December 20 – International Human Solidarity Day:
- International Human Solidarity Day is organized across the world on 20th December. The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values.
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.
Upgraded version of Pinaka Rocket successfully test-fired off Odisha coast:
- An upgraded version of the indigenously developed Pinaka-guided rocket system with enhanced strike range and guidance system was successfully test-fired from the DRDO’s Proof and Experimental Establishment firing test range off Odisha coast.
- The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for Mark-II and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. It is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.
- Pinaka is an indigenous multi-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system, which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.
- The weapon system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system.
- While the all-weather tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QR-SAM) also tested from a mobile launcher at a launch complex of the Integrated Test Range.
Goa Tops List Of E-Book Readers, Says Amazon Kindle:
- While Goa has been among the most popular holiday destinations in India, it has now also emerged as one of the reading hotspots in the country.
- For the year 2019, Goa has topped the list of States where the most number of e-books were read across Amazon’s Kindle devices and mobile applications.
- Goa was followed by Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Haryana and Telengana.
Bengaluru Retains Its Crown As The Highest Paying City:
- Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai are the highest paying cities in India, as per Randstad Insights.
- As per the report, professionals from the IT industry command the highest salaries – the sector stands first for highest average annual CTCs paid at the junior (Rs 4.96 lakh) and senior (Rs 35.84 lakh) levels.
- Hyderabad (Rs 5 lakh) and Mumbai (Rs 4.59 lakh) take second and third spots for junior level roles, Mumbai (Rs 15.07 lakh) and the National Capital Region (Rs 14.5 lakh) for mid-level roles and Mumbai (Rs 33.95 lakh) and Pune (Rs 32.68 lakh) for senior roles respectively.
Meghalaya Assembly to pass resolution to bring state under ILP:
- The Meghalaya Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Government of India to implement Inner Line Permit in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
- The one-day special session was conducted with the sole intention to pass the resolution in view of the demand by the indigenous residents of the state for implementation of the ILP.
- Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.
- It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state. The document is an effort by the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
Australia Declares State Of Emergency As Wildfires Surround Sydney:
- In Australia’s New South Wales, authorities have declared a seven-day state of emergency as a record heatwave fanned unprecedented bushfires raging across the region.
- The New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state of emergency is due to catastrophic weather conditions.Authorities predicted more intense heat today and later in the week.
Afghanistan becomes 1st country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia:
- The Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) has been recognised formally by the National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
- With this Afghanistan has become the 1st country to recognize IP pursuant to the efforts of Department of Commerce and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- IP is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder. It specifies the standards of drugs manufactured and marketed in India in terms of their identity, purity and strength.
- To ensure the quality of medicinal products, the legal and scientific standards are provided by Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) in the form of Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP).
India, US Sign Industrial Security Agreement For Transfer Of Defence Technology:
- India and the United States have agreed to deepen the bilateral cooperation and increase defence trade.
- They also agreed to intensify their coordination with like-minded countries like Japan for a peaceful Indo-Pacific region and put up a decisive fight against terrorism.
- The two sides also inked an industrial security agreement that will allow the transfer of defence technology. After the conclusion of the dialogue, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the US values India’s perspective on security in the Indo-Pacific region.
ADB & India signs $490 Million loan to upgrade roads of Madhya Pradesh:
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India has signed a $490 million loan. The loan is signed for public-private partnership (PPP) project through the hybrid-annuity model (HAM) to upgrade about 1,600 km of state highways and major district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
- An additional $286 million investment will be mobilised through private sector participation under the PPP modality.
- The upgradation of these roads under the project will improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in the state and improve access to markets and better services.
- The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer. This passes the responsibility of design, implementation, and operation and maintenance obligations to the private sector, while attracting some private sector financing.
“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.
- 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.
Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh To Be On Four-Day Visit To Sri Lanka:
- Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh will embark on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka today. The visit is intended to consolidate and enhance bilateral maritime relations between the two countries.
- During the visit, Admiral Singh will hold bilateral discussions with Commander of Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral KKVPH De Silva, the Services Chiefs and other senior Government officials. Admiral Singh will interact with the Sri Lanka Navy Board of Management which comprises senior hierarchy of the island nation’s Navy.
- He will also take part as the Chief Guest during the Commissioning and Passing Out Parade of the 60th Intake Midshipmen at Naval Maritime Academy in Trincomalee on the 22nd of this month.
Chennai City Gets An Online Waste Exchange:
- Chennai has become the first city to have an online waste exchange for municipal solid waste.
- Residents who want to sell their waste online will be able to contact 2,600 scrap dealers and other agencies across the city.
- 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. The web portal is www.madraswasteexchange.com and the Android app can be downloaded from Google Play.
International Astronomical Union names new star ‘Sharjah’:
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the names of the newly discovered stars and planets, where the name “Sharjah” was chosen for a star with “Barjeel” being the name of one of its planets.
Former HC Judge CV Ramulu appointed as Telangana Lokayukta:
- Former High Court Judge Justice CV Ramulu has been appointed as the Lokayukta of Telangana. Former Law Secretary V Niranjan Rao has been appointed as Upa Lokayukta.
