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“Ideate for India- Creative Solutions using Technology”: National challenge for youth launched by Meity minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad
On December 6, 2018, Union Minister for Electronics & IT, Law & Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, launched a National Challenge for Youths,“Ideate for India – Creative Solutions using Technology”, in New Delhi.
To provide a platform to school students to become solution creators of the social problems around them.
i. The Challenge has been designed and launched by:
- The National e-Governance Division, Ministry of Electronics & IT
- In collaboration with Intel India,
- With support from the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSE&L),Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The DoSE&L will propagate the challenge to State Education Departments, NVS, KVS and CBSE authorities.
ii. The National Challenge will be open to at least 1 million students of classes 6 – 12 all across the country – all 29 States and 7 Union Territories over the next 3 months ending in March 2019.
iii. 11 core theme areas have been selected for the challenge. They are:
healthcare services, education services, digital services, environment, women safety, traffic, infrastructure, agriculture, social welfare, disability and tourism.
iv. As part of the challenge, students would share a 90 second video explaining the problem and their proposed solution.
v. Out of all submissions, around 360 students (10 students per State & UT) will be selected by a panel of experts to attend 5 regional Boot Campsorganized in North, South, East, West and North Eastern regions of the country (1 in each region).
vi. Futhermore, the experts will select top 50 students who will be invited and felicitated at a National Level Event to showcase their prototypes implemented in communities and will be declared Tech Creation Champions.
Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad (Minister of Law & Justice)
♦ Minister of State: Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia.
INDRA NAVY: the bilateral maritime exercise between indian Navy and Russian Federation Navy exercises held in Visakhapatnam
On December 09 2018, The 10th Edition of the bilateral exercise INDRA NAVY between Indian Navy and Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) started at Vishakhapatnam. The Maritime exercise will conclude on December 16.
i. The Primary aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
ii. This Year’s edition of exercise would be held in two phases, The Harbour phase would be held at Visakhapatnam from 9-12 December and the Sea phase would be held from 13-16 December in bay of Bengal.
iii. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Air Defence Drills, Surface firings, Visit Board search and Seizure (VBSS) operations and tactical procedures will be the thrust of exercises at sea.
iv. Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet will command the Indian ships at the exercise.
About Indian Navy
♦ Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lamba
♦ Navy Day: 4th December
Three Day Military Literature Festival 2018 jointly organized by Punjab, Haryana and Indian Army was held in Chandigarh
On December 7, 2018, the 3-day Military Literature Festival (MLF) 2018, commenced at Lake Club in Chandigarh. The festival will conclude on December 9, 2018.
i. The festival is a joint initiative of:
- Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh,
- Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore and
- The Western Command, Indian Army.
ii. The 3- day festival consisted of:
- First session on ‘Role of Cross Border Operations & Surgical Strikes’,
- Second session on the ‘Contribution of India towards the First World War’,
- Third session was on sessions ‘Two Battles For Survival – Ferozshah 1848 and Chilianwala 1849’, and ‘Indian Cavalry Charges of the First World War and the Gallipoli Campaign’.
iii. A ‘Clarion Call‘ theatre was set up which screened 40 short films on the Army’s wars since Independence, is the new attraction.
iv. It also showcased the famous battle of Longewala and other documentaries the famous battles of Saragarhi, Basantar, Dograi, and Bana Top besides the naval battles of 1971 and world’s largest tank battle of Khemkaran.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Union minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurate Kannur international Airport
On 9th December 2018, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu jointly inaugurated the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).
i. KIAL is the fourth international airport in the state. The other three are Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode and with the commissioning of KIAL, Kerala becomes the state with the highest density of airports in the country.
ii. Vijayan and Prabhu flagged off the first flight, an Air India Express with 180 passengers bound for Abu Dhabi.
iii. Spread across 2,000 acres and costing close to Rs. 1,800 crore, the new airport in Kannur can reportedly handle around 2,000 passengers at a time and will serve more than 1.5 million international passengers yearly.
