Current Affairs 12th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Biden named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

Time magazine has named US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris its “Person of the Year”. Also, Time named the Korean boy band BTS its Entertainer of the Year and named Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James its Athlete of the Year. Time’s other Person of the Year candidates were President Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, etc.

2. Blackstone set to buy Piramal Glass

Blackstone has agreed to acquire Piramal Glass, the glass packaging business of the diversified Piramal Group, at an enterprise value of $1 billion. Blackstone will execute the deal in two tranches, as part of the agreement signed between the two parties. It will first pay $850 million and assume ownership and management control of Piramal Glass.

3. PSLV-C50 to launch satellite CMS-01

The launch of communication satellite CMS-01 onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C50), is scheduled on 17 Dec’20 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. CMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum. The Extended-C Band coverage will include Indian mainland, Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands,

4. AstraZeneca partners with RDIF

AstraZeneca plc has partnered with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and R-Pharm. It will conduct a clinical trial to assess the safety and immunogenicity of a combination of their respective adenovirus-vector vaccines AZD1222 and Sputnik V. The trial will begin enrolling adults aged 18 and older.

5. Banks sanction Rs. 2.05 lakh cr to MSMES

The Finance Ministry informed that banks have sanctioned loans worth Rs. 2,05,563 crore to about 81 lakh accounts under the Rs. 3-lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector. 40 lakh MSME accounts have received Rs. 1,58,626 crore till Dec 4, 2020. The loans provided under ECLGS 2.0 will have a five-year tenor, with a 12-month moratorium on repayment of principal.

6. Canara Bank raises Rs. 2,000 crore via QIP

Canara Bank has successfully raised Rs. 2,000 cr equity capital by issuing over 19 cr shares to eligible investors. LIC emerged as the largest investor in the bank’s qualified institutional placement (QIP) issue. The subcommittee of the board has approved allotment of 19,32,36,714 equity shares to eligible qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) at an issue price of Rs. 103.50 per equity share

7. UGC, AICTE will be merged in 2021

The union government will merge all the higher education regulators including the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to create a single education commission in 2021. Structural reform in the education sector will happen in 2021. Several reforms including the introduction of a single entrance test for admission will be executed.

8. ICICI Prudential’s AUM cross Rs. 2 lakh crore

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance company’s Assets under Management (AUM) have crossed Rs. 2 lakh crore in its 20th year. The company started operations 20 years ago with the issuance of policies to seven underprivileged children. It had an AUM of approximately Rs. 100 crore in FY 2001, which grew to about Rs. 50,000 crore in FY2010.

9. Julien Geffard to head Ola’s EV business

Ola has appointed Julien Geffard to lead Ola’s electric vehicle (EV) business in Europe. Geffard has been appointed as the Director of the go-to-market strategy for its electric business in Europe to leverage the company’s plans to enter new markets with its soon-to-be-launched two-wheeler EVs. The company plans to roll out its EV scooters in the first quarter of 2021.

10. Multiples Private Equity sells 2.17% stake

Multiples Private Equity has sold 12 lakh shares or 2.17% of PVR Ltd for Rs. 176 crore in an open market transaction. Multiples Private Equity Fund and Multiples Private Equity Fund I Ltd sold 3.07 lakh shares and 8.93 lakh shares respectively at an average price of Rs. 1470 aggregating to Rs. 176.41 crore. On the other hand, Ishana Capital bought 8.41 lakh shares of PVR Ltd for Rs. 124 crore.

11. Central Bank of India to raise up to Rs. 500 cr

Central Bank of India will raise up to Rs. 500 crores by issuing Basel III compliant bonds. Central Bank of India reported over 20% rise in its net profit at Rs. 161 crore for the second quarter that ended on 30 September 2020. The bank had posted a net profit of Rs. 134 crores in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

12. UP’s tableaux to showcase Ayodhya Mandir

At the Republic Day Parade in Delhi, the tableau of Uttar Pradesh will showcase the upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya as well as the culture, tradition and art related to the temple town. The tableaux theme for 2021 is titled ‘Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage Uttar Pradesh It will also exhibit a glimpse of the ‘Deepotsav’ in Ayodhya. The proposal sent from the UP government has also been approved.

