• Current Affairs, 1 November 2019

    • November 1, 2019
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    1. 15 point reform charter for better functioning of Parliament
    2. List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of PM to Saudi Arabia
    3. Address by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of call on by the officers trainees of 71 RR (2018 batch) of Indian Police Service
    4. Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    5. Nirmala Sitharaman releases special commemorative coin of Paramahansa Yogananda
    6. India to adopt Brazil model of human milk bank
    7. Growth in Cryptocurrency Transactions in South Africa Calls For Stronger Security Measures
    8. Meeting between Prime Minister and King of Jordan in Riyadh
    9. Joint Statement on Visit of Prime Minister of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    10. Bangladesh to hold the world’s second-largest Muslim congregation ‘Bishwa Ijtema’ in January 2020
    11. Britain set for December 12 election to break Brexit deadlock
    12. California: Thousands evacuated as wildfires spread
    13. Great day for America, say US leaders after Baghdadi’s death
    14. Porsche racing drivers excited for Formula E debut in Riyadh
    15. BWF World Tour: Satwiksairaj, Chirag Shetty reclaim top 10 in doubles


    1. 15 point reform charter for better functioning of Parliament

    ·        Expressing concern over the functioning of parliamentary institutions in the country and erosion of public trust in them, the Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today unveiled a 15 point reform charter as the basis for a new political normal to enable effective functioning of the Parliament and State Legislatures.

    ·        He dwelt at length on the present pitfalls of parliamentary democracy in the country while delivering the first ‘Arun Jaitely Memorial Lecture on Strengthening of Parliamentary Institutions in the Country’ at Delhi University.

    ·        During his 50 minute long account of the genesis of the Constitution of India and functioning of legislatures in the country, Shri Naidu enumerated several pitfalls that are adversely impacting the legislative institutions and suggested remedial measures. He called for a new political consciousness urging all the stakeholders to review their mindset with regard to their roles and responsibilities.

    ·        Expressing concern over poor attendance in the legislatures and the quality of debates, the Vice President urged the political parties to ensure attendance of at least 50% of their legislators all through the proceedings of the Houses by adopting a roster system. This suggestion came in the context of Parliament being forced to be adjourned due to lack of quorum of the required presence of 10% of the strength of the Houses.

    ·          Responding to the concerns over stifling of the freedom of expression of the legislators due to issuance of ‘Whip’, Shri Naidu called for a review of the same so as to enable reasonable degree of dissent without impacting the stability of the government. The Vice President also advocated a thorough review of the Anti Defection Law to rectify the grey areas like incentivising legislators to resort to actions inviting expulsion from the party besides providing for time bound disposal of defection cases by the Presiding Officer.

    ·        Referring to the functioning of the Department Related Standing Committees that came into being in 1993  for detailed examination of legislative proposals, Demands for Grants and other select subjects on behalf of the Parliament, Shri Naidu expressed concern over declining attendance, lack of specialisation, limited tenure of one year, frequent hopping of Committees etc. Shri Naidu said that he would discuss with Lok Sabha Speaker the measures needed for effective functioning of these committees with longer tenure instead of the present one year, promoting specialisation by nominating the Members for a longer period etc.

    ·         Emphasising the need for well thought out and focused legislation with the participation of stakeholders, Shri Naidu proposed a detailed framework based pre and post Legislative Impact Assessment. He stressed that every legislative proposal shall incorporate a detailed account of social, economic, environmental and administrative impact for wider awareness and subsequent assessment of the effect of legislation on ground.

    ·        Conceding that the present ‘First Pass The Post (FPTP)’ system of electing people’s representatives is faulty to the extent that MPs and MLAs are being elected with substantially less than 50% of voter support, Shri Naidu, however, said that there is no alternative at present.

    ·        He further said that the proportional representation being advocated in some quarters would lead to promotion of further social and political cleavages besides being not practical due to implementation issues. He noted that in the recent elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, a large number of Members were elected with more than 50% voter support which would further increase with the changing preference of voters based on developmental concerns.

