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Important Current Affairs 6th December 2018 English

Awards

Sahitya Akademi awards announced
Seven books of poetry, six novels, six short stories, three of literary criticism and two of essays have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards, 2018.
Those who have won the award for their collection of poetry include Sananta Tanti in Assamese, Paresh Narendra Kamat in Konkani, S Ramesan Nair in Malayalam and Dr Rama Kant Shukla in Sanskrit.
Writers who won the awards for short stories include Sanjib Chattopadhyay in Bengali, Mushtaq Ahmed Mushtaq in Kashmiri and Prof Bina Thakur in Maithili.Inderjeet Kesar in Dogri, Anees Salim in English, Chitra Mudgal in Hindi are among the awardees in the novel category.
Akademi.An eminent short-story writer, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, bagged the Award for his collection of short stories “AAKH’’. 

National news


Mumbai startup first Indian private firm to have satellite in space
ExseedSAT 1 was launched into space by Space X along with 63 other satellites from 17 countries.
Exseed Space has become the first Indian privately-funded startup to successfully send a satellite into space.
About Exceed SAT 1
1.    Its an open radio transponder.
2.    Built by Santacruz based startup Exceed Space.
3.    People can receive signals at 145.90 Mhz with help of TV tuner .


Kandhamal Haldi likely to get GI tag
Famous for its healing properties, is a few steps away from receiving GI tag as the Geographical Indications Journal has advertised its application seeking objections.
About GI Tag
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.


Government notifies dual fuel usage for agriculture, construction vehicles
The Ministry Road Transport & Highways has notified dual-fuel usage for agricultural and construction equipment vehicles. "These include tractors, power tillers, construction equipment vehicles and combine harvesters which have originally been manufactured as dual- fuel with diesel as primary fuel and CNG, Bio CNG as secondary, or have been converted as such from in-use diesel vehicles.

Sports news

Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or 2018
Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris
The last player to win the award outside of Ronaldo and Messi was Brazilian great Kaka in 2007.
Real Madrid midfielder Modric overtook former teammate Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann to win the award for the first time.
The 33-year old Croatian was awarded the FIFA’s World Cup 2018 MVP, UEFA’s Player of the Year 2018, Best FIFA Footballer of the Year and the number one player by International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

Environment news


India third largest contributor to carbon emission.
India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017. The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use, according to the study that was published simultaneously Wednesday in several leading scientific journals.
The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a region of countries ranks third.

Economy news

Govt forms panel to look at selling of OIL, ONGC fields to private companies
The government has constituted a six-member committee to look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output.
The panel is headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.

International news


Patents granted by India up by 50% in 2017: UN
The number of patents granted by India shot up by 50 % in 2017.
Last year’s number was more than double the 6,022 patents granted in 2015, according to WIPO statistics. 
While India ranked 10th in the number of patents given last year, no Indian company or university figures in last year’s global list of the top 50 patent applicants.
About WIPO
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
CEO: Francis Gurry

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2016 was India’s warmest year ever

India Meteorological Department (IMD) in the third week of January 2017 announced that 2016 was India’s warmest year ever recorded since the documenting of meteorological records began in 1901.
●    The announcement was made in IMD’s Statement on Climate of India during 2016.
●    During 2016, the average annual mean surface temperature in India was +0.91 degree Celsius above the average recorded between 1961 and 1990.
●    During the year, the weather conditions in India were in line with warmer than normal climate observed globally.
●    Before 2016, the warmest year on record was recorded in 2009 when annual mean temperature was +0.77 degree Celsius above average.
●    2016 was warmer than 2015 by 0.240 Celsius.
●    The 2016 annual rainfall over the country as a whole was 91 per cent of Long Period Average (LPA) value for the period 1951-2000.
●    The annual rainfall deficiency was mainly due to the significantly below average rainfall during the winter and northeast monsoon seasons.
 

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Paris Climate agreement to take effect from Nov 4

The landmark Paris agreement on climate change will enter into force on Nov. 4.
●    President Barack Obama hailed the news as "a turning point for our planet," and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the agreement's strong international support a "testament for the urgency of action." 
●    The deal takes effect 30 days after 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions, have adopted it. 
●    Sixty-two countries had done so as of Tuesday but they accounted only for about 52 percent of emissions.
●    The Paris agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, rising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. 
●    It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius 

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White House bans oil, gas drilling in Arctic, Atlantic oceans

The White House in the fourth week of December 2016 permanently banned all new oil and gas drilling in the US-owned waters of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.
●    This ban is being termed as a final effort to lock in environmental protections before current President Barack Obama hands over his office to president-elect Donald Trump.
●    To implement the ban on the two Oceans, an area that is roughly equal to the size of Thailand or Spain on Arctic and 31 sea canyons in the Arctic, Obama used a law of 1953 under which a president can block the mining and sale of new offshore drilling rights. The law makes it difficult for his/her successors to reverse the decision.
●    The ban was jointly announced by Obama and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister.
●    Outgoing President Obama’s decision comes at a time of his departure from his office holds its ground. 
●    It holds ground because of his difference, in relation to policies related to the environment, between him and the president-elect Trump.

