• Current Affairs, 16th January 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Nitin Gadkari presents National Highway Excellence Awards 2019

     

    • Road, Transport and Highway Minister, Nitin Gadkari today said performance auditing is more important than the financial auditing. He said that the decision must be taken with a positive attitude.
    • Presenting the National Highway Excellence Awards 2019 in New Delhi today, he said, officers must visit the actual site and make the assessment.
    • During the event, Minister of State for Road, Transport and Highway, V.K. Singh said, infrastructure is important for the economy and it accelerates the economic activity in the country.

     

    • Instituted in the year 2018, National Highway Excellence Awards aim to recognize the well-performing companies in the field of construction, operations, maintenance, toll collection and road safety on National Highways.

     

    1. SC dismisses curative petitions of two convicts in Nirbhaya rape case

    • The Supreme Court today dismissed the curative petitions filed by two of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.
    • A five-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana were unanimous that there was no merit in the curative petitions filed by the condemned petitioners Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Kumar.

     

    • The proceedings were conducted in-chamber. The applications for stay of execution of the death sentence were also rejected. A curative petition is the last and final legal remedy available to a death row convict.

     

    • A Delhi court had on 7th of January issued death warrants for hanging of four convicts on 22nd of January at 7 am in Tihar jail.

     

    • Meanwhile, convict Mukesh moved the Delhi High Court today for setting aside the death warrant issued by the trial court. The plea is listed for hearing tomorrow. The plea also states that he has moved mercy petitions before the Delhi Lieutenant Governor and the President of India.

     

    • Two other death-row convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta, had not filed curative petitions. Besides the four convicts, two more were accused in the gangrape and murder case. Ram Singh, the fifth accused, committed suicide and a juvenile was released after three years in a reform home.

     

    • The 23-year-old paramedic student dubbed as Nirbhaya – the fearless one, was raped and brutally assaulted on a moving bus on 16th of December, 2012. She died from her injuries 13 days later.

     

    1. HC gives no interim relief to television broadcasters challenging TRAI’s latest amendments to tariffs

     

     

    • Bombay High Court has refused to give any interim relief to television broadcasters who have challenged the latest amendments to tariffs by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India -TRAI.
    • Seeking postponement of the 15th January deadline for submitting revised tariff, the broadcasters claimed that the amended regulations were arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of fundamental rights.
      TRAI’s Counsel Venkatesh Dhond, however claimed that the regulator had received several complaints that channels were overpriced, following which a tariff revision has been suggested.
    • He informed a Division Bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and R.I. Chagla that the financial effect of the regulations will come into effect only on 1st of March this year.
    • Last month, TRAI issued new tariff rules after which consumers will be required to pay 130 rupees as NCF charge, but will get 200 channels. The petition opposed the tariff amendments, arguing they will adversely impact the sector’s growth.
    • The broadcasters claimed that consumer choices differ not only from one part of the country to another, but also within different parts of a state, a city and even within a household. The bench has directed TRAI to file a reply and adjourned the hearing to 22nd of this month.

     

    1. Former News Reel Producer of AIR Kolkata Upen Tarafder dies
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    • Former News Reel Producer of All India Radio, Kolkata Upen Tarafder died in Kolkata  last night after brief illness. He was 84.

     

    • Tarfder joined in All India Radio in 1954. ‘Sangbad Bichitra’ produced by him during Indo – Bangladesh war acclaimed appreciations from various circles. His war coverage and other productions took the ‘Sangbad Bichitra’ to a new hight.

     

    • The Producer was honoured by the Bangladesh Government in 2012 on the occasion of 40 years of their independence. He also served as Station Director of All India Radio, Siliguri and Deputy Director Doordarshan, Kolkata.

     

    • His book on Freedom Struggle of Bangladesh also acclaimed appreciations in literary circle. The body of Tarafder will be donated to a government hospital in Kolkata today for medical research.

     

    • The last journey will begin from Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital, Kolkata this morning and body will be kept at Akashvani Bhavan for some time for paying homage to the departed soul.

