Current Affairs 13th December 2020

1. Oracle moves headquarters to Texas

Oracle Corp, a Silicon Valley stalwart, has moved its headquarters to Texas. The company will continue to support its former headquarters and other U.S. offices in Santa Monica, California; Seattle; Denver; Orlando, Florida; and Burlington, Massachusetts. Started in 1977, Oracle has been a foundational company in Silicon Valley.

2. India, Iran and Uzbekistan to hold talks

For the first time, India, Iran and Uzbekistan will hold a trilateral dialogue on 14 Dec 2020 on the joint use of the strategically located Chabahar port. The port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi. It is located in the Sistan-Balochistan province.

3. Uttar Pradesh approves financial incentives

Uttar Pradesh will give financial incentives to South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co to set up a 48.25 billion rupee ($654.36 million) display factory. Samsung is re-locating the factory to the state from China. India is the world’s second-biggest smartphone market with significant growth potential, which has driven companies such as Samsung to expand locally.

4. India readies 60 crore Covid-19 vaccine jabs

India will deploy its vast election machinery to deliver 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable people in the next six to eight months through conventional cold chain systems. The government has lined up cold storage facilities with temperatures between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F). India has the world’s second-highest caseload of coronavirus behind the US.

5. Malayan squirrel could fall by 90%

A large tree squirrel that is considered to be a “forest health indicator species” is disappearing. May by the middle of this century it would no longer be found in the forests of India’s Northeast to which it is native. A first-of-its-kind study by the Zoological Survey of India has projected that numbers of the Malayan Giant Squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) could decline by 90% in India by 2050.

6. NSDC signs MoU with Byju’s

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has joined hands with BYJU’s to support teacher training and upskilling. This is a part of the Skill India Mission. BYJU’s has signed an MoU with NSDC to empower teachers and trainers with the key skills and digital tools to make learning engaging, effective and personalised for children and youth.

7. IESA, UNIDO tie up

The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization have joined hands to promote innovations in energy storage in India. The Facility of Low Carbon Technology Deployment (FLCTD) by UNIDO has already launched the 4th round of innovation challenge to support and encourage new innovations in Indian energy storage and e-mobility space.

8. Government notifies VGF scheme

The Finance Ministry has notified the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme under which infrastructure projects would be selected for financial support to give a push to the sector. As per the scheme, funding up to Rs 200 crore will be sanctioned by the Ermpowered Committee (EC). Projects needing over Rs 200 crore would be approved by the EC with the approval of the Finance Minister.

9. TIE Global Summit 2020

TIE Global Summit 2020 (TGS 2020) was hosted by Hyderabad from December 8 to December 10, 2020. Some of the key speakers at the event included noted econom ist Abhijit Banerjee; Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal; CEO, Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant, etc. The event also allowed start-ups to pitch for funds and offered an opportunity to those shortlisted to come face to face with multiple investors.

10. India drops to 2nd position in BNEF’s ranking

India has dropped to the 2nd position in Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) 2020 Climatescope survey ranking from first in 2019. This is a result of a decline in clean energy investment, which fell 12 per cent in 2018-19 to $8.5 billion and has plummeted 32 per cent since 2017. Chile has bagged the top spot in the survey while Brazil remained at the third position.

11. 17th International Inter-Ministerial Conference

The 17th International Inter-Ministerial Conference on South-South Cooperation in Population and Development concluded on 8 December 2020. It was titled “Nairobi Commitments and the 2030 Agenda: Taking stock and looking ahead to post COVID-19 Crisis”. It was co-sponsored by China’s National Health Commission, the Partners in Population and Development, and the United Nation Population Fund.

12. Finance Ministry approves a proposal

The Finance Ministry has approved ₹9,879.61 crore worth capital expenditure proposals of 27 states. Of this, ₹4,939.81 crores have been released as the first instalment. The capital expenditure projects have been approved in diverse sectors like health, rural development, water supply, irrigation, power, transport, education, urban development.

13. India contributes USD 2 million to UNRWA

India has contributed US$ 2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The contribution was presented to UNRWA by Representative of India to State of Palestine Sunil Kumar. With this contribution, India provided a total of US$ 5 million to the Agency in 2020.

14. Dr Carolina Araujo awarded

2020 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians has been awarded to Dr. Carolina Araujo, Mathematician from the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country funded by the Dept of Science and Technology of the Govt of India in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics).

15. Ashraf Patel: Social Entrepreneur of the year

Ashraf Patel has won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award instituted by the Schwab Foundation and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation. Ashraf Patel is the co-founder of Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective. In partnership with UNICEF ROSA, she developed an appreciative enquiry tool to assess the impact of COVID 19 on the lives of adolescents in 8 South Asian countries.

