Current Affairs Updates - 19 December 2017
International Migrants Day is celebrated on 18 December. 2017 Theme: Safe Migration in a World on the Move.
- Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places. So this day is celebrated as a migrants day.
New Appointments: National
Ms. Smita Nagaraj took the oath of office and secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
- An Officer of the 1984 Batch of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Ms. Nagaraj, during her career spanning over 33 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu. She served as Executive Director of the Central Social Welfare Board, Director in the Department of Personnel & Training, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and prior to her joining the Commission, she was working as Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry of Defence.
India reaches 2nd position on horticultural crops, fruits production list leaving others behind. China ranks the first.
- Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said research and development projects in horticulture crops have yielded encouraging results, as a result, the production of horticulture crops have been more than food grains irrespective of adverse climatic conditions.
- The School of Horticultural Sciences department of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), along with its 23 institutes, 11 All India Coordinated Research projects and 2 All India Network projects are providing necessary technical cooperation and scientific research assistance to the horticulture mission.
GST Council clears e-way bill mechanism to be implemented by 1st june where goods worth more than 50,000 have to be pre-registered online before they can be moved from one state to another.
- The 24th meeting of the GST Council, held on Saturday through video conferencing under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, discussed the implementation of the e-way bill system in the country after reviewing readiness of hardware and software for its launch, an official statement said.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated eastern India’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for scooters at Chandrasekharpur and Patia area in Bhubaneswar.
- Pradhan inaugurated two CNG stations for scooters and three-wheelers at Chandrasekharpur and Patia area in Bhubaneswar. The minister also launched CNG-run scooters. The CNG stations were part of GAIL’s Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga and City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Cabinet approves continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Ayush Mission (NAM) from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020.
- The NAM is being implemented by Ministry of AYUSH with the objectives of providing cost effective AYUSH Services, with a universal access which involve, among other things -upgradation of AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries, co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centers (PHCs), and others.
UIDAI temporarily bars Airtel from conducting Aadhaar linked e-KYC verification.
- On Saturday, UIDAI temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar linked e-KYC verification of SIM cards and bank clients.The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their 'informed consent'.
Digital payment giant Paytm has announced that its QR now allows offline merchants to accept unlimited payments directly into their bank accounts at zero charge
- Paytm aims at extending its support to all major payments instruments so that both small and large merchants alike get the flexibility of accepting payments from a wider set of consumers, and help them grow their businesses.
Online mobility platform Ola announced the launch of a comprehensive in-trip insurance programme, customised for its driver-partners across the country.
- The programme, launched in partnership with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, is designed to benefit both driver-partners and their families, Ola said in a statement.
Sodexo said it has partnered food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy to enable the former Meal Cards users to order food.
- With this, Sodexo consumers will enjoy the benefits of fast and timely food delivery, a release issued here said.
A research institute for the study of the 'Bhagavad Gita' will be soon set up by the Uttar Pradesh government in this temple town.
- The Gita Research Institute has been proposed by the Yogi Adityanath government, Minister for Religious works and culture Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said.
- Speaking at the 144th anniversary celebration of the Government Museum, Mathura, the minister said no language in the world was as sweet as Brij Bhasha and no art was as gifted as the art of Mathura.
Uber Technologies has joined forces with BBM Messenger to allow users around the world, including in the application’s biggest market of Indonesia, to book rides via the messenger service.
- The agreement means that BBM Messenger users, including both Android and iOS users, can book an Uber ride without leaving the BBM app, or being required to have a stand-alone Uber app on their phone, the company said.
Oracle Corp. agreed to buy Aconex Ltd, an Australian company that makes cloud-based collaboration software for construction projects, for 1.56 billion Australian dollar (1.19 billion dollar) cash as it tries to gain more customers in the rapidly growing market.
- Aconex’s board unanimously recommended the deal, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement Monday. The company’s directors, who represent about 13.6% of the stock, will vote in favour of the bid in the absence of a superior proposal.
Frenchman Francois Gabart smashed the world record for the fastest non-stop solo navigation of the globe, completing the mammoth feat in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.
- The 34-year-old sailor crossed a virtual finish line drawn between the island of Ushant off France's northwest tip and Lizard Point in southwest England at 0145 GMT, comfortably beating the previous record set by compatriot Thomas Coville last year by six days and 10 hours.
Sebastián Piñera wins Chile's presidential election.
- Sebastián Piñera won Chile’s presidency on Sunday, with his centre-left opponent Alejandro Guillier conceding the election as Chile followed other South American nations in a political turn to the right.
The World Health Organization has declared Gabon a "polio-free country," given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country.
- According to a WHO statement obtained by the Agence France-Presse on Saturday, December 16, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.
Iran has opened its first museum dedicated to a solo female artist — Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who has received widespread international attention during decades of exile.
- The nonagenarian doyenne of Iranian art and friend of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, had her first US solo museum exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York in 2015.
The world's steepest funicular railway has opened to the public in Switzerland.
- Specially constructed cylindrical carriages have been used to ensure that passengers can stay upright on the incline. The floors tilt, adjusting to the slope as the funicular climbs at a gradient of 110% at its steepest point. The railway runs from the town of Schwyz up 110m (328ft) to the car-free Alpine village of Stoos.
Defence & Railway
The Indian Railways has cleared a Rs 12,000-crore proposal to equip electric locomotives with the latest European train protection system.
- At its meeting on December 15, the Railway Board cleared the proposal to equip 6,000 electric locos with European Train Control System (ETCS) Level-II to help drivers - or pilots -- to prevent rail mishaps, a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.
Work has begun to integrate the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on 40 Sukhoi combat aircraft which is expected to fulfil critical needs of the Indian Air Force in the wake of evolving security dynamics in the region.
- The air-launched variant of the Brahmos, the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile, was successfully test fired from a Sukhoi-30 combat jet on November 22, marking a major milestone to enhance the precision strike capability of the air force.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) bid adieu to the iconic MI-8 helicopter after several years of service in critical operations.
- Several veterans, servicemen, ground staff, pilots and other members of the Indian Air Force (IAF) gathered at the Yelahanka Air Force Station.
Samsung India has entered into a partnership with UNESCO to launch virtual reality content and 360-degree videos on Indian heritage sites.
- Samsung India has entered into a partnership with UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) to launch 360 video and virtual reality (VR) content of two magnificent Indian heritage sites, the Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha and Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh," the company said in a statement.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik Clinch Gold at Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Soon after the victory, Sushil Kumar, who won bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics and then followed it up with a silver in 2012 London Games, dedicated the win to his motherland and coach.
Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017 Highlights: Silver For PV Sindhu After Contesting Against Akane Yamaguchi.
- World No.3 PV Sindhu went down fighting to World No.2 and top seed Akane Yamaguchi in the finals of Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017 on Sunday. In a match that lasted over an hour and 30 minutes Sindhu lost 21-15, 12-21, 19-21 as she was outlasted by her Japanese opponent.