Current Affairs in Short: 4 December 2018
Croatian Captain and midfielder Luka Modric, who had led Croatia to its maiden Cup final before they lost to France in the summit clash, has won the 2018 Ballon d'Or. With the win, the 33-year old has become the first player other than Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina’s Lionel Messi to claim the award in more than a decade.
AN Jha appointed finance secretary
• Ajay Narayan Jha, the expenditure secretary of India, has been appointed as the new Union finance secretary.
• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had appointed Jha, a 1982 batch Indian Administrative Services officer from Manipur cadre, as the expenditure secretary in October. Before that, he was the environment secretary.
• Jha replaces Hasmukh Adhia, who retired on November 30. The Unique Identification Authority of India Chief Ajay Bhushan Pandey had earlier replaced Adhia as revenue secretary.
• An alumnus of St Stephens College from where he passed with first class in Graduation and post graduation in History, Jha is a recipient of World Bank scholarship to pursue Masters in Economic Policy Management from McGill University in Canada.
Pawan Singh becomes first Indian to be elected in ISSF's judges' committee
• Pawan Singh has become the first Indian to be elected one of seven members of the Judges Committee of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).
• Singh also holds the post of the Joint Secretary General of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
• Singh got elected onto the seven members' Judges Committee for which 22 candidates from all over the world were in the fray.
• Members of the administrative council of ISSF voted to select the committee during the elections held at Munich on December 2, 2018. The ISSF elections take place every four years.
• Prior to Singh’s appointment, NRAI’s President Raninder Singh had become the first Indian to be elected as Vice President of ISSF.
Croatian Captain Luka Modric bags 2018 Ballon d'Or
• Croatian Captain and midfielder Luka Modric, who had led Croatia to its maiden Cup final before they lost to France in the summit clash, has won the 2018 Ballon d'Or.
• With the win, the 33-year old has become the first player other than Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina’s Lionel Messi to claim the award in more than a decade. Before Modric, both Messi and Ronaldo had won five Ballon d'Ors each.
• This year, Ronaldo was placed second behind Modric, while Messi finished fifth. France’s Antoine Griezmann was third, while the teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe was placed fourth.
• Mbappe, however, won the best young player of the year award at the Ballon d'Or ceremony.
• This year, for the first time women’s Ballon d'Or was also named and it went to Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg.
UNSC to convene on Iran missile launch issue
• The UN Security Council convened on December 4, 2018 to discuss on the Iran missile launch issue.
• The world body held the meeting at the request of France and Britain after they accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range missile during the weekend.
• The United States also called the missile launch as a violation of a UN resolution that endorses the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which it has withdrawn.
• France and Britain have also expressed concern over the missile test -firing by Iran. The UN resolution that endorses the 2015 nuclear deal calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
• Iran has long maintained that its missile program is defensive in nature and not aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance supported by Russia at the Security Council.
Second meeting of NITI Forum for North East held in Guwahati
• The second meeting of the NITI Forum for North East was held in Guwahati on December 4, 2018. The meeting was presided over by Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar and co-chaired by Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, Dr. Jitendra Singh.
• The NITI Forum for North East was constituted ion 2018 to periodically review the development status in North Eastern Region.
• The forum is tasked to identify various constraints on the way of accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of the country and to recommend suitable interventions for addressing identified constraints.
• The members of the forum include Secretaries of various Ministries of the Union Government, Chief Secretaries of all the eight North-eastern states and also senior government officials and experts from various fields.
International conference on bears starts in Agra
• The four-day International conference on bears began in Agra, Uttar Pradesh on December 4, 2018. The conference is expected to witness participation from over 80 delegates from 11 countries across the world.
• The conference is aimed at sharing knowledge on the principles of the welfare of bears and other wild animals in zoos, sanctuaries and rescue centres.
• It has been Hosted by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with Bear Care Group from the US and Canada.
Statue of Unity among top tourist destinations
• The 182-metre tall ‘Statue of Unity’, dedicated to Sardar Patel in Gujarat's Narmada district has slowly become one of India’s top tourist spots.
• The statue is now attracting around 30,000 visitors every day. The United States Consul-General Edgard Kagan also visited the memorial.
• The statue, which is the world's tallest, located on Sadhu Bet islet on the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Kevadiya, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31.
• It has been built as a tribute to Sardar Patel's role in getting 562 princely states to accede to the Indian Union after Independence.