    ·        Shri Venkaiah Naidu stated that ‘Parliamentary form of Government’ is one of the features of the ‘Basic structure of the Constitution’ and is accordingly beyond the power of Parliament to be amended as per the settled position in the matter.   He said that the alternative of ‘Presidential form of Government’ for India is no option by virtue of the same.

    ·        Referring to the long held perception about the role of caste, community, region and religion in influencing the voting preferences in the country, Vice President Shri Naidu stated that there is growing evidence to suggest the decline of such identity based voting but it needs to be completely stamped out.  “While the Indian public has been steadfast in patronising democracy since the first General Elections in 1952 with ever rising turnout, there is a need for new consciousness in the form of moving away from the remnants of identity based voting to that of development oriented exercise of voting preferences.”  Shri Naidu noted.

    ·        Shri Naidu underscored the need for the governments to be responsive to the concerns of the Opposition and the Opposition to be responsible and constructive during the debates and while criticising the government and opposing legislation.

    ·        He said; “Frequent disruptions, Points of Order without a point, Adjournment Motions and interruptions betray political immaturity, exhibitionism, excessive fondness for the limelight and inadequate appreciation of the need to utilise the opportunity of serving the public interest. ”

    ·        The other reform proposals of Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha  include building consensus on simultaneous polls to let unfettered governance, enacting for reservation of women in legislatures, making rules that automatically take effect against erring members in case of interruptions and disruptions, regular publication of reports by the Secretariats of Legislatures on the attendance of Members and their participation in debates, doing away with the winnability as the sole criterion for selecting contestants by the parties to address the concern of rising number of legislators with criminal record.

    ·         Lauding the contributions of Late Shri Arun Jaitely, Shri Naidu described him as a multi-tasker and multi-faceted genius. He further noted that Shri Jaitely, as both the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the House for five years each in the Rajya Sabha made a significant role in the passing of several landmark legislations besides resolving stalemates on several occasions. 

    ·        He said; “In my view, Shri Jaitely during his long years in public life made a unique contribution to address the imbalance in the prevailing dominant political thinking in the country which was almost instutionalised for long at the cost of other perspectives.

    ·        It required the zeal, ability, virtuosity and the power of interpretation and communication of Shri Jaitely to mainstream the hitherto dormant perspective based on Indian ethos and nationalism. He was in the forefront of further elaborating the concepts of secularism and nationalism as unifying forces in the Indian context. ”

    ·        The occasion was graced by Prof. Y.K. Tyagi, Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi, Dr. I.V. Subba Rao, Secretary to the Vice President of India, Prof. J.P. Khurana, Pro- VC, DU, faculty and students from DU. Family members of Shri Arun Jaitley were also present at the occasion.



    1. List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of PM to Saudi Arabia


    Sl.No Name of Agreement/ MoUs Signatory from India Signatory from Saudi Arabia
    1 Strategic Partnership Council Agreement Prime Minister of India HRH Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.
    2 MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy between Saudi Ministry of Energy and Ministry of New & Renewable Energy of India Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
    Ambassador of India to KSA
    HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud – Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia
    3 Agreement on Security Cooperation Mr. T.S. Tirumurti,
    Secretary (ER ), MEA
    HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif Al Saud – Minister of Interior
    4 MoU for Cooperationin the field of combating illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and chemical precursors. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
    Ambassador of India to KSA
    HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif Al Saud – Minister of Interior
    5 MoU between Saudi General Authority of Military Industries (GAMI) and Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence concerning collaboration in military acquisition, industries, research, development and technology Mr. T.S. Tirumurti,
    Secretary, Economic Relations (ER ), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
    HE Ahmad Al-Ohali, Governor, General Authority of Military Industries.
    6 MoU for Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
    Ambassador of India to KSA
    HE Abdulhadi Al-Mansouri, President, GACA
    7 MoU between Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) for Cooperation in the field of medical products regulations Mr. T.S. Tirumurti,
    Secretary (ER ), MEA
    HE Dr Hisham Al Jadhey, CEO, SFDA
    8 Letter of Intent between Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, of the Republic of India Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
    Ambassador of India to KSA
    Engineer Saleh Al-Rasheed, Governor, Small and Medium Development Authorities.
    9 Cooperation Programme between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and Prince Saud Al Faisal Institute of Diplomatic Studies (IDS) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed,
    Ambassador of India to KSA
    Dr Abdallah Bin Hamad Al Salamah, Director-General, Prince Saud Al Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies
    10 MoU between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) and Saudi Aramco. Mr. HPS Ahuja,
    HE Ahmad Al-Subayae, Vice-President, ARAMCO
    11 MoU for Cooperation between National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) Mr. Vikram Limaye,
    MD & CEO, National Stock Exchange
    Engineer Khaled Al-Hassan, CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange(Tadawul)
    12 MoU between National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Saudi Payments Mr. Arif Khan,
    Chief Digital Officer, National Payments Corporation of India
    Ziyad Al Yusuf, MD, Saudi Payment


