Table of Contents
Read the most important current affairs of 07 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on Bharatmala Pariyojana, Google Reveals AI ‘Gemini’, Armed Forces Flag Day 2023.
Top 24 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 07 December 2023
1.Indonesia’s Marapi Volcano Eruption
- Indonesia’s Mount Marapi, located in West Sumatra, recently erupted, leading to a tragic incident resulting in the loss of lives and the disappearance of several climbers. The eruption occurred on December 3, 2023, catching many by surprise as authorities scrambled to evacuate those in the vicinity.
- As Mount Marapi unleashed its fury, a massive cloud of volcanic ash blanketed the sky and debris covered roads and vehicles. The eruption took place with 75 people in the area and while efforts were made to evacuate, 26 individuals were left behind.
- Indonesia is situated on the “Ring of Fire,” a volatile tectonic region known for its seismic and volcanic activity. The country boasts 127 active volcanoes and Mount Marapi, standing at 2,891 meters (approximately 9,500 feet), is among the most active on Sumatra.
2.Italy Withdraws from China’s Belt and Road Project
- Italy has officially withdrawn from China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) marking a significant departure from its previous stance as the only G7 nation to participate. This move comes more than four years after Italy initially joined the initiative in 2019 under the government of then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
- The Belt and Road Initiative, spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to enhance China’s influence globally by investing in infrastructure projects across participating countries. With over 150 nations reportedly joining the initiative, it has become a cornerstone of China’s efforts to expand its economic and political clout internationally.
3.Lalduhoma Set to Assume Office as Mizoram’s Chief Minister
- In a significant political development, Lalduhoma, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader and legislature party leader, is poised to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Mizoram on December 8.
- A Raj Bhavan official confirmed that Lalduhoma, along with other members of his council of ministers, will take the oath of office at 11 am in a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.
- The ZPM emerged victorious in the Mizoram Assembly elections held on November 7, securing a total of 27 out of 40 seats. The electoral success resulted in the defeat of the incumbent Mizo National Front (MNF) led by Zoramthanga.
4.Meghalaya’s Lakadong Turmeric and Other Products Awarded Geographical Indication (GI) Tag
- In a significant development, Meghalaya’s Lakadong turmeric, known for its exceptional quality, has been granted the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- Considered one of the finest turmeric varieties globally, Lakadong turmeric boasts an impressive curcumin content ranging from 6.8 to 7.5 percent.
- Grown organically in the Lakadong area of Jaintia Hills, this turmeric is renowned for its dark color, and cultivation is carried out without the use of fertilizers.
- Alongside Lakadong turmeric, three more products from Meghalaya were honored with the GI tag: Garo Dakmanda (traditional dress), Larnai pottery, and Garo Chubitchi (alcoholic beverage).
5.Gujarat’s Garba Dance Enters UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ List
- Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel declared that the vibrant and culturally significant Garba dance has been officially recognized by UNESCO, earning a coveted spot on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
- The Garba dance, deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of Gujarat, has long been a symbol of devotion to Goddess Mother during the auspicious Navratri festival. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also commended the global acknowledgment of this traditional Indian dance form.
- With this inclusion, Garba joins a distinguished list of Indian cultural phenomena on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Notable mentions include Ramlila, Vedic Chants, Kumbh Mela, and Durga Puja, collectively enriching the world’s appreciation of India’s diverse and vibrant cultural heritage.
6.Tata Motors Opens Its 4th Scrapping Facility In Punjab
- Homegrown auto major Tata Motors has taken a significant step towards promoting environmental sustainability with the inauguration of its fourth Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facility (RVSF) in Chandigarh.
- This cutting-edge facility, developed and operated by Tata Motors’ partner, Dada Trading Company, underscores the company’s commitment to responsible manufacturing and eco-friendly practices.
- The Chandigarh RVSF is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, employing environmentally-friendly processes to safely and sustainably disassemble up to 12,000 end-of-life vehicles annually.
- Tata Motors already boasts three RVSFs in Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, and Surat, reflecting the company’s strategic vision to establish a comprehensive network of scrapping facilities across the country.
7.Crude Oil Dips Below $78 A Barrel According To Industry Data
- Crude oil futures faced a downward trend on Wednesday morning, with February Brent oil futures reaching $77.23, a marginal increase of 0.04 per cent. Simultaneously, January crude oil futures on WTI (West Texas Intermediate) experienced a dip, settling at $72.31, down by 0.01 per cent.
- A significant contributor to the fluctuations in crude oil prices is the unexpected surge in US crude oil inventories. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), inventories increased by 594,000 barrels for the week ending December 1.
- In the Indian market, December crude oil futures on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) were trading at ₹6046, down by 0.56 per cent from the previous close. January futures were also affected, trading at ₹6097, a 0.52 per cent decrease. These price movements reflect the interconnectedness of global events and their influence on local commodity markets.
8.Global Grain Price Outlook for 2024: Decline Expected, Rice a Standout Exception
- The World Bank and research agency BMI, a unit of Fitch Solutions, have jointly forecasted a 6.5% decline in global grain prices in 2024. However, rice is expected to be an exception due to India’s export restrictions and concerns related to El Nino.
