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Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019
Rajya Sabha on 12th December 2019 approved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, completing the legislative procedure for giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The Bill was passed with 125 votes in favor and 105 against it.
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who began a global movement by skipping school and demanding action on climate change, angrily thundering How Dare You at the world’s most powerful leaders during the UN Climate Summit for their inaction, was on Wednesday declared as Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year.
At 16, Thunberg is the youngest individual ever to be named TIME’s Person of the Year. The publication said the annual honor is historically accorded to people who worked their way up the ladders of major organizations and were at home in the corridors of power.
US replaces Kuwait as India’s 6th biggest oil supplier; Iraq remains on top
The United States has surpassed Kuwait to become India’s sixth-largest oil supplier as it supplied 70% more crude to the world’s third-largest energy consumer during April-September.
According to data furnished by the oil ministry to the parliamentary committee, the US supplied 5.4 million tons of crude oil during the first six months of 2019-20.
Iraq continues to be India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting close to one-fourth of the country’s oil needs. Iraq sold 26 million tons of crude oil to India from April to September.
India, which is 83% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs, bought 111.4 million tons of crude oil from overseas during April-September.
Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Saudi Arabia, which has since then been relegated to the second spot, exported 20.7 million tons of crude oil in the first six months.
India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following the reposition of economic sanctions in May by the US, pushing down imports from the Persian Gulf nation to just 1.7 million tons. Iran supplied 23.9 million tons in fully 2018-19 fiscal.
Nigeria grabbed the third spot vacated by Iran. The African nation supplied 9.9 million tons of crude oil in April-September. It was followed by the UAE with 8.9 million tons of supplies and Venezuela with 8 million tons of sales.
New Zealand volcano eruption 2019
The volcanic island Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand‘s northeastern Bay of Plenty region explosively erupted on 9 December 2019.
White Island is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, built up by more than 150,000 years of volcanic activity, according to GeoNet.
Andhra Pradesh Cabinet clears Disha Bill
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has approved the draft Disha Act that provides for harsher punishments, including the death sentence, to those guilty of heinous crimes against women.
The Cabinet, which met here on Wednesday, accepted the draft, which calls for completion of trial in 21 days and awarding death sentence in rape cases. The Act would cover sexual offenses against women and children, acid attacks and harassment of women.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced in the Assembly on Monday that the State government would make amendments to the AP Criminal Law Act to hand out harsh punishments after a swift process.
Sexual abuse and attacks on children would attract 354(F), with punishments ranging from 14 years in jail to life term. The Government also decided to slap cases on people who slander women in social media. First-time offenders could face two-year jail term, while a repeat offense could attract double the punishment.
India hosted “BIMSTEC: International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems”
Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR) inaugurated the “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems” for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries at the National Agricultural Science Centre Complex, New Delhi today.
The Seminar is being organized by the Department of Agricultural Research & Education, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India and Indian Council of Agricultural Research from 11th to 13th December 2019.
The seminar has been organized as a Government of India initiative for organizing the “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems” for BIMSTEC countries as was announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held at Kathmandu from 30th to 31st August 2019.
The main objective of the International Seminar is to promote experience sharing for enabling the improvement of tropical smallholder farming systems for greater productivity and resilience to climate change through ecological approaches.
Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) headquarters are situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh and was opened by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 13, 2014. The regional group acts as a bridge between Southern and South-Eastern countries in Asia. The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan—are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
Cabinet approves MoU between CDSCO, Saudi Food and Drug Authority
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved ex-post facto the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Saudi Food and Drug Authority in the field of Medical Products Regulation.
The MoU was signed on October 29 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia.
FICCI India Sports Awards 2019
FICCI is organizing 9th Global Sports Summit “TURF 2019″ International Convention on the Business of Sports at Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi on 11th December.
