Current Affairs in Short: 17 December 2018
India and Maldives signed four agreements on various fields in New Delhi. The agreements were signed after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
1984 Anti-Sikh Riots: Delhi High Court convicts Congress leader Sajjan Kumar
• The Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder in the 1984 Anti Sikh riots case.
• A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel convicted Kumar for criminal conspiracy, promoting hate and acts against communal harmony.
• The conviction of five others - former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar-- was also upheld by the high court.
• The high court was hearing the appeals filed by the CBI, riots victims and the convicts, challenging a trial court's judgement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Kumar was acquitted.
• The 1984 anti-sikh riots broke out after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘PHETHAI’ over west central Bay of Bengal weakens into a cyclonic storm
• The Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘PHETHAI’ over west central Bay of Bengal moved further northwards with a speed of 24 kmph, weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred over west central Bay of Bengal.
• Due to unfavourable environmental conditions, it is likely to slightly weaken further before landfall and cross coast as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph.
• Cyclone ‘PHETHAI’ is also being tracked by DWR Chennai, Machilipatnam and Vishakhapatnam apart from Satellite and other observations.
Sandip Somany takes over as FICCI President; Uday Shankar as Vice President
• The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) elected Sandip Somany, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of HSIL Limited, as its President for 2018-19.
• The decision was taken at its 91st Annual General Meeting held on December 14-15.
• Somany will be working closely with government and business leaders towards spearheading the country’s economic growth and promote inclusiveness. He was previously working as the Senior Vice President, FICCI.
• Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director of the Apollo Hospitals Group was elevated as the Senior Vice President of FICCI for 2018-19.
• Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO of Star India, joined the chamber as the Vice President.
IIT Bhubaneswar's solution wins first IoT innovation challenge
• An Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution from IIT Bhubaneswar that can store, track and analyse data related to consumers' LPG consumption has won the first edition of 'The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge' by Tata Communications.
• The winner Prajjawala from IIT Bhubaneswar received Rs 5 lakh as top prize in the 4-month long contest organised in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
• The second winner was the "Dominators" team from the Army Institute of Technology which designed an IoT device that can be plugged to a streetlight, creating a heat map of mosquitoes.
• The third prize was jointly awarded to Sanrakshak from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) Chennai and the "Short Circuits" team from BITS Pilani.
• Sanrakshak created affordable sensors to provide real-time data on the occurrence of faults on the railway lines, while Short Circuits addressed power deficiency issues by accessing the energy stored in electric vehicles, when not in use.
PM Modi held delegation-level talks with Maldivian President; signs 4 MoUs
• India and Maldives signed four agreements on various fields in New Delhi.
• The agreements were signed after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
• Prime Minister Modi said India will extend 1.4 billion dollars financial assistance to the Maldives.
• Both sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties. They welcomed new visa agreement between India and Maldives.
• Maldivian President Solih arrived in New Delhi on December 16 on a three-day visit to India. His visit comes nearly a month after Modi attended Solih's swearing-in ceremony in Male, Maldives.
Jammu & Kashmir becomes first state to criminalise ‘sextortion’ of women
• The State Administrative Council of Jammu & Kashmir approved an amendment to the state’s Ranbir Penal Code, which will now criminalise the sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship with the victim or are public servants.
• With this, J&K has becomes the first state to bring such a law on the statute books.
• The State Administrative Council met under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik and approved the “Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018” and the “Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018”.
• The proposed bill will amend the Ranbir Penal Code, with a specific offence under Section 354 E being inserted to provide for the offence of “sextortion or exploitation”.
Rs 100 coin with Atal Bihari Vajpayee's portrait to be launched soon
• A new 100-rupee coin with the image of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be launched soon.
• The coin will weigh 35 grams.
• One side of the coin will have a portrait of Atal Bihari Vajpayee with his name inscribed in the Devanagari script as well as English.
• His birth and death year, 1924 and 2018, will be inscribed at the bottom of his picture.
• The other side of the coin will bear the Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar in the centre with "Satyameva Jayate" inscribed below in the Devanagari script.
• The word "Bharat" will be inscribed on its left periphery in the Devanagari script and "India" will be on the right in English.
• Below the Lion Capitol will be the rupee symbol and the denominational value of 100.
• Atal Bihari Vajpayee died on August 16, 2018.
Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns as Sri Lankan PM
• Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his post of Prime minister in Sri Lanka.
• He was controversially appointed as the Prime minister by President Maithirpala Sirisena on October 26, 2018, suddenly replacing Ranil Wickremsinghe.
• However, he failed to garner majority in Parliament and President attempt to dissolve parliament was nullified by Supreme court in a decision.
• Rajapaksa also suffered setback at the hands of a lower court which restrained him from functioning on a quo warranto petition filed by Wickremsinghe and his MPs.
• Wickremsinghe will now be sworn in again to the post of Prime minister along with his cabinet.
Nigerian military lifts ban on UNICEF operations in ravaged northeast
• The Nigerian military lifted a ban on UNICEF operations in the ravaged northeast.
• Earlier it had suspended the aid agency and accused it of training spies supporting Boko Haram jihadists.
• After a meeting between the military and the UNICEF, army spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said the ban was revoked following an intervention by well-meaning and concerned Nigerians.
• Boko Haram's insurgency has killed more than 27000 people since in 2009 in the country.
• The Nigerian army has accused UNICEF of 'aiding Boko Haram'.
Renowned classical singer Pandit Arun Bhaduri passes away
• Renowned classical singer Pandit Arun Bhaduri passed away in Kolkata after a prolonged illness. He was 75 and survived by wife and son.
• Pandit Bhaduri, considered to be one of the masters of Bengali songs and Bhajans, was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
• West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over the demise of Pandit Bhaduri.
NGT sets aside Tamil Nadu Government order to close down copper smelter plant Sterlite
• The National Green Tribunal has set aside the Tamil Nadu Government order to close down the copper smelter plant Sterlite in Tuticorin.
• The Vedanta Group plant has been shut down following agitations on charges of pollution.
• However, the NGT Bench headed by its chairperson AK Goel in its verdict has said there is no proof to validate the charges.
• The Tribunal has asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent within three weeks.
• It also asked the Sterlite management to spend a hundred crore rupees in three years for the development of the area where the industry is located.