Current Affairs December 31, 2018

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of December 31, 2018 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. On December 30, India submitted its Sixth National Report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The report was submitted online to the CBD Secretariat by the Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, during the inaugural session of the 13th National Meeting of the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) in New Delhi. With this, India is among the first five countries in the world, the first in Asia and the first among the biodiversity-rich mega diverse countries to have submitted the report. The submission of national reports is a mandatory obligation on parties to international treaties, including the CBD. The NR6 provides an update of progress in achievement of 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) developed under the convention process in line with the 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets. As per report, the population of the lion has risen from 177 in 1968 to over 520 in 2015 and elephants from 12 thousand in the 1970s to 30 thousand in 2015. One-horned Indian Rhino which was on the brink of extinction during the early 20th century, now number 2400.

2. Mrinal Sen (95), the legendary filmmaker, has passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal on December 30, 2018. Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, he was often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Bengali parallel cinema on the global stage with films like Ek Din Achanak, Padatik, Mrigaya, Akaler Sandhane, Chorus, Kharij, Khandahar, Bhuwan Shome, Akash Kusum and Calcutta 71. He made his directorial debut with Raat Bhore in 1955 and is known for making films that focussed on socio-politial issues. A recipient of 12 international film awards, Mrinal Sen was also a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association. Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy.

3. In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has decided to form a new Spiritual Department to strengthen inter-communal harmony and Sarvadharma Sambhav in the state covering all religions, sects and faiths. In the new department, the Religious Trust and Endowments and Happiness Department will be merged. The Directorate of Religious Trusts and Endowments, Pilgrimage and Fair Authority, Directorate of Mukhya Mantri Teerth-Darshan Yojana and Rajya Anand Sansthan working till now will also be included in the new department. Meanwhile, the proceedings of the formation of trust for Rivers Tapti, Mandakini and Kshipra will also be carried out. Law will be made to make holy rivers of the state a living unit. In many countries like America, England, Bangladesh, Myanmar etc, the Department of Spiritual Affairs is working under different names.

4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently dedicated to the nation - the 6th IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (IRRI SARC) at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The first international Center in the eastern India is expected to play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It will help farmers of the region to develop varieties of paddy which grow in minimum water and have low sugar content and high nutritional value.It will also serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia and SAARC region. Here, IRRI stands for ‘International Rice Research Institute’. Beside this, PM Modi also attended the ‘One District, One Product’ Regional Summit at Deendayal Hastakala Sankul in Varanasi. This scheme is aimed at enhancing the skills of local people and increasing the reach of the indigenous trades, crafts and products from small towns and small districts in the state. These include handicrafts, food processing, engineering goods, carpets, readymade clothes, leather goods etc which not only earn foreign exchange but also provide employment to the people.

5. "Finding Beauty in Garbage", a documentary film based on the garbage of Dibrugarh town in Assam has bagged the Best Short documentary film award in Asia South East International Short Film Festival at Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The film gives a satirical take to the problem of garbage disposal. The 7 minute film was produced, directed and scripted by Satyamam Dutta who is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer presently posted in Dibrugarh. The burning problem of garbage disposal has been projected by Dutta with a satirical approach prompting viewers to think and realize how the disposal of garbage affects their life. The film has shown how the inhabitants of the city have become so accustomed and immune to the garbage and dirt around that they no longer want to fight with it but want to cohabit with them. The film is slated to be released on 1st January 2019 through video sharing website YouTube and other social media platforms.

6. The repressive central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has recently launched its first messaging app ‘BizBarde’, which will allow the exchange of messages, files, photos and videos. Here, the likes of Facebook and Whatsapp are banned. It is one of the world's most isolated regimes where Western services including Twitter and Viber, along with popular Russian networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte blocked. The country sits on the world's 4th largest reserves of natural gas and regularly finds itself at the bottom of global rights and press freedom rankings. Only officially sanctioned media are allowed to operate and internet access is provided solely by the state-owned TurkmenTelecom.

7. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has banned Sikh militant group under the Section 35 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967. It has been banned for its involvement in several killings, bombings and other terror activities during its violent campaign for "secession of Punjab". As per officials, KLF has also been banned for committing and promoting various acts of terrorism in India as well as recruitment of youth for terrorist activities in the country. Hence, MHA added KLF as the 40th organisation to the banned list which also includes four other Sikh extremist groups - Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) and Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). The KLF came into existence in 1986 by Aroor Singh and Sukhvinder Singh Babbar with the objective of establishing an independent Khalistan by secession of Punjab from India "through violent means".

8. The Pakistan Cabinet has recently approved the issuance of first-ever Chinese renminbi-denominated bonds to raise loans from China's capital markets. The Panda bonds will be denominated in Chinese yuan. It is expected that the possible transaction size of bonds will be equivalent to $500 million in two different tranches. They will help the government diversify the investor base of capital market issuance and provide a source of raising renminbi (RMB). The size, tenure and pricing would be determined on the basis of market response at the time of issuance. Earlier, in March 2018, the Philippines became the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations member to issue Panda bond.

9. The 3rd edition of women's national boxing championships has started at the JSW Sports-owned Inspire Institute of Sport in Vijayanagara, Karnataka on December 31, 2018 and will be held till 6th of the next month. With close to 250 entries received from 31 states and institutions, pugilists will compete in all 10 weight categories viz. 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg and +81kg class. The Inspire Institute of Sport, which will be hosting the women's national championship is heralded for its multispecialty facilities and is India's first privately-funded High-Performance Olympic Training Centre.

10. The Delhi Police has become the first police force in the country to digitize all malkhanas, when Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik inaugurated the e-malkhana project in the remaining 10 districts at Chinamaya Mission. A booklet on e-malkhana functioning was also released on the occasion and a short film on how the project was executed was shown. Malkhanas are rooms for keeping seized arms and ammunition, across every police station in the state. Under the new innovative system, details of the case property are first entered into the software and a photograph is uploaded. The case property is packed in a cardboard box to prevent damage, and a unique barcode is generated for the same. The box is then placed on to a specific almirah or rack whose details are entered in the software. This makes location of the case property easier by simply entering details of the case property in the software module. The software also allows the details of any case property being visible at the simple click of a button. According to the official release, around 3, 11,600 case properties have been encrypted in digital form across all the police stations in the state.


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