Current Affairs, News & Facts of 18 Dec 2014

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  • India's heaviest rocket 'GSLV-Mark III' successfully launched. - read more cat
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  • US and Cuba warm up to each other; to restore diplomatic ties after over 50 years.  
    • The diplomatic breakthrough involves prisoner exchange, the opening of embassies, and easing of some trade restrictions.
    • The bilateral relation have remained strained ever since the Cuban Revolution of 1959 which established anti-American communist regime led by Fidel Castro in Cuba.
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  • Colombia's FARC rebels declares indefinite ceasefire from December 20, 2014.  
    • However, any military operation against them, on part of the government, will annul the truce.
    • The unilateral ceasefire by the 50-year old leftist guerrilla force is a step forward towards ending the bloody civil war with the government.
    • The FARC grew out of a 1960s peasant movement demanding land reform and is responsible for the estimated killing of some 220,000 people so far.
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  • BSF installs Farheen LASER fencing - to prevent infiltration - in area of river Basantar, Bein Nallah, Karol Krishna and Paloa Nallah of the Jammu region.  
    • The technology has been developed by the BSF itself.
    • The invisible wall will set off an alarm - alerting forces - in the event of infiltration.
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  • UGC approves a special scholarship scheme ‘Ishan Uday’ for students from North-Eastern Region beginning academic year 2014-15.   
    • The scheme has 10,000 slots for fresh scholarships every year for students whose parental income is below Rs. 4.5 lakhs per annum. 
    • The scholarships amount under the scheme range from Rs. 3500 to Rs. 5000 per month.
    • Its valid for general degree courses, technical and professional courses including medical and para-medical courses at under graduate level in recognized college/universities of the country. 
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  • Indian woman boxer L Sarita Devi has been banned by International Boxing Association (AIBA) for a year (till October 1, 2015), in addition to imposing a 1000 Swiss francs fine.  
    • She is punished for violating the decorum by refusing her bronze medal after her controversial semifinal loss at the Asian Games 2014.
    • She will come out of ban in time to compete in the 2016 Olympic qualifiers and can further her career afterward.
    • Cuban coach BI Fernandez, who also criticized officials after the semifinal match, was handed a two-year ban and fined 2000 Swiss francs.
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