were Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank, United Bank of India and Vijaya Bank
8. Rajnath Singh launches women safety mobile app 'Himmat'
i. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 1st Jan 2015 launched India's first integrated mobile application for women safety called 'Himmat', in the presence of Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi and Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.
ii. Who-so-ever will download this smart phone-based application can alert the police in the hour of need by either shaking the phone or pressing the power button twice," said Bassi.
iii. "It is directly linked to the Police Control Room and they will get an indication immediately. After that the location can be traced and will be updated every ten seconds," he added.
9. PM Narendra Modi greets nation on New Year
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday greeted the nation on New Year, wishing that it brings immense happiness, peace and prosperity to everyone.