DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS : December 19 & 20, 2019

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Daily Current Affairs (December 19 & 20, 2019) like many other sections is inevitable and this also helps to score in the Banking awareness, Static GK and Financial Awareness sections. Remember, Banking Awareness and Static Awareness Questions are asked from the General Awareness section. This will also help you to ride your preparations for the forthcoming exams.

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International Migrants Day: 18 December

  • The International Migrants Day is organized across the world on 18th December to protect the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. The International Organization for Migration salutes migrants and the communities they join, the communities they remake through their mutual effort.
  • We salute them and we support them, and pledge to make the future we believe is arriving for all of us.
  • Theme: #WeTogether.


India, US sign industrial security agreement for transfer of defence technology

  • India and the United States have agreed to deepen the bilateral cooperation and increase defence trade.
  • They also agreed to intensify their coordination with like-minded countries like Japan for a peaceful Indo-Pacific region and put up a decisive fight against terrorism.
  • The two sides also inked an industrial security agreement that will allow the transfer of defence technology. After the conclusion of the dialogue, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the US values India’s perspective on security in the Indo-Pacific region.

Australia declares state of emergency as wildfires surround Sydney

  • In Australia’s New South Wales, authorities have declared a seven-day state of emergency as a record heatwave fanned unprecedented bushfires raging across the region.
  • The New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state of emergency is due to catastrophic weather conditions.Authorities predicted more intense heat today and later in the week.


National conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prison Administration’ begins in Bhopal

  • In Madhya Pradesh, a two-day National Conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prisons Administration’ begins a Central Academy for Police Training in Bhopal.
  • Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai will inaugurate the conference.
  • In this Conference, uniformed women officers and staff of all the states from Jail Wardens up to Director Inspector General level, members of non-governmental organizations, representatives of academic institutions and officers of other government departments are taking part in the conference.
  • For the first time, the conference is being held in Madhya Pradesh outside Delhi.
  • It is to be noted that in Madhya Pradesh, women have been given 33 per cent reservation in government services.

Odisha CM launches ‘Jalsathi’ programme

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme to ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state.
  • While launching the programme yesterday, Mr. Patnaik said that the inclusion of woman volunteers from Mission Shakti for piped water supply will boost their economic empowerment.


Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh to be on four-day visit to Sri Lanka

  • Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh will embark on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka today. The visit is intended to consolidate and enhance bilateral maritime relations between the two countries.
  • During the visit, Admiral Singh will hold bilateral discussions with Commander of Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral KKVPH De Silva, the Services Chiefs and other senior Government officials. Admiral Singh will interact with the Sri Lanka Navy Board of Management which comprises senior hierarchy of the island nation’s Navy.
  • He will also take part as the Chief Guest during the Commissioning and Passing Out Parade of the 60th Intake Midshipmen at Naval Maritime Academy in Trincomalee on the 22nd of this month.

Portuguese PM to be on two-day visit to India

  • Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa will be on a two-day visit to India from today. He will attend the second meeting of the Organising Committee on the celebrations for the 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Organising Committee meeting will be presided over by President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • This will be the third official meeting between the two leaders in a span of 3 years. They have met on the sidelines of various multilateral events.
  • This visit will be Mr Costa’s first bilateral visit outside Europe after being re-elected as Prime Minister on 6th of October.
  • This visit will provide another opportunity for the leaders to review the whole gamut of bilateral relations and forge closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest.


Sridhar Patra appointed NALCO CMD

  • Sridhar Patra was on Monday appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of NALCO, a Personnel Ministry order said.
  • Patra is at present Director (Finance) in the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO).
  • He has been appointed as the CMD of NALCO till the date of his superannuation, i.e. October 31, 2024, the order said.


HDFC Bank crosses $100 billion in market cap

  • HDFC Bank Ltd crossed the $100 billion market capitalisation, becoming only the third firm in the country to achieve this milestone.  The lender is now in the league of Reliance Industries Ltd, which has a market cap of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services that has a market cap of $114.60 billion. 
  • With this, HDFC Bank now ranks 110th in the world’s most valued companies. According to Bloomberg data, currently, there are 109 companies in the list which have market cap of over $100 billion. 

SBI inks $277 million pact with Germany based KfW bank

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a loan agreement worth of $277 million (about Rs 1,958 crore) with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) German development bank for establishing an energy-efficient housing programme in India. The programme shall be part of the Indo-German Development Co-operation, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Under the programme, both builders and homebuyers shall be financed for developing/purchasing energy-efficient residential projects that achieve at least 25 per cent energy savings in comparison to standard reference buildings. The arrangement of the loan and the grant facilities was facilitated by SBI’s investment banking subsidiary SBI Capital Markets Ltd.