- The World Bank Commodity Outlook suggests that the overall decrease in grain prices will be driven by the anticipated improvement in global grain supplies. Despite higher rice prices, the continued decline in maize and wheat prices is expected to balance the overall trend.
9.CII Predicts Robust Growth for India’s Economy in FY24 and FY25
- India’s economy is poised for a strong rebound, with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) projecting a growth of 6.8% in the current fiscal year (FY24) and an acceleration to 7% in the subsequent fiscal year (FY25).
- CII attributes this optimistic outlook to the government’s unwavering commitment to infrastructure development and the facilitation of ease of doing business.
- The CII’s initial estimate of 6.5-6.7% growth has been surpassed, with the current expectation set at 6.8% for the ongoing fiscal year.
10.Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase I Expenditure Reaches Rs 4.10 Trillion: Update by Nitin Gadkari
- As of October 31, 2023, a total expenditure of Rs 4.10 lakh crore has been incurred under Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase I (BPP-I), according to Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
- The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) collected Rs 53,536.48 crore from 2020-21 until November 23, 2023, as user fees at toll plazas on national highways through FASTag.
- NHAI has raised a significant amount of Rs 70,127 crore through the monetization of National Highways using Toll Operate and Transfer (TOT), Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT), and project-based financing modes.
Important Days News
11.International Civil Aviation Day 2023
- International Civil Aviation Day, observed on December 7, holds special significance as it marks the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1944.
- This year’s theme, “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development,” emphasizes the crucial role of innovation in shaping the future of civil aviation worldwide.
- The United Nations General Assembly declared December 7 as International Civil Aviation Day in 1996. This date commemorates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ICAO, a pivotal organization working to foster global cooperation and uniformity in civil aviation.
12.Armed Forces Flag Day 2023
- Armed Forces Flag Day, celebrated on December 7 each year, holds a special place in our hearts as we pay tribute to the indomitable spirit and sacrifices of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who stand guard at our borders.
- Established on August 28, 1949, by the Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces Flag Day was designated to honor the brave men and women in uniform.
- This day serves as a reminder of the unwavering dedication of our armed forces and provides an opportunity for citizens to contribute towards their welfare.
Ranks & Reports News
13.LIC Ranks Fourth Globally in S&P Global’s 2022 Insurance Report
- In a recent report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has secured its position as the world’s fourth-largest insurer. The ranking is based on the life and accident & health reserves of companies for the year 2022.
- Allianz SE (Germany) secured the top spot with reserves amounting to $750.20 billion. China Life Insurance Company (China) claimed the second position with reserves totaling $616.90 billion. Nippon Life Insurance Company (Japan) grasped the third position with reserves reaching $536.80 billion. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) clinched the fourth spot globally, boasting reserves of $503.7 billion.
14.Nirmala Sitharaman and Three Other Indians Secure Spots on Forbes’ “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” of 2023
- In the latest release of Forbes’ annual list of “The World’s Most Powerful Women,” four notable Indian figures have garnered recognition.
- These are : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HCL Corporation Chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Steel Authority Of India Chairperson Soma Mondal, and Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
- The top positions on the list are dominated by politicians, with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, claiming the number 1 spot. Following her are European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, US Vice President Kamala Harris, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
15.Sri Lanka Reaches Agreement with India, Paris Club on Debt Treatment
- Sri Lanka, in the throes of a severe economic crisis, has taken a significant step towards resolving its debt issues. An “agreement in principle” has been reached with India and the Paris Club group of creditors, including Japan.
- This development is crucial for Sri Lanka as it paves the way for accessing the next tranche of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) nearly $3 billion recovery package.
- The Paris Club, in a statement, announced that the OCC and Sri Lanka have agreed on the main parameters of a debt treatment consistent with those of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement between Sri Lanka and the IMF. While specific details were not disclosed, the OCC expressed readiness to formalize the agreement in the coming weeks through a Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka.
16.ACKO And PhonePe Collaborate To Make Insurance Accessible To Millions
- ACKO General Insurance and PhonePe have joined forces to revolutionize the landscape of insurance accessibility in India. This strategic collaboration aims to provide users with a comprehensive range of car and bike insurance products directly through the PhonePe platform.
- The collaboration between ACKO and PhonePe is a strategic alliance that leverages the strengths of both entities. ACKO, known for its customer-centric approach, combines forces with PhonePe’s extensive distribution network.
- The integration of ACKO with PhonePe is made possible through a cutting-edge partnership API stack. PhonePe is the first in line to benefit from this technology, ensuring that ACKO’s personalized pricing, innovative SKUs, and consistent user experience are seamlessly delivered to all partners.
17.Climate Champions: Michelle Zárate Palomec and Sebastian Mwaura Win UN Awards
- Amidst the global efforts to combat climate change, two remarkable individuals, Michelle Zárate Palomec from Mexico and Sebastian Mwaura from Kenya, are set to be honored as winners of the UN Global Climate Action Awards.
