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Important Current Affairs 28th December 2018

National News

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq 
•    The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, after a heated debate.
•    The Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
•    Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill is proposed to supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha


Centre extends deadline to update NRC
•    The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.
•    In a notification, the Registrar General of India Sailesh said the decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.
•    On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. 
•    The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.


Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna rejuvenation
•    Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.
•    Most of the projects are for the sewerage infrastructure and are at various stages of implementation.
•    These projects under Yamuna Action Plan III are located in three drainage zones namely Kondli, Rithala and Okhla in Delhi.


Niti Aayog releases second Delta Ranking of Aspirational districts
•    Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today released the Second Delta Ranking of the Aspirational Districts Programme. The ranking details the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors.
•    Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar's Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha. These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.
•    Nagaland's Kiphire district, Jharkhand's Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.
•    The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.
•    The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level. 
•    The Aspirational District Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year with the aim to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

Economy and Banking

Bimal Jalan to head six-member panel on RBI’s economic capital framework
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the government, has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
•    Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee’s chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman.
•    The other members are Economic Affairs Secretary Subash Chandra Garg, RBI Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan and two board members of the RBI — Bharat Doshi and Sudhir Mankad.
•    Dr. Jalan was the Governor of the RBI between November 1997 and September 2003.
•    The committee would submit its report within 90 days from the date of its first meeting, the RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
•    The terms of reference of the committee would be to review status, need and justification of various provisions, reserves and buffers presently provided for by the RBI, keeping in mind ‘public policy mandate of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.’
•    The committee will also review best practices followed by the central banks globally in making assessment and provisions for risks, to which central bank balance sheets are subjected.

RBI launches survey to capture retail payment habits in 6 cities 
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will capture payment habits of individuals in six cities, including four metropolitan towns. For the purpose, the central bank has launched a 'Survey on Retail Payment Habits of Individuals (SRPHi)'.
•    the survey will cover a sample of 6,000 individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds across six cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. 
•    The survey seeks qualitative responses from individuals on their payment habits. The findings may provide some idea about awareness and usage habits of digital payment products.
•    The central bank further said that Sigma Research & Consulting Pvt Ltd has been engaged to conduct the fieldwork of the survey on behalf of the RBI.

International News

UAE resumes Damascus embassy in Syria after 6 years of suspension 
•    United Arab Emirates has resumed its diplomatic service at Damascus in Syria after six years of suspension signaling a thaw in the relations between the two countries, as also with the Arab world.
•    The Charge d'Affaires of the UAE Embassy began discharging his duty yesterday.
•    This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs.
•    UAE had closed its Embassy in the early years of the Syrian conflict.

Sports


Former Australia captain Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
•    Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
•    To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Glenn McGrath, during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test against India at the MCG.
•    Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July.

Persons


Colin O’Brady - first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica
•    An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
•    Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,600 km journey, crossing the frozen continent from coast to coast.
•    Mr. O’Brady and an Englishman, Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on November 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.
•    His voyage was tracked by GPS, and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com
•    In 1996-97, a Norwegian polar explorer, Borge Ousland, made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

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Important Current Affairs 27th December 2018

National

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to have separate HCs
•    Following a Supreme Court order to the Centre to notify the bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Courts by January 1, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday ordered the separation of the “common” Hyderabad High Court into the two separate High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
•    Both will function separately from January 1, 2019.
•    The principal seat of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is Amaravati, the capital of the State. The High Court in Hyderabad will function separately as the High Court of the State of Telangana.
•    Sixteen HC judges, including Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, who is now the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, shall become judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court from January 1.
•    The new Telangana High Court will have a strength of 10 judges.
•    The Presidential notification quoted Article 214 of the Constitution which provides that there shall be a High Court for each State.


Boogibeel Bridge – India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated India's longest rail-road bridge in Assam as part of efforts to boost defence along the border with China.
•    The bridge, near the city of Dibrugarh, will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
•    With the opening of the bridge, the rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar has been cut by 750 km. The bridge has been designed to bear the weight of India's heaviest 60 tonne battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it. 
•    Construction of the Bogibeel bridge was agreed by the government as part of a 1985 agreement to end years of deadly agitation by Assamese nationalist groups.
•    India opened its longest bridge, the 9.1 kilometre Dhola-Sadiya bridge, in 2017 to connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, also to boost tactical defences.
•    The 4.9 kilometre long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river has taken nearly two decades and $800 million or Rs. 5,600 crore to complete.