Gujarat police to get ‘President’s Colours’ 

  • The Gujarat Police became the seventh state police force in the country to be bestowed with the honour of the President’s Colours, after Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura and Assam.
  • President’s Colours, also called as ‘Nishaan’, an emblem which all police officers of Gujarat would wear on the left-hand sleeve of their uniform. The President’s Colour is the highest honour bestowed upon a police force in recognition of their invaluable contribution to society.

Cho. Dharman wins Sahitya Akademi Award

  • Tamil writer Cho. Dharman has won the 2019 Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Sool, depicting the life of the ordinary people, traditional knowledge, agricultural practices and water management.


Wasim Jaffer appointed Kings XI Punjab batting coach

  • Veteran opener Wasim Jaffer has been appointed as the new batting coach of Kings XI Punjab. No official announcement has been made by the franchise with regards to his appointment. However, his job profile as “batting coach” is on display on the website of the Punjab-based franchise.
  • Jaffer recently made his 150th appearance in the Ranji Trophy cricket. Featuring for Vidarbha, Jaffer played his 150th Ranji game against Andhra at the Devineni Venkata Ramana Praneetha Ground in Vijayawada.Jaffer is followed by Devendra Bundela and Amol Muzumdar, who have 145 appearances and 136 appearances in the Ranji Trophy.

3rd edition of Khelo India games to be held in Guwahati

  • The third edition of the Khelo India Games will be held in Guwahati as per schedule from 10th of next month. Over 10 thousand players and officials are expected to take part in the event that will be held at different venues in Guwahati.
  • The representatives of the participating teams are inspecting the venues and infrastructure of the games today. There would be a total of 20 events in this edition of the Khelo India.


Former Union Minister ID Swami passes away at 90

  • Former Union Minister ID Swami passed away at the age of 90 on Sunday in Faridabad, Haryana. He was suffering from heart disease and was admitted to the hospital in Faridabad.
  • Swami was Union Minister of State for Home Affairs in 1999 in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.
  • The BJP leader was two times Lok Sabha member from Karnal in Haryana.

Bollywood actress Gita Siddharth Kak passes away

  • Actress Gita Siddharth Kak breathed her last in the evening of December 14 in Mumbai.
  • She is best known for her role in M.S. Sathyu’s 1973 classic Garam Hava.
  • Sathyu’s effort won a National Award as Best Feature Film on National Integration, she received a souvenir at the ceremony for her role of Amina in the film.


Portugal announces Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize

  • Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa has announced that in order to help perpetuate Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, Portugal will be launching a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize, each year inspired by his different thoughts and quotes.
  • He said, the first edition of this prize will be dedicated to animal welfare as Mahatma Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Ethiopia launches first satellite into space

  • Ethiopia launched its first satellite into space on Friday, as more sub-Saharan African nations strive to develop space programs to advance their development goals and encourage scientific innovation.
  • Before dawn on Friday, senior officials and citizens gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre just north of the capital Addis Ababa to watch a live broadcast of the satellite’s launch from a space station in China.

World’s oldest fossil forest dating back 386 million years discovered in US

  • Scientists have discovered remnants of the world’s oldest fossil forest — an extensive network of trees around 386 million years old — in a sandstone quarry in the US.
  • The fossil forest in Cairo would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond, according to the researchers from Binghamton University, and New York State Museum in the US. 
  • The forest is around 2 or 3 million years older than what was thought to be the world’s oldest forest at Gilboa, also in New York State and around 40 kilometres away from the Cairo site.


IIT Hyderabad CfHE fellow launches India’s first ‘Vaccination Clinic’ in Pune with Gates Foundation

  • IIT Hyderabad’s Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE) fellow Mr. Jignesh Patel has launched in Pune a Vaccination on Wheels Clinic, a first-of-its-kind service in India.
  • This is being done in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided a grant to Mr. Jignesh Patel under its Grand Challenges Explorations.
  • Called ‘VaccineOnWheels.com’ as they have adopted VOW (Vaccination On Wheels) concept, this clinic will go to schools, colleges and corporates to conduct vaccination camps at their doorsteps.
  • It will offer only vaccination services. It was launched on December 15, 2019 in Pune city’s PCMC area.
  • This unique, unconventional, creative, low-cost and high on convenience model has been designed with the idea of ‘reaching the bottom of the pyramid.’

Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to be one Union Territory from January 26

  • The Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli will become a single union territory on January 26, the Home Ministry announced on Thursday.
  • The merged Union Territory will be named as Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
  • The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 was passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the just concluded winter session of Parliament.

“Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” Summit held in Delhi

  • Summit on “Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” was held in Delhi.
  • Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change addressed the summit with the concerns about the depleting ozone layer.
  • He stated that there is the need of the hour to call upon a meeting to control the minimum temperatures and to keep a check on the emissions.

