• Current Affairs, 13 January 2020

     

     

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Vice President pays tribute to Saint Composer Thyagaraja, calls him one of the greatest music maestros of India

     

    • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that music was at the core of India’s cultural heritage and it not only provides solace but also unites and connects people.
    • Inaugurating 173rd Aradhana Festival of Sri Thyagaraja at Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district today, he observed thatart unites hearts and added that music, painting and art were important facets of our civilization.
    • Calling for preservation and protection of our unique cultural heritage, he said “Our culture and values are our identity. It is what makes us unique. It is what has earned us the respect of the whole world”.
    • Paying rich tributes to Saint Composer, Thyagaraja, he described himas one of the greatest music maestros of India. “Sadguru Thaygaraja is one among the most revered 18th Century Trinity of composers–the others being Shyama Sastry and Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar”, he added.
    • The Vice President said that Saint Thyagaraja’s contributions to the enrichment of our cultural heritage cannot be quantified or estimated. He not only embodied ethical and philosophical truths in his songs but also put them into practice in his daily life. His style was simple, beautiful, and charming, which appealed to the learned and laymen alike, Shri Naidu stressed.
    • Praising Saint Thyagaraja as the composer of countless immortal kritis in various ragas, Shri Naidu said that Sri Thyagaraja’s compositions were treasures for the world of Music and would live in our hearts forever. “His heart poured out his Bhakti for Lord Rama and his songs are full of bhava/emotion that melts your heart”, he observed.
    • Lauding the tradition of conducting the festival of Thyagaraja Aradhana every year, he said that there was a growing interest and participation in the annual event to pay tributes to Saint Thyagaraja .
    • He also called upon the schools and educational institutions to sensitize children to the diverse elements of our rich culture. From reading the Jataka tales to experiencing the architectural marvels of ancient India, they must be encouraged to explore the various fascinating facets of our culture and learn life lessons from them, VP said.
    • Stressing the need to take the treasures of our culture to future generations, the Vice President said that they must know of the stalwarts like Saint Tyagaraja and must be proud of their glorious cultural inheritance. They must not forget their roots and must draw inspiration from its brilliance, he added.
    • The Vice President complimented the Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha Shri Moopanar’s family for maintaining the tradition of conducting Annual Aradhana Festivals every successive year.

     

    1. PM Dedicates Four Refurbished Heritage Buildings in Kolkata To the Nation

     

     

    • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicatedto the nation Four Refurbished Heritage Buildings in Kolkata today. These are Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and the Victoria Memorial Hall.
    • Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister termed it as a special day, as it begins a nationwide campaign to preserve India’s art, culture and heritage, and to Reinvent, Rebrand, Renovate and Rehouse them.
    • Centre of Heritage Tourism for the World:
    • Shri Modi said that India always wanted to protect and modernize its cultural heritage and structures. It is with this spirit that the Union Government has taken up the endeavour to develop India as major centre of Heritage Tourism in the World.
    • He mentioned that five 5 Iconic Museums in the country will be made in keeping with the International standards. This is being started from the Indian Museum in Kolkata, which is one of the oldest museums in the world, he added.
    • Shri Modi said that inorder to generate resources, take care of the management of these iconic cultural heritage centres, the union government is considering to launch Indian Institute of Heritage Conservation which would be given the status of a deemed university.
    • Prime Minister said the renovation work of four Iconic Galleries of Kolkata-  Old Currency Building, Belvedere House, Victoria Memorial and Metcalfe House has been completed. He also said that Government is taking efforts towards developing Belvedere House into a Museum of the World.
    • Shri Modi said that Government of India is contemplating to set up a museum of “Coinage & Commerce” at the Indian Government Mint in Kolkata.
    • Biplabi Bharat
    • Prime Minister said , “3 of the 5 galleries of Victoria Memorial were closed for a long time and that it is not a good situation. We are now trying to restart them, It is my urge that some space should also be provided for showcasing India’s Freedom fighters. I feel it should be called “Biplabi Bharat”. Here we can showcase leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghosh, Ras Behari Bose, Khudi Ram Bose, Bagha Jatin, Binoy, Badal, Dinesh etc”
    • He said keeping in mind the decades old sentiments of India towards Subhas Chandra Bose a museum had been set up at the Red Fort in Delhi and that an island in the archipelago of the Andaman & Nicobar had been named after him.
    • Tributes to Iconic Leaders of Bengal 
    • Prime Minister said in the new era, the iconic leaders and sons of soil of West Bengal who dedicated their lives for the freedom of the country should be paid proper tributes.
    • “Now we are celebrating the 200th Birth Anniversary of Shri Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Similarly the year 2022 when India celebrates its 75th Independence, is also the 250th birth anniversary of renowned social reformer and educationist Shri Raja Ram Mohan Rai. We need to remember his efforts in uplifting the self confidence of the country, his efforts in promoting welfare of youth, women and girl child. In this spirit we should celebrate his 250th birth anniversary as a festival of grandeur.”
    • Preserving Indian History
    • Prime Minister said that preserving Indian Heritage, India’s Great Leaders, India’s History is one of the main aspect of Nation Building.
    • “It is very sad that the History of India written during the British regime had left out many important aspects out of it. I would like to quote what Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore wrote in 1903, ‘ India’s history is not what we study and memorize for our exams. It only talks about how people from outside have tried to conquer us, how children tried to kill their fathers and how brothers fought among themselves for the throne. This kind of depiction of history does not talk about how the Indian citizens, Indian people were living. It does not give them any importance’ “.
    • “Gurudev also said, ‘ Whatever may be the strength of the storm, more important is how the people who faced it dealt with it.’
    • “Friends this quote of Gurudev reminds that those historians have only seen the storm only from outside. They have not gone inside the houses of those who were facing the storm. Those who see it from outside have no understanding of how the people were dealing with it then”.
    • “Many such issues of the country were left behind by these historians”, he said.
    • “During that period of instability and war, who were keeping up the conscience of the country, who were carrying our great traditions to the next generations”
    • “This was done by our art, our literature, our music, our saints, our monks”
    • Promoting Indian Tradition and Culture
    • “One witnesses special traditions related to various types of art and music in every corner of India. Similarly the influence of intellectuals and saints is also visible in every region of India. These individuals, their ideas, different forms of art and literature have enriched the history. These great personalities have led some of the biggest social reforms in the history of India. The path shown by them still inspires us today.”
    • “The Bhakti movement was enriched by the songs and thoughts of several social reformers. Sant Kabir, Tulsidas, and several others played a key role in awakening the society.”
    • Prime Minister said, “We must remember what Swami Vivekananda had said during his interaction at Michigan University- ‘The present century might be yours, but the 21st century will belong to India’. We must continue working hard to fulfill his vision.

     

     

    1. Nation condoles demise of Dr. M Chidananda Murthy

    • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of Dr. M Chidananda Murthy.
    • “Dr. M Chidananda Murthy was a doyen of culture and literature. His passion towards Kannada language was noteworthy and so were his efforts to preserve unique aspects of our rich history. His demise is saddening. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti”, the Prime Minister said
    • Chidananda Murthy(10 May 1931 – 11 January 2020)[1] was a Kannada writer, researcher and historian. He was a well-known scholar in Karnataka specializing in the history of Kannada language and ancient Karnataka. He was also known for his campaign to conserve the monuments Hampi[2] and to secure classical language status to Kannada Language.[3] Murthy also articulated that uniform civil code and an anti-conversion law must be enacted by the Government in India.

     

    1. PM Modi says purpose of Citizenship Amendment Act is to grant citizenship and not to take it away from anyone

     

     

    • The Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has firmly said that Citizenship Amendment Act is meant for giving citizenship and not for scraping anyone’s citizenship.
    • Addressing a gathering on the occasion of Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at Belur Math, the headquarters of RamKrishna Math and Mission, this morning, Mr. Modi appealed to the youth to come forward to remove misunderstanding on the issue.
    • The Prime Minister asserted that confusion is being created on the act for political reasons. He clarified that there will be no adverse impact of the Citizenship Amendment Act in North Eastern region of the country.
    • He further said that by amending the citizenship act, the areas of granting citizenship have been increased. The Prime Minister sought the cooperation of youths to fulfill the dreams of Swami Vivekananda to build New India.
    • The Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is being celebrated as National Youth Day throughout the country today. Mr. Modi offered Puja at RamKrishna Mandir in Belur Math this morning.