- At the age of 27, Zárate Palomec leads initiatives within Espacio de Encuentro de las Culturas Originarias to provide clean and sufficient water to marginalized indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her work addresses water scarcity challenges and combats social and gender inequalities exacerbated by water pollution.
- Co-founder of Yna Kenya, 35-year-old Mwaura is recognized for his efforts in accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. His organization focuses on establishing a robust charging network powered by renewable energy sources, while also creating employment opportunities for women through the HerGo program in the e-mobility transport sector.
18.Time Magazine Names Lionel Messi ‘Athlete of the Year’ For 2023
- Argentina’s football icon, Lionel Messi, has been named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year for 2023. This prestigious honor comes on the heels of Messi’s historic eighth Ballon d’Or win, solidifying his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
- Messi also played a pivotal role in Argentina’s triumph at the 2022 World Cup, securing their first title in 36 years. The Argentine captain led his team to victory in a thrilling final against defending champions France.
- Beyond the playing field, Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami caused ripples of excitement among fans and sports enthusiasts. The announcement led to a surge in searches for match dates and tickets, reflecting the heightened interest in witnessing Messi’s magic firsthand.
19.Indian-Origin Novelist Meira Chand Receives Singapore’s Highest Arts Award
- Singapore recently bestowed its prestigious Cultural Medallion upon three distinguished individuals, recognizing their artistic excellence and significant contributions to the nation’s rich arts and culture.
- Among them, Meira Chand, an eighty-one-year-old Indian-origin writer, shares this esteemed accolade with novelist Suchen Christine Lim and Malay dance veteran Osman Abdul Hamid.
- Meira Chand, of Swiss-Indian parentage, is renowned for her award-winning novels depicting multicultural societies. Her notable work, ‘The Painted Cage’ (1986), was longlisted for the Booker Prize.
20.Social Innovators from India Win Accolades at the 4th edition of AIGIF in Malaysia
- The 4th edition of the ASEAN India Grassroots Innovation Forum (AIGIF), hosted by Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), concluded on November 30, 2023. The event celebrated grassroots and student innovators from India and across the ASEAN Member States (AMS).
- Mr. Dipak Bharali, hailing from Sualkuchi, Kamrup, Assam, secured the 1st prize for his innovation, the Weft Insertion Device. Mr. Sunil Shinde, based in Jalna, Maharashtra, claimed the 3rd prize for his Silkworm Breeding Net Folding Machine. Ms. Aanchal Aggarwal from Delhi secured the 3rd prize in the student innovation category for her creation, Parkinson Lathi.
21.Indian-Origin Samir Shah To Lead BBC Board
- The U.K. government has selected Samir Shah to serve as the new chair of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). With over four decades of experience in the media industry, Shah has held various positions, including a stint as a non-executive director at the BBC.
- A 71-year-old media executive, Shah was born in Aurangabad and immigrated to the U.K. in 1960. He is currently heading the media company Juniper TV, a British company. He also played a key role in the U.K. government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
- The BBC Chair’s responsibilities include overseeing the independence of the organization, a critical aspect given recent concerns. The previous chair, Richard Sharp, resigned in June due to issues related to disclosure, raising questions about the broadcaster’s governance.
Science & Technology News
22.Meta and IBM Launch ‘AI Alliance’ to Promote Open-Source AI Development
- In a significant development within the artificial intelligence (AI) community, Meta and IBM have joined forces to establish the AI Alliance. This aims to promote an “open-science” approach to AI development, setting them apart from competitors such as Google, Microsoft and Open AI.
- Led by IBM and Meta, the AI Alliance brings together industry heavyweights such as Dell, Sony, AMD, Intel and several universities and AI startups. The alliance emphasizes the importance of open scientific exchange, open innovation and the use of open-source technologies in shaping the future of AI.
23.Google Reveals ‘Gemini’, Its Biggest AI Model
- Google parent company Alphabet made a significant announcement on December 6, unveiling Gemini, its latest and most advanced AI model to date. Gemini represents a major leap forward for the tech giant in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.
- Gemini marks the first AI model to emerge from Alphabet following the merger of its renowned AI research units, DeepMind and Google Brain. The amalgamation has given rise to a unified division named Google DeepMind, helmed by DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.
- Gemini sets itself apart by being “multimodal,” demonstrating the ability to comprehend and process diverse types of information concurrently. This includes text, code, audio, images, and videos, positioning Gemini as a versatile tool for a wide range of applications.
24.Taylor Swift Named Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year
- Taylor Swift has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2023. This recognition comes on the heels of her title as the most-played artist on Spotify, underscoring the widespread impact of her music and influence.
- This honour serves as a reflection of her multifaceted impact on music, culture, and society. Beyond the accolades and financial success, Swift’s ability to connect with audiences on a global scale showcases the enduring power of her artistry.
- Swift faced tough competition for the Person of the Year title, standing out among a diverse group of finalists that included Barbie, King Charles III, and OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman. Time Magazine’s selection acknowledges not only Swift’s individual achievements but also her cultural resonance and influence.
07 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR