Current Affairs Dec 23-25, 2023

Current Affairs Dec 23-25, 2023

National news:

1. “Union Minister Giriraj Singh to Spearhead National Workshop on Harnessing Cactus for Sustainable Development”

  • Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, to address the one-day National Workshop on “Cactus for Green Economy in Watershed Projects” via Video Conference.
  • The Department of Land Resources (DoLR) is organizing the workshop at Bharat Mandampam, New Delhi.
  • The workshop aims to gather insights from experts, entrepreneurs, and innovators to promote Cactus cultivation and explore its economic applications.
  • The event will facilitate collaboration between industry, experts, and states to formulate a roadmap for promoting cactus cultivation in arid and semi-arid regions.
  • DoLR is actively considering cactus cultivation on rainfed and degraded lands to harness fuel, fertilizer, fodder, and food, contributing to the overall benefit of the nation and boosting farmers’ incomes.

2. “Sahitya Akademi Announces Winners of 2023 Awards Across 24 Languages”

  • Sahitya Akademi has revealed the recipients of the Sahitya Akademi Award 2023 in 24 languages.
  • The awards encompass nine poetry books, six novels, five short story collections, three essays, and one literary study.
  • Notable awardees include Rajasekaran for the novel “Neervazhi Padooum” (Tamil), Patanjali Sastry for the short story collection (Telugu), and EV Ramakrishnan for the literary study “Malayala Novelinte Deshakalangal” (Malayalam).
  • Poetry award winners include Vijay Verma (Dogri), Vinod Joshi (Gujarati), and Ashutosh Parida (Odia).
  • Short story collection awardees feature Pranavjyoti Deka (Assamese), Nandeswar Daimary (Bodo), and Taraceen Baskey (Santali).
  • Sanjeev receives the award for the Hindi novel “Mujhe Pahachaano,” while Neelam Saran Gour is honored for the English novel “Requiem in Raga Janki.”
  • The awards, comprising a casket with an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl, and one lakh rupees, will be presented on 12th March next year.
  • Recognizing works published between January 2017 and 31st December 2021, the awards celebrate literary excellence across various genres and languages.

3. “Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur to Inaugurate Khelo India Games and MY Bharat Program in Chennai”

  • Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur, to visit Chennai for a day to participate in the inauguration of the Khelo India games.
  • The Minister will also inaugurate the MY Bharat Program and flag off the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra at A.M. Jain College, Meenambakkam.
  • Anurag Singh Thakur will address social media influencers, focusing on the nine years of governance and activating the MY Bharat Yatra.
  • The Khelo India games, a flagship initiative to promote sports at the grassroots level, will witness the Minister’s participation in the inauguration event.
  • The MY Bharat Program and Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra aim to contribute to the development and progress of the nation.
  • The events are scheduled for tomorrow, reflecting the government’s commitment to promoting sports and societal initiatives for a developed India.

4. “Union Minister Smriti Irani Inaugurates National Programme on Anganwadi-cum-Crèches, Targets Opening 17,000 Creches Nationwide”

  • Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani inaugurates the National Programme on Anganwadi-cum-Crèches in New Delhi.
  • The government plans to open 17,000 crèches across the country as part of the initiative.
  • Irani urges state and district officials to identify groups of women construction workers and farm laborers who can benefit from the program.
  • The initiative is seen as a significant economic opportunity for women in self-help groups and cooperatives, with a focus on childcare.
  • The Ministry will provide a framework for private engagement in childcare, ensuring the safety, nutrition, and health needs of the child.
  • Women running self-help groups and cooperatives are encouraged to consider running crèches as an economic activity.
  • Irani emphasizes the closure of unregulated and unregistered institutes violating child rights, stressing police verification for those involved in childcare.
  • Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr. Munjapara Mahendrabhai, and other officials address the program, highlighting the government’s commitment to women’s education, skill development, and workforce entry.