     

     

    1. EAM S. Jaishankar, his Uzbekistani counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov hold wide-ranging talks in New Delhi

     

    • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Uzbekistani counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi yesterday vowing to boost bilateral trade and investment and explore possibilities for a preferential trade agreement.
    • Emphasizing on the need to boost bilateral trade and investment, the two Ministers agreed to work towards early conclusion of the feasibility study to be jointly conducted by the two sides to begin negotiations for a preferential trade agreement.
    • The External Affairs Minister reiterated the need for early operationalization of the 200 million US dollars of Line of Credit extended by India to Uzbekistan for which Uzbek side is in the process of finalizing necessary details of the identified projects.
    • Referring to the strategic partnership of the two countries, both the Ministers emphasized on the need to maintain the momentum of high level exchanges and implement the agreements reached during the visits of President of Uzbekistan to India in October 2018 and January last year.
    • Foreign Minister Kamilov reiterated the invitation extended by President of Uzbekistan to the Prime Minister to visit Uzbekistan. Mr Kamilov briefed Jaishankar on Uzbekistan’s efforts to liberalize its economy, create business friendly conditions and attract foreign investment, including that from Indian companies.
    • The Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of defence, counter-terrorism and security, information and communication technology, development partnership and promote cultural exchanges, the statement said.

     

    • Cooperation in the multilateral fora, including the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was also discussed during the meeting.Later Jaishankar also met Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics and Foreign Minister of Czech Republic Tomáš Petrícek.

     

     

    1. Centre accepts SIT recommendations in 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases

     

    • Centre has accepted the recommendations of a special investigation team (SIT), headed by retired Delhi High Court judge Justice SN Dhingra which probed 186 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

     

    • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed Supreme Court that the Centre will take appropriate steps on the SIT recommendations.

     

    • Mr Mehta informed a bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant that a lot of steps are required to be taken and it will be taken.

     

    • Appearing for petitioner, senior advocate RS Suri said that the report of the SIT is damning for police officials and they will file application seeking action against the cops who were allegedly involved in the ghastly crime. Referred to the SIT’s report, Mr Suri said the undercurrent is that police officials cant go scot-free for the things which had happened.
    • Large-scale riots targeting members of the Sikh community had broken out in the national capital in the aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. The violence had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

     

    1. President Kovind calls for encouraging organ donation

    • President Ram Nath Kovind has stressed the need for encouraging organ donation and creating awareness about it.
    • Addressing the 10th Foundation Day of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, ILBS in New Delhi today, Mr Kovind said, there is a huge gap between requirement and availability of organ needed for saving lives. He said, there is need to establish Liver Transplant programme in more public hospitals.
    • The President said, two lakh liver transplants are required in a year but only a few thousands are done.

     

    • He said, health remains a key development challenges for India and government is committed to tackle it through Ayushman Bharat programme and other health schemes. Mr Kovind said, in a short span of ten years, ILBS has made a stellar contribution in the field of Liver and Biliary diseases.

     

    1. Army Chief General Naravane reiterates zero tolerance policy against terrorism

     

    • The 72nd Army Day is being celebrated across the country today. It is celebrated every year to commemorate the day when General KM Carriappa took over the command of Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army after Independence.
    • Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has congratulated all ranks, families, veterans and Veer Naris and Armed Forces fraternity on 72nd Army Day.

     

    • In his message, General Naravane said, the Indian Army has responded to a wide array of national security challenges that are becoming more complex and multi-dimensional and demand utmost dedication, highest level of proficiency and resilience in dealing with them.

     

    • He said, whenever confronted, Officers and Soldiers of Indian Army have given befitting response to the adversaries whether in safeguarding the frontiers or in conduct of intense counter terror operations in a highly professional manner.

     

    • Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said that Indian Army is ready to tackle any threat.

     

    • Addressing the 72nd Army Day celebration in Delhi Cantt, he said the Army will not hesitate to use several options available to tackle terrorism. General Naravane reiterated the zero tolerance policy against terrorism.

     

    • The Army Chief said, there is a significant decline in incidents of violence in the north-eastern part of the country.
    • General Naravane termed the abrogation of article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir a historical step. He said it will help in integrating the Union Territory with the mainstream. He added it has also disrupted proxy war by the western neighbour.
    • The Army Chief said, there is no place of discrimination in the forces. He also informed that 11 crore rupees compensation was given to families of Martyrs.
    • The Chief of the Army Staff said, Indian Army in taking rapid steps with regard to technological embrace and indigenization. He said, Army is developing cogent strategies, acquiring modern capabilities and undergoing structural optimization to enable to fight and win wars of the future.

