1. COP 21 under UNFCCC adopted Paris Agreement on Climate Change
i. Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 12 December 2015 adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which was attended by 192 parties. India was represented by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
ii. The agreement facilitates enforcement of global green house emission reduction measures in the post-2020 (post Kyoto Protocol) scenario. It was prepared based on consensus among the parties incorporating Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the respective parties including that of India.
iii. And, the agreement took into account the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.
iv. The primary objective of the protocol is to limit the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Efforts will be made to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels so that it will be possible to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
v. The global environmental protocol took into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) to ensure climate justice which has been advocated by India for a long time. It strikes the right balance between national developmental needs of developing and small island nations and global environmental necessities by incorporating the INDCs under which countries will publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take.
vi. It was adopted in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular its goal 13 that advocates for urgent action to combat climate change.
2. Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival, began in Ladakh region
i. Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival began on 12 December 2015 in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The festival marks the beginning of New Year for Buddhists. The annual festival is celebrated by people of the area with traditional and religion fervor. The festival begins with illumination of religious and residential places.
ii. Buddhists of Ladakh celebrate Losar as their new year. Before the rule of Jamiang Namgyal (1555 to 1610) this day was celebrated on the first day of Ladakhi Buddhist Year which is based in the moon and sun (quite similar to Hindus). However, the day was advanced by two days after Jamiang Namgyal decided to invade Skardu before the New Year.
iii. Since then, Losar is celebrated on the last two days of the 10th Bodhi month that coincides with December of Christian calendar.
iv. During this, people of Ladakh specially remember ancestors of their family. On this day, people visit graveyards of their family members and pray for peace of the departed soul. Apart from this, people also visit each other houses for exchange of Losar greetings.
3. Saudi voters elected women candidates for first time in Municipal council polls
i. Saudi Arabian voters on 12 December 2015 voted to elect women in at least 18 municipal council seats. This was a historic local elections in Saudi Arabia in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. This event occurred for the first time in the history of the country. The results of the election were declared on 13 December 2015.
ii. The winners hailed from different parts of the nation, ranging from largest city to the small village near Islam’s holiest site. The conservative capital of Riyadh saw the most women candidates win, with four elected. Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, a region in Mecca.
iii. Though there are no quotas for female council members, an additional 1050 seats are appointed with approval by the king who could use his powers to ensure more women are represented. Women are still not allowed to drive and are governed by guardianship laws that give men final say over aspects of their lives like marriage, travel and higher education.
iv. The women were allowed to vote and contest in the municipal election in accordance to the royal decree issued in 2011. As per the decree, only 978 women were registered as candidates on 284 councils, however many were barred from registering by the authorities.
4. Construction work of TAPI Gas Pipeline started
i. Construction work on the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) Gas Pipeline project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015. The work started after the button to begin the welding process of the project was pressed.
ii. The button was pressed by Vice President of India Hamid Ansari along with Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimohamedov.
iii. The TAPI project is intended to deliver Caspian Sea natural from the energy-rich former Soviet republic Turkmenistan to three South Asian countries.
iv. The pipeline will carry the gas from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan to the Indian town of Fazilka, in the Punjab near the Pakistan-India border. The pipeline will cross the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar as well as Pakistan cities of Quetta and Multan.
v. Turkmenistan will lead the consortium to build the project and the remaining members will invest according to the techno-commercial viability, shareholders agreement and investment agreement.
vi. The abbreviation TAPI comes from the first letters of those countries. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.
5. Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
i. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 11 December 2015 appointed Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed as the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
ii. His appointment to the post will fill the vacancy which was lying vacant since retirement of Hamid Ali Rao in April 2015. Javed, a 1980-batch IPS officer from Maharashtra Cadre, is scheduled to retire on 31 January 2016.
iii. With this, Javed became the 20th Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is also the fourth IPS officer to be appointed as an Ambassador, which is generally is a domain of Indian Forest Service officers.
iv. IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, who was Mumbai Police Commissioner from 1982 to 1985, also served as Indian Ambassador to Romania.