5. ‘Mera Yuva Bharat’ Portal Surpasses 26 Lakh Youth Registrations since Launch by PM Narendra Modi”

  • Registrations on the ‘Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat)’ portal, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2023, have exceeded 26 lakhs.
  • The portal serves as a technology-driven facilitator for youth development, aiming to provide equitable opportunities for the realization of India’s developmental aspirations.
  • ‘Phygital Platform’ (Physical Plus Digital) combines physical activities with digital connectivity, fostering a holistic approach to youth engagement.
  • The platform serves as a bridge connecting youth with various programs and learning opportunities offered by businesses, government departments, and non-profit organizations.
  • The engagement on the portal seeks to enhance the youth’s understanding of local community issues, empowering them to contribute to the generation of constructive solutions.
  • ‘Mera Yuva Bharat’ stands as a testament to the government’s commitment to leveraging technology for youth empowerment and fostering a sense of responsibility towards societal development.
  • The portal’s success in garnering over 26 lakh registrations highlights its popularity and the enthusiasm of the youth to actively participate in initiatives aimed at their holistic development.

6. “Parliament Passes ‘Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023’ for Streamlined Registration Process”

  • The Parliament has approved the ‘Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023,’ with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha endorsing it. The new legislation repeals the ‘Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.’
  • The bill aims to simplify the online process for title verification and registration of periodicals by the Press Registrar General of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI).
  • Provisions in the bill address aspects such as the circulation and verification of newspapers, as well as prior approval of the Central Government for the publication of facsimile editions of foreign periodicals in India.
  • Publishers can now apply to the Press Registrar General for the revision of registration details or title. The legislation introduces the ‘Press and Registration Appellate Board’ for grievance redressal.
  • The legislation aligns with the principles of media freedom and ease of doing business, enabling a simplified and simultaneous online process for title allotment and periodical registration without physical interface requirements.
  • Noteworthy changes include the elimination of the need for publishers and printing presses to file declarations with local authorities, simplifying the registration process.
  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur emphasized the bill’s focus on ease of doing business, ease of living, and promoting Digital India. He highlighted its simplicity compared to previous legislation.
  • During discussions, BJP MPs supported the bill, suggesting the establishment of a Tribunal for grievance redressal. Concerns were raised about its impact on social media and electronic media, to which responses were sought.
  • The legislation signifies a shift towards a more streamlined and digitized approach in media registration, acknowledging the evolving landscape of the industry.

7. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah Unveils Projects Worth Over Rs 3,500 Crore in Chandigarh, Focuses on Modernizing Criminal Justice System”

  • Amit Shah inaugurates nine projects worth 368 crore rupees and lays the foundation stone for three projects totaling 3200 crore rupees in Chandigarh.
  • Chandigarh Police fleet, including the state-of-the-art ‘Eagle’ control vehicle, flagged off with a total value of 3.75 crore rupees.
  • 700 constables and 44 ASIs receive appointment letters; Shah emphasizes filling vacant posts on a war footing.
  • Inauguration of the ‘Center for Cyber Operation and Security’ for advanced cybercrime investigation at a cost of approximately 90 crore rupees, developed with DRDO’s assistance.
  • Introduction of E-beat system nationwide, pioneered by Chandigarh Police four years ago.
  • Launch of Cyber Operation and Security Centre (CENCOPS); Amit Shah reviews the implementation of three new criminal laws recently passed by Parliament.
  • Shah highlights the significance of new laws, aiming to bring radical changes in the country’s criminal justice system, ensuring disposal of criminal cases within three years.
  • Dignity of constitutional posts emphasized; Shah criticizes opposition members for mimicking the Vice President during parliamentary debates.
  • Plan outlined for comprehensive infrastructure, software, and training for the full implementation of new laws in all Union Territories by December 2024.
  • Prior achievements highlighted, including the online connectivity of police stations, e-courts, and digitization of criminal justice data.