13. Sustainable Mountain Development Summit

The ninth edition of the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) in Dehradun began on 11 December 2020. The theme for the year 2020 is Emerging Pathways for Building a Resilient Post COVID-19 Mountain Economy, Adaptation, Innovation and Acceleration. The summit will focus on the overall objective of building pathways toward a resilient and sustainable mountain economy.

14. Rs 25 crore for Dajipur Sanctuary

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has announced that 25 crore rupees will be provided in the first phase for the development of Dajipur Sanctuary. The sanctuary is part of the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur district. He also directed that a plan regarding development of this sanctuary should be submitted immediately.

15. 30th Annual Global Conclave of IISSM

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari inaugurated the 30th Annual Global Conclave of the International Institute of Security and Safety Management (IISSM) on 11 December 2020. The theme of the 2-day Conclave is ‘Covid -19 – From Survival to Revival: Emerging Paradigms in Security and Safety Services!

16. 5th round of FOCs between India and Cyprus

The fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) between India and Cyprus was held on 10 Dec 2020 through virtual mode. Both sides reviewed the status of agreements and MoUs including those on defence and military cooperation, sports, culture including ayurveda and agreed to work towards early finalisation of these agreements.

17. 2927 Court complexes connected by WAN

Around 2,927 Court complexes have been connected so far by a high-speed Wide Area Network, WAN under e-Courts Project. It has led to the completion of 97.86% sites out of 2,992 sites conceived to be connected with high-speed WAN under the project. Many courts under the e-Courts project are located in far-flung areas where the terrestrial cable cannot be used for providing connectivity.

18. Durga Shanker Mishra launches a programme

Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra has launched a programme of Socio-Economic Profiling of PM SVANidhi beneficiaries and their families, as an additional component of PM SVANidhi Scheme. A complete profile of each beneficiary and their family members will be prepared. Based on the profiled data, benefits of the various eligible Central Schemes would be extended to them.

19. 5th India-Myanmar Bilateral Meeting BUREAU

The 5th India-Myanmar Bilateral Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation between the Narcotics Control Bureau, India and the Central Committee on Drug Abuse Control, Myanmar was held virtually on 10 Dec 2020. Both countries agreed on the exchange of intelligence information in a timely manner to conduct follow-up investigations in drug seizure cases. The 6th meeting will be held in India in 2021.

20. PM addresses Global Climate Summit

PM Narendra Modi addressed the Global Climate Summit on 12 Dec 2020 on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a landmark deal in the multilateral climate change process. It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change which was adopted by 196 Parties in Paris, on 12 Dec 2015 and came into force on 4 November 2016.

21. Andhra Pradesh signs MoU with Survey of India

The Andhra Pradesh government exchanged an MoU with the Survey of India (Sol) for taking up the land resurvey christened ‘YSR Jagananna Saswath Bhoo Hakku-Bhoo Raksha Pathakam’. The programme will be launched on December 21, 2020. State-of-the-art facilities such as CARS technology, drones, and rovers will be used for the survey.

22. International Day of Neutrality

Every year on December 12th, the International Day of Neutrality is celebrated. On February 2, 2017, the UN General Assembly declared December 12th as the International Day of Neutrality. The resolution was introduced by the country of Turkmenistan. This country had been recognized as a permanently neutral state since December 12th, 1995.

23. India’s first mRNA vaccine for Covid-19

India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India to initiate Phase I/II human clinical trial. MRNA-based vaccines are scientifically the ideal choice to address a pandemic because of their rapid developmental timeline. The novel mRNA vaccine candidate, HGCO19 has been developed by Genova, a company based in Pune.

24. Hyundai Motor buys 80% stake in a robot firm

Hyundai Motor Group agreed to buy a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics Inc. in a deal that values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion. Hyundai Motor Group, along with some associated companies and Chairman Euisun Chung, will acquire an 80% interest in the U.S. robotics company from SoftBank Group Corp., leaving the Japanese firm with a 20% share.

25. Eric Yuan Time’s Businessperson of year 2020

CEO of Zoom, video conferencing platform, Eric Yuan has been named ‘Businessperson of the Year’ by TIME for the growth of Zoom in a pandemic. He began at WebEx as a coder and soon became integral to the creation of his video-conferencing platform. Zoom’s software was released in 2013, promoting a free basic service for different-size organisations along with many paid levels.

