Today’s Current Affairs December 16

December 16, 2019

Front page

CAA protests engulf Delhi

The students of Jamia Millia Islamia had to face lathi charge and tear gas shells as they tried t take out a procession to reach Jantar Mantar. En route, they were confronted by barricades and heavy police presence. After some arguments, the situation deteriorated to a full-blown confrontation between the two sides. Unsocial elements took advantage of the confusion and went on an arson spree setting alight, buses, and properties. By late night, scores of injured students were in hospital.

Kolkata continues to be tense as public anger doesn’t subside

Internet services remained suspended in parts of the city, and police remained in full alert to thwart attempts by protestors from running amok.

Good words used .. Engulf, Subside, Run amok

Assam situation eases

Curfew was relaxed in the Brahmaputra valley as the situation appeared to be much less explosive.

Madrid talks end on a compromise that doesn’t satisfy the climate activists.

The COP25 talks stretched for two more days and nights to hammer out a compromise deal that falls well short of what the activists had hoped for.

What was agreed?

After two marathon days and nights of negotiations, delegates reached agreement on finalizing

  1. New, improved carbon cutting plans on the table by the time of the Glasgow conference next year.
  2. Plans to address the gap between what the science says is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, and the current state of play which would see the world go past this threshold in the 2030s.

Why the disagreement?

The European Union and small island states pushed for higher ambition on carbon emission control, but countries including the US, Brazil, India and China opposed it.

Finally, a compromise

A compromise was agreed with the richer nations having to show that they have kept their promises on climate change in the years before 2020.

Reaction from U.N. Secretary General

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was disappointed by the result. He said, “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis,”.

National

Mahadayi project continues to be a bone of contention between Goa and Karnataka

The Goa Congress party has written to the Prime Minister objecting to the way the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate allowed the Kalasa-Bhanduri diversion to give a propaganda advantage to the BJP before the Karnataka elections. They say the Goa Congress was never taken on board in the matter.

Center files its report in sealed cover before the SC regarding Information Commission

The sealed cover has details of the Center’s actions, so far, about  how and when it plans to fill vacancies in the Information Commission. In the meanwhile thousands of RTI enquiries have piled up before the Commission.

Mattu Gulla brinjals will soon reach UAE markets

Mattu Gulla brinjals are a favourite of the people living in the costal Karnataka areas. This species also has the Geographical Identification(GI) tag. The Indian diaspora in UAE can soon savour these brijals, when export of this vegetable reaches UAE through export.

Singapore’s abiding love for Indian music

The visiting Singaporean Minister for Information and Communications, Mr. Ishwaran said that the fascination for Indian art is as high as ever. He was speaking in the Music Academy function in Chennai. Mr. Ishwaran’s parents were maestros in Carnatic music. He suggested that Music Academy could collaborate with the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society(SIFAS) to promote cultural exchanges between scholars from both countries. This could foster the diplomatic relations between the two Asian countries.

Good words used .. Abiding, Maestro, Foster

21-day trial period for rape accused too unrealistic

The Chairperson of National Commission for Women (NCW) has said that the Andhra initiative for finalizing a rape case trial in 21 days may be too short. The intention of the government has to be lauded, but the constraints posed by inadequate legal infrastructure will hinder such fast-tracking of the judicial process.  In the worst case, it may lead to miscarriage of justice too. She has urged the State to modify the bill and extend the trial period suitably.

Sabrimala sees unprecedented rush of devotees

Pilgrims have poured into the shrine with rare gusto. The revenue collected from the pilgrims has touched Rs.104 crores. Pilgrims stood patiently for seven to eight hours to get a chance for a fleeting darshan of their revered God atop the hillock.

Good words used … Gusto, Fleeting, Revered

Araku coffee makes its name in the world stage

A start-up venture is now selling this native coffee with its typical aroma worldwide through online marketing. Anusha Penumatacha, while vacationing in the Anantagiri tribal area stumbled upon a group of 70 tribal families growing coffee. Lack of proper marketing forced them to sell their produce in very un-remunerative prices. Mrs. Anusha teamed up with her husband, Ram Kumar Varma, to promote the coffee using online method. From its inception in 2017, the start-up has grown from strength to strength bringing cheer and higher income to the tribal families of Bishipuram.

