Daily Current Affairs 19 December 2019

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Current affairs – Current affairs 2019 – Current affairs today

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HDFC Bank crosses $100 billion market capitalization:

  • HDFC Bank has become the 3rd Indian firm to cross $100 billion mark in market capitalisation.
  • HDFC Bank has joined the league of Reliance Industries Ltd, which has a market cap of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) that has a market cap of $114.60 billion.
  • With this achievement, HDFC Bank is now ranked 110th in the list of world’s most valued companies.
  • Among the world’s most valued banks and financial companies which have a market cap of over $100 billion, HDFC Bank is ranked at 26th position.

Decommissioned Aircraft Carrier Viraat’s E-Auction Today:

  • The decommissioned aircraft carrier, ‘Viraat’, which was ordered to be scrapped six months ago by the government, will be e-auctioned in mumbai on Tuesday.
  • The e-auction – by Metals and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC) – will be conducted from 12.16 p.m. The magnificent ship holds a Guinness World Record for being the oldest serving warship in the world.

Anti-hijacking exercise conducted in Kochi port:

  • The Indian Navy, in collaboration with Indian Coast Guard, Cochin Port Trust and all other concerned stakeholders, conducted a large-scale anti-hijacking exercise off the Port of Kochi.
  • The Exercise code-named “Apharan” saw the participation of multiple agencies, including more than 12 ships and helicopters of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust.
  • Apharan was aimed at streamlining the response mechanism/preparedness to thwart any attempt by anti-national elements to hijack a merchant’s vessel or attempt forced entry of a rogue/commandeered merchant vessel into the Kochi harbour.

Govt. Aims To Provide Broadband Access To All Villages By 2022:

  • The government on Tuesday announced a new ‘mission’ aimed at providing broadband access in all villages in the country by 2022, entailing investments of around Rs.7 lakh crore from various stakeholders.
  • Under the mission, the government plans to lay incremental 30 lakh route km of Optical Fiber Cable, while also increasing tower density from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand of population by 2024.

Govt approves Rs 436 cr outlay for skilling 4 lakh persons:

  • The government announced Rs 436 crore outlay for skilling 4 lakh professionals in futuristic areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity over the next 3 years.
  • The ”Future Skills PRIME” programme will be jointly rolled out by the information technology ministry and industry body Nasscom and will seek to position the initiative as India stack for digital talent.
  • The programme will increase employability.

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GST Council fixes 28% uniform tax rate for lottery:

  • The Goods and Services Tax or GST Council has fixed a uniform tax rate of 28% on both state-run and private lottery.
  • It also decided to rationalise the GST rate on woven and non-woven bags to 18%.
  • It was for the first time that the GST Council resorted to voting to decide on an issue as it fixed a uniform tax rate on both state and private lotteries.
  • The GST Council also decided to exempt upfront amount payable for long term lease of industrial and financial infrastructure plots by an entity having 20% or more ownership of Central or State Government.

50% concession for ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ participants:

  • Indian Railways has decided to grant 50% concession for the youth participating in the “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” programme.
  • The concession will be given in basic fares of Second and Sleeper Class to youths with emoluments of not more than 5000 rupees per month for travelling from one State to another State to take part in the programme.
  • The concession has been granted as a special case and it is admissible only in the normal train services and not for booking of Special Trains or Coaches.
  • This concession will be provided on production of requisite certificate in the prescribed railway format from the Secretary of concerned Department of Human Resource Development of various States.

Haryana Police Became The First To Introduce ‘Trakea’ Software In FSL:

  • Haryana police have introduced a unique barcoding software “Trakea” to enable fool proof security of the samples collected in Forensic reports.
  • Haryana became the first state in the country to introduce this unique barcoding system. Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister (CM) of Haryana inaugurated the TRAKEA barcoding system of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Madhuban, Haryana.
  • According to the police, Trakea ensures fool proof security of the samples collected from the scene of the crime, and the forensic analysis reports, and is different from traditional methods that the state police force has been following for decades.
  • The software was developed by Amit Mishra, a software engineer who was in Bhondsi jail for 13 months imprisoned on the charge of killing his wife.

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First In India: Bengaluru Airport To Integrate Military, Civil Radars:

  • The Indian Air Force has taken a major initiative to co-locate IAF radar controllers with Airport Authority of India (AAI) radar controllers at KIAB to facilitate simultaneous operations from Yelahanka air base and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru (KIAB).
  • This would be the first time in the country that military and civil radar controllers are being co-located for providing radar control services within the respective airspaces, said a defence spokesperson in a press release.

