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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Malta becomes first EU country to legalise cannabis for personal use

• Malta became the first European country to allow limited cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, following a vote in parliament. The Maltese parliament voted in favour of the reform last week, with 36 votes in favour and 27 against.  Adults will be allowed to grow four plants at home and carry seven grams of cannabis, with smoking in public or in front of children remaining illegal.

• The Netherlands also has a liberal attitude towards cannabis, allowing the sale of small quantities in a policy aimed at managing crime and health risks, though officially it is illegal.

• Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. Native to Central and South Asia, the cannabis plant has been used as a drug for both recreational and entheogenic purposes and in various traditional medicines for centuries.

NATIONAL

India successfully test-fired new generation ballistic missile ‘Agni-P’

• The nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni Prime’ was successfully tested off the coast of Odisha by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Recently, DRDO has successful test-firing of the air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on December 7 was a “significant milestone” in BrahMos’ development.

• Agni-P is a new generation upgraded version of Agni class missiles. It’s a two-stage canisterized missile with a range of 1,000 to 2,000 kilometres.

• The ballistic missile is half the weight of the Agni 3 and can be launched from the train or road. It can also be stored for longer periods of time and transported throughout the country as per operational requirements.

Tamil Nadu: CM Stalin declares ‘Tamil Thaai Vazhthu’ as state song

• Tamil Nadu government has announced ‘Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu’ as the state anthem. It should be sung before the start of any functions in all educational institutions, universities, government offices, and public sector undertakings. The decision comes in the wake of the Madras High Court recently ruling that ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ is a prayer song and not an anthem. Government Order to this effect has been issued, mandating that all barring the differently-abled persons should remain standing when the 55-second long song is sung.

• The ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ enjoy official status since 1970. It is the official song of the union territory of Puducherry as well. Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate is the official state anthem of Karnataka and Bande Utkal Janani is the official state anthem of Odisha.

Narendra Modi  laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. PM Modi also addressed a rally at Railway Ground, Rouza on the occasion. After completion of work, it will become the longest expressway of Uttar Pradesh. It will connect the western and eastern regions of the state. It starts near the Bijauli village in Meerut. It will extend till near the Judapur Dandu village in Prayagraj.

• Ganga Expressway is a 594 Km long Expressway. It will be built at a cost of over Rs 36,200 crore.

• It will pass through Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Budaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj districts.

• 35 Km long airstrip for emergency take-off and landing of Air Force planes will also be constructed on the Expressway in Shahjahanpur.

Haryana government Introduced ‘Khel Nursery scheme 2022-23’ 

• Haryana’s Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sandeep Singh launched ‘Khel Nursery Scheme 2022-23’ to promote sports in the state. The players of Haryana have given a new identity to the state at the international level with their sports talent. The state government is always striving to develop new sports talents in the state.

• The scheme promotes sports nurseries that will be started in government, private educational institutions and private sports institutions. The sports nurseries are being opened for the sports included in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games.

SPORTS

Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021: India wins 16 medals 

• India concluded the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 with 16 medals – 4 Gold, 7 Silver, and 5 Bronze, held at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Bindyarani Devi was India’s only medallist at the World Weightlifting Championships 2021, that was also held parallelly at Tashkent.

• South Korea’s Son Young-hee won the gold medal at the world championships with an overall lift of 282kg (122+159). New Zealand’s David Liti won the gold medal for a total of 407kg (176+231) followed by Pakistan’s Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt, who lifted 390kg (165+225).

BWF World Championships | Srikanth loses to Loh Kean Yew, bags silver

• Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian man to win a silver medal at BWF World Championships. In the final, Kidambi was defeated by Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew by 21-15, 22-20. This was the first time that a men’s player from Singapore won gold at BWF World Championships. The badminton tournament was held from December 12 to 19, 2021 in Huelva, Spain.

• 2021 BWF World Championships is officially known as “TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021” for sponsorship purpose. The badminton tournament was held from December 12 to 19, 2021 in Huelva, Spain. Huelva was awarded this event in November 2018, when the announcement was made for 18 major badminton event hosts from 2019 to 2025.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Hyundai appoints Unsoo Kim as new MD

• Hyundai Motor Company has appointed Unsoo Kim as the Managing Director (MD) of Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), starting from 1st January 2022. He will replace Seon Seob Kim (SS Kim), who will lead the Global Operations Division in Hyundai headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. HMIL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HMC is India’s first smart mobility solutions provider and the number one car exporter in India.

• He played a key role in positioning the company as a smart mobility solutions provider and bringing Internet-enabled connected cars and kick-starting the electric mobility journey in India with the launch of Kona, an all-electric SUV.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

SAIL receives prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021

• Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), under the Ministry of Steel, has been awarded with the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021 for successive three years. The Award is given to organizations for significant achievements in Environment Management by Environment Foundation (WEF) since 1998.

• The company’s environmental protections measures are focused on adopting various environmental measures including, upgrading of pollution control facilities, water conservation efforts with the aim to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge, efficient handling of different solid wastes (viz. process waste, hazardous waste, canteen/township waste), carbon sequestration through afforestation, eco-restoration of the mined-out area and etc.

RANKING

India fourth most affected country by spam calls in 2021

• Spam call rates in India have spiked again, with the country moving up in global rankings from 9th position to 4th position owing to a significant in sales and telemarketing calls in 2021, according to the latest insights by callerID, spam detection and blocking company, Truecaller. The upward movement is a direct result of a significant increase in sales and telemarketing calls, which in India make up about 93.5% of all spam calls. The report also showed that one particular company, the identity of which Truecaller did not reveal, was responsible for making over 202 million spam calls in 2021, which translates to about 27,000 calls on an hourly basis.

• The top three countries in the world with maximum spam based calls were Brazil, Peru and Ukraine. Interestingly, the USA dropped from 2nd place in 2020 to 20th in 2021, owing to stringent government regulations.

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