India’s first underwater museum to open off Puducherry coast in INS Cuddalore
On December 8, 2018, Indian Navy agreed to gift INS Cuddalore, a decommissioned Pondicherry-class vessel, to the Union territory of Puducherry for the creation of country’s first underwater museum.
i. The 60 m long and 12 m wide vessel was decommissioned in March 2018 after sailing 13000 nautical miles.
ii. It would be sent to the sea bed at a depth of 26 m and 7 km off the Pondicherry coast to act as an underwater marine museum for scuba diving and snorkelling activities. This would enhance tourism in the UT.
iii. It would also help in enhanced marine biodiversity and boosting fishing industry.
♦ Chief Minister: Shri. V. Narayanasamy.
♦ Lt. Governor: Dr. Kiren Bedi.
Legislation allowing foreign blue-collar workers to ease labour shortage from April 2019 approved by Japanese Parliament
On December 8, 2018, Japanese parliament approved a new law allowing foreigners into the country to ease labour shortages from April 2019.
i. According to the law,
- Workers in the first category will be allowed in for five years if they have a certain level of skill and some proficiency in Japanese and
- Workers with a higher level of skills would qualify for the second visa category and would eventually be allowed to apply for residency.
ii. After the passing of the legislation, 345,150 blue-collar workers will be allowed in the next 5 years. The initial numbers considered for this was 500,000.
Immigration is not preferred as Japan’s work culture is pro ethnic homogeneity.
♦ Capital: Tokyo.
♦ Currency: Japanese yen.
BANKING & FINANCE
NABARD signed USD 100 mn agreement with UNFCC approved Green Climate Fund to boost USD 250 mn worth solar power project
On December 8, 2018, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a loan agreement worth USD 100 mn with Green Climate Fund (GCF) to boost rooftop solar power capacity projects through the private sector participation.
i. The Total corpus of the project is USD 250 mn, which will be executed by Tata Cleantech Capital Ltd.
ii. The Agreement was signed, on the sidelines of ongoing COP24 in Katowice, Poland, by:
Shri Shankar A Pande, Chief General Manager, NABARD in the presence of Shri A K Mehta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
iii. GCF is an UNFCC-promoted Fund that has NABARD as the National Implementing Entity (NIE).
Apart from GCF, Nabard is the NIE for Adaptation Fund of UNFCC and National Adaption Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.
AIIB Clears $400 million loan for water supply project in Andhra Pradesh
The Beijing Headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had approved a $400 million loan for a Water Sanitation Project in Andhra Pradesh.
i. The Project will be very helpful for women and girls of affected community in Andhra Pradesh and it will reduce the health risks and health expenditure for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
ii. India is the second largest shareholder of Asian Infrastructure Development Bank after China.
iii. After this Loan the overall loan amount of India from AIIB reached to $2 Billion spread over nine projects. This loan will strengthen the AIIB’s capacity and loan demand from other states is also expected to increase.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
♦ President: Jin Liqun
♦ Vice President and Chief Investment Officer: D. J. Pandian
♦ Headquarters: Beijing, China
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Mexico’s Vanessa Poncede Leon wins Miss World 2018 crown at grand event held in China’s Sanya
On 8th December 2018 Mexico‘s Vanessa Ponce de Leon won the coveted Miss World 2018 crown at the 68th edition of the prestigious Miss World grand event held in the Chinese city, Sanya.
i. The 26-year-old Vanessa was crowned by Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar of India.
ii. Vanessa Ponce de Leon, has a degree in international business, volunteers for “Migrantes en el Camino” and is on the board of directors of a rehab centre for girls.
iii. Nicolene Pichapa from Thailand was adjudged runner up in Miss World 2018. Miss Belarus Maria Vasilevich, Miss Jamaica Kadijah Robinson and Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo were among the final five.
iv. A total of 118 contestants from all around the world participated in the pageant.
v. The Miss World continental winners were also announced in the event. The winners include- Belarus – Miss World Europe, Jamaica – Miss World Carribbean, Mexico – Miss World America, Uganda – Miss World Africa, and Thailand – Miss World Asia and Oceania.
