It gives us great pleasure to release the monthly edition of the PRAVAHINI – Monthly e- Compendium & Weekly e-Periodicals of Current Affairs. The magazine’s members have shown considerable cooperation as well as devotion. We at successmantra.in work tirelessly to create this magazine and bring it to you with a great sense of gratitude.
The PRAVAHINI December-2022 eBook covers the current events that happened in the month of December. Current Affairs is a crucial component of any competitive exams including CLAT, AILET, DU-LLB, HM, CAT, IAS, PCS, SSC, CUET, Banking, MBA and various other competitive examinations.
Current Affairs play the bigger role in many competitive and government exams. It holds the power of making or breaking your chance of success. Therefore, the candidates should cover the Current Affairs thoroughly and smartly.
The PRAVAHINI December-2022 eBook is divided into different sections keeping in mind the need of various exams. The sections covered namely International, National, Economy, Ecology and Environment, Science & Technology, Legal Affairs, Sports, States News Makers and few others.
We would also be pleased to receive any suggestion that could assist us with the upcoming editions.
Success Mantra (GTB Nagar, Delhi) Website:www.successmantra.in Mail Id: [email protected]
'IN PRINCIPLE APPROVAL FOR 21 GREENFIELD AIRPORTS
- The Central Government has recently accorded “In Principle” approval for setting up 21 greenfield airports across India.
- A greenfield airport is one that is built from scratch on undeveloped land, where no work has been done in the past. This airport is built to minimize the congestion at the existing airports.
- Usually, it is at a greater distance from the city and constructed in a way that special consideration is given to the environmental impact.
- The Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy, 2008 governs the development of greenfield airports in India.
- According to this policy, a state government or an airport developer, who is willing to set up a greenfield airport, is required to send the proposal to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation for a two-stage approval i.e., Site-Clearance approval and “In Principle” approval.
- The proposals provided by the state government or airport developer are considered by the Civil Aviation Ministry based on the procedures provided by the GFA Policy, 2008.
- The responsibility of implementing and funding of the greenfield airport projects lies with the concerned proponents of the project (airport developer or state government).
FIRST STATE TO LAUNCH OWN CLIMATE CHANGE MISSION
- Tamil Nadu is set to become the first state to launch its own Climate Change Mission. It had launched the Green Tamil Nadu Mission last September and the Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission this August. A Special Purpose Vehicle–the Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company (TNGCC)–will implement the State Climate Action Plan.
Key Goals Of This Mission:
- To formulate plans to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in the state, increase the use of public transport, develop strategies to cut emissions by using green and renewable energy, increase forest cover, and manage waste effectively.
- The goals also embrace ways to mitigate the impact of climate change, access financial resources for adaptation, initiate climate education in educational institutions, and focus on climate action for women and children.
SANITATION WORKERS' DEVELOPMENT SCHEME
- The Sanitation Workers’ Development Scheme was launched by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin to ensure the welfare of conservancy workers in the southern state.
- The Sanitation Workers’ Development Scheme was launched by the Tamil Nadu government to identify conservancy workers and ensure their welfare through various government initiatives.
- As part of this scheme, a mobile application was launched for the identification and census collection of sanitation workers.
- A survey will be conducted to identify sanitation workers and the collected data will be uploaded into the application. The first phase of this scheme will be implemented in five urban local bodies in the state. It will later be expanded to other local bodies.
ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF AYURVEDA
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the Goa-based All India Institute of Ayurveda. He also addressed the 9th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) and Arogya Expo.
- All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) is a tertiary care facility situated in New Delhi. It was set up by the Central Government along the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
- It was established as an apex institute to bring synergy between Ayurveda and modern diagnostic tools and technology.
- It offers care in 36 areas of specialization like panchakarma, food, lifestyle, yoga, and Ayurveda, as well as diagnostic support using cutting-edge diagnostic equipment, like an ICU. Since its inauguration in 2017, it has provided services to as many as 15 lakh patients.
NATIONAL MISSION FOR CLEAN GANGA (NMCG)
- Recently, the Union Minister for Jal Shakti chaired the 10th meeting of the Empowered Task Force (ETF) of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
- As part of its flagship Namami Gange programme, the Union government has shifted its focus from improving sanitation to conservation, tourism, and economic development of the Ganga river.
What are the Recent Developments in Ganga Rejuvenation?
- Ministry of Tourism working on a comprehensive plan for development of tourism circuits along Ganga in line with Arth Ganga. ‘Arth Ganga’ implies a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.
- Exhibitions & Fairs across 75 towns along Ganga River planned as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) undertaking various steps to build organic farming and natural farming corridors along River Ganga.