     

    1. Mission Purvodaya to develop eastern region into a integrated steel hub

    • Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said, the eastern belt has the potential to add over 75 percent of the country’s incremental steel capacity envisioned by the National Steel Policy.
    • He said, it is expected that out of the 300 Million Tonne capacity by 2030-31, over 200 Million Tonne can come from this region alone. Mr Pradhan said this while launching Mission Purvodaya in Kolkata yesterday. The programme is aimed at accelerated development of eastern India through establishment of integrated steel hub.
    • The mission will drive India’s march towards five trillion dollar economy set by the government.
    • Stating that eastern India is a land of infinite opportunities, Mr Pradhan said that despite being endowed with natural resources, this region has lagged behind in socio-economic development as compared to some other parts of the country. With Mission Purvodaya in the steel sector, he said, a new chapter will the rise of eastern India by accelerated development of steel sector through an integrated steel hub.
    • Through this programme, the government aims to transform logistics and utilities infrastructure which would change the socio-economic landscape in the eastern India. The steps, under mission, also include growth of steel industry along with employment opportunities across the entire value chain.

     

     

    1. Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visits NCC Republic Day Camp

     

    • Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Republic Day Camp 2020 at Delhi Cantt today. The Chief of Air Staff inspected the Guard of Honour presented by the NCC cadets from the Army, Navy and Air Force. This was followed by a Band Display by the cadets.
    • The Chief of the Air Staff also inspected the well laid out ‘Flag Area’, prepared by the cadets from all 17 NCC Directorates, depicting various social awareness themes. He was given a brief by the cadets on their respective models.
    • Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauriavisited the ‘Hall of Fame’, a proud possession of the NCC, with display of rich archival collection of alumni photographs, models, motivational and other visual delights of the three wings of the NCC.Later, the Chief of the Air Staff and other distinguished guests witnessed a cultural programme by the cadets.
    • In his address, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria lauded the stellar role played by NCC in shaping the youth of the nation,enabling them to shoulder the responsibilities of building a strong India. He assured the NCC of the continued support of the Indian Air Force in conduct of its Air Wing activities.

     

    1. MoS (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurates workshop-cum-exhibition on ‘Bamboo- A wonder grass’ in Jammu

     

     

    • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has huge Bamboo reserves that can boost its economy in future. He was inaugurating a workshop-cum-exhibition on “Bamboo-A wonder grass” at Convention Centre, Jammu today. The workshop-cum-exhibition is being jointly organised by the North Eastern Council (NEC),  Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Government of India and Government of Jammu and Kashmir through Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), Guwahati, Assam and Department of Social Forestry, Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Shri G.C. Murmu, Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and senior officers  were also present on the occasion.
    • While inaugurating the workshop, Dr Jitendra Singh said that bamboo cultivation can revolutionise the industry in Jammu and Kashmir in a cost-effective manner and can open new gates for the young start-ups. While referring to a series of workshops and conferences being organised in J&K, the Minister said that this is the 4th conference within a short span of 3 months. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, it has been decided to institutionalize every outreach initiative for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Other ministries are also conducting programs with an aim to go deeper to the district level and then to the assembly segment level, he added. He further said that the  UT Govt. is in the process of identifying 100 venues and will identify the programs to be held there in the first phase.
    • The Minister also emphasized on the fact that it is the time to apply the same amount of focus on Jammu and Kashmir as has been applied to North-East in recent years which has totally transformed the region into a heaven for start ups. There is an expectation that Jammu and Kashmir will too emerge as a great economic zone and successful practices of governance and development can be easily replicated in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
    • Speaking on the sidelines of the exhibition, the Minister said that the development of UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is being given special focus after the abrogation of Article 370. Dr Singh also said  that the dream of a 5 trillion economy can not be achieved unless we follow the global parameters. The new industrial policy is in the line so that we would have more investment here which will create more jobs for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
    • Dr Jitendra Singh said that every important project related to Jammu and Kashmir  that was stuck up  is now being  cleared.  He spoke about the Bathinda gas pipeline project, Uj river water project, Shahpur Kandi Project, Pakaldul Project to Kiru Project. This will bring a new dawn into the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
    • During the workshop-cum-exhibition, Dr. Jitendra Singh also inaugurated Bamboo and Cane cluster stalls established by eight states of North Eastern Region and exhibition stalls. He also visited live stations established by various departments of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Governor, UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri. G.C. Murmu emphasised on the fact that Bamboo being eco-friendly can help us saving the environment from pollution and can become a means of livelihood as well. The need of the hour is to find the economic use of it in Jammu and Kashmir as we have huge resources of Bamboo here, he added.
    • Addressing the workshop-cum-exhibition, Shri. K. Moses Chalai, Secretary, North Eastern Council, Govt. of India said that both North-East and Jammu and Kashmir have a great potential to grow together in Bamboo technology and this workshop is a good beginning to have a bamboo skill development in Jammu and Kashmir on the lines of North Eastern region.
    • Earlier in her welcome address, Ms Sarita Chauhan, Commissioner Secretary, Department of Forests, Environment and Ecology, Government of Jammu and Kashmir said that this workshop-cum-exhibition will boost the Jammu and Kashmir economy in future and this workshop will broaden the vision about it especially through the technical sessions. She also emphasised  on the development of the skills of artisans of Jammu and Kashmir to hone their skills and potential.
    • During the conference, the artists from the North Eastern Region performed a Bamboo Orchestra and the troupe from the North Eastern Region also performed a Bamboo Dance.