♦ Capital: Mexico City
♦ Currency: Mexican Peso
♦ Miss World Organisation CEO: Julia Morley
Sanctuary Wildlife Awards 2018 released by Sanctuary Wildlife Foundation
On December 8, 2018, the Sanctuary Wildlife Foundation presented the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards 2018 to 8 environmentalists.
i. The awardees are as follows:
|Lifetime Service Award||Honouring the person who had a life purpose to work for nature and inspire youth of India||Vandana Shiva||Bio-piracy Activist, food-sustainability advocate and changemaker|
|Wildlife Service Awards||Employees, researchers, villagers involved in in situ nature conservation||Rohit Choudhury||Determined campaigner, environment activist.|
|Imran Siddiqui||Tiger conservationist and scientist, firebrand environmentalist|
|Iho Mitapo||Grassroots conservationist, eco-entrepreneur, young leader|
|Govardhan Meena||Tiger Defender, conflict manager and changemaker|
|Puja Mitra||Marine conservationist, animal welfare activist and administrator.|
|Young Naturalist Award||Identifying young naturalist and conservationist||Maitreya Sukumar||Student, birder, writer, environmentalist|
|Green Teacher Award||Educating the youth on environment||Nikita Pimple||Educator, Naturalist and conservationist|
Sanctuary Wildlife Foundation:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
IIT KGP won the DSCI Excellence Award 2018 for Cyber Security Education: DSCI
On December 8, 2018, IIT Kharagpur (KGP) won DSCI Excellence Award 2018, given by Data Security Council of India (DSCI), for its contributions inCyber Security education.
i. It was awarded for its focused curricula and research work in cryptography, hardware security, cyber security, network security which have helped spread awareness among the student.
ii. Some of the notable ventures of the department of computer science and engineering at IIT Kharagpur are:
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-funded projects on developing lightweight protocols for authenticating IoT nodes,
- IC reverse engineering and trojan detection and
- the DST-funded ‘Swarnajayanti‘ project on secure authentication protocol for smart grids.
iii. The purpose of the DSCI Excellence Award is to recognize, honour and reward organizations and individuals who address real risks, build resilience, increase trustworthiness and create a conducive environment for business growth.
Data Security Council of India (DSCI), is a not-for-profit, industry body on data protection in India, set up by NASSCOM.
Sundaram Finance MD T T Srinivasaraghavan awarded lifetime achievement award by PTI chairman
On December 8, 2018, Sundaram Finance Managing Director T T Srinivasaraghavan was presented the lifetime achievement award at the Trinity Arts Festival in Chennai.
i. The award was presented by publisher and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, and the Press Trust of India, Chairman, N Ravi.
ii. He was awarded for his leadership qualities that made Sundaram Finance as one of India’s most trusted non-banking finance companies.
iii. Over the last 13 years, he has been organising mikeless kutcheries for children aged below 15 years which got him an entry into the Limca Book of Records for the longest open air kutcheri in the country.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
James Quincey to Succeed Muhtar Kent as Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company
On 6th December 2018 James Quincey was elected as the 14th chairman of the Coca-Cola Company, succeeding Muhtar Kent, who plans to retire in April after a Coca-Cola system career that started in 1978.
i. Quincey, currently serves as president and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company and will become chairman following the company’s annual meeting in April 2019.
ii. Brian Smith will become president and chief operating officer of the company on Jan. 1, 2019.
iii. The company also announced that Sam Nunn, the Coca-Cola director, will also retire and Maria Elena “Mel” Lagomasino, will succeed Nunn as an independent director.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Chang’e-4 mission: China to be the first country to attempt soft landing at, Von Karman crater, the far side of the moon, for the first time
On December 7, 2018, China launched its Chang’e-4 moon mission aboard the Long March 3B launch vehicle to reach the far side of the moon for the first time, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province in southwestern China. Chang’e is the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.
i. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for China’s space program, announced the launch.
ii. The completion of this mission will make China the first country to make a soft landing.
