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Bogibeel Bridge, India’s longest rail cum road bridge, inaugurated in Assam by PM Narendra Modi
On December 25, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s longest rail cum road bridge of 4.94 km Bogibeel bridge,which spans the River Brahmaputra between Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam.Till now Vembanad rail bridge in Kerala was dubbed as the longest railway-bridge in India at 4.62km of length.
i. The 4.94 km structure was built at a cost of Rs. 5900 crores by Indian Railways.
ii. It is India’s only fully welded bridge for which european codes and welding standards were adhered to for the first time in the country.
iii. It is also Asia’s 2nd longest rail-and-road connector having a life span of 120 years.
iv. It will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours and will cut out the detour of over 170 km via Tinsukia. It will also cut down train travel between Delhi and Dibrugarh by three hours.
v. Its initial budget was about Rs. 3,200 crore and had an original planned length of 4.31 km.
i. It is a double-decker bridge having two railway lines on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper.
ii. The three road lanes of the bridge can act as three landing strips for the Air Force
iii. It has been designed like a bridge that links Sweden and Denmark.
PM Modi also flagged off a train – the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express, which will run five days a week.
The foundation stone of the project was laid by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997.
Its work began on April 21, 2002 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.
♦ Capital: Dispur.
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal.
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi.
♦ National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park (UNESCO Natural World Herigate Site), Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
♦ Airports: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Dibrugarh Airport, Jorhat Airport, Tezpur Airport, Silchar Airport.
I&B Ministry organised India-China Film Festival in NewDelhi
From 22nd December 2018, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting(I&B) organized an India-China Film festival during the first India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges in New Delhi. The event concludes on 24th December 2018.
i. The three-day long Film Festival was organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi .
ii. A total of seven films including four Chinese and three Indian Films was screened during the Festival.
iii. The opening film was CZ12 also known as the Chinese Zodiac. The list of Indian films screened includes Dangal (Hindi), Maacher Jhol (Bengali) and Ventilator (Marathi).
About Information & Broadcasting(I&B) Ministry
♦ Minister: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
♦ Information and Broadcasting Secretary: Amit Khare.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
17-day International Gita Mahotsav, 2018 concluded in Kurukshetra, Haryana
On December 23, 2018, the 17-day long International Gita Mahotsav 2018 concluded in Kurukshetra, Haryana. It commenced from December 7, 2018.
It is celebrated to commemorate the birth of ‘Srimad Bhagwat Gita’, the sacred scripture that had its inception on the first day of the famous 18-day battle in the Mahabharata.
i. The event was organized by the following:
- Kurukshetra Development Board,
- Haryana Tourism,
- District Administration,
- North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala
- Information and Public Relations Department, Haryana.
ii. In this year’s edition, Mauritius was the partner country and Gujarat was the partner state.
iii. Major attractions included:
- International Gita Seminar (Dec 13-15),
- ‘Sant Sammelan’ on Dec 16 in which holy men from around the country and abroad participated and
- recital of ‘Srimad Bhagwad Gita’ by devotees (Dec 17).
- ‘Ashtadash Shloki Gita’ recited by 18,000 students along with global Gita chanting on Dec 18.
iv. 200 famous painters from across the country to draw paintings on the walls of Kurukshetra on the theme of the Mahabharata under the ‘paint-the-wall’ competition.
Mauritius to organise Gita festival in Feb:
On completion of the International Gita Mahotsav, acting President of Mauritius Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory announced that his country would organise a Gita festival on February 2019.
♦ Chief Minister: Shri. Manohar Lal .
♦ Governor: Shri. Satyadeo Narain Arya.
30-bedded 10th Naval Hospital Ship INHS Sandhani commissioned at Karanja Naval Station, Mumbai, Maharashtra: Indian Navy
On December 24, 2018, the Indian Navy commissioned its 10th Naval Hostipal Ship named ‘INHS Sandhani’ at the Naval station Karanja in Uran near Mumbai, Maharashtra.
i. The 30-bedded multi-speciality hospital was unveiled by Preeti Luthra, President of NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association), Western Region.
ii. It has a team of specialists in the fields of medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, anaesthesia and dental sciences.
It had its origins from being a 16-bedded a small primary health centre in 1955.