Aadhaar Not Mandatory for School Admissions : UIDAI
•    Aadhaar issuing body UIDAI has asserted that schools cannot make the 12-digit biometric identifier a pre-condition for student admission and warned that doing so will be against the recent order of the Supreme Court.
•    In the verdict which upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, SC had emphasised that Aadhaar would not be mandatory for school admissions, for examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.


Coast Guard Deploys Faster Vessels in Sir Creek 
•    The hovercraft operate at high speeds between 30-40 knots (around 50-60 kilometres) per hour and can be highly useful in hot pursuit of any suspicious boat or individuals in the waters around there. 
•    Since the hovercraft can operate on both sea and shores, it would be easy for the troops deployed there to catch any rogue elements there
•    The Coast Guard chief also interacted closely with the fishermen community based around the new facility and sought to integrate them with the Coast Guard to enhance its eyes and ears in the sea for keeping an eye on any suspicious activity.
•    Traditionally, the Sir Creek area in the Kutch district of Gujarat has been used by the infiltrators from Pakistan to enter the Indian Territory. 
•    The Creek has been a contentious issue between India and Pakistan and the 1965 war with Pakistan also saw action here.


Draft IT Rules out for Public Feedback 
•    The Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced Monday that it will hold public consultations on the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018, which are meant to replace the rules notified in 2011.
•    The Ministry said in a statement that the “consultation process is underway”, which started with inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp, and associations representing intermediaries. 
•    It said the government “intends to consult all stakeholders” and that MeitY “has commenced public consultation” for which submissions must be sent by January 15, 2019.
•    Social media platforms are required to end the complete encryption system and remove any “unlawful content” for the sake of the country’s security.
•    The draft rules define intermediary as any platform that has more than 50 lakh users in India or is in the list of intermediary as notified by the government. Social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and others fall under the definition of intermediary.
•    Whenever the government issues an order, within “72 hours of communication”, information or assistance concerning “security or cybersecurity” must be provided.
 

International

Mount Etna Volcano Triggers 4.8-Magnitude Quake in Sicily
•    Italy’s Mount Etna volcano erupted on 24th December 2018 resulting in more than 130 earthquakes of up to 4.3 in magnitude. 
•    The volcanic lava and ash spewed from a new fracture near its south-eastern crater for the first time in a decade and was visible for miles.
•    Mount Etna is Europe’s highest and most active volcano outside the Caucasus. Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. The last major eruption was in 1992.


Tsunami Triggered by Mount Krakatau Volcano
•    Indonesia on Thursday raised the alert level for the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano to the second-highest, and ordered all flights to steer clear, days after it triggered a tsunami that killed at least 430 people.
•    A crater collapse on the volcanic island at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to 5 metres (16 feet) high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Bali.
•    The volcano has been rumbling on and off since July but has been particularly active since Sunday, spewing lava and rocks, and sending huge clouds of ash up to 3,000 metres into heavily overcast skies.
 

Awards

Rafi Award Conferred to Late Music Composer Laxmikant and Singer Usha Timothy
•    The Mohammed Rafi Award, instituted by an NGO headed by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar, was Monday bestowed upon late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy.
•    Kudalkar, of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, was given the Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of Rs 1 lakh and a trophy. The award was received by his daughter.
•    Timothy was honoured with the Mohammed Rafi Award and Rs 51,000 at a programme held in suburban Bandra Monday evening.
•    The awards, instituted by the NGO Spandan Arts, were handed over by Shelar.
 

Economy and Polity

Centre Tightens Norms for e-Commerce Companies for Sale of Products
•    Tightening norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment, the government on Wednesday barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies where they hold stakes and banned exclusive marketing arrangements that could influence product price.
•    The revised norms are aimed at protecting the interest of domestic players, who have to face tough competition from e-retailers having deep pockets from foreign investors.
•    The policy would be effective from February 2019.
•    The policy says a vendor will not be permitted to sell more than 25% of its products on an online platform of a single e-marketplace firm.

