Current Affairs

18 December, 2020


Buildings-related CO2 emissions record high level in 2019: 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings & Construction

According to the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction released by Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), the Building & Construction sector accounted for 38% of CO2 emissions, and the CO2 emission increased to 9.95 GtCO2 (gigatonnes of carbon dioxide) in 2019.
i.This is the 5th Edition of the Annual Report.
ii.GlobalABC was launched at COP21 (2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference) and is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
iii.The report highlighted India’s updation ofEnergy Efficiency Standards for a wide range of domestic appliances between 2018 & 2020.
iv.Due to the impact of COVID-19 India recorded a slowdown of 2.2 % in the construction sector compared to 2019 levels.
About Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC):
Head – Martina Otto
Headquarters (HQ) – Since it is hosted by UNEP, the HQ is situated in Paris, France


India, UK to Set Up Joint Task Force for Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications

i.India and the United Kingdom (UK) agreed to set up a joint task force consisting of designated higher education organisations from both the countries to work towards mutual recognition of academic qualifications over the next year.
ii.This decision was taken during the bilateral meeting between Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Ministry of Education (MoE) and Foreign Secretary of UK Dominic Raab in New Delhi.
About United Kingdom (UK):
Capital– London
Currency– Pound sterling
Prime Minister– Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

India’s 1st Maritime Theatre Command to get its final shape in 2021

As per a plan prepared by a group headed by Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar,India’s 1st Maritime Theatre Command (MTC) will get its final shape in 2021. It will be the first new “Geographical” Theatre command to be created as part of military restructuring plans.
i.MTC will be responsible for the security of India’s 7,516 km coastline, 1, 382 islands and Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
ii.The objective behind creation of MTC is to build an integrated land-air-sea fighting machinery.
iii.Headquarters of MTC will be set up at Karwar Naval Base, Karnataka and will be headed by a Vice Admiral (3-Star Naval Officer).
iv.MTC will consist of elements from Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) under its operational control.
About Ministry of Defence:
Union Minister – Rajnath Singh
Minister of State – Shripad Yesso Naik

G Kishan Reddy inaugurates 1st of its kind Establishment, NCDE in Hakimpet, Hyderabad

Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy inaugurated 1st of its kind Establishment National Centre for Divyang Empowerment (NCDE) at CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) Group Centre in Hakimpet, Hyderabad. The Centre has been set up for re-skilling and rehabilitation of Divyang Warriors of the CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) who sustained life threatening injuries in the line of duty.
i.The Centre will impart training to the ‘Divyang Warriors’ in Artificial Intelligence, Cyber security or warfare, data analytics.
ii.Also the focus area of training would be on Machine Language, social media monitoring, audio visual effects, advanced animation & block chain management.
iii.NCDE will also focus on promotion of para sports and will be developed as a Centre of Excellence.
iv.They will be skilled in the field of IT and vocational courses by institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, BITS Pilani (Birla Institute of Technology & Science), Rajasthan.
About Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):
Director General – A P Maheshwari
Headquarters – New Delhi

MoHF&W approves Health Data Management Policy of NDHM

i.Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHF&W) has approved the health data management policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to protect and manage personal data of patients using the digital services of the scheme.
ii.The policy has laid minimum standards for data privacy protection in order to ensure compliance with relevant and applicable laws, rules and regulations.
iii.It will acts as a guidance document across the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE)
iv.The government has instructed that this policy is to be read along with any applicable law, or any instrument, and not in contradiction to.
About Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):
Union Minister– Harsh Vardhan (Constituency- Chandni Chowk,New Delhi)
Minister of State (MoS)– Ashwini Kumar Choubey


YES Bank Partners with Visa to Enhance Payments Efficiency; Introduced New Line of Vertical Debit cards under the E-seriesi.

i.YES bank partnered with Visa as a payment processor to enhance salaried and YES FIRST account holders’ payment experience.
ii.The bank has also introduced a new line of vertical Debit cards under the E-series across Mastercard and VISA cards.
iii.This launch enables customers to avail VISA-branded YES bank debit cards along with Mastercard and RuPay branded debit cards.
About YES Bank:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Experience our expertise
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Prashant Kumar
Incepted– 2004
About Visa:
Headquarters– California, United States
Chairman and CEO– Alfred F. Kelly, Jr.

