Current Affairs 8th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. CCD appointed Malavika Hegde as company’s CEO

Malavika Hegde, the wife of deceased Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha, was appointed the CEO of Coffee Day Enterprises. She is the daughter of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna. In July 2019, VG Siddhartha had mysteriously disappeared in Mangaluru and later found dead by suicide. After his death, Coffee Day Enterprises named SV Ranganath as interim chairman of the group.

2. Cisco agrees to buy UK cloud company

Cisco Systems Inc. has agreed to buy U.K. customer service software maker IMImobile Plc in a deal valued at about 543 million pounds ($721 million). It is a part of a plan to enhance tools to help companies keep track of and interacting with users. The deal, Cisco’s largest U.K. acquisition in about three years, offers IMImobile investors 595 pence per share in cash.

3. Ampere Electric: Thiruppathy Srinivasan as CTO

Greaves Cotton’s electric mobility arm Ampere Electric has appointed Thiruppathy Srinivasan as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and manufacturing head. Before joining Ampere, he was working with Bengaluru-based electric vehicle maker Ather Energy. Srinivasan has worked in international firms like Medtronic, Rexnord, Lomega and 3M – where he was leading the global operations.

4. Canara Bank launches Rs. 2,000 cr QIP

Canara Bank has launched a qualified institutional placement (QIP) to raise funds from institutional investors. It plans to raise up to Rs 2,000 crore. The base issue size is of Rs 1,000 crore with
an option to upsize the deal by another Rs 1000 crore. The company has set a floor price of Rs 103.5 per share, as per Sebi formula, for the share sale,

5. Google Pay continues to lead in UPI market

With UPI transactions in the country hitting close to 2.2 bn in the month of Nov 2020, Google Pay continued to hold its dominant position recording 960 million transactions on its app. It garnered close to 43.4% of UPI market share, showed data from National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Taking on the second spot was PhonePe, which registered close to 868.40 million transactions.

6. Uber sells its self-driving unit to Aurora

Uber is selling off its autonomous vehicles development arm for $4 billion. Self-driving vehicle technology company Aurora will acquire the employees and technology behind Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) in a stock transaction. Uber will also invest $400 million into Aurora, and Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Aurora’s board of directors.

7. Govt garners Rs. 600 cr via SUUTI stake sale

The central government has sold nearly 1 crore shares of Axis Bank worth around Rs. 600 crores held through the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI). SUUTI sold 61.43 lakh shares of Axis Bank between 2 and 4 December 2020, fetching the government Rs. 374.21 crores. Between 26 November and 27 November 2020, it sold 36.25 lakh shares for 221.47 crores.

8. Indian-origin man: First to get vaccine in UK

An 87-year-old Indian-origin man, Hari Shukla from the northeast of England became one of the first people in the world to get a vaccine against COVID-19. He received his Pfizer/BioNTech jab at a hospital in Newcastle on 8 Dec 2020. People aged 80 and over, care home workers, as well as NHS workers who are at higher risk, will be first in line to receive the “life-saving jab”.

9. Godrej Properties to develop new project

Godrej Properties Ltd. (GPL) has entered into an outright transaction to purchase a well-located land parcel in Whitefield, Bangalore. Spread across approximately 18 acres, this project will offer 2.4 million square feet of the saleable area comprising primarily of residential apartments. Whitefield is the largest commercial and residential real estate market in Bangalore.

10. Japan to unveil $ 707 billion stimulus package

Japan’s PM Yoshihide Suga is set to unveil his first stimulus package. The measures put together by Suga’s government will have an overall value of 73.6 trillion yen ($707 billion). The package will include around 40 trillion yen in fiscal measures, such as loans, investment and direct expenditure. The spending will be partly financed by 19.2 trillion yen from a third extra budget.

11. Mumbai records highest rates of petrol

Mumbai recorded the highest rates of petrol and diesel among all metro cities, on 7 Dec 2020. Petrol breached Rs.90 mark while the price of diesel skyrocketed to over Rs.80/. Across Maharashtra, petrol prices in as many as 27 districts have soared over the Rs.90 mark, while Diesel rates in 16 districts have crossed Rs.80. Parbhani had the highest petrol rate at Rs. 92.47 a litre.

12. Jio to roll out 5G in second half of 2021

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd will roll out of 5G technology in India, implementing the service in the second half of 2021. This was announced by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani at the fourth edition of India Mobile Congress. It will be powered by the indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components.

13. GADVASU, Ludhiana secures 1st rank

The Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana has secured the 1st rank amongst State Veterinary Universities in India for 2019. The ranking was conducted by the Education Division of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has also been accorded No.2 ranking amongst Agricultural Universities by ICAR for 2019.

14. 2nd edition of Fit India Cyclothon launched

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has launched the second edition of Fit India Cyclothon via social media. The mega cycling event which started on 7 Dec 2020 will run for 25 days till 31st December 2020. The event will be held across the country in each district and citizens can participate by registering on Fit India website.