     3. Address by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of call on by the officers trainees of 71 RR (2018 batch) of Indian Police Service

    • I am happy to welcome all of you, the officer trainees of the Indian Police Service, to Rashtrapati Bhavan. I also congratulate you on your success in the highly competitive examination and your selection in the Indian Police Service.
    • Rule of Law is the cornerstone of the modern state; and as an enforcer of law, the Indian Police Service has a vital role to play. The entire spectrum of governance stems from Rule of Law. It has paramount importance especially in a democratic polity, where it ensures that all citizens are indeed equal. Your task ahead, then, is to enforce the law and thus uphold the very principles of democracy. It is not a small responsibility. I am confident that as All-India Service officers, wherever you serve, you will strive to serve fellow citizens of the country.
    • The best way to serve the fellow citizens is by scrupulous adherence to the salient principles enshrined in the Constitution in rendering service to one and all. For this noble purpose, you will surely harness energies and competencies with a vision to work relentlessly for the public.
    • When you ensure timely hearing and redressal of public grievances judiciously, you will also feel great satisfaction. It will help to be extra-sensitive to citizens’ needs and expectations. When it comes to issues concerning women, children, the poor, and vulnerable sections of society, empathy and sensitivity will be all the more necessary.
    • Given the great responsibility on your shoulders, it is natural that people associate authority and aura with the uniformed service. I am sure you will leverage this honour for the IPS in society to check the misuse of law and instil a sense of security in the common man, while also respecting human rights of all.
    • Moreover, the nation expects your sincere commitment and professionalism to meet the challenges of internal security posed by the emergent threats of terrorism, extremism and insurgency.
    • We are living in the digital age, and technology is being put to use to ensure better and efficient service delivery by the police. You will be expected to use technology innovatively and serve the citizens even better.
    • I am confident that the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) has inculcated in you not only the necessary skills for the tasks ahead but also the values like courage, uprightness, and dedication. With that learning, you will uphold, practise and propagate the highest standards of integrity and transparency in administration.
    • As you begin your service, I have a word of advice for you. As probationers, you have been invariably on alert against any errors. You remain alive to the need for honesty and remain concerned about dedication to people. When confirmed in the service, however, you run the risk of the human weaknesses. That is when, in some cases, values start getting diluted. I advise you to guard against it. You should stick fast to the probationer’s mindset, and remain ever alert and honest in the service of the nation.
    1. Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    • The Future Investment Initiative(FII) is an annual investment forum held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss trends in the world economy and investment environment. It is hosted by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF). The first event was in October 2017 and featured the announcements of the launch of NEOM, a proposed $500bn independent economic zone in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.
    • The second event was in 23-25 October 2018. The upcoming third event will take place on 29-31 October 2019.
    • The Future Investment Initiative was announced in September 2017 by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, in the context of the Saudi Vision 2030 program of economic and social reform.
    • The first Future Investment Initiative event took place in Riyadh from October 24 to October 26, 2017, under the patronage of King Salman of Saudi Arabia.[2][3] The conference hosted 3,800 attendees from 90 countries, involving major investors, chief executives, public officials, and economists.Notable participants included the managing director of the IMF Christine Lagarde, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Black Rock CEO Larry Fink, and Japanese business magnate Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank.
    • Themes discussed included artificial intelligence, big data, cryptocurrencies, and climate change.In an address to the conference, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salmansaid Saudi Arabia was returning to a more moderate form of Islam “open to all religions and to the world”.
    • The event was colloquially referred to by some media and commentators as “Davos in the Desert”. The World Economic Forum, which organises the annual conference held in Davos, Switzerland, has objected to the use of “Davos” in such contexts for any event not organised by them.

