Top 10 Weekly Current Affairs: 3 December to 8 December 2018
The Supreme Court has approved the Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and directed the Central and State Governments to enforce the same in letter and spirit. The scheme will become ‘law’ under Article 141/142 of the Constitution till the enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject.
1. Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019
Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi on December 3, 2018 announced that the country will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in January 2019. This decision to quit OPEC was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the state oil company.
Qatar’s pure strength is the production of Gas. Qatar is the world's biggest supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), producing almost 30 percent of the world total. Qatar also shares the world's largest known natural gas field the ‘North Field’ with Iran.
2. SC approves Witness Protection Scheme 2018; directs Centre, States to enforce the scheme by 2019
The Supreme Court on December 5, 2018 approved the Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and directed the Central and State Governments to enforce the same in letter and spirit. The scheme will become ‘law’ under Article 141/142 of the Constitution till the enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject.
The Central Government had placed this scheme on record in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving offender self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.
3. Delhi Government launches Free Pilgrimage Scheme for senior citizens
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on December 5, 2018 launched the 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana' which offers free travel packages for senior citizens from Delhi to five religious circuits. 1,100 senior citizens from every constituency of Delhi will be able to avail this facility at one go.
Under this free pilgrimage scheme, a Delhi resident above 60 years will be eligible to take free pilgrimage along with his or her spouse. 1100 senior citizens from each Assembly Constituency would now undertake free pilgrimage every year, the expenses for which will be borne by the government.
After over 15 years of successful career in Indian cricket, Indian Opener Gautam Gambhir on December 4, 2018 announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
Gautam Gambhir was one of the most complete batsmen who opened well in all three forms of the game – Test matches, ODIs and T20s. He exhibited best in his innings between 2008 and the 2011 World Cup. He played an instrumental role in India's successful campaigns in the 2011 World Cup and the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007.
The cricketer was the top-scorer for India in the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup finals. In the 2011 World Cup finals, Gambhir was involved in a crucial 109-run stand with MS Dhoni against Sri Lanka. Gambhir was dismissed with 97 in his kitty that had made India win the 2011 World Cup.
5. WCD Ministry to formulate guidelines to ensure safety of children in hostels
The Ministry of Women and Child Development will soon formulate guidelines for children's hostels, prescribing the minimum standards of care that should be provided to the children.
The decision comes at a time when institutions, housing children on the request of parents who are unable to take care of them and their education or due to other circumstances that force parents to keep them at children's homes, are not registering under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
As per Section 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, registration of all child care institutions, whether funded by Government or not, is mandatory. The penalty of non-registration is prescribed under Section 42 of the Act.
India’s heaviest and most-advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, also called the "Big Bird", was successfully launched into space on December 5, 2018 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.
The satellite will help provide satellite-based internet to remote places where cable-based internet cannot reach. The satellite, weighing 5854 kg, is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that has been put into the orbit.
Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the GSAT-11 was launched on the Ariane 5 VA-246 rocket from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana.
7. Government launches Digital Sky Platform for drone registration
The Union Government’s Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) to enable safe flying of Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) popularly referred to as drones came into effect on December 1, 2018. The Government had announced the release of the regulations in August 2018.
With the announcement, while nano drones can start flying in the country with immediate effect, for drones of micro size and above categories, the operators would be required to register on the Digital Sky portal.
8. G20 Leaders pledge to fight climate change; India to host G20 Summit in 2022
The G20 Summit 2018 concluded on December 1, 2018 in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nineteen leaders of the world's biggest economies and representatives of the European Union held a meeting together as part of the G20 summit.
It was the 13th meeting of Group of Twenty (G20) and the first G20 summit to be hosted in South America. President Mauricio Macri of Argentina assumed the presidency of G20 on November 30, 2017 for one year during an official ceremony in Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
9. Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2018-19: RBI keeps policy rates unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on October 5, 2018 released its Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2018-19. After assessing the current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the economy, the six members Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the policy Repo Rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.5 percent.
RBI lowered its inflation forecast based on moderation in food inflation and the sharp decline in international crude oil prices. Accordingly, inflation is projected to be in the range of 2.7 to 3.2 percent in the second half of 2018-19.
10. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sworn in as 58th President of Mexico
Veteran leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as the 58th President of Mexico on December 1, 2018 in the presence a huge crowd that included world leaders including US Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump and King Felipe VI of Spain.
Lopez Obrador, who took office following his landslide victory in the July 1 presidential elections, vowed to bring an end to corruption, chronic poverty and extreme violence that have plagued the country for more than a decade. The 65-year-old would hold the post of President of Mexico for a term of six years.