Daily Current Affairs and GK | 20 December 2022

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 20 Dec 2022 16:35 PM IST

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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

1. WHO has released the World Malaria report 2022.

  • As per the report, there were an estimated 247 million malaria cases came in 2021 in 84 countries.
  • The number of malaria cases has increased from 245 million in 2020 to 247 million in 2021.
  • Malaria cases per 1000 population at risk has reduced from 82 in 2000 to 57 in 2019, before increasing to 59 in 2020.
  • Twenty-nine countries are responsible for 96% of malaria cases around the world.
  • Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%) and Mozambique (4%) accounted for 50% cases of malaria globally.
  • In the South-East Asia Region, Malaria cases have reduced from 23 million in 2000 to about 5 million in 2021.
  • India accounted for 79% of the total cases in the South-East Asia Region. Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free in 2016.
  • Malaria cases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region reduced from 7 million cases in 2000 to 6.2 million in 2021.
  • In Western Pacific Region, malaria cases reached to 1.4 million in 2021. Papua New Guinea accounted for nearly 87% of all cases in this region in 2021.
  • Argentina, El Salvador and Paraguay were declared malaria-free in 2019, 2021 and 2018, respectively.
  • Around 40% of the global malaria investment was through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Topic: Personality in News

2. Rishi Rajpopat, an Indian PhD student, solved 2,500-year-old Sanskrit puzzle.

  • He solved the puzzle by decoding a rule taught by Panini, who is known as the father of linguistics.
  • Rajpopat is an Indian PhD student at the University of Cambridge.
  • He has solved a grammatical problem that has defeated Sanskrit scholars since the 5th Century BC.
  • His thesis is entitled ‘In Panini, We Trust: Discovering the Algorithm for Rule Conflict Resolution in the Astadhyayi’.
  • Rajpopat’s discovery could now mean that Panini’s grammar can also be taught to computers for the first time.
  • 2,500-year-old algorithm decoded by Rajpopat makes it possible for the first time to accurately use Panini’s language machine.
  • His discovery makes it possible to derive any Sanskrit word and to construct millions of grammatically correct words using Panini’s language machine.
  • Panini’s system is meant to work like a machine. It is a set of 4000 rules detailed in his work, the Astadhyayi (written around 500 BC).
  • Until now, the big problem has been two or more of Panini’s rules are simultaneously applicable at the same step.
  • An algorithm is required to solve these rule conflicts. Rajpopat’s research shows that Panini’s language machine is also self-sufficient.
  • Sanskrit is an Indo-European language from South Asia. It is only spoken in India by an estimated 25,000 people today.

Topic: Sports

3. In Swimming, Chahat Arora has formed a new national record in the women’s 50m breaststroke.

  • She set this record at the FINA World Swimming Championships 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.
  • She took 32.91 seconds at 25-metre short course pool of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
  • However, Chahat Arora could not qualify for the semi-finals after finishing 31st overall.
  • She bettered her own previous record of 32.94 seconds.
  • She had set this record of 32.94 seconds at the National Aquatic Championships 2022 in September.
  • Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte topped the overall with a timing of 29.10 seconds.
  • The FINA World Swimming Championships 2022, the 16th edition of the competition, concluded on 18 December 2022.

women’s 50m breaststroke

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Important Days

4. International Human Solidarity Day: 20 December.

  • International Human Solidarity Day is observed annually on 20 December to promote the spirit of sharing for eradicating poverty and celebrate unity in diversity.
  • Solidarity is identified in the Millennium Declaration as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century.
  • Solidarity means those who suffer or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.
  • On December 20, 2002, the UN General Assembly established a World Solidarity Fund to help counter global poverty.
  • The UN designated December 20 as International Human Solidarity Day to recognise this day.
  • World Solidarity Fund was set up in February 2003 as a trust fund of the United Nations Development Programme.