SUKHWINDER S. SUKHU AS NEW CM OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
- Congress leader Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has taken oath as the New Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh at historic ridge ground in Shimla. Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri also took oath with him. Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar administered the oath to both.
About the Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu:
- A four-time MLA from the Nadaun constituency in Himachal Pradesh and the head of the Congress’s election committee in the state, Sukhu, who is a law graduate, began his career in student politics and went on to rise to the position of state unit chief.
- Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was the general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh unit of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI). Later, he became the president of NSUI.
- For the first time he won the assembly elections in 2003 from Nadaun in Hamirpur district. He then retained the seat in 2007 but lost it again in 2012 and won it again in 2017 and 2022.
- About Himachal Pradesh: Himachal was made the eighteenth state of India on 25 January 1971 under the Himachal Pradesh State Act, 1971.
- Legislative Assembly seats- 68
- Rajya Sabha seats- 3
- Lok Sabha seats – 4
PRADHAN MANTRI ADI ADARSH GRAM YOJANA
- The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs is now working to develop 36,428 villages with at least 50% tribal population and 500 Scheduled Tribes across the country into ‘model tribal’ villages.
- These efforts were part of the existing Special Central Assistance to Tribal SubScheme (SCA to TSS), which has now been renamed to the Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAAGY), for implementation from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
What is Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana?
- It supplements the efforts of State Governments for development and welfare of tribal people by extending Special Central Assistance as an additive to the State Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).
- It aims at mitigating gaps and providing basic infrastructure in villages with significant tribal population in convergence with funds available under different schemes in Central Scheduled Tribe Component.
INS MORMUGAO SET TO BE COMMISSIONED
- INS Mormugao is set to be commissioned by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the eve of the Goa Liberation Day 2022.
- INS Mormugao is the second ship of the Visakhapatnam-class stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.
- Named after the port city in Goa, this stealth destroyer is 163 meters long and 17 meters wide, with a displacement of 7.400 tonnes and a maximum speed of up to 30 knots (around 55 km per hour).
- The vessel is made of 75 percent of indigenous content, and fitted with a myriad of indigenous equipment and major indigenous weapons. It is the second ship built under Project 15B, which has an overall cost of Rs.35, 800 crore.
HPV VACCINE FOR PREVENTING CERVICAL CANCER
- India is planning to launch HPV vaccine for preventing cervical cancer in 2023 for girls aged 9 to 14 years.
- Cervavac is a quadrivalent vaccine that is capable of preventing cervical cancer through the immunization process. It is known as a quadrivalent vaccine since it is capable of providing immunization against four different strains of HPV – 6, 11,16 and 18.
- It is India’s first indigenously developed Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV).
- It was developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Science and Technology Ministry, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Until the launch of this vaccine, there were only two international HPV vaccines – Gardasil vaccine (first ever vaccine approved by the FDA in 2006) and Cervarix.
INDIA & BANGLADESH CELEBRATED VIJAY DIWAS
- Every year 16th December is observed by Indian Armed Forces and Bangladesh as Vijay Diwas (Bijoy Dibos) to mark India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war and the birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation.
- Pakistan right after India’s independence consisted of East and West Pak where a major problem was the geographical disconnect between the two regions.
- Cultural conflicts and negligence of East Pak’s administration were also challenges. In the mid-1960s, leaders such as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (the founding father of Bangladesh), actively began protesting against the policies of West Pak which was followed by a brutal crackdown by the Pakistani military.
- India’s Role: On 15 May 1971, India launched Operation Jackpot to recruit, train, arm, equip, supply and advise Mukti Bahini fighters engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Pakistan military.
- On 3rd December 1971, India decided to go on a war with Pakistan to save Bengali Muslims and Hindus in East Pakistan.
OPEN NETWORK FOR DIGITAL COMMERCE (ONDC)
- Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will charge a “small fee" from platforms that will contribute towards “maintenance and development" of the network.
- The network will seek to reduce the compulsory commissions charged from sellers and logistics partners on the network by private e-commerce firms such as US-based Amazon and homegrown Flipkart — the two largest e-commerce firms in the country.
What is ONDC?
- It is an open e-commerce protocol set up by the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
- Under ONDC, it is envisaged that a buyer registered on one participating e-commerce site (for example, Amazon) may purchase goods from a seller on another participating e-commerce site (for example, Flipkart).
PRADHAN MANTRI VIRASAT KA SAMVARDHAN (PM-VIKAS)
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) has been named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
What are the Key Points of the Scheme?
- It is a Central-Sector Scheme, which focuses on the skilling, entrepreneurship and leadership training requirements of the minority and artisan communities across the country.
