2012 December 23 to 26 Current Affairs


International Issues 

China put the 2,298-kilometre Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, the world's longest, into a test operation. Running at an average speed of 300 km per hour, it only took two and a half hours for the train to cover the 693 kilometre distance from Beijing to Zhengzhou, the northern section of the whole route that links the country's capital and the southern economic hub. 



A new anti-terrorism bill allowing French authorities to prosecute nationals who train in terrorist camps overseas has been implemented. The anti-terror laws, which affect all French nationals including individuals who did not grow up in French territories, were enacted by President François Hollande came into effect. 

The tightening of the legislation will see criminal association with a terrorist group punishable with up to 10 years in jail and a fine of 225,000 euros. The bill also extends the provisions of the Temporary Act of January 2006, to include monitoring telephone and Internet data. 



The six nation Gulf Co-operation Council, GCC Summit held in Bahrain Capital Manama. 



Government of Pakistan on 24 December 2012 officially recognized Kosovo as an independent state, almost five years after it declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. 



Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on 25 December 2012 signed into law a new Islamist-drafted constitution which will help end political disorder and allow him to focus on fixing the weak economy. 

Mohamed Morsi signed a declaration enforcing the charter late after the official announcement of the result of a referendum approving the basic law, Egypt's first constitution since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow. 


National Issues 

National Consumer Rights Day' is celebrated on Dec 24, 2012. On this day, Consumer Protection Act 1986 was enacted by Parliament. Consumer Protection Act is designed to protect consumer rights to ensure fair competition and free flow of truthful information in the market place. 

The laws are designed to prevent businessmen and service providers that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices for gaining an advantage over competitors and provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Several programmes are being organized to mark the occasion.



Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda inaugurated “Akshay Urja Bhawan” constructed at a cost of 11 crore rupees in Panchkula. The building demonstrates energy efficient building design and green building concepts. The cost includes the cost of renewable energy devices installed in the building. It will house the offices of the Renewable Energy Department and Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). 



India’s first and unique cow sanctuary will be established in Madhya Pradesh. State’s chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan laid the foundation stone of the Kamadhenu Cow Sanctuary at Salriya village in Susner tahsil of Shajapur district. Large-scale arrangements will be made to conserve and augment animals of Indian bovine species in the sanctuary keeping in view respect and honour commanded by cow in Indian since ancient times. 

Spread in 472 hectare area, the sanctuary will be developed in three phases. Five hundred shades will be built for bovine animals in the first phase. The Forest Department will run large-scale fodder production scheme while arrangements will be made in the sanctuary for manufacture of insecticides from cow dung and urine. 



The Department of Telecom-DoT has allotted a three-digit helpline number 181 to Delhi government for helping women in distress. According to a Delhi government release, the helpline being set up at Delhi Chief Minsiter's office will be operational before the end of this month. The move follows a nationwide uproar over the gang rape of a paramedic student in Delhi. 



The Minister for Culture, Chandresh Kumari Katoch inaugurated an exhibition titled "Rediscovering India 1961-2012". 



The Union Cabinet on December 26, 2012 approved a proposal of the Ministry of Shipping for licensing of land to the concessionaires for seven projects taken up in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. These projects have been taken up in terms of the extant policy of the Government of India to pursue maritime development projects under the PPP mode. 

This will facilitate the Ministry of Shipping in augmenting the capacity of ports expeditiously through public private partnership and will also bring about efficiency in operations at major ports which will benefit trade and the economy as a whole. 



The women Scientists Scholarship Scheme (WSSS) undertaken by the Ministry of Science and Technology has yielded tangible results for inducting women scientists in the field of Science. The number of scholarships awarded so far subject wise are: Biotechnology (60), Earth & Atmospheric Sciences (92), Engineering Sciences (176), Physical & Mathematical Sciences (199), Chemical Sciences (221), Life Sciences (820), Livelihood Generation and Development of Rural Technology (300) and Self employment in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) (310). 

Out of all Women Fellowship Scientists, about 35% women got position in different sectors like R&D institution, Colleges, Universities, Public Sectors, Intellectual Property firms etc. The total amount dispensed under the scholarship schemes till date is Rs. 205 crores. 



The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari inaugurated a function to celebrate 133rd Anniversary of the noted freedom fighter Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari in Yusufpur, District – Gazipur, Uttar Pradesh. 



M.Y. Eqbal-Chief Justice of Madras High Court, V. Gopala Gowda-Chief Justice of Orissa High Court and Vikramajit Sen-Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court sworn in as the Judges of Supreme Court of India on 24 December 2012 by the Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir. 

With the three appointments, the number of Judges including the Chief Justice of India increased to 28 including Chief Justice of India against 31 provided by the constitution. 



The union government decided to set up five-year project for restoring the overall cyber security structure of critical sectors of India. This was decided in light of increasing number of cyber attacks as well as security threats that the Internet offers. In 2011, India suffered 13000 cyber incidents. 

