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♦ Narendra Modi inaugurates Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25 inaugurated the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh in Assam.
- After reaching Dibrugarh in the afternoon from New Delhi, Mr. Modi directly flew to Bogibeel in a chopper and inaugurated the 4.94-km-long double-decker bridge from the southern bank of the river.
- Mr. Modi along with Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also walked a few metres on the bridge.
♦ RBI to release new ₹ 20 note
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon introduce a new ₹ 20 currency note with additional features, according to a document of the central bank.
- The central bank has already issued new-look currency notes in the denominations of ₹ 10, ₹ 50, ₹ 100, and ₹ 500, besides introducing ₹ 200 and ₹ 2,000 bank notes.
- The new look notes are being introduced since November 2016 under Mahatma Gandhi (New) series. These are different in size and design compared to the notes issued previously.
- The currency notes, except for banned ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000, issued under old series continue to remain legal tender.
♦ P.V. Bharathi appointed MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
- P V Bharathi has been appointed as managing director and chief executive officer of the Corporation Bank, according to an order issued by the Personnel Ministry on Monday.
- Bharathi is at present Executive Director, Canara Bank.
- She will take over the charge on or after February 1, 2019 and remain in the post till March 31, 2020 – the date of her superannuation, the order said.
- In another order, the ministry said Birupaksha Mishra and Balakrishna Alse S has been appointed as executive director in the Corporation Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce, respectively.
- Mishra is General Manager, Central Bank of India. Balakrishna is GM, Corporation Bank. K Ramachandran has been appointed as executive director of the Allahabad Bank. He is at present General Manager, Corporation Bank.
- Ramachandaran will hold the office up to the date of his superannuation which is June 30, 2021.
♦ Punjab National Bank launches special card for Kumbh Mela 2019
- State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a special card for Kumbh Mela 2019.
- The bank has partnered with the Uttar Pradesh government to create a model for digitization at this edition of Kumbh Mela, PNB said in a statement issued on Sunday.It is estimated that 12 crore devotees will participate in this event which happens every 12 years.
- There is an opportunity to use digitization to simplify transactions at the event, it said.
- For convenient and hassle-free transactions at these shops, it said, the bank has created an indigenous product, PNB Rupay card which works even in absence of internet.
♦ Lewis Hamilton awarded Drivers’ Driver of the Year
- Cape Town – After claiming a historic fifth World Drivers’ Championship, Lewis Hamilton has added to an ever-growing list of accolades after taking home the inaugural Drivers’ Driver of the Year.
- This was the first time the vote had been run by the F1 bosses, with seventeen of the 20 drivers taking part.
- Points were handed out based on F1’s current system, with 25 points given to the top driver on each list.
- Unsurprisingly, Hamilton came out on top, having become just the third man in history to secure a fifth world title.
- Max Verstappen led the charge in second place, after finishing the season with five straight podium finishes.
- Fernando Alonso took the final step on the podium, despite only scoring 50 points for uncompetitive McLaren team this year.
- Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo both made it into the top five of the vote, with rookie Charles Leclerc in an impressive sixth place.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- DISSEMINATE (VERB):distribute (प्रसारित करना)
Synonyms: scatter, circulate
Antonyms: conceal, hide
Example: It took years to disseminate information about this disease.
- ENGROSS (VERB): Bewitch (तल्लीन होना)
Synonyms: captivate, enrapture
Antonyms: disenchant, disgust
Example : Yesterday she engrossed everybody at the party.
- DIFFIDENT (ADJECTIVE):Meek(संकोची)
Synonyms: timid, sheepish
Antonyms: brave, confident
Example: You are kind of diffident person.
- DEBACLE (NOUN):Catastrophe (पराजय)
Synonyms: beating, collapse
Antonyms: attainment, accomplishment
Example: When the movie was released, it was called a debacle by the audience.
- DERANGED (ADJECTIVE): Insane (अव्यवस्थित)
Synonyms: crazed, maniacal
Antonyms: rational, sensible
Example: Mary is deranged girl, I’ve ever met.
- DEMUR (VERB): Object (अपत्ति करना)
Synonyms: refuse, dissent
Antonyms: support, help
Example: At first I demurred when he asked me to do it.
- LAIR (NOUN): cave (मांद)
Synonyms: habitat, hideaway
Antonyms: unveil, display
Example: A huge polar bear slumbered peacefully in its lair.
- MOOT (ADJECTIVE): doubtful (विवादास्पद)
Synonyms: controversial, dubious
Antonyms: certain, definite
Example: Peter’s case accusations over the property were considered moot.
A disquieting exit: on high-profile departures from the Trump administration
While the string of high-profile departures from the Donald Trump White House is longer than in the case of any of its recent predecessors, last week’s announcement by the President that Defence Secretary James Mattis would step down by the end of February 2019 set alarm bells ringing in Washington and beyond. Soon after, Mr. Trump said he had advanced Mr. Mattis’s exit, and that Patrick M. Shanahan would be acting Defence Secretary from January 1. Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was a respected voice within an otherwise chaotic and impulsive administration. In his letter of resignation, he indicated that he did not share his boss’s worldview on “countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours”, including China and Russia; and that he believed in “treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors”. The trigger was reportedly a phone conversation between Mr. Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, during which Mr. Trump abruptly decided to concur with Mr. Erdoğan on withdrawing roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. This has been attacked on both sides of the aisle, for fear that it could pave the way for a Turkish retaliation against Kurdish forces in Syria, which have been critical to efforts in recapturing more than 95% of the territory taken by the Islamic State, and cede space in Syria to Russian and Iranian interests.
Mr. Mattis’s departure comes at a fraught juncture for the Trump administration. On the one hand, Democrats are on the front foot after taking over the House of Representatives. They will doubtless double down on the multiple investigations working their way through the Congressional and judicial systems, relating to possible covert Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election as well as to the Trump Foundation and conflict-of-interest questions. Mr. Trump’s supporters are as incensed as his critics over questions around his stalled campaign promise to build a border wall with Mexico to stymie undocumented immigration. A budget-related shutdown of the government has begun, and the anxiety of the financial markets is palpable. To lose a trusted adviser, considered by many to be the last “adult in the room” in the proximity of a tantrum-prone Commander-in-Chief, is to risk isolation on the global stage. Mr. Trump’s decision to bring troops home from wars in faraway lands is in keeping with promises made during his campaign. But such a move could prove to be rash and self-defeating. Mr. Shanahan, who has been Mr. Mattis’s deputy in the Department of Defence, will have to deal with the reality that the balance of strategic power has slipped further from Washington’s grip.
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