- This is an integrated scheme that converges five erstwhile schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs viz:
- Seekho aur Kamao: This is a placement linked skill development scheme for minorities aiming to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon their qualification, present economic trends and market potential
- USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development): It aims to promote and preserve the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the minority communities.
- Hamari Dharohar: It has been formulated to preserve rich heritage of minority communities of India.
- Nai Roshni: It is a Leadership Development Programme for women belonging to minority communities in the age group of 18 to 65 years. It was started in 2012-13.
INDIAN FOOTWEAR AND LEATHER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
- Union Government has approved the continuation of the Scheme ‘Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP)’ till 31st March 2026 or till further review.
- IFLDP was approved as continuation of the erstwhile IFLADP (Indian Footwear Leather and Accessories Development Programme).
What is IFLDP Scheme?
- It is a Central Sector Scheme, which aims at development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, employment generation and increase in production. It was launched by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
WHAT IS DISHA SCHEME?
- Recently, the Minister of Law and Justice has informed Lok Sabha that “Designing Innovative Solutions for Holistic Access to Justice” (DISHA) Scheme was launched for a period of five years 2021-2026.
What is DISHA Scheme?
- It was launched in order to provide a comprehensive, holistic, integrated and systemic solution on access to justice at pan India level. It aims to secure “Justice” to the people of India as enunciated in the Preamble and under Articles 39A, 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
- It aims to design and consolidate various initiatives to provide citizen- centric delivery of legal services.
- Components: There are three components under DISHA at present,
- Tele-Law: Reaching the Unreached: To strengthen pre litigation legal advice and consultation, the Tele-Law Service connects the citizen with the Panel lawyers through the use of video /Teleconferencing facilities available at the Common Service Centres (CSCs) and via Tele-Law Mobile App.
- The Nyaya Bandhu Programme: The Nyaya Bandhu (Pro Bono Legal Services) programme aims to provide free legal assistance and counsel to the marginalized sections.
- Legal Awareness Programmes: To provide for a more robust framework, Legal Service Institutions network at the National, State and District and Taluk level, constituted under the Legal Services Authorities, Act, 1987.
- Information Education and Communication (IEC): In order to ensure its widened reach, a dedicated Information Education and Communication (IEC) including (Technology) component has been embedded in DISHA.
17TH ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL MEETING
- Recently, the 17th Asia Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) was held in Singapore.
What are the Key Highlights of the Meeting?
- It brings together representatives of governments, employers' and workers' organizations from Asia, the Pacific and the Arab states.
The four key thematic areas of the 17th APRM included:
- Integrated policy agenda for a human-centered recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient
- Institutional framework to support transitions towards formality and decent work
- Strong foundations for social and employment protection and resilience
- Revitalizing productivity growth and skills for more and better jobs
- The meeting concluded with the launch of ‘Singapore Statement’.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION SINGAPORE DECLARATION
- 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (APRM of ILO) concluded with the adoption of the “Singapore Declaration”.
What is the Singapore Declaration?
- The Singapore Declaration aims to ensure social dialogue to address challenges associated with the labour market and finding solutions for crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty.
- It provides a shared vision of 10-point priorities of national action of members of the ILO to deal with issues like dwindling wages, inflation and unemployment.
- It recognized that social dialogue is vital for gaining trust and resilience in the labor market institution, sustainable recovery, and inclusive global progress.
CHINA RAISED DISPUTE OVER US CHIP SANCTIONS
- China has recently raised a dispute with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the US chip sanctions.
About the US Chip Sanctions
- In October, the United States issued new export controls preventing the sales and services by the US businesses to Chinese chip manufacturers.
- The purpose of these restrictions is to prevent China from buying and manufacturing high-end chips with military applications, preventing the growth of China’s semiconductor industry and the development of military systems.
- This move also covers export restrictions on some chips used in supercomputers and stricter requirements on the sale of semiconductor equipment.
JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE OF INDIA & NEPAL: SURYA KIRAN
- The joint military exercise between India and Nepal, Exercise Surya Kiran XVI, is being held from December 16 to 29 this year in Nepal Army Battle School in Nepal’s Saljhandi.
- Exercise Surya Kiran is a joint military exercise between the armies of India and Nepal.
- Its objectives include improving interoperability and sharing experiences and best practices on counter-insurgency operations.
- The inaugural edition of this bilateral exercise was held in Mizoram in 2011. Since then, it has been held each year between the two armies. The last edition was held in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.
- This bilateral exercise is playing a major role in boosting the ties between India and Nepal. It is also improving the mutual cooperation between both the armies and further strengthening diplomatic relations of the two countries.
