Latest Current Affairs – January 02 2019
1. Scientists develop ‘brain pacemaker’ to treat Parkinson’s
University of California scientists have created a wireless device which works like a “pacemaker for the brain” and may help treat disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. The neurostimulator, called WAND, can monitor and stimulate the brain with electric current. The device is autonomous and can simultaneously stimulate and record electrical signals in the brain, researchers said.
2. ISRO plans to launch 32 space missions in 2019: Chairman
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan said the organisation plans to launch 32 space missions in 2019. The planned missions include Chandrayaan-2, the ₹800-crore mission to land on Moon with lander and rover. India’s first human space mission in 2021-22, Gaganyaan, will also be pursued this year, Sivan said in the New Year message to staff.
3. Sachin Tendulkar’s childhood coach Ramakant Achrekar dies aged 86
Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s childhood coach Ramakant Achrekar passed away aged 86 owing to old-age related ailments in Mumbai. He was conferred with Dronacharya Award in 1990 and Padma Shri in 2010 for his services to cricket. Besides Tendulkar, he had also coached ex-India cricketers Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
4. Cabinet clears merger of Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda
The Cabinet has approved the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. The merged bank will become India’s second-largest state-run bank and will “help create a strong globally competitive bank”, the government said. The merger will become effective April 1, and employees of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank will be absorbed into Bank of Baroda.
5. India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations
India and Pakistan exchanged a list of their nuclear installations and facilities under a bilateral agreement that prohibits both the countries from destroying each other’s nuclear facilities. Under the agreement, both India and Pakistan inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities on January 1 of each calendar year. This is the 28th consecutive exchange of such list.
6. Govt appoints LIC MD Bhargava as the insurer’s interim Chairman
The government on Tuesday gave Life Insurance Corporation’s (LIC) senior-most Managing Director (MD) Hemant Bhargava additional charge as the the insurer’s interim Chairman. Bhargava will be replacing VK Sharma who retired on Monday. Bhargava, who founded LIC Cards Services, was appointed as the Managing Director of LIC in February 2017.
7. Cabinet approves setting up HLC for implementation of Assam Accord
The Union Cabinet took several key decisions including setting up of a high-level committee to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord to hold discussions with all stakeholders on quantum of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for Assamese people among other decisions.
Union Cabinet has approved the setting up a high level committee for implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord and measures envisaged in the Memorandum of Settlement, 2003 and other issues related to Bodo community.
Cabinet also approved the establishment of a Bodo museum-cum-language and cultural study centre, modernization of All India Radio Station and Doordarshan Kendra in Kokrajhar. It also approved naming a superfast train passing through BTAD as Aronai Express.
8. Brazil’s Bolsonaro takes oath as President
Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil’s President in a ceremony at Brazil’s National Congress Building. Bolsonaro, a former Army captain and admirer of the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, vowed to adhere to democratic norms.
He said his government would be guided by the promises he made to Brazilian voters fed up with graft, high levels of violent crime and a still-sputtering economy. Bolsonaro, 63, was a seven-term fringe congressman who rode a wave of anti-establishment anger to became Brazil’s first far-right president since a military dictatorship gave way to civilian rule three decades ago.
9. ICC Test Rankings: India retain top spot
India retain top spot in ICC’s year-end test rankings, following a famous 137-run win in Melbourne Test against Australia; England and New Zealand at second and third place while Australia placed fifth. India maintained their 116 points to consolidate their top place followed by the English team, who are placed at the second spot with 108 points.
10. Vinod Kumar Yadav appointed as Railway Board Chairman
General Manager of South Central Railway, Vinod Kumar Yadav, has been appointed as Chairman of Railway Board and ex-officio Principal Secretary to Government of India.
His appointment came after Ashwani Lohani’s superannuation on Monday (31 December). Vinod Kumar Yadav belongs to the 1980 batch of Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE).
11. National Nritya Shiromani Award 2019 for Anindita
Anindita Neogy Anaam will be honored with the National Nritya Shiromani award for promoting the dance from across the world. This award of national repute has been given in the past to the outstanding Indian classical dance performers and musicians of India and abroad.
The award would be conferred on her in Cuttack on the opening day of the 10th Cuttack Mahotsav: International Dance and Music festival in Cuttack on 2nd January 2019.
12. Three Indian-origin women scientists awarded by Australian government under Superstar of STEM initiative
Three Indian-origin women scientists were among the 60 Superstars of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) list awarded by the Australian government. The 3 scientists are Onisha Patel, Devika Kamath, and Asha Rao. Under the initiative, due to the gender gap in STEM courses, the government there is planning to train these scientists for one year to become influencers for female students.
The 32-year-old, Devika Kamath is an astrophysicist, Onisha Patel is doing her research to generate a cure for many cancers including breasts.
13. Madhya Pradesh government to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department)
Congress-led Madhya Pradesh Government announced that it is going to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department) by merging several existing department. The Congress had promised to form such a department before the last month’s Assembly elections.
The proposed Adhyatmik Vibhag (Spiritual Department) going to be formed by merging Dharmik Nyas Evam Dharmasv Department (Religious Trust and Endowment Department), Anand Vibhag (Happiness Department) in addition to the Directorate of Religious Trust and Endowment, Madhya Pradesh Teerth Evam Mela Pradhikaran and Rajya Anand Sansthan.
14. Axis Bank MD & CEO Shikha Sharma retires; Amitabh Chaudhry takes charge
Amitabh Chaudhry, the former MD and CEO of HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company, was in September named the MD and CEO of Axis Bank for a period of three years. In July 2017, the board of Axis Bank had approved the reappointment of Sharma, who was to start her fourth term as MD and CEO from June 2018. However, in April this year, Sharma wanted her new term to be reduced to seven months from a three-year tenure without citing any reasons.