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Important Current Affairs 26th December 2018

National

Maharashtra govt approved Rs 4,089 crore for Tembhu irrigation scheme
The scheme is about constructing barrages on the river Krishna near Tembhu village and lifting 22 billion cubic feet water to irrigate 80,000 hectare areas in seven talukas - Karad, Kadegaon, Tasgaon, Khanapur, Atpadi, Kavathe-Mahankal and Sangola - spread across Satara, Sangli and Solapur districts. 
The project was conceptualised way back in 1996 at a cost of Rs 1,416 crore.


Indian Coast Guards has deployed two new hovercrafts
Indian Coast Guards has deployed two new hovercrafts to enhance its surveillance capabilities and to protect against any filtration bids from the Pakistan Side. The two hovercrafts would operate from the Jakhau facility in Gujrat.
The two new hovercrafts together with three interceptor vessels will be responsible for the round the clock surveillance in the contentious area around Sir Creek.


Manipur Assembly passed anti-mob violence bill
Manipur Assembly led by CM N Biren Singh passed the 'Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill' to reduce the number of mob lynchings in the state. The bill recommends life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it results in the death of a victim. The assembly also passed the Manipur Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 unanimously.


PM Modi inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge 
PM Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel Bridge on the birth anniversary of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee i.e. December 25 which is observed as “Good Governance Day”. This 4.9 km-long bridge is the nation’s only fully welded bridge and for the first time European codes and welding standards were adhered to and it has a life of about 120 years.


National Consumers Day 
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution celebrated the National Consumer Day 2018 on 24th December at the Kothari Auditorium, DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of the 2018 National Consumers Day was “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”.

The National Consumers Day is celebrated on the 24th December because it was on the 24th December 1986 the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the president.


P. V. Bharathi appointed as MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
According to an order issued by the Personnel Ministry on 24th December 2018, P.V Bharathi has been appointed as managing director and chief executive officer of the Corporation Bank. P.V. Bharathi is currently working as the Executive Director in the Canara Bank. She will take charge on or after 1st February 2019, and remain in the post till March 31, 2020.


55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
The 55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was held in New Delhi. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was the chief guest and he witnessed the raising day parade along with delegates from Nepal and Bhutan on the occasion.
In his address Kiren Rijiju said, in addition to border guarding duty, SSB is also playing important role in activities such as civic action, perception management and skill development programmes and he also spoke on the contribution of the SSB in disaster management operations with 2 battalions serving in National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
 

International

US and Turkey agreed on avoidance of power vacuum in Syria
US president Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to prevent a power vacuum in Syria after the pullout of American forces. According to an official statement by Turkish Presidency, the both of the leaders in a conversation yesterday, agreed to ensure coordination between countries’ military and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result into abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria.

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Important Current Affairs 24th December 2018

(National News)

10 Indian news firms selected for Google News Initiative Funding 

Google has selected 87 news organisations from 23 countries for funding under its Global News Initiative (GNI). Of these 87 organisations selected, 10 are from India. The funding aims at helping the organisations in building video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.

Google News Initiative

Google has become a go-to site for getting information about a wide range of topics and Google aims to build a more informed world. This is closely interlinked with reporting of journalists and news organizations. Google search and YouTube are dependent on a healthy ecosystem of publishers producing great digital content. But the growing fake news and rapidly changing business models for journalism has become a challenge to the news industry.

Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)

The Defence Minister of India formally inaugurated the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) Indian at the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram on 22nd December 2018. The IFC for Indian Ocean Region has the primary objective of jointly monitoring the vast Indian Ocean Region.

IFC-IOR will provide a way to tackle these challenges through collaborative and cooperative efforts.The Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram was sanctioned in March 2012 and became operational in November 2014.

Vedangi Kulkarni: Indian woman becomes fastest Asian to cycle the Globe  

A 20-year-old Pune woman Vedangi Kulkarni has become the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. She has completed the 29,000 km distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe. She has spent 159 days peddling up to 300 km a day in 14 countries.The world record is in the name of British adventurer Jenny Graham (38) who had cycled the globe in 124 days in 2018.

