Current Affairs: December 20, 2011

Coast Guard rescues 85 foreign nationals from Volcanic Island

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship Bhikhaiji Cama rescued 85 marooned survivors (37 Myanmarese and 48 Bangladeshi) from Barren Island, India’s lone active volcano.

Declare cold wave as ‘natural disaster’, UP govt urges the Centre

  • Uttar Pradesh has urged the Centre to include ‘cold wave’ in the list of natural disaster as is the case in Jammu and Kashmir and its Ladakh region. A letter in this regard was sent to the Centre recently. Hundreds of lives are lost due to heavy fog and cold wave conditions in the state every year.
  • Objective: If it is declared as natural disaster, more funds could be facilitated by the Centre.

PM launches year-long celebrations of 150th birthday of ASI

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched a year-long programme to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Epigraphia Indica (Sanskrit & Dravidian and Arabic & Persian) has been published again after two decades. The Ministry of Culture has also introduced a National Professorship of Epigraphy with the Archaeological Survey of India. It was in 1861 that the then government assumed responsibility in respect of archaeological monuments in India.

“Dam 999” short listed for Oscar Award

  • The controversial film Dam 999, which created a rage in Tamil Nadu politics in the wake of escalating tensions with Kerala on the Mullaiperiyar dam row, has been short-listed for Oscars, 2011. The film, which was banned in Tamil Nadu following protests from various political parties, is one of the 265 films short listed for the 2011 Academy.

Facebook shifts to new headquarters in California

  • Facebook announced that its final wave of employees have moved into its new headquarters in the one million-square foot Menlo Park city of California.

North Korea’s Leader, Kim Jong-il passes away

  • North Korea’s Leader, Kim Jong-il who ruled the country for 17 years, leading it to nuclear power status but also presiding over a devastating famine, died on 17th Dec. Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who has been groomed as his successor, was expectedly named by the ruling Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) as “the great successor.”

First US-Japan-India Trilateral, Say Not Aimed at China

  • As India, United States and Japan held their first trilateral meeting in Washington, US and Japan affirmed a deepening of strategic ties with India and made it clear the dialogue was not directed against China.
  • The meeting covered global issues like Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the situation in Afghanistan. These discussions mark the beginning of a series of consultations among our three governments, who share common values and interests across the Asia-Pacific and the globe. The group agreed to meet again in Tokyo in 2012 to continue their deliberations.
  • The dialogue is also part of India’s effort to go beyond the stated Look East policy and engage North Asia as well. The trilateral has been in the making for a long time, but the first meeting cane at a time when China is becoming increasingly assertive in East Asia and the US is seeking to ramp up its engagement with the Asia-Pacific region that includes some of the fast-growing economies in the world.
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