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♦ Hockey World Cup 2018 Final, Belgium win 3-2 on penalties
- Belgium will face the Netherlands in the finals of the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening. For the first time, Belgium is in the final of a World Cup. In August 2017, the Netherlands faced Belgium in the Euro Hockey Nations Championship final. After an intense 60 minutes that saw a few heated exchanges on the field, the Dutch won the match 4-2. A year and three months on, the two teams find themselves once again on opposite ends– albeit this time, in a World Cup final.
- The two teams have met 13 times before in which the team in orange have a 6-5 record. But in the World Cup, the Dutch have won all the three times, a factor which might play in the minds of the team in red. Catch live score and updates of Belgium vs Netherlands.
♦ Bhupesh Baghel named Chhattisgarh Chief Minister
- Bhupesh Baghel has been announced as the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, days after lengthy deliberations between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other state leaders.
- Baghel will take oath on Monday while the rest of the state cabinet will be decided at a later date, Congress’ central observer Mallikarjun Kharge said. “It was a tough decision because all the four leaders worked equally for the party and they all are equal,” Kharge added.
- Speaking about the challenges the Congress will have to first address, Kharge said: “”There are several challenges before us as we have come to power after 15 years in the state. We will fulfil our poll promises and we are confident that Baghel will discharge his responsibilities well.”
♦ PV Sindhu creates history, clinches World Tour Finals title
- India’s PV Sindhu on Sunday hoped no one will ever question her ability to win big titles, relieved at breaking the finals jinx with a historic triumph at the World Tour Finals here.
- After losing seven successive summit clashes, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu finally settled her finals blues with a 21-19 21-17 win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara to lift the prestigious season-ending trophy.
- “I feel really happy. I have no words because it is my first win this year after coming and losing in the finals, so it was memorable. The year has ended on a beautiful note,” said Sindhu, who won silvers at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships this year.
- “Somewhere every time people have been asking me the same question. I hope the question won’t again come to me, asking why all the time coming to the finals I lose. I think I can say now that I won a gold and I am really very proud.”
- Her mentor and chief India coach Pullela Gopichand also stressed on the importance of Sindhu crossing the final hurdle.
- “There has been a lot of talk of her losing the finals and I think that at least, not for anybody else but for Sindhu’s mind, I think it is important she lost in the final with a comprehensive big win,” he said.
- “People have been waiting for it and it is great to have this win at the end of the year.”
♦ Ranil Wickremesinghe reinstated as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister
- United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Sunday, ending a 51-day power tussle in the island nation that had crippled the government.
- Mr. Wickremesinghe, 69, was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had sacked him on October 26 in a controversial move which plunged the island nation into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
- The UNP leader had refused to step down asserting that his sacking was illegal.
- His re-appointment comes a day after former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was installed as Prime Minister by President Sirisena, resigned on Saturday, after two crucial Supreme Court decisions made his efforts to cling to premiership untenable.
- According to media reports, a new Cabinet will be sworn in on Monday. The Cabinet will consist of 30 members and include six Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarians.
- Earlier, Mr. Wickremesinghe’s party said it was ready to work with President Sirisena, who was “misled by some groups” against the unity government.
♦ Number of Student Credit Card beneficiaries has gone up to 25,000: Nitish Kumar
- Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday said the number of beneficiaries of the Student Credit Card (SCC) scheme in the state has gone up to 25,000. The number of beneficiaries under SCC scheme has gone up to 25,000 within three-four months of Bihar State Education Finance Corporation (BSEFC) taking up the job to disburse soft loans to students to pursue higher education, he said.
- “I am happy to say that BSEFC has started functioning for past three-four months (for disbursing loans under SCC scheme). The scheme has become popular among students. I am told the number of beneficiaries under SCC scheme has gone up to 25,000 within three-four months of BSEFC starting its work,” Kumar said. The Bihar government had launched the SCC scheme on October 3, 2016. Earlier the number of beneficiaries could barely reach 9,000 in past one and half years when SSC scheme was routed through banks, he said.
- The BSEFC gives soft education loans under SSC scheme to students willing to pursue higher education in the state or outside the state. The students get loan up to Rs 4 lakh at a low interest rate of four per cent while the interest rate would be merely one per cent for girls, specially able persons, transgenders. Kumar was addressing a function at Mahavir Rameshwar Inter College, Harsiddhi in East Champaran district. He was at the College premises to unveil the statues of two noted social workers- Mahavir Prasad and Rameshwar Mahto. The College has been named after the duo. The chief minister appealed to guardians to let their children pursue higher education which is very low in the state compared to the national average.
♦ Shree Saini from USA crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018
- Indian-American Shree Saini has been crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018 at a pageant held in the Fords City of New Jersey.
- Sakshi Sinha from Australia and Anusha Sareen from United Kingdom were respectively declared first and second runner ups in the 27th annual global pageant for people of Indian origin.
- Organised by the New York-based India Festival Committee (IFC), the pageant is said to be the oldest and largest event for the Indian Diaspora community.
- Shree, 22, who was told by the doctors that she can never dance after being installed with a pacemaker at the age of 12, said one should never give up.
- “I truly believe your legacy is defined by how you make others feel and the positive difference you make in your lifetime,” said Shree, who started her non-profit organisation, when she was 15.
- Shree said it was her dream to compete for a world title, which was started when she was in the elementary school.
- Indian-origin girls from as many as 17 countries participated in the annual beauty pageant.