    5. Nirmala Sitharaman releases special commemorative coin of Paramahansa Yogananda

    ·     Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has released a special commemorative coin on Paramahansa Yogananda to mark his 125th Birth Anniversary. Ms Sitharaman said, Paramahansa Yogananda was a great son of India, who became so recognized globally.

    ·     She said, the importance lies in his universal message of bringing harmony among mankind and making it so acceptable globally even when communications modes were limited.

    ·     Paramahansa Yogananda (5 January 1893 – 7 March 1952), or Paramhansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh, was an Indian monkyogi and guru who introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) / Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India. A chief disciple of the Bengali yoga guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, he was sent by his lineage to spread the teachings of yoga to the West, to prove the unity between Eastern and Western religions and to preach a balance between Western material growth and Indian spirituality.His long-standing influence in the American yoga movement, and especially the yoga culture of Los Angeles, led him to be considered by yoga experts as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

    ·     Yogananda was the first major Indian teacher to settle in America, and the first prominent Indian to be hosted in the White House (by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927);his early acclaim led to him being dubbed “the 20th century’s first superstar guru,” by the LA Times.Arriving in Boston in 1920, he embarked on an successful transcontinental speaking tour before settling in Los Angeles in 1925. For the next two and a half decades, he gained local fame as well as expanded his influence worldwide: he created a monastic order, went on teaching-tours, bought properties for his organization in various California locales, and initiated thousands into Kriya Yoga.By 1952, SRF had over 100 centers in both India and the US; today, they have groups in nearly every major American city.His “plain living and high thinking” principles attracted people from all backgrounds among his followers.

    6. India to adopt Brazil model of human milk bank

    ·        Taking inspiration from Brazil’s success in the field of human milk bank, India has decided to adopt a similar model in creating a wide network of human milk banks. Addressing media persons in New Delhi today, after returning from BRICS Health Ministers’ Conference in Brazil, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey said, the government has set a target of ensuring that at least 70 per cent infants have access to breast milk by the year 2025. The target would subsequently be increased to 100 per cent.

    ·        Mr Choubey said, the member countries appreciated the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the Government of India for universal health coverage. The Minister further said that issues like primary health coverage, reduction of infant mortality, vaccination, availability of affordable medicines, Tuberculosis and universal health coverage were the main agenda during the deliberations in the conference. The Minister informed that member countries have decided to take coordinated efforts to reduce infant mortality rate, increase the access of breast milk to the infants and ensuring affordable medicine to all.


    7. Growth in Cryptocurrency Transactions in South Africa Calls For Stronger Security Measures

    ·        Acknowledging National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, leading peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplace and digital wallet provider, Paxful (https://Paxful.com/), is shining the spotlight on the escalating need for security awareness amongst users when trading in digital currency. With criminals becoming increasingly technically proficient, the benefits of cryptocurrencies are also being exploited.

    ·        Virtual currency related crime is on the rise in South Africa, with hackers using peoples’ phones to mine cryptocurrencies according to cybersecurity experts (https://bit.ly/366TdMa). As the popularity of crypto assets such as bitcoin grows, various South African authorities including the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have started the process for reviewing the impact of the crypto sector on consumers and the impact on personal financial security.