India overtakes Germany to become seventh largest Stock Market 

India's stock market has overtaken Germany's to become the seventh-largest in the world with a market capitalisation of $2.08 trillion. This is the first time in seven years that India moved past the equity market of Europe's largest economy, according to Bloomberg. At $27.07 trillion, US is world's biggest stock market, followed by China ($5.46 trillion) and Japan ($5.41 trillion).

(International News)

Volcanic Tsunami 

Indonesia was hit by a Tsunami. As the giant tsunami waves crashed into coastal towns on the islands of Sumatra and Java, at least 281 people were killed and 1,016 were injured.

About Tsunami

Tsunami refers to a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake.

Tsunamis are different from the normal sea waves. Normal waves are generated due to the wind and Tides are generated due to the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, whereas Tsunami is generated by an abrupt movement on the ocean floor due to the triggering points like Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, underwater explosions, landslides, glacier calving or meteorite impacts.

The new capital of Burundi 

The government of Burundi has declared Gitega as the country’s new political capital on 22nd December 2018. Bujumbura, the previous capital of Burundi, will serve as the economic capital of the country. The government has decided to hold future Cabinet meetings in Gitega and to establish five ministries in Gitega from the start of 2019. Gitega’s population is around 30 000  as compared to Bujumbura’s 1.2 million.

China launched its First Satellite for Space-based Broadband Services 

China has launched its first communication satellite on 22nd December 2018 to offer broadband internet services to users worldwide. The communication satellite was launched using a Long March 11 carrier rocket which took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China.

Aim

The satellite aims to rival Google and other companies which have similar plans for providing Internet services worldwide.

(Space News)

Nuclear Capable Agni-IV successfully test-fired 

India has successfully test-fired nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-IV from the Dr Abdul Kalam Island in Odhisa. It was the 7th trial of Agni-IV missile. DRDO had positioned Radars and electro-optical systems along the coast of Odisha for tracking and monitoring all parameters of the missile and two naval ships were anchored near the target area to witness the final event.

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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2018

National news

State’s Startup Ranking 2018 Announced
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of thefirst ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018 at an event in New Delhi today. DIPP began this exercise from January, 2016.
States have been identified as leaders across various categories such as Start-up policy leaders, incubation hubs, seeding innovation, scaling innovation, regulatory change champions, procurement leaders, communication champions, North-Eastern leader, and hill state leader.
Best Performer – Gujarat
Top Performers - Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
Beginners - Chandigarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim, and Tripura.
About DIPP
Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was established in the year 1995, and was reconstituted in the year 2000 with the merger of Department of Industrial Development. 
The department functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.


Government launches Conservation Projet for Asiatic Lions
Asiatic lions, that were once found in a range extending from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in eastern India, were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss.
According to the last census in 2015, there were 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network spread over 1648.79 square km, comprising Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and unclassed forests. 
The ministry has already included Asiatic Lion in Gujarat in the list of 21 critically endangered species for recovery programme and financial assistance under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH.


NITI unveils ‘Strategy for New India@75’
The Niti Aayog has said average annual growth of 8 per cent during 2018-19 to 2022-23, with the concluding year yielding 9-10 per cent expansion, is needed to generate sufficient jobs and make India a $4-trillion (Rs 285 trillion) economy.
It is a detailed exposition across forty-one crucial areas, that recognizes the progress already made, identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving the clearly stated objectives.
The forty-one chapters in the document have been disaggregated under four sections: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance.

Sports news

W.V.Raman appointed Women’s Cricket team Coach
W.V. Raman, the former India opening batsman who is at present a key member of the BCCI’s player-development programme, has been announced as the Indian women’s cricket team head coach

International news


Belgium PM Charles resigns
 Mr Michel lost the backing of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) over his support for a UN migration deal signed in Marrakesh last week.
Mr Michel, 42, took office in October 2014 after forming a right-wing coalition, becoming at 38 the country's youngest prime minister since 1841.


The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
Russia has confirmed that the United States of America has decided to cancel the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed between Russian and the USA in 1987.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning Thursday about the rising threat of a nuclear war, saying "it could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet."
About INF
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor state the Russian Federation). Signed in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on 8 December 1987, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on 27 May 1988 and came into force on 1 June 1988.


Mattis resigning as Pentagon Chief
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned on Thursday, December 21, 2018, after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America’s role in the world.

