December 18 – World Arabic Language Day:
- World Arabic Language Day is observed on 18 December every year. The day aims to celebrate the multilingualism and cultural diversity of the United Nations.
- The celebration of the day is held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
- Theme: Arabic Language and Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is also a formidable source of opportunities and promise.
December 18 – International Migrants Day:
- International Migrants Day is observed on 18 December. The day aims to educate people that treating every migrant with dignity is one of the fundamental requirements.
- The day aims to raise awareness about the challenges and difficulties that are faced by international migrants.
- The focus on the stories of social cohesion and the uniqueness of the 272 million migrants who are living new lives and building new communities in every corner of the globe
December 18 – Minorities Rights Day:
- Minorities Rights Day is observed on 18 December in India. The day aims to remind about the rights of minorities and to educate people about it.
- It focuses on the religious harmony, respect, and better understanding of all minorities’ communities in India.
- The aim of the day is to advance and protect the privileges of the individuals to have a place with linguistic, religion, castes and color minority.
RBI waives NEFT, RTGS transfer charges for savings account holders:
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has waived NEFT, RTGS transfer charges for savings account holders.
- In an order, RBI instructed banks to make all online payments done through RTGS and NEFT free of cost for savings account holders.
- The new rule will be effective from January 1, 2020.
Union government launches National Broadband Mission:
- The Union government has launched National Broadband Mission to provide Broadband access to all villages by 2022.
- The mission aims to connect 600,000 villages across India with an investment of Rs 7 lakh crore in the next 4 years from both government and private sector.
- The mission is a part of the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.
- The mission will secure universal broadband access for implementation of broadband initiatives and aims to offer Internet speed upto 50 Mbps in a phased manner.
- According to the government, 10% of the funds will come from Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund and the remaining will come from industry in the form of towers and other assets.
GEM launches national outreach programme ‘GeM Samvaad’:
- Government e-commerce portal GeM has launched a national outreach programme, “GeM Samvaad”, to bring on-board more local sellers.
- The outreach programme will take place with stakeholders across the country and with local sellers to facilitate on-boarding of local sellers on the marketplace.
- GeM has more than 15 lakh products and around 20,000 services, more than 3 lakh registered sellers and service providers and more than 40 thousand government buyer organizations.
Centre to extend 2 years for AMRUT scheme:
- The Centre has decided to extend the mission period of the flagship initiative Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) by two more years.
- The government was unable to meet the set targets for urban renewal in 500 cities.
- AMRUT was launched on 25 June 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The initiative will complete its mission period in March 2020.
NITI Aayog to include eggs, fish, chicken, and meat in PDS:
- Niti Aayog Plans to include eggs, fish, chicken, and meat, possibly through its public distribution system.
- The aim of the proposal is to improve India’s low nutrition ranking at the global level.
- This is expected to be part of Niti Aayog’s 15-year Vision Document. The document will be in place by early 2020 with effect from 1 April 2020
Music festival ‘Tansen Samaroh’ begins in Gwalior:
- In Madhya Pradesh, popular classical music festival ‘Tansen Samaroh’ began with traditional style in Gwalior with the recitations of Harikatha and Milad.
- The 5-day festival is celebrated every year in the memory of one of the most eminent singers of Indian history, ‘Mian Tansen’.
- Tansen Samaroh, the oldest and esteemed classical music festival in India is organised by Ustad Alauddin Khan Kala Evam Sangeet Academy, under the Madhya Pradesh culture department attracts thousands of musicians and aspiring singers from all over the country.
- It is the 95th year of the festival. Artistes from Greece, USA, Iran and Belgium will perform in different sessions of Tansen festival.
- Noted vocalist Pandit Vidyadhar Vyas will be presented the National Tansen Award for 2019 today on the first day of Tansen Festival.
- Instituted by the Madhya Pradesh government, Tansen award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and is given to outstanding exponents of Hindustani classical music.
Turkey historic mosque moved before dam waters rise:
- In Turkey, the main body of the 610-year-old Er-Rızk mosque was removed from the town of Hasankeyf ahead of its submergence as part of a Ilisu dam project.
- The Ilisu Dam will generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity, making it Turkey’s fourth-largest dam in terms of energy production.
Geneva to host the first-ever Global Refugee Forum:
- Geneva is to hold the first-ever Global Refugee Forum from 16-18 December 2019. It was announced by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
- The forum will be jointly hosted by the UNHCR and the government of Switzerland at the Palais des Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations.
- The forum will be Convened at the ministerial level.
GoI signs $250 Mn loan with ADB to expand energy efficiency investments:
- The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $250 million loan for Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
- The loan aims to expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. Additionally, $46 million financing will be provided from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.
- The project is expected to contribute to the mission of Government of India to promote energy efficiency and meet Government’s commitments to reduce energy intensity of the economy.
- Introduction of energy-efficient technologies in eligible states including smart meters, distributed solar photovoltaic systems and electric vehicles will help reduce electricity network losses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
SBI inks $277 million pact with Germany based KfW bank:
- State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a loan agreement worth of $277 million (about Rs 1,958 crore) with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) German development bank for establishing an energy-efficient housing programme in India.
- The programme shall be part of the Indo-German Development Co-operation, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Under the programme, both builders and homebuyers shall be financed for developing/purchasing energy-efficient residential projects that achieve at least 25 per cent energy savings in comparison to standard reference buildings.
- The arrangement of the loan and the grant facilities was facilitated by SBI’s investment banking subsidiary SBI Capital Markets Ltd.
A start to be named after Indian Woman Scientist:
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has accepted to name a white-yellow star in Sextans constellation and its Jupiter-like exoplanets.
- Until now, the stars were called HD 86081 and 86081b. The star will be named Bibha and the orbiting exoplanet will be named Santamasa, a Sanskrit term for clouded.
- The move by IAU is aimed to bring the attention of the global countries to exoplanet research. Bibha: Bibha Chowdhuri is a 20th-century Indian woman physicist
British PM Boris Jhonson re-elected as Prime Minister of UK:
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won the historic UK General Election as his Conservative Party crossed the magic number of 326 required for a majority in the Parliament.
- He is re-elected as a Prime Minister of UK.
- Johnson won the historic election as his Conservative Party crossed the 326-mark required for a majority in Parliament.
- The latest projections put the Johnson-led Conservatives at around 365, but the party can safely celebrate its victory as it comfortably crossed over the half-way finish line for the 650-member House of Commons.
- The Opposition Labour party is projected to get 203 seats, a disastrous performance for the party which resulted in leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that he would be stepping down.
Sridhar Patra appointed NALCO CMD:
- Sridhar Patra was appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO).
- He is at present Director (Finance) in NALCO.
- He has been appointed as the CMD of NALCO till the date on October 31, 2024. Sridhar Patra replaced Tapan Kumar Chand from the post.
England Cricketer Laura Marsh announces retirement:
- The Laura Alexandra Marsh, England cricketer announced her retirement.
- Laura has won three World Cups in her 13-year career, she made her debut in 2006 as a seamer, later on, she switched to spin.
- She has represented England in 103 ODI’s (One Day International), 67 T20’s and 9 Tests and has taken 217 wickets in her career.
- She is also England’s 3rd highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket.
- Laura Marsh was awarded a full central contract by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in February 2019.
- She played in her 100th women’s One Day International (WODI) match against West Indies in June 2019.
Gujarat police became 7th state police to get ‘President’s Colours’:
- The state police of Gujarat were honoured with ‘President’s colours’. The Gujarat police were presented with the President’s colours by Vice President of India Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- They were presented the president’s colours for their outstanding services.
- It is the highest honour given to a police force in India.
- The previously awarded states were Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura and Assam.
- The president’s colours is also known as ‘Nishaan’ which is an emblem that will be worn by all police officers on the left-hand sleeve of their uniform.
Ben Stokes awarded with Sports Personality of the Year 2019 award:
- England cricketer Ben Stokes has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019.
- He has become the first cricketer since Andrew Flintoff in 2005 to win the prize.
- Ben Stokes was Man of the Match as England won the 2019 World Cup for the first time with a dramatic super over victory against New Zealand at Lord’s.
- He was presented with his award by the Princess Royal and former Manchester United and Scotland footballer Denis Law.
Ellyse Perry named 2019 Best cricketer and ODI player:
- Ellyse Perry was named as women’s Best cricketer and ODI player of 2019. The announcement was made by the world governing body International Cricket Council (ICC).
- Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy was named the Best T20I Player.
- The top T20 cricketer won the title for a second straight year.
- Meg Lanning, the Australian team captain, was named skipper of the ICC’s 50-overs and T20 teams of the year 2019.
CBI officer BP Raju won the 2019 India Cyber Cop of the Year:
- CBI officer BP Raju has won the India Cyber Cop of the Year 2019 award by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM)-Data Security Council of India (DSCI).
- The award was presented by Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ajay Prakash Sawhney at an Information Security Summit held at Gurgaon, Haryana.
UWW named Deepak Punia as the Jr Freestyle Wrestler of the Year:
- Indian Wrestler Deepak Punia has been named the Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by the United World Wrestling (UWW).
- He was transitted from junior to the senior circuit. Punia became the first Indian wrestler to win a junior world title in 18 years.
- He won a silver medal on his debut at the Senior World Wrestling Championships 2019.
Veteran actor Shriram Lagoo passes away:
- Veteran actor Shriram Lagoo passed away. He played important role in the growth of theatre movement in Maharashtra in the post-Independence era.
- His roles in Marathi plays such as “Natsamrat” and “Himalayachi Saoli”, and films such as “Pinjra” made him popular.
- In Hindi, he essayed memorable roles in films such as “Ek Din Achanak”, “Gharonda” and “Lawaris”, to name a few.
Bollywood actress Gita Siddharth Kak passes away:
- Bollywood actress Gita Siddharth Kak passed away.
- Her most well-known movies include Garm Hava (1973), Parichay (1972), Gaman (1978) among others.
- Her Garam Hava won the Best Feature Film at the 21st National Film Awards. The film was also critically acclaimed.
Former Union Minister ID Swami passes away:
- Former Union Minister ID Swami passed away.
- He served as the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs in 1999 in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.
- He was also two times Lok Sabha member from Karnal in Haryana.