Latest Current Affairs – December 20 & 21 2018
1. Over 8 lakh people died of cancer in 2018: Health Ministry
Over 8 lakh people have died of cancer so far in 2018, MoS for Health, Anupriya Patel said on Friday. An estimated 15,86,571 cases of cancer have been reported so far this year, she added. According to a report issued by Indian Council of Medical Research in 2016, the estimated number of cancer cases in India was increasing, Patel stated.
2. Madras HC orders Sterlite plant to stay shut despite NGT clearance
Madras High Court ordered Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant to remain shut till further orders despite Sterlite getting a green signal from the National Green Tribunal. On December 15, NGT had directed Tamil Nadu to resume power supply to the plant. Sterlite was closed by the state in May after locals protested against its planned expansion citing pollution concerns.
3. Google, FB, Yahoo block keywords related to child porn in India
Internet majors like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo have started blocking keywords related to child porn and sexual violence in India. India’s Supreme Court had earlier said these firms were not doing enough to suppress such content. The step was suggested by a committee formed by the Supreme Court following a petition filed by non-profit organisation Prajwala in 2015.
4. Denmark passes law making handshake must for citizenship
Danish lawmakers have approved a government-backed proposal to make citizenship applicants shake hands with the official conducting the naturalisation ceremony. The lawmakers argued the gesture, criticised for discriminating against Muslims, represents a mark of respect for the government. The law would come into effect on January 1, however, some mayors said they will ignore the new guidelines.
5. WV Raman named India Women coach despite Kirsten being 1st choice
Ex-Indian men’s cricket team opener WV Raman has been appointed as the coach of the Indian women’s cricket team despite India’s 2011 men’s World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten being the first choice. Kirsten was unable to take up the assignment due to his ongoing contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore. A three-member panel including Kapil Dev picked the new coach.
6. NASA lander places 1st instrument to study quakes on Mars
NASA announced that its $993-million InSight lander has placed its first instrument, a seismometer, on Mars to study quakes on the planet. The commands to deploy the instrument were sent on Tuesday, NASA said. “InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped,” Project Manager Tom Hoffman said.
7. Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed new Indian Ambassador to US
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, presently India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh, has been appointed as the new Indian Ambassador to the US. Shringla is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1984 batch and will succeed Navtej Sarna who’ll retire by the end of the year. Prior to his appointment as High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Shringla served as India’s Ambassador to Thailand.
8. Gujarat tops government’s first-ever state startup rankings
Gujarat topped the first-ever state-wise rankings for providing a strong ecosystem to startups released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The rankings mentioned Karnataka, Rajasthan, Odisha and Kerala as the ‘top performers’ after Gujarat. “A total of 27 states and three union territories participated in the exercise,” an official statement said.
9. Over 5,000 people killed in Philippine President’s drug war
The death toll in the Philippines due to the war on drugs initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte has risen above 5,000. The authorities said that at least 5,050 people have lost their lives since the drug war began after Duterte became the President in 2016. Duterte is being investigated for allegedly committing crimes against humanity in the anti-drugs war.
10. Nevada becomes 1st US state with female-majority legislature
Nevada has become the first state in the US with a majority female legislature. This came after Clark County Commissioners appointed Rochelle Thuy Nguyen and Beatrice Angela Duran to Las Vegas-area legislative seats. Women will hold 32 of the 63 seats in the state’s legislature, with over 22 women in the state Assembly and nine women in the state Senate.
11. India fifth-most deadliest place to be a journalist, Afghanistan worst: Reporters without Borders (RSF)
The annual worldwide round-up of deadly violence and abusive treatment of journalists was released by Reporters without Borders (RSF). According to the report, Journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018.
The figure increased by eight percent to 80, and by 15 percent, in the category of number of professional journalists killed, from 55 in 2017 to 63 in 2018. The numbers had been declining for the previous 3 years.
12. Pranab K Das is new Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman
Senior bureaucrat Pranab Kumar Das has been appointed as Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the apex policy-making body for indirect taxes. He will succeed S. Ramesh, who superannuates on December.
The CBIC is headed by the Chairman and consists of six members, who overlook various areas such as customs, central excise, service tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), administration and budget, among other.
13. Pakistani activist Asma Jahangir wins UN Human Rights Prize for 2018
Late Pakistan lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir was announced as one of the four winners of the UN Human Rights Prize for 2018. Her daughter Munizae Jahangir received the prestigious award on behalf of her mother.
Other winners included:
♦ Women’s rights activist in Tanzania – Rebeca Gyumi;
♦ Activist for the rights of indigenous Brazilian communities – Joenia Wapichana and
♦ Ireland’s human rights organisation Front Line Defenders.
United Nations Human Rights Prize, an award given every five years since 1968. President of the UN General Assembly – María Fernanda Espinosa.
14. PM Modi releases book on renowned cartoonist R.K. Laxman
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a book “Timeless Laxman”, based on the life and times of legendary cartoonist, the late R.K. Laxman. The book has been penned by cartoonist’s daughter-in-law Usha Srinivas Laxman. He passed away in January 2015 in Pune aged 93.
15. Global Gender Gap Report 2018: Iceland tops; India ranks 108th
This year, the Gender Gap Index as released by World Economic Forum (WEF), was topped by Iceland with a score of 0.858, holding the top spot in the index for the 10th consecutive year. Norway ranked at 2nd, Sweden at 3rd, and Finland at 4th.
India was ranked 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, same as it was ranked in 2017. Among other South Asian countries, India fetched fourth place with top 3 being Bangladesh (48th), Sri Lanka (100th) and Nepal (105th).
16. President rule has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir
President’s rule is imposed in Jammu and Kashmir from 20th December as the Governor’s rule expired in the state on 19th December 2018, after six months. The Centre is learnt to have recommended President’s rule after a report by Governor Satya Pal Malik.
Now, President Ram Nath Kovind will have to issue a proclamation declaring that the powers of the legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament. In case the elections are not declared, President’s rule can be extended by another six months.