     

    • General Naravane said, Indian Army has reaffirmed its dedication to the motherland by being effective responders during calamities and through the contributions to wider nation building. He said, Indian Army enjoys a distinctive pride of place in the national mind space.
    • On the occasion of Army Day, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh paid tributes at the National War Memorial.
    • President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted valiant men and women of the Indian Army as well as veterans and their families on the occasion of 72nd Army Day. In a tweet, President Ram Nath Kovind said, Indian Army is nation’s pride and the sentinels of the liberty. He said, the immense sacrifice of the Indian Army has secured the sovereignty, brought glory to the nation and protected the people.
    • In a tweet, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu saluted the Army men and women for protecting the borders and ensuring the safety and security of the country. He said, the nation is ever grateful to the sacrifices made by them and their families.In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, the Indian Army is the pride of Mother India.

     

    • Mr Modi saluted the indomitable courage, valour of all soldiers of the country. Mr Modi also shared a video of Chinar Corps of Indian Army. Over 100 men of Chinar Corps and 30 civilians carried for four hours on stretcher an expecting mother Shamima to hospital through heavy snow.

     

    • The Prime Minister said, Indian Army is known for its valour and professionalism and it is also respected for its humanitarian spirit. He said, whenever people needed help, Indian Army rose to the occasion and did everything possible.

     

    • Mr Modi said, the nation is proud of the Army.Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has greeted all valiant Indian Army personnel on Army Day today. In a tweet, Mr Singh recalled with pride their indomitable spirit, valour and sacrifices in making India a safer place.

     

     

    1. India and China need to reach understanding on crucial issues as neighbours: S Jaishankar
          1.  
    • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, it is vital for neighbours to reach an understanding on crucial issues.

     

    • Referring to India’s relations with China, he said, it is important that the two countries find equilibrium in ties. He was addressing the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi today.
    • Dr Jaishankar said, India owes it to itself and to the world to be a just power. He said, India is not a disruptor and is firmly dealing with terrorism. He said, India has an extraordinary diaspora and is shaping international discourse.

     

    • He added that India’s way is more of a decider than an abstainer. His remarks come at a time when several countries called for a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific region.

     

    • Referring to tensions between the US and Iran, he said they are two individualistic countries and what finally happens will depend on the players involved.

     

    • The External Affairs Minister said,India is also among those countries that have kept to the Paris Climate Agreement and New Delhi’s way would be tested on global issues.

     

     

     

    1. PM Modi describes Raisina Dialogue as vibrant forum for discussing important global issues 
        1.  
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Raisina Dialogue has emerged as a vibrant forum for discussing important global and strategic issues over the years. After attending the annual event in New Delhi yesterday, in a tweet, Mr Modi said, he also had the opportunity to meet leaders who are great friends of India.
    • Earlier, India’s flagship global conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, Raisina Dialogue got underway in New Delhi last evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the inaugural session.
    • Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay and former Prime Minister of South Korea Han Seung-soo also attended the session. The seven former Heads of State or Government shared their views on important challenges facing the world.
    • During the inaugural session, Former Danish Prime Minister and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, he would like to see a global alliance of democracies to stand up to oppressive rulers and regimes and India could play an important role in such a coalition.
    • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was scheduled to deliver the inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue but had to call off his four-day visit due to devastating bush-fires in several parts of his country, sent a video message for the dialogue.

     

    • Morrison said, India is and will remain the strategic lynchpin in the Indo-Pacific. He said, the term Indo-Pacific reflects the recognition that India’s power and purpose will be vitally important to the region and to resolving and supporting shared security challenges. He added that India has taken on an increasingly active role in the Indian Ocean.

     

    • Speaking at the event, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, Indian foreign policy seeks to achieve a focus on key challenges, a broad engagement with many parties and managing, if not leveraging, global contradictions. He said, advancing the interests in a multi-polar world and contributing to global good is what it is all about.

     

    • Discussing the challenge of climate change, former New Zealand Premier Helen Clark said, achieving zero carbon is important to combat climate change, but it is important to get national consensus on achieving this target.

     

    • Former Prime Minister of Cananda Stephen Harper hailed Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, saying India will be a country that is self-defined. He said, India is not going to be a bastion of Western liberals and under the current Government identity is coming back in a big way.