- India’s Mandeep Kaur Sandhu, who hails from Haryana, was crowned Mrs India Worldwide 2018. A mother to a boy, she lost her husband in a road accident in the first year of her marriage.
- “I decided to stay single to show to all those who told me that I cannot raise a child alone being a widow. I am here to represent all the widow women. If I can do it, you can do it,” Mandeep said.
♦ Piyush Goyal dedicates India’s first Railway varsity to nation; all you need to know
- Indian Railways opened the doors of India’s first railway university in Vadodara, Gujarat on Saturday. Dedicated to the nation by Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, it is the first of its kind institution in the nation and the third in the world after Russia and China.
- Named the Rail and Transportation Institution (NRTI), this deemed university will offer professional courses in technology and management of transportation networks. The chairman of Railways Board Ashok Lohani has been named the Vice Chancellor, whereas it will host visiting faculty from renowned institutions like XLRI School of Management and Indian Business School, Hyderabad, among others.
- The NRTI started operation on September 5 earlier this year. The first batch of 103 students – 62 for BSc in Transportation Technology and 41 in BBA in Transportation Management – have already been shortlisted. Both courses are the flagship three-year programmes offered by the railway university.
- The students inducted in these full-time residential programmes hail from 20 states of India. The first batch of students has been awarded 50 per cent scholarship in the annual course fee of Rs 75,000. The actual annual fee of NRTI for one year is Rs 91,000, including all charges.
- There are plans to start masters’ programme from the academic session 2019-20 Transportation and Systems Design, Transport Systems Engineering, Transport Policy and Economics, and others.
- The Ministry of Railways has sanctioned Rs 421 crore for the NRTI and its curriculum development for the next five years. A greenfield campus is also under development to house the university. Indian Railways has identified a 110-acre plot of land at Pipaliya village in Waghodiya Taluka, District Vadodara for the NRTI campus.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- FLOP (VERB): (गिर पड़ना)Slump
Synonyms: fall, drop
Antonyms: succeed, achieve
Example: She flopped, exhausted, on to the sofa.
- SMUG (ADJECTIVE): (आत्मसंतुष्ट)pleased with oneself
Synonyms: complacent, pompous
Antonyms: unsure, unhappy with oneself
Example: He is utterly a smug person.
- DYSPEPTIC (ADJECTIVE): (चिड़चिड़ा)irritable
Synonyms: crabby, grouchy
Antonyms: cheerful, happy
Example: I dislike dyspeptic people around.
- PLATITUDE (NOUN): (साधारण बात)truism
Synonyms: banality, cliché
Antonyms: coinage, original saying
Example: Your platitude is meaningless and does nothing for my anger.
- DEBACLE (NOUN): (पराजय)breakdown
Synonyms: collapse, drubbing
Antonyms: attainment, creation
Example: That moment was a time of debacle for me.
- RESILIENCE (NOUN): (लचीलापन)flexibility
Synonyms: elasticity, pliancy
Antonyms: obduracy, rigidity
Example: In spite of the violence in the country, industry there has shown a remarkable resilience.
- CIRCUMSCRIBE (VERB): (प्रतिबंध लगाना)to form or mark the limits of
Synonyms: confine, define
Antonyms: free, release
Example: The hedge circumscribes the property.
- ROBUST (ADJECTIVE): (मजबूत)hearty
Synonyms: healthy, sturdy
Antonyms: fragile, incapable
Example: He is an intelligent and a robust child.
Negative signals: on falling inflation rates
The days when inflation could topple governments appear to be gone. It is now time for the government to worry about falling prices, especially of food. Retail inflation dropped to a 17-month low of 2.33% in November, as compared to 3.31% in October, primarily due to the fall in the prices of various essential food items. Food prices fell by a huge 6.96 percentage points compared to a year ago and, at minus 2.61%, are now in deflationary territory for the second successive month. The fall in inflation is obviously good news for consumers, particularly those in urban India who are happy to pay less for their purchases; also for the Reserve Bank of India, which will now have more room for manoeuvre in the matter of interest rates. But it is bad news for the producers of basic food items who are located in the distress-affected rural parts of the country, with falling farm incomes also impacting landless labour and rural demand. At the heart of this problem is the unpredictability of farm prices, which are known to exhibit extreme levels of volatility owing to various supply-side issues that plague the agricultural sector. Though farmer producer companies have stepped in with help and guidance to farmers to use hedging tools to minimise price risks, they are too few and far between to make a difference. And even when their produce finally commanded impressive prices in the retail market, the cartelised agricultural marketing system has made sure that farmers received little to nothing.
Ahead of the general election next year, State governments across the country are likely to resort to short-term relief measures such as farm loan waivers to temporarily relieve farmers of their deep distress. Further, with the issue of rural distress now expected to significantly affect the general election verdict, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are already engaged in a competitive battle to offer the highest extent of loan waiver to farmers. There will also be pressure to announce higher minimum support prices for various agricultural goods. It is another matter that no government has ever had the wherewithal to deliver on such lofty promises. In fact, the poor implementation of MSPs is one of the reasons for farmers taking to the streets in protest. The Centre may prod the new RBI Governor to adopt a more dovish monetary policy stance in the run-up to the election citing falling inflation figures. But none of these measures will help farmers, who have increasingly taken the protest route of late to make their demands heard, in any meaningful manner in the long run. Real agricultural reform is crucial to enable farmers to freely make their own business decisions without the grabbing hand of the government.
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