- The governor also appointed another former judge Justice G Chandraiah as Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission.
- This is the first time that the state government has constituted the Lokayukta and Human Rights Commission since the state was formed in 2014.
Devesh Srivastava appointed GIC chief:
- Devesh Srivastava has been raised to the position of Chairman and Managing Director (MD) at the General Insurance Corporation India (GIC Re).
- Previously he was managing the departments of human resource and training, ReInsurance Worldwide (RIWW), corporate communications, CMD’s Secretariat and innovation centre, he was transferred to GIC in 1999.
IPS officer Atul Karwal appointed as Director of National Police Academy:
- The Union Government appointed a senior Gujarat Cadre IPS officer Atul Karwal, as Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
- He is a 1988 batch IPS officer, is currently posted as Additional Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Donald Trump becomes 3rd US President to be impeached:
- Donald Trump has become the third US President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The impeachment will led to setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether Trump will remain in office or not.
- The House of Representatives formally charged Donald Trump with abuse of power.
- The Democratic-led House passed the abuse of power article of impeachment on a largely party-line 230-197 vote. Although, no President in the 243-year history of the United States has been removed from office by impeachment.
- Only two previous presidents have been impeached in the US history. The House in 1998 impeached President Bill Clinton while President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868.
Virat Kohli Tops Forbes Celebrity 100 List; Akshay Comes Second:
- Virat Kohli and Akshay Kumar are on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List 2019.
- Virat Kohli has become the first sportsperson to make it to the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, with Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan occupying the second and third spots, respectively.
- The list is based on estimates of earnings through professions and endorsements of celebrities and estimates of their fame, over the period between 1 October 2018 and September 30, 2019.
Portugal announces Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize:
- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the setting up of a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize. Portugal will be launching a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize, each year inspired by his different thoughts and quotes.
- The first edition of this prize will be dedicated to animal welfare as Mahatma Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Sahitya Akademi award 2019 released:
- Sahitya Akademi announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards in 23 languages. Seven books of poetry, four of the novel, six of short stories, three of essays and one each of non-fiction, autobiography and biography have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2019. This time, the awards for the Nepali language will be announced later.
- English – An Era of Darkness (Non-Fiction) – Shashi Tharoor
- Hindi – Chheelate Hue Apne Ko (Poetry) – Nand Kishore Acharya
- Sanskrit – Prajnachakshusham (Poetry) – Penna Madhusudan
- Urdu – Sawaneh-E-Sir Syed: Ek Bazadeed (Biography) – Shafey Kidwai
- Tamil – Sool (Novel) – Cho Dharman
- The Award in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and an amount of Rs. 1,00,000/- towards cash content will be presented to the authors of these books at a special function to be held on 25 February 2020 at New Delhi during the Festival of Letters organized by Sahitya Akademi.
Belgium Crowned FIFA ‘Team Of The Year’ For Second Successive Time:
- Belgium have been crowned FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder.
- World champions France remains in the second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018, but the make-up of the year-end top five has changed, said FIFA in a statement.
- England climbed one place in 2019 to end the year in fourth, and Uruguay moved up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise.
- Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) are also in the top 10 at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who have slipped four and six places respectively over the year. China dropped one place to 76th.
Rafael Nadal Wins ATP Sportsmanship Award, Andy Murray Comeback Player:
- Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal were named International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Champions for 2019 on Thursday, rewarding them for stellar seasons in which they finished at the top of women’s and men’s rankings respectively.
- Barty, who quit tennis to play cricket in 2014 before returning to the game in 2016, became the first Australian to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973 when she beat Czech Marketa Vondrousova in June.
- The 23-year-old also became the first Australian woman to reach the WTA world number one ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.
- Barty also lifted the season-ending WTA Finals trophy and led Australia to their first Fed Cup final since 1993.
Wasim Jaffer Appointed Kings XI Punjab Batting Coach:
- Veteran opener Wasim Jaffer has been appointed as the new batting coach of Kings XI Punjab. No official announcement has been made by the franchise with regards to his appointment. However, his job profile as “batting coach” is on display on the website of the Punjab-based franchise.
- Jaffer recently made his 150th appearance in the Ranji Trophy cricket. Featuring for Vidarbha, Jaffer played his 150th Ranji game against Andhra at the Devineni Venkata Ramana Praneetha Ground in Vijayawada.Jaffer is followed by Devendra Bundela and Amol Muzumdar, who have 145 appearances and 136 appearances in the Ranji Trophy.
3rd Edition Of Khelo India Games To Be Held In Guwahati:
- The third edition of the Khelo India Games will be held in Guwahati as per schedule from 10th of next month. Over 10 thousand players and officials are expected to take part in the event that will be held at different venues in Guwahati.
- The representatives of the participating teams are inspecting the venues and infrastructure of the games today. There would be a total of 20 events in this edition of the Khelo India.
Indian men’s football team ranked 108th in latest FIFA rankings:
- The Indian men’s football team remained static at 108th spot in the year-ending FIFA rankings.
- India lost 11 places throughout the year. With 1187 total points, India is placed at 19th spot among Asian countries headed by Japan 28th.