INDIA & KAZAKHSTAN JOINT EXERCISE: KAZIND 2022
- The 6th Edition of India - Kazakhstan joint training exercise “KAZIND-22” is being conducted at Umroi (Meghalaya).
What is Kazind – 2022?
- It is a joint annual training exercise with the Kazakhstan Army and was instituted in 2016 as Exercise Prabal Dostyk, which was later upgraded to a company level exercise and renamed as Ex Kazind in 2018.
- Aim: To build positive military relations, imbibe each other’s best practices and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking counter terrorist operations in semi urban / jungle scenario.
KUNMING MONTREAL GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK
- The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Montreal in December 2022 adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
- The GBF includes four goals and 23 targets to address the loss of biodiversity and restore natural ecosystems by 2030. The GBF was agreed upon by representatives of 188 governments, including 95% of all Parties to the CBD, as well as the United States and the Vatican.
- Protecting at least 30% of the world’s land, water, coastal, and marine areas
- Restoring at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine ecosystems
- Reducing or eliminating the loss of areas with high biodiversity importance
- Cutting global food waste in half and reducing overconsumption and waste
- Reducing the use of pesticides and hazardous chemicals by half
- Phasing out or reforming subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least USD 500 billion per year and scaling up incentives for conservation and sustainable use.
- Mobilizing at least USD 200 billion per year in funding from all sources for biodiversity-related causes
- Increasing international financial flows to developing countries to at least USD20 billion per year by 2025 and at least USD 30 billion per year by 2030.
- Preventing the introduction of invasive species and reducing the establishment of other known or potential invasive species.
JAPAN UNVEILED 320 BILLION USD PLAN FOR MILITARY
- In a major shift from the long-time post-war pacific approach, Japan unveiled a 320 billion USD plan for a military build-up – the largest since the Second World War.
Why is Japan planning to build up its military?
- The five-year plan, which is to be implemented with a total budget of 320 billion USD, will make Japan the third-largest military spender in the world after the United States and China.
- This comes after the cabinet led by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio approved Japan’s 3 important security documents.
Why is Japan planning to build up its military?
- The Japanese government is concerned with the growing threats in the region. The catalyst for this decision may probably be Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s growing belligerence, which indicates the possibility of China capturing Taiwan in the future.
- There is also the threat of China’s claim over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands and the possibility of the Chinese takeover of those islands.
INDIAN ORIGIN LEO VARADHKAR BECOMES IRELAND PM
- Indian-origin Leo Varadkar has returned for a second term as Ireland’s Prime Minister as part of a job-sharing deal made by the country’s centrist coalition government.
- His appointment was confirmed when he received the seal of office from President Michael D. Higgins, Ireland’s head of state.
- This is the second time that Varadkar has been elected as Irish prime minister. He first became the Irish prime minister in June 2017.
- In June 2020, the Fine Gael party led by Varadkar formed a coalition government with Fianna Fail and Green Party, in which he served as deputy prime minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
- According to an agreement reached by the three parties in setting up a coalition government, Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin will first serve as Irish prime minister until December 2022 and Fine Gael party leader Varadkar will replace Martin to be the new prime minister until the five-year term of the current government comes to an end.
About Leo Varadkar:
- Varadkar’s rise to the top of Irish politics was remarkable in a country dominated by a strict, conservative Catholic morality well into the latter half of the last century.
- At 38, he became the country’s youngest Taoiseach as well as its first openly gay head of government and first of Indian heritage. Varadkar was born in Dublin to an Irish mother who worked as a nurse and an Indian immigrant father, who was a qualified doctor.
- At the age of seven, a precocious Varadkar is reported to have told his mother’s friends that he wanted to be the minister for health.
- After gaining a medical degree from Trinity College Dublin, he went into general practice but stayed involved in politics, and in 2007 secured election for Fine Gael in Dublin West. In 2015, before Ireland’s referendum legalising same-sex marriage, Varadkar came out publicly as gay.
WHAT IS GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX?
- The European Union has adopted a plan for a global minimum 15% tax on big business. The landmark deal between nearly 140 countries aims to stop governments racing to cut taxes in a bid to attract companies.
- It was praised by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as “an historic agreement which helps even the playing field”.
- EU member states reached agreement in principle to implement at EU level the minimum taxation component, known as Pillar 2, of the OECD’s reform of international taxation. The ambassadors of EU member states decided to advise the Council to adopt the Pillar 2 directive, and a written procedure for the formal adoption will be launched.
- Need Of This: Corporation tax is usually based on a company’s profits. But often they might be able to pay less depending on where their offices are registered or how they invest in their business.
- The newly-approved plan was drawn up under the guidance of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and already had the backing of Washington and several major EU economies.