Topic: India and its Neighbour

5. Passenger ferry service is going to start between India and Sri Lanka from January.

  • The ferry service will connect the Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna district and Puducherry in India.
  • Sri Lankan Ports and Shipping Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Government of India has given consent for the ferry service.
  • The passenger ferry service is likely to give a boost to the tourism sector as well as strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries.
  • He said that passenger transport services would also be started from South India to Trincomalee and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
  • Mr. D'Silva said that this step of starting the ferry service has been taken on the demand of the people of both countries.
  • Under the new service, 300 to 400 passengers will be carried in each trip.
  • The journey time of the ferry will be around three and a half hours.
  • Ferry owners suggest that the fare for the ferry may be Rs 5,000 per passenger and a passenger will be able to carry luggage up to 100 kg.

Passenger ferry service

(Source: News on Air)

Topic: Indian Economy

6. First-ever ‘Surety Bond Insurance’ launched by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for infrastructure projects on 19 December.

  • It is one of India’s first-ever “Surety Bond Insurance products” from Bajaj Allianz.
  • With this product, infrastructure and road projects will be implemented at a faster pace, which is critical to the economic and social development of our country.
  • The availability of both liquidity and capacity will surely increase with this new instrument of surety bonds.
  • Surety Bond Insurance will act as a safety cover for infrastructure projects and cover the principal as well as the contractor.
  • The Surety Bond Insurance is a risk transfer tool for the insurance principal and protects the principal from losses that may arise if the contractor fails to fulfill his contractual obligation.
  • If the contractor does not fulfill the terms of the contract, the company can claim the surety bond and recover his losses.
  • Unlike bank guarantees, surety bond insurance does not require large deposits from the contractor.
  • This product will also help in reducing the debt of the contractors to a great extent and thus taking away their financial worries.
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Topic: International News

7. India and Netherlands held the 11th Foreign Office Consultations on 19 December 2022.

  • Both the countries held interaction over regional and global issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, the United Nations and climate action.
  • The resumption of Free Trade Agreement negotiations and Connectivity partnership between India and EU were acknowledged as key drivers by both sides.
  • Both nations also agreed to early implementation of the outcome of the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting held in May 2021.
  • The Netherlands is India's third-largest export partner in Europe.
  • India and Netherlands are looking forward to strengthening their trade ties through the Joint Trade and Investment Committee Meeting next year.
  • India and the Netherlands are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relationship establishment.
  • They have agreed to launch a Policy Planning Dialogue to look ahead for potential future collaborations.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

8. More than 190 nations have adopted a biodiversity pact to restore natural ecosystems.

  • These nations agreed to save 30% of the planet by 2030 at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15 in Montreal.
  • The nations committed to achieving 23 targets to reverse ecosystem degradation under four overarching goals for the survival of the natural world. 
  • Under the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), countries also committed to reducing harmful government subsidies worth 500 billion dollars annually.
  • They committed to identifying subsidies harmful to biodiversity by 2025.
  • The Global Biodiversity Framework is considered equivalent to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Its other targets are reducing the use of pesticides by half and raising annual international financial flows from developed to developing countries to at least 20 billion dollars by 2025, and to at least 30 billion dollars by 2030.

biodiversity pact to restore natural ecosystems

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Defence

9. INSV Tarini to take part in the in 50th edition of Cape Town to Rio Race 2023.

  • INSV Tarini will participate in the expedition to Cape Town, South Africa for participating in Cape to Rio Race 2023.
  • The ocean sailing race will start from Cape Town on 2nd January, 2023 and will end at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • It is one of the most prestigious Trans-Atlantic ocean races. An Indian Navy crew of five officers including two women officers will participate in the event.
  • INSV Tarini would cover a distance of almost 17000 nautical miles.
  • The expedition’s aim is to train the crew onboard in different seamanship skills including Navigation, Communication, Technical and Planning.
  • INSV Tarini is famous for circumnavigating the globe with an all-women officers’ crew.

