Current Affairs 11th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. UNICEF Foundation Day: 11 December

UNICEF Foundation Day is celebrated every year on December 11 ever since the United Nations General Assembly created UNICEF on the same day back in 1946. The programme was initiated to provide supplies, assistance and to improve health, to children after World War l. In October 1953, the UNGA extended UNICEFs mandate indefinitely to assist vulnerable children.

2. International Mountain Day: 11 December

International Mountain Day is observed every year on December 11. It is a UN-designated day to celebrate the rich biodiversity, as well as address the threats mountains face. Mountain biodiversity is the theme of International Mountain Day 2020. Mountains cover about 27 per cent of the earth’s surface. 30 per cent of all key biodiversity areas are in the mountains.

3. Joseph Safra passes away

Joseph Safra, the Lebanese-Brazilian financier, who was Brazil’s richest man and for many years the world’s wealthiest banker, passed away in Dec 2020. Safra ranks as the world’s wealthiest banker, with an estimated fortune of $19.9 billion, according to Forbes Magazine. He helped run and expand his family’s private-banking and wealth managerment empire.

4. Iffalcon ventures in home appliances space

Iffalcon, TCLs sub-brand, is venturing into home appliances. As part of this foray, the brand has launched its first 8-kg front load washing machine. The brand is popular for products in the
smartTV segment. The new machine offers features such as auto error diagnosis, digital display, auto drum clean, etc. The washing machine is priced at 22,499 and is being sold via Flipkart.

5. Google, Amazon fined $163 million

France’s data privacy watchdog has fined Google 100 million euros (USD 121 million) and Amazon 35 million euros (USD 42 million) for breaching the country’s rules on advertising cookies. The watochdog gave Google and Amazon three months to change the way they tell consumers how their data is used and how they can reject cookies. Otherwise, they will face an additional fine of 100,000 euros.

6. Nippon lndia Mutual Fund launches FoF

Nippon Life India AMC has launched Nippon India Passive Flexicap FoF. It is an open-ended fund of funds schemne investing in units of ETFs/index funds of Nippon India Mutual Fund. Nippon India Passive Flexicap FoF would invest across market caps, basis average allocation of all active multi-cap funds in the industry into large, mid and small-cap stocks as provided by CRISIL every month.

7. Lulu group to set up food processing centre

The UAE-based Lulu group would set up a food processing centre in Srinagar for sourcing a wide range of agri products from Jammu and Kashmir. An MoU was signed between Lulu group and Fruit Master Agro Fresh Jammu and Kashmir. It has been signed for the supply of apple and other fruits for the supermarkets of Lulu group across the Gulf Countries.

8. SBI General Insurance partner with Mahindra

SBI General Insurance has partnered with Mahindra Insurance Brokers through Sajhedaari programme. It is a socially inclusive initiative designed to identify, train and certify Point of Sales Persons (POSPs) for insurance distribution while enabling deeper insurance penetration in the country. The two companies are already associated with each other for providing insurance for new cars.

9. RBl issues a draft circular

RBI has issued a draft circular on the declaration of dividend by non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in pursuance to the announcement made in the monetary policy. Accordingly, deposit-taking NBFCs and systemically important non-deposit-taking NBFCs must have their net non-performing assets below six per cent and a capital adequacy ratio of at least 15 per cent for the last three years.

10. S&P Dow Jones to remove Chinese companies

S&P Dow Jones Indices will remove some Chinese companies from indexes used to track market performance. The companies affected include surveillance technology provider Hikvision, processor chip manufacturing SMIC among others. The announcement follows President Donald Trump’s order barring Americans from buying stocks or bonds issued by companies deemed to be linked to China’s military.

11. National Centre for Divyang Empowerment

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy has inaugurated the National Centre for Divyang Empowerment at the CRPF Group Centre in Hakimpet near Hyderabad. This is first of its kind establishment to re-skill and rehabilitate the Divyang Warriors of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) who suffered life-threatening injuries in the line of duty.

12. 2nd edition of Ladakh Literature Festival 2020

Ladakh Lt Governor R K Mathur inaugurated the second edition of Ladakh Literature Festival, 2020, in Leh on 10 Dec 2020. The 3-day festival will host a series of talks, folk music, cultural dance, etc. The theme of the festival is “Ladakh at the Crossroads”. The platform will provide an opportunity for the local talented persons and also help to boost the tourism industry in the UT.

13. No charges will be levied for procuring blood

Maharashtra Government has announced that no charges will be levied for procuring blood in government hospitals. The decision will be effective from 12th December 2020 to mark NCP Chief Sharad Pawar’s birthday. 800 rupees is usually charged as processing and other fees for buying one unit of blood. Same will now be available for free for all patients, rich or poor in all public hospitals.

