Current Affairs 9th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. International Anti-Corruption Day: 9 December

International Anti-corruption Day is celebrated every year on December 9. The day focuses on the ill effects of corruption, which is one of the most notorious socio-political phenomena that affects all countries. The Day is observed to create awareness about the socio-economic issues and how one can fight against them. The theme for the year 2020 is to be United Against Corruption.

2. Over 2 crore farmers to get Rs. 4333.40 crores

Around 216.67 lakh farmers in UP will get Rs. 4,333.40 cr under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Over 2.35 lakh crore farmers have received Rs. 22,594.78 cr under the scheme since its implementation in Dec 2019. Under the scheme, income support of 6,000/ yr in 3 equal installments is provided to small and marginal farmer families having a combined landholding of up to 2 hectares.

3. Indian Bank raises Rs. 1,048 crores

Indian Bank has raised Rs. 1,048 crores by issuing bonds on a private placement basis. The bank has successfully raised tier I capital funds through a private placement of Basel III compliant additional tier I perpetual bonds aggregating to Rs. 1,048 crores. The bonds will bear a coupon rate of 8.44% per annum payable annually.

4. Health Ministry develops a mobile app

The Union Health Ministry has developed a digital platform, including a mobile application, for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, recording data, and enabling people to get themselves registered for vaccination. The platform, Co-WIN, will help monitor the entire vaccination process. It includes a free downloadable mobile application that can help record vaccine data.

5. AstraZeneca publishes final-stage results

Oxford University and AstraZeneca have become the first COVID-19 vaccine makers to publish final-stage clinical trial results in a scientific journal. The study published in the Lancet medical journal confirmed that the vaccine, codenamed ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, works in an average 70% of cases, It has an efficacy of 62% for those given 2 full doses, and of 90% in those given a half than a full dose.

6. Nirmala Sitharaman in Forbes 2020 list

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and HCL Enterprise CEO Roshni Nadar Malhotra have been named among the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes. The list has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the 10th year in a row. Sitharaman ranked 41st on the list, and Nadar Malhotra ranked 55th.

7. IN finalizes procurement of anti-drone systems

The Indian Navy has finalized a contract for procurement of a batch of Israeli weapon systems that are capable of bringing down high-speed enemy drones. The delivery of the SMASH 2000 fire control systems is expected to begin in early 2021. The fire control system, manufactured by the Israeli firm Smart Shooter can track and bring down high-speed drones.

8. RBI cancels Karad Janata Sahakari Bank license

The RBI has canceled the license of Karad Janata Sahakari Bank to conduct banking business citing that the bank does not have adequate finance. The bank is now prohibited from taking any deposit or making any repayment. It also requested the Commissioner for Cooperation Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Maharashtra to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for it.

9. China successfully launches a satellite

China successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite which can take high-resolution pictures of ground objects across the globe, on 6 Dec 2020. The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan province. The satellite, Gaofen-14, was sent into orbit by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. Geofen-14 is an optical stereo mapping satellite.

10. China successfully activates ‘artificial sun’

China has successfully activated its “artificial sun” a nuclear fusion reactor that could fuel its energy ambitions for years to come. China’s Atomic Energy Authority fired up its HL-2M Tokamak reactor for the first time on 4 Dec 2020. The reactor generates power by applying powerful magnetic fields to a contained loop of hot plasma, which can reach temperatures of more than 150 million C.

11. 5paisa.com partners with Vested Finance

India’s only listed discount broker 5paisa.com has partnered with Vested Finance to provide ‘zero commission’ investing in the US markets for all our customers. Vested Finance is a US Securities and Exchange Commission Registered Investment Adviser. Their online platform enables investors from India to invest in US stocks and ETFs.

12. MFSL swaps its stakes with Mitsui Sumitomo

Max Financial Services Limited (MFSL) has swapped its 21.87% stake in Max Life Insurance Company Limited (Max Life) with 20.57% stake of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company. MFSL has allotted 7,54,58,088 equity shares of Rs. 2/- each constituting 21.87% of the paid-up share capital to MSI, on a preferential allotment basis. The paid-up equity share capital of MFSL has increased to Rs. 69 crores.

13. Margaret: 1st to receive Pfizer COVID vaccine

Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old lady from Britain, has become the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine outside of a trial following its rapid clinical approval. Keenan received the jab at her local hospital in Coventry, central England, on 8 Dec 2020. Britain began rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on 8 Dec 2020.

14. UAE-India Food Security Summit 2020

A delegation of farmers, growers, businessmen, and government officials from the UT of J&K, is participating in the UAE-India Food Security Summit 2020. The Summit is being held from 7-10 December 2020. The event is being organized by the Consulate General of India in Dubai in association with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Invest India.

15. Inter-ministerial central team completes tour

The eight-member inter-ministerial central team, deputed to evaluate the damages caused by the cyclone Nivar in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry completed its tour on 8 Dec 2020. The team was led by the Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary Ashutosh Agnihotri. Tamil Nadu govt has submitted a memorandum to the central team seeking assistance to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure.

16. Govt to start 1000 Khelo India small centers

Addressing the 10th Global Sports Summit, TURF 2020, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju informed that the govt is starting 1000 Khelo India small centers across the country. These will help retired sportspersons get employment or some role in shaping the sports culture of the country. The govt has made various policy changes and taken up initiatives to encourage and support sportspersons.

17. India and Qatar to create special Task-Force

India and Qatar have decided to create a special Task-Force to further facilitate investments by Qatar Investment Authority into India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while speaking on the telephone with Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of Qatar also resolved to explore Qatari investments in the entire energy value-chain in India.

18. Sheikh Sabah reappointed Kuwait PM

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah has reappointed Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid al-Sabah as Prime Minister following parliamentary polls in the Gulf Arab state. Sheikh Nawaf asked Sheikh Sabah to nominate members of a new cabinet for approval. Sheikh Sabah was the Foreign Minister since 2011 before being elevated to the post of premier in late 2019.

19. Army Chief M M Naravane visits UAE

Army Chief General M M Naravane is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2 days starting 9 December 2020. During the visit, he will be meeting his counterparts and senior military leadership of these countries. The visit is historic in the sense that it will be the first time an Indian Army Chief is visiting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

20. ICAI’s Startup Manthan 2.0

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal addressed the ICAI’s (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) Startup Manthan 2.0, on 8 December 2020. He informed that the govt has created a fund of funds for Startups with an initial corpus of Rs 10,000 crore for funding promising Startups in their early-stage funding requirement.

21. Heads of foreign missions visit Hyderabad

A team of ambassadors and heads of foreign missions of 64 countries visited Hyderabad on 9 Dec 2020. They visited the biotech companies including Bharat Biotech, and Biological E to see personally the development works relating to the COVID vaccine development and manufacturing. The visit by the heads of foreign missions was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

22. R Chouhan elected Speaker in British Columbia

Raj Chouhan, an Indian-origin legislator in Canada, has been elected as the Speaker of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. He has represented the Burnaby-Edmonds constituency five times in the British Columbia legislature. He has also served as Deputy Speaker in the previous government and would be replacing retiring Darryl Plecas as Speaker.

23. MMRDA plans signal-free ring road in Mumbai

MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner RA Rajeev announced that there will be a signal-free ring road in Mumbai Metropolitan Region by 2030. The signal-free ring route will begin from the Sewri Worli Elevated connector-MTHL-CIDCOS Coastal Road–Alibaug Virar Multi-Modal Corridor- Vasai Bhayander creek bridge–BMC Coastal Road—Bandra Worli Sealink.

24. Nokia starts production of 5G equipment

Nokia has started the production of 5G equipment in Chennai, India. Nokia Chennai factory is manufacturing the latest 5G massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO) equipment that is shipped to countries that are in advanced stages of 5G deployment. Nokia claims to have invested over Rs. 600 crores since 2008 to develop the facility.

25. WB: Scheme for Kharif paddy procurement

The West Bengal government is planning to roll out a scheme to procure Kharif paddy for its public distribution system. It seeks to maintain an unhindered supply of free rice to nearly 10 crore people till June 2021. Under the scheme, the government aims to enroll over 30 lakh farmers. 13 lakh of an estimated 72 lakh paddy farmers in West Bengal have registered themselves for the scheme.

26. Palestine-India Techno Park

India donated the fourth and final tranche of over Rs. 22 crores to complete the construction of Palestine – India Techno Park. This contribution completes India’s commitment to donate $12 million towards the establishment of the Techno Park in Ramallah, near Bir Zeit University. The project is almost in its final stage and likely to be inaugurated in February or March 2021.

27. BIAL gifts portable cabins to Bengaluru police

Bangalore International Airport Limited, the operator of Kempegowda International Airport, has donated seven customized portable cabins to city police as part of its CSR initiative. This unique initiative was conceptualized with the support of former BCP commissioner Bhaskar Rao. Each cabin is equipped with a meeting area, four bunker beds, and a washroom.

28. World Athletics Awards 2020

Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela are the 2020 Male and Female World Athletes of the Year. They are their countries’ first recipients of the prestigious athletics award. Duplantis is the youngest ever winner of the Male Athlete of the Year Award after twice breaking the absolute world record (6.17m and 6.18m) in Feb 2020.

29. SJVN and IREDA sign MoU

Two PSUs under the Ministry of Power, SJVN Ltd and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) have entered an MoU. They will collaborate on green energy projects. Under the MoU, IREDA will provide its services to SJVN for its green energy projects. IREDA will undertake Techno-Financial due diligence of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation projects for SJVN.

30. Two new zoos granted recognition

Two new zoos- the Rajgir Zoo Safari in Nalanda, Bihar and Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Prani Udyaan in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh have been granted recognition. They were granted recognition at the 37th General Body meeting of Central Zoo Authority chaired by Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on December 7, 2020.

31. Dr. Samir selected for the Senior Scientist Award

Dr. Samir Damare, Principal Scientist and Head Analytical Services Division, at CSIR-NIO, Goa has been selected for the Senior Scientist Award for 2020, by the Microbiologists Society, India. It is presented annually to Microbiologists working in different fields. He has received this award in recognition of his research in the field of microbiology, extremophiles, and biotechnology.

32. TCS recognized as UK Superbrand

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been selected as a superbrand in the United Kingdom for the sixth consecutive year. The prestigious annual survey recognized TCS as one of the strongest brands based on its excellent brand reputation, notable business performance, etc. Women make up 28 percent of employees in TCS, much higher than the 17 percent average in the UK IT sector.

33. Biden picks ex-General as Defence Secretary

US President-elect Joe Biden has chosen retired General Lloyd Austin as his Defence Secretary. If approved, Austin, who retired in 2016 would become the 1st African-American to lead the Pentagon. Gen Austin served under the Obama administration, leading the US Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, Central Asia, and part of South Asia, between 2013 and 2016.

34. Revised height of Mt Everest: 8,848.86 meters

Nepal and China have jointly announced the revised height of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, as 8848.86 meters. According to the measurement done in 1954 by Survey of India, the height of Mt. Everest is 8,848 meters. The new height is 86 cms more than the previous measurement.

35. Nokia to lead EU’s Hexa-X 6G research project

The European Union has funded a wireless project called Hexa-X which is focusing on the next generation of mobile technology – 6G. Nokia has been appointed to lead a group of companies and universities working on it. It aims to create unique 6G use-cases and scenarios as well as develop fundamental 6G technologies. Apart from Nokia, the project also includes Ericsson, Atos, Intel, etc.

36. Argentina to levy ‘millionaires tax’

Argentina has introduced a new tax, passing it on the country’s wealthiest people to pay for medical supplies and relief measures in context to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is called the ‘millionaire’s tax!’ According to the new tax, people whose assets amount to more than 200 million pesos (approx Rs 18 crore) – about 12,000 in number – will have to pay for the said accommodations.

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