15. Invest India wins an award

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has declared Invest India as winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award. The award recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the Worlds best-practice investment promotion agencies. The evaluation was based on UNCTADs assessment of work undertaken by 180 national Investment Promotion Agencies.

16. Anil Soni appointed as CEO for WHO Foundation

WHO has appointed Indian-origin Anil Soni as the Chief Executive Officer for the WHO Foundation. He will assume his role as its inaugural CEO on January 1, 2021. In his new role, he will accelerate the Foundations work to invest in innovative, evidence-based initiatives that support WHO in delivering on its mission to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

17. Madhukar Gangadhar passes away

Veteran Hindi writer Madhukar Gangadhar passed away in December 2020. Motiyo Wale Hath, Hirna Ki Aankhen are some of his most well-known works. He studied in Purnia Inter College and Patna University,worked at Patna Akashwani and later also served as the Director, AIR Allahabad. He also worked in the capacity of Deputy Director General (DDG), AIR at New Delhi.

18. 2 vaccine candidates apply for emergency use

Bharat Biotech, developer of COVAXIN has applied to the central drug regulator, DCGI, seeking emergency use authorisation for its vaccine. On the other hand, Serum Institute of India (SII) has also applied for emergency approval of made-in-India covid vaccine candidate, Covishield. A few days back, Pfizer had also applied for approval of emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

19. HAL-IISC SDC launches its training programme

HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre in Challakere, Karnataka launched its first training programme on 7 Dec 2020 offering five courses in virtual mode. The programmes offered are in the niche engineering areas of aerospace, mechanical, electrical and electronic sectors, and in line with the Make in India mission. Faculty members will be selected from IISC and other leading organisations.

20. Army Service celebrates its Raising Day

8 December marks the Raising Day of Army Service Corps (ASC). The ASC is mainly responsible for provisioning, procurement and distribution of supplies and petroleum products to the Army, Air Force, Navy and other Paramilitary forces. On 8th December 1950, the word Royal was dropped from the nomenclature of Army Service Corps and since then the day has been celebrated as its raising Day.

21. RBL Bank: Somnath Ghosh as Non-exec Director

RBL Bank has approved the appointment of Somnath Ghosh as an Additional (Non-Executive Independent) Director of the Bank. Somnath Ghosh is a retired Professor Founding Dean from Indian Institute of Management Kashipur. He has also held regular faculty positions at IIM Lucknow, Bangalore and Indore; International Management Institute, New Delhi and Administrative Staff College of India.

22. A Kulasekaran to head a commission

A commission to gather quantifiable caste-wise data and submit a report to the government would be headed by a former judge of the Madras High Court, A Kulasekaran. The commission would soon commence its work and it shall decide on norms on the collection of such data related to castes. This was announced by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on 7 December 2020.

23. EFL: Devi becomes 1st Indian woman footballer

Bala Devi has become the first Indian woman to score in a professional European Football League. She scored in the 85th minute to open her account for Rangers FC. She joined the Scottish club in January 2020 and became the first Indian woman to sign a professional football contract overseas.

24. Breakdancing to become Olympic Sport In 2024

Breakdancing will become an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The International Olympics Committee executive board approved the new sport as part of a broader decision on Paris 2024s event program and athlete quotas. Surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing were also approved for Paris 2024, but all three events will also be a part of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

25. Sushil Modi gets elected unopposed

Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha in Dec 2020. Since November 2005 when he first became the Deputy CM, Modi has been a member of the legislative council. He had returned to state politics giving up his Lok Sabha seat of Bhagalpur which he had won in the 2004 general elections.

26. Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge has been named the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry until 2050. Hamied, 84, who was a student at Christs College, has retained close links with Cambridge over the past 66 years. He is the chairman of pharma major Cipla. KA Hamied, the father of Yusuf Hamied, started Cipla in Mumbai (1935).

27. 8th edition of PILF

The Pune International Literature Festival (PILF)’s eighth edition will be held online from December 11-13, 2020. The festival also has special sessions for debut authors like ‘WhyBuyMyBook; in which authors can pitch their books to readers. The theme for this edition is ‘Power of Social Media’.

28. Edtech Startup Lead School acquires QuizNext

Mumbai-based edtech startup Lead School has acquired student assessment startup QuizNext for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2012 by Mehta and Smita Deorah, Lead School offers integrated curriculum and technology solutions to affordable private schools. In August 2020, Lead School had raised $28 Mn in Series C funding round led by WestBridge Capital.

29. BLF to be held on December 12-13

The ninth edition of Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) is to be held on 12,13 December 2020. It will be held at the Bangalore International Centre in Domlur while the sessions will be streamed live. BLF has announced the list of authors who will be part of the festival in this edition. The list includes marquee names like Jeffrey Archer, Chetan Bhagat and Alexander McCall Smith.