     

    • The fifth edition of the prestigious event is being jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation. The three-day conference will see participation of 12 Foreign Ministers, including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Denmark, Uzbekistan and the EU.

     

    • AIR correspondent reports that the participation of Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, assumes significance as it comes amid the stand off between the US and Iran.

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Sri Lankan President decides estate workers’ daily wage to be Rs.1,000 from March 1
        1.  
    • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided that the minimum daily wage of estate workers will be 1000 rupees with effect from 1st March. The decision came on eve of Thai Pongal as most of the estate workers are Tamils of Indian origin.

     

    • The workers have been demanding the 1000 rupee wage since past few years and held several protests during previous government. Gotabaya has promised the hike in his election manifesto.
    • The government also decided to take swift measures to develop all areas of the plantation sector including infrastructure facilities. A statement said the government has taken several initiatives such as tax exemption, fertilizer subsidy to increase the quality of this vital sector.

     

    • President emphasized that these benefits should pass onto the workers. He also said  the objective of the government is to avail opportunities for the workers to enjoy the perks of the growth in manufacturing and industrial sectors.

     

    1. UAE leaders condole with Ukrainian Prez over victims of plane crash

    • United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a cable of condolences to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky over the deaths of its passengers as a result of the Ukrainian plane crash last week near Tehran.
    • The Emirates News Agency reported that Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also sent similar messages to the Ukrainian President.
    • A Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers and crew was accidentally shot down by Iran after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran last week leaving no survivors.
    • According to Iranian authorities, in the background of US-Iran face-off, the Ukrainian plane was shot down unintentionally due to human error by the Iranian armed Forces as it was mistakenly construed to be an enemy plane resulting in the unfortunate death of all passengers and crew.

     

    1. Iran vows tough response if European powers decide to launch dispute mechanism against Tehran 
    • Iran has vowed tough response if the three European powers decide to launch a dispute mechanism against Tehran under the 2015 nuclear deal.
    • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said yesterday that the recent statement of the three European signatories of the nuclear deal – the UK, France and Germany – is a demonstration of their stance against the United States and warned that the trio should wait for Tehran’s tough response if they fail to fulfill their pledges under the nuclear deal.
    • He addressed reporters after the European trio of signatories to the nuclear deal of 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), issued a statement earlier in the day to announce their decision to initiate the trigger mechanism.
    • The mechanism for resolving disputes in the JCPOA was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran more than a year ago when Iran’s Foreign Minister sent letters to the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, but nothing new has been resulted in terms of procedures or in action, he added.
    • According to Iran’s semi- official Fars news Agency report, the Iranian diplomat warned that if Europeans, who have claimed that they are undertaking the move with good faith and well intention to preserve the JCPOA, keep their path of surrendering in front of the US rather than trying to deliver on their commitments and letting Iran benefit from the removal of sanctions according to the two annexes of the JCPOA, they have to ready themselves for the consequences which had already been cautioned about. He also called upon Europeans to further try to save the Nuclear deal.
    • In May 2018, US had unilaterally decided to with draw from the Nuclear deal and had imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran. A year later, Iran also threatened to partially withdraw from the deal and said it would continue its programme of uranium enrichment unless, US fulfills its obligations under the Nuclear deal.  Iran informed its decision to the remaining parties to the deal – France, Germany, Russia, China and the UK.

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    Khelo India: Assam continues to dominate Lawn Bowls event   

    • In the Khelo India youth games in Guwahati, Assam continued to dominate the Lawn Bowls event. Assam won 3 gold medal in Lawn Bowls today.
    • This event has been included for the first time in the Khelo India. In Volleyball, Gujarat defeated Harayana to clinch the Gold in the boys under 21 volleyball.

     

    1. Rohit Sharma named ICC’s ‘2019 ODI Cricketer of the Year’; Virat Kohli bags ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award 
    • India’s swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma has been named the ICC’s ‘2019 ODI Cricketer of the Year’ for his incredible run of form through the year.

     

    • Indian captain Virat Kohli won the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award for stopping fans from booing Australia’s Steve Smith during their World Cup match at the Oval.
    • In a statement, ICC said, England’s World Cup-winning all-rounder Ben Stokes got the ‘Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy’ for Player of the Year.

     

    • The 32-year-old Rohit had a memorable 2019 when he scored 10 hundreds across formats, including five in the World Cup.

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