INTERNATIONAL

Tabare Vazquez Re-elected As Uruguay President
Tabare Vazquez was re-elected as Uruguay President. He won the 2014 presidential elections held in Uruguay on 30 November 2014. The Presidential election results was announced by Uruguay’s Electoral Court on 1 December. Vazquez belongs to the leftist Broad Front coalition party of Uruguay.

China Launched Mega Water Supply Project In Sri Lanka
The Beijing-based China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has on 6 December launched another mega project in Sri Lanka to construct a water supply system in Gampaha district.The US$ 230 million water supply project is the largest ever undertaken by the Sri Lankan government.

Pakistan 8th Most Dangerous Country In The World
US based think tank IntelCenter on 9 December released Country Threat Index (CTI) ranking 45 countries in terms of terrorist and rebel threat to a country. Pakistan is placed eighth in the list of the most dangerous countries in the world which is led by Iraq.

Global Arms Trade Treaty Came Into Force
The global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that lays down international rules for the 85 billion US dollars global arms trade came into effect on 24 December 2014. The Treaty was negotiated at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations from July 2–27, 2012, in New York. Later the UN adopted it on 2 April 2013. It has been signed by 130 countries while 61 countries ratified it.

Shinzo Abe Re-elected Third Term As Japan Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe on 14 December re-elected third term as Japan Prime Minister. He was re-elected after Japan’s ruling coalition (Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito) won a two thirds majority in the Snap elections held for the Lower House (House of Representatives) of the Bicameral legislature, the National Diet.


INDIA & WORLD

India Ranked 85th On Global Corruption Perception Index 2014
India was ranked 85th out of 175 countries on Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014, which was released by Transparency International on 3 December 2014. India’s score stood at 38 as compared to 36 in 2013. Sri Lanka was ranked 85th with India. The index was topped by Denmark with a score of 92. At the bottom of the list are South Sudan (171), Afghanistan (172), Sudan (173) and North Korea and Somalia shared the last place at 174 with a score of 8 each.

United Nations Declared June 21 As ‘ International Yoga Day ‘
The United Nations General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’. It was introduced by India’s Ambassador to the United Nations Asoke Mukerji on 11 December and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any resolution in the 193-member UN Genral Assembly. This is also for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days. Through the resolution, adopted under the agenda of “Global Health and Foreign Policy,” the 193-member General Assembly decided to proclaim June 21 every year as “International Day of Yoga”.

India and Russia Signed 20 Agreements
India and Russia signed 20 agreements during the 15th India-Russia Annual Summit held in New Delhi on 11 December. The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. India and Russia also agreed to jointly explore for oil and gas, build petrochem plants, lay pipelines and cooperate in infrastructure development and smart cities to treble bilateral trade to USD 30 billion by 2025.

India Ranks Third On World Black Money List
The Global Financial Integrity (GFI) on 15 December released the Global Illicit Financial Flows Report 2014 titled Illicit Financial Flows from the Developing World: 2003-2012. According to the report, India has ranked third in the world with an estimated USD 94.76 billion (nearly Rs 6 lakh crore) illicit money outflows in 2012. Reportedly the cumulative illicit money moving out of the country from 2003 to 2012 has risen to USD 439.59 billion (Rs 28 lakh crore). Russia is on the top with USD 122.86 billion, followed by China at the second position (USD 249.57 billion) in terms of black money moving out of a country for 2012 — the latest year for which these estimates have been made.

India Banned  ISIS Terror Group
The Union Government on 16 December 2014 banned Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The aim of the ban is to limit the activities of the West Asia group which has carved out swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.


NATIONAL

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Birthday To Be Observed As ‘Good Governance Day’
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday on December 25 will be observed as ‘National Good Governance Day’. The decision has been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 December in New Delhi.

Union Govt Launched ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Account’ Scheme
The Union Government has on 4 December notified ‘ Sukanya Samriddhi Account ‘, a new small savings instrument for the girl child that could be operated by her after the age of 10.

Government Decided To Remove Section 309 From IPC
The government has on 10 December decided to delete/strike off Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the recommendation of the Law Commission of India. Section 309 of IPC makes the act punishable with jail term of up to one year and fine.

Union Govt Launched ‘Mission Indradhanush’ For Children Vaccination
The Union government has launched ‘Mission Indradhanush’ to achieve full immunization coverage for all children by 2020.The Mission Indradhanush aims to cover all those children who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases including diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.


STATES

Uttar Pradesh Govt Launched Women Entrepreneurship Scheme 2014-15
Uttar Pradesh government on 2 December launched the Women Entrepreneurship Scheme 2014-15 to empower women and ensure their participation in the process of industrialization. Under the scheme, the state government is encouraging micro-level and individual traditional industries and handicraft units to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

Assam Govt Launched Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Concrete Road Nirman Scheme
The Assam government on 5 December launched a new road construction scheme named ‘Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Concrete Road Nirman’. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi laid foundation stone for the scheme at Mirza in Kamrup district of Assam.