About the Mission:
i. Chang’e 4 is a lander-rover combination that will arrive at the South Pole-Aitken basin’s Von Karman crater following a 27-day journey.
ii. It has a combined mass of just under 4 metric tons, and carries cameras and science payloads to analyse the lunar surface geology. Among the cameras, it sports the Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN) which is a contribution from Sweden.
iii. It will perform radio-astronomical studies exploring both above and below the lunar surface and would plant a flag for humanity in a region that remains largely unexplored to date.
iv. Furthermore, to enable communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang’e 4 mission, China in May 2018 launched a relay satellite named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale.
About the crater:
i. The 186-kilometer-diameter Von Kármán crater, is situated in the South Pole-Aitken Basin (SPA), a 2,500-kilometerwide, 12-kilometer-deep ancient impact crater.
Other Chinese space missions:
i. China also plans to launch a Mars rover is planned for the mid-2020s.
ii. Further it also plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe in 2019 and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976.
The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.
Nanowires, made from zinc oxide crystals, capable of mimicking neurons: German scientists
On December 7, 2018, Scientists from the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI) in Germany made nanowire devices made from zinc oxide crystals can inherently process and even store information.
i. Further, a memristive element was produced from nanowires by the researchers from Polytechnic University of Turin and RWTH Aachen University in Germany.
ii. These my help build bioinspired “neuromorphic” processors, able to take over the diverse functions of biological synapses and neurons.
iii. For this, scientists used a single zinc oxide nanowire measuring about a ten-thousandth of a millimeter in size. This type of nanowire is over a thousand times thinner than a human hair.
iv. The resulting memristive component not only takes up a tiny amount of space, but also is able to switch much faster than flash memory.
Shubhankar Sharma becomes youngest Indian to win Asian Tour Order of Merit
On 8th December 2018, Shubhankar Sharma became the youngest and the fifth Indian to win Asian Tour Order of Merit in golf. The Indian won it even before the finish of the last two events of the year.
i. Before Sharma, Jyoti Randhawa (2002), Arjun Atwal (2003), Jeev Milkha Singh (2006 and 2008) and Anirban Lahiri (2015) had achieved the feat.
ii. With the win, Shubhankar Sharma also captured the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings title after a ground breaking year of achievements.
iii. The 22 years old Sharma’s Order of Merit win was confirmed after he managed to secure total prize money of $755,994 on the Asian Tour for 2018.
iv. He will be officially crowned as Asian Tour’s No. 1 during the BNI Indonesia Masters competition scheduled next week in Jakarta, Indonesia.
v. Shubhankar Sharma was also honoured with the Arjuna Award 2018, which was presented to him by the President of India.
Anushka, Chaitanya emerge youngest winners at US Kids Golf India tour event in Gurugram
On December 7, 2018, the first event of the US Kids Golf India Tour was held Classic Golf & Country Club in Gurugram, Haryana.
i. The tournament had 71 participants across 13 categories among whom the following emerged as the winners.
Winners of the US Kids Golf India Tour (December 7, 2018):
|Boys 7||Chaitanya Gupta|
|Boys 8||Sohang Har Kantor|
|Boys 9||Bhavesh Nirwan|
|Boys 10||Udai Aditya Middha|
|Boys 11||Kushagra Tokas|
|Boys 12||Vickram Baruah|
|Boys 13-14||Jai Bahl|
|Boys 15-18||Aaryomaan Bose|
|Girls 7 & under||Anushka Gupta|
|Girls 8-9||Ayesha Gupta|
|Girls 10-11||Lavanya Gupta|
|Girls 12-14||Ragini Navet|
|Girls 15-18||Khushi Dawar|
i. The U.S. Kids Golf India Tour 2018-19 edition will be played across various age groups for boys, starting from age 6 & under till 18, as well as girls, from age 7 & under till 18.
It will be consisting of eight tournaments to be held across six cities in the country.
ii. Subsequent events will be held at some of the courses in India, including:
- Tollygunge Club (Kolkata),
- Eagleton Golf Resort (Bengaluru),
- Boulder Hills Golf and Country Club (Hyderabad),
- Chandigarh Golf Club and
- Poona Club Golf Course (Pune), apart
- from including Classic Golf & Country Club (Delhi NCR),
iii.It will carry ranking points, and with participation in a minimum of four events out of the eight.
iv.The junior golfers will be able to gain qualification for the U.S. Kids World Championship, U.S. Kids European Championships as well as U.S. Kids Teen World Championship.
