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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 7th December 2018 English

(International News)

India inks pact with Iran to pay crude bill in rupee
To pay for crude oil it imports from the Persian Gulf nation in rupees.
Sources said Indian refiners will make rupee payments in a UCO Bank account of the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC).
Half of these funds would be earmarked for settling payments for exports of Indian goods to Iran.
Under U.S. sanctions, India can export foodgrains, medicines and medical devices to Iran. India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China. Iranian oil is a lucrative buy for refiners as the Persian Gulf nation provides 60 days of credit for purchases, terms not available from suppliers of substitute crudes – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria and the U.S.

(National News)

OPEC agrees to cut oil production
Ready to reduce output by 1 million barrels per day if Russia contributes 1,50,000 bpd of that cut.
Oil prices have crashed as Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates raised output since June after Mr. Trump called for higher production to offset lower exports from Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer.

Cabinet approves implementation of Shahpurkandi Dam (National Project) on river Ravi in Punjab
Implementation of this project would help minimising some of the water of the River Ravi which at present is going waste through the MadhopurHeadworks downstream to Pakistan. There is requirement for the same for use in Punjab and J&K.
Indus Waters Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 for sharing of Indus waters. According to the Treaty, India got the full rights for utilization of waters of the three Eastern Rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Satluj.
Some of the water of the River Ravi at present is going waste through the MadhopurHeadworks downstream to Pakistan. Implementation of the project would minimise such wastage of water.
A Bilateral agreement was signed between Punjab and J&K in Jan, 1979. As per the agreement, construction of RanjitSagar Dam (Thein Dam) and Shahpurkandi Dam was to be taken up by Punjab Govt. RanjitSagar Dam was commissioned in Aug, 2000. The ShahpurKandi Dam project is proposed on River Ravi, 11 d/s of RanjitSagarDam and 8 km u/s of Madhopur Head Works.
Cabinet approves Agriculture Export Policy, 2018
In order to provide an impetus to agricultural exports, the Government has come out with a comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” aimed at doubling the agricultural exports.
The Agriculture Export Policy has the following vision: “Harness export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy   instruments, to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers income.”

(Space News)

GSAT-11
Indian Space Research and Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched India’s heaviest and most-advanced communication satellite GSAT-11 into space. It was launched on board of Ariane 5 VA-246 rocket from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana.
Facts
GSAT-11 also called Big Bird has been indigenously developed by ISRO. It weigh 5854 kg making it heaviest Indian-made equipment that has been put into the orbit. It will provide high data rate connectivity to Indian mainland and islands users through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.  It is three to six times more powerful than any other ISRO’s satellite.

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Important Current Affairs 5th December 2018

National News

Union Environment Minister at inauguration of Indian Pavillion at COP-24.
Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the inauguration of Indian Pavilion at the 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is being held at Katowice, Poland.

This  year  the  theme  of  India  Pavilion  is  ‘One  World  One  Sun One  Grid’  as  highlighted  by  our  Hon’ble  Prime  Minister  Shri Narendra Modi during first assembly of the International Solar Alliance  on  October  2018.  The Hon’ble Prime Minister has set an   ambitious   target   that   40   per   cent   of   its   installed   power capacity will be from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

PM extends greetings on Navy Day
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has greeted Indian Navy personnel and their families on Navy Day (4th Dec).
Navy Day in India is observed on 4 December every year to celebrate the achievements and role of the naval force to the country. The Indian Navy is the marine branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. 
The official history book of the IN for the decade 2001-2010, titled, 'Blue Waters Ahoy!  The Indian Navy 2001- 2010' was launched by the Chief of the Naval Staff  in presence of the Hon'ble President of India at Navy House on 04 December 2018.

80th Session of Policy Commission of World Customs Organization

The 80th Session of the Policy Commission of the World Customs Organization (WCO) meeting is being organized by the WCO and hosted by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), India in Mumbai during December 3 - 5, 2018.
Some of the important topics to be discussed during the meeting include trade facilitation, controlling illicit financial flow, performance measurement, challenges of small island economies, etc.

India Water Impact Summit-2018 to be held from 5th December

Jointly organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) from 5-7 December 2018 in New Delhi.
To discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water related problems in the country. The discussions this year will be on rejuvenation of the Ganga River Basin.
The Summit will focus on three key aspects:
Spotlight on 5 states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar. The objective is to showcase the efforts and works going on within the respective states.
Ganga Financing Forum: The 2018 Summit also introduces the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform. The Hybrid Annuity Model has redefined the economic landscape of water and waste-water treatment in India. 

Space News

5.8 –tonne GSAT- 11 Ready for launch. 
A team of top officials and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (IISRO), now stationed in the Guiana Space Centre, South America, is going over the last steps before it sees off the heaviest Indian communication satellite, GSAT-11, to its space orbit. The liftoff is slated for the wee hours of Wednesday, December 5, India time
GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country's Internet broadband from space to untouched areas; the broadband domain is now ruled by underground fibre and covers partial and convenient locations.

Appointment

Shri A. N. Jha appointed as Finance Secretary 
The  Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved designating Shri A. N. Jha, IAS , Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance as Finance Secretary.

(International News)

Qatar to quit OPEC
Qatar's Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said the country would withdraw from OPEC on January 1, 2019, ending a membership which has stood for more than half-a-century.
It is one of the world's largest producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Since June 2017, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia — along with three other Arab states — has cut trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and their regional rival, Iran. Qatar denies the claims, saying the boycott hampers its national sovereignty.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC,) is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.

(Sports News)


Gautam Gambhir Retires From All Forms of Cricket
Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir has announced his retirement from cricket on Tuesday.
The Ranji Trophy game between Delhi and Andhra starting Thursday at the Feroz Shah Kotla will be his last game.
He made his debut in 2003 and last played for India in a Test against England in Rajkot in 2016. He retires with nine Test centuries and 11 ODI centuries to his name.
He is the fourth highest run-scorer in IPL with 4217 runs from 154 matches, and also led Kolkata Knight Riders to the title twice.

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