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Important Current Affairs 12th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris jointly named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ 2020

• US President-elect, Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have been jointly named Time magazine’s 2020 “Person of the Year”. The TIME magazine releases the annual list since 1927, to recognise a person or organisation who affected the news or impacted the country and world the most, for better or worse, during the calendar year.

• Apart from this, Time magazine has named the Korean pop group BTS as its Entertainer of the Year, and basketball star LeBron James as Athlete of the Year.  Zoom founder Eric Yuan was aptly named Businessperson Of The Year, as the video communications company has come to define the way millions have connected with each other during the pandemic.

Sonu Sood tops 50 Asian Celebrities in The World list 2020

• Indian actor, Sonu Sood has topped the first-of-its-kind ’50 Asian Celebrities In The World’ 2020 list, published by UK based Eastern Eye newspaper. The 47-year-old talented Bollywood star has been honoured for his inspiring philanthropic work throughout the C-19, especially helping migrant workers reach their hometowns. Sonu Sood beat global stars, including from Hollywood, the music industry, television, literature and social media, to be named the number one Asian celebrity on the planet for 2020.

• Canadian YouTuber, social media star, comedian and TV personality Lilly Singh came in second for her “pathbreaking journey, remarkable output and entertaining audiences most when they needed it”.

• Indian singer Armaan Malik came in fifth for his immense musical output that included barrier-breaking English language songs. Sixth-placed Priyanka Chopra Jonas remains the most famous Indian star in the world, while the rest of the top 10 includes pan-Indian star Prabhas (7).

• The top 50 list is based on those who did good work, made a positive impact, broke boundaries, shattered glass ceilings, gave hope, did philanthropic deeds or were just inspiring in their own unique way.

NATIONAL

BSNL launches World’s 1st Satellite-based Narrowband-IoT Network

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has partnered with Skylotech India (Skylo), a global machine connectivity solutions company, to launch satellite-based narrow band-Internet of things (NB-IoT). This initiative is the world’s first satellite-based NB-IoT network.

• The new indigenous IoT solution has been developed by Skylo and will connect with BSNLs satellite- ground infrastructure to provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas. To begin with, the solution will be extended to fishermen, farmers, construction, mining and logistics enterprises. The solution is in line with BSNL’s vision to leverage technology to provide affordable and innovative telecom services and products across India’s core sectors.

Union Cabinet approves historic PM-WANI Scheme

• The Union Cabinet has approved a scheme called the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Initiative (PM-WANI), to improve wireless connectivity and pave the way for free wireless internet in public spaces across the country. The scheme will allow anyone, from an individual in a residential area to a Kirana shop owner to a tea shop vendor, to set up public Wi-Fi hotspot and deliver wifi services. It aims to promote the growth of public wi-fi networks in the country.

• Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers. (tea shop, or Kirana shop, individual or any organisation.)

• Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will look after functions relating to Authorization and Accounting of PDOs.

• App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.

• Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Koilwar bridge in Bihar

• The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated the 1.5 km long Koilwar bridge over Sone river in Bihar through Video Conferencing. This newly inaugurated bridge is a part of the six-lane bridge being made in place of the existing two-lane bridge, for both rail and road traffic, which is 138 years old.

• The total cost of setting up this three-lane bridge is estimated at Rs 266 crore. The bridge is a major road for transport between Bihar and UP. Once this six-lane bridge is fully operational, the traffic on NH-922 and NH-30 will ease substantially.

National Centre for Divyang Empowerment inaugurated in Telangana

• The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy has inaugurated the National Centre for Divyang Empowerment (NCDE) at the CRPF Group Centre in Hakimpet near Hyderabad, Telangana.

• The NCDE is first of its kind establishment to re-skill and rehabilitates the Divyang Warriors of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) who suffered life-threatening injuries in the line of duty.

• Several market-driven expertise like computer skills and various sports skills will be imparted on the Divyang Warriors to empower them and enable them to serve the force and the country.

• All possible assistance and cooperation will be extended for the welfare of the Divyang Warriors.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Romanian PM Ludovic Orban resigns

• The Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban has stepped down from his post after his ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) lost in 2020 parliamentary election. Following this, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis appointed the Minister of National Defense, Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca as the interim prime minister of the country.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Universal Health Coverage Day: 12 December

• International Universal Health Coverage Day is a United Nations’ recognized international day celebrated every year on December 12. The Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.

• This year theme of International Universal Health Coverage Day is ‘Health For All: PROTECT EVERYONE’. The theme reflects that to end this crisis (C-19) and build a safer and healthier future, we must invest in health systems that protect us all—now.

• On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development. On 12 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).

International Day of Neutrality: 12 December

• International Day of Neutrality is a United Nations recognized day held on December 12 each year to raise public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations. It was officially declared by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in February 2017 and first observed on December 12, 2017.

• Neutrality is defined as the legal status arising from the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents, and the recognition by the belligerents of this abstention and impartiality — is critically important for the United Nations to gain and maintain the confidence and cooperation of all in order to operate independently and effectively, especially in situations that are politically charged.

• On 2 February 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted without a vote resolution 71/275 — introduced by Turkmenistan, recognized by the UN as a permanently neutral state since 12 December 1995 — which noted the link between the preservation of peace and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and declared 12 December as the International Day of Neutrality.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Bajrang Punia, Elavenil Valarivan bag Sportsperson of the Year awards

• Indian athletes, Bajrang Punia (Freestyle-Wrestling) and Elavenil Valarivan (Shooting), bagged the top honours at the virtually held FICCI India Sports Awards 2020 on the back of the 10th Global Sports Summit. The two athletes, who have had an impressive 2019-20 season, won the Sportsperson of the Year awards in their respective categories.

Award

Personality

Sportsperson of the Year (Female)

Elavenil Valarivan

Sportsperson of the Year (Male)

Bajrang Punia

Best State Promoting Sports Award

Madhya Pradesh

Best Company Promoting Sports (Private Sector)

Anil Kumble

• The sports awards are an attempt by industry body, Federation of Indian Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.

Carolina Araujo awarded 2020 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians

• The year 2020 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians was awarded to Dr Carolina Araujo, Mathematician from the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her work area focuses on birational geometry, which aims to classify and describe the structure of algebraic varieties.

• The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country funded by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics), and the International Mathematical Union (IMU) was given for her outstanding work in algebraic geometry.

• Dr. Araujo, who is Vice President of the Committee for Women in Mathematics at the International Mathematical Union, is the first non-Indian women mathematician to receive this prize and will be a role model for all women around the world.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ADB launches $9 bn “APVAX” for Developing Countries

• The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched an initiative called, the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), for its developing member countries. The bank has allocated USD 9 billion for APVAX.

• APVAX will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery.

• Through APVAX, the ADB will offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members, who need financing to procure vaccines as well as offer appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably and efficiently manage and deliver the C-19 vaccine.