Current Affairs Pocket : 21st – 24th Dec. 2018

India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-IV missile

  • India successfully test fired nuclear-capable long-range Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Agni-IV. The strategic surface-to-surface missile was flight tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.
  • This was the 7th trial of Agni-IV missile. The test was part of a user trial by the Indian Army.
  • The last trial was conducted by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army from the same base on January 2, 2018.

India’s Vedangi Kulkarni Becomes Fastest Asian to Cycle The Globe

  • The 20-year old Indian woman Vedangi Kulkarni becomes the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. She had completed 29,000 kilometres’ distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe. Vedangi spent 159 days peddling up to 300 kilometers a day in 14 countries.
  • Starting off from Perth in July, she will now be flying back to the Australian city to complete the record by cycling a 15-kilometre distance to reach the same place from where she started. Vedangi hails from Pune.

India, Japan Sign Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreements

  • India and Japan have signed Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreements on Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan to India. The Notes were exchanged between Dr. C.S. Mohapatra, Additional Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance and Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India on Japanese official development assistance loan for three projects.
    These 3 projects are:
  • Chennai Metro Project (Phase 2) (I) for Japanese Yen (JPY) 75.519 billion,
  • Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India for JPY 15.000 billion,
  • Project for Dairy Development for JPY 14.978 billion.

Burundi names Gitega as new capital

  • Burundi confirmed the small central city of Gitega the country’s new political capital. The previous capital Bujumbura, on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, became a country‘s economic capital.

South Indian Education Society award for Manmohan Singh

  • Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh received South Indian Education Society (SIES) Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati National Eminence Award as part of the Kanchi Mahaswami festival.He was awarded for his contribution to the field of public leadership.
  • Professor Dr Manjul Bhargava, Niti Aayog member Dr V K Saraswat and Swami Chidanand Saraswati were awarded for their work in the fields of community leadership, science and technology and social thinkers, respectively. Japan-based philosopher and teacher of Hindu philosophy, Dr Sengaku Mayeda, was conferred the award in-absentia in the international category.

Trump Replaces Defence Head Mattis With Deputy Patrick Shanahan

  • US President Donald Trump announced that he would replace Defence Secretary Jim Mattis with his deputy Patrick Shanahan as acting Pentagon chief. Shanahan will assume charge of Acting Secretary of Defense from 1 January, 2019.
  • Mattis resigned in protest after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria over the strong objections of Mattis and others on the national security team.

PM Modi Announces New Award For National Integration

  • PM Narendra Modi announced the institution of ‘Sardar Patel Award for National Integration’, which would be given for “outstanding efforts to further national integration”.
  • PM Modi stated that the award will be a “fitting tribute” to Patel who devoted his life towards “unifying India”. He added that the award will inspire people to work towards national integration.

Real Madrid Beats Al Ain 4-1 To Win Club World Cup

  • Spain’s Real Madrid won the Club World Cup for a third consecutive year, and record fourth in total, by beating Abu Dhabi side Al Ain in the final. Real now hold the record for most victories in the competition, which was first held in 2000, moving one clear of Spanish rivals Barcelona.

RBI Limits Total Outstanding ECBs To 6.5% of GDP

  • The Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the government, has decided to have a rule-based dynamic limit for outstanding stock of External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) at 6.5% of GDP at current market prices.
  • As per the statement based on the GDP figures, the soft limit works out to $160 billion for the current financial year. The outstanding stock of ECBs as on September 30, 2018, stands at $126.29 billion.

GST Council Cuts Rates on 23 items, Rationalises 28% Slab

  • In a relief to the common man, the GST Council cut rates on 23 commonly used goods and services, including TV screens, movie tickets and power banks.
  • As per the announcement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the annual revenue implication of the rate cuts would be ₹ 5,500 crore.
  • Now, the 28 per cent slab is restricted to only luxury and sin goods, apart from auto parts and cement — tax rates on which could not be cut due to the high revenue implication.
  • GST on movie tickets costing up to ₹ 100 was cut to 12 per cent from 18 per cent, while tickets over ₹ 100 will attract 18 per cent tax, against 28 per cent earlier. This will have a revenue implication of ₹ 900 crore.

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