    ·        With three million wallets globally, and South Africa being one of its top markets, Paxful processes over 50,000 trades a day. The fluctuating price of the world’s most prominent digital currency has not deterred South Africans either as Paxful has noticed a massive 2800% increase in trades from South Africa this month compared to October 2018. Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town are the three cities within the country that lead to the number of users. Overall, Paxful has also noted that the number of trades across the African continent has grown by 64% when comparing the same time period.

    ·        Importance Of Increased Security And Accountability

    ·        Whilst the vast majority of cryptocurrency trades are safe, in recent years, the sector has not proved completely immune to scams and fraudulent transactions. With the cryptocurrency industry still fairly new, scammers prey on users who lack the appropriate awareness in this space.

    ·        “Bitcoin is secure but sometimes the way we use it is unsafe. We have to treat bitcoin like cash and protect our personal information and passwords the same way we do when we use an ATM or shop online. Once your bitcoin is in the hands of hackers and scammers, it is irreversible, so to have the necessary safeguards in place is critical.” adds Ray Youssef, co-founder and CEO of Paxful.

    ·        On Paxful, users are safe and protected from scammers through various security measures including Paxful’s escrow service which holds the bitcoin safely until a trade is completed.

    ·        Youssef concludes; “For more and more people all over the world, P2P finance is their only hope for financial inclusion and empowerment. While it’s not possible to completely eliminate the risk of crypto fraud and theft, by taking a few simple precautions you can substantially reduce your chances of becoming a victim by following Paxful’s top tips for safe trading.”

    8. Meeting between Prime Minister and King of Jordan in Riyadh

    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan His Majesty Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein today on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
    • The two leaders exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations, including MoUs and Agreements signed during His Majesty’s visit to India from 27 February -01 March 2018.
    • They discussed the Middle East Peace Process and other regional developments. Both leaders also discussed cooperation in counter-terrorism.
    • Historical links, cultural affinities and people-to-people contacts between India and Jordan have existed since times immemorial.
    • Prime Minister’s visit to Jordan and King’s visit to India in 2018 have imparted a new momentum in our bilateral relations that are marked by mutual respect and understanding on various bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.

    9. Joint Statement on Visit of Prime Minister of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    • At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India His Excellency Mr.Narendra Modi paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    • The two sides held bilateral talks during which they reviewed the historical and close relations that bind the two friendly countries and their peoples. They exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. They underlined the relations of friendship and partnership embodied in economic, social, cultural and civilizational ties between the people of the two countries, and the great common opportunities that provide a strong momentum for the development of relations between the two friendly countries.
    • The two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership envisaged in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ of March 2010, which was reiterated during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to India in February 2014, the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, and the visit ofHis Royal Highness Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence to New Delhi in February 2019.
    • The two sides expressed satisfaction at the establishment of Strategic Partnership Council between the two countries and the signing of its founding document by His Royal Highness Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence from the Saudi side, and the Hon’ble Prime Minister from the Indian side, and their satisfaction at the agreements and memorandums of understanding exchanged during the visit between the Government and private entities in both countries.
    • Both sides expressed appreciation for the progress of bilateral relationship in political, economic, security, defence, manpower and people to people exchanges, in recent years, which have strengthened the bilateral relations. They expressed satisfaction at the high-level consultation and coordination between the two countries on regional and international issues of mutual interest, in the framework of their responsibility towards promoting peace, stability and security in the world.
    • His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence met with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India. The two leaders held bilateral discussions, during which they appreciated the growing relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Both leaders praised the progress made in the bilateral cooperation in diverse fields since the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India to Riyadh in April 2016, and the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence to India in February 2019, which deepened the strategic partnership and strengthened the cooperation between the two countries in various fields for the good of both the friendly countries and peoples.
    • The two sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest,and reiterated their categorical rejection of all forms of interference in the internal affairs of countries, andthe need for the international community to fulfill its responsibilities towards preventingany attacks on the sovereignty of States.They stressedthe Security Council Resolution (2254) with regard to the situation in Syria, and emphasized the importance of preserving the unity of Yemen and achieving its security and stability, and the importance of a political solution to the Yemeni crisis on the basis of the GCC initiative,the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue and the Security Council Resolution (2216). Both sides expressed hopefor achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in Palestinebased on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UN resolutions, to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their independent state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
    • The two sides agreed on the importance of bilateral engagement to promote ways to ensure the security and safety of waterways in the Indian Ocean region and the Gulf region from the threat and dangers thatmay affect the interests of the two countries including their national security.
    • The two sidesstressed that the extremism and terrorism threaten all nations and societies. They rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture. Both sides expressed their rejection of all terrorist acts and stressed the need to prevent access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries.
    • The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his best wishes for the health and happiness of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, and for the progress and prosperity of the friendly Indian people.
    • The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques welcomed the invitation extended to him by the Hon’ble Prime Minister to visit India, to complete the consultations and discuss matters of bilateral cooperation and regional and international issues of mutual interest, to serve the interests of the two friendly countries and their peoples.
    1. Bangladesh to hold the world’s second-largest Muslim congregation ‘Bishwa Ijtema’ in January 2020


