Current Affairs in Short: 26 December 2018
The Reserve Bank of India will soon introduce a new Rs 20 currency note with additional features. The old currency notes, except for banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, will continue to remain legal tender.
RBI to soon issue new Rs 20 note
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon introduce a new Rs 20 currency note with additional features, as per a document of the central bank.
• The central bank has already issued new look currency notes in the denominations of Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500, besides introducing Rs 200 and Rs 2,000 bank notes.
• The new look notes are being introduced since November 2016 under Mahatma Gandhi (New) series. These are different in size and design compared to the notes issued previously.
• The currency notes, except for banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, issued under old series continue to remain legal tender.
No proposal to alter age criteria for civil service examinations, clarifies government
• The Union Government clarified on December 25, 2018 that there is no proposal to alter the age criteria of eligibility for civil service examinations.
• The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's State Office and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh said that no such proposal is being considered by the Centre.
• Earlier, there were media reports suggesting that the Centre may lower the upper age limit for entry into the civil services and the age may be brought down to 27 years for general category candidates in a phased manner by 2022-23.
• Currently, the upper age limit remains 32 years for candidates belonging to general category. For candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category, the upper age limit to appear for the exam remains 37 years.
UP Police bans namaz in public places
• The Uttar Pradesh Police has reportedly issued an order banning namaz at a public park in Noida's Sector-58. According the reports, police banned the prayers or any religious activities in the park following a complaint.
• The police order is addressed to offices and firms in the area, warning them of strict action if their employees were caught offering prayers at the park. It said that companies will be held liable if their employees are found breaching the order.
• The companies in the area had earlier sought district magistrate's permission for their employees to offer Friday prayers at the open grounds, but had to come back empty handed.
• The police notice was issued after a complaint was filed that the employees of the said companies were caught offering prayers despite denial of permission by the authorities.
Russia expands economic sanctions on Ukraine
• Russia has expanded its economic sanctions on Ukraine, adding more than 250 people and businesses to a blacklist first announced at the start of November.
• According to a decree by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow, 245 individuals and seven companies, mostly in the energy and defence sectors, were sanctioned by Moscow.
• Relations between Moscow and Kiev have deteriorated since a pro-Western government came to power after the 2014 revolt against a pro-Russian leader and outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine.
• A total of 567 individuals and 75 Ukranian companies now face Russian economic sanctions, which put a freeze on any assets they have in Russia.
Thailand approves medical use of marijuana
• Thailand on December 25, 2018 approved the licensed use of marijuana for medical use and research.
• The changes will legalise the production, import, export, possession and use of marijuana products for medical purposes.
• The recreational use of the drugs, however, will remain illegal and subject to prison terms and fines commensurate with the quantities involved.
• With this, Thailand has become the first country in Southeast Asia to take such action. Marijuana has been traditionally used as a stimulant and painkiller in the nation.
UK minister warns drone users of severe punishment
• Britain's security minister on December 25, 2018 said that those who use drones either recklessly or for criminal purposes would face severe punishment.
• The Minister said that they are able to now deploy detection systems throughout the UK to combat this threat.
• The comments come days after some drones were sighted near the runway at Gatwick airport leading thousands of passengers stranded ahead of the Christmas holiday.
Iraq declares Christmas as a public holiday
• The Iraqi government has declared Christmas Day a national holiday across the country.
• The declaration came after the Iraqi Cabinet approved a law to mark December 25 as an official holiday across the country “on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ”.
• The Cabinet voted on an amendment to the national holidays law in the country that Christmas Day is a holiday for all Iraqis and not only for the Christian community, as it had been for decades.
UP government asks districts to strictly adhere to 3-day ban on industrial activities
• The Uttar Pradesh government has asked districts in western part of the state adjoining Delhi to strictly adhere to a three-day ban on industrial and construction activities imposed by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
• The order was issued to the divisional commissioners of Meerut and Saharanpur divisions and district magistrates of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida), Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Shamli.
• As the national capital's air quality remained in the 'severe' category for the third consecutive day on December 24, the EPCA ordered that industries in pollution hotspots--Wazirpur, Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Sahibabad and Faridabad and construction work across Delhi-NCR remain closed until December 26.
Patna Zoo closed after deaths of peacocks due to H5N1 Virus
• Patna Zoo has been closed for an indefinite period following the confirmation of H5NI virus killing six peacocks in the zoo.
• The zoo had been closed following deaths of six peacocks between December 16 and 24. The bodies of the peacocks were sent to National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal where it was confirmed that birds died after being infected with H5N1 virus.
• Currently, the process of immunisation and disinfection is on and the zoo would only be re-opened when it is established that it has been freed from the virus following laboratory test.
Maharashtra CM launches Vajpayee International Schools in Mumbai
• Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on December 25, 2018 launched Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Schools in Mumbai, on the occasion of the 94th birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister.
• The State aims to introduce international curriculum in 100 schools run by civic bodies, the tribal development department, the social justice department and the education department.
• The schools will be affiliated to the newly formed Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB) and the curriculum will be first implemented in the mother tongue in 13 Zilla Parishad schools.
• A curriculum for Classes I to III has been prepared, while for higher classes it will be introduced later.
Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana launched in Uttarakhand
• The Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana has been launched in Uttarakhand. Under the scheme, each household in the state will be able to avail medical treatment of up to 5 lakh rupees annually.
• The scheme will benefit 23 lakh households and cover 1,350 critical diseases. Launching the Yojna in Dehradun yesterday, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat distributed scheme-related golden cards to beneficiaries.
• The CM also signed Memoranda of Understanding with private hospitals and announced that soon free of cost OPD facilities will be available for children and elderly people in the state.
• All households have been included under the Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana as the government wants that everyone should be able to afford medical treatment.