14. Manipur CM inaugurates 100-bedded COVID Block

Manipur CM N. Biren Singh inaugurated a new 100-bedded COVID Block at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) Complex, Imphal East district on 10 Dec 2020. This is in addition to the existing COVID Block having 145 beds in JNIMS. It will have 10 Intensive Care Units (ICU). Manipur has a total of 2,759 Covid beds.

15. Hanukkah 2020: Jewish festival

The eight-day Jewish winter festival of lights is called Hanukkah. It begins each year on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in November or December. This year, Hanukkah began after sundown on 10 Dec 2020 and will continue till December 18, 2020. Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew.

16. Morocco normalises relations with Israel

Morocco has become the latest Arab country to agree to normalise relations with Israel in a deal brokered with the help of the Us. US President Donald Trump sealed the Israel-Morocco accord in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on 10 Dec 2020. As part of the deal, the US announced that it recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory.

17. BSNL in partnership with Skylo

BSNL in partnership with Skylotech India has announced a breakthrough in satellite-based NB-loT (Narrow Band-Internet of Things). It has been indigenously developed by Skylo and will connect with BSNLs satellite- ground infrastructure and provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas. The coverage will be so vast that it will not leave any dark patch within the boundary of India.

18. PM to address FICCI’s 93rd AGM

PM Modi will deliver the inaugural address at FICCI’s 93rd Annual General Meeting and Annual Convention on 12 Dec 2020. He will also inaugurate the virtual FICCI Annual Expo 2020. FICCI’s Annual Convention is being held virtually on 11, 12 and 14 Dec 2020. The theme for 2020 is Annual Convention is “Inspired India”. The event will see participation of several Ministers, Bureaucrats, etc.

19. RTGS to be available 24×7 from December 14

RBI has announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement System or the RTGS facility will now be available for round the clock transactions, with effect from 14 Dec 2020. Round the clock availability of RTGS will provide extended flexibility to businesses for effecting payments. The system can also be leveraged to enhance operations of Indian financial markets and cross-border payments.

20. Parthiv Patel joins Mumbai Indians

Former Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel has joined Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians as a Talent Scout. He was a part of the MI in 2015 and 2017 season. The 35-year-old will work closely with the Mumbai Indians coaching staff and scouts’ group.

21. Siemens providing driverless train solutions

Siemens is providing driverless train solutions for Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) to improve upon efficiency and safety of passengers. The driverless automated train technology systems will be for phase 2 of the Bengaluru Metro. Bengaluru Metro is the ninth metro service where Siemens India is involved.

22. New genus of Malaria ‘Plasmodium Oval’

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja informed that a new genus of malaria called ‘Plasmodium Oval’ has been detected in the state. The disease was detected in a soldier who travelled from Sudan. He was being treated at the district hospital in Kannur.

23. UK-Singapore sign Free Trade Agreement

The United Kingdom has signed a free trade deal with Singapore covering trade worth 17.6 billion pounds. The deal was the second-biggest that Britain has signed in the Asia-Pacific region. The agreement came as British and European Union officials make a final push to break a deadlock over the U.K.s future trade relationship with the bloc.

24. TSRTC launches home delivery services

Telangana State Road Transport Corporation launched parcel delivery services for homes in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The parcel service was launched to meet the demand for bulk goods transport in the state and to facilitate parcel receipt services before people’s doorstep. The service was inaugurated at Transport Bhavan by Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar.

25. Iran, Afghanistan inaugurate first rail link

The leaders of Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated the first railway link between the two countries. The $75 million project began in 2007, with Iran funding construction on both sides of the border as part of its development assistance to Afghanistan. It would enhance trade links across the region.

26. Pramila Jayapal elected as chair of CPC

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has been elected as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. This makes her one of the most powerful US lawmakers in the 117th Congress. Among others, Indian-American Congressrman Ro Khanna has been elected as Deputy Whip, while Congresswoman Rashida Talib as vice-chair for member services.

27. Raja Chari selected in NASA Artemis team

Nasa is sending 18 astronauts to the moon’s surface for the first time since 1970s. The 18 astronauts, comprising of nine men and nine women, also includes Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari. Raja Chari, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, joined the astronaut corps in 2017. He has a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics.

28. Kejriwal launches truck mounted anti smog gun

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated a truck-mounted anti-smog gun to combat the worsening dust pollution in the national capital. The anti-smog gun is fed by a 5,000-litre water tank and can work for 3-4 hours continuously. It is mounted on a BS-VI emission standards engine truck which causes lesser vehicular pollution.

