December 19, 2019

National

  1. Yashwant Sinha-led group suggests restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG) headed by former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday said the Union government should restore statehood to Jammu and Kashmir by reuniting the two union territories to bring back normalcy in the Valley.Based on the groups’ two visits to Kashmir in September and November this year, the CCG said that the Centre should alleviate the fears of the Kashmiris about their future by starting a multi-level dialogue process with all those affected by the events following August 5 announcement.
  • The CCG demanded the release of all Kashmiris who were taken into preventive detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) if they are not accused of any crime.
  • The group also demanded restoration of internet and mobile phone connections.
  1. Mysuru Winter Festival from Dec. 24.
  • It will be a “December to remember’’ as the district administration is braving for the 10-day Mysuru Winter Festival from December 24 to January 2, 2020.
  • Coinciding with the Christmas and year-end holiday season the festival is expected to increase tourist footfall to the city besides providing a slew of activities for the locals to revel and usher in the new year.
  • The authorities are spending nearly ₹70 lakh towards the festival which will have winter flower show on the palace premises, music and dance performances, photo exhibition and fireworks to ring in the New Year.

State

  1. Five-day music festival ‘Tansen Samaroh’ begins in Gwalior
  • Popular classical music festival ‘Tansen Samaroh’ is beginning in Gwalior.
  • The five-day festival is celebrated every year in the memory of one of the most eminent singers of Indian history, ‘Mian Tansen’. Pandit Vidyadhar Vyas will be honoured with this year’s prestigious Tansen Samman.
  • The music-driven platform is used by the musicians and instrumentalists from all over the world to showcase their talent.
  • The prestigious musical event commenced with ‘Gamak’ (Purv Rang). The event will conclude on 21st December and will be graced by many prominent artists.
  1. 16th Orange Festival begins in Tamenglong
  • The State-level Orange Festival began in Manipur.
  • The 3-day festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh at district headquarters Tamenglong.
  • The festival will have many programmes like competition for adventure sports, best orange recipes and orange peel products, orange eating competition, children’s fair, choir competition, traditional games, traditional fashion show, cultural dances, rock concert by various rock bands.
  • In the festival, competition for the Orange growers was held and prizes were distributed to top position holders.
  • 370 farmers with 5 lakh oranges participated in Orange Festival at Teminglong. Teminglong is the oldest district of Manipur dominated by Naga tribe. It produces the sweetest oranges of the state which are grown organically.
  1. Rajasthan government sets up Rs 1,000 crore Farmers Welfare Fund
  • The Rajasthan government has constituted Rs 1,000 crore Farmers Welfare Fund to provide them a reasonable price for agricultural produce and boost their income.
  • On completion of one year of the present state government, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the fund at ‘Kisan Sammelan’.
  • Rajasthan Agro Processing, Agribusiness and Agri Export Promotion Policy-2019 was also released on this occasion.
  • The objective of this policy is to encourage agro-processing and agricultural exports as well as increase farmers’ income in the state. Chief Minister Gehlot had announced this welfare fund in the budget presented in July.

International

  1. World’s first liquid hydrogen carrier ship launches in Japan
  • Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries debuted the world’s first marine carrier that transports liquefied hydrogen, using technology that will vastly expand cargo capacity of the green energy source
  • .A crowd of 4,000 people gathered at Kawasaki’s shipyard in Kobe for the naming and launch ceremony of the Suiso Frontier — a name adopting the Japanese word for hydrogen. The vessel, measuring 116 meters long, will be fully completed next fall
  • The carrier will transport to Japan hydrogen produced in Australia from cheap coal, with trial shipments due to begin before March 2021.
  • Hydrogen, which produces no carbon dioxide when burned, is a promising fuel when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint. Middle East tensions are also driving demand for alternative energy sources.

Banking & Finance

  1. ADB, India sign $250 million loan to expand energy efficiency investments in India.
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on 16th December 2019 signed a $250 million loan to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. In addition, $46 million financing will be provided from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.
  • ADB previously approved a $200 million loan to EESL, a public sector energy service company, in 2016 for Demand Side Energy Efficiency Sector Project that focused on efficient lighting and appliances.
  • EESL will also explore business models to generate greater public demand for e-vehicles to support India’s current push for electric vehicles.
  • Promoting awareness of the benefits of using energy efficient technologies is another feature of the project. Awareness campaigns will engage local organisations in knowledge-sharing and training, with a focus on women electricity consumers. Capacity building for electricity distribution, regulatory agencies, and other government bodies will also be carried out.
  • Accompanying the loan will be a technical assistance (TA) of $2 million to support EESL in implementing the project, including a gender action plan, mobilising private sector participation in energy efficiency services, identifying new business opportunities, and transferring knowledge about successful models.
  1. Axis Bank, Indian Oil launch co-branded credit card for cashless payments.
  • Axis Bank announced the launch of co-branded credit card in partnership with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL).
  • The co-branded card is for customers who prefer cashless and hassle-free payments.
  • This partnership is an effort from Axis Bank and IOCL to expand their presence in the fast-developing credit card ecosystem in India, with an aim to offer attractive rewards and benefits for its customers.
  • Customers will be able to get benefits such as cashback up to Rs 250 on fuel purchases within first 30 days of card issuance, 20 times accelerated reward points on fuel spends at IOCL outlets as well as waiver of fuel surcharge.
  • Additionally, customers can avail benefits like 5x accelerated reward points on online shopping, 10 per cent instant discount on movie ticket bookings via BookMyShow, while also earning edge points for every spend. The tie-up with Axis Bank for co-branded credit card will usher a relationship amongst the two commercial conglomerates, and enhance customer convenience in tier-II and III cities. This initiative will promote digital payments, working towards the government’s vision of a Digital India.