Odisha Govt. launches ‘Jalsathi’ programme:

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme to ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state.
  • The Odisha CM also launched the ‘JalSathi’ App on the occasion. The Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the women federations in Bhubaneswar for the implementation of the programme.
  • The JalSathi initiative aims to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to consumers through piped water connections.

Chennai Corporation launches India’s first waste exchange platform:

  • Chennai Corporation, Tamil Nadu launched India’s first waste exchange platform namely “Madras Waste Exchange” (www.madraswasteexchange.com) to buy and sell municipal solid waste online.
  • It will run on a pilot basis for the first three months. Based on the response from public and waste recyclers, more features will be added to the website.
  • The Madras Waste Exchange, which is both a web portal and an application, has been conceptualised by the Smart City Mission, with support from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

India Donates Solar-Powered Study Lamps To Marginalised Palestinian School Children:

  • As part of 150th Gandhi Jayanti programme, India has donated solar powered study lamps to Palestinian elementary school children from a marginalised Bedouin community.
  • The lamps were donated as part of Students Solar Ambassador Workshop to internationally spread the principles of self-sufficiency and to raise awareness towards the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The solar powered study lamps supplied by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay as part of the initiative on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary also aims at making the student beneficiaries the future propagators of renewable energy.

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Bangladesh Tops WEF Gender Gap Report In South Asia:

  • Bangladesh is the only country to feature in the top 50 of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday. It is the best performing country in South Asia in reducing the gender gap for women.
  • Bangladesh retains its position at the 50th rank in the index that measures gender gap in political, economic and social spheres in a country.
  • According to the Index, Bangladesh has marginally improved its score by 0.4 percentage points but falls two positions compared to its last status. Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world for the 11th time in a row. It is followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Peugeot SA and Fiat Chrysler signs merger agreement:

  • French carmaker “Peugeot SA” and US-Italian “Fiat Chrysler” have signed an agreement to create the world’s fourth largest automaker.
  • The binding combination agreement provides a 50/50 merger of their businesses to create the 4th largest global automotive original equipment manufacturer by volume and third largest by revenue.
  • The combined revenue of the two entities will be close to 170 billion euros i.e. $190 million.
  • The combined entity will have a workforce of more than 4,00,000.
  • The combined group would be headquartered in the Netherlands.
  • Fiat Chrysler’s chief John Elkann will be the chairman and PSA’s Carlos Tavares chief executive of the new entity.

Apple, Amazon & Google partners for ‘Connected Home over IP’:

  • “Amazon.com Inc”, “Apple Inc” and Alphabet Inc’s “Google” have announced a partnership to lay the groundwork for better compatibility among their smart home products.
  • Zigbee Alliance, whose members include IKEA and NXP Semiconductors among others, will also contribute to the project, titled ‘Connected Home over IP’.
  • The partnership aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build products that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.

India and US sign defence tech transfer pact during 2+2 dialogue:

  • India and the US have signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of defence technology.
  • During a 2+2 dialogue held at Washington DC, the top foreign affairs and defence leaders on growing strategic relations between the world`s largest and most powerful democracies.
  • India and the US have a common vision of a free, seamless and peaceful Indo-Pacific region.
  • India has bought weapons worth more than $15 billion from the United States over the past decade as it seeks to replace its Russian-origin military and is in talks for helicopters, armed drones and a bigger Indian plan for local production of combat planes together worth billions of dollars.

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Dehradun hosts Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies:

  • Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla inaugurated the 79th Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies.
  • The conference was held in Dehradun. The presiding officers of all state legislatures participated in the conference.
  • Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla was also conferred the guard of honour during the conference.

National conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prison Administration’ begins:

  • Union Minister of State for Home affairs inaugurate a National Conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prisons Administration’ begins in Central Academy for Police Training in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • In this Conference, uniformed women officers and staff of all the states from Jail Wardens up to Director Inspector Generals level, members of non-governmental organizations, representatives of academic institutions and officers of other government departments are taking part in the conference.
  • At present, there are more than 900 uniformed women government servants working in the state jail department.

“Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” Summit held in Delhi:

  • Summit on “Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” was held in Delhi.
  • Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change addressed the summit with the concerns about the depleting ozone layer and the emission of Cfcs and Hfcs.
  • He stated that there is the need of the hour to call upon a meeting to control the minimum temperatures and to keep a check on the emissions.