As FAStag rolls out, confusion and delays mar motorists’ response

The flagship initiative of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) received a frosty welcome from motorists as serpentine queues of vehicles waiting to be cleared through the gates frayed the drivers’ patience. There were glitches galore, with motorists complaining that some of them had been overcharged.  

Good words used .. Flagship, Serpentine, Frayed, Glitch, Galore

Officials feel 2-year delivery time for 45 Vande Bharat trains is too short

The engineers at the forefront of the indigenous Tran 18 (Vande Bharat) programme have said that developing a prototype with the revised specifications could take up to two years. So, completing the production of 45 trains in two years is an uphill task. They have sought a realistic schedule for making and delivering the 45 trains.

Good words used .. Forefront, Indigenous, Uphill

BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhab, says Kashmir detenus might be freed soon

While taking part in a discussion on Article 370, Ram Madhab said that Kashmiris generally get provoked by minor irritants, and begin protests. Nonetheless, the government bears no grudge against them, and will free them from confinement soon.

Good words used .. Detenu, Provoke,

 Piyush Goyal meets aggrieved Kashmiri traders

Piyush Goyal lent his sympathetic ears to hear out the grievances of the Kashmiri traders, who complained about the loss to them caused by the clampdown imposed by the government. They claimed tha their losses could exceed Rs.15,000 crores. The minister advised them to furnish a break-up of these figures.

SC to hear a raft of petitions against the CAA

Lawyers are busy marshalling facts and evidences to bolster their case against the constitutional validity of the CAA. They have gleaned through past judgments of Constitution Benches to prove that the State can not discriminate against its citizens on the basis of religion.

Good words used .. Raft, Marshall as verb, Bolster, Glean

 International

Hong Kong erupts as Lang and Xi mull ways to end protests

Ms. Lang is confabulating with the Chinese premier Mr. Xi to find ways to bring the months-old protests that show no sign of subsiding. While Ms. Lang is in Beijing spontaneous protests have happened in Hong Kong’s malls. A Beijing-approved cabinet reshuffle may be in the cards.

Good words and phrases used..Confabulate, Subside, Reshuffle, To be in the cards

Boris Johnson wants the parliament to approve his Brexit plan before Christmas

As he had promised to his voters, Boris Johnson must deliver on his Brexit promises with no more delay. He is now working overtime to complete the formalities before the Brexit vote.

Borish Johnson’s three major economic worries

  1. Britain leaves the EU next month. Charting a road map for future trade relationships with the European countries will be a crucial task. One option is to enter into a free-trade arrangement with EU, similar to what Canada has done with the European powers. But, this is not going to be easy as the EU countries might see Britain as an outsider not bound by EU’s rules on workers’ wages, pollution levels, and tax. The EU countries might levy taxes on British goods that could result in friction at the borders, and across the Irish sea with Ireland.
  2. Trade with the U.S. Both Johnson and Trump want a grand trade deal to be signed as early as possible. This will boost Trump’s chances in the polls, and demonstrate to the British voter the clout of their new prime minister. However, Trump will bargain hard at every inch of the deal to xtract the best advantage for the U.S. How Boris Johnson stands up to Trump’s bullying remains to be seen.
  3. Keeping his own voters in good humor.. During campaigning, Boris Johnson has lavishly promised a world of good like low prices, high employment, and high GDP growth. The voters sill peg him on each of these promises.

U.S expels Chinese diplomats

The U.S. has quietly expelled two Chinese diplomats for trespassing into sensitive army installations. The espionage charge was very egregious, but both sides agreed to down play the incident to avoid un-necessary speculation.

Good words used … Espionage, Downplay, Speculation

Finance

Air India’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) arm expands

Despite the looming privatization of Air India, its MRO arm has bagged the order from SpiceJet to service their entire fleet. The MRO arm may also approach Vistara to service their Boeing 737 fleet.  

WTO to make adhoc arrangements to keep the adjudication process going

Consequent upon the United States refusing to cooperate in the election of new judges, the WTO tribunal work has reached a standstill. To avoid an impasse, the WTO authorities have decided to make some adhoc arrangements so that the proceedings of the court are not hampered.

Milk prices to go up

Due to the prolonged spell of late rain, milk production has been hit all over the country. As a result, milk producers like Amul, Mother Dairy have increased their per liter prices by Rs two to three.

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