    • Bangladesh will hold the first phase of Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslim community after Hajj, from January 10 to 12, 2020 in Dhaka.
    • The second phase of the Ijtema will be held from January 17 to 19.
    • Bishwa Ijtema is an annual event which is held in a 160-acre field on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka since 1967.
    • Bishwa Ijtema means world congregation and it draws in Muslims from about 150 countries.
    • In 2010, 5 million people were estimated to take part in the Bishwa Ijtema. It  is a gathering that focuses on prayer and meditation and is not open for political discussions

    11.          Britain set for December 12 election to break Brexit deadlock


    • The UK is all set to go to the polls on December 12 after British parliamentarians backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for an election to break the Brexit deadlock.
    • Hours after the European Union (EU) formally agreed to postpone Britain’s departure again, up to the end of January, the House of Commons on late Tuesday night backed the election date in a vote by a 438 to 20 margin.
    • It will be the UK’s third election in four years and the first December poll since 1923 once the House of Lords passes the legislation and it becomes law by the end of the week. Once that happens, there will be a five-week campaign up to the polling day. The development marks a win for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bid for a pre-Christmas poll to try and win a public mandate in favour of his Brexit plan.
    • The UK prime minister can only hold an early election with the support of MPs, who have previously blocked it three times. Efforts by Opposition MPs to lower the voting age to 16 and also allow EU nationals to take part had earlier failed as the changes were not selected for debate by the Deputy Speaker.
    • But with MPs overall backing a December poll, a pre-Christmas election was certain. One proposed change to the early election motion that was considered was a call by the Labour party, backed by the other Opposition parties, to hold the poll three days earlier, on December 9. This, they argued, would ensure that university students are more likely to be able to take part in the polling because it would still be in term time.
    • The prospect of an election became more and more likely after the EU had agreed on a three-month extension to the October 31 Brexit deadline. This meant Johnson’s “do or die” pledge to leave the economic bloc by Halloween was effectively dead and he was determined to push through an early poll to try and change his current minority figures in Parliament.
    • The prime minister said the public must be “given a choice” over the future of Brexit and the country. Johnson said it was time for the country to “come together to get Brexit done”, as he left a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives held minutes after the vote.
    • The Labour Party had so far refused to back an early poll until the threat of a no-deal crash out by end of October had been taken off the table, a condition which was met with the new Brexit deadline now being January 31, 2020.
    • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would “now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen”. More than 100 Labour MPs did not take part or abstained in Tuesday’s crucial vote, while 11 voted against an election. A total of 127 Labour MPs, including Corbyn, supported the election.

    12.          California: Thousands evacuated as wildfires spread

    • In Los Angeles, a fast-moving fire broke out on Monday.  Eight homes destroyed and mandatory evacuations were made in an area with more than 10,000 residential and commercial buildings are built. 
    • Department representative said, no casuality reported till yet. The Fire started near the Getty Center arts complex and spread to about 500 acres close to some of the city’s most expensive homes.
    • Roughly 600 city firefighters, as well as personnel from other departments, were battling the “very dynamic” blaze from land and sky as it headed west into forested land.
    • California’s Governor has earlier, declared a state-wide emergency as wildfires continue to rage in many other areas.
    • Some 180,000 people have been ordered to leave homes.
    • All schools in Sonoma County were closed for Monday and Tuesday as tens of thousands of homes remain under threat. The biggest blackouts in the state’s history have already left a million people without electricity.

    13.          Great day for America, say US leaders after Baghdadi’s death

    • Congratulating American troops for their daring air raid in northwest Syria that led to the death of ISIS leader and the world’s most wanted terrorist Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, top US leaders on Sunday described it as a great day for America and hailed President Donald Trump for the secret mission.
    • “It is truly a great day in America! Congratulations to President Trump, our intel community, and our US Special Forces for eliminating the most wanted terrorist in the world,” said Nikki Haley, Indian-American leader and former US Ambassador to the UN. “This is a great day for United States, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and people all across the world who have suffered far too long from the cruelty of terrorism,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The ISIS leader was taken down by the US Special Forces during an air raid in his hideout in northwest Syria on Saturday night.
    • “While there is still work left to do to ensure ISIS’s enduring defeat, Baghdadi’s death follows the path of scores of other ISIS leaders that have been removed from the battlefield and can no longer commit heinous atrocities or spread their vile ideology of hatred to poison and recruit vulnerable minds. His evil acts of beheadings, enslavement of women, rape, torture, and pure brutality follows him to his grave,” Pompeo said.
    • Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden congratulated special forces, intelligence community, and all the brave military professionals on delivering justice to the terrorist al-Baghdadi.  “It is thanks to their courage and relentless determination to carry out their mission that ISIS has suffered a vital loss,” he said.
    • As the key figure behind the creation of ISIS, Baghdadi’s corrosive message inspired attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives around the world, including in the United States, he said.  He proclaimed not the teachings of Islam, but a warped ideology of hate and brutality, built on mass slaughters, public executions, the enslavement of ethnic and religious minorities, and evils that have no place in any society. The world is better and safer without him in it, Biden said.
    • “We cannot afford to get distracted or take our eye off the target. ISIS remains a threat to the American people and our allies, and we must keep up the pressure to prevent ISIS from ever regrouping or again threatening the United States,” Biden said.”That task is particularly important as the chaos of the past few weeks in northern Syria has jeopardised years of hard work and sacrifice by American and Kurdish troops to evict ISIS from its strongholds in Syria,” he added.
    • “Americans salute the heroism, dedication and skill of our military and our intelligence professionals and acknowledge the work of our partners in the region. We are relieved that no US personnel died in this daring raid,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Pelosi demanded that the House be briefed on the raid, which the Russians, but not top Congressional leadership, were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region.
    • “The death of al-Baghdadi is significant, but the death of this ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS.  Scores of ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence and committing acts of terror,” Pelosi said. “This morning’s announcement should confirm for the world what many already knew — that terrorists cannot outlast or outmatch the commitment of the US counter-terrorism apparatus. We will not stop or waver in destroying terrorist leaders wherever they hide,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said.
    • “I applaud yesterday’s heroic actions by our US special operations forces and intelligence services to root out and eliminate the top leader of the oppressive Islamic State terrorist group,” said Senator Johnny Isakson.  Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the brave special operations forces successfully executed a dangerous mission to get ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
    • “I want to thank President Trump for making the call to bring down one of the most dangerous terrorists who is responsible for the death of hundreds, including Americans,” he said. “Killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an important achievement in the fight against ISIS. I am grateful to our men and women in uniform, our intelligence professionals, and our allies who contributed to this success. We have robbed ISIS of their founder and leader. That is significant, but the threat of ISIS did not die with him,” said Congressman Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee.
    • The ISIS leader’s death marks a significant milestone in US’ ongoing campaign to destroy ISIS and their threat to America, said Congressman Michael McCaul, lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I applaud the brave men and women of the United States military and intelligence community who collaborated on this successful operation and thank our foreign partners for their support,” he said.
    • “Baghdadi led one of the most brutal terror organizations in the world, which celebrated public executions, rape, torture and murder. His death should serve as a lesson to any would-be terror leaders around the world that seek to target the United States and our citizens,” said Congressman Mike Rogers, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.



    14.          Porsche racing drivers excited for Formula E debut in Riyadh



    • After more than 30 years away from single-seater racing Porsche is back, following the first laps of the new 99X Electric car at the official test drives of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the 2019/2020 season in Valencia, Spain.
    • Last week, Neel Jani and André Lotterer, the two regular drivers for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, joined rival manufacturers at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia for three days of track testing ahead of the contest’s launch next month.
    • Porsche’s competitive debut in Formula E will take place on November 22 and 23 at the Diriyah Circuit, in Saudi Arabia, a tough test in the street racing series described as ‘very challenging’ by drivers.
    • This year sees Porsche enter the Formula E fray against the biggest line-up of manufacturers in the contest’s history, with 10 manufacturers and overall 12 teams on the starting grid. Kicking off Season 6 for the series, Porsche’s 99X Electric will compete for the first time on the track created in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh.
    • The stakes will be high in the Kingdom, as it hosts a doubleheader. One man focussed on those early races is André Lotterer, who believes his team will learn a lot. And, new rules being introduced this year by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), present an opportunity for engineers to play an increased role in the path to victory, said the driver who joined Porsche this summer.
    • Last year, the new Porsche driver tackled the Saudi street circuit with the Techeetah team, finishing 5th on the day, and 8th for the entire season. What sets the Diriyah track apart from others in the calendar is the number of turns, 21 in all, and the challenge they present. Some are ascending, some of them are descending, so drivers must contend with slopes and corners simultaneously, one second going down the next second going up. The course also features one of the longest straights of the championship where drivers will look to their cars to attack at speed.
    • Like all ‘Gen 2’ cars on the track, the Porsche 99X Electric will feature the same chassis and battery as its rivals, as per FIA rules, however, all powertrain components are developed by manufacturers. This gives Porsche engineers free rein over the electric motor, inverter, brake-by-wire system, transmission, differential, driveshafts, the suspension components attached to the rear-axle, as well as the cooling system and the engine control unit, the ECU.
    • The energy efficiency of the powertrain plays a decisive role in the competition, especially this year as new rules introduced by FIA mean a greater emphasis on this vital area, as drivers cannot conserve energy during race stoppages. It is a return to the early days of Formula E that saw rash drivers run out of power and stop metres from the finish line.

    15.          BWF World Tour: Satwiksairaj, Chirag Shetty reclaim top 10 in doubles

    ·        Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has reclaimed its position in the top 10 of the latest BWF Badminton rankings.

    ·        Satwik and Chirag, who became the first Indian pair to enter the finals of a BWF World Tour Super 750 event at the French Open last week, gained two places to grab the ninth place.

    ·        The Indian duo had broken into the top 10 for the first time in August following its historic triumph at the Thailand Open BWF Super Tour 500 event.

    ·        Meanwhile, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal remained static at the sixth and ninth places respectively in the rankings after finishing in the quarter-finals in women’s singles in Paris.

    ·        Rising shuttler Lakshya Sen, who is currently playing at the SaarLorLux Open, moved up a place to 51st, while Shubankar Dey jumped four places to No 38.

    ·        Parupalli Kashyap also improved a place to grab the 25th spot while Sameer Verma also climbed a place to the 17th spot.

    • Women’s doubles pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy were out of the top-25 after slipping two positions to be placed 26th.


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