Facebook Top Downloaded App Of The Decade, Netflix The Most Paid App:

  • Despite being a scandal-hit corporation in the past two-odd years, Facebook ends the decade on top when it comes to app status.
  • It is the decade’s most-downloaded app, revealed App Annie in a wrap-up report. Further, Facebook’s suite of apps — Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram — grabbed the second, third, and fourth spots in the list of most downloaded apps of the decade.
  • Netflix topped the category of most-downloaded paid apps, followed by Tinder, Pandora Music, Tencent Video, LINE, iQIYI, Spotify, YouTube, HBO Now, and Kwai. Tinder was the most successful dating app of the decade in terms of consumer spend, coming in second place in the overall ranking.

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Wabtec Opens Its Largest Design Centre In India:

  • Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corporation, a recently merged entity between GE Transportation and Faiveley Transport, which manufactures locomotives, freight cars and passenger transit vehicles for governments and enterprises across 50 geographies, has opened its largest ever engineering and digital electronics design and development centre in Bengaluru.
  • The centre, set up at an investment of over $5 million, will host engineering teams spanning across the company’s digital electronics portfolio.
  • The centre comes with validation labs for distributed power, positive train control, trip optimiser electronic air brake, signalling systems and advanced train automation solutions.

Infosys launches blockchain powered distributed applications:

  • Infosys has announced the launch of three blockchain-powered distributed applications.
  • The applications will be dedicated for government services, insurance, and supply chain management domains.
  • The applications are equipped with predictive return on investment (ROI) analytics for business investments that can be tailored to meet numerous industry-specific needs.

Vipin Sondhi Named Ashok Leyland CEO:

  • Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland Ltd. (ALL) has appointed Vipin Sondhi as the CEO and MD for five years.
  • Mr. Sondhi succeeds Vinod Dasari, who stepped down on March 31, 2019 citing personal reasons.

Ankur Garg Appointed As Chief Commercial Officer At AirAsia India:

  • The low-cost carrier AirAsia India has appointed Ankur Garg as its Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
  • In his new role, he will be responsible for managing the day-to-day commercial operations of AirAsia India.
  • He will also be responsible for managing network and revenue management, marketing, sales, and cargo.

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UT Of J&K Selected For National Award By Union Rural Development Ministry:

  • Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been selected for national award by Union Rural Development Ministry for best performance in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • The award distribution ceremony will be held at Pusa, New Delhi on Thursday. Union Rural Development Ministry has sanctioned 147 Road and Bridge projects under PMGSY-II covering a length of 783.88 kilometres at an estimated cost of 878.53 crore rupees for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Amitabha Bagchi Wins 2019 DSC Prize:

  • Amitabha Bagchi has won this year’s DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for his novel Half the Night is Gone.
  • The prestigious DSC Prize is worth US $25,000.
  • He was announced the winner on Monday at the IME Nepal Literature Festival.
  • Six books were shortlisted for the prize that included The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha, There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari (Translated by Arunava Sinha), The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas and 99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochi.

Manushi Chillar, Sunil Chhetri PETA India’s Hottest Vegetarians Of 2019:

  • Manushi Chillar, Sunil Chhetri PETA India’s Hottest Vegetarians of 2019.
  • With the world getting more vocal about the problem and causes of pollution, quite a number of people are getting aware and accepting responsibility for protecting the environment by turning vegetarian.
  • Topping the list, Miss World 2017 Manushi Chillar and captain of the Indian national football team Sunil Chhetri have been chosen as India’s Hottest vegetarians of 2019 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

S. Mandhana in ICC’s ODI and T20 team of the year:

  • India opener Smriti Mandhana was named in both the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20 teams of the year.
  • She has Jhulan Goswami, Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey for the company in the ODI team of the year and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in the T20 side.
  • Mandhana has played 51 ODIs and 66 T20Is for India, besides a couple of Test matches. She has combined tally of 3476 runs in T20Is and ODIs.

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Thawarchand Gehlot launches Braille version of ‘Exam Warriors’:

  • Social Justice and Empowerment Minister launched the Braille version of the book “Exam Warriors” written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • The braille version in English and Hindi has been printed by Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh in Jaipur.
  • The book contains a detailed-design of the animated picture and various yoga asanas which will let students imagine the pictorial graphics with ease.
  • The book will surely benefit visually-impaired students who face mental stress during examinations. It will boost the confidence level of these students and help them get success in various competitive exams.

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