It got official sanction to be expanded in to a multispecialty hospital by the Ministry of Defence in September 2016.
♦ Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba.
♦ Vice-Chief of Naval Staff: Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) held in Katowice, Poland
From 2nd December 2018 to 14th December 2018, the annual meeting of United Nations climate change conference (COP24) was held in the Polish city of Katowice, with the goal of finalising the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP).
- Meeting the target of Global Warming to below 1.5 Celsius as reported in Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15) which was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Environment Minister, led the 17 member Indian delegation to the conference. India set up a pavilion on the sidelines of COP-24, themed as ‘One World One Sun One Grid’ to create awareness about India’s positive climate actions in various sectors of the economy.
- On 11th December 2018, a Gujarat women’s group got a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) award for women’s leadership with low cost and sustainable technology to tackle storms, at a side event of the on-going 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland…………………………Click here to Read more
First meeting of the Follow-up Committee between India, Afghanistan and Iran held in Iran
On December 24, 2018, the first meeting of the Follow-up Committee for implementation of the Trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran was held in the port city of Chabahar in Iran.
i. The meeting was held at the level of Joint Secretary or Director General.
Following happened during the meeting:
- India Ports Global Limited company opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Behesti port at Chabahar.
- Discussions were held on full operationalization of the Trilateral Transit Agreement.
- The routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries were agreed on.
- Protocol to harmonize transit, roads, customs, and consular matters was agreed to be finalized at the earliest.
- It was decided to hold an event to promote and popularize the potential of Chabahar on 26 February 2019.
ii. The next Follow-up Committee meeting, followed by the 2nd Coordination Council Meeting the level of Secretaries/ Deputy Ministers, will held in India in 2019.
♦ Capital: Kabul.
♦ Currency: Afghan afghani.
♦ Capital: Tehran.
♦ Currency: Iranian rial.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI contemplated cooling-off period for its retired top officials to 1 year for Directorial position and 3 years for CEO and Chairmanship
On December 23,2018, the central bank of India,Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued norms providing guidelines of cooling-period before a retired RBI top official starts to hold top ranking position in other entities.
i. According to RBI, any retired official intending to take over the position of CEO or Chairman of any other entity would have to wait for 3 years.
ii. However,if the official is to join as a director of the company’s board, he/she would have to wait for a period of 1 year.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Union Home Minister released List of Top 10 Performing Police Stations Across India in Gujarat
On December 22, 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh released the list of top 10 performing police stations across the nation.
i. The list was announced in the 3-day Inaugural Session of the DGPs or IGPs Conference in Gujarat.
ii. The list was prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
iii. The police stations across the country were checked for various parameters like infrastructure, detection of registered crime cases and friendly relations with the public.
About the rankings:
i. The top three police stations in India for 2018 are Kalu (Bikaner, Rajasthan), Campbell Bay ( Andaman & Nicobar Islands) and Farakka (Murshidabad, West Bengal).
ii. Other police stations have been ranked as follows:
- 4-Nettapakkam (Puducherry)
- 5– Guderi (Karnataka)
- 6– Chopal (Himachal Pradesh)
- 7– Lakheri (Rajasthan)
- 8– Periyakulam (Tamil Nadu)
- 9– Munsyari (Uttarakhand)
- 10– Churchorem (Goa).
About the Conference:
On December 20, 2018, the 3-day Inaugural Conference of Director Generals of Police was organized at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat, under the shadow of the Statue of Unity.
i. Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, inaugurated the Conference on December 20, 2018.
ii. On December 21, 2018, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the session and the following happened:
- Prime Minister released a commemorative postal stamp on the National Police Memorial.
- He also released a special issue of Indian Police Journal on Police martyrdom, published by the BPR&D.
- He suggested that a national level parade may be organized by Police forces of about 3-4 States near the Statue of Unity every year on 31st October, the birthday of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
- He also launched the website of the Cyber Coordination Centre.