Sports

  1. Smriti Mandhana in ICC women’s ODI and T20 teams of the year
  • India opener Smriti Mandhana was named in both the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20 teams of the year, capping off a memorable season.
  • Mandhana has Jhulan Goswami, Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey for company in the ODI team of the year and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in the T20 side.
  • The 23-year-old Mandhana has played 51 ODIs and 66 T20Is for India, besides a couple of Test matches.
  • She has a combined tally of 3476 runs in T20Is and ODIs.
  • Australia’s Alyssa Healy was chosen as the T20 cricketer of the year following her record-breaking 148 against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
  • The ODI cricketer of the year honour went to Australia’s Ellyse Perry, who scored 441 runs at an average of 73.50 and took 21 wickets at 13.52.
  • Perry also pocketed the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint award for being the cricketer of the year across formats.
  • Perry has had a stellar year across formats, with three hundreds including one in the women’s Ashes Test.
  • She also became the first player to complete 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in T20I cricket.
  1. ICC opens anti-corruption investigations into Qatar T10 League.
  • The International Cricket Council is investigating the Qatar T10 league after intercepting “a number of known corruptors” in the event, which it sanctioned a year ago and featured some prominent retired players such as South Africa’s Hashim Amla.
  • The ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit was working with the organisers to monitor the league since its inception.
  • “The ICC sanctioned this event 12 months ago based on the sound information provided by the organisers,” ICC’s Integrity Unit General Manager Alex Marshall stated.
  1. England off-spinner Laura Marsh announces international retirement
  • England off-spinner Laura Marsh has ended her international career in a 13-year span that included three World Cup wins, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) .
  • The 33-year-old made her debut as a pace bowler in 2006 before switching to spin and signs off with 217 international wickets, making her the most successful women’s spinner in English cricket.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Sridhar Patra appointed NALCO CMD
  • Sridhar Patra was appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of NALCO.
  • Patra is at present Director (Finance) in the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO).
  • He has been appointed as the CMD of NALCO till the date of his superannuation, i.e. October 31, 2024.
  • Additional points
  • National Aluminium Company Limited, abbreviated as NALCO, is a Navratna group ‘A’ CPSE having integrated and diversified operations in mining, metal and power under Ministry of Mines, Government of India.
  • Founded in 1981 and Headquartered in Odisha.

Award & Honors

  1. National Safety Awards presented by Vice President Naidu
  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu asserted that Mining Industry must accord top priority to the safety, health and life of all the workers by developing the ‘culture of prevention’ across the industry.
  • Provisions for occupational safety of persons employed in mines are contained in the Mines Act, 1952, and the Rules and Regula¬tions framed thereunder.
  • The concepts of ‘self-regulation’ and ‘participative management’ with a view to influence human behaviour at work so that a real breakthrough in accident prevention could be achieved.
  • In total 19 winner prizes and 19 runner-up prizes are awarded for each contest year. The award for each mine is received jointly by one management representative and one workers’ representative.
  • Accordingly, a total of 37 winner prizes and 36 runner-up prizes were conferred upon winners by the Vice-President, M Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
  1. Amitabha Bagchi wins 2019 DSC Prize
  • The 8th edition of the IME Nepal Literature Festival, at Pokhara, concluded with the announcement of the winner of DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019.
  • The $25,000 award went to Amitabha Bagchi for his 2018 novel, Half the Night is Gone.
  • The six shortlisted books included one translated work (Manoranjan Byapari’s There’s Gunpowder in the Air, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha), a novel by Pakistan-born author Jamil Jan Kochai and another by Sadia Abbas, who grew up in Pakistan and Singapore, besides fiction by Indian authors.

Books

  1. A Dominant Character captures the thoughts of British-Indian scientist JBS Haldane.
  • Samanth subramanian’s latest biography, A dominant character, captures the british-indian scientist’s thoughts on how science and politics play off each other.
  • The British-Indian scientist best known for his work in physiology, genetics, evolutionary biology and statistics — he bent the rules and defied authority consistently. “He had a lack of tolerance for idiots,” agrees journalist and writer Samanth Subramanian, whose latest book, a biography of Haldane, titled A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of JBS Haldane, is peppered with incidents.

Important Days

  1. International Migrants Day
  • International Migrants Day is celebrated on 18 December to raise awareness about the protection for migrants and refugees.
  • The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is calling an international community to come together and remember the migrants and refugees who have lost their lives or have disappeared while reaching a safe harbour.
February 7, 2020

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