- But the implementation of the minimum tax in the 27-nation trading bloc was delayed as member states raised objections or adopted blocking tactics.
SYSTEM FOR PENSION ADMINISTRATION RAKSHA (SPARSH)
- Recently, the Ministry of Defense has urged the stakeholders of System for Pension Administration Raksha (SPARSH) to make it more users friendly.
- One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme also provides the payment of the same pension to military officers for the same rank for the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
What is SPARSH?
- It is an integrated system for automation of sanction and disbursement of defense pension.
- This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into the bank accounts of defense pensioners without relying on any external intermediary. A Pensioner Portal is available for pensioners to view their pension related information, access services and register complaints, if any.
AWARDS & HONOUR
NATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION AWARDS
- President of India Droupadi Murmu presented the National Energy Conservation Awards, National Energy Efficiency Innovation Awards and National Painting Competition prizes on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day (December 14).
- The National Energy Conservation Awards was launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), which comes under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Power.
- These awards were launched in 1991 to recognize the contributions of industries and establishments in minimizing energy consumption while also maintaining their production levels. These awards were conferred for the first time on December 14, 1991.
Who received the Energy Conservation Awards 2022?
- Transport Category / Railway Stations Sector: The South Central Railways received the first and second prizes for Energy Conservation Measures in the Railway Stations category.
- The first prize was conferred to the Kacheguda Station and the second prize to the Guntakal Railway station. Kanpur Central Railway Station (NCR), Rajahmundry Railway Station (SCR), Tenali Railway station (SCR) received the Certificate of Merit.
- Buildings category/government buildings sector: Ajmer Workshop of North Western Railway received the first prize under the Buildings Category. The certificate of merit was conferred to Railway Hospital Guntakal (SCR), Electric Traction Training Centre, Vijayawada (SCR) and Divisional Railway Hospital, Pratapnagar (WR).
HIGHLIGHTS OF FIFA WORLD CUP 2022
- Recently, Argentina won the FIFA (Fédération internationale de Football Association) World Cup 2022 held in Qatar by defeating France.
What is the FIFA World Cup?
- The most prestigious tournament in the world - taking place quadrennially.
- First FIFA WC: Held in Uruguay in 1930, Won by Uruguay.
- Trophy: The trophy cup awarded from 1930 to 1970 was the Jules Rimet Trophy, named for the Frenchman who proposed the tournament. A new trophy called the FIFA World Cup was put up for competition in 1970.
Key Highlights of FIFA WC 2022:
- Awards: FIFA announced a number of awards to recognize the great performance of players throughout the WC including
- Golden Boot (Most number of Goals) - Kylian Mbappe (France)
- Golden Glove - Emiliano Martinez (Argentina)
- Golden Ball (Performer of the Tournament) - Lionel Messi (Argentina)
- Young Player - Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
- FIFA Fair Play Award - England
- FIFA WC Official Ball: Al Rihla (means - ‘the journey’) - a reference to a travelog written by Ibn Battuta, the 14th-century explorer.
- Al Rihla is the first World Cup ball to be made exclusively with water-based inks and glues. Al Rihla was to be used in the event until the quarterfinals, Al Hilm' replaced Al Rihla FIFA WC 2022 semi-finals and final.
- At the time of First FIFA WC (1930), there was no official ball and both the finalists - Uruguay (T Model ball) and Argentina (Tiento) - brought their own balls. Pakistan produces more than 2/3rd of the world's footballs, with Sialkot being the hub of manufacturing.
- Official Mascot: La’eeb was the Official Mascot for FIFA WC 2022. ‘La’eeb’ in Arabic translates to ‘super-skilled player’.
IMPORTANT DAYS & DATES
INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE DAY
- International Universal Health Coverage Day is celebrated annually on 12th December. The day is marked to promote the importance of building robust, resilient, world-class healthcare systems globally.
- International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.
- Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.
International Universal Health Coverage Day 2022: Theme
- According to the UN, this year’s theme, “Build the world we want: A healthy future for all,” emphasizes the importance of equity, trust, healthy surroundings, investments, and accountability in order to build strong health systems.
NATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION DAY: 14TH DECEMBER
- National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on 14th December 2022.
- Ministry of Power, Government of India, launched the National Energy Conservation Awards in 1991 to recognise the contribution of industries and establishments in reducing energy consumption while maintaining their production through awards.
- The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) spearheads the celebrations every year. The first time the awards were given away was on 14th December, 1991.
- Since then, the day has been declared as National Energy Conservation Day. These awards are given away by eminent dignitaries at a function organised every year on the same day.
