GK Update 6th & 7th December 2020

1. Bangladesh signs maiden Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

  • Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan, which will allow duty-free access to a range of goods between the two countries and hence boost bilateral trade between them.
  • Under the PTA, 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan, while 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh. Further items can be added in the list later on the basis of discussion between the two countries.
  • This is the first PTA signed by Bangladesh with any country in the world since its independence in 1971.
  • The PTA was signed on 6th December 2020, to mark 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan. In 1971, Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina; Capital: Dhaka; Currency: Taka.
  • Bhutan Capital: Thimphu.
  • Bhutan Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum.
  • Bhutan Prime Minister: Lotay Tshering.

2. China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon

  • China has become the second country in the world to unfurl its national flag on the moon surface.
  • Earlier this feat was achieved only by the USA when it planted its flag on the Moon during the Apollo mission in 1969.
  • China achieved the historic feat when ‘Chang’e 5‘ probe of China, which was launched to collect soil and rock samples of the lunar surface, took off from the moon to return to earth after planting the national flag on 3rd December 2020.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • China Capital: Beijing.
  • China Currency: Renminbi.
  • China President: Xi Jinping.

3. PNB launches loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’

  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a tech-based loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’, to speed up and maintain accuracy in online loan processing and sanctioning of credit proposals.
  • It is envisaged to be implemented in a phased manner for all kinds of loans.
  • Under the Mudra scheme, the processing and sanction of credit proposals up to Rs 10 lakh including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSME) loans (fresh, renewal, enhancement and review) will be done by LenS.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • PNB Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • PNB CEO: S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao.

4. RTGS system to be available on 24×7 basis from December 14

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will be made available round the clock on all days of the year with effect from 00:30 hours on December 14, 2020.
  • Presently RTGS system is available for customers between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM. RTGS shall continue to be governed by the RTGS System Regulations, 2013.
  • RTGS shall be available for customer and inter-bank transactions round the clock, except for the interval between ‘end-of-day’ and ‘start-of-day’ processes, whose timings would be duly broadcasted through the RTGS system. Intra-Day Liquidity (IDL) facility shall be made available to facilitate smooth operations.

5. ADB approves $190 million loan to upgrade power distribution in Bengaluru

  • The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $190 million (approx Rs 1,400 crore) to modernize and upgrade the power distribution system in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • The financial-assistance by ADB will be used for the Bengaluru Smart Energy Efficient Power Distribution Project.
  • The $190 million loan includes a $100 million sovereign loan and a $90 million non-sovereign guarantee loan to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM).
  • BESCOM is one of five state-owned distribution utilities and the largest in Karnataka. This combination of sovereign and non-sovereign loans is being deployed by ADB in India on a pilot basis for the first time.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • President of ADB: Masatsugu Asakawa; Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.

6. Pixxel to launch remote-sensing satellite on ISRO rocket

  • The Bengaluru-based space-technology start-up “Pixxel”, has signed a pact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch its first remote-sensing satellite on Isro’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket in early 2021.
  • Earlier, the startup had planned to launch this satellite towards the end of 2020 and on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
  • Pixxel aims to put a constellation of 30 earth observation micro-satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit by mid-2023.
  • The data through these satellites will help in various sectors, ranging from agriculture to urban monitoring, such as track on air and water pollution levels, forest biodiversity and health, coastal and marine health, and changes in the urban landscape.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.

7. New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson retires from all forms of Cricket

  • New Zealand all-rounder, Corey Anderson has announced his retirement from international cricket.
  • Anderson has played 13 Tests, 49 ODIs and 31 T20Is for New Zealand, scoring 2277 runs with two hundred and 10 half-centuries and 90 wickets.
  • Anderson has signed a 3-year contract with Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA, where he will serve in the Major and Minor League Cricket and coaching ventures at the cricket academies that come under the MLC.

8. International Civil Aviation Day: 07 December

  • The International Civil Aviation Day is celebrated every year on December 7 to recognize the importance of aviation to the social and economic development of the world.
  • The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.
  • The Council has decided that from now until 2023, the theme will be: “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • International Civil Aviation Organization Headquarter: Montreal, Canada.
  • International Civil Aviation Organization Council President: Salvatore Sciacchitano.
  • International Civil Aviation Organization Founded: 7 December 1944.

9. Armed Forces Flag Day: 7 December

  • In India, the Armed Forces Flag Day (also known as the Flag Day of India) is observed annually on December 7 since 1949 as an honour to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of India who fought on the borders to keep the country safe.
  • The three branches of the Armed Forces of India, namely, the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are remembered on this day.
  • The ‘Armed forces Flag Day Fund’ (AFFDF) has been constituted by the Government of India for the welfare and rehabilitation of the Ex-Servicemen (ESM) community.

10. Father of Fibre Optics Narinder Singh Kapany passes away

  • Narinder Singh Kapany, also known as the father of fibre optics, passed away.
  • The India-born American physicist was named as one of the seven “Unsung Heroes” by Fortune in their ‘Businessmen of the Century’ issue of November 1999.
  • Kapany was the first to transmit images through fibre optics back in 1954 and laid the foundation for high-speed internet technology.
  • He not only founded fibre optics but also used his own invention for the business. He founded the Optics Technology Incorporation and Kaptron Incorporation in 1960 and 1973 respectively.
  • He studied at Agra University and then moved to Imperial College in London. He received his PhD from the University of London in 1955.

11. Veteran Bengali actor Manu Mukherjee passes away

  • Veteran Bengali actor Manu Mukherjee passed away. He started his film career with Mrinal Sen’s Nil Akasher Niche (1958).
  • The actor is best remembered for his roles in Satyajit Ray’s Joy Baba Felunath and Ganashatru. He had also been part of children’s fantasy film Patalghar’.

12. Veteran Marathi actor Ravi Patwardhan passes away

  • Ravi Patwardhan, a popular face in Marathi entertainment industry, has passed away. The veteran actor became a household name for his role in Marathi TV series Agabai Sasubai.
  • Apart from this, Patwardhan has also starred in a few Hindi movies namely Tezab, Jhanjaar, Bond and Yeshwant.

13. Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla named as 1 of 6 “Asians Of The Year”

  • Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has been named among six “The Straits Times Asians of the Year” for 2020, by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times, for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • SII has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop COVID-19 vaccine, ‘Covidshield’, and is conducting trials in India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • The SII was founded by Cyrus Poonawalla (Adar Poonawalla’s father) in 1966.
  • Adar Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India in 2001 and became the CEO of the company in 2011.

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