Space news

NASA’s 1st flight to moon, Apollo 8, marks 50th anniversary
Fifty years ago on Christmas Eve, a tumultuous year of assassinations, riots and war drew to a close in heroic and hopeful fashion with the three Apollo 8 astronauts reading from the Book of Genesis on live TV as they orbited the moon.
The Apollo 8 crew is still around: Borman and Lovell are 90, Anders is 85.

Appointments 


Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed as India’s Ambassador to US 
Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to the USA on 20th December 2018. Presently, Mr. Shringla is serving as the High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and will take up the assignment soon. He will be succeeding Navtej Sarna as the ambassador to the United States of America.

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Important Current Affairs 18th December 2018

Obituary news

Yoga Exponent Geeta Iyengar Passes Away
Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar, the eldest daughter of legendary Yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar and a noted exponent of the yogic science in her own right, passed away at her residence on Sunday, aged 74.
Dr. Iyengar’s sudden death comes barely two days after the conclusion of the birth centenary celebrations of ‘Yogacharya’ Iyengar held at the city’s Balewadi sports complex.
Her book ‘Yoga: A gem for women’ became the primer for women across the world and was translated in half-a-dozen European languages.

National news


Lok Sabha passes transgender rights Bill
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill seeking to empower the transgender community by providing them a separate identity.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, seeking to define transgenders and prohibit discrimination against them, was introduced in the Lok Sabha two years ago.
It was passed with 27 amendments.
Highlights of the Bill
The Bill defines a transgender person.
A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and to invoke rights under the Bill.
The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person.


India’s first railway university
India’s first railway university has been opened in Vadodara– It is named as the National Rail and Transportation Institution (NRTI).
The Railway University will be first of its kind institution in the nation and the third in the world after Russia and China.

Sports news

Joshna Chinappa Wins Her Record 16th National Title
Joshna Chinappa and Mahesh Mangaonkar bagged the women’s and men’s singles titles respectively at the National Squash Championships in New Delhi on Sunday. Both of these wins were memorable for the champions for different reasons.Squash star Joshna Chinappa equalled Bhuvneshwari Kumari’s record of 16 national titles by edging out Urvashi Joshi. Mahesh Mangaonkar won his maiden crown on the concluding day of the premier domestic event.

International new


Indonesian Volcano Eruptss
Mount Soputan, on the northern part of Sulawesi Island, erupted twice Monday morning. A volcano in Indonesia has erupted, blasting columns of thick ash 24,000 feet into the sky.
Soputan, which stands 5,853 feet tall, is one of Indonesia’s more than 120 active volcanoes. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 260 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”


Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Australian government officially recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their Capital and this despite is not resolved yet.


Wickremesinghe : New Sri Lanka’s PM
On Sunday morning Wickremesinghe was sworn in by Sirisena, who had sacked him on October 26 and appointed former president, the pro-China Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his place. The move brought the country’s government to a standstill.
Delhi will now push for an early implementation of India funded development projects in Sri Lanka

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Important Current Affairs 17th December 2018

International news

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns as Sri Lanka’s PM
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move, resigned.
Rajapaksa was appointed as the Prime Minister on October 26 by President Sirisena in a controversial move after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe, which plunged the country into an unprecedented constitutional crisis. 


In Saudi Arabia: the right to race 
Less than six months after the kingdom lifted its ban on women driving.
This weekend, Saudi Arabia plays host to the Formula E Championship, the world’s first fully electric, international, single-seater racing series. The fifth season launches in Ad Diriyah, and the organisers have publicised their commitment to encouraging gender equality, incentivising teams with female participants at the in-season test that will follow the race.

National news


India recorded 95 tiger deaths in 2018, 41 outside reserves
According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) records till December 15, 2018, there were 95 cases of tiger deaths in the country. Of this, 41 cases of tiger deaths outside tiger reserves have been reported.
The NTCA maintains the official database of tiger mortality in the country, and compiles figures from reports sent by different States on the basis of recovery of bodies or seizure of body parts.
One of the major reason why tigers are dying in Maharashtra is because many of the tigers are living outside tiger reserves.
After Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh recorded 22 deaths (11 outside and 11 inside tiger reserves), followed by Karnataka, with 15 deaths (six outside tiger reserves and nine inside) being recorded.


