- Odisha study tour for tiger zone villagers
- The Odisha forest department has decided to engage locals residing near Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district with big cat conservation plan. They will be taken to a study tour to Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and other parts of the country to know how locals there are co-habiting with the wild animals.
- The state government took the decision after locals fiercely opposed the relocation of Sundari and Mahaveer in the Satkosia forest from Madhya Pradesh. Even the area had witnessed serious law and order problem when Sundari allegedly killed two persons.
- It was also decided that steps would be taken to curb the trading of animal skins and their body parts.
· International Mountain Day observed on December 11
- The Theme for the 2018 edition of the International Mountain Day is: “#MountainsMatter”.
- It is celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to spread awareness about the contribution of mountains in the biodiversity as it consists of approximately a quarter of the terrestrial biological diversity.
- To commemorate the day, there will be an IMD side event on “Mountain adaptation: Vulnerable peaks and people” at UNFCCC COP24 in Katowice, Poland.
· Russia sends 2 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela
- Russia has sent two Tu-160, strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, to Venezuela in an apparent show of support to President Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
- Russia is a majorpolitical ally of Venezuela, which has become increasingly isolated in the world under growing sanctions led by the United States and the European Union, which accuse Maduro of undermining democratic institutions to hold onto power while overseeing an economic and political crisis that is worse than the Great Depression.
· Myanmar to grant visa-on-arrival to Indians
- Myanmar will provide visa-on-arrival to Indian tourists entering the country through the international airports of Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalayto further people-to-people interactions.
- President Kovind called Myanmar a key partner of India’s ‘Act East’ and ‘Neighbourhood First’ policies.
· India and ADB Sign $31 Million Loan Agreement for Tamil Nadu
- The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB)signed in New Delhi a Loan Agreement for $31 million to build-up the State Tourism Industry and boost visitor arrivals in Tamil Nadu.
- The signatories to the tranche 4 loan for Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT) were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed for the Government of India, and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director for ADB in India, who signed for ADB.
· MoU with Google for flood prediction ð Placing five States, including Assam, in the ‘extreme flood situation’ category, India has signed an agreement with Google for better flood management for the first time.
- The Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed a collaboration agreement with Google for improving the flood prediction system. As per the agreement, the CWC and Google will share technical expertise in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and geo-spatial mapping, said Union Water Resources, Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.
- The MoU covers analysis of hydrological observation data to collaborate on improving the flood prediction systems, which will help provide location-targeted, actionable flood warnings, a high priority research project utilising the Google Earth engine to help visualise and improve flood management and a cultural project to build online exhibitions on the rivers of India.
- According to the CWC, the States affected by floods till October, 2018 include Tripura, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka (extreme flood situation), Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, NCT Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (severe flood situation).
· Shaktikanta Das appointed as the new RBI Governor
- Former economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das was named the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India to succeed Urjit Patel, who quit abruptly on December 10 amid a bitter dispute over the regulator’s autonomy.
- The appointment will be for three
- He is a 1980 batch IAS officerof the Tamil Nadu cadre and is currently a member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission. Das also represents India at the G-20 in the role of a sherpa.