One of the most important components of the Global Sports Summit is “India Sports Awards” which is scheduled for 11th December 2019. These awards are an attempt by FICCI to acknowledge the contribution and felicitate the Olympics sports achievers and the various stakeholders in the ecosystem who do exceptional work in the Promotion of Sports and bring pride to the nation.
Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal and ace pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won the Sports Person of the Year awards at the FICCI India Sports Awards 2019 on Wednesday.
Rani played a crucial role in India’s qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, scoring the winning goal in the two-legged qualifier against the US in November. Saurabh, on the other hand, is touted as India’s biggest hope for a medal in shooting in Tokyo. He won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and has since won a number of individual and team honors at Shooting World Cups.
Cabinet approves Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing the Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil.
India has been entering into bilateral Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with other countries in order to protect the interests of Indian professionals / skilled workers working abroad for short durations and enhance the competitiveness of Indian companies.
SSAs broadly provide the following three benefits:
- Avoiding making of double social security contributions by the workers (detachment);
- Easy remittance of benefits (Exportability);
- Aggregating the contribution periods (in two countries) to prevent loss of benefits (Totalization). The agreement will also provide for disability insurance benefits to the Indian nationals working abroad. As on date, India has signed SSAs with 18 countries.
The idea to ink pacts on social security programs with BRICS nations was discussed at the meetings of the BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi, respectively.
At present, about 1,000 Brazilians are living in India, while about 4,700 Indians are living in Brazil. All posted/detached workers and self-employed persons will benefit from this proposal without any discrimination. Thus, it would promote equity and inclusiveness. The export of Social Security benefits of Indian workers after their relocation from Brazil is an innovative arrangement to ensure that there is no loss of social security benefits and also adds to the competitiveness of Indian companies by reducing their overall costs.
Bougainville To Become World’s Newest Nation
The South Pacific archipelago of Bougainville on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to become independent of Papua New Guinea, becoming the world’s latest territory to seek secession.
Important facts about Bougainville:
- Buka town on Buka island is the capital of the region and houses the government headquarters.
- Around 300,000 people live in the territory, mostly in villages outside Buka and the two other main towns of Arawa and Buin, both on Bougainville island. A 2011 census recorded the population as 249,358.
- Bougainvilleans are mostly Melanesian and the local language is Tok Pisin, a Papua New Guinean pidgin English, though there are at least 19 distinct indigenous languages.
- Bougainville island was named after French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who sailed along its east coast in 1768.
- In the 19th century, Bougainville was colonized by Germany. It was used by Japan as a military base during World War Two, and after, was administered by Australia until Papua New Guinea (PNG) gained independence in 1975.
- A giant copper mine, Panguna, was opened in 1969 by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), a subsidiary of resources giant Rio Tinto.
- Tensions over how the mine’s profits should be shared forced Rio Tinto to abandon it in 1989 amid an escalation into civil war. At the time, it had been PNG’s largest source of export revenue, comprising about 7% of global copper production.
- As many as 20,000 died in the civil war between Bougainville’s rebel guerrilla army and Papua New Guinea forces, which ended in 1998, the worst conflict in the Oceania region since World War Two.
Union Cabinet authorises NHAI to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to authorise the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) to monetise completed national highways that have a toll collection track record of at least one year.
The INvIT guidelines would be issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and NHAI will reserve the right to levy a toll on the identified highway. NHAI’s InvIT will be a trust established by NHAI under the Indian Trust Act, 1882 and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.
The InvIT Trust will be formed with an objective of investing primarily in infrastructure projects (as defined by the Ministry of Finance). InvIT may hold assets either directly or through an SPV or a holding.
World’s first’ fully-electric commercial flight takes off
An all-electric powered seaplane has taken flight in Vancouver, Canada, in what the operators describe as a “world-first” for the aviation industry. The short test flight by Harbour Air and magniX involved a six-passenger aircraft fitted with an electric motor. The push to electric could help slash carbon emissions in the high-polluting aviation sector. The flight involved a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver with a 750-horsepower (560 kW)magni500 propulsion system.