8. “French President Emmanuel Macron to Grace 75th Republic Day Celebrations in Delhi as Chief Guest”

  • President of France, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed as the Chief Guest for the 75th Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.
  • The External Affairs Ministry statement notes the high degree of convergence between India and France on various regional and global issues.
  • Macron’s visit comes at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasizing the strong diplomatic ties between the two nations.
  • Both countries are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership this year.
  • Previously, Prime Minister Modi served as the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade in Paris on July 14, 2023.
  • The presence of the French President underscores the significance of the diplomatic relationship and signifies mutual cooperation between India and France.
  • Capital of France – Paris.

Currency – Euro.

Language – French.

Prime Minister – Elizabeth Borne.

9. “Delhi and NCR Reinstate GRAP Stage-III Curbs to Tackle Deteriorating Air Quality”

  • The Government reinstates Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Stage-III curbs in Delhi and NCR to address the sudden decline in air quality, with the average Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 409.
  • Construction and Demolition activities banned in Delhi and NCR under Stage III of GRAP.
  • The Sub-Committee of the Commission for Air Quality Management outlines an eight-point action plan to be implemented by various agencies and Pollution Control Boards.
  • Measures include intensified road sweeping, daily water sprinkling with dust suppressants, proper dust disposal, increased public transport services, and differential rates to encourage off-peak travel.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board reports an average AQI of 409 in the National Capital.
  • Stage I and Stage II of GRAP to continue across the entire NCR to prevent further deterioration of air quality.
  • The Commission for Air Quality Management instructs strict implementation of Stage I and Stage II by all agencies.

10. “UNESCO Honors Rambagh Gate & Ramparts Project with Award of Excellence for Inclusivity”

  • UNESCO awards the resilient urban revitalization project of Rambagh Gate and Ramparts in Punjab the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence’ for its inclusivity and access to the broader community.
  • Other recognized heritage conservation projects include Haryana’s Church of Epiphany and Delhi’s Bikaner House, both receiving an ‘Award of Merit.’
  • The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation applaud individuals and organizations for their efforts in restoring and conserving structures of cultural significance.
  • A total of twelve projects from China, India, and Nepal were acknowledged by the awards jury this year.
  • Notable projects receiving special recognition include the Fanling Golf Course in Hong Kong SAR, China; Dongguan Garden Residences in Yangzhou, China; and Karnikara Mandapam at Kunnamangalam Bhagawati Temple, Kerala, India, each earning an ‘Award of Distinction.’
  • The awards highlight exemplary contributions to cultural heritage conservation and restoration in the Asia-Pacific region.

11. “Union Minister Arjun Munda Inaugurates Two-Day Tribal Orientation Program, Adi Vyakhyan, in New Delhi”

  • Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda, inaugurates the two-day tribal orientation program, Adi Vyakhyan, in New Delhi.
  • Organized by the National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI), the program aims to deepen understanding of tribal traditions, culture, and challenges to their existence, fostering exploration of tribal identity and contributions to the nation’s cultural diversity.
  • Minister Munda emphasizes the importance of tribal identity, recognition, and conservation, highlighting the significance of tribal language and literature in preserving identity.
  • Government efforts for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) acknowledged, including the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) initiative for tribal upliftment.
  • Minister applauds Adi Manthan for discussing key acts such as the Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act-1996, the Forest Rights Act (FRA)-2006, and the Prevention of SC/STs Atrocities Act-1989.
  • Adi Vyakhyan program to familiarize tribal communities with statistical input of India and Constitutional safeguards, providing insights into legal frameworks shaping tribal governance and land rights.

12. “8th Indian Ocean Naval Symposium Conclave of Chiefs Concludes in Bangkok”

  • The 8th edition of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) concluded in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Organized by the Royal Thai Navy, the conclave began on the 19th of the month and saw the participation of Chiefs of Navies or Senior Delegates from 27 Members or Observer countries.
  • Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, led a three-member Indian Naval delegation at the event.
  • During the conclave, Thailand assumed the duties of the Chair of IONS, and the Work Plan for the next two years was finalized.
  • India’s designed Flag was selected as the IONS Flag, marking a significant recognition.
  • India also took over as the co-chair of IONS Working Groups on Maritime Security and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) for the upcoming cycle.
  • Capital of Thailand – Bangkok.

Currency – Baht.

Language – Thai.

Prime Minister – Srettha Thavisin.

International news:

13. “Angola, Africa’s Second-Largest Oil Producer, Withdraws from OPEC Amid Production Target Disputes”

  • Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, has officially announced its departure from OPEC due to disagreements over production targets.
  • The decision was made during a cabinet meeting and received approval from President João Lourenço, dealing a blow to the oil cartel chaired by Saudi Arabia.
  • Last month, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, reduced Angola’s oil output target as part of a broader effort to stabilize and increase oil prices.
  • Angola joined OPEC in 2007 but has recently clashed with Saudi Arabia over efforts to lower its production levels.
  • In June, Angola walked out of an OPEC meeting but later reached an agreement, along with Nigeria and the Republic of Congo, for an independent third party to review its production baseline.
  • The withdrawal comes as Angola has been working to reverse a nearly decade-long trend of declining oil production.
  • The move reflects the challenges faced by oil-producing nations in balancing their economic interests with global efforts to manage oil production and stabilize prices.

14. “Nepal-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Holds Inaugural Meeting in Kathmandu to Boost Bilateral Relations”

  • The inaugural meeting of the Nepal-Sri Lanka joint commission, co-chaired by Foreign Minister NP Saud and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, took place in Kathmandu.
  • The Nepali delegation, including the Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary, and Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka, discussed various matters with the Sri Lankan delegation, which comprised the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Kathmandu and senior officials from their foreign ministry.
  • The joint commission aims to enhance trade and investment, establish the Kathmandu-Colombo air route to improve air connectivity, promote cultural and educational exchanges, and strengthen regional cooperation within SAARC and BIMSTEC.
  • The meeting explored the possibility of an air connection between Colombo and Lumbini, and both countries exchanged thoughts on the transfer of three Nepali nationals imprisoned in Sri Lanka.
  • The Ministers also discussed the severe impacts of climate change faced by both nations, emphasizing the need for climate justice and the early operationalization of loss and damage funds.
  • The joint commission reflects the commitment of Nepal and Sri Lanka to foster closer ties and cooperation in various domains for mutual benefit and regional development.
  • Capital of Nepal – Kathmandu.
  • Currency – Nepalese rupee.
  • Language – Nepali.
  • Prime Minister – Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
  • Capital of Srilanka – Colombo; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte.
  • Currency – Sri Lankan rupee.
  • Language – Sinhala, Tamil.
  • Prime Minister – Dinesh Gunawardena.

15. “Netherlands to Deliver Eighteen F-16 Fighter Jets to Ukraine, European Commission Provides Generators”

  • Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands announces the government’s preparation for the initial delivery of eighteen F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
  • Rutte highlights that the F-16 delivery is a crucial element of the agreements made on military support for Ukraine.
  • The European Commission pledges to provide 500 additional generators to Ukraine to maintain vital services amid continued Russian strikes on the nation’s energy infrastructure.
  • This announcement follows the ongoing conflict and is in addition to the 5,000 generators sent to Ukraine since the start of the Russian Special Military Operations nearly two years ago.
  • In a separate incident, a Russian drone attack targets a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, resulting in at least two injuries.
  • Capital of Netherland – Amsterdam.

Currency – Euro.

Language – Dutch.

Prime Minister – Mark Rutte.

16. “Israeli Air Force Strikes Hezbollah Targets in Lebanon Amid Escalating Border Tensions”

  • Israeli Air Force conducts airstrikes on Hezbollah military targets and infrastructure in Lebanon in response to cross-border launches detected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
  • Border clashes between Israel and Lebanon intensify since the conflict’s onset on October 7th.
  • United Nations Security Council postpones a vote on a resolution addressing the Hamas-Israel conflict, with the U.S. expressing readiness to support the current text.
  • Hamas-run Health Ministry reports a death toll of 20,057 and over 53,000 injuries in Gaza amid ongoing hostilities.
  • Capital of Israel – Jerusalem.