NATIONAL MINORITIES RIGHTS DAY: DECEMBER: 18TH
- National Minorities Rights Day is commemorated on December 18 every year in India. Its aim is to safeguard the individual rights of the religious, ethnic, racial, or linguistic minorities in the country.
- This day is a reminder about the rights of minorities and to raise awareness about it. Minority Rights Day in India is commemorated by conducting debates and seminars on topic related to minority communities.
- Awareness about their linguistic, national, cultural and religious identity are also a topic of study during this day. The day revolves around understand the issues faced by these communities and how discrimination against them can be stopped.
Minorities Rights Day: History
- The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities under the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992. Following this five religious communities have been notified as minority communities in the Gazette of India by the Union Government all around the country.
- These religious communities are Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, and Zoroastrians. The major function of this commission was and is to protect the interests of the minorities. On December 18, 1992, the United Nations adopted the day as Minorities Rights Day. They stated that it is the responsibility of the government to improve minority conditions.
- The state is also responsible for creating awareness about their linguistic, national, cultural and religious identity in the country.
- On January 29 2006, the Ministry of Minority Affairs was created as the apex body of the Central government’s developmental and regulatory programs for the minority communities. In 2014, Jains were also added to the list of religious communities considered as minority communities.
INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY OBSERVED ON DECEMBER 18TH
- International Migrants Day is observed annually on December 18 to bring attention to the social and economic realities of migrants around the world. This day is observed to guarantee that the rights of migrants are equally respected and not violated.
- The mobility of people is still influenced by a range of factors despite the world’s rapid growth and change.
- Currently, 281 million individuals are international migrants who reside in nations other than their own. International Migrants Day serves as a reminder that the challenges faced by migrants in every country remain unresolved, and policymakers must continue to develop constructive and comprehensive policies to address the issue.
International Migrants Day: History
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants Day on December 4, 2000.
- This special day came into existence after considering the enormous and rising number of migrants around the world. On this day in 1990, the UNGA adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
REPORTS & INDEXES
WORLD'S STRONGEST PASSPORT LIST
- Passport Index 2022 published by Arton Capital ranked the world’s strongest and weakest passports.
- A passport is a travel document issued by a country’s government to its citizens that verifies the identity and nationality of the holder for the purpose of international travel. India was ranked at 87th position in the world’s strongest passport list.
About the Passport Index 2022:
- The Passport Index is based on the 139 members of the United Nations and six territories were considered for the list.
- The data is based on official information provided by governments, updated in real-time with intelligence obtained through crowdsourcing and enhanced with proprietary research from highly credible sources.
- The process included a three-tier method which rates on the basis of a mobility score (MS) – includes visa-free (VF), visa on arrival (VOA), eTA and eVisa (if issued within 3 days), VF portion of their score vs VOA and United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 2018 (UNDP HDI) which is used as a tiebreaker.
WORLD MALARIA REPORT 2022 RELEASED BY WHO
- World Malaria Report 2022 was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 8.
What is the World Malaria Report?
- The WHO releases the World Malaria Report each year to provide in-depth information on the current trends regarding malaria control and elimination at the global, regional and national levels.
- The report highlights the progress towards the global targets and identifies opportunities and challenges for curbing and eliminating malaria.
The 2022 report has three new sections focusing on:
- Global and regional initiatives launched in 2021 and 2022
- Global malaria surveillance and national-level case studies on surveillance systems assessments
- Research and Development
- It also includes an expanded section on the threats to malaria control, with a specific focus on the declining effectiveness of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY INDEX (GFSI) 2022
- The 2022 Global Food Security Index (GFSI) report was released by the British weekly The Economist. In this report, South Africa overtook Tunisia to become the most food-secure country in Africa.
What are the key findings of the report?
- Vulnerability to Shocks: The global food environment is deteriorating, making it vulnerable to shocks. Significant progress was made in global food security from 2012 to 2015, with the overall GFSI score increasing by 6 percent.
- Affordability: In 2022, the GFSI suffered because of the plummeting of two of its strongest pillars – affordability, and quality and safety. The weakness in the other two pillars (availability, and sustainability and adaptation) continued during this year.
- Widening food security gap: In 2022, 8 of the top 10 performing countries are in Europe, with Finland topping the list with a score of 83.7. It is followed by Ireland (scoring 81.7) and Norway (scoring 80.5).
- Africa’s Most Food-Secure Country: South Africa, at the 59th position, was recognized as the most food-secure country in Africa. It made a record leap from the 70th rank in 2021.
GLAAS REPORT RELEASED BY WHO
- Recently, the Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Water.
What is UN-Water?
