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2012 December 1 to 9 Current Affairs



International Issues 

The UN Conference on Climate Change in Doha has come to an end with around 200 countries agreeing to extend the Kyoto Protocol till 2020. The treaty seeks to limit the emission of greenhouse gases by around 35 nations until the end of this year. The conference also agreed on promises of financing to help poor countries tackle the climate change, and reaffirmed the previous decision to adopt a new global climate treaty by 2015. 

The current treaty will be applicable only to 15 percent of global emissions mainly from EU, Australia and a group of smaller nations. US has rejected the agreement saying it didn’t impose any binding commitment on China and other emerging economies. Russia, Japan, Canada and New Zealand have refused to join for a second commitment. On the climate financing, the rich nations have been encouraged to enhance the climate aid by $10 billion per year from 2010-12 to help reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate. No mid term targets have been set as the nations agreed to identify pathways for mobilizing the scaling up of climate finance. 

A new concept of loss and damage has been incorporated in the text at the request of small island nations to take into account the damages from climate-related disasters. The new treaty is likely to be adopted in 2015 and will come into effect from 2020. 



"World AIDS Day" observed on Dec 1st. 



The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is to provide 39.4 million dollars to the government of Nepal for the devolpment of this sector. 19.7 million dollars will be provided as grant and another 19.7 million dollars as loan for the implementation of improved seeds for farmers program. 

An agreement to this effect was signed in Kathmandu. One of the aims of the project is to scale up an agriculture-led growth model. The IFAD project is expected to benefit about 150,000 households. The program is for seven years. 



National Issues 

Haryana has topped the chart of the states which have significantly exceeded revenue mobilisation target during the 11th Five Year Plan. According Planning Commission's latest report on state finances, Haryana mopped up 64,123 crore rupees during the five year policy period which was 192 per cent of the targeted resource mobilisation in the 11th Plan. 

The report indicates that majority of states have failed to meet the projected planned resources as collectively they could fetch only 92.5 per cent of target. About eight states in the country including Haryana, Assam, Odisha, Karnataka, Goa, Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh could mop up more than their targets. 



The Punjab government on Dec 1st, 2012 launched the biggest ever door-to-door campaign for early detection of cancer and its subsequent treatment. 



The government has set a target of additional 30,000 megawatts power from renewable energy for the 12th Five Year Plan. The Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said, the contribution of renewable energy based power generation is likely to be in the range of 6 to 8 per cent in the total electricity mix of the country. 

Currently, the total installed capacity of renewable energy based power in the country is 26, 267 megawatts. The Minister said, the government is implementing the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission to promote utilization of solar energy for power generation and other applications in the country. 



In Odisha, the Bharat Nirman, Public Information Campaign is inaugurated at Bissamcuttack Block, Rayagada District on Dec 1st, 2012. The three-day long campaign programme is organized by the Press Information Bureau in co-ordination with various other media units of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the District Administration, Government of Odisha. 



The government has planned to set-up an All India Institute of Homoeopathy during the 12th Five Year Plan. It has also taken several steps to promote and popularise homoeopathic treatment and medicines in the country. The Under Graduate and post Graduate seats at National Institute of Homoeopathy Kolkata have been increased. 

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, S. Gandhiselvan said the Center has decided to set up the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy at Shillong in Meghalaya at a cost of around 72 crore rupees. The Minister said that Homoeopathic Units have also been established in Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres under the National Rural Health Mission across the country. 



Government has started a special training programme for fishermen and coastal villagers to strengthen the maritime security and safety. The programme has started in more than 200 villages along western coastline. During the training, fishermen and coastal villagers are learning to monitor the movement of ships and fishing boats and immediately alert security forces if anything suspicious is found in seas. The programme is part of the government's steady and sustained efforts to shore up defences as it continues to review vulnerabilities along the coastline. 



The government has initiated a special scheme for leadership development of women belonging to minority community in the country. It has also set up a target to provide training to forty thousand women during this year at a cost of 15 crore rupees under the scheme. This information was given by the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Ninong Ering in a written reply in Lok Sabha. 

The scheme aims to empower and instill confidence among women of the community including their neighbours living in the same village by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with government systems, Banks and other institutions at all levels. 



The Central government has started a mega scheme named Ganga Action Plan to clean the river Ganga. One billion dollars have been approved from the World Bank to fund an eight-year project. The focus is on clearing large stretches of the river heavily polluted by industrial effluents and domestic waste. 

The accumulation of silt deposit, discharge of industrial effluents and domestic waste along the banks has worried the environmentalists along with the shrinking size of the river. In Kanpur Utterpradesh and in Patna Bihar campaigns have been launched. 



Haryana ranks second after Punjab in fish production in the country, with an average fish production of 5600 kg per hectare per year. 



The government has decided to allow foreign investments in the existing domestic pharma companies only after clearance by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). 



December 4 is Navy Day. The day is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Indian Navy at sea in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. 



National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) would provide a credit of 400 crore Rs to Punjab's dairy sector during the next three years to boost milk production and promote dairy farming in the state. Punjab's dairy farming has 9 per cent share in country's milk output with less than 2 per cent livestock of the country and per capita availability of milk in the state stood at 931 gram, which is highest in the country. 



The Center has allocated Rs 824 crore to different states under Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students in the current financial year. The objective of the scheme is to support the parents of eligible SC children for education of their wards studying in ninth and tenth classes so that the incidence of drop-out is minimized and they have a better chance of progressing to the Post matric stage of education. 



The Securities and Exchange Board of India, SEBI has announced the framework for Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, a government initiative aimed at attracting small investors into the capital market. In a circular, SEBI said, the objective of the scheme is to encourage flow of savings in the financial instruments and improve the depth of the domestic capital market. 