ADB Launches a $9 billion Vaccine Initiative, APVAX to its Developing Members

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative, the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX). This facility will
help its developing member economies to procure and deliver an effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Purpose– To Help Members to access and distribute COVID-19 Vaccines
Points to be Noted
i.In association with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners, ADB will provide financing for the vaccines.
ii.ADB, in order to support the efforts of its developing members to secure safe and effective vaccines and the goods that support distributions also provides a $ 500 million vaccine import facility.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
Establishment– 1966
President– Masatsugu Asakawa
Headquarters– Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
Membership– 68 countries (Including India)


Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) selects Qatar to host Asian games 2030 and Saudi Arabia as host for 2034 Edition

Asian Games through virtual voting. Qatar’s Doha city will be host of 2030’s edition, while the runner-up in voting, Saudi Arabia will host 2034edition of Asian games at Riyadh city.The OCA General Assembly meeting held in Muscat, Oman.
Note: Qatar will also be hosting the 2022 Edition of FIFA Football World Cup.
Year Host
2018 Jakarta & Palembang, Indonesia
2022 Hangzhou, China
2026 Nagoya-Aichi, Japan
2030 Doha, Qatar
2034 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

About Asian Games:
Second largest multi-sport event after Olympic games
Organiser- Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)
First Asian games were conducted in 1951.
About Qatar:
Capital- Doha
Prime Minister- Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani


China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft brings home first moon samples in 40 years

China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft successfully landed in Siziwang Banner, China bringing home the first samples of the moon in 40 years. It was China’s 1st attempt to get materials from an extraterrestrial body. The mission marks the successful conclusion of China’s 3 step lunar exploration programme which began in 2004.

ISRO sets up ‘NETRA’ – Dedicated Control Centre for Space Situational Awareness

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has set up ‘NETRA’ (NEtwork for space object TRacking and Analysis) – an dedicated Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre at ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network) Campus at Peenya, Bengaluru, Karnataka. The main objective of NETRA is toprotect Indian Space Assets from Space debris close approaches and collisions.
i.NETRA will act as the hub for all SSA activities in India and has been set up as a ‘Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM)’.
ii.Only America, Russia and Europe have similar SSA capabilities to track space objects and share collision warnings.
iii.NETRA was formally inaugurated by ISRO Chairman K Sivan on December 14, 2020.
About Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO):
Chairman – K Sivan
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka

UNEP announces 7 recipients for “Young Champions of the Earth” 2020 Prize; Indian Entrepreneur Vidyut Mohan features in the list

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced 7 recipients for the “Young Champions of the Earth” 2020 Prize, Indian Entrepreneur Vidyut Mohan featured in the list for his Social Enterprise “Takachar”. The prize is given to global change-makers who use innovative ideas and ambitious action to solve the world’s most important environmental challenges.
The prizes are awarded annually to 7 Entrepreneurs below the age of 30 who have bold ideas for sustainable environmental change. Winners will be selected from each global region: Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, West Asia and two from Asia and the Pacific.
List of Winners of “Young Champions of Earth” 2020 Prize:
Recipients Country Name of firm & Contribution
Vidyut Mohan India (Asia and the Pacific) Takachar
Harvesting Value from Agricultural waste.
Xiaoyuan Ren China (Asia and the Pacific) MyH2O
A data platform that tests and records the quality of groundwater
Nzambi Matee Kenya (Africa) Gjenge Makers
Low-cost construction materials from recycled plastic waste and sand
Lefteris Arapakis Greece (Europe) Enaleia
Mediterranean cleanup.
Max Hidalgo Quinto Peru(Latin America and the Caribbean) YAWA
Sustainable Technology for Access to Water
Niria Alicia Garcia United States of America(North America) Run4Salmon
Indigenous Lead Conservation
Fatemah Alzelzela Kuwait (West Asia) Eco Star
Trees for Waste
About United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP):
Headquarter- Nairobi, Kenya
Executive Director – Inger Andersen

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