Anti-hijacking exercise held off Cochin Port

  • A large-scale anti-hijacking exercise was conducted off the port of Kochi by the Navy, Coast Guard, the Cochin Port Trust and other agencies.
  • Codenamed “Apharan”, the exercise saw participation of multiple agencies, including more than 12 ships and helicopters of the Navy, Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust, according to a press release. As part of the scenario, interdiction of a “rogue” vessel outside the Kochi port, insertion of Marine Commandos onto the rogue/hijacked vessel through boarding operations and slithering down onto its deck from a commando-carrying Seaking helicopter, were conducted.

Chennai City gets an online waste exchange

  • Chennai has become the first city to have an online waste exchange for municipal solid waste.
  • Residents who want to sell their waste online will be able to contact 2,600 scrap dealers and other agencies across the city.
  • The Madras Waste Exchange, which is both a web portal and an application, has been conceptualised by the Smart City Mission, with support from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The web portal is www.madraswasteexchange.com and the Android app can be downloaded from Google Play.


Covestro India appoints Anand Srinivasan as MD

  • Covestro India announced the appointment of Anand Srinivasan as its new Managing Director (MD).
  • Srinivasan is currently heading the polycarbonates division and would replace Ajay Durrani who served as the MD of the company for six years.
  • Stephan Rosenthal, Head of Country Platform Management, Covestro AG, said: “India is one of the growing markets in the world and we are happy to have Anand as the Managing Director of Covestro India. He understands the vision of the company intrinsically and we are confident that he will effectively lead in his new role.”

Donald Trump picks Indian-American computer scientist to lead National Science Foundation

  • US President Donald Trump has picked Indian-American computer scientist Sethuraman Panchanathan to lead the prestigious National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.
  • Panchanathan, 58, would succeed France Cordova when her six-year term as the NSF Director ends in 2020. NSF Director is a Senate-confirmed position.


Virat Kohli Tops Forbes Celebrity 100 List; Akshay Comes Second

  • Virat Kohli and Akshay Kumar are on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List 2019.
  • Virat Kohli has become the first sportsperson to make it to the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, with Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan occupying the second and third spots, respectively. 
  • The list is based on estimates of earnings through professions and endorsements of celebrities and estimates of their fame, over the period between 1 October 2018 and September 30, 2019.

Goa tops list of e-book readers, says Amazon Kindle

  • While Goa has been among the most popular holiday destinations in India, it has now also emerged as one of the reading hotspots in the country.
  • For the year 2019, Goa has topped the list of States where the most number of e-books were read across Amazon’s Kindle devices and mobile applications.
  • Goa was followed by Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Haryana and Telengana.

Bengaluru retains its crown as the highest paying city

  • Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai are the highest paying cities in India, as per Randstad Insights.
  • As per the report, professionals from the IT industry command the highest salaries – the sector stands first for highest average annual CTCs paid at the junior (Rs 4.96 lakh) and senior (Rs 35.84 lakh) levels.
  • Hyderabad (Rs 5 lakh) and Mumbai (Rs 4.59 lakh) take second and third spots for junior level roles, Mumbai (Rs 15.07 lakh) and the National Capital Region (Rs 14.5 lakh) for mid-level roles and Mumbai (Rs 33.95 lakh) and Pune (Rs 32.68 lakh) for senior roles respectively.


Rafael Nadal wins ATP sportsmanship award, Andy Murray comeback player

  • Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal were named International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Champions for 2019 on Thursday, rewarding them for stellar seasons in which they finished at the top of women’s and men’s rankings respectively.
  • Barty, who quit tennis to play cricket in 2014 before returning to the game in 2016, became the first Australian to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973 when she beat Czech Marketa Vondrousova in June.
  • The 23-year-old also became the first Australian woman to reach the WTA world number one ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.
  • Barty also lifted the season-ending WTA Finals trophy and led Australia to their first Fed Cup final since 1993.


Belgium crowned FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for second successive time

  • Belgium have been crowned FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder.
  • World champions France remains in the second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018, but the make-up of the year-end top five has changed, said FIFA in a statement.
  • England climbed one place in 2019 to end the year in fourth, and Uruguay moved up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise.
  • Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) are also in the top 10 at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who have slipped four and six places respectively over the year. China dropped one place to 76th.

FIFA rankings: India static at 108

  • The Indian men’s football team remained static at 108th spot in the year-ending FIFA rankings issued today.
  • India, however, lost 11 places throughout the year.
  • With 1187 total points, India is placed at 19th spot among Asian countries headed by Japan 28th.
  • Belgium holds the top position in the FIFA Rankings.

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