U.S. Kids Golf India:
♦ President: Rajesh Srivastava.
Ranji Trophy: Ajay Rohera smashes 267 on first-class debut, breaks 24-year-old world record
On 8th December 2018, Madhya Pradesh batsman Ajay Rohera scored 267 unbeaten on his first-class debut against Hyderabad while playing the Ranji Trophy match in Indore.
i. Rohera broke Amol Muzumdar’s 24-year-old world record of highest score on first-class debut which Amol set against Haryana at Faridabad back in 1994.
ii. Rohera had also added another feather to his cap during his innings by becoming the highest individual scorer for Madhya Pradesh surpassing J P Yadav’s 265.
iii. The 21-year-old, right-handed wicket-keeper batsman, Rohera’s 345-ball knock comprised of 21 fours and five sixes.
62nd National Shooting Championship
From November 16 to December 03 2018, 62nd National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC) Shotgun was organized by National Rifle Association of India at Jaipur, Rajasthan
|Trap Shooting||Men (Individual & Team)|
|Double Trap Shooting||Jr. Men (Individual & Team)|
|Mixed Trap Shooting||Veteran Men Individual|
|Skeet Shooting||Women (Individual & Team)|
|Jr. Women (Individual & Team)|
From November 15 to December 07 2018, 62nd National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC) (Rifle/Pistol) was organized by National Rifle Association of India at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
|Events (Men)||Events (Women)||Event (Mixed)|
|10M Air Rifle Men||50M Prone Women||10M Air Rifle Mixed Team|
|10M Air Pistol Men||25M Sports Pistol Women||10M Air Pistol Mixed Team|
|25M Sports Pistol Junior Men||10M Air Rifle Women|
|50M Prone Men||10M Air Pistol Women|
|25M Centre Fire Pistol Men||50M Prone Women|
|50M 3P Men||50M 3P Women Full|
|25M Rapid Fire Pistol Men|
|50M Pistol Men|
|25M Standard Pistol Men|
Ex-Soviet Dissident Lyudmila Alexeyeva Dies Aged 91
On 8th December 2018, Leading Russian rights activist and former Soviet dissident Lyudmila Alexeyeva died at the age of 91. She passed away in a Moscow hospital.
i. Alexeyeva had been the leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of Russia’s oldest human rights organisations which she helped found in 1976.
ii. Alexeyeva tirelessly defended human rights from the 1950s in the Soviet Union and continued to do so up to recent years under strongman leader Vladimir Putin.
iii. She lived in the United States after she was forced into exile in 1977 and returned Russia in 1993 after the fall of the USSR.
‘Marketing Superstar’ Nabankur Gupta passes away at 70
On 7th December 2018, 70 years old Veteran Marketing Industry Expert, Nebankur Gupta popularly known as ‘Nobby’ who had served at several companies including Raymond, Videocon Industries and Philips died following a brief illness.
Nebankur Gupta had a rich experience of over 3 decades in marketing, Project Management and Business Strategy. He was the first Indian to receive the title of “Marketing Superstar” by Advertising Age International, New York in 1995.
Former Colombian president Belisario Betancur passed away at 95
On December 8, 2018, former Colombian president Belisario Betancur passed away at 95.
i. He became president in 1982, after failing 3 times for the presidential election, and governed till 1986.
ii. He was the first president under whom the rebel groups, that emerged in the 1960s, signed a peace agreement.
♦ Capital: Bogota.
♦ urrency: Colombian peso.
♦ President: Ivan Duque.
16th International Anti-Corruption Day celebrated on December 9, 2018
December 9 is globally seen as International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) and is observed by the United Nations.
i. The day has been celebrated since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003 to raise public awareness for anti-corruption.
ii. UN along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a global campaign called- “Corruption: An impediment to Sustainable Development Goals”- for spreading the awareness on corruption.
iii. As per the UN data, every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP.
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA.
♦ Secretary-General: Antonio Guterres.
♦ Member states: 193.