Wednesday, 16 December 2020


             BITA (Banking Institute & TNPSC Academy)

                                                                                                15 December 2020



Russia's Sputnik V vaccine confirmed to be 91.4 percent effective

  •  The efficacy of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been confirmed to be 91.4 percent, as per data analysis of the Phase 3 trials. This was announced by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology on December 14, 2020.
  •  In a joint statement, the RDIF and the Gamaleya Center said that the Sputnik vaccine is over 90 percent effective, as per the final control point data analysis of the largest double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine.

UK PM Boris Johnson accepts PM Modi's invitation to be Chief Guest at Republic Day 2021

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted PM Narendra Modi's invitation to be the Chief Guest at Republic Day celebrations in 2021. 
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted the invitation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2021 in New Delhi.
  • This was informed by UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during his talks with Indian External Affairs Minister on December 15, 2020. 
  •  Dominic Raab also informed that the UK PM has invited PM Narendra Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year also welcomed India's return to UN Security Council. The UK Foreign Secretary is currently on a visit to India.

San Isidro Movement in Cuba

  •  In Cuba, a campaign by artists and activists demanding greater freedom of expression has been in news recently.
  •  Cuba has been under an authoritarian communist regime for more than 60 years
  •  The Movimiento San Isidro, or the San Isidro Movement (MSI), started two years ago to protest state censorship of artistic works.
  • It started in September 2018, when the Cuban government sought to enforce Decree 349 which is a law that would have given powers to the nation’s Culture Ministry to restrict cultural activity it did not approve of.
  •  To protest against the decree, artists, poets, journalists and activists gathered in San Isidro, It is a Black-majority locality that is among Havana’s poorest yet most culturally active wards, and which also forms part of the Old Havana UNESCO World Heritage Site.

US imposes sanctions on Turkey over purchase of S-400 missile system from Russia

  •  The United States on December 14, 2020 imposed sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.
  •  The US further urged Turkey to resolve the problem "immediately in coordination with the United States".
  •  The US has imposed full sanctions on Turkey's Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction with Russia's main arms export entity.
  • The sanctions include an asset freeze and visa restrictions on SSB's president Dr Ismail Demir and other SSB officials.


NITI Aayog releases ‘Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India’

  •  NITI Aayog has released a white paper titled ‘Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India’ on 14 December 2020.
  •  The ‘Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India’ is a continuation of the work on Health Systems Strengthening. The building blocks for this vision are an interdependent federated system of governance between the Centre and states.
  • The vision of this white paper is to make India’s public health surveillance system more responsive and predictive to enhance preparedness for action at all levels.
  •   The citizen-friendly public health surveillance system will ensure individual privacy and confidentiality, enabled with a client feedback mechanism.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog: Amitabh Kant.

Chairperson of NITI Aayog: PM Narendra Modi.

Ola to set up world’s largest scooter factory in Tamil Nadu

  •  The SoftBank-backed mobility platform, Ola has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government, to set up its first factory in the state, at an investment of Rs 2,400 crore.
  • Upon completion, the Ola factory in Tamil Nadu will be the largest scooter manufacturing facility in the world. Initially, the factory will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 2 million units.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Tamil Nadu Capital: Chennai.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

Tamil Nadu Governor: Banwarilal Purohit.

Tamil Nadu State Dance: Bharathanatyam.

DakPay: India Post Payments Bank rolls out its digital payments’ services

  •  India Post payments Bank (IPPB) and the Department of Posts (DOP) have jointly launched the ‘DakPay’, a digital payment app with an aim to achieve Digital Financial Inclusion by reaching every household across India.
  • The app was launched virtually by Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

High Security Registration Plate becomes compulsory in Delhi: All you need to know

  • Vehicles without high-security registration plates will now get fined in Delhi with effect from December 15, 2020. Earlier, the Delhi transport department directed people of the national capital to get their vehicles affixed with the high-security registration plates and colour-coded stickers, otherwise, a penalty will be imposed under the Central Motor Vehicles Act.
  • Winter session of Parliament likely to be cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  •  The winter session of the Parliament is likely to be cancelled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. This was informed by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi.
  •   Joshi stated that floor leaders of various political parties had expressed concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and suggested doing away with the Winter Session of the Parliament.
  •  The Minister informed this in a letter addressed to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on December 3, 2020 requesting to convene a short winter session of the Parliament
  •  Joshi stated in the letter dated December 14, 2020 that the winter months are very crucial for managing the pandemic because of recent spurt in cases during this period, particularly in Delhi. He further added that the government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest.

Odisha to host 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup

  • The International Hockey Federation (FIH) had announced that the 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup will be hosted in Odisha, for a second consecutive time.
  •  The tournament will be held at two venues, Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 was also hosted by Odisha.
  •   The 2023 tournament will be 15th edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup. It will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and at the Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium in Rourkela. FIH Hockey World Cup is held after every four years.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Chief Minister of Odisha: Naveen Patnaik.

Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar.

Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal.

Airports in Orissa: Biju Patnaik  International Airport, Jharsuguda Airport, Rourkela Airport, Jeypore Airport and Savitri Jindal Airport.


Ashraf Patel bestowed with 2020 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award

  •  Ashraf Patel was conferred with the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2020 of the Schwab Foundation and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation. Patel is the co-founder of Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective organisations that train youth for leadership roles

Myanmar’s Paul Sein Twa receives Goldman Environmental Prize 2020

  •  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Asia Regional Office awarded Paul Sein Twa, for Goldman Environmental Prize 2020 for Asia.
  • This award is given to him for his efforts in promoting the self-determination of the Karen people in managing their natural resources.
  • Paul is the co-founder of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), established in 2001.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Director-General of International Union for Conservation of Nature: Dr Bruno Oberle.

International Union for Conservation of Nature Headquarters: Gland, Switzerland.

International Union for Conservation of Nature Founder: Julian Huxley.

International Union for Conservation of Nature Founded: 5 October 1948.

                                                         DEFENCE NEWS

GRSE Kolkata launches ‘Himgiri’, its 1st Ship of Project 17A

  • Himgiri, which is the first of the three Project 17A ships being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata was launched.
  • The launch of ‘Himgiri’ has showcased GRSE’s commitment towards the building of three state-of-the-art warships of P17A for Indian Navy.
  • Under the Project 17A program, a total of seven ships, four at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and three ships at GRSE are being built with enhanced stealth features, advanced indigenous weapon and sensor fit along with several other improvements.
  •   P17A ships are the first gas turbine propulsion and largest combat platforms ever built at GRSE. Since its inception, Project 17A has upheld India’s vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat.

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