Cyclone Phethai 
Nearly 350 vulnerable coastal villages of 30 mandals in the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and many districts of South Bengal have been put on high alert by the respective administrations in view of cyclone Phethai.

Sports news


Junior hockey World Cup to be held every two years
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Saturday announced that henceforth the Junior World Cup will be held every two years but the world body seemed clueless about the host nation and exact timing of the next edition.
The Junior World Cup was last held in 2016 at Lucknow.


Sindhu creats History
India’s P.V. Sindhu let out tears of joy and relief when she finally laid her hands on a gold medal by claiming the World Tour Finals with a win over 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara on Sunday.
With the straight-game victory, Sindhu became the first Indian to win the BWF World Tour Finals title.Playing her third successive season-ending finale, Sindhu, who had lost in the summit clash to another Japanese, Akane Yamaguchi, to settle for a silver in the last edition, prevailed 21-19 21-17 in a match that lasted an hour and two minutes.


Virat Kohli Becomes Second Fastest To 25th Test Century 
Virat Kohli on Sunday became the second fastest to 25 Test centuries with his sixth ton in Australia, joining boyhood hero Sachin Tendulkar, and celebrated by suggesting he lets his bat do the talking.
It was also Kohli’s sixth century in Australia, lifting him equal with Tendulkar as the only Indian batsmen to reach that tally, and gave him the honour of becoming the first Test centurion at the new Perth Stadium.
Kohli is now the 11th batsman to complete 1000 Test runs in a calendar year overseas and the third Indian to achieve the mark after Rahul Dravid and Mohinder Amarnath. Kohli is also the first Indian skipper to breach the milestone and the third overall captain after Australia’s Bob Simpson and South Africa’s Graeme Smith.
 

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Important Current Affairs 14th December 2018

National news

Kamalnath  new CM of Madhya Pradesh
The Congress on Thursday announced that nine-term Member of Parliament from Chhindwara, 72-year-old Kamal Nath, will be the next Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. 
The announcement on who will lead the government in Rajasthan will be made in Jaipur on Friday.


Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge Over Brahmaputra
The DPR for construction of  Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over river Brahmaputra has been finalized.
The project is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and loan agreement has been signed in October, 2018.

National Register of Citizens
The Supreme Court on December 12, 2018 extended the deadline for the submission of claims and objections by individuals excluded from the first draft of the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) to December 31, 2018.
The Assam government on July 30, 2018 released the second and final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC). The draft includes the names of Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.

Appointment

BP Singh to be the new President of FTII Society and Chairman of Governing Council
Shri BP Singh is an FTII alumnus (1970-73) who specialised in film cinematography andhas earned repute as Producer- Director of popular TV serial CID which recently completed a record 21 years unbroken run on SONY TV. 
In 2004 he made it to the Limca Book of Records for taking a single continuous shot of 111 minutes to mark the completion of six years of CID.

International news

India – Russia marked 18th IRIGC-MTC Meeting
The 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was held here today. The meeting was co-chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General Sergei Shoigu.
In the framework of the bilateral Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, the IRIGC-MTC meeting discussed a wide range of issues relating to defence equipment, industry and technological engagement between India and Russia as well as after sales support/upgradation of military equipment of Russian origin.
The inaugural meeting of the IRIGC-MTC is proposed to be held in Russia in 2019 on mutually convenient dates.


President Inaugrates ‘Enterprise India’ Exhibition in Yangon
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated 'Enterprise India' exhibition, bringing in the best of Indian products, services, innovation and know-how to business partners, start-ups, incubators and customers in Myanmar.
This exhibition has been set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), including about 45-50 Indian companies ranging from very large companies to small enterprises, to showcase Indian manufacturing capabilities and industrial technology.


U.K. Backtracks on Suspension of ‘Golden Visas’
Days after saying that it was about to suspend a controversial visa program that gives wealthy investors a fast track to British residency, the government said on Wednesday that the program remained in force, without providing an explanation.
The visas, introduced in 2008, have been especially popular among wealthy people from Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates. They contributed to a flood of money that has buoyed British real estate and financial markets.
Under the program, a foreign national who invests 2 million pounds, about $2.5 million, in assets in Britain can apply for permanent residency after five years in the country. Investing £5 million allows a person to apply after three years, and £10 million permits application after two years.