- UN-Water coordinates the United Nations’ work on water and sanitation. UN-Water is a ‘coordination mechanism’.
- It is composed of United Nations entities (Members) and international organizations (Partners) working on water and sanitation issues. UN-Water’s role is to ensure that Members and Partners’ deliver as one’ in response to water-related challenges.
What is the GLAAS Report?
- The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2022 report compiles new data on drinking-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) from 121 countries and territories and 23 External Support Agencies (ESAs).
- It serves as a global reference to inform commitments, priority-setting and actions during the second half of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the United Nations Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018–2028) (UN 2023 Water Conference).
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
HAKUTO-R MOON MISSION OF JAPAN
- Recently, a Japanese space startup ispace Inc has launched its own private lander M1 to the Moon under its HAKUTO-R mission, from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
- It is Japan's first-ever lunar mission and the first of its kind by a private company.
What are the Key Points of the Mission?
- The name HAKUTO-R refers to the white rabbit that Japanese folklore suggests lives on the Moon. The M1 lander will deploy two robotic rovers, two-wheeled, orange-sized devices from Japan’s JAXA space agency and a four-wheeled Rover made by the UAE known as the Explorer Rashid, after the Dubai royal family patriarch.
- If the rover Rashid lands successfully, it will be the Arab world's first Moon mission. So far only the US, Russia and China have managed to put a robot on the lunar surface. It will also be carrying an experimental solid-state battery made by NGK Spark Plug Co, a Japanese-based spark plug company.
JOINT TEST RUN OF HYPERSONIC VEHICLE
- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), along with the Headquarters of the Integrated Defense Staff (HQ IDS), conducted the joint test run of hypersonic vehicles.
- The recently held joint trial run fulfilled the predetermined targets successfully. This hypersonic vehicle is set to become operational in three to four years.
- A hypersonic vehicle is a vehicle capable of traveling at a speed higher than Mach 5 (five times faster than the speed of sound). It can be an airplane, missile or spacecraft.
- Countries like China, India, Russia, and the United States are racing to enhance their ability to develop hypersonic missiles. These vehicles have high maneuverability and do not follow a predictable arc.
WHAT IS RASHID ROVER?
- Rashid Rover was launched on December 11 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Rashid Rover, the Arab world’s first lunar rover, is named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, former Ruler of Dubai.
- This rover will undertake a 3,85,000-kilometer-long journey to reach the lunar surface, making the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the fourth country to land on the Moon. This four-wheeled rover weighs just 10 kg.
- It was built by engineers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) as part of a project that was launched in 2017. The destination of the rover is the Atlas crater in the Mare Frigoris site on the Moon’s near side (the one facing the Earth).
AGNI-5 NUCLEAR-CAPABLE BALLISTIC MISSILE
- Recently, India successfully carried out the night trials of the Agni-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
What are the Features of the Missile?
- Agni-5 is an ingeniously built advanced surface-to-surface ballistic missile developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
- It is a fire-and-forget missile, which cannot be stopped without an interceptor missile. The missile has the capability of hitting targets beyond the range of 5000 km and is crucial for India's self-defense systems.
What are Agni Missiles?
- The Agni missile class is the backbone of India's nuclear launch capability, as are Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and fighter aircraft.
- Agni-1 to 5 missiles are designed & developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
WHAT IS NUCLEAR FUSION BREAKTHROUGH?
- Researchers at the California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have recently announced a historic nuclear fusion breakthrough, claiming it to be the “landmark achievement” in the quest for a source of unlimited, clean power and an end of the dependence on fossil fuels.
What is this nuclear fusion breakthrough?
- The US researchers used the world’s largest laser for the first time to create a nuclear fusion reaction. This is the first scientific experiment that achieved success in replicating the same energy that powers the Sun.
- It also achieved “net energy gain” by producing more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to derive it. For the experiment, researchers used 192 ultra-powerful lasers to deliver 2.05 megajoules of energy to a capsule that is smaller than a pea and has isotopes of hydrogen.
- They were able to produce 3.15 megajoules of fusion energy output. While they attained a net energy gain, 400 megajoules of energy was required from the electrical grid to power the laser.
- The historic nuclear fusion breakthrough is expected to play a major role in the future of clean power and advances in the national defense.
SURFACE WATER & OCEAN TOPOGRAPHY (SWOT)
- Recently, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) -led international satellite, Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) was launched from Southern California by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
- The satellite will take the first global survey of Earth’s freshwater systems from space.
What is Surface Water and Ocean Topography?
- SWOT is an advanced radar satellite that aims to provide scientists with a deeper understanding of the oceans and how climate change impacts them. The rocket's payload, the SWOT, incorporates advanced microwave radar technology to collect high-definition measurements of oceans, lakes, reservoirs and rivers over 90% of the globe.