Currency – Shekel.

Language – Hebrew; Arabic.

Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu.


17. “Sanjay Singh Elected as President of Wrestling Federation of India; Sakshi Malik Announces Retirement”

  • Sanjay Singh secures the position of President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) after winning the election of office bearers with 40 votes.
  • The other candidate, Anita Sheoran, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning wrestler, received seven votes in the election.
  • Sanjay Singh, currently the vice president of the Uttar Pradesh Wrestling Association, has previously served on the WFI’s executive council and held the position of joint secretary since 2019.
  • He succeeds Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as the WFI President, with the latter stepping aside amid serious allegations, including sexual assault, raised by wrestlers.
  • Sakshi Malik, the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist in wrestling, announces her retirement following Sanjay Singh’s election as the president of WFI.
  • The change in leadership marks a significant development in Indian wrestling, and Sanjay Singh will be entrusted with steering the federation forward.


18. “Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Unveils Logo, Jersey, and Mascot for 6th Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai”

  • Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur and Tamil Nadu Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin launch the official jersey, mascot (Veera Mangai Velu Nachiyar), and theme song for the 6th Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai.
  • Thakur expresses immense pride in India’s sports talent and emphasizes the continuous growth of sports in the country, citing the special time of growth in the field.
  • Khelo India, described as the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is termed a movement by Thakur. This edition introduces squash to the games.
  • Thakur emphasizes the need for collaboration in sports with all states to make India great by 2047, asserts India’s success in international sports events, and reveals plans for India bidding for the 2036 Olympics.
  • Udhayanidhi Stalin launches the official logo, thanking PM Modi and Minister Thakur for hosting the Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai and emphasizing the state’s sports potential.
  • Five-time grandmaster and Vice President of FIDE, Viswanathan Anand, acknowledges India’s rapid growth in international sports events.
  • The Khelo India Youth Games, scheduled from January 19 to 31, will take place in Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, and Coimbatore.
  • More than 5,500 sports persons, 1,600 coaches, 1,000 referees, and 1,200 volunteers are expected to participate in the event, featuring 27 types of sports, including squash for the first time.
  • Volunteers can register on the exclusive website. The event torch was brought by Squash champion Joshna Chinappa and Hockey player S. Mareeswaran to the Union Sports Minister.

19. “Dommaraju Gukesh Wins Chennai Grand Masters 2023; Leads in FIDE Circuit for 2024 Candidates Tournament”

  • Indian chess prodigy Dommaraju Gukesh clinches the Chennai Grand Masters 2023 title by securing a draw against compatriot Pentala Harikrishna.
  • Arjun Erigaisi secures the second spot in the tournament, both finishing with 4.5 points out of 7. Gukesh wins on tie-breaks.
  • Pentala Harikrishna takes the third spot with 4 points, making it an all-Indian podium finish.
  • Gukesh’s victory puts him in the lead in the FIDE Circuit, with the opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Candidates Tournament if he maintains the lead until January 1, 2024.
  • The 2024 Candidates Tournament, scheduled for April 2-25 in Toronto, Canada, will determine the challenger for the 2024 World Chess Championship.
  • Earlier qualifiers for the Candidates Tournament include R. Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi, adding to India’s strong presence in elite chess competitions.

20. “India Triumphs Over South Africa, Clinches ODI Series 2-1 with a 78-Run Victory”

  • India secures a 78-run win against South Africa in the third and final ODI at Boland Park in Paarl.
  • The victory in the series decider gives India a 2-1 lead in the three-match ODI series.
  • South Africa, chasing a target of 297, is bowled out for 218 in 45.5 overs despite Tony de Zorzi’s knock of 81 runs off 87 balls.
  • Arshdeep Singh shines for India, taking four wickets, while Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan contribute with two dismissals each.
  • The win reflects India’s strong performance in the series and sets a positive note for the team.
  • Capital of South Africa – Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judiciary).

Currency – Rand.

Language – Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu.

Prime Minister – Cyril Ramaphosa.

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