March 15, 2019

December 2018

  1. Australia has become the first country in the world to recognise ‘orphanage trafficking’ as a form of modern slavery. Children from smaller countries are recruited in orphanages in the West for the purpose of profit through foreign aid. According to the US State Department, “many orphanages use the children to raise funds by forcing them to perform shows for or interact and play with potential donors to encourage more donations”. As per estimates, 80% of children living in the world’s orphanages have at least one living parent.

  2. Salome Zurabishvili, a French-born Georgian politician, has elected the first woman president in the history of Georgia. She will be inaugurated as President of Georgia on 16 December 2018. The President of Georgia is head of state and a guarantor of national independence and unity of the country. He/she is elected on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot, for a period of five years. The President ensures the functioning of state bodies in accordance with the Constitution.

  3. World AIDS Day is designated on 1 December every year since 1988. The day provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. More than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. The theme for the World AIDS Day 2018 is “Know Your Status”. This will also be an occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of WAD.

  4. World number one Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has retained his World Chess Championship title, beating US opponent Fabiano Caruana in a tie-breaker event. Carlsen’s peak rating of 2882, achieved in 2014, is the highest in history. Carlsen became World Champion in 2013 by defeating Viswanathan Anand.

  5. The UN climate summits, i.e. so called COP (Conference of the Parties) are global conferences, in the course of which action for climate policy is negotiated. The Climate Change Conference 2018 was held in Katowice, Poland. Previously, Poland hosted them twice – in 2008, in Poznan and in 2013, in Warsaw. For the first time, the climate summit took place in Katowice. This year’s summit included: 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), 14th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 14) and the 1st Conference of Signatories to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1).

  6. FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) announced that its board has approved the merger with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH India) through an-all equity deal, valuing the total business of the latter at Rs31,700 crore. The transaction is an all-equity merger with 4.39 shares of HUL being allotted for every share in GSKCH India, which sells consumer healthcare products, including popular drink brand Horlicks. Post the acquisition, the turnover of the company’s Foods and Refreshment (F&R) business will exceed Rs10,000 crore.

  7. Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris. In the process, he broke the decade-long duopoly over the award held by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The last player to win the award outside of Ronaldo and Messi was Brazilian great Kaka in 2007.

  8. State Bank of India roped in Asian Games gold medalist Swapna Barman as brand ambassador for its digital app YONO(You only need one). YONO is an integrated digital banking platform offered by State Bank of India (SBI) to enable users to access a variety of financial and other services such as taxi bookings, online shopping, or medical bill payments.

  9. Salman Khan has been named the highest-earning celebrity in India for the third time in a row by Forbes, with earnings of ₹253.25 crore. The second spot was captured by Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, with Rs 228.09 crore to his name, to become the first sportsperson to reach the position. Akshay Kumar came third on the Forbes India Celebrity 100 2018 with Rs 185 crore, followed by Deepika. The fifth spot went to former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who earned Rs 101.77 crore during 2018.

  10. Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian has been appointed the new Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) for a period of three years. The post of CEA had been lying vacant since Arvind Subramanaian left the finance ministry after a four-year stint. Dr Krishnamurthy is currently working as an Associate Professor and the executive director at the Indian School of Business (IBS), Hyderabad. The CEA is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service (IES) & is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance.

  11. India will retain its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances in 2018 with its diaspora sending a whopping USD 80 billion back home, according to the World Bank report. India is followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines (USD 34 billion each) and Egypt (USD 26 billion), according to the global lender. The Bank estimates that officially-recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8% to reach USD 528 billion in 2018.

  12. Indian Navy agreed to gift INS Cuddalore, a decommissioned Pondicherry-class vessel, to the Union territory of Puducherry for the creation of country’s first underwater museum. The 60 m long and 12 m wide vessel was decommissioned in March 2018 after sailing 13000 nautical miles. It would be sent to the seabed at a depth of 26 m and 7 km off the Pondicherry coast to act as an underwater marine museum for scuba diving and snorkeling activities. This would enhance tourism in the UT.

  13. Mexico’s Vanessa Ponce de Leon won the coveted Miss World 2018 crown at a grand event held in the Chinese city, Sanya. Thailand’s Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan was declared the runner-up. Former Miss World Manushi Chillar (India) presented the crown to the new winner during the pageant in which 118 contestants participated. India’s Anukreethy Vas failed to make a mark at the pageant as she could not even make it to the top 30.

  14. Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. On this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. #StandUp4HumanRights is the global campaign launched on for year 2018.

  15. The Congress party has picked old guard Ashok Gehlot over Sachin Pilot as Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Pilot will be the deputy CM of Rajasthan and will also continue as the state Congress chief. India’s Grand Old Party won 99 seats of the 199 in the Rajasthan Assembly, just one short of the halfway mark to form the government.

  16. Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first “floating” nuclear power plant (FNPP) for installation in remote areas, has been started and brought to 10% of its capacity, Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced. An FNPP is basically a mobile, low-capacity reactor unit operable in remote areas isolated from the main power distribution system, or in places hard to access by land. They are designed to maintain both uninterruptible power and plentiful desalinated water supply in remote areas.

  17. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released his book titled “Changing India” at an event in New Delhi. In the book, the Congress leader narrated his journey from an economist to a politician and shared anecdotes from his life.

  18. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced a Rs10,000 crore scheme for the overall development of farmers. Named Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), the scheme will provide farmers with ₹10,000 a year at the rate of Rs5,000 each for Kharif and Rabi season. Additionally, crop loans of up to Rs50,000 will be interest-free under the scheme.

  19. Mission Indradhanush was launched for a targeted approach to immunisation in India, in a bid to change the tardy annual growth rate of 1 per cent. Between 2014 and 2018, India’s annual immunisation growth rate has risen to 4 per cent, with an unprecedented 16 per cent rise in the number of fully immunised children. The word Indradhanush was chosen to represent the seven vaccines that were subsequently included in the Universal Immunization Program against these seven diseases – tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and measles.

  20. The separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh will start functioning from January 1. Ministry of Law and Justice notified the constitution of the High Court in Amaravati. Andhra Pradesh High Court will be the 25th High Court in the country. The Hyderabad High Court has been functioning as common high court till now after bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

  21. According to data furnished by the Reserve Bank of India, between 2015 and 2017, private lender ICICI Bank penalized the highest number of employees for defrauding bank assets in the last three year out of 60 scheduled commercial banks operating in India. It is followed by State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. In all, banks took action against a staggering 13,949 officials, of which 16%, or 2,236, belonged to ICICI.

  22. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance won Bangladesh’s election with a thumping majority, the country’s Election Commission announced. It gave her a third straight term following a vote that the opposition rejected as rigged. The win consolidated Hasina’s decade-long rule over Bangladesh. The alliance dominated by her Awami League, seen as close to regional power India, won 287 of the 298 seats for which results have been declared, the commission said. There are 300 constituencies in the country. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.
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