Current Affairs in Short: 18 December 2018
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has announced to waive off farm loans to the tune of Rs 6,100 crore of more than 16 lakh farmers. It has been decided to waive off all short-term loans availed by farmers from cooperative and Rural development banks.
Chhattisgarh government waives of farm loans of over 16 lakh farmers
• Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has announced to waive off farm loans to the tune of Rs 6,100 crore of more than 16 lakh farmers.
• It has been decided to waive off all short-term loans availed by farmers from cooperative and Rural development banks.
• The state cabinet also decided to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the deadly Maoist attack at Jheeram ghati in Bastar in May, 2013 that claimed 29 lives.
• Chhattisgarh cabinet also decided to provide Rs 2,500 per quintal to farmers for their paddy being sold under Minimum support price scheme.
Farthest object in solar system 'Farout' discovered
• Scientists have discovered the most-distant body ever observed in our solar system, located over 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.
• The new object, discovered by Scott S Sheppard from Carnegie Institution for Science, David Tholen from the University of Hawaii and Chad Trujillo from Northern Arizona University in the US, has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18.
• 2018 VG18, nicknamed 'Farout' by the team for its extremely distant location, is at about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
• The second-most-distant observed solar system object is Eris, at about 96 AU.
Saturn losing its iconic rings rapidly: NASA
• Saturn’s iconic rings are being rapidly pulled apart into a dusty rain of ice particles under the influence of the planet’s magnetic field, as per NASA scientists.
• According to the scientists, at this rate, the Saturn’s rings are likely to disappear in the next 100 million years.
• Scientists have long wondered if Saturn was formed with the rings or if the planet acquired them later in life.
• The new research favours the latter scenario, indicating that they are unlikely to be older than 100 million years, as it would take that long for the C-ring to become what it is today assuming it was once as dense as the B-ring.
• Saturn's rings are mostly chunks of water ice ranging in size from microscopic dust grains to boulders several metres across.
Germany to compensate hundreds who fled Nazis as children
• Germany has agreed to one-time payments for survivors, primarily Jews, who were evacuated from Nazi Germany as children, many of whom never saw their parents again.
• The German government has agreed to payments of 2,800 US Dollars to those still alive from among the 10,000 people who fled on the Kinder transport.
• The year 2018 is the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the transport of the children to Britain from Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
• There are about 1,000 survivors thought to be alive today, with about half living in Britain, and the payment is seen as a symbolic recognition of their suffering.
• In all, about 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland were taken to Britain, about 7,500 of whom were Jewish.
Rural India-set drama ‘Period. End of Sentence’ in Oscar shortlist
• Period. End of Sentence, a film about women in India fighting against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation and delving upon the work of real life Pad Man Arunachalam Muruganathan, has made it to the Oscar shortlist in the Documentary Short Subject category.
• The film is executive produced by Guneet Monga and co-produced by Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment, which has backed films like The Lunchbox and Masaan.
• Directed by award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, the film is created by created by the Pad Project, an organisation established by an inspired group of students at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles and their teacher, Melissa Berton.
• The 26-minute film follows girls and women in Hapur in northern India and their experience with the installation of a pad machine in their village.
Vijay Mallya to face bankruptcy proceedings in UK High Court in 2019
• Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya to face bankruptcy proceedings in the UK High Court in 2019.
• A consortium of Indian banks in their attempt to recoup unpaid debt worth nearly 1.145 billion pounds has filed the case.
• TLT LLP, a UK-based law firm that had won a landmark case for the 13 banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) earlier this year, confirmed that their bankruptcy petition against the 62-year-old businessman has been transferred to the insolvency list in London's High Court of Justice.
• In a ruling in May, a UK High Court judge had refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets and upheld an Indian court's ruling that the consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.
New Zealand to hold referendum on legalising recreational cannabis
• New Zealand will hold a referendum on whether to legalise cannabis for recreational use at the general election in 2020, a week after legalising the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
• The governing Labour party promised the Green party they would hold a national referendum on legalising the drug, as part of the confidence and supply agreement between the two.
• Cannabis is widely consumed in New Zealand with police largely turning a blind eye to small-scale, personal use.
• The justice minister, Andrew Little, said the government had already forewarned the electoral mission to schedule the referendum at the same time as the general election, usually held around September.