1) GSLV Mark-III-X successfully test fired: The first experimental flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III registered success as it lifted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the dot at 9.30 a.m. on 18 December 2014, taking India much closer to realising the dream of manned space flight. GSLV Mark-III-X is the heaviest rocket (630 tonnes) of India, which was launched on an experimental mission along with human Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE). It was launched with an aim to check its atmospheric stability with luggage of around four tonne and to study re-entry characteristics of the crew module.
2) Gabriel Garcia Marquez to feature on Colombia bank notes: Colombia will honour its most famous author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, by featuring his face on its banknotes. The House of Representatives passed a bill recently asking the central bank to print a series of notes featuring the Nobel Prize winner's face. Garcia Marquez, the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and other popular works of magic realism, died in April in Mexico City.
3) Lord's set to stage record fifth ICC Cricket World Cup final: "Lord's Cricket Ground in London has been proposed as the venue for the ICC Cricket World Cup final when the tournament is staged in England and Wales in 2019 - and will also host the ICC Women's World Cup final in 2017," the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement. Lord's staged the first three ICC Cricket World Cup finals in 1975, 1979 and 1983. The West Indies won the first two finals - their only World Cup successes - while India recorded the first of their two World Cup triumphs in 1983.
4) Minorities Rights Day observed: Minorities Rights Day on 18 December 2014 was observed across the world to create awareness on rights of minorities. On this day, governments and NGO’s conduct debates on the recent developments in policies and practices in Minority Rights both in India and at the global level.
5) Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic selected as ITF world champions: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named as men's and women's World Champions for 2014 on 18 December 2014 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). It is the fourth time that Djokovic has taken the top award after he won Wimbledon, the ATP World Tour finals and finished the year ranked number one in the world by the ATP. The 27-year-old Serb is one of only four men to be named ITF World Champion four or more times, alongside Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Williams won the US Open, the 18th Grand Slam title of her career, the WTA Tour Championship and was also ranked number one by the WTA. At 33 she is the oldest player ever to be named an ITF Singles World Champion.
6) Germany topped FIFA year end rankings: World champions Germany comfortably top the pile of the FIFA national team rankings revealed on 18 Dec 2014 despite a slump in form since their rampant campaign in Brazil. The top three remain unchanged since September with Lionel Messi's beaten World Cup finalists Argentina second and Colombia in third.
7) Micromax launched its YU brand: Yu, the new brand from domestic handset maker Micromax, on 18 December 2014 launched its first device named Yureka. The 4G device comes with Cyanogen operating system and is priced at Rs 8,999. The products launched under the ‘Yu’ brand will be sold through the online route, emulating Xiaomi's business model. Yureka, which is a dual SIM device, will be available for pre-registration on Amazon.in from December 19 and will be available from the second week of January.
8) 'The Lunchbox' named best first film by Toronto Film Critics: Ritesh Batra's much lauded epistolary romance drama 'The Lunchbox' has been named best first feature by Toronto Film Critics. The film, which won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes Film Festival in 2013, tells the nostalgic love story between a lonely housewife and an about to retire widower, who get connected through a wrongly delivered lunchbox. The Mumbai-set film starred Irrfan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in key roles.
9) 'Clean India, Green India' theme of new Govt calendar: Clean India, Green India' is the theme of the new Government of India calendar 2015 which focuses on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative, the Swachh Bharat Mission. For the first time ever, a digital version of the calendar was also launched today in the form of a mobile phone app. PM Modi features on the first page of the calendar for the month of January wielding a broom to clean a roadside.