Ministry of Home Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Rajnath Singh.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Shri. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
P V Bharathi appointed MD and CEO of Corporation Bank; other appointments made by Ministry of Personnel
On December 25, 2018, the Ministry of Personnel appointed P V Bharathi as the MD and CEO of Corporation Bank, effective from February 1, 2019 till March 31, 2020 – the date of her superannuation.
i. Bharathi is presently the Executive Director of Canara Bank.
ii. Additionally, Birupaksha Mishra and Balakrishna Alse S have been appointed as executive directors in Corporation Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce, respectively.
iii. Mishra is currently the General Manager, Central Bank of India and Balakrishna is GM, Corporation Bank.
iv. Also, K Ramachandran has been appointed as the Executive Director of Allahabad Bank from the current post of General Manager.
v. Ramachandaran will hold office up to the date of his superannuation, which is June 30, 2021.
Department of Personnel and Training (DOP&T):
♦ Under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Jitendra Singh.
Riva Ganguly Das appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh
On December 20, 2018, Riva Ganguly Das was appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.
i. She is currently the Director General of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).
♦ Capital: Dhaka.
♦ Currency: Bangladeshi taka.
Ex-IES Officer Sangeeta Verma appointed as third CCI Member: CCI Chairperson
On December 24, 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced the appointment of Sangeeta Verma as its member in its 4-member council including the chairperson.
i. Verma is a former Indian Economic Services (IES) officer and had been appointed for a period of 5 years.
ii. The other members of the council include:
- Chairperson: Ashok Kumar Gupta,
- 2 other members: Augustine Peter and UC Nahta.
The Commission was established in 2003 to replace the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission.
It is a part of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Ministry of Corporate Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Arun Jaitley.
♦ Minster of State: Shri. P.P. Chaudhary.
♦ Secretary: Shri. Injeti Srinivas
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
US researchers made world’s smallest tic-tac-toe game board with DNA
On 23rd December 2018, researchers from California Institute of Technology, United States of America (USA) made world’s smallest tic-tac-toe game board using dynamic DNA origami tiles-microscopic organic structures that can be programmed to transform into predesigned patterns.
i. Using this technique they fashioned a microscopic game of tic-tac-toe in which players place their X’s and O’s by adding special DNA tiles to the board.
ii. They had chosen to make the world’s smallest version of the Italian polymath Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic painting Mona Lisa.
iii. DNA consists of a backbone and four types of molecules known as bases. These bases are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.
Real Madrid won third straight Club World Cup title with win over Al-Ain in Abu Dhabi, UAE
On 22nd December 2018, European Champion, Real Madrid won third straight FIFA (The Federation Internationale de Football Association) Club World Cup with the win over home team Al-Ain in the final held in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates).
i. Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos scored for Real Madrid in the final which leads them to victory of 4-1 against home team Al-Ain.
ii. Real Madrid have now four FIFA club World Cup titles, one title more than Barcelona.
iii. Ballon d’Or award winner, Luka Modric gave his team Real Madrid a lead in the 14th minute of game.
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ President: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
♦ Currency: UAE Dirham
FIFA (The Federation Internationale de Football Association):
♦ Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
♦ President: Gianni infantino
Bala Rafique Shaikh Wins Maharashtra Kesari 2018 in Maharashtra
On 23rd December 2018, the wrestler Bala Rafique Shaikh achieved the Maharashtra Kesari 2018 title by defeating Abhijeet Katke of Pune in the 62nd Maharashtra Kesari Wrestling Championship held at Azad ground, Jalna, Maharashtra.
i. Bala Rafique Shaikh defeated Abhijeet Katke by 11-3 With his aggressive style and good moves.
ii. Bala Rafique Shaikh was honoured with a silver mace weighing 1.5 Kg and a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. The winners of Maharashtra Kesari are also eligible to apply for government jobs under sports quota.
iii. Maharashtra Kesari is an Indian-style reputed wrestling championship, established in 1961 in Maharashtra.
iv. He is the disciple of former Olympian and Hind Kesari Late Ganpatrao Anandalkar.
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
Mangaonkar, Fadte clinch titles at squash tournament in Maharashtra
On 23rd December 2018, National champion Mahesh Mangaonkar of Maharashtra and Yash Fadte of Goa clinched the men’s under 19 boys titles in the CCI Western India Squash Championship organized by Squash Rackets Federation of India in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
i. Top seed Mangaonkar had defeated arch rival and second seed Vikram Malhotra on 16th December 2018 in five games of nationals.
ii. Yash Fadte had knocked out Rutvik Rau and Tushar Shahani in the previous two rounds and toppled second seed Veer Chotrani of Maharashtra in five games in the under 19 boys final.