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Election 2014 Results
Election Commission of India on 23 December declared the results of Assembly elections of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with 28 seats emerged as the largest party in the house of 87 seats.Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 25 seats (all seats came from the Jammu region) stood at the second position. Jammu and Kashmir is going to witness a hung assembly, as no party was able to garner a full majority.

Jharkhand Assembly Election 2014 Results
Election Commission of India (ECI) on 23 December declared the results of Assembly elections of Jharkhand. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 37 seats emerged as the largest party in the house of 81 seats.Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) with 19 seats stood at the second position.


CONFERENCES

United Nations Climate Change Conference 2014

The UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), known also as Conference of the Parties (COP 20), was held in Lima, Peru, from 1 – 12 December 2014. The conference concluded its 12-day meeting on 12 December having brought together the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC in an attempt to hammer out a new universal treaty which would enter force by 2020. The final agreement is expected to be hashed out in Paris at the end of next year. The decisions adopted in Lima, including the Lima Call for Climate Action, pave the way for the adoption of a universal and meaningful agreement in 2015.


AWARDS & HONOURS

Narendra Modi Named The Straits Times ‘Asian Of The Year 2014′
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on 5 December named ‘Asian of the Year 2014’ for being a development-focused leader by editors of Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times. Last year’s award was shared by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Time Magazine Named Ebola Fighters As ‘Person of the Year 2014′
The countless doctors, nurses and caregivers at the forefront of battling one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, were on 10 December collectively named as Time magazine’s 2014 ‘Person of the Year’. The ‘Ebola fighters’ have been awarded for their tireless acts of courage and mercy and for risking, persisting, sacrificing and saving.

Fidel Castro Awarded China’s Confucius Peace Prize – 2014
Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro has been awarded the Confucius Peace Prize -2014, China’s alternative to the Nobel. He did not attend the Confucius Peace Prize award ceremony on 9 December. A Cuban exchange student accepted the award on his behalf. The Confucius Peace prize was established in 2009 as an eastern alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize following the proposal of Chinese businessman Lui Zhiqin.

Atal Bihari Vajpee and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya To Be Awarded Bharat Ratna
The Union Government on 24 December 2014 made announcement to award the Bharat Ratna, country’s highest civilian honour to Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and educationist and social reformer Madan Mohan Malviya(posthumously). The announcement coincides with Vajpayee’s birthday on December 25 which the government has already declared as ‘Good Governance Day’. Malviya is the 11th person to receive the award posthumously, while Vajpayee is the sixth Prime Minister to receive the award. Till now 43 people have been honoured with the Bharat Ratna. Educationist Madan Mohan Malviya and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee are the 44th and 45th distinguished personalities who have been conferred with country’s highest civilian award. In 2013, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist C N R Rao were awarded Bharat Ratna for their contribution in their respective fields.


SPORTS & GAMES

East Zone Won 2014–15 Deodhar Trophy
East Zone won the 2014-15 Deodhar Trophy of cricket on 3 December by defeating West Zone by 24 runs. The final match was played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. This was the first Deodhar Trophy win for East Zone after 11 seasons.

India Won Blind Cricket World Cup 2014
Indian Blind Cricket team under the captaincy of Shekhar Naik won the fourth edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup (BCWC) 2014 by defeating defending champions Pakistan in the final match played at Cape Town (South Africa) on 7 December. It was the first time India won the event.

Germany Won 2014 Champions Trophy Hockey
Germany defeated Pakistan 2-0 on 14 December to win the 35th Champions Trophy Hockey (Men’s) in Bhubaneswar for the 10th time. Germany had last won the tournament in 2007.Australia has won Men’s Champions Trophy for the highest 13 times followed by Germany (10 times).

Indian Men and Women Teams Won 5th Kabaddi World Cup 2014
India won the Men and Women title of Kabaddi World Cup 2014. This was the fifth Kabaddi World Cup.The final match of the cup was played on 20 December at Guru Gobind Singh Multipurpose Stadium in Jalandhar, Punjab, India. The Indian men’s team defeated Pakistan 45-42 for the fourth time, while the women team beat New Zealand 36-27 for the second time in a row.

Sunil Chhetri Named 2014 AIFF Player of the Year
Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri was on 27 December declared ‘ All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year’ for the third time in four years while Bala Devi has been declared the ‘Woman Player of the Year’.