30. New smartphone-based COVID-19 test

Researchers have developed a novel technology for a CRISPR-based COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses a smartphone camera to provide accurate results in under 30 minutes. The team consists of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley. Jennifer Doudna is one of the researchers who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for co-discovering CRISPR-Cas genome editing.

31. Singapore to host WEF in May 2021

The World Economic Forum will hold its 2021 annual meeting in Singapore from May 13-16, 2021. The Special Annual Meeting 2021 will be a place for leaders from business, government and civil society to meet in person for the first time since the start of the global pandemic. The event is expected to return to Davos in 2022.

32. NTPC signs MoU with IIFM, Bhopal

NTPC Ltd., one of India’s largest integrated energy company has signed an MoU with Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal. It has been signed to implement the Narmada Landscape Restoration Project. The program is in partnership with a grant in aid from NTPC Ltd and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in equal proportions.

33. Singapore Airlines, Vistara sign agreement

Singapore Airlines and Vistara have signed a commercial cooperation framework agreement. It will allow them to harmonise efforts in capacity planning, sales, marketing, joint fare products, customer services and operations. The agreement is an extension of a codeshare partnership between the airlines. Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture between the Tata group and Singapore Airlines.

34. Gwalior, Orchha in UNESCO world heritage list

The historical fort cities of Gwalior and Orchha in MP have been included in the list of UNESCO’s world heritage cities under its urban landscape city programme. Gwalior was established in the 9th century and ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias. Orchha is popular for its temples and palaces and was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.

35. Ladakh set to get 13th Climate Change cell

The 13th Climate Change (CC) cell under the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) will soon come up in Ladakh. Out of the eight national missions which are part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, NMSHE is the only site-specific mission that aims to take suitable measures for safeguarding the Indian Himalayan Region.

36. Hindalco to set up a plant

Hindalco Industries has announced plans to set up a 34,000-tonne aluminium extrusion plant at Silvassa. The Silvassa plant will be fully automated and will include three extrusion presses. It will enable Hindalco to service premium customers in the building and construction, auto and transport, electrical, consumer and industrial goods sectors.

37. Raj Kamal Jha wins a prize

Journalist-author Raj Kamal Jha has won the 3rd Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for his novel, “The City and The Sea”. Jha’s book, which is based on the December 2012 Nirbhaya rape and murder case, was chosen from ten shortlisted books. The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize was founded in 2018 by US-based publisher Bundalo and carries a cash prize of USD 5,000.

38. TTD inaugurates cow donation programme

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Hindu Prachara Parishat inaugurated a programme called ‘Gudiko Gomata’ at Kanaka Durga Temple premises on Indrakeeladri hillock in Vijayawada on 7 Dec 2020. It has been launched to encourage people to donate cows to the temples. TTD will gift cows to all major temples in the Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

39. NTPC offers to buy back masala bonds

NTPC- National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd has made an offer to buy back its masala bonds worth Rs 4,000 crore from bondholders or lenders. Masala bonds are issued outside India but denominated in Indian rupees, rather than the local currency. The offer includes the rupee-denominated Rs 2,000-crore 7.375 per cent notes issued on August 10, 2016, payable In USD and due on August 10, 2021.

40. Odisha jail inmates to watch movie on Sundays

Jail inmates in Jharpada special jail, Odisha will soon get an opportunity to watch patriotic and motivational movies on Sundays besides enjoying soothing music in their cells every day. The facilities are being provided to prisoners as part of the implementation of the “Odisha Model Jail Manual-2020”. These schemes will be extended to other prisons of the state gradually.

41. Bihar plans for migratory birds festival

Bihar is planning its first-ever migratory bird festival. This is a three-day festival to be organised from 11-13 Dec 2020 in Bhagalpur District. It will be jointly organised by Bhagalpur forest division, Bombay Natural History Society and the local Mandar Nature Club. The migratory birds arriving in the region are Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Curlew, Ferruginous Duck, Eurasian Coot, etc.

42. Narinder Singh Kapany passes away

Renowned physicist, businessman and Sikh activist Narinder Singh Kapany passed away in December 2020. He was called the ‘Father of fiber optics’ and had more than 100 patents in his name. He was the first to transmit images through fiber optics back in 1954 and laid the foundation for high-speed internet technology. He published four books on optoelectronics and entrepreneurship.

43. Mamit district tops NITI Aayog’s rankings

Mamit district of Mizoram has topped the rankings of aspirational districts by Niti Aayog for October 2020. Banka (Bihar) and Dhenkanal (Odisha) have been placed at the second and third positions, respectively. Guna (Madhya Pradesh) and Pakur (Jharkhand) stood at fourth and fifth positions. The rankings took into account incremental progress made by over 112 aspirational districts.

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