50th edition of Cape Town to Rio Race 2023

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Space and IT

10. Scientist discovered two new exoplanets covered with water.

  • According to a new study, two alien planets about 218 light years away from Earth have been found.
  • New exoplanets, Kepler-138 c and Kepler-138 d, are of the same size and are more massive than Earth but lighter than Uranus and Neptune.  
  • They are located in a planetary system 218 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.
  • Both have a radius around 1.5 times that of Earth are were discovered by Kepler Space Telescope.
  • These exoplanets large fraction is composed of water and is different from the planets in our solar system.
  • They are also larger-scale versions of Enceladus (Saturn’s moon) and Europa (Jupiter’s moon).
  • Kepler- 138 c and d are made up of ingredients lighter than rock but heavier than hydrogen or helium.
  • A planet outside the Solar System is called an exoplanet. Proxima Centauri b is the closest known exoplanet of earth.

Topic: National News

11. PM Modi inaugurated several development projects worth Rs 6,800 crore in Tripura and Meghalaya.

  • Shri Modi was on a day visit to both these states.
  • PM launched projects worth 4,350 crore rupees In Tripura.
  • These projects also include 'Grih Pravesh' programs for the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban and Rural – schemes.
  • These houses, developed at a cost of more than 3400 crore rupees, will be given to more than two lakh beneficiaries.
  • Shri Modi also unveiled the State's first Dental College in Agartala.
  • PM inaugurated projects worth 2,450 crore rupees in Meghalaya.
  • These projects also include 320 completed and 890 under-construction 4G mobile towers, the new campus of the Indian Institute of Management Shillong at Umsawali and the Shillong-Diingpasoh Road project.
  • PM also inaugurated four other road projects in Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of Integrated Hospitality and Convention Center at Tura and Shillong Technology Park Phase-II.
  • He also unveiled 21 Hindi libraries in Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Assam.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

12. IEI Industry Excellence Awards 2022 won by NMDC.

  • On December 16, the National miner, NMDC won the prestigious IEI (Institution of Engineers, India) Industry Excellence Awards 2022 in Chennai.
  • The country's largest producer of iron ore was felicitated at the 37th Indian Engineering Congress for its outstanding performance and high level of business excellence.
  • On behalf of NMDC, Shri NR K Prasad, CGM (IE&MS) received the award from Dr. K Ponmudi, Minister of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Institution of Engineers (India) has conferred the Industry Excellence Award to NMDC after reviewing the company's business operations, financial performance, environmental performance, research and development, CSR and corporate governance policies.
  • NMDC is undertaking transformational projects to move towards becoming a global mining company while maintaining its domestic leadership role with an eco-friendly and economic and efficient approach.
  • National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC):
    • It is the country’s largest Iron Ore producer.
    • It is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Steel.
    • It is headquartered in Hyderabad. It was founded on 15 November 1958.

Topic: International News

13. European Union has adopted global minimum 15% tax on multinational businesses.

  • Agreement on global minimum tax was drawn up under the guidance of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • The agreement between nearly 140 countries aims to stop governments competing to slash taxes in order to entice the richest companies in the world to their jurisdictions.
  • The implementation of minimum tax in European Union was delayed as member raised objections or they adopted blocking tactics.
  • Recently, this week Poland blocked adoption of minimum tax. But, now tax will come into effect across the European Union at the end of next year.
  • The global minimum tax forms only Pillar Two of the OECD agreement.
  • The first pillar mainly targets digital giants. It makes provision for the taxation of companies where they make their profits to limit tax evasion. 
  • The first pillar needs an international agreement which is not yet complete.

Topic: Indian Economy

14. India’s overall trade deficit in November 2022 declined to $11.11 billion.

  • India’s overall trade deficit in November 2021 was $13.19 billion in November 2021.
  • Exports increased 10.97% y-o-y to $58.22 billion. Import in November increased 5.60% to $69.33 billion.
  • In the April-November period, India’s overall exports increased 17.72% y-o-y to $499.67 billion.
  • In November 2022, merchandise trade deficit increased to $23.89 billion.
  • In November, merchandise imports increased by over 5% y-o-y to $55.88 billion. Merchandise exports increased by 0.59% y-o-y last month.
  • In November, services exports increased 27% to $26.23 billion. Services imports grew 6% to $13.44 billion.
  • In April to November 2022, services exports have grown to $204.41 billion.
  • In services, trade surplus has been recorded, so far this fiscal, at $87.32 billion.  
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