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Scientists discover 163 new species in the Greater Mekong region

The World Wildlife Fund reports that a group of researchers discovered 163 new species in the Greater Mekong region.
●    A rainbow-headed snake, a dragon-like lizard and a newt that looks like a Klingon from Star Trek were among the 163 new species that were found in the region. In all, 9 amphibians, 11 fish, 14 reptiles, 126 plants and 3 mammals were described for the first time. Scientists also discovered a rare banana species from Thailand.
●    Between 1997 and 2015, there have been 2409 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong. This adds to the over 430 mammal species, 800 reptiles and amphibians, 1200 birds, 1100 fish and 20000 plant species already known to science.
●    About Greater Mekong region
●    The Greater Mekong is an international region of the Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia.
●    It holds irreplaceable natural and cultural riches and is considered one of the world's most significant biodiversity hotspot.
●    The region has a diverse geographic landscape including massifs, plateaus, limestone karsts, lowlands, fertile floodplains and deltas, forests and grasslands.
●    It encapsulates 16 of the WWF Global 200 ecoregions and habitats for an estimated 20000 plant species, 1300 fish species, 1200 bird species, 800 reptile and amphibian species, and 430 mammal species.
●    The region's biodiversity is ranked as a top-five most threatened hotspot by Conservation International. The WWF also states that the region is particularly vulnerable to global climate change.

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Cyclone Vardah to make landfall near Chennai tomorrow noon

Cyclone Vardah is expected to cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Chennai and Ongole. This may bring good rainfall over north coastal districts, including Chennai.
●    According to Meteorological Department, the weather system has now intensified into very severe cyclonic storm.
●    The weather system now lies about 300 km east of Chennai and 350 km east-southeast of Nellore. It is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
●    It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts, close to Chennai, with a wind speed of up to 100 kmph on Monday afternoon.
●    Tidal waves likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu; and Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
●    The IMD has predicted isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 36 hours.
 

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Sharks and stingrays face extinction

A staggering percentage of the world's sharks and rays are now "alarmingly" close to the brink of extinction, according to the a new study spearheaded by the Shark Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 
●    A collaborative project that involved more than 300 experts from 64 countries, the study also found that chondrichthyes -- the class of cartilaginous fish that includes sharks, rays and chimaeras -- are at a "substantially higher risk than most other groups of animals and have the lowest percentage of species considered safe -- with only 23 percent categorized as 'Least Concern.'"
●    Researchers say they were also troubled to find that rays are generally even more threatened than sharks are. Rays like sawfish, wedgefish, guitarfish and stingray, for instance, are among the top 10 most-threatened families of chondrichthyes.
●    According to the IUCN, sharks, rays and chimaeras are "one of the world’s oldest and most ecologically-diverse groups of animals."
 

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Great Barrier Reef sees largest coral die-off ever

A mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef this year killed more corals than ever before, scientists said on Tuesday.
●    The 2,300-kilometre long reef — the world’s biggest — suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March and April.
●    Further south over the vast central and southern regions, including major tourist areas around Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, there was a much lower toll.
●    Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.
●    Algae are vital to the coral, which uses the organic products of photosynthesis to help it grow.
●    The loss of algae makes the host vulnerable to disease and means it will eventually die.
●    However, coral can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.
●    Environmentalists blame the burning of fossil fuels for global warming and repeated calls for Australia to abandon coal mining to help prevent further bleaching disasters.

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North Pole 36 degrees warmer than normal in winter

In 2016 which has been a zany year for the north pole, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice. 
●    The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.
●    At the same time, one of the key indicators of the state of the Arctic the extent of sea ice covering the polar ocean is at a record low. 
●    The ice is freezing up again, as it always does this time of year after reaching its September low, but it isn’t doing so as rapidly as usual.
●    In fact, the ice’s area is even lower than it was during the record-low 2012.
●    This is the second year in a row that temperatures near the North Pole have risen to freakishly warm levels. 
●    During 2015’s final days, the temperature near the Pole spiked to the melting point thanks to a massive storm that pumped warm air into the region.

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COP 22 concludes : Roadmap to 2018 deadlines drawn, Not much consensus on Climate Finance

An important marker of progress in climate negotiations post the Paris accord, COP22 at Marrakesh, concluded here early on Saturday morning with negotiators from over 190 countries setting a deadline of 2018 to finalise the rule book, which would turn pledges made in Paris into action.
●    But the very fact that the conference (COP22) which was scheduled to conclude on Friday, stretched into the next day, showed that on tricky issues like finance, consensus remains elusive between the developed and the developing world.
●    A clear roadmap to meet the 2018 deadline was drawn out. 
●    The rules will specify the ways and means for measuring and accounting of emission reductions in all countries and they will be framed in such a way that it can take care of transparency of action of all countries as per their respective pledges under the agreement which was adopted by 195 countries in December last year in Paris.

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