National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) is responsible for the project. It is the nodal agency which is responsible for coordinating the cyber security operations related to critical infrastructures in India. NCIIPC prepared its 5-year plan for refurbishing as well as integrating the structure of cyber security in all critical structures like defence, telecommunication, transportation, power and water. 



The union government of India approved selling 12.5 percent stake in Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) on 26 December 2012. This is said to be the 11th public sector undertaking which is approved for the action. 



As per the data released by the Planning Commission of India, Bihar became the fastest growing state in India at 10.9 per cent between 2006 and 2010 while Gujarat’s growth rate declined to 9.3 per cent and it lagged behind Bihar and other four states- Orissa, Maharashtra, Haryana, Chhattisgarh in terms of growth rate. Bihar was the slowest growing state during 2001-05 period with GDP figure of 2.9 percent whereas Gujarat was the fastest growing state between 2001 and 2005 with figure of 11 percent. 

Chhattisgarh grew from 7.7 per cent in 2001-05 to 10 per cent growth between 2006 and 2010 while Haryana grew from 8.4 per cent to 9.7 per cent, Maharashtra from 8.2 per cent to 9.6 per cent and Orissa from 7.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent between 2006 and 2010. The period between 2004-05 and 2011-12 registered an average increase of 300 per cent in consumption in rural areas, minimizing the gap between rural and urban area thus highlighting the inclusive growth. 


Bilateral Issues 

India and Russia have signed a deal for working together to develop the air-launched version of the 290-km-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which would be fitted to the Su-30MKI combat aircraft of the IAF. An agreement was signed between BrahMos Aerospace, Russian Rosoboron export and Sukhoi Design Bureau for developing the air-launched version of the missile in New Delhi. 

Defence Ministry officials said that two sides have been holding negotiations for the joint development for quite some time now and are hopeful that the first test of the missile would be done within next six months. BrahMos missiles integrated on the Su-30s will help the IAF achieve the capability to deliver a deadly blow to enemy formations from stand-off ranges of around 300 km without getting close to them. 



India and Russia signed ten agreements, including defence deals worth around four billion US Dollars. The agreements were signed at the end of 13th India-Russia Annual Summit talks between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi. These include deals worth around three billion US dollars with Russia to procure 42 new Su-30 MKI combat aircraft kits and 71 Mi-17-V5 medium-lift helicopters. 

A joint venture agreement between Elcom Systems Private Ltd and JSC Helicopters Russia was also inked to set up manufacturing facility of Russian Ka and Mi choppers in India. An MoU was also signed between Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF and the State Bank of India for setting up a 2 billion US dollars investment consortium aimed at actively promoting investments between the two economies. 


Awards 

Legendary South Indian composer Ilayaraja is among the nine artistes from the field of music who will receive the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for this year 2012. 

Ilayaraja has been awarded for Creative and Experimental Music. Grammy Award-winning percussionist T H Vinayakram, Violinist N Rajam, who performs Hindustani classical music and veteran playwright Ratan Thiyam have been selected for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships. 



The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi on 21 December 2012 in a meet elected and declared N. Rajam, T.H. Vinayakram and Ratan Thiyam as the three eminent personalities in the field of Arts, as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna). 

This fellowship is the rare and most prestigious honour, restricted to a limited number of people at a given pint of time. At present, there exist only 40 fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. 



Emirati poet and translator Shihab Ghanem became the first Emirati and Arab to win the Tagore Peace Prize. Tagore Peace Prize is instituted by the Indian government to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s poet, philosopher and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. 


Persons 

Veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh was sworn-in as Himachal Pradesh's Chief Minister for a record sixth term in Shimla. Governor Urmila Singh administered the oath of office to the septuagenarian, who has been Chief Minister for more than 16 years. 



In Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe has been voted in as the Prime Minister by Japan's MPs, after his party's crushing poll victory. 



In Gujarat, Naredra Modi was sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the fouth consecutive term. 



Justice Swatanter Kumar took over as the Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) - the apex body constituted under The National Green Tribunal Act 2010. 



Former Union Minister of India and Veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh on 25 December 2012 was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Himachal for a record sixth term in Shimla. 


Sports 

Sachin Tendulkar on 23 December 2012 announced retirement form one day cricket which put an end to his 23- year old glorious career. 



Shiva Keshavan, the top luge athlete of India won the gold medal for second time successively and set the Asian record of 49.590 seconds in the Asian Championship. 



Apurvi Chandela of Rajasthan on 24 December 2012 won Women’s Air Rifle Gold in the Sahara 56th National Shooting Championship. 


Defence 

Astra air-to-air inceptor missile was successfully test-fired for the third time within a week on 24 December 2012 from the Chandipur, defence base of Odisha. The test was conducted for identifying the missile's interception capability and high manoeuvrings and was successful in intercepting the simulated target at an altitude of 4 kilometer. 


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