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Important Current Affairs 13th December 2018

Economic news

RBI slaps 1 crore fine on Indian Bank for violating cyber security norms
The contravention is with regard to RBI’s directions on Frauds- Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks.
This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers
About Indian Bank
Indian Bank is an Indian state-owned financial services company established in 1907 and headquartered in Chennai, India.

Defence news


Indian Navy inducts its first Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle
The Indian Navy on Wednesday inducted its first Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) System at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
DSRV is used to rescue crew members stranded in submarines that get disabled. The Indian Navy joins a select group of naval forces in the world that boasts of this niche capability.
The DSRV can be operated at a depth of 650 meters and can hold around 15 people. The Indian Navy in March 2016 had commissioned two DSRVs, the second will deployed at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.

Sports news


ITTF award for Manika
India’s star paddler Manika Batra was bestowed with the International Table Tennis Fedreation’s (ITTF) Breakthrough star award 2018. 
In 2018, Manika won 4 medals in commonwealth games. These are women’s singles gold,women’s doubles silver and mixed doubles bronze.
She also begged bronze in mixed doubles in the Asian Games 2018.

National news


Zoramthanga as the new CM of Mizoram
Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan on Wednesday afternoon invited Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga to form the government.
Outgoing Congress Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had submitted his resignation an hour before Mr Zoramthanga had staked the claim. The current term of the Assembly expires on Friday.


Shri Nitin Gadkari flags off first container mainline vessel at Tuticorin
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation flagged off the first container mainline vessel from VoC Port (Tuticorin Port).
At present containers from Tuticorin to Far East countries viz Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong are transited by the feeder vessels to Colombo where they are further connected to the mother vessel .
In the last four years, Tuticorin Port has made investments to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore towards improvement of infrastructure.

SWIFT India
SWIFT India has appointed ex-SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya as the new chairman of its board.
SWIFT India is a joint venture of top Indian public and private sector banks and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). 

International News


Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of Auditors
Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi has become the Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of Auditors. The United Nations Panel of Auditors consists of External Auditors of the United Nations and its agencies.
The United Nations General Assembly in 1959 established the Panel of External Auditors. Presently, the panel consists of 11 countries.


Adoption of global compact on migration in Marrakech hailed a victory
UN members states adopted the Global Compact on Migration in Marrakech.
The adoption is a victory for a progressive new framework of how the world views migrants and agrees to protect their basic human rights.
The GCM creates a non-legally binding and co-operative framework that builds on the commitments agreed upon by member states in the New York Declaration for refugees and migrants of December 2016. 

UAE's Federal National Council to be 50 per cent women
President Sheikh Khalifa has called for Emirati women to occupy 50 per cent of the country's Federal National Council after next year's elections.
 Currently, there are eight women members — representing 20 per cent of the 40 available seats. Dr Al Qubaisi was also the first woman elected to the FNC in 2006.

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Important Current Affairs 11th December 2018

International news

39th GCC summi
•    Gulf leaders and officials met in Riyadh for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit.
•    At the end of the summit, the council issued the ‘Riyadh Declaration’, which included 72 items covering matters related to the Gulf countries, the region and the world.
•    The 39th GCC summit comes amid an ongoing blockade on Qatar imposed in June 2017, by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.
•    The 40th session of the GCC summit will be held in the UAE, according to a communique issued at the end of the 39th summit in Riyadh.


Heritage Park for Hindus, Buddhists 
•    The Khyber Pakthunkhwa province plans to construct a heritage park in Elum Valley, which carries a historical significance to both the Hindus and the Buddhists, to promote religious tourism.
•    According to Hindu belief, Lord Ram spent time meditating there during his 14 years of exile, while Buddhists believe it to be the site where a previous incarnation of Lord Buddha gave up his life.


Magnitude 7.1 quake hits close to Antarctica
•    A magnitude 7.1 quake struck on Monday in the southern Atlantic Ocean, close to the South Sandwich Islands north of Antarctica, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Defence news


Nuclear-capable Agni-V successfully test-fired off Odisha
•    India successfully test-fired nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-V.
•    Agni-V is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a strike range of over 5,000 km and can reach most parts of China. The mission critical avionics were indigenously designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad.

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