Latest Current Affairs – December 18 & 19 2018
1. Capital First merges with IDFC Bank to create IDFC First Bank
IDFC Bank and Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) Capital First have announced completion of their merger to create IDFC First Bank. Capital First Founder and Chairman V Vaidyanathan has been appointed Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the merged entity. IDFC Bank Founder, MD and CEO Rajiv Lall will serve as Part-Time Chairman of IDFC First Bank.
2. ISRO launches GSAT-7A satellite to help Indian Air Force
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its 35th communications satellite GSAT-7A from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The 2,250-kg satellite would boost Indian Air Force’s defence capabilities and interlink its ground radar stations and airbases, thus reducing the reliance on ground-based stations for drones.
3. Bill banning commercial surrogacy passed in Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, which bans commercial surrogacy. The bill allows ‘altruistic’ surrogacy, which involves an arrangement where the couple does not pay the surrogate mother any compensation other than the medical and insurance expenses related to the pregnancy. Moreover, the surrogate mother must be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple.
4. Trump issues order to create US Space Command
US President Donald Trump issued an order to establish a Space Command to oversee the US military’s operations in space. “It will develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable our warfighters to defend our nation in this new era,” US Vice President Mike Pence said. The Space Command will be the 11th combatant command.
5. Deepika Padukone named top Indian star of 2018 by IMDb
Actress Deepika Padukone has been named the top Indian star of 2018, by the global film and TV website IMDb. The ‘2018 Top 10 Stars of Indian Cinema’ list, based on IMDb’s ‘StarMeter’ stats and page views, was released on Tuesday. Shah Rukh Khan was second on the list, followed by Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
6. Govt promotes interim CBI head Nageswara Rao to Additional Director
CBI’s Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, who is currently the interim CBI Director, promoted to the rank of Additional Director by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. The 1986-batch IPS officer from the Odisha cadre had joined the CBI in 2016 and was not considered for the promotion during the review of his batch in April 2018.
7. Sonam Kapoor named India’s Person of the Year by PETA
Actress Sonam Kapoor has been named India’s Person of the Year for 2018, by animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “Sonam Kapoor never hesitates to help animals any way she can,” said Sachin Bangera, PETA India’s Associate Director of Celebrity and Public Relations. In 2016, Sonam was named PETA India’s Hottest Vegetarian Celebrity.
8. Netherlands builds artificial islands to bring back wildlife
Dutch engineers have created an artificial archipelago of five islands in “one of the largest rewilding operations in Europe”. Recently open to the public, the 700-hectare property features three wooden bird observatories, a house for the island’s guardian, 12 km of footbridges and unpaved roads. The project, initiated by Natuurmonumenten, a Dutch NGO, cost around €60 million (over ₹481 crore).
9. Indian documentary on menstruation shortlisted for Oscars
A documentary by Guneet Monga called ‘Period. End of Sentence.’, which is based on women in India fighting against stigma of menstruation, has been shortlisted by Oscars in their Documentary Short Subject category. The film also revolves around Arunachalam Muruganantham who invented an easy-to-operate machine that makes low-cost sanitary napkins and inspired the Bollywood film ‘Padman’.
10. Cabinet approves AIIMS at Tamil Nadu, Telangana
The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of two new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Tamil Nadu’s AIIMS will be set at Madurai and Telangana’s will be set at Bibinagar at the cost of ₹1,264 crore and ₹1,028 crore respectively. Each will add 100 Undergraduate (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc (Nursing) seats.
11. Fresh bill introduced in Lok Sabha to make triple talaq penal offence
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, commonly known as the Triple Talaq Bill, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Bill, despite opposition from Congress member Shashi Tharoor.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The introduced bill seeks to replace the Triple Talaq ordinance that was passed by the government in September 19.
12. Star India chairman Uday Shankar elected Vice President of FICCI
Uday Shankar is the first ever Indian media and entertainment executive to assume the leadership position in a national industry chamber – The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Shankar entered media as a political journalist with The Times of India and rose to become the CEO and editor of ‘Star News’. He spearheaded the launch of 24-hour Hindi news channel ‘Aaj Tak’ in 2000, and ‘Headlines Today’ in English in 2003, as editor and news director of ‘TV Today’ Group.
13. Tamil Nadu CM launched ISRO designed NaVIC to fishermen
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami launched the distribution of satellite phones to fishermen involved in deep sea fishing. It will assist the fishermen in their navigation while in the high seas.
The satellite phones, NaVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) receivers, has been designed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a bid to the fishermen. So far, ISRO has delivered 200 NaVICs to the State government.
14. Cabinet approved the expansion of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
The Union Cabinet approved the expansion of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The scheme aims at providing deposit-free LPG connections to eight crore households. So far, the scheme targeted the poor and underprivileged so listed in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, 2011.
15. Advocate Madhavi Divan appointed Additional Solicitor General in Supreme Court
With her appointment, Divan becomes only the third woman to become an ASG (Additional Solicitor General) in the Supreme Court. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment and Divan will hold office till June 30, 2020. Senior advocate Indira Jaising was the first woman to be appointed as the ASG, while the second one was Pinky Anand, who still holds the post.
16. United Arab Emriates President declares 2019 as Year of Tolerance
United Arab Emirates (UAE) President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has declared 2019 to be the “Year of Tolerance.” to highlight UAE as the Global Capital of Tolerance, instilling the values of co-existence and peace in local, regional and international communities
The Year of Tolerance will focus on “Five Pillars”.
- First one aims to deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth on the values of tolerance.
- The second pillar will focus on solidifying the UAE as the global capital for tolerance, via a series of projects with dialogue between various cultures and civilizations
- The third will enact multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities.
- The fourth pillar will see legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute mandating cultural and religious tolerance.
- The fifth pillar will promote tolerance and co-existence through media initiatives.
17. Farout, the most distant solar system object ever seen
Scientists have discovered the most-distant body ever observed in our solar system, located over 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun. The new object has been nicknamed Farout.
Earlier, 2018 VG18, the object is the first to be observed at a distance of more than 100 astronomical units from the sun. Farout is about 120 AU, or about 11 billion miles, from the sun. One AU is the distance from Earth to the sun or about 93 million miles.
18. Jammu and Kashmir becomes first state to bring law against Sextortion
Jammu and Kashmir become the first state in the country to enact a law banning sexual exploitation of women “by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant”, Under Section 354E of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
Any person committing the offence of sextortion shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not be less than three years, but may extend to five years and with fine.