     

    1. Maiden landing of DRDO-developed LCA Navy onboard INS Vikramaditya

     

     

    • After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF), Naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) did a successful arrested landing onboard INS Vikramaditya at 1002 hrs today. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar conducted the maiden landing. Captain Dahiya was the Landing Safety Officer (LSO) and Cdr Vivek Pandey Test Director on ship whereas Gr. Capt. Kabadwal and Cdr Ankur Jain were monitoring the aircraft through telemetry from SBTF. LCA Navy has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
    • Secretary, Department of Defence R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy has congratulated DRDO, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Indian Navy, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) teams.

     

     

    1. National Highway Excellence Awards 2019

     

    • Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari will present the ‘National Highways Excellence Awards’ to outstanding performers in NH sectoron Tuesday, the 14thof this month in New Delhi.
    • The awards were institutedin the year 2018. The first cycle of awards in 2018received wide participation from around the country. Following the success of the first cycle, the Ministry decided to make the National Highways Excellence Awards an annual feature. Theaimis to recognise companies which are performing exceptionally well in the construction, operations, maintenance and tolling stages of highway developmentas well as in the arena of road safety.
    • The motive behind starting an annual awards program is to create a spirit of healthy competitiveness amongst all stakeholders involved in the development of highway infrastructure in the country and to contribute to the larger goal of expanding the road network in the country. By announcing awards each year, the Ministry would acknowledge exceptional work being done in various aspects of highway management and recognize those agencies which are going beyond the scope of their work to deliver the finest quality of services.

    This year, the nominations were opened on August 19th, 2019. An impartial and independent evaluation process was adopted which had objective and quantifiableassessment parameters.

    Theseven award categories are :

    1. Excellence in Project Management,

    Efficient use of resources with finest quality standards and smooth execution of all project milestones. There are two subcategories based on the mode of implementation of project: EPC & PPP

    1. Excellence in Operation and Maintenance

    Smooth execution of repair works, periodic inspections, maintenance of special structures, enhancement of the natural environment & matchless riding quality. Based on the type of pavement of the highway, there were two sub-categories- Rigid & Flexible Pavement

    1. Excellence in Toll Management,

    Effective management of traffic and services at the plaza, such as availability of various modes of digital payment, fully automated toll gates, CCTV surveillance, emergency services, greenery and Swachh parameters

    1. Excellence in Highway Safety

    Extraordinary efforts to reduce road casualties, establish preventative safety measures and provide emergency response services. There are two subcategories based on the terrain: Hilly Terrain & Plain Terrain

    1. Innovation

    Significant achievement in devising or adapting a new technology or design in construction that enhances the quality, timeliness, cost effectiveness, safety and/or efficiency in the road development projects

    1. Outstanding Work in Challenging Conditions

    Special measures undertaken to develop highway infrastructure in a challenging environment (tough natural terrain, complex urban landscape, challenging climate or conflict zones)

    MoRTH is dedicated to provide road connectivity to the last mile. In this pursuit, highways are being developed in geographically difficult terrains and tough climatic conditions. To incentivise agencies involved in such challenging projects, a unique category was introduced this year- Outstanding Work in Challenging Conditions.

    1. Green Highway

    Innovative practices adopted to protect or enhance the natural environment and/or minimize effect of project development on the environment. Green Highway, a new category introduced this year, aims to recognize exceptional work done to adopt environment friendly approaches in development of highway infrastructure, and encourage efforts in the maintenance of a healthy green cover.

    Each award category had its ownpre-defined eligibility criteria, assessmentparameters and scoring rubrics. This year, 104 applications were receivedacross these seven categories on an online application platform designed by NIC. The applications are spread across the entire country. The assessment was carried out in three months. Each application underwent multiple rounds of scrutiny. First the data and documents submitted by the applicants were evaluated, and then shortlisted projects were visited on-site by a team of trained experts to corroborate the submitted data from findings on the field.

    Detailed project profiles of the top 40 shortlisted projects were presented before an esteemed jury panel, who checked all the aspects of each projects and finalized 12 winners across the seven categories.

    Toll authorities which have managed the best implementation of FASTag technology will also be awarded for increased automation in toll collection.

    1. Our Education system should reflect India’s cultural values, history and heritage: VP

     

     

    • The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that there was a need to Indianize the education system without distorting any historical facts.
    • Speaking at the 21st Graduation Day Ceremony of Srimad Andavan Arts and Science College, Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, Shri Naidu said that respecting elders, Guru, nature and all faiths was part of the Indian culture.   He said that Indian family system was the strongest USP as it molds children and youngsters into tolerant and socially conscious individuals.
    • He said that the education system should reflect India’s cultural values, history, and heritage.
    • The inspiring stories of valour and sacrifices of legendary freedom fighters like Veerapandian Kattabomman, Tiruppur Kumaran, Basaveshawara and Alluri Seetharamaraju should be included in the text books.
    • Urging the students to face the 21stcentury challenges effectively by upgrading their skills and enhancing their knowledge, he said it was time to reorient the education system to prepare students to be globally competitive.
    • Referring to schemes like Skill India, Make in India, Digital India and Startup India, the Vice President said that these programs offered immense opportunities for youngsters to showcase their talent and entrepreneurial skills.
    • “As the country marches ahead in the quest to become a 5 trillion dollar economy, our energetic, innovative and entrepreneurial youth will have a major role to play in achieving that goal,” he added.
    • The Vice President urged the private sector to join hands with the government in strengthening education, healthcare and other sectors in the rural areas to end the urban-rural divide.
    • Stressing the need to impart the spirit of voluntarism and service among students from childhood, Shri Naidu said that every student should become socially responsible and participate in community services in tune with India’s age old philosophy of share and care.
    • He suggested encouraging students to take part in activities such as NSS and NCC as it would promote team spirit and camaraderie
      Expressing concern over the rising incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) due to changing lifestyles and dietary habits, Shri Naidu advised the youngsters to avoid junk food. He also wanted them to stay healthy by participating in regular physical activities.
    • Earlier, on his way to Srimad Andavan College, the Vice President got down from his car, to watch the majestic Cauvery.  He called for collective efforts to protect and rejuvenate all rivers as they are the lifeline of human civilization.
    • The Minister for Tourism, Govt of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. Vellamandi Natarajan, the Chairman, National Executive Committee, Andavan Ashram, Shri R.Rajagopal, the Secretary and Correspondent, Shri CA. Ammangi V. Balaji, Chairman SRPVT, Shri N. Gopalaswami, Board of Trustees, Director, Principal, Staff and Students of Srimad Andavan Arts and Science College were present.

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. PM condoles the passing away of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said

       

     

    • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
    • “I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He was a visionary leader and statesman who transformed Oman into a modern and prosperous nation. He was a beacon of peace for our region and the world.
    • Sultan Qaboos was a true friend of India and provided strong leadership for developing a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman. I will always cherish the warmth and affection I received from him. May his soul rest in peace”, the Prime Minister said.
    • He was the Sultan of Omanfrom 23 July 1970 until his death. A fourteenth-generation descendant of the founder of the House of Al Said,[2] he was the longest-serving leader in the Middle East and Arab world at the time of his death.
    • The only son of Sultan Said bin Taimurof Muscat and Oman, Qaboos was educated in England. After graduating from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he served briefly in the British Army. He returned to Oman in 1966 and was placed under virtual house arrest by his father. In 1970, Qaboos ascended to the Omani throne after overthrowing his own father in a coup d’état, with British support. The country was subsequently re-named the Sultanate of Oman.

     

    1. Cairodenounced the memoranda of understanding between Turkey and Libya

     

     

    • an assembly of several foreign ministers in Cairodenounced the memoranda of understanding between Turkey and Libya in which Turkey and Libya agreed on maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean and allowed Turkish army deployments in Libya. The November border demarcation resulted in overlapping exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims and would make the planned EastMed gas pipeline cross Turkish waters.
    • Egyptianforeign minister Sameh Shoukry and his GreekCypriot and French counterparts, Nikos DendiasNikos Christodoulides and Jean-Yves Le Drian, respectively, gathered in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss Libya–Turkey relations. The Italian foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, joined the talks as an observer.
    • They concluded that the November 27 maritime border agreement between Turkey and Libya is “null and void” and “infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Seaand cannot produce any legal consequences”. They called on Turkey to halt their drilling operations within the EEZ of Cyprus, and deemed that the agreement on sending Turkish soldiers to Libya, where a civil war is underway, goes against the United Nations Security Council resolution 2259.
    • The foreign ministers agreed to a future meet on Crete.
    • In a related press release issued the following day, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairsdenounced the conclusions of the summit, calling the agreements “legitimate and fully compatible with international law”. To resolve differences, they invited the countries to open dialogue, with the exception of Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognize.
    • On Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the TurkStreamgas pipeline, Turkish president Erdoğan called for a regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming a right to Turkey to have a say in projects there, based on the country’s long shoreline. “No project excluding our country in the Eastern Mediterranean can be implemented with regard to economic, judicial and diplomatic aspects”, he said. He underlined the call for cooperation by saying “we are ready to take more [positive] steps towards those taking a single step towards us.” He claimed the Turkish drilling on Cypriot waters is only to protect Turkish and Turkish Cypriot
    • On Tuesday, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisspeaking to the Atlantic Council think tank called the border agreement “null and void” and “geographically ridiculous”. “The agreement assumes that our islands, including our biggest island Crete, does not have an exclusive economic zone, which goes against everything we know in international law”, he added. He also noted that the Libyan House of Representatives did not ratify the demarcation, and mentioned a possible arbitration route at the International Court of Justice. The border issue is the “main difference” between Greece and Turkey, he added.
    • In the November 27 deal, Turkey and Libya agreed on a line as their shared maritime border that would make the sea between Crete and Cyprus a part of the Turkish EEZ. Turkey justified the claim based on their long shoreline and presented cases where islands played only a limited role when borders were drawn. Athens expelled the Libyan ambassador to Greece over the agreement.
    • The EastMed pipeline is a Israeli-Cypriot-Greek effort intended to connect East Mediterranean offshore gas fields with the European mainland via a pipeline, on a route which passes through Turkish-claimed maritime territories. Italy, the proposed end point, and Egypt, which have gas fields of its own, were openly called to join.

     

     

    1. Iraqi Parliament votes for expulsion of United States troops

    • the Parliament of Iraqvoted on a resolution to expel United States troops from the country. The move follows the United States’ killing of Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike last week.
    • The vote, which is not binding, was boycotted by both Kurdishand Sunni Members of Parliament. The resolution still awaited approval by the Iraqi NPR reported Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the caretaker Prime Minister, recommended the United States troops in Iraq withdraw.
    • The United States had not, as of yesterday, announced any plans to remove the troops, which are there with an international coalition to counter the Islamic State(ISIS). Following the vote, a United States Department of State spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, indicated the United States was disappointed by the Parliament’s decision: “While we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution,” he said, “we strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS”.
    • The coalition came to Iraq to fight ISIS after the group took over about a third of the country. The Iraqi government has since declared victory, but the U.S. troops have remained in Iraq to prevent ISIS from gaining ground again.
    • The strike took place in Iraq, at Baghdad International Airport. The Foreign Ministry of Iraqcharacterized the attack as “a serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty”.

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. ICC Ranking

    • Indian opener K L Rahul retained his sixth position while captain Virat Kohli moved up a place to ninth in the batting chart of the T20 International players rankings released by International Cricket Council today.
    • The T20 rankings were d after the conclusion of the three-match series between India and Sri Lanka, which Kohli’s men won 2-0.
    • Rahul, the highest-ranked India batsman, has gained 26 points and is now on 760 rating points, just six behind Australia’s Glenn Maxwell after scores of 45 and 54 in his two innings against Sri Lanka.
    • Kohli, top-ranked in Tests and ODIs, is on ninth position while left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan, too, has climbed a rung to be placed 15th
    • The Indian fast bowlers have also made notable gains in the first T20 of the year. In the ICC Team Rankings, India remained static in fifth position.

     

     

    1. Several new records created in track and field events in Khelo India Youth games in Guwahati

    • The Khelo India Youth games in Guwahati will witness action in several sporting arenas today including gymnastics, athletics, cycling, table tennis and judo among others.
    • Plethora of athletics events will be seen today including 100 meter race at Sarusajai stadium.
    • Maharashtra is leading the medal tally at the games, with 7 gold and 8 silver medals followed by Uttar Pradesh with 6 gold medals.
    • Delhi is on the third spot with 5 gold and 1 silver. Gujarat and Tripura have won 4 gold medals each so far.

     

     

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