6. Mascot and Logo of 2016 South Asian Games unveiled
i. Orgnaising committee of 12th South Asian Games (OC-SAG) on 13 December 2014 unveiled mascot of the games and logo at ITA Cultural Center Machkhowa in Guwahati, Assam.
ii. The mascot Tikhor is a one horned rhino and is the brand ambassador of the games carries the message of peace, stability, amity and progress in the South Asian region. On the other hand, the logo has eight petals representing the countries participating in the mega event.
iii. The mega event will be jointly held in Guwahati and Shillong from 6 February to 16 February 2016.
7. Security expo in Capital concludes
i. UBM India recently concluded its 9th International Fire & Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC) India Expo 2015 in the Capital. It was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia.
ii. Sisodia said, “We need better security systems this is somewhat mandatory in the current scenario. Such shows allows us to choose from a wide spectrum under one roof. I could sense that there is interesting equipment displayed that could be seriously considered for home security and public safety net.”
iii. The event showcased security solutions by over 300 companies from 20 countries from December 10 to December 12. The expo was supported by the Asian Professional Security Association, ASIS International, British Security Industry Association, and Electronic security Association of India.
iv. The sessions centred around security in public transport, cybercrime, disaster prevention, and Internet of Things, among others.
8. Indian-origin writer J M Sali won 2015 South East Asian Write Award for Singapore
i. Indian-origin Tamil writer Jamaludeen Mohamed Sali on 11 December 2015 was declared as the winner of the prestigious South East Asian Write Award for Singapore. Sali will receive the award for literary excellence on 14 December 2015 at a ceremony in Bangkok.
ii. Born in Madras in 1939, J M Sali was invited to Singapore at the age of 25 to be an assistant editor at the Tamil Murasu newspaper by its founder, the late G Sarangapani. Sali worked for local broadcasting station, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, as a broadcast journalist.
iii. He produced books on famous people including martial art icon Bruce Lee and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. He retired in 2000 from journalism to do full-time writing and translation work. His famous short stories and novels are Vellai Kodugal (White Lines) and Alaigal Pesuginrana (The Sound of the Waves). They are now studied by Tamil literature students in Singaporean and Indian universities.
iv. Since 1979, the Southeast Asian Write Awards (S.E.A. Write Awards) is presented annually to poets and writers of Southeast Asia. The awards are given to the writers from each of the countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, though not all countries in ASEAN are represented every year. The award is sometimes given for a specific work by an author, or it could be awarded for lifetime achievement.
9. Japan's Nozomi Okuhara, Kento Momota won singles titles at World Dubai Superseries Finals
i. Japanese shuttlers Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara on 13 December 2015 won Men's singles and Women’s singles title respectively at the BWF World Superseries finals held at the Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai.
ii. Okuhara defeated China’s Wang Yihan by 22-20, 21-18 to grab the women’s singles crown. Not much later, Momota crushed Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen by 21-15, 21-12 and clinched the Men’s singles title.
iii. Born 1 September 1994, Kento Momota is known for his explosive movements on court and his unpredictable style of play. He was the winner all of the matches he competed in Japan's maiden Thomas Cup victory in 2014. He was the first Japanese player to win the Singapore Open. He was the first Japanese player to win a medal in BWF World Championships 2015 held in Jakarta.
iv. Born on 13 March 1995, Nozomi Okuhara is a female Japanese badminton player who is a singles specialist. In 2011, she became the youngest women's singles champion ever at the Japanese National Badminton Championships. In 2012, she won her first Grand Prix title at the 2012 Canada Open Grand Prix.
10. Vijay Kumar won gold in the 59th National shooting championship
i. Vijay Kumar on 13 December 2015 won the centre fire pistol gold in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad in New Delhi. The 15 day event began on 1 December 2015.
ii. To win the gold, Vijay Kumar scored 588 points to pip Gurpreet Singh by two points. Vijay Kumar won the silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in 2012 Olympics held in London.