ECONOMY

India’s Economic Growth Is Expected To Improve To 6.3% in 2016
The United Nations latest report titled ‘The UN World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 (WESP)’ was released on 11 December. According to the report, India’s economic growth is expected to improve to 6.3 per cent in 2016 with the country leading economic recovery in South Asia.

ICICI Bank Launched India’s First Transparent Credit Card
Private sector lender ICICI Bank on 12 December launched India’s first credit card with a transparent design.The credit card named ICICI Bank Coral American Express Credit Card.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma Becomes Asia’s Richest Person
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index new list of the world’s billionaires released on 12 December, the founder of Chinese internet giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, is now the richest person in Asia. With an estimated wealth of 28.6 billion dollars, Ma overtook the Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-shing at 28.3 billion dollars.

IOC tops Fortune India 500 List
The global business magazine Fortune’s Indian edition released its annual list of Fortune 500 Indian companies for 2014 on 14 December. According to the list, State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) topped this list with an annual revenue of Rs 5,00,973 crore, while Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) full-year revenue is Rs 4,44,021 crore.

India Ranks 93rd In Forbes’ List Of Best Nations For Business
Business publication Forbes has ranked India 93rd on its list of Best Countries for Business for 2014, which was released on 19 December. Denmark tops the list, followed by Hong Kong. India ranked 122 on the trade freedom index, 135 in monetary freedom, 120 in technology, 122 in tax burden and 128 in red tape. It fared well on market performance index, ranking third, and 7th on investor protection. It ranked 78th on corruption and 55 on property rights.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India Successfully Test Fired N-capable Agni-IV Missile
India on 2 December successfully test fired its 4,000 km Nuclear Capable Agni-IV missile from a defence base in Odisha.The missile is a two-stage, weighing 17 tonne and 20-metre tall.This test was the fourth trial of Agni-IV missile. The first was in November 2011, the second in September 2012 and the third in January 2014. Agni-IV has already been inducted into the army.

Japan Successfully Launched ‘Asteroid Explorer’ Hayabusa 2
Japan has successfully launched its second-generation asteroid explorer ‘Hayabusa 2’ from Tanegashima Space Center on 3 December in Japan’s southwestern Kagoshima prefecture. The Hayabusa 2 was launched aboard the H-2A Launch Vehicle No.26 (H-2A F26) and it is the second mission of Japan after Hayabusa (MUSES-C) launched in 2003 to collect asteroid samples. Hayabusa 2 will explore one of the C-type asteroids called 1999 JU3 in space, retrieve materials and bring them to Earth.

ISRO’s Communication Satellite GSAT-16 Launched Successfully
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully launched on 7 December by the Ariane-5 launch vehicle VA221 of Arianespace from Kourou, French Guiana. India satellite’s co-passenger DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also launched by Ariane 5 VA221, marking 63rd successful mission in a row for the rocket. Ariane 5 delivers DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 to orbit on Arianespace’s latest mission success.

China Successfully Launched Yaogan Weixing-25 Mission
China on 10 December successfully launched the Yaogan Weixing-25 mission – consisting of three satellites – from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The launch took place from the 603 launch pad of the LC43 launch complex utilizing a Long March-4C (Chang Zheng-4C) launch vehicle.The Yaogan Weixing-25 mission is composed of three satellites, with Chinese media referring to the new satellite as “a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.

ISRO successfully Launched GSLV Mark-III
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched India’s heaviest rocket GSLV Mark-III-X carrying Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on 18 December 2014. It weighs 630 tonnes. Objective behind the test of the 155 crore rupees mission was to check the atmospheric stability around four tonne luggage and study the re-entry characteristics of the crew module.The GSLV Mark-III-X lifted off from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre carrying the human crew module CARE and separated the crew module at an altitude of 126 km for re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. The module controlled by 3 parachutes safely splashed down into the Bay of Bengal off Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was recovered by coast guards near Indira Point, the southernmost point of India.


PERSONS IN NEWS

A) APPOINTMENTS

Anil Kumar Sinha Takes Charge As new CBI director
Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Anil Kumar Sinha (A.K.Sinha) took charge as the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 3 December. Sinha, a 1979 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, succeeds Ranjit Sinha, a fellow Bihar cadre officer, who retired on 2 December 2014. Sinha is the third consecutive chief of the agency from Bihar following Ranjit Sinha and A.P. Singh. This is the first time that the Prime Minister -led panel has selected the CBI director.

Richard Rahul Verma Sworn In As US Ambassador To India
Indian-American Richard Rahul Verma has been sworn in as the US Ambassador to India by Secretary of State John Kerry on 20 December.46-year-old Verma is the first ever Indian-American to be the top US diplomat in New Delhi. He will replace Nancy Powell, who resigned in March 2014 after a damaging row over the treatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade over visa fraud charges.

