1. Japan announced IWC withdrawal, will resume commercial whaling
Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling in July 2019, in a move expected to spark international criticism.
The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world’s whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.
2. Researchers built Virtual Reality (VR) 3D model of cancer
Scientists from Cancer Research U.K. Cambridge Institute(CRUK) have built a Virtual Reality (VR) 3D model of cancer that allows viewers to fly through tumor cells, observing every detail from different angles. The advance paves the way for better understanding cancer and developing new treatments for it.
- The tumor can be studied in detail and from all angles with each individual cell mapped. Researchers started with a 1 mm cubed piece of breast cancer tissue biopsy, containing around 1,00,000 cells. They cut wafer thin slices, a then stained them with markers to show their molecular make-up and DNA characteristics.
- A tumor was then rebuilt using VR, which allows multiple users from anywhere in the world to examine it. VR headsets magnify the pinhead-sized cells to appear several meters across.
3. P V Bharathi appointed Corporation Bank MD & CEO
She will take over the charge on or after February 1, 2019, and remain in the post till March 31, 2020. Prior to this elevation, Bharathi was an Executive Director at Canara Bank.
- Meanwhile, the Centre has also approved the appointment of K Ramachandran as Executive Director of Allahabad Bank.
- Balakrishna Also has now been appointed as Executive Director of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).
4. Union Home Minister released List of Top 10 Performing Police Stations across India
The top three police stations in India for 2018 are Kalu (Bikaner, Rajasthan), Campbell Bay ( Andaman & Nicobar Islands) and Farakka (Murshidabad, West Bengal).
Here is the list of top 10 performing police stations 2018 across the country, as per the position secured:
2-Campbell Bay ( A&N Islands);
3-Farakka (West Bengal);
4– Nettapakkam (Puducherry);
5– Guderi (Karnataka);
6– Chopal (Himachal Pradesh);
7– Lakheri (Rajasthan);
8– Periyakulam (Tamil Nadu);
9– Munsyari (Uttarakhand);
10– Churchorem (Goa).
5. Israel authorizes medical marijuana exports
Israel’s Parliament approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana, allowing Israel to tap the lucrative global market. Israel will become the third country, after the Netherlands and Canada, to take its medical cannabis global. The Israeli Cabinet is yet to approve. This step is seen as a formality.
- iCAN, the Israeli medical cannabis company, said that the global industry will reach $33 billion in the next five years, as stigma fades and demand grows for the few countries certified to export.
- The law was approved on 25th December 2018, sending cannabis company shares rising by about 10%. The law was stalled for years over fears from security officials that medical marijuana would leak into the black market. To assuage concerns, the law empowers police to supervise licensing.
6. Adani Ports and SEZ delivered 50 US made GE locomotives to Indian Railways
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has concluded the import and delivery of 50 U.S.- made General Electric (GE) locomotives to the Indian Railways.
- All the 50 GE locomotives were manufactured by GE Electromotive Division in the U.S. and imported to Mundra Port, Gujarat.
- The final locomotive was handed over to the Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (U.P.) on November 23, 2018. The port said it had handled consignments critical for the development of the nation.
7. Centre to rename 3 islands of Andaman and Nicobar
The Centre has reportedly decided to rename Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island in Andaman and Nicobar as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep respectively.
- PM Narendra Modi is likely to announce it during his upcoming visit to Port Blair, on 30 December.
- The occasion is to mark the 75th anniversary of Netaji’s visit to the islands.
8. Thailand became the 1st country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana
The junta-appointed parliament voted 166-0 to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.
- Marijuana was used in Thailand to relieve pain and fatigue until its use was criminalized in the country in the 1930s.
- In Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, marijuana traffickers who are caught, face capital punishment.
9. DIPP Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge Awards Presented
As part of the Swachhta Pakhwada held from, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) organized a Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge.
- Four areas of sanitation, waste management, water and wastewater management, and air management were selected for the grand challenge.
- The first prize money for the Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge was Rs. 2 lakh.
Sector – Air
Malec technical project laboratory Pvt. Ltd, Delhi.
10. Russia successfully tested hypersonic missile
Russia successfully tested the hypersonic missile system. Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed final tests of a hypersonic missile, which he had earlier said would render existing missile systems obsolete.
- He also said that Russia has a new type of strategic weapon, the intercontinental Avangard system would be ready for use from 2019. Mr. Putin had unveiled features of the Avangard during his annual address in March.
- The hypersonic missile could fly at 20 times the speed of sound and maneuver up and down, meaning that it could breach defense systems. The final test is after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to pull out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact, the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Mr.Putin has laid out plans to develop missiles banned under the deal if the U.S. abandons it.
11. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh released the book Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, released the book ‘Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala’, co-authored by the Maharaja’s grandson, Brigadier (Retd) Jagjit Singh, and Cynthia Frederick in Chandigarh.
- Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore was also present on the occasion of the launch of the book.
- The book which is published by Roli Books is a candid tribute by a grandson to the erstwhile exceptional royal king of Kapurthala.
12. Govt extended the ban on import of milk products from China for 4 months will April 23, 2019: DGFT
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced the extension of the ban on import of milk and its products, including chocolates, from China for four months till April 23, 2019.
The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and later extended due to the suspicion of the presence of melamine in some milk consignments from China.
13. UP cabinet approved setting up of Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal development boards
Uttar Pradesh Cabinet presided over by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath, gave its nod to constitute a Bundelkhand Development Board (BDB) and a Poorvanchal Development Board (PDB).
- The development boards for Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal will be headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath or someone nominated by him.
- Besides Chairman, the board will include two deputy-chairmen, two experts, 12 official members, and 11 non-government members and their tenure would be for a period of three years.
- The cabinet approved the setting up of the UP Traders Welfare Board to address the problems faced by traders in the state with regards to the GST.
- The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal of giving 25 percent discount to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the purchase of land for establishing a Rs 2,300-crore software development unit in Noida which would employ 30,000 people.