WHAT IS PHARMACEUTICAL POLLUTION?
- According to a research paper, Pharmaceutical Pollution is an overlooked but urgent issue that needs coordinated action from across the pharmaceutical, healthcare and environmental sectors.
- Almost half or 43% of the world’s rivers are contaminated with active pharmaceutical ingredients in concentrations that can have disastrous ramifications on health.
What is Pharmaceutical Pollution?
- Pharmaceutical plants are often incapable of filtering out all the chemical compounds used in their manufacturing process and as such, the chemicals will seep into the surrounding freshwater systems and eventually into the oceans, lakes, streams, and rivers.
- Wastewater from pharmaceutical manufacturers is also sometimes discharged into open fields and nearby water bodies, thereby increasing the pharmaceutical waste or their by-product load in the environment, landfills, or dumping areas. All this is basically known as pharmaceutical pollution.
WHAT IS END-TO-END ENCRYPTION?
- Recently, Apple has announced it will be increasing the number of data points protected by End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) on iCloud from 14 to 23 categories.
What is the Purpose of announcing this?
- According to a data-breach-research by Apple, the total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2021. Data of 1.1 billion personal records were exposed in 2021 alone.
- With end-to-end encryption, user data will be protected even in case data is breached in the cloud. The extra layer of protection would be valuable to targets of hacking attacks launched by well-funded groups.
What is End-to-End Encryption?
- End-to-end encryption is a communication process that encrypts data being shared between two devices. It prevents third parties like cloud service providers, internet service providers (ISPs) and cybercriminals from accessing data while it is being transferred.
3 HIMALAYAN MEDICINAL SPECIES IN IUCN RED LIST
- Three medicinal plant species in the Himalayas have been included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These are Meizotropis pellita (critically endangered), Fritillaria cirrhosa (vulnerable) and Dactylorhiza hatagirea (endangered).
- About Meizotropis pellita: Meizotropis pellita is commonly known as Patwa. It is a perennial shrub that is found only in Uttarakhand. The species was listed as critically endangered in the IUCN List based on its limited area of occupation (less than 10 square kilometers).
- About Fritillaria cirrhosa: Fritillaria cirrhosa, commonly known as Himalayan fritillary, is a perennial bulbous herb. Its population has declined by 30 per cent over the past 22 to 26 years.
- The species has been listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List due to the high rate of population decline, long generation length, poor germination potential, high trade value, extensive harvesting pressure, and illegal trade.
- About Dactylorhiza hatagirea: Dactylorhiza hatagirea or Salampanja is a perennial tuberous species endemic to the Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges of Afghanistan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
- The species is listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List as its survival is threatened by habitat loss, livestock grazing, deforestation, and climate change. It is commonly used in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and other alternative systems of medicine to cure dysentery, gastritis, chronic fever, cough, and stomach aches.
WHAT IS ASTEROID RYUGU?
- A sample of a space rock called Ryugu that was carried to Earth in 2020 by the Japanese space agency’s asteroid sample-return mission, Hayabusa 2 may hold the answers to the origin of the Earth.
- It is the first time several grams of asteroid samples have been brought back to Earth.
What is Asteroid Ryugu?
- Asteroid Ryugu is a diamond-shaped space rock. The asteroid's name means "dragon palace" in Japanese and refers to a magical underwater castle in a Japanese folktale.
- Ryugu was discovered in 1999 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project, a collaborative, U.S.-based project to catalogue and track space rocks.
- The asteroid is about 2,952 feet (900 meters) in diameter. Ryugu is orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars and occasionally crosses Earth's orbit, which means the space rock is classified as "potentially hazardous," though the body poses no imminent danger to our world.
KEY POINTS ABOUT TAL CHHAPAR BLACKBUCK
- Recently, the famous Tal Chhapar Blackbuck Sanctuary in Churu, Rajasthan received a protective cover against a proposed move of the State government to reduce the size of its Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
- The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has also taken up a major project for the conservation of raptors in the sanctuary, spread in an area measuring 7.19 sq. Km.
- The Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is situated on the border of the Great Indian Thar Desert. Tal Chhapar is a distinctive shelter of the most graceful Antelope seen in India, “the Blackbuck”.
- It was given the status of a sanctuary in 1966. Tal Chhapar was a hunting reserve of the erstwhile royal family of Bikaner.
- The “Tal” word is a Rajasthani word meaning plane land. This Sanctuary has nearly flat territory and a combined thin low-lying region. It has open and wide grasslands with spread Acacia and Prosopis plants that offer it a look of a characteristic Savanna.