One liners 20th December

• Senior bureaucrat Pranab Kumar Das has been appointed as Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the apex policy-making body for indirect taxes.

• Four public sector banks that were under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), may come out of the restrictions following an improved performance.

• For the first time, Japanese scientists have detected evidence of water in 17 asteroids using data from the infrared satellite AKARI.

• Researchers have identified a fossil plant species that shows flowers bloomed in the Early Jurassic, more than 174 million years ago.

• Late Pakistan lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir was announced as one of the four winners of the UN Human Rights Prize for 2018. Her daughter Munizae Jahangir received the prestigious award on behalf of her mother.

• NASA’s first flight to the moon to mark its 50th anniversary. On December 21, 1968, three men, commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, flew to the moon in Apollo 8 for the first time in human history.

• Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel resigns. He has resigned amid pressure on his government over his support for the UN global pact on migration.

• Private sector IDFC Bank and Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) Capital First have announced completion of their merger to create IDFC First Bank.

• The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) launched an e-library of ancient religious and historical works. BORI houses one of South Asia’s largest and most invaluable agglomeration of rare manuscripts.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a book “Timeless Laxman”, based on the life and times of legendary cartoonist, the late R.K. Laxman. The book has been penned by cartoonist’s daughter-in-law Usha Srinivas Laxman. He passed away in January 2015 in Pune aged 93.

• The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Haryana’s Jhajjar area, opened its OPD (out-patient department) services around five years after its foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2014.

• Global Gender Gap Report 2018: Iceland tops; India ranks 108th. This year, the Gender Gap Index as released by World Economic Forum (WEF), was topped by Iceland with a score of 0.858, holding the top spot in the index for the 10th consecutive year.

• The Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016. The Bill aimed at banning commercial surrogacy to protect women from exploitation. It also proposed to allow only altruistic surrogacy by infertile Indian couples from a “close relative” only.

• President’s rule is imposed in Jammu and Kashmir from 20th December as the Governor’s rule expired in the state on 19th December 2018, after six months.

• NPCIL’s Kaiga Unit-1 creates world record for continuous operation. A 220-MW unit of Nuclear Power Corporation of India’s (NPCIL) Kaiga Atomic Power Station has created a world record for continuous operation for 941 days.

• As part of their annual mating season, thousands of olive ridleys have assembled near the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast. The forest department has stepped up its patrol in the area to safeguard the turtles.

• Royal Challengers Bangalore roped in the youngster Prayas Ray Barman for Rs 1.5 Cr from a base price Rs 20 lakh. Bengal’s 16-year-old leg-spinner Prayas Barman made his professional cricket debut for Bengal in September, taking 11 wickets in nine Vijay Hazare Trophy matches at an economy rate of 4.45.

• The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched GSLV-F11 which carried communication satellite GSAT-7A. The satellite is meant to enhance the communication infrastructure of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

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