• Qatar has withdrawn its membership from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The country had sent an official notification to the OPEC expressing its wish to pull out and to focus on its liquefied natural gas production in December. Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years.
  • The United States and Israel officially quit the UNESCO with the close of 2018. The countries had announced their decisions in 2017 of withdrawing from the agency, accusing it of bias against Israel.
  •  The finance minister of France Bruno Le Maire announced that France will introduce its own tax on large internet and technology companies from January 1. France has been pushing hard for a new so-called “GAFA tax” -- named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon -- to ensure the global giants pay a fair share of taxes on their massive business operations in Europe.
  • U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which passed the U.S. Senate earlier in December. According to the White House, the act establishes a multifaceted U.S. strategy to increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Sri Lanka’s Central Bank announced that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to provide USD 400 million under a swap arrangement to boost the island nation’s reserves.
  • The Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of United States Chamber of Commerce launched a new innovation strategy at Raisina Dialogue, 2019 in New Delhi. The Initiative is titled as “Fair Value for Innovation”.
  • The Parliament of Macedonia has passed the resolution to amend the constitution of the country to rename it as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to protect the interests of all 134 countries in the UN's Group of 77, as Palestine took the chairmanship of the group from Egypt for 2019.
  •  India will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to address the issue of land degradation and desertification which will have participation from over 100 countries. It is likely to be held in October 2019.
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has launched Tokyo-based startup Star-ALE's mini-satellite aimed to deliver the world's first artificial meteor shower.
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Libcoin are in dialogue to form a world-class consortium to initially build 1GWh lithium-ion battery plant in India. Its capacity will be scaled up to 30GWh in due course.
  •  Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) has announced the launch of a full-fledged bachelor's programme in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from the new academic session, a first for the country and only the third globally.
  • Nepal’s central bank has banned the use of Indian currency notes of Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 200 denominations, a move that could affect Indian tourists visiting the Himalayan nation where Indian currency is widely used.
     Nepal Rastra Bank issued a circular prohibiting Nepali travellers, banks and financial institutions from holding or carrying and trading Indian bank notes
    higher than Rs 100.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020.Rio will be the first city to receive the title under a programme launched together by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) in November 2018.
  • India is likely to surpass the United Kingdom in the world’s largest economy rankings in 2019, to become the world’s fifth largest economy, according to a report by global consultancy firm PwC. 
  • China's economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, its slowest rate in almost 3 decades. The world's 2nd biggest economy was grappling with the effects of the current trade war with the US and declining exports.PwC’s Global Economy Watch report projects real GDP growth of 1.6% for the UK, 1.7% for France and 7.6% for India in 2019.
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that he is breaking off diplomatic ties with the United States after his American counterpart Donald Trump recognized Opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country's interim President.
  • The Pakistan government declared sugarcane juice as the “national drink” of the country. They came at this decision after asking People’s opinion in twitter to choose one among orange, carrot and sugarcane.
  • India and China have signed the protocol for exports of Indian tobacco leaves to China. The protocol was signed during the recent visit of Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan to Beijing.
  •  Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte along with UN representative has launched Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable development. The new center is located near the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome.
  • In Britain, lawmakers voted in favor of an amendment in BREXIT plan seeking alternative arrangements to replace the Irish border arrangement known as the Irish backstop. The amendment calls for the backstop to be replaced with unspecified “alternative arrangements” to avoid the reintroduction of border checks in Ireland.
  • The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.