16. GI Toys exempted from Quality Control Order

Government has exempted handicraft and GI Toys from Quality Control Order. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, DPIIT has devised a comprehensive action plan. Quality Control order has been issued by the Department for standardization and quality adherence of Toys. The order will come into effect from 1st January

17. Annual flower show in Nagpur

The 17th edition of the annual flower show of Nagpur’s Hislop College was inaugurated on December 12, 2020. Various flower plants including dracaena, petunia, marigold are being exhibited in the 2-day show organised by the Botany Department of Hislop College. An art competition for the students is also a part of the flower show. Around 10,000 plants are on sale in the flower show.

18. LHADC to adopt passive solar design

In Kargil, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LHADC) has decided to adopt passive solar design for all the upcoming government buildings. This was announced by the Chief Executive Councillor, LAHDC Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan while inaugurating the first passive solar building office of Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) at Council Secretariat.

19. Karnataka CM unveils manure making machines

The manure-making machine ‘Bhu Siri’ and soil testing equipment ‘Bhu Mitra’ developed by Hi-Tech Agriculture Chairman Dr Nagaraj Hegde was unveiled by Karnataka CM on 12 Dec 2020. Bhu Siri machine uses farm waste to convert it into organic manure thereby preventing stubble burning by farmers. Instead of 40 to 60 days, the machine converts farm waste into organic manure instantly.

20. ‘MahaSharad’ platform to be launched

Maharashtra’s Dept of Social Justice has launched the MahaSharad Digital Platform on 12 December 2020. It will be available on the Play Store by March 2021. “Maharashtra System for Health and Rehabilitation Assistance” or MahaSharad platform has been created to provide various devices to persons with disabilities free of cost through the Commissionerate for persons with Disability.

21. Amish announces second book

Best-selling author Amish has announced a new non-fiction book Dharma: Decoding the Epics for a Meaningful Life. This would be his second in the genre after Immortal India, which was released in 2017. The book has been co-authored by Amish’s sister Bhavna Roy, and offers practical and philosophical lessons from our epics that are relevant in the modern world.

22. HelpAge lndia gets ‘2020 UN Population Award’

NGO HelpAge India received the “2020 UN Population Award” in the institutional category for its contribution towards serving disadvantaged elderly people and raising awareness on their cause. The UN Population Award, established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1981, recognises contributions in the fields of population and reproductive health.

23. Satyasagara new head coach of Chennai City FC

Former champion Chennai City FC appointed Satyasagara as the team’s new head coach for the upcoming 1-League season. Satyasagara, a former assistant coach of the club, replaces Singapore’s Akbar Nawas, who parted ways with CCFC in October 2019. Satyasagara has a lot of experience behind his back as he has been involved with coaching for almost 26 years now.

24. Filzmoser and Canto appointed JF ambassadors

Austria’s Sabrina Filzmoser and Brazil’s Flavio Canto have been appointed as International Judo Federation (UF) climate ambassadors. Appointed by IJF President Marius Vizer, in a bid to spread the message of environmentalism. The pair are now expected to talk about global warming and use judo as a positive influence in delivering this message.

25. Sub-Machine gun completes successful trials

A sub-machine gun designed by the DRDO has successfully undergone the defence ministry’s user trials. The successful completion of trials has paved the way for this 5.56*30 mm gun’s induction into the armed forces. The DRD0-designed joint protective venture carbine is a gas-operated semi-automatic weapon and its rate of fire is more than 700 rounds per minute.

26. MH Govt signs MoU with Cornell University

The state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cornell University in New York. The MoU signed to set up a world-class incubation centre in Maharashtra to provide the necessary infrastructure and conducive environment for new entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups. The MoU was signed in an online event held in the presence of Industries Minister Subhash Desai.

27. Gates honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

Bill Gates was conferred with the Life-time Achievement Award at the TiE Global Summit 2020 held virtually. For this award, Bill was selected by a jury which comprised of founder NR Narayana Murthy, President and Chairman, Sparta Group Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande. Along with the Life-time Achievement Award, TIE has announced various awards under various categories as part of its global summit.

28. Russian navy to join NATO countries in drills

The Russian navy will take part in military drills with multiple NATO members for the first time since 2011. The drills will involve 30 countries, with 10 engaging their fleets and the rest sending observers. The Aman-2021 drills will involve anti-piracy exercises off the coast of Pakistan in February 2021.

29. IG level conference between BSF, BGB concludes

Three-day 1G level conference between Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) concluded in Kolkata on December 11. IG level co-ordination conference held from December 09 to 11. During the meeting, matter of mutual interest and border management were discussed. Both the counterparts agreed to share real-time information.

30. 26th edition of DST-CII Technology Summit

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan addressed 26th edition of DST-CI Technology Summit between India, Portugal held virtually from December 7-9, 2020. The DST-CIl Technology Summit 2020 was organised by the Department of Science & technology (DST), Government of India and Confederation of Indian Industry (CI).

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