1. Lok Sabha passed the ‘DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019’
The purpose of this Bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
- The key components of this Bill include: establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board; accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing, analyzing, etc.; establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks, as envisaged in the Bill, will assist in forensic investigations.
- The Bill also aims to add value in empowering the criminal justice delivery system by enabling the application of DNA evidence, which is considered the gold standard in crime investigations.
2. Vikram Misri takes charge as India’s new envoy to China
A 1989-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Vikram Misrireplaced Gautam Bambawale, who had retired in November.
- Misri has previously served as the Indian envoy to Myanmar, as well as in various capacities at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office.
- He has also served in various Indian Missions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.
3. Russian President Putin invites PM Modi to Eastern Economic Forum as the main guest
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephonic conversation during which they focused on key bilateral and international issues and resolved to step up cooperation in dealing with terrorism.
- Russian president invited Modi to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as the main guest.
- India is one of Russia’s main arms buyers.
- In November, New Delhi also finalized the deal on four Russian guided-missile frigates.
4. Shenzhen became 2nd China city with 99% electric taxis
Shenzhen city in southern China has announced 99% of the taxis operating in the city are now electric, becoming China’s second and largest city to do so.
- Out of 21,689 taxis operational in the city, around 7,500 taxis were still gasoline-powered in 2018.
- Notably, the northern China city of Taiyuan has had only electric taxis since 2016.
- Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, is home to Huawei Technologies and a host of other Chinese technology companies.
5. Airports Authority of India declares 16 airports ‘single-use plastic free’
Sixteen airports – Indore, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Tirupati, Trichy, Vijayawada, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Vadodara, Madurai, Raipur, Vizag, Pune, Kolkata, and Varanasi – have been declared as single-use plastic free.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has also banned single-use plastic across 129 of its airports, from January 1.
Single-use plastic items are used only once and then thrown in the trash.
- AAI Headquarters: New Delhi
- Founded: 1 April 1995
6. Nandan Nilekani to Head RBI’s new panel on digital payments
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a high-level committee headed by former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani to set up a robust digital payments ecosystem in India.
- Role of the five-member panel – To review the existing status of digitization of payments, identify gaps in the ecosystem and suggest ways to plug them.
- Besides Aadhaar architect Nilekani, the other members of the panel are former RBI deputy governor H.R. Khan, former managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Vijaya Bank Kishore Sansi, former secretary in the ministry of IT Aruna Sharma and chief innovation officer at the Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad, Sanjay Jain.
7. DRDO received Exhibitor of the Year Award
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) pavilion received ‘Exhibitor of the Year Award’ at 106th Indian Science Congress held at Lovely Professional University (LPU), Phagwara, Punjab.
DRDO’s outdoor exhibits included surface-to-air missile system – Akash, model of BrahMos missile, remotely operated vehicle – Daksh, heavyweight torpedo – Varunastra, Laser Ordnance Disposal System (LORDS) and Vehicle-Mounted Dazzler etc.
- DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi
- Founded: 1958
- Motto: “Strength’s Origin is in Science”
8. Amazon overtakes Microsoft to become world’s most valuable company
Amazon was valued at $810 billion as compared to Microsoft at $789 billion.
- Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994.
- Amazon achieved its record market capitalization of $1 trillion in September last year.
- Following Amazon as the most valuable company in the world are Microsoft, Alphabet Inc, and Apple.
9. One hundred sixth Session of Indian Science Congress Concludes in Jalandhar
The 106th session of Indian Science Congress (ISC), 2019 concluded in Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar yesterday.
- The five-day session was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and attended by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Science & Technology Minister on 3rd January 2018.
- As a part of the ISC, Women’s Science Congress was held which was inaugurated by Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Textiles & Industry and concluded by Prakash Javadekar, Union HRD Minister.
- Science Communicators’ Meet was inaugurated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & IT.
10. BCCI announced cash awards for triumphant Team India members
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced cash awards of Rs 15 lakh per match for each of the playing eleven that featured in India’s maiden Test Cricket series win on Australian soil.
- Virat Kohli and his team defeated Australia 2-1 in the four-match Test series, ending India’s 71-year-old wait for the rare achievement.
- Congratulating the team, the BCCI also announced cash awards of seven and a half lakh rupees for all the reserve players, as well as the members of the support staff.
11. SC reinstated Alok Verma as CBI Chief; to look into corruption charges by High-Committee panel and CVC
Supreme Court, as per orders penned by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reinstated CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma without giving him any major policy decision making powers.
- This was done against the October 23, 2018, decision which had earlier divested him of his powers completely as per the corruption charges brought against him.
- After the successful conduct of the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry against those charges will further steps be taken against him by the high-powered committee which selects and appoints the CBI Director.
- The high-powered committee will comprise of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.