Daily GK Update: 21st December 2019

RBI to buy and sell bonds worth Rs 10,000 cr via open market on Dec 23

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will simultaneously buy and sell government bonds worth Rs 10,000 crore each on December 23, through Open Market Operations (OMOs), signalling its intent to lower yields on long-term bonds.
  • On a review of the current liquidity and market situation and an assessment of the evolving financial conditions, the RBI has decided to buy government bonds maturing in 2029 and sell four securities aggregating Rs 10,000 crore which will mature in 2020.
  • Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings, said through such operations the RBI is trying to smoothen the yield curve and signalling correction in yield at the long end (especially 10-year bonds).

Source : Business Standard

Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest forest—and its radical impact on life

  • Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest forest in an abandoned quarry near Cairo, New York. The 385-million-year-old rocks contain the fossilized woody roots of dozens of ancient trees. The find marks a turning point in Earth’s history.
  • When trees evolved these roots, they helped pull carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and lock it away, radically shifting the planet’s climate and leading to the atmosphere we know today.
  • “The Cairo site is very special,” says team member Christopher Berry, a paleobotanist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. The quarry floor, about half the size of a U.S. football field, represents a horizontal slice through the soil just below the surface of the ancient forest. “You are walking through the roots of ancient trees,” Berry says. “Standing on the quarry surface we can reconstruct the living forest around us in our imagination.”

Source: Sciencemag.com

New China-Brazil earth resource satellite sent into space – ties set for new heights

  • President Xi Jinping called on China and Brazil to continue deepening their cooperation in space to bring more benefits to the two peoples after a jointly developed satellite was successfully launched in China on Friday (Dec 20).
  • The CBERS-4A, the sixth satellite of the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite programme, was lifted atop a Long March 4B carrier rocket at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in North China’s Shanxi province and was later placed into a sun-synchronous orbit about 628 kilometers above the Earth.

Source: The Star Online

EChO Network launched to catalyze cross-disciplinary leadership in India

  • It is a national program to foster cross-disciplinary leadership to increase research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment in India.
  • The program is a partnership of Government, industry, and academia. Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India leads the program.
  • It was established in 2010. Its objective is to interconnect all institutions of higher learning and research with a high-speed data communication network to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaborative research.
  • National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is the implementing agency.

Source: factly.forumias.com

PM Modi to hold first meeting of council of ministers of new govt on Wednesday

  • The first meeting of the new council of ministers will be held on Wednesday in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to outline the roadmap of his government, sources said Tuesday.
  • The prime minister is expected to underline the role of ministers of state in the running of ministries and may ask Cabinet ministers to give their deputies adequate responsibilities.
  • Deliberations are also likely to be held on an action plan for the government’s next five years and Modi is expected to brief the ministers on it.

Source: Business Today

Long March Rocket Launches Chinese-Brazilian Mission and 1st Ethiopian Satellite

  • China successfully launched nine satellites early on Friday (Dec. 20) as the country cements its place at the top of the 2019 launch table.
  • The launch took place at 11:22 a.m. local time on Dec. 20 (0322 GMT, or 10:22 p.m. EST Dec. 19). The mission was delayed by three days due to unfavorable weather conditions.
  • The satellites were launched by a Long March 4B rocket, which uses hypergolic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide for propellant, producing distinctively colored exhaust patterns.

Source: Space.com

India Signs $490 Million Loan Agreement With ADB To Upgrade Madhya Pradesh Roads

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $490 million loan for public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 1,600 km of state highways and major district roads (MDRs) from single-lane to two-lane widths in the state of Madhya Pradesh. An additional $286 million investment will be mobilised through private sector participation under the PPP modality.
  • The signatories to the loan agreement were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

Source : Business Standard

Defence Ministry: 5th Edition of ARTECH to be held in New Delhi

  • ARTECH Seminar was launched in 2016 as part of overall vision of ‘Make in India’.
  • It is conducted every year as part of events leading to Army Day celebrations.
    The seminar is the flagship event of Indian Army which sets the agenda for focus areas of harvesting indigenous capabilities in the Defence sector.
  • ARTECH platform provides an opportunity to practitioners of military operations, policy makers in Ministry of Defence, industry and academia to put forth their contemporary Defence related capabilities.

Afghanistan first country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia

  • The Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) has been recognised formally by the National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It will also be used based on the requirement as reputable pharmacopoeia in the laboratory of medicines and health products quality. With this, a new beginning has been made and Afghanistan has become the first country to recognize IP pursuant to the efforts of Department of Commerce and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • IP is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder. The IP specifies the standards of drugs manufactured and marketed in India in terms of their identity, purity and strength

Source: Press Release Page

India, Afghanistan and Iran meet in Tehran in a bid to fast-track Chabahar port project

  • Senior officials of Afghanistan, India and Iran on Tuesday met in Tehran to discuss the development of the Chabahar port, a sign that India is committed to the project despite the threat of looming US sanctions on the West Asian country.
  • The Indian delegation to the first meeting of the Coordination Council on Chabahar was led by T.S. Tirumurti, secretary, economic relations, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Wipro partners with Nasscom to skill students

  • Wipro NSE 0.42 % has partnered with industry body Nasscom to start a training platform on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science, internet of things, cybersecurity.
  • Through this platform, Wipro will train 10,000 students from more than 20 engineering colleges in India.
  • This is a part of Wipro’s corporate social responsibility programme, TalentNext, which aims to enhance the quality of engineering education by preparing faculty and academic leaders to train students.

Source: The Economic Times