Current Affairs of 20th December 2019

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Pat Cummins becomes the most expensive foreign buy ever at Rs 15.5 crore

Pat Cummins becomes the most expensive foreign buy ever at Rs 15.5 crore
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 Pat Cummins bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 15.5 crore became the most expensive foreign buy ever at IPL players’ auction.

England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, Australia’s limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch and Australian pacer Pat Cummins became the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction’s first big-money signings as the star players were snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Australia’s all-rounder Glenn Maxwell went to Kings XI Punjab for the price of Rs 10.75 crore in the ongoing Indian Premier League ( IPL) auction.

World’s oldest known fossil forest found in New York

World's oldest known fossil forest found in New York

The world’s oldest known fossil forest has been discovered in a sandstone quarry in New York state, offering new insights into how trees transformed the planet.

The forest, found in the town of Cairo, would have spanned from New York to Pennsylvania and beyond, and has been dated to about 386 million years old. It is one of only three known fossil forests dating to this period and about 2-3 million years older than the previously oldest known fossil forest at Gilboa, also in New York state.

The forest would have been quite open and its ancient trees would appear alien to the modern eye. A walker would have encountered clusters of Cladoxylopsid, a 10m-tall leafless tree with a swollen base, short branches resembling sticks of celery and shallow, ribbon-like roots. The fossils also revealed a tree called Archaeopteris, something like a pine, but instead of needles the branches and trunk were adorned with fern-like fronds, giving it an almost hairy appearance.

Ethiopia celebrates launch of first satellite launched from China

Ethiopia’s first satellite was sent into space on 20th December 2019. A Chinese Long March 4B rocket hoisted the first Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS-1) aloft from the Taiyuan space base in northern China.

The 70-kilogram (154-pound) satellite was developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology with the help of 21 Ethiopian scientists.

It will send back data of the environment and weather patterns in the Horn of Africa — a boon for a country dependent on agriculture and forestry and vulnerable to flood, drought and other climate perils.

It is the eighth launch of an African satellite this year, topping the previous record of seven in 2017, according to Temidayo Oniosun, managing director of Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programs. The launch makes Ethiopia the eleventh African country to have a satellite into space. Egypt was the first in 1998.

India Signs $490 Million Loan Agreement With ADB To Upgrade Madhya Pradesh Roads

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $490 million loan for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 1,600 km of state highways and major district roads (MDRs) from single-lane to two-lane widths in the state of Madhya Pradesh. An additional $286 million investment will be mobilized through private sector participation under the PPP modality.

The signatories to the loan agreement were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

The project will upgrade 750 km of state highways and 850 km of MDRs to two-lane and all-weather standards with road safety features. It will also develop an e-maintenance system, which can record defects or required maintenance, along with a training program to develop capacity on contract implementation and project finance in the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation.

Since 2002, ADB has provided the state government with five loans to develop its road network, improving about 7,300 km of roads or about 11% of the total network.

First vegetable shipment from Varanasi flagged off to Dubai via sea route

First trial shipment of fresh vegetables sourced from the Varanasi region was flagged off from Mumbai to Dubai via sea route on 20th December 2019.

According to Commerce and Industry Ministry, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) – as part of its efforts to promote exports from India’s agriculture produce rich regions – had sent the first trial shipment of vegetables by sea route from Varanasi to Dubai.

Considering the potential of the production of fruits and vegetables in the Varanasi region comprising of 5 districts – Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Mirzapur and SantRavidas Nagar – APEDA is in the process of setting up Agri export hubs in these districts.

Vegetables And Fruits Exporters Association (VAFA), Mumbai, has signed an MoU with four farmers producers organizations (FPOs) for sourcing of fresh vegetables and fruits for export to international markets. The container has the quantity of 14 tonnes of fresh vegetables exported by an export house from Mumbai, supported by VAFA and sourced from three FPOs of Ghazipur and Varanasi.

Govt has approved projects worth Rs 7000 cr under Nirbhaya fund

Under the NIRBHAYA Fund, projects of Rs 7,000 crore, including setting up of 1,023 fast-track courts, have been approved by the Government.

In a tribute to the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim, then Congress-led government had announced setting up ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ of Rs 1,000 crore for safety and empowerment of women in the Budget presented in February 2013.

The Nirbhaya Fund Framework provides for a non-lapsable corpus fund for the safety and security of women to be administered by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Further, it provides for an Empowered Committee (EC) of officers chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) to appraise and recommend proposals to be funded under this framework.

PM Modi to address Assocham AGM on Dec 20

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the annual general meeting of industry body Assocham on December 20.

The theme of the event is ‘New India Aspiring for a USD 5 trillion economy’. The prime minister’s address at the industry event follows a debate about the corporate engagement of the government and allegations in some quarters, mainly by opposition parties, that the corporates were afraid to raise their voice and flag their concerns.

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