7-9 December 2017 Current Affairs

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09 Dec, 2017

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1) India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) formally came into existence on 6 December 2017 as it became a treaty-based international inter-governmental organisation with more than 121 countries joining hands to focus on large scale deployment of solar energy. ISA is having its headquarters at which place? – Gurugram

Explanation: International Solar Alliance (ISA) is the name of the alliance created in 2015 through the joint efforts of India and France. It has its headquarters in Gurugram (Haryana).

It is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which come either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. It formally came into existence on 6 December 2017 following ratification by Guinea as the 15th country to become a founding-member of the body.

ISA aims at large scale deployment of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

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2) Which religious event of the country has been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO as announced on 7 December 2017? – Kumbh Mela

Explanation: Kumbh Mela, the largest congregation of pilgrims on the planet, has been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). This inscription is the third in two years following the inscriptions of ‘Yoga’ and ‘Norouz’ on 1 December 2016. Kumbh Mela is is held in Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik.

The Intergovernment Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO inscribed ‘Kumbh Mela’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea from 4-9 December 2017.

The inscription of ‘Kumbh Mela’ in the list was undertaken following recommendation by an expert body which examines nominations submitted by member countries of the UNESCO.

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3) Which elite nuclear weapons export control regime on 7 December 2017 decided to admit India as its new member thus raising country’s stature in the field of non-proliferation? – “Wassenaar Arrangement”

Explanation: “Wassenaar Arrangement” (WA) is an elite export control regime that plays a significant role in promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. It was established in Wassenaar in the Netherlands in 1996.

In a significant development, Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) on 7 December 2017 decided to admit India as its new member, which is expected to raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation besides helping it acquire critical technologies. The decision to include India was taken at the two-day plenary meeting of the grouping in Vienna.

India will now become the Arrangement’s 42nd participating state as soon as the necessary procedural arrangements for joining the WA are completed.

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4) Which state became the first in India to come up with a Bill to award death penalty to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below? – Madhya Pradesh

Explanation: The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on 4 December 2017 unanimously passed a Bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below. With this, Madhya Pradesh becomes the first State where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows.

Under this Bill, capital punishment would be awarded to convicts under Section 376 (A), which is related to rape, and Section 376 (D, A), pertaining to gang rape.

Introduced in the House by Law and Legislative Affairs Minister Rampal Singh, the Bill was discussed in detail and then passed by all parties, including the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress.

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5) US President Donald Trump on 6 December 2017 reversed which decades-old American policy pertaining to Palestine-Israel relations and thus upset the Arab world as well as some of its Western allies? – It recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Explanation: In a surprising and almost unexpected move US President Donald Trump on 6 December 2017 reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He announced his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – is one of the biggest obstacles to reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, believing its status should be resolved in negotiations. No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem.

The announcement was hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but other close Western allies of Washington such as Britain and France were critical.

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6) To rein in the problem of malnourishment and stunted growth in the country, the Union Cabinet on 1 December 2017 gave its approval to set up which new mission? – National Nutrition Mission (NNM)

Explanation: The cabinet on 1 December 2017 approved the setting up of a National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three-year budget of Rs. 9,046.17 crore, to rein in malnourishment and stunted growth.

Under the mission, the government is targeting a reduction of 2% a year in stunting, under-nutrition and low birthweight among 100 million people. It aims to reduce anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% a year. The programme would be undertaken in a phased manner, covering 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and the remaining districts in 2019-20.

The NNM would be implemented using information technology as the basic tool; workers at anganwadis (women and child development centres) would be given smartphones and their supervisors the smart tablets to monitor daily activities and compile reports. Under this mission the ministries of women and child development, health and family welfare, and water and sanitation will work together.

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7) Which two Arab countries on 5 December 2017 announced forming a new economic and partnership group separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a step that is expected to undermine the council amid a diplomatic crisis with Qatar? – UAE and Saudi Arabia

Explanation: On 5 December 2017 UAE announced that it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia and it is separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The announcement was made just hours ahead of a GCC meeting in Kuwait.

This step is expected to undermine the 6-member GCC. GCC is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are its members. It was formed in 1981 and has its headquarters in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).

It is worth mentioning that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties in recent years. Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

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