- City-level maps to help cut quake damage
- Scientists at IIT-Kharagpur are developing detailed city-level maps that can help identify areas likely to experience the maximum damage in the event of an earthquake.
- The research will help state governments quickly identify areas with high hazard risk and send in rescue and relief teams when a disaster strikes, without losing precious time manually surveying the affected region.
- Scientists presented research at the 16th Symposium on Earthquake Engineering organised at IIT-Roorkee, Uttarakhand, in collaboration with the Indian Society of Earthquake Technology. Seismic microzoning is a technique that involves mapping different factors such as plate tectonics, soil quality, ground motion equations, topography, type of buildings etc to understand which areas within a city may get most affected by an earthquake. It also takes into account secondary hazards such as the landslides or floods that may be triggered by quakes
· Sweden ranked first in climate action CCPI
- Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) reported that Sweden has been named the first best performing country in the CCPI 2019 CCPI evaluates the climate protection performance of 60 countries, responsible for over 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. It is issued by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Network.
- Moroccohas been named second. Morocco, the North African country significantly increased the share of renewables over the past five years and increased new renewable energy capacity. Lithuania is in the third position in CCPI 2019.
- The bottom five in the list are Saudi Arabia, U.S., Iran, South Korea, and Taiwan. With the connection of the world’s largest solar plant to the grid, Morocco is on track for achieving its target of 42% installed renewable energy capacities by 2020.
- India has been ranked 11th.
· India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations
- According to an External Affairs Ministry release, the two sides exchanged the list under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attackagainst Nuclear Installationsbetween India and Pakistan.
- The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988, and entered into force on January 27, 1991, provides that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the pact on the first of January of every calendar year.
- This is the twenty seventhconsecutive exchange of such a list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.
· France Introduced GAFA Tax On Global Internet, Technology Firm
- France will introduce its own tax on large internet and technology companies from January , amid difficulties in finalizing a new EU-wide levy.
- France has been pushing hard for a new so-called “GAFA tax”named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to ensure the global giants pay a fair share of taxes on their massive business operations in Europe.
- Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair declared as an authorized Immigration Check post
- Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair has been declared as an authorized Immigration Check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers.
- This decision of the Union Government will open up the Port Blair Airport for direct international flight and immigration facilities. For this purpose, the Superintendent of Police (CID), Andaman and Nicobar Police has been appointed as the ‘Civil Authority’ for the purpose of the immigration check post.
- Savarkar (1883 to 1966) was a revolutionary who spent many years in prison in the Andamans. He propounded the philosophy of Hindutva.
- In 1901, he joined the Ferguson College in Pune and set up the Abhinav Bharat Society, which preached a revolutionary struggle against the British.
- RBI launches SRPHi
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched Survey on Retail Payment Habits of Individuals (SRPHi). The Survey will capture payment habits of individuals in cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati.
- Sigma Research & Consulting Pvt Ltd has been engaged by RBI to conduct the fieldwork of the survey. Around 6000 individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds across six cities would be covered under the survey. The survey seeks qualitative responses from individuals on their payment habits. The findings of the survey will provide insights into awareness and usage habits of digital payment products.
- Union Cabinet approves proposed amendment to The Trade Unions Act
- The Union Cabinet approved the proposed amendments to the Trade Unions Act 1926, aimed at giving statutory backing to central and state-level trade unions.
- The proposed Bill, likely be introduced in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, has provisions for recognising central trade unions by various government departments, at both the central and state levels. There are provisions empowering the Centre to frame rules for recognising unions and resolving disputes involving them.
- Unions are not recognised under the Trade Unions Act, originally enacted in 1926. The office of the chief central labour commissioner conducts a verification drive of the membership, based on which the labour and employment ministry gives them the status of central trade unions.
- However, there is no statutory provision for either the recognition of a trade union in industry, or the establishment or recognition of a union at the central and state level.
· ISRO Planning to Launch 32 Space Missions in 2019
- The missions include the second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2(₹800-crore mission) to land on the moon with lander and rover.
- India’s maidenhuman space mission in 2021-22, Gaganyaan, will also be pursued this year.
- Among the ISRO’s achievements in 2018 were launch of the heaviest satellite GSAT-29(3,423 kg) on November 14 and building the heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 (5,854 kg), launched on December 5 onboard the Arianespace space agency’s rocket from French Guiana on the north Atlantic coast of South America.