29. Bollywod stars to launch Socialswag

Actors Akshay Kumar and Rana Daggubati announced that they are coming together to create India’s first influencer led online market place called Socialswag. It is a new age platform that will enable consumers to connect with celebrities, influencers, bloggers and other inspirational individuals, through personal interactions and learning forums. It is set to be launched nationwide in Feb 21.

30. Music composer Narendra Bhide passes away

Narendra Bhide, who had composed music for several Marathi films, died in December 2020. He had composed music for “Harishchandrachi Factory”, “Mulshi Pattern” and several other films. He was a disciple of Ustad Mohammad Hussain Khan Saheb and Chhota Gandharva, among others.

31. AT&T to sell Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation

AT&T announced that it’s selling anime streaming service Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation for an acquisition price of $118 billion. It has 90 million registered users and 3 million paying subscribers. The service started in 2006 as a site for fan-uploaded, fan-subtitled content, but it has increasingly become a home for officially licensed anime, along with games, manga and merchandise.

32. Sood tops 50 Asian Celebrities in The World

Indian actor Sonu Sood has been named the number one South Asian celebrity in the world. He has been honoured for his philanthropic efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic. The 47-year-old Bollywood star beat off tough global competition to top the ’50 Asian Celebrities in The World’ list. The list was published by UK-based weekly newspaper Eastern Eye.

33. Snowman Logistics and SpiceJet sign MoU

Snowman Logistics and SpiceJet have signed an MoU for storage, transportation, and distribution of COVID vaccines. Snowman will handle the ground services which includes activities such as transportation to/from manufacturers, warehouses, airports, etc. Spicelet will provide the air connectivity for temperature-controlled distribution of the vaccines across the country and internationally.

34. Govt approves USOF scheme

The Cabinet has approved the provision of a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) scheme for providing mobile coverage in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam, namely Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan. The project envisages providing mobile coverage to 2374 uncovered villages — 1683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in 2 districts of Assam.

35. NBCFDC & NSFDC sign MoA with PNB

A Memorandum of Agreements (MoAs) was signed by National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) with Punjab National Bank. It has been signed for boosting VISVAS scheme which will benefit OBC/SC SHGs with loans/borrowings up to Rs.4.00 Lakh with a quick interest subvention benefit of 5%.

36. Equitas Small Fin Bank launches 3-in-1 account

Equitas Small Finance Bank has launched a 3-in-1 account. A 3-in-1 account (savings +trading+ demat) will help the customers to keep all their banking and financial investments under one umbrella entity. The financial products offered through it includes direct equity and F&O trading, MF investment across all AMCs, ETFs, corporate FDs, corporate bonds, govt bonds, etc.

37. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize 2020

The New India Foundation (NIF) Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize has been awarded jointly to two people. Amit Ahuja has been awarded for his book Mobilizing the Marginalised: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements. Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh has been awarded for A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon. The 2020 winners will share the prize money of Rs 15 lakhs.

38. MoRTH signs MoU with Austria

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways signed an MoU with the Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of the Republic of Austria. It was signed for technology cooperation in the road infrastructure sector. It aims to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of road transportation, road infrastructure, etc.

39. Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Koilwar bridge

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the 3-lane 1.5 km long Koilwar bridge over Sone river in Bihar on 10 Dec 2020. A sum of Rs 266 crore has been spent on the bridge. The existing two-lane bridge for both rail and road traffic is 138 years old. A six-lane bridge is being made in its place, of which, a three-lane carriageway has been opened for public.

40. Odisha tops Urban Governance Index 2020

Odisha has topped all Indian states in Urban Governance Index 2020. Nagaland ranked at the bottom. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh followed Odisha to round up the top five. Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur scored the lowest to rank just above Nagaland. The National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi ranked 13th.

41. India in top 10 on Climate Change Index

India ranked 10th in the latest edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) released by Germanwatch. India, for the second time in a row, continued to remain in the top 10. The country scored 63.98 points out of 100. The United States, with a rank of 61, was the worst performer. India has been ranked at 27th out of 57 countries under the renewable energy category.

42. IOIG 2023 to be held in Madagascar

Maldives has lost the opportunity to host the 11th edition of Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG). The Indian Ocean Island Games Federation has now switched the host country to Madagascar. The Indian Ocean Island Games (10IG) is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean island nations.

43. Construction of deep sea port in Tajpur

West Bengal Chief Miniter Mamata Banerjee has announced that the state cabinet has approved the construction of a deep seaport in Tajpur. Tajpur Deep Sea Port will be built at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore and will generate employment for 25,000 people. It will be the state’s first deep seaport. The port will stimulate businesses in both East and West Medinipur.

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