Under the scheme announced in the 2012-13 Union Budget, tax benefits can be availed by new investors who invest up to 50,000 rupees in the stock market and whose gross total annual income is less than or equal to 10 lakh rupees. 



The Armed Forces Flag Day is observed on Dec 7th



Centre to launch cash transfer scheme for poors on Jan 13th, 2013. 



Olympic Medalists Ms Saina Nehwal and Ms M C Mary Kom are the new National Icons of Election Commission of India to enhance voters’ participation in elections. They are the first female national icons to support ECI. 

They join the galaxy of existing national icons namely former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Indian cricket captain Shri M S Dhoni. 



Bilateral Issues 

India and Japan signed a currency swap agreement for up to 15 billion dollars to address short-term liquidity problems. The bilateral swap arrangement (BSA) has been inked between the Reserve Bank of India and the Bank of Japan . 

The arrangement to be effective from December 4, 2012 would be for a three year period. Earlier, both countries had a similar arrangement for an amount of up to 3 billion dollars for a period of 3 years between June 2008 and June 2011. 



Economic Issues 

Economic growth slipped further in the July-September quarter to 5.3 per cent, raising fears that the slowdown may pull down the annual growth rate to decade's low level. Describing the economic growth rate of 5.3 per cent as "below expectations", Finance Minister P Chidambaram said it was mainly due to scanty rainfall and poor showing by the manufacturing sector. 




Persons 

Senior IPS officer Ranjit Sinha took over as the new CBI Director. 



Awards 

National Cooperative Development Corporation has been conferring “NCDC Award for Cooperative Excellence” once every two years since 2002 to the best Primary Society from each State/UT. The award consists of Rs.50,000/- as cash prize, trophy and a certificate of citation. 

This year’s recipients of National Level Awards are

  • Dakhin Rampur Gaon Panchayat Samabay Samity Ltd., Distt. Kamrup, Assam under Cooperatively Least Developed States category
  • Mulukanoor Women’s Cooperative Dairy Vishwandapuri, Distt. Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh under Cooperatively Under-developed States category and 
  • Samarth Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd., Ankushnagar, Distt. Jalna, Maharashtra under Cooperatively Developed States category. 


Feature film ‘Life of Pi’ has been given two National Tourism Awards by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India recognizing the impact it has had in promoting India as a tourism destination, especially Puducherry and Munnar (Kerala).



Sports 

Squash ace Dipika Pallikal became the first Indian to break into the top 10 of the world rankings. Pallikal jumped three places to be ranked 10th by Women's International Squash Players Association (WISPA) with 5175.75 points. She was also the first Indian women to break into the top 20 in the WSA rankings.

Dipika has won the German Open, Dutch Open, French Open, Australian Open, Scottish Open on the European Junior Squash Circuit. Earlier this year, she was conferred with the Arjuna Award.


The third World Cup Kabaddi -2012 was started at Punjab.



The world’s best visually challenged cricketers have gathered in Bangalore to play the first ever T-20 World Cup for the blind. All the three previous World Cups for the blind were of 40 overs. Pakistan, West Indies, England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and host team India will play for honours in the championship.



Ravindra Jadeja becomes first Indian batsman to hit three triple centuries in first-class. 


Anna Ushenina of Ukraine has claimed the women's World Chess Championship crown. In the first set of tie-break games at Khanty Mansiysk in Russia, Ushenina defeated Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria.

The Ukrainian won 60,000 US Dollars for her efforts in the championship. She will play the next World Championship against Yifan Hou of China in 2013 as part of the new cycle in the women's World Championship.



Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar and former India captain Sourav Ganguly released a book on former India opener Late Pankaj Roy in the presence of the entire Indian squad in Kolkata.

The book named 'Pankaj, Bengal's Forgotten Hero' has been written by Bengali sports journalist Gautam Bhattacharya. It has been edited by late cricketer's son Pranab, who had also played couple of Test matches and had been a national selector.



ICC Test rankings: 

  • South Africa has become once again the World’ number one test cricket team followed by England and Australia. 
  • India retains the fifth spot after Pakistan. 
  • Caribbean Shiv Narain Chandepaul is the best batsman  
  • Dale Steyn is the number one among bowlers. 
  • Pragyan Ojha is the lone Indian to figure in the top ten among the bowlers. 



India’s Lalitha Prasad and Sandeep Sharma had to settle for bronze after going down in the semifinals of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Armenia.



Defence 

Indian Air Force, IAF, signed an MoU with Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, to set up a vocational training centre for placement of retiring Airmen in the civil sector. The centre named as Happy Landings is intended to equip the Airmen with requisite skills enabling them to seek sustainable and befitting career prospects post retirement.

The project is one of the HR initiatives by the IAF to ensure the well being of Air warriors and address their professional and personal aspirations. The MoU was signed between Air Vice Marshal Amit Aneja and Deputy Director General of CII Ms Supriya Banerji at Air Headquaters in New Delhi.



Science & Technology 

The first SMS was sent on the 3rd of December 1992 as the Christmas greeting. Now, about 8 trillion messages are being sent a year.

It was Neil Papworth, a Software Programmer, who sent the message first on 3rd December to his friend Richard Jarvis on Vodafone who was enjoying his Christmas festival at that time.



Scientists have for the first time captured a direct image of the double helix of Deoxyribonucleic Acid, DNA the structure that encodes the genetic instructions of all living organisms. Enzo di Fabrizio and colleagues from the University of Genoa, Italy, developed a technique to capture the double helix of DNA using a scanning electron microscope.

Previously the DNA helix could only be detected using a technique known as X-ray crystallography, which involves scattering X rays off atoms in crystallised arrays of DNA.The DNA molecules encode the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses. Along with RNA and proteins, DNA is one of the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.


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