1. World Book Fair begins in the national capital
- The Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has inaugurated the nine-day World Bookfair (27th) at Pragati Maidan New Delhi (5-13th Jan 2018).
- This year’s theme is ‘Books for Readers with Special Needs’ and Sharjah is the guest of honours’ country.
- To mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, there will be a special book exhibition of books on and by Mahatma Gandhi.
- More than 600 publishers will display books at more than 1350 stalls at the fair.
- Over 20 countries will participate in the fair.
- The World Book Fair is organized every year by the National Book Trust and India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO).
2. FSSAI asks food businesses to comply with new packaging norms by 1st July
- According to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), The food businesses need to comply with new packaging regulations that bar use of recycled plastics and newspapers to wrap food articles by 1st July 2019.
- The new packaging regulations would raise the bar of food safety in India to the next level.
- The new regulations prohibit packaging material made of recycled plastics including carrying bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food.
3. Government launches nationwide cleanliness survey ‘Swachh Survekshan 2019’
- The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the ‘Swachh Survekshan 2019’, the fourth edition of the annual nationwide cleanliness survey of urban India in New Delhi.
- It is a part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the Swachh Survekshan 2019 aims to evaluate the achievements in the cleanliness level in urban areas of the country.
- It will encourage large-scale citizen participation, ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free and open defecation free cities, and will provide credible outcomes.
- The survey will cover 40 crore people across over four thousand towns and cities.
4. India to host a two-day meeting of Arab League
- India will host a two-day meet of foreign ministers of 22 Arab League nations in Delhi from 31st January 2019.
- If Syria is admitted to the grouping in the intervening period it could be among the participants at the meet.
- The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab states in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
- The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty.
- Currently, the Arab League has 22 members, but Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011.
- Five countries (Brazil, Eritrea, India, Venezuela, Armenia) have observer status that entitles them to express their opinion and give advice but denies them voting rights.
5. NGT imposes Rs 100 Cr fine on Meghalaya govt
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of 100 crore rupees on Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.
- The amount of the fine must be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months.
- The action comes after a high-level committee submitted an adverse report to a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.
6. Pakistan abolishes visa on arrival for Afghans
- Pakistan abolished the long-standing facility of visa on arrival for Afghan nationals.
- The Immigration Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency cited increased security risks from the western border as a reason for the move.
- Earlier, Afghan nationals were granted a 30-day visa on arrival at the entry points but now they will be required to apply for a visa from Pakistani missions in Afghanistan.
- The move to restrict Afghans came as Pakistan has already decided to issue ‘on-arrival’ visas to citizens of 24 other countries to increase tourism and investments.
7. Five nations assume charge as Non-Permanent Members of UN Security Council
- Five nations (Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa) assumed the charge as the Non-Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- These five countries will hold a two-year term in the Council with effect from 1st January 2019.
- This will be the Dominican Republic’s first time on the Security Council.
- They will fill the seats vacated by Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Sweden on December 31, 2018, after serving a two-year term on the 15-member Security Council.
- The U.N. Security Council has 15 members five of which (China, France, Russia, Britain, and the United States) hold permanent membership and veto power.
8. Veteran Bengali writer Dibyendu Palit passes away
- Renowned Bengali writer Dibyendu Palit (79-years) passes away due to age-related ailments.
- Palit was conferred the Sahitya Akademi for his novel ‘Anubhab’ in 1998.
- He was awarded the ‘Bankim Purashkar’ for ‘Dheu’ (in 1990) and ‘Ananda Purashkar’ (in 1984) for ‘Sahojoddha’.
Honours & Awards
9. Young entrepreneurs honoured with National Entrepreneurship Awards
- Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu honoured outstanding young entrepreneurs with National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi.
- The awards aim to recognize and honour outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
- A total of 43 awards were given this year.
10. 80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
- The 80th National Table Tennis Championship began at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack (Odisha).
- As many as 35 teams, including 550 players from different parts of the country are participating in the mega championship.
- Odisha State Table Tennis Association (OSTTA) is hosting the championships after a gap of 18 years.
- The event will conclude on 9th January.
11. Arunima Sinha is world’s 1st female amputee to scale Antarctica’s highest peak
- Arunima Sinha has become the World’s 1st woman amputee to climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.
- She has already done six peaks: Everest in Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus (Europe), Kosciuszko (Australia), Aconcagua (Argentina) and Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) in Indonesia.