Friday, April 19, 2024

Current Affairs December 15-12-2023 to 21-12-2023.

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1. Defence Minister flags in ‘Mission Antarctica’

Defence Minister Shri Ajay Bhatt flagged in a team of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling that carried out ‘Mission Antarctica’ in New Delhi. The expedition, which commenced in 2021, was undertaken by a team of three trekkers, led by Group Captain Jai Kishan.

The team hoisted the National Flag, measuring 7,500 sq ft and weighing 75 kilograms across the length and breadth of the country, including a top Mt Rhenock in Sikkim Himalayas at an altitude of 16,500 feet. It was recorded as the biggest Indian National Flag hoisted atop a mountain in the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records.

During the expedition, the team also displayed the Tri-colour over Mt.Vision Peak of the South Pole. The Defence Minister witnessed the final display of 7,500 sq ft at the Air Force Bal Bharati School in the national capital. The event also witnessed the culmination of the mega roadshow ‘Mera Yuva Bharat Yatra’, where in holy soil water from the higher reaches of Himalaya in Sikkim were presented to Shri Ajay Bhatt.

2. Hindustan Coca-Cola to invest Rs.3000 cr. In Gujarat

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), and the Government of Gujarat have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, Signaling a major investment of Rs.3000 crore. The MoU demonstrated HCCB’s commitment to establish beverages in Rajkot by 2026.

According to the company which manufactures 60 different products under seven categories from its 16 factories spread across the country, this fresh investment is expected to create a considerable industrial footprint, fostering substantial economic and social growth in the region.

The venture is proposed to take HCCB’s total employee strength in the state to over 1,500, the company said. HCCB’s existing network in Gujarat includes 285 distributors and over 2,24,000 retailers.

3. BCCI Decides to Retire MS Dhoni’s Iconic No.7 Jersey

In a tribute to India’s former cricket captain MS Dhoni, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly decided to retire the iconic No. 7 Jersey. Although Dhoni retired from International cricket in August 2020, he remains active in franchise cricket and will lead the Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

This decision follows the BCCI’s official retirement of Sachin Tendulkar’s No. 10 jersey in 2017. The BCCI has informed the national team that the jersey numbers worn by Dhoni (7) and Tendulkar (10) are no longer available, even for new players entering the team.

Retiring jersey numbers is a great way to honour outstanding athletes and preserve their legacies. Icons such as Diego Maradona and Michael Jordan had their jersey numbers retired as a tribute to their remarkable achievements to their respective sports.

4. Asian Development Bank raises India’s growth forecast to 6.7% for FY24

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revised India’s growth forecast for the current financial year to 6.7%, citing stronger-than-expected second-quarter performance. The second quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24 witnessed a remarkable GDP growth of 7.6%, propelling the cumulative growth in the first half (April-September) to an impressive 7.7%.

The report highlights that the industrial sector, encompassing manufacturing, mining, construction, and utilities, experienced double-digit growth, contributing significantly to the overall economic expansion.

The forecast for the full fiscal year indicates a slightly slower growth in the agriculture sector, and higher growth in fixed investments, driven by increased capital spending by both the central and state governments, will compensate for lower growth in private consumption expenditure band weaker than expected exports.

In terms of inflation, the ADB retained the forecast at 5.5% for the current financial year, in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s inflation projection of 5.4% for FY24.

5. Bihar Business Summit 2023, Investments Inflows through MoUs

The Bihar Business Summit held in 2023 witnessed a significant milestone with an investment of Rs.50,530 crore investment through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This substantial investment infusion holds promise for the economic rejuvenation of Bihar, marking a pivotal moment in the state’s industrial growth.

The signing of MoUs across various sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, IT, manufacturing, and renewable energy delineates a diversified approach towards development. The summit’s significance in addressing unemployment concerns through industrial and infrastructural growth.

The investment inflow of Rs.50,530 crore signifies a significant leap forward for Bihar’s economy, holding the promise of increased industrialization and economic prosperity. The agreements signed during the summit are expected to generate a substantial number of jobs, addressing the state’s longstanding issue of unemployment.

6. China Launches Deepest Lab Over 2,000m Below Ground

China achieved a great milestone in scientific research with the launch of the world’s deepest laboratory, situated over 2,000 meters below the Earth’s surface. The project aims to unlock new frontiers in scientific exploration and advance the understanding of various disciplines.

The construction of this subterranean laboratory marks a significant leap in scientific innovation. Situated at such a remarkable depth, this facility is poised to offer scientists unparalleled and research in fields like geology, physics, biology, and more.

The launch of the deepest lab signifies a monumental leap in scientific research, offering unprecedented opportunities for diverse studies. This initiative demonstrates China’s commitment to contributing significantly to global scientific knowledge, potentially leading to groundbreaking discoveries.

7. India successfully tests indigenous High-Speed Flying Wing UAV

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully carried out a flight trial of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator, an indigenous high-speed flying-wing Unnamed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga in Karnataka.

The successful flying demonstration of this autonomous stealth UAV is a testimony to the maturity in the technology readiness levels in the country. With this flight in the tailless configuration, India has joined the elite club of countries to have mastered the controls for the flying wing technology.

This UAV is designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment. These flight tests led to achievements in the development of robust aerodynamic and control systems, integrated real-time and hardware-in-loop simulation, and a state-to-the-art Ground Control Station.

8. India-Korea Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES)

Mr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Chairman, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), launched the India-Korea Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES), in the presence of Mr. KO Kwang Hyo, Commissioner of Korea Customs Service (KCS) and his delegation on 6th December 2023 in New Delhi.

The Electronic Origin Data Exchange System is aimed at facilitating the smooth implementation of the India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by way of electronic exchange of origin information between the two customs administrations in respect of the goods traded under the CEPA.

With the soft launch of the EODES, both sides expressed commitment to its early utilization in live environment and acknowledged that the launch shall mark a major milestone in the flourishing bilateral relations between two countries.

9. PM Inaugurates Surat Diamond Bourse

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Surat Diamond Bourse in Surat, Gujarat. Before the program, the Prime Minister also visited Panchtatva Garden, viewed the Green Building of Surat Diamond Bourse & SPINE-4, and signed the visitor booklet.

Surat Diamond Exchange marked a historic moment as it surpassed the Pentagon to become the world’s largest office complex. This sprawling complex spans an impressive 6.7 million square feet and was completed at a cost of Rs.32 billion. The iconic Pentagon, a symbol of American power, has an area of 6.5 million square feet.

The Surat Diamond Exchange inaugurates marks a significant milestone in India’s Diamond industry and urban development. As it continues to grow and serve as a global trading hub for diamonds and jewelry, it stands as a testament to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for transformative projects that shape the nation’s future.

10. Indian Air Force Successfully testifies ‘SAMAR’ air defence missile system

The Indian Air Force has carried out the successful firing trials of its in-house designed and developed ‘SAMAR’ air defence missile system during exercise AstraShakti-2023 at Air Force Station Suryalanka, Andhra Pradesh.

The air defence system ‘SAMAR’ (Surface-to-air missile for assured retaliation) has been developed by a unit under the IAF’s Maintenance Command, officials said. The missile system participated for the first time in the exercise to test its surface-to-air weapon systems and carry out their operational field trails.

The missile system can engage aerial threats with missiles operating at a speed range of 2 to 2.5 Mach. The SAMAR system consists of a twin-turret launch platform with the capability of launching two missiles in single and salvo mode, depending on the threat scenario.

11. Abdul Fattah EI Sisi won Egypt Presidential Elections

Abdul Fattah EI Sisi wins the third term as Egypt’s President after amending the constitution. He won the elections with a staggering 89.6% of the vote, facing no serious challengers. The announcement was made by the National Election Authority on December 18, 2023.

Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personnel Rights (EIPR) alleged the elections were rigged and took place under the control of EI Sisi. EI Sisi overthrew the first democratically elected leader Mohamed Mursi in 2013 and has been in power since then.

12. New Endangered Bat Specie named Nustrale discovered

Researchers have found a new species of Bat under Endangered category, named ‘Nustrale’ on the French Island of Corsica. The island is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The species is named Nustrale in Corsican Dialect meaning “Ours”.

The discovery of Nustrale was published in the Revue Suisse de Zoologie Journal. The Bat has features like a Grey bodily colour, long ears, a hairy face and a distinct dark spot in the lower lip that sets it apart from the Myptis Genus. The Species is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its small population size, and limited distribution.

13. North Korea test-fires ICBM powered by solid fuel

The Republic of North Korea test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) powered by Solid fuel. Solid fuel consists of a mixture of fuel ( Metallic powders like Aluminum) and Oxidiser (Salt of perchloric Acid and Ammonia).

Solid fuels are safer to operate and are more survivable than liquid fuel weapons. North Korea unveiled its solid fuel Hwasong 18 ICBM at a military parade in February 2023. Solid fuels Missiles are not need to be fuelled immediately ahead of launch.

14. WHO released the Global Safety Report on Road Safety 2023

The Global Safety Report on Road Safety 2023 was released by the Department of Transportation (DOTR), the World Health Organization, and Road Safety partners together. The report was released in the Philippines. The report stated that Road traffic deaths fell slightly to 1.9 million per year.

The report highlighted that Road Safety remains an urgent Global issue despite notable progress. Road Traffic crashes remain the leading cause of mortality among children aged 5 to 29 years. The target to half the road traffic deaths by 2030 as per the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2023 remains ambiguous.

15. Professor Savita Ladage received Nyholm Prize

Professor Sivita Ladage received the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Nyholm Priize for education. She is a professor at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

She won the award for her contribution to chemistry education. She would also be awarded with 5000 Euros along with a medal and a certificate. The award is given to dedicated individuals or teams making substantial impact within education.

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