Raghubar Das Sworn In As First Non-tribal CM of Jharkhand
BJP leader Raghubar Das on 28 December was sworn-in as 10th Chief Minister of Jharkhand, becoming the first non-tribal leader to rule a state, which was carved out in 2000 of Bihar, to serve the tribal and reserved constituencies.Raghubar Das becomes the sixth individual after Babulal Marandi (once), Arjun Munda (thrice), Shibu Soren (thrice), Madhu Koda (once) and Hemant Soren (once) to be the CM of Jharkhand.

B)RESIGNS

Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe Resigned
Haiti’s Prime minister Laurent Lamothe has resigned on 13 December, after violent anti-government protests over delayed elections. He was appointed as Prime Minister by the President Michel Martelly in 2012.

C)DEATHS

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister AR Antulay Died
Former Union Minister and Maharashtra’s first Muslim Chief Minister, AR Antulay was died on 2 December in Mumbai. He was 85. Antulay belonged to the Congress party. Abdul Rahman Antulay, widely known as AR Antulay was 8th and first and only Muslim Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1980 to 1982. He also served as the Union Minister of Minority Affairs in the UPA-I government lead by Dr. Manmohan Singh.

D)VISITORS

Russian President Vladimir Putin Visited India
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India on 11-12 December 2014. During his two day visit, Putin held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to boost cooperation between the two strategic partners in sectors like defence, energy and trade. After bilateral talks, India and Russia signed 20 agreements in areas including armed forces training, nuclear energy, oil exploration, infrastructure, medical research. These agreement include Russia’s help in building at least 12 nuclear reactors and a plan to manufacture advanced Russian military helicopters and defence spare parts in India.

E)MISCELLANEOUS

India Sets New World Record For Largest Human Flag
India on 7 December 2014 set the Guinness Record for largest human formation of a national flag in the world. To set the record around 50000 volunteers from Chennai gathered at YMCA Grounds to form the human Tricolour with Chakra, the National Flag of India.The previous world record was in the name of Sports Club of Lahore, Pakistan wherein 28957 people were involved in forming the national flag of Pakistan.


PLACES  IN  NEWS

World’s Largest Cruise Ship Terminal Opened In Dubai    
The world’s largest cruise ship terminal has opened in Dubai.The third cruise terminal at Port Rashid in Dubai was on 12 December unveiled by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan. The Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal is spread over 28,000 square meters and can handle14,000 cruise passengers a day.


ABBREVIATIONS

1) IIIT —- Indian Institute of Information Technology

2) ECIL —- Electronics Corporation of India Limited

3) IFCI —-  Industrial Finance Corporation of India

4) IRDA —-  Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority

5) ITF — International Tennis Federation

6) ONGC — Oil and Natural Gas Corporation


BOOKS IN NEWS

President Mukherjee’s Book Titled “The Dramatic Decade : The Indira Gandhi Years” Released
President Pranab Mukherjee’s book titled “The Dramatic Decade : The Indira Gandhi Years” was released on 11 December. The book tells the story of the 1970s, which saw emergency being imposed and the beginning of coalition politics in the country. The book published by Rupa & Co. The Dramatic Decade is the first of a three-part volume; the second one will be on the years between 1981–88 and the third volume will be from 1988 to 2012.


COMMITTEES

Subramanian Committee On Leveraging The Post Office Network
Subramanian Committee on Leveraging the Post Office Network submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on 4 December. The objective of the Committee was to transform the Post Office Network in keeping with changing market trends and competition.Committee has suggested creation of a Postal Bank of India (PBI), which would work independently within the postal department with banking professionals.


IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

National Consumers Right Day was Observed On 24 December
National Consumers Right Day was observed across India on 24 December 2014. The day provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.The Consumer Protection and Action Committee (CPAC) celebrated the day by distributing complaints forms, information brochures and other consumer rights literature freely to the public. The CPAC rewarded the 5000 applicant with a sum of Ten rupees who with their names, addresses provide the names and addresses of the consumer courts in the particular region.

World AIDS Day was Observed Across The World On 1 December
World AIDS Day was observed across the world on 1 December 2014. The day is observed to raise awareness to the Aids pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection. The theme is Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free generation – to highlight the need to for governments and health officials, NGOs and individuals to address Aids prevention and treatment.As a part of World AIDS Day, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pushed for more investment and access to treatment for children saying that more infections among children under age 15 need to be averted.UNICEF released data that AIDS-related deaths are not decreasing in the age group 10-19 and still other groups have experienced about a 40 percent decline between 2005 and 2013.The idea for World Aids Day was conceived by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, who are the public information officers for the Global Programme on Aids at the World Health Organisation in 1987.

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