Squash Rackets Federation of India
♦ Regional Affiliation: Asian Squash Federation
♦ President: Debendranath Sarangi
♦ Coach: Cyrus Poncha
Shiffrin first woman to reach 50 World Cup wins with Courchevel victory
On 22nd December 2018, American Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman to win 50 World Cup ski races with victory in the slalom in the French Alps.
She finished 0.29 sec ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and 0.37sec ahead of Sweden Frida Hansdotter in third place to win in Courchevel victory.
i. She became the first woman to secure a half century of race victories.
ii. Shiffrin won giant slalom by overcoming a 0.08sec deficit and blizzard-like conditions and victory was her fourth consecutive win in the French resort.
iii. Shiffrin leads the overall standings on 889 points after 13 out of the 38 events.
Former Liberal Democrats and UK Political leader Paddy Ashdown died aged 77
On December 22, 2018, Former Liberal Democrats leader of UK Politics, Paddy Ashdown, died at 77.
i. He was the longest serving leader of the Lib Dems in its history where he led from 1988 to 1999.
ii. He had also served with the Royal Marines for 13 years.
Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty dead in WestBengal
On 25th December 2018, famous Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty died following a cardiac arrest in Kolkata, Wet Bengal at the age of 94.
i. He was born in 1924 and His first book of poems ‘Nil Nirjone’ was published in 1954.
ii . He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1974 for his poem ‘Ulanga Raja’ (naked king).
iii. He was also a recipient of ‘Ananda Purashkar’ and was the president of Paschimbango Bangla Akademi. He was also conferred with the Bangobibhusan honour in 2017 by West Bengal government.
iv.Amalkanti Roddur Hote Cheyechhilo’ (Ammalkanto wanted to be the sunshine), ‘Kolkatar Jishu’ (Christ of Kolkata) and ‘Pahari Bichhe’ (Mountain scorpion) are considered his two other cult poems.
55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal held in New Delhi
On December 24, 2018, the 55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was celebrated at its 25th Battalion, Ghitorni, in New Delhi.
i. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was the chief guest at the event.
ii. He awarded President’s Police Medal for distinguished service and Police Medal for meritorious service to recipients.
iii. He also released the 55th Anniversary issue of ‘SSB Samachar’.
iv. In his address, he announced that Government has approved creation of 650 posts for the intelligence set-up of Sashastra Seema Bal.
v. The SSB parade was attended by the Chief of Nepal Armed Police Force Shri Shailendra Khanal, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bhutan, Shri Sonam Tobgay, DGs of CAPFs and other dignitaries.
SSB is the first Border Guarding Force of the Nation to induct women in the year 2007 for border guarding duties.
♦ Director General, SSB: Shri S S Deswal.
Former PM Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 94th birthday celebrated as Good Governance Day on 25th December,2018
On December 25, 2018, the 94th birth anniversary of Former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee was celebrated as Good Governance Day across the country.
i. The day was established in 2014 to honour the Bharat Ratna by fostering awareness among the people on accountability in Governance and Government.
As part of the celebrations, different ministries and state governments did the following:
- The Samadhi of Mr Vajpayee – Sadaiv Atal, located near Rajghat in New Delhi, was dedicated to the nation.
- A ‘Kavi Sammelan’ was organised in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district where poems written by Mr. Vajpayee were recited.
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched the Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Schools in Mumbai. It will be affiliated to the Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB).
- The Uttar Pradesh government had also organised several programmes like Kavi Sammelans, debates, poetry recitals and rangoli competitions in the schools and colleges.
About Sadaiv (always) Atal memorial:
i. The memorial is enclosed by nine bas-relief walls having inscriptions of poetries penned by Vajpayee.
ii. Spread over 1.5 acres of land, the memorial was constructed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) at a cost of Rs 10.51 crore.
iii. It was funded by the Atal Smriti Nyas Society.
iv. The land was made available for the memorial at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
v. The memorial will be managed by a trust headed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 157th birth anniversary.