Current Affairs in Short: 10 December 2018
Member of Parliament and Chief of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party Upendra Kushwaha resigned from the Union council of ministers on December 9, 2018. The move comes just a day ahead of the start of the Winter Session, triggering a realignment of political equations in Bihar.
MP Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union Council of ministers
• Member of Parliament and Chief of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) Upendra Kushwaha resigned from the Union council of ministers on December 9, 2018.
• According to reports, Kushwaha has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he is quitting the BJP-led NDA alliance.
• The move comes just a day ahead of the start of the Winter Session, triggering a realignment of political equations in Bihar.
• The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief is reportedly upset with the BJP after it asserted that the RLSP would not be given more than two seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, while Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) would get to fight in equal number of seats as the BJP. Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha.
India starts visa on arrival for South Korean nationals
• India has started granting visa on arrival to South Korean nationals, a move that makes South Korea the second nation to be given the privilege after Japan, whose citizens have been getting the privilege since March 2016. The decision came into effect from October 1, 2018.
• Like the Japanese nationals, the facility to South Korean citizens would include double entry visit for a period not exceeding 60 days for business, tourism, conference and medical purposes for entry through six designated international airports - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
• Though visa-on-arrival facility was earlier offered to citizens of 12 countries, it was discontinued in November 2014 after the launch of e-Tourist Visa scheme, which enables foreigners to obtain online visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, health, medical and conference purposes.
John Kelly to step down as US’s Chief of Staff
• President Trump said on December 8, 2018 that his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, would step down by the end of December 2018.
• The move is a part of a long-planned staff shake-up as the president heads into the 2020 campaign facing growing peril from the special counsel and newly empowered Democrats.
• The retired marine corps general was brought in by Trump last year to impose order on what was widely seen as a chaotic White House. He was considered to have had some success but his relationship with the President had begun to deteriorate.
• Kelly’s ouster is the most dramatic of a recent shake-up in the administration following the midterm elections last month, in which the Republicans lost control of the House in one of the party’s worst ever performances. His replacement is expected to be named soon.
CBSE conducts largest ever Central Teacher Eligibility Test
• The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted the largest ever Central Teacher Eligibility Test in 92 cities across the country on December 9, 2018.
• Around 9, 78, 818 female candidates appeared in the test, while the male candidates numbered around 7, 12,071.
• The number of differently-abled candidates was over 33000. There were 199 transgender candidates as well.
India, China to resume military drills after one year gap
• The 7th India and China joint military exercise - 'Hand in Hand' will begin on December 1, 2018 in the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu. It is scheduled to conclude on December 23.
• The exercises will be held after a gap of one year as both the sides were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector of the border in 2017.
• The joint drill aims at promoting understanding between the two militaries and improving their capabilities in fighting terrorism.
• The opening ceremony of the drill will be held on December 11. Each side would be sending 100 troops to take part in exercise and the main focus would be on counter-terrorism operations.
Tamil Nadu moves SC for full-time Chairman for Cauvery Water Management Authority
• The Tamil Nadu Government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a full-time Chairperson for the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).
• The authority was formed following the final verdict of the apex court. Currently, the Central Water Commission chairperson is holding the additional charge of the authority.
• On November 22, the CWC approved Karnataka to prepare a Detailed Project Report DPR for the proposed Rs 5912 crore Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir project.
• The decision led to eruption of protests in the lower riparian state of Tamil Nadu, as they alleged that any new dam across the inter-state river would deny water to the Delta farmers.
• The state government filed a contempt of court case in the Supreme Court against the CWC and a few officials of the upper riparian state.
Kannur International Airport in Kerala begins operations
• The Kannur international Airport-KIAL in Kerala began its operations on December 9, 2018 with Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan jointly lighting the lamp inside the terminal building, marking its inauguration.
• The chief minister and the Union Minister then jointly flagged off the first flight from the airport to Abu Dhabi at 10.10 am.
• With the international airport becoming a reality, Kerala has become the only state in the country to have four international airports.
• The airport will give major boost to trade, commerce, tourism, employment and export prospects in the state.
Former US President buried after 4-day tribute
• The 41st President of the United States, George H W Bush was laid to rest on December 6, 2018, bringing to conclusion the four-day tribute observed in his memory. He had passed away at the age of 94.
• The late President was given a state funeral in Washington, which was attended by five living former presidents of the United States and several foreign dignitaries.
• Bush will lie in repose at St Martin's Episcopal Church, where Bush prayed for decades. He will be interred at his presidential library in College Station next to his wife Barbara, who died in April and their daughter Robin who died of leukemia at the age of three.
GCC remains valid despite Qatar row
• The United Arab Emirates on December 6, 2018 said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remained valid despite a row with Qatar that has fractured the bloc ahead of an annual summit next week.
• The gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt had imposed a diplomatic and economic boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over allegations that Qatar supports terrorist elements.
• However, Qatar has denied the charges and it calls the boycott an attempt to curtail its sovereignty.
18th All India annual conference of heads of science centres, museums begins
• The 18th All India Annual Conference of the Heads of Science Centre’s and Museums began on December 8, 2018 in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
• Inaugurating the three-day conference, Arunachal Pradesh Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia said that the Arunachal Pradesh State Council Science and Technology is playing an important role to tie up and collaborate with other scientific institutions across the country to promote science and technology in the state.
• The three-day conference aims to come up with strategies to promote scientific temper and to play a catalyst role for students.
Technology, financial innovation to drive Ganga Cleaning Mission
• The Ganga Cleaning Mission will be driven by a range of innovative technology and financial innovation. This was deliberated during the three-day India Water Impact Summit that concluded in New Delhi on December 8, 2018.
• During the valedictory session, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, U P Singh emphasised the creation of a working group that will help in converting technology to working models.
• The India Water Impact Summit saw participation from experts in various fields from 16 countries.