Current Affairs 15th December 2018

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15 December 2018

Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep have been named as the 2018 International Tennis Federation (ITF) world champions by the governing body of global tennis. World number one Djokovic receives the honour from the ITF for the sixth time, while it is the first year that Romania's top-ranked Halep has been recognized. Djokovic had a maximum speed of 36.02kph, better than anyone else but was second to Andy Murray in terms of average speed, the Brit scoring 15.89 kph as compared to Djokovic’s 14.89 kph. Halep, the former French Open finalist, had a maximum speed with 23.04 kph while World No. 1 Angelique Kerber’s average speed at 14.27 was the highest.

15 December 2018

Minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel announced that West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh emerged the largest beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat. Till November 2018, the government spent Rs 798.34 crore on the scheme of which West Bengal was allotted a total of Rs 193.34 crore.   

15 December 2018

The Bharatiya Jnanpith announced that Amitav Ghosh, an eminent novelist, has been chosen for this year’s Jnanpith Award. The announcement was made on 15th December 2018. The award is given to an author for outstanding contribution towards literature. The decision to honour Mr.Ghosh was taken at a meeting of the Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by novelist and Jnanpith laureate Pratibha Ray. Mr.Ghosh’s novels include Shadow Lines, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and the Ibis trilogy- Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire- discussing the opium trade between India and China run by the East India Company.

15 December 2018

The Coast Guard launched an exercise along the serene sea waters of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. The Coast Guard  'Operation Oliva' exercise as part of its annual mission to ensure the safe mid-sea sojourn of breeding Olive Ridley sea turtles.

15 December 2018

Researchers at Helsinki University in Finland have developed the world’s first vaccine to protect bees against disease to fight off severe microbial diseases that can be fatal for pollinator communities. This vaccine raises hopes for tackling the drastic decline in insect numbers which could cause a global food crisis. The treatment is administered to the queen bee via a sugar lump, similar to the way many children are given polio vaccines. The queen then passes the immunity to her offspring, spreading it through the bee community. Bees are vital for growing the world’s food as they help fertilize three out of four crops around the globe, by transferring pollen from male to female flowers. But in recent years bee populations around the world have been dying off from colony collapse disorder, a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or some combination of these factors.
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15 December 2018

To give a fillip to the medical device sector, which is a sunrise sector, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, announced setting up of a National Medical Devices Promotion Council under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.  The Council will be headed by Secretary, DIPP.  The Medical Devices Industry (MDI) plays a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem and is indispensable to achieve the goal of health for all citizens of the country.

15 December 2018

This comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s left-right coalition had passed legislation permitting children born intersex to be registered as “miscellaneous”. Those born with sex traits for which the usual binary notion of male and female is inadequate can be identified by this third choice. Austria, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Portugal have all introduced legislation for a third gender option.

15 December 2018

Rajapaksa had replaced Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister after the latter was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena in October. Rajapakse failed to prove his majority in parliament and was twice defeated in no-confidence motions on November 14 and 16, but refused to step down.

15 December 2018

According to Reuters, Iran dropped two places to become the sixth biggest oil supplier to India in November, after New Delhi cut purchases due to the impact of U.S. sanctions. India is restricted to buying 1.25 million tons per month, or about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). Iraq and Saudi Arabia continued to be the top two oil sellers to India. The UAE, which was the sixth biggest oil seller to India in October, became the third top seller to India in November, knocking down Venezuela by a notch to fourth position. Nigeria continued at No. 5 position, while Iran slipped to sixth place.

15 December 2018

Gemini Property Developers, a Dubai-based firm, is planning to enter the Indian real estate market to build mid-income and affordable housing projects. The company prefers a joint venture (JV) model to reduce risk and for better returns. The firm said it is already in discussions with landowners and developers from India to develop projects in a joint venture (JV). It is expected that the company may invest up to $200 million in developing projects in India.

15 December 2018

Ericsson, Swedish telecom company, said it has set up its Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA) in India. The facility has been planned to be set up in Bengaluru. It will focus on research and development in Artificial Intelligence and automation and will be key in accelerating the execution of Ericsson’s strategy. This facility will help create 150 new jobs for data scientists, engineers, AI architects and software developers in 2019.

15 December 2018

The main aim of National Energy Conservation Day is to create awareness among the people about the significance of our energy resources and also to minimize the energy consumption. In India, Energy Conservation Act was implemented by Energy Efficiency Bureau (BEE) in 2001. Energy Efficiency Bureau (BEE) is a constitutional body which works under Government of India and helps in the development of policies and strategies to reduce use of energy.

15 December 2018

Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the USA, to become a member of the NIAID TB Portals program. Dr. Mahadev Rao, Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacy Practice initiated this program in Manipal and represents India in the Program’s Steering committee.

15 December 2018

According to the latest rankings released by a Stockholm-based think tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), four Indian companies, all PSUs, have been featured on the world’s top 100 arms producers in 2017: Indian Ordnance Factories at 37th position with 8.5 per cent growth Hindustan Aeronautics at 38th position with 0.9 per cent decline Bharat Electronics at 64th position with 12 per cent growth Bharat Dynamics at 94th position with 13 per cent growth The arms sales of the four state-owned companies in India, totalled $ 7.52 billion in 2017, which is 6.1 per cent higher than the previous year. India is 10th in the list of countries by arms sales Arms.

15 December 2018

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the government’s plan to formulate a Crisis Management Plan to counter cyber attacks and cyber terrorism. For this, the Government impaneled 76 security audit organizations to ensure information security.

15 December 2018

The J&K State government has decided to enhance the health care facilities in five hospitals by upgrading them to ‘District Hospital’ category. The State Administrative Council, headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, has given approval to the creation of 158 posts, under various categories, in order to upgrade the 5 health care centres. About J&K: Governor: Satya Pal Malik Chief Minister: Vacant Capital: Srinagar (Summer)               Jammu (Winter) Official languages: Urdu

15 December 2018

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Dam Safety Bill 2018 in Lok Sabha. The surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of specified dams for prevention of dam failure related disasters. Constitution of a ‘National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS)’, chaired by Chairman of CWC, to evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations, Establishment of ‘National Dam Safety Authority’(NDSA) as a regulatory body to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country, Constitution of ‘State Committee on Dam Safety’ by the State Governments for proper surveillance.

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