26. Rahul Dubey named as TIME’s ‘Heroes of 2020’

Indian-American Rahul Dubey, on 1 June, had opened the doors of his home in Washington, DC, to over 70 protesters who were demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd. His action made him a local hero, and he has now been hailed among the “Heroes of 2020” by the TIME Magazine, honouring those who “went above and beyond the call of duty”

27. Maintain Rs. 500 balance in POSB account

Post office savings account: Non-maintenance of minimum balance will attract charges of Rs. 100 plus GST and it will be deducted from the account. Post office savings accounts currently offer 4% per annum while the minimum amount required for account opening is Rs. 500. India Post offers several small savings schemes, commonly known as post office saving schemes.

28. IUCN lists 31 species as ‘Extinct’

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has declared 31 animal and plant species extinct. That total includes the lost shark, listed as critically endangered or possibly extinct, as it was last recorded in 1934. Three frog and one shark species have vanished, and Amazonian dolphin and oak trees are threatened with extinction.

29. EU agrees on tougher climate goals for 2030

EU leaders agreed to set an ambitious target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. Europe will reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. It puts Europe on a clear path towards climate neutrality in 2050. Poland, backed by some other coal-dependent central European countries had been holding out for guarantees on funding to pay for a clean energy transition

30. Saudi Arabia approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Saudi Arabia approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech novel coronavirus vaccine. It has become the second Gulf country after Bahrain to green-light the drug. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA)… has approved the registration of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Britain and Canada have also approved it.

31. CII announces partnership with Mastercard

Confederation of Indian Industry has announced a partnership with Mastercard and National Institute for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (NI-MSME). It will launch the Digital Saksham Initiative, which is an expansive program designed to strengthen the competitiveness of MSMEs through digital knowhow and acceptance. This collaboration aims to educate and train MSME owners and entrepreneurs.

32. 5th India Water Impact Summit

The 5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS) began on 10 Dec 20 with the theme of comprehensive analysis and holistic management of local rivers and water bodies, with a focus on Arth Ganga – river conservation synchronised development. It is being organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga and Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga). It will continue till 15 Dec’20.

33. Cll and Amazon India sign pact

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Amazon India have signed a pact to increase the export potential of MSMEs in 10 states. As part of the MoU, Amazon India will work with the Cll to train MSMEs in 10 states into the building and scaling their business in India and globally. Amazon and Cll will conduct training, workshops, and masterclasses to enable MSMEs to sell online.

34. Andhra government sets a panel

Andhra Pradesh govt has constituted a 21-member multidisciplinary committee headed by the state chief secretary to investigate the outbreak of a mystery illness in Eluru area of West Godavari. A mystery illness has affected over 600 people in the state. Those affected complained of dizziness, fainting spells, headache and vomiting. The committee will suggest remedial measures to prevent it.

35. ADB launches $9 bn Covid-19 vaccine scheme

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a $9 billion initiative. Called the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), it will offer “rapid and equitable support” to its developing members as they procure and deliver effective and safe coronavirus vaccines. ADB is also making available a Covid-19 vaccine import facility to help countries secure safe and effective vaccines.

36. Elephant health camp organized in Kaziranga

An elephant health camp was organised by the Kaziranga National Park authority for the routine health care of the departmental elephants of the park, on 11 Dec 2020. A thorough health check-up was carried out by microscopic examination of the faecal samples for probable parasitic load. Blood samples were collected from selected elephants for routine blood profile and general check-up.

37. Jagananna Jeeva Kranthi’ launched

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched Jagananna Jeeva Kranthi’ scheme to distribute 2,49,151 sheep and goat units to the beneficiaries of YSR Cheyutha and YSR Aasara. A total of Rs 1,869 crore is being spent for the purpose. Under the scheme, beneficiaries are free to buy local sheep, goat breeds from the region of their choice.

38. International Universal Health Coverage Day

International Universal Health Coverage Day is observed every year on 12 December. On 12 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) by resolution 72/138. The day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems. “Health for All: Protect Everyone” is the theme for the year 2020.

39. India & Uzbekistan held a summit

A virtual summit was held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on 11 Dec 2020. This was the first bilateral ‘Virtual Summit meeting between India and a central Asian country’. The leaders discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relationship, including strengthening of India-Uzbekistan cooperation in the post-COVID world.

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