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Arts and Culture

1. International Film Festival of Kerala begins today

  • Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has inaugurated the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2018 at Thiruvananthapuram (7-13th Dec).
  • 190 films from 65 countries will be shown in IFFK 2018.
  • The objectives of the Academy include being a link between the Government and the film industry.

Note:

  • The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) festival started in 1996 and is hosted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy on behalf of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala.
  • The Golden Crow Pheasant Award with a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakhs for the best feature film to be shared equally between the director and the producer.

Important Days

2. 7th December: Armed Forces Flag Day

  • The Armed Forces Flag Day (Flag Day of India) is being observed annually in India on 7th December (since 1949).
  • The objective of the day honours the martyrs as well as men and women in uniform, who valiantly fight on our borders to safeguard the country’s honour.
  • Over the years, it has become a tradition to commemorate this day as an honour to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of India.

International Affairs

3. Luxembourg to become the first country to make all public transport free

  • Luxembourg will be the first country in the world to make all public transportation free (by summer 2019) as part of a new environmental initiative.
  • All fares for trains, trams and buses will be scrapped as part of a new environmental initiative.
  • The move is aimed at addressing environmental issues and the problem of traffic congestion.
  • The plan will ease road network constraint as well as save money on fare collection and ticket inspection.
  • The national public transport system costs around £890 million to run.

Note:

  • Earlier, Luxembourg introduced free transport for all people under the age of 20 years.

National Affairs

4. Arvind Kejriwal launches free Pilgrimage scheme for Senior Citizens

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ for senior citizens from Delhi to five religious circuits.
  • 1,100 senior citizens from every constituency of Delhi (70-Constituency) will be able to avail free travel package.
  • The pilgrimage for three days and two nights can be undertaken on the following circuits.
    • Delhi-Mathura-Vrindavan-Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Delhi
    • Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Neelkanth-Delhi
    • Delhi-Ajmer-Pushkar-Delhi
    • Delhi-Amritsar-Wagah border-Anandpur Sahib-Delhi and
    • Delhi-Vaishno Devi-Jammu-Delhi.
  • The expenditure of the attendant will also be borne by the Delhi government.
  • Under this free pilgrimage scheme, Delhi resident above 60 years will be eligible to take a free pilgrimage.
  • The applicant can also take along an attendant above the age of 20 years if the applicant or his spouse is above 70 years.

5. Ravi Shankar Prasad launches National Challenge ‘Ideate for India – creative solutions using technology’

  • The Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched National Challenge ‘Ideate for India – creative solutions using technology‘ for school students in New Delhi.
  • It is a collaboration between National e-governance Division & Intel India, supported by the Department of School Education and Literacy of the Ministry of Human Resources Development.
  • The challenge will help empower the youth to become the next generation of innovators and technology creators.
  • Over 10 lakh students will participate in the challenge.
  • The Challenge will focus on the rural youth and it aims at conversion of dreams of children into idea leading to the development of working solutions.

6. Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise ‘Clean Sea-2018’ at sea off Port Blair

  • The Indian Coast Guard has conducted the Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea – 2018’ at sea off Port Blair.
  • Coast Guard ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.

7. Cabinet approves Agriculture Export Policy to double farmer’s income by 2022

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Agriculture Export Policy in line with the government’s commitment to double farmer’s income by 2022.
  • Farmers will get the benefit of export opportunities through a stable trade policy regime.
  • The policy will remove export curbs on most organic and processed food.
  • The Union Cabinet has also approved the launch of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).
  • The acquisition intends to achieve integration across power chain, create economies of scale and have enhanced capability to support energy efficiency.

Obituaries

8. Congress MP Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi passes away

  • Noted Islamic scholar and Congress Lok Sabha MP (Bihar’s Kishanganj constituency) Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi (76-year) passed away due to a heart attack.
  • Qasmi won the Kishanganj seat in 2009 general elections by contesting on an Indian National Congress ticket after five consecutive failures.
  • He was a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and founder member of the All India Milli Council.

Banking & Finance

9. Exim Bank extends USD 500 mn loan to Tanzania for water supply projects

  • Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has extended a credit facility of USD 500 million to Tanzania for water supply projects in the country.
  • Under this agreement, of the total credit by Exim Bank, goods and services of the value of at least 75% of the contract price shall be supplied by the seller from India.
  • The remaining 25% of goods and services may be procured by the seller for the purpose of the eligible contract from outside India.

10. Fitch cuts India’s Growth forecast to 7.2% in FY19

  • According to Credit rating agency ‘Fitch’, India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2% for current fiscal citing higher financing cost and reduced credit availability.
  • In its Global Economic Outlook, Fitch projected that for 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, India’s GDP growth will be 7% and 7.1% respectively.

Note:

  • Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the big three credit rating agencies (other two -Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s).
  • It is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975.
  • Fitch Ratings is dual-headquartered in New York (US) and London (UK).

Appointment 

11. Former Indian diplomat elected to UN’s Socio-Economic Cultural panel

  • Former senior Indian diplomat ’Preeti Saran’ has been elected to an Asia Pacific seat on the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
  • Saran was elected to the CESCR for a four-year term beginning from 1st of January 2019.
  • All States are obliged to submit regular reports to the committee on how the rights are being implemented.
  • The committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations.

Sports

12. Kiren Rijiju inaugurates All India Police Shooting Competition 2018 at Manesar

  • Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has inaugurated the 19th All India Police (AIPDM) Shooting Competition-2018 at Manesar, Gurugram (Haryana).
  • The competition will continue till 11th of this month.
  • More than 750 participants of 31 teams of State Police Forces and Central Armed Police Forces are participating in the event.
  • There will be total 13 matches and 41 medals & 13 Trophies will be awarded to the winners.

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Thoughts of the day’

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

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